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P. 1. 1. To whom am I to give my dainty, new-born little volume?' The present indicative is constantly used in Latin with a deliberative force; cf. LXIII. 55. The words lepidum and novum mean both that the book is bright and new from the publisher's hands, and that it contains delicate wit presented in a form new to Latin literature.

2. pumice. For the use of pumice stone in the preparation of books, see XXII. 6 note.

3. Corneli. Corn. Nepos, compatriot of Catullus and about eight years his senior, chiefly known as biographer of illustrious men, but also writer of love poems now lost. The 'Chronica' here referred to are also lost.

4. aliquid in opposition to nugas. Catullus calls his light poems nothings,' but his friend always considered them of serious value,'' a something of importance.' Si vis esse aliquis if you would be a somebody. Translate would set upon my trifles no trifling value.'


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6. explicare, to unfold and show as a whole, as a robe-maker exhibits his wares (explicat vestem), or as a general deploys his troops (explicat ordines), so that all may be comprehended at a glance; cf. LIII. 3. Here the word almost = 'tabulate.'

7. laboriosis is said to mean on which labour has been spent,' according to A. Gellius, who (N. A. IX. 12) quotes a line from Catullus' friend, Calvus,

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'Durum rus fugis et laboriosum,'

and explains the last word as 'in quo laboratur.' But Calvus means the hard, work-a-day country,' personification which is also used here.

employing the simple If carta (a sheet) can

be called docta (learned), it may also be called laboriosa (diligent): and in LXVIII B. 6 (46), we find 'carta loquatur anus.' The whole of Gellius' article is confused and unfortunate.

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8. quicquid hoc libelli, 'Therefore take to yourself all this is of a little book: whatever its worth may perhaps be, yet may it, O guardian maiden, endure without fading more than one generation.' The best MSS. read Qualecumque quod, for which quidem is the earliest and perhaps best correction. Ellis reads: "Quare habe tibi quicquid hoc libelli Qualecunque: quod o patrona virgo'.


= 'Take this slight book, such as it is, and may it,' &c. virgo may be Minerva, or the Muse. Cf. LXVIII B. 1-6 (40-16). Munro thinks neither appropriate, and, after Bergk, reads:

'Qualecumque quidem patronei ut ergo'

='that, poor as it perhaps may be, yet for its patron's sake it may endure.' This makes capital sense, but there is no evidence that Catullus wrote it.

With quicquid hoc libelli compare Verg. Aen. 1. 78, 'quodcumque hoc regni'=' this empire, be it great or small,' on which see Dr. Henry's "Aeneidea."

On the Hendecasyllabic metre of this poem see Appendix I. A.



1. deliciae, 'my lady's pet': so amores 'favourite.'


3. primum digitum, 'finger tip,' not 'first finger,' which is called index.

appetenti, reaching forward to catch.' Translate to whose sallies she will offer her finger tip.'

5. desiderio, my heart's desire.' Cicero (Fam. xrv. 2 fin.) writes to his wife, 'mea lux, mea desideria, valete.' For the "Lover's vocabulary" in Catullus see Appendix II. 3.

nitenti, 'bright-eyed.'

6. Carum nescio quid, like solaciolum, is accusative after jocari. On the 'cognate' acc. see VII. 9 note. Translate is pleased to play I know not what dear frolic and soft diversion of her pain.'

credo. And well she may: would that I, like your mis

tress and mine, when the oppressive intensity of my passion shall be assuaged, could make merry with you!' Credo as usual (cf. LXXXIV. 6) is isolated and abrupt it implies that Lesbia is sure to find solace in so sweet a bird.


gravis ardor: cf. gravis aestus, LXVIII B. 22. 'Et solaciolum sui doloris,

Ellis reads:

Credo, et cum gravis acquiescit ardor:

either as a gentle assuagement of her pain or when,' &c. Solaciolum he puts in 'apposition with the clause nescio quid libet jocari,' or perhaps would regard it, with Lachmann, as a second nominative to libet. But libet cannot have a substantive for subject; for only neuter pronouns can stand as nominatives to impersonal verbs. Munro suggests with confidence :

8. 'Credo ut, cum gravis acquiescet ardor,

7. Sit solaciolum sui doloris,'

and distinguishes dolor as the pain felt by Lesbia when her lover is away, ardor as her fevered excitement in his presence. Baehrens alters et to in before solaciolum, and reads the next verse:

'(Credo, tum gravis acquiescet ardor).' All these alterations are uncertain and antagonistic.

P. 2. 10. curas is specially used of the pains of love. So Hor. A. P. 85:

'Et juvenum curas et libera vina referri.'

Cf. LXIV. 96, LXVIII. 18.

11-13. tam gratum est. Ellis would translate, 'To play with you would be as welcome,' &c. But these lines are more probably a fragment of another piece accidentally attached to the already complete poem on account of the similarity of metre. This may also have occurred XIV. 24-26, LL. 13-16, LXV. 19-24, LXVIII. (41 ad fin.).

puellae, Atalanta, who would only 'loose her girdle' (part of the marriage ceremonial) to one who surpassed her in speed of foot. Milanion entered the contest, and, as they ran, flung on the course a golden apple. This she was tempted to pick up, and by doing so checked her speed and lost the race.

aureolum, 'daintily gilded, or 'delicate-golden.'

soluit is a trisyllable. Cf. LXI. 53, zonula soluunt sinus; LXVI. 38, dissoluo; 74, evoluo.


1. 'Goddesses of beauty, gods of passion, and all there are among men of finer feeling, come and mourn.'

This poem has been often imitated, often translated. It is a characteristic specimen of Catullus' style, showing the natural symmetry of his thought, the simple directness of his expression. After the invocation, half the poem tells the preciousness and the graces of the bird, half the sadness of its lot and the bereavement of its mistress. The words are so unaffected, and their order seems so spontaneous,

'ut sibi quivis

Speret idem, sudet multum frustraque laboret
Ausus idem.'

2. quantum, &c. See Appendix II. 1. a. phraseology.

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on Catullus'

7. ipsam Ellis bids us take with matrem, as well as the child knows her very mother.' But suam is thus left incomplete; and it is awkward and unCatullian to say ipsam tam bene quam for tam bene quam ipsum. Lachmann would read 'ipsa.' Suam ipsam = 'his own mistress.'

8. sese is emphatic: 'nor would he dislodge himself."
13. at used in sudden imprecation: cf. XXVIII. 14:
At vobis mala multa di deaeque

Dent, opprobria Romuli Remique.'

'Out! shame upon you, shameful shades of Orcus, that swallow in your depths all pretty things!'

17. tua opera, by your doing,' 'you are to blame that.' The phrase, in usage, conveys an idea of reproach: compare Cic. Phil. II. § 23, where 'opera mea' is coupled with 'culpa


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18. 'My mistress' sweet eyes are sadly swollen and red with tears.' Flendo: so fando='with words' (Verg. Aen. II. 6.) turgiduli. Catullus uses diminutive nouns, proper names, adjectives, and even verbs: see Appendix II. 2.

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