THUS is described the discourse of heroic love, in all which tends to its own object, which is the highest good; and heroic intellect, which devotes itself to the study of its own object, which is the primal verity, or absolute truth. Now the first discourse holds the sum of this and the intention, the order of which is described in five others following:
To the woods, the mastiffs and the greyhounds young Actæon leads,
When destiny directs him into the doubtful and neglected
Upon the track of savage beasts in forests wild.
And here, between the waters, he sees a bust and face more beautiful than e'er was seen
By mortal or divine, of scarlet, alabaster, and fine gold;
He sees: and the great hunter straight becomes that which he hunts.
The stag, that towards still thicker shades now goes with lighter steps, p. 91
His own great dogs swiftly devour.
So I extend my thoughts to higher prey, and these
Now turning on me give me death with cruel savage bite.
Actæon signifies the intellect, intent on the pursuit of divine wisdom and the comprehension of divine beauty. He lets loose the mastiffs and the greyhounds, of whom the latter are more swift and the, former more strong, because the operation of the intellect precedes that of the will; but this is more. vigorous and effectual than that; seeing that, to the human intellect, divine goodness and beauty are more loveable than comprehensible, and love it is that moves and urges the intellect, and precedes it as a lantern. The woods, uncultivated and solitary places, visited and penetrated by few, and where there are few traces of men. The, youth of little skill and practice, as of one of short life and of wavering enthusiasm. In the doubtful road of uncertain and distorted reason--a disposition assigned to the character of Pythagoras--where you see the most thorny, uncultivated, and deserted to be the right and difficult path, where he lets loose the greyhounds and the mastiffs upon the track of savage beasts, that is, the intelligible kinds of ideal conceptions, which are occult, followed by few, visited but rarely, and which do not disclose themselves to
all those who seek them. Here, amongst the waters,--that is, in the mirror of similitude, in those works where shines the brightness of divine goodness and splendour, which works are symbolized by the waters superior and inferior, which are above and below the firmament, he sees the most beautiful bust and face--that is, external power and operation, which it is possible to see, by the habit and act of contemplation and the application of mortal or divine mind, of man or any god.
CIC. I do not believe that he makes a comparison, nor puts as the same kind the divine and the human mode of comprehending, which are. very diverse, but as to the subject they are the same.
TANS. So it is. He says "of red and alabaster and gold," because that which in bodily beauty is red, white, and fair, in divinity signifies the scarlet of divine vigorous power, the gold of divine wisdom, the alabaster of divine beauty, through the contemplation of which the Pythagoreans, Chaldeans, Platonists, and others, strive in the best way that they can to elevate themselves. "The great hunter saw," he understood as much as was possible, and became the hunted. He went out for prey, and this hunter became himself the prey, by the operation of the intellect converting the things learned into itself.
CIC. I understand. He forms intelligible conceptions in his own way and proportions them to his capacity, so that they are received according to the manner of the recipient.
TANS. And does he hunt through the operation of the will, by the act of which he converts himself into the object?
CIC. As I understand: because love transforms and converts into the thing loved.
TANS. Well dost thou know that the intellect learns things intelligibly--i.e., in its own way, and the will pursues things naturally, that is, according to the reason that is in themselves. So Actæon with those thoughts--those dogs--which hunted outside themselves for goodness, wisdom, and beauty, thus came into the presence of the same, and ravished out of himself by so much splendour, he became the prey, saw himself converted into that for which he was seeking, and perceived, that of his dogs or thoughts, he himself came to be the longed for prey; for having absorbed the divinity into himself it was not necessary to search outside himself for it.
CIC. For this reason it is said "the kingdom of Heaven is in us;" divinity dwells within through the reformed intellect and will.
TANS. It is so. See then, Actæon hunted by his own dogs--pursued by his own thoughts--runs and directs these novel paces, invigorated so as to proceed divinely and "more easily," that is, with greater facility and with refreshed vigour "towards the denser places," to the deserts and the region of thing s incomprehensible. From being such as he first was, a common ordinary man, he becomes rare and heroic, his habits and ideas are strange, and he leads an unusual life. Here his great dogs "give him death," and thus ends his life according to the mad, sensual, blind, and fantastic world, and he begins to live intellectually; he lives the life of the gods, fed on ambrosia and drunk with nectar.
