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rites and orgies; but such as were fanatical and full of corruption, and moreover cruel. He had also the power of exciting phrensy. At least it was by women excited to phrensy in his orgies that two renowned men, Pentheus and Orpheus, are said to have been torn to pieces; the one having climbed into a tree out of curiosity to see what they were doing; the other while playing sweetly and skilfully on the lyre. Moreover the actions of this god are often confounded with those of Jupiter.
The fable appears to relate to morals; and indeed there is scarcely anything better to be found in moral philosophy. Under the person of Bacchus is depicted the nature of Desire, or the passions and perturbations of the mind. First therefore, with regard to the origin of Desire. The mother of all desire (though ever so hurtful) is nothing else than apparent good. For as the mother of virtue is real good, so the mother of desire is apparent good. One the lawful wife of Jupiter (in whose person the human soul is represented), the other his mistress; who nevertheless aspires, like Semele, to the honours of Juno. Now the conception of Desire is always in some unlawful wish, rashly granted before it has been understood and weighed; and as the passion warms, its mother (which is the nature and species of good), not able to endure the heat of it, is destroyed and perishes in the flame. Then the progress of Desire from its first conception is of this kind. It is both nursed and concealed in the human mind (which is its father); especially in the lower part of it, as in the thigh ; where it causes such prickings, pains, and depressions, that the actions and resolutions of the mind labour and limp with it. And even when it has grown strong with indulgence and custom, and breaks forth into acts (as if it had now accomplished its time and were fairly born and delivered), yet at first it is brought up for a time by Proserpine ; that is, it seeks hiding-places and keeps itself secret, and as it were underground; until throwing off all restraints of shame and fear, and growing bolder and bolder, it either assumes the mask of some virtue, or sets infamy itself at defiance. And it is most true that every passion of the more violent kind is as it were of doubtful sex; for it has at once the force of a man and the weakness of a woman.
It is well said likewise that Bacchus died and came to life again; for the passions seem sometimes lulled to sleep, and as it were dead; yet can they never be trusted, no not though they be buried. For give them matter and opportunity and they will rise again.
It is a wise allegory too, that of the invention of the vine. For
every passion is very ingenious and sagacious in discovering the things which nourish and foster itself. Now of all things known to man wine is the most powerful and efficacious in stimulating and inflaming every kind of excitement; serving as a common fuel to desires in general. Very elegantly too is passion or desire described as the subduer of provinces and the undertaker of an endless course of conquests. For it is never content with what it has got, but with infinite and insatiable appetite tries for something more, and ever craves for new triumphs. Tigers likewise are kept in the stables of the passions, and at times yoked to their chariot; for when passion ceases to go on foot and comes to ride in its chariot, as in celebration of its victory and triumph over reason, then is it cruel, savage, and pitiless towards all that withstand or oppose it. Again there is humour in making those ridiculous demons dance about the chariot of Bacchus. For every passion of the more vehement kind produces motions in the eyes, and indeed in the whole countenance and gesture, which are uncomely, unsettled, skipping, and deformed; insomuch that when a man under the influence of any passion (as anger, scorn, love, or the like) seems most grand and imposing in his own eyes, to the lookers on he appears unseemly and ridiculous. It is true also that the Muses are seen in the train of passion; there being scarce any passion which has not some branch of learning to flatter it. For herein the majesty of the Muses suffers immensely from the license and wantonness of men's wits, turning those that should be the guides and standard bearers of man's life into mere followers in the train and ministers to the pleasures of the passions.
Especially noble again is that part of the allegory which represents Bacchus as lavishing his love upon one whom another man had cast off. For most certain it is that passion ever seeks and aspires after that which experience has long since repudiated. And let all men who in pursuit and indulgence of their passions care not what price they pay for the enjoyment of them, know this : that whatever be the object of their pursuit- be it honour or fortune or love or glory or knowledge, or what it may—they are paying court to things cast off,
things which many men in all times have tried, and upon trial rejected with disgust.
