THE VVISEDOME OF THE ANCIENTS, WRITTEN IN LATINE By the Right Honourable Sir FRANCIS BACON Knight, Baron of Verulam, and Lord Chancelor of England.

Done into English by Sir Arthur Gorges Knight.

Scutum inuincibile fides.

LONDON, Imprinted by IOHN BILL. 1619.

TO THE HIGH AND ILLVSTRIOVS PRINCESSE, THE LADY ELIZABETH OF GREAT BRITTAIN. Duchesse of Bauiere, Countesse Pa­latine of Rheine, and chiefe Electresse of the Empire.


AMong many the worthie Chancellors of this famous Isle, there is obserued in Sir THOMAS MORE, and Sir FRANCIS BACON an admirable sympathy of wit and humour: witnesse those graue monu­ments of inuention & learning, wherewith the world is so plentifully enricht by them both. I will instance onely in [Page] the conceaued Vtopia of the one, and the reuealed Sapientia Veterum of the other: Whereof the first (vnder a meere Idea of perfect State gouerment) con­taines an exact discouerie of the vanities and disorders of reall Countries: And the second (out of the foulds of Poeticall fables) laies open those deepe Philoso­phicall mysteries, which had beene so long lockt vp in the Casket of Antiquity; so that it is hard to iudge to whether of these two worthies, Policy and Morality is more behoulding. I make no question therefore but this obseruation (touching the parallel of their spirits) shal passe so currant to succeeding ages, that it will be said of thē as in former times pronounced of Xenophon & Plato, Fuere aequales.

[Page] And for this Booke that humbly present to your High­nes, which so eminently expresseth its owne perfection, in me it would seeme no lesse a va­nity to giue it attributes of glory and praise, then if I should lend Spectacles to Lynx, or an Eye to Argus, knowing it needles to wast guilding on pure Gould, which is euer best valued by its owne true touch & luster. But to descend to my selfe, that doe now lay before your Princely cēsure the Trans­lation of these excellent and iu­dicious discourses, so barely wrapt vp in my harsh English phrase, that were by the Author so richly attired in a sweet La­tine stile: I must therein flie to the Sanctuary of your gracious acceptance. In which hope se­curing [Page] my doubts, doe with all reuerence kisse your Prin­cely hands: Remaining euer readie to ap­proue my selfe

Your Highnesse most dutifull and most deuoted Seruant Arthur Gorges.

To the Booke.

RIch mine of Art: Minnion of Mercury;
True Truch-man of the mind of Mystery
Inuentions storehouse; Nymph of Helicon:
Deepe Moralist of Times tradition:
Vnto this Paragon of Brutus race
Present thy seruice, and with cheerefull grace
Say (if Pythagoras beleeu'd may bee)
The soule of ancient Wisedome liues in the

The Table.

  • 1. CAssandra, or Diuination.
  • 2. Typhon, or a Rebell.
  • 3. The Cyclops, or the ministers of Terror.
  • 4. Narcissus, or Self-loue.
  • 5. Styx, or Leagues.
  • 6. Pan, or Nature.
  • 7. Perseus, or Warre.
  • 8. Endymion, or a Fauorite.
  • 9. The sisters of the Giants, or Fame.
  • 10. Actaeon and Pentheus, or a cu­rious Man.
  • 11. Orpheus, or Philosophy.
  • 12. Caelum, or Beginnings.
  • 13. Proteus, or Matter.
  • 14. Memnon, or a Youth too for­ward.
  • 15. Tythonus, or Satiety.
  • 16. Iuno's Sutor, or Basenesse.
  • 17. Cupid, or an Atome.
  • 18. Diomedes, or Zeale.
  • 19. Daedalus, or a Mechanique.
  • 20. Erycthoneus, or Impostury.
  • [Page] 21. Deucalion, or Restitution.
  • 22. Nemesis, or the Vicissitude of things.
  • 23. Achelous, or Battell.
  • 24. Dyonisus, or Passions.
  • 25. Atalanta, or Gaine.
  • 26. Prometheus, or the State of Man.
  • 27. Scylla and Icarus, or the Mid­dle way.
  • 28. Sphnix, or Science.
  • 29. Proserpina, or Spirit.
  • 30. Metis, or Counsell.
  • 31. The Sirenes, or Pleasures.


THE Antiquities of the first age (except those we find in sacred Writ) were buried in obliuion and silence: silence was succeeded by Poeticall fables; and Fables a­gaine were followed by the Records we now enioy. So that the myste­ries and secrets of Antiquity were distinguished and separated from the Records and Euidences of suc­ceeding times, by the vaile of ficti­on which interposed it selfe and came betweene those things which perished, and those things which perished, and those which are extant. I suppose some are of o­pinion, that my purpose is to write toyes and trifles, and to vsurpe the same liberty in applying, that the Poets assumed in faining, which I might doe (I confesse) if I listed, [Page] and with more serious contempla­tions intermixe these things, to delight either my selfe in medita­tion, or others in reading. Neither am I ignorant how fickle and in­constant a thing fiction is, as being subiect to be drawen and wrested any way, and how great the com­moditie of wit and discourse is, that is able to apply things well, yet so as neuer meant by the first Au­thors. But I remember that this liberty hath beene lately much a­bused; in that many to purchase the reuerence of Antiquitie to their owne inuentions and fancies, haue for the same intent laboured to wrest many poeticall Fables. Nei­ther hath this old and common va­nity bene vsed onely of late or now and then: for euen Crisippus long agoe did (as an Interpreter of dreames) ascribe the opinions of the [Page] Stoikes to the ancient Poets; and more sottishly doe the Chymicks appropriate the fancies & delights of Poets in the transformations of bodies, to the experiments of their furnace. All these things (I say) I haue sufficiently considered and weighed, and in them haue seene and noted the generall leuity and indulgence of mens wits about Al­legories. And yet for all this I re­linquish not my opinion. For first it may not be, that the folly and loosenesse of a few should alto­gither detract from the respect due to the Parables: for that were a conceit which might sauour of pro­phanenesse and presumption: for Religion it selfe doth somtimes de­light in such vailes and shadowes: so that who so exempts them, seemes in a manner to interdict all commerce betweene things diuine [Page] and humane. But concerning hu­mane wisedome, I doe indeed in­genuously and freely confesse, that I am enclined to imagine, that vn­der some of the ancient fictions lay couched certaine mysteries and Al­legories, euen from their first in­uention. And I am perswaded (whether rauished with the reue­rence of Antiquity, or because in some Fables I finde such singular proportion betweene the similitude and the thing signified; and such apt and cleare coherence in the ve­ry structure of them, and propriety of names wherewith the persons or actors in them are inscribed and intitled) that no man can constant­ly deny, but this sense was in the Authours intent and meaning when they first inuented them, and that they purposely shadowed it in this sort: For who can be so stupid & [Page] blind in the open light, as (when he heares how Fame, after the Gyants were destroyed, sprang vp as their yongest Sister) not to refer it to the murmers and seditious reports of both sides, which are wont to fly a­broad for a time after the suppres­sing of insurrections? Or when he heares how the Gyant Typhon hauing cut out and brought away Iupiters nerues, which Mercurie stole from him, and restored againe to Iupiter; doth not presently per­ceiue how fitly it may be applyed to powerfull rebellions, which take from Princes their sinewes of mo­ney and authority, but so, that by affability of speech, and wise edicts (the minds of their subiects being in time priuily, and as it were by stealth reconciled) they recouer their strength againe? Or when he heares how (in that memorable [Page] expedition of the Gods against the Gyants) the braying of Silenus his Asse, conduced much to the profli­gation of the Gyants; doth not con­fidently imagine, that it was in­uented to shew, how the greatest enterprises of Rebels are often­times dispersed with vaine rumors and feares?

Moreouer, to what iudgement can the conformitie and significa­tion of Names seeme obscure? Seeing Metis the wife of Iupiter doth plainely signifie councell: Ty­phon, insurrection; Pan, vniuer­sality; Nemesis, reuenge, and the like. Neither let it trouble any man, if sometimes hee meete with Historicall narrations, or additi­ons for ornaments sake, or confusi­on of times, or something transfer­red from one fable to another, to bring in a new Allegory: for it [Page] could be no otherwise, seeing they were the inuentions of men, which liued in diuers ages, and had also diuers ends: some being auncient, others neotericall: some hauing an eye to things naturall, others to morall.

There is another Argument (and that no small one neither) to prooue that these Fables containe certaine hidden and inuolued meanings, seeing some of them are obserued to be so absurd and foolish in the very relation, that they shew, and as it were proclaime a parable afar off: for such tales as are probable, they may seeme to be inuented for delight, and in imitation of Histo­ry. And as for such as no man would so much as imagin or relate, they seem to be sought out for other ends: For what kinde of fiction is that, wherein Iupiter is said to [Page] haue taken Metis to wife, and, per­ceiuing that she was with child, to haue deuoured her, whence him­selfe conceiuing, brought forth Pallas armed out of his head? Tru­ly I thinke there was neuer dreame (so different to the course of cogita­tion, and so full of monstrosity) euer hatcht in the braine of man. Aboue all things this preuailes most with me, and is of singular moment, that many of these Fables seeme not to be inuented of those by whom they are related and celebrated, as by Homer, Hesiod, and others: for if it were so, that they tooke begin­ning in that age, and from those Authours by whom they are deli­uered and brought to our hands; My mind giues me there could be no great or high matter expected, or supposed to proceed from them in respect of these originals. But if [Page] with attention we consider the matter, it will appeare that they were deliuered and related as things formerly beleeued and re­ceiued, and not as newly inuented and offered vnto vs. Besides, see­ing they are diuersly related by Writers that liued neere about one and the selfe same time, we may ea­sily perceiue that they were com­mon things, deriued from prece­dent memorials: and that they be­came various by reason of the di­uers ornaments bestowed on them by particular relations. And the consideration of this must needs en­crease in vs a great opinion of them, as not to be accounted either the effects of the times or inuenti­ons of the Poets, but as sacred re­liques or abstracted ayres of better times, which by tradition from more ancient Nations fell into the [Page] Trumpets and Flutes of the Graeci­ans. But if any doe obstinately con­tend, that Allegories are alwaies aduentitially, & as it were by con­straint, neuer naturally and proper­ly included in Fables, we will not be much troublesome, but suffer them to enioy that grauity of iudg­ment which I am sure they affect, although indeed it be but lumpish and almost leaden. And (if they be worthy to be taken notice of) we will begin afresh with them in some other fashion.

There is found among men (and it goes for currant) a two-fold vse of Parables, and those (which is more to be admired) referred to contrary ends; conducing as well to the foulding vp and keeping of things vnder a vaile, as to the in­lightning and laying open of ob­scurities. But omitting the former [Page] (rather then to vndergoe wrang­ling, and assuming ancient Fa­bles as things vagrant and compo­sed onely for delight) the latter must questionlesse still remaine, as not to be wrested frō vs by any vio­lence of wit, neither can any (that is but meanely learned) hinder, but it must absolutely be receiued, as a thing graue and sober, free from all vanitie, and exceeding profita­ble and necessary to all sciences. This is it (I say) that leads the vn­derstanding of man by an easie and gentle passage through all nouell and abstruse inuentions, which any way differ from common recei­ued opinions. Therefore in the first ages (when many humane inuen­tions and conclusions, which are now common and vulgar, were new and not generally knowen) all things were full of Fables, aenig­maes, [Page] parables, and similies of all sortes: by which they sought to teach and lay open, not to hide and conceale knowledge, especially, see­ing the vnderstandings of men were in those times rude and im­patient, and almost incapable of a­ny subtilties, such things onely excepted, as were the obiects of sense: for as Hieroglyphicks pre­ceded letters, so parables were more ancient then Arguments. And in these daies also, he that would illuminate mens minds anew in a­ny old matter, and that not with disprofit and harshnesse, must abso­lutely take the same course, and vse the help of similies. Wherefore all that hath beene said, wee will thus conclude: The Wisedome of the Ancients, it was either much or happy; Much if these figures and tropes were inuented by studie [Page] and premeditation. Happy if they (intending nothing lesse) gaue matter and occasion to so many worthy Meditations. As concer­ning my labours (if there bee any thing in them which may do good) I will on neither part count them ill bestowed, my purpose being to illustrate either Antiquity, or things themselues. Neither am I ignorant that this very subiect hath beene attempted by others: But to speake as I thinke, and that freely without ostentation, the dig­nitie and efficacy of the thing is al­most lost by these mens writings, though voluminous and full of paines, whilst not diuing into the depth of matters, but skilfull one­ly in certaine common places, haue applyed the sense of these Parables to certaine vulgar and generall things, not so much as glancing at [Page] their true vertue, genuine pro­prietie, and full depth. I (if I be not deceiued) shall be new in com­mon things. Wherefore leauing such as are plaine and open, I will ayme at further and richer mat­ters.


CASSANDRA, or Diuination.

THe Poets fable that A­pollo being enamored of Cassandra, was by her many shifts & cunning sleights still deluded in his desire; but yet fed on with hope vntill such time as shee had drawen from him the gift of prophesying; and hauing by such her dissimulation in the end, atteined to that which from the beginning shee sought after, at last flatly reiected his suite. Who finding himselfe so farre engaged in his pro­mise, as that hee could not by any [Page 2] meanes reuoke againe his rash gift, and yet enflamed with an earnest de­sire of reuenge, highly disdayning to bee made the scorne of a craftie wench, annexed a penaltie to his promise, to wit, that shee should euer foretell the trueth, but neuer be beleeued: So were her diuinations alwayes faithfull, but at no time re­garded, whereof shee still found the experience, yea euen in the ruine of her owne countrey, which shee had often forewarned them of, but they neither gaue credite nor eare to her words. This Fable seemes to inti­mate the vnprofitable liberty of vn­timely admonitions and counselles. For they that are so ouerweened with the sharpnesse and dexteritie of their owne wit and capacitie, as that they disdaine to submit themselues to the documents of Apollo, the God of Harmonie, whereby to learne and obserue the method and mea­sure of affaires, the grace and grauitie of discourse, the differences between the more iudicious and more vulgar [Page 3] eares, and the due times when to speake and when to be silent; Bee they neuer so sensible and pregnant, and their iudgements neuer so pro­found and profitable, yet in all their endeuours either of perswasion or perforce, they auaile nothing, nei­ther are they of any moment to ad­uantage or mannage matters, but do rather hastē on the ruine of all those that they adhere or devote them­selues vnto. And then at last when calamitie hath made men feele the euent of neglect, then shall they too late be reuerenced as deep foreseing and faithfull prophets. Whereof a notable instance is eminently set forth in Marcus CatoVticēsis, who as from a watchtower discouered afar off, and as an Oracle long foretold, the approching ruine of his Coun­trey, and the plotted tyrannie houe­ring ouer the State, both in the first conspiracie, and as it was prosecu­ted in the ciuill contention between Cesar and Pompey, and did no good the while, but rather harmed the [Page 4] commonwealth, and hastned on his countreys bane, which M. Cicero wisely obserued, and writing to a fa­miliar friēd doth in these termes ex­cellently describe, Cato optimè sentit, sed nocet interdum Reipublicae: loquitur enim tanquam in Republicâ Platonis, non tanquam in faece Romuli. Cato (saith he) iudgeth profoundly, but in the meane time damnifies the State, for he speakes as in the com­monwealth of Plato, and not as in the dregs of Romulus.

TYPHON, or a Rebell.

