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I.24. Rana Rupta


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 376.


Inops, potentem dum vult imitari, perit.

In prato quondam rana conspexit bovem,

et tacta invidia tantae magnitudinis

rugosam inflavit pellem. Tum natos suos

interrogavit an bove esset latior.

Illi negarunt. Rursus intendit cutem

maiore nisu, et simili quaesivit modo,

quis maior esset. Illi dixerunt "bovem".

Novissime indignata, dum vult validius

inflare sese, rupto iacuit corpore.


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


Inops perit, dum vult imitari potentem.

Quondam rana conspexit bovem in prato,

et tacta invidia tantae magnitudinis

inflavit rugosam pellem.

Tum interrogavit natos suos

an esset latior bove.

Illi negarunt.

Rursus intendit cutem maiore nisu,

et quaesivit simili modo,

quis maior esset.

Illi dixerunt "bovem".

Novissime indignata,

dum vult inflare sese validius,

iacuit rupto corpore.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Inops, ~ poten~tem dum ~ vult im'~tari, ~ perit.

In pra~to quon~dam ra~na con~spexit ~ bovem,

et tac~t(a) invid~ja tan~tae mag~nitu~dinis

rugo~s(am) infla~vit pel~lem. Tum ~ natos ~ suos

inter~roga~vit an ~ bov(e) es~set la~tior.

Illi ~ nega~runt. Rur~sus in~tendit ~ cutem

maio~re ni~s(u), et sim'~li quae~sivit ~ modo,

quis mai~or es~set. Il~li dix~erunt ~ "bovem".

Novis~sim(e) in~digna~ta, dum ~ vult val'~dius

infla~re se~se, rup~to iac~vit cor~pore.




Someone without resources is destroyed when he tries to imitate a powerful person. Once upon a time a frog caught sight of an ox in the meadow, and stricken by envy of the ox's great size, the frog puffed up her wrinkled skin. Then she asked her children whether she was bigger than the ox. They said she wasn't. Again she stretched her skin with a greater effort and she asked once again who was bigger. They told her "the ox." Finally frustrated, when she wanted to puff herself even more, she exploded and fell down dead.


[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 Proud Frog (trans. C. Smart)

When poor men to expenses run,

And ape their betters, they 're undone.

An Ox the Frog a-grazing view'd,

And envying his magnitude,

She puffs her wrinkled skin, and tries

To vie with his enormous size:

Then asks her young to own at least

That she was bigger than the beast.

They answer, No. With might and main

She swells and strains, and swells again.

"Now for it, who has got the day ?"

The Ox is larger still, they say.

At length, with more and more ado,

She raged and puffed, and burst in two.




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




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