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Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus

Book III - XVIII. Pauo ad Iunonem de uoce sua (Perry 509)

Pauo ad Iunonem uenit, indigne ferens
cantus luscinii quod sibi no tribuerit;
illum esse cunctis auribus mirabilem,
se derideri simul ac uocem miserit.
Tunc consolandi gratia dixit dea:
"Sed forma uincis, uincis magnitudine;
nitor smaragdi collo praefulget tuo,
pictisque plumis gemmeam caudam explicas."
"Quo mi" inquit "mutam speciem si uincor sono?"
"Fatorum arbitrio partes sunt uobis datae;
tibi forma, uires aquilae, luscinio melos,
augurium coruo, laeua cornici omina;
omnesque propriis sunt contentae dotibus.
Noli adfectare quod tibi non est datum,
delusa ne spes ad querelam reccidat."

Juno and the Peacock (trans. C. Smart)

Her favorite bird to Juno came,
And was in dudgeon at the dame,
That she had not attuned her throat
With Philomela's matchless note;
" She is the wonder of all ears;
But when I speak the audience sneers
The goddess to the bird replied,
(Willing to have him pacified,)
" You are above the rest endued
With beauty and with magnitude;
Your neck the emerald's gloss outvie?,
And what a blaze of gemmeous dies
Shines from the plumage of your tail!"
" All this dumb show will not avail,"
Cries he, "if I'm surpass'd in voice."
" The fates entirely have the choice
Of all the lots-fair form is yours;
The eagle's strength his prey secures;
The nightingale can sing an ode;
The crow and raven may forebode:
All these in sheer contentment crave
No other voice than Nature gave."
By affectation be not sway'd,
Where Nature has not lent her aid;
Nor to that flattering hope attend,
Which must in disappointment end.

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.