Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus
Book IV - VI. Pugna Murium et Mustelarum (Perry
Cum uicti mures mustelarum exercitu
(historia, quot sunt, in tabernis pingitur)
fugerent et artos circum trepidarent cauos,
aegre recepti, tamen euaserunt necem:
duces eorum, qui capitibus cornua
suis ligarant ut conspicuum in proelio
haberent signum quod sequerentur milites,
haesere in portis suntque capti ab hostibus;
quos immolatos uictor auidis dentibus
capacis alui mersit tartareo specu.
Quemcumque populum tristis euentus premit,
periclitatur magnitudo principium,
minuta plebes facili praesidio latet.
The Battle of the Mice and Weasels (trans. C. Smart)
The routed Mice upon a day
Fled from the Weasels in array;
But in the hurry of the flight,
What with their weakness and their fright
Each scarce could get into his cave :
Howe'er, at last their lives they save.
But their commanders (who had tied
Horns to their heads in martial pride,
Which as a signal they design'd
For non-commission'd mice to mind)
Stick in the entrance as they go,
And there are taken by the foe,
Who, greedy of the victim, gluts
With mouse-flesh his ungodly guts.
Each great and national distress
Must chiefly mighty men oppress;
While folks subordinate and poor
Are by their littleness secure.
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.