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“A pain that forces one to love more, but to like less”…

January 26, 2013


Love hurts when it becomes “vilior et levior”: anybody who wants to write about wasted passion and painful memories should first read Catullus. He suffered beastly, and carefully wrote it down for posterity… Easy, but painful reading; I didn’t even have to modernize it. Not that there is anything to learn from it, though :

To Lesbia

You were once saying that you only knew me,

Lesbia, and that you would even prefer me to God.

I loved you then not only like a vulgar lover,

but even as a father loves his children.

I know you now. My passion grew more painful,

even as you became more horrible and cheap.

“How can that be?” you wonder. Well, it’s because such pain

forces a lover to love more but to like less.

(Dicebas quondam solum te nosse, Catullum,

Lesbia, nec prae me velle tenere Iovem.

Dilexi tum te non tantum ut vulgus amicam

sed pater ut gnatos diligit et generos.

Nunc te cognovi. Quare etsi impensius uror,

multo mi tamen es vilior et levior.

“Qui potis est?” inquis. Quod amantem injuria talis

cogit amare magis sed bene velle minus.)


PS. Incidentally, “catullus”, or “catellus” means also little dog, puppy (cf. modern Romanian cățel)… but I wouldn’t take this as an explanation…


One Comment
  1. Mich'ael permalink

    Si uite asa am facut cunostina cu opera lui Catullus. Multumesc !

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