This short conceipt that I haue writ of late,
To you kinde Father Bvee, I dedicate,
Not that I meane hereby (good sir) to teach,
For I confesse, your skills beyond my reach:
But since before with me much time you spent,
Good reason then, first fruits I should present:
That thankfulle * Bird that leaves one young behinde,
Ensamples me, to beare a thankfulle minde:
Vngratefull he, that thankes can not repay
To him that hath deserved it every way:
Accept (kinde sir) my loue, that being doone,
I ask no more, desire no other Boone.
Your Lo: sonne in all loue,
*The nature of this Bird
is: that when building her nest vnder the couer of houses (as
the swallow doth with vs) leaus euer behinde her for the owner
of the house, one young one in token of her thankfulnesse: and
as I may say, for pawne of her rent.
Most Worthy sonne,
Your labour and observance herein, with the gift of your first fruits, is both worthy commendations and acceptance: and to cherrish you farther in this your discovery, I will giue an addition to your second treatise. so I leave you to God: and believe you, not a more louing friend then,
Here goeth a prety Fable of the Moone: On a thime she earnestly besought her mother to prouide her a garment, comely and fit for her body: how can that bee sweete daughter (quoth the mother) sith that your body neuer keepes it selfe at one staye, not at one certaine estate, but changeth every day in the month, nay eurey hour? The application hereof needs no interpretation: Fantastic and foolery who can please? and desire who can humor? no Camelion changeth his colour as affection, nor anything so variable a Populus Chorus Flunine.
I would with all my heart, euery Author that had done no better than I haue, had done no worse: and it were to be wished that some caprichious Coxecombes, with their desperate wits were not so forward to disbowell the entrails ot their ouerweening, singular, infectious &: perstiferous thoughts, as I know some.
But I cannot stand all day nosing of Candlesticks: meane time bear with a plaine man: whatsoeuer I haue now done, I hope no exception can be taken, it is for your mirth and recreation (and I pray you so take it.) let such as will needes barke at the Moone, yell til their hearts ake: Gentle and Gentlemens spirits, wil take all kindely that is kindly presen ted.
Yours in loue
eretofore we haue runne over the two pestiferous carbuncles in the commonwealth, the Egyptians and common Canters: the poor Canters we haue canvasseed meetly well: it now remaines to proceed where I left, and to go forward with that before I promised: St. Quintan be my good speed, I know I haue runne through the hands of many, censured of diverse, and girded at not of a few, but humanity is ever willinger to loue than hate, courtesy much forwarder to commend than dispraise, clemency infinitely proner to absolve than to condemn. Is it not possible to finde savory herbs among nettles, roses among prickles, berries among bushes, marrow among bones, graine among stubble, and a little corne among a great deal of chaff In the rankest and strongest poisons pure and sweet balms may be distilled, and some matter or other worthy to be remembered may be embraced, whosoever is Author, There is nothing so exceeding foolish but hath been defended by some wise man, nor anything so passeing wise but hath been confuted by some fool. Tut, St. Bernard saw not all things, and the best cart may eftsoons overthrowe: That curled pate Rufus, that goes about with Zoilus to carp and finde fault, must bring the Standard of judgment with him, and make wisdome the moderator of his wit: otherwise they may be like to purchase to themselves the worshipful names of Dunces and Dottypols. So much by the way.
These kind of people about an hundred years ago, about the twentieth year of King Henry the eight, began to gather an head, at the first here about the Southern parts, and this, (as I am informed) and as I can gather, was their beginning:
Certain Egyptians banished their country (belike not for their good conditions) arrived here in England, who being excellent in quaint trickes and devices, not knowne here at that time among us, were esteemed and had in great admiration, for what with strangenesse of their attire and garments, together with their sleights and legerdemaines, they were spoke of far and near, insomuch that many of our English loiterers joined with them, and in time learned their craft and cozening. The speech which they vsed was the right Egyptian language, with whom our Englishmen conversing with at last learned their language. These people continuing about the country in this fashion, practicing their cozening art of fast and loose, and legerdemaine, purchased to themselves great credit among the country people, and got much by Palmistry and telling of fortunes, insomuch they pitifully cozened the poor country girls, both of mony, silver spoons, and the best of their apparel, or any good thing they could make, only to hear their fortunes.
This Giles Hather (for so was his name), together with his whore Kit Calot, in short space had following them a pretty train, he terming himself the King of Egyptians, and she the Queen, riding about the country at their pleasures uncontrolled. At last, about forty years after, when their knavery began to be espied, and that their cozenages were apparent to the world (for they had continued near thirty years after this manner, pilling, and polling, and cozening the country), it pleased the Councell to look more narrowly into their lives, and in a Parliament made in the first and second years of Philip and Mary, there was a strict Statute made that whosoever should transport any Egyptians into this Realm should forfeit forty pounds. Moreover, it was then enacted that such fellows as took upon them the name of Egyptians, above the age of fourteene, or that shall come over and be transported into England, or any other persons and shall be seen in the company of vagabonds calling themselves Egyptians, or counterfeiting, transforming, or disguising themselves by their apparel, speech, or other behaviors like unto Egyptians, and so shall continue either at one or several times by the space of a month, they should be adjudged fellons, not allowed their book or Clergy. These Acts and Statutes now put forth, and come to their hearing, they divide their bands and companies into diverse parts of the Realm. For you must imagine and know that they had above two hundred rogues and vagabonds in a Regiment, and although they went not altogether, yet would they not be above two or three miles one from the other, and now they dare no more be knowne by the name of Egyptians, nor take any other name upon them than poor people. But what a number were executed presently upon this statute, you would wonder. Yet not withstanding, all would not prevail, but still they wandered as before, up and downe, and meeting once in a year at a place appointed, sometimes at the Devils arse in peak in Derbyshire, and otherwhiles at Ketbrooks by Blackheath, or elsewhere, as they agreed still at their meeting. Then it pleased Queen Elizabeth to revive the Statute before mentioned, in the twentieth year of her happy reign, endeavoring by all means possible to root out these pestiferous people, but nothing could be done, you see, until this day. They wander up and downe in the name of Egyptians, colouring their faces and fashioning their attire and garment like unto them, yet if you ask what they are, they dare no otherwise than say they are Englishmen, and of such a shire, and so are forced to say contrary to that they pretend.
But to come a little nearer our purpose, these fellows seeing that no profit comes by wandering, but hazard of their lives, do daily decrease and break off their wonted society, and betake themselves, many of them, some to be Peddlers, some Tinkers, some Juglers, and some to one kind of life or other, insomuch that jugling is now become common I mean the professors who make an occupation and profession of the same, which I must needs say, that some deserve commendation for the nimblenesse and agility of their hands, and might be thought to perform as excellent things by their Legerdemain as any of your wizards, witches, or magicians whatsoever. For these kind of people do perform that in action which the others do make shew of, and no doubt many when they hear of any rare exploit performed which cannot enter into their capacity and is beyond their reach, straight they attribute it to be done by the Devil, and that they work by some familiar spirit, when indeed it is nothing else but mere illusion, cozening, and legerdemaine. For you haue many nowadays, and also heretofore, many writers haue been abvsed, as well by untrue reports as by illusion and practices of confederaice, and legerdemaine, etc., sometimes imputing to words that which resteth in nature, and sometimes to the nature of the thing that which proceedeth of fraud and deception of sight. But when these experiments grow to superstition and impiety, they are either to be forsaken as vain, or denied as false: howbeit, if these things be done for recreation and mirth, and not to the hurt of our neighbor nor to the profaning and abusing of Gods holy name, then sure they are neither impious nor altogether unlawful, though herein or hereby a natural thing be made to seem supernatural. And, Gentlemen, if you will giue me patience, I will lay open unto you the right Art jugling and Legerdemain, in what point it doth chiefly consist, principally being sorry that it thus falls out, to lay open the secrets of this mystery to the hinderance of such poor men as live thereby, whose doings herein are not only tolerable but greatly commendable, so they abuse not the name of God nor make the people to attribute unto them his power, but always acknowledge wherein the Art consisteth.
