The Essays of Montaigne/Book II/Chapter XII
Chapter XII. The Apology of Raymond Sebond.
[Note: I haven't found that chapter translated by Charles Cotton: you will find here a translation by John Florio instead]
KNOWLEDGE is without all Contradiction a most profitable and chiefe ornament, Those who despise it declare evidently their sottishnesse: Yet doe not I value it at so excessive a rate as some have done; namely Herillus the Philosopher, who grounded his chiefe felicitie upon it, and held that it lay in her power to make us content and wise: which I cannot beleeve, nor that which others have said, that Knowledge is the mother of all vertue, and that all vice proceedeth of ignorance. Which if it be it is subject to a large interpretation. My house hath long since ever stood open to men of understanding, and is very well knowne to many of them: for my father, who commanded the same fifty yeeres and upward, set on fire by that new kinde of earnestnesse wherewith King Francis the first imbraced Letters, and raised them unto credit, did with great diligence and much cost endevour to purchase the acquaintance of learned men; receiving and entertaining them as holy persons, and who had some particular inspiration of divine wisdom; collecting their sentences and discourses as if they had beene Oracles; and with so much more reverence and religious regard by how much lesse authority hee had to judge of them: for hee had no knowledge of Letters no more than his predecessors before him. As for mee I love them indeed, but yet I worship them not. Amongst others, Peter Bunel (a man in his time by reason of his learning of high esteeme) having sojourned a few daies at Montaigne with my father and others of his coat being ready to depart thence, presented him with a booke entituled Theologia naturalis; sive liber creaturarum magistri Raimondi de Sebonde. And for so much as the Italian and Spanish tongues were very familiar unto him, and that the book was written in a kinde of latinized Spanish, whereof divers words had Latine terminations; he hoped that with little aid he might reape no small profit by it, and commended the same very much unto him, as a booke most profitable, and fitting the dayes in which he gave it him. It was even at what time the new fangles of Luther began to creepe in favour, and in many places to shake the foundation of our ancient beleefe. Wherein he seemed to be well advised, as he who by discourse of reason fore-saw that this budding disease would easily turne to an execrable Atheisme: For the vulgar wanting the faculty to judge of things by themselves, suffering it selfe to be carried away by fortune and led on by outward apparances, if once it be possessed with the boldnesse to despise and malapertnesse to impugne the opinions which tofore it held in awful reverence (as are those wherein consisteth their salvation) and t hat some articles of their religion be made doubtfull and questionable, they will soon and easily admit an equal uncertainty in all other parts of their beleefe, as they that had no other grounded authoritie or foundation but such as are now shaken and weakned, and immediately reject (as a tyrannical yoke) all impressions they had in former times received by the authoritie of Lawes, or reverence of ancient custome.
Nam cupide conculcatur nimis anti metutum. -- Lucr. v. 1150.
That which we fear'd before too much,
We gladly scorne when tis not such.
Undertaking thenceforward to allow of nothing, except they have first given their voice and particular consent to the same. My father, a few daies before his death, lighting by chance upon this booke, which before he had neglected, amongst other writings commanded mee to translate the same into French. It is easie to translate such Authors, where nothing but the matter is to be represented; but hard and dangerous to undertake such as have added much to the grace and elegancy of the language, namely to reduce them into a weaker and poorer tongue. It was a strange taske and new occupation for me: but by fortune being then at leisure and unable to gainsay the commandement of the best father that ever was, I came ere long (as well as I could) to an end of it: wherein he took singular delight, and commanded the same to be printed, which accordingly was after his decease performed. I found the conceits of the author to be excellent, the contexture of his worke well followed, and his project full of pietie. Now forasmuch as divers ammuse themselves to reade it, and especially Ladies, to whom we owne most service, it hath often beene my hap to help them, when they were reading it, to discharge the booke of two principall objections, which are brought against the same. His drift is bold, and his scope adventurous for he undertaketh by humane and naturall reasons, to establish and verifie all the articles of Christian religion against Atheists. Wherein (to say truth) I find him so resolute and so happy, as I deem it a thing impossible to doe better in that argument, and thinke that none equalleth him. Which booke seeming to me both over-rich and exquisite, being written by an author whose name is so little knowne, and of whom all we know is, that he was a Spaniard, who about two hundred yeeres since professed Physicke in Tholouse: I demanded once of Adrianus Turnebus (a man who knew all things) what such a booke might be; who answered, that he deemed the same to be some Quintessence extracted from out Saint Thomas Aquinas: For, in good truth, onely such a spirit fraught with so infinite erudition, and so full admirable subtilities was capable of such and so rare imitiations. So it is, that whosoever be the author or deviser of it (the title whereof ought not without further reason to be taken from Sebond) he was a very sufficient-worthie man, and endowed with sundrie other excellent qualities. The first thing he is reproved for in his Booke is, that Christians wrong themselve much, in that they ground their beleefe upon humane reasons, which is conceived but by faith and by a particular inspiration of God. Which objection seemeth to containe some zeale of pietie; by reason whereof we ought, with so much more mildnes and regard, endevour to satisfie them that propose it. It were a charge more befitting a man conversant, and sutable to one acquainted with the holy Scriptures, than me, who am altogether ignorant in them. Neverthelesse I thinke, that even as to a matter so divine and high, and so much exceeding al humane understanding, as is this verity, wherwith it hath pleased the goodness of God to enlighten as, it is most requisit that he affoord and lend us his helpe; And that; with an extraordinary and privileged favour, that so we may the better conceive and entertaine the same: For, I suppose that meanes meerely humane can no way be capable of it; which if they were, so many rare and excellent mindes, and so plenteously stored with naturall faculties, as have beene in times past, would never by their discourse have mist the attayning of this knowledge. It is faith onely which lively and assuredly embraceth the high mysteries of our Religion. And no man can doubt but that it is a most excellent and commendable enterprise, properly to accommodate and fit to the service of our faith, the natural helpes and humane implements which God hath bestowed upon us. And no question is to be made but that it is the most honourable employment we can put them unto; and that there is no occupation or intent more worthy a good Christian, than by all meanes, studies, and imaginations, carefully to endevour how to embellish, amplifie, and extend the truth of his beleefe and religion. It is not enough for us to serve God in spirit and soule; we owe him besides, and wee yeeld unto him , a corporall worshipping; we applie our limbs, our motions, and all external things, to honour him. The like ought to be done, and we should accompany our faith with all the reason we possesse: Yet alwayes with this proviso, that we thinke it doth not depend of us, and that all our strength and arguments can never attaine to so supernaturall and divine a knowledge: Except it seize upon us, and as it were enter into us by an extraordinarie infusion: And unlesse it also enter into us not onely by discourse, but also by humane meanes, she is not in her dignitie nor in her glorie. And verily I feare therfore, that except this way, we should not enjoy it. Had we fast-hold on God; by the interposition of a lively faith; had we hold-fast on God by himselfe, and not by us; had we a divine foundation; then should not humane and worldly occasions have the power so to shake and totter us, as they have. Our hold would not then yeeld to so weake a batterie: The love of noveltie; the constrainte of Princes; the good successe of one partie; the rash and casuall changing of our opinions, should not then have the power to shake and alter our beleefe. We should not suffer the same to be troubled at the wil and pleasure of a new argument, and at the perswasion , no, not of all the rhetorike that ever was we should withstand these boistrous billowes with an inflexible and unmoveable constancie:
Illisos fluctus rupes, ut vasta refundit
Et varias circumlatrantes dissipat undas,
---Mole sua. -- VIRG. Æn. vii. 587.
As huge rocks doe regorge th' invective waves,
And dissipate the billowes brawling braves,
Which these gainst those still bellowe out.
Those being big and standing stout.
If this raie of Divinitie did in any sort touch us, it would everie where appeare: Not only our words, but our actions, would beare some shew and lustre of it. Whatsoever should proceed from us, might be seene inligh tned with this noble and matchlesse brightness. We should blush for shame, that in humane sects there was never any so factious, what difficultie or strangenesse soever his doctrine maintained, but some sort conforme his behaviors and square his life unto it: Whereas so divine and heavenly an institution never markes Christians but by the tongue. And will you see whether it be so? Compare but our manners unto a Turke, or a Pagan, and we must needs yeeld unto them: Whereas in respect of our religious superioritie, we ought by much, yea by an incomparable distance, out-shine them in excellencie: And well might a man say, Are they so just, so charitable, and so good? Then must they be Christians. All other outward shewes and exterior apparences are common to all religious: As hope, affiance, events, ceremonies, penitence, and martyrdoms. The peculiar badge of our truth should be vertue; As it is the heavenliest and most difficult marke, and worthiest production of Verity it selfe, And therefore was our good Saint Lewis in the right, when that Tartarian King, who was become a Christian, intended to come to Lyons, to kisse the Popes feet, and there to view the sanctitie he hoped to find in our lives and manners, instantly to divert him from it, fearing lest our dissolute manners and licentious kind of life might scandalize him, and so alter his opinion fore-conceived of so sacred a religion. Howbeit the contrary happened to another, who for the same effect being come to Rome, and there viewing the disolutenesse of the Prelates and people of those dayes, was so much the more confirmed in our religion; considering with himselfe what force and divinity it must of consequence have, since it was able, amidst so many corruptions and so viciously-poluted hands, to maintaine her dignitie and splendor. Had wee but one onely graine of faith, wee should then be able to remove mountaines from out their place, saith the Holy Writ. Our actions being guided and accompanied with Divinitie, should not then be meerely humane, but even as our beliefe, containe some wonder-causing thing. Brevis est institutio vitæ honestæ beatæque, si credas: 'The institution of an honest and blessed life is but short, if a man beleeve.' Some make the world beleeve that they beleeve things they never doe. Others (and they are the greater number) perswade themselves they doe so, as unable to conceive what it is to beleeve. We thinke it strange if in warres, which at this time doe so oppresse our state we see the events to float so strangely, and with so common and ordinarie a manner to change and alter: The reason is, we adde nothing unto it but our owne. Justice, which is on the one side, is used but for a cloake and ornament; she is indeed alleadged, but not received, nor harboured, nor wedded. She is as in the mouth of a Lawyer, and not as she ought in the heart and affection of the partie. God oweth his extraordinarie assistance unto faith and religion, and not to our passions. Men are but directors unto it and use religion for a show: It ought to be cleane contrarie. Doe but marke if we doe not handle it as it were a peece of waxe, from out so right and so firme a rule, to draw so many contrary shapes. When was this better seene than now-adaies in France? Those which have taken it on the left, and those who have taken it on the right hand: Such as speake the false, and such who speake the truth of it, do so alike employ and fit the same to their violent and ambitious enterprises, proceede unto it with so conformable a proceeding in riotousnesse and injustice, they make the diversitie they pretend in their opinions doubtfull, and hard to be beleeved, in a thing from which depends the conduct and law of our life. Can a man see from one same Schoole and Discipline, more united and like customes and fashions to proceed? View but the horrible impudencie wherewith we tosse divine reasons to and fro, and how irreligiously wee have both rejected and taken them againe, according as fortune hath in these publike stormes transported us from place to place. This solemne proposition: Whether it be lawfull for a subject, for the defence of religion, to rebell and take armes against his Prince: Call but to minde in what mouthes but a twelve-moneth agoe the affirmative of the same was the chiefe pillar of the one part; the negative was the maine-underprop of the other: And listen now from whence commeth the voyce and instruction of one and other: and whether armes clatter and clang less for this than for that cause. And we burne those men which say that truth must be made to abide the yoke of our need: And how much worse doth France than speak it. Let us confesse the truth: he that from out this lawfull armie should cull out first those who follow it for meere zeale of a religious affection than such as only regard the defence and protection of their countries lawes or service of their Prince; whether hee could ever erect a compleat company of armed men. How comes it to passe that so few are found who have still held one same wil and progresse in our publike revolutions, and that we see them now and then but faintly and sometimes as fast as they can headlong to runne into the action? And the same men, now by their violence and rashnesse, and now through their slowness demissnes, and heavines to spoile, and as it were overthrow our affaires, but that they are thrust into them by casual motives, and particular consideration, according to the diversities wherewith they are moved? I plainly perceive we lend nothing unto devotion but the offices that flatter our passions. There is no hostilitie so excellent as that which is absolutely Christian. Our zeale worketh wonders, whenever it secondeth our inclinations towards hatred, crueltie, ambition, avarice, detraction, or rebellion. Towards goodnes, benignitie, or temperance it goeth but slowly, and against the haire, except miraculously, some rare complexion leade him unto it, it neither runnes nor flieth to it. Our religion was ordained to root out vices, but it shrowdeth, fostreth, and provoketh them. As commonly we say, 'We must not make a foole of God.' Did we believe in him, I say not through faith, but with a simple beleefe; yea (I speake it to our confusion) did we but beleeve and know him, as wee doe an other storie, or as one of our companions; we should then love him above all other things, by reason of the infinite goodnes and unspeakable beauty that is and shines in him: Had he but the same place in our affections that riches, Pleasures, glory, and our friends have: The best of us doth not so much feare to wrong him as he doth to injure his neighbour, his kinsman, or his master. Is there so simple a minde who, on the one side having before him the object of one of our vicious pleasures, and on the other to his full view perfect knowledge and assured perswasion, the state of an immortall glorie, that would enter into contention of one for the other? And so we often refuse it through meere contempt: for what drawes us to blaspheming, unlesse it be at all adventures, the desire it selfe of the offence? The Philosopher Antisthenes, when he was initiated in the mysteries of Orpheus, the priest saying unto him that such as vowed themselves to that religion should after death receive eternall and perfect felicities, replied, 'If thou beleeve it, why dost thou not die thy selfe?' Diogenes more roughly (as his manner was) and further from our purpose, answered the priest who perswaded him to be one of his order, that so he might come unto and attaine the happinesse of the other world: 'Wilt thou have me beleeve that those famous men, Agesilaus and Epaminondas, shall be miserable, and that thou, who art but an asse, and doth nothing of any worth; shalt be happy, because thou art a Priest?' Did we but receive these large promises of everlasting blessednesse with like authoritie as we do a philosophicall discourse, we should not then have death in that horror as we have:
Non jam se moriens dissolvi conquereretur,
Sed magis ire foras, vestemque relinquere ut anguis
Gauderet, prælonga senex aut cornua cervus. -- Lucr. iii. 630
He would not now complains to be dissolved dying,
But rather more rejoice , that now he is forth-flying,
Or as a Snake his coat out-worne,
Or as old Harts, doth cast his horne.
I will be dissolved, should we say, and be with Jesus Christ. The forcible power of Platoes discourse of the immortality of the soule provoked divers of his Schollers unto death, that so they might more speedily enjoy the hopes he told them of. All which is a most evident token that we receive our religion but according to our fashion and by our owne hands, and no otherwise than other religions are received. We are placed in the countrie where it was in use; where we regard her antiquity, or the authority of those who have maintained her; where we fears the menaces wherewith she threatneth all misbeleevers, or follow her promises. The considerations ought to be applied and employed to our beleefe, but as subsidiaries: they be human bonds. Another country, other testimonies, equall promises, alike menaces, might semblaby imprint a cleane contrary religion in us: we are Christians by the same title as we are either Perigordins or Germans. And as Plato saith: 'There are few so confirmed in Atheisme but some great danger will bring unto the knowledge of God's divine power.' The part doth not touch or concerne a good Christians: It is for mortall and worldly religions to be received by a humane convoy. What faith is that like to be which cowardice of heart doth plant and weaknesse establish in us? A goodly faith, that beleeves that which it beleeveth onely because it wanteth the courage not to beleeve the same. A vicious passion, as that of inconstancie and astonishment is, can it possibly ground any regular production in our mindes or soules? They establish, saith he, by the reason of their judgement, that whatsoover is reported of hell, or of after-comming paines, is but a fiction: but the occasions to make triall of it, offering itselfe at what time age or sicknesse doth summon them to death, the errour of the same, through the horrour of their future condition, doth then replenish them with another kind of beleefe. And because such impressions make mens hearts fearfull, hee by his lawes inhibiteth all instruction of such threats and the perswasion that any evill may come unto man from the Gods, except for his greater good, and for a medicinable effect, whensoever he falleth into it. They report of Bion that being infected with the Atheismes of Theodorus, he had for a long time made but a mockerie of religious men; but when death did once seize upon him he yeelded unto the extremest superstitious: As if the Gods would either be removed or come again, according to Bions businesse. Plato and these examples conclude that we are brought to beleeve in God either by reason or by compulsion, Atheisme being a proposition as unnaturall and monstrous as it is hard and uneasie to be established in any mans minde, how insol ent and unruly soever he may be: many have beene seene to have conceived either through vanitie or fiercenesse, strange and seld-knowne opinion, as if they would become reformers of the world by affecting a profession only in countenance: who though they be sufficiently foolish, yet are they not powerfull enough to ground or settle it in their consciences. Yet will not such leave to lift up their joyned hands to heaven, give them but a stoccado on their breast: and when fear shall have supprest, or sicknesse vanquished this licentious fervour of a wavering minde, then will they suffer themselves gently to be reclaimed, and discreetly to be perswaded to give credit unto true beliefe and publike examples. A decree seriously digested is one thing, and these shallow and superficiall impressions another, which bred by the dissolutenesse of a loose spirit, doe rashly and uncertainely float up and downe the fantasie of a man. Oh men, most braine-sicke and miserable, that endeavour to be worse than they can! The errour of Paganisme and the ignorance of our sacred truth, was the cause of this great soules-fall: but onely great in worldly greatnes; also in this next abuse, which is, that children and old men are found to be more susceptible or capable of religion, as if it were bred and had her credit from our imbecillitie. The bond which should binde our judgement, tie our will, enforce and joyne our soules to our Creator, should be a bond taking his doubling and forces, not from our considerations, reasons, and passions, but from a divine and supernaturall compulsion, having but one forme, one countenance, and one grace, which is the authoritie and grace of God. Now our heart being ruled and our soule commanded by faith, reason willeth that she drawes all our other parts to the service of her intent, according to their power and facultie. Nor is it likely but that this vast worlds-frame must beare the impression of some markes, therein imprinted by the hand of this great wondrous architect, and that even in all things therein created there must be some image, somewhat resembling and having coherencie with the workeman that wrought and framed them. He hath left imprinted in these high and misterious works the characters of his divinitie: and onely our imbecilitie is the cause wee can not discover nor read them. It is that which himselfe telleth us, that by his visible operations be doth manifest those that are invisible to us. Sebond hath much travelled about this worthie studie, and sheweth us, that there is no parcell of this world that either belyeth or shameth his Maker. It were a manifest wronging of God's goodnesse if all this universe did not consent and sympathise with our beleefe. Heaven, earth, the elements, our bodies, our soule, yea all things else, conspire and agree unto it: onely the meanes how to make use of them must be found out: They will instruct us sufficiently, be we but capable to learne and to to understand. For this world is a most holy temple, into which man is brought there to behold statues and images not wrought by mortall hand, but such as the secret thought of God hath made sensible, as the Sunne, the Starres, the Waters and the Earth, thereby to represent the intelligible unto us. 'The invisible things of God,' saith St. Paul, 'doe evidently appeare by the creation of the world, judgeing of his eternall Wisdome and Divinity by his workes.
Atque adeo faciem coeli non invidet orbi
Ipse Deus, vultusque suos corpusque recludit
Semper volvendo seque ipsum inculcat et offert
Ut bene coqnosci possit, doceatque videndo
Qualis est, doceatque suas attendere leges. -- Manil. iv. 840.
God to the world doth not heav'ns face envie,
But by still moving it doth notifie
His face and essence, doth himselfe applie,
That he may well be knowen, and teach by seeing,
How he goes, how we should marke his decreeing.
Now our reason and humane discourse is as the lumpish and barren matter, and the Grace of God is the form thereof. 'Tis that which giveth both fashion and worth unto it. Even as the vertuous actions of Socrates and Cato are but frivolous and unprofitable because they had not their end, and regarded not the love and obedience of the true creator of all things, and namely, because they were ignorant of the true knowledge of God: So is it of our imaginations and discourse; they have a kind of body, but a shapelesse masse, without light or fashion, unlesse faith and the grace of God be ioyned thereunto. Faith, giving as it were a tincture and lustre unto Sebonds arguments, make them the more firme and solid: They may well serve for a direction and guide to a young learner, to lead and set him in the right way of this knowledge. They in some sort fashion and make him capable of the grace of God, by meanes whereof our beliefe is afterwards achieved and made perfect. I know a man of authority, brought up in letters, who confessed unto me that he was reclaimed from out the errours of mis-beleeving by the arguments of Sebond. And if it happen they be dispoyled of this ornament, and of the helpe and approbation of faith, and taken but for meere humane fantazies, yet to combat those that headlong are fallen into the dreadfull error and horrible darkenesse of irreligious even then shall they be found as firme and forcible as any other of that condition that may be opposed against them. So that we shall stand upon terms to say unto our parties,
Si melius quid habes, accerse, vel imperium fer. -- Hor. i. Epist.v. 6.
If you have any better, send for me,
Or else that I bid you, contented be.
Let them either abide the force of our proofes, or show us some others, upon some other subject, better compact and more full. I have in a manner unawares half engaged my selfe in the second objection, to which I had purposed to frame an answer for Sebond. Some of his arguments are weake and simple to verifie what he would, and undertake to front him easily. Such fellowes must somewhat more roughly be handled, for they are more dangerous and more malicious than the first. Man doth willingly apply other mens sayings to the advantage of the opinions he hath fore-judged in himselfe. 'To an Atheist all writings make for Atheisme. He with his owne venome infecteth the innocent matter. These have some preoccupation of judgment that makes their taste wallowish and tastelesse, to conceive the reasons of Sebond. As for the rest, they thinke to have faire play offered them if they have free liberty to combat our religion with meere worldly weapons; which they durst not charge, did they behold her in her majesty, full of authority and commandement. The meanes I use to suppresse this frenzy, and which seemeth the fittest for my purpose, is to crush and trample this humane pride and fiercenesse under foot, to make them feele the emptinesse, vacuitie, and no worth of man: and violently to pull out of their hands the silly weapons of their reason; to make them stoope, and bite and snarle at the ground, under the authority and reverence of God's Majesty. Onely to her belongeth science and wisdome, it is she alone can judge of her selfe; and from her we steale whatsoever we repute, value, and count ourselves to be.
Ου γαρ εα φρονειν ο θεος μεγα αλλον η εαυτον.
Of greater, better, wiser minde than he,
God can abide no mortall man should be.
Let us suppress this overweening, the first foundation of the tyrannie of the wicked spirit. Deus superbis resistit: humilibus autem dat gratiam: (Prov. iii. 14, iv. 6. 1. Pet. v. 5.) 'God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.' Plato saith 'that intelligence is in all the Gods, but little or nothing at all in men.' Meanewhile it is a great comfort unto a Christian man to see our mortall implements and fading tooles so fitly sorted to our holy and divine faith; that when they are employed to the mortal and fading subjects of their nature, they are never more forcible nor more joyntlie appropriated unto them. Let us then see whether man hath any other stronger reasons in his power then Sebondes, and whether it be in him, by argument or discourse, to come to any certainty. For, St. Augustine, pleading against these kind of men, because he would upbraid them with their injustice, in that they hold the parts of our beleefe to be false, and that our reason faileth in establishing them: and to shew that many things may be, and have beene, whereof our discourse can never ground the nature and the causes: he proposeth and setteth downe before them certaine knowen and undoubted experiments, wherein man confesseth to see nothing, which he doth as all things else, with a curious and ingenious search. More must be done, and they must be taught, that to convince the weaknesse of their reason we need not go far to cull out rare examples. And that it is so defective and blinde, as there is no facility so clear that is clear enough unto her: that easie and uneasie is all one to her; that all subjects equally, and Nature in generall disavoweth her jurisdiction and interposition. What preacheth truth unto us, when it biddeth us flie and shun worldly philosophy; when it so often telleth us 'that all our wisdome is but folly before God; that of all vanities man is the greatest; that man, who presumeth of his knowledge, doth not yet know what knowledge is: and that man, who is nothing, if he but thinke to be something, seduceth and deceiveth bimselfe?' These sentences of the Holy Ghost do so lively and manifestly expresse what I would maintaine, as I should neede no proofe against such as with all submission and obeysance would yeeld to his authority. But these will needs be whipt to their owne cost, and cannot abide their reason to be combatted, but by itselfe. Let us now but consider man alone without other help, armed but with his own weapons, and unprovided of the grace and knowledge of God, which is all his honour, all his strength, and all the ground of his being. Let us see what hold-fast or free-hold he hath in this gorgeous and goodly equipage. Let him with the utmost power of his discourse make me understand upon what foundation he hath built those great advantages and ods he supposeth to have over other creatures. Who hath perswaded him that this admirable moving of heavens vaults, that the eternal light of these lampes so fiercely rowling over his head, that the horror-moving and continnall motion of this infinite vaste ocean were established, and continue so many ages for his commoditie and service? Is it possible to imagine anything so ridiculous as this miserable and wretched creature, which is not so much as master of himselfe, exposed and subject to offences of all things, and yet dareth call himselfe Master and Emperour of this Universe? In whose power it is not to know the least part of it., much lesse to command the same. And the Privileges which he so fondly challengeth to be the onely absolute creature in this huge worlds frame, perfectly able to know the absolute beautie and several parts thereof, and that he is only of power to yeeld the great architect thereof due thanks for it, and to keepe account both of the receipts and layings out of the world. Who hath sealed him his patent? Let him shew us his letters of privilege for so noble and so great a charge. Have they been granted onely in favour of the wise? Then concerne they but a few. Are the foolish and wicked worthy of so extraordinary a favour, who being the worst part of the world, should they be preferred before the rest? Shall we believe him: Quorum igitur causa quis dixerit effectum esse mundum? Eorum scilicet animantium quo ratione utuntur. Hi sunt dii et homines, quibus profecto nihil est melius: (CIC. Nat. Deor. ii.) 'For whose cause then shall a man say that the world was made? In sooth, for those creatures sake which have the use of reason; those are Gods and men, than whom assuredly nothing is better.' We shall never sufficiently baffle the impudency of this conjoyning. But silly wretch, what hath he in him worthie such an advantage? To consider the incorruptible life of the celestiall bodies, their beauty, greatnesse, and agitation, continued with so just and regular a course.
----- cum suspicimus magni celestia mundi
Templa super, stellisque micantibus Æthera fixum,
Et venit in mentem Lunæ Solisque viarum. -- LUCR. v. 1214
When we of this great world the heavenly temples see
Above us, and the skies with shine-starres fixt to be,
And marks in our discourse, Of Sunne and Moone the course.
To consider the power of domination these bodies have not onely upon our lives and condition of our fortune.
Facta etenim et vitas hominum suspendit ab astris. -- MANIL. Astron. iii. 58.
For on the stars he doth suspend
Of men, the deeds, the lives, and end.
But also over our dispositions and inclinations, our discourses and wils, which they rule, provoke, and move at the pleasure of their influences, as our reason finds and teacheth us.
------ speculataque longe
Deprendit tacitis dominantia legibus astra.
Et totum alterna mundum ratione moveri,
Fatorumque vices certis discernere signis. -- MANIL. Astron. i. 62.
By speculation it from far discerns,
How stars by secret lawes do guide our sterns,
And this whole world is moov'd by entercourse
And by sure signes of fates to know the course.
Seeing that not a man alone, nor a king only, but monarchies and empires; yea, and all the world below is moved at the shaking of one of the least heavenly motions.
Quantaque quam parvi faciant discrimina motus:
Tantum est hoc regnum quod regibus imperat ipsis. -- MANIL. Astron. iv. 93.
How little motions make, how different affection:
So great this Kingdoms is, that hath Kings in subjection.
If our vertue, vices, sufficiency and knowledge, and the same discourse we make of the power of the starres, and the comparison betweene them and us, commeth as our reason judgeth by their meane and through their favour;
--furit alter amore,
Et pontum tranare potest, et vertere Troiam,
Alterius sors est scibendis legibus apta:
Ecce patrem nati perimunt, natosque parentes,
Mutuaque armati coeunt in vuln era fratres,
Non nostrum hoc bellum est; coquntur tanta movere,
Inque suas ferri ponas, lacerandaque membra:
Hoc quoque fatale est sic ipsum expandere fatum. -- MANIL. Astron. iv. 78, 118.
One with love madded, his love to enjoy
Can crosse the seas, and overturns all Troy
Anothers lot is to set lawes severe.
Loe sonnes kill fathers, fathers sonnes destroy,
Brothers for mutuall wounds their armes doe beare,
Such war is not our owne, forc't are we to it,
Drawne to our owne paines, our owne limbs to teare
Fates so t'observe t'is fatall, we must doe it.
If we hold that portion of reason, which we have from the distribution of heaven, how can she make us equall unto it? How can she submit his essence and conditions unto our knowledge? Whatsoever we behold in those high bodies doth affright us: Quæ molitio, quæ ferramenta, qui vectes, quo machinæ, qui ministri tanti operis fuerunt? (CIC. Nat. Deor. i.) 'What workmanship? What yron-braces? What maine beames, what engines? What masons and carpenters were to so great a worke?' Why doe we then deprive them of soule, of life, and of discourse? Have we discovered or knowen any unmoveable or insensible stupidity in them? We, who have no commerce but of obedience with them? Shall we say we have seene the use of a reasonable soule in no other creature but in man? What? Have we seene anything comparable to the sunne? Leaveth he to be, because we have seene nothing semblable unto it? And doth he leave his moving because his equall is nowhere to be found? If that which we have not seene is not, our knowledge is wonderfull abridged. Quæ sunt tantæ, animi angustia? 'What narrownesse of my heart is such?' Be they not dreames of humane vanity, to make a celestiall earth or world of the moone, as Anaxagoras did? And there in to plant habitations, and as Plato and Plutarch doe, erect their colonies for our use. And to make of our knowne earth a bright shining planet? Inter cætera mortalitatis incommoda, et hoc est caligo mentium: nec tantum necessitas errandi, sed errorum amor: (SEN. Ira. ii. cap. 9.) 'Among other discommodities of our mortality this is one, there is darknesse in our minds, and in us not onely necessity of erring, but a love of errors.' Corruptibile corpus aggravat animam, et deprimit terrena inhabitatio sensum multa cogitantem: (Ibid. Epist. xcv.) 'Our corruptible body doth overlode our soule, and our dwelling on earth weighs downe our sense that is set to thinke of many matters.' Presumption is our naturall and originall infirmitie. Of all creatures man is the most miserable and fraile, and therewithall the proudest and disdainfullest. Who perceiveth and seeth himselfe placed here amidst the filth and mire of the world, fast-tied and nailed to the worst, most senselesse, and drooping part of the world, in the vilest corner of the house, and farthest from heavens coape, with those creatures that are the worst of the three conditions; and yet dareth imaginarily place himself above the circle of the moon, and reduce heaven under his feet. It is through the vanitie of the same imagination that he dare equall himself to God, that he ascribeth divine conditions unto himself, that he selecteth and separateth himselfe from out the ranke of other creatures; to which his fellow-brethren and compeers he cuts out and shareth their parts, and allotteth them what portions of meanes or forces he thinkes good. How knoweth he by the vertue of his understanding the inward and secret motions of beasts? By what comparison from them to us doth he conclude the brutishnesse he ascribeth unto them? When I am playing with my cat, who knowes whether she have more sport in dallying with me than I have in gaming with her? We entertaine one another with mutuall apish trickes. If I have my houre to begin or to refuse, so hath she hers. Plato in setting forth the golden age under Saturne, amongst the chiefe advantages that man had then, reporteth the communication he had with beasts, of whom enquiring and taking instruction, he knew the true qualities and differences of every one of them: by and from whom he got an absolute understanding and perfect wisedome, whereby he led a happier life than we can doe. Can we have a better proofe to judge of mans impudency touching beasts? This notable author was of opinion that in, the greatest part of the corporall forme which nature hath bestowed on them, she hath only respected the use of the prognostications, which in his daies were thereby gathered. The defect which hindreth the communication betweene them and us, why may it not as well be in us as in them? It is a matter of divination to guesse in whom the fault is that we understand not one another. For we understand them no more than they us. By the same reason, may they as well esteeme us beasts as we them. It is no great marvell if we understand them not: no more doe we the Cornish, the Welch, or Irish. Yet have some boasted that they understood them, as Apollonius Thyaneus, Melampus, Tiresias, Thales, and others. And if it be (as Cosmographers report that there are nations who receive and admit a dogge to be their king, it must necessarily follow that they give a certaine interpretation to his voice and moving. We must note the parity that is betweene us. We have some meane understanding of their senses, so have beasts of ours, about the same measure. They flatter and faune upon us, they threat and entreat us, so doe we them. Touching other matters, we manifestly perceive that there is a full and perfect communication amongst them, and that not only those of one same kinde understand one another, but even such as are of different kindes.
Et mutæ pecudes, et denique secla ferarum
Dissimilis fuerunt voces variasqe cluere,
Cum metus aut dolor est, aut eum tam gaudia gliscunt. -- LUCR. v. 1069.
Whole heards (though dumbe) of beasts, both wild and tame,
Use divers voices, diffrent sounds to frame,
As joy, or griefe, or feare,
Upspringing passions beare.
By one kinde of barking of a dogge, the horse knoweth he is angrie; by another voice of his, he is nothing dismaid. Even in beasts that have no voice at all, by the reciprocall kindnesse which we see in them, we easily inferre there is some other meane of entercommunication: their jestures treat, and their motions discourse.
Non alia longe ratione atque ipse videtur
Protrahere ad gestum, pueros infantia lingua. -- Ibid. 1040.
No otherwise, then for they cannot speake,
Children are drawne by signes their mindes to breake.
And why not, as well as our dumbe men dispute, argue, and tel l histories by signes? I have some so ready and so excellent in it, that (in good sooth) they wanted nothing to have their meaning perfectly understood. Doe we not daily see lovers with the lookes and rowling of their eyes, plainly show when they are angrie or pleased, and how they entreat and thanke one another, assigne meetings, and expresse any passion?
E'l silentio ancor suole
Haver prieghi e parole.
Silence also hath a way,
Words and prayers to convay.
What doe we with our hands? Doe we not sue and entreat, promise and performe, call men unto us and discharge them, bid them farewell and be gone, threaten, pray, beseech, deny, refuse, demand, admire, number, confesse, repent, feare, bee ashamed, doubt, instruct, command, incite, encourage, sweare, witnesse, accuse, condemne, absolve, injurie, despise, defie, despight, flatter, applaud, blesse, humble, mocke, reconcile, recommend, exalt, shew gladnesse, rejoyce, complaine, waile, sorrow, discomfort, dispaire, cry out, forbid, declare silence and astonishment: and what not? with so great variation and amplifying as if they would contend with the tongue. And with our head doe we not invite and and call to us, discharge and send away, avow, disavow, honour, worship, disdaine, demand, direct, rejoyce, affirme, deny, complaine, cherish, blandish, chide, yeeld, submit, brag, boast, threaten, exhort, warrant, assure, and enquire? What doe we with our eye-lids? and with our shoulders? To conclude, there is no motion nor jesture that doth not speake, and speakes in a language very easie, and without any teaching to be understood: nay, which is more, it is a language common and publike to all: whereby it followeth (seeing the varietie and severall use it hath from others) that this must rather he deemed the proper and peculiar speech of humane nature. I omit that which necessitie in time of need doth particularly instruct and suddenly teach such as need it; and the alphabets upon fingers, and grammars by jestures; and the sciences which are onely exercised and expressed by them: and the nations Plinie reporteth to have no other speech. An Ambassador of the Citie of Abdera, after he had talked a long time unto Agis, King of Sparta, said thus unto him: 'O King, what answer wilt thou that I beare backe unto our citizens?' 'Thus (answered he) that I have suffered thee to speake all thou wouldst, and as long as thou pleasedst, without ever speaking one word.' Is not this a kind of speaking silence, and easie to be understood? And as for other matters; what sufficiency is there in us that we must not acknowledge from the industry and labours of beasts? Can there be a more formall and better ordained policie, divided into so severall charges and offices, more constantly entertained, and better maintained, than that of Bees? Shall we imagine their so orderly disposing of their actions, and managing of their vocations, have so proportioned and formall a conduct without discourse, reason, and forecast?
His quidam signis atque hoc exempla sequuti,
Esse apibus partem divinæ mentis, et haustus
Aethereos dixere. --VIRG. Geor. IV. 219.
Some by these signes, by these examples moved,
Said that in Bees there is and may be proved
Some taste of heavenly kinde,
Part of celestial minde.
The Swallowes which, at the approach of springtime, we see to pry, to search, and ferret all the corners of our houses; is it without judgement they seeke, or without discretion they chuse from out a thousand places, that which is fittest for them to build their nest andlodging? And in that prety cunning contexture and admirable framing of their houses, would birds rather fit themselves with a round than a square figure, with an obtuse than a right angle, except they knew both the commodities and effects of them? Would they (suppose you) first take water and then clay, unlesse they guessed that the hardnesse of the one is softened by the moistnesse of the other? Would they floore their palace with mosse or downe, except they foresaw that the tender parts of their young ones shall thereby be more soft and easie? Would they shroud and shelter themselves from stormy weather, and build their cabbins towards the East, unlesse they knew the different conditions of winds, and considered that some are more healthfull and safe for them than some others? Why doth the Spider spin her artificiall web thicke in one place and thin in another? And now useth one, and then another knot, except she had an imaginary kinde of deliberation, fore-thought, and conclusion? We perceive by the greater part of their workes what excellency beasts have over us, and how weake our art and short our cunning is, if we goe about to imitate them. We see, notwithstanding, even in our grosest works, what faculties we employ in them, and how our minde employeth the uttermost of her skill and forces in them: why should wee not thinke as much of them? Wherefore doe we attribute the workes which excell whatever we can performe, either by nature or by art, unto a kinde of unknowne, naturall, and servile inclination? Wherein unawares wee give them a great advantage over us, to infer that nature, led by a certaine loving kindnesse, leadeth and accompanieth them (as it were by the hand) unto all the actions and commodities of their life; and that she forsaketh and leaveth us to the hazard of fortune; and by art to quest and finde out those things that are behovefull and necessarie for our preservation: and therewithall demeth us the meanes to attaine by any institution and contention of spirit to the naturall sufficiency of brute beasts: So that their brutish stupidity doth in all commodities exceed whatsoever our divine intelligence can effect. Verily, by this account, wee might have just cause and great reason to terme her a most injust and partiall step-dame: But there is no such thing, our policy is not so deformed and disordered. Nature hath generally imbraced all her creatures: And there is not any but she hath amply stored with all necessary meanes for the preservation of their being. For the daily plaints, which I often heare men (when the licence of their conceits doth sometimes raise them above the clouds, and then headlong tumble them downe even to the Antipodes), exclaiming that man is the onely forsaken and out-cast creature, naked on the bare earth, fast bound and swathed, having nothing to cover and arme himselfe withall but the spoile of others; whereas Nature hath clad and mantled all other creatures, some with shels, some with huskes, with rindes, with haire, with wooll, with stings, with bristles, with hides, with mosse, with feathers, with skales, with fleeces, and with silke, according as their quality might need or their condition require: And hath fenced and armed them with clawes, with talons, with hoofes, with teeth, with stings, and with hornes, both to assaile others and to defend themselves: And hath moreover instructed them in everything fit and requisite for them, as to swim, to runne, to creepe, to flie, to roare, to bellow, and to sing: whereas man only (Oh, silly, wretched man) can neither goe, nor speake, nor shift, nor feed himselfe, unlesse it be to whine and weepe onely, except hee bee taught.
Tum porro, puer ut sævis projectus ab undis
Navila, nudus humi, jacit infans indignus omni
Vitali auxilio, cum primum in luminis oras
Nexibus ex alvo matris natura profundit,
Vagituque locum lugibri complet, et æqum est
Cui tantum in vita restet transire malorum:
At variæ crescunt pecudes, armenta, feræque,
Nec crepitacula eis opus est, nec cuiquam adhibenda est
Almæ nutricis blanda atque infracta loquela:
Nec varias quærunt vestes pro tempore cæli:
Denique non armis opus est, non mænibus altis
Qeis sua tutentur quando omnibus omnia large
Tellus ipsa parit, naturaque dædata rerum.-- LUCR. v. 222.
An infant, like a shipwracke ship-boy cast from seas,
Lies naked on the ground and speechlesse, wanting all
The helpes of vitall spirit, when nature with small ease
Of throes, to see first light, from her wombe lets him fall,
Then, as is meet, with mournfull cries he fils the place,
For whom so many ils remaine in his lives race.
But divers herds of tame and wild beasts foreward spring,
Nor need they rattles, nor of Nurces cockring-kind
The flattering broken speech their lullaby need sing.
Nor seeke they divers coats, as divers seasons bind.
Lastly no armour need they, nor high-reared wall
Whereby to guard their owne, since all things unto all
Worke-master nature doth produce,
And the earth largely to their use.
Such complaints are false. There is a greater equality and more uniforme relation in the policy of the world. Our skin is as sufficiently provided with hardnesse against the injuries of the weather as theirs. Witnesse divers nations which yet never knew the use of clothes. Our ancient Gaules were but slightly apparelled, no more are the Irish-men, our neighbours, in so cold a climate: which we may better judge by our selves, for all those parts of our bodie we are pleased to leave bare to winde and wether, are by experience found able to endure it. If there were any weake part in us which in likely-hood should seeme to feare cold, it ought to be the stomacke, where digestion is made. Our forefathers used to have it bare, and our ladies (as dainty-nice as they be) are many times seene to goe open-breasted, as low as their navill. The handles and swathes about our children are no more necessary: and the mothers of Lacedemonia brought up theirs in all liberty and loosenesse of moving their limbs without swathing or binding. Our whining, our puling, and our weeping is common to most creatures, and divers of them are often seene to waile and grone a long time after their birth, forsomuch as it is a countenance fitting the weaknesse wherein they feele themselves. As for the use of eating and feeding, it is in us, as in them, naturall and without teaching.
Sentit enim vim quisque suam quam possit abuti. -- LUCR. v. 1043.
For every one soone-understanding is
Of his owne strength, which he may use amisse.
Who will make question that a child having attained the strength to feed himselfe, could not quest for his meat and shift for his drinke? The earth without - labour or tilling doth sufficiently produce and offer him as much as he shall need. And if not at all times, no more doth she unto beasts; witnesse the provision wee see the ants and other silly creatures to make against the cold and barren seasons of the yeare. The nations that have lately bin discovered, so plenteously stored with all manner of naturall meat and drinke, without care or labor, teach us that bread is not our onely food: and that without toyling our common mother nature hath with great plentie stored us with whatsoever should be needfull for us, yea, as it is most likely, more richly and amply than now adaies she doth, that we have added so much art unto it.
Et tellus nitidas fruges vinetaque læta
Sponte sua primum mortalibus creavit,
Ipsa dedit dulces foetus, et pabulaa læta,
Quæ nunc vix nostro grandescunt aucta labore,
Conterimusque boves et vires agricolarum: -- LUCR. ii. 1166
The earth it selfe at first of th' owne accord
Did men rich Vineyards, and cleane fruit afford.
It gave sweet of-springs, food from sweeter soyle
Which yet scarse greater grow for all our toyle,
Yet tire therein we doe,
Both Plough-men's strength and Oxen too.
The gluttonous excesse and intemperate lavishnesse of our appetite exceeding all the inventions we endevour to finde out wherewith to glut and cloy the same. As for armes and weapons, we have more that be naturall unto us than the greatest part of other beasts. We have more severall motions of limbs, and naturally without reaching: we reape more serviceable use of them than they doe. Those which are trained up to fight naked, are seene head long to cast themselves into the same hazards and dangers as we doe. If some beasts excell us in this advantage, we exceed many others: and the industrie to enable the skill to fortifie and the wit to shelter and cover our body by artificiall meanes, we have it by a kinde of naturall intinct and teaching. Which to prove, the elephant doth whet and sharpen his teeth. he useth in warre (for he hath some he only useth for that purpose) which he heedfully spareth and never puts them to other service: When buls prepare themselves to fight, and they raise, scatter, and with their feet cast the dust about them: the wilde boare whets his tusks; when the Ichneumon is to grapple with the crocodile, he walloweth his body in the mire, then lets the same drie and harden upon him, which he doth so often that at last the same becomes as hard and tough as well as any compact crust, which serveth him in stead of a cuirace. Why shall we not say that it is as naturall for us to arme our selves with wood and yron? As for speech, sure it is that if it be not naturall it is not necessary. I beleeve, neverthelesse, that if a childe, bred in some uncouth solitarinesse, farre from haunt of people (though it were a hard matter to make triall of it) would no doubt have some kinde of words to expresse, and speech to utter his conceits. And it is not to be imagined that nature hath refused us that meane and barred us that helpe which she hath bestowed upon many and divers other creatures: for what is that faculty we see in them when they seeme to complaine, to rejoice, to call one unto another for helpe, and bid one another to loving conjunction (as commonly they doe) by the use of their voice, but a kind of speech? And shall not they speake among themselves that speake and utter their minde unto us and we to them? How many waies speake we unto our dogges, and they seeme to understand and answer us? With another language and with other names speake we unto and call them than we doe our birds, our hogges, our oxen, our horses, and such like; and according to their different kindes we change our idiome.
Cosi per entro loco schiera bruna
S'ammusa l'una con I'altra formica,
Forse a spiar lor via, et lor fortuna. --DANTE. Purgatorio, xxvi. 84.
So Ants amidst their sable-coloured band
One with another mouth to mouth confer,
Haply their way, or state to understand.
Me seemeth that Lactantius doth not onely attribute speech unto beasts, but also laughing. And the same difference of tongue, which according to the diversitie of countri es is found amongst us, is also found amongst beasts of one same kinde. Aristotle to that purpose alleageth the divers calles or purres of partriges, according to the situation of their place of breeding.
----- variæque volucres
Longe alias alio jaciunt in tempore voces,
Et partim mutant cum tempestatibus una
Raucisonos cantus. -- LUCR. V. 1088.
And divers birds, send forth much divers sounde
At divers times, and partly change the grounds
Of their hoarce-sounding song,
As seasons change along.
But it would be knowne what language such a child should speake, and what some report by divination hath no great likelyhood. And if against this opinion a man would alleage unto me that such as are naturally deafe, speake not at all: I answer that it is not onely because they could not receive the instruction of the world by their eares, but rather inasmuch as the sense of hearing, whereof they are deprived, hath some affinity with that of speaking, both which with a naturall kinde of ligament or seame hold and are fastned together. In such sort as what we speake we must first speake it unto our selves, and before we utter and send the same forth to strangers we make it inwardly to sound unto our eares. I have said all this to maintaine the coherency and resemblance that is in all humane things, and to bring us unto the generall throng. We are neither above nor under the rest: what ever is under the coape of heaven (saith the wise man) runneth one law, and followeth one fortune.
