Love’s Arithmetic – Catullus

Love’s Arithemetic

Let’s live and love while yet we may,
My Lesbia: all the things they say,
Those crabbed old gossips, let’s agree,
Aren’t worth a farthing – what care we?
Each night the sun goes down, each morn
Another bright new day is born,
And when we quench our puny light,
Comes endless sleep, eternal night.
So kiss me, Lesbia, I implore,
A thousand times, a hundred more,
Another thousand, with again
A hundred kisses in their train,
And even after these I will
Demand eleven hundred still,
Whereat we’d better cease to tot
And mix together all the lot,
Lest envious eyes should keep the count
And grudge my lips the full amount.

Valerius Catullus born Verona (87bc – 47bc)
Reversed by Peter Hadley
From An anthology of classical verse (Epic to Epigram)

Lesbia – was the literary pseudonym of the great love of Catullus
Lesbos – an island in the Aegean sea.

Wonderful eight syllable rhythm … let’s live and love while yet we may … and count not what others do or say … enjoy, enjoy, enjoy your day!

But beware of love’s attraction … that it does not move from addiction to affliction! … see below on details of his love-life

From Wikipedia … It was probably in Rome that Catullus fell deeply in love with the “Lesbia” of his poems, who is usually identified with Clodia Metelli, a sophisticated woman from the aristocratic house of patrician family Claudii Pulchri, sister of the infamous Publius Clodius Pulcher, and wife to proconsul Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer. In his poems Catullus describes several stages of their relationship: initial euphoria, doubts, separation, and his wrenching feelings of loss. Clodia was a woman with a ravenous sexual appetite; “From the poems one can adduce no less than five lovers in addition to Catullus: Egnatius (poem 37), Gellius (poem 91), Quintius (poem 82), Rufus (poem 77), and Lesbius (poem 79).” There is also some question surrounding her husband’s mysterious death in 59 B.C., some critics believing he was domestically poisoned. Yet, a sensitive and passionate Catullus could not relinquish his flame for Clodia, regardless of her obvious indifference to his desire for a deep and permanent relationship. In his poems, Catullus wavers between devout, sweltering love and bitter, scornful insults that he directs at her blatant infidelity (as demonstrated in poems 11 and 58). His passion for her is unrelenting— yet it is unclear when exactly the couple split up for good. Catullus’s poems about the relationship display striking depth and psychological insight.

Your word in my ear ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s