The true Art, therefore,
of jugling consisteth in Legerdemain: that is, the nimble conueyance
and right dexterity of the hand, the which is performed diverse
ways, especially three. The first and principal consisteth in
hiding and conueying of balls. The second in alteration of mony.
The third in the shuffling of Cardes. And he that is expert in
these may shew many feats and much pleasure. There are diverse
and rare experiments to be showne by confederaice, either private
or publike, all which in place convenient shall be spoken of.
And forasmuch as I professe rather to discover than teach these
mysteries, it shall suffice to signify unto you that the endeavor
and drift of Juglers is only to abuse mens eyes and judgments.
Now, then, my meaning is, in words as plain as I can, to rip up
some proper trickes of that Art, whereof some are pleaSaunte and
delectable, othersome dreadful and desperate, and all but mere
delusions and counterfeit actions, as you shall soon see by due
observation of every knack by me hereafter deciphered. And first
in order I will begin with the playes and devices of the ball,
which are many. I will teach only but a few, and as in this, so
in all the rest I will runne over slightly, yet as plain as I
Remember that a Jugler must set a good face upon that matter he goeth about, for a good grace and carriage is very requisite to make the art more authentical.
Your feats and trickes then must be nimbly, cleanly, and swiftly done, and conueyed so as the eyes of the beholders may not discern or perceive the tricke, for if you be a bungler, you both shame yourself and make the Art you go about to be perceived and knowne, and so bring it into discredit.
Wherefore use and exercise makes a man ready. Usus promptos facit, and by that means your feats being cunningly handled, you shall deceive both the eye, the hand, and the ear. For oftentimes it will fill out in this art, and devices Deceptio visus, Deceptio tactus, et Deceptio Auditus.
Note also that you must haue none of your trickeets wanting, lest you be put to a nonplus. Besides, it behooveth you to be mindful whereabout you go in every tricke, lest you mistake and so discredit the art.
You must also haue your
words of Art, certain strange words, that it may not only breed
the more admiration to the people, but to lead away the eye from
espying the manner of your conueyance, while you may induce the
mind to conceive and suppose that you deal with Spirits. And such
kind of sentences and odd speeches are vsed in diverse manners,
fitting and correspondent to the action and feat that you go about.
As :Hey Fortuna,
:furia, nunquam: Credo,
:passe, passe, when come you, Sirrah
or this way, hey, Jack, come aloft for thy
Masters advantage, passe and be gone:: or
otherwise, as :Ailiff,
Cafil, zaze, Hit, metmelta,
Saturnus, Julpiter, Mars, Sol,
Venus, Mercury, Luna?,
Micocti, et Senarocti, Velu barocti, Asmarocti,
hey, passe, passe many such observations to
this art are necessary, without which all the rest are little
to the purpose.
Concerning the Ball, the playes and devices thereof are infinite, insomuch as if you can use them well, you may shew an hundred feats, but whether you seem to throwe the Ball into the air, or into your mouth, or into your left hand, or as you lift, it must be kept still in your right hand. If you practice first with the leaden bullet, you shall the sooner and better do it with balls of Cork. The first place at your first learning, where you are to bestowe a great ball, is in the palm of your hand, with your ring finger. But a small ball is to be placed with your thumb betwixt your ring finger and middle finger. Then are you to practice to do it betwixt your other fingers, then betwixt the forefinger and the thumb, with the forefinger and middle finger jointly, and therein is the greatest and the strangest conueying shewed. Lastly, the same small ball is to be practiced in the palm of your hand, and so by use you shall not only seem to put any ball from you and yet retain it in your hand, but you shall keep foure or five as cleanly and certain as one, this being first learned and sleight attained unto, you shall work wonderful feats. As, for ensample:
Note for this feat you must haue foure boxes made in the manner of extinguishers that-are made to put out candles, but as big againe. But for want of them, you may take small candlesticks, or saltcellar covers, or some such like. Lay three or foure balls before you, and as many boxes or small candlesticks, etc. Then first seem to put one ball into your left hand, and therewithal seem to hold the same fast. Then take one of the boxes etc. or any other thing (having a hollow foot and being great), and seem to put the ball which is thought to be in your left hand underneath the same. And so under the other candlesticks, Boxes, etc. seem to bestowe the other balls, and all this while the beholders will suppose each ball to be under each box or candlestick, etc. This done, use some charm or form of words before set downe, as hey, Fortuna:, :furie:, :nunquam:, :credo, :passe, passe.: Then take up the candlestick with one hand and blow, saying, Thats gone, you see.: And so likewise look under each candlestick, with like grace and words, for you must remember to carry a good grace and face on the matter, and the beholders will wonder where they are become. But if you in lifting up the candlesticks with your right hand leave all those three or foure balls under one of them, as by use you may easily do, having turned them all downe into your hand and holding them fast with your little and ring finger, and take the box or candlestick etc. with your other fingers and cast the balls up into the hollowneesse thereof (for so they will not roll so soon away), the standers-by will be much astonished, but it will seem wonderful strange, if also in shewing how there remaineth nothing under another of the said candlesticks taken up with your left hand, you leave behind you a great ball or any other thing, the miracle will be the greater. For first, they will think you haue pulled away all the bails by miracle: then that you haue brought them againe by like means: and they neither think or look that any other thing remaineth behind under any of them, and therefore after many other feats done return to your candlesticks, remembering where you left the great ball, and in no wise touch the same, but having another great ball about you, seem to bestowe the same in manner and form aforesaid under a candlestick which standeth farthest from that where the ball lieth, and when you shall with words and charms seem to conuey the same ball from under the same box or candlestick, etc. (and afterward bring it under the box, etc., which you touched not) it will, I say, seem wonderful strange.
a very great ball in your left hand, or three indifferent big
balls, and shewing one or three little balls, seem to put them
into your said left hand, concealing (as you may well do) the
other balls which were there before. Then use charms and words,
and make them seem to swell and open your hand, etc. This play
is to be varied an hundred ways, for, as you finde them all under
the box or candlestick, so may you go to a stander-by, and take
off his hat or cap and shew the balls to be there, by conueying
them thereunto as you turn the bottome upward. These things to
them that know them are counted ridiculous: but to those that
are ignorant, they are marvelous.
If you take a ball or more and seem to put it into your other hand, and whilst you use charming words, you conuey them out of your right hand into your lap, it will seem strange, for when you open your left hand, immediately the sharpest lookers-on will say it is in your other hand, which also then you may open: and when they see nothing there, they are greatly overtaken.
foure Balls, one of the which keep between your forefinger and
your middle, laying the other three upon the table. Then take
up one and put it into your left hand, and afterward take up another
and, conueying it and the other between your fingers into your
left hand, taking up the third and seeming to cast it from you
into the air, or into your mouth, or else where you please, using
some words or charms as before. The standers-by, when you ask
them how many you haue in your hand, will judge there are no more
than two, which, when you open your hand, they shall see how they
are deluded. But I will leave to speak of the ball any more, for
herein I might hold you all day, and yet shall I not be able to
teach you the use of it, nor scarcely to understand what I mean
or write concerning it, unlesse you haue had some sight thereof
heretofore I by demonstration. And always remember that the right
hand be kept open and straight, only keep the palm from view.
And therefore I will end with this miracle.
