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Ex Lihris 






Inscribed to my loyal friend, in school and ever since — 


Chairman of the Governors of the Lincoln Grammar 

heartily congratulating him, and rejoicing with him, on the 
opening of such New Buildings as would astound the pious 
Benefactors of our Old School — buildings which will be 
another glory to the glorious City of Lincoln, and hold forth 
the blessed hope of added intellectual possibilities to future 
generations, whose children will ever feel it their noble privi- 
lege to set forth in life, and, for the good of their country, to 
endeavour to walk worthily of the traditions of the Old School, 
and of that beautiful and ancient " City set on a Hill." 

University College of Wales, 
November, 1907. 



An Old School-Book 

Described By 


Professor of Education in the University College of 
Wales, Aberystwyth 




THE SELWOOD Printing Works, 
Frome, and londoh. 


The Zodiacus Vitae of Marcellus Palingenius is an 
old school-book used in English as well as foreign 
schools in the time of Shakespeare, At page 67, 
the Statutes of St. Bee's Grammar School (1583), 
in Cumberland, are cited as including Palingenius' 
Zodiacus Vitae. Other instances are the Orders 
made for St. Saviour's Grammar School, Southwark 
(1562), where Pahngenius is prescribed amongst 
such " Christian poets " as Juvencus and Pruden- 
tius. The Durham School Statutes (1593) prescribe 
Pahngenius together with Baptist a Mantuan and 
others. The Statutes of Camberwell Grammar 
School (1615) include Pahngenius, along with 
Juvencus, Prudentius, Erasmus and Sebastian 
CastaHo, the author of the Sacred Dialogues. Further 
investigation would probably bring to light other 
grammar schools in which the Zodiacus Vitae was 
prescribed by statute or introduced in the orders, 
and no doubt it was read in other schools in which 
it was not actually prescribed by statute or orders. 
Amongst the editions of the text of Pahngenius, 
there were evidently a considerable number printed 
in England. For instance, the British Museum 
Library contains the following : in 1574, published 



by T. Marsh ; in 1575 and 1592 by R. Robinson, and 
in 1579 and 1602 by R. Dexter. It is worth noting, 
too, that the book was issued by the Stationers' 
Company in 1616, and that on March 5, 1620, the 
Zodiacus Vitae of PaHngenius had become part of 
the English stock of the Company. The British 
Museum Library has a copy of an edition pubhshed 
by the Stationers' Company in 1639, t>ut it is not 
improbable that there were other editions issued, 
not now easily to be traced. 

It will thus be seen that PaHngenius, with his 
astrological, alchemistic and occult attitude, was 
required to be read in certain schools. It is well 
to bear in mind that while all the schools of the 
sixteenth century were classical in aim, the range 
of reading was wider than in classical schools of the 
present time. Thus not infrequently the Astrono- 
micon of Manilius and the astrological parts of 
Ptolemy found their way into the studies of the 
scholar and even of the schools. In the private 
school of Milton, Manilius' book, the chief of the 
detailed treatises on astrology, in ancient Rome, was 
one of the authors read. J. A. Comenius, the great 
educational reformer, in his Janua Linguarum and his 
Orbis pictus belongs to the old school in his astrolo- 
gical implications. For him, astronomy " consider- 
eth the motion of the stars : astrology the effect of 
them." He then deals with the " aspects of the 

Advocates of the thesis that the aim of the school 
is the adaptation of the curriculum to the current 
culture of the age will be interested to see that in 


the sixteenth century our ancestors were thus quite 
logical in bringing occult suggestions into the 

Palingenius, however, was no vulgar alchemist 
or astrologer. He is characterized by a keen desire 
to arrive at a right spiritual application of all 
physical theories. He occupies a position which 
bears some analogy to that occupied, in our genera- 
tion, by the late Professor Henry Drummond in 
connecting physical with spiritual thought in his 
Natural Law in the Spiritual World. In other words, 
he emphasizes the unity of all knowledge, physical 
and spiritual. 

It is easy to underrate the" formative value, edu- 
cationally, of the studies of past ages. The late 
Professor de Morgan, no mean judge, was of opinion 
that the system of celestial spheres, elaborated under 
the name of Ptolemy, could still be used by the 
student as a valuable mental discipHne, though they 
cannot stand as a statement of the facts of the case. 
The reader can see for himself, by reference to 
the famous school-book, the Janua Linguarum of 
J. A. Comenius, even a century later than Palingenius, 
that there was a considerable degree of exercise of 
the imagination and reason required from the school- 
boy to follow the sixteenth and seventeenth century 
astronomy. The same remark would apply to 
teachings of other subjects implicitly suggested by 
Palingenius' book. To the subjects in physical 
science, Palingenius insisted, as already said, on the 
spiritual interpretations. His book, further, found 
acceptance, at any rate, in the schools, for its com- 


paratively easy latinity and its effective style. 
At times diffuse, he offered alternative expressions, 
yet he rarely dismisses any topic under discussion 
without a concise epigrammatic line, dear to an 
age which delighted in adages and proverbs. 
These he collected, in the manner of his age, from 
many sources. I have pointed out a few similarities 
of expression between Palingenius and Shakespeare, 
but a closer study of the indebtedness to Palin- 
genius in the expressions of English writers might 
profitctfbly be made. But even if this question were 
investigated it would leave a still more difficult 
problem, viz. : How far are Palingenius' quotable 
lines original or directly derived from earlier or 
contemporaneous sources ? 



Introduction ....... 6 

Palingenius and his Book . . . . . ii 

Book I Aries, or the Ram . . . .22 

II Taurus, or the Bull . . -29 

III Gemini, or the Twins . . -33 

IV Cancer, or the Crab . . • 37 
V Leo, or the Lion . . . .40 

VI Virgo, or the Virgin . . -47 

VII Libra, or the Scales . . -53 


IX Sagittarius, or the Archer . . 55 

X Capricornus, or the Goat . . 60 

XI Aquarius, or the Water-Carrier . 63 
XII Pisces, or the Fishes . . .64 

Conclusion ........ 66 

The Influence of Palingenius' "Zodiac of Life" 72 
Appendix A. English References to Palin- 
genius ....... 8i 

Appendix B. Foreign References to Palin- 
genius ....... 84 

Appendix C. The Astrological Aspect of the 

Zodiac of Life. By W. Gorn Old. . 86 


Baptista Mantuan received great glory from 
his attack on the abuses of the Church, and his 
educational reputation amongst Protestants was 
considerably enhanced by his denunciations of his 
Church. So, too, with the writer known as Marcellus 
Palingenius. If not a protagonist of the Reforma- 
tion, he vvas at least candid enough to see the evil 
in the Old Church and to attack it remorselessly. 
Like Baptista Mantuan and like Erasmus, most 
severe of the satirists of the Catholic Church, 
Palingenius never left the Roman Church. In his 
Epistle Dedicatory to the Zodiacus Vitac he says : 
" If anything be found in so large a work, that may 
seem in the least to differ from our religion, I think 
it is not to be imputed to me. For when I speak 
sometimes of philosophical matters I relate the 
opinions of divers philosophers, especially the Plato- 
nists ; for which, if they be false, not I but they 
are to be blamed : since my intention is never to 
depart from the Catholic faith." 

The Zodiacus Vitae is in Latin hexameters. It 
is divided into twelve books, each of which bears 
the name of one of the signs of the zodiac. It 

was objected by Julius Caesar Scaliger that there 



is no connexion between the subjects of the books 
and the virtues or quahties of the signs of the 
zodiac which supply the titles.^ On the other 
hand, a recent anonymous Enghsh translator of 
the book suggests that there may be a concealed 
sense beneath the letter of these twelve books, 
and that Palingenius may have been an adept in 
the art of alchemy. It has been suggested 2 that 
the title Zodiacus Vitae is due to the name of the 
birthplace of Palingenius, viz. Stellata, in Ferrara. 
At any rate, the full description of the author is 
given as Marcellus Palingenius Stellatus. These 
explanations are all interesting, but I venture to 
think there is another ground for the suggestion 
of the title — without prejudicing any of the other 
explanations. Every visitor to Ferrara must have 
been impressed and fascinated by the wonderful 
emblematic frescoes on the walls of the great hall 
of the Palazzo Schifanoia. This palace was the 
most beautiful of Ferrarese palaces. The Duke 
Bosso spared no pains to make it worthy of the 

^ Thomas Scaurinus, who prefixed an ode to the Reader, 
says the book is entitled the Zodiac of Life, because a 
Ufe led in accordance with its teachings is glorious as the 
sun travelling through the signs of the zodiac. The sun 
illuminates, stimulates, adorns and nourishes the macrocosm. 
This book treats of man, but Scaurinus suggests that the 
microcosm of man has to travel through its zodiac also. 
For an account of Palingenius' Zo6?z'ac of Life in its relation 
to Astrological conceptions, see Appendix C. pp. 86-92, by 
Mr. Gom Old. 

2 By a writer in Notes and Queries, 1863, p. 142. " Prob- 
ably a far-fetched pedantic conceit from the author being 
a native of Stellata in Ferrara." 


golden days of Ferrara. The walls of the great 
hall record the life and actions of Bosso. They 
thus give a vivid illustration of the life of the court, 
occupations, costume, of both the chiefs and the 
subordinates. Now, the emblematic portraiture 
consists in each of the twelve compartments of 
the frescoes having one of the signs of the zodiac. 
In the lowest part of each compartment are scenes 
from the daily life of Bosso and his court in the 
middle part the sign of the zodiac for the month, 
and in the upper the deity and votaries appropriate 
to the month. Each of the four walls, it is supposed, 
had some of the months, and the completed walls 
contained the yearly course of the duke's life, 
everywhere pursued under the emblemature of 
the signs of the zodiac. It has been said ^ : " The 
emblematic representations were probably suggested 
to the artists by one of the humanists of the Court, 
imbued with the curious half mystic, half pagan 
learning of the day, perhaps by the famous scholar 
and astrologer, Pietro Bono Avogario, whom both 
Bosso and the later Duke Ercole greatly favoured, 
and who was more learned than any other in the 
lore of the heavens." It is not easy to make out 
the significance of these zodiacal illustrations in 
their bearing on the contemporary delineations of 
life and action. This is precisely parallel, it will 
be observed, to Palingenius' Zodiacus Vitae. It is 
supposed there was once an explanation forth- 

1 Story of Ferrara (p. 331), by Ella Noyes. Mediaeval 
Town Series. 


coming, but the clue seems to be lost. In spite of 
Scaliger's criticism, there may also have been a 
relation discerned by the initiated in the zodiacal 
bearing of Palingenius' book, but the idea of the 
naming of the separate books of his treatise might 
clearly have been obtained from the Schifanoian 
frescoes, which were painted in the latter half 
of the fifteenth century, whilst Palingenius' book 
was first published about 1531.^ The zodiacal 
frescoes in the Schifanoia Palace are still one of 
the sights of Ferrara. They must have been part 
of the heritage into which a Ferrarese boy grew, 
and the zodiacal illustration in life and thought 
part of the intellectual atmosphere of the time. 

The relation of Pahngenius to the Church is 
another difficult question. He has been claimed 
as a Lutheran 2 gathered to the Court of the renowned 
Ercole H, Duke of Ferrara, to whom Palingenius 
dedicated his Zodiacus Vitae, and of the no less 
renowned Renee de France,^ who received the 
distinguished Protestant John Calvin. The ground 
of such claims apparently is that Palingenius 
directed invectives against the monks, the clergy 
and the Roman pontiffs. He paid the penalty for 

1 The first edition is undated, but 1531 (?) is given in 
Brit. Mus. Catalogue, which gives first place of publication, 

* Seckend. Hist. Lutheran, bk. ii. p. 122. Cited by Bayle. 

3 For accounts of the Court of this remarkable lady, see 
E. Rodocanachi : Renie de France : une protectrice de la 
rSforme en Italic et en France, 1896, and the Life of Aonio 
Paleario, by M. Young (i860). 


his book, for he was placed on the Index libroruni 
prohibitorum amongst heretics of the first class.i 
Nevertheless, he can hardly be called a Lutheran 
on that account, for he himself says in the Dedica- 
tion of the Zodiacus Vitae : "I humbly submit 
myself to the orthodox Church in all that I have 
writ, and willingly receive its censure, as becomes 
a Christian." 

Still, there is no doubt that the adverse attitude 
taken up by Palingenius to the evils within the 
Roman Church gave him a favourable hearing 
amongst Protestants. Like Baptista Mantuan, whilst 
not losing credit altogether in some quarters of the 
Old Church, he found a considerable clientele 
amongst the Reformers. It is his reforming attitude 
that especially struck Bamabe Googe in the first 
instance. It is on this aspect that he dwells in 
the Dedication of the translation of the Zodiacus 
Vitae to the right Hon. Sir. Wm. Cecil,^ Knight, 
principal secretary to the Queen's Highness and 
Master of Her Majesty's Court of Wards and 
Liveries : 

" I could not (when I had long debated the 
matter with myself) find out a poet more meet 
for the teaching of a Christian life (an estate in 
these our days most miserably decayed) than this 
no less learned than famous Italian, Marcellus 
Pallingenius, a man of such excellent learning and 
godly life, that neither the unquietness of his time 

^ Bayle gives reference p. 765, ed. 1667, fol. 
' Afterwards Lord Burleigh. 


