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abstemius081

Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 16 years, 4 months ago

 

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DE AQUILA FILIOS CUNICULI RAPIENTE

 

Source: Abstemius 81 (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:

 

Aquila in altissima arbore nidulata, catulos cuniculi, qui longe illic pascebantur, in escam pullorum suorum rapuerat, quam cuniculus blandis orabat verbis, ut suos sibi filios restituere dignaretur. At illa eum, ut pusillum et terrestre animal et ad sibi nocendum impotens, arbitrata, eos in conspectu matris unguibus dilacerare, et pullis suis epulandos apponere non dubitavit. Tunc cuniculus filiorum morte commotus, hanc iniuriam minime impunitam abire permisit: arborem enim, quae nidum sustinebat, radicitus effodit. Quae levi impulsu ventorum procidens, pullos aquilae adhuc implumes et involucres in humum deiecit, qui, a feris depasti, magnum doloris solatium cuniculo praebuerunt. Haec indicat fabula neminem potentia sua fretum imbecilliores debere despicere, cum aliquando infirmiores potentiorum iniurias ulciscantur.

 

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

 

Aquila

in altissima arbore nidulata,

catulos cuniculi,

qui longe illic pascebantur,

in escam pullorum suorum rapuerat,

quam

cuniculus blandis orabat verbis,

ut suos sibi filios restituere dignaretur.

At illa

eum,

ut pusillum et terrestre animal

et ad sibi nocendum impotens,

arbitrata,

eos in conspectu matris unguibus dilacerare

et pullis suis epulandos apponere

non dubitavit.

Tunc cuniculus

filiorum morte commotus,

hanc iniuriam

minime impunitam abire permisit:

arborem enim,

quae nidum sustinebat,

radicitus effodit.

Quae

levi impulsu ventorum procidens,

pullos aquilae

adhuc implumes et involucres

in humum deiecit,

qui,

a feris depasti,

magnum doloris solatium

cuniculo praebuerunt.

Haec indicat fabula

neminem

potentia sua fretum

imbecilliores debere despicere,

cum aliquando infirmiores

potentiorum iniurias ulciscantur.

 

Translation: An eagle, who had made her nest up in a very high tree, grabbed some baby rabbits, who had been feeding in th emeadow a long ways off, to give them as food to her own chicks. The rabbit begged the eagle with gentle words to be so kind as to return the baby rabbits. But the eagle, supposing that the rabbit was a weak, earth-bound creature who was unable to do her any harm, did not hesitate to slash the baby rabbits with her talons, in full view of their mother, and to give them to her chicks to feast upon. Then the rabbit, stricken by the death of her babies, absolutely refused to let this wrong go unpunished, and so the rabbit dug away at the roots of the tree which held up the eagle's nest. The tree, toppled by a light rustle of the wind, hurled the eagle's chicks, still without feathers and unable to fly, down to the ground where they were gobbled up by wild beasts, and thus offered a great consolation to the rabbit's grief. This fable shows no one, trusting in his own power, should despise those who are weaker than they are, since sometimes those who are less powerful can get revenge for the wrongs done to them by the more powerful.

 

[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 was an Eagle that drew a Nest of Rabbets, and carry'd them away to her Young. The Mother-Coney follow-d her with Tears in her Eyes, adjuring her in the Name of all those Powers, that take care of the Innocent and Oppressed, to have Compassion upon her miserable Children: But she, in an Outrage of Pride and Indignation, tears them presently to Pieces. The Coney, upon this, convenes a whole Warren; tells her Story, and advises upon a Revenge: For Divine Justice (says she) will never suffer so barbarous a Cruelty to escape unpunish'd. They debated the Matter, and came to an Unanimous Resolve upon the Question, that there was no Way of paying the Eagle in her kind, but by Undermining the Tree where she Timber'd. So they all fell to work at the Roots of the Tree, and left it so little Foot-hold, that the first Blast of Wind laid if Flat upon the Ground, Nest, Eagles and all. Some of 'em were kill'd by the Fall; Others were eaten up by Birds and Beasts of Prey, and the Coney had the Comfort at last, of destroying the Eagle's Children in Revenge for her Own. 'Tis highly Imprudent, even in the Greatest of Men, unnecessarily to provoke the Meanest, when the Pride of Pharaoh himself was brought down by miserable Frogs and Lice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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