Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cygnus et Ciconia (Abstemius)

SOURCE: This fable comes from the first Hecatomythium ("100 Fables") of Laurentius Abstemius (Lorenzo Bevilaqua), a fifteenth-century Italian scholar. Of all the neo-Latin fable collections, Abstemius's was the most popular, and his stories are frequently anthologized in the 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century collections of Aesop's fables in Latin. Here is a 1499 edition of the book online. This is fable 13 in the collection.

READ OUT LOUD. Choose which marked text you prefer to practice with - macrons or accent marks - and read the text out loud until you feel comfortable and confident. Then, try reading the unmarked text at the bottom. It should be easy for you after practicing with the marked texts. :-)


MACRONS. Here is the text with macrons:

Cygnus moriēns interrogābātur ā cicōniā, cūr in morte, quam cētera animālia adeō exhorrent, multō suāviōrēs quam in omnī vītā ēmitteret sonōs, cum penitus maestus esse dēbēret. Cui cygnus: "Quia (inquit) neque cibī quaerendī cūrā amplius excruciābor, neque aucupum laqueōs extimescam." Haec fābula nōs admonet nē mortem formīdēmus, quā omnēs vītae miseriae praecīduntur.



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

Cygnus móriens interrogabátur a cicónia, cur in morte, quam cétera animália ádeo exhórrent, multo suavióres quam in omni vita emítteret sonos, cum pénitus maestus esse debéret. Cui cygnus: "Quia (inquit) neque cibi quaeréndi cura ámplius excruciábor, neque aúcupum láqueos extiméscam." Haec fábula nos ádmonet ne mortem formidémus, qua omnes vitae misériae praecidúntur.



UNMARKED TEXT. Here is the unmarked text - after practicing with the marked text that you prefer, you should not have any trouble with the unmarked text. I've put in some line breaks to show the natural pauses in the story:

Cygnus moriens
interrogabatur a ciconia,
cur in morte,
quam cetera animalia
adeo exhorrent,
multo suaviores
quam in omni vita
emitteret sonos,
cum
penitus maestus esse deberet.
Cui cygnus: "Quia (inquit)
neque
cibi quaerendi cura
amplius excruciabor,
neque
aucupum laqueos extimescam."
Haec fabula nos admonet
ne mortem formidemus,
qua
omnes vitae miseriae
praeciduntur.




IMAGE. Here is an illustration for the story (image source) showing a 17th-century illustration of a "swan song:"




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