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Call Thesmophorus *, spermatic God,
Of various names, who bears the leafy rod:
Mises, ineffable, pure, sacred queen,
Two-fold Iacchus, male and female seen:
Illustr'ous, whether to rejoice is thine
In incense offer'd, in the fane divine +;
Or if in Phrygia most thy soul delights,
Performing with thy mother sacred rites;
Or if the land of Cyprus is thy care,
Well pleas'd to dwell with Cytherea fair; 10

p. 174

Or if exulting in the fertile plains
With thy dark mother Isis, where she reigns, 12

p. 175

With nurses pure attended, near the flood
Of sacred Egypt, thy divine abode:

p. 176

Wherever resident, blest pow'r attend, 15
And with benignant mind these labours end.


173:* Or the legislator.

173:+ Or Eleusina.

174:12 My dark mother Isis. According to Plutarch, in his treatise of Isis and Osiris, Isis is the mother of Orus, who is called by the Greeks Apollo; and Iacchus it is well known is a mythic sirname of Bacchus. Now Apollo is frequently called in the orphic writings Bacchus; as in the Hymn to that deity, Bacchian and Two-fold. And Apollo, as we have frequently observed, is in the intelligible world, the king and father of the universe, Protogonus, or Ericapæus, and in the sensible world the Sun. So that Mises or Bacchus is celebrated in this Hymn by the same appellations as are given to Protogonus and Apollo: for he is called spermatic, ineffable, male and female, &c. which last appellation is given to Protogonus in the Orphic verse preserved by Proclus, lib. ii. in Timæum.

Θή#ισ καὶ γενέτωρ κρατερὸς ϑεὸς ὴρικεπαῖοσ

That is, "Female and father (or male), strong God Ericapæus"

Indeed it is common with the Orphic theologers, to celebrate causes as the same with effects, and effects with their causes; the supreme as the subordinate, and the subordinate as the supreme. And this in consequence of the mysterious union, subsisting between all the divine orders, and through every part of the universe; every thing, except the first cause, being stamped as it were with the same great seals of ideas, and existing on this account in sympathy and similitude with natures, both superior and subordinate to its essence. And here I cannot but take notice of the mistake of Macrobius, who imagines that all the Gods according to Orpheus, may be reduced to the Sun; the other divinities being but so many different appellations of that deity: for it is sufficiently evident to those who are skilled in the Orphic theology, that Orpheus was a Polytheist as well as a monarchist. But this mistake of Macrobius is not wonderful; p. 175 as we may say of him what Plotinus said, on reading the book of Longinus concerning principles, φιλόλογοσ μὲν ὁ Λογγῖνοσ, φιλόσοφοσ δὲ ὐδαμῶσ, i. e. "Longinus is a philologist, but by no means a philosopher." Similar to this is the mistake of modern Mythologists, who in conformity with the fashionable philosophy, call the material parts of nature, the Gods of the ancients: the folly and impiety of which system, cannot be better represented than in the words of Plutarch in his above mentioned curious Treatise of Isis and Osiris, which I shall give the reader in the elegant Translation of Dr. Squire, p. 90. "We ought to take the greatest care (says Plutarch) that we do not explain away the very nature of the Gods, by resolving it as it were into mere blasts of wind, or streams of rivers, into the sowing and earing of corn, or into the changes of the earth and seasons, as those persons have actually done, who make Bacchus to be Wine, and Vulcan Fire. Just as Cleanthes somewhere tells us, that by Proserpine nothing else is meant, but that air which pervading the fruits of the earth, is thereby destroyed as it were, being deprived of its nutritive spirit and as a certain poet, speaking of reaping corn, says,

Then, when the vigorous youth shall Ceres cut.

For those who indulge themselves in this manner of expression, act just as wisely as they would do, who should call the sails, the cables, and the anchors of the ship, the pilot; or the yarn and web, the weaver; or the emulsion, the easing draught, and the ptifan, the physician. "And, p. 91. he observes, that as the sun and the moon, and the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, though common to all mankind, have different names given them by different people; so may the same be affirmed, likewise, of that one supreme reason, who framed this world, and of that one providence which governs and watches over p. 176 the whole, and of those subordinate ministring powers that are set over the universe, that they are the very same everywhere, though the honors which are paid them, as well as the appellations which are given them, are different in different places, according to the laws of each country, as are likewise those symbols, under which the mystics endeavour to lead their votaries to the knowledge of divine truths: and though some of these are more clear and explicit than others, yet are they not any of them without hazard; for whilst some persons, by wholly mistaking their meaning and appellation, have thereby plunged themselves into superstition, others, that they might avoid so fatal a quagmire, are unawares, dashed themselves upon the rock of atheism."

Next: XLII: To the Seasons