Friday, March 16, 2007

Week 11: Acme and Septimius

In Catullus 45, we examine the love relationship between Acme and Septimius. It's a bit ironic, perhaps, after walking through the Catullus and Lesbia poems, that we then take up this poem about what seems to be an ideal love relationship.
So, my question to you is about irony. Can you find evidence of irony in Catullus 45, or is this just a very straightforward poem about the ideal love relationship? Before settling on an answer, examine the poem carefully, and compare two things: the message of the words, and the way Catullus structures or arranges the words of the poem. Do message and word structure compliment each other or create irony?
As usual, cite Latin examples, translate, and then discuss your evidence. The BEST response will be analytical and critical. A less than best response will simply summarize.

This assignment is not due until Tuesday evening at 10:00, but preparing it before then will help you with your translation quiz on Tuesday in class over Catullus 45.

37 comments:

chmathew said...

The poem creates irony because we have just been reading about how Catullus's past relationship did not end well. He writes this poem about a couple who truly love each other and he seems to be a bit bitter that his relationship couldn't turn out like that.

ARP Rocker said...

From my reading, i think that this is an ideal love poem. You have the two lovers, their professions of love and personal punishments for the giving up of the love. Plus, you have extreme synchesis which i will take to be weaving their love throughout their very words, to prove it to eachother. Then to finish his perfect love poem, Catullus challenges, "Who has seen men more blessed, who has a more auspicious love?" I think that is his way of pouting over his fictional love birds.

cullenforhire said...

Catullus 45 is a poem purely about an ideal love. And those who say there is irony must believe that this was written post-Lesbia, but I don't believe that the irony would have been so subtle that its existence could be questioned. He was too deeply wounded to write such poetry after his break-up. Therefore it must have been written prior to his Lesbia-encounters, and since we see that he believed in true love at the beginning of their relationship, it isn't hard to believe that this poem is just a sentiment to his idea of perfect love. These lines alone: "At Acme leviter caput reflectens et dulcis pueri ebrios ocellos illo purpureo ore suaviata... (And Acme, gently bending back her head and having kissed the eyes intoxicated with love, of the sweet boy with those rosy lips...)" show that he was writing about a true love, and that this poem is not just his bitterness coming through with a (possible) very subtle irony.

Vance224 said...

Throughout carmen 45, the actions associated with Septimius are generally more negative, such as in line 7 when he is on his way to meet the "caesius leo" or green-eyed lion (probably to be eaten by the lion). He is also later described in line 21 as miserable Septimius, "misellus Septimius." Both of these have negative connotations. However, the words describing Acme's actions generally have good feelings associated with them. In lines 10 to 12, "at Acme...ore suaviata," Acme is shown to be gently bending back her head to kiss Septimius' drunken eyes (another negative for Septimius) with her sweet, red lips. I feel that these are probably used to cast Septimius in a slightly unpleasant light or, at least, to glorify Acme.

Frank said...

This poem is about an ideal love relationship. I think that after Catullus' break up with Lesbia he wondered what true love was like so he wrote this poem. His proof for this true love is in lines 8-9 and 17-18 where he says, "hoc ut dixit, amor sinistra ut ante dextra sternuit approbationem," which means "As he says this, Cupid sneezed approval on his left as before on his right." Since Cupid is the god of love, sneezing approval means the relationship must be solid.
I don't think the word order makes the poem ironic. It could be that he wanted the keep the audience guessing as to what he was saying. It also could be as simple as avoiding ellipses.

jimi said...

I could believe this poem is an example of Catullus' thoughts of an ideal love relationship. You could reach and say his exaggeration of this seemingly "perfect" couple could be a bit ironic but i dont think this was what he was going for. the real question is where this fell chronologically because if this came before Lesbia he could just be expressing his ideal relationship (what he longs for) through another couple. Now if this was written after Lesbia irony could easily be seen just becasue of the feelings he must be having. He couldn't possibly write about how great love is after such an experience unless he was strictly trying to be ironic...its just not human nature.no matter what time period he wrote his work in. I should,however,take a side and i believe this is a poem of idealistic love written by Catullus to express his feelings or even to play out a fantasy either way with this theory there lies little or no irony, but instead a detailed and somewhat ideal love relationship between Acme and Septimius

Kirro said...

