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I.14. Ex Sutore Medicus


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 475.


Malus cum sutor inopia deperditus
medicinam ignoto facere coepisset loco
et venditaret falso antidotum nomine,
verbosis adquisivit sibi famam strophis.
Hic cum iaceret morbo confectus gravi
rex urbis, eius experiendi gratia
scyphum poposcit: fusa dein simulans aqua
illius se miscere antidoto toxicum,
combibere iussit ipsum, posito praemio.
Timore mortis ille tum confessus est,
non artis ulla medicum se prudentia,
verum stupore vulgi, factum nobilem.
Rex advocata contione haec edidit:
'Quantae putatis esse vos dementiae,
qui capita vestra non dubitatis credere,
cui calceandos nemo commisit pedes?'
Hoc pertinere vere ad illos dixerim,
quorum stultitia quaestus impudentiae est.


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


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Here is the poem with meter marks:


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The Cobbler Turned Doctor (trans. C. Smart)

A bankrupt Cobbler, poor and lean,

(No bungler e'er was half so mean)

Went to a foreign place, and there

Began his med'cines to prepare;

But one of more especial note

He call'd his sovereign antidote;

And by his technical bombast

Contrived to raise a name at last.

It happen'd that the king was sick,

Who, willing to detect the trick,

Call'd for some water in an ewer,

Poison in which he feign'd to pour

The antidote was likewise mix'd;

He then upon th' empiric fix'd

To take the medicated cup,

And, for a premium, drink it up

The quack, through dread of death, confessed

That he was of no skill possessed;

But all this great and glorious job

Was made of nonsense and the mob.

Then did the king his peers convoke,

And thus unto th' assembly spoke:

" My lords and gentlemen, I rate

Your folly as inordinate,

Who trust your heads into his hand,

Where no one had his heels japann'd."--

This story their attention craves

Whose weakness is the prey of knaves.




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