Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus
Book I - XXXI. Milvus et Columbae (Perry
Qui se committit homini tutandum improbo,
auxilia dum requirit, exitium invenit.
Columbae saepe cum fugissent milvum,
et celeritate pinnae vitassent necem,
consilium raptor vertit ad fallaciam,
et genus inerme tali decepit dolo:
'Quare sollicitum potius aevum ducitis
quam regem me creatis icto foedere,
qui vos ab omni tutas praestem iniuria?'
Illae credentes tradunt sese milvo.
Qui regnum adeptus coepit vesci singulas,
et exercere imperium saevis unguibus.
Tunc de reliquis una 'Merito plectimur,
huic spiritum praedoni quae commisimus'.
The Kite and the Doves (trans. C. Smart)
He that would have the wicked reign,
Instead of help will find his bane.
The Doves had oft escaped the Kite,
By their celerity of flight;
The ruffian then to coz'nage stoop'd,
And thus the tim'rous race he duped:
"Why do you lead a life of fear,
Rather than my proposals hear ?
Elect me for your king, and I
Will all your race indemnify."
They foolishly the Kite believed,
Who having now the pow'r received,
Began upon the Doves to prey,
And exercise tyrannic sway.
"Justly," says one who yet remain'd,
" We die the death ourselves ordained."
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.