Thursday, March 22, 2007

Week 12: More Than Words Contain

I heard recently a radio interview with Krista Tippet who does a weekly show in NPR called "Speaking of Faith". She was asked by the interviewer if religion came from the same place within the human being as art--and that would include poetry. She had this to say: Poetry says more than what words contain.

Examine Carmen 96 in which Catullus treats the issue of death, love, grief and joy. Do his words as he writes them in Latin express something more than the words contain? If so, what? How does he do this? Explain his art. If you think not, explain why.

As always, cite the Latin, given a translation, and then make your case. You are all really good at this. Sink into this deep, brooding poem, and awe me with your response. You always do. I really love working with you each day. No exceptions.

39 comments:

Jesx said...

First, their are key words Catullus uses in the poem to empathesize his feelings. He repeats the word grief twice in lines 2 and 5. Catullus says in lines 1-2 "If anything grateful or pleasing to silent tombs
is able to happen from our grief/ Si quicquam mutis gratum acceptumve sepulcris
accidere a nostro dolore potest." He's showing how unsure he will get over his grief. Then, in line 5 he says "certainly her untimely death is not such great grief/ certe non tanto mors immatura dolori est." Towards the end, he isn't grief sticken over losing Lesbia. Those lines strengthen how he has gotten over Lesbia.

XRoSeSrReD317X said...

In Carmen 96, Catullus's words express a lot more than what the words contain. For example, in line 4, atque olim missas flemus amicitias, and at once we weep for lost friendships, Catullus captures the essence of nostalgia and heartbreak by describing how one feels when one is in love. The whole poem basically says that the ones whom a person loves the most is also the person who can break one's heart, and this is true with everybody. In only a matter of a few words, Catullus expressed the feelings people get when they lose a loved one.

hahaha psyche said...

Poetry is all about describing something, the emotion you get when you read it, and telling something in ways that will affect the reader. It is about being a wordsmith, hammering words, and making sparks fly, and arranging them just the right way to make them decorative and functional. Catullus wants us to feel the "renovamus amores" [renewed loves] and missas flemus amicitias
[to weep for the lost friendships]. I think that by contrasting his grief and loss to someone else's, he shows the poignancy of his own.

chmathew said...

Catullus's words express more than his words contain. In poem 96 he says, "certe non tanto mors immatura dolori est Quintiliae, quantum gaudet amore tuo," which translated into English means, "certainly her untimely death is not such great grief for Quintilia as she rejoices in your love." He is trying to console his friend. He doesn't use many words but as aa reader we can understand the heartbreak and pain of losing a loved one.

cullenforhire said...

All good poets are able to bring forth emotion that cannot be rationally explained by the idea of certain words in a certain order on a sheet of paper. Catullus is obviously one of these poets, and Carmen 96 is only one example of it. Probably because what he writes is from his own experience and feelings, it has a relatibility (new word) that is universal. Poems are full of metaphors and deeper meanings, and while mastery of language is an art, is not an ability unique to Catullus or anyone else. Anyways, he demonstrates this mastery in Carmen 96 through his words regarding the past. Take lines 3 and 4: quo desiderio veteres renovamus amores
atque olim missas flemus amicitias [...by which longing we renew old loves and
we weep for the long departed friendships]. His words impart an emotion that would not be achieved otherwise. The idea of longing and loss is not exclusively his, and thus readers everywhere can relate to Catullus.

latin blogger said...

Catullus definitely has the ability to say a lot while using few words. In Carmen 96, he is carefully able to console his grieving friend in just a few lines. Catullus understands that his friend is in pain but simultaneously reminds him that his life is not over. In lines 5 and 6, Catullus writes, “certe non tanto mors immatura dolori est Quintiliae, quantum gaudet amore tuo”(certainly her untimely death is not such great grief for Quintilia as she rejoices in your love). Catullus is showing Calvus that Quintilia is filled with joy from his love rather than the misery for her untimely death. I think it is important that Catullus has this ability to respectfully soothe his friend while trying to cheer him up. Trying to be there for somebody after such a traumatic experience is a very hard thing to do, yet Catullus is able to say so much in such a short poem. Catullus knows the pain felt from the “loss” of a loved one, but assures Calvus that there will be better days.