IVno being vexed (say the Poets) that Iupiter had begotten Pallas by himselfe without her, earnestly pressed all the other Gods and God­desses that shee might also bring forth of herselfe alone without him; and hauing by violence and impor­tunitie obteyned a graunt thereof, shee smote the earth, and forthwith sprang vp Typhon a huge and horrid [Page 5] monster: This strange birth shee committes to a Serpent (as a Foster father) to nourish it, who no sooner came to ripenes of yeeres, but hee prouokes Iupiter to battell. In the conflict the Gyant getting the vp­per hand, takes Iupiter vppon his shoulders, caries him into a remote and obscure countrey, and (cutting out the sinewes of his hands and feet) brought them away, and so left him miserably mangled and maymed. But Mercury recouering these nerues from Typhon by stealth, restored them againe to Iupiter. Iupi­ter being againe by this meanes cor­roborated, assaultes the Monster a­fresh, and at the first strikes him with a thunderboult, from whose bloud serpents were ingendred. This Mon­ster at length fainting and flying, Iupiter casts on him the mount Aet­na, and with the weight thereof crusht him.

This Fable seemes to point at the variable fortune of Princes, and the rebellious insurrection of Traytors [Page 6] in a State. For Princes may well be said to be maried to their domini­ons, as Iupiter was to Iuno: but it happēs now & then, that being de­boshed by the long custome of em­pyring & bending towards tyrāny, they endeuour to draw all to them­selues, and (contemning the coun­sell of their Nobles and Senatours) hatch lawes in their owne braine, that is, dispose of things by their owne fancie and absolute power. The people (repyning at this) stu­dy how to create and set vp a cheefe of their owne choise. This proiect by the secret instigation of the Peeres and Nobles, doth for the most part take his beginning; by whose con­niuence the Commons being set on edge, there followes a kind of mur­muring or discontent in the State, shadowed by the infancie of Typhon, which being nurst by the naturall prauitie and clownish malignity of the vulgar sort (vnto Princes as in­festious as Serpents) is againe repai­red by renewed strength, and at last [Page 7] breakes out into open Rebellion, which (because it brings infinite mischiefs vpon Prince and people) is represented by the monstrous de­formity of Typhon: his hundred heads signifie their deuided powers; his fiery mouthes their inflamed in­tents; his serpentine circles their pe­stilent malice in besieging; his yron hands, their merciles slaughters; his Eagles tallents, their greedy ra­pynes; his plumed body, their con­tinuall rumors, and scouts, & feares and such like. And sometimes these rebellions grow so potent that Prin­ces are inforc't (transported as it were by the Rebels, and forsaking the chiefe Seates and Cities of the Kingdome) to contract their pow­er, and (being depriued of the Si­newes of money & maiestie) betake thēselues to some remote & obscure corner within their dominions: but in processe of time (if they beare their misfortunes with moderation) they may recouer their strength by the vertue and industry of Mercury, [Page 8] that is, they may (by becomming affable & by reconcyling the minds and willes of their Subiects with graue edicts & gratious speech.) ex­cite an alacritie to graunt ayds and subsidies whereby to strengthen their authority anew. Neuertheles hauing learned to be wise and warie, they will refraine to try the chaunce of Fortune by warre, and yet studdy how to suppresse the reputation of the Rebels by some famous action, which if it fall out answerable to their expectation, the Rebels fin­ding themselues weakned, and fea­ring the successe of their broken proiects; betake themselues to some sleight and vaine brauadoes, like the hissing of serpents, and at length in despaire betake themselues to flight, and then when they beginne to breake, it is safe and timely for kings to pursue and oppresse them with the forces and weight of the king­dome, as it were with the mountaine Aetna.

The Cyclopes, or the Ministers of Terror.

THey say that the Cyclopes (for their fiercenes & crueltie) were by Iupiter cast into hell, and there doomed to perpetuall imprison­ment: but Tellus perswaded Iupiter that it would doe well, if being set at liberty, they were put to forge thun­derboults, which being done accor­dingly, they became so painefull and industrious, as that day and night they continued hammering out in laborious diligence thunder­boults and other instruments of ter­rour. In processe of time Iupiter ha­uing conceiued a displeasure against Aesculapius the sonne of Apollo for restoring a dead man to life by physicke; and concealing his dislike (because there was no iust cause of anger, the deed being pious and famous) secretly incens't the Cyclopes against him, who [Page 10] without delay slew him with a thun­derboult: In reuenge of which act; Apollo (Iupiter not prohibiting it) shotte them to death with his ar­rowes.

This Fable may be applyed to the proiects of Kings, who hauing cru­ell, bloudy, & exacting Officers, do first punish and displace them, after­wards by the counsell of Tellus, that is of some base and ignoble person, and by the preuayling respect of profite they admit them into their places againe, that they may haue instruments in a readynes, if at any time there should need either seueri­ty of execution, or acerbity of exac­tion. These seruile creatures being by nature cruell, and by their former fortune exasperated, and perceiuing well what is expected at their hands, doe shew themselues wonderfull of­ficious in such kinde of imploy­ments but being too rash and preci­pitate in seeking countenance and creeping into fauour, doe somtimes take occasion from the secret beck­nings [Page 11] and ambiguous commandes of their Prince to performe some hatefull execution. But Princes (ab­horring the fact, and knowing well that they shall neuer want such kind of instruments) doe vtterly forsake them, turning them ouer to the friends & allyes of the wronged to their accusations and reuenge, and to the generall hatred of the people, so that with great applause and pros­perous wishes and exclamations to­wards the Prince, they are brought, rather too late then vndeseruedly, to a miserable end.

NARCISSVS, or Selfe-loue.

THey say that Narcissus was ex­ceeding faire and beautifull but wonderfull proud and disdain­full; wherefore dispising all others in respect of himselfe, hee leades a solitary life in the woods and chases with a few followers, to whom hee alone was all in all, among the rest there [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [Page 20] aboue like a man, below like a beast, his feet like Goates hoofes, bearing these ensignes of his iurisdiction; to wit, in his left hand a Pipe of sea­uen reeds, and in his right a sheep­hooke, or a staffe crooked at the vpper end, and his mantle made of a Leopards skinne. His dignities and offices were these: hee was the God of Hunters, of Shepheards, and of all rurall inhabitants: cheefe pre­sident also of hils and mountaines, & next to Mercury the Embassadour of the Gods. Moreouer hee was ac­counted the leader and comaunder of the Nymphes, which were alwaies wont to dance the rounds and friske about him, hee was acosted by the Satyres and the olde Sileni. Hee had power also to strike men with terrors, and those especially vaine & superstitious, which are tearmed Panicque feares. His acts were not many, for ought that can bee found in records, the cheefest was that hee challenged Cupid at wrestling, in which conflict hee had the foile. [Page 21] The tale goes too that hee caught the Giant Typhon in a net, and held him fast. Moreouer when Ceres (grumling and chafing that Proser­pina was rauished) had hid her selfe away, and that all the Gods tooke pains (by dispersing themselues into euery corner) to find her out, it was onely his good hap (as hee was hun­ting) to light on her, and acquaint the rest where she was. He presumed also to put it to the tryall who was the better Musitian hee or Apollo, and by the iudgment of Midas was indeed preferred: But the wise iudge had a paire of Asses eares priuily chopt to his Nodle for his sentence. Of his louetrickes, there is nothing reported, or at least not much, a thing to be wondred at, especially being among a troope of Gods so profusly amorous. This onely is said of him, that hee loued the Nymph Eccho (whom he tooke to wyfe) and one pretty wench more called Syrinx, towards whom Cu­pid (in an angry and reuengefull hu­mor [Page 22] because so audaciously hee had challenged him at wrestling) infla­med his desire. Moreouer hee had no issue (which is a maruell also, seeing the Gods, especially those of the Malekind, were very generatiue) onely hee was the reputed father of a litle Girle called lambe, that with many pretty tales was wont to make strangers merry: but some thinke hee did indeed beget her by his wife lambe. This (if any bee) is a noble tale, as being laid out, and bigg 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 origi­nall there are two onely opinions that goe for currant: for either hee came of Mercury, that is, the word of God, which the holy Scriptures without all controuersie affirme, & such of the Philosophers as had any smacke of diuinity assented vnto: or els from the confused seedes of things. For they that would haue [Page 23] one simple beginning referre it vnto God: or if a materiate beginning, they would haue it various in pow­er. So that wee may end the con­trouersie with this distribution that the world tooke beginning either from Mercury, or from the seeds of all things.

Virg. Eolog. 6.
Namque canebat vti magnum per inane coacta
Semina, terrarumque, animaeque, ma­risque fuissent,
Et liquidi simulignis: & his exor­dia primis
Omnia, & ipse tener mundi concre­uerit Orbis.
For rich-vaind Orpheus sweetly did rehearse
How that the seeds of fire, ayre, water, earth,
Were all pact in the vast void vniuerse:
And how from these all firstlings all had birth,
[Page 24] And how the bodie of this Or­bicque frame
From tender infancy so bigg became.

But as touching the third conceipt of Pans originall, it seemes 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 subiect to death and corruption: for in that state it was (and remains to this day) the ofspring of God and Sinne. And therefore all these three narrations, concerning the manner of Pans birth, may seeme to bee true, if it bee rightly distinguished betweene things and times. For this Pan or nature (which wee suspect, contem­plate, and reuerence more then is fit) tooke beginning from the word of God by the meanes of confused matter, and the entrance of preua­rication [Page 25] 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 vn­to any thing are linckt with the chaines of causes naturall.

Hornes are attributed vnto him, because Hornes are broad at the roote and sharpe at the ends, the na­ture of all things being like a Pyra­mis sharpe at the Toppe. For indi­uiduall 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 gene­rall, so that at length Nature may seeme to be contracted into a vnity. Neither is it to be wondred at, that Pan toucheth heauen with his hornes, seeing the height of nature or vniuersall Ideas doe in some sort, [Page 26] pertaine to things diuine, and there is a ready and shorte passage from Metaphysicke to naturall Theologie.

The body of Nature is elegantly and with deepe iudgement depain­ted hairy, representing the beames or operations of creatures: for beames are as it were the haires and bristles of Nature, and euery crea­ture is either more or lesse beamie, which is most apparent in the facul­tie of seeing, and no lesse in euery vertue and operation that effectuals vpon a distant obiect: for whatso­euer workes vp any thing afarre off; that may rightly bee saide to darte forth rayes or beames.

Moreouer Pans beard is said to bee exceeding long, because the beames or influences of celestiall bodies doe operate and pierce far­thest of all, and the Sunne when (his higher halfe is shadowed with a cloud) his beames breake out in the lower, and lookes as if he were bearded.

Nature is also excellently set [Page 27] forth with a biformed body, with respect to the differences betweene superiour and inferiour creatures. For the one part by reason of their pulchritude, & equabilitie of motiō, & constancy, & dominion ouer the earth & earthly things, is worthily set out by the shape of man: and the other part in respect of their pertur­bations and vnconstant motions (and therefore needing to be mode­rated by the celestiall) may be well fitted with the figure of a brute beast. This description of his body perteines also to the participation of Species, for no naturall beeing seemes to be simple, but as it were participating and compounded of two. As for example; man hath som­thing of a beast: a beast something of a plant: a plant something of a inanimate bodie, so that all naturall things are in very deed biformed, that is to say compounded of a Su­periour, and inferiour Species.

It is a wittie Allegorie that same of the feet of a Goate, by reason of [Page 28] the vpward tending motion of ter­restriall bodies towards the ayer and heauen: For the Goate is a cly­ming creature, that loues to bee hanging about the rockes and steep mountaines; And this is done also in a wonderfull manner, euen by those things which are destinated to this inferiour globe, as may ma­nifestly appeare in cloudes and Me­teors.

The two Ensignes which Pan beares in his hands do point, the one at Harmony, the other at Empiry: for the Pipe consisting of seauen reedes doth euidently demonstrate the concent and harmony and dis­cordant concord of all inferior crea­tures, which is caused by the motion of the seuen Planets: And that of the Shep-hooke may be excellently ap­plied to the order of nature, which is partly right, partly crooked: This staffe therefore or rodde is especial­ly crooked in the vpper end, because all the workes of diuine prouidence in the world are done in a far fetcht [Page 29] and circular manner, so that one thing may seeme to be effected, and yet indeed a cleane cōtrary brought to passe, as the selling of Ioseph into Egypt, and the like. Besides in all wise humane gouerment, they that sit at the helme doe more happily bring their purposes about, and in­sinuate more easily into the minds of the people, by pretexts and ob­lique courses, then by direct me­thods; so that all Scepters and Ma­ses of authority ought in very deed to be crooked in the vpper end.

Pans cloake or mantle is ingeni­ously fained to be the skin of a Leo­pard, because it is full of spottes: so the heauens are spotted with stars, the sea with rockes and Islands, the land with flowers, and euery parti­cular creature also is for the most part garnished with diuers colours about the supersicies, which is as it were a mantle vnto it.

The office of Pan can bee by no­thing so liuely conceaued and ex­prest, as by fayning him to bee the [Page 30] God of hunters, for euery naturall action, and so by consequence, mo­tion and progression, is nothing els but a hunting. Arts and Sciences haue their workes, and humane counsels their ends which they ear­nestly hunt after. All naturall things haue either their food as a prey, or their pleasure as a recreation which they seeke for, and that in most ex­pert and sagacious manner.

Torua Leaena Lupum sequitur, Lu­pus ille Capellam:
Florentem Cythisum sequitur lasci­ua Capella.
The hungry Lionesse (with sharp desire)
Pursues the Wolfe, the Wolfe the wanton Goate:
The Goate againe doth greedily aspire.
To haue the trifol-iuyce passe downe her throate.

Pan is also saide to bee the God of the countrey Clownes, because men [Page 31] of this condition lead liues more a­greeable vnto nature, then those that liue in the Cities and Courts of Princes, where nature by too much arte is corrupted: So as the saying of the Poet (though in the sense of loue) might be here verified:

Pars minima est ipsa puella sui.
The maid so trickt her selfe with arte.
That of her selfe shee is least parte.

Hee was held to be Lord Presi­dent of the mountaines, because in high mountaines and hilles, Nature layes herselfe most open, and men most apt to viewe and contempla­tion.

Whereas Pan is said to bee (next vnto Mercury) the messenger of the Gods, there is in that a diuine My­stery cōteined, for next to the word of God the image of the world pro­claimes the power and wisedome di­uine, as sings the sacred Poet. Psal. [Page 32] 19. 1. Caeli enarrant gloriam Dei, atque opera manuum eius indicat fir­mamentum. The heauens declare the glory of God, and the firma­ment sheweth the workes of his hands.

The Nymphes, that is, the soules of liuing things take great delight in Pan: For these soules are the delights or minions of Nature, and the dire­ction or conduct of these Nymphes is with great reason attributed vnto Pan, because the soules of all things liuing doe follow their naturall dis­positions as their guides, and with infinite varietie euery one of them after his own fashion doth leape and friske and dance with incessant mo­tion about her. The Satyres and Si­leni also, to wit, youth and old age are some of Pans followers: for of all naturall things there is a liuely iocund and (as I may say) a daun­cing age, and an age againe that is dull bibling and reeling. The caria­ges and dispositions of both which ages to some such as Democritus was [Page 33] (that would obserue them duely) might peraduenture seeme as ridi­culous and deformed as the gam­bols of the Satyrs, or the gestures of the Sileni.

