LIFE AND TIMES,
FROM THE YEAR 1602 TO 1681.
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Written by Himself,
IN THE SIXTY-SIXTH YEAR OF HIS AGE, TO HIS WORTHY FRIEND,
ELIAS ASHMOLE, ESQ.
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PUBLISHED FROM THE ORIGINAL MS.
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RE-PRINTED FOR CHARLES BALDWYN,
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MAURICE, PRINTER, PENCHURCH-STREET.
LIST OF PLATES.
William Lilly, (from Marshall's Print)
Ditto (from the Picture)
Dr. Simon Forman 34
John Booker 68
Charles the Second 95
Charles the First 107
Hugh Peters 134
Speaker Lenthall 159
Oliver Cromwell 175
Dr. John Dee 223
Edward Kelly 226
Napier of Merchiston 236
PREFIXED TO THE LIVES OF ELIAS ASHMOLE & WILLIAM LILLY.
In 1 vol. 8vo. 1772.
Although we cannot, with justice, compare Elias Ashmole to that excellent Antiquary John Leland, or William Lilly to the learned and indefatigable Thomas Hearne; yet I think we may fairly rank them with such writers as honest Anthony Wood, whose Diary greatly resembles that of his cotemporary, and intimate friend, Elias Ashmole.
Some anecdotes, connected with affairs of state; many particulars relating to illustrious persons, and antient and noble families; several occurrences in which the Public is interested, and other matters of a more private nature, can only be found in works of this kind. History cannot stoop to the meanness of examining the materials of which Memoirs are generally composed.
And yet the pleasure and benefit resulting from such books are manifest to every reader.
I hope the admirers of the very laborious Thomas Hearne will pardon me, if I should venture to give it as my opinion, and with much deference to their judgment, that William Lilly's Life and Death of Charles the first contains more useful matter of instruction, as well as more splendid and striking occurrences, than are to be found in several of those monkish volumes published by that learned Oxonian.
Lilly affords us many curious particulars relating to the life of that unfortunate Prince, which are no where else to be found. In delineating the character of Charles, he seems dispassionate and impartial, and indeed it agrees perfectly with the general portraiture of him, as it is drawn by our most authentic historians.
The History of Lilly's Life and Times is certainly one of the most entertaining narratives in our language. With respect to the science he professed of calculating nativities, casting figures, the prediction of events, and other appendages of astrology, he would fain make us think that he was a very solemn and serious believer. Indeed, such is the manner of telling his story, that sometimes the reader may possibly be induced to suppose Lilly rather an enthusiast than an impostor. He relates many anecdotes of the pretenders to foretell events, raise spirits, and other impostures, with such seeming candor, and with such an artless simplicity of style, that we are almost persuaded to take his word when he protests such an inviolable respect to truth and sincerity.
The powerful genius of Shakespeare could carry him triumphantly through subjects the most unpromising, and fables the most improbable: we therefore cannot wonder at the success of such of his plays, where the magic of witches and the incantation of spirits are described, or where the power of fairies is introduced; when such was the credulity of the times respecting these imaginary beings, and when that belief was made a science of, and kept alive by artful and superstitious, knavish, and enthusiastic teachers; what Lilly relates of these people, considered only as matter of fact, is surely very curious.
To conclude; I know no record but this where we can find so just and so entertaining a History of Doctor Dee, Doctor Forman, Booker, Winder, Kelly, Evans, (Lilly's Master,) the famous William Poole, and Captain Bubb Fiske, Sarah Shelborne, and many others.
To these we may add, the uncommon effects of the Crystal, the appearance of Queen Mabb, and other strange and miraculous operations, which owe their origin to folly, curiosity, superstition, bigotry, and imposture.
STUDENT IN ASTROLOGY.
Wrote by himself in the 66th Year of his Age, at Hersham, in the Parish of Walton-upon-Thames, in the County of Surry. Propria Manu.
I was born in the county of Leicester, in an obscure town, in the north-west borders thereof, called Diseworth, seven miles south of the town of Derby, one mile from Castle-Donnington, a town of great rudeness, wherein it is not remembered that any of the farmers thereof did ever educate any of their sons to learning, only my grandfather sent his younger son to Cambridge, whose name was Robert Lilly, and died Vicar of Cambden in Gloucestershire, about 1640.
[Footnote 1: "William Lilly was a prominent, and, in the opinion of many of his cotemporaries, a very important personage in the most eventful period of English history. He was a principal actor in the farcical scenes which diversified the bloody tragedy of civil war; and while the King and the Parliament were striving for mastery in the field, he was deciding their destinies in the closet. The weak and the credulous of both parties, who sought to be instructed in 'destiny's dark counsels,' flocked to consult the 'wily Archimage,' who, with exemplary impartiality, meted out victory and good fortune to his clients, according to the extent of their faith, and the weight of their purses. A few profane Cavaliers might make his name the burthen of their malignant rhymes—a few of the more scrupulous among the Saints might keep aloof in sanctified abhorrence of the 'Stygian sophister'—but the great majority of the people lent a willing and reverential ear to his prophecies and prognostications. Nothing was too high or too low—too mighty or too insignificant, for the grasp of his genius. The stars, his informants, were as communicative on the most trivial as on the most important subjects. If a scheme was set on foot to rescue the king, or to retrieve a stray trinket—to restore the royal authority, or to make a frail damsel an honest woman—to cure the nation of anarchy, or a lap-dog of a surfeit, William Lilly was the oracle to be consulted. His almanacks were spelled over in the tavern and quoted in the senate; they nerved the arm of the soldier, and rounded the periods of the orator. The fashionable beauty, dashing along in her calash from St. James's or the Mall, and the prim, starched dame, from Watling-street or Bucklersbury, with a staid foot-boy, in a plush jerkin, plodding behind her—the reigning toast among 'the men of wit about town,' and the leading groaner in a tabernacle concert—glided alternately into the study of the trusty wizard, and poured into his attentive ear strange tales of love, or trade, or treason. The Roundhead stalked in at one door, whilst the Cavalier was hurried out at the other.
"The Confessions of a man so variously consulted and trusted, if written with the candour of a Cardan or a Rousseau, would indeed be invaluable. The Memoirs of William Lilly, though deficient in this essential ingredient, yet contain a variety of curious and interesting anecdotes of himself and his cotemporaries, which, where the vanity of the writer, or the truth of his art, is not concerned, may be received with implicit credence.
"The simplicity and apparent candour of his narrative might induce a hasty reader of this book to believe him a well-meaning but somewhat silly personage, the dupe of his own speculations—the deceiver of himself as well as of others. But an attentive examination of the events of his life, even as recorded by himself, will not warrant so favourable an interpretation. His systematic and successful attention to his own interest—his dexterity in keeping on 'the windy side of the law'—his perfect political pliability—and his presence of mind and fertility of resources when entangled in difficulties—indicate an accomplished impostor, not a crazy enthusiast. It is very possible and probable, that, at the outset of his career, he was a real believer in the truth and lawfulness of his art, and that he afterwards felt no inclination to part with so pleasant and so profitable a delusion: like his patron, Cromwell, whose early fanaticism subsided into hypocrisy, he carefully retained his folly as a cloak for his knavery. Of his success in deception, the present narrative exhibits abundant proofs. The number of his dupes was not confined to the vulgar and illiterate, but included individuals of real worth and learning, of hostile parties and sects, who courted his acquaintance and respected his predictions. His proceedings were deemed of sufficient importance to be twice made the subject of a parliamentary inquiry; and even after the Restoration—when a little more scepticism, if not more wisdom, might have been expected—we find him examined by a Committee of the House of Commons, respecting his fore-knowledge of the great fire of London. We know not whether it 'should more move our anger or our mirth,' to see an assemblage of British Senators—the cotemporaries of Hampden and Falkland—of Milton and Clarendon—in an age which roused into action so many and such mighty energies—gravely engaged in ascertaining the causes of a great national calamity, from the prescience of a knavish fortuneteller, and puzzling their wisdoms to interpret the symbolical flames, which blazed in the mis-shapen wood-cuts of his oracular publications.
"As a set-off against these honours may be mentioned, the virulent and unceasing attacks of almost all the party scribblers of the day; but their abuse he shared in common with men, whose talents and virtues have outlived the malice of their cotemporaries, and
'Whose honours with increase of ages grow, As streams roll down, enlarging as they flow.'"
Retrospective Review, Vol. ii. p. 51.]
The town of Diseworth did formerly belong long unto the Lord Seagrave, for there is one record in the hands of my cousin Melborn Williamson, which mentions one acre of land abutting north upon the gates of the Lord Seagrave; and there is one close, called Hall-close, wherein the ruins of some ancient buildings appear, and particularly where the dove-house stood; and there is also the ruins of decayed fish-ponds and other outhouses. This town came at length to be the inheritance of Margaret, Countess of Richmond, mother of Henry VII. which Margaret gave this town and lordship of Diseworth unto Christ's College in Cambridge, the Master and Fellows whereof have ever since, and at present, enjoy and possess it.
