Jovis die 28 mensis Septembris 2023


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Carmina Catulli recitata

Catullus Poem 74 with Translation & Vocabulary notes: Gellius audierat patruum obiūrgāre solēre

Catullus Poem 74 is written about a certain Gellius, probably Lucius Gellius Poplicola, consul in 36 BC and a favorite enemy of Catullus. He was a rival for the attentions of Clodia/Lesbia, Catullus’ beloved, and was accused before the senate of having an affair with his stepmother and plotting his father's murder. Catullus wrote 8 poems about this charming fellow. audierat = audiverat: had heard; pluperfect. The verb is shortened, “syncopated”, which occurs often in poetry. patruum: his paternal uncle, father’s brother; accusative subject of infin in indirect statement. obiūrgāre: to chide, scold, rebuke, reprimand; infinitive after solere. solēre: “was accustomed to”; present infinitive in indirect statement, expressed in the past because the main verb is in the past. Audio Gellium matrem suam amare: sī: if quis: anyone; = aliquis; after SI “ali-” is omitted. dēliciās: delight, pleasure, dēliciās facere = to enjoy oneself, to have fun (also in an erotic sense); darling, sweetheart, beloved. Used in the plural for a singular idea; accusative. dīceret: talked about, would talk about, would say; imperfect subjunctive. aut: faceret: would do, would have (erotic) fun, would have a sweetheart; imperfect subjunctive. hoc: this; neuter nominative subject. nē: “lest”, so (that this would) not…., followed by a subjunctive. ipsī: to him himself, dative accideret: (lest this) should happen, befall, occur; imperfect subjunctive, formed by the infinitive plus a personal ending accidere + T: Illud dicit ne hoc ei accidat: He says that so that this won’t happen to him. Present subjunctive. Illud dixit ne hoc ei accideret: He said that so that this wouldn’t happen to him. patruī: of his uncle, genitive perdepsuit: he gave a thorough kneading to, had improper sex with; an obscene euphemism, this word is found only once, here, in all of Latin literature! Perfect indicative. ipsam: emphatic demonstrative adjective, the very, herself; acc fem with uxorem. uxōrem: wife; acc sing. I am imagining a beautiful young wife, bored with her rich old husband, who might be tempted to have a fling with her young nephew. patruum: his uncle, acc. reddidit: rendered, made him