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among them all, both which, she that had oc- [ fastened to Perseus' heels and not to his ankles, casion to go abroad, was wont to take with her, to his feet and not to his shoulders; because
and at her return to lay them down again. This eye and tooth they lent to Perseus; and so finding himself thoroughly furnished for the effecting of his design, hastens towards Medusa. Her he found sleeping, and yet durst not present himself with his face towards her, lest she should awake; but turning his head aside beheld her in Pallas's glass, and, by this means directing his blow, cut off her head; from whose blood gushing out, instantly came Pegasus, the flying-horse. Her head thus smote off, Perseus bestows on Pallas's shield, which yet retained this virtue, that whatsoever looked upon it should become as stupid as a stone, or one like planet-strucken.
This fable seems to direct the preparation and order that is to be used in making of war; for the more apt and considerate undertaking whereof, three grave and wholesome precepts, savouring of the wisdom of Pallas, are to be observed.
First, That men do not much trouble themselves about the conquest of neighbour nations, seeing that private possessions and empires are enlarged by different means; for in the augmentation of private revenues, the vicinity of men's territories is to be considered; but in the propagation of public dominions, the occasion and facility of making war, and the fruit to be expected ought to be instead of vicinity. Certainly the Romans, what time their conquests towards the west scarce reached beyond Liguria, did yet in the east bring all the provinces as far as the mountain Taurus within the compass of their arms and command; and therefore Perseus, although he were bred and born in the east, did not yet refuse to undertake an expedition even to the uttermost bounds of the west.
Secondly, There must be a care had, that the motives of war be just and honourable; for that begets an alacrity as well in the soldiers that fight as in the people that pay; it draws on and procures aids, and brings many other commodities besides. But there is no pretence to take up arms more pious, than the suppressing of tyranny; under which yoke the people lose their courage, and are cast down without heart and vigour, as in the sight of Medusa.
Thirdly, It is wisely added, that seeing there were three Gorgons, by which wars are represented, Perseus undertook her only that was mortal; that is, he made choice of such a kind of war as was likely to be effected and brought to a period, not pursuing vast and endless hopes. The furnishing of Perseus with necessaries was that which only advanced his attempt, and drew fortune to be of his side; for he had speed from Mercury, concealing of his counsels from Orcus, and providence from Pallas.
Neither is it without an allegory, and that full of matter too, that those wings of celerity were
speed and celerity are required, not so much in the first preparations for war, as in those things which second and yield aid to the first; for there is no error in war more frequent, than that prosecutions and subsidiary forces do fail to answer the alacrity of the first onsets.
Now for that helmet which Pluto gave him, powerful to make men invisible, the moral is plain; but that twofold gift of Providence, to wit, the shield and looking-glass, is full of morality; for that kind of providence, which like a shield avoids the force of blows, is not alone needful, but that also by which the strength, and motions, and counsels of the enemy are descried, as in the looking-glass of Pallas.
But Perseus, albeit he were sufficiently furnished with aid and courage, yet was he to do one thing of special importance before he entered the lists with this monster, and that was to have some intelligence with the Grea. These Grea are treasons, which may be termed the sisters of war; not descended of the same stock, but far unlike in nobility of birth; for wars are generous and heroical, but treasons are base and ignoble. Their description is elegant, for they are said to be gray-headed, and like old women from their birth, by reason that traitors are continually vexed with cares and trepidations. But all their strength, before they break out into open rebellions, consists either in an eye or in a tooth; for every faction alienated from any state, contemplates and bites. Besides, this eye and tooth is as it were common; for whatsoever they can learn and know is delivered and carried from one to another by the hands of faction. And as concerning the tooth, they do all bite alike, and sing the same song; so that hear one and you hear all. Perseus therefore was to deal with these Grea for the love of their eye and tooth; their eye to discover, their tooth to sow rumours and stir up envy, and to molest and trouble the minds of men. These things therefore being thus disposed and prepared, he addresses himself to the action of war, and sets upon Medusa as she slept; for a wise captain will ever assault his enemy when he is unprepared and most secure, and then is there good use of Pallas's glass; for most men, before it come to the push, can acutely pry into and discern their enemies' estate; but the best use of this glass is in the very point of danger, that the manner of it may be so considered that the terror may not discourage, which is signified by that looking into this glass with the face turned from Medusa.
