Front Page Titles (by Subject) WHEREFORE THE PYTHIAN PRIESTESS NOW CEASES TO DELIVER HER ORACLES IN VERSE. - The Morals, vol. 3
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WHEREFORE THE PYTHIAN PRIESTESS NOW CEASES TO DELIVER HER ORACLES IN VERSE. - Plutarch, The Morals, vol. 3 
Plutarch’s Morals. Translated from the Greek by Several Hands. Corrected and Revised by William W. Goodwin, with an Introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 5 Volumes. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878). Vol. 3.
Part of: Plutarch’s Morals, 5 vols.
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WHEREFORE THE PYTHIAN PRIESTESS NOW CEASES TO DELIVER HER ORACLES IN VERSE.
I. basilocles, philinus.
II. philinus, diogenianus, theo, serapio, boethus, interpreters.
You have spun out the time, Philinus, till it is late in the evening, in giving the strangers a full sight of all the consecrated rarities; so that I am quite tired with waiting longer for your society.
Therefore we walked slowly along, talking and discoursing, O Basilocles, sowing and reaping by the way such sharp and hot disputes as offered themselves, which sprung up anew and grew about us as we walked, like the armed men from the Dragon’s teeth of Cadmus.
Shall we then call some of those that were present; or wilt thou be so kind as to tell us what were the discourses and who were the disputants?
That, Basilocles, it must be my business to do. For thou wilt hardly meet with any one else in the city able to serve thee; for we saw most of the rest ascending with the stranger up to the Corycian cave and to Lycorea.
This same stranger is not only covetous of seeing what may be seen, but wonderfully civil and genteel.
He is besides a great lover of science, and studious to learn. But these are not the only exercises which are to be admired in him. He is a person modest, yet facetious, smart and prudent in dispute, void of all passion and contumacies in his answers; in short, you will say of him at first sight that he is the son of a virtuous father. For dost thou not know Diogenianus, a most excellent person?
I have not seen him, Philinus, but many report several things of the young gentleman, much like what you say. But, pray now, what was the beginning of these discourses? Upon what occasion did they arise?
The interpreters of the sacred mysteries acted without any regard to us, who desired them to contract their relation into as few words as might be, and to pass by the most part of the inscriptions. But the stranger was but indifferently taken with the form and workmanship of the statues, being one, as it appeared, who had already been a spectator of many rare pieces of curiosity. He admired the beautiful color of the brass, not foul and rusty, but shining with a tincture of blue. What, said he, was it any certain mixture and composition of the ancient artists in brass, like the famous art of giving a keen edge to swords, without which brass could not be used in war? For Corinthian brass received its lustre not from art, but by chance, when a fire had devoured some house wherein there was both gold and silver, but of brass the greater plenty; which, being intermixed and melted into one mass, derives its name from the brass, of which there was the greater quantity. Then Theo interposing said: But we have heard another more remarkable reason than this; how an artist in brass at Corinth, happening upon a chest full of gold, and fearing to have it divulged, cut the gold into small pieces, and mixed it by degrees with the brass, till he found the more noble metal gave a more than usual lustre to the baser, and so transformed it that he sold at a great rate the unknown mixture, that was highly admired for its beauty and color. But I believe both the one and the other to be fabulous; for by all likelihood this Corinthian brass was a certain mixture and temperature of metals, prepared by art; just as at this day artisans temper gold and silver together, and make a peculiar and wonderful pale yellow metal; howbeit, in my eye it is of a sickly color and a corrupt hue, without any beauty in the world.
3. What then, said Diogenianus, do you believe to be the cause of this extraordinary color in the brass? And Theo replied: Seeing that of those first and most natural elements, which are and ever will be, — that is to say, fire, air, earth, and water, — there is none that approaches so near to brass or that so closely environs it as air alone, we have most reason to believe that the air occasions it, and that from thence proceeds the difference which brass displays from other metals. Or did you know this even “before Theognis was born,” as the comic poet intimates; but would you know by what natural quality or by what virtual power this same air thus colors the brass, being touched and surrounded by it? Yes, said Diogenianus; and so would I, dear son, replied the worthy Theo. First then let us endeavor, altogether with submission to your good pleasure, said the first propounder, to find out the reason wherefore of all moistures oil covers brass with rust. For it cannot be imagined that oil of itself causes that defilement, if when first laid on it is clean and pure. By no means, said the young gentleman, in regard the effect seems to proceed from another cause; for the rust appears through the oil, which is thin, pure, and transparent, whereas it is clouded by other more thick and muddy liquors, and so is not able to show itself. It is well said, son, replied the other, and truly; but hear, however, and then consider the reason which Aristotle produces. I am ready, returned the young gentleman. He says then, answered the other, that the rust insensibly penetrates and dilates itself through other liquids, as being of parts unequal, and of a thin substance; but that it grows to a consistency, and is, as it were, incorporated by the more dense substance of the oil. Now if we could but suppose how this might be done, we should not want a charm to lull this doubt asleep.
4. When we had made our acknowledgment that he had spoken truth, and besought him to proceed, he told us that the air of the city of Delphi is heavy, compacted, thick, and forcible, by reason of the reflection and resistency of the adjacent mountains, and besides that, is sharp and cutting (as appears by the eager stomachs and swift digestion of the inhabitants); and that this air, entering and penetrating the brass by its keenness, fetches forth from the body of the brass much rust and earthy matter, which afterwards it stops and coagulates by its own density, ere it can get forth; by which means the rust abounding in quantity gives that peculiar grain and lustre to the superficies. When we approved this argument, the stranger declared his opinion, that it needed no more than one of those suppositions to clear the doubt; for, said he, that tenuity or subtilty seems to be in some measure contrary to that thickness supposed to be in the air, and therefore there is no reason to suppose it; for the brass, as it grows old, of itself exhales and sends forth that rust, which afterwards, being stopped and fixed by the thickness of the air, becomes apparent by reason of its quantity. Then Theo replied: and what hinders but that the same thing may be thick and thin both together, like the woofs of silk or fine linen? — of which Homer says:
intimating the extreme fineness of the texture, yet so close woven that it could not suffer oil to pass through it. In like manner may we make use of the subtilty of the air, not only to scour the brass and fetch the rust out of it, but also to render the color more pleasing and more azure-like, by intermixing light and splendor amidst the blue.
