Sunday Poem Series
from Poem 64
by Catullus, translated by Horace Gregory
(Some people don’t like Gregory’s translation because of his somewhat freewheeling liberties with the text. But I find his work to be by far the most moving realization of Catullus’s verse. – Br. Freddie)
Now when the gods, relaxed, took ease upon the Ivory-footed couches and at a feast from banquet tables,
Then came the Fates uttering prophecies, bodies shaken with age yet swung in perfect rhythm,
of what they sang. All, all in white but for a scarlet hem that flowed round thin and yelled with aged ankles,
all with red bands (blood against snow) bound round the hair.
Never at rest the distaff, gathering wool spins in the left hand, the right selecting
strands on five raised fingers, thumb plunging downward, in measure to the speed
threads cut by quick teeth and ends of thread and lint dry on the lips.
Each syllable rising like a trumpet the Fates sang in one voice; and the future,
clear, incontroversial truth rang through the halls:
Master whose government shall rule, bright with immortal fame,
over Macedonia, a wall of strength– O you shall breed
a son whose name will sound, echoing the time;
this song is truth itself woven by us (the sisters,)
our gift to you the holiday.
Weave, weave and let the spindles run.
O diamond-bright Hesperus arise, pour down your blessings, under this rain of lift the bride comes willingly:
love from her heart in warm blood flowing ( her arms
encircling powerful shoulders of you her husband)
floating through the long wedding night.
Weave time, O spindles weave.
There was never a house sheltering love like this love;
never a marriage making two lovers one
as this festival for Peleus and Thetis:
Weave, weave and let the spindles run….