Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Renaissance Mathematicus on the contributions of Fludd

"Historians of medicine and alchemy have long ago demonstrated that Paracelsian medicine, although in terms of healing craft no improvement, helped to pave the way away from the humoral medicine of antiquity to modern scientific medicine and that the Paracelsian chemists laid the foundations for both chemical pharmacology and chemistry. Fludd was the leading Paracelsian physician in Britain in the first half of the seventeenth century. Fludd was also an independent co-inventor of the thermoscope the predecessor of the thermometer. Lastly Fludd was a close friend and colleague of William Harvey and was the first to accept and publicly support Harvey theory of the blood circulation. He even helped Harvey to get his De mortu cordis published by his printers in Germany."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dee utilized the analogy between kabbalah and alchemy

Winslade paraphrases and quotes Forshaw in "Thinning the Veils."

Dee recognized and utilized the analogy between kabbalah, in which the Hebrew language in the Torah is broken down and recombined to generate new meanings, and alchemy, "in which substances were reduced to their primal matter, and then recombined and transmuted to create and reveal new products"

Gift ideas for students interested in authentic Jewish Kabbalah

Introductory collection of quotations by the current translator of the Zohar. Best starting point.

Concise and helpful historical introduction by one of the top Jewish Kabbalah scholars.

Magisterial lectures from the first great scholar of Kabbalah. Highly influential.

Critical response to Scholem's Major Trends by one of the greatest living Kabbalah scholars.

Dense but rewarding, theory-heavy study situates Kabbalah in contemporary thought.

Useful collection of Kabbalistic sources and earlier Jewish visionary/mystical texts.

Introductory edition of selections from the Zohar, most important text of Kabbalah.

The most current scholarly translation of the Zohar, laden with footnotes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fanger vs. Harkness on neglect of John Dee's medieval magical influences

She does not recognize that in Dee's arguments for a divine and Christian rationale behind his operations lies a rhetoric (and a set of biblical topoi) already much worn by use. Although she cites Stephen Clucas' recent work on the precedents for Dee's practices in medieval Solomonic magic, she largely ignores its implications; at any rate she does not pursue his leads and does not seem to have looked closely at most of the texts he cites.

The assumption that Dee's practices are original with him, or at the very least must harbor early modern principles (as opposed to medieval principles or precedents) sometimes leads her to misread the evidence. So, for example, Harkness writes:

In Dee's time ... Reformation theologians placed a new emphasis on the ways in which prayer could foster an "unmediated relationship between the individual and God." Dee showed himself, in this respect at least, very much a Protestant, for he did not direct his prayers to intercessory agents .... He communicated with God directly, and asked the Deity to send angels, who would then function as intermediaries in the transmission of divine knowledge. (125)

However addressing God in order to request the presence of angels to deliver information is a standard procedure of such operations, having little to do with the Reformation or Protestant theology. In medieval texts like the Ars notoria and its avatars, and in fact in those crystallomantic experiments intended to bring down angels (whose prayers differed in no fundamental aspect from orthodox Christian prayers, or for that matter, from Dee's), God is typically addressed directly and is similarly requested to send angels as intermediaries in the transmission of knowledge. (See for example the crystallomantic experiments numbered 24 and 25 edited by Kieckhefer in Forbidden Rites [Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing, 1997], 244-245). Harkness' unfamiliarity with the medieval traditions of theurgy leads her to overstate as well the distinction between "magical invocation" and "prayer." She writes: "In prayer, the practitioner subjects himself to the will of God. In magical invocation, on the other hand, the practitioner subverts the hierarchical arrangement of the cosmos by asserting his or her will over a spirit and, through a subsequent binding spell, controlling a spirit's actions."(120)

Yet in practice few texts show more consciousness of the hierarchical arrangement of the cosmos than those devoted to conjuring spirits. All use prayer; even necromantic rituals often show a fine sensitivity to the order in which lower spirits must be bound by loftier ones, and it is generally recognized in one way or another that the whole machine moves at the will of God. While is not clear in all cases whether the spirits involved in necromantic experiments are good, bad, or simply neutral, in those experiments and texts explicitly devoted to the invocation of angels, the angels are typically not "bound" or coerced in the way that demons are -- as Dee clearly knew himself, their presence was requested through humble petition to God.


Other bald generalisations about practices commonly characterised as "magical" obscure their possible relevance to Dee's enterprise. Harkness writes: "In late medieval and early modern Europe stones were used in divination typically to locate stolen property, a practice decried by the church." (117) While it is true that the immediate point of many kinds of divination is the location of stolen property (or hidden treasure), it is also true that medieval texts which actually describe the prayers and rituals accompanying the use of crystal stones show a somewhat broader and more interesting array of spiritual concerns and sensitivities than such a characterization might suggest. In fact, even in respect of using the crystal to locate hidden treasure, Dee's work is hardly unusual, for Dee himself was wont to use the crystal to ask questions about hidden treasure whenever his financial fortune was at a low ebb (as Harkness notes in another location). Doubtless Dee had other concerns as well; but so too, sometimes, did medieval conjurers of angels, whose aims and motivations were sufficiently close to Dee's to warrant further and more detailed comparison of their prayers and practices to Dee's. While it is probably true that Dee's concerns in his angelic conversations differed in certain ways from those of the medieval predecessors, Harkness is not really sufficiently aware of the medieval practices to make authoritative statements about what these differences are.
Review of John Dee's Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature

Constellations of Abd ar-Rahman al-Sufi

A medieval reference to the Andromeda Nebula

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Leo Catana on Bruno's "system" and "principle" in De minimo, De Causa

Bruno's division between mathematics, metaphysics and physics, the acclaimed systematic Nucleus in the Frankfurt trilogy, goes back to Medieval organization of knowledge, and is not "deduced"--simpliciter--from his concept of the minimum. Nor does Bruno say so.

In Bruno's De minimo, two principles ('principles' in the sense of ontological origin) govern his doctrine of atomism, namely that of the minimum, the atom, and that of the spiritus architectus, probably corresponding to the Neoplatonic hypostasis also called the World Soul. The latter infuses and coordinates teh former, just like the centre of a circle determines the circumference of the circle, Bruno says. Brucker ignores Bruno's comments on the reciprocal relationship betwen the minimum and the spiritus architectus--probably because they did not conform with Brucker's concept of system of philosophy, according to which there should be a deductive relationship from one principle, the minimum, to a body of doctrines. Bruno, in fact, referring to his De causa, principio e uno for further clarification, re-states his theory of the coincidence of opposites, which he calls a 'principle', in the sense of a general theory, pointing out that this theory also applies to nature, thus affecting the concepts minimum and maximum (i.e. God), as is indeed the case in the De la causa.
The Historiographical Concept 'System of Philosophy' p.55

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hegel on Giordano Bruno

3. Bruno.

Giordano Bruno was of an equally restless and effervescent temperament, and we see in him a bold rejection of all Catholic beliefs resting on mere authority. In modern times he has again been brought into remembrance by Jacobi (Werke, Vol. IV. Section II. pp. 5-46), who appended to his letters on Spinoza an abstract of one of Bruno’s works. Jacobi caused great attention to be paid to Bruno, more especially by his assertion that the sum of Bruno’s teaching was the One and All of Spinoza, or really Pantheism; on account of the drawing of this parallel Bruno obtained a reputation which passes his deserts. He was less restless than Cardanus; but he had no fixed habitation on the earth. He was born at Nola in the province of Naples, and lived in the sixteenth century; the year of his birth is not known with certainty. He roamed about in most of the European states, in Italy, France, England, Germany, as a teacher of philosophy: he forsook Italy, where at one time he had been a Dominican friar, and where he had made bitter reflections both upon various Catholic dogmas — for instance, on transubstantiation and the immaculate conception of the Virgin — and upon the gross ignorance and scandalous lives of the monks. He then lived in Geneva in 1582, but there he fell out in the same way with Calvin and Beza, and could not live with them: he made some stay in several other French cities, such as Lyons; and after a time he came to Paris, where in 1585 he formally challenged the adherents of Aristotle, by following a practice greatly in favour in those days (supra, p. 112),. and proposing for public disputation a series of philosophic theses, which were specially directed against Aristotle. They appeared under the title Jord. Bruni Nol. Rationes articulorum physicorum adversus Peripateticos Parisiis propositorum, Vitebergæ apud Zachariam Cratonem, 1588; he was not successful in them, however, as the position of the Aristotelians was still too well assured. Bruno was also in London; he visited Wittenberg in the year 1586; he likewise stayed in Prague and other universities and towns. In Helmstedt he was high in the favour of the Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg in 1589; after that he went to Frankfort-on-Main, where he had several of his works printed. He was a wandering professor and author. Finally he came back to Italy in 1592, and lived in Padua for some time undisturbed, but at last he was ,seized in Venice by the Inquisition, cast into prison, sent on to Rome, and there in the year 1600, refusing to recant, he was burned at the stake as a heretic. Eye-witnesses, and amongst them Scioppius, recount that he met death with the most unflinching courage. He had become a Protestant when in Germany, and had broken the vows of his order.