Nor is the consecration of Ivy to Bacchus without its mystery. For this has a double propriety. First, because ivy flourishes in the winter; next because it has the property of creeping and spreading about so many things, as trees, walls, buildings, &c. For as to the first, every passion flourishes and acquires vigour by being resisted and forbidden, as by reaction or antiperistasis ; like the ivy by the cold of winter. As to the second, any predominant passion in the human spirit spreads itself like ivy round all its actions and resolves, so that you cannot find anything free from the embrace of its tendrils. Neither is it to be wondered at if superstitious rites are attributed to Bacchus ; for almost every insane passion grows rank in depraved religions, insomuch that the pollutions of heretics are worse than the Bacchanalian orgies of the heathen; whose superstitions likewise have been no less bloody than foul. Neither again is it wonderful that phrensies are thought to be inspired by Bacchus; since every passion, in the excess thereof, is like a short madness, and if it continue vehement and obstinate, commonly ends in insanity. And that circumstance of the tearing to pieces of Pentheus and Orpheus amid the orgies of Bacchus, has an evident allegorical meaning; for every ruling passion is extremely hostile and inveterate against two things; whereof the one is curious inquisition; the other, free and wholesome advice. Nor does it make any difference if that inquisition be merely for the sake of looking on, as from a tree, without any ill-feeling; nor again if the advice be tendered ever so sweetly and skilfully; for the orgies cannot upon any conditions endure either Pentheus or Orpheus. Lastly, the confusion of the persons of Jupiter and Bacchus may well be taken in an allegorical sense.
For noble and illustrious actions and glorious and distinguished services proceed sometimes from virtue, right reason, and magnanimity; and sometimes (however they are extolled and applauded without distinction) only from lurking passion and hidden desire; and thus the deeds of Bacchus are not easily distinguished from the deeds of Jupiter.
But we stay too long in the theatre; let us now pass to the palace of the mind, which we are to approach and enter with more reverence and attention.
THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING.
Division of Science into Theology and Philosophy. Division of
Philosophy into three doctrines; concerning the Deity, concerning Nature, and concerning Man. Constitution of Primary
Philosophy, as the common mother of all. All History, excellent King, walks upon the earth, and performs the office rather of a guide than of a light; whereas Poesy is as a dream of learning; a thing sweet and varied, and that would be thought to have in it something divine; a character which dreams likewise affect. But now it is time for me to awake, and rising above the earth, to wing my way through the clear air of Philosophy and the Sciences.
The knowledge of man is as the waters. Some waters descend from above, and some spring from beneath ; and in like manner the primary division of sciences is to be drawn from their sources; of which some are above in the heavens, and some here below. For all knowledge admits of two kinds of information; the one inspired by divine revelation, the other arising from the senses. For as to that knowledge which man receives by teaching, it is cumulative and not original; as it is likewise in waters, which beside their own springheads, are fed with other springs and streams. I will therefore divide knowledge into Divinity and Philosophy; meaning by Divinity Sacred or Inspired, not Natural Divinity ; of which I will speak hereafter. But this (namely, Inspired Divinity) I will reserve to the end, that with it I may conclude my discourse ; being as it is the haven and sabbath of all human contemplations.
The object of philosophy is threefold — God, Nature, and Man ; as there are likewise three kinds of ray-direct, refracted, and reflected. For nature strikes the understanding with a ray direct; God, by reason of the unequal medium (viz. his creatures), with a ray refracted; man, as shown and exhibited to himself, with a ray reflected. Philosophy may therefore be
. conveniently divided into three branches of knowledge: knowledge of God, knowledge of Nature, and knowledge of Man, or Humanity. But since the divisions of knowledge are not like several lines that meet in one angle; but are rather like branches of a tree that meet in one stem (which stem grows for some distance entire and continuous, before it divide itself into arms and boughs); therefore it is necessary before we enter into the branches of the former division, to erect and constitute one universal science, to be as the mother of the rest, and to be regarded in the progress of knowledge as portion of the main and common way, before we come where the ways part and divide themselves. This science I distinguish by the name of Philosophia Prima, primitive or summary philosophy; or Sapience, which was formerly defined as the knowledge of things divine and human. To this no other is opposed; for it differs from the rest rather in the limits within which it ranges than in the subject matter; treating only of the highest stages of things. Which science whether I should report as deficient or not, I stand doubtful, though I rather incline to do so. For I find a certain rhapsody and incongruous mass of Natural Theology, of Logic, and of some parts of Natural Philosophy (as those concerning First Principles and the Soul), all mixed up and confused, and in the lofty language of men who take delight in admiring themselves advanced as it were to the pinnacle of the sciences. But setting all high conceits aside, my meaning is simply this: that a science be constituted, which may be a receptacle for all such axioms as are not peculiar to any of the particular sciences, but belong to several of them in common.
Now that there are very many axioms of that kind need not be doubted. For example, “if equals be added to unequals the wholes will be unequal,” is a rule of mathematics. The same holds in ethics, as regards distributive justice ; for in commutative justice the rule of equity requires that equals be given to unequals; whereas in distributive, if unequals be not given VOL. IV.