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Francis Bacon (1561–1626).  Of the Wisdom of the Ancients.  1857.

XXII. Nemesis

XXII. Nemesis Francis Bacon (1561–1626).  Of the Wisdom of the Ancients.  1857.

NEMESIS, according to the tradition, was a goddess, the object of veneration to all, to the powerful and fortunate of fear also. They say she was the daughter of Night and Ocean. She is represented with wings, and a crown: an ashen spear in her right hand; a phial, with Ethiops in it, in her left; sitting upon a stag. 1
The parable may be understood thus. The very name Nemesis plainly signifies Revenge or Retribution: for it was the office and function of this goddess to interrupt the felicity of fortunate persons, and let no man be constantly and perpetually happy, but step in like a tribune of the people with her veto; and not to chastise insolence only, but to see also that prosperity however innocent and moderately borne had its turn of adversity: as if no one of human race could be admitted to the banquets of the gods, except in derision. And certainly when I have read that chapter of Caius Plinius in which he has collected the misfortunes and miseries of Augustus Cæsar,—him whom I thought of all men the most fortunate, and who had moreover a certain art of using and enjoying his fortune, and in whose mind were no traces of swelling, of lightness, of softness, of confusion, or of melancholy—(insomuch that he had once determined to die voluntarily),—great and powerful must this goddess be, I have thought, when such a victim was brought to her altar. 2
The parents of this goddess were Ocean and Night; that is, the vicissitude of things, and the dark and secret judgment of God. For the vicissitude of things is aptly represented by the Ocean, by reason of its perpetual flowing and ebbing; and secret providence is rightly set forth under the image of Night. For this Nemesis of the Darkness (the human not agreeing with the divine judgment) was matter of observation even among the heathen.
Ripheus fell too,
Than whom a juster and a truer man
In all his dealings was not found in Troy.
But the gods judged not so.