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Gaius Valerius Catullus

There is nothing more silly than a silly laugh.

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Atalanta

It’s as pleasing to me as, they say,
that golden apple was to the swift girl,
that loosed her belt, too long tied.

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Lesbia Railing

LESBIA forever on me rails.
To talk of me, she never fails.
Now, hang me, but for all her art,
I find that I have gained her heart.

My proof is this: I plainly see
The case is just the same with me;
I curse her every hour sincerely,
Yet, hang me, but I love her dearly.

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True of False

NONE could ever say that she,
Lesbia! was so loved by me.
Never all the world around
Faith so true as mind was found.
If no longer it endures
(Would it did!) the fault is yours.
I can never think again
Well of you: I try in vain.
But . . . be false . . . do what you will-
Lesbia! I must love you still.

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Ionic

That we've broken their statues,
that we've driven them out of their temples,
doesn't mean at all that the gods are dead.
O land of Ionia, they're still in love with you,
their souls still keep your memory.
When an August dawn wakes over you,
your atmosphere is potent with their life,
and sometimes a young ethereal figure
indistinct, in rapid flight,
wings across your hills.

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Tears for Lesbia’s Sparrow

Sparrow, my sweet girl’s delight,
whom she plays with, holds to her breast,
whom, greedy, she gives her little finger to,
often provoking you to a sharp bite,
whenever my shining desire wishes
to play with something she loves,
I suppose, while strong passion abates,
it might be a small relief from her pain:
might I toy with you as she does
and ease the cares of a sad mind

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Back from Spain: to Veranius

Veranius, first to me of all
my three hundred thousand friends,
have you come home to your own house
your harmonious brothers, and old mother?
You’re back. O happy news for me!
I’ll see you safe and sound and listen
to your tales of Spanish places that you’ve done,
and tribes, as is your custom, and
hang about your neck, and kiss
your lovely mouth and eyes.
O who of all men is happier
than I the gladdest and happiest?

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How Many Kisses: to Lesbia

Lesbia, you ask how many kisses of yours
would be enough and more to satisfy me.
As many as the grains of Libyan sand
that lie between hot Jupiter’s oracle,
at Ammon, in resin-producing Cyrene,
and old Battiades sacred tomb:
or as many as the stars, when night is still,
gazing down on secret human desires:
as many of your kisses kissed
are enough, and more, for mad Catullus,
as can’t be counted by spies
nor an evil tongue bewitch us.

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The Dedication: to Cornelius

To whom do I send this fresh little book
of wit, just polished off with dry pumice?
To you, Cornelius: since you were accustomed
to consider my trifles worth something
even then, when you alone of Italians
dared to explain all the ages, in three learned
works, by Jupiter, and with the greatest labour.
Then take this little book for your own: whatever
it is, and is worth: virgin Muse, patroness,
let it last, for more lives than one.

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On The Burial Of His Brother

BY ways remote and distant waters sped,
Brother, to thy sad graveside am I come,
That I may give the last gifts to the dead,
And vainly parley with thine ashes dumb;
Since She who now bestows and denies
Hath ta'en thee, hapless brother from mine eyes.
But lo! these gifts, the heirlooms of past years,
Are made sad things to grace thy coffin-shell;
Take them, all drenchèd with a brother's tears,
And, brother, for all time, hail and farewell.

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