Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Burn as many thousand years in hell, as there be spears of grass in Hyde Park, so saith Christ

The yellovv book, or, A serious letter sent by a private Christian to the Lady Consideration, the first day of May, 1656 which she is desired to communicate in Hide-Park to the gallants of the times a little after sun-set : also, a brief account of the names of some vain persons that intend to be there, whose company the new ladies are desired to forbear is a rather remarkable prose performance, which went through several early editions (one or more in 1656, and re-issues in 1658 and 1659), and commanded a sequel, A new trial of the ladies. Hide-Park, May-Day. Or, The yellow books partner.

The author is only known as W.B., probably the same W.B. that produced an allegorical beast fable about the Civil War in Experiences and Tears, 1652. The Yellow Book also uses allegory, addressing ‘Lady Consideration’, for whom all is not yet lost spiritually, and trying to separate her from the other lost habituées of Hyde Park, “Mrs. Contempt and Mrs. Envy will be there Mrs Luxury, Mrs. Wanton, Mrs. Faith and troth, Mrs. Hop about, Mrs. Never pray, and Mrs Never go…

W.B. is basically just a puritan, who disapproves mightily of the beau monde which gathered in their coaches at the Hyde Park Ring, especially on May Day: “they shall certainly burn as many thousand years in hell, as there be spears of grass in Hide-Park so saith Christ, Mat. 25. 41”. The May Day gathering was an important social event: there’s a poem in Edward Phillips’ Mysteries of Love and Eloquence ‘Upon the fatal disaster that befell the Gallants upon May-day last in Hide-Park’ – it’s about a year when it rained in the English way:


The last sad May-day know ye not?
It was a fatal day, God wot,
Which gay new Clothes did all bespot
With mire and dirt.

But, like many religious moralists, W.B. is redeemed from dullness by the fascinated attention he pays to what he so much disapproves of – here, he imagines for a moment one come back from hell to warn others from treading the same primrose path:

“If one could come out of hell, that heretofore used Hide Park, but that cannot be, Luke 16. 26. would they hear what he would say? I believe no, If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, and they that speak by the same spirit, they will not hear him, verse 29. besides, such an one will scarce come there, nor to Mrs. Wantons Chamber neither, where there is nothing but four or five naked Pictures, a Song book, a Play book, a Lute, a History, two or three great Looking-glasses, a jackalattostick, and a Mystery in a little pot, namely, a face, to put on or off, a fair for a foul, a smooth for a wrinkled.”

What I like here is that glide from the Bible to the knowledgeable inventory of Mistress Wanton’s chamber. The OED is no help with a ‘jackalattostick’, it might be something connected with throwing, jaculation. Mistress Wanton’s rejuvenation cream recalls the ballad of the 1640’s, News from Hide-Parke: or A very merry strange passage which happened betwixt a north-country gentleman, and a very gaudy gallant lady of pleasure, whom he took up in the parke, and conducted her (in her own coach) home to her lodgings, and what chanced there, if you'l venture attention, the song will declare. The northern gentleman is delighted with his metropolitan seduction, until he observes her undress for bed, and flees the scene.

Here, W.B. starts to sound like another man with experience of the flesh, John Donne, on the resurrection of the body: “death will strip you to your skins, naked came I cut of my mothers womb, naked must I return, toe and toe must be tied together, the silken stocken and the silver shoe, the holland shirt and all most off, and naked must you return. O Madam, as you came you must go, only your mothers blood shall be washed off, Princes, Kings, and Queens, must do so too, yea to death must all lay down their Crowns, and Parliament men pull off their robes, death will strip them to there skin, but it cannot strip a Saint of this righteousness, no, no, worms may eat and eat his skin thorough & thorough, & the grave consume his bones and flesh to dust, but it cannot touch this righteousness, no, no, Christ keeps that for him as in a Cabinet of gold, until the day of resurrection, and then his dead body, though consumed to dust, and that again to nothing, yet shall that nothing be raised and arrayed too like a Princess in the morning of her espousal.”

