Poem Hunter
Sparrow, The Special Delight Of My Girl
(84-54 BC / Verona, Gaul)

Sparrow, The Special Delight Of My Girl

Sparrow, the special delight of my girl,
whom often she teases and holds on her lap
and pokes with the tip of her finger, provoking
counterattacks with your mordant beak,
whenever my luminous love desires
something or other, innocuous fun,
a bit of escape, I suppose, from her pain,
a moment of peace from her turbulent passion,
I wish I could play like she does with you
and lighten the cares of my sorrowful soul.
It thrills me as much as the nimble girl
in the story was thrilled by the gilded apple
that finally uncinched her virginal gown.

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Comments (3)

Catullus uses 'sparrow' [ Latin, ‘passer’ ] as a euphemism for ‘penis’.
Another translation: Sparrow, my girl’s darling Whom she plays with, whom she cuddles, Whom she likes to tempt with finger- Tip and teases to nip harder When my own bright-eyed desire Fancies some endearing fun And a small solace for her pain, I suppose, so heavy passion then rests: Would I could play with you as she does And lighten the spirit’s gloomy cares!
– Catullus, Carmina, Carmen 2 – Passer, deliciae meae puellae, quicum solet ludere, quem (solet) tenere in sinu, cui adpetenti (solet) dare primum digitum et incitare acres morsus, cum meo nitenti desiderio lubet iocari nescio quid carum et solacium sui doloris, credo, tum acquiesce gravis ardor possem ludere tecum, sicut ipsa et levare tristes curas animi … Mihi tam gratum est quam ferunt puellae pernici fuisse aureolum malum quod soluit zonam diu negatam