The Vedantic Doctrine in Cymbeline

 

by

 

Mather Walker

 

hen a book has a prologue at the end, which recapitulates the book, no one doubts it was designed for the end of the book. The case should be the same with Cymbeline. Cymbeline was the last play in the First Folio, and it recapitulates the plays in the First Folio. It has reflections from many, if not all, of the other plays. This presents a problem for both the Stratfordians and the Oxfordians. When the First Folio appeared, William Shakespeare of Stratford on Avon, like Marley in The Christmas Carol, had been dead for seven long years. Edward de Vere had been dead for 19 years. Neither could have designed Cymbeline to be the last play in the First Folio, and anyone with a modicum of reasoning power should be able to see that this effectively drives the nails into their authorial coffins.

There are other traits which point to a design in Cymbeline specifically crafted to make it the last play in the Folio. The first play in the Folio(The Tempest) began with the words A TEMPEST; the last play(Cymbeline) ends with the word PEACE. The allegory in the play designates it as last in the Folio. Yet another feature of Cymbeline, which raises a flag, is that it is placed among the tragedies even though it has a happy ending.

Does all this embarrass the Stratfordians and the Oxfordians? Not at all. The blind would first have to regain their sight before they could see the egg on their face. In any case, let us move on to the real author. 

Francis Bacon was very much alive at the time the First Folio appeared, and had a very definite reason for inserting recapitulatory material in Cymbeline. He was crafting his two faces beneath the surface of the play, as was his wonted practice, and the facet of ancient knowledge, He allegorized beneath the surface, designated the play as the last play in the Folio.

It dealt with the recapitulation and conclusion of the human experience on this planet. For here Bacon turned to that ancient heritage from India,-the Vedanta, with its story of the samsaric cycle of the human soul, and the conclusion of this cycle.

 

Cymbeline begins with a conversation at court between two unnamed gentlemen, one a stranger, thus allowing the author to introduce the mainplot of the play. The mainplot of the play deals with the story of the king's two sons, Guiderius and Arviragus who when still infants, were removed from the capital. Disguised under the names of Polydore and Cadwal, they believe themselves to be sons of a mountaineer until the conclusion of the play when they realize their royal nature.

 

This story has its origin in the symbolic story of the Self in the Vedanta as related in the Sankhya Sutras: 

"There was a king's son, once upon a time, who, having been born under an unlucky star, was removed from the capital while still a babe, and reared by a primitive tribesman. A mountaineer, outside the pale of the Brahman civilization. He, therefore, lived for many years under the false notion: 'I am a mountaineer.' In due time, however, the old king died. And, since there was nobody eligible to assume the throne, a certain minister of state, ascertaining that the boy had been cast away into the wilderness some years before was still alive, went out, searched the wilderness, traced the youth, and, having found him, instructed him: 'Thou art not a mountaineer; thou art the King's Son.' Immediately, the youth abandoned the notion that he was an outcaste and took to himself his royal nature. He said to himself: 'I am a king.'
 

This story from Vedanta was a traditional allegory designed to illustrate that Samsara, the realm of Birth and death, is but a vast spread-out illusion, a cosmic dream from which one must awake, and that one must cast away the state of ignorance, be rid of the notion that one is an outcaste in the wilderness, before one can mount ones proper throne. Bacon improved on the allegory by giving the story two sons so he could allegorize them as the Dioscuri.

 

THE FACE LOOKING TOWARD THE PAST 

 

The oldest, and perhaps the major, source of mystical knowledge is the Vedanta. Vedanta is the philosophy of the Vedas. The Vedas are scriptures of India, so ancient they are not even indigenous to India. In successive waves from 3,000 to 1,000 B.C., nomadic tribes called Aryans passed through the mountain passes of central Asia into India. They brought the religious writings known as the Vedas with them. 

These writings had been transmitted orally for an immense period of time among the Aryan peoples before they pushed into India. They are generally considered the most ancient religious scriptures now known to the world, and their basic concepts have had a widespread, pervasive, and usually unrecognized influence on subsequent systems. More generally speaking the term "Vedanta" covers not only the Vedas themselves, but the whole body of literature which explains, elaborates, and comments upon their teachings. 

