Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus
Book III - VII. Lupus ad Canem (Perry
Quam dulcis sit libertas breuiter proloquar.
Cani perpasto macie confectus lupus
forte occurrit; dein, salutati inuicem
ut restiterunt," Vnde sic, quaeso, nites?
Aut quo cibo fecisti tantum corporis?
Ego, qui sum longe fortior, pereo fame."
Canis simpliciter: "Eadem est condicio tibi,
praestare domino si par officium potes."
"Quod?" inquit ille. "Custos ut sis liminis,
a furibus tuearis et noctu domum.
Adfertur ultro panis; de mensa sua
dat ossa dominus; frusta iactat familia,
et quod fastidit quisque pulmentarium.
Sic sine labore uenter impletur meus."
"Ego uero sum paratus: nunc patior niues
imbresque in siluis asperam uitam trahens.
Quanto est facilius mihi sub tecto uiuere,
et otiosum largo satiari cibo!"
"Veni ergo mecum." Dum procedunt, aspicit
lupus a catena collum detritum cani.
"Vnde hoc, amice?" "Nil est." "Dic, sodes, tamen."
"Quia uideor acer, alligant me interdiu,
luce ut quiescam, et uigilem nox cum uenerit:
crepusculo solutus qua uisum est uagor."
"Age, abire si quo est animus, est licentia?"
"Non plane est" inquit. "Fruere quae laudas, canis;
regnare nolo, liber ut non sim mihi."
The Dog and the Wolf (trans. C. Smart)
I will, as briefly as I may,
The sweets of liberty display.
A Wolf half famish'd, chanced to see
A Dog, as fat as dog could be:
For one day meeting on the road,
They mutual compliments bestowed:
" Prithee," says Isgrim, faint and weak,
"How came you so well fed and sleek ?
I starve, though stronger of the two."
" It will be just as well with you,"
The Dog quite cool and frank replied,
"If with my master you'll abide."
"For what ?" "Why merely to attend,
And from night thieves the door defend."
" I gladly will accept the post,
What! shall I bear with snow and frost
And all this rough inclement plight,
Rather than have a home at night,
And feed on plenty at my ease ?"
" Come, then, with me "-the Wolf agrees.
But as they went the mark he found,
Where the Dog's collar had been bound:
"What's this, my friend ?" "Why, nothing." "Nay,
Be more explicit, sir, I pray."
" I'm somewhat fierce and apt to bite,
Therefore they hold me pretty tight,
That in the day-time I may sleep,
And night by night my vigils keep.
At eveningtide they let me out,
And then I freely walk about:
Bread comes without a care of mine.
I from my master's table dine;
The servants throw me many a scrap,
With choice of pot-liquor to lap;
So, I've my bellyful, you find."
"But can you go where you've a mind?"
"Not always, to be flat and plain."
"Then, Dog, enjoy your post again,
For to remain this servile thing,
Old Isgrim would not be a king."
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.