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we should not think them to be so indeed ; no, every giddy-headed humour keeps in a manner though they lay as it were in their grave: for let revel-rout in false religions; or that the cause of there be but matter and opportunity offered, and madness should be ascribed unto him, seeing every you shall see them quiekly to revive again. affection is by nature a short fury, which, if it grow
The invention of wine is wittily ascribed unto vehement and become habitual, concludes madhim; every affection being ingenious and skilful ness. in finding out that which brings nourishment unto Concerning the rending and dismembering of it; and indeed, of all things known to men, wine Pentheus and Orpheus, the parable is plain, for is most powerful and efficacious to excite and every prevalent affection is outrageous and severe, kindle passions of what kind soever, as being in and against curious inquiry and wholesome and a manner common nurse to them all.
free admonition. Again, his conquering of nations and under- Lastly, that confusion of Jupiter and Bacchus's taking infinite expeditions is an elegant device; persons may be well transferred to a parable, for desire never rests content with what it hath, seeing noble and famous acts, and remarkable and but with an infinite and unsatiable appetite still glorious merits do sometimes proceed from virtue covets and gapes after more.
and well ordered reason and magnanimity, and His chariot also is well said to be drawn by sometimes from a secret affection and hidden pastigers; for as soon as any affection shall, from sion, which are so dignified with the celebrity of going afoot, be advanced to ride in a chariot, and fame and glory, that a man can hardly distinguish shall captivate reason, and lead her in a triumph, between the acts of Bacchus and the gests of it grows cruel, untamed, and fierce against what- Jupiter. soever withstands or opposeth it.
ATALANTA, OR GAIN. It is worth the noting also, that those ridiculous hobgoblins are brought in dancing about his cha- ATALANTA, who was reputed to excel in swiftness, riot; for every passion doth cause, in the eyes, would needs challenge Hippomenes at a match in face, and gesture, certain indecent and ill-seeming, running. The conditions of the prize were these: apish and deformed motions; so that they who in that if Hippomenes won the race, he should espouse any kind of passion, as in anger, arrogancy, or Atalanta; if he were outrun, that then he should love seem glorious and brave in their own eyes, forfeit his life. And in the opinion of all, the do yet appear to others misshapen and ridiculous. victory was thought assured of Atalanta's side,
In that the muses are said to be of his company, being famous as she was for her matchless and it shows that there is no affection almost, which inconquerable speed, whereby she had been the is not soothed by some art wherein the indulgence bane of many. Hippomenes therefore bethinks of wits doth derogate from the glory of the muses, him how to deceive her by a trick, and in that who, when they ought to be the mistresses of life, regard provides three golden apples or balls, which are made the waiting-maids of affections. he purposely carried about him. The race is
Again, when Bacchus is said to have loved begun, and Atalanta gets a good start before him. Ariadne that was rejected by Theseus; it is an He seeing himself thus cast behind, being mindful allegory of special observation ; for it is most cer- of his device, throws one of his golden balls before tain, that passions always covet and desire that her, and yet not outright, but somewhat of the one which experience forsakes; and they all know, side, both to make her linger and also to draw her who have paid dear for serving and obeying their out of the right course: she out of a womanish lusts, that whether it be honour, or riches, or de-desire, being thus enticed with the beauty of the light, or glory, or knowledge, or any thing else golden apple, leaving her direct race, runs aside which they seek after, yet are they but things cast and stoops to catch the ball. Hippomenes the off, and by divers men in all ages, after experience while holds on his course, getting thereby a great had, utterly rejected and loathed.
