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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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Captivus ob gulam.

Caught by greed

LXXXVI.

Regnator penus, & mensae corrosor[1] herilis
Ostrea mus summis vidit hiulca labris.
Queis teneram apponens barbam salsa [=falsa] ossa momordit
Illa recluserunt[2] tacta repente domum.
Depraensum & tetro tenuerunt carcere furem,
Semet in obscurum qui dederat tumulum.[3]

A mouse, king of the pantry, nibbler at the master’s table, saw oysters with their shells just slightly open. Applying his sensitive whiskers, he nibbled the deceptive bone. The oysters, when touched, suddenly slammed shut their house and held the thief, caught red-handed, in a noisome prison, a thief who had put himself into a lightless tomb.

COMMENTARIA.

Mus quidam penum inhabitans, ubi victus
variarum domini fercularum conservaban-
tur, singula corrodens, utque nihil intactum re-
linqueret, vidit inter alia Ostrea hiulca, fissa
testisque apertis, accurrit avidè ac momordit.
Ostrea verò laesa repentè domum recludunt
capto & strangulato fure, qui semetipsum in
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [i8r p143]illo obscuro sepelivit tumulo, & de merito
deprehensis poenaque dignis, dicitur prover-
bialiter illud. Decipula murem coepit. De
Ostreis etiam Plinius lib. 32. cap. 6.

Notes:

1.  Textual variant: Regnatorque penus, mensaeque arrosor.

2.  Textual variant: Ast ea clauserunt.

3.  This poem is a translation of Anthologia graeca 9.86.


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  • Gluttony, Intemperance, 'Gula'; 'Gola', 'Ingordigia', 'Ingordigia overo Avidit�', 'Voracit�' (Ripa) ~ personification of one of the Seven Deadly Sins [11N35] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • law and jurisprudence (+ imprisonment) [44G(+56)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Intemperance, Immoderation (+ emblematical representation of concept) [54AA43(+4)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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