(Italy in those days raging with most cruel and 
bloody wars) nor yet the furious tyranny of the 
Antichristian Prelate (under whose ambitious and 
tyrannical governance he continually lived) could 
once amaze the Muse, or hinder the zealous and 
virtuous spirit of so Christian a soldier. I have 
many times much mused with myself, how (living 
in so dangerous a place) he durst take upon him 
so boldly to control the corrupt and unchristian 
lives of the whole college of contemptuous cardinals, 
the ungracious overseeings of bloodthirsty bishops ; 
the pauchplying practises of pelting priors, the 
manifold madness of mischievous monks, with 
the filthy fraternity of flattering friars. Which 
surely he durst never have done, but only he was 
heartened with a happy and heavenly spirit. . . . 
Besides the reproving of the lewd lives of the clergy 
he boldly inveighed against the graceless governance 
of proud pompous princes, the licentious living of 
the riotous nobility, the covetous catchings of 
greedy lawyers, the ungodly gains of foolish physi- 
cians, and the corrupted consciences of deceitful 
artificers ; affirming plainly that if they did not 
better beautify their Christian names with a more 
Christian life, of so many thousands as have in 
vain received that most holy sacrament of sacred 
Baptism, there should scarcely three aspire unto 
the inheritance of heavenly joys." 

Bamabe Googe translated " the first three Books of 
the most Christian poet Marcellus Palingenius," in 
1560 ; ^ in 1561 he published a translation of the 

^ As he fays, aetatis nostrae XX, 


first six books. In 1565, he published the translation 
of the whole of the Zodiac of Life. There are com- 
mendatory Latin poems prefixed written by Gilbert 
Duke, of the University of Cambridge, Jacob Itzuert, 
G. Chatterton (who also contributes a Greek poem). 
The last-named describes Googe's writings as equal 
to old Chaucer's. A distinguishing feature of Googe's 
translation is the marginal comment. The later Latin 
texts of Palingenius usually contain the " argument " 
in Latin prose at the head of each book. Googe 
keeps the reader in touch with the subject matter 
by supplying a series of running interesting 
marginal comments which arrest the reader of the 
translation of Palingenius' very desultory and 
miscellaneous text. There is also a " large table 
alphabeticall, containing such words and matters 
as be necessary and principal in this book." 

The title-page of the 1565 edition is : 

The Zodiake of life written by the Godly and 
zelous poet Marcellus Palingenius Stellatus, 
wherein are conteyned twelve bookes disclosing 
the heynous chymes and wicked vices of our 
corrupt nature : and plainly declaring the 
pleasunt and perfit pathway unto eternal life, 
besides a number of digressions both pleasaunt 
and profitable, newly translated into Englis 
verse by Barnabee Googe. London, by Henry 
Denham, for Rafe Newberge. 1565. 

I add the title-page as it appears in 1588 : 



The Zodiakc of life, written by the excellent 
and Christian Poet Marccllus Palingenius 
Stellatus. Wherein arc conteined twelue seuerall 
labours, painting out most liuely, the whole 
compasse of the world, the reformation of manners, 
the miseries of mankinde, the pathway to vertue 
and vice, the externity {? eternitie) of the Soule, 
the course of the Heavens, the miseries of nature, 
and diuers other circumstances of great learning 
and no lesse judgement. Translated out of 
Latine into English by Barnabie Googe and 
by him newly republished, Probitas laudatur 
et alget. Hereunto is annexed {for the Reader's 
advantage) a large Table, as well of woords as 
of matters mentioned in this whole worke. Im- 
printed at London by Robert Robinson dwelling 
in Feter Lane neere Holborne, 1588. 

The title-page of the Rotterdam 1722 edition of 
the text of the Zodiacus Vitae is : 

Marcelli Palingenii Stellati Poetae Zodiacus 
Vitae, id est, Dc Hominis Vita, Studio, ac 
Moribus optime Instituendis Libri XII. Nunc 
demum ad exemplaria primaria sedulo castigati, 
centenis aliquot mendis expurgati, aliisque acces- 
sionibus ornati. Roterodami, apud Joannem 
Hofhout, Anno. 1722. 

(For accounts of Bamabe Googe, see Arber's 
reprint of Googe's Eglogs, Epitaphs and Sonnetts, 


1871 ; and Notes and Queries, 1863, p. 141 ; Wartoii's 
History of English Poetry, ed. Hazlitt, iv. 323-31 ; 
Dictionary of National Biography, vol. xxii. p. 151.) 

Of Palingenius, the best account is in Bayle : His- 
torical and Critical Dictionary , pp. 464-466, ed. 1667. 
The uncertainty as to the name follows him natu- 
rally enough with regard to the other particulars of 
his life. Neither the date of birth or death is 
forthcoming. Ste Marthe states that Palingenius 
was physician to Hercules (Ercole) II, Duke of 
Ferrara. But this is by no means certain. Appar- 
ently Palingenius did not know Hercules personally 
when he wrote his dedication. De la Monnerie 
points out that Palingenius' name does not occur 
in Bartholinus' Catalogue of Doctor-Poets. The 
authors of the Journal des Savans (1703) say that 
Palingenius was a priest. In the Preface to the 
Reader, Googe says : — 

" Seeing that with the ancient Fathers and holy 
Prophets this kind of writing in verse was so highly 
esteemed that the godly instructions of the scripture 
and the comfortable prophecies of our merciful 
redeemer were in this sort of writing uttered. ^ . . . 
Since this (I say) appeareth, be not so straight of 
judgment as I know a number to be, that cannot 
abide to read anything written in Enghsh verse, 
which now is so plenteously enriched with a number 
of eloquent writers, that in my fancy it is little 
inferior to the pleasant verses of the ancient Romans. 

^ Googe here proceeds to refer to Vergil's imputed prophecy 
of Christ in Eclog. 4. 


For since the time of our excellent countryman, Sir 
Geoffrey Chaucer, who liveth in like estimation with 
us as did old Ennius with the Latins, there hath 
flourished in England so fine and filed phrases, and 
so good and pleasant poets as may countervail the 
doings of Vergil, Ovid, Horace, Juvenal, Martial, 
Lucan, Persius, Tibullus, Catullus, Seneca and 
Propertius. Amongst whom (as most inferior to 
them all) I have for thy commodity brought into 
English verse this virtuous poet, Pahngenius. And 
though I have not so eloquently Enghshed it as the 
worthiness of the author seems to require, yet have 
I faithfully and truly translated it." 

The Zodiacus Vitae itself, as already mentioned, 
is dedicated by Pahngenius to Hercules H, Duke 
of Ferrara. 

Copies of the Zodiacus Vitae are not now so 
common as might be expected.^ But scarcer still are 
copies of Bamabe Googe's translation, either in 
the earlier or later editions, 

I propose now to give a somewhat full account of 
the contents of the Zodiacus Vitae, especially describ- 
ing such matters as have an educational bearing. 
For the most part I shall give the renderings of 
Bamabe Googe's translation. The initial letter of 
the first twenty-nine lines of the first book compose 
the name of the author, Marcellus Pahngenius 
Stellatus. This is supposed by some writers to be an 

^ My own copy I purchased from a barrow of neglected 
penny books, but this is no indication of the plentifulness 
of copies. It is dated Rotterdam, 1722, and this edition 
is described by M. de la Monnerie as "la plus belle et la 
plus correcte." 


anagram for Pier Angelo Manzoli. Since as little 
is known of Manzoli as of Palingenius, there seems no 
reason to insist upon, or ^to combat the sugges- 



This book is a prelude to the poem. It is the 
threshold of the poet's discourse as Aries is the 
beginning of the zodiac. In it, Palingenius declares 
his desire to visit " Parnassus Hill, adorned with 
laurel bough," and the " camps so clear of Castaly, 
where Muses sweet do sing." He seeks the light of 
Apollo whereby he may ascend the skies, approach 
the stars, and seclude himself from the common 
throng. He longs for fame, lest he should have 
seemed to live a useless life on earth, and lest nothing 
should survive his ashes. The hope of fame is wont 
to draw many unto virtue.^ So, too, the poet begs 
that Hercules II, Duke of Ferrara, may stand by 
him : 

"^Draw near, and with a joyful face the poet look upon 
' Willing to tread unproved paths that have not yet been 

The poet will then celebrate his prince's skiU and 
virtue, so that " the world shaU be amazed at them." 

* Spes famae solet ad virtu tern impellere multos, 



Many and various are the themes the poet has in 
mind : 

" Sometime I toss the boisterous waves, sometime 
to shore I creep." Sometimes he will deal with 
questions for which reason is adequate ; sometimes 
he will attempt to tread the " secret ways by nature 
hid." But especially he will deal with the things 
which lead to a sound and holy life : 

" A life, alas ! now banished clean (if I the truth may say) 
In this our age than which a worse was never seen the 

Then follows the praise of the moral life. It 
makes men illustrious, useful to themselves and 
the state, and " serviceable " everywhere. It is 
better than a fine complexion, than beautiful eyes 
or hair or Hmbs : 

" Doth not the righteous man, or he that virtue much doth 
Live all in mirth and hopes for help of onely God above." 

Nee curat, si quis secreta in aure loquatur : 
Nee trepidat Regis, vel Judicis ora, vocatus. 

How different the wicked man ! 

" And when the hghtnings' thunder roars, then guilty 

trembleth he 
If men do chance in ears to sound, or whisper when they 

Alas ! then cries he to himself, of me these men do talk ! 
What shall I do ? The Judge or King doth call and 

shall I go ? 


Or rather fly the perils great of wretched life ? now lo ! 
By fixed law of God, doth fear the wicked man torment ! "^ 

One of the characteristics of PaHngenius is his 
skill in winding up his point in a line which sticks 
in the memory. So we have the line which disposes 
of the wicked man : 

" Lege deum stabili semper metus angit iniquos." 

Palfngenius boils with indignation over the 
writers on what is wicked and vicious. What 
wonder is it if the same thunderbolt shakes you 
too ! Why do you spend such labour by day and 
by night in writing wanton and lewd discourse ? 
What will such writers do ? For : 

" From ears a wanton wicked voice dare pierce the secret 
And unto mischief move thereby the members bent to 
nought." 2 

It is no answer to say these things please the 
rich : 

" The rich man follows joyful things and liveth void of 
■ pains, 

1 Contra, qui malus est, formidat semper apertum 
Ne fiat facinus, quod clam commisit : et ictus 
Fulmineos, tonitru audito, sibi conscius horret. 

Si quid secum homines mussant, nunc dicitur eheu 
De me, nunc recitant nostrae praeconia culpae. 
Quid faciam ? Judex, vel Rex me accersit. Adibon' ? 
An potius fugiam miserae discrimina vitae ? 
Lege deum stabili semper metus angit iniquos. 

2 Googe's translation is much fuller than the original : 

" Improba vox imas cordis penetrare latebras : 
Ad scelus inde solet torpentia membra movere." 


He hates the pricking thorny ways, the cUffs both sharp 

and sour, 
By which we do assay to cUmb to Lady Learning's tower." 

(Gaudia sectatur dives, dulcemque quietem : 
Dumosus odit calles, cUvosque viarum 
Difi&ciles, per quas doctrinae scandimus arcera). 

This opens up the way to the protest against 
the use of unsuitable authors for the instruction 
of children. For the phrases of the authors however 
distinguished by style are corrupted by the nature 
of the matter they impart : 

" The talk itself doth well declare the nature of the mind, 
And every man doth most frequent things proper to his 

Of oxen, rake and culter sharp, the ploughman's tongue 

doth walk. 
Of sail and cable, mast and ox, is all the seaman's talk ; 
Of horses, harness, spear and shield, the captain still will 

So bawdy mates of bawdy things their tongues do clatter 


All which Bamabe Googe epitomizes in his 
marginal comment : " The tongue bewrays the 
heart." It would appear that Palingenius' verba 
ipsissima found a lodgment in the memories of 
readers, by reference to a passage in a book by 
John Stock wood, A plaine and easie laying open 
of the Meaning and Understanding of the Rules of 
Construction in the English Accidence, published 

" I know not how it cometh to pass that as 
Navita de stellis, de bobus narrat arator, and as every 
one as he hath been brought up delighteth to be 


talking of those things for the most part wherein 
he hath been most exercises : so I having spent many 
years about the instructing of youth in the principles 
and rudiments of the Latin tongue, cannot choose 
but even now and then be harping on those matters, 
with the which in former times I have been so long 
and well acquainted." 

So Palingenius makes his appeal to schoolmasters : 

" I warn you, sirs, above the rest, of youth that takes the 

Whose part it is the tender minds of boys for to allure. 
To virtue and to godliness, like wax do them prepare. 
Hate you the wicked works of those, for greater matters 

care ! 
Read not such things as are but vain, unworthy to be told." 

Googe describes the above lines as " a good rule 
for schoolmasters." In place of vain, unworthy 
matter, Palingenius pleads for the worthy histories 
of " ancient fathers old." 

