Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus
Book I - I.3. Graculus Superbus et Pavo. (Perry
Ne gloriari libeat alienis bonis,
suoque potius habitu vitam degere,
Aesopus nobis hoc exemplum prodidit.
Tumens inani graculus superbia
pinnas, pavoni quae deciderant, sustulit,
seque exornavit. Deinde, contemnens suos
immiscet se ut pavonum formoso gregi
illi impudenti pinnas eripiunt avi,
fugantque rostris. Male mulcatus graculus
redire maerens coepit ad proprium genus,
a quo repulsus tristem sustinuit notam.
Tum quidam ex illis quos prius despexerat
'Contentus nostris si fuisses sedibus
et quod Natura dederat voluisses pati,
nec illam expertus esses contumeliam
nec hanc repulsam tua sentiret calamitas'.
The Vain Jackdaw (trans. C. Smart)
Lest any one himself should plume,
And on his neighbour's worth presume;
But still let Nature's garb prevail-
Esop has left this little tale:
A Daw, ambitious and absurd,
Pick'd up the quills of Juno's bird;
And, with the gorgeous spoil adorn'd,
All his own sable brethren scorn'd,
And join'd the peacocks-who in scoff
Stripp'd the bold thief; and drove him off
The Daw, thus roughly handled, went
To his own kind in discontent:
But they in turn contemn the spark,
And brand with many a shameful mark.
Then one he formerly disdain'd,
"Had you," said he, "at home remain'd--
Content with Nature's ways and will,
You had not felt the peacock's bill;
Nor 'mongst the birds of your own dress
Had been deserted in distress."
Latin text from Phaedrus at The
Latin Library (Ad Fontes), English translations from The
Fables of Phaedrus Translated into English Verse by Christopher Smart
(London: 1913). Ben Perry, Babrius and Phaedrus (Loeb),
contains the Latin texts of Phaedrus, with a facing English translation, along
with a valuable appendix listing all the Aesop's fables attested in Greek and/or
in Latin. Invaluable.