It is easy to imagine that Catullus wrote this poem while reflecting back on his previous experience. At first, he described his own relationship with Lesbia as ideal. The irony here is that despite this, it did not end well. In addition, Catullus' past relationship involved simple words and passion that didn't mean anything in the end. Here, Acme and Septimius offer each other the same. Acme says, "huic uni domino usque serviamus, ut multo mihi maior acriorque ignis mollibus ardet in medullis," or, "Let us serve this one master, as a flame much greater and keener burns in my tender limbs." If you remember, Catullus himself made a similar statement about a thin flame running through his limbs. In the end, it was only lust and passion, not true love. There lies the true irony of this passage.

Wolf Angel said...

I don’t think Catullus 45 was meant to be ironic, despite the poor relationship with Lesbia; I think it’s mostly a beautiful poem about ideal love and faithful lovers. From the very first lines, the love between Septimius and Acme is seen. Lines 1-2 say “Acmen Septimius suos amores tenes in gremio” (“Septimius holding his love Acme in his lap”); these lines start the poem in a very touching/sweet mood. In line 13, Acme calls Septimius, “mea vita Septimille” (“my life, my little Septimius”), which gives a very tender feeling, hearing her call him by a pet name. There is also the fact that Cupid himself approves of the relationship, as seen in lines 8-9, and 17-18, “Amor sinistra ut ante dextra sternuit approbationem” (Cupid sneezed approval on the left as before on the right). The word order of the poem is interlocked, which strengthens the feeling of love and the bond between the lovers.

Gretzky said...

This poem, Carmen 45, seems to me to be fairly straight froward. The word order is interesting but can also be symbolic of love. Love is not easy to understand, and there for, why should reading about love be any easier to decipher? The poem does describe the ideal love relationship. Both man and woman are indulged in each other and, cupid the God of love, agrees that it is a good match. The irony, the little that i can find, is not so much in the poem, as much as it is surrounding the poem. Catullus writes this poem shortly after breaking up with Lesiba. It seems that Catullus is looking back at what he had, and wishing that this is what it was. This poem looks like a nice romantic poem, but Catullus wrote it to tell Lesiba what she could of had with him. It was a pay back poem so to say.

gabaseballer7 said...

There is a feeling of love in this poem. Once again there are two lovers who obviously care a lot about each other. There are some negative things said in the poem, but not enough to shift the mood from loving to hateful. We talked about the significance of sneezing in class, so this poem demostrates how sneezing could mean a certain number of things. In this case, the sneezes symbolize something positive about the relationship between Acme and Septimus.

shocka said...

I believe that Catullus 45 has both characteristics: strictly explaining an ideal relationship and weaving his feelings throughout the lines. Catullus' repetitive use of synchesis, an interlocked word order, "weaves" the feelings between Acme and Septimius all through Catullus 45, expressing their relationship. But, if this poem was indeed written after Catullus and Lesbia's break-up, I think Catullus has come to the point where he is bitter about the situation and tends to be a bit jealous of this "ideal" accord he describes, exposing the irony.

said...

I think that Carmen 45 is just an ideal love poem. Even though Catullus just had a rough break-up maybe this poem is just him talking about a couple that has just begun a loving relationship and Catullus is envious but happy for them. After both Acme and Septimius say their lines of love, Catullus then says, "Hoc ut dixit, Amor sinistra ut ante dextra sternuit approbationem," which means, "As he said this, Cupid sneezed approval on the left as before on the right." This example was never used by Catullus when he was talking about him and Lesbia. So, I think that Catullus is writing about an ideal love relaitonship in Carmen 45 and the message and word structure in the poem compliment eachother rather than create irony.

Minerva said...

