First 498 words of the document:
How many kisses?
You ask how many of your kisses are enough and more than enough for me Lesbia
Quaeris quot tuae basiationes sint satis que super mihi, Lesbia
As large as the number as the grains of Libyan sands as lies in Silphium producing
Quam Magnus numerus harenae Libyssae iacet lasarpiciferis
Cyrene? Between the oracle of sultry (hot) Jupiter and the sacred tomb of old
Cyrenis? Inter Oradum aestuosi iovis et sacrum sepulcrum veteris
Battus? Or as many stars when the night is silent as which see the secret love affairs
Batti? Aut quam multa sidera, cum nox tacet vident furtivos amores
of people. To kiss you with so many kisses is enough and more than enough for
Hominum. Basiare te tam multa basia est satis et super
Crazy Catullus. Which neither prying people could count up nor the evil tongue could
Vesano Catullo quae nex curiosi possint pernumerare nec mala lingua (possint)
o "Lesbia" is Catullus' girl friend. She was probably actually called Clodia. Lesbia is a
metric conversion of Clodia (they have the same number of syllabus similar sound)
o The word lesbian probably came from a famous Greek poet Sappho who lived in
Lesbos. Sappho had a group of girls which she taught. By called her "Lesbia",
Catullus is complementing her and saying "my girl friend is as clever as Sappho, she
o Libya is on the North African coast and very hot. Cyrene is a city in North Africa.
Silphium is a plant used in cookery and medicines, it was very rare.
o Oracle of Jupiter a small shrine or temple who tells the wishes of the Gods. Jupiter
is being called hot because the place where the shrine lies is hot, a transferred
epithet. Battus: is the founder of Cyrene, first kind of North Africa
o Catullus uses personification of the stars. He chooses to make the stars see love
affairs because it is a love poem. The "love affair" might mean that his and Lesbia's
relationship is an affair, maybe Lesbia is married.
o Catullus uses ring composition he starts the poem with "enough and more than
enough" "satis et super" then sums up the poem by using the phrase again at the end.
o In order to put emphasis on the word kiss he uses lots of different variations on the
spelling of it for example basiare, basia, basiationes
o Catullus is being clever when he says "evil tongue" He is referring to the old myth of
the evil eye that if some one could count the exact number of something, they could
put an evil spell on you.
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You promise me, my life, that this love of ours will be pleasant and ever lasting
Proponis mihi, mea vita, hunc amorem nostrum iucundem que perpetuum
between us. Great Gods! Grant that she can promise truthfully and that she can say
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Here's a taster:
Perhaps you ask why I do this
Fortasse requires quare faciam id
I don't know but I feel that is happeing to me
Nescio sed sentio fieri
And I am being tortured.
Odi, amo and excrucior are strong emotional words
Requires meaning you ask, indicates that the poet is talking to the reader.
The poet makes it sound livelier by writing it in first person making it sound like a dialogue.
The dialogue style draws us into the poem.…read more