Indupedita suis fatalibus omnia vinclis. -- Ibid. 885.
All things enfolded are,
In fatall bonds as fits their share.
Some difference there is, there are orders and degrees; but all is under the visage of one same nature,
----- res quaque suo ritu procedit, et omnes
Fædere natura certo discrimina servant. -- LUCR. v. 932.
All things proceed in their course, natures all
Keeps difference, as in their league doth fall.
Man must be forced and marshalled within the lists of this policie. Miserable man, with all his wit, cannot in effect goe beyond it: he is embraced and engaged, and as other creatures of his ranke are, he is subjected in like bond, and without any prerogative or essentiall pre-excellencie; and what ever privilege he assume unto himselfe, he is of very meane condition. That which is given by opinion or fantasie hath neither body nor taste. And if it be so that he alone, above all other creatures, hath this liberty of imagination and this licence of thoughts which represent unto him both what is and what is not, and what him pleaseth, falsehood and truth; it is an advantage bought at a very high rate, and whereof he hath little reason to glorie: for thence springs the chiefest source of all the mischiefs that oppresse him, as sinne, sicknesse, irresolution, trouble and despaire. But to come to my purpose, I say therefore, there is no likelyhood, we should imagine, the beasts doe the very same things by a naturall inclination and forced genuitie, which we doe of our freewil and industrie. Of the very same effects we must conclude alike faculties, and by the richest effects infer the noblest faculites, and consequently acknowledge that the same discourse and way we hold in working, the very same, or perhaps some other better, doe beasts hold. Wherefore shall we imagine that naturall compulsion in them, that prove no such effect our selves? Since it is more honourable to be addressed to act, and tyed to worke orderly, by and through a natural and unavoideable condition and most approching to Divinitie, than regularly to worke and act by and through a casuall and rash libertie; and it is safer to leave the reignes of our conduct unto nature than unto our selves. The vanitie of our presumption maketh us rather to be beholding, and as it were endebted unto our owne strength, for our sufficiency, than unto her liberalitie; and enrich other creatures with naturall gifts, and yeeld those unto them, that so we may ennoble and honour our selves with gifts purchased, as me thinketh, by a very simple humour: for I would prize graces, and value gifts, that were altogether mine owne, and naturall unto me, as much as I would those, I had begged, and with a long prenticeship, shifted for. It lyeth not in our power to obtaine a greater commendation than to be favoured both of God and Nature. By that reason, the fox, which the inhabitants of Thrace use when they will attempt to march upon the yce of some frozen river, and to that end let her go loose afore them, should we see her running alongst the river side, approch her eare close to the yce, to listen whether by any farre or neere distance she may heare the noyse or roaring of the water running under the same, and according as she perceiveth the yce thereby to be thicke or thinne, to goe either forward or backward; might not we lawfully judge that the same discourse possesseth her head as in like case it would ours? And that it is a kinde of debating reason and consequence drawen from naturall sense? Whatsoever maketh a noyse moveth, whatsoever moveth is not frozen, whatsoever is not frozen is liquid, whatsoever is liquid yeelds under any weight? For to impute that only to a quicknesse of the sense of hearing, without discourse or con sequence, is but a fond conceipt, and cannot enter into my imagination. The like must be judged of so many wiles and inventions wherewith beasts save themselves from the snares and scape the baits we lay to entrap them. And if we will take hold of any advantage tending to that purpose, that it is in our power to seize upon them, to employ them to our service, and to use them at our pleasure; it is but the same oddes we have one upon another. To which purpose we have our slaves or bond-men; and were not the Climacides certain women in Syria, which creeping on al foure upon the ground, served the ladies in steed of footstoles or ladders to get up into their coachs? Where the greater part of free men, for very slight causes, abandon both their life and being to the power of others. The wives and concubines of the Thracians strive and contend which of them shal be chosen to bee slaine over her husbands or lovers tombe. Have tyrants ever failed to find many men vowed to their devotion? Where some for an overplus or supererogation have added this necessity, that they must necessarily accompany them as well in death as in life. Whole hostes of men have thus tyed themselves unto their captaines. The tenor of the oath ministred unto the schollars that entered and were admitted the rude schoole of Roman Gladiators emplied these promises, which was this: we vow and sweare to suffer our selves to be enchained, beaten, burned, and killed with the sword, and endure whatsoever any lawfull fenser ought to endure for his master: most religiously engaging both our bodie and soule to the use of his service:
Ure meum, si vis, flamma caput et pete ferro
Corpus, et intorto verbere terga seca. -- TIBUL. i. El. ix. 21.
Burne tyrant (if thou wilt my head with fire, with sword
My body strike, my backe cut with hard-twisted cord.
Was not this a very strict covenant? Yet were there some yeares ten thousand found that entered and lost themselves in those schooles. When the Scithians buried their king, they strangled over his dead body first the chiefest and best beloved of his concubines, then his cup-bearer, the master of his horse, his chamberlains, the usher of his chamber, and his master cooke. And in his anniversary killed fiftie horse, mounted with fifty pages, whom before they had slaine with thrusting sharpe stakes into their fundament, which, going up along their chine-bone, came out at their throat; whom thus mounted; they set in orderly rankes about the tombe. The men that serve us doe it better cheape, and for a lesse curious and favourable entreating than we use unto birds, unto horses, and unto dogges. What carke and toile apply we not ourselves unto for their sakes? Me thinks the vilest and basest servants will never doe that so willingly for their masters which princes are glad to doe for their beasts. Diogenes, seeing his kinsfolks to take care how they might redeeme him out of thraldome; 'they are fooles,' said he, 'for it is my master that governeth, keepeth, feedeth, and serveth me:' And such as keepe or entertaine beasts may rather say they serve them than that they are served of them. And yet they have that naturall greater magnanimity, that never lyon was seen to subject himselfe unto another lyon, nor one horse unto another horse, for want of heart. As wee hunt after beasts, so tygers and lyons hunt after men, and have a like exercise one upon another: hounds over the hare; the pike or luce over the tench; the swallowes over the grasse-hoppers) and the sparrow-hawkes over blacke-birds and larkes.
------ serpente ciconia pullos
Nutrit, et inventa per devia rura lacerta,
Et leporem aut capream famulæ Iovis, et generosæ
In saltu venantur aves. -- Juven. Sat. xiv. 74.
The storke her young feeds with serpents prey,
And lyzarts found somewhere out of the way,
Joves servants - Eagles, hawkes of nobler kynde,
In forrests hunt, a hare or kid to finde,
We share the fruits of our prey with our dogges and hawkes, as a meed of their paine and reward of their industry. As about Amphipolis, in Thrace, faulkners and wilde hawks divide their game equally: and as about the Mæotide fennes, if fishers doe not very honestly leave behind them an even share of their fishings for the woolves that range about those coasts, they presently run and teare their nets. And as we have a kinde of fishing rather managed by sleight than strength, As that of hooke and line about our angling-rods, so have beasts amongst themselves. Aristotle reporteth that the cuttle-fish casteth a long gut out of her throat, which like a line she sendeth forth, and at her pleasure pulleth it in againe, according as she perceiveth some little fish come neere her, who being close hidden in the gravell or stronde, letteth him nible or bite the end of it, and then by little and little drawes it in unto her, untill the fish be so neere that, with a soudaine leape, she may catch it. Touching strength, there is no creature in the world open to so many wrongs and injuries as man: we need not a whale, an elephant, nor a crocodile, nor any such other wilde beast, of which one alone is of power to defeat a great number of men; seely lice are able to make Silla give over his Dictatorship: the heart and life of a mighty and triumphant emperor is but the break-fast of a seely little worme. Why say we that skill to discerne and knowledge to make choyce (gotten by art and acquired by discourse) of things good for this life, and availfull against sicknesse, and to distinguish of those which are hurtfull, and to know the vertue of reubarb, qualitie of oake ferne and operation of polipodie, is only peculiar unto man? When we see the Goats of Candia being shot with an arrow to choose from out a million of simples the herb Dittamy or Garden-ginger, and there-with cure themselves; and the Tortoise having eaten of a Viper immediately to seek for Origon or wild Marjoram to purge herselfe: the Dragon to run and cleare his eies with Fenel: Cranes with their bils to minister glisters of sea-water unto themselves; the Elephants to pull out, not only from themselves and their fellowes, but also from their masters (witnesse that of King Porus, whom Alexander defeated) such javelins or darts as in fight have beene hurled or shot at them, so nimbly and so cunningly as ourselves could never do it so easily and with so little paine: Why say wee not likewise that that is science and prudence in them? For, if to depress them some would alleage it is by the onely instruction and instinct of Nature they know it, that will not take the name of science and title of prudence from them; it is rather to ascribe it unto them than unto us for the honour of so assured a schoole-mistris. Chrysippus, albeit in other things as disdainfull a judge of the condition of beasts as any other Philosopher, considering the earliest movings of the dog, who comming into a path that led three severall wayes in search or quest of his Master, whom he had lost, or in pursuit of some prey that hath escaped him, goeth senting first one way and then another, and having assured himself of two, because he findeth not the tracke of what he hunteth for, without more adoe furiously betakes himselfe to the third; he is enforced to confesse that such a dog must necessarily discourse thus with himselfe, 'I have followed my Masters footing hitherto, hee must of necessity pass by one of these three wayes; it is neither this nor that, then consequently hee is gone this other.' And by this conclusion or discourse assuring him selfe, comming to the third path, hee useth his sense no more, nor sounds it any longer, but by the power of reason suffers himselfe violently to be carried through it. This meere logicall tricke, and this use of divided and conjoyned. propositions, and of the sufficient numbring of parts: is it not as good that the dog know it by him selfe, as by Trapezuntius his logicke? Yet are not beasts altogether unapt to be instructed after our manner. We teach Blacke-birds, Starlins, Ravens, Piots, and Parots to chat; and that facilitie we perceive in them to lend us their voyce so supple and their wind so tractable, that so wee may frame and bring it to a certaine number of letters and silables, witnesseth they have a kinde of inward reason which makes them so docile and willing to learne. I thinke every man is cloied and wearied with seeing so many apish and mimmike trickes that juglers teach their Dogges, as the dances, where they misse not one cadence of the sounds or notes they heare: Marke but the divers turnings and severall kinds of motions which by the commandement of their bare words they make them performe: But I wonder not a little at the effect, which is ordinary amongst us; and that is, the dogs which blind men use, both in Citie and in Country: I have observed how sodainly they will stop when they come before some doores where they are wont to receive alms: how carefully they will avoyd the shocke of Carts and Coaches, even when they have roome enough to passe by themselves. I have seene some going along a Towne-ditch leave a plaine and even path and take a worse, that so they might draw their Master from the ditch. How could a man make the dog conceive his charge was only to looke to his masters safetie, and for his service to despise his own commoditie and good? And how should he have the knowledge that such a path would be broade enough for him, but not for a blind man? Can all this he conceived without reason? We must not forget what Plutarke affirmeth to have seene a dog in Rome doe before the Emperour Vespasian the father in the Theatre of Marcellus. This Dog served a jugler, who was to play a fiction of many faces and sundry countenances, where he also was to act a part. Amongst other things he was for a long while to counterfeit and faine himself dead, because he had eaten of a certain drugge: having swallowed a piece of bread, which was supposed to be the drug, he began sodainly to stagger and shake as if he had beene giddie, then stretching and laying himselfe along as stiffe as if hee were starke dead, suffered himself to be dragged and haled from one place to another, according to the subject and plot of the play, and when he knew his time, first he began faire and softly to stirre as if he were roused out of a dead slumber, then lifting up his head hee looked and stared so gastly that all the bystanders were amazed. The Oxen, which in the Kings gardens of Susa were taught to water them and to draw water out of deepe wells, turned certaine great wheeles, to which were fastned great buckets (as in many places of Languedoke is commonly seene) and being every one appointed to draw just a hundred turnes a day, they were so accustomed to that number as it was impossible by any compulsion to make them draw one more, which taske ended they would suddenly stop. We are growne striplings before we can tell a hundred; and many nations have lately beene discovered that never knew what numbers meant. More discourse is required to teach others than to be taught. And omitting what Democritus judged and proved, which is, that beasts have instructed us in most of our Arts: As the Spider to weave and sew, the Swallow to build, the Swan and the Nightingale musicke, and divers beasts, by imitating them, the art of Physicke: Aristotle is of opinion that Nightingales teach their young ones to sing, wherein they employ both long time and much care: whence it followeth that those which we keepe tame in cages and have not had leasure to go to their parents schoole, lose much grace in their singing. Whereby we may conclude they are much amended by discipline and study. And amongst those that run wilde, their song is not all one nor alike. Each one hath learnt either better or worse, according to his capacity. And so jealous are they in their prentiseship, that to excell one another they will so stoutly contend for the mastery that many times such as are vanquished die; their winde and strength sooner failing than their voice. The young ones wil very sadly sit recording their lesson, and are often seene labouring how to imitate certaine song-notes: The Scholler listeneth attentively to his Masters lesson, and carefully yeeldeth account of it; now one and then another shall hold his peace: Marke but how they endevour to amend their faults, and how the elder striveth to reprove the youngest. Arrius protesteth to have seene an Elephant who on every thigh had a cimball hanging and one fastned to his truncke, at the sound of which all other Elephants danced in a round, now rising aloft, then lowting full low at certaine cadences, even as the instrument directed them, and was much delighted with the harmony. In the great showes of Rome Elephants were ordinarily seene, taught to move and dance at the sound of a voice, certaine dances, wherein were many strange shifts, enterchanges, caprings, and cadences, very hard to be learned. Some have beene noted to konne and practise their lessons, using much study and care, as being loath to be chidden and beaten of their masters. But the tale of the piot is very strange, which Plutarke confidently witnesseth to have seene: 'This jay was in a Barbers shop of Rome, and was admirable in counterfeiting with her voice whatsoever she heard: It fortuned one day that certaine Trumpeters staied before this shop and there sounded a good while; and being gone, all that day and the next after the piot began to be very sad, silent, and melancholy, whereat all men marvelled, and surmized that the noise or clang of the trumpets had thus affrighted and dizzied her, and that with her hearing she had also lost her voice. But at last they found she was but in a deep study and dumpish, retracting into herself, exercising her minde, and preparing her voice to represent the sound, and expresse the noise of the Trumpets she had heard. And the first voice she uttered was that wherein she perfectly expressed their straines, their closes, and their changes: having by her new prentiship altogether quit, and as it were scorned whatever she could prattle before. I will not omit to alleage another example of a Dogge, which Plutarke also saith to have seen (as for any order or method I know very well I do but confound it, which I observe no more in ranging these examples than I doe in all the rest of my business), who being in a ship, noted that his Dogge was in great perplexity how to get some Oyle out of a deepe Pitcher, which by reason of its narrow mouth he could not reach with his tongue, got him presently some Pibble stones, and put so many into the jarre that he made the Oyle come up so neare the brimme as he could easily reach and licke some. And what is that but the effect of a very subtill spirit? It is reported that the ravens of Barbary will doe the like, when the water they would drinke is too low. This action doth somewhat resemble that which Juba, a King of that Nation, relateth of their elephants; that when through the wiles of those that chase them, anyone chanceth to fall into certaine deep pits which they prepare for them, and to deceive them they cover over with reeds, shrubs, and boughes, his fellowes will speedily with all diligence bring great store of stones and peeces of timber that so they may helpe to recover him out againe. But this beast hath in many other effects such affinity with man's sufficiency, that would I particularly trace out what experience hath taught, I should easily get an affirmation of what I so ordinarily maintaine, which is, that there is more difference found betweene such and such a man, than betweene such a beast and such a man. An Elephants keeper in a private house of Syria was wont every meale to steele away halfe of the allowance which was allotted him; it fortuned on a day his master would needs feed him himselfe, and having poured that just measure of barley which for his allowance he had prescribed for him, into his manger, the elephant, sternely eying his master, with his truncke divided the provender in two equal parts, and laid the one aside, by which he declared the wrong his keeper did him. Another having a keeper, who to encrease the measure of his provender was wont to mingle stones with it, came one day to the pot which with meat in it for his keepers dinner was seething over the fire, and filled it up with ashes. These are but particular effects, but that which all the world hath seene, and all men know, which is, that in all the armies that came out of the East, their chiefest strength consisted in their elephants, by whom they reaped, without comparison, farre greater effects than now adaies we do by our great ordnance, which in a manner holds their place in a ranged battel (such as have any knowledge in ancient histories may easily guesse it to be true).
-----si quidem Tyrio servire solebant
Anibali, et nostris ducibus, regique Molosso
Horum majores, et dorso ferre cohortes,
Partem aliquam belli, et euntem in prælia surriam -- JUV. Sat. xii. 107.
Their elders usde great Hannibal to steed
Our Leaders, and Molossian Kings at need,
And on their backe to beare strong guarding Knights,
Part of the warre, and troupes addrest to fights.
A man must needs rest assured of the confidence they had in these beasts, and of their discourse, yeelding the front of a battel unt o them; where the least stay they could have made, by reason of their hugenesse and weight of their bodies, and the least amazement that might have made them turne head upon their owne men, had bin sufficient to lose all. And few examples have been noted that ever it fortuned they turned upon their owns troupes, whereas we head-long throng one upon another, and so are put to rout. They had charge given them, not onely of one simple moving, but of many and severall parts in the combat. As the Spaniards did to their dogges in their new conquest of the Indias, to whom they gave wages and imparted their booties, which beasts shewed as much dexteritie in pursuing and judgement in staying their victorie, in charging or retreating, and, as occasion served, in distinguishing their friends from their enemies, as they did earnestnesse and eagerness. We rather admire and consider strange than common things, without which I should never so long have ammused my selfe about this tedious catalogue. For, in my judgement, he that shall meerly check what we ordinarily see in those beasts that live amongst us shall in them flnde as wonderful effects as those which with so much toile are collected in far countries and passed ages. It is one same nature which still doth keepe her course. He that throughly should judge her present estate might safely conclude both what shall happen and what is past. I have seen amongst us men brought by sea from distant countries, whose language, because we could in no wise understand, and that their fashions, their countenance, and their clothes did altogether differ from ours, who of us did not deem them brutish and savage? Who did not impute their mutenesse into stupiditie or beastlines, and to see them ignorant of the French tongue, of our kissing the hands, of our low-lowting courtesies, of our behaviour and carriage, by which without contradiction, humane nature ought to take her patterne? Whatsoever seemeth strange unto us, and we understand not, we blame and condemne. The like befalleth us in our judging of beasts. They have diverse qualities, which somewhat simbolize witih ours, from which we may comparatively draw some conjecture, but of such as are peculiar unto them what know we what they are? Horses, dogges, oxen, sheepe, birds, and the greater number of sensitive creatures that live amongst us, know our voyce, and by it suffer themselves to be directed. So did the lamprey which Crassus had, and came to him when he called it: so do the eeles that breed in Arethusa's fountains. And my selfe have seene some fish-ponds where at a certaine crie of those that kept them, the fish would presently come to shoare, where they were wont to be fed.
------ nomen habent, et ad magistri
Vocem quisque sui venit citatus. -- MART. iv. Epig. XXX. 6.
They have their proper Dames, and every one
Comes at his master's voyce, as call'd upon.
By which we may judge and conclude that elephants have some apprehension of religion, forsomuch as after diverse washings and purifications, they are seene to lift up their truncke as we doe our armes, and at certaine houres of the day, without any instruction, of their owne accord, holding their eyes fixed towards the sunne-rising, fall into a long meditating contemplation; yet, because we see no such appearance in other beasts, may wee rightly conclude that they are altogether void of religion, and may not take that ill payment which is hidden from us. As we perceive something in that action which the Philosopher Cleanthes well observed, because it somewhat draws neere unto ours. He saw (as himselfe reporteth) a company of emmets goe from their nest, bearing amongst them the body of a dead ant, toward another emmets nest, from which many other ants came, as it were to meet them by the way to parly with them, who after they had continued together awhile, they which came last, returned backe to consult (as you may imagine) with their fellow-citizens, and because they could hardly come to any capitulation, they made two or three voyages to and fro. In the end, the last come brought unto the other a worme from their habitation, as for a ransome of the dead, which worme the first company tooke upon their backes, and carried it home, leaving the dead body unto the other. Loe, here the interpretation that Cleanthes gave it: Witnessing thereby that those creatures which have no voice at all, have neverthelesse mutual commerce and enterchangeable communication, whereof if we be not partakers, it is onely our fault; and therefore doe we fondly to censure it. And they yet produce divers other effects, farre surpassing our capacity, and so farre out of the reach of our mutation that even our thoughts are unable to conceive them. Many hold opinion that in the last and famous sea-fight which Antonie lost against Augustus, his admiral-galley was in her course staied by that little fish the Latines call Remora, and the English a Suck-stone, whose property is to stay any ship he can fasten himselfe unto. And the Emperour Caligula, sailing with a great fleet along the coast of Romania, his owne galley was suddenly staied by such a fish, which he caused to be taken sticking fast to the keele, moodily raging that so little a creature had the power to force both sea and winde, and the violence of all his oares, onely with her bil sticking to his galley ( for it is a kinde of shellfish) and was much more amazed when he perceived the fish being brought aboord his ship to have no longer that powerfull vertue which it had being in the sea. A certaine citizen of Cyzicum, whilom purchased unto himselfe the reputation to be an excellent mathematician, because he had learnt the quality of the hedge-hogge, whose property is to build his hole or denne open diverse waies, and toward severall winds, and fore-seeing rising stormes, he presently stoppeth the holes that way, which thing the foresaid citizen heedfully observing, would in the City foretell any future storm, and what wind should blow. The cameleon taketh the colour of the place wherein he is. The fish called a pourcontrell, or manie-feet, changeth him selfe into what colour he lists as occasion offereth it selfe, that so he may hide himselfe from what he feareth, and catch what he seeketh for. In the cameleon it is a change preceding of passion, but in the pourcontrell a change in action; we ourselves doe often change our colour and alter our countenance through sudden feare, choler, shame, and such like violent passions, which are wont to alter the hew of our faces, but it is by the effect of sufferance, as in the cameleon. The jaundise hath power to make us yelow, but it is not in the disposition of our wils. The effects we perceive in other creatures, greater than ours, witnesse some more excellent faculty in them, which is concealed from us; as it is to be supposed diverse others of their conditions and forces are, whereof no appearance or knowledge commeth to us. Of all former predictions, the ancientest and most certaine were such as were drawen from the flight of birds; we have nothing equall unto it, nor so admirable. The rule of fluttering, and order of shaking their wings, by which they conjecture the consequences of things to ensue, must necessarily be directed to so noble an operation by some excellent and supernaturall meane. For it is a wresting of the letter to attribute so wondrous effects to any naturall decree, without the knowledge, consent, or discourse of him that causeth and produceth them, and is a most false opinion, which to prove, the torpedo or cramp-fish hath the property to benumme and astonish, not onely the limbs of those that touch it, but also theirs that with any long pole or fishing line touch any part thereof, shee doth transmit and convey a kinde of heavie numming into the hands of those that stirre or handle the same. Moreover, it is averred that if any matter be cast upon them the astonishment is sensibly felt to gaine upward, untill it come to the hands, and even through the water it astonisheth the feeling-sence. Is not this a wonderfull power? Yet is it not altogether unprofitable for the Cramp-fish, she both knowes and makes use of it: for to catch prey she pursueth, she is seene to hide herselfe under the mud, that, other fishes swimming over her, strucken and benummed with her exceeding coldnesse, may fall into her clawes. The Cranes, swallowes, and other wandering birds, changing their abode according to the seasons of the years, shew evidently the knowledge they have of their fore-divining faculty, and often put the same in use. Hunters assure us that to chose the best dog, and which they purpose to keepe from out a litter of other young whelps, there is no better meane than the damme herselfe: for, if they be removed from out their kennell, him that she first brings thither againe shall alwaies prove the best; or if one but encompasse her kennell with fire, looke which of her whelps she first seeketh to save, is undoubtedly the best; whereby it appeareth they have a certaine use of prognosticating that we have not; or else some hidden vertue to judge of their young ones, different and more lively than ours. The manner of all beasts breeding, engendering, nourishing, working, moving, living, and dying, being so neere to ours, what ever we abridge from their moving causes, and adde to our condition above theirs can no way depart from our reasons discourse. For a regiment of our health, Physitians propose the example of bats manner of life and proceeding unto us: for this common saying is alwaies in the people's mouth:
Tenez chauds les pieds et la teste,
Au demeurant vivez en beste. -- JOUB. Err. Pop. pur. ii. 140.
Keep warme ('tis meete) the head and feete:
In all the rest, live like a beast.
Generation is the chiefest naturall action: we have a certaine disposition of some members fittest for that purpose; nevertheless, they bid us range our selves unto a brutish situation and disposition, as most effectuall:
------ more ferarum,
Quadrupedumque maqis ritu, plerumque putantur
Concipere uxores: quia sic loca sumere possunt,
Pectoribus positis, sublatis semina lumbis. -- LUCR. iv. 1256.
And reject those indiscreet and insolent motions which women have so luxuriously found out, as hurtfull: conforming them to the example and use of beasts of their sex, as more modest and considerate.
Nam mulier prohibet se concipere, atgue repugnat,
Clunibus ipse viri Venerem si læta retractet,
Atque exposato ciet omni pectore fluctus,
Et enim sulci recta regione viaque
Vomerem, atque locis avertit seminis ictum. -- LUCR. iv. 1260.
If it be justice to give every one his due, beasts which serve, love, and defend their benefactors, pursue and outrage strangers, and such as offend them, by so doing they represent some shew of our justice, as also in reserving a high kinde of equality in dispensing of what they have to their young ones. Touching friendship, without all comparison, they professe it more lively and shew it more constantly than men. Hircanus, a dog of Lysimachus the King, his master being dead, without eating or drinking, would never come from off his bed, and when the dead corps was removed thence he followed it, and lastly flung himself into the fire where his master was burned. As did also the dogge of one called Pyrrhus, who after he was dead would never budge from his masters couch, and when he was removed suffered himselfe to be carried away with him, and at last flung himselfe into the fire wherein his master was consumed. There are certaine inclinations of affection which, without counsell of reason, arise sometimes in us, proceeding of a casuall temerity, which some call sympathie: beasts as wel as men are capable of it. We see horses take a kinde of acquaintance one of another, so that often, traveling by the highway or feeding together, we have much ado to keep them asunder; wee see them bend and applie their affections to some of their fellowes colours, as if it were upon a certaine visage: and when they meet with any such, with signes of joy and demonstration of good will to joine and accost them, and to hate and shunne some other formes and colours. Beasts as well as wee have choice in their loves, and are very nice in chusing of their mates. They are not altogether void of our extreme and unappeasable jealousies. Lustfull desires are either naturall and necessary as eating and drinking; or else naturall and not necessary, as the acquaintance of males and females; or else neither necessary nor naturall: of this last kinde are almost all mens, for they are all superfluous and artificiall. It is wonderfull to see with how little nature will be satisfied, and how little she hath left for us to be desired. The preparations in our kitchens doe nothing at al concede her lawes. The Stoikes say that a man might very well sustaine himselfe with one olive a day. The delicacy of our wines is no part of her lesson, no more is the surcharge and relishing which we adde unto our letcherous appetites.
Magno prognatum deposcit console cunnum. -- HOR. Ser. i. Sat. ii. 30.
These strange lustfull longings which the ignorance of good, and a false opinion, have possest us with, are in number so infinite that in a manner they expell all those which are naturall, even as if there were so many strangers in a city that should either banish and expell all the naturall inhabitants thereof, or utterly suppresse their ancient power and authority, and absolutely usurping the same, take possession of it. Brute beastes are much more regulare than we, and with more moderation containe themselves within the compasse which nature hath prescribed them; but not so exactly but that they have some coherency with our riotous licenciousnesse. And even as there have beene found, certaine furious longings and unnaturall desires which have provoked men unto the love of beasts, so have diverse times some of them beene drawn to love us, and are possessed with monstrous affections from one kind to another: witnesse the elephant that in the love of an herb-wife, in the city of Alexandria, was corivall with Aristophanes the Grammarian, who in all offices pertayning to an earnest woer and passionate suiter yeelded nothing unto him; for, walking thorow the fruit-market, he would here and there snatch up some with his truncke, and carry them unto her: as neere as might be he would never loose the sight of her, and now and then over her hand put his truncke into her bosome, to feele her breasts. They also report of a dragon that was exceedingly in love with a young maiden, and of a goose in the city of Asope which dearely loved a young childe; also of a ram that belonged to the musitian Glausia. Do we not daily see munkies ragingly in love with women, and furiously to pursue them? And certaine other beasts given to love the males of their owne sex? Oppianus and others report some examples to show the reverence and manifest the awe some beasts in their marriages beare unto their kindred; but experience makes us often see the contrary:
-----nec habetur turpe juvencæ
Ferre patrem tergo: tua filia coniux:
Quasque creavit, init pecudes caper: ipsaque cuius
Semine concepta est, ex illo conecepit ales -- OVID. Metam. x. 325.
To beare her Sire the Heifer shameth not:
The Horse takes his owne Fillies maiden-head:
The Goat gets t hem with young whom he begot:
Birds bred by them, by whom themselves were bred.
Touching a subtil pranke and witty tricke, is there any so famous as that of Thales the philosopher's mule, which, laden with salt, passing thorow a river chanced to stumble, so that the sacks she carried were all wet, and perceiving the salt (because the water had melted it to grow lighter, ceased not, as seene as she came neere any water, together with her load, to plunge herselfe therein, untill her master, being aware of her craft, commanded her to be laden with wooll, which being wet became heavier; the mule finding herselfe deceived, used her former policy no more. There are many of them that lively represent the visage of our avarice, who with a greedy kinde of desire endevour to surprise whatsoever comes within their reach, and though they reap no commodity, nor have any use of it, to hide the same very curiously. As for husbandry, they exceed us, not onely in fore-sight to spare and gather together for times to come, but have also many parts of the skill belonging thereunto. As the ants, when they perceive their corne to grow mustie and graine to be sowre, for feare it should rut and putrifie, spread the same abroad before their nests, that so it may aire and drie. But the caution they use in gnawing, and prevention they employ in paring their graines of wheat, is beyond all imagination of mans wit: Because wheat doth not alwaies keep drie nor wholesome, but moisten, melt, and dissolve into a kind of whey, namely, when it beginneth to bud, fearing it should turne to seed, and lose the nature of a storehouse, for their sustenance, the part and gnaw off the end whereat it wonts to bud. As for warre, which is the greatest and most glorious of all humane actions, I would faine know if we will use it for an argument of some prerogative, or otherwise for a testimonie of our imbecilitie and imperfection, as in truth the science we use to defeat and kill one another, to spoile and utterly to overthrow our owne kind, it seemeth it hath not much to make it selfe to be wished for in beasts, that have it not.
------ quando leoni
Fortior eripuit ritam leo, quo nemore unquam
Expirarit aper maioris dentibus apri? -- JUVEN. Sat. xv. 160.
When hath a greater Lion damnifide
A Lions life? in what wood ever di'de,
A boare by tusks and gore,
Of any greater boare?
Yet are not they altogether exempted from it witnesse the furious encounters of Bees, and the hostile enterprises of the Princes and Leaders of the two contrary Armies.
----- sæpe duobus
Regibus incessit magno discordia motu,
Continuoque animos vulgi et trepidantia bello
Corda licet longe præsciscere. -- VIRG. Georg. iv. 67.
Oft-times twixt two so great Kings great dissention
With much adoe doth set them at contention;
The vulgare mindes strait may you see from farre,
And hearts that tremble at the thought of warre.
I never marke this divine description but mee thinkes I read humane foolishnesse and worldly vanitie painted in it. For these motions of warre, which out of their horror and astonishment breed this tempest of cries and clang of sounds in us:
Fulgur ubi ad cælum se tollit, totaque circum
Ære renidescit tellus, subterque virum vi
Excitur pedibus sonitus, clamoreque montes
Icti rejectant voces ad sidera mundi: -- LUCR. ii. 326.
Where lightning raiseth it selfe to the skies,
The earth shines round with armour, soundes doe rise
By mens force under feet, wounded with noyse
The hilles to heav'n reverberate their voyce.
This horror-causing aray of so many thousands of armed men, so great fusion, earnest fervor, and undaunted courage, it would make one laugh to see by how many vaine occasions it is raised and set on fire, and by what light meanes it is again suppressed and extinct.
----- Paridis propter narrator amorem
Græcia Barbariæ diro collisa duello. -- HOR. i. Epist. ii. 6.
For Paris lustfull love (as Stories tell)
All Greece to direfull warre with Asia fell.
The hatred of one man, a spight, a pleasure, a familiar suspect, or a jealousie, causes which ought not to move two scolding fish-wives to scratch one another, is the soule and motive of all this hurly-burly. Shall we beleeve them that are the principall authors and causes therof? Let us but hearken unto the greatest and most victorious Emperour that ever, was, how pleasantly he laughs and wittily he plaies at so many battells and bloody fights, hazarded by both sea and land, at the blood and lives of five hundred thousand soules which followed his fortune, and the strength and riches of two parts of the world consumed and drawne drie for the service of his enterprise:
Quod futuit Glaphyran Antonius, hanc mihi poenam
Fulvia constituit, se quoque uti futuam
Fulviam ego ut furuam? quid si me Manius oret
Pædicam, faciam? non puto, si sapiam.
Aut futue, aut pugnemus, ait: quid si mihi vita
Charior est ipsa mentula? Signa canant. -- MART, xi. Epig. xxi.
(I use my Latine somewhat boldly, but it is with that leave which you have given mee.) This vast huge bodie hath so many faces and severall motion, which seeme to threat both heaven and earth.
Quam multi Lybico volvuntur marmore fluctus,
Sævus ubi Orion hybernis conditur undis.
Vel cum sole novo densæ torrentur aristæ,
Aut Hermi campo, aut Lyciæ flaventibus arvis,
Scuta sonant, pulsuque pedum tremit excita tellus. -- VIRG. Æn. vii. 717.
As many waves as rowle in Affricke marble bounds,
When fierce Orion hides in Winter waves his head:
Or when thicke-eares of Corne are parch't by Sunne new-spred.
In Hermus fruitfull fields, or Lycæs yellow grounds,
With noyse of shields and feet, the trembling earth so sounds.
'This many-headed, divers-armed, and furiously-raging monster, is man, wretched, weake and miserable man; whom, if you consider well, what is he but a crawling and ever-moving ants-nest?'
It nigrum campis agmen: -- VIRG, Æn.. iv. 404.
The sable-coloured band,
Marches along the Land.
A gust of contrarie winds, the croking of a flight of Ravens, the false pase of a horse, the casual flight of an Eagle, a dream, a sodaine voyce, a false signe, a mornings mist, an evenings fogge, are enough to overthrow, sufficient to overwhelme and able to pull him to the ground. Let the Sunne but shine hot upon his face, hee faints and swelters with heat: cast but a little dust in his eyes, as to the Bees mentioned by our Poet, all our ensignes, all our legions, yea great Pompey himselfe, in the forefront of them is overthrowne and put to rout. (For as I remember it was he whom Sertorius vanquished in Spaine, with all those goodly armes.) This also served Eumenes against Antigonus, and Surena against Crassus:
Hi motus animorum, atque hæc certamina tanta,
Pulveris exigui jactu compressa quiescent. -- VIRG. Georg. iv. 86, 87.
Their stomacke-motions, these contentions great,
[Calm'd] with a little dust, strait lose their heat.
Let us but uncouple some of our ordinary flies, and let loose a few gnats amongst them, they shall have both the force to scatter and courage to consume him. The Portugals not long since beleagring the City of Tamly, in the territory of Xiatine, the inhabitants thereof brought great store of hives (whereof they have plentie) upon their walls; and with fire drove them so forcible upon their enemies, who, as unable to abide their assaults and endure their stingings, left their enterprize. Thus by this new kinde of help was the libertie of the towne gained and victory purchased; with so happy successe, that in their retreating there was not one townes-man found wanting. The soules of Emperours and Coblers are all cast in one same mould. Considering the importance of Princes actions, and their weight, wee perswade ourselves they are brought forth by some weighty and important causes; wee are deceived: They are moved, stirred and removed in their motions by the same springs and wards that we are in ours. The same reason that makes us chide and braule and fall out with any of our neighbours, causeth a warre to follow betweene Princes; the same reason that makes us whip or beat a lackey maketh a Prince (if hee apprehend it) to spoyle and waste a whole Province. They have as easie a will as we, but they can doe much more. Alike desires perturbe both a skinne-worme and an Elephant. Touching trust and faithfulnesse, there is no creature in the world so trecherous as man. Our histories report the earnest pursuit and sharpe chase that some dogges have made for the death of their masters. King Pirrhus, finding a dog that watched a dead man, and understanding he had done so three daies and nights together, commanded the corps to be enterred and tooke the dog along with him. It fortuned one day, as Pirrhus was surveying the generall musters of his army the dog perceiving in that multitude the man who had murthered his maister, loud-barking and with great rage ran furiously upon him; by which signes he furthered and procured his maisters revenge, which by way of justice was shortly executed. Even so did the dogge belonging to Hesiodus, surnamed the wise, having convicted the children of Canister of Naupactus of the murther committed on his Masters person. Another Dogge being apointed to watch a Temple in Athens, having perceived a sacrilegious theefe to carrie away the fairest jewels therein, barked at him so long as he was able, and seeing he could not awaken the Sextons or temple-keepers, followed the theefe whither-soever he went; daie-light being come, he kept himselfe a loof-off, but never lost the sight of him: if he offered him meat, he utterly refused it; but if any passenger chanced to come by, on them he fawned, with wagging his taile, and tooke what-ever they offered him; if the theefe staied to rest himselfe, he also staied in the same place. The newes of this Dogge being come to the Temple-keepers, they as they went along, enquiring of the Dogs haire and colour, pursued his tracke so long that at last they found both the Dog and the theefe in the Citie of Cromyon, whom they brought backe to Athens, where for his offence he was severely punished. And the judges in acknowledgement of the Dogges good office, at the Cities charge appointed him for his sustenance a certaine daily measure of Corne, and enjoyned the Priests of the Temple, carefully to looke unto him. Plutarke affirmeth this storie to be most true, and to have hapned in his time. Touching gratitude and thankfulnesse (for me thinks we have need to further this word greatly), this onely example shall suffice, of which Appion reporteth to have been a spectator himself. One day (saith he) that the Senate of Rome (to please and recreate the common people) causd a great number of wilde beasts to be baited, namely huge great Lions, it so fortuned that there was one amongst the rest, who by reason of his furious and stately carriage, of his unmatched strength, of his great limbs, and of his loud and terror-causing roaring, drew all bystanders eyes to gaze upon him. Amongst other slaves, that in sight of all the people were presented to encounter with these beasts, there chanced to be one Androclus of Dacia, who belonged unto a Roman Lord who had been Consull. This huge Lion, having eyed him afar off, first made a suddaine stop, as strucken into a kind of admiration, then with a milde and gentle contenance, as if he would willingly have taken acquaintance of him), faire and softly approached unto him: Which done, and resting, assured he was the man he tooke him for, begun fawningly to wagge his taile, as dogges doe that fawne upon their newfound masters, and licke the poore and miserable slaves hands and thighs, who through fears was almost out of his wits and halfe dead. Androclus at last taking hart of grace, and by reason of the Lions mildnesse having rouzed up his spirits, and wishly fixing his eies upon him, to see whether he could call him to remembrance, it was to all beholders a singular pleasure to observe the love, the joy, and blandishments each endevored to enter-shew one another. Whereat the people raising a loud crie, and by their shouting and clapping; of hands seeming to be much pleased, the Emperour willed the slave to be brought before him, as desirous to understand of him the cause of so strange and seld-seene an accident, who related this new and wonderfull storie unto him.
My Master (said he) being Proconsull in Affrica, forsomuch as he caused me every day to be most cruelly beaten, and held me in so rigorous bondage, I was constrained, as being wearie of my life, to run away; and safely to scape from so eminent a person, and who had so great authoritie in the Countrie, I thought it best to get me to the desart and most unfrequented wildernesses of that region, with a full resolution, if I could not compasse the meanes to sustaine my selfe, to finde one way or other, with violence to make myselfe away. One day the Sunne about noone-tide became extremely hote, and the scorching heat thereof intolerable, I fortuned to come unto a wilde unhauted cave, hidden amongst crags and almost inaccessible, and where imagined no footing had ever been; therein I hid myselfe. I had not long been there but in comes this Lion, with one of his pawes sore hurt, and bloody-goared, wailing for the smart, and groaning for the paine he felt; at whose arrivall I was much dismaied, but he seeing me lie close-cowering in a corner of his den, gently made his approaches unto me, holding forth his goared paw toward me and seemed with shewing the same humbly to sue and suppliantly to beg for help at my hands. I, moved with ruth, taking it into my hand, pulled out a great splint which was gotten into it, and shaking off all feare, first I wrung and crusht his sore, and caused the filth and matter, which therein was gathered, to come forth; then, as gently as for my heart I could, I cleansed, wiped, and dried the same. He feeling some ease in his griefe, and his paine to cease, still holding his foot betweene my hands, began to sleep and take some rest. Thence forward he and I lived together the full space of three yeares in his den, with such meat as he shifted-for; for what beasts he killed, or what prey soever he tooke, he ever brought home the better part and shared it with me, which for want of fire I rotted in the Sunne, and therewith nourished my selfe all that while. But at last, wearied with this kind of brutish life, the Lion being one day gone to purchase his wonted prey, I left the place, hoping to mend my fortunes, and having wandred up and downe three dayes, I was at last taken by certaine souldiers, which from Africa brought me into this Citie to my Master againe, who immediately condemned me to death, and to be devoured by wilde beasts. And as I now perceive, the same Lion was also shortly after taken, who as you see hath now requited me of the good turne I did him, and the health which by my meanes he recovered. Behold here the historie Androclus reported unto the Emperour, which after he caused to be declared unto all the people, at whose generall request he was forthwith set at libertie, and quit of his punishment, and by the common consent of all had the Lion bestowed upon him. Appion saith further, that Androclus was daily seen to lead the Lion up and downe the streets of Rome, tied onely with a little twine, and walking from taverne to taverne, received such money as was given him, who would gently suffer himself to be handled, touched, decked, and strowed with flowers, all over and over, many saying when they met him: 'Yonder is the Lion that is the mans hoste, and yonder is the man that is the Lions Physitian.' We often mourne and weepe for the losse of those beasts we love, so doe they many times for the losse of us.
Post bellator equus positis insiqnibus Æthon
It lacrimans, guttisque humectat grandibus ora. -- VIRG. Æn. xi. 89.
Next Æthon horse of warre, all ornaments laid downe,
Goes weeping, with great drops bedewes his cheeckes adowne.
As some of our nations have wives in common and some in severall, each man keeping himselfe to his owne, so have some beasts; yet some there are that observe their marriage with as great respect as we doe ours. Touching the mutuall societie and reciprocall confederation which they devise amongst themselves, that so they may be fast combined together, and in times of need help one another, it is apparant that if Oxen, Hogs, and other beasts, being hurt by us, chance to crie, all the heard runnes to aid him, and in his defence will joine all together. The fish, called of the Latines Scarus, having swallowed the fishers hook, his fellowes will presently flocke about him, and nible the line in sunder; and if any of them happen to be taken in a bow-net, some of his fellowes, turning his head away, will put his taile in at the neck of the net, who with his teeth fast-holding the same, never leave him untill they have pulled him out. The Barbel fishes, if one of them chance to be engaged, will set the line against their backes, and with a fin they have, toothed like a sharp saw, presently saw and fret the same asunder. Concerning particular offices, which we for the benefit of our life draw one from an other, many like examples are found amongst them. It is assuredly beleeved that the Whale never swimmeth unlesse she have a little fish going before her as her vantgard; it is in shape like a Gudgeon, and both the Latines and we call it the Whale-guide; for she doth ever follow him, suffering herself as easily to be led and turned by him as the ship is directed and turned by a sterne: for requitall of which good turne, whereas all things else, be it beast, fish, or vessell, that comes within the horrible Chaos of this monstrous mouth, is presently lost and devoured, this little fish doth safety retire himselfe therein, and there sleepes verie quietly, and as long as he sleepes the Whale never stirs; but as soone as he awaketh and goeth his way, wherever he takes his course she alwaies followeth him, and if she fortune to lose him, she wanders here and there, and often striketh upon the rocks, as a ship that hath nor mast nor rudder. This Plutarke witnesseth to have seen in the Iland of Anticyra. There is such a like societie betweene the little bird called a Wren and the Crocodill; for the Wren serveth as a sentinell to so great a monster: And if the Ichneumon, which is his mortall enemie, approach to fight with him, the little birdlet, lest he might surprise him whilst he sleepeth, with his singing, and pecking him with his bill, awakens him, and gives him warning of the danger he is in. The bird liveth by the scraps, and feedeth upon the leavings of that monster, who gently receiveth him into his mouth, and suffers him to pecke his jawes and teeth for such mamokes of flesh as sticke betweene them: and if he purpose to close his mouth, he doth first warne him to be gone, faire and easie closing it by little and little, without any whit crushing or hurting him. The shell-fish called a nacre liveth even so with the pinnotere, which is a little creature like unto a crabfish, and as his porter or usher waits upon him, attending the opening of the nacre, which he continually keepes gaping until he see some little fish enter in, fit for their turne, then he creepes into the nacre, and leaves not pinching his quicke flesh untill he makes him close his shell, and so they both together, fast in their hold, devour their prey. In the manner of the tunnies life may be discovered a singular knowledge of the three parts of the mathematikes. First for astrologie, it may well be said that man doth learne it of them: for wheresoever the winter Solstitium doth take them, there do they stay themselves, and never stir till the next Equinoctium, and that is the reason why Aristotle doth so willingly ascribe that art unto them: then for geometric and arithmetike, they alwaies frame their shole of a cubike figure, every way square: and so forme a solide close and well-ranged battalion, encompassed round about of six equall sides. Thus orderly marshaled, they take their course and swim whither their journey tends, as broad and wide behind as before: so that he that seeth and telleth but one ranke, may easily number all the troope, forsomuch as the number of the depth is equall unto the bredth, and the bredth unto the length. Touching magnanimitie and haughtie courage, it is hard to set it forth more lively, and to produce a rarer patterne than that of the dog which from India was sent unto Alexander: to whom was first presented a stag, then a wilde boare, and then a beare, with each of which he should have foughten, but he seemed to make no accompt of them, and would not so much as remove out of his place for them; but when he saw a lion, he presently rouzed himselfe, shewing evidently he meant onely so noble a beast worthie to enter combat with him. Concerning repentance and acknowledging of faults committed, it is reported that an elephant, having, through rage of choler, slaine his governour, conceived such an extreme inward griefe that he would never afterward touch any food, and suffered himselfe to pine to death. Touching clemencie, it is reported of a tiger (the fiercest and most inhumane beast of all having a kid given her to feed upon, endured the force of gnawing hunger two daies together rather than she would hurt him; the third day with maine strength she brake the cage wherein she was kept pent, and went elsewhere to shift for feeding; as one unwilling to seize upon the seelie kid, her familiar and guest. And concerning privileges of familiaritie and sympathie caused by conversation, is it not oft seen how some make cats, dogs, and hares so tame, so gentle, and so milde, that, without harming one another, they shall live and continue together? But that which experience teacheth sea-faring men, especially those that come into the seas of Sicilie, of the qualitie and condition of the Halcyon bird, or as some call it alcedo or kings-fisher, exceeds all mens conceit. In what kinds of creature did ever nature so much prefer both their hatching, sitting, brooding, and birth? Poets faine that the Iland of Delos, being before wandring and fleeting up and downe, was for the delivery of Latona made firme and setled; but Gods decree hath beene that all the watrie wildernesse should be quiet and made calm, without raine, wind, or tempest, during the time the Halcyon sitteth and bringeth forth her young ones, which is much about the winter Solstitium, and shorteest day in the yeare: by whose privilege even in the hart and deadest time of xinter we have seven calme daies, and as many nights to saile without any danger. Their hens know no other cocke but their owne: they never forsake him all the daies of their life; and if the cocke chance to be weake and crazed, the hen will take him upon her neck and carrie him with her wheresoever she goeth, and serve him even untill death. Mans wit could never yet attaine to the full knowledge of that admirable kind of building or structure which the Halcyon useth in contriving of her neast, no, nor devise what it is of.
