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bodies, were so quieted, that the state of the world | for then by the power of that divine word, proshould be conserved; and afterward, in inferior bodies, by the suppressing and dissipating of inundations, tempests, winds, and general earthquakes, a more peaceful, durable agreement and tranquillity of things followed. But of this fable it may convertibly be said, that the fable contains philosophy, and philosophy again the fable: for we know by faith, that all these things are nothing else but the long-since ceasing and failing oracles of sense, seeing that both the matter and fabric of the world are most truly referred to a Creator.
PROTEUS, OR MATTER.
THE poets say that Proteus was Neptune's herdsman; a grave sire, and so excellent a prophet, that he might well be termed thrice excellent for he knew not only things to come, but even things past as well as present: so that besides his skill in divination, he was the messenger and interpreter of all antiquities and hidden mysteries. The place of his abode was a huge vast cave, where his custom was every day at noon to count his flock of sea-calves, and then to go to sleep. Moreover, he that desired his advice in any thing could by no other means obtain it, but by catching him in manacles, and holding him fast therewith who, nevertheless, to be at liberty, would turn himself into all manner of forms and wonders of nature: sometimes into fire, sometimes into water, sometimes into the shape of beasts, and the like, till at length he was restored to his own form again.
ducat, matter at the Creator's command did congregate itself, not by ambages or turnings, but instantly, to the production of its work into an act and constitution of species: and thus far have we the narration of Proteus, free and unrestrained, together with his flock complete; for the universality of things, with their ordinary structures and compositions of species, bears the face of matter not limited and constrained, and of the flock also of material beings. Nevertheless, if any expert minister of nature shall encounter matter by main force, vexing and urging her with intent and purpose to reduce her to nothing, she contrariwise, seeing annihilation and absolute destruction cannot be effected by the omnipotency of God, being thus caught in the straits of necessity, doth change and turn herself into divers strange forms and shapes of things, so that at length, by fetching a circuit as it were, she comes to a period, and, if the force continue, betakes herself to her former being. The reason of which constraint or binding will be more facile and expedite, if matter be laid on by manacles, that is, by extremities.
Now whereas it is feigned that Proteus was a prophet, well skilled in three differences of times, it hath an excellent agreement with the nature of matter: for it is necessary that he that will know the properties and proceedings of matter, should comprehend in his understanding the sum of all things which have been, which are, or shall be, although no knowledge can extend so far as to singular and individual beings.
MEMNON, OR A YOUTH TOO FOR-
This fable may seem to unfold the secrets of nature and the properties of matter. For under the person of Proteus, the first matter, which, next to God, is the ancientest thing, may be represented; | Aurora, who, adorned with beautiful armour, and for matter dwells in the concavity of heaven as in
He is Neptune's bond-man, because the operations and dispensations of matter are chiefly exercised in liquid bodies.
His flock or herd seems to be nothing but the ordinary species of sensible creatures, plants, and metals, in which matter seems to diffuse, and, as it were, spend itself; so that after the forming and perfecting of these kinds, having ended as it were her task, she seems to sleep and take her rest, not attempting the composition of any more species. And this may be the moral of Proteus counting of his flock, and of his sleeping.
THE poets say that Memnon was the son of
animated with popular applause, came to the Trojan war: where, in rash boldness, hasting into, and thirsting after glory, he enters into single combat with Achilles, the valiantest of all the Grecians, by whose powerful hand he was there slain. But Jupiter, pitying his destruction, sent birds to modulate certain lamentable and doleful notes at the solemnization of his funeral obsequies. Whose statue also, the sun reflecting on it with his morning beams, did usually, as is reported, send forth a mournful sound.
This fable may be applied to the unfortunate destinies of hopeful young men, who, like the sons of Aurora, puffed up with the glittering show of vanity and ostentation, attempt actions above their strength, and provoke and press the most valiant heroes to combat with them, so that meet
Now this is said to be done, not in the morning nor in the evening, but at noon: to wit, at such time as is most fit and convenient for the perfecting and bringing forth of species out of mattering with their overmatch, are vanquished and deduly prepared and predisposed; and in the middle, as it were, between their beginnings and declinations, which we know sufficiently, out of the holy history, to be done about the time of the creation; VOL. I.-38
stroyed, whose untimely death is oft accompanied with much pity and commiseration. For among all the disasters that can happen to mortals, there is none so lamentable and so powerful to move
compassion as the flower of virtue cropped with too sudden a mischance. Neither hath it been often known that men in their green years become so loathsome and odious, as that at their deaths either sorrow is stinted or commiseration moderated: but that lamentation and mourning do not only flutter about their obsequies like those funeral birds, but this pitiful commiseration doth continue for a long space, and specially by occasions and new motions, and beginning of great matters, as it were by the morning rays of the sun, their passions and desires are renewed.