The monster's head being cut off, there fol low two effects. The first was the procreation and raising of Pegasus, by which may be evidently understood fame, that, flying through the world, proclaims victory. The second is the
bearing of Medusa's head in his shield; to which there is no kind of defence for excellency comparable for the one famous and memorable act prosperously effected and brought to pass, doth restrain the motions and insolencies of enemies and makes Envy herself silent and amazed.
ENDYMION, OR A FAVOURITE.
Ir is said that Luna was in love with the shepherd Endymion, and in a strange and unwonted manner bewrayed her affection; for he lying in a cave framed by nature under the mountain Latmus, she oftentimes descended from her sphere to enjoy his company as he slept; and after she had kissed him ascended up again. Yet, notwithstanding this, his idleness and sleepy security did not any way impair his estate or fortune; for Luna brought it so to pass, that he alone, of all the rest of the shepherds, had his flock in best plight, and most fruitful.
This fable may have reference to the nature and dispositions of princes; for they being full of doubts and prone to jealousy, do not easily acquaint men of prying and curious eyes, and as it were of vigilant and wakeful dispositions, with the secret humours and manners of their life; but such rather as are of quiet and observant natures, suffering them to do what they list without further scanning, making as if they were ignorant, and perceiving nothing, but of a stupid disposition, and possessed with sleep, yielding unto them simple obedience rather than sly compliments; for it pleaseth princes now and then to descend from their thrones or majesty, like Luna from the superior orb, and laying aside their robes of dignity, which always to be cumbered with would seem a kind of burden, familiarly to converse with men of this condition, which they think may be done without danger; a quality chiefly noted in Tiberius Cæsar, who, of all others, was a prince most severe; yet such only were gracious in his favour, as being well ac- | quainted with his disposition, did yet constantly dissemble as if they knew nothing. This was the custom also of Lewis the Eleventh, King of France, a cautious and wily prince.
Neither is it without elegancy that the cause of Endymion is mentioned in the fable, because that it is a thing usual with such as are the favourites of princes, to have certain pleasant retiring places whither to invite them for recreation both of body and mind, and that without hurt or prejudice to their fortunes also. And indeed these kind of favourites are men commonly well to pass; for princes, although peradventure they promote them not ever to places of honour, yet do they advance them sufficiently by their favour and countenance: neither do they affect them thus only to serve their own turn; but are wont to enrich them now and then with great dignities and bounties.
THE SISTER OF THE GIANTS, OR
It is a poetical relation, that the giants begotten of the earth made war upon Jupiter and the other gods; and by the force of lightning they were resisted and overthrown: whereat the earth being excitated to wrath, in revenge of her children, brought forth Fame, the youngest sister of the giants.
“Illam terra parens ira irritata deorum,
Extremam (ut perhibent) Cao Enceladoque sororem,
Provoked by wrathful gods, the mother earth
ACTÆON AND PENTHEUS, OR A CU-
THE curiosity of men in prying into secrets, and coveting with an undiscreet desire to attain the knowledge of things forbidden, is set forth by the ancients in two other examples, the one of Acteon, the other of Pentheus.
Acteon having unawares, and as it were by chance, beheld Diana naked, was turned into a stag, and devoured by his own dogs.
And Pentheus climbing up into a tree with a desire to be a spectator of the hidden sacrifices of Bacchus, was strucken with such a kind of frenzy, as that whatsoever he looked upon he thought it always double, supposing, among other things, he saw two suns and two Thebes; inscmuch, that running towards Thebes, spying another Thebes, instantly turned back again, and so kept still running forward and backward with perpetual unrest.
"Eumenidum veluti demens vidit agmina Pentheus, Et solem geminum, et duplices se ostendere Thebas." Pentheus amazed, doth troops of Furies spy; And sun and Thebes seem double to his eye. The first of the fables pertains to the secrets of princes, the second to divine mysteries. For those that are near about princes, and come to the knowledge of more secrets than they would have them, do certainly incur great hatred: and there
fore, suspecting that they are shot at, and oppor- with tumbles back again headlong into hell. tunities watched for their overthrow, do lead their | Orpheus falling into a deep melancholy, became lives like stags, fearful and full of suspicion. And it happens oftentimes that their servants, and those of their household, to insinuate into the prince's favour, do accuse them to their destruction, for against whomsoever the prince's displeasure is known, look how many servants that man hath, and you shall find them for the most part so many traitors unto him, that his end may prove to be like Acteon's.