Next we see under the form of another Similitude the manner in which he arms himself to obtain the object. He says:
My solitary bird! away unto that region
Which overshadows and which occupies my thought,
Go swiftly, and there nestle; there every
Need of thine be strengthened,
There all thy industry and art be spent!
There be thou born again, and there on high,
Gather and train up thy wandering fledglings
Since adverse fate has drawn away the bars
With which she ever sought to block thy way. p. 95
Go! I desire for thee a nobler dwelling-place,
And thou shalt have for guide a god,
Who is called blind by him who nothing sees.
Go! and ever be by thee revered,
Each deity of that wide sphere,
And come not back to me till thou art mine.
The progress symbolized above by the hunter who excites his dogs, is here illustrated by a winged heart, which is sent out of the cage, in which it lived idle and quiet, to make its nest on high and bring up its fledglings, its thoughts, the time being come in which those impediments are removed, which were caused, externally, in a thousand different ways, and internally by natural feebleness. He dismisses his heart then to make more magnificent surroundings, urging him to the highest propositions and intentions, now that those powers of the soul are more fully fledged, which Plato signifies by the two wings, and he commits him to the guidance of that god, who, by the unseeing crowd, is considered insane and blind, that is Love, who, by the mercy and favour of heaven, has power to transform him into that nature towards which he aspires, or into that state from which, a pilgrim, he is banished. Whence he says, "Come not back to me till thou art mine," and not unworthily may I say with that other--
Thou has left me, oh, my heart,
And thou, light of my eyes, art no more with me.
Here he describes the death of the soul, which by the Kabbalists is called the death by kisses, symbolized in the Song of Solomon, where the friend says:
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth,
For, when he wounds me,
I suffer with a cruel love.
By others it is called sleep; the Psalmist says
It shall be, that give sleep unto mine eyes,
And mine eyelids shall slumber,
And I shall have in him peaceful repose.
The soul then is said to be faint, because it is dead in itself, and alive in the object:
Give heed, enthusiasts, unto the heart!
For mine condemns me to a life apart,
Bound by unmerciful and cruel ties,
He dwells with joy, there where he faints and dies.
At every hour I call him back by thoughts:
A rebel he, like gerfalcon insane,
He feels no more the hand that did restrain,
And is I one forth not to return again.
Thou beauteous beast that dost in punishment
Knit up the soul, spirit and heart content'st
With pricks, with lightnings, and with chains! p. 97
From looks, from accents, and from usages,
Which faint and burn and keep thee bound,
Where shall he that heals, that cools, and loosens thee be found?
Here the soul, sorrowful, not from real discontent, but on account of pains which she suffers, directs the discourse to those who are affected by passions similar to her own: as if she had not of her own free will and of her own desire dismissed her heart, which goes running whither it cannot arrive, stretches out to that which it cannot reach, and tries to enfold that which it cannot comprehend, and with this, because he vainly separates from her, ever more and more goes on aspiring towards the infinite.
CIC. Whence comes it, oh Tansillo, that the soul in such progression delights in its own torments? Whence comes that spur which urges it ever beyond that which it possesses?
TANS. From this, which I will tell thee now. The intellect being developed to the comprehension of a certain definite and specific form, and the will to a love commensurate with such comprehension; the intellect does not stop there, bat by its own light it is prompted to think of this: that it contains within itself the germ of everything intelligible and desirable, until it comes to comprehend with the
intellect the depth of the fountain of ideas, the ocean of every truth and goodness. So that it happens, that whatever conception is presented to the mind, and becomes understood by it, from that which is so presented and comprehended it judges, that above it, is other greater and greater, and finds itself ever in a certain way discoursing and moving with it. Because it sees that all which it possesses is only a limited thing, and therefore cannot be sufficient of itself, nor good of itself, nor beautiful of itself; because it is not the universal nor the absolute entity; but contracted into being this nature, this species, this form, represented to the intellect and present to the soul. Then from the beautiful that is understood, and consequently limited, and therefore beautiful through participation, it progresses towards that which is really beautiful, which has no margin, nor any boundaries.