In the church of this town there is but one monument, and that is a white marble stone, now almost broken to pieces, which was placed there by Robert Lilly, my grandfather, in memory of Jane his wife, the daughter of Mr. Poole of Dalby, in the same county, a family now quite extinguished. My grandmother's brother was Mr. Henry Poole, one of the Knights of Rhodes, or Templars, who being a soldier at Rhodes at the taking thereof by Solyman the Magnificent, and escaping with his life, came afterwards to England, and married the Lady Parron or Perham, of Oxfordshire, and was called, during his life, Sir Henry Poole. William Poole the Astrologer knew him very well, and remembers him to have been a very tall person, and reputed of great strength in his younger years.
The impropriation of this town of Diseworth was formerly the inheritance of three sisters, whereof two became votaries; one in the nunnery of Langly in the parish of Diseworth, valued at the suppression, I mean the whole nunnery, at thirty-two pounds per annum, and this sister's part is yet enjoyed by the family of the Grayes, who now, and for some years past, have the enjoyment and possession of all the lands formerly belonging to the nunnery in the parish of Diseworth, and are at present of the yearly value of three hundred and fifty pounds per annum. One of the sisters gave her part of the great tithes unto a religious house in Bredon upon the Hill; and, as the inhabitants report, became a religious person afterwards.
The third sister married, and her part of the tithes in succeeding ages became the Earl of Huntingdon's, who not many years since sold it to one of his servants.
The donation of the vicarage is in the gift of the Grayes of Langley, unto whom they pay yearly, (I mean unto the Vicar) as I am informed, six pounds per annum. Very lately some charitable citizens have purchased one-third portion of the tithes, and given it for a maintenance of a preaching minister, and it is now of the value of about fifty pounds per annum.
There have been two hermitages in this parish; the last hermit was well remembered by one Thomas Cooke, a very ancient inhabitant, who in my younger years acquainted me therewith.
This town of Diseworth is divided into three parishes; one part belongs under Locington, in which part standeth my father's house, over-against the west end of the steeple, in which I was born: some other farms are in the parish of Bredon, the rest in the parish of Diseworth.
In this town, but in the parish of Lockington, was I born, the first day of May 1602.
My father's name was William Lilly, son of Robert, the son of Robert, the son of Rowland, &c. My mother was Alice, the daughter of Edward Barham, of Fiskerton Mills, in Nottinghamshire, two miles from Newark upon Trent: this Edward Barham was born in Norwich, and well remembered the rebellion of Kett the Tanner, in the days of Edward VI.
Our family have continued many ages in this town as yeomen; besides the farm my father and his ancestors lived in, both my father and grandfather had much free land, and many houses in the town, not belonging to the college, as the farm wherein they were all born doth, and is now at this present of the value of forty pounds per annum, and in possession of my brother's son; but the freehold land and houses, formerly purchased by my ancestors, were all sold by my grandfather and father; so that now our family depend wholly upon a college lease. Of my infancy I can speak little, only I do remember that in the fourth year of my age I had the measles.
I was, during my minority, put to learn at such schools, and of such masters, as the rudeness of the place and country afforded; my mother intending I should be a scholar from my infancy, seeing my father's back-slidings in the world, and no hopes by plain husbandry to recruit a decayed estate; therefore upon Trinity Tuesday, 1613, my father had me to Ashby de la Zouch, to be instructed by one Mr. John Brinsley; one, in those times, of great abilities for instruction of youth in the Latin and Greek tongues; he was very severe in his life and conversation, and did breed up many scholars for the universities: in religion he was a strict Puritan, not conformable wholly to the ceremonies of the Church of England. In this town of Ashby de la Zouch, for many years together, Mr. Arthur Hildersham exercised his ministry at my being there; and all the while I continued at Ashby, he was silenced. This is that famous Hildersham, who left behind him a commentary on the fifty-first psalm; as also many sermons upon the fourth of John, both which are printed; he was an excellent textuary, of exemplary life, pleasant in discourse, a strong enemy to the Brownists, and dissented not from the Church of England in any article of faith, but only about wearing the surplice, baptizing with the cross, and kneeling at the sacrament; most of the people in town were directed by his judgement, and so continued, and yet do continue presbyterianly affected; for when the Lord of Loughborough in 1642, 1643, 1644, and 1645, had his garrison in that town, if by chance at any time any troops of horse had lodged within the town, though they came late at night to their quarters; yet would one or other of the town presently give Sir John Gell of Derby notice, so that ere next morning most of his Majesty's troops were seized in their lodgings, which moved the Lord of Loughborough merrily to say, there was not a fart let in Ashby, but it was presently carried to Derby.
The several authors I there learned were these, viz. Sententiae Pueriles, Cato, Corderius, AEsop's Fables, Tully's Offices, Ovid de Tristibus; lastly, Virgil, then Horace; as also Camden's Greek Grammar, Theognis and Homer's Iliads: I was only entered into Udall's Hebrew Grammar; he never taught logick, but often would say it was fit to be learned in the universities.
In the fourteenth year of my age, by a fellow scholar of swarth, black complexion, I had like to have my right eye beaten out as we were at play; the same year, about Michaelmas, I got a surfeit, and thereupon a fever, by eating beech-nuts.
In the sixteenth year of my age I was exceedingly troubled in my dreams concerning my salvation and damnation, and also concerning the safety and destruction of the souls of my father and mother; in the nights I frequently wept, prayed and mourned, for fear my sins might offend God.
In the seventeenth year of my age my mother died.
In the eighteenth year of my age my master Brinsley was enforced from keeping school, being persecuted by the Bishop's officers; he came to London, and then lectured in London, where he afterwards died. In this year, by reason of my father's poverty, I was also enforced to leave school, and so came to my father's house, where I lived in much penury for one year, and taught school one quarter of a year, until God's providence provided better for me.
For the two last years of my being at school, I was of the highest form in the school, and chiefest of that form; I could then speak Latin as well as English; could make extempore verses upon any theme; all kinds of verses, hexameter, pentameter, phaleuciacks, iambicks, sapphicks, &c. so that if any scholars from remote schools came to dispute, I was ringleader to dispute with them; I could cap verses, &c. If any minister came to examine us, I was brought forth against him, nor would I argue with him unless in the Latin tongue, which I found few of them could well speak without breaking Priscian's head; which, if once they did, I would complain to my master, Non bene intelligit linguam Latinam, nec prorsus loquitur. In the derivation of words, I found most of them defective, nor indeed were any of them good grammarians: all and every of those scholars who were of my form and standing, went to Cambridge and proved excellent divines, only poor I, William Lilly, was not so happy; fortune then frowning upon father's present condition, he not in any capacity to maintain me at the university.
OF THE MANNER HOW I CAME UNTO LONDON.
Worthy sir, I take much delight to recount unto you, even all and every circumstance of my life, whether good, moderate, or evil; Deo gloria.
My father had one Samuel Smatty for his Attorney, unto whom I went sundry times with letters, who perceiving I was a scholar, and that I lived miserably in the country, losing my time, nor any ways likely to do better, if I continued there; pitying my condition, he sent word for me to come and speak with him, and told me that he had lately been at London, where there was a gentleman wanted a youth, to attend him and his wife, who could write, &c.
I acquainted my father with it, who was very willing to be rid of me, for I could not work, drive the plough, or endure any country labour; my father oft would say, I was good for nothing.
I had only twenty shillings, and no more, to buy me a new suit, hose, doublet, &c. my doublet was fustian: I repaired to Mr. Smatty, when I was accoutred, for a letter to my master, which he gave me.
