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Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 12 years, 5 months ago


HOME | Osius: Previous Page - Next Page


De Corvo et Vulpe


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 124.


Unde (latet) niveum raptarat Apollinis ales

Caseolum, rostro dulce tenebat onus.

Alta voraturum praedam mox excipit arbor,

Rem procul hanc Vulpes insidiosa notat.

Illa suam cupiens alienam reddere praedam,

Talibus alloquii fertur adorta dolis:

Quale tuae referunt decus, et quam nobile pennae,

Te tua formosam dona fatentur avem.

Nam ne, quae celebrem reddunt te, cetera dicam,

Augurii laudem nomine clarus habes.

Quod reliquis si digna tibi virtutibus esset

Vox, volucrem summi non Iovis esse negem.

Laudibus his oritur damnosa superbia Corvo,

Quae clamore sonos edat ut ille facit.

Caseus e rostro sic huius hiante cadebat,

Quo subito Vulpes laeta potita fuit.

Quae stolidum ridens errorem salsius, inquit,

Nil ego Corve, nisi cor tibi deesse putem.

Impostore capit si quem laudante voluptas,

Dignus, ut insidiis ille petatur, erit.

Laudantes temere quid agant circumspice verbis,

Fraus per blanditias credita saepe fuit.


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


Ales Apollinis raptarat unde latet

niveum caseolum,

tenebat rostro dulce onus.

Alta arbor mox excipit voraturum praedam;

procul, Vulpes insidiosa notat hanc rem.

Illa cupiens reddere alienam praedam suam,

fertur adorta talibus dolis alloquii:

"Quale decus tuae pennae referunt, et quam nobile,

tua dona fatentur te formosam avem.

Nam ne dicam cetera,

quae reddunt celebrem te:

clarus nomine, habes laudem augurii.

Quod si vox tibi esset digna reliquis virtutibus,

non negem te esse volucrem summi Iovis."

Damnosa superbia oritur Corvo his laudibus:

superbia facit ut ille edat clamore sonos.

Caseus sic cadebat e hiante rostro huius:

subito Vulpes laeta potita fuit caseo.

Vulpes ridens stolidum errorem salsius,

inquit: "Nil ego, Corve,

nisi putem cor tibi deesse."

Si voluptas capit aliquem, impostore laudante,

dignus erit, ut ille insidiis petatur.

Circumspice quid laudantes temere agant verbis;

saepe fraus per blanditias credita fuit.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Unde (la~tet) nive~um rap~tarat A~pollinis ~ ales

Caseo~lum, ros~tro = dulce te~nebat o~nus.

Alta vo~ratu~rum prae~dam mox ~ excipit ~ arbor,

Rem procul ~ hanc Vul~pes = insidi~osa no~tat.

Illa su~am cupi~ens ali~enam ~ reddere ~ praedam,

Talibus ~ alloqui~i = fertur a~dorta do~lis:

Quale tu~ae refe~runt decus, ~ et quam ~ nobile ~ pennae,

Te tua ~ formo~sam = dona fa~tentur a~vem.

Nam ne, ~ quae cele~brem red~dunt te, ~ cetera ~ dicam,

Auguri~i lau~dem = nomine ~ clarus ha~bes.

Quod reli~quis si ~ digna ti~bi vir~tutibus ~ esset

Vox, volu~crem sum~mi = non Iovis ~ esse ne~gem.

Laudibus ~ his ori~tur dam~nosa su~perbia ~ Corvo,

Quae cla~more so~nos = edat ut ~ ille fa~cit.

Caseus ~ e ros~tro sic ~ huius hi~ante ca~debat,

Quo subi~to Vul~pes = laeta po~tita fu~it.

Quae stoli~dum ri~dens er~rorem ~ salsius, ~ inquit,

Nil ego ~ Corve, ni~si = cor tibi ~ deesse pu~tem.

Impos~tore ca~pit si ~ quem lau~dante vo~luptas,

Dignus, ut ~ insidi~is = ille pe~tatur, e~rit.

Laudan~tes teme~re quid a~gant cir~cumspice ~ verbis,

Fraus per ~ blanditi~as = credita ~ saepe fu~it.




Apollo's bird had stolen a white cheese from where it was hiding and held the sweet burden in his beak. A high tree soon took in the bird who was about to devour the booty; from a distance, the tricky Fox noticed what was happening. The Fox, wanting to render that other creature's booty as her own, is said to have piped up with this deceptive address: "What beauty is offered by your feathers, and how noble; your endowments confess you to be a beautiful bird. I'm not going to go on and on about the other things which render you famous: renowned in name, you have won praise for your augury. The fact is that if your voice were equal to your other virtues, I would not deny that you are the bird of mighty Jupiter himself." Disastrous pride rose up in the Crow with these words of praise: pride made him shout forth his squawks. The cheese thus fell from the crow's gaping beak: suddenly the Fox happily gained possession of the cheese. The Fox, laughing at the foolish mistake, gaily said: "I'd have nothing, if I didn't realize that you have no brains in your head." If someone feels pleasure when a trickster is praising him, he will deserve it if he is the target of an ambush. Inspect what bold flatterers are doing with their words; often a lie made up of sweet words is believed.


[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.


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