Saturday, 13 February 2010
Some Latin words for Valentine's Day Cards plus Catullus
Gaius Velerius Catullus was probably born in 84 BC. Not much is known about him. He is known to be the son of a wealthy citizen in Verona, either he or his family owned a villa on Lake Garda. He regards Rome as his home (as in poem 68). He was in love and besotted by the notorious Clodia Metelli, who was probably the Lesbia of the poems. He started writing in 69 or 68 BC but after his death in about 54BC., his work was lost for a thousand years. He is regarded as one of ancient Rome's finest lyric poets.
His love poems are THE best! His other poems, erm, are of a slightly different nature but generally they are all worth reading unless you are of a highly sensitive disposition...
Poem V is among his best known (about his lover, Lesbia, on one of their good days):
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 sciet esse basiorum.
Live with me
& love me so
we'll laugh at all
the sour-faced strict-
ures of the wise.
This sun once set
will rise again,
when our sun sets
follows night &
an endless sleep.
Kiss me now a
thousand times &
now a hundred
more & then a
hundred & a
thousand more again
till with so many
kisses you & I
shall both lose count
nor any can
from envy of
so much of kissing
put his finger
on the number
of sweet kisses
you of me &
I of you,
darling, have had.
Taken from Penguin Classics "The Poems of Catullus". Translation of Poem V by Peter Whigham (1966) [Editor Betty Radice.]
Some Latin love expressions:
Ego te amo - I love you
Tune me amas? - Do you love me?
Nonne me amas? - Surely you love me?
Da mihi basium (basia: multa/plurima) - Give me a kiss, (kisses: many/very many)
Basia ad te mitto - I send kisses to you
Basia tibi do - I give kisses to you
Leatus(a) sum si laetus (a) es - I am happy if you are happy
Ab amico (a) - from your friend
Click on this link [here] to read how Valentine's Day is meant to have started. It began, allegedly, at the founding of Rome with wolves and then to Lupercalia to St. Valentine to the Conquistadors to chocolate and then to Cadburys!
And last but not least - wishing everyone many good things these Lupercalia!