Cervus, sedandi sitim gratia, ad fontem descendit et, ibi totum corpus despectans, cornua magnopere praestantia laudavit, sed tibialium tenuitatem maxime deprecatus est. Sed mox canum circumlatrantium ingruebat horror et ille per tibialium velocitatem confugit ad silvas et ibi miserrime a cornibus detinebatur. Qui tum moribundulus sic ultimum efflavit halitum: “Me miserum, qui tibialium damnavi tenuitatem, quae mihi salutem, et cornuum laudavi praestantiam, quae mihi ruinam pepererunt.”Cervus,
= As usual, we meet the main character of the fable in the opening word: the deer - or stag, as might be the more appropriate word choice for this particular fable!
sedandi sitim gratia,
= The ablative gratia (for the sake of) takes a genitive complement, the gerund sedandi, while sitim is the direct object of the gerund.
ad fontem descendit
= The fons here is supposed to serve as a source of water - but unfortunately for the stag, it also serves as a mirror!
et, ibi totum corpus despectans,
= The neuter noun, corpus, is the accusative object of the participle.
cornua magnopere praestantia laudavit,
= The adjective praestantia and the noun cornua are a double predicate: the stag praised his horns (as) especially beautiful.
sed tibialium tenuitatem maxime deprecatus est.
= The deponent verb deprecatus est is transitive and takes a direct object in the accusative.
Sed mox canum circumlatrantium ingruebat horror
= The noun horror takes a genitive complement: canum circumlatrantium.
= The pronoun refers to the stag: ille (cervus).
per tibialium velocitatem confugit ad silvas
= Recall, of course, that he had just despised his legs for their thinness!
et ibi miserrime a cornibus detinebatur.
= The word miserrime is the superlative form of the adverb misere.
Qui tum moribundulus
= The referent of the relative pronoun qui is cervus in the previous sentence: qui (cervus). The diminutive adjective moribundulus conveys a pathetic quality; the stag is not small in size, but he is in a sadly diminished state.
sic ultimum efflavit halitum:
= The phrase ultimum halitum is wrapped around the verb.
= An exclamation using the accusative.
qui tibialium damnavi tenuitatem,
= The referent of the relative pronoun is me, which is masculine singular (standing for cervus).
quae mihi salutem,
= The referent of the relative pronoun quae is tenuitatem, and the verb is implied by the parallel construction, as you will see: quae (tenuitas) mihi salutem (peperit).
et cornuum laudavi praestantiam,
= The phrase cornuum praestantiam wraps around the verb.
quae mihi ruinam pepererunt.”
= The referent of the relative pronoun quae is cornuum, which is neuter plural: quae (cornua) mihi ruinam pepererunt.
Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:
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