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I.13. Vulpis et Corvus


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 124.


Quae se laudari gaudent verbis subdolis,

serae dant poenas turpi paenitentia.

Cum de fenestra corvus raptum caseum

comesse vellet, celsa residens arbore,

vulpes invidit, deinde sic coepit loqui:

"O qui tuarum, corve, pinnarum est nitor!

Quantum decoris corpore et vultu geris!

Si vocem haberes, nulla prior ales foret".

At ille, dum etiam vocem vult ostendere,

lato ore emisit caseum; quem celeriter

dolosa vulpes avidis rapuit dentibus.

Tum demum ingemuit corvi deceptus stupor.


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


Quae gaudent

se laudari verbis subdolis,

serae dant poenas turpi paenitentia.

Cum corvus vellet comesse

caseum raptum de fenestra,

residens celsa arbore,

vulpes invidit,

deinde sic coepit loqui:

"O corve qui nitor est tuarum pinnarum!

Quantum decoris geris corpore et vultu!

Si haberes vocem, nulla ales foret prior."

At ille,

dum vult ostendere vocem etiam,

emisit caseum lato ore;

dolosa vulpes rapuit caseum celeriter avidis dentibus.

Tum demum deceptus stupor corvi ingemuit.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Quae se ~ lauda~ri gau~dent ver~bis sub~dolis,

serae ~ dant poe~nas tur~pi pae~niten~tia.

Cum de ~ fene~stra cor~vus rap~tum ca~seum

comes~se vel~let, cel~sa res'~dens ar~bore,

vulpes ~ invi~dit, dein~de sic ~ coepit ~ loqui:

"O qui ~ tua~rum, cor~ve, pin~nar(um) est ~ nitor!

Quantum ~ deco~ris cor~por(e) et ~ vultu ~ geris!

Si vo~c(em h)abe~res, nul~la pr'or ~ ales ~ foret".

At il~le, d(um) et~jam vo~cem vult ~ osten~dere,

lat(o) o~r(e) emi~sit cas~eum; ~ quem cel'~riter

dolo~sa vul~pes av'~dis rap~vit den~tibus.

Tum de~m(um) ingem~vit cor~vi de~ceptus ~ stupor.




Those who rejoice when they are praised with deceitful words sooner or later pay the penalty with shameful regret. When a crow wanted to eat a cheese he had stolen from the window, he sat up in a high tree; the fox was jealous and then began to speak as follows: "Oh crow, what a shine your feathers have! What loveliness you show in your face and figure! If you had a voice, no bird would be superior to you." And the crow, when he wanted to show that he had a voice besides, dropped the cheese from his big mouth; the sneaky fox quickly grabbed the cheese with her greedy teeth. Then at last the stunned stupor of the crow began to lament.


[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.]


The Fox and the Crow (trans. C. Smart)

His folly in repentance ends,

Who, to a flatt'ring knave attends.

A Crow, her hanger to appease,

Had from a window stolen some cheese,

And sitting on a lofty pine

In state, was just about to dine.

This, when a Fox observed below,

He thus harangued the foolish Crow:

" Lady, how beauteous to the view

Those glossy plumes of sable hue!

Thy features how divinely fair!

With what a shape, and what an air!

Could you but frame your voice to sing,

You'd have no rival on the wing.'

But she, now willing to display

Her talents in the vocal way,

Let go the cheese of luscious taste,

Which Renard seized with greedy haste.

The grudging dupe now sees at last

That for her folly she must fast.




Here is an illustration from an early printed edition; click on the image for a larger view.



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