Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus
Book III - XV. Canis ad Agnum (Perry
Inter capellas agno palanti canis
"Stulte" inquit "erras; non est hic mater tua."
Ouesque segregatas ostendit procul.
"Non illam quaero quae cum libitum est concipit,
dein portat onus ignotum certis mensibus,
nouissime prolapsam effundit sarcinam;
uerum illam quae me nutrit admoto ubere,
fraudatque natos lacte ne desit mihi."
"Tamen illa est potior quae te peperit." "Non ita.
Beneficium sane magnum natali dedit,
ut expectarem lanium in horas singulas!
Vnde illa sciuit niger an albus nascerer?
Age porro, parere si uoluisset feminam,
quid profecisset cum crearer masculus?
Cuius potestas nulla in gignendo fuit,
cur hac sit potior quae iacentis miserita est,
dulcemque sponte praestat beneuolentiam?
Facit parentes bonitas, non necessitas."
[His demonstrare uoluit auctor uersibus
obsistere homines legibus, meritis capi.]
The Dog and the Lamb (trans. C. Smart)
A Dog bespoke a sucking Lamb,
That used a she-goat as her dam,
" You little fool, why, how you baa!
This goat is not your own mamma :"
Then pointed to a distant mead,
Where several sheep were put to feed.
" I ask not," says the Lamb, "for her
Who had me first at Nature's spur,
And bore me for a time about,
Then, like a fardel, threw me out;
But her that is content to bilk
Her own dear kids, to give me milk."
" Yet she that yean'd you sure," says Tray,
" Should be preferr'd"-- I tell thee nay---
Whence could she know that what she hid
Was black or white ?-but grant she did--
I being thus a male begot
'Twas no great favor, since my lot
Was hour by hour, throughout my life,
To dread the butcher and his knife.
Why should I therefore give my voice
For her who had no pow'r or choice
In my production, and not cleave
To her so ready to relieve,
When she beheld me left alone,
And has such sweet indulgence shown ?"
Kind deeds parental love proclaim
Not mere necessity and name.
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.