Knowing that Catullus has lost his own ideal love, Carmen 45 has room for an ironic interpretation. Nevertheless, the tone that registers in my mind is not sarcastic, yet not blissful and completely hopeful either. It is more wistful and bittersweet than anything, idealist romantic notions shaped by wisdom and the reality of experience.
Septimius and Acme have a beautiful relationship, as line 20 suggests, "...mutuis animis amant amantur", or "they love and are loved with mutual feelings". They passionately proclaim love and undying affection for one another, Septimius going so far as to claim that should his love ever become questionable, "solus in Libya Indiaque tosta caesio veniam obvius leoni", "may I alone in Libya and dry India meet a green-eyed lion."
This ridiculous statement is exactly the kind of thing Catullus would have once said of Lesbia, but his being able to step back and pin it on another character suggests his newfound detachment from the situation, although the gesture is still recognized as sweet and with merit for what it is and the context in which it is used. This is why I see the poem as less ironic and more nostalgic.
Carmen 45 also makes heavy use of synchesis, which further highlights the enraptured state of the two lovers - nothing interests one but the other, and they are difficult to separate and distinguish without something being lost. Once again, I do not see this as irony so much as Catullus' gentle remembrance of his own youthful exuberance in love.
The poem can certainly be taken as a tale of two young lovebirds, but the depth comes from the knowledge of the writer and the subtlety with which he injects it.

In_other_words said...

The poems that we have read so far of Lesbia and Catullus capture the essence of many relationships. Many relationships start off feeling blessed by the gods and feeling like nothing will go wrong and end things. Catullus feels like he's on top of the world, believing that Lesbia and him will be together forever. It is ironic that we view now another relationship between Acme and Septimius that appears once again "perfect." Perhaps Catullus will write another poem talking about the end of their timeless relationship, proving not only how cynical he is, but how love can come and go very easily.

Ian said...

Carmen 45 is an ideal love poem, tinged with hints of irony and bitter regret. I agree with ARP rocker, in that the synchesis emphasizes the interweaving of the lovers' lives. "Et dulcis pueri ebrios ocellos illo purpureo ore suaviata" - literally "and the sweet boy's drunk eyes with those rosy lips having kissed." All the business with the kissing and the eyes and the drunkenness is rather intermixed.
The irony of the poem comes from the context in Catullus' life - having broken up with Lesbia, to write about an ideal love affair, the kind which he thought he had, seems unnecessarily painful. His bitterness is not completely evident in the poem and must be inferred by the reader. There you have it, Bobby, old boy, old chap, good fellow, you have my answer.

bri720hco said...

in Camrmen 45 it seems Catullus' fate was not be with Lesbia. and in this poem it seems he is envious of Septimius and Acme's destiny. Cupid approved their relationship which seems ironic that Catullus having writen a poem about a succesful relationship would have the fate of failing in his own. So i do not see irony in the poem itself, but i do see irony in what he wanted for himself and what was given to Acme and Septimius.

82 said...

At first glance, i viewed this poem as just a simple ideal love relationship, but after rereading it i have found that lots of Catullus' words and phrases seem to have come from previous poems in which he was talking about his and Lesbia's love. Carmen 45 line 5 "quantum qui pote plurimum perire" "How great as he loves how has much to lose" reminds us of Carmen 8 in which Catullus said "quod vides perisse perditum ducas" "what you see as lost, you count as lost". Also in line 6 Catullus says that if he does not love you than may he alone go to Libya and meet the grayeyed lion. Previously in Carmen 60 Catullus had referred to a similar lioness in Libya. "ut multo mihi maior acriorque ignis mollibus ardet in medullis" "as a flame much greater and keener burns in my tender limbs" Catullus has also used this description in his early poems to Lesbia. Therefore i think that this poem can be seen as an ideal love relationship, or be the ironic words of Catullus relating this love relationship to his with Lesbia with included phrasing from past poems.

tram192 said...

I believe that this is an ideal love poems> I believe that Catulus is comparing the life of another couple to that of his own love life. Where theirs went in path of caring and loving for one another and where Catullus' relationship with Lesbia went off in the other direction. He is probably jealous of the closeness of Acme and Septimus' relationship.their love in Carmen 45 is expressed by saying: "mor sinistra ut ante
dextra sternuit approbationem." This translates to cupid sneezes his approval on the left as to before on the right. This states that the two are perfect for each other. Even the gods approve of their relationship. Catullus probably envies the strong love that the couple has. Toward the end he says Who has seen any more blessed men,
who a more auspicious Cupid?

hahaha psyche said...

