• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Work with all your cloud files (Drive, Dropbox, and Slack and Gmail attachments) and documents (Google Docs, Sheets, and Notion) in one place. Try Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) for free. Now available on the web, Mac, Windows, and as a Chrome extension!



Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 13 years, 6 months ago


HOME | Osius: Previous Page - Next Page


Aquila et Cornix


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 490.


Armigeram summi quam Iovis esse ferunt.

Saepe suo tundens rostro quae frangere testam

Nititur, hanc frustra rem tamen illa facit.

Quam fraudare cibo cupiens volat obvia Cornix,

Et sine consilio nil hera cedit, ait.

Res decet arte geri, non possunt omnia vires,

Praecepti quoniam te meminisse puto:

Quam vi, consilio melius quod ligna secentur,

Quam vi, quod sit equum tutius arte regi.

Quam vi, nauta ratem felicius arte gubernat,

Cum fera ventorum vis tumefecit aquas.

Arte regens celeres, qui certat in aequore, currus,

Eripit huic palmam, qui minus arte valet.

Ipsa cibo te non vi, sed ratione potiri

Posse, tenet clausum quem cava testa, putem.

In sublime tuo quare contende volatu,

Unde tibi rupem concha remissa petat.

Mox afflicta tibi scopulis ita testa fatiscet,

Quodque habet haec clausae carnis, aperta dabit.

Paret, ut usa dolo Cornicula suadet, in auras

Evolat, et concham desuper ire facit.

Hoc diffracta modo nudatam praebuit escam,

Qua fraudata tamen regia fertur avis.

Ante remetiri quia quam valet aeris auram,

Devorat his Cornix fraudibus usa cibum.

Quam vi consilio quondam maiora geruntur,

Hac quoque calliditas plus operosa valet.

Arx contra belli vim se quae clausa tuetur,

Capta dolis hosti saepe patere solet.

Sunt, animum simulent qui te fortasse iuvandi,

Sed sibi quo prosunt deinde, tibique nocent.


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



quam ferunt esse armigeram summi Iovis,

fert concham sublimem in vacuas auras.

Ales nititur frangere testam

saepe tundens suo rostro

tamen illa facit hanc rem frustra.

Cornix cupiens fraudare illam cibo

volat obvia et ait:

"Hera nil cedit sine consilio;

res decet geri arte.

Vires non possunt omnia,

quoniam puto te meminisse praecepti:

quod ligna secentur consilio melius quam vi;

quod sit tutius equum regi arte quam vi;

nauta gubernat ratem felicius arte quam vi

cum fera vis ventorum tumefecit aquas;

qui certat in aequore

regens arte celeres currus

eripit palmam huic

qui minus arte valet.

Ipsa putem

te posse potiri cibo

quem cava testa tenet clausum

non vi, sed ratione:

quare contende tuo volatu in sublime,

unde concha remissa tibi petat rupem.

Mox testa afflicta scopulis ita fatiscet tibi,

et haec aperta dabit

quod clausae carnis habet.

Paret, usa dolo ut Cornicula suadet,

evolat in auras,

et facit concham desuper ire.

Hoc modo diffracta praebuit nudatam escam,

tamen regia avis fertur fraudata esca

quia ante quam valet remetiri auram aeris,

Cornix usa his fraudibus devorat cibum.

Quondam maiora geruntur consilio quam vi;

operosa calliditas quoque valet plus vi.

Arx quae clausa tuetur se contra vim belli,

capta dolis saepe solet patere hosti.

Sunt qui fortasse simulent animum iuvandi te

sed hoc deinde sibi prosunt et tibi nocent.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Subli~mem vacu~as con~cham fert ~ ales in ~ auras,

Armige~ram sum~mi = quam Iovis ~ esse fe~runt.

Saepe su~o tun~dens ros~tro quae ~ frangere ~ testam

Nititur, ~ hanc frus~tra = rem tamen ~ illa fa~cit.

Quam frau~dare ci~bo cupi~ens volat ~ obvia ~ Cornix,

Et sine ~ consili~o = nil hera ~ cedit, a~it.

Res decet ~ arte ge~ri, non ~ possunt ~ omnia ~ vires,

Praecep~ti quo~niam = te memi~nisse pu~to:

Quam vi, ~ consili~o meli~us quod ~ ligna se~centur,

Quam vi, ~ quod sit e~quum = tutius ~ arte re~gi.

Quam vi, ~ nauta ra~tem fe~licius ~ arte gu~bernat,

Cum fera ~ vento~rum = vis tume~fecit a~quas.

Arte re~gens cele~res, qui ~ certat in ~ aequore, ~ currus,

Eripit ~ huic pal~mam, = qui minus ~ arte va~let.

Ipsa ci~bo te ~ non vi, ~ sed rati~one po~tiri

Posse, te~net clau~sum = quem cava ~ testa, pu~tem.

In sub~lime tu~o qua~re con~tende vo~latu,

Unde ti~bi ru~pem = concha re~missa pe~tat.

Mox af~flicta ti~bi scopu~lis ita ~ testa fa~tiscet,

Quodqu(e) habet ~ haec clau~sae = carnis, a~perta da~bit.

Paret, ut ~ usa do~lo Cor~nicula ~ suadet, in ~ auras

Evolat, ~ et con~cham = desuper ~ ire fa~cit.

Hoc dif~fracta mo~do nu~datam ~ praebuit ~ escam,

Qua frau~data ta~men = regia ~ fertur a~vis.

Ante re~meti~ri quia ~ quam valet ~ aeris ~ auram,

Devorat ~ his Cor~nix = fraudibus ~ usa ci~bum.

Quam vi ~ consili~o quon~dam mai~ora ge~runtur,

Hac quoque ~ callidi~tas = plus ope~rosa va~let.

Arx con~tra bel~li vim ~ se quae ~ clausa tu~etur,

Capta do~lis hos~ti = saepe pa~tere so~let.

Sunt, ani~mum simu~lent qui ~ te for~tasse iu~vandi,

Sed sibi ~ quo pro~sunt = deinde, ti~bique no~cent.




The bird (the one they say is the arm-bearer of great Jupiter) was carrying a shell up high into the airy atmosphere. The bird was trying to break the shell by beating it again and again with her beak, but she did this thing in vain. A crow, wanting to trick her out of the food, flew up and said: "My lady can accomplish nothing without a plan; this thing must be done with skill. Strength cannot manage everything. I think that you remember this precept: wood can be cut better by planning than by force; it is safer when a horse is conducted with skill rather than force; the sailor steers the ship more successfully by skill rather than force when the savage force of the winds roils the waters; he who races across the plain driving his swift chariot with skill snatches the palm of victory away from the one whose effort is less skillful. I myself suppose that you can obtain the food which the hollow shell holds concealed not by force but by reason: therefore, fly up and seek the heights, and from there let go of the shell so that it can encounter a cliff. Straightaway the shell, having hit the rocks, will lie open for you, and when open it will give that portion of concealed meat which it holds." The Eagle obeyed, making use of the stratagem as the Crow advocated; she flew up into the air and made the shell fall from on high. In this way the shell broke open and offered up the food unprotected, but the regal bird is said to have been tricked out of that food because before she was able to traverse again the airy wind, the crow making use of this deception gobbled up the food. Greater things are ever accomplished by planning than by force; active trickery also is stronger than force. A citadel which when closed protects itself against the onslaught of war, when captured by deception often lies open to the enemy. There are those who perhaps pretend to have a will to help you, but in this way eventually they help themselves and harm you.


[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 an early printed edition; click on the image for a larger view.


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.