The Goddess: Ancient Echoes in Antony and Cleopatra by Mather Walker The Renaissance period saw a revival of the Isis mythology, particularly its arcane initiation rituals, which have persisted through successive eras and are manifested in Western culture, for example in rites practiced by the society of Freemasons.
rancis Bacon's major source for the play of Antony and Cleopatra was the life of Antony in Plutarch's Parallel Lives. This work contains material Bacon did not include in the play, some of which is a considerable aid in understanding the subject of the allegory in the play. There are three remarkable features within the play which flags the specific nature of the allegory. The first feature is the hyperbolic nature of the players imagery. The best example is Cleopatra's dream of Antony: "His face was as the heavens, and therein stuck A sun and moon, which kept their course and lighted The little O, the earth." In this imagery Antony becomes the whole cosmos, and the earth is only a little Orb in comparison. Cleopatra continues: " His legs bestrid the ocean; his reared arm Crested the world; his voice was propertied As all the tuned spheres, and that to friends; But when he meant to quail and shake the orb, He was as rattling thunder." To steal a quote from Ben Jonson, surely we may concede that the author had his socks on when he wrote this play. The hyperbolic imagery is frequently on a universal scale. But the verse is not just poetic bombast. This imagery is present because the allegory deals with a subject that has a universal scale. Imagery, such as the foregoing, and the following, has caused commentators on the play to talk about its gigantic dimensions, although they have exhibited an unacustomed silence when the time came to assign a reason why this type of imagery should be present in the play: "Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch Of the ranged empire fall! Here is my space. Kingdoms are clay; our dungy earth alike Feeds beast as man; the nobleness of life Is to do thus; when such a mutual pair And such a twain can doest, in which I bind On pain of punishment, the world to weep We stand up peerless." The second feature is the number of scenes in the play. In the earlier tragedies, especially Hamlet, Othello, and Lear, Bacon tends to organize his material into a relatively few, massively built scenes. In Antony and Cleopatra scenes are multiplied at a dizzying rate. Act One has 5 scenes. Act Two has 7 scenes. Act Three has 13 scenes. Act Four has 15 scenes. Act Five has 2 scenes. This gives a grand total of 42 scenes. It is evident Bacon made a deliberate effort to arrive at a large number of scenes. Was that effort specifically so he could incorporate the number 42, or was it merely to arrive at a large number of scenes? That there was a deliberate effort to incorporate a large number of scenes seems evident both by the number of scenes in the play, and by the fact of the peculiarly short length of some of the scenes. In Act Three, scene eight is only six lines long, and scene nine in the same Act is even shorter, being only four lines long. The impression of this effort to incorporate a large number of scenes is also supported by the fact, that with the exception of the last Act, the number of scenes increases with each Act. Act One has only five scenes, this increases to seven scenes in Act Two, 13 scenes in Act Three, and 15 scenes in Act Four. On first blush one gets the impression that Bacon realized he was falling short of the number of scenes he wished to have in the play after Act One. And with each following Act (with the exception of the last Act) made a strenuous effort to increase the number of scenes. This would be a naive conclusion. One that could be attributed to linear thinking rather than the holistic consciousness that was the characteristic of Bacon's mind. His plays came full blown from his head like Athena from the head of Zeus. If he could just as well have made the number of scenes in the respective acts nearly equal with each other, there has to be another reason for this pattern in the build up of the number of scenes in the successive Acts. The alternate idea is that Bacon designed the build up of numbers in the successive Acts with a special purpose in mind. That special purpose could only have been to convey the impression that he was making a deliberate effort to attain a certain number of scenes, and that when he had assured himself of attaining this number of scenes, the effort slackened. This indicates the number 42 as a specific number, incorporated for a specific purpose. The third feature in the play is the fact that the play is almost exactly divided between Rome and Egypt, with the quality of war being associated with Rome, and the quality of love being associated with Egypt. I will return to these three special features of the play later, and examine their specific significance in connection with the specific allegory of the play. For the present, however, it will suffice, I think, to state, that in this play Bacon has constructed his, by now familiar, entertaining story on the surface, with two faces concealed in allegory underneath, one