Upon Monday, April 3, 1620, I departed from Diseworth, and came to Leicester: but I must acquaint you, that before I came away I visited my friends, amongst whom I had given me about ten shillings, which was a great comfort unto me. On Tuesday, April the 4th, I took leave of my father, then in Leicester gaol for debt, and came along with Bradshaw the carrier, the same person with whom many of the Duke of Buckingham's kindred had come up with. Hark how the waggons crack with their rich lading! It was a very stormy week, cold and uncomfortable: I footed it all along; we could not reach London until Palm-Sunday, the 9th of April, about half an hour after three in the afternoon, at which time we entered Smithfield. When I had gratified the carrier and his servants, I had seven shillings and sixpence left, and no more; one suit of cloaths upon my back, two shirts, three bands, one pair of shoes, and as many stockings. Upon the delivery of my letter my master entertained me, and next day bought me a new cloak, of which you may imagine (good Esquire) whether I was not proud of; besides, I saw and eat good white bread, contrary to our diet in Leicestershire. My master's name was Gilbert Wright, born at Market Bosworth in Leicestershire; my mistress was born at Ashby de la Zouch, in the same county, and in the town where I had gone to school. This Gilbert Wright could neither write nor read: he lived upon his annual rents, was of no calling or profession; he had for many years been servant to the Lady Pawlet in Hertfordshire; and when Serjeant Puckering was made Lord keeper, he made him keeper of his lodgings at Whitehall. When Sir Thomas Egerton was made Lord Chancellor, he entertained him in the same place; and when he married a widow in Newgate Market, the Lord Chancellor recommended him to the company of Salters, London, to admit him into their company, and so they did, and my master in 1624, was master of that company; he was a man of excellent natural parts, and would speak publickly upon any occasion very rationally and to the purpose. I write this, that the world may know he was no taylor, or myself of that or any other calling or profession: my work was to go before my master to church; to attend my master when he went abroad; to make clean his shoes; sweep the street; help to drive bucks when he washed; fetch water in a tub from the Thames: I have helped to carry eighteen tubs of water in one morning; weed the garden; all manner of drudgeries I willingly performed; scrape trenchers, &c. If I had any profession, it was of this nature: I should never have denied being a taylor, had I been one; for there is no calling so base, which by God's mercy may not afford a livelihood; and had not my master entertained me, I would have been of a very mean profession ere I would have returned into the country again; so here ends the actions of eighteen years of my life.
My master married his second wife for her estate; she was competently rich; she married him for considerations he performed not, (nocturnal society) so that they lived very uncomfortably; she was about seventy years of age, he sixty-six or more; yet never was any woman more jealous of a husband than she; insomuch, that whensoever he went into London, she was confident of his going to women; by those means my life was the more uncomfortable, it being very difficult to please two such opposite natures: however, as to the things of this world I had enough, and endured their discontents with much sereneness. My mistress was very curious to know of such as were then called cunning or wise men, whether she should bury her husband? She frequently visited such persons, and this occasion begot in me a little desire to learn something that way, but wanting money to buy books, I laid aside these motions, and endeavoured to please both master and mistress.
OF MY MISTRESS'S DEATH, AND OCCASION THEREOF BY MEANS OF A CANCER IN HER BREAST.
In 1622 she complained of a pain in her left breast, whereon there appeared at first a hard knob no bigger than a small pea; it increased in a little time very much, was very hard, and sometimes would look very red; she took advice of surgeons, had oils, sear-cloths, plates of lead, and what not: in 1623 it grew very big, and spread all over her breast; then for many weeks poultices were applied to it, which in continuance of time broke the skin, and then abundance of watery thin stuff came from it, but nothing else; at length the matter came to suppuration, but never any great store issued forth; it was exceeding noisome and painful; from the beginning of it until she died, she would permit no surgeon to dress it but only myself; I applied every thing unto it, and her pains were so great the winter before she died, that I have been called out of my bed two or three times in one night to dress it and change plaisters. In 1624 by degrees, with scissars, I cut all the whole breast away, I mean the sinews, nerves, &c. In one fortnight, or little more, it appeared, as it were, mere flesh, all raw, so that she could scarce endure any unguent to be applied.
I remember there was a great cleft through the middle of the breast, which when that fully appeared she died, which was in September 1624; my master being then in the country, his kindred in London would willingly have had mourning for her; but by advice of an especial friend of his I contradicted them; nor would I permit them to look into any chest or trunk in the house. She was decently buried, and so fond of me in the time of her sickness, she would never permit me out of her chamber, gave me five pounds in old gold, and sent me unto a private trunk of her's at a friend's house, where she had one hundred pounds in gold; she bid me bring it away and take it, but when I opened the trunk I found nothing therein; for a kinsman of hers had been there a few days before, and carried all away: she was in a great passion at my relating thereof, because she could not gratify my pains in all her sickness, advised me to help myself, when she was gone, out of my master's goods, which I never did.
Courteous Esquire, be not weary of reading hereof, or what followeth.
When my mistress died, she had under her arm-hole a small scarlet bag full of many things, which, one that was there delivered unto me. There was in this bag several sigils, some of Jupiter in Trine, others of the nature of Venus, some of iron, and one of gold, of pure angel-gold, of the bigness of a thirty-three shilling piece of King James's coin. In the circumference on one side was engraven, Vicit Leo de tribu Judae Tetragrammaton [symbol: cross], within the middle there was engraven a holy lamb. In the other circumference there was Amraphel and three [symbol: cross]. In the middle, Sanctus Petrus, Alpha and Omega.
The occasion of framing this sigil was thus; her former husband travelling into Sussex, happened to lodge in an inn, and to lie in a chamber thereof; wherein, not many months before, a country grazier had lain, and in the night cut his own throat; after this night's lodging, he was perpetually, and for many years, followed by a spirit, which vocally and articulately provoked him to cut his throat: he was used frequently to say, 'I defy thee, I defy thee,' and to spit at the spirit; this spirit followed him many years, he not making any body acquainted with it; at last he grew melancholy and discontented; which being carefully observed by his wife, she many times hearing him pronounce, 'I defy thee,' &c. she desired him to acquaint her with the cause of his distemper, which he then did. Away she went to Dr. Simon Forman, who lived then in Lambeth, and acquaints him with it; who having framed this sigil, and hanged it about his neck, he wearing it continually until he died, was never more molested by the spirit: I sold the sigil for thirty-two shillings, but transcribed the words verbatim as I have related. Sir, you shall now have a story of this Simon Forman, as his widow, whom I well knew, related it unto me. But before I relate his death, I shall acquaint you something of the man, as I have gathered them from some manuscripts of his own writing.
OF DR. SIMON FORMAN
He was a chandler's son in the city of Westminster. He travelled into Holland for a month, in 1580, purposely to be instructed in astrology, and other more occult sciences; as also in physick, taking his degree of Doctor beyond seas: being sufficiently furnished and instructed with what he desired, he returned into England, towards the latter end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and flourished until that year of King James, wherein the Countess of Essex, the Earl of Somerset, and Sir Thomas Overbury's matters were questioned. He lived in Lambeth, with a very good report of the neighbourhood, especially of the poor, unto whom he was very charitable. 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. He was a person of indefatigable pains. I have seen sometimes half one sheet of paper wrote of his judgment upon one question; in writing whereof he used much tautology, as you may see yourself, (most excellent Esquire) if you read a great book of Dr. Flood's, which you have, who had all that book from the manuscripts of Forman; for I have seen the same word for word in an English manuscript formerly belonging to Doctor Willoughby of Gloucestershire. Had Forman lived to have methodized his own papers, I doubt not but he would have advanced the Jatro-mathematical part thereof very completely; for he was very observant, and kept notes of the success of his judgments, as in many of his figures I have observed. 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 judgment:' 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 judgment 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 philosophers' 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 [symbol: aspect "squares"] of [symbol: aspect "conjunctions"] the setting-glass broke, and I lost all my pains:' he sets down five or six such judgments, but still complains all came to nothing, upon the malignant aspects of [symbol: Saturn] and [symbol: Mars]. Although some of his astrological judgments did fail, more particularly those concerning himself, he being no way capable of such preferment as he ambitiously desired; yet I shall repeat some other of his judgments, which did not fail, being performed by conference with spirits. My mistress went once unto him, to know when her husband, then in Cumberland, would return, he having promised to be at home near the time of the question; after some consideration, he told her to this effect: 'Margery,' for so her name was, 'thy husband will not be at home these eighteen days; his kindred have vexed him, and he is come away from them in much anger: he is now in Carlisle, and hath but three-pence in his purse.' And when he came home he confessed all to be true, and that upon leaving his kindred he had but three-pence in his purse. I shall relate one story more, and then his death.
One Coleman, clerk to Sir Thomas Beaumont of Leicestershire, having had some liberal favours both from his lady and her daughters, bragged of it, &c. The Knight brought him into the star-chamber, had his servant sentenced to be pilloried, whipped, and afterwards, during life, to be imprisoned. The sentence was executed in London, and was to be in Leicestershire: two keepers were to convey Coleman from the Fleet to Leicester. My mistress taking consideration of Coleman, and the miseries he was to suffer, went presently to Forman, acquainted him therewith; who, after consideration, swore Coleman had lain both with mother and daughters; and besides said, that the old Lady being afflicted with fits of the mother, called him into her chamber to hold down the fits with his hands; and that he holding his hands about the breast, she cried 'Lower, lower,' and put his hands below her belly; and then—He also told my mistress in what posture he lay with the young ladies, &c. and said, 'they intend in Leicester to whip him to death; but I assure thee, Margery, he shall never come there; yet they set forward to-morrow,' says he; and so his two keepers did, Coleman's legs being locked with an iron chain under the horse's belly. In this nature they travelled the first and second day; on the third day the two keepers, seeing their prisoner's civility the two preceding days, did not lock his chain under the horse's belly as formerly, but locked it only to one side. In this posture they rode some miles beyond Northampton, when on a sudden, one of the keepers had a necessity to untruss, and so the other and Coleman stood still; by and by the other keeper desired Coleman to hold his horse, for he had occasion also: Coleman immediately took one of their swords, and ran through two of the horses, killing them stark dead; gets upon the other, with one of their swords; 'Farewell, gentlemen,' quoth he, 'tell my master I have no mind to be whipped in Leicestershire,' and so went his way. The two keepers in all haste went to a gentleman's house near at hand, complaining of their misfortune, and desired of him to pursue their prisoner, which he with much civility granted; but ere the horses could be got ready, the mistress of the house came down, and enquiring what the matter was, went to the stable, and commanded the horses to be unsaddled, with this sharp speech—'Let the Lady Beaumont and her daughters live honestly, none of my horses shall go forth upon this occasion.'