a contemner of women-kind, and bequeathed himself to a solitary life in the deserts; where, by the same melody of his voice and harp, he first drew all manner of wild beasts unto him, who, forgetful of their savage fierceness, and casting off the precipitate provocations of lust and fury, not caring to satiate their voracity by hunting after prey, as at a theatre, in fawning and reconciled amity one towards another, standing all at the gaze about him, and attentively lend their ears to his music. Neither is this all: for so great was the power and alluring force of this harmony, that he drew the woods, and moved the very stones to come and place themselves in an orderly and decent fashion about him. These things succeed
at length certain Thracian women, possessed with the spirit of Bacchus, made such a horrid and strange noise with their cornets, that the sound of Orpheus's harp could no more be heard, insomuch as that harmony, which was the bond of that order, and society being dissolved, all disorder began
The other is the misery of Pentheus; for that by the height of knowledge and nature in philosophy, having climbed as it were into a tree, do with rash attempts, unmindful of their frailty, pry into the secrets of divine mysteries, and are justly plagued with perpetual inconstancy, and with wavering and perplexed conceits; for see-[ing happily, and with great admiration for a time; ing the light of nature is one thing and of grace another, it happens so to them as if they saw two suns. And seeing the actions of life and decrees of the will to depend on the understand-| ing, it follows that they doubt, are inconstant no less in will than in opinion; and so in like manner they may be said to see two Thebes ; | again, and the beasts returning to their wonted nafor by Thebes, seeing there was the habitation and refuge of Pentheus, is meant the end of actions. Hence it comes to pass that they know not whither they go, but as distracted and unresolved in the scope of their intentions, are in all things carried about with sudden passions of the mind.
ORPHEUS, OR PHILOSOPHY.
THE tale of Orpheus, though common, had never the fortune to be fitly applied in every point. It may seem to represent the image of philosophy: for the person of Orpheus, a man admirable and divine, and so excellently skilled in all kind of harmony, that with his sweet ravishing music he did, as it were, charm and allure all things to follow him, may carry a singular description of philosophy; for the labours of Orpheus do so far exceed the labours of Hercules in dignity and efficacy, as the works of wisdom excel the works of fortitude.
Orpheus, for the love he bare to his wife, snatched, as it were, from him by untimely death, resolved to go down to hell with his harp, to try if he might obtain her of the infernal power. Neither were his hopes frustrated: for having appeased them with the melodious sound of his voice and touch, prevailed at length so far, as that they granted him leave to take her away with him; but on this condition, that she should follow him, and he look not back upon her till he came to the light of the upper world; which he, impatient of, out of love and care, and thinking that he was in a manner past all danger, nevertheless violated, insomuch that the covenant is broken, and she forth
ture, pursued one another unto death as before; neither did the trees and stones remain any longer in their places; and Orpheus himself was by these female Furies torn in pieces, and scattered all over the desert; for whose cruel death the river Helicon, sacred to the Muses, in horrible indignation hid his head underground, and raised it again in another place.
The meaning of this fable seems to be thus: Orpheus's music is of two sorts, the one appeasing the infernal powers, the other attracting beasts The first may be fitly applied to and trees. natural philosophy, the second to moral or civil discipline.
The most noble work of natural philosophy is the restitution and renovation of things corruptible: the other, as a lesser degree of it, the preservation of bodies in their estates, detaining them from dissolution and putrefaction: and if this gift may be in mortals, certainly it can be done by no other means than by the due and exquisite temper of nature, as by the melody and delicate touch of an instrument; but seeing it is of all things most difficult, it is seldom or never attained unto; and in all likelihood for no other reason, more than through curious diligence and untimely impatience: and therefore philosophy, hardly able to produce so excellent an effect in a busies pensive humour, and that without cause, herself about human objects, and by persuasion and eloquence insinuating the love of virtue, equity, and concord, in the minds of men, draws multitudes of people to a society, makes them subject to laws, obedient to government, and forgetful of their unbridled affections, whilst they give ear to precepts, and submit themselves in
which Democritus afterwards laboured to maintain, attributing eternity to the first matter and not to the world: in which he comes somewhat near the truth of divine writ, telling us of a huge deformed mass, before the beginning of the six days' work.