Lay one ball upon your shoulder, another on your arm, and the
third on the table, which because it is round and will not easily
lie upon the point of your I knife, you must bid a stander-by,
:Lay it thereon, saying that you mean to cast all
those three Balls into your mouth at once. And holding a knife
as a pen in your hand, when he is laying upon the point of your
knife, you may easily , with the haft rap him on the fingers,
for the other matter will be hard to do. And thus much of the
Balls. To come to the second principal part of Legerdemain, which
is conueyance of mony, wherein, by the way, observe that the mony
must not be of too small nor too great a circumference, lest either
it hinder the conueyance.
conueying of mony is not much inferior to the Ball, but much easier
to do. The principal place to keep a peece of mony in is the palm
of your hand. The best peece to keep is a testor, but with exercise
all will be alike, except the mony be very small, and then it
must be kept between the fingers, and almost at the fingers end,
whereas the ball is to be kept and below near to the palm.
you must hold open your right hand and lay therein a testor or
counter, and then lay thereupon the top of your long left finger,
and use words, etc. And upon the sudden, slip your right hand
from your finger wherewith you held downe the testor, and, bending
your hand a very little, you shall retain the testor therein,
and suddenly, I say, drawing your right hand through your left,
you shall seem to haue left the testor there, especially when
you shut in due time your left hand. Which that it may more plainly
appear to be truly done, you may take a knife and seem to knock
againest it, so as it shall make a great sound. But instead of
knocking the peece in the left hand (where none is), you shall
hold the point of the knife fast with the left hand, and knock
againest the testor held in the other hand, and it will be thought
to hit againest the mony in the left hand. Then use words, and
open the hand, and when nothing is seen, it will be wondered at
how the testor was removed.
way to deceive the lookers-on is to do as before with a testor,
and keeping a Counter in the palm of your left hand, secretly
to seem to put the testor thereinto. Which being retained, still
in the right hand, when the left hand is opened, the testor will
seem to be transubstantiated into a counter.
that hath once attained to the facility of retaining one peece
of mony in his right hand may shew an hundred pleaSaunte conceits
by that means, and may reserve two or three as well as one. And
lo, then may you seem to put one peece into your left hand, and
retaining it still in your right hand, you may together therewith
take up another like peece and so with words seem to bring both
two testors evenly set together, and put the same instead of one
testor into a strangers hand. And then, making as though you put
one testor into your left hand, with words you shall make it seem
that you conuey the testor in your hand into the strangers hand.
For when you open your said left hand, there shall be nothing
seen. And he, opening his hand, shall finde two where he thought
was but one. By this device, I say, an hundred conceits may be
may with the middle and ring-finger of the right hand conuey a
testor into the palm of the same hand, and seeming to cast it
away, keep it still, which with confederaice will seem strange:
to wit, when you finde it againe where another hath bestoweed
the very like peece. But these things without exercise cannot
be done, and therefore I will proceed to shew things to be brought
to passe by mony with lesse difficulty, and yet as strange as
the rest, which being unknowne are marvelously commended: but,
being knowne, are derided and nothing at all regarded.
shall see a Jugler take a testor or groate and throwe it into
a potte, or lay it on the middest of the table, and with enchanting
words cause the same to leap out of the potte, or runne towards
him or from himwards alongest the table. Which will seem miraculous,
until that you know that it is done with a long black hair of
a womans head, fastened to the brim of a groate by means of a
little hole driven through the same, with a spanish needle. In
like sort, you may use a knife or any other small thing. But if
you would haue it to go from you, you must haue a confederate
by which means all jugling is greased and amended. This feat is
the stranger if it be done by night, a candle placed between the
lookers-on and the Jugler. For by that means, the eyesight is
hindered from discerning the conceit.
Jugler sometimes will borrow a groate or a testor, and mark it
before you, and seem to put the same into a hand kerchief, and
wind it so that you may the better see and feel it. Then will
he take you the hand kerchief and bid you feel whether the groate
be there or no. And he will also require you to put the same under
a candlestick or some such thing. Then will he send for a Basin
and holding the same under the bord right againest the candlestick,
will use certain words of enchantments, and in short space you
shall hear the groate fall into a basin. This done, one takes
off the candlestick and the Jugler taketh the hand kerchief by
the tasseel, and shaketh it. But the mony is gone, which seemeth
as strange as any feat whatsoever. But being knowne, the miracle
is turned into a bauble, for it is nothing but to sew a counter
into the corneer of a hand kerchief finely covered with a peece
of linen little bigger than the counter, which corneer you must
conuey instead of the groate deliuered unto you, into the middle
of your hand kerchief, leaving the other either in your hand or
lap, which afterwards you must seem to pull through the bord,
letting it fall into a basin.
it is necessary to mingle some merry toys among your grave miracles,
as in this case of mony: take a shilling in each hand, and, holding
your arms abroad, to lay a wager that you will put them both into
one hand without bringing them any whit nearer together. The wager
being laid, hold your arms abroad like a rood, and, turning about
with your body, lay the shilling out of one of your hands upon
the table, and, turning to the other side, take it up with the
other hand, and so you shall win your wager.
Having bestoweed some waste mony among you, I will set you to Cardes and Dice, a couple of honest friends that draw both in a yoke together, which haue been the overthrowe of many a hundred in this Realm, and these are not the slightest matters whereupon Juglers work upon and shew their feats. By which kinds of jugling, a great number haue Jugled away not only their mony but also their lands, their health, their time, and their honesty. I dare not (as I could) shew the lewd jugling that cheaters practice, lest it minister some offence to the well disposed: to the simple, hurt and loss: and to the wicked occasion of evil doing. But by the way, I will a little speak of dice and the use of them as caveats, rather to let you take heed of their cozenings than to giue you light to follow their doings: Non ad irnitandutn sed ad evitandum.
First you must know a Langret, which is a die that simple men haue seldom heard of, but often seen to their cost, and this is a well-favored die and seemeth good and square. Yet is it forged longer upon the Cater and Tre than any other way, and therefore it is called a Langret. Such he also called barred Catertreys, because commonly the longer end will of his owne sway draw downeward, and turn up to the eye, Sice, Cinque, Deuce, or Ace. The principal use of them is at Novurns, is for, so long a pair of Barred cater treys be walking on the bord, so long can ye not cast five, nor nine unlesse it be by great chance that the roughnesse of the table or some other stop force them to stay and runne againest their kind. For without Cater or Trey, ye know that five or nine can never come.
But you will say by this reason, he that hath the first dice is like always to strip and rob all the table about. To help this, there must be for that purpose an odd Die, called a flat Cater-trey ready at hand, and no other number, for granting the trey and Cater be always upon the one Die, then is there no chance upon the other Die but may serve to make five or nine, and cast forth and lose all. But now to show you what shifts they haue to bring the flat die in and out, which is a jolly cunning property of jugling, with them called foisting. The which is nothing else but a sleight, to carry easily within the hand as often as the roister list. So that when either he or his partner shall cast the dice, the flat comes not abroad till he hath made a great hand and won as much as him listeth. Otherwise, the flat is ever one, unlesse at few times upon purpose he suffer the silly souls to cast in a hand or two, to giue them courage to continue the play and live in hope of winning.
These flings I know seem very strange to the simple, and as yet cannot sink into their brain, how a man may carry so many dice in one hand, and chop and change them so often and never be espied. So as before I told you, Juglerrs conueyance seemeth to exceed the compasse of reason till you know the feat. But what is it that use and labor overcometh not To foist finely and readily and with the same hand to tell mony to and fro is a thing hardly learned, and asketh a bold spirit and long experience, though it be one of the first the Cheater learneth.
