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Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [A3v p6]


Rabularum odium.

Hatred of pettifoggers.

Grunnitum suis immundi cane peius & angue
Indus Elephas invisum habet.
Obstreperos rabulas, qui litibus omnia miscent,
Odisse par est Principem.

The Indian Elephant detests the grunting of the filthy pig even more than dog and snake. It’s just the same for a Prince to hate the clamouring lawyers, who throw everything into confusion with their lawsuits.

Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [E3v p70]

Carmen est Heroicum cum dimetro Iambico, qua-
le illud Horatii:

Nox erat, & caelo fulgebat luna sereno
Inter minora sidera. [1]

Sus animal est infestissimum Elephanto, us-
queadeo ut vel solo illius stridore atque grunnitu
audito, immanis illa bellua in fugam agatur; id
quod hostilia tela facere nequirent: unde insul-
sum illud Mahometi, plani & impostoris perdi-
tissimi, commentum, risum quibusvis commovere
possit, prodentis olim diluvii tempore in arca Noae
Suem Elephanti sterquilinio geniturae suae originem
acceptam referre, ut ex eius fimo enatum. Sed ut
hoc ridiculum, quippe ab homine rerum naturae
ignaro proditum; ita illud confirmat auctorum
unanimis consensus: siquidem praeter Plinium,
Orum, Zoroastrem, Senecam Aelianus libro de
animantibus primo, suis stridore minimo terreri
elephantum locuples testis est: qua ratione cogni-
ta, Romani commisso cum Pyrrho Epirotarum
rege praelio, victores exstitere; cm elephantes
eius regis obiectis suibus in fugam compulissent.
Memorabile ade est nec silentio obliterandum,
quod Megarensibus factum proditur, eodem au
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [E4r p71]ctore l.16.c.36. qud cm ea urbs arctissima obsi
dione ab Antipatro Macedone pressa, acerrim
oppugnaretur; oppidani sues liquida pice perlitos
pris, admotque flamma succensos in hostilem exerci-
tum immisere, qui depascente iam illorum corpo-
ra incendio, lat grassantes, ac horribili stridore in
confertum elephantorum agmen delati, belluas
velut in rabiem concitas disturbatis ordinibus
in fugam verterunt. Huc faciunt verba histo-
rici, quae nobis integra servavit Suidas[2] in hunc
sensum. E vestigio appensa de turri sue, pericu-
lum quod ab elephante ingruebat, evitarunt si-
quidem atrocem grunnitum cm mox edidis-
set suspensus porcus, elephas id non ferens inhor-
ruit. Illud ver tanquam controversum ambigi
potest, nativumne sit quoddam atque intesti-
num inter haec animalia dissidium, cuius caussa
mortalium ingeniis sit incognita; an quod raucum
illum stridorem, vocemque auribus asperam
natura exhorrescant: cuius rei gnari, qui pullos ele
phantum educant, iam inde primis annis sues ad-
hibent, ut assuetudine paulatim mali illud vincant.
D. Ambrosius.in Hexamero videtur istud referre ad
praerogativam quamdam natura singulis animanti-
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [E4v p72] bus donatam. Suibus aptissim comparantur non
insulsi mod, & Minerva alieni homines; ve-
rm vel maxim lingulacae, & rabie non mal
dicti rabulae, qui caelum terra miscent: Item para
siti, quibus similiter ut suibus anima pro sale[3] da-
ta videri potest: quod olim venust dixit Clean-thes[4]: qui omnes si Regiis exsularent, rectis cum
rebus humanis ageretur. Pictura poscit elephan-
tem averso capite & crispata promuscide[5] fasti-
diosum: Suem contr elephanto impudenter ob-
sistentem, ac retracto rictu grunnitum mentientem.

The verse-form is a hexameter coupled with an iambic dimeter, like the one by Horace: “It was night, and the moon shone in a bright sky between the lesser stars.”
The Pig is an animal most troublesome to the Elephant, to such an extent that that huge beast only has to hear the noise of the pig’s grunting to set it in flight - something that an enemy’s missiles are incapable of doing: from which arises that silly comment of Mahomet (that evident and most damnable impostor), made to anyone in whom it could raise a laugh, that the Pig traced the accepted origin of its birth back to the dunghill of the Elephant in Noah’s ark, in olden times when the flood came [reading prodeuntis for prodentis], so that the one was born of the other’s shit. But that this is a joke, coming as it does from a man ignorant of the ways of nature, only confirms the unanimous consensus of the authorities: indeed, not to mention Pliny, Horapollo, Zoroaster, and Seneca, Aelian in his first book on animals, is ample witness that the elephant is terrified at the merest oink of a pig. It was because they knew this that the Romans emerged victorious from the battle against Pyrrhus king of the Epirots, since they drove the elephants of the king to flight by putting pigs in their way. Equally memorable and not to be lost in oblivion is the deed that was done by the Megareans, in the same author [p.71] (book xvi, ch. 36): when that city was hard-pressed in a very tight siege by Antipater of Macedon, and the battle was at its bitterest, the townsfolk first smeared some pigs all over in liquid pitch, and having put this to the flame, sent them, blazing, against the enemy army: whereupon the pigs, whose bodies were being consumed by fire, went tearing about all over the place, and being driven against the close-packed column of elephants with a fearful shrieking, threw the beasts into as it were a demented disorder and turned them to flight. This makes sense of the words of a historian which Suidas has preserved for us intact: “by forthwith dangling a pig from the howdah, they avoided the danger which threatened from the elephant since when the suspended pig shortly began making a dreadful squealing, the elephant, which couldn’t stand the noise, shuddered at it”. But it is a rather questionable point, and open to debate, whether there is some innate and genetic enmity between these animals, whose cause is unknown to the intelligence of mortal men; or whether it is in the elephants’ nature to loathe that raucous din and that noise that grates on the ears: and not knowing the answer to this, those who train the elephant calves, introduce them to pigs right from their earliest years, so that they can gradually overcome that hatred by getting used to the unpleasantness. St. Ambrose in his Hexameron seems to account for it in terms of the preferences given by nature to individual breeds of animal. [p.72] Foolish men, and those to whom wisdom is a stranger, are not the only ones that can be very aptly compared to pigs: chatterboxes absolutely can, and pettifoggers (not a bad name for them), who throw heaven and earth into confusion. Likewise the parasites, whose soul (like pigs) can seem to have been given in return for salt ; as Cleanthes once elegantly put it, if everyone had been exiled by kings, human affairs would be better managed. The picture needs to show the Elephant turning his head and curling his trunk in disgust: the Pig should stand shamelessly in the Elephant’s way, and with his face drawn back in a grin he utters his deceitful grunting.


1. Epodes, 15.1.

2. An encyclopaedia produced in Byzantium which preserves many scraps of knowledge and literary fragments from the ancient world. It was thought to have been written by Suidas.

3. Presumably meaning sold for wages; the word ‘salary’ comes from the word sal (salt).

4. The Stoic philosopher, pupil of Zeno and teacher of Chrysippus.

5. A highly obscure corrupt form of proboscis, found in the Notae Tironianae.

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