The Poetry of Gaius Valerius Catullus/72

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Text And Translation[edit]

Line Latin text English Translation
1 Dicebas quondam solum te nosse Catullum, Once you used to say that you knew only Catullus, Lesbia,
2 Lesbia, nec prae me velle tenere Iovem. and that you did not want to embrace Jupiter instead of me.
3 dilexi tum te non tantum ut vulgus amicam, I loved you then not just as a common man loves a girl,
4 sed pater ut gnatos diligit et generos. but as a father loves his sons and sons-in-law.
5 nunc te cognovi: quare etsi impensius uror, Now I have got to know you: therefore, although I burn more earnestly,
6 multo mi tamen es vilior et levior. to me you are nevertheless much cheaper and more fickle.
7 qui potis est, inquis? quod amantem iniuria talis How is that possible you say? Because a hurt like this
8 cogit amare magis, sed bene velle minus. forces a lover to love more but to like less.

Connotations of The Text[edit]

Line 1[edit]

  • dicebas - you used to say

The use of the Imperfect Tense here "used to" implies that she has changed from what she used to say. It also hints at a disapproving tone from Catullus himself, angry and disappointed that she has gone back on a promise to him.

  • solum te nosse Catullum - you knew only Catullus'

This is a repitition of the idea in Poem 70 that Catullus is the only one in Lesbia's life. As the poem progresses, we learn this is not what it seems.

Line 2[edit]

  • nec prae me velle tenere Iovem - and not hold Jupiter over me

This is an exaggeration by Catullus, suggesting that Lesbia would choose him over a god. This emphasises the disappointment that he feels and the reader begins to understand Lesbia's fickle personality. It also picks up on Poem 70 where he says that she claimed to prefer to marry him over Jupiter.

Line 4[edit]

  • pater ut gnatos diligit - as a father loves his sons

This is a reference to 'pietas'. It is a belief in the male support throughout the family. The grandfather supports the son and grandson, while being supported by them and the same principles for the son and grandson.

Line 8[edit]

  • cogit amare magis, sed bene velle minus - forces a lover to love more but to like less

Catullus is angry at Lesbia for cheating on him but he is still involuntarily in love with her.

Vocabulary[edit]

Line 1[edit]

  • nosco, nosse, novi, notum - to know; become aquainted with

Line 2[edit]

  • prae (Adv. & Prep. + Abl.) - before; in front of; in advance of
  • teneo, -ere, -ui, -tentum - to hold; here embrace

Line 3[edit]

  • diligo, -ere, -lexi, -lectum - choose; value highly; love
  • vulgus, -i, m. - public; vulgar; throng; crowd; mass

Line 4[edit]

  • gener, generi, -m - son in law

Line 5[edit]

  • etsi (conj.) - though; although; even if; yet
  • impensus, -a, -um - considerable; great; earnest
  • impensius (comp. adj.) - more considerably; greatly
  • uro, urere, ussi, ustum - burn; inflame; consume

Line 6[edit]

  • levis, -e (adj.) - light; fickle; inconstant; dispensable; trivial
  • vilis, -e (adj.) - of small price; cheap; inexpensive

Line 7[edit]

  • iniuria, -ae, f. - injustice; hurt; injury; illegal act

Line 8[edit]

  • cogo, -ere, -egi, -actum - force; compel; urge

External Links[edit]