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Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus

Book III - II. Panthera et Pastores (Perry 494)

Solet a despectis par referri gratia.
Panthera inprudens olim in foueam decidit.
Videre agrestes; alii fustes congerunt,
alii onerant saxis; quidam contra miseriti
periturae quippe, quamuis nemo laederet,
misere panem ut sustineret spiritum.
Nox insecuta est; abeunt securi domum,
quasi inuenturi mortuam postridie.
At illa, uires ut refecit languidas,
ueloci saltu fouea sese liberat
et in cubile concito properat gradu.
Paucis diebus interpositis prouolat,
pecus trucidat, ipsos pastores necat,
et cuncta uastans saeuit irato impetu.
Tum sibi timentes qui ferae pepercerant
damnum haut recusant, tantum pro uita rogant.
At illa: "Memini quis me saxo petierit,
quis panem dederit; uos timere absistite;
illis reuertor hostis qui me laeserunt."

The Panther and Shepherds (trans. C. Smart)

Their scorn comes home to them again
Who treat the wretched with disdain.
A careless Panther long ago
Fell in a pit, which overthrow
The Shepherds all around alarm'd;
When some themselves with cudgels arm'd;
Others threw stones upon its head;
But some in pity sent her bread,
As death was not the creature's due.
The night came on - the hostile crew
Went home, not doubting in the way
To find the Panther dead next day.
But she, recovering of her strength,
Sprang from the pit and fled at length.
But rushing in a little space
From forth her den upon the place,
She tears the flock, the Shepherd slays,
And all the region round dismays.
Then they began to be afraid
Who spared the beast and lent their aid;
They reck not of the loss, but make
Their pray'r for life, when thus she spake:
"I well remember them that threw
The stones, and well remember you
Who gave me bread -- desist to fear,
For 'twas the oppressor brought me here."

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.