Wolf Angel said...

Catullus’s words in 96 do express something more than just what the words contain. In lines 5-6 “certe non tanto mors immatura dolori est Quintiliae, quantum gaudet amore tuo”/ “certainly early death is not so much a grief for Quintilia as she rejoices in your love”, addresses the breaking pain someone experiences from the loss of a loved one, and then the comfort of knowing that the loved one greatly enjoyed his/her time alive. There is the same darkness followed by comfort in lines 1-3, “Si quicquam mutis gratum acceptumve sepulcris accidere a nostro, Calve, dolore potest, quo desiderio veteres renovamus amores”/ “if anything grateful or pleasing to silent graves is able to happen from our grief, Calvus, by this longing we renew old loves”. There is the eerie image of the silent graves, which seems somber and hopeless, but it is followed by a sweet phrase: we renew old loves. Perhaps it only seems this way to me, but it seems to be encouraging someone who has lost a loved one not to despair, but to cling closer to loved ones that are still alive.

hannah-is-cool said...

In our first blog we were asked to defend "the beauty, power, mystery, and magic of poetry" in today's modern society. In numerous responses Catullus' poetry was compared to the art of music. With the rhyme, flow and passion shared between the two poetry and music were describes as having an ever-changing form but an always constant purpose; to share and retell experiences, emotions, and life using descriptive, decorative language. In Carmen 96, Catullus' poety seems to behold simple words infused with an altered background that may not be what meets the eye. In Lines 3 & 4 the poet revels in the contradiction of life by saying "quo desiderio veteres renovamus amores atque olim missas flemus amicitias"(by which longing we renew old loves and we weep for the long departed friendships). This is a realization that the people in life who make you the happiest are also the ones who have the potential to completely devastate your world. The poem may be a mask to Catullus' still aching, but hopefully healing, heart.

82 said...

In Carmen 96, Catullus is trying to use the poetry to reiterate a feeling more than just the words. His words such as "desiderio veteres renovamus amores" "let us renew old loves" and in line 4 "flemus missas amicitias" "we weep for lost friendships" are well put together phrases that pull feelings from experiences that we have all felt. Therefore i feel that his poetry is well stated and able to bring about the feelings that jis words mean.

5ABIblood said...

In Carmen 96, Catullus treats the issue of death, love, grief and joy. His words as he writes them in Latin express more than the words contain. The main example of this is “quo desiderio veteres renovamus amores atque” (by which longing we renew old loves and we weep for the long departed friendships). This later followed by “certe non tanto mors immatura dolori est Quintiliae, quantum gaudet amore tuo” (certainly her untimely death is not such great grief for Quintilia as she rejoices in your love). With Catullus writing this it shows that ones love is what you desire more than anything, but it is ones love is also the one thing that can destroy you entirely.

In_other_words said...

Catullus, in poem 96, captures the essence of both being in love and eventually out of love with a few simply words. In 96, we see "If anything grateful or pleasing to silent tombs is able to happen from our grief...” implicating that the simply act of love has left him with a grievous view on life. Not only has Catullus' view of love changed, but his tone has as well. While in love, everything was so assuring, leaving him feeling that for once he knew something was real. When one starts a sentence with the word "if", a big neon sign is flashing that one is unsure of himself and his views. Not to mention that talking about grief and weeping leads to,” as she rejoices in your love." There are so many hidden meanings in Catullan poetry, and so many words that express more than one thought and desire. Catullan poetry truly speaks volumes.

Orz said...

In Catullus 96, his words express more than that is written on a piece of paper. This poem contains his emotion beyond what's written. On line 4, "atque olim missas flemus amicitias " (and once we weep for long departed friendship) describes Catullus's current emotion where this could be loss of Lesbia. Catullus was able to write this because he had a painful experience. Through this poem, reader can understand that losing someone will leave a scar on one's heart.

youknowdis said...