Among both Catholics and Protestants his writings were held to be heretical and atheistic, and therefore they were burned and destroyed, or kept in concealment. His complete works are hence very seldom met with; the greatest number of them are to be found in the University Library at Göttingen; the fullest account of them is given in Buhle’s History of Philosophy (supra, Vol. I. p. 113). His works are for the most part rare, and in many cases interdicted; in Dresden they are still included among prohibited writings, and are therefore not to be seen there. Lately 2 an edition of them in the Italian language was prepared, which possibly has never yet been issued. Bruno also wrote a great deal in Latin. Wherever he took up his abode for a time, he gave public lectures, wrote and published works; and this increases the difficulty of making complete acquaintance with his books. Many of his writings are for the above reason very similar in their matter, the form only being different, and in the evolution of his thoughts he never consequently advanced very much nor attained to any results. But the loading characteristic of his various writings is really to some extent the grand enthusiasm of a noble soul, which has a sense of indwelling spirit, and knows the unity of its own. Being and all Being to be the whole life of thought. There is something bacchantic in his way of apprehending this deep consciousness; it overflows in becoming thus an object of thought, and in the expression of its riches. But it is only in knowledge that spirit can bring itself forth as a whole; when it has not yet attained to this point of scientific culture, it reaches out after all forms, without bringing them first into due order. Bruno displays just such an unregulated and multiform profusion; and on that account his expositions have frequently a dreamy, confused, allegorical appearance of mystical enthusiasm. Many of his writings are in verse, and much that is fantastic finds a place in them, as for instance when he says in one of his works, entitled La Bestia Trionfante, that something else must be put in place of the stars. He sacrificed his personal welfare to the great enthusiasm which filled him, and which left him no peace. It is easy to say that he was “C a restless being, who could get on with nobody.” But whence did this restlessness come to him? What he could not get on with was the finite, the evil, the ignoble. Thence arose his restlessness. He rose to the one universal substantiality by putting an end to this separation of self-consciousness and nature, whereby both alike are degraded. God was in self-consciousness, it was admitted, but externally, and as remaining something different from self-consciousness, another reality; while Nature was made by God, being His creature, not an image of Him. The goodness of God displayed itself only in final causes, finite ends, as when it is said: “Bees make honey for man’s food; the cork tree grows to provide stoppers for bottles.”

As to his reflections, Jacobi has by his recent [1805-6] exposition of them made it seem as if it were a theory specially characteristic of Bruno that one living Being, one World-Soul, should penetrate all existence, and should be the life of all. Bruno asserted, in the first place, the unity of life and the universality of the World-Soul, and, in the second place, the indwelling presence of reason; but Bruno in so saying is far from being original, and in fact this doctrine is a mere echo of the Alexandrian. But in his writings there are two specially marked features. The first is the nature of his system, based as it is on his leading thoughts, or his philosophic principles generally, namely the Idea as substantial unity. The second, which is closely connected with the first, is his use of the Art of Lullius; this is specially emphasized and highly esteemed by him, the art of finding differences in the Idea it he wished to bring into special recognition.

a. His philosophic thoughts, to express which he sometimes made use of Aristotle’s concepts, give evidence of a peculiar, highly strung and very original mind. The substance of his general reflections is found in the greatest enthusiasm for the above-mentioned vitality of Nature, divinity, the presence of reason in Nature. His philosophy is thus on the whole certainly Spinozism, Pantheism. The separation of man from God or the world, all such relations of externality, have been superadded to his living idea of the absolute, universal unity of all things, for the expression of which idea Bruno has been so greatly admired. In his conception of things the main points are that, on the one hand, he gives the universal determination of matter, and, on the other hand, that of form.

a. The unity of life he thus determines as the universal, active understanding (nous), which manifests itself as the universal form of all the world, and comprehends all forms in itself; it bears the same relation to the production of natural objects as does the understanding of man, and moulds and systematizes them, as the human understanding moulds the multitude of its concepts. It is the artist within, who shapes and forms the material without. From within the root or the seed-grain it makes the shoot come forth; from this again it brings the branches, and from them the twigs, and from out of. the twigs it calls forth the buds, and leaves, and flowers. All is planned, prepared and perfected within. In the same way this universal reason within calls back their saps from the fruits and. blossoms to the twigs, and so on. The universe is thus an infinite animal, in which all things live and move and have their being in modes the most diverse. The formal understanding is thus in no wise different from the Final Cause (the Notion of end, the entelechy, the unmoved principle, which we meet with in Aristotle); but these are just as truly also active understanding, the efficient cause (causæ efficiens), this same producing force. Nature and Spirit are not separated; their unity is the formal understanding, in which is contained the pure Notion, not as in consciousness, but as free and independent, remaining within itself, and at the same time exercising activity and passing beyond itself. The understanding working towards one particular end is the inward form of the thing itself, an inward principle of the understanding. What is continually produced is in accordance with this form, and contained. within it; what appears. is determined as the form is in itself determined. With Proclus in the same way the understanding, as substantial, is that which includes all things in its unity: life is the outgoing, the producing force: and the understanding as such similarly includes the returning force, which brings all things back into unity. In dealing with Kant’s philosophy we shall have again to mention this determination of final purpose.

That which has organic life, whose principle is formative, which bas its efficacy in. itself, and in the same only remains at home with itself and maintains itself, is nothing but the end, the activity determined in itself, which in its relation to what is different does not comport itself as mere cause, but returns upon itself.

b. Bruno, who asserts the final cause to be immediately operative, and the life immanent in the universe, asserts it also to be existent, as substance; he is therefore opposed to the conception of a merely extra-mundane understanding. To a certain extent Bruno distinguishes form and matter in substance, which itself, as the aforesaid activity of the Idea, is the unity of form and matter; thus matter has life in itself. The permanent element in the endless changes of existence is, he says, the first and absolute matter; although without form, it is nevertheless the mother of all forms, and receptive of all forms. Because matter is not without the first universal form, it is itself principle or in itself final cause. Form is immanent in matter; the one simply cannot exist without the other; thus matter itself brings about these changes of form, and the same matter runs through them all. What was at first seed becomes blade, then ear, then bread, chyle, blood, seed of animal, an embryo, a human being, a corpse, then once more earth, stone, or other substance; from sand and water frogs are produced. Here then we can perceive something which, although it transforms itself into all these things in turn, yet still in itself remains one and the same. This matter cannot be a body, for bodies have form; nor can it belong to the class which we term properties, attributes, or qualities, for these are liable to change. Thus nothing seems to be eternal and worthy of the name of a principle, except matter. Many have for this reason held matter to be the only reality, and all forms to be accidental. This error arises from the fact of their recognizing only a form of the second kind, and not that necessary first and eternal form, which is the form and source of all forms. In the same way the aforesaid matter, on account of its identity with the understanding which causes form beforehand, is itself intelligible, as the universal presupposition of all corporeality. Because it is everything in general, it is nothing in particular, neither air nor water, nor anything else, abstract or otherwise; it has no dimensions, in order to have all dimensions. The forms of matter are the inward power of matter itself; it is, as intelligible, the very totality of form. This system of Bruno’s is thus objective Spinozism, and nothing else; one can see how deeply he penetrated.

Bruno here asks the question: “But this first universal form and that first universal matter, how are they united, inseparable? Different — and yet one Being?” He answers by making use of the Aristotelian forms of dunamis and energeia: Matter is to be regarded as potentiality; in this way all possible forms of existence in a certain sense are included in the Notion of it. The passivity of matter must be regarded as pure and absolute. Now it is impossible to attribute existence to a thing which lacks the power to exist. Existence has, however, such an express reference to the active mode, that it is at once clear that the one cannot exist without the other, but that each of them pre-supposes the other. If therefore at all times a capacity of working, producing, creating, was there, so must there also have been at all times a capacity of being worked upon, produced, created. The perfect potentiality of the existence of things (matter) cannot precede their actual existence, and just as little can it remain after that is past. The first and most perfect principle includes all existence in itself, can be all things, and is all things. Active power and potentiality, possibility and actuality are therefore in it one undivided and indivisible principle. This simultaneousness of acting and being acted upon is a very important determination; matter is nothing without activity, form is therefore the power and inward life of matter. If matter were nothing but indeterminate potentiality, how would the determinate be arrived at? This simplicity of matter is itself only one moment of form: in wishing therefore to tear asunder matter and form, matter is at once established in one determination of form, but in so doing there is immediately established also the existence of the Other.

