Petronius’ Short Poems in the "Satyrica</I>
Chapter VII - A Night of Love (Petr. 79.8) 133
Chapter VII A Night of Love (Petr. 79.8)* Qualis nox fuit illa, di deaeque, quam mollis torus! Haesimus calentes et transfudimus hinc et hinc labellis errantes animas. Valete curae mortalis; ego sic perire coepi. 5 L(=lmrtp) 5 mortales lmgtmg The hendecasyllables describing the bliss of Encolpius’ and Giton’s night of love, before the fickle boy deserts his lover to follow Ascyltos, neatly define, as Beck has rightly remarked,1 the level of what the protagonist and narrator of the Satyrica experiences or has experienced at the moment of the situation being narrated, as distinct from the later stage in time at which those very same ex- periences are narrated by an older, and presumably more mature and detached Encolpius. In fact, the clearly sought and intentional contrast between this poem and the prose which follows could hardly be more apparent, and it is emphasized by the narating voice’s comment, by which the utter groundlessness of the amo- rous elation expressed in the poem is pitilessly exposed with not so much as one word of transition: sine causa gratulor mihi. Connors has good reasons to em- phasize the irony stemming from this contrast.2 * A version of this chapter has appeared with the title La poesia in Petr. Sat. 79.8, “Pro- metheus” 27, 2001, 136-144. 1 Beck 1973, 58-59. 2 Connors 1998, 69. On the one hand she stresses the terminology’s ambiguousness, since the following prose sheds a different light on words that could be understood quite dif- ferently, if the...
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