I do not love thee, Sabidius, nor can I say why;
I can only say this, I do not love thee.
[Non amo te, Sabidi, nec possum dicere quare:
Hoc tantum possum dicere, non amo te.]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 1, epigram 32 (1.32) (AD 85-86) [tr. Bohn’s (1859)]
(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:
I love thee not, Sabidius; ask you why?
I do not love thee, let that satisfy!
[tr. Wright (1663)]
I love thee not, but why, I can't display.
I love thee not, is all that I can say.
[tr. Killigrew (1695)]
SABBY, I love thee not, nor can say why.
One thing I can say, SAB: thee love not I.
[tr. Elphinston (1782)]
I love you not, Sabidis, I cannot tell why.
This only can I tell, I love you not.
[tr. Amos (1858), 3.86, cited as 1.33]
I do not love you, Sabidius, nor can I say why;
I can only say this, I do not love you.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1897)]
I do not love you, Sabidius; and I can't say why.
This only I can say: I do not love you.
[tr. Ker (1919)]
I like you not, Sabidius, and I can't tell why. All I can tell is this: I like you not.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]
I don’t love you, Sabidius, no, I can’t say why:
All I can say is this, that I don’t love you.
[tr. Kline (2006)]
Mister Sabidius, you pain me.
I wonder (some) why that should be
And cannot tell -- a mystery.
You inexplicably pain me.
[tr. Wills (2007)]
Sabidius, I dislike you, but why this is so true
I can't say, I can only say I don't like you.
[tr. Bovie (1970)]
Sabinus, I don’t like you. You know why?
Sabinus, I don’t like you. That is why.
[tr. Cunningham (1971)]
Sabidius, I don't like you. Why? No clue.
I just don't like you. That will have to do.
[tr. McLean (2014)]
There are some variations of this epigram of note. The first is from Thomas Forde (b. 1624):
I love thee not, Nell,
But why I can't tell;
Yet this I know well,
I love thee not, Nell.
[Letter to Thomas Fuller in Virtus Rediviva (1661)]
This seemingly served as a prototype for a more famous variant, attributed to Thomas Brown (1663-1704) (sometimes ascribed to "an Oxford wit") on Dr. John Fell, the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, c. 1670:
I do not like thee, Dr. Fell,
The reason why I cannot tell;
But this, I'm sure, I know full well,
I do not like thee, Dr. Fell.
[Works, Vol. 4 (1774)]
This is sometimes rendered:
I do not love you, Dr. Fell,
But why I cannot tell;
But this I know full well,
I do not love you, Dr. Fell.
Along these same lines:
I do not like you, Jesse Helms.
I can’t say why I’m underwhelmed,
but I know one thing sure and true:
Jesse Helms, I don’t like you.
[tr. Matthews (1995)]
Added on 22-Oct-21 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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