suaviolum dulci dulcius ambrosia.
Verum id non impune tuli: namque amplius horam
suffixum in summa me memini esse cruce,
dum tibi me purgo, nec possum fletibus ullis
tantillum vestrae demere saevitiae.
Nam simul id factum est, multis diluta labella
guttis abstersisti omnibus articulis,
ne quicquam nostro contractum ex ore maneret,
tamquam commictae spurca saliva lupae.
Praeterea infesto miserum me tradere amori
non cessati omnique excruciare modo,
ut mi ex ambrosia mutatum iam foret illud
suaviolum tristi tristius elleboro.
Quam quoniam poenam misero proponis amori,
numquam iam posthac basia surripiam.
While you were distracted, sweet Iuventius,
I stole a kiss from you; it was sweeter than the sweetest honey.
But I didn't get away with it: for the next hour
I felt utterly tortured and alone.
For although I tried to apologize, my tears could not
temper an ounce of your savage response.
As soon as I did it, you wiped the kiss off your lips,
rubbing it off with each and every finger,
so not a trace of my lips remained on yours,
as if I were contaminated and dirty.
You didn't hesitate to hurt me, as I suffered from a love unreturned.
You tortured me in every way,
and now you turned a kiss, once as sweet to me as honey
into something sad, the bitterest poison.
So now I've learned my lesson, I've paid my penalty,
and never again shall I steal any more kisses.
Name: Gaius Valerius Catullus
Date: 84 – 54 BCE
Catullus was a Roman statesman born in Verona (Cisalpine Gaul, located in northern Italy) who lived during the tumultuous last days of the Roman Republic. His poetry offers rare insight into the mores of the time period. Like Propertius and Tibullus, Catullus used a pseudonym for the objects of his attention; many of his love poems were addressed to either “Lesbia” or “Juventius.”