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Title: De Milite et Equo: Soldier and Horse, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Miles equum habens optimum, emit alium nequaquam illi bonitate parem, quem multo diligentius quam priorem nutriebat; tunc priori sic ait: "Cur me dominus quam te impensius curat, cui neque pulchritudine nec robore neque velocitate comparandus sim?" Cui ille, "Est haec (inquit) hominum natura, ut semper in novos hospites benigniores sint." Haec fabula indicat hominum amentiam, qui nova, etiamsi deteriora sint, solent veteribus anteponere.


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



Miles
equum habens optimum,
emit alium
nequaquam illi bonitate parem,
quem
multo diligentius quam priorem
nutriebat;
tunc priori sic ait:
"Cur me
dominus
quam te impensius curat,
cui
neque pulchritudine
nec robore
neque velocitate
comparandus sim?"
Cui ille,
"Est haec (inquit)
hominum natura,
ut semper
in novos hospites
benigniores sint."
Haec fabula indicat
hominum amentiam,
qui nova,
etiamsi deteriora sint,
solent veteribus anteponere.

Crossword Puzzle: You can play a crossword puzzle based on the vocabulary in this fable.



Translation:



A soldier, who had an excellent horse, bought another horse, in no way equal to the first horse in quality. The soldier treated the new horse with much more attention than he treated his first horse. Then the new horse spoke thus to the first horse: Why does the master care so much more thoughtfully for me than for you, to whom I cannot be compared in beauty or strengh or speed? The first horse said: That is human nature. They are always more favorably inclined towards their new guests. The fable points out people's foolishness: even when the new things are worse, they prefer them to the old things.



[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 40 (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 Soldier that had One Excellent Horse already, bought Another that was not half so good, and yet he took more care of That, than of the Former. Every body wonder'd at the Humour of it, considering that for Beauty, or Service, the Latter was not comparable to the Other. Ay, but says One, 'tis natural to be Kind to the Last Comer.
Our Likings or Dislikes are founded rather upon Humour and Fancy, than upon Reason, Every thing pleases at first; and Nothing pleases long; and we shift only to try if we can men ourselves in the next Choice.
[Note: You can find more of these fables at the old blog address for Latin Via Fables.]
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