To Lesbia (After Sappho)

I say not not Helios burns so strong,
I say he outshines the flickering sun
when your laughter's radiance falls on him there,
trembling before you;

the song draws the soul from my body, it
shakes me with wanting and fear, because when I
see you I arch to the stars and dissolving I
fade into darkness,

and now, like a mawkish boy, I stammer,
pale flame veins my flesh and my ears ring
crazy in chimes and night veils my eyes,
failing such brightness.

Languor, Catullus, destroys you. Look out!
Languor ripens your womanish ease.
Languor before has ruined great kings,
laid waste happy cities.

by Gaius Valerius Catullus

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