" Herein let children nousled be." For they 
render material succulence, and believe me they 
build up life. Fables are not to be despised. A 
comedy of pure diction may teach much : 

" There be, I grant, some poets' works, not altogether vain, 
Which with a pleasant sugared style proceed from sober 

These things do help, and, void of vice, these works do 

profit much, 
In youth, bring up your scholars with none other food but 


But when the youth is grown up, it is a different 
matter : 


" And when their young and tender age they once have 

passed out : 
Then may they safely void of harm, go range the fields 

And gather flowers where they lust, for danger is away." ^ 

The last question started in the first book of the 
Zodiacus Vitae is : Which is more important, 
goodness (probitas) or learning (scientia) ? This 
gives an opportunity for the praise of learning. 

" This cities rules, and moveth Mars, and this can wars 

It shows the earth and goodly stars, and sickness doth 

This teaches figures fair to frame, of sundry sort and kind ; 
This teacheth us to number well, and music calls to mind. 
This doth ascend the heavens, and bring hidden things 

to hght. 
No perfect man without this same may called be of 


If a wicked man be learned, it is as if a maniac 
had weapons put in his hands, so that he may rage 
furiously and slay more victuns by their strength. 
The honest good man, though a shepherd, a groom, 
or a mule-driver, ought to be held precious, even 
if he has no book-learning. Such a man is happy 
and ought to be deemed such, but still there is a 
happier, viz. the man who has both goodness and 

^ Liberius poterunt lato discurrere campo, 
Et quascunque volent decerpere tutius herbas. 

Cf. Charles Lamb : " She was tumbled early, by accident 
or design, into a spacious closet of good old EngUsh reading, 
without much selection or 'prohibition, and broused at will 
upon that fair and wholesome pasturage. — Essays of Elia : 
Mackery End in Herts. 


learning. The ignorant man can so easily fall 
into evil. Great is the joy and good of both in 
integrity of life and wisdom to direct it aright. 

Finally, in the first book, Palingenius implores 
the divinities of the two-peaked mountain, for 
their aid to fulfil all that he has in project in the 

"Nor let 'limping Vulcan ' destroy him, at any time or 

By this term " Vulcan," says Googe naively, he 
means to denote fire. 

So he passes from Aries to swift-approaching 



This book opens with a description of spring. The 
favourable Zephyr returns from the Western world, 
and all is ripe for enterprise and learning. There 
is no laurel to the idle. Fortune favours the brave. 
Let us then climb the heights, and enter into the 
prerogatives of man. Palingenius then explains 
the force of human reason : 

" With reason man hath under brought the strongest beasts 

of night, 
The Hon fierce, the tiger swift, alone hath put to flight. 
The serpents though their bodies foul with poison do 

Do stand in awe, and fear him, too, when that they hear 

him sound. 
The monstrous fish, the thurlpole great, of mighty form 

and strength : 
In ocean sea doth give him place, when he doth walk at 


Without man, the earth would be a place over- 
grown with briers. Consider what man has done. 
He has built cities, ordained laws, erected temples 
to the gods. He has searched out many arts and 
invented instruments, 



" Which like the lightning flash and flame and like the 
thunders sound. 
Wherein the fire fast enclosed, enforceth all he may : 
Out of his mouth to rumble out the pellet far away, 
Whereby the towers high be bet, and walls of every town. 
His strength not able to abide, come topsy-turvy down." 

This is a description, as Googe gravely informs us, 
of the cannon, Pahngenius next describes the 
ingenuity of man, in his ships. And man, ingenious 
thus on land and sea : 

" Yet knows he not, nor seeks to know (a thing too bad to 
How for to live, what ways to fly, or what to follow well." 

Neither the crabbed knowledge of the laws, nor 
medicine, nor the rhetorician, nor the grammarian 
reveal the highest virtues. Wisdom alone can open 
the way of life. 

Most people think riches will show the way, if one 
only had as much gold as the Lydian stream, or the 
Tagus bears down to the ocean ; as many acres of 
good ground as one has hairs on one's head ; a long 
array of slaves, with orchards fair as those of 
Alcinqus, high marble houses, and more flocks of 
beasts than Polyphemus fed in Trinacrian fields, or 
than Aristaeus possessed, or than Heros snatched 
from Erythraean sheepfolds. The crowd think the 
man who possesses these is in perfect blessedness. 

" What serpents foul in flowers lurk, these blockheads do 
not know, 
Ne yet how many pricking thorns among the roses grow."^ 

^ Sed nescit quanti lateant sub floribus hydri, 
Quotque rosas inter spinae nascantur acutae, 


The rich man's miseries are by day and by 
night 1 : 

" And little rest the wTetched soul, doth take at any night, 
Sometimes on side, sometimes on face, sometimes he turns 

He tosseth round about the bed, like as the mighty stone 
Of Sisyphus continually doth toss and turn alone." 

The description of the misery of the rich man is 
full and graphic. Palingenius uses many classical 
allusions to illustrate his topics, and the boys who 
read their Palingenius as a school text book could 
not but learn much of classical mythology. 

Much of the second book is taken up with the 
description of the miseries of rich men. The rich 
man is compared unfavourably with the poor man, in 
respect of happiness. The peasant and sailor have 
more enjoyment from leeks and eggs, than kings 
and queens from the choicest productions of land 
and sea. It is best to curb one's desires and guide 
oneself by wisdom. Seek only what is possible of 

Palingenius breaks forth into praise of poverty. 
He gives once more classical illustrations, e.g. 
Anaxagoras, Democritus, etc. The great Romans 
lived in small houses and on frugal fare. Googe's 
headings of Palingenius' themes are " The hunts 
of earthly pleasure," and " Carpet knights bred in 

The moral is : so learn to be satisfied with that 
which is just enough. Pahngenius writes paragraph 
after paragraph on this attractive ethical theme, but 

1 Cf. Juvenal : Sat. III. 


as usual he can sum up his position in a line ready 
for the memory : 

" Cum tibi sufficiant cyathi, cur dolia quaeris ? " 

Or as Googe renders it : " When little cups shall 
thee suffice, dost thou tuns desire ? " 

And whilst you avoid avarice and living at too 
great an expense, do not forget that Dame Nature 
created us to have regard to others as well as our- 
selves. We must help the poor and afflicted from 
our stores — great or small, Palingenius laments 
that in his days the wealthy man has no pity to the 
poor. He does not give to beggars. He does not 
give to support the learned. He despises the Muses. 
He cares most for his dice-tables and cards. Let 
us for our part rather use things aright — for our- 
selves — and for the rest, assist others. 

Now Palingenius thinks it time to return from his 
poetic flight, for his vessel may have to face Orion's 
treachery towards ships. When the clouds have 
gone, Triton will call us from the shelter of the rocks, 
and then we will again to the deep ! 



As the highest good cannot be found in riches neither 
can it be found in pleasure. The writer meets an 
ancient man by the seashore, who takes him to 
the shadow of an oak, and agrees to instruct him in 
words of wisdom in the guidance of hfe. This man 
is none other than Epicurus. He claims undivided 
attention — for to distinguish the good and true is 
difficult and uncommon. It is rare to find anywhere 
a real man. It might be said, without misnaming it, 
that the world is a cave of fools and a tavern of 
errors. 1 The end of life is assuredly pleasure. 
Palingenius particularly delights in rolling out his 
instances and illustrations. So he makes Epicurus 
proceed : " Why does the ploughman's clubbish 
hand delve and tear the earth in share ? He stops 
not in the heat of the Dog-star, nor in the frosts of 
winter ? Why fears not the sailor the roaring rage 
of surging seas, the sand-banks and threatening 
rocks, despising the death that is so closely escaped, 

* Sed rarus ubique 
Verus homo : ut possit non falso nomine dici 
Mundus stultorum cavea, errorumqiie tabcrna. 

33 Q 


trusting in a pine vessel driven before the wind ? 
Why is the soldier's noble delight in the blow of 
trumpets, the neighing of foaming horses, and the 
slaughter of men ? Why does it delight others to 
grow pale with poring over manuscripts ? All 
things are pursued for the sake of pleasure. It is 
so even with the gods themselves. We even beheve 
the things which give us pleasure to think." Epi- 
curus gives a sly hit at priests : 

" Who credits most, is most himself deceived 
These are, I say, deceitful things, whereby be priests 
relieved." * 

It satisfies our vanity to believe in immortality. 
" But when once our life has faded into thin air, we 
are nothing, as if we had not been born . . . what- 
soever things have arisen fall : what things have 
begun will see an end. Mighty cities and peoples, 
powerful realms, the highest mountains and the 
greatest rivers, time bears away, and shalt thou, 
vilest of dust, exist for ever ? So great is the confi- 
dence of an ill-equipped mind. Forsooth, we labour 
in vain in the love of virtue, by hoping dreams and 
by inventing vain chimaeras." ^ 

^ Qui facilis credit, facilis quoque fallitur idem ; 
Lucra sacerdotum sunt haec, artesque dolosae. 

2 I give here Palingenius' text : 

" Ast ubi vita semel tenues defecit in auras. 
Nil sumus, ut nondum geniti nil prorsus eramus. . . . 
Quaelibet orta cadunt, et finem coepta videbunt. 
Ingentes urbes populosque, ingentia regna, 
Supremos montes, et maxima fiumina tandem 


This passage calls to mind Shakespeare's Tempest : 

" The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, 
The solemn temples, the great globe itself, 
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve. 
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded. 
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff 
As dreams are made on, and our little life 
Is rounded with a sleep." 

Palingenius then asks Epicurus to show him the 
method of acquiring pleasure, if that is the highest 
end. The ancient man agrees, and rises. He 
conducts him along winding paths, till they see a 
splendid palace — the palace of Pluto. His three 
daughters busy themselves there : Ignoble Luxury, 
Swollen Pride and Stupid Ignorance. Who will 
lead us to the owner of the palace ? The maids. 
Hazard, Fraud and Usury. Epicurus offers to take 
the poet in another direction. He leads him over a 
stony pathway almost impassable for the wild shrubs. 
They pass by the humble dwelling of Poverty. In 
one wood behind dwells a royal lady, who can make 
men really happy. But she must be approached 
with clean hands and face. Then follows a truly 
fine description of the attractiveness of the dwelling 
of the Goddess of Pleasure. There it is always 
spring and there always are to be found the sweetest 
fruits. But the cry of her votaries, as they gather 
by the pilgrims, gives the experience of the dead, 

Aufert longa dies ; at tu vilissima pulvis, 
Semper eris ? tanta est modicae fiducia mentis ? 
Nempe laboramus frustra, virtutis amore, 
Somnia sperando, et vanas fingendo Chimeras." 


recalling the manner of the Divine Comedy} These 
are the experiences of those who have tasted pleasure 
only too well. Then came to the view of the poet 
a comely matron, Arete, who explained the horrors 
of ill-regulated pleasure. " Not the sands of Lybia, 
the houses of the cursed Antiphates, devouring 
Scylla, or cruel Charybdis, nor anything that could 
be named, are so much to be avoided as pleasure. 
. . . Man becomes mad when, with the possi- 
bility of equalling the gods, he becomes a beast, 
and yields to the evil of gluttony and pleasure." 
Epicurus departs groaning, and Arete explains to 
the poet the reason for the struggle between reason 
and the emotions The poet addresses her : " O 
goddess for certainly — goddess and no matron 
thou." 2 She then enters into a description of the 
horrors of drunkenness, the hurtfulness of too much 
sleep. Arete is called away from earth (where 
virtue languisheth and which is no safe place for 
the good) to the stars, but promises to send to the 
bewildered poet one who will instruct him further. 

1 Epicurus is guide to the poet Palingenius, as Vergil 
was to Dante. 

2 This recalls Ferdinand, "Most sure the goddess," 
and Miranda's, " No wonder, sir, but certainly a maid." 



This book opens with a canticle to the sun — " the 
eye of the world, who passes through the duodena 
animantium idola, and divides the year into seasons. 
Phoebus, from the summit of Delphi, answers all 
the poet's misgivings, in words such as the writer 
of epics loved to write : " Be of a brave heart and 
endure, patience conquers all and virtue when 
depressed rises afterwards but the higher. Don't 
you see how fortune often alternates ? Nothing 
lasts for ever under heaven. The pleasant sun returns 
after the saddening clouds. After the deep seas 
have been tossed by the winds for a long season, at 
length they settle to peace. The flowery spring 
succeeds the winter's cold. Therefore take courage. 
A time will come when the stars will vary their 
course, unless, indeed, before that day, the Fates shall 
first cut thy threads, and when thy name which now 
lies sunk and buried will become memorable in a 
thousand mouths of men. I myself will draw near, 
and, with the hand of my nine sisters, will stand 
beside thee, to befriend thee wheresoever thou goest. 