It is ironic that Catullus seems to be talking about the "ideal love relationship" because he just got out of one of the apparent worst ones imaginable, what with his ex-lover ripping men's groins to shreds, and such, and it doesn't seem like he really knows how to love or be loved. I think it is ironic that, in Carmen 45, he has Acme call Septimius "mea vita", or, "my life" and he calls Lesbia "mea vita" in Carmen 109. It is quite strange that in this Carmen this is seen as a an acceptable, almost desirable, nickname, but in Carmen 109 it turns out to be a mockery of a love he expected to live on forever.

Will Ravon said...

Carmen 45 is clearly a poem about an ideal romantic relationship.

Lines 6 and 7 say, "solus in Libya Indiaque tosta caesio veniam obvius leoni."

Which says, "May I alone in Libya and India meet a grey-eyed lion."

I think this is a metaphor for how far Septimius will go for Acme.

Again, in lines 21 and 22 say, "Unam Septimius misellus Acmen
mavult quam Syrias Britanniasque"

Which says, "Miserable Septimius prefers his one Acme to all the Syrias and Britains."

Which I think is another metaphor for how much he loves her. So, with all these metaphors and blatent outcries of love this Carmen is all about the romantic relationship that occurs between Septimius and Acme, although, is slightly ironic compared to the last group of poems that we read about Catullus breaking up with Lesbia.

Jesx said...

After carefully reading the poem this weekend and Tuesday during class, I have settled on the poem showing a sense of irony. He takes the love of Acme and Septimus, comparing it his love that he had with Lesbia. These lines particularily made me think of Lesbia with how she has wrapped Catullus around her finger at one point. "et dulcis pueri ebrios ocellos illo purpureo ore suaviata,/
and having kissed the eyes intoxicated with love, of the sweet boy with those rosy lips,".

Also, I would like to add that other poems before 45 have expressed a similar love leading up to the break up. Isn't it ironic that he would reflect on a blooming love between Acme and Septimus after he broke up with Lesbia.

I can't beleive magister is a Florida Gator!!!Thats whack said...

Carmen 45 is the ideal love poem with two lovers, who show equal affection “mutuis animis amant amantur “([Acme and Septimius} love and are loved with mutual feelings) toward each other, and all seems to be going well while their love seems that nature also approves with great auspiciousness when Catullus says: “Amor sinistra ut antedextra sternuit approbationem” Translated this means: Cupid sneezed approval on the left as before on the right.

I do not think this poem is as ironic as it is strange and a little puzzling that Catullus would address another love that displays the same characteristics of he and Lesbia’s fallen love. It seems a little soon for Catullus to bring up another undying love. This brings back the theory I addressed in February when I said that Catullus could have been trying to cover up a break up due to him being unfaithful to Lesbia. All the times he lashed out at Lesbia could have been a malicious cover up, and maybe now he is regretting his choice. I just thought that I would add that.

5ABIblood said...

In my opinion, this is just a very straightforward poem about an ideal love relationship. In Carmen 45, Catullus uses Acme and Septimius to portray an ideal love relationship which him and Lesbia never had, but what Catullus wanted more than anything. “Acme, ni te perdite amo atque amare porro omnes sum assidue paratus annos” (My Acme, unless I love you to distraction and hereafter am prepared to love you continually throughout the years as much as he who can love you most). This quote from Carmen 45 shows the love that Acme and Septimius have, and it also shows that there is no conflict in their relationship. Catullus refers to Cupid twice in the poem which also shows that this is an ideal relationship. Cupid, the god of love, sneezes showing approval in their relationship, and that there is a less chance of the two breaking up. Due to all of this, I believe that there isn’t much irony in Carmen 45, and that this is just a poem that Catullus wrote showing an ideal relationship.

5ABIblood said...

