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Fable of the Day: De Viro et Uxore Bigamis

Title: De Viro et Uxore Bigamis: The and The Woman who Remarried, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Vir quidam, defuncta uxore quam valde dilexerat, duxit alteram et ipsam viduam, quae assiduo ei prioris mariti virtutes fortioraque facinora obiiciebat. Cui, ut par referret, ipse quoque defunctae uxoris mores probatissimos prudentiamque insignem referebat. Quadam autem die irata pauperi eleemosynam petenti partem caponis, quem in cenam utriusque coxerat, dedit dicens, Do tibi hoc pro anima prioris viri. Quod audiens maritus, accersito paupere, reliquum caponis dedit, dicens: Ego quoque do tibi hoc pro anima uxoris meae defunctae. Sic illi, dum alter alteri nocere cupiunt, quid cenarent, tamen non habuerunt. Haec fabula monet non esse contra eos pugnandum qui se possunt optime vindicare.


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



Vir quidam,
defuncta uxore
quam valde dilexerat,
duxit alteram et ipsam viduam,
quae assiduo
ei
prioris mariti
virtutes fortioraque facinora
obiiciebat.
Cui,
ut par referret,
ipse quoque
defunctae uxoris
mores probatissimos prudentiamque insignem
referebat.
Quadam autem die
irata
pauperi eleemosynam petenti
partem caponis,
quem in cenam utriusque coxerat,
dedit
dicens,
Do tibi hoc
pro anima prioris viri.
Quod audiens
maritus,
accersito paupere,
reliquum caponis dedit,
dicens:
Ego quoque do tibi hoc
pro anima uxoris meae defunctae.
Sic illi,
dum alter alteri nocere cupiunt,
quid cenarent,
tamen non habuerunt.
Haec fabula monet
non esse contra eos pugnandum
qui se possunt optime vindicare.

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



Translation:



A certain man, after the death of his wife whom he had greatly loved, married another woman who was herself a widow. She continuously prattled to him about the virtues and great deeds of her late husband. The man, in order to give tit for tat, also talked all the time about the excellent character and remarkable good wisdom of his late wife. One day, hwoever, the woman grew angry and gave to a poor man who was begging alms part of the chicken she had roasted for their dinner, telling the beggar: I give this to you on behalf of the soul of my previous husband. When her spouse heard this, he summoned the beggar and gave him the other half of the chicken, saying: I also give this to you, for the soul of my late wife. In this way, the two of them, as they wanted to injure one another, ended up not having anything to eat for dinner. This fable warns us not to fight with those who are perfectly capable of fighting back.



[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 51 (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 happen'd a Match betwixt a Widower and a Widow. The Woman would be perpetually twitting of her second Husband what a Man her First was, and her Husband did not forget the ringing of it in her Ears as often, what an admirable Woman he had to his First Wife. As the Woman was one Day upon the peevish Pin, a poor Body comes to the Door, while the froward Fit was upon her, to beg a Charity. Come in, poor Man (says the Woman) here's e'en the Leg of a Capon for thee, to pray for the Soul of my First Husband. Nay, Faith, says the Husband, and when they hand is in, e'ev take the Body and the rest on't, to pray for the Soul of my First Wife. This was their way of Teizing one another, and of Starving the Living to Honour the Dead: For they had but that One Capon betwixt them to Supper.
Sauce for a Goose is Sauce for a Gander. There's no contending with the Laws of God and Man, especially against those that have Power and Right on their Side.



[Note: You can find more of these fables at the old blog address for Latin Via Fables.]
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