Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fable 26: Lupus et Sus

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 26 in the book: De Lupo et Sue. For more information Fable about this fable, see the Discussion Forum for this fable at the Aesopus Ning.
Parturiebat Sus; pollicetur Lupus se custodem fore fetus. Respondet Puerpera Lupi obsequio se non egere, oratque, si velit pius haberi, longius abeat; Lupi enim benevolentia constabat non praesentia, sed absentia.
Parturiebat Sus;
= As usual, we have one of the two main characters introduced in the opening words: the sow.

pollicetur Lupus
= Now we get the other main character: the wolf.

= Accusative subject in an accusative plus infinitive construction in indirect statement: se custodem fore, with the reflexive pronoun referring back to the subject of the main verb, the wolf.

custodem fore fetus.
= The noun fetus is in the genitive case (those fourth declension nouns can be tricky, so watch out!), with the noun phrase, custodem...fetus, wrapped around the infinitive. The word fore is the future infinitive of esse with the predicative noun, custodem, agreeing in case.

Respondet Puerpera
= The word puerpera refers to the sow as she gives birth. The word is a compound of puer, meaning child, and per- which is the same root as in the verb, parere, "to give birth."

Lupi obsequio se non egere,
= Another accusative plus infinitive construction in indirect statement, with se as the accusative subject; the verb egere (“be in need of”) takes an ablative complement. The reflexive pronoun again agrees with the subject of the main verb, the sow in labor, puerpera (sus).

= The -que takes us back to the previous indicative verb: respondet puerpera ... oratque.

si velit pius haberi,
= The passive form of habere means “to be held to be, to be thought of, to be considered,” with pius as the predicate adjective, agreeing with the subject of velit, which is the wolf, lupus.

longius abeat;
= The subjunctive expresses a wish or command, the result that the sow would like to see happen; longius is the comparative form of the adverb.

Lupi enim benevolentia
= Note the placement of the postpositive particle in second position.

constabat non praesentia, sed absentia.
= The verb constabat takes an ablative complement (“consists of”).

Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:

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