Collis o Heliconii

cultor, Uraniae genus,

qui rapis teneram ad virum

virginem, o Hymenaee Hymen,

o Hymen Hymenaee,                                     5

You who dwell on Helicon Hill, sprung from Urania, who carry off the gentle virgin to her mate, O Hymenaeus Hymen, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

cinge tempora floribus

suave olentis amaraci,

flammeum cape, laetus huc,

huc veni niveo gerens

luteum pede soccum,                                   10

Twine round your temples sweet-smelling flowers of marjoram; put on your gold-tinted veil; lighthearted here, come here, bearing on snowy foot the golden-yellow sandal:

excitusque hilari die

nuptialia concinens

voce carmina tinnula

pelle humum pedibus, manu

pineam quate taedam.                                15

And afire with the joyous day, chanting wedding melodies with ringing voice, strike the ground with your feet, with your hand swing aloft the torch of pine.

namque Vinia Manilo,

qualis Idalium colens

venit ad Phrygium Venus

iudicem, bona cum bona

nubet alite virgo,                                           20

For Vinia—fair as Venus dwelling in Idalium when came to the Phrygian judge—a virgin fair, weds Manlius amid happy auspices.

floridis velut enitens

myrtus Asia ramulis,

quos hamadryades deae

ludicrum sibi rosido

nutriunt umore.                                             25

She, bright-shining as the Asian myrtle florid in its branches, which the Hamadryads nurture for their pleasure with besprinkled dew.

quare age huc aditum ferens

perge linquere Thespiae

rupis Aonios specus,

nympha quos super irrigat

frigerans Aganippe,                                      30

So come then! convey your approach here, leaving the Aonian cave in cliffs of Thespiae, over which flows the chilling stream of Aganippe

ac domum dominam voca

coniugis cupidam novi,

mentem amore revinciens

ut tenax hedera huc et huc

arborem implicat errans.                             35

And summon homewards the mistress, eager for her new husband, firm-prisoning her soul in love; as tight-clasping ivy, wandering here and there, wraps the tree around.

vosque item simul, integrae

virgines, quibus advenit

par dies, agite in modum

dicite, “o Hymenaee Hymen,

o Hymen Hymenaee.”                                  40

And also you, upright virgins, for whom a like day is nearing, chant in cadence, singing “O Hymenaeus Hymen, O Hymen Hymenaeus!”

ut libentius, audiens

se citarier ad suum

munus, huc aditum ferat

dux bonae Veneris, boni

coniugator amoris.                                        45

That more freely, hearing himself to his duty called, will he bear here his presence, Lord of honorable love, uniter of true lovers.

quis deus magis anxiis

est petendus amantibus?

quem colent homines magis

caelitum? o Hymenaee Hymen,

o Hymen Hymenaee.                                   50

What god is worthier to be sought by anxious lovers? Whom of the celestials do men worship more greatly? O Hymenaeus Hymen, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

te suis tremulus parens

invocat, tibi virgines

zonula solvunt sinus,

te timens cupida novus

captat aure maritus.                                     55

You for his young the trembling father beseeches, for you virgins unclasp the belt from their breasts, for you the fearful bridegroom harkens with eager ear.

tu fero iuveni in manus

floridam ipse puellulam

dedis a gremio suae

matris, o Hymenaee Hymen,

o Hymen Hymenaee.                                   60

You deliver into the hands of the untamed youth that flower-like maiden, taken from her mother's bosom, O Hymenaeus Hymen, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

nil potest sine te Venus

fama quod bona comprobet

commodi capere: at potest

te volente. quis huic deo

compararier ausit?                                       65

Without you Venus can do nothing suitable that good repute sanctions; but she can, with you willing. Who dares to be compared with such a god?

nulla quit sine te domus

liberos dare, nec parens

stirpe nitier: at potest

te volente. quis huic deo

compararier ausit?                                       70

Without you, no house can produce heirs, no parent be surrounded by offspring; but they can, with you willing. Who dares to be compared with such a god?

quae tuis careat sacris

non queat dare praesides

terra finibus: at queat

te volente. quis huic deo

compararier ausit?                                       75

And lacking your rites no land can give protection to its territory; but it can, with you willing. Who dares to be compared with such a god?

claustra pandite ianuae,

virgo adest. viden ut faces

splendidas quatiunt comas?

