<< Home Page | Phaedrus Index

Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus

Book I - XXVIII. Vulpis et Aquila (Perry 1)

Quamvis sublimes debent humiles metuere,
vindicta docili quia patet sollertiae.
Vulpinos catulos aquila quondam sustulit,
nidoque posuit pullis escam ut carperent.
Hanc persecuta mater orare incipit,
ne tantum miserae luctum importaret sibi.
Contempsit illa, tuta quippe ipso loco.
Vulpes ab ara rapuit ardentem facem,
totamque flammis arborem circumdedit,
hosti dolorem damno miscens sanguinis.
Aquila, ut periclo mortis eriperet suos,
incolumes natos supplex vulpi reddidit.

The Fox and Eagle (trans. C. Smart)

Howe'er exalted in your sphere,
There's something from the mean to fear
For, if their property you wrong,
The poor's revenge is quick and strong
When on a time an Eagle stole
The cubs from out a Fox's hole,
And bore them to her young away,
That they might feast upon the prey
The dam pursues the winged thief,
And deprecates so great a grief;
But safe upon the lofty tree,
The Eagle scorn'd the Fox's plea.
With that the Fox perceived at hand
An altar, whence she snatched a brand,
And compassing with flames the wood,
Put her in terror for her brood.
She therefore, lest her house should burn,
Submissive did the cubs return.

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.