Catullus, Poems

LCL 6: 118-119

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Gai Valeri Catvlli Liber

vestibulum ut molli velatum fronde vireret. post hunc consequitur sollerti corde Prometheus, 295extenuata gerens veteris vestigia poenae, quam quondam silici restrictus membra catena persolvit pendens e verticibus praeruptis. inde pater divum sancta cum coniuge natisque advenit, caelo te solum, Phoebe, relinquens 300unigenamque simul cultricem montibus Idri: Pelea nam tecum pariter soror aspernatast nec Thetidis taedas voluit celebrare iugalis. Qui postquam niveis flexerunt sedibus artus, large multiplici constructae sunt dape mensae, 305cum interea infirmo quatientes corpora motu veridicos Parcae coeperunt edere cantus. his corpus tremulum complectens undique vestis candida purpurea talos incinxerat ora, at roseae niveo residebant vertice vittae, 310aeternumque manus carpebant rite laborem. laeva colum molli lana retinebat amictum, dextera tum leviter deducens fila supinis formabat digitis, tum prono in pollice torquens libratum tereti versabat turbine fusum, 315atque ita decerpens aequabat semper opus dens, laneaque aridulis haerebant morsa labellis, quae prius in levi fuerant extantia filo: ante pedes autem candentis mollia lanae vellera virgati custodibant calathisci. 320hae tum clarisona vellentes1 vellera voce talia divino fuderunt carmine fata, carmine, perfidiae quod post nulla arguet aetas.


The Poems Of Catullus

portal might be greenly embowered with soft foliage. Him follows Prometheus wise of heart, bearing the faded scars of the ancient penalty which whilom, his limbs found fast to the rock with chains, he paid, hanging from the craggy summits. Then came the Father of the gods with his divine wife and his sons, leaving thee, Phoebus, alone in heaven, and with thee thine own sister who dwells in the heights of Idrus; for as thou didst, so did thy sister scorn Peleus, nor deigned to be present at the nuptial torches of Thetis.

So when they had reclined their limbs on the white couches, bountifully were the tables piled with varied dainties: whilst in the meantime, swaying their bodies with palsied motion, the Parcae began to utter sooth-telling chants. White raiment enfolding their aged limbs robed their ankles with a crimson border; on their snowy heads rested rosy bands, while their hands duly plied the eternal task. The left hand held the distaff clothed with soft wool; then the right hand lightly drawing out the threads with upturned fingers shaped them, then with downward thumb twirled the spindle poised with rounded whorl; and so with their teeth they still plucked the threads and made the work even. Bitten ends of wool clung to their dry lips, which had before stood out from the smooth yarn: and at their feet soft fleeces of white-shining wool were kept safe in baskets of osier. They then, as they plucked the wool, sang with clear voice, and thus poured forth the Fates in divine chant. That chant no length of time shall prove untruthful.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.catullus-poems.1913