In my opinion, this is just a very straightforward poem about an ideal love relationship. In Carmen 45, Catullus uses Acme and Septimius to portray an ideal love relationship which him and Lesbia never had, but what Catullus wanted more than anything. “Acme, ni te perdite amo atque amare porro omnes sum assidue paratus annos” (My Acme, unless I love you to distraction and hereafter am prepared to love you continually throughout the years as much as he who can love you most). This quote from Carmen 45 shows the love that Acme and Septimius have, and it also shows that there is no conflict in their relationship. Catullus refers to Cupid twice in the poem which also shows that this is an ideal relationship. Cupid, the god of love, sneezes showing approval in their relationship, and that there is a less chance of the two breaking up. Due to all of this, I believe that there isn’t much irony in Carmen 45, and that this is just a poem that Catullus wrote showing an ideal relationship.

jrog08 said...

Throughout Carmen 45 the word structure and message that the words are trying to get across are constantly in conflict with each other. The words are saying that they love each other very deeply as when Septimius says, “ni te perdite amo …quantum qui pote paratus perire solus in Libya Indiaque tosta caesio veniam obvius leoni, or if I do not love you recklessly…how much he loves who has much to lose may I alone come to Libya and parched India so that I may meet the grey eyed lion. This clearly shows that Septimius is completely willing to be loyal and loving to Acme for the rest of his life, and if he is not then he will meet an unpleasant death. Also Septimius’ love is returned when Acme says, “mea vita Septimille, huic uni domino usque serviamus ut multo mihi maior acrioque ignis mollibus ardet in medullis” or “my life little Septimius let’s serve this one master forever as a flame burns much stronger and keener in my tender limbs” which shows that she loves him just as much as he loves her or so it appears. Although, the word structure in the poem suggests that Septimius is not as close to Acme as she is to him, as is evident when Catullus separates the adjective “unam” from “Acmen” in line 21 which could signify a disjunction in their relationship, much like Catullus’ relationship with Lesbia which appeared to be the “perfect” relationship from the outside but underneath there were many cracks that eventually brought the relationship down. Also, their banter resembles the kind of lovely anecdotes that Catullus and Lesbia had for each other in the beginning of their relationship, but did not hold it together in the long run. But, at this early stage in the examination of the relationship between Septimius and Acme, any conjecture into the solidity of their relationship is mere speculation. So, the message of the words and their structure create irony because the words say one thing but their structure says another.

unbuma said...

In Carmen 45, I think Catullus wrote about an ideal love relationship. One reason I believe this is an ideal love relationship is because Catullus says "At Acme leviter caput reflectens
et dulcis pueri ebrios ocellos
illo purpureo ore suaviata" (And Acme, gently bending back her head
and having kissed the eyes intoxicated with love, of the sweet boy with those rosy lips).
He also goes on to say "Nunc ab auspicio bono profecti
mutuis animis amant amantur" (Now having set out with good omens they
love and are loved with mutual feelings.) So from these to quotes about how they feel about each other I think Catullus is writing about an ideal love relationship.

awavehello said...

While some could find irony in Catullus 45, I think that it's simply depicts an ideal love relationship. There is a lot of interlocking word ordering, maybe to symbolize the bond between two people? I found no signs of irony, but that doesn't mean it wasn't meant to be ironic.

latin blogger said...

If this poem was written after the end of his relationship with Lesbia, I think that Catullus is being a little ironic about this “ideal love relationship.” As he describes the conversation that Septimius and Acme are having, I can’t help but feel annoyed. This relationship the and things they are saying to each other just seem cheesy like when Acme says, “mea vita Septimille, huic uni domino usque serviamus, ut multo mihi maior acriorque ignis mollibus ardet in medullis (In this way, my dear Septimius, my life, let us serve forever this one master, as a flame much greater and keener burns in my tender limbs) Line 13. I think that Septimius and Acme are in the very beginning of a their relationship in the “goo-goo eyed” stage rather then in love with each other. When Catullus describes Septimius’s eyes as “ebrios ocellos”(intoxicated eyes) Line 11, I think that Septimius is kind of dazed and blinded by this lust over Acme. Also Catullus doesn’t seem to envy this relationship that this couple has but feels pity and sympathy for them because he describes him as “misellus Septimius”(poor little Septimius) Line 21. Also Catullus belittles their love by sarcastically repeating the word “unus” (one) Line 21/23 when saying that they only love one another. Basically, I think that Catullus knows that this portrayal of their relationship is not a real one based on true love and he might see the resemblances that this couple has to the early part of the relationship he had with Lesbia.