I could relate many such stories of his performances; as also what 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 his 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 died. A most sad storm of wind immediately following. He died worth one thousand two hundred pounds, and left only one son called Clement. All his rarities, secret manuscripts, of what quality soever, Dr. Napper of Lindford in Buckinghamshire had, who had been a long time his scholar; and of whom Forman was used to say he would be a dunce: yet in continuance of time he proved a singular astrologer and physician. Sir Richard now living, I believe, has all those rarities in possession, which were Forman's, being kinsman and heir unto Dr. Napper. (His son Thomas Napper, Esq.; most generously gave most of these manuscripts to Elias Ashmole, Esq.;) I hope you will pardon this digression.
After my mistress was dead, I lived most comfortably, my master having a great affection for me.
The year 1625 now comes on, and the plague exceeding violent, I will relate what I observed the spring before it broke forth. Against our corner house every night there would come down, about five or six of the clock, sometime one hundred or more boys, some playing, others as if in serious discourse, and just as it grew dark would all be gone home; many succeeding years there was no such, or any concourse, usually no more than four or five in a company: In the spring of 1625, the boys and youths of several parishes in like number appeared again, which I beholding, called Thomas Sanders, my landlord, and told him, that the youth and young boys of several parishes did in that nature assemble and play, in the beginning of the year 1625. 'God bless us,' quoth I, 'from a plague this year;' but then there succeeded one, and the greatest that ever was in London. In 1625, the visitation encreasing, and my master having a great charge of money and plate, some of his own, some other men's, left me and a fellow-servant to keep the house, and himself in June went into Leicestershire. He was in that year feoffee collector for twelve poor alms-people living in Clement-Dane's Church-Yard; whose pensions I in his absence paid weekly, to his and the parish's great satisfaction. My master was no sooner gone down, but I bought a bass-viol, and got a master to instruct me; the intervals of time I spent in bowling in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, with Wat the cobler, Dick the blacksmith, and such like companions: We have sometimes been at our work at six in the morning, and so continued till three or four in the afternoon, many times without bread or drink all that while. Sometimes I went to church and heard funeral sermons, of which there was then great plenty. At other times I went early to St. Antholine's in London, where there was every morning a sermon. The most able people of the whole city and suburbs were out of town; if any remained, it were such as were engaged by parish-officers to remain; no habit of a gentleman or woman continued; the woeful calamity of that year was grievous, people dying in the open fields and in open streets. At last, in August, the bills of mortality so encreased, that very few people had thoughts of surviving the contagion: the Sunday before the great bill came forth, which was of five thousand and odd hundreds, there was appointed a sacrament at Clement Dane's; during the destributing whereof I do very well remember we sang thirteen parts of the one hundred and nineteenth Psalm. One Jacob, our minister (for we had three that day, the communion was so great) fell sick as he was giving the sacrament, went home, and was buried of the plague the Thursday following, Mr. James, another of the ministers, fell sick ere he had quite finished, had the plague, and was thirteen weeks ere he recovered. Mr. Whitacre, the last of the three, escaped not only then, but all the contagion following, without any sickness at all; though he officiated at every funeral, and buried all manner of people, whether they died of the plague or not. He was given to drink, seldom could preach more than one quarter of an hour at a time, &c. In November my master came home. My fellow-servant's and my diet came weekly to six shillings and sixpence, sometimes to seven shillings, so cheap was diet at that time.
In February of that year, my master married again (one who after his death became my wife.) In the same year he settled upon me, during my life, twenty pounds per annum, which I have enjoyed ever since, even to the writing hereof.
May 22, 1627, my master died at the corner house in the Strand, where I also lived so long. He died intestate; my mistress relinquishing the administration, it came to his elder brother, who assigned the estate over to me for payment of my master's debts; which being paid, I faithfully returned the remaining part unto his administrator; nor had one penny of the estate more than twenty pounds per annum, which was allowed me by contract, to undertake the payment of my master's debts.
OF MY MARRIAGE THE FIRST TIME.
My mistress, who had been twice married to old men, was now resolved to be couzened no more; she was of a brown ruddy complexion, corpulent, of but mean stature, plain, no education, yet a very provident person, and of good condition: she had many suitors, old men, whom she declined; some gentlemen of decayed fortunes, whom she liked not, for she was covetous and sparing: by my fellow-servant she was observed frequently to say, she cared not if she married a man that would love her, so that he had never a penny; and would ordinarily talk of me when she was in bed: this servant gave me encouragement to give the onset: I was much perplexed hereat, for should I attempt her, and be slighted, she would never care for me afterwards; but again, I considered that if I should attempt and fail, she would never speak of it; or would any believe I durst be so audacious as to propound such a question, the disproportion of years and fortune being so great betwixt us: however, all her talk was of husbands, and in my presence saying one day after dinner, she respected not wealth, but desired an honest man; I made answer, I thought I could fit her with such a husband; she asked me, where? I made no more ado, but presently saluted her, and told her myself was the man: she replied, I was too young; I said nay; what I had not in wealth, I would supply in love; and saluted her frequently, which she accepted lovingly; and next day at dinner made me sit down at dinner with my hat on my head, and said, she intended to make me her husband; for which I gave her many salutes, &c.
I was very careful to keep all things secret, for I well knew, if she should take counsel of any friend, my hopes would be frustrated, therefore I suddenly procured her consent to marry, unto which she assented; so that upon the eighth day of September, 1627, at St. George's church in Southwark, I was married unto her, and for two whole years we kept it secret. When it was divulged, and some people blamed her for it, she constantly replied, that she had no kindred; if I proved kind, and a good husband, she would make me a man; if I proved otherwise, she only undid herself. In the third and fourth years after our marriage, we had strong suits of law with her first husband's kindred, but overthrew them in the end. During all the time of her life, which was until October, 1633, we lived very lovingly, I frequenting no company at all; my exercises were sometimes angling, in which I ever delighted: my companions, two aged men. I then frequented lectures, two or three in a week; I heard Mr. Sute in Lombard-Street, Mr. Gouge of Black-Fryars, Dr. Micklethwait of the Temple, Dr. Oldsworth, with others, the most learned men of these times, and leaned in judgment to Puritanism. In October, 1627, I was made free of the Salters' company in London.
HOW I CAME TO STUDY ASTROLOGY.
It happened on one Sunday, 1632, as myself and a Justice of Peace's clerk were, before service, discoursing of many things, he chanced to say, that such a person was a great scholar, nay, so learned, that his could make an Almanack, which to me then was strange: one speech begot another, till, at last, he said, he could bring me acquainted with one Evans in Gunpowder-Alley, who had formerly lived in Staffordshire, that was an excellent wise man, and studied the Black Art. The same week after we went to see Mr. Evans. When we came to his house, he, having been drunk the night before, was upon his bed, if it be lawful to call that a bed whereon he then lay; he roused up himself, and, after some compliments, he was content to instruct me in astrology; I attended his best opportunities for seven or eight weeks, in which time I could set a figure perfectly: books he had not any, except Haly de judiciis Astrorum, and Orriganus's Ephemerides; so that as often as I entered his house, I thought I was in the wilderness. Now something of the man: he was by birth a Welshman, a Master of Arts, and in sacred orders; he had formerly had a cure of souls in Staffordshire, but now was come to try his fortunes at London, being in a manner enforced to fly for some offences very scandalous, committed by him in these parts, where he had lately lived; for he gave judgment upon things lost, the only shame of astrology: he was the most saturnine person my eyes ever beheld, either before I practised or since; of a middle stature; broad forehead, beetle-browed, thick shoulders, flat nosed, full lips, down-looked, black curling stiff hair, splay-footed; to give him his right, he had the most piercing judgment naturally upon a figure of theft, and many other questions, that I ever met withal; yet for money he would willingly give contrary judgments, was much addicted to debauchery, and then very abusive and quarrelsome, seldom without a black eye, or one mischief of other: this is the same Evans who made so many antimornal cups, upon the sale whereof he principally subsisted; he understood Latin very well, the Greek tongue not at all: he had some arts above, and beyond astrology, for he was well versed in the nature of spirits, and had many times used the circular way of invocating, as in the time of our familiarity he told me. Two of his actions I will relate, as to me delivered. There was in Staffordshire a young gentlewoman that had, for her preferment, married an aged rich person, who was desirous to purchase some lands for his wife's maintenance; but this young gentlewoman, his wife, was desired to buy the land in the name of a gentleman, her very dear friend, but for her use: after the aged man was dead, the widow could by no means procure the deed of purchase from her friend; whereupon she applies herself to Evans, who, for a sum of money, promises to have her deed safely delivered into her own hands; the sum was forty pounds. Evans applies himself to the invocation of the angel Salmon, of the nature of Mars, reads his Litany in the Common-Prayer-Book every day, at select hours, wears his surplice, lives orderly all that time; at the fortnight's end Salmon appeared, and having received his commands what to do, in a small time returns with the very deed desired, lays it down gently upon a table where a white cloth was spread, and then, being dismissed, vanished. The deed was, by the gentleman who formerly kept it, placed among many other of his evidences in a large wooden chest, and in a chamber at one end of the house; but upon Salmon's; removing and bringing away the deed, all that bay of building was quite blown down, and all his own proper evidences torn all to pieces. The second story followeth.