look like, caused him to be or appear like; perfect. Harpocratem: a Harpocrates; the Egyptian god of silence, represented with his finger laid upon his lips. By this indiscretion, probably combined with a threat to talk about it, Gellius has made his poor uncle the very picture of silence. But wouldn’t you think his uncle would strangle him?! Quod: what, that which; accusative neut sing. Voluit: he wanted, he wished, he desired; perfect Fēcit: he did; perfect Nam: for Quamvīs: as much as you want (he wants), however much; although, with subjunctive. Irrumet: he were to abuse in a most disgraceful manner, he were to irrumate; subjunctive. Catullus is playing on the idea that this form of abuse would certainly prevent Gellius’ uncle from saying anything, and is humorously alluding to the god of silence, Harpocrates, with his finger over his mouth. He wants to portray Gellius as an absolute sleazebag, not saying that he actually did this to his uncle, but that now that he has slept with the latter’s wife, he can do WHATEVER he wants and his uncle will not criticize him. Ipsum: himself, his very, intensifies patruum. Nunc: now Patruum: paternal uncle; acc. Verbum: word; acc. Faciet: is not going to make, will not “utter”; future. Patruus: note the emphatic location at the end of the poem. PRONUNCIATION: geLLius audierat patru(um) obiūRgāre solēre,      sī quis dēliciās dīceret aut faceret. hoc n(ē) ips(ī) aCCideret, patruī peRdepsuit ips(am)      uxōr(em) et patruu(m) ReDDidit haRpocrate(m). quod volvit fēcit: naNG, quamvīs iRRumet ipsu(m)      nunc patruu(m), veRbuN nō(n) faciet patruus. METER: Elegiac Couplets Gēllĭŭs aūdĭĕrāt || pătrŭum ōbiūrgārĕ sŏlērē sī quīs dēlĭcĭās || dīcĕrĕt aūt făcĕrēt. hōc ne īpsi āccĭdĕrēt || pătrŭī pērdēpsŭĭt īpsām ūxōrem. ēt pătrŭūm || rēddĭdĭt Hārpŏcrătēm. quōd uŏlŭīt fēcīt. || nām quāmuīs īrrŭmĕt īpsūm nūnc pătrŭūm uērbūm || nōn făcĭēt pătrŭūs. REPETITION OF SOUND: Catullus doesn’t use end-rhyme, like many English poets, but he loves repetition of sound and words (assonance and alliteration) for sound and emphasis. He repeats a form of “patruus” five times: gellius audierat PATRUUM obiurgare solere,      SI quIS DelICIaS DICERET aut FACERET. hoc ne IPSi accidERET, PATRUI PerdePsUIt IPSam      uxorem et PATRUUM Reddidit haRpocRatem. QUod voluit FECIT: nAM, QUAMvis irrumet IPSUM      NUNc PATRUUM, verbUM NoN FACIET PATRUUs.