But what I really found remarkable about W.B. was his ability to render a stream-of-consciousness. Here, he places Lady Consideration of her death-bed, as the singing of a supernatural bird replaces her busy London and its street-sounds:

“when you lie panting like the poor Partridge in the tearing talents of the Falcon, and what is a bed of state in such a condition, though surrounded with a thousand Lords and Ladies, who are but vain comforters, or as flesh flies, when the strong men shall bow themselves, the legs, arms and sinews of strength all shrinked up, yea the whole man turned to the wall like Hezekiah, and weep like a child, the grinders cease, as not able to do their office, and they that look out of the windows be darkened, the light and sight of thine eyes, dim and creamy, the throat rattle, and the breath earthly, when the doors shall be shut in the streets, all the intellects of the soul, that take in and shut out visible appearance be locked up, then the sound of the grinding shall be low, no noise or motions hardly heard, when you shall rise up at the voice of the bird, the secret chirpings of conscience, the private bird, that tells all old, and almost forgotten things, and ungodly acts, when the daughters of musick are brought low, all your former vain, and sinful vanities, and delights are husht still, blown over and gone through the fear of that which is coming on, namely, death, hell…”

W.B. drifts from the voice of admonition to the voice of the worldling who did not heed him, who sees his point, who becomes him, too late to save herself:

“the Sun is setting, the glory going, and all the company from the Park, and this May-day will come no more, nor we nor they from the grave which are once there; let this be my last to the love, to the life of sin, and delights of this world, and let me take my leave; farewell, farewell Ladies, Lords, farewell pleasures of the day, I shall never see you more, fields no more, nor hedges, Sun Moon nor Stars, Saints nor Sinners, Churches nor Stages, Houses of Prayer, or Houses of Sin; yea, nothing more that I now see shall I ever see again, in the way, in the manner, in the state and condition that I now see, I shall never see more. O Christ, where am I? Oh Christ, what do I here?”

He’s just very good at details of language and behaviour. This is how his pamphlet starts:
“LADY, I Am informed, fine Mrs. Dust, Madam Spot, and my Lady Paint, are to meet at Hide-Park this afternoon; much of pride will be there: If you please to take an Hackney, I shall wait upon your Honour in a private way: But pray let us not be seen among the foolish ones, that ride round, round, wheeling of their Coaches about and about, laying of the naked breast, neck and shoulders over the boot, with Lemon and a Fan, shaking it at young Mrs. Poppet, crying, Madam, Your most humble Servant, your very humble servant sweet Madam, while some are doing worse.”

The ‘lemon’ would have been bought on the spot, according to Edward Phillips’ The mysteries of love & eloquence, or, The arts of wooing and complementing as they are manag'd in the Spring Garden, Hide Park, the New Exchange:

“In the spaces among the Coaches there walk up and down Objects of Charity, and Enticements to Liberality. Beggars, and Fruiterers, who are bold Wenches, and by their own, well knowing the disposition of other Women, with their Eyes fix'd upon the Ladies, and their Ware held up to the Gentlemen, they cry so as they may easily be heard, My Lord, Will your Honour have any Civil Oranges!
Madam, Will your Honour buy a Basket of Cherries!”

Fascinated by the world he condemns, W.B. earnestly wishes for its conversion, telling the lords and ladies that:

“we know there is in you a noble spark, a free and gallant spirit, an humble and ingenious disposition, affable and courteous to all, some of you are so, and the sweetest natures in the World, truly noble in all things, only the blood of Christ, the blood of Christ is wanting in your veins, the spirit or the appearances of Christ in your lives…”

He has a postscript to his reader (in the 1659 edition) about his little book:

“For Christ’s sake do not tear nor fling this about, but tell the Lords and Ladies of it; and ask for the green Book, or, the Ladies Tryall.”

