SPECTATOR COMPETITION No. 79
Report by R. S. Stanier How strong my heart!
I shall not plead.
Unwilling love I do not need.
And who will pity her ?: Ah, who indeed Will heal her smart, Or hold her to His burning breast,
Or kiss or do (Be strong my heart!) as lovers do ? Ob, who ? Not you, not you.
Count lost, unhappAheart, what's dead: Give over fond repining For days when wheresoe'er she led The sun for us was shining.
When, loved as none shall be again, She shared with us together
Gay joys of which we both were fain, In truth 'twas cloudless weather.
Now she's grown cold: what else can we?
No prey to anguish grievous
But steeled and steadfast let us be To chase her not who'd leave us.
Farewell, then, lass! We'll ask not for
A love not gladly plighted.
But thou wilt weep, when wooed no more, Thy life—alas!—benighted.
Who'll seek thee now ? Who think thee fair ?
Who own thee his ? Who ever His lips let thee devour ? Who care ?
But, heart, return we never!
Don't be an ass, you ass! It's no good phoning.
Write the girl off. It's dead. You've had it, cock! Yes, it was fun, and so was she. Quit moving.
Chin up, and when the knock comes, take the knock. The pace was hot. You asked and were rewarded.
The primrose path .. . remember when you tried YOUr Latin Lover treatment ? She adored it
And laugh, the two of you ? You could have died! Well, that was rummer. Now the air's gone chilly. You know you've !tad it. Let the girl alone. You can't be young for ever. Don't be silly: She doesn't want you. Drop that telephone!
(Bat he phones)
A prize of f5 was offered for a verse translation of Catullus
Taste, erudition, industry and good old Anglo-Saxon mono- syllables poured in from all quarteri, but the perfect translation of this sombre and cosmic masterpiece has yet to be made. There were many pleasant literal renderings, but from most of these the simple, sensuous and passionate quality of the original seemed to me to have evaporated. The seventeenth-century manner was success- fully adopted by several competitors. A sonnet, I felt, would have to be very Miltonic to succeed. There was much to be said for trying the modern idiom, but the voice of the crooner finds it hard to convey sincerity. Richard Usborne's version, however, by Nod Coward out of Robert Browning, gets away with it. The only version which beat to the heart like the hammer-blows of the original was that of P. M. I recommend for her a prize of £3 and £1 each for Michael Albery and Rthlard Usborne.
(P. M.) Be strong my heart, What's done is done ; Your love is gone, And gone the sun
Which shone for you and for that wanton one.
In &mans part, Pursue her not,—
The joys you shared She has forgot ; Be strong my heart, accept unmoved your lot. Hullo . . . yes . . . who d'you think ? But it's the last time : You won't be " pestered" any more by me !
But who'll provide you with your favourite pastime?
Who'll rush you now, my girl ? No one. You'll see I Who'll love you, be your love and match your kisses?
How will you fill the long grim years to come? Your hungry kisses will go hungry. This is
Goodbye, you b . .1 Now you have had it, chum!
Damn you, Catullus, where's the sense in this dither ?
the thing you see is dead you can't pretend living.
the skies at which you blink are dazzling no longer as in the days you went and came where she led you,
that girl who was belov'd as will be no other.
then you had fun, remember, games without number and not a single one that she would say no to.
then, I admit, the skies were only too dazzling.
but now she won't, you can't ; accept it, don't hanker, don't hunt the fugitive or waste a life brooding, but hard as adamant endure it obdurate! - Good-bye, my girl ; Catullus now is quite hardened and won't go on his knees to coax your coy humour;
it's you will feel the wrench when I shall just cut you.
poor vixen, though, you're lost ; what life is this coming ?
what pack will gather round, what cubs be bowled over ?
which one will you prefer ? whose name will start whispers ?
whom will you kiss, his lips bitten by your kisses ? -
Enough, Catullus ! adamant, be obdurate 1