The Love that Dare Not Speak its Name: Catullus 31 ¹

Phoning it in this week (hey, moving’s stressful) with something of a previously-on: here’s my first-place entry for the Wellesley English Department translation contest. Sharp-eyed readers will note a continuing dialogue with my first blog post here, but I’ll let the treatment speak for itself…

A Haunting, Of Sorts: Catullus 101

Inferias is an interesting word: Lewis and Short define it as “sacrifices in honor of the dead,” but etymologically it seems likely that it comes from the prefix in (“into, in”) and the irregular verb fero, ferre, tuli, latus (“to bear, to bring.”) Inferias, then, might be literally (and inelegantly) translated as “pertaining to those things which have been borne in”: into where? Into the earth, into the tomb, into that undiscovered country / from whose bourn no traveller returns. From the dust we came, and into the dust we shall return.