Catullus, Carmina 5

 

Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus,
rumoresque senum seueriorum
omnes unius aestimemus assis!
soles occidere et redire possunt:
nobis, cum semel occidit breuis lux,
nox est perpetua una dormienda.
da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.
dein, cum milia multa fecerimus,
conturbabimus illa, ne sciamus,
aut ne quis malus inuidere possit,
cum tantum sciat esse basiorum.

rumor, -oris, m.                    rumour; gossip
severus, -a, -um                    serious; strict; stern
unius - (gen. of unus)           one
aestimare                              value; estimate
as, assis, m.                           as, penny
sol, solis, m                           sun
occido, -ere, -cidi, -cisum    fall down; fall; set; kill
semel (adv.)                           once; once and for all
basium, -ii, n.                        a kiss
dein (abbrev. of deinde)          then; afterward
usque (adv.)                      right up to; continually
fecerimus (fut. perf. indic.)     we shall have made
conturbare                               throw into disorder; scio, scire, scivi, scitum         know
invideo, -ere,                          cast the evil eye                                                   upon; begrudge;envy
Discussion Questions

 

  • What associations does the name Lesbia give to the poetry of Catullus?
  • Discuss the relationship of the 'outsiders' to those in the know (i.e. Catullus and Lesbia).
  • How does the quis malus of line 12 compare to the 'old men' in line 2?
  • Discuss how notions of 'counting' and 'valuing' are present throughout this poem. Who values what here?
  • What is the effect of the extraordinary build-up of numbers in this poem?
  • How are images of 'night' and 'light' used here?
  • 'malus invidere': how does this poem reflect prevailing attitudes about magic in Roman society?

 

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