‘The Green Book’ I haven’t found, nor do I know why W.B. gave this work a title so redolent of another era, ‘The Yellow Book’:

My image is from one of the printings of the Hyde Park ballad.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Monsieur Oufle's next extravagance: the Gale witchcraft database

I have been sent a link for a trial look at Gale / Cengage Learning’s new database, ‘Witchcraft in Europe and America’. For my medium to small sized institution, they are offering it at £9,995 for an outright purchase, though with a £200 hosting fee per year, or an annual subscription of £2,500. Oh, those figures are minus VAT, which will go up soon.

For the money, you get 914 works, with 263,208 page images (many of the early works on witchcraft are insanely massive, as well as insanely everything else).

But we are already at more than £10 a work. So, what do you get? The search engine is like the search engine for the Gale 18th and 19th century newspaper and periodical databases. Advanced search gives you the usual permutations of author, keyword, document title, with the normal repertoire of Boolean operators, and when you get your results, you can search within an individual document, or, if you have searched for a keyword, it shows you the page number to click on to get your ‘hit’. You can limit your search by date, or by language.

Very regrettably, there is no way to search for documents with illustrations, and when you light upon a work with illustrations, like Francesco Maria Guazzo’s Compendium Maleficarum, 1626, you can’t jump from illustration to illustration, or see the thumbnails of the page images in the way EEBO lets you do (a device that helps you locate charts, chapters, indices, annotations, pictures, etc). Here, you have to go page by page, and look them out, and it’s very good for you not to cut corners.

So, limiting to ‘English’ (and unless I have missed a trick, which is possible, you can’t distinguish English, Scottish, or American works) gives you 214 results, though a few of these are German writings that have had an English title added to them by earlier scholars. 36 items in English carries you to 1650, which seems wrong. Henry Goodcole on Elizabeth Sawyer is not here, and other things can’t be: EEBO returns 61 records for a search on the subject ‘Witchcraft’ from 1473-1650. You’d think you might get page images of the 19th century edition of Edward Fairfax’s ‘Demonologie’ (and images of the manuscript too, at the price).

Here’s one return off the new database, cut and pasted off the site (I have only removed its function in the database as a URL):

The Witch Of Wapping; Or, An Exact And Perfect Relation Of The Life And Devilish Practises Of Joan Peterson, Who Dwelt In Spruce Island, Near Wapping; Who Was Condemned For Practising Witch-Craft, And Sentenced To Be Hanged At Tyburn, On Munday The 11th [Sic] Of April, 1652. Shewing, How The Bewitch'd A Child, And Rock'd The Cradle In The Likeneffe Of A Cat; How The Frighted A Baker; And How The Devil Often Came To Fuck Her, Fometimes In The Likenefs Of A Dog, And At Other Times Like A Squirrel. Together With The Confession Of Prudence Lee, Who Was Burnt In Smithfield On Saturday The 10th. Of This Infrant For The Murthering Her Husband; And Her Admonition And Counfel To All Her Sex In General.

Oh, the devil came to fuck her, did he? Well, maybe it came to that too, but not in a 17th century book title he didn’t. He came to suck her, ‘fometimes in the likenefs of a Dog’: the not well-instructed copy typist has made all the long s’s into F’s. The database’s full text search engine will obligingly find you lots more unnatural ‘fucks’, as it is trying to work by letter-recognition.

It does look a bit half-hearted on the English side of things. Maybe they thought EEBO covers all the STC (and EEBO will find for you discussions of witchcraft which do not feature here, as for instance Anima mundi, or, An historical narration of the opinions of the ancients concerning man's soul after this life according to unenlight[e]ned nature / by Charles Blount, Gent. 1679, a decent and civilised book. I assume that Gale’s own ECCO database also contains the 18th century books.