There is conclusive evidence to connect the Vedanta during most of the course of its historical development with genuine inner illumination. The sacred writings of the Vedanta are filled with accounts of ancient sages, who, through long and persistent spiritual disciplines of deep meditation, and austerities, had developed almost superhuman spiritual powers. These same forest sages were the ones who either originated, or analyzed and developed, the body of writings included in the Vedanta. 

Even to the present day the practice of setting aside a daily period for devotion to meditation is widespread among the Hindus and other devotees of Vedanta, and the inner disciplines are an intregal part of the entire Vedantic Doctrine. 

Some idea of the stages of the mystical tradition known as Vedanta, as it flowed from its remote origin in the Vedas, can be had by comparision with the descent of waters from the remote summits of the Himalayas. To contemporary people the Himalayas are famous because they include Everest, the highest mountain in the world, but to the ancient Hindu they were famous for their dazzling white mantle of eternal snow, hence their name meaning "place of snow."

The Himalayas gave more than a vision to delight the soul, they also gave nourishment for the body. From their dazzling mantle waters flowed down to fill deep mountain tarns, then pass onward through great forests, and finally arrive at the lakes of the foot hills, from which irrigation descended to the fields below.

 

So it was with the Vedas. At some remote period they were given their name meaning "knowledge." Whenever the Hindu lifted his contemplation to their heights he saw a mantle of perennial wisdom.

From this mantle the tradition flowed down to feed secondary scriptures, then through forests of commentaries and systems of thought to finally arrive at the resulting mystical heritage called Vedanta, and the Vedanta has been a source of perpetual spiritual nourishment. 

According to Vedanta, in the beginning the supreme God Vishnu lay asleep on His bed of Sesa, the King of Snakes, where He had slept for one thousand aggregates of four ages (4,320,000,000 years). As he slept a lotus sprout grew forth from his navel. It climbed up through the water to the surface where a great lotus flower blossomed. Within this lotus flower sat the self-born God, Brahma, Creator of the Universes. 

Brahma was one of the three aspects of the supreme God which was composed of Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva. In His aspect as Vishnu He sustained the universe; in His aspect as Brahma he created the universes, and, in his aspect as Shiva, he destroyed the universes.

In the aspect of the allegory it seemed that Brahma might most aptly be viewed as the dream self of Vishnu. As Brahma sat in the lotus flower he looked all around Him. He saw the unending high billows of the waves of the waters of the cosmic ocean, tossed heavily by the world-annihilating stormy winds. Although Brahma had been born thus an infinite number of times before and had created an infinite number of universes, the last dissolution had wiped away his memory and he remembered nothing of it, and did not even remember who He Himself was. 

Instinctively He withdrew within Himself to the very core of His being in deep meditation. From this point his awareness passed back down the lotus stalk to the resplendent form of the Supreme God Vishnu sleeping within the cosmic egg under the cosmic waters.

Thus Brahma became aware of His purpose, and also that the archetypal design of the universes were contained eternally there within Vishnu The Supreme God. 

Now Brahma used the power he had derived from Vishnu to begin creating the universe. This power was Maya, the cosmic dream power. By this power of cosmic illusion Brahma was able to produce the universe in the same way a magician is enabled by his incomprehensible magical power to produce illusory appearance of things. Brahma, indeed, was the Great Magician, who by his power of illusion created the universe. 

The Universe and everything in it was only the dream of Vishnu. When, at the next prayala, or cosmic dissolution, everything was drawn back into Brahma (the dream self of Vishnu) then Brahma, in turn would be absorbed back into Vishnu. The sacred books left unanswered the question as to whether Vishnu would then awake from his sleep during which he had brought forth his dream creation of the universe. Perhaps the prayala was His awakening, or perhaps the creation of this particular universe was just one of many dreams during a long cosmic, winter night, for the books spoke of a mahapralaya, or great dissolution which absorbed all the others. 