discipline. whence follows the building of houses, erecting of towns, planting of fields and orchards with trees, and the like; insomuch, that it would not be amiss to say, that even thereby stones and woods were called together and settled in order. And after serious trial made and frustrated about the restoring of a body mortal, this care of civil affairs follows in his due place; because, by a plain demonstration of the inevitable necessity of death, men's minds are moved to seek eternity by the fame and glory of their merits. It is also wisely said in the fable, that Orpheus was averse from the love of women and marriage, because the delights of wedlock and the love of children do for the most part hinder men from enterprising great and noble designs for the public good, holding posterity a sufficient step to immortality, with-making, as it were, certain worlds for proofs or
Besides, even the very works of wisdom, although amongst all human things they do most excel, do nevertheless meet with their periods. For it happens that after kingdoms and commonwealths have flourished for a time, even tumults, and seditions, and wars arise; in the midst of which hurly-burlies first laws are silent; men return to the pravity of their natures; fields and towns are wasted and depopulated; and then, if their fury continue, learning and philosophy must needs be dismembered, so that a few fragments only in some places will be found, like the scattered boards of shipwreck, so as a barbarous age must follow; and the streams of Helicon being hid under the earth, until the vicissitude of things passing, they break out again and appear in some other remote nation, though not perhaps in the same climate.
COELUM, OR BEGINNINGS.
The meaning of the fable is this: by Cœlum may be understood that vast concavity or vaulted compass that comprehends all matter; and by Saturn may be meant the matter itself, which takes from his parent all power of generating; for the universality or whole bulk of matter always remains the same, neither increasing or diminishing in respect of the quality of its nature; but by the divers agitations and motions of it were first produced imperfect, and ill agreeing compositions of things,
essays, and so in process of time a perfect fabric or structure was framed, which would still retain and keep his form: and therefore the government of the first age was shadowed by the kingdom of Saturn, who for the frequent dissolutions and short continuances of things was aptly feigned to devour his children. The succeding government was deciphered by the reign of Jupiter, who confined those continual mutations unto Tartarus, a place signifying perturbation. This place seems to be all that middle place between the lower superficies of heaven and the centre of the earth, in which all perturbations, and fragility, and mortality or corruption are frequent. During the former generation of things in the time of Saturn's reign Venus was not born: for so long as in the universality of matter, discord was better and more prevalent than concord, it was necessary that there should be a total dissolution or mutation, and that in the whole fabric; and by this kind of generation were creatures produced before Saturn was deprived of his genitals. When this ceased, that other which was wrought by Venus immediately came in, consisting in settled and prevalent concord of things, so that mutation should be only in respect of the parts, the universal fabric remaining whole and inviolate.
Saturn, they say, was deposed and cast down into hell, but not destroyed and utterly extinguished; because there was an opinion that the
We have it from the poets by tradition, that Cœlum was the ancientest of the gods, and that his members of generation were cut off by his son Saturn. Saturn had many children, but devoured them as soon as they were born; Jupiter only escaped, who being come to man's estate, thrust Saturn his father into hell, and so usurped the kingdom. Moreover, he pared off his father's genitals with the same falchion that Saturn dis-world should relapse into the old chaos and intermembered Cœlum, and cast them into the sea, whence came Venus. Not long after this, Jupiter, being scarce settled and confirmed in this kingdom, was invaded by two memorable wars; the first of the Titans, in the suppressing of which Sol, who alone of all the Titans favouring Jupiter's side, took exceeding great pains. The second was of the giants, whom Jupiter himself destroyed with thunderbolts; and so all wars being ended, he reigned secure.
This fable seems enigmatically to show from whence all things took their beginning, not auch differing from that opinion of philosophers,
regnum again, which Lucretius prayed might not
"Quod procul à nobis fleetat fortuna gubernans;
O, guiding providence be gracious
That this dooms-day be far removed from us;
For afterwards the world should subsist by its own quantity and power: yet from the beginning there was no rest; for in the celestial regions there first followed notable mutations, which by the power of the sun, predominating over super r
bodies, were so quieted, that the state of the world | for then by the power of that divine word, proshould be conserved; and afterward, in inferior ducat, matter at the Creator's command did conbodies, by the suppressing and dissipating of inundations, tempests, winds, and general earth- | quakes, a more peaceful, durable agreement and tranquillity of things followed. But of this fable it may convertibly be said, that the fable contains philosophy, and philosophy again the fable: for we know by faith, that all these things are nothing else but the long-since ceasing and failing oracles of sense, seeing that both the matter and fabric of the world are most truly referred to a Creator.
