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Translation Help Catullus I

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Translation Help Catullus I

Postby Thucydides » Tue Apr 06, 2004 1:47 pm

quare habe tibi quidquid hoc libelli
qualecumque.

What exactly is going on here? I've heard "take whatever of this book, such as it is", but though libelli is genititve, hoc isn't.
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Postby whiteoctave » Tue Apr 06, 2004 3:39 pm

Yeah, I always found a few problems towards the end of Catullus' infamous dedicatory poem.
The main problem is the colloquial "habe tibi" which is used by a speaker indifferently and is often found in Plautus' comedies (e.g.Men. 690 'tibi habe, aufer, utere') and means, effectively, "It's yours, such as it is". It is a rather self-disparaging phrase which Catullus uses to heighten the modest nature of the introduction to his corpus - sort of, "have it then, I'm not really bothered about that". libelli is a partitive genitive dependent upon hoc, and adds all the more deprecation of his work, diminutive as it is. It is also very rare to have two indefinite pronouns (viz. quidquid and qualecumque) as one is obviously superfluous. But anyway, this little snippet amounts roughly to:

"Whatever sort of a little book this is, then, it's yours".

You should have put all of the latter line in - it's great since it doesn't scan. I reckon Catullus just went off the boil as opposed to any manuscriptual error!

~dave

p.s. are you from Britain?
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Postby Thucydides » Wed Apr 07, 2004 9:32 am

p.s. are you from Britain?


Yes... how did you know?
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Postby whiteoctave » Wed Apr 07, 2004 11:00 am

haphazard guess; although your occasional moniker of "Thucy" (not as of yet "Thucy-D") just seemed a British kind of thing.

~dave
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Postby Thucydides » Wed Apr 07, 2004 11:58 am

Amazing..!
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