Saturday, December 1, 2012

She appeared in such a way that I lost myself And went by taking away my 'self' with her - Mir Taqi Mir

Wretched Catullus, stop being a fool,
and that which you see to have perished, consider it gone.
Blazing suns once shone for you
when you would come wither she was leading, a girl
beloved by us as much as no girl will be loved.
There wherever those many jokes happened,
which you wanted nor did the girl refuse:
truly bright suns shone for you.
Now already she wants not; you also, unable, want no longer!
Neither follow she who flees, nor live miserably,
but endure with a resolute mind, harden yourself.
Farewell, girl! Already Catullus is firm,
neither will he chase after you nor will he ask an unwilling girl.
But you will be sad when you will not be asked.
Woe to you, wicked one! Which life remains for you?
Whom now will go to you? To whom will [you] seem pretty?
Whom will you now love? Whose will you be said to be?
Whom will you kiss? Whose lips will you bite?
But you, Catullus, be resolved to be strong.
-Catullus, 8


  1. How i wish you knew Urdu! (or, do you? I wouldn't put it past you.) ;) Having said that, i think the beauty of Urdu poetry lies in its minimalist tendency, of condensing a whole gamut of meaning in just few lines. Sample the last couplet from the Ghazal you have quoted above:

    kahen kya jo puche koi ham se "Meer"
    jahan main tum aye the, kya kar chale.

    A rough translation would be:
    "What should I tell if someone asks me, "O Meer!
    In this world you came, what you did even as you depart?"

    There is a Bollywood version that you may like to listen to (though the words are not all same). :)

  2. Very Latin-esque! No, Urdu is not something I was exposed to, and perhaps therein lies some of it's appeal for me.

    Dikhai Diye Yun Ki Bekhud Kiya... no the word's weren't the same, but some of the "looks" in the video probably were. ;)

  3. We can learn much from the masters of brevity, they lend us the opportunity to stare directly into wit's very soul.

  4. Plato, "Philebus"

    SOCRATES: And there is no difficulty in seeing the cause which renders any mixture either of the highest value or of none at all.

    PROTARCHUS: What do you mean?

    SOCRATES: Every man knows it.


    SOCRATES: He knows that any want of measure and symmetry in any mixture whatever must always of necessity be fatal, both to the elements and to the mixture, which is then not a mixture, but only a confused medley which brings confusion on the possessor of it.

    PROTARCHUS: Most true.

    SOCRATES: And now the power of the good has retired into the region of the beautiful; for measure and symmetry are beauty and virtue all the world over.


    SOCRATES: Also we said that truth was to form an element in the mixture.

    PROTARCHUS: Certainly.

    SOCRATES: Then, if we are not able to hunt the good with one idea only, with three we may catch our prey; Beauty, Symmetry, Truth are the three, and these taken together we may regard as the single cause of the mixture, and the mixture as being good by reason of the infusion of them.

    PROTARCHUS: Quite right.

  5. lol. Yes, a few pretty faces there. :)

  6. Sorry, had not read your last two posts. Yes, brevity is perhaps the better word. Minimalism has set connotations.

  7. Perhaps the difference is the addition of a bit of "rhetoric" to make the "essence" more palatable to the author's intended audience. Lesbia, for one, to Catullus.

  8. In that sense, it isn't "strictly" minimalist... but then, perhaps, nothing truely is.

    Change, for example, perhaps to a minimalist is the mutatis mutandis for art's subject as it pertains to him alone... but not to the "essential" man, although "lesbia" (uncappitalized) would likely be "inaccessible" to both.

    So perhaps, "minimalist" is the correct term.

  9. Perhaps the "expansion" of the term "minimalist" to include (2) criteria was a mistake and the second should have been called "brevitist"... ;)

  10. Dialectical hair-splitting, I know.