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Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 15 years, 10 months ago


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Pavo et Monedula


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 219.


Convenere novum regem de more creandi

Aligerae numeri turba frequentis aves.

Se caput imperii faciant hae Pavo requirit,

Hoc quia se dignum munere forma probet.

Prae cunctis decorent magni se cuius honores,

De grege non avium pulchrius esse genus.

Cui reliquae volucres sua cum suffragia ferrent,

Esset ut imperii scilicet ille caput:

Si premet hoc Aquilae nos rege, Monedula dixit

Ira, feret quam tunc ales inermis opem?

Imperii princeps cum quaeritur aptus habenis,

Qui queat utiliter munus obire suum:

Non tam spectari species tunc splendida debet,

Quam virtus, animum quae generosa regat.


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


Aves aligerae, turba frequentis numeri,

convenere de more creandi novum regem.

Pavo requirit

hae faciant se caput imperii,

quia forma probet se dignum hoc munere.

Prae cunctis magni honores Pavonis decorent

se pulchrius non esse genus de grege avium.

Cum reliquae volucres ferrent huic sua suffragia,

scilicet ut ille esset caput imperii,

Monedula dixit: "Si ira Aquilae premet nos,

hoc Pavone rege,

tunc quam opem inermis ales feret?"

Cum princeps quaeritur aptus habenis imperii,

qui queat obire suum munus utiliter:

tunc non tam splendida species debet spectari,

quam generosa virtus, quae regat animum.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Conven~ere no~vum re~gem de ~ more cre~andi

Alige~rae nume~ri = turba fre~quentis a~ves.

Se caput ~ imperi~i faci~ant hae ~ Pavo re~quirit,

Hoc quia ~ se dig~num = munere ~ forma pro~bet.

Prae cunc~tis deco~rent mag~ni se ~ cuius ho~nores,

De grege ~ non avi~um = pulchrius ~ esse ge~nus.

Cui reli~quae volu~cres sua ~ cum suf~fragia ~ ferrent,

Esset ut ~ imperi~i = scilicet ~ ille ca~put:

Si premet ~ hoc Aqui~lae nos ~ rege, Mo~nedula ~ dixit

Ira, fe~ret quam ~ tunc = ales in~ermis o~pem?

Imperi~i prin~ceps cum ~ quaeritur ~ aptus ha~benis,

Qui queat ~ utili~ter = munus o~bire su~um:

Non tam ~ specta~ri speci~es tunc ~ splendida ~ debet,

Quam vir~tus, ani~mum = quae gene~rosa re~gat.




The winged birds, a very numerous crowd, gathered together according to custom to determine a new King. The Peacock demanded that they make him the head of the kingdom, because his beauty showed that he was worthy of this honor. Beyond all the rest of the birds, the great reputation of the Peacock showed that there was no other species among the flock of birds more beautiful than he was. When the remaining birds were giving him their votes, so that of course he would be the head of the kingdom, the Jackdaw said: "If the rage of the Eagle oppresses us, with the Peacock as our king, then what kind of aid will this defenseless bird offer? When a leader is sought who is suitable for the reins of the kingdom, someone who would be able to profitably carry out his office, then it is not so much a beautiful appearance that should be noted, but rather noble strength of character to guide his behavior."


[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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