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bones, the stones of the earth, seeing the earth was the mother of all things, were signified by the oracle.
This fable seems to reveal a secret of nature,
and to correct an error familiar to men's conceits; for through want of knowledge men think that things may take renovation and restoration from their putrefaction and dregs, no otherwise than the phoenix from the ashes, which in no case can be admitted, seeing such kind of materials, when they have fulfilled their periods, are unapt for the beginnings of such things: we must therefore look back to more common principles.
That day, by Greekish force, was Ripheus slain, So just and strict observer of the law, As Troy, within her walls, did not contain A better man: Yet God then good it saw. She is described with wings, because the changes of things are so sudden, as that they are seen, before foreseen; for in the records of all ages, we find it for the most part true, that great potentates and wise men have perished by those misfortunes which they most contemned; as may be observed in Marcus Cicero, who being admonished by Decius Brutus of Octavius Cæsar's hypocritical friendship and hollow-heartedness towards him, returns this answer, "Te autem, mi Brute, sicut debeo, amo, quod istud quicquid est nugarum me scire voluisti." I must ever acknow. ledge myself, dear Brutus, beholden to thee, in love, for that thou hast been so careful to acquaint me with that which I esteem as a needless trifle to be doubted.
Nemesis is also adorned with a coronet, to show the envious and malignant disposition of the vulfor when fortune's favourites and great potentates come to ruin, then do the common people rejoice, setting, as it were, a crown upon the head of
The javelin in her right hand points at those whom she actually strikes and pierceth thorough.
The parable may be thus unfolded. Her name Nemesis, doth plainly signify revenge or retribuAnd before those whom she destroys not in tion, her office and administration being, like a their calamity and misfortune, she ever presents tribune of the people, to hinder the constant and that black and dismal spectacle in her left hand; perpetual felicity of happy men, and to interpose for questionless to men sitting as it were upon her word, "veto," I forbid the continuance of it; the pinnacle of prosperity, the thoughts of death, that is not only to chastise insolency, but to inter- and painfulness of sickness and misfortunes, mix prosperity, though harmless, and in a mean, perfidiousness of friends, treachery of foes, with the vicissitudes of adversity, as if it were a change of estate, and such like, seem as ugly to custom, that no mortal man should be admitted to the eye of their meditations as those Ethiopians the table of the gods but for sport. Truly when I pictured in Nemesis's pitcher. Virgil, in describread that chapter, wherein Caius Plinius hath col-ing the battle of Actium, speaks thus elegantly lected his misfortunes and miseries of Augustus of Cleopatra. Cæsar, whom of all men I thought the most happy, who had also a kind of art to use and enjoy his fortune, and in whose mind might be noted neither pride, nor lightness, nor niceness, nor disorder, nor melancholy, as that he had appointed a time to die of his own accord, I then deemed this goddess to be great and powerful, to whose altar so worthy a sacrifice as this was
"Regina in mediis patrio vocat agmina sistro
The queen amidst this hurly-burly stands,
But not long after, which way soever she turned, troops of Ethiopians were still before her
The parents of this goddess were Oceanus and Lastly, it is wisely added that Nemesis rides Nox, that is, the vicissitude of things, and divine upon a hart, because a hart is a most lively crea judgment obscure and secret: for the alteration of ture. And albeit, it may be, that such as are cut things are aptly represented by the sea, in respect off by death in their youth prevent and shun the of the continual ebbing and flowing of it, and hidpower of Nemesis; yet doubtless such, whose den providence is well set forth by the night: for prosperity and power continue long, are made subeven the nocturnal Nemesis, seeing human judg-ject unto her, and lie, as it were, trodden under her ment differs much from divine, was seriously observed by the heathen.
ACHELOUS, OR BATTLE.
