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Title: De culice cibum et hospitium ab ape petente: About the gnat asking for food and shelter from the bee, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Culex hiberno tempore cum fame et frigore se periturum coniiceret, ad apum accessit alvearia, ab eis cibum et hospitium petens. Quae si ab eis fuisset consecutus, promittebat filios earum se artem musicam edocturum. Tunc quaedam apis: At ego artem meam malo liberi mei discant, quae eos a famis et frigoris periculo eximere poterit. Fabula nos admonet ut liberos nostros his artibus erudiamus, quae eos ab inopia valeant vindicare.


Here is a segmented version to help you see the grammatical patterns:



Culex

hiberno tempore
cum fame et frigore se periturum coniiceret,
ad apum accessit alvearia,
ab eis cibum et hospitium petens.
Quae
si ab eis fuisset consecutus,
promittebat
filios earum se artem musicam edocturum.
Tunc quaedam apis:
At ego artem meam malo
liberi mei discant,
quae eos
a famis et frigoris periculo
eximere poterit.
Fabula nos admonet
ut liberos nostros his artibus erudiamus,
quae eos ab inopia valeant vindicare.


Translation:



A gnat during winter had concluded that he was going to die of hunger and cold, so he went to the hive of the bees, asking them for food and shelter. If the gnat were to obtain these things from the bees, he promised that he would teach the art of music to the bees' children. Then one of the bees said: But I prefer that my children should learn my art, which can free them from the danger of hunger and cold. The fable informs us that we should educate our children in those arts which are capable of preserving them from want.



[This translation is meant as a help in understanding the story, not as a "crib" for the Latin. I have not hesitated to change the syntax to make it flow more smoothly in English, altering the verb tense consistently to narrative past tense, etc.]



Source: Abstemius 94 (You can see a 1499 edition of Abstemius online, but I am doing my transcription from the 1568 edition of Aesopi fabulae in the EEBO catalog.)



Another English translation. Sir Roger L'Estrange included the fables of Abstemius in his amazing 17th-century edition of Aesop's fables. So, here is L'Estrange's translation:



A Gnat that was half Starv'd with Cold and Hunger, went out on Frosty Morning to a Bee-Hive, to beg a Charity; and offer'd to Teach Musick in the Bee's Family, for her Diet and Lodging. The Bee very civilly desir'd to be excus'd: For, says she, I bring up all my Children to my own Trade, that they may be able to get their Living another Day by their Industry.
Lazy Beggars that can work and will not, have scarce a Right to Common Charity: And this Misery befalls them for want of an Industrious Education.



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