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Editor’s Note45

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Editor’s Note
Beneath the airy lightness of this love-idyll is an unmistakably deliberate symmetry of construction. Two groups of seven lines, the declarations of the lovers, are followed each by the two-line refrain; then a pair of carefully balanced couplets is enclosed between two others. The scheme is 7+2: 7+2: 2+(2+2)+2. And while the particular effects which Latin poets sought to obtain by alliteration and the principles on which they applied it may elude us, the use of it here as a piece of formal technique is obvious: Septimius' alliteration of six p's is balanced by Acme's five m's and the pattern of vowels in ll. 14–16 is not accidental.
  How much the poem and its pattern may owe to some Hellenistic model we cannot guess. The refrain, which in its simple exclamatory form goes back to Greek tragic lyric, appears as a structural element in the Alexandrian bucolic poets, who may have taken it up from some popular verse-forms; Catullus' use of it here may have been suggested by something in Hellenistic lyric or epigram. But while the care for form is Alexandrian, Catullus pursues it in his own Italian way, as the peculiarly Italian use of alliteration and assonance shows. Whatever lies behind it, the poem is not a mere exercise; its characters, whoever they were, are real persons, and the delicacy and gaiety of the piece are Catullus' own.
Critical Apparatus
45. 1 ac men X
Critical Apparatus
septimios O, septimos X
Editor’s Note
1. Acmen Septimius : the juxtaposition, as Ellis points out, sets the note of reciprocity which runs through the poem. We cannot identify either of the persons. Septimius—or Septumius, the older form which Catullus may well have used; the change in the spelling of this vowel was occurring in his time (cf. Quint. i. 7. 21)—is a common gentilicium; the only Septimius of suitable date of whom we know anything is the P. Septimius who was Varro's quaestor and to whom Varro addressed books ii–iv of his De Lingua Latina, and he is not likely to have been Catullus' friend unless Varro held the praetorship unusually late. The name Acme, not uncommon in inscriptions, points to a Greek freedwoman.
Editor’s Note
suos amores : cf. 10. 1.
Critical Apparatus
3 perditi V: corr. r
Editor’s Note
3. perdite : 'desperately': cf. 104. 3 'tam perdite amarem'; an expression of common speech, as in Ter. Heaut. 97 'amare coepit perdite', Ph. 82.
Editor’s Note
porro, 'on and on' (so probably in 68. 45), of indefinite future time, as often in early Latin: cf. Cato, fr. 29 'me sollicitum et exercitum habitum esse atque porro fore', Afranius 359 R. 'sinunt di et porro passuros scio', Plaut. Mil. 1091 'iam ex sermone hoc gubernabunt doctius porro', Ter. Hec. 764 'fac eadem ut sis porro'. Later it more often indicates immediate succession, but the indefinite use is occasionally found: e.g. Livy x. 8. 9 'aeque adhuc prosperum plebeium ac patricium fuit porroque erit', xl. 36. 1 'diuinare posse quid in animo Celtiberi haberent aut porro habituri essent'.
Critical Apparatus
5 potest V: corr. r
Editor’s Note
5. quantum qui pote : the construction is quantum is amat qui potest plurimum perire (i.e. amare). The expression of the thought is no more logical than a lover's protestation ought to be, but other similar ellipses help to suggest how it arises: cf. Cic. Fam. v. 2. 6 'tam sum amicus rei publicae quam qui maxime', xiii. 22. 2 'huic commendationi meae tantum tribueris quantum cui tribuisti plurimum', and the common quantum potest ('as quickly as possible') of comedy.
Editor’s Note
pote : in early Latih potis and its doublet pote (in origin probably a neuter form corresponding to the masc.-fem. potis) are both used indifferently with personal and with non-personal subjects: so, for example, Ennius, Ann. 174 V. 'quis potis ingentis oras euoluere belli', 403 'nec pote quisquam … corpus discerpere ferro', Plaut. Amph. 693 'qui istuc potis est?', Curc. 269 'locus non praeberi potis est', Truc. 317 'ego illum … spero immutari pote', Ter. Heaut. 321 'neque ferri potis es', Ph. 535 'hic si pote fuisset exorarier'. In Catullus pote has a personal subject here and at 17. 24, 67. 11, a non-personal at 76. 16, 98. 1 (in all these cases the copula, est or sit, is omitted); potis is personal at 65. 3, 76. 24, 115. 3, non-personal at 72. 7. potis goes out of regular use after Varro (who, like Plautus, uses it with a plural subject, R.R. ii. 2. 1 'quid pastores potis sint'), though Virgil revives it (Aen. iii. 671, ix. 796, xi. 148) as an archaism. pote occurs not only in informal prose of the Ciceronian period (e.g. Varro, R.R. i. 15, B. Afr. 54. 4, Cic. Att. xiii. 38. 1, Brut. 172 'hospes, non pote minoris' [sc. uēnire: an anicula is speaking]), but also occasionally in later verse as a metrically convenient substitute for potest (e.g. Prop. ii. 1. 46, iii. 7. 10, Pers. i. 56, Mart. ix. 15. 2); it reappears among the archaisms of Fronto and Apuleius. It also survives in utpote, a phrase ('as may well be') which has become little more than a particle.
