Lesbia mi praesente viro mala plurima dicit:
     haec illi fatuo maxima laetitia est.
mule, nihil sentis? si nostri oblita taceret,
     sana esset: nunc quod gannit et obloquitur,
non solum meminit, sed, quae multo acrior est res,
     irata est. hoc est, uritur et loquitur.

fatuus, -a, -um         stupid, foolish
oblitus, -a, -um         forgetful
gannio, -ire               to snarl
obloquor                     to contradict
memini, meminisse    to remember
uro, urere                   to burn


If Lesbia is Clodia, then the vir is Q. Metellus Celer. Catullus wishfully places him in the role of a cuckold.


Discussion Questions


  • Does Catullus' have a point or is this just wishful thinking?
  • What issues of interpretation and authority are present in this poem? Who should be characterised as foolish? Is Catullus 'projecting'?
  • Consider carefully the language of blame and passion. How does this help the reader understand the interactions between the protagonists?
  • What is Lesbia's role in all of this? Does she still love Catullus?
  • In what ways does this poem relate to the other Lesbia poems? Does it place Catullus in a more or less favourable light?


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