Catullus Carmen 61:216-220

Gregorius Textor

Civis Illustris
I haven't read the whole poem, just the part that is quoted in Ad Alpes, Caput V:

Torquātus volo parvulus
Mātris ē gremiō suae
Porrigēns tenerās manūs
Dulce rīdeat ad patrem
Sēmihiante labello

which I (partially) translated as

A baby boy with a necklace
from his mother's lap
stretching out his tender hands
sweetly smiles at his father
with half-opened lips.

Questions:

1. I didn't dare translate volo (I wish/want, I fly, a volunteer) because Torquātus parvulus in the nominative case has to be the subject, but how could "I" (Catullus, a grown man) be a Torquātus parvulus? I did find a translation which renders this line as "A little Torquatus I wish", and I understand that Titus Manlius Torquatus took the neck-chain of a Gaul he had slain. But anyway, what's going on here?

2. Why is rideo in the subjunctive mood, in the fourth line?

3. What is the meter of this poem? I know next to nothing of Latin meters.
 

Notascooby

Active Member
Torquatus is a name. The name derives from a famous Torquatus from Roman history

Volo means 'I wish'.

Rideat is part of a substantival clause after volo with a missing 'ut'

torquatus parvulus is the subject of rideat in the substantival clause. Its position and lack of conjunction cause confusion here.

'I wish that little torquatus laughs while stretching forth......'

No clue as to the metre.

Edit. This type of substantival clause is often referred to as 'volative' from 'volo'.
 
Last edited:

Gregorius Textor

Civis Illustris
Rideat is part of a substantival clause after volo with a missing 'ut'

torquatus parvulus is the subject of rideat in the substantival clause. Its position and lack of conjunction cause confusion here.

'I wish that little torquatus laughs while stretching forth......'
That helped a lot. Thanks.
 

Agrippa

Civis Illustris
...
3. What is the meter of this poem? I know next to nothing of Latin meters.
It's a so-called glyconic.

Torquatus volo parvulus


- - / - u u - / u u

Matris e gremio suae

- u / - u u - / u –

Porrigens teneras manus

- u / - u u - / u –

Dulce rideat ad patrem

- u / - u u - / u u

Semi(hi)ante labello (semihiante: four syllables; cf. mihi > mi)

- - / - u u - / - (catalectic [incomplete] glyconic = pherecratic)
 
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