Richard Seddon wrote:
> I have had difficulty getting into any of the Catallus collections.
> The reason is that none of the poems have a compelling appearance,
> their rhyhm has been destroyed in translation and they are numbered
> and so have no title. I somehow feel urged in light of the above to
> start with roman numeral I and work my way to roman numeral CXVI. An
> urge that remains unsatisfied.
I assume that your observation that the rhythms have been destroyed
means that you have read in, if not all of, a collection of Catullus and
compared the English and the Latin. It's too bad you find any
compensations for some of the inevitable losses involved in
translation. But I understand the reluctance to give one's heart to a
translation because -- like a beautiful summer annual, or a married man
-- it is somehow not reliable. Still, I _try_ to read a translation as
I would any poem, and only later consider it in light of the original.
Many translations of many poems are lovely.
I mentioned David Ferry before and do so now again, both for his
translations -- volumes of Horace and Virgil, poems by others, including
Catullus -- and for his own poems. Actually reading a translator's own
poems may be a help in gauging the relation of his/her translations to
their originals. Most of the world's great literature will always be in
a foreign language.
Thank you for your mention that the numbers feel important to follow.
You are a very good witness.