The curtains and upholstery of the chairs and sofas and the hangings of my bed are of the costliest and most beautiful fabrics, and must have been of fabulous value when they were made, for they are centuries old, though in excellent order.
Samples of a people that had undergone a terrible grinding and regrinding in the mill, and certainly not in the fabulous mill which ground old people young, shivered at every corner, passed in and out at every doorway, looked from every window, fluttered in every vestige of a garment that the wind shook.
Yet, owing to the long priority of his claims, and the profound ignorance which, till some seventy years back, invested the then fabulous or utterly unknown sperm-whale, and which ignorance to this present day still reigns in all but some few scientific retreats and whale-ports; this usurpation has been every way complete.
For not only do fabulous rumors naturally grow out of the very body of all surprising terrible events,—as the smitten tree gives birth to its fungi; but, in maritime life, far more than in that of terra firma, wild rumors abound, wherever there is any adequate reality for them to cling to.
So that here, in the real living experience of living men, the prodigies related in old times of the inland Strello mountain in Portugal (near whose top there was said to be a lake in which the wrecks of ships floated up to the surface); and that still more wonderful story of the Arethusa fountain near Syracuse (whose waters were believed to have come from the Holy Land by an underground passage); these fabulous narrations are almost fully equalled by the realities of the whalemen.
As for the book-binder’s whale winding like a vine-stalk round the stock of a descending anchor—as stamped and gilded on the backs and title-pages of many books both old and new—that is a very picturesque but purely fabulous creature, imitated, I take it, from the like figures on antique vases.
OF DARKNESSE FROM VAIN PHILOSOPHY, AND FABULOUS TRADITIONS What Philosophy Is Prudence No Part Of Philosophy No False Doctrine Is Part Of Philosophy Nor Learning Taken Upon Credit Of Authors Of The Beginnings And Progresse Of Philosophy Of The Schools Of Philosophy Amongst The Athenians Of The Schools Of The Jews The Schoole Of Graecians Unprofitable The Schools Of The Jews Unprofitable University What It Is Errors Brought Into Religion From Aristotles Metaphysiques Errors Concerning Abstract Essences Nunc-stans One Body In Many Places, And Many Bodies In One Place At Once Absurdities In Naturall Philosophy, As Gravity The Cause Of Heavinesse Quantity Put Into Body Already Made Powring In Of Soules Ubiquity Of Apparition Will, The Cause Of Willing Ignorance An Occult Cause One Makes The Things Incongruent, Another The Incongruity Private Appetite The Rule Of Publique Good: And That Lawfull Marriage Is Unchastity And That All Government But Popular, Is Tyranny That Not Men, But Law Governs Laws Over The Conscience Private Interpretation Of Law Language Of Schoole-Divines Errors From Tradition Suppression Of Reason CHAPTER XLVII.
Secondly, by introducing the Daemonology of the Heathen Poets, that is to say, their fabulous Doctrine concerning Daemons, which are but Idols, or Phantasms of the braine, without any reall nature of their own, distinct from humane fancy; such as are dead mens Ghosts, and Fairies, and other matter of old Wives tales.
OF DARKNESSE FROM VAIN PHILOSOPHY, AND FABULOUS TRADITIONS What Philosophy Is By Philosophy is understood "the Knowledge acquired by Reasoning, from the Manner of the Generation of any thing, to the Properties; or from the Properties, to some possible Way of Generation of the same; to the end to bee able to produce, as far as matter, and humane force permit, such Effects, as humane life requireth."
So that by their Lectures and Disputations in their Synagogues, they turned the Doctrine of their Law into a Phantasticall kind of Philosophy, concerning the incomprehensible nature of God, and of Spirits; which they compounded of the Vain Philosophy and Theology of the Graecians, mingled with their own fancies, drawn from the obscurer places of the Scripture, and which might most easily bee wrested to their purpose; and from the Fabulous Traditions of their Ancestors.