I Love a Good Surprise: Catullus Carmen 107

If anything ever happens to someone who is desirous and eager yet not anticipating a surprise,

then the unexpected is especially pleasing to person in such a state of mind.

Therefore, it is particularly dear to me because you have restored yourself

to me, my desire; you restored yourself to an eager and unsuspecting man, and you

did it all yourself. Oh light, more favorable than a lucky day!

What man could possibly live a luckier life than me, or what man could

possibly want to lead a better existence?

(Translation is my own.)

It seems fitting this week that as I begin teaching a Catullus course to my upper level Latin students that I am also reading Flaubert’s Sentimental Education. Catullus and Frederic both receive quite the “sentimental education” at the hands of an older woman. The anticipation of seeing the beloved is palpable in Catullus’s poems and Flaubert’s text.

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