TITHONUS, OR SATIETY.
Ir is elegantly feigned that Tithonus was the paramour of Aurora who, desirous to enjoy his company, petitioned Jupiter that he might never die, but through womanish oversight, forgetting to insert this clause in her petition, that he might not withal grow old and feeble, it followed that he was only freed from the condition of mortality; but for old age that came upon him in a marvellous and miserable fashion, agreeable to the state of those who cannot die, yet every day grow weaker and weaker with age. Insomuch that Jupiter, in commiseration of that his misery, did at length metamorphose him into a grasshopper. This fable seems to be an ingenious character or description of pleasure, which in the beginning, and as it were in the morning, seems to be pleasant and delightful, that men desire they might enjoy and monopolize it forever unto themselves, unmindful of that satiety and loathing, which, like old age, will come upon them before they be aware. And so at last, when the use of pleasure leaves men, the desire and affection not yet yielding unto death, it comes to pass that men please themselves only by talking and commemorating those things which brought pleasure unto them in the flower of their age, which may be observed in libidinous persons, and also in men of military professions: the one delighting in beastly talk, the other boast ing of their valorous deeds, like grasshoppers, whose vigour consists only in their voice.
The success of such intentions being for the most part measured by the nature and disposition of those to whom men sue for grace: who, if of themselves they be endowed with no gifts and ornaments of nature, but are only of haughty and malignant spirits, intimated by the person of Juno, then are suitors to know that it is good policy to omit all kind of appearance that may any way show their own least praise or worth; and that they much deceive themselves in taking any other course. Neither is it enough to show deformity in obsequiousness, unless they also appear even abject and base in their very persons.
CUPID, OR AN ATOM.
THAT which the poets say of Cupid or Love, cannot properly be attributed to one and the selfrejecting the confusion of persons, the similitude same person, and yet the difference is such that by
may be received.
They say that Love is the ancientest of all the gods, and of all things else except chaos, which as touching chaos, that by the ancients was never they hold to be a contemporary with it. Now, the god. And as for Love, they absolutely bring dignified with divine honour, or with the title of him in without a father; only some are of opinion that he came of an egg that was laid by Nox, and that on chaos he begat the god and all things else. There are four things attributed to him, perpetual infancy, blindness, nakedness, and an archery. There was also another Love, which was the youngest of the gods, and he, they say, was the attributes of the elder Love, as in some sort will son of Venus. On this also they bestow the apply unto him.
This fable tends and looks to the cradle of na
ture, Love seeming to be the appetite or desire of the first matter, or, to speak more plain, the na
tural motion of the atom, which is that ancient and of matter, of which there is no parent, that is to only power that forms and fashions all things out say, no cause, seeing every cause is a parent to its effect. Of this power or virtue there can be no cause in nature, as for God we always except him, for nothing was before it, and therefore no efficient cause of it. Neither was there any thing better known to nature, and therefore neither genus nor form. Wherefore whatsoever it is, positive it is, and but inexpressible. Moreover, if the manner and proceeding of it were to be conceived, yet could it not be by any cause, seeing that, next unto God, it is the cause of causes, itself only without any cause. And perchance there is no likelihood that the manner of it may be contained This fable is wise, and seems to be taken out of or comprehended within the narrow compass of the bowels of morality; the sense of it being this, human search. Not without reason therefore it that men boast not too much of themselves, think- is feigned to come of an egg that was laid by ing by ostentation of their own worth to insinuate Nox. Certainly the divine philosopher grants themselves into estimation and favour with men. so much Eccl. iii. 11: "Cuncta fecit tempesta
JUNO'S SUITOR, OR BASENESS. THE poets say, that Jupiter, to enjoy his lustful delights, took upon him the shape of sundry creatures, as of a bull, of an eagle, of a swan, and of a golden shower: but being a suitor to Juno, he came in a form most ignoble and base, an object full of contempt and scorn, resembling indeed a miserable cuckoo, weather-beaten with rain and tempest, numbed, quaking, and half dead with cold.
