Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tertium Pensum: Autumno 2007

Catullus uses the writing of others in poems 14a, 35, 36, 44, 50 and 1 to address a variety of issues. What are these poems "De Carminibus" really about? Are they about poetry? If so, make the case. If not, make a case for something else. As always, state you evidence from the Latin text, translate it (yourself--do not use someone else's English version) and then analyze the text toward your answer.

Have fun. Posts due by Monday night at 10:30.

Mr. P


ryan2 said...

The poetry in the series De Carminibus has the common them of writing. In Carmen 14, line 12 it says "...horribilem et sacrum libellum!" which translates to - that horrible and cursed book! The book is referencing a collection of poetry done by very bad poets and sent to Catullus. In Carmen 1, lines 3-4 it says "Corneli, tibi: namque tu solebas meas esse aliquid putare nuga." This is referencing Corneli, Catllus's patron, and is translated - Cornelius, for you were accustomed to think that my nothings were somethings. The nothing refers to the writings of Catullus in the book that he is about to give to Cornelius. In Carmen 50 the entire poem is about Catullus and Licinius writing poetry and being astounded at each others skill. In lines 1-2 it says "Hesterno, Licini, die otosi multum lusimus in meis tabellis" which translated means - Licunius, we have in leisure have played many things on my tablets. The tables referring to wax tablets that poets use when attempting to start a new poem. Carmen 35 is addressed to a piece of paper, or papyrus. Line 2 says "velim Caecilio, papyre, dicas" translates to roughly - I would like you papyrus to tell Caelicus. And Carmen 36 is also in reference to paper, but these papers are "cacata carta" (line 1)and are extremely poorly written by Volusi. Finally in Carmen 44, Catullus wants to have a good dinner at Sestinatus's estate but in order to eat the food, he must first read the speech full of poison and plague against the accused Antius - "orationem in Antium petitorem plenam veneni et pestilentiae legi." (Line 11-12). In every poem in this collection a reference to writing is somehow in cooperated into the poem.

Roseanne2 said...

The poems that make up “De Carminibus” are not necessarily about the poetry. I believe that it is about those people who actually write the poetry. For instance, in Carmen 50, Catullus speaks of Licinius and of their time together. They both spent their time writing verses together. Catullus states in lines 5-6, “scribens versiculos uterque nostrum ludebat numero modo hoc modo illoc,” “Each of us pleased his fancy in writing verses, in various meters.” Catullus clearly enjoyed spending his time with Licinius. However, this does not imply any sexual relationship between the two men. Also, Catullus says in line 16, “hoc, iucunde, tibi poema feci,” “I made this poem for you agreeably.” This signifies a friendship that occurs between Catullus and Licinius.
In Carmen 1, Catullus talks about Cornelius. He states, “Corneli, tibi: namque tu solebas meas esse aliquid putare nugas,” “To you Cornelius: for you used to think that my nothings were worth something.” Clearly, it is evident that Catullus has a profound respect for Cornelius, which is why he would consider giving his new book to him. Yes, there are some aspects of poetry involved in the poem, but I do not think that it is as significant as the characters Catullus mentions in these poems.

khushbu2 said...

I think, in this set of poems, the poetry’s not about the writing itself but about a different issue. I think Catullus is trying to condemn foolish people who try to be something that they are not, in this case, poets. In Carmen 14a, Catullus refers to his gift as “horribilem et sacrum libellum” ( horrible and destestable little book). He tells the writer of the book “Vos hinc interea valete abite” (you [bad poets], meanwhile, goodbye, go way from here). In Carmen 444, Catullus describes a situation in which he had to read one of Sestius’s poems which resulted in “me gravedo frigida et frequens tussis quassait usque” (a cold cold and a frequent cough [that] shook me continuously). Even though Catullus is addressing these horrible writings, in the end, the writer of the poems is the one being insulted. Catullus doesn’t believe these people are capable of writing good poetry. The incapable writers don’t obtain from writing poetry, but they actually think their attempt is equal to a gift or a good speech. Catullus is trying to tell these people to stick to what they know and leave the poetry to him.

lauren2 said...

