The Poetry of Gaius Valerius Catullus/36

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Text & Translation[edit | edit source]

Meter - Hendecasyllabic

Line Latin Text English Translation
1 Annales Volusi, cacata carta, Annals of Volusius, defecated papers,
2 votum solvite pro mea puella. Loosen a prayer for my girl.
3 Nam sanctae Veneri Cupidinque For to the sacred Cupids and Venuses
4 vovit, si sibi restutus essem She promised, if I were restored to her
5 dessemque truces vibrare iambos, and I stopped to shake out savage iambs,
6 electissima pessimi poetae that she would give the most select writings
7 scripta tardipedi deo daturam of the worst poet to the slowest foot god
8 infelicibus ustulanda lignis. to be burned by means of unlucky firewood.
9 Et hoc pessima se puella vidit And this worst girl sees has herself
10 iocose lepide vovere divis. Wished humerously and charmingly to the gods.
11 Nunc o caeruleo creata ponto, Now O you having been created from the blue sea,
12 quae sanctum Idalium Uriosque apertos who dwells in the sacred Idalium and open field of Urium,
13 quaeque Ancona Cnidumque harundinosam and who dwells in Ancona and reedy Cnidus,
14 colis quaeque Amanthunta quaeque Golgos and who dwells in Amathus and who dwells in Golgi,
15 quaeque Durrachium Hadriae tabernum, and who dwells in the Dyrrachian taverns of the Adriatic,
16 acceptum face redditumque votum, grant this vow having been accepted and returned,
17 si non illepidum neque invenustum est. if not uncharming and not unwitty.
18 At vos interea venite in ignem, But you come into the fire, meanwhile,
19 pleni ruris et infacetiarum full of crudity and clumsiness,
20 annales Volusi, cacata carta. annals of Volusius, defecated papers.

Connotations of The Text[edit | edit source]

Line 2[edit | edit source]

  • mea puella - my girl

This refers to Lesbia, Catullus' lover. The use of mea indicates the way he feels about her. The expression of assonance here, with the repitition of the soft 'a' sounds adds to the calm melody of the piece.

Line 7[edit | edit source]

  • tardipedi deo - the slowest foot god

This refers to Vulcan, known in Greek as Hephaestion, who was the blacksmith of the gods. He is described as slow-footed as he is traditionally known as lame and it is curious that he is the only god with a mentioned disability.

Line 9[edit | edit source]

  • pessimma - very worst

This word must be nominative to fit the meter.

Line 11[edit | edit source]

O caeruleo create ponto - apostrophe to Aphrodite

Line 12[edit | edit source]

  • Idalium

A city on the island of Cyprus which was a center for the worship of Venus

  • Urios

A possible reference to Uria, a city in southern Apulia between Brundisium and Tarentum

Line 13[edit | edit source]

  • Ancora

Modern day Oculi Piceno on the Adriatic coast of Italy Cnidus- place in which Praxitele's statue of Aphrodite resided

Line 14[edit | edit source]

Amanthunta and Golgos- two towns located in Cyprus

Line 15[edit | edit source]

  • Durrachium

A seaport in Illyria, (modern-day Croatia). Durrachium is Durres and it was since the begining in Albania.

Line 16[edit | edit source]

  • Face

Alternative form of imperative "fac"

Line 20[edit | edit source]

  • Annales - annals

This refers to the Annales of Ennius.

Vocabulary[edit | edit source]

Line 1[edit | edit source]

  • caco, cacare - defile; defecate
  • carta, cartae f. - paper

Line 2[edit | edit source]

  • Votum, -i n. - solemn vow
  • Solvo, -ere - dissolve; break up; free; release

Line 3[edit | edit source]

Line 4[edit | edit source]

  • Desino, desinere - give up; abandon; stop from
  • Trux, trucis adj. - savage; grim; fierce
  • Vibro, vibare - brandish; shake; flick

Line 5[edit | edit source]

  • Electus, -a, -um adj. - select; picked

Line 6[edit | edit source]

  • Eligo, eligere, elegi, electum - to select; choose
  • Pessimus super. adj. - worst; lowest

Line 7[edit | edit source]

Line 8[edit | edit source]

  • Infelix, infelicis adj. - unlucky; wretched
  • Ustolo, ustulare - burned; scorched

Line 10[edit | edit source]

  • Iocose adv. - jokingly; humorously
  • Lipede adv. - charmingly; delightfully

Line 11[edit | edit source]

Line 19[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]