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abstemius010

Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 12 years, 2 months ago

 

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DE CAPONIBUS PINGUIBUS ET MACRO

 

Source: Abstemius 10 (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:

 

Vir quidam complures capones in eodem ornithoboscio inclusos largo nutricaverat cibo, qui pingues effecti sunt omnes praeter unum, quem ut macilentum irridebant fratres. Dominus, nobiles hospites lauto et sumptuoso accepturus convivio, imperat coco ut ex his interimat coquatque quos pinguiores invenerit. Hoc audientes corpulenti sese afflictabat dicentes, "Quanto praestitisset nos macilentos esse." Haec fabula in pauperum solamen conficta est, quorum vita tutior quam divitum.

 

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

 

Vir quidam

complures capones

in eodem ornithoboscio inclusos

largo nutricaverat cibo,

qui

pingues effecti sunt omnes

praeter unum,

quem

ut macilentum

irridebant fratres.

Dominus,

nobiles hospites

lauto et sumptuoso accepturus convivio,

imperat coco

ut ex his interimat

coquatque

quos pinguiores invenerit.

Hoc audientes

corpulenti

sese afflictabat dicentes,

"Quanto praestitisset

nos macilentos esse."

Haec fabula

in pauperum solamen

conficta est,

quorum vita tutior

quam divitum.

 

Translation: A certain man kept many capons (castrated roosters) in the same chicken-coop, and he fed them with generous food. The capons all grew fat, except one, and his brothers made fun of him for being skinny. The master, who was going to entertain noble guests at a lavish and sumptuous banquet, ordered the cook to kill and cook those among the capons who were fatter than the others. When the fat capons heard this, they were upset and said, "How much better it would have been for us to be skinny." This fable is devised for the consolation of the poor, whose life is safer than the life of the rich.

 

[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:

 

There were a great many Cramm'd Capons together in a Coop, some of 'em very Fair and Fat, and Others again did not thrive upon Feeding. The Fat Ones would be ever and anon making sport with the Lean, and calling them Starvelings; 'till in the End, the Cook was order'd to dress so many Capons for Supper, and to be sure to take the best in the Pen: When it came to that once, they that had most Flesh upon their Backs, wish'd they had had less, and 'twould have been better for 'em. Prosperity makes People Proud, Fat, and Wanton; but when a Day of Reckoning comes, They are the First still that go to Pot.

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