In carmen 96 Catullus uses his poetry in a way thats more then what words contain. "We weep for the long departed friendships" ((atque olim missas flemus amicitias)). I think this symbolizes the greif someone feels for loves that have been sent away and are no longer there. Catullus uses the words greif and death to have a saddened setting when the reader reads the poem. If a poem can shift a readers oppinion and make them feel something, thats more then what words can do.

Dr. Gregory House said...

ilSince poetry in itself can be interpreted in different ways, one can assume that the words of a poem express something more than they contain. In carmen 96 Catullus uses 6 lines to profess his views on death, love, grief, and joy. “Si quicquam mutis gratum acceptumve sepulcris accidere a nostro, Calve, dolore potest/If anything grateful or pleasing is able to happen to silent tombs by our grief, Calvus” In this line Catullus specifically mentions “mutis sepulcris” or silent tombs. Catullus does not treat death in this case with any of the flippancy or irony that we have seen him use. Death in this case is final and solemn for him. He expresses this entire idea by simply describing the tombs as silent. Catullus then comments on love by saying that it can withstand even death when he writes “certe non tanto mors immatura dolori est Quintiliae, quantum gaudet amore tuo” or “certainly an early death is not as much a grief for Quintiliae, as she rejoiced in your love.” In that one line Catullus speaks volumes about how love can withstand not only the test of time but also the joy that love can bring is greater than any grief that may be felt afterwards. Catullus is able to say more than the actual words he writes by making the poem so short. It leaves the poem more ambiguous and up for interpretation. We know there was a love that was lost and friendships that were lost at some point too, its up to the reader of the poem to decide the backdrop for the poem. Also because this piece is so much darker and insightful than most of Catullus’ poems, it allows the reader to take serious note on his tone and reflect on his message.

ARP Rocker said...

As we have seen from the Catullan poems, Catullus hides little ideas in all his poems. So, when i hear that his words may be describing something without words im not surprised. First look at this: "missas flemus amicitias". 'We weep for long lost friendships'. When i read this it makes me think of Lesbias relationship with him. he seems to be hinting to that relationship.christ14us

welchie said...

Catullus does express more in Carmen 96 than the words contain. First, Carmen 96 is a poem that flows in a different way than Catullus' other works. The beat is steady and there are very few hard consonants. The poem feels as if it is mourning, even without looking into the meaning of the words.
When translating Carmen 96, the first lines "si quicquam multis gratum acceptumve sepulchris accidere potest" meaning "if anything pleasing and acceptable is able to happen from a silent grave." This line is very pleading. Catullus is almost begging for something to be able to come from his deep loss. The next line "quo desiderio veteres renovamus amores" or "by this longing we renew old loves" is Catullus trying to imagine something good that can come out of his grief. In this poem, Catullus is deep in grief and he is desparate. He just wants someone to tell him that something good will come out of the pain he is feeling as he writes.

whereisyourboytonight said...

I believe that all, or mostly all, poetry expresses something beyond what the words themselves contain. Poetry, especially as Catullus writes it, is open to interpretation by the person reading any poem. In lines three and four of Carmen 96, Catullus writes, “quo desiderio veteres renovamus amores/ atque olim missas flemus amicitias,” which means, “we renew old loves by this desire/ and at once we weep for lost friendships.” These statements are vague and allow any reader to apply their own experiences and meaning to them. We have all experienced or can imagine how a tragic experience may reunite “lost loves” or how one may mourn friendships that had no reason to end. In this way, which can be seen throughout the entire poem, Catullus expresses a deeper meaning, one that is waiting for each reader to discover it in a personal manner.

Jeep3 said...