start, and leaves her behind him: but she, by her Neither is it without a mystery, that the ivy own natural swiftness, recovers her lost time and was sacred to Bacchus; for the application holds gets before him again. But Hippomenes still first, in that the ivy remains green in winter; continues his sleight, and both the second and secondly, in that it sticks to, embraceth, and over-third times casts out his balls, those enticing detoppeth so many divers bodies, as trees, walls, lays; and so by craft, and not by his activity, and edifices. Touching the first, every passion wins the race and victory. doth by resistance and reluctation, and as it were This fable seems allegorically to demonstrate a by an antiperistasis, like the ivy of the cold winter, notable conflict betwen art and nature; for art, grow fresh and lusty: and as for the other, every signified by Atalanta, in its work if it be not predominate affection doth again, like the ivy, letted and hindered, is far more swift than nature, embrace and limit all human actions and deter- more speedy in pace, and sooner attains the end it minations, adhering and cleaving fast unto them. aims at, which is manifest almost in every effect; Neither is it a wonder that superstitious rites and as you may see in fruit trees, whereof those that ceremonies were attributed unto Bacchus, seeing grow of a kernel are long ere they bear, but such
as are grafted on a stock a great deal sooner. sacrifice ; for having killed two bulls, and in one You may see it in clay, which in the generation of their hides wrapt up the flesh and fat of them of stones, is long ere it become hard, but in the both, and in the other only the bones, with a burning of bricks is very quickly effected. Also great show of religious devotion gave Jupiter his in moral passages you may observe that it is a long choice, who, detesting his fraud and hypocrisy, time ere, by the benefit of nature, sorrow can be but taking an occasion of revenge, chose that assuaged, and comfort attained; whereas philoso- which was stopped with bones, and so turning to phy, which is, as it were, art of living, tarries not revenge, when he saw that the insolency of Prothe leisure of time, but doth it instantly and out of metheus would not be repressed but by laying hand; and yet this prerogative and singular agility some grievous affliction upon mankind, in the of art is hindered by certain golden apples, to the forming of which he so much bragged and boastinfinite prejudice of human proceedings : for there ed, commanded Vulcan to frame a goodly beautiis not any one art or science which constantly ful woman, which being done, every one of the perseveres in a true and lawful course, till it come gods bestowed a gift on her; whereupon she was to the proposed end or mark, but ever and anon called Pandora. To this woman they gave in her makes stops after good beginnings, leaves the race, hand a goodly box full of all miseries and calamiand turns aside to profit and commodity, like ties, only in the bottom of it they put Hope; with Atalanta.
this box she comes first to Prometheus, thinking
to catch him, if peradventure he should accept it “Declinat cursus, aurumque volubile tollit."
at her hands, and so open it; which he, nevertheWho doth her course forsake,
less, with good providence and foresight refused : The rolling gold doth take.
whereupon she goes to Epimetheus, who, though And therefore wonder that art hath not brother to Prometheus, yet was of a much differing the power to conq de; and by pact or law of disposition, and offers this box unto him, who conquest to kill ana-. ustroy her; but on the con- without delay took it, and rashly opened it; but trary, it falls out that art becomes subject to na- when he saw that all kind of miseries came fiutture, and yields the obedience as of a wife to her tering about his ears, being wise too late, with husband.
great speed and earnest endeavour clapped on the cover, and so with much ado retained Hope sitting
alone in the bottom; at last Jupiter laying many PROMETHEUS, OR THE STATE OF MAN.
