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Title: De Muliere, quae pro viro mori se velle dicebat: The Woman, who said she wanted to die in place of her husband, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Matrona quaedam admodum pudica et viri amantissima, aegre ferebat maritum adversa valetudine detineri. Lamentabatur, ingemiscebat et ut suum in virum amorem testaretur, rogabat mortem, ut si maritum sibi esset ereptura, se potius quam illum vellet occidere. Inter haec verba mortem cernit horribili aspectu venientem, cuius timore perterrita et iam sui voti poenitens. Non sum ego, inquit, quem petis; iacet ibi in lecto, quem occisura venisti. Haec fabula indicat, neminem esse adeo amantem amici, qui non malit sibi bene esse, quam alteri.


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



Matrona quaedam
admodum pudica
et viri amantissima,
aegre ferebat
maritum
adversa valetudine detineri.
Lamentabatur,
ingemiscebat
et
ut suum in virum amorem testaretur,
rogabat mortem,
ut
si maritum
sibi esset ereptura,
se potius quam illum
vellet occidere.
Inter haec verba
mortem cernit
horribili aspectu venientem,
cuius timore perterrita
et iam sui voti poenitens.
Non sum ego, inquit,
quem petis;
iacet ibi in lecto,
quem occisura venisti.
Haec fabula indicat,
neminem esse
adeo amantem amici,
qui non malit
sibi bene esse,
quam alteri.

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



Translation:



A certain married woman, who was quite virtuous and most devoted to her husband, was very upset that stricken with bad health. She grieved and sighed and, in order to demonstrate her love for her husband, she asked death that, if death were going to snatch her husband from her, that instead death would kill her instead, rather than him. As the woman was speaking these words, she saw death approaching, looking very dreadful. She was out of her wits with fear and already regretting her vow. "I am not the one you are looking for," she said. "The one you came to kill is lying over there in the bed." This fable shows that no one is so loving of a friend that they would not prefer their own good to that of another.



[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 60 (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 Poor Woman was put out of her Wits, in a Manner, for fear of losing her Husband. The Good Man was Sick and given over, and nothing would serve the Turn, but Death must needs take her instead of him. She call'd and pray'd, and pray'd and call'd, 'till at last Death presented himself in a horrible Shape at her Elbow. She civilly dropt him a Cursie: And Pray Sir, says she, Do not mistake your self; for the Person that you come for lies in the Bed there.
'Tis a common Thing to talk of dying for a Friend; but when it comes to the Push once, 'tis no more than Talk at last.



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