From what I see, there are few words in this poem that express something more than the words' straightforward meaning. "quo desiderio veteres renovamus amores/ by which desire we renew old loves" is an example of the poem's straightforward style of writing. There is really no significant meaning that can be drawn from the actual meaning itself. However, "mutis sepulcris/ silent graves" is personified in this poem. Catullus gives the graves life. What is "pleasing/accepta" to the graves is the knowledge that Quintilia rejoices in the love Calvus and her shared, in which the graves are then "grateful/grata" to know. The graves might symbolize the dead heart of Calvus, or, at least, the dead part of his heart that he gave to Quintilia--that died when she died. Or, the silent grave amongst the grave could be that of Quintilia, for she could be pleased and grateful to know that Calvus understands that she lived a loving life with him, regardless of the brevity of her life.

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

This is an exceptionally great poem to examine Catullus and his tendency to make words mean more than what they seem.

In Carmen 96 the poem at first glance (without any prior references to Catullus or Catullus’ experiences) appears to the reader to be about a close friend that has passed away. Carmen 96 starts out with a question that seems to show the heartache of losing someone extremely close and questioning if anything possibly is not distressing about this situation “Si quicquam mutis gratum acceptumve sepulcris accidere a nostro, Calve, dolore potest” (translated as “If anything grateful or pleasing to silent tombs is able to be accepted, Calve, from our grief). The reader is also led to believe that Catullus is referring to a close friend when he says “atque olim missas flemus amicitias” (we weep for the long departed friendships).

Carmen 96 is a very deep poem when factoring in Catullus and Catullus’ experiences. Catullus’ true intention for writing this poem is to ultimately say that the love he shared with Lesbia is truly missed. So “atque olim missas flemus amicitias” (we weep for the long departed friendships) is really saying he is not over Lesbia like he proclaimed before in prior poems, but he is still tormented by their fallen love.

Finally, since we are talking about hidden meanings in words and poems I would like to bring up my prior suspicions of Catullus when I said he could have been the one who was not faithful in the relationship, but then covered it up by writing insensitive things about Lesbia in order to keep his infidelity a secret. He talks about mutis sepulcris (silent tombs) which show how inaccessible Lesbia is to him. Catullus was the one who, regardless of who the blame of the failed relationship is placed on, defiantly sent the relationship beyond repair and maybe now he is regretting the way he acted with his slanderous writing

Frank said...

In Carmen 96, Catullus expresses more than what is plainly written. He always has a way of referring back to Lesbia without having to mention her. The whole poem relates back to his feelings with Lesbia. He can't help but "olim missas flemus amacitias," which means "we weep for old friends." He obviously misses Lesbia, even though we all know the relationship is through.

shocka said...

Camen 96, when compared to other poems we have read, seems relatively short. Catullus seems to have abbreviated the experiences of Calvus in order to weave in his own meaning. In lines 3-4, "Quo desiderio veteres renovamus amores/ atque olim missas flemus amicitias," meaning "We renew old loves by this longing and at once we weep for lost friendships." The lack of specific details given in this poem imply Catullus' metaphorical anecdote. I think Catullus found it easier to tell of someone else's grief rather than go through the pain of retelling his own.

TiPViking said...

Most of the way Carmen 96 deals with emotion and death escapes just the words. Catullus uses the words in ways beyond their meaning; by making "mors," or death, in line 5 be the only noun in the nominative case, Catullus emphasizes the importance of death to the poem. Death is the central image; whether the quiet of the tomb, the sadness of dead friendships, or the true sadness of the dead. This is a letter to Calvus, who was Quintillia's husband; Catullus is telling him that yes, this is death, and death is nothing if not full of grief.

There is a point of hope, however. Such a point is necessary to help console the mourner; "quantum gaudet amore tuo," as she rejoices in your love, from line 6, is the final note of the poem. Quintillia did love Calvus, and that is a joy to which Calvus can cling in this time of sorrow. Beyond just the idea that she loved him, there is an interesting play with the tenses; gaudet means she rejoices, present tense. Catullus is bringing up the point of an afterlife in a very subtle manner. Quintillia still loves Calvus, as he loves her. Though she is dead, that love remains. When Calvus dies, it will be not a moment of sadness for him, but of happiness, for then Calvus will be reunited with his love in the afterlife.

unbuma said...