of which looks to the past, and the other to the future. The face that looks to the past in this play is unique in a sense, in that it considers an aspect of ancient knowledge that extends further back into the darkness of antiquity than any other Bacon ever dealt with. THE FACE LOOKING TOWARD THE PAST In the Old Testament a habitually irate deity thunders forth his proclamation, You will have no other God before me! Actually, He was a bit late off the old starting blocks. There WAS another God before Him. Long before Him. 25,000 years before Him. This God was a woman. In his book, The Loom of History referring to the earliest period in history Herbert Muller says: " Two major religious figures stem from this early period- The Mother Goddess and her dying son. The Mother is the oldest known deity. Even the prehistoric cave men knew her, for where they left their superb animal drawings they also left female figurines with exaggerated breasts and wombs, or symbolic vulvae. As they grew no crops, the figurines presumably represented human fertility; a Freudian might see in the cave a symbol of the womb, especially because in historic times The Mother continued to display a preference for caves. But with the rise of agriculture the goddess naturally became an Earth Mother, assuring the annual crops. Figurines of her are found in the earliest prehistoric villages. In time she came to wear cow horns, as the domestication of animals strengthened totemic bonds. Like nature, however, The Mother had a potentially ferocious aspect, perhaps symbolized by the lions that became her attendants. Later there appeared on the scene a young male god who was credited with the introduction of agriculture, and who annually died and was reborn, to assure the birth of the new year. His inevitable association with The Mother in the fertility rites led to their seemingly incongruous relation. Although a virgin, as the first cause of life, she became both the mother and the lover of the young god. " Originally known as The Mother Goddess, or simply The Mother in Neolithic times, the deity was later universally known as The Great Goddess, or simply as The Goddess. She was given various names at various time and places: Inanna, Nana, Nut, Anat, Anahita, Istar, Au Set, The Queen of Heaven, Ishara, Asherah, Ashtart, Attoret, Attar, and Hathor. But the name by which she was most widely known was Isis, which was the Greek translation of the Egyptian Au Set. Some of the names by which the young male god was known in various languages was Damuzi, Tammuz, Attis, Adonis, Baal, and Osiris. He typically symbolized the sun. The relationship Of the Goddess to her consort, or in certain places to a handsome youth who symbolized her son, was known in Egypt by 3,000 B.C.. It occurred in the earliest literature of Sumer. It emerged in later Babylon, Anatolia, and Canaan. It survived in the classical Greek legend of Venus and Adonis, and was even known in pre-Christian Rome as the rituals of Cybele and Attis. In the most remote periods the worship of The Goddess was universal and unchallenged. But, beginning around 2,000 B.C., invaders, generally known as Aryans, or Indo- Europeans, came down from the north. Some entered Ancient Greece and adjoining countries. Others went on to India. They brought their own religion with them, the worship of a young warrior god and/or a supreme father god, and their religion gradually supplanted the ancient religion of The Goddess. Nevertheless, echoes of the old religion survived in many places. In fact, a version (pun intended), of this old religion survives to this day. The adoration of The Virgin Mary (the mother of God) in the Roman Catholic Church, is a reflection of, and a direct derivation of that very ancient religion of the goddess that extends all the way back to the days of the caveman. When the fabricators of the Christian religion appropriated the paraphenalia of the pagan sun god in the figure of Christ, they also appropriated the paraphenalia of Isis in the figure of the Virgin Mary. (Isis and Mary both are blessed Mothers who were acclaimed queen of heaven (regina caeli), were linked to the moon, and were often portrayed with their sons (Horus or Jesus) sitting formally on their laps.) There is a joke that reflects a continuation of a mindset among some members of the Roman Catholic Church that is very similar to the mindset of the devotees of the Old Religion of the goddess who was mother of all the gods. In this joke an old Italian woman had entered the church to pray to The Virgin for aid with her problems. A handy man happened to be working in the attic, and decided he would have some fun. He called out from above in an august voice that was intended to make the old woman think he was God: "So, it is you, back begging again! What do you want this time, old woman?" The old Italian woman snapped: "You shutta up! I'ma talka to your mother!" If there are vestiges of the worship of the goddess even to the present day, it is no stretch of the imagination to realize that the archaic religion persisted into the Christian Era along side the new religion with it's new mythos of the good son and waspish patriarch Jehovah.
