Omnia Vincit Amor Ovid Illustrated: The Renaissance Reception
of Ovid in Image and Text

George Sandys, Ovid's Metamorphosis (1632)

An Online Edition
Daniel Kinney, Director
Special Thanks to Alison Caviness, Zack Long, Keicy Tolbert, and the Many Resident Experts of U.Va.'s E-Text Staff

Electronic Text Center Ovid Collection Home Page Translations Latin Text Search

Book XI  /  Sandys' Notes to the Commentary  /  All-Change Central--Text-Image Links


The Thracian Bacchides, by drowning with their out-cries  THE THRACIAN BACCHIDES  the musick of Orpheus, made his dissipated auditory fly back to their former retreats & condition: & then frantickly inuade the life of their Prophet for the contempt of their sex; auoided as a hinderance to the study of philosophy, & administration of ciuill affairs: he esteeming the propagation of wisdome & virtuous endeauours, more noble and immortall then that of posterity. As Epaminondas answered his friends, bewailing his death and want of issue; That he left two faire daughters behind him, the Battailes of Leuctra and Mantinea, in whom his memory should flourish. Therefore well may these drunken Bacchides be taken for the heady rage of mutiny and Sedition, which silence the authority of the law, and infringe that concord (the musicke of Orpheus) which had reduced wild people to ciuility; returning now to their former prauity and naturall fiercenesse: himselfe, the life of philosophy, torne in peeces by their fury. Moreouer; nothing more endangers the harmony of gouernment then the distemperature of Bacchus, which by inflaming the spirits, make them deafe to perswasion, and intractable to Authority: those Nations which are the greatest drinkers, either not receiuing, or soone casting off, the yoake of obedience. Orpheus his head and Harp being throwne into Hebrus; are borne away by the murmuring current. So the scattered reliques of learning, expulsed from one country, are transported to another, as here vnto Lesbos: Pittacus, Arion, Sappho, & Alcaeus, being all of that Iland, who succeeded Orpheus in the fame of Lyricall Poesy. A Serpent attempts to  THE LESBIAN SERPENT  deuoure his head; presenting Detraction and serpentine Enuy: whom Apollo, the eternity of diuine composures, converts into a stone, or confounds and stupifies. His Harp was feigned to haue beene translated into that coelestiall constellation which consisteth of nine starres, in reference to the nine Muses; and one more bright then the rest, expressing Apollo. But indeed hung vp it was in Apollo's Temple at Lesbos: when Neanthes, the sonne of the tyrant Pittacus; emulating the glory of Orpheus, by corrupting of the Priest, conueyed it from thence: who supposing that the taming of wild beasts had beene inherent to the instrument (as Mahomet attributed the wonderfull exploits of Scanderbeg to the admirable temper of his sword) retired by night into the suburbs, & playing thereon, was torne in peeces by the dogs that gathered about him: imitating herein not his skill, but his destiny. But the Soule of Orpheus descends into Elizium: and now without feare of loosing reinioyes his Euridice. The ancient, ignorant of the true beatitude, conceiued that the reward after death (as now the Mahometans doe) consisted in the fruition of sensuall delights: and therefore, the better to incite the minde vnto vertue, invented this fiction of those happy fields (perhaps deriued from the terrestriall Paradice) thus described by Virgil.
This to the Goddesse giu'n; they enter straight
Those ioyfull Fields, and Groues, call'd Fortunate:
The pleasant habitation of the blest.

Which larger skies with purple light inuest:
Where their peculiar sun and starres are seene
Some exercise vpon the flow'ry greene,
Contend in sport, and wrastle with fine slight :

Others soft dances lead, and verse recite.

Thracian Priest, clad in long garments, sings
In numbers to the tune of his seu'n strings:
And strikes as earst his Iuory instrument.
Here th' ancient lineage
, Teucres faire descent;
Heroes borne in better times:1
But first they were to be purged from the staines of their vices by temporary torments.
Nor with their liues doe wretched mortalls end
Their miseries; since their foule crimes transcend

That mortall bound. The long contracted staines

Drawne from the body, the sick soule retaines.

