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Digby to show them a spirit. He promised so to do: the time came, and they were all in the body of the circle, when lo, upon a sudden, after some time of invocation, Evans was taken out of the room, and carried into the field near Battersea Causeway, close to the Thames. Next morning a countryman going by to his labour, and espying a man in black cloaths, came unto him and awaked him, and asked him how he came there ? Evans, by this, understood his condition, enquired where he was, how far from London, and in what parish he was ; which, when he understood, he told the labourer he had been late at Battersea the night before, and by chance was left there by his friends. Sir Kenelm Digby and the Lord Bothwell went home without any harm, [and] came next day to hear what was become of him; just as they in the afternoon came into the house, a messenger came from Evans to his wife, to come to him at Battersea. I enquired upon what account the spirit carried him away: who said, he had not, at the time of invocation, made any suffumigation, at which the spirits were vexed. It happened, that after I discerned what astrology was, I went weekly into Little Britain, and bought many books of astrology, not acquainting Evans therewith. Mr. A. Bedwell, minister of Tottenham-High-Cross, near London, who had been many years chaplain to Sir Henry Wotton, whilst he was ambassador at Venice, and assisted Pietro Soave Polano, in composing and writing the Council of Trent, was lately dead; and his library being sold into Little Britain, I bought among them my choicest books of astrology. The occasion of our falling out was thus: a woman demanded the resolution of a question, which when he had done, she went her way; I, standing by all the while, and observing the figure, asked him why he gave the judgement he did, since the signification showed quite the contrary, and gave him my reasons; which when he had pondered, he called me boy, and must he be contradicted by such a novice ! But when his heat was over, he said, had he not so judged to please the woman, she would have given him nothing, and he had a wife and family to provide for; upon this we never came together after. Being now very meanly introduced, I applied myself to study those books I had obtained, many times twelve, or fifteen, or eighteen hours day and night; I was curious to discover, whether there was any verity in the art or not. Astrology in this time, viz. in 1633, was very rare in London, few professing it that understood any thing thereof."
Whatever respect our author might feel for the science of “divine astrology,” his veneration certainly did not extend to its professors, of whom he relates some very edifying anecdotes. We shall select a few of the most remarkable.
DR. SIMON FORMAN.“ He was a person that in horary questions (especially thefts) was very judicious and fortunate; so also in sicknesses, which indeed was his master-piece. In resolving questions about marriage he had good success: in other questions very moderate.
“ I very well remember to have read in one of his manuscripts what followeth.
"Being in bed one morning,' (says he) 'I was desirous to know whether I should ever be a lord, earl, or knight, &c. whereupon I set a figure, and thereupon my judgement:' by which he concluded, that within two years' time he should be a lord or great man: 'but,' says he, before the two years were expired, the doctors put me in Newgate, and nothing came.' 'Not long after, he was desirous to know the same things concerning his honour or greatship. Another figure was set, and that promised him to be a great lord within one year. But he sets down, that in that year he had no preferment at all; only, 'I became acquainted with a merchant's wife, by whom I got well. There is another figure concerning one Sir - Ayre his going into Turkey, whether it would be a good voyage or not: the doctor repeats all his astrological reasons, and musters them together, and then gave his judgement it would be a fortunate voyage. But under this figure he concludes, this proved not so, for he was taken prisoner by pirates ere he arrived in Turkey, and lost all.' He set several questions to know if he should attain the philosopher's stone, and the figures, according to his straining, did seem to signify as much; and then he tuggs upon the aspects and configurations, and elected a fit time to begin his operation; but by and by, in conclusion, he adds, ‘so the work went very forward; but upon the 0 of 6 the setting-glass broke, and I lost all my pains:' He sets down five or six such judgements, but still complains all came to nothing, upon the malignant aspects of ħ and 8.
