Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Canis et Umbra (Nequam)

SOURCE: The fables of the medieval scholar and poet Alexander Nequam are available in several different editions at GoogleBooks. This is poem 13 in Nequam. For parallel versions, see Perry 133. You can find the word list for this fable online at NoDictionaries.com and use it interactively

READ OUT LOUD. Choose which marked text you prefer to practice with - macrons in verse form, or macrons in prose order, or accent marks in prose order, or focusing on the meter. You will find materials for all of these options below. :-)


VERSE MACRONS. Here is the verse text with macrons:

Ōre ferēns carnem, liquidum dum trānsmeat amnem,
umbram prōspexit carnis in amne canis.
Esse putāns carnem dum dentibus appetit, illa
quam tulerat cecidit, umbraque nulla fuit.
Quī sua parva putat, aliēnaque tollere tentat,
mōre canis, perdet quod cupit et quod habet.


PROSE MACRONS. Here is the same text with macrons written out in prose word order:

Canis, carnem ore ferēns, dum amnem liquidum trānsmeat, carnis umbram in amne prōspexit . Dum dentibus appetit, putāns carnem esse , illa quam tulerat cecidit, et umbra nulla fuit. Quī, mōre canis, sua parva putat, et aliēna tollere tentat, perdet quod cupit et quod habet.


STRESS (ACCENT) MARKS. Here is the prose text with accents, plus some color-coding for the words of three or more syllables (blue: penultimate stress; red: antepenultimate stress):

Canis, carnem ore ferens, dum amnem líquidum tránsmeat, carnis umbram in amne prospéxit . Dum déntibus áppetit, putans carnem esse, illa quam túlerat cécidit, et umbra nulla fuit. Qui, more canis, sua parva putat, et aliéna tóllere tentat, perdet quod cupit et quod habet.


ELEGIAC COUPLET METER. Below I have used an interpunct dot · to indicate the metrical elements in each line, and a double line || to indicate the hemistichs of the pentameter line.

Ōre fe·rēns car·nem, liqui·dum dum· trānsmeat· amnem,
umbram· prōspex·it || carnis in· amne ca·nis.
Esse pu·tāns car·nem dum· dentibus· appetit,· illa
quam tule·rat ceci·dit, || umbraque· nulla fu·it.
Quī sua· parva pu·tat, ali·ēnaque· tollere· tentat,
mōre ca·nis, per·det || quod cupit· et quod ha·bet.


IMAGE. Here's an illustration for the fable (image source) by Walter Crane:


What follows is an unmarked version of the prose rendering to faciliate word searches:
Canis, carnem ore ferens, dum amnem liquidum transmeat, carnis umbram in amne prospexit . Dum dentibus appetit, putans carnem esse, illa quam tulerat cecidit, et umbra nulla fuit. Qui, more canis, sua parva putat, et aliena tollere tentat, perdet quod cupit et quod habet.

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