As always, there are exceptions to this. The secondary function of the Veil is to enforce certain aspects of Elzaniru's plan on the world, such as keeping the gods in Asteria, or keeping humans from being born mystics. The strength of the Veil is relatively fluid, and at times thins enough that certain rules may be broken, such as a mystic being born.
In the core planes of Morolia and Asteria, Elzaniru set himself to the task of designing a universe. Central to the planes would be a single unified world, a planet around which everything else would be focused. He formed the earthen sphere and set it adrift in an ocean of stars, teeming with fanciful cosmic displays. The world was flooded with water, and an orbiting moon was created to maintain the tides. A blazing sun was formed as well, to bathe the fledgling planet in heat and light.
As Elzaniru knew that the white Aether forming his world would become the white ether that would sustain it, He made the sun into a blazing furnace of white ether, producing massive amounts of concentrated ether to radiate down on his world. Elzaniru worked simultaneously in Asteria, though with much less care. The Aether itself reacted differently to the same steps he took on Morolia, so the negative world was formed twisted and phantasmagoric.
The solids and liquids comprising the earth sphere were much less consistent. The dark sun over the world was also a source of black ether, but it was from the sun's kinetic energy rather than its electromagnetic radiation. Bathed in black light, Asteria was a footnote to Elzaniru's true creation, and he treated it with no respect.
Forming the planet was a trifle for Elzaniru, so he began experimenting with the more complicated system of living matter. He focused first on small organisms, bacteria and algae and the like. Once he was satisfied, he began more complicated multi-cellular organisms, eventually creating a wide range of plant life. His world was soon covered in a plethora of trees and flowers. Elzaniru then moved to animals. First smaller creatures suck as insects to help the plants grow and pollinate, then birds and small animals to play in the wild gardens. Going through a creative explosion, Elzaniru created more and more animals of all varieties and types.
Horses, cats, bears, cows, alligators, rabbits; each one and thousands more were developed in turn. Soon his world was filled with an abundance of life. Yet Elzaniru was not happy. For all of his efforts, Elzaniru had failed to create a being of higher consciousness, like himself. Even the most complex of animals he had created lacked the full range of emotions he could feel, and the driving forces that compelled him to create.
So Elzaniru set to remedy this, and after much of his creative experimenting he had an idea of where to start. All of the life he had created to this point had been wholly Morolian, with no ties or contact to Asteria. Elzaniru theorized that perhaps, just as his initial worlds had been imbalanced by the lack of a shadow world, perhaps that same imbalance kept his living creations from evolving as he desired. So he conducted a test. He chose a simple water snake and gave it true immortality, and then moved it to Asteria.
Leaving it to its own devices, Elzaniru returned a m illennium later to find the snake had grown into a gargantuan serpent and adapted to the caustic Asterian ether. Satisfied with his work, Elzaniru released the serpent back into Morolia and began his next creation: the dragons. This time Elzaniru decided to begin his work on Asteria, so that dragons would be seeped in Asterian ether from the beginning. His first were modeled after the serpent he had experimented on, to honor its participation.
They were the most magnificent beings he had ever fashioned, with gleaming metallic scales and a radiant visage. For each one, he crafted a lattice of Aetheric energy, bound to the core of its being and tying it to Morolia, allowing it the possibility of traversing from one plane to the other. Elzaniru felt that the lush, vibrant landscapes of Morolia would naturally appeal to his self-termed children, and they would be drawn to live in his favored world.
But such was not the case, as the metallic dragons preferred the quiet solitude of Asteria. Elzaniru tried again, forming a smaller breed of dragon, fashioned like winged lizards, with bright solid-colored scales. To these dragons, he quietly strengthened the ties to Morolia, and was delighted to find that they lived as he had desired. He was so pleased that he gave himself a physical form patterned after his favored children, so they might interact with him.
But soon the smaller chromatic dragons too grew tired of Morolia, and began to spend more and more of their time in Asteria. Elzaniru decided he would make one final creation, one that would have no choice but to enjoy his blessings. This time, he started again on Morolia. Patterned without the hard scales and massive bulk that gave the dragons their arrogance, his new creatures would be weak, forced to rely on the white ether of Morolia for sustenance and strength.
Thus was born the race of humans. He built for them a spiritual lattice, tied to a shadowy reflection found in Asteria. Their ties were weakened, though, so that humans could not transfer their physical form so readily across the Veil. Watching them for generations, He was pleased to find his humans grew and prospered. Finally satisfied, Elzaniru indulged his weariness and slept at the peak of a mountain.
While Elzaniru slept his children worked, humans struggling for survival and dragons playing without care. Soon, the two groups encountered each other. The dragons were initially curious, but soon felt scorn for their weak and helpless brethren, so they exerted their might and attempted to subjugate the humans. But the humans were strong of will and fought back, eventually driving the dragons away and convincing the dragonspawn to leave them be.
This was not enough for the humans; now, they wanted vengeance. The humans turned their gift for industry to dragonslaying and geared for war, launching a mission to eradicate dragons once and for all. They even mastered the secrets of the Veil so they could cross into Asteria and kill the dragons where their deaths would be permanent. The humans had become a vicious force, and after the war had dragged on for several generations they turned their eye to the so-called King of Dragons, Elzaniru.
With their mightiest mages and warriors they attacked the sleeping god, and with their ultimate attack, finally managed to cause Elzaniru pain. His retaliation was swift and terrible, destroying the entire planet of Morolia and all the humans on it. When the pain had subsided and his temper eased, Elzaniru realized what he had done. He quickly recreated Morolia, fashioning it far larger so that the need for such conflicts would be eased. Then he gathered the remaining humans and placed them back on their home plane, wiping their memories and crimping their attachments to Asteria so they could never again grow so powerful.
Finally, he strengthened the Veil so only dragons could cross, as he would not dare deny them their birthright of passage to their home.
To do this, he removed a small aspect of himself, the powers that governed Existence, and gifted them to the Veil. He then ingrained the Veil with a series of instructions on how reality would operate, and the Veil began to enforce Elzaniru's designs. But Elzaniru had become disheartened with the nature of His world. Those he had given life to could not find their place, and humans and dragons remained at odds against one another. Elzaniru decided that they needed guides, creatures of a higher mind to usher them through their childhoods.
And so, wishing for a world that was a reflection of Himself, Elzaniru decided that it was only appropriate that these guides be fashioned from his own soul. First Elzaniru defined the themes of the world, as they pertained to the nature of life he had created. There was the theme of Existence. Existence was the beginning, the creation, the very desire that had led Elzaniru to form reality. The powers of Existence had already been surrendered, given to the Veil so that it might guide the planes themselves.
Second, and only slightly less significant to Elzaniru's own heart, was the theme of Mortality. Unlike himself, he had given his children the gift of death. With death and rebirth came blessings that Elzaniru himself had never enjoyed. They would not experience the endless suffering of boredom, the chaos of purposelessness.
With the certainty of death, the brevity of life became a gift, every day enjoyed and appreciated in ways an immortal could never experience. Next was Intention. Elzaniru had felt the pain of purposelessness, as well as the burden of purpose. He knew that here, above all else, lay the key to happiness. Driven by intention, next came the theme of Acts. Both good and evil, each was necessary to create a dynamic, exhilarating world, each necessary to give true life to his reality.
Then Authority, to help control and balance Acts. For creatures living in a world so much bigger than their individual selves, learning where to draw authority from would be an essential step in their development. His world would need a source of Justice, for those who would defy Authority. Without Justice, Authority held no power. Without fear of retribution, his creations could not be taught. Next Elzaniru's thoughts turned to the theme of Power. He had given it to the dragons as a gift, and robbed it from the humans.
Now the humans sought it more zealously than ever, and the dragons mourned their gifts. It was clear to Elzaniru that each race needed a guide to show them their place in his vision. Finally the theme of Emotion. Elzaniru had lived long, and emotions were things He rarely felt for Himself. But he recognized that in their youth, his races would be ruled by it. Confident that he had defined his world in finite terms, Elzaniru set forth to create the guides.
Overall he wanted his creatures to be happy, but he knew that some hardship was necessary for true happiness to be possible. With that in mind, he focused on creating a dichotomy for his world. For each element, he would split into the Guide of the Internal, and the Guide of the External. These two shepherds would be polar opposites to each other, opposing in viewpoints.
They would each seek the best for his people, but in different ways. And within their struggles, balance would be found. The Guides of the Internal were personalized to the creatures themselves. They would be tasked to teach the individuals how to live, how to survive, and how to find fulfillment within their personal life. The Guides of the External would focus on the world itself. They would be tasked with responsibility for Elzaniru's own vision. They would not serve the people, but Elzaniru, and therefore Morolia itself.
Each guide was created at once formless, and fully formed. They were able to take any appearance of their choosing, any shape they desired. To set them apart from humans and dragons Elzaniru granted each of the guides a Numen, an extra-dimensional organ that existed within the guide's own astral plane and that could create near limitless amounts of divine ether. And so it came to be that the Guides were created.
Divine bodies were crafted, given Elzaniru's own flesh to draw from. Life was breathed into them, of Elzaniru's own spirit. They lived, but they did not spark. As Elzaniru spoke to them, there was an emptiness to them. They did not satisfy him as his previous creatures had. But Elzaniru had already given too much of himself, and had nothing more to offer.
So he besought the Veil, his former spirit of Existence, to craft souls for his new creatures. The Veil responded, drawing upon the nature of every creature within existence and crafting randomized, but fitting, personalities for these new gods. At last Elzaniru was pleased by them. He sent them forth to fix the world, commanding them to trust to their instincts, for they were a gift from him personally.
It was here where, once again, Elzaniru's plans went awry. The natures he had crafted for his newest creations were in conflict with the natures given to them by the Veil. Rather than being untouchable sentries of Elzaniru's word, they were confused and uncertain, and they did not know what to make of their brethren. Some of them found balance, their spiritual natures and divine natures merging to form a complete being. Others strayed far from their intended path.
The Guides of Mortality were clear in their purpose, and their souls were akin to the oldest dragons, rational and calm. The Guide of Internal Mortality became Life, the healing god, protector of all creatures who live. The Guide of External Mortality became Death, the inevitable end. Both gods were passive, accepting of their respective roles and not overly zealous. Life sought to strengthen the lives of the young, the strong, the healthy. Meanwhile, Death sought to peacefully claim the old, the weak, the sick.
They steered clear of each other, not from malice, but from respect of the other's domain. The Guides of Acts were not so passive. Their divine natures could not allow it. The Guide of Internal Acts was intended to teach Elzaniru's creations the value of Zeal, and the rewards that could come from dedication and hard work. Instead the Guide began to form armies of the weak humans, showing them the power they had in numbers and the rewards of taking the land and riches of their enemies.
The Guide's own Zeal soon consumed and transformed him into Hatred, the god of rage, the bringer of woe. But as an External guide, Kindness was meant to teach others, to show them how to extend Kindness out to those around them. Instead she sought endlessly to find those in need and change their story, to lift the downtrodden and bring smiles to the sad.