Brahma was the origin and destination of all. From Him everything went forth. To Him everything would return. The two most often used analogies to express this truth was the sparks, and the waters. As sparks by the thousands flew forth from a blazing fire, and were essentially the same as the fire, so those untold myriads of divine sparks which went forth from Brahma, formed the core of all living beings, and eventually returned to Him again. As the waters of all the streams and rivers of the earth were the same as the waters of the ocean, and would eventually return to the ocean, so that "something" which came forth from Brahma was the same as Brahma, the essence of all sentient beings, and would eventually return to Brahma. This "something" which came forth from Brahma was the "Maya" or cosmic dream power. 

Maya was also known as advidya (ignorance) and darkness. That darkness which went forth from Brahma in the beginning was Maya, and all creation was ignorance. Maya was a curtain which hid the unenlightened soul from its true nature. Its true nature was its innermost Self which was identical with Brahma. The Vedanta Sutras declared this innermost Self was gna (knowing). Intelligence was not merely an attribute of the soul, but its essence. The soul was pure knowing, but, caught up in Maya or ignorance the soul endured a prolonged dream. Dreambound it passed through an endless samsara (cycle of rebirth). Dreambound, the bondage of samsara was self- perpetuating. Dreambound, each karma (action) generated a new action, and that action still another new action. The only escape was to realize the Self within. That Self, caught up in the dream of Maya, would awaken only when realization occurred. As a man while sleeping might dream unhappy dreams, but when waking, though he remembered them, would not be deluded by them, so, when man recognized the Self within, realized its divinity and oneness with Brahma would no longer be deluded by Maya. 

The Real Man, the Inner Self was never bound, but the belief that he was bound was Maya, and because of Maya, the unreal appeared real. The most often used metaphor for Maya was that of the rope seen at twilight which appeared to be a snake. The idea seemed to be that although the Maya was illusory, it did not mean there was nothing there, but that what appeared to be there was in actuality quite different from what it appeared. 

In the heart of each human dwelt a being single and yet dual. This being was the size of the thumb. It was the Purusha/Jiva. As Purusha it was identical with Brahma; the Supreme Self, the Paramatma, smaller than the small, greater than the great. That of which the Katha Upanishad said, "The knowing self is not born; it does not die. It has not sprung from anything; nothing has sprung from it. Birthless, eternal, everlasting, and ancient, it is not killed when the body is killed." 

The Jiva, on the other hand, was the individual soul. It was described in connection with the Purusha by the allegory of the two birds, united always, closely clinging to the same tree. One looks on without eating, the other eats the sweet fruit. The Purusha is unaffected by the illusory shows of Maya, the Jiva is caught up in the dream of Maya; it is trapped in the cosmic dream, entangled in the endless round of rebirths, and will remain trapped as long as its sleeps. To escape it must awake.  

A commonly known idea is that as a drowning man goes down for the last time his whole life flashes before him. A less commonly known idea is that at the very end of the cycle of rebirth, just as the Self is on the point of merging into the ocean of the infinite all of the experiences encountered during the cycle of rebirths, which were lost to It during Its journey through Samsara, pass before It.

The American Seer, Edgar Cayce, often used this idea in connection with the passage in the Bible in the book of John where it says the Holy Ghost will "bring all things to your remembrance." According to Cayce this meant that at the end of the cycle of rebirth all experiences will be brought back to remembrance again. 

In Cymbeline, Bacon depicts the Self at the very end of the cycle of Samsara. He has constant reflections from the cycle of the plays, but they are subtly changed to reflect their perceived unreality now that the Self is on the point of awakening. When a sleeping man awakes, his dreams, so real while he slept, exist in a momentary, melting, halfway state, becoming more blurred and unreal. 

The diabolical Iago is here, but now he carries the name of Iachimo which means "little Iago", and his stature is diminished and altered in keeping with his new name. In Othello there was no doubt about it. Iago was the devil. He had exactly the role that Satan had in the book of Job in the Old Testament. He tested and afflicted, and this role was allegorized in the prototype of the plot of a villain against a faithful wife in the end driving the husband to the point of murdering her. But the reflection in Cymbeline gives a diminished Iago with a happy ending. The "Tempter" is given the stature that is properly His when the awakening Self realizes it was all only a dream.

