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Title: Complete Works of Plutarch — Volume 3: Essays and Miscellanies
Author: Plutarch, 46-120?
Language: English
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and Chris Brennen


The Complete Works Volume 3

By Plutarch



  That It Is Not Possible To Live Pleasurably According To The
  Doctrine Of Epicurus

  That A Philosopher Ought Chiefly To Converse With Great Men

  Sentiments Concerning Nature, With Which Philosophers Were

  Abstract Of A Discourse Showing That The Stoics Speak Greater
  Improbabilities Than The Poets


  Common Conceptions Against The Stoics

  Contradictions Of The Stoics

  The Eating Of Flesh

  Concerning Fate

  Against Colotes, The Disciple And Favorite Of Epicurus

  Platonic Questions


   The Life And Poetry Of Homer

   The Banquet Of The Seven Wise Men

   How A Young Man Ought To Hear Poems

   Abstract Of A Comparison Between Aristophanes And Menander

   The Malice Of Herodotus




Epicurus's great confidant and familiar, Colotes, set forth a book with
this title to it, that according to the tenets of the other philosophers
it is impossible to live. Now what occurred to me then to say against
him, in the defence of those philosophers, hath been already put into
writing by me. But since upon breaking up of our lecture several things
have happened to be spoken afterwards in the walks in further opposition
to his party, I thought it not amiss to recollect them also, if for
no other reason, yet for this one, that those who will needs be
contradicting other men may see that they ought not to run cursorily
over the discourses and writings of those they would disprove, nor by
tearing out one word here and another there, or by falling foul upon
particular passages without the books, to impose upon the ignorant and

Now as we were leaving the school to take a walk (as our manner is) in
the gymnasium, Zeuxippus began to us: In my opinion, said he, the debate
was managed on our side with more softness and less freedom than was
fitting. I am sure, Heraclides went away disgusted with us, for handling
Epicurus and Aletrodorus more roughly than they deserved. Yet you
may remember, replied Theon, how you told them that Colotes himself,
compared with the rhetoric of those two gentlemen, would appear the
complaisantest man alive; for when they have raked together the
lewdest terms of ignominy the tongue of man ever used, as buffooneries,
trollings, arrogancies, whorings, assassinations, whining counterfeits,
black-guards, and blockheads, they faintly throw them in the faces of
Aristotle, Socrates, Pythagoras, Protagoras, Theophrastus, Heraclides,
Hipparchus, and which not, even of the best and most celebrated
authorities. So that, should they pass for very knowing men upon all
other accounts, yet their very calumnies and reviling language would
bespeak them at the greatest distance from philosophy imaginable. For
emulation can never enter that godlike consort, nor such fretfulness
as wants resolution to conceal its own resentments. Aristodemus then
subjoined: Heraclides, you know, is a great philologist; and that may
be the reason why he made Epicurus those amends for the poetic din (so,
that party style poetry) and for the fooleries of Homer; or else, it may
be, it was because Metrodorus had libelled that poet in so many books.
But let us let these gentlemen pass at present, Zeuxippus, and rather
return to what was charged upon the philosophers in the beginning of our
discourse, that it is impossible to live according to their tenets. And
I see not why we two may not despatch this affair betwixt us, with the
good assistance of Theon; for I find this gentleman (meaning me) is
already tired. Then Theon said to him,

     Our fellows have that garland from us won;

therefore, if you please,

     Let's fix another goal, and at that run.
     ("Odyssey," xxii, 6)

We will even prosecute them at the suit of the philosophers, in the
following form: We'll prove, if we can, that it is impossible to live
a pleasurable life according to their tenets. Bless me! said I to him,
smiling, you seem to me to level your foot at the very bellies of the
men, and to design to enter the list with them for their lives, whilst
you go about to rob them thus of their pleasure, and they cry out to

     "Forbear, we're no good boxers, sir;

no, nor good pleaders, nor good senators, nor good magistrates either;

     "Our proper talent is to eat and drink."
     ("Odyssey," viii, 246, 248)

and to excite such tender and delicate motions in our bodies as may
chafe our imaginations to some jolly delight or gayety." And therefore
you seem to me not so much to take off (as I may say) the pleasurable
part, as to deprive the men of their very lives, while you will not
leave them to live pleasurably. Nay then, said Theon, if you approve so
highly of this subject, why do you not set in hand to it? By all means,
said I, I am for this, and shall not only hear but answer you too, if
you shall insist. But I must leave it to you to take the lead.

Then, after Theon had spoken something to excuse himself, Aristodemus
said: When we had so short and fair a cut to our design, how have you
blocked up the way before us, by preventing us from joining issue with
the faction at the very first upon the single point of propriety! For
you must grant, it can be no easy matter to drive men already possessed
that pleasure is their utmost good yet to believe a life of pleasure
impossible to be attained. But now the truth is, that when they failed
of living becomingly they failed also of living pleasurably; for to
live pleasurably without living becomingly is even by themselves allowed

Theon then said: We may probably resume the consideration of that in
the process of our discourse; in the interim we will make use of their
concessions. Now they suppose their last good to lie about the belly and
such other conveyances of the body as let in pleasure and not pain; and
are of opinion, that all the brave and ingenious inventions that ever
have been were contrived at first for the pleasure of the belly, or the
good hope of compassing such pleasure,--as the sage Metrodorus informs
us. By which, my good friend, it is very plain, they found their
pleasure in a poor, rotten, and unsure thing, and one that is equally
perforated for pains, by the very passages they receive their pleasures
by; or rather indeed, that admits pleasure but by a few, but pain by
all its parts. For the whole of pleasure is in a manner in the joints,
nerves, feet, and hands; and these are oft the seats of very grievous
and lamentable distempers, as gouts, corroding rheums, gangrenes, and
putrid ulcers. And if you apply to yourself the exquisitest of perfumes
or gusts, you will find but some one small part of your body is finely
and delicately touched, while the rest are many times filled with
anguish and complaints. Besides, there is no part of us proof against
fire, sword, teeth, or scourges, or insensible of dolors and aches; yea,
heats, colds, and fevers sink into all our parts alike. But pleasures,
like gales of soft wind, move simpering, one towards one extreme of the
body and another towards another, and then go off in a vapor. Nor are
they of any long durance, but, as so many glancing meteors, they are
no sooner kindled in the body than they are quenched by it. As to pain,
Aeschylus's Philoctetes affords us a sufficient testimony:--

     The cruel viper ne'er will quit my foot;
     Her dire envenomed teeth have there ta'en root.

For pain will not troll off as pleasure doth, nor imitate it in its
pleasing and tickling touches. But as the clover twists its perplexed
and winding roots into the earth, and through its coarseness abides
there a long time; so pain disperses and entangles its hooks and roots
in the body, and continues there, not for a day or a night, but for
several seasons of years, if not for some revolutions of Olympiads, nor
scarce ever departs unless struck out by other pains, as by stronger
nails. For who ever drank so long as those that are in a fever are
a-dry? Or who was ever so long eating as those that are besieged
suffer hunger? Or where are there any that are so long solaced with the
conversation of friends as tyrants are racking and tormenting? Now all
this is owing to the baseness of the body and its natural incapacity for
a pleasurable life; for it bears pains better than it doth pleasures,
and with respect to those is firm and hardy, but with respect to these
is feeble and soon palled. To which add, that if we are minded to
discourse on a life of pleasure, these men won't give us leave to go on,
but will presently confess themselves that the pleasures of the body are
but short, or rather indeed but of a moment's continuance; if they do
not design to banter us or else speak out of vanity, when Metrodorus
tells us, We many times spit at the pleasures of the body, and Epicurus
saith, A wise man, when he is sick, many times laughs in the very
extremity of his distemper.

     For Ithaca is no fit place
     For mettled steeds to run a race.
     ("Odyssey," iv. 605.)

Neither can the joys of our poor bodies be smooth and equal; but on the
contrary they must be coarse and harsh, and immixed with much that is
displeasing and inflamed.

Zeuxippus then said: And do you not think then they take the right
course to begin at the body, where they observe pleasure to have its
first rise, and thence to pass to the mind as the more stable and sure
part, there to complete and crown the whole?

They do, by Jove, I said; and if, after removing thither they have
indeed found something more consummate than before, a course too as well
agreeing with nature as becoming men adorned with both contemplative and
civil knowledge. But if after all this you still hear them cry out, and
protest that the mind of man can receive no satisfaction or tranquillity
from anything under Heaven but the pleasures of the body either in
possession or expectance, and that these are its proper and only good,
can you forbear thinking they make use of the soul but as a funnel
for the body, while they mellow their pleasure by shifting it from one
vessel to another, as they rack wine out of an old and leaky vessel
into a new one and there let it grow old, and then imagine they have
performed some extraordinary and very fine thing? True indeed, a fresh
pipe may both keep and recover wine that hath thus been drawn off; but
the mind, receiving but the remembrance only of past pleasure, like a
kind of scent, retains that and no more. For as soon as it hath given
one hiss in the body, it immediately expires, and that little of it that
stays behind in the memory is but flat and like a queasy fume: as if a
man should lay up and treasure in his fancy what he either ate or drank
yesterday, that he may have recourse to that when he wants fresh fare.
See now how much more temperate the Cyrenaics are, who, though they have
drunk out of the same bottle with Epicurus, yet will not allow men so
much as to practise their amours by candlelight, but only under
the covert of the dark, for fear seeing should fasten too quick an
impression of the images of such actions upon the fancy and thereby
too frequently inflame the desire. But these gentlemen account it the
highest accomplishment of a philosopher to have a clear and retentive
memory of all the various figures, passions, and touches of past
pleasure. We will not now say, they present us with nothing worthy the
name of philosophy, while they leave the refuse of pleasure in their
wise man's mind, as if it could be a lodging for bodies; but that it is
impossible such things as these should make a man live pleasurably, I
think is abundantly manifest from hence.

For it will not perhaps seem strange if I assert, that the memory of
pleasure past brings no pleasure with it if it appeared but little in
the very enjoyment, or to men of such abstinence as to account it for
their benefit to retire from its first approaches; when even the most
amazed and sensual admirers of corporeal delights remain no longer in
their gaudy and pleasant humor than their pleasure lasts them. What
remains is but an empty shadow and dream of that pleasure that hath now
taken wing and is fled from them, and that serves but for fuel to foment
their untamed desires. Like as in those that dream they are a-dry or in
love, their unaccomplished pleasures and enjoyments do but excite the
inclination to a greater keenness. Nor indeed can the remembrance of
past enjoyments afford them any real contentment at all, but must serve
only, with the help of a quick desire, to raise up very much of outrage
and stinging pain out of the remains of a feeble and befooling pleasure.
Neither doth it befit men of continence and sobriety to exercise their
thoughts about such poor things, or to do what one twitted Carneades
with, to reckon, as out of a diurnal, how oft they have lain with
Hedia or Leontion, or where they last drank Thasian wine, or at what
twentieth-day feast they had a costly supper. For such transport and
captivatedness of the mind to its own remembrances as this is would show
a detestable and bestial restlessness and raving towards the present
and hoped-for acts of pleasure. And therefore I cannot but look upon
the sense of these inconveniences as the true cause of their retiring
at last to a freedom from pain and a firm state of body; as if living
pleasurably could lie in bare imagining this either past or future to
some persons. True indeed it is, "that a sound state of body and a good
assurance of its continuing must needs afford a most transcending and
solid satisfaction to all men capable of reasoning."

But yet look first what work they make, while they course this same
thing--whether it be pleasure, exemption from pain, or good health--up
and down, first from the body to the mind, and then back again from the
mind to the body, being compelled to return it to its first origin,
lest it should run out and so give them the slip. Thus they place the
pleasure of the body (as Epicurus says) upon the complacent joy in the
mind, and yet conclude again with the good hopes that complacent
joy hath in bodily pleasure. Indeed what wonder is it if, when the
foundation shakes, the superstructure totter? Or that there should be no
sure hope nor unshaken joy in a matter that suffers so great concussion
and changes as continually attend a body exposed to so many violences
and strokes from without, and having within it the origins of such evils
as human reason cannot avert? For if it could, no understanding man
would ever fall under stranguries, gripes, consumptions, or dropsies;
with some of which Epicurus himself did conflict and Polyaenus with
others, while others of them were the deaths of Neocles and Agathobulus.
And this we mention not to disparage them, knowing very well that
Pherecydes and Heraclitus, both very excellent persons, labored under
very uncouth and calamitous distempers. We only beg of them, if they
will own their own diseases and not by noisy rants and popular harangues
incur the imputation of false bravery, either not to take the health of
the whole body for the ground of their content, or else not to say that
men under the extremities of dolors and diseases can yet rally and be
pleasant. For a sound and hale constitution of body is indeed a
thing that often happens, but a firm and steadfast assurance of
its continuance can never befall an intelligent mind. But as at sea
(according to Aeschylus)

     Night to the ablest pilot trouble brings,
     (Aechylus, "Suppliants," 770.)

and so will a calm too, for no man knows what will be,--so likewise
is it impossible for a soul that dwells in a healthful body, and that
places her good in the hopes she hath of that body, to perfect her
voyage here without frights or waves. For man's mind hath not, like the
sea, its tempests and storms only from without it, but it also raises up
from within far more and greater disturbances. And a man may with more
reason look for constant fair weather in the midst of winter than for
perpetual exemption from afflictions in his body. For what else hath
given the poets occasion to term us ephemeral creatures, uncertain and
unfixed, and to liken our lives to leaves that both spring and fall in
the lapse of a summer, but the unhappy, calamitous, and sickly condition
of the body, whose very utmost good we are warned to dread and prevent?
For an exquisite habit, Hippocrates saith, is slippery and hazardous.

     He that but now looked jolly, plump, and stout,
     Like a star shot by Jove, is now gone out;

as it is in Euripides. And it is a vulgar persuasion, that very handsome
persons, when looked upon, oft suffer damage by envy and an evil eye;
for a body at its utmost vigor will through delicacy very soon admit of

But now that these men are miserably unprovided for an undisturbed life,
you may discern even from what they themselves advance against others.
For they say that those who commit wickedness and incur the displeasure
of the laws live in constant misery and fear, for, though they may
perhaps attain to privacy, yet it is impossible they should ever be well
assured of that privacy; whence the ever impending fear of the future
will not permit them to have either complacency or assurance in their
present circumstances. But they consider not how they speak all this
against themselves. For a sound and healthy state of body they may
indeed oftentimes possess, but that they should ever be well assured of
its continuance is impossible; and they must of necessity be in constant
disquiet and pain for the body with respect to futurity, never being
able to reach that firm and steadfast assurance which they expect. But
to do no wickedness will contribute nothing to our assurance; for it is
not suffering unjustly but suffering in itself that is dismaying. Nor
can it be a matter of trouble to be engaged in villanies one's self, and
not afflictive to suffer by the villanies of others. Neither can it
be said that the tyranny of Lachares was less, if it was not more,
calamitous to the Athenians, and that of Dionysius to the Syracusans,
than they were to the tyrants themselves; for it was disturbing that
made them be disturbed; and their first oppressing and pestering of
others gave them occasion to expect to suffer ill themselves. Why should
a man recount the outrages of rabbles, the barbarities of thieves,
or the villanies of inheritors, or yet the contagions of airs and the
concursions of seas, by which Epicurus (as himself writeth) was in his
voyage to Lampsacus within very little of drowning? The very composition
of the body--it containing in it the matter of all diseases, and (to use
a pleasantry of the vulgar) cutting thongs for the beast out of its own
hide, I mean pains out of the body--is sufficient to make life perilous
and uneasy, and that to the good as well as to the bad, if they have
learned to set their complacence and assurance in the body and the hopes
they have of it, and in nothing else; as Epicurus hath written, as well
in many other of his discourses as in that of Man's End.

They therefore assign not only a treacherous and unsure ground of their
pleasurable living, but also one in all respects despicable and little,
if the escaping of evils be the matter of their complacence and last
good. But now they tell us, nothing else can be so much as imagined, and
nature hath no other place to bestow her good in but only that out
of which her evil hath been driven; as Metrodorus speaks in his book
against the Sophists. So that this single thing, to escape evil, he
says, is the supreme good; for there is no room to lodge this good in
where no more of what is painful and afflicting goes out. Like unto this
is that of Epicurus, where he saith: The very essence of good arises
from the escaping of bad, and a man's recollecting, considering, and
rejoicing within himself that this hath befallen him. For what occasions
transcending joy (he saith) is some great impending evil escaped; and
in this lies the very nature and essence of good, if a man consider it
aright, and contain himself when he hath done, and not ramble and prate
idly about it. Oh, the rare satisfaction and felicity these men enjoy,
that can thus rejoice for having undergone no evil and endured neither
sorrow nor pain! Have they not reason, think you, to value themselves
for such things as these, and to speak as they are wont when they
style themselves immortals and equals to gods?--and when, through the
excessiveness and transcendency of the blessed things they enjoy, they
rave even to the degree of whooping and hollowing for very satisfaction
that, to the shame of all mortals, they have been the only men that
could find out this celestial and divine good that lies in an exemption
from all evil? So that their beatitude differs little from that of swine
and sheep, while they place it in a mere tolerable and contented state,
either of the body, or of the mind upon the body's account. For even the
more prudent and more ingenious sort of brutes do not esteem escaping
of evil their last end; but when they have taken their repast, they are
disposed next by fullness to singing, and they divert themselves with
swimming and flying; and their gayety and sprightliness prompt them to
entertain themselves with attempting to counterfeit all sorts of voices
and notes; and then they make their caresses to one another, by skipping
and dancing one towards another; nature inciting them, after they have
escaped evil, to look after some good, or rather to shake off what
they find uneasy and disagreeing, as an impediment to their pursuit of
something better and more congenial.

For what we cannot be without deserves not the name of good; but that
which claims our desire and preference must be something beyond a bare
escape from evil. And so, by Jove, must that be too that is either
agreeing or congenial to us, according to Plato, who will not allow
us to give the name of pleasures to the bare departures of sorrows and
pains, but would have us look upon them rather as obscure draughts and
mixtures of agreeing and disagreeing, as of black and white, while
the extremes would advance themselves to a middle temperament. But
oftentimes unskilfulness and ignorance of the true nature of extreme
occasions some to mistake the middle temperament for the extreme and
outmost part. Thus do Epicurus and Metrodorus, while they make avoiding
of evil to be the very essence and consummation of good, and so receive
but as it were the satisfaction of slaves or of rogues newly discharged
the jail, who are well enough contented if they may but wash and supple
their sores and the stripes they received by whipping, but never in
their lives had one taste or sight of a generous, clean, unmixed and
unulcerated joy. For it follows not that, if it be vexatious to have
one's body itch or one's eyes to run, it must be therefore a blessing to
scratch one's self, and to wipe one's eye with a rag; nor that, if it
be bad to be dejected or dismayed at divine matters or to be discomposed
with the relations of hell, therefore the bare avoiding of all this
must be some happy and amiable thing. The truth is, these men's opinion,
though it pretends so far to outgo that of the vulgar, allows their
joy but a straight and narrow compass to toss and tumble in, while it
extends it but to an exemption from the fear of hell, and so makes that
the top of acquired wisdom which is doubtless natural to the brutes.
For if freedom from bodily pain be still the same, whether it come by
endeavor or by nature, neither then is an undisturbed state of mind the
greater for being attained to by industry than if it came by nature.
Though a man may with good reason maintain that to be the more confirmed
habit of the mind which naturally admits of no disorder, than that which
by application and judgment eschews it.

But let us suppose them both equal; they will yet appear not one jot
superior to the beasts for being unconcerned at the stories of hell
and the legends of the gods, and for not expecting endless sorrows and
everlasting torments hereafter. For it is Epicurus himself that tells
us that, had our surmises about heavenly phenomena and our foolish
apprehensions of death and the pains that ensue it given us no disquiet,
we had not then needed to contemplate nature for our relief. For neither
have the brutes any weak surmises of the gods or fond opinion about
things after death to disorder themselves with; nor have they as much as
imagination or notion that there is anything in these to be dreaded. I
confess, had they left us the benign providence of God as a presumption,
wise men might then seem, by reason of their good hopes from thence, to
have something towards a pleasurable life that beasts have not. But now,
since they have made it the scope of all their discourses of God that
they may not fear him, but may be eased of all concern about him, I much
question whether those that never thought at all of him have not this in
a more confirmed degree than they that have learned to think he can do
no harm. For if they were never freed from superstition, they never fell
into it; and if they never laid aside a disturbing conceit of God, they
never took one up. The like may be said as to hell and the future state.
For though neither the Epicurean nor the brute can hope for any good
thence; yet such as have no forethought of death at all cannot but be
less amused and scared with what comes after it than they that betake
themselves to the principle that death is nothing to us. But something
to them it must be, at least so far as they concern themselves to reason
about it and contemplate it; but the beasts are wholly exempted from
thinking of what appertains not to them; and if they fly from blows,
wounds, and slaughters, they fear no more in death than is dismaying to
the Epicurean himself.

Such then are the things they boast to have attained by their
philosophy. Let us now see what those are they deprive themselves of and
chase away from them. For those diffusions of the mind that arise
from the body, and the pleasing condition of the body, if they be
but moderate, appear to have nothing in them that is either great or
considerable; but if they be excessive, besides their being vain and
uncertain, they are also importune and petulant; nor should a man term
them either mental satisfactions or gayeties, but rather corporeal
gratifications, they being at best but the simperings and effeminacies
of the mind. But now such as justly deserve the names of complacencies
and joys are wholly refined from their contraries, and are immixed with
neither vexation, remorse, nor repentance; and their good is congenial
to the mind and truly mental and genuine, and not superinduced. Nor is
it devoid of reason, but most rational, as springing either from that in
the mind that is contemplative and inquiring, or else from that part
of it that is active and heroic. How many and how great satisfactions
either of these affords us, no one can ever relate. But to hint briefly
at some of them. We have the historians before us, which, though they
find us many and delightful exercises, still leave our desire after
truth insatiate and uncloyed with pleasure, through which even lies
are not without their grace. Yea, tales and poetic fictions, while they
cannot gain upon our belief, have something in them that is charming to

For do but think with yourself, with what a sting we read Plato's
"Atlantic" and the conclusion of the "Iliad," and how we hanker and gape
after the rest of the tale, as when some beautiful temple or theatre is
shut up. But now the informing of ourselves with the truth herself is
a thing so delectable and lovely as if our very life and being were for
the sake of knowing. And the darkest and grimmest things in death are
its oblivion, ignorance, and obscurity. Whence, by Jove, it is that
almost all mankind encounter with those that would destroy the sense
of the departed, as placing the very whole of their life, being, and
satisfaction solely in the sensible and knowing part of the mind. For
even the things that grieve and afflict us yet afford us a sort of
pleasure in the hearing. And it is often seen that those that are
disordered by what is told them, even to the degree of weeping,
notwithstanding require the telling of it. So he in the tragedy who is

     Alas I now the very worst must tell,


     I dread to hear it too, but I must hear.
     (Sophocles, "Pedipus Tyrannus," 1169, 1170.)

But this may seem perhaps a sort of intemperateness of delight in
knowing everything, and as it were a stream violently bearing down the
reasoning faculty. But now, when a story that hath in it nothing that is
troubling and afflictive treats of great and heroic enterprises with a
potency and grace of style such as we find in Herodotus's Grecian and in
Xenophon's Persian history, or in what,

     Inspired by heavenly gods, sage Homer sung,

or in the Travels of Euxodus, the Foundations and Republics of
Aristotle, and the Lives of Famous Men compiled by Aristoxenus; these
will not only bring us exceeding much and great contentment, but such
also as is clean and secure from repentance. And who could take greater
satisfaction either in eating when a-hungry or drinking when a-dry
amongst the Phaeacians, than in going over Ulysses's relation of his
own voyage and rambles? And what man could be better pleased with the
embraces of the most exquisite beauty, than with sitting up all night
to read over what Xenophon hath written of Panthea, or Aristobulus of
Timoclea, or Theopompus of Thebe?

But now these appertain all solely to the mind. But they chase away
from them the delights that accrue from the mathematics also. Though the
satisfactions we receive from history have in them something simple and
equal; but those that come from geometry, astronomy, and music inveigle
and allure us with a sort of nimbleness and variety, and want nothing
that is tempting and engaging; their figures attracting us as so many
charms, whereof whoever hath once tasted, if he be but competently
skilled, will run about chanting that in Sophocles,

     I'm mad; the Muses with new rage inspire me.
     I'll mount the hill; my lyre, my numbers fire me.
     (From the "Thamyras" of Sophocles, Frag. 225)

Nor doth Thamyras break out into poetic raptures upon any other score;
nor, by Jove, Euxodus, Aristarchus, or Archimedes. And when the lovers
of the art of painting are so enamoured with the charmingness of their
own performances, that Nicias, as he was drawing the Evocation of Ghosts
in Homer, often asked his servants whether he had dined or no, and when
King Ptolemy had sent him threescore talents for his piece, after it was
finished, he neither would accept the money nor part with his work; what
and how great satisfactions may we then suppose to have been reaped
from geometry and astronomy by Euclid when he wrote his Dioptrics, by
Philippus when he had perfected his demonstration of the figure of the
moon, by Archimedes when with the help of a certain angle he had found
the sun's diameter to make the same part of the largest circle that that
angle made of four right angles, and by Apollonius and Aristarchus who
were the inventors of some other things of the like nature? The bare
contemplating and comprehending of all these now engender in the
learners both unspeakable delights and a marvellous height of spirit.
And it doth in no wise beseem me, by comparing with these the fulsome
debauchees of victualling-houses and stews, to contaminate Helicon and
the Muses,--

     Where swain his flock ne'er fed,
     Nor tree by hatchet bled.
     (Euripides, "Hippolytus," 75.)

But these are the verdant and untrampled pastures of ingenious bees;
but those are more like the mange of lecherous boars and he-goats. And
though a voluptuous temper of mind be naturally erratic and precipitate,
yet never any yet sacrificed an ox for joy that he had gained his will
of his mistress; nor did any ever wish to die immediately, might he but
once satiate himself with the costly dishes and comfits at the table of
his prince. But now Eudoxus wished he might stand by the sun, and inform
himself of the figure, magnitude, and beauty of that luminary, though
he were, like Phaethon, consumed by it. And Pythagoras offered an ox in
sacrifice for having completed the lines of a certain geometric diagram;
as Apollodotus tells us,

     When the famed lines Pythagoras devised,
     For which a splendid ox he sacrificed.

Whether it was that by which he showed that the line that regards the
right angle in a triangle is equivalent to the two lines that contain
that angle, or the problem about the area of the parabolic section of
a cone. And Archimedes's servants were forced to hale him away from his
draughts, to be anointed in the bath; but he notwithstanding drew the
lines upon his belly with his strigil. And when, as he was washing
(as the story goes of him), he thought of a manner of computing the
proportion of gold in King Hiero's crown by seeing the water flowing
over the bathing-stool, he leaped up as one possessed or inspired,
crying, "I have found it;" which after he had several times repeated,
he went his way. But we never yet heard of a glutton that exclaimed
with such vehemence, "I have eaten," or of an amorous gallant that ever
cried, "I have kissed," among the many millions of dissolute debauchees
that both this and preceding ages have produced. Yea, we abominate those
that make mention of their great suppers with too luscious a gust, as
men overmuch taken with mean and abject delights. But we find ourselves
in one and the same ecstasy with Eudoxus, Archimedes, and Hipparchus;
and we readily give assent to Plato when he saith of the mathematics,
that while ignorance and unskilledness make men despise them, they still
thrive notwithstanding by reason of their charmingness, in despite of

These then so great and so many pleasures, that run like perpetual
springs and rills, these men decline and avoid; nor will they permit
those that put in among them so much as to take a taste of them, but bid
them hoist up the little sails of their paltry cock-boats and fly from
them. Nay, they all, both he and she philosophers, beg and entreat
Pythocles, for dear Epicurus's sake, not to affect or make such account
of the sciences called liberal. And when they cry up and defend one
Apelles, they write of him that he kept himself clean by refraining
himself all along from the mathematics. But as to history--to pass over
their aversedness to other kinds of compositions--I shall only present
you with the words of Metrodorus, who in his treatise of the Poets
writes thus: Wherefore let it never disturb you, if you know not either
what side Hector was of, or the first verses in Homer's Poem, or
again what is in its middle. But that the pleasures of the body spend
themselves like the winds called Etesian or Anniversary, and utterly
determine when once age is past its vigor, Epicurus himself was not
insensible; and therefore he makes it a problematic question, whether a
sage philosopher, when he is an old man and disabled for enjoyment, may
not still be recreated with having handsome girls to feel and grope him,
being not, it seems, of the mind of old Sophocles, who thanked God he
had at length escaped from this kind of pleasure, as from an untamed and
furious master. But, in my opinion, it would be more advisable for these
sensual lechers, when they see that age will dry up so many of their
pleasures, and that, as Euripides saith,

     Dame Venus is to ancient men a foe,
     (Euripides, "Aeolus," Frag. 23.)

in the first place to collect and lay up in store, as against a siege,
these other pleasures, as a sort of provision that will not impair and
decay; that then, after they have celebrated the venereal festivals
of life, they may spend a cleanly after-feast in reading over the
historians and poets, or else in problems of music and geometry. For
it would never have come into their minds so much as to think of these
purblind and toothless gropings and spurtings of lechery, had they but
learned, if nothing more, to write comments upon Homer or Euripides, as
Aristotle, Heraclides, and Dicaerchus did. But I verily persuade myself
that their neglecting to take care for such provisions as these, and
finding all the other things they employed themselves in (as they use to
say of virtue) but insipid and dry, and being wholly set upon pleasure,
and the body no longer supplying them with it, give them occasion to
stoop to do things both mean and shameful in themselves and unbecoming
their age; as well when they refresh their memories with their former
pleasures and serve themselves of old ones (as it were) long since dead
and laid up in pickle for the purpose, when they cannot have fresh ones,
as when again they offer violence to nature by suscitating and inflaming
in their decayed bodies, as in cold embers, other new ones equally
senseless, they having not, it seems, their minds stored with any
congenial pleasure that is worth the rejoicing at.

As to the other delights of the mind, we have already treated of them,
as they occurred to us. But their aversedness and dislike to music,
that affords us so great delights and such charming satisfactions, a
man could not forget if he would, by reason of the inconsistency of what
Epicurus saith, when he pronounceth in his book called his Doubts that
his wise man ought to be a lover of public spectacles and to delight
above any other man in the music and shows of the Bacchanals; and yet
he will not admit of music problems or of the critical inquiries of
philologists, no, not so much as at a compotation. Yea, he advises such
princes as are lovers of the Muses rather to entertain themselves at
their feasts either with some narration of military adventures or with
the importune scurrilities of drolls and buffoons, than to engage in
disputes about music or in questions of poetry. For this very thing he
had the face to write in his treatise of Monarchy, as if he were writing
to Sardanapalus, or to Nanarus ruler of Babylon. For neither would a
Hiero nor an Attalus nor an Archelaus be persuaded to make a Euripides,
a Simonides, a Melanippides, a Crates, or a Diodotus rise up from their
tables, and to place such scaramuchios in their rooms as a Cardax, an
Agrias, or a Callias, or fellows like Thrasonides and Thrasyleon, to
make people disorder the house with hollowing and clapping. Had the
great Ptolemy, who was the first that formed a consort of musicians, but
met with these excellent and royal admonitions, would he not, think you,
have thus addressed himself to the Samians:--

     O Muse, whence art thou thus maligned?

For certainly it can never belong to any Athenian to be in such enmity
and hostility with the Muses. But

     No animal accurst by Jove
     Music's sweet charms can ever love.
     (Pindar, "Pythian," i. 25.)

What sayest thou now, Epicurus? Wilt thou get thee up betimes in the
morning, and go to the theatre to hear the harpers and flutists
play? But if a Theophrastus discourse at the table of Concords, or an
Aristoxenus of Varieties, or if an Aristophanes play the critic upon
Homer, wilt thou presently, for very dislike and abhorrence, clap both
thy hands upon thy ears? And do they not hereby make the Scythian king
Ateas more musical than this comes to, who, when he heard that admirable
flutist Ismenias, detained then by him as a prisoner of war, playing
upon the flute at a compotation, swore he had rather hear his own horse
neigh? And do they not also profess themselves to stand at an implacable
and irreconcilable defiance with whatever is generous and becoming? And
indeed what do they ever embrace or affect that is either genteel or
regardable, when it hath nothing of pleasure to accompany it? And would
it not far less affect a pleasurable way of living, to abhor perfumes
and odors, like beetles and vultures, than to shun and abhor the
conversation of learned, critics and musicians? For what flute or harp
ready tuned for a lesson, or

     What sweetest concerts e'er with artful noise,
     Warbled by softest tongue and best tuned voice,

ever gave Epicurus and Metrodorus such content as the disputes and
precepts about concerts gave Aristotle, Theophrastus, Hieronymus, and
Dicaerchus? And also the problems about flutes, rhythms, and harmonies;
as, for instance, why the longer of two flutes of the same longitude
should speak flatter?--why, if you raise the pipe, will all its notes
be sharp; and flat again, if you depress it?--and why, when clapped
to another, will it sound flatter; and sharper again, when taken from
it?--why also, if you scatter chaff or dust about the orchestra of a
theatre, will the sound be deadened?--and why, when one would have set
up a bronze Alexander for a frontispiece to a stage at Pella, did the
architect advise to the contrary, because it would spoil the actors'
voices? and why, of the several kinds of music, will the chromatic
diffuse and the harmonic compose the mind? But now the several humors
of poets, their differing turns and forms of style, and the solutions
of their difficult places, have conjoined with a sort of dignity and
politeness somewhat also that is extremely agreeable and charming;
insomuch that to me they seem to do what was once said by Xenophon, to
make a man even forget the joys of love, so powerful and overcoming is
the pleasure they bring us.

In this investigation these gentlemen have not the least share, nor
do they so much as pretend or desire to have any. But while they are
sinking and depressing their contemplative part into the body, and
dragging it down by their sensual and intemperate appetites, as by so
many weights of lead, they make themselves appear little better than
hostlers or graziers that still ply their cattle with hay, straw, or
grass, looking upon such provender as the properest and meetest food
for them. And is it not even thus they would swill the mind with the
pleasures of the body, as hogherds do their swine, while they will
not allow it can be gay any longer than it is hoping, experiencing,
or remembering something that refers to the body; but will not have it
either to receive or seek for any congenial joy or satisfaction
from within itself? Though what can be more absurd and unreasonable
than--when there are two things that go to make up the man, a body and
a soul, and the soul besides hath the perogative of governing--that the
body should have its peculiar, natural, and proper good, and the soul
none at all, but must sit gazing at the body and simper at its passions,
as if she were pleased and affected with them, though indeed she be all
the while wholly untouched and unconcerned, as having nothing of her own
to choose, desire, or take delight in? For they should either pull off
the vizor quite, and say plainly that man is all body (as some of them
do, that take away all mental being), or, if they will allow us to have
two distinct natures, they should then leave to each its proper good and
evil, agreeable and disagreeable; as we find it to be with our senses,
each of which is peculiarly adapted to its own sensible, though they all
very strangely intercommune one with another. Now the intellect is the
proper sense of the mind; and therefore that it should have no congenial
speculation, movement, or affection of its own, the attaining to which
should be matter of complacency to it, is the most irrational thing in
the world, if I have not, by Jove, unwittingly done the men wrong, and
been myself imposed upon by some that may perhaps have calumniated them.

Then I said to him: If we may be your judges, you have not; yea, we must
acquit you of having offered them the least indignity; and therefore
pray despatch the rest of your discourse with assurance. How! said
I, and shall not Aristodemus then succeed me, if you are tired out
yourself? Aristodemus said: With all my heart, when you are as much
tired as he is; but since you are yet in your vigor, pray make use of
yourself, my noble friend, and don't think to pretend weariness. Theon
then replied: What is yet behind, I must confess, is very easy; it being
but to go over the several pleasures contained in that part of life that
consists in action. Now themselves somewhere say that there is far more
satisfaction in doing than in receiving good; and good may be done many
times, it is true, by words, but the most and greatest part of good
consists in action, as the very name of beneficence tells us and they
themselves also attest. For you may remember, continued he, we heard
this gentleman tell us but now what words Epicurus uttered, and
what letters he sent to his friends, applauding and magnifying
Metrodorus,--how bravely and like a spark he quitted the city and
went down to the port to relieve Mithrus the Syrian,--and this, though
Metrodorus did not then do anything at all. What and how great then
may we presume the pleasures of Plato to have been, when Dion by the
measures he gave him deposed the tyrant Dionysius and set Sicily at
liberty? And what the pleasures of Aristotle, when he rebuilt his native
city Stagira, then levelled with the ground, and brought back its exiled
inhabitants? And what the pleasures of Theophrastus and of Phidias, when
they cut off the tyrants of their respective countries? For what need
a man recount to you, who so well know it, how many particular persons
they relieved, not by sending them a little wheat or a measure of meal
(as Epicurus did to some of his friends), but by procuring restoration
to the banished, liberty to the imprisoned, and restitution of wives and
children to those that had been bereft of them? But a man could not, if
he were willing, pass by the sottish stupidity of the man who, though
he tramples under foot and vilifies the great and generous actions of
Themistocles and Miltiades, yet writes these very words to his friends
about himself: "You have given a very gallant and noble testimony of
your care of me in the provision of corn you have made for me, and have
declared your affection to me by signs that mount to the very skies."
So that, should a man but take that poor parcel of corn out of the great
philosopher's epistle, it might seem to be the recital of some letter of
thanks for the delivery or preservation of all Greece or of the commons
of Athens.

We will now forbear to mention that Nature requires very large and
chargeable provisions to be made for accomplishing the pleasures of the
body; nor can the height of delicacy be had in black bread and lentil
pottage. But voluptuous and sensual appetites expect costly dishes,
Thasian wines, perfumed unguents, and varieties of pastry works,

     And cakes by female hands wrought artfully,
     Well steep'd in th' liquor of the gold-wing'd bee;

and besides all this, handsome young lassies too, such as Leontion,
Boidion, Hedia, and Nicedion, that were wont to roam about in Epicurus's
philosophic garden. But now such joys as suit the mind must undoubtedly
be grounded upon a grandeur of actions and a splendor of worthy deeds,
if men would not seem little, ungenerous, and puerile, but on the
contrary, bulky, firm, and brave. But for a man to be elated by
happiness, as Epicurus is, like sailors upon the festivals of Venus,
and to vaunt himself that, when he was sick of an ascites, he
notwithstanding called his friends together to certain collations and
grudged not his dropsy the addition of good liquor, and that, when he
called to remembrance the last words of Neocles, he was melted with a
peculiar sort of joy intermixed with tears,--no man in his right senses
would call these true joys or satisfactions. Nay, I will be bold to say
that, if such a thing as that they call a sardonic or grinning laughter
can happen to the mind, it is to be found in these artificial and crying
laughters. But if any will needs have them still called by the name of
joys and satisfactions, let him but yet think how far they are exceeded
by the pleasures that here ensue:--

     Our counsels have proud Sparta's glory clipt;
and Stranger, this is his country Rome's great star;

and again this,

     I know not which to guess thee, man or god.

Now when I set before my eyes the brave achievements of Thrasybulus and
Pelopidas, of Aristides engaged at Platea and Miltiades at Marathon, I
am here constrained with Herodotus to declare it my opinion, that in an
active state of life the pleasure far exceeds the glory. And Epaminondas
herein bears me witness also, when he saith (as is reported of him),
that the greatest satisfaction he ever received in his life was that
his father and mother had lived to see the trophy set up at Leuctra when
himself was general. Let us then compare with Epaminondas's Epicurus's
mother, rejoicing that she had lived to see her son cooping himself up
in a little garden, and getting children in common with Polyaenus upon
the strumpet of Cyzicus. As for Metrodorus's mother and sister, how
extravagantly rejoiced they were at his nuptials appears by the letters
he wrote to his brother in answer to his; that is, out of his own books.
Nay, they tell us bellowing that they have not only lived a life of
pleasure, but also exult and sing hymns in the praise of their own
living. Though, when our servants celebrate the festivals of Saturn or
go in procession at the time of the rural bacchanals, you would scarcely
brook the hollowing and din they make, if the intemperateness of their
joy and their insensibleness of decorum should make them act and speak
such things as these:--

     Lean down, boy! why dost sit I let's tope like mad!
     Here's belly-timber store; ne'er spare it, lad.
     Straight these huzza like wild.  One fills up drink;
     Another plaits a wreath, and crowns the brink
     O' th' teeming bowl.  Then to the verdant bays
     All chant rude carols in Apollo's praise;
     While one the door with drunken fury smites,
     Till he from bed his loving consort frights.

And are not Metrodorus's words something like to these when he writes to
his brother thus: It is none of our business to preserve the Greeks, or
to get them to bestow garlands upon us for our wit, but to eat well
and drink good wine, Timocrates, so as not to offend but pleasure our
stomachs. And he saith again, in some other place in the same epistles:
How gay and how assured was I, when I had once learned of Epicurus
the true way of gratifying my stomach; for, believe me, philosopher
Timocrates, our prime good lies at the stomach.

In brief, these men draw out the dimensions of their pleasures like
a circle, about the stomach as a centre. And the truth is, it is
impossible for those men ever to participate of generous and princely
joy, such as enkindles a height of spirit in us and sends forth to all
mankind an unmade hilarity and calm serenity, that have taken up a sort
of life that is confined, unsocial, inhuman, and uninspired towards the
esteem of the world and the love of mankind. For the soul of man is not
an abject, little, and ungenerous thing, nor doth it extend its desires
(as polyps do their claws) unto eatables only,--yea, these are in an
instant of time taken off by the least plenitude, but when its efforts
towards what is brave and generous and the honors and caresses that
accrue therefrom are now in their consummate vigor this life's duration
cannot limit them, but the desire of glory and the love of mankind grasp
at whole eternity, and wrestle with such actions and charms as bring
with them an ineffable pleasure, and such as good men, though never so
fain, cannot decline, they meeting and accosting them on all sides and
surrounding them about, while their being beneficial to many occasions
joy to themselves.

     As he passes through the throngs in the city,
     All gaze upon him as some deity.
     ("Odyssey," viii. 173.)

For he that can so affect and move other men as to fill them with joy
and rapture, and to make them long to touch him and salute him, cannot
but appear even to a blind man to possess and enjoy very extraordinary
satisfactions in himself. And hence it comes that such men are both
indefatigable and undaunted in serving the public, and we still hear
some such words from them

     Thy father got thee for the common good;


     Let's not give off to benefit mankind.

But what need I instance in those that are consummately good? For if to
one of the middling rank of bad men, when he is just a-dying, he that
hath the power over him (whether his god or prince) should but allow one
hour more, upon condition that, after he hath spent that either in some
generous action or in sensual enjoyment, he should then presently die,
who would in this time choose rather to accompany with Lais or drink
Ariusion wine, than to despatch Archias and restore the Athenians to
their liberties? For my part I believe none would. For I see that even
common sword-players, if they are not utter brutes and savages, but
Greek born, when they are to enter the list, though there be many and
very costly dishes set before them, yet take more content in employing
their time in commanding their poor wives to some of their friends,
yea, and in conferring freedom on their slaves, than in gratifying their
stomachs. But should the pleasures of the body be allowed to have some
extraordinary matter in them, this would yet be common to men of action
and business.

     For they can eat good meat, and red wine drink,
    (See "Iliad," v. 341.)

aye, and entertain themselves with their friends, and perhaps with a
greater relish too, after their engagements and hard services,--as
did Alexander and Agesilaus, and (by Jove) Phocion and Epaminondas
too,--than these gentlemen who anoint themselves by the fireside, and
are gingerly rocked about the streets in sedans. Yea, those make but
small account of such pleasures as these, as being comprised in those
greater ones. For why should a man mention Epaminondas's denying to sup
with one, when he saw the preparations made were above the man's
estate, but frankly saying to his friend, "I thought you had intended a
sacrifice and not a debauch," when Alexander himself refused Queen Ada's
cooks, telling her he had better ones of his own, to wit, travelling
by night for his dinner, and a light dinner for his supper, and when
Philoxenus writing to him about some handsome boys, and desiring to know
of him whether he would have him buy them for him, was within a small
matter of being discharged his office for it? And yet who might better
have them than he? But as Hippocrates saith that of two pains the lesser
is forgot in the greater, so the pleasures that accrue from action and
the love of glory, while they cheer and refresh the mind, do by their
transcendency and grandeur obliterate and extinguish the inferior
satisfactions of the body.

If, then, the remembering of former good things (as they affirm) be that
which most contributes to a pleasurable living, not one of us will then
credit Epicurus when he, tells us that, while he was dying away in the
midst of the strongest agonies and distempers, he yet bore himself up
with the memory of the pleasures he formerly enjoyed. For a man may
better see the resemblance of his own face in a troubled deep or a
storm, than a smooth and smiling remembrance of past pleasure in a body
tortured with such lancing and rending pains. But now the memories of
past actions no man can put from him that would. For did Alexander,
think you, (or indeed could he possibly) forget the fight at Arbela?
Or Pelopidas the tyrant Leontiadas? Or Themistocles the engagement at
Salamis? For the Athenians to this very day keep an annual festival for
the battle at Marathon, and the Thebans for that at Leuctra; and so, by
Jove, do we ourselves (as you very well know) for that which Daiphantus
gained at Hyampolis, and all Phocis is filled with sacrifices and
public honors. Nor is there any of us that is better satisfied with
what himself hath either eaten or drunk than he is with what they
have achieved. It is very easy then to imagine what great content,
satisfaction, and joy accompanied the authors of these actions in their
lifetime, when the very memory of them hath not yet after five hundred
years and more lost its rejoicing power. The truth is, Epicurus himself
allows there are some pleasures derived from fame. And indeed why should
he not, when he himself had such a furious lechery and wriggling after
glory as made him not only to disown his masters and scuffle about
syllables and accents with his fellow-pedant Democritus (whose
principles he stole verbatim), and to tell his disciples there never was
a wise man in the world besides himself, but also to put it in
writing how Colotes performed adoration to him, as he was one day
philosophizing, by touching his knees, and that his own brother Neocles
was used from a child to say, "There neither is, nor ever was in the
world, a wiser man than Epicurus," and that his mother had just so many
atoms within her as, when coming together, must have produced a complete
wise man? May not a man then--as Callicratidas once said of the Athenian
admiral Conon, that he whored the sea as well say of Epicurus that
he basely and covertly forces and ravishes Fame, by not enjoying her
publicly but ruffling and debauching her in a corner? For as men's
bodies are oft necessitated by famine, for want of other food, to prey
against nature upon themselves, a like mischief to this does vainglory
create in men's minds, forcing them, when they hunger after praise and
cannot obtain it from other men, at last to commend themselves.

And do not they then that stand so well affected towards applause and
fame themselves own they cast away very extraordinary pleasures,
when they decline, magistrature, public offices, and the favor and
confidences of princes, from whom Democritus once said the grandest
blessings of human life are derived? For he will never induce any mortal
to believe, that he that could so highly value and please himself with
the attestation of his brother Neocles and the adoration of his friend
Colotes would not, were he clapped by all the Greeks at the Olympiads,
go quite out of his wits and even hollow for joy, or rather indeed be
elated in the manner spoken of by Sophocles,

    Puffed like the down of a gray-headed thistle.

If it be a pleasing thing then to be of a good fame, it is on the
contrary afflictive to be of an ill one; and it is most certain that
nothing in the world can be more infamous than want of friendship,
idleness, atheism, debauchery, and negligence. Now these are looked upon
by all men except themselves as inseparable companions of their party.
But unjustly, some one may say. Be it so then; for we consider not now
the truth of the charge, but what fame and reputation they are of in the
world. And we shall forbear at present to mention the many books that
have been written to defame them, and the blackening decrees made
against them by several republics; for that would look like bitterness.
But if the answers of oracles, the providence of the gods, and the
tenderness and affection of parents to their issue,--if civil policy,
military order, and the office of magistracy be things to be looked
upon as deservedly esteemed and celebrated, it must of necessity then
be allowed also, that they that tell us it is none of their business to
preserve the Greeks, but they must eat and drink so as not to offend
but pleasure their stomachs, are base and ignominious persons, and that
their being reputed such must needs extremely humble them and make their
lives untoward to them, if they take honor and a good name for any part
of their satisfaction.

When Theon had thus spoken, we thought good to break up our walk to rest
us awhile (as we were wont to do) upon the benches. Nor did we continue
any long space in our silence at what was spoken; for Zeuxippus, taking
his hint from what had been said, spake to us: Who will make up that of
the discourse which is yet behind? For it hath not yet received its due
conclusion; and this gentleman, by mentioning divination and providence,
did in my opinion suggest as much to us; for these people boast that
these very things contribute in no way to the providing of their lives
with pleasure, serenity, and assurance; so that there must be something
said to these too. Aristodemus subjoined then and said: As to pleasure,
I think there hath been enough said already to evince that, supposing
their doctrine to be successful and to attain its own design, it yet
doth but ease us of fear and a certain superstitious persuasion but
helps us not to any comfort or joy from the gods at all; nay, while it
brings us to such a state as to be neither disquieted nor pleased with
them, it doth but render us in the same manner affected towards them
as we are towards the Scythians or Hyrcanians, from whom we look for
neither good nor harm. But if something more must be added to what hath
been already spoken, I think I may very well take it from themselves.
And in the first place, they quarrel extremely with those that would
take away all sorrowing, weeping, and sighing for the death of friends,
and tell them that such unconcernedness as arrives to an insensibility
proceeds from some other worse cause, to wit, inhumanity, excessive
vainglory, or prodigious fierceness, and that therefore it would be
better to be a little concerned and affected, yea, and to liquor one's
eyes and be melted, with other pretty things of the like kind, which
they use artificially to affect and counterfeit, that they may be
thought tender and loving-hearted people. For just in this manner
Epicurus expressed himself upon the occasion of the death of Hegesianax,
when he wrote to Dositheus the father and to Pyrson the brother of the
deceased person; for I fortuned very lately to run over his epistles.
And I say, in imitation of them, that atheism is no less an evil than
inhumanity and vainglory, and into this they would lead us who take away
with God's anger the comfort we might derive from him. For it would
be much better for us to have something of the unsuiting passion of
dauntedness and fear conjoined and intermixed with our sentiments of
a deity, than while we fly from it, to leave ourselves neither hope,
content, nor assurance in the enjoyment of our good things nor any
recourse to God in our adversity and misfortunes.

We ought, it is true, to remove superstition from the persuasion we
have of the gods, as we would the gum from our eyes; but if that be
impossible, we must not root out and extinguish with it the belief which
the most have of the gods; nor is that a dismaying and sour one either,
as these gentlemen feign, while they libel and abuse the blessed
Providence, representing her as a witch or as some fell and tragic fury.
Yea, I must tell you, there are some in the world that fear God in an
excess, for whom yet it would not be better not so to fear him. For,
while they dread him as a governor that is gentle to the good and severe
to the bad, and are by this one fear, which makes them not to need many
others, freed from doing ill and brought to keep their wickedness with
them in quiet and (as it were) in an enfeebled languor, they come hereby
to have less disquiet than those that indulge the practice of it and are
rash and daring in it, and then presently after fear and repent of it.
Now that disposition of mind which the greater and ignorant part of
mankind, that are not utterly bad, are of towards God, hath, it is
very true, conjoined with the regard and honor they pay him, a kind of
anguish and astonished dread, which is also called superstition; but
ten thousand times more and greater is the good hope, the true joy,
that attend it, which both implore and receive the whole benefit of
prosperity and good success from the gods only. And this is manifest by
the greatest tokens that can be; for neither do the discourses of those
that wait at the temples, nor the good times of our solemn festivals,
nor any other actions or sights more recreate and delight us than what
we see and do about the gods ourselves, while we assist at the public
ceremonies, and join in the sacred balls, and attend at the sacrifices
and initiations. For the mind is not then sorrowful depressed, and
heavy, as if she were approaching certain tyrants or cruel torturers;
but on the contrary, where she is most apprehensive and fullest
persuaded the divinity is present, there she most of all throws off
sorrows, tears, and pensiveness, and lets herself loose to what is
pleasing and agreeable, to the very degree of tipsiness, frolic, and
laughter. In amorous concerns, as the poet said once,

     When old man and old wife think of love's fires,
     Their frozen breasts will swell with new desires;

but now in the public processions and sacrifices not only the old man
and the old wife, nor yet the poor and mean man only, but also

     The dusty thick-legged drab that turns the mill,

and household-slaves and day-laborers, are strangely elevated and
transported with mirth and joviality. Rich men as well as princes are
used at certain times to make public entertainments and to keep open
houses; but the feasts they make at the solemnities and sacrifices, when
they now apprehend their minds to approach nearest the divinity,
have conjoined with the honor and veneration they pay him a much more
transcending pleasure and satisfaction. Of this, he that hath renounced
God's providence hath not the least share; for what recreates and cheers
us at the festivals is not the store of good wine and roast meat, but
the good hope and persuasion that God is there present and propitious
to us, and kindly accepts of what we do. From some of our festivals
we exclude the flute and garland; but if God be not present at the
sacrifice, as the solemnity of the banquet, the rest is but unhallowed,
unfeast-like, and uninspired. Indeed the whole is but ungrateful and
irksome to such a man; for he asks for nothing at all, but only acts his
prayers and adorations for fear of the public, and utters expressions
contradictory to his philosophy. And when he sacrifices, he stands by
and looks upon the priest as he kills the offering but as he doth upon a
butcher; and when he hath done, he goes his way, saying with Menander,

     To bribe the gods I sacrificed my best,
     But they ne'er minded me nor my request.

For so Epicurus would have us arrange ourselves, and neither to envy nor
to incur the hatred of the common herd by doing ourselves with disgust
what others do with delight. For, as Evenus saith,

     No man can love what he is made to do.

For which very reason they think the superstitious are not pleased
in their minds but in fear while they attend at the sacrifices and
mysteries; though they themselves are in no better condition, if they
do the same things our of fear, and partake not either of as great good
hope as the others do, but are only fearful and uneasy lest they should
come to be discovered as cheating and abusing the public, upon whose
account it is that they compose the books they write about the gods and
the divine nature,

     Involved, with nothing truly said.
     But all around enveloped;

hiding out of fear the real opinions they contain.

And now, after the two former ranks of ill and common men, we will in
the third place consider the best sort and most beloved of the gods,
and what great satisfactions they receive from their clean and generous
sentiments of the deity, to wit, that he is the prince of all good
things and the parent of all things brave, and can no more do an
unworthy thing than he can be made to suffer it. For he is good, and he
that is good can upon no account fall into envy, fear, anger, or hatred;
neither is it proper to a hot thing to cool, but to heat; nor to a
good thing to do harm. Now anger is by nature at the farthest distance
imaginable from complacency, and spleenishness from placidness, and
animosity and turbulence from humanity and kindness. For the latter
of these proceed from generosity and fortitude, but the former from
impotency and baseness. The deity is not therefore constrained by either
anger or kindnesses; but that is because it is natural to it to be kind
and aiding, and unnatural to be angry and hurtful. But the great Jove,
whose mansion is in heaven, is the first that descends downwards and
orders all things and takes the care of them. But of the other gods
one is surnamed the Distributor, and another the Mild, and a third the
Averter of Evil. And according to Pindar,

     Phoebus was by mighty Jove designed
     Of all the gods to be to man most kind.

And Diogenes saith, that all things are the gods', and friends have all
things common, and good men are the gods' friends; and therefore it is
impossible either that a man beloved of the gods should not be happy,
or that a wise and a just man should not be beloved of the gods. Can
you think then that they that take away Providence need any other
chastisement, or that they have not a sufficient one already, when they
root out of themselves such vast satisfaction and joy as we that
stand thus affected towards the deity have? Metrodorus, Polyaenus, and
Aristobulus were the confidence and rejoicing of Epicurus; the
better part of whom he all his lifetime either attended upon in their
sicknesses or lamented at their deaths. As did Lycurgus, when he was
saluted by the Delphic prophetess,

     Dear friend to heavenly Jove and all the gods.

And did Socrates when he believed that a certain divinity was used out
of kindness to discourse him, and Pindar when he heard Pan sing one
of the sonnets he had composed, but a little rejoice, think you? Or
Phormio, when he thought he had treated Castor and Pollux at his house?
Or Sophocles, when he entertained Aesculapius, as both he himself
believed, and others too, that thought the same with him by reason of
the apparition that then happened? What opinion Hermogenes had of the
gods is well worth the recounting in his very own words. "For these
gods," saith he, "who know all things and can do all things, are so
friendly and loving to me that, because they take care of me, I never
escape them either by night or by day, wherever I go or whatever I am
about. And because they know beforehand what issue everything will have,
they signify it to me by sending angels, voices, dreams, and presages."

Very amiable things must those be that come to us from the gods; but
when these very things come by the gods too, this is what occasions vast
satisfaction and unspeakable assurance, a sublimity of mind and a joy
that, like a smiling brightness, doth as it were gild over our good
things with a glory. But now those that are persuaded otherwise obstruct
the very sweetest part of their prosperity, and leave themselves nothing
to turn to in their adversity; but when they are in distress, look only
to this one refuge and port, dissolution and insensibility; just as
if in a storm or tempest at sea, some one should, to hearten the rest,
stand up and say to them: Gentlemen, the ship hath never a pilot in it,
nor will Castor and Pollux come themselves to assuage the violence of
the beating waves or to lay the swift careers of the winds; yet I can
assure you there is nothing at all to be dreaded in all this, for the
vessel will be immediately swallowed up by the sea, or else will very
quickly fall off and be dashed in pieces against the rocks. For this
is Epicurus's way of discourse to persons under grievous distempers
and excessive pains. Dost thou hope for any good from the gods for thy
piety? It is thy vanity; for the blessed and incorruptible Being is not
constrained by either angers or kindnesses. Dost thou fancy something
better after this life than what thou hast here? Thou dost but deceive
thyself; for what is dissolved hath no sense, and that which hath no
sense is nothing to us. Aye; but how comes it then, my good friend, that
you bid me eat and be merry? Why, by Jove, because he that is in a great
storm cannot be far off a shipwreck; and your extreme danger will soon
land you upon Death's strand. Though yet a passenger at sea, when he
is got off from a shattered ship, will still buoy himself up with some
little hope that he may drive his body to some shore and get out by
swimming; but now the poor soul, according to these men's philosophy,

     Is ne'er more seen without the hoary main.
     ("Odyssey," v. 410.)

Yea, she presently evaporates, disperses, and perishes, even before the
body itself; so that it seems her great and excessive rejoicing must
be only for having learned this one sage and divine maxim, that all her
misfortunes will at last determine in her own destruction, dissolution,
and annihilation.

But (said he, looking upon me) I should be impertinent, should I say
anything upon this subject, when we have heard you but now discourse
so fully against those that would persuade us that Epicurus's doctrine
about the soul renders men more disposed and better pleased to die
than Plato's doth. Zeuxippus therefore subjoined and said: And must our
present debate be left then unfinished because of that? Or shall we
be afraid to oppose that divine oracle to Epicurus? No, by no means, I
said; and Empedocles tells us that

     What's very good claims to be heard twice.

Therefore we must apply ourselves again to Theon; for I think he was
present at our former discourse; and besides, he is a young man, and
needs not fear being charged by these young gentlemen with having a bad

Then Theon, like one constrained, said: Well then, if you will
needs have me to go on with the discourse, I will not do as you did,
Aristodemus. For you were shy of repeating what this gentleman spoke,
but I shall not scruple to make use of what you have said; for I think
indeed you did very well divide mankind into three ranks; the first of
wicked and very bad men, the second of the vulgar and common sort, and
the third of good and wise men. The wicked and bad sort then, while they
dread any kind of divine vengeance and punishment at all, and are by
this deterred from doing mischief, and thereby enjoy the greater quiet,
will live both in more pleasure and in less disturbance for it. And
Epicurus is of opinion that the only proper means to keep men from doing
ill is the fear of punishments. So that we should cram them with more
and more superstition still, and raise up against them terrors, chasms,
frights, and surmises, both from heaven and earth, if their being
amazed with such things as these will make them become the more tame and
gentle. For it is more for their benefit to be restrained from criminal
actions by the fear of what comes after death, than to commit them and
then to live in perpetual danger and fear.

As to the vulgar sort, besides their fear of what is in hell, the hope
they have conceived of an eternity from the tales and fictions of the
ancients, and their great desire of being, which is both the first and
the strongest of all, exceed in pleasure and sweet content of mind that
childish dread. And therefore, when they lose their children, wives,
or friends, they would rather have them be somewhere and still remain,
though in misery, than that they should be quite destroyed, dissolved,
and reduced to nothing. And they are pleased when they hear it said of
a dying person, that he goes away or departs, and such other words as
intimate death to be the soul's remove and not destruction. And they
sometimes speak thus:

     But I'll even there think on my dearest friend;
     ("Iliad," xxii. 390.)

and thus:--

     What's your command to Hector? Let me know;
     And to your dear old Priam shall I go?
     (Euripides, "Hecuba," 422.)

And (there arising hereupon an erroneous deviation) they are the
better pleased when they bury with their departed friends such arms,
implements, or clothes as were most familiar to them in their lifetime;
as Minos did the Cretan flutes with Glaucus,

     Made of the shanks of a dead brindled fawn.

And if they do but imagine they either ask or desire anything of them,
they are glad when they give it them. Thus Periander burnt his queen's
attire with her, because he thought she had asked for it and complained
she was a-cold. Nor doth an Aeacus, an Ascalaphus, or an Acheron much
disorder them whom they have often gratified with balls, shows, and
music of every sort. But now all men shrink from that face of death
which carries with it insensibility, oblivion, and extinction of
knowledge, as being dismal, grim, and dark. And they are discomposed
when they hear it said of any one, he is perished, or he is gone or he
is no more; and they show great uneasiness when they hear such words as

     Go to the wood-clad earth he must,
     And there lie shrivelled into dust,
     And ne'er more laugh or drink, or hear
     The charming sounds of flute or lyre;

and these:--

     But from our lips the vital spirit fled
     Returns no more to wake the silent dead.
     ("Iliad," ix. 408.)

Wherefore they must needs cut the very throats of them that shall with
Epicurus tell them, We men were born once for all, and we cannot be born
twice, but our not being must last forever. For this will bring them to
slight their present good as little, or rather indeed as nothing at all
compared with everlastingness, and therefore to let it pass unenjoyed
and to become wholly negligent of virtue and action, as men disheartened
and brought to a contempt of themselves, as being but as it were of one
day's continuance and uncertain, and born for no considerable purpose.
For insensibility, dissolution, and the conceit that what hath no sense
is nothing to us, do not at all abate the fear of death, but rather help
to confirm it; for this very thing is it that nature most dreads,--

     But may you all return to mould and wet,
     (Ibid. vii. 99.)

to wit, the dissolution of the soul into what is without knowledge or
sense. Now, while Epicurus would have this to be a separation into
atoms and void, he doth but further cut off all hope of immortality; to
compass which (I can scarce refrain from saying) all men and women would
be well contented to be worried by Cerberus, and to carry water into
the tub full of holes, so they might but continue in being and not be
exterminated. Though (as I said before) there are not very many that
stand in fear of these things, they being but the tenets of old women
and the fabulous stories of mothers and nurses,--and even they that do
fear them yet believe that certain rites of initiation and purgation
will relieve them, by which after they are cleansed they shall play and
dance in hell forever, in company with those that have the privilege of
a bright light, clear air, and the use of speech,--yet to be deprived of
living disturbs all both young and old. We

     Impatient love the light that shines on earth,
     (Euripides, "Hippolytus," 193)

as Euripides saith. Nor are we easy or without regret when we hear

     Him speaking thus th' eternal brightness leaves,
     Where night the wearied steeds of day receives.

And therefore it is very plain that with the belief of immortality they
take away the sweetest and greatest hopes the vulgar sort have. And what
shall we then think they take away from the good and those that have led
pious and just lives, who expect no ill after dying, but on the contrary
most glorious and divine things? For, in the first place, athletes
are not used to receive the garland before they have performed their
exercises, but after they have contested and proved victorious; in like
manner is it with those that are persuaded that good men have the prize
of their conquests after this life is ended; it is marvellous to think
to what a pitch of grandeur their virtue raises their spirits upon the
contemplation of those hopes, among the which this is one, that they
shall one day see those men that are now insolent by reason of their
wealth and power, and that foolishly flout at their betters, undergo
just punishment. In the next place, none of the lovers of truth and the
contemplation of being have here their fill of them; they having but a
watery and puddled reason to speculate with, as it were, through the
fog and mist of the body; and yet they still look upwards like birds,
as ready to take their flight to the spacious and bright region, and
endeavor to make their souls expedite and light from things mortal,
using philosophy as a study for death. Thus I account death a truly
great and accomplished good thing; the soul being to live there a
real life, which here lives not a waking life, but suffers things most
resembling dreams. If then (as Epicurus saith) the remembrance of a
dead friend be a thing every way complacent; we may easily from thence
imagine how great a joy they deprive themselves of who think they do but
embrace and pursue the phantoms and shades of their deceased familiars,
that have in them neither knowledge nor sense, but who never expect
to be with them again, or to see their dear father and dear mother and
sweet wife, nor have any hopes of that familiarity and dear converse
they have that think of the soul with Pythagoras, Plato, and Homer. Now
what their sort of passion is like to was hinted at by Homer, when he
threw into the midst of the soldiers, as they were engaged, the shade
of Aeneas, as if he had been dead, and afterwards again presented his
friends with him himself,

     Coming alive and well, as brisk as ever;

at which, he saith,

     They all were overjoyed.
     ("Iliad," v. 514 and 515)

And should not we then,--when reason shows us that a real converse with
persons departed this life may be had, and that he that loves may both
feel and be with the party that affects and loves him,--relinquish these
men that cannot so much as cast off all those airy shades and outside
barks for which they are all their time in lamentation and fresh

Moreover, they that look upon death as the commencement of another and
better life, if they enjoy good things, are the better pleased with
them, as expecting much greater hereafter; but if they have not things
here to their minds, they do not much grumble at it, but the hopes of
those good and excellent things that are after death contain in them
such ineffable pleasures and expectances, that they wipe off and wholly
obliterate every defect and every offence from the mind, which, as on
a road or rather indeed in a short deviation out of the road, bears
whatever befalls it with great ease and indifference. But now, as to
those to whom life ends in insensibility and dissolution,--death brings
to them no removal of evils, though it is afflicting in both conditions,
yet is it more so to those that live prosperously than to such as
undergo adversity? For it cuts the latter but from an uncertain hope of
doing better hereafter; but it deprives the former of a certain good, to
wit, their pleasurable living. And as those medicinal potions that are
not grateful to the palate but yet necessary give sick men ease, but
rake and hurt the well; just so, in my opinion, doth the philosophy
of Epicurus; it promises to those that live miserably no happiness in
death, and to those that do well an utter extinction and dissolution of
the mind, while it quite obstructs the comfort and solace of the grave
and wise and those that abound with good things, by throwing them down
from a happy living into a deprivation of both life and being. From
hence then it is manifest, that the contemplation of the loss of good
things will afflict us in as great a measure as either the firm hope or
present enjoyment of them delights us.

Yea, themselves tell us, that the thought of future dissolution leaves
them one most assured and complacent good, freedom from anxious surmises
of incessant and endless evils, and that Epicurus's doctrine effects
this by stopping the fear of death through the soul's dissolution. If
then deliverance from the expectation of infinite evils be a matter of
greatest complacence, how comes it not to be afflictive to be bereft
of eternal good things and to miss of the highest and most consummate
felicity? For not to be can be good for neither condition, but is on the
contrary both against nature and ungrateful to all that have a being.
But those being eased of the evils of life through the evils of death
have, it is very true, the want of sense to comfort them, while they, as
it were, make their escape from life. But, on the other hand, they that
change from good things to nothing seem to me to have the most dismaying
end of all, it putting a period to their happiness. For Nature doth not
fear insensibility as the entrance upon some new thing, but because it
is the privation of our present good things. For to declare that the
destruction of all that we call ours toucheth us not is untrue for it
toucheth us already by the very anticipation. And insensibility afflicts
not those that are not, but those that are, when they think what
damage they shall sustain by it in the loss of their being and in being
suffered never to emerge from nothingness. Wherefore it is neither
the dog Cerberus nor the river Cocytus that has made our fear of death
boundless; but the threatened danger of not being, representing it as
impossible for such as are once extinct to shift back again into being.
For we cannot be born twice, and our not being must last forever; as
Epicurus speaks. For if our end be in not being, and that be infinite
and unalterable, then hath privation of good found out an eternal evil,
to wit, a never ending insensibleness. Herodotus was much wiser, when he
said that God, having given men a taste of the delights of life, seems
to be envious, (Herodotus, vii. 46) and especially to those that conceit
themselves happy, to whom pleasure is but a bait for sorrow, they being
but permitted to taste of what they must be deprived of. For what solace
or fruition or exultation would not the perpetual injected thought of
the soul's being dispersed into infinity, as into a certain huge and
vast ocean, extinguish and quell in those that found their amiable good
and beatitude in pleasure? But if it be true (as Epicurus thinks it is)
that most men die in very acute pain, then is the fear of death in all
respects inconsolable; it bringing us through evils unto a deprivation
of good.

And yet they are never wearied with their brawling and dunning of all
persons to take the escape of evil for a good, no longer to repute
privation of good for an evil. But they still confess what we have
asserted, that death hath in it nothing of either good hope or solace,
but that all that is complacent and good is then wholly extinguished;
at which time those men look for many amiable, great, and divine things,
that conceive the minds of men to be unperishable and immortal, or at
least to go about in certain long revolutions of times, being one while
upon earth and another while in heaven, until they are at last dissolved
with the universe and then, together with the sun and moon, sublimed
into an intellective fire. So large a field and one of so great
pleasures Epicurus wholly cuts off, when he destroys (as hath been
said) the hopes and graces we should derive from the gods, and by that
extinguishes both in our speculative capacity the desire of knowledge,
and in our active the love of glory, and confines and abases our nature
to a poor narrow thing, and that not cleanly neither, to wit, the
content the mind receives by the body, as if it were capable of no
higher good than the escape of evil.

END OF ONE--------


The resolution which you have taken to enter into the friendship
and familiarity of Sorcanus, that by the frequent opportunities of
conversing with him you may cultivate and improve a soil which gives
such early promises of a plentiful harvest, is an undertaking which will
not only oblige his relations and friends, but rebound very much to the
advantage of the public; and (notwithstanding the peevish censures of
some morose or ignorant people) it is so far from being an argument
of an aspiring vainglorious temper, that it shows you to be a lover of
virtue and good manners, and a zealous promoter of the common interest
of mankind.

They themselves are rather to be accused of an indirect but more
vehement sort of ambition, who would not upon any terms be found in
the company or so much as be seen to give a civil salute to a person
of quality. For how unreasonable would it be to enforce a well-disposed
young gentleman, and one who needs the direction of a wise governor, to
such complaints as these: "Would that I might become from a Pericles or
a Cato to a cobbler like Simon or a grammarian like Dionysius, that I
might like them talk with such a man as Socrates, and sit by him."

So far, I am sure, was Aristo of Chios from being of their humor,
that when he was censured for exposing and prostituting the dignity of
philosophy by his freedom to all comers, he answered, that he could wish
that Nature had given understanding to wild beasts, that they too might
be capable of being his hearers. Shall we then deny that privilege to
men of interest and power, which this good man would have communicated
(if it had been possible) to the brute beasts? But these men have
taken a false notion of philosophy, they make it much like the art of
statuary, whose business it is to carve out a lifeless image in the most
exact figure and proportion, and then to raise it upon its pedestal,
where it is to continue forever. The true philosophy is of a quite
different nature; it is a spring and principle of motion wherever it
comes; it makes men active and industrious, it sets every wheel and
faculty a-going, it stores our minds with axioms and rules by which to
make a sound judgment, it determines the will to the choice of what
is honorable and just; and it wings all our faculties to the swiftest
prosecution of it. It is accompanied with an elevation and nobleness of
mind, joined with a coolness and sweetness of behavior, and backed
with a becoming assurance and inflexible resolution. And from this
diffusiveness of the nature of good it follows, that the best and most
accomplished men are inclined to converse with persons of the highest
condition. Indeed a physician if he have any good nature and sense of
honor, would be more ready to cure an eye which is to see and to watch
for a great many thousands, than that of a private person; how much more
then ought a philosopher to form and fashion, to rectify and cure the
soul of such a one, who is (if I may so express it) to inform the body
politic,--who is to think and understand for so many others, to be in
so great measure the rule of reason, the standard of law, and model of
behavior, by which all the rest will square and direct their actions?
Suppose a man to have a talent at finding out springs and contriving of
aqueducts (a piece of skill for which Hercules and other of the ancients
are much celebrated in history), surely he could not so satisfactorily
employ himself in sinking a well or deriving water to some private
seat or contemptible cottage, as in supplying conduits to some fair and
populous city, in relieving an army just perishing with thirst, or in
refreshing and adorning with fountains and cool streams the beautiful
gardens of some glorious monarch. There is a passage of Homer very
pertinent to this purpose, in which he calls Minos [Greek text], which,
as Plato interprets it, signifies THE DISCIPLE AND COMPANION OF JUPITER.
For it were beneath his dignity indeed to teach private men, such as
care only for a family or indulge their useless speculations; but
kings are scholars worthy the tuition of a god, who, when they are well
advised, just, good, and magnanimous, never fail to procure the peace
and prosperity of all their subjects. The naturalists tell us that the
eryngium hath such a property with it, that if one of the flock do but
taste it, all the rest will stand stock still in the same place till the
shepherd hath taken it out of its mouth. Such swiftness of action does
it have, pervading and inserting itself in everything near it, as if it
were fire. The effects of philosophy, however, are different according
to the difference of inclinations in men. If indeed it lights on one who
loves a dull and inactive sort of life, that makes himself the centre
and the little conveniences of life the circumference of all his
thoughts, such a one does contract the sphere of her activity, so that
having only made easy and comfortable the life of a single person, it
fails and dies with him; but when it finds a man of a ruling genius,
one fitted for conversation and able to grapple with the difficulties
of public business, if it once possess him with principles of honesty,
honor, and religion, it takes a compendious method, by doing good to
one, to oblige a great part of mankind. Such was the effect of the
intercourse of Anaxagoras with Pericles, of Plato with Dion, and of
Pythagoras with the principal statesmen of all Italy. Cato himself took
a voyage, when he had the concern of an expedition lying upon him, to
see and hear Athenodorus; and Scipio sent for Panaetius, when he was
commissioned by the senate "to take a survey alike of the habits of men
good and bad," ("Odyssey," xvii. 487.) as Posidonius says. Now what
a pretty sort of return would it have been in Panaetius to send word
back,--"If indeed you were in a private capacity, John a Nokes or John
a Stiles, that had a mind to get into some obscure corner or cell, to
state cases and resolve syllogisms, I should very gladly have accepted
your invitation; but now, because you are the son of Paulus AEmilius who
was twice consul, and grandson of that Scipio who was surnamed from
his conquest of Hannibal and Africa, I cannot with honor hold any
conversation with you!"

The objections which they bring from the two kinds of discourse, one of
which is mental, the other like the gift of Mercury expressed in words
or interpretative of the former, are so frivolous, that they are best
answered by laughter or silence; and we may quote the old saying, "I
knew this before Theognis arose." However, thus much shall be added,
that the end of them both is friendship,--in the first case with
ourselves, in the second with another. For he that hath attained to
virtue by the methods of philosophy hath his mind all in tune and good
temper; he is not struck with those reproaches of conscience, which
cause the acutest sense of pain and are the natural punishments of
our follies; but he enjoys (the great prerogative of a good man) to be
always easy and in amity with himself.

     No factious lusts reason's just power control,
     Nor kindle civil discord in his soul.

His passion does not stand in defiance to his reason, nor do his
reasonings cross and thwart one the other, but he is always consistent
with himself. But the very joys of wicked men are tumultuary and
confused, like those who dwell in the borders of two great empires at
variance, always insecure, and in perpetual alarms; whilst a good man
enjoys an uninterrupted peace and serenity of mind, which excels the
other not only in duration, but in sense of pleasure too. As for the
other sort of converse, that which consists in expression of itself to
others, Pindar says very well, that it was not mercenary in old time,
nor indeed is it so now; but by the baseness and ambition of a few it
is made use of to serve their poor secular interests. For if the poets
represent Venus herself as much offended with those who make a trade and
traffic of the passion of love, how much more reasonably may we suppose
that Urania and Clio and Calliope have an indignation against those who
set learning and philosophy to sale? Certainly the gifts and endowments
of the Muses should be privileged from such mean considerations.

If indeed some have made fame and reputation one of the ends of their
studies, they used it only as an instrument to get friends; since we
find by common observation that men only praise those whom they love. If
they sought its own praise, they were as much mistaken as Ixion when he
embraced a cloud instead of Juno; for there is nothing so fleeting, so
changeable, and so inconstant as popular applause; it is but a pompous
shadow, and hath no manner of solidity and duration in it. But a wise
man, if he design to engage in business and matters of state, will
so far aim at fame and popularity as that he may be better enabled to
benefit others; for it is a difficult and very unpleasant task to do
good to those who are disaffected to our persons. It is the good opinion
men have of us which disposes men to give credit to our doctrine. As
light is a greater good to those who see others by it than to those
who only are seen, so is honor of a greater benefit to those who are
sensible of it than to those whose glory is admired. But even one who
withdraws himself from the noise of the world, who loves privacy and
indulges his own thoughts, will show that respect to the good word of
the people which Hippolytus did to Venus,--though he abstain from
her mysteries, he will pay his devotions at a distance; (Euripides,
"Hippolytus," 102.) but he will not be so cynical and sullen as not to
hear with gladness the commendations of virtuous men like himself; he
will neither engage himself in a restless pursuit of wealth, interest,
or honor, nor will he on the other hand be so rustic and insensible as
to refuse them in a moderate degree, when they fairly come in his way;
in like manner he will not court and follow handsome and beautiful
youth, but will rather choose such as are of a teachable disposition,
of a gentle behavior, and lovers of learning. The charms and graces of
youth will not make a philosopher shy of their conversation, when
the endowments of their minds are answerable to the features of their
bodies. The case is the same when greatness of place and fortune concur
with a well disposed person; he will not therefore forbear loving and
respecting such a one, nor be afraid of the name of a courtier, nor
think it a curse that such attendance and dependence should be his fate.

     They that try most Dame Venus to despise
     Do sin as much as they who her most prize.
    (From the "Veiled Hippolytus" of Euripides, Frag. 431.)

The application is easy to the matter in hand.

A philosopher therefore, if he is of a retired humor, will not avoid
such persons; while one who generously designs his studies for the
public advantage will cheerfully embrace their advances of friendship,
will not bore them to hear him, will lay aside his sophistic terms and
distinctions, and will rejoice to discourse and pass his time with them
when they are disposed.

     I plough the wide Berecynthian fields,
     Full six days' journey long,
     (From the "Niobe" of Aechylus, Frag. 153.)

says one boastingly in the poet; the same man, if he were as much a
lover of mankind as of husbandry, would much rather bestow his pains on
such a farm, the fruits of which would serve a great number, than to be
always dressing the olive-yard of some cynical malcontent, which, when
all was done, would scarce yield oil enough to dress a salad or to
supply his lamp in the long winter evenings. Epicurus himself, who
places happiness in the profoundest quiet and sluggish inactivity, as
the only secure harbor from the storms of this troublesome world, could
not but confess that it is both more noble and delightful to do than to
receive a kindness; (Almost the same words with those of our Saviour, It
is more blessed to give than to receive. So that a man can scarcely be
a true Epicurean without practising some of the maxims of Christianity.)
for there is nothing which produces so humane and genuine a sort of
pleasure as that of doing good. He who gave the names to the three
Graces was intelligent, for they all mean delectation and joy, (Aglaia,
Euphrosyne, and Thalia.) and these feelings surely are far greater and
purer in the giver. This is so evidently true, that we all receive good
turns blushing and with some confusion, but we are always gay and well
pleased when we are conferring one.

If then it is so pleasant to do good to a few, how are their hearts
dilated with joy who are benefactors to whole cities, provinces, and
kingdoms? And such benefactors are they who instil good principles into
those upon whom so many millions do depend. On the other hand, those
who debauch the minds of great men--as sycophants, false informers, and
flatterers worse than both, manifestly do--are the centre of all the
curses of a nation, as men not only infuse deadly poison into the
cistern of a private house, but into the public springs of which so many
thousands are to drink. The people therefore laughed at the parasites
of Callias, whom, as Eupolis says, neither with fire nor brass nor steel
could prevent from supping with him; but as for the favorites of those
execrable tyrants Apollodorus, Phalaris, and Dionysius, they racked
them, they flayed them alive, they roasted them at slow fires, looked on
them as the very pests of society and disgraces of human nature; for to
debauch a simple person is indeed an ill thing, but to corrupt a prince
is an infinite mischief. In like manner, he who instructs an ordinary
man makes him to pass his life decently and with comfort; but he
who instructs a prince, by correcting his errors and clearing his
understanding, is a philosopher for the public, by rectifying the very
mould and model by which whole nations are formed and regulated. It is
the custom of all nations to pay a peculiar honor and deference to their
priests; and the reason of it is, because they do not only pray for good
things for themselves, their own families and friends, but for whole
communities, for the whole state of mankind. Yet we are not so fond as
to think that the priests make the gods to be givers of good things,
or inspire a vein of beneficence into them; but they only make their
supplications to a being which of itself is inclinable to answer
their requests. But in this a good tutor hath the privilege above the
priests,--he effectually renders a prince more disposed to actions
of justice, of moderation, and mercy, and therefore hath a greater
satisfaction of mind when he reflects upon it.

For my own part, I cannot but think that an ordinary mechanic--for
instance, a maker of musical instruments--would be much more attentive
and pleased at his work, and if his harp would be touched by the famous
Amphion, and in his hand to serve for the builder of Thebes, or if that
Thales had bespoke it, who was so great a master by the force of
his music he pacified a popular tumult amongst the Lacedaemonians. A
good-natured shipwright would ply his work more heartily, if he were
constructing the rudder for the admiral galley of Themistocles when
he fought for the liberty of Greece, or of Pompey when he went on his
expedition against the pirates: what ecstasy of delight then must
a philosopher be in, when he reflects that his scholar is a man of
authority, a prince or great potentate, that he is employed in so public
a work, giving laws to him who is to give laws to a whole nation, who
is to punish vice, and to reward the virtuous with riches and honor? The
builder of the ARGO certainly would have been mightily pleased, if he
had known what noble mariners were to row in his ship, and that at last
she should be translated into heaven; and a carpenter would not be half
so much pleased to make a chariot or plough, as to cut the tablets on
which Solon's laws were to be engraved. In like manner the discourses
and rules of philosophy, being once deeply stamped and imprinted on the
minds of great personages, will stick so close, that the prince shall
seem no other than justice incarnate and animated law. This was the
design of Plato's voyage into Sicily,--he hoped that the lectures of
his philosophy would serve for laws to Dionysius, and bring his affairs
again into a good posture. But the soul of that unfortunate prince was
like paper scribbled all over with the characters of vice; its piercing
and corroding quality had stained quite through, and sunk into the very
substance of his soul. Whereas, such persons must be taken when they are
on the run, if they are to absorb useful discourses.

END OF TWO--------



It being our determination to discourse of Natural Philosophy, we judge
it necessary, in the first place and chiefly, to divide the body of
philosophy into its proper members, so that we may know what is that
which is called philosophy, and what part of it is physical, or the
explanation of natural things. The Stoics affirm that wisdom is the
knowledge of things human and divine; that philosophy is the pursuit of
that art which is convenient to this knowledge; that virtue is the sole
and sovereign art which is thus convenient; and this distributes itself
into three general parts--natural, moral, and logical. By which just
reason (they say) philosophy is tripartite; of which one natural, the
other moral, the third logical. The natural when our inquiries are
concerning the world and all things contained in it; the ethical is the
employment of our minds in those things which concern the manners of
man's life; the logical (which they also call dialectical) regulates our
conversation with others in speaking. Aristotle, Theophrastus, and after
them almost all the Peripatetics give the same division of philosophy.
It is absolutely requisite that the complete person he contemplator of
things which have a being, and the practiser of those thing which are
decent; and this easily appears by the following instances. If the
question be proposed, whether the sun, which is so conspicuous to us, be
informed of a soul or inanimate, he that makes this disquisition is the
thinking man; for he proceeds no farther than to consider the nature of
that thing which is proposed. Likewise, if the question be propounded,
whether the world be infinite, or whether beyond the system of this
world there is any real being, all these things are the objects about
which the understanding of man is conversant.

But if these be the questions,--what measures must be taken to compose
the well-ordered life of man, what are the best methods to govern and
educate children, or what are the exact rules whereby sovereigns may
command and establish laws,--all these queries are proposed for the sole
end of action, and the man skilled therein is the moral and practical


Since we have undertaken to make a diligent search into Nature, I cannot
but conclude it necessary to declare what Nature is. It is very absurd
to attempt a discourse of the essence of natural things, and not to
understand what is the power and sphere of Nature. If Aristotle be
credited, Nature is the principle of motion and rest, in that thing in
which it exists as a principle and not by accident. For all things that
are conspicuous to our eyes, which are neither fortuitous nor necessary,
nor have a divine original, nor acknowledge any such like cause, are
called natural and enjoy their proper nature. Of this sort are earth,
fire, water, air, plants, animals; to these may be added all things
produced from them, such as showers, hail, thunders, hurricanes, and
winds. All these confess they had a beginning, none of these were from
eternity, but had something as the origin of them; and likewise animals
and plants have a principle whence they are produced. But Nature, which
in all these things hath the priority, is not only the principle of
motion but of repose; whatsoever enjoys the principle of motion, the
same has a possibility to find a dissolution. Therefore on this account
it is that Nature is the principle of motion and rest.


The followers of Aristotle and Plato conclude that elements are
discriminated from principles. Thales the Milesian supposeth that a
principle and the elements are one and the same thing, but it is evident
that they vastly differ one from another. For the elements are
things compounded; but we do pronounce that principles admit not of a
composition, nor are the effects of any other being. Those which we call
elements are earth, water, air, and fire. But we call those principles
which have nothing prior to them out of which they are produced; for
otherwise not these themselves, but rather those things whereof they are
produced, would be the principles. Now there are some things which have
a pre-existence to earth and water, from which they are begotten; to
wit, matter, which is without form or shape; then form, which we call
[Greek omitted] (actuality); and lastly, privation. Thales therefore
is most in error, by affirming that water is both an element and a


Thales the Milesian doth affirm that water is the principle from whence
all things in the universe spring. This person appears to be the first
of philosophers; from him the Ionic sect took its denomination, for
there are many families and successions amongst philosophers. After he
had professed philosophy in Egypt, when he was very old, he returned to
Miletus. He pronounced, that all things had their original from water,
and into water all things are resolved. His first ground was, that
whatsoever was the prolific seed of all animals was a principle, and
that is moist; so that it is probable that all things receive their
original from humidity. His second reason was, that all plants are
nourished and fructified by that thing which is moist, of which being
deprived they wither away. Thirdly, that that fire of which the sun and
stars are made is nourished by watery exhalations,--yea, and the world
itself; which moved Homer to sing that the generation of it was from

                      The ocean is
     Of all things the kind genesis.
     (Iliad, xiv. 246.)

Anaximander, who himself was a Milesian, assigns the principle of all
things to the Infinite, from whence all things flow, and into the same
are corrupted; hence it is that infinite worlds are framed, and those
dissolve again into that whence they have their origin. And thus he
farther proceeds, For what other reason is there of an Infinite but
this, that there may be nothing deficient as to the generation or
subsistence of what is in Nature? There is his error, that he doth
not acquaint us what this Infinite is, whether it be air, or water, or
earth, or any other such like body. Besides he is mistaken, in that,
giving us the material cause, he is silent as to the efficient cause of
beings; for this thing which he makes his Infinite can be nothing but
matter; but operation cannot come about in the sphere of matter, except
an efficient cause be annexed.

Anaximenes his fellow-citizen pronounceth, that air is the principle of
all beings; from it all receive their original, and into it all
return. He affirms that our soul is nothing but air; it is that which
constitutes and preserves; the whole world is invested with spirit
and air. For spirit and air are synonymous. This person is in this
deficient, in that he concludes that of pure air, which is a simple
body and is made of one only form, all animals are composed. It is not
possible to think that a single principle should be the matter of all
things, from whence they receive their subsistence; besides this there
must be an operating cause. Silver (for example) is not of itself
sufficient to frame a drinking cup; an operator also is required, which
is the silversmith. The like may be applied to vessels made of wood,
brass, or any other material.

Anaxagoras the Clazomenian asserted Homoeomeries (or parts similar or
homogeneous) to be the original cause of all beings; it seemed to him
impossible that anything could arise of nothing or be dissolved into
nothing. Let us therefore instance in nourishment, which appears simple
and uniform, such as bread which we owe to Ceres and water which we
drink. Of this very nutriment, our hair, our veins, our arteries,
nerves, bones, and all our other parts are nourished. These things
thus being performed, it must be granted that the nourishment which
is received by us contains all those things by which these of us are
produced. In it there are those particles which are producers of blood,
bones, nerves, and all other parts; these particles (he thought) reason
discovers for us. For it is not necessary that we should reduce all
things under the objects of sense; for bread and water are fitted to
the senses, yet in them there are those particles latent which are
discoverable only by reason. It being therefore plain that there are
particles in the nourishment similar to what is produced by it, he
terms these homogeneous parts, averring that they are the principles
of beings. Matter is according to him these similar parts, and the
efficient cause is a Mind, which orders all things that have an
existence. Thus he begins his discourse: "All things were confused one
among another; but Mind divided and brought them to order." In this he
is to be commended, that he yokes together matter and an intellectual

Archelaus the son of Apollodorus, the Athenian, pronounceth, that the
principles of all things have their origin from an infinite air rarefied
or condensed. Air rarefied is fire, condensed is water.

These philosophers, the followers of Thales, succeeding one another,
made up that sect which takes to itself the denomination of the Ionic.

Pythagoras the Samian, the son of Mnesarchus, from another origin
deduces the principles of all things; it was he who first called
philosophy by its name. He thought the first principles to be numbers,
and those symmetries in them which he styles harmonies; and the
composition of both he terms elements, called geometrical. Again, he
places unity and the indefinite binary number amongst the principles.
One of these principles ends in an efficient and forming cause, which is
Mind, and that is God; the other to the passive and material part, and
that is the visible world. Moreover, the nature of number (he saith)
consists in the ten; for all people, whether Grecians or barbarians,
reckon from one to ten, and thence return to one again. Farther he avers
the virtue of ten consists in the quaternion; the reason whereof is
this,--if any person start from one, and add numbers so as to take in
the quaternary, he shall complete the number ten; if he passes the four,
he shall go beyond the ten; for one, two, three, and four being added
up together make ten. The nature of numbers, therefore, if we regard
the units, abideth in the ten; but if we regard its power, in the four.
Therefore the Pythagoreans say that their most sacred oath is by that
god who delivered to them the quaternary.

     By th' founder of the sacred number four,
     Eternal Nature's font and source, they swore.

Of this number the soul of man is composed; for mind, knowledge,
opinion, and sense are the four that complete the soul, from which all
sciences, all arts, all rational faculties derive themselves. For what
our mind perceives, it perceives after the manner of a thing that is
one, the soul itself being a unity; as for instance, a multitude of
persons are not the object of our sense nor are comprehended by us, for
they are infinite; our understanding gives the general concept of A MAN,
in which all individuals agree. The number of individuals is infinite;
the generic or specific nature of all being is a unit, or to be
apprehended as one only thing; from this one conception we give the
genuine measures of all existence, and therefore we affirm that a
certain class of beings are rational and discoursive. But when we come
to give the nature of a horse, it is that animal which neighs; and this
being common to all horses, it is manifest that the understanding, which
hath such like conceptions, is in its nature unity. It follows that
the number called the infinite binary must be science; in every
demonstration or belief belonging to science, and in every syllogism, we
draw that conclusion which is in dispute from those propositions which
are by all granted, by which means another proposition is obtained from
the premises. The comprehension of these we call knowledge; for which
reason science is the binary number. But opinion is the ternary; for
that rationally follows from comprehension. The objects of opinion are
many things, and the ternary number denotes a multitude, as "Thrice
happy Grecians"; for which reason Pythagoras admits the ternary. This
sect of philosophers is called the Italic, by reason Pythagoras started
his school in Italy; his hatred of the tyranny of Polycrates enforced
him to abandon his native country Samos.

Heraclitus and Hippasus of Metapontum suppose that fire gives the
origination to all beings, that they all flow from fire, and in fire
they all conclude; for of fire when first quenched the world was
constituted. The first part of the world, being most condensed and
contracted within itself, made the earth; but part of that earth being
loosened and made thin by fire, water was produced; afterwards this
water being exhaled and rarefied into vapors became air; after all this
the world itself, and all other corporeal beings, shall be dissolved by
fire in the universal conflagration. By them therefore it appears that
fire is what gives beginning to all things, and is that in which all
things receive their period.

Epicurus the son of Neocles, the Athenian, his philosophical sentiments
being the same with those of Democritus, affirms that the principles of
all being are bodies which are only perceptible by reason; they admit
not of a vacuity, nor of any original, but being of a self-existence are
eternal and incorruptible; they are not liable to any diminution,
they are indestructible, nor is it possible for them to receive any
transformation of parts, or admit of any alterations; of these reason is
only the discoverer; they are in a perpetual motion in vacuity, and by
means of the empty space; for the vacuum itself is infinite, and the
bodies that move in it are infinite. Those bodies acknowledge these
three accidents, figure, magnitude, and gravity. Democritus acknowledged
but two, magnitude and figure. Epicurus added the third, to wit,
gravity; for he pronounced that it is necessary that bodies receive
their motion from that impression which springs from gravity,
otherwise they could not be moved. The figures of atoms cannot be
incomprehensible, but they are not infinite. These figures are neither
hooked nor trident-shaped nor ring-shaped, such figures as these being
exposed to collision; but the atoms are impassible, impenetrable; they
have indeed figures of their own, which are conceived only by reason.
It is called an atom, by reason not of its smallness but of its
indivisibility; in it no vacuity, no passible affection is to be found.
And that there is an atom is perfectly clear; for there are elements
which have a perpetual duration, and there are animals which admit of a
vacuity, and there is a unity.

Empedocles the Agrigentine, the son of Meton, affirms that there are
four elements, fire, air, earth, and water, and two powers which bear
the greatest command in nature, concord and discord, of which one is the
union, the other the division of beings. Thus he sings,

     Hear first the four roots of all created things:--

     Bright shining Jove, Juno that beareth life,
     Pluto beneath the earth, and Nestis who
     Doth with her tears water the human fount.

By Jupiter he understands fire and ether, by Juno that gives life he
means the air, by Pluto the earth, by Nestis and the spring of all
mortals (as it were) seed and water.

Socrates the son of Sophroniscus, and Plato son of Ariston, both natives
of Athens, entertain the same opinion concerning the universe; for
they suppose three principles, God, matter, and the idea. God is the
universal understanding; matter is that which is the first substratum,
accommodated for the generation and corruption of beings; the idea is
an incorporeal essence, existing in the cogitations and apprehensions of
God; for God is the soul and mind of the world.

Aristotle the son of Nichomachus, the Stagirite, constitutes three
principles; Entelecheia (which is the same with form), matter, and
privation. He acknowledges four elements, and adds a certain fifth body,
which is ethereal and not obnoxious to mutation.

Zeno son of Mnaseas, the native of Citium, avers these to be principles,
God and matter, the first of which is the efficient cause, the other the
passible and receptive. Four more elements he likewise confesses.


The world being broken and confused, after this manner it was reduced
into figure and composure as now it is. The insectible bodies or
atoms, by a wild and fortuitous motion, without any governing power,
incessantly and swiftly were hurried one amongst another, many bodies
being jumbled together; upon this account they have a diversity in the
figures and magnitude. These therefore being so jumbled together, those
bodies which were the greatest and heaviest sank into the lowest place;
they that were of a lesser magnitude, being round, smooth, and slippery,
these meeting with those heavier bodies were easily broken into pieces,
and were carried into higher places. But when that force whereby
these variously particles figured particles fought with and struck one
another, and forced the lighter upwards, did cease, and there was no
farther power left to drive them into superior regions, yet they were
wholly hindered from descending downwards, and were compelled to reside
in those places capable to receive them; and these were the heavenly
spaces, unto which a multitude of these small bodies were hurled, and
these being thus shivered fell into coherence and mutual embraces,
and by this means the heaven was produced. Then a various and great
multitude of atoms enjoying the same nature, as it is before asserted,
being hurried aloft, did form the stars. The multitude of these exhaled
bodies, having struck and broke the air in shivers, forced a passage
through it; this being turned into wind invested the stars, as it
moved, and whirled them about, by which means to this present time that
circulary motion which these stars have in the heavens is maintained.
Much after the same manner the earth was made; for by those little
particles whose gravity made them to reside in the lower places the
earth was formed. The heaven, fire, and air were constituted of those
particles which were carried aloft. But a great deal of matter remaining
in the earth, this being condensed by the driving of the winds and the
air from the stars, every little part and form of it was compressed,
which created the element of water; but this being fluidly disposed did
run into those places which were hollow, and these places were those
that were capable to receive and protect it; or the water, subsisting
by itself, did make the lower places hollow. After this manner the
principal parts of the world were constituted.


The Stoics pronounce that the world is one thing, and this they say is
the universe and is corporeal.

But Empedocles's opinion is, that the world is one; yet by no means the
system of this world must be styled the universe, but that it is a small
part of it, and the remainder is inactive matter.

What to Plato seems the truest he thus declares, that there is one
world, and that world is the universe; and this he endeavors to evince
by three arguments. First, that the world could not be complete and
perfect, if it did not within itself include all beings. Secondly, nor
could it give the true resemblance of its original and exemplar, if
it were not the one only begotten thing. Thirdly, it could not be
incorruptible, if there were any being out of its compass to whose power
it might be obnoxious. But to Plato it may be thus returned. First, that
the world is not complete and perfect, nor doth it contain all things
within itself. And if man is a perfect being, yet he doth not encompass
all things. Secondly, that there are many exemplars and originals of
statues, houses, and pictures. Thirdly, how is the world perfect, if
anything beyond it is possible to be moved about it? But the world
is not incorruptible, nor can it be so conceived, because it had an

To Metrodorus it seems absurd, that in a large field one only stalk
should grow, and in an infinite space one only world exist; and that
this universe is infinite is manifest by this, that there is an infinity
of causes. Now if this world be finite and the causes producing it
infinite, it follows that the worlds likewise be infinite; for where
all causes concur, there the effects also must appear, let the causes be
what they will, either atoms or elements.


