Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus
Book I - XII. Cervus ad
Fontem (Perry 74)
Laudatis utiliora quae contempseris,
saepe inveniri testis haec narratio est.
Ad fontem cervus, cum bibisset, restitit,
et in liquore vidit effigiem suam.
Ibi dum ramosa mirans laudat cornua
crurumque nimiam tenuitatem vituperat,
venantum subito vocibus conterritus,
per campum fugere coepit, et cursu levi
canes elusit. Silva tum excepit ferum;
in qua retentis impeditus cornibus
lacerari coepit morsibus saevis canum.
Tum moriens edidisse vocem hanc dicitur:
'O me infelicem, qui nunc demum intellego,
utilia mihi quam fuerint quae despexeram,
et, quae laudaram, quantum luctus habuerint'.
The Stag at the Fountain (trans. C. Smart)
FULL often what you now despise
Proves better than the things you prize;
Let Esop's narrative decide:
A Stag beheld, with conscious pride,
(As at the fountain-head he stood)
His image in the silver flood,
And there extols his branching horns,
While his poor spindle-shanks he scorns-
But, lo! he hears the hunter's cries,
And, frightened, o'er the champaign flies--
His swiftness baffles the pursuit:
At length a wood receives the brute,
And by his horns entangled there,
The pack began his flesh to tear:
Then dying thus he wail'd his fate:
"Unhappy me! and wise too late!
How useful what I did disdain!
How grievous that which made me vain!
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.