<< Home Page | Phaedrus Index

Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus

Book I - V. Vacca et Capella, Ovis et Leo (Perry 339)

Numquam est fidelis cum potente societas.
Testatur haec fabella propositum meum.
Vacca et capella et patiens ovis iniuriae
socii fuere cum leone in saltibus.
Hi cum cepissent cervum vasti corporis,
sic est locutus partibus factis leo:
'Ego primam tollo nomine hoc quia rex cluo;
secundam, quia sum consors, tribuetis mihi;
tum, quia plus valeo, me sequetur tertia;
malo adficietur si quis quartam tetigerit'.
Sic totam praedam sola improbitas abstulit.

The Heifer, Goat, Sheep, and Lion (trans. C. Smart)

A partnership with men in power
We cannot build upon an hour.
This Fable proves the fact too true:
An Heifer, Goat, and harmless Ewe,
Were with the Lion as allies,
To raise in desert woods supplies.
There, when they jointly had the luck
To take a most enormous buck,
The Lion first the parts disposed,
And then his royal will disclosed.
" The first, as Lion hight, I crave;
The next you yield to me, as brave;
The third is my peculiar due,
As being stronger far than you;
The fourth you likewise will renounce,
For him that touches, I shall trounce."
Thus rank unrighteousness and force
Seized all the prey without remorse.

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.