Catullus 101
Catullus 101 is an elegiac
Elegiac couplet
The elegiac couplet is a poetic form used by Greek lyric poets for a variety of themes usually of smaller scale than the epic. Roman poets, particularly Ovid, adopted the same form in Latin many years later...

 poem written by the Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 poet Gaius Valerius Catullus. It is addressed to Catullus' dead brother or, strictly speaking, to the "mute ashes" which are the only remaining evidence of his brother's body.

The tone is grief-stricken and tender, with Catullus trying to give the best gift he had to bestow (a poem) on his brother, who was taken untimely. The last words, "Hail and Farewell
Hail and Farewell
Hail and Farewell is a traditional military event whereby those coming to and departing from an organization are celebrated. This may coincide with a change in command, be scheduled on an annual basis, or be prompted by any momentous organizational change...

" (in Latin, ave atque vale), are among Catullus' most famous; an alternative modern translation might be "I salute you...and goodbye".

The meter
Meter (poetry)
In poetry, metre is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse. Many traditional verse forms prescribe a specific verse metre, or a certain set of metres alternating in a particular order. The study of metres and forms of versification is known as prosody...

 is elegiac couplet
Elegiac couplet
The elegiac couplet is a poetic form used by Greek lyric poets for a variety of themes usually of smaller scale than the epic. Roman poets, particularly Ovid, adopted the same form in Latin many years later...

, which was usually employed in love poetry, such as Catullus' addresses to Lesbia
Lesbia was the literary pseudonym of the great love of Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus .She was a poet in her own right, included with Catullus in a list of famous poets whose lovers "often" helped them write their verses....

. However, the elegy couplet was originally used by ancient Greek poets to express grief and lamentation, making it an entirely suitable form to express Catullus' mourning.

Latin text

Line|English translation
1 Multās per gentēs et multa per aequora vectus Carried through many nations and over many seas,
2 adveniō hās miserās, frāter, ad īnferiās, I arrive, brother, for these miserable funeral rites,
3 ut tē postrēmō dōnārem mūnere mortis so that I might grant the final service for the dead
4 et mūtam nēquīquam alloquerer cinerem, and speak in vain to your silent ashes,
5 quandoquidem fortūna mihī tētē abstulit ipsum. since Fortune has deprived me of you in the flesh.
6 heu miser indignē frāter adēmpte mihi, Ah, poor brother, undeservedly lost to me,
7 nunc tamen intereā haec, prīscō quae mōre parentum now at least for the meantime, these things
which in the time-honored way of our ancestors
8 trādita sunt trīstī mūnere ad īnferiās, are handed down in a mournful service for the rites
9 accipe frāternō multum mānantia flētū, receive, utterly sodden by a brother's tears
10 atque in perpetuum, frāter, avē atque valē. and for eternity, brother, a tribute and farewell.

Another elegy

This is one of three poems in which Catullus tries to cope with the loss of his brother. The other poems are Catullus 65 and 68B. The cause of his brother's death is unknown; he apparently died before 57 BC in Bithynia
Bithynia was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Propontis, the Thracian Bosporus and the Euxine .-Description:...

, a northwest region of modern-day Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, near the ancient city of Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...


Modern translations

In addition to its inclusion among the many translations of Catullus's collected poems, Carmen 101 is featured in Nox (2010), a book by Canadian poet and classicist Anne Carson
Anne Carson
Anne Carson is a Canadian poet, essayist, translator and professor of Classics. Carson lived in Montreal for several years and taught at McGill University, the University of Michigan, and at Princeton University from 1980-1987....

 that comes in an accordion format within a box. Nox concerns the death of Carson's own brother, to which the poem of Catullus offers a parallel. Carson provides the Latin text of 101, word-by-word annotations, and "a close and almost awkward translation." Although Nox shares some features with an artist's book in its unconventional format and incorporation of multimedia art, it is mass-produced rather than unique.

Musical settings

This poem, as translated by Aubrey Beardsley
Aubrey Beardsley
Aubrey Vincent Beardsley was an English illustrator and author. His drawings, done in black ink and influenced by the style of Japanese woodcuts, emphasized the grotesque, the decadent, and the erotic. He was a leading figure in the Aesthetic movement which also included Oscar Wilde and James A....

, was set by the composer Ned Rorem
Ned Rorem
Ned Rorem is a Pulitzer prize-winning American composer and diarist. He is best known and most praised for his song settings.-Life:...

 under the title "Catullus: On the Burial of his Brother".
The Austrian music group Dargaard
Dargaard is a neoclassical/ambient band from Austria formed in 1997. Typically in dark and somber moods, the music of Dargaard presents medieval and folk-like melodies, often orchestrated through the use of various instrument patches from a keyboard. The band is still active and has four releases...

 have also performed this poem in song on their album Rise and Fall
Rise and Fall (Dargaard album)
Rise and Fall is the fourth studio album by the Austrian Neoclassical band Dargaard.-Track listing:# "Rise and Fall" - 10:47# "Bearer of the Flame" - 4:50# "Niobe" - 4:39# "Takhisis Dance" - 3:58# "Winter" - 7:02# "Ave Atque Vale" - 6:12...

, naming it "Ave Atque Vale".
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