Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus
Book I - XXII. Mustela et Homo . (Perry
Mustela ab homine prensa, cum instantem necem
effugere vellet, 'Parce, quaeso', inquit 'mihi,
quae tibi molestis muribus purgo domum'.
Respondit ille 'Faceres si causa mea,
gratum esset et dedissem veniam supplici.
Nunc quia laboras ut fruaris reliquiis,
quas sunt rosuri, simul et ipsos devores,
noli imputare vanum beneficium mihi'.
Atque ita locutus improbam leto dedit.
Hoc in se dictum debent illi agnoscere,
quorum privata servit utilitas sibi,
et meritum inane iactant imprudentibus.
The Man and the Weasel (trans. C. Smart)
A Weasel, by a person caught,
And willing to get off; besought
The man to spare. "Be not severe
On him that keeps your pantry clear
"This were," says he, "a work of price,
Of those intolerable mice."
If done entirely for my sake,
And good had been the plea you make:
But since, with all these pains and care,
You seize yourself the dainty fare
On which those vermin used to fall,
And then devour the mice and all,
Urge not a benefit in vain."
This said, the miscreant was slain.
The satire here those chaps will own,
Who, useful to themselves alone,
And bustling for a private end,
Would boast the merit of a friend.
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.