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Problems with Catullus VIII

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Problems with Catullus VIII

Postby benissimus » Tue Nov 25, 2003 1:18 pm

I've decided to translate this for my final. It doesn't seem that hard but I am finding some areas confusing...


MISER Catulle, desinas ineptire,
et quod uides perisse perditum ducas.
fulsere quondam candidi tibi soles,
cum uentitabas quo puella ducebat
amata nobis quantum amabitur nulla. 5
ibi illa multa cum iocosa fiebant,
quae tu uolebas nec puella nolebat,
fulsere uere candidi tibi soles.
nunc iam illa non uult: tu quoque impotens noli,
nec quae fugit sectare, nec miser uiue, 10
sed obstinata mente perfer, obdura.
uale puella, iam Catullus obdurat,
nec te requiret nec rogabit inuitam.
at tu dolebis, cum rogaberis nulla.
scelesta, uae te, quae tibi manet uita? 15
quis nunc te adibit? cui uideberis bella?
quem nunc amabis? cuius esse diceris?
quem basiabis? cui labella mordebis?
at tu, Catulle, destinatus obdura.


- In line 7, we have "nec... nolebat"; how does Latin consider double negatives? Does this translate to "nor did she not want" or is it just a figure of speech that means "and she did not want"?

- In line 10, there is the word "sectare"... Can an impersonal be formed from just any verb and more importantly, what does it mean?


P.S. Episcope, ne hoc legas carmen... tam est modi tui.
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Re: Problems with Catullus VIII

Postby Skylax » Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:27 pm

benissimus wrote:I've decided to translate this for my final.
- In line 7, we have "nec... nolebat"; how does Latin consider double negatives? Does this translate to "nor did she not want" or is it just a figure of speech that means "and she did not want"?


It means "she didn't refuse" (litotes, here an understatement)

- In line 10, there is the word "sectare"... Can an impersonal be formed from just any verb and more importantly, what does it mean?

It is present imperative of SECTOR, SECTARI "to follow", thus a deponent verb always conjugated in the passive form with an active meaning. A pronoun eam is implied before the quae. I think that the first nec falls on the eam quae fugit, i.e. not directly on the verb, and the second one on the miser, but it doesn't matter in translating.
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Postby Episcopus » Tue Nov 25, 2003 3:02 pm

Oh my God that is like so easy
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Postby benissimus » Wed Nov 26, 2003 3:27 am

I hadn't even thought that it might be an imperative... My footnote said IMP. and I thought it meant impersonal :? And yes, I did manage to pick up on the litotes. I find it funny that Wheelock left that passage out, perhaps I can surprise my teacher a bit :) I guess Catullus eventually lost his subtlety, judging by that fact that he has several poems addressed "Ad mentulam" :roll:

Episcopus, since you have evidently surpassed me, perhaps you would care to compare translations? :twisted:
Last edited by benissimus on Wed Nov 26, 2003 4:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby benissimus » Wed Nov 26, 2003 4:15 am

Another question...

Line 14 cum rogaberis nulla.

Does it mean this: "when you, no one, are asked for," where nulla is vocative?
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Postby Skylax » Wed Nov 26, 2003 10:59 am

I don't think nulla is a vocative. In my mind, it is rather a nominative, compement (predicate) of the subject "you" of rogaberis. Nullus can mean "non-existent"*, so "you will be asked as a non-existent (girl)", a way to say "You won't be asked at all". Smithers (Perseus) translates simply "But you will be pained, when you are not asked".

*e.g. mortui nulli sunt Cicero,Tusculanae disputationes, I, 87 "the dead are non-existent, the dead are nothing". See also the use of nullus to express a mere negation :

(from Perseus' Latin Dictionary)
C. (Mostly conversational.) Nullus, = non, not, not at all: at tu edepol nullus creduas, Plaut. Trin. 3, 1, 5 ; id. Rud. 4, 4, 91: is nullus venit, id. As. 2, 4, 2 : memini, tametsi nullus moneas, Ter. Eun. 2, 1, 10 ; id. Hec. 1, 2, 3 (cf. II. C. infra): Philotimus non modo nullus venit, sed, etc., Cic. Att. 11, 24, 4 : Sextus ab armis nullus discedit, id. ib. 15, 22 ; cf. id. ib. 15, 29, 1: nolite arbitrari, me, cum a vobis discessero, nusquam aut nullum fore, id. Sen. 22, 79 : hereditas quae nulla debetur, id. Verr. 2, 2, 17, § 44 ; id. Rosc. Am. 44, 128.--
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