They will snatch thee from the crowd, and render 
thee famous into the ages." ^ 

The poet next meets two shepherds who are 
contending in song. He is made umpire, but whilst 
the contest proceeds, seven wolves fall upon the 
competitors and destroy them. And then the 
promised son of Arete, Timalphes, appears. He 
praises sacred love, condemns mere passion, and 
attacks the luxury of monks. Love is supreme. 
Love it is which tends to peace, and Palingenius 
describes the joys of peace. Peace is hated only by 
fools and only fools desire to stir up strife. The 
poet then describes the golden age. The goodwill 
of friendship is one of the greatest goods of life. 
Nothing is better, nothing sweeter. Palingenius 
expands the Ciceronian topic and revels in it. Ways 
of gaining friends and preserving friendship are dis- 
cussed. To praise your friend discreetly requires 
tact. Palingenius offers many suggestions as to 
rightful conduct and manners in dealing with both 
friends and strangers. He is more prolix than 
Polonius and with not a little of the same shrewd 
worldly wisdom. After a further discourse on the 
smallness of the earth, and withal its variety, as 
seen from the upper regions, Timalphes then outran 
the wind, and sought again the heavenly temples. 

1 Esto animo forti, et dura : patientia vincit 
Omnia . . . tunc celsior exit 

Quum premitur virtus. . . . Nihil est durabile semper 
Sub coelo : redeunt post tristia nubila soles 
Jocundi : postquam ventis maria alta fuerunt 
Exagitata diu, tandem pacata residunt : 
Et remeat brumae post frigora floriferum ver. 


Only citizens of heaven, those who are constituted 
of pure ether, can so ascend, not mortals borne down 
with the weight of the prime elements, nor any one 
indeed until the spirit has been loosed by death. ^ 
Palingenius abounds in maxims in Book IV. For 
example : 

" Ingenio studeas magis quam superare furore. 
Infirmi et timidi est nimirum, multa minari. 
Non volo te scurram : sed, si potes, esto facetus." 

And one cited by Mr. V. Rendall : ^ 

" Verbaque foemineae vires sunt, facta virorum." 

1 Cf. Merchant of Venice, Act V. Sc. i. 

" Such harmony is in immortal souls ; 
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay 
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it." 

2 A Note on Latin Quotations. Notes and Queries 
gth series, vol. iv, p. 327. 


The poet now desires wisdom only, for he has 
seen the undesirabihty of riches and pleasure as 
ends. He finds much that is miserable in the life 
of man, so much that he is tempted to ask, wherein 
is man's life preferable to that of animals ? He finds 
that it is in the possession of speech, and in the use 
of our hands. But true as this is, man is only his 
highest self when he rises to his oneness with divinity 
and immortality. Palingenius believes that it is 
an error to suppose that high pontiffs and those who 
hold the government of peoples lead a pleasanter 
life than the rest of men. For theirs is an appre- 
hension and terror of losing their place ; theirs 
is a dreadful suspicion of the envy of others. They 
imagine snakes in this place ; poison in that. They 
dare not eat without a cup-taster. A crown does 
not bring happiness.^ Wherein then is the king 
the loser over the ordinary man, his subject ? It is 
in the priceless possession of liberty, which even the 
poor man has, 

^ " Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." 



" O bona libertas," pretio pretiosor omni ! " 

He continues : " O highest glory, first of all, without 
which nothing is pleasing, nothing sweet, and in a 
word, without which, life is death. The poor man 
can walk by day and by night, secure on every side. 
Where he has the mind to go, he goes ; whether it is 
to walk through the city, and to look at the various 
places of interest and to watch the games, or to see 
the monuments, or whether he prefers to wander 
outside the walls, through the cultivated gardens or 
flowery meadows, or should he desire to turn aside 
to the pleasant country, nothing hinders him. 
Alone he goes. He needs no noise of slaves, no 
crowd of attendants. As often as he is driven on 
by the goad of hunger and thirst he takes his food 
and drink without a fear. Better have the freedom 
of the birds and live on coarse, scanty foods in the 
heights, and eat the sweet food foraged from the 
plains for themselves with much labour, than be 
imprisoned in a cage of ebony or be shut up in a cell, 
adorned with gilded gems, and grow fat there on 
royal and overflowing dishes. 

" Saepe igitur miser atque infelix est etiam Rex." 

Palingenius applauds the man of competence, 
gained by no exercise of meanness ; the man whose 
desires are kept within easy curb. That gives the 
true liberty as against others as well as against 
oneself. The misery of those who serve another's 
will is usually self-inflicted and certainly should be 


" For nothing more an honest man becomes than liberty, 
But he of nature is a slave and of no dignity, 
Unhappy rather, and a wretch, who can the yoke sustain 
Of master's hests, and them obey for hope of foolish 

The meadows fat, nor all the gold nor price of Indian sands 
Is so much worth that thou should 'st have thy meat in 

other's hands 
And rest at other's will, and when thy master bids thee go, 
Then like a ball from him thou must be tossed to and fro." 

He holds whoever is in anywise a slave cannot be 
happy. And, as usual, he puts the whole matter 
into a maxim-form : 

" Asini est, clitellam ferre libenter." 

Is marriage or celibacy preferable ? A wife may 
make a man's life miserable, and his children may 
give him bitter trouble. A man gives up his liberty 
if he marries. But this largely depends upon his 
choice, and a man should take great care to find out 
about the woman he marries what the morals of 
her parents are like. Moreover, he should get a 
woman friend to find if she be lazy and unable to 
knit and weave. Palingenius is of opinion that a 
man should choose his own wife. In this opinion 
he is in advance of Enghsh Elizabethan thought. 
For instance, John Stockwood, in 1589, wrote 
his Bartholomew Fairing to show that it is for 
parents to choose and provide wives and husbands 
for their sons and daughters, and that children 
should be strictly obedient to their parents' choice. 
Palingenius then refers to the trouble which children 
give. If sons are a discredit, it is the parents who 
are to blame. The young and tender twig can be 


bent at will. It must be dealt with rightly before 
it becomes a vigorous tree. He who is born wicked 
will rarely become just and good, though an academy 
may teach him pious morals and a thousand teachers 
should have him in training on this side and that. 
Googe's comment here is : " That which is bred in 
the bone will never out of the flesh." 

Palingenius believes in the great possibilities of 
education. He sees that the struggle between 
Nature and Nurture is keen, though he is of opinion 
that Nature is really sup'reme : 

" Cultura est etenim natura potentior omni." 

" Yet something will she altered be with use and daily toil. 

So with continual husbanding doth bear the barren soil. 

So lions, fierce of mighty force, obey to man as King, 

So by continual exercise each Art in time doth spring. 

Wherefore instruct thy children well while tender years 

do grow, 

And teach them honest ways to walk, and virtuous life 

to know." 

Then follows a section marginally named by 
Googe Give not children too much liberty : 

" Permit them not to ramp abroad according to their will, 
Than liberty no kind of thing for children is more ill. 
If thou be wise, hold fast thy reins and warily well them 

For mortal things by nature's force are moude (moulded) in 

vice to slide 
And willingly thereto they run, if help no labour bring, 
For without art is nature wont to give no perfect thing. 
For God himself will not permit that we with slothfulness 
Should heavy wax, but stirs us up with cares and 



Palingenius then fancifully sketches the weary 
way to the habitation and dwelling-place of Lady 
Virtue, Virtue has difficult approaches. But the 
way to the vices is an easy slant, and we pass down, 
all of us easily of our own free-will, in their direction. 
Children, therefore, should be trained especially to 
avoid all evil, and should be kept away from it. 
Correct them with harsh words. Use the rod, if 
need be. Point out the way they should go. Hide 
your love from them. Palingenius has little con- 
fidence in boys : 

" Damnosus favor est pueris ; soloque timore, 
Non ratione scelus fugiunt ; peccantque libenter 
Ac prompte, si non duris cohibentur habenis." 

Yet the very doubtfulness of the original nature 
of the child is some measure of the possibilities of 
the educational process. On the whole, Palingenius 
is clear in this matter. In spite of his behef in 
Nature, he rather belongs to the school of educa- 
tional thinkers who are of opinion that education 
can do everything for the child. Every father will 
have his children just such as he has brought them 
up. We must strive that the child has a healthy 
body, since health is worth more than all gold, or as 
he epigrammatically puts it : 

" Robustus fossor rege est felicior aegro." 

Hence parents should trace and know the causes 
of the whole troop of diseases which afflict the human 
body, so that the causes being removed, the diseases 
may be avoided in their children and themselves. 


Prevent if you can the sources and foundations of 
physical ill. Do not delay remedies at the begin- 

A little water suffices to quench the kindling fire. 
But when that is fully grown, " and flames begin to 
spire with vaunting course against the stars : scarce 
river, spring or lake will then suffice to quench it 

If need be, seek a physician's aid. Remember, 
however, that surgery is more certain than physic. 
The physician fallitur et fallit, whereas the surgeon's 
art aperta luce videtur. The physician merely dabbles 
in his technical terms and his syllogisms. Physi- 
cians demand public rewards and think it sufficient 
(nor are they mistaken) for the gaining of honoured 
name.^ Palingenius considers kings blameworthy 
for permitting such a state of things, and prescribes 
the remedy : 

" Let them be skilled perfectly in their Art, or 
let them not profess." 2 

Palingenius gives simple rules for health. Don't 
eat too much, and don't have unwholesome food. 
Digest the food already eaten before having more. 
Take daily exercise, for movement is the cause of 
heat. Sleep well. Preserve a joyful heart. Seek 

^ Publica praemia poscunt : 
Id satis esse putant (nee decipiuntur) ad hoc, ut 
Camifices hominum sub honesto nomine fiant. 

^ This is an implicit demand and almost an explicit 
statement of what we call registration of doctors. His 
words are : 

" Vel perfecte artem discant, vel non medeantur." 


wisdom, than which the gods themselves can grant 
no greater favour. Wisdom consists in four things : 
(i.) Good counsel ; (2.) Sound judgment ; (3.) Right 
government ; (4.) Greatest of all, the contemplation 
of heavenly and earthly things. 

Humorously, Palingenius observes that the lion's 
tail is long enough, and bids his Muse hold her peace 
and rest. 



The poet has dealt with pleasure, riches, marriage, 
health as factors of the highest life. He now 
proceeds to consider high birth. Palingenius again 
emphasizes the fact that wisdom is a rare posses- 
sion. Eloquence has been vouchsafed to many, 
wisdom to few : 

" tradita est multis facundia ; paucis consilium." 

Many writers compose sublime poems and are 
skilful in Latin and Greek discourse, but still are 
not wise. Brilliancy of words, without vitality, 
are an outside image {externus imago). They 
bring no fruit to the mind. They are only dreams 
and fantasies, and such writings have no reference 
to real life {quae nihil ad vitam faciunt). It is truth 
the poet ought to seek. 

The poet then meets Calliope, who points out a 
procession of people clad in black garments and 
the gloomy syrma, making terrible lamentation. 
Death himself is seen advancing with furious scythe 
and cruel countenance. Death speaks, and pro- 



claims his woful irresistible triumphs and fates, 
reminding one of the apostrophe which Sir Walter 
Raleigh addresses to him in the well-known eloquent 
passage at the end of the History of the World. 

Whilst the poet is paralysed with fear, the mother 
of Orpheus sees him and takes pity upon him, and 
offers to impart the truth to him. Man, she tells 
him, acts rashly when he thinks by the intellect 
to explore the secrets of nature and divine things, 
whilst his mind is gross and feeble. He is incapable 
of grasping absolute knowledge in this state — he is 
" garrulus, infelix, caecus, temerarius, amens." 
In a word, he is self-centred : 

" Stultitiae fons est et origo philautia vestrae." 

If this thick mist of self-love were removed, it 
would alter the whole perspective of things. What 
we call blessings would be seen to be rather evils. 
The goddess is proceeding to illustrate in the case of 
riches, but the poet interrupts, saying that he knows 
about that matter from Minerva. " Don't tell me 
what I know." Moreover, Arete has stated compre- 
hensively the truth regarding pleasure. The goddess 
then agrees to deal with nobility itself. This in 
the opinion of the multitude is constituted by either 
a full supply of money or noble birth. Nobility 
cannot be derived from riches. The goddess throws 
the argument into logical form : If nobility be 
derived from gold, then it must be pointed out 
gold comes from the earth, or from deception, 
or theft or usury, and therefore nobility is 
derived from deceit, theft, usury. Oh senseless 


judgment of the multitude ! Money has no common 
measure with nobiHty. " Pretio nam dignior omni 
est Nobihtas : haec non emitur, nee venditur 
auro." Worth is individual. If a man boasts of 
his ancestors, the deeds of his father, his grand- 
father's monuments, his relatives' great deeds, 
whilst he himself is sluggish, senseless, abounding 
in crimes, devoid of virtue, how can blood make 
him noble ? He is taking to himself that which 
belongs to others. He is a jackdaw assuming the 
name of a swan, or a crow stealing the plumes of 
a peacock and arraying himself in them. 

Nobility is the peculiar honour of the mind, a 
certain inborn force, by which it always desires 
great things and despises the vile, by which like 
fire it strives to rise upward, and like the heron 
penetrates the highest clouds, despising what is 
low. He who by the gift of heaven has this nobility 
will become good, patient in labour, powerful in 
wisdom, vigilant in his business, so that he may do 
the deeds which are deserving of praise and that 
he himself may thus be praiseworthy. 