Plutarke, who hath seen and handled many of them, thinkes it to be made of certaine fish-bones, which she so compacts and conjoyneth together, enterlacing some long and some crosse-waise, adding some foldings and roundings to it, that in the end she frameth a round kind of vessel, readie to float and swim upon the water: which done, she carrieth the same where the sea waves beat most; there the sea gently beating upon it, shewes her how to daube and patch up the parts not well closed, and how to strengthen those places and fashion those ribs that are not fast, but stir with the sea waves: and on the other side, tha t which is closely wrought, the sea beating on it, doth so fasten and conjoyne together, that nothing, no, not stone or yron, can any way loosen divide, or break the same except with great violence and what is most to be wondred at is the proportion and figure of the concavitie within; for it is so composed and proportioned that it can receive or admit no manner of thing but the bird that built it; for to all things else it is so impenetrable, close, and hard, that nothing can possibly enter in: no, not so much as the sea water. Loe here a most plaine description of this building or construction taken from a verie good author: yet me thinks it doth not fully and sufficiently resolve us of the difficultie in this kinde of architecture. Now from what vanitie can it proceed, we should so willfully contemne and disdainfully interpret those effects, which we can neither imitate nor conceive? But to follow this equalitie or correspondences betweene us and beasts somewhat further: the privilege whereof our soule vants, to bring to her condition whatsoever it conceiveth, and to despoile what of mortall and corporall qualities belongs unto it, to marshall those things which she deemed worthie her acquaintance, to disrobe and deprive their corruptible conditions, and to make them leave as superfluous and base garments, thicknesses, length, depth, weight, colour, smell, roughnesse, smoothnesse, hardnesse, softnesse, and all sensible accidents else, to fit and appropriate them to her immortall and spirituall condition: so that Rome and Paris, which I have in my soule; Paris which I imagine; yea, I imagine and conceive the same without reatnesse and place, without stone and morter. and without wood; then say I unto my selfe, the same privilege seemeth likewise to be in beasts: for a horse accustomed to heare the sound of trumpets, the noyse of shot, and the clattering of armes, whom we see to snort, to startle, and to neigh in his sleep, as he lies along upon his litter, even as he were in the hurly burly; it is most certaine, that in his minde he apprehends the sound of a drum without any noyse, and an armie without armes or bodie.
Quippe videbis equos fortes, cum membra jacebunt
In somnis, sudare tamen, spirareque sæpe,
Et quasi de palma summas contendere vires. -- LUCR. iv. 982.
You shall see warlike horses, when in sleep
Their limbs lie, yet sweat, and a snorting keep.
And stretch their utmost strength,
As for a goale at length.
That hare which a grey-bound imagineth in his dreame, after whom as he sleepeth we see him bay quest, yelp, and snort, stretch out his taile, shake his legs, and perfectly represent the motions of his course the same is a hare without bones, without haire.
Venantumque canes in molli sæpe quiete,
Iactant crura tamen subito, vocesque repente
Mittunt, et crebras redducunt naribus auras,
Ut vestigia si teneant inventa ferarunt
Expergefactique, sequuntur inania sæpe,
Cervorum simulacra, fugæ quasi dedita cernant:
Donec discussis redeant erroribus ad se. -- LUCR. iv. 986
Oft times the hunters dogs in easie rest
Stir their legs, suddainly, open, and quest,
And send from nosthrils thicke-thicke snuffing sent
As if on traile they were of game full-bent:
And wakened so, they follow shadowes vaine
Of Deere in chase, as if they fled amaine:
Till, their fault left, they turne to sense againe.
Those watching-dogs which in their sleep we sometimes see to grumble, and then barking, to startle suddainly out of their slumber, as if they perceived some stranger to arive, that stranger which their minde seemeth to see is but an imaginarie man, and not perceived, without any dimension, colour, or being:
-----Consueta domi catulorum blanda propago
Degere, sæpe levem ex oculis volucremque soporem
Discutere, et corpus de terra corripere instant
Proinde quasi ignotas facies atque ora tuantur. -- Ib. 993.
The fawning kind of whelps, at home that liv's,
From eyes to shake light-swift sleepe often striv's,
And from the ground their starting bodies hie,
As if some unknowne stranger they did spie.
Touching corporall beauties before I goe any further it were necessarie I know whether we are yet agreed about her description. It is very likely that we know not well what beautie either in nature or in generall is, since we give so many and attribute so divers formes to humane beauties yea, and to our beautie: Of which if there were any naturall or lively description, we should generally know it, as we doe the heat of fire. We imagine and faine her formes, as our fantasies lead us.
Turpis Romano Belgicus ore color. -- PROPERT. ii. Eleg. xviii. 26.
A Dutch-froes colour hath no grace,
Seen in a Roman Ladies face.
The Indians describe it blacks and swarthy, with blabbered-thick lips, with a broad and flat nose, the inward gristle whereof they loade with great gold rings, hanging downe to their mouth, and their neather lips with great circlets beset with precious stones, which cover all their chins, deeming it an especiall grace to shew their teeth to the roots. In Peru, the greatest eares are ever esteemed the fairest, which with all art and industrie they are continually stretching out; and a man (who yet liveth) sweareth to have seen in a Province of the East Indias the people so carefull to make them great, and so to load them with heavie jewels, that with ease he could have thrust his arme through one of their eare-holes. There are other Nations who endevour to make their teeth as blacke as jeat, and skorne to have them white; and in other places they die them red. Not onely in the province of Baske, but in other places, women are accounted fairest when their heads are shaven, and which is strange, in some of the Northerly frozen-countries, as Plinie affirmeth. Those of Mexico esteems the littlenesse of their foreheads as one of the chiefest beauties, and whereas they shave their haire over all their bodie besides, by artificiall meanes they labour to nourish and make it grow onely in their foreheads; and so love to have great dugs, that they strive to have their children sucke over their shoulders. So would we set forth ilfavordnesse. The Italians proportion it big and plum; the Spaniards spynie and lanke; and amongst us one would have her white, another browne, and soft and delicate, another strong and lustie; some desire wantonnesse and blithnesse, and othersome sturdinesse and majestie to be joyned with it. Even as the preheminence in beauties which Plato ascribeth unto the Sphericall figure, the Epicureans refer the same unto the Piramidall or Square; and say they cannot swallow a God made round like a bowle. But howsoever it is, nature hath no more privileged us in that than in other things, concerning her common lawes. And if we impartially enter into judgement with our selves, we shall finde that if there be any creature or beast lesse favoured in that than we, there are others (and that in great numbers) to whom nature hath been more favourable than to us. A multis animalibus decore vincimur: (SEN. Epist. cxxiv.) 'We are excelled in comelinesse, by many living creatures': Yea, of terrestriall creatures that live with us. For, concerning those of the Sea, omitting their figure, which no proportion can containe, so much doth it differ, both in colour, in neatnesse, in smoothnesse, and in disposition, we must give place unto them: which in all qualities we must likewise doe to the eyrie ones. And that prerogative which Poets yeeld unto our upright stature, looking towards heaven whence her beginning is,
Pronaque cum spectent animalia cætera terram,
Os homini sublime dedit, cælumque videre
Iussit, et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus, -- OVID. Metam. 1. i. 84.
Where other creatures on earth looke and lie,
A loftie looke God gave man, had him prie
On heav'n, rais'd his high countenance to the skie,
is meerely poeticall, for there are many little beasts that have their sight dire ctly, fixed towards heaven: I finde the Camels and the Estridges necke much more raised and upright than ours. What beasts have not their face aloft and before, and looke not directly opposite as we; and in their naturall posture descrie not as much of heaven and earth as man doth? And what qualities of our corporall constitution, both in Plato and Cicero, cannot fit and serve a thousand beasts? Such as most resemble man are the vilest and filthiest of all the rout: As for outward apparance and true shape of the visage, it is the Munkie or Ape:
Simia quam similis, turpissima bestia, nobis! -- Cic. Nat. Deor. i. Enni.
An Ape, a most il-favored beast,
How like to us in all the rest? '
as for inward and vitall parts, it is the Hog. Truely, when I consider man all naked (yea, be it in that sex which seemeth to have and challenge the greatest share of eye-pleasing beautie) and view his defects, his naturall subjection, and manifold imperfections, I finde we have had much more reason to hide and cover our nakednesse than any creature else. We may be excused for borrowing those which nature had therein favored more than us, with their beauties to adorne us, and under their spoiles of wooll, of haire, of feathers, and of silke to shroud us. Let us moreover observe, that man is the onely creature whose wants offend his owne fellowes, and he alone that in naturall actions m ust withdraw and sequester himselfe from those of his owne kinde. Verely it is an effect worthie consideration, that the skilfullest masters of amorous dalliaunce appoint for a remedie of venierian passions a free and full survay of the bodie, which one longeth and seeks after: and that to coole the longing and aswage the heat of friendship, one need but perfectly view and thoroughly consider what he loveth.
Ille quod obscænas in aperto corpore partes
Viderat, in cursu qui f uit, ha sit amor. -- OVID. Rem. Am. ii. 33
The love stood still, that ran in full cariere,
When bare it saw parts that should not appeare.
And although this remedie may haply proceed from a squeamish and cold humor, yet it is a wonderfull signe of our imbecillitie that the use and knowledge should so make us to be cloyd one of an other. It is not bashfulnesse so much as art and foresight makes our Ladies so circumspect and unwilling to let us come into their closets before they are fully readie and throughly painted, to come abroad and shew themselves:
Nec veneres nostras hoc fallit, quo magis ipsæ
Omnia summopere hos vitæ post scænia celant,
Quos retinere volunt adstrictoque esse in amore. -- LUCR. iv. 1176.
Our Mistresses know this, which makes them not disclose
Parts to be plaid within, especially from those
Whom they would servants hold, and in their love-bands close:
Whereas, in other creatures there is nothing but we love and pleaseth our senses: so that even from their excrements and ordure we draw not only dainties to eat, but our richest ornaments and perfumes. This discourse of beautie toucheth only our common order, and is not so sacrilegious as it intendeth or dareth to comprehend those divine, supernaturally and extraordinarie beauties which sometimes are seen to shine amongst as, even as stars under a corporall and terrestriall veile. Moreover, that part of natures favours which we impart unto beasts, is by our owne confession much more advantageous unto them. We assume unto our selves imaginarie and fantasticall goods, future and absent goods, which humane capacitie can no way warrant unto her selfe; or some other, which by the overweening of our owne opinion we falsely ascribe unto our selves; as reason, honour, and knowledge; and to them as their proper share we leave the essentiall, the manageable, and palpable goods, as peace, rest, securitie, innocencie, and health: I say, which is the goodliest and richest present nature can impart unto us. So that even Stoike Philosophie dareth to affirme, that if Heraclitus and Pherecydes could have changed their wisdome with health, and by that meanes the one to have rid himselfe of the dropsie and the other of the lowsie-evill, which so sore tormented them, they would surely have done it: whereby they also yeeld so much more honor unto wisdom by comparing and counterpeizing the same unto health, than they do in this other proposition of theirs, where they say, that if Circe had presented Vlisses with two kinds of drinke, the one to turne a wise man into a foole, the other to change a foole into a wise man, he would rather have accepted that of folly, than have been pleased that Circe should transforme his humane shape into a beaste. And they say that Wisdome herselfe would thus have spoken unto him: 'Meddle not with me, but leave me rather than then shouldst place me under the shape and bodie of an Asse.' What? This great and heavenly wisdom? Are Phylosophers contented then to quit it for a corporall and earthly veile? Why then it is not for reasons sake, nor by discourse and for the soule, we so much excell beasts: it is for the love we beare unto our beautie, unto our faire hew, and goodly disposition of limbs, that we reject and set our understanding at naught, our wisdome, and what else we have. Well, I allow of this ingenious and voluntarie confession surely they knew those parts we so much labour to pamper to be meere fantasies. Suppose beasts had all the vertue, the knowledge, the wisdome and sufficiency of the Stoikes, they should still be beasts; nor might they ever be compared unto a miserable, wretched, and senseless man. For, when all is done, whatsoever is not as we are, is not of any worth. And God to be esteemed of us, must (as we will show anon) draw somewhat neere it. Whereby it appeareth that it is not long of a true discourse, but of a foolish hardinesse and selfe-perfuming obstinacie, we prefer ourselves before other creatures, and sequester our selves from their condition and societie. But to returne to our purpose: we have for our part inconstancie, irresolution, uncertaintie, sorrow, superstition, carefulnesse for future things (yea after our life), ambition, covetousnesse, jelousie, envie, inordinate, mad, untamed appetites, warre, falsehood, disloyaltie, detraction, and curiositie. Surely we have strangely overpaid this worthie discourse, whereof we so much glorie, and this readinesse to judge, or capacitie to Know, if we have purchased the same with the price of so infinite passions to which we are uncessantly enthralled. If we be not pleased (as Socrates is) to make this noble prerogative over beasts, to be of force, that whereas nature hath subscribed them certaine seasons and bounds for their naturall lust and voluptuousnesse, she hath given us at all howers and occasions the full reines of them. Ut vinum ægrotis, quia prodest raro, nocet sæpissime, melius est non adhibere omnino, quam, spe dubiæ salutis, in apertam perniciem incurrere: Sic, ha ud scio, an melius fuerit humano generi motum motum celerem cogitationis, acumen, solertiam quam rationem vocamus, quoniam pestifera sint multis, admodum paucis salutaria, non dari omnino, quam tam munifice et tam large dari: (CIC. Nat. Deor. iii. c. 27.) 'As it is better not to use wine at all in sicke persons, because it seldome doth them good, but many times much hurt, than in hope of doubtfull health to run into undoubted danger; so doe I not knowe whether it were better that this swift motion of the thought, this sharpenesse this conceitednesse which we call reason, should not at all be given to mankind (because it is pernicious unto many and healthfull to very few) than that it should be given so plentifully and so largely.' What good or commoditie may we imagine this far-understanding of so many things brought ever unto Varro and to Aristotle? Did it ever exempt, or could it at any time free them from humane inconveniences? Were they ever discharged of those accidents that incidently follow a seelie labouring man? Could they ever draw any ease for the gout from logike? And howbeit they knew the humour engendering the same to lodge in the joints, have they felt it the lesse? Did they at any time make a covenant with death, although they knew full well that some nations rejoice at her comming? as also of cuckoldship, because they knew women to be common in some countries? But contrariwise having both held the first ranke in knowledge, the one amongst the Romans, the other among the Grecians, yea, and at such times wherein sciences flourished most, we could never learne they had any speciall exce llencie in their life. Wee see the Græcian hath been put to his plunges in seeking to discharge himselfe from some notable imputations in his life. Was it ever found that sensualitie and health are more pIeasing unto him that understands Astrologie and Grammar?
(Illiterate num minus nervi rigent? -- HOR. Epod. viii. 17.
As stiffe unlearned sinnewes stand,
As theirs that much more understand.)
or shame and povertie lesse importunate and vexing?
Scilicet et morbis, et de bilitate carebis,
Et luctum, et curam et tempora vitæ
Longa tibi posthæc fato meliore dabuntur. -- JUVEN. Sat. xiv. 166.
Thou shalt be from disease and weaknesse free,
From moane, from care, long time of life to thee
Shall by more friendly fate affoorded be.
I have in my daies seene a hundred artificers, and as many labourers, more wise and more happy than some sectors in the Universitie, and whom I would rather resemble. Me thinks learning hath a place among st things necessarie for mans life, as glorie, noblenesse, dignitie, or at most as riches, and such other qualities, which indeed stead the same; but afar off and more in conceipt than by Nature. We have not much more need of offices, of rules, and lawes how to live in our commonwealth than the cranes and ants have in theirs. Which notwithstanding, we see how orderly and without instruction they maintaine themselves. If man were wise he would value everything according to its worth, and as it is either more profitable or more necessarie for life. He that shall number us by our actions and proceedings, shall doubtlesse finde many more excellent ones amongst the ignorant than among the wiser sort: I meane in all kinde of vertues. My opinion is, that ancient Rome brought forth many men of much more valour and sufficiencie, both for peace and warre, than this late learned Rome, which with all her wisdom hath overthrowne her erst-flourishing estate. If all the rest were alike, then should honestie and innocencie at least belong to the ancient, for she was exceedingly well placed with simplicities. But I will shorten this discourse, which haply would draw me further than I would willingly follow: yet thus much I will say more, that onely humilitie and submission is able to make a perfect honest man. Every one must not have the knowledge of his dutie referred to his owne judgement, but ought rather to have it prescribed unto him, and not be allowed to chose it at his pleasure and free will: otherwise, according to the imbecilitie of our reasons, and infinite varietie of our opinions, we might peradventure forge and devise such duties unto ourselves, as would induce us (as Epicurus saith) to endevour to destroy and devoure one another. The first law that ever God gave unto man was a law of pure obedience. It was a bare and simple commandement whereof man should enquire and know no further: forasmuch as to obey is the proper dutie of a reasonable soul, acknowledging a heavenly and superiour benefactor. From obeying and yeelding unto him proceed all other vertues, even as all sinnes derive from selfe-overweening. Contrariwise, the first temptation that ever seized on human nature was disobedience, by the devils instigation, whose first poison so far insinuated it selfe into us, by reason of the promises he made us of wisdome and knowledge: Eritis sicut Dii scientes bonum et malum: (Gen. iii. 5.) 'You shall be like Gods, knowing both good and evill.' And the Syrens, to deceive Vllysses, and alluring him to fall into their dangerous and confounding snares, offer to give him the full fruition of knowledge. The opinion of wisdome is the plague of man. That is the occasion why ignorance is by our religion recommended unto us as an instrument fitting beleefe and obedience: Cavete, ne quis vos decipiat per Philosophiam et inanessseductiones, secundum elementa mundi: (Col. ii. 8.) 'Take heed lest any man deceive you by Philosophie and vaine seducements, according to the rudiments of the world.' All the Philosophers of all the sects that ever were doe generally agree in this point, that the chiefest felicitie, or summum bonum, consisteth in the peace and tranquillitie of the soule and bodie: but where shall we finde it?
Ad summum sapiens uno minor est Iove, dives;
Liber, honoratus, pulcher, Rex denique Regum:
Præcipue sanus, nisi cum pituita molesta est. -- HOR. i. Epist. i. 106.
In summe, who wise is knowne,
Is less than Jove alone,
Rich, honorable, free, faire, King of Kings,
Chiefely in health, but when fleagme trouble brings.
It seemeth verily that nature for the comfort of our miserable and wretched condition hath allotted us no other portion but presumption. It is therefore (as Epictetus saith) that man hath nothing that is properly his owne but the use of his opinions. Our hereditarie portion is nothing but smoke and wind. The Gods (as saith Philosophie) have health in true essence, and sicknesse in conceipt. Man, cleane contrarie, possesseth goods in imagination, and evils essentially. Wee have had reason to make the powers of our imagination to be of force: for all our facilities are but in conceipt, and as it were in a dreame. Heare but this poore and miserable creature vaunt himselfe. There is nothing (saith Cicero) so delightfull and pleasant as the knowledge of letters; of letters, I say, by whose meanes the infinitie of things, the incomprehensible greatnesse of nature, the heavens, the earth, and all the seas of this vast universe, are made knowne unto us. They have taught us religion, moderation, stowtnesse of courage, and redeemed our soule out of darknesse, to make her see and distinguish of all things, the high as well as the lowe, the first as the last, and those betweene both. It is they that store and supply us with all such things as may make us live happily and well, and instruct us how to passe our time without sorrow or offence. Seemeth not this goodly orator to speake of the Almighties and everliving Gods condition? And touching effects, a thousand poore seelie women in a countrie towne have lived and live a life much more reposed, more peaceable, and more constant than ever he did.
-----Deus ille fuit Deus, inclyte Memmi,
Qui princeps vitæ rationem invenit eam, quæ
Nunc appellatur sapienta, quique per artem,
Fluctibus e tantis vitam tantisque tenebris,
In tam tranquillo et tam clara luce locavit. -- LUCR. v. 8.
Good sir, it was God, God it was, first found
That course of man's life, which now is renown'd
By name of wisdome; who by art reposed,
Our life in so cleare light, calme so composde,
From so great darknesse, so great waves opposed.
Observe what glorious and noble words these be yet but a sleight accident brought this wisemans understanding to a far worse condition than that of a simple shepherd: notwithstanding this divine Teacher, and this heavenly wisdome. Of like impudence is the promise of Democritus his Booke, 'I will now speake of all things;' And that fond title which Aristotle gives us of mortall gods, and that rash judgement of Chrysippus that Dion was as vertuous as God: And my Seneca saith he acknowledgeth that God hath given him life, but how to live well that he hath of himselfe. Like unto this other: In virtute vere gloriamur, quod non contingeret, si id donum a Deo non a nobis haberemus: (CIC. Nat. Deor. iii.) 'We rightly vaunt us of vertue, which we should not doe, if we had it of God, not of ourselves:' This also is Senecæs, that the wise man hath a fortitude like unto Gods; but in humanity weaknesse wherein he excelleth him. There is nothing more common than to meet with such passages of temeritie: There is not any of us that will be so much offended to see himselfe compared to God as he will deeme himselfe wrong to be depressed in the ranke of other creatures. So much are we more jealous of our owne interest than of our Creators. But we must tread this foolish vanitie under foot, and boldly shake off and lively reject those fond ridiculous foundations whereon these false opinions are built. So long as man shall be perswaded to have meanes or power of himselfe, so long will he denie and never acknowledge what he oweth unto his Master: he shall alwaies (as the common saying is) make shift with his owne: He must be stripped unto his shirt. Let us consider some notable example of the effect of Philosophie. Possidonius having long time been grieved with a painfull-lingring diseease which with the smarting paine made him wring his hands and gnash his teeth, thought to scorne grief with exclaiming and crying out against it: 'Doe what thou list, yet will I never say that thou art evil or paine.' He feeleth the same passions that my lackey doth, but he boasteth himselfe that at least he conteineth his tongue under the lawes of his sect. Re succumbere non oportebat verbis gloriantem;(CIC. Tusc. Qu. ii. c. 25.) 'It was not for him to yeeld in deeds, who had so braved it in words.' Arcesilas lying sicke of the gowt, Carneades comming to visit him, and seeing him to frowne, supposing he had been angrie, was going away again, but he called him back, and shewing him his feet and breast, said unto him, 'There is nothing come from thence hither. This hath somewhat a better garb;' for he feeleth himselfe grieved with sicknesse, and would faine be rid of it, yet is not his heart vanquished or weakned thereby, the other stands upon his stifnesse (as I feare) more verball than essentiall And DionysiusHeracleotes being tormented with a violent smarting in his eies, was at last perswaded to quit these Stoicke resolutions.
Be it supposed that Learning and Knowledge should worke those effects they speake of, that is, to blunt and abate the sharpnesse of those accidents or mischances that follow and attend us; doth she any more than what ignorance effecteth much more evidently and simply? The Philosopher Pyrrho being at sea, and by reason of a violent storme in great danger to be cast away, presented nothing unto those that were with him in the ship to imitate but the securitie of an Hog which was aboard, who, nothing at all dismaied, seemed to behold and outstare the tempest. Philosophie after all her precepts gives us over to the examples of a Wrestler or of a Muletier, in whom we ordinarily perceive much lesse feeling of death, of paine, of grief, and other conveniences, and more undaunted constancie, than ever Learning or Knowledge could store a man withall, unlesse he were born and of himselfe through some naturall habitude prepared unto it. What is the cause the ten der members of a childe or limbs of a horse are much more easie and with lesse paine cut and incised than ours, if it be not ignorance? How many, only through the power of imagination, have falne into dangerous diseases? We ordinarily see diverse that will cause themselves to be let bloud, purged, and dieted, because they would be cured of diseases they never felt but in conceit; when essentiall and true maladies faile us, then Science and Knowledge lend us hers: This colour or complexion (said she) presageth some rheumatike defluxion will ensue you: This soultring-hot season menaceth you with some febricant commotion; this cutting of the vitall line of your left hand warneth you of some notable and approaching indisposition. And at last she will roundly addresse herselfe unto perfect health; saying this youthly vigour and suddain joy cannot possibly stay in one place, her bloud and strength must be abated, for feare it turne you to some mischiefe. Compare but the life of a man subject to these like imaginations, unto that of a day-laboring swaine, who followes his naturall appetites, who measureth all things onely by the present sense, and hath neither learning nor prognostications, who feeleth no disease but when he hath it: whereas the other hath often the stone imaginarily before he have it in his reines: as if it were not time enough to endure the sicknesse when it shall come, he doth in his fancie prevent the same, and headlong runneth to meet with it. What I speake of Physicke, the same may generally be applied and drawne to all manner of learning. Thence came this ancient opinion of those Philosophers who placed chiefe felicitie in the knowledge of our judgements weaknesse. My ignorance affords me as much cause of hope as of feare: and having no other regiment for my health than that of other men's examples, and of the events I see elsewhere in like occasions whereof I find some of all sorts: and relie upon the comparisons that are most favourable unto me. I embrace health with open armes, free, plaine, and full, and prepare my appetite to enjoy it, by how much more it is now lesse ordinarie and more rare unto me: so far is it from me that I, with the bitternesse of some new and forced kind of life, trouble her rest and molest her ease. Beasts do manifestly declare unto us how many infirmities our mindes agitation brings us. That which is told us of those that inhabit Bresill, who die onely through age, which some impute to the clearnesse and calmnenesse of their aire, I rather ascribe to the calmenesse and clearnesse of their mindes, void and free from all passions, cares, toiling, and unpleasant labours, as a people that passe their life in a wonderfull kind of simplicitie and ignorance, without letters, or lawes and without Kings or any Religion. Whenc comes it (as we daily see by experience) that the rudest and grossest clownes are more tough, strong, and more desired in amorous executions; and that the love of a Muletier is often more accepted than that of a perfumed quaint courtier? But because in the latter the agitation of his mind doth so distract, trouble, and wearie the force of his bodie, as it also troubleth and wearieth it selfe, who doth belie, or more commonly cast the same down even into madnesse, but her own promptitude, her point, her agilitie, and, to conclude, her proper force? Whence proceeds the subtilest follie but from the subtilest wisdome? As from the extremest friendships proceed the extremest enmities and from the soundest healths the mortallest diseases, so from the rarest and quickest agitations of our mindes ensue the most distempered and outrageous frenzies. There wants but half a pegs turne to passe from the one to the other. In mad mens actions we see how fitlie follie suteth and meets with the strongest operations of our minde. Who knowes not how unperceivable the neighbourhood between follie with the liveliest elevations of a free minde is, and the effects of a supreme and extraordinarie vertue. Plato affirmeth that melancholy mindes are more excellent and disciplinable; so are there none more inclinable unto follie. Diverse spirits, are seen to be overthrowne by their owne force and proper nimblenesse. What a start hath one (TORQUATO TASSO) of the most judicious, ingenious, and most fitted under the ayre of true ancient poesie, lately gotten by his owne agitation and selfe-gladnesse, above all other Italian Poets that have been of a long time? Hath not he wherewith to be beholding unto this his killing vivacitie? unto this clearnesse that hath so blinded him? unto his exact and far-reaching apprehension of reasons which hath made him voide of reason? unto the curious and laborious pursute of Sciences, that have brought him unto sottishnesse? unto this rare aptitude to the exercises of the minde, which hath made him without minde or exercise? I rather spited than pitied him when I saw him at Ferrara, in so piteous a plight, that he survived himselfe; misacknowledging both himselfe and his labours, which unwitting to him, and even to his face, have been published both uncorrected and maimed. Will you have a man healthy, will you have him regular, and in constant and safe condition? overwhelme him in the darke pit of idlenesse and dulnesse. We must be besotted ere we can become wise, and dazzled before we can be led. And if a man shall tell me that the commoditie to have the apptite cold to griefes and wallowish to evils, drawes this incommoditie after it, it is also consequently the same that makes us lesse sharpe and greedie to the enjoying of good and of pleasures: It is true but the miserie of our condition beareth that we have not so much to enjoy as to shun, and that extreme voluptuousnesse doth not so much pinch us as a light smart: Segnius homines bona quam mala sentiunt: (TIT. LIV. xxx. c. 21.) 'Men have a duller feeling of a good turne than of an ill;' we have not so sensible a feeIing of perfect health as we have of the least sicknesse,
In cute vix sumnma violatum plagula corpus
Quando valere nihil quemquam movet. Hoc juvat unum
Quod me non torquet latus aut pes; cætera quisquam
Vix queat aut sanum sese aut sentire valentem.
A light stroke that dooth scarce the top-skin wound,
Greeves the gall'd bodie, when in health to be,
Doth scarce move any: onely ease is found.
That neither side nor foot tormenteth me:
Scarce any in the rest can feel he's sound.
Our being in health is but the privation of being ill. See therefore where the sect of Philosophie that hath most preferred sensualitie, hath also placed the same but to indolencie or unfeeling of paine. To have no infirmitie at all is the chiefest possession of health that man can hope for (as Ennius said)
Nimium boni est, cui nihil est mali.
He hath but too much good,
Whom no ill hath withstood.
For the same tickling and pricking which a man doth feel in some pleasures, and seemes beyond simple health and indolencie, this active and moving sensualitie, or as I may terme it, itching and tickling pleasure, aymes but to be free from paine, as her chiefest scope. The lust-full longing which allures us to the acquaintance of women seekes but to expell that paine which an earnest and burning desire doth possesse us with, and desireth but to allay it thereby to come to rest and be exempted from this fever; and so of others. I say therefore, that if simplicitie directeth us to have no evill, it also addresseth us according to our condition to a most happy estate. Yet ought it not to be imagined so dull and heavie than the altogether senselesse. And Crantor had great reason to withstand the unsensiblenesse of Epicurus, if it were so deeply rooted that the approching and birth of evils might gainsay it. I commend not that unsensiblenesse which is neither possible nor to be desired. I am well pleased not to be sicke, but if I be, I will know that I am so; and if I be cauterized or cut, I will feel it. Verily, he that should root out the knowledge of evill should therewithall extirp the knowledge of voluptuousnesse, and at last bring man to nothing.Istud nihil dolere, non sine magna mercede contingit immanitatis in animo, stuporis in corpore: (CIC. Tusc. Qu. iii.) 'This verie point, not to be offended or grieved with any thing, befals not freely to a man without either inhumanitie in his minde or senselesnesse in his bodie.' Sicknesse is not amiss unto man, comming in her turne; nor is he alwaies to shun pain, nor ever to follow sensualitie. It is a great advantage for the honour of ignorance that Science it selfe throwes us into her armes when she findes her selfe busie to make us strong against the assaults of evils: she is forced to come to this composition: to yeeld us the bridle, and give us leave to shrowd our selves in her lap, and submit ourselves unto her favour, to shelter us against the assaults and injuries of fortune. For what meaneth she else when she perswades us to withdraw our thought from the evils that possesse us, and entertains them with foregon pleasures, and stead us as a comfort of present evils with the remembrance of forepast felicities, and call a vanished content to our help, for to oppose it against that which vexeth us? Levationes, ægritudinum in avocatione a cogitanda molestia, et revocatione ad contemplandas voluptates ponit. (Ibid.)'Eases of grief she reposeth either in calling from the thought of offence, or calling to the contemplations of some pleasures.' Unlesse it be that where force fails her, she will use policie and shew a tricke of nimblenesse and turne away, where the vigor both of her bodie and armes shall faile her. For not onely to a strict Philosopher, but simply to any setled man, when he by experience feeleth the burning alteration of a hot fever, what currant paiment is it to pay him with the remembrance of the sweetnesse of Greeke wine? It would rather empaire his bargaine.
Che ricordarsi il ben doppia la noia.
For to thinke of our joy,
Redoubles our annoy.
Of that condition is this other counsell, which Philosophie giveth onely to keepe forepast felicities in memories and thence blot out such griefes as we have felt: as if the skill to forget were in our power: and counsell of which we have much lesse regard:
Suavis est laborum præteritorum memoria. -- CIC. Fin. ii. Eurip.
Of labours overpast,
Remembrance hath sweet taste
What? shall Philosophie, which ought to put the weapons into my hands to fight against Fortune; which should harden my courage, to suppress and lay at my feet all humane adversities, will she so faint as to make me like a fearfull cunnie creepe into some lurking-hole, and like a craven to tremble and yeeld? For memorie representeth unto us, not what we chuse, but what pleaseth her. Nay, there is nothing so deeply imprinteth anything in our remembrance as the desire to forget the same: it is a good way to commend to the keeping, and imprinteth anything in our minde, to solicit her to lose the same. And that is false, Est situm in nobis, ut et adversa quasi perpetua oblivione obruamus, et secunda jucunde et suaviter meminerimus: (CIC. Fin. Bon. i.) 'This is engraffed in us, or at least in our power, that we both burie in perpetuall oblivion things past against us, and record with pleasure and delight what soever was for us.'
And this is true, Memini etiam quæ nolo; oblivisci non possum quæ volo: (Plu. In vita Them.) 'I remember even those things I would not; and can not forget what I would.' And whose counsell is this? his, Qui se unus sapientem profiteri sit ausus: 'Who only durst professe himselfe a wise man'
Qui genus humanum ingenio superavit, et omnes
Præstrinæit stellas, exortas uti ætheriusSol. -- LUCR. iii. 1086
Who from all mankind bare for wit the prize,
And dim'd the stars as when skies Sunne doth rise.
To emptie and diminish the memorie, is it not the readie and onely way to ignorance?
Iners malorum remedium ignorantia est. -- SEN. Oed. act iii. sc. 1.
Of ills a remedie by chance,
And verie dull is ignorance.
We see diverse like precepts, by which we are permitted to borrow frivolous appearances from the vulgar sort, where lively and strong reason is not of force sufficient: alwaies provided they bring us content and comfort. Where they can not cure a sore they are pleased to stupifie and hide the same. I am perswaded they will not denie me this, that if, they could possibly add any order or constancie to a mans life, that it might thereby be still maintained in pleasure and tranquillitie, by or through any weaknesse or infirmitie of judgement, but they would accept it.
------ potare, et spargere flores
Incipiam, patiarque vel inconsultus haberi. -- HOR. i. Epist. v. 14.
I will begin to strew flowers, and drinke free,
And suffer witlesse, thriftlesse, held to bee.
There should many Philosophers be found of Lycas his opinion: This man in all other things being very temperate and orderly in his demeanors, living quietly and contentedly with his families wanting of no dutie or office both towards his own houshold and strangers, verie carefully preserving himselfe from all hurtfull things: notwithstanding through some alteration of his senses or spirits, he was so possessed with this fantasticall conceipt or obstinate humour that he ever and continually thought to be amongst the Theatres, where he still saw all manner of spectacles, pastimes, sports and the best Comedies of the world. But being at last by the skill of Physitians cured of this maladie, and his offending humour Purged, he could hardly be held from putting them in suite, to the end they might restore him to the former pleasures and contents of his imagination.
----- pol me occidistis amici,
Non servastis, ait, cui sic extorta voluptas,
Et demptus per vim menti gratissimus error. -- HOR. i. Epist. ii. 138.
You have not sav'd me, friends, but slaine me quite,
(Quoth he) from whom so reft is my delight;
And errour purg'd, which best did please my spright.
Of a raving like unto that of Thrasilaus, sonne unto Pythodorus, who verily beleeved that all the ships that went out from the haven of Pyræus, yea and all such as came into it, did only travell about his businesse, rejoycing when any of them had made a fortunate voyage, and welcommed them with great gladnesse: His brother Crito, having caused him to be cured and restored to his better senses, he much bewailed and grieved of the condition wherein he had formerly lived in, such joy, and so void of all care and griefe. It is that which that ancient Greeke verse saith: That not to be so advised brings many commodities with it:
'Εν τω φρονειν γαρ μηδεν ηδιοτος βιος -- SOPH. Aia. Flag.
The sweetest life I wis,
In knowing nothing is.
And as Ecclesiastes witnesseth: 'In much wisdome is much sorrow. And who getteth knowledge purchaseth sorrow and griefe' Even that which Philosophy doth in generall tearmes allow, this last remedy which she ordaineth for all manner of necessities; that is, to make an end of that life which we cannot endure. Placet? pare: placet? quacunque vis exi. Pungit dolor? vel fodiat sane: si nudus es, da jugulum: sin tectus armis vulcaniis, id est, fortitudine, resiste: (CIC. Tusc. Qu. 1. ii.) 'Doth it like you? obey: doth it not like you? get out as you will; doth griefe pricke you? and let it pierce you too: if you be naked, yeeld your throat: but if you be covered with the armour of Vulcan, that is, with fortitude, resist.' And that saving, used of the Græcians in their banquets, which they aply unto it, Aut bibat, aut abeat: (CIC. Ib. v.) 'Either let him carouse, or carry him out of the house:' which rather fitteth the mouth of a Gascoine, who very easily doth change the letter B into V, than that of Cicero:
Vivere si recte nescis, discede peritis:
Lusisti satis, edisti satis, atque bibisti:
Tempus abire tibi est, largius æquo
Ridat, et pulset lascivia descentius ætas: -- HOR. ii. Epist. ii. ult.
Live well you cannot, them that can, give place;
Well have you sported, eaten well, drunke well:
'Tis time you part; lest wanton youth with grace
Laugh at, and knock you that with swilling dwell.
what is it but a confession of his insufficiency, and a sending one backe not only to ignorance, there to be shrowded, but unto stupidity it selfe, unto unsensiblenesse and not being?
------ Democritum postquam matura vetustas
Admonuit memorem, motus lanquescere mentis.
Sponte sua letho caput obvius obtu lit ipse. -- LUCR. iii. 1083.
When ripe age put Democritus in minde,
That his mindes motions fainted, he to finde
His death went willing, and his life resign'd.
It is that which Anthisthenes said, that a man must provide himselfe either of wit to understand or of a halter to hang himselfe: And that which Chrysippus alleaged upon the speech of the Poet Tyrtaius,
De la vertue, ou de mort approcher. -- PLUT. in Solon's Life.
Or vertue to approch,
Or else let death incroch.
And Crates said that love was cured with hunger, if not by time; and in him that liked not these two meanes, by the halter. That Sextius, to whom Seneca and Plutarke give so much commendation, having given over all things else and betaken himselfe to the study of Philosophy, seeing the progress of his studies so tedious and slow, purposed to cast himself into the Sea; Ranne unto death for want of knowledge: Reade here what the law saith upon the subject. If peradventure any great inconvenience happen, which cannot be remedied, the haven is not farre-off, and by swimming may a man save himselfe out of his bodie, as out of a leaking boat: for it is feare to die, and not desire to live, which keepes a foole ioyned to his body. As life through simplicity becommmeth more pleasant, so (as I erewhile began to say) becommeth it more innocent and better. The simple and the ignorant (saith St. Paul) raise themselves up to heaven, and take possession of it; whereas we, with all the knowledge we have plunge ourselves downe to the pit of hell. I rely neither upon Valentian (a professed enemy to knowledge and learning), nor upon Licinius (both Roman Emperours), who named them the venime and plague of all politike estates: Nor on Mahomet, who, as I have heard, doth utterly interdict all manner of learning to his subjects. But the example of that great Lycurgus and his authority, ought to beare chiefe sway and the reverence of that divine Lacedemonian policy, so great, so admirable, and so long time flourishing in all vertue and felicity without any institution or exercise at all of letters. Those who returne from that new world which of late hath been discovered by the Spaniards, can witnesse unto us how those nations, being without Magistrates or law, live much more regularly and formally than we, who have amongst us more officers and lawes than men of other professions or actions.
Di citatorie piene e di libelli,
D'essamine, e di carte, di procure
Hanno mani e il seno, e gran fastelli
Di chiose, di consioli e di letture,
Per cui le faculta de' poverelli
Non sono mai ne le citta sicure,
Hanno dietro e dinanzi e d'ambi i lati,
Notai, pro curatori, e advocate. -- ARIOSTO, cant. xiv. stan. 84.
Their hands and bosoms with writs and citations,
With papers, libels, proxies, full they beare,
And bundels great of strict examiunations,
Of glosses, counsels, readings here and there.
Whereby in townes poore men of occupations
Possesse not their small goods secure from feare,
Before, behind, on each sides Advocates,
Proctors, and Notaries hold up debates.
It was that which a Roman Senator said, that 'their predecessors had their breath stinking of garlike, and their stomacke perfumed with a good, conscience:' and contrary, the men of his time outwardly smelt of nothing but sweet odours, but inwardly they stunke of all vices: which, in mine opinion, is as much to say they had much knowledge and sufficiency, but great want of honesty. Incivility, ignorance, simplicity, and rudenesse are commonly joyned with innocency. Curiosity, subtility, and knowledge are ever followed with malice: Humility, feare, obedience, and honesty (which are the principall instruments for the preservation of humane society) require a single docile soule and which presumeth little of her selfe: Christians have a peculiar knowledge how curiosity is in a man a naturall and originall infirmity. The care to increase in wisdome and knowledge was the first overthrow of man-kinde: is the way whereby man hat h headlong cast himselfe downe into eternall damnation. Pride is his losse and corruption: it is pride that misleadeth him from common waies; that makes him to embrace all new fangles, and rather chuse to be chiefe of a straggling troupe and in the path of perdition, and be regent of some erroneous sect, and a teacher of falsehood, than a disciple in the schoole of truth, and suffer himselfe to be led and directed by the hand of others in the ready beaten highway. It is haply that which the ancient Greeke proverb implieth η δειοιδαιμονια, χαθαπερ παερι τω τυφω πειθεται, 'Superstition obaieth pride as a father.' Oh overweaning, how much doest thou hinder us? Socrates being advertised that the God of wisdome had attributed the name of wise unto him, was thereat much astonished, and diligently searching and rouzing up himselfe, and ransacking the very secrets of his heart, found no foundation or ground for this divine sentence. He knew some that were as just, as temperate, as valiant and as wise as he, and more eloquent, more faire and more profitable to their country. In fine he resolved that he was distinguished from others, and reputed wise, onely because he did not so esteeme himselfe: And that his God deemed the opinion of science and wisdome a singular sottishnes in man; and that his best doctrine was the doctrine of ignorance, and simplicitie his greatest wisdome. The sacred writ pronounceth them to be miserable in this world that esteeme themselves. 'Dust and ashes,' saith he, 'what is there in thee thou shouldest so much glory of?' And in another place God hath made man like unto a shadowe, of which who shall judge when, the light being gone, it shall vanish away? Man is a thing of nothing. So far are our faculties from conceiving that high Deitie, that of our Creators works, those beare his marke best, and are most his owne, which we understand least. It is an occasion to induce Christians to beleeve, when they chance to meet with any incredible thing, that it is so much the more according unto reason, by how much more it is against humane reason. If it were according unto reason, it were no more a wonder; and were it to be matched, it were no more singular. Melius scitur Deus nesciendo, 'God is better knowen by our not knowing him,' saith S. Augustine: and Tacitus, Sanctius est ac reverentius de actis deorum credere quam scire: 'It is a course of more holinesse and reverence to hold beleefe than to have knowledge of Gods actions.' And Plato deemes it to be a vice of impiety overcuriously to enquire after God, after the world, and after the first causes of things. Atque illum quidem parentem hujus universitatis invenire, difficile; et quum jam inveneris, indicare in vulgus, nefas:/2 'Both it is difficult to finde out the father of this universe, and when you have found him, it is unlawfull to reveale Him to the vulgar,' saith Cicero. We easily pronounce puissance, truth, and justice; they be words importing some great matter, but that thing we neither see nor conceive. We say that God feareth, that God will be angry, and that God loveth.
Immortalia mortali sermone notantes, -- LUCR. v. 122.
Who with tearmes of mortality
Note things of immortality.
