Come, let us live and love, my dear,
A fig for all the pratings drear
Of sour old sages, worldly wise.
Aye, suns may set again to rise;
But as for us, when once our sun
His little course of light has run,
An endless night we’ll sleep away.
[Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus
rumoresque senum severiorum
omnes unius aestimemus assis
soles occidere et redire possunt:
nobis cum semel occidit brevis lux,
nox est perpetua una dormienda.]

gaius valerius catullus
Catullus (c. 84 BC – c. 54 BC) Latin poet [Gaius Valerius Catullus]
Carmina # 5 “To Lesbia,” ll. 1-6 [tr. Stewart (1915)]

One of Catulllus' most popular and widely-translated poems.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Come and let us live, my Deare,
Let us love and never feare
What the sourest Fathers say:
Brightest Sol that dyes to-day
Lives againe as blithe to-morrow;
But if we darke sons of sorrow
Set, ô then, how long a Night
Shuts the Eyes of our short light!
[tr. Crashaw (1648)]

Lesbia, live to love and pleasure,
Careless what the grave may say:
When each moment is a treasure
Why should lovers lose a day?
Setting suns shall rise in glory,
But when little life is o'er,
There's an end of all the story --
We shall sleep, and wake no more.
[tr. Langhorne (c. 1765)]

Let's live, and love, my darling fair!
And not a single farthing care
For age's babbling spite;
Yon suns that set again shall rise,
but, when our transient meteor dies,
We sleep in endless night.
[tr. Nott (1795)]

My Lesbia, let us love and live,
And to the winds, my Lesbia, give
Each cold restraint, each boding fear
Of age and all her saws severe.
Yon sun now posting to the main
Will set -- but 'tis to rise again: --
But we, when once our mortal light
Is set, must sleep in endless night!
[tr. Coleridge (1798)]

Love, my Lesbia, while we live,
Value all the cross advice
That the surly greybeards give
At a single farthing's price.
Suns that set again may rise;
We, when once our fleeting light,
Once our day in darkness dies,
Sleep in one eternal night.
[tr. Lamb (1821)]

Live we, love we, Lesbia dear,
And the stupid saws austere,
Which your sour old dotards prate,
Let us at a farthing rate!
When the sun sets, ' tis to rise
Brighter in the morning skies;
But, when sets our little light,
We must sleep in endless night.
[tr. T. Martin (1861)]

The while we live, to love let's give
Each hour, my winsome dearie!
Hence, churlish rage of icy age!
Of love we 'll ne'er grow weary.
Bright Phoebus dies, again to rise;
Returns life's brief light never;
When once 'tis gone, we slumber on
For ever and for ever.
[tr. Cranstoun (1867)]

Living, Lesbia, we should e'en be loving.
Sour severity, tongue of eld maligning,
All be to us a penny's estimation.
Suns set only to rise again to-morrow.
We, when sets in a little hour the brief light,
Sleep one infinite age, a night for ever.
[tr. Ellis (1871)]

Love we (my Lesbia!) and live we our day,
While all stern sayings crabbed sages say,
At one doit's value let us price and prize!
The Suns can westward sink again to rise
But we, extinguished once our tiny light,
Perforce shall slumber through one lasting night!
[tr. Burton (1893)]

Let us live, my Lesbia, and let us love, and count all the rumors of stern old men at a penny's fee. Suns can set and rise again: we when once our brief light has set must sleep through a perpetual night.
[tr. Smithers (1894)]

Come, my Lesbia, no repining;
Let us love while yet we may!
Suns go on forever shining;
But when we have had our day,
Sleep perpetual shall o'ertake us,
And no morrow's dawn awake us.
[tr. Field (1896)]

Let us live, my Lesbia, and love, and value at one farthing all the talk of crabbed old men.
Suns may set and rise again. For us, when the short light has once set, remains to be slept the sleep of one unbroken night.
[tr. Warre Cornish (1904)]

