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Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 16 years ago


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De Cornice Superbiente


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 472.


De grege collectas avium Cornicula pennas,

Quondam aptare suis futilis audet avis.

Ob varios est quae iam facta superba colores,

Et prae se volucrum sprevit inepta genus.

Sed quia forte suam pennam cognovit hirundo,

Advolat, et fastus alitis osa rapit.

Quo facto reliquae pariter non demere cessant

Quisque suam (faciant ira lacessit) aves.

Sic ubi furtivis nudata coloribus esset,

Turpia ridiculam damna sequuntur avem.

Commendicatam speciem cito damna sequuntur,

Non nativa brevi tempore forma perit.


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


Quondam Cornicula, futilis avis,

audet aptare

pennas collectas de grege avium

suis pennis.

Cornicula iam facta est

superba ob varios colores

et inepta sprevit prae se genus volucrum.

Sed quia forte Hirundo cognovit suam pennam,

osa advolat et rapit fastus alitis.

Hoc facto

reliquae aves pariter non cessant demere,

quisque suam pennam (ira lacessit ut faciant).

Sic ubi Cornicula nudata esset furtivis coloribus,

turpia damna sequuntur ridiculam avem.

Damna cito sequuntur commendicatam speciem;

non nativa forma perit brevi tempore.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


De grege ~ collec~tas avi~um Cor~nicula ~ pennas,

Quond(am) ap~tare su~is = futilis ~ audet a~vis.

Ob vari~os est ~ quae iam ~ facta su~perba co~lores,

Et prae ~ se volu~crum = sprevit in~epta ge~nus.

Sed quia ~ forte su~am pen~nam cog~novit hi~rundo,

Advolat, ~ et fas~tus = alitis osa rapit.

Quo fac~to reli~quae pari~ter non ~ demere ~ cessant

Quisque suam (faciant = ira la~cessit) a~ves.

Sic ubi ~ furti~vis nu~data co~loribus ~ esset,

Turpia ~ ridicu~lam = damna se~quuntur a~vem.

Commen~dica~tam speci~em cito ~ damna se~quuntur,

Non na~tiva bre~vi = tempore ~ forma per~it.




Once upon a time, a Crow, a useless bird, dared to fit feathers gathered from the flock of birds to her own feathers. The Crow now became proud of her various colors and stupidly scorned the race of birds as beneath her. But because by chance the Swallow recognized her own feather, she flew up, full of hate, and snatched away that bird's source of pride. After the Swallow did this, the other birds likewise did not hesitate, each one taking their own feather (anger provoked them to do this). Thus when the Crow had been stripped of her stolen colors, shameful attacks pursued that ridiculous bird. Attacks quickly pursue an appropriated appearance; beauty that is not inborn perishes in a brief time.


[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.


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