Thus the Absolute is determined for Bruno: it is not so with other things, which may exist and also may not exist, and which may be determined in one way or in another way. In regard to finite things and in finite determinations of the understanding the distinction between form and matter is thus present. The individual man is at every moment what he may be at that moment, but not everything which he may be in general and with reference to substance. The things which appear to be different are only modifications of one single thing which includes in its existence all other existence. The universe, unbegotten Nature, is, however, everything which it can be in reality and at one time, because it includes in itself the whole of matter, as well as the eternal, unchangeable form of its changing forms. But in its developments from moment to moment, its particular parts, qualities, individual existences, in its externality as a whole, it is no more what it is and may be; but a part such as this is only a shadow of the image of the first principle. Thus Bruno wrote also a book, De umbris idearum.

g. This is Bruno’s fundamental idea. He says: “To recognize this unity of form and matter in all things, is what reason is striving to attain to. But in order to penetrate to this unity, in order to investigate all the secrets of Nature, we must search into the opposed and contradictory extremes of things, the maximum and the minimum.” It is in these very extremes that they are intelligible, and become united in the Notion; and this union of them is infinite Nature. “To find the point of union is not the greatest matter; but to develop from the same its very opposite, this is the real and the deepest secret of the art.” It is saying much if we speak of knowing the development of the Idea as a necessity of determinations; we shall see later how Bruno proceeded to do this. He represents the original principle, which is elsewhere known as the form, under the Notion of the minimum, which is at the same time the maximum — One, which at the same time is All; the universe is this One in All. In the universe, he says, the body is not distinguished from the point, nor the centre from the circumference, nor the finite from the infinite, nor the maximum from the minimum. There is nothing but centre point; or the centre point is everywhere and in everything. The ancients expressed the same by saying of the Father of the gods., that he really had his dwelling-place in every point of the universe. It is the universe that first gives to things true reality; it is the substance of all things, the monad, the atom, the spirit poured out on all things, the innermost essence, the pure form.[1]

b. The second object to which Bruno devoted himself was the so-called Lullian Art, which received its name from its first inventor, the Scholastic Raymundus Lullus (supra, pp. 92-94). Bruno adopted this and carried it to completion; he termed it also his ars combinatoria. This art is in some respects like what we met with in Aristotle under the name of the Topics (Vol. II. pp. 217, 218), seeing that both give an immense number of “places” and determinations which were fixed in the conception like a table with its divisions, in order that these headings might be applied to all that came to hand. But the Topics of Aristotle did this in order to apprehend and determine an object in its various aspects, while Bruno rather worked for the sake of lightening the task of memory. He thus really connected the Lullian Art with the art of mnemonics as practised by the ancients, which has come into notice again in recent times, and which will be found described in greater detail in the Auctor ad Herentium (Libr. III.c. 17, sqq.). To give an example: one establishes for oneself a certain number of different departments in the imagination, which are, to be chosen at pleasure; there may be perhaps twelve of these, arranged in sets of three, and indicated by certain words, such as Aaron, Abimelech, Achilles, Berg, Baum, Baruch, etc., into which divisions due inserts, as it were, what has to be learnt by heart, and forms it into a succession of pictures. In this way when we repeat it, we have not to say it from memory or out of our head, as we are accustomed to do, but we have only to read it off as if from a table. The only difficulty lies in making some ingenious connection between the content in question and the picture; that gives rise to the most unholy combinations, and the art is therefore not one to be commended. Bruno also soon abandoned it, since what had been a matter of memory became a matter of imagination; which was, of course, a descent. But since with Bruno the diagram is not only a picture of external images, but a system of universal determinations of thought, he certainly gave to this art a deeper inward meaning.[2]

a. Bruno passes over to this art from universal ideas which are given. Since namely one life, one understanding is in all things, Bruno had the dim hope of apprehending this universal understanding in the totality of its determinations, and of subsuming all things under it — of setting up a logical philosophy by its means, and making it applicable in all directions .2 He says: The object of consideration therein is the universe in so far as it enters into the relation of the true, the knowable and the rational. Like Spinoza he distinguishes between the intelligible thing of reason and the actual thing: As metaphysics has for object the universal thing, which is divided into substance and accident, so the chief matter is that there is a single and more universal art which knits together and compasses round the thing of reason and the actual thing, and recognizes them both as harmonizing with one another, so that the many, be they of what kind they may, are led back to simple unity.

b. For Bruno the principle in all this is the understanding generally: None other than the understanding whose activity extends beyond itself, which brings into existence the sensuous world. It is related to the illumination of the spirit as the sun is related to the eye: it relates therefore to a phenomenal manifold, illuminating this, not itself. The Other is the active understanding in itself, which is related to the objects of thought in their various classes, as the eye is to things visible. The infinite form, the active understanding which dwells in reason, is the first, the principle, which develops; the process in some respects resembles what was met with in the Neo-Platonists. Bruno’s great endeavour is really now to apprehend and demonstrate the modes of organizing this active understanding.

g. This is presented more in detail as follows: To the pure truth itself, the absolute light, man approaches only; his Being is not absolute Being itself, which alone is the One and First. He rests only under the shadow of the Idea, whose purity is the light, but which at the same time partakes of the darkness. The light of substance emanates from this pure First Light, the light of accident emanates from the light of substance. This we met with also in Proclus (supra, Vol. II. p. 446) as the third moment in the first triad. This absolute principle in its unity is for Bruno the first matter, and the first act of this principle he names the original light (actus primus lucis). But substances and accidents, which are many, cannot receive the full light, they are therefore only included in the shadow of the light; in like manner the ideas also are only shadows thereof. The development of Nature goes on from moment to moment; created things are only a shadow of the first principle, not the first principle itself.

d. Bruno continues: From this super-essential (superessentiale) — an expression which is also met with in Proclus (supra, Vol. II. p. 441) — advance is made to the essences, from the essences to that which is, from that which is to their traces, images and shadows, and that in a double direction: both towards matter, in order to be produced within her (these shadows are then present in natural fashion), and also towards sensation and reason, in order to be known by means of these. Things withdraw themselves from the First Light towards the darkness. But since all things in the universe are in close connection, the lower with the middle, and those with the upper, the compound with the simple, the simple with those which are more simple, the material with the spiritual, in order that there may be one universe, one order and government of the same, one principle and aim, one first and last; so, following the sound of the lyre of the universal Apollo (an expression which we saw used by Heraclitus, Vol. I. pp. 284, 285), the lower can be led back step by step to the higher, as fire was condensed and transformed into air, air into water, water into earth. Thus One Being is in all. That process is the same as this return, and they form a circle. Nature within her limits .Can produce all from all, and so the understanding can also know all from all.

e. The unity of opposites is explained more in detail as follows: The diversity of shadows is no real opposition. In the same conception the opposites are known, the beautiful and the ugly, the appropriate and the inappropriate, the perfect and the imperfect, the good and the evil. Imperfection, evil, ugliness, do not rest upon special ideas of their own; they become known in another conception, not in one peculiar to themselves, which is nothing. For this that is peculiarly theirs is the nonexistent in the existent, the defect in the effect. The first understanding is the original light; it streams its light out of the innermost to the outermost, and draws it again from the outermost to itself. Every Being can, according to its capacity, appropriate somewhat of this light.

z. The real element in things is just that which is intelligible, not that which is perceived or felt, or what peculiar to the individual; whatever else is termed real, the sensuous, is non-Being. All that comes to pass beneath the sun, all that dwells in the region of matter, falls under the notion of vanity (finitude). Seek to take from Ideas a firm basis for thy conceptions, if thou art wise. The pure light of things is nothing but this knowableness, which proceeds from the first understanding and is directed towards it; the non-existent is not known. What is here contrast and diversity, is in the first understanding harmony and unity. Try therefore if thou canst identify the images thou hast received, if thou canst harmonize and unite them; thus thou wilt not render thy mind weary, thy thoughts obscure, and thy memory confused. Through the idea which is in the understanding a better conception of anything will be formed than by means of the form of the natural thing in itself, because this last is more material: but that conception is reached in a supreme degree through the idea of the object as it exists in the divine understanding. The differences which are here given, are therefore no differences at all . but all is harmony. To develop this was therefore Bruno’s endeavour; and the determinations, as natural in that divine understanding, correspond with those which appear in the subjective understanding. Bruno’s art consists only in determining the universal scheme of form, which includes all things within itself, and in showing how its moments express themselves in the different spheres of existence.

h. The main endeavour of Bruno was thus to represent the All and One, after the method of Lullus, as a system of classes of regular determinations. Hence in the manner of Proclus he specifies the three spheres: First, the original form (uperousia) as the originator of all forms; secondly, the physical world, which impresses the traces of the Ideas on the surface of matter, and multiplies the original picture in countless mirrors set face to face; thirdly, the form of the rational world, which individualizes numerically for the senses the shadows of the Ideas, brings them into one, and raises them to general conceptions for the understanding. The moments of the original form itself are termed Being, goodness (nature or life), and unity. (Something similar to this we also met with in Proclus, Vol. II. p. 445.) In the metaphysical world the original form is thing, good, principle of plurality (ante multa); in the physical world it manifests itself in things, goods, individuals; in the rational world of knowledge it is derived from things, goods and individuals. Unity is the agent that brings them back once more; and Bruno, while distinguishing the natural and metaphysical world, seeks to set up the system of the above determinations, in order to show at once how the same thing is in one way a natural appearance, and in another way an object existing for thought.

Since Bruno sought to apprehend this connection more closely, he considers thinking as a subjective art and activity of the soul, representing inwardly and in accordance with the ordinary conception, as it were through an inward writing, what Nature represents externally, as it were, through an outward writing. Thinking, he says, is the capability both of receiving into one’s self this external writing of nature and of imagining and substantiating the inward writing in the outward. This art of thinking inwardly and organizing outwardly in accordance with the same, and the capacity to reverse the process — an art possessed by the soul of man — Bruno places in the closest connection with the art of the nature of the universe, with the energy of the absolute World-principle, by means of which all is formed and fashioned. It is one form which develops; it is the same world-principle which causes form in metals, plants and animals, and which in man thinks and organizes outside himself, only that it expresses itself in its operations in an endlessly varied manner throughout the entire world. Inwardly and outwardly there is consequently one and the same development of one and the same principle.