What, should I speak any more of false dice, of fullams, highmen, lowmen, gourds, and bristled dice, graders, demies, and contraries, all which haue his sundry uses But it is not my meaning to stand on this subject. I would rather use my pen and spend my time to dissuade and persuade all gamesters to beware not only with what dice, but with what company and where they exercise gaming. And be well asseured, Gentlemen, that all the friendly entertainment you shall finde amongst them is for no other end but to persuade you to play and thereby to breed your great loss, if not altogether your undoing.
Therefore utterly forbear to hazard anything at dice, and live in doubt and suspicion of cheating, wheresoever you play (unlesse you know your company very well) for the contagion of cheating is now growne so universal that they swarm in every quarter. And therefore ye cannot be in safety, unlesse you shun the company of such altogether.
To leave Dice and return to Cardes, wherein is as much falsehood and cozening as in Dice, I will therefore disclose as much in one as in the other, for I would not giue a point to choose which of them is the better, or, rather, the worse. For there is such a sleight in-shuffling and sorting of the Cardes that play at what game you will, all is lost before hand. But if there be a confederate, either of the players or standers-by, the mischief cannot be avoided.
Beware therefore when you play among strangers of him that seems simple or drunneken, for under their habit the most special cozeners are presented, and while you think by their simplicity and imperfections to beguile them and (thereof perchance are persuaded by their confederates) your very friends, as you think, you yourself will be most of all overtaken.
Beware also of bettors-by
and lookers-on, and namely on them that bet on your side. For
whilst they look on your game without suspicion, they discover
it by signs to your adversaries, with whom they bet, and yet are
the confederates whereof methinks this one above the rest proceedeth
from a fine invention.
A Gamester, after he had been ofttimes bitten by Cheaters and after much loss, grew very suspicious in his play, so that he would not suffer any of the sitters-by to be privy to his game. For this the Cheaters devised a new shift that a woman should sit close by him and by the swift and slow drawing of he needle giue a token to the Cheater what was the Cozens game. Other helps there be, as to set the Cozen upon the bench with a great Looking-glassee behind him on the wall, wherein the Cheater may always see what Cardes he hath in his hand. So that, a few ensamples instead of many that might be rehearsed, this one conclusion may be gathered: that whosoever is giuen to play, and once sitteth among them, it is great odds but that he shall rise a loser.
But many there be that live so continently that nothing can persuade them to put a penny in adventure, and some againe are so unskillful that lack of cunning forceth them to forbear play. But yet hard it is for any man to fall into their company but they will make him stoope at one game or other. And for the purpose their first drift and intent is to seek by all means possible to understand his nature, and whereunto he is most inclined. If they finde that he taketh pleasure in the company of women, then seek they to strike him at the Sacking law (as they term it) and take this always for a rule, that all the baudes in the country be of the Cheaters familiar acquaintance
Therefore it is not very hard for them at all times to provide for their amorous Cozen a lewd lecherous Lady to keep him louing company. Then fall they to banquetting, and carousing, and hunting of Taverns, and much is the cost that this silly Cozen shall be at in Jewels and apparel. Otherwise, he shall not once get a grant to haue a kisse of his mistrese lips. And ever in middle of their conference, she layeth in this reason, for her sake to put in twenty or thirty crownes in adventure at Cardes or Dice. You know not, quoth she, what may be a womans luck.: If he refuse it, Lord, how unkindly she takes the matter, and cannot be reconciled with lesse than a gowne or a kirtle of silke .
But now if these Cheaters perceive that he esteemeth no bruised ware but is enamored with virginity, they haue a fine cast within an hours warning to make Joan Silverpin as good a maid as if she had never come to the stews. But to let these things passe, for offending of chaste ears, whose displeasure I would not incur for all the cheats these gamesters get in a whole year. But to our purpose.
There are two sorts of using the Cardes, the one is in playing (with one or more) games, as Primero, Trump, Saunte, Decoy, etc. The other use of Cardes is to shew feats of Legerdemain.
Concerning the first, if it be vsed for recreation and not to the profaning of Gods holy name, nor hurt of our brethren and neighbors, they are to be tolerated. But now (more is the pity) they are not vsed in that fashion as they should be, but much hurt ofttimes ariseth thereof.
Primero now as it is in great use, so is there much deceit in it. Some play upon the prick, some pinch the cardes privily with their nails, some turn up the corneers, some mark them with fine spottes of ink, some there be that travel into Spin and into Italy to learn fine trickes and quaint conueyances at cardes and return home and win much mony with them here in England, but yet at the last they are still overreached by some fine wits that devise new sleights here at home.
At Trump, Saunte, and such other like games, cutting at the nick is a great advantage, so is cutting by Bum-carde, finally under or over, stealing the stock or the discardeed Cardes.
At Decoy they draw twenty hands together and play all upon asseurance when to win or lose. Other helps there be as I haue before set downe, with a looking-glassee and confederaice, all which and such like tend to cozening and hurt of our brother.
But we will proceed with
the other use of Cardes, which tendeth to mirth and recreation
of mind and which in themselves simply is no hurt unlesse they
are abvsed. In shewing feats and jugling with cardes, the principal
point consisteth in shuffling them nimbly and always keeping one
certain carde either in the bottome or in some knowne place of
the stock, foure or five cardes from it. Hereby you shall seem
to work wonders, for it will be easy for you to see or espy one
which, though you be perceived to do, it will not be suspected
if you shuffle them well afterwards. And this note I must giue
you, That in reserving the bottome carde you must always (whilst
you shuffle) keep him a little before, or a little behind, all
the cardes lying underneath him, bestoweing him (I say) either
a little beyond his fellows before, right over the forefinger,
or else behind the rest, so as the little finger of the left hand
may meet with it, which is the easier and the readier and the
better way. In the beginning of your shuffling, shuffle as thick
as you can, and in the end, throwe upon the stock the nether carde,
with so many more at the least as you would haue preserved for
any purpose, a little before or behind the rest, provided always
that your forefinger, if the pack be laid before, or the little
finger if the pack lie behind, creep up to meet with the bottome
carde, and not lie betwixt the cardes. And when you feel it, you
may then hold it until you haue shuffled over the cardes againe,
still leaving your kept can below. Being perfect herein, you may
do almost what you list with the cardes By this means, what pack
soever you make, though it consist of eight, twelve or twenty
cardes, you may keep them still together unsevered next to the
nether carde, and yet shuffle them often to satisfiy the curious
beholders, as, for ensample and for brevitys sake, to shew you
diverse feats under one.
a pack of eight cardes: to wit, foure Knaues and foure Aces, and
although all the eight cardes must lie immediately together, yet
must each Knave and Ace be openly severed, and the same eight
cardes must lie also in the lowest place of the bunch. Then shuffle
them so as always at the second shuffling, or at least wise at
the end of your shuffling the said pack, and of the pack one ace
may lie nethermost, or so as you may know where he goeth and lieth,
and always, I say let your foresaid pack with three or foure cardes
more lie unseparably together, immediately upon and with that
ace. Then using some speech or other device, and putting your
hand with the cardes to the edge of the table to hide the account,
let out privily a peece of the second carde, which is one of the
knaues. Holding forth the stock in both your hands, and shewing
to the standers-by the nether Card (which is the ace or kept Card),
covering also the head or peece of the knave (which is your next
carde) with your foure fingers, draw out the same knave, laying
it downe on the Table. Then shuffle againe, keeping your pack
whole, and so haue you two aces lying together in the bottome.
