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Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 15 years, 7 months ago


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Lupus et Asinus


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 187.


Quem videt in pratis pascentem, saevus Asello,

Imminet instituens dilaniare Lupus.

Extrahat ante tamen sibi spinam exorat Asellus,

In pede quae fixa huic posteriore fuit.

His cum post Asinum verbis persuasus abiret,

Illo paene necem percutiente tulit.

Stratus humi, est ubi iam vertigo mota cerebro,

Ut fuga mox Asino tuta sit inde facit.

Ad sese rediens tandem Lupus, arte coquendi

Cum valeam, medicam cur profitebar, ait?

Hanc, quam quisque tenet, temere si deserit artem,

Exercens aliam damna pudenda feret.


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


Lupus saevus videt Asellum pascentem in pratis;

imminet Asello, instituens dilaniare.

Asellus tamen exorat

ut ante extrahat sibi spinam,

quae fixa fuit huic in pede posteriore.

Cum persuasus his verbis

abiret post Asinum,

paene tulit necem

Asino percutiente.

Stratus humi,

ubi iam vertigo mota est cerebro,

inde mox facit ut Asino fuga tuta sit.

Lupus tandem rediens ad sese

ait: "Cum valeam arte coquendi,

cur profitebar medicam artem?

Si quisque temere deserit hanc artem quam tenet,

exercens aliam artem,

feret damna pudenda.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Quem videt ~ in pra~tis pas~centem, ~ saevus A~sello,

Imminet ~ institu~ens = dilani~are Lu~pus.

Extrahat ~ ante ta~men sibi ~ spin(am) ex~orat A~sellus,

In pede ~ quae fix(a) ~ huic = posteri~ore fu~it.

His cum ~ post Asi~num ver~bis per~suasus ab~iret,

Illo ~ paene ne~cem = percuti~ente tu~lit.

Stratus hu~m(i), est ubi ~ iam ver~tigo ~ mota ce~rebro,

Ut fuga ~ mox Asi~no = tuta sit ~ inde fa~cit.

Ad se~se redi~ens tan~dem Lupus, ~ arte co~quendi

Cum vale~am, medi~cam = cur profi~tebar, a~it?

Hanc, quam ~ quisque te~net, teme~re si ~ deserit ~ artem,

Exer~cens ali~am = damna pu~denda fe~ret.




A savage Wolf saw a Donkey grazing in the fields; he threatened the Donkey, intending to tear him to shreds. The Donkey, however, begged that the Wolf first extract for him a thorn which was stuck in the Donkey's back hoof. When the Wolf was persuaded by the Donkey's words he went around to the back of the Donkey and when the Donkey started kicking him, the Wolf almost died. Lying on the ground, since his head was now spinning with dizziness, the Wolf thus let the Donkey immediately make a safe getaway. Finally coming to his senses, the Wolf "When I am an expert cook, why was I professing to be a doctor?" If anyone rashly gives up the profession he currently holds, practicing some other profession, he will suffer shameful losses.


[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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