And therefore punisht; the affliction finde

Of their old guilt. Some hang in th' empty wind;
Some rinced in vast deepes; some purg'd by fire;
All tortures feele. From whence a few retire

T' Elizium, and possesse that happy place;
Till length of time, and the prefixed space

Cleanse all their spots; with puritie repaire

Th' aetheriall sense, and fire of simple ayre.
    The saluage and truculent Bacchides (such vsually feigned, to haue beene produced by Oakes, and againe converted into the same, by the Poets) are now changed into those trees by Bacchus in reuenge of his Prophet. For Orpheus was the first that instituted his Orgies in honour of the House of Cadmus; by whom hee had beene highly aduanced; now deseruedly falling by those frantick Rites, which himselfe had introduced: being taught, and professing, as before declared, a more diuine religion. These, abolished in all ciuill Common-wealths, whereby the author of euill transported to the saluages of Peru, and New Spaine: Where they solemnize (saith Acosta) their principall times of deuotion with drunkennesse (procured insteed of wine, by certaine intoxicating roots and berries) accompanied with all kinde of impudency, as a seruice acceptable to their Idols. Bacchus abhorring the stage of this tragedy, remoues to Tmolus, a mountaine of Lydia; bearing better & more generous wines then Rhodope: the ground of his feigned transmigration.
    Midas King of Phrygia entertaines his foster father Silenus,  MIDAS  and feasts him for tenne daies: by whom demanded what was best for man, or what hee should chiefly desire? It is said, that after a long silence, and much importunity, hee rendred this answer: O generation of a small continuance, wretched and miserable! the seed of laborious Destiny, and ishue of Fortune! why would you know your owne deplorable condition, whereof it is better to be ignorant? The best is not to be borne at all; & the next to dye quickly. A truth discouered to others by the light of Nature, and to vs by the wisest of Men. But this made no impression in the stupidity of Midas; to whom Bacchus granted his wish for restoring vnto him his foster father Silenus; which he converts into a punishment, in desiring that all might be gold which he touched. How much wiser and happier had he beene, had he followed this instruction.
Shall men wish nothing? be aduis'd, referre
That choice vnto the Gods, who cannot erre;
For better then our selues our wants they knowe,
And will true ioyes, for false delights, bestowe:
Their loue to vs their owne transcends. By blind
Affections spurr'd, and fury of the minde,
We wife and sonnes desire; the Gods aboue
Knowe what this wife, and how those sonnes would proue.
Yet to aske something; when in temples thou
With sacrifice present'st thy holy vow,
A sound minde, pray for, in a body sound;
A courage which death's terrors cannot wound;
Esteeming thy last houre among the chiefe
Of natures guifts; not subiect vnto griefe
Desire, or rage: whose iudgement
, Hercules
Disasters, and hard labours, better please;
Sardanapalus lust, high food, and ease.
All this is in thy pow'r: one way alone

Leads to a happy life, by virtue showne.
Where wisdome, there the God: a Deity.