So, what does it have? The print page images display very well, and you can make them into a full screen display. The collection of European books on witchcraft is excellent, with edition after edition of the major works, and all kinds of unheard of works. The long reach into the late 17th and 18th century is very instructive. The database lets you see the impact of each of the important sceptics, all the nasty backwoodsmen rushing out of their holes when Balthazar Bekker published his ‘Enchanted World’. And I did not know that this translation existed (from Laurent Bordelon’s original):

A History Of The Ridiculous Extravagancies Of Monsieur Oufle; Occasion'd By His Reading Books Treating Of Magick, The Black-Art, Daemoniacks, Conjurers, Witches, Hobgobins, Incubus's, Succubus's, And The Diabolical-Sabbath; Of Elves, Fairies, Wanton Spirits, Genius's, Spectres And Ghosts; Of Dreams, The Philosopher's-Stone, Judicial Astrology, Horoscopes, Talismans, Lucky And Unlucky Days, Eclipses, Comets, And All Sorts Of Apparitions, Divinations, Charms, Enchantments, And Other Superstitious Practices. With Notes Containing A Multitude Of Quotations Out Of Those Books, Which Have Either Caused Such Extravagant Imaginations, Or May Serve To Cure Them. Written Originally In French, By The Abbot B----; And Now Translated Into English 1711.

Among the printed works are images of trial transcripts, notes from interrogations, and other manuscript materials. Here's a screen-grab of the database in action, with a manuscript that’s called, intriguingly, ‘How to dishroud a witch’. It’s in Cornell, the main source collection, it’s early 17th century. And that’s what you get: there’s no transcript, no further information, and it just can’t be read at any magnification.

You see, the database lets you get on with it, saying: ‘Here it is, most of it, you’re a scholar, start reading’. There’s no editorial material appended, title pages are not translated, and sample translations are something you are left to dream of. My main image is just to show how rebarbative the earlier texts can be. It’s from Tractatus Maleficorum D. Angeli De Gambilionibus De Aretio Cum Omnibus Additionibus Novissime Per Ipsum Factis Post Compillatione Hujus Aurei Ac Preciocissimi Operis (Lugduni: 1490). That seems to be a block of the text, wrapped around with learned notes. No wonder these learned folk thought witches were damned, when they were so ready to offer hell to all their readers too.

I am enchanted, I will get my institution to pay for the whole database right now. I trust fairy gold will be acceptable?

Friday, May 14, 2010

This trutination of sinnes: Edmund Campion's 'Decem rationes'

Over to Stonor House, which I had not visited for many years. The house sits inconspicuously in dry side-valley of this chalk landscape, three stories high at the front, and just one at the back, orientated south, as if towards countries more favourable to its owners’ obstinately held Catholicism. Considering the history of oppressed faith to which the house has been witness (and more recent troubles) it’s a surprisingly pleasant house, its elements of Strawberry Hill Gothick alleviating what could be an oppressive family history.

Upstairs, in a room dedicated to the memory of Edmund Campion, you can peer through into the place under the eaves where Stephen Brinkley’s fugitive and clandestine press ran off the Decem Rationes, Campion’s suicidally brave ‘Ten reasons for the confidence with which Edmund Campion offered his adversaries to dispute on behalf of our Faith, set before the famous men of our Universities’. From this room copies were taken on horseback for their audaciously direct ‘setting forth’, when Father William Hartley left copies on the benches in St Mary’s Church, Oxford, to be picked up by every student attending a Commencement service (27th June, 1581), a kind of degree ceremony where ‘student supplicants for degrees were required to defend their theses’ (ODNB, Campion).

What a sensational morning that must have been! Campion’s coup perhaps gave pace to his inevitable doom: it was the flow of Oxford students eager to meet and talk with him, and talking about him, that brought his betrayer, George Eliot, to Lyford Grange, a temporary but dangerous refuge from which Campion had already departed, but students insisted that he return there, and preach.

I had never actually read the ‘Ten Reasons’ (to my shame), and the tour of the house persuaded me that I ought to do so. I read the 1632 translation. I had not expected such a spirited read, but this was ignorance on my part: Campion clearly aimed to captivate his young male readership by continuing in the same vein as his previous challenge or ‘brag’: the book enacts his positions of attack and defence in the intellectual duel he was denied (it being Campion’s wish to maintain his faith against the best theologians among his adversary Protestants):

“I did fervently demaund the Combat; not that jocularie and sportfull skirmish, which the vulgar performe in their publike streets; but that severe and grave conflict, by which we may encounter in the Schooles of your owne Universities…”

It is a book of challenge, and charge, of direct combat, with even his opponents conceding the pun on his name: “like a jolly Champion yee challeng the Combat”,
‘this bragging Champion’ who was willing to take on anyone sent out against him (and the first attempts to answer his challenge were utterly, embarrassingly, pedestrian, awkwardly jocose and without any of Campion’s gentlemanly élan).

