Carmen 73 Interpretation

Carmen 73 Interpretation | Catullus 73 Translation

Carmen 73 Interpretation : In this poem, Catullus has had enough of friendship that has gone wrong. The poet starts the piece off with a frustrating tone where he realizes that even if he deserves thanks, he won’t get it. He knows that people will not be grateful. In the third line, he mentions how “all this” does not receive thanks and that his kind actions mean nothing. In the fourth line, he shares that he is weary, but the actions of others and his emotions are harmful.

Carmen 73 Interpretation

In the fifth line, readers see that he feels this way and is “vexed” by someone who treated him bitterly. In the sixth line, Catullus reveals that the person who made him feel this way was someone who had only Catullus as a friend.

This poem is clearly filled with pain, as Catullus feels he treated this person well. But, the person does not show any respect to him, despite Catullus acting kindly to him. Hopefully, Catullus learned his lesson before he gave any more to who is most likely his former friend. Gratitude and respect were important in the social system of the Roman world. To purposefully disregard it goes against the way the Roman world worked. Catullus would have known this, and poem #73 shows how people would feel when they were mistreated by someone in their social strata.

Catullus 73 Translation

This poem is an elegiac couplet with one line not having the same meter as the rest: line four. Catullus’s poetry spans the breadth and depth of human emotions. While most seem to draw on his various experiences and thoughts of love, this one shows how he feels when brotherly love (philia) was not returned. According to the ancient Greeks, platonic love was the most important, so it is easy to see why the lack of gratitude was so troublesome to Catullus.

Carmen 73 Interpretation

Line Latin text English translation
1 DESINE de quoquam quicquam bene uelle mereri LEAVE off wishing to deserve any thanks from any one,
2 aut aliquem fieri posse putare pium. or thinking that any one can ever become grateful.
3 omnia sunt ingrata, nihil fecisse benigne All this wins no thanks; to have acted kindly is nothing,
4 immo etiam taedet, taedet obestque magis; rather it is wearisome, wearisome and harmful;
5 ut mihi, quem nemo grauius nec acerbius urget, so is it now with me, who am vexed and troubled by no one so bitterly
6 quam modo qui me unum atque unicum amicum habuit. as by him who but now held me for his one and only friend.


Read it also:  Women in the Odyssey

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