74 views • Sep 27, 2023

Horace Ode 1.5, to Pyrrha, in Latin & English: Quis multa gracilis te puer in rosa

Horace’s Ode 1.5, published in 23 BC, is addressed to Pyrrha, a former lover, who now seems to be involved with someone else. Quis: what, which, what sort of?; inter adj ( = qui ) Gracilis: thin, slight, slender, slim; nominative sing. Puer: youth, boy, lad, young man (strictly till the 17th year, but freq. applied to those much older); probably said disparagingly. Multā in rosā: in the midst of many roses; sing for the collective; ablative. MULTĀ gracilis te puer in ROSĀ: note how TE and PUER are next to each other, both “surrounded”, embraced, by roses, the word order cleverly reflecting the physical situation. Perfusus: drenched, sprinked, bathed, wet. Liquidis odoribus: w/ flowing/liquid perfumes, scents, essences; abl. pl. Te urget: urges, woos, surrounds you, presses against; te is acc. Sub antro: under the cover of a grotto, cave, a cavelike construction in a landscaped garden; ablative. Grato: pleasing, pleasant, agreeable; abl. Pyrrha: a former lover of Horace, probably Greek. Her foreign name and erotic relationships with men suggest she’s an elegant independent courtesan. Cui: for whom?; dat. Flavam: yellow, golden, blond Comam: (your) hair Religas: do you bind back, fasten up. Can also mean “unbind”, let down. Simplex: simple, plain, pure; sincere. Munditiis: in (your) elegance, neatness, tidiness; cleanness; ablative pl. The plural is used where we might use the sing in English. Note too the contrast between the puer, who is “perfusus liquidis odoribus” and Pyrrha, “simplex munditiis.” Heu: Alas! Oh! Ah!; expressing dismay, grief, pain. Quotiens: how often, how many times Fidem: faith, belief, trust, fidelity, promise; faithlessness. Mutatos deos: the changed, altered gods, the gods, who determine our fate, having been changed. -que: and Flebit: he will weep over, will cry over Aspera: rough, harsh; neut pl. Aequora: the seas, normally quiet and calm Nigris ventis: with black winds, storms; ablative pl. Probably refer to Pyrrha’s temper and their frequent arguments. Aspera nigris aequora ventis: note A B A B interlocking word order. Emirabitur: he will be astonished/amazed at; will wonder greatly at Insolens: unaccustomed to something, unfamiliar with; haughty, arrogant, insolent. Qui: who Nunc: now Te fruitur: delights in you, enjoys you, derives pleasure from you; + ablative Credulus: easily believing something, trusting in, full of confidence in; credulus, gullible. Aureā: of gold, golden; ablative agreeing with TE. Aurea is certainly an allusion to her golden hair. Qui sperat (te) semper vacuam, semper amabilem (futuram esse): Sperat: hopes, trusts, expects; followed by an implied accusative + infinitive. Semper: always, forever Vacuam: unoccupied, free, available; single, unmarried Amabilem: lovable, worthy of love; lovely, attractive, pleasant. Futuram esse: will be; understood; future infinitive. Nescius: unknowing, ignorant of, unaware of; plus genitive. Aurae: of the gentle breeze, air, wind; genitive. The gentle breeze of a love affair with Pyrrha that transforms into a raging storm! Fallacis: deceptive, deceitful, shifting, prone to cheating, treacherous, false. Gen fem sing. Note the contrasting expressions “credulus AUREĀ” and “nescius AURAE” and the clever similarity in sound. Miseri (sunt): wretched (are they), unfortunate, miserable, pitiable, lamentable Quibus: for whom Intemptata: untouched, not attempted, untried, untested; nom sing fem perf pass part of in-tempto. Nites: you shine, glitter, glisten, are beautiful (recalls “aurea”, like gold!!) “Sacer paries tabulā votivā indicat me suspendisse uvida vestimenta potenti deo maris” (“normal” word order)     Sacer paries: the sacred wall (of a temple); nom sing masc. Tabulā: with a tablet, sometimes covered with wax for writing; abl sing fem. Votivā: of or pertaining to a vow, votive; abl sing fem. Sailors who survived shipwreck would offer a vow at the temple of Neptune in the form of a votive tablet and the clothes they wore during the disaster. Indicat: points out, indicates, shows, declares Me: ”I”, accusative subject of infinitive. “Me” placed at the beginning is very emphatic, in contrast to the other poor naive souls. Suspendisse: have hung up (as an offering); perfect infinitive in indirect statement. Uvida: wet, soaking, humid, sodden; acc neut pl. His clothes are soaked from his “shipwreck” experience, but could he also be alluding to the passion of lovemaking? Vestimenta: clothes, garments; acc neut pl. Potenti deo: to the poweful god Maris: of the sea Vestimenta maris deo: formally maris modifies deo, but it can simultaneously describe his “sea” clothes. Note the double use of ABAB interlocking word order in one sentence!! Fancy! TABULA sacer VOTIVA paries UVIDA potenti VESTIMENTA deo       ARTWORK: Romam fresco, Pompeii, 1st century AD. Translation: David Amster, Fez, 9/18/23

