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An appeal to an otherwise unknown Camerius to disclose his whereabouts to his friend, who has been searching through Rome for him. Similar descriptions of an anxious search for a friend through the city are not wanting in the comedians; cf. Pl. Amph. 1009ff.; Pl. Epid. 196ff.; Ter. Ad. 713ff. The poem appears to be an unfinished experiment in a not very pleasant modification of the Phalaecean verse, and was perhaps, with the accompanying fraument, 58b, found among the papers of Catullus after his death and published by the original editor of the Liber. The odd verses (and also v. 8) through v. 13, and from that point the even verses, have a spondee in the second place. In 58b, however, only vv. 1 and 9 have a spondee in the second place.—Date, 55 B.C. (cf. v. 6 n.).

si forte: etc. a bit of colloquial politeness; cf. Ter. Ad. 806ausculta paucis, nisi molestumst, Demea” ; Cic. Cluent. 60.168tu autem, nisi molestum est, paulisper exsurge” ; Mart. 1.96.1si non molestum est teque non pigetdicas.

[2] tenebrae, lurking-place; cf. Prop. 4.15.17saepe illam immundis passa est habitare tenebris.

[3] campo minore: probably so called to distinguish it from the great campus Martius; and Paulus (Fest. p.131) mentions a campus Martialis on the Caelian, where horse-races were held when the Tiber overflowed the campus Martius (cf. also Ov. Fast. 3.519ff.). This is possibly the place meant, as the search passed from it through the Circus Maximus, by the shops near the Forum (cf. Catul. 37.2n.), over the Capitoline, to Pompey's portico in the Campus Martius. There were yet other campi; cf. Prop. 3.23.6campo quo movet illa pedes?Not. et Cur. App. I. Campi VIII., etc. On the ablative without in cf. Ovid and Prop. ll. cc.; Liv. 21.8.7iustae acies velut patenti campo constiterant” .

[4] circo: i.e. the Circus Maximus, a haunt of idlers; cf. Hor. S. 1.6.113ff.

[4] : not elided, for no trochee stands in the second place; while the hiatus with systole is supported by that in Catul. 10.27; Catul. 97.1; Catul. 114.6; cf. Intr. 86d.

[4] libellis: book-shops, as perhaps in Mart. 5.20.8libelli, campus, porticushaec essent loca semper.” .

[5] templo summi Iovis: the triple Etruscan temple of Jupiter Capitolinus with Juno and Minerva ascribed to Tarquinius Priscus, was burned in 83 B.C. Sulla began, and Q. Lutatius Catulus in 69 B.C. completed, the new temple, which was itself burned in 69 A.D. under Vitellius (cf. Tac. Hist. 3.72).

[6] Magni ambulatione: in the summer of 55 B.C., the year of his second consulship, Pompey threw open to the public his stone theatre on the Campus Martius, with a magnificent porticus adjoining it in the rear of the stage. He is frequently mentioned by his contemporaries under the title Magnus, conferred by Sulla in 81 for his African victories.

[7] femellas: ἅπαξ λεγόμενον.

[7] prendi: hailed; cf. Ter. Phor. 620prendo hominem solum; ‘quor noninquam, ‘Phormio,’” etc.

[8] vultu serenas: i.e. showing no guilty confusion.

[10] Cămerium: the first foot is an iambus, with the second syllable long by position of its vowel before r followed by consonantal i; for a resolution of the normal trochee in a tribrach in this meter would be unique. With the construction (sc. reddite?) cf. Catul. 38.7.

[10] pessiinae puellae: you naughty girls (Munro).; cf. the jesting sense of pessima in Catul. 36.9.

[11] The general character of the gesture is clear, despite the difficulty of emendation. See Crit. App.

[13] te ferre: i.e. to endure with patience your conduct.

[13] Herculi labos est: with the figure cf. Prop. 3.23.7ubi pertuleris, quos dicit fama, labores Herculis.” The genitive in -i from Greek proper names in -es is not infrequent in the earlier period and in Cicero.

[15] ubi sis futurus: where you are to be (found), that I may come thither at an appointed time and meet you.

[16] crede luci: in contrast with v. 2 tenebrae.

[17] The sportive manner of the girl (vv. 11-12) has awakened the poet's suspicions, and he is anxious to learn the truth from his friend's own lips.

[17] lacteolae: apparently not occurring again till Aus. Epist. 7.2.46 carnem lacteoli visceris” (of an oyster), where it plainly = candidi (cf. Catul. 64.65lactentis papillas” ; Hor. Carm. 1.13.2lactea Telephi bracchia” ); see, then, Catul. 13.4n. candida puella.

[17] tenent: cf. Catul. 11.18n.

[18-20] With the sentiment cf. Catul. 6.1ff.

[18-20] tenes: this repetition with different meaning immediately after tenent of the preceding verse is but another mark of the unfinished character of the poem.

[21-22] The poet declares himself, however, more interested in the true happiness of his friend than in the satisfaction of his own curiosity.

[21-22] palatum: not as the organ of taste, but of the voice; cf. Hor. S. 2.3.274balba feris annoso verba palato” ; Ov. Am. 2.6.47ignavo stupuerunt verba palato” .

[21-22] veri amoris: i.e. sincerely requited love; cf. Mart. 11.26.5 Veneris gaudia vera.

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  • Commentary references from this page (20):
    • Catullus, Poems, 10
    • Catullus, Poems, 114
    • Catullus, Poems, 36
    • Catullus, Poems, 38
    • Catullus, Poems, 6
    • Catullus, Poems, 64
    • Catullus, Poems, 97
    • Cicero, For Aulus Cluentius, 60.168
    • Horace, Satires, 1.6.113
    • Horace, Satires, 2.3.274
    • Tacitus, Historiae, 3.72
    • Terence, Phormio, 4.3
    • Plautus, Amphitruo, 4.1
    • Plautus, Epidicus, 2.2
    • Terence, The Brothers, 4.5
    • Terence, The Brothers, 5.3
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 21, 8
    • Ovid, Amores, 2.6
    • Ovid, Fasti, 3
    • Ausonius, Epistulae, 15
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