In the theme "De carminibus," Catullus seems to use his poems as a guide to speak about other subjects. Most prevelently, he tends to refer to certain objects to people and claim how "wrong" they are and continue to explain how "right" Catullus is.
In Carmen 36, Catullus opens the poem with "Annales Volusi, cacata carta, votum solvite pro mea puella," meaning "Annals of Volusius, crappy paper, offer your prayer for my girl." Catullus then compares his iams to the "cacata carta," which reflects somewhat of an arrogant vibe. Again in Carmen 44, Catullus explains how in order to dine for dinner, he must read the awful writing of Sestius. In lines 13-15 the poet exclaims "Hic me gravedo frigida et frequens tussis quassavit usque, dum in tuum sinum fugi, et me recuravi otioque et urtica," meaning "At this point a cold head cold and a frequent cough shook me violently, while I fled to your embrace, and I cured myself with both leisure and stinging nettle."
In both of these examples, Catullus puts others down so that he can appear more accomplished. I suppose the poet needed an ego boost after going through such rough relationships with women and friends. Therefore it can be noted that Catullus uses his poetry as a form of back-up to attack other people and objects.

Ian2 said...

The poems in the De Carminibus series are not about poetry, as it would seem from the the category label, but rather about the relationships with Catullus' fellow man (and woman). The poems, those Catullus writes himself and those he writes about, are simply instruments, tools used to reveal these realtionships.

Carmen 50: 14-17
At defessa labore membra postquam/
semimortua lectulo iacebant,/
hoc, iucunde, tibi poema feci,/
ex quo perspiceres meum dolorem.

But afterwards, tired limbs half-dead from work were lying on a little couch, dear one, I made for you a poem, from which you can see my sorrow.

Catullus uses the poetic interaction to show how close he is to his BFF Calvus. They enjoyed their poet-time together a whole lot... and then Catullus is completely miserable without him.

1: 3-4
Corneli, tibi: namque tu solebas meas esse aliquid putare nugas.

To you Cornelius: for you used to think that my nothings were worth something.

Catullus respects this fellow Cornelius enough to dedicate a book of poetry to him. He also admires the man as a writer, calling his three-volume work "learned, Jupiter, and work-filled." Here, both writings, the works of Catullus and of Cornelius (or rather Catullus' description of it), serve to show a common bond and respect between the men.

And on the other end of the scale,
Carmen 36: 6-10

Electissima pessimi poetae
scripta tardipedi deo daturam
infelicibus ustulanda lignis.
Et hoc pessima se puella vidit
iocose lepide vovere divis.

She would give the choicest writings of the worst poet to the lame god, to be burned on unlucky wood. And the worst girl sees herself to vow this to the gods in charm and jest.

Here Catullus is using the vow of the worst girl to show just how far
their love has fallen -- she would burn his best work for her own perverse pleasure. What a terrible person. Catullus' writing is incredibly dear to him and the fact that Lesbia would do this to him, vowed to the gods, no less, is just horrible. Shame on her.

Kelsey2 said...