But men are content with bare imitations of worth 
in all directions, false coins, false bread and other 
falsities. Man is an ape : 

" An ape, quoth she, and jesting stock is man to God in sky- 
As oft as he doth trust his wit too much, presuming high, 
Dare search the things of nature hid, his secrets for to 

speak. f> '.: I,' 

Whereas in very deed his mind is dull and all too weak." 

Warton in describing the Zodiac of Life, gives a 
parallel passage from the poet Pope, and considers 



that this was taken from Googe, or from the text 
of PaHngenius : 

" Superior beings, when of late they saw 
A mortal man unfold all nature's law, 
Admired such wisdom in an earthly shape, 
A.nd show'd a Newton as we show an ape." 

The goddess suggests that man's first lesson is to 
control his temper, restrain his passions, use his 
reason, avoid wrong-doing, pursue justice. Know 
thyself, practise hard work, flee sloth, to reach to 
the heights of virtue. Then thou shalt become 
worthy and noble. 

Nobility is a possession which cannot be be- 
queathed by will : 

" Non sic nobilitas per testamenta relinqui, 
Aut virtus potis est, velut aedes, rura, supellex." 

Even if you boast an aristocratic ancestry you 
may discover the beginning of the " nobility " in 
cobblers or farmers. Then comes another line, 
for the reader's memory : 

"Omnia fert tempus ; pariterrapit omnia tempus." 

Palingenius truly is a sixteenth century democrat, 
who knows how to put his case. He asks : Who 
were Vergil, Tully,Cato, Horatius ? All were plebeian 
born ; all. Whatever his ancestry, it must have been 
the same with Homer. He claims no nobility from 
birth. Who was the father of Demosthenes, Socrates, 
or who was the mother of Euripides ? Plebeians. 
Let us not, then, seek honours from the names of 
others, but let us first have regards for the moral 


life in all. Palingenius then eloquently describes 
the perils, labours, and even apparent " foolishness " 
of the moral life, which so often has the effect, as 
it were, to make a man gentle, so as to become 
the prey of greedy wolves. 

This, he tells us, is the way of nature. A most 
powerful description is given of the struggle for 
existence and war in nature. The virtuous man 
must inquire into natural causes, as he was encour- 
aged to do, in connexion with physical health. 
Study is a long, tiring labour. Many in pursuing 
it are tortured with indigestion, diseases, or afflictions 
of the eyes, paleness, thinness, old age. Let the 
wise man take his own measure, and not go beyond 
his depth. The intellect is stirred by hope of fame 
or glory. Ambition is the cause of vain glory. It 
is a spur and brings by its pricks many to virtue, 
yet in itself it is a vice.^ Virtue should be sought 
for herself alone, not for glory through her. But 
ordinarily he who is not what he would like to be, 
wealthy or handsome, assumes a mask like an 
actor. Each man is an actor. This life is a play 
and this world is a changeable stage. 2 Each man 
is a player or actor. Almost all mortals wear a 
mask and under a false appearance blind the eyes 
of the multitude. 

^ The idea is similar to that of Milton (in the Lycidas): 
" Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise." 

So also, in Book IX. of the Zodiacus Vitae, Palingenius 
says : 

" Spas famae solet ad virtutem impellere multos." 

This recalls " All the World's a stage." 


" So move they gods above to laugh with toys and trifles 
Which here in pageants fond they have, while they do 
life retain." 

Honours suffice for the man who deserves honour. 
He who does not deserve it is shamed by the mockery 
of its possession. It is a stage-scene in which the 
act or takes the part of a king. The goddess then 
enumerates the evils man endures. In the course 
of the account, it is noted that every animal can 
walk almost as soon as it is bom, whereas it is not 
so with man.i For a long time he has no strength 
in feet, tongue or mind. He howls day and night 
as he slowly learns his way in the world. The 
miseries of man's life are fully detailed. The picture 
is vivid and black and the question is raised : Why 
should death, then, be feared ? Life in itself is 
neither to be loved nor avoided. It is possessed by 
the worm and the fly. If life is devoid of goodness, 
then let it be despised, and death be feared. But if the 
life led has been really good, death is a refuge from 
the innumerable ills. 

Then Arete, putting the laurel on the poet's brow, 
departing through the inane ampium, becomes 
hidden amongst the shining stars. 

1 For the full significance of this difference between 
man and animals in the relative length of inf ancythus pointed 
out by Palingenius, see the modern educational interpretation, 
Nicholas Murray Butler in Essay on the Meaning of Edttcaiion. 



This book takes up more abstruse questions. The 
first principle of all things is God, He is one simple 
and pure good. God has no body, not as some 
would suppose, an infinite body. For, then, there 
would be no room left for other bodies. Life is a 
substance, not an accident. Probably many beings 
are in existence, better and nobler than man, less 
corporeal or perhaps incorporeal. The wretched 
earth contains so many animals ; probably, the 
heavens contain inhabitants who are less gross 
and material than those of earth. The poet gives 
full rein to his imagination, and rejoices in a larger, 
higher, better world than that of man. The rest 
of the book is a treatise on the essential and acci- 
dental parts of the soul. It is the soul that sees 
and hears. The soul is active, and possessed of 
almost innumerable powers. It is one, and so 
exceedingly small that it is in nowise visible. The 
soul is like the divine nature, free from all matter, 
independent of the body, immortal. 




This book, like Milton's Paradise Lost, has for theme 
the vindication of God's ways to man.i In it, 
Palingenius deals with fate, the reconciliation of 
the foreknowledge of God with free will. He 
defines free will as obedience to right reason, and 
thus the doctrine is not opposed to divine fore- 
knowledge. The human mind becomes free when 
the right reason of the intellect has vanquished 
the rule of the passions. The poet answers the 
argument as to the mixing of good and evil in his 
life, and maintains that whatever physical evil be- 
falls, the good man is spiritually blessed. 

* From the synopsis : " Per totum librum Dei Provi- 
dentiam a pravis consequentiis pro virili vindicat." 



The poet pauses as his bark has half crossed the 
ocean, when he perceives a crag with a top higher 
than the clouds. There his Genius guides him and 
from thence they behold everything full of wonderful 
delights. A voice comes forth : " Bend thy knee, 
O Stellatus." Then he prays ending : 

" Grant, therefore, O most mighty King, to me thy creature 

Thy will to learn and thee to please, and then that I may 

Mine own estate, from whence I came and whereto I was 

And whither I at length shall pass when that from hence 

I fade ; 
What here in life I should perform, and what I should not 

That when dame Lachesis my thread of life hath snapt in 

And that the farthest day is come, that long with privy 

Procured my grave, death bring my rest, and port of 

saving health." 

Palingenius was allowed by the Deity to stay on 
the mount and pluck the celestial fruits. His 



vision began to enlarge, and he was lifted up gently 
by the wind and carried to the moon. Timalphes 
meets him to give information, and he is led over the 
wonders of the moon, which he describes. Timalphes 
then expounds the doctrine of metempsychosis — so as 
by it to explain the lapse of the human soul towards 
vice and its dilatory struggle towards virtue. With 
the son of Arete as guide, the poet is led to regions 
where he surveys the machinery of evil demons 
and their punishment, after the manner of the 

There are four bands of demons in the air, and 
these urge human beings to dissipation, avarice, 
pride and envy. Lucifer, once the bearer of light, 
is now a lover of darkness. He emerges by stealth, 
sends forth his servants secretly to stir up the hearts 
of men to evil, inspire them with mad fury, instilling 
thoughts silently into their minds, without using 
mouth and voice. 

Turning to the spectacle of human affairs, the 
poet is asked to picture to himself a hand having 
the thumb raised towards heaven and fingers 
extended. The thumb stands for those who have 
wisdom next the heart, who rejoice in nature, are 
innocent, merciful, just and pious — celestial men, 
gods in human form. The first finger stands for 
the prudent men, good, but tending towards earth, 
men to rule cities and do business. They are just 
and of pure morals, but with a love of the material. 
These men make the golden ages of the world. The 
middle finger denotes the shameful, shrewd and 
vigorous in mind, of great eloquence, but bad, 


vicious, earthy, foxlike in their deception of the 
people, calling white black, and black white, fearless 
except about the present life. They are violent 
both secretly and openly. The evil demon himself 
makes great use of these, for the astute are more 
numerous and fiercer than the prudent. When 
they rule. Mars is predominant. Fury conquers 
law and justice ; vices are triumphant ; and virtue 
overwhelmed. The fourth finger points to fools ; 
their number is great. Nature seems to rejoice in 
them as she does in thistles and weeds. They are 
blunt- witted, crass-brained. They seek the pleas- 
ures of the belly. The astute bid for them to get 
them to do their false and wicked deeds. The 
astute make asses of these people in many ways 
but in one — chief of all — by dedicating themselves 
to the temples of the gods, urging and terrifying the 
foolish by threats as to what may occur if they be 
not propitiated by money offerings. The drastic 
treatment of the fools recalls the Moriae Encomium 
of Erasmus, which Palingenius clearly had read. 
The fifth finger stands for maniacs. If incurable, 
it were better they died. There are thus two kinds 
of good men and two only. The rest are evil. 
These should be avoided. If that is impossible, 
they must not be irritated. 

Cannot the astute and the foolish be turned to 
virtue by wisdom ? Yes, but not by that wisdom 
which physicians and monks show in devoting them- 
selves day and night to disclose the hidden causes 
of things, to open up the secrets of Nature, prattling 
of Prima Materiaa, vacuum, and a thousand Chimaeras 


with swollen cheeks, displaying their learning and 
refilling their purses. We must distinguish between 
knowledge and wisdom. Wisdom produces the 
fruit of life, knowledge the flower. 

Palingenius attacks the schools of his time — 
Googe naming the section : 

Evil Education the Cause of Corrupt Behaviour. 

" What learns the scholar now in schools, what knowledge 

doth he gain ? 
But fancies vain and bawdy tales : behold in seat full high 
The Master sits with book before, that open wide doth lie, 
And spitting oft he well doth view his great assembled 

And when he sees them bent to hear, with lofty voice and 

He then expounds some dreadful ghost of doleful tragedy ; 
Or else some harlot's tricks declares in wanton comedy, 
Or doting loves of ancient time, or else to light doth bring 
Some monstrous or some cruel fact, or lamentable thing. 
O brain deserving to be purged, dost thou these ways 

The tender minds, and ignorant bring up with such a 

fruit ? 
Is this the salt whereof the age so young is made to say ? 
Is't not a shame with trifles such, to pass the time alway ? 
By this so many naughty knaves and villains do appear ; 
By this the grove of vices thick, upspringing everywhere. 
Whereas no virtuous bringing up of children can be found. 
O you that youth do not correct, but rather them con- 
Learn first yourselves to live upright, and then to others 

A virtuous trade, lest like to beasts you live, and nothing 


The poet again discourses on the right method 
of training virtue in the soul. First have God 


frequently in your mind and heart. Pray to Him 
and the holy servants who perform his behests and 
stand by Him. The angehc minds can benefit the 
man who prays. Be not of those who think there 
are no superior beings to men. Be just ; injure 
no one. Help especially the good. Keep free from 
the Circes and Sirens of the mind. Shun all effemi- 
nate luxury. Be wise betimes. Pity the poor, 
and bear poverty with equanimity. Poverty may 
relieve you from burdens and lighten your wings 
to fly to the stars. Avoid pride. Control anger. 
Study the books of the wise. Inquire into the causes 
of things. 

By such methods may the foolish and the astute 
develop virtue and worth. 

Just at the end of the book he finds room for a 
sharp rebuking of proud monks and the Church. 
He reaches, under the conduct of the son of Atlas, 
the jagged rocks of San Marino,^ which reach up 
into the starry ether. Then he is set down in the 
fields of Verruculum, and his Guide leaves him. 

Mr. V. Rendall, in Notes and Queries, 9th series, 
vol. iv. p. 327, in drawing attention to the number 
of quotable lines to be found in the Zodiacus Vitae, 
cites 1. 827 from Book IX : 

"Maxima pars pecore amisso praesepia claudit." 

1 i.e. the wonderful little Republic placed on a high rock, 
above the plains that stretch to Rimini. 



This book contains the well-known reference to 
alchemy, which causes Palingenius to be counted 
amongst the esoterics of its mysteries and practices. 
He refers to the philosopher's stone, but as far as one 
can see, he preserves impartiality as to its nature, and 
it is difficult to gather whether he refers to it as one of 
the elect in its search, or as a describer of the studies 
typified by it. The book, for the rest, consists of 
a repetition of the methods of training in virtue 
and another attack on the Pope and his Court. 
There is, however, one passage on the bringing up 
of children which should be quoted. After referring 
to the great influence which the poet considers 
the signs and aspects of the stars have at birth, 
Palingenius goes on to speak of parents : 

" Besides of great effect both seem, their parents' state and 
Of whom the infant nursed is, and who doth guide the 

For as the child in tender years himself at first doth train, 
Such custom shall in graver age within his heart re- 
main. . . . 



