display | more...
Catullus 9:
Verani, omnibus e meis amicis
antistans mihi milibus trecentis,
venistine domum ad tuos penates
fratresque unanimos anumque matrem?
venisti! o mihi nuntii beati!
visam te incolumem audiamque Hiberum
narrantem loca, facta, nationes,
ut mos est tuus, applicansque collum
iucundum os oculosque suaviabor.
o, quantum est hominum beatiorum,
quid me laetius est beatiusve?
Veranius, out of all my friends standing first,
to me, among three hundred thousand,
have you come home to your own Penates
and your close-knit brothers and aged mother?
You have come! O news blessed to me!
Let me see you unharmed, and hear you telling,
as is your custom, of the Spanish places,
deeds, and peoples; and applying myself to your
delightful neck I shall kiss your eyes and mouth.
O, however many of blessed men there are,
who is more happy or blessed than I?



A poem about the return of Veranius from Spain. Veranius appears in several more of Catullus' poems, along with one Fabullus. The tone of the poems and the attention given to each suggests a close friendship among the three. The poem's start is in extravagant hyperbole, milibus trecentis. Both numerical terms were traditional separately for exaggeration, and their combination here strengthens the device. The penates were the household gods, the personal deities of a family, and the term was often used synonymously with home. Home was wherever the Penates were; cf. Aeneas bringing the Trojan Penates (in this case, the gods of a city rather than a family) from the ruins of the city to Italy where he founded a new home for the people. Unanimos is a bit difficult to translate. What I have interpreted in context as 'close-knit' can be translated as 'like-minded' or single-souled' or even 'unanimous.' Ut mos est tuus, 'as is your custom,' suggests that Veranius was wont to be a tale-bearer and that Catullus was as eager to hear the gossip and news his friend brought back from the provinces as to see him again. The triple repetition of beatus which can mean either happy or blessed establishes a mood both of joy and thanksgiving.

Latin text from the Merrill edition; notes and commentary cobbled together from the Merril and Quinn commentaries as well as Garrison's text for students. Painfully unpoetic but very literal translation mine. More poetic but looser translations can be found along with the Merril text/commentary at Tufts U.'s Perseus online at www.perseus.tufts.edu.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.