Campion’s attacks were sweeping, while his defence gave no ground in the cause for which he fought, and for which he would die. Here he assails Martin Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin - Luther for his marriage to his Sister in Christ, Katherina von Bora:

“that unhappie Monke had polluted a Virgin (devoted to God) by incestuous copulation, or that Swash-buckler & Roaring-Boy of Helvetia had conspired against his Countrie, or that Stigmaticall fugitiue had impatronized himself of Geneva.”

The personal attack on Luther is mainly sexual. Campion is addressing young men undertaking study at a university of celibate fellows, far from marriage themselves, so it was effective (and easy) to make Luther sound incorrigibly permissive, establish a common ground between the students and the Jesuit addressing them so directly: “There yet remaine behind certaine most hurtfull gobbetts of Hereticall doctrine, touching life and Manners; the which Luther had vomited out in his papers, that so from the impure belching of his stomach, he might inhale & breath poyson into his Readers. Heare ô you Academians) with patience, but withall blush (for I presume your cheekes cannot endure such vnchast words) and pardon me, being the Relatour. If the wife will not, nor can performe the due of marriadge, let the chamber-mayde come, and stepp in her roome. Certainly the art of Venerie is as necessarie to euerie one, (see what filth he disgorgeth) as meate, drinke, or sleepe. Matrimonie is much more excellent then Virginitie, since from this latter Christ and Paul haue dehorted all Christians.”
~ Luther’s ‘Sermon on Matrimony’, apparently.

On matters of doctrine, Campion first, and most astutely, attacks Protestantism for what it had actually dared to do to the Bible Protestants so hotly maintained, particularly in the excision of the Book of Wisdom: “But what would the said Father (i.e., St Augustine) say, if he were here conversing upon earth, and should behold divers Luthers and Calvins to become Bible-makers, who with their polishing fyle and castigation have shaved the Old and New Testament…?”

The New Testament provides the proof text for Catholicism: “The words thereof even depose the Truth in our behalfe; Hoc est corpus meum; hic est sanguis meus”. The sheer directness of this thrust, the brow-beating confidence is the thing: no more really need be said.

Meanwhile, Protestant teachings are heresies which he, Campion, will not allow their authors to disown, and he produces a few prize examples: “I will cause them to owne these their Axioms and Principles: God is the authour and cause of Sinne, willing, suggesting, effecting, commanding, working, and gouerning the flagitious counsells of the wicked: As the calling of Paul, so the adulterie of Dauid, and the impietie of Judas the proditour, was the peculiar hand-worke of God. Campion supplies the incriminatory side-notes, of course, so that his impressionable readers can see for themselves the truth that has been kept from them; Calvin’s Institutes and Peter Martyr on the Book of Samuel being fingered here.

Campion has all the gifts for this sort of thing: alertness for examples, a capacity for witheringly scornful paraphrase and extrapolation, and a brass neck. You’d hardly have thought the murder of the Duke of Guise a tactful choice for the worst of sins, but it’s wittily done, and demonstrates Campion’s utter unwillingness to deviate: the Duke was a Catholic hero, and the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre nothing to worry about as remotely detracting from the Duke’s status:

“This also is obvious and frequent in their Schoole. That all Sinnes are equall; yet with this cautionarie explication … if God, as Judge, doe ballance them. As if God, who is a most just Judge, (and yet coveteth to overweigh more in Mercie, then Justice) should rather by exaggerating our offence, adde a heape than ease, to our burden. And thus in this trutination of Sinnes, it followeth, that that Cook doth not commit a lesser sinne against God most severely judging, who should kill (when there is no neede) gallum gallinaceum, a dung-hill cock, then that infamous Homicide did, which (being full of Beza) murthered with his pistol Gallum Heroa Guisit(ite?)m, the Noble French Guyse; a Prince of unmatcheable Vertue; then which facinorous act our part of Christendome in this our Age hath seene nothing more detestable, nothing more deplorable.”
(The priestly translator of Campion uses that excellent 16th and 17th century word, ‘trutination’, a mental weighing up.)

