The Poetry of Gaius Valerius Catullus/40

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Text & Translation[edit | edit source]

Meter - Hendecasyllabic

Line Latin Text English Translation
1 Quaenam te mala mens, miselle Ravide, What bad mind, wretched little Ravidus,
2 agit praecipitem in meos iambos? drives you headfirst into my iambs?
3 Quis deus tibi non bene advocatus What god summoned not well
4 vecordem parat excitare rixam? prepares to rouse a demented fight?
5 An ut pervenias in ora vulgi? Or so that you may arrive into the mouths of the common crowd?
6 Quid vis? Qualubet esse notus optas? What do you want? By any means do you wish to be known?
7 Eris, quandoquidem meos amores You will be, since my lover
8 cum longa voluisti amare poena. you wished to love with a long penalty.

Connotations of The Text[edit | edit source]

Line 1[edit | edit source]

  • Ravidus

The rival of Catullus.

Line 3[edit | edit source]

  • non bene advocatus - not well summoned

A slight mistake in invocation may bring down the wrath of the gods

Line 7[edit | edit source]

  • meos amores - my loves

Refers to Juventius, a young boy who Catullus chased for his affections. Homosexual affairs were a normal part of Roman life, and Juventius may have been a freedman or a slave, since it was not proper for a Roman man to have sex outside marriage with another Roman citizen.

The use of the plural amores indicates the passion felt for Juventius.

Line 8[edit | edit source]

cum longa ... poena- Catullus predicts his poetry will be everlasting.

Vocabulary[edit | edit source]

Line 1[edit | edit source]

  • quinam, quaenam, quodnam - what; tell me?
  • mens, mentis f. - mind; reason
  • misellus -a -um - (dim. of miser) poor; wretched

Line 2[edit | edit source]

  • ago, agere, egi, actum - to drive; urge
  • praeceps, praecipitis (adj.) - headlong; head first
  • iambus, iambi - iamb; metrical foot

Line 3[edit | edit source]

Line 4[edit | edit source]

  • Vecors, vecordis - mad; frenzied
  • rixa, rixae - violent quarrel; brawl

Line 5[edit | edit source]

  • an – or; either
  • pervenio –ire - come to; reach
  • vulgus –i n.- common people

Line 6[edit | edit source]

  • vis f. – strength; force
  • libet -ere – it pleases
  • optas –are – choose; select; wish;

Line 7[edit | edit source]

  • quandoquidem – since; seeing that

Line 8[edit | edit source]

  • volo, velle, volui – to wish; want; prefer

External Links[edit | edit source]