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and ceremony, than for confidence and security and effect. And even when the ties of relationship (which are as the sacraments of nature) or of mutual good services come in to aid, yet in most cases all are too weak for ambition and interest and the licence of power: the rather because princes can always find plenty of plausible pretexts (not being accountable to any arbiter) wherewith to justify and veil their cupidity and bad faith. There is adopted therefore but one true and proper pledge of faith; and it is not any celestial divinity. This is Necessity (the great god of the powerful), and peril of state, and communion of interest. Now Necessity is elegantly represented under the figure of Styx; the fatal river across which no man can return. This is the deity which Iphicrates the Athenian invoked to witness treaties; and since he was one that spoke out plainly what most men think and keep to themselves, his words are worth quoting. Finding that the Lacedaemonians were devising and propounding various cautions and sanctions and securities and bonds to hold the treaty fast, There is only one bond and security (said he, interrupting them) that can hold between you and tis:—you must prove that you have yielded so much into our hands that you cannot hurt us if you would. And so it is that if the means of hurting be taken away, or if a breach of the treaty would endanger the existence or the integrity of the state and revenue, — then the treaty may be considered to be ratified and sanctioned and confirmed as by the oath of Styx: for then it is upon peril of being interdicted from the banquets of the gods; which was the ancient expression for the rights and prerogatives of empire, and wealth, and felicity.
The ancients have given under the person of Pan an elaborate description of universal nature. His parentage they leave in doubt. Some call him the son of Mercury; others assign him an origin altogether different; saying that he was the offspring of a promiscuous intercourse between Penelope and all her suitors. But in this the name of Penelope has doubtless been foisted by some later author into the original table. For it is no uncommon thing to find the more ancient narrations transferred to persons and names of later date; sometimes absurdly and stupidly, as in this instance; for Pan was one of the oldest gods, and long before the times of Ulysses; and Penelope was for her matronly chastity held in veneration by antiquity. But there is yet a third account of his birth, which must not be passed over; for some have called him the son of Jupiter and Hybris, or Insolence.
Whatever was his origin, the Fates are said to have been his sisters.
His person is described by ancient tradition as follows: With horns, and the tops of the horns reaching heaven; his whole body shaggy and hairy; his beard especially long. In figure, biform; human in the upper parts, the other half brute; ending in the feet of a goat. As emblems of his power he carried in his left hand a pipe compact of seven reeds, in his right a sheep-hook or staff crooked at the top; and he was clothed in a scarf, made of panther's skin. The powers and offices assigned to him are these, — he is the god of hunters, of shepherds, and generally of dwellers in the country: also he presides over mountains; and is (next to Mercury) the messenger of the gods. He was accounted moreover the captain and commander of the nymphs, who were always dancing and frisking about him: the Satyrs, and their elders, the Sileni, were also of his company. He had the power likewise of exciting sudden terrors, — empty and superstitious ones especially; — thence called Panics. The actions that are recorded of him are not many; the principal is that he challenged Cupid to wrestle; and was beaten by him. He also entangled and caught the giant Typhon in a net; and they say besides, that when Ceres, out of grief and indignation at the rape of Proserpina, had hid herself, and all the gods were earnestly engaged in seeking her out, and had dispersed several ways in search of her, it was Pan's good fortune to light upon and discover her by accident while he was hunting. He had also the presumption to match himself against Apollo in music; and was by Midas's judgment pronounced victor; for which judgment Midas had to wear the ears of an ass, but not so as to be seen. There are no amours reported of Pan, or at least very few: which among a crowd of gods so excessively amorous may seem strange. The only thing imputed to him in this kind is a passion for Echo, who was also accounted his wife; and for one nymph called Syringa, with love of whom he was smitten by Cupid in anger and revenge because of his presumption in challenging him to wrestle. Nor had he any issue (which is again strange, seeing that the gods, especially the males, were remarkably prolific) except one daughter, a little serving woman called Iambe, who used to amuse guests with ridiculous stories, and was supposed by some to be Pan's offspring by his wife Echo.
1 For an enlarged version of this fable, see Translation of the "De Augm«Btis," Book the Second, Chap. XIII.
A noble fable this, if there be any such; and big. almost to bursting with the secrets and mysteries of Nature.
Pan, as the very word declares, represents the universal frame of things, or Nature. About his origin there are and can be but two opinions; for Nature is either the offspring of Mercury — that is of the Divine Word (an opinion which the Scriptures establish beyond question,' and which was entertained by all the more divine philosophers) ; or else of the seeds of things mixed and confused together. For they who derive all things from a single principle, either take that principle to be God, or if they hold it to be a material principle, assert it to be though actually one yet potentially many; so that all difference of opinion on this point is reducible to one or other of these two heads, — the world is sprung either from Mercury, or from all the suitors. He sang, says Virgil,
How through the void of space the seeds of things
The third account of the generation of Pan, might make one think that the Greeks had heard something, whether through the Egyptians or otherwise, concerning the Hebrew mysteries; for it applies to the state of the world, not at its very birth, but as it was after the fall of Adam, subject to death and corruption. For that state was the offspring of God and Sin, — and so remains. So that all three stories of the birth of Pan (if they be understood with a proper distinction as to facts and times) may be accepted as indeed true. For true it is that this Pan, whom we behold and contemplate and worship only too much, is sprung from the Divine Word, through the medium of confused matter (which is itself God's creature), and with the help of sin and corruption entering in.
To the Nature of things, the Fates or destinies of things are truly represented as sisters. For natural causes are the chain which draws after it the births and durations and deaths of all things; their fallings and risings, their labours and felicities : — in short all the fates that can befall them.
That the world is represented with horns, and that such horns are broad at bottom and narrow at top, has relation to the fact that the whole frame of nature rises to a point like a pyramid. For individuals are infinite: these are collected into species, which are themselves also very numerous; the species are gathered up into genera, and these again into genera of a higher stage; till nature, contracting as it rises, seems to meet at last in one point. Nor need we wonder that Pan's horns touch heaven; since the summits, or universal forms, of nature do in a manner reach up to God; the passage from metaphysic to natural theology being ready and short.
The body of Nature is most elegantly and truly represented as covered with hair; in allusion to the rays which all objects emit; for rays are like the hairs