In fact, in The Golden Ass written in the second century
of the Christian era, Appuleius of Madauros records what may
be the best extant example of the supplication of a devotee
of The Goddess to His Deity: "To blessed queen of heaven, whether Thou be the Dame Ceres which art the original and motherly nurse of all fruitful things in the earth, who, after, the finding of Thy daughter Proserpine, through the great joy which Thou didst presently conceive, didst utterly take away and abolish the food of them of old time, the acorn, and madest the barren and unfruitful ground of Eleusis to be ploughed and sown, and now givest men a more better and milder food; or whether Thou be the celestial Venus, who, in the beginning of the world, didst couple together male and female with an engendered love, and didst so make an eternal propagation of human kind, being how worshiped within the temple of the Isle Paphos; or whether Thou be the sister of the god Phoebus, who has saved so many people by lightening and lessening with thy medicines the pangs of travail and art now adored at the sacred places of Ephesus; or whether Thou be called terrible Proserpine, by reason of the deadly howlings which Thou yieldest, that has power with triple face to stop and put away the invasion of hags and ghosts which appear unto men, and to keep them down in the closures of the Earth, which dost wander in sundry groves and art worshipped in divers manners; Thou, which doest luminate all the cities of the earth by Thy feminine light; Thou, which nourishest all the seeds of the world by Thy damp heat, giving Thy changing light according to the wanderings, near or far, of the sun." The Goddess appears to the devotee, and says: "Behold, Lucius, I have come; thy weeping and prayer hath moved me to succour thee. I am she that is the natural mother of all things, mistress and governess of all the elements, the initial progeny of worlds, chief of the powers divine, queen of all that are in hell, the principal of them that dwell in heaven, maintained alone and under one form of all the gods and goddesses. At my will the planets of the sky, the wholesome winds of the seas, and the lamentable silences of hell be disposed; my name, my divinity is adored throughout all the world, in diverse manners, in variable customs, and by many names. For the Phrygians that are the first of all men call me the Mother of the gods of Pessinus; the Athenians, which are sprung from their own soil, Cecropian Minerva; the Cyprians, which are girt about by the sea, Paphian Venus; the Cretans which bear arrows, Dictynnian Diana; the Sicilians, which speak three tongues, infernal Proserpine; the Eleusians their ancient goddess Ceres; some Juno, other Bellona, other Hecate, other Rhamnusia, and principally both sort of the Ethiopians, which dwell in the Orient and are enlightened by the morning rays of the sun, and the Egyptians, which are excellent in all kind of ancient doctrine, and by their proper ceremonies accustom to worship me, do call me by my true name, Queen Isis." Isis represented the generative power in universal nature. Today we might call her Mother Nature. She was a black goddess (many of the early statues of the Virgin Mary were also black). Since the soil of Egypt was black, and Isis was equated in one aspect of her nature with this soil, and with the production of vegetation and crops, this particular symbolization may have come from the rich black, alluvial soil deposited by the flooded Nile. Or it may have been, as Manly Palmer Hall said, that the goddess was black because she symbolized the dark, primal matrix from which all things came. In antiquity the Nile flooded annually with extraordinary regularity. Monsoon rains in what are now known as the Ethiopian highlands and the southern Sudan caused the Nile to swell into a mighty torrent. The Ancient Egyptians retreated with their livestock to their settlements on the higher land of the desert fringe. Enormous floods inundated the fertile land. The flood waters reached their highest point at the start of September and the water then became placid. The fertile sediment carried along by the flood sank to the bottom. The waters subsided in October at first quickly, and then gradually more slowly. By this point the land was covered with a black slime, or mud, an optimal fertilizer that made luxurious vegetation possible. The fields were surveyed anew and allocated to farmers. These fertile floods were considered a special gift of the Goddess Isis. In his work Of Isis and Osiris Plutarch said that the Egyptians, hold and esteem the earth for the body of Isis; and not all of it either, but that part only which the Nile, as it were, leaps over, and thereby impregnates and mixes with it. That is, this black slime from the annual flood of the Nile was equated with the body of Isis. Cleopatra expresses this idea when she says: "Rather on Nilus mud Lay me stark-naked, and let the water flies Blow me into abhorring!" It is significant, also, that Antony refers to this feature of the Nile: "The higher Nilus swells The more it promises; as it ebbs, the seedsman Upon the slime and ooze scatter his grain, And shortly comes to harvest." It is even more significant that Antony refers to Cleopatra as the serpent of the old Nile.In the play, immediately after the statement by Antony about the Nile, Lepidus says: "Your serpent of Egypt is bred now of your mud by the operation of your sun." The statues of Isis associated her with a serpent just as Cleopatra was associated with a serpent in the play. But the most obvious