We thee,
O Fortune make and place on high.3
So Solomon being promised whatsoeuer he would desire, elected wisdome: receauing also both honour and wealth as the shadowes of that substance. Midas is the image of a couetous man; who while he seekes to augment his riches, denies to himselfe the vse of his owne, and starues in abundance. Couetousnesse is Idolatry; and of this diuine verity the barbarous Indians had a naturall notion; who imagined that gold was the God of the Spaniards, in that they hunted after it so greedily. There is a story in Plutarch, not vnlike, nor vnworthy the recitall, of one Pythius, an auaritious Prince, in the dayes of Zerxes; who exhausted his subiects in the diging and refining of gold. When his wife, commiserating the cries of the people, caused certaine admirable workemen, in the absence of her husband, to make a golden table with variety of viands, all of the same mettall; which at his returne shee caused to be set before him. Who long feasting his eyes with so rare and beloued a spectacle, at length called for meat to satisfie his hunger; when the like artificiall food was set before him: who in rage crying out that he was like to famish; his wife replied: We haue nothing Sir to entertaine you with but this: for while you imploy the labours of the Cittizens, and their art in the getting of golde, a number dying in the Mines, and all for that which is least vsefull, the fields lie vncultiuated, the vineyards vndrest, and the Hortyards vnplanted: so that you must eat your gold, or preuent the cause of this scarcity. By which deuice shee reformed his auarice: as now our Midas vpon a suruey of his miserable condition, inlargeth his minde, and desires to be rid of that, which he formerly coueted: effected by washing himselfe in Pactolus, which beareth gold euer since in his Channell. The fable alluding to the precious productions of that Riuer; from whence Cressus and his ancestors had their treasure. And almost all the gold, that is gathered at this day, descends in small graines downe little drills from the mountaines (as here from Tmolus, where Pactolus hath his fountaines) into the hollowes of rocks, made by nature or of purpose; there retained by the heauinesse thereof; from whence it is taken. They also fish for it in riuers with hollow Canes. But the finding of that which is vnder the earth; as of all other Mines of mettall, is almost miraculous. They cut vp a ground hazell of a twelue-months growth, which diuides aboue into a forke; holding the one branch in the right hand, and the other in the left, not graspt too slightly nor too strictly. When passing ouer a Mine, or any other place where gold and siluer is hidden, it will discouer the same, by bowing downe violently. A common experiment in Germany; nor proceeding from any incantation, but a naturall sympathy, as Iron is attracted by the loadstone. Now Midas is also fained to haue washed off, and leaft his golden vertue to Pactolus, because he deriued that riuer into a number of branches: making the Country extraordinary fruitfull, by the expense of that, which he had gotten by his auarice. Midas signifies a foole: and such are they who make their riches their masters, which were created for seruants.
    His conversation with Pan, denotes the brutish and ignorant  MIDAS HIS ASSES EARES  life, which he led: cleansed from couetousnesse but retaining his folly. For Pan contending with Apollo in musick, the mountaine Tmolus being their Iudge, gaue the palme to Apollo: but sottish Midas protests against the sentence; for which Apollo produceth his cares to the length and instability of an Asses. Pan presents illiterate rusticity; Apollo a mind imbued with the diuine endowments of art and nature. Midas an ignorant Prince, vnable to distinguish betweene that which is vile and excellent; and therefore preferrs the one before the other; for which he is iustly branded by the learned with the ensignes of folly. But to sore more high: the contention betweene these musitians, and the euent thereof, exhibits a healthfull doctrine, which may restraine our vaineglory and iudgements with sobriety. For there is a twofold harmony or musick; the one of diuine prouidence, and the other of humane reason. To humane iudgement (which is as it were to mortall cares) the administration of the World, of the creature, and more secret decrees of the highest, sound harsh and disconsonant; which ignorance, though it be deseruedly markt with the eares of an asse, yet is it not apparant, or noted for a deformity by the vulgar. These long eares are also attributed to Midas, as being a suspitious Prince; who heard whatsoeuer was done a farre off by his spies and intelligencers: who (by their false informations) becoming suspitious of his best deseruing seruants, and confident of his worst, might well be said to heare with such eares; ignorant of the true estate of his affaires; irresolute, and wauing through seuerall suggestions. But then most dangerous when (as here) vnexamined and concealed, the accuser neuer brought before the accused, but all taken vpon trust: so that not seldome the most noble are subuerted by the seruile instruments of his vices; to whose safety neither innocency nor discretion are auailable. Calisthenes makes mention of two hills in Phrygia, which were called the Asses eares, whose tops were crowned with two strong fortresses possessed by Theiues. These assailed and taken by Midas it became prouerbiall, that Midas had got the eares of an asse.