5. This said, after short silence, the guides began again to cite certain words of an ancient oracle in verse, which, as it seemed to me, pointed at the sovereignty of Aegon king of Argos. I have often wondered, said Diogenianus, at the meanness and ill-contrived hobbling of the verses which conveyed the ancient oracles into the world. And yet Apollo is called the chief of the Muses; whom it therefore behooved to take no less care of elegancy and beauty in style and language, than of the voice and manner of singing. Besides, he must needs be thought to surpass in a high degree either Homer or Hesiod in poetic skill. Nevertheless we find several of the oracles lame and erroneous, as well in reference to the measure as to the words. Upon which the poet Serapio, newly come from Athens, being then in company, said: If we believe that those verses were composed by Apollo, can we acknowledge what you allege, that they come short of the beauty and elegancy which adorn the writings of Homer and Hesiod; and shall we not make use of them as examples of neatness and curiosity, correcting our judgment anticipated and forestalled by evil custom? To whom Boethus the geometer (the person who you know has lately gone over to the camp of Epicurus) said: Have you not heard the story of Pauson the painter? Not I, replied Serapio. It is worth your attention, answered Boethus. He, having contracted to paint a horse wallowing upon his back, drew the horse galloping at full speed; at which when the person that had agreed with him seemed to be not a little displeased, Pauson fell a laughing, and turned the picture upside downward; by which means the posture was quite altered, and the horse that seemed to run before lay tumbling now upon the ground. This (as Bion says) frequently happens to propositions, when they are once inverted; for some will deny the oracles to be elegant, because they come from Apollo; others will deny Apollo to be the author, because of their rude and shapeless composure. For the one is dubious and uncertain; but this is manifest, that the verses wherein the oracles are generally delivered are no way laboriously studied. Nor can I appeal to a better judge than yourself, whose compositions and poems are not only written so gravely and philosophically, but, for invention and elegancy, more like to those of Homer and Hesiod than the homely Pythian raptures.
6. To whom Serapio: We labor, Boethus, said he, under the distempered senses both of sight and hearing, being accustomed through niceness and delicacy to esteem and call that elegant which most delights; and perhaps we may find fault with the Pythian priestess because she does not warble so charmingly as the fair lyric songstress Glauca, or else because she does not perfume herself with precious odors or appear in rich and gaudy habit. And some may mislike her because she burns for incense rather barley-meal and laurel than frankincense, ladanon, and cinnamon. Do you not see, some one will say, what a grace there is in Sappho’s measures, and how they delight and tickle the ears and fancies of the hearers? Whereas the Sibyl with her frantic grimaces, as Heraclitus says, uttering sentences altogether thoughtful and serious, neither bespiced nor perfumed, continues her voice a thousand years by the favor of the Deity that speaks within her. Pindar therefore tells us that Cadmus heard from heaven a sort of music that was neither lofty nor soft, nor shattered into trills and divisions; for severe holiness will not admit the allurements of pleasure, that was for the most part thrown into the world and flowed (as it appears) into the ears of men at the same time with the Goddess of mischief.
7. Serapio thus concluding, Theo with a smile proceeded. Serapio, said he, has not forgot his wonted custom of taking an opportunity to discourse of pleasure. But we, Boethus, believe not these prophetic verses to be the compositions of Apollo, if they are worse than Homer’s; but we believe that he supplied the principle of motion, and that every one of the prophetesses was disposed to receive his inspiration. For if the oracles were to be set down in writing, not verbally to be pronounced, surely we should not find fault with the hand, taking it to be Apollo’s, because the letters were not so fairly written as in the epistles of kings. For neither the voice, nor the sound, nor the word, nor the metre proceeds from the God, but from the woman. God only presents the visions, and kindles in the soul a light to discover future events; which is called divine inspiration. But in short, I find it is a hard matter to escape the hands of Epicurus’s priests (of which number I perceive you are), since you reprove the ancient priestesses for making bad verses, and the modern prophetesses for delivering the oracles in prose and vulgar language, which they do that they may escape being by you called to an account for their lame and mistaken verses. But then, Diogenianus, I beseech you, said he, in the name of all the Gods, be serious with us; unriddle this question, and explain this mystery unto us, which is now grown almost epidemical. For indeed there is hardly any person that does not with an extreme curiosity search after the reason wherefore the Pythian oracle has ceased to make use of numbers and verse. Hold, son, said Theo, we shall disoblige our historical directors by taking their province out of their hands. First suffer them to make an end, and then at leisure we will go on with what you please.
8. Thus walking along, we were by this time got as far as the statue of Hiero the tyrant, while the stranger, although a most learned historian, yet out of his complaisant and affable disposition, attentively leaned to the present relations. But then, among other things, hearing how that one of the brazen pillars that supported the said statue of Hiero fell of itself the same day that the tyrant died at Syracuse, he began to admire the accident. Thereupon at the same time I called to mind several other examples of the like nature: as that of Hiero the Spartan, the eyes of whose statue fell out of its head just before he was slain at the battle of Leuctra; — how the two stars vanished which Lysander offered and consecrated to the Gods after the naval engagement near Aegos Potami, and how there sprung of a sudden from his statue of stone such a multitude of thorny bushes and weeds as covered all his face; — how, when those calamities and misfortunes befell the Athenians in Sicily, the golden dates dropped from the palm-tree, and the ravens with their beaks pecked holes in the shield of Pallas; — how the crown of the Cnidians which Philomelus, the tyrant of the Phocians, gave Pharsalia, a female dancer, was the occasion of her death; for, passing out of Greece into Italy, one day as she was playing and dancing in the temple of Apollo in the city of Metapontum, having that crown upon her head, the young men of the place falling upon her, and fighting one among another for lucre of the gold, tore the damsel in pieces. Now, though Aristotle was wont to say that only Homer composed names and terms that had motion, by reason of the vigor and vivacity of his expressions, for my part I am apt to believe that the offerings made in this city of statues and consecrated presents sympathize with Divine Providence, and move themselves jointly therewith to foretell and signify future events; and that no part of all those sacred donatives is void of sense, but that every part is full of the Deity.
It is very probable, answered Boethus; for, to tell you truth, we do not think it sufficient to enclose the Divinity every month in a mortal body, unless we incorporate him with every stone and lump of brass; as if Fortune and Chance were not sufficient artists to bring about such accidents and events. Say ye so then? said I. Seems it to you that these things happen accidentally and by hap-hazard; and is it likely that your atoms never separate, never move or incline this or that way either before or after, but just in that nick of time when some one of those who have made these offerings is to fare either better or worse? Shall Epicurus avail thee by his writings and his sayings, which he wrote and uttered above three hundred years ago, and shall the Deity, unless he crowd himself into all substances and blend himself with all things, not be allowed to be a competent author of the principles of motion and affection?
