Stolen Kisses: to Iuventius by Catullus

I stole a sweet kiss while you played, sweet Iuventius,
one sweeter than sweetest ambrosia.
Not taken indeed with impunity: for more than an hour
I remember, I hung at the top of the gallows,
while I was justifying myself to you, yet with my tears
I couldn’t lessen your anger a tiny morsel.
No sooner was it done, than, your lips rinsed
with plenty of water, you banished it with your fingers,
so nothing contracted from my lips might remain,
as though it were the foul spit of a tainted whore.
More, you handed me unhappily to vicious love
who’s not failed to torment me in every way,
so that sweet kiss, altered for me from ambrosia,
was more bitter than bitter hellebore then.
Since you lay down such punishments for unhappy love,
now, after this, I’ll never steal kisses again.

From: http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/Catullus.htm#_Toc531846740

Date: 2001 (translated)

By: Catullus (c84BC-c54BC)

Translated By: A S Kline (1947- )

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