Friday, December 05, 2008

Fable 41: Ursus et Alveare

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 41 in the book: De Urso et Alveari. For more information Fable about this fable, see the Discussion Forum for this fable at the Aesopus Ning.
Ab Apiculis irritatus et leviter ictus, Ursus indignabundus in totum alveare totis viribus irruebat. Ad quam violentam concussionem, Apes omnes, velut agmine facto, in faciem Ursi involabant. Quarum acriter cruciatus aculeis Ursus: “Quanto (inquit) satius mihi fuisset unius Apiculae tulisse patienter aculeum, quam tam temere totum examen irritasse!”
Ab Apiculis irritatus et leviter ictus,
= We meet right away one of the main characters in the story: the bees, described here with a diminutive noun, apiculae, the "little bees," from the noun apis, "bee."

Ursus indignabundus
= Here we meet the other main character: the bear. The adjective indignabundus modifies the subject of the verb, so you might want to translate it as an adverb, rather than an adjective, you get to the verb (coming up!).

in totum alveare totis viribus irruebat.
= Notice the contrast between the way that the bees "lightly" struck the bear, leviter," as opposed to the way the bear attacks the hive totis viribus.

Ad quam violentam concussionem,
= The relative pronoun quam connects this sentence and the previous sentence, with quam concussionem referring back to the blow struck by the bear when he rushed at the hive.

Apes omnes,
= Here come the bees - no longer diminutive (apes rather than apiculae), and they are coming full force, all of them!

velut agmine facto,
= The phrase agmine facto is an ablative absolute construction, used as a simile: the bees attacked like (velut) an army arrayed in columns.

in faciem Ursi involabant.
= As often in Latin, the compound verb in-volabat is accompanied by a corresponding prepositional phrase, in faciem.

Quarum acriter cruciatus aculeis Ursus:
= The referent of the relative pronoun quarum is apes, the bees, in the previous sentence, with the phrase quarum (apium) aculeis wrapping around the participle.

“Quanto (inquit) satius mihi fuisset
= The ablative quanto expresses the degree of difference with satius, the comparative form of satis, while the subjunctive expresses a hypothetical possibility, something that might have been, if only the bear had kept his temper.

unius Apiculae tulisse patienter aculeum,
= The phrase unius apiculae aculeum wraps around the infinitive.

quam tam temere totum examen irritasse!”
= The word quam coordinates a comparison introduced by the comparative satius; the infinitives tulisse and irritasse are the things being compared.

Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:

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