9. This was the reply I made Boethus, and the same answer I gave him touching the Sibyl’s verses; for when we drew near that part of the rock which joins to the senate-house, which by common fame was the seat of the first Sibyl that came to Delphi from Helicon, where she was bred by the Muses (though others affirm that she fixed herself at Maleo, and that she was the daughter of Lamia, the daughter of Neptune), Serapio made mention of certain verses of hers, wherein she had extolled herself as one that should never cease to prophesy even after her death; for that after her decease she should make her abode in the orb of the moon, being metamorphosed into the face of that planet; that her voice and prognostications should be always heard in the air, intermixed with the winds and by them driven about from place to place; and that from her body should spring various plants, herbs, and fruits to feed the sacred victims, which should have sundry forms and qualities in their entrails, whereby men would be able to foretell all manner of events to come. At this Boethus laughed outright; but the stranger replied that, though the Sibyl’s vain-glory seemed altogether fabulous, yet the subversions of several Grecian cities, transmigrations of the inhabitants, several invasions of barbarian armies, the destructions of kingdoms and principalities, testified the truth of ancient prophecies and predictions. And were not those accidents that fell out not many years ago in our memories at Cumae and Puteoli, said he, long before that time the predictions and promises of the Sibyl, which Time, as a debtor, afterwards discharged and paid? Such were the breaking forth of kindled fire from the sulphuric wombs of mountains, boiling of the sea, cities so swallowed up as not to leave behind the least footsteps of the ruins where they stood; things hard to be believed, much harder to be foretold, unless by Divine foresight.
10. Then Boethus said: I would fain know what accidents fall out which time does not owe at length to Nature. What so prodigious or unlooked for, either by land or sea, either in respect of cities or men, which, if it be foretold, may not naturally come to pass at one season or other, in process of time? So that such a prophecy, to speak properly, cannot be called a prediction, but a bare speech or report, or rather a scattering or sowing of words in boundless infinity that have no probability or foundation; which, as they rove and wander in the air, Fortune accidentally meets, and musters together by chance, to correspond and agree with some event. For, in my opinion, there is a great difference between the coming to pass of what has been said and the saying of what shall happen. For the discourse of things that are not, being already in itself erroneous and faulty, cannot, in justice, claim the honor of after-credit from a fortuitous accident. Nor is it a true sign that the prophet foretells of his certain knowledge, because what he spoke happened to come to pass; in regard there are an infinite number of accidents, that fall in the course of nature, suitable to all events. He therefore that conjectures best, and whom the common proverb avers to be the exactest diviner, is he who finds out what shall happen hereafter, by tracing the footsteps of future probabilities. Whereas these Sibyls and enthusiastic wizards have only thrown into the capacious abyss of time, as into a vast and boundless ocean, whole heaps of words and sentences, comprehending all sorts of accidents and events, which, though some perchance may come to pass, were yet false when uttered, though afterwards by chance they may happen to be true.
11. Boethus having thus discoursed, Serapio replied, that Boethus had rightly and judiciously argued in reference to cursory predictions uttered not determinately and without good ground. One fairly guessed that such a captain should get the victory, and he won the field; another cried that such things portended the subversion of such a city, and it was laid in ashes. But when the person does not only foretell the event, but how and when, by what means, and by whom it shall come to pass, this is no hazardous conjecture, but an absolute demonstration, and pre-inspired discovery of what shall come to pass hereafter, and that too by the determined decree of fate, long before it comes to pass. For example, to instance the halting of Agesilaus,
together with what was prophesied concerning the island which the sea threw up right against Thera and Therasia; as also the prediction of the war between King Philip and the Romans,
Soon after this island shot up out of the ocean, surrounded with flames and boiling surges; and then it was that Hannibal was overthrown, and the Carthaginians were subdued by the distressed and almost ruined Romans, and that the Aetolians, assisted by the Romans, vanquished Philip King of Macedon. So that it is never to be imagined that these things were the effects of negligent and careless chance; besides, the series and train of events ensuing the prodigy clearly demonstrate the foreknowledge of a prophetic spirit. The same may be said of the prophecy made five hundred years beforehand to the Romans of the time when they should be engaged in war with all the world at once; which happened when their own slaves made war upon their masters. In all this there was nothing of conjecture, nothing of blind uncertainty, nor is there any occasion to grope into the vast obscurity of chance for the reason of these events; but we have many pledges of experience, that plainly demonstrate the beaten path by which destiny proceeds. For certainly there is no man who will believe that ever those events answered accidentally the several circumstances of the prediction; otherwise we may as well say that Epicurus himself never wrote his book of dogmatic precepts, but that the work was perfected by the accidental meeting and interchange of the letters, one among another.
12. Thus discoursing, we kept on our walk; but when we came into the Corinthian Hall and observed the brazen palm-tree, the only remainder left of all the consecrated donatives, Diogenianus wondered to observe several figures of frogs and water-snakes, all in cast work about the root of the tree. Nor were we less at a stand, well knowing the palm to be no tree that grows by the water or delights in moist or fenny places; neither do frogs at all concern or belong to the Corinthians, either by way of emblem or religious ceremony, or as the city arms; as the Selinuntines formerly offered to their Gods parsley or smallage (selinon) of goldsmith’s work and of the choicest yellow metal; and the inhabitants of Tenedos always kept in their temple a consecrated axe, a fancy taken from their esteem of the crab-fish that breed in that island near the promontory of Asterium, they being the only crabs that carry the figure of an axe upon the upper part of their shells. For as for Apollo, we were of opinion that crows, swans, wolves, sparrow-hawks, or any other sort of creature, would be more acceptable to him than despicable animals. To this Serapio replied, that sure the workman thereby designed to show that the Sun was nourished by moisture and exhalations; whether it was that he thought at that time of that verse in Homer,
or whether he had seen how the Egyptians, to represent sunrise, paint a little boy sitting upon a lotus. Thereupon, not able to refrain laughing, What, said I, are you going about to obtrude your stoicisms again upon us; or do you think to slide insensibly into our discourse your exhalations and fiery prodigies? What is this but, like the Thessalian women, to call down the Sun and Moon by enchantments from the skies, while you derive their original from the earth and water?