The Guide of External Acts acted, instead of teaching others to Act. The Guides of Justice found themselves lost. Elzaniru had created them to work on behalf of the Guides of Authority, but the Guides of Authority themselves lost their way and became focused on other pursuits. As this happened, the personalities created for the Guides of Justice struggled to find their place in the world without proper guidance. The Guide of Internal Justice had been crafted by Elzaniru to teach his creatures to find Mercy within themselves, and to find the strength to forgive the wrongdoings of others.
But without the leadership of the Guides of Authority to define and weigh these wrongs, the Guide was unable to determine this, and thus could not teach it. Instead Mercy went forth to teach creatures how to be better, kinder individuals. The Guide of External Justice, intended by Elzaniru to uphold the rules of society and the sanctity of the organization through necessary Punishment, turned in desperation to punishing whatever crimes or sins he could identify. These punishments soon became extreme, drug out often for days as forms of extreme torture.
Soon the Guide abandoned the need for crimes and focused only on the punishment, always striving to make it better. Thus was Cruelty born. It was not long until the three gods of Life, Mercy, and Kindness began to feel a rivalry with each of the others. Each had taken it upon themselves to improve the lives of Elzaniru's creatures directly, and the scant distinctions between them added to their confusion.
Kindness and Life traveled in different circles. Life gave blessings to those who were already blessed, while Kindness gave to those in need.
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For a time they argued, each despising the other's choice of use for their talents. The difference in Mercy and Kindness was even more subtle. Kindness sought to do kind deeds for her disciples, while Mercy endeavored to teach her disciples to do good deeds. Even so, the two gods long hated each other, and each fought to steal the servants of the other. The Guide of Internal Emotion was compelled to teach Elzaniru's creations to control their internal turmoil, to prevent emotions from consuming their lives. Thus the god of Peace was born, seeking for a world of quiet tranquility, with no strife of hardship.
The Guide of External Emotion was compelled with the opposite intent, designed to teach the art of expelling emotions forcefully, fervently, lending Passion to Elzaniru's world. In spite of Elzaniru's design of each set of Guides serving as opposites to one another, the Guides of Power became allies. The Guide of Internal Power was driven to teach those who held power to be satisfied and rule well with the power they held, and to teach those without power how to respect, desire, and acquire it. He should have brought the balance of proper Ambition to all of Elzaniru's creations. But the Guide rapidly grew bored of the weak, and focused only on the strong and how to make them stronger, to serve his own glory.
The Guide of External Power was driven to teach those with power to craft the world around them, to subjugate the land and beasts to advance the Sovereignty of their race. Instead the Guide turned to commanding the mightiest of Elzaniru's creatures, and taught them to gain strength at the expense of the land itself. In their own minds these two Guides saw no distinction between themselves. Each was obsessed with power, and found companionship in the other. As they banded together, instead of focusing on the world and creatures around them, they focused more on themselves.
The Guide of Internal Power became Ambition, rallying armies and servants to himself in many shapes and forms. The Guide of External Power became Corruption, using his power to transform the creatures around him into likenesses of himself. It is Corruption who first mastered the art of creating Avatars, divine servants of the gods.
The Guides of Intention failed to understand each other, or their role in Elzaniru's grand scheme. They remained lost for many decades, and it was only gradually that they came to find identities. The Guide of Internal Intention was intended as the harbinger of Purpose, to teach the importance of direction to the soul of a creation of Elzaniru.
The Guide of External Intention was to teach the importance of Patience. It was this god's task show the creatures how to work with their brethren, to see past their shortcomings and move forward together for the betterment of all. Patience roamed the world for many years, looking internally to understand his place. Finding no answers but still driven to interact with others, soon the Guide began to play games with the creatures he encountered, misleading and confusing them for no reason at all, sending them down alternate paths in life merely for his own amusement.
Thus through his own impatience was Patience twisted into Deception, the trickster god. It was the Guides of Authority who shaped the face of the gods, and of the world to come in their wake. The Guide of Internal Authority was destined to become the god of Independence, leading each creature to follow its own heart and find its own sense of authority, morality, justice. But the Guide was consumed by its divine nature, and in exercising its own free will chose not to follow its path. Instead it allied itself with the God of Hatred. Hatred's acts of violence had grown to ruthless, almost random levels, and as the Guide followed him it took the shape of these acts.
Thus was Chaos born, the dark maniac god. It did not take long before Chaos drew Cruelty into this circle, and the three formed an unstoppable force, unleashing renewed havoc upon the world. The Guide of External Authority was designed to bring the necessity of Leadership, both good and evil, to Elzaniru's world. But in the midst of the looming chaos, first of their creation and then of the acts of the other gods, the Guide found himself lost.
For nearly a full century he wandered aimlessly, observing the world and taking no action. Without the guidance of either god of Authority, the world was a dismal place, and soon began to rock in the throes of Chaos. Finally the Guide of External Authority sought out the Guide of Internal Intention, within whom he found a kindred spirit. They discussed their plight, and the shape of their world, and pondered what was missing. It was then that the Guide of Internal Intention was consumed by his nature. Desperate, driven to find a sense of Purpose, he at last created one for himself.
He determined that it was he that was missing from the world. A guide, a guardian, for all things good. Thus he declared himself the God of Virtue. The Guide of External Authority responded to this swiftly, agreeing with Virtue's decision and decreeing that they had misunderstood Elzaniru's plan from the beginning. To him it became clear that there was not one set of Guides, but rather two sets of Gods.
The Light Gods, and the Dark Gods. He took it upon himself to make this clear to the others and to begin, with Virtue's guidance, to reshape the world as Elzaniru would have intended the Light Gods to do. It was immediately apparent to both Order and Virtue that Chaos, Cruelty, and Hatred were the core of the Dark Gods, evidence enough in two inevitable factions forming. They sought out the allies that clearly belonged with them. Life, Kindness, and Mercy were swiftly recruited, each considered clear followers of Virtue's path.
Death and Deception were each rejected, classified as forces of darkness and warned that the Light Gods would soon be coming for them. The would-be god of Passion was encountered and offered a place in the circle. When Passion refused them a misunderstanding ensued, followed by the first war of gods. The Guide of External Emotion was beaten to the brink of death, spared only by a final cry from Mercy. The Light Gods turned from the broken god, seeking instead the god of Peace, who also refused to join.
Order and Virtue struggled to understand this turn of events, calling for counsel with the gods who had joined their brotherhood. If the gods were truly divided between the Light and Dark as Elzaniru's will, how could neither of the Guides of Emotion see their path? They wondered long if perhaps they were truly misguided once more, and wondered if they should feel guilty for their treatment of Passion.
As this went on, the very Guide they had injured turned to wrath and sought out the brotherhood of Dark Gods he had been warned against. As he did so he took his indignation out against the lesser creatures he encountered on his path, drinking in the outpouring of their emotions. And so instead of Passion, he became the God of Terror. When he reached the trio of Chaos, Cruelty, and Hatred, they showed no interest in his concerns or his plans for revenge. But Terror had been beaten once, and was no longer to be taken advantage of. All alone he attacked the three gods, who were so caught off guard by his violent outpouring rage that they quickly conceded, Chaos and Cruelty first, then Hatred reluctantly.
Terror bound them to his will and they sought out Death and Deception who, having already been threatened by the Light, willingly embraced the Dark. As their first act Terror hunted down his opposite, the God of Peace, and violently struck him down. Peace was beaten by the Dark Gods with the same ruthlessness that Terror had been beaten by the Light, spared at the end only by Terror's demand, who left a message for the Light Gods that the same treatment was coming to all of them in due time.
Peace, with great effort, found his way to the pantheon of the Light Gods. He delivered the message he had been given and begged for their protection. Peace still refused to fight the Dark Gods directly, but admitted now that he had no choice but to stand against what they represented. Order and Virtue felt that this strengthened their position, and feeling that once more they understood Elzaniru's will, they took Peace in as one of their own and swore his protection.
The other band of gods now eagerly accepted their roles as the Dark, and together began to unleash fresh torment upon the creatures of Elzaniru, particularly those who worshiped any of the other gods. Through these acts they soon found themselves in conflict with the two Guides of Power who, though outnumbered, proved to be a substantial force united against the other six.
When it became clear that this battle could not end, it was Chaos who called for a truce. He found these two Guides, destined as opposites but united as brethren, to be an entertaining bit of coincidence. It spoke to his nature, and he offered them great power for their allegiance. After a lengthy discussion they agreed, and Ambition and Corruption joined the circle of the Dark. As the wars between the two factions of gods continued, the nature of their transformations began to effect the Veil itself, which was linked to them by Elzaniru's own command.
As the Light and Dark formed, the Veil itself began to split, the spirit of Creation rejecting the darker elements of itself. It was a century later, after the remainder of the gods had been imprisoned by an irate Elzaniru into the Asterian plane, that the Veil finally completed this process. The God of Destruction was cast forth, banished to the Asterian plane to join its dark brethren and free the Veil of its influence. As Destruction joined the Dark Gods and began to seize control through his vast willpower, Ambition grew wary of his pantheon.
In time, he abandoned the Dark and allied with the God of Light, who accepted him willingly, assuming he was meant to be one of their own all along. It is here, in the birth of Destruction, that Elzaniru's greatest failure occurred. But it was not his last. The entirety of the known cosmos exists in an area called the Celestial Sphere.
The Celestial Sphere is separated into four discrete areas called planes. Each plane has its own characteristics, and is separated from adjacent planes by the ephemeral wall known as the Veil. The four planes are Morolia, Asteria, Gehenna, and Elysium. From the raw, fused Aether Elzaniru sundered the planes, creating space for his world at the center and distilling the Aether into two opposing colors: black and white. From black he built the spirit realm Asteria, the necessary counterpart to the physical world of Morolia.
Morolia and Asteria cohabit the center of the sphere and were initially reflections of each other, though they have changed greatly over time and as the Aether forming them has solidified. Morolia is considered by Elzaniru to be the plane of chief importance, and it is where he created the majority of life. Although the plane is filled with stars and planets, most of those were experimental rejects.
All known life exists on one planet, also called Morolia. Morolia has three known continents with human life on them. Itrius, the 'northern' continent, is the smallest, but most densely populated with humans. Arkalen, the 'southern' continent, is significantly larger, but home to much more powerful demonspawn who make large scale human settlements difficult to establish and maintain. Tenel, the western continent, is possibly the largest, but has very few human settlements, most of those on the eastern coast of the continent.
Tenel has a large naval presence, and often trades with the island nations surrounding Itrius, though it has made few inroads to Itrius itself. There are many climates and terrains on Morolia, supporting a wide variety of lifeforms. Morolia is filled with white ether, which supports and nurtures the creatures there. Asteria is a hazy mirror image of Morolia. When they were first formed, they were by design exact copies, and so Asteria also has three main continents. However, millennia of change have resulted in differences to various geographic locations.
Exacerbating this problem, the Asterian planet was not destroyed and rebuilt as the Morolian was, and thus is dramatically smaller, per Elzaniru's original design. Although Elzaniru did not specifically create life in Asteria, various flora and fauna have come to be over time as solidifying black Aether mirrored Elzaniru's creative imprints. Asteria is primarily home of the dragons, who consider it their native plane. Asteria also houses the gods and their Saints, and much of the architecture found on the plane is in homage to the gods.
