Catullus [Gaius Valerius Catullus], Warren Hastings

Stuart Gillespie (ed.), Classical Presences: Newly Recovered English Classical Translations, 1600–1800

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pg 255LE05Warren Hastings: Catullus, Carmen 8. BL MS Add. 39881, fol. 54r–v

In May 1787 Warren Hastings was arrested and impeached on charges of corrupt practices in the office he had until recently occupied, that of Governor-General of Bengal (effectively of India). After a trial of record length he was found not guilty on all charges in 1795. These events form some part of the context of the two Catullus items appearing here (see also LE06), for they are taken from Hastings' diary for November 1788, where they are headed 'Translations from Catullus, made during the late Confinement by Sickness'. For Warren Hastings' training in Classics see OL04. Hastings' version owes nothing to the once well-known mid-seventeenth-century imitation of C8 by Cowley, 'Love given over'.

  • 1No more, Catullus, idly pine,
  • 2But what is lost as lost resign.
  • 3Once white thy days and splendid shone,
  • 4When the dear girl was all thy own,
  • 5And led thee, wheresoe'er she would,
  • 6Lov'd! as no girl was ever lov'd.
  • 7Then were those many frolics seiz'd
  • 8Which pleas'd thee much, nor her displeas'd;
  • 9White were thy days then truly seen.
  • 10Now she is chang'd; nor thou be mean,°
  • 11To court and follow that which flies,
  • 12Nor waste thy life in foolish sighs:
  • 13But wean'd from ill-requited love,
  • 14Determin'd and obdurate1 prove.
  • 15Now, girl, farewell. Thy pow'r is flown:
  • 16Catullus is obdurate grown.
  • 17He cares not for thee; not one night
  • 18Will ask, and thou shalt burn with spite.
  • 19But, wicked creature, what will be
  • 20Thy life? What will become of thee?
  • 21Who'll take thee now? Who now will see
  • 22Thy beauty, as it seem'd to me?
  • 23Whom wilt thou kiss? Whom call thy dear?
  • 24And bite his lip, and fond appear?
  • 25But thou, Catullus, wean'd from love,
  • 26Determin'd and obdurate prove.

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Editor’s Note
1 obdurate] In eighteenth-century verse it was permissible to stress the word on the second syllable: see e.g. Mary Chudleigh cit. OED 1a (1703).
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