by: Caius Valerius Catullus
the bark you see before you says
- That in old times and in her early days
- She was a lively vessel that could make
- The quickest voyages, and overtake
- All her competitors with sail or oar;
- And she defies the rude Illyrian shore,
- And Rhodes with her proud harbor, and the seas
- That intersect the scattered Cyclades,
- And the Propontic and the Thracian coast,
- (Bold as it is) to contradict her boast.
- She calls to witness the dark Euxine sea
- And mountains that had known her as a tree,
- Before her transformation, when she stood
- A native of the deep Cytorian wood,
- Where all her ancestors had flourished long,
- And, with their old traditionary song,
- Had whispered her responses to the breeze.
- And waked the chorus of her sister trees.
- Amastris, from your haven forth she went,
- You witnessed her first outset and descent,
- Adventuring on an unknown element.
- From thence she bore her master safe and free
- From danger and alarm through many a sea;
- Nor ever once was known to lag behind,
- Foremost on every tack, with every wind.
- At last, to this fair inland lake, she says
- She came to pass the remnant of her days,
- Leaving no debt due to the Deities
- For vows preferred in danger on the seas:
- Clear of incumbrance, therefore, and all other
- Contentious claims, to Castor or his brother
- As a free gift and offering she devotes
- Herself, as long as she survives and floats.
POEMS BY CATULLUS
This English translation of Catullus'
"The Yacht" was composed by John Hookham Frere (1769-1846).