Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus
Book V - III. Caluus et Musca (Perry
Calui momordit musca nudatum caput,
quam opprimere captans alapam sibi duxit grauem.
Tunc illa inridens: "Punctum uolucris paruulae
uoluisti morte ulcisci; quid facies tibi,
iniuriae qui addideris contumeliam?"
Respondit: "Mecum facile redeo in gratiam,
quia non fuisse mentem laedendi scio.
Sed te, contempti generis animal improbum,
quae delectaris bibere humanum sanguinem,
optem carere uel maiore incommodo."
Hoc argumento uenia donari decet
qui casu peccat. Nam qui consilio est nocens,
illum esse quauis dignum poena iudico.
The Bald Man and the Fly (trans. C. Smart)
As on his head she chanced to sit,
A Man's bald pate a Gadfly bit;
He, prompt to crush the little foe,
Dealt on himself a grievous blow:
At which the Fly, deriding said,
" You that would strike an insect dead
For one slight sting, in wrath so strict,
What punishment will you inflict
Upon yourself, who was so blunt
To do yourself this gross affront ?"-
"0," says the party, "as for me,
I with myself can soon agree.
The spirit of th' intention's all;
But thou, detested cannibal!
Blood-sucker! to have thee secured
More would I gladly have endured."
What by this moral tale is meant
Is-those who wrong not with intent
Are venial; but to those that do
Severity, I think, is due.
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.