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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Pinnace

By Gaius Valerius Catullus (c. 84–c. 54 B.C.)

Translation of Sir Theodore Martin

THIS pinnace, friends, which here you see,

Avers erewhile she used to be

Unmatched for speed, and could outstrip

Triumphantly the fastest ship

That ever swam, or breasted gale,

Alike with either oar or sail.

And this, she says, her haughty boast,

The stormy Adriatic coast,

The Cyclad islands, Rhodes the grand,

Rude Thrace, the wild Propontic strand,

Will never venture to gainsay;

Nor yet the Euxine’s cruel bay,

Where in her early days she stood,

This bark to be, a shaggy wood;

For from her vocal locks full oft,

Where o’er Cytorus far aloft

The fitful mountain-breezes blow,

She piped and whistled loud or low.

To thee, Amastris, on thy rocks,

To thee, Cytorus, clad with box,

Has long been known, my bark avers,

This little history of hers.

In her first youth, she doth protest,

She stood upon your topmost crest,

First in your waters dipped her oars,

First bore her master from your shores

Anon unscathed o’er many a deep,

In sunshine and in storm to sweep;

Whether the breezes, as she flew,

From larboard or from starboard blew,

Or with a wake of foam behind,

She scudded full before the wind.

Nor to the gods of ocean e’er

For her was offered vow or prayer,

Though from yon farthest ocean drear

She came to this calm crystal mere.

But these are things of days gone past.

Now, anchored here in peace at last,

To grow to hoary age, lies she,

And dedicates herself to thee,

Who hast alway her guardian been,

Twin Castor, and thy brother twin!