Cattulus 66

Omnia qui magni dispexit lumina mundi,

qui stellarum ortus comperit atque obitus,

flammeus ut rapidi solis nitor obscuretur,

ut cedant certis sidera temporibus,

ut Triviam furtim sub Latmia saxa relegans

dulcis amor gyro devocet aerio,

idem me ille Conon caelesti in lumine vidit

e Bereniceo vertice caesariem

fulgentem clare, quam cunctis illa deorum

levia protendens bracchia pollicita est,10

qua rex tempestate novo auctus hymenaeo

vastatum finis iuerat Assyrios,

dulcia nocturnae portans vestigia rixae

quam de virgineis gesserat exuviis.

estne novis nuptis odio Venus, atque parentum15

frustrantur falsis gaudia lacrimulis

ubertim thalami quas intra limina fundunt?

non, ita me divi vera gemunt, iuerint.

id mea me multis docuit regina querelis

invisente novo proelia torva viro.20

at tu non orbum luxti deserta cubile,

sed fratris cari flebile discidium?

quam penitus maestas exedit cura medullas!

ut tibi tunc toto pectore sollicitae

sensibus ereptis mens excidit! at te ego certe25

cognoram a parva virgine magnanimam.

anne bonum oblita es facinus, quo regium adepta es

coniugium, quod non fortior ausit alis?

sed tum maesta virum mittens quae verba locuta es!

Iuppiter, ut tristi lumina saepe manu!30

quis te mutavit tantus deus? an quod amantes

non longe a caro corpore abesse volunt?

atque ibi me cunctis pro dulci coniuge divis

non sine taurino sanguine pollicita es,

si reditum tetulisset. is haud in tempore longo35

captam Asiam Aegypti finibus addiderat.

quis ego pro factis caelesti reddita coetu

pristina vota novo munere dissolvo.

invita, o regina, tuo de vertice cessi,

invita: adiuro teque tuumque caput:40

digna ferat quod si quis inaniter adiurarit:

sed qui se ferro postulet esse parem?

ille quoque eversus mons est quem maximum in oris

progenies Thiae clara supervehitur,

cum Medi peperere novum mare, cumque inventus45

per medium classi barbara navit Athon.

quid facient crines, cum ferro talia cedant?

Iuppiter, ut Chalybon omne genus pereat,

et qui principio sub terra quaerere venas

institit ac ferri fingere duritiem!50

abiunctae paulo ante comae mea fata sorores

lugebant, cum se Memnonis Aethiopis

unigena impellens nutantibus aera pennis

obtulit Arsinoes Locridicos ales equus,

isque per aetherias me tollens avolat umbras55

et Veneris casto conlocat in gremio.

ipsa suum Zephyritis eo famulum legarat,

Graia Canopiis incola litoribus,

†hi dii ven ibi vario ne solum in lumine caeli

ex Ariadneis aurea temporibus60

fixa corona foret, sed nos quoque fulgeremus

devotae flavi verticis exuviae,

uvidulam a fletu cedentem ad temple deum me

sidus in antiquis diva novum posuit:

Virginis et saevi contingens namque Leonis65

lumina, Callisto iuncta Lycaoniae,

vertor in occasum, tardum dux ante Booten,

qui vix sero alto mergitur Oceano.

sed quamquam me nocte premunt vestigia divum,

lux autem canae Tethyi restituit,70

(pace tua fari hic liceat, Rhamnusia virgo:

namque ego non ullo vera timore tegam,

nec si me infestis discerpent sidera dictis,

condita quin veri pectoris evoluam)

non his tam laetor rebus quam me afore semper75

afore me a dominae vertice discrucior,

quicum ego, dum virgo quondam fuit, omnibus expers

unguentis, una milia multa bibi.

nunc vos optato quom iunxit lumine taeda,

non prius unanimis corpora coniugibus80

tradite nudantes reiecta veste papillas,

quam iucunda mihi munera libet onyx,

vester onyx, casto colitis quae iura cubili.

sed quae se impuro dedit adulterio,

illius ah mala dona levis bibat irrita pulvis:85

namque ego ab indignis praemia nulla peto.

sed magis, o nuptae, semper concordia vestras,

semper amor sedes incolat adsiduus.

tu vero, regina, tuens cum sidera divam

placabis festis luminibus Venerem,90

unguinis expertem non siris esse tuam me,

sed potius largis adfice muneribus.

sidera cur retinent? utinam coma regia fiam

proximus Hydrochoi fulgeret Oarion.

