Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fable 64: Satyrus et Viator

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 64 in the book: De Satyro et Viatore. For more information Fable about this fable, see the Discussion Forum for this fable at the Aesopus Ning.
Satyrus Viatorem, nive obrutum atque algore enectum, misertus ducit in antrum suum. Refocillantem manus anhelitu oris percontatur causam; “Ut calefiant,” inquit. Postea, cum accumberent, sufflat Viator in polentam. Quod cur ita faceret interrogatus “Ut frigescat,” inquit. Tunc continuo Satyrus Viatorem eiiciens: “Nolo (inquit) in meo ut sis antro, cui tam diversum est os.”
= As usual, the first word introduces us to one of the main characters in the fable: the satyr.

Viatorem, nive obrutum atque algore enectum,
= In the second word, we meet the other main character of the fable: a wayfarer, who has been overwhelmed by the snow.

misertus ducit in antrum suum.
= The deponent participle misertus is transitive and takes a direct object in the accusative, viatorem, which is also the object of ducit.

Refocillantem manus anhelitu oris
= The participle refers to the wayfarer: (viatorem) refocillantem manus, with manus an accusative plural, object of the participle.

percontatur causam;
= The satyr is the subject of this deponent verb, which takes a double accusative for the person who is being asked a question (viatorem refocillantem manus) and the information requested (causam).

“Ut calefiant,” inquit.
= The implied subject of this verb is the man’s hands, manus.

Postea, cum accumberent,
= The subjunctive, introduced by cum, gives causal background information; this is why the man was now ready to eat his food.

sufflat Viator in polentam.
= In ancient Rome, the food called polenta was a form of pearl barley, although in modern Italian cooking, polenta is made from corn meal.

Quod cur ita faceret
= The relative pronoun quod connects back to the previous sentence, referring to the general situation described there, i.e. the man blowing on his food; cur introduces an indirect question with the subjunctive.

= This is the participle that explains the indirect question: the man was asked why he was blowing on his food.

“Ut frigescat,” inquit.
= The subject of this verb is the polenta; the verb frigescere is not transitive, but intransitive, meaning "to grow cool" (like other inchoative verbs formed with the -sc- suffix, the verb refers to an ongoing process).

Tunc continuo
= The adverb continuo means something that happens immediately, directly, at once (from the adjective continuus, meaning "joining, connecting with something," hence the sense of something uninterrupted in time).

Satyrus Viatorem eiiciens:
= A participle, because it is a verb form, is able to take a direct object, as here.

“Nolo (inquit)
= The verb inquit is being used postpositively here, as a particle that signals a direct quotation.

in meo ut sis antro,
= The phrase in meo antro wraps around the phrase, ut sis.

cui tam diversum est os.”
= The referent of the relative pronoun cui is you, the implied subject of sis; the dative here expresses possession: “whose mouth.” The word diversum is a predicate adjective, agreeing with the noun os.

Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:

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