Therefore the master needs must be both wise and 

learned well 
That guides the child, and also must to virtue him compel]. 
And like the horseman good, now here, now there must 

wind and wrest 
The untamed head, and now with bit and now with spur 

Nor onely him with words persuade, but with examples 

teach : 
For what if life be contrary, availeth it to preach." 

The boy must be kept away from evil companions. 
Do you wish to know what a man is Uke. Mark 
well his friends. Nature and God bring like to like. 

Palingenius pleads for sanity in study. Let the 
boy " in Greek and Latin books his daily travail 
take," but let him read only good authors, refusing 
all " dishonest " books. For the man who is 
unlearned is seldom good. But don't let the youth 
over-study lest he become demented or diseased. 
He should have due recreation and play. Though 
all studies are good and fair, yet the highest are 

" That teacheth well the stars to know, and nature's open 
plain ; 
Let these our wise man well apply, with all his force and 

In graver age, and in these arts let him spend his delight." 

Then follow further directions to the man who 
is to be both learned and good, especially pointing 
out the importance of good food for forming pure 
blood. The importance of wealth could not be 
disguised from the ancient philosophers who devised 
a certain stone to secure resources. The sages 


can by search for this stone pass into various 
countries, learning from all : 

" And this whosoever doth enjoy may dwell in any land, 
Both free from fear of fortune's wheel and force of robbers' 

But unto few the gods vouchsafe so great a gift to give." 

The significance of the philosopher's stone to 
Palingenius is apparently that wise and learned 
men may live in a sense of security and pursue the 
way of wisdom and discovery for the good of them- 
selves and for all. It is the mediaeval and renas- 
cence counterpart, in a way, of the modern claim 
for endowment of research. 

The tenth book, it should be noted, contains 
another severe indictment of war. The wise man 
is all for peace unless he is forced for the sake of 
his country to protect himself and it. 

Another question raised is : Whether the wise man 
should learn any art so as to support himself, if 
robbed of his patrimony. Yes, he may surely 
become a good and learned physician. The rest 
of the book concerns itself with a vigorous contention 
for the immortahty of the soul and another con- 
demnation of Rome. 



This book treats of astronomical matters. It 
enumerates all the circles, order, motion of the 
planets according to the system of Ptolemy. Then 
not only the signs and constellations of the zodiac, 
but all the signs and stars of heaven and their 
rising and setting are noted. Next come the 
metaphysical questions of form and matter. The 
highest ether is harder than adamant. Then an 
eclipse of the moon is explained. The heavens 
in rotating produce no sound. The stars change, 
and rule all things and are moved with the sun. 
Another question raised is : Why planets don't 
scintillate ? The heavens are the primum mobile. 
Palingenius expounds the Platonic doctrine : The 
forms give being to things. 

Perhaps one of the most interesting speculative 
opinions of Pahngenius is his reiterated belief that 
the ether has its citizens, who hve without material 
food and drink. The poet denies that matter is 
eternal. Finally he gives his views regarding 
elements and meteors. 




Here, again, the poet takes up the story of the 
inhabitants of the ether. Innumerable thousands 
of gods inhabit the ether. Some account is 
given of their dignity and manner of hfe. It is 
easy for human beings to summon evil spirits ; 
but only a few, choice, purified human beings 
occasionally succeed in conferring with gooddaimones. 
He who wishes such intercourse should persevere 
in frequent prayer. Pray long and frequently. 
The aged oak does not fall at a stroke. A single 
drop of water does not hollow out the marble. 
Rome was not built in a day.^ Life and growth 
are gradual, so this important task is slow and 
tortuous. It is not easy to approach kings. Why 
should it be easy, then, to bring the gods to con- 
verse ? They will come to us at length if we perse- 
vere rightly and we shall be blessed in our com- 

^ This is another of the passages referred to by Mr. V. Ken- 
dall, see p. 39, who describes it as a " find." Palingenius' 
words are : " Non stella una cavat marmor, neque protinus 
uno est Condita Roma die." 

It would require much research to determine the original 
sources of such proverbial utterances. 



munion. People will say converse with the gods 
is impossible. Such people's minds are gross. 

" Believe me he that lives alone, avoiding company, 
Is either mad or more than man and talks with God on 

In this sort lived the Prophets old, as it appears by fame, 
And many after Christ, whom men did holy Fathers name. 
And in this present age of ours, full many may we find 
That lead their life and spend their years, in this same 

sort and kind. 
These men when they do wisely speak, and reason fair and 

And wonders great do bring to pass, and things to come 

Wilt thou esteem as mad or fond, or to be weighed light ? 
Or rather wilt thou judge they be inspired with Holy 

Spirit ? 

It is this unity with God that we seek in a future 
life, why then should there not be communication 
now and here ? 


The sketch which I have made of the Zodiacus 
Vitae will give the reader a concise view of the 
contents of the book, particularly from the point 
of view of the educationist. But the subject- 
matter of the poet is much more varied than would 
appear from a summary of the general course of 
this long poem. In it are the appeal to the life of 
virtue, for its own sake, and not for reward ; the 
recognition of wisdom as difficult, and the path to 
it a thorny one ; the appreciation of peace as nobler 
than war ; and the praise of friendship ; its call to 
the bearing of poverty with equanimity, its fear- 
lessness of death, its condemnation of avarice, 
and its plea for the pleasures of the mind as higher 
than those of the body. All these things, as M. 
Gustave Reynier ^ has pointed out, are emphasized. 
Incidentally, there is also a closeness of observation 
which shows a sympathetic intelhgence in detail 
as well as in high speculative themes. Reynier 
instances the wood of pleasure,with its many trees : 

1 De Maycelli Palengenii Stellati Poetae Zodiaco Vita, 
Parisiis. 1893. 



" There lacks noMastes Esculus, no maple, holme nor oak, 
Nor plaintree, cork, nor yet the nut that colour doth 

The winding and the alder tree, the chestnut and the ash, 
The filbert, pitch-tree and the palm, the birch with 

spriggy lash. 
The fir-tree and the mirtle eke, and broad leafy Beech 

wood ; 
(When Saturn ruled the golden world) which was on 

father's food. 
The vine, the fig, and apple eke, and Lothos Priaps friend ; 
The Ivy and the laurel tree that poets' heads doth shend ; 
The mulberrj^ and the poplar tree that Hercules esteemed ; 
The pear tree, willow and the prune, with box that whitely 


Or other more, whose names if thou dost take in hand to 

Thou sooner maist in number bring th' ' Egyptians ' sand 

as well." 

So, too, when he has come forth from the wood 
and enters the garden of pleasure : 

" With purple roses red and white, and pansies painted hue ; 
White daffodils and violets sweet, with fragrant lilies blue ; 
Sweet amaranth that long doth live, with leaves of crimson 

" The clove \^dth balm and cassia, too, mint, thyme, and 

With saffron, myrrh and majorem, the garden's onely gem 
Of savour sweet, in Idale woods enough there grows of 


As M. Reynier remarks : " One might suppose 
that the writer was a cultivator of a garden, running 
over the names of his fine specimens," 


Warton ^ gives the most careful and judicial 
description of the Zodiacus Vitae : 

" This poem is a general satire of life, yet without 
peevishness or malevolence, and with more of the 
solemnity of the censor than the petulance of the 
satirist. Much of the morality is couched under 
allegorical personages and adventures. The Latin- 
ity is tolerably pure, but there is a mediocrity in 
the versification. Palingenius' transitions often 
discover more quickness of imagination and fertility 
of reflection than solidity of judgment. Having 
started a topic, he pursues it through all its possible 
affinities, and deviates into the most distant and 
unnecessary digressions. Yet there is a facility 
in his manner which is not always unpleasing ; nor 
is the general conduct of the work void of art and 
method. He moralizes with a boldness and a 
liberality of sentiment which were then unusual ; 
and his maxims and strictures are sometimes 
tinctured with a spirit of libertinism which, without 
exposing the opinions, must have offended the 
gravity of the more orthodox ecclesiastics. . . . 
Although he submits his performance to the sentence 
of the Church, he treats the authority of the Popes, 
and the voluptuous lives of the monks, with the 
severest acrimony. It was the last circumstances 
that chiefly contributed to give this poem almost 
the rank of a classic in the reformed countries and 
probably produced an early English translation. 
After his death he was pronounced a heretic ; and 

1 Hist. Eng. Poetry, ed. Hazlitt iv. p. 326. 


his body was taken up and committed to the flames 1 ; 
a measure which only contributed to spread his 
book, and disseminate liis doctrines." 

M. Reynier 2 has investigated the sources of the 
Zodiacus Vitae. Vergil has influenced Palingenius, 
and still more Lucretius. Indeed, Palingenius gives 
the verba ipsissima of Lucretius in such phrases as 
" novus ignotusque sacerdos," " latentes naturae ten- 
tabo vias, atque abdita pandam," " non levia hie tra- 
denda." Passages of close parallelism can thus be 
quoted, and this influence is clear and important. 
Reynier shows the thought expressed in the alle- 
gories of the great painters, Raphael, Botticelli, 
Andrea Mantegna, reproduced in the Zodiacus 
Vitae, as part of the general atmosphere of the 
time. Examples, too, could be given of similarity 
in Ariosto. It is evident that Palingenius had 
carefully read his Dante, and he frames the passage 
describing the inhabitants of the infernal regions 
(in the Sagittarius) , Book IX., in direct imitation of 
Dante, as Warton remarks. 

M. Reynier shows, with much interesting quota- 
tion, that much of Paligenius' matter in the occult 
sciences is to be found in H. Cornelius Agrippa : De 
OccultaPhilosophia, 1529. So,too,inthesameauthor's 
satirical book, translated as Vanitie and uncertaintie 
of Artes and Sciences ^ (English translation, 1575? 

^ Bayle states that this fact is derived from Melchior 
Adam and confirmed by Giraldus : de Poetis suontm 

2 Thesis de Zodiaco Vitae, p. 14 et seqq. 

3 First Latin edition, 1530. 


by James Sanford), there are similar views to those 
of PaHngcnius on the ignoble origin of the nobility. 
Physicians are attacked by both, and surgery is 
proclaimed by both as surer than medicine. Agrippa 
deals with the signs of the zodiac. He has a stellar 
theory of friendships and enmities, states the 
doctrine of like to like and the theory of the divine 
light that lightens the intellect. The Military Art 
is a vanity, the most uncertain and vain of all 
arts. Agrippa launches out into keen attacks on 
the monks. These afford points of resemblance 
between Agrippa and Palingenius, and many others, 
could be found in the de Incertikidine ct Vani- 
tate Scientiarum et Artium. There is more than a 
parallehsm of topical matters between Agrippa 
and Palingenius. In his Life of Agrippa, Prof. 
Henry Morley bought out the attempt of this philo- 
sopher to preserve a spiritual interpretation of the 
older philosophies whilst denying much of their 
material and literal truths. It is the same with 
Palingenius. Hence the extreme difficulty of decid- 
ing whether Palingenius was an alchemist, a 
magician and so on, or not. In connexion with 
his educational views, it may be noted that in the 
training of the body in health, Googe declares that 
the maxims are those of Hippocrates. M. Reynier ^ 
quotes Seneca {Epist. ad Lucilium, viii.). He also 
aptly instances the severe criticism of Savan- 
arola towards those school authors which teach 
fahellas turpes vel prorstis inanes. Savanarola 
allowed the reading of Homer, Vergil, Cicero, but 

1 P. 40. 


detested not only Catullus and Ovid, but also 
Tibullus and Terence. Amongst the piles of luxu- 
ries consigned to the flames by the followers of 
Savanarola, were such books as those of Petrarch, 
Boccaccio, etc. 


There were three ways in which this book had 
considerable influence. 

1. On account of its attack on the corruptions 
of the Church, for which reason alone it became 
almost a school classic. 

2. On account of its summary of great learning, 
which included a comprehensive outlook on life. 
The names of mythology which are introduced 
require a very inclusive classical dictionary for 
elucidation. But classical knowledge is put to a 
purpose, a high ethical purpose, the attractive 
presentation of virtue, Platonism is represented, 
and the philosophies of science certain and uncertain. 
The astrological, astronomical, alchemical and 
magical inculcations, spiritualized so to say, involved 
a wide outlook on the field of knowledge, and a 
deep religious attitude along with the undoubted 
breadth of thought. Such a book directly attracted 
teachers. This is directly shown by the statutes 
of St. Bee's School ^ in Cumberland, drawn up in 
1583. The books " only to be read in the said 

^ Founded by Archbishop Grindal. 



school," apart from grammar and religious books, 
and the old Roman' classics are these : 

B. Mantuan, Palingenius, Buchanan, Sedulius, 

That Palingenius' Zodiacus Vitac was held to 
be a school textbook may be seen from the poem 
prefixed to the Basle edition of 1574, by H. Panta- 
leon, addressed to the tutors {modcratores) of 
Christian youth. The object of the book is there 
stated to be " that beardless boys may first leam 
pious teachings, and that afterwards they may fur- 
ther read the sweet writings of the poets "(vatum). 

