Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fable 53: Lupus et Agnus

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 53 in the book: De Lupo et Agno. For more information Fable about this fable, see the Discussion Forum for this fable at the Aesopus Ning.
Sitibundus Lupus, dum ad caput fontis accedit ut sitim levaret, videt innocentem Agnum, procul fluminis umorem haurientem. Accurrit igitur; Agnum increpat quod vitreum turbavit fontem. Trepidus ad haec supplicavit Agnus in innocentem ne saeviret; se quidem, cum tam longe infra biberet, potum Lupi ne potuisse quidem turbare, nedum voluisse. Lupus contra fremebundus intonat, “Quid vanas sacrilege innectis moras? Pater, Mater, et omne tuum invisum genus sedulo mihi et semper adversantur. Tu autem hodie mihi poenas dabis!”
Sitibundus Lupus,
= In the opening words, we meet one of the main characters of the fable: the wolf.

dum ad caput fontis accedit
= We learn from this clause where the fable takes place: at the headwaters of a spring.

ut sitim levaret,
= From this ut clause, we learn that the wolf has a purpose in coming to this spot!

videt innocentem Agnum,
= Here we meet the other character of the fable: the lamb.

procul fluminis umorem haurientem.
= The accusative participle agrees with agnum and takes fluminis umorem as its direct object.

Accurrit igitur;
= Note the placement of the postpositive particle in second position, as you would expect.

Agnum increpat
= The root of the verb increpare is the sound crep-, a sharp, sudden, snapping noise, as in the noun crepitus. So, literally, the verb means "to snap at somebody," and metaphorically it came to mean "to rebuke, chide, accuse," etc.

quod vitreum turbavit fontem.
= The phrase vitreum fontem wraps around the verb.

Trepidus ad haec supplicavit Agnus
= The neuter plural pronoun haec refers to the “things” that are happening here, both the words of the wolf and his actions.

in innocentem ne saeviret;
= The ne clause explains what the lamb is beginning the wolf not to do to him, innocent lamb that he is!

se quidem,
= The pronoun se is the accusative subject of infinitives (still to come!), and refers back to the subject of an implied verb of speaking: supplicavit agnus (dicens) se...

cum tam longe infra biberet,
= The subjunctive, introduced by cum, gives causal background information; this is why the lamb could not have disturbed the wolf’s drinking water - the lamb is drinking downstream (infra) from the wolf.

potum Lupi ne potuisse quidem turbare,
= The phrase ne . . . quidem puts a strong emphasis on the word potuisse, an infinitive in indirect statement, with an implied verb of speaking: (dicens) se ne potuisse quidem. The phrase potum lupi turbare is an infinitive complement to potuisse.

nedum voluisse.
= This infinitive continues the accusative plus infinitive statement, with se as the implied accusative subject, and turbare as the complementary infinitive: nedum (se) voluisse (potum lupi turbare).

Lupus contra fremebundus intonat,
= The adjective fremebundus modifies the subject, so you might want to translate it as an adverb, rather than an adjective.

“Quid vanas sacrilege innectis moras?
= The interrogative quid here means “why? for what reason?” Note also that the phrase vanas moras wraps around the verb.

Pater, Mater, et omne tuum invisum genus
= Now we discover that the wolf claims to have a grudge not just against our little lamb, but against the whole sheep species!

sedulo mihi et semper adversantur.
= The adverbial phrase sedulo et semper wraps around the pronoun.

Tu autem hodie mihi poenas dabis!”
= The use of a second person pronoun in the nominative case is purely for emphasis, since the verb itself, dabis, already implies the subject unambiguously.

Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:

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