It is a fable of antiquity, that when Hercules and Achelous as rivals contended for the marriage
of Dejanira, the matter drew them to combat, | was called Dionysus. Being born, was comwherein Achelous took upon him many divers mitted to Proserpina for some years to be nursed, shapes, for so was it in his power to do, and and being grown up, it had such a maiden-face as amongst others, transforming himself into the that a man could hardly judge whether it were a likeness of a furious wild bull, assaults Hercules boy or girl. He was dead also, and buried for a and provokes him to fight. But Hercules, for all time, but afterwards revived: being but a youth, this, sticking to his old human form, courageously he invented and taught the planting and dressing encounters him, and so the combat goes roundly of vines, the making also and use of wine; for on. But this was the event, that Hercules tore which, becoming famous and renowned, he subaway one of the bull's horns, wherewith he being jugated the world even to the uttermost bounds mightily daunted and grieved, to ransom his horn of India. He rode in a chariot drawn by tigers. again was contented to give Hercules, in exchange There danced about him certain deformed hobthereof, the Amalthean horn, or cornucopia. goblins called Cobali, Acratus, and others, yea, even the muses also were some of his followers. He took to wife Ariadne, forsaken and left by Theseus. The tree sacred unto him was the ivy. He was held the inventor and institutor of sacrifices and ceremonies, and full of corruption and cruelty. He had power to strike men with fury or madness; for it is reported, that at the celebration of his orgies, two famous worthies, Pentheus and Orpheus, were torn in pieces by certain frantic women, the one because he got upon a tree to behold their ceremonies in these sacrifices, the other for making melody with his harp; and for his gods, they are in a manner the same with Jupiter's.
This fable hath relation unto the expeditions of war, for the preparations thereof on the defensive part, which, expressed in the person of Achelous, are very diverse and uncertain. But the invading party is most commonly of one sort, and that very single, consisting of an army by land, or perhaps of a navy by sea. But for a king that in his own territory expects an enemy, his occasions are infinite. He fortifies towns, he assembles men out of the countries and villages, he raiseth citadels, he builds and breaks down bridges, he disposeth garrisons, and placeth troops of soldiers on passage of rivers; on ports, on mountains, and ambushes in woods, and is busied with a multitude of other directions, insomuch that every day he prescribeth new forms and orders; and then at last having accommodated all things complete for defence, he then rightly represents the form and manner of a fierce fighting bull. On the other side, the invader's greatest care is, the fear to be distressed for victuals in an enemy's country; and therefore affects chiefly to hasten on battle for if it should happen, that after a field fight, he prove the victor, and as it were break the horn of the enemy, then certainly this follows, that his enemy being stricken with terror, and abased in his reputation, presently bewrays his weakness, and seeking to repair his loss, retires himself to some stronghold, abandoning to the conqueror the spoil and sack of his country and cities; which may well be termed a type of the Amalthean horn.
DIONYSUS, OR PASSIONS.
THEY say that Semele, Jupiter's sweetheart, having bound her paramour by an irrevocable oath to grant her one request which she would require, desired that he would accompany her in the same form wherein he accompanied Juno: which he granting, as not able to deny, it came to pass that the miserable wench was burnt with lightning. But the infant which she bare in her womb, Jupiter the father took out, and kept it in a gash which he cut in his thigh till the months were complete that it should be born. This burden made Jupiter somewhat to limp, whereupon the child, because it was heavy and troublesome to its father while it lay in his thigh,
There is such excellent morality couched in this fable, as that moral philosophy affords not better; for under the person of Bacchus is described the nature of affection, passion, or perturbation, the mother of which, though never so hurtful, is nothing else but the object of apparent good in the eyes of appetite: and it is always conceived in an unlawful desire, rashly propounded and obtained, before well understood and considered; and when it begins to grow, the mother of it, which is the desire of apparent good by too much fervency, is destroyed and perisheth: nevertheless, whilst yet it is an imperfect embryo, it is nourished and preserved in the human soul, which is as it were a father unto it, and represented by Jupiter; but especially in the inferior part thereof, as in a thigh, where also it causeth so much trouble and vexation, as that good determinations and actions are much hindered and lamed thereby and when it comes to be confirmed by consent and habit, and breaks out as it were into act, it remains yet a while with Proserpina as with a nurse; that is, it seeks corners and secret places, and as it were, caves under ground, until the reins of shame and fear being laid aside in a pampered audaciousness, it either takes the pretext of some virtue, or becomes altogether impudent and shameless. And it is most true, that every vehement passion is of a doubtful sex, as being masculine in the first motion, but feminine in prosecution.
It is an excellent fiction that of Bacchus's reviving; for passions do sometimes seem to be in a dead sleep, and as it were, utterly extinct; but
we should not think them to be so indeed; no, | every giddy-headed humour keeps in a manner
though they lay as it were in their grave: for let there be but matter and opportunity offered, and you shall see them quickly to revive again.
revel-rout in false religions; or that the cause of madness should be ascribed unto him, seeing every affection is by nature a short fury, which, if it grow vehement and become habitual, concludes mad
The invention of wine is wittily ascribed unto him; every affection being ingenious and skilfulness. in finding out that which brings nourishment unto it; and indeed, of all things known to men, wine is most powerful and efficacious to excite and kindle passions of what kind soever, as being in a manner common nurse to them all.
