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Editor’s Note50

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Editor’s Note
A glimpse of the novi poetae at play; Catullus has spent an evening in gay improvisation with the lively little Calvus (see on 14 and 53), longs for another meeting, and demands it with characteristic extravagance. There is artifice in the form, of course. The lines are 'To Calvus', but Calvus did not need to be told what he had been doing the night before; Catullus is writing for other readers.
Editor’s Note
1. hesterno … die : the periphrasis for heri is probably not so 'formal' (Ellis) as it sounds to us; it appears in the very informal conversation of Petronius' characters (131. 2, 139. 5).
Editor’s Note
otiosi : 'having nothing to do'; cf. 10. 2.
Critical Apparatus
50. 2 in meis V: inuicem Sabellicus, 'an in tueis?' Schwabe
Editor’s Note
2. lusimus : 'we amused ourselves': so ludebat below. From this way of speaking comes the regular, and almost technical, use of ludere and lusus for the writing of the lighter forms of verse: cf. 68. 17 'multa satis lusi', Virg. Ecl. 6. 1, Georg. iv. 565 (of pastoral), Pliny, Ep. vii. 9. 9. See Wagenvoort, Studies in Roman Literature, pp. 30 ff., who points out that the term is relative; lusus may refer to trifling verse as opposed to serious poetry, to 'slight' poetry as opposed to epic and tragedy, or even to any poetry as opposed to active life.
Editor’s Note
in meis tabellis : a pair (or set: Martial speaks of sets of three and five leaves, xiv. 6. 1, 4. 2) of waxed wooden tablets, with a raised rim to prevent rubbing, hinged together at one side, which Catullus carried with him as a notebook, the pugillaria of 42. 5 (so called because they could be held in the closed hand) and the codicilli of 42. 11. (See C. H. Roberts in Proc. of the Brit. Acad. xl, p. 170.) Editors have made much of the fact that Calvus' tablets are not mentioned: but even if the meeting was (as one would guess from the poem) in Calvus' house, why should Catullus' notebook not have been passed to and fro between the two partners in the game as ideas occurred to them?
Editor’s Note
3. conuenerat esse delicatos : 'we had agreed to be naughty'. The basic notion of deliciae seems to have been 'allurement' and its simplest use is perhaps to be seen in the meaning 'pet', 'darling' (cf. 2. 1 'deliciae meae puellae' and phrases there quoted). The relation between deliciae and delicatus, 'pampered' (e.g. Plaut. Men. 119 'nimium ego te habui delicatam', 'I have spoiled you', Sen. Ep. 55. 9 'praesentia nos delicatos facit': see on 17. 15) is obscure and it may well be that the words have entirely different origins; in any case, whether because of a real connexion or because of a fortuitous similarity, delicatus was treated as the adjective corresponding to the noun deliciae. Between them the words come to cover the whole range of uninhibited behaviour from wilfulness (Varro, L.L. ix. 10 'si quis puerorum per delicias pedes male ponere … coeperit'), caprice (Cic. Fin. i. 5 'fastidii delicatissimi'), egoism (Sen. Ep. 104. 3 'qui perseuerabit mori, delicatus est'), airs (Cic. Att. i. 17. 9 ecce aliae deliciae equitum uix ferendae'), fads and affectations (Cic. Or. 39 'Herodotus Thucydidesque longissime a talibus deliciis … afuerunt', Quint. i. 11. 6 'illas circa s litteram delicias'), dandyism (Quint. ix. 4. 113 'equorum cursum delicati minutis passibus frangunt'), to irresponsible pleasure-seeking, frivolity, dissipation, and sensuality (Cic. Am. 52 'homines deliciis diffluentes', Prop. ii. 15. 2 'lectule deliciis facte beate meis'). Cicero uses the words as a moralist castigating the moral irresponsibility of the bohemian society of his day ('libidinosa et delicata iuuentus', Att. i. 19. 8); Catullus and Calvus speak the language of the society he is castigating. In Cael. 44 Cicero quotes the word deliciae with obvious distaste as a fashionable euphemism for the amours of Clodia's set—'amores et deliciae quae uocantur'; for Catullus there is nothing to be ashamed of in deliciae—in poem 45 his Acme 'in Septimio delicias facit'. So with delicatus: Cicero makes capital of delicatissimi uersus written in Piso's Epicurean circle which he cannot quote (Pis. 70); for Catullus and Calvus delicati uersus are something of which they make no secret—irresponsible naughtiness is life to them.
Critical Apparatus
5 ludebat al. le- R
Editor’s Note
5. illoc : the deictic suffix -c(e), which survives in classical usage only in the declension of hic and in certain demonstrative forms used as adverbs (illuc, illinc, illic, &c.) is in earlier Latin attached to any demonstrative form.
