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shaggy, his shape biformed, above like a man, below like a beast, his feet like goats' hoofs; bearing these ensigns of his jurisdiction, to wit, in his left hand a pipe of seven reeds, and in his right a sheephook, or a staff crooked at the upper end, and his mantle made of a leopard's skin. His dignities and offices were these he was the god of hunters, of shepherds, and of all rural inhabitants; chief president also of hills and mountains; and, next to Mercury, the ambassador of the gods. Moreover, he was accounted the leader and commander of the nymphs, which were always wont to dance the rounds, and frisk about him he was accosted by the satyrs and the old Sileni. He had power also to strike men with terrours, and those especially vain and superstitious, which are termed panick fears. His acts were not many, for ought that can be found in records; the chiefest was, that he challenged Cupid at wrestling, in which conflict he had the foil. The tale goes, too, how that he caught the giant Typhon in a net, and held him fast. Moreover, when Ceres, grumbling and chafing that Proserpina was ravished, had hid herself away, and that all the gods took pains, by dispersing themselves into every corner, to find her out, it was only his good hap, as he was hunting, to light on her, and acquaint the rest where she was. He presumed also to put it to the trial who was the best musician, he or Apollo; and by the judgement of Midas was indeed preferred: but the wise judge had a pair of asses' ears privily chopped to his noddle for his sentence. Of his love tricks there is nothing re
ported, or at least not much; a thing to be wondered at, especially being among a troop of gods so profusely amorous. This only is said of him, that he loved the nymph Echo, whom he took to wife; and one pretty wench more called Syrinx, towards whom Cupid, in an angry and revengeful humour, because so audaciously he had challenged him at wrestling, inflamed his desire. Moreover, he had no issue, which is a marvel also, seeing the gods, especially those of the male kind, were very generative, only he was the reputed father of a little girl called Iambe, that with many pretty tales was wont to make strangers merry: but some think that he did indeed beget her by his wife Iambe.
This, if any be, is a noble tale, as being laid out and big bellied with the secrets and mysteries of nature. Pan, as his name imports, represents and lays open the all of things or nature. Concerning his original there are two only opinions that go for current; for either he came of Mercury, that is, the Word of God, which the holy Scriptures without all controversy affirm, and such of the philosophers as had any smack of divinity assented unto, or else from the confused seeds of things. For they that would have one simple beginning, refer it unto God; or if a materiate beginning, they would have it various in power; so that we may end the controversy with this distribution, that the world took beginning, either from Mercury, or from the seeds of all things.
VIRG. ECLOG. 6.
Namque canebat uti magnum per inane coacta.
From tender infancy so big became.
But as touching the third conceit of Pan's original, it seems that the Grecians, either by intercourse with the Egyptians, or one way or other, had heard something of the Hebrew mysteries; for it points to the state of the world, not considered in immediate creation, but after the fall of Adam, exposed and made subject to death and corruption; for in that state it was, and remains to this day, the offspring of God and sin; and therefore all these three narrations concerning the manner of Pan's birth may seem to be true, if it be rightly distinguished between things and times. For this Pan, or Nature, which we inspect, contemplate, and reverence more than is fit, took beginning from the word of God by the means of confused matter, and the entrance of prevarication and corruption. The destinies may well be thought the sisters of Pan, or Nature, because the beginnings and continuances, and corruptions, and depressions, and dissolutions, and eminences, and labours, and felicities of things, and all the chances which can
happen unto any thing, are linked with the chain of causes natural.
Horns are attributed unto him, because horns are broad at the root and sharp at the ends, the nature of all things being like a pyramis, sharp at the top. For individual or singular things being infinite are first collected into species, which are many also; then from species into generals, and from generals, by ascending, are contracted into things or notions more general; so that at length Nature may seem to be contracted into an unity. Neither is it to be wondered at that Pan toucheth heaven with his horns, seeing the height of nature or universal ideas do in some sort pertain to things divine; and there is a ready and short passage from metaphysic to natural theology.
The body of nature is elegantly and with deep judgement depainted hairy, representing the beams or operations of creatures; for beams are, as it were, the hairs and bristles of nature; and every creature is either more or less beamy, which is most apparent in the faculty of seeing, and no less in every virtue and operation that effectuates upon a distant object; for whatsoever works up any thing afar off, that may rightly be said to dart forth rays or beams.
Moreover, Pan's beard is said to be exceeding long, because the beams or influences of celestial bodies do operate and pierce farthest of all; and the sun, when his higher half is shadowed with a cloud, his beams break out in the lower, and looks as if he were bearded.
Nature is also excellently set forth with a
biformed body, with respect to the differences between superior and inferior creatures. For one part, by reason of their pulchritude and equability of motion, and constancy and dominion over the earth and earthly things, is worthily set out by the shape of man; and the other part in respect of their perturbations and unconstant motions, and therefore needing to be moderated by the celestial, may be well fitted with the figure of a brute beast. This description of his body pertains also to the participation of species; for no natural being seems to be simple, but as it were participated and compounded of two; as for example, man hath something of a beast, a beast something of a plant, a plant something of inanimate body, of that all natural things are in very deed biformed, that is to say, compounded of a superior and inferior species.
It is a witty allegory that same, of the feet of the goat, by reason of the upward tending motion of terrestrial bodies towards the air and heaven; for the goat is a climbing creature, that loves to be hanging about the rocks and steep mountains; and this is done also in a wonderful manner even by those things which are destinated to this inferior globe, as may manifestly appear in clouds and meteors.
The two ensigns which Pan bears in his hands do point, the one at harmony, the other at empire: for the pipe, consisting of seven reeds, doth evidently demonstrate the consent, and harmony, and discordant concord of all inferior creatures, which is caused by the motion of the seven planets: and that of the sheep-hook may be excellently applied to the