Again, his conquering of nations and undertaking infinite expeditions is an elegant device; for desire never rests content with what it hath, but with an infinite and unsatiable appetite still covets and gapes after more.
His chariot also is well said to be drawn by tigers; for as soon as any affection shall, from going afoot, be advanced to ride in a chariot, and shall captivate reason, and lead her in a triumph, it grows cruel, untamed, and fierce against whatsoever withstands or opposeth it.
It is worth the noting also, that those ridiculous hobgoblins are brought in dancing about his chariot; for every passion doth cause, in the eyes, face, and gesture, certain indecent and ill-seeming, apish and deformed motions; so that they who in any kind of passion, as in anger, arrogancy, or love seem glorious and brave in their own eyes, do yet appear to others misshapen and ridiculous. In that the muses are said to be of his company, it shows that there is no affection almost, which is not soothed by some art wherein the indulgence of wits doth derogate from the glory of the muses, who, when they ought to be the mistresses of life, are made the waiting-maids of affections.
Again, when Bacchus is said to have loved Ariadne that was rejected by Theseus; it is an allegory of special observation; for it is most certain, that passions always covet and desire that which experience forsakes; and they all know, who have paid dear for serving and obeying their lusts, that whether it be honour, or riches, or delight, or glory, or knowledge, or any thing else which they seek after, yet are they but things cast off, and by divers men in all ages, after experience had, utterly rejected and loathed.
Concerning the rending and dismembering of Pentheus and Orpheus, the parable is plain, for every prevalent affection is outrageous and severe, and against curious inquiry and wholesome and free admonition.
Lastly, that confusion of Jupiter and Bacchus's persons may be well transferred to a parable, seeing noble and famous acts, and remarkable and glorious merits do sometimes proceed from virtue and well ordered reason and magnanimity, and sometimes from a secret affection and hidden passion, which are so dignified with the celebrity of fame and glory, that a man can hardly distinguish between the acts of Bacchus and the gests of Jupiter.
ATALANTA, OR GAIN.
ATALANTA, who was reputed to excel in swiftness, would needs challenge Hippomenes at a match in running. The conditions of the prize were these: that if Hippomenes won the race, he should espouse Atalanta; if he were outrun, that then he should forfeit his life. And in the opinion of all, the victory was thought assured of Atalanta's side, being famous as she was for her matchless and inconquerable speed, whereby she had been the bane of many. Hippomenes therefore bethinks him how to deceive her by a trick, and in that regard provides three golden apples or balls, which he purposely carried about him. The race is begun, and Atalanta gets a good start before him. He seeing himself thus cast behind, being mindful of his device, throws one of his golden balls before her, and yet not outright, but somewhat of the one side, both to make her linger and also to draw her out of the right course: she out of a womanish desire, being thus enticed with the beauty of the golden apple, leaving her direct race, runs aside and stoops to catch the ball. Hippomenes the while holds on his course, getting thereby a great start, and leaves her behind him: but.she, by her Neither is it without a mystery, that the ivy own natural swiftness, recovers her lost time and was sacred to Bacchus; for the application holds gets before him again. But Hippomenes still first, in that the ivy remains green in winter; continues his sleight, and both the second and secondly, in that it sticks to, embraceth, and over-third times casts out his balls, those enticing detoppeth so many divers bodies, as trees, walls, and edifices. Touching the first, every passion doth by resistance and reluctation, and as it were by an antiperistasis, like the ivy of the cold winter, grow fresh and lusty: and as for the other, every predominate affection doth again, like the ivy, embrace and limit all human actions and determinations, adhering and cleaving fast unto them. Neither is it a wonder that superstitious rites and ceremonies were attributed unto Bacchus, seeing
lays; and so by craft, and not by his activity, wins the race and victory.
