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 Gaius Valerius Catullus     
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Carmen 63 (in English by M. van Wevelingen)
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Available in Latin, Chinese, Croatian, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Russian, and Scanned. Compare two languages here.
Over deep seas Attis in His fast boat bourne,
so that on swift foot He eagerly could reach the Phrygian forest
and approach the shaded, wreathed by trees places of the Goddess,
roused then by a wild frenzy, raving with the spirits,
He plucked out there on the spot(1) the weights with a sharp flint,
and so when She sensed (Her Self being without) Her disposed-off
body parts, without manhood,
indeed, staining the soil with fresh blood,
She quickly with snow-white hands grabbed the light drum,
Your drum, Cybebe, Your rites, Mother,
and beating the hollow bull's hides with tender fingers,
She dared to sing this tremulously to Her Companions:
"Drive on, go, Gallae, to Cybele's high woods together,
go together, Dindymenian Domina's roving cattle,
Who like exiles seek to find foreign places,
(and) as My following have imitated Me - Companians to Me
with Me as Leader.
You've endured the wild sea and its deadly dangers
and emasculated the body out of immense hatred of Venus.
Amuse the Mistress with Your headlong tresspasses.
Let's not tarry any longer, go together, follow Me
to Cybebe's Phrygian House, to the Phrygian woods of the Goddess,
where cymbals make their clashing sound, where drums resonate,
where the Phrygian piper plays melancholically the curved reed,
where the ivy-wearing Maenads shake Their heads violently,
where They do Their offerings wailingly,
where that roving crowd is used to flutter about for the Goddess,
for Whom it's right that We speed up the quick three-step dance."
Together with the Companians this Attis sang, the imitation-woman.

Suddenly the Celebrants start wailing with oscillating tongues,
promptly the drum bangs in return, the cymbals resound with a ring.
To green Ida the swift Chorus goes in hot haste.
In rapture, out of breath and unsettled She walks on more dead than alive.
While banging Her drum through the shadowy woods Attis is Leader.
Just like an untamed heifer that tries to avoid the burden of the yoke,
the wild Gallae follow the swift-footed Leader.
Therefore, as soon as They reached (3) Cybebe's House,
They out of enormous exertion go to sleep without having eaten.
Because of this trying exertion slothful Sleep covers the eyes.
Their minds at pleasant repose the wild rapture passes off.
But as the gold-faced Sun with His shining eyes
brightened the immaculate sky, the hard ground, the wild sea
and dispelled the night's shadows with His sprightly horses,
Sleep left wide-awake Attis quickly forgetting all past exertion.
Into fearful bosom the Goddess of all Gods and Goddesses(3)
received Her back.

So after pleasant repose without the wild frenzy
and likewise Her heart Attis recollected Her actions,
and saw without all that with clear mind and where She'd been,
at Her wit's end full of regret ran to the waters.
There Her eyes full of tears beholding the vast sea
the sad One(4) addressed Her Country with a voice so wretchedly:
"Country, O Creatress of Me, O My Country, Birthgiver,
I such a wretch forsaking masters like fugitive
slaves do, ran away to the woods of Ida,
to be close to the snow and the ice-cold lairs of wild animals
and go in rapture to all their hiding places,
where somewhere You, Country, after all can also be found, I imagine ?
The same poplars long to direct their sharp tops to You,
[or: The same piercing eyes long to direct them to You,]
intend to keep aloof from wild frenzy, as long as life is short.
Weren't I driven(2) from My home to these far away woods ?
Country, won't I be absent from good people, from friends and parents ?
Absent from the forum, the wrestling arena, the running course and
the gymnasia ?
Wretched ah wretched, it's forever to be deplored, Soul.
Truely, what do I look like, aren't I therefore damned ?
Am I a woman, a youth, a husband-to-be, a boy ?
I was in top form, the attraction of the wrestling school:
many people frequently visited Me, Many kept Their houses cool for Me,
My house was adorned with garlands for Me,
people stood up for Me, where a seat faced the Sun rise.
Am I now driven(2) to be a servant of gods(5) and Cybele's slave ?
Am I to be(6) a Maenad, am I to play that part, to be a sterile man ?
Am I to live in the cold, snow-coated place of green Ida ?
Am I to spend My life under the high mountain tops of Phrygia,
where the hind is a forest dweller, where the boar is a wood rover ?
What I've done, distresses Me now, now I'm sorry."
When She made a quick loud noise with Her rose lips, She left,
the new messenger addressing Her Self to the ears of the gods.

Then, as Cybele takes(7) the joined yokes off the lions
and incites the hostile animal on the left, thus She speaks:
"Go," She says,"go, wild one, make this One like crazy,
make it so, that She through an attack of frenzy runs back to the woods,
She Who so very fearlessly wishes to flee at My command.
Go, beat(2) Her skin with your tail, She must be exposed to your chastenings,
make it so, that the whole place resounds of your thundering roaring,
shake your ruddy mane, wild one, with your muscular neck."
This asserts dangerous Cybebe and loosens the yokes with Her hand.
The wild animal itself urging itself takes off with all its courage,
it wades, hullabaloos, breaks the underbrush on unsteady foot,
but as it nears the damp bright-white parts of the beach
and sees the tender Attis near the marble (of the) sea,
it makes its attack. That crazed One, She flees into the wild woods.
There for always and the whole space of Her life She was a Servant.

Goddess, great Goddess, Cybebe, Goddess, Domina of Dindymon,
may all Your(8) Fury be far away from Me, Mistress, and far from home.
Drive Others frantic, drive Others into rapture.

[(1) In the Latin version of Verse 5 it says "ili", that should be "illi" = "there on the stop".]

[(2) "tetigere" ?! Shouldn't that be "tetigunt" ?
Likewise "ferar" ... "feror", "ferat" ... "fert" ?
Likewise "caeda" ... "caede" ?]

[(3) "Pasitheia" = "Pas + Théia". Plural of "Théion" = "a divine being". "Pas"= "All".]

[(4) "maestast" = "maesta"+ "est". Likewise: "figurast" = "figura" + "est"]

[(5) "deum" like "equum" is a genitive masculine plural.]

[(6) Like in Greek, future tense also has an obligatory meaning: must, ought to, am to.]

[(7) Here Catullus switches to present tense. I maintained this (?) quirk of His.]

[(8) "tuos" should be "tuus", Catullus did that on purpose. Here is used the Greek suffix of the nominative masculine singular. Cf. "Cybeles" and "Cybebes": here with Greek suffix of the genitive feminine singular.]
© copyright 3-3-2011 by M. van Wevelingen
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