The Stoics thus define the essence of a god. It is a spirit intellectual
and fiery, which acknowledges no shape, but is continually changed into
what it pleases, and assimilates itself to all things. The knowledge
of this deity they first received from the pulchritude of those things
which so visibly appeared to us; for they concluded that nothing
beauteous could casually or fortuitously be formed, but that it was
framed from the art of a great understanding that produced the world.
That the world is very resplendent is made perspicuous from the figure,
the color, the magnitude of it, and likewise from the wonderful variety
of those stars which adorn this world. The world is spherical; the
orbicular hath the pre-eminence above all other figures, for being round
itself it hath its parts like itself. (On this account, according to
Plato, the understanding, which is the most sacred part of man, is in
the head.) The color of it is most beauteous; for it is painted with
blue; which, though little blacker than purple, yet hath such a shining
quality, that by reason of the vehement efficacy of its color it cuts
through such a space of air; whence it is that at so great a distance
the heavens are to be contemplated. And in this very greatness of the
world the beauty of it appears. View all things: that which contains the
rest carries a beauty with it, as an animal or a tree. Also things which
are visible to us accomplish the beauty of the world. The oblique
circle called the Zodiac in heaven is with different images painted and

     There's Cancer, Leo, Virgo, and the Claws;
     Scorpio, Arcitenens, and Capricorn;
     Amphora, Pisces, then the Ram, and Bull;
     The lovely pair of Brothers next succeed.
    (From Aratus.)

There are a thousand others that give us the suitable reflections of the
beauty of the world. Thus Euripides:--

     The starry splendor of the skies,
     The beautiful and varied work of that wise
     Creator, Time.

From this the knowledge of a god is conveyed to man; that the sun, the
moon, and the rest of the stars, being carried under the earth, rise
again in their proper color, magnitude, place, and times. Therefore they
who by tradition delivered to us the knowledge and veneration of
the gods did it by these three manner of ways:--first, from Nature;
secondly, from fables; thirdly, from the testimony supplied by the
laws of commonwealths. Philosophers taught the natural way; poets, the
fabulous; and the political way is to be had from the constitutions of
each commonwealth. All sorts of this learning are distinguished into
these seven parts. The first is from things that are conspicuous, and
the observation of those bodies which are in places superior to us. To
men the heavenly bodies that are so visible did give the knowledge of
the deity; when they contemplated that they are the causes of so great
an harmony, that they regulate day and night, winter and summer, by
their rising and setting, and likewise considered those things which
by their influences in the earth do receive a being and do likewise
fructify. It was manifest to men that the Heaven was the father of those
things, and the Earth the mother; that the Heaven was the father is
clear, since from the heavens there is the pouring down of waters, which
have their spermatic faculty; the Earth the mother, because she receives
them and brings forth. Likewise men considering that the stars are
running (Greek omitted) in a perpetual motion, that the sun and moon
give us the stimulus to view and contemplate (Greek omitted), they call
them all gods (Greek omitted).

In the second and third place, they thus distinguished the deities into
those which are beneficial and those that are injurious to mankind.
Those which are beneficial they call Jupiter, Juno, Mercury, Ceres;
those who are mischievous the Dirae, Furies, and Mars. These, which
threaten dangers and violence, men endeavor to appease and conciliate
by sacred rites. The fourth and the fifth order of gods they assign to
things and passions; to passions, Love, Venus, and Desire; the deities
that preside over things, Hope, Justice, and Eunomia.

The sixth order of deities are the ones made by the poets; Hesiod,
willing to find out a father for those gods that acknowledge an
original, invented their progenitors,--

     Hyperion, Coeus, and Iapetus,
     With Creius:
     (Hesiod, "Theogony," 134.)

upon which account this is called the fabulous. The seventh rank of
the deities added to the rest are those which, by their beneficence to
mankind, were honored with a divine worship, though they were born of
mortal race; of this sort were Hercules, Castor and Pollux, and Bacchus.
These are reputed to be of a human species; for of all beings that which
is divine is most excellent, and man amongst all animals is adorned with
the greatest beauty, is also the best, being adorned by virtue above
the rest because of the gift of intellect: therefore it was thought that
those who were admirable for excellence should resemble that which is
the best and most beautiful.


Some of the philosophers, such as Diagoras the Melian, Theodorus the
Cyrenean, and Euemerus the Tegeatan, did deny unanimously that there
were any gods; and Callimachus the Cyrenean discovered his mind
concerning Euemerus in these Iambic verses, thus writing:--

     To th' ante-mural temple flock apace,
     Where he that long ago composed of brass
     Great Jupiter, Thrasonic old bald pate,
     Now scribbles impious books,--a boastful ass!

meaning books which prove there are no gods. Euripides the tragedian
durst not openly declare his sentiment; the court of Areopagus terrified
him. Yet he sufficiently manifested his thoughts by this method. He
presented in his tragedy Sisyphus, the first and great patron of this
opinion, and introduced himself as one agreeing with him:--

     Disorder in those days did domineer,
     And brutal power kept the world in fear.

Afterwards by the sanction of laws wickedness was suppressed; but by
reason that laws could prohibit only public villanies, yet could not
hinder many persons from acting secret impieties, some wise persons
gave this advice, that we ought to blind truth with lying disguises, and
persuade men that there is a God:--

     There's an eternal God does hear and see
     And understand every impiety;
     Though it in dark recess or thought committed be.

But this poetical fable ought to be rejected, he thought, along with
Callimachus, who thus saith:--

     If you believe a God, it must be meant
     That you conceive this God omnipotent.

But God cannot do everything; for, if it were so, then a God could make
snow black, and the fire cold, and him that is in a posture of sitting
to be upright, and so on the contrary. The brave-speaking Plato
pronounceth that God formed the world after his own image; but this
smells rank of the old dotages, old comic writers would say; for how did
God, casting his eye upon himself, frame this universe? Or how can God
be spherical, and be inferior to man?

Anaxagoras avers that bodies did consist from all eternity, but the
divine intellect did reduce them into their proper orders, and effected
the origination of all beings. But Plato did not suppose that the
primary bodies had their consistence and repose, but that they were
moved confusedly and in disorder; but God, knowing that order was better
than confusion, did digest them into the best methods. Both these were
equally peccant; for both suppose God to be the great moderator of human
affairs and for that cause to have formed this present world; when it
is apparent that an immortal and blessed being, replenished with all his
glorious excellencies, and not at all obnoxious to any sort of evil, but
being wholly occupied with his own felicity and immortality, would not
employ himself with the concerns of men; for certainly miserable is the
being which, like a laborer or artificer, is molested by the troubles
and cares which the forming and governing of this world must give him.
Add to this, that the God whom these men profess was either not at all
existing before this present world (when bodies were either reposed or
in a disordered motion), or that at that time God did either sleep, or
else was in a constant watchfulness, or that he did neither of these.
Now neither the first nor the second can be entertained, because they
suppose God to be eternal; if God from eternity was in a continual
sleep, he was in an eternal death,--and what is death but an eternal
sleep?--but no sleep can affect a deity, for the immortality of God and
alliance to death are vastly different. But if God was in a continual
vigilance, either there was something wanting to make him happy, or else
his beatitude was perfectly complete; but according to neither of these
can God be said to be blessed; not according to the first, for if
there be any deficiency there is no perfect bliss; not according to the
second, for, if there be nothing wanting to the felicity of God, it must
be a needless enterprise for him to busy himself in human affairs. And
how can it be supposed that God administers by his own providence human
concerns, when to vain and trifling persons prosperous things happen, to
great and high adverse? Agamemnon was both

     A virtuous prince, for warlike acts renowned,
     ("Iliad," iii. 179.)

and by an adulterer and adulteress was vanquished and perfidiously
slain. Hercules, after he had freed the life of man from many things
that were pernicious to it, perished by the witchcraft and poison of

Thales said that the intelligence of the world was God.

Anaximander concluded that the stars were heavenly deities.

Democritus said that God, being a globe of fire, is the intelligence and
the soul of the world.

Pythagoras says that, of his principles, unity is God; and the good,
which is indeed the nature of a unity, is mind itself; but the binary
number, which is infinite, is a daemon, and evil,--about which the
multitude of material beings and this visible world are related.

Socrates and Plato agree that God is that which is one, hath its
original from its own self, is of a singular subsistence, is one only
being perfectly good; all these various names signifying goodness do
all centre in mind; hence God is to be understood as that mind and
intellect, which is a separate idea, that is to say, pure and unmixed of
all matter, and not mingled with anything subject to passions.

Aristotle's sentiment is, that God hath his residence in superior
regions, and hath placed his throne in the sphere of the universe, and
is a separate idea; which sphere is an ethereal body, which is by him
styled the fifth essence or quintessence. For there is a division of the
universe into spheres, which are contiguous by their nature but appear
to reason to be separated; and he concludes that each of the spheres is
an animal, composed of a body and soul; the body of them is ethereal,
moved orbicularly, the soul is the rational form, which is unmoved, and
yet is the cause that the sphere is in motion.

The Stoics affirm that God is a thing more common and obvious, and is
a mechanic fire which every way spreads itself to produce the world; it
contains in itself all seminal virtues, and by this means all things by
a fatal necessity were produced. This spirit, passing through the whole
world, received different names from the mutations in the matter through
which it ran in its journey. God therefore is the world, the stars, the
earth, and (highest of all) the mind in the heavens. In the judgment of
Epicurus all the gods are anthropomorphites, or have the shape of men;
but they are perceptible only by reason, for their nature admits of no
other manner of being apprehended, their parts being so small and fine
that they give no corporeal representations. The same Epicurus asserts
that there are four other natural beings which are immortal: of this
sort are atoms, the vacuum, the infinite, and the similar parts; and
these last are called Homoeomeries and likewise elements.


Having treated of the essence of the deities in a just order, it follows
that we discourse of daemons and heroes. Thales, Pythagoras, Plato, and
the Stoics do conclude that daemons are essences endowed with souls;
that the heroes are the souls separated from their bodies, some are
good, some are bad; the good are those whose souls are good, the evil
those whose souls are wicked. All this is rejected by Epicurus.


Matter is that first being which is substrate for generation,
corruption, and all other alterations.

The disciples of Thales and Pythagoras, with the Stoics, are of opinion
that matter is changeable, mutable, convertible, and sliding through all

The followers of Democritus aver that the vacuum, the atom, and the
incorporeal substance are the first beings, and not obnoxious to

Aristotle and Plato affirm that matter is of that species which is
corporeal, void of any form, species, figure, and quality, but apt to
receive all forms, that she may be the nurse, the mother, and origin of
all other beings. But they that do say that water, earth, air, and
fire are matter do likewise say that matter cannot be without form, but
conclude it is a body; but they that say that individual particles and
atoms are matter do say that matter is without form.


An idea is a being incorporeal, not subsisting by itself, but gives
figure unto shapeless matter, and becomes the cause of its phenomena.

Socrates and Plato conjecture that these ideas are beings separate from
matter, subsisting in the understanding and imagination of the deity,
that is, of mind.

Aristotle accepted forms and ideas; but he doth not believe them
separated from matter, or patterns of the things God has made.

Those Stoics, that are of the school of Zeno, profess that ideas are
nothing else but the conceptions of our own mind.


A cause is that by which anything is produced, or by which anything is

Plato gives this triple division of causes,--the material, the
efficient, and the final cause; the principal cause he judges to be the
efficient, which is the mind and intellect.

Pythagoras and Aristotle judge the first causes are incorporeal beings,
but those that are causes by accident or participation become corporeal
substances; by this means the world is corporeal.

The Stoics grant that all causes are corporeal, inasmuch as they are


A body is that being which hath these three dimensions, breadth, depth,
and length;--or a bulk which makes a sensible resistance;--or whatsoever
of its own nature possesseth a place.

Plato saith that it is neither heavy nor light in its own nature, when
it exists in its own place; but being in the place where another should
be, then it has an inclination by which it tends to gravity or levity.

Aristotle saith that, if we simply consider things in their own nature,
the earth only is to be judged heavy, and fire light; but air and water
are on occasions heavy and at other times light.

The Stoics think that of the four elements two are light, fire and air;
two ponderous, earth and water; that which is naturally light doth by
its own nature, not by any inclination, recede from its own centre; but
that which is heavy doth by its own nature tend to its centre; for the
centre is not a heavy thing in itself.

Epicurus thinks that bodies are not limited; but the first bodies,
which are simple bodies, and all those composed of them, all acknowledge
gravity; that all atoms are moved, some perpendicularly, some obliquely;
some are carried aloft either by immediate impulse or with vibrations.


Empedocles, before the four elements, introduceth the most minute bodies
which resemble elements; but they did exist before the elements, having
similar parts and orbicular.

Heraclitus brings in the smallest fragments, and those indivisible.


A figure is the exterior appearance, the circumscription, and the
boundary of a body.

The Pythagoreans say that the bodies of the four elements are spherical,
fire being in the supremest place only excepted, whose figure is


Color is the visible quality of a body.

The Pythagoreans called color the external appearance of a body.
Empedocles, that which is consentaneous to the passages of the eye.
Plato, that they are fires emitted from bodies, which have parts
harmonious for the sight. Zeno the Stoic, that colors are the first
figurations of matter. The Pythagoreans, that colors are of four sorts,
white and black, red and pale; and they derive the variety of colors
from the mixtures of the elements, and that seen in animals also from
the variety of food and the air.


The disciples of Thales and Pythagoras grant that all bodies are
passible and divisible into infinity. Others hold that atoms and
indivisible parts are there fixed, and admit not of a division into
infinity. Aristotle, that all bodies are potentially but not actually
divisible into infinity.


The ancient philosophers held that the mixture of elements proceeded
from the alteration of qualities; but the disciples of Anaxagoras
and Democritus say it is done by apposition. Empedocles composes the
elements of still minuter bulks, those which are the most minute and may
be termed the element of elements. Plato assigns three bodies (but he
will not allow these to be elements, nor properly so called), air, fire,
and water, which are mutable into one another; but the earth is mutable
into none of these.


All the natural philosophers from Thales to Plato rejected a vacuum.
Empedocles says that there is nothing of a vacuity in Nature, nor
anything superabundant. Leucippus, Democritus, Demetrius, Metrodorus,
Epicurus, that the atoms are in number infinite; and that a vacuum is
infinite in magnitude. The Stoics, that within the compass of the world
there is no vacuum, but beyond it the vacuum is infinite. Aristotle,
that the vacuum beyond the world is so great that the heaven has liberty
to breathe into it, for the heaven is fiery.


Plato, to define place, calls it that thing which in its own bosom
receives forms and ideas; by which metaphor he denotes matter, being
(as it were) a nurse or receptacle of beings. Aristotle, that it is the
ultimate superficies of the circumambient body, contiguous to that which
it doth encompass.


The Stoics and Epicureans make a place, a vacuum, and space to differ.
A vacuum is that which is void of anything that may be called a body;
place is that which is possessed by a body; a space that which is partly
filled with a body, as a cask with wine.


In the sense of Pythagoras, time is that sphere which encompasses
the world. Plato says that it is a movable image of eternity, or the
interval of the world's motion.

Eratosthenes, that it is the solar motion.


Plato says that the heavenly motion is time. Most of the Stoics that
motion is time. Most philosophers think that time had no commencement;
Plato, that time had only in intelligence a beginning.


Plato and Pythagoras say that motion is a difference and alteration in
matter. Aristotle, that it is the actual operation of that which may be
moved. Democritus, that there is but one sort of motion, and it is that
which is vibratory. Epicurus, that there are two species of motion, one
perpendicular, and the other oblique. Herophilus, that one species of
motion is obvious only to reason, the other to sense. Heraclitus utterly
denies that there is anything of quiet or repose in nature; for that is
the state of the dead; one sort of motion is eternal, which he assigns
to beings eternal, the other perishable, to those things which are


Parmenides Melissus, and Zeno deny that there are any such things
as generation and corruption, for they suppose that the universe is
unmovable. Empedocles, Epicurus, and other philosophers that combine
in this, that the world is framed of small corporeal particles meeting
together, affirm that corruption and generation are not so properly to
be accepted; but there are conjunctions and separations, which do not
consist in any distinction according to their qualities, but are made
according to quantity by coalition or disjunction. Pythagoras, and all
those who take for granted that matter is subject to mutation, say that
generation and corruption are to be accepted in their proper sense, and
that they are accomplished by the alteration, mutation, and dissolution
of elements.


Thales says that necessity is omnipotent, and that it exerciseth an
empire over everything. Pythagoras, that the world is invested by
necessity. Parmenides and Democritus, that there is nothing in the world
but what is necessary, and that this same necessity is otherwise called
fate, justice, providence, and the architect of the world.


But Plato distinguisheth and refers some things to Providence, others
to necessity. Empedocles makes the nature of necessity to be that cause
which employs principles and elements. Democritus makes it to be a
resistance, impulse, and force of matter. Plato sometimes says that
necessity is matter; at other times, that it is the habitude or respect
of the efficient cause towards matter.


Heraclitus, who attributes all things to fate, makes necessity to be
the same thing with it. Plato admits of a necessity in the minds and the
acts of men, but yet he introduceth a cause which flows from ourselves.
The Stoics, in this agreeing with Plato, say that necessity is a cause
invincible and violent; that fate is the ordered complication of causes,
in which there is an intexture of those things which proceed from our
own determination, so that certain things are to be attributed to fate,
others not.


According to Heraclitus, the essence of fate is a certain reason which
penetrates the substance of all being; and this is an ethereal body,
containing in itself that seminal faculty which gives an original to
every being in the universe. Plato affirms that it is the eternal reason
and the eternal law of the nature of the world. Chrysippus, that it is a
spiritual faculty, which in due order doth manage and rule the universe.
Again, in his book styled the "Definitions," that fate is the reason
of the world, or that it is that law whereby Providence rules and
administers everything that is in the world; or it is that reason by
which all things have been, all things are, and all things will be
produced. The Stoics say that it is a chain of causes, that is, it is
an order and connection of causes which cannot be resisted. Posidonius,
that it is a being the third in degree from Jupiter; the first of beings
is Jupiter, the second Nature, and the third Fate.


Plato says, that it is an accidental cause and a casual consequence in
things which proceed from the election and counsel of men. Aristotle,
that it is an accidental cause in those things done by an impulse for a
certain end; and this cause is uncertain and unstable: there is a great
deal of difference betwixt that which flows from chance and that which
falls out by Fortune; for that which is fortuitous allows also chance,
and belongs to things practical; but what is by chance cannot be also
by Fortune, for it belongs to things without action: Fortune, moreover,
pertains to rational beings, but chance to rational and irrational
beings alike, and even to inanimate things. Epicurus, that it is a cause
not always consistent, but various as to persons, times, and manners.
Anaxagoras and the Stoics, that it is that cause which human reason
cannot comprehend; for there are some things which proceed from
necessity, some things from Fate, some from choice and free-will, some
from Fortune, some from chance.


Empedocles affirms that Nature is nothing else but the mixture and
separation of the elements; for thus he writes in the first book of his
natural philosophy:--

     Nature gives neither life nor death,
     Mutation makes us die or breathe.
     The elements first are mixed, then each
     Do part: this Nature is in mortal speech.

Anaxagoras is of the same opinion, that Nature is coalition and
separation, that is, generation and corruption.


Having finished my dissertation concerning principles and
elements and those things which chiefly appertain to them, I will turn
my pen to discourse of those things which are produced by them, and will
take my beginning from the world, which contains and encompasseth all


Pythagoras was the first philosopher that called the world [Greek
omitted], from the order and beauty of it; for so that word signifies.
Thales and his followers say the world is one. Democritus, Epicurus,
and their scholar Metrodorus affirm that there are infinite worlds in
an infinite space, for that infinite vacuum in its whole extent contains
them. Empedocles, that the circle which the sun makes in its motion
circumscribes the world, and that circle is the utmost bound of the
world. Seleucus, that the world knows no limits. Diogenes, that the
universe is infinite, but this world is finite. The Stoics make a
difference between that which is called the universe, and that which is
called the whole world;--the universe is the infinite space considered
with the vacuum, the vacuity being removed gives the right conception of
the world; so that the universe and the world are not the same thing.


The Stoics say that the figure of the world is spherical, others that it
is conical, others oval. Epicurus, that the figure of the world may be
globular, or that it may admit of other shapes.


Democritus, Epicurus, and those philosophers who introduced atoms and a
vacuum, affirm that the world is not an animal, nor governed by any wise
Providence, but that it is managed by a nature which is void of reason.
All the other philosophers affirm that the world is informed with a
soul, and governed by reason and Providence. Aristotle is excepted, who
is somewhat different; he is of opinion, that the whole world is
not acted by a soul in every part of it, nor hath it any sensitive,
rational, or intellectual faculties, nor is it directed by reason and
Providence in every part of it; of all which the heavenly bodies are
made partakers, for the circumambient spheres are animated and are
living beings; but those things which are about the earth are void of
those endowments; and though those terrestrial bodies are of an orderly
disposition, yet that is casual and not primogenial.


Pythagoras [and Plato], agreeing with the Stoics, affirm that the world
was framed by God, and being corporeal is obvious to the senses, and in
its own nature is obnoxious to destruction; but it shall never perish,
it being preserved by the providence of God. Epicurus, that the world
had a beginning, and so shall have an end, as plants and animals
have. Xenophanes, that the world never had a beginning, is eternal and
incorruptible. Aristotle, that the part of the world which is sublunary
is subject to change, and there terrestrial beings find a decay.


Aristotle says that, if the world be nourished, it will likewise be
dissolved; but it requires no aliment, and will therefore be eternal.
Plato, that this very world prepares for itself a nutriment, by the
alteration of those things which are corruptible in it. Philolaus
affirms that a destruction happens to the world in two ways; either by
fire failing from heaven, or by the sublunary water being poured down
through the whirling of the air; and the exhalations proceeding from
thence are aliment of the world.


The natural philosophers pronounce that the forming of this world took
its original from the earth, it being its centre, for the centre is the
principal part of the globe. Pythagoras, from the fire and the fifth
element. Empedocles determines, that the first and principal element
distinct from the rest was the aether, then fire, after that the
earth, which earth being strongly compacted by the force of a potent
revolution, water springs from it, the exhalations of which water
produce the air; the heaven took its origin from the aether, and fire
gave a being to the sun; those things nearest to the earth are condensed
from the remainders. Plato, that the visible world was framed after the
exemplar of the intellectual world; the soul of the visible world was
first produced, then the corporeal figure, first that which proceeded
from fire and earth, then that which came from air and water.
Pythagoras, that the world was formed of five solid figures which are
called mathematical; the earth was produced by the cube, the fire by the
pyramid, the air by the octahedron, the water by the icosahedron, and
the globe of the universe by the dodecahedron. In all these Plato hath
the same sentiments with Pythagoras.


Parmenides maintains that there are small coronets alternately twisted
one within another, some made up of a thin, others of a condensed,
matter; and there are others between mixed mutually together of light
and of darkness, and around them all there is a solid substance, which
like a firm wall surrounds these coronets. Leucippus and Democritus
cover the world round about, as with a garment and membrane. Epicurus
says that that which abounds some worlds is thin, and that which limits
others is gross and condensed; and of these spheres some are in motion,
others are fixed. Plato, that fire takes the first place in the world,
the second the aether, after that the air, under that the water; the
last place the earth possesseth: sometimes he puts the aether and the
fire in the same place. Aristotle gives the first place to the aether,
as that which is impassible, it being a kind of a fifth body after which
he placeth those that are passible, fire, air, and water, and last of
all the earth. To those bodies that are accounted celestial he assigns
a motion that is circular, but to those that are seated under them,
if they be light bodies, an ascending, if heavy, a descending motion.
Empedocles, that the places of the elements are not always fixed
and determined, but they all succeed one another in their respective


Diogenes and Anaxagoras state that, after the world was composed and had
produced living creatures, the world out of its own propensity made an
inclination toward the south. Perhaps this may be attributed to a wise
Providence (they affirm), that thereby some parts of the world may be
habitable, others uninhabitable, according as the various climates
are affected with a rigorous cold, or a scorching heat, or a just
temperament of cold and heat. Empedocles, that the air yielding to the
impetuous force of the solar rays, the poles received an inclination;
whereby the northern parts were exalted and the southern depressed, by
which means the whole world received its inclination.


Pythagoras and his followers say that beyond the world there is a
vacuum, into which and out of which the world hath its respiration.
The Stoics, that there is a vacuum into which infinite space by a
conflagration shall be dissolved. Posidonius, not an infinite vacuum,
but as much as suffices for the dissolution of the world; and this he
asserts in his first book concerning the Vacuum. Aristotle affirms, that
a vacuum does not exist. Plato concludes that neither within nor without
the world there is any vacuum.


Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle declare that the eastern parts of the
world, from whence motion commences, are of the right, those of the
western are of the left hand of the world. Empedocles, that those that
are of the right hand face the summer solstice, those of the left the
winter solstice.


Anaximenes affirms that the circumference of heaven makes the limit
of the earth's revolution. Empedocles, that the heaven is a solid
substance, and hath the form and hardness of crystal, it being composed
of the air compacted by fire, and that in both hemispheres it invests
the elements of air and fire. Aristotle, that it is formed by the fifth
body, and by the mixture of extreme heat and cold.


Thales, Pythagoras, and the followers of Pythagoras do distribute the
universal globe of heaven into five circles, which they denominate
zones; one of which is called the arctic circle, which is always
conspicuous to us, another is the summer tropic, another is the
solstice, another is the winter tropic, another is the antarctic circle,
which is always out of sight. The circle called the zodiac is placed
under the three that are in the midst, and is oblique, gently touching
them all. Likewise, they are all divided in right angles by the
meridian, which goes from pole to pole. It is supposed that Pythagoras
made the first discovery of the obliquity of the zodiac, but one
Oenopides of Chios challenges to himself the invention of it.


Thales affirms that they are globes of earth set on fire. Empedocles,
that they are fiery bodies arising from that fire which the aether
embraced within itself, and did shatter in pieces when the elements were
first separated one from another. Anaxagoras, that the circumambient
aether is of a fiery substance, which, by a vehement force in its
whirling about, did tear stones from the earth, and by its own power
set them on fire, and establish them as stars in the heavens. Diogenes
thinks they resemble pumice stones, and that they are the breathings
of the world; again he supposeth that there are some invisible stones,
which fall sometimes from heaven upon the earth, and are there quenched;
as it happened at Aegos-potami, where a stony star resembling fire did
fall. Empedocles, that the fixed stars fastened to the crystal, but the
planets are loosened. Plato, that the stars for the most part are of a
fiery nature, but they are made partakers of another element, with
they are mixed after the resemblance of glue. Zenophanes, that they are
composed of inflamed clouds, which in the daytime are quenched, and in
the night are kindled again. The like we see in coals; for the rising
and setting of the stars is nothing else but the quenching and kindling
of them. Heraclitus and the Pythagoreans, that every star is a world
in an infinite aether, and encompasseth air, earth, and aether; this
opinion is current among the disciples of Orpheus, for they suppose that
each of the stars does make a world. Epicurus condemns none of these
opinions, for he embraces anything that is possible.


The Stoics say that the stars are of a circular form, like as the sun,
the moon, and the world. Cleanthes, that they are of a conical
figure. Anaximenes, that they are fastened as nails in the crystalline
firmament; some others, that they are fiery plates of gold, resembling


Xenocrates says that the stars are moved in one and the same
superficies. The other Stoics say that they are moved in various
superficies, some being superior, others inferior. Democritus, that the
fixed stars are in the highest place; after those the planets; after
these the sun, Venus, and the moon, in order. Plato, that the first
after the fixed stars that makes its appearance is Phaenon, the star of
Saturn; the second Phaeton, the star of Jupiter; the third the fiery,
which is the star of Mars; the fourth the morning star, which is the
star of Venus; the fifth the shining star, and that is the star of
Mercury; in the sixth place is the sun, in the seventh the moon. Plato
and some of the mathematicians conspire in the same opinion; others
place the sun as the centre of the planets. Anaximander, Metrodorus of
Chios, and Crates assign to the sun the superior place, after him the
moon, after them the fixed stars and planets.


Anaxagoras, Democritus, and Cleanthes say that all the stars have their
motion from east to west. Alcmaeon and the mathematicians, that the
planets have a contrary motion to the fixed stars, and in opposition to
them are carried from the west to the east. Anaximander, that they
are carried by those circles and spheres on which they are placed.
Anaximenes, that they are turned under and about the earth. Plato and
the mathematicians, that the sun, Venus, and Mercury hold equal measures
in their motions.


Metrodorus says that all the fixed stars derive their light from the
sun. Heraclitus and the Stoics, that earthly exhalations are those
by which the stars are nourished. Aristotle, that the heavenly bodies
require no nutriment, for they being eternal cannot be obnoxious to
corruption. Plato and the Stoics, that the whole world and the stars are
fed by the same things.


Xenophanes says that those which appear as stars in the tops of ships
are little clouds brilliant by their peculiar motion. Metrodorus, that
the eyes of frighted and astonished people emit those lights which are
called the Twins.


Plato says that the summer and winter indications proceed from the
rising and setting of the stars, that is, from the rising and setting
of the sun, the moon, and the fixed stars. Anaximenes, that the rest in
this are not at all concerned, but that it is wholly performed by the
sun. Eudoxus and Aratus assign it in common to all the stars, for thus
Aratus says:--

     Thund'ring Jove stars in heaven hath fixed,
     And them in such beauteous order mixed,
     Which yearly future things predict.


Anaximander says, that the sun is a circle eight and twenty times
bigger than the earth, and has a circumference very much like that of
a chariot-wheel, which is hollow and full of fire; the fire of which
appears to us through its mouth, as by an aperture in a pipe; and this
is the sun. Xenophanes, that the sun is constituted of small bodies
of fire compacted together and raised from a moist exhalation, which
condensed make the body of the sun; or that it is a cloud enfired. The
Stoics, that it is an intelligent flame proceeding from the sea. Plato,
that it is composed of abundance of fire. Anaxagoras, Democritus, and
Metrodorus, that it is an enfired stone, or a burning body. Aristotle,
that it is a sphere formed out of the fifth body. Philolaus the
Pythagorean, that the sun shines as crystal, which receives its splendor
from the fire of the world and so reflecteth its light upon us; so that
first, the body of fire which is celestial is in the sun; and secondly,
the fiery reflection that comes from it, in the form of a mirror; and
lastly, the rays spread upon us by way of reflection from that mirror;
and this last we call the sun, which is (as it were) an image of an
image. Empedocles, that there are two suns; the one the prototype, which
is a fire placed in the other hemisphere, which it totally fills, and
is always ordered in a direct opposition to the reflection of its own
light; and the sun which is visible to us, formed by the reflection of
that splendor in the other hemisphere (which is filled with air mixed
with heat), the light reflected from the circular sun in the opposite
hemisphere falling upon the crystalline sun; and this reflection is
borne round with the motion of the fiery sun. To give briefly the full
sense, the sun is nothing else but the light and brightness of that fire
which encompasseth the earth. Epicurus, that it is an earthy bulk well
compacted, with ores like a pumice-stone or a sponge, kindled by fire.


Anaximander says, that the sun itself in greatness is equal to the
earth, but that the circle from whence it receives its respiration and
in which it is moved is seven and twenty times larger than the earth.
Anaxagoras, that it is far greater than Peloponnesus. Heraclitus, that
it is no broader than a man's foot. Epicurus, that he equally embraceth
all the foresaid opinions,--that the sun may be of magnitude as it
appears, or it may be somewhat greater or somewhat less.


Anaximenes affirms that in its dilatation it resembles a leaf.
Heraclitus, that it hath the shape of a boat, and is somewhat crooked.
The Stoics, that it is spherical, and it is of the same figure with the
world and the stars. Epicurus, that the recited dogmas may be defended.


Anaximenes believes that the stars are forced by a condensed and
resisting air. Anaxagoras, by the repelling force of the northern
air, which is violently pushed on by the sun, and thus rendered more
condensed and powerful. Empedocles, that the sun is hindered from a
continual direct course by its spherical vehicle and by the two
circular tropics. Diogenes, that the sun, when it comes to its utmost
declination, is extinguished, a rigorous cold damping the heat. The
Stoics, that the sun maintains its course only through that space in
which its sustenance is seated, let it be the ocean or the earth; by the
exhalations proceeding from these it is nourished. Plato, Pythagoras,
and Aristotle, that the sun receives a transverse motion from the
obliquity of the zodiac, which is guarded by the tropics; all these the
globe clearly manifests.


Thales was the first who affirmed that the eclipse of the sun was caused
by the moon's running in a perpendicular line between it and the world;
for the moon in its own nature is terrestrial. And by mirrors it is made
perspicuous that, when the sun is eclipsed, the moon is in a direct line
below it. Anaximander, that the sun is eclipsed when the fiery mouth
of it is stopped and hindered from respiration. Heraclitus, that it
is after the manner of the turning of a boat, when the concave seems
uppermost to our sight, and the convex nethermost. Xenophanes, that the
sun is eclipsed when it is extinguished; and that a new sun is created
and rises in the east. He gives a farther account of an eclipse of the
sun which remained for a whole month, and again of an eclipse which
changed the day into night. Some declare that the cause of an eclipse is
the invisible concourse of condensed clouds which cover the orb of the
sun. Aristarchus placeth the sun amongst the fixed stars, and believeth
that the earth [the moon?] is moved about the sun, and that by its
inclination and vergency it intercepts its light and shadows its orb.
Xenophanes, that there are many suns and many moons, according as the
earth is distinguished by climates, circles, and zones. At some certain
times the orb of the sun, falling upon some part of the world which is
untenanted, wanders in a vacuum and becomes eclipsed. The same person
affirms that the sun proceeding in its motion in the infinite space,
appears to us to move orbicularly, taking that representation from its
infinite distance from us.


Anaximander affirms that the circle of the moon is nineteen times bigger
than the earth, and resembles the sun, its orb being full of fire;
and it suffers an eclipse when the wheel makes a revolution,--which he
describes by the divers turnings of a chariot-wheel, in the midst of it
there being a hollow nave replenished with fire, which hath but one way
of expiration. Xenophanes, that it is a condensed cloud. The Stoics,
that it is mixed of fire and air. Plato, that it is a body of the
greatest part fiery. Anaxagoras and Democritus, that it is a solid,
condensed, and fiery body, in which there are flat countries, mountains,
and valleys. Heraclitus, that it is an earth covered with a bright
cloud. Pythagoras, that the body of the moon was of a nature resembling
a mirror.


The Stoics declare, that in magnitude it exceeds the earth, just as the
sun itself doth. Parmenides, that it is equal to the sun, from whom it
receives its light.


The Stoics believe that it is of the same figure with the sun,
spherical. Empedocles, that the figure of it resembles a quoit.
Heraclitus, a boat. Others, a cylinder.


Anaximander thinks that she gives light to herself, but it is very
slender and faint. Antiphon, that the moon shines by its own proper
light; but when it absconds itself, the solar beams darting on it
obscure it. Thus it naturally happens, that a more vehement light puts
out a weaker; the same is seen in other stars. Thales and his followers,
that the moon borrows all her light of the sun. Heraclitus, that the
sun and moon are after the same manner affected; in their configurations
both are shaped like boats, and are made conspicuous to us by receiving
their light from moist exhalations. The sun appears to us more
refulgent, by reason it is moved in a clearer and purer air; the moon
appears more duskish, it being carried in an air more troubled and


Anaximenes believes that the mouth of the wheel, about which the moon
is turned, being stopped is the cause of an eclipse. Berasus, that it
proceeds from the turning of the dark side of the lunar orb towards us.
Heraclitus, that it is performed just after the manner of a boat turned
upside downwards. Some of the Pythagoreans say, that the splendor arises
from the earth, its obstruction from the Antichthon (or counter-earth).
Some of the later philosophers, that there is such a distribution of
the lunar flame, that it gradually and in a just order burns until it be
full moon; in like manner, that this fire decays by degrees, until its
conjunction with the sun totally extinguisheth it. Plato, Aristotle, the
Stoics, and all the mathematicians agree, that the obscurity with which
the moon is every month affected ariseth from a conjunction with the
sun, by whose more resplendent beams she is darkened; and the moon is
then eclipsed when she falls upon the shadow of the earth, the earth
interposing between the sun and moon, or (to speak more properly) the
earth intercepting the light of the moon.


The Pythagoreans say, that the moon appears to us terraneous, by reason
it is inhabited as our earth is, and in it there are animals of a larger
size and plants of a rarer beauty than our globe affords; that the
animals in their virtue and energy are fifteen degrees superior to ours;
that they emit nothing excrementitious; and that the days are fifteen
times longer. Anaxagoras, that the reason of the inequality ariseth from
the commixture of things earthy and cold; and that fiery and caliginous
matter is jumbled together, whereby the moon is said to be a star of a
counterfeit aspect. The Stoics, that on account of the diversity of her
substance the composition of her body is subject to corruption.


Empedocles declares, that the distance of the moon from the sun is
double her remoteness from the earth. The mathematicians, that her
distance from the sun is eighteen times her distance from the earth.
Eratosthenes, that the sun is remote from the earth seven hundred and
eighteen thousand furlongs.


The year of Saturn is completed when he has had his circulation in the
space of thirty solar years; of Jupiter in twelve; of Mars in two, of
the sun in twelve months; in so many Mercury and Venus, the spaces of
their circulation being equal; of the moon in thirty days, in which
time her course from her prime to her conjunction is finished. As to
the great year, some make it to consist of eight years solar, some
of nineteen, others of fifty-nine. Heraclitus, of eighteen thousand.
Diogenes, of three hundred and sixty-five such years as Heraclitus
assigns. Others there are who lengthen it to seven thousand seven
hundred and seventy-seven years.


In my two precedent treatises having in due order taken a compendious
view and given an account of the celestial bodies, and of the moon which
stands between them and the terrestrial, I must now convert my pen to
discourse in this third book of Meteors, which are beings above the
earth and below the moon, and are extended to the site and situation of
the earth, which is supposed to be the centre of the sphere of this
world; and from thence will I take my beginning.


It is a cloudy circle, which continually appears in the air, and by
reason of the whiteness of its colors is called the galaxy, or the milky
way. Some of the Pythagoreans say that, when Phaeton set the world on
fire, a star falling from its own place in its circular passage through
the region caused an inflammation. Others say that originally it was
the first course of the sun; others, that it is an image as in a
looking-glass, occasioned by the sun's reflecting its beams towards the
heavens, and this appears in the clouds and in the rainbow. Metrodorus,
that it is merely the solar course, or the motion of the sun in its own
circle. Parmenides, that the mixture of a thick and thin substance gives
it a color which resembles milk. Anaxagoras, that the sun moving under
the earth and not being able to enlighten every place, the shadow of
the earth, being cast upon the part of the heavens, makes the galaxy.
Democritus, that it is the splendor which ariseth from the coalition
of many small bodies, which, being firmly united amongst themselves, do
mutually enlighten one another. Aristotle, that it is the inflammation
of dry, copious, and coherent vapor, by which the fiery mane, whose seat
is beneath the aether and the planets, is produced. Posidonius, that it
is a combination of fire, of finer substance than the stars, but denser
than light.


Some of the Pythagoreans say, that a comet is one of those stars which
do not always appear, but after they have run through their determined
course, they then rise and are visible to us. Others, that it is the
reflection of our sight upon the sun, which gives the resemblance of
comets much after the same manner as images are reflected in mirrors.
Anaxagoras and Democritus, that two or more stars being in conjunction
by their united light make a comet. Aristotle, that it is a fiery
coalition of dry exhalations. Strato, that it is the light of the star
darting through a thick cloud that hath invested it; this is seen in
light shining through lanterns. Heraclides, native of Pontus, that it is
a lofty cloud inflamed by a sublime fire. The like causes he assigns
to the bearded comet, to those circles that are seen about the sun or
stars, or those meteors which resemble pillars or beams, and all others
which are of this kind. This way unanimously go all the Peripatetics,
holding that these meteors, being formed by the clouds, do differ
according to their various configurations. Epigenes, that a comet arises
from a rising of spirit or wind, mixed with an earthy substance and set
on fire. Boethus, that it is a phantasy presented to us by fiery air.
Diogenes, that comets are stars. Anaxagoras, that those styled shooting
stars descend from the aether like sparks, and therefore are soon
extinguished. Metrodorus, that it is a forcible illapse of the sun upon
clouds which makes them to sparkle as fire. Xenophanes, that all such
fiery meteors are nothing else but the conglomeration of the enfired
clouds, and the flashing motions of them.

that all these are produced by the wind after this manner: the wind
being enclosed by condensed clouds, on account of its minuteness and
lightness violently endeavors to make a passage; and in breaking
through the cloud gives noise; and the tearing the cloud, because of the
blackness of it, gives a resplendent flame. Metrodorus, that when the
wind falls upon a cloud whose densing firmly compacts it, by breaking
the cloud it causeth a great noise, and by striking and rending the
cloud it gives the flame; and in the swiftness of its motion, the sun
imparting heat to it, it throws out the bolt. The weak declining of the
thunderbolt ends in a violent tempest. Anaxagoras, that when heat and
cold meet and are mixed together (that is, ethereal parts with airy),
thereby a great noise of thunder is produced, and the color observed
against the blackness of the cloud occasions the flashing of fire; the
full and great splendor is lightning, the more enlarged and embodied
fire becomes a whirlwind, the cloudiness of it gives the hurricane. The
Stoics, that thunder is the clashing of clouds one upon another,
the flash of lightning is their fiery inflammation; their more
rapid splendor is the thunderbolt, the faint and weak the whirlwind.
Aristotle, that all these proceed from dry exhalations, which, if they
meet with moist vapors, forcing their passage, the breaking of them
gives the noise of thunder; they, being very dry, take fire and make
lightning; tempests and hurricanes arise from the plenitude of matter
which each draw to themselves, the hotter parts attracted make the
whirlwinds, the duller the tempests.


Anaximenes thinks that the air by being very much condensed clouds are
formed; this air being more compacted, rain is compressed through it;
when water in its falling down freezeth, then snow is generated; when it
is encompassed with a moist air, it is hail. Metrodorus, that a cloud is
composed of a watery exhalation carried into a higher place. Epicurus,
that they are made of vapors; and that hail and snow are formed in
a round figure, being in their long descent pressed upon by the
circumambient air.


Those things which affect the air in the superior places of it are of
two sorts. Some have a real subsistence, such are rain and hail; others
not. Those which enjoy not a proper subsistence are only in appearance;
of this sort is the rainbow. Thus the continent to us that sail seems to
be in motion.

Plato says, that men admiring it feigned that it took origination from
one Thaumas, which word signifies admiration. Homer sings:--

     Jove paints the rainbow with a purple dye,
     Alluring man to cast his wandering eye.
     (Iliad, xvii. 547.)

Others therefore fabled that the bow hath a head like a bull, by which
it swallows up rivers.

But what is the cause of the rainbow? It is evident that what apparent
things we see come to our eyes in right or in crooked lines, or by
refraction: these are incorporeal and to sense obscure, but to reason
they are obvious. Those which are seen in right lines are those which we
see through the air or horn or transparent stones, for all the parts
of these things are very fine and tenuous; but those which appear in
crooked lines are in water, the thickness of the water presenting
them bended to our sight. This is the reason that oars in themselves
straight, when put into the sea, appear to us crooked. The third manner
of our seeing is by refraction, and this is perspicuous in mirrors.
After this third sort the rainbow is affected. We conceive it is a moist
exhalation converted into a cloud, and in a short space it is dissolved
into small and moist drops. The sun declining towards the west, it will
necessarily follow that the whole bow is seen opposite to the sun; for
the eye being directed to those drops receives a refraction, and by this
means the bow is formed. The eye doth not consider the figure and form,
but the color of these drops; the first of which colors is a shining
red, the second a purple, the third is blue and green. Let us consider
whether the reason of this red shining color be the splendor of the sun
falling upon these small drops, the whole body of light being refracted,
by which this bright red color is produced; the second part being
troubled and the light languishing in the drops, the color becomes
purple (for the purple is the faint red); but the third part, being more
and more troubled, is changed into the green color. And this is proved
by other effects of Nature; if any one shall put water in his mouth and
spit it out so opposite to the sun, that its rays may be refracted on
the drops, he shall see the resemblance of a rainbow; the same appears
to men that are blear-eyed, when they fix their watery eyes upon a

Anaximenes thinks the bow is thus formed; the sun casting its splendor
upon a thick, black, and gross cloud, and the rays not being in a
capacity to penetrate beyond the superficies. Anaxagoras, that, the
solar rays being reflected from a condensed cloud, the sun being placed
directly opposite to it forms the bow after the mode of the repercussion
of a mirror; after the same manner he assigns the natural cause of the
Parhelia or mock-suns, which are often seen in Pontus. Metrodorus, that
when the sun casts its splendor through a cloud, the cloud gives itself
a blue, and the light a red color.


These rods and the mock-suns are constituted of a double nature, a real
subsistence, and a mere appearance;--of a real subsistence, because
the clouds are the object of our eyes; of a mere appearance, for their
proper color is not seen, but that which is adventitious. The like
affections, natural and adventitious, in all such things do happen.


Anaximander believes that wind is a fluid air, the sun putting into
motion or melting the moist subtle parts of it. The Stoics, that all
winds are a flowing air, and from the diversity of the regions whence
they have their origin receive their denomination; as, from darkness and
the west the western wind; from the sun and its rising the eastern;
from the north the northern, and from the south the southern winds.
Metrodorus, that moist vapors heated by the sun are the cause of the
impetuousness of violent winds. The Etesian, or those winds which
annually commence about the rising of the Little Dog, the air about the
northern pole being more compacted, blow violently following the sun
when it returns from the summer solstice.


Empedocles and the Stoics believe that winter is caused by the thickness
of the air prevailing and mounting upwards; and summer by fire, it
falling downwards.

This description being given by me of Meteors, or those things that are
above us, I must pass to those things which are terrestrial.


Thales and his followers say that there is but one earth. Hicetes the
Pythagorean, that there are two earths, this and the Antichthon, or
the earth opposite to it. The Stoics, that this earth is one, and that
finite and limited. Xenophanes, that the earth, being compacted of
fire and air, in its lowest parts hath laid a foundation in an infinite
depth. Metrodorus, that the earth is mere sediment and dregs of water,
as the sun is of the air.


Thales, the Stoics, and their followers say that the earth is globular.
Anaximander, that it resembles a smooth stony pillar. Anaximenes, that
it hath the shape of a table. Leucippus, of a drum. Democritus, that it
is like a quoit externally, and hollow in the middle.


The disciples of Thales say that the earth is the centre of the
universe. Xenophanes, that it is first, being rooted in the infinite
space. Philolaus the Pythagorean gives to fire the middle place,
and this is the source fire of the universe; the second place to the
Antichthon; the third to that earth which we inhabit, which is placed
in opposition unto and whirled about the opposite,--which is the reason
that those which inhabit that earth cannot be seen by us. Parmenides was
the first that confined the habitable world to the two solstitial (or
temperate) zones.


Leucippus affirms that the earth vergeth towards the southern parts, by
reason of the thinness and fineness that is in the south; the northern
parts are more compacted, they being congealed by a rigorous cold, but
those parts of the world that are opposite are enfired. Democritus,
because, the southern parts of the air being the weaker, the earth as it
enlarges bends towards the south; the northern parts are of an unequal,
the southern of an equal temperament; and this is the reason that the
earth bends towards those parts where the earth is laden with fruits and
its own increase.


Most of the philosophers say that the earth remains fixed in the same
place. Philolaus the Pythagorean, that it is moved about the element of
fire, in an oblique circle, after the same manner of motion that the sun
and moon have. Heraclides of Pontus and Ecphantus the Pythagorean assign
a motion to the earth, but not progressive, but after the manner of a
wheel being carried on its own axis; thus the earth (they say) turns
itself upon its own centre from west to east. Democritus, that when the
earth was first formed it had a motion, the parts of it being small and
light; but in process of time the parts of it were condensed, so that by
its own weight it was poised and fixed.


Pythagoras says that, as the celestial sphere is distributed into five
zones, into the same number is the terrestrial; which zones are the
arctic and antarctic, the summer and winter tropics (or temperate
zones), and the equinoctial; the middle of which zones equally divides
the earth and constitutes the torrid zone; but that portion which is in
between the summer and winter tropics is habitable, by reason the air is
there temperate.


Thales and Democritus assign the cause of earthquakes to water. The
Stoics say that it is a moist vapor contained in the earth, making an
irruption into the air, that causes the earthquake. Anaximenes, that the
dryness and rarity of the earth are the cause of earthquakes, the one of
which is produced by extreme drought, the other by immoderate showers.
Anaxagoras, that the air endeavoring to make a passage out of the earth,
meeting with a thick superficies, is not able to force its way, and so
shakes the circumambient earth with a trembling. Aristotle, that a cold
vapor encompassing every part of the earth prohibits the evacuation of
vapors; for those which are hot, being in themselves light, endeavor to
force a passage upwards, by which means the dry exhalations, being left
in the earth, use their utmost endeavor to make a passage out, and being
wedged in, they suffer various circumvolutions and shake the earth.
Metrodorus, that whatsoever is in its own place is incapable of motion,
except it be pressed upon or drawn by the operation of another body; the
earth being so seated cannot naturally be moved, yet divers parts
and places of the earth may move one upon another. Parmenides and
Democritus, that the earth being so equally poised hath no sufficient
ground why it should incline more to one side than to the other; so that
it may be shaken, but cannot be removed. Anaximenes, that the earth by
reason of its latitude is borne upon by the air which presseth upon it.
Others opine that the earth swims upon the waters, as boards and broad
planks, and by that reason is moved. Plato, that motion is by six manner
of ways, upwards, downwards, on the right hand and on the left, behind
and before; therefore it is not possible that the earth should be moved
in any of these modes, for it is altogether seated in the lowest place;
it therefore cannot receive a motion, since there is nothing about it so
peculiar as to cause it to incline any way; but some parts of it are
so rare and thin that they are capable of motion. Epicurus, that the
possibility of the earth's motion ariseth from a thick and aqueous
air under the earth, that may, by moving or pushing it, be capable of
quaking; or that being so compassed, and having many passages, it is
shaken by the wind which is dispersed through the hollow dens of it.


Anaximander affirms that the sea is the remainder of the primogenial
humidity, the greatest part of which being dried up by the fire, the
influence of the great heat altered its quality. Anaxagoras that in the
beginning water did not flow, but was as a standing pool; and that it
was burnt by the movement of the sun about it, by which the oily part of
the water being exhaled, the residue became salt. Empedocles, that the
sea is the sweat of the earth heated by the sun. Antiphon, that the
sweat of that which was hot was separated from the rest which were
moist; these by seething and boiling became bitter, as happens in all
sweats. Metrodorus, that the sea was strained through the earth, and
retained some part of its density; the same is observed in all those
things which are strained through ashes. The schools of Plato, that the
element of water being compacted by the rigor of the air became sweet,
but that part which was expired from the earth, being enfired, became of
a brackish taste.


Aristotle and Heraclides say, they proceed from the sun, which moves
and whirls about the winds; and these falling with a violence upon
the Atlantic, it is pressed and swells by them, by which means the sea
flows; and their impression ceasing, the sea retracts, hence they ebb.
Pytheas the Massilian, that the fulness of the moon gives the flow, the
wane the ebb. Plato attributes it all to a certain balance of the sea,
which by means of a mouth or orifice causes the tide; and by this means
the seas do rise and flow alternately. Timaeus believes that those
rivers which fall from the mountains of the Celtic Gaul into the
Atlantic produce a tide. For upon their entering upon that sea, they
violently press upon it, and so cause the flow; but they disemboguing
themselves, there is a cessation of the impetuousness, by which means
the ebb is produced. Seleucus the mathematician attributes a motion to
the earth; and thus he pronounceth that the moon in its circumlation
meets and repels the earth in its motion; between these two, the earth
and the moon, there is a vehement wind raised and intercepted, which
rushes upon the Atlantic Ocean, and gives us a probable argument that it
is the cause the sea is troubled and moved.


The aurea or circle is thus formed. A thick and dark air intervening
between the moon or any other star and our eye, by which means our sight
is dilated and reflected, when now our sight falls upon the outward
circumference of the orb of that star, there presently seems a circle
to appear. This circle thus appearing is called the [Greek omitted]
or halo; and there is constantly such a circle seen by us, when such a
density of sight happens.


Having taken a survey of the general parts of the world, I will
take a view of the particular members of it.


Thales conjectures that the Etesian or anniversary northern winds
blowing strongly against Egypt heighten the swelling of the Nile, the
mouth of that river being obstructed by the force of the sea rushing
into it. Euthymenes the Massilian concludes that the Nile is filled
by the ocean and that sea which is outward from it, the last being
naturally sweet. Anaxagoras, that the snow in Ethiopia which is
frozen in winter is melted in summer, and this makes the inundation.
Democritus, that the snows which are in the northern climates when the
sun enters the summer solstice are dissolved and diffused; from those
vapors clouds are compacted, and these are forcibly driven by the
Etesian winds into the southern parts and into Egypt, from whence
violent showers are poured; and by this means the fens of Egypt are
filled with water, and the river Nile hath its inundation. Herodotus the
historian, that the waters of the Nile receive from their fountain an
equal portion of water in winter and in summer; but in winter the water
appears less, because the sun, making its approach nearer to Egypt,
draws up the rivers of that country into exhalation. Ephorus the
historiographer, that in summer all Egypt seems to be melted and sweats
itself into water, to which the thin and sandy soils of Arabia and Lybia
contribute. Eudoxus relates that the Egyptian priests affirm that, when
it is summer to us who dwell under the northern tropic, it is winter
with them that inhabit under the southern tropic; by this means there is
a various contrariety and opposition of the seasons in the year, which
cause such showers to fall as make the water to overflow the banks of
the Nile and diffuse itself throughout all Egypt.


Thales first pronounced that the soul is that being which is in a
perpetual motion, or that whose motion proceeds from itself. Pythagoras,
that it is a number moving itself; he takes a number to be the same
thing with a mind. Plato, that it is an intellectual substance moving
itself, and that motion is in a numerical harmony. Aristotle, that it is
the first actuality [Greek ommitted] of a natural organical body which
has life potentially; and this actuality must be understood to be the
same thing with energy or operation. Dicaearchus, that it is the
harmony of the four elements. Asclepiades the physician, that it is the
concurrent exercitation of the senses.


All those named by me do affirm that the soul itself is incorporeal, and
by its own nature is in a motion, and in its own self is an intelligent
substance, and the living actuality of a natural organical body. The
followers of Anaxagoras, that it is airy and a body. The Stoics, that
it is a hot exhalation. Democritus, that it is a fiery composition of
things which are perceptible by reason alone, the same having their
forms spherical and without an inflaming faculty; and it is a body.
Epicurus, that it is constituted of four qualities, of a fiery quality,
of an aerial quality, a pneumatical, and of a fourth quality which hath
no name, but it contains the virtue of the sense. Heraclitus, that the
soul of the world is the exhalation which proceeds from the moist
parts of it; but the soul of animals, arising from exhalations that are
exterior and from those that are within them, is homogeneous to it.


Plato and Pythagoras, according to their first account, distribute the
soul into two parts, the rational and irrational. By a more accurate and
strict account the soul is branched into three parts; they divide the
unreasonable part into the concupiscible and the irascible. The Stoics
say the soul is constituted of eight parts; five of which are the
senses, hearing, seeing, tasting, touching, smelling, the sixth is
the faculty of speaking, the seventh of generating, the eighth of
commanding; this is the principal of all, by which all the other are
guided and ordered in their proper organs, as we see the eight arms of a
polypus aptly disposed. Democritus and Epicurus divide the soul into two
parts, the one rational, which bath its residence in the breast, and the
irrational, which is diffused through the whole structure of the body.
Democritus, that the quality of the soul is communicated to everything,
yea, to the dead corpses; for they are partakers of heat and some sense,
when the most of both is expired out of them.


Plato and Democritus place its residence in the whole head. Strato,
in that part of the forehead where the eyebrows are separated.
Erasiatratus, in the Epikranis, or membrane which involves the brain.
Herophilus, in that sinus of the brain which is the basis of it.
Parmenides, in the breast; which opinion is embraced by Epicurus. The
Stoics are generally of this opinion, that the seat of the soul is
throughout the heart, or in the spirit about it. Diogenes, in the
arterial ventricle of the heart, which is also full of vital spirit.
Empedocles, in the mass of the blood. There are that say it is in the
neck of the heart, others in the pericardium, others in the midriff.
Certain of the Neoterics, that the seat of the soul is extended from
the head to the diaphragm. Pythagoras, that the animal part of the soul
resides in the heart, the intellectual in the head.


Plato believes that the soul is in perpetual motion, but that it is
immovable as regards motion from place to place. Aristotle, that the
soul is not naturally moved, but its motion is accidental, resembling
that which is in the forms of bodies.


Plato and Pythagoras say that the soul is immortal; when it departs out
of the body, it retreats to the soul of the world, which is a being of
the same nature with it. The Stoics, when the souls leave the bodies,
they are carried to divers places; the souls of the unlearned and
ignorant descend to the coagmentation of earthly things, but the learned
and vigorous last till the general fire. Epicurus and Democritus, the
soul is mortal, and it perisheth with the body. Plato and Pythagoras,
that part of the soul of man which is rational is eternal; for though it
be not God, yet it is the product of an eternal deity; but that part of
the soul which is divested of reason dies.


The Stoics give this definition of sense: Sense is the Apprehension or
comprehension of an object by means of an organ of sensation. There
are several ways of expressing what sense is; it is either a habit, a
faculty, an operation, or an imagination which apprehends by means of
an organ of sense,--and also the eighth principal thing, from whence the
senses originate. The instruments of sense are intelligent exhalations,
which from the said commanding part extend unto all the organs of the
body. Epicurus, that sense is a faculty, and that which is perceived
by the sense is the product of it; so that sense hath a double
acceptation,--sense which is the faculty, and the thing received by the
sense, which is the effect. Plato, that sense is that commerce which
the soul and body have with those things that are exterior to them; the
power of which is from the soul, the organ by which is from the body;
but both of them apprehend external objects by means of the imagination.
Leucippus and Democritus, that sense and intelligence arise from
external images; so neither of them can operate without the assistance
of image falling upon us.


The Stoics say that what the senses represent is true; what the
imagination, is partly false, partly true. Epicurus that every
impression of the sense or imagination is true, but of those things that
fall under the head of opinion, some are true, some false: sense gives
us a false presentation of those things only which are the objects of
our understanding; but the imagination gives us a double error, both of
things sensible and things intellectual. Empedocles and Heraclides,
that the senses act by a just accommodation of the pores in every case;
everything that is perceived by the sense being congruously adapted to
its proper organ.


The Stoics say that there are five senses properly so called, seeing,
hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Aristotle indeed doth not add
a sixth sense; but he assigns a common sense, which is the judge of
all compounded species; into this each sense casts its proper
representation, in which is discovered a transition of one thing into
another, like as we see in figure and motion where there is a change of
one into another. Democritus, that there are divers species of senses,
which appertain to beings destitute of reason, to the gods, and to wise


The Stoics affirm that every man, as soon as he is born, has a principal
and commanding part of his soul, which is in him like a sheet of
writing-paper, to which he commits all his notions. The first manner of
his inscribing is by denoting those notions which flow from the senses.
Suppose it be of a thing that is white; when the present sense of it is
vanished, there is yet retained the remembrance; when many memorative
notions of the same similitude do concur, then he is said to have an
experience; for experience is nothing more than the abundance of notions
that are of the same form met together. Some of these notions are
naturally begotten according to the aforesaid manner, without the
assistance of art; the others are produced by discipline, learning,
and industry; these only are justly called notions, the others are
prenotions. But reason, which gives us the denomination of rational, is
completed by prenotions in the first seven years. The conception of
the mind is the vision that the intelligence of a rational animal hath
received; when that vision falls upon the rational soul, then it is
called the conception of the mind, for it hath derived its name from the
mind [Greek omitted] from [Greek omitted]. Therefore these visions are
not to be found in any other animals; they only are appropriated to gods
and to us men. If these we consider generally, they are phantasms; if
specifically, they are notions. As pence or staters, if you consider
them according to their own value, are simply pence and staters; but if
you give them as a price for a naval voyage, they are called not merely
pence, etc., but your freight.


Chrysippus affirms, these four are different one from another.
Imagination is that passion raised in the soul which discovers itself
and that which was the efficient of it; to use example, after the eye
hath looked upon a thing that is white, the sight of which produceth in
the mind a certain impression, this gives us reason to conclude that the
object of this impression is white, which affecteth us. So with touching
and smelling Phantasy or imagination is denominated from [Greek omitted]
which denotes light; for as light discovers itself and all other things
which it illuminates, so this imagination discovers itself and that
which is the cause of it. The imaginable is the efficient cause of
imagination; as anything that is white, or anything that is cold, or
everything that may make an impression upon the imagination. Fancy is
a vain impulse upon the mind of man, proceeding from nothing which is
really conceivable; this is experienced in those that whirl about their
idle hand and fight with shadows; for to the imagination there is always
some real imaginable thing presented, which is the efficient cause of
it; but to the fancy nothing. A phantom is that to which we are brought
by such a fanciful and vain attraction; this is to be seen in melancholy
and distracted persons. Of this sort was Orestes in the tragedy,
pronouncing these words:

     Mother, these maids with horror me affright;
     Oh bring them not, I pray, into my sight!
     They're smeared with blood, and cruel, dragon-like,
     Skipping about with deadly fury strike.

These rave as frantic persons, they see nothing, and yet imagine they
see. Thence Electra thus returns to him:

     O wretched man, securely sleep in bed;
     Nothing thou seest, thy fancy's vainly led.
     (Euripides, "Orestes", 255.)

After the same manner Theoclymenus in Homer.


Democritus and Epicurus suppose that sight is caused by the insertion
of little images into the visive organ, and by the reception of certain
rays which return to the eye after meeting the object. Empedocles
supposes that images are mixed with the rays of the eye; these he styles
the rays of images. Hipparchus, that the visual rays extend from
both the eyes to the superficies of bodies, and give to the sight the
apprehension of those same bodies, after the same manner in which the
hand touching the extremity of bodies gives the sense of feeling. Plato,
that the sight is the splendor of united rays; there is a light which
reaches some distance from the eyes into a cognate air, and there is
likewise a light shed from bodies, which meets and joins with the fiery
visual light in the intermediate air (which is liquid and mutable);
and the union of these rays gives the sense of seeing. This is Plato's
corradiancy, or splendor of united rays.


Empedocles says that these images are caused by certain effluxes which,
meeting together and resting upon the superficies of the mirror, are
perfected by that fiery element emitted by the said mirror, which
transforms withal the air that surrounds it. Democritus and Epicurus,
that the specular appearances are made by the subsistence of the images
which flow from our eyes; these fall upon the mirror and remain, while
the light returns to the eye. The followers of Pythagoras explain it by
the reflection of the sight; for our sight being extended (as it were)
to the brass, and meeting with the smooth dense surface thereof it is
forced back, and caused to return upon itself: the same takes place in
the hand, when it is stretched out and then brought back again to the
shoulder. Any one may use these instances to explain the manner of


The Stoics say that darkness is seen by us, for out of our eyes there
issues out some light into it; and our eyes do not impose upon us, for
they really perceive there is darkness. Chrysippus says that we see
darkness by the striking of the intermediate air; for the visual spirits
which proceed from the principal part of the soul and reach to the ball
of the eye pierce this air, which, after they have made those strokes
upon it, extend conically on the surrounding air, where this is
homogeneous in quality. For from the eyes those rays are poured forth
which are neither black nor cloudy. Upon this account darkness is
visible to us.


Empedocles says that hearing is formed by the insidency of the air upon
the cochlea, which it is said hangs within the ear as a bell, and is
beat upon by the air. Alcmaeon, that the vacuity that is within the
ear makes us to have the sense of hearing, for the air forcing a vacuum
gives the sound; every inanity affords a ringing. Diogenes the air which
exists in the head, being struck upon by the voice gives the hearing.
Plato and his followers, the air which exists in the head being struck
upon, is reflected to the principal part of the soul, and this causeth
the sense of hearing.


Alcmaeon believes that the principal part of the soul, residing in the
brain, draws to itself odors by respiration. Empedocles, that scents
insert themselves into the breathing of the lungs; for, when there is a
great difficulty in breathing, odors are not perceived by reason of the
sharpness; and this we experience in those who have the defluxion of


Alcmaeon says that a moist warmth in the tongue, joined with the
softness of it, gives the difference of taste. Diogenes, that by the
softness and sponginess of the tongue, and because the veins of the
body are joined in it, tastes are diffused by the tongue; for they are
attracted from it to that sense and to the commanding part of the soul,
as from a sponge.


Plato thus defines a voice,--that it is a breath drawn by the mind
through the mouth, and a blow impressed on the air and through the ear,
brain, and blood transmitted to the soul. Voice is abusively attributed
to irrational and inanimate beings; thus we improperly call the neighing
of horses or any other sound by the name of voice. But properly a
voice [Greek omitted] is an articulate sound, which illustrates [Greek
omitted] the understanding of man. Epicurus says that it is an efflux
emitted from things that are vocal, or that give sounds or great
noises; this is broken into those fragments which are after the same
configuration. Like figures are round figures with round, and irregular
and triangular with those of the same kind. These falling upon the ears
produce the sense of hearing. This is seen in leaking vessels, and in
fullers when they fan or blow their cloths.

Democritus, that the air is broken into bodies of similar configuration,
and these are rolled up and down with the fragments of the voice; as it
is proverbially said, One daw lights with another, or, God always brings
like to like. Thus we see upon the seashore, that stones like to one
another are found in the same place, in one place the long-shaped, in
another the round are seen. So in sieves, things of the same form meet
together, but those that are different are divided; as pulse and beans
falling from the same sieve are separated one from another. To this it
may be objected: How can some fragments of air fill a theatre in which
there is an infinite company of persons. The Stoics, that the air is not
composed of small fragments, but is a continued body and nowhere admits
a vacuum; and being struck with the air, it is infinitely moved in waves
and in right circles, until it fill that air which surrounds it; as we
see in a fish-pool which we smite by a falling stone cast upon it; yet
the air is moved spherically, the water orbicularly. Anaxagoras says a
voice is then formed when upon a solid air the breath is incident, which
being repercussed is carried to the ears; after the same manner the echo
is produced.


Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle declare that the voice is incorporeal;
for it is not the air that causes the voice, but the figure which
compasseth the air and its superficies having received a stroke, give
the voice. But every superficies of itself is incorporeal. It is true
that it move with the body but itself it hath no body; as we observe in
a staff that is bended, the matter only admits of an inflection, while
the superficies doth not. According to the Stoics a voice is corporeal
since everything that is an agent or operates is a body; a voice acts
and operates, for we hear it and are sensible of it; for it falls and
makes an impression on the ear, as a seal of a ring gives its similitude
upon the wax. Besides, everything that creates a delight or injury is
a body; harmonious music affects with delight, but discord is tiresome.
And everything that moved is a body; and the voice moves, and having its
illapse upon smooth places is reflected, as when a ball is cast against
a wall it rebounds. A voice spoken in the Egyptian pyramids is so
broken, that it gives four or five echoes.


The Stoics say that the highest part of the soul is the commanding part
of it: this is the cause of sense, fancy, consents, and desires; and
this we call the rational part. From this principal and commander there
are produced seven parts of the soul, which are spread through the body,
as the seven arms in a polypus. Of these seven parts, five are assigned
to the senses, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching. Sight is a
spirit which is extended from the commanding part of the eyes; hearing
is that spirit which from the principle reacheth to the ears; smelling
a spirit drawn from the principal to the nostrils; tasting a spirit
extended from the principle to the tongue; touching is a spirit which
from the principal is drawn to the extremity of those bodies which
are obnoxious to a sensible touch. Of the rest, the one called the
spermatical is a spirit which reacheth from the principal to the
generating vessels; the other, which is the vocal and termed the voice,
is a spirit extended from the principal to the throat, tongue, and other
proper organs of speaking. And this principal part itself hath that
place in our spherical head which God hath in the world.


Empedocles thinks, that the first breath the first animal drew was when
the moisture in the embryo was separated, and by that means an entrance
was given to the external air into the gaping vessels, the moisture in
them being evacuated. After this the natural heat, in a violent force
pressing upon the external air for a passage, begets an expiration; but
this heat returning to the inward parts, and the air giving way to it,
causeth a respiration. The respiration that now is arises when the blood
is borne to the exterior surface, and by this movement drives the
airy substance through the nostrils; thus in its recess it causeth
expiration, but the air being again forced into those places which
are emptied of blood, it causeth an inspiration. To explain which, he
proposeth the instance of a water-clock, which gives the account of time
by the running of water.

Asclepiades supposeth the lungs to be in the manner of a funnel, and the
cause of breathing to be the fineness of the inward parts of the breast;
for thither the outward air which is more gross hastens, but is forced
backward, the breast not being capable either to receive or want it. But
there being always some of the more tenuous parts of the air left, so
that all of it is not exploded, to that which there remains the more
ponderous external air with equal violence is forced; and this he
compares to cupping-glasses. All spontaneous breathings are formed by
the contracting of the smaller pores of the lungs, and to the closing of
the pipe in the neck; for these are at our command.

Herophilus attributes a moving faculty to the nerves, arteries, and
muscles, but thinks that the lungs are affected only with a natural
desire of enlarging and contracting themselves. Farther, there is the
first operation of the lungs by attraction of the outward air, which
is drawn in because of the abundance of the external air. Next to this,
there is a second natural appetite of the lungs; the breast, pouring in
upon itself the breath, and being filled, is no longer able to make an
attraction, and throws the superfluity of it upon the lungs, whereby
it is then sent forth in expiration; the parts of the body mutually
concurring to this function by the alternate participation of fulness
and emptiness. So that to lungs pertain four motions--first, when the
lungs receive the outward air; secondly, when the outward air thus
entertained is transmitted to the breast; thirdly, when the lungs again
receive that air which they imparted to the breast; fourthly, when this
air then received from the breast is thrown outwards. Of these four
processes two are dilatations, one when the lungs attract the air,
another when the breast dischargeth itself of it upon the lungs; two are
contractions, one when the breast draws into itself the air, the second
when it expels this which was insinuated into it. The breast admits only
of two motions--of dilatation, when it draws from the lungs the breath,
and of contraction, when it returns what it did receive.


The Stoics say that all the passions are seated in those parts of
the body which are affected, the senses have their residence in the
commanding part of the soul. Epicurus, that all the passions and all the
senses are in those parts which are affected, but the commanding part is
subject to no passion. Strato, that all the passions and senses of the
soul are in the rational or commanding part of it, and are not fixed in
those places which are affected; for in this place patience takes its
residence, and this is apparent in terrible and dolorous things, as also
in timorous and valiant individuals.



Plato and the Stoics introduce divination as a godlike enthusiasm, the
soul itself being of a divine constitution, and this prophetic faculty
being inspiration, or an illapse of the divine knowledge into man; and
so likewise they account for interpretation by dreams. And these same
allow many divisions of the art of divination. Xenophanes and Epicurus
utterly refuse any such art of foretelling future contingencies.
Pythagoras rejects all manner of divination which is by sacrifices.
Aristotle and Dicaearchus admit only these two kinds of it, a fury by a
divine inspiration, and dreams; they deny the immortality of the soul,
yet they affirm that the mind of man hath a participation of something
that is divine.


Democritus says that dreams are formed by the illapse of adventitious
representations. Strato, that the irrational part of the soul in sleep
becoming more sensible is moved by the rational part of it. Herophilus,
that dreams which are caused by divine instinct have a necessary cause;
but dreams which have their origin from a natural cause arise from
the soul's forming within itself the images of those things which are
convenient for it, and which will happen; those dreams which are of a
constitution mixed of both these have their origin from the fortuitous
appulse of images, as when we see those things which please us; thus
it happens many times to those persons who in their sleep imagine they
embrace their mistresses.


Aristotle says, that seed is that thing which contains in itself a power
of moving, whereby it is enabled to produce a being like unto that from
whence it was emitted. Pythagoras, that seed is the sediment of that
which nourisheth us, the froth of the purest blood, of the same nature
of the blood and marrow of our bodies. Alcmaeon, that it is part of the
brain. Plato, that it is the deflux of the spinal marrow. Epicurus,
that it is a fragment torn from the body and soul. Democritus, that it
proceeds from all the parts of the body, and chiefly from the principal
parts, as the tissues and muscles.


Leucippus and Zeno say, that it is a body and a fragment of the
soul. Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle, that the spermatic faculty is
incorporeal, as the mind is which moves the body; but the effused matter
is corporeal. Strato and Democritus, that the essential power is a body;
for it is like spirit.


Pythagoras, Epicurus, and Democritus say, that women have a seminal
projection, but their spermatic vessels are inverted; and it is this
that makes them have a venereal appetite. Aristotle and Plato, that
they emit a material moisture, as sweat we see produced by exercise and
labor; but that moisture has no spermatic power. Hippo, that women
have a seminal emission, but not after the mode of men; it contributes
nothing to generation, for it falls outside of the matrix; and therefore
some women without coition, especially widows, give the seed. They also
assert that from men the bones, from women the flesh proceed.


Aristotle says, that conception takes place when the womb is drawn down
by the natural purgation, and the monthly terms attract from the whole
mass part of the purest blood, and this is met by the seed of man. On
the contrary, there is a failure by the impurity and inflation of the
womb, by fear and grief, by the weakness of women, or the decline of
strength in men.


Empedocles affirms, that heat and cold give the difference in the
generation of males and females. Hence is it, as histories acquaint us,
that the first men originated from the earth in the eastern and southern
parts, and the first females in the northern parts. Parmenides is of
opinion perfectly contrariant. He affirms that men first sprouted out
of the northern earth, for their bodies are more dense; women out of
the southern, for theirs are more rare and fine. Hippo, that the more
compacted and strong sperm, and the more fluid and weak, discriminate
the sexes. Anaxagoras and Parmenides, that the seed of the man is
naturally cast from his right side into the right side of the womb, or
from the left side of the man into the left side of the womb; there
is an alteration in this course of nature when females are generated.
Cleophanes, whom Aristotle makes mention of, assigns the generation of
men to the right testicle, of women to the left. Leucippus gives the
reason of it to the alteration or diversity of parts, according to which
the man hath a yard, the female the matrix; as to any other reason he is
silent. Democritus, that the parts common to both sexes are engendered
indifferently; but the peculiar parts by the one that is more powerful.
Hippo, that if the spermatic faculty be more effectual, the male, if the
nutritive aliment, the female is generated.


Empedocles believes that monsters receive their origination from the
abundance or defect of seed, or from its division into parts which are
superabundant, or from some disturbance in the motion, or else that
there is an error by a lapse into an unsuitable receptacle; and thus he
presumes he hath given all the causes of monstrous conceptions. Strato,
that it comes through addition, subtraction, or transposition of the
seed, or the distension or inflation of the matrix. And some physicians
say that the matrix suffers distortion, being distended with wind.


Diocles the physician says that either no genital sperm is projected,
or, if there be, it is in a less quantity than nature requires, or
there is no prolific faculty in it; or there is a deficiency of a
due proportion of heat, cold, moisture, and dryness; or there is a
resolution of the generative parts. The Stoics attribute sterility to
the obliquity of the yard, by which means it is not able to ejaculate
in a due manner, or to the unproportionable magnitude of the parts,
the matrix being so contracted as not to have a capacity to receive.
Erasistratus assigns it to the womb's being more callous or more
carneous, thinner or smaller, than nature does require.


Empedocles affirms, that the superabundance of sperm and the division of
it causes the bringing forth of two or three infants. Asclepiades,
that it is performed from the excellent quality of the sperm, after the
manner that from the root of one barleycorn two or three stalks do grow;
sperm that is of this quality is the most prolific. Erasistratus, that
superfetation may happen to women as to irrational creatures; for, if
the womb be well purged and very clean, then there can be divers births.
The Stoics, that it ariseth from the various receptacles that are in the
womb: when the seed illapses into the first and second of them at once,
then there are conceptions upon conception; and so two or three infants
are born.


Empedocles says, that the similitude of children to their parents
proceeds from the vigorous prevalency of the generating sperm; the
dissimilitude from the evaporation of the natural heat it contains.
Parmenides, that when the sperm falls on the right side of the womb,
then the infant gives the resemblance of the father; if from the left,
it is stamped with the similitude of the mother. The Stoics, that the
whole body and soul give the sperm; and hence arise the likenesses
in the characters and faces of the children, as a painter in his copy
imitates the colors in a picture before him. Women have a concurrent
emission of seed; if the feminine seed have the predominancy, the child
resembles the mother; if the masculine, the father.


The greatest part of physicians affirm, that this happens casually
and fortuitously; for, when the sperm of the man and woman is too much
refrigerated, then children carry a dissimilitude to their parents.
Empedocles, that a woman's imagination in conception impresses a shape
upon the infant; for women have been enamoured with images and statues,
and the children which were born of them gave their similitudes. The
Stoics, that the resemblances flow from the sympathy and consent of
minds, through the insertion of effluvias and rays, not of images or


The physicians maintain, that sterility in women can arise from the
womb; for if it be after any ways thus affected, there will be a
barrenness,--if it be more condensed, or more thin, or more hardened,
or more callous, or more carneous; or it may be from languor, or from
an atrophy or vicious condition of body; or, lastly, it may arise from
a twisted or distorted position. Diocles holds that the sterility in
men ariseth from some of these causes,--either that they cannot at all
ejaculate any sperm, or if they do, it is less than nature doth require,
or else there is no generative faculty in the sperm, or the genital
members are flagging; or from the obliquity of the yard. The Stoics
attribute the cause of sterility to the contrariant qualities and
dispositions of those who lie with one another; but if it chance that
these persons are separated, and there happen a conjunction of those who
are of a suitable temperament, then there is a commixture according to
nature, and by this means an infant is formed.


Alcmaeon says, that the barrenness of the male mules ariseth from the
thinness of the genital sperm, that is, the seed is too chill; the
female mules are barren, because the womb does not open its mouth (as
he expresses it). Empedocles, the matrix of the mule is so small, so
depressed, so narrow, so invertedly growing to the belly, that the sperm
cannot be regularly ejaculated into it, and if it could, there would
be no capacity to receive it. Diocles concurs in this opinion with him;
for, saith he, in our anatomical dissection of mules we have seen that
their matrices are of such configurations; and it is possible that there
may be the same reason why some women are barren.


Plato says, that the embryo is an animal; for, being contained in the
mother's womb, motion and aliment are imparted to it. The Stoics say
that it is not an animal, but to be accounted part of the mother's
belly; like as we see the fruit of trees is esteemed part of the trees,
until it be full ripe; then it falls and ceaseth to belong to the
tree; thus it is with the embryo. Empedocles, that the embryo is not an
animal, yet whilst it remains in the belly it breathes. The first breath
that it draws as an animal is when the infant is newly born; then
the child having its moisture separated, the extraneous air making an
entrance into the empty places, a respiration is caused in the infant by
the empty vessels receiving of it. Diogenes, that infants are nurtured
in the matrix inanimate, yet they have a natural heat; but presently,
when the infant is cast into the open air, its heat brings air into
the lungs, and so it becomes an animal. Herophilus acknowledgeth that a
natural, but not an animal motion, and that the nerves are the cause of
that motion; that then they become animals, when being first born they
suck in something of the air.


Democritus and Epicurus say, that the embryos in the womb receive their
aliment by the mouth, for we perceive, as soon as ever the infant is
born, it applies its mouth to the breast; in the wombs of women (our
understanding concludes) there are little dugs, and the embryos have
small mouths by which they receive their nutriment. The Stoics, that
by the secundines and navel they partake of aliment, and therefore
the midwife instantly after their birth ties the navel, and opens the
infant's mouth, that it may receive another sort of aliment. Alcmaeon,
that they receive their nourishment from every part of the body; as a
sponge sucks in water.


The Stoics believe that the whole is formed at the same time. Aristotle,
as the keel of a ship is first made, so the first part that is formed
is the loins. Alcmaeon, the head, for that is the commanding and the
principal part of the body. The physicians, the heart, in which are the
veins and arteries. Some think the great toe is first formed; others
affirm the navel.


Empedocles says, that when the human race took first its original from
the earth, the sun was so slow in its motion that then one day in its
length was equal to ten months, as now they are; in process of time one
day became as long as seven months are; and there is the reason that
those infants which are born at the end of seven months or ten months
are born alive, the course of nature so disposing that the infant
shall be brought to maturity in one day after that night in which it is
begotten. Timaeus says, that we count not ten months but nine, by reason
that we reckon the first conception from the stoppage of the menstruas;
and so it may generally pass for seven months when really there are not
seven; for it sometimes occurs that even after conception a woman is
purged to some extent. Polybus, Diocles, and the Empirics, acknowledge
that the eighth month gives a vital birth to the infant, though the
life of it is more faint and languid; many therefore we see born in that
month die out of mere weakness. Though we see many born in that month
arrive at the state of man, yet (they affirm) if children be born in
that month, none wish to rear them.

Aristotle and Hippocrates, that if the womb is full in seven months,
then the child falls from the mother and is born alive, but if it falls
from her but is not nourished, the navel being weak on account of
the weight of the infant, then it doth not thrive; but if the infant
continues nine months in the womb, and then comes forth from the woman,
it is entire and perfect. Polybus, that a hundred and eighty-two days
and a half suffice for the bringing forth of a living child; that is,
six months, in which space of time the sun moves from one tropic to the
other; and this is called seven months, for the days which are over plus
in the sixth are accounted to give the seventh month. Those children
which are born in the eighth month cannot live, for, the infant then
falling from the womb, the navel, which is the cause of nourishment, is
thereby too much wrenched; and is the reason that the infant languishes
and hath an atrophy. The astrologers, that eight months are enemies to
every birth, seven are friends and kind to it. The signs of the zodiac
are then enemies, when they fall upon those stars which are lords
of houses; whatever infant is then born will have a life short and
unfortunate. Those signs of the zodiac which are malevolent and
injurious to generation are those pairs of which the final is reckoned
the eighth from the first, as the first and the eighth, the second and
the ninth, etc; so is the Ram unsociable with Scorpio, the Bull with
Sagittarius, the Twins with the Goat, the Crab with Aquarius, the Lion
with Pisces, the Virgin with the Ram. Upon this reason those infants
that are born in the seventh or tenth months are like to live, but those
in the eighth month will die.


Those philosophers who entertain the opinion that the world had
an original do likewise assert that all animals are generated and
corruptible. The followers of Epicurus, who gives an eternity to
the world, affirm the generation of animals ariseth from the various
permutation of parts mutually among themselves, for they are parts of
this world. With them Anaxagoras and Euripides concur:

                           Nothing dies,
     Different changes give their various forms.

Anaximander's opinion is, that the first animals were generated in
moisture, and were enclosed in bark on which thorns grew; but in process
of time they came upon dry land, and this thorny bark with which they
were covered being broken, they lived only for a short space of time.
Empedocles says, that the first generation of animals and plants was by
no means completed, for the parts were disjoined and would not admit of
a union; the second preparation and for their being generated was when
their parts were united and appeared in the form of images; the third
preparation for generation was when their parts mutually amongst
themselves gave a being to one another; the fourth, when there was no
longer a mixture of like elements (as earth and water), but a union of
animals among themselves,--in some the nourishment being made dense, in
others female beauty provoking a desire of spermatic motion. All
sorts of animals are discriminated by their proper temperament and
constitution; some are carried by a proper appetite and inclination to
water, some, which partake of a more fiery quality, to live in the air
those that are heavier incline to the earth; but those animals whose
parts are of a just temperament are fitted equally for all places.


There is a certain treatise of Aristotle, in which animals are
distributed into four kinds, terrestrial, aqueous, fowl, and heavenly;
and he calls the stars and the world too animals, yea, and God himself
he posits to be an animal gifted with reason and immortal. Democritus
and Epicurus consider all animals rational which have their residence in
the heavens. Anaxagoras says that animals have only that reason which
is operative, but not that which is passive, which is justly styled the
interpreter of the mind, and is like the mind itself. Pythagoras and
Plato, that the souls of all those who are styled brutes are rational;
but by the evil constitution of their bodies, and because they have
a want of a discoursive faculty, they do not conduct themselves
rationally. This is manifested in apes and dogs, which have inarticulate
voice but not speech. Diogenes, that this sort of animals are partakers
of intelligence and air, but by reason of the density in some parts of
them, and by the superfluity of moisture in others, they neither enjoy
understanding nor sense; but they are affected as madmen are, the
commanding rational part being defectuous and injured.


Empedocles believes, that the joints of men begin to be formed from the
thirty-sixth day, and their shape is completed in the nine and fortieth.
Asclepiades, that male embryos, by reason of a greater natural heat,
have their joints begun to be formed in the twenty-sixth day,--many even
sooner,--and that they are completed in all their parts on the fiftieth
day; the parts of the females are articulated in two months, but by the
defect of heat are not consummated till the fourth; but the members of
brutes are completed at various times, according to the commixture of
the elements of which they consist.


Empedocles says, that the fleshy parts of us are constituted by the
contemperation of the four elements in us; earth and fire mixed with
a double proportion of water make nerves; but when it happens that the
nerves are refrigerated where they come in contact with the air, then
the nails are made; the bones are produced by two parts of water and
the same of air, with four parts of fire and the same of earth, mixed
together; sweat and tears flow from liquefaction of bodies.


Alcmaeon says, that sleep is caused when the blood retreats to the
concourse of the veins, but when the blood diffuses itself then we
awake and when there is a total retirement of the blood, then men die.
Empedocles, that a moderate cooling of the blood causeth sleep, but a
total remotion of heat from blood causeth death. Diogenes, that when all
the blood is so diffused as that it fills all the veins, and forces the
air contained in them to the back and to the belly that is below it, the
breast being thereby more heated, thence sleep arises, but if everything
that is airy in the breast forsakes the veins, then death succeeds.
Plato and the Stoics, that sleep ariseth from the relaxation of the
sensitive spirit, it not receiving such total relaxing as if it fell to
the earth, but so that that spirit is carried about the intestine, parts
of the eyebrows, in which the principal part has its residence; but when
there is a total relaxing of the sensitive spirit, death ensues.


Heraclitus and the Stoics say, that men begin their completeness when
the second septenary of years begins, about which time the seminal serum
is emitted. Trees first begin their perfection when they give their
seeds; till then they are immature, imperfect, and unfruitful. After the
same manner a man is completed in the second septenary of years, and is
capable of learning what is good and evil, and of discipline therein.


Aristotle's opinion is, that both the soul and body sleep; and this
proceeds from the evaporation in the breast, which doth steam and arise
into the head, and from the aliment in the stomach, whose proper heat is
cooled in the heart. Death is the perfect refrigeration of all heat in
body; but death is only of the body, and not of the soul, for the soul
is immortal. Anaxagoras thinks, that sleep makes the operations of the
body to cease; it is a corporeal passion and affects not the soul. Death
is the separation of the soul from the body. Leucippus, that sleep
is only of the body; but when the smaller particles cause excessive
evaporation from the soul's heat, this makes death; but these affections
of death and sleep are of the body, not of the soul. Empedocles, that
death is nothing else but separation of those fiery parts by which man
is composed, and according to this sentiment both body and soul die; but
sleep is only a smaller separation of the fiery qualities.


Plato and Empedocles believe, that plants are animals, and are informed
with a soul; of this there are clear arguments, for they have tossing
and shaking, and their branches are extended; when the woodmen bend them
they yield, but they return to their former straightness and strength
again when they are let loose, and even carry up weights that are laid
upon them. Aristotle doth grant that they live, but not that they are
animals; for animals are affected with appetite, sense, and reason. The
Stoics and Epicureans deny that they are informed with a soul; by reason
that all sorts of animals have either sense, appetite, or reason; but
plants act fortuitously, and not by means of any soul. Empedocles, that
the first of all animals were trees, and they sprang from the earth
before the sun in its motion enriched the world, and before day
and night were distinguished; but by the harmony which is in their
constitution they partake of a masculine and feminine nature; and they
increase by that heat which is exalted out of the earth, so that they
are parts belonging to it, as embryos in the womb are parts of the womb.
Fruits in plants are excrescences proceeding from water and fire;
but the plants which lack water, when this is dried up by the heat of
summer, shed their leaves; whereas they that have plenty thereof keep
their leaves on, as the olive, laurel, and palm. The differences of
their moisture and juice arise from the difference of particles
and various other causes, and they are discriminated by the various
particles that feed them. And this is apparent in vines for the
excellence of wine flows not from the difference in the vines, but from
the soil from whence they receive their nutriment.


Empedocles believes, that animals are nourished by the remaining in them
of that which is proper to their own nature; they are augmented by the
application of heat; and the subtraction of either of these makes
them to languish and decay. The stature of men in this present age, if
compared with the magnitude of those men which were first produced, is
only a mere infancy.


Empedocles says that the want of those elements which compose animals
gives to them appetite, and pleasures spring from humidity. As to the
motions of dangers and such like things as perturbations, etc....


Erasistratus gives this definition of a fever: A fever is a quick motion
of blood, not produced by our consent, which enters into the vessels,
the seat of the vital spirits. This we see in the sea; it is in a
serene calm when nothing disturbs it, but is in motion when a violent
preternatural wind blows upon it, and then it rageth and is circled with
waves. After this manner it is in the body of man; when the blood is
in a nimble agitation, then it falls upon those vessels in which the
spirits are, and there being in an extraordinary heat, it fires the
whole body. The opinion that a fever is an appendix to a preceding
affection pleaseth him. Diocles proceeds after this manner: Those things
which are internal and latent are manifested by those which externally
break forth and appear; and it is clear to us that a fever is annexed
to certain outward affections, for example, to wounds, inflaming tumors,
inguinary abscesses.


Alcmaeon says that the preserver of health is an equal proportion of the
qualities of heat, moisture, cold, dryness, bitterness, sweetness, and
the other qualities; on the contrary, the prevailing empire of one above
the rest is the cause of diseases and author of destruction. The direct
cause of disease is the excess of heat or cold, the formal cause is
excess or defect, the place is the blood or brain. But health is the
harmonious commixture of the elements. Diocles, that sickness for the
most part proceeds from the irregular disposition of the elements in the
body, for that makes an ill habit or constitution of it. Erasistratus,
that sickness is caused by the excess of nourishment, indigestion, and
corruptions; on the contrary, health is the moderation of the diet, and
the taking that which is convenient and sufficient for us. It is the
unanimous opinion of the Stoics that the want of heat brings old age,
for (they say) those persons in whom heat more abounds live the longer.
Asclepiades, that the Ethiopians soon grow old, and at thirty years of
age are ancient men, their bodies being excessively heated and scorched
by the sun; in Britain persons live a hundred and twenty years, on
account of the coldness of the country, and because the people keep the
fiery element within their bodies; the bodies of the Ethiopians are more
fine and thin, because they are relaxed by the sun's heat, while
they who live in northern countries are condensed and robust, and by
consequence are more long lived.

END OF THREE---------


Pinder's Caeneus hath been taken to task by several, for being
improbably feigned, impenetrable by steel and impassible in his body,
and so

     Descending, into hell without a wound.
     And with sound foot parting in two the ground.

But the Stoics' Lapithes, as if they had carved him out of the
very adamantine matter of impassibility itself, though he is not
invulnerable, nor exempt from either sickness or pain, yet remains
fearless, regretless, invincible, and unconstrainable in the midst of
wounds, dolors, and torments, and in the very subversions of the
walls of his native city, and other such like great calamities. Again,
Pindar's Caeneus is not wounded when struck; but the Stoics' wise man
is not detained when shut up in a prison, suffers no compulsion by being
thrown down a precipice, is not tortured when on the rack, takes no hurt
by being maimed, and when he catches a fall in wrestling he is still
unconquered; when he is encompassed with a vampire, he is not besieged;
and when sold by his enemies, he is still not made a prisoner. The
wonderful man is like to those ships that have inscribed upon them A
DANGERS, and yet for all that endure storms, and are miserably shattered
and overturned.

Euripides's Iolaus of a feeble, superannuated old man, by means of a
certain prayer, became on a sudden youthful and strong for battle;
but the Stoics wise man was yesterday most detestable and the worst of
villains, but today is changed on a sudden into a state of virtue, and
is become of a wrinkled, pale fellow, and as Aeschylus speaks,

     Of an old sickly wretch with stitch in 's back,
     Distent with rending pains as on a rack,

a gallant, godlike, and beauteous person.

The goddess Minerva took from Ulysses his wrinkles, baldness, and
deformity, to make him appear a handsome man. But these men's wise man,
though old age quits not his body, but contrariwise still lays on
and heaps more upon it, though he remains (for instance) humpbacked,
toothless, one-eyed, is yet neither deformed, disfigured, nor
ill-favored. For as beetles are said to relinquish perfumes and to
pursue after ill scents; so Stoical love, having used itself to the most
foul and deformed persons, if by means of philosophy they change into
good form and comeliness, becomes presently disgusted.

He that in the Stoics' account was in the forenoon (for example) the
worst man in the world is in the afternoon the best of men; and he that
falls asleep a very sot, dunce, miscreant, and brute, nay, by Jove, a
slave and a beggar to boot, rises up the same day a prince, a rich and
a happy man, and (which is yet more) a continent, just, determined, and
unprepossessed person;--not by shooting forth out of a young and tender
body a downy beard or the sprouting tokens of mature youth, but by
having in a feeble, soft, unmanful, and undetermined mind, a perfect
intellect, a consummate prudence, a godlike disposition, an unprejudiced
science, and an unalterable habit. All this time his viciousness gives
not the least ground in order to it, but he becomes in an instant, I had
almost said, of the vilest brute, a sort of hero, genius, or god. For he
that receives his virtue from the Stoics portico may say,

     Ask what thou wilt, it shall be granted thee.
     (From Menander)

It brings wealth along with it, it contains kingship in it, it confers
fortune; it renders men prosperous, and makes them to want nothing and
to have a sufficiency of everything, though they have not one drachm of
silver in the house.

The fabular relations of the poets are so careful of decorum, that they
never leave a Hercules destitute of necessaries; but those still spring,
as out of some fountain, as well for him as for his companions. But he
that hath received of the Stoics Amalthaea becomes indeed a rich man,
but he begs his victuals of other men; he is a king, but resolves
syllogisms for hire; he is the only man that hath all things, but yet
he pays rent for the house he lives in, and oftentimes buys bread with
borrowed money, or else begs it of those that have nothing themselves.

The king of Ithaca begs with a design that none may know who he is, and
makes himself

     As like a dirty sorry beggar
     ("Odyssey," xvi. 273.)

as he can. But he that is of the Portico, while he bawls and cries out,
It is I only that am a king, It is I only that am a rich man, is yet
many times seen at other people's doors saying:--

     On poor Hipponax, pray, some pity take,
     Bestow an old cast coat for heaven's sake;
     I'm well-nigh dead with cold, and all o'er quake.

END OF FOUR---------------



Some, my dear Sossius Senecio imagine that this sentence, [Greek
omitted] was principally designed against the stewards of a feast, who
are usually troublesome and press liquor too much upon the guests. For
the Dorians in Sicily (as I am informed) called the steward, [Greek
omitted] a REMEMBRANCER. Others think that this proverb admonisheth
the guests to forget everything that is spoken or done in company; and
agreeably to this, the ancients used to consecrate forgetfulness with a
ferula to Bacchus, thereby intimating that we should either not remember
any irregularity committed in mirth and company, or apply a gentle and
childish correction to the faults. But because you are of opinion (as
Euripides says) that to forget absurdities is indeed a piece of wisdom,
but to deliver over to oblivion all sort of discourse that merry
meetings do usually produce is not only repugnant to that endearing
quality that most allow to an entertainment, but against the known
practice of the greatest philosophers (for Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle,
Speusippus, Epicurus, Prytanis, Hieronymus, Dion the Academic, have
thought it a worthy and noble employment to deliver down to us those
discourses they had at table), and since it is your pleasure that I
should gather up the chiefest of those scattered topics which both at
Rome and Greece amidst our cups and feasting we have disputed on, in
obedience to your commands I have sent three books, each containing
ten problems; and the rest shall quickly follow, if these find good
acceptance and do not seem altogether foolish and impertinent.



The first question is, Whether at table it is allowable to philosophize?
For I remember at a supper at Athens this doubt was started, whether at
a merry meeting it was fit to use philosophical discourse, and how
far it might be used? And Aristo presently cried out: What then, for
heaven's sake, are there any that banish philosophy from company and
wine? And I replied: Yes, sir, there are, and such as with a grave scoff
tell us that philosophy, like the matron of the house, should never be
heard at a merry entertainment; and commend the custom of the Persians,
who never let their wives appear, but drink, dance, and wanton with
their whores. This they propose for us to imitate; they permit us
to have mimics and music at our feasts, but forbid philosophy; she,
forsooth, being very unfit to be wanton with us, and we in a bad
condition to be serious. Isocrates the rhetorician, when at a drinking
bout some begged him to make a speech, only returned: With those things
in which I have skill the time doth not suit; and in those things with
which the time suits I have no skill.

And Crato cried out: By Bacchus, he was right to forswear talk, if he
designed to make such long-winded discourses as would have spoiled all
mirth and conversation; but I do not think there is the same reason
to forbid philosophy as to take away rhetoric from our feasts. For
philosophy is quite of another nature; it is an art of living, and
therefore must be admitted into every part of our conversation, into
all our gay humors and our pleasures, to regulate and adjust them, to
proportion the time, and keep them from excess; unless, perchance, upon
the same scoffing pretence of gravity, they would banish temperance,
justice, and moderation. It is true, were we to feast before a court, as
those that entertained Orestes, and were silence enjoined by law, that
might prove no mean cloak of our ignorance; but if Bacchus is really
[Greek omitted] (A LOOSER of everything), and chiefly takes off all
restraints and bridles from the tongue, and gives the voice the greatest
freedom, I think it is foolish and absurd to deprive that time in
which we are usually most talkative of the most useful and profitable
discourse; and in our schools to dispute of the offices of company, in
what consists the excellence of a guest, how mirth, feasting, and wine
are to be used and yet deny philosophy a place in these feasts, as if
not able to confirm by practice what by precepts it instructs.

