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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [I7v f79v]

Ei qui semel sua prodegerit, aliena credi
non oportere.

Others’ property should not be entrusted to a person who has once squandered his own

Emblema liiii.

Colchidos in gremio nidum quid congeris? eheu
Nescia cur pullos tam malè credis avis?
Dira parens Medea suos saevissima natos
Perdidit, & speras parcat ut illa tuis?[1]

Why do you build your nest in the bosom of the woman from Colchis? Alas, ignorant bird, why do you entrust your nestlings so mistakenly? That frightful mother, Medea, in her savagery slew her own children. Do you expect her to spare yours?

SUmptum ex Graeco Archiae: éstque apostrophe
ad hirundinem in statuae Medeae quasi sinu nidi-
ficantem. Quae fabula torquetur in prodigos & de-
coctores, quibus nihil de rebus aliorum commit-
tendum, qui adeò pravè sua dilapidarint: eos enim
non secus atque aviculam imprudenter facere, quae
Medeae suos parvulos credat, cùm ea non conti-
nuerit manus à propriis liberis.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [I8r f80r]

L’autruy ne faut
donner en garde à qui mal a
mesnagé le sien.

PAuvre oiseau que fais tu d’ainsi vouloir ranger
Tes petits dans le sein de Medee au danger?
Elle qui mis les siens à une[2] mort amere,
Entre autres vrayement la plus cruelle mere:
Mais penserois-tu bien qu’elle pardonne aux tiens,
Qui point auparavant n’a espargné les siens?

CEcy est prins du Grec d’Archias: & c’est
une apostrophe à l’hirondelle faisant son
nid dans le sein d’une Medee taillee en bosse.
Ce qui est accommodé contre les prodigues
& grans despenciers, ausquels il ne faut don-
ner charge du bien d’autruy, veu qu’ils ont
si mal mesnagé le leur: car on feroit aussi fol-
lement que ce petit oyseau, qui met les siens
en la garde de Medee, qui n’a point heu
d’honte de mettre à mort les siens propres.

Notes:

1.  This is based on Anthologia graeca 9.346, a much-translated epigram, on the subject of a swallow that built her nest on a representation of Medea. Colchidos, ‘of the woman from Colchis’, refers to Medea, from Colchis on the Black Sea, who slew her children by Jason, leader of the Argonauts, to avenge his unfaithfulness. See further [FALc078].

2.  Corrected from the Errata


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  • Squandering, Extravagance, Prodigality, Waste; 'Prodigalità' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [55C11(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Misplaced Trust, False Confidence, 'Pax Falsa'; 'Speranza fallace' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [56D29(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [i8v p144]

In adulatores.

Flatterers

LXXXVIII.

Semper hiat, semper tenuem qua vescitur auram,
Reciprocat chamaeleon[1],
Et mutat faciem, varios sumitque colores,
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [k1r p145]Praeter rubrum vel candidum:[2]
Sic & adulator populari vescitur aurae,[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.

COMMENTARIA.

Chamaeleon animal est frequens in India,
semper hians & aperto ore aërem, quo solo
vivit & nutritur, attrahens & respirans, saepe
facillimeque in varios colores convertitur ex-
cepto rubro & albo, de quo Aristoteles lib. 2.
de natura animal. Plinius lib. 8. cap. 33. & Demo-
critus
in lib. de potestate Camaeleontis. Ovidius
quoque lib. 15. Metamorphoseon.

Id quoque quod ventis animal nutritur & aura,
Protinus assimulat, tetigit quoscunque colores.

Sic etiam adulator alitur & sustentatur fama
solummodo populi, inhiansque cuncta devo-
rat, imitatur facîllimè superioris sui nigros &
perversos mores, ab albis verò & ru-
bris, id est, sine labe puris at-
que pudicis, totus
alienus est.

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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