Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cervus et Cornua Eius (Nequam)

SOURCE: The fables of the medieval scholar and poet Alexander Nequam are available in several different editions at GoogleBooks. This is poem 33 in Nequam. For parallel versions, see Perry 74.

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:

Mīrātus liquidam sua cornua vīdit in undam
Cervus; nōn modicā laude probābat ea;
Sed sua culpābat nimium subtīlia crūra,
Esse putāns onerī nōn satis apta suō.
Dum facit haec, vēnātor adest, ācrēsque molossōs
Ēvāsit cervus per loca plāna fugā.
Ut nemus intrāvit, mox rāmīs cornibus haesit;
Sīcque miser captus, dum morerētur ait:
Quae mē iūvērunt, mihi crūra nocēre putābam;
Cornua laudābam quae nocuēre mihi.
Sīc quae nōs perdunt vitiōrum mōnstra probāmus,
Et bona virtūtum maxima dēspicimus.


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

Cervus, in undam liquidam mīrātus, sua cornua vīdit; nōn modicā laude ea probābat; sed crūra sua nimium subtīlia culpābat, putāns onerī suō nōn satis apta esse. Dum facit haec, vēnātor adest, et molossōs ācrēs; cervus fugā ēvāsit per loca plāna. Ut nemus intrāvit, mox rāmīs cornibus haesit; et sīc miser, dum captus morerētur , ait: Putābam crūra, quae mē iūvērunt, mihi nocēre; cornua, quae nocuēre mihi, laudābam. Sīc vitiōrum mōnstra quae nōs perdunt, probāmus et bona, virtūtum maxima, dēspicimus.



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):

Cervus, in undam líquidam mirátus, sua córnua vidit; non módica laude ea probábat; sed crura sua nímium subtília culpábat, putans óneri suo non satis apta esse. Dum facit haec, venátor adest, et molóssos acres; cervus fuga evásit per loca plana. Ut nemus intrávit, mox ramis córnibus haesit; et sic miser, dum captus morerétur , ait: Putábam crura, quae me iuvérunt, mihi nocére; córnua, quae nocuére mihi, laudábam. Sic vitiórum monstra quae nos perdunt, probámus et bona, virtútum máxima, despícimus.



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.

Mīrā·tus liqui·dam sua· cornua· vīdit in· undam
Cervus;· nōn modi·cā || laude pro·bābat e·a;
Sed sua· culpā·bat nimi·um sub·tīlia· crūra,
Esse pu·tāns one·rī || nōn satis· apta su·ō.
Dum facit· haec, vē·nātor a·dest, ā·crēsque mo·lossōs
Ēvā·sit cer·vus || per loca· plāna fu·gā.
Ut nemus· intrā·vit, mox· rāmīs· cornibus· haesit;
Sīcque mi·ser cap·tus, || dum more·rētur a·it:
Quae mē· iūvē·runt, mihi· crūra no·cēre pu·tābam;
Cornua· laudā·bam || quae nocu·ēre mi·hi.
Sīc quae· nōs per·dunt viti·ōrum· mōnstra pro·bāmus,
Et bona· virtū·tum || maxima· dēspici·mus.


IMAGE. For an image of the story, here is an illustration from Steinhowel's Aesop published in 1479. Notice how two dogs have already sunk their teeth into the poor creature!


What follows is an unmarked version of the prose rendering to faciliate word searches:
Cervus, in undam liquidam miratus, sua cornua vidit; non modica laude ea probabat; sed crura sua nimium subtilia culpabat, putans oneri suo non satis apta esse. Dum facit haec, venator adest, et molossos acres; cervus fuga evasit per loca plana. Ut nemus intravit, mox ramis cornibus haesit; et sic miser, dum captus moreretur , ait: Putabam crura, quae me iuverunt, mihi nocere; cornua, quae nocuere mihi, laudabam. Sic vitiorum monstra quae nos perdunt, probamus et bona, virtutum maxima, despicimus.

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