And when you affirmed that none ought to oppose what Crato said, but
determine what sorts of philosophical topics were to be admitted as fit
companions at a feast, and so avoid that just and pleasant taunt put
upon the wrangling disputers of the age,

     Come now to supper, that we may contend;

and when you seemed concerned and urged us to speak to that head, I
first replied: Sir, we must consider what company we have; for if
the greater part of the guests are learned men,--as for instance, at
Agatho's entertainment, characters like Socrates, Phaedrus, Pausanias,
Euryximachus; or at Callias's board, Charmides, Antisthenes, Hermogenes,
and the like,--we will permit them to philosohize, and to mix Bacchus
with the Muses as well as with the Nymphs; for the latter make him
wholesome and gentle to the body, and the other pleasant and agreeable
to the soul. And if there are some few illiterate persons present,
they, as consonants with vowels, in the midst of the other learned, will
participate not altogether inarticulately and insignificantly. But if
the greater part consists of such who can better endure the noise of any
bird, fiddle-string, or piece of wood than the voice of a philosopher,
Pisistratus hath shown us what to do; for being at difference with his
sons, when he heard his enemies rejoiced at it, in a full assembly he
declared that he had endeavored to persuade his sons to submit to him,
but since he found them obstinate, he was resolved to yield and submit
to their humors. So a philosopher, midst those companions that slight
his excellent discourse, will lay aside his gravity, follow them, and
comply with their humor as far as decency will permit; knowing very well
that men cannot exercise their rhetoric unless they speak, but may their
philosophy even whilst they are silent or jest merrily, nay, whilst
they are piqued upon or repartee. For it is not only (as Plato says) the
highest degree of injustice not to be just and yet seem so; but it is
the top of wisdom to philosophize, yet not appear to do it; and in mirth
to do the same with those that are serious, and still seem in earnest.
For as in Euripides, the Bacchae, though unprovided of iron weapons and
unarmed, wounded their invaders with their boughs, thus the very jests
and merry talk of true philosophers move those that are not altogether

I think there are topics fit to be used at table, some of which reading
and study give us, others the present occasion; some to incite to study,
others to piety and great and noble actions, others to make us rivals
of the bountiful and kind; which if a man cunningly and without any
apparent design inserts for the instruction of the rest, he will free
these entertainments from many of those considerable evils which usually
attend them. Some that put borage into the wine, or sprinkle the floor
with water in which verbena and maiden-hair have been steeped, as good
raise mirth and jollity in the guests (in imitation of Homer's Helen,
who with some medicament diluted the pure wine she had prepared), do not
understand that that fable, coming from round Egypt, after a long way
ends at last in easy and fit discourse. For whilst they were drinking
Helen relates the story of Ulysses,

     How Fortune's spite the hero did control,
     And bore his troubles with a manly soul.
     ("Odyssey," iv. 242.)

For that, in my opinion, was the Nepenthe, the care-dissolving
medicament, viz, that story exactly fitted to the then disasters and
juncture of affairs. The pleasing men, though they designedly and
apparently instruct, draw on their maxims rather with persuasive and
smooth arguments, than the violent force of demonstrations. You see that
even Plato in his Symposium, where he disputes of the chief end, the
chief good, and is altogether on subjects theological, doth not lay down
strong and close demonstrations; he doth not make himself ready for the
contest (as he is wont) like a wrestler, that he may take the firmer
hold of his adversary and be sure of giving him the trip; but draws
men on by more soft and pliable attacks, by pleasant fictions and pat

Besides the questions should be easy, the problems known, the
interrogations plain, familiar, and not intricate and dark that they
might neither vex the unlearned, nor fright them from the disquisition.
For--as it is allowable to dissolve our entertainment into a dance, but
if we force our guests to toss quoits or play at cudgels, we shall not
only make our feast unpleasant, but hurtful and unnatural--thus light
and easy disquisitions do pleasantly and profitably excite us, but we
must forbear all contentions and (to use Democritus's word) wrangling
disputes, which perplex the proposers with intricate and inexplicable
doubts, and trouble all the others that are present. Our discourse
should be like our wine, common to all, and of which every one may
equally partake; and they that propose hard problems seem no better
fitted for society than Aesop's fox and crane. For the fox vexed the
crane with thin broth poured out upon a plain table, and laughed at
her when he saw her, by reason of the narrowness of her bill and the
thinness of the broth, incapable of partaking what he had prepared; and
the crane, in requital, inviting the fox to supper, brought forth her
dainties in a pot with a long and narrow neck, into which she could
conveniently thrust her bill, whilst the fox could not reach one bit.
Just so, when philosophers midst their cups dive into minute and logical
disputes, they are very troublesome to those that cannot follow them
through the same depths; and those that bring in idle songs, trifling
disquisitions, common talk, and mechanical discourse destroy the
very end of conversation and merry entertainments, and abuse Bacchus.
Therefore, as when Phrynichus and Aeschylus brought tragedy to discourse
of fictions and misfortunes, it was asked, What is this to Bacchus?--so
methinks, when I hear some pedantically drawing a syllogism into
table-talk, I have reason to cry out, Sir, what is this to Bacchus?
Perchance one, the great bowl standing in the midst, and the chaplets
given round, which the god in token of the liberty he bestows sets on
every head, sings one of those songs called [Greek omitted] (CROOKED
OR OBSCURE); this is not fit nor agreeable to a feast. Though some say
these songs were not dark and intricate composures; but that the guests
sang the first song all together, praising Bacchus and describing the
power of the god; and the second each man sang singly in his turn, a
myrtle bough being delivered to every one in order, which they call an
[Greek omitted] because he that received it was obliged [Greek omitted]
to sing; and after this a harp being carried round the company, the
skilful took it, and fitted the music to the song; this when the
unskilful could not perform, the song was called [Greek omitted] because
hard to them, and one in which they could not bear a part. Others say
this myrtle bough was not delivered in order, but from bed to bed;
and when the uppermost of the first table had sung, he sent it to the
uppermost of the second, and he to the uppermost of the third; and so
the second in like manner to the second; and from these many windings
and this circuit it was called [Greek omitted] CROOKED.



My brother Timon, making a great entertainment, desired the guests as
they came to seat themselves; for he had invited strangers and citizens,
neighbors and acquaintance, and all sorts of persons to the feast. A
great many being already come, a certain stranger at last appeared,
dressed as fine as hands could make him, his clothes rich, and
an unseemly train of foot-boys at his heels; he walking up to the
parlor-door, and, staring round upon those that were already seated,
turned his back and scornfully retired; and when a great many stepped
after him and begged him to return, he said, I see no fit place left for
me. At that, the other guests (for the glasses had gone round) laughed
abundantly, and desired his room rather than his company.

But after supper, my father addressing himself to me, who sat at another
quarter of the table,--Timon, said he, and I have a dispute, and you
are to be judge, for I have been upon his skirts already about that
stranger; for if according to my directions he had seated every man in
his proper place, we had never been thought unskilful in this matter, by

     Whose art is great in ordering horse and foot.
     ("Iliad," ii 554.)

And story says that Paulus Aemilius, after he had conquered Perseus the
king of Macedon, making an entertainment besides his costly furniture
and extraordinary provision, was very critical in the order of his
feast; saying, It is the same man's task to order a terrible battle and
a pleasing, entertainment, for both of them require skill in the art
of disposing right, and Homer often calls the stoutest and the greatest
princes [Greek omitted] disposers of the people; and you use to say
that the great Creator, by this art of disposing, turned disorder into
beauty, and neither taking away nor adding any new being, but setting
everything in its proper place, out of the most uncomely figure and
confused chaos produced this beauteous, this surprising face of nature
that appears. In these great and noble doctrines indeed you instruct
us; but our own observation sufficiently assures us, that the greatest
profuseness in a feast appears neither delightful nor genteel, unless
beautified by order. And therefore it is absurd that cooks and waiters
should be solicitous what dish must be brought first, what next,
what placed in the middle, and what last; and that the garlands, and
ointment, and music (if they have any) should have a proper place and
order assigned, and yet that the guests should be seated promiscuously,
and no respect be had to age, honor, or the like; no distinguishing
order by which the man in dignity might be honored, the inferior learn
to give place, and the disposer be exercised in distinguishing what is
proper and convenient. For it is not rational that, when we walk or sit
down to discourse, the best man should have the best place, and not
the same order be observed at table; or that the entertainer should
in civility drink to one before another, and yet make no difference in
their seats, at the first dash making the whole company one Myconus (as
they say), a hodge-podge and confusion. This my father brought for his

And my brother said: I am not so much wiser than Bias, that, since
he refused to be arbitrator between two only of his friends, I should
pretend to be a judge between so many strangers and acquaintance;
especially since it is not a money matter, but about precedence and
dignity, as if I invited my friends not to treat them kindly, but to
abuse them. Menelaus is accounted absurd and passed into a proverb, for
pretending to advise when unasked; and sure he would be more ridiculous
that instead of an entertainer should set up for a judge, when nobody
requests him or submits to his determination which is the best and which
the worst man in the company; for the guests do not come to contend
about precedency, but to feast and be merry. Besides, it is no easy
task to distinguish for some claim respect by reason of their age,
others--from their familiarity and acquaintance; and, as those that make
declamations consisting of comparisons, he must have Aristotle's [Greek
omitted] and Thrasymachus's [Greek omitted] (books that furnish him with
heads of argument) at his fingers' ends; and all this to no good purpose
or profitable effect but to bring vanity from the bar and the theatre
into our feasts and entertainments, and, whilst by good fellowship
endeavor to remit all other passions, especially pride and arrogance,
from which, in my opinion we should be more careful to cleanse our souls
than to wash our feet from dirt, that our conversation be free, simple,
and full of mirth. And while by such meetings we strive to end all
differences that have at any time risen amongst the invited, we should
make them flame anew, and kindle them again by emulation, by thus
humbling some and puffing up others. And if, according as we seat them,
we should drink oftener and discourse more with some than others and
set daintier dishes before them, instead of being friendly we should be
lordly in our feasts. And if in other things we treat them all equally,
why should we not begin at the first part, and bring it into fashion for
all to take their seats promiscuously, without ceremony or pride, and to
let them see, as soon as they enter, that they are invited to a dinner
whose order is free and democratical, and not, as particular chosen men
to the government of a city where aristocracy is the form; since the
richest and the poorest sit promiscuously together.

When this had been offered on both sides, and all present required my
determination, I said: Being an arbitrator and not a judge, I shall
close strictly with neither side, but go indifferently in the middle
between both. If a man invites young men, citizens, or acquaintance,
they should (as Timon says) be accustomed to be content with any
place, without ceremony or concernment; and this good nature and
unconcernedness would be an excellent means to preserve and increase
friendship. But if we use the same method to strangers, magistrates, or
old men, I have just reason to fear that, whilst we seem to thrust our
pride at the fore-door, we bring it in again at the back, together with
a great deal of indifferency and disrespect. But in this, custom and
the established rules of decency must guide; or else let us abolish all
those modes of respect expressed by drinking to or saluting first; which
we do not use promiscuously to all the company but according to their
worth we honor every one

     With better places, meat, and larger cups,
     ("Iliad," xii. 311.)

as Agamemnon says, naming the place first, as the chiefest sign of
honor. And we commend Alcinous for placing his guest next himself:--

     He stout Laomedon his son removed,
     Who sat next him, for him he dearly loved;
     ("Iliad," xx. 15.)

for to place a suppliant stranger in the seat of his beloved son
was wonderful kind, and extreme courteous. Nay even amongst the gods
themselves this distinction is observed; for Neptune, though he came
last into the assembly,

     sat in the middle seat,
     ("Odyssey," vii. 170.)

as if that was his proper place. And Minerva seems to have that assigned
her which is next Jupiter himself; and this the poet intimates, when
speaking of Thetis he says,

     She sat next Jove, Minerva giving Place.
     (Ibid. xxiv. 100.)

And Pindar plainly says,

     She sits just next the thunder-breathing flames.

Indeed Timon urges, we ought not to rob many to honor one, which he
seems to do himself, even more than others; for he robs that which makes
something that is individual common; and suitable honor to his worth is
each man's possession. And he gives that preeminence to running fast and
making haste, which belongs to virtue, kindred, magistracies, and such
other qualities; and whilst he endeavors not to affront his guests,
he necessarily falls into that very inconvenience; for he must affront
every one by defrauding them of their proper honor. Besides, in my
opinion it is no hard matter to make this distinction, and seat our
guests according to their quality; for first, it very seldom happens
that many of equal honor are invited to the same banquet; and then,
since there are many honorable places, you have room enough to dispose
them according to content, if you can but guess that this man must be
seated uppermost, that in the middle, another next to yourself, friend,
acquaintance, tutor, or the like, appointing every one some place of
honor; and as for the rest, I would supply their want of honor with some
little presents, affability, and kind discourse. But if their qualities
are not easy to be distinguished, and the men themselves hard to be
pleased, see what device I have in that case; for I seat in the
most honorable place my father, if invited; if not my grandfather,
father-in-law, uncle, or somebody whom the entertainer hath a more
particular reason to esteem. And this is one of the many rules of
decency that we have from Homer; for in his poem, when Achilles saw
Menelaus and Antilochus contending about the second prize of the
horse-race, fearing that their strife and fury would increase, he gave
the prize to another, under pretence of comforting and honoring Eumelus,
but indeed to take away the cause of their contention.

When I had said this, Lamprias, sitting (as he always doth) upon a low
bed, cried out: Sirs, will you give me leave to correct this sottish
judge? And the company bidding him speak freely and tell me roundly of
my faults, and not spare, he said: And who can forbear that philosopher
who disposes of places at a feast according to the birth, wealth, or
offices of the guests, as if they were in a theatre or the Council
House, so that pride and arrogance must be admitted even into our mirth
and entertainments? In seating our guests we should not have any
respect to honor, but mirth and conversation; not look after every man's
quality, but their agreement and harmony with one another, as those do
that join several different things in one composure. Thus a mason doth
not set an Athenian or a Spartan stone, because formed in a more noble
country, before an Asian or a Spanish; nor a painter give the most
costly color the chiefest place; nor a shipwright the Corinthian fir or
Cretan cypress; but so distribute them as they will best serve to the
common end, and make the whole composure strong, beautiful, and fit for
use. Nay, you see even the deity himself (by our Pindar named the most
skilful artificer) doth not everywhere place the fire above and the
earth below; but, as Empedocles hath it,

     The Oysters Coverings do directly prove,
     That heavy Earth is sometimes rais'd above;

not having that place that Nature appoints, but that which is necessary
to compound bodies and serviceable to the common end, the preservation
of the whole. Disorder is in everything an evil; but then its badness
is principally discovered, when it is amongst men whilst they are
making merry; for then it breeds contentions and a thousand unspeakable
mischiefs, which to foresee and hinder shows a man well skilled in good
order and disposing right.

We all agreed that he had said well, but asked him why he would not
instruct us how to order things aright, and communicate his skill. I am
content, says he, to instruct you, if you will permit me to change the
present order of the feast, and will yield as ready obedience to me as
the Thebans to Epaminondas when he altered the order of their battle. We
gave him full power; and he, having turned all the servants out, looked
round upon every one, and said: Hear (for I will tell you first) how
I design to order you together. In my mind, the Theban Pammenes justly
taxeth Homer as unskilful in love matters, for setting together, in
his description of an army, tribe and tribe, family and family; for he
should have joined the lover and the beloved, so that the whole body
being united in their minds might perfectly agree. This rule will
I follow, not set one rich man by another, a youth by a youth, a
magistrate by a magistrate, and a friend by a friend; for such an order
is of no force, either to beget or increase friendship and good-will.
But fitting that which wants with something that is able to supply
it, next one that is willing to instruct I will place one that is as
desirous to be instructed; next a morose, one good-natured; next a
talkative old man a youth patient and eager for a story; next a boaster,
a jeering smooth companion; and next an angry man, a quiet one. If I see
a wealthy fellow bountiful and kind, I will take some poor honest man
from his obscure place, and set him next, that something may run out of
that full vessel to the other empty one. A sophister I will forbid to
sit by a sophister, and one poet by another;

     For beggars beggars, poets envy poets.
     (Hesiod, "Work and Days," 26)

I separate the clamorous scoffers and the testy, by putting some
good-nature between them, so they cannot jostle so roughly on one
another; wrestlers, hunters, and farmers I put in one company. For some
of the same nature, when put together, fight as cocks; others are very
sociable as daws. Drinkers and lovers I set together, not only those who
(as Sophocles says) feel the sting of masculine love, but those that are
mad after virgins or married women; for they being warmed with the
like fire, as two pieces of iron to be joined, will more readily agree;
unless perhaps they both fancy the same person.



This raised a dispute about the dignity of places, for the same seat is
not accounted honorable amongst all nations; in Persia the midst, for
that is the place proper to the king himself; in Greece the uppermost;
at Rome the lowermost of the middle bed, and this is called the
consular; the Greeks about Pontus, and those of Heraclea, reckon the
uppermost of the middle bed to be the chief. But we were most puzzled
about the place called consular; for though it is esteemed most
honorable, yet it is not because it is either the first or the midst;
and its other circumstances are either not proper to that alone, or very
frivolous. Though I confess three of the reasons alleged seemed to have
something in them. The first, that the consuls, having dissolved the
monarchy and reduced everything to a more equal level and popular
estate, left the middle, the kingly place, and sat in a lower seat; that
by this means their power and authority might be less subject to envy,
and not so grievous to their fellow-citizens. The second, that, two beds
being appointed for the invited guests, the third--and the first place
in it--is most convenient for the master of the feast, from whence like
a pilot, he can guide and order everything, and readily overlook the
management of the whole affair. Besides, he is not so far removed that
he can easily discourse, talk to, and compliment his guests; for next
below him his wife and children usually are placed; next above him the
most honorable of the invited, that being the most proper place, as near
the master of the feast. The third reason was, that it is peculiar to
the this place to be most convenient for the despatch of any sudden
business; for the Roman consul will not as Archias, the governor of
Thebes, say, when letters of importance are brought to him at dinner,
"serious things to-morrow" and then throw aside the packet and take the
great bowl; but he will be careful, circumspect, and mind it at that
very instant. For not only (as the common saying hath it)

     Each throw doth make the dicer fear,

but even midst his feasting and his pleasure a magistrate should be
intent on intervening business; and he hath this place appointed, as
the most convenient for him to receive any message, answer it, or sign
a bill; for there the second bed joining with the third, the turning at
the corner leaves a vacant space, so that a notary, servant, guard, or a
messenger from the army might approach, deliver the message, and receive
orders; and the consul, having room enough to speak or use his hand,
neither troubles any one, nor is hindered by any the guests.



Crato my relative, and Theon my acquaintance, at a certain banquet,
where the glasses had gone round freely, and a little stir arose but was
suddenly appeased, began to discourse of the office of the steward of
a feast; declaring that it was my duty to wear the chaplet, assert the
decaying privilege, and restore that office which should take care for
the decency and good order of the banquet. This proposal pleased every
one, and they were all an end begging me to do it. Well then, said I,
since you will have it so, I make myself steward and director of you
all, command the rest to drink every one what he will but Crato and
Theon, the first proposers and authors of this decree, I enjoin to
declare in short what qualifications fit a man for this office, what he
should principally aim at and how behave himself towards those under
his command. This is the subject, and let them agree amongst themselves
which head each shall manage.

They made some slight excuse at first; but the whole company urging them
to obey, Crato began thus. A captain of a watch (as Plato says) ought
to be most watchful and diligent himself, and the director of merry
companions ought to be the best. And such a one he is, that will not be
easily overtaken or apt to refuse a glass; but as Cyrus in his epistle
to the Spartans says, that in many other things he was more fit than
his brother to be a king, and chiefly because he could bear abundance
of wine. For one that is drunk must have an ill carriage and be apt to
affront; and he that is perfectly sober must be unpleasant, and fitter
to be a governor of a school than of a feast. Pericles as often as he
was chosen general, when he put on his cloak, used to say to himself,
as it were to refresh his memory, Take heed, Pericles, thou dost govern
freemen, thou dost govern Greeks, thou dost govern Athenians. So let
our director say privately to himself, Thou art a governor over friends,
that he may remember to neither suffer them to be debauched nor stint
their mirth. Besides he ought to have some skill in the serious studies
of the guests and not be altogether ignorant of mirth and humor yet I
would have him (as pleasant wine ought to be) a little severe and rough,
for the liquor will soften and smooth him, and make his temper pleasant
and agreeable. For as Xenophon says, that Clearchus's rustic and morose
humor in a battle, by reason of his bravery and heat, seemed pleasant
and surprising; thus one that is not of a very sour nature, but grave
and severe, being softened by a chirping cup becomes more pleasant and
complaisant. But chiefly he should be acquainted with every one of the
guests' humors, what alteration the liquor makes in him, what passion he
is most subject to, and what quantity he can bear; for it is not to be
supposed different sorts of water bear various proportions to different
sorts of wine (which kings' cup-bearers understanding sometimes pour in
more, sometimes less), and that man hath no such relation to them. This
our director ought to know, and knowing, punctually observe; so that
like a good musician, screwing up one and letting down another, he may
make between these different natures a pleasing harmony and agreement;
so that he shall not proportion his wine by measure, but give every one
what was proper and agreeable, according to the present circumstances of
time and strength of body. But if this is too difficult a task, yet it
is necessary that a steward should know the common accidents of age and
nature, such as these,--that an old man will be sooner overtaken than
a youth, one that leaps about or talks than he that is silent or sits
still, the thoughtful and melancholy than the cheerful and the brisk.
And he that understands these things is much more able to preserve
quietness and order, than one that is perfectly ignorant and unskilful.
Besides, I think none will doubt but that the steward ought to be a
friend, and have no pique at any of the guests; for otherwise in his
injunctions he will be intolerable, in his distributions unequal, in
his jests apt to scoff and give offence. Such a figure, Theon, as out
of wax, hath my discourse framed for the steward of a feast; and now I
deliver him to you.

And Theon replied: He is welcome,--a very well-shaped gentleman,
and fitted for the office; but whether I shall not spoil him in my
particular application, I cannot tell. In my opinion he seems such a
one as will keep an entertainment to its primitive institution, and
not suffer it to be changed, sometimes into a mooting hall, sometimes a
school of rhetoric, now and then a dicing room, a playhouse, or a stage.
For do not you observe some making fine orations and putting cases at a
supper, others declaiming or reading some of their own compositions, and
others proposing prizes to dancers and mimics? Alcibiades and Theodorus
turned Polition's banquet into a temple of initiation, representing
there the sacred procession and mysteries of Ceres; now such things as
these, in my opinion, ought not to be suffered by a steward, but he must
permit such discourse only, such shows, such merriment, as promote
the particular end and design of such entertainments; and that is,
by pleasant conversation either to beget or maintain friendship and
good-will among the guests; for an entertainment is only a pastime table
with a glass of wine, ending in friendship through mutual goodwill.

But now because things pure and unmixed are usually surfeiting and
odious, and the very mixture itself, unless the simples be well
proportioned and opportunely put together, spoils the sweetness and
goodness of the composition; it is evident that there ought to be
a director to take care that the mirth and jollity of the guests be
exactly and opportunely tempered. It is a common saying that a voyage
near the land and a walk near the sea are the best recreation. Thus our
steward should place seriousness and gravity next jollity and humor;
that when they are merry, they should be on the very borders of gravity
itself, and when grave and serious, they might be refreshed as sea-sick
persons having an easy and short prospect to the mirth and jollity on
land. For mirth may be exceeding useful, and make our grave discourses
smooth and pleasant,--

     As near the bramble oft the lily grows,
     And neighboring rue commands the blushing rose.

But against vain and empty tempers, that wantonly break in upon our
feasts, like henbane mixed with the wine, he must advise the guests,
lest scoffing and affronts creep in under these, lest in their questions
or commands they grow scurrilous and abuse, as for instance by enjoining
stutterers to sing, bald-pates to comb their heads, or a cripple to rise
and dance. As the company abused Agapestor the Academic, one of whose
legs was lame and withered, when in a ridiculing frolic they ordained
that every man should stand upon his right leg and take off his glass,
or pay a fine; and he, when it was his turn to command, enjoined the
company to follow his example drink as he did, and having a narrow
earthen pitcher brought in, he put his withered leg into it, and drank
his glass and every one in the company, after a fruitless endeavor to
imitate, paid his forfeit. It was a good humor of Agapestor's and thus
every little merry abuse must be as merrily revenged. Besides he must
give such commands as will both please and profit, putting such as are
familiar and easy to the person, and when performed will be for his
credit and reputation. A songster must be enjoined to sing, an orator to
speak, a philosopher to solve a problem, and a poet to make a song; for
every one very readily and willingly undertakes that

     In which he may outdo himself.

An Assyrian king by public proclamation promised a reward to him
that would find out any new sort of luxury and pleasure. And let the
governor, the king of an entertainments propose some pleasant reward for
any one that introduceth inoffensive merriment, profitable delight and
laughter, not such as attends scoffs and abusive jests, but kindness,
pleasant humor, and goodwill; for these matters not being well looked
after and observed spoil and ruin most of our entertainments. It is the
office of a prudent man to hinder all sort of anger and contention; in
the exchange, that which springs from covetousness; in the fencing and
wrestling schools, from emulation; in offices and state affairs, from
ambition; and in a feast or entertainment, from pleasantness and joke.



One day when Sossius entertained us, upon singing some Sapphic verses,
this question was started, how it could be true

     That love in all doth vigorous thoughts inspire,
     And teaches ignorants to tune the lyre?

Since Philoxenus, on the contrary, asserts, that the Cyclops

     With sweet-tongued Muses cured his love.

Some said that love was bold and daring, venturing at new contrivances,
and eager to accomplish, upon which account Plato calls it the
enterpriser of everything; for it makes the reserved man talkative,
the modest complimental, the negligent and sluggish industrious and
observant; and, what is the greatest wonder, a close, hard, and covetous
fellow, if he happens to be in love, as iron in fire, becomes pliable
and soft, easy, good-natured, and very pleasant; as if there were
something in that common jest. A lover's purse is tied with the blade of
a leek. Others said that love was like drunkenness; it makes men warm,
merry, and dilated; and, when in that condition, they naturally slide
down to songs and words in measure; and it is reported of Aeschylus,
that he wrote tragedies after he was heated with a glass of wine; and
my grandfather Lamprias in his cups seemed to outdo himself in starting
questions and smart disputing, and usually said that, like frankincense,
he exhaled more freely after he was warmed. And as lovers are extremely
pleased with the sight of their beloved, so they praise with as much
satisfaction as they behold; and as love is talkative in everything,
so more especially in commendation; for lovers themselves believe,
and would have all others think, that the object of their passion is
pleasing and excellent; and this made Candaules the Lydian force Gyges
into his chamber to behold the beauty of his naked wife. For they
delight in the testimony of others, and therefore in all composures upon
the lovely they adorn them with songs and verses, as we dress images
with gold, that more may hear of them and that they may be remembered
the more. For if they present a cock, horse, or any other thing to the
beloved, it is neatly trimmed and set off with all the ornaments of art;
and therefore, when they would present a compliment, they would have it
curious, pleasing, as verse usually appears.

Sossius applauding these discourses added: Perhaps we may make a
probable conjecture from Theophrastus's discourse of Music, for I
have lately read the book. Theophrastus lays down three causes of
music,--grief, pleasure and enthusiasm; for each of these changes the
usual tone, and makes the voice slide into a cadence; for deep sorrow
has something tunable in its groans, and therefore we perceive our
orators in their conclusions, and actors in their complaints, are
somewhat melodious, and insensibly fall into a tune. Excess of joy
provokes the more airy men to frisk and dance and keep their steps,
though unskilful in the art; and, as Pindar hath it,

     They shout, and roar, and wildly toss their heads.

But the graver sort are excited only to sing, raise their voice, and
tune their words into a sonnet. But enthusiasm quite changes the body
and the voice, and makes it far different from its usual constitution.
Hence the very Bacchae use measure, and the inspired give their oracles
in measure. And we shall see very few madmen but are frantic in rhyme
and rave in verse. This being certain, if you will but anatomize love a
little, and look narrowly into it, it will appear that no passion in
the world is attended with more violent grief, more excessive joy,
or greater ecstasies and fury; a lover's soul looks like Sophocles's

     At once 'tis full of sacrifice,
     Of joyful songs, of groans and cries.'
     (Sophocles, "Oedipus Tyrannus," 4.)

And therefore it is no wonder, that since love contains all the causes
of music,--grief, pleasure, and enthusiasm,--and is besides industrious
and talkative, it should incline us more than any other passion to
poetry and songs.



Some said that Alexander did not drink much, but sat long in company,
discoursing with his friends; but Philinus showed this to be an error
from the king's diary, where it was very often registered that such a
day, and sometimes two days together, the king slept after a debauch;
and this course of life made him cold in love, but passionate and angry,
which argues a hot constitution. And some report his sweat was fragrant
and perfumed his clothes; which is another argument of heat, as we see
the hottest and driest climates bear frankincense and cassia; for a
fragrant smell, as Theophrastus thinks, proceeds from a due concoction
of the humors, when the noxious moisture is conquered by the heat. And
it is thought probable, that he took a pique at Calisthenes for avoiding
his table because of the hard drinking, and refusing the great bowl
called Alexander's in his turn, adding, I will not drink of Alexander's
bowl, to stand in need of Aesculapius's. And thus much of Alexander's

Story tells us, that Mithridates, the famous enemy of the Romans, among
other trials of skill that he instituted, proposed a reward to the
greatest eater and the stoutest drinker in his kingdom. He won both the
prizes himself; he outdrank every man living, and for his excellency
that way was called Bacchus. But this reason for his surname is a
vain fancy and an idle story; for whilst he was an infant a flash of
lightning burnt his cradle, but did his body no harm, and only left a
little mark on his forehead, which his hair covered when he was grown
a boy; and after he came to be a man, another flash broke into his
bedchambers, and burnt the arrows in a quiver that was hanging under
him; from whence his diviners presaged, that archers and light-armed men
should win him considerable victories in his wars; and the vulgar gave
him this name, because in those many dangers by lightning he bore some
resemblance to the Theban Bacchus.

From hence great drinkers were the subject of our discourse; and the
wrestler Heraclides (or, as the Alexandrians mince it, Heraclus), who
lived but in the last age, was accounted one. He, when he could get
none to hold out with him, invited some to take their morning's draught,
others to dinner, to supper others, and others after, to take a merry
glass of wine; so that as the first went off, the second came, and the
third and fourth company and he all the while without any intermission
took his glass round, and outsat all the four companies.

Amongst the retainers to Drusus, the Emperor Tiberus's son, was a
physician that drank down all the court; he, before he sat down, would
usually take five or six bitter almonds to prevent the operation of the
wine; but whenever he was forbidden that, he knocked under presently,
and a single glass dozed him. Some think these almonds have a
penetrating, abstersive quality, are able to cleanse the face, and clear
it from the common freckles; and therefore, when they are eaten, by
their bitterness vellicate and fret the pores, and by that means draw
down the ascending vapors from the head. But, in my opinion, a bitter
quality is a drier, and consumes moisture; and therefore a bitter taste
is the most unpleasant. For, as Plato says, dryness, being an enemy
to moisture, unnaturally contracts the spongy and tender nerves of the
tongue. And green ulcers are usually drained by bitter injections. Thus

     He squeezed his herbs, and bitter juice applied;
     And straight the blood was stanched, the sore was dried.
     ("Iliad," xi. 846.)

And he guesses well, that what is bitter to the taste is a drier.
Besides, the powders women use to dry up their sweat are bitter, and
by reason of that quality astringent. This then being certain, it is no
wonder that the bitterness of the almonds hinders the operation of the
wine, since it dries the inside of the body and keeps the veins from
being overcharged; for from their distention and disturbance they say
drunkenness proceeds. And this conjecture is much confirmed from that
which usually happens to a fox; for if he eats bitter almonds without
drinking, his moisture suddenly fails, and it is present death.



It was debated why old men loved the strongest liquors. Some, fancying
that their natural heat decayed and their constitution grew cold, said
such liquors were most necessary and agreeable to their age; but this
was mean and the obvious, and besides, neither a sufficient nor a true
reason; for the like happens to all their other senses. For they are not
easily moved or wrought on by any qualities, unless they are in intense
degrees and make a vigorous impression; but the reason is the laxity
of the habit of their body, for that, being grown lax and weak, loves a
smart stroke. Thus their taste is pleased most with strong sapors, their
smelling with brisk odors; for strong and unalloyed qualities make a
more pleasing impression on the sense. Their touch is almost senseless
to a sore, and a wound generally raises no sharp pain. The like also in
their hearing may be observed; for old musicians play louder and sharper
than others, that they may move their own dull tympanum with the sound.
For what steel is to the edge in a knife, that spirit is to the sense in
the body; and therefore, when the spirits fail, the sense grows dull and
stupid, and cannot be raised, unless by something, such as strong wine,
that makes a vigorous impression.



To my discourse in the former problem some objection may be drawn from
the sense of seeing in old men; for, if they hold a book at a distance,
they will read pretty well, nearer they cannot see a letter and this
Aeschylus means by these verses:--

     Behold from far; for near thou canst not see;
     A good old scribe thou mayst much sooner be.

And Sophocles more plainly:--

     Old men are slow in talk, they hardly hear;
     Far off they see; but all are blind when near.

And therefore, if old men's organs are more obedient to strong and
intense qualities, why, when they read, do they not take the reflection
near at hand, but, holding the book a good way off, mix and weaken it by
the intervening air, as wine by water?

Some answered, that they did not remove the book to lesson the light,
but to receive more rays, and let all the space between the letters and
their eyes be filled with lightsome air. Others agreed with those that
imagine the rays of vision mix with one another; for since there is a
cone stretched between each eye and the object, whose point is in the
eye and whose basis is the object, it is probable that for some way each
cone extends apart and by itself; but, when the distance increases, they
mix and make but one common light; and therefore every object appears
single and not two, though it is seen by both eyes at once; for the
conjunction of the cones makes these two appearances but one. These
things supposed, when old men hold the letters close to their eyes, the
cones not being joined, but each apart and by itself, their sight is
weak; but when they remove it farther, the two lights being mingled and
increased, see better, as a man with both hands can hold that for which
either singly is too weak.

But my brother Lamprias, though unacquainted with Hieronymus's notions,
gave us another reason. We see, said he, some species that come from the
object to the eye, which at their first rise are thick and great; and
therefore when near disturb old men, whose eyes are stiff and not easily
penetrated; but when they are separated and diffused into the air, the
thick obstructing parts are easily removed, and the subtile remainders
coming to the eye gently and easily slide into the pores; and so the
disturbance being less, the sight is more vigorous and clear. Thus a
rose smells most fragrant at a distance; but if you bring it near the
nose, it is not so pure and delightful; and the reason is this,--many
earthy disturbing particles are carried with the smell, and spoil the
fragrancy when near, but in a longer passage those are lost, and the
pure brisk odor, by reason of its subtility, reaches and acts upon the

But we, according to Plato's opinion, assert that a bright spirit darted
from the eye mixes with the light about the object, and those two are
perfectly blended into one similar body; now these must be joined in due
proportion one to another; for one part ought not wholly to prevail on
the other, but both, being proportionally and amicably joined, should
agree in one third common power. Now this (whether flux, illuminated
spirit, or ray) in old men being very weak, there can be no combination,
no mixture with the light about the object; but it must be wholly
consumed, unless, by removing the letters from their eyes, they lessen
the brightness of the light, so that it comes to the sight not too
strong or unmixed, but well proportioned and blended with the other. And
this explains that common affection of creatures seeing in the dark; for
their eyesight being weak is overcome and darkened by the splendor of
the day; because the little light that flows from their eyes cannot be
proportionably mixed with the stronger and more numerous beams; but it
is proportionable and sufficient for the feeble splendor of the stars,
and so can join with it, and cooperate to move the sense.



Theon the grammarian, when Metrius Florus gave us an entertainment,
asked Themistocles the Stoic, why Chrysippus, though he frequently
mentioned some strange phenomena in nature (as that salt meat soaked in
salt water grows fresher than before; fleeces of wool are more easily
separated by a gentle than a quick and violent force, and men that are
fasting eat slower than those who took a breakfast), yet never gave any
reason for the appearance. And Themistocles replied, that Chrysippus
only proposed such things by the by, as instances to correct us,
who easily assent and without any reason to what seems likely, and
disbelieve everything that seems unlikely at the first sight. But why,
sir, are you concerned at this? For if you are speculative and would
inquire into the causes of things you need not want subjects in your own
profession; but pray tell me why Homer makes Nausicaa wash in the river
rather than the sea, though it was near, and in all likelihood hotter,
clearer, and fitter to wash with than that?

And Theon replied: Aristotle hath already given an account for this from
the grossness of the sea water; for in this an abundance of rough
earthy particles is mixed, and those make it salt; and upon this account
swimmers or any other weights sink not so much in sea water as in fresh
for the latter, being thin and weak, yields to every pressure and is
easily divided, because it is pure and unmixed and by reason of
this subtility of parts it penetrates better than salt water, and so
looseneth from the clothes the sticking particles of the spot. And is
not this discourse of Aristotle very probable?

Probable indeed, I replied, but not true; for I have observed that with
ashes, gravel, or, if these are not to be gotten, with dust itself they
usually thicken the water, as if the earthy particles being rough
would scour better than fair water, whose thinness makes it weak and
ineffectual. And therefore he is mistaken when he says the thickness
of the sea water hinders the effect, since the sharpness of the mixed
particles very much conduces to make it cleansing; for that open the
pores, and draws out the stain. But since all oily matter is most
difficult to be washed out and spots a cloth, and the sea is oily, that
is the reason why it doth not scour as well as fresh and that it is
oily, even Aristotle himself asserts, for salt in his opinion hath some
oil in it, and therefore makes candles, when sprinkled on them, burn
the better and clearer than before. And sea water sprinkled on a flame
increaseth it, and it more easily kindled than any other; in my opinion,
makes it hotter than the fresh. And besides, I may urge another cause;
for the end of washing is drying, and that seems cleanest which is
driest; and the moisture that scours (as hellebore, with the humors that
it purges) ought to fly away quickly together with the stain. The sun
quickly draws out the fresh water, because it is so light but the salt
water being rough lodges in the pores, and therefore is not easily

And Theon replied: You say just nothing, sir; for Aristotle in the same
book affirms that those that wash in the sea, if they stand in sun, are
sooner dried than those that wash in the fresh streams. If it is true,
I am answered, he says so; but I hope that Homer asserting the contrary
will, by you especially, be more easily believed; for Ulysses (as he
writes) after his shipwreck meeting Nausicaa,

     A frightful sight, and with the salt besmeared

said to her maidens,

     Retire a while, till I have washed my skin,

And when he had leaped into the river,

     He from his head did scour the foaming sea.
     (See "Odyssey," vi. 137, 218, 226.)

The poet knew very well what happens in such a case; for when those that
come wet out of the sea stand in the sun, the subtilest and lightest
parts suddenly exhale, but the salt and rough particles stick upon
the body in a crust, till they are washed away by the fresh water of a



When we were feasting at Serapion's, who gave an entertainment after the
tribe Leontis under his order and direction had won the prize (for we
were citizens and free of that tribe), a very pertinent discourse, and
proper to the then occasion, happened. It had been a very notable trial
of skill, the king Philopappus being very generous and magnificent in
his rewards, and defraying the expenses of all the tribes. He was at
the same feast with us and being a very good-humored man and eager for
instruction, he would now and then freely discourse of ancient customs,
and as freely hear.

Marcus the grammarian began thus: Neanthes the Cyzicenian, in his book
called the "Fabulous Narrations of the City," affirms that it was
a privilege of the tribe Aeantis that their chorus should never be
determined to be the last. It is true, he brings some stories for
confirmation of what he says; but if he falsifies, the matter is open,
and let us all inquire after the reason of the thing. But, says Milo,
suppose it be a mere tale. It is no strange thing replied Philopappus,
if in our disquisitions after truth we meet now and then with such
a thing as Democritus the philosopher did; for he one day eating a
cucumber, and finding it of a honey taste, asked his maid where she
bought it; and she telling him in such a garden, he rose from table and
bade her direct him to the place. The maid surprised asked him what he
meant; and he replied, I must search after the cause of the sweetness
of the fruit, and shall find it the sooner if I see the place. The maid
with a smile replied, Sit still, pray, sir, for I unwittingly put it
into a honey barrel. And he, as it were discontented, cried out, Shame
take thee, yet I will pursue my purpose, and seek after the cause, as if
this sweetness were a taste natural and proper to the fruit. Therefore
neither will we admit Neanthes's credulity and inadvertency in some
stories as an excuse and a good reason for avoiding this disquisition;
for we shall exercise our thoughts by it, though no other advantage
rises from that inquiry.

Presently every one poured out something in commendation of that
tribe, mentioning every matter that made for its credit and reputation.
Marathon was brought in as belonging to it, and Harmodius with his
associates, by birth Aphidneans, were also produced as glorious members
of that tribe. The orator Glaucias proved that that tribe made up the
right wing in the battle at Marathon, from the elegies of Aeschylus, who
had himself fought valiantly in the same encounter; and farther evinced
that Callimachus the field marshal was of that tribe, who behaved
himself very bravely, and was the principal cause next to Miltiades,
with whose opinion he concurred, that that battle was fought. To this
discourse of Glaucias I added, that the edict which impowered Miltiades
to lead forth the Athenians, was made when the tribe Aeantis was chief
of the assembly, and that in the battle of Plataea the same tribe won
the greatest glory; and upon that account, as the oracle directed, that
tribe offered a sacrifice for this victory to the nymphs Sphragitides,
the city providing a victim and all other necessaries belonging to it.
But you may observe (I continued) that other tribes likewise have their
peculiar glories; and you know that mine, the tribe Leontids, yields
to none in any point of reputation. Besides, consider whether it is not
more probable that this was granted out of a particular respect, and
to please Ajax, from whom this tribe received its name; for we know
he could not endure to be outdone, but was easily hurried on to the
greatest enormities by his contentious and passionate humor; and
therefore to comply with him and afford him some comfort in his
disasters, they secured him from the most vexing grievance that follows
the misfortune of the conquered, by ordering that his tribe should never
be determined to be last.


Of the several things that are provided for an entertainment,
some, my Sossius Senecio, are absolutely necessary; such are wine,
bread, meat, lounges, and tables. Others are brought in, not for
necessity, but pleasure; such are songs, shows, mimics, and buffoons;
which, when present, delight indeed, but when absent, are not eagerly
desired; nor is the entertainment looked upon as mean because such
things are wanting. Just so of discourses; some the sober men admit as
necessary to a banquet, and others for their pretty nice speculations,
as more profitable and agreeable than the fiddle and the pipe. My former
book gives you examples of both sorts. Of the first are these, Whether
we should philosophize at table?--Whether the entertainer should appoint
proper seats, or leave the guests to agree upon there own? Of the
second, Why lovers are inclined to poetry? And the question about the
tribe of Aeantis. The former I call properly [Greek omitted] but both
together I comprehend under the general name of Symposiacs. They are
promiscuously set down, not in the exact method, but as each singly
occurred to memory. And let not my readers wonder that I dedicate these
collections to you, which I have received from others or your own
mouth; for if all learning is not bare remembrance, yet to learn and to
remember are very commonly one and the same.




Now each book being divided into ten questions, that shall make the
first in this, which Socratial Xenophon hath as it were proposed; for he
tells that, Gobryas banqueting with Cyrus, amongst other things he found
admirable in the Persians, was surprised to hear them ask one another
such questions that it was more pleasant to be interrogated than to be
let alone, and pass such jests on one another that it was more pleasant
to be jested on than not. For if some, even whilst they praise, offend,
why should not their polite and neat facetiousness be admired, whose
very raillery is delightful and pleasant to him that is the subject of
it? Once you said: I wish I could learn what kind of questions those
are; for to be skilled in and make right use of apposite questions and
pleasant raillery, I think is no small part of conversation.

A considerable one, I replied; but pray observe whether Xenophon
himself, in his descriptions of Socrates's and the Persian
entertainments, hath not sufficiently explained them. But if you would
have my thoughts, first, men are pleased to be asked those questions
to which they have an answer ready; such are those in which the persons
asked have some skill and competent knowledge; for when the inquiry is
above their reach, those that can return nothing are troubled, as
if requested to give something beyond their power; and those that do
answer, producing some crude and insufficient demonstration, must needs
be very much concerned, and apt to blunder on the wrong. Now, if the
answer not only is easy but hath something not common, it is more
pleasing to them that make it; and this happens, when their knowledge
is greater than that of the vulgar, as suppose they are well skilled
in points of astrology or logic. For not only in action and serious
matters, but also in discourse, every one hath a natural disposition to
be pleased (as Euripides hath it)

     To seem far to outdo himself.

And all are delighted when men put such questions as they understand,
and would have others know that they are acquainted with; and therefore
travellers and merchants are most satisfied when their company is
inquisitive about other countries, the unknown ocean, and the laws
and manners of the barbarians; they are very ready to inform them,
and describe the countries and the creeks, imagining this to be some
recompense for their toil, some comfort for the dangers they have
passed. In short, whatever though unrequested, we are wont to discourse
of, we are desirous to be asked; because then we seem to gratify
those whom otherwise our prattle would disturb and force from our
conversation. And this is the common disease of travellers. But more
genteel and modest men love to be asked about those things which they
have bravely and successfully performed, and which modesty will not
permit to be spoken by themselves before company; and therefore Nestor
did well when, being acquainted with Ulysses's desire of reputation, he

     Tell, brave Ulysses, glory of the Greeks,
     How you the horses seized.
     ("Iliad," x. 544.)

For man cannot endure the insolence of those who praise themselves and
repeat their own exploits, unless the company desires it and they are
forced to a relation; therefore it tickles them to be asked about their
embassies and administrations of the commonwealth, if they have done
anything notable in either. And upon this account the envious and
ill-natured start very few questions of that they sort; that thwart
and hinder all such kind of motions, being very unwilling to give any
occasion or opportunity for that discourse which shall tend to the
advantage of the relater. In short, we please those to whom we put them,
when we start questions about those matters which their enemies hate to

Ulysses says to Alcinous,

     You bid me tell what various ills I bore,
     That the sad tale might make me grieve the more.
     (Sophocles, "Oedipus at Colonus," 510.)

And Oedipus says to the chorus,

     'Tis pain to raise again a buried grief.
     ("Odyssey," ix. 12.)

But Euripides on the contrary,

     How sweet it is, when we are lulled in ease,
     To think of toils!--when well, of a disease!
     (Euripides, "Andromeda," Frag. 131.)

True indeed, but not to those that are still tossed, still under a
misfortune. Therefore be sure never ask a man about his own calamities;
it is irksome to relate his losses of children or estate, or any
unprosperous adventure by sea or land; but ask a man how he carried the
cause, how he was caressed by the king, how he escaped such a storm,
such an assault, thieves, and the like; this pleaseth him, he seems to
enjoy it over again in his relation, and is never weary of the topic.
Besides, men love to be asked about their happy friends, or children
that have made good progress in philosophy or the law, or are great at
court; as also about the disgrace and open conviction of their enemies;
or of such matters they are most eager to discourse, yet are cautious
of beginning it themselves, lest they should seem to insult over and
rejoice at the misery of others. You please a hunter if you ask
him about dogs, a wrestler about exercise, and an amorous man about
beauties; the ceremonious and superstitious man discourses about dreams,
and what success he hath had by following the directions of omens
or sacrifices, and by the kindness of the gods; and some questions
concerning those things will extremely please him. He that inquires
anything of an old man, though the story doth not at all concern him,
wins his heart, and urges one that is very willing to discourse:--

     Nelides Nestor, faithfully relate
     How great Atrides died, what sort of fate;
     And where was Menelaus largely tell?
     Did Argos hold him when the hero fell?
     ("Odyssey," iii. 247.)

Here is a multitude of questions and variety of subjects; which is much
better than to confine and cramp his answers, and so deprive the old
man of the most pleasant enjoyment he can have. In short, they that
had rather please than distaste will still propose such questions, the
answers to which shall rather get the praise and good-will than the
contempt and hatred of the hearers. And so much of questions.

As for raillery, those that cannot use it cautiously with art, and time
it well, should never venture at it. For as in a slippery place, if you
but just touch a man as you pass by, you throw him down; so when we are
in drink, we are in danger of tripping at every little word that is not
spoken with due address. And we are more apt to be offended with a joke
than a plain and scurrilous abuse; for we see the latter often slip
from a man unwittingly in passion, but consider the former as a thing
voluntary, proceeding from malice and ill-nature; and therefore we are
generally more offended at a sharp jeerer than a whistling snarler. Such
a jest has indeed something designedly malicious about it, and often
seems to be an insult skilfully devised and prepared. For instance, he
that calls thee salt-fish monger plainly and openly abuseth; but he that
says, I remember when you wiped your nose upon your sleeve, maliciously
jeers. Such was Cicero's to Octavius, who was thought to be descended
from an African slave; for when Cicero spoke something, and Octavius
said he did not hear him, Cicero rejoined, Remarkable, for you have
a hole through your ear. And Melanthius, when he was ridiculed by a
comedian, said, You pay me now something that you do not owe me. And
upon this account jeers vex more; for like bearded arrows they stick a
long while, and gall the wounded sufferer. Their smartness is pleasant,
and delights the company; and those that are pleased with the saving
seem to believe the detracting speaker. For according to Theophrastus,
a jeer is a figurative reproach for some fault or misdemeanor; and
therefore he that hears it supplies the concealed part, as if he knew
and gave credit to the thing. For he that laughs and is tickled at what
Theocritus said to one whom he suspected of a design upon his clothes,
and who asked him if he went to supper at such a place,--Yes, he
replied, I go, but shall likewise lodge there all night,--doth, as it
were, confirm the accusation, and believe the fellow was a thief. And
therefore an impertinent jeerer makes the whole company seem ill-natured
and abusive, as being pleased with and consenting to the scurrility of
the jeer. It was one of the excellent laws in Sparta, that none should
be bitter in their jests, and the jeered should patiently endure; but
if he took offence, the other was to forbear, and pursue the frolic
no farther. How is it possible therefore to determine such raillery as
shall delight and please the person that is jested on, when to be smart
without offence is no mean piece of cunning and address?

First then, such as will vex and gall the conscious must please those
that are clean, innocent, and not suspected of the matter. Such a joke
is Xenophon's, when he pleasantly brings in a very ugly ill-looking
fellow, and is smart upon him for being Sambaulas's minion. Such was
that of Aufidius Modestus, who, when our friend Quinitus in an ague
complained his hands were cold, replied, Sir, you brought them warm from
your province; for this made Quintius laugh, and extremely pleased
him; yet it had been a reproach and abuse to a covetous and oppressing
governor. Thus Socrates, pretending to compare faces with the beauteous
Critobulus, rallied only, and not abused. And Alcibiades again was smart
on Socrates, as his rival in Agatho's affection. Kings are pleased when
jests are put upon them as if they were private and poor men. Such was
the flatterer's to Philip, who chided him: Sir, don't I keep you? For
those that mention faults of which the persons are not really guilty
intimate those virtues with which they are really adorned. But then it
is requisite that those virtues should be evident and certainly belong
to them; otherwise the discourse will breed disturbance and suspicion.
He that tells a very rich man that he will procure him a sum of
money,--a temperate sober man, and one that drinks water only, that
he is foxed, or hath taken a cup too much,--a hospitable, generous,
good-humored man, that he is a niggard and pinch-penny,--or threatens
an excellent lawyer to meet him at the bar,--must make the persons smile
and please the company. Thus Cyrus was very obliging and complaisant,
when he challenged his playfellows at those sports in which he was sure
to be overcome. And Ismenias piping at a sacrifice, when no good omens
appeared, the man that hired him snatched the pipe, and played very
ridiculously himself; and when all found fault, he said: To play
satisfactorily is the gift of Heaven. And Ismenias with a smile replied:
Whilst I played, the gods were so well pleased that they were careless
of the sacrifice; but to be rid of thy noise they presently received it.

But more, those that jocosely put scandalous names upon things
commendable, if it be opportunely done, please more than he that plainly
and openly commends; for those that cover a reproach under fair and
respectful words (as he that calls an unjust man Aristides, a coward
Achilles) gall more than those that openly abuse. Such is that of
Oedipus, in Sophocles,--

     The faithful Creon, my most constant friend.
     (Sophocles, "Oedipus Tyrannus," 385.)

The familiar irony in commendations answers to this on the other side.
Such Socrates used, when he called the kind endeavor and industry of
Antisthenes to make men friends pimping, bawds-craft, and allurement;
and others that called Crates the philosopher, who wherever he went was
caressed and honored, the door-opener.

Again, a complaint that implies thankfulness for a received favor is
pleasant raillery. Thus Diogenes of his master Antisthenes:--

     That man that made me leave my precious ore,
     Clothed me with rags, and forced me to be poor;
     That man that made me wander, beg my bread,
     And scorn to have a house to hide my head.

For it had not been half so pleasant to have said, that man that made
me wise, content, and happy. And a Spartan, making as if he would find
fault with the master of the exercises for giving him wood that would
not smoke, said, He will not permit us even to shed a tear. And he calls
a hospitable man, and one that treats often, a kidnapper, and a tyrant
who for a long time would not permit him to see his own table; and he
whom the king hath raised and enriched, that says he had a design
upon him and robbed him of his sleep and quiet. So if he that hath an
excellent vintage should complain of Aeschlus's Cabeiri for making him
want vinegar, as they haul jocosely threatened. For such as these have
a pungent pleasantness, so that the praised are not offended nor take it

Besides, he that would be civilly facetious must know the difference
between a vice and a commendable study or recreation; for instance,
between the love of money or contention and of music or hunting; for men
are grieved if twitted with the former, but take it very well if they
are laughed at for the latter. Thus Demosthenes the Mitylenean was
pleasant enough when, knocking at a man's door that was much given to
singing and playing on the harp, and being bid come in, he said, I
will, if you will tie up your harp. But the flatterer of Lysimachus was
offensive; for being frighted at a wooden scorpion that the king threw
into his lap, and leaping out of his seat, he said after he knew the
humor, And I'll fright your majesty too; give me a talent.

In several things about the body too the like caution is to be observed.
Thus he that is jested on for a flat or hooked nose usually laughs
at the jest. Thus Cassander's friend was not at all displeased when
Theophrastus said to him, 'Tis strange, sir, that your eyes don't play,
since your nose is so near and so well fitted for a pipe to give them
the tune; and Cyrus commanded a long hawk-nosed fellow to marry a
flat-nosed girl, for then they would very well agree. But a jest on any
for his stinking breath or filthy nose is irksome; for baldness it may
be borne, but for blindness or infirmity in the eyes it is intolerable.
It is true, Antigonus would joke upon himself, and once, receiving a
petition written in great letters, he said, This a man may read if he
were stark blind. But he killed Theocritus the Chian for saying,--wh
 Byzantine to Pasiades saying, Sir, your eyes are weak, replied, You
upbraid me with this infirmity, not considering that thy son carries the
vengeance of Heaven on his back: now Pasiades's son was hunch-backed.
And Archippus the popular Athenian was much displeased with Melanthius
for being smart on his crooked back; for Melanthius had said that he did
not stand at the head of the state but bowed down before it. It is true,
some are not much concerned at such jeers. Thus Antigonus's friend, when
he had begged a talent and was denied, desired a guard, lest somebody
should rob him of that talent he was now to carry home. Different
tempers make men differently affected, and that which troubles one
is not regarded by another. Epaminondas feasting with his
fellow-magistrates drank vinegar; and some asking if it was good for his
health, he replied, I cannot tell that, but I know it makes me remember
what I drink at home. Therefore it becomes every man that would rally,
to look into the humors of his company, and take heed to converse
without offence.

Love, as in most things else, so in this matter causes different
effects; for some lovers are pleased and some displeased at a merry
jest. Therefore in this case a fit time must be accurately observed; for
as a blast of wind puffs out a fire whilst it is weak and little, but
when thoroughly kindled strengthens and increaseth it; so love, before
it is evident and confessed, is displeased at a discoverer, but when it
breaks forth and blazes in everybody's eyes, then it is delighted and
gathers strength by the frequent blasts of joke and raillery. When their
beloved is present it will gratify them most to pass a jest upon their
passion, but to fall on any other subject will be counted an abuse. If
they are remarkably loving to their own wives, or entertain a generous
affection for a hopeful youth, then are they proud, then tickled when
jeered for such a love. And therefore Arcesilaus, when an amorous man
in his school laid down this proposition, in my opinion one thing cannot
touch another, replied, Sir you touch this person, pointing to a lovely
boy that sat near him.

Besides, the company must be considered; for what a man will only laugh
at when mentioned amongst his friends and familiar acquaintance, he will
not endure to be told of before his wife, father, or his tutor, unless
perhaps it be something that will please those too; as for instance,
if before a philosopher one should jeer a man for going barefoot or
studying all night; or before his father, for carefulness and thrift; or
in the presence of his wife, for being cold to his companions and doting
upon her. Thus Tigranes, when Cyrus asked him, What will your wife say
when she hears that you are put to servile offices? replied, Sir, she
will not hear it, but be present herself and see it.

Again, those jokes are accounted less affronting which reflect somewhat
also on the man that makes them; as when one poor man, base-born fellow,
or lover jokes upon another. For whatever comes from one in the same
circumstances looks more like a piece of mirth than a designed affront;
but otherwise it must needs be irksome and distasteful. Upon this
account, when a slave whom the king had lately freed and enriched
behaved himself very impertinently in the company of some philosophers,
asking them, how it came to pass that the broth of beans whether white
or black, was always green, Aridices putting another question, why, let
the whips be white or not, the wales and marks they made were still red,
displeased him extremely, and made him rise from the table in a great
rage and discontent. But Amphias the Tarsian, who was supposed to
be sprung from a gardener, joking upon the governor's friend for his
obscure and mean birth, and presently subjoining, But 'tis true, I
sprung from the same seed, caused much mirth and laughter. And
the harper very facetiously put a cheek to Philip's ignorance and
impertinence; for when Philip pretended to correct him, he cried out,
God forbid, sir, that ever you should be brought so low as to understand
these things better than I. For by this seeming joke he instructed him
without giving any offence. And therefore some of the comedians seem
to lay aside their bitterness in every jest that may reflect upon
themselves; as Aristophanes, when he is merry upon a baldpate; and
Cratinus in his play "Pytine" upon drunkenness and excess.

Besides, you must be very careful that the jest should seem to be
extempore, taken from some present question or merry humor; not
far-fetched, as if premeditate and designed. For as men are not much
concerned at the anger and disputes among themselves at table while they
are drinking, but if any stranger should come in and offer abuse, they
would hate and look upon him as an enemy; so they will easily pardon and
indulge a jest if undesignedly taken from any present circumstance; but
if it is nothing to the matter in hand but fetched from another thing,
it must look like a design and be resented as an affront. Such was
that of Timagenes to the husband of a woman that often vomited,--"Thou
beginnest thy troubles by bringing home this vomiting woman," saying
[Greek omitted] (this vomiting woman), when the poet had written
[Greek omitted] (this Muse); and also his question to Athenodorus
the philosopher,--Is affection to our children natural? For when the
raillery is not founded on some present circumstance, it is an argument
of ill-nature and a mischievous temper; and such as these do often for
a mere word, the lightest thing in the world (as Plato says), suffer the
heaviest punishment. But those that know how to time and apply a jest
confirm Plato's opinion, that to rally pleasantly and facetiously is the
business of a scholar and a wit.



In Eleusis, after the solemn celebration of the sacred mysteries,
Glaucias the orator entertained us at a feast; where after the rest had
done, Xenocles of Delphi, as his humor is, began to be smart upon
my brother Lamprias for his good Boeotian stomach. I in his defence
opposing Xenocles, who was an Epicurean, said, Pray, sir, do not all
place the very substance of pleasure in privation of pain and suffering?
But Lamprias, who prefers the Lyceum before the Garden, ought by his
practice to confirm Aristotle's doctrine; for he affirms that every man
hath a better stomach in the autumn than in other seasons of the year,
and gives the reason, which I cannot remember at present. So much the
better (says Glaucias), for when supper is done, we will endeavor to
discover it ourselves. That being over, Glaucias and Xenocles drew
the autumnal fruit. One said that it scoured the body, and by this
evacuation continually raised new appetites. Xenocles affirmed, that
ripe fruit had usually a pleasing, vellicating sapor, and thereby
provoked the appetite better than sauces or sweetmeats; for sick men
of a vitiated stomach usually recover it by eating fruit. But Lamprias
said, that our natural heat, the principal instrument of nutrition, in
the midst of summer is scattered and becomes rare and weak, but when
autumn comes it unites again and gathers strength, being shut in by the
ambient cold and contraction of the pores, and I for my part said: In
summer we are more thirsty and use more moisture than in other seasons;
and therefore Nature, observing the same method in all her operations,
at this change of seasons employs the contrary and makes us hungry;
and to maintain an equal temper in the body, she gives us dry food to
countervail the moisture taken in the summer. Yet none can deny but that
the food itself is a partial cause; for not only new fruit, bread, or
corn, but flesh of the same year, is better tasted than that of the
former, more forcibly provokes the guests, and enticeth them to eat on.



When upon a dream I had forborne eggs a long time, on purpose that in
an egg (as in a heart) I might make experiment of a notable vision that
often troubled me; some at Sossius Senecio's table suspected that I was
tainted with Orpheus's or Pythagoras's opinions, and refused to eat an
egg (as some do the heart and brain) imagining it to be the principle of
generation. And Alexander the Epicurean ridiculingly repeated,

     To feed on beans and parents' heads
     Is equal sin;

As if the Pythagoreans meant eggs by the word [Greek omitted] (BEANS),
deriving it from [Greek omitted](TO CONCEIVE), and thought it as
unlawful to feed on eggs as on the animals that lay them. Now to pretend
a dream for the cause of my abstaining, to an Epicurean, had been a
defence more irrational than the cause itself; and therefore I suffered
jocose Alexander to enjoy his opinion, for he was a pleasant man and an
excellent scholar.

Soon after he proposed that perplexed question, that plague of the
inquisitive, Which was first, the bird or the egg? And my friend Sylla,
saying that with this little question, as with an engine, we shook the
great and weighty problem (whether the world had a beginning), declared
his dislike of such questions. But Alexander deriding the question as
slight and impertinent, my relation Firmus said:. Well, sir, at present
your atoms will do me some service; for if we suppose that small things
must be the principles of greater, it is likely that the egg was before
the bird; for an egg amongst sensible things is very simple, and the
bird is more mixed, and contains a greater variety of parts. It is
universally true that a principle is before that whose principle it is;
now the seed is a principle, and the egg is somewhat more than the seed
and less than the bird for as a disposition or a progress in goodness is
something between a tractable mind and a habit of virtue, so an egg
is as it were a progress of Nature tending from the seed to a perfect
animal. And as in an animal they say the veins and arteries are formed
first, upon the same account the egg should be before the bird, as the
thing containing before the thing contained. Thus art first makes rude
and ill-shapen figures and afterwards perfects everything with its
proper form; and it was for this that the statuary Polycletus said, Then
our work is most difficult, when the clay comes to be fashioned by the
fingers. So it is probable that matter, not readily obeying the slow
motions of contriving Nature, at first frames rude and indefinite
masses, as the egg, and of these moulded anew, and joined in better
order, the animal afterward is formed. As the canker is first, and then
growing dry and cleaving lets forth a winged animal, called psyche; so
the egg is first as it were the subject-matter of the generation. For
it is certain that, in every change, that out of which the thing changes
must be before the thing changing. Observe how worms and caterpillars
are bred in trees from the moisture corrupted or concocted; now none can
say but that the engendering moisture is naturally before all these. For
(as Plato says) matter is as a mother or nurse in respect of the bodies
that are formed, and we call that matter out of which anything that
is made. And with a smile continued he, I speak to those that are
acquainted with the mystical and sacred discourse of Orpheus, who not
only affirms the egg to be before the bird, but makes it the first being
in the whole world. The other parts, because deep mysteries, we shall
now pass by; but let us look upon the various kinds of animals, and we
shall find almost every one beginning from an egg,--fowls and fishes;
land animals, as lizards; amphibious, as crocodiles; some with two
legs, as a cock; some without any, as a snake; and some with many, as
a locust. And therefore in the solemn feast of Bacchus it is very well
done to dedicate an egg, as the emblem of that which begets and contains
everything in itself.

To this discourse of Firmus, Senecio replied: Sir, your last similitude
contradicts your first, and you have unwittingly opened the world
(instead of the door, as the proverb goes) against yourself. For the
world was before all, being the most perfect; and it is rational that
the perfect in Nature should be before the imperfect, as the sound
before the maimed, and the whole before the part. For it is absurd
that there should be a part when there is nothing whose part it is; and
therefore nobody says the seed's man or egg's hen, but the man's seed
and hen's egg; because those being after these and formed in them, pay
as it were a debt to Nature, by bringing forth another. For they are not
in themselves perfect, and therefore have a natural appetite to produce
such a thing as that out of which they were first formed; and therefore
seed is defined as a thing produced that is to be perfected by another
production. Now nothing can be perfected by or want that which as yet
is not. Everybody sees that eggs have the nature of a concretion or
consistence in some animal or other, but want those organs, veins, and
muscles which animals enjoy. And therefore no story delivers that ever
any egg was formed immediately from earth; and the poets themselves tell
us, that the egg out of which came the Tyndaridae fell down from heaven.
But even till this time the earth produceth some perfect and organized
animals, as mice in Egypt, and snakes, frogs, and grasshoppers almost
everywhere, some external and invigorating principle assisting in the
production. And in Sicily, where in the servile war much blood was shed,
and many carcasses rotted on the ground, whole swarms of locusts were
produced, and spoiled the corn over the whole isle. Such spring from and
are nourished by the earth; and seed being formed in them, pleasure
and titillation provoke them to mix, upon which some lay eggs, and some
bring forth their young alive; and this evidently proves that animals
first sprang from earth, and afterwards by copulation, after different
ways, propagated their several kinds. In short, it is the same thing
as if you said the womb was before the woman; for as the womb is to
the egg, the egg is to the chick that is formed in it; so that he that
inquires how birds should be when there were no eggs, might ask as well
how men and women could be before any organs of generation were
formed. Parts generally have their subsistence together with the whole;
particular powers follow particular members, and operations those
Powers, and effects those operations. Now the effect of the generative
power is the seed and egg; so that these must be after the formation
of the whole. Therefore consider, as there can be no digestion of food
before the animal is formed, so there can be no seed nor egg; for those,
it is likely, are made by some digestion and alterations; nor can it
be that, before the animal is, the superfluous parts of the food of the
animal should have a being. Besides, though seed may perhaps pretend to
be a principle, the egg cannot; for it doth not subsist first, nor
hath it the nature of a whole, for it is imperfect. Therefore we do not
affirm that the animal is produced without a principle of its being; but
we call the principle that power which changes, mixes, and tempers the
matter, so that a living creature is regularly produced; but the egg is
an after-production, as the blood or milk of an animal after the taking
in and digestion of the food. For we never see an egg formed immediately
of mud, for it is produced in the bodies of animals alone; but
a thousand living creatures rise from the mud. What need of many
instances? None ever found the spawn or egg of an eel; yet if you empty
a pit and take out all the mud, as soon as other water settles in it,
eels likewise are presently produced. Now that must exist first which
hath no need of any other thing that it may exist, and that after, which
cannot be without the concurrence of another thing. And of this priority
is our present discourse. Besides, birds build nests before they lay
their eggs; and women provide cradles, swaddling cloths and the like;
yet who says that the nest is before the egg, or the swaddling cloths
before the infant. For the earth (as Plato says doth not imitate a
woman, but a woman, and so likewise all other females, the earth.)
Moreover, it is probable that the first production out of the earth,
which was then vigorous and perfect, was self-sufficient and entire,
nor stood in need of those secundines, membranes, and vessels, which now
Nature forms to help the weakness and supply the defects of breeders.



Sosicles of Coronea having at the Pythian games won the prize from all
the poets, gave us an entertainment. And the time for running, cuffing,
wrestling, and the like drawing on, there was a great talk of the
wrestlers; for there were many and very famous men, who came to try
their skill. Lysimachus, one of the company, a procurator of the
Amphictyons, said he heard a grammarian lately affirm that wrestling was
the most ancient exercise of all, as even the very name witnessed; for
some modern things have the names of more ancient transferred to them;
thus to tune a pipe is called fitting it, and playing on it is called
striking; both these names being transferred to it from the harp. Thus
all places of exercise they call wrestling schools, wrestling being the
oldest exercise, and therefore giving its name to the newer sorts. That,
said I, is no good argument, for these palaestras or wrestling schools
are called so from wrestling [Greek omitted] not because it is the most
ancient exercise, but because it is the only sort in which they use clay
[Greek omitted] dust, and oil; for in these there is neither racing nor
cuffing, but wrestling only, and that feature of the pancratium in
which they struggle on the ground,--for the pancratium comprises both
wrestling and cuffing. Besides, it is unlikely that wrestling, being
more artificial and methodical than any other sort of exercise, should
likewise be the most ancient; for mere want or necessity putting us upon
new inventions, produces simple and inartificial things first, and
such as have more of force in them than sleight and skill. This ended,
Sosicles said: You speak right, and I will confirm your discourse from
the very name; for, in my opinion, [Greek omitted] wrestling, is derived
from [Greek omitted] i.e. to throw down by sleight and artifice. And
Philinus said, it seems to me to be derived from [Greek omitted] the
palm of the hand, for wrestlers use that part most, as cuffers do the
[Greek omitted] fist; and hence both these sorts of exercises have
their proper names, the one [Greek omitted] the other [Greek omitted].
Besides, since the poets use the word [Greek omitted] for [Greek
omitted] and [Greek omitted], to sprinkle, and this action is most
frequent amongst wrestlers, this exercise [Greek omitted] may receive
its name from that word. But more, consider that racers strive to be
distant from one another; cuffers, by the judges of the field, are not
permitted to take hold; and none but wrestlers come up breast to breast,
and clasp one another round the waist, and most of their turnings,
liftings, lockings bring them very close. It is probable that this
exercise is called [Greek omitted] from [Greek omitted] or [Greek
omitted] to come up close or to be near together.



This discourse being ended, and Philinus hummed, Lysimachus began again,
What sort of exercise then shall we imagine to be first? Racing, as at
the Olympian games? For here in the Pythian, as every exercise comes
on, all the contenders are brought in, the boy wrestlers first, then the
men, and the same method is observed when the cuffers and fencers are to
exercise; but there the boys perform all first, and then the men. But,
says Timon interposing, pray consider whether Homer hath not determined
this matter; for in his poems cuffing is always put in the first place,
wrestling next, and racing last. At this Menecrates the Thessalian
surprised cried out, Good God, what things we skip over! But, pray sir,
if you remember any of his verses to that purpose, do us the favor
to repeat them. And Timon replied: That the funeral solemnities of
Patroclus had this order I think every one hath heard; but the poet, all
along observing the same order, brings in Achilles speaking to Nestor

     With this reward I Nestor freely grace,
     Unfit for cuffing, wrestling, or the race.

And in his answer he makes the old man impertinently brag:--

     I cuffing conquered Oinop's famous son,
     With Anceus wrestled, and the garland won,
     And outran Iphiclus.
     ("Iliad," xxiii. 620 and 634.)

And again he brings in Ulysses challenging the Phaeacians

     To cuff, to wrestle, or to run the race;

and Alcinous answers:

     Neither in cuffing nor in wrestling strong
     But swift of foot are we.
     ("Odyssey" viii. 206 and 246.)

So that he doth not carelessly confound the order, and, according to
the present occasion, now place one sort first and now another; but he
follows the then custom and practice and is constant in the same. And
this was so as long as the ancient order was observed.

To this discourse of my brother's I subjoined, that I liked what he
said, but could not see the reason of this order. And some of the
company, thinking it unlikely that cuffing or wrestling should be a more
ancient exercise than racing, they desired me to search farther into the
matter; and thus I spake upon the sudden. All these exercises seem to me
to be representations of feats of arms and training therein; for after
all, a man armed at all points is brought in to show that that is the
end at which all these exercises and trainings end. And the privilege
granted to the conquerors, viz., as they rode into the city, to throw
down some part of the wall--hath this meaning; that walls are but a
small advantage to that city which hath men able to fight and overcome.
In Sparta those that were victors in any of the crowned games had an
honorable place in the army and were to fight near the king's person. Of
all other creatures a horse only can have a part in these games and win
the crown, for that alone is designed by nature to be trained to war,
and to prove assisting in a battle. If these things seem probable, let
us consider farther, that it is the first work of a fighter to strike
his enemy and ward the other's blows; the second, when they come up
close and lay hold of one another, to trip and overturn him; and
in this, they say, our countrymen being better wrestlers very much
distressed the Spartans at the battle of Leuctra. And Aeschylus
describes a warrior thus,--

     One stout, and skilled to wrestle in his arms;

and Sophocles somewhere says of the Trojans,--

     They rid the horse, they could the bow command
     And wrestle with a rattling shield in hand.

But it is the third and last, either when conquered to fly, when
conquerors to pursue. And therefore it is likely that cuffing is
set first, wrestling next, and racing last; for the first bears the
resemblance of charging or warding the blows; the second, of close
fighting and repelling; the third, of flying a victorious, or pursuing a
routed enemy.



Soclarus entertaining us in his gardens, round which the river Cephissus
runs, showed us several trees strangely varied by the different grafts
upon their stocks. We saw an olive upon a juniper, a peach upon a
myrtle, pear grafts on an oak, apple upon a plane, a mulberry on a fig
and a great many such like, which were grown strong enough to bear. Some
joked on Soclarus as nourishing stranger kinds of things than the poets'
Sphinxes or Chimaeras, but Crato set us to inquire why those stocks only
that are of an oily nature will not admit such mixtures for we never see
a pine, fir, or cypress bear a graft of another kind.

And Philo subjoined: There is, Crato, a reason for this amongst the
philosophers, which the gardeners confirm and strengthen. For they say,
oil is very hurtful to all plants, and any plant dipped in it like
a bee, will soon die. Now these trees are of a fat and oily nature,
insomuch that they weep pitch and rosin; and, if you cut then gore (as
it were) appears presently in the wound. Besides, a torch made of them
sends forth an oily smoke, and the brightness of the flame shows it to
be fat; and upon this account these trees are as great enemies to all
other kinds of grafts as oil itself. To this Crato added, that the bark
was a partial cause; for that, being rare and dry, could not afford
either convenient room or sufficient nourishment to the grafts; but when
the bark is moist, it quickly joins with those grafts that are let into
the body of the tree.

Then Soclarus added: This too ought to be considered, that that which
receives a graft of another kind ought to be easy to be changed, that
the graft may prevail, and make the sap in the stock fit and natural
to itself. Thus we break up the ground and soften it, that being thus
broken it may more easily be wrought upon, and applied to what we plant
in it; for things that are hard and rigid cannot be so quickly wrought
upon nor so easily changed. Now those trees, being of very light wood,
do not mix well with the grafts, because they are very hard either to
be changed or overcome. But more, it is manifest that the stock which
receives the graft should be instead of a soil to it, and a soil should
have a breeding faculty; and therefore we choose the most fruitful
stocks to graft on, as women that are full of milk, when we would put
out a child to nurse. But everybody knows that the fir, cypress, and the
like are no great bearers. For as men very fat have few children (for,
the whole nourishment being employed in the body, there remains no
overplus to make seed), so these trees, spending all their sap in their
own stock, flourish indeed and grow great; but as for fruit, some bear
none at all, some very little, and that too slowly ripens; therefore it
is no wonder that they will not nourish another's fruit, when they are
so very sparing to their own.



Chaeremonianus the Trallian, when we were at a very noble fish dinner,
pointing to a little, long, sharp-headed fish, said the echeneis
(ship-stopper) was like that, for he had often seen it as he sailed in
the Sicilian sea, and wondered at its strange force; for it stopped the
ship when under full sail, till one of the seamen perceived it
sticking to the outside of the ship, and took it off. Some laughed at
Chaeremonianus for believing such an incredible and unlikely story.
Others on this occasion talked very much of antipathies, and produced a
thousand instances of such strange effects; for example, the sight of
a ram quiets an enraged elephant; a viper lies stock-still, if touched
with a beechen leaf; a wild bull grows tame, if bound with the twigs
of a fig-tree; and amber draws all light things to it, except basil and
such as are dipped in oil; and a loadstone will not draw a piece of iron
that is rubbed with onion. Now all these, as to matter of fact, are
very evident; but it is hard, if not altogether impossible, to find the

Then said I: This is a mere shift and avoiding of the question, rather
than a declaration of the cause; but if we please to consider, we shall
find a great many accidents that are only consequents of the effect to
be unjustly esteemed the causes of it; as for instance, if we should
fancy that by the blossoming of the chaste-tree the fruit of the vine is
ripened; because this is a common saying,--

     The chaste-tree blossoms, and the grapes grow ripe;

Or that the little protuberances in the candle-snuff thicken the air and
make it cloudy; or the hookedness of the nails is the cause and not an
accident consequential to an ulcer. Therefore as those things mentioned
are but consequents to the effect, though proceeding from one and the
same cause, so one and the same cause stops the ship, and joins the
echeneis to it; for the ship continuing dry, not yet made heavy by the
moisture soaking into the wood, it is probable that it lightly glides,
and as long as it is clean, easily cuts the waves; but when it is
thoroughly soaked, when weeds, ooze, and filth stick upon its sides, the
stroke of the ship is more obtuse and weak; and the water, coming upon
this clammy matter, doth not so easily part from it; and this is the
reason why they usually calk their ships. Now it is likely that the
echeneis in this case, sticking upon the clammy matter, is not thought
an accidental consequent to this cause, but the very cause itself.



Some say the horses called [Greek omitted] received that name from the
fashion of their bridles (called [Greek omitted]), that had prickles
like the teeth on the wolf's jaw; for being fiery and hard-mouthed, the
riders used such to tame them. But my father, who seldom speaks but on
good reason, and breeds excellent horses, said, those that were set upon
by wolves when colts, if they escaped, grew swift and mettlesome, and
were called [Greek omitted] Many agreeing to what he said, it began
to be inquired why such an accident as that should make them more
mettlesome and fierce; and many of the company thought that, from such
an assault, fear and not courage was produced; and that thence growing
fearful and apt to start at everything, their motions became more quick
and vigorous, as they are in wild beasts when entangled in a net. But,
said I, it ought to be considered whether the contrary be not more
probable; for the colts do not become more swift by escaping the assault
of a wild beast, but they had never escaped unless they had been swift
and mettlesome before. As Ulysses was not made wise by escaping from the
Cyclops, but by being wise before he escaped.



After the former discourse, mention was made of those sheep that wolves
have bitten; for it is commonly said of them, that their flesh is very
sweet, and their wool breeds lice. My relative Patroclias seemed to
be pretty happy in his reasoning upon the first part, saying, that the
beast by biting it did mollify the flesh; for wolves' spirits are so
hot and fiery, that they soften and digest the hardest bones and for
the same reason things bitten by wolves rot sooner than others. But
concerning the wool we could not agree, being not fully resolved whether
it breeds those lice, or only opens a passage for them, separating the
flesh by its fretting roughness or proper warmth; and appeared that this
power proceeded from the bite of wolf, which alters even the very hair
of the creature that it kills. And this some particular instances seem
to confirm; for we know some huntsmen and cooks will kill a beast with
one stroke, so that it never breathes after, whilst others repeat their
blows, and scarce do it with a great deal of trouble. But (what is more
strange) some, as they kill it, infuse such a quality that the flesh
rots presently and cannot be kept sweet above a day; yet others that
despatch it as soon find no such alteration, but the flesh will keep
sweet a long while. And that by the manner of killing a great alteration
is made even in the skins, nails, and hair of a beast, Homer seems to
witness, when, speaking of a good hide, he says,--

     An ox's hide that fell by violent blows;
     ("Iliad," iii. 375.)

for not those that fell by a disease or old age, but by a violent death,
leave us tough and strong hides; but after they are bitten by wild
beasts, their hoofs grow black, their hair falls, their skins putrefy
and are good for nothing.



When I was chief magistrate, most of the suppers consisted of distinct
messes, where every particular guest had his portion of the sacrifice
allowed him. Some were wonderfully well pleased with this order; others
blamed it as unsociable and ungenteel, and were of the opinion that, as
soon as I was out of my office, the manner of entertainments ought to be
reformed; for, says Hagias, we invite one another not barely to eat
and drink, but to eat and drink together. Now this division into messes
takes away all society, makes many suppers, and many eaters, but no one
sups with another; but every man takes his pound of beef, as from the
meat shop, sets it before himself, and falls on. And is it not the same
thing to provide a different cup and different table for every guest (as
the Demophontidae treated Orestes), as now to set each man his loaf of
bread and mess of meat, and feed him, as it were, out of his own proper
manger? Only, it is true, we are not (as those that treated Orestes
were) obliged to be silent and not discourse. Besides, that all the
guests should have a share in everything, we may draw an argument from
hence;--the same discourse is common to us all, the same songstress
sings, and the same musician plays to all. So, when the same cup is
set in the midst, not appropriated to any, it is a large spring of good
fellowship, and each man may take as much as his appetite requires;
not like this most unjust distribution of bread and meat, which prides
itself forsooth in being equal to all, though unequal, stomachs; for
the same share to a man of a small appetite is too much; to one of a
greater, too little. And, sir, as he that administers the very same dose
of physic to all sorts of patients must be very ridiculous; so likewise
must that entertainer who, inviting a great many guests that can neither
eat nor drink alike, sets before every one an equal mess, and measures
what is just and fit by an arithmetical not geometrical proportion. When
we go to a shop to buy, we all use, it is true, one and the same public
measure; but to an entertainment each man brings his own belly, which is
satisfied with a portion, not because it is equal to that which others
have, but because it is sufficient for itself. Those entertainments
where every one had his single mess Homer mentions amongst soldiers and
in the camp, which we ought not to bring into fashion amongst us; but
rather imitate the good friendship of the ancients, who, to show what
reverence they had for all kinds of societies, not only respected those
that lived with them or under the same roof, but also those that drank
out of the same cup or ate out of the same dish. Let us never mind
Homer's entertainments; they were good for nothing but to starve a man,
and the makers of them were kings more stingy and observant than the
Italian cooks; insomuch that in the midst of a battle, whilst they were
at handy-blows with their enemies, they could exactly reckon up how many
glasses each man drank at his table. But those that Pindar describes are
much better,--

     Where heroes mixed sat round the noble board,

because they maintained society and good fellowship; for the latter
truly mixed and joined friends, but our modern system divides and
asperses them as persons who, though seemingly very good friends, cannot
so much as eat with one another out of the same dish.

To this polite discourse of Hagias they urged me to reply. And I
said: Hagias, it is true, hath reason to be troubled at this unusual
disappointment, because having so great a belly (for he was an excellent
trencherman) he had no larger mess than others; for in a fish eaten
together Democritus says, there are no bones. But that very thing is
likely to increase our share beyond our own proper allowance. For it is
equality, as the old woman in Euripides hath it,

     That fastens towns to towns, and friends to friends;
     (Euripides, "Phoenissae," 536.)

and entertainments chiefly stand in need of this. The necessity is from
nature as well as custom, and is not lately introduced or founded only
on opinion. For when the same dish lies in common before all, the man
that is slow and eats little must be offended at the other that is too
quick for him, as a slow ship at the swift sailor. Besides, snatching,
contention, shoving, and the like, are not, in my mind, neighborly
beginnings of mirth and jollity; but they are absurd, doggish, and
often end in anger or reproaches, not only against one another, but also
against the entertainer himself or the carvers of the feast. But as long
as Moera and Lachesis (DIVISION AND DISTRIBUTION) maintained equality
in feasts, nothing uncivil or disorderly was seen, and they called the
feasts [Greek omitted], DISTRIBUTIONS, the entertained [Greek omitted],
and the carvers [Greek omitted], DISTRIBUTERS, from dividing and
distributing to every man his proper mess. The Lacedaemonians had
officers called distributers of the flesh, no mean men, but the chief of
the city; for Lysander himself by king Agesilaus was constituted one of
these in Asia. But when luxury crept into our feasts, distributing was
thrown out; for I suppose they had not leisure to divide these numerous
tarts, cheese-cakes, pies, and other delicate varieties; but, surprised
with the pleasantness of the taste and tired with the variety, they
left off cutting it into portions, and left all in common. And this
is confirmed from the present practice; for in our religious or public
feasts, where the food is simple and inartificial, each man hath his
mess assigned him; so that he that endeavors to retrieve the ancient
custom will likewise recover thrift and almost lost frugality again.
But, you object, where only property is, community is lost. True indeed,
where equality is not; for not the possession of what is proper and our
own, but the taking away of another's and coveting that which is common,
is the cause of all injury and contention; and the laws, restraining and
confining these within the proper bounds, receive their name from their
office, being a power distributing equally to every one in order to the
common good. Thus every one is not to be honored by the entertainer with
the garland or the chiefest place; but if any one brings with him
his sweetheart or a singing girl, they must be common to him and his
friends, that all possessions may be brought together, as Anaxagoras
would have it. Now if propriety in these things doth not in the least
hinder but that things of greater moment, and the only considerable, as
discourse and civility, may be still common, let us leave off abasing
distributions or the lot, the son of Fortune (as Euripides hath
it), which hath no respect either to riches or honor, but in its
inconsiderate wheel now and then raiseth up the humble and the poor, and
makes him master of himself, and, by accustoming the great and rich to
endure and not be offended at equality, pleasingly instructs.


Simonides the poet, my Sossius Senecio, seeing one of the company sit
silent and discourse nobody, said: Sir, if you are fool, it is wisely
done; if a wise man, very foolishly. It is good to conceal a man's
folly (but as Heraclitus says) it is very hard to do it over a glass of

     Which doth the gravest men to mirth advance,
     And let them loose to sing, to laugh, and dance,
     And speak what had been better unsaid.
     ("Odyssey," xiv. 464.)

In which lines the poet in my mind shows the difference between being
a little heated and downright drunk; for to sing, laugh, and dance may
agree very well with those that have gone no farther than the merry cup;
but to prattle, and speak what had been better left unsaid, argues a
man to be quite gone. And therefore Plato thinks that wine is the must
ingenious discoverer of men's humors; and Homer, when he says,--

     At feasts they had not known each other's minds,
     (Ibid. xxi. 35.)

evidently shows that he knew wine was powerful to open men's thoughts,
and was full of new discoveries. It is true from the bare eating and
drinking, if they say nothing we can give no guess at the tempers of the
men; but because drinking leads them into discourse, and discourse lays
a great many things open and naked which were secret and hid before,
therefore to sport a glass of wine together lets us into one another's
humors. And therefore a man may reasonably fall foul on Aesop: Why sir,
would you have a window in every man's breast, through which we may look
in upon his thoughts? Wine opens and exposes all, it will not suffer us
to be silent, but takes off all mask and visor, and makes us regardless
of the severe precepts of decency and custom. Thus Aesop or Plato,
or any other that designs to look into a man, may have his desires
satisfied by the assistance of a bottle; but those that are not
solicitous to pump one another, but to be sociable and pleasant,
discourse of such matters and handle such questions as make no discovery
of the bad parts of the soul, but such as comfort the good, and, by
the help of neat and polite learning, lead the intelligent part into
an agreeable pasture and garden of delight This made me collect and
dedicate the first to you this third dedication of table discourses, the
first of which is about chaplets made of flowers.



At Athens Erato the musician keeping a solemn feast to the Muses, and
inviting a great many to the treat, the company was full of talk, and
the subject of the discourse garlands. For after supper many of all
sorts of flowers being presented to the guests, Ammonius began to jeer
me for choosing a rose chaplet before a laurel, saying that those made
of flowers were effeminate, and fitted toyish girls and women more than
grave philosophers and men of music. And I admire that our friend Erato,
that abominates all flourishing in songs, and blames good Agatho, who
first in his tragedy of the Mysians ventured to introduce the chromatic
airs, should himself fill his entertainment with such various and
such florid colors; yet, while he shuts out all the soft delights that
through the ears can enter to the soul, he should introduce others
through the eyes and through the nose, and make these garlands, instead
of signs of piety, to be instruments of pleasure. For it must be
confessed that this ointment gives a better smell than those trifling
flowers, which wither even in the hands of those that wreathe them.
Besides, all pleasure must be banished the company of philosophers,
unless it is of some use or desired by natural appetite; for as those
that are carried to a banquet by some of their invited friends (as, for
instance, Socrates carried Aristodemus to Agatho's table) are as civilly
entertained as the bidden guests, but he that goes on his own account
is shut out of doors; thus the pleasures of eating and drinking, being
invited by natural appetite, should have admission; but all the others
which come on no account and have only luxury to introduce them, ought
in reason to be denied.

At this some young men, not thoroughly acquainted with Ammonius's humor,
being abashed, privately tore their chaplets; but I, perceiving that
Ammonius proposed this only for discourse and disputation's sake,
applying myself to Trypho the physician, said: Sir, you must put off
that sparkling rosy chaplet as well as we, or declare, as I have often
heard you, what excellent preservatives these flowery garlands are
against the strength of liquor. But here Erato putting in said: What, is
it decreed that no pleasure must be admitted without profit? And must
we be angry with our delight, unless hired to endure it? Perhaps we
may have reason to be ashamed of ointments and purple vests, because
so costly and expensive, and to look upon them as (in the barbarian's
phrase) treacherous garments and deceitful odors; but these natural
smells and colors are pure and simple as fruits themselves, and without
expense or the curiosity of art. And I appeal to any one, whether it is
not absurd to receive the pleasant savors Nature gives us, and enjoy
and reject those smells and colors that the seasons afford us, because
forsooth they blossom with delight, if they have no other external
profit or advantage. Besides, we have an axiom against you, for if (as
you affirm) Nature makes nothing in vain, those things that have no
other use were designed on purpose to please and to delight. Besides,
observe that to thriving trees Nature hath given leaves, both for the
preservation of the fruit and of the stock itself; for those sometimes
warming, sometimes cooling it, the seasons creep on by degrees, and
do not assault it with all their violence at once. But now the flower,
whilst it is on the plant, is of no profit at all, unless we use it to
delight our nose with the admirable smell, and to please our eyes when
it opens that inimitable variety of colors. And therefore, when the
leaves are plucked off, the plants as it were suffer injury and grief.
There is a kind of an ulcer raised, and an unbecoming nakedness attends
them; and we must not only (as Empedocles says)

     By all means spare the leaves that grace the palm,

but likewise of all other trees, and not injuriously against Nature
robbing them of their leaves, bring deformity on them to adorn
ourselves. But to pluck the flowers doth no injury at all. It is like
gathering of grapes at the time of vintage; unless plucked when ripe,
they wither of themselves and fall. And therefore, like the barbarians
who clothe themselves with the skins more commonly than with the wool of
sheep, those that wreathe leaves rather than flowers into garlands seem
to me to use the plants neither according to the dictates of reason nor
the design of Nature. And thus much I say in defence of those who sell
chaplets of flowers; for I am not grammarian enough to remember those
poems which tell us that the old conquerors in the sacred games were
crowned with flowers. Yet, now I think of it, there is a story of a rosy
crown that belongs to the Muses; Sappho mentions it in a copy of verses
to a woman unlearned and unacquainted with the Muses:--

     Thou shalt unregarded lie
     Cause ne'er acquainted with the Muses' Rose.
     (From Sappho, Frag. 68.)

But if Trypho can produce anything to our advantage from physic, pray
let us have it.

Then Trypho taking the discourse said: The ancients were very curious
and well acquainted with all these things, because plants were the chief
ingredients of their physic. And of this some signs remain till now;
for the Tyrians offer to Agenor, and the Magnesians to Chiron, the first
supposed practitioners of physic, as the first fruits, the roots of
those plants which have been successful on a patient. And Bacchus was
not only counted a physician for finding wine, the most pleasing
and most potent remedy, but for bringing ivy, the greatest opposite
imaginable to wine, into reputation, and for teaching his drunken
followers to wear garlands of it, that by that means they might be
secured against the violence of a debauch, the heat of the liquor being
remitted by the coldness of the ivy. Besides, the names of several
plants sufficiently evidence the ancients curiosity in this matter; for
they named the walnut-tree [Greek omitted], because it sends forth a
heavy and [Greek omitted] drowsy spirit, which affects their heads who
sleep beneath it; and the daffodil, [Greek omitted], because it benumbs
the nerves and causes a stupid narcotic heaviness in the limbs, and
therefore Sophocles calls it the ancient garland flower of the great
(that is, the earthy) gods. And some say rue was called [Greek omitted]
from its astringent quality; for, by its dryness preceding from its
heat, it fixes [Greek omitted] or dries the seed, and is very hurtful
to great-bellied women. But those that imagine the herb amethyst [Greek
omitted], and the precious stone of the same name, are called so because
powerful against the force of wine are much mistaken; for both receive
there names from their color; for its leaf is not of the color of strong
wine, but resembles that of weak diluted liquor. And indeed I could
mention a great many which have their names from their proper virtues.
But the care and the experience of the ancients sufficiently appears in
those of which they made their garlands when they designed to be merry
and frolic over a glass of wine; for wine, especially when it seizes on
the head, and weakens the body just at the very spring and origin of
the sense, disturbs the whole man. Now the effluvia of flowers are an
admirable preservative against this, they secure the brain, as it were a
citadel, against the effects of drunkenness; for those that are hot
upon the pores and give the fumes free passage to exhale, and those
moderately cold repel and keep down the ascending vapors. Such are the
violet and rose; for the odors of both these are prevalent against any
ache and heaviness in the head. The flowers of the privet and crocus
bring those that have drunk freely into a gentle sleep; for they
send forth a smooth and gentle effluvia, which softly takes off all
asperities that arise in the body of the drunken; and so all things
being quiet and composed, the violence on the noxious humor is abated
and thrown off. The smells of some flowers being received into the brain
cleanse the organs and instruments of sense, and gently by their heat,
without any violence or force, dissolve the humors, and warm and cherish
the brain itself, which is naturally cold. And upon this account, they
call those little posies they hang about their necks [Greek omitted],
and anointed their breasts with the oils that were squeezed from them;
and of this Alcaeus is a witness, when he bids his friends,

     Pour ointments o'er his laboring temples, pressed
     With various cares, and o'er his aged breast.

For the warm odors shoot upward into the very brain, being drawn up by
the nostrils. For they did not call those garlands hung about the neck
[Greek omitted] because they thought the heart was the seat and citadel
of the mind [Greek omitted], for on that account they should rather have
called them [Greek omitted], but, as I said before, from their vapor
and exhalation. Besides, it is no strange thing that these smells of
garlands should be of so considerable a virtue; for some tell us that
the shadow of the yew, especially when it blossoms, kills those that
sleep under it; and a subtle spirit ariseth from pressed poppy, which
suddenly overcomes the unwary squeezers. And there is an herb called
alyssus, which to some that take it in their hands, to others that do
but look on it, is found a present remedy against the hiccough; and some
affirm that planted near the stalls it preserves sheep and goats from
the rot and mange. And the rose is called [Greek omitted], probably
because it sends forth a stream [Greek omitted] of odors; and for that
reason it withers presently. It is a cooler, yet fiery to look upon; and
no wonder, for upon the surface a subtile heat, being driven out by the
inward heat, looks vivid and appears.



Upon this discourse, when we all hummed Trypho, Ammonius with a smile
said: It is not decent by any contradiction to pull in pieces, like a
chaplet, this various and florid discourse of Trypho's. Yet methinks the
ivy is a little oddly interwoven, and unjustly said by its cold powers
to temper the heat of strong wine; for it is rather fiery and hot, and
its berries steeped in wine make the liquor more apt to inebriate and
inflame. And from this cause, as in sticks warped by the fire, proceeds
the crookedness of the boughs. And snow, that for many days will lie on
other trees, presently melts from the branches of the ivy, and wastes
all around, as far as the warmth reaches. But the greatest evidence is
this. Theophrastus tells us, that when Alexander commanded Harpalus to
plant some Grecian trees in the Babylonian gardens, and--because the
climate is very hot and the sun violent--such as were leafy, thick, and
fit to make a shade, the ivy only would not grow; though all art and
diligence possible were used, it withered and died. For being hot
itself, it could not agree with the fiery nature of the soil; for excess
in similar qualities is destructive, and therefore we see everything as
it were affects its contrary; a cold plant flourishes in a hot ground,
and a hot plant is delighted with a cold. Upon which account it is that
bleak mountains, exposed to cold winds and snow, bear firs, pines,
and the like, full of pitch, fiery, and excellent to make a torch. But
besides, Trypho, trees of a cold nature, their little feeble heat not
being able to diffuse itself but retiring to the heart, shed their
leaves; but their natural oiliness and warmth preserve the laurel,
olive, and cypress always green; and the like too in the ivy may be
observed. And therefore it is not likely our dear friend Bacchus, who
called wine [Greek omitted] intoxicating and himself [Greek omitted],
should bring ivy into reputation for being a preservative against
drunkenness and an enemy to wine. But in my opinion, as lovers of wine,
when they have not any juice of the grape ready, drink ale, mead, cider,
or the like; thus he that in winter would have a vine-garland on his
head, and finding the vine naked and without leaves, used the ivy that
is like it; for its boughs are twisted and irregular, its leaves
moist and disorderly confused, but chiefly the berries, like ripening
clusters, make an exact representation of the vine. But grant the ivy to
be a preservative against drunkenness,--that to please you, Trypho, we
may name Bachus a physician,--still I affirm that power to proceed from
its heat, which either opens the pores or helps to digest the wine.

Upon this Trypho sat silent, studying for an answer. Erato addressing
himself to us youths, said: Trypho wants your assistance; help him
in this dispute about the garlands, or be content to sit without any.
Ammonius too bade us not be afraid, for he would not reply to any of our
discourses; and Trypho likewise urging me to propose something, I said:
To demonstrate that the ivy is cold is not so proper a task for me as
Trypho, for he often useth coolers and binders; but that proposition,
that wine in which ivy berries have been is more inebriating, is not
true; for that disturbance which it raiseth in those that drink it is
not so properly called drunkenness as alienation of mind or madness,
such as hyoscyamus and a thousand other things that set men beside
themselves usually produce. The crookedness of the bough is no argument
at all, for such violent and unnatural effects cannot be supposed to
proceed from any natural quality or power. Now sticks are bent by the
fire, because that draws the moisture, and so the crookedness is a
violent distortion; but the natural heat nourishes and preserves the
body. Consider, therefore, whether it is not the weakness and coldness
of the body that makes it wind, bend, and creep upon the ground; for
those qualities check its rise, and depress it in its ascent, and render
it like a weak traveller, that often sits down and then goes on again.
And therefore the ivy requires something to twine about, and needs a
prop; for it is not able to sustain and direct its own branches, because
it wants heat, which naturally tends upward. The snow is melted by the
wetness of the leaf, for water destroys it easily, passing through the
thin contexture, it being nothing but a congeries of small bubbles; and
therefore in very cold but moist places the snow melts as soon as in
hot. That it is continually green doth not proceed from its heat, for to
shed its leaves doth not argue the coldness of a tree. Thus the myrtle
and well fern, though not hot, but confessedly cold, are green all
the year. Some imagine this comes from the equal and duly proportioned
mixture of the qualities in the leaf, to which Empedocles hath added a
certain aptness of pores, through which the nourishing juice is orderly
transmitted, so that there is still supply sufficient. But now it is
otherwise in trees whose leaves fall, by reason of the wideness of their
higher and narrowness of their lower pores; for the latter do not send
juice enough, nor do the former keep it, but as soon as a small stock is
received pour it out. This may be illustrated from the usual watering of
our gardens; for when the distribution is unequal, the plants that are
always watered have nourishment enough, seldom wither, and look always
green. But you further argue, that being planted in Babylon it would not
grow. It was well done of the plant, methinks, being a particular
friend and familiar of the Boeotian god, to scorn to live amongst the
barbarians, or imitate Alexander in following the manners of those
nations; but it was not its heat but cold that was the cause of this
aversion, for that could not agree with the contrary quality. For one
similar quality doth not destroy but cherish another. Thus dry ground
bears thyme, though it is naturally hot. Now at Babylon they say the air
is so suffocating, so intolerably hot, that many of the more prosperous
sleep upon skins full of water, that they may lie cool.