clue that Cleopatra represents Isis is in Bacon's source for the play. In the life of Antony in his Parallel Lives Plutarch says: "Cleopatra was then, as at other times when she appeared in public, dressed in the habit of the goddess Isis, and gave audience to the people under the name of the New Isis." So, in the play, when Cleopatra dons her customary robes, she is putting on the robes of Isis, because she customarily takes upon herself the identity of Isis. There is a reference to this when Cleopatra says: "Am I the woman whose inventive pride, Adorned like Isis, scorned mortalitie?" In this context of Cleopatra as Isis the accolade of Enobarbus becomes more understandable, because he is referring to the goddess Isis: "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale Her infinite variety. Other women cloy The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry Where mnost she satisfied; for vilest things Become themselves in her, that the holy priests Bless her when she is riggish." The symbolization of Cleopatra as Isis also is related to the special number given by the 42 scenes of the play. Two features of the myth relate to this number. First, Isis was associated with the idea of rebirth. An intrinsic part of the myth was the idea of the rebirth of vegetation after the death of winter. The grain of wheat that was planted in the ground died, only to be reborn as the stalk of wheat. Secondly, both Osiris and Isis were associated with the moon and with the phases of the moon. When Osiris is killed in the myth he is separated into 14 parts which is the half cycle of the moon. That is, from the full moon to the new moon, where the moon symbolically dies is 14 days. From the new moon to the full moon to the new moon again, one full cycle of the moon, is 28 days. But the idea of rebirth is one full cycle of the moon plus the half cycle again from the new moon to the full moon. This is a period of 42 days. Thus the number 42 expresses the idea of rebirth which was associated with Isis. In connection with this idea, it is worthy of note, that in the New Testament, where the old trappings of The Mother Goddess are transferred to the Virgin Mary, we find this same number. In the old religion it was customary to use a matrilineal descent. The same tradition is followed in tracing the genealogy of Christ. In the book of St. Matthew 1:17 we find the following: "So all the generation from Abraham to David are fourteen Generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations." Here again we have the number 42, and, in a context that anyone, except a Stratfordian, or a Christian, could tell is symbolic. In the various versions of the myths of the goddess, her consort symbolized the sun. There are various features in the play which points to Antony as the sun. Harold Goddard says: "Far more subtly than in the case of Cleopatra and earth, Shakespeare suggests correspondingly that Antony is like the sun. Not until near the end does this analogy shine forth so clearly that we know the author must have intended it. But looking back we can see that he has insinuated it from the beginning. Granted that if Antony is the sun he is an intermittent and often obscured luminary, uncertain of his course across the heavens and subject to frequent total eclipse or worse, as when he orders Caesar's emissary whipped and sends word that, if Caesar does not like it, he may whip, or hang, or torture an enfranchised bondman of Antony's in requital. But these things strike us as mere aberrations of that real Antony in whose presence alone Cleopatra germinates and blossoms and matures into her full self as does the earth under the sun. Antony's power to attract and hold men in his sphere is sun-like also, as is the bounty he dispenses as freely and widely in his degree as the sun does his warmth. It was Eros who referred to his face as: that noble countenance Wherein the worship of the whole world lies." Cleopatra refers to Antony in terms that indicate he is the sun: "He was not sad, for he would shine on those That make their looks by his;" So Antony must die in the play just as the consort in the myths of the goddess must die annually. This is one reason for the hyperbolic scale of the imagery in the play. There is another aspect that gives a further reason for this hyperbolic scale because there is a further symbolization in the play that deals with the universal scale. In addition to his allegory of Isis, Bacon symbolizes the mechanism that produces her generative power. According to Bacon, this mechanism was symbolized by Mars and Venus. Bacon declared, "Strife and Friendship in Nature are the spurs of motions and the keys of works." In other words, these are what endows universal nature with her generative power.. W.F.C. Wigston says, "The story of Venus and Mars circles round the universe, as the two antagonistic powers of Love and Warfare, or "Strife and Friendship", as Bacon terms it. Harmonia or Hermione, was their offspring, being the orderly world, or product of the great dualism everywhere perceptible in Nature, under the physical names of Heat and Cold, Repulsion and Attraction." So we find in the play that Antony and Cleopatra have a further role in that they symbolize Mars and Venus. A careful reading of the play reveals that Cleopatra Was in the role of Venus when she first met Antony: "The barge she sat in, like a burnishþd throne, Burned on the water. The poop was beaten gold; Purple the sails, and so perfumed that The winds were live-sick with them; the oars were