and grievous crimes to Prometheus's charge, as
that he had stolen fire from heaven, that in conThe ancients deliver that Prometheus made a tempt of his majesty he sacrificed a bull's hide man of clay, mixed with certain parcels taken stuffed with bones, that he scornfully rejected his from divers animals, who, studying to maintain gift, and besides all this, that he offered violence this his work by art, that he might not be ac- to Pallas, cast him into chains, and doomed him counted a founder only but a propagator of human to perpetual torment; and by Jupiter's command kind, stole up to heaven with a bundle of twigs, was brought to the mountain Caucasus, and there which he kindled at the chariot of the sun, came bound fast to a pillar that he could not stir; there down again, and communicated it with men ; and came an eagle also, that every day sat tiring upon
; yet they say that notwithstanding this excellent his liver and wasted it; but as much as was eaten work of his, he was requited with ingratitude in a in the day grew again in the night, that matter for treacherous conspiracy; for they accused both torment to work upon might never decay. But him and his invention to Jupiter, which was not yet they say there was an end of this punishment; so taken as was meet it should, for the information for Hercules crossing the ocean in a cup, which was pleasing to Jupiter and all the gods: and the sun gave him, came to Caucasus, and set Prometherefore in a merry mood granted unto men, theus at liberty by shooting the eagle with an arrow. not only the use of fire but perpetual youth also, Moreover, in some nations there were instituted in a boon most acceptable and desirable. They, the honour of Prometheus, certain games of lampbeing as it were overjoyed, did foolishly lay this bearers, in which they that strived for the prize gift of the gods upon the back of an ass, who, being were wont to carry torches lighted, which whoso wonderfully oppressed with thirst and near a foun- suffered to go out, yielded the place and victory tain, was told by a serpent which had the custody to those that followed, and so cast back themselves, thereof, that he should not drink unless he would so that whosoever came first to the mark with his promise to give him the burden that was on his torch burning got the prize. back. The silly ass accepted the condition, and This fable demonstrates and presseth many true so the restoration of youth, sold for a draught of and grave speculations, wherein some things have water, passed from men to serpents. But Prome- been heretofore well noted, others not so much as theus, full of malice, being reconciled unto men, touched. after they were frustrated of their gift, but in a Prometheus doth clearly and elegantly signify chafe yet with Jupiter, feared not to use deceit in Providence: for in the universality of nature, the Vol. 1.-39
fabric and constitution of man only was by the which infinite ways affords aid and assistance to ancients picked out and chosen, and attributed unto all labours and mechanical arts, and to the sciProvidence as a peculiar work. The reason of it ences themselves. seems to be, not only in that the nature of man is The manner of stealing this fire is aptly described capable of a mind and understanding, which is the even from the nature of things: it was, they say, seat of providence, and therefore it would seem by a bundle of twigs held 10 touch the chariot strange and incredible, that the reason and mind of the sun; for twigs are used in giving blows or should so proceed and flow from dumb and deaf stripes, to signify clearly that fire is engendered principals as that it should necessarily be con- by the violent percussion and mutual collision of cluded, the soul of man to be endued with provi- bodies, by which their materiál substances are dence, not without the example, intention, and attenuated and set in motion, and prepared to restamp of a greater providence. But this also is ceive the heat of influence of the heavenly bodies; chiefly propounded, that man is as it were the and so in a clandestine manner, and as it were centre of the world in respect of final causes; so by stealth, may be said to take and snatch fire that if man were not in nature, all things would from the chariot of the sun. seem to stray and wander without purpose, and like There follows next a remarkable part of the pascattered branches, as they say, without inclination rable, that men, instead of gratulation and thanksto their end; for all things attend on man; and he giving, were angry, and expostulated the matter makes use of, and gathers fruit from all creatures; with Prometheus, insomuch that they accused both for the revolutions and periods of stars make both him and his invention unto Jupiter, which was so for the distinctions of times and the distribution acceptable unto him, that he augmented their forof the world's light. Meteors also are referred to mer commodities with a bounty. Seems it presages of tempests; and winds are ordained as not strange that ingratit de towards the author of well for navigation as for turning of mills and a benefit, a vice that i la inginer contains all other engines; and plants, and animals of what other vices, should find suolaapprobation and rekind soever, are useful either for men's houses and ward ? No, it seems to be otherwise; for the places of shelter, or for raiment, or for food, or meaning of the allegory is this, that men's outeries medicine, or for ease of labour, or in a word for upon the defects of nature and art, proceed from delight and solace; so that all things seem to an excellent disposition of the mind, and turn to work, not for themselves but for man.
