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IN ADULATORES.

Flatterers

De Chameleonte vide Plinium naturalis historia
libro. VIII. Cap. XXXIII.

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Semper hiat, semper tenuem qua vescitur auram[1],
Reciprocat chamaeleon[2].
Et mutat faciem varios sumitque colores,
Praeter rubrum vel candidum.[3]
Sic & adulator populari vescitur aura,[4]
Hiansque cuncta devorat.
Et solum 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. Corrected from the Errata and by hand in this copy.

2. 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.

3. ‘except for red and white’. See Pliny, ib.

4. ‘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 [O6v p220]

    Le glaive du furieux.

    Faict furieux Ajax par grandz regretz
    Tuoit ses porcz, pensant tuer les Grecz.[1]
    Ainsi le porc portoit la penitence
    Pour Ulysses, & des Grecz la sentence.
    Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [O7r p221] Fureur ne peut nuyre. Mais son coup fault,
    Et sans advis contre soy mesme sault.

    Ajax le vaillant champion, condamn contre
    Ulysses par la sentence injuste des Grecz, au pro-
    ces des armes d’Achilles, devint fol furieux par
    indignation, & en sa rage il rencontra ung grand
    tropeau de ses porceaulx: lesquelz (pensant que
    fussent les Grecz) il tua grand [=grandz] coups d’espe: ce
    que ne veult aultre chose dire: sinon que Fureur,
    & Ire (qui est temporaire manie) se nuyct plus
    que nul aultre, soit en contention civile, ou d’ar-
    mes. Car en l’une perd sens, raison, & parolle, en
    l’aultre, perd adresse, & vise, & le plus souvent
    par trop grand ardeur s’enferre soy mesme.

    Notes:

    1. See Emblem 27 ([A58a027]) for Ajax’ madness and suicide. In his madness, he slaughtered a herd of sheep, thinking them to be the Greeks. The two largest rams he took to be Agamemnon and Menelaus. See Zenobius, Proverbs, 1.43; Horace, Satires, 2.3.197-8; Erasmus, Adagia, 646 (Aiacis risus) - Erasmus makes the animals pigs, which Alciato here follows.


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