In his Ars Lulliana Bruno made the attempt to determine and systematize these various writings of the soul, by means of which also the organizing world-principle reveals itself. He assumes therein twelve principal kinds of writing, or classes of natural forms, to form a startingpoint: “Species, Formæ, Simulacra, Imagines, Spectra, Exemplaria, Indicia, Signa, Notæ, Characteres et Sigilli. Some kinds of writing are connected with the external sense, like external forms, pictures and ideals (extrinseca forma, imago, exemplar); these painting and other plastic arts represent, by imitating Mother Nature. Some are connected with the inner sense, where with regard to mass, duration, number — they are magnified, extended in time and multiplied; such are the products of fancy. Some are connected with a common point of similarity in several things; some are so divergent from the objective nature of things that they are quite imaginary. Finally, some appear to be peculiar to art, as signa, notæ, characteres et sigilli; by means of these the powers of art are so great that it seems to be able to act independently of Nature, beyond Nature, and, when the matter in question involves it, even against Nature?”

So far all, on the whole, goes well; it is the carrying out of the same scheme in all directions. All respect is due to this attempt to represent the logical system of the inward artist, the producing thought, in such a way that the forms of external Nature correspond thereto. But while the system of Bruno is otherwise a grand one, in it the determinations of thought nevertheless at once become superficial, or more dead types, as in later times was the case with the classification of natural philosophy; for Bruno merely enumerates the moments and contrasts of the system, just as the natural philosophers developed the threefold character in every sphere, regarded as absolute. Further or more determinate moments Bruno has done nothing more than collect together; when he tries to represent them by figures and classifications, the result is confusion. The twelve forms laid down as basis neither have their derivation traced nor are they united in one entire system, nor is the further multiplication deduced. To this part of his subject he devoted several of his writings (De sigillis), and in different works it is presented in different ways; the appearances of things are as letters, or symbols, which correspond with thoughts. The idea is on the whole praiseworthy compared with the fragmentariness of Aristotle and the Scholastics, according to whom every determination is fixed once for all. But the carrying out of the idea is in part allied with the Pythagorean numbers, and consequently unmethodical and arbitrary; and in part we find metaphorical, allegorical combinations and couplings, where we cannot follow Bruno; in this attempt to introduce order, all things are mingled together in the wildest disorder.

It is a great beginning, to have the thought of unity; and the other point is this attempt to grasp the universe in its development, in the system of its determinations, and to show how the outward appearance is a symbol of ideas. These are the two aspects of Bruno’s teaching which had to be taken into consideration.

Hegel on Reuchlin

In Reuchlin (Kapnio), who was born at Pforzheim in Swabia in 1455, and who was himself the translator of several comedies of Aristophanes, the Cabalistic philosophy found a defender. He endeavoured also to reconstruct the Pythagorean philosophy proper; but he mingled with it much that is vague and mysterious. There was in hand a project to destroy all Hebrew books in Germany by an imperial decree, as had been done in Spain; Reuchlin deserves great credit for having prevented this. On account of the entire lack of dictionaries, the study of the Greek language was rendered so difficult that Reuchlin travelled to Vienna for the purpose of learning Greek from a Greek.

Hegel on Lull

d. Raymundus Lullus.

Raymundus Lullus, the Doctor illuminatus, made himself famous chiefly by the art of thinking which he invented, which was called the ars magna. He was born at Majorca in 1234, and was one of those eccentric, unsettled natures whose activity finds vent in all directions. He had a strong inclination towards alchemy and great enthusiasm for the sciences in general, as well as a fiery, restless power of imagination. In his youth he led a reckless life, throwing himself headlong into a round of pleasures; then he retreated to a desert, and had there many visions of Jesus. At this time the impulse shaped itself in his ardent nature to dedicate his life to spreading the blessings of Christianity among the Mohammedans in Asia and Africa. In order to carry on this work of conversion he learned Arabic, travelled through Europe and Asia, sought for assistance from the Pope and all the crowned heads of Europe, without giving up, for all that, his interest in his ‘Art.’ He suffered persecution and passed through many hardships and strange adventures, perils of death, imprisonments. cruelties. He lived long in Paris at the beginning of the fourteenth century, and was the author of well-nigh four hundred works. After a life of the utmost restlessness, he died in 1315, revered as a saint and martyr, his death being the result of cruel treatment which he had suffered in Africa.
The chief object aimed at in this man’s ‘Art ‘ was an enumeration and arrangement of the various concepts under which all objects fall, or of the pure categories according to which they can be determined, so that it may be possible in regard to every object to indicate with ease the conceptions applicable to it. Lullus is so systematic that he becomes at times mechanical. He constructed a diagram in circles, on which were marked triangles through which the circles pass. In these circles he arranged the various concepts, and strove to give a complete catalogue of them. Some of the circles were fixed, others movable, and they were six in number, two of them indicating the subjects, three the predicates, while the outermost circle represented possible questions. For each class he had nine qualities, to indicate which he chose nine letters, B C D E F G H I K. Thus in the first place he wrote round the diagram nine absolute predicates, goodness, greatness, duration, power, wisdom, volition, virtue, truth, splendour; then he wrote nine relative predicates, diversity, unanimity, opposition, beginning, middle, end, the qualities of being greater, equal, or less; in the third place he set down the questions Whether? What? Whence? Why? How great? Of what nature? When? Where? How and wherewith? the ninth of which contains two determinations; in the fourth place he put nine substances (esse), viz. God (divinum), angel (angelicum), heaven (coeleste), man (humanum), imaginativum, sensitivum, vegetativum, elementativum, instrumenlativum; in the fifth place were nine accidents, i.e. natural relations, viz. quantity, quality, relation, activity, passivity, possession, position, time, place; and sixthly nine moral relations, the virtues, viz. justice, prudence, courage, temperance, faith, hope, love, patience, piety; and the vices, viz. envy, wrath, inconstancy, covetousness, falsehood, gluttony, riotousness, pride, sluggishness (acedia). These circles had to be placed in a certain way, in order to give proper combinations. By turning them round according to certain rules, by which all substances received the absolute and relative predicates which fitted them, it was supposed that there would be obtained in every possible combination universal science, truth, and the knowledge of concrete objects in general.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Alchemical Allegory in Rabelais' Fifth Book of Gargantua and Pantagruel

Chapter 5.XVIII.—How our ships were stranded, and we were relieved by some people that were subject to Queen Whims (qui tenoient de la Quinte).

We weighed and set sail with a merry westerly gale. When about seven leagues off (twenty-two miles) some gusts or scuds of wind suddenly arose, and the wind veering and shifting from point to point, was, as they say, like an old woman's breech, at no certainty; so we first got our starboard tacks aboard, and hauled off our lee-sheets. Then the gusts increased, and by fits blowed all at once from several quarters, yet we neither settled nor braided up close our sails, but only let fly the sheets, not to go against the master of the ship's direction; and thus having let go amain, lest we should spend our topsails, or the ship's quick-side should lie in the water and she be overset, we lay by and run adrift; that is, in a landloper's phrase, we temporized it. For he assured us that, as these gusts and whirlwinds would not do us much good, so they could not do us much harm, considering their easiness and pleasant strife, as also the clearness of the sky and calmness of the current. So that we were to observe the philosopher's rule, bear and forbear; that is, trim, or go according to the time.

However, these whirlwinds and gusts lasted so long that we persuaded the master to let us go and lie at trie with our main course; that is, to haul the tack aboard, the sheet close aft, the bowline set up, and the helm tied close aboard; so, after a stormy gale of wind, we broke through the whirlwind. But it was like falling into Scylla to avoid Charybdis (out of the frying-pan into the fire). For we had not sailed a league ere our ships were stranded upon some sands such as are the flats of St. Maixent.

All our company seemed mightily disturbed except Friar John, who was not a jot daunted, and with sweet sugar-plum words comforted now one and then another, giving them hopes of speedy assistance from above, and telling them that he had seen Castor at the main-yardarm. Oh! that I were but now ashore, cried Panurge, that is all I wish for myself at present, and that you who like the sea so well had each man of you two hundred thousand crowns. I would fairly let you set up shop on these sands, and would get a fat calf dressed and a hundred of faggots (i.e. bottles of wine) cooled for you against you come ashore. I freely consent never to mount a wife, so you but set me ashore and mount me on a horse, that I may go home. No matter for a servant, I will be contented to serve myself; I am never better treated than when I am without a man. Faith, old Plautus was in the right on't when he said the more servants the more crosses; for such they are, even supposing they could want what they all have but too much of, a tongue, that most busy, dangerous, and pernicious member of servants. Accordingly, 'twas for their sakes alone that the racks and tortures for confession were invented, though some foreign civilians in our time have drawn alogical and unreasonable consequences from it.

That very moment we spied a sail that made towards us. When it was close by us, we soon knew what was the lading of the ship and who was aboard of her. She was full freighted with drums. I was acquainted with many of the passengers that came in her, who were most of 'em of good families; among the rest Harry Cotiral, an old toast, who had got a swinging ass's touch-tripe (penis) fastened to his waist, as the good women's beads are to their girdle. In his left hand he held an old overgrown greasy foul cap, such as your scald-pated fellows wear, and in the right a huge cabbage-stump.

As soon as he saw me he was overjoyed, and bawled out to me, What cheer, ho? How dost like me now? Behold the true Algamana (this he said showing me the ass's tickle-gizzard). This doctor's cap is my true elixir; and this (continued he, shaking the cabbage-stump in his fist) is lunaria major, you old noddy. I have 'em, old boy, I have 'em; we'll make 'em when thou'rt come back. But pray, father, said I, whence come you? Whither are you bound? What's your lading? Have you smelt the salt deep? To these four questions he answered, From Queen Whims; for Touraine; alchemy; to the very bottom.

