Catullus Poems 51 and 5
by Amanda Jeffers
(Bedford, New York)
Poems 51 and 5 both share the common theme of Catullus's wants and dreams of being with Lesbia. However in poem 51, Lesbia is only a figure of Catullus’s admiration, and not really a realistic figure in his life. He speaks of his love for Lesbia by writing “ille, si fas est, superare divos qui sedens adversus identem te spectat et audit” This shows how amazing Catullus thinks Lesbia is and how divine, and how she makes him feel. In poem 51, Lesbia is more of an icon, not really realistic because he only talks about how much he loves her and how she affects him and takes over his senses by her beauty and her greatness. That is where poem 5 by Catullus contrasts with poem 51. In poem 5 Catullus’s dreams become reality. He finally finds the courage to take action and do something about his desire for Lesbia. He admits to wanting to shower her with a lot of kisses. He is finally ready to act on his love and have something with Lesbia. Although their relationship did not work out in the end, it is nice to see how Lesbia affected Catullus’s writing. Also it is interesting how he was able to use his poems as a way to express his feelings and emotions without directly saying or doing anything.
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