Poem of the Week, by Gaius Valerius Catullus

Last week in the class I’m teaching we went around the room and each student recited a poem from memory. One man recited the below poem, one I had never heard before, and at first I thought he himself had written it; it was so brief and raw and real. But no, it’s a poem by Catullus, who died in Verona more than two thousand years ago at the age of 30. I drove home thinking about this poem, and then I looked up Catullus and have been reading his work, the little that we have from the one manuscript unearthed long after his death, ever since. The more things change, the more they don’t, even over thousands of years.

Poem 85
– Gaius Valerius Catullus

I hate and I love
Why do I, you ask ?
I don’t know, but it’s happening
and it hurts.

Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris?
    nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.
(In the original Latin)


For more information on Catullus, please click here.

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