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Fable of the Day: De Adolescente canente

Title: De Adolescente in funere matris canente: About the Young Man who sang at his mother's funeral, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Vir quidam defunctam uxorem, quae ad sepulchrum efferebatur, lacrimis et fletibus prosequebatur, filius vero eius canebat. Qui, cum a patre increparetur ut amens et insanus qui in matris funere cantaret cum una secum maestus esse et flere deberet, inquit: Pater mi, si Sacerdotes ut canerent conduxisti, cur mihi irasceris gratis concinenti? Cui pater: Non tuum, inquit, et Sacerdotum idem est officium. Fabula indicat non omnia omnibus esse decora.


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



Vir quidam
defunctam uxorem,
quae
ad sepulchrum efferebatur,
lacrimis et fletibus
prosequebatur,
filius vero eius
canebat.
Qui,
cum a patre increparetur
ut amens et insanus
qui in matris funere cantaret
cum una secum
maestus esse et flere
deberet,
inquit:
Pater mi,
si Sacerdotes
ut canerent
conduxisti,
cur mihi irasceris
gratis concinenti?
Cui pater:
Non tuum, inquit,
et Sacerdotum
idem est officium.
Fabula indicat
non omnia
omnibus esse decora.

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



Translation:



A certain man, whose deceased wife was being carried to her grave, followed her with tears and weeping. His son, however, was singing. The father upbraided his son for being witless and crazy, since he was singing at his mother's funeral when he should be, together with his father, feeling sad and weeping. The son then said: My father, if you have summoned the priests here in order to sing, why are you angry at me, since I am singing along for free? The father said to him: Your job and the priest's job are not the same. The fable shows that not all things are suitable for all people.



[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 61 (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 was a good Man that follow'd his Wife's Body to the Grave, weeping, and wailing all the Way he went, while his Son follow'd the Corps singing. Why Sirrah, says the Father, You should howl, and wring your Hands, and do as I do, ye Rogue you; and not go Sol-Fa-ing it about like a Mad-man. Why Father, says he, You give the Priests Money to sing, and will you be angry with me for giving ye a Song Gratis? Well, says the Father, but that which may become the Priests, will not always become you. 'Tis their Office to sing, but it is your Part to cry.
Funeral Tears are as arrantly hir'd out as Mourning Cloaks: and so are the very Offices: And whether we go to our Graves snivelling or singing, 'tis all but according to the Fashion of the Country, and meer Form.



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