I think that the "De Carminibus" poems are less about the poetry itself than to whom they are addressed and achieving the desired effect on those people.
Although many of the poems are not flattering to the addressee, Carmen 1 is complimentary of Cornelius. As Cornelius is a valued patron, anything else would be extremely foolhardy and hazardous to a poet's career. In lines 1-2, Catullus phrases a question, asking to whom he should give his little poetry book. He then answers his own question in lines 4-5, "Corneli, tibi: namque tu solebas meas esse aliquid putare nugas", or "To you, Cornelius, because you alone are accustomed to think all my little nothings to be something." Catullus outlines the question and answer so as to seem humble (labeling his work a diminutive "libellum"), while complimenting and massaging the ego of his patron.
In Carmen 36, Catullus uses the poem to attack Volusius' writing, while teasing his former girl, assumed to be Lesbia. This is one of poetry's not-so-nice applications. Volusius' writings are characterized as "cacata charta", or somewhat nicely put, "crappy sheets", and should be used as fuel for an offering fire to the gods - "at vos interea venite in ignem", "but you (annales) come into the fire". This is the harsh backdrop which frames his jab at Lesbia, who it seems is irritated by Catullus' harsh verses on her character following their love falling-out. In a deft stroke, Catullus manages to intentionally offend two people with one poem.
Carmen 50 happens to be another praising poem, but infused with true admiration and even perhaps desire for the friend in question, Gaius Licinius Calvus. Whereas 1 may be interpreted as a polite and necessary compliment, the message that Catullus sends Calvus in 50 is of real feeling. Together they played with poetry in Catullus' writing tablet "in meis tabellis", "writing light verses - it was writing each of two meters now this way now that way", "scribens versiculos uterque nostrum ludebat numero modo hoc modo illoc", and there is certainly suggestion of a sexual relationship, as Catullus mentions tossing and turning that night, unable to sleep thinking of his pleasurable day with Calvus. However, regardless of whether Catullus was sexually attracted to Calvus, the poem still sends him the message of intense admiration for his skill and wit as a fellow poet.

hope2 said...

The poems in "De Carminibus" talk about poetry, but use it symbolically to talk about relationships with the people being described. For instance, Carmen 14a describes annoying poems, not really bad, since Catullus says that if they were given to Calvus by Sulla, "non est mi male, sed bene ac beate" or "it is not bad to me, but good and blessed" (10) despite the fact that he describes the book as "horribilem et sacrum" or "horrible and detestable" (12). In the same way, he seems annoyed with Calvus, who "te plus oculis meis amarem" or "I love you more than my eyes" (1), yet he would "odissem te odio Vatiniano" or "hate you with a Vatinian hatred" (3). Therefore, Catullus thinks that both Calvus and the book are annoying, not bad or hated, yet not liked by Catullus either. Or in Carmen 36, Catullus speaks about the annals of Volusius, which he describes as "cacata carta" or "[defecated] papers" (36). His harsh, angry assessment of the annals parallels his feelings toward Lesbia, whose vow he is rejecting. Also, in Carmen 35, Catullus says "est enim venuste Magna Caecilio incohata Mater" or "for 'The Great Mother' is charmingly unfinished for Caecilius" (18). The charming incompleteness describes Caecilius's poem, but it also describes his relationship with the girl, with its unfinished sexual allure and desire to complete their love. For after the girl read the unfinished poem, "ignes interiorem edunt medullum" or "flames are consuming her inner marrow" (15), or she is consumed with desire. Similar parallels between poems and the way Catullus feels about people can be drawn for all the poems. In 1, Cornelius's great writings reflect personal greatness, in 44, bad, cold writings reflect Sestianus's personal coldness toward guests, and in 50, Catullus's and Calvus's playful writings reflect their (sexually?) playful relationship.

Jay2 said...

While most of the poems in the De Carminibus section seem to be about poetry or writings, most of them are in fact probably what most of Catullus’ poems are about: people. In these poems Catullus is pointing out the flaws he finds in some people. In Carmen 44, Catullus says, “Hic me gravedo frigida et frequens tussis quassavit usque / this cold head cold and frequent cough shook me all the way through.” In this sentence, Catullus is implying that Sestianus is so cold and such a bad writer that he made Catullus physically sick.

Even though most of Catullus’ poems point out shortcomings of others, some, such as Carmen 50, seem to be poems of praise. In Carmen 50 Catullus says, “Atque illinc abii tuo lepore incensus, Licini, facetiisque, ut nec me miserum cibus iuvaret nec somnus tegeret quiete ocellos / And I left here so floored by your charm and your wittiness that food could not help miserable me, nor could sleep cover my eyes with quiet.” From this statement it is obvious that Catullus is praising Calvus for his charm and wit, and for this man to have impressed Catullus so much could not have been easy.

anqi2 said...

