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Title: De Agricola militiam et mercaturam affectante: The Farmer aspiring to the arts of war and of business, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Agricola quidam aegre ferebat se assidue terram volvere nec perpetuis laboribus ad magnas divitias pervenire, cum nonnullos videret milites qui actis proeliis ita rem auxerant ut bene induti incederent et lautis epulis nutriti beatam agerent vitam. Venditis igitur ovibus, capris ac bobus, equos emit et arma et in militiam profectus est, ubi cum ab imperatore suo male pugnatum esset, non solum quae habebat perdidit, sed etiam pluribus vulneribus affectus est. Quare damnata militia mercaturam exercere statuit ut ubi maius lucrum et minorem laborem existimabat. Praediis igitur venditis, cum navem mercibus implevisset, navigare coeperat, sed cum in alto esset, tempestate subito coorta navis submersa est et ipse cum ceteris qui in ea erant ad unum omnes periere. Haec fabula monet quemlibet sua sorte esse contentum cum ubique fit parata miseria.


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



Agricola quidam
aegre ferebat
se assidue terram volvere
nec perpetuis laboribus
ad magnas divitias pervenire,
cum
nonnullos videret milites
qui
actis proeliis
ita rem auxerant
ut bene induti incederent
et lautis epulis nutriti
beatam agerent vitam.
Venditis igitur
ovibus, capris ac bobus,
equos emit et arma
et in militiam profectus est,
ubi
cum
ab imperatore suo
male pugnatum esset,
non solum
quae habebat perdidit,
sed etiam
pluribus vulneribus affectus est.
Quare
damnata militia
mercaturam exercere statuit
ut ubi maius lucrum
et minorem laborem
existimabat.
Praediis igitur venditis,
cum navem mercibus implevisset,
navigare coeperat,
sed cum in alto esset,
tempestate subito coorta
navis submersa est
et ipse
cum ceteris
qui in ea erant
ad unum
omnes periere.
Haec fabula monet
quemlibet
sua sorte esse contentum
cum ubique fit parata miseria.

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



Translation:



A certain farmer could hardly stand the fact that he had to keep constantly tilling the soil and that despite his endless labors he could not achieve great wealth. At the same time he saw not a few soldiers who having fought their battles improved their situation that they were able to go about in fine clothes, fed on lavish feasts and enjoying the good life. So, the farmer sold his sheep, goats and cattle, bought horses and weapons and went off to be a soldier, but when the battle was waged poorly by his commander, not only did he lose what he add, he also was stricken with many wounds. On that account, he told the soldier's life to go to hell and decided to try the merchant's life, as he supposed that there would be more profit and less work. Therefore, he sold his farm and when he had laden a ship with goods he set sail, but when he was out at sea, a storm suddenly blew up and the ship was sunk, and our hero, together with all the rest of the men in that ship, each and every one of them, were all drowned. This fable warns us that everyone should be satisfied with their own lot in life, given that disaster awaits us on every side.



[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 55 (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:



Oh the endless Misery of the Life I lead! cries the moiling Husbandman, to spend all my Days in Ploughing, Sowing, Digging, and Dunging, and to make nothing on't at last! Why now in a Soldier's Life there's Honour to be got, and one lucky Hit sets up a Man for ever. Faith, I'll e'en put off my Stock, get me a Horse and Arms, and try the Fortune of the War. Away he goes; makes his Push; stands the shock of a Battle, and compounds at last for the leaving of a Leg or an Arm behind him, to go home again. By this time he has had his Bellyful of Knight-Errantry, and a new Freak takes him in the Crown. He might do better, he fancies, in the Way of a Merchant. This Maggot has no sooner set him agog, but he gets him a Ship immediately; Freights her, and so away to Sea upon Adventure: Builds Castles in the Air, and conceits both the Indies in his Coffers, before he gets so much as Clear of the Port. Well! and what's the End of all this at last? He falls into Foul Weather, among Flats and Rocks, where Merchant, Vessel, Goods, and all are lost in one Common Wreck.
A Rambling Levity of Mind is commonly Fatal to us.



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