Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Fable 60: Leo, Asinus et Gallus

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 60 in the book: De Leone, Asino et Gallo. For more information Fable about this fable, see the Discussion Forum for this fable at the Aesopus Ning.
Gallus aliquando cum Asino pascebatur, Leone autem aggresso Asinum, Gallus exclamavit, et Leo, qui Galli vocem timet, fugere incipit. Asinus, ratus propter se fugere, aggressus est Leonem; ut vero procul a gallicinio persecutus est, conversus Leo Asinum devoravit, qui moriens clamabat, “Iusta passus sum; ex pugnacibus enim non natus parentibus, quamobrem in aciem irrui?”
Gallus aliquando
= In the opening word of the fable, we meet one of the main characters: a rooster.

cum Asino pascebatur,
= Here we meet another character in the fable: the donkey, who is a friend of the rooster. The active form of the verb means to “feed, supply with food,” while the passive form which you see here means “feed on, graze, browse.”

Leone autem aggresso Asinum,
= Ablative absolute with the postpositive particle autem in second position; the deponent verb is transitive and takes a direct object in the accusative: “when the lion attacked the donkey...”

Gallus exclamavit,
= We know what the donkey and lion are doing, and now we learn what the reaction of the rooster is!

et Leo, qui Galli vocem timet,
= According to the folklore of the ancient Greeks and Romans, lions were afraid of the sound of a rooster crowing.

fugere incipit.
= The lion now changes offense to defense, running away from the rooster.

Asinus, ratus
= Our attention now turns to the donkey and his thoughts; ratus, the perfect participle of the verb reri, "to think," introduces indirect statement.

propter se fugere,
= Accusative plus infinitive construction in indirect statement, with leonem as the implied subject of the infinitive, and se referring back to the donkey, the subject of the main verb.

aggressus est Leonem;
= The deponent verb aggressus est is transitive and takes a direct object in the accusative: “the donkey attacked the lion.”

ut vero procul a gallicinio persecutus est,
= This is a temporal use of ut, meaning “as, as soon as” (see Fable 55); note the postpositive particle vero in second position. The subject of the verb is the donkey, and the lion is the implied object: ut vero (asinus) persecutus est (leonem).

conversus Leo Asinum devoravit,
= As often in Latin, a participle is combined with a finite verb, where English would probably use two finite verbs: the lion turned around and devoured the donkey.

qui moriens clamabat,
= The referent of the relative pronoun qui is asinum in the main clause: qui (asinus) moriens clamabat.

“Iusta passus sum;
= The deponent verb passus sum is transitive and takes a direct object in the accusative, with the neuter plural adjective, iusta, used substantively as a noun.

ex pugnacibus enim non natus parentibus,
= The phrase ex pugnacibus parentibus wraps around the participle; the placement of the postpositive enim shows that ex pugnacibus is treated as a single word unit.

quamobrem in aciem irrui?”
= The word quamobrem is a compound - quam + ob + rem - with the noun phrase quam rem wrapped around the preposition.

Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:

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