Of those feares and terrours which Pan is said to be the Author, there may be this wise construction made, namely, That nature hath bredde in euery liuing thing a kinde of care and feare tending to the pre­seruation of its owne life and being, and to the repelling and shunning of all things hurtfull. And yet Na­ture knowes not how to keepe a meane, but alwaies intermixes vaine and emptie feares with such as are discreet and profitable; so that all things (if their insides might bee seene) would appeare full of Pa­nicque frights: but men especially in hard and fearefull, and diuers times are wonderfully infatuated with superstition, which indeed is nothing els but a Panicque terrour.

Concerning the audacity of Pan in challenging Cupid at wrestling, [Page 34] the meaning of it is, that Matter wants no inclination and desire to the relapsing and dissolution of the world into the old Chaos, if her ma­lice and violence were not restrai­ned and kept in order, by the prepo­tent vnitie and agreement of things signified by Cupid, or the God of loue; And therefore it was a happie turne for men and all things els, that in that conflict Pan was found too weake and ouercome.

To the same effect may be inter­preted his catching of Typhon in a net: for howsoeuer there may some­times happen vast and vnwonted Tumors (as the name of Typhon imports) either in the sea or in the ayre, or in the earth, or els where, yet Nature doth intangle in an in­tricate toile, and curbe & restraine, as it were, with a chaine of Ada­mant the excesses and insolences of these kind of bodies.

But for as much as it was Pans good fortune to finde out Ceres as he was hunting, and thought little [Page 35] of it, which none of the other Gods could doe, though they did no­thing els but seeke her, and that ve­ry seriously, it giues vs this true and graue admonition, That we expect not to receaue things necessary for life and manners from philosophi­call abstractions, as from the grea­ter Gods, albeit they applied them­selues to no other studie, but from Pan, that is from discreet obserua­tion, & experience, and the vniuer­sall knowledge of the things of this world, whereby (oftentimes euen by chance, and as it were going a hunting) such inuentions are ligh­ted vpon.

The quarrell he made with Apol­lo about Musicke, and the euent thereof conteines a wholsome in­struction, which may serue to re­straine mens reasons and iudge­ments with the reines of sobriety from boasting and glorying in their gifts. For there seemes to be a two­fold Harmonie, or Musicke; the one of diuine prouidence, and the other [Page 36] of humane reason. Now to the eares of mortals, that is to humane iudge­ment, the administration of the world and the creatures therein, and the more secret iudgements of God, sound very hard and harsh; which folly albeit it bee well set out with Asses eares, yet notwithstanding these eares are secret, and doe not openly appeare, neither is it percei­ued or noted as a deformity by the vulgar.

Lastly, it is not to be wondred at, that there is nothing attributed vn­to Pan concerning loues, but onely of his mariage with Eccho: For the World or Nature doth enioy it selfe, and in it selfe all things els. Now hee that loues would enioy something, but where there is inough there is no place left to de­sire. Therefore there can be no wan­ton loue in Pan or the World, nor desire to obteine any thing (seeing he is contented with himselfe) but onely speeches, which (if plaine) may bee intimated by the Nymph [Page 37] Eccho, or, if more quaint, by Syrinx. It is an excellent inuention, that Pan or the world is said to make choise of Eccho onely (aboue all other speeches or voices) for his wife: for that alone is true philosophy, which doth faithfully render the ve­ry words of the world, and is writ­ten no otherwise then the world doth dictate, it being nothing els but the image or reflection of it, not adding any thing of its owne, but onely iterates and resounds. It be­longs also to the sufficiency or per­fection of the World, that the begets no issue: for the World doth gene­rate, in respect of its parts, but in re­spect, of the whole, how can it gene­rate, seeing without it there is no body? Notwithstanding all this, the tale of that tatling Girle faltred vp­on Pan may in very deed with great reason be added to the Fable: for by her are represented those vaine and idle paradoxes concerning the nature of things which haue bene frequent in all ages, and haue filled [Page 38] the world with nouelties, fruitles if you respect the matter, changlings if you respect the kind, sometimes creating pleasure, sometimes tedios­nes with their ouermuch pratling.

PERSEVS, or Warre.

PErseus is said to haue beene em­ploied by Pallas for the de­stroying of Medusa, who was very infestious to the western parts of the world, and especially about the vtmost coasts of Hyberia. A mon­ster to dire and horrid, that by her onely aspect shee turned men into stones. This Medusa alone of all the Gorgons was Mortall, the rest not subiect to death. Perseus therefore preparing himself for this noble en­terprise had armes, and guifts be­stowed on him by three of the Gods: Mercury gaue him wings annexed to his heeles, Pluto a hel­met, Pallas a sheild and a looking Glasse. Notwithstanding (although [Page 39] hee were thus furnished) hee went not directly to Medusa, but first to the Greae which by the mother side were sisters to the Gorgons. These Greae from their birth were hoare-headed, resembling old women. They had but one onely eye, and one tooth among them all, both which shee that had occasion to goe abroad was wont to take with her, & at her returne to lay them downe againe. This eye and tooth they lent to Perseus: and so finding him­selfe throughly furnished for the ef­fecting of his designe hastens to­wards Medusa. Her hee found slee­ping, and yet durst not present him­selfe with his face towards her, least shee should awake, but turning his head aside beheld her in Pallases glasse, and (by this meanes dire­cting his blowe) cut of her head, from whose blood gusshing out in­stātly came Pegasus the flying horse. Her head thus smit of, Perseus be­stows on Pallas her sheild, which yet reteined his vertue, that whosoeuer [Page 40] looked vpon it should become as stupid as a stone or like one plannet-strucken.

This Fable seemes to direct the preparation and order, that is to be vsed in making of Warre: for the more apt & considerat vndertaking whereof, three graue and wholsome precepts (sauouring of the wise­dome of Pallas) are to be obserued.

First, that men doe not much trouble themselues about the con­quest of neighbour nations, seeing that priuate possessions, & Empires are inlarged by different meanes: for in the augmentation of priuate re­uenues the vicinity of mens territo­ries is to bee considered: but in the propogation of publike dominions, the occasion and facility of making Warre, and the fruit to bee expe­cted ought to be in steed of vicinity. Certeinly the Romans what time their conquests towards the West scarce reacht beyond Liguria, did yet in the East bring all the Pro­uinces as far as the mountain Tau­rus [Page 41] within the compasse of their armes and commaund: and there­fore Perseus, although he were borne and bred in the East, did not yet re­fuse to vndertake an expedition euen to the vttermost bounds of the West.

Secondly, there must bee a care had that the motiues of Warre bee iust and honorable: for that begets an alacrity, aswel in the Souldiers that fight, as in the people that affoord pay: it draws on and pro­cures aids, and brings manie other comodities besides. But there is no pretence to take vp armes more pious, then the suppressing of Ty­rāny, vnder which yoake the people loose there courage, and are cast downe without heart & vigor, as in the sight of Medusa.

Thirdly, it is wisely added; that seeing there were three Gorgons (by which Wars are represented) Perseus vndertooke her onely that was mor­tal, that is hee made choice of such a kind of War as was likely to bee [Page 42] effected and brought to a period, not pursuing vast and endles hopes.

The furnishing of Perseus with necessaries was that which only ad­uanced his attempt & drew fortune to bee of his side: For hee had speed from Mercury, concealing of his counsels from Orcus, and Prouidence from Pallas.

Neither is it without an Alle­gory, and that ful of matter to, that those wings of celerity were fastned to Perseus his heeles, and not to his anckles, to his feet and not to his shoulders; because speed and cele­rity is required, not so much in the first preparationes for Warre, as in those things which second & yeeld ayd to the first: for there is no error in Warre more frequent, then that prosecutions and subsidiary forces doe faile to answer the alacrity of the first onsets.

Now for that helmet which Plu­to gaue him; powerful to make men inuisible, the moral is plaine: But that two-fould guift of prouidence [Page 43] (to wit the sheild & looking glasse) is ful of morality: for that kind of prouidēce which like a sheild auoids the force of blows is not alone needfull, but that also by which the strength, and motions, and coun­cels of the enemy are descried, as in the looking glasse of Pallas.

But Perseus albeit he were suf­ficiently furnished with aid and cou­rage, yet was hee to doe one thing of speciall importance before hee entred the lists with this Monster, & that was to haue some intelligence with the Greae. These Greae are trea­sōs which may be termed the Sisters of Warre, not descended of the same stocke, but farre vnlike in nobility of birth; for Warres are generall and heroicall, but Treasons are base and ignoble. Their description is elegant: for they are said to bee grayheaded, and like old wo­men from their birth, by reason that Traitors are continually vext with cares and trepidations. But all their strength (before they breake out


ENDYMION, or a Fauorite.

IT is saide that Luna was in loue with the Shepheard Endymion, and in a strange and vnwonted man­ner bewrayed her affection: for he lying in a Caue framed by nature vnder the mountaine Latmus, shee oftentimes descended from her sphere to enioy his companie as he slept, and after shee had kissed him ascended vp againe. Yet notwith­standing this his idlenes and sleepie security did not any way impaire his estate or fortune; for Luna brought it so to passe that hee alone (of all the rest of the Shepheards) had his flocke in best plight, and most fruitfull.

This Fable may haue reference to the nature and disposition of Princes: for they beeing full of doubts and prone to iealousie, doe not easily acquaint men of prying and curious eyes, and as it were of [Page 47] vigilant and wakefull dispositions, with the secret humours and man­ners of their life: but such rather as are of quiet and obseruant natures, suffering them to doe what they list without further scanning, making as if they were ignorant and percei­uing nothing, but of a stupid dispo­sition and possest with sleepe, yeel­ding vnto them simple obedience, rather then slie complements: for it pleaseth Princes now and then to descend from their thrones of Maie­stie (like Luna from the superiour orbe) and laying aside their Robes of dignity (which alwaies to bee cumbred with, would seeme a kinde of burthen) familiarly to conuerse with men of this condition, which they thinke may bee done without danger; a quality chiefly noted in Tiberius Caesar, who (of all others) was a Prince most seuere, yet such onely were gracious in his fauour, as being well acquainted with his disposition, did yet constantly dis­semble as if they knew nothing. [Page 48] This was the custome also of Lewis the eleuenth king of France, a cau­tious and wily Prince.

Neither is it without elegancy, that the caue of Endymion is mentio­ned in the Fable, because it is a thing vsuall with such as are the fauorites of Princes, to haue certaine pleasant retyring places whither to inuite them for recreation both of body and mind, and that without hurt or preiudice to their fortunes also. And indeed these kind of fauorites are men commonly well to passe: for Princes although peraduenture they promote them not euer to pla­ces of honour, yet doe they ad­uance them sufficiently by their fa­vour and countenance: neither doe they affect them thus onely to serue their owne turne, but are wont to enrich them now and then with great dignities and bounties.


IT is a Poeticall relation that the Gyants begotten of the Earth made warre vpon Iupiter, and the other Gods, and by the force of lightning they were resisted & ouer­throwne. Whereat the Earth being excitated to wrath, in reuenge of her children brought forth Fame, the youngest Sister of the Gyants.

Illam, terra parens ira irritata De­orum.
Extremam (vt perhibent) Caeo En­celadoque sororem,
Prouok't by wrothfull Gods the mother Earth
Giues Fame the Gyants yongest sister birth.

The meaning of the Fable seemes to bee thus, By the Earth is signi­fied [Page 50] the nature of the vulgar, alwaies swolne and malignant, and still broa­ching new scandals against supe­riors, and hauing gotten fit opor­tunity, stirres vp rebels, and sedi­tious persons, that with impious courage doe molest Princes, and endeuour to subuert their estates: but being supprest, the same natu­rall disposition of the people stil lea­ning to the viler sort, (being impa­tient of peace and tranquility) spread rumors, raise malitious slan­ders, repining whisperings, in­famous libelles, and others of that kind, to the detraction of them that are in authority: So as rebellious actions, and seditious reports, differ nothing in kind and blood, but as it were in Sex onely; the one sort being Masculine, the other Fe­minine.

ACTAEON, and PENTHEVS, or a curious Man.

THe curiosity of Men, in prying into secrets, and coueting with an indiscreet desire to atteine the knowledge of things forbidden, is set forth by the Ancients in two ex­amples: the one of Actaeon, the other of Pentheus.

Actaeon hauing vnawares, and as it were by chance beheld Diana naked, was turned into a Stag, and deuoured by his owne Dogges.

And Pentheus climing vp into a tree, with a desire to bee a spectator of the hidden sacrifices of Bacchus, was strucken with such a kind of frensie, as that whatsoeuer he look't vpon, he thought it alwaies double, supposing (among other things) he saw two Sunnes, and two Thebes; insomuch that running towards Thebes, spying another Thebes, in­stantly turned back againe, and so [Page 52] kept stil running forward and back­ward with perpetuall vnrest.

Eumenidum veluti demens videt agmina Pentheus,
Et Solem geminum, & duplices se ostendere Thebas.
Pentheus amaz'd doth troops of furies spie,
And Sunne and Thebes seeme dooble to his eye.

The first of the Fables pertains to the secrets of Princes: the second to diuine mysteries. For those that are neare about Princes, and come to the knowledge of more secretes then they would haue them, doe certainly incurre great hatred. And therefore (suspecting that they are shot at, & opportunities watcht for their ouerthrow) doe lead their liues like Stagges, fearefull and full of suspition. And it happens often­times that their Seruants, and those of their houshould (to insinuate into the Princes fauor) doe accuse them [Page 53] to their destruction: for against whomsoeuer the Princes displeasure is knowne, looke how many ser­uants that man hath, and you shall find them for the most part so many traytors vnto him, that his end may proue to bee like Actaeons.

The other is the misery of Pen­theus: for they that by the height of knowledge in nature and philo­sophy, hauing climed, as it were, into a tree, doe with rash attempts (vnmindfull of their frailtie) pry into the secrets of diuine mysteries, and are iustly plagued with perpetuall inconstancy, and with wauering and perplexed conceits: for seeing the light of nature is one thing, and of grace another, it happens so to them as if they saw two Sunnes. And seeing the actions of life, and de­crees of will doe depend of the vn­derstanding, it follows that they doubt, and are inconstant no lesse in will then in opinion, and so in like manner they may bee said to see two Thebes: for by Thebes (seeing [Page 54] there was the habitation and refuge of Pentheus) is meant the ende of actions. Hence it comes to passe that they knowe not whither they goe, but as distracted and vnresol­ued in the scope of their intentions, are in all things caried about with sudden passions of the mind.

ORPHEVS, or Philisophy.

THe tale of Orpheus, though common, had neuer the for­tune to bee fitly applyed in euery point. It may seeme to represent the image of Philosophy: for the per­son of Orpheus (a man admirable and diuine, and so excellently skil­led in all kinde of harmony, that with his sweet rauishing musicke he did as it were charme and allure all things to follow him) may cary a singular description of Philosophy: for the labours of Orpheus doe so far exceed the labors of Hercules, in dig­nity & efficacy, as the works of wis­dom, excell the works offortitude.

