Original Poetry

“The Passionate Poet to His Reluctant Love”

by Catullus, newly translated by Thomas Roe

Catullus V

vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus
rumoresque senum severiorum
omnes unius aestimemus assis!
soles occidere et redire possunt:
nobis, cum semel occidit brevis lux,
nox est perpetua una dormienda.
da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.
dein, cum milia multa fecerimus,
conturbabimus illa, ne sciamus
aut ne quis malus invidere possit
cum tantum sciat esse basiorum.


Come live with me and be my love
And we will all the rumors chide
Of strict old men past passion’s prime
Who look on us with envy’s eye!

For suns can set and rise again,
But our brief light such power lacks
And once gone down gives way to night,
A black of nothing ever-slept.

Come then, a thousand kisses, dear,
A hundred and a thousand more,
Again a hundred, then again,
Until at last we lose the score.

For with such countless thousands, love,
No eye could reckon up the sum
To envy how we run our race
Beneath the swiftly fleeting sun.

Thomas Roe lives in South Bend, Indiana with his wife Brooke and four young children. When not playing outside with his children or reading to them, he keeps busy with teaching, restoring an old house, and having much too much fun talking with Brooke about language, history, and literature.

Veritas Journal is now accepting original poetry and short fiction for occasional publication. Click here for more information.

Header Image: “Catullus at Lesbia’s” by Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, 1865 (public domain)

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