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To Fabullus, an invitation to a dinner, where the guest is, however, to furnish the meal himself. Perhaps the dinner was to celebrate the return of Fabullus from Spain with Veranius; cf. Catul. 9.1 and Intr. 68, Intr. 69. - On the date of composition see Catul. 13.11n. —Meter, Phalaecean.

cenabis: to add to the humorous effect of what follows, the first two verses of invitation are phrased in a tone of lofty condescension, almost as if Catullus were conferring a munificent boon upon a humble friend. The verse is imitated in Mart. 11.52.1cenabis belle, Iuli Cerealis, apud me.

[2] The tone of dignity and condescension is kept up by the absurd twist of the modest phrase si mihi di favent, and the effect is angmented by the extreme indefiniteness of the time set. Catullus has not quite yet determined the important question when he will offer his Barmecide feast. But some critics understand paucis diebus to imply that Fabullus is not yet in the city, and the time of his arrival is uncertain.

[3] bonam atque magnam cenam: i.e. a dinner of fine quality and many courses.

[4] candida puella: i.e. a psaltria, as in the invitation of Horace to Hirpinus, Hor. Carm. 2.11.21ff. With the adjective cf. Catul. 68.134candidus Cupido” ; Catul. 35.8candida puella” ; Catul. 68.70candida diva” ; Catul. 86.1Quintia est candida” ; Hor. Epod. 2.27ardor puellae candidae” .

[5] et vino: cf. Catul. 12.2n.

[5] sale: wit, as in Catul. 16.7; Catul. 86.4.

[5] omnibus cachinnis: cf. Catul. 31.14quidquid est domi cachinnorum” .

[6] venuste: the word indicates the possession of a certain charm of society breeding, as in Catul. 3.2; Catul. 22.2. Cf. the similar vocative iucunde in Catul. 50.16.

[6] noster: also used in the vocative for mi in Catul. 44.l.

[7] cenabis bene: now that the condition has been stated, the words have a different expression from that in Catul. 13.1.

[7] tui Catulli: cf. Catul. 14.13ad tuum Catullum” ; Catul. 38.1male est, Cornifici, tuo Catullo

[8] plenus aranearum: denoting utter abandonment and emptiness; cf. Catul. 68.49; Pl. Aul. 83nam hic apud nos nihil est aliud quaesti furibus; ita inaniis sunt oppletae atque araneis” ; and more precisely Afran. 412 R. tamne arcula tua plena est aranearum? R. Browning, Ring and Book 5.49when the purse he left held spider-webs.

[9] contra: in return; cf. Catul. 76.23contra ut me diligat illa

[9] meros amores: a term implying a perfection of charm; cf. Mart. 14.206.1collo necte, puer, meros amores, ceston.

[10] seu quid: vel si quid, etc.; i.e. or if there be a term implying greater delightfulness, it is that. With the form of expression, cf. Catul. 22.13; Catul. 23.13; Catul. 42.14; Catul. 82.2ff.

[11] unguentum: when fine, one of the most expensive accompaniments of feasts; cf. Catul. 6.8n. Martial (Mart. 3. 12), apparently inspired by this poem, chides a Fabullus for furnishing his guests with good ointment, but nothing else.

[11] meae puellae: undoubtedly Lesbia; cf. Catul. 3.3n.; the lack of anything but happy feeling in the memory indicates that this poem was written while the love of Catullus for Lesbia was still untroubled by disagreement or suspicion, — therefore about 60 B.C.

[12] Veneres Cupidinesque: cf. Catul. 3.1n.; Prop. 3.29.17adflabunt tibi non Arabum de gramine odores, sed quos ipse suis fecit Amor manibus.

[14] Ellis quotes Ben Jonson, Cynthia's Revels 5.2 “you would wish yourself all nose for the love on't (a perfume).”

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  • Commentary references from this page (19):
    • Catullus, Poems, 13
    • Catullus, Poems, 14
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    • Catullus, Poems, 22
    • Catullus, Poems, 23
    • Catullus, Poems, 3
    • Catullus, Poems, 31
    • Catullus, Poems, 35
    • Catullus, Poems, 38
    • Catullus, Poems, 42
    • Catullus, Poems, 44
    • Catullus, Poems, 50
    • Catullus, Poems, 68
    • Catullus, Poems, 76
    • Catullus, Poems, 82
    • Catullus, Poems, 86
    • Catullus, Poems, 9
    • Plautus, Aulularia, 1.2
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 3.12
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