Therefore Plato will have a man to be a heavenly tree, growing with his root, which is his head, upward. But you deride Empedocles for affirming that the Sun, being illumined by the reflection of the celestial light, with an intrepid countenance casts a radiant lustre back upon the convex of heaven; while you yourselves make the Sun to be a mere terrestrial animal or water plant, confining him to ponds, lakes, and such like regions of frogs. But let us refer these things to the tragical monstrosity of Stoical opinions, and now make some particular reflections touching the extravagant pieces of certain artificers, who, as they are ingenious and elegant in some things, so are no less weakly curious and ambitious in others of their inventions; like him who, designing to signify the dawn of day-light or the hours of sunrise, painted a cock upon the hand of Apollo. And thus may these frogs be thought to have been designed by the artist to denote the spring, when the Sun begins to exercise his power in the air and to dissolve the winter congealments; at least, if we may believe, as you yourselves affirm, that Apollo and the Sun are both one God, and not two distinct Deities. Why, said Serapio, do you think the Sun and Apollo differ the one from the other? Yes, said I, as the Moon differs from the Sun. Nay, the difference is somewhat greater. For the Moon neither very often nor from all the world conceals the Sun; but the Sun is the cause that all men are ignorant of Apollo, by sense withdrawing the rational intellect from that which is to that which appears.
13. After this, Serapio put the question to the Historical Directors, why that same hall did not bear the name of Cypselus, who was both the founder and the consecrator, but was called the Corinthians’ Hall? When all the rest were silent, because perhaps they knew not what to say; How can we imagine, said I with a smile, that these people should either know or remember the reason, having been so amused and thunderstruck by your high-flown discourses of prodigies altogether supernatural? However we have heard it reported, when the monarchical government of Corinth was dissolved by the ruin of Cypselus, the Corinthians claimed the honor to own both the golden statue at Pisa, and the treasure that lay in that place; which was also by the Delphians decreed to be their just right. This glory being envied them by the Eleans, they were by a decree of the Corinthians utterly excluded from the solemnities of the Isthmian games. This is the true reason, that never since any person of the country of Elis was admitted to any trial of skill at those festivals. For as for that murder of the Molionidae, slain by Hercules near Cleonae, that was not the reason where fore Eleans were excluded, as some have vainly alleged; for on the contrary it had been more proper for the Eleans themselves to have excluded the Corinthians from the Olympic games, had they any animosity against them on this account. And this is all that I have to say in reference to this matter.
14. But when we came into the treasury of the Acanthians and Brasidas, the director showed us the place where formerly stood the obelisks dedicated to the memory of the courtesan Rhodopis. Then Diogenianus in a kind of passion said: It was no less ignominy for this city to allow Rhodopis a place wherein to deposit the tenth of her gains got by the prostitution of her body, than to put Aesop her fellow-servant to death. But why should you be offended at this, said Serapio, when you have but to cast up your eye, and you may yonder behold the golden statue of Mnesarete standing between kings and emperors, which Crates averred to be a trophy of the Grecian intemperance? The young man observed the statue, and said: But it was Phryne of whom Crates uttered that expression. That is very true, replied Serapio; for her proper name was Mnesarete; but Phryne was a nickname, given her by reason of the yellowness of her complexion, like the color of a toad that lies among moist and overgrown bushes, called in Greek φϱύνη. For many times it happens that nicknames eclipse and drown the proper names both of men and women. Thus the mother of Alexander, whose true name was Polyxena, was afterwards called Myrtale, then Olympias, and Stratonice; Eumetis the Corinthian was afterwards called from her father’s name Cleobule; and Herophyle of the city of Erythraea, skilful in divination, was called Sibylla. And the grammarians will tell you that Leda herself was first called Mnesionoe, and Orestes Achaeus. But how, said he, looking upon Theo, can you answer this complaint concerning Phryne, for being placed in so much state above her quality?
15. In the same manner, and as easily, replied Serapio, as I may charge and accuse yourself for reproaching the slightest faults among the Greeks. For as Socrates reprehended Callias for being always at enmity with perfumes and precious odors, while yet he could endure to see boys and girls dance and tumble together, and to be a spectator of the lascivious gestures of wanton mummers and merryandrews; so, in my opinion, it is with you that envy the standing of a woman’s statue in the temple, because she made ill use of her beauty. Yet, though you see Apollo surrounded with the first-fruits and tenths of murders, wars, and plunder, and all the temple full of spoils and pillage taken from the Greeks, these things never move your indignation; you never commiserate your countrymen, when you read engraved upon these gaudy donatives such doleful inscriptions as these, — Brasidas and the Acanthians dedicate these spoils taken from Athenians, — the Athenians these from the Corinthians, — the Phocians these from the Thessalians, — the Orneatae these from the Sicyonians, — the Amphictyons these from the Phocians. Now if it is true that Praxiteles offended Crates by erecting a statue in honor of his mistress, in my opinion Crates rather ought to have commended him for placing among the golden monuments of kings and princes the statue of a courtesan, thereby showing a contempt and scorn of riches, to which there is nothing of grandeur or veneration due; for it becomes princes and kings to consecrate to the God the lasting monuments of justice, temperance, magnanimity, not of golden and superfluous opulency, which are as frequently erected to the most flagitious of men.
