Let Us Live and Love (5)

Gaius Valerius Catullus
My sweetest Lesbia, let us live and love;
And though the sager sort our deeds reprove,
Let us not weigh them. Heaven's great lamps do dive
Into their west, and straight again revive;
But, soon as once set is our little light,
Then must we sleep one ever-during night.

If all would lead their lives in love like me,
Then bloody swords and armor should not be;
No drum nor trumpet peaceful sleeps should move,
Unless alarm came from camp of love.
But fools do live and waster their little light,
And seek with pain their ever-during night.

When timely death my life and fortune ends,
Let not my hearse be vexed with mourning friends;
But let all lovers rich in triumph come,
And with sweet pastime grace my happy tomb.
And, Lesbia, close up thou my little light,
And crown with love by ever-during night. 

More by Gaius Valerius Catullus

To me that man seems like a god in heaven (51)

To me that man seems like a god in heaven,
seems—may I say it?—greater than all gods are,
who sits by you & without interruption
	watches you, listens

to your light laughter, which casts such confusion
onto my senses, Lesbia, that when I 
gaze at you merely, all of my well-chosen
	words are forgotten

as my tongue thickens & a subtle fire
runs through my body while my ears deafened
by their own ringing & at once my eyes are
	covered in darkness!

Leisure, Catullus. More than just a nuisance,
leisure: you riot, overmuch enthusing.
Fabulous cities & their sometime kings have
	died of such leisure.

Him rival to the gods I place (51)

Him rival to the gods I place,
   Him loftier yet, if loftier be,
Who, Lesbia, sits before thy face,
   Who listens and who looks on thee;

Thee smiling soft. Yet this delight
   Doth all my sense consign to death;
For when thou dawnest on my sight,
   Ah, wretched! flits my labouring breath.

My tongue is palsied. Subtly hid
   Fire creeps me through from limb to limb:
My loud ears tingle all unbid:
   Twin clouds of night mine eyes bedim.

Ease is my plague: ease makes thee void,
   Catullus, with these vacant hours,
And wanton: ease that hath destroyed
   Great kings, and states with all their powers.

By ways remote and distant waters sped (101)

By ways remote and distant waters sped,
Brother, to thy sad grave-side 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 now 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 drenched with a brother's tears, 
And, brother, for all time, hail and farewell!