They be all agitations and motions, which according to our forms can have no place in God, nor we imagine them according to his. It onely belongs to God to know himselfe and interpret his owne workes; and in our tongues he doth it improperly, to descend and come downe to us, that are and lie groveling on the ground. How can wisdome (which is the choice betweene good and evill) beseeme him, seeing no evill doth touch him? How reason and intelligence, which we use to come from obscure to apparant things, seeing there is no obscure thing in God? Justice, which distributeth unto every man what belongs unto him, created for the society and conversation of man, how is she in God? How, temperance, which is the moderation of corporall sensualities, which have no place at all in his God-head? Fortitude patiently to endure sorrowes, and labours and dangers, appertaineth little unto him, these three things no way approaching him, having no accesse unto him. And therefore Aristotle holds him to be equally exempted from vertue and from vice. Neque gratia, neque ira teneri pote st, quod quæ talia essent, imbecilla essent omnia: (CIC. Nat. Deor. i.) 'Nor can he be possessed with favor and anger; for, all that is so is but weake.' The participation which we have of the knowledge, of truth, what soever she is, it is not by our owne strength we have gotten it; God hath sufficiently taught it us in that he hath made choice of the simple, common, and ignorant to teach us His wonderfull secrets. Our faith hath not been purchased by us: it is a gift proceeding from the liberality of others. It is not by our discourse or understanding that we have received our religion, it is by a forreine authority and commandement. The weaknesse of our judgement helps us more than our strength to compasse the same, and our blindnesse more than our clear- sighted eies. It is more by the meanes of our ignorance than of our skill that we are wise in heavenly knowledge. It is no marvell if our naturall and terrestriall meanes cannot conceive the supernaturall or apprehend the celestial knowledge. Let us adde nothing of our own unto it but obedience and subjection: for (as it is written) 'I will confound the wisdome of the wise, and destroy the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe, where is the disputer of this world? (1 COR. i. 19-21.) hath not God made the wisdome of this world foolishuesse? For seeing the world by wisdome knew not God, in the wisdome of God, it hath pleased Him, by the vanity of preaching, to save them that beleeve.' Yet must I see at last whether it be in mans power to finde what he seekes for: and if this long search, wherein he hath continued so many ages, hath enriched him with any new strength or solid truth: I am perswaded, if be speake in conscience, he will confesse that all the benefit he hath gotten by so tedious a pursuit hath been that he hath learned to know his owne weaknesse. That ignorance which in us was naturall, we have with long study confirmed and averred. It hath happened unto those that are truly learned, as it hapneth unto eares of corne, which as long as they are empty, grow and raise their head aloft, upright and stout; but if they once become full and bigge with ripe corne, they begin to humble and droope downeward. So men having tried and sounded all, and in all this chaos and huge heape of learning and provision of so infinite different things, found nothing that is substantiall, firme, and steadie, but all vanitie, have reno unced their presumption, and too late known their naturall condition. It is that which Velleius upbraids Cotta and Cicero withall, that they have learnt of Philo to have learned nothing. Pherecydes, one of the seven wise men, writing to Thales even as he was yeelding up the ghost, 'I have,' saith he, 'appoynted my friends, as soon as I shal be layed in my grave, to bring thee all my writings. If they please thee and the other sages, publish them; if not, conceale them. They containe no certainties nor doe they any whit satisfie mee. My profession is not to know the truth nor to attaine it. I rather open than discover things.' The wisest that ever was, being demanded what he knew, answered, he knew that he knew nothing. He verified what some say, that the greatest part of what we know is the least part of what we know not: that is, that that which we thinke to know is but a parcel, yea, and a small particle, of our ignorance. 'We know things in a dreame' saith Plato, 'and we are ignorant of them in truth.' Omnes pene veteres nihil cognosci, nihil percipi, nihil sciri posse dixerunt angustos sensus, imbecilles animos, brevia curricula vitæ: (CIC. Acad. q. i.) 'Almost all the ancients affirmed nothing may be knowen, nothing perceived, nothing understood: that our senses, are narrow, our mindes are weake, and the race of our life is short.' Cicero himselfe, who ought all he had unto learning, Valerius saith, that in his age he begun to disesteeme letters: and whilst he practised them, it was without bond to any speciall body, following what seemed probable unto him, now in the one and now in the other sect; ever holding himselfe under the Academies doubtfulnesse. Dicendum est, sed ita ut nihil affirmem; quæram omnia, dubitans plerumque, et mihi diffidens: (CIC. Divin. i.) 'Speake I must, but so as I avouch nothing, question all things, for the most part in doubt and distrust of my selfe.' I should have too much a doe if I would consider man after his owne fashion, and in grose: which I might doe by his owne rule, who is wont to judge of truth, not by the weight or value of voices, but by the number. But leave we the common people,
Qui vigilans stertit, -- LUCR. iii. 1091.
Who snoare while they are awake.
Mortua cui vita est, prope jam vivo atque videnti: -- Ib. 1089.
Whose life is dead while yet they see,
And in a manner living be.
Who feeleth not himselfe, who judgeth not himselfe, who leaves the greatest part of his naturall parts idle. I will take man even in his highest estate. Let us consider him in this small number of excellent and choice men, who having naturally beene endowed with a peculiar and exquisite wit, have also fostred and sharpened the same with care, with study and with art, and have brought and strained unto the highest pitch of wisdome it may possibly reach unto. They have fitted their soule unto all senses, and squared the same to all byases; they have strengthned and under-propped it with all foraine helpes, that might any way fit or stead her, and have enriched and adorned her with whatsoever they have beene able to borrow, either within or without the world for her availe: It is in them that the extreme height of humane nature doth lodge. They have reformed the world with policies and lawes. They have instructed the same with arts and sciences, as also by example of their wonderfull manners and life. I will but make accompt of such people, of their witnesse and of their experience. Let us see how far they have gone, and what holdfast they have held by. The maladies and defects which we shall finde in that college, the world may boldly allow them to be his. Whosoever seekes for any thing, commeth at last to this conclusion and saith, that either he hath found it, or that it cannot be found, or that he is still in pursuit after it. All philosophy is divided into these three kindes. Her purpose is to seeke out the truth, the knowledge and the certainty. The Peripatetike, the Epicureans, the Stoikes and others have thought they had found it. These have established the sciences that we have, and as of certaine knowledges have treated of them; Clitomachus, Carneades, and the Academikes have despaired the finding of it, and judged that truth could not be conceived by our meanes. The end of these is weaknesse and ignorance. The former had more followers and the worthiest sectaries. Pyrrho and other sceptikes, or epechistes, whose doctrine or manner of teaching many auncient learned men have thought to have beene drawne from Homer, from the seaven wise men, from Archilochus and Euripides, to whom they joyne Zeno, Democritus, and Xenophanes, say that they are still seeking after truth. These judge that those are infinitely deceived who imagine they have found it, and that the second degree is over boldly vaine in affirming that mans power is altogether unable to attaine unto it. For to establish the measure of our strength to know and distinguish of the difficulty of things is a great, a notable and extreme science, which they doubt whether man be capable thereof or no.
Nil sciri quisquis putat, id quoque nescit,
An sciri possit, quo se nil scire fatetur. -- LUCR. iv. 471.
Who thinks nothing is knowne, knowes not that Whereby hee
Grauntes he knowes nothing if it knowne may bee.
That ignorance which knoweth, judgeth, and condemneth it selfe, is not an absolute ignorance: for to be so, she must altogether be ignorant of her selfe. So that the profession of the Pyrrhonians is ever to waver, to doubt, and to enquire; never to be assured of any thing, nor to take any warrant of himself. Of the three actions or faculties of the soule, that is to say, the imaginative, the concupiscible, and the consenting, they allow and conceive the two former: the last they hold and defend to be ambiguous, without inclination or approbation either of one or other side, be it never so light. Zeno in jesture painted forth his imagination upon this division of the soules faculties: the open and outstretched hand was apparance; the hand halfe-shut, and fingers somewhat bending, consent; the fist closed, comprehension: if the fist of the left hand were closely clinched together, it signified Science. Now this situation of their judgement, straight and inflexible, receiving all objects with application or consent, leads them unto their Ataraxie, which is the condition of a quiet and settled life, exempted from the agitations which we receive by the impression of the opinion and knowledge we imagine to have of things; whence proceed feare, avarice, envie, immoderate desires, ambition, pride, superstition, love of novelties, rebellion, disobedience, obstinacie, and the greatest number of corporall evils: yea, by that meane they are exempted from the jealousie of their owne discipline, for they contend but faintly: they feare nor revenge nor contradiction in the disputations. When they say that heavy things descend downward, they would be loth to be beleeved, but desire to be contradicted, thereby to engender doubt and suspence of judgement, which is their end and drift. They put forth their propositions but to contend with those they imagine wee hold in our conceipt. If you take theirs, then will they undertake to maintaine the contrarie all is one to them, nor will they give a penny to chuse. If you propose that snow is blacke, they will argue on the other side that it is white. lf you say it is neither one nor other, they will maintaine it to be both. If by a certaine judgement you say that you cannot tell, they will maintaine that you can tell. Nay, if by an affirmative axiome you swear that you stand in some doubt, they will dupute that you doubt not of it, or that you cannot judge or maintaine that you are in doubt. And by this extremitie of doubt, which staggereth it selfe, they separate and divide themselves from many opinions, yea from those which divers ways have maintained both the doubt and the ignorance. Why shall it not be granted then (say they) as to Dogmatists, or Doctrine-teachers, for one to say greene and another yellow, so for them to doubt? Is there any thing can be proposed unto you, either to allow or refuse which may not lawfully be considered as ambiguous and doubtfull? And whereas others be carried either by the custome of their countries or by the institution of their parents, or by chance, as by a tempest, without choyce or judgement, yea sometimes before the age of discretion, to such and such another opinion, to the Stoike or Epicurean Sect, to which they finde themselves more engaged, subjected, or fast tyed, as to a prize they cannot let goe: Ad quamcunque disciplinam, velut Te mpestate, delati, ad eam tanquam ad saxum adhærescunt: (CIC. Acad. Qu. x.) 'Being carried as it were by a Tempest to any kinde of doctrine, they sticke close to it as it were to a rocke.' Why shall not these likewise be permitted to maintaine their libertie and consider of things without dutie or compulsion? Hoc liberiores et solutiores, quod integra illis, est judicandi potestatas: (Ibid.) 'They are so much the freer and at libertie, for that their power of judgement is kept entire.' Is it not some advantage for one to finde himselfe disengaged from necessitie which brideleth others: Is it not better to remaine in suspence than to entangle himselfe in so many errours that humane fantasia hath brought forth? Is it not better for a man to suspend his owne perswasion than to meddle with these sedicious and quarrellous divisions? What shall I chuse? Mary, what you list, so you chuse. A very foolish answer: to which it seemeth nevertheless that all Dogmatisme arriveth; by which it is not lawfull for you to bee ignorant of that we know not. Take the best and strongest side, it shall never be so sure but you shall have occasion to defend the same, to close and combat a hundred and a hundred sides? Is it not better to keepe out of this confusion? You are suffered to embrace as your honour and life Aristotles opinion upon the eternitie of the Soule, and to belie and contradict whatsoever Plato saith concerning that; and shall they be interdicted to doubt of it? If it be lawfull for Panæcius to maintaine his judgement about auspices, dreames, oracles, and prophecies, whereof the Stoikes make no doubt at all: wherfore shall not a wise man dare that in all things which this man dareth in such as he hath learned of his masters, confirmed and established by the general consent of the schoole whereof he is a sectary and a professor? If it be a childe that judgeth, he wots not what it is; if a learned man, he is forestalled. They have reserved a great advantage for themselves in the combat, having discharged themselves of the care how to shroud themselves. They care not to be beaten, so they may strike againe: and all is fish that comes to net with them. If they overcome, your proposition halteth; if you, theirs is lame; if they faile, they verifie ignorance; if you, she is verified by you; if they prove that nothing is knowen, it is very well; if they cannot prove it, it is good alike: Vt quum in eadem re paria contrariis in partibus momenta inveniuntur, facilius ab utraque parte assertio sustineatur; (CIC. Ibid.) 'So as when the same matter the like weight and moment is found on divers parts, we may the more easily hold with avouching on both parts.' And they suppose to find out more easily why a thing is false than true, and that which is not than that which is: and what they beleeve not, than that what they beleeve. Their manner of speech is, 'I confirme nothing.' It is no more so than thus, or neither: I conceive it not; apparances are every where alike. The law of speaking pro or contra is all one. 'Nothing seemeth true that may not seeme false.' Their sacramental word is επεχω; which is as much to say as I hold and stir not. Behold the burdens of their songs and other such like. Theyr effects is a pure, entire, and absolute surceasing and suspence of judgement. They use their reason to enquire and to debate, and not to stay and choose. Whosoever shall imagine a perpetuall confession of ignorance, and a judgement upright and without staggering, to what occasion soever may chance, that man conceives the true Pyrrhonisme. I expound this fantazy as plaine as I can, because many deeme it hard to be conceived: and the authors themselves represent it somewhat obscurely and diversly. Touching the actions of life, in that they are after the common sort, they are lent and applied to naturall inclinations, to the impulsion and constraint of passions, to the constitutiones of lawes and customes, and to the tradition of arts: Non enim nos Deus ista scire, sed tantummodo uti voluit: (Cic. Divin. i.) 'For God would not have us know these things, but only use them.' By such meanes they suffer their common actions to be directed without any conceit or judgement, which is the reason that I cannot well sort unto this discourse what is said of Pyrrho. They faine him to be stupide and unmovable, leading a kinde of wild and unsociable life, not shunning to be hit with carts, presenting himselfe unto downefalls, refusing to conforme himselfe to the lawes. It is an endearing of his discipline. Hee would not make himselfe a stone or a blocke, but a living, discoursing, and reasoning man, enjoying all pleasures and naturall commodities, busying himselfe with and using all his corporall and spirituall parts in rule and right. The fantasticall and imaginary and false privileges which man hath usurped unto himselfe to sway, to appoint, and to establish, he hath absolutely renounced and quit them. Yet is there no Sect but is enforced to allow her wise Sectary, in chiefe to follow diverse things nor comprehended, nor perceived, nor allowed, if he will live. And if he take shipping, he follows his purpose, not knowing whether it shall be profitable or no: and yeeldes to this, that the ship is good, the pilote is skilfull, and that the season is fit, circumstances only probable. After which he is bound to goe and suffer himselfe to be removed by apparances, alwaies provided they have no expresse contrariety in them. Hee hath a body, he hath a soule, his senses urge him forward, his minde moveth him. Although he finde not this proper and singular marke of judging in himselfe, and that he perceive he should not engage his consent seeing some falsehood may be like unto this truth: hee ceaseth not to conduct the offices of his life fully and commodiously. How many arts are there which professe to consist more in conjecture than in the science; that distinguish not betweene truth and falsehood, but only follow seeming? There is both true and false (say they), and there are meanes in us to seeke it out, but not to stay it when we touch it. It is better for us to suffer the order of the world to manage us without further inquisition. A mind warranted from prejudice hath a marvellous preferment to tranquillity. Men that sensure and controule their judges doe never duly submit unto them. How much more docile and tractable are simple and uncurious mindes found both towards the lawes of religion and Politike decrees, than these over-vigilant and nice wits, teachers of divine and humane causes? There is nothing in mans invention wherein is so much likelyhood, possibilities and profit. This representeth man bare and naked, acknowledging his naturall weaknesse, apt to receive from above some strange power, disfurnished of all humane knowledge, and so much the more fitte to harbour divine understanding, disannulling his judgement, that so he may give more place unto faith. Neither misbeleeving nor establishing any doctrine or opinion repugnant unto common lawes and observances, humble, obedient, disciplinable and studious; a sworne enemy to Heresie, and by consequence exempting himselfe from all vaine and irreligious opinions, invented and brought up by false Sects. It is a white sheet prepared to take from the finger of God what form so ever it shall please him to imprint therein. The more we addresse and commit our selves to God, and reject our selves, the better it is for us. Accept (saith Ecclesiastes) in good part things both in shew and taste, as from day to day they are presented unto thee, the rest is beyond thy knowledge. Dominus novit cogitationes hominum, quoniam vanæ sunt: (Psal. xciii. 11.) 'The Lord knowes the thoughts of men, that they are vayne.' See how of three generall Sects of Philosophie, two make expresse profession of doubt and ignorance and in the third, which is the Dogmatists, it is easie to be discerned that the greatest number have taken the face of assurance; onely because they could set a better countenance on the matter. They have not so much gone about to establish any certainty in us, as to shew how farre they had waded in seeking out the truth. Quam docti fingunt magis quam norunt: 'Which the learned doe rather conceit than know.'
Timæus, being to instruct Socrates of what he knowes of the Gods, of the world, and of men, purposeth to speake of it as one man to another; and that it sufficeth, if his reasons be as probable as another mans. For exact reasons are neither in his hands, nor in any mortall man; which one of his Sectaries hath thus imitated: Vt potero, explicabo: nec tamen, ut Pythius Apollo, certa ut sint et fixa quæ dixero; sed ut homunculus, probabilia conjectura sequens: (Cic. Tusc. Qu. i.) 'As I can, I will explaine them; yet not as Apollo giving oracles, that all should bee certaine and set downe, that I say but as a meane man who followes likelihood by his conjecture.' And that upon the discourse of the contempt of death; a naturall and popular discourse. Elsewhere he hath translated it, upon Platoes very words: Si forte, de Deorum natura ortuque mundi disserentes, minus id quod habemus in animo consequimur, haud erit mirum. Æquum est enim meminisse, et me, qui disseram, hominem esse, et vos qui judicetis: ut, si probabilia dicentur, nihil ultra requiratis (Cic. Univers.) 'It will be no marvell if arguing of the nature of Gods and originall of the world, we scarcely reach to that which in our minde we comprehend; for it is meet we remember that both I am a man who am to argue, and you who are to judge, so as you seeke no further, if I speake but things likely.' Aristotle ordinarily hoardeth us up a number of other opinions and other beleefes, that so he may compare his unto it, and make us see how farre he hath gone further, and how neere he comes unto true-likelyhood. For truth is not judged by authorities nor by others testimonie. And therefore did Epicurus religiously avoyd to aleadge any in his compositions. He is the Prince of Dogmatists, and yet we learne of him that, to know much breedes an occasion to doubt more. He is often seene seriously to shelter himselfe under so inextricable obscurities that his meaning cannot be perceived. In effect, it is a Pyrrhonisme under a resolving forme. Listen to Ciceroes protestation, who doth declare us others fantasies by his owne. Qui requirunt, quid de quaque re ipsi sentiamus; curiosius id faciunt, quam necesse est. Hæc in Philosophia ratio contra omnia disserendi, nullamque rem aperte judicandi, profecta a Socrate, repetita ab Arcesila, confirmata a Carneade, usque ad nostram viget ætatem. Hi sumus, qui omnibus veris falsa quædam adiuncta esse di camus, tanta similitudine, ut in iis nulla insit certe judicandi et assentiendi nota: (Cic. Nat. Deo. i.) 'They that would know what we conceit of everything, use more curiosity than needs. This course in Philosophy to dispute against all things, to judge eexpressly of nothing, derived from Socrates, renewed by Arcesilas, confirmed by Carneades, is in force till our time: we are those that aver some falsehood entermixt with every truth, and that with such likenesses as there is no set note in those things for any a ssuredly to give judgement or assent.' Why hath not Aristotle alone, but the greatest number of Philosophers, affected difficulty, unlesse it be to make the vanity of the subject to prevaile, and to ammuse the curiosity of our minde, seeking to feed it by gnawing so raw and bare a bone? Clytomachus affirmed that he could never understand by the writings of Carneades, what opinion he was of. Why hath Epicurus interdicted facility unto his Sectaries? And wherefore hath Heraclitus beene surnamed οχοτεινος 'a darke mysty clowded fellow'? Difficulty is a coine that wise men make use of, as juglers doe with passe and repasse, because they will not display the vanity of their art, and wherewith humane foolishnesse is easily apaid.
Clarus ob obscuram linguam, magis inter inanes,
Omnia enim stolidi magis admirantur amantgue.
Inversis quæ sub verbi; latitantia cernunt. -- Lucr. i. 656.
For his darke speech much prais'd, but of th' unwise;
For fooles doe all still more admire and prize
That under words turn'd topsie-turvie lies.
Cicero reproveth some of his friends because they were wont to bestow more time about astrology, law, logike, and geometry, than such arts could deserve; and diverted them from the devoirs of their life, more profitable and more honest. The Cyrenaike philosophers equally contemned naturall philosophy and logicke. Zeno in the beginning of his bookes of the Commonwealth declared all the liberall sciences to be unprofitable. Chrysippussaid, that which Plato and Aristotle had written of logike, they had written the same in jest and for exercise sake, and could not beleeve that ever they spake in good earnest of so vaine and idle a subject. Plutarke saith the same of the metaphysikes: Epicurus would have said it of rhetorike, of grammar, of poesie, of the mathematikes, and (except naturall philosophy of all other sciences: and Socrates of all, but of the art of civill manners and life. Whatsoever he was demanded of any man, he would ever first enquire of him to give an accompt of his life, both present and past, which he would seriously examine and judge of; deeming all other apprentiships as subsequents and of supererogation in regard of that. Parum mihi placeant ex literæ quæ ad virtutem doctoribus nihil profuerunt: 'That learning pleaseth me but a little, which nothing profiteth the teachers of it unto vertue.' Most of the arts have thus beene contemned by knowledge it selfe, for they thought it not amisse to exercise their mindes in matters wherein was no profitable solidity. As for the rest, some have judged Plato a dogmatist, others a doubter; some a dogmatist in one thing, and some a doubter in another. Socrates, the fore-man of his Dialogues doth ever aske and propose his disputation; yet never concluding, nor ever satisfying, and saith he hath no other science but that of opposing. Their author, Homer, hath equally grounded the foundations of all sects of philosophy, thereby to shew how indifferent he was which way he went. Some say that of Plato arose ten diverse sects. And as I thinke, never was instruction wavering and nothing avouching if his be not. Socrates was wont to say that when midwives begin once to put in practice the trade to make other women bring forth children, themselves become barren. That be, by the title of wise, which the gods had conferred upon him, had also in his man-like and mentall love shaken off the faculty of begetting: Being well pleased to afford all helpe and favor to such as were engenderers; to open their nature, to suple their passages, to ease the issue of their child-bearing, to judge thereof, to baptise the same, to foster it, to strengthen it, to swathe it, and to circumcise it, exercising and handling his instrument at the perill and fortune of others. So is it with most authors of this third kinde, as the ancients have well noted by the writings of Anaxagoras, Democritus, Parmenides, Xenophanes, and others. They have a manner of writing doubtfull both in substance and intent, rather enquiring than instructing: albeit here and there they enterlace their stile with dogmaticall cadences. And is not that as well seene in Seneca and in Plutarke? How much doe they speake sometimes of one face and sometimes of another, for such as looke neere unto it? Those who reconcile lawyers, ought first to have reconciled them every one unto himselfe. Plato hath (in my seeming) loved this manner of philosophying dialogue wise in good earnest, that thereby he might more decently place in sundry mouthes the diversity and variation of his owne conceits. Diversly to treat of matters is as good and better as to treat them conformably; that is to say, more copiously and more profitably. Let us take example by our selves. Definite sentences make the last period of dogmaticall and resolving speech; yet see wee that those which our Parliaments present unto our people as the most exemplare and fittest to nourish in them the reverence they owe unto this dignitie, especially by reason of the sufficiencie of those persons which exercise the same, taking their glory, not by the conclusion, which to them is dayly, and is common to al judges as much as the debating of diverse and agitations of contrary reasonings of law causes will admit. And the largest scope for reprehensions of some Philosophers against others, draweth contradictions and diversities with it, wherein every one of them findeth himself so entangled, either by intent to show the wavering of mans minde above all matters, or ignorantly forced by the volubilitie and incomprehensiblenesse of all matters: What meaneth this burden? In a slippery and gliding place let us suspend our beliefe. For as Euripides saith,
Les oeuvres de Dieu en diverses
Facons, nous donnent des traverses.
Gods workes doe travers our imaginations,
And crosse our workers in divers different fashions.
Like unto that which Empedocles was wont often to scatter amongst his bookes, as moved by a divine furie and forced by truth. No, no, we feel nothing, we see nothing; all things are hid from us; there is not one that we may establish, how and what it is. But returning to this holy word, Cogitationes mortalium timidæ, et incertæ ad inventiones nostræ, et providentiæ (Wisd. c. ix. 14.) 'The thoughts of mortal men are feareful, our devices and foresights are uncertaine.' It must not be thought strange if men disparing of the goale have yet taken pleasure in the chase of it; studie being in itselfe a pleasing occupation, yea so pleasing that amid sensualities the Stoikes forbid also that which comes from the exercise of the minde, and require a bridle to it, and finde intemperance in over much knowledge. Democritus having at his table eaten some figges that tasted of hony, began presently in his minde to seeke out whence this unusuall sweetness in them might proceed; and to be resolved, rose from the board, to view the place where those figges had beene gathered. His maide servant noting this alteration in her master, smilingly said unto him, that he should no more busie himselfe about it; the reason was, she had laide them in a vessell where hony had beene; whereat he seemed to be wroth in that shee had deprived him of the occasion of his intended search, and robbed his curiositie of matter to worke upon. 'Away,' quoth he unto her, 'thou hast much offended mee; yet will I not omit to finde out the cause, as if it were naturally so.' Who perhaps would not have missed to finde some likely or true reason for a false and supposed effect. This storie of a famous and great Philosopher doth evidently represent unto us this studious passion, which so doth ammuse us in pursuit of things, of whose obtaining wee despaire. Plutarke reporteth a like example of one who would not be resolved of what he doubted, because hee would not lose the pleasure hee had in seeking it: As another, that would not have his Physitian remove the thirst he felt in his ague, because he would not lose the pleasure he tooke in quenching the same with drinking. Satius est supervacua discere, quam nihil: (Sen. Epist. 89. f.) 'It is better to learne more than wee need than nothing at all.' Even as in all feeding, pleasure is alwayes alone and single and all we take that is pleasant is not ever nourishing and wholesome: So likewise, what our minde drawes from learning leaveth not to be voluptuous, although it neither nourish nor be wholesome. Note what their saying is: 'The consideration of nature is a food proper for our mindes, it raiseth and puffeth us up, it makes us by the comparison, of heavenly and high things to disdaine base an d low matters. The search of hidden and great causes is very pleasant, yea unto him that attaines nought but the reverence and feare to judge of them.' These are the very words of their profession. The vaine image of this crazed curiositie is more manifestly seen in this other example, which they for honour-sake have so often in their mouths. Eudoxus wished, and praid to the Gods, that he might once view the Sunne neere at hand, to comprehend his forme, his greatnesse and his beautie: on condition he might immediately be burnt and consumed by it. Thus with the price of his owne life would he attaine a Science, whereof both use and possession shall therewith bee taken from him; and for so sudden and fleeting knowledge lose and forgoe all the knowledges he either now hath, or ever hereafter may have. I can not easily be perswaded that Epicurus, Plato, or Pythagoras have sold us their atomes, their ideas and their numbers for ready payment. They were over wise to establish their articles of faith upon things so uncertaine and disputable. But in this obscuritie and ignorance of the world, each of these notable men hath endeavoured to bring some kinde of shew or image of light; and have busied their mindes about inventions that might at least have a pleasing and wilie apparance, provided (notwithstanding it were false) it might be maintained against contrary oppositions: Vnicuiquæ ista pro ingenio finguntur, non ex Scientiæ vi: 'These things are conceited by every man as his wit serves, not as his knowledge stretches and reaches.' An ancient Phylosopher being blamed for professing that Philosophie, whereof in his judgement hee made no esteeme; answered, that that was true Philosophizing. They have gone about to consider all, to ballance all, and have found that it was an occupation fitting the naturall curiositie which is in us. Some things they have written for the behoofe of common societie, as their religions: And for this consideration was it reasonable that they would not throughly unfold common opinions, that so they might not breed trouble in the obedience of lawes and customes of their countries. Plato treateth this mysterie in a very manifest kinde of sport. For, where he writeth according to himselfe, he prescribeth nothing for certaintie: When he institutes a Law giver, he borroweth a very swaying and avouching kinde of stile: Wherein he boldly entermingleth his most fantasticall opinions; as profitable to perswade the common sort, as ridiculous to perswade himselfe: Knowing how apt wee are to receive all impressions, and chiefly the most wicked and enormous. And therefore is he very carefull in his lawes that nothing bee sung in publike but Poesies the fabulous fictions of which tend to some profitable end: being so apt to imprint all manner of illusion in man's minde, that it is injustice not to feed them rather with commodious lies, than with lies either unprofitable or damageable. He flatly saith in his Common-wealth that for the benefit of men, it is often necessarie to deceive them. It is easie to distinguish how some Sects have rather followed truth, and some profit; by which the latter have gained credit. It is the miserie of our condition that often what offers it selfe unto our imagination for the likelyst, presents not it selfe unto it for the most beneficiall unto our life. The boldest sects, both Epicurean, Pirrhonian and new Academike, when they have cast their accompt are compelled to stoope to the civill law. There are other subjects which they have tossed, some on the left and some on the right hand, each one labouring and striving to give it some semblance, were it right or wrong: For, having found nothing so secret, whereof they have not attempted to speak, they are many times forced to forge divers feeble and fond conjectures : Not that themselves tooke them for a ground-worke, not to establish a truth, but for an exercise of their studie. Non tam id sensisse, quod dicerent, quam exercere ingenia materiæ difficultate videntur voluisse. 'They seem not so much to have thought as they said, as rather willing to exercise their wits in the difficulty of the matter.' And if it were not so taken, how should we cloke so great an inconstancie, varietie and vanity of opinions, which wee see to have beene produced by these excellent and admirable spirits? As for example, What greater vanitie can there be than to goe about by our proportions and conjectures to guess at God? And to governe both him and the world according to our capacitie and lawes? And to use this small scantlin of sufficiencie, which he hath pleased to impart unto our naturall condition, at the cost and charges or divinitie? And because we cannot extend our sight so farre as his glorious throne, to have removed him downe to our corruption and miseries? Of all humane and ancient opinions concerning religion, I thinke that to have had more likelyhood and excuse, which knowledged and confessed God to be an incomprehensible power, chiefe beginning and preserver of all things; all goodness, all perfection; accepting in good part the honour and reverence which mortall men did yeeld him, under what usage, name and manner soever it was.
Iupiter omnipotens rerum, regumque, Deumque,
Almightie love is parent said to be
Of things, of Kings, of Gods, both he and she.
This zeale hath universally beene regarded of heaven with a gentle and gracious eye. All policies have reaped some fruit by their devotion; Men and impious actions have every where had correspondent events. Heathen histories acknowledge dignitie, order, justice, prodigies, and oracles, employed for their benefit and instruction in their fabulous religion: God of his mercy daining, peradventure, to foster by his temporal blessings the budding and tender beginnings of such brute knowledge as naturall reason gave them of him athwart the false images of their deluding dreames: Not only false but impious and injurious are those which man hath forged and devised by his owne invention. And of all religions Saint Paul found in credit at Athens, that which they had consecrated onto a certaine hidden and unknowne divinitie seemed to be most excusable. Pythagoras shadowed the truth some what neerer, judgeing that the knowledge of this first cause and Ens entium must be undefined, without any prescription or declaration. That it was nothing else but the extreme indevour of our imagination toward perfection, every one amplifying the idea thereof according to his capacitie. But if Numa undertooke to conforme the devotion of his people to this project, to joyne the same to a religion meerely mental without any prefixt object or materiall mixture, he undertooke a matter to no use. Mans minde could never be maintained if it were still floting up and downe in this infinite deepe of shapeles conceits. They must be framed onto her to some image according to her model. The majesty of God hath in some sort suffered itself to be circumscribed to corporall limits: His supernaturall and celestiall Sacraments beare signes of our terrestriall condition. His adoration is exprest by offices and sensible words; for it is man that beleeveth and praieth. I omit other arguments that are employed about this subject. But I could hardly be made beleeve that the sight of our Crucifixes and pictures of that pittiful torment, that the ornaments and ceremonious motions in our Churches, that the voyces accomodated and suted to our thoughts-devotions, and this stirring of our senses, doth not greatly inflame the peoples soules with a religious passion of wonderous beneficiall good. Of those to which they have given bodies, as necessity required amid this generall blindnesse, as for me; I should rather have taken part with those who worshipped the Sunne.
-----la lumiere comnune,
L'ail du monde; et si Dieu au chef porte des yeux,
Les rayons du Soleil sont ses yeux radieux
Qui donnent vie a tous, nous maintiennent et gardent,
Et les faicts des humains en ce monde regardent:
Ce beau, ce grand Soleil, qui nous fait les saysons,
Selon qu'il entre ou sort de ses douze maysons:
Qui remplit l'univers de ses vertus cognues,
Qui d'un traict de ses yeux nous dissipe les nues:
L'espirit, l'ame du monde, ardent et flamboyant,
En la course d'un iour tout le Ciel tournoyant,
Plein d'immense grandeur, rond, vagabond et ferme:
Lequel tient dessoubs luy tout le monde pour terme,
En repos sans repos, oysif, et sans seiour,
Fils aisne de Nature, et le Pere du iour.
The common light,
The worlds eye: and if God beare eyes in his cheefe head,
His most resplendent eyes the Sunne-beames may be said,
Which unto all give life, which us maintaine and guard,
And in this world of men, the workes of men regard:
This great, this beauteous Sunne, which us our seasons makes,
As in twelve houses ee ingresse or egresse takes;
Who with his Vertues knowne, doth fill this universe,
With one cast of his eyes doth us all clowds disperse:
The spirit, and the soule of this world, flaming, burning,
Round about heav'n in course of one dayes journey turning.
Of endlesse greatnesse full, round, moveable and fast:
Who all the world for bounds beneath himselfe hath pla'st:
In rest, without rest, and still more staid, without stay,
Of Nature th' eldest Childe, and Father of the day.
Forasmuch as besides this greatnesse and matchlesse beautie of his, it is the onely glorious piece of this vaste worlds frame, which we perceive to be furthest from us: And by that meane so little knowne as they are pardonable, they entered into admiration and reverence of it. Thales, who was the first to enquire and find out this matter, esteemed God to be a spirit who made all things of water. Anaximander thought the Gods did dy, and were new borne at divers seasons, and that the worlds were infinite in number. Anaximenes deemed the ayre to be a God, which was created immense and always moving. Anaxagoras was the first that held the description and manner of all things to be directed by the power and reason of a spirit infinite. Alcmæon hath ascribed divinity unto the Sunne, unto the Moone, unto Stars, and unto the Soule. Pythagoras hath made God a spirit dispersed through the Nature of all things, whence our soules are derived. Parmenides, a circle circumpassing the heavens, and by the heat of light maintaining the world. Empedocles said the four Natures, whereof all things are made, to be Gods. Protagoras, that he had nothing to say whether they were or were not, or what they were. Democritus would sometimes say that the images and their circuitions were Gods, and othertimes this Nature, which disperseth these images, and then our knowledge and intelligence. Plato scattereth his beliefe after diverse semblances. In his Timæus he saith that the worlds father could not be named. In his Lawes that his being must not be enquired after. And elsewhere in the said bookes he maketh the world, the heaven, the starres, the earth, and our soules, to be Gods; and besides, admitteth those that by ancient institutions have beene received in every commonwealth. Xenophon reporteth a like difference of Socrates his discipline. Sometimes that Gods forme ought not to be inquired after; then he makes him infer that the Sunne is a God, and the Soule a God; othertimes that there is but one, and then more. Speusippus, Nephew unto Plato, makes God to be a certaine power, governing all things, and having a soule. Aristotle saith sometimes that it is the spirit, and sometimes the world; othertimes he appoynteth another ruler over this world, and sometimes he makes God to be the heat of heaven. Xenocrates makes eight; five named amongst the planets, the sixth composed of all the fixed starres, as of his owne members; the seaventh and eighth the Sunne and the Moone. Heraclides Ponticus doth but roame among his opinions, and in fine depriveth God of sense, and maks him remove and transchange himselfe from one forme to another; and then saith that is both heaven and earth. Theophrastus in all his fantasies wandereth still in like irresolutions, attributing the worlds superintendency now to the intelligence, now to the heaven, and now to the starres. Strabo, that it is Nature having power to engender, to augment and to diminish, without forme or sense. Zeno, the naturall Law, commanding the good and prohibiting the evill; which Lawe is a breathing creature, and removeth the accustomed Gods, Iupiter, Iuno, and Vesta. Diogenes Apolloniates, that it is Age. Xenophanes makes God round, seeing, hearing not breathing, and having nothing common with humane Nature. Aristo deemeth the forme of God to bee incomprehensible, and depriveth him of senses, and wotteth not certainely whether he bee a breathing soule or something else. Cleanthes, sometimes reason, othertimes the World; now the soule of Nature, and other-while the supreme heat, enfoulding and containing all. Perseus, Zenoes disciple, hath beene of opinion that they were surnamed Gods who had brought some notable good or benefit unto humane life, or had invented profitable things. Chrysippus made a confused huddle of all the foresaid sentences, and amongst a thousand formes of the Gods which he faineth, hee also accompteth those men that are immortalized. Diagoras and Theodorus flatly denied that there were anie Gods: Epicurus makes the Gods bright-shining, transparent, and perflable, placed as it were betweene two Forts, betweene two Worlds, safely sheltered from all blowes, invested with a humane shape, and with our members, which unto them are of no use.
Ego Deum genus esse semper duxi, et dicam cælitum,
Sed eos non curare opinor, quid agat humanum genus. -- ENN. in CIC. De Div. ii.
I still thought and wil say, of Gods there is a kinde;
But what Our mankinde doth, I thinke they nothing minde.
Trust to your Philosophie, boast to have hit the naile on the head; or to have found out the beane of this cake, to see this coile and hurly-burly of so many Philosophical wits. The trouble or confusion of worldly shapes and formes hath gotten this of mee, that customes and conceipts differing from mine doe not so much dislike me as instruct me; and at what time I conferre or compare them together, they doe not so much puffe me up with pride as humble me with lowlinesse. And each other choyce, except that which commeth from the expresse hand of God, seemeth to me a choyce of small prerogative or consequence. The worlds policies are no less contrarie one to another in this subject than the schooles whereby we may learne that Fortune herself is no more divers, changing, and variable, than our reason, nor more blinde and inconsiderat. Things most unknowne are fittest to be deified. Wherefore to make Gods of our selves (as antiquitie hath done), it exceeds the extreme weaknesse of discourse. I would rather have followed those that worshipped the Serpent, the Dogge, and the Ox, forsomuch as their Nature and being is least knowne to us, and we may more lawfully imagine what we list of those beasts, and ascribe extraordinarie faculties unto them. But to have made Gods of our conditions, whose imperfections we should know, and to have attributed desire, choler, revenge, marriages, generation, alliances, love, and jealousie, our limbs and our bones, our infirmities, our pleasures, our deaths, and our sepulchres unto them hath of necessity proceeded from a meere and egregious sottishness or drunkennesse of mans wit.
Quæ procul usque adeo divino ab numine distant.
Inque Deum numero quæ sint indigna videri. -- LUCR. v. 123.
Which from Divinity so distant are,
To stand in ranks of Gods unworthy farre.
Formæ, ætates, vestitus ornatus noti sunt: genera, conjugia, cognationes, omniaque traducta ad similitudinem imbecillitatis humanæ: nam et perturbatis animis inducuntur; accipimus enim Deorum cupiditates ægritudines, iracundias: 'Their shapes, their ages, their aparrell, their furnitures are knowen; their kindes, their marriages, their kindred, and all translated to the likenesse of man's weaknesse: For they are also brought in with mindes much troubled; for we read of the lustfulnesse, the grievings, the angrinesse of the Gods.' As to have ascribed Divinity, not only unto faith, vertue, honour, concord, liberty, victory and piety; but also unto voluptuousnesse, fraud, death, envy, age and misery; yea unto feare, unto ague, and unto evill fortune, and such other industries and wrongs to our fraile and transitory life:
Quid juvat hoc, templis nostros inducere mores?
O curvæ in terris animæ et cælestium inanes! -- PERS. Sat. ii. 62, 61.
What boots it, into Temples to bring manners of our kindes?
O crooked soules on earth, and void of heavenly mindes.
The Ægyptians, with an impudent wisdome forbad, upon a of hanging, that no man should dare to say that Serapis and Isis, their Gods, had whilome beene but men, when all knew they had been so. And their images or pictures drawne with a finger acrosse their mouth imported (as Varro saith) this misterious rule unto their priests, to conceal their mortall off-spring, which by necessary reason disannuled all their veneration. Since man desired so much to equall himselfe to God, it had beene better for him (saith Cicero) to draw those divine conditions unto himselfe, and bring them downe to earth, than to send his corruption and place his misery above in heaven; but to take him aright, he hath divers wayes, and with like vanitie of opinion, doth both the one and other. When Philosophers blazon and display the Hierarchy of their gods, and to the utmost of their skill endevour to distinguish their aliances, their charges, and their powers; I cannot beleeve they speake in good earnest. When Plato decyphreth unto us the orchard of Pluto, and the commodities or corporall paines which even after the ruine and consumption of our body waite for us, and applyeth them to the apprehension or feeling we have in this life;
Secreti celant colles, et myrtea circum
Sylva tegit, curæ non ipsa in morte relinquunt; -- Virg. Æn. vi. 443.
Them paths aside conceale, a mirtle grove
Shades them round; cares in death doe not remove;
when Mahomet promiseth unto his followers a paradise all tapestried, adorned with gold and precious stones, peopled with exceeding beauteous damsels, stored with wines and singular cates: I well perceive they are but scoffers which sute and apply themselves unto our foolishness, thereby to enhonny and allure us to these opinions and hopes fitting our mortall appetite. Even so are some of our men falne into like errours by promising unto themselves after their resurrection a terrestriall and temporal life accompanied with all sorts of pleasures and worldly commodities. Shall we thinke that Plato, who had so heavenly conceptions and was so well acquainted with Divinity as of most he purchased the surname of Divine, was ever of opinion that man (this seely and wretched creature man) had any one thing in him which might in any sort he applied and suted to this incomprehensible and unspeakable power? or ever imagined that our languishing hold-fasts were capable, or the vertue of our understanding of force, to participate or be partakers either of the blessednesse or eternal punishment? He ought in the behalfe of humane reasoned he answered: If the pleasures thou promisest us in the other life are such as I have felt here below, they have nothing in them common with infinity. if all my five naturall senses were even surcharged with joy and gladnesse, and my soule possessed with all the contents and delights it could possibly desire or hope for (and we know what it either can wish or hope for) yet were it nothing. If there bee any thing that is mine, then is there nothing that is Divine; if it be nothing else but what may appertaine unto this our present condition, it may n ot be accounted of. All mortall mens contentment is mortall. The acknowledging of our parents, of our children and of our friends, if it cannot touch, move or tickle us in the other world, if we still take hold of such a pleasure, we continue in terrestrial and transitorie commodities. We can not worthily conceive of these high, mysterious, and divine promises, if wee can but in any sort conceive them, and so imagine them aright; they must be thought to be immaginable, unspeakeable and incomprehensible, and absolutely and perfectly other than those of our miserable experience. 'No eye can behold (saith Saint Paul) the hap that God prepareth for his elect, nor can it possibly enter the heart of man. (1 Cor. ii. 9.) And if to make us capable of it (as thou saist, Plato, by thy purifications), our being is reformed and essence changed, it must be by so extreme and universall a change that, according to philosophicall doctrine, wee shall be no more ourselves:
Hector erat tunc cum belle certabat , at ille
Tractus ab Æmonio non erat Hector equo. -- Ovid. Trist. iii. El. xi. 27.
Hector he was, when he in fight us'd force;
Hector he was not, drawne by th'enemies horse,
it shall be some other thing that shall receive these recompences.
-----quod mutatur, dissolvitur; interit ergo:
Trajiciuntur enim partes atque ordine migrant. -- Lucr. iii. 781.
What is chang'd is dissolved, therefore dies:
Translated parts in order fall and rise.
For in the Metempsychosis or transmigration of soules of Pythagoras, and the change of habitation which he imagined the soules to make, shall we thinke that the lion in whom abideth the soule of Cæsar, doth wed the passions which concerned Cæsar, or that it is hee? And if it were hee, those had some reason who, debating this opinion against Plato, object that the sonne might one day bee found committing with his mother under the shape of a Mules body, and such like absurdities. And shall wee imagine that in the transmigrations which are made from the bodies of some creatures into others of the same kind, the new succeeding ones are not other than their predecessors were? Of a Phenixes cinders, first (as they say) is engendred a worme and then another Phenix: who can imagine that this second Phenix be no other and different from the first? Our Silk-wormes are seene to dye and then to wither drie, and of that body breedeth a Butter-flie, and of that a worme, were it not ridiculous to thinke the same to be the first Silkeworm? what hath once lost its being is no more.
Nec si materiam nostram collegerit ætas
Post obitum, rursumque redegerit, ut sita nunc est,
Atque iterum nobis fuerint data lumina vitæ,
Pertineat quidquam tamen ad nos id quoque factum,
Interrupta semel cum sit repetentia nostra. -- Ibid. 890.
If time sho uld recollect, when life is past,
Our stuffe, and it replace, as now 'tis plac't,
And light of life were granted us againe,
Yet nothing would that deed to us pertaine,
When interrupted were our turne againe.
And Plato, when in another place thou saist that it shall be the spirituall part of man that shall enjoy the recompences of the other life, thou tellest of things of as small likely-hood.
Scilicet avulsus radicibus ut nequit ullam
Dispicere ipse oculus rem, seorsum corpore toto. -- Ibid. 580.
Ev'n as no eye, by th' root's pull'd out, can see
Ought in whole body severall to bee.
For by this reckoning it shall no longer be man, nor consequently us, to whom this enjoyment shall appertaine; for we are built of two principall essential parts, the separation of which is the death and consummation of our being.
Inter enim jecta est vitai pausa vageque
Deerrarunt passim motus ab sensibus omnes. -- Ibid. 903.
A pause of life is interpos'd; from sense
All motions straied are, far wandring thence.
We doe not say that man suffereth when the wormes gnaw his body and limbs whereby he lived, and that the earth consumeth them:
Et nihil hoc ad nos, qui coitu conjugioque
Corporis atque animæ consistimus uniter apti. -- -- Ibid. 888.
This nought concerns us, who consist of union
Of minde and body joyn'd in meet communion.
Moreover, upon what ground of their justice can the Gods reward man and be thankfull unto him after his death, for his good and vertuous actions, since themselves addressed and bred them in him? And wherefore are they offended and revenge his vicious deeds, when themselves have created him with so defective a condition, and that but with one twinkling of their will they may hinder him from sinning? Might not Epicurus with some shew of humane reason object that unto Plato, if he did not often shrowd himselfe under this sentence, that it is impossible by mortall nature to establish any certainty of the immortall? Shee is ever straying but especially when she medleth with divine matters. Who feeles it more evidently than we? For, although we have ascribed unto her assured and infallible Principles, albeit wee enlighten her steps with the holy lampe of that truth which God hath been pleased to impart unto us, we notwithstanding see daily, how little soever she stray from the ordinary path that she start or stragle out of the way traced and measured out by the Church, how soone she loseth, entangleth and confoundeth her selfe; turning, tossing and floating up and downe in this vast, troublesome and tempestuous sea of mans opinions without restraint or scope. So soone as she loseth this high and common way, shee divideth and scattereth herselfe a thousand diverse ways. Man can be no other than he is, nor imagine but according to his capacity. It is greater presumption (saith Plutarch in them that are but men, to attempt to reason and discourse of Gods and of demi-Gods, than in a man meerly ignorant of musicke to judge of those that sing; or for a man that was never in warres to dispute of, Armes and warre, presuming by some light conjecture to comprehend the effects of an art altogether beyond his skill. As I thinke, Antiquity imagined it did something for divine Majesty when shee compared the same unto man, attiring her with his faculties, and enriching her with his strange humours and most shamefull necessities: offering her some of our cates to feed upon, and some of our dances, mummeries, and enterludes to make her merry, with our clothes to apparrell her, and our houses to lodge her, cherishing her with the sweet odors of incense, and sounds of musicke, adorning her with garlands and flowers, and to draw her to our vicious passion, t o flatter her justice with an inhuman revenge, gladding her with the ruine and dissipation of things created and preserved by her. As Tiberius Sempronius, who for a sacrifice to Vulcan caused the rich spoiles and armes which he had gotten of his enemies in Sardinia to be burned: And Paulus Emilius, those he had obtained in Macedonia, to Mars and Minerva. And Alexander, comming to the Ocean of India, cast in favour of Thetis many great rich vessels of gold into the Sea, replenishing, moreover, her Altars with a butcherly slaughter, not onely of innocent beasts, but of men, as diverse Nations, and amongst the rest, ours were wont to doe. And I thinke none hath beene exempted from shewing the like Essayes.