    Text from Catullus, edited by Elmer Truesdell Merrill, (Boston: Ginn and Company,1893).

    Read Callimachus' Victory of Berenice.

    Cattullus 66 (trans. Leonard C. Smithers)

    He who scanned all the lights of the great firmament, who ascertained the rising and the setting of the stars, how the flaming splendour of the swift sun was darkened, how the planets disappear at certain seasons, how sweet love with stealth detaining Trivia beneath the Latmian crags draws her away from her airy circuit: he that same Conon saw me, a lock of hair from Berenice's head, in the celestial light, gleaming brightly, which she outstretching graceful arms promised to all of the gods, when the king, magnified by his recent marriage, had gone to lay waste the Assyrian borders, bearing the sweet traces of nightly contests, in which he had borne away her virginal spoils. Is Venus abhorred by new brides? And are the parents' joys turned aside by feigned tears, which they shed copiously within the threshold of the bedchamber? Their groans are untrue, by the gods I swear! This my queen taught me by her many lamentings, when her bridegroom set out for stern warfare. Yet, when deserted, you did not grieve the widowed couch, did you, but the tearful separation from a dear brother? How care consumed your marrow, sad deep within! Such that, your whole bosom being agitated, and your senses being snatched from you, your mind wandered! But in truth I have known you great of heart ever since you were a little maiden. Have you forgotten that noble deed, by which you gained a royal marriage, than which none dared other deeds bolder? Yet what grieving words you spoke when bidding your bridegroom farewell! Jupiter! how often with sad hand [you wiped] your eyes! What mighty god changed you? Was it that lovers are unwilling to be long absent from their dear one's body? Then did you promise me to the whole of the gods on your sweet consort's behalf, not without blood of oxen, if he should be granted safe return. In no long time he added captive Asia to the Egyptian territory. For these reasons I, bestowed amidst the celestial host, by a new gift fulfil your ancient vow. Unwillingly, O queen, did I quit your brow, unwillingly: I swear to you and to your head; if anyone swears lightly, may he bear a suitable penalty: but who may claim himself equal to steel? Even that mountain was swept away, the greatest on earth, over which Thia's illustrious progeny passed, when the Medes created a new sea, and the barbarian youth sailed its fleet through the middle of Athos. What can locks of hair do, when such things yield to iron? Jupiter! may the whole race of the Chalybes perish, and whoever first began to seek the veins beneath the earth and invent the hardness of iron! Just before severance my sister locks were mourning my fate, when Ethiop Memnon's brother, the winged steed, beating the air with fluttering wings, appeared before Locrian Arsinoe, and he bearing me up, flies through aethereal shadows and lays me in the chaste bosom of Venus. Zephyritis herself had dispatched him as her servant, a Greek settler on the Canopian shores. For it was the wish of many gods that the golden crown from Ariadne's temples stay fixed, not alone in heaven's light, but that we also should gleam, the spoils dedicated from your golden-yellow head; when moist with weeping I entered the temples of the gods, the goddess placed me, a new star, among the ancient ones. For touching the Virgin's and the cruel Lion's gleams, hard by Lycaonian Callisto, I turn westwards, a guide before the slow-moving Bootes who barely sinks into the vast ocean. But although the footsteps of the gods press upon me in the night, and the daytime restores me to the white-haired Tethys, (grant me your grace to speak thus, O Rhamnusian virgin, for I will not hide the truth through any fear, even if the stars revile me with ill words, yet I will unfold the pent-up feelings from truthful breast) I am not so much rejoiced at these things as I am tortured by being forever parted, parted from my lady's head, with whom I, in all ointments having not a share, drank many thousands when she was still a virgin.

    Now do you, whom the gladsome light of the wedding torches has joined, yield not your bodies to your desiring husbands nor throw aside your robes and bare your nipples, before your onyx cup brings me delightful gifts, your onyx, you who seek the dues of chaste marriage-bed. But she who gives herself to foul adultery, ah! may the light-lying dust responselessly drink her vile gifts, for I seek no offerings from folk that do ill. But rather, O brides, may concord always be yours, and constant love ever dwell in your homes. But when you, O queen, while gazing at the stars, will propitiate the goddess Venus with festal torch lights, let not me, your own, be left lacking of unguent, but rather gladden me with large gifts. Why do the stars hold me back? would that I become a royal tress, that Orion might gleam next to Aquarius.

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    Suggested Citation

    Susan Stephens, Callimachus: Aetia. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-947822-07-8.