[Page 55] Orpheus for the loue hee bare to his wife (snacht as it were from him by vntimely death) resolued to goe downe to Hell with his Harpe, to try if hee might obtaine her of the infernall powers. Neither were his hopes frustrated: for hauing appea­sed them with the melodious sound of his voice and touch, preuailed at length so farre, as that they granted him leaue to take her away with him, but on this condition that shee should follow him, and hee not to looke backe vpon her, till he came to the light of the vpper world, which he (impatient of, our of loue and care, and thinking that he was in a manner past all danger) neuer­thelesse violated, insomuch that the couenant is broken, and shee forth­with tumbles backe againe head­long into hell. From that time Or­pheus falling into a deepe melancho­ly became a contemner of women kind, and bequeathed himselfe to a solitary life in the deserts, where by the same melody of his voice and [Page 56] harpe, hee first drew all manner of wild beasts vnto him, who (forget­full of their sauage fiercenes, and casting off the precipitate prouoca­tions of lust and fury, not caring to satiate their voracity by hunting af­ter prey) as at a Theater in fawning and reconciled amity one towards another, stand all at the gaze about him, and attentiuely lend their eares to his Musicke. Neither is this all: for so great was the power and allu­ring force of his harmony, that he drew the woods & moued the very stones to come and place themselues in an orderly and decent fashion a­bout him. These things succeeding happily and with great admiration for a time, at length certaine Thra­cian Women (possest with the spi­rit of Bacchus) made such a horrid and strange noise with their Cor­nets, that the sound of Orpheus harp could no more be heard, insomuch as that Harmony, which was the bond of that order and society bee­ing dissolued, all dissorder began [Page 57] againe, and the beasts (returning to their wonted nature) pursued one another vnto death as before: nei­ther did the trees or stones remaine any longer in their places: and Or­pheus himselfe was by these femall Furies torne in pieces, and scattered all ouer the desart. For whose cru­ell death the riuer Helicon (sacred to the Muses) in horrible indignation, hid his head vnder ground, and rai­sed it againe in another place.

The meaning of this Fable seemes to be thus. Orpheus musicke is of two sorts, the one appeasing the in­fernall powers, the other attracting beasts and trees. The first may bee fitly applyed to naturall philoso­phie, the second to morall or ciuill discipline.

The most noble worke of natu­rall philosophy, is the restitution and renouation of things corrupti­ble, the other (as a lesser degree of it) the preseruation of bodies in their estate, deteining them from dissolution and putrefaction. And if [Page 58] this gift may be in mortals, certenly it can be done by no other meanes then 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 the most dif­ficult, it is seldome or neuer attai­ned vnto, and in all likelyhood for no other reason, more then through curious diligence and vntimely im­patience. And therefore Philoso­phy hardly able to produce so excel­lent an effect, in a pensiue humour (and not without cause) busies her­selfe about humane obiects, and by perswasion and eloquence, insinua­ting the loue of vertue, equitie, and concord in the minds of men, draws multitudes of people to a society, makes them subiect to lawes, obe­dient to gouerment, and forgetfull of their vnbridled affections, whilst they giue eare to precepts, and sub­mit themselues to discipline, whence followes the building of houses, ere­cting of townes, and planting of fields and orchards, with trees and [Page 59] the like, insomuch that it would not be amisse to say, that euen thereby stones, and woods were called to­gether, and setled in order. And af­ter serious tryall made and frustra­ted about the restoring of a body mortall; this care of ciuill affaires followes in his due place: Because by a plaine demonstration of the vneuitable necessity of death, mens minds are moued to seeke eternity by the fame and glory of their me­rits. It is wisely also said in the Fa­ble, that Orpheus was auerse from the loue of women and mariage, be­cause the delights of wedlocke and loue of children doe for the most part hinder men from enterprising great and noble designes for the publique good, holding posterity a sufficient step to immortalitie with­out actions.

Besides euen the very workes of wisedome, (although amongst all humane things they doe most ex­cell) doe neuerthelesse meete with their periods. For it happens that [Page 60] (after kingdomes and common­wealths haue flourished for a time) euen tumults, and seditions, and warres arise; in the midst of which hurly burlies: first, lawes are silent, men returne to the prauity of their natures, fields and townes are wa­sted and depopulated, and then, (if this fury continue) learning and philosophy must needs be dismem­bred, so that a few fragments onely, and in some places will bee found like the scattered boords of ship­wracke, so as a barbarous age must follow; and the streames of Heli­con being hid vnder the earth vntill (the vicissitude of things passing) they breake out againe and appeare in some other remote nation, though not perhaps in the same climate.

COELVM, or Beginnings.

WEe haue it from the Poets by tradition, that Coelum was the ancientest of the Gods, and that his mēbers of generation were cut off by his sonne Saturne. Saturne had many children, but deuoured them as soone as they were borne. Iupiter onely escapt, who being come to mans estate, thrust Saturne his father into hell, and so vsurped the kingdome. Moreouer he pared off his fathers genitals with the same faulchin that Saturne dismembred Coelum, and cast them into the Sea, from whence came Venus. Not long after this, Iupiter (being scarce setled and confirmed in this king­dome) was inuaded by two me­morable warres. The first of the Titans, in the suppressing of which Sol (who alone of all the Titans fa­uouring Iupiters side) tooke excee­ding great pains. The second was [Page 62] of the Gyants, whom Iupiter him­selfe destroied with thunderboults, and so all warres being ended, hee raigned secure.

This Fable seemes enigmatically to shew from whence all things tooke their beginning, not much differring from that opinion of phi­losophers, which Democritus af­terwards laboured to mainteine, at­tributing eternity to the first Matter and not to the world. In which he comes somwhat neere the truth of diuine writ, telling vs of a huge de­formed Masse, before the beginning of the six daies worke.

The meaning of the Fable is this, By Coelum may be vnderstood that vast concauity, or vaulted compasse that comprehends all matter: and by Saturne may bee meant the matter it selfe, which takes from its Pa­rent all power of generating: for the vniuersality or whole bulke of mat­ter alwaies remaines the same, nei­ther increasing or diminishing in respect of the quality of its nature: [Page 63] But by the diuers agitations and motions of it were first produced imperfect, & ill agreeing cōpositiōs of things, making, as it were cer­taine worlds for proofes or assaies, and so in processe of time a perfect fabricke or structure was framed, which should still reteine and keepe his forme. And therefore the go­uerment of the first age was shaddo­wed by the kingdome of Saturne, who for the frequent dissolutions & short continuances of things was aptly fained to deuoure his children. The succeeding gouerment was de­ciphered by the raigne of Iupiter, who confined those continuall mu­tations vnto Tartarus, a place sig­nifying perturbation. This place seemes to bee all that middle space between the lower Superficies of Heauen and the center of the Earth: in which all perturbation and fra­gility and mortality or corruption are frequent. During the former generation of things in the time of Saturns raigne, Venus was not borne: [Page 64] for so long as in the vniuersality of Matter, discord was better & more preualent then concord, it was ne­cessary that there should bee a totall dissolution or mutation, and that in the whole fabricke. And by this kind of generation were creatures produced before Saturne was depri­ued of his genitalles. When this ceased, that other which is wrought by Venus, immediately came in, con­sisting in setled and preualent con­cord of things, so that Mutation should bee onely in respect of the parts, the vniuersall fabrick remai­ning whole and inuiolate.

Saturne they say was deposed & cast downe into Hell, but not de­stroyed and vtterly extinguisht, be­cause there was an opinion that the world should relapse into the old Chaos & interregnum againe, which Lucretius praied might not happen in his time.

Quod procul a nobis, flectat fortuna gubernans
[Page 65]Et ratio potius quam res persuadeat ipsa.
Oh guiding prouidence bee gra­tious,
That this Doomes-day bee farre remou'd from vs.
And graunt that by vs it may bee expected,
Rather then on vs in our times effected.

for afterward the world should sub­sist by its owne quantity and power. Yet from the beginning there was no rest: for in the celestiall Regions there first followed notable mu­tations, which by the power of the Sunne (predominating ouer superior bodies) were so quieted, that the state of the world should be conserued: and afterward (in infe­rior bodies) by the suppressing and dissipating of inundations, tem­pests, winds, and generall earth­quakes, a more peacefull & durable agreement and tranquility of things [Page 66] followed. But of this Fable it may conuertibly be said, that the Fable conteines philosophy, and philoso­phy againe the Fable: For wee know by faith, that all these things are nothing els but the long-since cea­sing and failing Oracles of Sence, seeing that both the Matter and Fa­brick of the world are most truly re­ferred to a Creator.

PROTEVS, or Matter.

THe Poets say that Proteus was Neptunes heard-man, a graue Syer, and so excellent a prophet, that hee might well bee termed thrice excellent: for hee knew not onely things to come; but euen things past aswell as present, so that besides his skill in diuination, hee was the mes­senger and interpreter of all Anti­quities and hidden mysteries. The place of his abode was a huge vast caue, where his custome was euery day at noone to count his flock of [Page 67] Sea-calues, and then to goe to sleep. Moreouer he that desired his aduice in any thing, could by no other meanes obteine it, but by catching him in Manacles, and holding him fast therewith; who neuerthelesse to bee at liberty would turne him­selfe into all manner of formes and wonders of nature, somtimes into fire, somtimes into water, somtimes into the shape of beasts and the like, till at length he were restored to his owne forme againe.

This Fable may seeme to vnfold the secrets of nature, and the proper­ties of Matter. For vnder the per­son of Proteus, the first Matter (which next to God is the auncien­test thing) may be represented: for Matter dwelles in the concauity of heauen as in a Caue.

He is Neptunes bond-man, be­cause the operations and dispensati­ons of Matter are chiefly exercised in liquid bodies.

His flocke or heard seemes to be nothing but the ordinary Species of [Page 68] sensible creatures, plants, and met­tals: in which Matter seemes to dif­fuse and as it were spend it selfe, so that after the forming and perfe­cting of these kinds, (hauing ended as it were her taske) shee seemes to sleepe and take her rest, not attemp­ting the composition of any more Species. And this may be the Mo­rall of Proteus his counting of his flocke, and of his sleeping.

Now this is said to be done, not in the morning, nor in the euening, but at noone, to wit at such time as is most fit, and conuenient for the perfecting and bringing forth of Species out of Matter, duely prepa­red and predisposed, and in the mid­dle, as it were, betweene their begin­nings and declinations, which wee know sufficiently (out of the holy history) to be done about the time of the Creation: for then by the power of that diuine word (Pro­ducat) Matter at the Creators com­maund did congregate it selfe (not by ambages or turnings, but instant­ly [Page 69] to the production of its worke into act and the constitution of Spe­cies. And thus farre haue wee the Narration of Proteus (free, and vn­restrained) together with his flocke compleat: for the vniuersality of things with their ordinary stru­ctures and compositions of Species beares the face of matter not limited and constrained, and of the flocke also of materiall beings. Neuerthe­lesse, if any expert Minister of Na­ture, shall encounter Matter by main force, vexing, and vrging her with intent and purpose to reduce her to nothing; shee contrariwise (seeing annihilation and absolute destru­ction cannot be effected but by the omnipotency of God) being thus caught in the straites of necessitie, doth change and turne her selfe into diuers strange formes and shapes of things, so that at length (by fetch­ing a circuit, as it were) shee comes to a period, and (if the force conti­nue) be takes her selfe to her former being. The reason of which con­straint [Page 70] or binding will bee more fa­cile and expedite, if Matter be laide hold on by Manacles, that is, by ex­tremities.

Nowe whereas it is fained 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 knowe the proper­ties and proceedings of Matter, should comprehend in his vnder­standing the summe of all things, which haue bene, which are, or which shall be, although no know­ledge can extend so farre as to sin­gular and indiuiduall beings.

MEMNON, or a youth too forward.

THe Poets say, that Memnon was the sonne of Aurora, who (adorned with beautifull armour, and animated with popular ap­plause) came to the Troiane warre: [Page 71] where (in a rash boldnes, hasting vn­to, and thristing after glory) he en­ters into single combate with A­chilles the valiantest of all the Gre­cians, by whose powerfull hand he was there slaine. But Iupiter pitty­ing his destruction, sent birds to modulate certaine lamentable and dolefull notes at the Solemnization of his funerall obsequies. Whose statue also (the Sunne reflecting on it with his morning beames) did vsually (as is reported) send forth a mournfull sound.

This Fable may be applied to the vnfortunate destinies of hopefull young men, who like the sonnes of Aurora (puft vp with the glittering shew of vanity and ostentation) at­tempt actions aboue their strength, and prouoke and presse the most va­liant Heroes to combate with them, so that (meeting with their ouer­match) are vanquished and destroy­ed, whose vntimely death is oft ac­companied with much pitty and commiseration. For among all the [Page 72] disasters that can happen to mor­tals, there is none so lamentable and so powrefull to moue com­passion as the flower of vertue cropt with too sudden a mis­chance. Neither hath it beene often knowne that men in their greene yeares become so loathsome and o­dious, as that at their deathes either sorrow is stinted, or commi­seration moderated: but that la­mentation and mourning doe not onely flutter about their obsequies like those funerall birds; but this pittifull commiseration doth con­tinue for a long space, and espe­cially by occasions and new mo­tions, and beginning of great mat­ters, as it were by the morning raies of the Sunne, their passions and de­sires are renued.

TITHONVS, or Satiety

IT is elegantly fained that Tithonus was the paromour of Aurora, who (desirous for euer to enjoy his company) petitioned Iupiter that he might neuer dye, but (through womanish ouersight) forgetting to insert this clause in her petition, that he might not withall grow old and feeble, it followed that he was onely freed from the condition of morta­lity, but for old age, that came vpon him in a maruelous and miserable fashion, agreeable to the state of those who cannot die, yet euery day grow weaker and weaker with age. Insomuch that Iupiter (in commise­ratio of this his misery) did at length metamorphose him into a Grashop­per.

This Fable seemes to bee an in­genuous Character or description of pleasure, which in the beginning, & as it were in the morning seemes [Page 74] to be so pleasant and delightfull that men desire they might enjoy & mo­nopolize it for euer vnto thēselues, vnmindfull of that Satiety and loa­thing, which (like old age) will come vpon them before they bee aware. And so at last (when the vse of pleasure leaues men, the desire & affection not yet yeilding vnto death) it comes to passe that men please themselues onely by talking and commemorating those things which brought pleasure vnto them in the flower of their age, which may be obserued in libidinous per­sons, and also in men of military professions: the one delighting in beastly talke, the other boasting of their valorous deeds like Grashop­pers, whose vigor consists onely in their voyce.

IVNOS SVTOR, or Basenesse.

THe Poets say, that Iupiter to enioy his lustfull delights tooke vpon him the shape of sundry crea­tures, as of a Bull, of an Eagle, of a Swane, and of a goulden shower: but being a Sutor to Iuno hee came in a forme most ignoble and Base, an obiect full of contempt and scorne, resembling indeed a miserable Cuc­kow, weather-beaten with raine & tempest, nummed, quaking, and halfe dead with coulde.

This Fable is wise and seemes to bee taken out of the bowels of mo­rallity, the sence of it being this, That men boast not too much of themselues, thinking by ostenta­tion of their owne worth to insinua­te themselues into estimation and fauor with men, the successe of such intentions being for the most part measured by the nature and disposi­tion [Page 76] of those to whom men sue for grace: Who if of themselues they bee indowed with no guifts and or­naments of nature, but are onely of haughtie and malignant spirits (in­timated by the person of Iuno) then are Sutors to know that it is good policy to omit all kind of apparan­ce that may any way shew their owne least praise or worth: and that they much deceiue themselues in taking any other course. Neither is it inough to shew deformity in ob­sequiousnes, vnlesse they also ap­peare euen abiect and base in their very persons.

CVPID, or an Atome.

THat which the Poets say of Cupid or Loue cannot properly be attributed to one and the selfe same person; and yet the difference is such, that (by reiecting the con­fusion of persons) the similitude may be receaued.

