BESTIARIA LATINA BLOG - Latin Via Fables - Zoo - Legenda


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The story of The Bat is a poem by Alexander Nequam. It is written in elegiac couplets.

The Perry number for this fable is Perry 566.

You can see a 1501 woodcut illustration for this fable at the University of Mannheim website.

You can find a translation of different Latin version of this story in Aesop's Fables, by Laura Gibbs (Oxford University Press, 2003).

   Use this Study Guide to organize your learning activities.

Here is the poem (click "play" icon for brief audio sample):

Quadrupedes et Aves gererent dum bella furentes,
Et modo Quadrupedes, nunc fugiunt Volucres,

Versutus Vespertilio se mersit utrisque,
Ut, quidquid fieret, tutus utraque foret.

Auribus et magnis se Quadrupedem simulabat:
Credi par alis alitibus poterat.

Hac se fraude tegens inter fera proelia tutus,
Fallebat stolidum cautus utrumque genus.

Ut fraus nota fuit, genus hunc abiecit utrumque,
Et merito placuit ut neutrum neutri.

Hac re Quadrupedes et Aves, dum vespere pulsat,
Antiquae fraudis conscius ipse fugit.

Sic qui se fallans, nunc his, nunc ingerit illis,
Omnibus ingratus, iure repulsus erit.

The following version puts the words in a more prose-like order so that it will be easier for you to read:

Dum Quadrupedes et Aves,
gererent bella,

furentes...gererent : participle plus verb (they were raving mad... and waging...)

gererent: subjunctive with dum

et modo Quadrupedes,
nunc Volucres,
versutus Vespertilio
se mersit
ut, quidquid fieret,
tutus foret
fieret...foret: potential subjunctives
Auribus magnis
se simulabat
poterat credi
par alitibus.
credi: complementary infinitive with poterat
Hac fraude
se tegens
inter fera proelia,
genus utrumque stolidum.

tegens...fallebat : participle plus verb (he hid... and fooled...)

Ut fraus
nota fuit,
hunc abiecit
genus utrumque
et merito,
ut neutrum,
placuit neutri.
Hac re,
ipse fugit
Quadrupedes et Aves,
conscius antiquae fraudis,
dum vespere pulsat.
qui se fallans,
nunc his, nunc illis,
omnibus ingratus,
repulsus erit.

qui: relative pronoun without stated antecedent (hic, qui..., repulsus erit)

fallans...ingerit: participle plus verb (he fools... and rushes...)


© The segmented texts, annotations and audio files at
are copyrighted by Laura Gibbs, 2007. No copyright is claimed for any images.