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Amicitia sordida.

Disreputable friendship

Ad Octavianum Ferrarium Mediolanensem.[1]

Si speculo desit plumbum, quo reddere formas
Et splendore solet cuncta referre suo:
Quid vacuum inspexisse iuvat, labor omnis inanis,
Dum penetrant radii, nullaque imago datur.
Haud secus est quoddam genus ad lucrosa paratum,
Quod petit, ac repetit, gratia nulla tamen.
Accipiunt quicquid donas, vestigia nusquam
Cernas, officium queis meminisse velint.
Debet amicitia iuncti par esse voluntas,
Huius imago tua est, ni sit inanis amor.
Hoc quis te melius novit, testatur amicis
Ferrari, qui me diligis usque memor?

If the mirror lacks lead, which it uses to imitate the shapes of things and restore them all in its radiance, why does it give you pleasure to stare at it though empty, a vacant labour truly: while the rays cut through it, no image is returned. Hardly different is the tribe of men who worship gain: though they earn and earn again, no thanks do they ever give. They take what you bestow, and you see no traces anywhere, of those they wish to remember their services. The resolve of a man bound by friendship must be equal, and yours the image of his, if love is not to be barren. Who of all men knows this better and bears better witness of it to his friends than you, Ferrarius, who loves me always and with loyalty?


1. Ottaviano Ferrari: antiquarian, philosopher and physician, originally from Milan, taught at Padua and Bologna (d. 1586).

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