And therefore to reform that disordered Card, as also for a grace
and countenance to that action, take off the uppermost Card of
the bunch and thrust it into the middest, the Cardes, and then
take away the nethermost Card which is one of your aces, and bestowe
him likewise. Then may you begin as before, shewing another ace,
and instead thereof, lay downe another knave, and so forth, until
instead of your foure aces you haue laid downe foure knaues. The
beholders, all this while thinking that there lie foure aces on
the table, are greatly abvsed and will marvel the transformation.
you haue seen a Card privily, or as though you marked it not,
lay the same undermost, and shuffle the Cardes as before you were
taught, till your Card lie againe below in the bottome. Then shew
the same to the beholders, willing them to remember it. Then shuffle
the Cardes or let any shuffle them, for you know the Cardes already,
and therefore may at any time tell them what Card they saw, which
neverthelesse would be done with great circumstance and shew of
You shall see a Jugler take foure Kings and no more in his band and apparently shew you them. Then after some words and charms, he will throwe them downe before you upon the table, taking one of the Kings away and adding but one other Card. Then, taking them up againe and blowing upon them, will shew you them transformed into blank Cardes, white on both sides. After using charms againe, throweing them downe as before (with the faces downeward) will take them up againe and shew you foure Aces, blowing still upon them, that it may breed the more wonder which tricke in my mind is nothing inferior to the rest. And being not knowne, will seem wonderful strange to the spectators, yet after you know it, you cannot but say the tricke is pretty. Now, therefore, to accomplish this feat, you must haue Cardes made for the purpose (half-Cardes you may call them-that is, the one half-Kings, the other part aces, so that laying the aces one over the other, nothing but the kings will be seen, and then turning the kings downeward, the foure aces will be seen--provided you must haue two whole, one whole king to cover one of the aces, or else it will be perceived, and the other an ace to lay over the kings, when you mean to shew the aces. Then when you will make them all blank, lay the Cardes a little lower, and hide the aces and they will appear all white. The like you may make of the foure knaues, putting upon them the foure fives and so of the rest of the Cardes. But this cannot be well shewed you without demonstration.
Hitherto I haue entreated of the three principal kinds of jugling. Now it remaineth in order to speak of jugling by confederaice, which is either private or publike. Private conspiracy is when one (by a special plot laid by himself without any compact made with others) persuadeth the beholders that he will suddenly and in their presence do some miraculous feat, which he hath already accomplished privately. As, for ensamples, he will shew you a carde or any other like thing, and will say further unto you, Behold, and see what a mark it hath, and then burneth it, and neverthelesse fetcheth another like carde so marked, Out of somebodys pocket, or out of some comer, where he himself before had placed it, to the wonder and astonishment of simple beholders which conceive not that kind of illusion, but expect miracles and strange works.
I haue read of a notable exploit done before a King by a Jugler, who painted. on a wall the picture of a dove, and seeing a pigeon sitting upon the top of an house, said to the King, Lo, now your grace shall see what a Jugler can do, if he be his crafts master, and then pricked the picture with a knife so hard and so often and with so effectual words, as the pigeon fell downe from the top of the house stark dead. You may imagine how the matter was taken, what wondering was thereat, how he was prohibited to use that feat any further, lest he should employ it in any other kind of murder. This story is held yet of diverse as canonical, but when you are taught the feat or sleight, you will think it mockery and a simple illusion.
To unfold you the mystery hereof, so it is that the poor pigeon was before in the hands of the Jugler, into whom he had thrust a dram of Nux romica, or some other such poison, which to the nature of the Bird was so extreme a poison as after the receipt thereof, it could not live above the space of half an hour. And, being let loose after the medicine ministered, she always resorteth to the top of the next house which she will the rather do if there be any pigeon already sitting there, and after a short space falleth downe, either stark dead or greatly astonished. But in the meantime, the Jugler useth words of art, partly to protract time, and partly to gain credit and admiration of the beholders.
As with Cardes, you may
shew feats by private confederaice. So, of the other two--that
is, to wit, with the balls and the mony, as to mark a shilling
or an other thing, and throwe the same into a river or deep pond.
And having hid the shilling before with like marks in some other
secret place, bid some go presently and fetch it, making them
believe that it is the very same which you threw into the river.
The beholders will marvel much at it. And of such feats there
may be many done, but more by publike confederaice, whereby one
may tell another how much mony he hath in his purse and an hundred
confederaice is when there is beforehand a compact made betwixt
divers persons, the one to be principal, the other to be asseistant
in working of miracles, or, rather, in cozening and abusing the
beholders, as when I tell you in the presence of a multitude what
you haue thought or done, or shall do or think when you and I
were thereupon agreed before. And if this be cunningly and closely
handled, it will induce great admiration to the beholders, especially
when they are before amazed and abvsed by some experiment of art,
magic, or legerdemaine. I will in brief set you downe some pretty
conclusions, and so will proceed with other feats in other kinds.
a wager with your confederate (who must seem simple or obstinate,
opposed againest you) that standing behind a door you will (by
the sounding or ringing of the mony) tell him whether he cast
Crosse or pile. So as when you are gone, and he hath philliped
the mony before the witnesses who are to be cozened, he must say,
:What is it if
it be Crosse, or :What
it be pile, or some other such sign, as you are agreed upon, and
so you need not fail to guesse rightly. By this means, if you
haue any invention, you may seem to do an hundred miracles, and
to discover a mans thought or words spoken afar off.
means of confederaice Cuthbert
Cony-catcher and one Swart Rutter, two that
haue taken degrees in Whittington College, abvsed
notably the country people. For Cuthbert would hide
away his neighbors horses, kine, colts, etc., and sent them to
Swart Rutter, whom he before had told where they were,
promising to send the parties unto him whom he described, and
made knowne by diverse signs, so as this Swart would
tell them at their first entrance unto the door wherefore they
came, and would say that their horses, kine, etc. were stolen,
but the thief should be forced to bring them back againe, and
leave them within one mile south and by west, etc. of his
house, even as the plot was laid, and the pact made before by
Cuthbert and him. This Cuthbert is esteemed
of some and thought to be a witch of others: he is accounted a
conjurer, but commonly called a wise man, and are able of themselves
to tell you where anything that is stolen is, as to build Pauls
steeple up againe.
hath been reported of such fellows and such, that they can do
rare feats as to make one daunce naked. To the effecting of this,
make a poor boy confederate with you so as, after charms and words
spoken by you, he unclothe himself and stand naked, seeming (whilst
he undresseth him) to shake, stamp, and cry, still hastening to
be unclothed, till he be stark naked. Or, if you can procure none
to go so far, let him only begin to stamp and shake etc. and to
unclothe him, and then you may, for reverence of the company,
seem to release him.
Let your cupbord be so placed as your confederate may hold a black Thread without in the court, behind some window of that room, and at a certain loud word spoken by you, he may pull the same thread, being wound about the potte. And this was the feat of Eleazer the Jew which Josepbus reporteth to be such a miracle.
Now that we haue spoken
of the three principle acts of Legerdemain and of confederaice,
I will go forward and touch some few ordinary feats which are
pretty, yet not altogether to be compared with the rest: I mean
for conceit and nimblenesse of the hand, yet such as to the ignorant,
and those that know not the carriage, will seem strange and wonderful.
be diverse jugling boxes with false bottomes, wherein many false
feats are wrought. First, they haue a box covered, or rather footed,
alike at each end, the bottome of the one end being no deeper
than as it May contain one lahe of corne or pepper, glued thereupon.
Then use they to put into the hollow end thereof some other kind
of graine, ground or unground. Then do they cover it, and put
it under a hat or candlestick, and either in putting it thereinto,
or pulling it thence, they turn the box and open the contrary
end, wherein is shewed a contrary graine, or else they shew the
glued end first (which end they suddenly thrust into a bag of
such graine as is glued already thereupon), and, secondly, the
is another box fashioned like a bell, whereinto they put so much
and such corne as the foresaid hollow box can contain. Then they
stop and cover the same with a peece of leather as broad as a
tester, which being thrust up hard to the Middle part or waist
of the said bell, will stick fast and bear up the corne, and if
the edge of the same leather be wet, it will hold the better.
