Friday, January 1, 2010

Pica et Cauda Eius (Nequam)

SOURCE: The fables of the medieval scholar and poet Alexander Nequam are available in several different editions at GoogleBooks. This is poem 38 in Nequam. This story is not found in the classical corpus of Aesop's fables but you can find it in medieval authors. 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:

Pīca levis quotiēns pressīs cōnsēderat ālīs,
flectēbat caudam gesticulando suam:
Cum patriā turpem crēdēns sē linquere mōrem,
frustrā nōn modicum trānsiit illa fretum:
Nam mox cum rīpā cōnsēdit in ulteriōre,
vibrāvit caudam mōre priōre suam.
Cum patriā mōrēs, inquit, mūtāre putābam,
sed mihi nunc vitium trāns mare restat idem.
Sīc loca nōn animum mūtāns, compōnere mōrēs
quī putat, incassum trānsfretat ille fretum.


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

Pīca levis, quotiēns ālīs pressīs cōnsēderat, caudam suam gesticulando flectēbat: crēdēns sē mōrem turpem cum patriā linquere, frustrā illa trānsiit fretum nōn modicum: nam mox cum cōnsēdit in rīpā ulteriōre, caudam suam vibrāvit mōre priōre. Inquit: Putābam mōrēs mūtāre cum patriā , sed nunc trāns mare vitium idem mihi restat. Sīc ille quī mōrēs compōnere putat, loca, nōn animum, mūtāns, fretum trānsfretat incassum.


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):

Pica levis, quótiens alis pressis conséderat, caudam suam gesticulándo flectébat: credens se morem turpem cum pátria línquere, frustra illa tránsiit fretum non módicum: nam mox cum consédit in ripa ulterióre, caudam suam vibrávit more prióre. Inquit: Putábam mores mutáre cum pátria , sed nunc trans mare vítium idem mihi restat. Sic ille qui mores compónere putat, loca, non ánimum, mutans, fretum tránsfretat incássum.


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.

Pīca le·vis quoti·ēns pres·sīs cōn·sēderat· ālīs,
flectē·bat cau·dam || gesticu·lando su·am:
Cum patri·ā tur·pem crē·dēns sē· linquere· mōrem,
frustrā· nōn modi·cum || trānsiit· illa fre·tum:
Nam mox· cum rī·pā cōn·sēdit in· ulteri·ōre,
vibrā·vit cau·dam || mōre pri·ōre su·am.
Cum patri·ā mō·rēs, in·quit, mū·tāre pu·tābam,
sed mihi· nunc viti·um || trāns mare· restat i·dem.
Sīc loca· nōn ani·mum mū·tāns, com·pōnere· mōrēs
quī putat,· incas·sum || trānsfretat· ille fre·tum.


IMAGE. Here's an illustration for the fable (image source) showing what a magpie looks like:


What follows is an unmarked version of the prose rendering to faciliate word searches:
Pica levis, quotiens alis pressis consederat, caudam suam gesticulando flectebat: credens se morem turpem cum patria linquere, frustra illa transiit fretum non modicum: nam mox cum consedit in ripa ulteriore, caudam suam vibravit more priore. Inquit: Putabam mores mutare cum patria , sed nunc trans mare vitium idem mihi restat. Sic ille qui mores componere putat, loca, non animum, mutans, fretum transfretat incassum.

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