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stant and perpetual felicity, so as not only to chastise haughtiness, but also to repay even innocent and moderate happiness with adversity; as if it were decreed, that none of human race should be admitted to the banquet of the gods, but for sport. And, indeed, to read over that chapter of Pliny whereiu he has collected the miseries and misfortunes of Augustus Cæsar, whom of all mankind one would judge most fortunate,—as he had a certain art of using and enjoying prosperity, with a mind no way tumid, light, effeminate, confused, or melancholic,—one cannot but think this a very great and powerful goddess, who could bring such a victim to her altar.a
The parents of this goddess were Oceanus and Nox; that is, the fluctuating change of things, and the obscure and secret divine decrees. The changes of things are aptly represented by the Ocean, on account of its perpetual ebbing and flowing; and secret providence is justly expressed by Night. Even the heathens have observed this secret Nemesis of the night, or the difference betwixt divine and human judgment.
Wings are given to Nemesis, because of the sudden and unforeseen changes of things ; for, from the earliest account of time, it has been common for great and prudent men to fall by the dangers they most despised. Thus Cicero, when admonished by Brutus of the infidelity and rancour of Octavius, coolly wrote back, “I cannot, however, but be obliged to you, Brutus, as I ought, for informing me, though of such a trifle.”
Nemesis also has her crown, by reason of the invidious and malignant nature of the vulgar, who generally rejoice, triumph, and crown her, at the fall of the fortunate and the powerful. And for the javelin in her right hand, it has regard to those whom she has actually struck and transfixed. But whoever escapes her stroke, or feels not actual calamity or misfortune, she affrights with a black and dismal sight in
• As she also brought the author himself.
cadit Ripheus, justissimus unus, Qui fuit ex Teucris, et servantissimus æqui:
Diis aliter visum.”-Æreid, lib. ii. c Te autem mi Brute sicut debeo, amo, quod istud quicquid est Augarum me scire voluisti.
her left hand ; for doubtless, mortals on the highest pinnacle of felicity have a prospect of death, diseases, calamities, perfidious friends, undermining enemies, revers of fortuno, &c., represented by the Ethiopians in her glass. Thus Virgil
, with great elegance, describing the battle of Actium, says of Cleopatra, that, “she did not yet perceive the two asps behind her ;”d but soon after, whick. way soever she turned, she saw whole troops of Ethiopians still before her.
Lastly, it is significantly added, that Nemesis rides upon a stag, which is a very long-lived creature; for though perhaps sone, by an untimely death in youth, may prevent or escape this goddess, yet they who enjoy a long flow of happiness and power, doubtless become subject to her at length, and are brought to yield.
XXIII.-ACHELOUS, OR BATTLE,
EXPLAINED OF WAR BY INVASION.
The ancients relate, that Hercules and Achelous being rivals in the courtship of Deianira, the matter was contested by single combat; when Achelous having transformed himself, as he had power to do, into various shapes, by way of trial; at length, in the form of a fierce wild bull, prepares himself for the fight; but Hercules still retains his human shape, engages sharply with him, and in the issue broke off one of the bull's horns; and now Achelous, in great pain and fright, to redeem his horn, presents Hercules with the cornucopia.
EXPLANATION.—This fable relates to military expeditions and preparations ; for the preparation of war on the defensive side, here denoted by Achelous, appears in various shapes, whilst the invading side has but one simple form, consisting either in an army, or perhaps a fleet. But the country that expects the invasion is employed infinite ways in fortifying towns, blockading passes, rivers, and ports, rais ing soldiers, disposing garrisons, building and breaking down bridges, procuring aids, securing provisions, arms, ammuni & “ Regina in mediis patrio vocat agmina sistro;
Necdum etiam geminos a tergo respicit angues." -- Ea, viii, 696
tior, &c. So that there appears a new face of things every day; and at length, when the country is sufficiently fortifieu and prepared, it represents to the life the form and threats of a fierce fighting bull.
On the other side, the invader presses on to the fight, fearing to be distressed in an enemy's country. And if after the battle he remains master of the field, and has now broke, as it were, the horn of his enemy, the besieged, of course, retire inglorious, affrighted, and dismayed, to their stronghold, there endeavouring to secure themselves, and repair their strength ; leaving, at the same time, their country a prey to the conqueror, which is well expressed by the Amalthean horn, or cornucopia.
XXIV.-DIONYSUS, OR BACCHUS."
EXPLAINED OF THE PASSIONS.