Then take they the other box, dipped (as is aforesaid) in corne,
and set downe the same upon the Table, the empty end upward, saying
that they will conuey the graine therein into the other box or
bell, which being set downe somewhat hard upon the table, the
leather and corne therein will fall downe, so as the said bell
being taken up from the table, you shall see the corne lying thereon
and the stopple will be hidden therewith, and covered, and when
you uncover the other box, nothing shall remain therein, but presently
the corne must be swept downe with one hand into the other, or
into your lap or hat. Many feats may be done with this box, as
to put therein a toad, affirming the same to be so turned from
corne, and then many beholders will suppose the same to be the
Juglers devil, whereby his feats and miracles are wrought.
for pulling of laces forth of the mouth, it is now somewhat stale
whereby Juglers get much mony among maids selling lace by the
yard, putting into their mouths one round bottome, as fast as
they pull out another, and, at the just end of every yard, they
tie a knot so as the same resteth upon their teeth. Then cut they
off the same, and so the beholders are double and treble deceived,
seeing so much lace as will be contained in a hat, and the same
of what colour you list to name, to be drawn by so even yards
out of his mouth, and yet the Jugler to talk as though there were
nothing at all in his mouth. There are diverse jugling trickes
which I am loathe to describe for some reasons before alleged,
whereof some are common, some rarer, and some desperate. I will
therefore shew a few desperate and dangerous jugling knacks, wherein
the simple are made to think that a silly Jugler with words can
hurt and help, kill and revive any creature at his pleasure. And
first to kill any kind of pullen and make them revive.
a hen etc. and thrust a naule or a fine sharp pointed knife through
the middest of the head thereof, the edge toward the bill, so
as it may seem impossible for her to escape death. Then use words
or incantations, and pulling out the knife, lay oats before her,
and she will eate and live, being nothing at all grieved or hurt
with the wound, because the brain lieth so far behind in the head
as it is not touched, though you thrust your knife between the
comb and it. And after you haue done this, you may connect your
speech and actions to the grievous wounding and recovering of
your owne self.
The natural cause why a hen thrust through the head with a bodkin doth live notwithstanding
Take a knife, and conuey the same between your two hands, so as no part be seen thereof but a little of the point, which you must so bite at the first as noyse may be made therewith. Then seem to put a great part thereof into your mouth, and letting your hand slip downe, there will appear to haue been more in your mouth than is possible to be contained therein. Then send for drink or use some other delay until you haue let the said knife slip into your lap, holding both your fists close together as before, and then raise them so from the edge of the table where you sit (for from thence the knife may most privily slip downe into your lap) and instead of biting the knife, knab a little upon your nail, and then seem to thrust the knife into your mouth, opening the hand next unto it, and thrust up the other, so as it may appear to the standers-by that you haue deliuered your hands thereof, and thrust it into your mouth.
Then call for drink, after
countenance made of pricking, and danger etc. Lastly, put your
hand into your lap, and taking that knife into your hand, you
may seem to bring it out from behind you, or from whence you list.
But if you haue another like knife, and a confederate, you may
do twenty notable wonders hereby, as to send a stander-by into
some garden or Orchard, describing to him some tree or herb under
which it sticketh, or else some strangers sheath, or pocket, etc.
This be pretty if it be cleanly
This be pretty if it be cleanly
a Bodkin so made as the haft being hollow, the blade thereof may
slip thereinto. As soon as you hold the point downeward, and set
the same to your forehead, and seem to thrust into your head:
and so, with a little sponge in your hand, you may wring out blood
or wine, making the beholders think the blood or wine (whereof
you may say you haue drunnek very much) runneneth out of your
forehead. Then, after countenance of pain and grief, pull away
your hand suddenly, holding the point downeward, and it will fall
so out as it will seem never to haue been thrusted into the haft.
But immediately thrust that bodkin into your lap or pocket, and
pull out another plain bodkin like the same, saving in that conceit.
a knife having a round hollow gap in the middle, and lay it upon
your nose, and so shall you seem to haue cut your nose in sunder.
Provided always that in all these, you haue another like knife
without a gap to be shewed upon pulling out of the same, and words
of enchantments to speak: blood also to bewray the wound and nimble
This is easily don hovvbeit being nimbly it will deceaue the sight of the beholders
is pretty Knack which seemeth dangerous to the cheek, for the
accomplishment whereof you must haue two rings of like colour
and quantity, [the] one filed asunder, so as you may thrust it
upon your cheek, the other must be whole and conueyed upon a stick.
Holding your hand, thereupon, in the middle of the stick, deliuering
each end of the same stick to be holden fast by a standerby, then
pulling the ring out of your cheek, cleanly strike it againest
some part of the stick, keeping it still in your hand. Then pull
your other hand from the stick, and pulling it away, whirl about
the ring, and so it will be thought that you haue put thereon
the Ring which was in your cheek.
Many other pretty feats of this nature might be here set downe, as to cut off ones head and to lay it in a platter, which Juglers call the decollation of St. John the Baptist: also to thrust a dagger or bodkin through your guts very strangely, and to recover immediately. After another way, then, with the bodkin before rehearsed, also to draw a cord through your nose, mouth, or hand so sensibly as is wonderful to see. with many more, I here forbear for brevitys sake. There is a very pretty tricke to make wine or beer to come out of your brow or ear with a funnel after you haue drunnek the same, the which I am loathe to discover, as not willing to haue all the poor Juglers trickes made knowne at once. There is a way to make fire to come out of your mouth by burning of tow, all which for reasons before alleged, I will here omit to discover: but will hie me to another sort of Juglers, or rather cozeners, calling themselves by the name of alchemists. Professing themselves learned men, and to haue the Philosophers stone, these professors of the misty or smoky science study and cast about how to overreach and cozen the simple, and such as are giuen to covetousnesse or greedy desire after gain. With such they insinuate themselves by little and little, professing a shew of honesty and plainess, until they are acquainted with their desires and found the length of their foot, telling them that they can do wonders, make silver of copper, and gold out of silver. Such a one awhile ago was in Battersea, who, coming poor to towne, made some of the towne believe he had the Philosophers stone. Whereupon, one of the rest, believing him, desired to be better acquainted with him insomuch that he requested him to take a poor bed at his house, and offered him great kindness, hoping in time to get some skill of him towards the attaining of the Philosophers stone. Upon a day as this Smith (for so imagine him to be) and beggarly Artist were together, desired him of all loues to impart to him some of his learning, asseuring him, if it lay in his power to do him a pleasure, he should not fail, protesting that both his purse and himself were both at his command. Hereupon, to be short, my Gentleman at the first was somewhat scrupulous, yet at the earnest request of his new friend, did at last condescend, charging him to be secret in what he should disclose unto him. The Smith swore to be silent: then my cozening copesmate instructs him s followeth.
In the month of July, search
for the seed of Fern which must be first and principal matter
of working this, and effecting this hidden secret, and,
quoth he, if you had but an ounce of this fern seed, thou
shalt be made forever, for it is very hard to finde.: Hereupon
he gets up the next morning (for it was about the same time of
the year which he prescribed him to search for this inestimable
seed) and looks very diligently about the heath where store of
fern grows. But having spent most part of the day in searching
and looking, his back ready to crack with stoopeing and his throat
furred with dust for want of small beer, so that the poor Smith
was ready to faint for want of food. By chance one of the towne
came by, and seeing him search so diligently up and downe, and
could not guesse for what, asked him what he sought for so busily.
:O, quoth the Smith, for a thing that if I
could finde, I should be made forever.: Why,
quoth the fellow, what, I prithee, ist Oh,
no, quoth the Smith, I maynot tell you.: Not
tell me quoth the fellow. Why, what ist I prithee,
tell me.: At last, at the earnest entreaty of the fellow,
the smith told he looked for fern seed. With that, the fellow
laughed a good, and asked him who willed him to look for that.
