Catullus Poem 68, Lines 1-40
Previous (Poem 67) Perseus text of Catullus 68, Lines 1-40 Next (Poem 68, Lines 41-100)
NOTE: Some scholars think that these introductory lines (1-40) are addressed to the Allius mentioned in the rest of the poem, so they read "mi Alli" ("my Allius") for "Mani" ("Manius") in lines 11 and 30.
Other scholars are so troubled by the different names that they treat lines 1-40 as a separate poem. The Perseus text of Catullus follows this second view; there you will find lines 1-40 under "Poem 68a" and lines 41-160 under "Poem 68b."

QVOD mihi fortuna casuque oppressus acerbo 1 THAT YOU, weighed down as you are by fortune and bitter chance,
conscriptum hoc lacrimis mittis epistolium,
should send me this letter written with tears,
naufragum ut eiectum spumantibus aequoris undis 3 to bid me succour a shipwrecked man cast up by the foaming waters of the sea,
subleuem et a mortis limine restituam,
and restore him from the threshold of death,
quem neque sancta Venus molli requiescere somno 5 whom neither does holy Venus suffer to rest,
desertum in lecto caelibe perpetitur,
deserted in his widowed bed,
nec ueterum dulci scriptorum carmine Musae 7 nor do the Muses charm him with the sweet poetry of ancient writers,
oblectant, cum mens anxia peruigilat:
when his mind keeps anxious vigil;
id gratum est mihi, me quoniam tibi dicis amicum, 9 this is grateful to me, since you call me your friend,
muneraque et Musarum hinc petis et Veneris.
and come to me for the gifts both of the Muses and of Love.
sed tibi ne mea sint ignota incommoda, Mani, 11 But, dear Manius, that my troubles may not be unknown to you,
neu me odisse putes hospitis officium,
and that you may not think I am tired of the duty of a friend,
accipe, quis merser fortunae fluctibus ipse, 13 let me tell you what are the waves of fortune in which I too am whelmed;
ne amplius a misero dona beata petas.
so will you not again require gifts of happiness from one who is unblest.
tempore quo primum uestis mihi tradita pura est, 15 At the time when first a white toga was given to me,
iucundum cum aetas florida uer ageret,
when my youth in its flower was keeping jocund springtime,
multa satis lusi: non est dea nescia nostri, 17 I wrote merry poems enough; not unknown am I to the goddess
quae dulcem curis miscet amaritiem.
who mingles with her cares a sweet bitterness.
sed totum hoc studium luctu fraterna mihi mors 19 But all care for this is gone from me by my brother's death.
abstulit. o misero frater adempte mihi,
Ah me unhappy, who have lost you, my brother!
tu mea tu moriens fregisti commoda, frater, 21 You, brother, you by your death have destroyed my happiness;
tecum una tota est nostra sepulta domus,
with you all my house is buried.
omnia tecum una perierunt gaudia nostra, 23 With you all my joys have died,
quae tuus in uita dulcis alebat amor.
which your sweet love cherished, while yet you lived.
cuius ego interitu tota de mente fugaui 25 By reason of your death, I have banished from all my mind
haec studia atque omnes delicias animi.
these thoughts and all the pleasures of my heart.
quare, quod scribis Veronae turpe Catullo 27 And so, when you write, "It is no credit to Catullus to be at Verona;
esse, quod hic quisquis de meliore nota
because here, where I an, all the young men of better condition
frigida deserto tepefactet membra cubili, 29 warm their cold limbs in the bed deserted by you;
id, Mani, non est turpe, magis miserum est.
that, Manius, is rather a misfortune than a discredit.
ignosces igitur si, quae mihi luctus ademit, 31 You will forgive me then, if I do not render to you those services
haec tibi non tribuo munera, cum nequeo.
which grief has taken from me at a time when I cannot do it.
nam, quod scriptorum non magna est copia apud me, 33 For as for my not having plenty of authors at hand,
hoc fit, quod Romae uiuimus: illa domus,
that is because I live at Rome: that is my home,
illa mihi sedes, illic mea carpitur aetas; 35 that is my abode, there my life is spent;
huc una ex multis capsula me sequitur.
when I come here only one small box out of many attends me.
quod cum ita sit, nolim statuas nos mente maligna 37 And since this is so, I would not have you judge that it is due to niggardly mind
id facere aut animo non satis ingenuo,
or ungenerous temper, that you have not received
quod tibi non utriusque petenti copia posta est: 39 a full supply of what you ask of each kind:
ultro ego deferrem, copia siqua foret.
I would have offered it unasked, if I had any such resources.