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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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IN ADULATORES.

Flatterers

De Chameleonte vide Plinium naturalis Historia
libro VIII. Cap. XXXIII.

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Semper hiat, semper tenuem qua vescitur aura [=auram] ,
Reciprocat chamaeleon[1].
Et mutat faciem, varios sumitque colores,
Praeter rubrum vel candidum.[2]
Sic & adulator populari vescitur aura,[3]
Hiansque cuncta devorat.
Et solum 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.

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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