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I.2. Ranae Regem Petunt


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 44. For  help in translating the poem, use the page for this poem at NoDictionaries.com, with interlinear word lists! (Here are some tips on using the NoDictionaries tool; note that for this fable the definition for fugitant is missing - it is an iterative verb, meaning "flee over and over again, run away from something repeatedly.")


For MACRONS and METER, plus a PROSE version, see the Ictibus Felicibus blog.




The Frogs Desiring a King (trans. C. Smart)


With equal laws when Athens throve,

The petulance of freedom drove

Their state to license, which overthrew

Those just restraints of old they knew.

Hence, as a factious discontent

Through every rank and order went,

Pisistratus the tyrant form'd

A party, and the fort he storm'd:

Which yoke, while all bemoaned in grief

(Not that he was a cruel chief,

But they unused to be controlled)

Then Esop thus his fable told:

The Frogs, a freeborn people made,

From out their marsh with clamor pray'd

That Jove a monarch would assign

With power their manners to refine.

The sovereign smiled, and on their bog

Bent his petitioners a log,

Which, as it dash'd upon the place,

At first alarm'd the tim'rous race.

But ere it long had lain to cool,

One slily peep'd out of the pool,

And finding it a king in jest,

He boldly summoned all the rest.

Now, void of fear, the tribe advance,

And on the timber leap'd and danced,

And having let their fury loose,

In gross affronts and rank abuse,

Of Jove they sought another king,

For useless was this wooden thing.

Then he a water-snake empower'd,

Who one by one their race devoured.

They try to make escape in vain,

Nor, dumb through fear, can they complain.

By stealth they Mercury depute,

That Jove would once more hear their suit,

And send their sinking state to save;

But he in wrath this answer gave:

"You scorn'd the good king that you had,

And therefore you shall bear the bad."

Ye likewise, 0 Athenian friends,

Convinced to what impatience tends,

Though slavery be no common curse,

Be still, for fear of worse and worse.  

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