:That old M. Etseb,
quoth the smith, and if I can but finde one ounce of it,
it would be of much worth.: Worth.: quoth the
fellow. He that set thee to look for that was a fool and
thou art an asse, for there was never any fern seed as yet seen.
Therefore get thee home to thy forge, for he makes but a fool
of thee.: At this, the smith was blank, and got him home
to his anvil. But how the smith and the Alchemist agreed upon
the reckoning for his cozening him, I mean not here to deliuer.
But this I bring in by the way, to shew that their art is nothing
but deceit, and themselves cozeners, which by two pretty tales
I will declare unto you.
Chaucer in one of his Canterbury tales rehearseth this jest of a cozening Alchemist. spying on a day a covetous priest, whose purse he knew to be well lined, asseaulted him with flattery and kind speech, two principal points belonging to this art. At length he borrowed mony of this priest, which is the third part of this art, without the which the professors can do no good nor endure in goal. estate. Then he at his day repaid the mony, which is the most difficult point in this art, and a rare experiment. Finally, to requite the priests courtesy, he promised unto him such instructions as thereby within short time he should become infinitely rich, and all through this art of multiplication. And this is the most common point in this science, for herein they must be skillful before they be famous or attain to any credit. The Priest disliked not his proffer, especially because it tended to his profit, and embraced his courtesy. Then the fooltaker had him send forthwith for three ounces of quicksilver which he said he would transubstantiate by his art into perfect silver. The Priest thought nothing of deceit, but with great joy accomplished his request.
And now forsooth goeth this
jolly Alchemist about his business, and work of multiplication,
and causeth the Priest to make a fire of coals, in the bottome
whereof he placeth a croslet, and pretending only to help the
Priest to lay the coals handsomely, he foisteth into the middle
ward or lane of coals a beechen coal, within which was conueyed
an ingot of perfect silver which when the coal was consumed slipped
downe into the croslet that was, I say, directly under it. The
Priest perceived not the fraud, but received the ingot of silver,
and was not a little joyful to see such certain successe proceed
from his owne handiwork, wherein could be no fraud (as he surely
conceived) and therefore very diligently gave the knave forty
pounds for the receipt of this experiment. Who, for that sum of
mony, taught him a lesson in Alchemistry, but he never returned
to hear repetitions, or to see how he profited.
A Gentleman in Kent of good worth, not long sithence was overtaken by a cozening knave, who professed Alchemy, jugling, Witchcraft, and conjuration, and by means of his companions and confederates found the simplidty and ability of the said Gentleman and learned his estate and humors to be convenient for his purpose, and at last came a-wooing to his daughter to whom he made loue cunningly in words though his purpose tended to another end. And among other illusions and tales concerning his owne commendations, for wealth, parentage, inheritance, alliance, learning, and cunning, he boasted of the knowledge and experience in Alchemy, making the simple Gentleman believe that he could multiply, and of one Angel make two or three, which seemed strange to the Gentleman insomuch as he became willing enough to see that conclusion.
Whereby the Alchemist had more hope and comfort to attain his desire than if his daughter had yielded to haue married him. To be short, he in the presence of the said Gentleman did include within a little ball of virgins wax a couple of Angels, and after certain ceremonies and conjuring words, he seemed to deliuer the same unto him: but, in truth, through Legerdemain, he conueyed into the Gentlemans hand another ball of the same scantling, wherein were enclosed many more Angels than were in the ball which he thought he had received. Now, forsooth, the Alchemist bade him lay up the same ball of wax and also use certain ceremonies, which I thought good here to omit, and after certain days, hours, and minutes, they returned together, according to the appointment, and found great gains by multiplication of the angels, insomuch that he being a plain man was hereby persuaded that he should not only haue a rare and notable good son-in-law, but a companion that might help to add unto his wealth much treasure, and to his estate great fortune and felicity. And to increase this opinion in him, as also to win his further favor, but especially to bring his cunning Alchemy, or rather, his lewd purpose to passe, he told him that it were folly to multiply a pound of gold when as easily they might multiply a million, and therefore councellled him to produce all the mony he had, or could borrow of his neighbors and friends, and did put him out of doubt that he would multiply the same, and redouble it exceedingly, even as he saw by experience how he dealt with the small sum before his face. This Gent in hope of gains and preferment consented to his sweet motion, and brought out and laid before his feet not the one half of his goods, but all that he had or could make or borrow any manner of way. Then this jugling Alchemist, having obtained his purpose, folded the same in a ball in quantity far bigger than the other. And conueying the same unto his bosom or pocket, deliuered another Ball as before in the like quantity, to be reserved, and safely kept in his chest, whereof because the matter was of importance, either of them must haue a key and a several lock that no interruption might be made to the ceremony, or abuse by either of them in defrauding the other. Now, forsooth, the circumstances and ceremonies being ended, the Alchemists purpose thereby performed, he told the Gent. that until a certain day and hour limited to return, either of them might employ themselves about their business, and necessary affairs, the Gent. to his businesse and he to the city of London. And in the meantime, the gold should multiply. But the Alchemist belike, having other matters of more importance, came not just at the hour appointed nor yet at the day, nor within the year, so as although it were somewhat againest the Gents conscience to violate his promise or break the league, yet partly by the longing he had to see, and partly the desire he had to enjoy the fruit of the excellent experiment, having for his owne security (and the others Satisfaction), some testimony at the opening thereof to witnesse his sincere dealing, he broke up the coffer, and lo, he soon espied the Ball of wax which he himself had laid up there with his owne hands so, as he thought, if the hardest should fall, he should finde his principal, and why not as good increase now as of the other before But, alas, when the wax was broken and the metal discovered, the gold was much abased and becume perfect lead.
Hitherto haue I spoken somewhat
of the knavery of Alchemy: now I will conclude with a pretty dialogue
a man of great wisdome and learning, and of no lesse experience,
hath written, who, as in his time saw the fraudulent fetches of
this compasseing craft. So hath there been no age, since the
same hath been broached, but that some wise men haue smelled out
the evil meaning of these shifting merchants and bewrayed them
to the world.
Francis Petrarch. I say, treating of the same matter, in form of a dialogue, introduceth a disciple of his who fancied the foresaid profession and practice, speaking on this manner.
Disciple. I hope for a prosperous successe in Alchemy.
Pet. It is a wonder from whence that hope should spring, sith the fruit thereof did never yet fall to thy lot. Nor yet at any time chance to another, as report commonly goeth, that many rich men by this vanity and madnesse weakened their bodies, and wasted their wealth, in trying ot conclusions to make gold engender gold.
I hope for gold according to the workmans promise.
Pet. He that promised thee gold will runne away with thy gold, and thou never the wiser.
Decip. He promiseth me great good.
He will first serve his owne turn and relieve his private poverty,
for Alchemists are a beggarly kind of people, who though they
confesse themselves bare and needy, yet will they make others
rich and wealthy, as though others poverty did molest and grieve
them more than their owne: so far the words of Petrarch.
Albert in his book of minerals reporteth that Avicenna treating of Alchemy saith, Let the dealers of Alchemy understand that the very nature of things cannot be changed but, rather, made by art, to resemble the same in shew and likeness.: So that they are not the very thing indeed, but seem so to be in appearance, as Castles and Towers do seem to be built in the air whereas the representations there shewed are nothing else but the resemblance of certain objects below, cavsed in some bright and clear cloud when the air is void of thicknesse and grossness. A sufficient proof hereof may be the looking-glassee. And we see, saith he, the yellow-orange colour laid upon red seemeth to be gold.
