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Aemilius, Cominius, Victius, Naso, Aufilena, and Tappo, false friend Rufus, base Gellius, are handed down to an immortality of infamy in verses some of which, like the attacks on Cominius and Gellius, have no parallel in literature for fierce and frank invective. And the higher the game the more Catullus loved to pursue it. He flies fearlessly at Caesar in the midst of all his greatness ; at his favourite Mamurra, who came back from Gaul and Britain gorged with plunder; at Pompey; at Vatinius; at Clodius Pulcher. He was goaded to fury by the literary pretensions of inferior writers, who succeeded undeservedly in winning the popular favour. To them he showed no mercy, and has enrolled as in a Dunciad the names of Volusius the annalist, with his cacata charta : of the pedant Sulla : of Sestius the would-be orator, whose style was so frigid that it gave Catullus a cold : of Caesius and Aquinus, above all Suffenus, whose styles were so many poisons : of Mamurra, who tried to climb Pimplea, but whom the Muses beat down with pitchforks. He speaks with contempt, not unmixed perhaps with jealousy, of the literary efforts of Caesar himself. But it was love which inspired most of what is best in Catullus's poetry.

We need not speak of his amours with Ipsithilla, or Ameana the mistress of the hated Mamurra. About 61 B.c. he made the acquaintance of the notorious Clodia,2 sister of Publius Clodius

1 Perhaps the nearest approach is the Epitaph on Francis Chartres attributed to Arbuthnot.

That Lesbia was a pseudonym for Clodia rests on the express testimony of Apuleius, Apol, 10: Eadem opera accusent C. Catullum quod Lesbiam pro Clodia nominarit. There is absolutely nothing in the

Pulcher, and wife of Q. Metellus Celer. She was one of the most powerful and beautiful ladies in Rome : she had magnificent burning eyes. She lived for the gratification of her desires. Her utterly abandoned profligacy is attested by Catullus himself, by Cicero, and by Caelius. She had lovers by the score.2 Her criminal affection for her brother Publius was notorious; it furnished Cicero with material for jokes and repartees.3 Worse than all, she was suspected of having poisoned her husband.4 He died in 59 B.C. It was some time before that date, we know not how long, that Catullus's intimacy with her began. Manlius Torquatus allowed him to meet her at his house. He loved his Lesbia—as he calls her-madly, as only such a warm-hearted nature could love : but he was soon thrown aside,6 and it was then when discarded and broken-hearted that he wrote the eighth and seventy


poems inconsistent with this statement : but circumstance after circumstance corroborative of it in the strongest degree: the very strongest being the Lxxixth poem, vss. 1, 2.

flagrantes oculos, Cic. Har. Resp. 18.38 ; Bowtis, Cic. Att. 2. 9.

2 The oration for Caelius is the source of most of what we know against Clodia, and every word of it is confirmatory of what we learn of her from Catullus, See especially 13. 32 ; 15. 36 ; 16. 38 ; 20. 49 ; quoted by Ellis, Prol. vol. ii. p. 66, note. 3 Cic. Att. 2. 1. 5.

Cael. 5 At any rate he contrived that Catullus should have a house to meet Lesbia at. Whether that house was his own, and its mistress his wife, or the house of some lady friend with whom he had influence, is not clear. I hold the latter view.

6 As her other lovers were : so of her quarrel with Caelius ; Cic. Cael. 25. 61: suberat simultas, extincta erat consuetudo, discidium extiterat.

4 Cic. pro

24. 60.

sixth poems, which have no rivals in literature ancient or modern. There was a reconciliation of a sort,1 but probably little came of it: the old fire had burned itself out, on her side at least. Catullus was now in failing health : his wild life and fierce passion, as well as his ever-burning genius, consumed his strength, and he died, very likely of consumption,2 in 54 or 53 B.C.


i.-The Hendecasyllabic The hendecasyllabic, which is the name by which Catullus himself calls this metre (xul. 10 ; XLII. I), consists in its normal form of a spondee, dactyl, and three trochees :

Passer deliciae meae puellae. Catullus admitted also an iambus or a trochee in the first foot : Martial never. Of the forty poems written in hendecasyllabics, seventeen are of the looser structure : as a rule when one variation occurs several do. Thus in xxxII, which consists of eleven lines, four begin with iambi, one with a trochee : but in x not one of thirty-four lines varies from the normal structure. This shows that it is not a matter of indifference, and in establishing the reading of a hendecasyllabic regard must be had to the fact whether the poem is in the loose or normal structure. For instance in xii, which consists of seventeen verses, it is an argument

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against both Disertus and Munro's Ducentum in the 9th verse that all the other lines in the poem begin with spondees.

The metre of the hendecasyllabic is the same as that of the first two lines of the Greek scolia :

φίλταθΑρμόδι' ου τί που τέθνηκας:

νήσοις δ' εν μακάρων σε φασιν είναι, and occasionally finds its way into tragic choral odes. It is sometimes called the Phalaecian from its inventor Phalaecus, whose date is uncertain.

The fifty-fifth poem varies widely from the normal form, in that it admits a spondee in the second foot.

Oramus si forte non molestum est. In these cases the first foot is also a spondee. It is supposed by several editors that in this poem the lines have spondees and dactyls alternately in the second foot. This demands considerable alteration of the mss.

As a general rule the dactyl or the next syllable succeeding it ends a word : there are not more than six or seven exceptions. One hypermetric verse occurs XL. 1, where Ravide ends the line : for the synizesis into Raude is not likely.

ii.-Iambic Trimeters


'Three poems are in Iambic trimeters : IV, XXIX,

Of these the first two are in pure iambi : for XXIX. 20, 23 are certainly corrupt. There is no line without a good caesura, after either the fifth or seventh half-foot : in most with both : in several with more

Li differs only in that it admits a spondee twice in the third foot.



iii.-Scazons or Choliambics

The Scazon (okátwv limping) or Choliambus is one of the metres most effectively used by Catullus, whether as pathetic (VIII), sweet (xxxı), sarcastic or playful (xliv).

Miser Catulle, desinas ineptire. He always has an iambus in the fifth foot, as well as in the second and fourth : therein conforming to a stricter rule than the Greek masters Hipponax and Herondas, both of whom freely admitted spondees in the fifth foot. Varro, who probably first wrote scazons at Rome, also admitted spondees in the fifth foot, as Sat. Men. p. 122 (Riese)

Donec foras nos intus evallaverunt. Catullus has a dactyl in the first foot once XXXVII. 5 ; in the third foot once Lix. 3 ; and a tribrach in the second foot once XXII. 19. He has synaphea or hypermeter twice xxxi. I; XXXVII. 14;

both times


is elided before the next line. This metre was very popular with Catullus and his school : the cantores Euphorionis' as Cicero calls them, Tusc. 3. 19. 45. Licinius Calvus, the friend of Catullus, wrote scazons ; one line has come down to us from the Hipponacteum praeconium, as Cicero calls it, in which he puts Tigellius Sardus up to auction :

Sardi Tigelli putidum caput vēnit.
And his friend Helvius Cinna has left us another :

Somniculosam ut Poenus aspidem Psyllus.

iv.-Lambic Tetrameter Catalectic This metre is used in xxv only:

Cinaede Thalle, mollior cuniculi capillo.

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