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57. floridam, 'in her bloom.'

P. 24. 61. 'Passion can find no fruit, fit to be sanctioned by good report, without thy aid; but is enabled by thy grace. What god can be likened unto our god?'

65. compararier. For the archaic forms in Catullus see Appendix II.5 (i.).

68. stirpe vincier, 'be outstripped by his children,' i.e., be blest with a constantly improving posterity. This is not a common Roman sentiment. Compare, however, Statius Sat. IV. 4, 74:

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Surge agedum juvenemque puer deprende parentem' quoted by Ellis, and the boast of Diomede :

ἡμεῖς τοι πατέρων μέγ ̓ ἀμείνονες εὐχόμεθ ̓ εἶναι, Avantius read nitier, 'rest on a new stock of children.' The ordinary reading is jungier 'be continued by posterity.'


71. 'Did a land lack thy rites, she could not put forth defenders for her borders.'

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78. Mark you how the torches toss their tresses of fire?" Cf. 98. For coma (Koun), used of fire, compare cometa (κομήτης). Add Aesch. Prom. 1,044, πυρὸς ἀμφήκης βόστρυ Xos (from Ellis).

81. 'True-born shame' (or 'modesty') tarries long' (or 'hangs back'); and more attentive to its counsels, despite of all (tamen), than to any other (magis), she weeps because she needs must go.'

tardet. ära ɛyóuɛvov, if from tardere. Possibly, however, the construction of the lost portion of the stanza required a subjunctive here; in that case tardet would be active, 'hold her back,' and comes from the common tardare.

P. 25. 91. Talis. 'In your likeness the hyacinth ever stands forth pre-eminent in a rich master's many-coloured garden of flowers.' Observe that the poet compares, not the bride to the flower, but the flower to the bride.

92. hortulo, 'pleasure-garden.'

93. stare. Cf. Hor. Od. 1. ix. 1:

where stet =

' Vides ut alta stet nive candidum

'stands out.'


95. prodeas,

we pray you to come forth, young bride.'

This line is omitted in the MSS.

97. videtur, if at length it is your pleasure.'

98. 'Mark how the torches toss their tresses of gold.'

156. Behold in what power and splendour your lord's house stands ready for you. Accept its constant service unto you for ever, until white age, shaking a palsied brow, nod "ay" to all in all things.'

163. annuat. The MSS. read annuit, as they read servit, 158.

166. transfer. 'Lift-and be the omen full of grace-lift across the threshold your softly golden feet, and enter the polished doorway.'

P. 26. 181. Before 181 is a pause in the song, during which the feast takes place : unless the feast precedes the arrival of the bride, as in LXII. 3, which is probable.

182. Purple-robed page, loose the little maiden's fair round arm.'

183. adeant, i.e. the bride and the pronubae. Ellis reads adeat.

186. 'Gracious matrons, who have lived in grace, each with one venerable lord.' Cf. cXI.:

'Viro contentam vivere solo Nympharum laus e laudibus eximiis,'

and Hor. Od. III. xiv. 5:

'Unico gaudens mulier marito.'

188. collocate, 'bed.'

193. ore floridulo, 'bright with a tender bloom upon her face, like the pale convolvulus.'

197. nihilo minus, 'no less beautiful than she.'

199. neglegit, 'does not pass you by.' Hom. Il. iv. 127.

203. juverit, 'may Venus' grace attend you.'

204. quae cupis capis, 'win your will,' 'harvest your hopes.'

207. micantium, but sonantum, xxxiv. 12.

208. subducat numerum, 'let him first cast up the sum.' Cf. VII. 3 note.

P. 27. 210. ludi, toyings.' Ludi is used collectively, like pulveris, 'particles of dust.' See Ellis' note.

212. non decet. 'A name so time-honoured should not want for heirs, but be continued by new births from the same stock for ever.'

216. Torquatus parvulus. Cf. Verg. Aen. IV. 320:

'si quis mihi parvulus aula

Luderet Aeneas qui te tantum ore referret.'

