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

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [D7r p61]

In adulatores.

Flatterers

Semper hiat, semper tenuem qua vescitur auram,
Reciprocat Chamaeleon[1],
Et mutat faciem, varios sumitque colores,
Praeter rubrum, vel candidum:[2]
Sic & Adulator populari vescitur aura,[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.

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 page  Link to an image of this page  [M2v f77v]

EMBLEMA CXVIII.

In divites publico malo.

Those who grow rich out of public misfortune

Anguillas quisquis captat, si limpida verrat
Flumina, si illimes ausit adire lacus,
Cassus erit, ludetque operam: multum excitet ergo
Si cretae, & vitreas palmula turbet aquas,
Dives erit: sic iis res publica turbida lucro est,
Qui pace, arctati legibus, esuriunt.[1]

If anyone hunting eels sweeps clear rivers or thinks to visit unmuddied lakes, he will be unsuccessful and waste his efforts. If he instead stirs up much clay and with his oar churns the crystal waters, he will be rich. Likewise a state in turmoil becomes a source of profit to people who in peace go hungry, because the law cramps their style.

Das CXVIII.

Wider die so reich mit andern scha-
den werden.

Ein jeder der Ael fahen wil
So er die hellen Wasser stil
Fischt, und so er sich understeht
Und in die lautern gruben geht
Der schafft vergebns und sein müh ist
Umb sonst, so er aber mit list
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [M3r f78r] Das Wasser trüb macht und darinn
Vil gmür auff rürt, hat er gut gwinn
Also ist auch die Policei nütz
Die mit vil auffruhr wirt verstürtzt
Denen die sonst im fried und ruh
Darben und haben nicht darzu.

Notes:

1.  Cf. Erasmus, Adagia, 2579 (Anguillas captare).


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