The poems in the group "De Carminibus" are not only about poems; He also incorporates books (Catullus 1, 14), papyrus (Catullus 35), papers (Catullus 36), and orations (Catullus 44). I'm thinking he considers all works of writing is poetry. He uses these works as a metonym of a person who is related to them. If the work ofliterature is good, he relates it to a good friend; if the work is bad, he makes it refer to a bad friend or even an enemy.

Take Catullus One for example; a "lepidum novum libellum arida modo pumice expolitum" (Lines 1-2, "this new and charming book, just now smoothed with dry pumice")is a positive thing, making Cornelius a friend. This book, this work of poetry, decribes how he wishes the book and their friendship to last "plus uno maneat perenne saeclo" (Line 10, "to last for more than one enduring generation"). Cornelius, being Catullus' patron, is most likely well-liked by Catullus, as shown in the poem.

On the more negative spectrum, in Catullus 44, the oration produced by Sestius in the "poem" in this situation. The speech was filled with "veneni et pestilentiae" (Line 12, "poison and plague"); Catullus uses this to describe his dislike towards Sestius, blaming him for the "gravedo frigida et frequens tussis" (Line 13, "severe cold and frequent cough"). Sestious is not on Catullus' good side for he cannot write good poetry/orations and Catullus is scolding him in this poem for it.

And, as Catullus would view it, the best form of literature is real poetry. As in Catullus 50, a man associated to Catullus worthy of being a symbol of poetry must have been very well-liked by him (as we all know too well). Catullus describes their all too well relationship through the poems as in: "multum lusimus in meis tabellis,ut convenerat esse delicatos: scribens versiculos uterque nostrum, ludebat numero modo hoc modo illoc" (Lines 2-5, "we played many games in my tablets since it is decided be with pleasure: and both of us writing our verses, were playing with this and then that meter.") Their relationship, as described in the poem, is a very playful one and Catullus values it dearly.

The poems in "De Carminibus" are not really about poems but rather about other works of writing and the people associated with them. Catullus symbolizes these works as the person he is describing.

jane2 said...

In the "De Carminibus" poems, Catullus does not seem to focus much on poetry itself but rather talks about poetry to suggest more about the person mentioned in the poem. He seems to judge people based on their poetry or taste in poetry. In lines 7-12 of Carmen 44, Catullus writes, "malamque pectore expuli tussim, non immerenti quam mihi meus venter, dum sumptuosas appeto, dedit, cenas. Nam, Sestianus dum volo esse conviva, orationem in Antium petitorem plenam veneni et pestilentiae legi / and I expelled a bad cough from my chest, which my stomach gave to a not undeserving me, while I attacked a sumptuous dinner. For, while I wish to be a Sestian guest, I read the speech against Antius the candidate full of poison and pestilence." In lines 18-21 of the same poem, Catullus writes, "Nec deprecor iam, si nefaria scripta Sesti recepso, quin gravedinem et tussim non mihi, sed ipsi Sestio ferat frigus, qui tunc vocat me, cum malum librum legi / No longer do I pray, if I shall receive the unspeakable writings of Sestius, but the coldness should bring the cold and cough not to me, but to Sestius himself, which calls me, when I have read his bad book." In these lines, Catullus judges Sestius by saying that Sestius' poetry is so horrible that he caught a cold, and even the sumptuous dinners that Sestius provides cannot compensate for his bad poetry, because Catullus started coughing while he was eating. In lines 1-4 of Carmen 1, Catullus writes, "Cui dono lepidum novum libellum arida modo pumice expolitum? Corneli, tibi: namque tu solebas meas esse aliquid putare nugas / To whom do I dedicate this witty, new little book just now polished with dry pumice? To you, Cornelius, for you were accustomed to think that my nonsenses were something." In these lines, Catullus seems respectful of Cornelius and therefore dedicates his book to him because Catullus seemed to approve of Cornelius' taste in poetry (Cornelius thought that Catullus' "nonsenses were something.")

