Catullus

1 January 2017

Catullus creates two poems, which show his immense love and affection for his girlfriend, Clodia. The content of the poems is the same and the themes contain similar ideas of everlasting love. The readers can first see that these poems are closely related because in the first two lines of both poems “Lesbia” is addressed. This shows that Catullus is talking to his girlfriend and this connects the two poems from the very beginning. Also both poems have similar main themes of love and kissing. In poem five one can first see that Catullus is writing about the love he has for Lesbia when he says, “Da mi basia mille (give me a thousand kisses. (line 7)” This shows that he loves Lesbia and wants to show that love in a physical way. In poem seven the theme of kissing and love is shown immediately when Catullus states, “Quaeris-superque (you ask how my acts of kissings of you are enough and over Lesbia. )(lines 1-2)” This line is emphasized by the word “basiationes(acts of kissings)” because this abstract, polysyllabic noun, formed from basium was created by Catullus and used only here. Catullus does this to display his rare love for Lesbia. Therefore one can see the thematic connection of Catullus showing his love in both the poems.

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The poems also share similar dictions and structures creating another link between the two poems. Both poems are written in the same meter called hendecasyllabic. These poems written in same format cause the reader to associate them with each other. Also the poems both contain multiple number words. In poem five this can be seen when Catullus says, “Da-centum(give me a thousand kisses, then a hundred, then another thousand, then a second hundred, then immediately another thousand, then a hundred. )(lines 7-9)” In these lines Catullus uses multiple number words to describe the amount of kisses he wishes to share with Lesbia.

These great amounts of kisses cause the readers to understand how much Catullus loves Lesbia and how great his affection for Lesbia is. Also these lines are emphasized by Catullus’s use of anaphora, or repetition of the whole word. He the number words “mille” and “centum” multiple times to show the immense numbers of kisses and his great love for his girlfriend. Also he uses anaphora with the words “dein” and “deinde” to show that after one set of kisses then there will always be another. This causes readers to come to the conclusion that he never wants the kisses to stop.

In poem seven Catullus is further expressing his great love for Lesbia. In this poem he demonstrates he loves her a lot by also using the theme of counting. But in this poem he compares the amount of kissings he wishes to have with Lesbia to large numbers of other things. He begins by using a simile to compare their kissings to sand saying they were like a great number of sands of Libyssa laying on lasepiciferum bearing Cyrena (magnus-Lyrenis)(lines 3-4). This shows there are lots of kisses because there were millions of grains of sand.

Also he goes on to compare the acts of kissings to many stars when the night is quiet (sidera-nox)(line 7). And lastly he shows that they kissed a lot by saying “te-basiare(to kiss you so many kisses. )(line 9)” This shows that the couple had kissed each other many times and this is emphasized by polyptoton (basia &basiare). In all of these comparisons Catullus uses multiple number words which creates another tie between poem five and seven. Also in all his number comparisons in both poems he uses hyperbole because its not possible to kiss someone that many times.

Therefore the structure and use of similar figures of speech creates a bond between the two poems. Catullus wrote poem seven in a response to Lesbia’s question about poem five. Catullus wrote both poems with similar content, diction and structure to establish their thematic connection. In both poems he demonstrates his large amount of love and care he has for Lesbia. He does this by using the same figures of speech and themes to create the link to the two poems. Therefore Catullus connects the poems and shows his love for Lesbia.

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