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Joseph McCrudden, joint winner
(Matthew Spender's 14-and-Under prize)
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Catullus X

Varus me meus ad suos amores
visum duxerat e foro otiosum,
scortillum, ut mihi tum repente visum est,
non sane illepidum neque invenustum.
huc ut venimus, incidere nobis
sermones varii, in quibus, quid esset
iam Bithynia, quo modo se haberet,
et quonam mihi profuisset aere.
respondi id quod erat, nihil neque ipsis
nec praetoribus esse nec cohorti
cur quisquam caput unctius referret,
praesertim quibus esset irrumator
praetor, nec faceret pili cohortem.
'at certe tamen,' inquiunt, 'quod illic
natum dicitur esse, comparasti
ad lecticam homines.' ego, ut puellae
unum me facerem beatiorem,
'non' inquam 'mihi tam fuit maligne,
ut, provincia quod mala incidisset,
non possem octo homines parare rectos.'
at mi nullus erat nec hic neque illic
fractum qui veteris pedem grabati
in collo sibi collocare posset.
hic illa, ut decuit cinaediorem,
'quaeso' inquit 'mihi, mi Catulle, paulum
istos commoda; nam volo ad Serapim
deferri.' 'mane,' inquii puellae,
'istud quod modo dixeram me habere,
fugit me ratio: meus sodalis--
Cinna est Gaius--is sibi paravit
verum, utrum illius an mei, quid ad me?
utor tam bene quam mihi pararim.
sed tu insulsa male et molesta vivis,
per quam non licet esse neglegentem.'


Catullus
Catullus Rap

Varus had taken me
To see his girl,
After he had found me
Hanging round.
A smooth, cool girl
(Or at first I thought).

When we got there
We's began to chat,
'Bout lots of stuff,
Bythinia with it,
What it's like
And how it's layin'.
Also how much
I got me
I told them what it's like
Nothing to be nickin',
Neither the bosses
Nor the grunts,
No way to come back
Loaded at all.
Especially when you have
A prat of a praetor
Who couldn't care less
About his lowers.
'But you must,' they quizzed me,
'Have got you a couple
Of litter bearers,
The easy buy, they say.'
So just to make the girl
Think I wasn't too low
I said, 'It wasn't so bad that,
Even though it was crap,
I couldn't pick up
Eight decent guys!'
(In truth I never got me,
Nor got me now
A single guy who
Could even carry
The broken foot
Of used bed on his back.)
Then she,
The twisted bitch that she was
Said, 'Oh please, Catullus,
Lend me those guys,
For a little while.
I want to be carried
To Serapis' rave.'
I said to the snake,
'Hang on a minute,
When I said I
Owned these guys...
I completely forgot...
Me mate, Cinna,
Gaius Cinna,
Got them all.
It's just that we share them.
I can use them
Like they was mine.'
What a twisted,
Sick animal you are,
A man can't say a thing
When you're around.


Translated from the Latin by Joseph McCrudden
  [Commentary on the poem by the translator]   



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