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In adulatores.

Flatterers

Emblema liii.

Semper hiat, semper tenuem qua vescitur auram,
Reciprocat Chamaeleon[1],
Et mutat faciem, varios sumtque colores,
Praeter rubrum, vel candidum.[2]
Sic & adulator populari vescitur aura,[3]
Hinsque cuncta devorat.
Et solm mores imitatur principis atros,
Albi & pudici nescius.

The Chameleon is always breathing in and out with open mouth the bodiless air on which it feeds; it changes its appearance and takes on various colours, except for red and white. - Even so the flatterer feeds on the wind of popular approval and gulps down all with open mouth. He imitates only the black features of the prince, knowing nothing of the white and pure.

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EXpressum id libello Plutarchi, de discrimine
adulatoris & amici. Adulatori omnino idem ac-
cidit atque Chamaeleonti. Nam ille colorum om-
nium similitudinem exprimit, praeterquam albi: sic
assentator, cm se similem praestare non possit in
iis quae digna sunt studio, turpia quaeque imitatur
quantm potest.

Contre les flatteurs.

INcessamment le Chameleon baaille,
Et humer le vent tousjours travaille,
Changeant couleur aussi en toute sorte,
Ormis le blanc ou rouge qu’il ne porte:
Tout de mesme est le flatteur hume-vent,
Qui ravit tout cela qu’il va trouvant,
Car il prend garde son seigneur & maistre,
Et ses faons il ensuit fort adextre,
S’accommodant au reste son humeur,
Fors qu’en cela qui est pudic & pur.

CEcy est tir du livre de Plutarque, de
la difference d’entre le flatteur & l’a-
my. Il advient au Chameleon ainsi qu’au
flatteur: car il se change en toutes couleurs,
fors au blanc: ainsi le flatteur ne pouvant se
rendre semblable en choses honnestes, il
represente tout ce qui est vilain autant qu’il
peust.

Notes:

1. This creature was supposed to feed only on air, keeping its mouth wide open to suck it in. See Pliny, Natural History 8.51.122. For the chameleon cf. Erasmus, Parabolae pp.144, 241, 252.

2. ‘except for red and white’. See Pliny, ib.

3. ‘the wind of popular approval’. This is a common metaphor in Latin, e.g. Horace, Odes 3.2.20, ‘at the behest of the wind of popular approval.’


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