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III.5. Aesopus et Petulans


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 497.


Successus ad perniciem multos devocat.

Aesopo quidam petulans lapidem impegerat.

"Tanto" inquit "melior!" Assem deinde illi dedit

sic prosecutus: "Plus non habeo mehercule,

sed unde accipere possis monstrabo tibi.

Venit ecce dives et potens; huic similiter

impinge lapidem, et dignum accipies praemium."

Persuasus ille fecit quod monitus fuit,

sed spes fefellit impudentem audaciam;

comprensus namque poenas persolvit cruce.


Here is the poem in a more prose-like word order for easy reading:


Successus devocat multos ad perniciem.

Quidam petulans impegerat lapidem Aesopo.

Aesopus inquit: "Tanto melior!"

Deinde dedit assem illi,

sic prosecutus:

"Mehercule, non habeo plus,

sed monstrabo tibi unde possis accipere.

Ecce: venit dives et potens;

similiter impinge lapidem huic,

et accipies dignum praemium."

Ille persuasus fecit quod monitus fuit,

sed spes fefellit impudentem audaciam;

nam comprensus est et persolvit poenas cruce.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Succes~sus ad ~ pernic~jem mul~tos de~vocat.

Aeso~po qui~dam pet'~lans lap'd(em) impe~gerat.

"Tant(o)" in~quit "mel~jor!" As~sem dein~d(e) illi ~ dedit

sic pro~secu~tus: "Plus ~ non ha~b'o me(he)r~cule,

sed un~d(e) accip'~re pos~sis mon~strabo ~ tibi.

Ven't ec~ce di~ves et ~ potens; ~ huic sim'~liter

impin~ge lap'~d(em), et dig~n(um) accip~jes prae~mium."

Persua~sus il~le fe~cit quod ~ mon'tus ~ fuit,

sed spes ~ fefel~lit im~puden~t(em) auda~ciam;

compren~sus nam~que poe~nas per~solvit ~ cruce.




Success calls many men to their ruin. There was a certain hooligan who struck Aesop with a stone. Aesop said: "So much the better!" Then he gave the boy a coin and added: "By god, I don't have any more on me but I will show you where you can get some. Look: here comes a rich, powerful man; hit him with a stone, just as you did me, and you will get the reward you deserve." The boy was persuaded to do what Aesop advised him, but his hope brought his reckless daring to ruin: he was arrested and paid the price for his crime on the cross.


[This translation is meant as a help in understanding the story, not as a "crib" for the Latin. I have not hesitated to change the syntax to make it flow more smoothly in English, altering the verb tense consistently to narrative past tense, etc.]


Esop and the Insolent Fellow (trans. C. Smart)

Fools from success perdition meet.

An idle wretch about the street

At Esop threw a stone in rage.

" So much the better," quoth the sage,

And gives three farthings for the job;

" I've no more money in my fob;

But if you 'll follow my advice,

More shall be levied in a trice."

It happen'd that the selfsame hour

Came by a man of wealth and pow'r.

" There, throw your pellet at my lord,

And you shall have a sure reward!"

The fellow did as he was told;

But mark the downfall of the bold;

His hopes are baulk'd, and, lo! he gains

A rope and gibbet for his pains.'




Here is an image of a Roman coin worth one as:




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