Saturday, April 2, 2011

Phaedrus, Fable: The Frogs Seek a King

15 BC-50 AD
Trans RMBullard
Latin (Golden Age of Latin Literature-Imperial Era)

II. Ranae Regem Petunt

Athenae cum florerent aequis legibus,
procax libertas civitatem miscuit,
frenumque solvit pristinum licentia.
[While Athens used to flourish with laws ensuring equality, the brashness of freedom began to mix the body of citizens, and dissolved the traditional restraints with free will]

Hic conspiratis factionum partibus
arcem tyrannus occupat Pisistratus.
[Now Pisistratus the Tyrant took power over the conspiring political parties.]

Cum tristem servitutem flerent Attici,
[When the Athenians began to bemoan their sad servitude to him,]

non quia crudelis ille, sed quoniam grave
omne insuetis onus,
[and only because he was cruel, but because all aspects of the life began to become a serious burden,]

et coepissent queri,
[and they began to complain,]

Aesopus talem tum fabellam rettulit.
[it was at that time that Aesop began to tell the following fable again.]

'Ranae, vagantes liberis paludibus,
["There once were frogs that wander freely about their swamps,]

clamore magno regem petiere ab Iove,
[and after a great crash of lighning for Jove, they sought a king,]

qui dissolutos mores vi compesceret.
[one who could repair their loose discipline by force.]

Pater deorum risit
[The father of the gods laughed]

 atque illis dedit
parvum tigillum,
[and he gave them a small wooden beam]

 missum quod subito vadi
motu sonoque terruit pavidum genus.
[and once it was sent, without warning, he frightened the fearful brood from the crash and sound of the disrupted water.]

Hoc mersum limo cum iaceret diutius,
[After this beam, now sunk into the mud, lied there for so long,]

forte una tacite profert e stagno caput,
[one frog, by change, stuck his head out from the pond,]

et explorato rege cunctas evocat.
[and he called the rest of the frogs together to search for their king.]

Illae timore posito certatim adnatant,
[After a struggle, they placed their fear aside, and swam over,]

lignumque supra turba petulans insilit.
[and the brash frog leap over the throng and on the log.]

Quod cum inquinassent omni contumelia,
[And after which thing they did besmear with a kinds of insolence,]

alium rogantes regem misere ad Iovem,
[they began asking Jove to send another king,]

inutilis quoniam esset qui fuerat datus.
[since the one that he had bequeathed them was useless to them.]

Tum misit illis hydrum, qui dente aspero
corripere coepit singulas.
[Then <Jove> sent a snake to them, one that began to rip each and every one apart with its jagged teeth.]

Frustra necem
fugitant inertes;
[in vain, those unharmed tried to flee their doom.]

vocem praecludit metus.
[Their fear forced them to prayer.]

Furtim igitur dant Mercurio mandata ad Iovem,
[And so, in secret, they give prayers to Mercury to give to Jove,]

adflictis ut succurrat.
[asking that he save those who had been so afflicted.]

Tunc contra Tonans
"Quia noluistis vestrum ferre" inquit "bonum,
malum perferte".
[And then, in reply, the Great Thunderer spoke, "because you wished not bear your good fortune, so you will bear out your bad one."]

Vos quoque, o cives,' ait
'hoc sustinete, maius ne veniat, malum'.
[So listen all you citizens to, says he, "Endure the evil you have now, so that a worse one can come,"]