CIC. This progression appears to me useless.
TANS. Not so. For it is not natural nor suitable that the infinite be restricted, nor give itself definitely, for it would not then be infinite. To be infinite, it must be infinitely pursued with that form of pursuit which is not incited physically, but metaphysically, and is not from imperfect to perfect, but goes circulating through the grades of perfection to
arrive at that infinite centre which is not form, and is not formed.
CIC. I should like to know how, by circumambulating, one is to arrive at the centre?
TANS. I cannot know that.
CIC. Why do you say it?
TANS. I can say it, and leave it to you to consider.
CIC. If you do not mean that he who pursues the infinite is like him who talks about the circumference when he is seeking for the centre, I do not know what you mean.
TANS. Quite the contrary.
CIC. Now if you will not explain yourself, I cannot understand you; but tell me, prythee, what he means by saying the heart is bound by cruel, spiteful bonds.
TANS. He speaks in similitude or metaphor; as you would say, cruel was one who did not allow a full enjoyment, and who lives more in the desire than in possession, and who, partially possessing, is not content, but desires, faints, and dies.
CIC. What are those thoughts that call him back from the noble enterprise?
TAMS. The sensual and natural affections, which regard the government of the body.
CIC. What have they to do with it, that in no way can either help or favour it?
TANS. They have not to do with it, but with the, soul, which, being so absorbed in one work or study, becomes remiss and careless in others.
CIC. Why does he call him insane?
TANS. Because he surpasses in knowledge.
CIC. It is usual to call insane those, who know nothing.
TANS. On the contrary. Those are called insane who know not in the ordinary way, or who rise above the ordinary from having more intellect.
CIC. I perceive that thou sayest truly. Now tell me what are the pricks, the lightnings, and the chains?
TANS. Pricks are those experiences that stimulate and awaken the affection, to make it on the alert; lightnings are the rays of the present beauty, which enlighten those who watch and wait for them; chains are those effects and circumstances which keep fixed the eyes of attention and unite together the object and the powers.
CIC. What are the looks, the accents, and the customs?
TANS. Looks are the means by which the object is made present to us; accents are the means through which we are inspired and informed; customs are
the circumstances which are most pleasant and agreeable to us. So that the heart that gently suffers, patiently burns and constantly perseveres in the work, fears that its hurt will heal, its fire be extinguished, and its bands be loosened.
CIC. Now relate that which follows.
Lofty, profound, and stirring thoughts of mine,
Ye long to sever the maternal ties
Of the afflicted soul, and like to proud
And able bowmen, draw at the mark,
"Which is the germ of all your high conceits.
In those steep paths where cruel beasts may be,
Let not heaven leave ye!
Remember to return, and summon back
The heart that tarries with the wild wood nymph;
Arm ye with love,
Warn with the flame of domesticity,
And with strong repression guard thy sight,
That strangers keep thee not companioned with my heart;
At least bring news of that,
Which unto him is such delight and joy.
Here he describes the natural solicitude of the attentive soul on the subject, of its inclination towards generation, which it has contracted with matter. She dispatches the armed thoughts, which, solicited and urged by disagreement with the inferior nature,
are sent to recall the heart. The soul instructs them how they should conduct themselves, so that, being allured and attracted by the object, they do not become induced to remain, they also, captive and companions of the heart. She says, then, they are to arm themselves with love, with that love that is fired by the domestic flame; that is, the friend of generation, to whom they are bound, and in whose jurisdiction, ministry, and warfare they find themselves. Anon she orders them to repress their eyesight and to close their eyes, so that they may not behold other beauty or goodness than that which is present, friend and mother; and concludes at last with this, that if no other reason will cause them to return, they should at least do so, to give account of the discourse and of the state of the heart.
CIC. Before you proceed further, I would understand from you what is that which the soul means when she tells the thoughts to repress the sight vigorously.
TANS. I will tell thee. All love proceeds from seeing: intelligent love, from seeing intelligently; sensuous love, from seeing sensuously. Now this seeing has two meanings: either it means the visual power, that is the sight, which is the intellect, or truly the sense; or it means the act of that power,
that is, that application which the eye or the intellect makes to the material or intellectual object. When the thoughts are counselled to repress the sight, it is not the first, but the second, mode that is meant, because that is the father of the subsequent affection of the sensuous or intellectual desire.
CIC. This is what I wished to hear from you. Now, if the act of the visual power is the cause of the evil or good which proceed from seeing, whence comes it that in things divine we have more love, than knowledge?
