by Gaius Valerius Catullus (c84 BCE - 54 BCE)
Translation by Richard Le Gallienne (1866 - 1947)

Weep, Mother of Love ! Weep, Baby‑Boy of...
Language: English  after the Latin 
Weep, Mother of Love ! Weep, Baby-Boy of Arrows !
  And weep all men that have a tear to shed ! 
Because -- alas ! -- the sparrow of all sparrows, 
  The sparrow of my little girl, is dead. 

O it was sweet to hear him twitter-twitter 
  In the dear bosom where he made his nest ! 
Lesbia, sweetheart, who shall say how bitter 
  This grief to us -- so small to all the rest ? 

For Lesbia loved no less that little bird, 
  Nor less was loved, than mother loves her daughter, 
Or daughter mother ; would you could have heard 
  His tiny voice, pretty as falling water ! 

And in no other bosom would he sing, 
  But sometimes sitting here and sometimes there, 
On one bough and another, would he sing, -- 
  Faithful to Lesbia -- as I am to her. 

He, little bird, must go, as go the flowers, 
  Down the dark road by which no man returns ; 
O curses on the black strength that devours 
  The beauty of life, and all its music burns 

Foul shades of Orcus, evil you befall !
  'Tis true you smote her little sparrow dead -- 
But this you did to Lesbia worse than all: 
  You made her eyes with weeping -- O so red !

About the headline (FAQ)


Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2011-02-15
Line count: 24
Word count: 209