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In short: I need help to analyse the versification of some verses written by Catullus.13. Theses verses are pure hendecasyllabic Phalaecian, namely - - | - u u | - u | - u | - u . What bothers me is the position of the caesuras in verses 4 to 6:

04  cēnam nōn sine candidā pụellā
05  et ụīn{ō} et sal{e} et omnibus cachinnīs.
06  Haec s{ī} inqụ{am} attuleris uenuste noster

Full story:

The text: (ụ : nonsyllabic [u]; {um} : {elided vowels}, | : caesura)

01  Cēnābis bene | mī Fabull{e} apud mē
02  paucīs sī tibi dī faụent diēbus…
03  sī tēc{um} attuleris | bon{am} atque magnam
04  cēnam nōn sine candidā pụellā
05  et ụīn{ō} et sal{e} et omnibus cachinnīs.
06  Haec s{ī} inqụ{am} attuleris uenuste noster
07  cēnābis bene | nam tuī Catullī
08  plēnus sacculus est | arāneārum.
09  Sed contr{ā} | accipiēs | merōs amōrēs
10  seu qụid sụāụius ēlegantiusụ{e} est.
11  N{am} ungụentum dabo | quod meae pụellae
12  dōnārunt Venerēs Cupīdinēsque
13  Quod tū c{um} olfaciēs | deōs rogābis
14  tōt{um} ut tē faciant | Fabulle nāsum.

According to some sources (e.g. here, in French, page 161), the caesura has to be placed after the fifth or the sixth syllable. It's clearly the case in verse #8 :

08  plēnus sacculus est | arāneārum.

... since the caesura reinforces the hyperbaton.

But what about verses 4-6 ?

04  cēnam nōn sine | candidā pụellā (penthemimer?)
05  et ụīn{ō} et sal{e} et | omnibus cachinnīs. (penthemimer?)
06  Haec s{ī} inqụ{am} attuleris | uenuste noster (after the sixth syllable?)

... but such a versification seems to me so unnatural. What's your opinion?

1

To me the most natural positions for caesuras in hendecasyllabic verse are before either of the consequent short syllables: - - - | u | u - u - u - u. This is similar to how caesuras work in hexameter, never coinciding with with the start of a metron. My preference for reading caesuras like this may have well been influenced by reading hexameter.

But, more importantly, I think the caesura in a hendecasyllabic verse is far weaker than in hexameter. Indeed, the lecture material from a course on classical Latin metric poetry I took years ago shows no caesuras at all for this verse type, whereas caesuras in hexameter are discussed. For what it's worth, the Wikipedia page for Latin prosody makes no mention of caesuras in connection with hendecasyllabic verse.

So, to some extent I find the discussion of location of caesuras moot, but I do agree that some kind of weak pause is natural to have somewhere. Going with my preference I mentioned above, the caesuras seem to fall as follows:

04  cēnam nōn | sine candidā pụellā
05  et ụīn{ō} et | sal{e} et omnibus cachinnīs.

The sixth line is trickier. With my two options one would have to put the caesura at a hiatus (inqụ{am} | attuleris) or between the prefix and a verb (at|tuleris). However, my preferred interpretation is that there is no natural caesura in the sixth line at all. The verse is tight in the sense that there is no natural place to pause, and that can actually be used consciously to create an effect.

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