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What then, shall I do?1 Ought I not to go, not now even, when I am sent for of her own accord? Or ought I rather so to behave myself as not to put up with affronts from Courtesans? She shut her door against me; she now invites me back. Ought I to return? No; though she should implore me.

l'faith, if indeed you only can, there's nothing better or more spirited; but if you begin, and can not hold out stoutly, and if, when you can not endure it, while no one asks you, peace being not made, you come to her of your own accord, showing that you love her, and can not endure it, you are done for; it's all over with you; you are ruined outright. She'll be jilting you, when she finds you overcome. Do you then, while there's time, again and again reflect upon this, master, that a matter, which in itself admits of neither prudence nor moderation, you are unable to manage with prudence. In love there are all these evils; wrongs, suspicions, enmities reconcilements, war, then peace; if you expect to render these things, naturally uncertain, certain by dint of reason, you wouldn't effect it a bit the more than if you were to use your endeavors to be mad with reason. And, what you are now, in anger, meditating to yourself, "What! I to her?2 Who--him! Who--me! Who wouldn't? Only let me alone; I had rather die; she shall find out what sort of a person I am;" these expressions, upon my faith, by a single false tiny tear, which, by rubbing her eyes, poor thing, she can hardly squeeze out perforce, she will put an end to; and she'll be the first to accuse you; and you will be too ready to give satisfaction to her.

O disgraceful conduct! I now perceive, both that she is perfidious, and that I am a wretched man. I am both weary of her, and burn with passion; knowing and fully sensible, alive and seeing it, I am going to ruin; nor do I know what I am to do.

What you are to do? Why, only to redeem yourself, thus captivated, at the smallest price you can; if you can not at a very small, rate, still for as little as you can; and do not afflict yourself.

Do you persuade me to this?

If you are wise. And don't be adding to the troubles which love itself produces; those which it does produce, bear patiently. But see, here she is coming herself, the downfall of our fortunes,3--for that which we ought ourselves to enjoy she intercepts.

1 What, then, shall I do? Phaedria, on being sent for by Thais, breaks out into these words as he enters, after having deliberated upon his parting with her. Both Horace and Persius have imitated this passage in their Satires.

2 What! I to her?)--Ver. 65. Donatus remarks that this is an abrupt manner of speaking familiarly to persons in anger; and that the sentences are thus to be understood, "I, go to her? Her, who has received him! Who has excluded me!"--inasmuch as indignation loves to deal in Ellipsis and Aposiopesis.

3 The downfall of our fortunes)--Ver. 79. Colman observes, "There is an extreme elegance in this passage in the original; and the figurative expression is beautifully employed." "Calamitas" was originally a word used in husbandry, which signified the destruction of growing corn; because, as Donatus says, "Comminuit calamum et segetem;"--"it strikes down the blades and standing corn."

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 63
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 72
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