In Carmen 96, Catullus' words express more than the words contain. For example, when Catullus says “quo desiderio veteres renovamus amores atque” (by which longing we renew old loves and we weep for the long departed friendships), he could be referring back to Lesbia, even though he has shown that he well over her. He is showing his feelings over losing a loved one.

Kirro said...

Words themselves contain no special power. An essay evokes no emotion in the reader, and holds no more power than a rock. A poem, however, evokes the same emotion that the writer feels while writing it. What is put in is what comes out.
In Carmen 96, there is emotion, but not bitter emotion as in many of Catullus' poems. The words are simple here. Pictures of a man grieving over a grave, simple words such as love and joy. But Catullus' art is weaving real emotion into ordinary words. The last two lines are perhaps the centerpiece of the poem. "certe non tanto mors immatura dolori est Quintiliae, quantum gaudet amore tuo," or "certainly her untimely death is not so much a pain for Quintiliana as she rejoices in your love." She died, now she rejoices. But what emotion these words represent! No one grieves for their own death. Others, however, grieve by the dead's grave. The tears come not from true pain but from love undying. Through this love the dead rejoice, much the opposite of grieving. Whether or not you believe in an afterlife, the message is the same. This is no essay, no analysis of the human mind. The author has inscribed his own feelings to be passed down through the ages.

inthecake said...

In all of Catullus' poetry, his words express more than what the words contain. In lines 1-3 of Carmen 96, "Si quicquam mutis gratum acceptumve sepulcris
accidere a nostro, Calve, dolore potest,
quo desiderio veteres renovamus amores," Catullus says, "If anything is pleasing or acceptable from our grief able to get through to silent graves, Calus, we renew old loves by this desire." Catullus is using simple words to convey a death that has brought grief but has renewed and old love. Catullus does this by using strong words that are interpreted as more, such as "acceptumve sepulcris" or silent graves in line 1. Many poets use words that have a deeper meaning and it is up to the reader to interpret what that deeper meaning might be. Catullus is an example of a poet that does this. The words in his poem may seem like they don't mean a lot but they have a deeper meaning that has to be figured out.

LOL said...

In carmen 96, the words of Catullus express and contain much more than just the literal meaning. In this poem, Catullus makes specific use of certain words. When Catullus says "a nostro dolore / from our grief" in line 2, he might be implying that he is not only focusing on the relationship between Calvus and Quintilia in the poem, but perhaps also his relationship with Lesbia, since this poem is about losing loved ones. In line 4 when he writes "missas amicitias / lost friendships," he uses the word "missas" which comes from "mitto, mittere" which means to send / let go. So by saying "missas amicitias," Catullus is talking about loves / friendships discarded at some time in the past through some wrongdoing, which sounds like the relationship between him and Lesbia. When Catullus writes "certe non tanto mors immatura dolori est Quinitiliae, quantum gaudet amore tuo / indeed an early death is not so much a grief for Quintilia, as she rejoices by means of your love" in lines 5-6, he might be talking about him and Lesbia. Although their love did not last long, they were happy during that short time they had together.

baseball0808 said...

Catullus' words in poem 96 have more of a deeper meaning than meets the surface. When Catullus states, "desiderio veteres renovamus amores atque olim missas flemus amicitias" meaning, "we renew old loves and we weep for long departed friendships." I think that he definitely goes deeper than what is written on the outside. I think that in those few words, he is expressing the feeling he got and the feeling that most get when they lose a loved one. He believes that the one who you love and maybe even your best friend, can still break your heart. Obviously this is after the breakup or these harsh words would not be said by Catullus. I think that everybody, at some point in their lives, can relate to the message Catullus is trying to seend here.

gabaseballer7 said...