Florus thought it strange that Aristotle in his discourse of
Drunkenness, affirming that old men are easily, women hardly, overtaken,
did not assign the cause, since he seldom failed on such occasions.
Therefore he proposed it to us (we were a great many acquaintance met
at supper) as a fit subject for our inquiry. Sylla began: One part will
conduce to the discovery of the other; and if we rightly hit the cause
in relation to the women, the difficulty, as it concerns the old men,
will be easily despatched; for their two natures are quite contrary.
Moistness, smoothness, and softness belong to the one; and dryness,
roughness, and hardness are the accidents of the other. As for women,
I think the principal cause is the moistness of their temper; this
produceth a softness in the flesh, a shining smoothness, and their usual
purgations. Now when wine is mixed with a great deal of weak liquor,
it is overpowered by that, loses its strength, and becomes flat and
waterish. Some reason likewise may be drawn from Aristotle himself; for
he affirms that those that drink fast, and take a large draught without
drawing breath, are seldom overtaken, because the wine doth not stay
long in their bodies, but having acquired an impetus by this greedy
drinking, suddenly runs through; and women are generally observed to
drink after that manner. Besides, it is probable that their bodies,
by reason of the continual deduction of the moisture in order to their
usual purgations, are very porous, and divided as it were into many
little pipes and conduits; into which when the wine falls, it is quickly
conveyed away, and doth not lie and fret the principal parts, from whose
disturbance drunkenness proceeds. But that old men want the natural
moisture, even the name [Greek omitted], in my opinion, intimates; for
that name was given them not as stooping to the earth [Greek omitted]
but as being in the habit of their body [Greek omitted] and [Greek
omitted], earthlike and earthy. Besides, the stiffness and roughness
prove the dryness of their nature. Therefore it is probable that, when
they drink, their body, being grown spongy by the dryness of its nature,
soaks up the wine, and that lying in the vessels it affects the senses
and prevents the natural motions. For as floods of water glide over the
close grounds, nor make them slabby, but quickly sink into the open and
chapped fields; thus wine, being sucked in by the dry parts, lies and
works in the bodies of old men. But besides, it is easy to observe,
that age of itself hath all the symptoms of drunkenness. These symptoms
everybody knows; viz., shaking of the joints, faltering of the tongue,
babbling, passion, forgetfulness, and distraction of the mind; many
of which being incident to old men, even whilst they are well and in
perfect health, are heightened by any little irregularity and accidental
debauch. So that drunkenness doth not beget in old men any new and
proper symptoms, but only intend and increase the common ones. And an
evident sign of this is, that nothing is so like an old man as a young
man drunk.



Thus Sylla said, and Apollonides the marshal subjoined: Sir, what you
discoursed of old men I willingly admit; but in my opinion you have
omitted a considerable reason in relation to the women, viz., the
coldness of their temper, which quencheth the heat of the strongest
wine, and makes it lose all its destructive force and fire. This
reflection seeming reasonable, Athryilatus the Thasian, a physician,
kept us from a hasty conclusion in this matter, by saying that some
supposed the female sex was not cold, but hotter than the male; and
others thought wine rather cold than hot.

When Florus seemed surprised at this discourse, Athryilatus continued:
Sir, what I mention about wine I shall leave to this man to make out
(pointing to me, for a few days before we had handled the same matter).
But that women are of a hot constitution, some suppose, may be proved,
first, from their smoothness, for their heat wastes all the superfluous
nourishment which breeds hair; secondly from their abundance of blood,
which seems to be the fountain and source of all the heat that is in the
body;--now this abounds so much in females, that they would be all on
fire, unless relieved by frequent and sudden evacuations. Thirdly, from
a usual practice of the sextons in burning the bodies of the dead, it is
evident that females are hotter than males; for the bedsmen are wont to
put one female body with ten males upon the same pile, for that contains
some inflammable and oily parts, and serves for fuel to the rest.
Besides, if that that is soonest fit for generation is hottest, and a
maid begins to be furious sooner than a boy, this is a strong proof
of the hotness of the female sex. But a more convincing proof follows:
women endure cold better than men, they are not so sensible of the
sharpness of the weather, and are contented with a few clothes.

And Florus replied: Methinks, sir, from the same topics I could draw
conclusions against your assertion. For, first, they endure cold better,
because one similar quality doth not so readily act upon another; and
then again, their seed is not active in generation, but passive matter
and nourishment to that which the male injects. But more, women grow
effete sooner than men; that they burn better than the males proceeds
from their fat, which is the coldest part of the body; and young men, or
such as use exercise, have but little fat. Their monthly purgations do
not prove the abundance, but the corruption and badness, of their blood;
for being the superfluous and undigested part, and having no convenient
vessel in the body it flows out, and appears languid and feculent, by
reason of the weakness of its heat. And the shivering that seizes them
at the time of their purgations sufficiently proves that which flows
from them is cold and undigested. And who will believe their smoothness
to be an effect of heat rather than cold, when everybody knows that the
hottest parts of a body are the most hairy? For all such excrements are
thrust out by the heat, which opens and makes passages through the skin;
but smoothness is a consequent of that closeness of the superficies
which proceeds from condensing cold. And that the flesh of women is
closer than that of men, you may be informed by those that lie with
women that have anointed themselves with oil or other perfumes; for
though they do not touch the women, yet they find themselves perfumed,
their bodies by reason of their heat and rarity drawing the odor to
them. But I think we have disputed plausibly and sufficiently of this



But now I would fain know upon what account you can imagine that wine is
cold. Then, said I, do you believe this to be my opinion? Yes, said
he, whose else? And I replied: I remember a good while ago I met with a
discourse of Aristotle's upon this very question. And Epicurus, in his
Banquet, hath a long discourse, the sum of which is that wine of itself
is not hot, but that it contains some atoms that cause heat, and others
that cause cold; now, when it is taken into the body, it loses one sort
of particles and takes the other out of the body itself, as it agrees
with one's nature and constitution; so that some when they are drunk are
very hot, and others very cold.

This way of talking, said Florus, leads us by Protagoras directly to
Pyrrho; for it is evident that, suppose we were to discourse of
oil, milk, honey, or the like, we shall avoid all inquiry into their
particular natures by saying that things are so and so by their mutual
mixture with one another. But how do you prove that wine is cold? And I,
being forced to speak extempore, replied: By two arguments. The first I
draw from the practice of physicians, for when their patients' stomachs
grow very weak, they prescribe no hot things, and yet give them wine
as an excellent remedy. Besides, they stop looseness and immoderate
sweating by wine; and this shows that they think it more binding and
constipating than snow itself. Now if it were potentially hot, I should
think it as wise a thing to apply fire to snow as wine to the stomach.

Again, most teach that sleep proceeds from the coolness of the parts;
and most of the narcotic medicines, as mandrake and opium, are coolers.
Those indeed work violently, and forcibly condense, but wine cools by
degrees; it gently stops the motion, according as it hath more or less
of such narcotic qualities. Besides, heat has a generative power; for
owing to heat the fluid flows easily and the vital spirit gets vigor
and a stimulating force. Now the great drinkers are very dull, inactive
fellows, no women's men at all; they eject nothing strong, vigorous, and
fit for generation, but are weak and unperforming, by reason of the bad
digestion and coldness of their seed. And it is farther observable
that the effects of cold and drunkenness upon men's bodies are the
same,--trembling, heaviness, paleness, shivering, faltering of tongue,
numbness, and cramps. In many, a debauch ends in a dead palsy, when the
wine stupefies and extinguisheth all the heat. And the physicians use
this method in curing the qualms and diseases gotten by debauch; at
night they cover them well and keep them warm; and at day they annoint
and bathe, and give them such food as shall not disturb, but by degrees
recover the heat which the wine hath scattered and driven out of the
body. Thus, I added, in these appearances we trace obscure qualities and
powers; but as for drunkenness, it is easily known what it is. For, in
my opinion, as I hinted before, those that are drunk are very much like
old men; and therefore great drinkers grow old soonest, and they are
commonly bald and gray before their time; and all these accidents
certainly proceed from want of heat. But mere vinegar is of a vinous
nature, and nothing quenches fire so soon as that; its extreme coldness
overcomes and kills the flame presently. And of all fruits physicians
use the vinous as the greatest coolers, as pomegranates and apples.
Besides, do they not make wine by mixing honey with rain-water or snow;
for the cold, because those two qualities are near akin, if it prevails,
changes the luscious into a poignant taste? And did not the ancients of
all the creeping beasts consecrate the snake to Bacchus, and of all the
plants the ivy, because they were of a cold and frozen nature? Now, lest
any one should think this is a proof of its heat, that if a man takes
juice of hemlock, a large dose of wine cures him, I shall, on the
contrary affirm that wine and hemlock juice mixed is an incurable
poison, and kills him that drinks it presently. So that we can no more
conclude it to be hot because it resists, than to be cold because it
assists, the poison. For cold is the only quality by which hemlock juice
works and kills.



Some young students, that had not gone far in the learning of the
ancients, inveighed against Epicurus for bringing in, in his Svmposium,
an impertinent and unseemly discourse, about what time was best to lie
with a woman; for an old man at supper in the company of youths to talk
of such a subject, and dispute whether after or before supper was the
most convenient time, argued him to be a very loose and debauched man.
To this some said that Xenophon, after his entertainment was ended, sent
all his guests home on horseback, to lie with their wives. But Zopyrus
the physician, a man very well read in Epicurus, said, that they had not
duly weighed that piece; for he did not propose that question first,
and then discuss that matter on purpose; but after supper he desired the
young men to take a walk, and he then discoursed on it, that he might
persuade them to continence, and to abate their desires and restrain
their appetites; showing them that it was very dangerous at all times,
but especially after they had been eating or making merry. But suppose
he had proposed this as the chief topic for discourse, doth it never
become a philosopher to inquire which is the convenient and proper time?
Ought we not to time it well, and direct our embrace by reason? Or may
such discourse be otherwise allowed, and must they be thought unseemly
problems to be proposed at table? Indeed I am of another mind. It is
true, I should blame a philosopher that in the middle of the day, in the
schools, before all sorts of men, should discourse of such a subject;
but over a glass of wine between friends and acquaintance, when it
is necessary to propose something beside dull, serious discourse, why
should it be a fault to hear or speak anything that may inform our
judgments or direct our practice in such matters? And I protest I had
rather that Zeno had inserted his loose topics in some merry discourses
and agreeable table-talk, than in such a grave, serious piece as his

The youth, startled at this free declaration, sat silent; and the rest
of the company desired Zopyrus to deliver Epicurus's sentiment. He said:
The particulars I cannot remember; but I believe he feared the violent
agitations of such exercises, because the bodies employed in them are
so violently disturbed. For it is certain that wine is a very great
disturber, and puts the body out of its usual temper; and therefore,
when thus disquieted, if quiet and sleep do not compose it but other
agitations seize it, it is likely that those parts which knit and join
the members may be loosened, and the whole frame be as it were unsettled
from its foundation and overthrown. For then likewise the seed cannot
freely pass, but is confusedly and forcibly thrown out, because the
liquor hath filled the vessels of the body, and stopped its way.
Therefore, says Epicurus, we must use those sports when the body is at
quiet, when the meat hath been thoroughly digested, carried about and
applied to several parts of the body, so that we begin to want a fresh
supply of food. To this of Epicurus we might join an argument taken from
physic. At day-time, while our digestion is performing, we are not so
lusty nor eager to embrace; and presently after supper to endeavor it
is dangerous, for the crudity of the stomach, the food being yet
undigested, may be disorderly motion upon this crudity, and so the
mischief be double. Olympicus, continuing the discourse, said: I very
much like what Clinias the Pythagorean delivers. For the story goes
that, being asked when a man should lie with a woman, he replied,
when he hath a mind to receive the greatest mischief that he can. For
Zopyrus's discourse seems rational, and other times as well as those he
mentions have their peculiar inconveniences. And therefore,--as Thales
the philosopher, to free himself from the pressing solicitations of his
mother who advised him to marry, said at first, 'tis not yet time; and
when, now he was growing old, she repeated her admonition, replied, nor
is it now time,--so it is best for every man to have the same mind in
relation to those sports of Venus; when he goes to bed, let him say,
'tis not yet time; and when he rises, 'tis not now time.

What you say, Olympicus, said Soclarus interposing, befits wrestlers
indeed; it smells, methinks, of their meals of flesh and casks of wine,
but is not suitable to the resent company, for there are some young
married men here,

     Whose duty 'tis to follow Venus' sports.

Nay, we ourselves seem to have some relation to Venus still, when in our
hymns to the gods we pray thus to her,

     Fair Venus, keep off feeble age.

But waiving this, let us inquire (if you think fit) whether Epicurus
does well, when contrary to all right and equity he separates Venus and
the Night, though Menander, a man well skilled in love matters, says
that she likes her company better than that of any of the gods. For, in
my opinion, night is a very convenient veil, spread over those that give
themselves to that kind of pleasure; for it is not fit that day should
be the time, lest modesty should be banished from our eyes, effeminacy
grow bold, and such vigorous impressions on our memories be left, as
might still possess us with the same fancies and raise new inclinations.
For the sight (according to Plato) receives a more vigorous impression
than any other bodily organ, and joining with the imagination, that lies
near it, works presently upon the soul, and ever causes fresh desires by
those images of pleasure which it brings. But the night, hiding many and
the most furious of the actions, quiets and lulls nature, and doth not
suffer it to be carried to intemperance by the eye. But besides this,
how absurd is it, that a man returning from an entertainment merry
perhaps and jocund, crowned and perfumed, should cover himself up, turn
his back to his wife, and go to sleep; and then at day-time, in the
midst of his business, send for her out of her apartment to serve his
pleasure or in the morning, as a cock treads his hens. No, sir the
evening is the end of our labor, and the morning the beginning. Bacchus
the Loosener and Terpsichore and Thalia preside over the former; and the
latter raiseth us up betimes to attend on Minerva the Work-mistress,
and Mercury the merchandiser. And therefore songs, dances, and
epithalamiums, merry-meetings, with balls and feasts, and sounds of
pipes and flutes, are the entertainment of the one; but in the other,
nothing but the noise of hammers and anvils, the scratching of saws,
the city cries, citations to court or to attend this or that prince and
magistrate are heard.

     Then all the sports of pleasure disappear,
     Then Venus, then gay youth removes:
     No Thyrsus then which Bacchus loves;
     But all is clouded and o'erspread with care.

Besides, Homer makes not one of the heroes lie with his wife or mistress
in the day-time, but only Paris, who, having shamefully fled from the
battle, sneaked into the embraces of his wife; intimating that such
lasciviousness by day did not befit the sober temper of a man, but the
mad lust of an adulterer. But, moreover, the body will not (as Epicurus
fancies) be injured more after supper than at any other time, unless a
man be drunk or overcharged,--for in those cases, no doubt, it is very
dangerous and hurtful. But if a man is only raised and cheered, not
overpowered by liquor, if his body is pliable, his mind agreeing, and
then he sports, he need not fear any disturbance from the load he
has within him; he need not fear catching cold, or too great a
transportation of atoms, which Epicurus makes the cause of all the
ensuing harm. For if he lies quiet he will quickly fill again, and new
spirits will supply the vessels that are emptied.

But this is to be especially taken care of, that, the body being then
in a ferment and disturbed, no cares of the soul, no business about
necessary affairs, no labor, should distract and seize it, lest they
should corrupt and sour its humors, Nature not having had time enough
for settling what has been disturbed. For, sir, all men have not the
command of that happy ease and tranquillity which Epicurus's philosophy
procured him; for many great incumbrances seize almost upon every one
every day, or at least some disquiets; and it is not safe to trust the
body with any of these, when it is in such a condition and disturbance,
presently after the fury and heat of the embrace is over. Let, according
to his opinion, the happy and immortal deity sit at ease and never mind
us; but if we regard the laws of our country, we must not dare to enter
into the temple and offer sacrifice, if but a little before we have done
any such thing. It is fit therefore to let night and sleep intervene,
and after there is a sufficient space of time past between, to rise
as it were pure and new, and (as Democritus was wont to say) "with new
thoughts upon the new day."



At Athens on the eleventh day of February (thence called [Greek omitted]
THE BARREL-OPENING), they began to taste their new wine; and in old
times (as it appears), before they drank, they offered some to the gods,
and prayed that that cordial liquor might prove good and wholesome. By
us Thebans the month is named [Greek omitted], and it is our custom upon
the sixth day to sacrifice to our good Genius and then taste our new
wine, after the zephyr has done blowing; for that wind makes wine
ferment more than any other, and the liquor that can bear this
fermentation is of a strong body and will keep well. My father
offered the usual sacrifice, and when after supper the young men, my
fellow-students, commended the wine, he started this question: Why
does not new wine inebriate as soon as other? This seemed a paradox and
incredible to most of us; but Hagias said, that luscious things were
cloying and would presently satiate, and therefore few could drink
enough to make them drunk; for when once the thirst is allayed, the
appetite would be quickly palled by that unpleasant liquor; for that a
luscious is different from a sweet taste, even the poet intimates, when
he says,

     With luscious wine, and with sweet milk and cheese.
     ("Odyssey, xx. 69.)

Wine at first is sweet; afterward, as it grows old, it ferments and
begins to be pricked a little; then it gets a sweet taste.

Aristaenetus the Nicaean said, that he remembered he had read somewhere
that sweet things mixed with wine make it less heady, and that some
physicians prescribe to one that hath drunk freely, before he goes to
bed, a crust of bread dipped in honey. And therefore, if sweet mixtures
weaken strong wine, it is reasonable that wine should not be heady till
it hath lost its sweetness.

We admired the acuteness of the young philosophers, and were well
pleased to see them propose something out of the common road and give us
their own sentiments on this matter. Now the common and obvious reason
is the heaviness of new wine,--which (as Aristotle says) violently
presseth the stomach,--or the abundance of airy and watery parts that
lie in it; the former of which, as soon as they are pressed, fly out;
and the watery parts are naturally fit to weaken the spirituous liquor.
Now, when it grows old, the juice is improved, and though by the
separation of the watery parts it loses in quantity, it gets in



Well then, said my father, since we have fallen upon Aristotle, I will
endeavor to propose something of my own concerning those that are
half drunk; for, in my mind, though he was a very acute man, he is not
accurate enough in such matters. They usually say, I think, that a sober
man's understanding apprehends things right and judges well; the sense
of one quite drunk is weak and enfeebled; but of him that is half drunk
the fancy is vigorous and the understanding weakened, and therefore,
following their own fancies, they judge, but judge ill. But pray, sirs,
what is your opinion in these matters?

This reason, I replied, would satisfy me upon a private disquisition;
but if you will have my own sentiments, let us first consider, whether
this difference doth not proceed from the different temper of the body.
For of those that are only half drunk, the mind alone is disturbed, but
the body not being quite overwhelmed is yet able to obey its motions;
but when it is too much oppressed and the wine has overpowered it,
it betrays and frustrates the motions of the mind, for men in such a
condition never go so far as action. But those that are half drunk,
having a body serviceable to the absurd motions of the mind, are rather
to be thought to have greater ability to comply with those they have,
than to have worse inclinations than the others. Now if, proceeding on
another principle, we consider the strength of the wine itself, nothing
hinders but that this may be different and changeable, according to the
quantity that is drunk. As fire, when moderate, hardens a piece of clay,
but if very strong, makes it brittle and crumble into pieces; and the
heat of the spring fires our blood with fevers but as the summer comes
on, the disease usually abates; what hinders then but that the mind,
being naturally raised by the power of the wine, when it is come to a
pitch, should by pouring on more be weakened again and its force abated?
Thus hellebore, before it purges, disturbs the body; but if too small a
dose be given, disturbs only and purges not at all; and some taking too
little of an opiate are more restless than before; and some taking too
much sleep well. Besides, it is probable that this disturbance into
which those that are half drunk are put, when it comes to a pitch, leads
to that decay. For a great quantity being taken inflames the body and
consumes the frenzy of the mind; as a mournful song and melancholy
music at a funeral raises grief at first and forces tears, but as it
continues, by little and little it takes away all dismal apprehensions
and consumes our sorrows. Thus wine, after it hath heated and disturbed,
calms the mind again and quiets the frenzy; and when men are dead drunk,
their passions are at rest.



When I had said these things Aristo, as his habit was, cried out: A
return has been decreed in banquets to a very popular and just standard,
which, because it was driven away by unseasonable temperance as if
by the act of a tyrant, has long remained in exile. For just as those
trained in the canons of the lyre declare the sesquialter proportion
produces the symphony diapente, the double proportion the diapason, the
sesquiterte the diatessaron, the slowest of all, so the specialists
in Bacchic harmonies have detected three accords between wine and
water--Diapente, Diatrion, Diatessaron. For so they speak and sing,
"drink five or three, but not four." For five have the sesquialter
proportion, three cups of water being mixed in two of wine; three, the
double proportion, two being mixed with one; four, the sesquiterce,
three cups of water to one of wine, which is the epitrite proportion
for those exercising their minds in the council-chamber or frowning over
dialectics, when changes of speeches are expected,--a sober and mild
mixture. But in regard to those proportions of two to one, that mixture
gives the strength by which we are confused and made half drunk,
"Exciting the chords of the soul never moved before." For it does not
admit of sobriety, nor does it induce the senselessness of pure wine.
The most harmonious is the proportion of two to three, provoking sleep,
generating the forgetfulness of cares, and like that cornfield of
Hesiod, "which mildly pacifieth children and heals injuries." It
composes in us the harsh and irregular motions of the soul and secures
deep peace for it. Against these sayings of Aristo no one had anything
to offer in reply, since it was quite evident he was jesting. I
suggested to him to take a cup and treat it as a lyre, tuning it to the
harmony and order he praised. At the same time a slave came offering him
pure wine. But he refused it, saying with a laugh that he was discussing
logical not organic music. To what had been said before my father added
that Jove seemed to have taken, according to the ancients, two
nurses, Ite and Adrastea; Juno one, Euboea; Apollo also two, Truth and
Corythalea; but Bacchus several, because he needed several measures of
water to make him manageable, trained, milder, and more prudent.



Euthydemus of Sunium gave us at an entertainment a very large boar. The
guests wondering at the bigness of the beast, he said that he had one
a great deal larger, but in the carriage the moon had made it stink; he
could not imagine how this should happen, for it was probable that the
sun, being much hotter than the moon, should make it stink sooner.
But, said Satyrus, this is not so strange as the common practice of
the hunters; for, when they send a boar or a doe to a city some miles
distant, they drive a brazen nail into it to keep it from stinking.

After supper Euthydemus bringing the question into play again, Moschio
the physician said, that putrefaction was a colliquation of the flesh,
and that everything that putrefied grew moister than before, and that
all heat, if gentle, did stir the humors, though not force them out, but
if strong, dry the flesh; and that from these considerations an answer
to the question might be easily deduced. For the moon gently warming
makes the body moist; but the sun by his violent beams dries rather, and
draws all moisture from them. Thus Archilochus spoke like a naturalist,

     I hope hot Sirius's beams will many drain,

And Homer more plainly concerning Hector, over whose body Apollo spread
a thick cloud,

     Lest the hot sun should scorch his naked limbs.
     (Iliad, xxiii, 190.)

Now the moon's rays are weaker; for, as Ion says,

     They do not ripen well the clustered grapes.

When he had done, I said: The rest of the discourse I like very well,
but I cannot consent when you ascribe this effect to the strength and
degree of heat, and chiefly in the hot seasons; for in winter every one
knows that the sun warms little, yet in summer it putrefies most. Now
the contrary should happen, if the gentleness of the heat were the cause
of putrefaction. And besides, the hotter the season is, so much the
sooner meat stinks; and therefore this effect is not to be ascribed to
the want of heat in the moon, but to some particular proper quality in
her beams. For heat is not different only by degrees; but in fires there
are some proper qualities very much unlike one another, as a thousand
obvious instances will prove. Goldsmiths heat their gold in chaff fires;
physicians use fires of vine-twigs in their distillations; and tamarisk
is the best fuel for a glass-house. Olive-boughs in a chimney warm very
well, but hurt other baths: they spoil the plastering, and weaken the
foundation; and therefore the most skilful of the public officers forbid
those that rent the baths to burn olive-tree wood, or throw darnel seed
into the fire, because the fumes of it dizzy and bring the headache to
those that bathe. Therefore it is no wonder that the moon differs in her
qualities from the sun; and that the sun should shed some drying, and
the moon some dissolving, influence upon flesh. And upon this account it
is that nurses are very cautious of exposing their infants to the beams
of the moon; for they being full of moisture, as green plants, are
easily wrested and distorted. And everybody knows that those that sleep
abroad under the beams of the moon are not easily waked, but seem stupid
and senseless; for the moisture that the moon sheds upon them oppresses
their faculty and disables their bodies. Besides, it is commonly said,
that women brought to bed when the moon is a fortnight old, have easy
labors; and for this reason I believe that Diana, which was the same
with the moon, was called the goddess of childbirth. And Timotheus
appositely says,

     By the blue heaven that wheels the stars,
     And by the moon that eases women's pains.

Even in inanimate bodies the power of the moon is very evident. For
trees that are cut in the full of the moon carpenters refuse, as being
soft, and, by reason of their moistness, subject to corruption; and
in its wane farmers usually thresh their wheat, that being dry it may
better endure the flail; for the corn in the full of the moon is moist,
and commonly bruised in threshing. Besides, they say dough will be
leavened sooner in the full, for then, though the leaven is scarce
proportioned to the meal, yet it rarefies and leavens the whole lump.
Now when flesh putrefies, the combining spirit is only changed into a
moist consistence, and the parts of the body separate and dissolve. And
this is evident in the very air itself, for when the moon is full, most
dew falls; and this Alcman the poet intimates, when he somewhere calls
dew the air's and moon's daughter, saying,

     See how the daughter of the Moon and Air
     Does nourish all things.

Thus a thousand instances do prove that the light of the moon is moist,
and carries with it a softening and corrupting quality. Now the brazen
nail that is driven through the flesh, if, as they say, it keeps the
flesh from putrefying, doth it by an astringent quality proper to the
brass. The rust of brass physicians use in astringent medicines, and
they say those that dig brass ore have been cured of a rheum in their
eyes, and that the hair upon their eyelids hath grown again; for the
particles rising from the ore, being insensibly applied to the eyes,
stops the rheum and dries up the humor, and upon this account, perhaps;
Homer calls brass [Greek omitted] and [Greek omitted], and Aristotle
says, that wounds made by a brazen dart or a brazen sword are less
painful and sooner cured than those that are made of iron weapons,
because brass hath something medicinal in itself, which in the very
instant is applied to the wound. Now it is manifest that astringents
are contrary to putrefying, and healing to corrupting qualities. Some
perhaps may say, that the nail being driven through draws all the
moisture to itself, for the humor still flows to the part that is hurt;
and therefore it is said that by the nail there always appears some
speck and tumor; and therefore it is rational that the other parts
should remain sound, when all the corruption gathers about that.


Polybius, my Sossius Senecio, advised Scipio Africanus never to
return from the Forum, where he was conversant about the affairs of
the city, before he had gained one new friend. Where I suppose the
word friend is not to be taken too nicely, to signify a lasting and
unchangeable acquaintance; but, as it vulgarly means, a well-wisher, and
as Dicearchus takes it, when he says that we should endeavor to make
all men well-wishers, but only good men friends. For friendship is to
be acquired by time and virtue; but good-will is produced by a familiar
intercourse, or by mirth and trifling amongst civil and genteel
men, especially if opportunity assists their natural inclinations to
good-nature. But consider whether this advice may not be accommodated
to an entertainment as well as the Forum; so that we should not break up
the meeting before we had gained one of the company to be a well-wisher
and a friend. Other occasions draw men into the Forum, but men of sense
come to an entertainment as well to get new friends as to make their old
ones merry; indeed, to carry away anything else is sordid and uncivil,
but to depart with one friend more than we had is pleasing and
commendable. And so, on the contrary, he that doth not aim at this
renders the meeting useless and unpleasant to himself, and departs at
last, having been a partaker of an entertainment with his belly but not
with his mind. For he that makes one at a feast doth not come only to
enjoy the meat and drink, but likewise the discourse, mirth, and genteel
humor which ends at last in friendship and good-will. The wrestlers,
that they may hold fast and lock better, use dust; and so wine mixed
with discourse is of extraordinary use to make us hold fast of, and
fasten upon, a friend. For wine tempered with discourse carries gentle
and kind affections out of the body into the mind; otherwise, it is
scattered through the limbs, and serves only to swell and disturb. Thus
as a marble, by cooling red hot iron, takes away its softness and makes
it hard, fit to be wrought and receive impression; thus discourse at
an entertainment doth not permit the men that are engaged to become
altogether liquid by the wine, but confines and makes their jocund and
obliging tempers very fit to receive an impression from the seal of
friendship if dexterously applied.



The first question of my fourth decade of Table Discourses shall be
concerning different sorts of food eaten at one meal. When we came to
Hyampolis at the feast called Elaphebolia, Philo the physician gave us
a very sumptuous entertainment; and seeing a boy who came with Philinus
feeding upon dry bread and calling for nothing else, he cried out, O
Hercules, well I see the proverb is verified,

     They fought midst stones, but could not take up one,

and presently went out to fetch him some agreeable food. He stayed some
time, and at last brought them dried figs and cheese; upon which I
said: It is usually seen that those that provide costly and superfluous
dainties neglect, or are not well furnished with, useful and necessary
things. I protest, said Philo, I did not mind that Philinus designs to
breed us a young Sosastrus, who (they say) never all his lifetime drank
or ate anything beside milk, although it is probable that it was some
change in his constitution that made him use this sort of diet; but our
Chiron here,--quite contrary to the old one that bred Achilles from his
very birth,--feeding his son with unbloody food, gives people reason
to suspect that like a grasshopper he keeps him on dew and air. Indeed,
said Philinus, I did not know that we were to meet with a supper of a
hundred beasts, such as Aristomenes made for his friends; otherwise
I had come with some poor and wholesome food about me, as a specific
against such costly and unwholesome entertainments. For I have often
heard that simple diet is not only more easily provided, but likewise
more easily digested, than such variety. At this Marcion said to Philo:
Philinus hath spoiled your whole provision by deterring guests from
eating; but, if you desire it, I will be surety for you, that such
variety is more easily digested than simple food, so that without fear
or distrust they may feed heartily. Philo desired him to do so.

When after supper we begged Philinus to discover what he had to urge
against variety of food, he thus began: I am not the author of this
opinion, but our friend Philo here is ever now and then telling us,
first, that wild beasts, feeding on one sort only and simple diet, are
much more healthy than men are; and that those which are kept in pens
are much more subject to diseases and crudities, by reason of the
prepared variety we usually give them. Secondly, no physician is so
daring, so venturous at new experiments, as to give a feverish patient
different sorts of food at once. No, simple food, and without sauce, as
more easy to be digested, is the only diet they allow. Now food must be
wrought on and altered by our natural powers; in dyeing, cloth of the
most simple color takes the tincture soonest; the most inodorous oil is
soonest by perfumes changed into an essence; and simple diet is soonest
changed, and soonest yields to the digesting power. For many and
different qualities, having some contrariety, when they meet disagree
and corrupt one another; as in a city, a mixed rout are not easily
reduced into one body, nor brought to follow the same concerns; for each
works according to its own nature, and is very hardly brought to
side with another's quality. Now this is evident in wine; mixed wine
inebriates very soon, and drunkenness is much like a crudity rising
from undigested wine; and therefore the drinkers hate mixed liquors, and
those that do mix them do it privately, as afraid to have their design
upon the company discovered. Every change is disturbing and injurious,
and therefore musicians are very careful how they strike many strings at
once; though the mixture and variety of the notes would be the only harm
that would follow. This I dare say, that belief and assent can be
sooner procured by disagreeing arguments, than concoction by various and
different qualities. But lest I should seem jocose, waiving this, I will
return to Philo's observations again. We have often heard him declare
that it is the quality that makes meat hard to be digested; that to mix
many things together is hurtful, and begets unnatural qualities; and
that every man should take that which by experience he finds most
agreeable to his temper.

Now if nothing is by its own nature hard to be digested, but it is
the quantity that disturbs and corrupts, I think we have still greater
reason to forbear that variety with which Philo's cook, as it were in
opposition to his master's practice, would draw us on to surfeits and
diseases. For by the different sorts of food and new ways of dressing,
he still keeps up the unwearied appetite, and leads it from one dish to
another, till tasting of everything we take more than is sufficient and
enough; as Hypsipyle's foster-son,

     Who, in a garden placed, plucked up the flowers,
     One after one, and spent delightful hours;
     But still his greedy appetite goes on,
     And still he plucked till all the flowers were gone.
     (From the "Hypsipyle" of Euripides, Frag. 754.)

But more, methinks, Socrates is here to be remembered, who adviseth us
to forbear those junkets which provoke those that are not hungry to eat;
as if by this he cautioned us to fly variety of meats. For it is variety
that in everything draws us on to use more than bare necessity requires.
This is manifest in all sorts of pleasures, either of the eye, ear, or
touch; for it still proposeth new provocatives; but in simple pleasures,
and such as are confined to one sort, the temptation never carries us
beyond nature's wants. In short, in my opinion, we should more patie
musician praise a disagreeing variety of notes, or a perfumer mixed
ointments, than a physician commend the variety of dishes; for certainly
such changes and turnings as must necessarily ensue will force us out of
the right way of health.

Philinus having ended his discourse, Marcion said: In my opinion, not
only those that separate profit from honesty are obnoxious to Socrates's
curse, but those also that separate pleasure from health, as if it were
its enemy and opposite, and not its great friend and promoter. Pain we
use but seldom and unwillingly, as the most violent instrument. But from
all things else, none, though he would willingly, can remove pleasure.
It still attends when we eat, sleep, bathe, or anoint, and takes care
of and nurses the diseased; dissipating all that is hurtful and
disagreeable, by applying that which is proper, pleasing, and natural.
For what pain, what want, what poison so quickly and so easily cures a
disease as seasonable bathing? A glass of wine, when a man wants it,
or a dish of palatable meat, presently frees us from all disturbing
particles, and settles nature in its proper state, there being as it
were a calm and serenity spread over the troubled humors. But those
remedies that are painful do hardly and by little and little only
promote the cure, every difficulty pushing on and forcing Nature. And
therefore let not Philinus blame us, if we do not make all the sail we
can to fly from pleasure, but more diligently endeavor to make pleasure
and health, than other philosophers do to make pleasure and honesty,
agree. Now, in my opinion, Philinus, you seem to be out in your first
argument, where you suppose the beasts use more simple food and are
more healthy than men; neither of which is true. The first the goats in
Eupolis confute, for they extol their pasture as full of variety and all
sorts of herbs, in this manner,

     We feed almost on every kind of trees,
     Young firs, the ilex, and the oak we crop:
     Sweet trefoil fragrant juniper, and yew,
     Wild olives, thyme,--all freely yield their store.

These that I have mentioned are very different in taste, smell, and
other qualities, and he reckons more sorts which I have omitted. The
second Homer skilfully refutes, when he tells us that the plague first
began amongst the beasts. Besides, the shortness of their lives
proves that they are very subject to diseases; for there is scarce any
irrational creature long lived, besides the crow and the chough; and
those two every one knows do not confine themselves to simple food, but
eat anything. Besides, you take no good rule to judge what is easy and
what is hard of digestion from the diet of those that are sick; for
labor and exercise, and even to chew our meat well, contribute very much
to digestion, neither of which can agree with a man in a fever. Again,
that the variety of meats, by reason of the different qualities of the
particulars, should disagree and spoil one another, you have no reason
to fear. For if Nature takes from dissimilar bodies what is fit and
agreeable, the diverse nourishment forces many and sundry qualities into
the mass and bulk of the body, applying to every part that which is meet
and fit; so that, as Empedocles words it,

    The sweet runs to the sweet, the sour combines
    With sour, the sharp with sharp, the salt with salt;

and after being mixed it is spread through the mass by the heat, the
proper parts are separated and applied to the proper members. Indeed,
it is very probable that such bodies as ours, consisting of parts of
different natures, should be nourished and built up rather of various
than of simple matter. But if by concoction there is an alteration made
in the food, this will be more easily performed when there are different
sorts of meat, than when there is only one, in the stomach; for similars
cannot work upon similars and the very contrariety in the mixture
considerably promotes the alteration of the weakened qualities. But if,
Philinus, you are against all mixture, do not chide Philo only for the
variety of his dishes and sauces, but also for using mixture in his
sovereign antidotes, which Erasistratus calls the gods' hands. Convince
him of absurdity and vanity, when he mixes herbs, metals, and animals,
and things from sea and land, in one potion; and recommend him to
neglect these, and to confine all physic to barley-broth, gourds, and
oil mixed with water. But you urge farther, that variety enticeth the
appetite that hath no command over itself. That is, good sir, cleanly,
wholesome, sweet, palatable, pleasing diet makes us eat and drink more
than ordinary. Why then, instead of fine flour, do not we thicken our
broth with coarse bran? And instead of asparagus, why do we not dress
nettle-tops and thistles; and leaving this fragrant and pleasant wine,
drink sour, harsh liquor that gnats have been buzzing about a long
while? Because, perhaps you may reply, wholesome feeding doth not
consist in a perfect avoiding of all that is pleasing, but in moderating
the appetite in that respect, and making it prefer profit before
pleasure. But, sir, as a mariner has a thousand ways to avoid a stiff
gale of wind, but when it is clear down and a perfect calm, cannot raise
it again; thus to correct and restrain our extravagant appetite is no
hard matter, but when it grows weak and faint, when it fails as to its
proper objects, then to raise it and make it vigorous and active again
is, sir, a very difficult and hard task. And therefore variety of viands
is as much better than simple food, which is apt to satisfy by being
but of one sort, as it is easier to stop Nature when she makes too much
speed than to force her on when languishing and faint. Besides, what
some say, that fullness is more to be avoided than emptiness, is not
true; but, on the contrary, fullness then only hurts when it ends in a
surfeit or disease; but emptiness, though it doth no other mischief,
is of itself unnatural. And let this suffice as an answer to what you
proposed. But you sparing men have forgot, that variety is sweeter and
more desired by the appetite, unless too sweet. For, the sight preparing
the way, it is soon assimilated to the eager receiving body; but that
which is not desirable Nature either throws off again, or keeps it in
for mere want. But pray observe this, that I do not plead for variety
in tarts, cakes, or custards;--those are vain, insignificant, and
superfluous things;--but even Plato allowed variety to those fine
citizens of his, setting before them onions, olives, leeks, cheese,
and all sorts of meat and fish, and besides these, allowed them some



At a supper in Elis, Agemachus set before us very large mushrooms. And
when all admired at them, one with a smile said, These are worthy
the late thunder, as it were deriding those who imagine mushrooms are
produced by thunder. Some said that thunder did split the earth, using
the air as a wedge for that purpose, and that by those chinks those that
sought after mushrooms were directed where to find them; and thence it
grew a common opinion, that thunder engenders mushrooms, and not only
makes them a passage to appear; as if one should imagine that a shower
of rain breeds snails, and not rather makes them creep forth and be seen
abroad. Agemachus stood up stiffly for the received opinion, and told
us, we should not disbelieve it only because it was strange, for there
are a thousand other effects of thunder and lightning and a thousand
omens deduced from them, whose causes it is very hard, if not
impossible, to discover; for this laughed-at, this proverbial mushroom
doth not escape the thunder because it is so little, but because it
hath some antipathetical qualities that preserve it from blasting; as
likewise a fig-tree, the skin of a sea-calf (as they say), and that
of the hyena, with which sailors cover the ends of their sails. And
husbandmen call thunder-showers nourishing, and think them to be so.
Indeed, it is absurd to wonder at these things, when we see the most
incredible things imaginable in thunder, as flame rising out of
moist vapors, and from soft clouds such astonishing noises. Thus, he
continued, I prattle, exhorting you to inquire after the cause; and I
shall accept this as your club for these mushrooms.

Then I began: Agemachus himself helps us exceedingly towards this
discovery; for nothing at the present seems more probable than that,
together with the thunder, oftentimes generative waters fall, which take
that quality from the heat mixed with them. For the piercing pure parts
of the fire break away in lightning; but the grosser windy part, being
wrapped up in cloud, changes it, taking away the coldness and heating
the moisture, altering and being altered with it, affects it so that it
is made fit to enter the pores of plants, and is easily assimilated to
them. Besides, such rain gives those things which it waters a peculiar
temperature and difference of juice. Thus dew makes the grass sweeter to
the sheep, and the clouds from which a rainbow is reflected make those
trees on which they fall fragrant. And our priests, distinguishing it by
this, call the wood of those trees Iris-struck, fancying that Iris, or
the rainbow, hath rested on them. Now it is probable that when these
thunder and lightning showers with a great deal of warmth and spirit
descend forcibly into the caverns of the earth, these are rolled around,
and knobs and tumors are formed like those produced by heat and noxious
humors in our bodies, which we call wens or kernels. For a mushroom is
not like a plant, neither is it produced without rain; it hath no root
nor sprouts, it depends on nothing, but is a being by itself, having its
substance of the earth, a little changed and altered. If this discourse
seems frivolous, I assure you that such are most of the effects of
thunder and lightning which we see; and upon that account men think
them to be immediately directed by Heaven, and not depending on natural

Dorotheus the rhetorician, one of our company, said: You speak right,
sir, for not only the vulgar and illiterate, but even some of the
philosophers, have been of that opinion. I remember here in this town
lightning broke into a house and did a great many strange things. It let
the wine out of a vessel, though the earthen vessel remained whole; and
falling upon a man asleep, it neither hurt him nor blasted his clothes,
but melted certain pieces of silver that he had in his pocket, defaced
them quite, and made them run into a lump. Upon this he went to a
philosopher, a Pythagorean, that sojourned in the town, and asked
the reason; the philosopher directed him to some expiating rites, and
advised him to consider seriously with himself and go to prayers. And
I have been told, upon a sentinel at Rome, as he stood to guard the
temple, burned the latchet of his shoe, and did no other harm; and
several silver candlesticks lying in wooden boxes, the silver was melted
while the boxes lay untouched. These stories you may believe or not as
you please. But that which is most wonderful, and which everybody knows,
is this,--the bodies of those that are killed by thunderbolt never
putrefy. For many neither burn nor bury such bodies, but let them lie
above ground with a fence about them, so that every one may see the they
remain uncorrupted, confuted by this Euripides's Clymene, who says thus
of Phaeton,

     My best beloved, but now he lies
     And putrefies in some dark vale.

And I believe brimstone is called [Greek omitted] (DIVINE), because its
smell is like that fiery offensive scent which rises from bodies that
are thunderstruck. And I suppose that, because of this scent, dogs and
birds will not prey on such carcasses. Thus far have I gone; let him
proceed, since he hath been applauded for his discourse of mushrooms,
lest the same jest might be put upon us that was upon Androcydes the
painter. For when in his landscape of Scylla he painted fish the best
and most to the life of anything in the whole draught, he was said to
use his appetite more than his art, for he naturally loved fish. So
some may say that we philosophize about mushrooms, the cause of whose
production is confessedly doubtful, for the pleasure we take in eating

And when I put in my suggestion, saying that it was as seasonable to
dispute about thunder and lightning amidst our banquets as it would be
in a comedy to bring in machines to throw out lightning, the company
agreed to omit all other questions relating to the subject, and desired
me only to proceed on this head, Why men asleep are never struck
with lightning. And I, though I knew I should get no great credit by
proposing a cause whose reason was common to other things, said thus:
Lightning is wonderfully piercing and subtile, partly because it rises
from a very pure substance, and partly because by the swiftness of its
motion it purges itself and throws off all gross earthy particles that
are mixed with it. Nothing, says Democritus, is blasted with lightning,
that cannot resist and stop the motion of the pure flame. Thus the close
bodies, as brass, silver, and the like, which stop it, feel its force
and are melted, because they resist; whilst rare, thin bodies, and such
as are full of pores, are passed through and are not hurted, as clothes
or dry wood. It blasts green wood or grass, the moisture within them
being seized and kindled by the flame. Now if it is true that men asleep
are never killed by lightning, from what we have proposed, and not from
anything else, we must endeavor to draw the cause. Now the bodies of
those that are awake are stiffer and more apt to resist, all the parts
being full of spirits; which as it were in a harp, distending and
screwing up the organs of sense, makes the body of the animal firm,
close, and compacted. But when men are asleep, the organs are let down,
and the body becomes rare, lax, and loose; and the spirits failing, it
hath abundance of pores, through which small sounds and smells do flow
insensibly. For in that case, there is nothing that can resist and by
this resistance receive any sensible impression from any objects that
are presented, much less from such as are so subtile and move so swiftly
as lightning. Things that are weak Nature shields from harm, fencing
them about with some hard, thick covering; but those things that cannot
be resisted do less harm to the bodies that yield than to those that
oppose their force. Besides, those that are asleep are not startled at
the thunder; they have no consternation upon them, which kills a great
many that are no otherwise hurt, and we know that thousands die with
the very fear of being killed. Even shepherds teach their sheep to run
together when it thunders, for whilst they lie scattered they die with
fear; and we see thousands fall, which have no marks of any stroke or
fire about them, their souls (as it seems), like birds, flying out of
their bodies at the fright. For many, as Euripides says,

     A clap hath killed, yet ne'er drew drop of blood.

For certainly the hearing is a sense that is soonest and most vigorously
wrought upon, and the fear that is caused by an astonishing noise
raiseth the greatest commotion and disturbance in the body; from all
which men asleep, because insensible, are secure. But those that are
awake are oftentimes killed with fear before they are touched; the fear
contracts and condenses the body, so that the stroke must be strong,
because there is so considerable a resistance.



At my son Autobulus's marriage, Sossius Senecio from Chaeronea and a
great many other noble persons were present at the same feast; which
gave occasion to this question (Senecio proposed it), why to a marriage
feast more guests are usually invited than to any other. Nay even those
law-givers that chiefly opposed luxury and profuseness have particularly
confined marriage feasts to a set number. Indeed, in my opinion, he
continued, Hecataeus the Abderite, one of the old philosophers, hath
said nothing to the purpose in this matter, when he tells us that those
that marry wives invite a great many to the entertainment, that many may
see and be witnesses that they being born free take to themselves wives
of the same condition. For, on the contrary, the comedians reflect on
those who revel at their marriages, who make a great ado and are pompous
in their feasts, as such who are taking wives with not much confidence
and courage. Thus, in Menander, one replies to a bridegroom that bade
him beset the house with dishes,...

     Your words are great, but what's this to your bride?

But lest I should seem to find fault with those reasons others give,
only because I have none of my own to produce, continued he, I will
begin by declaring that there is no such evident or public notice given
of any feast as there is of one at a marriage. For when we sacrifice to
the gods, when we take leave of or receive a friend, a great many of our
acquaintance need not know it. But a marriage dinner is proclaimed by
the loud sound of the wedding song, by the torches and the music, which
as Homer expresseth it,

     The women stand before the doors to see and hear.
     (Iliad, xviii. 495.)

And therefore when everybody knows it, the persons are ashamed to omit
the formality of an invitation, and therefore entertain their friends
and kindred, and every one that they are anyway acquainted with.

This being generally approved, Well, said Theo, speaking next, let it be
so, for it looks like truth; but let this be added, if you please,
that such entertainments are not only friendly, but also kindredly, the
persons beginning to have a new relation to another family. But there
is something more considerable, and that is this; since by this marriage
two families join in one, the man thinks it his duty to be civil
and obliging to the woman's friends, and the woman's friends think
themselves obliged to return the same to him and his; and upon this
account the company is doubled. And besides, since most of the little
ceremonies belonging to the wedding are performed by women, it is
necessary that, where they are entertained, their husbands should be
likewise present.



Aedepsus in Euboea, where the baths are, is a place by nature every
way fitted for free and gentle pleasures, and withal so beautified with
stately edifices and dining rooms, that one would take it for no other
than the common place of repast for all Greece. Here, though the earth
and air yield plenty of creatures for the service of men, the sea no
less furnisheth the table with variety of dishes, nourishing a store of
delicious fish in its deep and clear waters. This place is especially
frequented in the spring; for hither at this time of year abundance of
people resort, solacing themselves in the mutual enjoyment of all those
pleasures the place affords, and at spare hours pass away the time in
many useful and edifying discourses. When Callistratus the Sophist lived
here, it was a hard matter to dine at any place besides his house; for
he was so extremely courteous and obliging, that no man whom he invited
to dinner could have the face to say him nay. One of his best humors was
to pick up all the pleasant fellows he could meet with, and put them in
the same room. Sometimes he did, as Cimon one of the ancients used to
do, and satisfactorily treated men of all sorts and fashions. But he
always (so to speak) followed Celeus, who was the first man, it is said,
that assembled daily a number of honorable persons of distinction, and
called the place where they met the Prytaneum.

Several times at these public meetings divers agreeable discourses were
raised; and it fell out that once a very splendid treat, adorned with
all variety of dainties, gave occasion for inquiries concerning food,
whether the land or sea yielded better. Here when a great part of the
company were highly commanding the land, as abounding with many choice,
nay, an infinite variety of all sorts of creatures, Polycrates calling
to Symmachus, said to him: But you, sir, being an animal bred between
two seas, and brought up among so many which surround your sacred
Nicopolis, will not you stand up for Neptune? Yes, I will, replied
Symmachus, and therefore command you to stand by me, who enjoy the
most pleasant part of all the Achaean Sea. Well, says Polycrates, the
beginning of my discourse shall be grounded upon custom; for as of a
great number of poets we usually give one, who far excels the rest,
the famous name of poet; so though there be many sorts of dainties, yet
custom has so prevailed that the fish alone, or above all the rest, is
called [Greek omitted], because it is more excellent than all others.
For we do not call those gluttonous and great eaters who love beef as
Hercules, who after flesh used to eat green figs; nor those that love
figs, as Plato; nor lastly, those that are for grapes, as Arcesilaus;
but those who frequent the fish-market, and soonest hear the
market-bell. Thus when Demosthenes had told Philocrates that the gold
he got by treachery was spent upon whores and fish, he upbraids him as a
gluttonous and lascivious fellow. And Ctesiphon said pat enough, when a
certain glutton cried aloud in company that he should burst asunder: No,
by no means let us be baits for your fish! And what did he mean, do you
think, who made this verse,

     You capers gnaw, when you may sturgeon eat?

And what, for God's sake, do those men mean who, inviting one another to
sumptuous collations, usually say: To-day we will dine upon the shore?
Is it not that they suppose, what is certainly true, that a dinner upon
the shore is of all others most delicious? Not by reason of the waves
the sea-coast would be content to feed upon a pulse or a caper?--but
because their table is furnished with plenty of fresh fish. Add to
this, that sea-food is dearer than any other. Wherefore Cato inveighing
against the luxury of the city, did not exceed the bounds of truth, when
he said that at Rome a fish was sold for more than an ox. For they
sell a small pot of fish for as much as a hecatomb of sheep and all the
accessories of sacrifice. Besides, as the physician is the best judge
of physic, and the musician of songs; so he is able to give the best
account of the goodness of meat who is the greatest lover of it. For I
will not make Pythagoras and Xenocrates arbitrators in this case; but
Antagoras the poet, and Philoxenus the son of Eryxis, and Androcydes
the painter, of whom it was reported that, when he drew a landscape of
Scylla, he drew fish in a lively manner swimming round her, because he
was a great lover of them. So Antigonus the king, surprising Antagoras
the poet in the habit of a cook, broiling congers in his tent, said
to him: Dost thou think that Homer was dressing congers when he writ
Agamemnon's famous exploits? And he as smartly replied: Do you think
that Agamemnon did so many famous exploits when he was inquiring who
dressed congers in the camp? These arguments, says Polycrates, I have
urged in behalf of fishmongers, drawing them from testimony and custom.

But, says Symmachus, I will go more seriously to work, and more like a
logician. For if that may truly be said to be a relish which gives meat
the best relish, it will evidently follow, that that is the best sort
of relish which gets men the best stomach to their meat. Therefore,
as those philosophers who were called Elpistics (from the Greek word
signifying hope, which above all others they cried up) averred that
there was nothing in the world which concurred more to the preservation
of life than hope, without whose gracious influence life would be a
burden and altogether intolerable; in the like manner that of all other
things may be said to get us a stomach to our meat without which all
meat would be unpalatable and nauseous. And among all those things the
earth yields, we find no such things as salt, which we can only have
from the sea. First of all, without salt, there would be nothing eatable
which mixed with flour seasons bread also. Neptune and Ceres had both
the same temple. Besides, salt is the most pleasant of all condiments.
For those heroes who like athletes used themselves to a spare diet,
banishing from their tables all vain and superfluous delicacies, to such
a degree that when they encamped by the Hellespont they abstained from
fish, yet for all this could not eat flesh without salt; which is a
sufficient evidence that salt is the most desirable of all relishes. For
as colors need light, so tastes require salt, that they may affect the
sense, unless you would have them very nauseous and unpleasant. For, as
Heraclitus used to say, a carcass is more abominable than dung. Now all
flesh is dead and part of a lifeless carcass; but the virtue of salt,
being added to it, like a soul, gives it a pleasing relish and a
poignancy. Hence it comes to pass that before meat men use to take sharp
things, and such as have much salt in them; for these beguile us into
an appetite. And whoever has his stomach sharpened with these sets
cheerfully and freshly upon all other sorts of meat. But if he begin
with any other kind of food, all on a sudden his stomach grows dull and
languid. And therefore salt doth not only make meat but drink palatable.
For Homer's onion, which, he tells us, they were used to eat before they
drank, was fitter for seamen and boatmen than kings. Things moderately
salt, by being pleasing to the mouth, make all sorts of wine mild and
palateable, and water itself of a pleasing taste. Besides, salt creates
none of those troubles which an onion does, but digests all other kinds
of meat, making them tender and fitter for concoction; so that at the
same time it is sauce to the palate and physic to the body. But all
other seafood, besides this pleasantness, is also very innocent for
though it be fleshly, yet it does not load the stomach as all other
flesh does, but is easily concocted and digested. This Zeno will avouch
for me, and Crato too, who confine sick persons to a fish diet, as of
all others the lightest sort of meat. And it stands with reason, that
the sea should produce the most nourishing and wholesome food, seeing it
yields us the most refined, the purest and therefore the most agreeable

You say right, says Lamprias, but let us think of something else to
confirm what you have spoken. I remember my old grandfather was used to
say in derision of the Jews, that they abstained from most lawful flesh;
but we will say that that is the most lawful meat which comes from the
sea. For we can claim no great right over land creatures, which are
nourished with the same food, draw the same air, wash in and drink the
same water, that we do ourselves; and when they are slaughtered, they
make us ashamed of what we are doing, with their hideous cries; and then
again, by living amongst us, they arrive at some degree of familiarity
and intimacy with us. But sea creatures are altogether strangers to us,
and are born and brought up as it were in another world; neither does
their voice, look, or any service they have done us plead for their
life. For this kind of creatures are of no use at all to us, nor is
there any necessity that we should love them. But that place which we
inhabit is hell to them, and as soon as ever they enter upon it they



After these things were spoken, and some in the company were minded
to say something in defence of the contrary opinion, Callistratus
interrupted their discourse and said: Sirs, what do you think of that
which was spoken against the Jews, that they abstain from the most
lawful flesh? Very well said, quoth Polycrates, for that is a thing I
very much question, whether it was that the Jews abstained from swine's
flesh because they conferred divine honor upon that creature, or because
they had a natural aversion to it. For whatever we find in their own
writings seems to be altogether fabulous, except they have some more
solid reasons which they have no mind to discover.

Hence it is, says Callistratus, that I am of an opinion that this nation
has that creature in some veneration; and though it be granted that
the hog is an ugly and filthy creature, yet it is not quite so vile nor
naturally stupid as a beetle, griffin, crocodile, or cat, most of which
are worshipped as the most sacred things by some priests amongst the
Egyptians. But the reason why the hog is had in so much honor and
veneration amongst them is, because as the report goes, that creature
breaking up the earth with its snout showed the way to tillage, and
taught them how to use the ploughshare, which instrument for that very
reason, as some say, was called HYNIS from [Greek omitted], A SWINE.
Now the Egyptians inhabiting a country situated low and whose soil is
naturally soft, have no need of the plough; but after the river Nile
hath retired from the grounds it overflowed, they presently let in all
their hogs into the fields, and they with their feet and snout break up
the ground, and cover the sown seed. Nor ought this to seem strange
to anyone, that there are in the world those that abstain from swine's
flesh on such an account as this; when it is evident that in barbarous
nations there are other animals had in greater honor and veneration for
lesser reasons, if not altogether ridiculous. For the field-mouse only
for its blindness was worshipped as a god among the Egyptians, because
they were of an opinion that darkness was before light and that the
latter had its birth from mice about the fifth generation at the new
moon; and moreover that the liver of this creature diminishes in the
wane of the moon. But they consecrate the lion to the sun, because the
lioness alone, of all clawed four-footed beasts, brings forth her young
with their eyesight; for they sleep in a moment, and when they are
asleep their eyes sparkle. Besides, they place gaping lions' heads for
the spouts of their fountains, because Nilus overflows the Egyptian
fields when the sign is Leo: they give it out that their bird ibis, as
soon as hatched, weighs two drachms, which are of the same weight with
the heart of a newborn infant; and that its legs being spread with the
bill an exact equilateral triangle. And yet who can find fault with
the Egyptians for these trifles, when it is left upon record that the
Pythagoreans worshipped a white cock, and of sea creatures abstained
especially from mullet and urtic. The Magi that descended from Zoroaster
adored the land hedgehog above other creatures but had a deadly spite
against water-rats, and thought that man was dear in the eyes of the
gods who destroyed most of them. But I should think that if the Jews had
such an antipathy against a hog, they would kill it as the magicians
do mice; when, on the contrary, they are by their religion as much
prohibited to kill as to eat it. And perhaps there may be some reason
given for this; for as the ass is worshipped by them as the first
discoverer of fountains, so perhaps the hog may be had in like
veneration, which first taught them to sow and plough. Nay, some
say that the Jews also abstain from hares, as abominable and unclean

They have reason for that, said Lamprias, because a hare is so like an
ass which they detest; for in its color, ears, and the sparkling of its
eyes, it is so like an ass, that I do not know any little creature that
represents a great one so much as a hare doth an ass; except in this
likewise imitating the Egyptians, they suppose that there is something
of divinity in the swiftness of this creature, as also in its quickness
of sense; for the eyes of hares are so unwearied that they sleep with
them open. Besides, they seem to excel all other creatures in quickness
of hearing; whence it was that the Egyptians painted a hare's ear
amongst their other hieroglyphics, as an emblem of hearing. But the Jews
do hate swine's flesh, because all the barbarians are naturally fearful
of a scab and leprosy, which they presume comes by eating such kind of
flesh. For we may observe that all pigs under the belly are overspread
with a leprosy and scab; which may be supposed to proceed from an ill
disposition of body and corruption within, which breaks out through the
skin. Besides, swine's feeding is commonly so nasty and filthy, that
it must of necessity cause corruptions and vicious humors; for, setting
aside those creatures that are bred from and live upon dung, there is no
other creature that takes so much delight to wallow in the mire and
in other unclean and stinking places. Hogs' eyes are said to be so
flattened and fixed upon the ground, that they see nothing above them,
nor ever look up to the sky, except when turned upon their back they
turn their eyes upwards contrary to nature. Therefore this creature,
at other times most clamorous' when laid upon his back, is still, as
astonished at the unusual sight of the heavens; while the greatness of
the fear he is in (as it is supposed) is the cause of his silence. And
if it be lawful to intermix our discourse with fables, it is said that
Adonis was slain by a boar. Now Adonis is supposed to be the same with
Bacchus; and there are a great many rites in both their sacrifices which
confirm this opinion. Others will have Adonis to be Bacchus's paramour;
and Phanocles an amorous love-poet writes thus,

     Bacchus on hills the fair Adonis saw,
     And ravished him, and reaped a wondrous joy.



Here Symmachus, greatly wondering at what was spoken, says: What,
Lamprias, will you permit our tutelar god, called Evius, the inciter of
women, famous for the honors he has conferred upon him by madmen, to
be inscribed and enrolled in the mysteries of the Jews? Or is there
any solid reason that can be given to prove Adonis to be the same with
Bacchus? Here Moeragenes interposing, said: Do not be so fierce upon
him, for I who am an Athenian answer you, and tell you, in short, that
these two are the very same. And no man is able or fit to bring the
chief confirmation of this truth, but those amongst us who are initiated
and skilled in the triennial [Greek omitted] or chief mysteries of the
god. But what no religion forbids to speak of among friends, especially
over wine, the gift of Bacchus, I am ready at the command of these
gentlemen to disclose.

When all the company requested and earnestly begged it of him; first
of all (says he), the time and manner of the greatest and most holy
solemnity of the Jews is exactly agreeable to the holy rites of Bacchus;
for that which they call the Fast they celebrate in the midst of the
vintage, furnishing their tables with all sorts of fruits while they sit
under tabernacles made of vines and ivy; and the day which immediately
goes before this they call the day of Tabernacles. Within a few days
after they celebrate another feast, not darkly but openly, dedicated
to Bacchus, for they have a feast amongst them called Kradephoria, from
carrying palm-trees, and Thyrsophoria, when they enter into the temple
carrying thyrsi. What they do within I know not; but it is very probable
that they perform the rites of Bacchus. First they have little trumpets,
such as the Grecians used to have at their Bacchanalia to call upon
their gods withal. Others go before them playing upon harps, which they
call Levites, whether so named from Lusius or Evius,--either word agrees
with Bacchus. And I suppose that their Sabbaths have some relation to
Bacchus; for even now many call the Bacchi by the name of Sabbi, and
they make use of that word at the celebration of Bacchus's orgies. And
this may be discovered out of Demosthenes and Menander. Nor would it
be out of place, were any one to say that the name Sabbath was given to
this feast from the agitation and excitement [Greek omitted] which the
priests of Bacchus display. The Jews themselves witness no less; for
when they keep the Sabbath, they invite one another to drink till
they are drunk; or if they chance to be hindered by some more weighty
business, it is the fashion at least to taste the wine. Some perhaps may
surmise that these are mere conjectures. But there are other arguments
which will clearly evince the truth of what I assert. The first may be
drawn from their High-priest, who on holidays enters their temple with
his mitre on, arrayed in a skin of a hind embroidered with gold, wearing
buskins, and a coat hanging down to his ankles; besides, he has a great
many little bells depending from his garment which make a noise as he
walks. So in the nocturnal ceremonies of Bacchus (as the fashion is
amongst us), they make use of music, and call the god's nurses [Greek
omitted]. High up on the wall of their temple is a representation of the
thyrsus and timbrels, which surely suits no other god than Bacchus. Mor
 ancients were wont to make themselves drunk, before the vine was known.
And at this day barbarous people who want wine drink metheglin, allaying
the sweetness of the honey by bitter roots, much of the taste of our
wine. The Greeks offered to their gods these temperate offerings or
honey-offerings, as they called them, because that honey was of a nature
quite contrary to wine. But this is no inconsiderable argument that
Bacchus was worshipped by the Jews, in that, amongst other kinds of
punishment, that was most remarkably odious by which malefactors were
forbid the use of wine for so long a time as the judge thought fit to
prescribe. Those thus punished....

(The remainder of the Fourth Book is wanting.)






What is your opinion at present, Sossius Senecio, of the pleasures of
mind and body, is not evident to me;

     Because us two a thousand things divide,
     Vast shady hills, and the rough ocean's tide.
     ("Iliad" i. 156)

But formerly, I am sure, you did not lean to nor like their opinion,
who will not allow the soul to have any proper agreeable pleasure, which
without respect to the body she desires for herself; but define that she
lives as a form assistant to the body, is directed by the passions of
it, and, as that is affected, is either pleased or grieved, or, like a
looking-glass, only receives the images of those sensible impressions
made upon the body. This sordid and debasing opinion is especially
confuted as follows; for at a feast, the genteel well-bred men after
supper fall upon some topic or another as second course, and cheer one
another by their pleasant talk. Now the body hath very little or no
share in this; which evidently proves that this is a particular
banquet for the soul, and that those pleasures are peculiar to her, and
different from those which pass to her through the body and are vitiated
thereby. Now, as nurses, when they feed children, taste a little of
their pap, and have but little pleasure therefrom, but when the infants
are satisfied, leave crying, and go to sleep, then being at their own
disposal, they take such meat and drink as is agreeable to their own
bodies; thus the soul partakes of the pleasures that arise from eating
and drinking, like a nurse, being subservient to the appetites of the
body, kindly yielding to its necessities and wants, and calming its
desires; but when that is satisfied and at rest, then being free from
her business and servile employment, she seeks her own proper pleasures,
revels on discourse, problems, stories, curious questions, or subtle
resolutions. Nay, what shall a man say, when he sees the dull unlearned
fellows after supper minding such pleasures as have not the least
relation to the body? They tell tales, propose riddles, or set one
another a-guessing at names, comprised and hid under such and such
numbers. Thus mimics, drolls, Menander and his actors were admitted into
banquets, not because they can free the eye from any pain, or raise
any tickling motion in the flesh; but because the soul, being naturally
philosophical and a lover of instruction, covets its own proper pleasure
and satisfaction, when it is free from the trouble of looking after the



Of this we discoursed in your company at Athens, when Strato the
comedian (for he was a man of great credit) flourished. For being
entertained at supper by Boethus the Epicurean, with a great many more
of the sect, as it usually happens when learned and inquisitive men meet
together, the remembrance of the comedy led us to this inquiry,--Why
we are disturbed at the real voices of men, either angry, pensive, or
afraid, and yet are delighted to hear others represent them, and imitate
their gestures, speeches, and exclamations. Every one in the company
gave almost the same reason. For they said, he that only represents
excels him that really feels, inasmuch as he doth not suffer the
misfortunes; which we knowing are pleased and delighted on that account.

But I, though it was not properly my talent, said that we, being by
nature rational and lovers of ingenuity, are delighted with and admire
everything that is artificially and ingeniously contrived. For as a bee,
naturally loving sweet things, seeks after and flies to anything that
has any mixture of honey in it; so man, naturally loving ingenuity and
elegancy, is very much inclined to accept and highly approve every word
or action that is seasoned with wit and judgement. Thus, if any one
offers a child a piece of bread, and at the same time, a little dog or
ox made in paste, we shall see the boy run eagerly to the latter; so
likewise if anyone, offers silver in the lump, and another a beast or
a cup of the same metal, he will rather choose that in which he sees a
mixture of art and reason. Upon the same account it is that a child
is much in love with riddles, and such fooleries as are difficult and
intricate; for whatever is curious and subtle doth attract and allure
mankind, as antecedently to all instruction agreeable and proper to it.
And therefore, because he that is really affected with grief or anger
presents us with nothing but the common bare passion, but in the
imitation some dexterity and persuasiveness appears, we are naturally
inclined to be disturbed at the former, whilst the latter delights us.
It is unpleasant to see a sick man, or one at his last gasp; yet with
content we can look upon the picture of Philoctetes, or the statue
of Jocasta, in whose face it is commonly said that the workmen mixed
silver, so that the brass might depict the face and color of one ready
to faint and expire. And this, said I, the Cyrenaics may use as a strong
argument against you Epicureans, that all the sense of pleasure which
arises from the working of any object on the ear or eye is not in those
organs, but in the intellect itself. Thus the continual cackling of a
hen or cawing of a crow is very ungrateful and disturbing; yet he
that imitates those noises well pleases the hearers. Thus to behold a
consumptive man is no delightful spectacle; yet with pleasure we
can view the pictures and statues of such persons, because the very
imitating hath something in it very agreeable to the mind, which allures
and captivates its faculties. For upon what other account, for God's
sake, from what external impression upon our organs, should men be moved
to admire Parmeno's sow so much as to pass it into a proverb? Yet it is
reported, that Parmeno being very famous for imitating the grunting of
a pig, some endeavoured to rival and outdo him. And when the hearers,
being prejudiced, cried out, Very well indeed, but nothing comparable to
Parmeno's sow; one took a pig under his arm and came upon the stage.
And when, though they heard the very pig, they still continued, This is
nothing comparable to Parmeno's sow; he threw his pig amongst them, to
show that they judged according to opinion and not truth. And hence it
is very evident, that like motions of the sense do not always raise like
affections in the mind, when there is not an opinion that the thing done
was not neatly and ingeniously performed.


At the solemnity of the Pythian names, there was a consult about taking
away all such sports as had lately crept in and were not of ancient
institution. For after they had taken in the tragedy in addition to the
three ancient, which were as old as the solemnity itself, the Pythian
piper, the harper, and the singer to the harp, as if a large gate were
opened, they could not keep out an infinite crowd of plays and musical
entertainments of all sorts that rushed in after him. Which indeed made
no unpleasant variety, and increased the company, but yet impaired the
gravity and neatness of the solemnity. Besides it must create a great
deal of trouble to the umpires, and considerable dissatisfaction to very
many, since but few could obtain the prize. It was chiefly agreed upon,
that the orators and poets should be removed; and this determination
did not proceed from any hatred to learning, but forasmuch as such
contenders are the most noted and worthiest men of all, therefore they
reverence them, and were troubled that, when they must judge every one
very deserving, they could not bestow the prize equally upon all. I,
being present at this consult, dissuaded those who were for removing
things from their present settled order, and who thought this variety
as unsuitable to the solemnity as many strings and many notes to an
instrument. And when at supper, Petraeus the president and director
of the sports entertaining us, the same subject was discoursed on, I
defended music, and maintained that poetry was no upstart intruder, but
that it was time out of mind admitted into the sacred games, and crowns
were given to the best performer. Some straight imagined that I intended
to produce some old musty stories, like the funeral solemnities of
Oeolycus the Thessalian or of Amphidamas the Chalcidean, in which they
say Homer and Hesiod contended for the prize. But passing by these
instances as the common theme of every grammarian, as likewise their
criticisms who, in the description of Patroclus's obsequies in Homer,
read [Greek omitted] ORATORS, and not [Greek omitted], DARTERS,
("Iliad," xxiii, 886.) as if Achilles had proposed a prize for the best
speaker,--omitting all these, I said that Acastus at his father Pelias's
funeral set a prize for contending poets, and Sibylla won it. At this,
a great many demanding some authority for this unlikely and incredible
relation, I happily recollecting myself produced Acesander, who in his
description of Africa hath this relation; but I must confess this is no
common book. But Polemo the Athenian's "Commentary of the Treasures of
the City Delphi" I suppose most of you have diligently perused, he being
a very learned man in the Greek Antiquities. In him you shall find that
in the Sicyonian treasure there was a golden book dedicated to the god,
with this inscription: Aristomache, the poetess of Erythraea, dedicated
this after she had got the prize at the Isthmian games. Nor is there any
reason, I continued, why we should so admire and reverence the Olympic
games, as if, like Fate, they were unalterable, and never admitted any
change since the first institution. For the Pythian, it is true, hath
had three or four musical prizes added; but all the exercises of the
body were for the most part the same from the beginning. But in the
Olympian all beside racing are late additions. They instituted some, and
abolished them again; such were the races of mules, either rode or in a
chariot as likewise the crown appointed for boys that were victor's in
the five contests. And, in short, a thousand things in those games are
mere novelties. At Pisa they had a single combat, where he that yielded
or was overcome was killed upon the place. But pray for the future
require no author for my story, lest I may appear ridiculous if amidst
my cups I should forget the name.



This question was started, why the Isthmian garland was made of pine. We
were then at supper in Corinth, in the time of the Isthmian games, with
Lucanius the chief priest. Praxiteles the commentator brought this fable
for a reason; it is said that the body of Melicertes was found fixed to
a pine-tree by the sea; and not far from Megara, there is a place called
the Race of a Fair Lady, through which the Megarians say that Ino, with
her son Melicertes in her arms, ran to the sea. And when many put forth
the common opinion, that the pine-tree garland peculiarly belongs to
Neptune, Lucanius added that it is sacred to Bacchus too, but yet, for
all that, it might also be appropriated to the honor of Melicertes; this
started the question, why the ancients dedicated the pine to Neptune and
Bacchus. As for my part, it did not seem incongruous to me, for both the
gods seem to preside over the moist and generative principle; and almost
all the Greeks sacrifice to Neptune the nourisher of plants, and to
Bacchus the preserver of trees. Besides, it may be said that the pine
peculiarly agrees to Neptune, not, as Apollodorus thinks, because it
grows by the seaside, or because it loves a bleak place (for some give
this reason), but because it is used in building ships; for it together
with the like trees, as fir and cypress, affords the best and the
lightest timber, and likewise pitch and rosin, without which the
compacted planks would be altogether unserviceable at sea. To Bacchus
they dedicate the pine, because it seasons wine, for among the pines
they say the sweetest and most delicious grapes grow. The cause of this
Theophrastus thinks to be the heat of the soil; for pines grow most in
chalky grounds. Now chalk is hot, and therefore must very much conduce
to the concoction of the wine; as a chalky spring affords the lightest
and sweetest water; and if chalk is mixed with corn, by its heat it
makes the grains swell, and considerably increases the heap. Besides,
it is probable that the vine itself is bettered by the pine, for that
contains several things which are good to preserve wine. All cover the
insides of wine casks with rosin, and many mix rosin with wine, as the
Euboeans in Greece, and in Italy those that live about the river Po.
From the parts of Gaul about Vienna there is a sort of pitched wine
brought, which the Romans value very much; for such things mixed with
it do not only give it a good flavor, but make the wine generous,
taking away by their gentle heat all the crude, watery, and undigested
particles. When I had said thus much, a rhetorician in the company, a
man well read in all sorts of polite learning, cried out: Good Gods! was
it not but the other day that the Isthmian garland began to be made of
pine? And was not the crown anciently of twined parsley? I am sure in a
certain comedy a covetous man is brought in speaking thus:--

     The Isthmian garland I will sell as cheap
     As common wreaths of parsley may be sold.

And Timaeus the historian says that, when the Corinthians were marching
to fight the Carthaginians in the defence of Sicily, some persons
carrying parsley met them, and when several looked upon this as a
bad omen,--because parsley is accounted unlucky, and those that
are dangerously sick we usually say have need of parsley,--Timoleon
encouraged them by putting them in mind of the Isthmian parsley garland
with which the Corinthians used to crown the conquerors. And besides,
the admiral-ship of Antigonus's navy, having by chance some parsley
growing on its poop, was called Isthmia. Besides, a certain obscure
epigram upon an earthen vessel stopped with parsley intimates the same
thing. It runs thus:--

     The Grecian earth, now hardened by the flame,
     Holds in its hollow belly Bacchus blood;
     And hath its mouth with Isthmian branches stopped.

Sure, he continued, they never read these authors, who cry up the pine
as anciently wreathed in the Isthmian garlands, and would not have it
some upstart intruder. The young men yielded presently to him, as being
a man of various reading and very learned.

But Lucanius, with a smile looking upon me, cried out: Good God! here's
a deal of learning. But others have taken advantage of our ignorance and
unacquaintedness with such matters, and, on the contrary, persuaded us
that the pine was the first garland, and that afterwards in honor of
Hercules the parsley was received from the Nemean games, which in a
little time prevailing, thrust out the pine, as if it were its right to
be the wreath; but a little while after the pine recovered its ancient
honor, and now flourishes in its glory. I was satisfied, and upon
consideration found that I had run across a great many authorities for
it. Thus Euphorion writes of Melicertes,

     They mourned the youth, and him on pine boughs laid
     Of which the Isthmian victors' crowns are made.
     Fate had not yet seized beauteous Mene's son
     By smooth Asopus; since whose fall the crown
     Of parsley wreathed did grace the victor's brow.

And Callimachus is plainer and more express, when he makes Hercules
speak thus of parsley,

                  This at Isthmian sports
     To Neptune's glory now shall be the crown;
     The pine shall be disused, which heretofore
     In Corinth's fields successful victors wore.

And besides, if I am not mistaken, in Procles's history of the Isthmian
games I met with this passage; at first a pine garland crowned the
conqueror, but when this game began to be reckoned amongst the sacred,
then from the Nemean solemnity the parsley was received. And this
Procles was one of Xenocrates's fellow-students at the Academy.

("Iliad," ix. 203.)


Some at the table were of opinion that Achilles talked nonsense when he
bade Patroclus "mix the wine stronger," adding this reason,

     For now I entertain my dearest friends.

But Niceratus a Macedonian, my particular acquaintance, maintained that
[Greek omitted] did not signify pure but hot wine; as if it were derived
from [Greek omitted] and [Greek omitted] (LIFE-GIVING AND BOILING), and
it were requisite at the coming of his friends to temper a fresh bowl,
as every one of us in his offering at the altar pours out fresh wine.
But Sosicles the poet, remembering a saying of Empedocles, that in the
great universal change those things which before were [Greek omitted],
UNMIXED, should then be [Greek omitted], affirmed that [Greek omitted]
there signified [Greek omitted], WELL-TEMPERED, and that Achilles might
with a great deal of reason bid Patroclus provide well-tempered wine
for the entertainment of his friends; and it was absurd (he said) to use
[Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted] any more than [Greek omitted]
for [Greek omitted], or [Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted], for
the comparatives are very properly put for the positives. My friend
Antipater said that years were anciently called [Greek omitted], and
that the particle [Greek omitted] in composition signified greatness;
and therefore old wine, that had been kept for many years, was called by
Achilles [Greek omitted].

I put them in mind that some imagine that [Greek omitted], hot, is
signified by [Greek omitted], and that hotter means really faster, as
when we command servants to move themselves more hotly or in hotter
haste. But I must confess, your dispute is frivolous, since it is raised
upon this supposition that if [Greek omitted], signifies more pure wine,
Achilles's command would be absurd, as Zoilus of Amphipolis imagined.
For first he did not consider that Achilles saw Phoenix and Ulysses to
be old men, who are not pleased with diluted wine, and upon that account
forbade any mixture. Besides, he having been Chiron's scholar, and from
him having learned the rules of diet, he considered that weaker and more
diluted liquors were fittest for those bodies that lay at ease, and were
not employed in their customary exercise or labor. Thus with the other
provender he gave his horses smallage, and this upon very good reason;
for horses that lie still grow sore in their feet, and smallage is the
best remedy in the world against that. And you will not find smallage
or anything of the same nature given to any other horses in the whole
"Iliad." Thus Achilles, being experienced in physic, provided suitable
provender for his horses, and used the lightest diet himself, as the
fittest whilst he lay at ease. But those that had been wearied all day
in fight he did not think convenient to treat like those that had lain
at ease, but commanded more pure and stronger wine to be prepared.
Besides, Achilles doth not appear to be naturally addicted to drinking,
but he was of a haughty, inexorable temper.

     No pleasant humor, no, soft mind he bore,
     But was all fire and rage.
     ("Iliad," xx. 467.)

And in another place very plainly Homer says, that

     Many a sleepless night he knew.
     ("Iliad," ix. 325.)

Now little sleep cannot content those that drink strong liquors; and in
his railing at Agamemnon, the first ill name he gives him is drunkard,
proposing his great drinking as the chiefest of his faults. And for
these reasons it is likely that, when they came, he thought his usual
mixture too weak and not convenient for them.



At my return from Alexandria all my friends by turns treated me,
inviting all such too as were any way acquainted, so that our meetings
were usually tumultuous and suddenly dissolved; which disorders gave
occasion to discourses concerning the inconveniences that attend such
crowded entertainments. But when Onesicrates the physician in his
turn invited only the most familiar acquaintance, and men of the most
agreeable temper, I thought that what Plato says concerning the increase
of cities might be applied to entertainments. For there is a
certain number which an entertainment may receive, and still be an
entertainment; but if it exceeds that, so that by reason of the number
there cannot be a mutual conversation amongst all, if they cannot know
one another nor partake of the same jollity, it ceaseth to be such. For
we should not want messengers there, as in a camp, or boatswains, as in
a galley; but we ourselves should immediately converse with one another.
As in a dance, so in an entertainment, the last man should be placed
within hearing of the first.

As I was speaking, my grandfather Lamprias cried out: Then it seems
there is need of temperance not only in our feasts, but also in our
invitations. For methinks there is even an excess in kindness, when we
pass by none of our friends, but draw them all in, as to see a sight
or hear a play. And I think, it is not so great a disgrace for the
entertainer not to have bread or wine enough for his, guests, as not to
have room enough, with which he ought always to be provided, not only
for invited guests, strangers and chance visitants. For suppose he hath
not wine and bread enough, it may be imputed either to the carelessness
or dishonesty of his servants; but the want of room must be imputed to
the imprudence of the inviter. Hesiod is very much admired for beginning

     A vast chaos first was made.
     (Hesiod, "Theogony," 116.)

For it was necessary that there should be first a place and room
provided for the beings that were afterward to be produced; and not as
was seen yesterday at my son's entertainment, according to Anaxagoras's

     All lay jumbled together.

But suppose a man hath room and provision enough, yet a large company
itself is to be avoided for its own sake, as hindering all familiarity
and conversation; and it is more tolerable to let the company have
no wine, than to exclude all converse from a feast. And therefore
Theophrastus jocularly called the barbers' shops feasts without wine;
because those that sit there usually prattle and discourse. But those
that invite a crowd at once deprive all of free communication of
discourse, or rather make them divide into cabals, so that two or three
privately talk together, and neither know nor look on those that sit, as
it were, half a mile distant.

     Some took this way to valiant Ajax's tent,
     And some the other to Achilles' went.
     ("Iliad," xi. 7.)

And therefore some rich men are foolishly profuse, who build rooms
big enough for thirty tables or more at once; for such a preparation
certainly is for unsociable and unfriendly entertainments, and such as
are fit for a panegyriarch rather than a symposiarch to preside over.
But this may be pardoned in those; for wealth would not he wealth,
it would be really blind and imprisoned, unless it had witnesses, as
tragedies would be devoid of spectators. Let us entertain few and often,
and make that a remedy against having a crowd at once. For those that
invite but seldom are forced to have all their friends, and all that
upon any account they are acquainted with together; but those that
invite frequently, and but three or four, render their entertainments
like little barks, light and nimble. Besides, the very reason why we ask
friends teaches us to select some out of the number. For as when we
are in want we do not call all together, but only those that can best
afford, help in that particular case,--when we would be advised, the
wiser part; and when we are to have a trial, the best pleaders; and
when we are to go a journey, those that can live pleasantly and are at
leisure,--thus to our entertainments we should only call those that
are at the present agreeable. Agreeable, for instance, to a prince's
entertainment will be the magistrates, if they are his friends, or
chiefest of the city; to marriage or birthday feasts, all their kindred,
and such as are under the protection of the same Jupiter the guardian of
consanguinity; and to such feasts and merry-makings as this those are
to be invited whose tempers are most suitable to the occasion. When we
offer sacrifice to one god, we do not worship all the others that belong
to the same temple and altar at the same time; but suppose we have three
bowls, out of the first we pour oblations to some, out of the second
to others and out of the third to the rest, and none of the gods take
distaste. And in this a company of friends may be likened to the company
of gods; none takes distaste at the order of the invitation, if it be
prudently managed and every one allowed a turn.


After this it was presently asked, why the room which at the beginning
of supper seems too narrow for the guest is afterwards wide enough; when
the contrary is most likely, after they are filled with the supper. Some
said the posture of our sitting was the cause; for they sit when they
eat, with their full breadth to the table, that they may command it with
their right hand; but after they have supped, they sit more sideways,
and make an acute figure with their bodies, and do not touch the place
according to the superficies, if I may so say, but the line. Now as
cockal bones do not take up as much room when they fall upon one end
as when they fall flat, so every one of us at the beginning sitting
broadwise, and with a full face to the table, afterwards changes
the figure, and turns his depth, not his breadth, to the board. Some
attribute it to the beds whereon we sat, for those when pressed stretch;
as strait shoes after a little wearing have their pores widened, and
grow fit for--sometimes too big for--the foot. An old man in the company
merrily said, that the same feast had two very different presidents and
directors; in the beginning, Hunger, that is not in the least skilled in
ordering and disposing, but afterward Bacchus, whom all acknowledge to
be the best orderer of an army in the world. As therefore Epaminondas,
when the unskilful captains had led their forces into narrow
disadvantageous straits, relieved the phalanx that was fallen foul
on itself and all in disorder, and brought it into good rank and file
again; thus we in the beginning, being like greedy hounds confused
and disordered by hunger, the god (hence named the looser and the
dancesetter) settles us in a friendly and agreeable order.



A discourse happening at supper concerning those that are said to
bewitch or have a bewitching eye, most of the company looked upon it
as a whim, and laughed at it. But Metrius Florus, who then gave us a
supper, said that the strange events wonderfully confirmed the report;
and because we cannot give a reason for the thing, therefore to
disbelieve the relation was absurd, since there are a thousand things
which evidently are, the reasons of which we cannot readily assign. And,
in short, he that requires everything should be probable destroys all
wonder and admiration; and where the cause is not obvious, there we
begin to doubt, that is, to philosophize. So that they who disbelieve
all wonderful relations do in some measure take away all philosophy. The
cause why anything is so, reason must find out; but that a thing is so,
testimony is a sufficient evidence; and we have a thousand instances of
this sort attested. We know that some men by looking upon young children
hurt them very much, their weak and soft temperature being wrought upon
and perverted, whilst those that are strong and firm are not so liable
to be wrought upon. And Phylarchus tells us that the Thibians, the old
inhabitants about Pontus, were destructive not only to little children,
but to some also of riper years; for those upon whom they looked or
breathed, or to whom they spake, would languish and grow sick. And this,
likely, those of other countries perceived who bought slaves there.
But perhaps this is not so much to be wondered at, for in touching and
handling there is some apparent principle and cause of the effect. And
as when you mix other birds' wings with the eagles', the plumes waste
and suddenly consume; so there is no reason to the contrary, but that
one man's touch may be good and advantageous, and another's hurtful and
destructive. But that some, by being barely looked upon, are extremely
prejudiced is certain; though the stories are disbelieved, because the
reason is hard to be given.

True, said I, but methinks there is some small track to the cause of
this effect, if you come to the effluvia of bodies. For smell, voice,
breath, and the like, are effluvia from animal bodies, and material
parts that move the senses, which are wrought upon by their impulse. Now
it is very likely that such effluvia must continually part from
animals, by reason of their heat and motion; for by that the spirits
are agitated, and the body, being struck by those, must continually send
forth effluvia. And it is probable that these pass chiefly through the
eye. For the sight, being very vigorous and active, together with the
spirit upon which it depends, sends forth a strange fiery power; so
that by it men act and suffer very much, and are always proportionably
pleased or displeased, according as the visible objects are agreeable or
not. Love, that greatest and most violent passion of the soul, takes its
beginning from the eye; so that a lover, when he looks upon the fair,
flows out as it were, and seems to mix with her. And therefore why
should any one, that believes men can be affected and prejudiced by the
sight, imagine that they cannot act and hurt is well? For the mutual
looks of mature beauties, and that which comes from the eye, whether
light or a stream of spirits, melt and dissolve the lovers with a
pleasing pain, which they call the bittersweet of love. For neither by
touching or hearing the voice of their beloved are they so much wounded
and wrought upon, as by looking and being looked upon again. There is
such a communication, such a flame raised by one glance, that those must
be altogether unacquainted with love that wonder at the Median naphtha,
that takes fire at a distance from the flame. For the glances of a fair
one, though at a great distance, quickly kindle a fire in the lover's
breast. Besides every body knows the remedy for the jaundice; if they
look upon the bird called charadrios they are cured. For that animal
seems to be of that temperature and nature as to receive and draw away
the disease, that like a stream flows out through the eyes; so that the
charadrios will not look on one that hath the jaundice; he cannot endure
it, but turns away his head and shuts his eyes, not envying (as some
imagine) the cure he performs, but being really hurt by the effluvia
of the patient. And of all diseases, soreness of the eyes is the most
infectious; so strong and vigorous is the sight, and so easily does it
cause infirmities in another.

Very right, said Patrocles, and you reason well as to changes wrought
upon the body; but as to the soul, which in some measure exercises the
power of witchcraft, how can this cause any disturbance by the eye? Sir,
I replied, do not you consider that the soul, when affected, works upon
the body? Ideas of love excite lust, and rage often blinds dogs as
they fight with wild beasts. Sorrow, covetousness, or jealousy makes us
change color, and destroys the habit of the body; and envy more than any
passion, when fixed in the soul, fills the body full of ill humors,
and makes it pale and ugly; which deformities good painters in their
pictures of envy endeavor to represent. Now, when men thus perverted by
envy fix their eyes upon another, and these, being nearest to the soul,
easily draw the venom from it, and send out as it were poisoned darts,
it is no wonder, in my mind, if he that is looked upon is hurt. Thus the
biting of a dog when mad is most dangerous; and then the seed of a man
is most prolific, when he embraces one that he loves; and in general the
affections of the mind strengthen and invigorate the powers of the body.
And therefore people imagine that those amulets that are preservative
against witchcraft are likewise good and efficacious against envy; the
sight by the strangeness of the spectacle being diverted, so that it
cannot make so strong an impression upon the patient. This, Florus,
is what I can say; and pray sir, accept it as my club for this

Well, said Soclarus, but let us try whether the money be all good or
no; for, in my mind some of it seems brass. But if we admit the general
report about these matters to be true, you know very well that it
is commonly supposed that some have friends, acquaintance, and even
fathers, that have such evil eyes; so that the mothers will not show
their children to them, nor for a long time suffer them to be looked
upon by such; and how can the effects wrought by these proceed from
envy? But what, for God's sake, wilt thou say to those that are reported
to bewitch themselves?--for I am sure you have heard of such, or at
least read these lines:--

     Curls once on Eutel's head in order stood;
     But when he viewed his figure in a flood,
     He overlooked himself, and now they fall...

For they say that this Eutelidas, appearing very delicate and beauteous
to himself, was affected with that sight and grew sick upon it, and lost
his beauty and his health. Now, pray sir, what reason can you find for
these wonderful effects?

At any other time, I replied, I question not but I shall give you full
satisfaction. But now, sir, after such a large pot as you have seen me
take, I boldly affirm, that all passions which have been fixed in the
soul a long time raise ill humors in the body, which by continuance
growing strong enough to be, as it were, a new nature, being excited
by any intervening accident, force men, though unwilling, to their
accustomed passions. Consider the timorous, they are afraid even of
those things that preserve them. Consider the pettish, they are
angry with their best and dearest friends. Consider the amorous and
lascivious, in the height of their fury they dare violate a Vestal. For
custom is very powerful to draw the temper of the body to anything that
is suitable to it; and he that is apt to fall will stumble at everything
that lies in his way. So it is no wonder that those that have raised
in themselves an envious and bewitching habit, if according to the
peculiarity of their passion they are carried on to suitable effects;
for when they are once moved, they do that which the nature of the
thing, not which their will, leads them to. For as a sphere must
necessarily move spherically, and a cylinder cylindrically, according to
the difference of their figures; thus his disposition makes an envious
man move enviously to all things; and it is likely they should chiefly
hurt their most familiar acquaintance and best beloved. And that fine
fellow Eutelidas you mentioned, and the rest that are said to overlook
themselves, may be easily and upon good rational grounds accounted for;
for, according to Hippocrates, a good habit of body, when at height, is
easily perverted, and bodies come to their full maturity do not stand
at a stay there, but fall and waste down to the contrary extreme. And
therefore when they are in very good plight, and see themselves look
much better than they expected, they gaze and wonder; but then their
body being nigh to change, and their habit declining into a worse
condition, they overlook themselves. And this is done when the effluvia
are stopped and reflected by the water rather than by any other
reflecting body; for this exhales upon them whilst they look upon it,
so that the very same particles which would hurt others must hurt
themselves. And this perchance often happens to young children, and the
cause of their diseases is falsely attributed to those that look upon

When I had done, Caius, Florus's son-in-law, said: Then it seems you
make no more reckoning or account of Democritus's images, than of those
of Aegium or Megara; for he delivers that the envious send out images
which are not altogether void of sense or force, but full of the
disturbing and poisonous qualities of those from whom they come. Now
these being mixed with such qualities, and remaining with and abiding in
those persons that injure them both in mind and body; for this, I think,
is the meaning of that philosopher, a man in his opinion and expressions
admirable and divine. Very true, said I, and I wonder that you did not
observe that I took nothing from those effluvia and images but life and
will; lest you should imagine that, now it is almost midnight, I brought
in spectres and wise and understanding images to terrify and fright you;
but in the morning, if you please, we will talk of those things.



As we were at supper in Chaeronea, and had all sorts of fruit at the
table, one of the company chanced to speak these verses,

     The fig-trees sweet, the apple-trees that bear
     Fair fruit, and olives green through all the year.
     ("Odyssey," vii. 115.)

Upon this there arose a question, why the poet calls apple-trees
particularly [Greek omitted], BEARING FAIR FRUIT. Trypho the physician
said that this epithet was given comparatively in respect of the tree,
because, it being small and no goodly tree to look upon, bears fair
and large fruit. Somebody else said, that the particular excellencies
scattered amongst all other fruits are united in this alone. As to
the touch, it is smooth and polished, so that it makes the hand that
toucheth it odorous without defiling it; it is sweet to the taste, and
to the smell and sight very pleasing; and therefore there is reason that
it should be duly praised, as being that which congregates and allures
all the senses together.

This discourse pleased us indifferently well. But whereas Empedocles has
thus written,

     Why pomegranates so late do thrive,
     And apples give a lovely show [Greek omitted];

I guess the epithet to be given to pomegranates, because that at the end
of autumn, and when the heats begin to decrease, they ripen the fruit;
for the sun will not suffer the weak and thin moisture to thicken into
a consistence until the air begins to wax colder; therefore, says
Theophrastus, this only tree ripens its fruit best and soonest in
the shade. But in what sense the philosopher gives the epithet [Greek
omitted], to apples, I much question, since it is not his custom to try
to adorn his verses with varieties of epithets, as with gay and florid
colors. But in every verse he gives some description of the substance
and virtue of the subject which he treats; as when he calls the body
encircling the soul the mortal-surrounding earth; as also when he calls
the air cloud-gathering, and the liver much blooded.

When now I had said these things myself, certain grammarians affirmed,
that those apples were called [Greek omitted] by reason of their vigor
and florid manner of growing; for to blossom and flourish after an
extraordinary manner is by the poets expressed by the word [Greek
omitted]. In this sense, Antimachus calls the city of Cadmeans
flourishing with fruit; and Aratus, speaking of the dog-star Sirius,
says that he

     To some gave strength, but others did ruin,
     Their bloom;

calling the greenness of the trees and the blossoming of the fruit by
the name of [Greek omitted]. Nay, there are some of the Greeks also who
sacrifice to Bacchus surnamed [Greek omitted]. And therefore, seeing the
verdure and floridness chiefly recommend this fruit, philosophers call
it [Greek omitted]. But Lamprias our grandfather used to say that the
word [Greek omitted] did not only denote excess and vehemency, but
external and supernal; thus we call the upper frame of a door [Greek
omitted], and the upper portion of the house [Greek omitted]; and the
poet calls the outward parts of the victim the upper-flesh, as he calls
the entrails the inner-flesh. Let us see therefore, says he, whether
Empedocles did not make use of this epithet in this sense, seeing that
other fruits are encompassed with an outward rind and with certain
coatings and membranes, but the only cortex rind that the apple has is
a glutinous and smooth tunic (or core) containing the seed, so that the
part which can be eaten, and lies without, was properly called [Greek
omitted], that IS OVER or OUTSIDE OF THE HUSK.



This discourse ended, the next question was about fig-trees, how so
luscious and sweet fruit should come from so bitter a tree. For the leaf
from its roughness is called [Greek omitted]. The wood of it is full of
sap, and as it burns sends forth a very biting smoke; and the ashes of
it thoroughly burnt are so acrimonious, that they make a lye extremely
detersive. And, which is very strange, all other trees that bud and bear
fruit put forth blossoms too; but the fig-tree never blossoms. And if
(as some say) it is never thunderstruck, that likewise may be attributed
to the sharp juices and bad temper of the stock; for such things are as
secure from thunder as the skin of a sea calf or hyena. Then said the
old man: It is no wonder that when all the sweetness is separated and
employed in making the fruit, that which is left should be bitter and
unsavory. For as the liver, all the gall being gathered in its proper
place, is itself very sweet; so the fig-tree having parted with its oil
and sweet particles to the fruit, reserves no portion for itself. For
that this tree hath some good juice, I gather from what they say of rue,
which growing under a fig-tree is sweeter than usual, and hath a sweeter
and more palatable juice, as if it drew some sweet particles from the
tree which mollified its offensive and corroding qualities; unless
perhaps, on the contrary, the fig-tree robbing it of its nourishment
draws likewise some of its sharpness and bitterness away.



Florus, when we were entertained at his house, put this question, What
are those in the proverb who are said to be about the salt and cummin?
Apollophanes the grammarian presently satisfied him, saying, by that
proverb were meant intimate acquaintance, who could sup together on salt
and cummin. Thence we proceeded to inquire how salt should come to be so
much honored as it is; for Homer plainly says,

     And after that he strewed his salt divine
     ("Iliad," ix. 214.)

and Plato delivers that by man's laws salt is to be accounted most
sacred. And this difficulty was increased by the customs of the Egyptian
priests, who professing chastity eat no salt, no, not so much as in
their bread. For if it be divine and holy, why should they avoid it?

Florus bade us not mind the Egyptians, but speak according to the
Grecian custom on the present subject. But I replied: The Egyptians are
not contrary to the Greeks in this matter; for the profession of purity
and chastity forbids getting children, laughter, wine, and many other
very commendable and lawful things; and perhaps these priests
avoid salt, as being, according to some men's opinions, by its heat
provocative and apt to raise lust. Or they refuse it as the most
pleasant of all sauces, for indeed salt may be called the sauce of all
sauces; and therefore some call salt [Greek omitted]; because it makes
food, which is necessary for life, to be relishing and pleasant.

