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In detractores.

Against his detractors

Emblema clxiii.

Audent flagriferi matulae, stupidíque magistri
Bilem in me impuri pectoris evomere.
Quid faciam? reddámne vices? sed nónne cicadam
Ala una obstreperam corripuisse[1] ferar?
Quid prodest muscas operosis pellere[2] flabris?
Negligere est satius, perdere quod nequeas.

Those cane-wielding, empty-headed, thick-skulled teachers dare to spew out on me the bile of their foul minds. What am I to do? Return like for like? But surely I would then be said to have seized the dinning cicada by the wing. What is the good of driving flies away with tiresome swipes? It is better to ignore what you cannot get rid of.

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SCriptum id in Franciscum Floridum, [3] hominem a-
lioqui doctum, sed petulantem tamen & effrenis
oris, qui in Iurisconsultos magni nominis Zazium,
Budaeum,[4] Alciatum debacchatus erat. Homines cer
te liberaliter instituti contumeliam ferunt impo-
tentius quae illata sit à contempto & inerti convicia
tore, cum quo congredi vel turpe sit, vel indignum
certè putetur.

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Contre les mesdisans.

QUelques sots traineballaits,
Regenteaux, maistres follets,
Ont deschargé leur cholere
Contre moy, sale & amere.
Mais quoy? que feray-je là?
Dois-je respondre à cela?
Seroit comme happer par l’aille
La criarde sauterelle.
Que sert-il de hors boutter
Les mousches par esventer?
Mieux vaut tenir en souffrance
Ce que n’est en ma puissance:
Et mieux me vaut negliger
Ce que ne puis corriger.

CEcy est escrit à l’encontre de François
, homme autrement docte, mais
mesdisant & injurieux, lequel a outrageuse-
ment invectivé contre Zaze, Budé, Alciat,
Jurisconsultes fort renommez. De vray les
hommes bien apprins portent indignement
une injure & mespris, qui vient de la part
d’un villain & mal-adroit causeur, auquel il
n’est honneste de s’attaquer, ou bien, il est
assez mal seant.


1.  cicadam / Ala una...corripuisse, ‘to have seized the...cicada by the wing’. See Erasmus, Adagia, 828 (Cicadam ala corripuisti): if you hold a cicada by the wing, it will only chirp more loudly.

2.  muscas...pellere, ‘driving flies away’. See Erasmus, Adagia, 2660 (Muscas depellere): driving flies away is a waste of effort as they simply return.

3.  François Fleury is also mentioned in the Vie d’Alciat (at the end of this edition of emblems); the corresponding emblem in the 1615 edition ([FALe028]) adds that Alciato masked his name as ‘Ranciscus Olidus’, by re-arranging some letters (coincidentally, Olidus means ‘smelly’).

4.  Both Ulrich Zasius and Guillaume Budé (Budaeus) were prominent jurisconsultants, contemporaries of Alciato: Zasius worked at the University of Freiburg and notably opposed the reforms of Luther (d. 1536). Budé had a great impact on the study of Roman law and the Greek language in France (d. 1540).

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