Here he brushes aside the charge of bad faith in the tragic case of Jan Hus: “A precipitate and headlong malice did overreach this Incendiarie; For after he had stirred up great combustions and Tragedies in his owne Country of Bohemia, he was commanded to make his stay at Constance; He contemned the prerogatiue of the Councell; demaunded warrant of the Emperour. The Emperour sealed thereto. The Christian World (more potent then the Emperour) unsealed. To renounce his Novelismes, this Arch-heretike could not be induced; he perished.”

Not to be a Catholic will be to end up in Hell with all the other persecutors of the true church:

“But now on the contrarie side, if it please, let us peepe and looke downe into Hell. There lye broyling in a sempiternal conflagration and flames of fire: Who? The Jewes. To which Church professed they an implacable hatred and hostilitie? To our Church. Who more? The Heathens. What Church have they most tyranniously persecuted? Ours. Who besides? Tbe Turks. Whose Temples and Oratories have they demolished and beaten downe? Ours. Who yet? The Hereticks. Against what Church have they made their trayterous Insurrections and rebellious Assaults? Against our Church. For what other Church, then Ours, (still breathing new Spirits of fervour) hath layed batterie against all the gates of Hell?”

Campion points out to his readers that Catholic truth is in all the older theologians: it is useless to try to embargo, or seek out and destroy latter day writings from his church, for historically Catholic teachings remain in every bookshop:

“The day is too short, and indeede the Sunne must runne a greater circle of his course to serve my turne, before I can number the Epistles, Sermons, Homilyes, smaller Volumes, & Disputations of the Fathers; all being filled and stored with unanswerable proofes in defence of the Sentences and Articles of our Catholike Religion. As long as these their Monuments of Learning are to be soulde in the Stationer’s shopps, (in which the Enemie most unworthily pretends, as you have seene, so many chaynes of Errour and Superstition to have beene woven) so long in vaine are our Bookes forbidden to be read; in vaine are the Sea-ports so narrowly kept, for the preventing of their entrance in, in vaine are the houses of Catholiks, their trunks, boxes, and other private receptacles violently broken open; in vaine are so manie minacious & threatening Proclamations sett upon the publike Gates, and other chiefe places in Cittyes; since neither Harding, nor Sanders, nor Allan, nor Stapleton nor Bristoll, doe affect these supposed new dreames, more zealously, or with greater fervour and sedulitie, then these Fathers (above by me mentioned) have donne.”

Poor brave Campion knew what he fate would be from the moment (against his own protest, quite outspoken for a Jesuit) he left Prague, on a mission compromised by the Pope’s political intervention. He anticipates the treason charge, but his ‘plot’, his ‘machination’, is only to teach the Queen her duty, as an act of love:

“Give eare, ô Elizabeth, most potent Queene; To thee so great a Prophet preacheth, thee he instructeth in thy dutie. I doe confidently averre, that one Heaven in not wide enough, to contayne Calvin and these Princes. Only this thing I plott towards thee, and this I will plott, whatsoever be the event: This is my dangerous machination, this is my trayterous attempt against whome, as against the designed enemie of thy life, the Adversaries so often do threaten the gibbet. All hayle, ô holie Crosse! The day will come (ô Queene Elizabeth) that verie day, I meane, when the veyle of each man’s actions shalbe drawne aside, & when it will evidently appeare, whether the Societie of JESUS, or the broode of Luther did affect thee with Christian Love and Charitie. I hasten forward.”