This fable seems allegorically to demonstrate a notable conflict betwen art and nature; for art, signified by Atalanta, in its work if it be not letted and hindered, is far more swift than nature, more speedy in pace, and sooner attains the end it aims at, which is manifest almost in every effect; as you may see in fruit trees, whereof those that grow of a kernel are long ere they bear, but such
"Declinat cursus, aurumque volubile tollit.".
as are grafted on a stock a great deal sooner. | sacrifice; for having killed two bulls, and in one You may see it in clay, which in the generation of their hides wrapt up the flesh and fat of them of stones, is long ere it become hard, but in the both, and in the other only the bones, with a burning of bricks is very quickly effected. Also great show of religious devotion gave Jupiter his in moral passages you may observe that it is a long choice, who, detesting his fraud and hypocrisy, time ere, by the benefit of nature, sorrow can be but taking an occasion of revenge, chose that assuaged, and comfort attained; whereas philoso- which was stopped with bones, and so turning to` phy, which is, as it were, art of living, tarries not revenge, when he saw that the insolency of Prothe leisure of time, but doth it instantly and out of metheus would not be repressed but by laying hand; and yet this prerogative and singular agility some grievous affliction upon mankind, in the of art is hindered by certain golden apples, to the forming of which he so much bragged and boastinfinite prejudice of human proceedings: for there ed, commanded Vulcan to frame a goodly beautiis not any one art or science which constantly ful woman, which being done, every one of the perseveres in a true and lawful course, till it come gods bestowed a gift on her; whereupon she was to the proposed end or mark, but ever and anon called Pandora. To this woman they gave in her makes stops after good beginnings, leaves the race, hand a goodly box full of all miseries and calamiand turns aside to profit and commodity, like ties, only in the bottom of it they put Hope; with Atalanta. this box she comes first to Prometheus, thinking to catch him, if peradventure he should accept it at her hands, and so open it; which he, nevertheless, with good providence and foresight refused: whereupon she goes to Epimetheus, who, though brother to Prometheus, yet was of a much differing disposition, and offers this box unto him, who without delay took it, and rashly opened it; but when he saw that all kind of miseries came fluttering about his ears, being wise too late, with great speed and earnest endeavour clapped on the cover, and so with much ado retained Hope sitting alone in the bottom; at last Jupiter laying many and grievous crimes to Prometheus's charge, as that he had stolen fire from heaven, that in contempt of his majesty he sacrificed a bull's hide stuffed with bones, that he scornfully rejected his gift, and besides all this, that he offered violence to Pallas, cast him into chains, and doomed him to perpetual torment; and by Jupiter's command was brought to the mountain Caucasus, and there bound fast to a pillar that he could not stir; there came an eagle also, that every day sat tiring upon his liver and wasted it; but as much as was eaten in the day grew again in the night, that matter for torment to work upon might never decay. But yet they say there was an end of this punishment; for Hercules crossing the ocean in a cup, which the sun gave him, came to Caucasus, and set Prometheus at liberty by shooting the eagle with an arrow. Moreover, in some nations there were instituted in the honour of Prometheus, certain games of lampbearers, in which they that strived for the prize were wont to carry torches lighted, which whoso suffered to go out, yielded the place and victory to those that followed, and so cast back themselves, so that whosoever came first to the mark with his torch burning got the prize.
PROMETHEUS, OR THE STATE OF
THE ancients deliver that Prometheus made a man of clay, mixed with certain parcels taken from divers animals, who, studying to maintain this his work by art, that he might not be accounted a founder only but a propagator of human kind, stole up to heaven with a bundle of twigs, which he kindled at the chariot of the sun, came down again, and communicated it with men ; and yet they say that notwithstanding this excellent work of his, he was requited with ingratitude in a treacherous conspiracy; for they accused both him and his invention to Jupiter, which was not so taken as was meet it should, for the information was pleasing to Jupiter and all the gods: and therefore in a merry mood granted unto men, not only the use of fire but perpetual youth also, a boon most acceptable and desirable. They, being as it were overjoyed, did foolishly lay this gift of the gods upon the back of an ass, who, being wonderfully oppressed with thirst and near a fountain, was told by a serpent which had the custody thereof, that he should not drink unless he would promise to give him the burden that was on his back. The silly ass accepted the condition, and so the restoration of youth, sold for a draught of water, passed from men to serpents. But Prometheus, full of malice, being reconciled unto men, after they were frustrated of their gift, but in a chafe yet with Jupiter, feared not to use deceit in VOL. I.-39
This fable demonstrates and presseth many true and grave speculations, wherein some things have been heretofore well noted, others not so much as touched.
