Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Camelus et Pulex (Nequam)

SOURCE: The fables of the medieval scholar and poet Alexander Nequam are available in several different editions at GoogleBooks. This is poem 36 in Nequam. For parallel versions, see Perry 137. 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:

Īnsiliēns pūlex onerātī terga camēlī,
crēdidit augērī nōn leve pondus eī;
Īnsultānsque gravī nimium levis ille camēlō
māgna vidēbātur rēs, prope nulla, sibi.
Vespere cum dominus vellet dēpōnere pondus,
Pūlex dissiluit, istaque verba dedit:
Fasce gravī tē, nunc parcendo, camēle, levāvī.
Ille refert: Grātēs hinc ego reddo tibi;
Sed neque tē gestāns gravius sēnsī mihi pondus,
nec, tē dēpositō, sentio quid levius.
Perpendat dīcī sibi parvus inūtilis ista
nec putet eximiōs laedere posse virōs!


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

Pūlex, camēlī onerātī terga īnsiliēns, crēdidit eī nōn leve pondus augērī; et ille, nimium levis, īnsultāns, rēs māgna sibi vidēbātur, camēlō gravī prope nulla. Vespere, cum dominus pondus dēpōnere vellet, pūlex dissiluit, et ista verba dedit: Camēle, tē, nunc parcendo, fasce gravī levāvī. Ille refert: Hinc ego tibi grātēs reddo; sed, tē gestāns, neque gravius mihi pondus sēnsī, nec, tē dēpositō, quid levius sentio. Parvus inūtilis perpendat ista sibi dīcī nec putet virōs eximiōs laedere posse!



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):

Pulex, caméli oneráti terga insíliens, crédidit ei non leve pondus augéri; et ille, nímium levis, insúltans, res magna sibi videbátur, camélo gravi prope nulla. Véspere, cum dóminus pondus depónere vellet, pulex dissíluit, et ista verba dedit: Caméle, te, nunc parcéndo, fasce gravi levávi. Ille refert: Hinc ego tibi grates reddo; sed, te gestans, neque grávius mihi pondus sensi, nec, te depósito, quid lévius séntio. Parvus inútilis perpéndat ista sibi dici nec putet viros exímios laédere posse!



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.

Īnsili·ēns pū·lex one·rātī· terga ca·mēlī,
crēdidit· augē·rī || nōn leve· pondus e·ī;
Īnsul·tānsque gra·vī nimi·um levis· ille ca·mēlō
māgna vi·dēbātur || rēs, prope· nulla, si·bi.
Vespere· cum domi·nus vel·let dē·pōnere· pondus,
Pūlex· dissilu·it, || istaque· verba de·dit:
Fasce gra·vī tē,· nunc par·cendo, ca·mēle, le·vāvī.
Ille re·fert: Grā·tēs || hinc ego· reddo ti·bi;
Sed neque· tē ges·tāns gravi·us sēn·sī mihi· pondus,
nec, tē· dēposi·tō, || sentio· quid levi·us.
Perpen·dat dī·cī sibi· parvus i·nūtilis· ista
nec putet· eximi·ōs || laedere· posse vi·rōs!


IMAGE. Here's an illustration for the fable (image source) from a Renaissance edition of Aesop:


What follows is an unmarked version of the prose rendering to faciliate word searches:
Pulex, cameli onerati terga insiliens, credidit ei non leve pondus augeri; et ille, nimium levis, insultans, res magna sibi videbatur, camelo gravi prope nulla. Vespere, cum dominus pondus deponere vellet, pulex dissiluit, et ista verba dedit: Camele, te, nunc parcendo, fasce gravi levavi. Ille refert: Hinc ego tibi grates reddo; sed, te gestans, neque gravius mihi pondus sensi, nec, te deposito, quid levius sentio. Parvus inutilis perpendat ista sibi dici nec putet viros eximios laedere posse!

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