<< Home Page | Phaedrus Index

Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus

Book IV - I. Asinus et Galli (Perry 164)

Qui natus est infelix, non uitam modo
tristem decurrit, uerum post obitum quoque
persequitur illum dura fati miseria.
Galli Cybebes circum in questus ducere
asinum solebant, baiulantem sarcinas.
Is cum labore et plagis esset mortuus,
detracta pelle sibi fecerunt tympana.
Rogati mox a quodam, delicio suo
quidnam fecissent, hoc locuti sunt modo:
"Putabat se post mortem securum fore:
ecce aliae plagae congeruntur mortuo!"

The Ass and Priests of Cybele (trans. C. Smart)

The luckless wretch that's born to woe
Must all his life affliction know-
And harder still, his cruel fate
Will on his very ashes wait,
Cybele's priests, in quest of bread,
An Ass about the village led,
With things for sale from door to door;
Till work'd and beaten more and more,
At length, when the poor creature died,
They made them drums out of his hide.
Then question'd "how it came to pass
They thus could serve ther darling Ass ?"
The answer was, " He thought of peace
In death, and that his toils would cease;
But see his mis'ry knows no bounds,
Still with our blows his back resounds."

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.