In A Midsummer Night's Dream Theseus gives his famous speech: 

"Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover, and the poet,
Are of imagination all compact." 

and Posthumous, waking up, finds a prophetic text promising good fortune, and reacts to it with a reflection of Theseus speech, which has suffered a melting change as a dreams remembered upon waking are blurred: 

"Tis still a dream: or else such stuff as madmen
Tongue, and brain not: either both, or nothing,
Or senseless speaking, or a speaking such
As sense cannot untie. Be what it is,
The action of my life is like it, which
I'll keep, if but for sympathy."

He achieves this same blurring effect by assigning the patrioticrant in the play, which reflects John of Gaunt, Faulconbridge the Bastard, and Henry V to the wicked Queen: 

"That opportunity,
Which then they had to take from's, to resume
We have again. Remember, sir, my liege,
The kings your ancestors, together with
The natural bravery of your isle, which stands
As Neptune's park, ribb'd and pal'd in
With rocks unscaleable and roaring waters,
With sands that will not bear your enemies' boats,
But suck them up th' topmast. A kind of conquest
Caesar made here, but made not here his brag
Of 'Came, and saw, and overcame:' with shame
(The first that ever touch'd him) he was carried
From off our coast, twice beaten and his shipping
(Poor ignorant baubles) on our terrible seas,
Like egg-shells mov'd upon their surges, crack'd
As easily 'gainst our rocks. For joy whereof
The fam'd Cassibelan, who was once at point
(O giglot fortune!) to master Caesar's sword,
Made Lud's town with rejoicing-fires bright
And Britons strut with courage" 

Here Bacon reflects the unreality and hyperbole of dreams by the irony of "Britons strut with courage", and the grotesquerie of the Roman armada's cracking like eggshells. This same subtle effect is in operation in the reflection of Measure for Measure where the jovial Pompey, bawd turned executioner's assistant, exuberantly informing Barnardine that the ax is upon the block, and here in Cymbleine a cheerful gaoler tells the more-than-willing Posthumus that he is about to be hanged:

"A heavy reckoning for you sir: but the comfort is you
shall be called to no more payment, fear no more tavern
bills; which are often the sadness of parting, as the
procuring of mirth: you come in faint for want of meat,
depart reeling with too much drink: sorry that you have
paid too much: purse and brain, both empty the brain, the
heavier for being too light, the purse too light, being
drawn of heaviness. O, of this contradiction you shall
now be quit. O, the charity of a penny cord! It sums up
thousands in a trice: you have no true debitor and creditor
but it of what's past, is, and to come, the discharge: your
neck, sir, is pen, book, and counters; so the acquittance follows." 

Harold Goddard says: 

"It would be tedious to attempt to list all the reverberations in Cymbeline. The link of this play with The Rape of Lucrece we mentioned when discussing the poem. In ingenuity of plot it recalls The Comedy of Errors, but its ingenuity is of a higher order. In its contrast of court and country life, of artificiality and simplicity, it is another As You Like It, yet as different-as Hazlitt indicated-as the mountainous retreats of Wales are from the Forest of Arden. Like King Lear, it is legendary British history and another story of a daughter, disobedient to a father, who preferred love to worldly place and power. The daughter marrying against the father's wishes links it also with Othello, and, as the name Iachimo ("little Iago") suggests, it includes, like its prototype, the plot of a villain against a faithful wife in the course of which the husband is driven close to insanity. Indeed, the play might be called a "little" Othello with a happy ending, a bridge in this respect between it and The Winter's Tale of approximately the same date. It is Troilus and Cressida reversed, the women here being faithful as the man was there; the man here faithless, for a time, as the woman there was, so far as we know, forever. Not a few passages in the play echo Macbeth: the wicked queen, her ambition for her son, and her fearful death remind us of Lady Macbeth, her ambition for her husband, and her fearful death.

