Vesper: cf. Plin. NH 2.36 “sidus appellatum Veneris … ante matutinum exoriens Luciferi nomen acclpit … contra ab occasu refulgens nuncupatur Vesper” ; Cic. ND 2.20.53 “stella Veneris, quae Φωσφόρος Graece, Lucifer Latine dicitur, cum antegreditur solem, cum subsequitur autem,Ἕσπερος ” ; Censor. Die Nat. 24.4 “eius stellae quam Plautus [Pl. Amph. 275] Vesperuginem, Ennius Vesperum, Vergilius Hesperon appellat.”
Olympo lumina tollit: the appearance at twilight of the evening star, though of course in the west, is by analogy spoken of as its rising; cf. Hor. Carm. 2.9.10 “nec tibi Vespero surgente decedunt amores nec rapidum fugienti solem.” Here the star stands above the Thessalian (cf. v. 7 Oetaeos) Olympus; though the poets also speak of Vesper as leaving Olympus (the dwelling of the gods) or Oeta to usher in the night; cf. Verg. Ecl. 6.86 “invito processit Vesper Olympo” ; Cul. 203 “piger aurata procedit Vesper ab Oeta” ; Cir. 350 “gelida venientem ignem ab Oeta” . For the ablative with tollere without a preposition cf. Ov. Met. 15.192 “clipeus terra cum tollitur ima” .
 mensas: the feast is doubtless that spread at the house of the bride's parents. Contrary to the usual Greek custom, women were present, but were seated at tables by themselves. From the house of her parents the bridegroom at evening escorted the bride to her new home in solemn procession to the music of hymeneal songs, which were also sung outside the closed door of the bride-chamber.
 hymenaeus: the marriage-hymn; with this meaning first in Hom. Il. 18.491 e)n th=| me/n [po/lei] r(a ga/moi t' e)/san … polu\s d' u(me/naios o)rw/rei; elsewhere in Catullus of the god Hymen (Catul. 61.4; Catul. 62.5, and often), and of marriage itself (Catul. 66.11, etc.). On the lengthening of the preceding short syllable see Intr. 86g.
 contra, on your side, i.e. from your position at a table opposite theirs.
 nimirum: i.e. it must be that the youths have already caught sight of the evening star, and that is the reason for their rising.
 Oetaeos: Mt. Oeta is the name of the range in the district of Oetaea, just at the head of the Maliae Gulf between Thessaly and Aetolia. Upon it the funeral pyre of Heracles was erected. It is sometimes connected with the Thessalian Olympus; cf. v. 1 n. Olympo.
 palma: i.e. victory
 non frustra meditantur: i.e. their study will not prove fruitless. Meditari is almost the technical word for poetic composition; cf. Verg. Ecl. 6.82; Hor. S. 1.9.2; Hor. Ep. 2.2.76. The verse corresponds closely with v. 9.
 quae laborant: but cf. the subjunctive mood in similar causal clauses in vv. 21 and 27. So Plantus and Terence apparently use the indicative and subjunctive indiscriminately with the causal relative, and even change from one to the other, as here, while in later Latin the subjunctive becomes the rule.
 nos: with strong emphasis upon the contrast with the absorption of the maidens in their coming task.
 allo mentes, allo aures: i.e. while they have practised earnestly, following their leader tota mente (v. 14), we have attended to our leader with our ears only, while our thoughts have been far from him and from the task that lay before us; alio … alio are correlative, referring to distinct directions.
 saltem: with nunc.
