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Circles, their pestilent Malice in besieging; his Iron Hands, their merciless Slaughters; his Eagle's Talons, their greedy Rapines ; his plumed Body, their continual Rumours, and Scouts, and Fears, and such like. And sometimes these Rebellions grow fo Potent, that Princes are enforced (transported as it were, by the Rebels, and forsaking the chief Seats and Cities of the Kingdom) to contract their Power, and (being deprived of the Sinews of Money and Majesty,) betake themselves to some remote and obscure Corner within their Dominions. But in process of Time, (if they bear their Misfortunes with Moderation,) they may recover their Strength, by the virtue and industry of Mercury; that is, they may (by becoming Affable, and by reconciling the Minds and Wills of their Subjects with grave Edicts and gracious Speech,) excite an Alacrity to grant Aids, and Subsidies, whereby to strengthen their Authority anew. Nevertheless, having learned to be wise and wary, they will refrain to try the chance of Fortune by War, and yet study how to suppress the Reputation of the Rebels by some famous Action, which if it fall out answerable to their Expectation, the Rebels finding themselves weakened, and fearing the Success of their broken Projects, betake themselves to some flight and vain Bravadoes, like the hissing of Serpents, and at length in despair betake themselves to Flight; and then when they begin to break, it is safe and timely for Kings to pursue and oppress them with the Forces and Weight of the Kingdom, as it were with the Mountain Ætna.
111. The Cyclops, or the Mi
nisters of Terror.
HEY say that the Cyclopes, for their
fierceness, and Cruelty, were by Jupiter cast into Hell, and there doomed to
perpetual Imprisonment; but Tellus persuaded Jupiter that it would do well if, being set at liberty, they were put to forge Thunderbolts, which being done accordingly, they became so Painful and Industrious, as that Day and Night they continued Hammering out in laborious Diligence Thunderbolts, and other Instruments of Terror. In process of time Jupiter having conceived a Displeasure against Æsculapius, the Son of Apollo, for restoring a dead Man to life by Phyfick; and concealing his Dislike, (because there was no just Cause of Anger, the Deed being pious and famous,) secretly incensed the Cyclopes against him, who without delay flew him with a Thunderbolt. In
In revenge of which Act, Apollo, (Jupiter not prohibiting it) Shot them to Death with his Arrows.
This Fable may be applied to the Projects of Kings, who having cruel, bloody, and exacting Officers, do first punish and displace them; afterwards by the Counsel of Tellus, that is of some base and ignoble Person, and by the prevailing respect of Profit they admit them into their Places again, that they may have Instruments in a readiness, if at any time there should need either Severity of Execution, or Acerbity of Exaction. These servile Creatures being by Nature Cruel, and by their former Fortune exasperated, and perceiving well what is expected at their Hands, do fhew themselves wonderful Officious in such kind of Employments; but being too Rash and precipitate in seeking Countenance and creeping into Favour, do sometimes take occasion from the secret Beckonings and ambiguous Commands of their Prince, to perform some hateful Execution. But Princes (abhorring the Fact, and knowing well, that they shall never want such kind of Instruments,) do utterly forsake them, turning them over to the Friends and Allies of the wronged, to their Accusations and Revenge, and to the general Hatred of the People ; so that with great Applause, and prosperous Wishes and Acclamations towards the Prince, they are brought rather too late, than undeservedly, to a miserable End.
iv. Narcissus; or, Self-Love. .
HEY say, That Narcissus was exceeding Fair and Beautiful, but wonderful Proud and Disdainful; wherefore de
spising all others in respect of himself, he leads a solitary Life in the Woods and Chases with a few Followers, to whom he alone was all in all; among the rest there follows him the
Nymph Echo. During his Course of Life, it fatally so chanced that he came to a clear Fountain, upon the Bank whereof he lay down to repose himself in the Heat of the Day: and having espied the shadow of his own Face in the Water, was so besotted, and ravished with the Contemplation and Admiration thereof, that he by no means possible could be drawn from beholding his Image in this Glass ; insomuch that, by continual gazing thereupon, he pined away to nothing, and was at last turned into a Flower of his own Name, which appears in the beginning of the Spring and is facred to the infernal Powers, Pluto, Proserpina, and the Furies.
This Fable seems to show the Dispositions and Fortunes of those, who, in respect either of their Beauty or other Gift wherewith they are adorned and graced by Nature, without the help of Industry, are so far befotted in themselves, as that they prove the Cause of their own Destruction. For it is the property of Men infected with this Humour, not to come much abroad, or to be Conversant in Civil Affairs, especially seeing those that are in publick Place, muft of necessity encounter with many Contempts and Scorns, which may much deject and trouble their Minds; and therefore they lead for the most part a solitary, private, and obscure Life, attended on with a few Followers, and those, such as will adore and admire them, and like an Echo flatter them in all their Sayings, and applaud them in all their Words. So that being by this Custom seduced and puffed up, and, as it were, stupified with the Admiration of themselves, they are pofsessed with so strange a Sloth and Idleness, that they grow in a manner benumbed, and defective of all Vigour and Alacrity. Elegantly doth this Flower, appearing in the beginning of the Spring, represent the likeness of these Men's Dispositions, who, in their Youth do flourish, and wax famous; but being come to ripeness of Years, they deceive and frustrate the good Hope that is conceived of them. Neither is it impertinent that this Flower is said to be confecrated to the infernal Deities, because Men of this Disposition become unprofitable to all Human Things : For whatsoever produceth no Fruit of itself, but passeth, and vanisheth as if it had never been, (like the way of a Ship in the Sea,) that the Ancients were wont to dedicate to the Ghosts and Powers below.
v. Styx, or Leagues.
HE Oath by which the Gods were
wont to oblige themselves, (when they meant to ratify any Thing fo firmly as
never to revoke it,) is a Thing well known to the Vulgar, as being mentioned almost in every Fable; which was when they did not invoke or call to witness any Celestial Majesty, or Divine Power, but only the River Styx, that with crooked and Meandry Turnings encircleth the Palace of the infernal Dis. This was held as the only manner of their Sacrament; and, besides it,