TANS. We desire to see, because in some way we perceive the value of seeing. We are aware that, through the act of seeing, beautiful things offer themselves to us; and therefore we desire beautiful things.
CIC. We desire the beautiful and the good; but seeing is not beautiful nor good, rather is it the touchstone or light by which we see, not only the beautiful. and good, but also the evil and bad. Therefore it seems to me that seeing may be equally beautiful or good, as the thing seen may be white or black. If, then, the sight, which is an act, is not beautiful nor good, how can it fall into desire?
TANS. If not for itself, yet certainly for some
other reason, it is desired, seeing that there can be no apprehension of that other without it.
CIC. What wilt thou say, if that other is not within the knowledge of the, senses nor of the intellect? How, I say, can that be desired which is not seen, if there is no knowledge whatever of it--if towards it neither the intellect nor the sense has exercised any act whatever; but, on the contrary, it is even dubious whether it be intellectual or sensuous, whether a thing corporeal or incorporeal, whether it be one or two or more, or of one fashion or of another?
TANS. I answer, that in the sense and the intellect there is one desire and one impulse to the sensuous in general; because the intellect will hear the whole truth, so that it may learn all that is beautiful or good intelligently; the power of the senses will inform itself of all that is sensuous, so that it may know all that is good and beautiful in the world of the senses. Hence it follows that not less do we desire to see things unknown and unseen than those known and seen. And from this it does not follow that the desire does not proceed from cognition, and that we desire something that is not known; but I say that it is certain and sure that we do not desire unknown things. Because, if they
be occult as to particulars, they are not occult as to generals; as in the entire visual power is found the whole of the visible appositely, and in the intellect all the intelligible. Therefore, as the inclination to the act lies in its appropriateness, the result is that both these powers incline towards the universal action, as to a thing naturally comprehended as good. The soul, then, did not speak to the deaf or the blind when she counselled her thoughts to repress the sight, which, although it may not be the immediate cause of the will, is yet the primal and principal cause.
CIC. What do you mean by this last saying?
TANS. I mean that it is not the figure or the conception, sensibly or intelligently represented, which of itself moves us; because while one stands beholding the figure manifested to the eyes, he does not yet arrive at loving; but from that instant that the soul conceives within itself that figure, not visible, but thinkable; no longer dividual, but individual; no longer classed among things in general, but among things good and beautiful; then immediately love is born. Now this is the seeing, from which the soul desires to divert the eyes of her thoughts. Here the sight usually moves the affection to a greater love than the love of that which is
seen; for, as I have just said, it always considers, through the universal knowledge that it holds of the beautiful and the good, that, besides the degrees of known conceptions of goodness and beauty, there are others and yet others ad infinitum.
CIC. How is it that after we become informed of that conception of the beautiful which is begotten in the soul, we yet desire to satisfy the exterior vision?
TANS. From this, that the soul would ever love that which it loves, and ever see that which it sees. Therefore she wills that, the conception which has been produced in her through seeing, should not become weakened, enervated and lost; but would ever see more and more, and that which becomes obscure in the interior affection, should be frequently brightened by the exterior aspect, which as it is the principle of being, must also be the principle of conservation. This results proportionately in the act of understanding and of considering, for as the sight has reference to visible things, so has the, intellect to intelligible things. I believe now that you understand to what end and in what manner the soul tends, when she says "repress the sight."
CIC. I understand very well. Now continue to unfold what happens to these thoughts.
TANS. Now follows the disagreement between the mother and the aforesaid children, who having, contrary to her orders, opened their eyes, and, having fixed them on the splendour of the object, they remained in company with the heart.
Cruel sons are ye to me, me whom ye left
Still farther to exasperate my pain;
And ever without cease ye weary me,
Taking away from me my every hope!
Why should the sense remain? oh, grasping heavens!
Wherefore these broken ruined powers, if not
To make me subject and exemplar
Of such heavy martyrdom, such lengthened pain?
Leave, dear sons, my winged fire enchained,
And let me, some of you once more behold,
Come back to me from those retaining claws!
Oh, weariness! not one returns
To bring a late refreshment to my pains.