16. But you forgot, said one of the directors, that Croesus honored the woman that baked his bread with a golden statue, which he caused to be set up in this place, not to make a show of royal superfluity, but upon a just and honest occasion of gratitude, which happened thus. It is reported that Alyattes, the father of Croesus, married a second wife, by whom he had other children. This same step-dame, therefore, designing to remove Croesus out of the way, gave the woman-baker a dose of poison, with a strict charge to put it in the bread which she made for the young prince. Of this the woman privately informed Croesus, and gave the poisoned bread to the queen’s children. By which means Croesus quietly succeeded his father; when he did no less than acknowledge the fidelity of the woman by making even the God himself a testimony of his gratitude, wherein he did like a worthy and virtuous prince. And therefore it is but fitting that we should extol, admire, and honor the magnificent presents and offerings consecrated by several cities upon such occasions, like that of the Opuntines. For when the tyrants of Phocis had broken to pieces, melted down, and coined into money the most precious of their sacred donatives, which they spent as profusely in the neighboring parts, the Opuntines made it their business to buy up all the plundered metal, wherever they could meet with it; and putting it up into a vessel made on purpose, they sent it as an offering to Apollo. And, for my part, I cannot but highly applaud the inhabitants of Myrina and Apollonia, who sent hither the first-fruits of their harvests in sheaves of gold; but much more the Eretrians and Magnesians, who dedicated to our God the first-fruits of their men, not only acknowledging that from him all the fruits of the earth proceeded, but that he was also the giver of children, as being the author of generation and a lover of mankind. But I blame the Megarians, for that they alone erected here a statue of our God holding a spear in his hand, in memory of the battle which they won from the Athenians, whom they vanquished after the defeat of the Medes, and expelled their city, of which they were masters before. However, afterwards they presented a golden plectrum to Apollo, remembering perhaps those verses of Scythinus, who thus wrote of the harp:
17. Now as Serapio was about to have added something of the same nature, the stranger, taking the words out of his mouth, said: I am wonderfully pleased to hear discourses upon such subjects as these; but I am constrained to claim your first promise, to tell me the reason wherefore now the Pythian prophetess no longer delivers her oracles in poetic numbers and measures. And therefore, if you please, we will surcease the remaining sight of these curiosities, choosing rather to sit a while and discourse the matter among ourselves. For it seems to be an assertion strangely repugnant to the belief and credit of the oracle, in regard that of necessity one of these two things must be true, either that the Pythian prophetess does not approach the place where the deity makes his abode, or that the sacred vapor that inspired her is utterly extinct, and its efficacy lost. Walking therefore to the south side of the temple, we took our seats within the portico, over against the temple of Tellus, having from thence a prospect of the Castalian fountain; insomuch that Boethus presently told us that the very place itself favored the stranger’s question. For formerly there stood a temple dedicated to the Muses, close by the source of the rivulet, whence they drew their water for the sacrifices, according to that of Simonides:
And the said Simonides a little lower calls Clio somewhat more curiously
And therefore Eudoxus erroneously gave credit to those that gave the epithet of Stygian to this water, near which the wiser sort placed the temple of the Muses, as guardians of the springs and assistants to prophecy; as also the temple of Tellus, to which the oracle appertained, and where the answers were delivered in verses and songs. And here it was, as some report, that first a certain heroic verse was heard to this effect:
which related to the time that the oracle, forsaken by the Deity, lost its veneration.
18. These things, then said Serapio, seem to belong of right to the Muses, as being their particular province; for it becomes us not to fight against the gods, nor with divination to abolish providence and divinity, but to search for convincement to refel repugnant arguments; and, in the mean time, not to abandon that religious belief and persuasion which has been so long propagated among us, from father to son, for so many generations.
You say very right, said I, Serapio; for we do not as yet despair of philosophy or give it over for lost, because, although formerly the ancient philosophers published their precepts and sentences in verse, — as did Orpheus, Hesiod, Parmenides, Xenophanes, Empedocles, and Thales, — yet that custom has been lately laid aside by all others except yourself. For you indeed once more have arrayed philosophy in poetic numbers, on purpose to render it more sprightly, more charming, and delightful to youth. Nor is astrology as yet become more ignoble or less valued, because Aristarchus, Timochares, Aristillus, and Hipparchus have written in prose, though formerly Eudoxus, Hesiod, and Thales wrote of that science in verse; at least if that astrology was the legitimate offspring of Thales which goes under his name. Pindar also acknowledges his dissatisfaction touching the manner of melody neglected in this time, and wonders why it should be so despised. Neither is it a thing that looks like hurtful or absurd, to enquire into the causes of these alterations. But to destroy the arts and faculties themselves because they have undergone some certain mutations, is neither just nor rational.
19. Upon which Theo interposing said: It cannot be denied but that there have been great changes and innovations in reference to poetry and the sciences; yet is it as certain, that from all antiquity oracles have been delivered in prose. For we find in Thucydides, that the Lacedaemonians, desirous to know the issue of the war then entered into against the Athenians, were answered in prose, that they should become potent and victorious, and that the Deity would assist them, whether invoked or not invoked; and again, that unless they recalled Pausanias, they would plough with a silver ploughshare.* To the Athenians consulting the oracle concerning their expedition into Sicily, he gave order to send for the priestess of Minerva from the city of Erythrae; which priestess went by the name of Hesychia, or repose. And when Dinomenes the Sicilian enquired what should become of his children, the oracle returned for answer, that they should all three be lords and princes. And when Dinomenes replied, But then, most powerful Apollo, let it be to their confusion; the God made answer, That also I both grant and promise. The consequence of which was, that Gelo was troubled with the dropsy during his reign, Hiero was afflicted with the stone, and the third, Thrasybulus, surrounded with war and sedition, was in a short time expelled his dominions. Procles also, the tyrant of Epidaurus, after he had cruelly and tyrannically murdered several others, put Timarchus likewise to death, who fled to him for protection from Athens with a great sum of money, — after he had pledged him his faith and received him at his first arrival with large demonstrations of kindness and affection, — and then threw his carcass into the sea, enclosed in a pannier. All this he did by the persuasion of one Cleander of Aegina, no other of his courtiers being privy to it. After which, meeting with no small trouble and misfortune in all his affairs, he sent to the oracle his brother Cleotimus, with orders to enquire whether he should provide for his safety by flight, or retire to some other place. Apollo made answer, that he advised Procles to fly where he had directed his Aeginetan guest to dispose of the pannier, or where the hart had cast his horns. Upon which the tyrant, understanding that the oracle commanded him either to throw himself into the sea or to bury himself in the earth (in regard that a stag, when he sheds his antlers, scrapes a hole in the ground and hides his ignominy), demurred a while; but at length, seeing the condition of his affairs grew every day worse and worse, he resolved to save himself by flight; at which time the friends of Timarchus, having seized upon his person, slew him and threw his body into the sea. But what is more than all this, the oracular answers according to which Lycurgus composed the form of the Lacedaemonian commonwealth were given in prose. Besides, Alyrius, Herodotus, Philochorus and Ister, than whom no men have been more diligent to collect the answers of the oracles, among the many which they cite in verse, quote several also in prose. And Theopompus, the most diligent that ever made scrutiny into oracular history, sharply reprehends those who believed the Pythian oracles were not delivered in verse at that time; and yet, when he labors to prove his assertion, he is able to produce but very few, because doubtless the rest even then were uttered in prose.
