Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus
Book I - VIII. Lupus et Gruis (Perry
Qui pretium meriti ab improbis desiderat,
bis peccat: primum quoniam indignos adiuvat,
impune abire deinde quia iam non potest.
Os devoratum fauce cum haereret lupi,
magno dolore victus coepit singulos
inlicere pretio ut illud extraherent malum.
Tandem persuasa est iureiurando gruis,
gulae quae credens colli longitudinem
periculosam fecit medicinam lupo.
Pro quo cum pactum flagitaret praemium,
'Ingrata es' inquit 'ore quae nostro caput
incolume abstuleris et mercedem postules'.
The Wolf and Crane (trans. C. Smart)
Who for his merit seeks a price
From men of violence and vice,
Is twice a fool-first so declared,
As for the worthless he has cared;
Then after all, his honest aim
Must end in punishment and shame.
A bone the Wolf devoured in haste,
Stuck in his greedy throat so fast,
That, tortured with the pain, he roar'd,
And ev'ry beast around implored,
That who a remedy could find
Should have a premium to his mind.
A Crane was wrought upon to trust
His oath at length-and down she thrust
Her neck into his throat impure,
And so perform'd a desp'rate cure.
At which, when she desired her fee,
"You base, ungrateful minx," says he,
"Whom I so kind forbore to kill,
And now, forsooth, you'd bring your bill!"
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.