[Page 77] They say that Loue is the an­cientest of all the Gods, and of all things els except Chaos, which they hould to bee a contemporary with it. Now as touching Chaos, that by the ancients was neuer dig­nified with diuine honour, or with the title of a God. And as for Loue, they absolutely bring him in without a father, onely some are of opinion that hee came of an Egge which was laid by Nox, and that on Chaos hee begot the Gods and all things els. There are fower things attributed vnto him, perpetuall in­fancy, blindnes, nakednes, and an Archery. There was also an­other Loue which was the yongest of the Gods, and he, they say, was the Sonne of Venus. On this also they bestowe the attributes of the elder Loue, as in some sort well ap­plie vnto him.

This Fable tends and lookes to the Cradle of Nature, Loue seeming to bee the appetite or desire of the first matter, or (to speake more [Page 78] plaine) the naturall motion of the Atome, which is that ancient and onely power that formes and fashi­ons all things out of Matter, of which there is no Parent, that is to say, no cause, seeing euery cause is as a parent to its effect. Of this power or vertue there can bee no cause in Nature (as for God, we alwaies ex­cept him) for nothing was before it, and therefore no efficient cause of it. Neither was there any thing bet­ter knowen to nature, and therefore neither Genus nor Forme. Where­fore whatsoeuer it is, positiue it is, and but inexpressible. Moreouer, if the manner and proceeding of it, were to be conceiued, yet could it not bee by any cause, seeing that (next vnto God) it is the cause of causes, it selfe onely without any cause. And perchance there is no likely hood, that the manner of it may bee conteined or comprehen­ded within the narrow compasse of humane search. Not without reason therefore is it fained to come of an [Page 79] Egge which was layed by Nox. Cer­tenly the diuine Philosopher grants so much. Eccl. 3. 11. Cuncta fecit tempestatibus suis pulchra, & mun­dum tradidit disputationibus eorum, it a tamen vt non inueniat homo opus, quod operatus est Deus, a principio ad finem. That is, he hath made euery thing beautifull in their seasons, al­so he hath set the world in their me­ditations, yet cannot man find out the worke that God hath wrought, from the beginning euen to the end. For the principall law of Nature, or power of this desire, created (by God) in these parcels of things, for concurring and meeting toge­ther (from whose repetitions and multiplications, all variety of crea­tures proceeded and were compo­sed) may dazzle the eies of mens vnderstandings, and comprehen­ded it can hardly bee. The Greeke Philosophers are obserued to be ve­ry acute and diligent in searching out the materiall principles of things: but in the beginnings of [Page 80] motion (wherein consists all the ef­ficacy of operation) they are negli­gent and weake, and in this that wee handle, they seeme to be altogether blind and stammering: for the opi­nion of the Peripatetickes concer­ning the appetite of Matter caused by Priuation, is in a manner nothing els but words, which rather sound then signifie any realty. And those that referre it vnto God, doe very well, but then they leape vp, they ascend not by degrees: for doubtles there is one chiefe lawe subordinate to God, in which all naturall things concurre and meete, the same that in the fore-cited Scripture is de­monstrated in these words. Opus, quod operatus est Deus a principio vs­que ad finem, the worke that God hath wrought from the beginning euen to the ende. But Democritus which entred more deepely into the consideration of this point after he had conceaued an Atome with some small dimension and forme, he attributed vnto it one onely desire, [Page 81] or first motion simply or absolute­ly, and another comparatiuely or in respect: for hee thought that all things did properly tend to the cen­ter of the world, whereof those bo­dies which were more materiall des­cended with swifter motion, and those that had lesse matter did on the contrary tend vpward. But this meditation was very shallow con­teyning lesse then was expedient: for neither the turning of the cele­stiall bodies in a round, nor shutting and opening of things may seeme to be reduced or applied to this be­ginning. And as for that opinion of Epicurus concerning the casuall declination and agitation of the Atome, it is but a meere toy, and a plaine euidence, that he was igno­rant of that point. It is therefore more apparent (then wee could wish) that this Cupid or Loue re­maines as yet clouded vnder the shades of Night. Now as concer­ning his attributes: Hee is elegant­ly described with perpetuall infan­cie [...] [...] [Page 84] desire to some indiuiduall nature, so that the generall disposition comes from Venus, the more exact sympathy from Cupid, the one de­riued from causes more neere, the other from beginnings more remote and fatall, and as it were from the elder Cupid, of whom e­uery exquisite sympathie doth de­pend.

DIOMEDES, or Zeale.

DIomedes flourishing with great fame and glory in the Troian warres, and in high fauour with Pal­las was by her instigated (beeing in­deed forwarder then he should haue bene) not to forbeare Venus a iote, if he encountred with her in fight, which very boldly hee performed, wounding her in the right arme. This presumptuous fact hee caried cleare for a while, and being hono­red and renowned for his many he­roicke deeds; at last returned into [Page 85] his owne countrey, where finding himselfe hard besteed with dome­sticke troubles, fled into Italy, be­taking himselfe to the protection of Forreiners, where in the beginning he was fortunate and royally enter­tained by King Daunus with sump­tuous gifts, raising many statues in honour of him throughout his do­minions. But vpon the very first calamity that hapned vnto this na­tion whereunto he was fled for suc­cor: King Daunus enters into a con­ceipt with himselfe that he had en­tertained a wicked guest into his fa­mily, and a man odious to the Gods and an impugner of their Diuinity, that had dared with his sword to assault and wound that Goddesse, whom in their religion they held it sacrilege so much as to touch. Ther­fore, that he might expiat his coun­treyes guilt (nothing respecting the duties of hospitality, when the bonds of Religion tyed him with a more reuerend regarde) suddenly slew Diomedes, commanding with­all [...] [...] [...] [...] [Page 90] time in their senses and memo­ries.

DAEDALVS, or Mechanique.

MEchanicall wisedome and in­dustry, and in it vnlawfull science peruerted to wrong ends, is shadowed by the Ancients vnder the person of Daedalus, a man inge­nious, but execrable. This Daeda­lus (for murthering his fellow ser­uant that emulated him) being bannished, was kindly interteined (during his exile) in many cities, and Princes Courts: for indeed he was the raiser and builder of many goodly structures, as well in honour of the Gods, as for the beautie and magnificence of cities, and other publick places: but for his works of mischeefe he is most notorious. It is he which framed that engine which Pasiphae vsed to satisfie her lust in companying with a bull, so that by [Page 91] this his wretched industrie and per­nicious deuice, that Monster Mi­notaur (the destruction of so many hopefull youthes) tooke his accur­sed and infamous beginning, and studying to couer and increase one mischeife with another, for the se­curity & preseruation of this Mon­ster hee inuented and built a Laby­rinth, a worke for intent and vse most nefarious and wicked, for skill and workmanship famous and excellent. Afterward that he might not bee noted onely for works of mischeefe, but be sought after as well for remedies, as for instru­ments of destruction; hee was the Author of that ingenious deuice concerning the clue of threed, by which the Labyrinth was made pas­sable without any let. This Daeda­lus was persecuted by Minos with great seuerity, diligence and inquiry, but he always found the meanes to auoid and escape his tyranny. Lastly he taught his sonne Icarus to flie, but the nouice in ostentation of his [Page 92] art soaring too high, fell into the Sea, and was drowned.

The Parable seemes to be thus: In the beginning of it may be noted that kind of enuie or emulation that lodgeth and wonderfully swaies and domineers amongst excellent arti­ficers, there being no kinde of peo­ple more reciprocally tormented with bitter and deadly hatred then they.

The bannishment also of De­dalus (a punishment inflicted on him against the rules of policy and prouidence) is worth the nothing: for Artificers haue this prerogatiue to find enterteinment and welcome in all countries, so that exile to an excellent workman can hardly bee termed a punishment, whereas other conditions and states of life can scarce liue out of their owne coun­try. The admiration of artificers is propogated and increast in forrein and strange nations, seeing it is a naturall and inbred disposition of men to value their owne countri­men [Page 93] (in respect of Mechanicall works) lesse then strangers.

Concerning the vse of Mechanicall arts, that which follows is plaine. The life of man is much beholding to them, seeing many things (conducing to the ornament of religion, to the grace of ciuill discipline, and to the beautifying of all humane kind) are extracted out of their treasuries: and yet not­withstanding from the same Mega­zine or storehouse are produced in­struments both of lust and death, for (to omit the wiles of bandes) we well know how farre exquisit poi­sons, warlike engines, and such like mischeifs (the effects of Mecha­nicall inuentions) doe exceed the Minotaur himselfe in malignity & sauage cruelty.

Moreouer, that of the Labyrinth is an excellent Allegory, whereby is shadowed the nature of Mecha­nicall sciences: for all such handi­crafte works as are more ingenious and accurate, may bee compared [Page 94] to a Labyrinth in respect of subtilty and diuers intricate passages, and in other plaine resemblances, which by the eye of iudgement can hardly be guided and discerned, but onely by the line of experience.

Neither is it impertinently added, that hee which inuented the intri­cate nooks of the Labyrinth, did also shew the cōmodity of the clue: for Mechanicall arts are of am­biguous vse, seruing as well for hurt as for remedy, and they haue in a manner power both to loose and bind themselues.

Vnlawfull trades, and so by con­sequence arts themselues are often persecuted by Minos, that is by lawes, which doe condemne them and prohibit men to vse them. Ne­uerthelesse they are hid and retained euery where, finding lurking holes, and places of receipt, which was well obserued by Tacitus of the Ma­thematicians and figure flingers of his time in a thing not much vnlike; Genus (inquit) hominum quod in ciui­tate [Page 95] nostra semper & retinebitur & vetabitur. There is a kind of men (faith hee) that will always abide in our Citie though always forbiddē. And yet notwithstanding vnlawfull & curious arts of what kind soeuer, in tract of time, when they cannot performe what they promise, doe fall from the good opinion that was held of them (no otherwise then Icarus fell downe from the skies) they growe to be contemned and scorned, and so perish by too much ostentation. And, to say the truth, they are not so happily restreined by the raines of law, as bewraied by their owne vanitie.

ERICTHONIVS, or Imposture.

THe Poets fable that Vulcan sol­licited Minerua for her virgi­nity, and impatient of deniall with an inflamed desire offered her vio­lence, but in struggling his Seed fell vpon the ground, whereof came [...] [...] [Page 98] mother they cast them behind their backs, which at first struck them with great amazement and dispaire, seeing (all things being defaced by the flood) it would be an endles worke to find their mothers sepul­cher, but at length they vnderstood that by bones the stones of the earth (seeing the earth was the mother of all things) were signified by the Oracle.

This Fable seemes to reueale a secret of Nature, and to correct an error familiar to mens conceipts: for through want of knowledge, men thinke that things may take re­nouation and restauration from their putrefaction and dregs, no otherwise then the Phoenix from the ashes, which in no case can be ad­mitted, seing such kind of materials, when they haue fulfilled their pe­riods, are vnapt for the beginings of such things: wee must therefore looke back to more common prin­ciples.

NEMESIS, or the Vicissitude of things.

NEmesis is said to be a Goddesse venerable vnto all, but to bee feared of none but potentates and fortunes fauorites. She is thought to be the Daughter of Oceanus and Nox. Shee is purtrayed with wings on her shoulders, and on her head a Coronet; bearing in her right hand a iauelin of Ash, and in her left a Pitcher with the similitudes of Aethiopians engrauen on it: and lastly shee is described sitting on a Hart.

The Parable may bee thus vn­folded. Her name Nemesis doth plainly signifie. Reuenge or Retri­bution, her office and administration being (like a Tribune of the people) to hinder the constant & perpetuall felicity of happy men, and to inter­pose her word, veto, I forbid the con­tinuance of it, that is, not onely to [Page 100] chastice insolency, but to intermix prosperity (though harmles and in a meane) with the vicissitudes of aduersity, as if it were a custome, that noe mortall man should be ad­mitted to the Table of the Gods but for sport. Truly when I read that Chapter, wherein Caius Plinius hath collected the misfortunes and miseries of Augustus Caesar, whom of all men I thought the most hap­py, who had also a kind of arte to vse and inioy his fortune, and in whose mind might be noted neither pride, nor lightnes, nor nicenes, nor disorder, nor melancholly (as that he had appointed a time to die of his owne accord) I then deemed this Goddesse to be great and powerfull, to whose altar so worthy a sacrifice as this was drawen.

The Parents of this Goddesse were Oceanus and Nox that is, the vi­cissitude of things, and diuine iudge­ment obscure and secret: for the al­terations of things are aptly repre­sented by the Sea, in respect of the [Page 101] continuall ebbing and flowing of it: and hidden prouidence is well set forth by the Night: for euen the nocturnall Nemesis (seeing humane iudgement differs much from di­uine) was seriously obserued by the heathen.

Virgill Aeneid. lib. 2.
—Cadit & Ripheus instissimus vnus,
Qui fuit ex Teucris, & seruantissi­mus equi,
Dijs aliter visum—.
That day by Greekish force was Ripheus slaine,
So iust and strict obseruer of the law,
As Troy within her walles did not containe
A better man: Yet God then good it saw.

Shee is described with wings, be­cause the changes of things are so sudden, as that they are seene, before [Page 102] foreseene: for in the Records of all ages, wee finde it for the most part true, that great potentates, and wise men haue perished by those misfor­tunes which they most contemned, as may be obserued in Marcus Cice­ro, who being admonished by De­cius Brutus of Octauius Cesars hip­pocriticall friendshippe and hollow heartednes towards him, returnes this answere; Te autem, mi Brute, si­cut debeo, amo, quod istud quicquid est nugarum me scire voluisti. I must e­uer acknowledge my selfe (Deare Brutus) beholding to thee, in loue, for that thou hast bene so carefull to acquaint mee with that which I esteeme but as a needles trifle to be doubted.

Nemesis is also adorned with a Coronet, to shew the enuious and malignant disposition of the vulgar, for when fortunes fauourites and great potentates come to ruine, then doe the common people re­ioyce, setting as it were a crowne vpon the head of reuenge.

[Page 103] The Iauelin in her right hand points at those, whom shee actual­ly strikes and pierceth thorow.

And before those, whom shee de­stroyes not in their calamitie and misfortune, shee euer presents that blacke and dismall spectacle in her left hand: for questionles to men sitting, as it were, vpon the pinnacle of prosperity, the thoughts of death & painfulnes of sicknes and misfor­tunes, perfidiousnes of friends, trea­chery of foes, change of state, and such like, seeme as ougly to the eye of their meditations, as those Ethio­pians pictured in Nemesis her Pit­cher. Virgill in describing the bat­tell of Actium, speakes thus elegant­ly of Cleopatra.

Regina in medijs patrio vocat agmi­na sistro,
Nec dum etiam geminos à tergo respicit angues..
The Queene amidst this hurly burly stands,
[Page 104] And with her Countrey Tim­brell calles her bands;
Not spying yet where crawld be­hind her backe
Two deadly Snakes with venom speckled blacke.

But not long after, which way soeuer shee turned, troops of Ethio­pians were still before her eies.

Lastly, it is wisely added, that Ne­mesis rides vpon an Hart, because a Hart is a most liuely creature. And albeit it may be, that such as are cut off by death in their youth, preuent and shunne the power of Nemesis, yet doubtles such, whose prosperity and power continue long, are made subiect vnto her, and lye as it were troden vnder her feete.

ACHELOVS, or Battell.