20. Yet there are some that now at this day run in verse; one of which has become notorious above the rest. There is in Phocis a temple consecrated to Hercules the woman-hater, the chief priest of which is forbid by the law and custom of the place to have private familiarity with his wife during the year that he officiates; for which reason they most commonly make choice of old men to perform that function. Nevertheless, some time since a young man, no way vicious and covetous of honor, yet doting upon a new married wife, took upon him the dignity. At first he was very chaste and temperate, and abstained from the woman; but soon after, the young lady coming to give him a visit as he was laid down to rest himself after a brisk dancing and drinking bout, he could not resist the charming temptation. But then, coming to himself and remembering what he had done, perplexed and terrified, he fled to the oracle to consult Apollo upon the crime which he had committed; who returned him this answer,
All things necessary God permitteth.
But should we grant that in our age no oracles are delivered in verse, we should be still doubtful about the ancient times, when the oracles were delivered sometime in verse sometime in prose. Though, whether it be in prose or verse, the oracle is never a whit the falser or the more miraculous, so that we have but a true and religious opinion of the Deity; not irreverently conceiting that formerly he composed a stock of verses to be now repeated by the prophetess, as if he spoke through masks and visors.
21. But these things require a more prolix discourse and a stricter examination, to be deferred till another time. For the present, therefore, let us only call to mind thus much, that the body makes use of several instruments, and the soul employs the body and its members; the soul being the organ of God. Now the perfection of the organ is to imitate the thing that makes use of it, so far as it is capable, and to exhibit the operation of its thought, according to the best of its own power; since it cannot show it as it is in the divine operator himself, — neat, without any affection, fault, or error whatsoever, — but imperfect and mixed. For of itself, the thing is to us altogether unknown, till it is infused by another and appears to us as fully partaking of the nature of that other. I forbear to mention gold or silver, brass or wax, or whatever other substances are capable to receive the form of an imprinted resemblance. For true it is, they all admit the impression; but still one adds one distinction, another another, to the imitation arising from their presentation itself; as we may readily perceive in mirrors, both plane, concave, and convex, infinite varieties of representations and faces from one and the same original; there being no end of that diversity.
But there is no mirror that more exactly represents any shape or form, nor any instrument that yields more obsequiously to the use of Nature, than the Moon herself. And yet she, receiving from the Sun his masculine splendor and fiery light, does not transmit the same to us; but when it intermixes with her pellucid substance, it changes color and loses its power. For warmth and heat abandon the pale planet, and her light grows dim before it can reach our sight. And this is that which, in my opinion, Heraclitus seems to have meant, when he said that the prince who rules the oracle of Delphi neither speaks out nor conceals, but signifies. Add then to these things thus rightly spoken this farther consideration, that the Deity makes use of the Pythian prophetess, so far as concerns her sight and hearing, as the Sun makes use of the Moon; for he makes use of a mortal body and an immortal soul as the organs of prediction. Now the body lies dull and immovable of itself; but the soul being restless, when once the soul begins to be in motion, the body likewise stirs, not able to resist the violent agitation of the nimbler spirit, while it is shaken and tossed as in a stormy sea by the tempestuous passions that ruffle within it. For as the whirling of bodies that merely move circularly is nothing violent, but when they move round by force and tend downward by nature, there results from both a confused and irregular circumrotation; thus that divine rapture which is called enthusiasm is a commixture of two motions, wherewith the soul is agitated, the one extrinsic, as by inspiration, the other by nature. For, seeing that as to inanimate bodies, which always remain in the same condition, it is impossible by preternatural violence to offer a force which is contrary to their nature and intended use, as to move a cylinder spherically or cubically, or to make a lyre sound like a flute, or a trumpet like a harp; how is it possible to manage an animate body, that moves of itself, that is indued with reason, will, and inclination, otherwise than according to its pre-existent reason, power, or nature; as (for example) to incline to music a person altogether ignorant and an utter enemy to music, or to make a grammarian of one that never knew his letters, or to make him speak like a learned man that never understood the least tittle of any science in the world?
22. For proof of this I may call Homer for my witness, who affirms that there is nothing done or brought to perfection of which God is not the cause, supposing that God makes use not of all men for all things alike, but of every man according to his ability either of art or nature. Thus, dost thou not find it to be true, friend Diogenianus, that when Minerva would persuade the Greeks to undertake any enterprise, she brings Ulysses upon the stage? — when she designs to break the truce, she finds out Pandarus? — when she designs a rout of the Trojans, she addresses herself to Diomede? For the one was stout of body and valiant; the other was a good archer, but without brains; the other a shrewd politician and eloquent. For Homer was not of the same opinion with Pindar, at least if it was Pindar that made the following verses:
For he well knew that there were different abilities and natures designed for different effects, every one of which is qualified with different motions, though there be but one moving cause that gives motion to all. So that the same virtual power which moves the creature that goes upon all four cannot cause it to fly, no more than he that stammers can speak fluently and eloquently, or he that has a feeble squeaking voice can give a loud hollow. Therefore in my opinion it was that Battus, when he consulted the oracle, was sent into Africa, there to build a new city, as being a person who, although he lisped and stammered, had nevertheless endowments truly royal, which rendered him fit for sovereign government. In like manner it is impossible the Pythian priestess should learn to speak learnedly and elegantly; for, though it cannot be denied but that her parentage was virtuous and honest, and that she always lived a sober and a chaste life, yet her education was among poor laboring people; so that she was advanced to the oracular seat rude and unpolished, void of all the advantages of art or experience. For as it is the opinion of Xenophon, that a virgin ready to be espoused ought to be carried to the bridegroom’s house when she has seen and heard as little as possible; so the Pythian priestess ought to converse with Apollo, illiterate and ignorant almost of every thing, still approaching his presence with a truly and pure virgin soul.
But it is a strange fancy of men; they believe that the God makes use of herons, wrens, and crows to signify future events, expressing himself according to their vulgar notes, but do not expect of these birds, although they are the messengers and ambassadors of the God, to deliver their predictions in words clear and intelligible; but they will not allow the Pythian priestess to pronounce her answers in plain, sincere, and natural expressions, but they demand that she shall speak in the poetical magnificence of high and stately verses, like those of a tragic chorus, with metaphors and figurative phrases, accompanied with the delightful sounds of flutes and hautboys.
