Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus
Book I - XIV. Ex Sutore Medicus (Perry
Malus cum sutor inopia deperditus
medicinam ignoto facere coepisset loco
et venditaret falso antidotum nomine,
verbosis adquisivit sibi famam strophis.
Hic cum iaceret morbo confectus gravi
rex urbis, eius experiendi gratia
scyphum poposcit: fusa dein simulans aqua
illius se miscere antidoto toxicum,
combibere iussit ipsum, posito praemio.
Timore mortis ille tum confessus est,
non artis ulla medicum se prudentia,
verum stupore vulgi, factum nobilem.
Rex advocata contione haec edidit:
'Quantae putatis esse vos dementiae,
qui capita vestra non dubitatis credere,
cui calceandos nemo commisit pedes?'
Hoc pertinere vere ad illos dixerim,
quorum stultitia quaestus impudentiae est.
The Cobbler Turned Doctor (trans. C. Smart)
A bankrupt Cobbler, poor and lean,
(No bungler e'er was half so mean)
Went to a foreign place, and there
Began his med'cines to prepare;
But one of more especial note
He call'd his sovereign antidote;
And by his technical bombast
Contrived to raise a name at last.
It happen'd that the king was sick,
Who, willing to detect the trick,
Call'd for some water in an ewer,
Poison in which he feign'd to pour
The antidote was likewise mix'd;
He then upon th' empiric fix'd
To take the medicated cup,
And, for a premium, drink it up
The quack, through dread of death, confessed
That he was of no skill possessed;
But all this great and glorious job
Was made of nonsense and the mob.
Then did the king his peers convoke,
And thus unto th' assembly spoke:
" My lords and gentlemen, I rate
Your folly as inordinate,
Who trust your heads into his hand,
Where no one had his heels japann'd."--
This story their attention craves
Whose weakness is the prey of knaves.
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.