Sanjay2 said...

I don't think that this set of poems is really about the poetry or the writings of others, instead it is a way that Catullus reflects on his own writings. In Catullus 14a, Catullus states (17-23),"Nam si luxerit ad librariorum curram scrinia, Caesios, Aquinos, s uffenum,omnia colligam venena. Ac te his suppliciis remunerabor. Vos hinc interea valete abite illuc, unde malum pedem attulistis,aecli incommoda, pessimi poetae." Here he insults the writings Suffenus, the families of Caesius Anquinus by saying that he shall punish the booksellers by making them sell copies of these bad books. He also tells these poets to leave with their bad feet ro that cursed place.This poem is a way that Catullus can raise his own writings and his metric feet in the eyes of the reader while also showing a sense of Neoterric commradery. In another poem Catullus reflects upon his own attitude of mooching off of others while also insulting anothers writings. In Catullus 44 lines 10-13,Nam,Sestianus dum volo esse conuiua, orationem in Antium petitorem plenam veneni et pestilentiae legi. Hic me gravedo frigida et frequens tussis" Here Catullus reports that in order to attend this dinner party Catullus must read the horrible writing that is against Antius. He goes on to say that this gives him a cold cold and frequent coughing. This poem also pushes the cold feeling onto the reader. The last of three poems that shows this effect is Catullus 36, In lines 7=9 Catullus says,"scripta tardipedi deo daturam
infelicibus ustulanda lignis." He vows to burn the his poems for the lame god Vulcan.But later in the poem lines 17-20 Catullus transfers this vow to another, Volusus, who had crapped sheets.At vos interea venite in ignem, pleni ruris et infacetiarum annales Volusi, cacata carta." This poem is telling us about us about a failed attempt to reconcile with Lesbia. He tries to in poetic conceit send his blame onto another bad poet who had bad writtings.

pranav2 said...

I believe that the "De Carminibus" poems are not actually about poetry. I think that these are more about Catullus relationships with the people addressed in the poems. His reactions toward the poems serve as metaphors to what he thinks of the person addressed in the poem.

In carmen 1, Catullus shows his respect for Cornelius. "Corneli, tibi: namque tu solebas meas esse aliquid putare nugas"/ To you Cornelius, for you were accustomed to thinking of my nothings as something. Here he is thanking Cornelius for respecting him as a fellow writer. Cornelius has enough admiration for Catullus to give credit to his poetry. In return Catullus shows in this poem his respect for Cornelius by dedicating his new book to him. When Catullus talks about how he will give his book to Cornelius first, he is in fact showing his admiration for Cornelius as a poet.

Carmen 50 clearly shows Catullus' great friendship with Calvus. Catullus says," atque illinc abii tuo lepore incensus, Licini, facetiisque, ut nec me miserum cibus iuvaret nec somnus tegeret quite ocellos"/ And I left from there excited from your charm and cleverness, Calvus, so that neither food helped miserable me, nor sleep closes my eyes quietly. Here Catullus is clearly showing how attached he is to his friend. He is unable to eat or sleep due to being away from Calvus. Catullus makes the readers aware of how close he and Calvus are. Though in the beginning of the poem Catullus talks of all the poems he and Calvus wrote together, the meaning really focuses on the great time he and Calvus had.

Catullus uses carmen 36 as a way of attacking both Volusus. He refers to Volusus' writing as "cacata charta"(crapped paper). This phrase is surely not a compliment to Volusus. By saying that Volusus' poems are worthless, he is implying that Volusus himself is worthless. He uses the lines" at vos interea venite in ignem, pleni ruris et inficetiarum annales Volusi, cacta carta"/ But meanwhile, you head into the flames, full of the countryside and clumsiness, annals of Volusus, shitted sheets. Earlier in the poem Catullus was talking about how Lesbia would burn all of his best writings. Here, Catullus is saying that instead of his own amazing writings, Volusus' useless annals should be burned. They deserve to be burned because they are that bad. In this poem, Catullus manages to strike a blow to Volusus by condemning his writings as good-for-nothing.