218. porrigens. Other compounds of por are polliceor, polluo, porricio, possideo, and, rarer and more antique, polluceo, pollingo, porcio, portendo. See Roby's Latin Grammar, § 2042.

219. Dulce rideat. Cf. LI. 5; Verg. Ec. IV. 60 :

'Incipe parve puer risu cognoscere matrem.'

'My prayer is that a baby Torquatus, on his mother's lap, may stretch out tiny hands to its father, and smile sweetly upon him with little lips half-parted: that he may bear the features of his father Manlius, and easily announce himself to all men though they know him not, his face a witness to his mother's chastity: that he may have honour reflected from his gracious mother, to seal his descent, as high as the peerless glory that rests, reflected from that most gracious mother, on Telemachus, born of Penelope.'

223. omnibus. Archaic lengthening; or erroneous reading corrupted from obviis; or a transposition of insciis and omnibus.

231. ostia, 'door.' Cf. Verg. Ec. III. 111.

232. lusimus satis, ‘enough of our merry song.' Cf. L. 2.

234. munere, 'gracious pair, may you live in grace; and constantly employ in your high duties a prime of health and strength.'


This marriage-song has no special occasion. At least it contains no names, and no ideas peculiarly Roman. It is probably modelled upon, if not translated from, some Alexandrine Epithalamium, or perhaps a Sapphic original. The form is that of a dialogue between the two parts of a double chorus. The young men invoke, the maidens reproach, the Evening Star; the latter sing the beauty of virginity, the former the praises of the married state. The victory lies, of course, with the advocates of marriage, who continue with a final persuasion of the bride to be reconciled to her happier lot, and conclude the hymn.

On the Catullian Hexameter, see Appendix I.G.

1. Vesper. The planet Venus is at one time the evening, at another the morning star. As the first it is called Vesper

Hesperus (orεpos) Hesperius, (Eσrépios) Vesperugo, noctifer, &c.; as the second Lucifer (pwopopos), Eous, jubar. Compare "In Memoriam ":

‘Sweet Hesper-Phosphor, double name

For what is one, the first, the last,
Thou like my present and my past,
Thy place is changed: thou art the same.'
Add Meleager :

Plato :

Ηοῖς ἄγγελε χαῖρε, Φαέσφορε, καὶ ταχὺς ἔλθοις
Εσπερος ἣν ἀπάγεις λάθριος αὖθις ἄγων

Αστήρ πρὶν μὲν ἔλαμπες ἐνὶ ζωοῖσιν Εφος,
νῦν δὲ θανὼν λάμπεις "Εσπερος ἐν φθιμένοις.

Verg. Ciris 348-51:

'Postera lux ubi laeta diem mortalibus almum
Praegelida veniens miseris quatiebat ab Oeta,

Quem pavidae alternis fugitant optantque puellae :
Hesperium vitant, optant ardescere Eoum."

The last is an obvious imitation of 38 sqq., and suggests strongly the reading Eous instead of the MSS. eosdem.1

Olympo. Cf. Verg. Ec. vi. 86, 'processit Vesper Olympo.'

P. 28. 2. 'late in time, at last flings on the air his longawaited beacon.'

3. pingues, though laden with rich meats.'

4. dicetūr. Cf. LXIV. 20, LXVI. 11.; Verg. Ec. vI. 53, ‘fultūs hyacintho.' See Appendix I.J.

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'We may be sure that the herald of night Cf. Verg. Ec. VIII. 30:

7. Nimirum.

flaunts his fires on the crest of Oeta.'

'tibi deserit Hesperus Oetam.'

Servius says 'Oeta mons Thessaliae

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in eodem

monte Hesperus coli dicitur, qui Hymenaeum, speciosum puerum, amasse dicitur.'

1 Compare the lines of Caius Cinna, Catullus' friend, whom he may have wished to flatter most sincerely by imitation :

Te matutinus flentem conspexit Eous,
Et flentem paulo vidit post Hesperus idem.'

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