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The parable may be thus unfolded. Her name Nemesis doth plainly signify revenge or retribution, her office and administration being, like a tribune of the people, to hinder the constant and perpetual felicity of happy men, and to interpose her word, “veto," I forbid the continuance of it; that is, not only to chastise insolency, but to intermix prosperity, though harmless, and in a mean, with the vicissitudes of adversity, as if it were a custom, that no mortal man should be admitted to the table of the gods but for sport. Truly when I read that chapter, wherein Caius Plinius hath collected his misfortunes and miseries of Augustus 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 drawn.
The parents of this goddess were Oceanus and Nox, that is, the vicissitude of things and divine judgement obscure and secret: for the alteration of things are aptly represented by the sea, in respect of the continual ebbing and flowing of it, and hidden providence is well set forth by the night: for even the nocturnal Nemesis, seeing human judgement differs much from divine, was seriously observed by the heathen.
Virgil Æneid. lib. 2. “ Cadit et Ripheus justissimus unus, VOL. 3.
" Qui fuit ex Teucris, et servantissimus æqui.
That day, by Greekish force, was Ripheus slain,
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 acknowledge myself, dear Brutus, beholden to thee, in love, for that thou hast been so careful to acquaint me with that which I esteem but as a needless trifle to be doubted.
Nemesis is also adorned with a coronet, to shew the envious and malignant disposition of the vulgar, for 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 revenge.
The javelin in her right hand points at those whom she actually strikes and pierceth thorough.
And before those whom she destroys not in their calamity and misfortune, she ever presents that black
and dismal spectacle in her left hand : for questionless to men sitting as it were upon the pinnacle of prosperity, the thoughts of death, and painfulness of sickness and misfortunes, perfidiousness of friends, treachery of foes, change of estate, and such like, seem as ugly to the eye of their meditations, as those Ethiopians pictured in Nemesis' pitcher. Virgil in describing the battle of Actium speaks thus elegantly of Cleopatra.
Regina in mediis patrio vocat agmina sistro
The queen amidst this hurly-burly stands,
Two deadly snakes with venom speckled black. But not long after, which way soever she turned, troops of Ethiopians were still before her eyes.
Lastly, it is wisely added that Nemesis rides upon an hart, because an hart is a most lively creature. And albeit, it may be, that such as are cut off by death in their youth prevent and shun the power of Nemesis ; yet doubtless such, whose prosperity and power continue long, are made subject unto her, and lie, as it were, trodden under her feet.
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, wherein Achelous took
divers shapes, for so was it in his power to do, and amongst others, transforming himself into the likeness of a furious wild bull, assaults Hercules and provokes him to fight. But Hercules, for all this, sticking to his old human form, courageously encounters him, and so the combat goes roundly on. But this was the event, that Hercules tore away one of the bull's horns, wherewith he being mightily daunted and grieved, to ransom his horn again, was contented to give Hercules, in exchange thereof, the Amalthean horn, or cornu-copia.
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 passages 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 repu- . tation, presently bewrays his weakness, and seeking to repair his loss, retires himself to some strong hold, abandoning to the conqueror the spoil and sack of. his country and cities; which may well be termed a 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 burthen made Jupiter somewhat to limp, whereupon the child, because it was heavy and troublesome to its father while it lay in his thigh, was called Dionysus. Being born, it was committed to Proserpina for some years to be nursed, and being grown up, it had such a maiden-face as that a man could hardly judge whether it were a boy or girl. He was dead also, and buried for a time, but afterwards revived: being but a youth, he invented and taught the planting and dressing of