Concerning his blindness, the allegory is full of wisdom: for this love, or desire, whatsoever it be, seems to have but little providence, as directing his pace and motion by that which it perceives nearest, not unlike blind men, that go by feeling: more admirable then must that chief divine providence be, which, from things empty and destitute of providence, and as it were blind, by a constant and fatal law produceth so excellent an order and beauty of things.
The last thing which is attributed unto Love is archery, by which is meant, that his virtue is such, as that it works upon a distant object: because that whatsoever operates afar off, seems to shoot, as it were, an arrow. Wherefore whosoever holds the being both of atoms and vacuity, must needs infer, that the virtue of the atom reacheth to a distant object; for if it were not so, there could be no motion at all, by reason of the interposition of vacuity, but all things would stand stone still, and remain immovable.
tibus suis pulchra, et mundum tradidit disputa- | seem to be apparelled and clothed, and nothing tionibus eorum, ita tamen ut non inveniat homo properly naked but the first particles of things. opus, quod operatus est Deus, principio ad finem." That is, he hath made every thing beautiful in their seasons, also he hath set the world in their meditations, yet man cannot find the work that God hath wrought, from the beginning even to the end. For the principal 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 eyes of men's understandings, and comprehended it can hardly be. The Greek philosophers are observed to be very acute and diligent in searching out the material principles of things: but in the beginnings of motion, wherein consists all the efficacy of operation, they are negligent and weak, and in this that we handle, they seem to be altogether blind and stammering for the opinion of the Peripatetics concerning the appetite of matter caused by privation, is in a manner nothing else but words, which rather sound than signify any reality. And those that refer it unto God do very well, but then they leap up, they ascend not by degrees: for doubtless there is one chief law subordinate to God, in which all natural things concur and meet, the same that in the forecited scripture is demonstrated in these words, "Opus, quod operatus est Deus à principio usque ad finem," the work that God hath wrought from the beginning even to the end. But Democritus, which entered more deeply into the consideration of this point after he had conceived an atom with some small dimension and form, he attributed unto it one only desire, or first motion simply or absolutely, and another comparatively or in respect: for he thought that all things did properly tend to the centre of the world, whereof those bodies which were more material descend with swifter motion, and those that had less matter did on the contrary tend upward. But this meditation was very shallow, containing less than was expedient: for neither the turning of the celestial bodies in a round, nor shutting and opening of things may seem to be reduced or ap-forwarder than he should have been, not to forplied to this beginning. And as for that opinion bear Venus a jot, if he encountered with her in of Epicurus concerning the casual declination and fight; which very boldly he performed, wounding agitation of the atom, it is but a mere toy, and a her in the right arm. This presumptuous fact he plain evidence that he was ignorant of that point. carried clear for a while, and being honoured and It is therefore more apparent than we could wish, renowned for his many heroic deeds, at last rethat this Cupid, or Love, remains as yet clouded turned into his own country, where finding himunder the shades of night. Now as concerning self hard bestead with domestic troubles, fled his attributes: he is elegantly described with into Italy, betaking himself to the protection of perpetual infancy or childhood, because com- foreigners, where in the beginning he was fortupound bodies they seem greater and more stricken in years; whereas the first seeds of things or atoms, they are little and diminute, and always in their infancy.
He is also well feigned to be naked, because all compound bodies to a man rightly judging,
Now as touching that other Cupid, or Love, he may well be termed the youngest of the gods, because he could have no being, before the constitution of species. And in his description the allegory may be applied and traduced to manners: nevertheless he holds some kind of conformity with the elder; for Venus doth generally stir up a desire of conjunction and procreation, and Cupid, her son, doth apply this desire to some individual nature; so that the general disposition comes from Venus, the more exact sympathy from Cupid: the one derived from causes more near, the other from beginnings more remote and fatal, and as it were from the elder Cupid, of whom every exquisite sympathy doth depend.
DIOMEDES, OR ZEAL.
DIOMEDES flourishing with great fame and glory in the Trojan wars, and in high favour with Pallas, was by her instigated, being indeed
nate, and royally entertained by King Daunus with sumptuous gifts, raising many statues in honour of him throughout his dominions. But upon the very first calamity that happened unto this nation, whereunto he was fled for succour, King Daunus enters into a conceit with himself
condemned, their very names are hateful, and all their glory ends in obloquy.
