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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [E4v p72]

In adulatores.

Flatterers

EMBLEMA LIII.

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 solųm 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  [m7r p189]

Andreae Alciati Em-
blematum liber
secundus.

In divites publico malo.

Those who grow rich out of public misfortune

I.

Anguillas quisquis captat, si limpida verrat
Flumina, si illimes ausit adire lacus,
Cassus erit, ludetque operam. multum excitet ergo
Si cretae, & vitreas palmula turbet aquas,
Dives erit. sic iis res publica turbida lucro est,
Qui pace, arctati legibus, esuriunt.[1]

If anyone hunting eels sweeps clear rivers or thinks to visit unmuddied lakes, he will be unsuccessful and waste his efforts. If he instead stirs up much clay and with his oar churns the crystal waters, he will be rich. Likewise a state in turmoil becomes a source of profit to people who in peace go hungry, because the law cramps their style.

Notes:

1.  Cf. Erasmus, Adagia, 2579 (Anguillas captare).


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