    These he hides with a Tiara; an ornament for the head  SPEAKING REEDS  appropriate to Princes. The deformities and follies of great ones, being couered or qualified at the least, by the awe and repute of their dignity; yet knowne to their neere attendants; as this of Midas to the seruant that trimmed him, who dares not reueale, nor yet could conceale it, therefore wispers and buries the secret in a pit, which after by the reeds, which grew from the same was discouered. The vices and defects of Princes are likely palliated or obscured in their life time: but dead; these vocall Reedes arise, the pens of historians to diuulge them to posterity. This Midas, in the end much troubled in his mind with dreames and apparitions, fell into so deepe a melancholy, that he made him selfe away by the drinking of Bulls blood.
    Apollo flies from hence into Phrygia: who induing a mortall shape; together with Neptune; assists Laomedon, for a proposed  APOLLO AND NEPTVNE   reward, in the immuring of Troy. The fable deriued according to Herodotus from Laomedons imploying the treasure, which had beene offered to Apollo and Neptune, in the building of the walls of his Citty. So Nero robbed the temples at Rome (as those of Greece, not only of their gifts, but of the golden Idolls to whom they were consecrated) to rebuild the Citty, set on fire by his appointment. But the treasure not restored by Laomedon, it was faigned that Neptune surrounded his Country; and commanded the exposure of his daughter Hesione, to be deuoured by a whale. Palephatus would haue this a King of that name; who powerfull by sea, made many incursions vpon the Coasts of Phrygia, and tooke away, with their wealth, their daughters, among whom Hesione, deliuered soone after by Hercules. Incensed in that Leomedon denied him the promised horses, he sackt his Citty, and gaue his daughter to Telamon, by whom he had Aiax and Teucer. From hence we may produce this allegory; that no commonwealth or Citty can be raised but by the diuine assistance; or continue without religion, iustice and performance of promise; which violated, is the cause if not of vtter ruine, of infinite calamities. Plutarch obserues that Troy was thrice ruinated by horses: First by these witheld from Hercules through the periury of Laomedon; next by the Epean horse and treachery of Sinon; and lastly by a horse which stood in the Port (the same periury persuing them) insomuch as they could not shut their gates soone enough, against the sudden surprise of Charidemus.
    Telamon had married Hesione; but his brother Peleus a  PELEVS AND THETIS  Goddesse, by the appointment of Iupiter; who durst not himselfe, though desirous, approach her; in that Proteus had prophesied, how Thetis should beare a sonne, who should become more great then his father. Proteus was a man of great wisdome; & accounted a Prophet, in that he could fortell what would happen by the disposition of the starres; aiming also at the future, by the times foregoing. By his Counsell Peleus obtained Thetis, who by changing of her formes had deluded him long. Thetis is taken for the water, whom Iupiter espoused to Peleus, which signifies clay: for of earth and water they held that man was ingendred. Wherefore Ioue would not ly with Thetis, for feare he should beget a greater then himselfe, who might depriue him of his kingdome: for Iupiter, which is fire, is extinguished, if it ioyne, by the humidity of water. And therefore the Persians accustomed to carry their Idoliz'd fire to the riuer; threatning to extinguish it, if it would not graunt them their petitions. But there is no discord betweene Peleus and Thetis, for of the concord of these two elements man is begotten: of Peleus the flesh, and of Thetis the humors, both quickned by the soule, or the fire of Iupiter.