The grounds of the inclusion of Palingenius are 
no doubt those stated above, the general reflection 
of learned knowledge of the classical world, together 
with a sound practical judgment and insight into 
the perspective of the good life. 

3. The early literary influence of the Zodiacus 
Vitae may be estimated by the passages quoted in 
the Appendices A and B.^ 

4. One other influence should be mentioned. 
The Zodiacus Vitac is the precursor of satirical 
visionary and, in a sense, of Utopian works. One 
book directly suggested by the title of Palingenius' 
book is the Zodiacus vitac christianac, Satyricon 
plcraquc omnia vcrac sapientiac mystcria singu- 
lari suavitatc enarrans, written by C. Barthius, 
1623. M. Brunet mentions a French poem entitled, 
Le Zodiaque poetique ou la philosophie dc la vie 
humaine, by M. de Riviere, in 1619, which he says 
was an imitation of Palingenius. 

^ See pp. 81-85. 


Nor is the Zodiacus Vitac without relations to 
poetical romances. It is a precursor of Sidney's 
Arcadia and of Spenser's Faerie Queene, though in 
this respect it is rather part of a general development 
than of direct significance. It contains ghmpses 
which suggest parallels to Mora's Utopia and the 
Nova Solyma,^ and to Mundiis Alter et Idem. It 
reminds the reader in some respects of Cam- 
panella's Civitas Solis. 

As a moral treatise it had in its day a considerable 
place. As late as 1731, it was translated into 
French by M. de la Monnerie, with the sub-title, 
Preceptes pour diriger la Conduite et les Mceurs 
des Hommes. This translation was fittingly dedi- 
cated to Philip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, 
whose letters to his son had claimed the province 
of morality as peculiarly his own. He speaks of 
foreign authors, Bayle, Baillet, Menage, de la 
Monnoye, Naude, Colletet, Borrichius, Scaliger, 
as being prodigal in the praise of Palingenius.^ 

Scaevola de Sainte Marthe in 1569 pubhshed his 
Premieres ceuvres, consisting of imitations and transla- 
tions into French gathered from various poets. The 
first portion of his book contains, rendered into French 
verse, the argument of the first book of Palingenius' 
Zodiac of Life. Then follow from Palingenius the 
topics: (i.) That riches are not necessary for the 
acquisition of virtue, nor even desirable for it, nor 

1 Translated by the Rev. W. Begbie (1902), who claims 
that the original was written by John Milton, 
■ 2 See Appendix B. 


for living pleasantly {delicieiiscmcnt) . (2.) The enjoy- 
ment of riches. (3.) The fine description of the 
rising sun from Palingenius' third book. (4.) 
Against gluttony (from Palingenius' third book). 
(5.) On sleep (from same book). (6.) Palingenius' 
Invocation at beginning of fourth book. (7.) On 
love (from the fourth book). (8.) On liberty (from 
Palingenius' fifth book). (9.) On marriage (from 
the same book) ; on the earthquake (Palingenius' 
eleventh book). (10.) Palingenius' prayer to God 
(Book XII.). M. de Sainte Marthe says, in his 
epistle to the reader : "It was M. de Morel who 
first gave me courage to dare to write, and who 
induced me to undertake the translation, of Mar- 
cellus Palingenius, a work certainly highly deserving 
of recommendation for its great and divine erudition, 
with which it is full, I dare say as full or more so 
as any poem which has been written in our time, 
and perhaps also in the past. But, for the rest, 
de hien longue et fascheuse peine. That is why 
before advancing further in my translation I was 
anxious to show some of my specimens, so as to 
make clear to myself and to discover if the work 
would satisfy our people." Evidently he did not 
receive encouragement to proceed, and the first 
complete French translation was given in prose 
by M. de Monnerie. 

Melchior Adam, in his Vitae Germanorum Philo- 
sophorum (1615), says that Christopher Wirsungus 
published an edition of Palingenius with very learned 
notes. If Wirsungus wrote these notes, all trace 
of them seems to have been lost. There have 


been several German translations of the Zodiacus 
Vitae, viz. tliat ofM. J.Spreng, 1564; ofSchisburg, 
1785 ; of J. Pracht, 1806. The first English prose 
translation of Palingenius was privately published in 
1896, the interest which prompted the undertaking 
being the relation of the Zodiacus Vitae to occultism. 

There were many editions ^ of the Latin text of 
the Zodiacus Vitae in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries. Those published in London, of which 
there are copies in the British Museum, are dated 
1574. 1575, 1579' 1592, 1602, 1616, 1639. This 
statement in itself shows that the book had 
considerable circulation in England. 

The late Prof. Henry Morley, m writing on 
Henry Cornelius Agrippa, said in connexion with 
the study of magic and occultism that " it is man's 
reason of yesterday which has become his super- 
stition of to-day," and we must not forget how 
much wisdom went to the formation of older forms 
of thought and reflection. This is particularly 
true when we come to consider the educative 
process. The practical maxims on education dis- 
coursed upon by Palingenius some may think are 
commonplace to-day where they are right, and 
beneath discussion where they are wrong. But in 
relation to their age they were none the less forma- 
tive and illuminating. To inculcate the necessity 
of the study of " nature and the stars" seems to 
the modern mind trite. We have nature study 
in schools. But the study of the stars by a reac- 
tion from the older studies has fallen from the 

^ Bayle says an infinite number. 


modern curriculum almost altogether. Palingenius' 
eleventh book on astronomy and some of its meta- 
physical implications are the most obsolete, perhaps, 
of the contents of the Zodiacus Vitae. Yet they are not 
the least valuable. For they teach us much of the old 
occultism, which was at any rate brought to the atten- 
tion of pupils and scholars, and the doctrine of the 
continuity and unity of life and mind. The earth 
is the " stable " of the world. It contains many 
animals, and you think the heavens empty of 
life ? The ether possesses its citizens, the stars 
are celestial cities and the habitations of the gods. 
Real kings and real people are there, not as on 
earth, mere shadows. This advance, from the 
material to the spiritual, from the gross and material 
to the refined, from the sensuous and sensual to 
the intellectual, even if typified in the gradual rise 
in intelligence of graded orders of beings as far 
superior to man as the lower animals are inferior 
to him, is at any rate not opposed to the modern 
evolutionary line of thought, and must have had 
its educational value for those who thought in 
the older modes of culture. It is an appeal to the 
student to go through untold labours of investiga- 
tion and search to find the real, and a belief that 
the real lies round about us, if we have penetration 
to grasp it from under the shadow of the material. 
The search may take us to the pursuit of the philo- 
sopher's stone. It certainly leads to questions of 
the transmutations and unions of fire, earth, 
water, air, with the compounds generated by them, 
stones, metals, plants and animals. In all these 


material bodies there are occult virtues. Beside 
the four elements there must be a quintessence 
which is over and above them all. This is the Soul 
of Nature, and from this every body derives what- 
ever efficacy it possesses. That body which has 
most of the virtue of the quintessence of the universe 
has the most power and value. The great problem 
is to separate the spirit from the matter in every- 
thing, e.g. in gold, or in human beings. It is 
because of the interchangeableness of essence and 
form that occultism seeks to know and use the 
essence. Hence the celestial bodies have influences, 
and the influences of intelligence as located in 
human and superhuman bodies are still more 
effective. Hence the arts of sorcery and divination 
were enlisted so as to control the influences. Magic 
therefore becomes the knowledge of the whole 
of natural forces. Natural magic, in this view, is 
the perfect setting of all philosophy. On its prac- 
tical side it is the attempt to gain the power through 
knowledge of rising from inferior to higher grades, 
so to say, to know the evolution of species, and 
to guide directly and immediately the transforma- 
tions. But to the minds of men like Cornelius 
Agrippa and Palingenius, it meant the evolution 
from the material to the spiritual, from the sensuous 
to the intellectual, from the human to union with 
the divine. In a childlike age of intellect, it led 
to glorying in the marvellous. It was the attempt 
to explain the wonders of the world. It made 
every object of sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, 
every material object, the hero of its romance. 


The old myths and fables belonged to the objective 
observation of what animals and things did. 
Occultism projected the active essence, the reality, 
as an explanation. AU life, all objects became 
endowed with an intelligible aspect, or at least 
came within the sphere of a possible intelligibility. 
From the educational point of view in the process 
of inquiry into all things, great and small, the 
intellective powers were developed, and the sympa- 
thetic attitude towards nature quickened. As 
Agrippa said when he was asked for an explanation 
of his occult philosophy : " The key is Intelligence, 
for the understanding of high things gives powers 
to man when he is lifted by it to nearer communion 
with God, and dying to the flesh has his life hidden 
in Christ " (H. Morley, Life of Agrippa, vol. ii. 
p. 232). 

It is from considerations of this kind that Palin- 
genius, even in his occultistic bearings, deserves 
to be remembered. His area of readers, we have 
seen, must have been large. He was read by adults, 
and he was read in the schools. If we are to under- 
stand the education of his age, we must remember 
that even representative educators were living in 
full recognition of occultism. Possibly the extent 
of this influence is not at all duly recognized by us. 
Nor apparently has the extinction of this element 
been without some loss. At any rate, it is ex- 
tremely curious to note that astronomy has sunk 
into a most inconsiderable position in the school 
curriculum, since the rationalist Copernican system 
has displaced the Ptolemaic, and since the dis- 


missal of astrology has rendered the knowledge of the 
solar and stellar system of less direct practical import- 
ance as a subject of knowledge. It is not without 
suggestiveness, therefore, to draw attention to the 
extreme significance generally attached to astronomy 
in the sixteenth century, and to the fact that 
modern times have, in this instance, lost a very 
valuable educational discipline, except indeed to 
a comparatively few specialists, which Paligenius 
in the sixteenth century turned to account both 
on the descriptive and the intellectual side. Nor 
should it be overlooked that in what we are apt to 
look upon as the most material of studies, the 
wonder-working of magic, sorcery, and all their 
processes and methods, Palingenius and others of 
the better sort sought to bring these pseudo- 
methods of study into the service of the world of 
ideas, to convert the whole of the materialistic 
tendencies into a pure, Platonic spiritualism 



Roger Ascham, Scholemaster, 1570. 

" Indeede, Chaucer, Th. Norton of Bristow, my L. 
of Surrey, M. Wiat, Th. Phaer, and other Gentlemen, 
in translating Guide, Palingenius and Seneca haue 
gonne as farre to their great praise as the Copie they 
followed could cary them ; but, if soch good wittes 
and forward diligence had been directed to follow the 
best examples, and not haue bene caryed by tjme 
and custome to content themselues with that barbarous 
and rude Ryming, emonges their other worthy praises, 
which they haue justly deserved, this had not bene the 
least, to be counted emonges men of learning and skill 
more like unto the Grecians than unto the Gothians in 
handling of their verse. 

William Webbe, A Discourse of English Poetrie, 
1586, speaking of Latin poets, says : 

" Onely Iwilladde two of later times, yet not farre 
inferiour to the most of them aforesaydc, Pallingenius 
and Bap. Mantuanus ; and for a singular gyft in a 
sweete Heroicall verse, match with them Chr. Oclan[d], 
the Author of our Anglontm Proclia." 


Webbe, also in speaking of translators, says : (after 
Gelding's Ovid's Metaph.) : 

The next very well deserveth Bamabe Googe to 
be placed, as a painefull furtherer of learning : hys 
helpe to Poetry, besides hys owne devises in the 
translating of Pallingenius's Zodiac." 

Francis Meres, Palladis Tamia, 1598 : 

" As those Neotericks, Jovianus Pontanus, Politianus 
Marullus Tarchaniota, the two Strozzae, the father 
and the son, Pallingenius, Mantuanus, Phillipus, Quin- 
tianus Stoa, and Germanus Brixius have obtained 
renown and good place among the ancient Latin poets ; 
so also these Englishmen being Latine poets, Gualter 
Haddon, Nicholas Car, Gabriel Harvey, Christopher 
Ocland, Thomas Newton with his Leyland, Thomas 
Watson, Thomas Campion, Brunswerd, and Willey 
have attained good report and honourable advancement 
in the Latin empyre." 

Francis Meres, Palladis Tamia, 1598 : 

" So these versifiers for their learned translations 
are of good note among us, Phaer for Virgil's Aeneads, 
Golding for Ovid's Metamorphosis, Harington for his 
Orlando Furioso, the translators of Seneca's Tragedies, 
Barnabe Googe for Palingenius, Turbervile for Ovid's 
Epistles, and Mantuan, and Chapman for his inchoate 

Hallam, Lit. of Europe, vol. i. note p. 365 : 

The Zodiacus Vitae " is not very poetical, but by 
no means without strong passages of sense and spirit 
in a lax Horatian metre. The author has said more 
than enough to incur the suspicion of Lutheranism." 

Hallam, in speaking of Sir Thomas Chaloner's D 
Republica Instauranda (1579), ^^Y^ '■ 


" It may be compared with the Zodiacus Vitae of 
Palingenius rather than any other Latin poem I recol- 
lect, to which, however, it is certainly inferior." {Lit. of 
Europe, vol. ii. p. 148). 