But the mother-son relationship puts the play here nearer to Coriolanus, though Volumnia and Cymbeline's wife are worlds apart, and a greater contrast could scarcely be conceived than that between Cloten and Coriolanus. Cloten is closer to that other weakling son-of-his-mother, King John. Historically the action occurs during the emperorship of Augustus Caesar, and, in one sense, in spite of its abysmal difference, it may be considered a sequel to Antony and Cleopatra and a continuation of the Roman group."

There are constant reflections from the other plays. In his book, "Shakespeare The Invention of The Human", Harold Bloom, who tried very hard to understand the plays, but who, judging from his book and the portrait at the end of the book, succumbed to the effort, says, "Cymbeline is a pungent self-parody on Shakespeare's part: we revisit King Lear, Othello, The Comedy of Errors, and a dozen other plays, but we see them only through a distorting lens."

Noting the curious shading of the reflections in Cymbeline, Bloom, ignorant of their rationale, could only conclude that the author was parodying himself. He says,"Compulsive self-parody does not exist elsewhere in Shakespeare, in Cymbeline it passes all bounds." 

Bloom reminds one of the story in Aesop's fables about the young mole who went to his mother and told her that he could see. The mother decided to test him. She put a piece of frankincense in front of him, and asked him what it was. 

"A stone!" said the little mole.
"My poor child," the mother mole said,"Not only are you
blind, but you have lost your sense of smell as well." 

The allegory in Cymbeline is not that obscure. The cycle is shown by the two sons, and then by Posthumus and Imogen, going forth from the court of Cymbeline and then returning to it at the end of the play. Bacon uses the traditional tale from Vedanta of the Self which goes through its cycle of samsara believing it is of low birth until, at the end, it realizes its true nature. Within this frame he shows the stages which led to the end of the cycle.

It is necessary to bear in mind that these are all retrospective. That through its memory of the experiences through which it has passed, the Self is recapituating the stages of the samsaric cycle.

Cymbeline and his kingdom is the realm of spirit which wars with the realm of the phenomenal universe symbolized by the Roman Empire. In the play spirit is married to matter. The queen and her son Cloten are a direct reflection of Sycorax and her son Caliban in The Tempest. Sycorax was matter and Caliban was the body just as is Cloten in Cymbeline. There are many reflections of Caliban in Cloten. He seeks to rape Imogen just as Caliban seeks to rape Miranda. The body seeks union with the soul. Cloten with Imogen, and Caliban with Miranda. Cloten says of Posthumus: 

"The south-fog rot him!" 

reflecting exactly the flavor of Caliban's curse on Prospero: 

"All the infections that the sun sucks up
From bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper fall, and make him
By inch-meal a disease!"

Cloten is referred to as an ass exactly as was Caliban in The Tempest. As the body, Cloten is an exact reflection of Posthumus, the Self. This is brought out when Imogen sees his headless body.

She does not just mistake him for Posthumus, every detail of His body is shown as reflecting that of Posthumus. Imogen says: 

"A headless man? The garments of Posthumus?
I know the shape of's leg; this is his hand,
His foot Mercurial, his Martial thigh,
The brawns of Hercules; but his Jovial face-
Murder in heaven! 'Tis gone." 

Imogen is the soul. This is obvious from the text of the play. When Imogen embraces Posthumus, he says: 

"Hang there like fruit, my soul,
Till the tree die!" 

making plain the identity of Imogen as the soul. Her identity as the soul is further supported by the reference to her in the play as "a piece of tender air." In the ancient teachings man was divided into three parts: 

1. The Thinker (Nous)
2. The Soul (Psyche)
3. Soma (the body)

The Thinker was composed of fire; the Psyche of air; and the Soma of water and earth. 

At the beginning of the play Posthumus is banished from the court of Cymbeline and goes to the Roman court. The Self (Posthumus) precedes the soul (Imogen) in its issuing forth into the phenomenal universal. This brings out the idea found in the Theosophy of Madama Blavatsky, that the Monad must first enter the phenomenal sphere before the soul or Jiva does, since it is contained within the very center of the being that is man, at a much higher, and of a much more subtle form of matter, and must establish a contact in phenomenal matter over a long period of evolution before the soul, or causal body, can be formed and can evolve to the level of man. 