is said to haue changed her selfe into sundry shapes e're Peleus could possesse her; which is the various transmigration of water, before it produce that moysture, which is seruiceable to the body. Iupiter is faigned to haue inuited all the Gods to this marriage; because they held that euery part of a man belonged to a particular deity: Iupiter gouerning the head, Minerva the eyes, Iuno the armes, Neptune the breast, Mars the loynes, Venus the reynes, and Mercury the feet. Betweene Peleus and Thetis, Achilles, an absolute man, is begotten: whom his mother dips in the riuer of Styx; that is, hardens his body to labour, and fortifies his mind against dangers. But historically taken; this borrowed name of Thetis should bee some Lady of an excellent beauty (perhaps Philomela the daughter of Actor the Mermidon) said to be a Goddesse of the Sea, in that a Queene of some maritime Cittie or Iland: who long reiecting the sute of Peleus, then king of Thessaly (feigned to vary her shape for the variety of her minde and sundry disguises) at length was fixed in her proper forme, and obtained by his importunity. And it may be she was called Thetis, in that such an abundance of water fell at her wedding: as obserued by Staphilus: wherein they feigned for her greater honour, that the Gods descended to celebrate her nuptialls; this also hapning in a great drought when raine was most welcome. Neither is it vnusuall in the Ethnick diuinity, to call the Gods by the names of the second causes; or to suppose them in person to accompany their operations; as in that of Virgil.
And cheerefull Ioue descendes in plenteous showres.4
    The felicities of Peleus were eclipsed by the murder of his brother Phocas; whom he slew, as it were by chance, in Throwing the Stone, at the games of the Fiue Exercises; either to gratifie his mother; for Phocas was the sonne of Aeacus by another; or enuying him, in that, more respected by his father for his virtues. Expulsed for this he fled vnto Trachis, a citty at the foot of the mountaine Oetus, where peaceable Ceyx, the sonne of Lucifer then raigned; by whom hee was bountifully receaued; though pensiue at that time for the slaughter of Chione his Neece, and the wonderfull fate of his warlike  Chione  brother Dedalion. This Chione, so called for her beauty, was got with child by Mercury; and againe the night following by Apollo; which seemes to dissent from the old philosophy, and opinion of the ancients: yet is, by the distant births of diuers, not rarely confirmed. A Dutch-woman in Southwarke, some twenty yeares since, hauing inuited diuers of her neighbours to her vpsitting, found her selfe not well on a sudden; and rising from the table, was forthwith brought a bed of another. This falling on a time into our discourse, one then present reported, that the like befell a sister of his; who three months after the birth of her first sonne was deliuered of a second. But can we belieue that Divells, for these Gods were no better, can carnally lust and ingender with mortals? Yet Viues reports that there is a nation at this day, which glories in such an originall. That such there were, was almost the generall opinion of the ancient; not only of the Pagans; but of some of the Fathers: among whom Lactantius; The Angells whom God had appointed to guard mankinde, being commanded to beware of loosing their coelestiall dignity by earthly pollution; notwithstanding were allured by their daily conversation with women, to knowe them carnally: For which they were kept out of heauen and throwne downe to earth; whom the Diuell entertained for his agents. But those whom they begot, being neither absolute Angels nor men, but mixed of either, were not cast into Hell, as their parents, nor yet assumed into heauen. Thus became their two sorts of Divels, the one coelestiall and the other terrestriall. And thus was this father deceaued, by taking the sonnes of God (meant by the sonnes of Seth) which lay with the daughters of men, for Angells. That fable related by Orpheus and Hesiod, how the Gyants were the sonnes of heauen and earth, is supposed to haue beene drawne from this parcell of Scripture: by heauen intending the sonnes of God, and by earth the daughters of men, which misunderstood, begot that opinion of the Incubi, and that the Gods had a reall copulation with women, from whence proceeded that multitude of Gods and Semi-Gods, which the Ethnicks adored. But the Gods, saith Plato, cannot ingender with mortals: and Seneca.
Nor can the seed diuine
With that of mortalls ioyne.
Which cleane ouerthrowes the genealogies of the Heroes, who are said of one side to spring from coelestiall parentage. Plutarch affirmes that the loue of the Gods to mankinde, hath reference to their piety and virtue; and that neither Gods, nor the Genij (that is Angells) are delighted or couet to mix with corporall beauties. The contrary opinion is confuted by S. Chrysostome, and exploded by Scaliger. Yet by a French Gentleman I was told a strange accident, which befell a brother of his: who saw on S. Germans bridge by the Louure a Gentlewoman of no meane beauty, sitting on the stones (there laid to finish that worke) and leaning on her elbow with a pensiue aspect. According to the French freedome he began to court her; whom shee intreated for that time to forbeare; yet told him if hee would bestow a visit on her at her lodging about eleuen of the clock, he should finde entertainement agreeable to his quality. He came, she receaued him and to bed they went; who found her touch too cold for her youth; when the morning discouered vnto him a Coarse by his side, forsaken by the soule the euening before: who halfe distracted ran out at the doore and carried with him a cure for his incontinency. Although this story haue no place in my beleife; yet is it not incredible that the Diuell can enter and actuate the dead by his spirits; as sufficiently appeares by that kinde of witchcraft, which giues answers by dead bodies, reported by diuers historians.
