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


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De Cane et Frusto Carnis


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 133.


Ore ferens carnem surreptam tranat ut undas,

Elabi cupiens hac ratione Canis:

Apparens sub aquis hunc frusti fallit imago,

Spes aliam carnem fingit avara dari.

Hinc avide captans vanam male providus umbram,

Quem vehit, e rictu perdit hiante cibum.

Temperat a studio sibi dum non caecus habendi,

Quas habet, has etiam perdit avarus opes.

Sunt, qui possideant cum plurima, plura requirunt,

His explere famem copia nulla potest.


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


Ut Canis

ferens ore carnem surreptam,

tranat undas

cupiens hac ratione elabi,

imago frusti apparens sub aquis

fallit Canem;

avara spes fingit aliam carnem dari.

Hinc male providus

avide captans vanam umbram,

perdit cibum quem vehit

e rictu hiante.

Dum caecus avarus

non temperat sibi a studio habendi,

perdit etiam has opes quas habet.

Sunt qui requirunt plura cum possideant plurima:

nulla copia potest explere famem his.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Ore fe~rens car~nem sur~reptam ~ tranat ut ~ undas,

Ela~bi cupi~ens = hac rati~one Ca~nis:

Appa~rens sub a~quis hunc ~ frusti ~ fallit i~mago,

Spes ali~am car~nem = fingit a~vara da~ri.

Hinc avi~de cap~tans va~nam male ~ providus ~ umbram,

Quem vehit, ~ e ric~tu = perdit hi~ante ci~bum.

Temperat ~ a studi~o sibi ~ dum non ~ caecus ha~bendi,

Quas habet, ~ has eti~am = perdit a~varus o~pes.

Sunt, qui ~ posside~ant cum ~ plurima, ~ plura re~quirunt,

His ex~plere fa~mem = copia ~ nulla po~test.




While a Dog carrying in his mouth a piece of stolen meat was swimming across a stream, hoping in this way to escape, the image of a bit of food appearing in the water deceived the Dog; greedy hope imagined that it will be given another piece of meat. Thus, based on this poor reasoning, greedily snapping at the empty reflection, the Dog lost the food which he was carrying as it fell from his gaping jaws. While the man blind with greed does not restrain his zeal for getting more wealth, he loses even the wealth which he had. There are those who try to get more when they already have a lot: no abundance can fill their hunger.


[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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