eLatin eGreek eLearn

More wired than a Roman Internet café

Title: De sene mortem differre volente: About the old man wanted to postpone death, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Senex quidam mortem, quae eum e vita raptura advenerat, rogabat, ut paululum differat, dum testamentum conderet et cetera ad tantum iter necessaria praepararet. Cui mors: cur, inquit, non hactenus praeparasti, toties a me monitus? Et cum ille eam numquam a se visam amplius diceret: cum, inquit, non aequales tuos modo, quorum nulli iam fere restant, verum etiam iuvenes, pueros, infantes quotidie rapiebam, nonne te admonebam mortalitatis tuae: cum oculos hebescere, auditum minui, ceterosque sensus in dies deficere, corpus ingravescere sentiebas, nonne tibi me propinquam esse dicebant? et te admonitum negas? quare ulterius differendum non est. Haec fabula indicat, ita vivendum, quasi mortem semper adesse cernamus.


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



Senex quidam

mortem,
quae eum e vita raptura advenerat,
rogabat,
ut paululum differat,
dum testamentum conderet
et cetera ad tantum iter necessaria praepararet.
Cui mors:
cur, inquit, non hactenus praeparasti,
toties a me monitus?
Et cum ille
eam numquam a se visam amplius
diceret:
cum, inquit,
non aequales tuos modo,
quorum nulli iam fere restant,
verum etiam iuvenes, pueros, infantes
quotidie rapiebam,
nonne te admonebam mortalitatis tuae:
cum oculos hebescere,
auditum minui,
ceterosque sensus in dies deficere,
corpus ingravescere
sentiebas,
nonne tibi
me propinquam esse
dicebant?
et te admonitum negas?
quare ulterius differendum non est.
Haec fabula indicat,
ita vivendum,
quasi mortem semper adesse cernamus.


Translation:



There was a certain old man, and Death had come to snatch him from life. The old man asked Death to wait just a little bit while he organized his will and prepared other things that were essential were such a journey. Death said to the old man: Why haven't you prepared these things beforehand, warned as you were by me so many times? And when the old man said that he had not set eyes on Death before, Death replied: "When not only people of your age - of whom almost none are now left - but even young people, children, babies I have snatched day after day, was I not thus warning you of your own mortality? When you realized your eyes were weakening, your hearing was failing, and the rest of your senses growing dim day after day, your body getting sluggish, didn't those things tell you that I was near? And yet you deny that you had any warning? That's why this cannot be put off any longer." This fable shows that we should live as if we always saw Death standing by.



[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 99 (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:



There goes a Story that Death call'd upon an Old Man, and bad him come along with him. The Man excus'd himself, that T'other World was a great Journey to take upon so short a Warning, and begg'd a little Time only to make his Will before he dy'd. Why (says Death) you have had Warning enough, one would think. to have made ready before this. In truth, says the Old Man, this is the first Time that I ever saw ye in my whole Life. That's false, says Death; for you have had daily Examples of Mortality before your Eyes, in all People of all Sorts, Ages, and Degrees; and is not the frequent Spectacle of other Peoples Deaths, a Memento sufficient to make you think of your Own? Your Dim and Hollow Eyes, methinks, the Loss of your Hearing, and the Faltering of the Rest of your Senses, should mind ye, without much ado, that Death has laid hold of ye already: And is this a Time of Day, d'ye think to stand shuffling it off still? Your Peremptory Hour, I tell ye, is now come, and there's No Thought of a Reprieve in the Case of Fate.
Want of Warning is no Excuse in the Case of Death: For every Moment of our Lives, either Is, or Ought to be a Time of Preparation for't.

Keep up with the latest Bestiaria Latina blog posts... Subscribe by Email. I also post a daily round-up of all the Bestiaria Latina blogs: fables, proverbs, audio, etc.

Views: 192

Comment

You need to be a member of eLatin eGreek eLearn to add comments!

Join eLatin eGreek eLearn

Badge

Loading…

© 2019   Created by Andrew Reinhard.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service