Behold me, miserable one, deprived of heart, abandoned of thoughts, left by hope, 1, who had fixed my all in them. Nothing is left to me but the sense of my poverty, my unhappiness and misery; why does not this too leave me? Why does not death succour me, now that I am deprived of life? To what use do I possess these natural powers if I be deprived of the use of them? How can I alone nourish
myself with intelligible conceptions as with intellectual bread, if the substance of this bread be composed of this contingency. How can I linger in the intimacy of these friendly and dear members which I have woven round me, adjusting them with the symmetry of the elementary conditions, if my thoughts and all my affections abandon me, intent upon the care of the bread that is immaterial and divine? Up, up; oh, my flying thoughts; up, oh my rebel heart; let live the sense of things that are felt, and the understanding of things intelligible, come to the succour of the body with matter and corporeal subject, and let the understanding delight in its own objects to the end that this composition of the body may be realized, that this machine dissolve not, in which, by means of the spirit, the soul is united to the body. Why, unhappy as I am (more through domestic circumstances than through external violence), am I doomed to see this horrible divorce between my parts and members? Why does the intellect trouble itself to give laws to the sense and yet deprive it of its food? and this, on the other hand, resists; desiring to live according to its own decrees, and not according to the decree of others; for these and not those are able to maintain and bless it, therefore it ought to attend to its own comfort and life, and not to that
of others. There is no harmony and concord where there is only one, where one individual absorbs the whole being, but where there is order and analogy in things diverse; where each thing serves its own nature. Therefore lot the sense feed according to the law of things that can be felt, the flesh be obedient to the? law of the spirit, the reason to its own law. Let them not be confounded nor mixed. Enough that one neither mar nor prejudice the law of the other, since it is not just that the sense outrage the law of reason. And verily it is a shameful thing that one, should tyrannize over the other, particularly where the intellect is a pilgrim and strange, and the sense is more domesticated and at home. I am forced by you, my thoughts, to remain at home in charge of the house, while others may wander wherever they will. This is a law of Nature, and therefore a law of the author and originator of Nature. Sin on then, now that all of you, seduced by the charm of the intellect, leave the other part of me to the peril of death. How have you gotten this melancholy and perverse humour, which breaks the certain and natural laws of the true life, and which is in your own hands, for one, uncertain, and which has no existence except in shadow, beyond the limits of fantastic thought? Seems it to you a natural thing that they should
live divinely and not as animals and humanly, they being not gods, but men and animals? It is a law of fate and Nature that everything should adapt itself to the condition of its own being, wherefore then, while you follow after the niggard nectar of the gods, do you lose that which is present and is your own, and trouble yourself about the vain hopes of others? Ought not Nature to refuse to give you the other good, if that which she at present offers to you,. you stupidly despise?
Heaven the second gift denies,
To him who does the first despise.
With these and similar reasons the soul, taking part with the weakest, seeks to recall the thoughts to the care of the body. And these, although late, come and show themselves, but not in that form in which they departed, but only to declare their rebellion, and force her to follow. And the sorrowing one thus laments:
Ah, dogs of Actæon, ah, proud ingrates!
Whom to the abode of my divinity I sent;
Without hope do ye return to me;
And, coming to the mother's side, ye bring
Back unto me a too unhappy boon;
Ye mangle me, and will that I live not. p. 111
Leave me, life, that I may mount up to my sun,
A double streamlet, mad, without my fount!
When shall this ponderous mass of me dissolve?
When shall it be, that, taking myself hence,
And swiftly rising to the heights above,
Together with my heart I may abide,
And with my thoughts I may be deified?
The Platonists say that the soul, as to its superior part, always consists in the intellect, in which it has more of understanding than of soul, seeing that it is called soul only in so far as it vivifies the body and sustains it. So here, the same essence which nourishes and maintains the thoughts on high, together with the exalted heart, is induced by the inferior part to afflict itself, and recall them as rebels.
CIC. So that they are not two contrary existences, but one, subject to two contradictory terms?
TANS. So it is, precisely. As the ray of the sun which touches the earth, and is joined to obscure and to inferior things, which it brightens, vivifies, and kindles, and is then joined to the element of fire--that is, to the star, whence it proceeds, and has its beginning, and is diffused, and in which it has its own and original subsistence--so the soul, which is in the horizon of Nature, is corporeal and incorporeal, and contains that with which it rises to superior
things and declines to things inferior. And this, you may perceive, does not happen by reason and order of local motion, but solely through the impulse of one and of another power or faculty. As when the sense rises to the imagination, the imagination to the reason, the reason to the intellect, the intellect to the mind, then the whole soul is converted into God, and inhabits the intelligible world; whence, on the other hand, she descends in an inverse manner to the world of feeling, through the intellect, reason, imagination, sense, vegetation.