What then, said Florus, shall we say that salt is termed divine for
that reason? Indeed that is very considerable, for men for the most part
deify those common things that are exceeding useful to their necessities
and wants, as water, light, the seasons of the year; and the earth they
do not only think to be divine, but a very god. Now salt is as useful as
either of these, protecting in a way the food as it comes into the body,
and making it palatable and agreeable to the appetite. But consider
farther, whether its power of preserving dead bodies from rotting a long
time be not a divine property, and opposite to death; since it preserves
part, and will not suffer that which is mortal wholly to be destroyed.
But as the soul, which is our diviner part, connects the limbs of
animals, and keeps the composure from dissolution; thus salt applied to
dead bodies, and imitating the work of the soul, stops those parts that
were falling to corruption, binds and confines them, and so makes them
keep their union and agreement with one another. And therefore some of
the Stoics say, that swine's flesh then deserves the name of a body,
when the soul like salt spreads through it and keeps the parts from
dissolution. Besides, you know that we account lightning to be sacred
and divine, because the bodies that are thunderstruck do not rot for a
long time; what wonder is it then, that the ancients called salt as well
as lightning divine, since it hath the same property and power?

I making no reply, Philinus subjoined: Do you not think that that which
is generative is to be esteemed divine, seeing God is the principle of
all things? And I assenting, he continued: Salt, in the opinion of some
men, for instance the Egyptians you mentioned, is very operative that
way; and those that breed dogs, when they find their bitches not apt to
be hot, give them salt and seasoned flesh, to excite and arouse their
sleeping lechery and vigor. Besides, the ships that carry salt breed
abundance of mice; the females, as some imagine, conceiving without the
help of the males, only by licking the salt. But it is most probable
that the salt raiseth an itching in animals, and so makes them salacious
and eager to couple. And perhaps for the same reason they call a
surprising and bewitching beauty, such as is apt to move and entice,
[Greek omitted], SALTISH. And I think the poets had a respect to this
generative power of salt in their fable of Venus springing from the sea.
And it may be farther observed, that they make all the sea gods very
fruitful, and give them large families. And besides, there are no land
animals so fruitful as the sea ones; agreeable to which observation is
that verse of Empedocles,

     Leading the foolish race of fruitful fish.


Timotheus the son of Conon, Sossius Senecio, after a full
enjoyment of luxurious campaign diet, being entertained by Plato in his
Academy, at a neat, homely, and (as Ion says) no surfeiting feast (such
an one as is constantly attended by sound sleep, and by reason of the
calm and pleasant state the body enjoys, rarely interrupted with dreams
and apparitions), the next day, being sensible of the difference, said
that those that supped with Plato were well treated, even the day after
the feast. For such a temper of a body not overcharged, but expedite and
fitted for the ready execution of all its enterprises, is without all
doubt a great help for the more comfortable passing away of the day. But
there is another benefit not inferior to the former, which does usually
accrue to those that sup with Plato, namely, the recollection of those
points that were debated at the table. For the remembrance of those
pleasures which arise from meat and drink is ungenteel, and short-lived
withal, and nothing but the remains of yesterday's smell. But the
subjects of philosophical queries and discourses, being always fresh
after they are imparted, are equally relished by all, as well by those
that were absent as by those that were present at them; insomuch that
learned men even now are as much partakers of Socrates's feasts as those
who really supped with him. But if things pertaining to the body had af
discourse, but of the great variety of dishes, sauces, and other costly
compositions that were prepared in the houses of Callias and Agatho. Yet
there is not the least mention made of any such things, though
questionless they were as sumptuous as possible; but whatever things
were treated of and learnedly discussed by their guests were left upon
record and transmitted to posterity as precedents, not only for
discoursing at table, but also for remembering the things that were
handled at such meetings.



I present you with this Sixth Book of Table Discourses, wherein the
first thing that cometh to be discussed is an inquiry into the reason
why those that are fasting are more inclinable to drink than to eat.
For the assertion carries in it a repugnancy to the standing rules of
reason; forasmuch as the decayed stock of dry nourishment seems more
naturally to call for its proper supplies. Whereupon I told the company,
that of those things whereof our bodies are composed, heat only--or,
however, above all the rest--stands in continual need of such
accessions; for the truth of which this may be urged as a convincing
argument: neither air, water, nor earth requires any matter to feed
upon, or devours whatsoever lies next it; but fire alone doth. Hence
it comes to pass that young men, by reason of their greater share of
natural heat, have commonly greater stomachs than old men; whereas on
the contrary, old men can endure fasting much better, for this only
reason, because their natural heat is grown weaker and decayed. Just so
we see it fares with bloodless animals, which by reason of the want of
heat require very little nourishment. Besides, every one of us finds by
experience, that bodily exercises, clamors, and whatever other actions
by violent motion occasion heat, commonly sharpen our stomachs and get
us a better appetite. Now, as I take it, the most natural and principal
nourishment of heat is moisture, as it evidently appears from flames,
which increase by the pouring in of oil, and from ashes, which are of
the driest things in nature; for after the humidity is consumed by the
fire, the terrene and grosser parts remain without any moisture at all.
Add to these, that fire separates and dissolves bodies by extracting
that moisture which should keep them close and compact. Therefore, when
we are fasting, the heat first of all forces the moisture out of the
relics of the nourishment that remain in the body, and then, pursuing
the other humid parts, preys upon the natural moisture of the flesh
itself. Hence the body like clay becoming dry, wants drink more than
meat; till the heat, receiving strength and vigor by our drinking,
excites an appetite for more substantial food.



After these things were spoke, Philo the physician started the
first question, asserting that thirst did not arise from the want of
nourishment, but from the different transfiguration of certain passages.
For, says he, this may be made evident, partly from what we see happens
to those that thirst in the night, who, if sleep chance to steal upon
them, though they did not drink before, are yet rid of their thirst;
partly from persons in a fever, who, as soon as the disease abates or is
removed, thirst no more. Nay, a great many men, after they have bathed
or vomited, perceive presently that their thirst is gone; yet none
of these add anything to their former moisture, but only the
transfiguration of the pores causeth a new order and disposition. And
this is more evident in hunger; for many sick persons, at the same time
when they have the greatest need of meat, have no stomach. Others,
after they have filled their bellies, have the same stomachs, and their
appetites are rather increased than abated. There are a great many
besides who loathe all sorts of diet, yet by taking of a pickled olive
or caper recover and confirm their lost appetites. This doth clearly
evince, that hunger proceeds from some change in the pores, and not
from any want of sustenance, forasmuch as such kind of food lessens the
defect by adding food, but increases the hunger; and the pleasing relish
and poignancy of such pickles, by binding and straitening the mouth of
the ventricle, and again by opening and loosening of it, beget in it
a convenient disposition to receive meat, which we call by the name of

I must confess this discourse seemed to carry in it some shadow of
reason and probability; but in the main it is directly repugnant to the
chief end of nature, to which appetite directs every animal. For that
makes it desire a supply of what they stand in need of, and avoid a
defect of their proper food. For to deny what especially makes a
living creature differ from an inanimate object as given to us for our
preservation and conservation (being as it were the receiver of what
supplements and agrees with the nature of our body) is the argument of
one who takes no account of natural law, especially when he would add
that the characteristic proceeds from the great or small size of the
pores. Besides, it is absurd to think that a body through the want of
natural heat should be chilled, and should not in like manner hunger
and thirst through the want of natural moisture and nourishment. And
yet this is more absurd, that Nature when overcharged should desire to
disburden herself, and yet should not require to be supplied on account
of emptiness, but on account of some condition or other, I know not
what. Moreover, these needs and supplies in relation to animals have
some resemblance to those we see in husbandry. There are a great many
like qualities and like provisions on both sides. For in a drought we
water our grounds, and in case of excessive heat, we frequently make use
of moderate coolers; and when our fruits are too cold, we endeavor to
preserve and cherish them, by covering and making fences about them. And
for such things as are out of the reach of human power, we implore
the assistance of the gods, that is, to send us softening dews, and
sunshines qualified with moderate winds; that so Nature, being always
desirous of a due mixture, may have her wants supplied. And for this
reason I presume it was that nourishment is called [Greek omitted] (from
[Greek omitted]), because it observes and preserves Nature. Now Nature
is preserved in plants, which are destitute of sense, by the favorable
influence of the circumambient air (as Empedocles says), moistening them
in such a measure as is most agreeable to their nature. But as for us
men, our appetites prompt us on to the chase and pursuance of whatsoever
is wanting to our natural temperament.

But now let us pass to the examination of the truth of the arguments
that seem to favor the contrary opinion. And for the first, I suppose
that those meats that are palatable and of a quick and sharp taste do
not beget in us an appetite, but rather bite and fret those parts that
receive the nourishment, as we find that scratching the skin causes
itching. And supposing we should grant that this affection or
disposition is the very thing which we call the appetite, it is probable
that, by the operation of such kind of food as this, the nourishment
may be made small, and so much of it as is convenient for Nature
severed from the rest, so that the indigency proceeds not from the
transmutation, but from the evacuation and purgation of the passages.
For sharp, tart, and salt things grate the inward matter, and by
dispersing of it cause digestion, so that by the concoctions of the old
there may arise an appetite for new. Nor does the cessation of thirst
after bathing spring from the different position of the passages, but
from a new supply of moisture received into the flesh, and conveyed
from thence to them also. And vomiting, by throwing off whatever is
disagreeable to Nature, puts her in a capacity of enjoying what is
most suitable for her. For thirst does not call for a superfluity of
moisture, but only for so much as sufficeth Nature; and therefore,
though a man had plenty of disagreeable and unnatural moisture, yet he
wants still, for that stops the course of the natural, which Nature is
desirous of, and hinders a due mixture and temperament, till it be cast
out and the pores receive what is most proper and convenient for them.
Moreover, a fever forces all the moisture downward; and the middle parts
being in combustion, it all retires thither, and there is shut up and
forcibly detained. And therefore it is usual with a great many to vomit,
by reason of the density of the inward parts squeezing out the moisture,
and likewise to thirst, by reason of the poor and dry state the rest of
the body is in. But after the violence of the distemper is once abated,
and the raging heat hath left the middle parts, the moisture begins to
disperse itself again; and according to its natural motion, by a speedy
conveyance into all the parts, it refreshes the entrails, softens and
makes tender the dry and parched flesh. Very often also it causes sweat,
and then the defect which occasioned thirst ceases; for the moisture
leaving that part of the body wherein it was forcibly detained, and
out of which it hardly made an escape, retires to the place where it is
wanted. For as it fares with a garden wherein there is a large well,--if
nobody draw thereof and water it, the herbs must needs wither and
die,--so it fares with a body; if all the moisture be contracted into
one part, it is no wonder if the rest be in want and dry, till it is
diffused again over the other limbs. Just so it happens to persons in a
fever, after the heat of the disease is over, and likewise to those
who go to sleep thirsty. For in these, sleep draws the moisture to the
middle parts, and equally distributes it amongst the rest, satisfying
them all. But, I pray, what kind of transfiguration of the passages
is this which causes hunger and thirst? For my part, I know no other
distinction of the pores but in respect of their number or that some of
them are shut, others open. As for those that are shut, they can neither
receive meat nor drink; and as for those that are open, they make an
empty space, which is nothing but a want of that which Nature requires.
Thus, sir, when men dye cloth, the liquor in which they dip it hath very
sharp and abstersive particles; which, consuming and scouring off all
the matter that filled the pores, make the cloth more apt to receive the
dye, because its pores are empty and want something to fill them up.



After we had gone thus far, the master of the feast told the company
that the former points were reasonably well discussed; and waiving at
present the discourse concerning the evacuation and repletion of the
pores, he requested us to fall upon another question, that is, how it
comes to pass that hunger is stayed by drinking, when, on the contrary,
thirst is more violent after eating. Those who assign the reason to be
in the pores seem with a great deal of ease and probability, though not
with so much truth, to explain the thing. For seeing the pores in all
bodies are of different sorts and sizes, the more capacious receive both
dry and humid nourishment, the lesser take in drink, not meat; but the
vacuity of the former causes hunger, of the latter thirst. Hence it is
that men that thirst are never better after they have eaten, the pores
by reason of their straitness denying admittance to grosser nourishment,
and the want of suitable supply still remaining. But after hungry men
have drunk, the moisture enters the greater pores, fills the empty
spaces, and in part assuages the violence of the hunger.

Of this effect, said I, I do not in the least doubt, but I do not
approve of the reason they give for it. For if any one should admit
these pores (which some are so unreasonably fond of) to be in the flesh,
he must needs make it a very soft, loose, flabby substance; and that the
same parts do not receive the meat and drink, but that they run through
different canals and strainers in them, seems to me to be a very strange
and unaccountable opinion. For the moisture mixes with the dry food, and
by the assistance of the natural heat and spirits cuts the nourishment
far smaller than any cleaver or chopping-knife, to the end that every
part of it may be exactly fitted to each part of the body, not applied,
as they would have it, to little vessels and pores, but united and
incorporated with the whole substance. And unless the thing were
explained after this manner, the hardest knot in the question would
still remain unsolved. For a man that has a thirst upon him, supposing
he eats and doth not drink, is so far from quenching, that he does
highly increase it. This point is yet undiscussed. But mark, said I,
whether the positions on my side be clear and evident or not. In
the first place, we take it for granted that moisture is wasted and
destroyed by heat, that the drier parts of the nourishment qualified and
softened by moisture, are diffused and fly away in vapors. Secondly, we
must by no means suppose that all hunger is a total privation of dry,
and thirst of humid nutriment, but only a moderate one, and such as
is sufficient to cause the one or the other; for whoever are wholly
deprived of either of these, they neither hunger nor thirst, but die
instantly. These things being laid down as a foundation, it will be no
hard matter to find out the cause. For thirst is increased by eating
for this reason, because that meat by its natural siccity contracts and
destroys all that small quantity of moisture which remained scattered
here and there through the body; just as happens in things obvious to
our senses; we see the earth, dust, and the like presently suck in the
moisture that is mixed with them. Now, on the contrary, drink must of
necessity assuage hunger; for the moisture watering and diffusing itself
through the dry and parched relics of the meat we ate last, by turning
them into thin juices, conveys them through the whole body, and succors
the indigent parts. And therefore with very good reason Erasistratus
called moisture the vehicle of the meat; for as soon as this is mixed
with things which by reason of their dryness, or some other quality,
are slow and heavy, it raises them up and carries them aloft. Moreover,
several men, when they have drunk nothing at all, but only washed
themselves, all on a sudden are freed from a very violent hunger,
because the extrinsic moisture entering the pores makes the meat within
more succulent and of a more nourishing nature, so that the heat and
fury of the hunger declines and abates; and therefore a great many of
those who have a mind to starve themselves to death live a long time
only by drinking water; that is, as long as the siccity does not quite
consume whatever may be united to and nourish the body.



One of the strangers at the the table, who took wonderful great delight
in drinking of cold water, had some brought to him by the servants,
cooled after this manner; they had hung in the well a bucket full of the
same water, so that it could not touch the sides of the well, and there
let it remain, all night: the next day, when it was brought to table, it
was colder than the water that was newdrawn. Now this gentleman was an
indifferent good scholar, and therefore told the company that he had
learned this from Aristotle, who gives the reason of it. The reason
which he assigned was this. All water, when it hath been once hot, is
afterwards more cold; as that which is prepared for kings, when it hath
boiled a good while upon the fire, is afterwards put into a vessel set
round with snow, and so made colder; just as we find our bodies more
cool after we have bathed, because the body, after a short relaxation
from heat, is rarefied and more porous, and therefore so much the more
fitted to receive a larger quantity of air, which causes the alteration.
Therefore the water, when it is drawn out of the well, being first
warmed in the air, grows presently cold.

Whereupon we began to commend the man very highly for his happy memory;
but we called in question the pretended reason. For if the air wherein
the vessel hangs be cold, how, I pray, does it heat the water? If hot,
how does it afterwards make it cold? For it is absurd to say, that the
same thing is affected by the same thing with contrary qualities, no
difference at all intervening. While the gentleman held his peace, as
not knowing what to say; there is no cause, said I, that we should
raise any scruple concerning the nature of the air, forasmuch as we
are ascertained by sense that it is cold, especially in the bottom of a
well; and therefore we can never imagine that it should make the water
hot. But I should rather judge this to be the reason: the cold air,
though it cannot cool the great quantity of water which is in the well,
yet can easily cool each part of it, separate from the whole.



I suppose you may remember that what Aristotle says in his problems, of
little stones and pieces of iron, how it hath been observed by some that
being thrown into the water they temper and cool it. This is no more
than barely asserted by him; but we will go farther and inquire into
the reason of it, the discovery of which will be a matter of difficulty.
Yes, says I, it will so, and it is much if we hit upon it; for do but
consider, first of all, do not you suppose that the air which comes in
from without cools the water? But now air has a great deal more power
and force, when it beats against stones and pieces of iron. For they do
not, like brazen and earthen vessels, suffer it to pass through; but, by
reason of their solid bulk, beat it back and reflect it into the water,
so that upon all parts the cold works very strongly. And hence it comes
to pass that rivers in the winter are colder than the sea, because the
cold air has a power over them, which by reason of its depth it has not
over the sea, where it is scattered without any reflection. But it is
probable that for another reason thinner waters may be made colder
by the air than thicker, because they are not so strong to resist its
force. Now whetstones and pebbles make the water thinner by drawing to
them all the mud and other grosser substances that be mixed with it,
that so by taking the strength from it may the more easily be wrought
upon by the cold. But besides, lead is naturally cold, as that which,
being dissolved in vinegar, makes the coldest of all poisons, called
white-lead; and stones, by reason of their density, raise cold in the
bottom of the water. For every stone is nothing else but a congealed
lump of frozen earth, though some more or less than others; and
therefore it is no absurdity to say that stones and lead, by reflecting
the air, increase the coldness of the water.




Then the stranger, after he had made a little pause, said: Men in love
are ambitious to be in company with their sweethearts; when that is
denied them, they desire at least to talk of them. This is my case
in relation to snow; and, because I cannot have it at present, I am
desirous to learn the reason why it is commonly preserved by the hottest
things. For, when covered with chaff and cloth that has never been at
the fuller's, it is preserved a long time. Now it is strange that the
coldest things should be preserved by the hottest.

Yes, said I, it is a very strange thing, if true. But it is not so; and
we cozen ourselves by presently concluding a thing to be hot if it have
a faculty of causing heat, when as yet we see that the same garment
causes heat in winter, and cold in summer. Thus the nurse in the

     In garments thin doth Niobe's children fold,
     And sometimes heats and sometimes cools the babes.

The Germans indeed make use of clothes only against the cold, the
Ethiopians only against the heat; but they are useful to us upon both
accounts. Why therefore should we rather say the clothes are hot,
because they cause heat, than cold, because they cause cold? Nay, if we
must be tried by sense, it will be found that they are more cold than
hot. For at the first putting on of a coat it is cold, and so is our
bed when we lie down; but afterwards they grow hot with the heat of
our bodies, because they both keep in the heat and keep out the cold.
Indeed, feverish persons and others that have a violent heat upon them
often change their clothes, because they perceive that fresh ones at the
first putting on are much colder; but within a very little time their
bodies make them as hot as the others. In like manner, as a garment
heated makes us hot, so a covering cooled keeps snow cold. Now that
which causes this cold is the continual emanations of a subtile spirit
the snow has in it, which spirit, as long as it remains in the snow,
keeps it compact and close; but, after once it is gone, the snow melts
and dissolves into water, and instantly loses its whiteness, occasioned
by a mixture of this spirit with a frothy moisture. Therefore at the
same time, by the help of these clothes, the cold is kept in, and the
external air is shut out, lest it should thaw the concrete body of the
snow. The reason why they make use of cloth that has not yet been at the
fuller's is this, because that in such cloth the hair and coarse flocks
keep it off from pressing too hard upon the snow, and bruising it. So
chaff lying lightly upon it does not dissolve the body of the snow,
besides the chaff lies close and shuts out the warm air, and keeps in
the natural cold of the snow. Now that snow melts by the evaporating of
this spirit, we are ascertained by sense; for when snow melts it raises
a vapor.



Niger, a citizen of ours, was lately come from school, after he had
spent some time under the discipline of a celebrated philosopher, but
had absorbed nothing but those faults by which his master was odious to
others, especially his custom of reproving and of carping at whatever
upon any occasion chanced to be discussed in company. And therefore,
when we were at supper one time at Aristio's, not content to assume to
himself a liberty to rail at all the rest of the preparations as too
profuse and extravagant, he had a pique at the wine too, and said
that it ought not to be brought to table strained, but that, observing
Hesiod's rule, we ought to drink it new out of the vessel. Moreover, he
added that this way of purging wine takes the strength from it, and robs
it of its natural heat, which, when wine is poured out of one vessel
into another, evaporates and dies. Besides he would needs persuade us
that it showed too much of a vain curiosity, effeminacy, and luxury,
to convert what is wholesome into that which is palatable. For as the
riotous, not the temperate, use to cut cocks and geld pigs, to make
their flesh tender and delicious, even against Nature; just so (if we
may use a metaphor, says he) those that strain wine geld and emasculate
it, whilst their squeamish stomachs will neither suffer them to drink
pure wine, nor their intemperance to drink moderately. Therefore they
make use of this expedient, to the end that it may render the desire
they have of drinking plentifully more excusable. So they take all the
strength from the wine, leaving the palatableness still: as we use to
deal with those with whose constitution cold water does not agree, to
boil it for them. For they certainly take off all the strength from the
wine, by straining of it. And this is a great argument, that the wine
deads, grows flat, and loses its virtue, when it is separated from the
lees, as from its root and stock; for the ancients for very good reason
called wine lees, as we use to signify a man by his head or soul, as
the principal part of him. So in Greek, grape-gatherers are said [Greek
omitted], the word being derived from [Greek omitted], which signifies
lees; and Homer in one place calls the fruit of the wine [Greek
omitted], and the wine itself high-colored and red,--not pale and
yellow, such as Aristio gives us to supper, after all the goodness is
purged out of it.

Then Aristio smiling presently replied: Sir, the wine I bring to table
does not look so pale and lifeless as you would have it: but it appears
only in the cup to be mild and well qualified. But for your part, you
would glut yourself with night wine, which raises melancholy vapors; and
upon this account you cry out against purgation, which, by carrying off
whatever might cause melancholy or load men's stomachs, and make them
drunk or sick, makes it mild and pleasant to those that drink it, such
as heroes (as Homer tells us) were formerly wont to drink. And it
was not dark wine which he called [Greek omitted], but clear and
transparent; for otherwise he would never have named brass [Greek
omitted], after characterizing it as man-exalting and resplendent.
Therefore as the wise Anacharsis, discommending some things that the
Grecians enjoined, commended their coals, because they leave the smoke
without doors, and bring the fire into the house; so you judicious men
might blame me for some other reason than this. But what hurt, I pray,
have I done to the wine, by taking from it a turbulent and noisome
quality, and giving it a better taste, though a paler color? Nor have
I brought you wine to the table which, like a sword, hath lost its edge
and vigorous relish, but such as is only purged of its dregs and filth.
But you will say that wine not strained hath a great deal more strength.
Why so, my friend? One that is frantic and distracted has more strength
than a man in his wits; but when, by the help of hellebore or some other
fit diet, he is come to himself, that rage and frenzy leave him
and quite vanish, and the true use of his reason and health of body
presently comes into its place. In like manner, purging of wine takes
from it all the strength that inflames and enrages the mind, and gives
it instead thereof a mild and wholesome temper; and I think there is a
great deal of difference between gaudiness and cleanliness. For women,
while they paint, perfume, and adorn themselves with jewels and purple
robes, are accounted gaudy and profuse; yet nobody will find fault with
them for washing their faces, anointing themselves, or platting their
hair. Homer very neatly expresses the difference of these two habits,
where he brings in Juno dressing herself:--

     With sweet ambrosia first she washed her skin,
     And after did anoint herself with oil.
     ("Iliad," xiv. 170.)

So much was allowable, being no more than a careful cleanliness. But
when she comes to call for her golden buttons, her curiously wrought
earrings, and last of all puts on her bewitching girdle, this appears
to be an extravagant and idle curiosity, and betrays too much of
wantonness, which by no means becomes a married woman. Just so they that
sophisticate wine by mixing it with aloes, cinnamon, or saffron bring it
to the table like a gorgeous-apparelled woman, and there prostitute it.
But those that only take from it what is nasty and no way profitable
do only purge it and improve it by their labor. Otherwise you may find
fault with all things whatsoever as vain and extravagant, beginning at
the house you live in. As first, you may say, why is it plastered?
Why does it open especially on that side where it may have the best
convenience for receiving the purest air, and the benefit of the evening
sun? What is the reason that our cups are washed and made so clean that
they shine and look bright? Now if a cup ought to have nothing that is
nasty or loathsome in it, ought that which is drunk out of the cup to
be full of dregs and filth? What need is there for mentioning anything
else? The making corn into bread is a continual cleansing; and yet what
a great ado there is before it is effected! There is not only threshing,
winnowing, sifting, and separating the bran, but there must be kneading
the dough to soften all parts alike, and a continual cleansing and
working of the mass till all the parts become edible alike. What
absurdity is it then by straining to separate the lees, as it were the
filth of the wine, especially since the cleansing is no chargeable or
painful operation?



There is a certain sacrifice of very ancient institution, which the
chief magistrate or archon performs always in the common-hall, and every
private person in his own house. 'Tis called the driving out of bulimy;
for they whip out of doors some one of their servants with a bunch of
willow rods, repeating these words, Get out of doors, bulimy; and enter
riches and health. Therefore in my year there was a great concourse of
people present at the sacrifice; and, after all the rites and ceremonies
of the sacrifice were over, when we had seated ourselves again at the
table, there was an inquiry made first of all into the signification of
the word bulimy, then into the meaning of the words which are repeated
when the servant is turned out of doors. But the principal dispute was
concerning the nature of it, and all its circumstances. First, as for
the word bulimy, it was agreed upon by all to denote a great and public
famine, especially among us who use the Aeolic dialect, putting [Greek
omitted] for [Greek omitted]. For it was not called by the ancients
[Greek omitted] but [Greek omitted], that is, [Greek omitted], much
hunger. We concluded that it was not the same with the disease called
Bubrostis, by an argument fetched out of Metrodorus's Ionics. For the
said Metrodorus informs us that the Smyrnaeans, who were once Aeolians,
sacrificed to Bubrostis a black bull cut into pieces with the skin on,
and so burnt it. Now, forasmuch as every species of hunger resembles
a disease, but more particularly Bulimy, which is occasioned by an
unnatural disposition of the body, these two differ as riches and
poverty, health and sickness. But as the word NAUSEATE [Greek omitted]
first took its name from men who were sea-sick in a ship, and afterwards
custom prevailed so far that the word was applied to all persons that
were any way in like sort affected; so the word BULIMY, rising at first
from hence, was at last extended to a more large and comprehensive
signification. What has been hitherto said was a general club of the
opinions of all those who were at table.

But after we began to inquire after the cause of this disease, the first
thing that puzzled us was to find out the reason why bulimy seizes
upon those that travel in the snow. As Brutus, one time marching from
Dyrrachium to Apollonia in a deep snow, was endangered of his life by
bulimy, whilst none of those that carried the provisions for the army
followed him; just when the man was ready to faint and die, some of his
soldiers were forced to run to the walls of the enemies' city, and beg a
piece of bread of the sentinels, by the eating of which he was presently
refreshed; for which cause, after Brutus had made himself master of the
city, he treated all the inhabitants very mercifully. Asses and horses
are frequently troubled with bulimy, especially when they are laden with
dry figs and apples; and, which is yet more strange, of all things that
are eaten, bread chiefly refreshes not only men but beasts; so that,
by taking a little quantity of bread, they regain their strength and go
forward on their journey.

After all were silent, I (who had observed that dull fellows and those
of a less piercing judgment were satisfied with and did acquiesce in
the reasons the ancients gave for bulimy, but to men of ingenuity and
industry they only pointed out the way to a more clear discovery of the
truth of the business) mentioned Aristotle's opinion, who says, that
extreme cold without causes extreme heat and consumption within; which,
if it fall into the legs, makes them lazy and heavy, but if it come
to the fountain of motion and respiration, occasions faintings and
weakness. When I had said that, some of the company opposed it, others
held with me.

At length says Soclarus: I like the beginning of this reason very
well, for the bodies of travellers in a great snow must of necessity be
surrounded and condensed with cold; but that from the heat within there
should arise such a consumption as invades the principle of respiration,
I can no way imagine. I rather think, says he, that abundance of heat
penned up in the body consumes the nourishment, and that failing, the
fire as it were goes out. Here it comes to pass, that men troubled with
this bulimy, when they are ready to starve with hunger, if they eat
never so little meat, are presently refreshed. The reason is, because
meat digested is like fuel for the heat to feed upon.

But Cleomenes the physician would have the word [Greek omitted] (which
signifies hunger) to be added to the making up of the word [Greek
omitted] without sufficient reason; as [Greek omitted], to drink, is
added to [Greek omitted], to swallow; and [Greek omitted] to incline,
into [Greek omitted] to raise the head. Nor is bulimy, as it seems, a
kind of hunger, but an affection in the stomach causing a faintness on
account of the concourse of heat. Therefore as things that have a good
smell recall the spirits of those that are faint, so bread affects those
that are almost overcome with a bulimy; not that they have any need of
food (for the least piece of it restores them their strength), but the
bread calls back their vigor and languishing spirits. Now that bulimy is
not hunger but a faintness, is manifest from all laboring beasts, which
are seized with it very often through the smell of dry figs and apples;
for a smell does not cause any want of food, but rather a pain and
agitation in the stomach.

These things seemed to be reasonably well urged; and yet it seemed that
much might be said for the contrary opinion, and that it was possible
enough to maintain that bulimy ariseth not from condensation but
rarefication of the stomach. For the spirit which flows from the snow
is nothing but the aether and finest fragment of the frozen substance,
endued with a virtue of cutting and dividing not only the flesh, but
also silver and brazen vessels; for we see that these are not able to
keep in the snow, for it dissolves and evaporates, and glazes over the
outmost superficies of the vessels with a thin dew, not unlike to
ice, which this spirit leaves as it secretly passes through the pores.
Therefore this piercing spirit, like a flame, seizing upon those that
travel in the snow, seems to burn their outsides, and like fire to enter
and penetrate the flesh. Hence it is that the flesh is more rarefied,
and the heat is extinguished by the cold spirit that lies upon the
superficies of the body; therefore the body evaporates a dewy thin
sweat, which melts away and decays the strength. Now if a man should sit
still at such a time, there would not much heat fly out of his body. But
when the motion of the body doth quickly heat the nourishment, and that
heat bursts through the thin skin, there must necessarily be a great
loss of strength. Now we know by experience, that cold hath a virtue not
only to condense but also to loosen bodies; for in extreme cold winters
pieces of lead are found to sweat. And when we see that a bulimy happens
where there is no hunger, we may conclude that at that time the body
is rather in a fluid than condensed state. The reason that bodies are
rarefied in winter is because of the subtility of the spirit; especially
when the moving and tiring of the body stir the heat, which, as soon as
it is subtilized and agitated, flies apace, and spreads itself through
the whole body. Lastly, it is very possible that apples and dry figs
exhale some such thing as this, which rarefies and attenuates the heat
of the beasts; for some things have a natural tendency as well to weaken
as to refresh different creatures.



It was the subject once of a discourse, why, when there are several
sorts of liquids, the poet should give every one of them a peculiar
epithet, calling milk white, honey yellow, wine red, and yet for all
this bestow no other upon oil but what it hath in common with all other
liquids. To this it was answered that, as that is said to be most sweet
which is perfectly sweet, and to be most white which is perfectly white
(I mean here by perfectly that which hath nothing of a contrary quality
mixed with it), so that ought to be called perfectly humid whereof never
a part is dry; and this is proper to oil.

For first of all, its smoothness shows the evenness of its parts; for
touch it where you please, it is all alike. Besides, you may see your
face in it as perfectly as in a mirror; for there is nothing rough in it
to hinder the reflection, but by reason of its humidity it reflects
to the eye the least particle of light from every portion. As, on
the contrary, milk, of all other liquids, does not return our images,
because it hath too many terrene and gross parts mixed with it; again,
oil of all other liquids makes the least noise when moved, for it is
perfectly humid. When other liquids are moved or poured out, their hard
and grosser parts fall and dash one against another, and so make a noise
by reason of their roughness. Moreover, oil only is pure and unmixed;
for it is of all other liquids most compact, nor has it any empty spaces
and pores between the dry and earthy parts to receive what chances to
fall upon it. Besides, because of the similitude of its parts, it is
closely joined together, and unfit to be joined to anything else. When
oil froths, it does not let any wind in, by reason of the contiguity and
subtility of its parts; and this is also the cause why fire is nourished
by it. For fire feeds upon nothing but what is moist, for nothing is
combustible but what is so; for when the fire is kindled, the air turns
to smoke, and the terrene and grosser parts remain in the ashes. Fire
only preys upon the moisture, which is its natural nourishment. Indeed,
water, wine, and other liquors, having abundance of earthy and heavy
parts in them, by falling into fire part it, and by their roughness and
weight smother and extinguish it. But oil, because purely liquid, by
reason of its subtility, is overcome by the fire, and so changed into

It is the greatest argument that can be of its humidity, that the least
quantity of it spreads itself a great way; for so small a drop of honey,
water, or any other liquid does not extend itself so far, but very
often, by reason of the dry mixed parts, is presently wasted. Because
oil is ductile and soft, men are wont to make use of it for anointing
their bodies; for it runs along and spreads itself through all the
parts, and sticks so firmly to them that it is not easily washed off.
We find by experience, that a garment wet with water is presently dried
again; but it is no easy matter to wash out the spots and stain of oil,
for it enters deep, because of its most subtile and humid nature.
Hence it is that Aristotle says, that the drops of diluted wine are the
hardest to be got out of clothes, because they are most subtile, and run
farther into the pores of the cloth.



At supper we were commanding Aristio's cook, who, amongst other dishes
that he had dressed very curiously, brought a cock to table just killed
as a sacrifice to Hercules, as tender as though it had been killed a
day or two before. When Aristio told us that this was no wonder,--seeing
such a thing might very easily be done, if the cock, as soon as he was
killed, was hung upon a fig-tree,--we began to inquire into the reason
of what he asserted. Indeed, I must confess, our eye assures us that
a fig-tree sends out a fierce and strong spirit; which is yet more
evident, from what we have heard said of bulls. That is, a bull, after
he is tied to a fig-tree, though never so mad before, grows presently
tame, and will suffer you to touch him, and on a sudden all his rage and
fury cool and die. But the chiefest cause that works this change is the
sharp acrimonious quality of the tree. For this tree is the fullest of
sap, and so are its figs, wood, and bark; and hence it comes to pass,
that the smoke of fig-wood is most offensive to the eyes; and when it
is burned, its ashes make the best lye to scour withal. But all these
effects proceed from heat. Now there are some that say, when the sap
of this tree thrown into milk curds it, that this effect does not arise
from the irregular figures of the parts of the milk, which the sap joins
and (as it were) sticks together, the smooth and globose parts being
squeezed out, but that by its heat it loosens the unstable and watery
parts of the liquid body. And we may use as a proof the unprofitableness
of the sap of this tree, which, though it is very sweet, yet makes the
worst liquor in the world. For it is not the inequality in the parts
that affects the smooth part, but what is cold and raw is stopped by
heat. And salt help to do this; for it is hot, and works contrary to the
uniting of the parts just mentioned, causing rather a dissolution; for
to it, above all other things, Nature has given a dissolving faculty.
Therefore the fig-tree sends forth a hot and sharp spirit, which cuts
and boils the flesh of the bird. The very same thing may be effected
by placing the flesh upon a heap of corn, or near nitre; the heat will
produce the same that the fig-tree did. Now it may be made manifest that
wheat is naturally hot, in that wine, put into a hogshead and placed
among wheat, is presently consumed.


The Romans, Sossius Senecio, remember a pretty saying of a
pleasant man and good companion, who supping alone said that he had
eaten to-day, but not supped; as if a supper always wanted company and
agreement to make it palatable and pleasing. Evenus said that fire was
the sweetest of all sauces in the world. And Homer calls salt [Greek
omitted], divine; and most call it [Greek omitted], graces, because,
mixed with most part of our food, it makes it palatable and agreeable to
the taste. Now indeed the best and most divine sauce that can be at an
entertainment or a supper is a familiar and pleasant friend; not because
he eats and drinks with a man, but because he participates of and
communicates discourse, especially if the talk be profitable, pertinent,
and instructive. For commonly loose talk over a glass of wine raiseth
passions and spoils company, and therefore it is fit that we should be
as critical in examining what discourses as what friends are fit to be
admitted to a supper; not following either the saying or opinion of
the Spartans, who, when they entertained any young man or a stranger in
their public halls, showed him the door, with these words, "No discourse
goes out this way." What we use to talk of may be freely disclosed
to everybody, because we have nothing in our discourses that tends to
looseness, debauchery, debasing of ourselves, or back-biting others.
Judge by the examples, of which this seventh book contains ten.



At a summer entertainment, one of the company pronounced that common

     Now drench thy lungs with wine, the Dog appears.

And Nicias of Nicopolis, a physician, presently subjoined: It is no
wonder that Alcaeus, a poet, should be ignorant of that of which Plato
the philosopher was. Though Alcaeus may be defended; for it is probable
that the lungs, lying near the stomach, may participate of the steam
of the liquor, and be drenched with it. But the philosopher, expressly
delivering that most part of our drink passeth through the lungs, hath
precluded all ways of excuse to those that would be willing to defend
him. For it is a very great and complicated ignorance; for first, it
being necessary that our liquid and dry food should be mixed, it is very
probable that the stomach is the vessel for them both, which throws out
the dry food after it is grown soft and moist into the guts. Besides,
the lungs being a dense and compacted body, how is it possible that,
when we sup gruel or the like, the thicker parts should pass through
them? And this was the objection which Erasistratus rationally made
against Plato. Besides, when he considered for what end every part of
the body was made, and what use Nature designed in their contrivance, it
was easy to perceive that the epiglottis was framed on purpose that when
we drink the windpipe should be shut, and nothing be suffered to fall
upon the lungs. For if anything by chance gets down that way, we are
troubled with retching and coughing till it is thrown up again. And this
epiglottis being framed so that it may fall on either side, whilst we
speak it shuts the weasand, but when we eat or drink it falls upon the
windpipe, and so secures the passage for our breath. Besides, we know
that those who drink by little and little are looser than those who
drink greedily and large draughts; for in the latter the very force
drives it into their bladders, but in the former it stays, and by its
stay is mixed with and moistens the meat thoroughly. Now this could not
be, if in the very drinking the liquid was separated from the dry food;
but the effect follows, because we mix and convey them both together,
using (as Erasistratus phraseth it) the liquid as a vehicle for the dry.

Nicias having done, Protogenes the grammarian subjoined, that Homer was
the first that observed the stomach was the vessel of the food, and the
windpipe (which the ancients called [Greek omitted] of the breath,
and upon the same account they called those who had loud voices [Greek
omitted]). And when he describes how Achilles killed Hector, he says,

     He pierced his weasand, where death enters soon;

and adds,

     But not his windpipe, so that he could speak,
     ("Iliad," xxii. 325-329.)

taking the windpipe for the proper passage of the speech and breath....

Upon this, all being silent, Florus began thus: What, shall we tamely
suffer Plato to be run down? By no means, said I, for if we desert him,
Homer must be in the same condition, for he is so far from denying the
windpipe to be the passage for our drink, that the dry food, in his
opinion, goes the same way. For these are his words:--

     From his gullet [Greek omitted] flowed
     The clotted wine and undigested flesh.
     ("Odyssey," ix. 373.)

Unless perchance you will say that the Cyclops, as he had but one eye,
so had but one passage for his food and voice; or would have [Greek
omitted] to signify weasand, not windpipe, as both all the ancients and
moderns use it. I produce this because it is really his meaning, not
because I want other testimonies, for Plato hath store of learned and
sufficient men to join with him. For not to mention Eupolis, who in his
play called the "Flatterers" says,

     Protagoras bids us drink a lusty bowl,
     That when the Dog appears our lungs may still be moist;

or elegant Eratosthenes, who says,

     And having drenched his lungs with purest wine;

even Euripides, somewhere expressly saying,

     The wine passed through the hollows of the lungs,

shows that he saw better and clearer than Erasistratus. For he saw that
the lungs have cavities and pores, through which the liquids pass. For
the breath in expiration hath no need of pores, but that the liquids and
those things which pass with them might go through, it is made like a
strainer and full of pores. Besides, sir, as to the example of gruel
which you proposed, the lungs can discharge themselves of the thicker
parts together with the thin, as well as the stomach. For our stomach
is not, as some fancy, smooth and slippery, but full of asperities, in
which it is probable that the thin and small particles are lodged,
and so not taken quite down. But neither this nor the other can
we positively affirm; for the curious contrivance of Nature in her
operation is too hard to be explained; nor can we be particularly exact
upon those instruments (I mean the spirit and the heat) which she makes
use of in her works. But besides those we have mentioned to confirm
Plato's opinion, let us produce Philistion of Locri, very ancient and
very famous physician, and Hippocrates too, with his disciple Dioxippus;
for they thought of no other passage but that which Plato mentions. Dio
says, that when we feed, the moist parts are about that separated from
the dry, and the first are carried down the windpipe, the other down the
weasand; and that the windpipe receives no parts of the food, but the
stomach, together with the dry parts, receives some portion of the
liquids. And this is probable, for the epiglottis lies over the
windpipe, as a fence and strainer, that the drink may get in by little
and little, lest descending in a large full stream, it stop the breath
and endanger the life. And therefore birds have no epiglottis, because
they do not sup or lap when they drink, but take up a little in their
beak, and let it run gently down their windpipe.

These testimonies I think are enough; and reason confirms Plato's
opinion by arguments drawn first from sense. For when the windpipe is
wounded, no drink will go down; but as if the pipe were broken it runs
out, though the weasand be whole and unhurt. And all know that in the
inflammation of the lungs the patient is troubled with extreme thirst;
the heat or dryness or some other cause, together with the inflammation,
making the appetite intense. But a stronger evidence than all these
follows. Those creatures that have very small lungs, or none at all,
neither want nor desire drink, because to some parts there belongs a
natural appetite to drink, and those that want those parts have no need
to drink, nor any appetite to be supplied by it. But more, the bladder
would seem unnecessary; for, if the weasand receives both meat and drink
and conveys it to the belly, the superfluous parts of the liquids would
not want a proper passage, one common one would suffice as a canal for
both that were conveyed to the same vessel by the same passage. But now
the bladder is distinct from the guts, because the drink goes from the
lungs, and the meat from the stomach; they being separated as we take
them down. And this is the reason that in our water nothing can be found
that either in smell or color resembles dry food. But if the drink were
mixed with the dry meat in the belly, it must be impregnant with its
qualities, and not come forth so simple and untinged. Besides, a stone
is never found in the stomach, though it is likely that the moisture
should be coagulated there as well as in the bladder, if all the
liquor were conveyed through the weasand then into the belly. But it is
probable at the weasand robs the windpipe of a sufficient quantity of
liquor as it is going down, and useth it to soften and concoct the
meat. And therefore its excrement is never purely liquid; and the lungs,
disposing of the moisture, as of the breath, to all of the parts that
want it, deposit the superfluous portion in the bladder. And I am sure
that this is a much more probable opinion than the other. But which is
the truth cannot perhaps be discovered, and therefore it is not fit
so peremptorily to find fault with the most acute and most famed
philosopher, especially when the matter is so obscure, and the
Platonists can produce such considerable reasons for their position.



We had always some difficulty started about [Greek omitted] and [Greek
omitted], not what humor those words signified (for it is certain that
some, thinking that those seeds which fall on the oxen's horns bear
fruit which is very hard, did by a metaphor call a stiff untractable
fellow by these names), but what was the cause that seeds falling on the
oxen's horns should bear hard fruit. I had often desired my friends to
search no farther, most of all fearing the passage of Theophrastus, in
which he has collected many things whose causes we cannot discover. Such
are the hen's using a straw to purify herself with after she has laid,
the seal's consuming her rennet when she is caught, the deer's burying
his horns, and the goat's stopping the whole herd by holding a branch of
sea-holly in his mouth; and among the rest he reckoned this is a thing
of which we are certain, but whose cause it is very difficult to find.
But once at supper at Delphi, some of my companions--as if we were not
only better counsellors when our bellies are full (as one hath it),
but wine would make us brisker in our inquiries and bolder in our
resolutions desired me to speak somewhat to that problem.

I refused, though I had some excellent men on my side, namely,
Euthydemus my fellow-priest, and Patrocles my relative, who brought
several the like instances, which they had gathered both from husbandry
and hunting; for instance, that those officers that are appointed to
watch the coming of the hail avert the storm by offering a mole's blood
or a woman's cloths; that a wild fig being bound to a garden fig-tree
will keep the fruit from falling and promote their ripening; that deer
when they are taken shed salt tears, and boars sweet. But if you have a
mind to such questions, Euthydemus will presently desire you to give an
account of smallage and cummin; one of the which, if trodden down as
it springs, will grow the better, and the other men curse and blaspheme
whilst they sow it.

This last Florus thought to be an idle foolery; but he said, that we
should not forbear to search into the causes of the other things as if
they were incomprehensible. I have found, said I, your design to draw me
on to this discourse, that you yourself may afterward give us a solution
of the other proposed difficulties.

In my opinion it is cold that causes this hardness in corn and pulse,
by contracting and constipating their parts till the substance becomes
close and extremely rigid; while heat is a dissolving and softening
quality. And therefore those that cite this verse against Homer,

     The season, not the field, bears fruit,

do not justly reprehend him. For fields that are warm by nature, the
air being likewise temperate, bear more mellow fruit than others. And
therefore those seeds that fall immediately on the earth out of the
sower's hand, and are covered presently, and cherished by being covered,
partake more of the moisture and heat that is in the earth. But those
that strike against the oxen's horns do not enjoy what Hesiod names the
best position, but seem to be scattered rather than sown; and therefore
the cold either destroys them quite, or else, lighting upon them as they
lie naked, condenseth their moisture, and makes them hard and woody.
Thus stones that lie under ground and, plant-animals have softer parts
than those that lie above; and therefore stone-cutters bury the stones
they would work, as if they designed to have them prepared and softened
by the heat; but those that lie above ground are by the cold made hard,
rigid, and very hurtful to the tools. And if corn lies long upon the
floor, the grains become much harder than that which is presently
carried away. And sometimes too a cold wind blowing whilst they winnow
spoils the corn, as it hath happened at Philippi in Macedonia; and the
chaff secures the grains whilst on the floor. For is it any wonder that
as husband-men affirm, one ridge will bear soft and fruitful, and the
very next to it hard and unfruitful corn or--which is stranger--that
in the same bean-cod some beans are of this sort, some of the other, as
more or less wind and moisture falls upon this or that?



My father-in-law Alexion laughed at Hesiod, for advising us to drink
freely when the barrel is newly broached or almost out, but moderately
when it is about the middle, since there is the best wine. For who,
said he, doth not know, that the middle of wine, the top of oil, and the
bottom of honey is the best? Yet he bids us spare the middle, and stay
till worse wine runs, when the barrel is almost out. This said, the
company minded Hesiod no more, but began to inquire into the cause of
this difference.

We were not at all puzzled about the honey, everybody almost knowing
that that which is lightest is so because it is rare, and that the
heaviest parts are dense and compact, and by reason of their weight
settle below the others. So, if you turn the vessel, each in a little
time will recover its proper place, the heavier subsiding, and the
lighter rising above the rest. And as for the wine, probable solutions
presently appeared; for its strength consisting in heat, it is
reasonable that it should be contained chiefly in the middle, and there
best preserved; for the lower parts the lees spoil, and the upper are
impaired by the neighboring air. For that the air will impair wine no
man doubts, and therefore we usually bury or cover our barrels, that
as little air as can be might come near them. And besides (which is an
evident sign) a barrel when full is not spoiled so soon as when it is
half empty; because a great deal of air getting into the empty space
troubles and disturbs the liquor, whereas the wine that is in the
unemptied cask is preserved and defended by itself, not admitting much
of the external air, which is apt to injure and corrupt it.

But the oil gave us the most difficulty. One thought that the bottom of
the oil was affected, because it was foul and troubled with the lees;
and that the top was not really better than the rest, but only seemed
so, because it was farthest removed from those corrupting particles.
Others thought the thickness of the liquor to be the reason, which
thickness keeps it from mixing with other humids, unless blended
together and shaken violently; and therefore it will not mix with air,
but keeps it off by its smoothness and close contexture, so that it hath
no power to corrupt it. But Aristotle seems to be against this opinion,
who hath observed that oil grows sweeter by being kept in vessels not
exactly filled, and afterwards ascribes this melioration to the air; for
more air, and therefore more powerful to produce the effect, flows into
a vessel not well filled.

Well then! said I, the same quality in the air may spoil wine, and
better oil. For long keeping improves wine, but spoils oil. Now the air
keeps oil from growing old; for that which is cooled continues fresh
and new, but that which is kept close up, having no way to exhale its
corrupting parts, presently decays, and grows old. Therefore it is
probable that the air coming upon the superficies of the oil keepeth it
fresh and new. And this is the reason that the top of wine is worst, and
of oil best; because age betters the one, and spoils the other.



Florus, who observed the ancient manners, would not let the table
be removed quite empty, but always left some meat upon it; declaring
likewise that his father and grandfather were not only curious in this
matter, but would never suffer the lamp after supper to be put out,--a
thing about which the ancient Romans were very careful,--while those of
to-day put it out immediately after supper, that they may lose no oil.
Eustrophus the Athenian being present said: What could they get by that,
unless they knew the cunning trick of our Polycharmus, who, after long
deliberation how to find out a way to prevent the servants' stealing of
the oil, at last with a great deal of difficulty happened upon this: As
soon as you have put out the lamp, fill it up, and the next morning look
carefully whether it remains full. Then Florus with a smile replied:
Well, since we are agreed about that, let us inquire for what reason the
ancients were so careful about their tables and their lamps.

First, about the lamps. And his son-in-law Caesernius was of opinion
that the ancients abominated all extinction of fire, because of the
relation that it had to the sacred and eternal flame. Fire, like man,
may be destroyed two ways, either when it is violently quenched, or
when it naturally decays. The sacred fire was secured against both ways,
being always watched and continually supplied; but the common fire they
permitted to go out of itself, not forcing or violently extinguishing
it, but not supplying it with nourishment, like a useless beast, that
they might not feed it to no purpose.

Lucius, Florus's son, subjoined, that all the rest of the discourse was
very good, but that they did not reverence and take care of this holy
fire because they thought it better or more venerable than other fire;
but, as amongst the Egyptians some worship the whole species of dogs,
wolves, or crocodiles, yet keep but one wolf, dog, or crocodile (for all
could not be kept), so the particular care which the ancients took of
the sacred fire was only a sign of the respect they had for all fires.
For nothing bears such a resemblance to an animal as fire. It is moved
and nourished by itself, and by its brightness, like the soul, discovers
and makes everything apparent; but in its quenching it principally shows
some power that seems to proceed from our vital principle, for it makes
a noise and resists, like an animal dying or violently slaughtered. And
can you (looking upon me) offer any better reason?

I can find fault, replied I, with no part of the discourse, yet I would
subjoin, that this custom is an instruction for kindness and good-will.
For it is not lawful for any one that hath eaten sufficiently to
destroy the remainder of the food; nor for him that hath supplied his
necessities from the fountain to stop it up; nor for him that hath made
use of any marks, either by sea or land, to ruin or deface them; but
every one ought to leave those things that may be useful to those
persons that afterwards may have need of them. Therefore it is not fit,
out of a saving covetous humor, to put out a lamp as soon as we need it
not; but we ought to preserve and let it burn for the use of those that
perhaps want its light. Thus, it would be very generous to lend our ears
and eyes, nay, if possible, our reason and understanding, to others,
whilst we are idle or asleep. Besides, consider whether to stir up men
to gratitude these minute observances were practised. The ancients
did not act absurdly when they highly reverenced an oak. The Athenians
called one fig-tree sacred, and forbade any one to cut down an
olive. For such observances do not (as some fancy) make men prone to
superstition, but persuade us to be communicative and grateful to one
another, by being accustomed to pay this respect to these senseless and
inanimate creatures. Upon the same reason Hesiod, methinks, adviseth
well, who would not have any meat or broth set on the table out of those
pots out of which there had been no portion offered, but ordered the
first-fruits to be given to the fire, as a reward for the service it did
in preparing it. And the Romans, dealing well with the lamps, did not
take away the nourishment they had once given, but permitted them to
live and shine by it.

When I had said thus, Eustrophus subjoined: This gives us some light
into that query about the table; for they thought that they ought to
leave some portion of the supper for the servants and waiters, for those
are not so well pleased with a supper provided for them apart, as with
the relics of their master's table. And upon this account, they say,
the Persian king did not only send portions from his own table to his
friends, captains, and gentlemen of his bed-chamber, but had always what
was provided for his servants and his dogs served up to his own table;
that as far as possible all those creatures whose service was useful
might seem to be his guests and companions. For, by such feeding in
common and participation, the wildest of beasts might be made tame and

Then I with a smile said: But, sir, that fish there, that according to
the proverb is laid up, why do not we bring out into play together with
Pythagoras's choenix, which he forbids any man to sit upon, thereby
teaching us that we ought to leave something of what we have before us
for another time, and on the present day be mindful of the morrow?
We Boeotians use to have that saying frequently in our mouths, "Leave
something for the Medes," ever since the Medes overran and spoiled
Phocis and the marches of Boeotia; but still, and upon all occasions,
we ought to have that ready, "Leave something for the guests that may
come." And therefore I must needs find fault with that always empty and
starving table of Achilles; for, when Ajax and Ulysses came ambassadors
to him, he had nothing ready, but was forced out of hand to dress
a fresh supper. And when he would entertain Priam, he again bestirs
himself, kills a white ewe, joints and dresses it, and in that work
spent a great part of the night. But Eumaeus (a wise scholar of a wise
master) had no trouble upon him when Telemachus came home, but presently
desired him to sit down, and feasted him, setting before him dishes of
boiled meat,

     The cleanly reliques of the last night's feast.

But if this seems trifling, and a small matter, I am sure it is no small
matter to command and restrain appetite while there are dainties before
you to satisfy and please it. For those that are used to abstain from
what is present are not so eager for absent things as others are.

Lucius subjoining said, that he had heard his grandmother say, that the
table was sacred, and nothing that is sacred ought to be empty. Beside
[omitted]. Therefore as we desire that the earth should always have and
bear something that is useful for us, so we think that we should not let
the table be altogether empty and void of all provision.



At the Pythian games Callistratus, procurator of the Amphictyons,
forbade a piper, his citizen and friend, who did not give in his name in
due time, to appear in the solemnity, according to the law. But afterward
very fine tune; but afterwards, having tickled and sounded the humor
of the whole company, and found that most were inclined to pleasure
and would suffer him to play what effeminate and lascivious tunes he
pleased, throwing aside all modesty, he showed that music was more
intoxicating than wine to those that wantonly and unskilfully use it.
For they were not content to sit still and applaud and clap, but many at
last leaped from their seats, danced lasciviously, and made such gentle
steps as became such effeminate and mollifying tunes. But after they
had done, and the company, as it were recovered of its madness, began
to come to itself again, Lamprias would have spoken to and severely chid
the young men; but as fearing he would be too harsh and give offence,
Callistratus gave him a hint, and drew him on by this discourse:--

For my part, I absolve all lovers of shows and music from intemperance;
yet I cannot altogether agree with Aristoxenus, who says that those
pleasures alone deserve the approbation "fine." For we call viands
and ointments fine; and we say we have finely dined, when we have been
splendidly entertained. Nor, in my opinion, doth Aristotle free those
complacencies we take in shows and songs upon good reason from the
charge of excess, saying, that those belong peculiarly to man, and of
other pleasures beasts have a share. For I am certain that a great many
irrational creatures are delighted with music, as deer with pipes;
and to mares, whilst they are horsing, they play a tune called [Greek
omitted]. And Pindar says, that his songs make him move,

     As brisk as Dolphins, whom a charming tune
     Hath raised from th' bottom of the quiet flood.

And certain fish are taken by means of dancing; for as the dance goes on
they lift up their heads above water, being much pleased and delighted
with the sight, and twisting their backs this way and that way, in
imitation of the dancers. Therefore I see nothing peculiar in those
pleasures, that they should be accounted proper to the mind, and all
others to belong to the body, so far as to end there. But music, rhythm,
dancing, song, passing through the sense, fix a pleasure and titilation
in the sportive part of the soul and therefore none of these pleasures
is enjoyed in secret, nor wants darkness nor walls about it, according
to the women's phrase; but circuses and theatres are built for them.
And to frequent shows and music-meetings with company is both more
delightful and more genteel; because we take a great many witnesses,
not of a luxurious and intemperate, but of a pleasant and respectable,
manner of passing away our time.

Upon this discourse of Callistratus, my father Lamprias, seeing the
musicians grow bolder, said: That is not the reason, sir, and, in my
opinion, the ancients were much out when they named Bacchus the son of
Forgetfulness. They ought to have called him his father; for it seems
he hath made you forget that of those faults which are committed about
pleasures some proceed from a loose intemperate inclination, and others
from heedlessness or ignorance. Where the ill effect is very plain,
there intemperate inclination captivates reason, and forces men to sin;
but where the just reward of intemperance is not directly and presently
inflicted, there ignorance of the danger and heedlessness make men
easily wrought oil and secure. Therefore those that are vicious, either
in eating, drinking, or venery, which diseases, wasting of estates,
and evil reports usually attend, we call intemperate. For instance,
Theodectes, who having sore eyes, when his mistress came to see him,

     All hail, delightful light;

or Anaxarchus the Abderite,

     A wretch who knew what evils wait on sin,
     Yet love of pleasure drove him back again.
     Once almost free, he sank again to vice,
     That terror and disturber of the wise.

Now those that take all care possible to secure themselves from all
those pleasures that assault them either at the smelling, touch,
or taste, are often surprised by those that make their treacherous
approaches either at the eye or ear. But such, though as much led
away as the others, we do not in like manner call incontinent and
intemperate, since they are ruined through ignorance and want of
experience. For they imagine they are far from being slaves to
pleasures, if they can stay all day in the theatre without meat or
drink; as if a pot forsooth should be mighty proud that a man cannot
take it up by the bottom or the belly and carry it away, though he can
easily do it by the ears. And therefore Agesilaus said, it was all one
whether a man were a CINOEDUS before or behind. We ought principally to
dread those softening delights that please and tickle through the eyes
and ears, and not think that city not taken which hath all its other
gates secured by bars, portcullises, and chains, if the enemies
are already entered through one and have taken possession; or fancy
ourselves invincible against the assaults of pleasure, because stews
will not provoke us, when the music-meeting or theatre prevails. For
we in one case as much as the other resign up our souls to the
impetuousness of pleasures, which pouring in those potions of songs,
cadences, and tunes, more powerful and bewitching than the best mixtures
of the most skilful cook or perfumer, conquer and corrupt us; and in the
meantime, by our own confession as it were, the fault is chiefly ours.
Now, as Pindar saith, nothing that the earth and sea hath provided for
our tables can be justly blamed; but neither our meat nor broth, nor
this excellent wine which we drink, hath raised such a noisy tumultous
pleasure as those songs and tunes did, which not only filled the house
with clapping and shouting, but perhaps the whole town. Therefore we
ought principally to secure ourselves against such delights, because
they are more powerful than others; as not being terminated in the body,
like those which allure the touch, taste, or smelling, but affecting
the very intellectual and judging faculties. Besides, from most other
delights, though reason doth not free us, yet other passions very
commonly divert us. Sparing niggardliness will keep a glutton from
dainty fish, and covetousness will confine a lecher from a costly whore.
As in one of Menander's plays, where every one of the company was to
be enticed by the bawd who brought out a surprising whore, but each of
them, though all boon companions,

     Sat sullenly, and fed upon his cates.

For to pay interest for money is a severe punishment that follows
intemperance, and to open our purses is no easy matter. But these
pleasures that are called genteel, and solicit the ears or eyes of those
that are frantic after shows and music, may be had without any charge at
all, in every place almost, and upon every occasion; they may be enjoyed
at the prizes, in the theatre, or at entertainments, at others cost. And
therefore those that have not their reason to assist and guide them may
be easily spoiled.

Silence following upon this, What application, said I, shall reason
make, or how shall it assist? For I do not think it will apply those
ear-covers of Xenocrates, or force us to rise from the table as soon as
we hear a harp struck or a pipe blown. No indeed, replied Lamprias, but
as soon as we meet with the foresaid intoxications, we ought to make our
application to the Muses, and fly to the Helicon of the ancients. To him
that loves a costly strumpet, we cannot bring a Panthea or Penelope
for cure; but one that delights in mimics and buffoons, loose odes, or
debauched songs, we can bring to Euripides, Pindar, and Menander, that
he might wash (as Plato phraseth it) his salt hearing with fresh reason.
As the exorcists command the possessed to read over and pronounce
Ephesian letters, so we in those possessions, during the madness of
music and the dance, when

     We toss our hands with noise, and madly shout,

remembering those venerable and sacred writings, and comparing with them
those odes, poems, and vain empty compositions, shall not be altogether
cheated by them, or permit ourselves to be carried away sidelong, as by
a smooth and undisturbed stream.



Homer makes Menelaus come uninvited to his brother Agamemnon's treat,
when he feasted the commanders;

     For well he knew great cares his brother vexed.
     ("Iliad," ii. 409.)

He did not take notice of the plain and evident omission of his brother,
or show his resentments by not coming, as some surly testy persons
usually do upon such oversights of their best friends; yet they had
rather be overlooked than particularly invited, that they may have some
color for their pettish anger. But about the introduced guests (which we
call shadows) who are not invited by the entertainer, but by some others
of the guests, a question was started, from whom that custom began. Some
thought from Socrates, who persuaded Aristodemus, who was not invited,
to go along with him to Agatho's, where there happened a pretty jest.
For Socrates by chance staying somewhat behind, Aristodemus went in
first; and this seemed very appropriate, for, the sun shining on their
backs, the shadow ought to go before the body. Afterwards it was thought
necessary at all entertainments, especially of great men, when the
inviter did not know their favorites and acquaintance, to desire the
invited to bring his company, appointing such a set number, lest they
should be put to the same shifts which he was put to who invited King
Philip to his country-house. The king came with a numerous attendance,
but the provision was not equal to the company. Therefore, seeing his
entertainer much cast down, he sent some about to tell his friends
privately, that they should keep one corner of their bellies for a large
cake that was to come. And they, expecting this, fed sparingly on the
meat that was set before them, so that the provision seemed sufficient
for them all.

When I had talked thus waggishly to the company Florus had a mind to
talk gravely concerning these shadows, and have it discussed whether
it was fit for those that were so invited to go, or no. His son-in-law
Caesernius was positively against it. We should, says he, following
Hesiod's advice,

     Invite a friend to feast,
     ("Works and Days," 342.)

or at least we should have our acquaintance and familiars to participate
of our entertainments, mirth, and discourse over a glass of wine; but
now, as ferry-men permit their passengers to bring in what fardel they
please, so we permit others to fill our entertainments with any persons,
let them be good companions or not. And I should wonder that any man of
breeding being so (that is, not at all) invited, should go; since, for
the most part, he must be unacquainted with the entertainer, or if he
was acquainted, was not thought worthy to be bidden. Nay, he should be
more ashamed to go to such a one, if he considers that it will look
like an upbraiding of his unkindness, and yet a rude intruding into his
company against his will. Besides, to go before or after the guest that
invites him must look unhandsomely, nor is it creditable to go and stand
in need of witnesses to assure the guests that he doth not come as a
principally invited person, but such a one's shadow. Besides, to attend
others bathing or anointing, to observe his hour, whether he goes
early or late, is servile and gnathonical (for there never was such an
excellent fellow as Gnatho to feed at another man's table). Besides, if
there is no more proper time and place to say,

     Speak, tongue, if thou wilt utter jovial things,

than at a feast, and freedom and raillery is mixed with everything
that is either done or said over a glass of wine, how should he behave
himself, who is not a true principally invited guest, but as it were a
bastard and supposititious intruder? For whether he is free or not, he
lies open to the exception of the company. Besides, the very meanness
and vileness of the name is no small evil to those who do not resent it
but can quietly endure to be called and answer to the name of shadows.
For, by enduring such base names, men are insensibly accustomed and
drawn on to base actions. Therefore, when I make an invitation, for it
is hard to break the custom of a place, I give my guests leave to bring
shadows; but when I myself am invited as a shadow, I assure you I refuse
to go.

A short silence followed this discourse; then Florus began thus: This
last thing you mentioned, sir, is a greater difficulty than the other.
For it is necessary when we invite our friends to give them liberty to
choose their own shadows, as was before hinted; for to entertain them
without their friends is not very obliging, nor is it very easy to know
whom the person we invite would be most pleased with. Then said I to
him: Consider therefore whether those that give their friends this
license to invite do not at the same time give the invited license to
accept the invitation and come to the entertainment. For it is not fit
either to allow or to desire another to do that which is not decent
to be done, or to urge and persuade to that which no one ought to
be persuaded or to consent to do. When we entertain a great man or
stranger, there we cannot invite or choose his company, but must receive
those that come along with him. But when we feast a friend, it will be
more acceptable if we ourselves invite all, as knowing his acquaintance
and familiars; for it tickles him extremely to see that others take
notice that he hath chiefly a respect for such and such, loves their
company most, and is well pleased when they are honored and invited as
well as he. Yet sometimes we must deal with our friend as petitioners do
when they make addresses to a god; they offer vows to all that belong
to the same altar and the same shrine, though they make no particular
mention of their names. For no dainties, wine, or ointment can incline
a man to merriment, as much as a pleasant agreeable companion. For as
it is rude and ungenteel to inquire and ask what sort of meat, wine,
or ointment the person whom we are to entertain loves best; so it is
neither disobliging nor absurd to desire him who hath a great many
acquaintance to bring those along with him whose company he likes most,
and in whose conversation he can take the greatest pleasure. For it is
not so irksome and tedious to sail in the same ship, to dwell in the
same house, or be a judge upon the same bench, with a person whom we do
not like, as to be at the same table with him; and the contrary is
fully as pleasant. An entertainment is a communion of serious or merry
discourse or actions; and therefore, to make a merry company, we should
not pick up any person at a venture, but take only such as are known to
one another and sociable. Cooks, it is true, mix sour and sweet juices,
rough and oily, to make their sauces; but there never was an agreeable
table or pleasant entertainment where the guests were not all of a
piece, and all of the same humor. Now, as the Peripatetics say, the
first mover in nature moves only and is not moved, and the last moved
is moved only but does not move, and between these there is that which
moves and is moved by others; so there is the same analogy between those
three sorts of persons that make up a company,--there is the simple
inviter, the simple invited and the invited that invites another. We
have spoken already concerning the inviter, and it will not be improper,
in my opinion, to deliver my sentiments about the other two. He that
is invited and invites others, should, in my opinion, be sparing in
the number that he brings. He should not, as if he were to forage in
an enemy's country, carry all he can with him; or, like those who go to
possess a new-found land, by the excessive number of his own friends,
incommode or exclude the friends of the inviter, so that the inviter
must be in the same case with those that set forth suppers to Hecate
and the gods who turn away evil, of which neither they nor any of their
family partake, except of the smoke and trouble. It is true they only
speak in waggery that say,

     He that at Delphi offers sacrifice
     Must after meat for his own dinner buy.

But the same thing really happens to him who entertains ill-bred guests
or acquaintances, who with a great many shadows, as it were harpies,
tear and devour his provision. Besides, he should not take anybody that
he may come upon along with him to another's entertainment, but chiefly
the entertainer's acquaintance, as it were contending with him and
preceding him in the invitation. But if that cannot be effected, let him
carry such of his own friends as the entertainer would choose himself;
to a civil modest man, some of complaisant humor; to a learned man,
ingenuous persons; to a man that hath borne office, some of the same
rank; and, in short, such whose acquaintance he hath formerly sought and
would be now glad of. For it will be extremely pleasing and obliging to
bring such into company together; but one who brings to a feast men who
have no likeness at all with the feast-maker, but who are entire aliens
and strangers to him,--as hard drinkers to a sober man,--gluttons and
sumptuous persons to a temperate thrifty entertainer,--or to a young,
merry, boon companion, grave old philosophers solemnly speaking in their
beards,--will be very disobliging, and turn all the intended mirth into
an unpleasant sourness. The entertained should be as obliging to the
entertainer as the entertainer to the entertained; and then he will be
most obliging, when not only he himself, but all those that come by his
means, are pleasant and agreeable.

The last of the three which remains to be spoken of is he that is
invited by one man to another's feast. Now he that disdains and is so
much offended at the name of a shadow will appear to be afraid of a mere
shadow. But in this matter there is need of a great deal of caution,
for it is not creditable readily to go along with every one and to
everybody. But first you must consider who it is that invites; for if he
is not a very familiar friend, but a rich or great man, such who, as if
upon a stage, wants a large or splendid retinue, or such who thinks that
he puts a great obligation upon you and does you a great deal of honor
by this invitation, you must presently deny. But if he is your friend
and particular acquaintance, you must not yield upon the first motion:
but if there seems a necessity for some conversation which cannot be put
off till another time, or if he is lately come from a journey or designs
to go on one, and out of mere good-will and affection seems desirous of
your company, and doth not desire to carry a great many, or strangers,
but only some few friends along with him; or, besides all this, if he
designs to bring you thus invited acquainted with the principal inviter,
who is very worthy of your acquaintance, then consent and go. For as
to ill-humored persons, the more they seize and take hold of us like
thorns, we should endeavor to free ourselves from them or leap over them
the more. If he that invites is a civil and well-bred person, yet doth
not design to carry you to one of the same temper, you must refuse, lest
you should take poison in honey, that is, get the acquaintance of a bad
man by an honest friend. It is absurd to go to one you do not know, and
with whom you never had any familiarity, unless, as I said before, the
person be an extraordinary man, and, by a civil waiting, upon him at
another man's invitation, you design to begin an acquaintance with him.
And those friends you should chiefly go to as shadows, who would come to
you again in the same quality. To Philip the jester, indeed, he seemed
more ridiculous that came to a feast of his own accord than he that was
invited; but to well-bred and civil friends it is more obliging for men
of the same temper to come at the nick of time with other friends, when
uninvited and unexpected; at once pleasing both to those that invite and
those that entertain. But chiefly you must avoid going to rulers, rich
or great men, lest you incur the deserved censure of being impudent,
saucy, rude, and unseasonably ambitious.



At Chaeronea, Diogenianus the Pertamenian being present, we had a long
discourse once at an entertainment about music; and we had a great deal
of trouble to hold out against a great bearded sophister of the Stoic
sect, who quoted Plato as blaming a company that admitted flute-girls
and were not able to entertain one another with discourse. And Philip
the Prusian, of the same sect, said: Those guests of Agatho, whose
discourse was more sweet than the sound of any pipe in the world, were
no good authority in this case; for it was no wonder that in their
company the flute-girl was not regarded; but it is strange that, in the
midst of the entertainment, the extreme pleasantness of the discourse
had not made them forget their meat and drink. Yet Xenophon thought
it not indecent to bring in to Socrates, Antisthenes, and the like the
jester Philip; as Homer doth an onion to make the wine relish. And
Plato brought in Aristophanes's discourse of love, as a comedy, into his
entertainment; and at the last, as it were drawing all the curtains,
he shows a scene of the greatest variety imaginable,--Alcibiades drunk,
frolicking, and crowned. Then follows that pleasant raillery between him
and Socrates concerning Agatho, and the encomium of Socrates; and when
such discourse was going on, good gods! Had it not been allowable, if
Apollo himself had come in with his harp ready to desire the god to
forbear till the argument was out? These men, having such a pleasant
way of discoursing, used these arts and insinuating methods, and graced
their entertainment's by such facetious raillery. But shall we, being
mixed with tradesmen and merchants, and some (as it now and then
happens) ignorants and rustics, banish out of our entertainments this
ravishing delight, or fly the musicians, as if they were Sirens, as soon
as we see them coming? Clitomachus the wrestler, rising and getting
away when any one talked of love, was much wondered at; and should not
a philosopher that banisheth music from a feast, and is afraid of a
musician, and bids his link boy presently light his link and be gone, be
laughed at, since he seems to abominate the most innocent pleasures,
as beetles do ointment? For, if at any time, certainly over a glass of
wine, music should be permitted, and then chiefly the harmonious god
should have the direction of our souls; so that Euripides, though I like
him very well in other things, shall never persuade me that music, as
he would have it, should be applied to melancholy and grief. For there
sober and serious reason, like a physician, should take care of the
diseased men; but those pleasures should be mixed with Bacchus, and
serve to increase our mirth and frolic. Therefore it was a pleasant
saying of that Spartan at Athens, who, when some new tragedians were
to contend for the prize, seeing the preparations of the masters of the
dances, the hurry and busy diligence of the instructors, said, the city
was certainly mad which sported with so much pains. He that designs
to sport should sport, and not buy his case and pleasure with great
expense, or the loss of that time which might be useful to other things;
but whilst he is feasting and free from business, those should be
enjoyed. And it is advisable to try amidst our mirth, whether any profit
is to be gotten from our delights.



When Philip had ended, I hindered the sophister from returning an answer
to the discourse, and said: Let us rather inquire, Diogenianus,
since there are a great many sorts of music, which is fittest for an
entertainment. And let us beg this learned man's judgment in this case;
for since he is not prejudiced or apt to be biased by any sort, there
is no danger that he should prefer that which is pleasantest before that
which is best. Diogenianus joining with me in this request, he presently
began. All other sorts I banish to the theatre and playhouse, and can
only allow that which hath been lately admitted into the entertainments
at Rome, and with which everybody is not yet acquainted. You know,
continued he, that some of Plato's dialogues are purely narrative, and
some dramatic. The easiest of this latter sort they teach their children
to speak by heart; making them to imitate the actions of those persons
they represent, and to form their voice and affections to be agreeable
to the words. This all the grave and well-bred men exceedingly admire;
but soft and effeminate fellows, whose ears ignorance and ill-breeding
hath corrupted, and who, as Aristoxenus phraseth it, are ready to
vomit when they hear excellent harmony, reject it; and no wonder, when
effeminacy prevails.

Philip, perceiving some of the company uneasy at this discourse, said:
Pray spare us, sir, and be not so severe upon us; for we were the first
that found fault with that custom when it first began to be countenanced
in Rome, and reprehended those who thought Plato fit to entertain us
whilst we were making merry, and who would hear his dialogues whilst
they were eating cates and scattering perfumes. When Sappho's songs or
Anaereon's verses are recited, I protest I think it decent to set
aside my cup. But should I proceed, perhaps you would think me much in
earnest, and designing to oppose you, and therefore, together with this
cup which I present my friend, I leave it to him to wash your salt ear
with fresh discourse.

Then Diogenianus, taking the cup, said: Methinks this is very sober
discourse, which makes me believe that the wine doth not please you,
since I see no effect of it; so that I fear I ought to be corrected.
Indeed, many sorts of music are not to be rejected; first, tragedy,
as having nothing familiar enough for an entertainment, and being a
representation of actions attended with grief and extremity of passion.
I reject the sort of dancing which is called Pyladean from Pylades,
because it is full of pomp, very pathetical, and requires a great many
persons; but if we would admit any of those sorts that deserve those
encomiums which Socrates mentions in his discourse about dancing, I like
that sort called Bathyllean, which requires not so high a motion, but
hath something of the character of the Cordax, and resembles the motion
of an Echo, a Pan, or a Satyr frolicking with love. Old comedy is not
fit for men that are making merry, by reason of the excuses that appear
in it; for that vehemency which they use in the parabasis is loud
and indecent, and the liberty they take to scoff and abuse is very
surfeiting, too open, and full of filthy words and lewd expressions.
Besides, as at great men's tables every man hath a servant waiting at
his elbow, so each of his guests would need a grammarian to sit by him,
and explain who is Laespodias in Eupolis, Cinesias in Plato, and
Lampo in Cratinus, and who is each person that is jeered in the play.
Concerning new comedy there is no need of any long discourse. It is so
fitted, so interwoven with entertainments, that it is easier to have a
regular feast without wine, than without Menander. Its phrase is sweet
and familiar, the Humor innocent and easy, so that there is nothing
for men whilst sober to despise, or when merry to be troubled at. The
sentiments are so natural and unstudied, that midst wine, as it were in
fire, they soften and bend the rigidest temper to be pliable and easy.
And the mixture of gravity and jests seems to be contrived for nothing
so aptly as for the pleasure and profit of those that are frolicking and
making merry. The love-scenes in Menander are convenient for those who
have already drunk their cups, and who in a short time must retire home
to their wives; for in all his plays there is no love of boys mentioned,
and all rapes committed on virgins and decently in marriages at last. As
for misses, if they are impudent and jilting, they are bobbed, the young
gallants turning sober, and repenting of their lewd courses. But if they
are kind and constant, either their true parents are discovered, or a
time is determined for intrigue, which brings them at last to obliging
modesty and civil kindness. These things to men busied about other
matters may seem scarce worth taking notice of; but whilst they are
making merry, it is no wonder that the pleasantness and smoothness of
the parts should work a neat conformity and distinction in the hearers
and make their manners like the pattern they have from those genteel

Diogenianus, either designedly or for want of breath ended thus. And
when the sophister attacked him again, and contended that some of
Aristophanes's verses should be read, Philip speaking to me said:
Diogenianus hath had his wish in praising his beloved Menander, and
seems not to care for any of the rest. There are a great many sorts
which we have not at all considered, concerning which I should be very
glad to have your opinion; and the prize for the carvers we will set
up to-morrow, when we are sober, if Diogenianus and this stranger think
fit. Of representations, said I, some are allegorical, and some are
farces; neither of these are fit for an entertainment; the first by
reason of their length and cost, and the latter being so full of filthy
discourse and lewd actions, that they are not fit to be seen by the
foot-boys that wait on civil masters. Yet the rabble, even with
their wives and young sons, sit quietly to be spectators of such
representations as are apt to disturb the soul more than the greatest
debauch in drink. The harp ever since Homer's time was well acquainted
with feasts and entertainments, and therefore it is not fitting to
dissolve such an ancient friendship and acquaintance; but we should only
desire the harpers to forbear their sad notes and melancholy tunes,
and play only those that are delighting, and fit for such as are making
merry. The pipe, if we would, we cannot reject, for the libation in the
beginning of the entertainment requires that as well as the garland.
Then it insinuates and passeth through the ears, spreading even to the
very soul a pleasant sound, which produceth serenity and calmness; so
that, if the wine hath not quite dissolved or driven away all vexing
solicitous anxiety this, by the softness and delightful agreeableness of
its sound, smooths and calms the spirits, if so be that it keeps
within due bounds, and doth not elevate too much, and, by its numerous
surprising divisions, raise an ecstasy in the soul which wine hath
weakened and made easy to be perverted. For as brutes do not understand
a rational discourse, yet lie down or rise up at the sound of a shell or
whistle, or of a chirp or clap; so the brutish part of the soul, which
is either incapable of understanding or obeying reason, men conquer by
songs and tunes, and by music reduce it to tolerable order. But to speak
freely what I think, no pipe nor harp simply played upon, and without a
song with it, can be very fit for an entertainment. For we should still
accustom ourselves to take our chiefest pleasure from discourse, and
spend our leisure time in profitable talk, and use tunes and airs as
a sauce for the discourse, and not singly by themselves, to please the
unreasonable delicacy of our palate. For as nobody is against pleasure
that ariseth from sauce or wine going in with our necessary food, but
Socrates flouts and refuseth to admit that superfluous and vain pleasure
which we take in perfumes and odors at a feast; thus the sound of a pipe
or harp, when singly applied to our ears, we utterly reject, but if
it accompanies words, and together with an ode feasts and delights our
reason, we gladly introduce it. And we believe the famed Marsyas was
punished by Apollo for pretending, when he had nothing but his single
pipe, and his muzzle to apply to his lips, to contend with the harp and
song of the god. Let us only take care that, when we have such guests as
are able to cheer one another with philosophy and good discourse we do
not introduce anything that may rather prove an uneasy hindrance to
the conversation than promote it. For not only those are fools, who, as
Euripides says, having safety at home and in their own power, yet would
hire some from abroad; but those too who, having pleasantness enough
within, are eager after some external pastimes to comfort and delight
them. That extraordinary piece of honor which the Persian king showed
Antalcidas the Spartan seemed rude and uncivil, when he dipped a garland
composed of crocus and roses in ointment, and sent it him to wear, by
that dipping putting a slight upon and spoiling the natural sweetness
and beauty of the flowers. He doth as bad, who having a Muse in his own
breast, and all the pleasantness that would fit an entertainment, will
have pipes and harps play, and by that external adventitious noise
destroy all the sweetness that was proper and his own. But in short, all
ear-delights are fittest then, when the company begins to be disturbed,
to fall out, and quarrel, for then they may prevent raillery and
reproach, and stop the dispute that is running on to sophistical and
unpleasant wrangling, and bridle all babbling declamatory altercations,
so that the company may be freed of noise and quietly composed.



At Nicostratus's table we discoursed of those matters which the
Athenians were to debate of in their next assembly. And one of the
company saying, It is the Persian fashion, sir, to debate midst your
cups; And why, said Glaucias rejoining, not the Grecian fashion? For it
was a Greek that said,

     After your belly's full, your counsel's best.

And they were Greeks who with Agamemnon besieged Troy, to whom, whilst
they were eating and drinking,

     Old Nestor first began a grave debate;
     ("Iliad," vii. 324.)

and he himself advised the king before to call the commanders together
for the same purpose:--

     For the commanders, sir, a feast prepare,
     And see who counsels best, and follow him.
     (Ibid, ix. 70 and 74.)

Therefore Greece, having a great many excellent institutions, and
zealously following the customs of the ancients, hath laid the
foundations of her polities in wine. For the assemblies in Crete called
Andria, those in Sparta called Phiditia, were secret consultations
and aristocratical assemblies; such, I suppose, as the Prytaneum and
Thesmothesium here at Athens. And not different from these is that
night-meeting, which Plato mentions, of the best and most polite men,
to which the greatest, the most considerable and puzzling matters are
assigned. And those

     Who, when they do design to seek their rest,
     To Mercury their just libations pour,
     ("Odyssey," vii. 138.)

do they not join reason and wine together, since, when they are about to
retire, they make their vows to the wisest god, as if he was present and
particularly president over their actions? But the ancients indeed call
Bacchus the good counsellor, as if he had no need of Mercury; and for
his sake they named the night [Greek omitted] as it were, GOOD ADVISER.



Whilst Glaucias was discoursing thus, the former tumultuous talk
seemed to be pretty well lulled; and that it might be quite forgotten,
Nicostratus started another question, saying, he never valued the
matter before, whilst he thought it a Persian custom, but since it was
discovered to be the Greek fashion too, it wanted (he thought) some
reason to excuse or defend its seeming absurdity. For our reason ( much
moisture, is hard to be moved, and unable to perform its operations. And
all sorts of troubles and discontents, like insects to the sun, creeping
forth, and being agitated by a glass of wine, make the mind irresolute
and inconstant. Therefore as a bed is more convenient for a man whilst
making merry than a chair, because it contains the whole body and keeps
it from all disturbing motion, so it is best to have the soul perfectly
at quiet; or, if that cannot be, we must give it, as to children that
will be doing, not a sword or spear, but a rattle or a ball,--in this
following the example of the god himself, who puts into the hands of
those that are making merry a ferula, the lightest and softest of all
weapons, that, when they are most apt to strike, they may hurt least.
Over a glass of wine men should make only ridiculous slips, and not
such as may prove tragical, lamentable, or of any considerable concern.
Besides, in serious debates, it is chiefly to be considered, that
persons of mean understanding and unacquainted with business should
be guided by the wise and experienced; but wine destroys this order.
Insomuch that Plato says, wine is called [Greek omitted] because it
makes those that drink it [Greek omitted] think that they have wit; for
none over a glass of wine thinks himself so noble, beauteous, or rich
(though he fancies himself all these), as wise; and therefore wine is
babbling, full of talk, and of a dictating humor; so that we are rather
for being heard than hearing, for leading than being led. But a thousand
such objections may be raised, for they are very obvious. But let us
hear which of the company, either old or young, can allege anything for
the contrary opinion.

Then said my brother cunningly: And do you imagine that any, upon a
sudden, can produce any probable reasons? And Nicostratus replying, Yes,
no doubt, there being so many learned men and good drinkers in company;
he with a smile continued: Do you think, sir, you are fit to treat of
these matters, when wine hath disabled you to discourse of politics and
state affairs? Or is not this all the same as to think that a man in
his liquor doth not see very well nor understand those that talk and
discourse with him, yet hears the music and the pipers very well? For as
it is likely that useful and profitable things draw and affect the sense
more than fine and gaudy; so likewise they do the mind too. And I shall
not wonder that the nice philosophical speculation should escape a man
who hath drunk freely; but yet, I think, if he were called to political
debates, his wisdom would become more strong and vigorous. Thus Philip
at Chaeronea, being well heated, talked very foolishly, and was the
sport of the whole company; but as soon as they began to discourse of a
truce and peace, he composed his countenance, contracted his brows, and
dismissing all vain, empty and dissolute thoughts, he gave an excellent,
wise, and sober answer to the Athenians. To drink freely is different
from being drunk, and those that drink till they grow foolish ought to
retire to bed. But as for those that drink freely and are otherwise men
of sense, why should we fear that they will fail in their understanding
or lose their skill, when we see that musicians play as well at a feast
as in a theatre? For when skill and art are found in the soul, they
make the body correct and proper in its operations, and obedient to the
motions of the spirit. Besides, wine inspirits some men, and raises a
confidence and assurance in them, but not such as is haughty and odious,
but pleasing and agreeable. Thus they say that Aeschylus composed his
tragedies over a bottle, and that all his plays (though Gorgias thought
that one of them, the "Seven against Thebes," was full of Mars) were
Bacchus's. For wine (according to Plato), heating the soul together
with the body, makes the body pliable, quick, and active, and opens the
passages; while the fancies draw in discourse with boldness, and daring.

For some have a good natural invention, yet whilst they are sober are
too diffident and too close, but midst their wine, like frankincense,
exhale and open at the heat. Besides, wine expels all fear, which is
the greatest hindrance to all consultations, and quencheth many other
degenerate and lazy passions; it opens the rancor and malice, as
it were, the two-leaved doors of the soul, and displays the whole
disposition and qualities of any person in his discourse. Freedom of
speech, and, through that, truth it principally produceth; which it once
wanting, neither quickness of wit nor experience availeth anything; and
many proposing that which comes next rather hit the matter, than if they
warily and designedly conceal their present sentiments. Therefore there
is no reason to fear that wine will stir up our affections; for it
never stirs up the bad, unless in the worst men, whose judgment is never
sober. But as Theophrastus used to call the barbers' shops wineless
entertainments; so there is a kind of an uncouth wineless drunkenness
always excited either by anger, malice, emulation, or clownishness in
the souls of the unlearned. Now wine, blunting rather than sharpening
many of these passions, doth not make them sots and foolish, but simple
and ingenuous; not negligent of what is profitable, but desirous of what
is good and honest. Now those that think craft to be cunning, and vanity
or closeness to be wisdom, have reason to think those that over a glass
of wine plainly and ingenuously deliver their opinions to be fools. But,
on the contrary, the ancients called the god the Freer and Loosener, and
thought him considerable in divination; not, as Euripides says, because
he makes men raging mad, but because he looseth and frees the soul from
all base distrustful fear, and puts them in a condition to speak truth
freely to one another.


Those, my Sossius Senecio, who throw philosophy out of entertainments do
worse than those who take away a light. For the candle being removed,
the temperate and sober guests will not become worse than they were
before, being more concerned to reverence than to see one another. But
if dulness and disregard to good learning wait upon the wine, Minerva's
golden lamp itself could not make the entertainment pleasing and
agreeable. For a company to sit silent and only cram themselves is, in
good truth, swinish and almost impossible. But he that permits men to
talk, yet doth not allow set and profitable discourses, is much more
ridiculous than he who thinks that his guests should eat and drink, yet
gives them foul wine, unsavory and nastily prepared meat. For no meat
nor drink which is not prepared as it ought to be is so hurtful and
unpleasant as discourse which is carried round in company
insignificantly and out of season. The philosophers, when they would
give drunkenness a vile name, call it doting by wine. Now doting is to
use vain and trifling discourse; and when such babbling is accompanied
by wine, it usually ends in most disagreeable and rude contumely and
reproach. It is a good custom therefore of our women, who in their
feasts called Agrionia seek after Bacchus as if he were run away, but in
a little time give over the search, and cry that he is fled to the Muses
and lurks with them; and some time after, when supper is done, put
riddles and hard questions to one another. For this mystery teaches us,
that midst our entertainments we should use learned and philosophical
discourse, and such as hath a Muse in it; and that such discourse being
applied to drunkenness, everything that is brutish and outrageous in it
is concealed, being pleasingly restrained by the Muses.

This book, being the eighth of my Symposiacs, begins with that discourse
in which about a year ago, on Plato's birthday, I was concerned.



On the sixth day of May we celebrated Socrates's birthday, and on the
seventh Plato's; and that first prompted us to such discourse as was
suitable to the meeting, which Diogenianus the Pergamenian began thus:
Ion, said he, was happy in his expression, when he said that Fortune,
though much unlike Wisdom, yet did many things very much like her; and
that she seemed to have some order and design, not only in placing the
nativities of these two philosophers so near together, but in setting
the birthday of the most famous of the two first, who was also the
master of the other. I had a great deal to say to the company concerning
some notable things that fell out on the same day, as concerning the
time of Euripides's birth and death; for he was born the same day that
the Greeks beat Xerxes by sea at Salamis, and died the same day that
Dionysius the elder, the Sicilian tyrant, was born,--Fortune (as Timaeus
hath it) at the same time taking out of the world a representer, and
bringing into it a real actor, of tragedies. Besides, we remembered that
Alexander the king and Diogenes the Cynic died upon the same day. And
all agreed that Attalus the king died on his own birthday. And some
said, that Pompey the great was killed in Egypt on his birthday, or, as
others will have it, a day before. We remember Pindar also, who, being
born at the time of the Pythian games, made afterwards a great many
excellent hymns in honor of Apollo.

To this Florus subjoined: Now we are celebrating Plato's nativity, why
should we not mention Carneades, the most famous of the whole Academy,
since both of them were born on Apollo's feast; Plato, whilst they were
celebrating the Thargelia at Athens, Carneades, whilst the Cyrenians
kept their Carnea; and both these feasts are, upon the same day. Nay,
the god himself you (he continued), his priests and prophets, call
Hebdomagenes, as if he were born on the seventh day. And therefore those
who make Apollo Plato's father do not, in my opinion, dishonor the god;
since by Socrates's as by another Chiron's instructions he is become
a physician for the diseases of the mind. And together with this, he
mentioned that vision and voice which forbade Aristo, Plato's father, to
come near or lie with his wife for ten months.

To this Tyndares the Spartan subjoined: It is very fit we should apply
that to Plato,

     He seemed not sprung from mortal man, but God.
     ("Iliad," xxiv. 258.)

But, for my part, I am afraid to beget, as well as to be begotten,
is repugnant to the incorruptibility of the deity. For that implies a
change and passion; as Alexander imagined, when he said that he knew
himself to be mortal as often as he lay with a woman or slept. For sleep
is a relaxation of the body, occasioned by the weakness of our nature;
and all generation is a corruptive parting with some of our own
substance. But yet I take heart again, when I hear Plato call the
eternal and unbegotten deity the father and maker of the world and all
other begotten things; not as if he parted with any seed, but as if
by his power he implanted a generative principle in matter, which
acts upon, forms, and fashions it. Winds passing through a hen will on
occasions impregnate her; and it seems no incredible thing, that the
deity, though not after the fashion of a man, but by some other certain
communication, fills a mortal creature with some divine conception. Nor
is this my sense; but the Egyptians who say Apis was conceived by the
influence of the moon, and make no question but that an immortal god may
have communication with a mortal woman. But on the contrary, they think
that no mortal can beget anything on a goddess, because they believe the
goddesses are made of thin air, and subtle heat and moisture.



Silence following this discourse, Diogenianus began again and said:
Since our discourse is about the gods, shall we, especially on his own
birthday, admit Plato to the conference, and inquire upon what account
he says (supposing it to be his sentence) that God always plays the
geometer? I said that this sentence was not plainly set down in any of
his books; yet there are good arguments that it is his, and it is very
much like his expression. Tyndares presently subjoining said: Perhaps,
Diogenianus, you imagine that this sentence intimates some curious and
difficult speculation, and not that which he hath so often mentioned,
when he praiseth geometry as a science that takes off men from sensible
objects, and makes them apply themselves to the intelligible and eternal
Nature, the contemplation of which is the end of philosophy, as the view
of the initiatory mysteries into holy rites. For the nail of pain and
pleasure, that fastens the soul to the body, seems to do us the
greatest mischief, by making sensible things more powerful over us than
intelligible, and by forcing the understanding to determine the rather
according to passion than reason. For this faculty, being accustomed
by the vehemency of pain or pleasure to be intent on the mutable and
uncertain body, as if it really and truly were, grows blind as to that
which really is, and loses that instrument and light of the soul,
which is worth a thousand bodies, and by which alone the deity can be
discovered. Now in all sciences, as in plain and smooth mirrors, some
marks and images of the truth of intelligible objects appear, but in
geometry chiefly; which, according to Philo, is the chief and principal
of all, and doth bring back and turn the understanding, as it were,
purged and gently loosened from sense. And therefore Plato himself
dislikes Eudoxus, Archytas, and Menaechmus for endeavoring to bring down
the doubling the cube to mechanical operations; for by this means all
that was good in geometry would be lost and corrupted, it falling
back again to sensible things, and not rising upward and considering
immaterial and immortal images, in which God being versed is always God.

After Tyndares, Florus, a companion of his, and who always jocosely
pretended to be his admirer, said thus: Sir, we are obliged to you for
making your discourse not proper to yourself, but common to us all; for
you have made it possible to disprove it by demonstrating that geometry
is not necessary to the gods, but to us. Now the deity doth not stand in
need of science, as an instrument to withdraw his intellect from things
created and to turn it to the real things; for these are all in him,
with him, and about him. But pray consider whether Plato, though you
do not apprehend it, doth not intimate something that is proper and
peculiar to you, mixing Lycurgus with Socrates, as much as Dicaearchus
thought he did Pythagoras. For Lycurgus, I suppose you know, banished
out of Sparta all arithmetical proportion, as being democratical and
favoring the crowd; but introduced the geometrical, as agreeable to an
oligarchy and kingly government that rules by law; for the former gives
an equal share to every one according to number, but the other gives
according to the proportion of the deserts. It doth not huddle all
things together, but in it there is a fair discretion of good and
bad, every one having what is fit for him, not by lot or weight, but
according as he is virtuous or vicious. The same proportion, my dear
Tyndares, God introduceth, which is called [Greek omitted] and [Greek
omitted], and which teacheth us to account that which is just equal, and
not that which is equal just. For that equality which many affect, being
often the greatest injustice, God, as much as possible, takes away; and
useth that proportion which respects every man's deserts, geometrically
defining it according to law and reason.

This exposition we applauded; and Tyndares, saying he envied him,
desired Autobulus to engage Florus and confute his discourse. That he
refused to do, but produced another opinion of his own. Geometry, said
he, considers nothing else but the accidents and properties of the
extremities of bodies; neither did God make the world any other way than
by terminating matter, which was infinite before. Not that matter was
actually without limits as to either magnitude or multitude; but the
ancients used to call that infinite which by reason of its confusion
and disorder is undetermined and unconfined. Now the terms of everything
that is formed or figured are the form and figure of that thing, and
without which the thing would be formless and unfigured. Now numbers and
proportions being applied to matter, it is circumscribed and as it were
bound up by lines, and through lines by surfaces and solids; and so were
settled the first types and differences of bodies, as foundations from
which to create the four elements, fire, air, water, and earth. For
it was impossible that, out of an unsteady and confused matter, the
equality of the sides, the likeness of the angles, and the exact
proportion of octahedrons, icosahedrons, pyramids, and cubes should be
deduced, unless by some power that terminated and shaped every particle
of matter. Therefore, terms being fixed to that which was undetermined
or infinite before, the whole became and still continues agreeable
in all parts, and excellently terminated and mixed; the matter indeed
always affecting an indeterminate state, and flying all geometrical
confinement, but proportion terminating and circumscribing it, and
dividing it into several differences and forms, out of which all things
that arise are generated and subsist.

When he had said this, he desired me to contribute something to the
discourse; and I applauded their conceits as their own devices, and very
probable. But lest you despise yourselves (I continued) and altogether
look for some external explication, attend to an exposition upon
this sentence, which your masters very much approve. Amongst the most
geometrical theorems, or rather problems, this is one: Two figures being
given, to describe a third, which shall be equal to one and similar to
the other. And it is reported that Pythagoras, upon the discovery of
this problem, offered a sacrifice to the gods; for this is a much more
exquisite theorem than that which lays down, that the square of the
hypothenuse in a right-angled triangle is equal to the squares of the
two sides. Right, said Diogenianus, but what is this to the present
question? You will easily understand, I replied, if you call to mind
how Timaeus divides that which gave the world its beginning into three
parts. One of which is justly called God, the other matter, and the
third form. That which is called matter is the most confused subject,
the form the most beautiful pattern, and God the best of causes.
Now this cause, as far as possible, would leave nothing infinite and
indeterminate, but adorn Nature with number, measure, and proportion
making one thing of all the subjects together, equal to the matter, and
similar to the form. Therefore proposing to himself this problem, he
made and still makes a third, and always preserves it equal to the
matter, and like the form; and that is the world. And this world, being
in constant changes and alterations because of the natural necessity of
body, is helped and preserved by the father and maker of all things, who
by proportion terminates the substance according to the pattern.



When we supped with Ammonius at Athens, who was then the third time
captain of the city-bands, there was a great noise about the house, some
without doors calling, Captain! Captain! After he had sent his officers
to quiet the tumult, and had dispersed the crowd, we began to inquire
what was the reason that those that are within doors hear those that are
without, but those that are without cannot hear those that are within
as well. And Ammonius said, that Aristotle had given a reason for that
already; for the sound of those within, being carried without into a
large tract of air, grows weaker presently and is lost; but that which
comes in from without is not subject to the like casualty, but is kept
close, and is therefore more easy to be heard. But that seemed a more
difficult question, Why sounds seem greater in the night than in the
day, and yet altogether as clear. For my own part (continued he) I
think Providence hath very wisely contrived that our hearing should be
quickest when our sight can do us very little or no service; for the air
of the "blind and solitary Night," as Empedocles calls it, being dark,
supplies in the ears that defect of sense which it makes in the eyes.
But since of natural effects we should endeavor to find the causes, and
to discover what are the material and mechanical principles of things
is the proper task of a natural philosopher, who shall first give us a
rational account hereof?

