Thursday, March 11, 2010

Senex et Mors: Mortis Signa (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 99 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:

Senex quīdam mortem, quae eum ē vīta raptūra advēnerat, rogābat, ut paululum differat, dum testāmentum conderet et cētera ad tantum iter necessāria praeparāret. Cui mors: cūr, inquit, nōn hactenus praeparāstī, toties ā mē monitus? Et cum ille eam numquam ā sē vīsam amplius dīceret: cum, inquit, nōn aequālēs tuōs modo, quōrum nullī iam ferē restant, vērum etiam iuvenēs, puerōs, infantēs quotīdiē rapiēbam, nonne tē admonēbam mortālitātis tuae: cum oculōs hebescere, audītum minuī, cēterōsque sēnsūs in diēs dēficere, corpus ingravescere sentiēbās, nonne tibi mē propinquam esse dīcēbant? et tē admonitum negās? quārē ulterius differendum nōn est. Haec fābula indicat, ita vīvendum, quasi mortem semper adesse cernāmus.



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):

Senex quidam mortem, quae eum e vita raptúra advénerat, rogábat, ut paúlulum dífferat, dum testaméntum cónderet et cétera ad tantum iter necessária praeparáret. Cui mors: "Cur (inquit) non háctenus praeparásti, tóties a me mónitus?" Et cum ille eam numquam a se visam ámplius díceret: "Cum (inquit) non aequáles tuos modo, quorum nulli iam fere restant, verum etiam iúvenes, pueros, infántes quotídie rapiébam, nonne te admonébam mortalitátis tuae: cum óculos hebéscere, audítum mínui, ceterósque sensus in dies defícere, corpus ingravéscere sentiébas, nonne tibi me propínquam esse dicébant? et te admónitum negas? Quare ultérius differéndum non est." Haec fábula índicat ita vivéndum, quasi mortem semper adésse cernámus.



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:

Senex quidam
mortem,
quae eum e vita raptura advenerat,
rogabat, ut paululum differat,
dum testamentum conderet
et cetera ad tantum iter necessaria
praepararet.
Cui mors:
"Cur (inquit)
non hactenus praeparasti,
toties a me monitus?"
Et cum ille
eam numquam a se visam amplius
diceret:
"Cum (inquit)
non aequales tuos modo,
quorum nulli iam fere restant,
verum etiam
iuvenes, pueros, infantes
quotidie rapiebam,
nonne te admonebam
mortalitatis tuae:
cum oculos hebescere,
auditum minui,
ceterosque sensus in dies deficere,
corpus ingravescere sentiebas,
nonne tibi
me propinquam esse dicebant?
et te admonitum negas?
Quare
ulterius differendum non est."
Haec fabula indicat
ita vivendum,
quasi
mortem semper adesse cernamus.




IMAGE. Here is an illustration for the story (image source) from a different fable about an old man conversing with Death:




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