29 January 2010

Catullus as translated by Louis & Celia Zukofsky

[from Louis & Celia Zukofsky's Complete Short Poems, Johns Hopkins, 1969]

[believe me, you want to read the Latin line by line with the English]

from Catullus LXIV

laeva colum molli lana retinebat amictum,
dextera tum leviter deducens fila supinis
formabat digitis, tum prono in pollice torquens
libratum tereti versabat turbine fusum,
atque ita decerpens aequabat semper opus dens,
lanaeque aridulis haerebant morsa labellis,
quae prius in levi fuerant extantia filo:
ante pedes autem candentis mollia lanae
vellera virgati custodibant calathisci.
haec tum clarisona pellentes vellera voce
talia divino fuderunt carmine fata,
carmine, perfidiae quod post nulla arguet aetas.

Catullus LXIV
translated from the Latin by Louis & Celia Zukofsky

Left hand holding distaff and wool retained on it (ah mixture)
dexter hand will levitate take down these threads (feels up in these
formed about digitals) thumb pronate 'down' policy torque wanes
liberate the spindle whorl's about round in now fusing,
and what thread they cure pain's about smoothed bitten off with their
wool ends as of arid locks of hair abound morsels on bit lips,
what previously would furl on the thread extant if a lull:
at their feet always near candescent more light than wool white
rolls of fleece well guarded custom bound small willow baskets.
Hike t'whom clarisonous pelting the rolls of fleece, voiced then
the tale ah divinely poured from the harmony Fate their
harmony, perfidy could in no late time argue its heart.

1 comment:

  1. It's wonderful. I wish I had learned latin and could read the original.