Boethus began, and said: When I was a novice in letters, I then made
use of geometrical postulates, and assumed as undoubted truths
some undemonstrated suppositions; and now I shall make use of some
propositions which Epicurus hath demonstrated already. Bodies move in a
vacuum, and there are a great many spaces interspersed among the atoms
of the air. Now when the air being rarefied is more extended, so as
to fill the vacant space, there are only a few vacuities scattered and
interspersed among the particles of matter; but when the atoms of air
are condensed and laid close together, they leave a vast empty space,
convenient and sufficient for other bodies to pass through. Now
the coldness of the night makes such a constipation. Heat opens and
separates parts of condensed bodies, and therefore bodies that boil,
grow soft, or melt, require a greater space than before; but, on
the contrary, the parts of the body that are condensed or freeze are
contracted closer to one another, and leave those vessels and places
from which they retired partly empty. Now the sound, meeting and
striking against a great many bodies in its way, is either altogether
lost or scattered, and very much and very frequently hindered in its
passage; but when it hath a plain and smooth way through an empty space,
and comes to the ear uninterrupted, the passage is so sudden, that it
preserves its articulate distinctness, as well as the words it carries.
You may observe that empty vessels, when knocked, answer presently, send
out a noise to a great distance, and oftentimes the sound whirled round
in the hollow breaks out with a considerable force; whilst a vessel
that is filled either with a liquid or a solid body will not answer to
a stroke, because the sound hath no room or passage to come through. And
among solid bodies themselves, gold and stone, because they want pores,
can hardly be made to sound; and when a noise is made by a stroke upon
them, it is very flat, and presently lost. But brass is sounding, it
being a porous, rare, and light metal, not consisting of parts tightly
compacted, but being mixed with a yielding and uncompacted substance,
which gives free passage to other motions, and kindly receiving the
sound sends it forward; till some touching the instrument do, as it
were, seize on it in the way, and stop the hollow; for then, by reason
of the hindering force, it stops and goes no further. And this, in my
opinion, is the reason why the night is more sonorous, and the day less;
since in the day, the heat rarefying the air makes the empty spaces
between the particles to be very little. But, pray, let none argue
against the suppositions I assumed.

And I (Ammonius bidding me oppose him) said: Sir, your suppositions
which demand a vacuum to be granted I shall admit; but you err in
supposing that a vacuum is conducive either to the preservation or
conveyance of sound. For that which cannot be touched, acted upon, or
struck is peculiarly favorable to silence. But sound is a stroke of a
sounding body; and a sounding body is that which has homogeneousness and
uniformity, and is easy to be moved, light, smooth, and, by reason of
its tenseness and continuity, it is obedient to the stroke; and such is
the air. Water, earth, and fire are of themselves soundless; but each of
them makes a noise when air falls upon or gets into it. And brass hath
no vacuum; but being mixed with a smooth and gentle air it answers to a
stroke, and is sounding. If the eye may be judge, iron must be reckoned
to have a great many vacuities, and to be porous like a honey-comb, yet
it is the dullest, and sounds worse than any other metal.

Therefore there is no need to trouble the night to contract and condense
its air, that in other parts we may leave vacuities and wide spaces; as
if the air would hinder and corrupt the substance of the sounds, whose
very substance, form, and power itself is. Besides, if your reason held,
misty and extreme cold nights would be more sonorous than those which
are temperate and clear, because then the atoms in our atmosphere are
constipated, and the spaces which they left remain empty; and, what is
more obvious, a cold day should be more sonorous than a warm summer's
night; neither of which is true. Therefore, laying aside that
explication, I produce Anaxagoras, who teacheth that the sun makes a
tremulous motion in the air, as is evident from those little motes which
are seen tossed up and down and flying in the sunbeams. These (says he),
being in the day-time whisked about by the heat, and making a humming
noise, lessen or drown other sounds; but at night their motion, and
consequently their noise, ceaseth.

When I had thus said, Ammonius began: Perhaps it will look like a
ridiculous attempt in us, to endeavor to confute Democritus and correct
Anaxagoras. Yet we must not allow that humming noise to Anaxagoras's
little motes, for it is neither probable nor necessary. But their
tremulous and whirling motion in the sunbeams is oftentimes sufficient
to disturb and break a sound. For the air (as hath been already said),
being itself the body and substance of sound, if it be quiet and
undisturbed, makes a straight, easy, and continuous way to the particles
or the motions which make the sound. Thus sounds are best heard in calm
still weather; and the contrary is seen in stormy weather, as Simonides
hath it:--

     No tearing tempests rattled through the skies,
     Which hinder sweet discourse from mortal ears.

For often the disturbed air hinders the articulateness of a discourse
from coming to the ears, though it may convey something of the loudness
and length of it. Now the night, simply considered in itself, hath
nothing that may disturb the air; though the day hath,--namely the sun,
according to the opinion of Anaxagoras.

To this Thrasyllus, Ammonius's son, subjoining said: What is the
matter, for God's sake, that we endeavor to solve this difficulty by the
unintelligible fancied motion of the air, and neglect the tossing and
divulsion thereof, which are evident? For Jupiter, the great ruler
above, doth not covertly and silently move the little particles of air;
but as soon as he appears, he stirs up and moves everything.

     He sends forth lucky signs,
     And stirs up nations to their proper work,

And they obey; and (as Democritus saith) with fresh thoughts for each
new day, as if newly born again, they fall to their worldly concerns
with noisy and effectual contrivances. And upon this account, Ibycus
oppositely calls the dawning [Greek omitted] (from [Greek omitted], TO
HEAR), because then men first begin to hear and speak. Now at night, all
things being at rest, the air being quiet and undisturbed must therefore
probably transmit the voice better, and convey it whole and unbroken to
our ears.

Aristodemus the Cyprian, being then in the company, said: But consider,
sir, whether battles or the marches of great armies by night do not
confute your reason; for the noise they make seems as loud as otherwise,
though then the air is broken and very much disturbed. But the reason
is partly in ourselves; for our voice at night is usually vehement, we
either commanding others to do something or asking short questions with
heat and concern. For that, at the same time when Nature requires rest,
we should stir to do or speak anything, there must be some great and
urgent necessity for it; and thence our voices become more vehement and

CALL THE GREAT DATES [Greek omitted].


The Isthmian games being celebrated, when Sospis was the second time
director of the solemnity, we avoided other entertainments,--he treating
a great many strangers and often all his fellow-citizens,--but once,
when he entertained his nearest and most learned friends at his own
house, I was one of the company. After the first course, one coming to
Herodes the rhetorician brought a palm and a wreathed crown, which one
of his acquaintance, who had won the prize for an encomiastic exercise,
sent him. This Herodes received very kindly, and sent it back again,
but added that he could not tell the reason why, since each of the games
gave a particular garland, yet all of them bestowed the palm. For those
do not satisfy me (said he) who say that the equality of the leaves is
the reason, which growing out one against another seem to resemble some
striving for the prize, and that victory is called [Greek omitted] from
[Greek omitted], not to yield. For a great many other trees, almost
by measure and weight dividing the nourishment to their leaves growing
opposite to one another, show a decent order and wonderful equality.
They seem to speak more probably who say the ancients were pleased with
the beauty and figure of the tree. Thus Homer compares Nausicaa to a
palm-branch. For you all know very well, that some threw roses at the
victors, and others pomegranates and apples, to honor and reward them.
But now the palm hath nothing evidently more taking than many other
things, since here in Greece it bears no fruit that is good to eat, it
not ripening and growing mature enough. But if, as in Syria and Egypt,
it bore a fruit that is the most pleasant to the eyes of anything in the
world, and the sweetest to the taste, then I must confess nothing could
compare with it. And the Persian monarch (as the story goes), being
extremely taken with Nicolaus the Peripatetic philosopher, who was a
very sweet-humored man, tall and slender, and of a ruddy complexion,
called the greatest and fairest dates Nicolai.

This discourse of Herodes seemed to give occasion for a query about
Nicolaus, which would be as pleasant as the former. Therefore, said
Sospis, let every one carefully give his sentiments of the matter before
us. I begin, and think that, as far as possible, the honor of the victor
should remain fresh and immortal. Now a palm-tree is the longest lived
of any, as this line of Orpheus testifies:--

     They lived like branches of a leafy palm.

And this almost alone has the privilege (though it is said to belong to
many besides) of having always fresh and the same leaves. For neither
the laurel nor the olive nor the myrtle, nor any other of those trees
named evergreen, is always to be seen with the very same leaves; but
as the old fall, new ones grow. So cities continue the same, where new
parts succeed those that decay. But the palm, never shedding a leaf, is
continually adorned with the same green. And this power of the tree, I
believe, men think agreeable to, and fit to represent, the strength of

When Sospis had done, Protogenes the grammarian, calling Praxiteles
the commentator by his name, said. What then, shall we suffer those
rhetoricians to be thought to have hit the mark when they bring
arguments only from probabilities and conjectures? And can we produce
nothing from history to club to this discourse? Lately, I remember,
reading in the Attic annals, I found that Theseus first instituted games
in Delos, and tore off a branch from the sacred palm-tree, which was
called spadix (from [Greek omitted] TO TEAR).

And Praxiteles said: This is not certain; but perhaps some will demand
of Theseus himself, upon what account when he instituted the game,
he broke off a branch of palm rather than of laurel or of olive. But
consider whether this be not a prize proper to the Pythian games, as
appropriate to Amphictyon. For there they first, in honor of the god,
crowned the victors with laurel and palm, as consecrating to the god,
not the laurel or olive, but the palm. So Nicias did, who defrayed
the charges of the solemnity in the name of the Athenians at Delos
the Athenians themselves at Delphi; and before these, Cypselus the
Corinthian. For this god is a lover of games, and delights in contending
for the prize at harping, singing, and throwing the bar, and, as some
say, at cuffing; and assists men when contending, as Homer witnesseth,
by making Achilles speak thus,

     Let two come forth in cuffing stout, and try
     To which Apollo gives the victory.
     ("Iliad," xxiii. 659.)

And amongst the archers, he that made his address to Apollo made the
best shot, and he that forgot to pray to him missed the mark. And
besides, it is not likely that the Athenians would rashly, and upon no
grounds, dedicate their place of exercise to Apollo. But they
thought that the god which bestows health gives likewise a vigorous
constitution, and strength for the encounter. And since some of the
encounters are light and easy, others laborious and difficult, the
Delphians offered sacrifices to Apollo the cuffer; the Cretans and
Spartans to Apollo the racer; and the dedication of spoils taken in the
wars and trophies to Apollo Pythias show that he is of great power to
give victory in war.

Whilst he was speaking, Caphisus, Theon's son, interrupted him, and
said: This discourse smells neither of history nor comment, but is taken
out of the common topics of the Peripatetics, and endeavors to persuade;
besides, you should, like the tragedians, raise your machine, and fright
all that contradict you with the god. But the god, as indeed it is
requisite he should be, is equally benevolent to all. Now let us,
following Sospis (for he fairly leads the way), keep close to our
subject, the palm-tree, which affords us sufficient scope for our
discourse. The Babylonians celebrate this tree, as being useful to them
three hundred and sixty several ways. But to us Greeks it is of very
little use, but its lack of fruit makes it appropriate for contenders in
the games. For being the fairest, greatest, and best proportioned of
all sorts of trees, it bears no fruit amongst us; but by reason of its
strong nature it exhausts all its nourishment (like an athlete) upon its
body, and so has very little, and that very bad, left for seed. Besides
all this, it hath something peculiar, which cannot be attributed to any
other tree. The branch of a palm, if you put a weight upon it, doth not
yield and bend downwards, but turns the contrary way as if it resisted
the pressing force. The like is to be observed in these exercises.
For those who, through weakness or cowardice, yield to them, their
adversaries oppress; but those who stoutly endure the encounter have not
only their bodies, but their minds too, strengthened and increased.


One demanded a reason why the sailors take up the water for their
occasions out of the river Nile by night, and not by day. Some thought
they feared the sun, which heating the liquid would make it more liable
to putrefaction. For everything that is warmed becomes more easy to be
changed, having already suffered when its natural quality was remitted.
And cold constipating the parts seems to preserve everything in its
natural state, and water especially. For that the cold of water is
naturally constringent is evident from snow, which keeps flesh from
corrupting a long time. And heat, as it destroys the proper quality
of other things, so of honey, for it being boiled is itself corrupted,
though when raw it preserves other bodies from corruption. And that this
is the cause, I have a very considerable evidence from standing pools;
for in winter they are as wholesome as other water, but in summer they
grow bad and noxious. Therefore the night seeming in some measure to
resemble the winter, and the day the summer, they think the water that
is taken up at night is less subject to be vitiated and changed.

To these seemingly probable reasons another was added, which confirmed
the ingenuity of the sailors by a very strong proof. For some said
that they took up their water by night because then it was clear and
undisturbed; but at day-time, when a great many fetched water together,
and many boats were sailing and many beasts swimming upon the Nile,
it grew thick and muddy, and in that condition it was more subject to
corruption. For mixed bodies are more easily corrupted than simple and
unmixed; for from mixture proceeds disagreement of the parts, from that
disagreement a change, and corruption is nothing else but a certain
change; and therefore painters call the mixing of their colors [Greek
omitted], corrupting; and Homer expresseth dyeing by [Greek omitted]
(TO STAIN OR CONTAMINATE). Commonly we call anything that is simple and
unmixed incorruptible and immortal. Now earth being mixed with water
soonest corrupts its proper qualities, and makes it unfit for drinking;
and therefore standing water stinks soonest, being continually filled
with particles of earth, whilst running waters preserve themselves by
either leaving behind or throwing off the earth that falls into them.
And Hesiod justly commends

     The water of a pure and constant spring.

For that water is wholesome which is not corrupted, and that is not
corrupted which is pure and unmixed. And this opinion is very much
confirmed from the difference of earths; for those springs that run
through a mountainous, rocky ground are stronger than those which are
cut through plains or marshes, because they do not take off much earth.
Now the Nile running through a soft country, like the blood mingled
with the flesh, is filled with sweet juices that are strong and very
nourishing; yet it is thick and muddy, and becomes more so if disturbed.
For motion mixeth the earthly particles with the liquid, which, because
they are heavier, fall to the bottom as soon as the water is still and
undisturbed. Therefore the sailors take up the water they are to use at
night, by that means likewise preventing the sun, which always exhales
and consumes the subtler and lighter particles of the liquid.

FROM WHENCE THESE WORDS, [Greek omitted] AND, [Greek omitted] ARE


My younger sons staying too long at the plays, and coming in too late
to supper, Theon's sons waggishly and jocosely called them supper
hinderers, night-suppers, and the like; and they in reply called their
runners-to-supper. And one of the old men in the company said [Greek
omitted] signified one that was too late for supper; because, when
he found himself tardy, he mended his pace, and made more than common
haste. And he told us a jest of Battus, Caesar's jester, who called
those that came late supper-lovers, because out of their love to
entertainments, though they had business, they would not desire to be

And I said, that Polycharmus, a leading orator at Athens, in his apology
for his way of living before the assembly, said: Besides a great many
things which I could mention, fellow-citizens, when I was invited to
supper, I never came the last man. For this is more democratical; and
on the contrary, those that are forced to stay for others that come late
are offended at them as uncivil and of an oligarchical temper.

But Soclarus, in defence of my sons, said: Alcaeus (as the story
goes) did not call Pittacus a night-supper for supping late, but for
delighting in base and scandalous company. Heretofore to eat early was
accounted scandalous, and such a meal was called [Greek omitted], from
[Greek omitted] INTEMPERANCE.

Then Theon interrupting him said: Not at all, if we must trust those who
have delivered down to us the ancients way of living. For they say that
those being used to work, and very temperate in a morning, ate a bit of
bread dipped in wine, and nothing else, and that they called that meal
[Greek omitted] from the [Greek omitted] (WINE). Their supper they
called [Greek omitted], because returning from their business they took
it [Greek omitted] (LATE). Upon this we began to inquire whence those
two meals [Greek omitted] and [Greek omitted] took their names. In Homer
[Greek omitted] and [Greek omitted] seem to be the same meal. For he
says that Eumaeus provided [Greek omitted] by the break of day; and it
is probable that [Greek omitted] was so called from [Greek omitted],
because provided in the morning; and [Greek omitted] was so named from
[Greek omitted], EASING FROM THEIR LABOR. For men used to take their
[Greek omitted] after they had finished their business, or whilst they
were about it. And this may be gathered from Homer, when he says,

     Then when the woodman doth his supper dress.
     ("Iliad," xi. 86.)

But some perhaps will derive [Greek omitted] from [Greek omitted],
EASIEST PROVIDED, because that meal is usually made upon what is ready
and at hand; and [Greek omitted] from [Greek omitted], LABORED, because
of the pains used in dressing it.

My brother Lamprias, being of a scoffing, jeering nature, said: Since we
are in a trifling humor, I can show that the Latin names of these meals
are a thousand times more proper than the Greek; [Greek omitted] SUPPER,
they call coena ([Greek omitted]) from community; because they took
their [Greek omitted] by themselves, but their coena with their friends.
[Greek omitted] DINNER, they call prandium, from the time of the dry;
for [Greek omitted] signifies NOON-TIDE, and to rest after dinner is
expressed by [Greek omitted]; or else by prandium they denote a bit
taken in the morning, [Greek omitted], BEFORE THEY HAVE NEED OF ANY.
And not to mention stragula, from [Greek Omitted], vinum from [Greek
omitted], oleum from [Greek omitted], mel from [Greek omitted], gustare
from [Greek omitted], propinare from [Greek omitted], and a great many
more words which they have plainly borrowed from the Greeks,--who can
deny but that they have taken their comessatio, BANQUETING, from our
[Greek omitted] and miscere, TO MINGLE, from the Greeks too? Thus in

     She in a bowl herself mixt ([Greek omitted]) generous wine.
     ("Odyssey," x. 356.)

They call a table mensam, from [Greek omitted], PLACING IT IN THE
MIDDLE; bread, panem, from satisfying [Greek omitted], HUNGER; a
garland, coronam, from [Greek omitted], THE HEAD;--and Homer somewhat
likens [Greek omitted], a HEAD-PIECE, to a garland;--caedere, TO BEAT,
from [Greek omitted]; and dentes, TEETH, from [Greek omitted]; lips
they call labra, from [Greek omitted], TAKING OUR VICTUALS WITH THEM.
Therefore we must either listen to such fooleries as these without
laughing, or not give them so ready entrance by means of words....



Sylla the Carthaginian, upon my return to Rome after a long absence,
gave me a welcoming supper, as the Romans call it, and invited some few
other friends, and among the rest, one Lucius an Etrurian, the scholar
of Moderatus the Pythagorean. He seeing my friend Philinus ate no flesh,
began (as the opportunity was fair) to talk of Pythagoras; and affirmed
that he was a Tuscan, not because his father, as others have said, was
one, but because he himself was born, bred, and taught in Tuscany. To
confirm this, he brought considerable arguments from such symbols as
these:--As soon as you are risen, ruffle the bedclothes; leave not the
print of the pot in the ashes; receive not a swallow into your house;
never step over a besom; nor keep in your house creatures that have
hooked claws. For these precepts of the Pythagoreans the Tuscans only,
as he said, carefully observe.

Lucius, having thus said, that precept about the swallow seemed to be
most unaccountable, it being a harmless and kind animal; and therefore
it seemed strange that that should be forbid the house, as well as the
hooked-clawed animals, which are ravenous, wild, and bloody. Nor did
Lucius himself approve that only interpretation of the ancients,
who say, this symbol aims directly at backbiters and tale-bearing
whisperers. For the swallow whispers not at all; it chatters indeed,
and is noisy, but not more than a pie, a partridge, or a hen. What then,
said Sylla, is it upon the old fabulous account of killing her son, that
they deny the swallow entertainment, by that means showing their dislike
to those passions which (as the story goes) made Tereus and Procne and
Philomel both act and suffer such wicked and abominable things? And even
to this day they call the birds Daulides. And Gorgias the sophister,
when a swallow muted upon him, looked upon her and said, Philomel, this
was not well done. Or perhaps this is all without foundation; for the
nightingale, though concerned in the same tragedy, we willingly receive.

Perhaps, sir, said I, what you have alleged may be some reason; but
pray consider whether first they do not hate the swallow upon the same
account that they abhor hook-clawed animals. For the swallow feeds on
flesh; and grasshoppers, which are sacred and musical, they chiefly
devour and prey upon. And, as Aristotle observes, they fly near the
surface of the earth to pick up the little animals. Besides, that alone
of all house-animals makes no return for her entertainment. The stork,
though she is neither covered, fed, nor defended by us, yet pays for the
place where she builds, going about and killing the efts, snakes, and
other venomous creatures. But the swallow, though she receives all those
several kindnesses from us, yet, as soon as her young are fledged, flies
away faithless and ungrateful; and (which is the worst of all) of all
house-animals, the fly and the swallow only never grow tame, suffer a
man to touch them, keep company with or learn of him. And the fly is so
shy because often hurt and driven away; but the swallow naturally
hates man, suspects, and dares not trust any that would tame her. And
therefore,--if we must not look on the outside of these things,
but opening them view the representations of some things in
others,--Pythagoras, setting the swallow for an example of a wandering,
unthankful man, adviseth us not to take those who come to us for their
own need and upon occasion into our familiarity, and let them partake of
the most sacred things, our house and fire.

This discourse of mine gave the company encouragement to proceed, so
they attempted other symbols, and gave moral interpretations of them.
For Philinus said, that the precept of blotting out the print of the pot
instructed us not to leave any plain mark of anger, but, as soon as ever
the passion hath done boiling, to lay aside all thoughts of malice and
revenge. That symbol which adviseth us to ruffle the bedclothes seemed
to some to have no secret meaning, but to be in itself very evident;
for it is not decent that the mark and (as it were) stamped image should
remain to be seen by others, in the place where a man hath lain with his
wife. But Sylla thought the symbol was rather intended to prevent men's
sleeping in the day-time, all the conveniences for sleeping being taken
away in the morning as soon as we are up. For night is the time for
sleep, and in the day we should rise and follow our affairs, and not
suffer so much as the print of our body in the bed, since a man asleep
is of no more use than one dead. And this interpretation seems to be
confirmed by that other precept, in which the Pythagoreans advise their
followers not to take off any man's burthen from him, but to lay on
more, as not countenancing sloth and laziness in any.



Our former discourse Lucius neither reprehended nor approved, but,
sitting silent and musing, gave us the hearing. Then Empedocles
addressing his discourse to Sylla, said: If our friend Lucius is
displeased with the discourse, it is time for us to leave off; but if
these are some of their mysteries which ought to be concealed, yet I
think this may be lawfully divulged, that they more cautiously abstain
from fish than from other animals. For this is said of the ancient
Pythagoreans; and even now I have met with Alexicrates's scholars, who
will eat and kill and even sacrifice some of the other animals, but will
never taste fish. Tyndares the Spartan said, they spared fish because
they had so great a regard for silence, and they called fish [Greek
omitted], because they had their voice SHUT UP ([Greek omitted]); and my
namesake Empedocles advised one who had been expelled from the school of
Pythagoras to shut up his mind like a fish, and they thought silence to
be divine, since the gods without any voice reveal their meaning to the
wise by their works.

Then Lucius gravely and composedly saying, that perhaps the true reason
was obscure and not to be divulged, yet they had liberty to venture upon
probable conjectures, Theon the grammarian began thus: To demonstrate
that Pythagoras was a Tuscan is a great and no easy task. But it is
confessed that he conversed a long time with the wise men of Egypt, and
imitated a great many of the rites and institutions of the priests, for
instance, that about beans. For Herodotus delivers, that the Egyptians
neither set nor eat beans, nay, cannot endure to see them; and we all
know, that even now the priests eat no fish; and the stricter sort eat
no salt, and refuse all meat that is seasoned with it. Various reasons
are offered for this; but the only true reason is hatred to the sea, as
being a disagreeable, or rather naturally a destructive element to man.
For they do not imagine that the gods, as the Stoics did that the stars,
were nourished by it. But, on the contrary, they think that the father
and preserver of their country, whom they call the deflux of Osiris,
is lost in it; and when they bewail him as born on the left hand, and
destroyed in the right-hand parts, they intimate to us the ending and
corruption of their Nile by the sea, and therefore they do not believe
that its water is wholesome, or that any creature produced or nourished
in it can be clean or wholesome food for man, since it breathes not the
common air, and feeds not on the same food with him. And the air that
nourisheth and preserves all other things is destructive to them, as
if their production and life were unnecessary and against Nature;
nor should we wonder that they think animals bred in the sea to be
disagreeable to their bodies, and not fit to mix with their blood
and spirits, since when they meet a pilot they will not speak to him,
because he gets his living by the sea.

Sylla commended this discourse, and added concerning the Pythagoreans,
that they then chiefly tasted flesh when they sacrificed to the gods.
Now no fish is ever offered in sacrifice. I, after they had done, said
that many, both philosophers and unlearned, considering with how many
good things it furnisheth and makes our life more comfortable, take
the sea's part against the Egyptians. But that the Pythagoreans should
abstain from fish because they are not of the same kind, is ridiculous
and absurd; nay, to butcher and feed on other animals, because they bear
a nearer relation to us, would be a most inhuman and Cyclopean return.
And they say that Pythagoras bought a draught of fishes, and presently
commanded the fishers to let them all out of the net; and this shows
that, he did not hate or not mind fishes, as things of another kind and
destructive to man, but that they were his dearly beloved creatures,
since he paid a ransom for their freedom.

Therefore the tenderness and humanity of those philosophers suggest a
quite contrary reason, and I am apt to believe that they spare fishes
to instruct men, or to accustom themselves to acts of justice; for other
creatures generally give men cause to afflict them, but fishes neither
do nor are capable of doing us any harm. And it is easy to show, both
from the writings and religion of the ancients, that they thought it a
great sin not only to eat but to kill an animal that did them no harm.
But afterwards, being necessitated by the spreading multitude of men,
and commanded (as they say) by the Delphic oracle to prevent the total
decay of corn and fruit, they began to sacrifice, yet they were so
disturbed and concerned at the action, that they called it [Greek
omitted] and [Greek omitted] (TO DO), as if they did some strange thing
in killing an animal; and they are very careful not to kill the beast
before the wine has been cast upon his head and he nods in token of
consent. So very cautious are they of injustice. And not to mention
other considerations, were no chickens (for instance) or hares killed,
in a short time they would so increase that there could be no living.
And now it would be a very hard matter to put down the eating of
flesh, which necessity first introduced, since pleasure and luxury hath
espoused it. But the water-animals neither consuming any part of our air
or water, or devouring the fruit, but as it were encompassed by another
world, and having their own proper bounds, which it is death for them
to pass, they afford our belly no pretence at all for their destruction;
and therefore to catch or be greedy after fish is plain deliciousness
and luxury, which upon no just reason unsettle the sea and dive into
the deep. For we cannot call the mullet corn-destroying, the trout
grape-eating, nor the barbel or seapike seed-gathering, as we do some
land-animals, signifying their hurtfulness by these epithets. Nay, those
little mischiefs which we complain of in these house-creatures, a
weasel or fly, none can justly lay upon the greatest fish. Therefore
the Pythagoreans, confining themselves not only by the law which forbids
them to injure men, but also by Nature, which commands them to do
violence to nothing, fed on fish very little, or rather not at all. But
suppose there were no injustice in this case, yet to delight in fish
would argue daintiness and luxury; because they are such costly and
unnecessary diet. Therefore Homer doth not only make the Greeks whilst
encamped near the Hellespont, eat no fish, but he mentions not any
sea-provision that the dissolute Phaeacians or luxurious wooers had,
though both islanders. And Ulysses's mates, though they sailed over so
much sea, as long as they had any provision left, never let down a hook
or net.

     But when the victuals of their ship was spent,
     ("Odyssey," xii. 329-332.)

a little before they fell upon the oxen of the Sun, they caught fish,
not to please their wanton appetite, but to satisfy their hunger,--

     With crooked hooks, for cruel hunger gnawed.

The same necessity therefore forced them to catch fish and devour the
oxen of the Sun. Therefore not only among the Egyptian and Syrians but
Greeks too, to abstain from fish was a piece of sanctity, they avoiding
(as I think), a superfluous curiosity in diet, as well as being just.

To this Nestor subjoining said: But sir, of my citizens as of the
Megarians in the proverb, you make no account; although you have heard
me often say that our priests of Neptune (whom we call Hieromnemons)
never eat fish. For Neptune himself is called the Breeder. And the
race of Hellen sacrificed to Neptune as the first father, imagining,
as likewise the Syrians did, that man rose from a liquid substance. And
therefore they worship a fish as of the same production and breeding
with themselves, in this matter being more happy in their philosophy
than Anaximander; for he says that fish and men were not produced in the
same substances, but that men were first produced in fishes, and, when
they were grown up and able to help themselves, were thrown out, and so
lived upon the land. Therefore, as the fire devours its parents, that
is, the matter out of which it was first kindled, so Anaximander,
asserting that fish were our common parents, condemneth our feeding on



Philo the physician stoutly affirmed that the elephantiasis was a
disease but lately known; since none of the ancient physicians speak one
word of it, though they oftentimes enlarge upon little, frivolous
and obscure trifles. And I, to confirm it, cited Athenodorus the
philosopher, who in his first book of Epidemical Diseases says, that not
only that disease, but also the hydrophobia or water-dread (occasioned
by the biting of a mad dog), were first discovered in the time of
Asclepiades. At this the whole company were amazed, thinking it very
strange that such diseases should begin then, and yet as strange that
they should not be taken notice of in so long a time; yet most of them
leaned to this last opinion, as being most agreeable to man, not in the
least daring to imagine that Nature affected novelties, or would in the
body of man, as in a city, create new disturbances and tumults.

And Diogenianus added, that even the passions and diseases of the
mind go on in the same old road that formerly they did; and yet the
viciousness of our inclination is exceedingly prone to variety, and our
mind is mistress of itself, and can, if it please, easily change and
alter. Yet all her inordinate motions have some sort of order, and the
soul hath bounds to her passions, as the sea to her overflowings. And
there is no sort of vice now among us which was not practised by the
ancients. There are a thousand differences of appetites and various
motions of fear; the schemes of grief and pleasure are innumerable.

     Yet are not they of late or now produced,
     And none can tell from whence they first arose.
     (Sophocles, "Antigone," 456.)

How then should the body be subject to new diseases, since it hath not,
like the soul, the principle of its own alteration in itself, but by
common causes is joined to Nature, and receives a temperature whose
infinite variety of alterations is confined to certain bounds, like a
ship moving and tossing in a circle about its anchor. Now there can be
no disease without some cause, it being against the laws of Nature that
anything should be without a cause. Now it will be very hard to find a
new cause, unless we fancy some strange air, water, or food never tasted
by the ancients, should out of other worlds or intermundane spaces
descend to us. For we contract diseases from those very things which
preserve our life; since there are no peculiar seeds of diseases, but
the disagreement of their juices to our bodies, or our excess in using
them, disturbs Nature. These disturbances have still the very same
differences, though now and then called by new names. For names depend
on custom, but the passions on Nature; and these being constant and
those variable, this error has arisen. As, in the parts of a speech
and the syntax of the words, some new sort of barbarism or solecism can
suddenly arise; so the temperature of the body hath certain deviations
and corruptions into which it may fall, those things which are against
and hurtful to Nature being in some sort existent in Nature herself. The
mythographers are in this particular very ingenious, for they say that
monstrous uncouth animals were produced in the time of the Giants war,
the moon being out of its course, and not rising where it used to do.
And those who think Nature produces new diseases like monsters, and
yet give neither likely nor unlikely reasons of the change, err, as I
imagine, my dear Philo, in taking a less or a greater degree of the same
disease to be a different disease. The intension or increase of a thing
makes it more or greater, but does not make the subject of another kind.
Thus the elephantiasis, being an intense scabbiness, is not a new
kind; nor is the water-dread distinguished from other melancholic and
stomachical affections but only by the degree. And I wonder we did not
observe that Homer was acquainted with this disease, for it is evident
that he calls a dog rabid from the very same rage with which when men
are possessed they are said to be mad.

Against this discourse of Diogenianus Philo himself made some
objections, and desired me to be the old physicians' patron; who must
be branded with inadvertency and ignorance, unless it appears that those
diseases began since their time. First then Diogenianus, methinks, very
precariously desires us to think that the intenseness or remissness of
degrees is not a real difference, and does not alter the kind. For, were
this true, then we should hold that downright vinegar is not different
from pricked wine, nor a bitter from a rough taste, darnel from wheat,
nor garden-mint from wild mint. For it is evident that these differences
are only the several degrees of the same qualities, in some being more
intense, in some more remiss. So we should not venture to affirm that
flame is different from a white spirit, sunshine from flame, hoarfrost
from dew, or hail from rain; but that the former have only more intense
qualities than the latter. Besides, we should say that blindness is of
the same kind with short-sightedness, violent vomiting (or cholera) with
weakness of the stomach, and that they differ only in degree. Though
what they say is nothing to the purpose; for if they allow the increase
in intensity and strength, but assert that this came but now of
late,--the novelty showing itself in the quantity rather than the
quality,--the same difficulties which they urged against the other
opinion oppress them. Sophocles says very well concerning those things
which are not believed to be now, because they were not heretofore,--

     Once at the first all things their being had.

And it is probable that not all diseases, as in a race, the barrier
being let down, started together; but that one rising after another, at
some certain time, had its beginning and showed itself. It is rational
but afterwards overeating, luxury, and surfeiting, encouraged by ease
and plenty, raised bad and superfluous juices, and those brought various
new diseases, and their perpetual complications and mixtures still
create more new. Whatever is natural is determined and in order; for
Nature is order, or the work of order. Disorder, like Pindar's sand,
cannot be comprised by number, and that which is beside Nature is
straight called indeterminate and infinite. Thus truth is simple, and
but one; but falsities innumerable. The exactness of motions and harmony
are definite, but the errors either in playing upon the harp, singing,
or dancing, who can comprehend? Indeed Phrynichus the tragedian says of

     As many figures dancing doth propose
     As waves roll on the sea when tempests toss.

And Chrysippus says that the various complications of ten single axioms
amount to 1,000,000. But Hipparchus hath confuted that account, showing
that the affirmative contains 101,049 complicated propositions, and the
negative 310,952. And Xenocrates says, the number of syllables which the
letters will make is 100,200,000. How then is it strange that the body,
having so many different powers in itself, and getting new qualities
every day from its meat and drink, and using those motions and
alterations which are not always in the same time nor in the same order,
should upon the various complications of all these be affected with new
diseases? Such was the plague at Athens described by Thucydides, who
conjectures that it was new because that birds and beasts of prey would
not touch the dead carcasses. Those that fell sick about the Red Sea, if
we believe Agatharcides, besides other strange and unheard diseases, had
little serpents in their legs and arms, which did eat their way out, but
when touched shrunk in again, and raised intolerable inflammations in
the muscles; and yet this kind of plague, as likewise many others, never
afflicted any beside, either before or since. One, after a long stoppage
of urine, voided a knotty barley straw. And we know that Ephebus, with
whom we lodged at Athens, threw out, together with a great deal of seed,
a little hairy, many-footed, nimble animal. And Aristotle tells us,
that Timon's nurse in Cilicia every year for two months lay in a cave,
without any vital operation besides breathing. And in the Menonian books
it is delivered as a symptom of a diseased liver carefully to observe
and hunt after mice and rats, which we see now nowhere practised.

Therefore let us not wonder if something happens which never was before,
or if something doth not appear among us with which the ancients were
acquainted; for the cause of those accidents is the nature of our body,
whose temperature is subject to be changed. Therefore, if Diogenianus
will not introduce a new kind of water or air, we, having no need of it,
are very well content. Yet we know some of Democritus's scholars affirm
that, other worlds being dissolved, some strange effluvia fall into
ours, and are the principle of new plagues and uncommon diseases. But
let us not now take notice of the corruption of some parts of this
world by earthquake, droughts, and floods, by which both the vapors and
fountains rising out of the earth must be necessarily corrupted. Yet we
must not pass by that change which must be wrought in the body by our
meat, drink, and other exercises in our course of life. For many things
which the ancients did not feed on are now accounted dainties; for
instance, mead and swine's belly. Heretofore too, as I have heard, they
hated the brain of animals so much, that they detested the very name of
it; as when Homer says, "I esteem him at a brain's worth." And even now
we know some old men, not bearing to taste cucumber, melon, orange, or
pepper. Now by these meats and drinks it is probable that the juices
of our bodies are much altered, and their temperature changed, new
qualities arising from this new sort of diet. And the change of order
in our feeding having a great influence on the alteration of our bodies,
the cold courses, as they were called formerly, consisting of oysters,
polyps, salads, and the like, being (in Plato's phrase) transferred
"from tail to mouth," now make the first course, whereas they were
formerly the last. Besides, the glass which we usually take before
supper is very considerable in this case; for the ancients never drank
so much as water before they ate, but now we drink freely before we
sit down, and fall to our meat with a full and heated body, using sharp
sauces and pickles to provoke appetite, and then we fall greedily on the
other meat. But nothing conduceth more to alterations and new diseases
in the body than our different baths; for here the flesh, like iron
in the fire, grows soft and loose, and is presently constipated and
hardened by the cold. For, in my opinion, if any of the last age had
looked into our baths, he might have justly said,

     There burning Phlegethon meets Acheron.

For they used such mild gentle baths, that Alexander the Great being
feverish slept in one. And the Gauls' wives carry their pots of pulse to
eat with their children whilst they are in the bath. But our baths now
inflame, vellicate, and distress; and the air which we draw is a mixture
of air and water, disturbs the whole body, tosses and displaces
every atom, till we quench the fiery particles and allay their heat.
Therefore, Diogenianus, you see that this account requires no new
strange causes, no intermundane spaces; but the single alteration of our
diet is enough to raise new diseases and abolish old.



Florus reading Aristotle's physical problems, which were brought to him
to Thermopylae, was himself (as philosophical wits used to be) filled
with a great many doubts, and communicated them to others; thereby
confirming Aristotle's saying, that much learning raises many doubts.
Other topics made our walks every day very pleasant, but the common
saying concerning dreams,--that those in autumn are the vainest,--I
know not how, whilst Favorinus was engaged in other matters, was started
after supper. Your friends and my sons thought Aristotle had given
sufficient satisfaction in this point, and that no other cause was to be
sought after or allowed but that which he mentions, the fruit. For the
fruit, being new and flatulent, raises many disturbing vapors in the
body; for it is not likely that only wine ferments, or new oil only
makes a noise in the lamp, the heat agitating its vapor; but new corn
and all sorts of fruit are plump and distended, till the unconcocted
flatulent vapor is broke away. And that some sorts of food disturb
dreams they said, was evident from beans and the polypus's head, from
which those who would divine by their dreams are commanded to abstain.

But Favorinus himself, though in all other things he admires Aristotle
exceedingly and thinks the Peripatetic philosophy to be most probable,
yet in this case resolved to scour up an old musty opinion of
Democritus. He first laid down that known principle of his, that images
pass through the pores into the inmost parts of the body, and being
carried upward cause dreams; and that these images fly from everything,
vessels, garments, plants, but especially from animals, because of their
heat and the motion of their spirits; and that these images not only
carry the outward shape and likeness of the bodies (as Epicurus thinks,
following Democritus so far and no farther), but the very designs,
motions, and passions of the soul; and with those entering into the
bodies, as if they were living things, discover to those that receive
them the thoughts and inclinations of the persons from whom they come,
if so be that they preserve their frame and order entire. And that is
especially preserved when the air is calm and clear, their passage then
being quick and undisturbed. Now the autumnal air, when trees shed
their leaves, being very uneven and disturbed, ruffles and disorders
the images, and, hindering them in their passage, makes them weak and
ineffectual; when, on the contrary, if they rise from warm and vigorous
subjects, and are presently applied, the notices which they give and the
impressions they make are clear and evident.

Then with a smile looking upon Autobulus, he continued: But, sir, I
perceive you design to have an airy skirmish with these images, and
try the excellence of this old opinion, as you would a picture, by your
nail. And Autobulus replied: Pray, sir, do not endeavor to cheat us any
longer; for we know very well that you, designing to make Aristotle's
opinion appear the better, have used this of Democritus only as its
shade. Therefore I shall pass by that, and impugn Aristotle's opinion,
which unjustly lays the blame on the new fruit. For both the summer and
the early autumn witness in its favor, when, as Antimachus says, the
fruit is most fresh and juicy; for then, though we eat the new fruit,
yet our dreams are not so vain as at other times. And the months when
the leaves fall, being next to winter, so concoct the corn and remaining
fruit, that they grow shrivelled and less, and lose all their brisk
agitating spirit. As for new wine, those that drink it soonest forbear
till February, which is after winter; and the day on which we begin
we call the day of the Good Genius, and the Athenians the day of
cask-opening. For whilst wine is working, we see that even common,
laborers will not venture on it. Therefore no more accusing the gifts of
the gods, let us seek after another cause of vain dreams, to which
the name of the season will direct us. For it is called LEAF-SHEDDING,
because the leaves then fall off by reason of their dryness and
coldness; except the leaves of hot and oily trees, as of the olive, the
laurel, or the palm; or of the moist, as of the myrtle and the ivy. But
the temperature of these preserves them, though not others; because in
others the vicious humor that holds the leaves is constipated by the
cold, or being weak and little is dried up. Now moisture and heat are
necessary for the growth and preservation of plants, but especially of
animals; and on the contrary, coldness and dryness are very noxious
to both. And therefore Homer elegantly calls men moist and juicy:
to rejoice he calls to be warmed; and anything that is grievous and
frightful he calls cold and icy. Besides, the words [Greek omitted] and
[Greek omitted] are applied to the dead, those names intimating their
extreme dryness. But more, our blood, the principal thing in our whole
body, is moist and hot. And old age hath neither of those two qualities.
Now the autumn seems to be as it were the old age of the decaying
year; for the moisture doth not yet fall, and the heat decays. And
its inclining the body to diseases is an evident sign of its cold and
dryness. Now it is necessary that the souls should be indisposed with
the bodies and that, the subtile spirit being condensed, the divining
faculty of the soul, like a glass that is breathed upon, should be
sullied; and therefore it cannot represent anything plain, distinct, and
clear, as long as it remains thick, dark, and condensed.


This ninth book, Sossius Senecio, contains the discourses we held at
Athens at the Muses feast, for this number nine is agreeable to the
number of the Muses. Nor must you wonder when you find more than ten
questions (which number I have observed in my other books) in it; for we
ought to give the Muses all that belongs to them, and be as careful of
robbing them as of a temple, since we owe them much more and much better
things than these.



Ammonius, captain of the militia at Athens, would show Diogenianus the
proficiency of those youths that learned grammar, geometry, rhetoric,
and music; and invited the chief masters of the town to supper.
There were a great many scholars at the feast, and almost all his
acquaintance. Achilles invited only the single combatants to his feast,
intending (as the story goes) that, if in the heat of the encounter they
had conceived any anger or ill-will against one another, they might then
lay it aside, being made partakers of one common entertainment. But
the contrary happened to Ammonius, for the contentions of the masters
increased and grew more sharp midst their cups and merriment; and all
was disorder and confused babbling.

Therefore Ammonius commanded Erato to sing to his harp, and he sang some
part of Hesiod's Works beginning thus,

     Contention to one sort is not confined;
     ("Works and Days," 11.)

and I commended him for choosing so apposite a song. Then he began
to discourse about the seasonable use of verse, that it was not only
pleasant but profitable. And straight every one's mouth was full of that
poet who began Ptolemy's epithalamium (when he married his sister, a
wicked and abominable match) thus,

     Jove Juno called his sister and his wife;
     ("Iliad," xviii. 356.)

and another, who refused to sing after supper to Demetrius the king, but
after he sent him his young son Philip to be educated sang thus,

     Breed thou the boy as doth become
     Both Hercules's race and us;

and Anaxarchus who, being pelted with apples by Alexander at supper,
rose up and said,

     Some god shall wounded be by mortal hand.
     (Euripides, "Orestes," 271.)

But that Corinthian captive boy excelled all, who, when the city was
destroyed, and Mummius, taking a survey of all the free-born children
that understood letters, commanded each to write a verse, wrote thus:--

     Thrice, four times blest, the happy Greeks that fell.
     ("Odyssey," v. 306.)

For they say that Mummius was affected with it, wept and gave all the
free-born children that were allied to the boy their liberty. And some
mentioned the wife of Theodorus the tragedian, who refused his embraces
a little before he contended for the prize; but, when he was conqueror
and came in unto her, clasped him and said,

     Now, Agamemnon's son, you freely may
     (Sophocles "Electra," 2.)

After this a great many sayings were mentioned as unseasonably spoken,
it being fit that we should know such and avoid them;--as that to
Pompey the Great, to whom, upon his return from a dangerous war, the
schoolmaster brought his little daughter, and, to show him what a
proficient she was, called for a book, and bade her begin at this line,

     Returned from war; but hadst thou there been slain,
     My wish had been complete;
     ("Iliad," iii. 428.)

and that to Cassius Longinus, to whom a flying report of his son's
dying abroad being brought, and he no ways appearing either to know
the certain truth or to clear the doubt, an old senator came and said:
Longinus, will you not despise the flying uncertain rumor, as if you did
not know nor had read this line,

     For no report is wholly false?
     (Hesiod, "Works and Days," 763.)

And he that at Rhodes, to a grammarian demanding a line upon which he
might show his skill in the theatre, proposed this,

     Fly from the island, worst of all mankind,
     ("Odyssey," x. 72.)

either slyly put a trick upon him, or unwittingly blundered. And this
discourse quieted the tumult.



It being the custom of the Muses' feast to draw lots, and those that
were matched to propose curious questions to one another, Ammonius,
fearing that two of the same profession might be matched together,
ordered, without drawing lots, a geometrician to propose questions to a
grammarian, and a master of music to a rhetorician.

First, therefore, Hermeas the geometrician demanded of Protogenes the
grammarian a reason why Alpha was the first letter of the alphabet. And
he returned the common answer of the schools, that it was fit the vowels
should be set before the mutes and semi-vowels. And of the vowels, some
being long, some short, some both long and short, it is just that the
latter should be most esteemed. And of these that are long and short,
that is to be set first which is usually placed before the other two,
but never after either; and that is Alpha. For that put after either
Iota or Upsilon will not be pronounced, will not make one syllable with
them, but as it were resenting the affront and angry at the position,
seeks the first as its proper place. But if you place Alpha before
either of those, they are obedient, and quietly join in one syllable,
as in these words, [Greek omitted] and a thousand others. In these three
respects therefore, as the conquerors in all the five exercises, it
claims the precedence,--that of most other letters by being a vowel,
that of other vowels by being dichronous, and lastly, that of these
double-timed vowels themselves because it is its nature to go before and
never after them.

Protogenes making a pause, Ammonius, speaking to me, said: What! have
you, being a Boeotian, nothing to say for Cadmus, who (as the story
goes) placed Alpha the first in order, because a cow is called Alpha by
the Phoenicians, and they account it not the second or third (as
Hesiod doth) but the first of their necessary things? Nothing at all, I
replied, for it is just that, to the best of my power, I should rather
assist my own than Bacchus's grandfather. For Lamprias my grandfather
said, that the first articulate sound that is made is Alpha; for the air
in the mouth is formed and fashioned by the motion of the lips; now as
soon as those are opened, that sound breaks forth, being very plain and
simple, not requiring or depending upon the motion of the tongue, but
gently breathed forth whilst that lies still. And therefore that is the
first sound that children make. Thus [Greek omitted], TO HEAR, [Greek
omitted], TO SING, [Greek omitted], TO PIPE, [Greek omitted], TO HOLLOW,
begin with the letter Alpha; and I think that [Greek omitted], TO LIFT
UP, and [Greek omitted], TO OPEN, were fitly taken from that opening and
lifting up of the lips when his voice is uttered. Thus all the names of
the mutes besides one have an Alpha, as it were a light to assist their
blindness; for Pi alone wants it, and Phi and Chi are only Pi and Kappa
with an aspirate.

Hermeas saying that he approved both reasons, why then (continued I) do
not you explain the proportion, if there be any, of the number of the
letters; for, in my opinion, there is; and I think so, because the
number of mutes and semi-vowels, compared between themselves or with the
vowels, doth not seem casual and undesigned, but to be according to the
first proportion which you call arithmetical. For their number being
nine, eight, and seven, the middle exceeds the last as much as it wants
of the first. And the first number being compared with the last,
hath the same proportion that the Muses have to Apollo; for nine is
appropriated to them, and seven to him. And these two numbers
tied together double the middle; and not without reason, since the
semi-vowels partake the power of both.

And Hermeas replied: It is said that Mercury was the first god that
discovered letters in Egypt; and therefore the Egyptians make the figure
of an Ibis, a bird dedicated to Mercury, for the first letter. But it
is not fit, in my opinion, to place an animal that makes no noise at the
head of the letters. Amongst all the numbers the fourth is peculiarly
dedicated to Mercury, because, as some say, the god was born on the
fourth day of the month. And the first letters called Phoenician from
Cadmus are four times four, or sixteen; and of those that were afterward
added, Palamedes found four, and Simonides four more. Now amongst
numbers, three is the first perfect, as consisting of a first, a middle,
and a last; and after that six, as being equal the sum of its own
divisors (1+2+3). Of these, six multiplied by four makes twenty-four;
and also the first perfect number, three, multiplied by the first cube,
eight, make the same.

Whilst he was discoursing thus, Zopyrion the grammarian sneered and
muttered between his teeth; and, as soon as he had done, cried out that
he most egregiously trifled; for it was mere chance, and not design,
that gave such a number and order to the letters, as it was mere chance
that the first and last verses of Homer's Iliads have just as many
syllables as the first and last of his Odysseys.



Hermeas would have replied to Zopyrion, but we desired him to hold; and
Maximus the rhetorician proposed to him this far-fetched question out of
Homer, Which of Venus's hands Diomedes wounded. And Zopyrion presently
asking him again, of which leg was Philip lame?--Maximus replied, It is
a different case, for Demosthenes hath left us no foundation upon which
we may build our conjecture. But if you confess your ignorance in this
matter, others will show how the poet sufficiently intimates to an
understanding man which hand it was. Zopyrion being at a stand, we all,
since he made no reply, desired Maximus to tell us.

And he began: The verses running thus

     Then Diomedes raised his mighty spear,
     And leaping towards her just did graze her hand;
     ("Iliad," v. 335.  It is evident from what follows that
     Plutarch interprets [Greek omitted] in this passage HAVING

it is evident that, if he designed to wound her left hand, there had
been no need of leaping, since her left hand was opposite to his right.
Besides, it is probable that he would endeavor to wound the strongest
hand, and that with which she drew away Aeneas; and which being wounded,
it was likely she would let him go. But more, after she returned to
Heaven, Minerva jeeringly said,

     No doubt fair Venus won a Grecian dame,
     To follow her beloved Trojan youths,
     And as she gently stroked her with her hand,
     Her golden buckler scratched this petty wound.
     ("Iliad", v. 422.)

And I suppose, you sir, when you stroke any of your scholars, you use
your right hand, and not your left; and it is likely that Venus, the
most skilful of all the goddesses, soothed the heroines after the same



These discourses made all the other company merry; but Sospis the
rhetorician, seeing Hylas the grammarian sit silent and discomposed (for
he had not been very happy in his exercises), cried out,

     But Ajax's soul stood far apart;

and raising his voice repeated the rest to him,

     But sit, draw near, and patiently attend,
     Hear what I say, and tame, your violent rage.

To this Hylas, unable to contain, returned a scurvy answer saying that
Ajax's soul, taking her lot in the twentieth place in hell, changed her
nature, according to Plato, for a lion's; but, for his part, he could
not but often think upon the saying of the old comedian,

     'Tis better far to be an ass than see
     Unworthwhile men in greater honor shine

At this Sospis, laughing heartily, said: But in the meantime, before we
have the pack-saddles on, if you have any regard for Plato, tell us
why he makes Ajax's soul, after the lots drawn, to have the twentieth
choice. Hylas, with great indignation, refused, thinking that this was
a jeering reflection on his former miscarriage. And therefore my brother
began thus: What, was not Ajax counted the second for beauty, strength,
and courage, and the next to Achilles in the Grecian army? And twenty is
the second ten, and ten is the chiefest of numbers, as Achilles of the
Greeks. We laughing at this, Ammonius said: Well, Lamprias, let this
suffice for a joke upon Hylas; but since you have voluntarily taken upon
you to give an account of this matter, leave off jesting, and seriously

This startled Lamprias a little, but, after a short pause, he continued
thus: Plato often tells merry stories under borrowed names, but when
he puts any fable into a discourse concerning the soul, he hath some
considerable meaning in it. The intelligent nature of the heavens he
calls a flying chariot, intimating the harmonious whirl of the world.
And here he introduceth one Er, the son of Harmonius, a Pamphylian, to
tell what he had seen in hell; intimating that our souls are begotten
according to harmony, and are agreeably united to our bodies, and that,
when they are separated, they are from all parts carried together into
the air, and from thence return to second generations. And what hinders
but that [Greek omitted] twentieth should intimate that this was not a
true story, but only probable and fictitious [Greek omitted], and that
the lot fell casually [Greek omitted]. For Plato always toucheth upon
three causes, he being the first and chiefest philosopher that knew
how fate accords with fortune, and how our free-will is mixed and
complicated with both. And now he hath admirably discovered what
influence each hath upon our affairs. The choice of our life he hath
left to our free-will, for virtue and vice are free. But that those who
have made a good choice should live religiously, and those who have made
an ill choice should lead a contrary life, he leaves to the necessity of
fate. But the chances of lots thrown at a venture introduce fortune into
the several conditions of life in which we are brought up, and which
pre-occupates and perverts our own choice. Now consider whether it is
not irrational to inquire after a cause of those things that are done by
chance. For if the lot seems to be disposed of by design, it ceaseth to
be chance and fortune, and becomes fate and providence.

Whilst Lamprias was speaking, Marcus the grammarian seemed to be
counting to himself, and when he had done, he began thus: Amongst the
souls which Homer mentions in his [Greek omitted], Elpenor's is not to
be reckoned as mixed with those in hell, but, his body being not buried,
as wandering about the banks of the river Styx. Nor is it fit that we
should reckon Tiresias's soul amongst the rest,--

     On whom alone, when deep in hell beneath,
     Wisdom Proserpina conferred,

to discourse and converse with the living even before he drank the
sacrifice's blood. Therefore, Lamprias, if you subtract these two,
you will find that Ajax was the twentieth that Ulysses saw, and Plato
merrily alludes to that place in Homer's [Greek omitted].



While all were making a disturbance, Menephylus, a Peripatetic
philosopher, addressing Hylas: You see, he said, how this investigation
is no foolery nor insolence. But leave now, my dear fellow, that
obstinate Ajax, whose name is ill-omened, as Sophocles says, and
side with Poseidon, whom you yourself are wont to tell has often been
overcome, once by Athene here, in Delphi by Apollo, in Argos by Here, in
Aegina by Zeus, in Naxos by Bacchus, yet in his misfortunes has always
been mild and amiable. Here at least he shares a temple in common with
Athene, in which there is an altar dedicated to Lethe. And Hylas, as if
he had become better tempered: One thing has escaped you, Menephylus,
that we have given up the second day of September, not on account of the
moon, but because on that day the gods seemed to have contended for the
country. By all means, said Lamprias, by as much as Poseidon was more
civilized than Thrasybulus, since not like him a winner but a loser....

(The rest of this book to Question XIII is lost; with the exception of
the titles that follow, and the fragment of Question XII.)







Men must be cheated by oaths. And Glaucias said: I have heard this
saying used against Polycrates the tyrant; probably too it was said
against others: but why do you ask these questions? Because, by Zeus,
said Sospis, I see the children playing odd and even with jackstones
and the Academics with words. For such tempers as these differ in no
way from those who ask whether they hold clutched in their hands odd or
even. Then Protogenes stood up and called me by name: What is the matter
with us that we allow these rhetoricians to be so conceited, and to
laugh down others while they are asked nothing, and contribute nothing
in the way of argument,--unless they swear that they have no part in the
wine as admirers and disciples of Demosthenes, a man who in his whole
life never drank wine. That is not the cause of this, said I; but we
have never asked them anything. But unless you have something more
useful, I think I can put before them from Homer's poetry a case of
antinomy in rhetorical theses.



What question will you put them, said Protogenes? I will tell you,
continued I, and let them carefully attend. Paris makes his challenge in
these express words:--

     Let me and valiant Menelaus fight
     For Helen, and for all the goods she brought;
     And he that shall o'ercome, let him enjoy
     The goods and woman; let them be his own.

And Hector afterwards publicly proclaiming this challenge in these plain

     He bids the Trojans and the valiant Greeks
     To fix their arms upon the fruitful ground;
     Let Menelaus and stout Paris fight
     For all the goods; and he that beats have all.

Menelaus accepted the challenge, and the conditions were sworn to,
Agamemnon dictating thus:--

     If Paris valiant Menelaus kills,
     Let him have Helen, and the goods possess;
     If youthful Menelaus Paris kills,
     The woman and the goods shall all be his.
     (See "Iliad," iii. 68, 88, 255, and 281.)

Now since Menelaus only overcame but did not kill Paris, each party hath
somewhat to say for itself, and against the other. The one may demand
restitution, because Paris was overcome; the other deny it, because he
was not killed. Now how to determine this case and clear the seeming
repugnancies doth not belong to philosophers or grammarians, but to
rhetoricians, that are well skilled both in grammar and philosophy.

Then Sospis said: The challenger's word decides; for the challenger
proposed the conditions, and when they were accepted, the opposite
party had no power to make additions. Now the condition proposed in this
challenge was not killing, but overcoming; and there was reason that
it should be so, for Helen ought to be the wife of the bravest. Now the
bravest is he that overcomes; for it often happens that an excellent
soldier might be killed by a coward, as is evident in what happened
afterward, when Achilles was shot by Paris. For I do not believe that
you will affirm, that Achilles was not so brave a man as Paris because
he was killed by him, and that it should be called the victory, and not
rather the unjust good fortune, of him that shot him. But Hector was
overcome before he was killed by Achilles, because he would not stand,
but trembled and fled at his approach. For he that refuseth the combat
or flies cannot palliate his defeat, and plainly grants that his
adversary is the better man. And therefore Iris tells Helen beforehand,

     In single combat they shall fight for you,
     And you shall be the glorious victor's wife.
     (2 Ibid. iii. 137.)

And Jupiter afterwards adjudges the victory to Menelaus in these words:

     The conquest leans to Menelaus's side.
     (3 Ibid. iv. 13.)

For it would be ridiculous to call Menelaus a conqueror when he shot
Podes, a man at a great distance, before he thought of or could provide
against his danger, and yet not allow him the reward of conquest over
him whom he made fly and sneak into the embraces of his wife, and whom
he spoiled of his arms whilst he was yet alive, and who had himself
offered the challenge, by the articles of which Menelaus now appeared to
be the conqueror.

Glaucias subjoined: in all laws, decrees, contracts, and promises, those
latest made are always accounted more valid than the former. Now the
later contract was Agamemnon's, the condition of which was killing,
and not only overcoming. Besides the former was mere words, the latter
confirmed by oath; and, by the consent of all, those were cursed that
broke them; so that this latter was properly the contract, and the other
a bare challenge. And this Priam at his going away, after he had sworn
to the conditions, confirms by these words:--

     But Jove and other gods alone do know,
     Which is designed to see the shades below;
     ("Iliad," iii. 308.)

for he understood that to be the condition of the contract. And
therefore a little after Hector says,

     But Jove hath undetermined left our oaths,
     (Ibid. vii. 69.)

for the combat had not its designed and indisputable determination,
since neither of them fell. Therefore this question doth not seem to
me to contain any contrariety of law, since the former contract is
comprised and overruled by the latter; for he that kills certainly
overcomes, but he that overcomes doth not always kill. But, in short,
Agamemnon did not annul, but only explain the challenge proposed by
Hector. He did not change anything, but only added the most principal
part, placing victory in killing; for that is a complete conquest, but
all others may be evaded or disputed, as this of Menelaus, who neither
wounded nor pursued his adversary. Now as, where there are laws really
contrary, the judges take that side which is plain and indisputable,
and mind not that which is obscure; so in this case, let us admit
that contract to be most valid which contained killing, as a known and
undeniable evidence of victory. But (which is the greatest argument) he
that seems to have had the victory, not being quiet, but running up and
down the army, and searching all about,

     To find neat Paris in the busy throng,
     (Ibid. iii. 450.)

sufficiently testifies that he himself did not imagine that the conquest
was perfect and complete. For when Paris had escaped he did not forget
his own words:--

     And which of us black fate and death design,
     Let him be lost; the others cease from war.
     (Iliad, iii. 101,)

Therefore it was necessary for him to seek after Paris, that he might
kill him and complete the combat; but since he neither killed nor took
him, he had no right to the prize. For he did not conquer him, if we may
guess by what he said when he expostulated with Jove and bewailed his
unsuccessful attempt:--

     Jove, Heaven holds no more spiteful god than thou.
     Now would I punish Paris for his crimes;
     But oh! my sword is broke, my mighty spear,
     Stretched out in vain, flies idly from my hand!
     (Ibid. iii, 365.)

For in these words he confessed that it was to no purpose to pierce
the shield or take the head-piece of his adversary, unless he likewise
wounded or killed him.



This discourse ended, we poured out our offerings to the Muses, and
together with a hymn in honor of Apollo, the patron of the Muses, we
sung with Erato, who played upon the harp, the generation of the Muses
out of Hesiod. After the song was done, Herod the rhetorician said:
Pray, sirs, hearken. Those that will not admit Calliope to be ours say
that she keeps company with kings, not such, I suppose, as are busied
in resolving syllogisms or disputing, but such who do those things that
belong to rhetoricians and statesmen. But of the rest of the Muses, Clio
abets encomiums, for praises are called [Greek omitted]; and Polymnia
history, for her name signifies the remembrance of many things; and it
is said that all the Muses were somewhere called Remembrances. And for
my part, I think Euterpe hath some relation to us too, if (as Chrysippus
says) her lot be agreeableness in discourse and pleasantness in
conversation. For it belongs to an orator to converse, as well as plead
or give advice; since it is his part to gain the favor of his auditors,
and to defend or excuse his client. To praise or dispraise is the
commonest theme; and if we manage this artfully, it will turn to
considerable account; if unskilfully, we are lost. For that saying,

     Gods! how he is honored and beloved by all,
     ("Odyssey," x. 38.)

chiefly, in my opinion, belongs to those men who have a pleasing and
persuasive faculty in discourse.

Then said Ammonius to Herod: We have no reason to be angry with you for
grasping all the Muses, since the goods that friends have are common,
and Jove hath begotten a great many Muses, that every man may be
plentifully supplied; for we do not all need skill in hunting, military
arts, navigation, or any mechanical trades; but learning and instruction
is necessary for every one that

     Consumes the fruits of the spacious earth.
     (From Simonides.)

And therefore Jove made but one Minerva, one Diana, one Vulcan, but many
Muses. But why there should be nine, and no more nor less, pray acquaint
us; for you, so great a lover of, and so well acquainted with, the
Muses, must certainly have considered this matter. What difficulty is
there in that? replied Herod. The number nine is in everybody's mouth,
as being the first square of the first odd number; and as doubly odd,
since it may be divided into three equal odd numbers. Ammonius with a
smile subjoined: Boldly said; and pray add, that this number is
composed of the two first cubes, one and eight, and according to another
composition of two triangles, three and six, each of which is itself
perfect. But why should this belong to the Muses more than any other of
the gods? For we have nine Muses, but not nine Cereses, nine Minervas or
Dianas. For I do not believe that you take it for a good argument,
that the Muses must be so many, because their mother's name (Mnemosyne)
consists of just so many letters. Herod smiling, and everybody being
silent, Ammonius desired our opinions.

My brother said, that the ancients celebrated but three Muses, and that
to bring proofs for this assertion would be pedantic and uncivil in such
a company. The reason of this number was (not as some say) the three
different sorts of music, the diatonic, the chromatic, and harmonic, nor
those stops that make the intervals nete, mese, and hypate, though
the Delphians gave the Muses this name erroneously, in my opinion,
appropriating it to one science, or rather to a part of one single
science, the harmoniac part of music. But, as I think, the ancients,
reducing all arts and sciences which are executed and performed
by reason or discourse to three heads, philosophy, rhetoric, and
mathematics, accounted them the gifts of three gods, and named them the
Muses. Afterwards, about Hesiod's time, the sciences being better and
more thoroughly looked into, and men subdividing them found that each
science contained three different parts. In mathematics are comprehended
music, arithmetic, and geometry; in philosophy are logic, ethics, and
physics. In rhetoric, they say the first part was demonstrative or
encomiastic, the second deliberative, the third judicial. None of all
which they believed to be without a god or a Muse or some superior power
for its patron, and did not, it is probable, make the Muses equal in
number to these divisions, but found them to be so. Now, as you may
divide nine into three threes, and each three into as many units;
so there is but one rectitude of reason, which is employed about the
highest truth, and which belongs to the whole in common, while each of
the three kinds of science is assigned three Muses, and each of these
has her distinct faculty assigned to her, which she disposes and orders.
And I do not think the poets and astrologers will find fault with us for
passing over their professions in silence, since they know, as well as
we, that astrology is comprehended in geometry, and poetry in music.

As soon as he had said this, Trypho the physician subjoined: How hath
our art offended you, that you have shut the Museum against us? And
Dionysius of Melite added: Sir, you have a great many that will side
with you in the accusation; for we farmers think Thalia to be ours,
assigning her the care of springing and budding seeds and plants. But
I interposing said: Your accusation is not just; for you have bountiful
Ceres, and Bacchus who (as Pindar phraseth it) increaseth the trees, the
chaste beauty of the fruits; and we know that Aesculapius is the patron
of the Physicians, and they make their address to Apollo as Paean, but
never as the Muses' leader. All men (as Homer says) stand in need of the
gods, but all stand not in need of all. But I wonder Lamprias did not
mind what the Delphians say in this matter; for they affirm that the
Muses amongst them were not named so either from the strings or sounds
in music; but the universe being divided into three parts, the first
portion was of the fixed stars, the second of the planets, the third of
those things that are under the concave of the moon; and all these are
ordered according to harmonical proportions, and of each portion a
Muse takes care; Hypate of the first, Nete of the last, and Mese in the
middle, combining as much as possible, and turning about mortal things
with the gods and earthly with heavenly. And Plato intimates the same
thing under the names of the Fates, calling one Atropos, the other
Lachesis, and the other Clotho. For he hath committed the revolutions of
the eight spheres to so many Sirens, and not Muses.

Then Menephylus the Peripatetic subjoined: The Delphians' opinion hath
indeed somewhat of probability in it; but Plato is absurd in committing
the eternal and divine revolutions not to the Muses but to the Sirens,
Daemons that neither love nor are benevolent to mankind, wholly passing
by the Muses, or calling them by the names of the Fates, the daughters
of Necessity. For Necessity is averse to the Muses; but Persuasion being
more agreeable and better acquainted with them, in my opinion, than the
grace of Empedocles,

     Intolerable Necessity abhors.

No doubt, said Ammonius, as it is in us a violent and involuntary
cause; but in the gods Necessity is not intolerable, uncontrollable, or
violent, unless it be to the wicked; as the law in a commonwealth to
the best man is its best gift, not to be violated or transgressed, not
because they have no power, but because they have no will, to change it.
And Homer's Sirens give us no just reason to be afraid; for he in that
fable rightly intimates the power of their music not to be hurtful to
man, but delightfully charming, and detaining the souls which pass
from hence thither and wander after death; working in them a love for
heavenly and divine things, and a forgetfulness of everything on earth;
and they extremely pleased follow and attend them. And from thence some
imperfect sound, and as it were echo of that music, coming to us by the
means of reason and good precepts, rouseth our souls, and restores the
notice of those things to our minds, the greatest part of which
lie encumbered with and entangled in disturbances of the flesh and
distracting passions. But the generous soul hears and remembers, and
her affection for those pleasures riseth up to the most ardent passion,
whilst she eagerly desires but is not able to free herself from the

It is true, I do not approve what he says; but Plato seems to me, as he
hath strangely and unaccountably called the axes spindles and distaffs,
and the stars whirls, so to have named the Muses Sirens, as delivering
divine things to the ghosts below, as Ulysses in Sophocles says of the

     I next to Phorcus's daughters came,
     Who fix the sullen laws below.

Eight of the Muses take care of the spheres, and one of all about the
earth. The eight who govern the motions of the spheres maintain the
agreement of the planets with the fixed stars and one another. But that
one who looks after the place betwixt the earth and moon and takes care
of mortal things, by means of discourse and song introduceth persuasion,
aiding our natural consent to community and agreement, and giveth men
as much harmony, grace, and order as is possible for them to take;
introducing this persuasion to appease and quiet our disturbances, and
as it were to recall our wandering desires out of the wrong way, and to
set us in the right path. But, as Pindar says,

     Whom Jove abhors, he starts to hear
     The Muses sounding in his ear.
     (Pindar, "Pythian," i. 25.)

To this discourse Ammonius, as he used to do, subjoined that verse of

     This fine discourse seems near allied to truth,

and desired every one to deliver his opinion. And I after a short
silence, said: As Plato thinks by the name, as it were by tracks, to
discover the powers of the gods, so let us place in heaven and over
heavenly things one of the Muses, Urania. And it is likely that those
require no distracting variety of cares to govern them, since they have
the same single nature for the cause of all their motions. But where are
a great many irregularities and disorders, there we must place the eight
Muses, that we may have one to correct each particular irregularity and
miscarriage. There are two parts in a man's life, the serious and the
merry; and each must be regulated and methodized. The serious role,
which instructs us in the knowledge and contemplation of the gods,
Calliope, Clio, and Thalia appear chiefly to look after and direct.
The other Muses govern our weak part, which changes presently into
wantonness and folly; they do not neglect our brutish and violent
passions and let them run their own course, but by appropriate dancing,
music, song, and orderly motion mixed with reason, bring them down to
a moderate temper and condition. For my part, since Plato admits two
principles of every action, viz, the natural desire after pleasure, and
acquired opinion which covets and wishes for the best, and calls one
reason and the other passion, and since each of these is manifold,
I think that each requires a considerable and, to speak the truth, a
divine direction. For instance, one faculty of our reason is said to be
political or imperial, over which Hesiod says Calliope presides; Clio's
province is the noble and aspiring; and Polymnia's that faculty of the
soul which inclines to attain and keep knowledge (and therefore the
Sicyonians call one of their three Muses Polymathia); to Euterpe
everybody allows the searches into nature and physical speculations,
there being no greater, no sincerer pleasure belonging to any other sort
of speculation in the world. The natural desire to meat and drink Thalia
reduceth from brutish and uncivil to be sociable and friendly; and
therefore we say [Greek omitted] of those that are friendly, merry, and
sociable over their cups, and not of those that are quarrelsome and mad.
Erato, together with Persuasion, that brings along with it reason and
opportunity, presides over marriages; she takes away and extinguisheth
all the violent fury of pleasure, and makes it tend to friendship,
mutual confidence, and endearment, and not to effeminacy, lust, or
discontent. The delight which the eye or ear receives is a sort of
pleasure, either appropriate to reason or to passion, or common to them
both. This the two other Muses, Terpsichore and Melpomene, so moderate,
that the one may only tickle and not charm, the other only please and
not bewitch.

MOTION, [Greek omitted], GESTURE, AND [Greek omitted], REPRESENTATION.


After this, a match of dancing was proposed, and a cake was the prize.
The judges were Meniscus the dancing-master, and my brother Lamprias;
for he danced the Pyrrhic very well, and in the Palaestra none could
match him for the graceful motion of his hands and arms in dancing. Now
a great many dancing with more heat than art, some desired two of the
company who seemed to be best skilled and took most care to observe
their steps, to dance in the kind called [Greek omitted]. Upon this
Thrasybulus, the son of Ammonius, demanded what [Greek omitted]
signified, and gave Ammonius occasion to run over most of the parts of

He said they were three,--[Greek omitted], [Greek omitted] and [Greek
omitted]. For dancing is made up of motion and manner [Greek omitted]
as a song of sounds and stops; stops are the ends of motion. Now the
motions they call [Greek omitted], and the gestures and likeness
to which the motions tend, and in which they end, they call [Greek
omitted]: as, for instance, when by their own motions they represent the
figure of Apollo, Pan, or any of the raging Bacchae. The third is [Greek
omitted]; which is not an imitation, but a plain downright indication
of the things represented. For as the poets, when they would speak of
Achilles, Ulysses, the earth, or heaven, use their proper names,
and such as the vulgar usually understand. But for the more lively
representation, they use such words as by their very sound express
some eminent quality in the thing, or metaphors; as when they say that
streams do "babble and flash"; that arrows fly "desirous the flesh to
wound"; or when they describe an equal battle by saying "the fight had
equal heads." They have likewise a great many significative compositions
in their verses. Thus Euripides of Perseus,

     He that Medusa slew, and flies in air;

and Pindar of a horse,

     When by the smooth Alpheus's banks
     He ran the race, and never felt the spur;

and Homer of a race,

     The chariots, overlaid with tin and brass,
     By fiery horses drawn ran swiftly on.
     (Euripedes, Frag. 975; Pindar, "Olympian," i. 31;
     "Iliad," xxiii. 503.)

So in dancing, the [Greek omitted] represents the shape and figure, the
[Greek omitted] shows some action, passion, or power; but by the [Greek
omitted] are properly and significatively shown the things themselves,
for instance, the heaven, earth, or the company. Which, being done in
a certain order and method, resembles the proper names used in poetry,
decently clothed and attended with suitable epithets. As in these lines,

     Themis the venerable and admired,
     And Venus beauteous with her bending brows,
     Fair Dione, and June crowned with gold.
     (Hesiod, "Theogony," 16.)

And in these,

     From Hellen kings renowned for giving laws,
     Great Dorus and the mighty Xuthus sprang,
     And Aeolus, whose chief delight was horse.

For if poets did not take this liberty, how mean, how grovelling and
flat, would be their verse! As suppose they wrote thus,

     From this sprung Hercules, from the other Iphitus.
     Her father, husband, and her son were kings,
     Her brother and forefathers were the same;
     And she in Greece Olympias was called.

The same faults may be committed in that sort of dancing called [Greek
omitted] unless the representation be lively and graceful, decent and
unaffected. And, in short, we may aptly transfer what Simonides said of
painting to dancing, and call dancing mute poetry, and poetry speaking
dancing; for poesy doth not properly belong to painting, nor painting
to poesy, neither do they any way make use of one another. But poesy
and dancing share much in common especially in that type of song called
Hyporchema, in which is the most lively representation imaginable,
dancing doing it by gesture, and poesy by words. So that poesy may bear
some resemblance to the colors in painting, while dancing is like the
lines which mark out the features. And therefore he who was the
most famous writer of Hyporchemes, who here even surpassed himself,
sufficiently proveth that these two arts stand in need of one another he
shows what tendency poetry hath to dancing; whilst the sound excites the
hands and feet, or rather as it were by some cords distends and raiseth
every member of the whole body; so that, whilst such songs are recited
or sung, they cannot be quiet. But nowadays no sort of exercise hath
such bad depraved music applied to it as dancing; and so it suffers that
which Ibyeus as to his own concerns was fearful of, as appears by these

     I fear lest, losing fame amongst the gods,
     I shall receive respect from men alone.

For having associated to itself a mean paltry sort of music, and falling
from that divine sort of poetry with which it was formerly acquainted,
it rules now and domineers amongst foolish and inconsiderate spectators,
like a tyrant, it hath subjected nearly all music, but hath lost all its
honor with excellent and wise men.

These, my Sossius Senecio, were almost the last discourses which we had
at Ammonius's house during the festival of the Muses.

END OF FIVE------------



LAMPRIAS. You, O Diadumenus, seem not much to care, if any one thinks
that you philosophize against the common notions; since you confess that
you contemn also the senses, from whence the most part of these notions
in a manner proceed, having for their seat and foundation the belief of
such things as appear to us. But I beseech you, with what speed you can,
either by reasons, incantations, or some other manner of discourse, to
cure me, who come to you full, as I seem to myself, of great and strange
perturbations; so much have I been shaken, and into such a perplexity of
mind have I been brought, by certain Stoics, in other things indeed very
good men and my familiar friends, but most bitterly and hostility bent
against the Academy. These, for some few words modestly spoken by me,
have (for I will tell you no lie) rudely and unkindly reprehended me;
angrily censuring and branding the ancient philosophers as Sophists
and corrupters of philosophy, and subverters of regular doctrines; and
saying things yet more absurd than these, they fell at last upon the
conceptions, into which (they contend) the Academics had brought a
certain confusion and disturbance. At length one of them said, that he
thought it was not by fortune, but by the providence of the gods, that
Chrysippus came into the world after Arcesilaus and before Carneades;
of which the one was the author of the contumelies and injuries done to
custom, and the other flourished most of all the Academics. Chrysippus
then, coming between them, by his writings against Arcesilaus, stopped
also the way against the eloquence of Carneades, leaving indeed many
things to the senses, as provisions against a siege, but wholly taking
away the trouble about anticipations and conceptions, directing every
one of them and putting it in its proper place; so that they who will
again embroil and disquiet matters should gain nothing, but be convinced
of being malicious and deceitful Sophists. I, having been this
morning set on fire by these discourses, want some cooling remedies to
extinguish and take away this doubting, as an inflammation, out of my

DIADUMENUS. You perhaps have suffered the same things with some of the
vulgar. But if you believe the poets, who say that the ancient city
Sipylus was overthrown by the providence of the gods when they punished
Tantalus, believe also the companions of the Stoa saying that Nature,
not by chance but by divine providence, brought forth Chrysippus, when
she had a mind to turn things upside down and alter the course of life;
for which purpose never any man was fitter than he. But as Cato said of
Caesar, that never any but he came to the management of public affairs
sober and considerately resolved on the ruin of the state; so does this
man seem to me with the greatest diligence and eloquence to overturn and
demolish custom, as those who magnify the man testify, when they dispute
against him concerning the sophism called Pseudomenos (or the Liar). For
to say, my best friend, that a conclusion drawn from contrary positions
is not manifestly false, and again to say that some arguments having
true premises and true inductions may yet moreover have the contrary
to their conclusions true, what conception of demonstration or what
assumption of confidence does it not overthrow? They say, that the
polypus in the winter gnaws his own claws; but the logic of Chrysippus,
taking away and cutting off its own chiefest parts and principles,--what
other notion has it left unsuspected of falsehood? For the
superstructures cannot be steady and sure, if the foundations remain not
firm but are shaken with so many doubts and troubles. But as those who
have dust or dirt upon their bodies, if they touch or rub the filth that
is upon them, seem rather to increase than remove it; so some men blame
the Academics, and think them guilty of the faults with which they
show themselves to be burdened. For who do more subvert the common
conceptions than the Stoic school? But if you please, let us leave
accusing them, and defend ourselves from the things with which they
charge us.

LAMPRIAS. Methinks, Diadumenus, I am this day become a various and
unconstant man. For erewhile I came dejected and trembling, as one that
wanted an apology; and now I am changed to an accuser, and desire
to enjoy the pleasure of revenge, in seeing them all convicted of
philosophizing against the common conceptions and presumptions, on which
they think chiefly their doctrine is founded, whence they say that it
alone agrees with Nature.

DIADUMENUS. Shall we then first attack those common and celebrated
doctrines of theirs which themselves, gently admitting their absurdity,
style paradoxes; as that only wise men are kings, that they only are
rich and fair, they only citizens and judges? Or shall we send all this
to the brokers, as old decayed frippery, and make our inquiry into such
things as are most practical and with the greatest earnestness delivered
by them?

LAMPRIAS. I indeed like this best. For who is there that is not already
full of the arguments brought against those paradoxes?

DIADUMENUS. First, then, consider this, whether, according to the
common conceptions, they can be said to agree with Nature, who think all
natural things indifferent, and esteem neither health, strength of body,
beauty, nor strength as desirable, commodious, profitable, or any way
contributory to the completing of natural perfection; nor consider that
their contraries, as maims, pains, disgraces, and diseases, are hurtful
or to be shunned? To the latter of these they themselves say that Nature
gives us an abhorrence, and an inclination to the former. Which very
thing is not a little repugnant to common understanding, that Nature
should incline us to such things as are neither good nor available, and
avert us from such as are neither ill nor hurtful, and which is more,
that she should render this inclination and this aversion so violent,
that they who either possess not the one or fall into the other detest
their life with good reason, and withdraw themselves out of it.

I think also that this is said by them against common sense, that Nature
herself is indifferent, and yet that it is good to agree with Nature.
For it is not our duty either to follow the law or be persuaded by
argument, unless the law and argument be good and honest. And this
indeed is the least of their errors. But if, as Chrysippus has written
in his First Book concerning Exhortation, a happy life consists only in
living according to virtue, other things (as he says) being nothing to
us, nor cooperating any ways towards it, Nature is not only indifferent,
but foolish also and stupid, in inclining us to such things as belong
nothing to us; and we also are fools in thinking felicity to be an
agreeing with Nature, which draws us after such things as contribute
nothing to happiness. For what can be more agreeable to common sense,
than that, as desirable things are requisite to live commodiously, so
natural things are necessary that we may live according to Nature? Now
these men say not so; but having settled the living according to Nature
for their end, do nevertheless hold those things which are according to
Nature to be indifferent.

Nor is this less repugnant to common sense, that an intelligent and
prudent man should not be equally affected to equal good things, but
should put no value on some, and be ready to undergo and suffer anything
for others, though the things themselves are neither greater nor less
one than another. For they say, It is the same thing to abstain from the
enjoyment of an old woman that is about to die as to take part in the
greatest actions with moderation... since in both cases we do what duty
requires. And yet for this, as a great and glorious thing, they should
be ready to die; when as to boast of the other would be shameful and
ridiculous. And even Chrysippus himself in his commentary concerning
Jupiter, and in the Third Book of the Gods, says, that it were a poor,
absurd, and impertinent thing to glory in such acts, as proceeding
from virtue, as bearing valiantly the stinging of a wasp, or abstaining
chastely from an old woman that lies a dying. Do not they then
philosophize against the common conception, who profess nothing to be
more commendable than those things which yet themselves are ashamed to
praise? For how can that be desirable or to be approved, which is worthy
neither of praise nor admiration, but the praisers and admirers of which
they esteem absurd and ridiculous?

And yet this will (I suppose) appear to you more against common sense,
that a wise man should take no care whether he enjoys or not enjoys the
greatest good things, but should carry himself after the same manner in
these things, as in those that are indifferent both in their management
and administration. For all of us, "whoever we are that eat the fruit
of the broad earth," judge that desirable, good, and profitable, which
being present we use, and absent we want and desire. But that which
no man thinks worth his concern, either for his profit or delight, is
indifferent. For we by no other means distinguish a laborious man from a
trifler, who is for the most part also employed in action, but that the
one busies himself in useless matters and indifferently, and the other
in things commodious and profitable. But these men act quite contrary;
for with them, a wise and prudent man, being conversant in many
comprehensions and memories of comprehension, esteems few of them to
belong to him; and not caring for the rest, he thinks he has neither
more or less by remembering that he lately had the comprehension of Dion
sneezing or Theon playing at ball. And yet every comprehension in a wise
man, and every memory having assurance and firmness, is a great, yea, a
very great good. When therefore his health fails, when some organ of
his senses is disordered, or when his wealth is lost, is a wise man so
careless as to think that none of these things concern him? Or does he,
"when sick, give fees to the physicians: for the gaining of riches sail
to Leucon, governor in the Bosphorus, or travel to Idanthyrsus, king of
the Scythians," as Chrysippus says? And being deprived of some of his
senses, does he not become weary even of life? How then do they not
acknowledge that they philosophize against the common notions, employing
so much care and diligence on things indifferent, and not minding
whether they have or have not great good things?

But this is also yet against the common conceptions, that he who is
a man should not rejoice when coming from the greatest evils to the
greatest goods. Now their wise men suffer this. Being changed from
extreme viciousness to the highest virtue, and at the same time escaping
a most miserable life and attaining to a most happy one, he shows no
sign of joy, nor does this so great change lift him up or yet move him,
being delivered from all infelicity and vice, and coming to a certain
sure and firm perfection of virtue. This also is repugnant to common
sense, to hold that the being immutable in one's judgments and
resolutions is the greatest of goods, and yet that he who has attained
to the height wants not this, nor cares for it when he has it, nay, many
times will not so much as stretch forth a finger for this security
and constancy, which nevertheless themselves esteem the sovereign and
perfect good. Nor do the Stoics say only these things, but they add
also this to them,--that the continuance of time increases not any good
thing; but if a man shall be wise but a minute of an hour, he will not
be any way inferior in happiness to him who has all his time practised
virtue and led his life happily in it. Yet, whilst they thus boldly
affirm these things, they on the contrary also say, that a short-lived
virtue is nothing worth; "For what advantage would the attainment of
wisdom be to him who is immediately to be swallowed up by the waves or
tumbled down headlong from a precipice? What would it have benefited
Lichas, if being thrown by Hercules, as from a sling into the sea, he
had been on a sudden changed from vice to virtue?" These therefore
are the positions of men who not only philosophize against the common
conceptions but also confound their own, if the having been but a little
while endued with virtue is no way short of the highest felicity, and
at the same time nothing worth. Nor is this the strangest thing you
will find in their doctrine; but their being of opinion that virtue and
happiness, when present, are frequently not perceived by him who enjoys
them, nor does he discern that, having but a little before been most
miserable and foolish, he is of a sudden become wise and happy. For
it is not only childish to say that he who is possessed of wisdom is
ignorant of this thing alone, that he is wise, and knows not that he is
delivered from folly; but, to speak in general, they make goodness to
have very little weight or strength, if it does not give so much as a
feeling of it when it is present. For according even to them, it is not
by nature imperceptible; nay, even Chrysippus in his books of the End
expressly says that good is sensible, and demonstrates it also, as he
maintains. It remains, then, that by its weakness and littleness it
flies the sense, when being present it is unknown and concealed from
the possessors. It were moreover absurd to imagine that the sight,
perceiving those things which are but a little whitish or inclining to
white, should not discern such as are white in perfection; or that the
touch, feeling those things which are but warm or moderately hot, should
be insensible of those that are hot in the highest degree. And yet more
absurd it is, that a man who perceives what is commonly according to
Nature--as are health and good constitution of body--should yet be
ignorant of virtue when it is present, which themselves hold to be most
of all and in the highest degree according to Nature. For how can it
but be against sense, to conceive the difference between health and
sickness, and yet so little to comprehend that between wisdom and folly
as to think the one to be present when it is gone, and possessing the
other to be ignorant that one has it? Now because there is from the
highest progress a change made to felicity and virtue, one of these two
things must of necessity follow; either that this progress is not
vice and infelicity, or that virtue is not far distant from vice, nor
happiness from misery, but that the difference between good and evil is
very small and not to be perceived by sense; for otherwise they who have
the one for the other could not be ignorant of it.

Since, then, they will not depart from any of these contrarieties, but
confess and hold them all,--that those who are proceeding towards virtue
are fools and vicious, that those who are become good and wise perceive
not this change in themselves, and that there is a great difference
between folly and wisdom,--they must assuredly seem to you wonderfully
to preserve an agreement in their doctrines, and yet more so in their
conduct, when affirming all men who are not wise to be equally wicked,
unjust, faithless, and fools, they on the other side abhor and detest
some of them,--nay, sometimes to such a degree that they refuse even to
speak to them when they meet them,--while others of them they trust
with their money, choose to offices, and take for husbands to their
daughters. Now if they say these things in jest, let them smooth their
brows; but if in earnest and as philosophers, it is against the common
notions to reprove and blame all men alike in words, and yet to deal
with some of them as moderate persons and with others as very wicked;
and exceedingly to admire Chrysippus, to deride Alexinus, and yet to
think neither of them more or less mad than the other. "'Tis so," say
they; "but as he who is not above a cubit under the superficies of the
sea is no less drowned than he who is five hundred fathom deep, so they
that are coming towards virtue are no less in vice their those that are
farther off. And as blind men are still blind, though they shall perhaps
a little after recover their sight; so these that have proceeded towards
virtue, till such time as they have attained to it, continue foolish and
wicked." But that they who are in the way towards virtue resemble not
the blind, but such as see less clearly, nor are like to those who
are drowned, but--those which swim, and that near the harbor--they
themselves testify by their actions. For they would not use counsellors
and generals and lawgivers as blind leaders, nor would they imitate
the works and actions and words and lives of some, if they saw them all
equally drowned in folly and wickedness. But leaving this, wonder at the
men in this behalf, that they are not taught by their own examples
to give up the doctrine that these men are wise being ignorant of
it themselves, and neither knowing nor being sensible that they are
recovered from being drowned and see the light, and that being gotten
above vice, they fetch breath again.

This also is against common sense, that it should be convenient for a
man who has all good things, and wants nothing requisite to felicity and
happiness, to make away himself; and much more this, that for him who
neither has nor ever shall have any good thing, but who is and ever
shall be accompanied with all adversities, difficulties, and mishaps, it
should not be fitting to quit this life unless some of the indifferent
things befall him. These laws are enacted in the Stoa; and by these they
incite many wise men to kill themselves, as if they would be thereby
more happy; and they prevent many foolish men, as if it were proper for
them to live on in misery. Although the wise man is fortunate, blessed,
every way happy, secure, and free from danger; but the vicious and
foolish man is "full, as I may say, of evils, so that there is not room
to put them in"; and yet they think that continuing in life is fit for
the latter, and departing out of it for the former. And not without
cause, says Chrysippus, for we are not to measure life by good things or
evil, but by those that are according to Nature. In this manner do they
maintain custom, and philosophize according to the common conceptions.
What do you say?--that he who enters upon a deliberation of life and
death has no right to consider

     What good or ill in his own house there is;

or to weigh, as in a balance, what things have the greatest sign of
serving to felicity or infelicity; but must argue whether he should live
or die from those things which are neither profitable nor prejudicial,
and follow such principles and sentences as command the choosing of a
life full of all things to be avoided, and the shunning of one which
wants nothing of all those things that are desirable? For though it is
an absurd thing, friend Lamprias, to shun a life in which there is
no evil, it is yet more absurd, if any one should leave what is good
because he is not possessed of what is indifferent, as these men do who
leave present felicity and virtue for want of riches and health which
they have not.

     Satumian Jove from Glaucus took his wits,

when he went about to change his suit of golden armor for a brazen one,
and to give what was worth a hundred oxen for that which was worth but
nine. And yet the brazen armor was no less useful for fight than the
golden; whereas beauty and health of body, as the Stoics say, contribute
not the least advantage so far as happiness is concerned. And yet they
seek health in exchange for wisdom. For they say, it would well enough
have become Heraclitus and Pherecydes to have parted with their virtue
and wisdom, if the one of them could have thereby been freed from his
lousy disease, and the other from his dropsy; and if Circe had used two
sorts of magical drinks, one to make wise men fools, and the other to
make fools wise, Ulysses would rather have drunk that of folly, than
have changed his shape for the form of a beast, though having with it
wisdom, and consequently also happiness. And, they say, wisdom itself
dictates to them these things, exhorting them thus: Let me go, and value
not my being lost, if I must be carried about in the shape of an ass.
But this, some will say, is an ass-like wisdom which teacheth thus;
granting that to be wise and enjoy felicity is good, and to wear the
shape of an ass is indifferent. They say, there is a nation of the
Ethiopians where a dog reigns, is called king, and has all regal honors
and services done to him; but men execute the offices of magistrates and
governors of cities. Do not the Stoics act in the very same manner? They
give the name and appearance of good to virtue, saying that it alone is
desirable, profitable, and available; but in the meantime they act
these things, they philosophize, they live and die, as at the command of
things indifferent. And yet none of the Ethiopians kill that dog; but he
sits in state, and is revered by all. But these men destroy and corrupt
their virtue, that they may obtain health and riches.

But the corollary which Chrysippus himself has given for a conclusion to
his doctrines seems to free us from the trouble of saying anything more
about it. For there being, says he, in Nature some things good,
some things bad, and some things between them both, which we call
indifferent; there is no man but would rather have the good than the
indifferent, and the indifferent than the bad. And of this we call
the gods to witness, begging of them by our prayers principally the
possession of good things, and if that may not be, deliverance from
evil; not desiring that which is neither good nor bad instead of good,
but willing to have it instead of evil. But this man, changing Nature
and inverting its order, removes the middle out of its own place into
the last, and brings back the last into the middle,--not unlike to those
tyrants who give the first place to the wicked,--and he gives us a law,
first to seek the good, and secondly the evil, and lastly to judge
that worst which is neither good nor evil; as if any one should place
infernal things next to celestial, thrusting the earth and earthly
things into Tartarus,

     Where very far from hence, deep under ground,
     Lies a vast gulf.
     (Iliad, viii. 14.)

Having therefore said in his Third Book concerning Nature, that it
is more expedient for a fool to live than not, though he should never
attain to wisdom, he adds these words: "For such are the good things of
men, that even evil things do in a manner precede other things that are
in the middle place; not that these things themselves really precede,
but reason, which makes us choose rather to live, though we were to be
fools." Therefore also, though we were to be unjust, wicked, hated of
the gods, and unhappy; for none of these things are absent from those
that live foolishly. Is it then convenient rather to live miserably than
not to live miserably, and better to be hurt than not hurt, to be unjust
than not unjust, to break the laws than not to break them? That is, is
it convenient to do things that are not convenient, and a duty to live
even against duty? Yes indeed, for it is worse to want sense and reason
than to be a fool. What then ails them, that they will not confess that
to be evil which is worse than evil? Why do they say that folly alone is
to be avoided, if it is not less but rather more convenient to shun that
disposition which is not capable of folly?

But who can complain of this, that shall remember what he has written in
his Second Book of Nature, declaring that vice was not unprofitably made
for the universe? But it is meet I should set down his doctrine in his
own words, that you may understand in what place those rank vice, and
what discourses they hold of it, who accuse Xenocrates and Speusippus
for not reckoning health indifferent and riches useless. "Vice," saith
he, "has its limit in reference to other accidents. For it is also in
some sort according to the reason of Nature, and (as I may so say) is
not wholly useless in respect of the universe; for other wise there
would not be any good." Is there then no good among the gods, because
there is no evil? And when Jupiter, having resolved all matter into
himself, shall be alone, other differences being taken away, will there
then be no good, because there will be no evil? But is there melody in a
choir though none in it sings faultily, and health in the body though no
member is sick; and yet cannot virtue have its existence without vice?
But as the poison of a serpent or the gall of an hyena is to be mixed
with some medicines, was it also of necessity that there must have
been some conjunction of the wickedness of Meletus with the justice
of Socrates, and the dissolute conduct of Cleon with the probity of
Pericles? And could not Jupiter have found a means to bring into the
world Hercules and Lycurgus, if he had not also made for us Sardanapalus
and Phalaris? It is now time for them to say that the consumption was
made for the sound constitution of men's bodies, and the gout for the
swiftness of their feet; and that Achilles would not have had a good
head of hair if Thersites had not been bald. For what difference
is there between such triflers and ravers, and those who say that
intemperance was not brought forth unprofitably for continence, nor
injustice for justice, so that we must pray to the gods, there may be
always wickedness,

     Lies, fawning speeches, and deceitful manners,
     (Hesiod, "Works and Days," 78.)

if, when these are taken away, virtue will also vanish and be lost?

Or do you desire to understand the greatest sweetness of his eloquence
and persuasion? "For," says he, "as comedies have in them sometimes
ridiculous epigrams, which, though bad in themselves, give nevertheless
a certain grace to the whole poem; so, though you may blame vice in
itself, yet is it not useless to other things." First, then, to say that
vice was made by the providence of God, as a wanton epigram by the will
of the poet, transcends in absurdity all imagination. For this being
granted, how will the gods be rather givers of good than evil? How will
wickedness be displeasing to them, and hated by them? And what shall we
have to oppose against these ill-sounding sentences of the poets.--

     A cause to men God sends,
     When to chastise some house his wrath intends;
     (From the "Niobe" of Aeschylus, Frag. 151.)

and again,

     What God those seeds of strife 'twixt them did sow?
     (Iliad, i. 8.)

Moreover, a lewd epigram adorns the comedy and contributes to its end,
which is to delight the spectators and make them laugh. But Jupiter,
who is surnamed fatherly, supreme, just, and (as Pindar has it) the most
perfect artist, framing the world, not as a great interlude, full of
variety and great learning, but as a common city of Gods and men, living
together in concord and happiness with justice and virtue,--what need
had he, for the attaining to this excellent end, of thieves, murderers,
parricides, and tyrants? For vice entered not as a morris-dance,
pleasing and delightful to the Divinity; nor was it brought in amongst
the affairs of men, to cause mirth and laughter by its raillery and
facetiousness, since there is not to be seen in it so much as a dream of
that celebrated agreement with Nature. Besides, that foolish epigram is
a very small part of the poem, and takes up but a very little place in
the comedy; neither do such things abound in it, nor do they corrupt any
of those things which seem to have been well done, or spoil their grace.
But all human affairs are replete with vice, and the whole life, from
the very prologue and beginning to the end, being disordered, depraved,
and disturbed, and having no part of it pure or irreprehensible (as
these men say), is the most filthy and most unpleasant of all farces.

Wherefore I would willingly ask, in what vice is profitable to the
universe. Not surely in respect of heavenly things, and such as are
divine by nature. For it would be ridiculous to say, that if there had
not arisen, or were not amongst men, malice and covetousness and lying,
or that if we did not rob, plunder, slander, and murder one another, the
sun would not run his appointed course, the world enjoy its seasons
and periods of time, or the earth, which is seated in the midst of the
universe, afford the principles of the wind and rain. It remains, then,
that the existence of vice must be profitable for us and our affairs;
and that perhaps these men mean. Are we more healthy for being vicious,
or do we more abound with necessaries? Or does vice contribute anything
to our beauty and strength? They say, no. But where on earth is virtue
to be met with? Is it then only a base name, and a visionary opinion
of night-walking Sophists, and not an actual thing lying conspicuous to
all, like vice, so that we cannot partake of anything as profitable,...
but least, O ye gods! of virtue, for which we were created? Is it
not then absurd, that the utensils of the husbandman, mariner, and
charioteer should be serviceable and aiding towards his intended end,
whilst that which was by God made for virtue destroys and corrupts
virtue? But perhaps it is time now to leave this point, and pass to

LAMPRIAS. Not for my sake, my dear friend, I beseech you; for I desire
to understand, in what manner these men bring in evil things before the
good, and vice before virtue.

