Thursday, November 06, 2008

Fable 18: Accipiter Columbam Insequens

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 18 in the book: De Accipitre Columbam Insequente. For more information Fable about this fable, see the Discussion Forum for this fable at the Aesopus Ning.
Cum Accipiter Columbam praecipiti insequeretur volatu, villam quandam ingressus, a Rustico captus est, quem blande, ut se dimitteret, obsecrabat. “Non etenim te laesi,” dixit. Cui Rusticus: “Nec haec te laeserat.”
Cum Accipiter
= As usual, we meet one of the main characters in the fable right away: the hawk.

Columbam praecipiti insequeretur volatu,
= The subjunctive, introduced by cum, gives causal background information as to why the hawk was caught; the deponent verb insequeretur is transitive and takes a direct object in the accusative. The ablative phrase wraps around the verb.

villam quandam ingressus,
= The deponent participle ingressus is transitive and takes a direct object in the accusative.

a Rustico captus est,
= Now we meet the other main character of the story: the "rustic" man, or peasant.

quem blande,
= The relative pronoun, in the accusative case, refers back to the peasant in the previous clause.

ut se dimitteret, obsecrabat
= The ut clause expresses the wish expressed by the hawk: he implored the man to let him go. The reflexive pronoun refers to the subject of the main verb, the hawk.

“Non etenim te laesi,” dixit.
= The postpositive particle is in second position, as you would expect. The hawk is speaking, and the pronoun te refers to the man who is holding the hawk captive.

Cui Rusticus:
= The referent of the relative pronoun is the hawk, with an implied verb of speaking: cui (accipitri) rusticus (inquit).

“Nec haec te laeserat.”
= The feminine pronoun refers to the dove (feminine noun). Since it is the man who is speaking, the pronoun "you" refers to the hawk he holds captive. You can replace the word nec with the words et non, if that helps to clarify the meaning for you: et haec (columba) te non laeserat.

Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:

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