Monday, March 15, 2010

Accipiter et Luscinia cantum pollicens (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 92 in the collection, and has much in common with the ancient fable of the hawk and the nightingale, Perry 4.

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:

Luscinia, ab accipitre famēlicō comprehēnsa, dummodo sē ab eō dēvorandam esse intelligeret, blandē eum rogābat, ut sē dīmitteret, pollicita prō tantō beneficiō ingentem mercēdem sē relātūram. Cum autem accipiter eam interrogāret, quid grātiae sibi referre posset. Aurēs, inquit, tuās mellifluīs cantibus dēmulcēbō. At ego, inquit accipiter, mālō mihi ventrem dēmulceās. Sine tuīs enim cantibus vīvere, sine cibō nōn possum. Haec fābula innuit ūtilia iūcundīs antepōnenda.

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):

Luscínia, ab accípitre famélico comprehénsa, dúmmodo se ab eo devorándam esse intellígeret, blande eum rogábat, ut se dimítteret, pollícita pro tanto benefício ingéntem mercédem se relatúram. Cum autem accípiter eam interrogáret, quid grátiae sibi reférre posset. "Aures (inquit) tuas mellífluis cántibus demulcébo." "At ego (inquit accípiter) malo mihi ventrem demúlceas. Sine tuis enim cántibus vívere, sine cibo non possum." Haec fábula ínnuit utília iucúndis anteponénda.

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:

ab accipitre famelico comprehensa,
se ab eo devorandam esse
blande eum rogabat,
ut se dimitteret,
pollicita pro tanto beneficio
ingentem mercedem se relaturam.
Cum autem accipiter
eam interrogaret,
quid gratiae sibi referre posset.
"Aures (inquit) tuas
mellifluis cantibus demulcebo."
"At ego (inquit accipiter) malo
mihi ventrem demulceas.
Sine tuis enim cantibus vivere,
sine cibo non possum."
Haec fabula innuit
utilia iucundis anteponenda.

IMAGE. Here is an illustration for the story (image source) showing the fable of the hawk and the nightingale from a 1480 manuscript of Aesop (the so-called "Medici" Aesop):

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