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Asinus et Catulus


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 91.


Esse videbat herum Catulo delirus amicum,

Qui stolidi pecoris crimen Asellus habet;

Saepius huic recipi gremio cum cerneret illum,

Sperat idem stulte posse licere sibi.

Assultaret hero persuasit inepta cupido,

Iamque ad blanditias ingeniosus erat.

Sed movet usus herum perverso more placendi,

Corrigat ut stultum fustibus huius opus.

Quod natura negat, non affectare labores,

Non hanc ex facili dissimulare licet.

Persequere officio, non hoc qui ferre recusent,

Invitis operam parce probare tuam.


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


Asellus delirus,

qui habet crimen stolidi pecoris,


herum esse amicum Catulo;

cum cerneret

catulum recipi saepius huic gremio,

sperat stulte

posse licere sibi idem.

Inepta cupido persuasit

ut assultaret hero,

et iam ingeniosus erat ad blanditias.

Sed perverso more placendi herum

usus movet

ut corrigat fustibus

huius stultum opus.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Esse vi~debat he~rum Catu~lo de~lirus a~micum,

Qui stoli~di peco~ris = crimen A~sellus ha~bet;

Saepius ~ huic reci~pi gremi~o cum cer~neret ~ illum,

Sperat i~dem stul~te = posse li~cere si~bi.

Assul~taret he~ro per~suasit in~epta cu~pido,

Iamqu(e) ad ~ blanditi~as = ingeni~osus e~rat.

Sed movet ~ usus he~rum per~verso ~ more pla~cendi,

Corrigat ~ ut stul~tum = fustibus ~ huius o~pus.




An insane donkey, who was guilty of being a dim-witted farm animal, saw that his master was friendly to a puppy-dog; when he saw that the dog was often welcomed into his master's lap, he stupidly hoped that he could be permitted the same thing. Inappropriate desire persuaded him to jump up on his master, and he was now being very creative in his affections. But with this weird way of trying to make his master happy, the donkey's behavior provoked his master to correct his foolish effort by having him beaten with clubs.


[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. You will see that the book has been slightly damaged, with some spotting on the page:




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