In that Diomedes is said to be murdered by his host, it gives us to understand that the dif ference of religion breeds deceit and treachery, even among nearest acquaintance.
Now in that lamentation and mourning was not tolerated but punished; it puts us in mind, that let there be never so nefarious an act done, yet there is some place left for commiseration and pity, that even those that hate offences should yet in humanity commiserate offenders and pity their distress, it being the extremity of evil when mercy is not suffered to have commerce with misery. Yea, even in the cause as well of religion as impiety, many men may be noted and observed to have been compassionate. But on the contrary the complaints and moans of Diomedes' followers, that is, of men of the same sect and opinion, are wont to be shrill and loud, like swans, or the birds of Diomedes. In whom also that part of the allegory is excellent, to signify, that the last words of those that suffer death for religion, like the songs of dying swans, do wonderfully work upon the minds of men, and strike and remain a long time in their senses and memories.
DEDALUS, OR MECHANIC.
that he had entertained a wicked guest into his family, and a man odious to the goddess, and an impunger of their divinity, that had dared, with his sword, to assault and wound that goddess, who, in their religion, they held it sacrilege so much as to touch. Therefore, that he might expiate his country's guilt, nothing respecting the duties of hospitality, when the bonds of religion tied him with a more reverend regard, suddenly slew Diomedes, commanding withal that his trophies and statues should be abolished and destroyed. Neither was it safe to lament this miserable destiny; but even his companions in arms, whilst they mourned at the funeral of their captain, and filled all the places with plaints and lamentations, were suddenly metamorphosed into birds like unto swans, who when their death approacheth, sing melodious and mournful hymns. This fable hath a most rare and singular subject: for in any of the poetical records, wherein the heroes are mentioned, we find not that any one of them, besides Diomedes, did ever with his sword offer violence to any of the deities. And indeed, the fable seems in him to represent the nature and fortune of man, who of himself doth propound and make this as the end of all his actions, to worship some divine power, or to follow some sect of religion, though never so vain and superstitious, and with force and arms to defend the same: for although those bloody quarrels for religion were unknown to the ancients, MECHANICAL Wisdom and industry, and in it the heathen gods not having so much as a touch unlawful science perverted to wrong ends, is of that jealousy, which is an attribute of the true shadowed by the ancients under the person of God, yet the wisdom of the ancient times seems Dædalus, a man ingenious, but execrable. This to be so copious and full, as that, what was not Dædalus, for murdering his fellow servant that known by experience, was yet comprehended by emulated him, being banished, was kindly entermeditations and fictions. They then that en- tained, during his exile, in many cities and prindeavour to reform and convince any sect of ces' courts: for indeed he was the raiser and religion, though vain, corrupt, and infamous, builder of many goodly structures, as well in shadowed by the person of Venus, not by the honour of the gods, as the beauty and magnififorce of argument and doctrine, and holiness of cence of cities, and other public places, but for life, and by the weight of examples and authority, his works of mischief he is most notorious. It but labour to extirpate and root it out by fire and is he that framed the engine which Pasiphaë used sword, and tortures, are encouraged, it may be, to satisfy her lust in company with a bull, so that thereunto by Pallas, that is by the acrity of pru- by his wretched industry and pernicious device, dence, and severity of judgment, by whose vigour that monster Minotaur, the destruction of so many and efficacy, they see into the falsity and vanity hopeful youths, took his accursed and infamous of these errors. And by this their hatred of beginning; and studying to cover and increase pravity, and good zeal to religion, they purchase one mischief with another, for the security and to themselves great glory, and by the vulgar, to preservation of this monster he invented and built whom nothing moderate can be grateful, are es- a labyrinth. a work for intent and use most nefateemed and honoured as the only supporters of rious and wicked, for skill and workmanship. truth and religion, when others seem to be luke- | famous and excellent. Afterwards, that he might warm and full of fear. Yet this glory and hap-not be noted only for works of mischief, but be piness doth seldom endure to the end, seeing sought after as well for remedies, as for instruevery violent prosperity, if it prevent not altera- ments of destruction, he was the author of that tion by an untimely death, grows to be unpros-ingenious device concerning the clue of thread, perous at last for if it happen that by a change by which the labyrinth was made passable withof government this banished and depressed sect get strength, and so bear up again, then these zealous men, so fierce in opposition before, are
out any let. This Dedalus was persecuted by Minos with great severity, diligence, and inquiry, but he always found the means to avoid and
escape his tyranny. Lastly, he taught his son Icarus to fly, but the novice, in ostentation of this art, soaring too high, fell into the sea, and was drowned.
