Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fable 11: Rusticus et Aratrum Eius

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 11 in the book: De Rustico et Aratro Eius. For more information Fable about this fable, see the Discussion Forum for this fable at the Aesopus Ning.
Rustici aratrum haeret in profundo luto. Mox prostratus, Herculem implorat, cum statim vox a caelo auditur: “Inepte, flagellato equos et ipse totis viribus umerisque annitere rotis! Et deinde Herculem invocato! Tunc enim tibi propitius Hercules aderit.”
Rustici aratrum haeret
= You might at first think that rustici is a nominative plural, the subject standing at the head of the sentence, but when you reach the verb, you realize that a singular subject is called for, aratrum, with the word rustici a genitive singular form.

in profundo luto.
= The adjective profundus means "deep," as opposed to the adjective altus which can mean either deep OR tall, depending on the context. You can occasionally find poetic writers using profundus to mean lofty, like altus, but in general when you meet the word profundus, you can safely assume it means deep.

Mox prostratus,
= The masculine singular adjective conjures up the country man from the previous sentence; it is the country man who immediately lies down on the ground.

Herculem implorat,
= The country man is the implied subject of this verb, with the god Hercules as the object.

cum statim vox a caelo auditur:
= The conjunction cum with an indicative verb describes the incidents as they take place, emphasizing the temporal sequence of events. Notice that the prepositional phrase does not express agency, but instead location: the voice is heard coming a caelo, from the sky.

= The god's address to the farmer begins with this highly expressive vocative form.

flagellato equos
= The form is a future imperative, second person singular.

et ipse totis viribus umerisque annitere rotis!
= Here you have a present imperative of a deponent verb: annitere. The form could be present active indicative, but the imperative form flagellato confirms that this is another imperative. The pronoun ipse agrees with the implied subject of the infinitive: tu. Note also the ablative phrase, totis viribus umerisque which you should not confuse with the dative rotis, which is a complement to the verb: lean against the wheels. The verb contains ad- as a prefix - ad+nitor - so you sometimes find it with the dative, as here, and sometimes with an amplifying prepositional ad.

Et deinde Herculem invocato!
= Another future imperative form: invocato.

Tunc enim
= The postpositive particle enim marks the beginning of a new sentence, with the word tunc in the very emphatic first position - then ... but not now!

tibi propitius Hercules aderit.”
= This is another compound verb formed with ad- which can take either a dative complement, as here, or which can take the amplifying preposition ad.

Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:

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