IT is a Fable of antiquitie, that when Hercules and Achelous as riuals contended for the mariage of [Page 105] Deianira, the matter drew them to combate, wherein Achelous tooke vpon him many diuers shapes, for so was it in his power to doe, and amongst others, transforming him­selfe into the likenes of a furious wild Bull, assaults Hercules and pro­uokes him to fight. But Hercules for all this, sticking to his old humane forme, couragiously encounters him, & so the combate goes round­ly on. But this was the euent, that Hercules tore away one of the Buls hornes, wherewith he being migh­tily daunted and greeued, to ran­some his horne againe, was conten­ted to giue Hercules in exchange thereof, the Anealthean horne, or Cornu-Copia.

This Fable hath relation vnto the expeditions of warre, for the prepa­rations thereof on the defensiue parte (which exprest in the person of Achelous) is very diuers and vn­certaine. But the inuading party is most commonly of one sorte, and that very single, consisting of an ar­mie [Page 106] by land, or perhaps of a Nauie by Sea. But for a King that in his owne Territorie expects an enemy, his occasions are infinite. He for­tifies townes, he assembles men out of the countreyes and villages, hee raiseth Cittadels, hee builds and breakes downe bridges, hee dispo­seth garrisons, and placeth troopes of Soldiers on passages of riuers, on ports, on Mountaines, and am­bushes in woods, and is busied with a multitude of other directions, in­somuch that euery day he prescri­beth new formes and orders, and then at last hauing accomodated all things compleat for defence, he then rightly represents the forme and manner of a fierce fighting Bull. On the other side, the inuader his greatest care is, the feare to bee distressed for victuals in an enemy Countrey. And therefore affects chiefly to hasten on battell: for if it should happen that after a fielde fought, he proue the victor, and as it were breake the horne of the Ene­my, [Page 107] then certainly this follows that his enemy being strucken with ter­rour and abased in his reputation, presently bewraies his weaknes, and seeking to repaire his losse, retyres himselfe to some strong hold, aban­doning to the Conqueror the spoile and sacke of his countrey and cit­ties: which may well bee termed a type of the Amalthean horne.

DIONYSVS, or Passions.

THey say that Semele Iupiters Sweet-heart (hauing bound her Paramour by an irreuocable oath to grant her one request which shee would require) desired that he would accompany her in the same forme, wherein hee accompanied Iuno: which he granting (as not able to deny) it came to passe that the miserable wench was burnt with lightning. But the infant which she bare in her wombe, Iupiter the Fa­ther tooke out, and kept it in a gash [Page 108] which hee cut in his thigh, till the moneths were compleat that it should be borne. This burden made Iupiter somewhat to limpe, where­upon the child (because it was hea­uy and troublesome to its Father, while it lay in his thigh) was called Dionysus, Being borne, it was com­mitted to Proserpina for some yeeres to be nurs't, and being growne vp, it had such a maiden face, as that a man could hardly iudge whether it were a boy or a girle. He was dead also, and buried for a time, but af­terward reuiued. Being but a youth he inuented, and taught the plan­ting and dressing of Vines, the ma­king also and vse of wine, for which becomming famous and renowned, he subiugated the world, euen to the vttermost bounds of India. He rode in a Chariot drawen with Ty­gers. There danc't about him cer­taine deformed hobgoblins called Cobali, Aoratus, and others, yea euen the Muses also were some of his fol­lowers. Hee tooke to wife Ariadne, [Page 109] forsaken and left by Theseus. The tree sacred vnto him was the Iuie. He was held the inuentor and insti­tutor of Sacrifices, and Ceremo­nies, and full of corruption and cru­elty. Hee had power to strike men with fury or madnes; for it is re­ported, that at the celebration of his Orgies, two famous worthies, Pentheus and Orpheus were torne in pieces by certaine franticke women, the one because he got vpon a tree to behold their ceremonies in these sacrifices, the other for making me­lodie with his harpe. And for his gests, they are in a manner the same with Iupiters.

There is such excellent morality coucht in this Fable, as that Morall philosophy affoords not better: for vnder the person of Bacchus is described the nature of affection, passion, or perturbation, the mother of which (though neuer so hurtful) is nothing els but the obiect of ap­parent good in the eies of Appetite. And it is alwaies conceiued in an [Page 110] vnlawfull desire rashly propounded and obteined, before well vnder­stood and considered, and when it beginnes to growe, the Mother of it, which is the desire of apparent good by too much feruency is de­stroyed and perisheth: Neuerthe­lesse (whilst it is yet an imperfect Embrio) it is nourished and preser­ued in the humane soule, (which is as it were a father vnto it, and repre­sented by Iupiter) but especially in the inferiour parte thereof, as in a thigh, where also it causeth so much trouble and vexation, as that good determinations and actions are much hindred and lamed thereby, and when it comes to be confirmed by consent and habite, and breakes out, as it were, into act, it remaines yet a while, with Proserpina as with a Nurse, that is, it seekes corners and secret places, and, as it were, caues vnder ground, vntill (the reines of shame and feare being laid aside in a pampered audaciousnes) it either takes the pretext of some vertue, or [Page 111] becomes altogether impudent and shameles. And it is most true, that euery vehement passion is of a doubtfull sexe, as being masculine in the first motion, but faeminine in prosecution.

It is an excellent fiction that of Bacchus his reuiuing: for passions doe somtimes seeme to be in a dead sleepe, and as it were vtterly extinct, but wee should not thinke them to be so indeed, no, though they lay, as it were, in their graue; for, let there be but matter and opportunitie offe­red, and you shall see them quickly to reuiue againe.

The inuention of wine is wittily ascribed vnto him, euery affection being ingenious and skilfull in fin­ding out that which brings nou­rishment vnto it; And indeed of all things knowen to men, Wine is most powerfull and efficacious to excite and kindle passions of what kind soeuer, as being in a manner, a common Nurse to them all.

Againe his conquering of Na­tions, [Page 112] and vndertaking infinite ex­peditions is an elegant deuice; For desire neuer rests content with what it hath, but with an infinite and vn­satiable appetite still couets and gapes after more.

His Chariot also is well said to be drawen by Tygers: for as soone as any affection shall from going a­foot, be aduanc't to ride in a Cha­riot and shall captiuate reason, and leade her in a triumph, it growes cruell, vntamed, and fierce, against whatsoeuer withstands or oppo­seth it.

It is worth the nothing also, that those ridiculous hobgoblins are brought in, dancing about his Cha­riot: for euery passion doth cause, in the eies, face, and gesture, cer­taine vndecent, and ill-seeming, apish, and deformed motions, so that they who in any kind of passi­on, as in anger, arrogancy, or loue, seeme glorious and braue in their owne eies, do yet appeare to others misshapen and ridiculous.

[Page 113] In that the Muses are saide to be of his company, it shewes 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 bee the Mi­stresses of life) are made the waiting maids of affections.

Againe, where Bacchus is saide to haue loued Ariadne that was reie­cted by Theseus; it is an Allegory of speciall obseruation: for it is most certaine, that passions alwaies co­uet and desire that which experi­ence forsakes, and they all knowe (who haue paide deare for seruing and obeying their lusts) that whe­ther it be honour, or riches, or de­light, or glory, or knowledge, or any thing els which they seeke af­ter, yet are they but things cast off, and by diuers men in all ages, after experience had, vtterly reiected and loathed.

Neither is it without a mysterie, that the Iuie was sacred to Bacchus: [Page 114] for the application holds, first, in that the Iuie remaines greene in winter. Secondly, in that it stickes too, embraceth, and ouertoppeth so many diuers bodies, as trees, walles, and edifices. Touching the first, euery passion doth by resi­stance, and reluctation, and as it were by an Antiparistasis (like the Iuie of the colde of winter) growe fresh and lusty. And as for the o­ther euery predominate affection doth againe (like the Iuie) embrace and limite all humane actions and determinations, adhering and clea­uing fast vnto them.

Neither is it a wonder, that su­perstitious rites, and ceremonies were attributed vnto Bacchus seeing euery giddy headed humour keepes in a manner, Reuell-rout in false religions: or that the cause of mad­nes should bee ascribed vnto him, seeing euery affection is by nature a short fury, which (if it growe ve­hement, and become habituall) concludes madnes.

[Page 115] Concerning the rending and dismembring of Pentheus and Or­pheus, the parable is plaine, for eue­ry preualent affection is outragi­ous and seuere against curious in­quiry, and wholsome and free ad­monition.

Lastly, that confusion of Iupiter and Bacchus, their persons may be well transferred to a parable, seeing noble and famous acts, and remark­able and glorious merits, doe some­times proceed from vertue, and well ordered reason, and magnanimitie, and sometimes from a secret affe­ction, and hidden passion, which are so dignified with the celebritie of fame and glory, that a man can hardly distinguish betweene the actes of Bacchus, and the gests of Iupiter.

ATALANTA, or Gaine.

ATalanta who was reputed to excell in swiftnesse, would needs challenge Hippomanes at a match in running. The conditions of the Prize were these: That if Hip­pomanes wonne the race, he should espouse Atalanta; If he were out­runne, that then hee should forfeit his life. And in the opinion of all, the victorie was thought assured of Atalantas side, beeing famous as shee was for her matchlesse and in­conquerable speed, whereby shee had bene the bane of many. Hippo­manes therefore bethinkes him how to deceiue her by a tricke, and in that regarde prouides three golden apples, or balles which he purpose­ly caried about him. The race is begunne, and Atalanta gets a good start before him. Hee seeing him­selfe thus cast behind, being mind­full of his deuice, throwes one of [Page 117] his golden balles 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: shee out of a woma­nish desire, (beeing thus enticed with the beautie of the golden ap­ple) leauing her direct race, runnes aside, and stoops to catch the ball: Hippomanes the while holds on his course, getting thereby a great start, and leaues her behind him: But shee by her owne naturall swiftnes, re­couers her lost time, and gets before him againe. But Hippomanes still continues his sleight, and both the second and third times casts out his balles, those enticing delayes; and so by craft and not by his actiuitie winnes the race and victorie.

This Fable seemes allegorically to demonstrate a notable conflict betweene Art and Nature: for Art (signified by Atalanta) in its worke (if it be not letted and hindred) is farre more swift then Nature, more speedie in pace; and sooner attaines [Page 118] the end it aimes at, which is mani­fest almost in euery effect: As you may see in fruit-trees, whereof those that growe of a kernell are long ere they beare, but such as are grafted on a stocke a great deale sooner. You may see it in Clay, which in the generation of stones, is long ere it become hard, but in the burning of Brickes, is very quickly effected. Also in morall passages you may obserue, that it is a long time ere (by the benefit of Nature) sorrowe can be asswaged and comfort attai­ned, whereas Philosophy (which is, as it were, Art of liuing) taries not the leasure of time, but doth it in­stantly, and out of hand; And yet this prerogatiue and singular agility of Art is hindred by certaine golden apples, to the infinite preiudice of humane proceedings: for there is not any one Art or Science which constantly perseueres in a true and lawfull course, till it come to the proposed ende or marke: but euer and anone makes stops, after good [Page 119] beginnings, leaues the race, and turnes aside to profite and commo­ditie, like Atalanta.

Declinat cursus, aurum (que) volubile tollit.
Who doth her course forsake,
The rolling gold to take.

And therefore it is no wonder that Art hath not the power to conquer Nature, and by pact or lawe of con­quest, to kill and destroy her: but on the contrary, it falles out, that Art becomes subiect to Nature, and yeelds the obedience, as of a wife to her husband.

PROMETHEVS, or the State of man.

THe Ancients deliuer, that Pro­metheus made a man of Clay, mixt with certaine parcels taken from diuers animales, who studying to maintaine this his worke by Art [Page 120] (that he might not be accounted a founder onely, but a propagator of humane kinde) stole vp to heauen with a bundle of twigs, which hee kindling at the Chariot of the Sun, came downe againe, and commu­nicated it with men: And yet they say, that (notwithstanding this ex­cellent worke of his) he was requi­ted with ingratitude, in a treache­rous conspiracie: For they accused both him and his inuention to Iu­piter, which was not so taken as was meet it should, for the informa­tion was pleasing to Iupiter and all the Gods. And therefore in a mer­ry mood, graunted vnto men, not onely the vse of fire, but perpetuall youth also, a boone most accepta­ble and desireable. They being, as it were, ouerioyed, did foolishly lay this gift of the Gods vpon the backe of an asse, who being wonderful­ly opprest with thirst, and neere a fountaine, was tolde by a Serpent (which had the custody thereof) that hee should not drinke, vnlesse [Page 121] he would promise to giue him the burden that was on his backe. The silly Asse accepted the condition, and so the restauration of youth (sold for a draught of water) past from men to Serpents. But Prome­theus full of malice, being reconci­led vnto men, after they were fru­strated of their gift, but in a chafe yet with Iupiter, feared not to vse deceit in Sacrifice: for hauing kil­led two Bulles, and in one of their hides wrapt vp the flesh and fat of them both, and in the other onely the bones, with a great shew of re­ligious deuotion, gaue Iupiter his choise, who (detesting his fraude and hypocrisie, but taking an oc­casion of reuenge) chose that that was stuft with bones, and so turning to reuenge (when hee saw that the insolencie of Prometheus would not be repressed, but by laying some grieuous affliction vpon mankind, in the forming of which, hee so much bragged and boasted) com­manded Vulcan, to frame a goodly [Page 122] beautifull woman, which beeing done, euery one of the Gods be­stowed a gift on her; whereupon shee was called Pandora. To this woman they gaue in her hand, a goodly Box, full of all miseries and calamities, onely in the bottome of it, they put Hope: With this Box shee comes first to Prometheus, thin­king to catch him, if peraduenture, he should accept it at her hands, and so open it: which he neuerthe­lesse, with good prouidence and foresight refused. Whereupon shee goes to Epimetheus (who, though brother to Prometheus, yet was of a much differing disposition) and of­fers this Box vnto him, who, with­out delay, tooke it, and rashly ope­ned it, but when hee sawe that all kind of miseries came fluttering a­bout his eares, being wise too late, with great speed and earnest indea­uour, clapt on the couer, and so, with much adoe, retained Hope sit­ting alone in the bottome. At last Iupiter laying many and grieuous [Page 123] crimes to Prometheus his charge (as namely that he had stollen fire from heauen, that in contempt of his Maiestie, he sacrificed a bulles hide stuft with bones, that he scornfully reiected his gift, and besides all this that hee offered violence to Pallas) cast him into chaines, and doomd him to perpetuall torment: and by Iupiters command, was brought to the mountaine Caucasus, and there bound fast to a pillar that he could not stirre; there came an Eagle al­so, that euery day sate tyring vpon his liuar, and wasted it, but as much as was eaten in the day, grew againe in the night, that matter for torment to worke vpon might neuer decay. But yet, they say, there was an end of this punishment: for Hercules crossing the Ocean in a Cup, which the Sun gaue him, came to Cauca­sus, and set Prometheus at libertie, by shooting the Eagle with an arrowe. Moreouer in some nations there were instituted in the honor of Pro­metheus, certaine games of Lamp­bearers, [Page 124] in which they that striued for the prize, were wont to carie torches lighted; which, who so suf­fered to goe out, yeelded the place and victory to those that followed, and so cast backe themselues, so that whosoeuer came first to the marke with his torch burning, got the prize.

This Fable demonstrates and presseth many true and graue specu­lations, wherein some things haue bene heretofore well noted, others not so much as toucht.

