The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus, by Catullus


Chommoda dicebat, si quando commoda vellet

Dicere, et insidias Arrius hinsidias,

Et tum mirifice sperabat se esse locutum,

Cum quantum poterat dixerat hinsidias.

Credo, sic mater, sic Liber avonculus eius, 5

Sic maternus avos dixerat atque avia.

Hoc misso in Syriam requierant omnibus aures:

Audibant eadem haec leniter et leviter,

Nec sibi postilla metuebant talia verba,

Cum subito adfertur nuntius horribilis, 10

Ionios fluctus, postquam illuc Arrius isset,

Iam non Ionios esse, sed Hionios.


On Arrius, a Roman ‘Arry.

Wont is Arrius say “Chommodious” whenas “commodious”

Means he, and “Insidious” aspirate “Hinsidious,”

What time flattering self he speaks with marvellous purity,

Clamouring “Hinsidious” loudly as ever he can.

Deem I thus did his dame and thus-wise Liber his uncle 5

Speak, and on spindle-side grandsire and grandmother too.

Restful reposed all ears when he was sent into Syria,

Hearing the self-same words softly and smoothly pronouncèd,

Nor any feared to hear such harshness uttered thereafter,

Whenas a sudden came message of horrible news, 10

Namely th’ Ionian waves when Arrius thither had wended,

Were “Ionian” no more — they had “Hionian” become.

Chommodious did Arrius say, whenever he had need to say commodious, and for insidious hinsidious, and felt confident he spoke with accent wondrous fine, when aspirating hinsidious to the full of his lungs. I understand that his mother, his uncle Liber, his maternal grand-parents all spoke thus. He being sent into Syria, everyone’s ears were rested, hearing these words spoken smoothly and slightly, nor after that did folk fear such words from him, when on a sudden is brought the nauseous news that th’ Ionian waves, after Arrius’ arrival thither, no longer are Ionian hight, but are now the Hionian Hocean.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52