Some time before I became acquainted with him, he then living in the Minories, was desired by the Lord Bothwell and Sir Kenelm 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 from out 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 amongst 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 judgment he did, since the signification shewed 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. Let it not repent you (O noble Esquire) if now I make a short digression of such persons as then professed astrology, that posterity may understand in what condition I found it, and in whose hands that little that remained was lodged.
There lived then in Houndsditch one Alexander Hart, who had been a soldier formerly, a comely old man, of good aspect; he professed questionary astrology, and a little of physick; his greatest skill was to elect young gentlemen fit times to play at dice, that they might win or get money. I went unto him for resolutions for three questions at several times, and he erred in every one. To speak soberly of him, he was but a cheat, as appeared suddenly after; for a rustical fellow of the city, desirous of knowledge, contracted with Hart to assist for a conference with a spirit, and paid him twenty pounds of thirty pounds the contract. At last, after many delays, and no spirit appearing, or money returned, the young man indicts him for a cheat at the Old Bailey in London; the Jury found the bill, and at the hearing of the cause this jest happened: some of the bench enquired what Hart did? 'He sat like an Alderman in his gown,' quoth the fellow; at which the court fell into a great laughter, most of the court being Aldermen. He was to have been set upon the pillory for this cheat; but John Taylour, the Water Poet, being his great friend, got the Lord Chief Justice Richardson to bail him, ere he stood upon the pillory, and so Hart fled presently into Holland, where he ended his days. It was my fortune, upon the sale of his books in 1634, to buy Argoll's Primum Mobile for fourteen shillings, which I only wanted.
In Lambeth Marsh at the same time lived one Captain Bubb, who resolved horary questions astrologically; a proper handsome man, well spoken, but withal covetous, and of no honesty, as will appear by this story, for which he stood upon the pillory. A certain butcher was robbed, going to a fair, of forty pounds; he goes to Bubb, who for ten pounds in hand paid, would help him to the thief; appoints the butcher such a night precisely, to watch at such a place, and the thief should come thither; commanded him by any means to stop him; the butcher attends according to direction. About twelve in the night there comes one riding very fiercely upon a full gallop, whom the butcher knocks down, and seized both upon man and horse: the butcher brings the man and horse to the next town, but then the person whom the butcher attacked was John the servant of Dr. Bubb; for which the Captain was indicted and suffered upon the pillory, and afterwards ended his days in great disgrace.
There was also one Jeffry Neve, at this time a student in physic and astrology; he had formerly been a merchant in Yarmouth, and Mayor of the town, but failing in estate, went into the Low-Countries, and at Franecker took the degree, of doctor in Physick; he had some little smattering in astrology; could resolve a question of theft, or love-question, something of sickness; a very grave person, laborious and honest, of tall stature and comely feature; he died of late years, almost in the very street near Tower-Hill: he had a design of printing two hundred verified questions, and desired my approbation ere they went to press; that I first would see them, and then give testimony. When I had perused the first forty, I corrected thirty of them, would read over no more: I showed him how erroneous they were, desired his emendation of the rest, which he performed not. These were afterwards, in R. Saunders's custody, bought by him either of his son or of a stationer.
[Footnote 2: But first offered to be sold to me for twenty shillings. When Mr. Saunders died I bought them of his son for less. E. A——.]
There was then William Poole, a nibbler at astrology, sometimes a gardener, an apparitor, a drawer of linen; as quoifs, handkerchiefs; a plaisterer and a bricklayer; he would brag many times he had been of seventeen professions; was very good company for drolling, as you yourself very well remember (most honoured Sir); he pretended to poetry; and that posterity may have a taste of it, you shall have here inserted two verses of his own making; the occasion of making them was thus. One Sir Thomas Jay, a Justice of the Peace in Rosemary-Lane, issued out his warrant for the apprehension of Poole, upon a pretended suggestion, that he was in company with some lewd people in a tavern, where a silver cup was lost, Anglice stolen. Poole, hearing of the warrant, packs up his little trunk of books, being all his library, and runs to Westminster; but hearing some months after that the Justice was dead and buried, he came and enquired where the grave was; and after the discharge of his belly upon the grave, left these two verses upon it, which he swore he made himself.
Here lieth buried Sir Thomas Jay, Knight, Who being dead, I upon his grave did shite.
[Footnote 3: December 17, this William Poole was married to Alice How, at St. George's Church in Southwark. Mr. Lilly gave her to him.]
He died about 1651, or 1652, at St. Mary Overy's in Southwark; and this was part of his last will.
'Item; I give to Dr. Ardee all my books, and one manuscript of my own, worth one hundred of Lilly's Introduction.'
'Item; If Dr. Ardee give my wife any thing that is mine, I wish the devil may fetch him body and soul.' The Doctor, terrified with this curse, gave me all the books and his goods which I presently gave to his widow.—-Interdum seria jocis.
Now also lived this Dr. Ardee, but his true name was Richard Delahay, formerly an Attorney; he studied astrology and physick, being in necessity, and forced from Derbyshire, where he had lived, by the old Countess of Shrewsbury; he was of moderate judgment, both in astrology and physick. He had formerly been well acquainted with Charles Sledd, an apothecary, who used the crystal, and had a very perfect sight. This Dr. Ardee hath many times affirmed unto me, (esto fides) that an angel, one time, appeared unto him, and offered him a lease of his life for one thousand years; he died about the age of fourscore years; left his widow, who married into Kent, worth two or three thousand pounds, and William Poole's estate came to four or five pounds.
[Footnote 4: Of this Charles Sledd, there is mention made in Dr. Dee's book of his discourse with spirits, set forth by Dr. Casaubon.]
[Footnote 5: To one Moreland.]
In the years 1632 and 1633, John Booker became famous for a prediction of his upon a solar eclipse in the 19th degree of Aries 1663, taken out of Leovitius de magnis conjunctionibus, viz. Oh Reges et Principes &c. Both the King of Bohemia, and Gustavus King of Sweden, dying during the effects of that eclipse.
John Booker was born in Manchester, of good parentage, in the year 1601; was in his youth well instructed in the Latin tongue, which he understood very well. He seemed from his infancy to be designed for astrology; for from the time he had any understanding, he would be always poring on, and studying almanacks. He came to London at fitting years, and served an apprenticeship to an haberdasher in Laurence-Lane, London; but either wanting stock to setup, or disliking the calling, he left his trade, and taught to write at Hadley in Middlesex several scholars in that school: he wrote singularly well both Secretary and Roman. In process of time he served Sir Christopher Clethero, Knight, Alderman of London, as his clerk, being a city Justice of Peace: he also was clerk to Sir Hugh Hammersley, Alderman of London, both which he served with great credit and estimation; and by that means became not only well known, but as well respected of the most eminent citizens of London, even to his dying day.
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: he 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 of 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.
His library of books came short of the world's approbation, and were by his widow sold to Elias Ashmole, Esq. who most generously gave her far more money than they were worth; but out of his respects unto the deceased and his memory, he most willingly paid her the money. He left behind him two sons and two daughters. He left in writing very little but his annual prognostications. He began first to write about the year 1630; he wrote Bellum Hibernicale, in the time of the long parliament, a very sober and judicious book: the epistle thereunto I gave him. He wrote lately a small treatise of Easter-Day, a very learned thing, wherein he shewed much learning and reading. To say no more of him, he lived an honest man, his fame not questioned at his death.
[Footnote 6: They cost me one hundred and forty pounds.]
