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osius016

Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 12 years, 2 months ago

 

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De Ranis et Iove

 

Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 44.

 

A Iove cum peterent communi nomine Ranae,

Ut rex flumineis praeficeretur aquis.

Ille trabem medias vastam deiecit in undas,

Quo sonitu Ranas obstupuisse ferunt.

Quid tamen acciderit speculando scire laborant,

Nilque nisi lignum futile nare vident.

In quod subsiliunt tandem, regemque salutant,

Nec sine contemptu tale sequuntur opus.

Tunc immisit aquis gaudentem Iuppiter anguem,

Hydron ab hac causa lingua Pelasga vocat.

Coepit is assidue captas quia mandere Ranas,

Stultitiae sero paenituisse potest.

Libertatis iners dulcem qui respuit usum,

Servo more pati res erit aequa iugum.

 

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

 

Cum Ranae communi nomine peterent a Iove,

ut rex praeficeretur flumineis aquis,

ille deiecit trabem vastam in medias undas.

Ferunt Ranas obstupuisse hoc sonitu,

speculando tamen laborant scire

quid acciderit,

et vident

nil nisi lignum futile nare.

Tandem in lignum subsiliunt

et salutant regem,

et sequuntur tale opus

non sine contemptu.

Tunc Iuppiter immisit anguem gaudentem aquis

(ab hac causa lingua Pelasga vocat Hydron).

Quia is anguis coepit

assidue mandere captas Ranas,

potest sero paenituisse stultitiae.

Res erit aequa

eum pati iugum servo more

qui iners respuit dulcem usum libertatis.

 

Here is the poem with meter marks:

 

A Iove ~ cum pete~rent com~muni ~ nomine ~ Ranae,

Ut rex ~ flumine~is = praefice~retur a~quis.

Ille tra~bem medi~as vas~tam de~iecit in ~ undas,

Quo soni~tu Ra~nas = obstupu~isse fe~runt.

Quid tamen ~ accider~it specu~lando ~ scire la~borant,

Nilque ni~si lig~num = futile ~ nare vi~dent.

In quod ~ subsili~unt tan~dem, re~gemque sa~lutant,

Nec sine ~ contemp~tu = tale se~quuntur o~pus.

Tunc im~misit a~quis gau~dentem ~ Iuppiter ~ anguem,

Hydron ab ~ hac cau~sa = lingua Pe~lasga vo~cat.

Coepit is ~ assidu~e cap~tas quia ~ mandere ~ Ranas,

Stultiti~ae se~ro = paenitu~isse po~test.

Liber~tatis in~ers dul~cem qui ~ respuit ~ usum,

Servo ~ more pa~ti = res erit ~ aequa iu~gum.

 

Translation:

 

When the Frogs collectively asked Juppiter that a king be established over the river waters, Juppiter threw down a huge log in the midst of the waves. They say the Frogs were struck dumb by the sound, but by making an inspection they tried to find out what had happened and they saw that there was nothing but a useless piece of wood swimming there. Finally they jumped up on the wood and they saluted their king, and they carried this business out not without contempt. Then Juppiter sent a snake that rejoices in water (for this reason the Greek word for this snake is "hydra"). That snake began eagerly to consume the frogs as it captured them; so it is possible to regret something foolish too late. It is fair for someone to suffer the yoke like a slave if he stupidly rejected the sweet experience of liberty.

 

[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.]

 

Illustration:

 

Here is an illustration from the 1575 edition; click on the image for a larger view. We see some evidence here again that the artist was not reading the Latin text, since he has given us a bird eating the frogs, instead of the snake specified in the text of the poem. If you look at Caxton's English translation, for example, you will see that this story does involve a heron as the destroyer of the frogs.

 

 

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