Timmy2 said...

Catullus is not usually talking about the text to which he is addressing in this grouping of poems. The text, whether it is a poem or a book, represents someone or something else. In Carmen 35, Catullus states, “Cui dono lepidum / novum libellum / arida modo pumice expolitum?” meaning “To whom do I present this charming little book, polished with a dry pumice stone.” He wants to point out the slimness and novelty of the book in order to contrast it with the greatness and age of Cornelius' books. By doing this, he praises the greatness of Cornelius' writings. In Carmen 36, when Catullus says “Annales Volusi, cacata carta, / votum solvite pro mea puella, “ which means “Anals of Volusus, shitted sheets, release a vow for my girl,” he is not really insulting the writings of Volusis, though they may be horrible indeed, as much as he is angered that Lesbia would consider sacrificing his. He thinks she should burn the bad writing of a bad poet instead of his “electissima scripta,” his “choice writings.” In Carmen 50, Catullus talks about “each of them writing little verses were playing in this meter and that meter.” when he writes “scribens versiculos uterque nostrum / ludebat numero modo hoc modo illoc.” He is talking less about the actual writing than about spending time with Lucinius. Regardless of whether this is a sexual reference or not, the idea is that he is such good friends with Lucinius that food nor sleep provide any solace, only being with him could do that. These poems in “de carmina” are not about the actual poems, but about Catullus' feelings towards the people related to the writings indicated.

82 said...

I think that the poems as part of "De Carminibus" are "about poetry". I think that in each of the poems Catullus describes other peoples poetry and points out where it is lacking. In Carmen 14a Catullus states "cur me tot male perderes poetis?" which translated means "why did you destroy me with such awful poets?". Here he is criticizing a poem written about a friend and in response is going to go sell the awful poems to everyone, so that they can see the poetry. In Carmen 36, Catullus mainly talks about what the poems that he writes is doing to Lesbia. "desissemque truces vibrare iambos" "and if i had ceased to wave about harsh verses". Carmen 36 also talks about Volusius' poems which are describes as "cacata carta" "crappy papers". Poem 44 talks about the poems that Catullus had to read at Sestius' dinner party. "orationem in Antium petitorem plenam veneni et pestilentiae legi." which means "I read the full oration against Antius that candidate in poison and pestilence." POems 50 and 1 also follow the same theme as talking about the poems. 50 shares his past times writing with friends. "scribens versiculos uterque nostrum" which means "both of us writing in small verses". These many examples prove to me that these groupings are placed under the title De Carminibus because they are indeed focusing on the poems and are about the poems, some of which he has written but most of which he has read.

Yayu2 said...

For the poems under the theme "De Carminibus," Catullus obviously talks about the writings of others; however, the main focus of these poems is not the poetry itself, but who each poem is addressed to and the effect that Catullus' is making on each person.