Editor’s Note
perire : 'love to desperation', perdite amare, an emphatic colloquialism like the commoner deperire (35. 12, 100. 2).
Editor’s Note
6 f. solus … leoni : Statius cites Semonides, fr. 12 D. οὐκ ἄν τις οὕτω δασκίοις ἐν οὔρεσιν‎ / ἀνὴρ λέοντ‎ʼ ἔδεισεν οὐδὲ πάρδαλιν‎ / μοῦνος στενυγρῇ συμπεσὼν ἐν ἀτραπῷ‎.
Editor’s Note
Libya Indiaque : Latin idiom often prefers que or et where English normally uses 'or' in cases where either the copulative or the disjunctive may be logically justified, though they represent different points of view. The variation can be most easily seen in numeral expressions (bis terque, 'twice and in fact three times', bis terue 'twice or for that matter three times') and in 'corrective' phrases (Cic. Verr. ii. 3. 11 'magna atque adeo maxima', ad Q. Fr. ii. 13. 1 'magna uel potius maxima'); such pairs as Tac. Ann. i. 9 'uita eius uarie extollebatur arguebaturue' and Ann. i. 25 'diuersis animorum motibus pauebant terrebantque', Pliny, N.H. ii. 229 'fons eodem quo Nilus modo ac pariter cum eo decrescit augeturue', and (a few lines later) 'pariter cum aestu maris crescunt minuunturque' show how readily interchangeable the two usages are. The fact that they can be used indifferently in such cases, and in many others in which two ideas can be associated equally well in either way (e.g. 68. 54), leads to (a) the extension of et (and que) to cases in which it is more difficult to explain logically, like the present case, (b) the correspondingly unlogical use of uel (and aut), especially in interrogative clauses, where logic requires a copulative, and (c) the combination of the two forms of expression. For other examples of (a) cf. Lucr. v. 984 'fugiebant saxea tecta / spumigeri suis aduentu ualidique leonis', Virg. Georg. iii. 121 (the charger) 'patriam Epirum referat fortisque Mycenas', Aen. x. 708 'aper multos Vesulus quem pinifer annos / defendit multosque palus Laurentia' (V. is in the Alps, L. on the coast of Latium); for (b) Virg. Aen. vi. 769 'pariter pietate uel armis / egregius', ii. 74 'hortamur fari quo sanguine cretus / quidue ferat', Livy vii. 14. 1 'quaenam haec res sit aut quo acta more percontatur': for (c) Cat. 4. 7–9, Lucr. iii. 551 'manus atque oculus naresue seorsum / secreta ab nobis nequeunt sentire', Virg. Aen. vi. 608–14 'quibus … aut qui … quique … quique'. On these uses see Löfstedt, Synt.2 ii. 348, Peregr. Aeth. 200. See also W. H. Kirk in A.J.P. xlii (1921), 1 ff.
Editor’s Note
7. caesio : 'green-eyed': so in Hom. Il. xx. 172 the lion γλαυκιόων ἰθὺς φέρεται‎; cf. Plin. N.H. viii. 54 '(leonum) omnis uis constat in oculis'. Elsewhere caesius is used only of persons (in Cic. N.D. i. 83 'caesios oculos Mineruae' translates γλαυκῶπις‎; in Lucr. iv. 1161 the caesia puella is a Pallas in her lover's sight), but Donatus on Ter. Hec. 440 ('magnus, rubicundus, crispus, crassus, caesius') explains it as 'felis oculos habens'.
Editor’s Note
8 f. Clearly Amor answers each lover's protestations in turn with a favouring sign. There can be no question of a transition from an unfavourable attitude to a favourable one or of a previous omen given before the poem opens. The picture is whole and complete and it is a picture of perfect felicity. Clearly, too, 8–9 and 17–18 are identical and are to be construed in the same way; to punctuate in one place sinistra ut ante, dextra and in the other sinistra, ut ante dextra, breaking the clearly marked coincidence of grammatical colon and metrical unit, is impossible.