23. What then shall we say of the ancients? Not one, but many things. First then, as hath been said already, that the ancient Pythian priestesses pronounced most of their oracles in prose. Secondly, that those ages produced complexions and tempers of body much more prone and inclined to poetry, with which immediately were associated those other ardent desires, affections, and preparations of the mind, which wanted only something of a beginning and a diversion of the fancy from more serious studies, not only to draw to their purpose (according to the saying of Philinus) astrologers and philosophers, but also in the heat of wine and pathetic affections, either of sudden compassion or surprising joy, to slide insensibly into voices melodiously tuned, and to fill banquets with charming odes or love songs, and whole volumes with amorous canzonets and mirthful inventions. Therefore, though Euripides tells us,
Love makes men poets who before no music knew,
he does not mean that love infuses music and poetry into men that were not already inclined to those accomplishments, but that it warms and awakens that disposition which lay unactive and drowsy before. Otherwise we might say that now there were no lovers in the world, but that Cupid himself was vanished and gone, because that now-a-days there is not one
as Pindar said. But this were absurd to affirm. For amorous impatiencies torment and agitate the minds of many men not addicted either to music or poetry, that know not how to handle a flute or touch a harp, and yet are no less talkative and inflamed with desire than the ancients. And I believe there is no person who would be so unkind to himself as to say that the Academy or the quires of Socrates and Plato were void of love, with whose discourses and conferences touching that passion we frequently meet, though they have not left any of their poems behind. And would it not be the same thing to say, there never was any woman that studied courtship but Sappho, nor ever any that were endued with the gift of prophecy but Sibylla and Aristonica and those that delivered their oracles and sacred raptures in verse? For wine, as saith Chaeremon, soaks and infuses itself into the manners and customs of them that drink it. Now poetic rapture, like the raptures of love, makes use of the ability of its subject, and moves every one that receives it, according to its proper qualification.
24. Nevertheless, if we do but make a right reflection upon God and his Providence, we shall find the alteration to be much for the better. For the use of speech seems to be like the exchange of money; that which is good and lawful is commonly current and known, and goes sometimes at a higher, sometimes at a lower value. Thus there was once a time when the stamp and coin of language was approved and passed current in verses, songs, and sonnets; for then all histories, all philosophical learning, all affections and subjects that required grave and solid discussion, were written in poetry and fitted for musical composition. For what now but a few will scarce vouchsafe to hear, then all men listened to,
The shepherd, ploughman, and bird-catcher too,*
as it is in Pindar; all delighted in songs and verses. For such was the inclination of that age and their readiness to versify, that they fitted their very precepts and admonitions to vocal and instrumental music. If they were to teach, they did it in songs fitted to the harp. If they were to exhort, reprove, or persuade, they made use of fables and allegories. And then for their praises of the Gods, their vows, and paeans after victory, they were all composed in verse; by some, as being naturally airy and flowing in their invention; by others, as habituated by custom. And therefore it is not that Apollo envies this ornament and elegancy to the science of divination; nor was it his design to banish from the Tripos his beloved Muse, but rather to introduce her when rejected by others, being rather a lover and kindler of poetic rapture in others, and choosing rather to furnish laboring fancies with imaginations, and to assist them to bring forth the lofty and learned kind of language, as most becoming and most to be admired.
But afterwards, when the conversation of men and custom of living altered with the change of their fortunes and dispositions, consuetude expelling and discarding all manner of superfluity rejected also golden top-knots, and silken vestments loosely flowing in careless folds, clipped their long dishevelled locks, and, laying aside their embroidered buskin, taught men to glory in sobriety and frugality in opposition to wantonness and superfluity, and to place true honor in simplicity and modesty, not in pomp and vain curiosity. And then it was that, the manner of writing being quite altered, history alighted from versifying, as it were from riding in chariots, and on foot distinguished truth from fable; and philosophy, in a clear and plain style, familiar and proper to instruct rather than to astonish the world with metaphors and figures, began to dispute and enquire after truth in common and vulgar terms. And then it was, that Apollo caused the Pythian priestess to surcease calling her fellow-citizens fire-inflaming, the Spartans serpent-devourers, men by the name of Oreanes, and rivers by the name of mountain-drainers; and discarding verses, uncouth words, circumlocutions, and obscurity, taught the oracles to speak as the laws discourse to cities, and as princes speak to their people and their subjects, or as masters teach their scholars, appropriating their manner of speech to good sense and persuasive grace.
25. For, as Sophocles tells us, we are to believe the Deity to be
And ever since belief and perspicuity thus associated together, it came to pass by alteration of circumstances that, whereas formerly the vulgar looked with a high veneration upon whatever was extraordinary and extravagant, and conceived a more than common sanctity to lie concealed under the veil of obscurity, afterwards men desirous to understand things clearly and easily, without flowers of circumlocutions and disguisements of dark words, not only began to find fault with oracles enveloped with poetry, as repugnant to the easy understanding of the real meaning, and overshadowing the sentence with mist and darkness, but also suspected the truth of the very prophecy itself which was muffled up in so many metaphors, riddles, and ambiguities, which seemed no better than holes to creep out at and evasions of censure, should the event prove contrary to what had been foretold. And some there were who reported that there were several extempore poets entertained about the Tripos, who were to receive the words as they dropped roughly from the oracle, and presently by virtue of their extempore fancy to model them into verses and measures, that served (as it were) instead of hampers and baskets to convey the answers from place to place. I forbear to tell how far those treacherous deceivers like Onomacritus, Herodotus (?), and Cyneso, have contributed to dishonor the sacred oracles, by their interlarding of bombast expressions and high-flown phrases, where there was no necessity of any such alteration. It is also as certain, that those mountebanks, jugglers, impostors, gipsies, and all that altar-licking tribe of vagabonds that set up their throats at the festivals and sacrifices to Cybele and Serapis, have highly undervalued poesy; some of them extempore, and others by lottery from certain little books, composing vain predictions, which they may sell to servants and silly women, that easily suffer themselves to be deluded by the overawing charms of serious ambiguity couched in strained and uncouth ballatry. Whence it comes to pass, that poetry, seeming to prostitute itself among cheats and deluders of the people, among mercenary gipsies and mumping charlatans, has lost its ancient credit, and is therefore thought unworthy the honor of the Tripos.
26. And therefore I do not wonder that the ancients stood in need of double meaning, of circumlocution, and obscurity. For certainly never any private person consulted the oracle when he went to buy a slave or hire workmen; but potent cities, kings and princes, whose undertakings and concernments were of vast and high concernment, and whom it was not expedient for those that had the charge of the oracle to disoblige or incense by the return of answers ungrateful to their ears. For the deity is not bound to observe that law of Euripides, where he says,
Therefore, when he makes use of mortal prophets and agents, of whom it behooves him to take a more especial care that they be not destroyed in his service, he does not altogether go about to suppress the truth, but only eclipses the manifestation of it, like a light divided into sundry reflections, rendering it by the means of poetic umbrage less severe and ungrateful in the delivery. For it is not convenient that princes or their enemies should presently know what is by Fate decreed to their disadvantage. Therefore he so envelops his answers with doubts and ambiguities as to conceal from others the true understanding of what was answered; though to them that came to the oracle themselves, and gave due attention to the deliverer, the meaning of the answer is transparently obvious. Most impertinent therefore are they who, considering the present alteration of things, accuse and exclaim against the Deity for not assisting in the same manner as before.