Through his poems on the writings of others, I am exposed to what Catullus thought of as good and bad poetry. For poets that he admired or respected, he elevated their works to give me the expression that they are the best of the best. In carmen 1, lines 3-7, he writes "Corneli, tibi: namque tu solebas meas esse aliquid putare nugas iam tum, cum ausus es unus Italorum omne aevum tribus explicare cartis doctis, Iuppiter, et laboriosis" (For you Cornellius, for you were accustomed to think that my little nothings were something. When already at the same time, you alone
dared to unfold the whole age of Italians in three scrolls, learned, by Jupiter, and industrious) in answer to his question about who he should dedicate his new charming book. After reading the poem, I am thinking about how great and wonderful Cornellius is. By commenting on his poetry in such a way, Catullus changes my perspective of the person. He is not trying to make me focus on the actual poetry at work, but he gives me an impression of Cornelius and shifts my opinion of him instantly.
Carmen 50 also is a poem that boosts the skills of the poet being addressed. The whole poem is practically about how great Licinius is, and how Catullus is lost without him. Whether there is an underlying meaning to the poem or not, it is clear that Catullus truly admires Licinius' writing skills and loves to discuss and write poetry with him. In lines 7-10, "atque illinc abii tuo lepore incensus, Licini, facetiisque, ut nec me miserum cibus iuvaret nec somnus tegeret quiete ocellos." (And from there inflamed I have gone away from your charm, Licinius, and clever talks, and as a result neither food helps my misery nor sleep quietly covers my eyes). I am given the sense that Licinius is such a great poet that he causes Catullus to behave in such a miserable way when he's not around him. The poem shows me the powerful influence that Licinius exhibits and the true skill of his poems.
On the other hand, Catullus is not a modest person, he also openly criticizes the poems and skills of others that he deem to be way beneath him. In carmen 44, lines 13-15, Catullus says, "hic me gravedo frigida et frequens tussis quassavit usque, dum in tuum sinum fugi, et me recuravi otioque et urtica." (At this point a chilling cold and frequent cough shook me completely until I fled into your embrace, and I restored myself by rest and stinging nettle). Catullus was trying to enjoy a dinner, but he was forced to read a speech full of posion and plague against the candidate Antius. By telling us what happened to him, he insults the writer of the speech and belittles him as someone not worthy of writing peotry, a complete opposite of what he states in carmen 1 and 50.
In carmen 14 and 36, he also attacks the poets being addressed. In carmen 14, line 12, "horribilem et sacrum libellum" (that horrible and cursed little book) Catullus is referencing the book that he received that contains all the bad poetry of all the poets. He is disgusted at what he received and is clearly boosting his own ego by denouncing the skills of his fellow poets. In lines 1-2 in carmen 36, he also makes fun of others' poetry. "Annales Voluso, cacata carta, votum solvite pro mea puella." (Annales of Volusis, crappy papers, discharged a vow on behalf on my girl). He openly denounces the works of others and that causes me to focus on the poet that he's writing about instead of on the poetry.
Even though Catullus is writing and telling me about the poetry of others, his main focus is definitely not on the works but on the actual poets. By commenting on the works in his own way, he directs the attention to the original authors and shifts my thoughts about each to be the same as him. The poetry is just a cover up for his real meaning and intention. Catullus is usually never so simple as to have only the surface meaning, so it is only right that the real meaning of the poems is to introduce me to the poets and shifts my opinion to his way of thinking.

jrog08 said...

Catullus uses poetry to talk about how amazingly horrible other people are at writing poetry, the only significant thing being that he uses some choice words and phrases to accomplish this task. This is shown in Carmen 36 where Catullus says, “Annales Volusi, cacata carta, votum solvite pro mea puella” or “Annals of Volsus, shitty papers, a vow performed for my girl” which clearly shows that Catullus thinks that Volsus’ writings are absolutely awful which is a theme he continually elaborates on throughout the poem, finally calling the papers “shit on” because they are so bad. Then again in Carmen 44 Catullus takes a more subtle approach, at least in comparison with 36, by saying, “si nefaria scripta Sesti recepso, quin gravedinem et tussim non mi, sed ipsi Sestio ferat frigus qui tunc vocat me, cum malum librum legi” or “if I accept the evil writings of Sestius, indeed the head cold and cough is not brought on for me but by cold Sestius himself, who then calls me, when I read a bad book”. Basically Catullus is using the metaphor of a head cold to describe the cold, and thus bad, writings of Sestius, the only difference between this poem and the previous poem is that he does not take as direct an approach in calling Sestius a horrible writer. Finally, in Carmen 14a Catullus says, “vos hinc interea valete abite illuc, unde malum pedem attulistis, saecli incommoda, pessimi poetae” or “meanwhile you depart from here well that, you had brought under bad feet, a detriment to the generation, of sad poets”. Again, he is criticizing the writing ability of Caesius, Aquinus, and Suffenus, who were mentioned earlier in the poem. He says they write under bad feet and are a detriment to their generation of sad poets which is very clear that he thinks they are terrible writers, which is another way of reinforcing how good he thinks he is at writing poetry. So, Catullus uses poems and poetry to talk about how bad other people are, which is a left-handed compliment to himself about how amazing he is at writing poems but the main idea in his poems is that other people are just plain horrible at writing poetry.

hyung02 said...

