Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus
Book II - IV. Aquila Feles et Aper (Perry
Aquila in sublimi quercu nidum fecerat;
feles, cavernam nancta in media, pepererat;
sus nemoris cultrix fetum ad imam posuerat.
tum fortuitum feles contubernium
fraude et scelesta sic evertit malitia.
ad nidum scandit volucris: 'Pernicies' ait
tibi paratur, forsan et miserae mihi.
nam, fodere terram quod vides cotidie
aprum insidiosum, quercum vult evertere,
ut nostram in plano facile progeniem opprimat.
terrore offuso et perturbatis sensibus
derepit ad cubile saetosae suis;
'Magno' inquit 'in periclo sunt nati tui.
nam, simul exieris pastum cum tenero grege,
aquila est parata rapere porcellos tibi'.
hunc quoque timore postquam complevit locum,
dolosa tuto condidit sese cavo:
inde evagata noctu suspenso pede,
ubi esca sese explevit et prolem suam,
pavorem simulans prospicit toto die.
ruinam metuens aquila ramis desidet:
aper rapinam vitans non prodit foras.
quid multa? inedia sunt consumpti cum suis,
felisque catulis largam praebuerat dapem.
Quantum homo bilinguis saepe concinnet mali,
documentum habere hinc stulta credulitas potest.
The Eagle, the Cat, and the Sow (trans. C. Smart)
An Eagle built upon an oak
A Cat and kittens had bespoke
A hole about the middle bough;
And underneath a woodland Sow
Had placed her pigs upon the ground.
Then treacherous Puss a method found
To overthrow, for her own good,
The peace of this chance neighbourhood
First to the Eagle she ascends-
" Perdition on your head impends,
And, far too probable, on mine;
For you observe that grubbing Swine
Still works the tree to overset,
Us and our young with ease to get."
Thus having filled the Eagle's pate
With consternation very great,
Down creeps she to the Sow below;
" The Eagle is your deadly foe,
And is determined not to spare
Your pigs, when you shall take the air.
Here too a terror being spread,
By what this tattling gossip said,
She slily to her kittens stole,
And rested snug within her hole.
Sneaking from thence with silent treai
By night her family she fed,
But look'd out sharply all the day,
Affecting terror and dismay.
The Eagle lest the tree should fall,
Keeps to the boughs, nor stirs at all;
And anxious for her grunting race,
The Sow is loth to quit her place.
In short, they and their young ones starve
And leave a prey for Puss to carve.
Hence warn'd ye credulous and young,
Be cautious of a double tongue.
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.