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Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 15 years, 6 months ago


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Hirundo et Aviculae


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 39.


Est sata cum quondam lini seges, huius Hirundo

Semen ut eruerent cauta monebat aves.

Quod foret inde nocens generi ventura volucrum

Herba, nisi mox hoc erueretur humo.

Sed quia verba fidem stolidis non illa merentur,

Quae nihil inde mali posse venire putant.

Rursus ut enatam tenere iam consulit herbam

Evellant, monitu proficiente nihil,

E silvis igitur stultas exosa volucres,

Ad coetus hominum provida migrat avis.

At de maturo fierent cum retia lino,

Pennigerum mox est poena secuta genus.

Stultitiam sero cui correxere dolores,

Se quia nunc frustra desipuisse videt.

Consilio parere bono qui respuit olim,

Hoc mala neglecto tristia ferre solet.


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


Cum quondam seges lini sata est,

cauta Hirundo monebat aves

ut eruerent semen lini,

quod inde herba foret ventura

nocens generi volucrum,

nisi mox hoc erueretur humo.

Sed quia illa verba non merentur fidem stolidis,

quae putant

nihil mali inde posse venire,

rursus consulit

ut evellant iam tenere enatam herbam.

Monitu proficiente nihil,

provida avis

exosa stultas volucres

igitur migrat e silvis

ad coetus hominum.

At cum retia fierent de maturo lino,

mox poena secuta est pennigerum genus.

Sero eius dolores correxere stultitiam

quia nunc videt

se frustra desipuisse.

Qui olim respuit parere bono consilio,

hoc neglecto

solet ferre mala tristia.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Est sata ~ cum quon~dam li~ni seges, ~ huius Hi~rundo

Semen ut ~ erue~rent = cauta mo~nebat a~ves.

Quod foret ~ inde no~cens gene~ri ven~tura vo~lucrum

Herba, ni~si mox ~ hoc = eruer~etur hu~mo.

Sed quia ~ verba fi~dem stoli~dis non ~ illa me~rentur,

Quae nihil ~ inde ma~li = posse ve~nire pu~tant.

Rursus ut ~ ena~tam tene~re iam ~ consulit ~ herbam

Evel~lant, moni~tu = profici~ente ni~hil,

E sil~vis igi~tur stul~tas ex~osa vo~lucres,

Ad coe~tus homi~num = provida ~ migrat a~vis.

At de ~ matu~ro fie~rent cum ~ retia ~ lino,

Pennige~rum mox ~ est = poena se~cuta ge~nus.

Stultiti~am se~ro cui ~ correx~ere do~lores,

Se quia ~ nunc frus~tra = desipu~isse vi~det.

Consili~o pa~rere bo~no qui ~ respuit ~ olim,

Hoc mala ~ neglec~to = tristia ~ ferre so~let.




When once upon a time a crop of flax had been planted, the cautious Swallow urged the birds to tear up the flax seed, because from it a plant was going to come that would be harmful to the species of birds, unless it was immediately torn up out of the ground. But because the Swallow's words did not earn the belief of the dim-witted birds, who thought that nothing bad would come of it, again the Swallow urged the birds to pluck out the now nearly-sprouted plant. Because this warning accomplished nothing, the insightful Swallow, hating the foolish birds, therefore departed from the woods to live together with human beings. And when the bird-nets were made from the grown flax, punishment immediately pursued the wing-bearing species. Too late their sufferings corrected their foolish understanding, because now they saw that they had acted foolishly to their disadvantage. Someone who on some occasion refuses to obey good advice usually suffers evil misfortune on account of having neglected that advice.


[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; but note that the image does not match the fable.


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