CIC. It is true that I have heard that the soul, in order to put itself in the ultimate degree of divine things, descends into the mortal body, and from this goes up again to the divine degrees, which are three degrees of intelligence. For there are others in which the intellectual surpasses the animal, which are said to be the celestial intelligences; and others in which the animal surpasses the intellectual, which are the human intelligences; others there are, of which those things are equal, as those of demons or heroes.
TANS. The mind then cannot desire except that which is near, close, known, and familiar. The pig cannot desire to be a man, nor wish for those things that are suitable to the human appetite. He likes
better to turn about in mud than in a bed of linen, he would prefer a sow to the most beautiful of women, because the affection follows the reason of the species. And amongst men the same thing is seen, according as some resemble one species of brute beast and some another: these having something of the quadruped, and those of birds, and, may be, some affinity, which I will not explain, but through which those have been known who are affected by certain sorts of beasts. Now, it is lawful for the mind which finds itself oppressed by the material conjunction of the soul, to raise itself to the contemplation of another state, to which the soul may arrive, comparing the two, and so through the future despise the present. If a beast had a sense of the difference which exists between his own condition and that of man, and the meanness of his own state with the nobility of the human state, which he would deem it not impossible to be able to reach, he would love death, which would open to him that road, more than that life which keeps him in the present state of being. When the soul complains, saying, "Ah! dogs of Actæon!" she is represented as a thing which appears only in the inferior powers, and against which the mind rebels for having taken away the heart with it; that is to
say, the entire affections, with all the army of the thoughts. So that, having a knowledge of the present state, and being ignorant of every other, and not believing that others exist about which she can have any knowledge, she complains of her thoughts, which, tardily turning towards her, come rather to draw her up than, to make themselves accepted by her. And through the distraction which she endures on account of the ordinary love of the material and of things intelligible, she feels herself lacerated and mangled, so that at last she is forced to yield to the more vigorous impulse. And if, by virtue of contemplation, she rises or is caught up above the horizon of the natural affections, whence with purer eye she learns the difference between the one life and the other, then, vanquished by the lofty thoughts, and, as if dead to the body, she aspires to that which is elevated, and, although alive in the body, she vegetates there as if dead, being present as an animating principle and absent in operative activity; not because she does not act while the body is alive, but that the actions of this mass are intermittent, weak, and, as it were, purposeless.
CIC. Thus a certain theologian, who was said to be transported to the third heaven and enchanted with the view of it, said that what he desired was the dissolution of his body.
TANS. So; first complaining of the heart and quarrelling with the thoughts, she now desires to rise on high with them, and exhibits her regret for the connection and familiarity contracted with corporeal matter, and. says: "Leave me life (corporeal), and do not impede my progress upwards to my native home, to my sun. Leave me now, for no longer do my eyes weep tears; neither because I cannot succour them (the thoughts), nor because I cannot remain divided from my happiness. Leave me, for it is not fit nor possible that these two streams should run without their source, that is, without the heart. I will not, I say, make two rivers of tears here below, while my heart, which is the source of such rivers, is flown away on high with its nymphs, which are my thoughts." Thus, little by little, from dislike and regret, she proceeds to the hatred of inferior things, which she partly shows, saying, When shall this ponderous mass of me dissolve? and that which follows.
CIC. This I understand right well, and also that which you would infer about the principal intention; that is to say, that these are the degrees of the loves, of the affections, and of the enthusiasms, according to the degrees of greater and lesser light, of cognition, and of intelligence.
TANS. Thou understandest rightly. From this
thou oughtest to learn that doctrine taken from the Pythagoreans and Platonists, which is, that the soul makes the two progressions of ascent and descent, by the care that it has of itself and of matter; being moved by its own proper love of good, and being urged by the providence of fate.
