The Poetry of Gaius Valerius Catullus/2

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Text & Translation[edit]

Meter - Hendecasyllabic

Line Latin Text English Translation
1 Passer, deliciae meae puellae, Sparrow, darling of my girl,
2 quicum ludere, quem in sinu tenere, with whom she plays, whom she holds in her lap,
3 cui primum digitum dare appetenti, to whose greedy attack she gives her fingertip,
4 et acris solet incitare morsus, provoking you to peck her sharply,
5 cum desiderio meo nitenti, when it pleases the radiant object of my desire
6 carum nescio quid lubet iocari, to play some dear game,
7 et solacium sui doloris, and a solace for her grief,
8 credo, ut tum gravis acquiescat ardor, I believe, so that then [her] serious passion is laid to rest,
9 tecum ludere sicut ipsa possem, if I could play with you the way she does,
10 et tristis animi leuare curas [...] and lift the sad cares of [my] heart [...]
11 tam gratum [est/es] mihi quam ferunt puellae, [is/you are] as welcome to me as they say
12 pernici aureolum fuisse malum, the golden apple was to the swift-footed girl
13 quod zonam soluit diu ligitam. which loosened her girdle, long fastened.


Line 10[edit]

  • leuare curas...

Here there is text that has been lost, as the poem clearly has a break in sense. We can only theorise what might have been after line 10. "Some verb or neuter noun is as pleasing to Catullus as the golden apple was to Atalanta" - Daniel H. Garrison, The student's Catullus, University of Oklahoma Press, 2004, p. 94

Line 11[edit]

  • est/es

Usually "est" but see a strong argument for it's being "es" in "Sparrows and Apples: The Unity of Catullus 2", users.ox.ac.uk/~sjh/documents/cat2.doc.

Lines 11-13[edit]

This refers to the myth of the girl Atalanta a beautiful princess. She was warned about the dangers of marrying, so she set a task: For if any man could beat her in a foot race, he would be able to marry her. But if the man lost he would be killed.

One day, a hero called Melanion (also known as Hippomenes) came along to woo her. Atalanta fell in love with him and while running she stopped to pick up a golden apple thrown by Melanion. (This apple had been given to him by the goddess Venus). Atalanta stopped and picked up the apple and deliberately lost the race so she could marry him.

Vocabulary[edit]

Line 1[edit]

  • deliciae, -arum, f. - delight; beloved object; darling

Line 2[edit]

  • sinus, -us, m. - curve; fold; lap; [in one's body or dress]

Line 3[edit]

  • digitus, -i, m. - finger; finger tip

Line 4[edit]

  • acer, acris, acre - sharp
  • morsus, -us, m. - a bite; biting

Line 5[edit]

  • desiderium, -i, n. - desire; the object of my affection

Line 6[edit]

  • lubet or libet - it pleases; it is agreeable
  • iocor, iocari, iocatus sum - to jest; joke

Line 7[edit]

  • solaciolum, -i, n. - little comfort; relief; solace

Line 8[edit]

  • acquiesco, -ere, -ievi - repose; rest; be satisfied
  • ardor, ardoris, m. - a burning fire; heat; flame; passion

Line 9[edit]

Line 10[edit]

  • animus, -i, m. - soul; passions; heart
  • levo, levare - relieve, lighten; take away

Line 11[edit]

  • gratus -a, -um - causing joy; agreeable; welcome
  • ferunt (3rd pl. pres. fero) - they say; report; relate

Line 12[edit]

  • pernix, pernicis (adj.) - nimble; swift
  • aureolus, -a, -um (dim. of aureus) - little gold
  • malum, -i, n. - apple; pulpy fruit

Line 13[edit]

  • zona, -ae, f. - belt; girdle; zone
  • solvo, solvere - loosen; untie; undo

See also[edit]

External Links[edit]