In this year 1633, I became acquainted with Nicholas Fiske, licentiate in physick, who was born in Suffolk, near Framingham Castle, of very good parentage, who educated him at country schools, until he was fit for the university; but he went not to the academy, studying at home both astrology and physick, which he afterwards practised in Colchester; and there was well acquainted with Dr. Gilbert, who wrote De Magnete. He came afterwards unto London, and exercised his faculty in several places thereof. (For in his youth he would never stay long in one house.) In 1633 he was sent for out of Suffolk by Dr. Winston of Gresham College, to instruct the Lord Treasurer Weston's son in arithmetick, astronomy upon the globes, and their uses. He was a person very studious, laborious, of good apprehension, and had by his own industry obtained both in astrology, physick, arithmetick, astronomy, geometry and algebra, singular judgment: he would in astrology resolve horary questions very soundly; but was ever diffident of his own abilities: he was exquisitely skilful in the art of directions upon nativities, and had a good genius in performing judgment thereupon, but very unhappy he was, that he had no genius in teaching his scholars, for he never perfected any: his own son Matthew hath often told me, that where his father did teach any scholars in his time, they would principally learn of him; he had Scorpio ascending, and was secretly envious to those he thought had more parts than himself; however, I must be ingenuous, and do affirm, that by frequent conversation with him, I came to know which were the best authors, and much to enlarge my judgment, especially in the art of directions: he visited me most days once after I became acquainted with him, and would communicate his most doubtful questions unto me, and accept of my judgment therein rather than his own: he singularly well judged and directed Sir Robert Holborn's nativity, but desired me to adjudge the first house, seventh and tenth thereof, which I did, and which nativity (since Sir Robert gave it me) came to your hands, and remains in your library; [oh learned Esquire!] he died about the seventy-eighth year of his age, poor.
[Footnote 7: There is no such place in Suffolk, it being mistaken for Framlingham in that county.]
In this year also William Bredon, parson or vicar of Thornton in Buckinghamshire, was living, a profound divine, but absolutely the most polite person for nativities in that age, strictly adhering to Ptolemy, which he well understood; he had a hand in composing Sir Christopher Heydon's Defence of Judicial Astrology, being that time his chaplain; he was so given over to tobacco and drink, that when he had no tobacco, he would cut the bell-ropes and smoke them.
I come now to continue the story of my own life, but thought it not inconvenient to commit unto memory something concerning those persons who practised when first I became a student in astrology; I have wrote nothing concerning any of them, which I myself do not either know, or believe to be true.
In October 1633 my first wife died, and left me whatever was hers: it was considerable, very near to the value of one thousand pounds.
One whole year and more I continued a widower, and followed my studies very hard; during which time a scholar pawned unto me, for forty shillings, Ars Notoria, a large volume wrote in parchment, with the names of those angels, and their pictures, which are thought and believed by wise men, to teach and instruct in all the several liberal sciences, and is attained by observing elected times, and those prayers appropriated unto the several angels.
[Footnote 8: Among Dr. Napier's MSS. I had an Ars Notoria, written by S. Forman in large vellum.]
I do ingenuously acknowledge, I used those prayers according to the form and direction prescribed for some weeks, using the word astrologia for astronomia; but of this no more: that Ars Notoria, inserted in the latter end of Cornelius Agrippa signifieth nothing; many of the prayers being not the same, nor is the direction to these prayers any thing considerable.
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 Pater Nosters and Sancta Winifrida ora pro me, that the cold struck into his body; and, after his coming forth of that well, never spoke more.
In this year 1634, I purchased the moiety of thirteen houses in the Strand for five hundred and thirty pounds.
In November, the 18th day, I was again the second time married, and had five hundred pounds portion with that wife; she was of the nature of Mars.
Two accidents happened to me in that year something memorable.
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, with several gentlemen, myself, and Scott, entered the cloysters; we played the hazel-rod round about the cloyster; upon 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 daemons; 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.
[Footnote 9: This Scott lived in Pudding-Lane, and had some time been a page (or such like) to the Lord Norris.]
[Footnote 10: Davy Ramsey brought an half quartern sack to put the treasure in.]
The true miscarriage of the business, was by reason of so many people being present at the operation; for there was about thirty, some laughing, others deriding us; so that if we had not dismissed the daemons, 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.
In 1634, or 1635, a Lady living in Greenwich, who had tried all the known artists in London, but to no purpose, came weeping and lamenting her condition, which was this: she had permitted a young Lord to have the use of her body, till she was with child by him; after which time he could not or would not endure her sight, but commanded his lacquies and servants to keep his doors fast shut, lest she should get into his chamber; or if they chanced to see her near his lodging, to drive her away, which they several times had done. Her desire unto me was to assist her to see him, and then she should be content; whereupon I ordered, such a day, such an hour of that day, to try her fortune once more. She obeyed; and when she came to the King's Bench, where the Lord there was imprisoned, the outward door stood wide open: none speaking a word unto her, she went up stairs, no body molesting her; she found the Lord's chamber door wide open: he in bed, not a servant to be heard or seen, so she was pleased. Three days after she came to acquaint me with her success, and then drew out of her pocket a paper full of ratsbane, which, had she not had admission unto him that day I appointed, she would in a pint of white wine have drank at the stair's foot where the Lord lodged. The like misfortune befell her after that; when the Lord was out of prison: then I ordered her such a day to go and see a play at Salisbury-Court; which she did, and within one quarter of an hour the Lord came into the same box wherein she was. But I grew weary of such employments, and since have burned my books which instructed these curiosities: for after that I became melancholy, very much afflicted with the hypochondriack, growing lean and spare, and every day worse; so that in the year 1635 my infirmity continuing, and my acquaintance increasing, I resolved to live in the country, and in March and April 1636 removed my goods unto Hersham, where I now live; and in May my person, where I continued until 1641, no notice being taken who, or what I was.
In the years 1637 and 1638, I had great lawsuits both in the Exchequer and Chancery, about a lease I had of the annual value of eighty pounds: I got the victory.
In the year 1640 I instructed John Humphreys, master of that art, in the study of astrology: upon this occasion, 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 thirty-five 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 set 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.
This Humphreys was a laborious person, vain-glorious, loquacious, fool-hardy, desirous of all secrets which he knew not, insomuch that he would have given me two hundred pounds to have instructed him in some curiosities he was persuaded I had knowledge of, but, Artis est celare artem, especially to those who live not in the fear of God, or can be masters of their own counsels: he was in person and condition such another as that monster of ingratitude my quondam taylor, John Gadbury. After my refusal of teaching him, what he was not capable of, we grew strange, though I afforded him many civilities whenever he required it; for after the siege of Colchester he wrote a book against me, called Anti Merlinus-Anglicus, married a second wife, his first living in Cambridgeshire, then practised physick by a contrary name, having intentions to practise in Ireland; he went to Bristol, but there understanding the parliament's forces had reduced that kingdom, he came back to London, but durst not abide therein; but turning from his second wife, who also had another husband, he went to sea, with intention for Barbadoes, but died by the way in his voyage. I had never seen John Booker at that time; and telling him one day I had a desire to see him, but first, ere I would speak with him, I would fit myself with my old rules, and rub up my astrology; for at that time (and this was 1640) I thought John Booker the greatest and most complete astrologer in the world. My scholar Humphreys presently made answer, 'Tutor, you need not pump for any of your former knowledge, John Booker is no such pumper; we met,' saith he, 'the other day, and I was too hard for him myself, upon judgment of three or four questions.' If all the transactions happening unto that my scholar were in one volume, they would transcend either Guzman, Don Quixote, Lazarillo de Tormes, or any other of the like nature I ever did see.
Having now in part recovered my health, being weary of the country, and perceiving there was money to be got in London, and thinking myself to be as sufficiently enabled in astrology as any I could meet with, I made it my business to repair thither; and so in September 1641 I did; where, in the years 1642 and 1643, I had great leisure to better my former knowledge: I then read over all my books of astrology, over and over; had very little or no practice at all: and whereas formerly I could never endure to read Valentine Naibod's Commentary upon Alcabitius, now having seriously studied him, I found him to be the profoundest author I ever met with; him I traversed over day and night, from whom I must acknowledge to have advanced my judgment and knowledge unto that height I soon after arrived at, or unto: a most rational author, and the sharpest expositor of Ptolemy that hath yet appeared. To exercise my genius, I began to collect notes, and thought of writing some little thing upon the [symbol: aspect "conjunction"] of [symbol: Saturn] and [symbol: Jupiter] then approaching: I had not wrote above one sheet, and that very meanly, but James Lord Galloway came to see me; and, by chance, casting his eyes upon that rude collection, he read it over, and so approved of it, yea, so encouraged me to proceed farther, that then, and after that time, I spent most of my time in composing thereof, and bringing it, in the end, into that method wherein it was printed 1644. I do seriously now profess, I had not the assistance of any person living, in the writing or composing thereof. Mr. Fiske sent me a small manuscript, which had been Sir Christopher Heydon's, who had wrote something of the conjunction of [symbol: Saturn] and [symbol: Jupiter], 1603; out of which, to bring my method in order, I transcribed, in the beginning, five or six lines, and not any more, though that graceless fellow Gadbury wrote the contrary: but, Semel et semper nebulo et mendax. I did formerly write one treatise, in the year 1639, upon the eclipse of the sun, in the eleventh degree of Gemini, May 22, 1639; it consisted of six sheets of paper. But that manuscript I gave unto my most munificent patron and ever bountiful friend, William Pennington, of Muncaster in Cumberland, Esq., a wise and excellently learned person; who, from the year 1634, even till he died, continued unto me the most grateful person I ever was acquainted with. I became acquainted with him by means of Davy Ramsey.
