Ad Caeliam (n.d.)

One of three poems by Melville to women, the other two comprising encomia to Katherine Killigrew (c.1542-1583) and Esther Inglis (1570/71-1624) (see d2_MelA_031 and d2_MelA_047, and M'Crie (1856 edn), p. 496). It is not known if the 'Caelia' addressed here actually existed or if she is simply a figment of Melville's poetic imagination. There is no evidence that Melville was ever romantically involved with a woman. Metre: elegiac couplets.

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Ad Caeliam

Quin tecum aspiciam cognati lumen Olympi,
et caeli accensas Caelia Sole faces.
et vitae lucem in tenebris splendescere mortis 1
tu mecum aspicias, tecum ego conspiciam.
Caelestisque aevi aeternos meditemur amores,
lux ubi longa nitet, nox ubi nulla silet.

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To Caelia

Oh Caelia, would that I might look upon the light of revealed Olympus with you, and the torches of heaven set aflame by the sun. And may you see with me the light of life that shines in the darkness of death, and let me see it with you. Let us think upon the eternal loves of heavenly eternity, where light long shines, where no night brings silence.



1: Vulgate, II Corinthians IV.6