Asteria is filled with black ether, which is responsible for higher intelligence in Elzaniru's creations. The outer planes were formed when Elzaniru pushed the Aethers in opposite directions to form the inter-planar space for Morolia and Asteria. The splitting of the Aether and forging of dimensional planes created the chaotic red world of Gehenna and the orderly green world of Elysium.
Gehenna and Elysium do not directly touch at any point, and passage from one to the other involves traversing the core planes first. As Elzaniru took the black Aether and molded it into a universe, so too did the green Aether of Elysium follow suit, creating land, sea, and sky, and eventually a lush paradise world.
The Aether slowly changed into ether, infusing the world with vitality but no longer able to shape reality. Green ether had an affinity for nature, but also an unusual property: as it tended toward order, it could be used to inflict dominance over another. As Elzaniru created the animals, this act resonated in Elysium and created a counterpart: the Faelings. They took mirror forms to the animals that Elzaniru created at first, but in time could be found in almost any shape. They were intelligent and gifted with controlling green ether, but were wholly irresponsible and chose to spend their time playing games and tricks on each other.
Elysium was good to them, and for thousands of years they had no cares or worries. Soon Elzaniru grew tired of the animals he had created and used his powers to forge the dragonspawn. In Elysium, this created the true masters of Dominion: the Muses. While the Faelings took on the nature aspect of green ether, the Muses were born of green ether's inclination to order. While their powers could include controlling the natural elements, they were most gifted at controlling those around them, whether it be the Faelings or other Muses. As civilization slowly became established, wars began to be fought between groups of Muses vying for supremacy over their world.
However, the fighting was ultimately futile. Things changed drastically when Elzaniru created humans. As humans were able to control all aspects of black and white ether, so were the newly crafted angelspawn able to control all aspects of green ether, whether channeling natural energy or inflicting their will upon others.
Compared to the Muses, the angelspawn were legion, and their forces shifted the balance of power in the Muses' continual struggle several times. Soon a group of like-minded Muses got an idea. They would fuse their minds and powers together to create a battery, a focus, and a weapon to be used in their war: the Heart of Elysium. The Heart of Elysium was an artifact designed to pool the joint powers of several Elysians together, allowing for a much greater effect. Initially a group of seventy-two Muses bonded together to create the Heart. Thirty-six of the Muses were old and had no fight left to give.
They gave the only thing they could: themselves. Sacrificing their mortal bodies and pooling their spiritual energy together, they created the basis of the Heart, a vast wellspring of energy managed by a consciousness with no mind. The remaining thirty-six formed the Council of Muses. Tithing a portion of their power to the Heart, they joined the consciousness and began to act as a unified whole. The eternal energy of the Heart had an unexpected side effect. Bonded as they were, no member of the council could permanently die so long as the Heart of Elysium radiated its power.
Using the Heart, the Council channeled their powers of dominance, creating an eternal edict emanating from the Heart. Those within the Heart's sphere of influence would be swayed into line with the Council, if not subjugated entirely. The Council went forth, gathering like-minded allies of both Muse and angelspawn alike. Muses were permitted to give their power and join with the immortal council provided they did so willingly and wholeheartedly. Angelspawn were required to tithe a portion of their power, but could draw from the Heart as they needed. Muses who were subjugated were required to give a quarter of their power and could not join the Council, but could draw freely, while subjugated angelspawn were simply forced to tithe, and received nothing in return.
As the power contained within the Heart swelled its influence grew, expanding into a vast Empire. Soon free Elysians lived only beyond the outskirts of civilization, and they were viciously hunted. Strangely, the Heart had no effect on the faelings, who continued to live flighty and carefree lives. For a time, things seemed to be settled in Elysium.
As the ranks of the Council swelled and more angelspawn came into the fold, the order became more bureaucratic and structured, and prosperity increased. But soon a great change occurred, as Elzaniru created the Gods, and Elysium responded by creating the Wisdoms. The Wisdoms in their original form were spiritual embodiments of energy, possessed of vast power but limited consciousness. As time passed they grew aware and began to adapt personalities, and certain tendencies in their powers. They knew of the Elysians, but considered themselves above them, more concerned with the other Wisdoms.
Soon the Wisdoms began to fight among themselves, each of the six trying to become supreme. The two most dangerous were called Dosiros and Melukah, but Dosiros became the more violent and impulsive of the two. The weakest spirit, Keldana, was attracted to the dominant personality of Dosiros and the two soon formed a partnership. They quickly became unstoppable. The effect this had on the civilization of Elysium was catastrophic.
Those Elysians who refused to submit to the Heart found cause in the Wisdoms and joined the crusade, and the magnitude of the Wisdom's power tore many of the subjugated away from the Heart's spell. Soon the Wisdoms had armies fighting in their names, and the Council of Muses tried their best to stop the Wisdoms and quell the uprisings. The Heart began to weaken as contributors were lost and power was drained for the fight. Richard II himself was to be accused of just such childish inconstancy and wilfulness by those who deposed him in The first is that they are moderate in their delectation as the coldness of their bodily complexion abates the lecherous desires of their souls.
The second is that they are merciful because, in their feebleness, they extend to others the pity that they would have of others whereas children are merciful because they naively believe other men to be innocent and good. The third is that the old do not affirm as certain that which is doubtful since they have had the experience of being deceived in the past.
The final good manner of the old is that they are generally temperate, doing everything in moderation rather than with the excessive passion of the young G: —8. Of these six manners, kings may adopt the first in the sense that they should not be too credulous, but should reject the others, being not over-suspicious of their subjects, magnanimous rather than fearful, Giles of Rome, Commentaria in Rhetoricam Aristotelis, 67v—68v.
See also Cicero, On Duties, I: p. They should thus be neither excessively bold nor excessively fearful, neither too credulous nor too sceptical, neither intemperate nor feeble, but should rather strength with temperance, prudence and consideration NE, VI, xi; G: —9. Equally, it is possible for the middleaged, whom Giles saw as more easily achieving virtue, to become corrupted in their appetites so that they adopt the evil habits of the old or the young G: 17—18, —40, —50, —7, In classical mythology, Aegeus was said to have killed himself when Theseus forgot to raise the white sail on his ship as a sign that he was returning home safely from having killed the Minotaur.
On Saturn, see also below, See also Latini, Book of the Treasure, —9. Rather than being a spur to prowess, love then becomes a threat to the achievement of chivalric virtue. Those who surrender to their passions abandon the reason which distinguishes man from the beasts and which he shares with the angels. As Aquinas said, young men are ruled by their passions rather than reason and so readily make and break friendships. It is the foolishness and pain which result from a surrender to irrational and immoderate passion, both in love and in conflict, which are represented by the pictures in the temples of Venus and Mars where Palamon and Arcite make their prayers before the tournament.
See also Rigby, Chaucer, Instead, he briefly describes them as possessing all the characteristic virtues and none of the typical vices of youth and of old age G: —9. Theseus has been seen as a character who is always changing his mind, yet if he is changeable here, the change he undergoes is that from impassioned anger to reasoned self-restraint.
As Burrow said, Theseus seeks to convert the extremes of passion and emotion into the ritualised expression of ceremonial: irrational lust Venus in malo is replaced by marriage Venus in bono ; deadly conflict Mars is channelled into the tournament; death Saturn is made sense of through mourning and funeral. Accordingly, he loves and desires the common profit, abominating that which undermines the common good and hating the vice which is contrary to such good.
He has the hope and hardiness which allow him to avoid the temptation of despair and which enable him to do good deeds without being over-ambitious in what he seeks to achieve. Having the virtue of fortitude, he is not excessively fearful, yet, as we shall see below, —5 , is still cautious enough to take counsel on how to secure the safety of his realm.
He takes delectation in the pleasures of the hunt and yet his pleasure is Hieatt, Chaucer, 31—2; Grudin, Chaucer, 90—1; Brown-Grant, Christine de Pizan, — Finally, whilst feeling sorrow, he sees that excessive sadness can paralyse our virtue and social life and so seeks to comfort others in order to abate their grief. Inevitably, as a fallen human, Theseus cannot avoid the passions to which all men are prone, as when his anger flares on encountering Palamon and Arcite fighting in the grove I: —7.
On the contrary, for medieval political theorists such as Giles of Rome the role of the ruler as head of household was crucial for the health of the body politic as a whole. By nature, humans are reliant on their fellows not only for the food and drink, clothing and protection from enemies which are necessary for physical survival but also for the education and government which allow them to live well. In this perspective, the good rule of the household was not simply a private matter. Similarly, thinkers such as Nicholas Oresme equated the household and the state, with the rule of the king in his kingdom being like that of the father in the household.
Finally, in Part III, he looks at the relationship between master and servant which maintains the household G: —8; section iv, below. In general, medieval writers tended to assume that, as Giles himself explicitly argued, women lacked the wisdom, physical strength and courage needed for success in battle or to play a role in political life AO: I, iii: 4; G: , —7, , On the one hand, he justified the need for the military conquest of Scythia in terms of the injustices committed by the Amazons.
See also Higden, Polychronicon, II, —5, See also Crane, Gender, 79— As Giles said, a husband should not act towards his wife as though she were a mere servant, as wives were unnaturally and irrationally regarded in barbarous lands G: —4, —3, Although he should be set above his wife, a king or prince should also love her and regard her as his friend, companion and his peer, one who has her own sphere of control AP: I, 2; AO: I, iii: 1—3; III: ii—iv pp. On the day of the tournament between Palamon and Arcite, the queen and her sister have the places of honour behind Theseus and the two combatants as the court rides out to the amphitheatre, where they are then seated next to the duke as their rank requires I: — Mann, Geoffrey Chaucer, original emphasis.
Boccaccio, Book of Theseus, 44; Boccaccio, Teseida, 43—4. He will then ensure that his wife becomes temperate, stable, steadfast, soft, still and silent G: —9, —4, —, —9, Rather, since women were usually presented as being of lesser intelligence and reason than men, the feminine could also used to symbolise the lower aspects of human nature which were shared by both men and women. As we saw above 31 , Giles himself adopted this outlook and presented virtue as a form of rightful hierarchy in which, just as humans have lordship over the beasts, men should be the masters of women, and those with wisdom should rule over those of lesser wit and understanding, so our bodies should be ruled by the soul and by the reason which we share with the angels AP: I, 5.
As a result, he saw sin as a form of disorder, a servile, bestial, womanly and child-like surrender to the vileness of our lower natures and irrational passions. The duke may be alluding here to two infamous episodes in which he was involved in his youth. The reason and wisdom of Theseus as the mature ruler of Athens who is in the prime of life is distinguished here not only from the hotheaded impulsiveness of Palamon and Arcite but also from that of his own youthful self.
