Catullus’ Poem 4

Intermediate Latin students:

I included this poem Catullus  4, for practice. Some things to note are underlined:  superlatives, indirect statement. I’ve put some subjunctives in bold and some participles in italics.

I’ll try to translate a bit more later.

That pod-shaped boat which you see, my guests
says that it had been the fastest of ships,
that the beat (attack) of any other swimming ship
could overtake it, whether with oars
or with a sail it would work.

Phaselus ille, quem uidetis, hospites,
ait fuisse nauium celerrimus,
neque ullius natantis impetum trabis
nequisse praeterire, siue palmulis
opus foret uolare siue linteo.
et hoc negat minacis Hadriatici
negare litus insulasue Cycladas
Rhodumque nobilem horridamque Thraciam
Propontida trucemue Ponticum sinum,
ubi iste post phaselus antea fuit
comata silua; nam Cytorio in iugo
loquente saepe sibilum edidit coma.
Amastri Pontica et Cytore buxifer,
tibi haec fuisse et esse cognitissima
ait phaselus: ultima ex origine
tuo stetisse dicit in cacumine,
tuo imbuisse palmulas in aequore,
et inde tot per impotentia freta
erum tulisse, laeua siue dextera
uocaret aura, siue utrumque Iuppiter
simul secundus incidisset in pedem;
neque ulla uota litoralibus deis
sibi esse facta, cum ueniret a mari
nouissimo hunc ad usque limpidum lacum.
sed haec prius fuere: nunc recondita
senet quiete seque dedicat tibi,
gemelle Castor et gemelle Castoris.
lauro cinge uolens, Melpomene, comam

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About kristinachew

classicist | translator (of ancient Greek & Latin poetry & drama) View all posts by kristinachew

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