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

Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[D5v p58]

Dolus in suos.

Treachery against one’s own kind.

Altilis allectator anas, & caerula pennis
Adsueta ad dominos ire redire suos.
Congeneres cernens volitare per aŽra turmas
Garrit: in illarum se recipitque gregem,
Praetensa incautas donec sub retia ducat.
Obstrepitant captae, conscia at ipsa silet.
Perfida cognato se sanguine polluit ales,
Officiosa aliis, exitiosa suis.[1]

The well-fed decoy duck with its green-blue wings is trained to go out and return to its masters. When it sees squadrons of its relations flying through the air, it quacks and joins itself to the flock, until it can draw them, off their guard, into the outspread nets. When caught they raise a protesting clamour, but she, knowing what she has done, keeps silence. The treacherous bird defiles itself with related blood, servile to others, deadly to its own kind.

Notes:

1.Cf. Aesop, Fables, 282, where the decoy birds are pigeons.


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Link to an image of this pageLink 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 pageLink to an image of this page †[k1r p145]Praeter rubrum vel candidum:[2]
Sic & adulator populari vescitur aurae,[3]
Hiansque cuncta devorat,
Et solým 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 aŽrem, 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 facÓllimŤ superioris sui nigros &
perversos mores, ab albis verÚ & 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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