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Treachery against one’s own kind.

Emblema. 50.

Altilis allectator anas, & caerula pennis,
Assueta ad dominos ire redire suos.
Congeneres cernens volitare per aera turmas,
Garrit, in illarum se recipitque gregem,
Praetensa incautas donec sub retia ducat:
Obstrepitant captae, conscia at ipsa silet.
Perfida cognato se sanguine polluit ales,
Officiosa aliis, exitiosa suis.[2]

The well-fed decoy duck with its green-blue wings is trained to go out and return to its masters. When it sees squadrons of its relations flying through the air, it quacks and joins itself to the flock, until it can draw them, off their guard, into the outspread nets. When caught they raise a protesting clamour, but she, knowing what she has done, keeps silence. The treacherous bird defiles itself with related blood, servile to others, deadly to its own kind.


1.  For this emblem the picturae for Emblems 47 and 50 have been printed one on top of the other. The Iconclass description has been done on the basis of the 1550 edition from which the engravings appear to be derived.

2.  Cf. Aesop, Fables, 282, where the decoy birds are pigeons.

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