Tile fable runs, that Semele, Jupiter's mistress, having bound him by an inviolable oath to grant her an unknown request, desired he would embrace her in the same form and manner he used to embrace Juno ; and the promise being
; irrevocable, she was burnt to death with lightning in the performance. The embryo, however, was sewed up, and carried in Jupiter's thigh till the complete time of its birth ; but the burthen thus rendering the father lame, and causing him pain, the child was thence called Dionysus. When born, he was committed, for some years, to be nursed by Proserpina ; and when grown up, appeared with so effeminate a face, that his sex seemed somewhat doubtful. He also died, and was buried for a time, but afterwards revived. When a youth, he first introduced the cultivation and dressing of vines, the method of preparing wine, and taught the use thereof; whence becoming famous, he subdued the world, even to the utmost bounds of the Indies. He rode in a chariot drawn by tigers.
There danced about him certain deformed demons called Cobali, &c. The Muses also joined in his train. He married Ariadne, who was deserted by Theseus. The ivy was sacred to him. He was also held the
• Qvid'e Metamorphoses, b. iij. iv, ard vi.; and Fasti, iii. 767.
inventor and institutor of religious rites and ceremonies, but such as were wild, frantic, and full of corruption and cruelty. He had also the power of striking men with frenzies. Pentheus and Orpheus were torn to pieces by the frantic women at his orgies ; the first for climbing a tree to behold their outrageous ceremonies, and the other for the music of his harp. But the acts of this god are much entangled and confounded with those of Jupiter.
EXPLANATION.—This fable seems to contain a little system of morality, so that there is scarce any better invention in all ethics. Under the history of Bacchus is drawn the nature of unlawful desire or affection, and disorder; for the appetite and thirst of apparent good is the mother of all unlawful desire, though ever so destructive, and all unlawful desires are conceived in unlawful wishes or requests, rashly indulged or granted before they are well understood or considered, and when the affection begins to grow warm, the mother of it (the nature of good) is destroyed and burnt up by the heat. And whilst an unlawful desire lies in the embryo, or unripened in the mind, which is its father, and here represented by Jupiter, it is cherished and concealed, especially in the inferior part of the mind, corresponding to the thigh of the body, where pain twitches and depresses the mind so far as to render its resolutions and actions imperfect and lame. And even after this child of the mind is confirmed, and gains strength by consent and habit, and comes forth into action, it must still be nursed by Proserpina for a time; that is, it skulks and hides its head in a clandestine manner, as it were under ground, till at length, when the checks of shame and fear are removed, and the requisite boldness acquired, it either assumes the pretext of some virtue, or openly despises infamy. And it is justly observed, that every vehement passion appears of a doubtful sex, as having the strength of a man at first, but at last the impotence of a woman. It is also excellently added, that Bacchus died and rose again; for the affections sometimes seem to die and be no more; but there is no trusting them, even though they were buried, being always apt and ready to rise again whenever the occasion or object offers.
That Bacchus should be the inventor of wine carries a
fine allegory with it; for every affection is cuining and subtile in discovering a proper matter to nourish and feed it; and of all things known to mortals, wine is the most powerfiul and effectual for exciting and inflaming passions of all kinds, being indeed like a common fuel to all.
It is again with great elegance observed of Bacchus, that he subdued provinces, and undertook endless expeditions, for the affections never rest satisfied with what they enjoy, but with an endless and insatiable appetite thirst after something further. And tigers are prettily feigned to draw the chariot; for as soon as any affection shall, from going on foot, be advanced to ride, it triumphs over reason, and exerts its cruelty, fierceness, and strength against all that oppose it.
It is also humorously imagined, that ridiculous demons dance and frisk about this chariot ; for every passion produces indecent, disorderly, interchangeable, and deformed motions in the eyes, countenance, and gesture, so that the person under the impulse, whether of anger, insult, love, &c., though to himself he may seem grand, lofty, or obliging, yet in the eyes of others appears mean, contemptible, or ridiculous.
The Muses also are found in the train of Bacchus, for there is scarce any passion without its art, science, or doctrine to court and flatter it; but in this respect the indulgence of men of genius has greatly detracted from the majesty of the Muses, who ought to be the leaders and conductors of human life, and not the handmaids of the passions.
The allegory of Bacchus falling in love with a cast mistress, is extremely noble; for it is certain that the affections always court and covet what has been rejected upon experience. And all those who by serving and indulging their passions immensely raise the value of enjoyment, should know, that whatever they covet and pursue, whether riches, pleasure, glory, learning, or anything else, they only pursue those things that have been forsaken and cast off with contempt by great numbers in all ages, after possession and experience.
Nor is it without a mystery that the ivy was sacred to Bacchus, and this for two reasons : first, because ivy is an evergreen, or flourishes in the winter ; and secondly, because it winds and creeps about so many things, as trees, walls, and buildings, and raises itself above them. As to the