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naufragum ut eiectum spumantibus aequoris undis sublevem et a mortis limine restituam,

5 quem neque sancta Venus molli requiescere somno

tended, the elegy to come to the attention of his mistress ; and it should be read with this in mind.

Briefly, the argument of the poem is developed as follows: 1-10: You write that you have neither love nor poetry which soothes your sorrowing heart, and ask for both these sources of comfort from me; 11-32: but you do not know that my brother's death has plunged me into such grief that I am in no mood to write of love's dalliance, and my sadness is enhanced by what you write of my mistress's faithlessness; 33-40: neither can I send you any other poems, for they are all at Rome; you must not blame me then for not doing what I cannot. 41-69: I must not, however, let the opportunity pass to hand down to eternal fame the name of such a friend as Allius, and his kind offices in opening to Lesbia and me a home for our lover's meetings; 70-130: thither came my mistress, aflame with a love like that of Laodamia for her bridegroom when that short-lived home was established upon which the Fates had already caused to fall the blighting spell of Troy, accursed Troy, which has taken from me too all joy, as it did from her, whose love was deeper than the storied abyss by Pheneus,

more joyous than the grandsire's on the birth of his anxiously awaited heir, fonder than a dove's for her mate; 131-148: thus came Lesbia; and if sometimes she has wavered in her devotion, I will bear it as Juno does the fickleness of Jove, and will remember the wondrous joys of those golden days. 149-160: Such is the gift of poetic praise which I could offer, my friend; may the gods bless thee too, and thine, and mine, who is still the light of my life!'

1. Quod . . . mittis: this prosaic epistolary form occurs thrice in this part of the poem, appearing again in vv. 27 and 33.


acerbo speculation has been rife as to its nature, whether political or domestic: cf. v. 6, n.

2. lacrimis: instrumental. The hyperbole may be considered as quoted from the letter of Allius to Catullus. epistolium: this Gk. diminutive occurs nowhere else in Lat. before Apuleius.

3. naufragum: shipwreck as a figure of ruined fortunes is a literary commonplace.

4. Cf. Plin. N. H. 7, 44, 143: a limine ipso mortis revocatus; Culex, 224: restitui superis leti iam limine ab ipso.

5-8. These verses evidently are the reasons given by Allius for his request.



desertum in lecto caelibe perpetitur,
nec veterum dulci scriptorum carmine musae
oblectant, cum mens anxia pervigilat,

id gratum est mihi, me quoniam tibi dicis amicum,
muneraque et musarum hinc petis et Veneris:
sed tibi ne mea sint ignota incommoda, Mani,

neu me odisse putes hospitis officium,
accipe, quis merser fortunae fluctibus ipse,

ne amplius a misero dona beata petas.

tempore quo primum vestis mihi tradita purast,

iucundum cum aetas florida ver ageret,

multa satis lusi: non est dea nescia nostri

11. incommoda Dw commoda VM comoda R. Mani Lachmann mali VRM al' mauli sec, man. in M margin of R mauli or malli Dw.

6. desertum in lecto caelibe: of the various theories advanced to explain the sadness of Allius, e.g. that he had quarreled with his wife or with his mistress, that one or the other of them was seriously ill, or separated from him suddenly for some other reason, or had recently died, only the last is irreconcilable with v. 155. A reminiscence of the phrase is found in Ovid's Laodamia epistle (Her. 13, 107).

7. veterum . . scriptorum: either Greek or Roman.

8. cum temporal.

10. muneraque



poems to serve in place of those of the veterum scriptorum of v. 7. - hinc: from me.'-[munera] Veneris erotic poetry (cf. lusi, v. 17), referring back to vv. 5 and 6. The last request is answered first,

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quae dulcem curis miscet amaritiem :

sed totum hoc studium luctu fraterna mihi mors
abstulit. o misero frater adempte mihi,
tu mea tu moriens fregisti commoda, frater,
tecum una tota est nostra sepulta domus,
omnia tecum una perierunt gaudia nostra,
quae tuus in vita dulcis alebat amor.
cuius ego interitu tota de mente fugavi

haec studia atque omnis delicias animi.
quare, quod scribis Veronae turpe Catullo