238 views • Sep 18, 2023

Catullus Poem 73 with Translation & Vocabulary: Desine de quoquam quicquam bene velle mereri

Catullus 73, a moving poem on the theme of betrayed friendship, is addressed to the reader, perhaps us, but also to himself. In the last two lines he refers to a close friend who is treating him very badly. He chooses not to name the person, but some have suggested Caelius Rufus, who had a tumultuous affair with Clodia/Lesbia. “quam modo quī m(ē) ūn(um) atqu(e) ūnic(um) amīc(um) habuit.” This last line of the poem is remarkable for its FIVE elisions, which seems to have been used to convey Catullus’ distress. I’ve chosen to blend some of the elided vowels, as full elision would make it very difficult for the listeners to understand. Line 4 in the earliest manuscripts has the word “magisque”, but it doesn’t fit the meter: “immō etiam taedet obestque magisque magis” I have therefore adopted Merrill’s text, which omits “magisque” and adds a second “taedet”: “immo etiam taedet, [taedet] obestque magis” Vocabulary Notes: Desine: stop, cease; imperative with “velle” and “putare”. Note that Catullus used the same verb in Poem 8: “Desinas ineptire”. De quoquam: from anyone Quicquam = quidquam: anything, in any way. Bene mereri: to be well deserving, to deserve well from someone; mereri is a deponent infinitive. Virgil uses similar language in Dido’s appeal to Aeneas: “Si bene quid de te merui…” (Aeneid 4, 317) Velle: infinitive of volo after desine; wish, want; try, endeavor, attempt. Bene velle: the same words are found in the last line of poem 72: “cogit amare magis, sed bene velle minus”, but here the meaning is different. Aliquem: someone, anyone Fieri: to become, to be. Posse: to be able Desine putare: stop thinking Pium: devout, loyal, grateful, dutiful. Omnia: all things, everything Ingrata: thankless, unappreciated Nihil fecisse benigne “est” or “prodest” (it benefits) is understood. Fecisse: to have done, to have acted Benigne: kindly, generously. Immo: on the contrary, indeed Taedet: it disgusts, tires, bores, offends. Obest: it hurts, injures, harms. Magis: more; or rather, but rather. Ut mihi: as (it has done) for me, as in my case. Gravius: more deeply, more violently, severely. Acerbius: more harshly, more bitterly Urget: pushes, presses, burdens, oppresses Quam: than Modo: just now, a little while ago. Unicum: only, sole, single. Amicum: very emphatic as the only noun in the poem. Habuit: had, held; considered Pronunciation: dēsine dē quōquaNG quicquam bene veLLe merērī      aut alique(m) fierī poSSe putāre piu(m). omnia sunt iNGgRāta, nihil fēciSSe beniNGnē, iMM(ō) etiaN taedet, taedet obestque magis; ut mihi, queN nēmō gRavius nec aceRbius uRget      quam modo quī m(ē) ūn(um) atqu(e) ūnic(um) amīc(um) habuit. Meter: Elegiac Couplets – uu | – uu | – || uu | – uu | – uu | – – – uu | – uu | – || – uu | – uu | – dēsĭnĕ dē quōquām quīcquām bĕnĕ uēllĕ mĕrērī aūt ălĭquēm fĭĕrī pōssĕ pŭtārĕ pĭūm. ōmnĭă sūnt īngrātă. nĭhīl fēcīssĕ bĕnīgnē, īmmo ĕtĭām taēdēt. taēdĕt. ŏbēstquĕ măgīs. ūt mĭhĭ quēm nēmō grăuĭūs nĕc ăcērbĭŭs ūrgēt quām mŏdŏ quī me ūnum ātque ūnĭcum ămīcum hăbŭīt. Artwork: Fayum portrait, 138-192 AD, Altes Museum, Berlin, photo: ArchaiOptix, Wikimedia Commons, public domain. Translation: David Amster, Fez, July 13, 2023

246 views • Jul 13, 2023

What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sonnet 43

Sonnet XLIII Edna St. Vincent Millay What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why, I have forgotten, and what arms have lain Under my head till morning; but the rain Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh Upon the glass and listen for reply, And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain For unremembered lads that not again Will turn to me at midnight with a cry. Thus in winter stands the lonely tree, Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one, Yet knows its boughs more silent than before: I cannot say what loves have come and gone, I only know that summer sang in me A little while, that in me sings no more. Millay (1892-1950) published this in Vanity Fair, November, 1920, when she was 28 years old. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1923. The poem is a Petrarchan or Italian sonnet. The rhyme scheme for the first 8 lines: ABBAABBA; for the last 6 lines: CDEDCE. Artwork: “Photograph of Edna St. Vincent Millay”, Arnold Genthe, 1914, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., public domain.

145 views • Jul 3, 2023

Horace Ode 1.11 Carpe Diem!