Thus much for the fond, and vain art of Alchemy. I will now draw to an end, leaving to speak of the innumerable charms of conjurers, bad Physicians, lewd Surgeons, melancholy Witches, and cozeners, especially for such as bad Physicians and Surgeons know not how to cure as againest the falling evil, the biting of mad dogs, the stinging of a Scorpoin, the toothache, for a woman in travail, for the Kings evil, to get a thorn out of any member or a bone out of ones throat, for sore eyes, to open locks, againest spirits, for the botch in a horse, for sour wines, and diverse others.
There are also diverse books
imprinted, as it should appear by the authority of the Church
of Rome, wherein are contained many medicinal prayers not only
againest all diseases of horses but also for every impediment
and fault in a horse: insomuch as if a shoe fall in the middest
of his journey, there is a prayer to warrant your horses hoof
so as it shall not break, how far soever he be from the smiths
forge. But these of all the rest are the fondest toys that ever
were devised: therefore, we will passe them over. And yet how
many in these days are addicted to the belief of these charms
it is incredible. I will giue you a taste of two or three, because
you shall see the foolery of the rest.
fire bites, the fire bites, the fire bites. Hogs turd over it,
hogs turd over it, hogs turd over it. The Father with thee, the
Son with me, the holy Ghost between us both to be, thrice, then
spit over one shoulder and then over the other, and then three
times right forward.:
old woman that healed all diseases of cattle (for the which she
never took any reward but a penny and a loafe) being seriously
examined by what words she brought these things to passe, confessed
that after she had touched the sick creature, she always departed
My loafe in my lap,
My penny in my purse,
Thou art never the better,
And I am never the worse.
A slouenly Charm for sore eyes.
The Deuill pull out both thine eyes,
And etish in the holes likewise.
Spel tis word backward and you shall see whata slouennly charme this is ecsib.
A Miller that had his eels
stolen by night made moan to the priest of the parish, who indeed
was the principal of the thieves that stole the eels. Sir John
willed him to be quiet, for, said he, I will so curse the
thieves and their adherents with bell, book, and candle that they
shall haue small joy of their fish : and therefore the
next sunday, Sir John got him up to the pulpit with his surplice
on his back and his Cole about his neck, and pronounced these
words following, in the audience of the people.
All ye that haue stolen the miller s Eels,
Laudate Dorainure in coelis
And all they that haue consented thereunto
By this little, you may
plainly perceive the foppery of the Church of Rome who hold such
toys as authentical, and also their knavery to make the people
believe lies for truth and falsehood for honesty, bearing them
in hand, as in this so in all the rest, with blindnesse and ignorance.
But hereof enough.
And now to conclude, let us back againe with one pretty knack, which is held to be marvelous and wonderful. And that is to make a horse tell you how much mony you haue in your purse. And I read of a pretty story of an asse at Memphis in Egypt, that could do rare feats. Among other jugling knacks there and then vsed, there was one that took pains with an asse that he had taught him all these qualities following, and for game he cavsed a stage to be made and an asseembly of people to meet which, being done in the manner of a play, he came in with his asse and said, The Sultan hath great need of assees to help to carry stones, and other stuff towards his great building which he hath in hand.: The asse immediately fell downe to the ground and by all signs shewed himself to be sick, and at length to giue up the ghost. So as the Juglerr begged of the asseembly mony towards his asse, and having gotten all that he could, he said, No, my masters, you see mine asse is yet alive, and doth but counterfeit, because he would haue some mony to buy him provender, knowing that I was poor and in some need of relief.: Hereupon he vvould needs lay a wager that his asse was alive, who to every mans seeing was stark dead. And when one had laid mony with him thereupon, he commanded the asse to arise. But he lay still, as though he were dead. Then did he beat him with a Cudgel, but that would not serve the turn until he had addressed his speech to the asse, saying as before in open audience, The Sultan hath commanded that all the people shall ride out tomorrow and see the triumph, and that the fair Ladies will ride upon the fairest assees and will giue notable provender to them, and every asse shall drink of the sweet water of Nylus.: And then, lo, the asse did presently start up, and advance himself exceedingly. Lo, quoth his master, :now I haue won. But in truth the Mayor hath borrowed my asse for the use of the old ill-favored witch his wife, and thereupon immediately he hung downe his ears and halted downeright, as though he had been stark lame. Then said his Master, I perceive you loue young pretty wenches, at which the asse looked up, as it were, with a joyful cheer. And then his master bade him choose out one that should ride upon him, and he ran to a very handsome woman, and touched her with his head.
:Such a one is at
this day to be seen in London, his master will say, Sirrah,
here be diverse Gentlemen that haue lost diverse things, and they
hear say that thou canst tell them tidings, of them where they
are. If thou canst, prithee shew thy cunning and tell them.:
Then hurls he downe a hand kerchief or a gloue that he had taken
from the parties before, and bids him giue it the right owneer,
which the horse presently doth. And many other pretty feats this
horse doth, and some of those trickes as the asse before mentioned
did, which not one among a thousand perceives how they are done,
nor how he is brought to learn the same. And note that all the
feats that this horse doth is altogether in numbering. As, for
ensample, His master will ask him how many people there are in
the room The horse will paw with his foot so many times as there
are people. And mark the eye of the horse is always upon his master,
and as his master moves, so goes he or stands still, as he is
brought to it at the first. As, for ensample, his master will
throwe you three dice, and will bid his horse tell how many you
or he haue throwen. Then the horse paws with his foot whiles the
master stands stone still. Then when his master sees he hath pawed
so many as the first dice shews itself, then he lifts up his shoulders
and stirs a little. Then he bids him tell what is on the second
die, and then of the third die, which the horse will do accordingly,
still pawing with his foot until his master sees he hath pawed
enough, and then stirs. Which, the horse marking, will stay and
leave pawing. And note, that the horse will paw an hundred times
together, until he sees his master stir. And note also that nothing
can be done but his master must first know, and then his master
knowing, the horse is ruled by him by signs. This if you mark
at any time you shall plainly perceive.
Now that we are come to
our journeys end, let us sit downe and look about us, whether
we are all sons of one father, if there be no knaues among us
light me the candle. Who do I see What, the lusty lad of the Miter,
that will bind bears and ride his golden asse to death but he
will haue his will By our lady, by our lady, sir, you of all the
rest are most welcome. What, how doth your stomach after your
carousing banquet What, gorge upon gorge, egges upon egges, and
sack upon sack, at these years By the faith of my body, sir, you
must provide for a hot kitchen againest you grow old, if you mean
to live my years. But, happy the father that begot thee, and thrice
happy the Nurse that fostered such a toward yonker as thyself.
I know thy virtues as well as thyself. Thou hast a superficial
twang of a little something: an Italian ribald cannot vomit out
the infections of the world, but thou, my pretty Juvenal, an Enghsh
Horrel-lorel must lick it up for restorative, and putrify thy
gentl brother over againest thee with the vile impostumes of thy
lewd corruptions. God blesse good minds from the black enemy,
say I. I know you haue been prying like the Devil from East to
West, to hear what news. I will acquaint the with some, and that
a secret distillation before thou goest. He that drinketh oil
of pricks shall haue much ado to avoid. syrup of roses: and he
that eateth nettles for provender hath a privilege to pisse upon
lilies for litter. I prithee sweet natures darling, insult not
overmuch upon quiet men: a worm that I trodden upon will turn
againe and patience loues not to be made a cart of Croyden. I
do begin with thee now, but if I see thee not mend thy conditions
Ill tell you another tale shortly. Thou shalt see that I can do
it. I could bring in my Author to tell thee to thy face that he
hath found a knave, in gross, of thee But I can say, I haue found
thee a fool in retail. Thou seest simplicity cannot double, nor
plain dealing cannot dissemble. I could wish thee to amend thy
life and take heed of the Beadle.