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At a banquet (v. 6), perhaps at the house of Calvus, perhaps at that of some friend (v. 7), Catullus and Calvus had engaged in a contest of improvisation, in which Catullus was so newly charmed with his friend's genius that he begs for a speedy repetition of the enjoyment.—Date uncertain, but perhaps not far removed from that of Catul. 14.1ff.—Meter, Phalaecean.

Licini: i.e. Calvus, on whom see Intr. 60.

[2] lusimus: of lyric, especially amatory, verse composition; cf. Catul. 61.232; Catul. 68.17 Hor. Carm. 1.32.1si quid vacui sub umbra lusimus tecum, barbite” ; Verg. Ecl. 1.10ludere quae vellem calamo agresti” ; Aus. Epist. 7.1ut rescriberes ad ea quae ioculariter luseram.

[2] tabellis: i.e. pugillaribus; cf. Catul. 42.5n.; Catul. 25.7n.

[3] convenerat: we had agreed.

[3] esse delicatos: i.e. to compose amatory verse; cf. Cic. ND 1.40.3seiunctum a delicatis et obscenis voluptatibus” ; Cic. Pis. 29.70ut omnes libidinesdelicatissimis versibus expresserit.

[5] ludebat numero: cf. Verg. Ecl. 6.1ludere versu” .

[5] modo hoc modo illoc: cf. the close of Catul. 3.9.

[6] reddens mutua: probably each improvising on a theme suggested by the other's verses.

[6] per iocum atque vinum: cf. Catul. 12.2.

[7] illinc: perhaps meaning only ‘from the contest,’ though more likely indicating that the banquet was not at the house of Catullus.

[7] lepore facetiisque: cf. Catul. 12.8; Catul. 16.7.

[9] miserum: cf. Catul. 35.14n. misellae.

[10] somnus: etc. cf. Catul. 63.37piger oculos sopor operit” ; Verg. G. 4.414incepto tegeret cum lumina somno.

[11] toto: modifying lecto; cf. Juv. 13.218toto versata toro iam membra quiescunt.

[11] indomitus furore: i.e. unable to quiet my feelings; but cf. Catul. 64.54indomitos furores” .

[13] simul: cf. Catul. 21.5.

[14] postquam: found only here in Catullus with the imperfect, though he uses it with the perfect six times, and with the pluperfect subjunctive in indirect discourse once (Catul. 84.11). In the comedians it occurs only once with the imperfect (Pl. Most. 640), but this use becomes more frequent with Cicero, Sallust, and Livy.

[16] iucunde: cf. Catul. 14.2n. iucundissime Calve.

[17] dolorem: of longing passion; cf. Catul. 2.7n.

[18] audax: with the meaning of superbus.

[18] cavĕ: cf. the same quantity in v. 19 and Catul. 61.152, and frequently in the comedians and later. The verb occurs in Catullus but four times, and yet with three different constructions dependent upon it; the simple subjunctive in this and the following verses, the present infinitive in v. 21, and the subjunctive with ne in Catul. 61.152.

[18] preces: as expressed in v. 13.

[19] ocelle: cf. Catul. 31.2n.

[20] Nemesis: the Rhamnusia virgo (Catul. 64.395; Catul. 66.71; Catul. 68.77) also appears as the avenger of slighted love in the episode of Narcissus, Ov. Met. 3.406ff.

[21] vehemens: severe, inexorable; cf. Cic. Catil. 4.6.12si vehementissimi fuerimus, misericordes habebimur” . The adjective is dissyllabic here, and apparently elsewhere, except in a verse of M. Aurelius to Fronto.

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  • Commentary references from this page (20):
    • Catullus, Poems, 12
    • Catullus, Poems, 14
    • Catullus, Poems, 16
    • Catullus, Poems, 21
    • Catullus, Poems, 3
    • Catullus, Poems, 61
    • Catullus, Poems, 63
    • Catullus, Poems, 64
    • Catullus, Poems, 66
    • Catullus, Poems, 68
    • Catullus, Poems, 84
    • Cicero, Against Catiline, 4.6.12
    • Cicero, Against Piso, 29.70
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 3.406
    • Plautus, Mostellaria, 3.1
    • Vergil, Eclogues, 1
    • Vergil, Eclogues, 6
    • Vergil, Georgics, 4.414
    • Cicero, de Natura Deorum, 1.40
    • Ausonius, Epistulae, 15
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