This set of poems is not about the poetry, but it is about the people who pretends to be something when their work is nothing. Catullus attacks each person by insulting his works instead of insulting them directly. In Carmen 14a, he says "horribilem et sacrum libellum"//"horrible and cursed little book." Here, he cursed the work of Sulla, who is an elementary school teacher.In Carmen 36, he offends Volusius by saying, "Annales Volusi, cacata carta, votum solvite pro mea puella,"// "Annals of Volusius, crappy papers, offer your prayer for my girl." Here, he insults Volusis by saying that his work is worthless should be offered its prayer for his girl Lesbia. In Carmen 44, he says, "Nam, Sestianus dum volo esses conuiua, orationem in Antium petitorem plenam veneni et pestilentiae legi,"//"For I wanted to be Sestius' dinner guest, I read a speech full of poison and plague aginst the candidate Antius." Catullus reads the horrible work of Sestius in order to dine. Although he insulted the writing, in the end, he is insulting the writer of that speech. Catullus thinks that he is superior than any other poet and sees others' works worthless. I think Catullus telling them to leave the poetry to real poets.

vikas2 said...

Catullus’s poems under the theme “De Carminibus” discuss many various issues. One might think the poems under this theme are about the poetry, while others might think these poems are about something completely different. In my opinion, the “De Carminibus” poems are more about the people Catullus refers to rather than the poetry itself. For example, in Carmen 36, Catullus refers to Volusis, and how shitty his papers are. Catullus refers to how badly the relationship between Volusis and his girl are by saying, “dessemque truces vibrare iambos, electissima pessimi poetae scripta tardipedi deo daturam infelicibus ustulanda lignis. Et hoc pessima se puella vidit iocose lepide vovere divis.” (and if I had stop hurling vicous verses, she would give the best writings of the worst poet to the lame god, to be burned on unlucky wood. And the worst girl sees herself to vow this to the gods in charm and humor). In Carmen 50, Catullus refers to his childhood friend Licinius. The poem describes Catullus and Licinius wrote verses together before, and how much Catullus admires Licinius. This is shown in lines 1-4 & 11-12. “Hesterno, Licini, die otiose multum lusimus in meis tabellis, ut convenerat esse delicatos: scribens versiculos uterque nostrum” (Yesterday, Licinius, at leisure we wrote many things on my boards, as we agreed to be racy: and both of us writing small verses). “sed toto indomitus furore lecto versarer, cupiens videre lucem, ut tecum loquerer simulque ut essem.” (but I was untamed I as with total fury, desiring to see the light, so that I could speak with you at the same time I could be with you). In Carmen 1, Catullus refers to Cornelius. It is evident that Catullus respects Cornelius, and sees eye-to-eye with him. This is because Catullus is about to give him a book of poetry. In lines 1-2, it says “Cui dono lepidum novum libellum arida modo pumice expolitum?” (To whom do I give this charming little book, having recently been smoothed with dry pumice?). So, this concludes that the “De Carminibus” poems have more to do with the people mentioned in the poems, rather than the poetry itself.

Will Ravon said...

In Catullus 14a it says,
"Vos hinc interea valete abite
illuc, unde malum pedem attulistis,
saecli incommoda, pessimi poetae."

Which translates,
"Meanwhile good-bye you bad poets depart to that place, from where you carry the bad feet, annoying generation, worst poets."

Here he talks about how some terrible poets should return to where they came from so the rest of the world does not have to read what they write. He also threatens a man named Calvus that he would send him the writings of these men to him as punishment (lines 17-20). He isn't just talking about poetry here, but poetry used as punishment for what Calvenus has done to Catullus.