Yolo, Mea Lesbia (Catullus 5)

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Catullus’ beloved fifth poem is an injunction to seize the day and love, but, argues Victoria Waldron, it needs to be seen in the context of Roman beliefs about the evil eye as well. The word Catullus uses for “to be jealous” (invidere) is also the word for casting aggressive magic spells.┬áCatullus 5 discussed, translated, and read aloud by Victoria Waldron.

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 sciat esse basiorum.

 

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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