Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus
Book I - XI. Asinus et Leo Venantes (Perry
Virtutis expers, verbis iactans gloriam,
ignotos fallit, notis est derisui.
Venari asello comite cum vellet leo,
contexit illum frutice et admonuit simul
ut insueta voce terreret feras,
fugientes ipse exciperet. Hic auritulus
clamorem subito totis tollit viribus,
novoque turbat bestias miraculo:
quae, dum paventes exitus notos petunt,
leonis adfliguntur horrendo impetu.
Qui postquam caede fessus est, asinum evocat,
iubetque vocem premere. Tunc ille insolens
'Qualis videtur opera tibi vocis meae?'
'Insignis' inquit 'sic ut, nisi nossem tuum
animum genusque, simili fugissem metu'.
The Ass and the Lion Hunting (trans. C. Smart)
A coward, full of pompous speech,
The ignorant may overreach;
But is the laughing-stock of those
Who know how far his valor goes.
Once on a time it came to pass,
The Lion hunted with the Ass,
Whom hiding in the thickest shade
He there proposed should lend him aid,
By trumpeting so strange a bray,
That all the beasts he should dismay,
And drive them o'er the desert heath
Into the lurking Lion's teeth.
Proud of the task, the long-ear'd loon
Struck up such an outrageous tune,
That 'twas a miracle to hear-
The beasts forsake their haunts with fear,
And in the Lion's fangs expired:
Who, being now with slaughter tired,
Call'd out the Ass, whose noise he stops.
The Ass, parading from the copse,
Cried out with most conceited scoff,
"How did my music-piece go off?
So well-were not thy courage known,
Their terror had been all my own!"
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.