DIADUMENUS. It is indeed, sir, a thing worth knowing. They babble indeed
much; but in conclusion they say that prudence, being the knowledge of
good and evil, would be wholly taken away if there were no evil. For as,
if there are truths, it is impossible but there must be some lies also
near to them; so it stands with reason, that if there are good things,
there must also be evil things.

LAMPRIAS. One of these things is not said amiss; and I think also that
the other is not unapprehended by me. For I see a difference here:
that which is not true must immediately be false; but that is not of
necessity evil which is not good; because that between true and false
there is no medium, but between good and evil there is the indifferent.
Nor is it of necessity that the one must subsist with the other. For
Nature may have good without having any need of evil, but only having
that which is neither good nor evil. But if there is anything to be said
by you to the former reason, let us hear it.

DIADUMENUS. Many things indeed are said; but at present we shall make
use only of what is most necessary. In the first place, it is a folly
to imagine that good and evil have their existence for the sake
of prudence. For good and evil being already extant, prudence came
afterwards; as the art of physic was invented, there being already
things wholesome and unwholesome. For good and evil are not therefore
extant that there may be prudence; but the faculty by which we judge
good and evil that are already in being is named prudence. As sight is
a sense distinguishing white from black; which colors were not therefore
made that we might have sight, but we rather wanted sight to discern
these things. Secondly, when the world shall be set on fire (as the
Stoics hold), there will then no evil be left, but all will then be
prudent and wise. There is therefore prudence, though there is no evil;
nor is it of necessity for evil to exist that prudence may have a being.
But supposing that prudence must always be a knowledge of good and
evil, what inconvenience would it be if, evil being taken away, prudence
should no longer subsist; but instead of this we should have another
virtue, not being the knowledge of good and evil, but of good only? So,
if black should be wholly lost from among the colors, and any one should
therefore contend that sight is also lost, for that there is no more
the sense of discerning black and white, what should hinder us from
answering him: It is no prejudice to us, if we have not what you call
sight, but in lieu of that have another sense and faculty, by which we
apprehend colors that are white and not white. For I indeed think that
neither our taste would be lost, if bitter things were wanting, nor our
feeling, if pain were taken away, nor prudence, if evil had no being;
but that these senses would remain, to apprehend things sweet and
grateful and those that are not so, and prudence to be the science of
things good and not good. But let those who think otherwise take the
name to themselves, leaving us the thing.

Besides all this, what should hinder but there may be an understanding
of evil, and an existence of good? As the gods, I believe, enjoy health,
but understand the fever and pleurisy. Since even we, who, as they
say, have abundance of evils but no good, are not yet destitute of the
knowledge what prudence, what goodness, and what happiness is. And this
also would be remarkable, that if virtue were absent, there should be
those who could teach us what it is and give us a comprehension of
it, when if vice were not extant, it should be impossible to have any
understanding of it. For see what these men persuade us who philosophize
against the conceptions,--that by folly indeed we comprehend prudence,
but prudence without folly cannot so much as comprehend folly itself.

And if Nature had absolutely stood in need of the generation of evil,
yet might one or two examples of vice have been sufficient; or if you
will, it might have been requisite that ten, a thousand, or ten thousand
vicious men should be brought forth, and not that the multitude of vices
should be so great as "to exceed in number the sands of the sea, the
dust of the earth, and the feathers of all the various kinds of birds in
the world," and yet that there should not be so much all this while as a
dream of virtue. Those who in Sparta had the charge of the public halls
or eating places called Phiditia were wont to bring forth two or
three Helots drunken and full of wine, that the young men, seeing what
drunkenness was, might learn to keep sobriety. But in human life there
are many such examples of vice. For there is not any one sober to
virtue; but we all stagger up and down, acting shamefully and living
miserably. Thus does reason inebriate us, and with so much trouble and
madness does it fill us, that we fall in nothing short of those dogs of
whom Aesop says, that seeing certain skins swimming in the water, they
endeavored to gulp down the sea, but burst before they could get at
them. For reason also, by which we hope to gain reputation and attain
to virtue, does, ere we can reach to it, corrupt and destroy us, being
before filled with abundance of heady and bitter vice;--if indeed, as
these men say, they who are got even to the uppermost step have no ease,
cessation, or breathing from folly and infelicity.

But let us see what manner of thing he shows vice to be who says that it
was not brought forth unprofitably, and of what use and what a thing
he makes it to be to those who have it, writing in his book of right
conduct, that a wicked man wants nothing, has need of nothing, nothing
is useful to him, nothing proper, nothing fit for him. How then is
vice useful, with which neither health nor abundance of riches nor
advancement in virtue is profitable? Who then does not want these
things, of which some are "preferable" and "acceptable" and therefore
highly useful, and others are "according to Nature," as themselves term
them? But (they affirm) no one has need of them, unless he become wise.
So the vicious man does not even stand in want of being made wise.
Nor are men hungry and thirsty before they become wise. When thirsty,
therefore, they have no need of water, nor when hungry, of bread.

     Be like to courteous guests, and him
     Who asks only fire and shelter:

does this man now not need entertainment? Nor had he need of a cloak,
who said,

     Give Hipponax a cloak, for I'm stiff with cold.

But will you speak a paradox indeed, both extravagant and singular? Say
then that a wise man has need of nothing, that he wants nothing, he
is fortunate, he is free from want, he is self-sufficient, blessed,
perfect. Now what madness is this, that he to whom nothing is wanting
has need of the goods he has, but that the vicious indeed wants many
things, and stands in need of nothing. For thus indeed says Chrysippus,
that the vicious wants but stands not in need; removing the common
notions, like chessmen, backwards and forwards. For all men think that
having need precedes wanting, esteeming him who stands in need of things
that are not at hand or easy to be got, to want them. For no man wants
horns or wings, because no one has need of them. But we say that those
want arms and money and clothes who are destitute of them, when they
have occasion for them. But these men are so desirous of seeming always
to say something against the common notions, that for the love of
novelty they often depart from their own opinions, as they do here.

Recall yourself to the consideration of what has been said a little
above. This is one of their assertions against the common conception,
that no vicious man receives any utility. And yet many being instructed
profit, many being slaves are made free; many being besieged are
delivered, being lame are led by the hand, and being sick are cured.
"But possessing all these things, they are never the better, neither
do receive benefits, nor have they any benefactors, nor do they slight
them." Vicious men then are not ungrateful, no more than are wise men.
Ingratitude therefore has no being; because the good receiving a benefit
fail not to acknowledge it, and the bad are not capable of receiving
any. Behold, now, what they say to this,--that benefit is ranked among
mean or middle things, and that to give and receive utility belongs only
to the wise, but the bad also receive a benefit. Then they who partake
of the benefit partake not also of its use; and whither a benefit
extends, there is nothing useful or commodious. Now what else is there
that makes a kind office a benefit, but that the bestower of it is, in
some respect, useful to the needy receiver?

LAMPRIAS. But let these things pass. What, I beseech you, is this so
highly venerated utility, which preserving as some great and excellent
thing for the wise, they permit not so much as the name of it to the

DIADUMENUS. If (say they) one wise man does but any way prudently
stretch out his finger, all the wise men all the world over receive
utility by it. This is the work of their amity; in this do the virtues
of the wise man terminate by their common utilities. Aristotle then and
Xenocrates doted, saving that men receive utility from the gods, from
their parents, from their masters, being ignorant of that wonderful
utility which wise men receive from one another, being moved according
to virtue, though they neither are together nor yet know it. Yet all
men esteem, that laying up, keeping, and bestowing are then useful and
profitable, when some benefit or profit is recovered by it. The thriving
man buys keys, and diligently keeps his stores,

     With 's hand unlocking wealth's sweet treasury.
     (From the "Bellerophontes" of Euripides, Frag. 287, vs. 8.)

But to store up and to keep with diligence and labor such things as are
for no use is not seemly or honorable, but ridiculous. If Ulysses indeed
had tied up with the knot which Circe taught him, not the gifts he
had received from Alcinous,--tripods, caldrons, cloths, and gold,--but
heaping up trash, stones, and such like trumpery, should have thought
his employment about such things, and the possession and keeping of
them, a happy and blessed work, would any one have imitated this
foolish providence and empty care? Yet this is the beauty, gravity, and
happiness of the Stoical consent, being nothing else but a gathering
together and keeping of useless and indifferent things. For such are
things according to Nature, and more exterior things; if indeed they
compare the greatest riches to fringes and golden chamberpots, and
sometimes also, as it happens, to oil-cruets. Then, as those who seem
proudly to have affronted and railed at some gods or demigods presently
changing their note, fall prostrate and sit humbly on the ground,
praising and magnifying the Divinity; so these men, having met with
punishment of this arrogancy and vanity, again exercise themselves in
these indifferent things and such as pertain nothing to them, crying
out with a loud voice that there is only one thing good, specious, and
honorable, the storing up of these things and the communication of them,
and that it is not meet for those to live who have them not, but to
despatch out of the way and famish themselves, bidding a long farewell
to virtue.

They esteem indeed Theognis to have been a man altogether of a base
and abject spirit, for saying, as one overfearful in regard to poverty,
which is an indifferent thing:--

     From poverty to fly, into the deep
     Throw thyself, Cyrnus, or from rocks so steep.

Yet they themselves exhort the same thing in prose, and affirm that a
man, to free himself from some great disease or exceedingly acute pain,
if he have not at hand sword or hemlock, ought to leap into the sea or
throw himself headlong from a precipice; neither of which is hurtful, or
evil, or incommodious, or makes them who fall into it miserable.

With what, then, says he, shall I begin? And what shall I take for the
principle of duty and matter of virtue, leaving Nature and that which is
according to Nature?

With what, O good sir, do Aristotle and Theophrastus begin? What
beginnings do Xenocrates and Polemo take? Does not also Zeno follow
these, who hold Nature and that which is according to Nature to be the
elements of happiness? But they indeed persisted in these things, as
desirable, good, and profitable; and joining to them virtue, which
employs them and uses every one of them according to its property,
thought to complete and consummate a perfect life and one every way
absolute, producing that concord which is truly suitable and consonant
to Nature. For these men did not run into confusion, like those who leap
up from the ground and presently fall down again upon it, terming
the same things acceptable and not desirable, proper and not good,
unprofitable and yet useful, nothing to us and yet the principles of
duties. But their life was such as their speech, and they exhibited
actions suitable and consonant to their sayings. But they who are of
the Stoic sect--not unlike to that woman in Archilochus, who deceitfully
carried in one hand water, in the other fire--by some doctrines draw
Nature to them, and by others drive her from them. Or rather, by their
deeds and actions they embrace those things which are according to
Nature, as good and desirable, but in words and speeches they reject and
contemn them, as indifferent and of no use to virtue for the acquiring

Now, forasmuch as all men esteem the sovereign good to be joyous,
desirable, happy, of the greatest dignity, self-sufficient, and wanting
nothing; compare their good, and see how it agrees with this common
conception. Does the stretching out a finger prudently produce this joy?
Is a prudent torture a thing desirable? Is he happy, who with reason
breaks his neck? Is that of the greatest dignity, which reason often
chooses to let go for that which is not good? Is that perfect and
self-sufficient, by enjoying which, if they possess not too indifferent
things, they neither can nor will endure to live? There is also another
tenet of the Stoics, by which custom is still more injured, taking and
plucking from her genuine notions, which are as her legitimate children,
and supposing other bastardly, wild, and illegitimate ones in their
room, and necessitating her to nourish and cherish the one instead of
the other; and that too in those principles which concern things good
and bad, desirable and avoidable, proper and strange, the energy of
which ought to be more clearly distinguished than that of hot and cold,
black and white. For the imaginations of these things are brought in
by the senses from without; but those have their original bred from the
good things which we have within us. But these men entering with their
logic upon the topic of felicity, as on the sophism called Pseudomenos,
or that named Kyrieuon, have removed no ambiguities, but brought in very

Indeed, of two good things, of which the one is the end and the other
belongs to the end, none is ignorant that the end is the greater and
perfecter good. Chrysippus also acknowledges this difference, as is
manifest from his Third Book of Good Things. For he dissents from
those who make science the end, and sets it down.... In his Treatise of
Justice, however, he does not think that justice can be preserved, if
any one makes pleasure to be the end; but allows it may, if pleasure is
not said to be the end, but simply a good. Nor do I think that you need
now to hear me repeat his words, since his Third Book of Justice is
everywhere to be had. When, therefore, O my friend, they elsewhere say
that no one good is greater or less than another, and that what is
not the end is equal to the end, they contradict not only the common
conceptions, but even their own words. Again, if of two evils, the one
when it is present renders us worse, and the other hurts us but renders
us not worse, it is against reason not to say that the evil which by
its presence renders us worse is greater than that which hurts us but
renders us not worse. Now Chrysippus indeed confesses, that there are
some fears and sorrows and errors which hurt us, but render us not
worse. Read his First Book of Justice against Plato; for in respect of
other things, it is worth the while to note the babbling of the man in
that place, expounding indifferently all matters and doctrines, as well
proper to his own sect as foreign to it.

It is likewise against common sense when he says that there may be two
ends or scopes proposed of life, and that all the things we do are not
to be referred to one; and yet this is more against common sense, to
say that there is an end, and yet that every action is to be referred to
another. Nevertheless they must of necessity endure one of these. For
if those things which are first according to Nature are not eligible for
themselves, but the choice and taking of them agreeably to reason is,
and if every one therefore does all his actions for the acquiring the
first things according to Nature, then all things which are done must
have their reference to this, that the principal things according to
Nature may be obtained. But they think that they who aim and aspire to
get these things do not have the things themselves as the end, but
that to which they must make reference, namely, the choice and not
the things. For the end indeed is to choose and receive these things
prudently. But the things themselves and the enjoying of them are not
the end, but the material ground, having its value only from the choice.
For it is my opinion that they both use and write this very expression,
to show the difference.

LAMPRIAS. You have exactly related both what they say and in what manner
they deliver it.

DIADUMENUS. But observe how it fares with them, as with those that
endeavor to leap over their own shadow; for they do not leave behind,
but always carry along with them in their speech some absurdity most
remote from common sense. For as, if any one should say that he who
shoots does all he can, not that he may hit the mark, but that he may do
all he can, such a one would rightly be esteemed to speak enigmatically
and prodigiously; so these doting dreamers, who contend that the
obtaining of natural things is not the end of aiming after natural
things, but the taking and choosing them is, and that the desire and
endeavor after health is not in every one terminated in the enjoyment of
health, but on the contrary, the enjoyment of health is referred to the
desire and endeavor after it, and that certain walkings and contentions
of speech and suffering incisions and taking of medicines, so they are
done by reason, are the end of health, and not health of them, they,
I say, trifle like to those who say, Let us sup, that we may offer
sacrifice, that we may bathe. But this rather changes order and custom,
and all things which these men say carry with them the total subversion
and confusion of affairs. Thus, we do not desire to take a walk in fit
time that we may digest our meat; but we digest our meat that we may
take a walk in fit time. Has Nature also made health for the sake of
hellebore, instead of producing hellebore for the sake of health?
For what is wanting to bring them to the highest degree of speaking
paradoxes, but the saying of such things? What difference is there
between him who says that health was made for the sake of medicines and
not medicines for the sake of health, and him who makes the choice
of medicines and their composition and use more desirable than health
itself?--or rather who esteems health not at all desirable, but placing
the end in the negotiation about these things, prefers desire to
enjoyment, and not enjoyment to desire? For to desire, forsooth (they
affirm), is joined the proceeding wisely and discreetly. It is true
indeed, we will say, if respect be had to the end, that is, the
enjoyment and possession of the things it pursues; but otherwise, it is
wholly void of reason, if it does all things for the obtaining of that
the enjoyment of which is neither honorable nor happy.

Now, since we are fallen upon this discourse, anything may rather
be said to agree with common sense, than that those who have neither
received nor have any conception of good do nevertheless desire
and pursue it. For you see how Chrysippus drives Ariston into this
difficulty, that he should understand an indifference in things
inclining neither to good nor to bad, before either good or bad is
itself understood; for so indifference will appear to have subsisted
even before itself, if the understanding of it cannot be perceived
unless good be first understood, while the good is nothing else than
this very indifference. Understand now and consider this indifference
which the Stoa refutes and calls consent, whence and in what manner it
gives us the knowledge of good. For if without good the indifference to
that which is not good cannot be understood, much less does the knowing
of good things give any intelligence of itself to those who had not
before some notion of the good. But as there can be no knowledge of the
art of things wholesome and unwholesome in those who have not first some
knowledge of the things themselves; so they cannot conceive any notion
of the science of good and evil who have not some fore-knowledge of good
and evil.

LAMPRIAS. What then is good? DIADUMENUS. Nothing but prudence. LAMPRIAS.
And what is prudence? DIADUMENUS. Nothing but the science of good.

LAMPRIAS. There is much then of "Jupiter's Corinth" (that is, much
begging the question) admitted into their reasoning. For I would have
you let alone the saying about the turning of the pestle, lest you
should seem to mock them; although an accident like to that has
insinuated itself into their discourse. For it seems that, to the
understanding of good, one has need to understand prudence, and to seek
for prudence in the understanding of good, being forced always to
pursue the one by the other, and thus failing of both; since to the
understanding of each we have need of that which cannot be known without
the other be first understood.

DIADUMENUS. But there is yet another way, by which you may perceive
not only the perversion but the eversion of their discourse, and the
reduction of it entirely to nothing. They hold the essence of good to be
the reasonable election of things according to Nature. Now the election
is not reasonable which is not directed to some end, as has been said
before. What, then, is this end? Nothing else, say they, but to reason
rightly in the election of things according to Nature. First, then, the
conception of good is lost and gone. For to reason rightly in election
is an operation proceeding from an habit of right reasoning, and
therefore being constrained to get this from the end; and the end not
without this, we fail of understanding either of them. Besides, which is
more, this reasonable election ought strictly to be a choice of
things good and useful, and cooperating to the end; for how can it be
reasonable to choose things which are neither convenient nor honorable
nor at all eligible? For be it, as they say, a reasonable election of
things having a fitness for the causing felicity; see then to what a
beautiful and solemn conclusion their discourse brings them. For the
end is (it seems), according to them, to reason rightly in the choice of
things which are useful in causing us to reason rightly.

LAMPRIAS. When I hear these words, my friend, what is laid down seems to
me strangely extravagant; and I farther want to know how this happens.

DIADUMENUS. You must then be more attentive; for it is not for every one
to understand this riddle. Hear therefore and answer. Is not the end,
according to them, to reason rightly in the election of things according
to Nature?

LAMPRIAS. So they say.

DIADUMENUS. And are these things according to Nature chosen as good,
or as having some fitness or preferences... either for this end or for
something else?

LAMPRIAS. I think not for anything else but for this end.

DIADUMENUS. Now, then, having discovered the matter, see what befalls
them. They affirm that the end is to reason rightly in the selection of
things which are of value in causing us to reason rightly, for they say
that we neither have nor understand any other principle either of good
or of felicity but this precious rectitude of reasoning in the election
of things that are of worth. But there are some who think that this is
spoken against Antipater, and not against the whole sect; for that he,
being pressed by Carneades, fell into these fooleries.

But as for those things that are against the common conceptions taught
in the Stoa concerning love, they are all of them concerned in the
absurdity. They say youths are deformed who are vicious and foolish,
and that the wise are fair; and yet that none of these beautiful ones
is either beloved or worthy of being beloved. Nor yet is this the worst;
but they add, that those who love the deformed ones cease to do so when
they are become fair. Now whoever knew such a love as is kindled and has
its being at the sight of the body's deformity joined with that of the
soul, and is quenched and decays at the accession of beauty joined with
prudence, justice, and temperance? These men are not unlike to those
gnats which love to settle on the dregs of wine, or on vinegar, but shun
and fly away from potable and pleasant wine. As for that which they call
and term an appearance of beauty, saying that it is the inducement of
love,--first, it has no probability, for in those who are very foul and
highly wicked there cannot be an appearance of beauty, if indeed (as is
said) the wickedness of the disposition fills the face with deformity.
And secondly, it is absolutely against all common experience for the
deformed to be worthy of love because he one day will be fair and
expects to have beauty, but that when he has got it and is become fair
and good, he is to be beloved of none.

LAMPRIAS. Love, they say, is a certain hunting after a young person
who is as yet indeed undeveloped, but naturally well disposed towards

DIADUMENUS. And what do we now else, O my best friend, but demonstrate
that their sect perverts and destroys all our common conceptions with
improbable things and unusual expressions? For none would hinder the
solicitude of these wise men towards young persons, if it were free
from all passionate affection, from being named hunting or love
of instruction; but they ought to call love what all men and women
understand and call by this name, like that which Penelope's suitors in
Homer seem to acknowledge,

     Who all desired to lie with her;
     ("Odyssey," i. 366)

or as Jupiter in another place says to Juno,

     For neither goddess yet nor mortal dame
     E'er kindled in my heart so great a flame.
     ("Iliad." xiv. 315.)

Thus casting moral philosophy into these matters, in which all is

     A mazy whirl, with nothing sound, and all perplexed,
     (Euripides, "Andromache," 448.)

they contemn and deride it, as if boasting themselves to be the only
men who observe nature and custom as it ought to be, and who at the
same time adapted reason to each man by means of aversions, desires,
appetites, pursuits, and impulses. But custom has received no good from
their logic, but, like the ear diseased by vain sounds, is filled
with difficulty and obscurity,--of which, if you think good, we will
elsewhere begin a new discourse. But now we will run through the chief
and principal heads of their natural philosophy, which no less confounds
the common conceptions than that other concerning ends. =============
First, this is altogether absurd and against sense, to say that is which
is not, and things which are not are. But above all that is most
absurd which they say of the universe. For, putting round about the
circumference of the world an infinite vacuum, they say that the
universe is neither a body nor bodiless. It follows then from this that
the universe has no being, since with them body only has a being.
Since therefore it is the part of that which has a being both to do and
suffer, and the universe has no being, it follows that the universe will
neither do nor suffer. Neither will it be in a place; for that which
takes up place is a body, and the universe is not a body, therefore the
universe exists nowhere. And since that only rests which continues in
one and the same place, the universe rests not, because it takes not up
place. Neither yet is it moved, for what is moved must have a place and
space in which to move. Moreover, what is moved either moves itself, or
suffers motion from another. Now, that which is moved by itself has
some bents and inclinations proceeding from its gravity or levity; and
gravity and levity are either certain habits or faculties or differences
of bodies. But the universe is not a body. It follows then of necessity,
that the universe is neither, heavy nor light, and consequently, that it
has not in itself any principle of motion. Nor yet will the universe be
moved by any other; for there is nothing else besides the universe. Thus
are they necessitated to say as they do, that the universe neither rests
nor is moved. Lastly since according to their opinion it must not
be said that the universe is a body, and yet the heaven, the earth,
animals, plants, men, and stones are bodies, it follows that that
which is no body will have bodies for its parts, and things which have
existence will be parts of that which has no existence, and that which
is not heavy will have parts that are heavy, and what is not light
will have parts that are light;--than which there cannot be any dreams
imagined more repugnant to the common conceptions.

Moreover, there is nothing so evident or so agreeing to common sense as
this, that what is not animate is inanimate, and what is not inanimate
is animate. And yet they overthrow also this evidence, confessing the
universe to be neither animate nor inanimate. Besides this, none thinks
the universe, of which there is no part wanting to be imperfect; but
they deny the universe to be perfect, saying that what is perfect may be
defined, but the universe because of its infiniteness cannot be defined.
Therefore, according to them, there is something which is neither
perfect nor imperfect. Moreover, the universe is neither a part, since
there is nothing greater than it; nor the whole, for the whole (they
say) is predicated only of that which is digested into order; but the
universe is, through its infiniteness, undetermined and unordered.
Moreover, there is no other thing which can be the cause of the
universe, there being nothing besides the universe; nor is the universe
the cause of other things or even of itself; for its nature suffers it
not to act, and a cause is understood by its acting. Suppose, now, one
should ask all men what they imagine NOTHING to be, and what notion they
have of it. Would they not answer, that it neither is a cause nor has
a cause, that it is neither the whole nor a part that it is neither
perfect nor imperfect, that it is neither animate nor inanimate, that
it neither is moved nor rests nor subsists, that it is neither corporeal
nor incorporeal; and that this and no other thing is meant by NOTHING?
Since, then, they alone predicate that of the universe which all others
do of NOTHING, it seems plain that they make the universe and NOTHING to
be the same. Time must then be said to be nothing; the same also must
be said of predicate, axiom, junction, conjunction, which terms they use
more than any of the other philosophers, yet they say that they have
no existence. But farther, to say that what is true has no being or
subsistence but is comprehended, and that that is comprehensible and
credible which no way partakes of the essence of being,--does not this
exceed all absurdity?

But lest these things should seem to have too much of logical
difficulty, let us proceed to such as pertain more to natural
philosophy. Since, then, as themselves say,

     Jove is of all beginning, midst, and end,
     (See "Orphic Fragments," vi. 10 (Herm.).)

they ought chiefly to have applied themselves to remedy, redress, and
reduce to the best order the conceptions concerning the gods, if there
were in them anything confused or erroneous; or if not, to have left
every one in those sentiments which they had from the laws and custom
concerning the Divinity:--

    For neither now nor yesterday But always these things lived,
    No one knows from whence they came.
     (Sophocles, "Antigone," 456.)

But these men, having begun (as it were) "from Vesta" to disturb the
opinions settled and received in every country concerning the gods, have
not (to speak sincerely) left anything entire and uncorrupted. For
what man is there or ever was, except these, who does not believe the
Divinity to be immortal and eternal? Or what in the common anticipations
is more unanimously chanted forth concerning the gods than such things
as these:--

     There the blest gods eternally enjoy
     Their sweet delights;
     ("Odyssey," vi. 46.)

and again,

     Both gods immortal, and earth-dwelling men;
     ("Iliad," v. 442.)

and again,

     Exempt from sickness and old age are they,
     And free from toil, and have escaped the stream
     Of roaring Acheron?
     (From Pindar.)

One may perhaps light upon some nations so barbarous and savage as
not to think there is a God; but there was never found any man who,
believing a God, did not at the same time believe him immortal and
eternal. Certainly, those who were called Atheists, like Theodorus,
Diagoras, and Hippo, durst not say that the Divinity is corruptible, but
they did not believe that there is anything incorruptible; not indeed
admitting the subsistence of an incorruptibility, but keeping the notion
of a God. But Chrysippus and Cleanthes, having filled (as one may say)
heaven, earth, air, and sea with gods, have not yet made any one of
all these gods immortal or eternal, except Jupiter alone, in whom they
consume all the rest; so that it is no more suitable for him to consume
others than to be consumed himself. For it is alike an infirmity
to perish by being resolved into another, and to be saved by being
nourished by the resolution of others into himself. Now these are
not like other of their absurdities, gathered by argument from their
suppositions or drawn by consequence from their doctrines; but they
themselves proclaim it aloud in their writings concerning the gods,
Providence, Fate, and Nature, expressly saying that all the other gods
were born, and shall die by the fire, melting away, in their opinion,
as if they were of wax or tin. It is indeed as much against common sense
that God should be mortal as the man should be immortal; nay, indeed, I
do not see what the difference between God and man will be, if God also
is a reasonable and corruptible animal. For if they oppose us with
this subtle distinction, that man is mortal, and God not mortal but
corruptible, see what they get by it. For they will say either that
God is at the same time both immortal and corruptible, or else that he
neither is mortal nor immortal; the absurdity of which even those cannot
exceed who set themselves industriously to devise positions repugnant to
common sense. I speak of others; for these men have left no one of the
absurdest things unspoken or unattempted.

To these things Cleanthes, contending for the conflagration of the
world, says, that the sun will make the moon and all the other stars
like to himself, and will change them into himself. Indeed, if the
stars, being gods, should contribute anything to the sun towards
their own destruction by adding to its conflagration, it would be very
ridiculous for us to make prayers to them for our salvation, and to
think them the saviours of men, whose nature it is to accelerate their
own corruption and dissolution.

And yet these men leave nothing unsaid against Epicurus, crying out,
Fie, fie upon him, as confounding their presumption concerning God by
taking away Providence; for God (they say) is presumed and understood to
be not only immortal and happy, but also a lover of men and careful of
them and beneficial to them, and herein they say true. Now if they who
abolish Providence take away the preconception concerning God, what do
they who say that the gods indeed have care of us, but deny them to
be helpful to us, and make them not bestowers of good things but of
indifferent ones, giving, to wit, not virtue, but wealth, health,
children, and such like things, none of which is helpful, profitable,
desirable, or available? Or shall we not rather think, that Epicurus
does not take away the conceptions concerning the gods; but that these
Stoics scoff at the gods and deride them, saying one is a god of fruits,
another of marriage, another a physician, and another a diviner,
while yet health, issue, and plenty of fruits are not good things, but
indifferent things and unprofitable to those who have them?

The third point of the conception concerning the gods is, that the gods
do in nothing so much differ from men as in happiness and virtue. But
according to Chrysippus, they have not so much as this difference. For
he says that Jupiter does not exceed Dion in virtue, but that Jupiter
and Dion, being both wise, are equally aided by one another, when one
comes into the motion of the other. For this and none else is the good
which the gods do to men, and likewise men to the gods when they are
wise. For they say, that a man who falls not short in virtue comes not
behind them in felicity, and that he who, tormented with diseases and
being maimed in the body, makes himself away, is equally happy with
Jupiter the Saviour, provided he be but wise. But this man neither is
nor ever was upon the earth; but there are infinite millions of men
unhappy to the highest degree in the state and government of Jupiter,
which is most excellently administered. Now what can be more against
sense than that, when Jupiter governs exceedingly well, we should be
exceedingly miserable? But if (which it is unlawful even to say)
he would desire no longer to be a saviour, nor a deliverer, nor a
protector, but the contrary to all these glorious appellations, there
can no goodness be added to the things that are, either as to their
multitude or magnitude, since, as these men say, all men live to the
height miserably and wickedly, neither vice receiving addition, nor
unhappiness increase.

Nor is this the worst; but they are angry with Menander for saying upon
the stage,

     The chief beginning of men's miseries
     Are things exceeding good;

for that this is against sense. And yet they make God, who is good, the
beginning of evils. "For matter," they contend, "produced not any evil
of itself; for it is without quality, and whatever differences it has,
it has received them all from that which moves and forms it." But that
which moves and forms it is the reason dwelling in it, since matter is
not made to move and form itself. So that of necessity evil, if it come
by nothing, must have been produced from that which has no being; but if
by some moving principle, from God. But if they think that Jupiter has
not the command of his parts nor uses every one of them according to his
reason, they speak against common sense, and imagine an animal, many of
whose parts are not subservient to his will but use their own operations
and actions, to which the whole gives no incitation nor begins their
motion. For there is nothing which has life so ill compacted as that,
against its will, its feet shall go, its tongue speak, its horns push,
or its teeth bite. The most of which things God must of necessity
suffer, if the wicked, being parts of him, do against his will lie,
cheat, rob, and murder one another. But if, as Chrysippus says, the very
least part cannot possibly behave itself otherwise than according to
Jupiter's pleasure, and if every living thing is so framed by Nature as
to rest and move according as he inclines it and as he turns, stays, and
disposes it,

     This saying is more impious than the first.
     (See Nauck's "Tragic Fragments," p. 704 (No. 345).)

For it were more tolerable to say that many parts of Jupiter are,
through his weakness and want of power, hurried on to do many absurd
things against his nature and will, than that there is not any
intemperance or wickedness of which Jupiter is not the cause. Moreover,
since they affirm the world to be a city and the stars citizens, if this
be so, there must be also tribes-men and magistrates, the sun must be
some consul, and the evening star a praetor or mayor of a city. Now I
know not whether any one that shall go about to disprove such things
will not show himself more ridiculous than those who assert and affirm

Is it not therefore against sense to say that the seed is more and
greater than that which is produced of it? For we see that Nature in all
animals and plants, even those that are wild, has taken small, slender,
and scarce visible things for principles of generation to the greatest.
For it does not only from a grain of wheat produce an ear-bearing stalk,
or a vine from the stone of a grape; but from a small berry or acorn
which has escaped being eaten by the bird, kindling and setting
generation on fire (as it were) from a little spark, it sends forth the
stock of a bush, or the tall body of an oak, palm, or pine tree. Whence
also they say that seed is in Greek called [Greek omitted], as it
were, the [Greek omitted] or the WINDING UP of a great mass in a little
compass; and that Nature has the name of [Greek omitted], as if it were
the INFLATION [Greek omitted] and diffusion of reason and numbers opened
and loosened by it. But now, in opposition to this, they hold that fire
is the seed of the world, which shall after the conflagration change
into seed the world, which will then have a copious nature from a
smaller body and bulk, and possess an infinite space of vacuum filled
by its increase; and the world being made, the form again recedes and
settles, the matter being after the generation gathered and contracted
into itself.

You may hear them and read many of their writings, in which they jangle
with the Academics, and cry out against them as confounding all things
with their paradox of indistinguishable identity, and as vehemently
contending that there is but one quality in two substances. And yet
there is no man who understands not this, and would not on the contrary
think it wonderful and extremely strange if there should not in all time
be found one kind of dove exactly and in all respects like to another
dove, a bee to a bee, a grain of wheat to a grain of wheat, or (as the
proverb has it) one fig to another. But these things are plainly against
common sense which the Stoics say and feign,--that there are in one
substance two individual qualities, and that the same substance, which
has particularly one quality, when another quality is added, receives
and equally conserves them both. For if there may be two, there may be
also three, four, and five, and even more than you can name, in one and
the same substance; I say not in its different parts, but all equally
in the whole, though even infinite in number. For Chrysippus says, that
Jupiter and the world are like to man, as is also Providence to the
soul; when therefore the conflagration shall be, Jupiter, who alone of
all the gods is incorruptible, will retire into Providence, and they
being together, will both perpetually remain in the one substance of the

But leaving now the gods, and beseeching them to give these Stoics
common sense and a common understanding, let us look into their
doctrines concerning the elements. It is against the common conceptions
that one body should be the place of another, or that a body should
penetrate through a body, neither of them containing any vacuity, but
the full passing into the full, and in which there is no vacuity--but
is full and has no place by reason of its continuity--receiving the
mixture. But these men, not thrusting one thing into one, nor yet two
or three or ten together, but jumbling all the parts of the world, being
cut piecemeal, into any one thing which they shall first light on, and
saying that the very least which is perceived by sense will contain the
greatest that shall come unto it, boldly frame a new doctrine, proving
themselves here, as in many other things, to be holding for their
suppositions things repugnant to common sense. And presently upon this
they are forced to admit into their discourse many monstrous and strange
positions, mixing whole bodies with whole; of which this also is one,
that three are four. For this others put as an example of those things
which cannot be conceived even in thought. But to the Stoics it is a
matter of truth, that when one cup of wine is mixed with two of water,
if it is not to disappear and if the mixture is to be equalized, it must
be spread through the whole and be confounded therewith, so as to make
that which was one two by the equalization of the mixture. For the one
remains, but is extended as much as two, and thus is equal to the double
of itself. Now if it happens in the mixture with two to take the measure
of two in the diffusion, this is together the measure both of three
and four,--of three because one is mixed with two, and of four because,
being mixed with two, it has an equal quantity with those with which
it is mixed. Now this fine subtilty is a consequence of their putting
bodies into a body, and so likewise is the unintelligibleness of the
manner how one is contained in the other. For it is of necessity that,
of bodies passing one into another by mixture, the one should not
contain and the other be contained, nor the one receive and the other be
received within; for this would not be a mixture, but a contiguity
and touching of the superficies, the one entering in, and the other
enclosing it without, and the rest of the parts remaining unmixed and
pure, and so it would be merely many different things. But there being
a necessity, according to their axiom of mixture, that the things which
are mixed should be mingled one within the other, and that the same
things should together be contained by being within, and by receiving
contain the other, and that neither of them could possibly exist again
as it was before, it comes to pass that both the subjects of the mixture
mutually penetrate each other, and that there is not any part of either
remaining separate, but that they are necessarily all filled with each

Here now that famed leg of Arcesilaus comes in, with much laughter
insulting over their absurdities; for if these mixtures are through the
whole, what should hinder but that, a leg being cut off and putrefied
and cast into the sea and diffused, not only Antigonus's fleet (as
Arcesilaus said) might sail through it, but also Xerxes's twelve hundred
ships, together with the Grecians' three hundred galleys, might fight in
it? For the progress will not henceforth fail, nor the lesser cease
to be in the greater; or else the mixture will be at an end, and the
extremity of it, touching where it shall end, will not pass through the
whole, but will give over being mingled. But if the mixture is through
the whole, the leg will not indeed of itself give the Greeks room for
the sea-fight, for to this there is need of putrefaction and change;
but if one glass or but one drop of wine shall fall from hence into the
Aegean or Cretan Sea, it will pass into the Ocean or main Atlantic Sea,
not lightly touching its superficies, but being spread quite through
it in depth, breadth, and length. And this Chrysippus admits, saying
immediately in his First Book of Natural Questions, that there is
nothing to hinder one drop of wine from being mixed with the whole sea.
And that we may not wonder at this, he says that this one drop will by
mixtion extend through the whole world; than which I know not anything
that can appear more absurd.

And this also is against sense, that there is not in the nature of
bodies anything either supreme or first or last, in which the magnitude
of the body may terminate; but that there is always some phenomenon
beyond the body, still going on which carries the subject to infinity
and undeterminateness. For one body cannot be imagined greater or less
than another, if both of them may by their parts proceed IN INFINITUM;
but the nature of inequality is taken away. For of things that are
esteemed unequal, the one falls short in its last parts, and the other
goes on and exceeds. Now if there is no inequality, it follows that
there is no unevenness nor roughness of bodies; for unevenness is the
inequality of the same superficies with itself, and roughness is an
unevenness joined with hardness; neither of which is left us by those
who terminate no body in its last part, but extend them all by the
multitude of their parts unto an infinity. And yet is it not evident
that a man consists of more parts than a finger, and the world of more
than a man? This indeed all men know and understand, unless they become
Stoics; but if they are once Stoics, they on the contrary say and think
that a man has no more parts than a finger, nor the world than a man.
For division reduces bodies to an infinity; and of infinites neither is
more or less or exceeds in multitude, or the parts of the remainder will
cease to be divided and to afford a multitude of themselves.

LAMPRIAS. How then do they extricate themselves out of these

DIADUMENUS. Surely with very great cunning and courage. For Chrysippus
says: "If we are asked, if we have any parts, and how many, and of what
and how many parts they consist, we are to use a distinction, making
it a position that the whole body is compacted of the head, trunk, and
legs, as if that were all which is inquired and doubted of. But if they
extend their interrogation to the last parts, no such thing is to be
undertaken, but we are to say that they consist not of any certain
parts, nor yet of so many, nor of infinite, nor of finite." And I seem
to myself to have used his very words, that you may perceive how he
maintains the common notions, forbidding us to think of what or how many
parts every body is compacted, and whether of infinite or finite. For if
there were any medium between finite and infinite, as the indifferent
is between good and evil, he should, by telling us what that is, have
solved the difficulty. But if--as that which is not equal is
presently understood to be unequal, and that which is not mortal to be
immortal--we also understand that which is not finite to be immediately
infinite, to say that a body consists of parts neither finite nor
infinite is, in my opinion, the same thing as to affirm that an argument
is compacted of positions neither true nor false....

To this he with a certain youthful rashness adds, that in a pyramid
consisting of triangles, the sides inclining to the juncture are
unequal, and yet do not exceed one another in that they are greater.
Thus does he keep the common notions. For if there is anything greater
and not exceeding, there will be also something less and not deficient,
and so also something unequal which neither exceeds nor is deficient;
that is, there will be an unequal thing equal, a greater not greater,
and a less not less. See it yet farther, in what manner he answered
Democritus, inquiring philosophically and to the point, if a cone is
divided by a plane parallel with its base, what is to be thought of the
superficies of its segments, whether they are equal or unequal; for
if they are unequal, they will render the cone uneven, receiving many
steplike incisions and roughnesses; but if they are equal, the sections
will be equal, and the cone will seem to have the same qualities as the
cylinder, to wit, to be composed not of unequal but of equal circles;
which is most absurd. Here, that he may convince Democritus of
ignorance, he says, that the superficies are neither equal or unequal,
but that the bodies are unequal, because the superficies are neither
equal nor unequal. Indeed to assert this for a law, that bodies are
unequal while the superficies are not unequal, is the part of a man who
takes to himself a wonderful liberty of writing whatever comes into
his head. For reason and manifest evidence, on the contrary, give us to
understand, that the superficies of unequal bodies are unequal, and that
the bigger the body is, the greater also is the superficies, unless the
excess, by which it is the greater, is void of a superficies. For if the
superficies of the greater bodies do not exceed those of the less, but
sooner fail, a part of that body which has an end will be without an
end and infinite. For if he says that he is compelled to this. For
those rabbeted incisions, which he suspects in a cone, are made by the
inequality of the body, and not of the superficies. It is ridiculous
therefore not to reckon the superficies, and to leave the inequality in
the bodies themselves. But to persist still in this matter, what is more
repugnant to sense than the imagining of such things? For if we admit
that one superficies is neither equal nor unequal to another, we may say
also of magnitude and of number, that one is neither equal nor unequal
to another; and this, not having anything that we can call or think to
be a neuter or medium between equal and unequal. Besides, if there are
superficies neither equal nor unequal, what hinders but there may be
also circles neither equal nor unequal? For indeed these superficies
of conic sections are circles. And if circles, why may not also their
diameters be neither equal nor unequal? And if so, why not also angles,
triangles, parallelograms, parallelopipeds, and bodies? For if the
longitudes are neither equal nor unequal to one another, so will the
weight, percussion, and bodies be neither equal nor unequal. How then
dare these men inveigh against those who introduce vacuums, and suppose
that there are indivisible atoms, and who say that motion and rest
are not incompatible with each other, when they themselves affirm such
axioms as these to be false: If any things are not equal to one another,
they are unequal to one another; and the same things are not equal and
unequal to one another? But when he says that there is something greater
and yet not exceeding, it were worth the while to ask, whether these
things quadrate with one another. For if they quadrate, how is either
the greater? And if they do not quadrate, how can it be but the one must
exceed and the other fall short? For if neither of these are true, the
other both will and will not quadrate with the greater. For those
who keep not the common conceptions must of necessity fall into such

It is moreover against sense to say that nothing touches another; nor is
this less absurd, that bodies touch one another, but touch by nothing.
For they are necessitated to admit these things, who allow not the
least parts of a body, but assume something before that which appears to
touch, and never ceases to proceed still farther. What, therefore, these
men principally object to the patrons of those indivisible bodies called
atoms is this, that there is neither a touching of the whole by the
whole, nor of the parts by the parts; for that the one makes not a
touching but a mixture, and that the other is not possible, these
individuals having no parts. How then do not they themselves fall into
the same inconvenience, leaving no first or last part, whilst they say,
that whole bodies mutually touch one another by a term or extremity and
not by a part? But this term is not a body; therefore one body shall
touch one another by that which is incorporeal, and again shall not
touch, that which is incorporeal coming between them. And if it shall
touch, the body shall both do and suffer something by that which is
incorporeal. For it is the nature of bodies mutually to do and
suffer, and to touch. But if the body has a touching by that which
is incorporeal, it will have also a contact, and a mixture, and a
coalition. Again, in these contacts and mixtures the extremities of the
bodies must either remain, or not remain but be corrupted. Now both
of these are against sense. For neither do they themselves admit
corruptions and generations of incorporeal things; nor can there be a
mixture and coalition of bodies retaining their own extremities. For
the extremity determines and constitutes the nature of the body;
and mixtions, unless the mutual laying of parts by parts are thereby
understood, wholly confound all those that are mixed. And, as these men
say, we must admit the corruption of extremities in mixtures, and their
generation again in the separation of them. But this none can easily
understand. Now by what bodies mutually touch each other, by the same
they press, thrust, and crush each other. Now that this should be done
or take place in things that are incorporeal, is impossible and not
so much as to be imagined. But yet this they would constrain us to
conceive. For if a sphere touch a plane by a point, it is manifest that
it may be also drawn over the plane upon a point; and if the superficies
of it is painted with vermilion, it will imprint a red line on the
plane; and if it is fiery hot, it will burn the plane. Now for an
incorporeal thing to color, or a body to be burned by that which is
incorporeal, is against sense. But if we should imagine an earthen
or glassy sphere to fall from on high upon a plane of stone, it were
against reason to think it would not be broken, being struck against
that which is hard and solid; but it would be more absurd that it should
be broken, falling upon an extremity or point that is incorporeal. So
that the presumptions concerning things incorporeal and corporeal are
wholly disturbed, or rather taken away, by their joining to them many

It is also against common sense, that there should be a time future and
past, but no time present; and that EREWHILE and LATELY subsist, but NOW
is nothing at all. Yet this often befalls the Stoics, who admit not the
least time between, nor will allow the present to be indivisible; but
whatsoever any one thinks to take and understand as present, one part of
that they say to be future, and the other part past; so that there is no
part remaining or left of the present time: but of that which is said
to be present, one part is distributed to the future, the other to the
past. Therefore one of these two things follows: either that, holding
there was a time and there will be a time, we must deny there is a time;
or we must hold that there is a time present, part of which has already
been and part will be, and say that of that which now is, one part is
future and the other past; and that of NOW, one part is before and the
other behind; and that now is that which is neither yet now nor any
longer NOW; for that which is past is no longer now, and that which is
to come is not yet NOW. And dividing thus the present, they must needs
say of the year and of the day, that part of it was of the year or day
past, and part will be of the year or day to come; and that of what is
together, there is a part before and a part after. For no less are they
perplexed, confounding together these terms, NOT YET and ALREADY and NO
LONGER and NOW and NOT NOW. But all other men suppose, esteem, and think
EREWHILE and AWHILE HENCE to be different parts of time from NOW, which
is followed by the one and preceded by the other. But Archedemus, saying
that now is the beginning and juncture of that which is past and that
which is near at hand, has (as it seems) without perceiving it thereby
destroyeth all time. For if NOW is no time, but only a term or extremity
of time, and if every part of time is such as now, all time seems
to have no parts, but to be wholly dissolved into terms, joints, and
beginnings. But Chrysippus, desiring to show more artifice in his
division, in his book of Vacuity and some others, says, that the past
and future time are not, but have subsisted (or will subsist), and
that the present only is; but in his third, fourth, and fifth books
concerning Parts, he asserts, that of the present time one part is past,
the other to come. Thus it comes to pass, that he divides subsisting
time into non-subsisting parts of a subsisting total, or rather leaves
nothing at all of time subsisting, if the present has no part but what
is either future or past.

These men's conception therefore of time is not unlike the grasping of
water, which, the harder it is held, all the more slides and runs away.
As to actions and motions, all evidence is utterly confounded. For if
NOW is divided into past and future, it is of necessity that what is now
moved partly has been moved and partly shall be moved, that the end and
beginning of motion have been taken away, that nothing of any work
has been done first, nor shall anything be last, the actions being
distributed with time. For as they say that of present time, part is
past and part to come; so of that which is doing, it will be said that
part is done and part shall be done. When therefore had TO DINE, TO
WRITE, TO WALK, a beginning, and when shall they have an end, if every
one who is dining has dined and shall dine, and every one who is
walking has walked and shall walk? But this is, as it is said, of all
absurdities the most absurd, that if he who now lives has already lived
and shall live, then to live neither had beginning nor shall have end;
but every one of us, as it seems, was born without commencing to live,
and shall die without ceasing to live. For if there is no last part,
but he who lives has something of the present still remaining for the
future, to say "Socrates shall live" will never be false so long as it
shall be true to say "Socrates lives"; and so long also will it be false
to say "Socrates is dead." So that, if "Socrates shall live" is true
in infinite parts of time, it will in no part of time be true to say
"Socrates is dead." And verily what end will there be of a work, and
where will you terminate an action, if, as often as it is true to say
"This is doing," it is likewise true to say "This shall be doing"? For
he will lie who shall say, there will be an end of Plato's writing and
disputing; since Plato will never give over writing and disputing, if it
is never false to say of him who disputes that he shall dispute, and of
him who writes that he shall write. Moreover, there will be no part of
that which now is, but either has been or is to be, and is either past
or future; but of what has been and is to be, of past and future, there
is no sense; wherefore there is absolutely no sense of anything. For we
neither see what is past and future, nor do we hear or have any other
sense of what has been or is to be. Nothing, then, even what is present,
is to be perceived by sense, if of the present, part is always future
and part past,--if part has been and part is to be.

Now they indeed say, that Epicurus does intolerable things and violates
the conceptions, in moving all bodies with equal celerity, and admitting
none of them to be swifter than another. And yet it is much more
intolerable and farther remote from sense, that nothing can be overtaken
by another:--

     Not though Adrastus's swift-footed steed
     Should chase the tortoise slow,

as the proverb has it. Now this must of necessity fall out, if things
move according to PRIUS and POSTERIUS, and the intervals through which
they pass are (as these men's tenet is) divisible IN INFINITUM; for if
the tortoise is but a furlong before the horse, they who divide
this furlong in infinitum, and move them both according to PRIUS and
POSTERIUS, will never bring the swiftest to the slowest; the slower
always adding some interval divisible into infinite spaces. Now to
affirm that, water being poured from a bowl or cup, it will never be all
poured out, is it not both against common sense, and a consequence of
what these men say? For no man can understand the motion according to
PRIUS of things infinitely divisible to be consummated; but leaving
always somewhat divisible, it will make all the effusion, all the
running and flux of a liquid, motion of a solid, and fall of an heavy
thing imperfect.

I pass by many absurdities of theirs, touching only such as are against
sense. The dispute concerning increase is indeed ancient; for the
question, as Chrysippus says, was put by Epicharmus. Now, whereas those
of the Academy think that the doubt is not very easy and ready all of
a sudden to be cleared, these men have mightily exclaimed against them,
and accused them of taking away the fixed ideas, and yet themselves are
so far from preserving the common notions, that they pervert even
sense itself. For the discourse is simple, and these men grant the
suppositions,--that all particular substances flow and are carried, some
of them emitting forth somewhat from themselves, and others receiving
things coming from elsewhere; and that the things to which there is
made an accession or from which there is a decession by numbers and
multitudes, do not remain the same, but become others by the said
accessions, the substance receiving a change; and that these changes
are not rightly called by custom increasings or diminutions, but it is
fitter they should be styled generations and corruptions, because they
drive by force from one state to another, whereas to increase and be
diminished are passions of a body that is subject and permanent. These
things being thus in a manner said and delivered, what would these
defenders of evidence and canonical masters of common conceptions have?
Every one of us (they say) is double, twin-like, and composed of a
double nature; not as the poets feigned of the Molionidae, that they in
some parts grow together and in some parts are separated,--but every one
of us has two bodies, having the same color, the same figure, the same
weight and place.... These things were never before seen by any man;
but these men alone have discerned this composition, doubleness, and
ambiguity, how every one of us is two subjects, the one substance, the
other quality; and the one is in perpetual flux and motion, neither
increasing nor being diminished nor remaining altogether; the other
remains and increases and is diminished, and suffers all things contrary
to the former, with which it is so concorporated, conjoined, and
confounded, that it exhibits not any difference to be perceived by
sense. Indeed, Lynceus is said to have penetrated stones and oaks with
his sight; and a certain man sitting on a watch-tower in Sicily beheld
the ships of the Carthaginians setting forth from their harbor, which
was a day and a night's sail from thence. Callicrates and Myrmecides
are said to have made chariots that might be covered with the wings of
a fly, and to have engraved verses of Homer on a sesame seed. But none
ever discerned or discovered this diversity in us; nor have we perceived
ourselves to be double, in one part always flowing, and in the other
remaining the same from our birth even to our death. But I make the
discourse more simple, since they make four subjects in every one, or
rather every one of us to be four. But two are sufficient to show their
absurdity. For if, when we hear Pentheus in the tragedy affirm that he
sees two suns and two cities of Thebes, (Euripides, "Bacchae," 918.)
we say that he does not see, but that his sight is dazzled, he being
transported and troubled in his head; why do we not bid those farewell,
who assert not one city alone, but all men and animals, and all trees,
vessels, instruments, and clothes, to be double and composed of two,
as men who constrain us to dote rather than to understand? But this
feigning other natures of subjects must perhaps be pardoned them; for
there appears no other invention by which they can maintain and uphold
the augmentations of which they are so fond.

But by what cause moved, or for the adorning of what other suppositions,
they frame in a manner innumerable differences and forms of bodies
in the soul, there is none can say, unless it be that they remove, or
rather wholly abdicate and destroy, the common and usual notions, to
introduce other foreign and strange ones. For it is very absurd that,
making all virtues and vices--and with them all arts, memories, fancies,
passions, impulses, and assents--to be bodies, they should affirm that
they neither lie nor subsist in any subject, leaving them for a place
one only hole, like a prick in the heart, where they crowd the principal
part of the soul, enclosed with so many bodies, that a very great number
of them lie hid even from those who think they can spare and distinguish
them one from another. Nay that they should not only make them bodies,
but also intelligent beings, and even a swarm of such creatures, not
friendly or mild, but a multitude rebellious and having a hostile mind,
and should so make of each one of us a park or menagerie or Trojan
horse, or whatever else we may call their inventions,--this is the very
height of contempt and contradiction to evidence and custom. But they
say, that not only the virtues and vices, not only the passions, as
anger, envy, grief, and maliciousness, not only comprehensions, fancies,
and ignorances, not only arts, as shoemaking and working in brass, are
animals; but besides these, also they make even the operations bodies
and animals, saying that walking is an animal, as also dancing,
supposing, saluting, and railing. The consequence of this is that
laughing and weeping are also animals; and if so, then also are
coughing, sneezing, groaning, spitting, blowing the nose, and other such
like things sufficiently known. Neither have they any cause to take it
ill that they are by reason, proceeding leisurely, reduced to this, if
they shall call to mind how Chrysippus, in his First Book of Natural
Questions, argues thus: "Is not night a body? And are not then the
evening, dawning, and midnight bodies? Or is not a day a body? Is not
then the first day of the month a body? And the tenth, the fifteenth,
and the thirtieth, are they not bodies? Is not a month a body? Summer,
autumn, and the year, are they not bodies?"

These things they maintain against the common conceptions; but those
which follow they hold also against their own, engendering that which
is most hot by refrigeration, and that which is most subtile by
condensation. For the soul, to wit, is a substance most hot and most
subtile. But this they make by the refrigeration and condensation of
the body, changing, as it were, by induration the spirit, which of
vegetative is made animal. Moreover, they say that the sun became
animated, his moisture changing into intellectual fire. Behold how the
sun is imagined to be engendered by refrigeration! Xenophanes indeed,
when one told him that he had seen eels living in hot water, answered,
We will boil them then in cold. But if these men engender heat by
refrigeration and lightness by condensation, it follows, they must also
generate cold things by heat, thick things by dissolution, and heavy
things by rarefaction, that so they may keep some proportion in their

And do they not also determine the substance and generation of
conception itself, even against the common conceptions? For conception
is a certain imagination, and imagination an impression in the soul. Now
the nature of the soul is an exhalation, in which it is difficult for
an impression to be made because of its tenuity, and for which it is
impossible to keep an impression it may have received. For its nutriment
and generation, consisting of moist things, have continual accession and
consumption. And the mixture of respiration with the air always makes
some new exhalation which is altered and changed by the flux of the air
coming from abroad and again going out. For one may more easily imagine
that a stream of running water can retain figures, impressions, and
images, than that a spirit can be carried in vapors and humors, and
continually mingled with another idle and strange breath from without.
But these men so far forget themselves, that, having defined the
conceptions to be certain stored-up intelligences, and memoirs to be
constant and habitual impressions, and having wholly fixed the sciences,
as having stability and firmness, they presently place under them a
basis and seat of a slippery substance, easy to be dissipated and in
perpetual flux and motion.

Now the common conception of an element and principle, naturally
imprinted in almost all men, is this, that it is simple, unmixed, and
uncompounded. For that is not an element or principle which is mixed;
but those things are so of which it is mixed. But these men, making God,
who is the principle of all things, to be an intellectual body and
a mind seated in matter, pronounce him to be neither simple nor
uncompounded, but to be composed of and by another; matter being
of itself indeed without reason and void of quality, and yet having
simplicity and the propertv of a principle. If, then, God is not
incorporeal and immaterial, he participates of matter as a principle.
For if matter and reason are one and the same thing, they have not
rightly defined matter to be reasonless; but if they are different
things, then is God constituted of them both, and is not a simple but
compound thing, having to the intellectual taken the corporeal from

Moreover, calling these four bodies, earth, water, air, and fire, the
first elements, they do (I know not how) make some of them simple and
pure, and others compound and mixed. For they maintain that earth and
water hold together neither themselves nor other things, but preserve
their unity by the participation of air and force of fire; but that
air and fire do both fortify themselves by their own strength, or being
mixed with the other two, give them force, permanence, and subsistence.
How, then, is either earth or water an element, if neither of them
is either simple, or first or self-sufficient, but if each one wants
somewhat from without to contain and keep it in its being? For they have
not left so much as a thought of their substance; but this discourse
concerning the earth has much confusion and uncertainty, when they say
that it subsists of itself; for if the earth is of itself, how has it
need of the air to fix and contain it? But neither the earth nor water
can any more be said to be of itself; but the air, drawing together
and thickening the matter, has made the earth, and again dissolving
and mollifying it, has produced the water. Neither of these then is an
element, since something else has contributed being and generation to
them both.

Moreover, they say that subsistence and matter are subject to qualities,
and do so in a manner define them; and again, they make the qualities to
be also bodies. But these things have much perplexity. For if qualities
have a peculiar substance, for which they both are and are called
bodies, they need no other substance; for they have one of their own.
But if they have under them in common only that which the Stoic school
calls essence and matter, it is manifest they do but participate of the
body; for they are not bodies. But the subject and recipient must of
necessity differ from those things which it receives and to which it is
subject. But these men see by halves; for they say indeed that matter
is void of quality, but they will not call qualities immaterial. Now how
can they make a body without quality, who understand no quality without
a body? For the reason which joins a body to all quality suffers not
the understanding to comprehend any body without some quality. Either,
therefore, he who oppugns incorporeal quality seems also to oppugn
unqualified matter; or separating the one from the other, he mutually
parts them both. As for the reason which some pretend, that matter is
called unqualified not because it is void of all quality, but because
it has all qualities, it is most of all against sense. For no man calls
that unqualified which is capable of every quality, nor that impassible
which is by nature always apt to suffer all things, nor that immovable
which is moved every way. And this doubt is not solved, that, however
matter is always understood with quality, yet it is understood to be
another thing and differing from quality.

END OF SIX-------------


I first lay this down for an axiom, that there ought to be seen in men's
lives an agreement with their doctrines. For it is not so necessary that
the pleader (as Aeschines has it) and the law speak one and the same
thing, as that the life of a philosopher be consonant to his speech. For
the speech of a philosopher is a law of his own and voluntarily imposed
on himself, unless they esteem philosophy to be a game, or an acuteness
in disputing invented for the gaining of applause, and not--what it
really is--a thing deserving our greatest study.

Since, then, there are in their discourses many things written by Zeno
himself, many by Cleanthes, and most of all by Chrysippus, concerning
policy, governing, and being governed, concerning judging and pleading,
and yet there is not to be found in any of their lives either leading of
armies, making of laws, going to parliament, pleading before the judges,
fighting for their country, travelling on embassies, or making of public
gifts, but they have all, feeding (if I may so say) on rest as on the
lotus, led their whole lives, and those not short but very long ones,
in foreign countries, amongst disputations, books, and walkings; it
is manifest that they have lived rather according to the writings and
sayings of others than their own professions, having spent all their
days in that repose which Epicurus and Hieronymus so much commend.

Chrysippus indeed himself, in his Fourth Book of Lives, thinks there is
no difference between a scholastic life and a voluptuous one. I will
set down here his very words: "They who are of opinion that a scholastic
life is from the very beginning most suitable to philosophers seem to me
to be in an error, thinking that men ought to follow this for the sake
of some recreation or some other thing like to it, and in that manner
to spin out the whole course of their life; that is, if it may be
explained, to live at ease. For this opinion of theirs is not to be
concealed, many of them delivering it clearly, and not a few more
obscurely." Who therefore did more grow old in this scholastic life than
Chrysippus, Cleanthes, Diogenes, Zeno, and Antipater, who left their
countries not out of any discontent but that they might quietly enjoy
their delight, studying, and disputing at their leisure. To verify
which, Aristocreon, the disciple and intimate friend of Chrysippus,
having erected his statue of brass upon a pillar, engraved on it these

     This brazen statue Aristocreon
     To's friend Chrysippus newly here has put,
     Whose sharp-edged wit, like sword of champion,
     Did Academic knots in sunder cut.

Such a one then was Chrysippus, an old man, a philosopher, one who
praised the regal and civil life, and thought there was no difference
between a scholastic and voluptuous one.

But those others of them who intermeddle in state affairs act yet more
contradictorily to their own doctrines. For they govern, judge, consult,
make laws, punish, and honor, as if those were indeed cities in the
government of which they concern themselves, those truly counsellors and
judges who are at any time allotted to such offices, those generals who
are chosen by suffrages, and those laws which were made by Clisthenes,
Lycurgus, and Solon, whom they affirm to have been vicious men and
fools. Thus even over the management of state affairs are they at
variance with themselves.

Indeed Antipater, in his writings concerning the difference between
Cleanthes and Chrysippus, has related that Zeno and Cleanthes would not
be made citizens of Athens, lest they might seem to injure their own
countries. I shall not much insist upon it, that, if they did well,
Chrysippus acted amiss in suffering himself to be enrolled as a member
of that city. But this is very contradictory and absurd, that, removing
their persons and their lives so far off amongst strangers, they
reserved their names for their countries; which is the same thing as if
a man, leaving his wife, and cohabiting and bedding with another, and
getting children on her, should yet refuse to contract marriage with the
second, lest he might seem to wrong the former.

Again, Chrysippus, writing in his treatise of Rhetoric, that a wise
man will so plead and so act in the management of a commonwealth, as if
riches, glory, and health were really good, confesses that his speeches
are inextricable and impolitic, and his doctrines unsuitable for the
uses and actions of human life.

It is moreover a doctrine of Zeno's, that temples are not to be built to
the gods; for that a temple is neither a thing of much value nor holy;
since no work of carpenters and handicrafts-men can be of much value.
And yet they who praise these things as well and wisely said are
initiated in the sacred mysteries, go up to the Citadel (where
Minerva's temple stands), adore the shrines, and adorn with garlands the
sacraries, being the works of carpenters and mechanical persons. Again,
they think that the Epicureans, who sacrifice to the gods and yet deny
them to meddle with the government of the world, do thereby refute
themselves; whereas they themselves are more contrary to themselves,
sacrificing on altars and in temples, which they affirm ought not to
stand nor to have been built.

Moreover, Zeno admits (as Plato does) several virtues having various
distinctions--to wit, prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice--as
being indeed inseparable, but yet divers and different from one another.
But again, defining every one of them, he says that fortitude is
prudence in executing, justice prudence in distributing, as being one
and the same virtue, but seeming to differ in its relation to different
affairs when it comes to action. Nor does Zeno alone seem to contradict
himself in these matters; but Chrysippus also, who blames Ariston for
saying that the other virtues are different habits of one and the same
virtue, and yet defends Zeno, who in this manner defines every one of
the virtues. And Cleanthes, having in his Commentaries concerning Nature
said, that vigor is the striking of fire, which, if it is sufficient
in the soul to perform the duties presented to it, is called force and
strength; subjoins these very words: "Now this force and strength, when
it is in things apparent and to be persisted in, is continence; when
in things to be endured, it is fortitude; when about worthiness, it is
justice; and when about choosing or refusing, it is temperance." Against
him, who said,

     Give not thy judgment till both sides are heard,
     (In the "Pseudo-Phocylidea," vs. 87 (Bergk).)

Zeno on the contrary made use of such an argument as this: "If he who
spake first has plainly proved his cause, the second is not to be heard,
for the question is at an end; and if he has not proved it, it is the
same case as if being cited he did not appear, or appearing did nothing
but wrangle; so that, whether he has proved or not proved his cause, the
second is not to be heard." And yet he who made this dilemma has
written against Plato's Commonweal, dissolved sophisms, and exhorted his
scholars to learn logic, as enabling them to do the same. Now Plato
has either proved or not proved those things which he writ in his
Commonweal; but in neither case was it necessary to write against
him, but wholly superfluous and vain. The same may be said concerning

Chrysippus is of opinion, that young students should first learn logic,
secondly, ethics, and after these, physics, and likewise in this to
meddle last of all with the disputes concerning the gods. Now these
things having been often said by him, it will suffice to set down what
is found in his Fourth Book of Lives, being thus word for word: "First,
then, it seems to me, according as it has been rightly said by the
ancients, that there are three kinds of philosophical speculations,
logical, ethical, and physical, and that of these, the logical ought to
be placed first, the ethical second, and the physical third, and that
of the physical, the discourse concerning the gods ought to be the last;
wherefore also the traditions concerning this have been styled [Greek
omitted], or the ENDINGS." But that very discourse concerning the gods,
which he says ought to be placed the last, he usually places first and
sets before every moral question. For he is seen not to say anything
concerning the ends, or concerning justice, or concerning good and evil,
or concerning marriage and the education of children, or concerning the
law and the commonwealth; but, as those who propose decrees to states
set before them the words To Good Fortune, so he also premises something
of Jupiter, Fate, Providence, and of the world's being one and finite
and maintained by one power. None of which any one can be persuaded to
believe, who has not penetrated deeply into the discourses of natural
philosophy. Hear what he says of this in his Third Book of the
Gods: "For there is not to be found any other beginning or any other
generation of Justice, but what is from Jupiter and common Nature. From
thence must every such thing have its beginning, if we will say anything
concerning good and evil." And again, in his Natural Positions he says:
"For one cannot otherwise or more properly come to the discourse of good
and evil, to the virtues, or to felicity, than from common Nature and
the administration of the world." And going farther on, he adds: "For to
these we must annex the discourse concerning good and evil, there being
no other better beginning or relation thereof, and the speculation of
Nature being learned for nothing else, but to understand the difference
between good and evil." According to Chrysippus, therefore, the
natural science is both before and after the moral; or rather, it is an
inversion of order altogether absurd, if this must be put after
those things none of which can be comprehended without this; and his
contradicting himself is manifest, when he asserts the discourse of
Nature to be the beginning of that concerning good and evil, and yet
commands it to be delivered, not before, but after it.

Now, if any one shall say that Chrysippus in his book concerning the Use
of Speech has written, that he who applies himself to logic first needs
not absolutely to abstain from the rest, but should take as much of them
as shall fall in his way, he will indeed say the truth, but will withal
confirm the fault. For he oppugns himself, one while commanding that
the science concerning God should be taken last and for a conclusion,
as being therefore also called [Greek omitted], and again, another while
saying that this is to be learned together with the very first. For
order is at an end, if all things must be used at all times. But this is
more, that having made the science concerning the gods the beginning of
that concerning good and evil, he bids not those who apply themselves to
the ethics to begin with that; but learning these, to take of that
also as it shall come in their way, and then to go from these to that,
without which, he says, there is no beginning or entrance upon these.

As for disputing on both sides, he says, that he does not universally
reject it, but exhorts us to use it with caution, as is done in
pleadings, not with the aim really to disprove, but to dissolve their
probability. "For to those," says he, "who endeavor a suspension of
assent concerning all things, it is convenient to do this, and it
co-operates to what they desire; but as for those who would work
and constitute in us a certain science according to which we shall
professedly live, they ought, on the contrary, to state the first
principles, and to direct their novices who are entered from the
beginning to the end; and where there is occasion to make mention
of contrary discourses, to dissolve their probability, as is done in
pleadings." For this he hath said in express words. Now that it is
absurd for philosophers to think that they ought to set down the
contrary opinion, not with all its reasons, but like pleaders, disabling
it, as if they contended not for truth but victory, we have elsewhere
spoken against him. But that he himself has, not in one or two places
in his disputations, but frequently, confirmed the discourses which
are contrary to his own opinions, and that stoutly, and with so much
earnestness and contention that it was not for every one to understand
what he liked,--the Stoics themselves affirm, who admire the man's
acuteness, and think that Carneades said nothing of his own, but that
catching hold of those arguments which Chrysippus alleged for the
contrary opinion, he assaulted with them his positions, and often cried

     Wretch, thy own strength will thee undo,
     ("Iliad", vi. 407.)

as if Chrysippus had given great advantages against himself to those who
would disturb and calumniate his doctrines.

But of those things which he has written against Custom they are so
proud and boastful, that they fear not to affirm, that all the sayings
of all the Academics together, if they were collected into one body,
are not comparable to what Chrysippus has writ in disparagement of the
senses. Which is an evident sign of the ignorance or self-love of the
speakers; but this indeed is true, that being afterwards desirous to
defend custom and the senses, he was inferior to himself, and the
latter treatise was much weaker than the former. So that he contradicts
himself; for having always directed the proposing of an adversary's
opinions not with approbation, but with a demonstration of their
falsity, he has showed himself more acute in opposing than defending
his own doctrines; and having admonished others to take heed of contrary
arguments, as withdrawing comprehension, he has been more sedulous in
framing such proofs as take away comprehension, than such as confirm it.
And yet he plainly shows that he himself feared this, writing thus in
his Fourth Book of Lives: "Repugnant arguments and probabilities on the
contrary side are not rashly to be proposed, but with caution, lest the
hearers distracted by them should let go their conceptions, not being
able sufficiently to apprehend the solutions, but so weakly that their
comprehensions may easily be shaken. For even those who have, according
to custom, preconceived both sensible phenomena and other things
depending on the senses quickly forego them, being distracted by
Megarian interrogatories and by others more numerous and forcible."
I would willingly therefore ask the Stoics, whether they think these
Megarian interrogatories to be more forcible than those which Chrysippus
has written in six books against custom; or rather this should be
asked of Chrysippus himself. For observe what he has written about the
Megarian reason, in his book concerning the Use of Speech, thus: "Some
such things fell out in the discourse of Stilpo and Menedemus; for,
whereas they were renowned for wisdom, their disputing has turned to
their reproach, their arguments being part clumsy, and the rest plainly
sophistical." And yet, good sir, you fear lest those arguments which you
deride and term the disgrace of their proposers, as having a manifest
faultiness, should divert some from comprehension. And did not you
yourself, writing so many books against custom, in which you have added
whatever you could invent, ambitiously striving to exceed Arcesilaus,
expect that you should perplex some of your readers? For neither does
he use slender arguments against custom; but as if he were pleading, he
with some passion in himself stirs up the affections of others, telling
his opponent that he talks foolishly and labors in vain. And that he
may leave no room to deny his speaking of contradictions, he has in
his Natural Positions written thus: "It may be lawful for those who
comprehend a thing to argue on the contrary side, applying to it that
kind of defence which the subject itself affords; and sometimes, when
they comprehend neither, to discourse what is alleged for either." And
having said in his book concerning the Use of Speech, that we ought no
more to use the force of reason than of arms for such things as are not
fitting, he subjoins this: "For they are to be employed for the finding
out of truths and for the alliance of them, and not for the contrary,
though many men do it." By "many" perhaps he means those who withhold
their assent. But these teachers, understanding neither, dispute on
both sides, believing that, if anything is comprehensible, thus only or
chiefly does truth afford a comprehension of itself. But you, who
accuse them, and do yourself write contrary to those things which you
understood concerning custom, and exhort others under your authority to
do the same, confess that you wantonly use the faculty of disputing, out
of vain ambition, even on useless and hurtful things.

They say, that a good deed is the command, and sin the prohibition of
the law; and therefore that the law forbids the wicked many things, but
commands them nothing, because they cannot do a good deed. But who is
ignorant that he who cannot do a good deed cannot also sin? Therefore
they make the law to contradict itself, commanding men those things
which they cannot perform, and forbidding them those things from which
they cannot abstain. For a man who cannot be temperate cannot but act
intemperately; and he who cannot be wise cannot but act foolishly. And
they themselves affirm, that those who forbid say one thing, forbid
another and command another. For he who says "Thou shalt not steal" at
the same time that he says these words, "Thou shalt not steal, forbids
also to steal and directs not to steal. The law therefor bids the wicked
nothing, unless it also commands them something. And they say, that the
physician bids his disciple to cut and cauterize, omitting to add
these words, 'seasonably and moderately'; and the musician commands his
scholar to play on the harp and sing, omitting 'tunably' and 'keeping
time'." Wherefore also they punish those who do these things unskilfully
and faultily; for that they were commanded to do them well, and they
have done them ill. If therefore a wise man commands his servant to say
or do something, and punishes him for doing it unseasonably or not as he
ought, is it not manifest that he commanded him to do a good action and
not an indifferent one? But if wise men command wicked ones indifferent
things, what hinders but the commands of the law may be also such?
Moreover, the impulse (called [Greek omitted]) is, according to him, the
reason of a man commanding him to do something, as he has written in
his book of the law. Is not therefore also the aversion (called [Greek
omitted]) a prohibiting reason, and a disinclination, a disinclination
agreeable to reason? Caution therefore is also reason prohibiting a w
cautious is proper only to the wise, and not to the wicked. If, then,
the reason of a wise man is one thing and the law another, wise men
have caution contrary to the law; but if the law is nothing else but the
reason of a wise man, the law is found to forbid wise men the doing of
those things of which they are cautious.

Chrysippus says, that nothing is profitable to the wicked, that the
wicked have neither use nor need of anything. Having said this in his
First Book of Good Deeds, he says again, that both commodiousness and
grace pertain to mean or indifferent things, none of which according to
them, is profitable. In the same place he affirms, that there is nothing
proper, nothing convenient for a vicious man, in these words: "On the
same principle we declare that there is nothing foreign or strange to
the good man, and nothing proper or rightfully belonging to the bad man,
since the one is good and the other bad." Why, then, does he break our
heads, writing particularly in every one of his books, as well natural
as moral, that as soon as we are born we are appropriated to ourselves,
our parts, and our offspring? And why in his First Book of Justice does
he say that the very brutes, proportionably to the necessity of
their young, are appropriated to them, except fishes, whose young are
nourished by themselves? For neither have they sense who have
nothing sensible, nor they appropriation who have nothing proper; for
appropriation seems to be the sense and perception of what is proper.

And this opinion is consequent to their principal ones. It is moreover
manifest that Chrysippus, though he has also written many things to the
contrary, lays this for a position, that there is not any vice greater
or any sin more grievous than another, nor any virtue more excellent or
any good deed better than another; so that he says in his Third Book of
Nature: "As it well beseems Jupiter to glory in himself and his life,
to magnify himself, and (if we may so say) to bear up his head, have an
high conceit of himself, and speak big, for that he leads a life worthy
of lofty speech; so the same things do not misbeseem all good men, since
they are in nothing exceeded by Jupiter." And yet himself, in his Third
Book of Justice, says, that they who make pleasure the end destroy
justice, but they who say it is only a good do not destroy it. These are
his very words: "For perhaps, if we leave this to pleasure, that it is a
good but not the end, and that honesty is one of those things which are
eligible for themselves, we may preserve justice, making the honest and
the just a greater good than pleasure." But if that only is good which
is honest, he who affirms pleasure to be a good is in an error, but
he errs less than he who makes it also the end; for the one destroys
justice, the other preserves it; and by the one human society is
overthrown, but the other leaves a place to goodness and humanity. Now
I let pass his saying farther in his book concerning Jupiter, that the
virtues increase and go on, lest I may seem to catch at words; though
Chrysippus is indeed in this kind very sharp upon Plato and others. But
when he forbids the praising of everything that is done according to
virtue, he shows that there is some difference between good deeds. Now
he says thus in his book concerning Jupiter: "For since each virtue has
its own proper effects, there are some of these that are to be praised
more highly than others; for he would show himself to be very frigid,
that should undertake to praise and extol any man for holding out the
finger stoutly, for abstaining continently from an old woman ready to
drop into the grave, and patiently hearing it said that three are not
exactly four." What he says in his Third Book of the Gods is not unlike
to this: "For I moreover think that the praises of such things as to
abstain from an old woman who has one foot in the grave, and to endure
the sting of a fly, though proceeding from virtue, would be very
impertinent." What other reprehender of his doctrines does this man
then expect? For if he who praises such things is frigid, he who asserts
every one of them to be a great--nay, a very great good deed--is much
more frigid. For if to endure a fly is equal to being valiant, and to
abstain from an old woman now at the edge of the grave is equal to being
temperate, there is, I think, no difference whether a virtuous man
is prized for these or for those. Moreover, in his Second Book of
Friendship, teaching that friendships are not for every fault to be
dissolved, he has these very expressions: "For it is meet that some
faults should be wholly passed by, others lightly reprehended,
others more severely, and others deemed worthy a total dissolution of
friendship." And which is more, he says in the same book, that we will
converse with some more and some less, so that some shall be more and
some less friends; and this diversity extending very far, some are
worthy of such an amity, others of a greater; and these will deserve to
be so far trusted, those not so far, and the like. For what else has
he done in these places, but shown the great diversity there is between
these things? Moreover, in his book concerning Honesty, to demonstrate
that only to be good which is honest, he uses these words: "What is
good is eligible; what is eligible is acceptable; what is acceptable is
laudable; and what is laudable is honest." And again: "What is good is
joyous; what is joyous is venerable; what is venerable is honest."
But these speeches are repugnant to himself; for either all good is
commendable, and then the abstaining chastely from an old woman is
also commendable; or all good is neither venerable nor joyous, and his
reasoning falls to the ground. For how can it possibly be frigid in
others to praise any for such things, and not ridiculous for him to
rejoice and glory in them?

Such indeed he frequently is; but in his disputations against others he
takes not the least care of speaking things contrary and dissonant to
himself. For in his books of Exhorting, reprehending Plato, who
said, that to him who has neither learned nor knows how to live it is
profitable not to live, he speaks in this manner: "For this speech
is both repugnant to itself, and not at all conclusive. For first
insinuating that it is best for us not to live, and in a sort
counselling us to die, he will excite us rather to anything else than to
be philosophers; for neither can he who does not live philosophize, nor
he who shall live long wickedly and ignorantly become wise." And going
on, he says that it is convenient for the wicked also to continue in
life. And afterwards thus, word for word: "First, as virtue, barely
taken, has nothing towards our living, so neither has vice anything to
oblige us to depart." Nor is it necessary to turn over other books,
that we may show Chrysippus's contradictoriness to himself; but in
these same, he sometimes with commendation brings forth this saying of
Antisthenes, that either understanding or a halter is to be provided, as
also that of Tyrtaeus,

     Come nigh the bounds of virtue or of death.

Now what else will this show, but that to wicked men and fools not to
live is more profitable than to live? And sometimes correcting Theognis,
he says, that the poet should not have written,

     From poverty to fly;--

but rather thus,

     From wickedness to fly, into the deep
     Throw thyself, Cyrnus, or from rocks so steep.
     (See "Theognis," vs. 175.)

What therefore else does he seem to do, but to set down himself those
things and doctrines which, when others write them, he expunges;
condemning, indeed, Plato for showing that not to live is better than
to live viciously and ignorantly; and yet advising Theognis to let a man
break his neck or throw himself into the sea, that he may avoid vice?
For having praised Antisthenes for directing fools to an halter, he
again blames him, saying that vice has nothing that should oblige us to
depart out of life.

Moreover, in his books against the same Plato, concerning Justice, he
immediately at the very beginning leaps into a discourse touching the
gods, and says, that Cephalus did not rightly avert men from injustice
by the fear of the gods, and that his teaching is easily refuted,
and that it affords to the contrary many arguments and probabilities
impugning the discourse concerning divine punishments, as nothing
differing from the tales of Acco and Alphito (or Raw-Head and
Bloody-Bones), with which women are wont to frighten little children
from their unlucky pranks. Having thus traduced Plato, he in other
places again praises him, and often alleges this saying of Euripides:--

     Howe'er you may deride it, there's a Jove,
     With other gods, who sees men's ills above.

And likewise, in his First Book of Justice citing these verses of

     Then Jove from heaven punishments did send,
     And plague and famine brought them to their end,
     ("Works and Days," 242.)

he says, the gods do these things, that the wicked being punished,
others admonished by these examples may less dare to attempt the doing
of such things.

Again, in his book of Justice, subjoining, that it is possible for those
who make pleasure a good but not the end to preserve also justice, he
said in express terms: "For perhaps if we leave this to pleasure, that
it is a good but not the end, and that honesty is one of those things
which are eligible for themselves, we may preserve justice, making the
honest and the just a greater good than pleasure." So much he says in
this place concerning pleasure. But in his book against Plato, accus
temperance, and all the other virtues will be taken away, if we make
pleasure, health, or anything else which is not honest, to be a good.
What therefore is to be said for Plato, we have elsewhere written
against him. But here his contradicting himself is manifest, when he
says in one place, that if a man supposes that with honesty pleasure
also is a good, justice is preserved, and in another, accuses those
who make anything besides honesty to be a good of taking away all the
virtues. But that he may not leave any means of making an apology for
his contradictions, writing against Aristotle concerning justice, he
affirms him not to have spoken rightly when he said, that pleasure being
made the end, justice is taken away, and together with justice, every
one also of the other virtues. For justice (he says) will indeed be
taken away; but there is nothing to hinder the other virtues from
remaining and being, though not eligible for themselves, yet good and
virtues. Then he reckons up every one of them by name. But it will be
better to set down his own words. "For pleasure," says he, "appearing
according to this discourse to be made the end, yet all this seems not
to me to be contained in it. Wherefore we must say, that neither any of
the virtues is eligible nor any of the vices to be avoided for itself,
but that all these things are to be referred to the proposed scope. Yet
nothing, according to their opinion, will hinder but that fortitude,
prudence, continence, and patience may be good, and their contraries
to be avoided." Has there ever then been any man more peevish in his
disputes than he, who has blamed two of the principal philosophers, the
one for taking away all virtue, by not making that only to be good which
is honest, and the other for not thinking all the virtues except justice
to be preserved, though pleasure is made the end? For it is a wonderful
licentiousness that, discoursing of the same matters, he should when
accusing Plato take away again those very things which himself sets down
when reprehending Aristotle. Moreover, in his demonstrations concerning
justice, he says expressly, that every good deed is both a lawful action
and a just operation; but that everything which is done according
to continence, patience, prudence, or fortitude is a good deed, and
therefore also a just operation. Why, then, does he not also leave
justice to them to whom he leaves prudence, fortitude, and continence;
since whatever they do well according to the said virtue, they do also

Moreover, Plato having said, that injustice, as being the corruption
and sedition of the soul, loses not its power even in those who have it
within them, but sets the wicked man against himself, and molests and
disturbs him; Chrysippus, blaming this, affirms that it is absurdly
said, "A man injures himself"; for that injustice is to another, and not
to one's self. But forgetting this, he again says, in his demonstrations
concerning justice, that the unjust man is injured by himself and
injures himself when he injures another, becoming to himself the cause
of transgressing, and undeservedly hurting himself. In his books indeed
against Plato, contending that we cannot talk of injustice against one's
self, but as concerns another, he has these words: "For men cannot be
unjust by themselves; injustice requires several on different sides,
speaking contrary one unto another and the injustice must be taken in
different ways. But no such thing extends to one alone, except inasmuch
as he is affected towards his neighbor." But in his demonstrations
he has such discourses as these, concerning the unjust man's being
injurious also to himself: "The law forbids the being any way the
author of transgression, and to act unjustly will be transgression. He
therefore who is to himself the author of acting unjustly transgresses
against himself. Now he that transgresses against any one also injures
him; therefore he who is injurious to any one whomsoever is injurious
also to himself." Again: "Sin is a hurt, and every one who sins
sins against himself; every one therefore who sins hurts himself
undeservedly, and if so, is also unjust to himself." And farther thus:
"He who is hurt by another hurts himself, and that undeservedly. Now
that is to be unjust. Every one therefore that is injured, by whomsoever
it is, is unjust also to himself."

He says, that the doctrine concerning good and evil which himself
introduces and approves is most agreeable to life, and does most of all
reach the inbred prenotions; for this he has affirmed in his Third Book
of Exhortations. But in his First Book he says, that this doctrine
takes a man off from all other things, as being nothing to us, nor
co-operating anything towards felicity. See, now, how consonant he is
to himself, when he asserts a doctrine which takes us off from life,
health, indolence, and integrity of the senses, and says that those
things we beg of the gods are nothing to us, though most agreeable to
life and to the common presumptions. But that there may be no denial of
his speaking contradictions, in his Third Book of Justice he has said
thus: "Wherefore also, from the excellence of their greatness and
beauty, we seem to speak things like to fictions, and not according to
man or human nature." Is it then possible that any one can more plainly
confess his speaking things contrary to himself than this man does, who
affirms those things which (he says) for their excellency seem to be
fictions and to be spoken above man and human nature, to be agreeable to
life, and most of all to reach the inbred prenotions?

In every one of his natural and ethical books, he asserts vice to be
the very essence of unhappiness; writing and contending that to live
viciously is the same thing as to live unhappily. But in his Third Book
of Nature, having said that it is profitable for a fool to live rather
than to die, though he is never to become wise, he subjoins: "For such
is the nature of good things among mortals, that evil things are in some
sort chosen before indifferent ones." I let pass therefore, that having
elsewhere said that nothing is profitable to fools, he here says that
to live foolishly is profitable to them. Now those things being by them
called indifferent which are neither bad nor good, when he says that bad
things precede them, he says nothing else but that evil things precede
those that are not evil, and that to be unhappy is more profitable than
not to be unhappy; and if so, he esteems not to be unhappy to be
more unprofitable--and if more unprofitable, more hurtful--than to
be unhappy. Desiring therefore to mitigate this absurdity, he adds
concerning evils: "But it is not these evils that have precedence, but
reason; with which it is more convenient to live, though we shall be
fools." First therefore he says that vice and things participating
of vice are evil, and that nothing else is so. Now vice is something
reasonable, or rather depraved reason. For those therefore who are fools
to live with reason, is nothing else but to live with vice. Thence to
live being fools is to live being unhappy. In what then is this to be
preferred to indifferent things? For he surely will not say that with
regard to happiness unhappiness is to be preferred. But neither, say
they, does Chrysippus altogether think that the remaining in life is to
be reckoned amongst good things, or the going out of it amongst bad; but
both of them amongst indifferent ones, according to Nature. Wherefore
also it sometimes becomes meet for the happy to make themselves
away, and again for the unhappy to continue in life. Now what greater
repugnance can there be than this in the choice and avoiding of things,
if it is convenient for those who are in the highest degree happy to
forsake those good things that are present, for the want of some one
indifferent thing? And yet they esteem none of the indifferent things
either desirable or to be avoided; but only good desirable, and only
evil to be avoided. So that it comes to pass, according to them, that
the reasoning about actions regards neither things desirable nor things
refusable; but that aiming at other things, which they neither shun nor
choose, they make life and death to depend on these.

Chrysippus confesses that good things are totally different from bad;
and it must of necessity be so, if these make them with whom they are
present miserable to the very utmost point, and those render their
possessors in the highest degree happy. Now he says, that good and evil
things are sensible, writing thus in his First Book of the End: "That
good and evil things are perceptible by sense, we are by these reasons
forced to say; for not only the passions, with their species, as sorrow,
fear, and such others, are sensible; but we may also have a sense of
theft, adultery, and the like, and generally, of folly, cowardice, and
other vices not a few; and again, not only of joy, beneficence, and many
other dependences on good deeds, but also of prudence, fortitude,
and the other virtues." Let us pass by the other absurdities of these
things; but that they are repugnant to those things which are delivered
by him concerning "the wise man that knows nothing of his being so," who
does not confess? For good, when present, being sensible and having a
great difference from evil, is it not most absurd, that he who is of
bad become good should be ignorant of it, and not perceive virtue when
present, but think that vice is still within him? For either none who
has all virtues can be ignorant and doubt of his having them; or the
difference of virtue from vice, of happiness from misery, and of a most
honest life from a most shameful one, is little and altogether difficult
to be discerned, if he who has taken the one in exchange for the other
does not perceive it.

He has written one volume of lives divided into four books; in the
fourth of these he says, that a wise man meddles with no business but
his own, and is employed about his own affairs. His words are these:
"For I am of opinion, that a prudent man shuns affairs, meddles little,
and at the same time minds his own occasions; civil persons being both
minders of their own affairs and meddlers with little else." He has said
almost the same in his book of Things eligible for Themselves, in these
very words: "For indeed a quiet life seems to have in it a certain
security and freedom from danger, though there are not very many who
can comprehend it." It is manifest that he does not much dissent from
Epicurus, who takes away Providence that he may leave God in repose.
But the same Chrysippus in his First Book of Lives says, that a wise man
willingly takes upon him a kingdom, making his profit by it; and if he
cannot reign himself, will dwell with a king, and go to the wars with
a king like Hydanthyrsus the Scythian or Leucon the Pontic. But I will
here also set down his very discourse, that we may see whether, as from
the treble and the base strings there arises a symphony in music, so
the life of a man who chooses quietness and meddling with little accords
with him who, upon any necessity, rides along with the Scythians and
manages the affairs of the tyrants in the Bosphorus: "For that a wise
man will both go to the wars and live with potentates, we will again
consider this hereafter; some indeed upon the like arguments not so much
as suspecting this, and we for semblable reasons admitting it." And
a little after: "Not only with those who have proceeded well, and are
become proficients in discipline and good manners, as with Leucon and

Some there are who blame Callisthenes for sailing to Alexander in hopes
to obtain the rebuilding of Olynthus, as Aristotle had procured that of
Stagira; and commend Ephorus, Xenocrates, and Menedemus, who rejected
Alexander's solicitation. But Chrysippus thrusts his wise man
headforwards for the sake of gain, as far as Panticapaeum and the desert
of the Scythians. And that he does this for the sake of profit and gain,
he has showed before, supposing three ways of gaining most suitable for
a wise man,--the first by a kingdom, the second by his friends, and the
third, besides these, by teaching philosophy. And yet he frequently even
tires us with his praises of this saying:--

     What need have men of more than these two things?

And in his books of Nature he says, that a wise man, if he has lost the
greatest wealth imaginable, seems to have lost but a single groat. But
having there thus elevated and puffed him up, he again here throws him
down to mercenariness and sophistry; nay, to asking money and even to
receiving it beforehand, sometimes at the very entrance of his scholar,
and otherwhiles after some time past. The last, he says indeed, is the
more polite, but to receive beforehand the more sure; delay allowing
of injuries. Now he says thus: "All who are well advised do not require
their salary in the same manner, but differently; a multitude of them,
as opportunity offers, not promising to make their scholars good men,
and that within a year, but to do this, as far as in them lies, within
a time agreed on." And again going on, he says: "But he will know his
opportunity, whether he ought to receive his recompense presently at
the very entrance (as many have done), or to give them time, this manner
being more liable to injuries, but withal, seeming the more courteous."
And how is the wise man a contemner of wealth, who upon a contract
delivers virtue for money, and if he has not delivered it, yet requires
his reward, as having done what is in him? Or how is he above being
endamaged, when he is so cautious lest he be wronged of his recompense?
For no man is wronged who is not endamaged. Therefore, though he has
elsewhere asserted that a wise man cannot be injured, he here says, that
this manner of dealing is liable to injury.

In his book of a Commonweal he says, that his citizens will neither act
nor prepare anything for the sake of pleasure, and praises Euripides for
having uttered this sentence:--

     What need have men of more than these two things,
     The fruits of Ceres, and thirst-quenching springs?

And yet a little after this, going on, he commends Diogenes, who forced
his nature to pass from himself in public, and said to those that were
present: I wish I could in the same manner drive hunger also out of my
belly. What reason then is there to praise in the same books him who
rejects all pleasure, and withal, him who for the sake of pleasure does
such things, and proceeds to such a degree of filthiness? Moreover,
having in his book of Nature written, that Nature has produced many
creatures for the sake of beauty, delighting in pulchritude and pleasing
herself with variety, and having added a most absurd expression, that
the peacock was made for the sake of his tail and for the beauty of it;
he has, in his treatise of a Commonweal, sharply reprehended those who
bred peacocks and nightingales, as if he were making laws contrary to
the lawgiver of the world, and deriding Nature for pleasing herself in
the beauty of animals to which a wise man would not give a place in
his city. For how can it but be absurd to blame those who nourish these
creatures, if he commends Providence which created them? In his Fifth
Book of Nature, having said, that bugs profitably awaken us out of our
sleep, that mice make us cautious not to lay up everything negligently,
and that it is probable that Nature, rejoicing in variety, takes delight
in the production of fair creatures, he adds these words: "The evidence
of this is chiefly shown in the peacock's tail; for here she manifests
that this animal was made for the sake of his tail, and not the
contrary; so, the male being made, the female follows." In his book of
a Commonweal, having said that we are ready to paint even dunghills,
a little after he adds, that some beautify their cornfields with vines
climbing up trees, and myrtles set in rows, and keep peacocks, doves,
and partridges, that they may hear them cry and coo, and nightingales.
Now I would gladly ask him, what he thinks of bees and honey? For it
was of consequence, that he who said bugs were created profitably should
also say that bees were created unprofitably. But if he allows these a
place in his city, why does he drive away his citizens from things that
are pleasing and delight the ear? To be brief,--as he would be very
absurd who should blame the guests for eating sweetmeats and other
delicacies and drinking of wine, and at the same time commend him who
invited them and prepared such things for them; so he that praises
Providence, which has afforded fishes, birds, honey, and wine, and at
the same time finds fault with those who reject not these things, nor
content themselves with

     The fruits of Ceres and thirst-quenching springs,

which are present and sufficient to nourish us, seems to make no scruple
of speaking things contradictory to himself.

Moreover, having said in his book of Exhortations, that the having
carnal commerce with our mothers, daughters, or sisters, the eating
forbidden food, and the going from a woman's bed or a dead carcass to
the temple, have been without reason blamed, he affirms, that we ought
for these things to have a regard to the brute beasts, and from what
is done by them conclude that none of these is absurd or contrary to
Nature; for that the comparisons of other animals are fitly made for
this purpose, to show that neither their coupling, bringing-forth, nor
dying in the temples pollutes the Divinity. Yet he again in his Fifth
Book of Nature says, that Hesiod rightly forbids urinating into rivers
and fountains, and that we should rather abstain from doing this against
any altar, or statue of the gods; and that it is not to be admitted for
an argument, that dogs, asses, and young children do it, who have no
discretion or consideration of such things. It is therefore absurd to
say in one place, that the savage example of irrational animals is fit
to be considered, and in another, that it is unreasonable to allege it.

To give a solution to the inclinations, when a man seems to be
necessitated by exterior causes, some philosophers place in the
principal faculty of the soul a certain adventitious motion, which is
chiefly manifested in things differing in no way from one another. For
when, with two things altogether alike and of equal importance, there is
a necessity to choose the one, there being no cause inclining to either,
for that neither of them differs from the other, this adventitious
power of the soul, seizing on its inclination, determines the doubt.
Chrysippus, discoursing against these men, as offering violence to
Nature by imagining an effect without a cause, in many places alleges
the die and the balance, and several other things, which cannot fall or
incline either one way or the other without some cause or difference,
either wholly within them or coming to them from without; for that
what is causeless (he says) is wholly insubsistent, as also what
is fortuitous; and in those motions devised by some and called
adventitious, there occur certain obscure causes, which, being concealed
from us, move our inclinations to one side or other. These are some of
those things which are most evidently known to have been frequently said
by him; but what he has said contrary to this, not lying so exposed to
every one's sight, I will set down in his own words. For in his book
of Judging, having supposed two running for a wager to have exactly
finished their race together, he examines what is fit for the judge in
this case to do. "Whether," says he, "may the judge give the palm to
which of them he will, since they both happen to be so familiar to him,
that he would in some sort appear to bestow on them somewhat of his own?
Or rather, since the palm is common to both, may it be, as if lots had
been cast, given to either, according to the inclination he chances
to have? I say the inclination he chances to have, as when two groats,
every way else alike, being presented to us, we incline to one of them
and take it." And in his Sixth Book of Duties, having said that there
are some things not worthy of much study or attention, he thinks we
ought, as if we had cast lots, to commit the choice of those things to
the casual inclination of the mind: "As if," says he, "of those who
try the same two drams in a certain time, some should approve this and
others that, and there being no more cause for the taking of one than
the other, we should leave off making any farther investigation and
take that which chances to come first; thus casting the lot (as it were)
according to some uncertain principle, and being in danger of choosing
the worse of them." For in these passages, the casting of lots and the
casual inclining of the mind, which is without any cause, introduce the
choice of indifferent things.

In his Third Book of Dialectics, having said that Plato, Aristotle, and
those who came after them, even to Polemon and Straton, but especially
Socrates, diligently studied dialectics, and having cried out that one
would even choose to err with such and so great men as these, he brings
in these words: "For if they had spoken of these things cursorily,
one might perhaps have cavilled at this place; but having treated of
dialectic skill as one of the greatest and most necessary faculties, it
is not probable they should have been so much mistaken, having been such
in all the parts of philosophy as we esteem them." Why, then (might some
one say to him), do you never cease to oppose and argue against such
and so great men, as if you thought them to err in the principal and
greatest matters? For it is not probable that they writ seriously of
dialectics, and only transitorily and in sport of the beginning, end,
gods, and justice, in which you affirm their discourse to be blind and
contradictory to itself, and to have a thousand other faults.

In one place he says, that the vice called [Greek omitted], or the
rejoicing at other men's harms, has no being; since no good man ever
rejoiced at another's evils. But in his Second Book of Good, having
declared envy to be a sorrow at other men's good,--to wit, in such as
desire the depression of their neighbors that themselves may excel, he
joins to it this rejoicing at other men's harms, saying thus: "To this
is contiguous the rejoicing at other men's harms, in such as for like
causes desire to have their neighbors low; but in those that are
turned according to other natural motions, is engendered mercy." For he
manifestly admits the joy at other men's harms to be subsistent, as
well as envy and mercy; though in other places he affirms it to have no
subsistence; as he does also the hatred of wickedness, and the desire of
dishonest gain.