-----Sul mone creatos
Quatuor hic juvenes, totidem, quos educat Usens,
Viventes rapit, inferias quos immolet umbris. -- Virg. Æn. x. 517.
Foure young-men borne of Sulmo, and foure more
Whom Usens bred, he living over-bore,
Whom he to his dead friend
A sacrifice might send.
The Getes deeme themselves immortall, and their death but the beginning of a journey to their God Zamolxis. From five to five yeares they dispatch some one among themselves toward him, to require of him necessarie things. This deputy of theirs is chosen by lots; and the manner to dispatch him, after they have by word of mouth instructed him of his charge, is that amongst those which assist his election, three hold so many javelins upright, upon which the others, by meere strength of armes, throw him; if he chance to sticke upon them in any mortall place, and that he dye suddenly, it is to them an assured argument of divine favour; but if he escape, they deeme him a wicked and execrable man, and then chuse another. Amestris, mother unto Xerxes, being become aged, caused at one time fourteen young striplings of the noblest houses of Persia (following the religion of her countrie) to be buried all alive, thereby to gratifie some God of under earth. Even at this day the Idols of Temixitan are cemented with the bloud of young children, and love no sacrifice but of such infant and pure soules: Oh justice, greedy of the blood of innocencie.
Tantum religio portuit suadere malorum. -- Lucr. i. 102.
Religion so much mischeefe could
Perswade, where it much better should.
The Carthaginians were wont to sacrifice their owne children unto Saturne, and who had none was faine to buy some: and their fathers and mothers were enforced in their proper persons, with cheerefull and pleasant countenance to assist that office. It was a strange conceit, with our owne affliction to goe about to please and appay divine goodnesse: As the Lacedemonians, who flattered and wantonized their Diana by torturing of young boys, whom often in favour of her they caused to be whipped to death. It was a savage kinde of humour to thinke to gratifie the Architect with the subversion of his Architecture, and to cancel the punishment due unto the guiltie by punishing the guiltles, and to imagine that poore Iphigenia, in the port of Aulis, should by her death and sacrifice discharge and expiate towards God, the Grecians armie of the offences which they had committed.
Et casta inceste nubendi tempore in ipso
Hostia concideret mactatu mæsta parentis. -- Ibid. 99.
She, a chaste offring, griev'd incestuously
By fathers stroke, when she should wed, to dye.
And those two noble and generous soules of the Decii, father and sonne, to reconcile and appease the favour of the Gods towards the Romanes affaires, should headlong cast their bodies athwart the thickest throng of their enemies. Quæ fuit tanta Deorum iniquitas, ut placari populo Romano non possint, nisi tales viri occidissent? 'What injustice of the Gods was so great as they could not be appeased unlesse such men perished?' Considering that it lies not in the offender to cause himselfe to be whipped, how and when he list, but in the judge, who accompteth nothing a right punishment except the torture he appointeth and cannot impute that unto punishment which is in the free choice of him that suffereth. The divine vengeance presupposeth our full dissent, for his justice and our paine. And ridiculous was that humor of Polycrates, the Tyrant of Samos, who, to interrupt the course of his continuall happinesse, and to recompence it, cast the richest and most precious jewell he had into the Sea, deeming that by this purposed mishap he should satisfie the revolution and vicissitude of fortune; which, to deride his folly, caused, the very same jewel, being found in a fishes belly, to returne to his hands againe. And to what purpose are the manglings and dismembrings of the Corybantes, of the Mænades, and now a dayes of the Mahumetans, who skar and gash their faces, their stomacke and their limbes, to gratifie their prophet: seeing the offence consisteth in the will not in the breast, nor eyes, nor in the genitories, health, shoulders, or throat? Tantus est perturbatæ mentis et sedibus suis pulsæ furor, ut sic Dii placentur, quemadmodum ne homines quidem sæviunt: (AUG. Civ. Dei. vi. c. 10.) 'So great is the fury of a troubled minde put from the state it should be in, as the Gods must be so pacified, as even men would not be so outrageous.' This naturall contexture doth by her use not only respect us, but also the service of God and other mens: it is injustice to make it miscarie at our pleasure, as under what pretence soever it be to kill our selves. It seemeth to be a great cowardise and manifest treason to abuse the stupide and corrupt the servile functions of the body, to spare the diligence unto the soule how to direct them according unto reason. Vbi iratos Deos timent , qui sic propitios habere merentur. In regiæ libidinis voluptatem castrate sunt quidam; sed nemo sibi, ne vir esset, jubente Domino manus intulit: (Ibid. e Senec.) 'Where are they afeard of Gods anger, who in such sort deserve to have his favour; some have beene guelded for Princes lustfull pleasure; but no man at the Lords command hath laid hands on himselfe to be lesse than a man.' Thus did they replenish their religion and stuffe it with divers bad effects.
Religio peperit scelerosa atque impia facta. -- Lucr. i. 82.
Religion hath oft times in former times
Bred execrable facts, ungodly crimes,
Now can nothing of ours, in what manner soever, be either compared or referred unto divine nature, that doth not blemish and defile the same with as much imperfection. How can this infinite beauty, power, and goodnes admit any correspondencie or similitude with a thing so base and abject as we are, without extreme interest, and manifest derogation from his divine greatnesse? Infirmum Dei fortius est hominibus; et stultum Dei sapientius est hominibus: (1 Cor. i. 25.) 'The weaknesse of God is stronger than man; and the foolishnesse of God is wiser than men.' Stilpo the Philosopher being demanded whether the Gods rejoyce at our honours and sacrifices; you are indiscreet (said he), let us withdraw our selves apart if you speake of such matters. Notwithstanding we prescribe him limits, we lay continuall siege unto his power by our reasons. (I call our dreames and our vanities reason, with the dispensation of Philosophy, which saith that both the foole and the wicked doe rave and dote by reason, but that it is a reason of severall and particular forme.) We will subject him to the vaine and weake apparances of our understanding: him who hath made both us and our knowledge. Because nothing is made of nothing: God was not able to frame the world without matter. What? hath God delivered into our hands the keyes, and the strongest wards of his infinit puissance? Hath he obliged himselfe not to exceed the bounds of our knowledge? Suppose, oh man, that herein thou hast beene able to marke some signes of his effects. Thinkest thou he hath therein employed all he was able to doe, and that he hath placed all his formes and ideas in this peece of worke? Thou seest but the order and policie of this little cell wherein thou art placed. The question is, whether thou seest it. His divinitie hath an infinit jurisdiction far beyond that. This peece is nothing in respect of the whole.
-----omnia cum cælo terraque marique,
Nil sunt ad summam summai totius omnem. -- Lucr. vi. 675.
All things that are, with heav'n, with sea, and land,
To th' whole summe of th' whole summe as nothing stand.
This law thou aleagest is but a municipall law, and thou knowest not what the universall is: tie thy selfe unto that whereto thou art subject, but tie not him: he is neither thy companion, nor thy brother, nor thy fellow citizen, nor thy copesmate. If lie in any sort have communicated himselfe unto thee, it is not to debase himselfe, or stoope to thy smalnesse, nor to give thee the controulment of his power. Mans body cannot soare up into the clouds, this is for thee. The sunne uncessantly goeth his ordinary course the bounds of the seas and of the earth cannot be confounded: the water is ever fleeting, wavering, and without firmnesse: a wall without breach or flaw, impenetrable unto a solid body: man cannot preserve his life amidst the flames, he cannot corporally be both in heaven and on earth, and in a thousand places together and at once. It is for thee that he hath made these rules: it is thou they take hold of. He hath testified unto Christians that when ever it hath pleased him he hath out gone them all. And in truth, omnipotent as he is, wherefore should he have restrained his forces unto a limited measure? In favour of whom should be have renounced his privilege? Thy reason hath in no one other thing more likely-hood and foundation, than in that which perswadeth thee a plurality of words.
Terramque et solem, lunam, mare, cætera quæ sunt,
Non esse unica, sed numero magis innumerali. -- Ibid. ii. 1094.
The earth, the sunne, the moone, the sea and all
In number numberlesse, not one they call.
The famousest wits of former ages have beleeved it, yea and some of our moderne, as forced thereunto by the apparance of humane reason. For as much as whatsoever eye see in this vast worlds frame, there is no one thing alone, single and one.
---- cum in summa res nulla sit una,
Unica quæ gignatur, et unica solaque crescat: - Ibid. 1086.
Whereas in generall summe, nothing is one,
To be bred only one, grow only one.
And that all severall kindes are multiplied in some number: whereby it seemeth unlikely that God hath framed this peece of work alone without a fellow: and that the matter of this forme hath wholy beene spent in this only Individuum.
Quare etiam atqæ etiam tales fateare necesse est,
Esse alios alibi congressus matiriæ,
Qualis hic est avidi complexu quem tenet Æther. -- Ibid. 1073.
Wherefore you must confesse, againe againe,
Of matters such like meetings elsewhere raigne
As this, these skies in greedy gripe containe.
Namely, if it be a breathing creature, as its motions make it so likely, that Plato assureth it, and divers of ours either affirme it, or dare not impugne it; no more than this old opinion, that the heaven, the starres, and other members of the world, are creatures composed both of body and soule; mortall in respect of their composition, but immortall by the Creators decree. Now if there be divers worlds, as Democritus, Epicurus, and well neere all Philosophy hath thought; what know wee whether the principles and the rules of this one concerns or touch likewise the others? Haply they have another semblance and another policie. Epicurus imagineth them either like or unlike. We see an infinite difference and varietie in this world only by the distance of places. There is neither corne nor wine, no nor any of our beasts seene in that new corner of the world which our fathers have lately discovered: all things differ from ours. And in the old time, marke but in how many parts of the world they had never knowledge nor of Bacchus nor of Ceres. If any credit may be given unto Plinie or to Herodotus, there is in some places a kinde of men that have very little or no resemblance at all with ours. And there be mungrell and ambiguous shapes betweene a humane and brutish nature. Some countries there are where men are borne headlesse, with eyes and mouths in their breasts; where all are Hermaphrodites; where they creepe on all foure; where they have but one eye in their forehead, and heads more like unto a dog than ours; where from the navill downewards they are half fish and live in the water; where women are brought a bed at five years of age, and live but eight; where their heads and the skin of their browes are so hard that no yron can pierce them, but will rather turne edge; where men never have beards. Other nations there are that never have use of fire; others whose sperme is of a blacke colour. What shall we speake of them who natarally change themselves into woolves, into coults, and then into men againe? And if it bee (as Plutark saith) that in some part of the Indiæs there are men without mouthes, and who live only by the smell of certaine sweet odours; how many of our descriptions be then false ? Hee is no more risible, nor perhaps capable of reason and societie. The direction and cause of our inward frame should for the most part be to no purpose. Moreover, how many things are there in our knowledge that oppugne these goodly rules which we have allotted and prescribed unto Nature? And we undertake to joyne God himselfe unto her. How many things doe we name miraculous and against Nature? Each man and every nation doth it according to the measure of his ignorance. How many hidden proprieties and quintessences doe we daily discover? For us to go according to Nature, is but to follow according to our understanding, as far as it can follow, and as much as we can perceive in it. Whatsoever is beyond it, is monstrous and disordered. By this accompt all shall then be monstrous, to the wisest and most sufficient; for even to such humane reason hath perswaded that she had neither ground nor footing, no not so much as to warrant snow to be white: and Anaxagoras said it was blacke. W hether there be anything or nothing; whether there be knowledge or ignorance, which Metrodorus Chius denied that any man might say; or whether we live, as Euripides seemeth to doubt and call in question; whether the life we live be a life or no, or whether that which we call death be a life:
Τις δ οιδεν ει ζην τουθ' ο κεκληται θανειν,
Το ζην οε θνηοκειν εοτι; -- Plat. Gorg. ex Eurip.
Who knowes if thus to live, be called death,
And if it be to dye, thus to draw breath;
And not without apparance. For wherefore doe we from that instant take a title of being, which is but a twinkling in the infinit course of an eternall night, and so short an interruption of our perpetuall and naturall condition? Death possessing what ever is before and behind this moment, and also a good part of this moment. Some others affirme there is no motion, and that nothing stirreth; namely, those which follow Melissus. For if there be but one, neither can this sphericall motion serve him, nor the moving from one place to another, as Plato proveth, that there is neither generation nor corruption in nature. Protagoras saith there is nothing in nature but doubt: that a man may equally dispute of all things: and of that also, whether all things may equally be disputed of: Nausiphanes said, that of things which seeme to be, no one thing is nno more than it is not. That nothing is certaine but uncertainty. Parmenides, that of that which seemeth there is no one thing in generall. That there is but one Zeno, that one selfe same is not: and that there is nothing. If one were, he should either be in another, or in himselfe: if he be in another, then are they two: if he be in himselfe, they are also two, the comprising and the comprised. According to these rules or doctrines, the Nature of things is but a false or vaine shadow. I have ever thought this manner of speech in a Christian is full of indiscretion and irreverence; God cannot dye, God cannot gaine-say himselfe, God cannot doe this or that. I cannot allow a man should so bound Gods heavenly power under the Lawes of our word. And that apparence, which in these propositions offers it selfe unto us, ought to be represented more reverently and more religiously. Our speech hath his infirmities and defects, as all things else have. Most of the occasions of this worlds troubles are Grammaticall. Our suits and processes proceed but from the canvasing and debating the interpretation of the Lawes, and most of our warres from the want of knowledge in State-counsellors, that could not cleerely distinguish and fully expresse the Covenants and Conditions of accords betweene Prince and Prince. How many weighty strifes and important quarels hath the doubt of this one sillable, hoc, brought forth in the world? Examine the plainest sentence that Logike it selfe can present unto us. If you say, it is faire weather, and in so saying, say true, it is faire weather then. Is not this a certaine forme of speech? Yet will it deceive us: That it is so, let us follow the example: If you say, I lye, and in that you should say true, you lie then. The Art, the reason, the force of the conclusion of this last, are like unto the other; notwithstanding we are entangled. I see the Pyrrhonian philosophers, who can by no manner of speech expresse their generall conceit: for they had need of a new language. Ours is altogether composed of affirmative propositions, which are directly against them. So that when they say I doubt, you have them fast by the throat to make them avow that at least you are assured and know that they doubt. So have they beene compelled to save themselves by this comparison of Physicke, without which their conceit would be inexplicable and intricate. When they pronounce, I know not, or I doubt, they say that this proposition transportes it selfe together with the rest, even as the Rewbarbe doeth, which scowred ill humours away, and therewith is carried away himselfe. This conceipt is more certainly conceived by an interrogation: What can I tell? As I beare it in an Imprese of a paire of ballances. Note how some prevaile with this kinde of unreverent and unhallowed speech. In the disputations that are nowadayes in our religion, if you overmuch urge the adversaries, they will roundly tell you that it lieth not in the power of God to make his body at once to be in Paradise and on earth, and in many other places together. And how that ancient skoffer made profitable use of it. At least (saith he) it is no small comfort unto man to see that God cannot doe all things; for he cannot kill himselfe if he would, which is the greatest benefit we have in our condition; he cannot make mortall men immortall nor raise the dead to life againe, nor make him that hath lived never to have lives, and him who hath h ad honours not to have had them, having no other right over what is past, but of forgetfulnesse. And that this society betweene God and Man may also be combined with some pleasant examples, he cannot make twice ten not to be twenty. See what, he saith, and which a Christian ought to abhor, that ever such and so profane words should passe his mouth: Whereas, on the contrary part, it seemeth that fond men endevour to finde out this foolish-boldnesse of speech, that so they may turne and winde God almighty according to their measure.
-----cras vel atra
Nube polum pater occupato,
Vel sole puro, non tamen irritum
Quodcumque retro est efficiet, neque
Diffinget effectumque reddet
Quod fugiens semel hora vexit. -- Hor. Car. iii. Od. xxix. 43.
To morrow let our father fill the skie,
With darke cloud, or with cleare Sunne, he thereby
Shall not make voyd what once is overpast:
Nor shall he undoe, or in new mold cast,
What time hath once caught, that flyeth hence so fast.
When we say that the infinite of ages, as well past as to come, is but one instant with God; that his wisdome, goodnesse and power, are one selfe-same thing with his essence; our tongue speaks it, but our understanding can no whit apprehend it. Yet will our selfe overweening sift his divinitie through our sieve: whence are engendered all the vanities and errours wherewith this world is so full-fraught, reducing and weighing with his uncertaine balance a thing so farre from his reach, and so distant from his weight. Mirum quo procedat improbitas cordis humani, parvulo aliquo invitata successu. (Plin. Nast. Hist. ii. c. 23.) 'It is a wonder whither the perverse wickednesse of mans heart will proceed, if it be but called-on with any little successe.' How insolently doe the Stoikes charge Epicurus, because he holds that to be perfectly good and absolutely happy belongs but only unto God; and that the wise man hath but a shadow and similitude thereof? How rashly have they joyned God unto destiny? (Which at my request, let none that beareth the surname of a Christian doe at this day.) And Thales, Plato, and Pythagoras have subjected him unto necessities. This over-boldnesse, or rather bold-fiercenesse, to seeke to discover God by and with our eyes, hath beene the cause that a notable man of our times hath attributed a corporall forme unto divinitie, and is the cause of that which daily hapneth unto us, which is by a particular assignation to impute all important events to God: which because they touch us, it seemeth they also touch him, and that he regardeth them with more care and attention than those that are but slight and ordinary unto us. Magna dii curant, parva negligunt: (Cic. Nat. Deor. ii.) 'The Gods take some care for great things, but none for little.' Note his example; he will enlighten you with his reason. Nec in regnis quidem reges omnia minima curant: (Cic. Ibid. ii.) 'Nor doe Kings in their Kingdomes much care for the least matters.' As if it were all one to that King, either to remove an Empire or a leafe of a tree: and if his providence were otherwise exercised, inclining or regarding no more the successe of a battell than the skip of a flea. The hand of his government affords itselfe to all things after a like tenure, fashion and order; our interest addeth nothing unto it: our motions and our measures concerne him nothing and move him no whit. Deus ita artifex magnus in magnis, ut minor non sit in parvis: 'God is so great a workman in great things, as he is no lesse in small things.' Our arrogancie setteth ever before us this blasphemous equality, because our occupations charge us. Strato hath presented the Gods with all immunitie of offices, as are their Priests. He maketh nature to produce and preserve al l things, and by her weights and motions to compact all parts of the world, discharging humane nature from the feare of divine judgments. Quod beatum æternumque sit, id nec habere, negotii quicquam, nec exhibere alteri; (Cic. Ibid. i.) 'That which is blessed and eternall, nor is troubled it selfe, nor troubleth others.' Nature willeth that in all things alike there be also like relation. Then the infinite number of mortall men concludeth a like number of immortall: The infinite things that kill and destroy presuppose as many that preserve and profit. As the soules of the Gods, sanse tougues, sanse eyes, and sanse eares, have each one, in themselves a feeling of that which the other feel, and judge of our thoughts; so mens soules, when they are free and severed from the body, either by sleepe or any distraction, divine, prognosticate and see things, which being conjoyned to their bodies, they could not see. Men, saith Saint Paul, when they professed themselves to be wise, they became fooles, for the y turned the glory of the incorruptible God to the similitude of the image of a corruptible man (Rom. i. 22,23.). Marke, I pray you, a little the iugling of ancient Deifications. After the great, solemne and prowd pompe of funerals, when the fire began to burne the top of the Pyramis, and to take hold of the bed or hearce wherein the dead corps lay, even at that instant they let fly an Eagle, which taking her flight aloft upward, signified that the soule went directly to Paradise. We have yet a thousand medailes and monuments, namely, of that honest woman Faustina, wherein that Eagle is represented carrying a cocke-horse up towards heaven those deified soules. It is pity we should so deceive our selves with our owne foolish devises and apish inventions,
Quod finxere timent, -- Lucan. i. 484.
Of that they stand in feare,
Which they in fancie beare,
as children will be afeard of their fellowes visage, which themselves have besmeared and blackt. Quasi quicquam infælicius sit homine, cui sua figmenta dominantur: 'As though any thing were more wretched than man over whom his owne imaginations beare sway and domineere.' To honour him whom we have made is farre from honouring him that hath made us. Augustus had as many Temples as Iupiter and served with as much religion and opinion of miracles. The Thracians, in requitall of the benefits they had received of Agesilaus, came to tell him how they had canonized him. 'Hath your Nation,' said he, 'the power to make those whom it pleaseth Gods? Then first (for example sake) make one of your selves, and when I shall have seene what good he shall have thereby, I will then thanke you for your offer.' Oh sencelesse man, who cannot possibly make a worme, and yet will make Gods by dozens. Listen to Trismegistus when he praiseth our sufficiencie: For man to finde out divine nature, and to make it, hath surmounted the admiration of all admirable things. Loe here arguments out of Philosophies schooles itselfe.
Noscere cui Divos et coeli numina soli,
Aut soli nescire datum. -- Lucan. i. 452.
Only to whom heav'ns Deities to know,
Only to whom is giv'n, them not to know.
If God be, he is a living creature; if he be a living creature, he hath sense; and if he have sense, he is subject to corruption. If he be without a body, he is without a soule, and consequently without action: and if he have a body, he is corruptible. Is not this brave? We are incapable to have made the world, then is there some more excellent nature that hath set her helping hand unto it. Were it not a sottish arrogancie that wee should thinke ourselves to be the perfectest thing of this universe? Then sure there is some better thing. And that is God. When you see a rich and stately mansion house, although you know not who is owner of it , yet will you not say that it was built for rats. And this more than humane frame and divine composition, which we see, of heavens pallace, must we not deeme it to be the mansion of some Lord greater than our selves? Is not the highest ever the most worthy? And we are seated in the lowest place. Nothing that is without a soule and void of reason is able to bring forth a living soule capable of reason. The world doth bring us forth, then the world hath both soule and reason. Each part of us is lesse than our selves, we are part of the world, then the world is stored with wisdome and with reason, and that more plenteously than we are. It is a goodly thing to have a great government. Then the worlds government belongeth to some blessed and happy nature. The Starres annoy us not, then the Starres are full of goodnesse. We have need of nourishment, then so have the Gods, and feed themselves with the vapours arising here below. Worldly goods are not goods unto God. Then are not they goods unto us. To offend and to be offended are equall witnesses of imbecilitie: Then it is folly to, feare God. God is good by his owne nature, man by his industry: which is more? Divine wisdome and mans wisdome have no other distinction but that the first is eternall. Now lastingnesse is an accession unto wisdome. Therefore are we fellowes. We have life reason, and libertie, we esteeme goodnesse, charitie and justice; these qualities are then in him. In conclusion, the building and destroying the conditions of divinity are forged by man according to the relation to himselfe. Oh what a patterne, and what a model! Let us raise and let us amplifie humane qualities as much as we please. Puffe-up thy selfe poore man, yea swell and swell againe.
------ non si te ruperis, inquit. -- Hor. Serm. ii. Sat. iii. 324.
Swell till you breake, you shall not be,
Equall to that great one, quoth he.
Profecto non teum, quem cogitare non possunt, sed semetipsos pro illo cogitantes, non illum, sed seipsos, non illi, sed sibi comparant. 'Of a truth, they conceiting not God, whom they cannot conceive, but themselves instead of God, doe not compare him, but themselves, not to him but themseves.' In naturall things the effects doe but halfe referre their causes. What this? It is above natures order, its condition is too high, too far out of reach, and overswaying to endure, that our conclusions should seize upon or fetter the same. It is not by our meanes we reach unto it, this traine is too low. We are no nerer heaven on the top of Sina mount than in the bottome of the deepest sea: Consider of it that you may see with your Astrolabe. They bring God even to the carnall acquaintance of women, to a prefixed number of times, and to how many generations. Paulina, wife unto Saturnius, a matron of great reputation in Rome, supposing to lye with the God Serapis, by the maquerelage of the priests of that Temple, found herself in the armes of a wanton lover of hers. Varro, the most subtill and wisest Latine Author, in his bookes of divinitie writeth that Hercules his Sextaine, with one hand casting lots for himselfe, and with the other for Hercules, gaged a supper and a wench against him: if he won, at the charge of his offerings, but if he lost, at his owne cost. He lost, and paid for a supper and a wench: her name was Laurentina: who by the night saw that God in her armes, saying moreover unto her that the next day the first man she met withall should heavenly pay her her wages. It was fortuned to be one Taruncius, a very rich young man, who tooke her home with him, and in time left her absolute heire of all he had. And she, when it came to her turne, hoping to doe that God some acceptable service, left the Romane people heire generall or all her wealth. And therefore she had divine honours attributed unto her. As if it were not sufficient for Plato to descend originally from the Gods by a twofold line, and to have Neptune for the common author of his race. It was certainly beleeved at Athens that Ariston, desiring to enjoy faire Perictyone, he could not, and that in his dreame he was warned by God Apollo to leave her untoucht and unpolluted untill such time as she were brought a bed. And these were the father and mother of Plato. How many such-like cuckoldries are there in histories, procured by the Gods against seely mortall men? And husbands most injuriously blazoned in favor of their children? In Mahomets religion, by the easie beleefe of that people are many Merlins found, that is to say, fatherless children: spirituall children, conceived and borne divinely in the wombs of virgins, and that in their language beare names importing as much. We must note that nothing is more deare and precious to any thing than its owne being (the Lyon, the Eagle and the Dolphin esteeme nothing above their kind), each thing referreth the qualities of all other things unto her owne conditions, which we may either amplifie or shorten; but that is all: for besides this principle, and out of this reference, our imagination cannot go, and guesse further: and it is unpossible it should exceed that, or goe beyond it. Whence arise these ancient conclusions. Of all formes, that of man is the fairest: then God is of this forme. No man can be happy without vertue, nor can vertue be without reason; and no reason can lodge but in a humane shape: God is then invested with a humane figure. Ita est informatum anticipatum mentibus nostris, ut homini, quum de Deo cogitet, forma occurrat humana: (Cic. Nat. Deo. i.) 'The prejudice forestaled in our mindes is so framed as the forme of man comes to mans minde when he is thinking of God.' Therefore Xenophanes said presently, that if beasts frame any Gods unto themselves, as likely it is they do, they surely frame them like unto themselves,and glorifle themselves as we do. For why may not a goose say thus? All parts of the world behold me, the earth serveth me to tread upon, the Sunne to give me light, the Starres to inspire me with influence; this commoditie I have of the wind, and this benefit of the waters: there is nothing that this worlds-vault doth so favourably look upon as me selfe; I am the favorite of nature; is it not man that careth for me, that keepeth me, lodgeth me, and serveth me? For me it is he soweth, reapeth, and grindeth: if he eat me, so doth man feed on his fellow and so doe I on the wormes that consume and eat him. As much might a Crane say, yea and more boldly, by reason of her flights libertie, and the possession of this goodly and high-bownding region. Tam blanda conciliatrix, et tam sui est lena ipsa natura: (Cic. Nat. Deo. ibid.) 'So flattring a broker and bawd (as it were) is nature to it selfe.' Now by the same consequence the destinies are for us, the world is for us; it shineth, and thundreth for us: both the creator and the creatures are for us: it is the marke and point whereat the universitie of things aymeth. Survay but the register which Philosophy hath kept these two thousand years and more, of heavenly affaires. The Gods never acted, and never spake, but for man: She ascribeth no other consultation, nor imputeth other vacation unto them. Loe how they are up in armes against us.
-----domitosque Herculea manu
Telluris iuvenes, unde periculum
Fulgens contremuit domus Saturni veteris. -- Hor. Car. ii. Od. xii. 6.
And young earth-gallants tamed by the hand
Of Hercules, whereby the habitation
Of old Saturnus did in perill stand,
And, shyn'd it ne'er so bright, yet fear'd invasion.
See how they are partakers of our troubles, that so they may be even with us, forsomuch as so many times we tire partakers of theirs.
Neptunus muros magnogue emota tridenti
Fundamenta quatit, totamque a sedibus urbem
Eruit: hic Iuno Scæas saavissima portas Prima tenet. -- Virg. Æn.ii. 160.
Neptunas with his great three-forked mace
Shaks the weake wall, and tottering foundation,
And from the site the Cittie doth displace,
Fierce Juno first holds ope the gates t'invasion.
The Caunians, for the jelousie of their owne Gods dominations upon their devotion day arme themselves, and running up and downe, brandishing and striking the ayre with their glaives, and in this earnest manner they expell all foraine and banish all strange Gods from out their territories. Their powers are limited according to our necessitie. Some heale horses, some cure men, some the plague, some the scald, some the cough, some one kind of scab, and some another: Adeo minimis etiam rebus prava religio inserit Deos: 'This corrupt religion engageth and inserteth Gods even in the least matters:' some make grapes to growe, and some garlike; some have the charge of bawdrie and uncleanesse, and some of merchandise: to every kinde of trades-man a God. Some one hath his province and credit in the East, and some in the West:
-----hic illius arma
Hic currus fuit. -- Virg. Æn.i. 20.
His armor here
His chariots there appeare.
O sancte Apollo, qui umbilicum certum terrarum obtines. -- Cic. Div. ii.
Sacred Apollo, who enfoldest
The earths set navell,
and it holdest.
Pallada Cecropiæ, Minoia Creta Dianam,
Vulcanum tellus Hipsi illa colit.
Iunonem Sparte, Pelopeiadesque Mycena,
Pinigerum Fauni Mænalis ora caput:
Mars Latio venerandus. -- Ovid. Fast. iii. 81.
Besmeared with bloud and goare.
Th'Athenians Pallas; Minos-Candy coast
Diana, Lemnos Vulcan honors most;
Mycene and Sparta, Juno thinke divine;
The coast of Mænalus Faune crown'd with pine;
Latium doth Mars adore.
Some hath but one borough or family in his possession: some lodgeth alone, and some in company, either voluntarily or necessarily.
Iunctaque sunt magno templa nepotis avo. -- i. 294.
To the great grand-sires shrine,
The nephews temples doe combine.
Some there are so seely and popular (for their number amounteth to six and thirty thousand) that five or six of them must be shufled up together to produce an eare of corne, and thereof they take their severall names. Three to a doore, one to be the boards, one to be the hinges, and the third to be the threshold. Foure to a childe, as protectors of his bandels, of his drinke, of his meat, and of his sucking. Some are certaine, others uncertaine, some doubtfull, and some that come not yet into paradise.
Quos, quoniam coeli nondum dignamur honore,
Quas dedimus certe terras habitare sinamus. -- Ovid. Metam. i. 194.
Whom for as yet with heav'n we have not graced,
Let them on earth by our good grant be placed.
There are some Philosophicall, some poeticall, and some civill, some of a meane condition, betweene divine and humane nature, mediators and spokes-men betweene us and God: worshipped in a kinde of second or diminutive order of adoration: infinite in titles and offices: some good, some bad, som e old and crazed, and some mortall. For Chrysippus thought that in the last conflagration or burning of the world, all the Gods should have an end, except Jupiter. Man faineth a thousand pleasant societies betweene God and him. Nay, is he not his countrieman?
-----Iovis incunabula Creten. -- Ovid. Met. viii. 99.
The Ile of famous Creet,
For Jove a cradle meet.
Behold the excuse that Scævola, chiefe Bishop, and Varro, a great Divine, in their dayes, give us upon the consideration of this subject. It is necessary (say they) that man be altogether ignorant of true things, and beleeve many false. Quum veritatem qua liberetur, inquirat; credatur ei expedite, quod fallitur: 'Since they seeke the truth, whereby they may be free, let us beleeve it is expedient for them to be deceived.' Mans eye cannotr perceive things but by the formes of his knowledge. And we remember not the downfall of miserable Phæton, forsomuch as he undertooke to guide the reins of his fathers steeds with a mortall hand. Our minde doth still relapse into the same depth, and by her owne temeritie doth dissipate and bruise it selfe. If you enquire of Philosophy what matter the Sun is composed of, what will it answer? but of yron and stone, or other stuffe for his use. Demand of Zeno what Nature is? A fire (saith he), an Artist fit to engender and proceeding orderly. Archimedes, master of this Science, and who in truth and certaintie assumeth unto himselfe a precedencie above all others, saith the Sunne is a God of enflamed yron. Is not this a quaint imagination, produced by the inevitable necessitie of Geometricall demonstrations? Yet not so unavoidable and beneficiall, but Socrates hath beene of opinion that it sufficed to know so much of it as that a man might measure out the land he either demized or tooke to rent: and that Polyænus, who therein had beene a famous and principall Doctor after he had tasted the sweet fruits of the lazie, idle and delicious gardens of Epicurus, did not contemne them as full of falsehood and apparent vanity. Socrates, in Xenophon, upon this point of Anaxagoras, allowed and esteemed of antiquitie, well seene and expert above all others in heavenly and divine matters, saith, that he weakened his braines much, as all men doe, who over nicely and greedily will search out those knowledges which hang not for their mowing nor pertaine unto them. When he would needs have the sunn to be a burning stone, he remembered not that stone doth not shine in the fire; and which is more, that it consumes therein. And when he made the Sunne and fire to be all one, he forgot that fire doth not tan and black those he looketh upon; that wee fixly looke upon the fire, and that fire consumeth and killeth all plants and herbs. According to the advice of Socrates and mine, 'The wisest judging of heaven is not to judge of it at all.' Plato in his Timeus, being to speake of Dæmons and spirits, saith it is an enterprise far exceeding my skill and ability: we must beleeve what those ancient forefathers hath said of them, who have said to have beene engendred by them. It is against reason not to give credit unto the children of the Gods, although their sayings be neither grounded upon necessary nor likely reasons, since they tell us that they speake of familiar and household matters. Let us see whether we have a little more insight in the knowledge of humane and naturall things. Is it not a fond enterprise to those unto which, by our owne confession, our learning cannot possibly attaine, to devise and forge them another body, and of our owne invention to give them a false forme? as is seene in the planetary motions, unto which because our minde cannot reach, nor imagine their naturall conduct, we lend them something of ours, that is to say, materiall, grose, and corporall springs and wards:
----- temo aureus, aurea summæ
Curvatura rota, radiorum argenteus ordo. -- Ovid. Met. ii. 107.
The Axe-tree gold, the wheeles whole circle gold,
The ranke of raies did all of silver hold.
You would say, we have the Coach-makers, Carpenters, and Painters, who have gone up thither, and there have placed engines with diverse motions, and ranged the wheelings, the windings and enterlacements of the celestial bodies diapred in colours, according to Plato, about the spindle of necessity.
Mundus domus est maximna rerum,
Quam quinque altitonæ fragmine zonæ
Cingunt, per quam limbus pictus bis sex signis,
Stellimicantibus, altus, in obliquo æthere, Lunæ
The world, of things the greatest habitation,
Which five high-thundring Zones by separation
Engird, through which a scarfe depainted faire
With twice six signes star-shining in the aire.
Obliquely raisde, the waine
O' th' Moone doth entertaine.
They are all dreames, and mad follies. Why will not nature one day be pleased to open her bosome to us, and make us perfectly see the meanes and conduct of her motions, and enable our eyes to judge of them? Oh, good God, what abuses, and what distractions should we find in our poor understanding and weake knowledge! I am deceived if she hold one thing directly in its point, and I shall part hence more ignorant of all other things than mine ignorance. Have I not seene this divine saying in Plato, that Nature is nothing but an ænigmaticall poesie? As a man might say, an overshadowed and darke picture, enter-shining with an infinite varietie of false lights, to exercise our conjectures: Latent ista omnia crassis occultata et circumfusa tenebris: ut nulla acies humani ingenii tanta sit, quæ pene trare incælum, terram intrare possit: (Cic. Acad. Q. iv.) 'All these things lye hid so veiled and environed with misty darknesse, as no edge of man is so piersant as it can passe into heaven or dive into the earth.' And truly Philosophy is nothing else but a sophisticated poesie: whence have these ancient authors all their authorities but from poets? And the first were poets themselves, and in their art treated the same. Plato is but a loose poet. All high and more than humane sciences are decked and enrobed with a poeticall style. Even as women, when their naturall teeth faile them, use some of yuorie and in stead of a true beauties or lively colour, lay on some artificiall hew; and as they make trunk sleeves of wire, and whale-bone bodies, backes of lathes, and stiffe bombasted verdugals, and to the open-view of all men paint and embellish themselves with counterfeit and borrowed beauties; so doth learning (and our law hath, as some say, certaine lawfull fictions, on which it groundeth the truth of justice) which in liew of currant payment and presupposition, delivereth us those things, which she her selfe teacheth us to be meere inventions: for these Epicycles Excentriques, and Concentriques, which Astrology useth to direct the state and motions of her starres, she giveth them unto us, as the best she could ever invent, to fit and sute unto this subject: as in all things else, Philosophy presenteth unto us, not that which is or she beleeveth, but what she inventeth as having most apparence, likelihood, or comelinesse. Plato upon the discourse of our bodies estate and of that of beasts: that what we have said is true we would be assured of it had we but the confirmation of some oracle to confirme it. This only we warrant, that it is the likeliest we could say. It is not to heaven alone that she sendeth her cordages, her engines, and her wheeles. Let us but somewhat consider what she saith of our selves and of our contexture. There is no more retrogradation, trepidation, augmentation, recoyling, and violence in the starres and celestiall bodies than they have fained and devised in this, poor seeley little body of man. Verily they have thence had reason to name it Microcosmos, or little world, so many severall parts and visages have they imploied to fashion and frame the same. To accommodate the motions which they see in man, the divers functions and faculties that we feel in our selves. Into how many severall parts have they divided our soule? Into how many seats have they placed her? Into how many orders, stages, and stations have they divided this wretched man, beside the naturall and perceptible? and to how many distinct offices and vocations? They make a publike imaginarie thing of it. It is a subject which they hold and handle: they have all power granted them to rip him, to sever him, to range him, to join and reunite him together againe, and to stuffe him every one according to his fantasia; and yet they neither have nor possess him. They cannot so order or rule him, not in truth onely, but in imagination, but still some cadence or sound is discovered which escapeth their architecture, bad as it is, and botched together with a thousand false patches and fantasticall peeces. And they have no reason to be excused: for to painters when they pourtray the heaven, the earth, the seas, the hills, the scattered Ilands, we pardon them if they but represent us with some slight apparence of them; and as of things unknowne we are contented with such fained shadows. But when they draw us, or any other subject that is familiarly knowne unto us, to the life, then seeke we to draw from them a perfect and exact representation of their or our true lineaments or colours, and scorne if they misse never so little. I commend the Milesian wench, who seeing Thales the Philosopher continually amusing himself in the contemplation of heavens w ide-bounding vault, and ever holding his eyes aloft, laid something in his way to make him stumble, thereby to warne and put him in minde that he should not amuse his thoughts about matters above the clouds before he had provided for and well considered those at his feet. Verily she advised him well, and it better became him rather to looke to himselfe than to gaze on heaven; for, as Democritus by the mouth of Cicero saith,
Quod este ante pedes, nemo spectat; coli scrutantur plagas -- Cic. Div. ii.
No man lookes what before his feet doth lie,
They seeke and search the climates of the skie.
But our condition beareth that the knowledge of what we touch with our hands and have amongst us, is as far from us and above the clouds as that of the stars. As saith Socrates in Plato, that one may justly say to him who medleth with Philosophy, as the woman said to Thales, which is, he seeth nothing of th at which is before him. For every Philosopher is ignorant of what his neighbour doth; yea, he knowes not what himselfe doth, and wots not what both are, whether beasts or men. These people who thinke Sebondes reasons to be weake and lame, who know nothing themselves, and yet will take upon them to governe the world and know all:
Quæ mare compescant causæ, quid temperet annum,
Stellæ sponte sua, jussæve vagentur et errent:
Quid premat obscuræ Lunæ, quid profer at orbem,
Quid velit et possit rerum concordia discors. -- Hor. i. Epist. xii. 16.
What cause doth calm the Sea, what cleares the yeare,
Whether Stars force't, or of selfe-will appeares;
What makes the Moones darke Orbe to wax or wane,
What friendly fewd of things both will and can.
Did they never sound amid their books the difficulties that present themselves to them to know their owne being? We see very well that our finger stirreth and our foot moveth, that some parts of our body move of themselves without our leave, and other some that stirr but at our pleasure: and we see that certaine apprehensions engender a blushing-red colour, others a palenesse; that some imagination doth only worke in the milt, another in the braine; some one enduceth us to laugh, another causeth us to weep; some astonisheth and stupifieth all our senses, and staieth the motion of all our limbs; at some object the stomake riseth, and at some other the lower parts. But how a spirituall impression causeth or worketh such a dent or flaw in a massie and solid body or subject, and the nature of the conjoyning and compacting of these admirable springs and wards, man yet never knew: Omnia incerta ratione, et in naturæ majestate abdita: (Plin.) 'All uncertaine in reason, and hid in the majesty of nature.' Saith Plinie and Saint Augustine: Modus, quo corporibus adhærent spiritus, omnino mirus est nec comprehendi ab homine potent, et hoc ipso homo est: (Aug. De Spir. et Anim.) 'The meane is clearely wonderfull whereby spirits cleave to our bodies, nor can it be comprehended by man, and that is very man.' Yet is there no doubt made of him: for mens opinions are received after ancient beliefs by authority and upon credit; as if it were a religion and a law. What is commonly held of it, is received as a gibrish or fustian tongue. This trueth, with all her framing of arguments and proporcioning of proofes, is received as a firme and solid body which is no more shaken, which is no more judged. On the other side, every one the best he can patcheth up and comforteth this received beliefe with all the meanes his reason can afford him, which is an instrument very supple, pliable, and yeelding to all shapes. 'Thus is the world filled with toyes, and overwhelmed in lies and leasings.' The reason that men doubt not much of things is that common impressions are never throughly tride and sifted, their ground is not sounded, nor where the fault and weaknes lieth. Men only debate and question of the branch, not of the tree: they aske not whether a thing be true, but whether it was understood or meant thus and thus. They enquire not whether Galen hath spoken any thing of worth, but whether thus, or so, or otherwise. Truly there was some reason this bridle or restraint of our judgements liberty, and this tyranny over our beliefs should extend it selfe even to schooles and arts. The God of scholasticall learning is Aristotle: It is religion to debate of his ordinances, as those of Lycurgus in Sparta. His doctrine is to us as a canon law, which peradventure is as false as another. I know not why I should or might not, as soone and as easie accept either Platoes Ideas, or Epicurus his atomes and indivisible things, or the fulnesse and emptines of Leucippus and Democritus, or the water of Thales, or Anaximanders infinite of nature, or the aire of Diogenes, or the numbers or proportion of Pythagoras, or the infinite of Parmenides, or the single-one of Musæus, or the water and fire of Apollodorus, or the similarie and resembling parts of Anaxagoras, or the discord and concord of Empedocles, or the fire of Heraclitus, or an other opinion (of this infinit confusion of opinions and sentences which this goodly humane reason, by her certainty and clear-sighted vigilancie brings forth in what soever it medleth withal) as I should of Aristotle's conceit, touching this subject of the principles of naturall things, which he frameth of three parts; that is to say, matter, forme, and privation. And what greater vanitie can there be than to make inanitie it selfe the cause of the production of things? Privation is a negative: with what humour could he make it the cause and beginning of things that are? Yet durst no man move that but for an exercise of logike: wherein nothing is disputed to put it in doubt, but to defend the author of the schoole from strange objections. His authoritie is the marke beyond which it is not lawfull to enquire. It is easie to frame what one list upon allowed foundations: for, according to the law and ordinance of this positive beginning, the other parts of the frame are easily directed without crack or danger. By which way we finde our reason well grounded, and we discourse without rub or let in the way: For our masters preoccupate and gains afore-hand as much place in our beleefe as they need to conclude afterward what they please, as geometricians doe by their graunted questions: the consent and approbation which we lend them, giving them wherewith to draw us, either on the right or left hand, and at their pleasure to winde and turne us. Whosoever is beleeved in his presuppositions, he is our master, and our God. He will lay the plot of his foundations so ample and easie, that, if he list, he will carrie us up, even unto the clouds. In this practice or negotiation of learning, we have taken the saying of Pythagoras for currant payment; which is, that every expert man ought to be bielieved in his owne trade. The logitian referreth himselfe to the grammarian for the Signification of words. The rhetoritian borroweth the places of arguments from the logitian; the poet his measures from the musician; the geometrician his proportions from the arithmetician; the metaphisikes take the conjectures of the physikes for a ground, for every art hath her presupposed principles by which mans judgment is bridled on all parts. If you come to the shocke or front of this barre, in which consists the principall error, they immediately pronounce this sentence: that there is no disputing against such as deny principles. There can be no principles in men, except divinitie hath revealed them unto them: all the rest, both beginning, middle, and end, is but a dreame and a vapor. Those that argue by presupposition, we must presuppose against them the very same axiome which is disputed of. For, each humane presupposition, and every invention, unlesse reason make a difference of it, hath as much authoritie as another. So must they all be equally balanced, and first the generall and those that tyrannize us. A perswasion of certaintie is a manifest testimonie of foolishnesse, and of extreme uncertaintie. And no people are lesse philosophers and more foolish than Platoe's Philodoxes, or lovers of their owne opinions. We must know whether fire be hot, whether snow be white, whether, in our knowledge, there be anything hard or soft. And touching the answers, whereof they tell old tales, as to him who made a doubt of heat, to whom one replied, that to trie he should caste himselfe into the fire; to him that denied the yce to be cold, that he should put some in his bosome; they are most unworthy the profession of a philosophers. If they had left us in our owne naturall estate, admitting of strange apparences as they present themselves unto us by our senses, and had suffered us to follow our naturall appetites, directed by the condition of our birth, they should then have reason to speak so. But from them it is that we have learnt to become judges of the world; it is from them we hold this conceit, that mans reason is the generall controuler of all that is, both without and within heavens-vault, which imbraceth all and can doe all, by meanes whereof all things are knowne and discerned. This answer were good among the canibals, who without any of Aristotles precepts, or so much as knowing the name of naturall philosophy, enjoy most happily a long, a quiet, and a peaceable life. This answer might haply availe more, and be of more force, than all those they can borrow from their reason and invention. All living creatures, yea, beasts and all, where the commandment of the naturall law is yet pure and simple, might with us be capable of this answer, but they have renounced it. They shall not need to tell me it is true, for you both heare and see it is so. They must tell me if what I thinke I feel, I feel the same in effect; and if I feel it, then let them tell me wherefore I feel it, and how and what. Let them tell me the name, the beginning, the tennons, and the abuttings of heat and of cold, with the qualities of him that is agent, or of the patient: or let them quit me their profession, which is neither to admit nor approve anything by way of reason. It is their touchstone to try all kinds of essayes. But surely it is a touchstone full of falsehood, errors, imperefection and weakenesse: which way can we better make triall of it than by it selfe? If she may not be credited speaking of her selfe, I hardly can she be fit to judge of strange matters. If she know anything, it can be but her being and domicile. She is in the soule, and either a part or effect of the same. For the true and essential reason ( whose name we steal by false signes) lodgeth in Gods bosome. There is her home, and there is her retreat, thence she takes her flight when Gods pleasure is that we shall see some glimps of it: even as Pallas issued out of her fathers head, to communicate and empart her selfe unto the world. Now let us see what mans reason hath taught us of her selfe and of the soule: not of the soule in generall, whereof well nigh all philosophy maketh both the celestiall and first bodies partakers; not of that which Thales attributed even unto things that are reputed without soule or life, drawne thereunto by the consideration of the Adamant stone: but of that which appertaineth to us, and which we should know best.
