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Guy Lee (ed.), Oxford World's Classics: Catullus: The Complete Poems
- 1Commendo tibi me ac meos amores,
- 2Aureli. ueniam peto pudentem
- 3ut, si quicquam animo tuo cupisti
- 4quod castum expeteres et integellum,
- 5conserues puerum mihi pudice,
- pg 186non dico a populo—nihil ueremur
- 7istos qui in platea modo huc modo illuc
- 8in re praetereunt sua occupati—
- 9uerum a te metuo tuoque pene
- 10infesto pueris bonis malisque.
- 11quem tu qua lubet, ut lubet, moueto
- 12quantum uis ubi erit foris paratum;
- 13hunc unum excipio, ut puto, pudenter.
- 14quod si te mala mens furorque uecors
- 15in tantam impulerit, sceleste, culpam
- 16ut nostrum insidiis caput lacessas,
- 17a, tum te miserum malique fati,
- 18quem attractis pedibus patente porta
- 19percurrent raphanique mugilesque!
- 1Recommending to you my love and me,
- 2Aurelius, I ask a modest favour—
- 3That if in your heart you've ever longed
- 4To seek out something pure and unspoiled,
- 5You'll guard the boy for me modestly,
- pg 196Not from the public—I'm not afraid
- 7Of those going to and fro about
- 8The square intent on their own business—
- 9It's you I'm scared of and your penis,
- 10That menace to good boys and bad.
- 11Wield it anywhere and -how
- 12Ad lib, given the chance, outside,
- 13With this one, I think, modest exception.
- 14But should ill will or mindless madness
- 15Drive you, villain, to the crime
- 16Of treachery against my person,
- 17Ah then you'll rue your wretched fate
- 18With feet trussed up and backdoor open,
- 19Run through with radishes and mullet.
A paradoxical development of the conventional commendatio or letter of recommendation, of which a collection is to be found in Book xiii of Cicero's Letters to his friends. Catullus threatens Aurelius with the punishment reserved for adulterers if he makes a pass at his boy-friend. In 16 nostrum caput is probably ambiguous, referring to Catullus and to the boy.