their good; whereas the silencing of them is hateNeither is it added without consideration that ful to the gods, and redounds not so much to their certain particles were taken from divers living crea- profit; for they that infinitely extol human nature, tures, and mixed and tempered with that clayic or the knowledge they possess, breaking out into mass, because it is most true, that of all things a prodigal admiration of that they have and enjoy, comprehended within the compass of the universe, adoring also those sciences they profess, would man is a thing most mixed and compounded, have them be accounted perfect; they do first of insomuch, that he was well termed by the ancients all show little reverence to the divine nature, by a little world; for although the chymists do, with equalizing, in a manner, their own defects with too much curiosity, take and wrest the elegancy of God's perfection. Again; they are wonderful this word Microcosm to the letter, contending to injurious to men, by imagining they have attained find in man all minerals, all vegetables, and the the highest step of knowledge, resting themselves rest, or any thing that holds proportion with them; contented, seek no further. On the contrary, yet this proposition remains sound and whole, that such as bring nature and art to the bar with acthe body of man, of all material beings, is found to cusations and bills of complaint against them, are be most compounded and most organical, whereby indeed of more true and moderate judgments; for it is endued and furnished with most admirable vir- they are ever in action, seeking always to find out tues and faculties: and as for simple bodies, their new inventions. Which makes me much to wonpowers are not many, though certain and violent, der at the foolish and inconsiderate disprsitions as existing without being weakened, diminished, of some men, who, making themselves bondor stinted, by mixture; for the multiplicity and slaves to the arrogancy of a few, have the phiexcellency of operation have their residence in losophy of the Peripatetics, containing only a mixture and composition, and yet, nevertheless, portion of Grecian wisdom, and that but a small man in his originals seems to be a thing unarmed one neither, in so great esteem, that they hold it and naked, and unable to help itself, as needing not only an unprofitable, but a suspicious and the aid of many things; therefore Prometheus almost heinous thing, to lay any imputation of made haste to find out fire, which suppeditates imperfection upon it. I approve rather of Emand yields comfort and help in a manner to all pedocles's opinion, who, like a madman, and of human wants and necessities; so that if the soul Democritus's judgment, who with great modebe the form of forms, and if the hand be the in- ration, complained how that all things wrre instrument of instruments, fire deserves well to be volved in a mist, that we knew nothing, that we called the saccour of succours, or the help of helps, discerned nothing, that truth was drowned in the
depths of obscurity, and that false things were | lovity and temerity of men in new experiments : wonderfully joined and intermixed with true, as for for if they have not present success answerable the new academy, that exceeded all measure, than to their expectation, with too sudden haste desist of the confident and pronunciative school of Aris- from that they began, and with precipitancy retotle. Let men therefore be admonished, that by ac- turning to their former experiments, are reconciled knowledging the imperfection of nature and art, to them again. they are grateful to the gods, and shall thereby ob- The state of man, in respect of arts, and such tain new benefits and greater favours at their boun- things as concern the intellect, being now detiful hands; and the accusation of Prometheus, their scribed, the parable passeth to religion : for, after author and master, though bitter and vehement, the planting of arts, follows the setting of divine will conduce more to their profit, than to be effuse principles, which hypocrisy hath overspread and in the congratulation of his invention; for, in a word, polluted. By that twofold sacrifice therefore is the opinion of having enough, is to be accounted elegantly shadowed out the persons of a true reone of the greatest causes of having too little. ligious man and a hypocrite. In the one is con