In Catullus 96, Catullus does a great job of appealing to many different kinds of feelings such as love, saddness, and death. He addresses these things in many ways. For example, he says, "certainly her untimely death is not such great grief for Quintilia as she rejoices in your love." This shows love, sorrow, and death. Catullus 96 also does implu that Catullus is over Lesbia.

jrog08 said...

In Carmen 96, Catullus examines many issues that are abstract to the human mind and therefore cannot be explicitly comprehended because of their indefinite nature. Death, joy, love, and grief all fall under this category which makes them unable to be rationalized and remain to this day complex ideas that can never be fully understood with the limited scope of human communication in any language, though we may futilely try. Catullus somewhat captures the intense emotions that a person feels when contemplating past friendships when he says, “quo desiderio veteres renovamus amores atque olim missas flemus amicitias” or “by this desire we renew old loves and at once we weep for lost friendships” which shows the dual nature of grief in that a person can renew their relationship with someone who is dead and yet at the same time weep for the loss of that person and this is what makes it so difficult to capture into words the complex emotions that people experience, although Catullus does do a relatively good job of recreating this. Also, when he says, “Certe non tanto mors immatura dolori est Quintiliae, quantum gaudet amore tuo” or “Certainly an early death is not as great a grief for Quintilia as she enjoyed by your love” which again attempts to portray the complex nature of two contrasting emotions by saying that Quintilia enjoyed your love more than she enjoyed dying in order to comfort his grieving friend. As compelling and expressive as these words are, they still do not do justice to the emotions people feel and the pain, or joy, that they go through because at the end of the day a word has a definite image with a definite meaning and therefore can only grasp a limited part of an abstract emotion no matter how the words are arranged.

srivatsanenator said...

Catullus 96 really does dive into the nature of death and love and their intricate relationship. To do this Catullus not only uses good words and word order, but there is also something tht goes beyond the words and the paper to a more emotional place. In Carmen 96 Catullus' best line is"certe non tanto mors immatura dolori est Quintiliae, quantum gaudet amore tuo." This roughly translates to " the greif she felt was not as great as the love Quintillia rejoiced." Basically Catullus is saying that one should remember the good times. There is some truth to this and the way that it is conveyed makes one believe that this is true. The magnificent words all convey a feeling of sweet and parting sorrow.

Ian said...

It is in the nature of poetry to express more than the words alone - words alone mean nothing. You can talk forever and never say anything, the saving grace of many a student's essay. It is the emotion behind the words and the feelings they evoke in the reader that make the poetry powerful. Catullus evokes the Calvus' nostalgia of the good old times with Quintillia in lines 5-6: "certe non tanto mors immatura dolori est Quintiliae, quantum gaudet amore tuo/ certainly her untimely death is not such great grief for Quintilia as she rejoices in your love." Catullus makes us feel the lovers' tender relationship in old times along with the heart-wrenching grief of Calvus in the present. He renders the setting in between the lines, he makes us feel with the things he does not say.

Vance224 said...

Throughout carmen 96 Catullus uses language which portrays Calvus as grieving over his lost love, Quintilia. Line 2, “quo desiderio veteres renovamus amores / from this longing we renew our old loves,” almost implies that by reminiscing about Quintilia and his love for her, Calvus will begin to remember the good times he shared with her and possibly begin to come to some sort of understanding over his loss. Remembering his break up with Lesbia, perhaps Catullus is using the death of Quntilia as a metaphor for the death of his relationship with Lesbia, and he is using this poem to try to help himself get over his grief.

jimi said...

For catullus his outlet to show emotion is through his poetry (art). Its human nature to take a text, read it and let your brain make sense of it by simplifying the meaning to a more literal form. We all do it. But Catullus was a step ahead of most. You read lines 3-4 "quo desiderio veteres renovamus amores
atque olim missas flemus amicitias" (by which longing we renew old loves and we weep for the long departed friendships) and you think to yourself he's simply being poetic but for someone who can take these words and expand their meaning it calls out harsh emotions, love, and in my opinion utter despair. Catullus is a man who is able to take his thoughts and feelings and express them onto paper. He epitomizes love poetry by selling you into a story thats not only genuine but complex in it's simplicity. Poetry for him is an Art form for which he empties his soul and he does a good job be it an implied message or a literal one.

tram192 said...

