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Catullus – Nothing Endures

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Eis aiona!
O res ridicula!
Immensa stultitia.
Nihil durare potest tempore perpetuo.
Cum bene Sol nituit, redditur Oceano.
Decrescit Phoebe, quam modo plena fuit,
Venerum feritas saepe fit aura levia.
Tempus amoris cubiculum non est…
Sublata lucerna
nulla est fides,
perfida omnia sunt.
O vos brutos,
vos studidos,
vos stolidos!

Forever (huh)!
How absurd!
That is utterly ridiculous.
Nothing can endure throughout time everlastingly.
Once the sun has shone brightly, it sets in the Ocean.
The moon wanes, how full it was a short while ago,
Love’s tempest often becomes a gentle breeze.
The time for love is not in the bedroom…
Because the lamp has been taken away
there is no trust,
everything is treacherous.
O, you are dolts,
you are stupid,
you are so dull!

— Gaius Valerius Catullus, Carmina (ca. 55 BCE).

Listen to Carl Orff’s setting of texts from poems of Catullus’s Lesbia cycle in the “Praelusio” section of Carmina Catulli (1942):

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