    By Chione Mercury had Autolicus, a notable Impostor: feigned to be his son, as borne vnder his Plannet, or participating those conditions: who by his thefts & cousonage attained to great riches. He had a daughter called Anticlea; after wife vnto Laertes, and mother to Vlisses, who nothing degenerated in subtilty from his grandfather. Vpon the same reason Philammon was said to be the son of Apollo; infusing virtue, and a naturall inclination to knowledge. A man admired for his excellency in Musick and Poetry: the father of Tamyris the celebrated musitian, who lost his eyes for contending with the Muses. An ambition deriued from his Grandmother Chione; who elated with her beauty, the loue of two Gods & hight of prosperity, durst preferre her selfe before despised Diana: For which shee was slaine by her arrowes. A fate deseruedly inflicted on those, who dote on their owne gifts, and value them more then the giuer: Diana's arrow not vnusually taken for the pestilence.
    Daedalion, distracted for the death  DAEDALION  of his daughter, throwes himselfe from the top of Parnassus: but is by commiserating Apollo converted into a Faulkon. Sorrow is the greatest of all the mindes perturbations, which dethrones the reason, and headlong driues to desperation. Dedalion, a fierce and truculent souldier, is aptly changed into a creature, which delights in blood, & liues by the slaughter of others. The transformation effected by Apollo; because the Aegyptians expressed the Sun by a Faulkon, in regard of her viuacity, fruitfulnesse, and celerity; towring aloft, and seeing all beneath her; who can gaze on his beames with vndazled eyes, and oppose them, without hurt to the lightning. And as the Sun is the soule of the world, so the soule of man was presented by this Fowle, which mounts from earth vnto heauen with the wings of diuine speculation. Sacred therefore she was to Apollo; and is called by Homer his messenger, in that a bird of presage; as hee the God of Diuination.
This said the Faulkon, with good augury,
Apollo's speedy messenger, flew by.6
    While Ceyx relates these disasters, afflicted Anetor acquainteth Peleus with  PSAMATHES WOLFE  slaughter of his men and cattell by a rauenous Wolfe; & craues his instant assistance. But he beares it patiently, as a punishment inflicted by the diuine iustice for the murder of his brother Phocas: nor will take armes but flyes to his prayers; the only way to diuert what no force can incounter. When Psamanthe, appeased by Thetis entreaty; the beast was by the Goddesse converted into marble. This was a kinsman to Psamanthe the mother of Phocas, sent by her to reuenge the death of her sonne; who persecuting Peleus and his followers with fire and sword, was for his cruelty and rapine called a Wolfe: for into such beasts, the soules of such men were supposed to enter. But the mother pacified by his repentance, and her sisters entreaty, surceased to afflict him: and therefore the Wolfe, restrained from farther mischiefe, was feigned to haue beene so transformed. The banished Peleus departs to Magnetia, where Acastus purgeth him of his murther. For hee who had slaine a man in those times was so auoided, that none would entertaine him vntill his offence was expiated by certaine Charmes and ceremonies; washing him all ouer with the water of the Sea, whereunto they attributed a purifying virtue. But Plato saith that temperance purgeth the minde, the only cure of an infected conscience: and that no lotions nor enchantments can cleanse the soule from corruption.
    Ceyx is feigned to be the sonne of Lucifer, or the Morning  CEYX AND ALCYONE  Starre, in regard of his excellent beauty, and early hopefulnesse: happy in his faire and affectionat wife, in his peaceable gouernment, and other felicities of fortune: which swelled him, as others haue written, so farre aboue the sense of his mortality, that hee caused himselfe to be called Iupiter, and his wife Alcyone Iuno; for which by the diuine vengeance, he was shipwrackt and drowned in his voyage to Claros. Our Poet hath excelled himselfe in the description of this tempest: wherein is to be obserued the tumor of the Sea before the windes arise, a certaine presage of a following storme; proceeding either from a naturall instinct, or the impulsion of the water from the waues a farre off. The windes incounter one another: yet Aristotle writes that they cannot blow at once in an opposite diameter, though the contrary was manifested in that inundation, raised by the North and South windes which surunded Buris and Helice: and Virgil.
Eurus, black Notus, Africus, from Caues
Rush out at once
(a little after)                                                                        and Boreas frothes the Waues.7

