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Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 14 years, 2 months ago


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Appendix 25. Serpens et Lacerta


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 552.


Serpens lacertam forte aversam prenderat,

quam devorare patula cum vellet gula,

arripuit illa prope iacentem surculum,

et pertinaci morsu transversum tenens

avidum sollerti rictum frenavit mora.

praedam dimisit ore serpens inritam.


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


Serpens forte prenderat lacertam aversam:

cum vellet devorare lacertam patula gula,

illa arripuit surculum prope iacentem,

et tenens surculum transversum pertinaci morsu

frenavit avidum rictum sollerti mora.

serpens dimisit ore praedam inritam.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Serpens ~ lacer~tam for~t(e) aver~sam pren~derat,

quam de~vora~re pat'~la cum ~ vellet ~ gula,

arrip~vit il~la prop~' iacen~tem sur~culum,

et per~tina~ci mor~su trans~versum ~ tenens

av'dum ~ soller~ti ric~tum fre~navit ~ mora.

praedam ~ dimi~sit o~re ser~pens in~ritam.




By chance a snake had caught a lizard from behind: when he wanted to gobble the lizard with his gaping jaws, the lizard grabbed a twig lying nearby, and by tightly biting onto the twig the lizard kept the snake from greedily swallowing her by means of this sly delay. The snake let the useless prey out of his mouth.


[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 toy snake with a big mouth:




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