CIC. But, prythee, tell me briefly what you mean about the soul of the world, if she can neither ascend nor descend?
TANS. If you ask of the world, according to the common signification--that is, in so far as it signifies what is called the universe--I say that, being infinite, it has no dimension or measure, is immobile, inanimate, and without form, notwithstanding it is the place of infinite moving worlds and is infinite space, in which are so many large animals that are called stars. If you ask according to the signification held by the true philosophers--that is, in so far as it signifies every globe, every star, such as this earth, the body of the sun, moon, and others--I say that such soul does not ascend nor descend, but turns in a circle. Thus, being compounded of superior and inferior powers, with the superior it turns round the divinity, and with the inferior, towards the mass of the worlds, which is by it vivified and maintained between the tropics of generation and
the corruption of living things in those worlds, serving its own life eternally; because the act of the divine providence, always preserves it with divine heat and light, with the same order and measure, in the ordinary and self-same being.
CIC. I have now heard enough upon this subject.
TANS. It happens then that individual souls come to be influenced differently as to their habits and inclinations, according to the diverse degrees of ascension and descension, and come to display various kinds and orders of enthusiasms, of loves, and of senses, not only in the scale of Nature according to the orders of diverse lives which the soul takes up in different bodies, as is expressly declared by the Pythagoreans, Saduchimi and others, and by implication, Plato, and those who dive more profoundly into it, but still more in the scale of human affections, which has as many degrees as the scale of Nature; for man, in all his powers, displays every species of being.
CIC. Therefore from the affections one may know souls, whether they are going up or down, or whether they are from above or from below, whether they are going on towards becoming beasts or towards divine beings, according to the specific
being as the Pythagoreans understood it; or according to the similitude of the affections only, as is commonly believed, the human soul not being able, (so long as it is truly human) to become soul of a brute, as Plotinus and other Platonists well said, on account of the quality of its beginning.
TANS. Now to come to the proposition: From animal enthusiasm, this soul, as described, is promoted to heroic enthusiasm, saying, "When shall it be that I rise up to the height of the object, there to dwell in company with my heart and with my fledglings 1 and his?" This same proposition he continues when he says
Destiny, when shall I that mountain mount,
Which, blissful to the high gates bringing, bring,
Where those rare beauties I shall counting, count,
When he my pain with comfort comforting,
Who my disjointed members joined,
And leaves my dying powers not dead?
My spirit's rival more than rivalled is
If, far from sin, it unassailed may sail,
If thither tending, it may waiting, wait,
And up with that high object rising, rise,
And if my good alone, alone I take,
For which I sure remove of each defect effect,
And so at last may come to enjoy with joy,
As he who all foretells can tell.
O Destiny! O Fate! O divine immutable Providence! when shall it be that I shall climb that mount--that is, that I may arrive at such altitude of mind, as transporting me shall bring me into those outer and inner courts where I may behold and count those rare beauties? When shall it be, that he will effectually comfort my pain, loosening me from the tightened bonds of those cares in which I find myself, he, who formed and united my members, which before were disunited and disjoined: that is Love; he who has joined together these corporeal parts, which were as far divided as one opposite is divided from another; so that these intellectual powers which, through his action he has extinguished, should not be left quite dead, but be again re-animated and made to aspire on high? When, I say, will he fully comfort me, and give my powers free and speedy flight, by which means my substance may go and nestle there, where, by my efforts, I may make amends and correct my defects, and where (if I arrive) my spirit will be made effectual or prevail over my rival, because there, no excess will oppose, no opposition overcome, no error assail? Oh! if by force he may arrive there, at that height which he is waiting to reach, he will remain on high, at the elevation of his object, and he will take that good
that cannot be comprehended by any other than one, that is, by himself, seeing that every other has it in the measure of his own capacity, and this one alone has it in all its fulness. Then will happiness come to me in that manner which he says, "who all foretells"; that is, at that elevation in which the saying all and the doing all is the same thing; in that manner that he says and does who all foretells, that is, who is sufficient for all things and primary, and whose word and pre-ordaining is the true doing and beginning. This is how, in the scale of things superior and inferior, the affection of Love proceeds, as the intellect or sentiment proceeds from these intelligible or knowable objects, to those, or from those to these.
CIC. Thus the greater number of sages believe that Nature delights in this changeful circulation which is seen in the whirling of her wheel.