silver, Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made The water which they beat to follow faster, As amorous of their strokes. For her own person, It beggarþd all description. She did lie In her pavilion, cloth-of-gold, of tissue, Over picturing that Venus where we see The fancy out-work nature. On each side her Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids, With divers-colourþd fans, whose wind did seem To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool, And what they undid did." In his treatise Of Isis and Osiris Plutarch indicates that the goddess Isis ruled over affairs of love: "And we shall besides take off the incredulity of Eudoxus, who makes a great question how it Comes to pass that neither Ceres hath any part In the care of love affairs (but only Isis)" And in his account of the life of Antony in Plutarch describes this adoption of the role of Venus by Cleopatra in unequivocal terms: "She received several letters, both from Antony and from his friends, to summon her, but she took no account of these orders; and at last, as if in mockery of them, she came sailing up the river Cydnus, in a barge with gilded stern and outspread sails of purple, while oars of silver beat time to the music of flutes and fifes and harps. She herself lay all along, under a canopy of cloth of gold, dressed as Venus in a picture, and beautiful young boys, like painted cupids, stood on each side to fan her. Her maids were dressed like Sea Nymphs and Graces, some steering at the rudder, some working at the ropes. The perfumes diffused themselves from the vessel to the shore, which was covered with multitudes, part following the galley up the river on either bank, part running out of the city, to see the sight. The market-place was quite emptied, and Antony at last was left alone sitting upon the tribunal; while the word went through all the multitude, that Venus was come to feast with Bacchus, for the common good of Asia. On her arrival, Antony sent to invite her to supper. She thought it fitter he should come to her; so, willing to show his good-humor and courtesy, he complied, and went. He found the preparations to receive him magnificent beyhond expression, but nothing so admirable as the great number of lights; for on a sudden there was let down altogether so great a number of branches with lights in them so ingeniously disposed, some in squares, and some in circles, that the whole thing was a spectacle that has seldom been equalled for beauty." At the opposite end of the universal opposing forces, side Antony is associated with Mars starting at the very beginning of the play: "Those his goodly eyes, That oþer the files and musters of the war Have glowed like plated Mars," Cleopatra refers to him as Mars: "Though he be painted one way like a Gorgon, The other wayþs a Mars." There is a direct reference to Mars and Venus in connection with Antony and Cleopatra. Mardian says: "Yet have I fierce affections, and think What Venus did with Mars." We know Bacon utilized allusion in his allegoric works. There is a hidden allusion in Antony and Cleopatra that should not be over looked. In espousing the idea of"strife and friendship", or "war and love" as the "spurs of motions and the keys of works in nature," Bacon adhered to a doctrine which, in another place in his works, he associated with Empedocles and Heraclitus. It should not be forgotten that at that time in the play when Antony was waiting for his final battle with Octavius, he was in Epheseus, and that Cleopatra joined him there. Epheseus was the city where Heraclitus was born and spent his entire life. Epheseus was the site of the seventh wonder of the world. This was the famous temple of Diana. Diana plays such a significant part in Bacon's system of thought, and Heraclitus had his works deposited in Her temple. Bacon designates the frame of the allegory with the title of the play Antony and Cleopatra. These are the two opposites, Mars and Venus, or War and Love. This is further framed in the play by the almost exact division between Rome and Egypt, obviously, War and Love. With supreme artistry Bacon uses the brevity of the scenes, and the extraordinary number of exits and entrances, and of messengers hurrying across vast distances to depict a pre-eminently liquid world of transformations. A world in rapid motion. A world characterized by images of rivers flooding, and of things melting. A world whose motive power is the meeting and interplay of opposites, which merge, unite, and impel further action. The movement from Egypt to Rome, and back to Egypt, expresses a tidal rhythm on a universal scale. John F. Danby perceived many of the elements of the symbolism. Unfortunately he was victim of a bad education. As a result his mind was shackled by the misconceived notion that William Shakespeare of Stratford on Avon wrote the plays. Consequently, he had no context in which to place his ideas. In his article,Antony and Cleopatra: A Shakespearian Adjustment Danby says, "The play is Shakespeare's study of Mars and Venus." He notes: "The first three scenes show how pervasive is that quality in technique and vision which we have called the "Shakespearian "dialectic." It comes out in single images, it can permeat whole speeches, it governs the build-up inside each scene, it explains the way one scene is related to another. The word "dialectic," of course, is unfortunately post-Hegelian. The thing we wish to point to, however, in using the word, is Shakespearian. In Antony and Cleopatra Shakespeare needs the opposites that merge, unite, and fall apart. They enable him to