In Carmen 96 there is a deeper mean in his poem then what you just read. For instance Catullus says: certe non tanto mors immatura dolori est
Quintiliae, quantum gaudet amore tuo. Which translates to certainly her untimely death is not such great grief for Quintilia as she rejoices in your love. This basically states that Quintillia would rather die then not be adored by her lover. Through out this whole poem you can relate it to Lesbia and his realtionship. For example he says things toward the beggining that seems like someone should be sorry for (just like the loss of Lesbia) and towards the end he seems to be letting go of Lesbia.

Will Ravon said...

I think Catullus definitely goes beyond what his words say in Carmen 96. He mentions death and grief twice, each time death is followed by grief. Lines 1 and 2 say,

"Si quicquam mutis gratum acceptumve sepulcris
accidere a nostro, Calve, dolore potest,"

"If anything grateful or pleasing to silent tombs
is able to happen from our grief, Calvus,"

Catullus is using death as the end of his and Lesbia's relationship and grief is used as Catullus's feelings after the break up, which is obviously not happy at all.

In line 5 it also says,

"certe non tanto mors immatura dolori est..."

"certainly her untimely death is not such great grief..."

This most likely means that Catullus didn't think it was time for their relationship to end but it also says that he is already over the break up.

Minerva said...

In poetry, such heavy issues are rarely to be taken at the face value of the words in which they are expressed, however eloquent the words might be.
Catullus writes, "desiderio veteres renovamus amores", or "by this desire we renew old loves", and "atque olim missas flemus amicitias", "and at once we weep for friendships sent away." These two lines speak of grief and remembrance, and also of the regrets and uncertain histories which inevitably follow a human life. Grief can cause us to look upon not just what we have immediately lost, but what we have lost in the past, and braces us for the things we will lose in the future. The death of Quintilia is its own tragedy for Calvus, and his mourning is primarily, but not solely for her. Grief can often be labeled by one particular cause, such as the death of a loved one, but the emotion itself carries the weight of our other pains, like the old losses in love and friendship that Catullus describes. No person that has truly lived finished his life without an individual history of experience in pain and joy, grief and beauty.

said...

I think they words in poem 96 are talking about the lose of Lesbia in his life and maybe some of his friends that he might have also lost due to circumstances that have happened in his life. He shows this in the beginning by saying, "atque olim missas flemus amicitias" which means, "and at once we weap for lost friendships." Catullus does this in a lot of his poems by talking about possibly made up people that are in sorrow of losing something dear to them. In reality he is talking about the pain and sorrow he is going through and this poem is a perfect example of Catullus giving us more that what the words contain.

Postransky said...

Catullus' words in Latin probably express something more than words contain, but seeing as I'm nowhere near fluent in Latin, to me, they do not. And in English, they don't really strike me in anyway either. As a certain Huckleberry Finn said "I don't take no stock in dead people." I don't know the relationship that Catullus, Calvus, and Quintilia all had. For all I know, Catullus is just being ironic again, and really isn't grieving and is just being a plain... bad person. Most poetry doesn't hit me with much unless it's something I really connect to. The interpretation is all in the mind of the reader, anyone can take words anyway they want to. And words can't really express more than the words contain. His words contain grief, rejoicing, and longing, all emotions, and by reading these words, some people think of those emotions, and remember what it's like to experience them, but it's not like the words didn't describe them.

Pinky said...

Carmen 96 do contain more feeling then that is expresses litertally through the words. In many ways it is created by Catullus to inderectly express his sadness for he had lost Lesbia.

In line 5 "certe non tanto mors immatura dolori" which translates into "certainly her untimely death is not such great grief". In this line Catullus probubly is using death as a way of expressing his feeling toward his breakup with Lesbia.