Passer, deliciae meae puellae,
quicum ludere, quem in sinu tenere,
cui primum digitum dare appetenti
et acris solet incitare morsus,
cum desiderio meo nitenti
carum nescio quid lubet iocari
et solaciolum sui doloris,
credo ut tum gravis acquiescat ardor:
tecum ludere sicut ipsa possem
et tristis animi levare curas!

 

passer, -eris, m.                  sparrow
deliciae, -arum, f.               darling
quicum = quocum              with whom
sinus, -us, m.                       lap
digitus, -i, m.                       finger; finger tip
appetere (3rd)                     grasp after; peck
acer, acris, acre                   sharp
morsus, -us, m.                   a bite; biting
incitare                                 provoke
desiderium, -i, n.                desire
lubet or libet -                      it pleases
iocor, iocari, iocatus sum   to jest; joke
solaciolum, -i, n.                  little comfort
acquiesco, -ere, -ievi           rest; be satisfied
ardor, ardoris, m.                flame; passion
ipsa                                        = the mistress
animus, -i, m.                       soul; passions; heart
levo, levare                           relieve, lighten
gratus -a, -um                      agreeable; welcome
ferunt (3rd pl. pres. fero)      they say; report
pernix, pernicis (adj.)          nimble; swift
aureolus, -a, -um (dim. of aureus)  
malum, -i, n.                         apple
zona, -ae, f.                           belt; girdle; zone
solvo, solver                         loosen; untie; undo
ligare                                     to bind; tie

 

Metre:  Hendecasyllabics

General Questions

  • Discuss who has desire for what or for whom in the poem. What is the Latin evidence ?
  • Compare the dynamics of the "participants" in this poem with those found in Poem 51.
  • The possessive word meae in line 1, suggests an intimacy between the speaker and his puella. How does the rest of the poem support or not support this notion?
  • "Active" and "passive" sexual roles had different value to the Romans.
    • What role does the puella play here?
  • How does that connect with larger Roman social and cultural values?

 

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