Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gaius Valerius Catullus, Carmina, To PRIAPUS

This place, O youths, I protect, nor less this turfbuilded cottage, Roofed with its osier-twigs and thatched with its bundles of sedges; I from the dried oak hewn and fashioned with rustical hatchet, Guarding them year by year while more are they evermore thriving. [5] For here be owners twain who greet and worship my Godship, He of the poor hut lord and his son, the pair of them peasants: This with assiduous toil aye works the thicketty herbage And the coarse water-grass to clear afar from my chapel: That with his open hand ever brings me offerings humble. Hung up in honour mine are flowery firstlings of spring-tide, [20] Wreaths with their ears still soft the tender stalklets a-crowning; Violets pale are mine by side of the poppy-head pallid; With the dull yellow gourd and apples sweetest of savour; Lastly the blushing grape disposed in shade of the vine-tree. Anon mine altar (this same) with blood (but you will be silent!) [15] Bearded kid and anon some horny-hoofed nanny shall sprinkle. Wherefore Priapus is bound to requite such honours by service, Doing his duty to guard both vineyard and garth of his lordling. Here then, O lads, refrain from ill-mannered picking and stealing: Rich be the neighbour-hind and negligent eke his Priapus: [20] Take what be his: this path hence leadeth straight to his ownings.

Catullus. Carmina. Sir Richard Francis Burton. trans. London. For translator for private use. 1894.

The National Endowment for the Humanities provided support for entering this text.


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