LOL said...

The irony of Carmen 45 is that Septimius, the male character in this ideal love relationship, resembles Lesbia, and Acme, the female character, resembles Catullus. In lines 1-7, Catullus writes, "Acmen Septimius suos amores tenes in gremio 'mea' inquit 'Acme, ni te perdite amo atque amare porro omnes sum assidue paratus annos, quantum qui pote plurimum perire, solus in Libya Indiaque tosta caesio veniam obvius leoni'" / "Septimius, holding his love Acme in his lap, said: 'My Acme, if I do not love you desperately and hereafter I am not prepared to love you continuously all the years, how great he loves who is able to lose so much, may I alone in Libya and torrid India meet a green-eyed lion.'" In these lines, we can infer that Septimius thinks of love in terms of power and adventures. The adventurous Septimius somewhat resembles Lesbia because Lesbia was adventurous in the sense that according to Catullus, she had many lovers. In lines 23-24, Catullus writes, "uno in Septimio fidelis Acme facit delicias libidinesque / the faithful Acme takes delight and pleasure in her one Septimius." In these lines, we can see that Acme thinks of love in terms of fidelity, ardor, and pleasure. Acme somewhat resembles Catullus because according to himself, Catullus was faithful to Lesbia. Through these ironic characterizations, Catullus might be trying to show that his relationship with Lesbia could have been ideal only if Lesbia was faithful like Acme, and he himself held more power and control in the relationship like Septimius.

baseball0808 said...

This is definitely a pre-Lesbia poem. I'll bet that if anyone cared to ask Catullus what he thought about love after the big breakup, then he would have a few choice words that are not appropriate to post on this blog. He obviously had a good idea of what a true love was when he wrote this, and after he broke up with Lesbia, he had mixed thoughts because that she-devil stole his pure thoughts on love. Their great love for each other can be best represented when Catullus says, "uno in Septimio fidelis Acme
facit delicias libidinisque" which means "the faithful Acme takes delight
and pleasure in her one Septimius." Clearly in stating this, Catullus has a pretty picture of love in his head and he sees this in Acme and Septimius. It is definitely ironic that he writes about a true love when he thinks that he's in a true love, then he realizes he's not, then loses his love, they break up, then he probably (and probably many would) hates women. Irony? I think so.

Orz said...

Although relationship of Catullus and Lesbia did not end well, the relationship of Septimius and Acme is true. The Acme is loyal to Septimius unlike Lesbia. The presence of synchesis which is interlocked word order shows the weaving of love. Later this poem is finished by "Who has seen men more blessed, who has more auspicious love?" (quis ullos homines beatiores
vidit, quis Venerem auspicatiorem?)
This is a way of saying that their relationship is more blessed than any other.

youknowdis said...

Carmen 45 when first being read is just a simple true love poem. The passion Acme and Septimius seems real and loving. But, to me the most important line to me is when he says "huic uni domino usque serviamus, ut multo mihi maior acriorque ignis mollibus ardet in medullis" ((Let us serve forever this one master, as a flame much greater and kenner burns in my tender limbs)). I think this is important because in Catullus's poem he used almost the exact phrase talking about Lesbia. I think if this came before Lesbia, then he could have used a similar line compared to Acme and Septimius in his poem to show true passion, and that he really loved Lesbia. But, if this poem came after the breakup, its ironic because that relationship will most likely fail. So, all depending when this poem was written, I think its ironic.

srivatsanenator said...