 Hespere: the same form of the name is followed in vv. 26, 32, and 35, and in 64.329; but cf. v. 1 Vesper (and the yet different name Noctifer in v. 7). With the sentiment of the strophe cf. Catul. 61.3ff.
 avellere: not with direct reference to the show of force with which in the Roman ceremony the bride was taken from her mother's arms, but in general of the rude interruption of the peaceful simplicity of her life of maidenhood; cf. Catul. 61.3 “rapis” .
 retinentem: clinging.
 capta urbe: the comparison of great woes to those endured by a conquered city was traditional; cf. Hom. Il. 9.592 “κήδε᾽, ὅσ᾽ ἀνθρώποισι πέλει τῶν ἄστυ ἁλώῃ” ; Verg. A. 2.746 “quid in eversa vidi crudelius urbe?” Prop. 4.8.56 “spectaclum capta nec minus urbe fuit” ; Ov. Met. 14.578 “et sonus et macies et pallor et omnia captam quae deceant urbem.”
 desponsa: ordinarily used only of the betrothed maiden.
 viri … parentes: i.e. marriage-contracts arranged by husbands on the one side and parents on the other. viri is used by anticipation as in v. 65 genero; cf. also 64.328 “maritis” . With the change of form of the repeated tense for metrical reasons and for variety cf.
;Lucil. 3.11 Müll.ff.
; Lucr. 6.2-5. “dididĕrunt, recreavērunt, rogarunt, dedĕrunt, genuēre.”
 Cf. similar sentiments at the end of 9, 45, and 107.
 Of this strophe, sung by the maidens, only the first verse remains, but the comparison of its key-note with vv.33ff., sung by the youths, indicates that the two fragmentary strophes stood in immediate succession. The strophe of the maidens ended, of course, with the refrain Hymen o Hymenaee, etc.
[33-36] The maidens had complained of Hesperus for robbing them of a companion, and in general for ushering in the night, the time of fear and depredation. The youths denied in the lost verses that Hesperus is the harbinger of danger, and in vv. 33-36 support their denial by two reasons and by an argumentum ad hominem: possible danger at night is averted by ordinary watchfulness; Hesperus himself acts as thief-taker by ushering in the unexpected dawn; and finally, maidens themselves but feign fear of the darkness.
 custodia: for custodes; cf. Verg. A. 6.574 cernis custodia qualis vestibulo sedeat? Ov. Met. 14.371 “abest custodia regi” . —Neither in this nor in the two following verses is there any reference to furtivos hominum amores (Catul. 7.8) save by merest indirection; the maidens complained, and the youths are responding to the charge, that the darkness makes possible acts of violence.
 idem … mutato nomine: the poet disregards the scientific fact that the same planet is not both morning and evening star at the same season of the year. The identity of Hesperus and Lucifer (cf. Cic. l.c. on v. 1) was known about the time of Pythagoras, whether established by him or by Parmenides, and is freqaently alluded to by the Romans; cf Varr. RR 3.5.17 “stella Lucifer interdiu, noctu Hesperus” ; Cir. 350 [ignem] quem pavidae alternis fugitant optantque puellae (Hesperium vitant, optant ardescere Eoum); Cinna Zmyrna (ap. Serv. on Verg. G. 1.288) te matutinus flentem conspexit Eous, et flentem paulo vidit post Hesperus idem: also
“ Sweet Hesper-Phosphor, double name
For what is one.
”Tennyson In Mem. 121
 ut flos: etc. the comparison of blooming maidenhood to a flowering plant is a favorite one; cf. Catul. 61.22n. Ellis cites the fuller imitation of this passage by Ben Jonson in The Barriers, and by Robert Browning Ring and Book 3.233ff.
 convulsus: the feelings of the maidens lead them to use a word implying more than ordinary violence (cf. Catul. 64.40), while in Catul. 11.24, for a different reason, the lightest possible word is used of the action of the plough upon a tender plant.
 mulcent aurae: on the generative and nourishing power of the breezes cf. Catul. 64.90, Catul. 64.282; Lucr. 1.11 “reserata viget genitabilis aura Favoni” ; Hor. Carm. 1.22.17 “nulla arbor aestiva recreatur aura” ; Prop. 4.7.60 “mulcet ubi Elysias aura beata rosas” ; Ov. Met. 1.107 “ver erat aeternum, placidique tepentibus auris mulcebant zephyri natos sine semine flores” ; Ov. Fast. 5.209 “est mihi fecundus hortus … aura fovet.” —The exact correspondence of v. 42 to v. 41 as of v. 44 to v. 43 (quem … illum; idem cum … illum), and comparison with the next strophe, where v. 53 hanc follows immediately upon vv. 49-52 ut vidua vitis … contingit, make it unreasonable to suppose a lacuna of one verse after v. 41, as required by a fictitious theory of precise correspondence in the number of verses between this and the following strophe.
