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I.20. Canes Famelici


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 135.


Stultum consilium non modo effectu caret,

sed ad perniciem quoque mortalis devocat.

Corium depressum in fluvio viderunt canes.

Id ut comesse extractum possent facilius,

aquam coepere ebibere: sed rupti prius

periere quam quod petierant contingerent.


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


Stultum consilium non modo caret effectu,

sed quoque devocat mortalis ad perniciem.

Canes viderunt corium depressum in fluvio.

Ut possent facilius comesse corium extractum,

coepere ebibere aquam:

sed rupti periere

prius quam contingerent quod petierant.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Stultum ~ consil~jum non ~ mod(o) ef~fectu ~ caret,

sed ad ~ pernic~jem quoqu' ~ morta~lis de~vocat.

Corjum ~ depress~(um) in fluv~jo vi~derunt ~ canes.

Id ut ~ comess~(e) extrac~tum pos~sent fac'~lius,

aquam ~ coeper~(e) ebi~b're: sed ~ rupti ~ prius

perje~re quam ~ quod pet~jerant ~ contin~gerent.




A stupid plan not only lacks success, but it also summons mortals to their doom. Some dogs saw a leather hide sunk in a stream. In order to more easily get the hide and eat it, they began to drink up the water, but they exploded and died before they could obtain what they were seeking.


[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 Hungry Dogs (trans. C. Smart)

A stupid plan that fools project,

Not only will not take effect,

ut proves destructive in the end

To those that bungle and pretend.

Some hungry Dogs beheld an hide

Deep sunk beneath the crystal tide,

Which, that they might extract for food,

They strove to drink up all the flood;

But bursten in the desp'rate deed,

They perish'd, ere they could succeed.




Here is an illustration from a version of the story for children:




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