Now, as touching the kind of gift which men tained fatness, which by reason of the inflammation are said to have received in reward of their ac- and fumes thereof, is called the portion of God, cusation, to wit, an ever-fading flower of youth, by which his affection and zeal, tending to God's it is to show, that the ancients seemed not to de- glory, and ascending, towards heaven, is signispair of attaining the skill, by means and medi- fied. In him also are contained the bowels of cines, to put off old age, and to prolong life, but charity, and in him is found that good and wholethis to be numbered rather among such things, some flesh; whereas in the other there is nothing having been once happily attained unto, are now, but dry and naked bones, which nevertheless do through men's negligence and carelessness, utter- stuff up the hide, and make it appear like a fair ly perished and lost, ihan among such as have and goodly sacrifice : by this may be well meant been always denied and never granted; for they those external and vain rites, and empty ceresignify and show, that by affording the true use monies, by which men do oppress and fill up the of fire, and by a good and stern accusation and sincere worship of God; things composed rather conviction of the errors of art, the divine bounty for ostentation than any way conducing to true is not wanting unto men in the obtaining of such piety. Neither do they hold it sufficient to offer gifts; but men are wanting to themselves in lay- such mock-sacrifices unto God; except they also ing this gift of the gods upon the back of a silly lay them before him, as if he had chosen and beslow-paced ass, which may seem to be experience, spoke them. Certainly the prophet, in the pera stupid thing, and full of delay; from whose son of God, doth thus expostulate concerning this leisurely and snail-like pace proceeds that com- choice: Esa. Iviii. 5, “ Num tandem hoc est plaint of life's brevity, and art's length; and to illud jejunium, quod Elegi, ut homo animam say the truth, I am of this opinion, that those two suam in diem unum affligat, et caput instar junfaculties, dogmatical and empirical, are not as ceti demittat?” Is it such a fast that I have yet well joined and coupled together, but as new chosen, that a man should afflict his soul for a gifts of the gods imposed either upon philosophical day, and to bow down his head like a bulrush? abstractions, as upon a flying bird, or upon slow Having now touched the state of religion, the and dull experience, as upon an ass. And yet me- parable converts itself to the manners and conthinks I would not entertain an ill conceit of this ditions of human life: and it is a common but ass, if it meet not for the accidents of travel and apt interpretation by Pandora, to be meant pleathirst: for I am persuaded, that whoso constantly sure and voluptuousness, which, when the civil goes on, by the conduct of experience, as by a life is pampered with too much art, and culture, certain rule and method, and not covets to meet and superfluity, is engendered, as it were, by the with such experiments by the way, as conduce efficacy of fire, and therefore the work of volupeither to gain or ostentation, to obtain which, he tuousness is attributed unto Vulcan, who also must be fain to lay down and sell this burden, himself doth represent fire. From this do infinite may prove no unfit porter to bear this new addition miseries, together with too late repentance, proceed of divine munificence.
and overflow the minds, and bodies, and fortunes Now, in that this gift is said to pass from men of men; and that not only in respect of particular to serpents, it may seem to be added to the fable estates, but even over kingdoms and commonfor ornament sake, in a manner, unless it were wealths: for from this fountain have wars, tuinserted to shame men, that having the use of that mults, and tyrannies derived their original. celestial fire and of so many arts, are not able to
But it would be worth the labour to consider get unto themselves such things as nature itself how elegantly and proportionably this fable doth bestows upon many other creatures.