  What then is the point of sinistra and dextra? The facts about relevant ancient beliefs are these:
  (a) For both Greeks and Romans any sneeze might be a favourable sign, especially in love: so Hom. Od. xvii. 541, Xen. Anab. iii. 2. 9, Theoc. 7. 96, Prop. ii. 3. 24 'candidus argutum sternuit omen Amor', Ov. Her. 19. 152 'sternuit [of a sputtering lamp] et nobis prospera signa dedit'. (For a full collection of instances see A. S. Pease in C.P. vi [1911], 429–43.)
  (b) For the Greeks a sneeze on the right was a particularly lucky sign: Plut. Them. 13. There is some evidence that a sneeze on the left was unlucky; Plut. de gen. Socr. 11, which explains Socrates' δαιμόνιον‎ in terms of sneezes, a sneeze on the right being encouraging, one on the left restraining, cannot be taken seriously (since the δαιμόνιον‎, as we know from Plato and Xenophon, was always negative), but it points to some such belief, and in Diog. Laert. vi. 48 a sneeze on the left disconcerts a δεισιδαίμων‎.
  (c) In Roman divination the left was the lucky side (Cic. de Div. ii. 82: a favourable omen might be called sinistrum even if it occurred on the right), but the Romans took over the Greek belief which made the right the lucky side and inconsistently combined it with their native tradition: so while dexter never means 'unlucky', laeuus and sinister may imply either good luck (Aen. ii. 693 'intonuit laeuum', Phaedr. iii. 18.12 'laeua omina'; Plaut. Pseud. 762 (aui sinistera, auspicio liquido atque ex sententia') or bad (Aen. x. 275 'laeuo contristat lumine caelum'; Ov. Her. 13. 49 'a nobis omen remouete sinistrum').
  The most plausible explanation is that of the early editors that sinistra ut ante dextra is equivalent to primum dextra, deinde sinistra; Amor, hovering round the lovers (cf. 68. 134), sneezes both on the left and on the right after each lover's protestation, so making his approval unmistakable since (as Servius on Aen. ii. 691 observes) two omens are better than one. H. J. Rose makes the point (Harvard Studies, xlvii [1936], 1–2) that in the position in which they are depicted what is on Acme's right is on Septimius' left and vice versa and, since she is a Greek and he an Italian, their lucky sides are right and left respectively, so that, whichever side Love stands on, the omen he gives can be construed as favourable to one or other; but in view of the confusion in Latin usage it seems doubtful whether that conceit would have been readily appreciated by Catullus' readers.
Critical Apparatus
9 dextram ζ‎η‎
Critical Apparatus
approbationem θ‎: -one V (locus nondum expeditus)
Editor’s Note
9. sternuit approbationem : Propertius repeats the internal limiting accusative after sternuere with a variation, ii. 3. 24 'candidus argutum sternuit omen Amor'.
Critical Apparatus
10 at acme r: ad hac (hanc X) me V
Editor’s Note
10. at turns the reader's eye to the other side of the picture.
Editor’s Note
leuiter reflectens : she is lying with her head on his breast (in gremio; like Venus in Ov. Met. x. 556 'inque sinu iuuenis posita ceruice reclinis'), and tilts her head back to look at him.
Editor’s Note
11. ebrios : the 'intoxication' of love, as in Anacreon 17 D. μεθύων ἔρωτι‎ which editors compare, is not in point here. Love has gone to the eyes, not to the head: they are ebrii because they have drunk love and are swimming, 'natantes et quadam uoluptate suffusi' (Quint. xi. 3. 76).
Critical Apparatus
12 sauiata r: saniata V
Editor’s Note
12. illo purpureo ore : 'those rosy lips of hers', may perhaps be a reminiscence of Simonides 44 D. πορφυρέου ἀπὸ στόματος ἱεῖσα φωνὰν παρθένος‎. In any case purpureus probably conveys something more than mere redness both here and in Hor. Od. iii. 3. 12 'purpureo bibit ore nectar', though Bentley's comment on the latter passage, 'nihil aliud est purpureo ore quam pulchro et formoso', simplifies overmuch. In poetry, though purpureus sometimes clearly connotes a definite colour (as with pannus in Hor. A.P. 15, aulaea in Virg. Georg. iii. 25, pudor in Ov. Am. ii. 5. 34), it often expresses the idea of radiance or sheen without any reference to colour. Swans (Hor. Od. iv. 1. 10), snow (Eleg. in Maec. 1. 62), salt (Val. Flacc. iii. 422) are none of them red or anything like it, but all may be sparkling; similarly the word expresses the sparkle of the eyes (Val. Flacc. iii. 179), the effulgence of Love's wings (Ov. R.A. 701), of Love himself (Ov. Am. ii. 1. 38), of spring flowers (Dirae 21), of spring (Virg. Ecl. 9. 40), of youth (Virg. Aen. i. 591). [For an attempt to classify the uses of the word see J. André, Les termes de couleur dans la langue latine, 93 ff.] Apuleius repeats Catullus' phrase (Apol. 9) 'proque rosis [redde] oris sauia purpurei'.