Whom have you got o' board? said I. Said he, Astrologers, fortune-tellers, alchemists, rhymers, poets, painters, projectors, mathematicians, watchmakers, sing-songs, musicianers, and the devil and all of others that are subject to Queen Whims (Motteux gives the following footnote:—'La Quinte, This means a fantastic Humour, Maggots, or a foolish Giddiness of Brains; and also, a fifth, or the Proportion of Five in music, &c.'). They have very fair legible patents to show for't, as anybody may see. Panurge had no sooner heard this but he was upon the high-rope, and began to rail at them like mad. What o' devil d'ye mean, cried he, to sit idly here like a pack of loitering sneaksbies, and see us stranded, while you may help us, and tow us off into the current? A plague o' your whims! you can make all things whatsoever, they say, so much as good weather and little children; yet won't make haste to fasten some hawsers and cables, and get us off. I was just coming to set you afloat, quoth Harry Cotiral; by Trismegistus, I'll clear you in a trice. With this he caused 7,532,810 huge drums to be unheaded on one side, and set that open side so that it faced the end of the streamers and pendants; and having fastened them to good tacklings and our ship's head to the stern of theirs, with cables fastened to the bits abaft the manger in the ship's loof, they towed us off ground at one pull so easily and pleasantly that you'd have wondered at it had you been there. For the dub-a-dub rattling of the drums, with the soft noise of the gravel which murmuring disputed us our way, and the merry cheers and huzzas of the sailors, made an harmony almost as good as that of the heavenly bodies when they roll and are whirled round their spheres, which rattling of the celestial wheels Plato said he heard some nights in his sleep.

We scorned to be behindhand with 'em in civility, and gratefully gave 'em store of our sausages and chitterlings, with which we filled their drums; and we were just a-hoisting two-and-sixty hogsheads of wine out of the hold, when two huge whirlpools with great fury made towards their ship, spouting more water than is in the river Vienne (Vigenne) from Chinon to Saumur; to make short, all their drums, all their sails, their concerns, and themselves were soused, and their very hose were watered by the collar.

Panurge was so overjoyed, seeing this, and laughed so heartily, that he was forced to hold his sides, and it set him into a fit of the colic for two hours and more. I had a mind, quoth he, to make the dogs drink, and those honest whirlpools, egad, have saved me that labour and that cost. There's sauce for them; ariston men udor. Water is good, saith a poet; let 'em Pindarize upon't. They never cared for fresh water but to wash their hands or their glasses. This good salt water will stand 'em in good stead for want of sal ammoniac and nitre in Geber's kitchen.

We could not hold any further discourse with 'em; for the former whirlwind hindered our ship from feeling the helm. The pilot advised us henceforwards to let her run adrift and follow the stream, not busying ourselves with anything, but making much of our carcasses. For our only way to arrive safe at the queendom of Whims was to trust to the whirlwind and be led by the current.

Chapter 5.XIX.—How we arrived at the queendom of Whims or Entelechy.

We did as he directed us for about twelve hours, and on the third day the sky seemed to us somewhat clearer, and we happily arrived at the port of Mateotechny, not far distant from Queen Whims, alias the Quintessence.

We met full butt on the quay a great number of guards and other military men that garrisoned the arsenal, and we were somewhat frighted at first because they made us all lay down our arms, and in a haughty manner asked us whence we came.

Cousin, quoth Panurge to him that asked the question, we are of Touraine, and come from France, being ambitious of paying our respects to the Lady Quintessence and visit this famous realm of Entelechy.

What do you say? cried they; do you call it Entelechy or Endelechy? Truly, truly, sweet cousins, quoth Panurge, we are a silly sort of grout-headed lobcocks, an't please you; be so kind as to forgive us if we chance to knock words out of joint. As for anything else, we are downright honest fellows and true hearts.

We have not asked you this question without a cause, said they; for a great number of others who have passed this way from your country of Touraine seemed as mere jolt-headed doddipolls as ever were scored o'er the coxcomb, yet spoke as correct as other folks. But there has been here from other countries a pack of I know not what overweening self-conceited prigs, as moody as so many mules and as stout as any Scotch lairds, and nothing would serve these, forsooth, but they must wilfully wrangle and stand out against us at their coming; and much they got by it after all. Troth, we e'en fitted them and clawed 'em off with a vengeance, for all they looked so big and so grum.

Pray tell me, does your time lie so heavy upon you in your world that you do not know how to bestow it better than in thus impudently talking, disputing, and writing of our sovereign lady? There was much need that your Tully, the consul, should go and leave the care of his commonwealth to busy himself idly about her; and after him your Diogenes Laertius, the biographer, and your Theodorus Gaza, the philosopher, and your Argiropilus, the emperor, and your Bessario, the cardinal, and your Politian, the pedant, and your Budaeus, the judge, and your Lascaris, the ambassador, and the devil and all of those you call lovers of wisdom; whose number, it seems, was not thought great enough already, but lately your Scaliger, Bigot, Chambrier, Francis Fleury, and I cannot tell how many such other junior sneaking fly-blows must take upon 'em to increase it.

A squinsy gripe the cod's-headed changelings at the swallow and eke at the cover-weasel; we shall make 'em—But the deuce take 'em! (They flatter the devil here, and smoothify his name, quoth Panurge, between his teeth.) You don't come here, continued the captain, to uphold 'em in their folly; you have no commission from 'em to this effect; well then, we will talk no more on't.

Aristotle, that first of men and peerless pattern of all philosophy, was our sovereign lady's godfather, and wisely and properly gave her the name of Entelechy. Her true name then is Entelechy, and may he be in tail beshit, and entail a shit-a-bed faculty and nothing else on his family, who dares call her by any other name; for whoever he is, he does her wrong, and is a very impudent person. You are heartily welcome, gentlemen. With this they colled and clipped us about the neck, which was no small comfort to us, I'll assure you.

Panurge then whispered me, Fellow-traveller, quoth he, hast thou not been somewhat afraid this bout? A little, said I. To tell you the truth of it, quoth he, never were the Ephraimites in a greater fear and quandary when the Gileadites killed and drowned them for saying sibboleth instead of shibboleth; and among friends, let me tell you that perhaps there is not a man in the whole country of Beauce but might easily have stopped my bunghole with a cartload of hay.

The captain afterwards took us to the queen's palace, leading us silently with great formality. Pantagruel would have said something to him, but the other, not being able to come up to his height, wished for a ladder or a very long pair of stilts; then said, Patience, if it were our sovereign lady's will, we would be as tall as you; well, we shall when she pleases.

In the first galleries we saw great numbers of sick persons, differently placed according to their maladies. The leprous were apart; those that were poisoned on one side; those that had got the plague on another; those that had the pox in the first rank, and the rest accordingly.

Chapter 5.XX.—How the Quintessence cured the sick with a song.

The captain showed us the queen, attended with her ladies and gentlemen, in the second gallery. She looked young, though she was at least eighteen hundred years old, and was handsome, slender, and as fine as a queen, that is, as hands could make her. He then said to us: It is not yet a fit time to speak to the queen; be you but mindful of her doings in the meanwhile.

You have kings in your world that fantastically pretend to cure some certain diseases, as, for example, scrofula or wens, swelled throats, nicknamed the king's evil, and quartan agues, only with a touch; now our queen cures all manner of diseases without so much as touching the sick, but barely with a song, according to the nature of the distemper. He then showed us a set of organs, and said that when it was touched by her those miraculous cures were performed. The organ was indeed the strangest that ever eyes beheld; for the pipes were of cassia fistula in the cod; the top and cornice of guiacum; the bellows of rhubarb; the pedas of turbith, and the clavier or keys of scammony.

While we were examining this wonderful new make of an organ, the leprous were brought in by her abstractors, spodizators, masticators, pregustics, tabachins, chachanins, neemanins, rabrebans, nercins, rozuins, nebidins, tearins, segamions, perarons, chasinins, sarins, soteins, aboth, enilins, archasdarpenins, mebins, chabourins, and other officers, for whom I want names; so she played 'em I don't know what sort of a tune or song, and they were all immediately cured.

Then those who were poisoned were had in, and she had no sooner given them a song but they began to find a use for their legs, and up they got. Then came on the deaf, the blind, and the dumb, and they too were restored to their lost faculties and senses with the same remedy; which did so strangely amaze us (and not without reason, I think) that down we fell on our faces, remaining prostrate, like men ravished in ecstasy, and were not able to utter one word through the excess of our admiration, till she came, and having touched Pantagruel with a fine fragrant nosegay of white roses which she held in her hand, thus made us recover our senses and get up. Then she made us the following speech in byssin words, such as Parisatis desired should be spoken to her son Cyrus, or at least of crimson alamode:

The probity that scintillizes in the superfices of your persons informs my ratiocinating faculty, in a most stupendous manner, of the radiant virtues latent within the precious caskets and ventricles of your minds. For, contemplating the mellifluous suavity of your thrice discreet reverences, it is impossible not to be persuaded with facility that neither your affections nor your intellects are vitiated with any defect or privation of liberal and exalted sciences. Far from it, all must judge that in you are lodged a cornucopia and encyclopaedia, an unmeasurable profundity of knowledge in the most peregrine and sublime disciplines, so frequently the admiration, and so rarely the concomitants of the imperite vulgar. This gently compels me, who in preceding times indefatigably kept my private affections absolutely subjugated, to condescend to make my application to you in the trivial phrase of the plebeian world, and assure you that you are well, more than most heartily welcome.

