Friday, May 11, 2007

Week 17: Ad Finem!

We have spent the last 18 weeks reading and reflecting on the carmina of Catullus. We have viewed them under some general headings:

Catullus Lesbiam amat.
Catullusne Lesbiam amat?
Amor et Amicitia
De Vita Sua

Go back over these poems. Select a line from one poem that strikes you in a particular way. Quote the line, and then explain to us in a few poignant words what this means to you and why it captures your attention.

I will offer this one for myself:

. . . non est dea nescia nostri,
quae dulcem curis miscet amaritiem.
Sed totum hoc studium luctu fraterna mihi mors
abstulit. O misero frater adempte mihi,
tu mea tu moriens fregisti commoda, frater,
tecum una tota est nostra sepulta domus
omnia tecum una perierunt gaudia nostra
quae tuus in vita dulcis alebat amor. 68:17-24

The goddess is not unaware of me, who mixes sweet bitterness with life's cares. But, my brother's death has taken this whole work from me with sorrow. O my brother taken away from miserable me! You have broken my life's peace, you dying brother, and my whole house has been buried together with you and all my joys have perished with you--joys which your sweet love used to nourish in my life.

My quotation is long, but how it strikes me is quick and deep. Catullus captures so well how powerful our love for others can be, and how deep the wound of losing them is. Reading this poem this week, and this week in particular, as a young man in our own extended community lost his life in a tragic car accident reminds me of how much I care for those in my life (including my students!) and how much I cherish them all. The love and companionship I have with others really does nourish my life. Catullus reminds me of this as if he had written these words this week.

What you post this week does not have to be lengthy. But, do let it be your signuature to our work this semester.

With gratitude to all the members of this class for a fascinating and rewarding year,

Magister Patricius