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Ut liceat nobis totâ producere vitâ
Æternum hoc sanctæ fædus amicitiæ.
Sæpe tibi studioso animo venanda requirens
Carmina uti possem mittere Battiadæ, Quîs te lenirem nobis, neu conarere
Infestum telis icere, musca, caput; Hunc video mihi nunc frustra sumtum esse laborem,
5 Gelli, nec nostras hinc valuisse preces. Contra, nos tela ista tua evitamus amictu :
At, fixus nostris, tu dabi' supplicium.
To Cornelius Nepos. CATULLUS in these verses dedicates his volume of poems to Corn. Nepos, on account of the interest he had shown, in what Catullus modestly calls “his trifles,” and the commendations he had bestowed upon them, in the midst of his own learned and laborious occupations.
1. Quoi] i. q. cui.
6. Omne ... chartis] a general history in three volumes.
9. patrona Virgo) Minerva,' the patroness of wits. Voss reads patroa, meaning Vesta, to whom the first fruits were offered. Vide Ovid Fasti, 6, 304.
To the Sparrow of Lesbia. Catullus mentions the various endearments and
sports with her favorite bird, with which Lesbia was wont to amuse herself, and soothe the ardor of her passion; and the delight with which he could indulge the same playful fondness. The lady whom he so often addresses under the name of Lesbia, was named Clodia, the sister, it is supposed, of the infamous Clodius.
7, 8.] In these verses I have followed the reading of Voss, who gives this explanation; 6 credo te ô passer, nescio quid carum jocari cum meo desiderio nitenti i. e. cum puella mea, et similiter credo te solatiolum esse sui doloris, ut gravis ejus ardor acquiescat." Sillig reads,
Tecum ludere sicut ipsa possem, &c.
11. puellæ] Atalanta, vide Ovid Met. Lib. 10.
A lament on the death of the Sparrow. 2. quantum . . hominum] conf. Carmen ii. v. 7a 10. pipilabat) i. q. pipiabat.
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 þúsnãos 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 ... Nequisse] 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 Ca. tullus. Vide notes to Carm. 23.
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.
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.