Returning to Stonor, where the original Latin version of this suicide-belt of a work was produced, I had some talk with the present owner, Ralph Thomas Campion George Sherman Stonor, the 7th Baron Camoys, who appeared in his own library. He said that the works there were largely liturgical (and I don’t suppose that any recusant works would have survived raids by Elizabethan searchers). But it’s a big, and early, Catholic library, with a long continuity of use. Had scholars visited? I asked. He very vehemently said not, that the house could afford neither a librarian nor an archivist, and that items would be stolen, instancing thefts from books in the British Library (a place rather replete with librarians and archivists, but one takes his point). Baron Camoys then grumbled at some length about estate duties and inheritance tax. Well, I thought, here’s a man who had had plenty to annoy him in his life:
(“For over 20 years I have been having professional exorcisms to try and lift the curses with which our mother has inflicted me.”)

A great house, with a long history, will have had all kinds of people. Stonor has sheltered a fanatic as brave, and spirited, as Campion, and fanatics of other kinds.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Stick with the status quo, says William Lilly


In November 1649, William Lilly published his Merlini Anglici ephemeris for the year ahead, 1650. In it, he came to the effects of an eclipse of the moon, 360 years ago today, on the 5th May 1650. He admits that things will be touch-and-go:

“Such will be the general carriage of Affairs amongst our selves and with our Neighbour Nations, so ambiguous and doubtful the chance and fate of England, and we so terribly threatened, as very many, and they no vulgar fools, will be upon terms of revolting from, or under-hand practicing against, the now established Government, which appears not in their capricious judgments so pleasing as they could desire…”

Well, tough, Lilly (in effect) said: “the State is necessitated yet a while to keep an Army on foot for the preservation of the present Body Politique of this Nation; and to speak more nearly to the matter, even to preserve from ruine those Vipers who would most wretchedly destroy both this Parliament, Councel of State, and themselves, to set up they know not what.” (Sig B4)

So the astrologer embarked on predicting much, much better times ahead: a little bit more patience, he asserted, and then will come the days when we all stand to inherit fortunes or find buried treasure:

When Jupiter, in a Revolution, is in the fourth house, many men increase their fortunes by inheritances falling unto them, and estates are left unto them from dead men; men increase their fortunes by taking of Farms, by discovering Treasure his under ground, and its recovery, or moneys unexpectedly happening unto them, and by things and matters of great antiquity: Mens sorrows are taken quite away, and such things will be offered them as produce great joy and comfort…” (Sig B6)

Lilly had already given some account of the Land of Cockaigne London citizens will soon be inhabiting: you will be able to give up your jobs, and live on rents from your land:

“A time is coming when they shall live upon the Rents of those Lands, and not upon their Trades, and then they will have cause to rejoice; for treasure may fail them, it being subject to fire, and the casualties of War, but land cannot be moved…”  Sig B

Not only all this, but you won’t even have to worry about women (I like the way that in this part of the prediction, he revises the initial ‘generally prove chaste’ to something more reassuring, which he re-iterates, in a ‘Did I mention chaste?’ kind of way):

“Women will generally prove chaste, shall have very good success in their own womanly affairs, all manner of Jewels will be at high rates; all over the whole Nation  fertile year may be expected, women will be harmless, truth-speakers, and loyal to their Husbands, chaste, and enjoy quiet lives.” (Sig B5v)

And so William Lilly argued for keeping what you have got, and so live to see an England where “The condition of the people begins to amend, and their minds inclinable to a more familiar obedience to the Edicts of the Parliament than formerly.”

To fill in an explanatory footnote to all this, Lilly was writing at a time when people were concerned about whether it was worth putting money into the purchase of lands sequestered from Bishops, Deans, and Chapters. The obvious fear was that a reversion to an episcopal church would see such purchases declared illegal, and the lands restored without compensation. Go ahead, Lilly says, it will all be lastingly valid and legal – he rather mischievously commends Dr Cornelius Burgess, the City preacher, for his purchase of the Dean of London’s house.