delineate two conditions, or, as I may say, two But that sudden reconciliation of men to Prome- tables or examples of human life, under the person theus, after they were frustrated of their hopes, of Prometheus or Epimetheus: for they that are contains a profitable and wise note, showing the l of Epimetheus's sect are improvident, not fore
seeing what may come to pass hereafter, esteem- | ble of this fortitude and constancy. Of which ing that best which seems most sweet for the very thing Seneca well conceived, when he said, present; whence it happens that they are over- Magnum est habere simul fragilitatem hominis, taken with many miseries, difficulties, and cala- et securitatem Dei.” It is a great matter for hu. mities, and so lead their lives almost in perpetual man frailty and divine security to be one and the affliction; but yet, notwithstanding, they please selfsame time, in one and the selfsame subject. their fancy, and out of ignorance of the passages But now we are to step back a little again to of things, do entertain many vain hopes in their that, which by premeditation we past over, lest a inind, whereby they sometimes, as with sweet breach should be made in those things which dreams, solace themselves, and sweeten the mise- were so linked together: that therefore which I ries of their life. But they that are Prome- could touch here is that last crime imputed to theus's scholars, are men endued with prudence, Prometheus, about seeking to bereave Minerva foreseeing things to come, warily shunning and of her virginity: for, questionless, it was this avoiding many evils and misfortunes. But to heinous offence that brought that punishment of these their good properties they have this also an-devouring his liver upon him; which is nothing nexed, that they deprive themselves and defraud else but to show, that when we are puffed up with their genius of many lawful pleasures, and divers too much learning and science, they go about ofrecreations; and, which is worse, they vex and tentimes to make even divine acles subject to torment themselves with cares and troubles, and sense and reason, whence most certainly follows intestine fears; for being chained to the pillar of a continual distraction, and restless griping of the necessity, they are afflicted with innumerable cogi- mind; we must therefore, with a sober and humtations, which, because they are very swift, may ble judgment, distinguish between humanity and be fitly compared to an eagle; and those grip- divinity, and between the of sense and the ing, and, as it were gnawing and devouring the mysteries of faith, unless a tical religion and liver, unless sometimes as it were by night, it a commentitious philosophy be pleasing unto us. may be they get a little recreation and ease of Lastly, it remains that we say something of mind, but so, as that they are again suddenly as- the games of Prometheus, performed with burnsaulted with fresh anxieties and fears.
ing torches, which again hath reference to arts Therefore this benefit happens to but a very and sciences, as that fire, in whose memory few of either condition, that they should retain celebration these games were instituted; and it the commodities of providence, and free them- contains in it a most wise admonition, that the selves from the miseries of care and perturbation; perfection of sciences is to be expected from neither indeed can any attain unto it but by the succession, not from the nimbleness and promptassistance of Hercules, that is, fortitude and con- ness of one only author: for they that are nimstancy of mind, which is prepared for every event, blest in course, and strongest in contention, yet and armed in all fortunes ; foreseeing without happily have not the luck to keep fire still in their fear, enjoying without loathing, and suffering torch, seeing it may be as well extinguished by without impatience. It is worth the noting running too fast as by going too slow. And this also, that this virtue was not natural to Prome- running and contending with lamps seems long theus, but adventitial, and from the indulgence since to be intermitted, seeing all sciences seem of another, for no inbred and natural fortitude is even now to flourish most in their first authors, able to encounter with these miseries. Moreover Aristotle, Galen, Euclid, and Prolemy; succesthis virtue was received and brought unto him sion having neither effected, nor almost attempted from the remotest part of the ocean, and from the any great matter; it were therefore to be wished sun, that is, from wisdom as from the sun; and that these games, in honour of Prometheus, or from the meditation of inconstancy, or of the human nature, were again restored; and that waters of human life, as from the sailing upon matters should receive success by combat and the ocean; which two, Virgil hath well conjoined emulation, and not hang upon any one man's in these verses:
sparkling and shaking torch. Men therefore are “ Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas :
to be admonished to rouse up their spirits, and Quique metus omnes, et inexorabile fatum
try their strengths and turns, and not refer all to Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari.”
the opinions and brains of a few. Happy is he that knows the cause of things,
And thus have I delivered that which I thought And that with dauntless courage treads upon good to observe out of this so well known and All fear and fates, relentless threatenings, And greedy throat of roaring Acheron.
common fable; and yet I will not deny but that
there may be some things in it which have an adMoreover, it is elegantly added for the consola- mirable consent with the mysteries of Christian tion and confirmation of men's minds, that this religion; and especially that sailing of Hercules noble hero crossed the ocean in a cup or pan, lest, in a cup to set Prometheus at liberty, seems to peradventure, they might too much fear that the represent an image of the divine word, coming in siraits and frailty of their nature will not be capa- flesh, as in a frail vessel, to redeem man from the