Prometheus doth clearly and elegantly signify Providence: for in the universality of nature, the
fabric and constitution of man only was by the ancients picked out and chosen, and attributed unto Providence as a peculiar work. The reason of it seems to be, not only in that the nature of man is capable of a mind and understanding, which is the seat of providence, and therefore it would seem strange and incredible, that the reason and mind should so proceed and flow from dumb and deaf principals as that it should necessarily be concluded, the soul of man to be endued with providence, not without the example, intention, and stamp of a greater providence. But this also is chiefly propounded, that man is as it were the centre of the world in respect of final causes; so that if man were not in nature, all things would seem to stray and wander without purpose, and like scattered branches, as they say, without inclination to their end; for all things attend on man; and he makes use of, and gathers fruit from all creatures; for the revolutions and periods of stars make both for the distinctions of times and the distribution of the world's light. Meteors also are referred to presages of tempests; and winds are ordained as well for navigation as for turning of mills and other engines; and plants, and animals of what kind soever, are useful either for men's houses and places of shelter, or for raiment, or for food, or medicine, or for ease of labour, or in a word for delight and solace; so that all things seem to work, not for themselves but for man.
Neither is it added without consideration that certain particles were taken from divers living creatures, and mixed and tempered with that clayic mass, because it is most true, that of all things comprehended within the compass of the universe, man is a thing most mixed and compounded, insomuch, that he was well termed by the ancients a little world; for although the chymists do, with too much curiosity, take and wrest the elegancy of this word Microcosm to the letter, contending to find in man all minerals, all vegetables, and the rest, or any thing that holds proportion with them; yet this proposition remains sound and whole, that the body of man, of all material beings, is found to be most compounded and most organical, whereby it is endued and furnished with most admirable virtues and faculties: and as for simple bodies, their powers are not many, though certain and violent, as existing without being weakened, diminished, or stinted, by mixture; for the multiplicity and excellency of operation have their residence in mixture and composition, and yet, nevertheless, man in his originals seems to be a thing unarmed and naked, and unable to help itself, as needing the aid of many things; therefore Prometheus made haste to find out fire, which suppeditates and yields comfort and help in a manner to all human wants and necessities; so that if the soul be the form of forms, and if the hand be the instrument of instruments, fire deserves well to be called the succour of succours, or the help of helps,
which infinite ways affords aid and assistance to all labours and mechanical arts, and to the sciences themselves.
The manner of stealing this fire is aptly described even from the nature of things: it was, they say, by a bundle of twigs held to touch the chariot of the sun; for twigs are used in giving blows or stripes, to signify clearly that fire is engendered by the violent percussion and mutual collision of bodies, by which their material substances are attenuated and set in motion, and prepared to receive the heat of influence of the heavenly bodies; and so in a clandestine manner, and as it were by stealth, may be said to take and snatch fire from the chariot of the sun.
There follows next a remarkable part of the parable, that men, instead of gratulation and thanksgiving, were angry, and expostulated the matter with Prometheus, insomuch that they accused both him and his invention unto Jupiter, which was so acceptable unto him, that he augmented their former commodities with a bounty. Seems it not strange that ingratitu rds the author of a benefit, a vice that iner contains all other vices, should find such approbation and reward? No, it seems to be otherwise; for the meaning of the allegory is this, that men's outcries upon the defects of nature and art, proceed from an excellent disposition of the mind, and turn to their good; whereas the silencing of them is hateful to the gods, and redounds not so much to their profit; for they that infinitely extol human nature, or the knowledge they possess, breaking out into a prodigal admiration of that they have and enjoy, adoring also those sciences they profess, would have them be accounted perfect; they do first of all show little reverence to the divine nature, by equalizing, in a manner, their own defects with God's perfection. Again; they are wonderful injurious to men, by imagining they have attained the highest step of knowledge, resting themselves contented, seek no further. On the contrary, such as bring nature and art to the bar with accusations and bills of complaint against them, are indeed of more true and moderate judgments; for they are ever in action, seeking always to find out new inventions. Which makes me much to won der at the foolish and inconsiderate dispositions of some men, who, making themselves bondslaves to the arrogancy of a few, have the philosophy of the Peripatetics, containing only a portion of Grecian wisdom, and that but a small one neither, in so great esteem, that they hold it not only an unprofitable, but a suspicious and almost heinous thing, to lay any imputation of imperfection upon it. I approve rather of Em pedocles's opinion, who, like a madman, and of Democritus's judgment, who with great moderation, complained how that all things were involved in a mist, that we knew nothing, that we discerned nothing, that truth was drowned in the