Catullus 1

Catullus dedicates his modest collection of poetry to another famous contemporary, Cornelius Nepos, hoping that someday he might also achieve a renown similar to his patronís.

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Cui dono lepidum novum libellum
arida modo pumice expolitum?
Corneli, tibi: namque tu solebas
meas esse aliquid putare nugas
iam tum, cum ausus es unus Italorum..............................5
omne aevum tribus explicare cartis
doctis, Iuppiter, et laboriosis.
quare habe tibi quidquid hoc libelli
qualecumque; quod <o> patrona virgo,
plus uno maneat perenne saeclo...................................10

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Meter: hendecasyllabics (Phalaecian)
3. Corneli: Cornelius Nepos, poet and friend of Catullus.
4. esse aliquid: i.e., amount to something;
putare: introduces an indirect statement;
nugas: a common way to describe lighter verse.
5. iam tum: "even then".
6. unus: i.e., solus:
chartis: i.e., voluminibus.
7. Iuppiter: an expletive; cf. edepol, hercle.
8. quare: relatives at the beginning of sentences, as in this case, are often translated as demonstratives; 
: Partitive Genitive.
9. qualecumque: added to increase sense of modesty; 
patrona virgo: Vocative, addressing the muse; it was customary to invoke the muse at the beginning of a work of poetry.
10 uno...saeclo: Ablative of Comparison.
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last updated October 17, 2003
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