Page:The fables of Aesop, as first printed by William Caxton in 1484, with those of Avian, Alfonso and Poggio. Vol 1.djvu/34

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8
THE MEDIÆVAL ÆSOP.

this purpose restoring the moral to the be- ginning. The italicised words and inflections will show how slight have been the changes.

LXIV. [Lupus et Gkuis.]

Qui pretium meriti ab improbo desiderat plus peccat : primum quod indignos juvat importune, deinde quia ingratus postulat quod implere non possit[1] Lupus, osse devorato fauce inhaeso, magno dolore victus coepit singulos promissionibus et praemio deprecari ut illud extra-heretur malum. Tandem persuasum iureiurando gruem gulae credens colli longitudinem optulit[2] se pericu^o, ct fecit medic«me/i lupo. A quo cum pactum flagitaret praemium : lugr&tiim est, inquit, or* nostro quod caput iucolume extuleris ; pro hoc et mercedem a nobis in- super postulare videris.

No one can doubt that the writer of the prose version, execrable as it is, had before him the verses of Phædrus. Or if any still doubt, let him compare the still more execrable version in the "Romulus" which forms the

  1. Ademar has scarcely improved the moral.
  2. What is the subject here ? In mangling his theft to disguise its identity, Ademar has in effect made the wolf look down his own throat.