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IV.6. Pugna Murium et Mustelarum


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 165.


Cum uicti mures mustelarum exercitu
(historia, quot sunt, in tabernis pingitur)
fugerent et artos circum trepidarent cauos,
aegre recepti, tamen euaserunt necem:
duces eorum, qui capitibus cornua
suis ligarant ut conspicuum in proelio
haberent signum quod sequerentur milites,
haesere in portis suntque capti ab hostibus;
quos immolatos uictor auidis dentibus
capacis alui mersit tartareo specu.
Quemcumque populum tristis euentus premit,
periclitatur magnitudo principium,
minuta plebes facili praesidio latet.


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


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Here is the poem with meter marks:


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The Battle of the Mice and Weasels (trans. C. Smart)

The routed Mice upon a day

Fled from the Weasels in array;

But in the hurry of the flight,

What with their weakness and their fright

Each scarce could get into his cave :

Howe'er, at last their lives they save.

But their commanders (who had tied

Horns to their heads in martial pride,

Which as a signal they design'd

For non-commission'd mice to mind)

Stick in the entrance as they go,

And there are taken by the foe,

Who, greedy of the victim, gluts

With mouse-flesh his ungodly guts.

Each great and national distress

Must chiefly mighty men oppress;

While folks subordinate and poor

Are by their littleness secure.




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