Editor’s Note
6. reddens mutua : 'giving and taking': cf. Ov. Met. viii. 717 'mutua … reddebant dicta'.
Editor’s Note
per iocum atque uinum, 'over our fun and our wine': cf. 12. 2 'in ioco atque uino'.
Critical Apparatus
7 abiit V: corr. r
Editor’s Note
7. atque : 'and then', 'and so', continuing a rapid, vivid narrative, as often in comedy.
Editor’s Note
lepore … facetiisque : 'brilliance and humour': the same combination again in 12. 8–9. On facetiae see note on 12. 8.
Critical Apparatus
facetiisque r: faceti tuique V
Editor’s Note
8. incensus : there is no suggestion in incensus or in dolor (17) that Catullus was out of temper or angry. The words are those which represent a lover's emotions—desire and heartache (the ardor and dolor of 2. 7–8); extravagantly, no doubt, but not insincerely, Catullus finds in these an analogy to his own feelings for the object of his admiration.
Critical Apparatus
10 sompnus r: somnos V
Editor’s Note
11. toto … lecto : cf. Prop. ii. 22b. 47 'quanta illum toto uersant suspiria lecto', i. 14. 21 '(Venus non timet) miserum toto iuuenem uersare cubili', Juv. 13. 218 'toto uersata toro iam membra quiescunt'.
Editor’s Note
indomitus : 'uncontrollable': cf. 64. 54 'indomitos furores'; Catullus slightly changes the phrase to avoid an awkward succession of ablatives. furor is a strong word (it is the technical term for mental derangement): Catullus is having a 'nervous breakdown'.
Critical Apparatus
12 uersaretur V: corr. r
Critical Apparatus
13 omnem X (al. essem add. Rmg); cf. 63. 90
Editor’s Note
13. simul essem : 'be with you', a colloquial phrase: cf. 21. 5 'simul es', Hor. Ep. i. 10. 50 'excepto quod non simul esses cetera laetus', Cic. Fam. ix. 1. 2 'dum simul simus'.
Critical Apparatus
14 at α‎: ad V
Editor’s Note
14. labore : 'my suffering': for labor used of mental distress cf. Plaut. Curc. 219 'ualetudo decrescit, accrescit labor', Pseud. 695 'scis amorem, scis laborem, scis egestatem meam'. So 38. 2 laboriose.
Editor’s Note
15. iacebant : the imperfect after postquam, when the verb indicates not an event but a state of things, is uncommon but regular: e.g. Cic. Quinct. 70 'postquam qui tibi erant amici non poterant uincere, ut amici tibi essent qui uincebant effecisti'; Att. iii. 19. 1 'postea quam omnis actio huius anni confecta nobis uidebatur, in Asiam ire nolui'; Caes. B.C. iii. 60. 5.
Editor’s Note
semimortua : the adjective occurs first here and not again till Apuleius.
Editor’s Note
16. iucunde : so 14. 2 'iucundissime Calue': the iucundus is one whose company gives pleasure: cf. Hor. Sat. i. 3. 93 'ob hanc rem … minus hoc iucundus amicus / sit mihi', i. 5. 44 'nil ego contulerim iucundo sanus amico'.
Critical Apparatus
18 caue sis Pall., caueas r: caueris V
Editor’s Note
50. 18 Seruius ad Vergili aen. iv. 409 Catullus cauĕre dixit (cf. 61. 145).
Editor’s Note
18. cauĕ : cf. 61. 145. For the 'iambic shortening' see on 10. 27; the -ĕ is regular in comedy and frequent in Horace and the elegiac poets.
Editor’s Note
preces : 'my petition' continues the exaggeration of the earlier lines.
Critical Apparatus
19 ocello V: corr. B. Guarinus
Editor’s Note
19. despuas : only here in this sense, but respuo is often so used.
Editor’s Note
ocelle : 'apple of my eye': the familiar endearment is common in comedy. cf. 3. 5 and 31. 2.
Critical Apparatus
20 nemesis δ‎ε‎: ne messis V
Critical Apparatus
resposcat O, reposcat G, reponat R
Editor’s Note
20. reposcat : 'claims retribution' for the pride which refuses a suppliant.
Editor’s Note
a te : see on 5. 5.
Critical Apparatus
21 uehemens V
Editor’s Note
21. est uemens dea : perhaps suggested by the line of Antimachus quoted by Strabo xii. 588 ἔστι δέ τις Νέμεσις μεγάλη θεός‎. The formal second imperative caueto enhances the effect of mock solemnity.
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