Hoffman, Ovid, 41—6. This image of the queen on her knees, imploring her husband for mercy on behalf of others was a common one in medieval chronicles and literature. Wright, Having surrendered to the duke, the Amazons laid down their arms and quickly abandoned their masculine mode of behaviour and speech. Marriage therefore involves a contract between the couple so that the husband does not enjoy absolute power over his wife, who has consented to be his partner and who is in some sense his peer AO: I, iv: 1; III, ii; G: —2. Parents and Children: Theseus and Emily The second relationship which makes up the community of the household is that between parents and their children.
In this sense his power is complete or absolute, being based on the laws and commands which he alone makes, although, unlike the self-interested power of the tyrant, this absolute power is to be used for the benefit of the child who is subject to it. His children should therefore be taught good manners, virtue and the basics of the faith so that they learn how to be restrained, moderate and moral in their speaking, looking and hearing and in their taking of food and drink. Such an education will discourage the passion, strife and lechery to which children are naturally inclined, it being particularly important that good habits are imprinted on them while they are young and impressionable G: —2, —37, —3.
The duke makes this decision without consulting Emily herself even though, as she makes clear in her later prayer to Diana, the goddess of chastity, her own preference is to remain a virgin all her life I: —6. For Emily, see also Chaucer, Anelida and Arcite, The seeming wedded bliss of Palamon and Emily at the end of the tale is therefore interpreted as being undermined by all that has gone before.
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As Giles says, much of what he had written in the De Regimine about wives also applied to daughters. Nevertheless, he does offer some specific guidance about the nature and education of girls. If all humans are inclined towards evil, women, being of lesser reason than men, are even more prone to temptation, and young women are yet more so still. Certainly, whilst giving the hand of a princess in marriage as the prize in a tournament was a common motif within medieval literature, this arrangement was not usually presented as being carried out against the wishes of the woman herself.
For Diana as virgin huntress, see Ovid, Metamorphoses, I: — The tale therefore shows us that, whilst human appetites and passions are not wrong per se, both the hot passions of the irascible and the concupiscible pursuit of sensual pleasure have to be restrained if virtue is to be achieved. McCall, Chaucer, 71—2, n. Aquinas, Ethics, , —1; Oresme, Livre de Ethiques, , —6. In fact, Giles followed Aristotle and Aquinas in specifically relating the virtue of temperance to taste and, above all, to touch, these being the strongest senses and so the ones most in need of moderating by the virtuous mean of temperance if lechery and gluttony were to avoided resisted NE: III, x: 8; G: 69— Rudd, Greenery, 61; Bartholomew, Fortuna, 87—8.
As in the temples of Mars and Venus, the goodess is identified with a passion which, in its extreme form at least, is shown to have negative consequences even though, when moderated and undertaken at the right time and for the right motive, it may, like the irascible anger represented by Mars, be a necessary or even virtuous aspect of human life. On Thebes, see above, — Medieval texts frequently presented a devotion to the delights of the outdoors, particularly those of hunting, as a sign that a character is being irresponsible in refusing to take on the public duties which inevitably come with adulthood.
Similarly, what would count as virtuous chastity on the part of a wife would constitute a sin if indulged in by a nun sworn to total chastity X: — Its aim was also diplomatic as it helped to seal the twenty-eight year truce which had just been arrived at between the two kings. Adam Usk, Chronicle, —3. As the Prose Life of Alexander showed, although mighty conquerors needed to be ruthless in obtaining victory, afterwards they needed to be humble and courteous so as to win the loyalty of those who have been conquered.
In the case of humans, this renewal of life takes place, of course, through procreation. VIII: 1— II: 9; IV, pr. VI: 82—6; IV, m. VI: 16— As Boccaccio explains in one of his glosses in the Teseida, this is a reference to Diana not only as she is on earth, as the goddess of hunting and of chastity, but also to her in the heavens as the Moon Lucina and in the underworld as Prosperina, the wife of Pluto, king of hell. For classical references, see Bennett, Commentary, Marriage is the rightful context for procreation through which humans perfect their own natures, perpetuate themselves and so, in a sense, overcome their own mortality , and achieve a greater degree of happiness G: —80, —4.
For Chaucer and Bernardus, see below, For Hauvilla, see Wetherbee, Platonism, — To do otherwise, as does Emily in her desire to remain a virgin, is a wilful opposition to the divinely-ordained cycle by which life restrains the power of death. See also Dives and Pauper, volume I, In other words, far from showing Theseus in a bad light, his arrangement of a marriage which both brings personal happiness to his Oresme, Livre de Yconomique, For the theme of father-daughter incest, see Brown-Grant, French Romance, chapter 4.
Masters, Servants and Possessions Finally, Giles turns his attention to the relationship between masters and servants and to the general administration of a household. Such expensive and wonderfullyconstructed buildings should not be made for reasons of vainglory but, since it is rightful that a ruler should be more noble and glorious than other men, he should be housed as his rank and wealth require, with room for many servants NE: IV, ii: 16; G: —9. Fortescue, Governance, 7 p. Woolgar, Great Household, —8. Since, as Giles said, tables do not lay themselves nor doors open of their own accord, and as it would be unseemly and unworthy for a lord Wace, Roman de Brut, — Yet, maintaining minstrels was not necessarily always seen as bad.
For instance, whereas the prodigality and excess of those rulers who were attacked for giving to minstrels and others was often seen by medieval moralists as being at the expense of the poor, Bonet, Tree of Battles, See also Chambers, Medieval Stage, I, 58— See also Bennett, Commentary, 34—5. Walter Hilton, Ladder of Perfection, 1: 2—3. Aers argues that to attribute such views to Chaucer is no modern anachronism since such views were current in the middle ages.
See also the references above, 6—7. Does the duke himself, in preaching the need to make a virtue of necessity, promote a quietist acceptance of tyranny section iii? Would the fact that Theseus was a pagan affect the legitimacy of his governance in the eyes of those, including Giles of Rome, who assumed the truth of Christian theology section viii? Here, it was not the state per se, but rather the rule of the tyrant which was seen as a punishment from God. In turn, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, this positive attitude towards the state was further developed under the impact of Ciceronian and Aristotelian political ideas.
Augustine, City of God, I: 21 p. Following Aristotle AP: III, 7 and Aquinas, Giles distinguished six types of polity in terms not only of who rules one man, a few, or the many but also in terms of for whose benefit they govern either that of the rulers themselves or that of the community as a whole. G: 28, —20, , , , —6, —5. Reassuringly for the Capetian rulers for whom he was writing, Giles argued that not only was monarchy the best form of government but that, in turn, hereditary kingship descending via primogeniture was in practice, if not in terms of strict logic the best form of monarchy since it was the one most likely to avoid civil strife and tyranny and to secure the common good G: 59, , , , —32, , , On the need for a single ruler, see the speech by the bishop of Exeter in the parliament of Rotuli Parliamentorum, III, See also Peter of Auvergne, Commentary, —8, —6.
However, if the prince chose not to live up to this virtuous ideal, there was little that his subjects could do to restrain his actions. See also Peter of Auvergne, Commentary, Given-Wilson, Aquinas, On Princely Government V p. Certainly, whilst the ruler himself can make positive law and so, in a sense, is above the law, he is nonetheless still subject to the natural law ordained by God. In turn, for Giles, as for Gratian, in so far as the positive law i. Barr sees the partridge analogy as backfiring on its author by associating Bolingbroke with a bird known for being deceitful Piers Plowman Tradition, ed.
Barr, p. In line with Aristotle NE: IV, v: 7; AP: V, 10 and Cicero, Giles, like many other medieval political thinkers, therefore concluded that tyranny will always destroy itself as its evil cannot be long endured and inevitably generates resistance: the more tyrannical a ruler is, the shorter his reign will be G: 25, —20, —9, —8, —9. Such a ruler would govern for the common good rather than his own private gain and would be subject to the natural and positive law.
He would seek to involve his subjects in government by circulating office among a wide range of people rather than appointing ministers for life AP: II, 5; G: —8, and by taking counsel from those who were expert and experienced, and who were prepared to speak the truth rather than merely 54 Kempshall, Common Good, ; Gratian, Treatise, 3—7, 28—9; Henry Bracton, Laws, II, 26—7; Oresme, Livre de Ethiques, Both, for instance, recommended that the ruler should be firm but merciful and should govern by counsel, and that subjects should revere, honour and obey their lords.
It is important that a ruler should be feared by his subjects but it is even more important that he should be loved G: —2. The detail of the cosmography which the duke sets out in his speech is examined in detail in Chapter Five, below. For a critique of Bourdieu, see Scott, Weapons, chapter 8. G: —3, —9? I, Part 2, 54—5. I, Part 2, See Isaias 1: 9; Romans 9: See also Offler, Church, 6—7. See also ibid. In practice, then, the key issue in deciding whether a war was to be seen as just or not was often whether it had been waged on valid authority, i.
Following Isaias I: 17 and Jeremias 7: 6, widows had long been used alongside orphans to symbolise the powerless whom the good knight and the just ruler should defend.go here
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This manuscript is discussed in C. For concern about the lack of decent burials because of the high mortality of the Black Death, see The Black Death, ed. For the increasingly elaborate ceremony of funerals and burial in the later middle ages, see Vovelle, La Mort, — Hence, the fact that not everything in the world can be changed by human action e.
See also Plutarch, Lives, I, See also Boethius, Consolation, I, pr. The Articles of Deposition accuse the king of subverting the authority of his parliament, of ruling by his own arbitrary will and foolish desires, Boccaccio, Book of Theseus, ; Boccaccio, Teseida, As when he listened to the pleas of the women of the court for mercy for Palamon and Arcite above, —5 and to the consoling words of the elderly Egeus I: —52 , the duke shows himself willing to listen to the advice of others. See also Gower, Tripartite Chronicle, —3.
Such obedience is not a form of slavery but rather of freedom because, as Homer, Aristotle and Augustine were agreed, true slavery is when a man submits to his own lower, bestial nature: just as the soul rules the body so the king and his laws should rule the realm AP: IV, 4; V, 9; G: , — Augustine, City of God, IV: 3 p. See also Gower, Confessio Amantis, Pro. Rather, as we have seen, the mastery of Thebes by Athens is equated with the rightful victory of vice over virtue, reason over passion, and the superior over the inferior see above, — We have already discussed this issue in general terms when considering Theseus and the virtue of magnificence which was expected of a ruler see above, 47— Steele, —4, ; Aquinas, Ethics, , Richard II was depicted in this way in his Westminster Abbey portrait.
Certainly, for medieval political theorists such as Giles of Rome, the rule of the tyrant could not endure for long. For this tradition see also Kantorowicz, Laudes Regiae, 71—2. See the Prose Life of Alexander which praises the emperor for being troubled when the Persians worshipped him as a god and for insisting on his own mortality p. Laurent de Premierfait followed Boccaccio in seeing Theseus as the victim of a rebellion by the ungrateful Athenians who rendered him evil in return for his goodness and also referred to the story of how Theseus had been deceived by his wife Phaedra, which led to the death of Hippolytus De Cas des Nobles Hommes et Femmes, , — See also Westminster Chronicle, —3.
Even a theologian like John of Wales, who naturally saw the deification of humans by the ancients as literally mistaken, could still argue that this practice had once been socially useful in the sense that it encouraged rulers to undertake tasks which helped to safeguard the state. Indeed, Aristotle had argued that the receipt of honours by the ruler actually helped prevent tyranny by providing an alternative form of reward to rulers who might otherwise be tempted to use his office as a means of his own personal gain NE: V, vi: 5—7.