Oh! most noble Esquire, let me now beg your pardon, if I digress for some small time, in commemorating his bounty unto me, and my requital of his friendship, by performing many things successfully for his advantage.
In 1639 he was made captain, and served his Majesty in his then wars against the Scots; during which time a farmer's daughter being delivered of a bastard, and hearing, by report, that he was slain, fathered the child upon him. Shortly after he returned, most woefully vexed to be thus abused, when absent. The woman was countenanced by some gentlemen of Cumberland, in this her villany against him; so that, notwithstanding he had warrants to attach her body, he could never discover her: but yet, hunting her from one place to another, her friends thought it most convenient to send her to London, where she might be in most safety. She came up to the city, and immediately I had notice thereof, and the care of that matter was left unto me. I procured the Lord Chief Justice Bramston's warrant, and had it lying dormant by me. She had not been in the city above one fortnight, but that I, going casually to the clerk of the assizes' office for Cumberland, saw there an handsome woman; and hearing of her speak the northern tone, I concluded she was the party I did so want. I rounded the clerk in his ear, and told him I would give him five shillings to hold the woman in chat till I came again, for I had a writing concerned her. I hasted for my warrant, and a constable, and returned into the office, seized her person before the clerk of the assizes, who was very angry with me: it was then sessions at Old-Bayley, and neither Judge nor Justice to be found. At night we carried her before the Recorder, Gardner. It being Saturday at night, she, having no bail, was sent to Bridewell, where she remained till Monday. On Monday morning, at the Old-Bayley, she produced bail; but I desiring of the Recorder some time to enquire after the bail, whether they were sufficient, returned presently, and told him one of the bail was a prisoner in Ludgate, the other a very poor man. At which he was so vexed, that he sent her to Newgate, where she lay all that week, until she could please me with good sureties; which then she did, and so was bound over to appear at the next assizes in Cumberland; which she did, and was there sentenced to be whipped, and imprisoned one whole year.
This action infinitely pleased Mr. Pennington, who thought I could do wonders; and I was most thankfully requited for it. All the while of this scandalous business, do what he could, he could not discover what persons they were that supported her; but the woman's father coming to town, I became acquainted with him, by the name of Mr. Sute, merchant; invited him to a dinner; got George Farmer with me; when we so plied him with wine, he could neither see or feel. I paid the reckoning, twenty-two shillings. But next morning the poor man had never a writing or letter in his pocket. I sent them down to my friend, who thereby discovered the plots of several gentlemen in the business; after which, Mr. Sute returned to his old name again.
Mr. Pennington was a true royalist, whom Charles the Second made one of his Commissioners of Array for Cumberland. Having directions from me continually how matters did and would go betwixt the King and Parliament, he acted warily, and did but sign one only warrant of that nature, and then gave over. When the times of sequestrations came, one John Musgrave, the most bold and impudent fellow, and most active of all the north of England, and most malicious against my friend, had got this warrant under Mr. Pennington's hand into his custody; which affrighted my friend, and so it might, for it was cause enough of sequestration, and would have done it. Musgrave intending himself great matters out of his estate, I was made acquainted herewith. Musgrave being in London, by much ado, I got acquainted with him, pretending myself a bitter enemy against Pennington, whereat he very heartily rejoiced; and so we appointed one night to meet at the Five Bells, to compare notes; for I pretended much. We did meet, and he very suddenly produced upon the table all his papers, and withal, the warrant of array unto which my friend had set his hand; which when I saw, 'I marry,' said I, 'this is his hand I will swear; now have at all come, the other cup, this warrant shall pay for all.' I observed where the warrant lay upon the table, and, after some time took occasion ignorantly to let the candle fall out, which whilst he went to light again at the fire, I made sure of the warrant, and put it into my boot; he never missing it of eight or ten days; about which time, I believe, it was above half way towards Cumberland, for I instantly sent it by the post, with this friendly caveat, 'Sin no more.' Musgrave durst not challenge me in those times, and so the business was ended very satisfactory to his friend, and no less to myself.
He was, besides, extremely abused by one Isaac Antrobus, parson of Egremond, a most evil liver, bold, and very rich; at last he procured a minister of that country, in hope of the parsonage, to article against him in London, before the committee of plundered ministers. I was once more invited to solicit against Antrobus, which I did upon three or more articles.
I. That Antrobus baptized a cock, and called him Peter.
II. He had knowledge of such a woman and of her daughter, viz. of both their bodies, in as large a manner as ever of his own wife.
III. Being drunk, a woman took a cord and tied it about his privy members unto a manger in a stable.
IV. Being a continual drunkard.
V. He never preached, &c.
* * * * *
Antrobus was now become a great champion for the Parliament; but, at the day of hearing, I had procured abundance of my friends to be there; for the godly, as they termed themselves, sided with him; the present Master of the Rolls was Chairman that day, Sir Harbottle Grimston.
Who, hearing the foulness of the cause, was very much ashamed thereof. I remember Antrobus, being there, pleaded he was in his natural condition when he acted so ungraciously.
'What condition were you in,' said the Chairman, 'when you lay with mother and daughter?'
'There is no proof of that,' saith he.
'None but your own confession,' said the Chairman, 'nor could any tell so well.'
'I am not given to drunkenness,' quoth he. 'He was so drunk within this fortnight,' quoth I, 'he reeled from one side of the street to the other; here is the witness to prove it:' who, presently, before the committee, being sworn, made it good, and named the place and street where he was drunk. So he was adjudged scandalous, and outed of his benefice, and our minister had the parsonage.
You cannot imagine how much the routing of this drunken parson pleased Mr. Pennington, who paid all charges munificently and thankfully.
But now follows the last and greatest kindness I ever did him. Notwithstanding the committee for sequestrations in Cumberland were his very good friends, yet the sub-sequestrators, of their own heads, and without order, and by strength of arms, secured his irons, his wood, and so much of his personal estate as was valued at seven thousand pounds. Now had I complaint upon complaint: would I suffer my old friend to be thus abused? it was in my power to free him from these villains.
I hereupon advised what was best to do, and was counselled to get Mr. Speaker Lenthall's letter to the sub-sequestrators, and command them to be obedient to the committee of the county.
Whereupon, I framed a letter myself, unto the sub-sequestrators directed, and with it, myself and Mr. Laurence Maydwell (whom yourself well knew) went to Mr. Speaker, unto whom we sufficiently related the stubbornness of the officers of Cumberland; their disobedience to the committee; and then shewed him the letter, which when he had read over, he most courteously signed, adding withal, that if they proceeded further in sequestring Mr. Pennington, he would command a Serjeant at Arms to bring them up to answer their contempts: I immediately posted that letter to my friend, which when the absurd fellows received, they delivered him possession of his goods again; and, for my pains, when he came to London, gave me one hundred pounds; he died in 1652, of a violent fever. I did carefully, in 1642 and 1643, take notice of every grand action which happened betwixt King and Parliament, and did first then incline to believe, that as all sublunary affairs did depend upon superior causes, so there was a possibility of discovering them by the configurations of the superior bodies; in which way making some essays in those two years, I found encouragement to proceed further, which I did; I perused the writings of the ancients, but therein they were silent, or gave no satisfaction; at last, I framed unto myself that method, which then and since I follow, which, I hope, in time may be more perfected by a more penetrating person than myself.
In 1643, I became familiarly known to Sir Bulstrode Whitlocke, a member of the House of Commons; he being sick, his urine was brought unto me by Mrs. Lisle, wife to John Lisle, afterwards one of the keepers of the Great Seal; having set my figure, I returned answer, the sick for that time would recover, but by means of a surfeit would dangerously relapse within one month; which he did, by eating of trouts at Mr. Sand's house, near Leatherhead in Surrey. Then I went daily to visit him, Dr. Prideau despairing of his life; but I said there was no danger thereof, and that he would be sufficiently well in five or six weeks; and so he was.
