Lesbias Sparrow

Catullus Carmina 2 (with omission of 1.7) and 3

a Sparrow, my girl's darling, with whom [she is accustomed] to play, whom [she is accustomed] to hold in her bosom, to whom, [when] pecking at [it], she is accustomed to give the tip of her finger and provoke sharp bites when my radiant sweetheart is pleased to play some sweet game, I believe, so that her burning (lit., heavy) passion may then subside. I wish I could play with you as she herself [does] and lighten the gloomy cares of [my] mind.

b Lament, O Loves and Cupids and all those of finer feelings (lit., how much of more refined people there are), my girl's sparrow has died, the sparrow [that was] my girl's darling, whom she loved more than her own eyes. For it was honey-sweet and knew its mistress as well as a girl [knows her own] mother, and it did not stir (lit., move itself) from her lap, but hopping around now here, now there, it always chirped to its mistress alone.

Now it goes along the gloomy way to the place from where they say that no one returns. But a curse on you (lit., may it be badly for you), wicked Shades of Orcus that swallow up everything beautiful; so beautiful a sparrow have you taken from me. O wicked deed! O poor little sparrow! Because of you, my girl's swollen eyes are red from weeping.

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