Posthumus has a fight with Cloten, and the soul (Imogen) is tested by Iachimo, while still in the celestial sphere. This reflects the war in heaven, referred to in the book of Revelations, and in other sources, and has to do with the legend of the fallen angels which is allegorized in Measure for Measure. But certain events in the cycle can only take place in the phenomenal universe.

For example, it is to be noted that the draught the evil queen gives Imogen does not put her to sleep until after she has gone forth into the phenomenal sphere.

The evil queen wants a poison which will kill Imogen, but the denouncement at the end of the cycle of rebirth is that matter could not kill the soul. It can only put it to sleep. Frances Yates notes that after Imogen has drank the potion, "She wakes to life again on the corpse of Cloten, a scene so strange that it seems to demand some allegorical explanation." (Even Stratfordians can show a spark of perception at times.) When the body dies the soul returns to life. In the Advancement of Learning Bacon implies that the power of the soul is greater the more it is withdrawn from the body: 

"But the divination which springeth from the internal nature of the soul, is that which we now speak of; which hath been made to be of two sorts, primitive and by influxion. Primitive is grounded upon the suppositon that the mind, when it is withdrawn and collected into itself and not diffused into the organs of the body, hath some extent and latitude of prenotion; which therefore appeareth most in sleep, in extasies, and near death; and more rarely in waking apprehensions; and is induced and furthered by those abstinences and observances which make the mind most to consist in itself." 

It is to be noted that Bacon improves on the tradition Vedantic story of the royal son by having two sons in the play. They are obviously modeled after the Dioscuri - Castor and Pollux otherwise known as Castor and Polydeuces, an improvement on the allegory of the Samsaric Self since one of the Dioscuri (Pollux or Polydeuces) represents the immortal part (the higher self), and Castor the mortal part (the lower self). The Higher Self which should be the guide for the Lower Self is given the name Guiderius by Bacon, suggesting a guide, with the alternate name of Polydore suggesting the name of the immortal Dioscuri-Polydeuces. The immortal part is always at war with the body, and it is the immortal part which slays Cloten. Guiderius(Polydore) cuts off Cloten's head and says,"Yet I not doing this, the fool had borne my head as I do his." For the spirit must slay the body, or the body will slay the spirit. To further the allegory Guiderius says: 

" With his own sword,
Which he did wave against my throat,
I have ta'en His head from him.
I'll throw't into the creek
Behind our rock, and let it to the sea" 

So we have the allegory from the Vedanta :
As the waters of all the
streams and rivers of the earth were the same as the waters of the ocean, and eventually return to the ocean, so that "something" which came forth from Brahma was the same as Brahma, the essence of all sentient beings, and would eventually return to Brahma. Since Cloten is the body, the allegory shows the head, or mind, returning to the sea. This represents an important stage in the completion of the cycle of Samsara by the Self, for at this point the physical self has been conquered.

The next important stage is when Posthumus casts off his Italian garments :

" I'll disrobe me
Of these Italian weeds" 

In Bacon's day it was customary for the sons of the upper class to make their voyage to Italy and come back dressed in Italian garments, having assumed Italian fashions. Bacon uses this to allegorize the outer world. Posthumus casting off his Italian garments symbolizes the Self turning away from the outer world. It is significant also that when the forces of Cymbeline war with the forces of Rome, Bacon stresses repeatedly that the invasion is by Italian gentlemen who are fighting in combination with certain Gallic forces. It is the outer world that wars with the inner world of the spirit.

Leonatus Posthumus represents the self which attains realization. Bacon associated the reign of Cymbeline with the time of Christ. While repeating the names of the kings in The Fairie Queen Bacon said:

"Next him Tenantius raigned, then Kimbeline
What time th' eternall Lord in fleshly slime
Enwombed was, from wretched Adams line
To purge away the guilt of sinfull crime:
O ioyous memorie of happy time,
That heauenly grace so plenteously displayd;
(O too high ditty for my simple rime).
Soone after this the Romanes him warrayd;
For that their tribute he refused to be let payd."  