Iqnoratur enim quæ, sit natura animai,
Nata sit, an contra nascentibus insinuetur,
Et simul intereat nobiscum morte dirempta,
An tenebras orci visat, vastasque lacunas,
An pecudes alias di vinitus insinuet se. -- Lucr. i. 113.
What the soules nature is, we doe not know:
If it be bred, or put in those are bred,
Whether by death divorst with us it goe,
Or see the darke vast lakes of hell below,
Or into other creatures turne the head.
To Crates and Dicæarchus it seemed that there was none at all; but that the body stirred thus with and by a naturall motion: to Plato, that it was a substance moving of it selfe; to Thales, a Nature without rest; to Asclepiades, an exercitation of the senses; to Hesiodus and Anaximander, a thing composed of earth and water; to Parmenides; of earth and fire; to Empedocles, of blood:
Sanguineam vomit ille animam. -- Virg. Æn. ix. 349.
His soule of purple-bloud he vomits out.
To Possidoinus, Cleanthes, and Galen, a heat, or hot complexion:
Igneus est ollis vigor, et coelestis origo: -- vi. 730.
A firy vigor and celestiall spring,
In their originall they strangely bring.
To Hyppocrates, a spirit dispersed thorow the body; to Varro, an air received in at the mouth, heated in the lungs, tempered in the heart, and dispersed thorow all parts of the body; to Zeno, the quintessence of the foure elements; to Heraclides Ponticus, the light; to Xenocrates and to the Egyptians, a moving number; to the Chaldeans, a vertue without any determinate forme.
-----Habitum quemdam vitalem corporis esse,
Harmoniam Gæci quam dicunt. -- Lucr. iii. 100.
There of the body is a vitall frame,
The which the Greeks a harmony doe name.
And not forgetting Aristotle, that which naturally causeth the body to move, who calleth it Entelechy, or perfection moving of itselfe (as cold an invention as any other), for he neither speaketh of the essence, nor of the beginning nor of the soules nature, but onely noteth the effects of it: Lactantius, Seneca, and the better part amongst the Dogmatists, have confessed they never understood what it was: and after all this rable of opinions. Harum sententiarum quæ vera sit, Deus aliquis viderit: (Cic. Tusc. Qu. i.) 'Which of these opinions is true, let some God looke unto it,' saith Cicero. I know by myselfe, quoth Saint Bernard, how God is incomprehensible, since I am not able to comprehend the parts of mine owne being: Heraclitus, who held that every place was full of Soules and Demons, maintained neverthelesse that a man could never goe so far towards the knowledge of the soule as that he could come unto it; so deep and mysterious was her essence. There is no lesse dissention nor disputing about the place where she should be seated. Hypocrates and Herophilus place it in the ventricle of the brain: Democritus and Aristotle, through all the body:
Ut bona scope valetudo cum dicitur esse
Corporis, et non est tanten hæc pars ulla valentis. -- Lucr. iii. 103.
As health is of the body said to be,
Yet is no part of him in health we see.
Epicurus in the stomacke.
Hic exultat enim pavor ac metus, hæc loca circum
Lætitiæ mulcent. -- 142.
For in these places feare doth domineere,
And neere these places joy keepes merry cheere.
The Stoickes, within and about the heart; Erasistratus, joyning the membrane of the Epicranium: Empedocles, in the bloud: as also Moses, which was the cause he forbade the eating of beasts bloud, unto which their soule is commixed: Galen thought that every part of the body had his soule: Strato hath placed it betweene the two upper eyelids: Qua facie quidem sit animus aut ubi habitet, nec quærendum quidem est: (Cic. Tusc. Qu. i.) 'We must not so much as enquire what face the minde beares, or where it dwells,' saith Cicero. I am well pleased to let this man use his owne words: for why should I alter the speech of eloquence it selfe? since there is small gaine in stealing matter from his inventions: They are both little used, not very forcible, and little unknowne. But the reason why Chrysippus and those of his sect will prove the soule to be about the heart, is not to be forgotten. It is (saith he) because when we will affirme or swear anything, we lay our hand upon the stomacke; and when we will pronounce εγω, which signifieth my selfe, we put downe our chin towards the stomacke. This passage ought not to be past-over without noting the vanity of so great a personage: for, besides that his considerations are of themselves very slight, the latter proveth but to the Græcians that they have their soule in that place. No humane judgement is so vigilant or Argoes-eied, but sometimes shall fall asleep or slumber. What shall we feare to say? Behold the Stoickes, fathers of humane wisdome, who devise that the soule of man, overwhelmed with any ruine, laboureth and panteth a long time to get out, unable to free herselfe from that charge, even as a mouse taken in a trap. Some are of opinion that the world was made to give a body, in lieu of punishment, unto the spirits, which through their fault were fallen from the puritie wherein they were created: the first creation having been incorporeall. And that according as they have more or lesse removed themselves their spirituality, so are they more or lesse merily and giovally or rudely and saturnally incorporated: whence proceedeth the infinite variety of so much matter created. But the spirit, who for his chastizement was invested with the bodie of the Sunne, must of necessitie have a very rare and particular measure of alteration. The extremities of our curious search turne to a glimmering and all to a dazeling. As Plutarke saith of the off-spring of histories, that after the manner of cards or maps, the utmost limits of known countries are set downe to be full of thicke marrish grounds, shady forrests, desart and uncouth places. See here wherefore the grosest and most childish dotings are more commonly found in these which treat of highest and fnrthest matters; even confounding and overwhelming themselves in their own curiositie and presumption. The end and beginning of learning are equally accompted foolish. Marke but how Plato talketh and raiseth his flight aloft in his Poeticall clouds, or cloudy Poesies. Behold and read in him the gibbrish of the Gods. But what dreamed or doted he on when he defined man to be a creature with two feet, and without feathers; giving them that were disposed to mocke at him a pleasant and scopefull occasion to doe it? For, having plucked-off the feathers of a live capon, they named him the man of Plato. And by what simplicitie did the Epicureans first imagine that the Atomes or Motes, which they termed to be bodies, having some weight and a naturall moving downeward, had framed the world; untill such time as they were advised by their adversaries that by this description it was not possible they should joyne and take hold one of another; their fall being so downe-right and perpendicular, and every way engendring parallel lines? And therefore was it necessarie they should afterward adde a causall moving sideling unto them: And moreover to give their Atomes crooked and forked tailes, that so they might take hold of any thing and claspe themselves. And even then those that pursue them with this other consideration, doe they not much trouble them? If Atomes have by chance formed so many sorts of figures, why did they never meet together to frame a house or make a shooe? Why should we not likewise beleeve that an infinit number of Greek letters, confusedly scattered in some open place, might one day meet and joyne together to the contexture of the Iliads? That which is capable of reason (saith Zeno) is better than that which is not. There is nothing better than the world: then the world is capable of reason. By the same arguing Cotta maketh the world a Mathematician, and by this other arguing of Zeno, he makes him a Musitian and an Organist. The whole is more than the part: we are capable of wisdom, and we are part of the world: then the world is wise. There are infinit like examples seene, not only of false, but foolish arguments, which cannot hold, and which accuse their authors not so much of ignorance as of folly, in the reproaches that Philosophers charge one another with, about the disagreeings in their opinions and sects. He that should fardle-up a bundle or huddle of the fooleries of mans wisdome, might recount wonders. I willingly assemble some (as a shew or patterns) by some means or byase, no lesse profitable than the most moderate instructions. Let us by that judge what we are to esteeme of man, of his sense, and of his reason; since in these great men, and who have raised mans sufficiencie so high, there are found so grose errors and so apparant defects. As for me, I would rather beleeve that they have thus casually treated learning even as a sporting childs baby, and have sported themselves with reason, as of a vaine and frivolous instrument, setting forth all sorts of inventions, devices, and fantasies, sometimes more outstretched, and sometimes more loose. The same Plato, who defineth man like unto a Capon, saith elsewhere, after Socrates, that in good sooth he knoweth not what man is; and that of all parts of the world there is none so hard to be knowne. By this varietie of conceits and instabilitie of opinions, they, as it were, leade us closely by the hand to this resolution of their irresolution. They make a profession not alwayes to present their advice manifest and unmasked: they have oft concealed the same under the fabulous shadows of Poesie, and sometimes under other vizards. For our imperfection admitteth this also, that raw meats are not alwayes good for our stomacks: but they must be dried, altred, and corrupted, and so doe they who sometimes shadow their simple opinions and judgements; and that they may the better sute themselves unto common use, they many times falsifie them. They will not make open profession of ignorance, and of the imbecilitie of mans reason, because they will not make children afraid, but they manifestly declare the same unto us under the shew of a troubled Science and unconstant learning. I perswaded somebody in Italy, who laboured very much to speak Italian, that always provided he desired but to be understood, and not to seek to excell others therein, he should onely imploy and use such words as came first to his mouth, whether they were Latine, French, Spanish, or Gascoine, and that adding the Italian terminations unto them, he should never misse to fall upon some idiome of the countrie, either Tuscan, Roman, Venetian, Piemontoise, or Neapolitan; and amongst so many severall formes of speech to take hold of one. The very same I say of Philosophy. She hath so many faces and so much varietie, and hath said so much, that all our dreames and devices are found in her. The fantasie of man can conceive or imagine nothing, be it good or evill, that is not to be found in her: Nihil tam absurde dici potest, quod non dicatur ab aliquo Philosophorum (Cic. Div. ii.) 'Nothing may be spoken so absurdly, but that it is spoken by some of the Philosophers.' And therefore doe I suffer my humours or caprices more freely to passe in publike; forasmuch as though they are borne with, and of me, and without any patterne, well I wot they will be found to have relation to some ancient humour, and some shall be found that will both know and tell whence and of whom I have borrowed them. My customes are naturall; when I contrived them, I called not for the helpe of any discipline: and weake and faint as they were, when I have had a desire to expresse them, and to make them appear to the world a little more comely and decent, I have somewhat endevoured to aid them with discourse, and assist them with examples, I have wondred at my selfe that by meere chance I have met with them, agreeing and sutable to so many ancient examples and Philosophicall discourses. What regiment my life was of, I never knew nor learned but after it was much worne, and spent. A new figure: an unpremeditated philosopher and a casuall. But to returne unto our soule, where Plato hath seated reason in the braine; anger in the heart; lust in the liver; it is very likely that it was rather an interpretation of the soules motions than any division or separation he meant to make of it, as of a body into many members. And the likeliest of their opinion is that it is alwayes a soule, which by her rationall faculty remembreth her selfe, comprehendeth, judgeth, desireth, and exerciseth all her other functions by divers instruments of the body, as the pilote ruleth and directeth his ship according to the experience he hath of it; now stretching, haling, or loosing a cable, sometimes hoysing the mainyard, removing an oare, or stirring the rudder, causing severall effects with one only power; and that she abideth in the braine, appeareth by this, that the hurts and accidents which touch that part doe presently offend the faculties of the soule, whence she may without inconvenience descend and glide through other parts of the body:
----- medium non deserit unquam
Coeli Phoebus iter: radus tamen omnia lustrat: -- Claud. vi. Hon. Cons. Pan. 411.
Never the Sunne forsakes heav'ns middle wayes,
Yet with his rayes he lights all, all survayes:
As the sunne spreadeth his light, and infuseth his power from heaven, and therewith filleth the whole world.
Cætera pars animæ per totum dissita corpus
Paret, et ad numen mentis nomenque movetur. -- Lucr. iii. 144.
Th' other part of the soule through all the body sent
Obeyes, and moved is, by the mindes government.
Some have said that there was a generall soule, like unto a great body, from which all particular, soules were extracted, and returned thither; alwayes reconjoyning and entermingling themselves unto that universall matter:
-----Deum namque ire per omnes
Terrasque tractusque maris coelumque profundum:
Hinc pecudes, armenta, viros, genus omne ferarum,
Quemque sibi tenues nascentem arcessere vitas,
Scilicet huc reddi deinde, ac resoluta referri
Omnia: nec morti esse locum. -- Virg. Georg. iv. Ge. 222.
For God through all the earth to passe is found,
Through all Sea currents, through the heav'n profound.
Here hence men, heards, and all wilde beasts that are,
Short life in birth each to themselves doe share.
All things resolved to this point restor'd
Returne, nor any place to death affoord.
Others, that they did but reconjoyne and fasten themselves to it againe: others, that they were produced by the divine substance: others, by the angels, of fire and aire: some from the beginning of the world, and some even at the time of need: others make them to descend from the round of the moone, and that they returne to it againe. The common sort of antiquities that they are begotten from father to sonne, after the same manner and production that all other naturall things are; arguing so by the resemblances which are betweene fathers and children.
Instillata patris virtus tibi, ---
Thy Fathers vertues be
Instilled into thee.
Fortes creantur fortibus et bonis,
-- Hor. Car. iv. Od. iv. 29.
Of valiant Sires and good,
There comes a valiant brood,
and that from fathers we see descend unto children, not only the marks of their bodies, but also a resemblance of humours, of complexions, and inclinations of the soule.
Denique cur acrum violentia triste Leonum
Seminum sequitur, dolus Vulpibus, et fuga Cervis
A patribus datur, et patrius pavor incitat Artus,
Si non certa suo quia semine seminioque
Vis animi pariter crescit cum corpore toto? -- Lucr. iii. 766,771.
Why followes violence the savage Lyons race?
Why craft the Foxes? Why, to Deere to flye apace?
By parents is it given, when parents feare incites,
Unlesse because a certaine force of inward spirits
With all the body growes,
As seed and seed-spring goes?
That divine justice is grounded thereupon, punishing the fathers offences upon the children; forsomuch as the contagion of the fathers vices is in some sort printed in childrens soules, and that the misgovernment of their will toucheth them. Moreover, that if the soules came from any other place, then by a naturall consequence, and that out of the body they should have beene some other thing, they should have some remembrance of their first being: considering the naturall faculties which are proper unto him, to discourse, to reason, and to remember.
------ Si in corpus nascentibits insinuatur,
Cur super anteactam ætatem meminisse nequimus,
Nec vestigia gesta-um rerum ulla tenemus. -- Lucr. iii. 692.
If our soule at our birth be in our body cast,
Why can we not remember ages over-past,
Nor any markes retaine of things done first or last?
For, to make our soules condition to be of that worth we would, they must all be presupposed wise, even when they are in their naturall simplicitie and genuine puritie. So should they have beene such, being freed from the corporall prison, as well before they entred the same, as we hope they shall be when they shall be out of it. And it were necessarie they should (being yet in the body) remember the said knowledge (as Plato said) that what we learnt was but a new remembring of that which we had knowne before: a thing that any man may by experience maintaine to be false and erroneous. First, because we doe not precisely remember what we are tanght, and that if memorie did meerely execute her functions she would at least suggest us with something besides our learning. Secondly, what she knew being in her puritie, was a true understanding, knowing things as they are by her divine intelligence: whereas here, if she be instructed, she is made to receive lies and apprehend vice, wherein she cannot imploy her memorie; this image and conception having never had place in her. To say that the corporall prison doth so suppresse her naturall faculties, that they are altogether extinct in her: first, is cleane contrarie to this other beleefe, to knowledge her forces so great, and the operations which men in this transitorie life feel of it, so wonderfull, as to have thereby concluded this divinitie, and fore-past eternitie, and the immortalitie to come:
Nam si tantopere est animi mutata potestas,
Omnis ut actarum excident retinentia rerum,
Non ut opinor ea ab letho jam longior errat. -- 695.
If of our minde the Power he so much altered,
As of things done all hold, all memorie is fled,
Then (as I guesse) it is not far from being dead.
Moreover, it is here with us, and no where else, that the soules powers and effects are to be considered; all the rest of her perfections are vaine and unprofitable unto her: it is by her present condition that all her immortalitie must be rewarded and paid, and she is only accomptable for the life of man: it were injustice to have abridged her of her meanes and faculties, and to have disarmed her against the time of her captivitie and prison, for her weaknesse and sicknesse, of the time and season where she had beene forced and compelled to draw the judgement and condemnation of infinite and endlesse continuance, and to relye upon the consideration of so short a time, which is peradventure of one or two houres, or, if the worst happen, of an age (which have no more proportion with infinitie than a moment) definitively to appoint and establish of all her being by that instant of space. It were an impious disproportion to wrest an eternall reward in consequence of so short a life. Plato, to save himselfe from this inconvenience, would have future payments limited to a hundred yeares continuance, relatively unto a humane continuance: and many of ours have given them temporall limits. By this they judged that her generation followed the common condition of humane things: as also her life, by the opinion of Epicurus and Democritus, which hath most been received; following these goodly apparences. That her birth was seene when the body was capable of her; her vertue and strength was perceived as the corporall encreased; in her infancie might her weaknesse be discerned, and in time her vigor and ripenesse, then her decay and age, and in the end her decrepitude.
------ gigni pariter cum corpore, et una
Crescere sentimus, pariterque senescere mentem. -- Ibid. 450.
The minde is with the body bred, we doe behold,
It jointly growes with it, with it it waxeth old.
They perceived her to be capable of diverse passions, and agitated by many languishing and painfull motions, wherethrough she fell into wearinesse and griefe, capable of alteration and change of joy, stupefaction, and languishment, subject to her infirmities, diseases, and offences, even as the stomacke or the foot;
-----mentem sanari, corpus ut ægrum
Cernimus, et flecti medicine posse videmus: -- Ibid. 517.
We see as bodies sicke are cur'd, so is the minde,
We see, how Physicke can it each way turne and winde,
dazled and troubled by the force of wine; removed from her seat by the vapors of a burning feaver; drowzie and sleepy by the application of some medicaments, and rouzed up againe by the vertue of some others.
-----corpoream naturam animi esse necesse est,
Corporeis quoniam telis ictuque laborat. -- Ibid. 176.
The nature of the minde must ne eds corporeall bee,
For with corporeall darts and strokes it's griev'd we see.
She was seene to dismay and confound all her faculties by the only biting of a sicke dog, and to containe no great constancie of discourse, no sufficiencie, no vertue, no philosophicall resolution, no contention of her forces that might exempt her from the subjection of these accidents: the spittle or slavering of a mastive dog shed upon Socrates his hands, to trouble all his wisdome, to distemper his great and regular imagination, and so to vanquish and annull them that no signe or shew of his former knowledge was left in him:
------ vis animai
Conturbatur, ----et divisa seorsum
Disjectatur eodem illo distracta veneno. -- Ibid. 501.
The soules force is disturbed, separated,
Distraught by that same poison, alienated.
And the said venome to finde no more resistance in his soule than in that of a childe of foure yeares old, a venome able to make all Philosophy (were she incarnate) become furious and mad: so that Cato, who scorned both death and fortune, could not abide the sight of a looking glasse or of water; overcome with horrour, and quelled with amazement, if by the contagion of a mad dog he had fallen into that sicknesse which physitians call hydrophobia, or feare of waters.
------ vis morbi distracta per artus
Turbat agens animam, spumantes æquore salso
Ventorum ut validis fervescunt viribus undæ. -- Ibid. 495.
The force of the disease disperst through joints offends,
Driving the soule, as in salt Seas the wave ascends,
Foming by furious force which the wind raging lends.
Now, concerning this point. Philosophy hath indeed armed man for the endurng' of all other accidents, whether with patience, or if it be overcostly to be found, with an infallible defeat in conveying her selfe altogether from the sense: but they are meanes which serve a soule that is her owne, and in her proper force capable of discourse and deliberation: not serving to this inconvenience wherewith a Philosopher, a soule becommeth the soule of a foole, troubled, vanquished and lost. Which divers occasions may produce, as in an over-violent agitation, which by some vehement passion the soule may beget in her selfe: or a hurt in some part of the body, or an exhalation from the stomacke, casting as into some astonishment, dazling, or giddinesse of the head:
-----morbis in corporis avius errat
Sæpe animus, dementit enim, deliraque fatur,
Interdumque gravi Lethargo fertur in altum
Æternumque soporem, oculis nutuque cadenti. Ibid. 467.
The mind in bodies sicknesse often wandring strayes;
For it enraged rave s, and idle talk outbrayes;
Brought by sharpe Lethargy sometime to more than deepe,
While eyes and eye-lids fall into eternall sleepe.
Philosophers have, in mine opinion, but slightly harpt upon this string, no more than other of like consequence. They have ever this Dilemma in their mouth to comfort our mortall condition: 'The soule is either mortall or immortall: if mortall, she shall be without paine: if immortall, she shall mend.' They never touch the other branch: what if she empaire and be worse? and leave the menaces of future paines to Poets. But thereby they deal themselves a good game. These are two omissions which in their discourses doe often offer themselves unto me. I come to the first againe: the soule loseth the use of that Stoicall chiefe felicitie, so constant and so firme. Our goodly wisdome must necessarily in this place yeelde her selfe and quit her weapons. As for other matters, they also considered by the vanitie of mans reason, that the admixture and societie of two so different parts as is the mortall and the immortall is unimaginable:
Quippe etenim mortale æterno jungere, et una
Consentire putare, et fungi mutua posse,
Desipere est. Quid enim diversius esse putandum est,
Aut magis inter se disjuncture discrepitansque,
Quam mortale quod est, immortali atque perenni
Iunctum in concilio sævas tolerare procellas? --Ibid. 831.
For what immortall is, mortall to joyne unto,
And thinke they can agree, and mutual duties doe,
Is to be foolish: for what thinke we stranger is,
More disagreenble or more disjoyn'd than this,
That mortall with immortall endlesse joyn'd in union,
Can most outrageous stormes endure in their communion?
Moreover they felt their soule to be engaged in death as well as the body.
----- simul ævo fessa fatiscit, -- Ibid. 463.
It faints in one,
Wearied as age is gone.
Which thing (according to Zeno) the image of sleep doth manifestly show unto us. For he esteemeth that it is a fainting and declination of the soule as well as of the body: Contrahi animum, et quasi labi putat atque decidere: (Cic. Div. ii.) 'He thinks the minde is contracted, and doth as it were slide and fall downe.' And that (which is perceived in some) its force and vigor maintaineth it selfe even in the end of life, they referred and imputed the same to the diversitie of diseases, as men are seene in that extremitie to maintaine some one sense and some another, some their hearing and some their smelling, without any alteration; and there is no weaknesse or decay seene so universall but some entire and vigorous parts will remaine.
Non alio pacto quam sipes cum dolet ægri,
In nullo caput interea sit forte dolore. -- Lucr. iii. 111.
No otherwise than if, when sick-mans foote doth ake,
Meane time perhaps his head no fellow-feeling take.
Our judgements sight referreth it selfe unto truth, as doth the owles eyes unto the shining of the sunne, as saith Aristotle. How should we better convince him than by so grosse blindnesse in so apparent a light? For the contrarie opinion of the soules immortalitie, which Cicero saith to have first beene brought in ( at least by the testimonie of books) by Pherecydes Syrius in the time of King Tullus (others ascribe the invention thereof to Thales, and other to others) it is the part of humane knowledge treated most sparingly and with more doubt. The most constant Dogmatists (namely in this point) are enforced to cast themselves under the shelter of the Academikes wings. No man knowes what Aristotle hath established upon this subject no more than all the ancients in generall, who handle the same with a very wavering beliefe: Rem gratissimam promittentium magis quam probantium: 'Who rather promise than approve a thing most acceptable.' He hath hidden himself under the clouds of intricat and ambiguous words and unintelligible senses, and hath left his Sectaries as much cause to dispute upon his judgement as upon the matter. Two things made this his opinion plausible to them: the one, that without the immortality of soules there should no meanes be left to ground or settle the vaine hopes of glory; a consideration of wonderfull credit in the world: the other (as Plato saith) that it is a most profitable impression, that vices, when they steal away from out the sight and knowledge of humane justice, remaine ever as a blancke before divine justice, which even after the death of the guilty will severely pursue them. Man is ever possessed with an extreme desire to prolong his being, and hath to the uttermost of his skill provided for it. Toombs and Monuments are for the preservation of his body, and glorie for the continuance of his name. He hath employed all his wit to frame him selfe anew (as impatient of his fortune) and to underprop or uphold himselfe by his inventions. The soule by reason of her trouble and imbecility, as unable to subsist of her selfe, is ever and in all places questing and searching comforts, hopes, foundations and forraine circumstances, on which she may take hold and settle herselfe. And how light and fantasticall soever his invention doth frame them unto him, he notwithstanding relieth more surely upon them and more willingly than upon himself: But it is a wonder to see how the most obstinat in this so just and manifest perswasion of our spirits immortalitie have found themselves short and unable to establish the same by their humane forces. Somnia sunt non docentis sed optantis: 'These are dreames not of one that teacheth, but wisheth what he would have:' said an ancient Writer. Man may by his owne testimonie know that the truth he alone discovereth, the same he oweth unto fortune and chance, since even when she is falne into his hands, he wanteth wherwith to lay hold on her and keepe her; and that this reason hath not the power to prevaile with it. All things produced by our owne discourse and sufficiencie, as well true as false, are subject to uncertaintie and disputation. It is for the punishment of our temeritie and instruction of our miserie and incapacitie, that God caused the trouble, downefall and confusion of Babels Tower. Whatsoever we attempt without his assistance, whatever we see without the lampe of his grace, is but vanity and folly: With our weaknes we corrupt and adulterate the very essence of truth (which is uniforme and constant when fortune giveth us the possession of it. What course soever man taketh of himself, it is Gods permission that he ever commeth to that confusion whose image he so lively representeth unto us by the just punishment, wherewith he framed the presumptuous overweening of Nembroth, and brought to nothing the frivolous enterprises of the building of his high-towring Pyramis or Heaven-menacing tower. Perdam sapientiam sapientium et prudentiam prudentium reprobabo: (1 Cor. i. 19.) 'I will destroy the wisdome of the wise, and reprove the providence of them that are most prudent.' The diversitie of tongues and languages wherewith he disturbed that worke and overthrew that proudly-raisd Pile; what else is it but this infinit altercation and perpetual discordance of opinions and reasons which accompanieth and entangleth the frivolous frame of mans learning, or vaine building of human science? Which he doth most profitably. Who might containe us, had we but one graine of knowledge? This Saint hath done me much pleasure: Ipsa Veritatis occultatio, aut humilitatis exercitatio est, out elationis attritio: 'The very concealing of the profit is either an exercise of humilitie or a beating downe of arrogancie.' Unto what point of presumption and insolencie do we not carry our blindnesse and foolishnesse? But to returne to my purpose: Verily there was great reason that we should be beholding to God alone, and to the benefit of his grace, for the truth of so noble a beliefe, since from his liberalitie alone we receive the fruit of immortalitie, which consisteth in enjoying of eternall blessednesse. Let us ingenuously confesse that only God and Faith hath told it us: for it is no lesson of Nature, nor comming from our reason. And he that shall both within and without narrowly sift and curiously sound his being and his forces without this divine privilege, he that shall view and consider man without flattering him, shall nor finde nor see either efficacie or facultie in him that tasteth of any other thing but death and earth. The more we give, the more we owe: and the more we yeeld unto God, the more Christian-like doe we. That which the Stoike Philosopher said he held by the casuall consent of the peoples voice, had it not beene better he had held it of God? Cum de animorum æternitate disserimus, non leue momentum apud nos habet Consensus hominum, aut timentium inferos aut colentium. Vtor hac publica persuasione: (Sen. Epist. 117.) 'When we discourse of the immortalitie of soules, in my conceit the consent of those men is of no small authoritie, who either feare or adore the infernall powers. This publike persuasion I make use of.' Now the weaknes of human arguments on this subject is very manifestly knowne by the fabulous circumstances they have added unto the traine of this opinion, to finde out what condition this our immortalitie was of. Let us omit the Stoickes. Usuram nobis largiuntur, tanquam cornicibus: diu mansuros aiunt animos, semper, negant. (Cic. Tusc. Qu. i.) 'They grant us use of life, as is unto Ravens: they say our soules shall long continue, but they deny they shall last ever.' Who gives unto soules a life beyond this but finite. The most universall and received fantasie, and which endureth to this day, hath beene that whereof Pythagoras is made Author, not that he was the first inventor of it, but because it received much force and credit by the authoritie of his approbation; which is, that soules, at their departure from us did but pass and roule from one to another body, from a Lyon to a Horse, from a Horse to a King, uncessantly wandring up and downe from House to Mansion. And himselfe said that he remembred to have been Æthalides, then Euphorbus, afterward Hermotimus, at last from Pyrrhus to have passed into Pythagoras; having memorie of himselfe the space of two hundred and six years: some added more, that the same soules doe sometimes ascend up to heaven and come downe againe:
O Pater anne aliquas ad coelum hinc ire putandum est
Sublimes animas, interumque ad tarda reverti
Corpora? Quæ lucis miseris tam dira cupido? Virg. Æn. vi. 739.
Must we thinke (Father) some soules hence doe go,
Raised to heav'n, thence turne to bodies slow?
Whence doth so dyre desire of light on wretches grow?
Origen makes them eternally to go and come from a good to a bad estate. The opinion that Varro reporteth is, that in the revolution of foure hundred and forty yeares they reconjoyned themselves unto their first bodies. Chrysippus, that that must come to passe after a certaine space of time unknowne and not limited. Plato (who saith that he holds this opinion from Pindarus and from ancient Poesie) of infinite vicissitudes of alteration to which the soule is prepared, having no wearines nor rewards in the other world but temporall, as her life in this is but temporall, concludeth in her a singular knowledge of the affaires of Heaven, of Hell, and here below, where she hath passed, repassed, and sojourned in many voyages, a matter in his remembrance. Beholde her progresse elsewhere: he that hath lived well reconjoyneth himself unto that Star or Planet to which he is assigned: who evill, passeth into a woman: and if then he amend not himself, he trans-changeth himselfe into a beast of condition agreeing to his vicious customes, and shall never see an end of his punishments untill he returne to his naturall condition, and by virtue of reason he have deprived himselfe of those grose, stupide, and elementarie qualities that were in him. But I will not forget the objection which the Epicureans make unto this transmigration from one body to another: which is very pleasant. They demand what order there should be if the throng of the dying should be greater than that of such as be borne. For the soules removed from their abode would throng and strive together who should get the best seat in this new case: and demand besides what they would pass their time about, whilst they should stay untill any other mansion were made ready for them: Or contrary-wise, if more creatures were borne than should dye, they say bodies shall be in an ill taking, expecting the infusion of their soule, and it would come to passe that some of them should dye before they had ever been living.
Denique connubia ad veneris, partusque ferarunt,
Esse animas præsto deridiculum esse videtur,
Et spectare immortales mortalia membra
Innumero numero, certareque præpro peranter
Inter se, quæ prima potissimaque insinuetur. - Lucr. iii. 802.
Lastly, ridiculous it is, soules should be prest
To Venus meetings, and begetting of a beast:
That they to mortall lims immortall be addrest
In number numberlesse, and over-hasty strive,
Which of them first and chiefe should get in there to live.
Others have staid the soule in the deceased bodies, therewith to animate serpents, wormes, and other beasts, which are said to engender from the corruption of our members, yea, and from our ashes: others divide it in two parts, one mortall, another immortall: others make it corporeall, and yet notwithstanding immortall: others make it immortall, without any science or knowledge. Nay, there are some of ours who have deemed that of condemned mens souls divels were made: as Plutarke thinks, that Gods are made of those soules which are saved: for there be few things that this author doth more resolutely averre then this; holding every where else an ambiguous and doubtfull kind of speech. It is to be imagined and firmlie believed (saith he) that the soules of men, vertuous both according unto nature and divine justice, become of Men, Saints, and of Saints, Demi-Gods, and after they are once perfectly, as in sacrifices of purgation, cleansed and purified being delivered from all possibility and mortalitie, become, of Demi-Gods (not by any civill ordinance, but in good truth, and according to manifest reason) perfect and very very Gods; receiving a most blessed and thrice glorious end. But whosoever shall see him who is notwithstanding one of the most sparing and moderate of that faction, so undantedly to skirmish, and will beare him relate his wonders upon this subject, him I refer to his discourse of the Moone, and of Socrates his Dæmon; where as evidently as in any other place, may be averred that the mysteries of Philosophy have many strange conceits, common with those of Poesie; mans understanding losing it selfe once goes about to sound and controule all things to the utmost ende; as, tired and troubled by a long and wearisome course of our life, we returne to a kind of doting childhood. Note here the goodly and certaine instructions which concerning our soules-subject we drawe from humane knowledge. There is no lesse rashnesse in that which shee teacheth us touching our corporall parts. Let us make choyce but of one or two examples, else should we lose our selves in this troublesome and vaste Ocean of Physicall errours. Let us know whether they agree but in this one, that is to say, of what matter men are derived and produced one from another. For, touching their first production, it is no marvell if in a thing so high and so ancient mans wit is troubled and confounded. Archelaus, the Physitian, to whom (as Aristoxenus affirmeth) Socrates was disciple and Minion, assevered that both men and beasts had beene made of milkie slime or mudde, expressed by the heate of the earth. Pythagoras saith that our seed is the scumme or froth of our best blood: Plato, the distilling of the marrow in the back-bone, which he argueth thus because that place feeleth first the wearinesse which followeth the generative businesse.
Alcmæon, a part of the braine substance, which to prove he saith their eyes are ever most troubled that over-intemperately addict themselves to that exercise. Democritus, a substance extracted from all parts of this corporall Masse. Epicurus, extracted from the last soule and the body. Aristotle, an excrement drawne from the nourishment of the blood, the last scattereth it selfe in our severall members; others, blood, concocted and digested by the heate of the genitories, which they judge because in the extreme, earnest, and forced labours, many shed drops of pure blood; wherein some appearance seemeth to be, if from so infinit a confusion a ny likelihood may be drawne. But to bring this seed to effect, how many contrary opinions make they of it? Aristotle and Democritus hold that women have no sperme, that it is but a sweate, which by reason of the pleasure and frication they cast forth, and availeth nothing in generation.
Galen and his adherents contrariwise, affirme that there can be no generation except two seeds meete together. Behold the Physitians, the Philosophers, the Lawyers, and the Divines pell-mell together by the eares with our women about the question and disputation how long women beare their fruite in their wombe. And as for me, by mine owne example, I take their part that maintaine a woman may go eleven months with childe. The worlde is framed of this experience, there is no meane woman so simple that cannot give her censure upon all these contestations, although we could not agree. This is sufficient to verifie that in the corporall part man is no more instructed of himselfe than in the spirituall. We have proposed himselfe to himselfe, and his reason to reason, to see what shee shall tell us of it. Mee thinkes I have sufficiently declared how little understanding shee hath of herselfe. And hee who hath no understanding of himselfe, what can he have understanding of? Quasi vero mensuram ullius rei possit agere qui sui nesciat: (Plin. Nat. Hist. ii. cap. 1.) 'As though he could take measure of any thing that knowes not his owne measure.' Truely Protagoras told us prettie tales, when hee makes a man the measure of all things, who never knew so much as his owne. If it be not hee, his dignitie will never suffer any other creature to have this advantage over him. Now he being so contrary in himselfe, and one judgement so uncessantly subverting another, this favorable proposition was but a jest, which induced us necessarily to conclude the nullity of the Compasse and the Compasser. When Thales judgeth the knowledge of man very hard unto man, he teacheth him the knowledge of all other things to be impossible unto him. You for whom I have taken the paines to enlarge so long a worke (against my custome) will not shun to maintaine your Sebond with the ordinary forme of arguing, whereof you are daily instructed, and will therein exercise both your minde and study; for this last trick of sense must not be employed but as an extreme remedy. It is a desperate thrust, gainst which you must forsake your weapons, to force your adversary to renounce his, and a secret slight, which must seldome and very sparingly be put in practice. It is a great fond hardnesse to lose our selfe for the losse of another. A man must not be willing to die to revenge himselfe, as Gobrias was: who being close by the eares with a Lord of Persia, Darius chanced to come in with his sword in his hand, and fearing to strike for feare he should hurt Gobrias, he called unto him, and bade him smite boldly, although he should smite through both. I have heard armes and conditions of single combates being desperate, and in which he that offered them put not himselfe and his enemie in danger of an end inevitable to both, reproved as unjust, and condemned as unlawfull. The Portugals took once certaine Turkes prisoners in the Indian Seas, who, impatient of their capacity, resolved with themselves (and their resolution succeeded) by rubbing of Ship-nailes one against another, and causing sparkes of fire to fall amongst the barrels of powder (which lay not far from them) with intent to consume both themselves, their masters, and the ship. We but touch at the skirts, and glance at the last closings of the Sciences, wherein extremity, as well as in vertue, is vicious. Keepe your selves in the common path, it is not good to be so subtil and so curious. Remember what the Italian proverbe saith,
Chi troppo s' assottiglia, si scavezza. -- Petr. p. i. canz. xiii. 48.
Who makes himselfe too fine,
Doth break himselfe in fine.
I perswade you, in your opinions and discourses, as much as in your customes, and in every other thing to use moderation and temperance, and avoide all newfangled inventions and strangenesse. All extravagant waies displease me. You, who by the authoritie and preheminence which your greatnesse hath laied upon you, and more by the advantages which the qualities that are most your owne, bestow on you, may with a nod command whom you please, should have laied this charge upon some one that had made profession of learning, who might otherwise have disposed and enriched this fantasie. Notwithstanding here you have enough to supply your wants of it. Epicurus said of the lawes that the worst were so necessary unto us, that without them men would enterdevour one another. And Plato verifieth that without lawes we should live like beasts. Our spirit is a vagabond, a d angerous and fond-hardy implement; it is very harde to joyne order and measure to it. In my time, such as have any rare excellency above others, or extraordinary vivacity, we see them almost all so lavish and unbridled in licence of opinions and manners, as it may be counted a wonder to find any one settled and sociable. There is great reason why the spirit of man should be so strictly embarred. In his study, as in all things else, he must have his steps numbered and ordered. The limits of his pursuite must be cut out by art. He is bridled and fettered with and by religions, lawes, customes, knowledge, precepts, paines, and recompences, both mortall and immortall; yet we see him, by meanes of his volubility and dissolution, escape all these bonds. It is a vaine body that hath no way about him to be seized on or cut off: a diverse and deformed body, on which neither knot nor hold may be fastened. Verily there are few soules so orderly, so constante and so well borne as may be trusted with their owne conduct, and may not with moderation, and without rashnes, faile in the liberty of their judgements beyond common opinions. It is more expedient to give some body the charge and tuition of them. The spirit is an outrageous glaive, yea even to his owne possessor, except he have the grace very orderly and discreetly to arme himselfe therewith. And there is no beast to whom one may more justly apply a blinding bord, to keepe her sight in and force her to her footing, and keepe from straying here and there, without the tracke which use and lawes trace her out. Therefore shall it be better for you to close and bound your selves in the accustomed path, however it be, than to take your flight to this unbridled licence. But if any one of these new doctors shall undertake to play the wise or ingenious before you, at the charge of his and your health: to rid you out of this dangerous plague, which daily more and more spreds it selfe in your Courts this preservative will in any extreame necessity, be a let, that the contagion of this venome shall neither offend you nor your assistance. The liberty then, and the jollity of their ancient spirits brought forth many different Sects of opinions, in Philosophy and humane Sciences: every one undertaking to judge and chuse, so he might raise a faction. But now that men walke all one way: Qui certis quibusdam destinatisque sententiis addicti et consecrate sunt, ut etiam quæ non pr obant, cogantur defendere: (Cic. Tusc. Qu. ii.) 'Who are addicted and consecrated to certaine set and fore-decreed opinions, so as they are enforced to maintaine those things which they prove or approve not:' And that wee receive Arts by civill authority and appointment: so that Schooles have but one patterne, alike circumscribed discipline and institution; no man regardeth more what coines weigh and are worth; but every man in his turne receiveth them according to the value that common approbation and succession allotteth them: Men dispute no longer of the alloy, but of the use. So are all things spent and vented like. Physike is received as Geometry: and jugling tricks, enchantments, bonds, the commerce of deceased spirits, prognostications, domifications, yea even this ridiculous wit and wealth-consuming pursuite of the Philosophers stone, all is emploied and uttered without contradiction. It sufficeth to know that Mars his place lodgeth in the middle of the hands triangle; that of Venus in the thumme; and Mercuries in the little finger: and when the table-line cutteth the fore-finger's rising, it is a signe of cruelty: when it falleth under the middle finger, and that the naturall median-line makes an angle with the vitall, under the same side, it is a signe of a miserable death: and when a womans naturall line is open, and closes not its angle with the vitall, it evidenty denotes that she will not be very chast. I call your selfe to witnesse, if with this Science onely, a man may not passe with reputation and favour among all companies. Theophrastus was wont to say that mans knowledge, directed by the sense, might judge of the causes of things unto a certaine measure, but being come to the extream and first causes, it must necessarily stay, and be blunted or abated, either by reason of its weaknesse or of the things difficulty. It is an indifferent and pleasing kind of opinion to thinke that our sufficiency may bring us to the knowledge of some things, and hath certaine measures of power beyond which it's temerity to employ it. This opinion is plausible and brought in by way of composition: but it is hard to give our spirit any limits, being very curious and greedy, and not tied to stay rather at a thousand then at fifty spaces. Having found by experience that if one had mist to attaine unto some one thing, another hath come unto it, and that which one age never knew, the age succeeding hath found out: and that Sciences and Arts are not cast in a mold, but rather by little and little formed and shaped by often handling and polishing them over: even as beares fashion their yong whelps by often licking them: what my strength cannot discover, I cease not to sound and try: and in handling and kneading this new matter, and with removing and chasing it, I open some faculty for him that shall follow me, that with more ease he may enjoy the same, and make it more facile, more supple and more pliable:
-----vt hymettia sole
Cera remollescit, tractataque pollice, multas
Vertitur in facies, ipsoque fit vtilis vsu. -- Ovid. Metam. x. 284.
As the best Bees wax melteth by the Sun,
And handling, into many formes doth run,
And is made aptly fit
For use by using it.
As much will the second do for the third, which is a cause that difficulty doth not make me despaire, much lesse my unability: for it is but mine owne. Man is as well capable of all things as of some. And if (as Theophrastus saith) he avow the ignorance of the first causes and beginnings, let him boldly quit all the rest of his knowledge. If his foundation faile him, his discourse is overthrowne. The dispute hath no other scope, and to enquire no other end but the principles: If this end stay not his course, he casteth himself into an infinite irresolution. Non potest aliud alio magis minusque comprehendi, quoiam omnium reram vna est definitio comprehendendi: 'One thing can neither more nor lesse be comprehended than another, since of all things there is one definition of comprehending.' Now it is likely that if the soule knew any thing, shee first know her selfe: and if she knew any without and besides her selfe, it must be her vaile and body before any thing else. If even at this day the Gods of Physicke are seene to wrangle about our Anatomie,
Mulciber in Troiam, pro Troia stabat Apollo, -- Ovid. Trist. El. ii. 5.
