O Mighty first-begotten, hear my pray'r, 1
Two-fold, egg-born, and wand'ring thro' the air,
Bull-roarer, glorying in thy golden wings, 3
From whom the race of Gods and mortals springs.
Ericapæus, celebrated pow'r, 5
Ineffable, occult, all shining flow'r.
From eyes obscure thou wip'st the gloom of night,
All-spreading splendour, pure and holy light
Hence Phanes call'd, the glory of the sky,
On waving pinions thro' the world you fly. 10
Priapus, dark-ey'd splendour, thee I sing,
Genial, all-prudent, ever-blessed king,
With joyful aspect on our rights divine
And holy sacrifice propitious shine.
118:1 Ver. 1.] First-begotten, and v. ii. Egg-born. According to Orpheus, as related by Syrianus in Metaph. Aristot. p. 114, the first principle; of all things is Unity or the Good itself, and after this the Duad, or Æther and Chaos, subsists, according to Phythagoras. The first of these, or Æther, approaches to a similitude of the one itself, and is the representative of bound; the other, Chaos, comprehends in its essence multitude and infinity. Afterwards (says Syrianus) the first and secret genera of the Gods subsists, among which the first apparent is the king and father of the universe, whom on this account they call Phanes. Now this first and secret genera of the Gods, is no other than all the demiurgical and intellectual ideas, considered as proceeding to the production of the sensible World, from their occult subsistence in Æther and Chaos, whose mutual connection Orpheus represents under the symbol of an egg: upon the exclusion of which egg, by night considered as a principle, the God Phanes came forth, who is hence denominated Protogonus. Δὶο καὶ παῤ Ορφεῖ ἢ Φάνης περικαλλέος αἰθέρος ηἱος ονομά#εται ( ), καὶ ἃϐρὸς Ἕρως, p. 119 Says Proclus in Tim. ii. p. 132, i. e. "on this account Phanes is called by Orpheus, the son of beautiful Æther, and tender Love." There is likewise another valuable passage on this subject from Proclus, in Tim. p. 291. as follows. "Orpheus delivers the kings of the Gods, who preside over the universe according to a perfect number; Phanes, Night, Heaven, Saturn, Jupiter, Bacchus. For Phanes is first adorned with a scepter, is the first king, and the celebrated Ericapæus. But the second king is Night, who receives the sceptre from the father Phanes. The third is Heaven, invested with government from Night. The fourth Saturn, the oppressor as they say of his father. The fifth is Jupiter, the ruler of his father. And the sixth of these is Bacchus. But all these kings having a supernal origin from the intelligible and intellectual Gods, are received into the middle orders, and in the world, both which they adorn. For Phanes is not only among the intelligible Gods, but also among the intellectual ones; in the demiurgic order, and among the super-mundane and mundane Gods. And Night and Heaven in a similar manner: for the peculiarities of these are received through all the middle orders. But with respect to the great Saturn himself, has he not an order prior to that of Jupiter, and likewise posterior to the jovial king, distributing the Dionysiacal administration (δημιυργία) together with the other Titans? and this indeed in a different manner in the heavens and in things above the moon. And differently in the inerratic stars and in the planets; and in a similar manner Jupiter and Bacchus." Now on comparing the present hymn, and the hymns to Night, Heaven, Saturn and Jupiter together, we shall find them celebrated as the sources of all things; and Bacchus is expressly called Protogonus.
119:3 Ver. 3.] Bull-roarer. Phanes, who, according to the preceding account, is the author of the sensible world, is represented p. 120 by Orpheus (for the purpose of shadowing forth the causal, not the temporal production of the universe) as adorned with the heads of a ram, a bull, a serpent, and a lion. Now Mithras, according to the Persian theology as related by Porphory de antro Nymph, is the father and creator of all things, And he informs us that the ancient priests of Ceres, called the Moon who is the queen of generation ταῦρος or a Bull (p. 262.) and p. 265 ὡς καὶ ὁ ταῦρος δημιυργόσ ὣν ὁ Μίθρασ, καὶ γενεσέωσ δεσπότησ. i e. "Mithras as well as the Bull is the demiurgus of the universe, and the lord of generation" The reason therefore is obvious why Phanes is called Bull-roarer. Hence too from the account of Phanes given by Proclus, it follows that what that divinity is in the intelligible, that Thetis must be in the sensible world. For Thetis according to Proclus, lib. v. in Timæum is Πρετϐυτάτη Θεῶν, or the most ancient and progenitor of the Gods: and Thetis is the mother of Venus, and Protogonus the father of Night. Venus therefore in the sensible world is the same as Night in the intelligible; and the reason is evident why Night in these Hymns is called Venus. I cannot conclude this note without observing how much it is to be lamented that the Platonical writers are so little known and understood in the present age. for surely if these valuable works had been consulted, it would have appeared that Protogonus and Noah resembled each other as much as the ancient and modern philosophy; or as much as an ancient commentator on Plato, and a modern Mythology.