Christ was of the lineage of Judah. In the Bible in Genesis 49:9 when Jacob is dying he prophecies, and says of Judah: 

"Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son,
thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched
as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?"  

The prophecy in the play says: 

"When as a lion's whelp shall, to himself unknown,
without seeking find, and be embrac'd by a piece
of tender air; and when from a stately cedar shall
be lopp'd branches which, being dead many years,
shall after revive, be jointed to the old stock,
and freshly grow; then shall Posthumus end his
miseries, Britian be fortunate and flourish in
peace and plenty."

The Soothsayer points out that Posthumus is the lion's whelp, since Leo-natus means born of the lion. But he is born after the death of the lion, who was Christ. The meaning is that, since Christ is the perfect man, living his last life on earth; the man who has achieved realization and has ended the cycle of rebirth represents the next stage after Christ. A further connection with Christ is the payment of the tribute. Many commentators on Cymbeline have seen this as out of place in the play. Harold Bloom says,

"But Shakespeare, seemingly unable to cease from travesty,0 here as at the close of Measure for Measure, confounds us by Cymbeline's further gesture, which reduces much of the play to sheer idiocy, confirming Dr. Johnson's irritation. After bloodily defeating the Roman Empire, in a war prompted by his refusal to continue paying tribute, Cymbeline suddenly declares that he will pay the tribute anyway!" 

Never mind the remark of the Roman which had the ring of truth,

"Consider, sir the chance of war. The day was yours by accident.."

Where Bacon gives a valid reason for Cymbeline paying tribute. But Bacon also has another reason, and a suble reference to Christ with the payment of the tribute. In the Gospels Christ says,

"Render unto God what is God's, and unto Caesar what is Caesar's."

In addition, the allegory demands the tribute to Rome, since the realm of spirit must give a portion of itself for the phenomenal sphere to exist. 

The play ends with the words of Cymbeline : 

"And in the temple of great Jupiter Our peace we'll ratify; seal it with feasts. Set on there! Never was a war did cease, Ere bloody hands were wash'd, with such a peace."

This points to the Buddhist concept of Nirvana, that condition of great peace or bliss when individual existence is extinguished and the soul is absorbed into the supreme spirit. But it also reminds us that Bacon's allegories have more than one level. In this case we see the macrocosm/microcosm allegory, for at another level the allegory is a perfectly consistent account of a cosmology, and the "peace" at the end reflects the passage in Bacon's "Description of The Intellectual Globe" which deals with the liberation of matter: 

"...so that as a general rule, the nearer bodies approach to the nature of fire, the more do they lose of variety.
And after they have assumed the nature of fire, and that
in a rectified and pure state, they throw off every organ,
every property, and every dissimilarity; and nature seems
as as it were to gather to a point in the vertex of the
pyramid, and to have reached the limit of her proper action.
Therefore this kindling or catching fire Heraclitus called
peace; because it composed nature and made her one; but
generation he called war, because it multiplied and made
her many."
 

THE FACE LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE

 

The particular which is present in the first 32 speeches, and is absent in the next 32 speeches is Leonatus Posthumus, the symbol of the Self. Apparently, what Bacon inquires into with this demonstration of his discovery device is the "form" of the Self.

Not being in possession of the formula of discovery, I can only tryto follow the allegory in tracing Bacon's demonstration of the operation of his discovery device. The "form" is this case seems to be "peace". Bacon is saying that the essence of the Self, when all of its outer accourterments are stripped away, and it is reduced back down to its identity with The One is "peace." This is a little difficult to understand, but the Vedanta has another interesting concept. According to the Rishis the entire universe, and all of the vast pageant within it is merely the "play" of God.

It is a great entertainment put on for His amusement. When all of the "tumult and shouting" of the vast pageant is over the entire universe will settle down to the "Oneness" and the "peace" which existed before it all began.

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