Friday, December 26, 2008

Fable 62: Delphinus et Smaris

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 62 in the book: De Delphino et Smaride. For more information Fable about this fable, see the Discussion Forum for this fable at the Aesopus Ning.
Persequebatur Pisciculum Delphinus. Hunc ut vitaret, Pisciculus ad rupem confugit. Quem ut captaret, Delphinus tam violento sequebatur impetu, ut arenis illideret et haerens morti succumberet. Quod cum vidisset Pisciculus, sibi paululum consolatus est, moribundulus inquiens, “Dulcior mihi profecto mea mors futura est quod prius auctorem meae mortis defunctum prae oculis viderim.”
Persequebatur Pisciculum Delphinus.
= We meet both of the main characters here in the opening sentence: the little fish (the smaris) and the dolphin. The deponent verb persequebatur is transitive and takes a direct object in the accusative.

Hunc ut vitaret,
= The pronoun refers to the dolphin: hunc (delphinum) ut vitaret.

Pisciculus ad rupem confugit.
= The rocky cliff, rupes, is highly visible in Barlow's illustration for this fable.

Quem ut captaret,
= The referent of the relative pronoun quem is pisciculus in the previous sentence: quem (pisciculum) ut captaret.

Delphinus tam violento sequebatur impetu,
= The adverbial tam introduces a following ut (result) clause, much like the English "so... that..." construction.

ut arenis illideret
= The verb illideret takes a dative complement.

et haerens morti succumberet.
= The verb succumberet takes a dative complement.

Quod cum vidisset Pisciculus,
= The relative pronoun quod connects back to the previous sentence, referring to the general situation described there, i.e. the dolphin being beached on the sand; the subjunctive, introduced by cum, gives causal background information as to why the fish cheered up.

sibi paululum consolatus est,
= The adverb paululum is a diminutive form, based on the neuter form of the diminutive adjective, paululus from the standard form paulus.

moribundulus inquiens,
= This is the present active participle of the defective verb inquam, used to indicate a direct quotation. Notice also the diminutive form of the adjective, moribundulus, from the standard form moribundus.

“Dulcior mihi profecto
= The adverb profecto is a contraction of pro facto, "as a matter of fact."

mea mors futura est
= The future active participle with the verb est creates a future active periphrastic.

quod prius auctorem meae mortis
= The adverb prius is used adverbially here, "before" or "beforehand" (i.e. before my own death).

defunctum prae oculis viderim.”
= This predicate adjective defunctum agrees with the predicate noun, i.e. the fish wants to see the dolphin (auctorem meae mortis) dead (defunctum). The subjunctive, introduced by quod (“because”), gives causal background information; according to the fish, this is why death comes more sweetly than it would otherwise.

Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:

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