I have no hand at making of speeches, quoth Panurge to me privately; prithee, man, make answer to her for us, if thou canst. This would not work with me, however; neither did Pantagruel return a word. So that Queen Whims, or Queen Quintessence (which you please), perceiving that we stood as mute as fishes, said: Your taciturnity speaks you not only disciples of Pythagoras, from whom the venerable antiquity of my progenitors in successive propagation was emaned and derives its original, but also discovers, that through the revolution of many retrograde moons, you have in Egypt pressed the extremities of your fingers with the hard tenants of your mouths, and scalptized your heads with frequent applications of your unguicules. In the school of Pythagoras, taciturnity was the symbol of abstracted and superlative knowledge, and the silence of the Egyptians was agnited as an expressive manner of divine adoration; this caused the pontiffs of Hierapolis to sacrifice to the great deity in silence, impercussively, without any vociferous or obstreperous sound. My design is not to enter into a privation of gratitude towards you, but by a vivacious formality, though matter were to abstract itself from me, excentricate to you my cogitations.

Having spoken this, she only said to her officers, Tabachins, a panacea; and straight they desired us not to take it amiss if the queen did not invite us to dine with her; for she never ate anything at dinner but some categories, jecabots, emnins, dimions, abstractions, harborins, chelemins, second intentions, carradoths, antitheses, metempsychoses, transcendent prolepsies, and such other light food.

Then they took us into a little closet lined through with alarums, where we were treated God knows how. It is said that Jupiter writes whatever is transacted in the world on the dipthera or skin of the Amalthaean goat that suckled him in Crete, which pelt served him instead of a shield against the Titans, whence he was nicknamed Aegiochos. Now, as I hate to drink water, brother topers, I protest it would be impossible to make eighteen goatskins hold the description of all the good meat they brought before us, though it were written in characters as small as those in which were penned Homer's Iliads, which Tully tells us he saw enclosed in a nutshell.

For my part, had I one hundred mouths, as many tongues, a voice of iron, a heart of oak, and lungs of leather, together with the mellifluous abundance of Plato, yet I never could give you a full account of a third part of a second of the whole.

Pantagruel was telling me that he believed the queen had given the symbolic word used among her subjects to denote sovereign good cheer, when she said to her tabachins, A panacea; just as Lucullus used to say, In Apollo, when he designed to give his friends a singular treat; though sometimes they took him at unawares, as, among the rest, Cicero and Hortensius sometimes used to do.

Chapter 5.XXI.—How the Queen passed her time after dinner.

When we had dined, a chachanin led us into the queen's hall, and there we saw how, after dinner, with the ladies and the princes of her court, she used to sift, searce, bolt, range, and pass away time with a fine large white and blue silk sieve. We also perceived how they revived ancient sports, diverting themselves together at—

1. Cordax. 6. Phrygia. 11. Monogas.
2. Emmelia. 7. Thracia. 12. Terminalia.
3. Sicinnia. 8. Calabrisme. 13. Floralia.
4. Jambics. 9. Molossia. 14. Pyrrhice.
5. Persica. 10. Cernophorum. 15. (Nicatism.)
And a thousand other dances.

(Motteux has the following footnote:—'1. A sort of country-dance. 2. A still tragic dance. 3. Dancing and singing used at funerals. 4. Cutting sarcasms and lampoons. 5. The Persian dance. 6. Tunes, whose measure inspired men with a kind of divine fury. 7. The Thracian movement. 8. Smutty verses. 9. A measure to which the Molossi of Epirus danced a certain morrice. 10. A dance with bowls or pots in their hands. 11. A song where one sings alone. 12. Sports at the holidays of the god of bounds. 13. Dancing naked at Flora's holidays. 14. The Trojan dance in armour.')

Afterwards she gave orders that they should show us the apartments and curiosities in her palace. Accordingly we saw there such new, strange, and wonderful things, that I am still ravished in admiration every time I think of't. However, nothing surprised us more than what was done by the gentlemen of her household, abstractors, parazons, nebidins, spodizators, and others, who freely and without the least dissembling told us that the queen their mistress did all impossible things, and cured men of incurable diseases; and they, her officers, used to do the rest.

I saw there a young parazon cure many of the new consumption, I mean the pox, though they were never so peppered. Had it been the rankest Roan ague (Anglice, the Covent-garden gout), 'twas all one to him; touching only their dentiform vertebrae thrice with a piece of a wooden shoe, he made them as wholesome as so many sucking-pigs.

Another did thoroughly cure folks of dropsies, tympanies, ascites, and hyposarcides, striking them on the belly nine times with a Tenedian hatchet, without any solution of the continuum.

Another cured all manner of fevers and agues on the spot, only with hanging a fox-tail on the left side of the patient's girdle.

One removed the toothache only with washing thrice the root of the aching tooth with elder-vinegar, and letting it dry half-an-hour in the sun.

Another the gout, whether hot or cold, natural or accidental, by barely making the gouty person shut his mouth and open his eyes.

I saw another ease nine gentlemen of St. Francis's distemper ('A consumption in the pocket, or want of money; those of St. Francis's order must carry none about 'em.'—Motteux.) in a very short space of time, having clapped a rope about their necks, at the end of which hung a box with ten thousand gold crowns in't.

One with a wonderful engine threw the houses out at the windows, by which means they were purged of all pestilential air.

Another cured all the three kinds of hectics, the tabid, atrophes, and emaciated, without bathing, Tabian milk, dropax, alias depilatory, or other such medicaments, only turning the consumptive for three months into monks; and he assured me that if they did not grow fat and plump in a monastic way of living, they never would be fattened in this world, either by nature or by art.

I saw another surrounded with a crowd of two sorts of women. Some were young, quaint, clever, neat, pretty, juicy, tight, brisk, buxom, proper, kind-hearted, and as right as my leg, to any man's thinking. The rest were old, weather-beaten, over-ridden, toothless, blear-eyed, tough, wrinkled, shrivelled, tawny, mouldy, phthisicky, decrepit hags, beldams, and walking carcasses. We were told that his office was to cast anew those she-pieces of antiquity, and make them such as the pretty creatures whom we saw, who had been made young again that day, recovering at once the beauty, shape, size, and disposition which they enjoyed at sixteen; except their heels, that were now much shorter than in their former youth.

This made them yet more apt to fall backwards whenever any man happened to touch 'em, than they had been before. As for their counterparts, the old mother-scratch-tobies, they most devoutly waited for the blessed hour when the batch that was in the oven was to be drawn, that they might have their turns, and in a mighty haste they were pulling and hauling the man like mad, telling him that 'tis the most grievous and intolerable thing in nature for the tail to be on fire and the head to scare away those who should quench it.

The officer had his hands full, never wanting patients; neither did his place bring him in little, you may swear. Pantagruel asked him whether he could also make old men young again. He said he could not. But the way to make them new men was to get 'em to cohabit with a new-cast female; for this they caught that fifth kind of crinckams, which some call pellade, in Greek, ophiasis, that makes them cast off their old hair and skin, just as the serpents do, and thus their youth is renewed like the Arabian phoenix's. This is the true fountain of youth, for there the old and decrepit become young, active, and lusty.

Just so, as Euripides tells us, Iolaus was transmogrified; and thus Phaon, for whom kind-hearted Sappho run wild, grew young again, for Venus's use; so Tithon by Aurora's means; so Aeson by Medea, and Jason also, who, if you'll believe Pherecides and Simonides, was new-vamped and dyed by that witch; and so were the nurses of jolly Bacchus, and their husbands, as Aeschylus relates.

Chapter 5.XXII.—How Queen Whims' officers were employed; and how the said lady retained us among her abstractors.

I then saw a great number of the queen's officers, who made blackamoors white as fast as hops, just rubbing their bellies with the bottom of a pannier.

Others, with three couples of foxes in one yoke, ploughed a sandy shore, and did not lose their seed.

Others washed burnt tiles, and made them lose their colour.

Others extracted water out of pumice-stones, braying them a good while in a mortar, and changed their substance.

Others sheared asses, and thus got long fleece wool.

Others gathered barberries and figs off of thistles.

Others stroked he-goats by the dugs, and saved their milk in a sieve; and much they got by it.

(Others washed asses' heads without losing their soap.)

Others taught cows to dance, and did not lose their fiddling.

Others pitched nets to catch the wind, and took cock-lobsters in them.

I saw a spodizator, who very artificially got farts out of a dead ass, and sold 'em for fivepence an ell.

Another did putrefy beetles. O the dainty food!

Poor Panurge fairly cast up his accounts, and gave up his halfpenny (i.e. vomited), seeing an archasdarpenin who laid a huge plenty of chamber lye to putrefy in horsedung, mishmashed with abundance of Christian sir-reverence. Pugh, fie upon him, nasty dog! However, he told us that with this sacred distillation he watered kings and princes, and made their sweet lives a fathom or two the longer.

Others built churches to jump over the steeples.

Others set carts before the horses, and began to flay eels at the tail; neither did the eels cry before they were hurt, like those of Melun.

Others out of nothing made great things, and made great things return to nothing.

Others cut fire into steaks with a knife, and drew water with a fish-net.

Others made chalk of cheese, and honey of a dog's t—d.

