Remorse, by Catullus


If there be joy for him who can retrace
His life, and see some good deeds shining there,
Who never plighted vows, in the dread face
Of heaven, to lure another to his snare;   Then many a joy through many a smiling year
For thee, Catullus, is there yet in store,
Requital of thy truth to one so dear,
So cruel-false as she thou dost adore.   For kind and fond as man can be, in mood,
In word and act, so fond, so kind wert thou;
Yet what of that? By her ingratitude
All is unprized, all unremembered now!   Why keep thy heart, then, longer on the rack?
Give to thy thoughts a higher, nobler aim!
Then--for has heaven not willed it?--look not back
On what must be thy torture and thy shame.   'tis hard at once to fling a love away,
That long has held us its delighted thrall;
'Tis hard--but done it must be--come what may!
No safety else! It must be done--it shall!   Oh ye great gods! If you can pity feel,
If e'er to dying wretch your aid was given,
See me in agony before you kneel,
To beg this plague may from me far be driven,   Which torpor-like creeps through my every vein--
Nor leaves one thought from bitter anguish free.
I do not ask, she may be kind again,
No, nor be chaste for that may never be!   I ask for body's health--a spirit clear
From the dark taint that now upon it rests.
Give then, O give, ye gods, this boon so dear,
To one who ever hath revered your hests! - Catullus