Gaius Valerius Catullus

The following poems of Catullus make great reading for high school students.

Click through to read some of his most interesting works. Many of these poems are accompanied by audio files for listening. You will find help with vocabulary through www.Quia.com and help reading and translating through www.nodictionaries.com.

After each selected work there is an opportunity to join the discussion. After you have read a work thoroughly, tell us what you think of it. Compare it to his other works, or to the works of other poets.

A Dedication

Poem 1: A dedication poem addressed to the famous historian Cornelius Nepos. Catullus offers his little book of poems to his friend with the wish that these triffles may last forever. (Hendecasyllabic)

His Brother's Death

Poem 101: A mix of ancient traditions with a personal touch, this is a moving work about visiting his brother's tomb. (Elegiac Couplet)

Love For Lesbia

Poem 51: At first sight of Lesbia all senses are lost. His tongue is sluggish, his limbs are senseless, his ears ring with their own sound, his eyes are covered by a twin night. Totally gone for this girl, in a work modeled on Sappho. (Sapphic Strophe)

Poem 2: The poet uses passion and humor to address his new love interest indirectly. He calls her his girl as he writes enviously to her little pet bird. (Hendecasyllabic)

Poem 3: The poet calls upon all refined lovers to mourn the loss of Lesbia's pet sparrow. He describes the bird and how it used to play with Lesbia. He curses the evil shadows of the underworld for taking his girl's pet. Then leaves us with the image of Lesbia's eyes swollen from weeping. (Hendecasyllabic)

Poem 5: Let us live and let us love! Forget about rumors. Our life is so brief, give me thousands of kisses -- until they are innumerable. Those who envy us will never be able to count them. (Hendecasyllabic)

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