Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

and philosophical divines, or from the confused seeds of things. For they who allow only one beginning of all things, either ascribe it to God; or, if they suppose, a material beginning, acknowledge it to be various in its powers ; so that the whole dispute comes to these points; viz., either that nature proceeds from Mercury, or from Penelope and all her suitors.

The third origin of Pan seems borrowed by the Greeks from the Hebrew mysteries, either by means of the Egyptians, or otherwise ; for it relates to the state of the world, not in its first creation, but as made subject to death and corruption after the fall ; and in this state it was and remains, the offspring of God and Sin, or Jupiter and Reproach. And therefore these three several accounts of Pan's birth may seem true, if duly distinguished in respect of things and times. For this Pan, or the universal nature of things, which we view and contemplate, had its origin from the divine Word and confused matter, first created by God himself, with the subsequent introduction of sin, and consequently corruption.

The Destinies, or the natures and fates of things, are justly made Pan's sisters, as the chain of natural causes links together the rise, duration, and corruption ; the exaltation, degeneration, and workings; the processes, the effects, and changes, of all that can any way happen to things.

Horns are given him, broad at the roots, but narrow and sharp at the top, because the nature of all things seems pyramidal; for individuals are infinite, but being collected into a variety of species, they rise up into kinds, and these again ascend, and are contracted into generals, till at length nature may seem collected to a point. And no wonder if Pan's horns reach to the heavens, since the sublimities of nature, or abstract ideas, reach in a manner to things divine; for there is a short and ready passage from metaphysics to natural theology

Pan's body, or the body of nature, is, with great propriety * This refers to the confused mixture of things, as sung by Virgil :

Namque canebat uti magnum per inane coacta

Sernina terrarumque animæque marisque fuissent;
Et liquidi simul ignis; ut his exordia primis
Oninia, et ipse tener mundi concreverit orbis.”—Ecl. vi. 31.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


and elegance, painted shaggy and hairy, as representing the rays of things; for rays are as the hair, or fleece of nature, and more or less worn by all bodies. This evidently appears in vision, and in all effects or operations at a distance ; for whatever operates thus may be properly said to emit rays. But particularly the beard of Pan is exceeding long, because the rays of the celestial bodies penetrate, and act to a prodigious distance, and have descended into the interior of the earth so far as to change its surface; and the sun himself

, when clouded on its upper part, appears to the eye

bearded. Again, the body of nature is justly described biform, because of the difference between its superior and inferior parts, as the former, for their beauty, regularity of motion, and influence over the earth, may be properly represented by the human figure, and the latter, because of their disorder, irregularity, and subjection to the celestial bodies, are by the brutal. This biform figure also represents the participation of one species with another; for there appear to be no simple natures; but all participate or consist of two: thus man has somewhat of the brute, the brute somewhat of the plant, the plant somewhat of the mineral ; so that all natural bodies have really two faces, or consist of a superior and an inferior species.

There lies a curious allegory in the making of Pan goatfooted, on account of the motion of ascent which the terrestrial bodies have towards the air and heavens ; for the goat is a clambering creature, that delights in climbing up rocks and precipices, and in the same manner the matters destined to this lower globe strongly affect to rise upwards, &s appears from the clouds and meteors.

Pan's arms, or the ensigns he bears in his hands, are of two kinds—the one an emblem of harmony, the other of empire. His pipe, composed of seven reeds, plainly denotes the consent and harmony, or the concords and discords of things, produced by the motion of the seven planets. His crook also contains a fine representation of the ways of suture, which are partly straight and partly crooked ; thas the staff, having an extraordinary bend towards the top,

e This is always supposed to be the case in vision, the mathematical demonstrations in optics proceeding invariably upon the assumptive of this phenomenon.

denotes that the works of Divine Providence are generally brought about by remote means, or in a circuit, as if somewhat else were intended rather than the effect produced, as in the sending of Joseph into Egypt, &c. So likewise in human government, they who sit at the helm manage and wind the people more successfully by pretext and oblique courses, than they could by such as are direct and straight; so that, in effect, all sceptres are crooked at the top.

Pan's mantle, or clothing, is with great ingenuity made of a leopard's skin, because of the spots it has; for in like manner the heavens are sprinkled with stars, the sea with islands, the earth with flowers, and almost each particular thing is variegated, or wears a mottled coat.