We saw a knot of others, about a baker's dozen in number, tippling under an arbour. They toped out of jolly bottomless cups four sorts of cool, sparkling, pure, delicious, vine-tree sirup, which went down like mother's milk; and healths and bumpers flew about like lightning. We were told that these true philosophers were fairly multiplying the stars by drinking till the seven were fourteen, as brawny Hercules did with Atlas.

Others made a virtue of necessity, and the best of a bad market, which seemed to me a very good piece of work.

Others made alchemy (i.e. sir-reverence) with their teeth, and clapping their hind retort to the recipient, made scurvy faces, and then squeezed.

Others, in a large grass plot, exactly measured how far the fleas could go at a hop, a step, and jump; and told us that this was exceedingly useful for the ruling of kingdoms, the conduct of armies, and the administration of commonwealths; and that Socrates, who first got philosophy out of heaven, and from idling and trifling made it profitable and of moment, used to spend half his philosophizing time in measuring the leaps of fleas, as Aristophanes the quintessential affirms.

I saw two gibroins by themselves keeping watch on the top of a tower, and we were told they guarded the moon from the wolves.

In a blind corner I met four more very hot at it, and ready to go to loggerheads. I asked what was the cause of the stir and ado, the mighty coil and pother they made. And I heard that for four livelong days those overwise roisters had been at it ding-dong, disputing on three high, more than metaphysical propositions, promising themselves mountains of gold by solving them. The first was concerning a he-ass's shadow; the second, of the smoke of a lantern; and the third of goat's hair, whether it were wool or no. We heard that they did not think it a bit strange that two contradictions in mode, form, figure, and time should be true; though I will warrant the sophists of Paris had rather be unchristened than own so much.

While we were admiring all those men's wonderful doings, the evening star already twinkling, the queen (God bless her!) appeared, attended with her court, and again amazed and dazzled us. She perceived it, and said to us:

What occasions the aberrations of human cogitations through the perplexing labyrinths and abysses of admiration, is not the source of the effects, which sagacious mortals visibly experience to be the consequential result of natural causes. 'Tis the novelty of the experiment which makes impressions on their conceptive, cogitative faculties; that do not previse the facility of the operation adequately, with a subact and sedate intellection, associated with diligent and congruous study. Consequently let all manner of perturbation abdicate the ventricles of your brains, if anyone has invaded them while they were contemplating what is transacted by my domestic ministers. Be spectators and auditors of every particular phenomenon and every individual proposition within the extent of my mansion; satiate yourselves with all that can fall here under the consideration of your visual or auscultating powers, and thus emancipate yourselves from the servitude of crassous ignorance. And that you may be induced to apprehend how sincerely I desire this in consideration of the studious cupidity that so demonstratively emicates at your external organs, from this present particle of time I retain you as my abstractors. Geber, my principal Tabachin, shall register and initiate you at your departing.

We humbly thanked her queenship without saying a word, accepting of the noble office she conferred on us.

Chapter 5.XXIII.—How the Queen was served at dinner, and of her way of eating.

Queen Whims after this said to her gentlemen: The orifice of the ventricle, that ordinary embassador for the alimentation of all members, whether superior or inferior, importunes us to restore, by the apposition of idoneous sustenance, what was dissipated by the internal calidity's action on the radical humidity. Therefore spodizators, gesinins, memains, and parazons, be not culpable of dilatory protractions in the apposition of every re-roborating species, but rather let them pullulate and superabound on the tables. As for you, nobilissim praegustators, and my gentilissim masticators, your frequently experimented industry, internected with perdiligent sedulity and sedulous perdiligence, continually adjuvates you to perficiate all things in so expeditious a manner that there is no necessity of exciting in you a cupidity to consummate them. Therefore I can only suggest to you still to operate as you are assuefacted indefatigably to operate.

Having made this fine speech, she retired for a while with part of her women, and we were told that 'twas to bathe, as the ancients did more commonly than we use nowadays to wash our hands before we eat. The tables were soon placed, the cloth spread, and then the queen sat down. She ate nothing but celestial ambrosia, and drank nothing but divine nectar. As for the lords and ladies that were there, they, as well as we, fared on as rare, costly, and dainty dishes as ever Apicius wot or dreamed of in his life.

When we were as round as hoops, and as full as eggs, with stuffing the gut, an olla podrida ('Some call it an Olio. Rabelais Pot-pourry.'—Motteux.) was set before us to force hunger to come to terms with us, in case it had not granted us a truce; and such a huge vast thing it was that the plate which Pythius Althius gave King Darius would hardly have covered it. The olla consisted of several sorts of pottages, salads, fricassees, saugrenees, cabirotadoes, roast and boiled meat, carbonadoes, swingeing pieces of powdered beef, good old hams, dainty somates, cakes, tarts, a world of curds after the Moorish way, fresh cheese, jellies, and fruit of all sorts. All this seemed to me good and dainty; however, the sight of it made me sigh; for alas! I could not taste a bit on't, so full I had filled my puddings before, and a bellyful is a bellyful you know. Yet I must tell you what I saw that seemed to me odd enough o' conscience; 'twas some pasties in paste; and what should those pasties in paste be, d'ye think, but pasties in pots? At the bottom I perceived store of dice, cards, tarots ('Great cards on which many different things are figured.' —Motteux.), luettes ('Pieces of ivory to play withal.'—Motteux.), chessmen, and chequers, besides full bowls of gold crowns, for those who had a mind to have a game or two and try their chance. Under this I saw a jolly company of mules in stately trappings, with velvet footcloths, and a troop of ambling nags, some for men and some for women; besides I don't know how many litters all lined with velvet, and some coaches of Ferrara make; all this for those who had a mind to take the air.

This did not seem strange to me; but if anything did 'twas certainly the queen's way of eating, and truly 'twas very new, and very odd; for she chewed nothing, the good lady; not but that she had good sound teeth, and her meat required to be masticated, but such was her highness's custom. When her praegustators had tasted the meat, her masticators took it and chewed it most nobly; for their dainty chops and gullets were lined through with crimson satin, with little welts and gold purls, and their teeth were of delicate white ivory. Thus, when they had chewed the meat ready for her highness's maw, they poured it down her throat through a funnel of fine gold, and so on to her craw. For that reason they told us she never visited a close-stool but by proxy.

Chapter 5.XXIV.—How there was a ball in the manner of a tournament, at which Queen Whims was present.

After supper there was a ball in the form of a tilt or a tournament, not only worth seeing, but also never to be forgotten. First, the floor of the hall was covered with a large piece of velveted white and yellow chequered tapestry, each chequer exactly square, and three full spans in breadth.

Then thirty-two young persons came into the hall; sixteen of them arrayed in cloth of gold, and of these eight were young nymphs such as the ancients described Diana's attendants; the other eight were a king, a queen, two wardens of the castle, two knights, and two archers. Those of the other band were clad in cloth of silver.

They posted themselves on the tapestry in the following manner: the kings on the last line on the fourth square; so that the golden king was on a white square, and the silvered king on a yellow square, and each queen by her king; the golden queen on a yellow square, and the silvered queen on a white one: and on each side stood the archers to guide their kings and queens; by the archers the knights, and the wardens by them. In the next row before 'em stood the eight nymphs; and between the two bands of nymphs four rows of squares stood empty.

Each band had its musicians, eight on each side, dressed in its livery; the one with orange-coloured damask, the other with white; and all played on different instruments most melodiously and harmoniously, still varying in time and measure as the figure of the dance required. This seemed to me an admirable thing, considering the numerous diversity of steps, back-steps, bounds, rebounds, jerks, paces, leaps, skips, turns, coupes, hops, leadings, risings, meetings, flights, ambuscadoes, moves, and removes.

I was also at a loss when I strove to comprehend how the dancers could so suddenly know what every different note meant; for they no sooner heard this or that sound but they placed themselves in the place which was denoted by the music, though their motions were all different. For the nymphs that stood in the first file, as if they designed to begin the fight, marched straight forwards to their enemies from square to square, unless it were the first step, at which they were free to move over two steps at once. They alone never fall back (which is not very natural to other nymphs), and if any of them is so lucky as to advance to the opposite king's row, she is immediately crowned queen of her king, and after that moves with the same state and in the same manner as the queen; but till that happens they never strike their enemies but forwards, and obliquely in a diagonal line. However, they make it not their chief business to take their foes; for, if they did, they would leave their queen exposed to the adverse parties, who then might take her.

The kings move and take their enemies on all sides square-ways, and only step from a white square into a yellow one, and vice versa, except at their first step the rank should want other officers than the wardens; for then they can set 'em in their place, and retire by him.

The queens take a greater liberty than any of the rest; for they move backwards and forwards all manner of ways, in a straight line as far as they please, provided the place be not filled with one of her own party, and diagonally also, keeping to the colour on which she stands.

The archers move backwards or forwards, far and near, never changing the colour on which they stand. The knights move and take in a lineal manner, stepping over one square, though a friend or foe stand upon it, posting themselves on the second square to the right or left, from one colour to another, which is very unwelcome to the adverse party, and ought to be carefully observed, for they take at unawares.

The wardens move and take to the right or left, before or behind them, like the kings, and can advance as far as they find places empty; which liberty the kings take not.

The law which both sides observe is, at the end of the fight, to besiege and enclose the king of either party, so that he may not be able to move; and being reduced to that extremity, the battle is over, and he loses the day.

