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abstemius004

Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 12 years, 8 months ago

 

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DE ARANEA ET HIRUNDINE

 

Source: Abstemius 4 (You can see a 1499 edition of Abstemius online, but I am doing my transcription from the 1568 edition of Aesopi fabulae in the EEBO catalog.)

 

Latin Text:

 

Aranea in hirundinem excandescens, quae muscas, qui suus est cibus, capiebat, retia in foribus, per quas volitare solebat, ut eam caperet, suspenderat. Hirundo vero advolans, retia cum textrice per aera portabat. Tunc aranea in aere pendens et se iamiam perituram intelligens, "Quam iuste haec patior," dicebat, "quae minima volatilia magno labore vix capiens, credidi tam magnas aves comprehendere." Hac monemur fabula ne viribus maiora aggrediamur.

 

Here is a segmented version to help you see the grammatical patterns:

 

Aranea

in hirundinem excandescens,

quae muscas,

qui suus est cibus,

capiebat,

retia in foribus,

per quas volitare solebat,

ut eam caperet,

suspenderat.

Hirundo vero advolans,

retia cum textrice

per aera portabat.

Tunc aranea

in aere pendens

et se iamiam perituram

intelligens,

"Quam iuste haec patior,"

dicebat,

"quae

minima volatilia

magno labore vix capiens,

credidi

tam magnas aves comprehendere."

Hac monemur fabula

ne viribus maiora aggrediamur.

 

Translation: A spider got hot with anger at a swallow, who was catching the flies, which was the spider's own food. So the spider hung a net in the doorway through which the swallow usually flew, in order to capture her. The swallow in fact flew up and carried off the net, together with its spinner, through the air. then the spider, hanging in the air, and realizing that she was now going to die, said: "How justly I suffer these things! Barely able to catch little flying things only with great difficulty, I thought I could seize such big birds." We are warned by this fable that we should not attack those who are greater in strength.

 

[This translation is meant as a help in understanding the story, not as a "crib" for the Latin. I have not hesitated to change the syntax to make it flow more smoothly in English, altering the verb tense consistently to narrative past tense, etc.]

 

Sir Roger L'Estrange

 

Sir Roger L'Estrange included the fables of Abstemius in his amazing 17th-century edition of Aesop's fables. Here is L'Estrange's translation:

 

A Spider that observ'd a Swallow catching of Flies, fell immediately to work upon a Net to catch Swallows, for she look't upon't as an Encroachment upon her Right: But the Birds, without any Difficulty, brake through the Work, and flew away with the very Net it self. Well, says the Spider, Bird-catching is none of my Talent I perceive; and so she return'd to her old Trade of catching Flies again.

A Wise Man will not Undertake any thing without Means answerable to the End.

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