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[*** missing line]                                         80

Unbolt, open the gates: the virgin is here. See how the torches shake their gleaming locks? ...

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[*** missing line]

tardet ingenuus pudor:

quem tamen magis audiens

flet quod ire necesse est.                             85

... Her natural modesty detains her: hearing this the more, she weeps because she must go.

flere desine. Non tibi, Au-

runculeia, periculum est

ne qua femina pulchrior

clarum ab Oceano diem

viderit venientem.                                        90

Cease your tears. For you there is no peril, Aurunculeia, that any woman more beauteous will ever see the light of day coming from Ocean.

talis in vario solet

divitis domini hortulo

stare flos hyacinthinus.

sed moraris, abit dies:

prodeas, nova nupta.                                   95

You are like the hyacinth flower, which stands aloft amid varied riches of its master's garden. But you delay, day slips by: advance, new bride.

prodeas, nova nupta, si

iam videtur, et audias

nostra verba. vide ut faces

aureas quatiunt comas:

prodeas, nova nupta.                                100

Advance, new bride, it now seems right, and listen to our speech. See how the torches shake their glittering tresses: advance, new bride.

non tuus levis in mala

deditus vir adultera

probra turpia persequens

a tuis teneris volet

secubare papillis,                                       105

Nor is your man a fickle husband, given to ill adulteries, seeking shameless acts, ever wishing to lie away from your soft breasts

lenta quin velut adsitas

vitis implicat arbores,

implicabitur in tuum

complexum. Sed abit dies:

prodeas, nova nupta.                                 110

But as the lithe vine among neighbouring trees doth cling, so shall he be enclasped in your embrace. But day slips by: advance, new bride.

o cubile quod omnibus

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[*** missing line]
[*** missing line]

candido pede lecti,                                      115

O nuptial couch which for all ... with feet of ivory white.

quae tuo veniunt ero,

quanta gaudia, quac vaga

nocte, quae medio die

gaudeat! sed abit dies:

Prodeas, nova nupta.                                 120

What joys are coming to your man in fleeting night, in noon of day, let him rejoice! but day slips by: advance, new bride.

tollite, o pueri, faces:

flammeum video venire.

ite, concinite in modum

“o Hymen Hymenaee io,

o Hymen Hymenaee.”                                125

Raise high, O boys, the torches: I see the gleaming veil approach. Come, chant in cadence, “O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus.”

ne diu taceat procax

fescennina iocatio,

nec nuces pueris neget

desertum domini audiens

concubinus amorem.                                 130

Nor longer silent is lewd Fescinnine jest, nor, favorite, hearing your master's love has flown, deny the nuts to the boys.

da nuces pueris, iners

concubine: satis diu

lusisti nucibus: libet

iam servire Talasio.

concubine, nuces da.                                 135

Give nuts to the boys, O listless favorite; long enough have you played nuts: now you must serve Talassius. O favorite, give the nuts!

sordebant tibi vilicae,

concubine, hodie atque heri:

nunc tuum cinerarius

tondet os. miser ah miser

concubine, nuces da.                                 140

The country wives were dirt to you, O favorite, but yesterday: now the barber shaves your face. Wretched, wretched favorite, give the nuts.

diceris male te a tuis

unguentate glabris marite

abstinere: sed abstine.

o Hymen Hymenaee io,

o Hymen Hymenaee.                                 145

They will say when the bridegroom has been anointed that you can scarce abstain from your hairless boys: but abstain! O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus.

scimus haec tibi quae licent

sola cognita: sed marito

ista non eadem licent.

o Hymen Hymenaee io,

o Hymen Hymenaee.                                 150

We know that these delights were known to you only when lawful: but to the wedded these same no more are lawful. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

nupta, tu quoque quae tuus

vir petet cave ne neges,

ne petitum aliunde eat.

o Hymen Hymenaee io,

o Hymen Hymenaee.                                 155

You also, bride, what your husband seeks beware of denying, lest he go elsewhere in its search. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

en tibi domus ut potens

et beata viri tui:

quae tibi sine serviat

(o Hymen Hymenaee io,

o Hymen Hymenaee).                               160

Look, your husband's home is yours, influential and goodly, allow it to serve you (O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus!)

