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Section: PERFIDIA (Treachery). View all emblems in this section.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D7r p61]

In adulatores.

Flatterers

Semper hiat, semper tenuem qua vescitur 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 solùm 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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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [L8v f75v]

EMBLEMA CXV.

In victoriam dolo partam.

On victory won by guile.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [M1r f76r]

Aiacis tumulum lachrymis ego perluo virtus,
Heu misera albentes dilacerata comas.
Scilicet hoc restabat adhuc, ut iudice Graeco[1]
Vincerer: & causa stet potiore dolus.[2]

I, Virtue, bedew with tears the tomb of Ajax, tearing, alas, in my grief my whitening hairs. This was all it needed - that I should be worsted with a Greek as judge, and that guile should appear to have the better cause.

Das CXV.

Von Sig durch betrug bekommen.

Ich die Tugend mit zehern naß
Wasch deß Helden Ajacis Graß,[3]
Allda er dann begraben ligt
Und rauff auß mein schönes Har dick
Dann das allein noch ubrig war
Das ich beym Griechischen Richter zwar
Das Recht gewesn, aber es gilt
Mehr dann das recht der betrug milt.

Notes:

1.  The Greek assembly awarded the arms of the dead Achilles to the cunning and eloquent Ulysses, not the brave and straight-forward Ajax. For Ajax’s subsequent suicide, see Emblem 66 [A67a066].

2.  See Anthologia graeca 7.145.

3.  While ‘Gras’ (Engl.: grass) is a possible reading, ‘Grab’ (Engl.: grave), although it disturbs the rhyme, is more likely: an interesting confusion between ‘b’ and the German ‘ß’.


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