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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [G3r p101]

Necessitas dociles facit.

Poverty makes quick learners

Ad Ioannem Panithy, sororium.[1]

For his brother-in-law Joannes Panithy.

Necessitas quid non docet, fames simul?
Natura saepč his nam solet mutarier.
Formare vocem Psittacus consueverat,
Hero & salutem dicere, ac molestias
Lenire Caesaris: loqui necessitas
Coėgit & Croesi parentis filium.[2]
Aviculas cernis sitim ut levant suam,
Trahendo quas appendis urnulas aqua,
Clausum penuque rostro ut inquirant suo.
His disce tu prudentius loco, & foro
Servire, cui ratio est, sagaxque dictio.

What do poverty and hunger not teach? For through these Nature often changes. The parrot is accustomed to alter his voice and say “All hail the hero!”; easing the labours of Caesar: his need forced him to speak, like the son of father Croesus. You see how the birds, to ease their thirst, search out with their beaks the urns you’ve hung with water to be carried, and the locked pantry. Learn from these to be more judicious as to place, and in public to serve the man who has intelligence and wise speech.


1.  Jįnos Panithy, married to Sambucus’ sister, Catharina.

2.  The story of the deaf-mute son of Croesus and how he recovered his voice is told by Herodotus in The Histories, 1.85. He is not given a name, but was in some early modern dramatisations called Atys, the name of Croesus’ elder son.

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