Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

CARMEN IV.

The Dedication of the Barque. The barque of Catullus which had borne him safely through the stormy and perilous seas from Pontus, and was now gratefully consecrated to the sailor's gods, recounts its own history and its own praises. The poet points out (quem videtis) the offering to his friends, as they pass by the Temple where it is hung.

1. Phaselus] Græce $usnaos a bean, a long, slender kind of vessel, distinguished by the form of its prow, which was long and extended obliquely over the water, now and for a long time in common use in the Mediterranean.

3, 4. Neque ... Nequîsse) Two negatives, 'to have been able.'

13. Amastri] 'Amastris,' now Famastro, a city of Paphlagonia. Cytore] Virgil, 2d Georgic, 437.

18. impotentia] without self-control, i. e.'raging.' So Carmen 25, v. 12. impotente amore.

22. litoralibus Diis] No particular class of deities is designated by the epithet litorales. Temples were erected on many shores, and promontories dedicated to various divinities, towards which the mariner offered his prayer, and where he paid his vows. Neque ulla vota] Because of the entire security the sailors felt in the excellence of their vessel. Vows were made only in the apprehension of extreme danger,

24. Novissimo] "farthest,' in compliance with a notion of the early Greeks, who supposed Colchis to be the eastern limit of the world. Vide Ovid Trist. 3, 13, 27; so Carm. 38, v. 4. casu novissimo, “the last (farthest) extremity of distress;' novissimum agmen,

the rear.' Livy, Lib. 21, 35. lacum] The Benacus, near which was Sirmio, the residence of Catullus. Vide notes to Carm. 23.

CARMEN V.

To Lesbia.

A graceful expression of a genuine Anacreontic sentiment, persuading her to indulge the delights of mutual affection, by urging the shortness of life, and the everlasting sleep which-follows.

11. ne sciamus] That we may begin a new series.

13. cum sciat] He fears the fascination of some looker on. But no witness could harm them, unless he knew the name or the number of the thing to become the subject of his enchantments.

CARMEN VI.

To Lesbia.

A reply to Lesbia's question, how many kisses would satisfy his love.

4. Laserpiciferis] producing' benzoin, a plant much used for medicinal purposes. The best wag produced in Cyrenaica. Pliny, Nat. Hist. xix. 15.

5. æstuosi] from the great heat of the surrounding region; or perhaps from a spring there of a peculiar and changeable temperature.--Arrian Exped. Alex. Lib. 3, Sec. 4.

6. Batti] The first of that name, who emigrated from Theræ, and founded the royal family of the Battiadæ. Herodotus, Lib. 4, Sec. 150–159.

9. basia basiare] Tlfe verb beside its direct object takes the accusative of a word of the same meaning. This construction is more common among the Greeks, whom Catullus affects.

CARMEN VII.

'To Verannius, on his return from Spain. Compare Horace, Carm. Lib. 1, 36.

2. mihi] dativus commodi, “in worth to me,” in my estimation.'

CARMEN VIII.

The Mistress of Varrús. Varrus, a friend of Catullus, finding him one day sauntering in the forum, invited him to visit his mistress. Among various topics of conversation, they spoke of Bithynia, where Catullus had recently served under Memmius. The natural inquiry being started, how far he had enriched himself there, he answered evasively, blaming the avarice of the

prætors who governed the province; yet unwilling to appear to the lady entirely unsuccessful, he tells her that he had brought home half a dozen litter bearers. The wanton desires to borrow them, when the poet is compelled to get off with a lame and confused apology.

1. Varri] Vulpius, Turnebus and some others read Varus, and suppose the person here mentioned, to be Alphenus Varus, one of the most subtle and distinguished lawyers of his times—the same to whom Carm. xxii. was addressed. Vide Horace Sat. 3. Lib. 3. v. 130.

2. ad s. d. visum] the same as visum suos amores. Thus Terence Hecyra, Act 1. Scene 2. v. 189, has a similar construction, nostra (domina) it visere ad eam.” So Plautus Bacch. Act 3. Sc. 5. visam huc ad eum."

4. Non illepidum] not ungenteel.'

10. prætoribus] The same province was sometimes occupied by more than one prætor at once ; or the reference may be to successive prætors.

12. irrumator] 'avaricious.'

13. nec faceret pili] 'valued not a hair.' Conf. Carm. xii. v. 17.

14. illic natum] "what is said to have originated there.' Cicero in Verrem, says “ Nam ut mos fuit Bithyniae regibus lectica octophoro ferebatur.

Verses 21, 22 and 23, are to be understood as a parenthesis, introduced to inform those to whom he

66 lbo et

is relating the adventure. 4 Conversus ad lectores." Vulp.

22. grabati] 'a small bed carried from place to place. From the Greek zoassatov, derived according to Voss, from ani to npata Balverv, quasi καραβατον.

26. ad Serapin] The temple of Serapis was without the city, and was frequented for licentious purposes, and also for obtaining dreams there, which it was thought would aid in the recovery of health.

27—30.] These verses contain a strongly marked anacoluthon, the hesitating and broken confession of one detected in falsehood. The passage may be thus constructed, Cuius Cinna est meus sodalis ; is sibi paravit istud quod modo dixeram me habere, fugit me ratio. f. m. r. "I forgot myself.'

34. negligentem] scil. of his words.

CARMEN IX.

To Asinius.

Catullus sends this poem to Marrucinus Asinius, who in the freedom and carelessness of " mirth and wine,” had secreted some foreign napkins, which he valued highly as memorials of absent friends ; and threatens a poet's vengeance.

3.] Thefts of this kind were not infrequent. Conf. Carm. xix. v. 6. Martial Ep. 59. Lib. 8.

« ZurückWeiter »