Comparison of 51-5

by Josh Policella

Catullus 51 centers on his new found obsession with Lebia (or possibly Clodia). He goes on and on about how beautiful she is and how lucky her companion is for being able to spend time with her. Although I do not see it as inappropriate, surely at that time it could have been seen as so, furthering the popular opinion of him that he was a deviant and not worthy of the same status as the other great poets. Obviously, he is trying to convince Lesbia to fall for him. This may be a romantic way of going about it, but I don’t buy it. I think this is too personal even though he is not openly addressing, like it is almost at the point of stalking.

But I do believe that Catullus 5 remedies this situation because of its heartfelt lines such as “Soles occidere et ridere possunt; nobis cum semel occidit brevis lux, nox est perpetua una dormienda.” This line really speaks to me because it shows his deep affection for him and how she is his life and he hopes that one day they will be together in public, not caring about all the wary eyes judging them. Although he may come off as a stalker to begin with, I believe that he just really cares for this Lesbia and that his poetry is the only way he can express his sincere devotion to her.

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