Alliterative Morte Arthure, 12—53, Justice and Mercy For medieval political theorists such as Giles of Rome, it was the task of the true king, as defender of the common good, to maintain justice and to enforce the law so as destroy evil doers and chastise those who trespass G: , Yet, in punishing wrongdoers, the prince had to tread a middle path between, on the one hand, the excessive cruelty which characterises the tyrant and, on the other, an excessive leniency which would allow crime to go unchecked. Here the ruler shows a complete lack of mercy and pity and instead delights in forms of punishment which are Gower, Vox Clamantis, VI: 18 p.
See references above, 5—6. If one cannot be too just, one can be too lenient. On the one hand, in correcting evildoers, it is sometimes necessary, as Aristotle NE: V, x: 4—8 and Aquinas had argued, to punish them more harshly than the law specifies and, sometimes, even to put them death G: , , , , , , , , —2. In eventually forgiving the two Thebans, does the tale show the duke changing from excessive harshness to equity and mercy?
V; IV, pr. Here, it is not the guilt of the two youths which is at issue. In practice, as a result of his ability to reason and to let the virtuous passions of mansuetude and mercifulness influence his thoughts, Theseus is soon able to overcome his wrath and so forgives Palamon and Arcite their crimes. However, in shifting from punishment to pardon in his treatment of Palamon and Arcite, Duke Theseus is not simply changing from the vice of excessive cruelty to the virtue of mercy.
For a critique of Kaeuper, see Ormrod, Political Life, 85—6, —14, —9. On the right to ransom, see above, —8. However, for a war to be seen as just, it not only needed a legitimate cause; it also had to be conducted according to the mixture of custom, canon law and civil law which together constituted the jus armorum, the law of arms.
The first was that of the truce, a temporary cessation of a war, signalled by a white flag or a baton. The third was public or open war between Christians bellum hostile in which enemies could be killed and spoil taken but in which quarter could be given and prisoners had the right to be ransomed. However, at times, even in wars between Christians, commanders could proclaim that no quarter would be given and no prisoners taken.
For an example, see Gesta Henrici Quinti, 17— See also Stanzaic Morte Arthur, 13— In time of war, it was not unjust or unreasonable to despoil the goods of the enemy or even, provided the war was not between Christians, to enslave captives. The captor should allow prisoners to be ransomed although, as we have seen, this requirement applied only to war between Christians.
Afterwards he threatens those of his prisoners who will not surrender to him with being burnt alive, torn apart before him or massacred. The ethics of warfare are not so much concerned with how men fight but rather with why they do so. Basically, the ends justified the means. For Gower, the Black Prince was as great a prince as any, one who had brought peace and prosperity to his subjects. See also Lowe, Imagining Peace, For an example, see Alliterative Morte Arthure, —6. Like the victorious Duke Theseus, who was crowned with the laurel leaves of the conqueror —7 , the prince was perfectly entitled to have his victories hailed by his subjects whilst also being expected to remain ever vigilant against the temptations of pride and vanity.
Medieval political theory was extremely diverse but most thinkers accepted the ideal of a strong ruler who was individually virtuous, who ruled according to the law, and who was willing to be governed by counsel even if political theorists were less agreed on the constitutional details of who should make the law or who precisely was entitled to give counsel. Could such tyrannical rulers be removed or did their abuse of power have to be endured by their subjects, either as a punishment from God for their sins or as a lesser evil than the consequences of political disobedience?
Was the king immune from human punishment and so only subject to the constraints of his own conscience? Similarly, in having the inhuman Creon overthrown by the ruler of another polity in the name of justice and mercy, the tale was able to show vice being defeated by virtue without having to confront the far more controversial issue of whether a tyrant could rightfully be deposed by his own subjects.
Rather, it was precisely the conclusion which Giles of Rome himself was to arrive at in his De Ecclesiastica Potestate, which was written some twenty years after the De Regimine. However, this did not mean that the legitimacy of pagan lordship was rejected per se, especially when, as in the case of Duke Theseus, they embodied the cardinal virtues of justice, prudence, fortitude and temperance.
Ptolemy of Lucca and William of Ockham thus cited Augustine as an authority for the view that Roman republic was the embodiment of political virtue. When intemperate rulers such as Sardanapalus and Dionysius performed tyrannical deeds, they did so not because they were pagans but rather because they were corrupt individuals whose vices were recognized by their contemporaries G: 73, Indeed, for Giles, the government by some of others was not only an arrangement which was natural to humanity but was also a principle which was to be found throughout nature.
Following Aristotle, Gratian and Aquinas, he argued that just as it is natural for the diverse members of any body to be governed by one part that is chief so the body politic required a member which ruled over the others. As for the Stoics, nature would provide an example of right living and order.
Here, pagan rulership was seen as natural, just and legitimate, even if it could not match the excellence of Christian kingship. See also William of Ockham, Short Discourse, 52—4, 60—1, 74—99, —7, , , — In medieval rhetorical theory, the ending of a text was seen as the most appropriate place for the expression of those opinions which an author especially wanted to emphasise.
In particular, how does the duke attempt to resolve the problem of theodicy which medieval cosmography inevitably raised, that is how can a belief in a deity who manifests his beneficence in his creation be reconciled with an awareness of the existence of human tragedy and suffering? What, then, does Theseus claim in his address to his parliament, and why have his views been interpreted in such different ways by modern critics? As humans themselves are a part of this natural order, it follows that all men must die, kings and servants alike I: — Theseus then goes on to use the fact that all men must die to provide various solacia for the death of Arcite.
He therefore seeks to persuade Emily and Palamon to accept each other as husband and wife I: —93 , arguing that if the First Mover has decreed that all creatures must die, he has also wisely ordained that each species as a whole such as humanity should endure I: — Although we live in a world marked by corruption and death, there is also the possibility of regeneration and new life. Accordingly, Theseus is able to conclude that, despite all the suffering which exists in the world, we can still find reasons to thank Jupiter for his grace and can identify the means by which sorrow can be amended and woe replaced by joy I: — For this life as a prison, see The Boke of the Crafte of Dyinge, f.
The point here is not simply, as is inevitably the case, that modern readers myself included judge Duke Theseus to be deluded in his philosophical outlook. See also the references in Rigby, Chaucer, 74, n. For the implausibility of the kind of arguments used by Theseus, see Blackburn, Think, — See also the references in Rigby, Chaucer, 75, n. See also the references in Rigby, Chaucer, 76, n.
Yet, in order to achieve this eminently practical goal, Theseus feels obliged to resort to some rather abstract speculation about the nature of the cosmos. As we have seen, modern readers have often interpreted the metaphysics and ethics which he propounds as simply a mask for his own self-interest. An alternative strategy was to shift the ground of the argument by inflating questions of political structure into matters of cosmological significance.
On the design and meaning of the amphitheatre, see also Kolve, Chaucer, — For the knowledge of Plato in the middle ages, see below, — Just as God rules the macrocosm of the entire world, so reason should rule the microcosm of the individual, with the soul governing the body and reason controlling the appetites and passions: order, rightful rule, and reason within the individual are all one G: , Nevertheless, Chaucer was extremely familiar with the kind of cosmology offered there by Giles from his reading of works by authors such as Boethius, Macrobius, Bernardus Silvestris, Alan of Lille and Jean de Meun.
The central conception of medieval cosmography was the claim that the universe was a material expression of an idea which had previously existed in the mind of God. Manzalaoui, pp. More than eight centuries before Giles, Augustine had claimed that God had ordered all things within creation so that each sought its own place; the De Regimine expressed the same idea but with the help of Aristotelian natural philosophy. IX: 8—9; Haskins, Renaissance, See also Bonet, Tree of Battles, —5, —7. The fact that some powers are lower than others does not mean that they are to be despised or to be seen as superfluous, but, nonetheless, they are still lower OEG: —29, —3.
Augustine, City of God, V: 11 p. See also Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, 89—90, —3. Just as water and earth meet the needs of plants, plants benefit animals, and animals serve men, so human servants should faithfully serve and love their lords G: —60, , —7; OEG: 93, As Giles said in the De Regimine, just as within inanimate objects one element is the master of the others, within the well-ordered human body the soul has supremacy over the body, and within nature humans have supremacy over the beasts, so no community is properly ordered unless some rule, as chief and sovereign members, and others are ruled, being subject and obedient, with the husband being set over the wife, the father over the children and the lord over the servant.
Finally, this view of the hierarchical nature of the universe could be invoked not only to legitimate contemporary social inequalities but also to justify a particular view of individual morality. Hence, the order which should characterise the virtuous individual should, like that of the good government of the state, be modelled on the good rule which God himself had ordained for the cosmos as a whole.
The good life was achieved when reason and the soul mastered the body, the senses, the passions and the appetites; the wicked life occurred when this rightful hierarchy was inverted. Plato, Timaeus, 28 pp. Nevertheless, his conclusions were very much in line with those which Boethius offered centuries previously and which Chaucer himself had sought to make available in Middle English.
However, even Augustine was prepared to concede that the pagan conception of Jupiter as the supreme god did anticipate the Christian notion of destiny in the sense of a chain of causes dependent upon the will and power of the one true god. Of these, unity is eternal and diversity is derivative, the eternal unity that is God having limited the boundlessness 57 Grant, Planets, — Cosmographers divided the universe into three main parts: firstly, God and the Empyrean heaven which is his abode; secondly, the nine other heavens i.
The heavens are incorruptible and unchanging in their inner nature, if not in their position, their circular motion itself being perfect, regular, undeviating and uniform and not subject to the rectilinear rise and fall of the terrestrial world. AD , a work with which Chaucer was certainly very familiar. Here, as Theseus points out, everything is made of the four basic elements of fire, earth, water and air I: ; see also I: —7 along with their associated qualities of heat, coldness, moistness and dryness. These elements and qualities can negate or come into conflict with each other and are constantly seeking to dissociate themselves from each other, a situation which could, potentially, result in chaos.
Grants, Planets, — Summa Virtutum de Remediis Anime, —3. IX: 1—17; IV, m. VI: 16—24; Chadwick, Boethius, —7. Things comprised of diverse elements needed to be properly ordered so that each part occupied its own proper place within the divinely-ordained hierarchy. Once more, this idea was a commonplace of medieval thought, one which can be traced back to Aristotle. Just as the unmoving God causes the motion of the heavens so, in turn, the incorruptible heavens generate corruption and decay on Earth.
Bernardus Silvestris, Cosmographia, I: 4 pp. VI: 32—3; Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Here, God is said to have created the order of the universe out of undifferentiated chaos. VI: 21—7, 90—3; IV, m. VI: 16—48; Chadwick, Boethius, , VI: 21—7. Again, this was a stock idea of medieval cosmography, one which was to be found in the Pseudo-Aristotelian Oeconomica AO: i, iii: 4. VI: 82—6. As material beings, humans share in these natural processes and so are subject to the decay and death but also to the birth and regeneration which prevent death from being victorious.
