quod: etc. the poetical epistle opens in pure prose form.
 molli somno: cf. Hom. Il. 10.2 “μαλακῷ δεδμημένοι ὕπνῳ” ; Verg. G. 3.435 “mollis sub divo carpere somnos” ; Prop. 1.3.7 “mollem spirare quietem” ; Tib. 1.2.74 “mollis et inculta sit mihi somnus humo” ; Ov. Met. 1.685 “ille tamen pugnat molles evincere somnos.”
 lecto caelibe: cf. Catul. 6.6 “viduas noctes” ; Ov. Her. 13.107 “aucupor in lecto mendaces caelibe somnos” . The great grief expressed in vv. 1-6 can hardly be attributed to temporary estrangement or separation from wife or mistress, but only to her death; cf. also v. 13 n.
 veterum scriptorum musae: cf. Eur. Med. 421 “μοῦσαι παλαιγενέων ἀοιδᾶν” . The ancient poets would be chiefly Greeks, and the word with those following stands in sharp contrast to v. 9 me, and the following words. Manlius tries to find distraction from his grief in the books of the ancient (Greek) poets (cf. Hor. S. 2.6.61 “nunc veterum libris, nunc somno et inertibus horis” ) and fails; he therefore appeals to his friend for writings of his, either new or old.
 ff. Manlius, who apparently has not heard of the affliction of Catullus, had in the first part of his letter begged for consolatory verses from him, and in the second, urged his return to Rome, supporting his urgency by hints about the loose life of Lesbia during the unexplained absence of her lover. Catullus here and in vv. 33 ff. replies to the first part of the letter, and to the second part in vv. 27ff.
 Manli: the reading of V mali can readily stand for manli, as Catul. 61.16 “mallio” , and 61.222 “maulio” sufficiently show; and very tempting is the conjecture of Muretus that the happy bridegroom of Catul. 61.1ff. is now the grief-stricken widower of 68a who turns to his friend for comfort in his sorrow as he had for congratulation in his joy. Yet both Malius and Mallius are nomina supported by inscriptions of this age.
 The reason that leads Manlius to apply to Catullus for help, the death of one dearly loved, is the very reason why Catullus is unable to comply with the request, so reasonable from an amicus et hospes.
 multa satis lusi: i. e. I have written love-poems enough; cf. Hor. Carm. 1.32.2 lusimus tecum, barbite; Ov. Am. 3.1.27 “quod tenerae cantent, lusit tua Musa, puellae” . — Apollinaris Sidonius (Ep. 5.21) says of himself mihi quoque semper a parvo cura Musarum.
 dulcem amaritiem: cf. Sappho Frag. 40 “γλυκύπικρον ἀμάχανον ὄρπετον” (of love); Theog. 1353 “πικρὸς καὶ γλυκύς ἐστι … ἔρως” ; Pl. Ps. 63 “dulce amarumque una nunc misces mihi” ; Goethe Egmont 3.2. freudvoll und leidvoll die Seele die liebt; Ellis quotes Romaunt of the Rose, p. 86 Bell “For ever of love the siknesse Is meinde with swete and bitternesse.”
 tecum: etc. not so much, perhaps, that the bachelor Catullus looked to his brother's prospective children to keep alive the family name, as that brotherly love led him to ascrihe to his brother all the qualities that honored the family, and to himself none.
 haec studia: i.e. the writing of love-poems; corresponding to v. 17 etc. multa satis lusi as omnes delicias animi does to non est dea, etc. With delicias cf. Catul. 45.24n.; Catul. 74.2; with the otiose genitive animi, Catul. 2.10 “animi curas” ; Catul. 64.372 “animi amores” ; Catul. 102.2 “fides animi” .
[27-30] The reference to love-affairs in v. 26 leads Catullus to the second part of the letter of Manlius, wherein the writer, desiring the personal presence and sympathy of Catullus, and not knowing any reason for his long tarrying in Verona, endeavored to draw him thence by a warning (though using no names) that his duty to himself in the protection of his honor summoned him back to Rome; Catullus replies that his grief makes it impossible for even such considerations to move him.
 Veronae turpe Catullo esse: apparently the predicate infinitive esse is (though contrary to general usage) omitted here, or else (and most improbably) the later esse serves as both subject and predicate; for in spite of v. 28 hic and the MS. Catulle, a direct quotation in such a setting would be extremely rare. The meaning evidently is, ‘to be staying at Verona is dishonorable for Catullus, when his place with Lesbia is being filled by promiscuous lovers.’ The reply is ‘the matter is not one of dishonor but of sorrow.’
 Catullo: the poet likes to refer to himself in the third person, and V not infrequently gives e for o; hence the MS. reading is no great argument for a direct quotation.
 Catullus now returns to the first part of the letter of Manlius and explains why he cannot send poems earlier composed, —he has none with him, or none that would be new and pleasing to Manlius The lack of logical order, with the prosaic sentence-openings in vv. 1, 27, 33, and prosaic expression elsewhere, may be taken to indicate the distracted state of the writer's mind.
 non: modifying the entire expression, though placed before the pronoun, as frequently in Catullus. Riese gives a full list of such phrases.
 utriusque: i.e. of verses composed especially for you at this time, and also of earlier verses.