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AERE QUANDOQUE SALU-
tem redimendam.

Sometimes money must be spent to purchase safety

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Et pedibus segnis, tumida & propendulus alvo,
Hac tamen insidias effugit arte fiber.
Mordicus ipse sibi medicata virilia vellit,
Atque abiicit sese gnarus ob illa peti,
Huius ab exemplo disces non parcere rebus
Et vitam ut redimas hostibus aera dare.[1]

Though slow of foot and with swollen belly hanging down, the beaver nonetheless escapes the ambush by this trick: it tears off with its teeth its testicles, which are full of a medicinal substance, and throws them aside, knowing that it is hunted for their sake. - From this creature’s example you will learn not to spare material things, and to give money to the enemy to buy your life.

Notes:

1.  This is based on Aesop, Fables 153, where the same moral is drawn. For the information about the beaver, see Pliny, Natural History 8.47.109; Isidore, Etymologiae (Origines) 12.2.21.


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CAPTIVUS OB GULAM.

Caught by greed

Regnator poenus, & mensae corrosor[1] herilis,
Ostrea mus summis vidit hiulca labris.
Quîs teneram opponens[2] barbam falsa ossa momordit
Illa recluserunt[3] tacta repente domum.
Depraensum & tetro tenuerunt carcere furem,
Semet in obscurum qui dederat tumulum.[4]

A mouse, king of the pantry, nibbler at the master’s table, saw oysters with their shells just slightly open. Applying his sensitive whiskers, he nibbled the deceptive bone. The oysters, when touched, suddenly slammed shut their house and held the thief, caught red-handed, in a noisome prison, a thief who had put himself into a lightless tomb.

Notes:

1.  Textual variant: Regnatorque penus, mensaeque arrosor.

2.  Later editions read apponens.

3.  Textual variant: Ast ea clauserunt.

4.  This poem is a translation of Anthologia graeca 9.86.


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