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III.2. Panthera et Pastores


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 494.


Solet a despectis par referri gratia.

Panthera inprudens olim in foveam decidit.

Videre agrestes; alii fustes congerunt,

alii onerant saxis; quidam contra miseriti

periturae quippe, quamvis nemo laederet,

misere panem ut sustineret spiritum.

Nox insecuta est; abeunt securi domum,

quasi inventuri mortuam postridie.

At illa, vires ut refecit languidas,

veloci saltu fovea sese liberat

et in cubile concito properat gradu.

Paucis diebus interpositis provolat,

pecus trucidat, ipsos pastores necat,

et cuncta vastans saevit irato impetu.

Tum sibi timentes qui ferae pepercerant

damnum haud recusant, tantum pro vita rogant.

At illa: "Memini quis me saxo petierit,

quis panem dederit; vos timere absistite;

illis revertor hostis qui me laeserunt."


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


Par gratia solet referri a despectis.

Olim panthera inprudens decidit in foveam.

Agrestes videre;

alii congerunt fustes,

alii onerant saxis;

quidam contra

miseriti pantherae -

periturae quippe,

quamvis nemo laederet -

misere panem

ut sustineret spiritum.

Nox insecuta est;

securi abeunt domum,

quasi inventuri mortuam postridie.

At illa,

ut refecit languidas vires,

liberat sese fovea

veloci saltu

et properat in cubile

concito gradu.

Paucis diebus interpositis

panthera provolat,

trucidat pecus,

necat ipsos pastores,

et vastans cuncta

saevit irato impetu.

Tum qui pepercerant ferae

timentes sibi

haud recusant damnum,

tantum rogant pro vita.

At illa:


quis petierit me saxo,

quis dederit panem;

vos absistite timere;

revertor hostis illis

qui laeserunt me."


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Solet ~ a de~spectis ~ par re~ferr' gra~tia.

Panthe~r(a) inpru~dens o~l(im) in fo~v'am de~cidit.

Vide~r(e) agres~tes; al~ji fus~tes con~gerunt,

alj(i) on'~rant sa~xis; qui~dam con~tra mis'~riti

per'tu~rae quip~pe, quam~vis ne~mo lae~deret,

mise~re pa~n(em) ut sus~tine~ret spi~ritum.

Nox in~secu~t(a) est; ab'~unt se~curi ~ domum,

quas(i) in~ventu~ri mor~tuam ~ postri~die.

At il~la, vi~res ut ~ refe~cit lan~guidas,

velo~ci sal~tu fo~v'a se~se li~berat

et in ~ cubi~le con~cito ~ prop'rat ~ gradu.

Paucis ~ die~bus in~terpos'~tis pro~volat,

pecus ~ truci~dat, ip~sos pas~tores ~ necat,

et cunc~ta vas~tans sae~vit i~rat(o) im~petu.

Tum sib' ~ timen~tes qui ~ ferae ~ peper~cerant

damn(um h)aud ~ recu~sant, tan~tum pro ~ vita ~ rogant.

At il~la: "Mem'~ni quis ~ me sax~o pet~jerit,

quis pa~nem ded'~rit; vos ~ time~r(e) absis~tite;

illis ~ rever~tor hos~tis qui ~ me lae~serunt."




Equal thanks are usually returned by people who have been scorned. Once upon a time a panther recklessly fell into a pit. The farm folk saw her; some attacked her with sticks, others loaded her with stones; but certain people on the other hand felt sorry for the panther, since she was going to die although no one had been hurt, and they dropped her some bread in order to keep her alive. Night came on; the villagers confidently went home, as if they would find the panther dead the next day. But the panther, when she renewed her failed strength, freed herself from the pit with a quick leap and hurried into her lair at a quick pace. After a few days had passed, the panther rushed up, slaughtered the sheep and killed the shepherds themselves, and destroyed everything as she raged with a manic attack. Then those who had shown mercy to the wild beast, fearing for themselves, did not protest the damage, but only asked for their lives. The panther said: "I remember who attacked me with stones and who gave me bread; you can stop being afraid; I've returned as an enemy to those who harmed me."


[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 Panther and Shepherds (trans. C. Smart)

Their scorn comes home to them again

Who treat the wretched with disdain.

A careless Panther long ago

Fell in a pit, which overthrow

The Shepherds all around alarm'd;

When some themselves with cudgels arm'd;

Others threw stones upon its head;

But some in pity sent her bread,

As death was not the creature's due.

The night came on - the hostile crew

Went home, not doubting in the way

To find the Panther dead next day.

But she, recovering of her strength,

Sprang from the pit and fled at length.

But rushing in a little space

From forth her den upon the place,

She tears the flock, the Shepherd slays,

And all the region round dismays.

Then they began to be afraid

Who spared the beast and lent their aid;

They reck not of the loss, but make

Their pray'r for life, when thus she spake:

"I well remember them that threw

The stones, and well remember you

Who gave me bread -- desist to fear,

For 'twas the oppressor brought me here."




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



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