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phaedrus084

Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 11 years, 5 months ago

 

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V.2. Duo Milites et Latro

 

Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 524.

 

Duo cum incidissent in latronem milites,
unus profugit, alter autem restitit
et uindicauit sese forti dextera.
Latrone excusso timidus accurrit comes
stringitque gladium, dein reiecta paenula
"Cedo" inquit "illum; iam curabo sentiat
quos attemptarit." Tunc qui depugnauerat:
"Vellem istis uerbis saltem adiuuisses modo;
constantior fuissem uera existimans.
Nunc conde ferrum et linguam pariter futilem.
Vt possis alios ignorantes fallere,
ego, qui sum expertus quantis fugias uiribus,
scio quam uirtuti non sit credendum tuae."
Illi adsignari debet haec narratio,
qui re secunda fortis est, dubia fugax.

 

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

 

Not yet available.

 

Here is the poem with meter marks:

 

Not yet available.

 

Translation:

 

Two soldiers happened to fall into the clutches of a robber: one of the soldiers ran away while the other stood his ground and defended himself with all the strength he could muster. As soon as the robber had been beaten back, the soldier's cowardly companion ran up, drawing his sword and even throwing aside his cloak as he said 'Let me at him; I will make sure he knows who it is he has dared to attack!' The one who had fought with the robber replied, 'I only wish that you had been here to help me with your words; even if you did nothing more than that, I would have believed what you were saying and would have fought with even greater determination. But please put away your sword and shut your useless mouth: you might be able to fool people who do not know you, but I have learned by experience with what prowess you turn tail and run, and how unreliable your courage really is.'

This tale should be applied to a man who is confident when things are going well but who proves a coward when the outcome is in doubt.

 

The Thief and the Travellers (trans. C. Smart)

Two men equipp'd were on their way;

One fearful; one without dismay,

An able fencer. As they went,

A robber came with black intent;

Demanding, upon pain of death,

Their gold and silver in a breath.

At which the man of spirit drew,

And instantly disarm'd and slew

The Thief, his honor to maintain.

Soon as the rogue was fairly slain,

The tim'rous chap began to puff,

And drew his sword, and stripp'd in buff-

"Leave me alone with him! stand back!

I'll teach him whom he should attack."

Then he who fought, " I wish, my friend,

But now you'd had such words to lend;

I might have been confirm'd the more,

Supposing truth to all you swore;

Then put your weapon in the sheath,

And keep your tongue within your teeth,

Though you may play an actor's part

On them who do not know your heart,

I, who have seen this very day

How lustily you ran away,

Experience when one comes to blows

How far your resolution goes."

This narrative to those I tell

Who stand their ground when all is well;

But in the hour of pressing need

Abash'd, most shamefully recede.

 

Illustration:

 

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