The office of Pan could not be more livelily expressed than by making him the god of hunters; for every natural action, every motion and process, is no other than a chase: thus arts and sciences hunt out their works, and human schemes and counsels their several ends; and all living creatures either hunt out their aliment, pursue their prey, or seek their pleasures, and this in a skilful and sagacious manner.f He is also styled the god of the rural inhabitants, because men in this situation live more according to nature than they do in cities and courts, where nature is so corrupted with effeminate arts, that the saying of the poet may be verified

pars minima est ipsa puella sui.g

He is likewise particularly styled President of the Mountains, because in mountains and lofty places the nature of things lies more open and exposed to the eye and the understanding.

In his being called the messenger of the gods, next after Mercury, lies a divine allegory, as next after the Word of God, the image of the world is the herald of the Divine power and wisdom, according to the expression of the Psalmist, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork."h

f "Torva leæna lupum sequitur, lupus ipse capellam:
Florentem cytisum sequitar lasciva capella."

Virgil, Ecl. i. 63.

Ovid, Rem. Amoris, v. 343. Mart. Epist.
Psalm xix. 1.

Pan is delighted with the company of the Nymphs; that is, the souls of all living creatures are the delight of the world; and he is properly called their governor, because each of them follows its own nature as a leader, and all dance about their own respective rings, with infinite variety and never-ceasing motion. And with these continually join the Satyrs and Sileni; that is, youth and age: for all things have a kind of young, cheerful, and dancing time; and again their time of slowness, tottering, and creeping. And whoever, in a true light, considers the motions and endeavours of both these ages, like another Democritus, will perhaps find them as odd and strange as the gesticulations and antic motions of the Satyrs and Sileni.

The power he had of striking terrors contains a very sensible doctrine; for nature has implanted fear in all living creatures; as well to keep them from risking their lives, as to guard against injuries and violence; and yet this nature or passion keeps not its bounds, but with just and profitable fears always mixes such as are vain and senseless; so that all things, if we could see their insides, would appear full of panic terrors. Thus mankind, particularly the vulgar, labour under a high degree of superstition, which is nothing more than a panic-dread that principally reigns in unsettled and troublesome times.

The presumption of Pan in challenging Cupid to the conlict, denotes that matter has an appetite and tendency to a dissolution of the world, and falling back to its first chaos again, unless this depravity and inclination were restrained and subdued by a more powerful concord and agreement of things, properly expressed by Love or Cupid ; it is therefore well for mankind, and the state of all things, that Pan was thrown and conquered in the struggle.

His catching and detaining Typhon in the net receives a similar explanation ; for whatever vast and unusual swells, which the word typhon signifies, may sometimes be raised in nature, as in the sea, the clouds, the earth, or the like, yet nature catches, entangles, and holds all such outrages and insurrections in her inextricable net, wove as it were of adamant.

That part of the fable which attributes the discovery of lost Ceres to Pan whilst he was hunting—a happiness denied

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


the other gods, though they diligently and expressly sought
her-contains an exceeding just and prudent admonition;
viz., that we are not to expect the discovery of things useful
in common life, as that of corn, denoted by Ceres, from
abstract philosophies, as if these were the gods of the first
order,—no, not though we used our utmost endeavours this
way,--but only from Pan, that is, a sagacious experience and
general knowledge of nature, which is often found, even by
accident, to stumble upon such discoveries whilst the pursuit
was directed another way.

The event of his contending with Apollo in music affords
us a useful instruction, that may help to humble the human
reason and judgment, which is too apt to boast and glory in
itself. There seem to be two kinds of harmony--the one of
Divine Providence, the other of human reason; but the
government of the world, the administration of its affairs,
and the more secret Divine judgments, sound harsh and dis-
sonant to human ears or human judgment: ana vnough
this ignorance be justly rewarded with asses' ears, yet they
are put on and worn, not openly, but with great secrecy;
nor is the deformity of the thing seen or observed by the

We must not find it strange if no amours are related of Pan besides his marriage with Echo; for nature enjoys itself, and in itself all other things. He that loves desires enjoyment, but in profusion there is no room for desire; and therefore Pan, remaining content with himself, has no passion unless it be for discourse, which is well shadowed out by Echo or talk, cr when it is more accurate, by Syrinx or writing. But Echo makes a most excellent wife for Pan, as being no other than genuine philosophy, which faithfully repeats his words, or only transcribes exactly as nature dictates; thus representing the true image and reflection of the world without adding a tittle.

It tends also to the support and perfection of Pan or nature to be without offspring; for the world generates in its parts, and not in the way of a whole, as wanting a body azternal to itself wherewith to generate.

Lastly, for the supposed or spurious prattling daughter of


Syrinx signifying a reed, or the ancient pen.

« ZurückWeiter »