Apollo stood for Troy,
Vulcan Troy to destroy,
when shall we expect that they will be agreed? We are neerer unto our selves, then is whitenesse unto snow or weight unto a stone. If man know not himselfe, how can hee know his functions and forces? It is not by fortune that some true notice doth not lodge with us but by hazard. And forasmuch as by the same way, fashion and conduct, errours are received into our soule, she hath not wherewithall to distinguish them, nor whereby to chose the truth from falshood. The Academikes received some inclination of judgment and found it over raw, to say, it was no more likely snow should be white then blacke, and that wee should be no more assured of the moving of a stone, which goeth from our hand, then of that of the eighth Spheare. And to avoid this difficultie and strangenesse, which in truth cannot but hardly lodge in our imagination, howbeit they establish that we were no way capable of knowledge, and that truth is engulfed in the deepest Abysses, where mans sight can no way enter; yet avowed they some things to be more likely and possible then others, and receivd this faculty in their judgement that they might rather incline to one apparence then to another. They allowed her this propension, interdicting her all resolution. The Pyrrhonians advise is more hardy, and therewithall more likely. For this Academicall inclination, and this propension rather to one then another proposition, what else is it then a recognition of some more apparant truth, in this than in that? If our understanding be capable of the forme, of the lineaments, of the behaviour and face of truth, it might as well see it all compleat, as but halfe, growing and imperfect. For this apparance of verisimilitude which makes them rather take the left then the right hand, doe you augment it; this one ounce of likelihood, which turnes the ballance, doe you multiply it by a hundred, nay by a thousand ounces; it wil in the end come to passe that the ballance will absolutely resolve and conclude one choice and perfect truth. But how doe they suffer themselves to be made tractable by likelihood, if they know not truth? How know they the semblance of that whereof they understand not the essence? Either we are able to judge absolutely, or absolutely we cannot. If our intellectuall and sensible faculties are without ground or footing, if they but hull up and downe and drive with the wind, for nothing suffer we our judgment to be carried away to any part of their operation, what apparauce soever it seemeth to present us with. And the surest and most happy situation of our understanding should be that, where without any tottering or agitation it might maintaine it selfe setled, upright and inflexible. Inter visa, vera, aut falsa, ad animi assensum, nihil interest: (Cic. Acad. Qu. iv.) 'There is no difference betwixt true and false visions concerning the mindes assent.' That things lodge not in us in their proper forme and essence, and make not their entrance into us of their owne power and authority, we see it most evidently. For if it were so, we would receive them all alike: wine should be such in a sicke mans mouth as in a healthy mans. He whose fingers are chopt through cold, and stiffe or benummed with frost, should find the same ha rdnesse in the wood or iron he might handle, which another doth. Then strange subjects yeeld unto our mercy, and lodge with us according to our pleasure. Now if on our part we receive any thing without alteration, if mans holdfasts were capable and sufficiently powerfull by our proper meanes to seize on truth, those meanes being common to all; this truth would successively remove it selfe from one to another. And of so many things as are in the world, at least one should be found, that by an universall consent should be beleeved of all. But that no proposition is seene, which is not controversied and debated amongst us, or that may not be, declareth plainly that our judgment doth not absolutely and clearly seize on that which it seizeth: for my judgment cannot make my fellowes judgment to receive the same: which is a signe that I have seized upon it by some other meane then by a naturall power in me or other men. Leave we apart this infinite confusion of opinions, which is seene amonge Philosophers themselves, and this universal and perpetuall disputation, in and concerning the knowledge of things. For it is most truly presupposed that men (I mean the wisest, the best borne, yea and the most sufficient do never agree; no not so much that heaven is over our heads. For they who doubt of all, doe also doubt of this: and such as affirme that we cannot conceive any thing, say we have not conceived whether heaven be over our heads; which two opinions are in number (without any comp arison) the most forcible. Besides this diversity and infinite division, by reason of the trouble which our owne judgement layeth upon our selves, and the uncertainty which every man findes in himselfe, it may manifestly be perceived that this situation is very uncertaine and unstaid. How diversely judge we of things? How often change we our phantasies? What I hold and beleeve this day I beleeve and hold with all my beleefe: all my implements, springs and motions, embrace and claspe this opinion , and to the utmost of their power warrant the same: I could not possibly embrace any verity, nor with more assurance keepe it, than I doe this. I am wholy and absolutely given to it: but hath it not beene my fortune, not once, but a hundred, nay a thousand times, nay daily, to have embraced some other thing with the very same instruments and condition which upon better advise I have afterward judged false? A man should, at the least become wise at his owne cost, and learne by others harmes. If under this colour I have often found my selfe deceived, if my Touch-stone be commonly found false and my ballance un-even and unjust; what assurance may I more take of it at this time than at others? Is it not folly in me to suffer my selfe so often to be beguiled and couzened by one guide? Neverthelesse, let fortune remove us five hundred times from our place, let her doe nothing but incessantly empty and fill, as in a vessell, other and other opinions in our mind, the present and last is alwaies supposed certaine and infallible. For this must a man have goods, honour, life, state, health and all:
-----posterior res illa reperta
Perdit; et immutat sensus ad pristina quæque. -- Lucr. v. 1424.
The latter thing destroies all found before;
And alters sense at all things lik'd of yore.
Whatsoever is told us, and what ever we learne, we should ever remember: it is man that delivereth and man that receiveth: it is a mortall hand that presents it, and a mortall hand that receives it. Onely things which come to us from heaven have right and authority of perswasion and markes of truth: which we neither see with our eyes nor receive by our meanes: this sacred and great image would be of no force in so wretched a Mansion except God prepare it to that use and purpose, unlesse God by his particular grace and supernaturall favor reforme and strengthen the same. Our fraile and defective condition ought at least make us demeane our selves more moderately and more circumspectly in our changes. We should remember that whatsoever we receive in our understanding we often receive false things, and that it is by the same instruments which many times contradict and deceive themselves. And no marvell if they contradict themselves, being so easy to encline, and upon very slight occasions subject to waver and turne. Certaine it is that our apprehension, our judgement, and our soules faculties in generall, doe suffer according to the bodies motions and alterations, which are continuall. Have we not our spirits more vigilant, our memorie more ready, and our discourses more lively in time of health then in sicknesse? Doth not joy and blithenesse make us receive the subjects that present themselves unto our soule, with another kind of countenance, then lowring vexation and drooping melancholy doth? Doe you imagine that Catullus or Saphoes verses delight and please an old covetous chuff-penny wretch as they do a lusty and vigorous yong man? Cleomenes the sonne of Anaxandridas being sick, his friends reproved him, saying he had new strange humors and unusuall phantasies: 'It is not unlikely,' answered he, 'for I am not the man I was wont to be in the time of health; but being other, so are my fantasies and my humors.' In the rabble case-canvasing of our plea-courts this byword, Gaudeat de bona fortuna: 'Let him joy in his good fortune" is much in use, and is spoken of criminall offenders, who happen to meete with Judges in some milde temper or well-pleased mood. For it is most certaine that in times of condemnation the Judges doome or sentence is sometimes perceived to be more sharpen mercilesse and forward, and at other times more tractable, facile, and enclined to shadow or excuse an offence, according as he is well or ill pleased in mind. A man that commeth out of his house troubled with the paine of the goute, vexed with jealousy, or angry that his servant hath robbed him, and whose mind is overcome with griefe, and plunged with vexation, and distracted with anger, there is not question to be made but his judgement is at that instant distempred, and much transported that way. That venerable senate of the Areopagites was wont to judge and sentence by night, for feare the sight of the suters might corrupt justice. The ayre it selfe, and the clearenes of the firmament, doth forbode us some change and alteration of weather, as saith that Greek verse in Cicero:
Tales sunt hominum mentes, quali pater ipse
Iupiter auctifera lustravit lampade terras. -- Cic. ex incert.
Such are mens mindes, as with increasefull light
Our father Jove survaies the world in sight.
It is not onely fevers, drinkes and great accidents, that over- whelme our judgement: the least things in the world will turne it topsie-turvie. And although we feele it not, it is not to bee doubted, if a continuall ague may in the end suppresse our mind, a tertian will also (according to her measure and proportion) breed some alteration in it. If an Apoplexie doth altogether stupifie and extinguish the sight of our understanding, it is not to be doubted but a cold and rheum will likewise dazle the same. And by consequence, hardly shall a man in all his life find one houre wherein our judgement may alwaies be found in his right byase, our body being subject to so many continuall alterations, and stuft with so divers sorts of ginnes and motions, that, giving credit to Physitians, it is very hard to find one in perfect plight, and that doth not alwaies mistake his marke and shute wide. As for the rest, this disease is not so easily discovered, except it be altogether extreame and remedilesse; forasmuch as reason marcheth ever crooked, halting and broken-hipt; and with falshood as with truth; and therefore it is very hard to discover her mistaking and disorder. I alwaies call reason that apparance or shew of discourses which every man deviseth or forgeth in himselfe: that reason, of whose condition there may be a hundred, one contrary to another, about one selfe same subject: it is an instrument of lead and wax, stretching, pliable, and that may be fitted to all byases and squared to all measures: there remaines nothing but the skill and sufficiency to know how to turne and winde the same. How well soever a Judge meaneth, and what good mind so ever he beareth, if diligent care be not given unto him (to which few ammuse themselves) his inclination unto friendship, unto kindred, unto beauty, and unto revenge, and not onely matters of so weighty consequence, but this innated and casual instinct which us to favour one thing more than another, and encline to one man more than to another, and which, without any leave or reason, giveth us the choice in two like subjects, or some shadow of like vanity, may insensibly insinuate in his judgment the commendation and applause, or disfavour and disallowance of a cause, and give the ballance a twitch. I that nearest prie into my selfe, and who have mine eyes uncessantly fixt upon me as one that hath not much else to do else where,
-- quis sub Arcto
Rex gelidæ metuatur oræ,
Quid Tyridatem terreat unice
Securus, -- Hor. i. Od. xxvi. 3.
Only secure, who in cold coast
Under the North-pole rules the rost,
And there is feare or what would fright,
And Tyridates put to flight,
dare very hardly report the vanity and weaknesse I feele in myselfe. My foot is so staggering and unstable and I finde it so ready to trip and so easie to stumble and my sight is so dimme and uncertaine that fasting I find my selfe other than full fed. If my health applaud me, or but the calmenesse of one faire day smile upon me, then am I a lusty gallant; but if a corne wring my toe, then am I pouting, unpleasant and hard to be pleased. One same pace of a horse is sometimes hard and sometimes easie unto me; and one same way, one time short, another time long and wearisome; and one same forme, now more, now lesse agreeable and pleasing to me: sometimes I am apt to doe any thing, and other times fit to doe nothing: what now is pleasing to me within a while after will be paineful. There are a thousand indiscreet and casuall agitations in me. Either a melancholy humour possesseth me, or a cholericke passion swaieth me, which having shaken off, sometimes frowardilesse and peevishnesse hath predominancy, and other times gladnes and blithnesse overrule me. If I chance to take a booke in hand I shall in some passages perceive some excellent graces, and which ever wound me to the soule with delight; but let me lay it by and read him another time; let me turne and tosse him as I list, let me apply and manage him as I will, I shall finde it an unknowne and shapelesse masse. Even in my writings I shall not at all times finde the tracke or ayre of my first imaginations; I wot not my selfe what I would have said, and shall vexe and fret my selfe in correcting and giving a new sense to them, because I have peradventure forgotten or lost the former, which happily was better. I doe but come and goe; my judgement doth not alwaies goe forward, but is ever floting and wandering.
----- velut minuta magno
Deprensa navis in mari, vesaniente vento. -- Catul. Lyr. Epig. xxii.12.
Much like a pettie skiffe, that's taken short
In a grand Sea, when winds doe make mad sport.
Many times (as commonly it is my hap to doe) having for exercise and sport-sake undertaken to maintaine an opinion contrarie to mine, my minde applying and turning it selfe that way doth so tie me unto it, as I finde no more the reason of my former conceit, and so I leave it. Where I encline, there I entertaine my selfe howsoever it be, and am carried away by mine owne weight. Every man could neer-hand say as much of himselfe would he but looke into himselfe as I doe. Preachers know that the emotion which surpriseth them whilst they are in their earnest speech doth animate them towards belief, and that being angrie we more violently give our selves to defend our proposition, emprint it in our selves, and embrace the same with more vehemencie and approbation than we did being in our temperate and reposed sense. You relate simply your case unto a Lawyer; he answers faltring and doubtfully unto it, whereby you perceive it is indifferent unto him to defend either this or that side, all is one to him. Have you paid him well, have you given him a good baite or fee to make him earnestly apprehend it, beginnes he to be enterested in the matter, is his will moved or his minde enflamed? Then will his reason be moved and his knowledge enflamed with all. See then an apparent and undoubted truth presents it self to his understanding, wherein he discovers a new light, and believes it in good sooth, and so perswades himselfe. Shall I tell you? I wot not whether the heate proceedingk of spight and obstinacie against the impression and violence of a magistrate and of danger: or the interest of reputation have induced some man to maintaine, even in the fiery flames, the opinion for which amongst his friends and at libertie he would never have beene moved nor have ventured his fingers end. The motions and fits which our soule receiveth by corporall passions doe greatly prevaile in her, but more her owne, with which it is so fully possest, as happily it may be maintained she hath no other or motion than by the blasts of her windes, and that without their agitation she should remaine without action, as a ship at sea which the winds have utterly forsaken. And he who should maintaine that following the Peripatetike faction should offer us no great wrong, since it is knowne that the greatest number of the soules actions proceede and have neede of this impulsion of passion; valor (say they) cannot be perfected without the assistance of choler.
Semper Aiax fortis, fortissimus tamen in furore. -- CIC. Tusc. Qu. iv.
Ajax every valor had,
Most then, when he was most mad.
Nor doth any man run violently enough upon the wicked, or his enemies, except he be throughly angrie; and they are of opinion that an advocate or counsellor at the barre, to have the cause goe on his side, and to have justice at the judges hands, doth first endevor to provoke him to anger. Longing-desires moved Themistocles and urged Demosthenes, and have provoked Philosophers to long travels, to tedious watchings, and to lingring peregrinations and leads us to honours, to doctrine, and to heal th: all profitable respects. And this demissenes of the soule in suffering molestion and tediousness, serveth to no other purpose, but to breed repentance and cause penitence in our consciences, and for our punishment to feele the scourge of God and the rod of politike correction. Compassion serveth as a sting unto clemencie, and wisdome to preserve and governe our selves, is by our owne feare rouzed up; and how many noble actions by ambition, how many by presumption. To conclude, no eminent or glorious vertue can be without some immoderate and irregular agitation. May not this be one of the reasons which moved the Epicureans to discharge God of all care and thought of our affaires: forsomuch as the very effects of his goodnesse cannot exercise themselves towards us without disturbing his rest by meanes of the passions which are as motives and solicitations directing the soule to vertuous actions? Or have they thought otherwise, and take them as tempests which shamefully lead astray the soule from her rest and tranquillitie? Vt maris tranquillita intelligitur, nulla, ne minima quidem, aura fluctus, commovente: Sic animi quietus et placatus status cernitur, quam perturbatio nulla est, qua moveri queat: (Cic. ibid. v.) 'As we conceive the seas calmnesse, when not so much as the least pirling wind doth stirre the waves, so is a peaceable reposed state of the mind then seene when there is no perturbation whereby it may be moved.' What differences of sense and reason, what contrarietie of imaginations doth the diversitie of our passions present unto us? What assurance may we then take of so unconstant and wavering a thing, subject by its owne condition to the power of trouble, never marching but a forced and borrowed pace? If our judgement be in the hands of sickenes itselfe and of perturbation; if by rashnesse and folly it be retained to receive the impression of things, what assurance may we expect at his hands? Dares not Philosophie thinke that men produce their greatest effects, and neerest approaching to divinity when they are besides themselves, furious, and madde? We amend our selves by the privation of reason, and by her drooping. The two naturall waies to enter the cabinet of the Gods, and there to foresee the course of the destinies, are furie and sleepe. This is very pleasing to be considered. By the dislocation that passions bring into our reason, we become vertuous; by the extirpation which either furie or the image of death bringeth us, we become Prophets and Divines. I never beleeved it more willingly. It is a meere divine inspiration that sacred truth hath inspired in a Philosophical spirit which against his proposition exacteth from him; that the quiet state of our soule, the best-settled estate, yea the healthfullesi that Philosophy can acquire unto it, is not the best estate. Our vigilancie is more drouzie then asleepe it selfe: our wisdome lesse wise then folly; our dreames of more worth then our discourses. The worst place we can take is in ourselves. But thinks it not that we have the foresight to marke, that the voice which the spirit uttereth when he is gone from man so cleare sighted, so great, and so perfect, and whilst he is in man so earthly, so ignorant, and so overclouded, is a voice proceeding from the spirit which is in earthly, ignorant, and overclouded man; and therefore a trustles and not to be-believed voice? I have no great experience in these violent agitations, being of a soft and dull complexion, the greatest part of which, without giving it leisure to acknowledge her selfe, doe sodainely surprise our soule. But that passion, which in young mens harts is saied to be produced by idleness, although it march but leasurely and with a measured progress, doth evidently present to those that have assaid to oppose themselves against her endevour, the power of the conversion and alteration which our judgement suffereth. I have some times enterprised to arme my selfe with a resolution to abide, resist, and suppresse the same. For I am so farre from being in their ranke that call and allure vices, that unlesse they draw me I scarcely follow them. I felt it mauger my resistance, to breed, to growe, and to augment; and in the end, being in perfect health and cleare sighted, to seize upon and pollute me; in such sort that as in drunkennes the image of things began to appeare unto me other wise then it was wont. I saw the advantages of the subject I sought after evidently to swell and grow greater, and much to encrease by the winde of my imagination; and the difficulties of my enterprise to become more easie and plaine, and my discourse and conscience to shrinke and draw backe. But that fire being evaporated all on a sodaine, as by the flashing of a lightning, my soule to reassume an other sight, an other state, and other judgement. The difficultie in my retreate seemed great and invincible, and the very same things of another taste and shew than the fervency of desire had presented them unto me. And which more truly, Pyrrho cannot tell. We are never without some infirmitie. Fevers have their heat and their cold: from the effects of a burning passion, we fall into the effects of a chilling passion. So much as I had cast my selfe forward, so much doe I draw my selfe backe.
Qualis ubi alterno procurrens gurgite pontus,
Nunc ruit ad terrar, scopilisque superjacit undam,
Spumeus, extremamque sinu prefundit arenam,
Nunc rapidus retro, atque æstu rvoluta resorbens
Saxa, fugit, littusque vado labente relinquit. -- VIRG. Æn. xi. 508
As th' Ocean flowing, ebbing in due course,
To land now rushes, foming throws his fource
On rocks, therewith bedewes the utmost sand,
Now swift returns the stones rowld backe from strand
By tide resucks, foord failing, leaves the land.
Now by the knowledge of my volubilitie, I have by accident engendred some constancy of opinions in my selfe; yea have not so much altered my first and naturall ones. For, what apparance soever there be in novelty, I do not easily change for feare I should lose by the bargaine: and since I am not capable to chuse, I take the choice from others; and keepe my selfe in the seate that God hath placed me in. Else could I hardly keepe my selfe from continuall rowling. Thus have I by the Grace of God preserved my selfe whole (without agitation or trouble of conscience) in the ancient beliefe of our religion, in the middest of so many sects and divisions which our age hath brought forth. The writings of the ancient fathers (I meane the good, the solide, and the serious) doe tempt, and in a manner remove me which way they list. Him that I heare seemeth ever the most forcible. I finde them everie one in his turne to have reason, although they contrary one another. That facility which good witts have to prove any thing they please likely; and that there is nopthing so strange but that they will undertake to set so good a gloss on it, as it shall easily deceive a simplicity like unto mine, doth manifestly shew the weaknesse of their proofe. The heavens and the planets have moved these three thousand yeares, and all the world beleeved as much, untill Cleanthes the Samian, or else (according to Theophrastus) Nicetas the Syracusian tooke upon him to maintaine, it was the earth that moved, by the oblique circle of the Zodiake, turning about her axell tree. And in our daies Copernicus hath so well grounded this doctrine, that hee doth orderly fit it to all astrologicall consequences. What shall we reape by it but only that wee neede not care which of the two it be? And who knoweth whether a thousand yeares hence a third opinion will rise, which happily shall overthrow these two precedents?
Sic volvenda ætas vommutat tempora rerum,
Quodque fuit pretio, fit nullo denique honore,
Porro aliud succedit, et contemptibus exit,
Inque dies magis appetitur, floretque repertum
Laudibus, et miro est mortales inter honore. -- Lucr. v. 1286.
So age to be past-over alters times of things:
What earst was most esteem'd,
At last nought-worth is deem'd:
Another then succeeds, and from contempt upsprings,
Is daily more desir'd, flowreth as found but then
With praise and wondrous honor amongst mortall men.
So when any new doctrine is represented unto us, we have great cause to suspect it, and to consider how, before it was invented, the contrary unto it was in credit; and as that hath beene reversed by this latter, a third invention may peradventure succeed in after ages, which in like sort shall front the second. Before the principles which Aristotle found out were in credit, other principles contented mans reason as his doe now content us. What learning have these men, what particular priviledge, that the course of our invention should rely only upon them, and that the possession of our beliefe shall for ever hereafter belong to them? They are no more exempted from being rejected than were their fore-fathers. If any man urge me with a new argument, it is in me to imagine that, if I cannot answere it, another can. For, to believe all apparences which we cannot resolve, is meere simplicitie. It would then follow that all the common sort (whereof we are all part) should have his beliefe turning and winding like a weather-cocke: for, his soule being soft and without resistance, should uncessantly be enforced to receive new and admit other impressions: the latter ever defacing the precedents trace. He that perceiveth himselfe weake, ought to answer, according to law termes, that he will conferre with his learned counsel, or else referre himselfe to the wisest, f rom whom he hath had his prentiseship. How long is it since physicke came first into the world? It is reported that a new start-up fellow, whom they call Paracelsus, changeth and subverteth all the order of ancient and so long received rules, and maintaineth that untill this day it hath only served to kill people. I thinke he will easily verify it. But I suppose it were no great wisedome to hazard my life upon the triall of his newfangled experience. 'We must not beleeve all men,' saith the precept, 'since every man may say all things.' It is not long since that one of these professours of novelties and physical reformations told me that all our forefathers had notoriously abused themselves in the nature and motion of the winds, which, if I should listen unto him, he would manifestly make me perceive. After I had with some patience given attendance to his arguments, which were indeed full of likelyhood, I demanded of him whether they which had sailed according to Theophrastus his lawes, went westward when they bent their course eastward? Or whether they sailed sideling or backward? 'It is fortune,' answered he, 'but so it is, they tooke their marke amisse:' To whom I then replied that I would rather follow the effects than his reason. They are things that often shock together: and it hath beene told mee that in geometry (which supposeth to have gained the high point of certainty amongst all sc iences) there are found unavoidable demonstrations, and which subvert the truth of all experience: as James Peletier told me in mine owne house, that he had found out two lines bending their course one towards another, as if they would meet and joyne together; neverthelesse he affirmed that, even unto infinity, they could never come to touch one another. And the Pyrrhonians use their arguments, and reason but to destroy the apparance of experience: and it is a wonder to see how far the supplenesse of our reason hath in this design followed them to resist the evidence of effects: for they affirme that we move not, that we speake not, that there is no weight, nor heat, with the same force of arguing that we averre the most likeliest things. Ptolomey, who was an excellent man, had established the bounds of the world; all ancient philosophers have thought they had a perfect measure thereof, except it were certaine scattered ilands which might escape their knowledge: it had beene to Pyrrhonize a thousand yeares agoe, had any man gone about to make a question of the art of cosmography: and the opinions that have beene received thereof, of all men in generall: it had beene flat heresie to avouch that there were Antipodes. See how in our age an infinite greatnesse of firme land hath beene discovered, not an iland onely, nor one particular country, but a part in greatnesse very neere equall unto that which we knew. Our moderne geographers cease not to affirme that now all is found, and all is discovered:
Nam quod adest præsto, placet, et pollere videtur, -- Ibid. 1422.
For what is present here,
Seemes strong, is held most deare.
The question is now, if Ptolomey was heretofore deceived in the grounds of his reason, whether it were not folly in me to trust what these late fellowes say of it, and whether it be not more likely that this huge body which we terme the world is another manner of thing than we judge it. Plato saith that it often changeth his countenance, that the heaven, the starres, and the sunne do sometimes re-enverse the motion we perceive in them, changing the east into the west. The Ægyptian priests told Herodotus that since their first king, which was eleaven thousand and odde yeares (when they made him see the pictures of all their former kings, drawne to the life in statues) the sun course had changed his course foure times: that the sea and the earth doe enterchangeably change one into an other; that the worlds birth is undetermined: the like said Aristotle and Cicero. And some one amongst us averreth that it is altogether eternall, mortal, and new reviving againe, by many vicissitudes, calling Solomon and Esay to witnesse: to avoid these oppositions, that God hath sometimes been a Creator without a creature; that he hath beene idle; that he hath unsaid his idlenesse by setting his hand to this work , and that by consequence he is subject unto change. In the most famous schooles of Greece, the world is reputed a God framed by another greater and mightier God, and is composed of a body and a soule, which abideth in his centre, spreading it selfe by musicall numbers unto his circumference, divine, thrice happy, very great, most wise and eternall. In it are other Gods, as the sea, the earth, and planets, which with an harmonious celestiall dance; sometime meeting, other times farre-sundering themselves; now hiding, them shewing themselves; and changing place, now forward, now backward. Heraclitus firmly mainitained that the world was composed of fire, and by the destinies order it should one day burst forth into flames, and be so consumed into cinders, and another day it should be new borne againe. And Apuleius of men saith: Sigillatim mortales; cunctim perpetui: (L. APUL. De Deo; SOCRAT.) 'Severally mortall; altogether everlasting.'Alexander writ unto his mother the narration of an Ægyptian priest, drawne from out their monuments, witnessing the antiquitie of that nation, infinite; and comprehending the birth and progresse of their countries to the life. Cicero and Diodorus said in their daies that the Chaldeans kept a register of foure hundred thousand and odde yeares; Aristotle, Plinie, and others, that Zoroaster lived sixe thousand yeares before Plato. And Plato saith that those of the citty of Sais have memories in writing of eight thousand yeares, and that the towne of Athens was built a thousand yeares before the citty of Sais. Epicurus, that at one same time all things that are looke how we see them, they are all alike, and in the same fashion, in divers other Worlds, which he would have spoken more confidently had he seene the similitudes and correspondencies of this new-found world of the West Indiæs with ours, both present and past, by so many strange examples. Truly, when I consider what hath followed our learning by the course of this terrestriall policie, I have divers times wondered at my selfe, to see in so great a distance of times and places, the simpathy or jumping of so great a number of popular and wilde opinions, and of extravagant customes and beliefes, and which by no meanes seeme to hold with our naturall discourse. Man's spirit is a wonderfull worker of miracles. But this relation hath yet a kind of I wot not what more Heteroclite: which is found both in names and a thousand other things. For there were found Nations which (as far as we know) had never heard of us, where circumcision was held in request; where great states and commonwealths were maintained onely by women, and no men: where our fasts and Lent was represented, adding thereunto the abstinence from women; where our crosses were severall waies in great esteeme. In some places they adorned and honored their sepulchres with them, and elsewhere especially that of Saint Andrew, they employed to shield themselves from nightly visions, and to lay them upon childrens couches, as good against enchantments and witchcrafts. In another place they found one made of wood, of an exceeding height, worshipped for the God of raine; which was thrust very deepe into the ground. There was found a very expresse and lively image of our Penitentiaries: the use of Miters, the Priestes single life; the Art of Divination by the entrailes of sacrificed beasts; the abstinence from all sorts of flesh and fish for their food; the order amongst Priests, in saying of their divine service, to use a not vulgar but a particular tongue; and this erroneous and fond conceipt, that the first God was expelled his throne by a younger brother of his: that they were at first created with all commodities, which afterward, by reason of their sinnes, were abridged them: that their territory hath beene changed; that their naturall condition hath beene much impaired: that they have heretofore beene drowned by the inundation of Waters come from heaven; that none were saved but a few families, which cast themselves into the cracks or hollows of high Mountaines, which crackes they stoped very close, so that the Waters could not enter in, having before shut therin many kinds of beasts: that when they perceived the Raine to cease and Waters to fall, the first sent out certaine doggs, which returned cleane-washt and wet, they judged that the waters were not yet much falne; and that afterward sending out some other, which seeing to returne all muddy and foule, they issued forth of the mountaines, to repeople the world againe, which they found replenished onely with Serpents. There were places found where they used the perswasion of the day of judgement, so that they grew wondrous wroth and offended with the Spaniards, who in digging and searching of riches in their graves, scattered here and there the bones of there deceased friends, saying that those dispersed bones could very hardly be reconjoyned againe. They also found where they used traffic by exchange, and no otherwise; and had Faires and Markets for that purpose; they found dwarfes, and such other deformed creatures, used for the ornament of Princes tables: they found the use of hawking and fowling according to the nature of their birdes: tyrannical subsidies, and grievances upon subjects; delicate and pleasant gardens; dancing, tumbling, leaping, and iugling, musicke of instruments, armories, dicing-houses, tennisse-courts, and casting lottes, or mumme-chaunce, wherein they are often so earnest and moody, that they will play themselves and their liberty: using no other physicke but by charmes: the manner of writing by figures: beleeving in one first man, universall father of all people. The adoration of one God, who heretofore lived man in perfect Virginitie, fasting, and penance, preaching the law of Nature, and the ceremonies of religion; and who vanished out of the world without any naturall death: The opinion of Giants; the use of drunkennesse, with their manner of drinkes and drinking and pledging of healths; religious ornaments painted over with bones and dead mens sculs; surplices, holy Water, and holy Water sprinckles, Women and servants which thrivingly present themselves to be burned or enterred with their deceased husbands or masters: a law that the eldest or first borne child shall succeed and inherit all: where nothing at all is reserved for Punies, but obedience: a custome to the promotion of certaine officers of great authority, and where he that is promoted takes upon him a new name, and quiteth his owne: Where they used to cast lime upon the knees of new borne children, saying unto him: From dust then camest, and to dust then shalt returne againe: the Arts of Augures or prediction. These vaine shadowes of our religion, which are seene in some of these examples, witnesse the dignity and divinity thereof. It hath not onely in some sort insinuated it selfe among all infidell Nations on this side by some imitations, but amongst those barbarous Nations beyond, as it were by a common and supernaturall inspiration: For amongst them was also found the beliefe of Purgatory, but after a new forme: for, what we ascribe unto fire, they impute unto cold, and imagine that soules are both purged and punished by the vigor of an extreame coldnesse. This example putteth me in mind of another pleasant diversity: For, as there were some people found who tooke pleasure to unhood the end of their yard, and to cut off the fore-skinne after the manner of the Mahometans and Jewes, some there were found that made so great a conscience to unhood it, that with little strings they caried their fore-skin very carefully out-streched and fastened above, for feare that end should see the aire. And of this other diversity also, that as we honour our Kings and celebrate our Holy-daies with decking and trimming our selves with the best habilliments we have; in some regions there, to shew all disparity and submission to their King, their subjects present themselves unto him in their basest and meanest apparrell; and entring unto his pallace they take some old torne garment and put it over their other attire, to the end all the glory and ornament may shine in their Soveraigne and Maister.
But let us goe on: if Nature enclose within the limits of her ordinary progresse, as all other things, so the beliefes, the judgments and the opinions of men; if they have their revolutions, their seasons, their birth, and their death, even as cabbages: if heaven doth move, agitate and rowle them at his pleasure, what powerfull and permanent authority doe we ascribe unto them? If by uncontroled experience we palpably touch, that the forme of our being depends of the aire, of the climate, and of the soile wherein we are borne and not onely the hew, the stature, the complexion and the countenance, but also the soules facilities: Et plagæ coeli non serum ad robor corporum, sed etiam animorum facit: 'The climate helpeth not onely for strength of body, but of minds,' saith Vegetius: And that the Goddesse, foundresse of the Citie of Athens, chose a temperature of a country to situate it in, that might make the men wise, as the Ægyptian Priests taught Solon: Athenis tenue eoclum: ex quo etiam acutiores putantur Attici: crassum Thebis: itague pingues Thebani, et valentes: (CIC. De Fato.) 'About Athens is a thin aire, whereby those Country-men are esteemed the sharper witted: about Thebes the aire is grosse, and therefore the Thebans were grosse and strong of constitution.' In such manner that as fruits and beasts doe spring up diverse and different; so men are borne either more or lesse warlike, martiall, just, temperate, and docile: here subject to wine, there to theft and whoredome: here inclined to superstition, addicted to misbehaving; here given to liberty; there to servitude; capable of some one art or science; grosse-witted or ingenious: either obedient or rebellious; good or bad, according as the inclination of the place beareth, where they are seated; and being removed from one soile to another (as plants are) they take a new complexion: which was the cause that Cirus would never permit the Persians to leave their barren, rough, and craggie Country, for to transport themselves into another, more gentle, more fertile, and more plaine: saying, that 'fat and delicious countries make men wanton and effeminate; and fertile soiles yeeld infertile spirits.' If sometime wee see one art to flourish, or a beliefe, and sometimes another, by some heavenly influence: some ages to produce this or that nature, and so to encline mankind to this or that base: mens spirits one while flourishing, another while barren, even as fields are seene to be; what become of all those goodly prerogatives wherewith we still flatter ourselves. Since a wise man may mistake himselfe; yea, many men, and whole nations; and as wee say, mans nature either in one thing or other, hath for many ages together mistaken her selfe. What assurance have we that at any time she leaveth her mistaking, and that she continueth not even at this day, in her error? Me thinkes amongst other testimonies of our imbecilities, this one ought not to be forgotten, that by wishing it selfe, man cannot yet finde out what he wanteth; that not by enjoying or possession, but by imagination and full wishing, we cannot all agree in one that we most stand in need of, and would best content us. Let our imagination have free liberty to cut out and sew at her pleasure, she cannot so much as desire what is fittest to please and content her.
-----quid enim ratione timemus
Aut cupimus? quid tam dextro pede concipis, ut te
Conatus non pæniteat, votique peracti? -- Juven. Sat. x. 4.
By reason what doe we feare, or des ire?
With such dexteritie what doest aspire,
But thou eftsoones repentest it,
Though thy attempt and vow doe hit?
That is the reason why Socrates never requested the gods to give him anything but what they knew to be good for him. And the publike and private prayer of the Lacedemonians did meerely implie that good and faire things might be granted them, remitting the election and choise of them to the discretion of the highest power.
Coniugium petimus partumque uxoris, at illis
Notum qui pueri, qualisque futura sit uxor. -- Ibid. 352.
We wish a wife, wifes breeding: we would know,
What children; shall our wife be sheep or shrow.
And the Christian beseecheth God, that his will may be done, least he should fall into that inconvenience which poets faine of King Midas, who requested of the Gods that whatsoever he toucht might be converted into gold: his praiers were heard, his wine was gold, his bread gold, the feathers of his bed, his shirt, and his garments were turned into gold, so that he found himselfe overwhelmed in the injoying of his desire, and being enricht with an intolerable commoditie, he must now unpray his prayers:
Attonitus novitate mali, divesque miserque,
Effugere optat opes, et quæ modo voverat, odit -- Ovid. Met. xi. 128.
Wretched and rich, amaz'd at so strange ill,
His riches he would flie, hates his owns will.
Let me speake of my selfe; being very yong I besought fortune above all things that she would make me a knight of the order of Saint Michæl, which in those daies was very rare, and the highest tipe of honour the French nobilitie aymed at; she very kindly granted my request; I had it. In lieu of raising and advancing me from my place for the attaining of it, she hath much more graciously entreated me, she hath debased and depressed it, even unto my shoulders and under. Cleobis and Biton, Trophonius and Agamedes, the two first having besought the Goddesse, the two latter their God, of some recompence worthy their pietie, received death for a reward. So much are heavenly opinions different from ours, concerning what we have need of. God might grant us riches, honours, long life and health, but many times to our owne hurt. For, whatsoever is pleasing to us, is not alwaies healthfull for us. If in lieu of former health he send us death, or some worse sicknesse: Virga tua et baculus tuus ipsa me consolata sunt: (Psal. xxiii. 4.) 'Thy rod and thy staffe hath comforted me.' He doth it by the reasons of his providence, which more certainly considereth and regardeth what is meet for us then we ourselves can doe, and we ought to take it in good part as from a most wise and thrice-friendly hand.
------ si consilium vis,
Permittes ipsis expendere numinibus, quid
Conveniat nobis, rebusque sit vtile nostris:
Charior est illis homo quam sibi. -- Juven. Sat. x. 346.
If you will counsell have, give the Gods leave
To weigh what is most meet we should receive,
And what for our estate most profit were:
To them, then to himselfe man is more deare.
For, to crave honours and charges of them, is to request them to cast you in some battle, or play at hazard, or some such thing, whereof the event is unknowen to you, and the fruit uncertaine. There is no combate amongst philosophers so violent and sharpe as that which ariseth upon the question of mans chiefe felicitie, from which (according to Varroe's calculation) arose two hundred and foure score Sects. Qui autem de summo hono dissentit, de tota Philosophiæ ratione disputat: 'But he that disagrees about the chiefest felicitie, cals in question the whole course of Philosophie.'
Tres mihi convivæ prope dissentire videntur,
Poscentes vario m ultit diversa palato.
Quid dem? quid non dem? renuis tu quod iubet alter:
Quod petis, id sane est invisum acidumque duobus. -- Hor. ii. Epist. ii. 61.
Three guests of mine doe seeme allmost at ods to fall,
Whilest they with divers taste for divers things doe call:
What should I give? What not? You will not, what he will;
What you would, to them twaine is hatefull, sowre and ill.
Nature should thus answer their contestations and debates. Some say our felicitie consisteth and is in vertue, others in voluptuousnesse, others in yeelding unto Nature, some others in learning, others in feeling no manner of paine or sorrow, others for a man never to suffer himselfe to be carried away by appearances, and to this opinion seemeth this other of ancient Pithagoras to incline,
Nil admirari, propre res est una, Numici,
Solaque, quæ possit facere et servare beatum, -- i. Epist. vi. 1.
Sir, nothing to admire, is th' only thing,
That may keepe happy, and to happy bring,
which is the end and scope of the Pyrrhonian Sect. Aristotle ascribeth unto magnanimitie, to admire and wonder at nothing. And Archesilaus said that sufference and an upright and inflexible state of judgement were true felicities; whereas consents and applications were vices and evils. True it is, that where he establisheth it for a certaine Axiome, he started from Pyrrhonisme. When the Pyrrhonians say that ataraxy is the chiefe felicitie, which is the immobilitie of judgement, their meaning is not to speake it affirmatively, but the very wavering of their mind, which makes them to shun downefalls, and to shrewd themselves under the shelter of calmenesse, presents this phantasie unto them, and makes them refuse another. Oh how much doe I desire that whilest I live, either some other learned men, or Iustus Lipsius, the most sufficient and learned man now living; of a most polished and judicious wit, true Cosingermane to my Turnebus, had both will, health, and leisure enough, sincerely and exactly, according to their divisions and formes, to collect into one volume or register, as much as by us might be seene, the opinions of ancient philosophy, concerning the subject of our being and customes, their controversies the credit, and partaking of factions and sides, the application of the authors and sectators lives, to their precepts in memorable and exemplarie accidents. O what a worthy and profitable labour would it be! Besides, if it be from our selves that we draw the regiment of our customes, into what a bottomles confusion doe we cast our selves? For what our reason perswades us to be most likely for it, is generally for every man to obey the lawes of his country, as is the advise of Socrates, inspired (saith he) by a divine perswasion. And what else meaneth she thereby, but only that our devoire or duety hath no other rule but casuall? Truth ought to have a like and universall visage throughout the world. Law and justice, if man knew any, that had a body and true essence, he would not fasten it to the condition of this or that countries customes. It is not according to the Persians or Indians fantazie that vertue should take her forme. Nothing is more subject unto a continuall agitation then the laws. I have, since I was borne, seene those of our neighbours, the English-men, changed and re-changed three or foure times, not only in politike subjects, which is that some will dispense of constancy, but in the most important subject that possibly can be, that is to say, in religion: whereof I am so much the more ashamed, because it is a nation with which my countriemen have heretofore had so inward and familiar acquaintance, that even to this day there remain in my house some ancient monuments of our former alliance. Nay, I have seene amongst our selves some things become lawfull which erst were deemed capitall: and we that hold some others, are likewise in possibilitie, according to the uncertainty of warring fortune, one day or other, to be offenders against the Majestie both of God and man, if our justice chance to fall under the mercy of justice; and in the space of few yeares possession, taking a contrary essence. How could that ancient God more evidently accuse, in humane knowledge, the ignorance of divine essence, and teach men that their religion was but a peece of their owne invention, fit to combine their societies then in declaring, as he did, to those which sought the instruction of it, by his sacred Tripos, that the true worshipping of God was that which he found to be observed by the custome of the place where he lived? Oh God, what bond or dutie is it that we owe not to our Soveragne Creators benignitie, in that he hath beene pleased to cleare and enfranchise our beliefe from those vagabonding and arbitrary devotions, and fixt it upon the eternall base of his holy word? What will Philosophie then say to us in this necessity? that we follow the lawes of our country, that is to say, this waveing sea of a peoples or of a Princes opinions, which shall paint me forth justice with as many colours, and reforme the same into as many visages as there are changes and alterations of passions in them. I cannot have my judgement so flexible. What goodnesse is that which but yesterday I saw in credit and esteeme, and to morrow to have lost all reputation, and that the crossing of a river is made a crime? What truth is that which these Mountaines bound, and is a lie in the world beyond them? But they are pleasant, when to allow the lawes some certaintie, they say that there be some firme, perpetuall and immoveable; which they call naturall, and by the condition of their proper essence, are imprinted in mankind: of which some make three in number, some foure, some more, some lesse: an evident token that it is a marke as doubtfull as the rest. Now are they so unfortunate (for how can I terme that but misfortune, that of so infinit a number of lawes there is not so much as one to be found which the fortune or temeritie of chance hath graunted to be universally received, and by the consent of unanimitie of all Nations to be admitted?) they are (I say) so miserable that of these three or four choice-selected lawes there is not one alone that is not impugned or disallowed, not by one nation, but by many. Now is the generalitie of approbation the onely likely ensigne by which they may argue some lawes to be naturall; for what nature had indeed ordained us, that should we doubtlesse follow with one common consent; and not one onely nation, but every man in particular should have a feeling of the force and violece which he should urge him with, that would incite him to contrarie and resist that law. Let them all (for example sake) shew me but one of this condition. Protagoras and Ariston gave the justice of the lawes no other essence, but the authority and opinion of the law giver, and that excepted, both good and honest lost their qualities, and remained but vaine and idle names of indifferent things. Thrasymachus, in Plato, thinkes there is no other right but the commoditie of the superior. There is nothing wherein the world differeth so much as in customes and lawes. Some things are here accompted abominable, which in another place are esteemed commendable; as in Lacedemonia, the slight and subtlety in stealing marriages in proximity of blood are amongst us forbidden as capitall, elsewhere they are allowed and esteemed;
-----gentes esse feruntur,
In quibus et nato genitrix, et nata parenti
Iungitur, et pietas geminato crescit amore. -- Ovid. Met. x. 331.
There are some people where the another weddeth
Her sonne the daughter her owne father beddeth,
And so by doubling love, their kinduesse spreddeth.
The murthering of children and of parents; the communication with women; traffic of jobbing and stealing; free licence to all manner of sensuality; to conclude, there is nothing so extreme and horrible, but is found to be received and allowed by the custome of some nation. It is credible that there be naturall lawes, as may be seene in other creatures, but in us they are lost: this goodly humane reason engrafting it self among all men, to sway and command, confounding and topsi-turving the visage of all things according to her inconstant vanitie and vaine inconstancy. Nihil itaque amplius nostrum est, quod nostrum dico, artis est: 'Therefore nothing more is ours: all that I call ours belongs to art.' Subjects have divers lustres, and severall considerations, whence the diversity of opinion is chiefly engendred. One nation vieweth a subject with one visage, and thereon it staies; an other with an other. Nothing can be imagined so horrible as for one to eate and devour his owne father. Those people which anciently kept this custome hold it neverthelesse for a testimonie of pietie and good affection: seeking by that meane to give their fathers the worthiest and most honourable sepulchre, harboring their fathers bodies and reliques in themselves, and in their marrow; in some sort reviving and regenerating them by the transmutation made in their quicke flesh by digestion and nourishment. It is easie to be considered what abomination and cruelty it had beene, in men accustomed and trained in this inhumane superstition, to cast the carcases of their parents into the corruption of the earth, as food for beasts and wormes. Lycurgus wisely considereth in theft, the vivacitie, dilignce, courage, and nimblenesse that is required in surprising or taking any thing from ones neighbour, and the commoditie which thereby redoundeth to the common-wealth, that every man heedeth more curiously the keeping of that which is his owne, and judged that by this twofold institution to assaile and to defend, much good was drawne for military discipline (which was the principall Science and chiefe verue wherein he would enable that nation) of greater respect and more consideration than was the disorder and injustice of prevailing and taking other mens goods. Dionysius, the tyrant offered Plato a robe made after the Persian fashion, long, damask, and perfumed: but he refused the same, saying, 'That being borne a man, he would not willingly put on a womans garment.' But Aristippus tooke it, with this answer, 'That no garment could corrupt a chaste mind.' His friends reproved his demissenesse in being so little offended, that Dionysius had spitten in his face. 'Tut (said he) fishers suffer themselves to be washed over head and eares to get a gudgion.' Diogenes washing of coleworts for his dinner, seeing him passe by, said unto him, 'If thou couldest live with coleworts, thou wouldest not court and fawne upon a tyrant;' to whom Aristippus replied, 'If thou couldest live among men, thou wouldest not wash coleworts.' See here how reason yeeldeth apparance to divers effects. It is a pitcher with two eares, which a man may take hold on, either by the right or left hand.
----- bellum o terra hospita portas,
Bello arman tur equi, bellum hæc armenta minantur:
Sed tamen iidem olim curru succedere sueti
Quadrupedes, et froena jugo concordia ferre,
Spes est pacis--- -- Virg. Æn. iii. 559.
O stranger-harbring land, thou bringst us warre;
Steeds serve for war;
These heards doe threaten jarre.
Yet horses erst were wont to draw our waines,
And harnest matches beare agreeing raines,
Hope is hereby that wee
In peace shall well agree.
Solon being importuned not to shed vaine and bootles teares for the death of his sonne; 'Thats the reason (answered hee) I may more justly shed them, because they are bootlesse and vaine.' Socrates, his wife, exasperated her griefe by this circumstance. 'Good Lord (said she) how unjustly doe these bad judges put him to death.' ' What! wouldest thou rather they should execute me justly?' replied he to her. It is a fashion amongst us to have holes bored in our eares: the Greekes held it for a badge of bondage. We hide our selves when we will enjoy our wives: the Indians doe it in open view of all men. The Scithians were wont to sacrifice strangers in their Temples, whereas in other places Churches are Sanctuaries for them.
Inde furor vulgi, quodnumina vicinorum
Odit quisque locus, cum solos credat habendos
Esse Deos quos ipse colit. -- Juven. Sat. xv. 36.
The vulgar hereupon doth rage, because
Each place doth hate their neighbours soveraigne lawes,
And onely Gods doth deeme,
Those Gods, themselves esteeme.
