Imágenes de páginas

Ennius to translate the 'Hedyphagetica. It is true that his finished and harmonious verse can preach no gospel to an age like the present, when the freshness of youth has passed away, and criticism and analysis have taken the place of simple and unreflecting enjoyment. But this is no disparagement to him, when we reflect that he was one of those whom the gods love, and who are taken early, and it is as impossible to imagine what he might have produced when the fervency of youth had passed away, as it is to estimate the force which Byron might have displayed, had he attained the years of a Goethe. A man so hardworking and conscientious as the elaborate care bestowed on the finish of his poems proves Catullus to have been, might in time have become something more than the mere literary artist, something higher than the inspired singer of mere natural beauty. But as it is, his verse will always find its most powerful echo in the breasts of the young, though indeed from amid jarring creeds and discordant theories of society, and all the rush and turmoil of modern life, it is refreshing and good for all men to pass to the simple joys of the antique world, to have sight of Proteus rising from the sea, and hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn,' and revel in the pure and delicate pictures called up by the magic verse of the poet. It is through these pictures, with their brilliant though tender colouring, that the name of Catullus will, as he in the confidence of



genius expected, live through all the lapse of hoary time, and hence it is that he will be ever reckoned among the number of those bright-gleaming men of whom, as Pericles said, the whole world becomes the tomb.



To whom shall I this volume new,
Polished with pumice, smooth to view,

Address, if not to thee,
Cornelius? for thou wert wont,
My friend, to deem of some account

The trifles penned by me.

And thou their merit too did'st own,
When of Italians thou alone

Did'st in three volumes dare
To write in many a learned page
The History of every age !

Jove, what a task was there !

And so whate'er its value be,
This little book accept from me,

Such as it is I give;
And grant, thou guardian Muse, I pray,
That when one age has passed away,
My verses still




Sparrow, my Lesbia's sweet joy,
With whom she ever loves to toy,
Or on her breast will gently lay
When she is wearied with his play,
Or merrily his beak will tease
Her finger tip to sharply seize,
When my bright darling longs to sport
Her own sweet will in merry sort,
That, as I fondly must believe,
Thus solaced she may cease to grieve,
When the fierce passion in her breast
Has spent its force and sunk to rest.
Ah! would that I like her could play
With thee, and so could cast away
All the dark sorrows of my mind,
This were to me a boon as kind
As to the fabled flying maid
The apple golden-hued, which stayed
Her course ere yet the race was done
And loosed her long-bound virgin zone.


Mourn, mourn ye Loves and winged Desires,
And all ye wits whom beauty fires,
My Lesbia's sparrow, lack-a-day!
The bird she loved, has passed away.
Dearer than her own eyes was he
And sweet as honey e'er could be,
And well would he his mistress know
As maid her mother, to and fro
Around her hopping he would go.
His tune would pipe alone to her,
And ne'er from off her breast would stir,
But now along that gloomy track
He goes, where none can e'er turn back.
May curses dire upon thee wait,
Thou cruel Orcus' gloomy state!
Who all things beautiful and fair
Dost ravish from the upper air.
This beauteous sparrow thou hast ta’en,
Ah! ruthless deed to cause me pain.
Unhappy bird ! my Lesbia's eyes,

Swollen with tears which ever rise,
Are red with weeping, all for thee,
For thy fate wrought so cruelly.

« AnteriorContinuar »