Let us live, my Lesbia, let us love, for the reprobation of soured age let us not care a sou. Suns can set and rise again; but to our brief light, when once it sets, there comes a never-ending night that must be passed in never-ending sleep.
[tr. Stuttaford (1912)]

We live, Lesbia,
And we love, Lesbia,
And what do we care what the world may say?
The sun goes down,
And the sun comes up,
But our little lives pass away
In a day,
Our poor little lives pass away.
[tr. Dement (1915)]

Let us revel in life and love, my darling;
All that crabbed antiquities say idly
We will value together at a farthing.
Suns may set , and return again as brightly:
When our light to its dying spark has fluttered,
We must sleep an eternity of slumber.
[tr. Symons-Jeune (1923)]

O! let us love and have our day,
All that the bitter greybeards say
Appraising at a single mite.
My Lesbia , suns can set and rise:
For us the brief light dawns and dies
Once only, and the rest is night.
[tr. MacNaghten (1925)]

Come let us live and let us love,
And the stern voice of censors prove,
Who bid us from our loving cease,
Exactly worth a penny piece.
For suns can rise and suns can wane
And on the morrow rise again;
But when our one brief day is gone,
For ever we must sleep alone.
[tr. Wright (1926)]

Come, Lesbia, let us live and love,
nor give a damn what sour old men say.
The sun that sets may rise again
but when our light has sunk into the earth,
it is gone forever.
[tr. Gregory (1931)]

Lesbia, let us live only for loving,
and let us value at a single penny
all the loose flap of senile busybodies!
Suns when they set are capable of rising,
but at the setting of our on brief light
night is one sleep from which we never awaken.
[tr. C. Martin (1979)]

Let us live, my Lesbia, let us love,
and all the words of the old, and so moral,
may they be worth less than nothing to us!
Suns may set, and suns may rise again:
but when our brief light has set,
night is one long everlasting sleep.
[tr. Kline (2001)]

Let us live, my Lesbia, and let us love,
and let us judge all the rumors of the old men
to be worth just one penny!
The suns are able to fall and rise:
When that brief light has fallen for us,
we must sleep a never ending night.
[tr. Negenborn (1997)]

Let's live, Lesbia mine, and love --
and as for scandal, all the gossip, old men's strictures,
value the lot at no more than a farthing!
Suns can rise and set ad infinitum --
for us, though, once our bref life's quenched,
there's only one unending night that's left to sleep through.
[tr. Green (2005)]

Come live with me, Lesbia, and be my love,
And ignore the wagging tongues
Of wilted crones and toothless geezers.
Suns rise and set, rise and set again,
But we, when our brief light is blacked,
Must sleep forever, and then forever.
[tr. Hager (2006)]

My Lesbia, let’s live and let’s love,
Let all the rumors of harsh old men
count for only a penny.
Suns can set and rise again:
but when our brief light sets
we must sleep a lonely endless night.
[tr. @sentantiq (2015)]

Let us live, my Lesbia, and let us love,
and let's value all the rumors
of rather stern old men as one penny!
Suns can set and return;
as for us, once our brief light sets,
there is one perpetual night to be slept.
[tr. Wikibooks (2017)]

Let us live, my Lesbia, and let us love,
and let us value all the rumors of
more severe old men at only a penny!
Suns are able to set and return:
when once the short light has set for us
one perpetual night must be slept by us.
[tr. Wikisource (2018)]

Compare also these two pieces, which start modeled after Catullus (as shown):

My sweetest Lesbia, let us live and love;
And though the sager sort our deeds reprove,
Let us not weigh them: Heaven's great lamps do dive
Into their west, and straight again revive,
But, soon as once set is our little light,
Then must we sleep one ever-during night.
[Thomas Campion, A Book of Airs (1601)]

Come my Celia, let us prove,
While we can, the sports of love;
Time will not be ours forever,
He at length our good will sever.
Spend not then his gifts in vain;
Suns that set may rise again,
But if once we lose this light,
'Tis with us perpetual night.
[Ben Jonson, Volpone, Act 3, sc. 6 (1616)]

Added on 10-Apr-24 | Last updated 17-Apr-24
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