Now, to avoid this, there is none of either sex of each party but is willing to sacrifice his or her life, and they begin to take one another on all sides in time, as soon as the music strikes up. When anyone takes a prisoner, he makes his honours, and striking him gently in the hand, puts him out of the field and combat, and encamps where he stood.

If one of the kings chance to stand where he might be taken, it is not lawful for any of his adversaries that had discovered him to lay hold on him; far from it, they are strictly enjoined humbly to pay him their respects, and give him notice, saying, God preserve you, sir! that his officers may relieve and cover him, or he may remove, if unhappily he could not be relieved. However, he is not to be taken, but greeted with a Good-morrow, the others bending the knee; and thus the tournament uses to end.

Chapter 5.XXV.—How the thirty-two persons at the ball fought.

The two companies having taken their stations, the music struck up, and with a martial sound, which had something of horrid in it, like a point of war, roused and alarmed both parties, who now began to shiver, and then soon were warmed with warlike rage; and having got in readiness to fight desperately, impatient of delay stood waiting for the charge.

Then the music of the silvered band ceased playing, and the instruments of the golden side alone were heard, which denoted that the golden party attacked. Accordingly, a new movement was played for the onset, and we saw the nymph who stood before the queen turn to the left towards her king, as it were to ask leave to fight; and thus saluting her company at the same time, she moved two squares forwards, and saluted the adverse party.

Now the music of the golden brigade ceased playing, and their antagonists began again. I ought to have told you that the nymph who began by saluting her company, had by that formality also given them to understand that they were to fall on. She was saluted by them in the same manner, with a full turn to the left, except the queen, who went aside towards her king to the right; and the same manner of salutation was observed on both sides during the whole ball.

The silvered nymph that stood before her queen likewise moved as soon as the music of her party sounded a charge; her salutations, and those of her side, were to the right, and her queen's to the left. She moved in the second square forwards, and saluted her antagonists, facing the first golden nymph; so that there was not any distance between them, and you would have thought they two had been going to fight; but they only strike sideways.

Their comrades, whether silvered or golden, followed 'em in an intercalary figure, and seemed to skirmish a while, till the golden nymph who had first entered the lists, striking a silvered nymph in the hand on the right, put her out of the field, and set herself in her place. But soon the music playing a new measure, she was struck by a silvered archer, who after that was obliged himself to retire. A silvered knight then sallied out, and the golden queen posted herself before her king.

Then the silvered king, dreading the golden queen's fury, removed to the right, to the place where his warden stood, which seemed to him strong and well guarded.

The two knights on the left, whether golden or silvered, marched up, and on either side took up many nymphs who could not retreat; principally the golden knight, who made this his whole business; but the silvered knight had greater designs, dissembling all along, and even sometimes not taking a nymph when he could have done it, still moving on till he was come up to the main body of the enemies in such a manner that he saluted their king with a God save you, sir!

The whole golden brigade quaked for fear and anger, those words giving notice of their king's danger; not but that they could soon relieve him, but because their king being thus saluted they were to lose their warden on the right wing without any hopes of a recovery. Then the golden king retired to the left, and the silvered knight took the golden warden, which was a mighty loss to that party. However, they resolved to be revenged, and surrounded the knight that he might not escape. He tried to get off, behaving himself with a great deal of gallantry, and his friends did what they could to save him; but at last he fell into the golden queen's hands, and was carried off.

Her forces, not yet satisfied, having lost one of her best men, with more fury than conduct moved about, and did much mischief among their enemies. The silvered party warily dissembled, watching their opportunity to be even with them, and presented one of their nymphs to the golden queen, having laid an ambuscado; so that the nymph being taken, a golden archer had like to have seized the silvered queen. Then the golden knight undertakes to take the silvered king and queen, and says, Good-morrow! Then the silvered archer salutes them, and was taken by a golden nymph, and she herself by a silvered one.

The fight was obstinate and sharp. The wardens left their posts, and advanced to relieve their friends. The battle was doubtful, and victory hovered over both armies. Now the silvered host charge and break through their enemy's ranks as far as the golden king's tent, and now they are beaten back. The golden queen distinguishes herself from the rest by her mighty achievements still more than by her garb and dignity; for at once she takes an archer, and, going sideways, seizes a silvered warden. Which thing the silvered queen perceiving, she came forwards, and, rushing on with equal bravery, takes the last golden warden and some nymphs. The two queens fought a long while hand to hand; now striving to take each other by surprise, then to save themselves, and sometimes to guard their kings. Finally, the golden queen took the silvered queen; but presently after she herself was taken by the silvered archer.

Then the silvered king had only three nymphs, an archer, and a warden left, and the golden only three nymphs and the right knight, which made them fight more slowly and warily than before. The two kings seemed to mourn for the loss of their loving queens, and only studied and endeavoured to get new ones out of all their nymphs to be raised to that dignity, and thus be married to them. This made them excite those brave nymphs to strive to reach the farthest rank, where stood the king of the contrary party, promising them certainly to have them crowned if they could do this. The golden nymphs were beforehand with the others, and out of their number was created a queen, who was dressed in royal robes, and had a crown set on her head. You need not doubt the silvered nymphs made also what haste they could to be queens. One of them was within a step of the coronation place, but there the golden knight lay ready to intercept her, so that she could go no further.

The new golden queen, resolved to show herself valiant and worthy of her advancement to the crown, achieved great feats of arms. But in the meantime the silvered knight takes the golden warden who guarded the camp; and thus there was a new silvered queen, who, like the other, strove to excel in heroic deeds at the beginning of her reign. Thus the fight grew hotter than before. A thousand stratagems, charges, rallyings, retreats, and attacks were tried on both sides; till at last the silvered queen, having by stealth advanced as far as the golden king's tent, cried, God save you, sir! Now none but his new queen could relieve him; so she bravely came and exposed herself to the utmost extremity to deliver him out of it. Then the silvered warden with his queen reduced the golden king to such a stress that, to save himself, he was forced to lose his queen; but the golden king took him at last. However, the rest of the golden party were soon taken; and that king being left alone, the silvered party made him a low bow, crying, Good morrow, sir! which denoted that the silvered king had got the day.

This being heard, the music of both parties loudly proclaimed the victory. And thus the first battle ended to the unspeakable joy of all the spectators.

After this the two brigades took their former stations, and began to tilt a second time, much as they had done before, only the music played somewhat faster than at the first battle, and the motions were altogether different. I saw the golden queen sally out one of the first, with an archer and a knight, as it were angry at the former defeat, and she had like to have fallen upon the silvered king in his tent among his officers; but having been baulked in her attempt, she skirmished briskly, and overthrew so many silvered nymphs and officers that it was a most amazing sight. You would have sworn she had been another Penthesilea; for she behaved herself with as much bravery as that Amazonian queen did at Troy.

But this havoc did not last long; for the silvered party, exasperated by their loss, resolved to perish or stop her progress; and having posted an archer in ambuscado on a distant angle, together with a knight-errant, her highness fell into their hands and was carried out of the field. The rest were soon routed after the taking of their queen, who, without doubt, from that time resolved to be more wary and keep near her king, without venturing so far amidst her enemies unless with more force to defend her. Thus the silvered brigade once more got the victory.

This did not dishearten or deject the golden party; far from it. They soon appeared again in the field to face their enemies; and being posted as before, both the armies seemed more resolute and cheerful than ever. Now the martial concert began, and the music was above a hemiole the quicker, according to the warlike Phrygian mode, such as was invented by Marsyas.

Then our combatants began to wheel about, and charge with such a swiftness that in an instant they made four moves, besides the usual salutations. So that they were continually in action, flying, hovering, jumping, vaulting, curvetting, with petauristical turns and motions, and often intermingled.

Seeing them then turn about on one foot after they had made their honours, we compared them to your tops or gigs, such as boys use to whip about, making them turn round so swiftly that they sleep, as they call it, and motion cannot be perceived, but resembles rest, its contrary; so that if you make a point or mark on some part of one of those gigs, 'twill be perceived not as a point, but a continual line, in a most divine manner, as Cusanus has wisely observed.

While they were thus warmly engaged, we heard continually the claps and episemapsies which those of the two bands reiterated at the taking of their enemies; and this, joined to the variety of their motions and music, would have forced smiles out of the most severe Cato, the never-laughing Crassus, the Athenian man-hater, Timon; nay, even whining Heraclitus, though he abhorred laughing, the action that is most peculiar to man. For who could have forborne? seeing those young warriors, with their nymphs and queens, so briskly and gracefully advance, retire, jump, leap, skip, spring, fly, vault, caper, move to the right, to the left, every way still in time, so swiftly, and yet so dexterously, that they never touched one another but methodically.

As the number of the combatants lessened, the pleasure of the spectators increased; for the stratagems and motions of the remaining forces were more singular. I shall only add that this pleasing entertainment charmed us to such a degree that our minds were ravished with admiration and delight, and the martial harmony moved our souls so powerfully that we easily believed what is said of Ismenias's having excited Alexander to rise from table and run to his arms, with such a warlike melody. At last the golden king remained master of the field; and while we were minding those dances, Queen Whims vanished, so that we saw her no more from that day to this.

Then Geber's michelots conducted us, and we were set down among her abstractors, as her queenship had commanded. After that we returned to the port of Mateotechny, and thence straight aboard our ships; for the wind was fair, and had we not hoisted out of hand, we could hardly have got off in three quarters of a moon in the wane.