See also Romance of the Rose, , ; Roman de la Rose, —90, — II: —20, — Similarly, while the guilt of humanity invoked by Gower provided an explanation of the origin of suffering in general, it did nothing, once more, to comfort those such as the Argive widows, who, whilst doubtless themselves sharing in the collective hereditary guilt of original sin, were the victims of a particular act of inhuman sadism. Likewise, the doctrine of plenitude could have rather paradoxical results when applied to the realm of ethics.
This was an approach inherited by medieval Christian theology from the Stoic writers of pagan antiquity. Latini, Book of the Treasure, 9. Their conclusion, however, is that man must show a calm and patience in both pain and joy, because impatiently bearing sorrow only generates more sorrow. Boethius, Consolation, II, pr.
The problem was that free will created the possibility that humans would choose to sin. However, through Bernardus Silvestris, Cosmographia, I: 1 pp. VIII: 28— Finally, the marriage between Palamon and Emily is not just a matter of individual attachment but also provides a means with which to seal the peace between Athens and Thebes I: Romance of the Rose, ; Roman de La Rose, — Augustine, City of God, XX: 22 p.
Rather than simply preaching passivity per se, what Theseus teaches is that people should make a virtue of necessity when confronted with something that God has ordained, in this case the inevitability of death, not when they are faced with the wrongdoing of other humans. Critics have asked whether Jupiter, Saturn and the other gods should actually be seen as deities or as planets. See also Romance of the Rose, —4, —4; Roman de la Rose, —, — See also the references given above, 99— John of Salisbury, Frivolities, II: 19 p.
Both his philosophical outlook and the practical lessons which he draws from it were perfectly orthodox and were to be found alongside each other, without any hint of irony, in the works of contemporary philosophers, theologians, preachers and poets. He contemplates God only through the use of logic and reason, rather than through Christian theology, which was ranked by Giles of Rome as the highest form of knowledge since it seeks to understand the nature of God and of the angels with the help of faith and divine revelation G: , —5. If his pagan outlook is not the opposite of Christian teaching, it is still seen as its inferior.
Boethius applies this argument to the human soul Consolation, III, m. As a result, whilst an historical knowledge can help us by showing how, within medieval culture, Pirithous could symoblize both true friendship and false eloquence or how Venus could represent lewdness and chaste desire, it cannot provide us with a ready-made key which will unlock the meaning of these symbols in terms of their use within any individual literary work. But, where this is the case, the lack of persuasiveness of such ideas is not the result of their having been expressed in the form of poetry or of fiction but simply reflects the fact that such claims no longer seem plausible in the first place.
This seeming inconsistency then allows the reader to realize that whilst the Knight explicitly says one thing, the text itself implicitly shows us another. Instead, Duke Theseus embodies the virtue which political theorists demanded that a ruler should possess as an individual, as the head of a household and as a sovereign prince.
For discussion of this issue, see also Scala, Absent Narratives, The cynical humour 16 For references to those critics who take this approach to the Canterbury Tales, see Rigby, Chaucer, 42—53 and above, 6—8. As Lacy has argued, the irreverent spirit of the fabliaux was perfectly compatible with a conservative outlook in which humour is used to mock and punish those who, like Nicholas, the would-be trickster, Absolon, with his pretentious recourse to the rhetoric of courtly love, and John, with his ambition to be the postdiluvian lord of the world I: —2 , seek to rise above their allotted role or station in life.
Like the Knight, the Clerk teaches a lesson about the need for measure and self-restraint on the part of the ruler. Lacy, Reading Fabliaux, 44—5. Grudin, Chaucer, 89— It is tempting to speculate what tale Chaucer would have assigned to the Plowman, the patient and hard-working member of the laboratores, who is the third of the traditional estate-ideals amongst the Canterbury pilgrims.
For the medieval conception of society as composed of three orders, see Rigby, English Society, —93, , —8. From I. The key point is the idea being expressed, not the choice of a particular vocabulary to express it. Its use does not imply that such ideas were dominant in the sense of having been internalised by the bulk of the population Rigby, English Society, —3. For an example, see Ryan, Shakespeare. Ferster, for instance, typifies this approach when she invokes J. Critics from a wide variety of theoretical positions, whether humanist or post-structuralist, feminist, Bakhtinian, New Historicist, postcolonialist or Marxist, have at least managed to find some common ground in the view that whereas the poetry of lesser authors, such as Gower and Lydgate, was characterised by a conservative didacticism, the works of Chaucer did not simply pass on the received ideological wisdom of their time.
Whilst specific literary theories ask particular questions about literary texts for instance, about their relation to the human condition, the doctrine of charity, social conflict, contemporary political theory, gender ideology etc. See also Booth, Rhetoric, For a popularisation of this approach, see Bisson, Chaucer, 71, , , See also note 46, below.
Whilst challenging the accepted truths of its time is one of the many potential functions of imaginative literature, this does not mean that the ability to do so constitutes its essence.
On the contrary, a wide range of theoretical approaches, from patristic criticism to Marxist, Bakhtinian and feminist literary theory, have previously been put to work to portray Chaucer as a poet whose work offers a monologic defence of the social hierarchies of his time. Frye, Stubborn Structure, 68, 78— Parsons, Essays, 56, 69—70, , —9; Althusser, Lenin, — For a powerful critique of the view that social order depends on ideological subordination, see ibid. Indeed, given the limited access to education and the restricted circulation of manuscript texts which characterised the period, works of ideology, particularly those in literary form, rather than being intended for the mass of the population, were often aimed at a rather narrow audience, one which tended to be already convinced of the virtues of the existing social order.
Given this relationship between author and audience, the task facing medieval poets was not that of persuading their readers that, say, reason should control the irascible and concupiscible appetites or that the intemperate passions of youth should be moderated by the wisdom of maturity or of old age. In this sense, if the purpose of poetry was presented as an ethical one, it was not that of leading readers to some radical new conclusion. Rather, as in the Consolation of Philosophy, it was that of reminding them of something which they were rhetorically held to have forgotten but which, like the 49 Owst, Literature, pp.
This is not, of course, to say that such ideological mechanisms were necessarily successful. Readers here were not just required to accept the morality of the text in a passive fashion but rather were expected to respond to the text actively so as to arrive at its lesson by their own efforts—which is not to say that all lessons were regarded as equally valid or all readings seen as equally legitimate. Aegidius Romanus: see Giles of Rome. Sheridan Toronto, McGrade, J.
Kilcullen and M. Kempshall Cambridge, Minnis, A. Scott and D. Wallace Oxford, Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Politics: in R. Lerner and M. Atkins and T. Williams Cambridge, Litzinger Notre Dame, McDermott London, Aristotle, De Anima On the Soul , ed. Ross Oxford, Everson, Aristotle Cambridge, Bettenson Harmondsworth, Taylor New York, Thou shalt love thy country, and obey its laws! Thy friend shall be to thee a second self! Misfortune shall not estrange thee from him! Thou shalt do for his memory whatever thou wouldst do for him, if he were living! Thou shalt avoid and flee from insincere friendships!
Thou shalt in everything refrain from excess. Thou shalt fear to be the cause of a stain on thy memory! Thou shalt allow no passions to become thy master! Thou shalt make the passions of others profitable lessons to thyself! Thou shalt be indulgent to error! Thou shalt hear much: Thou shalt speak little: Thou shalt act goodly!
Thou shalt forget injuries! Thou shalt render good for evil! Thou shalt not misuse either thy strength or thy superiority! Thou shalt study to know the hearts of men; that thereby thou mayest learn to know thy heart! Thou shalt ever seek after virtue! Thou shalt be just! Thou shalt avoid idleness! Yet the great commandment of Masonry is this: "A new commandment give I unto you: that ye love one another! He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, remaineth still in the darkness.
Such are the moral duties of a Mason. Yet it is also the duty of Masonry to assist in elevating the moral and intellectual level of society; in coining knowledge, bringing ideas into circulation, and causing the mind of youth to grow; To this duty and work the Initiate is apprenticed. He must not imagine that he can effect nothing, and, therefore, despairing, become inert. It is in this, as in a man's daily life. Many great deeds are done in the small struggles of life.
There is, we are told, a determined though unseen bravery, which defends itself, foot to foot, in the darkness, against the fatal invasion of necessity and of baseness. There are noble and mysterious triumphs, which no eye sees, which no renown rewards, which no flourish of trumpets salutes. Life, misfortune, isolation, abandonment, poverty, are battle-fields, which have their heroes, --heroes obscure, yet sometimes greater than those who become illustrious.
The Mason should struggle in the same manner, and with the same bravery, against those invasions of necessity and baseness, that come to nations as well as to men. He should meet them, too, foot to foot, even in the darkness, and protest against the national wrongs and follies; against usurpation and the first inroads of that hydra, Tyranny.
There is no more sovereign eloquence than the truth in indignation. It is more difficult for a people to keep than to gain their freedom. The Protests of Truth are always needed. Continually, the right must protest against the fact. There is, in fact, Eternity in the Right. If his country should be robbed of her liberties, he should still not despair.
The protest of the Right against the Fact persists forever. The robbery of a people never becomes prescriptive. Reclamation of its rights is barred by no length of time. Warsaw can no more be Tartar than Venice can be Teutonic. A people may endure military usurpation, and subjugated States kneel to States and wear the yoke, while under the stress of necessity; Whatever occurs, we should have Faith in the Justice and overruling Wisdom of God, and Hope for the Future, and Lovingkindness for those who are in error.
God makes visible to men His will in events; an obscure text, written in a mysterious language. Men make their translations of it forthwith, hasty, incorrect, full of faults, omissions, and misreadings. We see so short a way along the arc of the great circle! Few minds comprehend the Divine tongue. From each translation, a party is born; and from each misreading, a faction. Each party believes or pretends that it has the only true text, and each faction believes or pretends that it alone possesses the light.
Moreover, factions are blind men, who aim straight, yet errors are excellent projectiles, striking skillfully, and with all the violence that springs from false reasoning, wherever a want of logic in those who defend the right, like a defect in a cuirass, makes them vulnerable. Therefore it is that we shall often be discomfited in combating error before the people. Antaeus long resisted Hercules; and the heads of the Hydra grew as fast as they were cut off. It is absurd incorrect to say that Error, when wounded, writhes in pain, and dies amid her worshippers.
Truth conquers slowly. There is a wondrous vitality in Error. Truth, indeed, for the most part, shoots over the heads of the masses; or if an error is prostrated for a moment, it is up again in a moment, and as vigorous as ever. It will not die when the brains are out, and the most stupid and irrational errors are the longest-lived. Nevertheless, Masonry, which is Morality and Philosophy, must not cease to do its duty. We never know at what moment success awaits our efforts --generally when most unexpected-- nor with what effect our efforts are or are not to be attended.
Succeed or fail, Masonry must not bow to error, or succumb under discouragement. There were at Rome a few Carthaginian soldiers, taken prisoners, who refused to bow to Flaminius, and had a little of Hannibal's magnanimity. Masons should possess an equal greatness of soul. Masonry should be an energy; finding its aim and effect in the amelioration of mankind. Socrates should enter into Adam, and produce Marcus Aurelius, in other words, bring forth from the man of enjoyments, the man of wisdom. Masonry should not be a mere watch-tower, built upon mystery, from which to gaze at ease upon the world, with no other result than to be a convenience for the curious.
