Monday, January 4, 2010

Formica et Cicada (Nequam)

SOURCE: The fables of the medieval scholar and poet Alexander Nequam are available in several different editions at GoogleBooks. This is poem 29 in Nequam. For parallel versions, see Perry 373.

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:

Formīcam brūmā narrātur adisse Cicāda,
Ut sibi frūmentī paucula grāna daret.
Illa refert: Cūr nōn sūdandō, tempore messis,
Haec tibi quaesīstī quae modo grāna petis?
Respondit: Cantāns per amoena virēta vagābar;
Cantandī requies nōn erat ulla mihi.
Hinc Formīca refert: Cantāstī tunc, modo saltā;
Nam sine tē comedam parta labōre meō.
Admonet haec pigrōs aestāte vacāre labōrī,
Nē mendīcantēs frīgore nil capiant.


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

Brūmā, Cicāda Formīcam adisse narrātur, ut frūmentī paucula grāna sibi daret. Illa refert: Cūr, tempore messis, sūdandō, nōn tibi quaesīstī haec grāna quae modo petis? Respondit: Per amoena virēta vagābar, cantāns; mihi nōn erat ulla cantandī requies. Hinc Formīca refert: Cantāstī tunc, modo saltā; nam, sine tē, parta labōre meō comedam. Haec pigrōs admonet aestāte labōrī vacāre, nē frīgore mendīcantēs nil capiant.


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):

Bruma, Cicáda Formícam adísse narrátur, ut fruménti paúcula grana sibi daret. Illa refert: Cur, témpore messis, sudándo, non tibi quaesísti haec grana quae modo petis? Respóndit: Per amoéna viréta vagábar, cantans; mihi non erat ulla cantándi réquies. Hinc Formíca refert: Cantásti tunc, modo salta; nam, sine te, parta labóre meo cómedam. Haec pigros ádmonet aestáte labóri vacáre, ne frígore mendicántes nil cápiant.



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.

Formī·cam brū·mā nar·rātur a·disse Ci·cāda,
Ut sibi· frūmen·tī || paucula· grāna da·ret.
Illa re·fert: Cūr· nōn sū·dandō,· tempore· messis,
Haec tibi· quaesīs·tī || quae modo· grāna pe·tis?
Respon·dit: Can·tāns per a·moena vi·rēta va·gābar;
Cantan·dī requi·es || nōn erat· ulla mi·hi.
Hinc For·mīca re·fert: Can·tāstī tunc,· modo sal·tā;
Nam sine· tē come·dam || parta la·bōre me·ō.
Admonet· haec pig·rōs ae·stāte va·cāre la·bōrī,

Nē men·dīcan·tēs || frīgore· nil capi·ant.


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


What follows is an unmarked version of the prose rendering to faciliate word searches:
Bruma, Cicada Formicam adisse narratur, ut frumenti paucula grana sibi daret. Illa refert: Cur, tempore messis, sudando, non tibi quaesisti haec grana quae modo petis? Respondit: Per amoena vireta vagabar, cantans; mihi non erat ulla cantandi requies. Hinc Formica refert: Cantasti tunc, modo salta; nam, sine te, parta labore meo comedam. Haec pigros admonet aestate labori vacare, ne frigore mendicantes nil capiant.

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