usque dum tremulum movens

cana tempus anilitas

omnia omnibus adnuit.

o Hymen Hymenaee io,

o Hymen Hymenaee.                                 165

Until white-haired old age, shaking your trembling brow, nods assent to everything. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

transfer omine cum bono

limen aureolos pedes,

rasilemque subi forem.

o Hymen Hymenaee io,

o Hymen Hymenaee.                                 170

Bring with good omen your golden feet across the threshold, and go through the polished doorway. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

adspice unus ut accubans

vir tuus Tyrio in toro

totus immineat tibi.

o Hymen Hymenaee io,

o Hymen Hymenaee.                                 175

Look! your husband alone within, lying on Tyrian couch, all-expectant waits for you. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

illi non minus ac tibi

pectore uritur intimo

flamma, sed penite magis

o Hymen Hymenaee io,

o Hymen Hymenaee.                                 180

No less than in yours, in his breast burns an inmost flame, but more deeply inward. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

mitte bracchiolum teres,

praetextate, puellulae:

iam cubile adeat viri.

o Hymen Hymenaee io,

o Hymen Hymenaee.                                 185

Release the maiden's slender arm, boy with crimson-bordered toga: now let her approach her husband's couch. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus.

o bonae senibus viris

cognitae bene feminae,

conlocate puellulam.

o Hymen Hymenaee io,

o Hymen Hymenaee.                                 190

You good women of fair renown to aged spouses, put the maiden to bed. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus.

iam licet venias, marite:

uxor in thalamo tibi est

ore floridulo nitens

alba parthenice velut

luteumve papaver.                                      195

Now you may come, bridegroom: your wife is in the bedroom, with face brightly blushing as white parthenice amid ruddy poppies.

at, marite, (ita me iuvent

caelites) nihilo minus

pulcher es, neque te Venus

neglegit. sed abit dies:

perge, ne remorare.                                   200

But, bridegroom (so help me the heaven-dwellers) in no way less beautiful are you, nor does Venus slight you. But the day slips by: on! do not delay.

non diu remoratus es,

iam venis. bona te Venus

iuverit, quoniam palam

quod cupis cupis et bonum

non abscondis amorem.                           205

You have not delayed for long, now you are coming. Kindly Venus will help you, since what you desire you take publicly, and do not conceal true love.

ille pulveris Africi

siderumque micantium

subducat numerum prius,

qui vestri numerare vult

multa milia ludi.                                         210

Whoever wishes to keep count of your many thousand games, first let him make an accounting of the number of Africa's sands and the glittering stars.

ludite ut libet, et brevi

liberos date. non decet

tam vetus sine liberis

nomen esse, sed indidem

semper ingenerari.                                     215

Play as you like, and speedily give heirs. It does not become so old a name to without children, but from similar stock always to be generated.

Torquatus volo parvulus

matris e gremio suae

porrigens teneras manus

dulce rideat ad patrem

semihiante labello.                                     220

A little Torquatus I wish, from his mother's lap reaching out his dainty hands, and smiling sweetly at his father with lips apart.

sit suo similis patri

Manlio et facile insciis

noscitetur ab omnibus

et pudicitiam suae

matris indicet ore.                                      225

May he be like his father Manlius, and easily acknowledged by every stranger, and by his face point out his mother's faithfulness.

talis illius a bona

matre laus genus adprobet

qualis unica ab optima

matre Telemacho manet

fama Penelopeo.                                         230

May such praise confirm his birth from true mother, such fame as rests only with Telemachus from best of mothers, Penelope.

claudite ostia, virgines:

lusimus satis. at, boni

coniuges, bene vivite et

munere adsiduo valentem

exercete iuventam.                                     235

Close the doors, virgins: enough we've played. But, fair bride and groom, live you well, and diligently fulfil the office of vigorous youth.



Catullus, Gaius Valerius. "LXI." In Carmina. Ed. E.T. Merrill. 1893. See it in perseus. See it in Internet Archive.

Catullus, Gaius Valerius. "LXI." In The Carmina of Gaius Valerius Catullus. Trans. Leonard C. Smithers. London: Smithers, 1894. See it in perseus


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