 dum … dam: Quintilian explains as follows (Quint. Inst. 9.3.16): “Catullus in Epittalamio ‘dum … est,’ cum prius dum significet quoad, sequens usque eo” . In illustration of his view might be cited Pl. Truc. 232 “dum habeat dum (MSS. tum) amet; ubi nil habeat, alium quaestum coepiat” (cf. Haupt Opusc. 2. p. 473). But comparison with v. 56 indicates that Quintilian misunderstood the meaning of Catullus as much as did the less learned emendators of V and T, who changed the second dum to tum. The two dum-clauses are not correlative, but coordinate, both modifying sic virgo (sc. est), while sic is emphatic, referring to v. 42. Thus v. 45 corresponds alone to vv. 39-42, while vv. 46-47 correspond to vv. 43f.
 cara suis: the maidens use the second dum-clause as a sort of definition of the first, and so indicate their belief in the dependence of family and friendly affection upon the virginity of its object. The sentiment is more definitely declared in vv. 46-47. Observe the neat way in which the youths in vv. 46f. repeat after the maidens the first dum-clause, but define it very differently by the second.
 The fierce virginity of the chorus views even marriage as a compromise of chastity.
 castum florem: = castitatis florem; cf. Cic. Balb. 6.15 “ipsum florem dignitatis infringere” ; and cf. the indication of chastity as the crowning virtue in the familiar euphemism flos aetatis (Liv. 21.2.3; Suet. Iul. 49)
 vidua: (= caelebs) unwed, i.e. not trained upon a tree; more frequently used of trees themselves; cf. Hor. Carm. 4.5.30 “vitem viduas ducit ad arbores” ; Mart. 3.58.3 “vidua platano” ; Juv. 8.78 “stratus humi palmes viduas desiderat ulmos” ; Hor. Carm. 2.15.4 “platanus caelebs” .
 ulmo: cf. v. 49 n. vidua. The elm is most frequently mentioned by the poets as the tree on which the vine is trained; cf. Hor. Ep. 1.16.3 “amicta vitibus ulmo” ; Verg. G. 1.2 ulmis adiungere vites; Ov. Am. 2.16.41 ulmus amat vitem, vitis non deserit ulmum; Calp. Buc. 2.59 “inter pampineas ulmos” .
 marito: with the figure cf. ll. cc. and Cato RR 32 “arbores facito uti bene maritae sint” . Catullus apparently uses the masculine (as appositive) instead of the concordant feminine for the sake of the figure.
 dum … dum: cf. v. 45 n.
 magis: the comparison is not with reference to her husband's love for her, but to her condition before marriage (v. 45 sic); she has gained affection instead of losing it, for a husband is better than a friend, and there is no danger of her presence becoming irksome to her father (who desires to see his daughters settled in marriage; cf. Catul. 61.51ff.; Catul. 66.15ff.).
 et: connecting the general expression of approval of marriage with its application to this specific tase.
 noli pugnare duobus: Passerat cites the proverbial Platonic expressions from Plat. Laws 11.919b “πρὸς δύο μάχεσθαι και ἐναντία χαλεπόν” . Plat. Phaed. 89c “πρὸς δύο λέγεται οὐδ᾽ ὁ Ἡρακλῆς ” Catullus is the first to use pugnare with a dative, but he is followed by the later poets, who admit the same construction with other verbs of contest (cf. Gr. μάχεσθαί τινι); cf. Verg. A. 4.38 “placitone etiam pugnabis amori?” Hor. Epod. 2.18 “desinet imparibus certare” .