To hold the full cup of thought to the thirsty lips of men; to give to all the true ideas of Deity; to harmonize conscience and science, are the province of Philosophy. Morality is Faith in full bloom. Contemplation should lead to action, and the absolute be practical; the ideal be made air and food and drink to the human mind.
Wisdom is a sacred communion. It is only on that condition that it ceases to be a sterile love of Science, and becomes the one and supreme method by which to unite Humanity and arouse it to concerted action. Then Philosophy becomes Religion. And Masonry, like History and Philosophy, has eternal duties -- eternal, and, at the same time, simple-- These are the symbols of the tyranny that degrades and crushes, and the corruption that defiles and infests.
In the works published for the use of the Craft we are told that the three great tenets of a Mason's profession are Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. And it is true that a Brotherly affection and kindness should govern us in all our interaction and relations with our brethren; and a generous and liberal philanthropy actuate us in regard to all men. To relieve the distressed is peculiarly the duty of Masons --a sacred duty, not to be omitted, neglected, or coldly or inefficiently complied with.
It is also most true, that Truth is a Divine attribute and the foundation of every virtue. To be true, and to seek to find and learn the Truth, are the great objects of every good Mason. They are as necessary to nations as to individuals. The people that would be Free and Independent, must possess Sagacity, Forethought, Foresight, and careful Circumspection, all which are included in the meaning of the word Prudence. It must be temperate in asserting its rights, temperate in its councils, economical in its expenses; Let her Senate sit in their seats until the Gauls pluck them by the beard.
She must, above all things, be just, not truckling to the strong and warring on or plundering the weak; Whenever such a Republic exists, it will be immortal: for rashness, injustice, intemperance and luxury in prosperity, and despair and disorder in adversity, are the causes of the decay and dilapidation of nations. In the Ancient Orient the Middle East , all religion was more or less a mystery and there was no [a? The popular theology, taking the multitude of allegories and symbols for realities, degenerated into a worship of the celestial luminaries, of imaginary Deities with human feelings, passions, appetites, and lusts, of idols, stones, animals, reptiles.
The Onion was sacred to the Egyptians, because its different layers were a symbol of the concentric heavenly spheres. Of course the popular religion could not satisfy the deeper longings and thoughts, the loftier aspirations of the Spirit, or the logic of reason. The first, therefore, was taught to the initiated in the Mysteries. There, also, it was taught by symbols. The vagueness of symbolism, capable of many interpretations, reached what the palpable and conventional creed could not.
Its indefiniteness acknowledged the abstruseness of the subject: it treated that mysterious subject mystically: it endeavored to illustrate what it could not explain; Thus the knowledge now imparted by books and letters, was of old conveyed by symbols; and the priests invented or perpetuated a display of rites and exhibitions, that were not only more attractive to the eye than words, yet often more suggestive and more pregnant with meaning to the mind. Masonry, successor of the Mysteries, still follows the ancient manner of teaching.
Her ceremonies are like the ancient mystic shows, --not the reading of an essay, yet the opening of a problem, requiring research, and constituting philosophy the archexpounder. Her symbols are the instruction she gives. The lectures are endeavors, often partial and one-sided, to interpret these symbols. He who would become an accomplished Mason must not be content merely to hear, or even to understand, the lectures; he must, aided by them, and they having, as it were, marked out the way for him, study, interpret, and develop these symbols for his understanding.
Though Masonry is identical with the ancient Mysteries, it is so only in this qualified sense: that it presents merely an imperfect image of their brilliancy, the ruins only of their grandeur, After leaving Egypt, the Mysteries were modified by the habits of the different nations among whom they were introduced, and especially by the religious systems of the countries into which they were transplanted. To maintain the established government, laws, and religion, was the obligation of the Initiate everywhere; Masonry is not the Roman Coliseum in ruins.
It is rather a Roman palace of the middle ages, disfigured by modern architectural improvements, yet built on a Cyclopcean foundation laid by the Etruscans, and with many a stone of the superstructure taken from dwellings and temples of the age of Hadrian and Antoninus. In the Monastery there is fraternity and equality, yet no liberty. It was but a development of the original purpose of the Mysteries, which was to teach men to know and practice their duties to themselves and their fellows, the great practical end of all philosophy and all knowledge.
Man has natural empire over all institutions. They are for him, aecording to his development; not he for them. This seems to us a very simple statement, one to which all men, everywhere, ought to assent. Yet once it was a great new Truth, --not revealed until governments had been in existence for at least five thousand years. Once revealed, it imposed new duties on men. Man owed it to himself to be free. He owed it to his country to seek to give her freedom, or maintain her in that possession. It made Tyranny and Usurpation the enemies of the Human Race.
It created a general outlawry of Despots and Despotisms, temporal and spiritual. The sphere of Duty was immensely enlarged. Patriotism had, henceforth, a new and wider meaning. All these came to be inalienable rights, which those who had parted with them or been robbed of them, or whose ancestors had lost them, had the right summarily to retake. Unfortunately, Truths always become perverted into falsehoods, and are falsehoods when misapplied, so this Truth became the Gospel of Anarchy, soon after it was first preached.
Masonry early comprehended this Truth, and recognized its own enlarged duties. Its symbols then came to have a wider meaning; yet it also assumed the mask of Stonemasonry, and borrowed its working-tools, and so was supplied with new and apt symbols. It aided in bringing about the French Revolution, disappeared with the Girondists, was born again with the restoration of order, and sustained Napoleon, because, though Emperor, he acknowledged the right of the people to select its rulers, and was at the head of a nation refusing to receive back its old kings.
He pleaded, with sabre, musket, and cannon, the great cause of the People against Royalty, the right of the French people even to make a Corsican General their Emperor, if it pleased them. Masonry felt that this Truth had the Omnipotence of God on its side; and that neither Pope nor Potentate could overcome it.
It was a truth dropped into the world's wide treasury, and forming a part of the heritage which each generation receives, enlarges, and holds in trust, and of necessity bequeaths to mankind; the personal estate of man, entailed of nature to the end of time. And Masonry early recognized it as true, that to set forth and develop a truth, or any human excellence of gift or growth, is to make greater the spiritual glory of the race; that whosoever aids the march of a Truth, and makes the thought a thing, writes in the same line with MOSES, and with Him who died upon the cross; and has an intellectual sympathy with the Deity Himself.
The best gift we can bestow on man is manhood. It is that which Masonry is ordained of God to bestow on its votaries: not sectarianism and religious dogma; Not that Philosophy or Science is in opposition to Religion. For Philosophy is but that knowledge of God and the Soul, which is derived from observation of the manifested action of God and the Soul, and from a wise analogy. It is the intellectual guide which the religious sentiment needs. Philosophy is that intellectual and moral progress, which the religious sentiment inspires and ennobles.
As to Science, it could not walk alone, while religion was stationary. It consists of those matured inferences from experience which all other experience confirms. It realizes and unites all that was truly valuable in both the old schemes of mediation, --one heroic, or the system of action and effort; and the mystical theory of spiritual, contemplative commullion. Their lessons and demonstrations were obscure, yet ours are clear and unmistakable. We deem that to be the best knowledge we can obtain of the Soul of another man, which is furnished by his actions and his life-long conduct.
Evidence to the contrary, supplied by what another man informs us that this Soul has said to his, would weigh little against the former. The first Scriptures for the human race were written by God on the Earth and Heavens. The reading of these Divine Scriptures is Divine Science. Science was an ancient word for scholarship.
Familiarity with the grass and trees, the insects and the infusoria, teaches us deeper lessons of love and faith yet not divine wisdom than we can glean from the writings of Fenelon and Augustine. The great Bible of God is ever open before mankind. Knowledge is convertible into power, and axioms of legal doctrine into rules of utility and duty, Yet knowledge is not necessarily Power. The purpose, therefore, of Education and Science is to make a man wise. If knowledge does not make him so, it is wasted, like water poured on the sands. To know the formulas of Masonry, is of as little value all alone, as to know so many words and sentences in some barbarous African or Australasian dialect.
To know even the meaning of the symbols, is merely little, unless that adds to our wisdom, and also to our charity, which is to justice like one hemisphere of the brain to the other. Do not lose sight, then, of the true object of your studies in Masonry. It is to add to your estate of wisdom, and not merely to your knowledge. A man may spend a lifetime in studying a single specialty of knowledge, -- botany, sea shell conchology, or entomology, for instance-- in committing to memory names derived from the Greek, and classifying and reclassifying; and yet be no wiser than when he began. It is the great truths as to all that most concerns a man, as to his rights, interests, and duties, that Masonry seeks to teach her Initiates.
The wiser a man becomes, the less will he be inclined to submit tamely to the imposition of fetters or a yoke, on his conscience or his person. For, by increase of wisdom he not only better knows his rights, yet the more highly values them, and is more conscious of his worth and dignity. His pride then urges him to assert his independence. He becomes better able to assert it also; and better able to assist others or his country, when they or she stake all, even existence, upon the same assertion. Yet mere knowledge makes no one independent, nor fits him to be free. It often only makes him a more useful slave.
Liberty is a curse to the ignorant and brutal. Political science has for its object to ascertain in what manner and by manner of what institutions political and personal freedom may be secured and perpetuated: If Masonry needed to be justified for imposing political as well as moral duties on its Initiates, it would be enough to point to the sad history of the world.
It would not even need that one should turn back the pages of history to the chapters written by Tacitus: One need only point to the centuries of calamity through which the noble French nation passed; to the long oppression of the feudal ages, of the selfish Bourbon kings; to those times when the peasants were robbed and slaughtered by their own lords like sheep; We might turn over the pages, to a later chapter, --that of the reign of the Fifteenth Louis, when young girls, hardly more than children, were kidnapped to serve his lusts; Then, indeed, suffering and toil were the two forms of man, and the people were merely beasts of burden.
The true Mason is he who labors strenuously to help his Order effect its great purposes. Not that the Order can effect them by itself; yet that it, too, can help. It also is one of God's instruments. It is a Force and a Power; and shame upon it, if it did not exert its energy, and, if need be, sacrihce its children fraternal members in the cause of humanity, as Abraham was ready to offer up Isaac on the altar of sacrifice.
It will not forget that noble allegory of Curtius leaping, all in armor, into the great yawning gulf that opened to swallow Rome. It will TRY. We do not now discuss the differences between Reason and Faith, and undertake to define the domain of each. The "Age of Reason" of the French Revolution taught, we know, what a folly it is to enthrone Reason by itself as supreme.
Reason is at fault when it deals with the Infinite. There we must revere and believe. Notwithstanding the calamities of the virtuous, the miseries of the deserving, the prosperity of tyrants and the murder of martyrs, we must believe there is a wise, just, merciful, and loving God, an Intelligence and a Providence, supreme over all, and caring for the minutest things and events.