The testimonies to the value of Pahngenius' work 
quoted in the 1722 edition are : 

Thomas Scauranus, who suppHes a laudatory poem ; 
Henricus Pantaleon of Basle, who wrote a poem for 
the 1574 edition ; a poem quoted from the Nugarum 
Lib. VIII of Nicolaus Borbonius, and the following 
prose critical passages : 

Scaliger, Poet. Libr. VI. : 

" Palingenii poema totum Satyra est : sed sobria, 
non insana, non foeda. Ejus dictio pura, versus ac 
stilus in imo genere dicendi quare si noluit melius : 
ne a nobis quidem id tentandum est," etc. 

Lil. Gregor Gyraldus, De Poetis suorum temporum 
Dialog. II : 

" Legitur quoque Marc. Palingenii Zodiacus Vitae : 
opus varium, multisque rebus ad constituendam vitam 
minime idoneum : quod nisi principi nostro Here. 
Estensi (si minus vobis placet Atestio) nuncupatum 
foret, eius minime meminissem. Nam et post eius 
mortem in eius cineressaevitumest,ob impietatis crimen." 

Borrich, Dissertat. de Poet, p. 102 : 

" M. Palingenius Stellatus poeta, reliquit posteritati 
Zodiacum Vitae, hoc est, de hominis vita, studio, et 



moribus op time instituendis libros XII epico carmine, 
nee eo poenitendae industriae : humiliori tamen ple- 
rumque stylo, et dictione, quam ut nostri seculi aures 
impleat. In cujus rei fidem ista ex lib. V. 466-474 

Castum poetam, mira facundia nil nisi rosas et lilia 
loquentem vocat Georgius Richterus Orat. XXXII. 
p. 72, 74, 84. Vid. Valesiana, p. 32 ; Lotichius p. 2 ; 
Bibl. poet, p. 89 ; Baillet, Jugemens des Savans, torn. 
VII. p. 147. 

Also Bayle's Dictionary, under Palingenius, et 
in Broukhusii not. ad Propert. p. 36, 171, 231, et 
Tibull. p. 264. 



By Walter Gorn Old 

In the following brief survey of the scheme of Palin- 
genius I propose to show that the twelve signs of the 
zodiac were for him something more than mere pegs on 
which to hang an argument or elaborate a discourse. 
Palingenius understood at least as much as was current 
teaching among astrologers of his day in regard to the 
twelve divisions of the heavens and the corresponding 
divisions or " Houses " of the horoscope, and probably 
he knew something more. Indeed, I find it impossible 
to escape the conclusion that he framed his arguments 
apon astrological " dominions " and " correspond- 

If this can be shown to be the case, then it will follow 
,hat the whole of the discourses have a more concrete 
plan than would superficially appear. Mystically con- 
sidered the purport of the twelve chapters of Palin- 
genius will find their parallel in the twelve labours of 
Hercules, and thus will typify the evolution of the 
human soul through successive stages of mental and 
spiritual enlightenment. The suggestion is extremely 
fascinating and may prove instructive. 


I. Beginning with Aries, " the threshold of our 
zodiac." Here the year is born anew, and equal day 
and night depict the state of equilibrium between 
spiritual light and material darkness into which the 
earth-born soul enters when it arrives at this first stage 
of existence. Aries corresponds to the First House, 
astrologically known as the " House of Life." 

At this stage virtue is of more account than know- 
ledge, as Palingenius observes. In this connexion the 
cryptic words of Solomon have peculiar significance : 
I am not good because that I came into an undefiled 
body, but being good I came into a body undefiled. 

II. Taurus corresponds astrologically with the Second 
House, which is known as the " House of Wealth." It 
has an occult analogy with the Golden Wedge of Ophir, 
for this angle of thirty degrees comprising the second sign 
of the zodiac, was known to the Hebrews as Ephrah 
or Ophirah, the productive. It is the Heifer which 
symbolically stands for the " much cattle " of the 
wealthy nomads of the East. Palingenius aptly argues 
in this section of his work that " the highest good is by 
no means to be sought in riches," and shows that the 
poor man may have his peculiar treasures in a life 
" rendered like unto the dwellers in heaven by divine 

III. Gemini corresponds to the Third House and is 
governed by the planet Mercury, the messenger of the 
Gods. It is the House of Communications and Relation- 
ships, and, according to astrology. Mercury rules that 
period of life between the ages of four and fourteen, 
when the seeds of knowledge are implanted in the mind 
and the intellect begins to germinate. Consequently 
this division of the heavens is known as the Hall of 
Learning. At this stage Palingenius meets his teacher 
Epicurus, and from him learns that pleasure is the high- 


est good, while Virtue urges discrimination and recom- 
mends the use of reason as arbitrator between the 
pleasures of the mind and those of the body. 

IV. Cancer of the Northern Tropic corresponds to the 
Fourth House and is ruled by the Moon. It symbolizes 
the ocean, the first stage of things, original substance, 
and corresponds to the condition of the infant mind. 
It rules the human life from birth to the age of four 
years and may be regarded as chaotic. In this chapter 
Palingenius is particularly concerned with that condi- 
tion of love which is associated with modesty and 
innocence, and has much to say regarding Cupid, the 
all-conquering child of Venus. 

V. Leo, the fifth sign of the zodiac, is governed by 
the Sun and corresponds to the Fifth House, which has 
dominion over the fruits of love and in astrology speci- 
fically represents children. The appositeness of the fifth 
discourse of Palingenius appears conspicuously in his 
argument, which sets forth the " advantages, disadvan- 
tages, and necessity of conjugal life," gives " instruc- 
tion upon the marriage state and the education of 
children," and contains a warning against celibacy. In 
Leo, the second sign of the Fiery Triplicity which begins 
in Aries, we find the multiplication of life by procreation 
and the extension of the self in familism. 

VI. Virgo, which corresponds to the Sixth House, is 
not only Ceres, the giver of food, but also Hygieia, the 
goddess of health. The old astrologers say that the 
Sixth House governs the physician, and thus the disciples 
of ^sculapius are collectively represented by his daugh- 
ter Hygieia. In this section of the work Palingenius 
argues concerning the condition of those who are in 
suffering, arguing that " death should not be dreaded, 
but rather that we should hasten to it as to a refuge." 
Thus health, food and clothing, the astrological appur- 


tenants of this celestial sign, are well within the argument 
of this section. In this region of the heavens is Lupus, the 
Anubis of Egyptian theogon3^ the Aish-keleb or Man- 
wolf, who later passed under the name of the great 
healer ^Esculapius. 

VII. In this section Palingenius rises to a higher key, 
and having fully dealt with material conditions of life, 
he now lifts the gamut of his argument by a complete 
octave. Under Aries he considered the unit of human 
life, and now under the opposite sign he treats of Deity 
as the single source of all life, " the first principle of all 
things," the self-existent, infinite and incorporeal. 
Libra, the balance, shows equilibrium by the union of 
opposites, as God and Nature, force and matter, male 
and female. It is the symbol of justice, atonement, 
pacification and rest. In the intellectual world it repre- 
sents Reason, which Palingenius here affirms to be an 
" infallible rule of truth." From the condition of the 
human body Palingenius passes to the consideration of 
the Soul and its welfare. It is in the union of soul and 
body by incarnation that man obtains the means of 

VIII. Scorpio here stands for the more ancient 
Serpentarius, and corresponds to the Eighth House, which 
is the House of Death and also the Gate of Life. It 
symbolizes the end of all things by resolution of form, 
the bending back upon itself of the stream of life. It 
typifies the Law of Cycles, or of correlated successive- 
ness. In this section Palingenius fitly discourses on the 
modes and causes of death, and of Fate as the expression 
of the Divine Will, which determines the end from the 
beginning. " All have an appointed day to die. No 
account is taken of age." But Palingenius adds : 
" There are, however, some who can learn the powers of 
the stars andean attain to the secret of the great pole . . . 


who see events to come and ofttimes predict the manner 
and day of death, because nature is as certain of the 
future as of the present or the past." The serpent, as the 
symbol of death in the physical sense, is also the index 
of life in the spiritual sense, and is so used in the Scrip- 
tures. Demon est Deus inversus. 

IX. Sagittarius corresponds to the Ninth House, 
which is that of spiritual beginnings, of religious aspira- 
tion, and psychic experience. In this section of his 
work Palingenius treats of the training of the soul, its 
peregrinations and its relations to the denizens of the 
higher and lower worlds. Palingenius is taken to the 
sphere of the Moon, which I understand to mean the 
astral world, and there beholds the judgment of three 
orders of souls, some being allowed to pass upward, some 
commanded to remain, and others sent back to earth. 
As in Aries we symbolize the beginning of earthly life, 
and in Leo the extension of that life in our progeny, so 
here, in the third sign of the Fiery Triplicity, we have 
the symbol of the spiritual genesis, the human growing 
out of the animal, as the soul from the body of man, in 
the Centaur. 

X. Capricornus, the Goat, corresponds to the Tenth 
House, which is the House of Attainment. It is the 
Second House from the Ninth, and represents spiritual 
possessions, just as the Second denotes the possessions 
of the person. The Goat, which symbolizes the Exile, 
climbing the rocky heights in search of tender herbage, 
stands for the aspiration of the soul. In the material 
world Capricornus represents the mountain ; in the 
social world, position, honour and credit ; in the intel- 
lectual world, the ambition of mastery and government ; 
and in the spiritual world, the soul's achievement. Palin- 
genius says that " the wise man bears about with ease 
the whole of his possessions " and in this section dis- 


courses on the way and method of attaining to the 
wisdom of the spirit. 

XI. Aquarius, the Water-carrier, from whose vessel 
is symbohcally poured forth the whole vast volume of 
stars which enter into the composition of " the Milky 
Way," here suggests the theme upon which Palingenius 
discourses in this section. He treats of the nature and 
composition of the heavenly bodies, the orbits and 
motions of the planets, and the rising and setting of the 
asterisms. From these considerations he proceeds to 
the nature and constitution of the ether of space, the 
modifications of the elements, and concludes with some 
speculations on the supernal world and the denizens of 
the highest ether. The sign Aquarius is astrologically 
dedicated to Uranus, and Palingenius most fitly devotes 
this chapter to the science of the heavens. 

XII. Pisces, corresponding to the Twelfth House, 
appertains to secret things and the revelation of the 
occult. With this sign the circle of the Great Year of 
the human pilgrimage is completed, and a new cycle is 
entered upon. The tethered fishes symbolize the binding 
back of the soul to its parent Source, and thus stand for 
true religion or Yoga {yuj, to join). In a mystical sense 
the sign denotes human necessity under the eternal law, 
and human freedom of will within limits.^ In the 
material world Pisces and the Twelfth House denote 
bondage ; in the intellectual world, the constraint of 
reason ; and in the spiritual world, obedience to the 
Divine Will, which is the highest wisdom, implying a true 
knowledge of universal laws and intelligent consent 
thereto in both thought and action. As Laotze says : 
" The meshes of the celestial net are very large, yet 
nothing escapes it " : and as regards the human soul, 

" 1 Freewill in man is necessity in play," says Bailey, in his 



here denoted by the fish leashed to its counterpart, it is 
certain that it can never escape from itself and the con- 
sequences of its own actions save by the operation of the 
individual will in intelligent and conscious alliance with 
revealed Good. Palingenius devotes this last section 
of his work to revelations concerning the nature of the 
Incorporeal Light, the super-ethereal world, the three- 
fold Heaven, and the possibility and desirability of 
open communion with the Gods. To such communion 
he ascribes whatever of merit there may be in his inter- 
pretation of the Zodiac of Life. 

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" This little anthology should have a wide appeal." — T. P.'s 

" One of the prettiest compilations of the year ... an 
altogether charming little volume." — Glasgow Herald. 


An Elizabethan Book of Devotions : containing 
prayers for each day of the week and others for 
sundry occasions. 

"... The true simplicity, joyous, strong and grand, is to 
be found in these prayers." — T. H. L. in The Occult Review. 


Being the " Guhstan " rendered into Verse by 
Alfred H. Hyatt. 

" From the ' Gulistan,' or Rose Garden of Sadi, these leaves 
have been gathered. Sadi, whose name signifies felicity, was 
born at Shiraz in Persia, a.d. 1194. It is said that he lived a 
hundred and two years. The whole of his long life was devoted 
to the accumulation of knowledge gained during his many 
travels. Some of Sadi's wise thoughts are here set forth." — 
From the Foreword.- — A.H.H. 

(Only a few copies of the first three volumes of The Aldwych 
Booklets remain for sale.) 






Los Angeles 

This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 

APR 15 1952' 

DEC 1 7 1954 

AUGl 1957 

, 8 RtCD 

m NOV 6 1?'^ 


m JUL 1198? 

S^g^4 1973 

QLSEP2 71C7F wcTjrwiRc 
"C5B /^^ WAY 14 1983 


^ ^^a CIRC 

^^^22 1993 

SEP 2 W76 

SEP 31976 


APR 2 3 1993 



Form L9-42m-8,'49(B5573)444 

UCLA-Young Research Library 

PA8555.P17 Z7Zw 


L 009 617 087 3 


3 1158 00579 0463