I haue seene two winde-mills goe together with contrary windes: neither is it to be doubted, but they were concurrent, which blew downe the foure corners of the house, where the children of Iob were a feasting. The Sea sometimes appeares troubled on either side, and smooth in the middle, an argument that the windes, comming from contrary parts, breake the force of one another at their meeting; succeeded by a generall calme. We see the Rack carried one way, and the winde blowing right against it: the high clowds to be carried, and passe by the lower, as it were by contrary currents. Certainely therefore they may blowe together, though long last they cannot; because the one of necessity must quickly yeeld to the ouermastering strength of the other. This darke and dismall night is onely enlightned with lightning: if not also with those Meteors which often hang in tempests about the Masts & yards of ships; by the ancient named Castor and Pollux, of those celebrated Twins the sonnes of Iupiter and Leda: who were said to be propitious to Sailers, because they cleared the seas from Pirats. Diodorus writes that in the voyage of the Argonauts, when the windes began to rage, and Orpheus had made his vowes, these two well boading lights sat on the heads of those brothers: whereupon the tempest miraculously ceased: called euer after by their names: as now by the Italians S. Nicholas and S. Hermes, and by the Spaniard Corpos Santos: whereof if two appeare, they prognosticate safety; if one, extreame danger; if these resigne to a third, vnauoidable shipwracke. But here the tenth billow accomplisheth the destiny of Ceyx, which is obserued to exceed the fore-going in greatnesse: whereupon the word Decumanus is ordinarily taken for great and mighty.
    Yet Alcyone implores all the Gods for the safe returne of her husband, but especially Iuno, the Goddess of coniugall affections, who pittying her preuented prayers, shakes her polluted hand from the Altar, (for they were held vncleane for a season who had any dead in their family, nor could enter the temples of the Gods before they were purified, borrowed belike from the Leuiticall Law) and by her Messenger Iris commandeth Sleepe to send a Dreame that might present to Alcyone the fate of Ceyx. The Pallace  Sleepe  of Sleepe is aptly placed among the Cymerians, a miserable people inhabiting about the Scythian Bosphorus, liuing incaued in the rocks, the ayre euer dull and obscure by reason of the distant Sun and high-hanging mountaines, whence sprung the prouerb of Cymmerian darknesse, And there be vallies in Wales, wherein the sun shines not for six months together, if wee may credit their owners. No Cock here crowed to disturbe his repose and awaken the morning. A creature, saith Pliny, ordained by Nature to sentinell the night and rouse vp mortalls to their labours; by which in their Hierogliphicks they presented vigilancy. It is feigned that Alectrion (which signifies a Cock) was a youth beloued by Mars, and conscious to his adultery with Venus; who accustomed to watch at the doore, and giue notice if any approached: but falling on a time asleepe, they were discouered by the Sun, and caught in a net by Vulcan; for which angry Mars converted him into a Fowle with a Crest on his Crowne, representing his Helmet, who mindfull of his former neglect, continually crowes before the Sunnes vp-rise, least he should take any one tardy. But the Cock was sacred vnto Mars in that so courageous a Bird; and the Swisse, a martiall people, as heretofore, so now when they goe to the warres haue them alwaies in their pauilions. It is generally belieued, that the Cock crowes thrice, and those at set times, in the night: which Scaliger condemnes by his experience for fictitious. But to omit other reasons of his nightly-crowing, as that of his burning desire vnto Venus; all creatures haue in their kinde a peculiar instinct proceeding from their quality and temperature: so that a Cock, being extraordinary hot, and of a quicke digesture, awakens alwaies about mid-night with hunger; at which time he crowes & claps his wings out of the instinct of his phantasie. No Dog sollicitous for his Masters safety (& therefore the symbol of fidelity) was here heard to barke: or more wakefull goose to gaggle; by whose clamour roused, the Romans repulsed the Gaules, who then had ascended the walls of the Capitoll: in memory whereof they euer after fed geese in that place at the publique charges; by whose image they represented Safe-custody. A creature naturally fearefull, and therefore subtle to finde any apparance of danger, and easily awaked. These, nor any other noyses, were here to disturbe him, onely a streame of Lethe, which inuited sleepe by purling on the pebbles. To worke the like effect Augustus Caesar had water poured long and constantly by his beds-head into a Cesterne. Foure Riuers there be which were named Lethe: one supposed Infernall and most friendly to the miserable: for their Ghosts hauing drank thereof, forget forthwith whatsoeuer in this life had befall'n them. So feigned, because death procures a generall obliuion; the name of Lethe importing as much: and therefore well placed by the mansion of Sleepe, who seldome girts their browes with Poppy, that are perplexed with too restlesse a remembrance. For such soporiferous weeds grow here in his garden; repealing sleep by cooling and moistning of the braine, before exiled by intemperate heat and drinesse. The Sycionians painted Sleepe subduing of Lyons: in that no sorrow was so outrageous, which sleepe could not vanquish.
        O Sleepe
Thou charme to all our cares, that art
Of humane life the better part:
Wing'd issue of a peacefull mother,
Of rigid death the elder brother,
Father of things, of life the Port
The daies repose, and nights consort;
To Kings and vassalls equall free,
The labor-tir'd refresht by thee:
Who man (whom death doth terrify)
Inur'st continually to dy
    Now dreams are those Images which are formed in our sleepes by the various discursion of the spirits in the braine (the spirits being the Chariot of the soule) which follow concoction, when the blood is least troubled, & the phantasy vninterrupted by ascending vapors. These our Poet diuides into three kinds; the one imitating the Rationall, the other the Animall, & the third the inanimate: the first called Morpheus, which signifies Form; the second Icelos by the Gods, which is similitude; but Phobetor or Feare, by mortalls; in regard of the terrors apprehended by beasts & Monsters: & the last Phantasius, of the Imagination. And as the cogitations of Princes farre differ from those of the vulgar; so their dreams are vnvulgar & different. But Sleepe among a thousand of his sons (for sleepe is the parent of dreames) makes choice of Morpheus to performe the command of Iuno; who so liuely presents her drowned husband to Alcione, that shee weepes in her sleepe, and is wakened by her owne screeches; proceeding from an appetite of expelling that which suddenly striketh our spirits. We dreame of those things for the most part, which wee most thinke of waking. And as sleepe was created to recreate the body, and free the minde from care for a season: so, dreames are oft sent to terrify the guilty, to confirme the good; and were not seldome propheticall. Yet such diuine reuelations were often imitated by spirits of darkenesse, to beget a superstition; which in the end so increased, that Aristides compiled an Ephemerides of his owne dreames; and Mithridates of those of his concubines. But the Romans finding the inconueniences thereof (because all dreames without distinction of causes were drawne to diuination) forbad the same by a publique decree. Wee read that Alexander was taught a cure in his dreame for Ptolomies wound, being made by a poysoned weapon: and Antonius a remedy for two grieuous diseases. Saint Augustine reports how a Millanoise, being demanded a debt already paid, was told by his dead father in a dreame where the acquittance lay. And here our Alcyone is in her sleepe presented with the fate of her husband; whose floating Corps she beholds the day following.
Force not the Gods with thy diuine complaint;
Thou from thy husband shalt haue no restraint.