A Faith is a necessity to man. Woe to him who believes nothing! We believe that the soul of another is of a certain nature and possesses certain qualities, that he is generous and honest, or penurious and knavish, that she is virtuous and amiable, or vicious and ill-tempered, from the apperance alone, from little more than a glimpse of it, without the means of knowing.
We venture our fortune on the signature of a man on the other side of the world, whom we never saw, upon the belief that he is honest and trustworthy. We believe that occurrences have taken place, upon the assertion of others. We believe that one will acts upon another, and in the reality of a multitude of other phenomena that Reason cannot explain. Yet we ought not to believe what Reason authoritatively denies, that at which the sense of right revolts, that which is absurd or self-contradictory, or at issue with experience or science, or that which degrades the character of the Deity, and would make Him revengeful, malignant, cruel, or unjust.
A man's Faith is as much his own as his Reason is. His Freedom consists as much in his faith being free as in his will being uncontrolled by power. All the Priests and Augurs of Rome or Greece had not the right to require Cicero or Socrates to believe in the absurd mythology of the vulgar. All the Imaums priests of Mohammedanism have not the right to require a pagan to believe that Gabriel dictated the Koran to the Prophet.
All the Brahmins that ever lived, if assembled in one conclave like the Cardinals, could not gain a right to compel a single human being to believe in the Hindu Cosmogony. No man or body of men can be infallible, and authorized to decide what other men shall believe, as to any tenet of faith.
Except to those who first receive it, every religion and the truth of all inspired writings depend on human testimony and internal evidences, to be judged of by Reason and the wise metaphors of Faith. Each man must necessarily have the right to judge of their truth for himself; because no one man can have any higher or better right to judge than another of equal information and intelligence. Domitian claimed to be the Lord God; and statues and images of him, in silver and gold, were found throughout the known world. He claimed to be regarded as the God of all men; and, according to Suetonius, began his letters thus: Palfurius Sura, the philosopher, who was his chief delator, accusing those who refused to recognize his divinity, however much he may have believed in that divinity, had not the right to demand that a single Christian in Rome or the provinces should do the same.
Reason is far from being the only guide, in morals or in political science. Love or lovingkindness must keep it company, to exclude fanaticism, intolerance, and persecution, to all of which a morality that is too ascetic, and the extreme political principles, invariably lead. We must also have faith in ourselves, and in our fellows and the people, or we shall be easily discouraged by reverses, and our ardor cooled by obstacles. We must not listen to Reason alone. Force comes more from Faith and Love: and it is by the aid of these that man scales the loftiest heights of morality, or becomes the Saviour and Redeemer of a People.
Reason must hold the helm; yet these supply the motive power, for they are the wings of the soul. If the Deity had been merely and only All-wise and All-mighty, He would never have created the Universe. The unruliest of men bend before the leader that has the sense to see and the will to do. It is Genius that rules with God-like Power; that unveils, with its counsellors, the hidden human mysteries, cuts asunder with its word the huge knots, and builds up with its word the crumbled ruins.
At its glance fall down the senseless idols, whose altars have been on all the high places and in all the sacred groves. Dishonesty and ignorance stand abashed before it. Its single Yea or Nay revokes the wrongs of ages, and is heard among the future generations. Its power is immense, because its wisdom is immense. Genius is the Sun of the political sphere. Force and Wisdom, its ministers, are the orbs that carry its light into darkness, and answer it with their solid reflecting Truth. Development is symbolized by the use of the Mallet and Chisel; the development of the energies and intellect, of the individual and the people.
Genius may place itself at the head of an unintellectual, uneducated, unenergetic nation; yet in a free country, to cultivate the intellect of those who elect, is the only mode of securing intellect and genius for rulers. The world is seldom ruled by the great spirits, except after dissolution and new birth. In periods of transition and convulsion, the Long Parliaments, the Robespierres and Marats, and the semi-respectabilities of intellect, too often hold the reins of power. The Cromwells and Napoleons follow later. The great intellect is often too sharp for the granite of this life.
Legislators may be very ordinary men; for legislation is very ordinary work; it is but the final issue of a million minds. The power of the purse or the sword, compared to that of the spirit, is poor and contemptible. As to lands, you may have agrarian laws, and equal partition. Yet a man's intellect is all his own, held direct from God, an inalienable fief.
It is the most potent of weapons in the hands of a paladin. If the people comprehend Force in the physical sense, how much more do tlley revelence the intellectual! Ask Hildebrand, or Luther, or Loyola. They fall prostrate before it, as before an idol. The mastery of mind over mind is the only conquest worth having. The other injures both, and dissolves at a breath; rude as it is, the great cable falls down and snaps at last. Yet this dimly resembles the dominion of the Creator.
It does not need a subject like that of Peter the Hermit. If the stream be but bright and strong, it will sweep like a spring-tide to the popular heart. Not in word only, yet in intellectual act lies the fascination. It is the homage to the Invisible. This power, knotted with Love, is the golden chain let down into the well of Truth, or the invisible chain that binds the ranks of mankind together.
Influence of man over man is a law of nature, whether it be by a great estate in land or in intellect. It may mean slavery, a deference to the eminent human judgment. Society hangs spiritually together, like the revoiving spheres above. The free country, in which intellect and genius govern, will endure. Where they serve, and other influences govern, the national life is short. All the nations that have tried to govern themselves by their smallest, by the incapables, or merely respectables, have come to nought.
Constitutions and Laws, without Genius and Intellect to govern, will not prevent decay. In that case they have the dry-rot and the life dies out of them by degrees. To give a nation the franchise of the Intellect is the only sure mode of perpetuating freedom. This will compel exertion and generous care for the people from those on the higher seats, and honorable and intelligent allegiance from those below. Then political public life will protect all men from self-abasement in sensual pursuits, from vulgar acts and low greed, by giving the noble ambition of just imperial rule.
To elevate the people by teaching loving-kindness and wisdom, with power to him who teaches best: and so to develop the free State from the rough ashlar: -- this is the great labor in which Masonry desires to lend a helping hand. All of us should labor in building up the great monument of a nation, the Holy House of the Temple. The cardinal virtues must not be partitioned among men, becoming the exclusive property of some, like the common crafts.
ALL are apprenticed to the partners, Duty and Honor. Masonry is a march and a struggle toward the Light. Tyranny over the soul or body, is darkness. The freest people, like the freest man, is always in danger of relapsing into servitude. Wars are almost always fatal to Republics. They create tyrants, and consolidate their power.
They spring, for the most part, from evil counsels. When the small and the base are intrusted with power, legislation and administration become merely two parallel series of errors and blunders, ending in war, calamity, and the necessity for a tyrant. When the nation feels its feet sliding backward, as if it walked on the ice, the time has come for a supreme effort. The magnificent tyrants of the past are merely the types of those of the future. Men and nations will always sell themselves into slavery, to gratify their passions and obtain revenge.
The tyrant's plea, necessity, is always available; and the tyrant once in power, the necessity of providing for his safety makes him savage. Religion is a power, and he must control that. Independent, its sanctuaries might rebel. Then it becomes unlawful for the people to worship God in their own way, and the old spiritual despotisms revive. Men must believe as Power wills, or die; and even if they may believe as they will, all they have, lands, houses, body, and soul, are stamped with the royal brand.
And dynasties so established endure, like that of the Caesars of Rome and of the Caesars of Constantinople, of the Caliphs, the Stuarts, the Spaniards, the Goths, the Valois, until the race wears out, and ends with lunatics and idiots, who still rule. There is no concord among men, to end the horrible bondage. The State falls inwardly, as well as by the outward blows of the incoherent elements.
The furious human passions, the sleeping human indolence, the stolid unemotinoal human ignorance, the rivalry of human castes, are as good for the kings as the swords of the Paladins. The worshippers have all bowed so long to the old idol, that they cannot go into the streets and choose another Grand Llama. And so the effete State floats on down the puddled stream of Time, until the tempest or the tidal sea discovers that the worm has consumed its strength, and it crumbles into oblivion.
Civil and religious Freedom must go hand in hand; and Persecution matures them both. A people content with the thoughts made for them by the priests of a church will be content with Royalty by Divine Right, -- the Church and the Throne mutually sustaining each other. They will smother schism and reap infidelity and indifference; and while the battle for freedom goes on around them, they will only sink the more apathetically into servitude and a deep trance, perhaps occasionally interrupted by furious fits of frenzy, followed by helpless exhaustion.
Despotism is not dimcult in any land that has only known one master from its childhood; yet there is no harder problem than to perfect and perpetuate free government by the people; for it is not one king that is needed: all must be kings. It is easy to set up Masaniello, that in a few days he may fall lower than before. Yet free govermnent grows slowly, like the individual human faculties; and like the forest-trees, from the inner heart outward.
Liberty is not only the common birth-right, yet it is lost as well by non-user as by mis-user. It depends far more on the universal effort than any other human property. It has no single shrine or holy well of pilgrimage for the nation; for its waters should burst out freely from the whole soil. The free popular power is one that is only known in its strength in the hour of adversity: for all its trials, sacrifices and expectations are its own. It is trained to think for itself, and also to act for itself. When the enslaved people prostrate themselves in the dust before the hurricane, like the alarmed beasts of the field, the free people stand erect before it, It is neither cast down by calamity nor elated by success.
This vast power of endurance, of forbearance, of patience, and of performance, is only acquired by continual exercise of all the functions, like the healthful physical human vigor, like the individual moral vigor. And the maxim is no less true than old, that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. It is curious to observe the universal pretext through which the tyrants of all times take away the national liberties. It is stated in the statutes of Edward II, that the justices and the sheriff should no longer be elected by the people, on account of the riots and dissensions which had arisen.
The same reason was given long before for the suppression of popular election of the bishops; The latter is the more appropriate name for the science represented with the word "Geometry. Neither is of a meaning sufficiently wide: for although the vast surveys of great spaces of the earth's surface, and of coasts, through which shipwreck and calamity to mariners are avoided, are effected by means of triangulation; For that science includes these with Arithmetic, and also with Algebra, Logarithms, the Integral and Differential Calculus; and by means of it are worked out the great problems of Astronomy or the Laws of the Stars.
Virtue is merely heroic bravery, to do the thing thought to be true, in spite of all enemies of flesh or spirit, in despite of all temptations or menaces. Man is accountable for the uprightness of his doctrine, yet not for the rightness of it. Devout enthusiasm is far easier han a good action. The end of thought is action; the sole purpose of Religion is an Ethic.
Theory, in political science, is worthless, except for the purpose of being realized in practice. In every credo, religious or political as in the soul of man, there are two regions, the Dialectic and the Ethic; There are men who dialectically are Christians, as there are a multitude who dialectically are Masons, and yet who are ethically Infidels, as these are ethically of the Profane, in the strictest sense: On the other hand, there are many dialectical skeptics, that are yet ethical believers, as there are many Masons who have never undergone initiation; He who does right is better than he who thinks right.
Yet you must not act upon the hypothesis that all men are hypocrites, whose conduct does not square with their sentiments. No vice is more rare, for no task is more difficult, than systematic hypocrisy.
Related A Knights Honor (Knights of Illysium Book 1)
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