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was perpetually catching at its fruit. Homer relates, that many trees of delicious fruit waved over the lake in which Tantalus was placed; but it does not appear from Homer, that Tantalus was fixed in Cocytus, but in some lake peculiarly appropriated to his punishment
Esao? εy AIMNH.
Spenser has also made another use of Cocytus : that the shores of this river eternally resounded with the shrieks of damned ghosts who were doomed to suffer an everlasting immersion in its loathsome waters. Cocytus, says ancient fable indeed, must be passed, before there is any possibility of arriving at the infernal regions: but we are not taught, that it was a punishment allotted to any of the ghosts, to be thus plunged into its waves; nor that this circumstance was the
cause of the ceaseless lamentations which echoed around its banks.
What Spenser has invented, and added to ancient tradition, concerning Cocytus, exhibits a fine image. He feigns, that when Sir Guyon came to this river,
He clomb up to the bank,
B. ii. c. xii. s. xlvii.
They in that place him Genius do call :
Therefore a God him sage antiquity
These lines may be farther illustrated, as they are probably drawn from the following passage in Natalis Comes.
“ Dictus est autem Genius, ut placuit latinis, a gignendo, vel quia nobiscum gignatur, vel quia illi procreandorum cura divinitus commissa putaretur. Hic creditur nobis clam nunc suadens, nunc dissuadens, universam vitam nostram gubernare. Nam existimantur Genii Dæmones rerum, quas
voluerint nobis persuadere, spectra et imagines sįbi tanquam in speculo imprimere, quodcunque illis facillimum sit. In quæ spectra cum anima nostra clam respexerit, illa sibi veniunt in mentem, quæ si ratione perpendantur, tum recta fit animi deliberatio: at siquis posthabita ratione, malorum, spectrorum et visorum ductu feratur, ille in multos errores incurrat necesse est, si
spectra fuerint præcipue a malignis dæmonibus oblata*.”
That the first Genius here mentioned was likewise called Agdistes, we learn from the same author."Quem postea Agdistem appellarunt*.
The ceremony of offering flowers and wine to the Genius expressed in these lines
With diverse flowers he daintily was deckt,
Is found in Horace
piabant Floribus et vino Genium memorem brevis ævit.
The Genius spoken of in the following stanzas seems to be that which is represented in the Picture of the sophist Cebes.
* 4. 3.
† Epist. 2. b. 2. v. 143.
And double gates it had, which open'd wide,
Old Genius the porter of them was,
He letteth in, he letteth out to wend,
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