“ He wrote in a book left behind him, viz. “This I made the devil write with his own hand in Lambeth Fields 1596, in June or July, as I now remember.' He professed to his wife there would be much trouble about Carr and the Countess of Essex, who frequently resorted unto him, and from whose company he would sometimes lock himself in his study a whole day. Now we come to his death, which happened as follows; the Sunday night before he died, his wife and he being at supper in their garden-house, she being pleasant, told him, that she had been informed he could resolve whether man or wife should die first; Whether shall I, (quoth she) . bury you or no? Oh, Trunco, for so he called her, thou wilt bury me, but thou wilt much repent it.' • Yea, but how long first ? • I shall die,” said he, 'ere Thursday night.' Monday came, all was well. Tuesday came, he not sick. Wednesday came, and still he was well ; with which his impertinent wife did much twit him in the teeth. Thursday came, and dinner was ended, he very well: he went down to the water-side, and took a pair of oars to go to some buildings he was in hand with in Puddle-dock. Being in the middle of the Thames, he presently fell down, only saying, An impost, an impost,' and so he died.
Sir George PecKHAM.-" In the year 1634, I taught Sir George Peckham, knight, astrology, that part which concerns sickness, wherein he so profited, that in two or three months he would give a very true discovery of any disease, only by his figures. He practised in Nottingham, but unfortunately died in 1635, at St. Winifred's Well, in Wales; in which well he continued so long mumbling his PaterNosters and Sancta Winifrida ora pro me, that the cold struck into his body; and, after his coming forth of that well, never spoke more.
John HUMPHREYS. “In the year 1640, I instructed John Humphreys, master of that art, in the study of astrology: upon sion, being at London, by accident in Fleet-street, I met Dr. Percival Willoughby of Derby; we were of old acquaintance, and he but by great chance lately come to town; we went to the Mitre Tavern, in Fleet-street, where I sent for old Will. Poole the astrologer, living then in Ram-alley: being come to us, the doctor produced a bill, set forth by a master of arts in Cambridge, intimating
his abilities for resolving of all manner of questions astrologically. The bill was shewed, and I wondering at it, Poole made answer, he knew the man, and that he was a silly fool; ‘I,' quoth he, 'can do more than he; he sees me every day, he will be here by and by;' and, indeed, he came into our room presently. Poole had, just as we came to him, set a figure, and then shewed it me, desiring my judgement, which I refused, but desired the master of arts to judge first; he denied, so I gave mine, to the very great liking of Humphreys, who presently enquired, if I would teach him, and for what? "I told him I was willing to teach, but would have one hundred pounds. I heard Poole, whilst I was judging the figure, whisper in Humphrey's ear, and swear I was the best in England. Staying three or four days in town, at last we contracted for forty pounds, for I could never be quiet from his solicitations; he invited me to supper, and before I had shewed him any thing, paid me thirtyfive pounds. As we were at supper, a client came to speak with him, and so up into his closet he went with his client; I called him in before he set his figure, or resolved the question, and instantly acquainted him how he should discover the moles or marks of his client: he sets his figure, and presently discovers four moles the querent had; and was so overjoyed therewith, that he came tumbling down the stairs, crying, "Four by G-! four by G-! I will not take one hundred pounds for this one rule.' In six weeks' time, and tarrying with him three days in a week, he became a most judicious person.”
William Hodges.-“ All the ancient astrologers of England were much startled and confounded at my manner of writing, especially old Mr. William Hodges, who lived near Wolverhampton in Staffordshire, and many others who understood astrology competently well, as they thought. Hodges swore I did more by astrology than he could by the crystal and use thereof, which, indeed, he understood as perfectly as any one in England. He was a great royalist, but could never hit any thing right for that party, though he much desired it: he resolved questions astrologically; nativities he meddled not with; in things of other nature, which required more curiosity, he repaired to the crystal: his angels were Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel: his life answered not in holiness and sanctity to what it should, having to deal with those holy angels. Being contemporary with me, I shall relate what my partner, John Scott, the same Scott as is before mentioned, affirmed of him. John Scott was a little skilful in
and physick, so was Will. Hodges, and had formerly been a school-master, Scott having some occasions into Staffordshire, addressed himself for a month or six weeks to Hodges, assisted him to dress his patients, let blood, &c. Being to return to London, he desired Hodges to shew him the person and feature of the woman he should marry. Hodges carries him into a field not far from his house, pulls out his crystal, bids Scott set his foot to his, and, after a while, wishes him to inspect the crystal, and observe what he saw there. "I see,' saith Scott, • a ruddy complexioned wench in a red waistcoat, drawing a can of beer.' • She must be your wife,' said Hodges. “You are mistaken, sir,' said Scott. I am, so soon as I come to London, to marry a tall gentlewoman in the Old-Bailey.' You must marry the red waistcoat,' said Hodges. Scott leaves the country, comes up to London, finds his gentlewoman married : two years after, going into Dover, in his return, he refreshed himself at an ion in Canterbury, and as he came into the hall, or first room thereof, he mistook the room, and went into the buttery, where he espied a maid, described by Hodges as before said, drawing a can of beer, &c. He then, more narrowly viewing her person and habit, found her, in all parts, to be the same, Hodges had described ; after which he became a suitor unto her, and was married unto her; which woman I have often seen.”
