Catullus Carmina 51 ("His crib from Sappho")


Ille mi par esse deo videtur,

ille, si fas est, superare divos,

qui sedens adversus identidem te

spectat et audit

dulce ridentem, misero quod omnis

eripit sensus mihi: nam simul te,

Lesbia, aspexi, nihil est super mi

vocis in ore,

lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus

flamma demanat, sonitu suopte

tintinant aures, gemina teguntur

lumina nocte.

Otium, Catulle, tibi molestum est:

otio exsultas nimiumque gestis:

otium et reges prius et beatas

perdidit urbes.


That man seems to me to be equal to a god,

Or, if it may be said, to surpass the gods,

<that man.> who sitting opposite you again and again

Looks at you and hears you

Sweetly laughing, something which deprives poor me

Of all my senses: for as soon as I see you,

Lesbian, there is no longer

[any sound in my mouth]

But my tongue is still, a thin flame

Sinks down through my limbs, my ears ring

With a hum of their own, my eyes are covered

By double darkness.

Leisure, Catullus, is harmful to you:

In leisure you are too passionate in your actions.

Leisure in the past has ruined kings

And prosperous cities.




Catullus, Gaius Valerius. Carmina 51. Perseus. Tufts U, n.d. Web. 1 August 2015.

Catullus, Gaius Valerius. Poems 51. Trans. Peter Liebregts. The Cantos Project. Ezra Pound Society, 1 August 2015, Web. 


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