Earth gaue, Seas tooke, th' aire holds him; partly hee

Heauen-borne: of these thou wert, art, and shalt bee.
For the Gods compassionating her sorrow, convert them both into birds of her name, which we call Kings-fishers; who still retaine their coniugall affections. For they keepe in paires, and neuer part but when the hen sits; the one feeding and supporting the other when old and feeble; lamentably deploring the death of her fellow; and not long suruiuing. These as if mindfull of their former shipwrack, build their floating neasts of thornes and the fins of fishes: in forme of a guord, with such admirable art that they can neither sinke nor be subuerted by the water. They breed in the winter, being vnapt to propagate in the summer by reason of the drynesse of their bodies, which become more moist, when their pores are closed by the cold. Seauen daies before the Solstice she is a laying of her eggs; and hatcheth them seauen daies after: in which season the sea is for the most part calme, especiall about the shores of Sicilia. And therefore Alcyone is fained to be the daughter of Aeolus: who is said to imprison the windes in her fauour: in so much as by the Alcyan daies they defigure peace and tranquillity. Nor is this vnremarkable, and perhaps conducing to the same, that the Kings-fisher being dead and hung vp by the Neb, turnes alwaies her belly to the wind.
    Neither might the Cormorant vaunt of lesse noble parentage: Once Aesacus the  AESACVS  sonne of Priamus by the Nymph Alixothoe. Who hating the glorious miseries of the Court; enioyes his freedome in the open fields and Forrests of Ida.
O happy swaines, too happy if you knew
Your blest estate! iust earth prepares for you

Vn-purchas'd foode; farre from warres dire debates.

Though no proud pallaces, with lofty gates,
Steame with the breath of clients eu'ry Morne;
Nor Iuory the carued poasts adorne;

No brasse of
Corinth, rich imbroadery,
No wooll infected with
Assyrian dy;
Nor oyle with
Cassia mixt: you gentle peace
Enioy, pure innocence, the rich increase
Of various guifts: what pleasure the broad fields,
Caues, liuing waters, and coole
Tempe yeilds;
Lowing of beasts, sweet sleepes by shades obscur'd,
Woods, saluage chace; the hardy youth inur'd

To liue with little, whom no labour tires

Coelestiall Gods ador'd, and sacred Sires.
Iustice here left her last impression, when
She fled from the defil'd abodes of men.10
But Loue, who is winged with excesse and ease, finds Aesacus out amidst his homely fare, and laborious exercises. When pursuing the Nymph Eperia; by the biting of a serpent her flight and life were at once suppressed. He, distracted with sorrow, threw himselfe from a rock, into the sea; and by the pitty of Tethis was turned into a Cormorant; who disdaining to be forced to liue, still attempts to drowne himselfe. Wherein the nature of that fowle is expressed, which is called Mergus of his often diuing: and by his leanenesse presents the macilency of louers: whereof Virgill.
How leane my bull lookes in a fruitfull pasture?
Loue macerates the bull, and the bulls master.11
Proceeding from bad digestion, and too great an emission of spirits, through their restlesse thoughts and consuming Melancholy. From hence we may gather how men not seldome loose what they most affect by too eagerly pursuing: when too late repenting, and too timely despairing, they endeauour to ruinate what they should defend; but are often preuented by Tethis, or the diuine protection. This fable is thought to haue beene deriued from a Merchant; who by diuing into the Sea to recouer a part of his shipwrackt goods, was alluded to a Cormorant. And the like haue I seene by certaine sailers of Simo, continuing so long vnder water as if it had beene their habitable Element. But the fishing with the Cormorant is a sport no lesse rare then delightfull; who pursues the fishes vnder water with incredible celerity; and hauing taken, brings them to land, and layes them at the feete of his master, a ring about his neck impeaching his swallowing; who taking it off, rewards him with a part of his booty. This fowle by flying from the Sea foreshewes a succeeding Tempest.

On to Book XII