Saturday, June 18, 2011

Image: Cygnus et Herus Eius

M0531 - M0532 - M0533
532. Cygnus et Herus Eius. Cygnos aiunt circa mortis tempus canere solere. Quidam igitur, cum in cygnum venalem incidisset eumque simul mansuetum ac mite animal esse audivisset, illico emit. Is deinde, cum convivium aliquando ageret, cygnum, ut caneret, accivit. At ille tunc omnino siluit. Postea vero, cum moriendum sibi esse intellegeret ac flebiliter caneret, “Mehercle,” ei herus ait, “si tu non cantas nisi cum sis moriturus, plane stultus ego fui, quod te ad canendum antea impuli, non occidi.”

(Grandville: Although this is for a different fable, it works for this one, too!)

M0532 = Perry233. Source: De Furia 288. This is Perry 233. For another fable about the swan and its song, see #537. The ‘swan song’ was a legend known in both ancient Greece and Rome. Plato’s Phaedo contains a discussion of the reason why swans supposedly sing at the moment of their death; in his Natural History, Pliny claims that he conducted “experiments” which disproved the legend.