27. Catullo Do Catulle VR.

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18. dulcem. . . amaritiem: an oxymoron familiar to all literature, as to all human experience; cf. 64,95: sancte puer, curis hominum qui gaudia misces; Sappho, Frag. 40: γλυκύπικρον ἀμάχανον ὄρπετον; Plaut. Cist. I, 1, 69: ecastor amor et melle et fellest fecundissumus : gustu dat dulce, amarum ad satietatem usque oggerit; Ben Jonson, Sad Shepherd, 1, 2: "I have known some few, And read of more, who have had their dose, and deep, Of these sharp bitter-sweets." This parallel archaic form of the noun (amaritiem), though of a common type, occurs nowhere else.

19. totum hoc studium: i.e. both love's dalliance and the poetry that accompanies it, including both ideas expressed in v. 26.-fraterna. . . . mors: cf. 65, 5, n.; 101.

21. moriens: instrumental.

22. tota... sepulta domus : to be understood in no literal sense, but as the natural extravagant expression of poignant grief. The next verse repeats the thought in different form.

26. haec studia: the writing of love poetry. — omnis delicias animi: the joys of love itself. This phrase reminds Catullus of a remark in the letter of Allius, to which he replies parenthetically in vv. 27-30, resuming the main argument in v. 31.

27. Veronae : the quotation from the letter of Allius begins here and includes the next two verses, quoting, as is common in literature, not the whole sentence of Allius, but the important part, something like est, or credo esse, evidently being omitted. Catullus after his brother's death is tarrying at his old home in Verona, while (so Allius writes) Lesbia's lovers are taking advantage of him in his absence from Rome.



esse, quod hic quisquis de meliore nota frigida deserto tepefactat membra cubili,

id, Mani, non est turpe, magis miserumst. ignosces igitur, si, quae mihi luctus ademit, haec tibi non tribuo munera, cum nequeo. nam quod scriptorum non magna est copia apud me, hoc fit quod Romae vivimus: illa domus, illa mihi sedes, illic mea carpitur aetas:

huc una ex multis capsula me sequitur.

quod cum ita sit, nolim statuas nos mente maligna

28. quisquis V quivis Lachmann. 29. tepefactat altered from tepefacit RM tepefacit V tepefaxit Lachmann tepefactet Bergk. 30. Mani Lachmann mali VRM mauli or malli Dw.

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as to prevent me from complying with your request.

31. ignosces: mild command.

32. haec... munera: the love poetry. cum: a good illustration of the narrow line dividing the temporal from the causal. Perhaps both ideas were in the mind of the poet.

33. nam anticipates the question why Catullus cannot comply with the first part of the request in v. 10, i.e. send him some books of poetry (scriptorum), not necessarily erotic; perhaps translations from Callimachus, like No. 66, perhaps of a different character.

34. vivimus: here in Verona I am merely temporarily managing to exist; real life, with all that makes it worth living, is only at Rome, for me.

36. huc to Verona.-capsula: for books. sequitur secuta est. 37. statuas: 'conclude.'

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id facere aut animo non satis ingenuo,
quod tibi non utriusque petenti copia postast:
ultro ego deferrem, copia siqua foret.

non possum reticere, deae, qua me Allius in re
iuverit aut quantis iuverit officiis,
ne fugiens saeclis obliviscentibus aetas
illius hoc caeca nocte tegat studium,
sed dicam vobis, vos porro dicite multis
milibus et facite haec charta loquatur anus

notescatque magis mortuus atque magis, nec tenuem texens sublimis aranea telam

39. posta VRM facta Dw. 41. No gap before this v. in VRM. qua me Allius Scaliger quam fallius VRM.

39. non utriusque neutrius, referring to the two requests of v. 10.postast: although the only example of this verb with copia, it seems (to say nothing of its Ms. authority) to express better than the more usual facta the thought of offering, or setting before Allius, a choice of what was desirable; and the origin of posta as a false reading is very hard to explain.

41. non possum: cf. nequeo (v. 32); though he cannot accede to either request of Allius formally, he cannot refrain from writing the praises of Allius himself. Conventionalities prevent certain things for people in mourning; but the phenomenon of eluding these restrictions and allowing Nature to assert herself under other forms is a familiar one in all times,

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