Babrius, Fables

LCL 436: 2-3

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Γενεὴ δικαίων ἦν τὸ πρῶτον ἀνθρώπων, ὦ Βράγχε τέκνον, ἣν καλοῦσι χρυσείην, μεθ᾿ ἣν γενέσθαι φασὶν ἀργυρῆν ἄλλην· τρίτη δ᾿ ἀπ᾿ αὐτῶν ἐσμεν ἡ σιδηρείη. 5ἐπὶ τῆς δὲ χρυσῆς καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ τῶν ζῴων φωνὴν ἔναρθρον εἶχε καὶ λόγους ᾔδει οἵους περ ἡμεῖς μυθέομεν πρὸς ἀλλήλους, ἀγοραὶ δὲ τούτων ἦσαν ἐν μέσαις ὕλαις. ἐλάλει δὲ πεύκη καὶ τὰ φύλλα τῆς δάφνης, 10καὶ πλωτὸς ἰχθὺς συνελάλει φίλῳ ναύτῃ, στρουθοὶ δὲ συνετὰ πρὸς γεωργὸν ὡμίλουν. ἐφύετ᾿ ἐκ γῆς πάντα μηδὲν αἰτούσης, θνητῶν δ᾿ ὑπῆρχε καὶ θεῶν ἑταιρείη. μάθοις ἂν οὕτω ταῦτ᾿ ἔχοντα καὶ γνοίης 15ἐκ τοῦ σοφοῦ γέροντος ἧμιν Αἰσώπου μύθους φράσαντος τῆς ἐλευθέρης μούσης·



Aesopic Fables of Babrius in Iambic Verse


’Twas a race of just men who lived first on the earth, Branchus my boy, the race that men call Golden. After them there came, they say, a different generation, the one of Silver; and we are third in descent among these, and ours is the generation of Iron. Now in the Golden age not only men but all the other living creatures had the power of speech and were familiar with such words as we ourselves now use in speaking to each other. Assemblies were held by these creatures in the midst of the forests. Even the pine tree talked, and the leaves of the laurel. The fish swimming about in the sea chatted with the friendly sailor, and quite intelligibly, too, the sparrows conversed with the farmer. Everything grew from the earth, which made no demands on men, and good fellowship prevailed between gods and mortals. That this was so, you may learn and fully understand from wise old Aesop, who has told us fables in the free manner of prose. And now I

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.babrius-fables.1965