Category Archives: Phaedrus

Phaedrus, Fabulae 1.2

Phaedrus, Fabulae 1.2
Frogs Seek a King

When Athens flourished with equal laws,
Brash freedom united men
and lawlessness loosed ancient restraint.
Here, tyrannous Pisistratus seized
a stronghold with the conspiring faction of his men.
When the Greeks lament their sad servitude,
it is not because he is cruel, but that every
burden is heavy to those unaccustomed, and they began to complain,
to Aesop then recounts such a story:
“Frogs, wandering from their free swamps,
with great noise entreat a king from Jove,
who might check their loose mores with decree.
The father of the gods laughed and gave to them
a small timber, which, having been suddenly sent to the stream,
terrified the timid kind with its movement and noise.
When it lay, submerged for some time in the mud,
one by chance poked his head quietly from the still water,
and called all to the king having been explored.
They in turn swin toward, with great fear cast aside,
and jump on the wood, impudent in their haughty uproar.
When they soiled such with all indignity,
petitioning Jove, they asked he hurl another king,
because that which had been given was useless.
Then he sent them a serpent, which began to seize
each with its sharp tooth. In vain they
weakly tried to flee death; fear stopped their voices.
Secretly, therefore, they gave cries to Mercury for Jove
that he might help them plagued. Then the god responded:
‘Whomever of you is unwilling to bear goos,
must endure evil.’ Likewise, you, o citizens,” he affirms,
“must bear this, lest you come unto greater evil.”