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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

22 Geoffrey Chauer 1340-1400 John Bartlett

AUTHOR:Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340–1400)
QUOTATION:To maken vertue of necessite. 1
ATTRIBUTION:Canterbury Tales. The Knightes Tale. Line 3044.
Note 1.
Also in Troilus and Cresseide, line 1587.

To make a virtue of necessity.—William Shakespeare: Two Gentlemen of Verona, act iv. sc. 2. Mathew Henry: Comm. on Ps. xxxvii. John Dryden: Palamon and Arcite.

In the additions of Hadrianus Julius to the Adages of Erasmus, he remarks, under the head of Necessitatem edere, that a very familiar proverb was current among his countrymen,—“Necessitatem in virtutem commutare” (To make necessity a virtue).

Laudem virtutis necessitati damus (We give to necessity the praise of virtue).—Quintilian: Inst. Orat. i. 8. 14. [back]