I have heard it reported of a Judge who, when he met with any sharp conflict betweene Bartolus and Baldus, or with any case admitting contrarieties was wont to write in the margin of his book, 'A question for a friend,' which is to say, that the truth was so entangled and disputable that in such a case he might favour which party he should thinke good. There was no want but of spirit and sufficiency, if he set not every where through his books, 'A question for a friend.' The Advocates and Judges of our time find in all cases byases too-too-many to fit them where they think good. To so infinite a science, depending on the authority of so many opinions, and of so arbitrary a subject, it cannot be but that an exceeding confusion of judgements must arise. There are very few processes so cleare but the Lawiers advises upon them will be found to differ: What one company hath judged another will adjudge the contrary, and the very same will another time change opinion. Whereof we see ordinarie examples by this licence which wonderfully blemisheth the authoritie and lustre of our law, never to stay upon one sentence, but to run from one to another judge, to decide one same case. Touching the libertie of Philosophicall opinions concerning vice and vertue, it is a thing needing no great extension, and wherein are found many advises which were better unspoken then published to weake capacities. Arcesilaus was wont to say that in pailliardize it was not worthy consideration, where, on what side, and how it was done. Et obcænas voluptates, si natura requirit, non genera, aut loco, aut ordine, sed forma, ætate, figura metiendas Epicurus putat. Ne amores quidem sanctos a sapiente atienos esse arbitrantur. Quæramus ad quam usque, ætatem iuvenes amandi sint: 'Obscene pleasures, if nature require them, the Epicure esteemeth not to be measured by kind, place, or order: but by forme, age, and fashion. Nor doth he thinke that holy loves should be strange from a wise man. Let us then question to what years yong folke may be beloved.' These two last Stoicke places, and upon this purpose, the reproch of Diogarchus to Plato himselfe, shew how many excessive licences and out of common use soundest Philosophy doth tolerate. Lawes take their authoritie from possession and custome. It is dangerous to reduce them to their beginning: In rowling on they swell and grow greater and greater, as doe our rivers: follow them upward into their source, and you shall find them but a bubble of water, scarce to be discerned, which in gliding on swelleth so proud and gathers so much strength. Behold the ancient considerations which have given the first motion to this famous torrent, so full of dignitie, of honour and reverence, you shall finde them so light and weake that these men which will weigh all and complaine of reason, and who receive nothing upon trust and authoritie, it is no wonder if their judgments are often far distant from common judgement. Men that take Natures first image for a patterne it is no marvaile if in most of their opinions they miss the common-beaten path. As for example few amongst them would have approved the false conditions of our marriages, and most of them would have had women in community and without any private respect. They refused our ceremonies: Chrysippus said that some Philosophers would in open view of all men shew a dozen of tumbling-tricks, yea, without any slops or breeches, for a dozen of olives. He would hardly have perswaded Calisthenes to refuse his faire daughter Agarista to Hippoclides, because he had seen him graft the forked tree in her upon a table. Metrocles somewhat indiscreetly, as he was disputing in his Schole, in presence of his auditory, let a fart, for shame whereof he afterwards kept his house and could not be drawen abroad untill such time as Crates went to visit him, who to his perswasions and reasons, adding the example of his liberty, began to fart a vie with him and to remove this scruple from off his conscience; and moreover won him to his Stoicall (the more free) Sect, from the Peripateticall (and more civill) one, which the-therunto he had followed. That which we call civilitie not to dare to doe that openly, which amongst us is both awfull and honest, being done in secret, they termed folly: And to play the wilie Foxe in concealing and disclaiming what nature, custome, and our desire publish and proclaims of our actions, they deemed to be a vice. And thought it a suppressing of Venus her mysteries to remove them from out the private vestry of her temple, and expose them to the open view of the people. And that to draw her sports from out the curtaines was to loose them. Shame is matter of some consequence. Concealing, reservation and circumspection are parts of estimation. That sensuality under the maske of Vertu did very ingeniously procure not to be prostituted in the midst of highwaies, not trodden upon and seen by the common sort, alledging the dignity and commodity of her wonted Cabinets. Whereupon some say that to forbid and remove the common brothel-houses is not only to spread whoredome every where, which only was allotted to those places, but also to incite idle and vagabond men to that vice by reason of the difficultie.
Mæchus es Aufidiæ qui vir Corvine fuisti,
Rivalis fuerat qui tuus, ille vir est.
Cur aliena placet tibi, qua, tua non placet uxor?
Nunquid securas non potes arrigere? -- Mart. iii. Epig. lxx.
This experience is diversified by a thousand examples.
Nullus in vrbe fuit tota, qui tangere vellet
Uxorem gratis Cæciliane tuam,
Dum licuit: sed nunc positis custodibus, inqens
Turba fututorum est, in geniosus homo es. -- i. Epig. lxxiv.
A Philosopher being taken with the deed, was demaunded what he did, answered very mildly, 'I plant man,' blushing no more being found so napping than if he had beene taken setting of Garlike. It is (as I suppose) of a tender and respective opinion that a notable and religious Author holds this action so necessarily-bound to secrecy and shame, that in Cynike embracements and dalliances he could not be perswaded that the worke should come to her end; but rather that it lingred and staid only to represent wanton gestures and lascivious motions, to maintaine the impudency of their schooles profession: and that to powre forth what shame had forced and bashfullnesse restrained, they had also afterward need to seeke some secret place. He had not seene far enough into their licenciousnesse: for Diogenes in sight of all, exercising his Masturbation, bred a longing desire in the bystanders, that in such sort they might fill their bellies by rubbing or clawing the same. To those that asked him why he sought for no fitter place to feed in than in the open frequented highway he made answer, 'It is because I am hungry in the open frequented high-way.' The Philosophers Women, which medled with their Sects, did likewise in all places and without any discretion medle with their bodies: And Crates had never received Hipparchia into his fellowship but upon condition to follow all the customes and fashions of his order. These Philosophers set an extreme rate on vertue and rejected al other disciplins except the mortall; hence it is that in all actions they ascribed the Soveraigne authority to the election of their wise, yea, and above all lawes: and appointed no other restraint unto voluptuousness, but the moderation and preservation of others liberty. Heraclitus and Protagoras, forsomuch as wine seemeth bitter unto the sicke and pleasing to the healthy; and an oare crooked in the water and straight to them that see it above water, and such-like contrary apparances which are found in some subjects; argued that all subjects had the causes of these apparances in them, and that there was some kind of bitternes in the wine which had a reference unto the sick mans taste; in the oare a certain crooked qualitie, having relation to him that seeth it in the water. And so of all things else. Which implieth, that all is in all things, and by consequence nothing in any : for either nothing is, or all is. This opinion put me in mind of the experience we have, that there is not any one sense or visage, either straight or crooked, bitter or sweet, but mans wit shall find in the writings which he undertaketh to runne over. In the purest, most unspotted, and most absolutely perfect word that possibly can be, how many errors, falshoods and lies have beene made to proceed from it? What heresie hath not found testimon ies and ground sufficient, both to undertake and to maintaine itself? It is, therefore, that the Authors of such errors will never goe from this proofe of the testimony of words interpretation. A man of worth going about by authority to approve the search of the Philosophers stone (wherein he was overwhelmed) alleadged at least five or six several passages out of the holy bible unto me, upon which (he said) he had at first grounded himselfe for the discharge of his conscience (for he is a man of Ecclesiastical profession), and truly the invention of them was not only pleasant, but also very fitly applied to the defence of this goodly and mind-enchanting science. This way is the credit of divining fables attained to. There is no prognosticator if he have but this authority that any one wil but vouchsafe to read him over, and curiously to search all the infoldings and lustres of his words, but a man shall make him say what he pleaseth, as the Sibils. There are so many means of interpretation that it is hard, be it flat-long, side-long, or edge-long, but an ingenious and pregnant wit shal in all subjects meet with some aire that wil fit his turn. Therefore is a clowdy, darke and ambiguous stile found in so frequent and ancient custome, that the Author may gaine to draw, allure, and busie posterity to himselfe, which not only the sufficiency but the casuall favour of the matter may gaine as much or more. As for other matters let him, be it either through foolishnes or subtilty, shew himself somewhat obscure and divers, it is no matter, care not he for that. A number of spirits sifting and tossing him over will finde and express sundry formes, either according, or collaterally, or contrary to his owne, all which shall do him credit. He shal see himselfe enriched by the meanes of his Disciples, as the Grammer Schools Maisters. It is that which hath made many things of nothing, to pass very currant, that hath brought divers books in credit, and charged with all sorts of matter that any hath but desired: one selfsame thing admitting a thousand and a thousand, and as many severall images and divers considerations, as it best pleaseth us. Is it possible that ever Homer meant all that which some make him to have meant? And that he prostrated hiniselfe to so many, and so severall shapes, as, Divines, Lawiers, Captaines, Philosophers, and all sort of people else, which, how diversely and contrary soever it be they treat of sciences, do notwithstanding wholy rely, upon him, and refer themselves unto him as a Generall Maister for all offices, workes, sciences, and tradesmen, and an universall counsellor in all enterprises; whosoever hath had need of Oracles or Predictions, and would apply them to himselfe, hath found them in him for his purpose. A notable man, and a good friend of mine, would make one marvel to beare what strange far-fetcht conceits and admirable affinities, in favor of our religion, he maketh to derive from him; and can hardly be drawne from this opinion, but that such was Homers intent and meaning (yet is Homer so familiar unto him, as I thinke no man of our age is better acquainted with him). And what he finds in favour of our religion, many ancient learned men have found in favour of theirs. See how Plato is tossed and turned over, every man endevoring to apply him to his purpose, giveth him what construction he list. He is wrested and inserted to all newfangled opinions that the world receiveth or all oweth of, and according to the different course of subjects is made to be repugnant unto himselfe. Every one according to his sense makes him to disavow the customes that were lawfull in his daies, inasmuch as they are unlawfull in these times. All which is very lively and strongly maintained, according as the wit and learning of the interpreter is strong and quicke. Upon the ground which Heraclitus had, and that sentence of his, that all things had those shapes in them which men found in them. And Democritus out of the very same drew a cleane contrarie conclusion, id est, that subjects had nothing at all in them of that which we found in them. And forasmuch as honny was sweet to one man and bitter to another, he argued that honny was neither sweet nor bitter. The Pyrrhonians would say they know not whether it be sweet or bitter, or both or neither: for, they ever gain the highest point of doubting. The Cyrenaicks held that nothing was perceptible outwardly, and only that was perceivable which by the inward touch or feeling touched or concerned us, as griefe and sensuality, distinguishing neither tune nor collours, but onely certaine affections that came to us of them; and that man had no other seate of his judgment. Protagoras deemed that to be true to all men, which to all men seemeth so. The Epicurians place all judgment in the senses, and in the notice of things, and in voluptuousnesse. Platoes mind was, that the judgmen t of truth, and truth it selfe drawne from opinions and senses, belonged to the spirit and to cogitation. This discourse hath drawne me to the consideration of the senses, wherein consisteth the greatest foundation and triall of our ignorance. Whatsoever is knowne, is without peradventure knowne by the faculty of the knower: for, since the judgment commeth from the operation of him that judgeth, reason requireth that he performe and act this operation by his meanes and will, and not by others compulsion: as it would follow if wee knew things by the force, and according to the law of their essence. Now all knowledge is addressed unto us by the senses: they are our maisters:
-----via qua munita fidei
Proxima fert humanum in pectus, templaque mentis. -- Lucr. v. 102.
Whereby a way for credit leads well-linde
Into man's breast and temple of his minde.
Science begins by them and in them is resolved. After all, we should know no more then a stone, unlesse we know that here is sound, smell, light, savor, measure, weight, softnesse, hardnesse, sharpnesse, colour, smoothnesse, breadth and depth. Behold here the platforme of all the frame and principles of the building of all our knowledge. And according to some, science is nothing else but what is knowne by the senses. Whosoever can force me to contradict my senses, hath me fast by the throate, and cannot make me recoyle one foote backward. The senses are the beginning and end of humane knowledge.
Invenies primis ab sensibus esse creatam
Notitiam veri, neque sensus posse refelli.
Quid maiore fide porro, quam sensus, haberi Debet? -- iv. 480,484.
You shall finde knowledge of the truth at first was bred
From our first senses, nor can senses be misseled.
What, then our senses, should
With us more credit hold?
Attribute as little as may be unto them, yet must this ever be graunted them, that all our instruction is addressed by their meanes and intermission. Cicero saith that Chrysippus having assaid to abate the power of his senses, and of their vertue, presented contrary arguments unto himselfe, and so vehement oppositions, that he could not satisfie himselfe. Whereupon Carneades (who defended the contrary part boasted that he used the very same weapons and words of Chrysippus to combate against him and therefore cried out upon him, 'Oh miserable man! thine owne strength hath foiled thee.' There is no greater absurditie in our judgment, then to maintaine that fire heateth not, that light shineth not, that in iron there is neither weight nor firmenesse, which are notices our senses bring unto us: Nor beliefe or science in man, that may be compared unto that, in certaintie. The first consideration I have upon the senses subject is, that I make a question, whether man be provided of all naturall senses, or no. I see divers creatures that live an entire and perfect life, some without sight, and some without hearing; who knoweth whether we also want either one, two, three, or many senses more: For, if we want any one, our discourse cannot discover the want or defect thereof. It is the senses priviledge to be the extreme bounds of our perceiving. There is nothing beyond them that may stead us to discover them: No one sense can discover another.
An poterunt oculos aures reprehendere, an aures
Tactus, an hunc porro tactum sapor arguet oris,
An confutabunt nares, oculive revincent? -- 488.
Can eares the eyes, or can touch reprehend
The cares, or shall mouthes taste that touch amend?
Shall our nose it confute, Or eyes gainst it dispute?
They all make the extreamest line of our facultie.
-----seorsum cuique potestas
Divisa est, sua vis cuique est. -- 491.
To teach distinctly might
Is shar'de, each hath its right.
It is impossible to make a man naturally blind, to conceive that he seeth not; impossible to make him desire to see, and sorrow his defect. Therefore ought we not to take assurance that our mind is contented and satisfied with those we have, seeing it hath not wherewith to feel her owne malady, and perceive her imperfection, if it be in any It is impossible to tell that blind man any thing, either by discourse, argument, or similitude, that lodgeth any apprehension of light, colour, or sight in his imagination. There is nothing more backward that may push the senses to any evidence. The blind-borne, which we perceive desire to se, it is not to understand what they require; they have learnt of us that something they want, and something they desire, that is in us, with the effects and consequences thereof, which they call good: yet wot not they what it is, nor apprehend they it neere or far. I have seene a gentleman of a good house, borne blind, at least blind in such an age that he knowes not what sight is; he understandeth so little what he wanteth, that as we doe, he useth words fitting sight, and applieth them after a manner onely proper and peculiar to himselfe. A child being brought before him to whom he was god-father, taking him in his armes, he said, 'Good Lord, what a fine child this is! it is a goodly thing to see him. What a cherefull countenance he hath! how prettily he looketh!' He will say as one of us, 'This hall hath a faire prospect. It is very faire weather, The Sunne shines cleare.' Nay, which is more: because hunting, hawking, tennis-play, and shuting at buts are our common sports and exercises (for so he hath heard) his mind will be so affected unto them, and he wil so busie himselfe about them, that he will thinke to have as great an interest in them as any of us, and shew himselfe as earnestly passionate, both in liking and disliking them, as any else; yet doth he conceive and receive them but by hearing. If he be in a faire champion ground, where he may ride, they will tell him, yonder is a Hare started, or the Hare is killed, he is as busily earnest of his game as he heareth others to be that have perfect sight. Give him a ball, he takes it in the left hand, and with the right strikes it away with his racket; in a piece he shutes at randome; and is well pleased with what his men tell him, be it high or wide. Who knowes whether mankind commit as great a folly, for want of some sense, and that by this default the greater part of the visage of things be concealed from us? Who knowes whether the difficulties we find in sundry of Natures workes proceede thence? And whether diverse effects of beasts, which exceed our capacitie, are produced by the facultie of some sense that we want? And whether some of them have by that meane a fuller and more perfect life then ours? We seize on an apple wel nigh with all our senses; we find rednesse, smoothnesse, odor and sweetnesse in it; besides which, it may have other vertues, either drying or binding, to which we have no sense to be referred. The proprieties which in many things we call secret, as in the Adamant to draw iron, is it not likely there should be sensitive faculties in nature able to judge and perceive them, the want whereof breedeth in us the ignorance of the true essence of such things? It is happily some particular sense that unto cockes or chanticleares discovereth the morning and midnight houre, and moveth them to crow: that teacheth a hen, before any use or experience, to feare a hawke and not a goose or a peacocke, farre greater birds: that warneth yong chickins of the hostile qualitie which the cat hath against them, and not to distrust a dog; to strut and arme themselves against the mewing of the one (in some sort a flattering and milde voice) and not against the barking of the other (a snarling and quarrelous voice): that instructeth rats, wasps, and emmets, ever to chuse the best cheese and fruit, having never tasted them before: and that addresseth the stag, the elephant, and the serpent, to the knowledge of certaine herbs and simples, which, being either wounded or sicke, have the vertue to cure them. There is no sense but hath some great domination, and which by his meane affordeth not an infinite number of knowledges. I f we were to report the intelligence of sounds, of harmony and of the voice, it would bring an imaginable confusion to all the rest of our learning and science. For, besides what is tyed to the proper effect of every sense, how many arguments, consequences, and conclusions draw we unto other things, by comparing one sense to another? Let a skilfull, wise man but imagine humane nature to be originally produced without sight and discourse, how much ignorance and trouble such a defect would bring unt o him, and what obscurity and blindnesse in our mind.' By that shall we perceive how much the privation of one, or two, or three such senses (if there be any in us) doth import us about the knowledge of truth. We have by the consultation and concurrence of our five senses formed one Verity, whereas peradventure there was required the accord and consent of eight or ten senses, and their contribution, to attaine a perspicuous insight of her, and see her in her true essence. Those Sects which combate mans science, doe principally combate the same by the uncertainty and feeblenesse of our senses. For, since by their meane and intermission all knowledge comes unto us, if they chance to misse in the report they make unto us, if either they corrupt or alter that, which from abroad they bring unto us, if the light which by them is transported into our soule be obscured in the passage, we have nothing else to hold by. From this extreme difficultie are sprung all these phantazies, which everie subject containeth, whatsoever we finde in it, that it hath not what we suppose to finde in it, and that of the Epicurians, which is; that the sunne is no greater than our sight doth judge it:
Quicquid id est, nihilo fertur maiore figura,
Quam nostris oculis quam cernimus esse videtur: -- Lucr. v. 576.
Whate'er it be, it in no greater forme doth passe,
Then to our eyes, which it behold, it seeming was:
that the apparances, which represent a great body to him that is neare unto it, and a much lesser to him that is further from it, are both true:
Nec tamen hic oculis falli concedimzus hilum:
Proinde animi vitium hoc oculis adfingere noli: -- iv. 380,387.
Yet graunt we not, in this, our eyes deceiv'd or blind,
Impute not then to eyes this error of the mind:
and resolutely, that there is no deceit in the senses that a man must stand to their mercy, and elsewhere seek reasons to excuse the difference and contradiction we find in them: yea invent all other untruthes and raving conceits (so farre come they) rather than accuse the senses. Timagoras swore, that howsoever he winked or turned his eyes, he could never perceive the light of the candle to double: and that this seeming proceeded from the vice of opinion, and not from the instrument. Of all absurdities the most absurd amongst the Epicurians is to disavow the force and effect of the senses.
Proinde quod in quoque est his visum tempore, verum est:
Et si non potuit ratio dissolvere causam,
Cur ea quæ fuerint iuxtim quadrata, procul sint
Visa rotunda: tamen præstat rationis egentem
Reddere mendose causas vtriusque figuræ,
Quam manibus manifesta suis emittere quoquam,
Et violare fidem primam, et convellere tota
Fundamenta, quibus nixatur vita salusque.
Non modo enim ratio ruat omnis, vita quoque ipsa
Concidat extemplo, nisi credere sensibus ausis,
Præcipitesque locos vitare, et cætera quæ sint
In genere hoc fugienda. -- Lucr. iv. 502.
What by the eyes is seene at any time, is true,
Though the cause treason could not render of the view,
Why, what was square at hand, a farre off seemed round,
Yet it much better were, that wanting reasons ground
The causes of both formes we harp-on, but not hit,
Then let slip from our hands things cleare, and them omit,
And violate our first beliefe, and rashly rend
All those ground-workes, whereon both life and health depend,
For not alone all reason falls, life likewise must
Faile out of hand, unlesse your senses you dare trust,
And breake-neeke places, and all other errours shunne,
From which we in this kinde most carefully should runne.
This desperate and so little Philosophicall counsell, represents no other thing but that humane science cannot be maintained but by unreasonable, fond and mad reason; yet is it better that man use it to prevaile, yea and of all other remedies else how phantasticall soever they be, rather than avow his necessarie foolishnesse: So prejudiciall and disadvantageous a veritie he cannot avoide, but senses must necessarily be the Soveraigne maisters of his knowledge; but they are uncertaine and falsifi able to all circumstances. There must a man strike to the utmost of his power, and if his just forces faile him (as they are wont) to use and employ obstinacie, temeritie and impudencie. If that which the Epicurians affirme, be true, that is to say, we have no science, if the apparances of the senses be false, and that which the Stoicks say, if it is also true that the senses apparences are so false as they can produce us no science; we will conclude at the charges of these two great Dogmatist Sects, that there is no science. Touching the error and uncertaintie of the senses operation, a man may store himselfe with as many examples as he pleaseth, so ordinary are the faults and deceits they use towards us. And the echoing or reporting of a valleys the sound of a trumpet seemeth to sound before us, which cometh a mile behind us.
Exstantesque procul medio de gargite montes
Idem apparent longe divers i licet. -- Lucr. iv. 398.
Et fugere ad puppim colles campique videntur
Quos agimus prater navim. -- 390.
-----ubi in medio nobis equus acer obhæsit
Flumine, equi corpus transversum ferre videtur
Vis, et in adversum flumen contrudere raptim. -- 423.
And hills, which from the maine far-off to kenning stand,
Appeare all one, though they farre distant be, at hand,
And hilles and fields doe seeme unto our boate to flie,
Which we drive by our boate as we doe passe thereby,
When in midst of a streame a stately Horse doth stay,
The streame's orethwarting seemes his body crosse to sway,
And swiftly 'gainst the streame to thrust him th' other way.
To roule a bullet under the fore finger, the midlemost being put over it, a man must very much enforce himselfe to affirme there is but one, so assuredly doth our sense present us two. That the senses do often maister our discourse, and force it to receive impressions which he knoweth and judgeth to be false, it is daily seene. I leave the sense of feeling which hath his functions neerer more quicke and substantiall, and which by the effect of the griefe or paine it brings to the body doth so often confound and re-enverse all these goodly Stoicall resolutions, and enforceth to cry out of the bellyache him who hath with all resolution established in his mind this doctrine, that the cholike, as every other sicknesse or paine, is a thing indifferent, wanting power to abate any thing of soveraigne good or chiefe felicity, wherein the wise man is placed by his owne vertue: there is no heart so demisse, but the rattling sound of a drum or the clang of a trumpet will rowse and inflame; nor mind so harsh and sterne, but the sweetnesse and harmony of musicke will move and tickle; nor any soule so skittish and stubborne, that hath not a feeling of some reverence in considering the clowdy vastitie and gloomie canapies of our churches, the eye-pleasing diversitie of ornaments, and orderly order of our ceremonies, and hearing the devout and religious sound of our organs, the moderate, symphonicall, and heavenly harmonie of our voices: even those that enter into them with an obstinate will and contemning minde have in their hearts a feeling of remorse, of chilnesse and horrour, that puts them into a certaine diffidence of their former opinions. As for me, I distrust mine owne strength to heare with a settled minde some of Horace or Catullus verses sung with a sufficiently well tuned voice, uttered by and proceeding from a faire, yong, and hart-alluring mouth. And Zeno had reason to say that the voice was the flower of beautie. Some have gone about to make me beleeve that a man, who most of us French men know, in repeating of certaine verses he had maide, had imposed upon me that they were not such in writing as in the aire, and that mine eyes would judge of them otherwise than mine eares: so much credit hath pronounciation to give price and fashion to those workes that passe at her mercy; whereupon Philoxenus was not to be blamed, when hearing one to give an ill accent to some composition of his, he tooke in a rage some of his pots or bricks, and breaking them, trode and trampled them under his feet, saying unto him, 'I breake and trample what is thine, even as thou manglest and marrest what is mine.' Wherefore did they (who with an undanted resolve have procured their owne death, because they would not see the blow or stroke comming) turne their face away? And those who for their health's sake cause themselves to be cut and cauterized, why cannot they endure the sight of the preparations, tooles, instruments and workes of the Chirurgion, since the sight can have no part of the paine or smart? Are not these fit examples to verifie the authoritie which senses have over discourse? We may long enough know that such a ones lockes or flaring tresses are borrowed of a page or taken from some lacky, that this faire ruby-red came from Spaine, and this whitenes or smoothnes from the ocean sea: yet must sight force us to find and deeme the subject more lovely and more pleasing against all reason. For in that there is nothing of its owne.
Auferimur cultu: gemnis, auroque teguntur
Crimina, pars minima est ipsa puelia sui.
Sæpe ubi sit quod ames inter tam multa requiras:
Decepit hac oculos Ægide dives amor. -- Ovid. Rem. Am. i. 343.
We are misse-led by ornaments: what is amisse
Gold and gemmes cover, least part of her selfe the maiden is, '
Mongst things so many you may aske, where your love lies,
Rich love by this Gorgonian shield deceives thine eye.
How much doe Poets ascribe unto the vertue of the senses which makes Narcissus to have even fondly lost himselfe for the love of his shadow ?
Cunctaque miratur, quibus est mirabilis ipsa,
Se cupit imprudens, et qui probat, ipse probatur,
Dumque petit petitur: pariterque accendit et ardit. -- Ovid. metam. iii. 424.
He all admires, whereby himselfe is is admirable,
Fond he, fond of himseife, to himselfe amiable,
He that doth like, is lik'd, and while he doth desire:
He is desired, at once he burnes and sets on fire.
And Pygmalions wit's so troubled by the impression of the sight of his ivory statue that hee loves and serves it as if it had life:
Oscula dat, reddique putat, sequiturque, tenetque
Et credit tactis digitos insidere membris,
Et metuit pressos veniat ne livor in artus. -- Ovid. Ibid. x. 256.
He kisses, and thinks kisses come againe,
He sues, pursues, and holds, beleeves in vaine
His fingers sinke where he doth touch the place,
And feares least black and blew toucht-lims deface.
Let a Philosopher be put in a cage made of small and thin-set iron wire, and hanged on the top of our Ladies Church steeple in Paris; he shall, by evident reason, perceive that it is impossible he should fall down out of it: yet can he not choose (except he have beene brought up to the trade of tilers or thatchers) but the sight of that exceeding height must needs dazle his sight, and amaze or turne his senses. For we have much ado to warrant our selves in the walks or battlements of a high tower or steeple, if they be hattlemented and wrought with pillars, and somewhat wide one from another, although of stone and never so strong. Nay, some there are that call scarcely think or heare of such heights. Let a beame or planke be laid acrosse from one of those two steeples to the other, as big, as thick, as strong, and as broad as would suffice any man to walke safely upon it, there is no philosophicall wisdome of so great resolution and constancie that is able to encourage and perswade us to march upon it, as we would were it below on the ground. I have sometimes made triall of it upon our mountaines on this side of Italie, yet am I one of those that will not easily be affrighted with such things, and I could not without horror to my minde and trembling of legs and thighes endure to looke on those infinite precipices and steepy downe-fals, though I were not neere the brim, nor any danger within my length and more; and unlesse I had willingly gone to the perill, I could not possibly have falne. Where I also noted that how deep soever the bottome were, if but a tree, a shrub, or any out-butting crag of a rock presented it selfe unto our eyes upon those steepe and high Alpes, somewhat to uphold the sight; and divide the same, it doth somewhat ease and assure us from feare, as if it were a thing which in our fall might either helpe or upheld us: and that we cannot without some dread and giddinesse in the head so much as abide to looke upon one of those even and downe-right precipices: Vt despici sine vertigine simul oculorum animique non possit:'So as they cannot looke downe without giddinesse both of eyes and mindes:' which is an evident deception of the sight. Therefore was it that a worthy Philosopher pulled out his eyes that so he might discharge his soule of the seducing and diverting he received by them, and the better and more freely apply himselfe unto Philosophy. But by this accompt, he should also have stopped his eares, which (as Theophrastus said) are the most dangerous instruments we have to receive violent and sodaine impressions to trouble and alter us, and should in the end have deprived himself of all his other senses; that is to say, both of his being and life. For they have the power to command our discourses and sway our minde: Fit etiam sæpe specie quadam, sæpe vocum gravitate et cantibus, vt pellantur animi vehementius: sæpe etiam cura et timore: (Cic. Divin. i.) It comes to passe that many times our mindes are much moved with some shadow, many times with deep sounding or singing of voices, many times with care and feare. Physitians hold that there are certain complexions which by some sounds and instruments are agitated even unto furie. I have seene some who, without infringing their patience, could not well heare a bone gnawne under their table: and we see few men but are much troubled at that sharpe, harsh, and teeth-edging noise that smiths make in filing of brasse, or scraping of iron and steele together: others will be offended if they but heare one chew his meat somewhat aloud; nay, some will be angrie with or hate a man that either speaks in the nose or rattles in the throat. That piping prompter of Gracchus, who mollified, raised, and wound his masters voice whilst he was making orations at Rome; what good did he if the motion and qualitie of the sound had not the force to move and efficacy to alter the auditories judgement: Verily there is great cause to make so much ado, and keepe such a coyle about the constancie and firmnesse of this goodly piece, which suffers it selfe to be handled, changed, and turned by the motion and accident of so light a winde. The very same cheating and cozening that senses bring to our understanding, themselves receive it in their turnes. Our mind doth likewise take revenge of it, they lie, they cog, and deceive one another a vie. What we see and heare, being passionately transported by anger, we neither see nor heare it as it is.
Et solem geminum, et duplices se ostendere Thebas. -- Virg. Æn. iv. 470.
That two Sunnes doe appeare,
And double Thebes are there.
The object which we love seemeth much more fairer unto us then it is:
Multimodis igitur pravos turpesque videmus
Esse in delitiis, summoque in honore vigere: --Lucr. iv. 1147.
We there fore see that those, who many waies are bad,
And fowle, are yet belov'd, and in chiefe honour had;
and that much fowler which we loath. To a pensive and heart-grieved man a cleare day seemes gloomie and duskie. Our senses are not onely altered but many times dulled, by the passions of the mind. How many things see we, which we perceive not, if our mind be either busied or distracted elsewhere?
-----in rebus quoque apertis noscere possis,
Si non advertas animum, proinde esse, quasi omni
Tempore semotæ fuerint, longeque remotæ. -- Ibid. 808.
Ev'n in things manifest it may be seene,
If you marke not, they are, as they had beene
At all times sever'd farre, remooved cleane.
The soule seemeth to retire her selfe into the inmost parts, and ammuseth the senses faculties: so that both the inward and outward parts of man are full of weaknes and falshood. Those which have compared our life unto a dreame, have happily had more reason so to doe then they were aware. When we dreame, our soule liveth, worketh and exerciseth all her faculties, even and as much as when it waketh; and if more softly and obscurely, yet verily not so, as that it may admit so great a difference as there is betweene a dark night and a cleare day: yea as betweene a night and a shadow: there it sleepeth, here it slumbreth: more or lesse they are ever darknesses, yea Cimmerian darknesses. We wake sleeping, and sleep waking. In my sleep I see not so cleare; yet can I never find my waking cleare enough, or without dimnesse. Sleepe also, in his deepest rest, doth sometimes bring dreames asleepe: but our waking is never so vigilant as it may clearely purge and dissipate the ravings or idle phantasies which are the dreames of the waking, and worse then dreames. Our reason and soule, receiving the phantasies and opinions, which sleeping seize on them, and authorising our dreames actions, with like approbation, as it doth the daies, why make we not a doubt whether our thinking and our working be another dreaming, and our waking some kind of sleeping? If the senses be our first judges, it is not ours that must only be called to counsell: for, in this facultie, beasts have as much (or more) right as we. It is most certaine that some have their hearing more sharpe than man; others their sight; others their smelling; others their feeling, or taste. Democritus said that Gods and beasts had the sensitive faculties much more perfect than man. Now, betweene the effects of their senses and ours the difference is extreame. Our spettle cleanseth and drieth our sores, and killeth serpents.
Tantaque in his rebus distantia differitasque est,
Ut quod alus cibus est, aliis fuat acre venenum.
Sæpe etenim serpens, hominis contacta saliva,
Disperit, ac sese mandendo conficit ipsa. -- Lucr. iv. 640.
There is such distance, and such difference in these things,
As what to one is meate, t'another poison brings.
For oft a Serpent toucht with spettle of a man
Doth die, and gnaw it selfe with fretting all he can.
What qualitie shall we give unto spettle, either according to us or according to the serpent? by which two senses shall we verifie its true essence, which we seeke for? Pliny saith that there are certaine Seahares in India that to us are poison, and we bane to them; so that we die if we but touch them; now whether is man or the Sea-hare poison? Whom shall we beleeve, either the fish of man or the man of fish? Some quality of the ayre infecteth man which nothing at all hurteth the one: some other the oxe, and not man: which of the two is, either in truth or nature, the pestilent quality? Such as are troubled with the yellow jandise deeme all things they looke upon to be yellowish, which seeme more pale and wan to them then to us.
Lurida præterea fiunt quæcunque tuentur Arquati. -- Ibid. 333.
And all that jaundis'd men behold,
They yellow straight or palish hold.
Those which are sicke of the disease which phisitians call Hyposphagma, which is a suffusion of blood under the skin, imagine that all things they see are bloodie and red. Those humours that so change the sights operation, what know we whether they are predominant and ordinarie in beasts? For we see some whose eyes are as yellow as theirs that have the jandise, others that have them all blood-shotten with rednesse: it is likely that the objects collour they looke upon seemeth otherwise to them then to us: which of the two judgements shall be true? For it is not said that the essence of things hath reference to man alone. Hardnesse, whitenesse, depth, and sharpnesse touch the service and concerne the knowledge of beasts as well as ours: Nature hath given the use of them to them as well as to us. When we winke a little with our eye, wee perceive the bodies we looke upon to seeme longer and outstretched. Many beasts have their eye as winking as we. This length is then happily the true forme of that body, and not that which our eyes give it, being in their ordinarie seate. If we close our eye above, things seeme double unto us.
Bina lucernarum flo rentia lumina flammis
Et duplices hominum facies, et corpora bina. --Ibid. iii. 728.
The lights of candles double flaming then;
And faces twaine, and bodies twaine of men
If our eares chance to be hindred by any thing, or that the passage of our hearing bee stopt, we receive the sound otherwise then we were ordinarily wont. Such beasts as have hairie eares, or that in lieu of an eare have but a little hole, doe not by consequence heare that we heare, and receive the sound other then it is. We see at solemn shewes or in theatres that, opposing any collourd glasse betweene our eyes and the torches light, whatsoever is in the roome seemes or greene, or yellow, or red unto us, according to the collour of the glasse:
Et vulgo faciunt id lutea russaque vela,
Et ferruginea, cum magnis intenta theatris
Per malos volgata trabesque trementia pendent,
Namque ibi consessum caveat subter, et omnem
Scenai speciem, patrum matrumque deorumque
Inficiunt coguntque suo fluitare colore. -- Ibid. 73.
And yellow, russet, rustic curtained worke this feate
In common sights abroade, where over skaffold great
Stretched on masts, spred over beames, they hang still waving.
All the seates circuit there, and all the stages braving,
Of fathers, mothers, Gods, and all the circle showe
They double-dye and in their colours make to flowe.
It is likely that those beasts eyes which we see to be of divers collours, produce the apparances of those bodies they looke upon to be like their eyes. To judge the senses operation, it were then necessary we were first agreed with beasts, and then betweene our selves; which we are not, that ever-and-anon disputing about that one seeth, heareth, or tasteth something to be other then indeed it is; and contend as much as about any thing else, of the diversity of those images our senses report unto us. A yong child heareth, seeth, and tasteth otherwise, by natures ordinary rule, then a man of thirtie yeares; and he otherwise then another of threescore. The senses are to some more obscure and dimme, and to some more open and quicke. We receive things differently, according as they are and seeme unto us. Things being then so uncertaine and full of controversie, it is no longer a wonder if it be told us that we may avouch snow to seeme white unto us; but to affirme that it's such in essence and in truth, we cannot warrant ourselves: which foundation being so shaken, all the science in the world must necessarily goe to wracke. What, doe our senses themselves hinder one another? To the sight a picture seemeth to be raised aloft, and in the handling flat: shall we say that muske is so pleasing or no, which comforteth our smelling and offendeth our taste? There are hearbs and ointments which to some parts of the body are good, and to other some hurtfull. Honie is pleasing to the taste, but unpleasing to the sight. Those jewels wrought and fashioned like feathers or sprigs, which in impreses are called feathers without ends, no eye can discerne the bredth of them, and no man warrant himselfe from this deception, that on the one end or side it groweth not broder and broder, sharper and sharper, and on the other more and more narrow, especially being rouled about ones finger, when notwithstanding in handling it seemeth equal in bredth, and every where alike. Those who to encrease and aide their luxury were anciently wont to use perspective or looking glasses, fit to make the object they represented appeare very big and great, that so the members they were to use might, by that ocular increase, please them the more: to whether of the two senses yeelded they, either to the sight presenting those members as big and great as they wisht them, or to the feeling that presented them little and to be disdained? Is it our senses that lend these diverse conditions unto subjects, when for all that the subjects have but one? as we see in the Bread we eat: it is but Bread, but one using it, it maketh bones, blood, flesh, haire, and nailes thereof:
Ut cibus in membra atque artus cum diditur omnes
Disperit, atque aliam naturam sufficit ex se. -- Ibid. iii. 728.
As meate distributed into the members, dies,
Another nature yet it perishing supplies.
The moistnesse which the roote of a tree suckes becomes a trunke, a leafe, and fruite: And the aire being but one, applied unto a trumpet, becommoth diverse in a thousand sorts of sounds. Is it our senses (say I) who likewise fashion of diverse qualities those subjects, or whether they have them so and such? And upon this doubt, what may wee conclude of their true essence? Moreover, since the accidents of sicknesse, of madnesse, or of sleepe, make things appeare other unto us then they seeme un to the healthy, unto the wise, and to the waking: is it not likely that our right seate and naturall humors have also wherewith to give a being unto things, having reference unto their condition, and to appropriate them to it selfe, as doe inordinate humors; and our health as capable to give them his visage as sicknesse? Why hath not the temperate man some forme of the objects relative unto himselfe as the intemperate: and shall not he likewise imprint his character in them? The distasted impute wallowishnes unto wine: the healthier good taste; and the thirsty, brisknesse, rellish, and dellicacie. Now our condition appropriating things unto it selfe, and transforming them to its owne humour: wee know no more how things are in sooth and truth; for nothing comes unto us but falsified and altered by our senses. Where the compasses, the quadrant, or the ruler are crooked, all proportions drawne by them, and all the buildings erected by their measure, are also necessarily defective and imperf ect. The uncertaintie of our senses yeelds what ever they produce, also uncertaine.
Denique ut in fabrica, si prava est regula prima,
Normaque si fallax rectis regionibus exit,
Et libella aliqua si ex parte claudicat hilum,
Omnia mendose fieri, atque obstipa necessum
Prava, cubantia, prona, supina, atque absona tecta,
Iam ruere ut quædam videantur velle, ruantque
Prodita judiciis fallacibus omnia primis.
Hic igitur ratio tibi rerum prava necesse est,
Falsaque sit falsis quæcunque a sensibus orta est. -- Ibid. iv. 514.
As in building if the first rule be to blame,
And the deceitful squire erre from right forms and frame,
If any instrument want any jot of weight,
All must needs faultie be, and stooping in their height,
The building naught, absurd, upward and downeward bended,
As if they meant to fall, and fall, as they intended;
And all this as betrayde
By judgements formost laid.
Of things the reason therefore needs must faultie bee
And false, which from false senses drawes its pedigree.
As for the rest, who shall bee a competent Judge in these differences? As wee said in controversies of religion, that we must have a judge inclined to either party, and free from partialitie, or affection, which is hardly to be had among Christians; so hapneth it in this: For if he be old he cannot judge of ages sense, himself being a party in this controversie: and so if he be yong, healthy, sicke, sleeping, or waking, it is all one: We had need of some body void and exempted from all these qualities, that without any preoccupation of judgement might judge of these propositions as indifferent unto him: by which accompt we should have a judge that were no man. To judge of the apparances that we receive of subjects, we had need have a judicatorie instrument: to verifie this instrument we should have demonstration; and to approve demonstration, an instrument; thus are we ever turning round. Since the senses cannot determine our disputation, themselves being so full of uncertainty, it must then be reason: and no reason can be astiblished without another reason: then are we ever going backe unto infinity. Our phantasie doth not apply it selfe to strange things, but is rather conceived by the interposition of senses; and senses cannot comprehend a strange subject; nay, not so much as their owne passions: and so, nor the phantasie, nor the apparence is the subject's, but rathier the passion's only, and sufferance of the sense: which passion and subject are divers things: Therefore, who judgeth by apparences, judgeth by a thing different from the subject. And to say that the senses' passions referre the qualitie of strange subjects by resemblance unto the soule: How can the soule and the understanding rest assured of that resemblance, having of it selfe no commerce with forraigne subjects? Even as he that knowes not Socrates, seeing his picture, cannot say that it resembleth him. And would a man judge by apparences, be it by all it is impossible; for by their contraries and differences they hinder one another, as we see by experience. May it be that some choice apparences rule and direct the others? This choice must be verified by another choice, the second by a third: and so shal we never make an end. In few, there is no constant existence, neither of our being, nor of the objects. And we and our judgement and all mortall things else do uncessantly rowle, turns and passe away. Thus can nothing be certainely established, nor of the one nor of the other; both the judgeing and the judged being in continuall alteration and motion. We have no communication with being; for every humane nature is ever in the middle betwee ne being borne and dying; giving nothing of it selfe but an obscure apparence and shadow, and an uncertaine and weake opinion. And if perhaps you fix your thought to take its being, it would be even as if one should go about to graspe the water: for, how much the more he shal close and presse that which by its owne nature is ever gliding, so much the more he shall loose what he would hold and fasten. Thus, seeing all things are subject to passe from one change to another, reason, which therein seeketh a reall subsistence, findes her selfe deceived as unable to apprehend any thing subsistent and permanent: forsomuch as each thing either commeth to a being, and is not yet altogether: or beginneth to dy before it be borne. Plato said that bodies had never an existence but indeed a birth, supposing that Homer made the Ocean Father, and Thetis Mother of the Gods, thereby to shew us that all things are in continuall motion, change and variat ion. As he sayeth, a common opinion amongst all the Philosophers before his time, only Parmenides excepted, who denied any motion to be in things of whose power he maketh no small accompt. Pythagoras that each thing or matter was ever gliding and labile. The Stoicks affirme there is no present time, and that which we call present is but conjoyning and assembling of future time and past. Heraclitus avereth that no man ever entered twice one same river; Epicharmus avoucheth that who ere while borrowed any money doth not now owe it; and that he who yesternight was bidden to dinner this day, commeth to day unbidden: since they are no more themselves, but are become others; and that one mortall substance could not twise be found in one self estate: for by the sodainesse and lightnesse of change sometimes it wasteth, and other times it assembleth; now it comes and now it goes; in some sort, that he who beginneth to be borne never comes to the perfection of being. For, this being borne commeth never to an end, nor ever stayeth as being at an end; but after the seed proceedeth continually in change and alteration from one to another. As of mans seed there is first made a shapelesse fruit in the Mothers Wombe, then a shapen Childe, then being out of the Wombe, a sucking babe, afterward he becometh a ladde, then consequently a stripling, then a full growne man, then an old man, and in the end an aged decrepite man. So that age and subsequent generation goeth ever undoing and wasting the precedent.
Mutat enim mundi naturam totius ætas,
Ex alioque alius status excipere omnia debet,
Nec manet vlla sui similis res, omnia migrant,
Omnia commutat natura et vertere cogit. -- Ibid. v. 837.
Of th'universall world, age doth the nature change,
And all things from one state must to another range,
No one thing like it selfe remaines, all things doe passe,
Nature doth change, and drive to change, each thing that was.
And then we doe foolishly feare a kind of death, whenas we have already past and dayly passe to many others; for, not only (as Heraclitus said) the death of fire is a generation of ayre: and the death of ayre a generation of water: but also we may most evidently see it in our selves. The flower of age dieth, fadeth and fleeteth, when age comes upon us, and youth endeth in the flower of a full growne mans age: childhood in youth and the first age dieth in infancie: and yesterday endeth in this day, and to day shall die in to morrow. And nothing remaineth or ever continueth in one state. For to prove it, if we should ever continue one and the same, how is it then that now we rejoyce at one thing, and now at another? How comes it to passe we love things contrary, or we bath them, or we love them, or we blame them? How is it that we have different affections holding no more the same sense in the same thought? For it is not likely that without alteration we should take other passions, and what admitteth alterations continueth not the same; and if it be not one selfe same, then it is not: but rather with being all one, the simple being doth also change, ever becoming other from other. And by consequence Natures senses are deceived and lie falsly; taking what appeareth for what is, for want of truly knowing what it is that is. But then what is it that is indeed? That which is eternall, that is to say, that which ne ver had birth, nor ever shall have end; and to which no time can bring change or cause alteration. For time is a fleeting thing, and which appeareth as in a shadow, with the matter ever gliding, alwaies fluent without ever being stable or permanent; to whom rightly belong these termes, Before and After, and it Hath beene, or Shall be. Which at first sight doth manifestly shew that it is not a thing which is: for it were great sottishnesse and apparent falsehood, to say that that is which is not yet in being, or that already hath ceased from being. And concerning these words, Present, Instant, Even now, by which it seemes that especially we uphold and principally ground the intelligence of time; reason discovering the same doth forthwith destroy it: for presently it severeth it asunder and divideth it into future and past times as willing to see it necessarily parted in two. As much hapneth unto nature which is measured according unto time, which measureth her: for no more is there any thing in her that remaineth or is subsistent; rather all things in her are either borne or ready to be borne or dying. By means whereof it were a sinne to say of God, who is the only that is, that he was or shall be: for these words are declinations, passages, or vicissitudes of that which cannot last nor continue in being. Wherefore we must conclude, that only God is, not according to any measure of time, but according to an immoveable and immutable eternity, not measured by time nor subject to any declination, before whom nothing is, nor nothing shall be after, nor more new nor more recent, but one really being: which by one onely Now or Present, filleth the Ever, and there is nothing that truly is but he alone: without saying he has bin or he shall be, without beginning and sans ending. To this so religious conclusion of a heathen man I will only add this word, taken from a testimony of the same condition, for an end of this long and tedious discourse, which might well furnish me with endlesse matter. 'Oh, what a vile and abject thing is man (saith he) unlesse he raise himselfe above humanity!' Observe here a notable speech and a profitable desire; but likewise absurd. For to make the handfull greater than the hand, and the embraced greater than the arme, and to hope to straddle more than our legs length, is impossible and monstrous: nor that man should mount over and above himselfe or humanity; for he cannot see but with his owne eyes, nor take hold but with his owne armes. He shall raise himself up, if it please God to lend him his helping hand. He may elevate himselfe by forsaking and renouncing his owne meanes, and suffering himselfe to be elevated and raised by meere heavenly meanes. It is for our Christian faith, not for his Stoicke vertue, to pretend or aspire to this divine Metamorphosis, or miraculous transmutation.