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In adulatores.

Flatterers

Emblema liii.

Semper hiat, semper tenuem qua vescitur auram,
Reciprocat Chamaeleon[1],
Et mutat faciem, varios sumtque colores,
Praeter rubrum, vel candidum.[2]
Sic & adulator populari vescitur aura,[3]
Hinsque cuncta devorat.
Et solm 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.

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EXpressum id libello Plutarchi, de discrimine
adulatoris & amici. Adulatori omnino idem ac-
cidit atque Chamaeleonti. Nam ille colorum om-
nium similitudinem exprimit, praeterquam albi: sic
assentator, cm se similem praestare non possit in
iis quae digna sunt studio, turpia quaeque imitatur
quantm potest.

Contre les flatteurs.

INcessamment le Chameleon baaille,
Et humer le vent tousjours travaille,
Changeant couleur aussi en toute sorte,
Ormis le blanc ou rouge qu’il ne porte:
Tout de mesme est le flatteur hume-vent,
Qui ravit tout cela qu’il va trouvant,
Car il prend garde son seigneur & maistre,
Et ses faons il ensuit fort adextre,
S’accommodant au reste son humeur,
Fors qu’en cela qui est pudic & pur.

CEcy est tir du livre de Plutarque, de
la difference d’entre le flatteur & l’a-
my. Il advient au Chameleon ainsi qu’au
flatteur: car il se change en toutes couleurs,
fors au blanc: ainsi le flatteur ne pouvant se
rendre semblable en choses honnestes, il
represente tout ce qui est vilain autant qu’il
peust.

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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In receptatores sicariorum.

Those who harbour cut-throats

Latronum furumque manus tibi Scaeva[1] per urbem
It comes, & diris cincta cohors gladiis.
Atque ita te mentis generosum prodige censes,
Quod tua complureis allicit olla malos.
En novus Actaeon, qui postqum cornua sumpsit,
In praedam canibus se dedit ipse suis.[2]

An evil-minded band of ruffians and thieves accompanies you about the city, a gang of supporters armed with lethal swords. And so, you wastrel, you consider yourself a fine lordly fellow because your cooking pot draws in crowds of scoundrels. - Here’s a fresh Actaeon - he, after he grew his horns, became the prey of his own hunting dogs.

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Receptateurs dhomicides.

Gens apres toy avec espees,
(Dont plusieurs ont gaigne le pendre.
Ou davoir oreilles coppees)
Te font cornes au chef extendre,
Mais il ten pourra ainsi prandre,
En nourrissant telz ruffiens,
Que a Acteon: qui (faict cerf tendre)
Fust devore de tous ces chiens.

Notes:

1. Scaeva, ‘evil-minded’. The capital letter suggests that the Latin word could be taken as a proper name in the vocative case, i.e addressing one Scaeva.

2. For the story of Actaeon turned into a stag and killed by his own hounds, see Ovid, Metamorphoses 3.138ff. Similarly, the hangers-on will destroy the one who has fed them.


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