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Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 14 years, 11 months ago


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Gallus Repertor Unionis


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 503.


More fimeta suo cristatus ut eruit ales,

Invento cupiens se satiare cibo:

Repperit everso radiantem stercore gemmam,

Nulla tamen spes hinc utilitatis erat.

Cur ait hanc rem nos erat invenisse necesse,

Nil mihi quae prodest sit pretiosa licet.

Triticeo potiens grano quin laetior essem,

Gemma potest oculos pascere, nilque gulam.

Tollere quam nolim, quia nec decus addere novi

Huic ego, quique mihi quaeritur, usus abest.

Quae petit, in neutro sic commoda percipit alter,

Nil ut ego huic prosim, me iuvat illa nihil.

Splendorem multis fortuna benignius offert,

Sed quo sustineant non didicere modo.


Here is the poem in a more prose-like word order for easy reading:


Ut more suo

cristatus ales eruit fimeta

cupiens satiare se invento cibo.

Everso stercore

repperit radiantem gemmam,


hinc nulla spes utilitatis erat.

Ait: Cur necesse erat nos invenisse hanc rem,

quae nil mihi prodest, licet pretiosa sit?

Quin essem laetior

potiens triticeo grano;

gemma potest pascere oculos

et nil gulam.

Nolem tollere hanc gemmam,

quia ego non novi addere huic decus

et abest usus qui mihi quaeritur.

Alter in neutro percipit commoda quae petit:

ut ego prosim nil huic,

sic illa iuvat me nihil.

Fortuna benignius offert splendorem multis,

sed non didicere modo quo sustineant.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


More fi~meta su~o cris~tatus ut ~ eruit ~ ales,

Inven~to cupi~ens = se sati~are ci~bo:

Repperit ~ ever~so radi~antem ~ stercore ~ gemmam,

Nulla ta~men spes ~ hinc = util~itatis e~rat.

Cur ait ~ hanc rem ~ nos erat ~ inven~isse ne~cesse,

Nil mihi ~ quae pro~dest = sit preti~osa li~cet.

Tritice~o poti~ens gra~no quin ~ laetior ~ essem,

Gemma po~test ocu~los = pascere, ~ nilque gu~lam.

Tollere ~ quam no~lim, quia ~ nec decus ~ addere ~ novi

Huic ego, ~ quique mi~hi = quaeritur, ~ usus ab~est.

Quae petit, ~ in neu~tro sic ~ commoda ~ percipit ~ alter,

Nil ut e~g(o h)uic pro~sim, = me iuvat ~ illa ni~hil.

Splendo~rem mul~tis for~tuna be~nignius ~ offert,

Sed quo ~ sustine~ant = non didi~cere mo~do.




As was its custom, the rooster (bird with a cockscomb) dug through the manure heap, wanting to satisfy himself with the food he might find. Having turned over the dung, he found a shining jewel but from it there was no hope of usefulness. The rooster said: "Why was it necessary for us to find this thing, which does me no good, even though it is valuable? In fact, I would have been happier finding a grain of wheat; a jewel can feed the eyes but does nothing for the gullet. I prefer not to even pick up this jewel because I do not know how to bestow dignity upon it, and it cannot fulfill the purpose which was what I wanted. Neither of us can find in each other the profit we were seeking: just as I would not do this jewel any good, so the jewel does not help me at all." Fortune very generously bestows golden opportunity on many, but they have not learned the way to take advantage of it.


[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.]




Here is an illustration from the 1575 edition; click on the image for a larger view.


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