Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fable 10: Rusticus et Silva

Here's the next fable with a kind of running commentary that is not entirely possible within the confines of the forthcoming book from Bolchazy-Carducci. This will be Fable 10 in the book: De Rustico et Silva. For more information Fable about this fable, see the Discussion Forum for this fable at the Aesopus Ning.
Accedebat silvam Rusticus et rogabat Arbores ut sibi lignum concederent, ex quo ansam securis fabricaret. Concedebant lignum illi Arbores, quod ad domum deportabat. Quo mox ad securim adaptato, ad silvam redibat et omnes Arbores ad unum detruncabat.
Accedebat silvam Rusticus
= The verb ad-cedere can take a direct object in the accusative case, as here, but more often it is amplified with the preposition ad: accedere ad flammam, etc. It can also be found sometimes with a dative complement instead of the accusative.

et rogabat Arbores
= As often, we have met the main characters in the fable here in the opening words: the rustic man, and the trees of the forest.

ut sibi lignum concederent,
= The ut clause expresses what the man wishes for the trees to do.

ex quo ansam securis fabricaret.
= The relative pronoun refers back to the lignum in the preceding clause. Even though relative pronouns like to go first in their clause, the preposition has an even greater tendency to go first, hence the word order here: ex quo. The subjunctive verb carries on the man's expression of his wishes, what he hopes to be able to do, with the trees' help.

Concedebant lignum illi Arbores,
= Although Latin tends to follow a Subject-Object-Verb word order, there is considerable stylistic freedom, with the strongest emphasis being on the first word. Here, then, the verb comes first, emphasizing the big surprise: the trees actually agreed!

quod ad domum deportabat.
= The relative pronoun refers back to the lignum in the previous clause, and the subject of the verb, implied but not expressed, is the country man, referred to with the pronoun illi in the previous clause.

Quo mox ad securim adaptato,
= This is an ablative absolute expression, with a relative pronoun playing the role of the noun in the phrase. The form securim is much more commonly found than securem; compare other nouns that take -im, such as puppim, sitim, vim, etc.

ad silvam redibat
= Notice that when the prefix re- is added to a vowel-initial verb, a "d" is inserted: redeo, redire, redibat, etc. You can see this reflected in some English words derived from Latin: can you figure out the Latin roots of redaction, redemptions, redolent, redundate?

et omnes Arbores ad unum detruncabat.
= The phrase ad unum is fixed adverbial form, meaning "to the (last) one (thing)." The neuter form is the only form used in this phrase, even though the arbores are feminine.

Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:

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