Catullus, master of form, surely did not use brilliant from just to convey the idea of a perfect love. Although at first glance this love seems real and heart felt we must consider the situation of Acme and Septimius. One is Greek and the other is Latin. This sets up a contrast right off the bat and foreshadows future discord. Another clue is given by Carmen 45's lines 3-5 where Septimius states,"'mea' inquit 'Acme, ni te perdite amo atque amare porro omnes sum assidue paratu annos." This roughly translates to,” My Acme, unless I am prepared to love to distraction, I from this point a, prepared to love you continually for the rest of the years." Catullus, however, does not do it this simply. He instead uses bracketing, hyperbaton, to create a sense that Septimius looks too much towards the future and is unsure about the present. This is contrasted to Acme on the other hand who is described in lines 14-16 as,"huic uni domino usque serviamus, ut multo mihi maior acriorque ignis mollibus ardet in medullis.'" Basically Acme is more interested in the present passion of the relationship. "A thin flame runs through her limbs." This contrast is also shown by their difference in the beliefs of sneezing. In this poem Cupid not only sneezes approval to the right, but also to the left. This whole paradox that has been created might lead one to the conclusion that Catullus does not believe that this relationship will go very far and mocks the two lovers for it. Oddly enough this follows Catullus' own relationship, which also had the same passion that Septimius and Acme have for each other.

welchie said...

I do find irony in Catullus 45. On the surface, Acme and Septimius' love affair may seem "normal," meaning that they both love each other very much, but it is almost as if Catullus goes too far in describing how much they love each other. He is trying to hard to portray their love. There are also many descriptive phrases that seem to make the poem drag. "at Acme leviter caput reflectens et dulcis pueri ebrios ocellos illo purpureo ore suaviata" or "And Acme, gently bending back her head and having kissed the eyes intoxicated with love, of the sweet boy with those rosy lips." In this passage, Catullus describes eyes and lips in a way that slow the action of the poem. In such a tender moment as the one described above, things in a relationship should be flowing. They should not be interrupted by excess description. For example, when Catullus talks about Lesbia in his poems, he never describes her physical beauty. He compares her to other girls, but he never talks about her beauty alone. When he is talking about the many kisses in Carmen 5, Catullus never stops to talk about how Lesbia's lips look. The exaggeration and the slow, interrupted pace of the poem make Catullus 45 ironic.

Jeep3 said...

At first-glance the poem seems to be a straightforward interpretation of Catullus' view of the ideal love relationship. However, there is evidence of irony when the reader comes to the lines "Unam Septimius misellus Acmen mavult quam Syrias Britanniasque/ Poor little Septimius prefers his one Acme to all the Syrias and Britains" sounds like when Catullus wrote about "poor Catullus, who saw Lesbia to be more beautiful than all the other women." Also, when the poem reads "dulcis pueri ebrios ocellos illo purpureo ore suaviata/ having kissed the eyes intoxicated with love of a sweet boy with those rosy lips" is similar to the "basia/kissifications" that Catullus wished to receive from Lesbia. The turning point of the poem is still when Catullus says "Poor little Septimius" because at that point, Septimius is seen as a slave to his love for Acme, like Catullus has become the slave to Lesbia's beauty and "love." Thus, even though this poem sounds like it's describing an ideal love relationship, the tiny word usage (poor) brings out all the irony with the connection it makes to Catullus' previous poems about his own love affair.

Postransky said...

It depends really when you read the poem whether you think it to be ironic (and even more so when it was actually written.) After reading the Lesbia poems, you might think this poem is very ironic, since Lesbia + Catullus = not good, while the poem is about a perfect love, and to me perfect love seems pretty alright. If you haven't read the Lesbia poems (or certain ones) before reading this one, you might think it's just a straight up poem about love, possibly even alluding to Catullus and Lesbia's relationship in a way. The interlocking word order can symbolize how the two lovers are interlocked emotionally, and maybe a little physically. Perhaps this is really the first poem of the Lesbia / Catullus relationship, just before Catullus wanted people to know about it, so he used different names. Really just depends on when Catullus wrote it.

XRoSeSrReD317X said...

There is evidence of irony in Catullus 45. For instance, in the first couple of lines, he states, "Acmen Septimius suos amores tenens in gremio, 'mea' inquit, 'Acme, ni te perdite amo atque amare porro omnes sum assidue paratus annos", Setpimius, holding his love Acme in his lap said, "My Acme, if not for a distraction and hereafter, I am prepared to love you continually for many years", to show the intense amount of love that Septimius has for Acmen. This may be the kind of love he was willing and eager to give to Lesbia. However, this is ironic because he is no longer in a relationship with Lesbia. Therefore, it is not exactly an ideal love poem.