Of the famous astrologian, John Booker, who
was own’d without dispute, Through all the realms of nonsense absolute," till the star of Lilly appeared in the ascendant, we have the following account of his mightier rival.
“ He was an excellent proficient in astrology, whose excellent verses upon
the twelve months, framed according to the configurations of each month, being blessed with success according to his predictions, procured him much reputation all over England: be was a very honest man, abhorred any deceit in the art he studied; had a curious fancy in judging of thefts, and as successful in resolving love-questions: he was no mean proficient in astronomy; he understood much in physick; was a great admirer of the antimonial cup; not unlearned in chymistry, which he loved well, but did not practise. He was inclined to a diabetes; and, in the last three years of his life, was afflicted with a dysentery, which at last consumed him to nothing: he died of good fame in 1667. Since his decease, I have seen one nativity of his performance exactly directed, and judged with as much learning as from astrology can be expected.”
The nocturnal adventure, recounted in the following extract, will remind our readers of a scene in The Antiquary, where Dousterswivel and his patron explore the grave of Malcolm-the-Misticot, in search of hidden treasure.
“Davy Ramsey, his majesty's clock-maker, had been informed, that there was a great quantity of treasure buried in the cloyster of Westminster-Abbey; he acquaints Dean Williams therewith, who was also then Bishop of Lincoln; the dean gave him liberty to search after it, with this proviso, that if any was discovered, his church should have a share of it. Davy Ramsey finds out one John Scott,* who pretended the use of the Mosaical rods, to assist him herein : I was desired to join with him, unto which I consented. One winter's night, Davy Ramsey,t with several gentlemen, myself, and Scott, entered the west side of the cloysters, the rods turned one over another, an argument that the treasure was there : the labourers digged at least six foot deep, and then we met with a coffin ; but in regard it was not heavy, we did not open, which we afterwards much repented. From the cloysters we went into the abbey church, where, upon a sudden, (there being no wind when we began) so fierce, so high, so blustering and loud a wind did rise, that we verily believed the west-end of the church would have fallen upon us; our rods would not move at all; the candles and torches, all but one, were extinguished, or burned very dimly: John Scott, my partner, was amazed, looked pale, knew not what to think or do, until I gave directions and command to dismiss the dæmons; which when done, all was quiet again, and each man returned unto his lodging late, about twelve o'clock at night; I could never since be induced to join with any in such-like actions.
“ The true miscarriage of the business was, by reason of so many people being present at the operation ; for there was above thirty, some laughing, others deriding us ; so that if we had not dismissed the dæmons, I believe most part of the abbey church had been blown down; secrecy and intelligent operators, with a strong confidence and knowledge of what they are doing, are best for this work."
Having buried his first wife, our Astrologian speedily provided himself with a second, who brought him five hundred pounds portion, but, with the help of her poor relations, managed to spend him twice that sum. She was, he says,
“ of the nature of Mars," and was possessed by a termagant spirit, which poor Lilly, with all his skill, could never lay. In consequence, perhaps, of his matrimonial infelicity, our sage became lean and melancholy, and retired, for the benefit of his health, to Hersham, where he resided from 1636 to 1641, when, getting tired of the country, and, from the growing confusion of the
times, perceiving there was 'money to be got in London,” he returned thither, and began to labour in his vocation with laudable assiduity : not contented with delivering his oracles in private, he commenced author, and his lucubrations,
- a hundred hawkers' load,
* This Scott lived in Pudding-Lane, and had some time been a page (or such like) to the Lord Norris.
† Davy Ramsey brought an half quartern sack to put the treasure in.