To Lesbia – Gaio Valerio Catullo

This poem was written by a latin poet, Gaio Valerio Catullo about 2000 years ago. I’m moved by the strong, deep feeling arising from this poem. How burning passion! How suggestive images! I think this is one of the most beautiful poem ever written about love. My advice is to read also the latin version, if you can.


“The while we live, to love let’s give

Each hour, my winsome dearie!
Hence, churlish rage of icy age!
Of love we’ll ne’er grow weary.

Bright Phoebus dies, again to rise;
Returns life’s brief light never;
When once ‘tis gone, we slumber on
For ever and for ever.

Then, charmer mine, with help divine!
Give me a thousand kisses;
A hundred then, then hundred ten
Then other hundred blisses.


Lip thousand o’er, sip hundreds more

With panting ardour breathing;

Fill to the brim love’s cup, its rim

With rosy blossoms wreathing.

We’ll mix them then, lest to our ken

Should come our store of blisses,

Or envious wight should know, and blight

So many honey’d kisses.”

(J. Cranstoun, Edimburgo, 1867)


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