Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fable 20: Leo Amatorius

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 20 in the book: De Leo Amatorio. For more information Fable about this fable, see the Discussion Forum for this fable at the Aesopus Ning.
Leo Silvani cuiusdam Filiam perdite amavit et Patrem Virginis sollicitabat ut illi Virgo in matrimonium daretur. Respondebat Silvanus Filiam esse tenellam et delicatulam Virginem et nunquam hamatos eius ungues dentesque passuram. Passus est igitur Leo dentes et ungues evelli ut Virgine frueretur. Quod cum vidisset Pater, fustibus illi involabat et longius imbellem abigebat.
= As usual, we meet one of the main characters right away: the lion.

Silvani cuiusdam Filiam perdite amavit
= In the predicate, we meet the other main characters: the woodsman, and his daughter.

et Patrem Virginis sollicitabat
= The lion was the subject of the previous verb, amavit, and he is also the subject of this verb. The use of the perfect amavit in contrast to the imperfect verb here suggests the idea of "fell in love" for the perfect. (In general, the perfect is the form that is marked in some way - either for completion, or for initiation - while the imperfect is an unmarked form, which can be used for repeated action, but need not entail repeated action.)

ut illi Virgo in matrimonium daretur.
= The pronoun refers to the lion, illi (leoni).

Respondebat Silvanus
= The lion asked for the woman's hand in marriage with an imperfect verb, and the woodsman also makes his response with an imperfect verb. You can either take this as a simple, neutral reference to action in the past, or you could also take it to mean repeated action.

Filiam esse
= Accusative plus infinitive construction in indirect statement, with filiam as the accusative subject.

tenellam et delicatulam Virginem
= This is the predicate of the indirect statement; note the use of the diminutive adjectives. (In Latin, not only there are diminutive nouns - there are diminutive adjectives, too!)

et nunquam hamatos eius ungues dentesque passuram.
= Continuation of the accusative plus infinitive construction; the deponent infinitive passuram (esse) agrees with filiam (the implied accusative subject), and is transitive, taking a direct object in the accusative, ungues dentesque, with the pronoun referring to the lion, eius (leonis).

Passus est igitur Leo
= The placement of the postpositive particle shows that passus est is regarded as a single word-unit.

dentes et ungues evelli
= The verb takes a complementary infinitive, with dentes et ungues as the accusative subjects of the passive infinitive.

ut Virgine frueretur.
= The verb frueretur (“make use of, have the pleasure of”) takes an ablative complement.

Quod cum vidisset Pater,
= The relative pronoun connects back to the previous sentence, referring to the general situation described there, i.e. the lion being declawed; the subjunctive, introduced by cum, gives causal background information as to why the man was able to attack the lion.

fustibus illi involabat
= The verb takes a dative complement, with the pronoun referring to the lion: fustibus illi (leoni) involabat.

et longius imbellem abigebat.
= The comparative is used here to indicate “very far, quite far,” without an explicit comparison; the adjective refers to the lion: longius imbellem (leonem) abigebat.

Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:

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