Sappho + Catullus: Homecomings

Catullus 9

Veranius, of all my friends the one
I value more than a gazillion others–
Have you really come home to your household gods,
Brothers kindred of your soul, and old mother?

You really are back! What joyful news for me!
I’ll get to see you safe, and hear you recall
The places, goings on, and peoples of Spain,
In that way of yours. My arms around your neck,
I’ll kiss your delightful lips, and your eyes too.

Whatever the number of happy people,
Who is more ecstatic, more joyful than I?

Sappho Fr.5

Queen Nereids, let my brother come to me
safely. Let him have [what] in his heart
he wants. And may he atone for his past
wrongs. Make him a delight to his [friends]
and [a grief] to his enemies. Last thing:
let there be no [discord] between us.


Verani, omnibus e meis amicis
antistans mihi milibus trecentis,
venistine domum ad tuos penates
fratresque unanimos anumque matrem?
venisti. o mihi nuntii beati!
visam te incolumem audiamque Hiberum
narrantem loca, facta, nationes,
ut mos est tuus, applicansque collum
jucundum os oculosque saviabor.
o quantumst hominum beatiorum,
quid me laetius est beatiusve?


Πότνιαι Νηρήιδες ἀβλάβη[ν μοι
τὸν κασί]γνητον δ[ο]τε τυίδ’ ἴκεσθα[ι
κὤσσα Ϝ]οι θύμωι κε θέληι γένεσθαι
πάντα τε]λέσθην,

ὄσσα δὲ πρ]όσθ’ ἄμβροτε πάντα λῦσα[ι
καὶ φίλοισ]ι Ϝοῖσι χάραν γένεσθαι
. . . . . . . ἔ]χροισι, γένοιτο δ’ ἄμμι
. . . . . . . μ]ηδ’ εἴς·

Earworm of a song by Peaches & Herb. 1978.

Larry Benn has a B.A. in English Literature from Harvard College, an M.Phil in English Literature from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Making amends for a working life misspent in finance, he’s now a hobbyist in ancient languages and blogs at

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