Having in many places said, that those who have a long time been happy
are nothing more so, but equally and in like manner with those who have
but a moment been partakers of felicity, he has again in many other
places affirmed, that it is not fit to stretch out so much as a finger
for the obtaining momentary prudence, which flies away like a flash of
lightning. It will be sufficient to set down what is to this purpose
written by him in his Sixth Book of Moral Questions. For having said,
that neither does every good thing equally cause joy, nor every good
deed the like glorying, he subjoins these words: "For if a man should
have wisdom only for a moment of time or the final minute of life, he
ought not so much as to stretch out his finger for such a shortlived
prudence." And yet men are neither more happy for being longer so, nor
is eternal felicity more eligible than that which lasts but a moment.
If he had indeed held prudence to be a good, producing felicity, as
Epicurus thought, one should have blamed only the absurdity and the
paradoxicalness of this opinion; but since prudence of itself is not
another thing differing from felicity, but felicity itself, how is
it not a contradiction to say, that momentary happiness is equally
desirable with eternal, and yet that momentary happiness is nothing

Chrysippus also says, that the virtues follow one another, and that not
only he who has one has all, but also that he who acts according to any
one of them acts according to them all; and he affirms, that there is
not any man perfect who is not possessed of all the virtues, nor any
action perfect to the doing of which all the virtues do not concur. But
yet in his Sixth Book of Moral Questions he says, that a good man
does not always act valiantly, nor a vicious man always fearfully; for
certain objects being presented to the fancies, the one must persist in
his judgments, and the other depart from them; and he says that it is
not probable a wicked man should be always indulging his lust. If then
to act valiantly is the same thing as to use fortitude; and to act
timorously as to yield to fear, they cannot but speak contradictions who
say, that he who is possessed of either virtue or vice acts at she
same time according to all the virtues or all the vices, and yet that a
valiant man does not always act valiantly nor a vicious man timorously.

He defines Rhetoric to be an art concerning the ornament and the
ordering of a discourse that is pronounced. And farther in his First
Book he has written thus: "And I am of opinion not only that a regard
ought to be had to a liberal and simple adorning of words, but also that
care is to be taken for proper delivery, as regards the right elevation
of the voice and the compositions of the countenance and hands." Yet
he, who is in this place so curious and exact, again in the same book,
speaking of the collision of the vowels, says: "We ought not only to let
these things pass, minding somewhat that is better, but also to neglect
certain obscurities and defects, nay, solecisms also, of which others,
and those not a few, would be ashamed." Certainly, in one place to allow
those who would speak eloquently so carefully to dispose their speech
as even to observe a decorum in the very composition of their mouth and
hands, and in another place to forbid the taking care of defects and
inelegancies, and the being ashamed even of committing solecisms, is
the property of a man who little cares what he says, but rashly utters
whatever comes first into his mouth.

Moreover, in his Natural Positions having warned us not to trouble
ourselves but to be at quiet about such things as require experience
and scientific investigation, he says: "Let us not think after the same
manner with Plato, that liquid nourishment is conveyed to the lungs, and
dry to the stomach; nor let us embrace other errors like to these." Now
it is my opinion, that to reprehend others, and then not to keep one's
self from falling into those things which one has reprehended, is the
greatest of contradictions and shamefullest of errors. But he says, that
the connections made by ten axioms amount to above a million in number,
having neither searched diligently into it by himself nor attained to
the truth by men experienced in it. Yet Plato had to testify for him the
most renowned of the physicians, Hippocrates, Philistion, and Dioxippus
the disciple of Hippocrates; and of the poets, Euripides, Aleaeus,
Eupolis, and Eratosthenes, who all say that the drink passes through the
lungs. But all the arithmeticians refute Chrysippus, amongst whom also
is Hipparchus, demonstrating that the error of his computation is very
great; since the affirmative makes of the ten axioms one hundred and
three thousand forty and nine connections, and the negative three
hundred and ten thousand nine hundred fifty and two.

Some of the ancients have said, that the same befell Zeno which befalls
him who has sour wine which he can sell neither for vinegar nor wine;
for his "things preferable," as he called them, cannot be disposed of,
either as good or as indifferent. But Chrysippus has made the matter yet
far more intricate; for he sometimes says, that they are mad who make no
account of riches, health, freedom from pain, and integrity of the body,
nor take any care to attain them; and having cited that sentence of

     Work hard, O God-born Perses,
     ("Works and Days," 299.)

he cries out, that it would be a madness to advise the contrary and say,

     Work not, O God-born Perses.

And in his book of Lives he affirms, that a wise man will for the sake
of gain live with kings, and teach for money, receiving from some of his
scholars his reward beforehand, and making contract with others of them;
and in his Seventh Book of Duties he says, that he will not scruple
to turn his heels thrice over his head, if for so doing he may have a
talent. In his First Book of Good Things, he yields and grants to those
that desire it to call these preferable things good and their contraries
evil, in these very words: "Any one who likes, according to these
permutations, may call one thing good and another evil, if he has a
regard to the things themselves, not wandering elsewhere, not failing in
the understanding of the thing signified, and in the rest accommodating
himself to custom in the denomination." Having thus in this place set
his things preferable so near to good, and mixed them therewith, he
again says, that none of these things belongs at all to us, but that
reason withdraws and averts us from all such things; for he has written
thus in his First Book of Exhortations. And in his Third Book of Nature
he says, that some esteem those happy who reign and are rich, which is
all one as if those should be reputed happy who make water in golden
chamber-pots and wear golden fringes; but to a good man the losing of
his whole estate is but as the losing of one groat, and the being sick
no more than if he had stumbled. Wherefore he has not filled virtue
only, but Providence also, with these contradictions. For virtue would
seem to the utmost degree sordid and foolish, if it should busy itself
about such matters, and enjoin a wise man for their sake to sail to
Bosphorus or tumble with his heels over his head. And Jupiter would
be very ridiculous to be styled Ctesius, Epicarpius, and Charitodotes,
because forsooth he gives the wicked golden chamber-pots and golden
fringes, and the good such things as are hardly worth a groat, when
through Jupiter's providence they become rich. And yet much more
ridiculous is Apollo, if he sits to give oracles concerning golden
fringes and chamber-pots and the recovering of a stumble.

But they make this repugnancy yet more evident by their demonstration.
For they say, that what may be used both well and ill, the same is
neither good nor bad; but fools make an ill use of riches, health, and
strength of body; therefore none of these is good. If therefore God
gives not virtue to men,--but honesty is eligible of itself,--and yet
bestows on them riches and health without virtue, he confers them on
those who can use them not well but ill, that is hurtfully, shamefully,
and perniciously. Now, if the gods can bestow virtue and do not, they
are not good; but if they cannot make men good, neither can they help
them, for outside of virtue nothing is good and advantageous. Now
to judge those who are otherwise made good according to virtue and
strength... is nothing to the purpose, for good men also judge the gods
according to virtue and strength; so that they do no more aid men than
they are aided by them.

Now Chrysippus neither professes himself nor any one of his disciples
and teachers to be virtuous. What then do they think of others, but
those things which they say,--that they are all mad fools, impious,
transgressors of laws, and in the most degree of misery and unhappiness?
And yet they say that our affairs, though we act thus miserably, are
governed by the providence of the gods. Now if the gods, changing their
minds, should desire to hurt, afflict, overthrow, and quite crush us,
they could not put us in a worse condition than we already are; as
Chrysippus demonstrates that life can admit only one degree either of
misery or of unhappiness; so that if it had a voice, it would pronounce
these words of Hercules:

     I am so full of miseries, there is
     No place to stow them in.
     (Euripides, "Hercules Furens," 1245.)

Now who can imagine any assertions more repugnant to one another than
chat of Chrysippus concerning the gods and that concerning men; when he
says, that the gods do in the best manner possible provide for men, and
yet men are in the worst condition imaginable?

Some of the Pythagoreans blame him for having in his book of Justice
written concerning cocks, that they are usefully procreated, because
they awaken us from our sleep, hunt out scorpions, and animate us to
battle, breeding in us a certain emulation to show courage; and yet that
we must eat them, lest the number of chickens should be greater than
were expedient. But he so derides those who blame him for this, that he
has written thus concerning Jupiter the Saviour and Creator, the father
of justice, equity, and peace, in his Third Book of the Gods: "As cities
overcharged with too great a number of citizens send forth colonies into
other places and make war upon some, so does God give the beginnings of
corruption." And he brings in Euripides for a witness, with others who
say that the Trojan war was caused by the gods, to exhaust the multitude
of men.

But letting pass their other absurdities (for our design is not
to inquire what they have said amiss, but only what they have said
dissonantly to themselves), consider how he always attributes to
the gods specious and kind appellations, but at the same time cruel,
barbarous, and Galatian deeds. For those so great slaughters and
earnages, as were the productions of the Trojan war and again of the
Persian and Peloponnesian, were no way like to colonies unless these men
know of some cities built in hell and under the earth. But Chrysippus
makes God like to Deiotarus, the Galatian king, who having many sons,
and being desirous to leave his kingdom and house to one of them, killed
all the rest; as he that cuts and prunes away all the other branches
from the vine, that one which he leaves remaining may grow strong and
great. And yet the vine-dresser does this, the sprigs being slender
and weak; and we, to favor a bitch, take from her many of her new-born
puppies, whilst they are yet blind. But Jupiter, having not only
suffered and seen men to grow up, but having also both created and
increased them, plagues them afterwards, devising occasions of their
destruction and corruption; whereas he should rather not have given them
any causes and beginnings of generation.

However, this is but a small matter; but that which follows is greater.
For there is no war amongst men without vice. But sometimes the love of
pleasure, sometimes the love of money, and sometimes the love of glory
and rule is the cause of it. If therefore God is the author of wars, he
must be also of sins, provoking and perverting men. And yet himself says
in his treatise of Judgment and his Second Book of the Gods, that it is
no way rational to say that the Divinity is in any respect the cause of
dishonesty. For as the law can in no way be the cause of transgression,
so neither can the gods of being impious; therefore neither is it
rational that they should be the causes of anything that is filthy.
What therefore can be more filthy to men than the mutual killing of one
another?--to which Chrysippus says that God gives beginnings. But some
one perhaps will say, that he elsewhere praises Euripides for saying,

     If gods do aught dishonest, they're no gods;

and again,

     'Tis a most easy thing t' accuse the gods;
     (From the "Bellerophontes" of Euripides, Frag. 294;
     and the "Archelaus," Frag. 256.)

as if we were now doing anything else than setting down such words and
sentences of his as are repugnant to one another. Yet that very thing
which is now praised may be objected, not once or twice or thrice, but
even ten thousand times, against Chrysippus:--

     'Tis a most easy thing t' accuse the gods.

For first having in his book of Nature compared the eternity of motion
to a drink made of divers species confusedly mixed together, turning and
jumbling the things that are made, some this way, others that way, he
goes on thus: "Now the administration of the universe proceeding in this
manner, it is of necessity we should be in the condition we are, whether
contrary to our own nature we are sick or maimed, or whether we are
grammarians or musicians." And again a little after, "According to this
reason we shall say the like of our virtue and vice, and generally of
arts or the ignorance of arts, as I have said." And a little after,
taking away all ambiguity, he says: "For no particular thing, not even
the least, can be otherwise than according to common Nature and its
reason." But that common Nature and the common reason of Nature are
with him Fate and Providence and Jupiter, is not unknown even to the
antipodes. For these things are everywhere inculcated in the Stoic
system; and Chrysippus affirms that Homer said very well,

     Jove's purposes were ripening,
     ("Iliad," i. 5.)

having respect to Fate and the Nature of the universe, according to
which everything is governed. How then do these agree, both that God is
no way the cause of any dishonest thing, and again, that not even the
least thing imaginable can be otherwise done than according to common
Nature and its reason? For amongst all things that are done, there must
of necessity be also evil things attributed to the gods. And though
Epicurus indeed turns himself every way, and studies artifices, devising
how to deliver and set loose our voluntary free will from this eternal
motion, that he may not leave vice irreprehensible; yet Chrysippus gives
vice a most absolute liberty, as being done not only of necessity or
according to Fate, but also according to the reason of God and
best Nature. And these things are yet farther seen in what he says
afterwards, being thus word for word: "For common Nature extending to
all things, it will be of necessity that everything, howsoever done in
the whole or in any one soever of its parts, must be done according to
this common Nature and its reason, proceeding on regularly without
any impediment. For there is nothing without that can hinder the
administration, nor is there any of the parts that can be moved or
habituated otherwise than according to common Nature." What, then, are
these habits and motions of the parts? It is manifest, that the habits
are vices and diseases, covetousness, luxury, ambition, cowardice,
injustice; and that the motions are adulteries, thefts, treasons,
murders, parricides. Of these Chrysippus thinks, that no one, either
little or great, is contrary to the reason of Jupiter, or to his law,
justice, and providence; so neither is the transgressing of the law
done against the law, nor the acting unjustly against justice, nor the
committing of sin against Providence.

And yet he says, that God punishes vice, and does many things for the
chastising of the wicked. And in his Second Book of the Gods he says,
that many adversities sometimes befall the good, not as they do the
wicked, for punishment, but according to another dispensation, as it
is in cities. And again in these words: "First we are to understand of
evils in like manner as has been said before: then that these things are
distributed according to the reason of Jupiter, whether for punishment,
or according to some other dispensation, having in some sort respect to
the universe." This therefore is indeed severe, that wickedness is both
done and punished according to the reason of Jupiter. But he aggravates
this contradiction in his Second Book of Nature, writing thus: "Vice in
reference to grievous accidents, has a certain reason of its own. For it
is also in some sort according to the reason of Nature, and, as I may
so say, is not wholly useless in respect of the universe. For otherwise
also there would not be any good." Thus does he reprehend those that
dispute indifferently on both sides, who, out of a desire to say
something wholly singular and more exquisite concerning everything,
affirms, that men do not unprofitably cut purses, calumniate, and play
madmen, and that it is not unprofitable there should be unprofitable,
hurtful, and unhappy persons. What manner of god then is Jupiter,--I
mean Chrysippus's Jupiter,--who punishes an act done neither willingly
nor unprofitably? For vice is indeed, according to Chrysippus's
discourse, wholly reprehensible; but Jupiter is to be blamed, whether
he has made vice which is an unprofitable thing, or, having made it not
unprofitable, punishes it.

Again, in his First Book of Justice, having spoken of the gods as
resisting the injustices of some, he says: "But wholly to take away
vice is neither possible nor expedient." Whether it were not better
that law-breaking, injustice, and folly should be taken away, is not the
design of this present discourse to inquire. But he himself, as much
as in him lies, by his philosophy taking away vice, which it is not
expedient to take away, does something repugnant both to reason and God.
Besides this, saying that God resists some injustices, he again makes
plain the impiety of sins.

Having often written that there is nothing reprehensible, nothing to
be complained of in the world, all things being finished according to a
most excellent nature, he again elsewhere leaves certain negligences
to be reprehended, and those not concerning small or base matters. For
having in his Third Book of Substance related that some such things
befall honest and good men, he says: "May it not be that some things are
not regarded, as in great families some bran--yea, and some grains
of corn also--are scattered, the generality being nevertheless well
ordered; or maybe there are evil Genii set over those things in which
there are real and faulty negligence?" And he also affirms that there
is much necessity intermixed. I let pass, how inconsiderate it is
to compare such accidents befalling honest and good men, as were the
condemnation of Socrates, the burning of Pythagoras, whilst he was
yet living, by the Cyloneans, the putting to death--and that with
torture--of Zeno by the tyrant Demylus, and of Antiphon by Dionysius,
with the letting of bran fall. But that there should be evil Genii
placed by Providence over such charges,--how can it but be a reproach
to God, as it would be to a king, to commit the administration of his
provinces to evil and rash governors and captains, and suffer the best
of his subjects to be despised and ill-treated by them? And furthermore,
if there is much necessity mixed amongst affairs, then God has not power
over them all, nor are they all administered according to his reason.

He contends much against Epicurus and those that take away providence
from the conceptions we have of the gods, whom we esteem beneficial and
gracious to men. And these things being frequently said by them, there
is no necessity of setting down the words. Yet all do not conceive the
gods to be good and favorable to us. For see what the Jews and Syrians
think of the gods; consider also with how much superstition the poets
are filled. But there is not any one, in a manner to speak of, that
imagines God to be corruptible or to have been born. And to omit all
others, Antipater the Tarsian, in his book of the gods writes thus, word
for word: "At the opening of our discourse we will briefly repeat the
opinion we have concerning God. We understand therefore God to be an
animal, blessed and incorruptible, and beneficial to men." And then
expounding every one of these terms he says: "And indeed all men esteem
the gods to be incorruptible." Chrysippus therefore is, according to
Antipater, not one of "all men"; for he thinks none of the gods, except
Fire, to be incorruptible, but that they all equally were born and will
die. These things are, in a manner, everywhere said by him. But I will
set down his words out of his Third Book of the Gods: "It is otherwise
with the gods. For some of them are born and corruptible, but others not
born. And to demonstrate these things from the beginning will be more
fit for a treatise of Nature. For the Sun, the Moon, and other gods who
are of a like nature, were begotten; but Jupiter is eternal." And again
going on: "But the like will be said concerning dying and being
born, both concerning the other gods and Jupiter. For they indeed are
corruptible, but his past incorruptible." With these I compare a few of
the things said by Antipater: "Whosoever they are that take away from
the gods beneficence, they affect in some part our conception of them;
and according to the same reason they also do this, who think they
participate of generation and corruption." If, then, he who esteems the
gods corruptible is equally absurd with him who thinks them not to be
provident and gracious to men, Chrysippus is no less in an error than
Epicurus. For one of them deprives the gods of beneficence, the other
of incorruptibility. ============ And moreover, Chrysippus, in his Third
Book of the Gods treating of the other gods being nourished, says thus:
"The other gods indeed use nourishment, being equally sustained by it;
but Jupiter and the World are maintained after another manner from those
who are consumed and were engendered by fire." Here indeed he declares,
that all the other gods are nourished except the World and Jupiter; but
in his First Book of Providence he says: "Jupiter increases till he has
consumed all things into himself. For since death is the separation
of the soul from the body, and the soul of the World is not indeed
separated, but increases continually till it has consumed all matter
into itself, it is not to be said that the World dies." Who can
therefore appear to speak things more contradictory to himself than he
who says that the same god is now nourished and again not nourished? Nor
is there any need of gathering this by argument: for himself has
plainly written in the same place: "But the World alone is said to be
self-sufficient, because it alone has in itself all things it stands in
need of, and is nourished and augmented of itself, the other parts being
mutually changed into one another." He is then repugnant to himself, not
only by declaring in one place that all the gods are nourished except
the World and Jupiter, and saying in another, that the World also is
nourished; but much more, when he affirms that the World increases by
nourishing itself. Now the contrary had been much more probable, to wit,
that the World alone does not increase, having its own destruction for
its food; but that addition and increase are incident to the other gods,
who are nourished from without, and the World is rather consumed into
them, if so it is that the World feeds on itself, and they always
receive something and are nourished from that.

Secondly, the conception of the gods contains in it felicity,
blessedness, and self-perfection. Wherefore also Euripides is commanded
for saying:--

     For God, if truly God, does nothing want,
     So all these speeches are the poets' cant.
     ("Hercules Furens," 1345.)

But Chrysippus in the places I have alleged says, that the World only is
self-sufficient, because this alone has in itself all things it needs.
What then follows from this, that the World alone is self-sufficient?
That neither the Sun, Moon, nor any other of the gods is
self-sufficient, and not being self-sufficient, they cannot be happy or

He says, that the infant in the womb is nourished by Nature, like a
plant; but when it is brought forth, being cooled and hardened by the
air, it changes its spirit and becomes an animal; whence the soul is not
unfitly named Psyche because of this refrigeration [Greek omitted]. But
again he esteems the soul the more subtile and fine spirit of Nature,
therein contradicting himself; for how can a subtile thing be made of a
gross one, and be rarefied by refrigeration and condensation? And what
is more, how does he, declaring an animal to be made by refrigeration,
think the sun to be animated, which is of fire and made of an exhalation
changed into fire? For he says in his Third Book of Nature: "Now the
change of fire is such, that it is turned by the air into water; and the
earth subsiding from this, the air exhales; the air being subtilized,
the ether is produced round about it; and the stars are, with the
sun, kindled from the sea." Now what is more contrary to kindling than
refrigeration, or to rarefaction than condensation? For the one makes
water and earth of fire and air, and the other changes that which
is moist and earthy into fire and air. But yet in one place he makes
kindling, in another cooling, to be the beginning of animation. And he
moreover says, that when the inflammation is throughout, it lives and
is an animal, but being again extinct and thickened, it is turned into
water and earth and corporeity. Now in his First Book of Providence he
says: "For the world, indeed, being wholly set on fire, is presently
also the soul and guide of itself; but when it is changed into moisture,
and has altered the soul remaining within it by some method into a body
and soul, so as to consist of these two it exists then after another
manner." Here, forsooth, he plainly says, that the inanimate parts of
the world are by inflammation turned into an animated thing, and that
again by extinction the soul is relaxed and moistened, being changed
into corporeity. He seems therefore very absurd, one while by
refrigeration making animals of senseless things, and again, by the
same changing the greatest part of the world's soul into senseless and
inanimate things.

But besides this, his discourse concerning the generation of the soul
has a demonstration contrary to his own opinion; or he says, that the
soul is generated when the infant is already brought forth, the spirit
being changed by refrigeration, as by hardening. Now for the soul's
being engendered, and that after the birth, he chiefly uses this
demonstration, that the children are for the most part in manners and
inclinations like to their parents. Now the repugnancy of these things
is evident. For it is not possible that the soul, which is not generated
till after the birth, should have its inclination before the birth; or
it will fall out that the soul is like before it is generated; that is,
it will be in likeness, and yet not be, because it is not yet generated.
But if any one says that, the likeness being bred in the tempers of the
bodies, the souls are changed when they are generated, he destroys the
argument of the soul's being generated. For thus it may come to pass,
that the soul, though not generated, may at its entrance into the body
be changed by the mixture of likeness.

He says sometimes, that the air is light and mounts upwards, and
sometimes, that it is neither heavy nor light. For in his Second Book of
Motion he says, that the fire, being without gravity, ascends upwards,
and the air like to that; the water approaching more to the earth, and
the air to the fire. But in his Physical Arts he inclines to the other
opinion, that the air of itself has neither gravity nor levity.

He says that the air is by nature dark, and uses this as an argument of
its being also the first cold; for that its darkness is opposite to the
brightness, and its coldness to the heat of fire. Moving this in his
First Book of Natural Questions, he again in his treatise of Habits
says, that habits are nothing else but airs; for bodies are contained by
these, and the cause that every one of the bodies contained in any
habit is such as it is, is the containing air, which they call in iron
hardness, in stone solidness, in silver whiteness. These words have in
them much absurdity and contradiction. For if the air remains such as it
is of its own nature, how comes black, in that which is not white, to
be made whiteness; and soft, in that which is not hard, to be made
hardness; and rare, in that which is not thick, to be made thickness?
But if, being mixed with these, it is altered and made like to them, how
is it a habit or power or cause of these things by which it is subdued?
For such a change, by which it loses its own qualities, is the property
of a patient, not of an agent, and not of a thing containing, but of a
thing languishing. Yet they everywhere affirm, that matter, being of its
own nature idle and motionless, is subjected to qualities, and that the
qualities are spirits, which, being also aerial tensions, give a form
and figure to every part of matter to which they adhere. These things
they cannot rationally say, supposing the air to be such as they affirm
it. For if it is a habit and tension, it will assimilate every body to
itself, so that it shall be black and soft. But if by the mixture with
these things it receives forms contrary to those it has, it will be in
some sort the matter, and not the cause or power of matter.

It is often said by Chrysippus, that there is without the world an
infinite vacuum, and that this infinity has neither beginning, middle,
nor end. And by this the Stoics chiefly refute that spontaneous motion
of the atoms downward, which is taught by Epicurus; there not being in
infinity any difference according to which one thing is thought to be
above, another below. But in his Fourth Book of Things Possible, having
supposed a certain middle place and middle region, he says that the
world is situated there. The words are these: "Wherefore, if it is to be
said of the world that it is corruptible, this seems to want proof; yet
nevertheless it rather appears to me to be so. However, its occupation
of the place wherein it stands cooperates very much towards its immunity
from corruption, because it is in the midst; since if it were conceived
to be anywhere else, corruption would absolutely happen to it." And
again, a little after: "For so also in a manner has essence happened
eternally to possess the middle place, being immediately from the
beginning such as it is; so that both by another manner and through this
chance it admits not any corruption, and is therefore eternal." These
words have one apparent and visible contradiction, to wit, his admitting
a certain middle place and middle region infinity. They have also a
second, more obscure indeed, but withal more absurd than this. For
thinking that the world would not have remained incorruptible if its
situation had happened to have been in any other part of the vacuum,
he manifestly appears to have feared lest, the parts of essence moving
towards the middle, there should be a dissolution and corruption of the
world. Now this he would not have feared, had he not thought that bodies
do by nature tend from every place towards the middle, not of essence,
but of the region containing essence; of which also he has frequently
spoken, as of a thing impossible and contrary to Nature; for that (as
he says) there is not in the vacuum any difference by which bodies are
drawn rather this way than that way, but the construction of the world
is the cause of motion, bodies inclining and being carried from every
side to the centre and middle of it. It is sufficient to this purpose,
to set down the text out of his Second Book of Motion; for having
discoursed, that the world indeed is a perfect body, but that the parts
of the world are not perfect, because they have in some sort respect to
the whole and are not of themselves; and going forward concerning its
motion, as having been framed by Nature to be moved by all its parts
towards compaction and cohesion, and not towards dissolution and
breaking, he says thus: "But the universe thus tending and being moved
to the same point, and the arts having the same motion from the nature
of the body, it is probable that all bodies have this first motion
according to Nature towards the centre of the world,--the world being
thus moved as concerns itself, and the parts being moved as being its
parts." What, then, ailed you, good sir (might some one say to him),
that you have so far forgotten those words, as to affirm that the world,
if it had not casually possessed the middle place, would have been
dissoluble and corruptible? For if it is by nature so framed as always
to incline towards the middle, and its parts from every side tend to
the same, into what place soever of the vacuum it should have been
transposed,--thus containing and (as it were) embracing itself,--it
would have remained incorruptible and without danger of breaking. For
things that are broken and dissipated suffer this by the separation and
dissolution of their parts, every one of them hasting to its own place
from that which it had contrary to Nature. But you, being of opinion
that, if the world should have been seated in any other place of the
vacuum, it would have been wholly liable to corruption, and affirming
the same, and therefore asserting a middle in that which naturally
can have no middle,--to wit, in that which is infinite,--have indeed
dismissed these tensions, coherences, and inclinations, as having
nothing available to its preservation, and attributed all the cause of
its permanency to the possession of place. And, as if you were ambitious
to confute yourself, to the things you have said before you join this
also: "In whatsoever manner every one of the parts moves, being coherent
to the rest, it is agreeable to reason that in the same also the whole
should move by itself; yea, though we should, for argument's sake,
imagine and suppose it to be in some vacuity of this world; for as,
being kept in on every side, it would move towards the middle, so it
would continue in the same motion, though by way of disputation we
should admit that there were on a sudden a vacuum round about it."
No part then whatsoever, though encompassed by a vacuum, loses its
inclination moving it towards the middle of the world; but the world
itself, if chance had not prepared it a place in the middle, would have
lost its containing vigor, the parts of its essence being carried some
one way, some another.

And these things indeed contain great contradictions to natural
reason; but this is also repugnant to the doctrine concerning God and
Providence, that assigning to them the least causes, he takes from them
the most principal and greatest. For what is more principal than the
permanency of the world, or that its essence, united in its parts, is
contained in itself? But this, as Chrysippus says, fell out casually.
For if the possession of place is the cause of incorruptibility, and
this was the production of chance, it is manifest that the preservation
of the universe is a work of chance, and not of Fate and Providence.

Now, as for his doctrine of possibles, how can it but be repugnant to
his doctrine of Fate? For if that is not possible which either is true
or shall be true, as Diodorus has it, but everything which is capable of
being, though it never shall be, is possible, there will be many things
possible which will never be according to invincible, inviolable, and
all-conquering Fate. And thus either Fate will lose its power; or if
that, as Chrysippus thinks, has existence, that which is susceptible of
being will often fall out to be impossible. And everything indeed which
is true will be necessary, being comprehended by the principal of all
necessities; and everything that is false will be impossible, having
the greatest cause to oppose its ever being true. For how is it possible
that he should be susceptible of dying on the land, who is destined to
die at sea? And how is it possible for him who is at Megara to come to
Athens, if he is prohibited by Fate?

But moreover, the things that are boldly asserted by him concerning
fantasies or imaginations are very opposite to Fate. For desiring to
show that fantasy is not of itself a perfect cause of consent, he says,
that the Sages will prejudice us by imprinting false imaginations in our
minds, if fantasies do of themselves absolutely cause consent; for
wise men often make use of falsity against the wicked, representing a
probable imagination,--which is yet not the cause of consent, for
then it would be also a cause of false apprehension and error. Any one
therefore, transferring these things from the wise man to Fate, may say,
that consents are not caused by Fate; for if they were, false consents
and opinions and deceptions would also be by Fate. Thus the reason which
exempts the wise man from doing hurt also demonstrates at the same time
that Fate is not the cause of all things. For if men neither opine
nor are prejudiced by Fate, it is manifest also that they neither
act rightly nor are wise nor remain firm in their sentiments nor have
utility by Fate, but that there is an end of Fate's being the cause of
all things. Now if any one shall say that Chrysippus makes not Fate the
absolute cause of all things, but only a PROCATARCLICAL (or antecedent)
one, he will again show that he is contradictory to himself, since he
excessively praises Homer for saying of Jupiter,

     Receive whatever good or ill
     He sends to each of you;

as also Euripides for these words,

     O Jove, how can I say that wretched we,
     Poor mortals, aught do understand?  On thee
     We all depend, and nothing can transact,
     But as thy sacred wisdom shall enact.
     (Euripides, "Suppliants," 734.)

And himself writes many things agreeable to these. In fine, he says that
nothing, be it never so little, either rests or is moved otherwise than
according to the reason of Jupiter, which is the same thing with Fate.
Moreover, the antecedent cause is weaker than the absolute one, and
attains not to its effect when it is subdued by others that rise
up against it. But he himself declaring Fate to be an invincible,
unimpeachable, and inflexible cause, calls it Atropos, (That is,
Unchangeable.) Adrasteia, (That is, Unavoidable.) Necessity, and
Pepromene (as putting a limit to all things). Whether then shall we say,
that neither consents nor virtues nor vices nor doing well nor doing
ill is in our power? Or shall we affirm, that Fate is deficient, that
terminating destiny is unable to determine, and that the motions
and habits of Jupiter cannot be effective? For the one of these two
consequences will follow from Fate's being an absolute, the other from
its being only an antecedent cause. For if it is an absolute cause, it
takes away our free will and leaves nothing in our control; and if it is
only antecedent, it loses its being unimpeachable and effectual. For
not once or ten times, but everywhere, especially in his Physics, he
has written, that there are many obstacles and impediments to particular
natures and motions, but none to that of the universe. And how can the
motion of the universe, extending as it does to particular ones, be
undisturbed and unimpeached, if these are stopped and hindered? For
neither can the nature of man be free from impediment, if that of the
foot or hand is not so; nor can the motion of a ship but be hindered, if
there are any obstacles about the sails or the operation of the oars.

Besides all this, if the fantasies are not according to Fate, neither
are they causes of consents; but if, because it imprints fantasies
leading to consent, the consents are said to be according to Fate,
how is it not contrary to itself, imprinting in the greatest matters
different imaginations and such as draw the understanding contrary ways?
For (they say) those who adhere to one of them, and withhold not their
consent, do amiss: if they yield to obscure things, they stumble; if to
false, they are deceived; if to such as are not commonly comprehended,
they opine. And yet one of these three is of necessity,--either that
every fantasy is not the work of Fate, or that every receipt and consent
of fantasy is faultless, or that Fate itself is not irreprehensible. For
I do not know how it can be blameless, proposing to us such fantasies
that not the resisting or going against them, but the following and
yielding to them, is blamable. Moreover, both Chrysippus and Antipater,
in their disputes against the Academics, take not a little pains to
prove that we neither act nor are incited without consent, saying, that
they build on fictions and false suppositions who think that, a proper
fantasy being presented, we are presently incited, without having either
yielded or consented. Again, Chrysippus says, that God imprints in us
false imaginations, as does also the wise man; not that they would have
us consent or yield to them, but only that we should act and be incited
with regard to that which appears; but we, being evil, do through
infirmity consent to such fantasies. Now, the perplexity and discrepancy
of these discourses among themselves are not very difficult to be
discerned. For he that would not have men consent but only act according
to the fantasies which he offers unto them--whether he be God or a
wise man--knows that the fantasies are sufficient for acting, and that
consents are superfluous. For if, knowing that the imagination gives us
not an instinct to work without consent, he ministers to us false and
probable fantasies, he is the voluntary cause of our falling and erring
by assenting to incomprehensible things.

END OF SEVEN-----------


TRACT I. You ask of me then for what reason it was that Pythagoras
abstained from eating of flesh. I for my part do much wonder in what
humor, with what soul or reason, the first man with his mouth touched
slaughter, and reached to his lips the flesh of a dead animal, and
having set before people courses of ghastly corpses and ghosts, could
give those parts the names of meat and victuals, that but a little
before lowed, cried, moved, and saw; how his sight could endure the
blood of slaughtered, flayed, and mangled bodies; how his smell could
bear their scent; and how the very nastiness happened not to offend the
taste, while it chewed the sores of others, and participated of the saps
and juices of deadly wounds.

     Crept the raw hides, and with a bellowing sound
     Roared the dead limbs; the burning entrails groaned.
     ("Odyssey," xii. 395.)

This indeed is but a fiction and fancy; but the fare itself is truly
monstrous and prodigious,--that a man should have a stomach to creatures
while they yet bellow, and that he should be giving directions which of
things yet alive and speaking is fittest to make food of, and ordering
the several kinds of the seasoning and dressing them and serving them up
to tables. You ought rather, in my opinion, to have inquired who first
began this practice, than who of late times left it off.

And truly, as for those people who first ventured upon eating of flesh,
it is very probable that the whole reason of their so doing was scarcity
and want of other food; for it is not likely that their living together
in lawless and extravagant lusts, or their growing wanton and capricious
through the excessive variety of provisions then among them, brought
them to such unsociable pleasures as these, against Nature. Yea, had
they at this instant but their sense and voice restored to them, I am
persuaded they would express themselves to this purpose:

"Oh! happy you, and highly favored of the gods, who now live! Into what
an age of the world are you fallen, who share and enjoy among you a
plentiful portion of good things! What abundance of things spring up for
your use! What fruitful vineyards you enjoy! What wealth you gather from
the fields! What delicacies from trees and plants, which you may gather!
You may glut and fill yourselves without being polluted. As for us, we
fell upon the most dismal and affrighting part of time, in which we
were exposed by our production to manifold and inextricable wants and
necessities. As yet the thickened air concealed the heaven from our
view, and the stars were as yet confused with a disorderly huddle of
fire and moisture and violent fluxions of winds. As yet the sun was not
fixed to a regular and certain course, so as to separate morning and
evening, nor did the seasons return in order crowned with wreaths from
the fruitful harvest. The land was also spoiled by the inundations of
disorderly rivers; and a great part of it was deformed with marshes, and
utterly wild by reason of deep quagmires, unfertile forests, and woods.
There was then no production of tame fruits, nor any instruments of art
or invention of wit. And hunger gave no time, nor did seed-time then
stay for the yearly season. What wonder is it if we made use of the
flesh of beasts contrary to Nature, when mud was eaten and the bark of
wood, and when it was thought a happy thing to find either a sprouting
grass or a root of any plant! But when they had by chance tasted of
or eaten an acorn, they danced for very joy about some oak or esculus,
calling it by the names of life-giver, mother, and nourisher. And this
was the only festival that those times were acquainted with; upon all
other occasions, all things were full of anguish and dismal sadness. But
whence is it that a certain ravenousness and frenzy drives you in these
happy days to pollute yourselves with blood, since you have such an
abundance of things necessary for your subsistence? Why do you belie the
earth as unable to maintain you? Why do you profane the lawgiver Ceres,
and shame the mild and gentle Bacchus, as not furnishing you with
sufficiency? Are you not ashamed to mix tame fruits with blood and
slaughter? You are indeed wont to call serpents, leopards, and lions
savage creatures; but yet yourselves are defiled with blood, and
come nothing behind them in cruelty. What they kill is their ordinary
nourishment, but what you kill is your better fare."

For we eat not lions and wolves by way of revenge; but we let those go,
and catch the harmless and tame sort, and such as have neither stings
nor teeth to bite with, and slay them; which, so may Jove help us,
Nature seems to us to have produced for their beauty and comeliness
only. [Just as if one seeing the river Nilus overflowing its banks,
and thereby filling the whole country with genial and fertile moisture,
should not at all admire that secret power in it that produces plants
and plenteousness of most sweet and useful fruits, but beholding
somewhere a crocodile swimming in it, or an asp crawling along, or mice
(savage and filthy creatures), should presently affirm these to be the
occasion of all that is amiss, or of any want or defect that may happen.
Or as if indeed one contemplating this land or ground, how full it is
of tame fruits, and how heavy with ears of corn, should afterwards espy
somewhere in these same cornfields an ear of darnel or a wild vetch, and
thereupon neglect to reap and gather in the corn, and fall a complaining
of these. Such another thing it would be, if one--listening to the
harangue of some advocate at some bar or pleading, swelling and
enlarging and hastening towards the relief of some impending danger, or
else, by Jupiter, in the impeaching and charging of certain audacious
villanies or indictments, flowing and rolling along, and that not in a
simple and poor strain, but with many sorts of passions all at once, or
rather indeed with all sorts, in one and the same manner, into the many
and various and differing minds of either hearers or judges that he is
either to turn and change, or else, by Jupiter, to soften, appease, and
quiet--should overlook all this business, and never consider or reckon
upon the labor or struggle he had undergone, but pick up certain loose
expressions, which the rapid motion of the discourse had carried along
with it, as by the current of its course, and so had slipped and escaped
the rest of the oration, and, hereupon undervalue the orator.]

But we are nothing put out of countenance, either by the beauteous
gayety of the colors, or by the charmingness of the musical voices,
or by the rare sagacity of the intellects, or by the cleanliness and
neatness of diet, or by the rare discretion and prudence of these poor
unfortunate animals; but for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh,
we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life
and time it had been born into the world to enjoy. And then we fancy
that the voices it utters and screams forth to us are nothing else
but certain inarticulate sounds and noises, and not the several
deprecations, entreaties, and pleadings of each of them, as it were
saying thus to us: "I deprecate not thy necessity (if such there be),
but thy wantonness. Kill me for thy feeding, but do not take me off for
thy better feeding." O horrible cruelty! It is truly an affecting sight
to see the very table of rich people laid before them, who keep them
cooks and caterers to furnish them with dead corpses for their daily
fare; but it is yet more affecting to see it taken away, for the
mammocks remaining are more than that which was eaten. These therefore
were slain to no purpose. Others there are, who are so offended by what
is set before them that they will not suffer it to be cut or sliced;
thus abstaining from them when dead, while they would not spare them
when alive.

Well, then, we understand that that sort of men are used to say, that
in eating of flesh they follow the conduct and direction of Nature.
But that it is not natural to mankind to feed on flesh, we first of all
demonstrate from the very shape and figure of the body. For a human
body no ways resembles those that were born for ravenousness; it hath no
hawk's bill, no sharp talon, no roughness of teeth, no such strength of
stomach or heat of digestion, as can be sufficient to convert or alter
such heavy and fleshy fare. But even from hence, that is, from the
smoothness of the tongue, and the slowness of the stomach to digest,
Nature seems to disclaim all pretence to fleshy victuals. But if you
will contend that yourself was born to an inclination to such food as
you have now a mind to eat, do you then yourself kill what you would
eat. But do it yourself, without the help of a chopping-knife, mallet,
or axe,--as wolves, bears, and lions do, who kill and eat at once. Rend
an ox with thy teeth, worry a hog with thy mouth, tear a lamb or a hare
in pieces, and fall on and eat it alive as they do. But if thou hadst
rather stay until what thou greatest is become dead, and if thou art
loath to force a soul out of its body, why then dost thou against Nature
eat an animate thing? Nay, there is nobody that is willing to eat even a
lifeless and a dead thing as it is; but they boil it, and roast it, and
alter it by fire and medicines, as it were, changing and quenching the
slaughtered gore with thousands of sweet sauces, that the palate being
thereby deceived may admit of such uncouth fare. It was indeed a witty
expression of a Lacedaemonian, who, having purchased a small fish in
a certain inn, delivered it to his landlord to be dressed; and as he
demanded cheese, and vinegar, and oil to make sauce, he replied, if I
had had those, I would not have bought the fish. But we are grown so
wanton in our bloody luxury, that we have bestowed upon flesh the name
of meat [Greek omitted], and then require another seasoning [Greek
omitted], to this same flesh, mixing oil, wine, honey, pickle, and
vinegar, with Syrian and Arabian spices, as though we really meant to
embalm it after its disease. Indeed when things are dissolved and
made thus tender and soft, and are as it were turned into a sort of a
carrionly corruption, it must needs be a great difficulty for concoction
to master them, and when it hath mastered them, they must needs cause
grievous oppressions and qualmy indigestions.

Diogenes ventured once to eat a raw pourcontrel, that he might disuse
himself from meat dressed by fire; and as several priests and other
people stood round him, he wrapped his head in his cassock, and so
putting the fish to his mouth, he thus said unto them: It is for your
sake, sirs, that I undergo this danger, and run this risk. A noble and
gallant risk, by Jupiter! For far otherwise than as Pelopidas ventured
his life for the liberty of the Thebans, and Harmodius and Aristogiton
for that of the Athenians, did this philosopher encounter with a raw
pourcontrel, to the end he might make human life more brutish. Moreover,
these same flesh-eatings not only are preternatural to men's bodies,
but also by clogging and cloying them, they render their very minds
and intellects gross. For it is well known to most, that wine and much
flesh-eating make the body indeed strong and lusty, but the mind weak
and feeble. And that I may not offend the wrestlers, I will make use
of examples out of my own country. The Athenians are wont to call us
Boeotians gross, senseless, and stupid fellows, for no other reason but
our over-much eating; by Pindar we are called hogs, for the same reason.
Menander the comedian calls us "fellows with long jaws." It is observed
also that, according to the saying of Heraclitus, "the wisest soul is
like a dry light." Earthen jars, if you strike them, will sound; but if
they be full, they perceive not the strokes that are given them. Copper
vessels also that are thin communicate the sound round about them,
unless some one stop and dull the ambient stroke with his fingers.
Moreover, the eye, when seized with an over-great plenitude of humors,
grows dim and feeble for its ordinary work. When we behold the sun
through a humid air and a great quantity of gross and indigested
vapors, we see it not clear and bright, but obscure and cloudy, and with
glimmering beams. Just so in a muddy and clogged body, that is swagged
down with heavy and unnatural nourishments; it must needs happen that
the gayety and splendor of the mind be confused and dulled, and that it
ramble and roll after little and scarce discernible objects, since it
wants clearness and vigor for higher things.

But to pass by these considerations, is not accustoming one's self to
mildness and a human temper of mind an admirable thing? For who would
wrong or injure a man that is so sweetly and humanly disposed with
respect to the ills of strangers that are not of his kind? I remember
that three days ago, as I was discoursing, I made mention of a saying
of Xenocrates, and how the Athenians gave judgment upon a certain person
who had flayed a living ram. For my part I cannot think him a worse
criminal that torments a poor creature while living, than a man that
shall take away its life and murder it. But (as it seems) we are more
sensible of what is done against custom than against Nature. There,
however, I discussed these matters in a more popular style. But as
for that grand and mysterious principle which (as Plato speaks) is
incredible to base minds and to such as affect only mortal things, I
as little care to move it in this discourse as a pilot doth a ship in
a storm, or a comedian his machine while the scenes are moving; but
perhaps it would not be amiss, by way of introduction and preface,
to repeat certain verses of Empedocles.... For in these, by way of
allegory, he hints at men's souls, as that they are tied to mortal
bodies, to be punished for murders, eating of flesh and of one another,
although this doctrine seems much, ancienter than his time. For the
fables that are storied and related about the discerption of Bacchus,
and the attempts of the Titans upon him, and of their tasting of
his slain body, and of their several punishments and fulminations
afterwards, are but a representation of the regeneration. For what in
us is unreasonable, disorderly, and boisterous, being not divine but
demoniac, the ancients termed Titans, that is, TORMENTED and PUNISHED
(from [Greek omitted])....

TRACT II. Reason persuades us now to return with fresh cogitations
and dispositions to what we left cold yesterday of our discourse about
flesh-eating. It is indeed a hard and a difficult task to undertake (as
Cato once said) to dispute with men's bellies, that have no ears; since
most have already drunk that draught of custom, which is like that of

     Of groans and frauds and sorcery replete.
     ("Odyssey," x. 234.)

And it is no easy task to pull out the hook of flesh-eating from the
jaws of such as have gorged themselves with luxury and are (as it
were) nailed down with it. It would indeed be a good action, if as
the Egyptians draw out the stomach of a dead body, and cut it open and
expose it to the sun, as the only cause of all its evil actions, so
we could, by cutting out our gluttony and blood-shedding, purify and
cleanse the remainder of our lives. For the stomach itself is not guilty
of bloodshed, but is involuntarily polluted by our intemperance. But
if this may not be, and we are ashamed by reason of custom to live
unblamably, let us at least sin with discretion. Let us eat flesh; but
let it be for hunger and not for wantonness. Let us kill an animal; but
let us do it with sorrow and pity, and not abusing and tormenting it, as
many nowadays are used to do, while some run red-hot spits through the
bodies of swine, that by the tincture of the quenched iron the blood may
be to that degree mortified, that it may sweeten and soften the flesh in
its circulation; others jump and stamp upon the udders of sows that are
ready to pig, that so they may crush into one mass (O Piacular Jupiter!)
in the very pangs of delivery, blood, milk, and the corruption of the
mashed and mangled young ones, and so eat the most inflamed part of the
animal; others sew up the eyes of cranes and swans, and so shut them up
in darkness to be fattened, and then souse up their flesh with certain
monstrous mixtures and pickles.

By all which it is most manifest, that it is not for nourishment,
or want, or any necessity, but for mere gluttony, wantonness, and
expensiveness, that they make a pleasure of villany. Just as it happens
in persons who cannot satiate their passion upon women, and having made
trial of everything else and falling into vagaries, at last attempt
things not to be mentioned; even so inordinateness in feeding, when it
hath once passed the bounds of nature and necessity, studies at last to
diversify the lusts of its intemperate appetite by cruelty and villany.
For the senses, when they once quit their natural measures, sympathize
with each other in their distempers, and are enticed by each other
to the same consent and intemperance. Thus a distempered ear first
debauched music, the soft and effeminate notes of which provoke immodest
touches and lascivious tickling. These things first taught the eye
not to delight in Pyrrhic dances, gesticulations of hands, or elegant
pantomimes, nor in statues and fine paintings; but to reckon the
slaughtering and death of mankind and wounds and duels the most
sumptuous of shows and spectacles. Thus unlawful tables are accompanied
with intemperate copulations, with unmusicianlike balls, and theatres
become monstrous through shameful songs and rehearsals; and barbarous
and brutish shows are again accompanied with an unrelenting temper and
savage cruelty towards mankind. Hence it was that the divine Lycurgus in
his Three Books of Laws gave orders that the doors and ridges of
men's houses should be made with a saw and an axe, and that no other
instrument should so much as be brought to any house. Not that he
did hereby intend to declare war against augers and planes and other
instruments of finer work; but because he very well knew that with such
tools as these you will never bring into your house a gilded couch,
and that you will never attempt to bring into a slender cottage either
silver tables, purple carpets, or costly stones; but that a plain supper
and a homely dinner must accompany such a house, couch table, and cup.
The beginning of a vicious diet is presently followed by all sorts of
luxury and expensiveness,

     Ev'n as a mare is by her thirsty colt.
============= And what meal is not expensive? One for which no animal is
put to death. Shall we reckon a soul to be a small expense? I will not
say perhaps of a mother, or a father, or of some friend, or child, as
Empedocles did; but one participating of feeling, of seeing, of hearing,
of imagination, and of intellection; which each animal hath received
from Nature for the acquiring of what is agreeable to it, and the
avoiding what is disagreeable. Do but consider this with yourself now,
which sort of philosophers render us most tame and civil, they who bid
people to feed on their children, friends, fathers, and wives, when they
are dead; or Pythagoras and Empedocles, that accustom men to be just
towards even the other members of the creation. You laugh at a man that
will not eat a sheep: but we (they will say again)--when we see you
cutting off the parts of your dead father or mother, and sending it to
your absent friends, and calling upon and inviting your present
friends to eat the rest freely and heartily--shall we not smile? Nay,
peradventure we offend at this instant time while we touch these books,
without having first cleansed our hands, eyes, feet, and ears; if it be
not (by Jupiter) a sufficient purgation of them to have discoursed of
these matters in potable and fresh language (as Plato speaketh), thereby
washing off the brackishness of hearing. Now if a man should set these
books and discourses in opposition to each other, he will find that
the philosophy of the one sort suits with the Seythians, Sogdians, and
Melanchlaenians, of whom Herodotus's relation is scarce believed; but
the sentiments of Pythagoras and Empedocles were the laws and customs of
the ancients Grecians.

Who, then, were the first authors of this opinion, that we owe no
justice to dumb animals?

     Who first beat out accursed steel,
     And made the lab'ring ox a knife to feel.

In the very same manner oppressors and tyrants begin first to shed
blood. For example, the first man that the Athenians ever put to death
was one of the basest of all knaves, who had the reputation of deserving
it; after him they put to death a second and a third. After this, being
now accustomed to blood, they patiently saw Niceratus the son of Nicias,
and their own general Theramenes, and Polemarchus the philosopher suffer
death. Even so, in the beginning, some wild and mischievous beast was
killed and eaten, and then some little bird or fish was entrapped.
And the desire of slaughter, being first experimented and exercised
in these, at last passed even to the laboring ox, and the sheep that
clothes us, and to the poor cock that keeps the house; until by little
and little, unsatiableness, being strengthened by use, men came to
the slaughter of men, to bloodshed and wars. Now even if one cannot
demonstrate and make out, that souls in their regenerations make a
promiscuous use of all bodies, and that that which is now rational
will at another time be irrational, and that again tame which is now
wild,--for that Nature changes and transmutes everything,

     With different fleshy coats new clothing all,--

this thing should be sufficient to change and show men, that it is a
savage and intemperate habit, that it brings sickness and heaviness upon
the body, and that it inclines the mind the more brutishly to bloodshed
and destruction, when we have once accustomed ourselves neither to
entertain a guest nor keep a wedding nor to treat our friends without
blood and slaughter.

And if what is argued about the return of souls into bodies is not of
force enough to beget faith, yet methinks the very uncertainty of the
thing should fill us with apprehension and fear. Suppose, for instance,
one should in some night-engagement run on with his drawn sword upon one
that had fallen down and covered his body with his arms, and should
in the meantime hear one say, that he was not very sure, but that
he fancied and believed, that the party lying there was his own son,
brother, father, or tent-companion; which were more advisable, think
you,--to hearken to a false suggestion, and so to let go an enemy under
the notion of a friend, or to slight an authority not sufficient to
beget faith, and to slay a friend instead of a foe? This you will all
say would be insupportable. Do but consider the famous Merope in the
tragedy, who taking up a hatchet, and lifting it at her son's head, whom
she took for her son's murderer, speaks thus as she was ready to give
the fatal blow,

     Villain, this holy blow shall cleave thy head;
     (Euripides, "Cresphontes," Frag. 457.)

what a bustle she raises in the whole theatre while she raises herself
to give the blow, and what a fear they are all in, lest she should
prevent the old man that comes to stop her hand, and should wound the
youth. Now if another old man should stand by her and say, "Strike, it
is thy enemy," and this, "Hold, it is thy son"; which, think you, would
be the greater injustice, to omit the punishing of an enemy for the sake
of one's child, or to suffer one's self to be so carried away with anger
at an enemy as to slay one's child? Since then neither hatred nor wrath
nor any revenge nor fear for ourselves carries us to the slaughter of
a beast, but the poor sacrifice stands with an inclined neck, only to
satisfy thy lust and pleasure, and then one philosopher stands by
and tells thee, "Cut him down, it is but an unreasonable animal," and
another cries, "Hold, what if there should be the soul of some kinsman
or god enclosed in him?"--good gods! is there the like danger if I
refuse to eat flesh, as if I for want of faith murder my child or some
other friend?

The Stoics' way of reasoning upon this subject of flesh-eating is no
way equal nor consonant with themselves. Who is this that hath so many
mouths for his belly and the kitchen? Whence comes it to pass, that they
so very much womanize and reproach pleasure, as a thing that they will
not allow to be either good or preferable, or so much as agreeable, and
yet all on a sudden become so zealous advocates for pleasures? It were
indeed but a reasonable consequence of their doctrine, that, since they
banish perfumes and cakes from their banquets, they should be much more
averse to blood and to flesh. But now, just as if they would reduce
their philosophy to their account-books, they lessen the expenses of
their suppers in certain unnecessary and needless matters, but the
untamed and murderous part of their expense they nothing boggle at.
"Well! What then?" say they. "We have nothing to do with brute beasts."
Nor have you any with perfumes, nor with foreign sauces, may some one
answer; therefore leave these out of your banquets, if you are driving
out everything that is both useless and needless.

Let us therefore in the next place consider, whether we owe any justice
to the brute beasts. Neither shall we handle this point artificially, or
like subtle sophisters, but by casting our eye into our own breasts, and
conversing with ourselves as men, we will weigh and examine the whole

END OF EIGHT-----------


("This little Treatise is so pitiously torne, maimed, and dismembred
thorowout, that a man may sooner divine and guess thereat (as I have
done) than translate it."--HOLLAND.)

I will endeavor, my dearest Piso, to send you my opinion concerning
Fate, written with all the clearness and compendiousness I am capable
of; since you, who are not ignorant how cautious I am of writing, have
thought fit to make it the subject of your request.

You are first, then, to know that this word Fate is spoken and
understood two manner of ways; the one as it is an energy, the other
as it is a substance. First, therefore, as it is an action, Plato (See
Plato, "Phaedrus," p. 248 C; "Timaeus," p.41 E; "Republic," x. p.617
D.) has under a type described it, saying thus in his dialogue entitled
Phaedrus: "And this is a sanction of Adrastea (or an inevitable
ordinance), that whatever soul being an attendant on God," &c. And in
his treatise called Timaeus: "The laws which God in the nature of the
universe has established for immortal souls." And in his book of a
Commonweal he entitles Fate "the speech of the virgin Lachesis, who is
the daughter of Necessity." By which sentences he not tragically but
theologically shows us what his sentiments are in this matter. Now if
any one, paraphrasing the fore-cited passages, would have them expressed
in more familiar terms, the description in Phaedrus may be thus
explained: That Fate is a divine sentence, intransgressible since its
cause cannot be divested or hindered. And according to what he has
said in his Timaeus, it is a law ensuing on the nature of the universe,
according to which all things that are done are transacted. For this
does Lachesis effect, who is indeed the daughter of Necessity,--as we
have both already related, and shall yet better understand by that which
will be said in the progress of our discourse. Thus you see what Fate
is, when it is taken for an action.

But as it is a substance, it seems to be the universal soul of the
world, and admits of a threefold distribution; the first destiny being
that which errs not; the second, that which is thought to err; and the
third that which, being under the heaven, is conversant about the
earth. Of these, the highest is called Clotho, the next Atropos, and the
lowest, Lachesis; who, receiving the celestial influences and efficacies
of her sisters, transmits and fastens them to the terrestrial things
which are under her government. Thus have we declared briefly what is to
be said of Fate, taken as a substance; what it is, what are its parts,
after what manner it is, how it is ordained, and how it stands, both
in respect to itself and to us. But as to the particularities of these
things, there is another fable in his Commonweal, by which they are in
some measure covertly insinuated, and we ourselves have, in the best
manner we can, endeavored to explain them to you.

But we now once again turn our discourse to Fate, as it is an energy.
For concerning this it is that there are so many natural, moral, and
logical questions. Having therefore already in some sort sufficiently
defined what it is, we are now in the next place to say something of
its quality, although it may to many seem absurd. I say then that Fate,
though comprehending as it were in a circle the infinity of all those
things which are and have been from infinite times and shall be to
infinite ages, is not in itself infinite, but determinate and finite;
for neither law, reason, nor any other divine thing can be infinite.
And this you will the better understand, if you consider the total
revolution and the total time in which the revolutions of the eight
circles (that is, of the eight spheres of the fixed stars, sun, moon,
and five planets), having (as Timaeus (Plato, "Timaeus," p.39 D.) says)
finished their course, return to one and the same point, being measured
by the circle of the Same, which goes always after one manner. For in
this order, which is finite and determinate, shall all things (which, as
well in heaven as in earth, consist by necessity from above) be reduced
to the same situation, and restored again to their first beginning.
Wherefore the habitude of heaven alone, being thus ordained in all
things, as well in regard of itself as of the earth and all terrestrial
matters, shall again (after long revolutions) one day return; and
those things that in order follow after, and being linked together in
a continuity are maintained in their course, shall follow, every one of
them by necessity bringing what is its own. But for the better clearing
of this matter, let us understand that whatever is in us or about us
is not wrought by the course of the heavens and heavenly influences, as
being entirely the efficient cause both of my writing what I now write,
and of your doing also what you at present do, and in the same manner as
you do it. Hereafter, then, when the same cause shall return, we shall
do the same things we now do and in the same manner, and shall again
become the same men; and so it will be with all others. And that which
follows after shall also happen by the following cause; and in brief,
all things that shall happen in the whole and in every one of these
universal revolutions shall again become the same. By this it appears
(as we have said before) that Fate, being in some sort infinite, is
nevertheless determinate and finite; and it may be also in some sort
seen and comprehended, as we have farther said, that it is as it were
a circle. For as a motion of a circle is a circle, and the time that
measures it is also a circle; so the order of things which are done and
happen in a circle may be justly esteemed and called a circle.

This, therefore, though there should be nothing else, almost shows us
what sort of thing Fate is; but not particularly or in every respect.
What kind of thing then is it in its own form? It is, as far as one can
compare it, like to the civil or politic law. For first it orders the
most part of things at least, if not all, conditionally; and then it
comprises (as far as is possible for it) all things that belong to the
public in general; and the better to make you understand both the one
and the other, we must specify them by an example. The civil law speaks
and ordains in general of a valiant man, and also of a deserter and a
coward; and in the same manner of others. Now this is not to make the
law speak of this or that man in particular, but principally to propose
such things as are universal or general, and consequently such as fall
under them. For we may very well say, that it is legal to reward
this from his colors; because the law has virtually--though not in express
terms and particularly yet in such general ones as they are comprehended
under,--so determined of them. As the law (if I may so speak) of
physicians and masters of corporal exercises potentially comprehends
particular and special things within the general; so the law of Nature,
determining first and principally general matters, secondarily and
subordinately determines such as are particular. Thus, general things
being decreed by Fate, particular and individual things may also in
some sort be said to be so, because they are so by consequence with the
general. But perhaps some one of those who more accurately examine and
more subtly search into these things may say, on the contrary, that
particular and individual things precede the composition of general
things, and that the general exist only for the particular, since that
for which another thing is always goes before that which is for it.
Nevertheless, this is not the proper place to treat of this difficulty,
but it is to be remitted to another. However, that Fate comprehends not
all things clearly and expressly, but only such as are universal and
general, let it pass for resolved on at present, as well for what we
have already said a little before, as for what we shall say hereafter.
For that which is finite and determinate, agreeing properly with
divine Providence, is seen more in universal and general things than in
particular; such therefore is the divine law, and also the civil; but
infinity consists in particulars and individuals.

After this we are to declare what this term "conditionally" means; for
it is to be thought that Fate is also some such thing. That, then, is
said to be conditionally, which is supposed to exist not of itself or
absolutely, but as really dependent upon and joined to another; which
signifies a suit and consequence. "And this is the sanction of Adrastea
(or an inevitable ordinance), that whatever soul, being an attendant
on God, shall see anything of truth, shall till another revolution be
exempt from punishment; and if it is ever able to do the same, it shall
never suffer any damage." This is said both conditionally and also
universally. Now that Fate is some such thing is clearly manifest,
as well from its substance as from its name. For it is called [Greek
omitted] as being [Greek omitted], that is, dependent and linked; and it
is a sanction or law, because things are therein ordained and disposed
consequentially, as is usual in civil government.

We ought in the next place to consider and treat of mutual relation
and affection; that is, what reference and respect Fate has to divine
Providence, what to Fortune, what also to "that which is in our power,"
what to contingent and other such like things; and furthermore we are
to determine, how far and in what it is true or false that all things
happen and are done by and according to Fate. For if the meaning is,
that all things are comprehended and contained in Fate, it must be
granted that this proposition is true; and if any would farther have it
so understood, that all things which are done amongst men, on earth,
and in heaven are placed in Fate, let this also pass as granted for the
present. But if (as the expression seems rather to imply) the "being
done according to Fate" signifies not all things, but only that which
is a direct consequent of Fate, then it must not be said that all things
happen and are done by and according to Fate, though all things are so
according to Fate as to be comprised in it. For all things that the law
comprehends and of which it speaks are not legal or according to law;
for it comprehends treason, it treats of the cowardly running away from
one's colors in time of battle, of adultery, and many other such like
things, of which it cannot be said that any one of them is lawful.
Neither indeed can I affirm of the performing a valorous act in war, the
killing of a tyrant, or the doing any other virtuous deed, that it
is legal; because that only is proper to be called legal, which is
commanded by the law. Now if the law commands these things, how can they
avoid being rebels against the law and transgressors of it, who neither
perform valiant feats of arms, kill tyrants, nor do any other such
remarkable acts of virtue? And if they are transgressors of the law, why
is it not just they should be punished? But if this is not reasonable,
it must then be also confessed that these things are not legal or
according to law; but that legal and according to law is only that which
is particularly prescribed and expressly commanded by the law, in any
action whatsoever. In like manner, those things only are fatal and
according to Fate, which are the consequences of causes preceding in the
divine disposition. So that Fate indeed comprehends all things which are
done; yet many of those things that are comprehended in it, and almost
all that precede, should not (to speak properly) be pronounced to be
fatal or according to Fate.

These things being so, we are next in order to show, how "that which is
in our power" (or free will), Fortune, possible, contingent, and other
like things which are placed among the antecedent causes, can consist
with Fate, and Fate with them; for Fate, as it seems, comprehends all
things, and yet all these things will not happen by necessity, but every
one of them according to the principle of its nature. Now the nature
of the possible is to presubsist, as the genus, and to go before the
contingent; and the contingent, as the matter and subject, is to be in
the sphere of free will; and our free will ought as a master to make
use of the contingent; and Fortune comes in by the side of free will,
through the property of the contingent of inclining to either part. Now
you will more easily apprehend what has been said, if you shall consider
that everything which is generated, and the generation itself, is not
done without a generative faculty or power, and the power is not without
a substance. As for example, neither the generation of man, nor that
which is generated, is without a power; but this power is about man, and
man himself is the substance. Now the power or faculty is between the
substance, which is the powerful, and the generation and the thing
generated, which are both possibles. There being then these three
things, the power, the powerful, and the possible; before the power can
exist, the powerful must of necessity be presupposed as its subject,
and the power must also necessarily subsist before the possible. By
this deduction then may in some measure be understood what is meant by
possible; which may be grossly defined as "that which power is able to
produce;" or yet more exactly, if to this same there be added, "provided
there be nothing from without to hinder or obstruct it." Now of possible
things there are some which can never be hindered, as are those in
heaven, to wit, the rising and setting of the stars, and the like to
these; but others may indeed be hindered, as are the most part of human
things, and many also of those which are done in the air. The first,
as being done by necessity, are called necessary; the others, which may
fall one way or other, are called contingent; and they may both thus be
described. The necessary possible is that whose contrary is impossible;
and the contingent possible is that whose contrary is also possible.
For that the sun should set is a thing both necessary and possible,
forasmuch as it is contrary to this that the sun should not set, which
is impossible; but that, when the sun is set, there should be rain or
not rain, both the one and the other is possible and contingent. And
then again of things contingent, some happen oftener, others rarely and
not so often, others fall out equally or indifferently, as well the one
way as the other, even as it happens. Now it is manifest that those are
contrary to one another,--to wit, those which fall out oftener and those
which happen but seldom,--and they both for the most part are dependent
on Nature; but that which happens equally, as much one way as another,
depends on ourselves. For that under the Dog it should be either hot or
cold, the one oftener, the other seldomer, are both things subject to
Nature; but to walk and not to walk, and all such things of which both
the one and the other are submitted to the free will of man, are said
to be in us and our election; but rather more generally to be in us.
For there are two sorts of this "being in our power"; the one of which
proceeds from some sudden passion and motion of the mind, as from anger
or pleasure; the other from the discourse and judgment of reason, which
may properly be said to be in our election. And some reason there is to
hold that this possible and contingent is the same thing with that which
is said to be in our power and according to our free will, although
named differently. For in respect to the future, it is called possible
and contingent; and in respect of the present, it is named "in our
power" and "in our free choice." These things may thus be defined: The
contingent is that which is itself--as well as its contrary--possible;
and "that which is in our power" is one part of the contingent, to wit,
that which now takes place according to our choice. Thus have we in a
manner declared, that the possible in the order of Nature precedes the
contingent, and that the contingent exists before free will; as also
what each of them is, whence they are so named, and what are the
qualities adjoined or appertaining to them.

It now remains, that we treat of Fortune and casual adventure, and
whatever else is to be considered with them. It is therefore certain
that Fortune is a cause. Now of causes, some are causes by themselves,
and others by accident. Thus for example, the proper cause by itself
of an house or a ship is the art of the mason, the carpenter, or the
shipwright; but accidental causes are music, geometry, and whatever else
may happen to be joined with the art of building houses or ships, in
respect either of the body, the soul, or any exterior thing. Whence it
appears, that the cause by itself must needs be determinate and one;
but the causes by accident are never one and the same, but infinite and
undetermined. For many--nay, infinite--accidents, wholly different one
from the other, may be in one and the same subject. Now the cause by
accident, when it is found in a thing which not only is done for some
end but has in it free will and election, is then called Fortune; as is
the finding a treasure while one is digging a hole to plant a tree, or
the doing or suffering some extraordinary thing whilst one is flying,
following, or otherwise walking, or only turning about, provided it be
not for the sake of that which happens, but for some other intention.
Hence it is, that some of the ancients have declared Fortune to be a
cause unknown that cannot be foreseen by the human reason. But according
to the Platonics, who have approached yet nearer to the true reason of
it, it is thus defined: Fortune is a cause by accident, in those
things which are done for some end, and which are of our election. And
afterwards they add, that it is unforeseen and unknown to the human
reason; although that which is rare and strange appears also by the same
means to be in this kind of cause by accident. But what this is, if it
is not sufficiently evidenced by the oppositions and disputations made
against it, will at least most clearly be seen by what is written in
Plato's Phaedo, where you will find these words:--

PHAED. Have you not heard how and in what manner the judgment passed?
ECH. Yes indeed; for there came one and told us of it. At which we
wondered very much that, the judgment having been given long before, it
seems that he died a great while after. And what, Phaedo, might be the
cause of it? PHAED. It was a fortune which happened to him, Echecrates.
For it chanced that, the day before the judgment, the prow of the galley
which the Athenians send every year to the isle of Delos was crowned.
(Plato, "Phaedo," p.58 A.)

In which discourse it is to be observed, that the expression HAPPENED TO
HIM is not simply to be understood by WAS DONE or CAME TO PASS, but
it much rather regards what befell him through the concurrence of many
causes together, one being done in connection with another. For the
priest crowned the ship and adorned it with garlands for another end and
intention, and not for the sake of Socrates; and the judges also had
for some other cause condemned him. But the event was contrary to
experience, and of such a nature that it might seem to have been
effected by the foresight of some human creature, or rather of the
superior powers. And so much may suffice to show with what Fortune must
of necessity subsist, and that there must subsist first such things as
are in our free will: what it effects is, like itself called Fortune.
============== But chance or casual adventure is of a larger extent than
Fortune; which it comprehends, and also several other things which may
of their own nature happen sometimes one way, sometimes another. And
this, as it appears by the derivation of the word, which is in Greek
[Greek omitted] CHANCE, is that which happens of itself, when that which
is ordinary happens not, but another thing in its place; such as cold
in the dog-days seems to be; for it is sometimes then cold.... Once for
all, as "that which is in our power" is a part of the contingent, so
Fortune is a part of chance or casual adventure; and both the two events
are conjoined and dependent on the one and the other, to wit, chance on
contingent, and Fortune on "that which is in our choice,"--and yet
not on all, but on what is in our election, as we have already said.
Wherefore chance is common to things inanimate, as well as to those
which are animated; whereas Fortune is proper to man only, who has his
actions voluntary. And an argument of this is, that to be fortunate and
to be happy are thought to be one and the same thing. Now happiness is
a certain well-doing, and well-doing is proper only to man, and to him

These, then, are the things which are comprised in Fate, to wit,
contingent, possible, election, "that which is in our power," Fortune,
chance, and their adjuncts, as are the things signified by the words
perhaps and peradventure; all which indeed are contained in Fate. Yet
none Of them is fatal. It now remains, that we discourse of divine
Providence, and show how it comprehends even Fate itself.

The supreme therefore and first Providence is the understanding or (if
you had rather) the will of the first and sovereign God, doing good
to everything that is in the world, by which all divine things have
universally and throughout been most excellently and most wisely
ordained and disposed. The second Providence is that of the second
gods, who go through the heaven, by which temporal and mortal things are
orderly and regularly generated, and which pertains to the continuation
and preservation of every kind. The third may probably be called the
Providence and procuration of the Daemons, which, being placed on the
earth, are the guardians and overseers of human actions. This threefold
Providence therefore being seen, of which the first and supreme is
chiefly and principally so named, we shall not be afraid to say,
although we may in this seem to contradict the sentiments of some
philosophers, that all things are done by Fate and by Providence, but
not also by Nature. But some are done according to Providence, these
according to one, those according to another,--and some according to
Fate; and Fate is altogether according to Providence, while Providence
is in no wise according to Fate. But let this discourse be understood
of the first and supreme Providence. Now that which is done according to
another, whatever it is, is always posterior to that according to which
it is done; as that which is according to the law is after the law,
and that which is according to Nature is after Nature, so that which is
according to Fate is after Fate, and must consequently be more new and
modern. Wherefore supreme Providence is the most ancient of all things,
except him whose will or understanding it is, to wit, the sovereign
author, maker, and father of all things. "Let us therefore," says
Timaeus, "discourse for what cause the Creator made and framed this
machine of the universe. He was good, and in him that is good there
can never be imprinted or engendered any envy against anything. Being
therefore wholly free from this, he desired that all things should, as
far as it is possible, resemble himself. He, therefore, who admits
this to have been chiefly the principal original of the generation
and creation of the world, as it has been delivered to us by wise men,
receives that which is most right. For God, who desired that all things
should be good, and nothing, as far as possibly might be, evil, taking
thus all that was visible,--restless as it was, and moving rashly and
confusedly,--reduced it from disorder to order, esteeming the one to be
altogether better than the other. For it neither was nor is convenient
for him who is in all perfection good, to make anything that should
not be very excellent and beautiful." (Plato, "Timaeus," p.29 D.) This,
therefore, and all that follows, even to his disputation concerning
human souls, is to be understood of the first Providence, which in the
beginning constituted all things. Afterwards he speaks thus: "Having
framed the universe, he ordained souls equal in number to the stars, and
distributed to each of them one; and having set them, as it were, in a
chariot, showed the nature of the universe, and appointed them the laws
of Fate." (Ibid. p.41 D.) Who, then, will not believe, that by these
words he expressly and manifestly declares Fate to be, as it were, a
foundation and political constitution of laws, fitted for the souls of
men? Of which he afterwards renders the cause.

As for the second Providence, he thus in a manner explains it, saying:
"Having prescribed them all these laws, to the end that, if there should
afterwards happen any fault, he might be exempt from being the cause of
any of their evil, he dispersed some of them upon the earth, some into
the moon, and some into the other instruments of time. And after this
dispersion, he gave in charge to the young gods the making of human
bodies, and the making up and adding whatever was wanting and deficient
in human souls; and after they had perfected whatever is adherent and
consequent to this, they should rule and govern, in the best manner
they possibly could, this mortal creature, so far as it might not be the
cause of its own evils." (Ibid. p.42 D.) For by these words, "that he
might be exempt from being the cause of any of their evil," he most
clearly signifies the cause of Fate; and the order and office of the
young gods manifests the second Providence; and it seems also in
some sort to have touched a little upon the third, if he therefore
established laws and ordinances that he might be exempt from being the
cause of any of their evil. For God, who is free from all evil, has no
need of laws or Fate; but every one of these petty gods, drawn on by the
providence of him who has engendered them, performs what belongs to his
office. Now that this is true and agreeable to the opinion of Plato,
these words of the lawgiver, spoken by him in his Book of Laws, seems to
me to give sufficient testimony: "If there were any man so sufficient
by Nature, being by divine Fortune happily engendered and born, that he
could comprehend this, he would have no need of laws to command him.
For there is not any law or ordinance more worthy and powerful than
knowledge; nor is it suitable that Mind, provided it be truly and really
free by Nature, should be a subject or slave to any one, but it ought to
command all." (Plato, "Laws," ix. p.875 C.)

I therefore do for mine own part thus understand and interpret this
sentence of Plato. There being a threefold Providence, the first, as
having engendered Fate, does in some sort comprehend it; the second,
having been engendered with Fate, is with it totally comprehended and
embraced by the first; the third, as having been engendered after Fate,
is comprehended by it in the same manner as are free choice and Fortune,
as we have already said. "For they whom the assistance of a Daemon's
power does help in their intercourse" says Socrates, declaring to
Theages what is the almost settled ordinance of Adrastea "are those whom
you also mean; for they advance quickly." (Plato, "Theages", p.129 E.)
In which words, what he says of a Daemon's aiding some is to be ascribed
to the third Providence, and the growing and coming forward with speed
to Fate. In brief, it is not obscure or doubtful but that this also is
a kind of Fate. And perhaps it may be found much more probable that the
second Providence is also comprehended under Fate, and indeed all things
that are done; since Fate, as a substance, has been rightly divided
by us into three parts, and the simile of the chain comprehends the
revolutions of the heavens in the number and rank of those things
which happen conditionally. But concerning these things I will not much
contend, to wit, whether they should be called conditional, or rather
conjoined with Fate, the precedent cause and commander of Fate being
also fatal.

Our opinion, then, to speak briefly, is such. But the contrary sentiment
not only places all things in Fate, but affirms them all to be done by
Fate. It agrees indeed in all things to the other (the Stoic) doctrine;
and that which accords to another thing, 'tis clear, is the same with
it. In this discourse therefore we have first spoken of the contingent;
secondly, of "that which is in our power"; thirdly, of Fortune and
chance, and whatever depends on them; fourthly, of praise, blame, and
whatever depends on them; the fifth and last of all may be said to be
prayers to the gods, with their services and ceremonies.

For the rest, as to those which are called idle and cropping arguments,
and that which is named the argument against destiny, they are indeed
but vain subtleties and captious sophisms, according to this discourse.
But according to the contrary opinion, the first and principal
conclusion seems to be, that there is nothing done without a cause,
but that all things depend upon antecedent causes; the second, that the
world is governed by Nature, and that it conspires, consents, and is
compatible with itself; the third seems rather to be testimonies,--of
which the first is divination, approved by all sorts of people, as being
truly in God; the second is the equanimity and patience of wise men, who
take mildly and bear patiently whatever befalls, as happening by divine
ordinance and as it ought; the third is the speech so common and usual
in every one's mouth, to wit, that every proposition is true or false.
Thus have we contracted this discourse into a small number of short
articles, that we might in few words comprehend the whole matter of
Fate; into which a scrutiny ought to be made, and the reasons of both
opinions to be weighed with a most exact balance. But we shall come to
discuss particulars later.

END OF NINE-----------


COLOTES, whom Epicurus was wont diminutively and by way of familiarity
or fondness to call Colotaras and Colotarion, composed, O Saturninus,
and published a little book which he entitled, "That according to the
opinions of the other philosophers one cannot so much as live." This was
dedicated to King Ptolemy. Now I suppose that it will not be unpleasant
for you to read, when set down in writing, what came into my mind
to speak against this Colotes, since I know you to be a lover of all
elegant and honest treatises, and particularly of such as regard the
science of antiquity, and to esteem the bearing in memory and having (as
much as possible may be) in hand the discourses of the ancient sages to
be the most royal of all studies and exercises.

Not long since, therefore, as this book was being read, Aristodemus of
Aegium, a familiar friend of ours (whom you well know to be one of the
Academy, and not a mere thyrsus-bearer, but one of the most frantic
celebrators of Plato's name), did, I know not how, keep himself contrary
to his custom very still all the while, and patiently gave ear to it
even to the end. But the reading was scarce well over when he said:
Well, then, whom shall we cause to rise up and fight against this man,
in defence of the philosophers? For I am not of Nestor's opinion, who,
when the most valiant of those nine warriors that presented themselves
to enter into combat was to be chosen, committed the election to the
fortune of a lot.

Yet, answered I, you see he so disposed himself in reference to the lot,
that the choice might pass according to the arbitrament of the wisest

     And th' lot drawn from the helmet, as they wished,
     On Ajax fell.

But yet since you command me to make the election,

     How can I think a better choice to make
     Than the divine Ulysses?
     ("Iliad," vii. 182; x. 243.)

Consider therefore, and be well advised, in what manner you will
chastise this man.

But you know, replied Aristodemus, that Plato, when highly offended with
his boy that waited on him, would not himself beat him, but requested
Speusippus to do it for him, saying that he himself was angry. As much
therefore may I say to you; Take this fellow to you, and treat him as
you please; for I am in a fit of choler.

When therefore all the rest of the company desired me to undertake this
office; I must then, said I, speak, since it is your pleasure. But I
am afraid that I also shall seem more vehemently transported than is
fitting against this book, in the defending and maintaining Socrates
against the rudeness, scurrility, and insolence of this man; who,
because Socrates affirmed himself to know nothing certainly, instead
of bread (as one would say) present him hay, as if he were a beast, and
asks him why he puts meat into his mouth and not into his ear. And yet
perhaps some would make but a laughing matter of this, considering the
mildness and gentleness of Socrates; "but for the whole host of
the Greeks," that is, of the other philosophers, amongst which are
Democritus, Plato, Stilpo, Empedocles, Parmenides, and Melissus, who
have been basely traduced and reviled by him, it were not only a shame
to be silent, but even a sacrilege in the least point to forbear
or recede from freedom of speech in their behalf, who have advanced
philosophy to that honor and reputation it has gotten.

And our parents indeed have, with the assistance of the gods, given
us our life; but to live well comes to us from reason, which we have
learned from the philosophers, which favors law and justice, and
restrains our concupiscence. Now to live well is to live sociably,
friendly, temperately, and justly; of all which conditions they leave
us not one, who cry out that man's sovereign good lies in his belly, and
that they would not purchase all the virtues together at the expense of
a cracked farthing, if pleasure were totally and on every side removed
from them. And in their discourses concerning the soul and the gods,
they hold that the soul perishes when it is separated from the body, and
that the gods concern not themselves in our affairs. Thus the Epicureans
reproach the other philosophers, that by their wisdom they bereave man
of his life; whilst the others on the contrary accuse them of teaching
men to live degenerately and like beasts.

Now these things are scattered here and there in the writings of
Epicurus, and dispersed through all his philosophy. But this Colotes, by
having extracted from them certain pieces and fragments of discourses,
destitute of any arguments whatever to render them credible and
intelligible, has composed his book, being like a shop or cabinet of
monsters and prodigies; as you better know than any one else, because
you have always in your hands the works of the ancients. But he seems to
me, like the Lydian, to open not only one gate against himself, but
to involve Epicurus also in many and those the greatest doubts and
difficulties. For he begins with Democritus, who receives of him an
excellent and worthy reward for his instruction; it being certain that
Epicurus for a long time called himself a Democritean, which as well
others affirm, as Leonteus, a principal disciple of Epicurus, who in
a letter which he writ to Lycophron says, that Epicurus honored
Democritus, because he first attained, though a little at a distance,
the right and sound understanding of the truth, and that in general all
the treatise concerning natural things was called Democritean, because
Democritus was the first who happened upon the principles and met with
the primitive foundations of Nature. And Metrodorus says openly of
philosophy, If Democritus had not gone before and taught the way,
Epicurus had never attained to wisdom. Now if it be true, as Colotes
holds, that to live according to the opinions of Democritus is not to
live, Epicurus was then a fool in following Democritus, who led him to a
doctrine which taught him not to live.

Now the first thing he lays to his charge is, that, by supposing
everything to be no more individual than another, he wholly confounds
human life. But Democritus was so far from having been of this opinion,
that he opposed Protagoras the philosopher who asserted it, and writ
many excellent arguments concluding against him, which this fine fellow
Colotes never saw nor read, nor yet so much as dreamed of; but deceived
himself by misunderstanding a passage which is in his works, where he
determines that [Greek omitted] is no more than [Greek omitted], naming
in that place the body by [Greek omitted], and the void by [Greek
omitted], and meaning that the void has its own proper nature and
subsistence, as well as the body.

But he who is of opinion that nothing has more of one nature than
another makes use of a sentence of Epicurus, in which he says that all
the apprehensions and imaginations given us by the senses are true. For
if of two saying, the one, that the wine is sour, and the other, that it
is sweet, neither of them shall be deceived by his sensation, how shall
the wine be more sour than sweet? And we may often see that some men
using one and the same bath find it to be hot, and others find it to be
cold; because those order cold water to be put into it, as these do hot.
It is said that, a certain lady going to visit Berenice, wife to
King Deiotarus, as soon as ever they approached each other, they both
immediately turned their backs, the one, as it seemed, not being able to
bear the smell of perfume, nor the other of butter. If, then, the sense
of one is no truer than the sense of another, it is also probable, that
water is no more cold than hot, nor sweet ointment or butter better or
worse scented one than the other. For if any one shall say that it seems
the one to one, and the other to another, he will, before he is aware,
affirm that they are both the one and the other.

And as for these symmetries and proportions of the pores, or little
passages in the organs of the senses, about which they talk so much,
and those different mixtures of seeds, which, they say, being dispersed
through all savors, odors, and colors, move the senses of different
persons to perceive different qualities, do they not manifestly drive
them to this, that things are no more of one nature than another? For to
pacify those who think the sense is deceived and lies because they see
contrary events and passions in such as use the same objects, and to
solve this objection, they teach,--that when almost everything was
confused and mixed up together, since it has been arranged by Nature
that one thing shall fit another thing, it was not the contact or the
apprehension of the same quality nor were all parts affected in the same
way by what was influencing them. But those only coalesced with anything
to which they had a characteristic, symmetrical in a corresponding
proportion; so that they are in error so obstinately to insist that a
thing is either good or bad, white or not white, thinking to establish
their own senses by destroying those of others; whereas they ought
neither to combat the senses,--because they all touch some quality,
each one drawing from this confused mixture, as from a living and large
fountain, what is suitable and convenient,--nor to pronounce of the
whole, by touching only the parts, nor to think that all ought to be
affected after one and the same manner by the same thing, seeing
that one is affected by one quality and faculty of it, and another
by another. Let us investigate who those men are which bring in this
opinion that things are not more of one quality than another, if they
are not those who affirm that every sensible object is a mixture,
compounded of all sorts of qualities, like a mixture of new wine
fermenting, and who confess that all their rules are lost and their
faculty of judging quite gone, if they admit any sensible object that is
pure and simple, and do not make each one thing to be many?

See now to this purpose, what discourse and debate Epicurus makes
Polyaenus to have with him in his Banquet concerning the heat of wine.
For when he asked, "Do you, Epicurus, say, that wine does not heat?"
some one answered, "It is not universally to be affirmed that wine
heats." And a little after: "For wine seems not to be universally a
heater; but such a quantity may be said to heat such a person." And
again subjoining the cause, to wit, the compressions and disseminations
of the atoms, and having alleged their commixtures and conjunctions
with others when the wine comes to be mingled in the body, he adds this
conclusion: "It is not universally to be said that wine is endued with a
faculty of heating; but that such a quantity may heat such a nature and
one so disposed, while such a quantity to such a nature is cooling.
For in such a mass there are such natures and complexions of which cold
might be composed, and which, united with others in proper measure,
would yield a refrigerative virtue. Wherefore some are deceived, who
say that wine is universally a heater; and others, who say that it is
universally a cooler." He then who says that most men are deceived and
err, in holding that which is hot to be heating and that which is cold
to be cooling, is himself in an error, unless he should allow that his
assertion ends in the doctrine that one thing is not more of one nature
than another. He farther adds afterwards that oftentimes wine entering
into a body brings with it thither neither a calefying nor refrigerating
virtue, but, the mass of the body being agitated and disturbed, and
a transposition made of the parts, the heat-effecting atoms being
assembled together do by their multitude cause a heat and inflammation
in the body, and sometimes on the contrary disassembling themselves
cause a refrigeration.

But it is moreover wholly evident, that we may employ this argument to
all those things which are called and esteemed bitter, sweet, purging,
dormitive, and luminous, not any one of them having an entire and
perfect quality to produce such effects, nor to act rather than to be
acted on when they are in the bodies, but being there susceptible,
of various temperatures and differences. For Epicurus himself, in
his Second Book against Theophrastus, affirming that colors are not
connatural to bodies, but are engendered there according to certain
situations and positions with respect to the sight of man, says: "For
this reason a body is no more colored than destitute of color." And a
little above he writes thus, word for word: "But apart from this, I
know not how a man may say that those bodies which are in the dark have
color; although very often, an air equally dark being spread about them,
some distinguish diversities of colors, others perceive them not through
the weakness of their sight. And moreover, going into a dark house or
room, we at our first entrance see no color, but after we have stayed
there awhile, we do. Wherefore we are to say that every body is not more
colored than not colored. Now, if color is relative and has its being in
regard to something else, so also then is white, and so likewise blue;
and if colors are so, so also are sweet and bitter. So that it may truly
be affirmed of every quality, that it cannot more properly be said
to exist than not to exist. For to those who are in a certain manner
disposed, they will be; but to those who are not so disposed, they will
not be." Colotes therefore has bedashed and bespattered himself and
his master with that dirt, in which he says those lie who maintain that
things are not more of one quality than another.

But is it in this alone, that this excellent man shows himself--

     To others a physician, whilst himself
     Is full of ulcers?
     (Euripides, Frag. 1071.)

No indeed; but yet much farther in his second reprehension, without any
way minding it, he drives Epicurus and Democritus out of this life. For
he affirms that the statement of Democritus--that the atoms are to the
senses color by a certain human law or ordinance, that they are by the
same law sweetness, and by the same law concretion--is at war with our
senses, and that he who uses this reason and persists in this opinion
cannot himself imagine whether he is living or dead. I know not how to
contradict this discourse; but this I can boldly affirm, that this is
as inseparable from the sentences and doctrines of Epicurus as they say
figure and weight are from atoms. For what is it that Democritus says?
"There are substances, in number infinite, called atoms (because
they cannot be divided), without difference, without quality, and
passibility, which move, being dispersed here and there, in the infinite
voidness; and that when they approach one another, or meet and are
conjoined, of such masses thus heaped together, one appears water,
another fire, another a plant, another a man; and that all things are
thus properly atoms (as he called them), and nothing else; for there is
no generation from what does not exist; and of those things which are
nothing can be generated, because these atoms are so firm, that they can
neither change, alter, nor suffer; wherefore there cannot be made color
of those things which are without color, nor nature or soul of those
things which are without quality and impassible." Democritus then is
to be blamed, not for confessing those things that happen upon his
principles, but for supposing principles upon which such things happen.
For he should not have supposed immutable principles; or having supposed
them, he should have seen that the generation of all quality is taken
away; but having seen the absurdity, to deny it is most impudent. But
Epicurus says, that he supposes the same principles with Democritus, but
that he says not that color, sweet, white, and other qualities, are
by law and ordinance. If therefore NOT TO SAY is the same as NOT TO
CONFESS, he does merely what he is wont to do. For it is as when, taking
away divine Providence, he nevertheless says that he leaves piety and
devotion towards the gods; and when, choosing friendship for the sake
of pleasure, that he suffers most grievous pains for his friends; and
supposing the universe to be infinite, that he nevertheless takes not
away high and low.... Indeed having taken the cup, one may drink what
he pleases, and return the rest. But in reasoning one ought chiefly
to remember this wise apothegm, that where the principles are not
necessary, the ends and consequences are necessary. It was not
then necessary for him to suppose or (to say better) to steal from
Democritus, that atoms are the principles of the universe; but having
supposed this doctrine, and having pleased and glorified himself in the
first probable and specious appearances of it, he must afterwards also
swallow that which is troublesome in it, or must show how bodies which
have not any quality can bring all sorts of qualities to others only by
their meetings and joining together. As--to take that which comes next
neither had heat when they came, nor are become hot after their being
joined together? For the one presupposes that they had some quality, and
the other that they were fit to receive it. And you affirm, that neither
the one nor the other must be said to be congruous to atoms, because
they are incorruptible.

How then? Do not Plato, Aristotle, and Xenocrates produce gold from
that which is not gold, and stone from that which is not stone, and many
other things from the four simple first bodies? Yes indeed; but with
those bodies immediately concur also the principles for the generation
of everything, bringing with them great contributions, that is, the
first qualities which are in them; then, when they come to assemble and
join in one the dry with the moist, the cold with the hot, and the solid
with the soft,--that is, active bodies with such as are fit to suffer
and receive every alteration and change,--then is generation wrought by
passing from one temperature to another. Whereas the atom, being alone,
is alone, is deprived and destitute of all quality and generative
faculty, and when it comes to meet with the others, it can make only a
noise and sound because of its hardness and firmness, but nothing more.
For they always strike and are stricken, not being able by this means
to compose or make an animal, a soul, or a nature, nay, not so much as
a mass or heap of themselves; for that as they beat upon one another, so
they fly back again asunder.

But Colotes, as if he were speaking to some ignorant and unlettered
king, again attacks Empedocles for expressing the same thought:--

     I've one thing more to say.  'Mongst mortals there
     No Nature is; nor that grim thing men fear
     So much, called death.  There only happens first
     A mixture, and mixt things asunder burst
     Again, when them disunion does befall.
     And this is that which men do Nature call.

For my part, I do not see how this is repugnant and contrary to life or
living, especially amongst those who hold that there is no generation
of that which is not, nor corruption of that which is, but that the
assembling and union of the things which are is called generation, and
their dissolution and disunion named corruption and death. For that he
took Nature for generation, and that this is his meaning, he has himself
declared, when he opposed Nature to death. And if they neither live nor
can live who place generation in union and death in disunion, what else
do these Epicureans? Yet Empedocles, gluing, (as it were) and conjoining
the elements together by heats, softnesses, and humidifies, gives them
in some sort a mixtion and unitive composition; but these men who hunt
and drive together the atoms, which they affirm to be immutable and
impassible, compose nothing proceeding from them, but indeed make many
and continual percussions of them.

For the interlacement, hindering the dissolution, more and more augments
the collision and concussion; so that there is neither mixtion nor
adhesion and conglutination, but only a discord and combat, which
according to them is called generation. And if the atoms do now recoil
for a moment by reason of the shock they have given, and then return
again after the blow is past, they are above double the time absent from
one another, without either touching or approaching, so as nothing can
be made of them, not even so much as a body without a soul. But as for
sense, soul, understanding, and prudence, there is not any man who can
in the least conceive or imagine how it is possible they should be made
in a voidness, and atoms which neither when separate and apart have
any quality, nor any passion or alteration when they are assembled and
joined together, especially seeing this their meeting together is not
an incorporation or congress, making a mixture or coalition, but rather
percussions and repercussions. So that, according to the doctrine of
these people, life is taken away, and the existence of an animal denied,
since they posit principles void, impassible, godless, and soulless, and
such as cannot allow or receive any mixture or commingling whatever.

How then is it, that they admit and allow Nature, soul, and living
creature? Even in the same manner as they do an oath, prayer, and
sacrifice, and the adoration of the gods. Thus they adore by word and
mouth, only naming and feigning that which by their principles they
totally take away and abolish. If now they call that which is born
Nature, and that which is engendered generation,--as those who are
accustomed to call wood wood-work and the voices that accord and sound
together symphony,--whence came it into his mind to object these words
against Empedocles? "Why," says he, "do we tire ourselves in taking such
care of ourselves, in desiring and longing after certain things, and
shunning and avoiding others? For we neither are ourselves, nor do we
live by making use of others." But be of good cheer, my dear little
Colotes, may one perhaps say to him: there is none who hinders you
from taking care of yourself by teaching that the nature of Colotes
is nothing else but Colotes himself, or who forbids you to make use of
things (now things with you are pleasures) by showing that there is no
nature of tarts and marchpanes, of sweet odors, or of venereal delights,
but that there are tarts, marchpanes, perfumes, and women. For neither
does the grammarian who says that the "strength of Hercules" is Hercules
himself deny the being of Hercules; nor do those who say that symphonies
and roofings are but absolute derivations affirm that there are neither
sounds nor timbers; since also there are some who, taking away the soul
and intelligence, do not yet seem to take away either living or being

And when Epicurus says that the nature of things is to be found in
bodies and their place, do we so comprehend him as if he meant that
Nature were something else than the things which are, or as if
he insinuated that it is merely the things which are, and nothing
else?--as, to wit, he is wont to call voidness itself the nature of
voidness, and the universe, by Jupiter, the nature of the universe. And
if any one should thus question him; What sayst thou, Epicurus, that
this is voidness, and that the nature of voidness? No, by Jupiter, would
he answer; but this transference of names is in use by law and custom.
I grant it is. Now what has Empedocles done else, but taught that Nature
is nothing else save that which is born, and death no other thing but
that which dies? But as the poets very often, forming as it were an
image, say thus in figurative language,

     Strife, tumult, noise, placed by some angry god,
     Mischief, and malice there had their abode;
     ("Iliad," xvii. 525.)

so do some authors attribute generation and corruption to things that
are contracted together and dissolved. But so far has he been from
stirring and taking away that which is, or contradicting that which
evidently appears, that he casts not so much as one single word out of
the accustomed use; but taking away all figurative fraud that might
hurt or endamage things, he again restored the ordinary and useful
signification to words in these verses:--

     When from mixed elements we sometimes see
     A man produced, sometimes a beast, a tree,
     Or bird, this birth and geniture we name;
     But death, when this so well compacted frame
     And juncture is dissolved.

And yet I myself say that Colotes, though he alleged these verses, did
not understand that Empedocles took not away men, beasts, trees, or
birds, which he affirmed to be composed of the elements mixed together;
and that, by teaching how much they are deceived who call this
composition Nature and life, and this dissolution unhappy destruction
and miserable death, he did not abrogate the using of the customary
expressions in this respect.

And it seems to me, indeed, that Empedocles did not aim in this place at
the disturbing the common manner of expression, but that he really, as
it has been said, had a controversy about generation from things that
have no being, which some call Nature. Which he manifestly shows by
these verses:--

     Fools, and of little thought, we well may deem
     Those, who so silly are as to esteem
     That what ne'er was may now engendered be,
     And that what is may perish utterly.

For these are the words of one who cries loud enough to those which have
ears, that he takes not away generation, but procreation from nothing;
nor corruption, but total destruction that is, reduction to nothing.
For to him who would not so savagely and foolishly but more gently
calumniate, the following verses might give a colorable occasion of
charging Empedocles with the contrary, when he says:--

     No prudent man can e'er into his mind
     Admit that, whilst men living here on earth
     (Which only life they call) both fortunes find,
     They being have, but that before the birth
     They nothing were, nor shall be when once dead.

For these are not the expressions of a man who denies those that are
born to be, but rather of him who holds those to be that are not yet
born or that are already dead. And Colotes also does not altogether
accuse him of this, but says that according to his opinion we shall
never be sick, never wounded. But how is it possible, that he who
affirms men to have being both before their life and after their death,
and during their life to find both fortunes (or to be accompanied both
by good and evil), should not leave them the power to suffer? Who then
are they, O Colotes, that are endued with this privilege never to be
wounded, never to be sick? Even you yourselves, who are composed of
atoms and voidness, neither of which, you say, has any sense. Now there
is no great hurt in this; but the worst is, you have nothing left that
can cause you pleasure, seeing an atom is not capable to receive those
things which are to effect it, and voidness cannot be affected by them.

But because Colotes would, immediately after Democritus, seem to inter
and bury Parmenides, and I have passed over and a little postponed his
defence, to bring in between them that of Empedocles, as seeming to
be more coherent and consequent to the first reprehensions, let us now
return to Parmenides. Him, then, does Colotes accuse of having broached
and set abroad certain shameful and villanous sophistries; and yet by
these his sophisms he has neither rendered friendship less honorable,
nor voluptuousness or the desire of pleasures more audacious and
unbridled. He has not taken from honesty its attractive property or its
being venerable or recommendable of itself, nor has he disturbed the
opinions we ought to have of the gods. And I do not see how, by saying
that the All (or the universe) is one, he hinders or obstructs our
living. For when Epicurus himself says that the All is infinite, that it
is neither engendered nor perishable, that it can neither increase
nor be diminished, he speaks of the universe as of one only thing. And
having in the beginning of his treatise concerning this matter said,
that the nature of those things which have being consists of bodies and
of vacuum, he makes a division (as it were) of one thing into two parts,
one of which has in reality no subsistence, being, as you yourselves
term it, impalpable, void, and incorporeal; so that by this means, even
with you also, all comes to be one; unless you desire, in speaking of
voidness, to use words void of sense, and to combat the ancients, as if
you were fighting against a shadow.

But these atomical bodies, you will say, are, according to the opinion
of Epicurus, infinite in number, and everything which appears to us is
composed of them. See now, therefore, what principles of generation
you suppose, infinity and voidness; one of which, to wit, voidness, is
inactive, impassible, and incorporeal; the other, to wit, infinity, is
disorderly, unreasonable, and unintelligible, dissolving and confounding
itself, because it cannot for its multitude be contained, circumscribed,
or limited. But Parmenides has neither taken away fire, nor water, nor
precipices, nor yet cities (as Colotes says) which are inhabited as
well in Europe as in Asia; since he has both constructed an order of the
world, and mixing the elements, to wit, light and dark, does of them and
by them arrange and finish all things that appear in the world. For he
has written very largely of the earth, heaven, sun, moon, and stars, and
has spoken of the generation of man; and being, as he was, an ancient
author in physiology, and one who in writing sought to save his own
and not to destroy another's doctrine, he has overlooked none of the
essential things in Nature. Moreover, Plato, and before him Socrates
himself, understood that in Nature there is one part subject to opinion,
and another subject to intelligence. As for that which is subject to
opinion, it is always unconstant, w