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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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    Flatteurs.

    LXXXVIII.

    Chameleon soufflant sans cesse,
    Vivant d’air,[1] n’a fixes couleurs.
    Ores bleu, verd, ou jaunes, & laisse
    Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [H8v p128] Rouge & blanc, couleurs de valeurs.[2]
    Flatteurs de Prince ont tels malheurs,
    Mangeans peuple en ville & cit:
    Des moeurs du Prince grands parleurs:
    Fors de blancheur & purit.

    commentaires.

    Le chameleon est frequent aux Indes, tousjours
    beant, & gorge ouverte humant l’air, qui est sa seu-
    le vie & nourriture. Il se change en diver-
    ses couleurs, except en rouge & blanc. Ainsi le flat-
    teur ne se nourrit & sustante que des nouvelles de la
    populace, ouvrant la gueule pour tout devorer. Il imi-
    te volontiers les noires & perverses moeurs de son
    superieur: mais des blanches & des rouges il n’en a
    cure ny souci: c’est dire de celles qui sont pures &
    honnestes, & sans aucune tare.

    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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