The parable seems to be thus: in the beginning of it may be noted that kind of envy or emulation that lodgeth, and wonderfully sways and domineers amongst excellent artificers, there being no kind of people more reciprocally tormented with bitter and deadly hatred than they. The banishment also of Dædalus, a punishment inflicted on him against the rules of policy and providence, is worth the noting: for artificers have this prerogative to find entertainment and welcome in all countries, so that exile to an excellent workman can hardly be termed a punishment, whereas other conditions, and states of life can scarce live out of their own country. The admiration of artificers is propagated and increased in foreign and strange nations, seeing it is a natural and inbred disposition of men to value their own countrymen, in respect of mechanical works, less than strangers.
Concerning the use of mechanical arts, that which follows is plain. The life of man is much beholden to them, seeing many things, conducing to the ornament of religion, to the grace of civil discipline, and to the beautifying of all human kind, extracted out of their treasuries: and yet notwithstanding, from the same magazine or storehouse are produced instruments both of lust and death; for to omit the wiles of bands, we well know how far exquisite poisons, warlike engines, and such like mischiefs, the effects of mechanical inventions, do exceed the Minotaur himself in malignity and savage cruelty.
that will always abide in our city, though always forbidden. And yet notwithstanding unlawful and curious arts of what kind soever, in tract of time, when they cannot perform what they promise, do fall from the good opinion that was held of them, no otherwise than Icarus fell down from the skies, they grow to be contemned and scorned, and so perish by too much ostentation. And to say the truth, they are not so happily restrained by the reins of law as bewrayed by their own vanity.
ERICTHONIUS, OR IMPOSTURE.
THE poets fable that Vulcan solicited Minerva for her virginity, and impatient of denial, with an inflamed desire, offered her violence, but in struggling his seed fell upon the ground, whereof came Ericthonius, whose body from the middle upward was of a comely and apt proportion, but his thighs and legs like the tail of an eel, small and deformed. To which monstrosity, he being conscious, became the first inventor of the use of chariots, whereby that part of his body which was well proportioned might be seen, and the other which was ugly and uncomely might be hid.
This strange and prodigious fiction may seem to show that art, which, for the great use it hath of fire, is shadowed by Vulcan, although it labour by much striving with corporeal substances to force nature, and to make her subject to it, she being for her industrious works rightly represented by Minerva, yet seldom or never attains the end it aims at, but with much ado and great pains, wrestling as it were with her, comes short of its purpose, and produceth certain imperfect births, and lame works, fair to the eye but weak and defective in use, which many impostors, with much subtilty and deceit, set to view, and carry about, as it were
Moreover that of the labyrinth is an excellent allegory, whereby is shadowed the nature of mechanical sciences, for all such handicraft works as are more ingenious and accurate may be com-in triumph, as may for the most part be noted in pared to a labyrinth, in respect of subtilty and divers intricate passages, and in other plain resemblances, which by the eye of judgment can hardly be guided and discerned, but only by the line of experience.
Neither is it impertinently added, that he which invented the intricate nooks of the labyrinth, did also show the commodity of the clue: for mechanical arts are of ambiguous use, serving as well for hurt as for remedy, and they have in a manner power both to loose and bind themselves. Unlawful trades, and so by consequence arts themselves, are often persecuted by Minos, that is by laws, which do condemn them, and prohibit men to use them. Nevertheless they are hid and retained everywhere, finding lurking holes and places of receipt, which was well observed by Tacitus of the mathematicians and figure-flingers of his time, in a thing not so much unlike; "Genus hominum quod in civitate nostra semper et retinebitur et vetabitur." There is a kind of men
chemical productions, and other mechanical subtilties and novelties, especially when, rather prosecuting their intent than reclining their errors, they rather strive to overcome nature by force; than sue for her embracements by due obsequiousness and observance.
DEUCALION, OR RESTITUTION.
THE poets say that the people of the old world being destroyed by a general deluge, Deucalion and Pyrrha were only left alive; who praying with fervent and zealous devotion, that they might know by what means to repair mankind, had answer from an oracle that they should obtain what they desired, if taking the bones of their mother they cast them behind their backs; which at first struck them with great amazement and despair, seeing, all things being defaced by the flood, it would be an endless work to find their mother's sepulchre, but at length they understood that by