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THE

WISDOM OF THE ANCIENTS.

CASSANDRA, OR DIVINATION.

The poets fable, that Apollo being enamoured of Cassandra, was, by her many shifts and cunning sleights, still deluded in his desire; but yet fed on

; with hope until such time as she had drawn from him the gift of prophecying; and having by such her dissimulation, in the end attained to that, which from the beginning she sought after, at last flatly rejected his suit: who, finding himself so far engaged in his promise, as that he could not by any means revoke again his rash gift, and yet inflamed with an earnest desire of revenge, highly disdaining to be made the scorn of a crafty wench, annexed a penalty to his promise, to wit, that she should ever foretel the truth but never be believed ; so were her divinations always faithful, but at no time regarded, whereof she still found the experience, yea, even in the ruin of her own country, which she had often forewarned them of, but they neither gave credit nor ear to her words.

This fable seems to intimate the unprofitable liberty of untimely admonitions and counsels : for

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they that are so overweened with the sharpness and dexterity of their own wit and capacity, as that they disdain to submit themselves to the documents of Apollo, the god of harmony, whereby to learn and observe the method and measure of affairs, the grace and gravity of discourse, the differences between the more judicious and more vulgar ears, and the due times when to speak and when to be silent; be they never so sensible and pregnant, and their judgments never so profound and profitable, yet in all their endeavours either of persuasion or perforce, they avail nothing ; neither are they of any moment to advantage or manage matters, but do rather hasten on the ruin of all those that they adhere or devote themselves unto; and then, at last when calamity hath made men feel the event of neglect, then shall they, too late, be reverenced as deep foreseeing and faithful prophets : whereof a notable instance is eminently set forth in Marcus Cato Uticensis, who as from a watch-tower discovered afar off, and as an oracle long foretold, the approaching ruin of his country, and the plotted tyranny hovering over the state, both in the first conspiracy, and as it was prosecuted in the civil contention between Cæsar and Pompey, and did no good the while, but rather harmed the commonwealth and hastened on his country's bane; which M. Cicero wisely observed, and writing to a familiar friend, doth in these terms excellently describe, “ Cato optime sentit, sed nocet “ interdum Reipublicæ : loquitur enim tanquam

in

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Republicà Platonis, non tanquam in fæce Romuli.” Cato (saith he) judgeth profoundly, but in the mean time damnifies the state, for he speaks as in the commonwealth of Plato and not as in the dregs of Romulus.

TYPHON, OR A REBEL. Juno, being vexed (say the poets) that Jupiter had begotten Pallas by himself without her, earnestly pressed all the other gods and goddesses, that she might also bring forth of herself alone without him; and having by violence and importunity obtained a grant thereof, she smote the earth, and forthwith sprang up Typhon, a huge and horrid monster. This strange birth she commits to a serpent, as a foster-father, to nourish it; who no sooner came to ripeness of years but he provokes Jupiter to battle. In the conflict, the giant getting the upper hand, takes Jupiter upon his shoulders, carries him into a remote and obscure country, and (cutting out the sinews of his hands and feet) brought them away, and so left him miserably mangled and maimed; but Mercury recovering these nerves from Typhon by stealth, restored them again to Jupiter. Jupiter being again by this means corroborated, assaults the monster afresh, and at the first strikes him with a thunderbolt, from whose blood serpents were engendered. This monster at length fainting and flying, Jupiter casts on him the mount Ætna, and with the weight thereof crushed him.

This fable seems to point at the variable fortune of princes, and the rebellious insurrection of traitors in a state. For princes may well be said to be married to their dominions, as Jupiter was to Juno ; but it happens now and then, that being deboshed by the long custom of empiring and bending towards tyranny, they endeavour to draw all to themselves, and, contemning the counsel of their nobles and senators, hatched laws in their own brain, that is, dispose of things by their own fancy and absolute power. The people, repining at this, study how to create and set up a chief of their own choice. This project, by the secret instigation of the peers and nobles, doth for the most part take his beginning; by whose connivance the commons being set on edge, there follows a kind of murmuring or discontent in the state, shadowed by the infancy of Typhon, which being nursed by the natural pravity and clownish malignity of the vulgar sort, (unto princes as infestuous as serpents,) is again repaired by renewed strength, and at last breaks out into open rebellion, which, because it brings infinite mischiefs upon prince and people, is represented by the monstrous deformity of Typhon : his hundred heads signify their divided powers, his fiery mouths their inflamed intents, his serpentine circles their pestilent malice in besieging, his iron hands their merciless slaughters, his eagle's talons their greedy rapines, his plumed body their continual rumours, and scouts, and fears, and such like ; and sometimes these rebellions grow so potent, that princes are enforced (transported as it were by the rebels, and forsaking the chief seats and cities of the

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kingdom) to contract their power, and, being deprived of the sinews of money and majesty, betake themselves to some remote and obscure corner within their dominions ; but in process of time, if they bear their misfortunes with moderation, they may recover their strength by the virtue and industry of Mercury, that is, they may, by becoming affable, and by reconciling the minds and wills of their subjects with grave edicts and gracious speech, excite an alacrity to grant aids and subsidies whereby to strengthen their authority anew. Nevertheless, having learned to be wise and wary, they will refrain to try the chance of fortune by war, and yet study how to suppress the reputation of the rebels by some famous action, which if it fall out answerable to their expectation, the rebels, finding themselves weakened, and fearing the success of their broken projects, betake themselves to some sleight and vain bravadoes like the hissing of serpents, and at length in despair betake themselves to flight, and then when they begin to break, it is safe and timely for kings to pursue and oppress them with the forces and weight of the kingdom, as it were with the mountain Ætna.

THE CYCLOPS, OR THE MINISTERS OF

TERROR. They say that the Cyclops, for their fierceness and cruelty, were by Jupiter cast into hell, and there doomed to perpetual imprisonment; but Tellus

persuaded Jupiter that it would do well, if being set at liberty, they were put to forge thunder-bolts, which

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