Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fable 27: Milvus Aegrotus

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 27 in the book: De Milvo Aegroto. For more information Fable about this fable, see the Discussion Forum for this fable at the Aesopus Ning.
Aegrotus lecto decumbebat Milvus, iam ferme moriens. Matrem orat precatum ire deos, multa promittens, si redire ad salutem liceret. Mater autem respondebat nil opis sperandum a diis, quorum sacra et aras rapinis toties violasset.
Aegrotus lecto decumbebat Milvus,
= As often, we get the main character of the fable introduced in the opening words - with a special emphasis on the fact that this particular kite is ailing, aegrotus. The verb decumbebat takes a dative complement.

iam ferme moriens.
= Just as the sentence started off with the information that the kite is sick, the final word of the sentence - moriens - lets us know that he is very sick indeed!

Matrem orat
= Here we meet the other main character in the story: the kite's mother.

precatum ire deos,
= The supine with the verb ire expresses purpose; deos is the object of the supine: “to go beg the gods.”

multa promittens,
= The participle agrees with the subject of the main verb: the sick bird (as he begs his mother, he is making promises).

si redire ad salutem liceret.
= The verb liceret is impersonal, with the idea being of course that it is thanks to the gods that it might be possible for him to return to health!

Mater autem respondebat
= Note the placement of the postpositive particle in second position, as you would expect.

nil opis sperandum a diis,
= Accusative plus future passive infinitive construction in indirect statement, where the phrase nil opis is the accusative subject, and sperandum (esse) is the infinitive. The noun opis is a partitive genitive: nil (nothing) opis (of help) = “no help.”

quorum sacra et aras
= Although the word sacra is a neuter plural which could be either nominative or accusative, the word aras, feminine accusative plural, is unambiguous, which lets you know that sacra is also accusative.

rapinis toties violasset.
= The subjunctive provides causal background information; according to the mother, this is why her son has nothing to hope for from the gods.

Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:

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