Prometheus doth cleerely and elegantly signifie Prouidence: For in the vniuersality of nature, the fa­bricque and constitution of Man onely was by the Ancients pict out and chosen, and attributed vnto Prouidence, as a peculiar worke. The reason of it seemes to bee, not onely in that the nature of man is capable of a minde and vnderstan­ding, which is the seate of Proui­dence, and therefore it would seeme strange and incredible that the rea­son [Page 125] and minde should so proceed and flowe from dumbe and deafe principles, as that it should necessa­rily be concluded, the soule of man to be indued with prouidence, not without the example, intention, and stampe of a greater prouidence. But this also is chiefly propounded, that man is as it were, the center of the world, in respect of finall causes, so that if man were not in nature, all things would seeme to stray and wander without purpose, and like scattered branches (as they say) without inclination to their ende: for all things attend on man, and he makes vse of, and gathers fruit from all creatures: for the reuolutions and periods of Starres make both for the distinctions of times, and the distribution of the worlds site. Meteors also are referred to the Presages of tempests; and winds are ordained, as well for nauigation, as for turning of Milles, and other en­gines: and plants, and animals of what kind soeuer, are vsefull either [Page 126] for mens houses, and places of shel­ter, or for raiment, or food, or me­dicine, or for ease of labour, or in a word, for delight and solace, so that all things seeme to worke, not for themselues, but for man.

Neither is it added without con­sideration, that certaine particles were taken from diuers liuing crea­tures, & mixt & tempered with that clayie masse, because it is most true that of all things comprehended within the compasse of the vniuerse, Man is a thing most mixt and com­pounded, insomuch that hee was well termed by the Ancients, A lit­tle world: for although the Chy­micques doe, with too much curio­sitie, take and wrest the elegancie of this word (Microcosme) to the let­ter, contending to finde in man all minerals, all vegetables and the rest, or any thing that holds proportion with them, yet this proposition re­maines sound and whole, that the body of man, of all material beings, is found to bee most compounded, [Page 127] and most organicall, whereby it is indued and furnished with most ad­mirable vertues and faculties. And as for simple bodies, their powers are not many, though certaine and violent, as existing without being weakned, diminished, or stented by mixture: for the multiplicitie and excellencie of operation haue their residence in mixture and composi­tion, and yet neuerthelesse, man in his originals, seemes to be a thing vnarmed, and naked, and vnable to helpe it selfe, as needing the aide of many things; therefore Prometheus made haste to finde out fire, which suppeditates and yeelds comfort and helpe, in a manner, to all hu­mane wants and necessities: so that if the soule be the forme of formes, and if the hand be the instrument of instruments; fire deserues well to be called the succour of succours, or the helpe of helpes, which infinite waies affoords ayde and assistance to all labours and mechanicall artes, and to the sciences themselues.

[Page 128]The manner of stealing this fire is aptly described, euen from the na­ture of the thing: It was, as they say, by a bundle of twigs held to touch the Chariot of the Sunne: for twigs are vsed in giuing blowes or stripes, to signifie clearely, that fire is in­gendred by the violent percussion, and mutuall collision of bodies, by which their materiall substances are attenuated, and set in motion, and prepared to receiue the heat or in­fluence of the heauenly 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 Sunne.

There followes next a remark­able part of the parable, That men in steed of gratulation, and thanks­giuing, were angry, and expostula­ted the matter with Prometheus, in­somuch that they accused both him and his inuention vnto Iupiter, which was so acceptable vnto him, that hee augmented their former commodities with a new bountie. [Page 129] Seemes it not strange, that ingrati­tude towards the authour of a bene­fit (a vice that, in a manner, con­taines all other vices) should find such approbation and reward? No, it seemes to be otherwise: for the meaning of the Allegory is this, That mens outcries vpon the de­fects of nature and Arte, proceed from an excellent disposition of the minde, and turne to their good, whereas the silencing of them is hatefull to the Gods, and redounds not so much to their profit: For they that infinitly extoll humane nature, or the knowledge they possesse, breaking out into a prodigall admi­ration of that they haue and en­ioy, adoring also those sciences they professe, would haue them be ac­counted perfect; they doe first of all shewe little reuerence to the diuine nature, by equalizing, in a manner, their owne defects with Gods per­fection; Againe, they are wonder­full iniurious to men, by imagining they haue attained the highest step [Page 130] of knowledge (resting themselues contented) seeke no further. On the contrary, such as bring nature and Art to the barre with accusati­ons and billes of complaint against them, are indeed of more true and moderate iudgements, for they are euer in action, seeking alwaies to finde out new inuentions. Which makes mee much to wonder at the foolish and inconsiderate disposi­tions of some men, who (making themselues bondslaues to the arro­gancy of a fewe) haue the philoso­phy of the Peripateticques (contai­ning onely a portion of Graecian wisedome, and that but a small one neither) in so great esteeme, that they hold it, not onely an vnprofi­table, but a suspicious, and almost hainous thing, to lay any imputa­tion of imperfection vpon it. I ap­proue rather of Empedocles his opi­nion, (who like a madman, and of Democritus his iudgement, who with great moderation complained how that all things were inuolued [Page 131] in a mist) that wee knew nothing, that wee discerned nothing, that trueth was drowned in the depthes of obscuritie, and that false things were wonderfully ioynd and inter­mixt with true (as for the new Aca­demie that exceeded all measure) then of the confident and pronun­tiatiue schoole of Aristotle. Let men therefore be admonished, that by acknowledging the imperfecti­ons of Nature and Arte, they are gratefull to the Gods, and shall ther­by obtaine new benefits and greater fauours at their bountifull hands, and the accusation of Prometheus their Authour and Master, (though bitter and vehement) will conduce more to their profit, then to be ef­fuse in the congratulation of his in­uention: for in a word, the opinion of hauing inough, is to be accoun­ted one of the greatest causes of ha­uing too little.

Now as touching the kind of gift which men are said to haue receiued in reward of their accusation (to wit, [...] [...] [Page 134] hauing the vse of that celestiall fire, and of so many arts, are not able to get vnto themselues such things as Nature it selfe bestowes vpon many other creatures.

But that sudden reconciliation of men to Prometheus, after they were frustrated of their hopes, con­taines a profitable and wise note, shewing the leuity and temerity of men in new experiments: for if they haue not present successe answerable to their expectation, with too sud­daine haste desist from that they be­ganne, and with precipitancy retur­ning to their former experiments are reconciled to them againe.

The state of man in respect of Arts, and such things as concerne the intellect, being now described, the parable passeth to Religion: For after the planting of Arts followes the setting of diuine principles, which hypocrisie hath ouerspread and polluted. By that twofold Sa­crifice therefore is elegantly sha­dowed out, the persons of a true re­ligious [Page 135] man and an hypocrite. In the one is contained fatnes, which (by reason of the inflamation and fumes thereof) is called the portion of God, by which his affection and zeale (tending to Gods glory, and ascending towards heauen) is signi­fied. In him also are contained the bowels of charity, and in him is founde that good and wholsome flesh. Whereas in the other, there is nothing but dry and naked bones, which neuerthelesse doe stuffe vp the hide, and make it appeare like a faire and goodly sacrifice: By this may well be meant those externall and vaine rites, and emptie Cere­monies by which men doe oppresse and fill vp the sincere worshippe of God, things composed rather for ostentation then any way condu­cing to true piety. Neither doe they hold it sufficiēt to offer such mock-sacrifices vnto God, except they al­so lay them before him, as if he had chosen and bespoke them. Certain­ly the Prophet in the person of God, [Page 136] doth thus expostulate concerning this choise. Esa. 58. 5. Num tandem hoc est illud ieiunium, quod ELEGI, vt homo animam suam in diem vnum affligat, & caput instar iunceae demit­tat? Is it such a fast, that I haue cho­sen, that a man should afflict his soule for a day, and to bow downe his head like a Bull-rush?

Hauing now toucht the state of Religion, the parable conuerts it selfe to the manners and conditions of humane life. And it is a common, but apt, interpretation, by Pandora to be meant pleasure & voluptuous­nes, which (when the ciuill life is pampered with too much Arte, and culture, and superfluitie) is ingen­dred, as it were, by the efficacy of fire, and therefore the worke of vo­luptuousnes is attributed vnto Vul­can, who also himselfe doth repre­sent fire. From this doe infinite mi­series, together with too late repen­tance, proceed and ouerslowe the minds, and bodies, and fortunes of men, and that not onely in respect [Page 137] of particular estates, but euen ouer kingdomes and common-wealthes: for from this fountaine haue wars, and tumults, and tyrannies deriued their originall.

But it would bee worth the la­bour, to consider how elegantly and proportionably this Fable doth de­liniate two conditions, or (as I may say) two tables or examples of hu­mane life, vnder the persons of Pro­metheus and Epimetheus: for they that are of Epimetheus his sect, are improuident, not foreseeing what may come to passe hereafter, estee­ming that best which seemes most sweete for the present; whence it happens that they are ouertaken with many miseries, difficulties and calamities, and so leade their owne liues almost in perpetuall affliction, but yet notwithstanding they please their fancy, and out of ignorance of the passages of things, doe enter­taine many vaine hopes in their mind, whereby they sometimes(as with sweet dreames) solace them­selues, [Page 138] and sweeten the miseries of their life. But they that are Prome­theus his schollers, are men endued with prudence, foreseeing things to come warily, shunning and auoy­ding many euils and misfortunes. But to these their good properties they haue this also annexed, that they depriue themselues, and de­fraud their Genius of many lawfull pleasures, and diuers recreations, and (which is worse) they vexe and torment themselues with cares and troubles and intestine feares: For beeing chained to the pillar of ne­cessitie, they are afflicted with innu­merable cogitations (which because they are very swift, may bee fitly compared to an Eagle) and those griping, and, as it were, gnawing and deuouring the liuer, vnlesse sometimes, as it were by night, it may bee they get a little recreation and ease of mind, but so, as that they are againe suddenly assaulted with fresh anxieties and feares.

Therefore this benefit happens [Page 139] to but a very few of either condi­tion, that they should retaine the commodities of prouidence, and free themselues from the miseries of care and perturbation; neither in­deed can any attaine vnto it, but by the assistance of Hercules, that is, fortitude, and constancie of minde, which is prepared for euery euent, and armed in all fortunes, foreseeing without feare, enioying without loathing, and suffering without im­patience. It is worth the noting also, that this vertue was not naturall to Prometheus, but aduentitiall, & from the indulgence of another: for no in-bred and naturall fortitude is a­ble to encounter with these mise­ries. Moreouer this vertue was re­ceiued and brought vnto him from the remotest parte of the Ocean, and from the Sunne, that is, from wise­dome as from the Sunne, and from the meditation of inconstancie, or of the waters of humane life, as from the sailing vpon the Ocean, which two Virgill hath well conioyned in these verses. [...] [...]

[Page 142] and betweene the Oracles of sense, and the mysteries of faith, vn­lesse an hereticall religion, and a commentitious philosophy be plea­sing vnto vs.

Lastly, it remaines that wee say something of the games of Prome­theus performed with burning tor­ches, which againe hath reference to arts and sciences, as that fire, in whose memory and celebration, these games were instituted, and it containes in it a most wise admoni­tion, that the perfection of sciences is to be expected from succession, not from the nimblenesse and promptnes of one onely authour: for they that are nimblest in course, and strongest in contention, yet happily haue not the lucke to keepe fire still in their torch; seeing it may be as well extinguished by run­ning too fast, as by going too slowe. And this running and contending with lampes, seemes long since to be intermitted, seeing all sciences seeme euen now to flourish most in [Page 143] their first Authours, Aristotle, Ga­lene, Euclid and Ptolomie, succession hauing neither effected, nor almost attempted any great matter. It were therefore to bee wished, that these games in honour of Prometheus or humane nature were again restored, & that matters should receiue suc­cesse by combate and emulation, & not hang vpon any one mans spark­ling and shaking torch. Men there­fore are to bee admonished to rouse vp their spirits, & trie their strengths and turnes, and not referre all to the opinions and braines of a few.

And thus haue I deliuered that which I thought good to obserue out of this so wel knowen and com­mon Fable; and yet I will not denie but that there may bee some things in it, which haue an admirable con­sent with the mysteries of christian religion, and especially that sailing of Hercules in a Cuppe (to set Pro­metheus at libertie) seemes to repre­sent an image of the diuine Word comming in flesh as in a fraile vessell [Page 144] to redeeme Man from the slauery of Hell. But I haue interdicted my penne all liberty in this kinde, lest I should vse strange fire at the altar of the Lord.

SCYLLA AND ICARVS, or the Middle-way.

MEdiocrity or the Middle-way is most commended in mo­rall actions, in contemplatiue scien­ces not so celebrated, though no lesse profitable and commodious: But in politicall imployments to be vsed with great heed and iudge­ment. The Ancients by the way prescribed to Icarus, noted the me­diocrity of manners: and by the way betweene Scylla and Charybdis (so famous for difficulty and dan­ger) the mediocritie of intellectuall operations.

Icarus being to crosse the sea by flight, was commanded by his Fa­ther that hee should flie neither too [Page 145] high nor too lowe; for his wings being ioynd with waxe, if he should mount too high, it was to be feared lest the waxe, would melt by the heat of the Sunne; and If too lowe, least the mistie vapours of the Sea would make it lesse tenacious: But he in a youthfull iollitie soaring too high, fell downe headlong and pe­rished in the water.

The parable is easie and vulgar: for the way of vertue lies in a direct path betweene excesse and defect. Neither is it a wonder that Icarus perished by Excesse, seeing that Ex­cesse, for the most part, is the pecu­liar fault of youth, as Defect is of age, and yet of too euill and hurtfull waies, youth commonly makes choise of the better, defect being al­waies accounted worst: for whereas excesse containes some sparkes of magnanimitie, & like a bird claimes kindred of the Heauens, defect onely like a base worme crawles vpon the earth. Excellently there­fore [Page 146] said Heraclitus, Lumen siccum optima anima. A drie light is the best soule: for if the soule contract moi­sture from the earth it becomes de­generate altogether. Againe on the other side, there must be modera­tion vsed, that this light be subtilized by this laudable siccity, and not de­stroyed by too much feruency. And thus much euery man, for the most part, knowes.

Now they that would saile be­tweene Scylla & Charybdis must be furnished, as well with the skill, as prosperous successe of nauigation: for if their shippes fall into Scylla they are split on the Rocks: if into Charybdis they are swallowed vp of a Gulfe.

The morall of this parable (which we will but briefly touch, although it containe matter of infinite con­templation) seemes to be this, that in euery Art and Science, and so in their rules and Axiomes, there bee a meane obserued betweene the rocks [Page 147] of distinctions and the gulfes of vniuersalities, which two are famous for the wracke both of wittes and artes.

SPHINX, or Science.

THey say that Sphinx was a monster of diuers formes, as hauing the face and voice of a vir­gine, the wings of a bird, and the ta­lents of a Griphin. His abode was in a mountaine neere the Citie of Thebes, he kept also the high waies, and vsed to lie in ambush for travel­lers, and so to surprize them; to whom (being in his power) he pro­pounded certaine darke and intri­cate riddles, which were thought to haue bene giuen and receiued of the Muses. Now if these miserable cap­tiues were not able instantly to re­solue and interprete them in the middest of their difficulties and [...] [...] [Page 150] vnto it for its gratious countenance and volubilitie of tongue. Wings are added because Sciences and their inuentions, doe passe and flie from one to another, as it were in a moment, seeing that the communi­cation of Science is as the kindling of one light at another. Elegantly also is it fained to haue sharpe and hooked talents, because the Axioms and arguments of Science doe so fasten vpon the mind, and so strong­ly apprehend and hold it, as that it cannot stirre or euade, which is no­ted also by the diuine Philosopher. Eccl. 12. 11. Verba sapientum (saith he) sunt tanquam aculei & veluti cla­ui in altum defixi. The words of the wise are like goads, and like nailes driuen farre in.

