Written in Sapphic meter

Furi et Aureli, comites Catulli
sive in extremos penetrabit Indos,
litus ut longe resonante Eoa
tunditur unda,
sive in Hyrcanos Arabasve molles,
seu Sagas sagittiferosve Parthos,
sive quae septemgeminus colorat
aequora Nilus,
sive trans altas gradietur Alpes,
Caesaris visens monimenta magni,
Gallicum Rhenum horribilesque ulti-
mosque Britannos --
omnia haec, quaecumque feret voluntas
caelitum, temptare simul parati,
pauca nuntiate meae puellae
non bona dicta:
cum suis vivat valeatque moechis,
quos simul complexa tenet trecentos,
nullum amans vere, sed identidem omnium
ilia rumpens;
nec meum respectet, ut ante, amorem,
qui illius culpa cecidit velut prati
ultimi flos, praetereunte postquam
tactus aratro est.


This is the 'literal' translation that I did for my AP class.

Furius and Aurelius, companions of Catullus,
Whether he will venture into the furthest India
Where the shore is beaten by the Eastern wave
resounding far and wide
or (venture) into the Hyrcani or the soft Arabians
or the Scythians or the arrow-carrying Parthians
or into whatever water the seven-mouthed
Nile colors,
Or whether he will walk across the high Alps
seeing the monument of great Caesar,
Gallic Rhine, dreadful and distant,
All these, whatever the will of the gods
will bring, be prepared together to try to
announce a few not good words
to my girl:
Let her live and thrive with her adulterers,
300 of whom she embracing holds
loving not any truely, but repeatedly bursting
all groins;
Let her not expect my love, as before
which has fallen due to her fault just as
a flower of the distant meadow after it has been
touched by the plowshare passing by.


Line 1: Furi and Aureli are in the vocative.
Line 2: the -ve of sive indicates there will be a number of choices.
Line 3: ut + present indicative = 'where'
Line 6: The Scythians where fierce enemies of the Romans.
Line 9: gradietur is deponent
Line 10: Enclosed line
Line 11: Asyndeton (lack of connecting word)
Line 13: feret is future indicative
Line 15: nuntiate takes the dative and is imperative
Line 16: non bona is lytotes
Line 17: vivat is present subjunctive
Line 18: Enclosed line, complexa is deponent, '300' is hyperbole
Line 20: Insinuates sexual intercourse.
Line 22: velut introduces a simile.
Line 24: aratro is ablative of means


This is one of Catullus' 'I hate Lesbia, she's a whore' poems. Catullus addresses this poem to two of his friends, Furius and Aurelius, to whom he charges that no matter where he himself goes he expects his friends to 'announce a few not good words' to Lesbia. Catullus says he now longer loves Lesbia because of her many affairs (of course, she was having an affair with Catullus) and using a beautiful simile, compares the 'fall' of his love to the fall of a flower mowed down by a passing plowshare (Lesbia).