27. And this may be farther said, that poetry brings no other advantage to the answer than this, that the sentence being comprised and confined within a certain number of words and syllables bounded by poetic measure is more easily carried away and retained in memory. Therefore it behooved those that formerly lived to have extraordinary memories, to retain the marks of places, the times of such and such transactions, the ceremonies of deities beyond the sea, the hidden monuments of heroes, hard to be found in countries far from Greece. For in those expeditions of Phalanthus and several other admirals of great navies, how many signs were they forced to observe, how many conjectures to make, ere they could find the seat of rest allotted by the oracle! In the observance of which there were some nevertheless that failed, as Battus among others. For he said that he failed because he had not landed in the right place to which he was sent; and therefore returning back he complained to the oracle. But Apollo answered:
and so sent him back again. Lysander also, ignorant of the hillock Archelides, also called Alopecus, and the river Hoplites, nor apprehensive of what was meant by
The earth-born dragon, treacherous foe behind,
being overthrown in battle, was there slain by Neochorus the Haliartian, who bare for his device a dragon painted upon his shield. But it is needless to recite any more of these ancient examples of oracles, difficult to be retained in memory, especially to you that are so well read.
28. And now, God be praised, there is an end of all those questions which were the grounds of consulting the oracle. For now we repose altogether in the soft slumbers of peace; all our wars are at an end. There are now no tumults, no civil seditions, no tyrannies, no pestilences nor calamities depopulating Greece, no epidemic diseases needing powerful and choice drugs and medicines. Now, when there is nothing of variety, nothing of mystery, nothing dangerous, but only bare and ordinary questions about small trifles and vulgar things, as whether a man may marry, whether take a voyage by sea, or lend his money safely at interest, — and when the most important enquiries of cities are concerning the next harvest, the increase of their cattle, or the health of the inhabitants, — there to make use of verses, ambiguous words, and confounding obscurities, where the questions require short and easy answers, causes us to suspect that the sacred minister studies only cramp expressions, like some ambitious sophister, to wrest admiration from the ignorant. But the Pythian priestess is naturally of a more generous disposition; and therefore, when she is busy with the Deity, she has more need of truth than of satisfying her vain-glory, or of minding either the commendations or the dispraise of men.
29. And well it were, that we ourselves should be so affected. But on the contrary, being in a quandary and jealousy lest the oracle should lose the reputation it has had for these three thousand years, and lest people should forsake it and forbear going to it, we frame excuses to ourselves, and feign causes and reasons of things which we do not know, and which it is not convenient for us to know; out of a fond design to persuade the persons thus oddly dissatisfied, whom it became us rather to let alone. For certainly the mistake must redound to ourselves,* when we shall have such an opinion of our Deity as to approve and esteem those ancient and pithy proverbs of wise men, written at the entrance into the temple, “Know thyself,” “Nothing to excess,” as containing in few words a full and close compacted sentence, and yet find fault with the modern oracle for delivering answers concise and plain. Whereas those apophthegms are like waters crowded and pent up in a narrow room or running between contracted banks, where we can no more discern the bottom of the water than we can the depth and meaning of the sentence. And yet, if we consider what has been written and said concerning those sentences by such as have dived into their signification with an intent to clear their abstruseness, we shall hardly find disputes more prolix than those are. But the language of the Pythian priestess is such as the mathematicians define a right line to be, that is to say, the shortest that may be drawn betwixt two points. So likewise doth she avoid all winding and circles, all double meanings and abstruse ambiguities, and proceed directly to the truth. And though she has been obnoxious to strict examination, yet is she not to be misconstrued without danger, nor could ever any person to this very day convict her of falsehood; but on the other side, she has filled the temple with presents, gifts, and offerings, not only of the Greeks but barbarians, and adorned the seat of the oracle with the magnificent structures and fabrics of the Amphictyons. And we find many additions of new buildings, many reparations of the old ones that were fallen down or decayed by time. And as we see from trees overgrown with shade and verdant boughs other lesser shoots sprout up; thus has the Delphian concourse afforded growth and grandeur to the assembly of the Amphictyons, which is fed and maintained by the abundance and affluence arising from thence, and has the form and show of magnificent temples, stately meetings, and sacred waters; which, but for the ceremonies of the altar, would not have been brought to perfection in a thousand years. And to what other cause can we attribute the fertility of the Galaxian Plains in Boeotia but to their vicinity to this oracle, and to their being blessed with the neighboring influences of the Deity, where from the well-nourished udders of the bleating ewes milk flows in copious streams, like water from so many fountain-heads?
To us appear yet more clear and remarkable signs of the Deity’s liberality, while we behold the glory of far-famed store and plenty overflowing former penury and barrenness. And I cannot but think much the better of myself for having in some measure contributed to these things with Polycrates and Petraeus. Nor can I less admire the first author and promoter of this good order and management. And yet it is not to be thought that such and so great change should come to pass in so small a time by human industry, without the favor of the Deity assisting and blessing his oracle.
30. But although there were some formerly who blamed the ambiguity and obscurity of the oracle, and others who at this day find fault with its modern plainness and perspicuity, yet are they both alike unjust and foolish in their passion; for, like children better pleased with the sight of rainbows, comets, and those halos that encircle the sun and moon, than to see the sun and moon themselves in their splendor, they are taken with riddles, abstruse words, and figurative speeches, which are but the reflections of oracular divination to the apprehension of our mortal understanding. And because they are not able to make a satisfactory judgment of this change, they find fault with the God himself, not considering that neither we nor they are able by discourse of reason to reach unto the hidden counsels and designs of the Deity.
[* ]Odyss. VII. 107.
[* ]Odyss. III. 1.
[* ]See Thucydides, I. 118; V. 16.
[* ]Θεοῦ θέλοντος, κἄν ἐπὶ ῥιπὸς πλέοις.
[* ]Pindar, Isthm. I. 67.
[* ]Odyss. II. 190.