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I.19. Canis Parturiens


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 480.


Habent insidias hominis blanditiae mali;

quas ut vitemus, versus subiecti monent.

Canis parturiens cum rogasset alteram,

ut fetum in eius tugurio deponeret,

facile impetravit. Dein reposcenti locum

preces admovit, tempus exorans breve,

dum firmiores catulos posset ducere.

Hoc quoque consumpto flagitari validius

cubile coepit. "Si mihi et turbae meae

par" inquit "esse potueris, cedam loco".


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


Blanditiae hominis mali habent insidias;

versus subiecti monent ut vitemus illas.

Cum canis parturiens rogasset alteram,

ut deponeret fetum in eius tugurio,

impetravit facile.

Dein admovit preces reposcenti locum,

exorans tempus breve,

dum posset ducere catulos firmiores.

Hoc consumpto quoque,

coepit validius flagitari cubile.


"Si potueris esse par mihi et turbae meae,

cedam loco."


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Habent ~ insid~jas hom'~nis blan~ditjae ~ mali;

quas ut ~ vite~mus, ver~sus sub~iecti ~ monent.

Canis ~ partur~jens cum ~ rogas~set al~teram,

ut fet(um) ~ in ei~us tu~gurjo ~ depo~neret,

fac'l(e) im~petra~vit. Dein ~ repos~centi ~ locum

preces ~ admo~vit, tem~pus ex~orans ~ breve,

dum fir~mio~res cat'~los pos~set du~cere.

Hoc quoq'~ consum~pto fla~gita~ri val'~dius

cubi~le coe~pit. "Si ~ mih(i) et ~ turbae ~ meae

par" in~quit "es~se pot~veris, ~ cedam ~ loco".




The sweet entreaties of a wicked person contain a trap; the following poem warns us to avoid them. When a dog who was giving birth asked another dog to let her bring forth her offspring in that dog's doghouse, she easily got her way. Later, she made a request to the dog asking for her doghouse back to give her a little more time so that she could raise her pups till they were stronger. When this time too had passed, the dog began more forcefully to demand the return of her bed. The reply: "If you are equal to me and to my pack, I'll surrender the place."


[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 Bitch and Her Puppies (trans. C. Smart)

Bad men have speeches smooth and fair,

Of which, that we should be aware,

And such designing villains thwart,

The underwritten lines exhort.

A Bitch besought one of her kin

For room to put her Puppies in:

She, loth to say her neighbour nay,

Directly lent both hole and hay.

But asking to be repossessed,

For longer time the former press'd,

Until her Puppies gathered strength,

Which second lease expired at length;

And when, abused at such a rate,

The lender grew importunate,

"The place," quoth she, " I will resign

When you 're a match for me and mine.'




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




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