PROTEUS, OR MATTER.
THE poets say that Proteus was Neptune's herdsman; a grave sire, and so excellent a prophet, that he might well be termed thrice excellent for he knew not only things to come, but even things past as well as present: so that besides his skill in divination, he was the messenger and interpreter of all antiquities and hidden mysteries. The place of his abode was a huge vast cave, where his custom was every day at noon to count his flock of sea-calves, and then to go to sleep. Moreover, he that desired his advice in any thing could by no other means obtain it, but by catching him in manacles, and holding him fast therewith: who, nevertheless, to be at liberty, would turn himself into all manner of forms and wonders of nature: sometimes into fire, sometimes into water, sometimes into the shape of beasts, and the like, till at length he was restored to his own form again.
This fable may seem to unfold the secrets of nature and the properties of matter. For under the person of Proteus, the first matter, which, next to God, is the ancientest thing, may be represented; for matter dwells in the concavity of heaven as in
He is Neptune's bond-man, because the operations and dispensations of matter are chiefly exercised in liquid bodies.
His flock or herd seems to be nothing but the ordinary species of sensible creatures, plants, and metals, in which matter seems to diffuse, and, as it were, spend itself; so that after the forming and perfecting of these kinds, having ended as it were her task, she seems to sleep and take her rest, not attempting the composition of any more species. And this may be the moral of Proteus counting of his flock, and of his sleeping.
gregate itself, not. by ambages or turnings, but instantly, to the production of its work into an act and constitution of species: and thus far have we the narration of Proteus, free and unrestrained, together with his flock complete; for the universality of things, with their ordinary structures and compositions of species, bears the face of matter not limited and constrained, and of the flock also of material beings. Nevertheless, if any expert minister of nature shall encounter matter by main force, vexing and urging her with intent and purpose to reduce her to nothing, she contrariwise, seeing annihilation and absolute destruction cannot be effected by the omnipotency of God, being thus caught in the straits of necessity, doth change and turn herself into divers strange forms and shapes of things, so that at length, by fetching a circuit as it were, she comes to a period, and, if the force continue, betakes herself to her former being. The reason of which constraint or binding will be more facile and expedite, if matter be laid on by manacles, that is, by extremities.
Now whereas it is feigned that Proteus was a prophet, well skilled in three differences of times, it hath an excellent agreement with the nature of matter: for it is necessary that he that will know the properties and proceedings of matter, should comprehend in his understanding the sum of all things which have been, which are, or shall be, although no knowledge can extend so far as to singular and individual beings.
MEMNON, OR A YOUTH TOO FOR
THE poets say that Memnon was the son of Aurora, who, adorned with beautiful armour, and animated with popular applause, came to the Trojan war: where, in rash boldness, hasting into, and thirsting after glory, he enters into single combat with Achilles, the valiantest of all the Grecians, by whose powerful hand he was there slain. But Jupiter, pitying his destruction, sent birds to modulate certain lamentable and doleful notes at the solemnization of his funeral obsequies. Whose statue also, the sun reflecting on it with his morning beams, did usually, as is reported, send forth a mournful sound.
This fable may be applied to the unfortunate destinies of hopeful young men, who, like the sons of Aurora, puffed up with the glittering show Now this is said to be done, not in the morning of vanity and ostentation, attempt actions above nor in the evening, but at noon to wit, at such their strength, and provoke and press the most time as is most fit and convenient for the perfect- | valiant heroes to combat with them, so that meeting and bringing forth of species out of mattering with their overmatch, are vanquished and deduly prepared and predisposed; and in the middle, stroyed, whose untimely death is oft accompanied as it were, between their beginnings and declinations, which we know sufficiently, out of the holy history, to be done about the time of the creation; VOL. I.-38
with much pity and commiseration. For among all the disasters that can happen to mortals, there is none so lamentable and so powerful to nove