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Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 16 years, 2 months ago


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Parallels: This is not a story attested in the ancient Aesopic corpus, it became popular in the early modern Aesopic literature; for a parallel English version of the fable, versions, see this fable by L'Estrange.


Ut, cui magna suos erat hortos cura colendi,

Villicus urbano gratificetur hero:

Suavia mala bonae inprimis huic arboris affert,

Haec adeo dulci grata sapore iuvant:

Arbor heri iussu sit ut haec translata sub urbem,

At non consilii profuit huius opus:

Sive vetustatem patiens exaruit arbor,

Sive alia mox est peste coacta mori.

Tunc dominum dixisse, palam esse, annosa quod aetas

Transferri stirpem non pateretur humo.

Qui nimium gaudent sapiendo, turpiter errant,

Qui quondam sapiat parcius, ille sapit.


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


Villicus cui erat magna cura colendi suos hortos

ut gratificetur urbano hero

affert huic inprimis suavia mala bonae arboris.

Haec adeo iuvant grata dulci sapore:

iussu heri

ut haec arbor translata sit sub urbem,

at non profuit opus huius consilii:

arbor exaruit sive patiens vetustatem,

sive mox alia peste coacta est mori.

Tunc dominum dixisse,

palam esse

quod annosa aetas non pateretur

stirpem transferri humo.

Qui nimium gaudent sapiendo, turpiter errant;

Qui quondam sapiat parcius, ille sapit.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Ut, cui ~ magna su~os erat ~ hortos ~ cura co~lendi,

Villicus ~ urba~no = gratifi~cetur he~ro:

Suavia ~ mala bo~n(ae) inpri~mis huic ~ arboris ~ affert,

Haec ade~o dul~ci = grata sa~pore iu~vant:

Arbor he~ri ius~su sit ut ~ haec trans~lata sub ~ urbem,

At non ~ consili~i = profuit ~ huius o~pus:

Sive ve~tusta~tem pati~ens ex~aruit ~ arbor,

Siv(e) ali~a mox ~ est = peste co~acta mo~ri.

Tunc domi~num dix~isse, pa~l(am) ess(e), an~nosa quod ~ aetas

Transfer~ri stir~pem = non pate~retur hu~mo.

Qui nimi~um gau~dent sapi~endo, ~ turpiter ~ errant,

Qui quon~dam sapi~at = parcius, ~ ille sa~pit.




A farmhand, whose chief occupation was cultivating the gardens, in order to please his master in the city would bring him especially sweet apples from a good tree. These so pleased the master, welcome for their sweet taste, that at the master's order, the tree was to be transferred into the city, but the planned effort did not succeed: the tree withered, either because of its great age, or on account of some other disease, the tree was soon made to die. Then the master is supposed to have said that it was plain that the tree's great age did not allow the root to be moved to another soil. Those who rejoice in being exceedingly wise are shamefully mistaken; someone who might be wise on occasion but not to excess knows what he is doing.


[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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