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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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Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[k1v p146]

Dulcia quandoque amara
fieri.

Sweetness turns at times to bitterness

LXXXIX.

Matre procul licta paulým secesserat infans
Lydius[1], hunc dirae sed rapuistis apes.
Venerat hic ad vos placidas ratus esse volucres,
Cým nec ita immitis vipera saeva foret.
Quae datis ah dulci stimulos pro munere mellis,
Proh dolor, heu sine te gratia nulla datur.[2]

A Lydian babe had strayed some way off, leaving his mother at a distance, but you made away with him, you dreadful bees. He had come to you, thinking you harmless winged creatures, yet a merciless viper would not be as savage as you. Instead of the sweet gift of honey, ah me, you give stings. Ah pain, without you, alas, no delight is granted.

COMMENTARIA.

Lydius infans, id est, Amor Cupido in Ly-
dia
natus (Lydos autem mortalium omnium
mollissimus & effoeminatissimos fuisse, refert
Leonicus, ex Clearcho lib. 3. cap. 95. de varia
historia) Cým paulÚ longius ŗ Venere Matre
eius secessisset, ad apes venit, quae, dum mella
Link to an image of this pageLink to an image of this page †[k2r p147] colligere vult, illum gravissimis ictibus inva-
dunt, ipseque fugiens pro dulci melle amaros
stimulos ad matrem revertens attulit. Doce-
mur vix unquam iucundi aliquid, absque dolo-
re sive molestia aliqua contingere, hinc vul-
go adagio dicitur, Ne quaere mollia ne dura
feras. apud Erasmum.

Notes:

1.This is based on Anthologia graeca 9.548 , where a baby, called Hermonax, is stung to death. See also Anthologia graeca 9.302 for another epigram treating the same incident.


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