Moreouer, all Science seemes to be placed in steepe and high moun­taines: as being thought to be a lof­tie and high thing, looking downe vpon ignorance with a scornefull eye. It may bee obserued and seene [Page 151] also a great way, and farre in com­passe, as things set on the toppes of mountaines.

Furthermore, Science may well be fained to besette the high waies, because which way so euer we turne in this progresse and pilgrimage of humane life, wee meete with some matter or occasion offered for con­templation.

Sphinx is saide to haue receiued from the Muses diuers difficult questions and riddles, and to pro­pound them vnto men, which re­maining with the Muses are free (it may be) from sauage cruelty: for so long as there is no other ende of studie and meditation, then to know; the vnderstanding is not rackt and imprisoned, but enioyes freedome and libertie, and euen in doubts and variety findes a kind of pleasure and delectation: but when once these Aenigmaes are deliuered by the Muses to Sphinx, that is, to practise, so that it bee sollicited and [Page 152] vrged by action, and election, and determination; then they beginne to be troublesome and raging; and vnlesse they be resolued and expedi­ted, they doe wonderfully torment and vexe the minds of men, distra­cting, and in a manner rending them into sundry parts.

Moreouer there is alwaies a two­fold condition propounded with Sphinx her Aenigmaes; To him that doth not expound them, distraction of minde, and to him that doth, a kingdome: for he that knowes that which he sought to knowe, hath at­tained the end he aimed at, and eue­ry artificer also commands ouer his worke.

Of Sphinx her riddles, there are generally two kinds; some concer­ning the nature of things, others touching the nature of Man. So also there are two kindes of Empe­ries, as rewards to those that resolue them: the one ouer nature, the o­ther ouer men; for the proper and [Page 153] chiefe end of true naturall philoso­phy is to command and sway ouer naturall beeings, as bodies, medi­cines, mechanicall workes, and in­finite other things; although the schoole (being content with such things as are offered, and pryding it selfe with speeches) doth neglect realties, and workes, treading them, as it were, vnder foote. But that Aenigma propounded to Oedipus (by meanes of which hee obtained the Thebane Empire) belonged to the nature of man: For whosoeuer doth throughly consider the na­ture of man, may be, in a manner, the contriuer of his owne for­tune, and is borne to command, which is wel spoken of the Romane Arts.

Tu regere imperio populos, Romane memento:
Hae tibi erunt artes.—
Romane remember that with scepters awe
Thy Realmes thou rule. These arts let be thy lawe.

It was therefore very apposit, that Augustus Caesar (whether by preme­ditation or by chance) bare a Sphinx in his Signet: for hee (if euer any) was famous not onely in politicall gouernment, but in all the course of his life; he happily discouered ma­ny new Aenigmaes concerning the nature of Man, which if he had not done with dexteritie and prompt­nesse, he had oftentimes fallen into imminent danger and destruction.

Moreouer it is added in the Fa­ble, that the body of Sphinx when shee was ouercome was laide vpon an Asse: which indeed is an elegant fiction, seeing there is nothing so accute and abstruse, but (beeing well vnderstood and diuulged) may be apprehended by a slowe ca­pacitie.

[Page 155]Neither is it to be omitted, that Sphinx was ouercome by a Man lame in his feet: for when men are too swift of foot and too speedy of pace in hasting to Sphinx her Aeni­gmaes, it comes to passe that (shee getting the vpper hand) their wits and mindes are rather distracted by disputations, then that euer they come to command by workes and effects.

PROSERPINA, or Spirit.

PLuto they say, being made king of the infernall dominions (by that memorable diuision) was in despaire of euer attaining any one of the superiour Goddesses in ma­riage, especially if he should venter to court them either with words or with any amorous behauiour, so that of necessitie he was to lay some plot to get one of them by rapine, [Page 156] taking therefore the benefit of op­portunitie, he caught vp Proserpina (the daughter of Ceres, a beautifull virgine) as shee was gathering Nar­cissus flowers in the meadowes of Sicily, and caried her away with him in his Coach to the Subterra­nean dominions, where shee was welcomed with such respect, as that shee was stiled the Lady of Dis. But Ceres her mother, when in no place shee could finde this her onely belo­ued daughter, in a sorrowfull hu­mour and distracted beyond mea­sure, went compassing the whole earth with a burning torch in her hand, to seeke and recouer this her lost child. But when shee saw that all was in vaine, supposing perad­uenture that she was caried to Hell, shee importuned Iupiter with many teares and lamentations, that shee might be restored vnto her again, & at length preuailed thus farre, That if she had tasted of nothing in Hell, shee should haue leaue to bring her [Page 157] from thence. Which condition was as good as a deniall to her petition, Proserpina hauing already eaten three graines of a Pome-granat. And yet for all this, Ceres gaue not ouer her suite, but fell to prayers and moanes afresh. Wherefore it was at last granted, that (the yeere being diuided) Proserpina should by alter­nate courses, remaine one sixe mo­neths with her husband, and other six moneths with her mother. Not long after this Theseus and Peri­thous in an ouer hardy aduenture attempted to fetch her from Plutos bed, who being wearie with trauell and sitting downe vpon a stone in Hell to rest themselues, had not the power to rise againe, but sate there for euer. Proserpina therefore remai­ned Queene of Hell, in whose ho­nour there was this great priuiledge granted, That although it were en­acted that none that went downe to Hell should haue the power euer to returne from thence, yet was this [Page 158] singular exception annexed to this law, that if any presented Proserpina with a golden bough, it should bee lawfull for him to come and goe at his pleasure. Now there was but one onely such bough in a spacious and shady groue, which was not a plant neither of it selfe, but budded from a tree of another kinde, like a rope of Gumme, which beeing pluckt of another would instantly spring out.

This Fable seemes to pertaine to nature, and to diue into that rich and plentifull efficacy and varie­ty of subalternall creatures, from whom whatsoeuer wee haue is deriued, and to them doth againe returne.

By Proserpina the Auncients meant that aethereall spirite which (beeing separated from the vpper globe) is shut vp and detained vn­der the earth (represented by Plu­to) which the Poet well expressed thus.

Siue recens tellus, seducta (que) nuper ab alto
Aethere, cognati retinebat semina coeli.
Whither the youngling Tellus (that of late
Was from the high-reard Ae­ther seperate)
Did yet containe her teeming wombe within
The liuing seeds of Heauen, her neerest kin.

This spirit is fained to be rapted by the Earth, because nothing can with-hold it when it hath time and leasure to escape. It is therefore caught and stayed by a sudden con­traction, no other wise then if a man should goe about to mixe ayre with water, which can be done by no meanes, but by a speedy and ra­pid agitation, as may bee seene in froth, wherein the ayre is rapted by the water.

[Page 160]Neither is it inelegantly added that Proserpina was rapte as shee was gathering Narcissus Flowers in the valleyes, because Narcissus hath his name from slownesse or stupiditie: for indeed then is this Spirit most prepared and fitted to be snatcht by terrestiall matter, when it beginnes to be coagulated, and becomes as it were slowe.

Rightly is Proserpina honoured more then any of the other Gods bed-fellowes, in beeing styled the Lady of Dis, because this spirit doth rule and swaye all things in those lower Regions, Pluto abiding stupid and ignorant.

This Spirit the power celestiall (shadowed by Ceres) striues with infinite sedulity to recouer and get againe: for that brand or burning torch of Aether (which Ceres caried in her hand) doth doubtles signifie the Sunne, which enlightneth the whole circuit of the Earth, and would bee of greatest moment to [Page 161] recouer Proserpina, if possibly it might be.

But Proserpina abides still, the reason of which is accuratly and ex­cellently propounded in the condi­tions betweene Iupiter and Ceres: For first it is most certaine there are two waies to keepe Spirit in solid and terrestriall Matter; the one by constipation or obstruction, which is meere imprisonment and con­straint; the other by administration of proportionable nutriment, which it receiues willingly and of its owne accord: for after that the included Spirit beginnes to feed and nourish it selfe, it makes no haste to be gone, but is, as it were, linckt to its Earth: And this is pointed at by Proserpina her eating of a Pome granat; which if shee had not done, shee had long since beene recouered by Ceres with her torch, compassing the Earth. Now as concerning that Spi­rit which is in Mettals and minerals, it is chiefly perchance restrained by [Page 162] the solidity of Masse: but that which is in Plants and Animals, inhabites a porous body, and hath open pas­sage to bee gone in a manner as it lists, were it not that it willingly a­bides of its owne accord, by reason of the relish it finds in its entertain­ment. The second condition con­cerning the six moneths custome, it is no other then an elegant descrip­tion of the diuision of the yeere, see­ing this Spirit mixt with the Earth appeares aboue ground in vegetable bodies during the summer months, and in the winter sinkes downe againe.

Now as concerning Theseus, and Perithous their attempt to bring Proserpina quite away; the meaning of it is, that it oftentimes comes to passe, that some more subtill spirits descēding with diuers bodies to the Earth, neuer come to sucke of any subalternall Spirit, whereby to vnite it vnto them, and so to bring it away. But on the contrary are coagulated [Page 163] themselues and neuer rise more, that Proserpina should bee by that meanes augmented with inhabi­tants and dominion.

All that wee can say concerning that sprig of gold is hardly able to defend vs from the violence of the Chymicks, if in this regarde they set vpon vs, seeing they promise by that their Elixar to effect golden moun­taines, and the restoring of naturall bodies, as it were, from the portall of Hell. But concerning Chymi­stry, and those perpetuall sutors for that philosophicall Elixar, wee know certainly that their Theory is without grounds, & we suspect that their practise also is without cer­taine reward. And therefore (omit­ting these) of this last part of the pa­rable this is my opinion. I am in­duced to beleeue by many figures of the Ancients, that the conserua­tion and restauration of naturall bodies in some sorte was not estee­med by them as a thing impossible [...] [...] [...] [...] [Page 168] Coronets. So as euer since that time all the Muses haue attired them selues with plumed heads, except Terpsichores onely that was mother to the Sirenes. The habitation of the Sirenes was in certaine pleasant Ilands, from whence as soone as out of their watch-tower they dis­couered any ships approching, with their sweet tunes they would first entice and stay them, and hauing them in their power would destroy them. Neither was their song plaine and single, but consisting of such va­riety of melodious tunes, so fitting and delighting the eares that heard them, as that it rauished and betray­ed all passengers. And so great was the mischiefe they did, that these Iles of the Sirenes, euen as farre off as a man could ken them, appeared all ouer white with the bones of vnburied Carcases. For the remedy­ing of this miserie, a double meanes was at last found out, the one by Vlisses, the other by Orpheus. Vlisses [Page 169] (to make experiment of his de­uice) caused all the eares of his com­panie to bee stopt with waxe, and made himselfe to be bound to the maine Mast, with speciall comman­dement to his Mariners not to bee loosed, albeit himselfe should re­quire them so to doe. But Orpheus neglecting and disdaining to be so bound, with a shrill and sweet voice singing the praises of the Gods to his Harpe, supprest the songs of the Sirenes, and so freed himselfe from their danger.

This Fable hath relation to mens manners, and containes in it a ma­nifest and most excellent Parable: For pleasures doe for the most part proceed out of the abundance and superfluitie of all things, and also out of the delights and Iouiall con­tentments of the minde; the which are wont suddenly, as it were, with winged entisements to rauish and rapt mortall men. But learning and education brings it so to passe, as [Page 170] that it restraines and bridles mans mind, making it so to consider the ends and euents of things, as that it clippes the wings of pleasure. And this was greatly to the honour and renowne of the Muses: for after that by some examples it was made ma­nifest that by the power of philoso­phy vaine pleasures might growe contemptible; it presently grew to great esteeme, as a thing that could raise and eleuate the mind aloft that seemed to be base and fixed to the earth; and make the cogitations of men (which doe euer recide in the head) to be aethereall, and as it were winged. But that the Mother of the Sirenes was left to her feet and with­out wings; that no doubt is no otherwise meant, then of light and superficiall learning, appropriated and defined onely to pleasures, as were those which Petronius deuoted himselfe vnto, after he had receiued his fatall sentence, and hauing his foot, as it were, vpon the threshold [Page 171] of death sought to giue himselfe all delightfull contentments, in so much as when he had caused con­solatory letters to be sent him, hee would peruse none of them as Ta­citus reports) that should giue him courage and constancie, but onely reade fantasticall verses, such as these are.

Viuamus, mea Lesbia, atque ame­mus,
Rumoresque Senium Seuerio­rum,
Omnes vnius aestimemus As­sis.
My Lesbia, let vs liue and loue;
Though wayward Dottards vs reproue,
Weigh their words light for our behoue.
[Page 172] And this also;
Iura Senes nôrint, & quid sit fasque nefasque
Inquirant tristes, legumque exa­mina seruent.
Let doting Grandsires know the lawe,
And right and wrong obserue with awe:
Let them in that stricte circle drawe.

This kind of doctrine wold easily perswade to take these plumed Co­ronets from the Muses, & to restore the wings again to the Sirens. These Sirenes are saide to dwell in remote Iles, for that pleasures loue priuacie and retired places, shunning alwaies too much companie of people. The Sirenes songs are so vulgarly vnder­stood together with the deceits and danger of them, as that they need no exposition. But that of the bones [Page 173] appearing like white cliffes; and de­scryed a farre off, hath more acute­nesse in it: For thereby is signified, that albeit the examples of afflicti­ons be manifest and eminent; yet doe they not sufficiently deterre vs from the wicked enticements of pleasures.

As for the remainder of this pa­rable, though it be not ouer mysti­call, yet is it very graue and excel­lent: For in it are set out three reme­dies for this violent enticing mis­chiefe; to wit, two from Philoso­phy, and one from Religion. The first meanes to shunne these inordi­nate pleasures is, to withstand and resist them in their beginnings, and seriously to shunne all occasions that are offered to debaush & entice the mind, which is signified in that stopping of the Eares; & that reme­die is properly vsed by the meaner and baser sorte of people, as it were, Vlisses followers or Marriners; whereas more heroique and noble [Page 174] Spirits, may boldly conuerse euen in the midst of these seducing plea­sures, if with a resolued constancie they stand vpon their guard, and fortefie their minds; And so take greater contentment in the triall and experience of this their appro­ued vertue; learning rather through­ly to vnderstand the follies and va­nities of those pleasures by contem­plation, then by submission. Which Salomon auouched of himselfe, when hee reckoning vp the multi­tude of those solaces and pleasures wherein he swamme, doth conclude with this Sentence;

Sapientia quoque perseuerauit me­cum.
Wisedome also continued with mee.

Therefore these Heroes, and Spi­rits of this excellent temper, euen in the midst of these enticing plea­sures, can shew themselues constant [Page 175] and inuincible, and are able to sup­port their owne vertuous inclina­tion, against all headdy and forcible perswasions whatsoeuer; as by the example of Vlisses that so perempto­rily interdicted all pestilent counsels and flatteries of his companions, as the most dangerous and pernicious poisons to captiuate the mind. But of all other remedies in this case, that of Orpheus is most predomi­nant: For they that chaunt and re­sound the praises of the Gods, con­founde and dissipate the voices and incantations of the Sirenes; for di­uine meditations doe not onely in power subdue all sensuall pleasures; but also farre exceed them in sweet­nesse and delight.


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