Editor’s Note
illo : far from being, as Kroll suggests, merely articular, the pronoun enhances the vividness of the picture, directing the reader's eye (see on 64. 288). Observe the effect of the series of broad vowels 'illo purpureo ore suauiata', contrasting with the e's and i's of the next line.
Critical Apparatus
13 septimille r: septinulle V (al. septinuelle R)
Editor’s Note
13. mea uita : so 109. 1 (to Lesbia); Cic. Fam. xiv. 2. 3, 4. 1 (to Terentia).
Editor’s Note
Septimille : an endearing familiar diminutive, like Atticilla, Chrestilla, Maronilla in Martial.
Editor’s Note
13 ff. sic … ut : in this common formula of protestation the wish or prayer introduced by sic (or ita) is the guarantee of the statement introduced by ut: so, e.g., Ov. Met. viii. 866 'sic has deus aequoris artes / adiuuet ut nemo iamdudum litore in isto / constitit', Prop. i. 18. 11 'sic mihi te referas leuis ut non altera nostro / limine formosos intulit ulla pedes', Cic. Att. v. 15. 2 'ita uiuam ut maximos sumptus facio'. English normally reverses the construction: 'as I hope we may serve to the end the one master (i.e. Amor) whom we now own (huic), the passion that burns in me is far fiercer than yours'. For a similar use of sic with a following imperative see on 17. 5.
Critical Apparatus
14 uno X (corr. rmg)
Editor’s Note
15. maior acriorque : 'fiercer than yours', not 'than it was before': the lovers protest against each other, like the pair in Sen. Contr. ii. 2. 2 'assiduae contentiones erant: "ego magis amo": "immo ego": "sine te uiuere non possum": "immo ego sine te".'
Editor’s Note
16. in medullis : cf. 35. 15 'ignes interiorem edunt medullam', 64. 93 'imis exarsit tota medullis', 66. 23 'exedit cura medullas'; the lodging of emotion in the innermost part of the bodily frame, ossa and medullae, is a commonplace. It is unnecessary to explain mollibus as 'melting under the heat of passion'. The medullae are molles here, as in Virg. Aen. iv. 66 'est mollis flamma medullas', because they are a woman's: so they are tenerae in Ov. Am. iii. 10. 27 'tenerae flammam rapuere medullae'.
Critical Apparatus
17 sinistra ut r: sinistrauit V
Critical Apparatus
18 dextra 1472: dextram V
Editor’s Note
20. mutuis animis : in Fam. v. 2. 3 Cicero coldly analyses the expression, which his correspondent (Q. Metellus Celer, Clodia's husband) had used in writing to him: 'quod ita scribis pro mutuo inter nos animo, quid tu existimes esse in amicitia mutuum nescio; equidem hoc arbitror, cum par uoluntas accipitur et redditur'.
  amant amantur : for the idiom cf. Tac. Ann. vi. 35 'ut conserta acie corporibus et pulsu armorum pellerent pellerentur'. Phaedrus has the same asyndeton (ii. 2. 2 ament amentur) but without the reciprocal sense.
Critical Apparatus
21 septumius V agmen V: corr. r
Editor’s Note
21. misellus : of love-sickness again at 35. 14.
Critical Apparatus
22 siriasque V (syr- X): corr. γ‎δ‎
Editor’s Note
22. Syrias Britanniasque : 'any Syria or Britain': names of romantic adventure, the fabulous East and the mysterious end of the world. The choice of them suggests a date in 55 b.c. when the expedition of Crassus to the East and that of Caesar to Britain were in the air and no doubt in the thoughts of enterprising young men who hoped to make their fortunes. The 'generalizing' plural is less common with names of places than with names of persons; but cf. Cic. Att. viii. 16. 2 'nescio quas eius Lucerias horrent', Fam. vii. 11. 2 'una mehercule collocutio nostra pluris erit quam omnes Samarobriuae', Prop. ii. 16. 10 'alias nauiget Illyrias'.
Editor’s Note
23. in : the use of in with a personal object ('in relation to', 'over') is especially common with reference to love: see on 64. 98 in flauo hospite suspirantem.
Critical Apparatus
24 libidinisque X (corr. r)
Editor’s Note
24. facit delicias : 'takes her pleasure' (cf. 74. 2); see on 50. 3. The more usual meaning of the phrase is 'trifle, tease' (e.g. Plaut. Men. 381, Poen. 280).
Editor’s Note
26. auspicatiorem : i.e. 'ab auspiciis melioribus profectam': the rare comparative appears first here and again in Pliny, N.H. xiii. 118.
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