Horace’s Ode 1.11, his famous “Carpe Diem” poem, was published in 23 BC, early in the reign of Augustus. He addresses this poem to his friend or mistress, Leuconoe, who seems obsessed with how long she and Horace will live. He encourages her to abandon such vain pursuits and to live for today. As this is probably a love poem, more than a philosophical treatise, he wants her to focus on action now, and to stop all the talk about the future. Ne quaesieris: don’t ask, you should not inquire about. Ne + perfect subjunctive = negative command, like noli + infinitive, but more colloquial and a bit stronger. Scire nefas: to know (our end is) forbidden, impious, sacriligeous. Quem finem: what end, what sort of end Di: dei, the gods Dederint: have given, perf. subjective in an indirect question. Leuconoe: a Greek woman, probably Horace’s lover Nec temptaris: shortened form of temptaveris, perf. subjunctive in a negative command; and don’t try, test, investigate. Babylonios numeros: Bablyonian astrological tables used to tell the future. Ut melius (est/sit): how much better it is / would be; ut (how) introduces an exclamatory sentence. Quicquid = quidquid: whatever Pati: to suffer, endure, submit to; a deponent verb, passive infinitive with active meaning. Pluris = plures: many (more); -is instead of -es is common in poetry. Seu = sive: whether Hiemes: winters Tribuit: has granted, allowed, assigned; can be present or perfect. Ultimam (hiemem): the last, final Quae nunc: “which now,” suggests that the present bad weather is preventing Horace and Leuconoe from fulfilling their plans. Oppositis pumicibus: with its opposing pumice stones, perhaps referring to the dangerous rocky cliffs worn away by the power of the sea. The porous pumice stones may be a reminder of how everything is ephemeral. Debilitat: weakens, debilitates, handicaps; the current bad weather makes the sea dangerous for travel. Mare Tyrrhenum: the Tyrrhenian Sea, located between the western coast of Italy and the eastern coast of Corsica and Sardinia. Sapias: you should be sensible, prudent, wise; present subjunctive used for a polite command (jussive or hortatory). Vina liques: you should strain the wines/wine; perhaps he’s asking her to prepare the wine that they will enjoy together; jussive subjunctive. Spatio brevi: can be ablative (because of the brief space of time) or dative with reseces (to/in keeping with the brief space of time). Spem longam: long-term hope, plans… Reseces: you should cut back, prune back; an agricultural metaphor; jussive subjunctive. Loquimur: we are speaking, talking; deponent verb. Fugerit: will have fled, run away; future perfect. Invida: jealous, envious Aetas: time, a period of time, a lifetime Carpe: pick, pluck, enjoy, make use of; normally refers to flowers, grapes, fruit. Diem: the day, this day, today, as opposed to “postero”. Quam minimum: as little as possible Credula: trusting in, putting your faith in, believing in. Postero: tomorrow; dative after credula. Translation: You should not ask, to know is forbidden, what (sort of) end the gods have given to me, what (sort) to you, Leuconoe, nor should you try Babylonian calculations (consult Babylonian astrological tables). How much better (it is) to submit to whatever will be, whether Jupiter has granted us more winters or this one as the last, which now with its opposing pumice rocks disables the Tyrrhenan Sea: you should be sensible, strain the wine (wines), and according to the brief space of time cut back far-reaching hope. While we are talking, envious time will have run away: pluck / enjoy the fruits of today, as little as possible putting your faith in tomorrow. Pronunciation: tū nē quaesierīs, scīre nefās, quem mihi, queN tibi fīneN dī dederint, leuconoē, nec babylōniōs temptārīs numerōs. ut melius quicquid erit patī, seu plūrīs hiemēs seu tRibuit IuPPiter ultima(m), quae nunc oPPositīs dēbilitat pūmicibus mare tyRRhēnu(m): sapiās, vīna liquēs et spatiō bRevī spe(m) longa(m) resecēs. du(m) loquimuR, fūgerit invida aetās: caRpe die(m), quam minimuNG cRēdula posterō. Meter: Greater Asclepiad — — — uu — | — uu — | — uu — u x (spondee, three choriambs, & an iamb). Note how there is usually a pause (diaeresis) after the first and second choriamb. Tū nē quāesierīs, | scīre nefās, | quēm mihi, quēm tibi fīnēm dī dederīnt, | Lēuconoē, | nēc Babylōniōs tēmptārīs numerōs. | Ūt meliūs | quīcquid erīt patī, sēu plūrīs hiemēs | sēu tribuīt | Iūppiter ūltimam, quāe nūnc ōppositīs | dēbilitāt | pūmicibūs mare Tÿrrhēnūm sapiās, | vīna liquēs | ēt spatiō brevī spēm lōngām resecēs. | Dūm loquimūr, | fūgerit īnvida āetās: cārpe diēm, | quām minimūm | crēdula pōsterō. Artwork: Etching of Horatius Flaccus, 18th century, based on a 4th century bronze medallion in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, artist unknown, from Wikimedia Commons, public domain. Translation: David Amster, Fez, June 26, 2023

268 views • Jun 26, 2023