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vines, the making also and use of wine; for which, becoming famous and renowned, he subjugated the world even to the uttermost bounds of India. He rode in a chariot drawn by tigers. There danced about him certain deformed hobgoblins called Cobali, Acratus, and others, yea, even the muses also were some of his followers. He took to wife Ariadne, forsaken and left by Theseus. The tree sacred unto him was the ivy. He was held the inventor and institutor of sacrifices and ceremonies, and full of corruption and cruelty. He had power to strike men with fury or madness; for it is reported, that at the celebration of his orgies, two famous worthies, Pentheus and Orpheus, were torn in pieces by certain frantic women, the one because he got upon a tree to behold their ceremonies in these sacrifices, the other for making melody with his harp; and for his gods, they are in a manner the same with Jupiter's.
There is such excellent morality couched in this fable, as that moral philosophy affords not better; for under the person of Bacchus is described the nature of affection, passion, or perturbation, the mother of which, though never sohurtful, is nothing else but the object of apparent good in the eyes of appetite : and it is always conceived in an unlawful desire, rashly propounded and obtained, before well understood and considered ; and when it begins to grow, the mother of it, which is the desire of apparent good by too much fervency, is destroyed and perisheth : nevertheless, whilst yet it is an imperfect embryo, it is nourished and preserved in the human soul, which is as it were a father unto it, and represented by Jupiter; but especially in the inferior part thereof, as in a thigh, where also it causeth so much trouble and vexation, as that good determinations and actions are much hindered and lamed thereby : and when it comes to be confirmed by consent and habit, and breaks out as it were into act, it remains yet a while with Proserpina as with a nurse; that is, it seeks corners and secret places, and as it were, caves under ground, until the reins of shame and fear being laid aside in a pampered audaciousness, it either takes the pretext of some virtue, or becomes altogether impudent and shameless. And it is most true, that every vehement passion is of a doubtful sex, as being masculine in the first motion, but feminine in prosecution.
It is an excellent fiction that of Bacchus's reviving; for passions do sometimes seem to be in a dead sleep, and as it were utterly extinct; but we should not think them to be so indeed; no, though they lay as it were in their grave : for let there be but matter and opportunity offered, and you shall see them quickly to revive again.
The invention of wine is wittily ascribed unto him ; every affection being ingenious and skilful in finding out that which brings nourishment unto it; and indeed, of all things known to men, wine is most powerful and efficacious to excite and kindle passions of what kind soever, as being in a manner common nurse to them all.
Again, his conquering of nations and undertaking infinite expeditions is an elegant device; for desire never rests content with what it hath, but with an infinite and unsatiable appetite still covets and gapes after more.
His chariot also is well said to be drawn by tigers; for as soon as any affection shall, from going afoot, be advanced to ride in a chariot, and shall captivate reason, and lead her in a triumph, it grows cruel, untamed, and fierce against whatsoever withstands or opposeth it.
It is worth the noting also, that those ridiculous hobgoblins are brought in dancing about his chariot; for every passion doth cause, in the eyes, face, and gesture, certain indecent and ill-seeming, apish and deformed motions; so that they who in any kind of passion, as in anger, arrogancy, or love seem glorious and brave in their own eyes, do yet appear to others mis-shapen and ridiculous.
In that the muses are said to be of his company, it shews that there is no affection almost, which is not soothed by some art wherein the indulgence of wits doth derogate from the glory of the muses, who, when they ought to be the mistresses of life, are made the waiting-maids of affections.
Again, when Bacchus is said to have loved Ariadne that was rejected by Theseus ; it is an allegory of special observation ; for it is most certain, that passions always covet and desire that which experience forsakes; and they all know, who have paid dear for serving and obeying their lusts, that
whether it be honour, or riches, or delight, or glory, or knowledge, or any thing else which they seek after, yet are they but things cast off, and by divers men in all ages, after experience had, utterly rejected and loathed.
Neither is it without a mystery, that the ivy was sacred to Bacchus; for the application holds first, in that the ivy remains green in winter. Secondly, in that it sticks to, embraceth, and overtoppeth so many divers bodies, as trees, walls, and edifices. Touching the first, every passion doth by resistance and reluctation, and as it were by an antiperistasis, like the ivy of the cold winter, grow fresh and lusty: and as for the other, every predominate affection doth again, like the ivy, embrace and limit all human actions and determinations, adhering and cleaving fast unto them.
Neither is it a wonder, that superstitious rites and ceremonies were attributed unto Bacchus, seeing every giddy-headed humour keeps in a manner revel-rout in false religions; or that the cause of madness should be ascribed unto him, seeing every affection is by nature a short fury, which, if it grow vehement and become habitual, concludes madness.
Concerning the rending and dismembering of Pentheus and Orpheus, the parable is plain, for every prevalent affection is outrageous and severe, and against curious inquiry and wholesome and free admonition.
Lastly, that confusion of Jupiter and Bacchus' persons may be well transferred to a parable, seeing noble and famous acts, and remarkable and glorious merits do sometimes proceed from virtue and well ordered reason and magnanimity, and sometimes from a secret affection and hidden passion, which are so dignified with the celebrity of fame and glory, that a man can hardly distinguish between the acts of Bacchus and the gests of Jupiter.
ATALANTA, OR GAIN. Atalanta, who was reputed to excel in swiftness, would needs challenge Hippomenes at a match in running. The conditions of the prize were these, that if Hippomenes won the race he should espouse Atalanta; if he were outrun that then he should forfeit his life. And in the opinion of all, the victory was thought assured of Atalanta's side, being famous, as she was, for her matchless and inconquerable speed, whereby she had been the bane of many. Hippomenes therefore bethinks him how to deceive her by a trick, and in that regard provides three golden apples or balls, which he purposely carried about him. The race is begun, and Atalanta gets a good start before him. He seeing himself thus cast behind, being mindful of his device, throws one of his golden balls before her, and yet not outright but somewhat of the one side, both to make her linger and also to draw her out of the right course : she out of a womanish desire, being thus enticed with the beauty of the golden apple, leaving her direct race, runs aside and stoops to catch the ball. Hippomenes the while holds on his course, getting there