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Neither is it without Elegancy, that the cause of Endymion is mentioned in the Fable, because it is a Thing usual with such as are the Favourites of Princes to have certain pleasant retiring Places, whither to invite them for Recreation both of Body and Mind, and that without hurt or prejudice to their Fortunes also. And indeed these kind of Favourites are Men commonly well to pass ; for Princes, although peradventure they promote them not ever to Places of Honour, yet do they advance them fufficiently by their Favour and Countenance: Neither do they affect them thus, cnly to serve their own turn; but are wont to enrich them now and then with great Dignities, and Bounties.
ix. The Sister of the Giants,
T is a Poetical Relation that the Giants, begotten of the Earth, made War upon Jupiter and the other Gods;
and, by the force of Lightning, they were resisted and overthrown. Whereat the Earth being excitated to Wrath, in Revenge of her Children brought forth Fame, the youngest sister of the Giants. Illam terra parens ira irritata Deorum, Extremam (ut perhibent) Ceo Enceladoque fororem Progenuit
VIRG. ÆN. IV. 178.
Provoked by wrathful Gods, the Mother Earth Gives Fame, the Giants’youngest Sister, Birth.
The meaning of the Fable seems to be thus : By the Earth is signified the Nature of the Vulgar, always swoln and malignant, and still broaching new Scandals against Superiors, and having gotten fit Opportunity, stirs up Rebels and Seditious Persons, that with impious Outrage do molest Princes, and endeavour to subvert their Estates; but being supprest, the same natural Disposition of the People still leaning to the viler sort, (being impatient of Peace and Tranquillity,) spread Rumours, raise malicious Slanders, repining Whisperings, infamous Libels, 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 only ; the one sort being Masculine, the other Feminine.
x. Actæon and Pentheus, or a
HE Curiosity of Men, in prying into
Secrets, and coveting with an undiscreet Desire to attain the knowledge
of Things forbidden, is set forth by the Ancients in two other Examples: The one of A&tæon, the other of Pentheus.
Acteon having unawares, and as it were by chance beheld Diana naked, was turned into a Stag, and devoured by his own Dogs.
And Pentheus climbing up into a Tree, with a desire to be a spectator of the hidden Sacrifices of Bacchus, was stricken with such a kind of Frenzy, as that whatsoever he looked upon, he thought it always double, supposing (among other Things) he saw two Suns, and two Thebes; insomuch that running towards Thebes, spying another Thebes, instantly turned back again, and so kept still running forward and backward with perpetual Unrest. Eumenidum veluti demens vidit agmina Pentheus, Et Solem geminum, duplices se ostendere Thebas.' Pentheus amazed, doth troops of Furies spy; And Sun, and Thebes, seem double to his Eye.
The first of the Fables pertains to the secrets of Princes, the second to Divine Mysteries. For those that are near about Princes, and come to the knowledge of more Secrets than they would have them, do certainly incur great Hatred. And therefore, (suspecting that they are Shot at and Opportunities watched for their Overthrow) do lead their Lives like Stags, fearful and full of sufpicion. And it happens oftentimes that their Servants, and those of their Household, (to infinuate into the Prince's Favour) do accuse them to their Destruction ; for against whomsoever the Prince's Displeasure is known, look how many Servants that Man hath, and you shall find them for the most part so many Traitors unto him, that his End may prove to be like Actæon's.
· Virg. Æn. iv. 469.
The other is the Misery of Pentheus: For they that by the height of Knowledge and Nature in Philosophy, having climbed, as it were into a Tree, do with rash Attempts (unmindful of their Frailty) pry into the Secrets of Divine Mysteries, and are justly plagued with perpetual Inconstancy, and with wavering 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 Suns. And seeing the Actions of Life and decrees of Will do depend on the Understanding, it follows that they doubt, and are inconstant no less in Will than in Opinion; and so in like manner they may be said to see two Thebes : For by Thebes (seeing there was the Habitation and refuge of Pentheus) is meant the end of Actions. Hence it comes to pass that they know not whither they go, but, as distracted and unresolved in the Scope of their Intentions, are in all Things carried about with sudden Paflions of the Mind,
XI. Orpheus, or Philosophy.
HE Tale of Orpheus, though common,
had never the fortune to be fitly applied in every Point. It may seem to
represent the Image of Philosophy : For the Person of Orpheus (a Man Admirable and Divine, and so excellently skilled in all kinds of Harmony, that with his sweet ravishing Musick
he did as it were charm and allure all Things to follow him) may carry a singular Description of Philosophy: For the Labours of Orpheus do so far exceed the Labours of Hercules in Dignity and Efficacy, as the Works of Wisdom, excel the Works of Fortitude.
Orpheus for the Love he bare to his Wife, snatched, as it were, from him by untimely Death, resolved to go down to Hell with his Harp, to try if he might obtain her of the Infernal Powers. Neither were his hopes frustrated : For having appeased them with the melodious sound of his Voice and Touch, prevailed at length so far, as that they granted him leave to take her away with hím ; but on this Condition, that she should follow him, and he not to look back upon her, till he came to the Light of the upper World; which he (impatient of, out of Love and Care, and thinking that he was in a manner past all Danger) nevertheless violated, insomuch that the Covenant is broken, and she forthwith tumbles back again headlong into Hell. From that time Orpheus falling into a deep Melancholy became a Contemner of Womankind, and bequeathed himself, to a solitary Life in the Deserts; where, by the same Melody of his Voice and Harp, he first drew all manner of wild Beasts unto him, who forgetful of their Savage fierceness, and casting off the precipitate Provocations of Luft and Fury, not caring to satiate their Voracity by hunting after Prey, as at a Theatre, in fawning and reconciled Amity one towards another, stand all at the Gaze about him, and at