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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 auram[1],
Reciprocat chamaeleon[2].
Et mutat faciem varios sumitque colores,
Praeter rubrum vel candidum.[3]
Sic & adulator populari vescitur aura,[4]
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. Corrected from the Errata and by hand in this copy.

2. 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.

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

4. ‘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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    Contre les flateurs.

    Chameleon tousjours baille en allant,
    L’air (d’ond il vit) prend,[1] & rend anhelant.
    Change de peau: & quelque que ce soit,
    (Fors rouge, & blanc,[2]) toute couleur recoit.
    Ainsi flateurs d’air populaire vivent.
    Devorent tout: & seulement ensuyvent
    Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [E7v p78] Les meurs du Prince obscurs de vice inique
    Fors rouge, & blanc d’innocence pudicque.

    Le Chameleon petit animal vivant seul-
    lement de l’air, & se changeant en tou-
    tes couleurs sinon rouge, & blanc: repre
    sente le flateur, qui se conforme aulx
    meurs du Prince, sinon aulx meurs d’in-
    nocence, & vergoigne pudicque, vertuz
    signifies par le blanc, & le rouge.

    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.


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