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Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 14 years ago


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Venter et Membra


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 130.


Posse ministerio nostro indignantia speras

Membra cibo dicunt improbe Venter ali?

Non ita fiet, amas sudantibus otia nobis,

Fas erit idcirco destituare cibis.

At dum Membra negant alimentum inprovida Ventri,

Corporis hinc virtus facta caduca fuit.

Paenitet invidiae sic Membra dolentia sero,

Est quibus hoc ausu vita coacta mori.


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


Membra indignantia dicunt:

"Improbe Venter, speras posse ali cibo

nostro ministerio?

Non ita fiet: amas otia, sudantibus nobis.

Idcirco fas erit destituare cibis."

At dum Membra inprovida negant alimentum Ventri,

hinc virtus corporis facta fuit caduca.

Sic sero paenitet invidiae Membra dolentia.

Hoc ausu, membris vita coacta est mori.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Posse mi~nisteri~o nos~tr(o) indig~nantia ~ speras

Membra ci~bo di~cunt = improbe ~ Venter a~li?

Non ita ~ fiet, a~mas su~dantibus ~ otia ~ nobis,

Fas erit ~ idcir~co = destitu~are ci~bis.

At dum ~ Membra ne~gant ali~ment(um) in~provida ~ Ventri,

Corporis ~ hinc vir~tus = facta ca~duca fu~it.

Paenitet ~ invidi~ae sic ~ Membra do~lentia ~ sero,

Est quibus ~ hoc au~su = vita co~acta mo~ri.




The Body Parts were upset and said: "O Stomach, shameless creature that you are, do you expect that you can be fed with food thanks to our serving you? It will not be thus: you love laziness, while we are working up a sweat. Therefore it is right that you will be deprived of food." But when the Body Parts, not thinking what would happen next, denied food to the Stomach, the strength of the body started to fail as a result. Thus too late the Body Members felt painful regret for having envied the Stomach. With their daring deed, the life of the Body Parts was put to death.


[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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