venustus, dicax, urbanus: see Quintilian's definition of these three qualities in Quint. 6.3.17, Quint. 6.3.18,Quint. 6.3.21; and cf. Sen. Const. Sap. 17.3
 longe plurimos: i.e. an absolutely unprecedented number; longe is rare in the sense of multo before Cicero, but occurs frequently in his writings, and in later prose and poetry; cf. Caes. B. G. 1.2 “apud Helvetios longe nobilissimus fuit et ditissimus Orgetorix” ; Hor. S. 1.5.2 “Heliodorus, Graecorum longe doctissimus.”
 aut … aut: when correlatives, usually introducing mutually exclusive alternatives, as in Catul. 12.10; Catul. 64.102; Catul. 69.9; Catul. 103.1; while only a single aut is used in the sense of “‘or even,’” as in Catul. 29.14; and this is apparently the only instance where the latter aut of two correlatives has that meaning.
 sic: with a strongly demonstrative force, pointing to what precedes, ‘such being the case,’ ‘though the verses are so many’; cf. Liv. 1.5.4 “crimini maxime dabant in Numitoris agros ab iis impetum fieri: sic ad supplicium Numitori Remus deditur.”
 ut fit: as commonly; for mere scribbling, notes, and first drafts, wax tablets were generally used, or, especially when the writing was considerable in amount, parchment, on account of the facility with which writing on these substances could be erased. Surely the enormous amount of the verses of Suffenus must indicate that they are but a first draft, to be greatly reduced by revision, and therefore calling for the use of cheap materials. But, behold, he actually publishes them all just as they stand, and regardless of expense.
 palimpsesto: writing-fabric from which previous writing has been erased, from a motive of economy, to make room for later. Parchment lent itself most readily to such erasure by washing, or erosion of the surface, though palimpsests of papyrus were certainly not unknown (cf. Marquardt Privatleben der Romer p.815; Birt Antike Buchwesen pp. 57, 58, 63); but it is by no means certain that they are referred to here.
 relata: with especial reference to the form, as perscripta (Catul. 22.5) to the fact, of the writing. Referre commonly takes in this meanmg the accusative with in; but for the ablative with in see Cic. N. D. 1.12.29 “Democritus imagines earumque circuitus in deorum numero refert” ; Cic. Rosc. Com. 2.5 “nomen in codice accepti et expensi relatum” (edd. in codicem), and the ablative may be justified by the fact that here relata does not refer to technical entry in a book, but simply to writing in general.
 noui libri: i.e. no cheap palimpsest, but the best of paper, and that brand-new, ‘new books of royal paper’; and the emphasis effected by the parathetic construction is supported by the asyndeton preserved throughout the following two verses.
 umbilici: the rods, tipped sometimes with bosses, on which the rolls were wound (cf. the rollers with bosses at the lower edge of modern wall-maps); the name came originally from the central position of the tip of the rod at the end of the roll.
 rubra membrana: the cover of brightly colored parchment in which the completed roll was enclosed for greater protection; cf. Ov. Trist. 1.1.5 “nec te [librum] purpureo velent vaccinia fuco” ; Tib. 3. [Lygd.]1.9 “lutea sed niveum involuat membrana libellum” ; Mart. 3.2.10 “te [libellum] purpura delicata velet” ; Mart. 10.93.4 “carmina purpurea culta toga.”
 derecta plumbo: for securing greater regularity, a thin, circular plate of lead guided by a ruler was used to draw lines for the writing, and to mark off the space reseived for margins. derecta, like aequata, modifies omnia, and is written rather than directa because motion in a single, fixed direction is indicated; cf. Catul. 63.56 “derigere aciem” .
 pumice omnia aequata: the poet enumerates in detail and in logical order (chartae … membrana), as if with the author's own delight, the materials of this edition de luxe, and then sums up the particular operations upon them by mentioning the first and the last; ‘the whole thing ruled with the lead and smoothed off with the pumice.’ On the last operation cf. Catul. 1.2n.; Hor. Ep. l.20.2 “[liber] pumice mundus” ; Prop. 3.1.8 “exactus tenui pumice versus eat; ” Tib. 3. (Lygd.) 1.10 “pumicet et canas tondeat comas [libelli]” ; Ov. Trist. 1.1.11 “nec fragili geminae poliantur pumice frontes” ; Mart. 1.66.10-12 “pumicata fronte si quis est non dum, nec umbilicis cultus atque membrana, mercare” (and Mart. 1.117.16; Mart. 4.10.1; Mart. 8.72.1).
 rursus, on the contrary; cf. Catul. 67.5.
 tritius: if the emendation be correct, the meaning must be ‘more polished,’ ‘more fastidious in taste’; cf. Cic. Fam. 9.16.4 “ut Servius facile diceret ‘hic versus Plauti non est; hic est’ quod tritas aures haberet consuetudine legendi.”
 infaceto rure: the stupid country, as contrasted with the urbanitas of the city; cf. Catul. 36.19; Plaut. Most. l.c.; Hor. Ep. 2.1.158-160 “grave virus munditiae pepulare, sed … hodie manent vestigia ruris.” With the collocation infaceto infacetior cf. Catul. 27.4 “ebrioso ebriosioris” ; Catul. 39.16 “inepto ineptior” ; Catul. 99.2 “dulci dulcius” Catul. 99.14 “tristi tristius”
 Catullus falls here into an unusually reflective vein, quite in the style of Horace.
 attributus: i.e. in the act of creation.
 error: i.e. some mental idiosyncrasy.
 Cf. Hor. S. 2.3.299 “dixerit insanum qui me, totidem audiet atque respicere ignoto discet pendentia tergo;” and Porph. on the passage, “Aesopus tradit homines duas manticas habere, unani ante se, alteram retro: in priorem aliena vitia mittimus, ideo et videmus facile; in posteriorem nostra, quae abscondimus et videre nolumus. Hoc Catullus meminit.” To this Persius refers in Pers. 4.23 “ut nemo in sese temptat descendere, nemo, sed praecedenti spectatur mantica tergo. ” The fable of Aesop is told in Babrius 66 and Phaedrus 4.10.