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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  [M1r f76r]

EMBLEMA CXVI.

In eum qui sibi ipsi damnum
apparat.

One who brings about his own downfall

Capra lupum non sponte meo nunc ubere lacto,
Quòd malè pastoris provida cura iubet.[1]
Creverit ille simul, mea me post ubera pascet.
Improbitas nullo flectitur obsequio.[2]

I am a goat giving suck against my will - to a wolf. The improvident kindness of the shepherd makes me do this. Once the wolf has grown, after feeding at my teats, he will then eat me. Wickedness is never deterred by services rendered.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [M1v f76v]

Das CXVI.

Wider den der im selbst ein schaden
bereit.

Ich arme Geiß muß wider mein willn
Ein jungen Wolff mit meiner Milch fülln
Also wil es der Hirt nur han
Denckt nit was schadn drauß werd entstan
Dann so er wirt auffwachsen zgleich
Wirt er mich zlon thon fressen leich
Dann boßheit kan mit keinr gutthat
Werden gwendt, gfült, gsettigt und sat.

Notes:

1.  This is a translation of Anthologia graeca 9.47. For the content cf. Aesop, Fables 313-5.

2.  ‘Wickedness is never deterred by services rendered’. See Erasmus, Adagia 1086, Ale luporum catulos.


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