• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!



Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 15 years, 12 months ago


HOME | Phaedrus: Previous Page - Next Page


Appendix 14. Asinus ad Lyram


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 542.


Asinus iacentem vidit in prato lyram;

accessit et temptavit chordas ungula.

Sonuere tactae. "Bella res mehercules

male cessit" inquit "artis quia sum nescius.

Si reperisset aliquis hanc prudentior,

divinis aures oblectasset cantibus."

Sic saepe ingenia calamitate intercidunt.


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


Asinus vidit lyram iacentem in prato;

accessit et temptavit chordas ungula.

Tactae chordae sonuere.

Inquit: "Mehercules!

Bella res cessit male

quia sum nescius artis.

Si aliquis prudentior reperisset hanc,

oblectasset aures divinis cantibus."

Sic saepe ingenia intercidunt calamitate.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


As'nus ~ iacen~tem vi~dit in ~ prato ~ lyram;

acces~sit et ~ tempta~vit chor~das un~gula.

Sonve~re tac~tae. "Bel~la res ~ meher~cules

mal' ces~sit" in~quit "ar~tis qui' sum ne~scius.

Si re~peris~set al'~quis hanc ~ pruden~tior,

divi~nis au~res ob~lectas~set can~tibus."

Sic sae~p(e) ingen~ja c'la~mita~t(e) inter~cidunt.




A donkey saw a lyre lying in a field. He approached the instrument and tried to strum it with his hoof. The strings resounded at his touch. The donkey said: "By god, this beautiful business has come to no good end since I don't know anything about music. If only someone better equipped than myself had found it, he would have delighted my ears with heavenly melodies!" So it is that talents often fall short because of some misfortune.


[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.]




Here is an image of a lyre:



Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.