[Footnote 11: She was afterwards beheaded at Winchester, for harbouring one Nelthrop, a rebel in the Duke of Monmouth's army 1685. She had made herself remarkable, by saying at the martyrdom of King Charles I, 1648, 'that her blood leaped within her to see the tyrant fall;' for this, when she fell into the state trap, she neither did nor could expect favour from any of that martyr's family.]
In 1644, I published Merlinus Anglicus Junior about April. I had given one day the copy thereof unto the then Mr. Whitlocke, who by accident was reading thereof in the House of Commons: ere the Speaker took the chair, one looked upon it, and so did many, and got copies thereof; which when I heard, I applied myself to John Booker to license it, for then he was licenser of all mathematical books; I had, to my knowledge, never seen him before; he wondered at the book, made many impertinent obliterations, framed many objections, swore it was not possible to distinguish betwixt King and Parliament; at last licensed it according to his own fancy; I delivered it unto the printer, who being an arch Presbyterian, had five of the ministry to inspect it, who could make nothing of it, but said it might be printed, for in that I meddled not with their Dagon. The first impression was sold in less than one week; when I presented some to the members of Parliament, I complained of John Booker the licenser, who had defaced my book; they gave me order forthwith to reprint it as I would, and let them know if any durst resist me in the reprinting, or adding what I thought fit; so the second time it came forth as I would have it.
I must confess, I now found my scholar Humphreys's words to be true concerning John Booker, whom at that time I found but moderately versed in astrology; nor could he take the circles of position of the planets, until in that year I instructed him. After my Introduction in 1647 became publick, he amended beyond measure, by study partly, and partly upon emulation to keep up his fame and reputation; so that since 1647, I have seen some nativities by him very judiciously performed. When the printer presented him with an Introduction of mine, as soon as they were forth of the press; 'I wish,' saith he, 'there was never another but this in England, conditionally I gave one hundred pounds for this.' After that time we were very great friends to his dying day.
In June, 1644, I published Supernatural Sight; and, indeed, if I could have procured the dull stationer to have been at charges to have cut the icon or form of that prodigious apparition, as I had drawn it forth, it would have given great satisfaction; however, the astrological judgment thereupon had its full event in every particular.
That year also I published the White King's Prophecy, of which there were sold in three days eighteen hundred, so that it was oft reprinted: I then made no commentary upon it.
In that year I printed the Prophetical Merlin, and had eight pounds for the copy.
I had then no farther intention to trouble the press any more, but Sir Richard Napper having received one of Captain Wharton's Almanacks for 1645, under the name Naworth, he came unto me: 'Now, Lilly, you are met withal, see here what Naworth writes.' The words were, he called me 'an impudent senseless fellow, and by name William Lilly.'
Before that time, I was more Cavalier than Roundhead, and so taken notice of; but after that I engaged body and soul in the cause of Parliament, but still with much affection to his Majesty's person and unto monarchy, which I ever loved and approved beyond any government whatsoever; and you will find in this story many passages of civility which I did, and endeavoured to do, with the hazard of my life, for his Majesty: but God had ordered all his affairs and counsels to have no successes; as in the sequel will appear.
To vindicate my reputation, and to cry quittance with Naworth, against whom I was highly incensed, to work I went again for Anglicus, 1645; which as soon as finished I got to the press, thinking every day one month till it was publick: I therein made use of the King's nativity, and finding that his ascendant was approaching to the quadrature of Mars, about June, 1645, I gave this unlucky judgment; 'If now we fight, a victory stealeth upon us;' and so it did in June, 1645, at Naseby, the most fatal overthrow he ever had.
In this year, 1645, I published a treatise called the Starry Messenger, with an interpretation of three suns seen in London, 29th May, 1644, being Charles the Second's birthday: in that book I also put forth an astrological judgment concerning the effects of a solar eclipse, visible the 11th of August, 1645. Two days before its publishing, my antagonist, Captain Wharton, having given his astronomical judgment upon his Majesty's present march from Oxford; therein again fell foul against me and John Booker: Sir Samuel Luke, Governor of Newportpagnel, had the thing came to his garrison from Oxford, which presently was presented unto my view. I had but twelve hours, or thereabout, to answer it, which I did with such success as is incredible; and the printer printed both the March and my answer unto it, and produced it to sight, with my Starry Messenger, which came forth and was made publick the very day of the Parliament's great victory obtained against his Majesty in person at Naseby, under the conduct of the Lord Thomas Fairfax.
That book no sooner appeared, but within fourteen days complaint was made to the committee of examinations, Miles Corbet then being Chairman, my mortal enemy, he who after was hanged, drawn, and quartered, for being one of the King's Judges; he grants his warrant, and a messenger to the Serjeant at Arms seizeth my person. As I was going to Westminster with the messenger, I met Sir Philip Stapleton, Sir Christopher Wray, Mr. Denzil Hollis, Mr. Robert Reynolds, who, by great fortune, had the Starry Messenger sheet by sheet from me as it came from the press. They presently fell a smiling at me; 'Miles Corbet, Lilly, will punish thee soundly; but fear nothing, we will dine, and make haste to be at the committee time enough to do the business;' and so they most honourably performed; for they, as soon as they came, sat down, and put Mr. Reynolds purposely into the chair, and I was called in; but Corbet being not there, they bid me withdraw until he came; which when he did, I was commanded to appear, and Corbet desired to give the cause of my being in restraint, and of the committee's order. Mr. Reynolds was purposely put into the chair, and continued till my business was over.
Corbet produced my Anglicus of 1645, and said there were many scandalous passages therein against the Commissioners of Excise in London. He produced one passage, which being openly read by himself, the whole committee adjudged it to signify the errors of sub-officers, but had no relation to the Commissioners themselves, which I affirmatively maintained to be the true meaning as the committee declared.
Then Corbet found out another dangerous place, as he thought, and the words were thus in the printed book—'In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, will not the Excise pay the soldiers?'
Corbet very ignorantly read, 'will not the Eclipse pay soldiers?' at which the Committee fell heartily to laugh at him, and so he became silent.
There was a great many Parliament men there; the chamber was full. 'Have you any more against Mr. Lilly?' cried the chairman.
'Yes,' saith the Sollicitor for the Excise, 'since his Starry Messenger came forth we had our house burnt, and the Commissioners pulled by their cloaks in the Exchange.' 'Pray, sir, when was this,' asked old Sir Robert Pye, 'that the house was burnt, and the Aldermen abused?' 'It was in such a week,' saith he. 'Mr. Lilly, when came the book forth?' 'The very day of Naseby fight,' answered Mr. Reynolds, 'nor needs he be ashamed of writing it: I had it daily as it came forth of the press: it was then found the house to be burnt, and the Aldermen abused, twelve days before the Starry Messenger came forth.' 'What a lying fellow art thou,' saith Sir Robert Pye, 'to abuse us so!' This he spoke to the Sollicitor. Then stood up one Bassell, a merchant: he inveighed bitterly against me, being a Presbyterian, and would have had my books burnt. 'You smell more of a citizen than a scholar,' replied Mr. Francis Drake. I was ordered to withdraw, and by and by was called in, and acquainted the committee did discharge me. But I cried with a loud voice, 'I was under a messenger;' whereupon the committee ordered him or the Serjeant at Arms not to take any fees; Mr. Reynolds saying, 'Literate men never pay any fees.'
But within one week after, I was likely to have had worse success, but that the before-named gentlemen stoutly befriended me. In my Epistle of the Starry Messenger, I had been a little too plain with the committee of Leicestershire; who thereof made complaint unto Sir Arthur Hazelrigg, Knight for that county; he was a furious person, and made a motion in the House of Commons against me, and the business was committed to that committee, whereof Baron Rigby was chairman. A day was assigned to hear the matter; in the morning whereof, as I passed by Mr. Pullen's shop in St. Paul's Church-yard, Pullen bad 'God be with you,' and named me by name. Mr. Selden being there, and hearing my name, gave direction to call me unto him, where he acquaints me with Hazelrigg's humour and malice towards me, called for the Starry Messenger, and having read over the words mentioning that committee, he asked me how I would answer them? I related what I would have said, but he contradicted me, and acquainted me what to say, and how to answer. In the afternoon I went to appear, but there was no committee set, or would sit; for both Mr. Reynolds and Sir Philip Stapleton, and my other friends, had fully acquainted Baron Rigby with the business, and desired him not to call upon me until they appeared; for the matter and charge intended against me was very frivolous, and only presented by a cholerick person to please a company of clowns, meaning the committee of Leicester. Baron Rigby said, if it were so he would not meddle with the matter, but exceedingly desired to see me. Not long after he met Sir Arthur, and acquainting him what friends appeared for me, said, 'I will then prosecute him no further.'
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 surgery 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 inn 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. This Scott related unto me several times, being a very honest person, and made great conscience of what he spoke. Another story of him is as followeth, which I had related from a person which well knew the truth of it.