handle the reality he is writing about-the vast containing opposites of Rome and Egypt, the World and the Flesh." He also remarks: "The first scene is only slightly more than sixty lines long. Yet it is sufficient to illustrate all the main features of the play we have pointed to, and extensive enough to set up the swinging ambivalence-the alternatives and ambiguities constantly proposed to choice-which will govern and control our whole reaction to the play. There is the speed and oscillation, the inter-penetration of Rome and Egypt and of present and past. Above all there is the dialectic marriage of the contraries and their dissolution through union. The jealousy of Cleopatra towards Fulvia, the outrage of Caesar to Antony's amour propre-these negative repulsions can serve to hold the mutual pair together as firmly as positive attractions. Antony and Cleopatra are opposed to the world that surrounds and isolates them. In this isolation their union seems absolute, infinite, and self- sufficient. Yet the war of the contraries pervades the love, too. In coming together they lapse, slide and fall apart unceasingly." And again: "There is something deliquescent in the reality behind the play. It is a deliquescence to the full display of which each judgment, each aspect pointed to, and each character, is necessary, always provided that no single one of these is taken as final. Underlying, however, the bewildering oscillations of scene, the overlapping and pleating of different time and places, the co-presence of of opposed judgments, the innumerable opportunities for radical choice to intervene, there is, I think, a deliberate logic. It is this which gives the play its compact unity of effect and makes its movement a sign of angelic strength rather than a symptom of febrility. It is the logic of a peculiarly Shakespearian dialect. Opposites are juxtaposed, mingled, married; then from the union which seems to promise strength dissolution flows." So Danby noted many of the elements Bacon used in his allegory. He saw the mechanism by which Bacon symbolized and depicts how the interplay of opposites in universal nature were "the spurs of motion and the keys of works." But he could not tie this into Bacon's system of thought because cretins had instilled into his mind the erroneous idea that someone else wrote the plays. A final feature of the play should be noted. In the myth of Isis, Isis does not die, however, in Antony and Cleopatra, Cleopatra dies. It is true that in other myths of the goddess, such as Demeter and Proserpine, The goddess Demeter goes into isolation, and her alter ego, Proserpine disappears into the underworld for six months of the year to symbolize winter. But the goddess does not die. So the death of Cleopatra in the play could be seen as an anomaly. But is it really? Lets take a closer look. When Antony calls Cleopatra, "the serpent of the Old Nile," he equates her with the serpent. One might say this serpent is her alter ego. The serpent that sheds its skin once a year and emerged in new garments was an apt symbol both of Isis and of the rebirth which is seen eternally in the annual cycles of nature. Caesar says of Cleopatra after she is ostensibly dead that: "she looks like sleep, As she would catch another Antony In her strong toil of grace." And we must not think that she is dead. For she lives on in her alter ego the serpent that has crawled away and left itþs aspic trail of that slime which is the symbol of fecundity and rebirth in the myth of Isis. "This is an aspic trail; and these fig-leaves Have slime upon them, such as the aspic leaves Upon the caves of Nile." THE FACE LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE It is evident from a close examination of the table of presence (the first 32 speeches in the play), and from the table of absence (the second 32 speeches in the play) that the "particular whose form" Bacon's discovery machine is inquiring into is Love. However, a problem is evident here. No matter how one examines the allegory in the play there seems to be no indication of the "form." I went back through the play repeatedly, struggling to find this indication without any success. Finally it struck me. In his treatise Of Principles and Origins according to the fables of Cupid and Coelum Bacon had stated quite plainly that this was the one "form" which could not be discovered by man: "Now of this primary matter and the proper virtue and action thereof there can be no cause in nature (for we always except God) , for nothing was before it. Therefore there was no efficient cause of it, nor anything more original in nature; consequently neither genus nor form. Wherefore whatsoever this matter and its power and operation be, it is a thing positive and inexplicable, and must be taken absolutely as it is found, and not to be judged by any previous conception. For if the manner could be known, yet it cannot be known by cause, seeing that next to God it is the cause of causes, itself only without a cause. For there is a true and certain limit of causes in nature; and it is as unskilful and superficial a part to require or imagine a cause when we come to the ultimate force and positive law of nature, as not to look for a cause in things subordinate. And hence Cupid[love] is is represented by the ancient sages in the parable as without a parent, that is to say, without a cause,--an observation of no small significance; nay, I know not whether it be not the greatest thing of all." ******** messages for Mather Walker
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