Capitulum vicesimum quintum.
AYLON, of the tribe of Zabulon, was gouernoure in Israel x. yere, whom the lxxti interpretatores do not annumerate; þerfore Eusebius ȝiffethe that tyme to the yeres of Iosue, Samuel, and of Saul, the yeres of whom Scripture dothe not reherse. Abdon, other Labdon, was gouernoure in Israel xltiiiij. yere, in the ccc. and fowrty yere of the egres|sion of the childer of Israel from Egipte, in the xxtiv. yere off the reigne of kynge Latinus in Ytaly, and cccc. xxxtiij. yere afore the edifienge of the cite of Rome. Augustinus, libro decimo octavo, capitulo decimo sexto. After the de|struccion of Troye, Latinus the kynge reignenge that tyme in Ytaly, the Grekes were afflicte and trowblede soore in Page 421, vol.2 theire returnenge home. For as the poete Varro rehersethe, libro iijo, de Historia, the felowes of Diomedes were turnede in to bryddes, and the same Diomedes euaneschede awey sodenly in that journey, in so moche that he is wor|schippede for a god, whose temple is an yle callede Dio|media, not ferre from the hille callede Garganus, in that londe callede Apulia. In whiche temple bryddes be of so grete diligence that thei caste water with theire billes, and if men of Greece comme thider, other elles eny of the kynde of theyme, thei schewe pleasure to theym. And if thei fynde other straungeoures there, thei hurte theyme with theire grete billes. To the whiche affirmacion Varro re|hersethe, not as in fabulose lesynge, but as in a trawthe historicalle, of the moste famose Circes, whiche chaungede the felowes of Vlixes in to bestes; and of men of Arcadia, or of Arcades,*. [Archades, MSS. and Cx.] whiche after chaunce did swymme ouer a water, and were turnede in to wulfes, lyvenge in deserte amonge wilde bestes; and if thei did not eite the flesche of man, thei scholde returne after ix. yere y-paste vn to theire propre similitude and kynde, that water y-swymmede ouer ageyne. Also he seythe, that when Demenetus hade tastede Page 423, vol.2 of the sacrifice of Archades*. [Read Arcas; but the error may safely be ascribed to the translators themselves.] he was turnede in to a wulfe, and restorede in to his propur forme after ix. yere y-paste, and to haue hade the victorye after that at the actes Olim|picalle. Plinius, libro sexto decimo, capitulo 22o. We suppose, in oure estimacion, that thynge to be false, as men to be chaungede in to wulfes, and to be restorede to theire propre forme ageyn. Neuerthelesse, auctores of the londe of Grece reherse that men of Arcadia be ledde to a certeyne watere in that cuntre, levenge theire vesture in an holo oke, swymme ouer that water, and be transfigurate in deserte in to wulfes, and to be conuersaunte with wulfes by ix. yere. And if they absteyne from the flesche of man by this sea|son, that tyme y-paste, and þe water passede ouer, thei schalle be returnede in to theire propre forme. But truly there is noo lesenge, thauȝhe hit be of euidente apparicion of falsehenes, but hit hathe somme testimony and wittenesse. Augustinus, libro decimo octavo, capitulo 16o. What schalle we say to these thynges? Truly when we were in Ytaly we herde of diuerse women of that cuntre whiche were wonte Page 425, vol.2 to ȝiffe chese to trauellenge men thro the whiche thei were chaungede in to other similitudes and did bere burthones, the mynde of man remanente in theyme. And to returne to theire propre forme, that office and labore doen. Also Apule[i]us rehersethe in his boke that same thynge to haue happede to hym thro the recepcion of suche venome, and to haue been made an asse, hauenge the mynde of a man. ℞. Willelmus, de Regibus et Pontificibus, libro 2o, re|hersethe, acordenge to the confirmacion of this mater, of ij. wicches dwellenge at Rome, wonte to chaunge a man in to an other similitude, if that he come to theire place sole. Whiche women turnede in a season a ioculer other myn|strelle in to the similitude of a ryalle asse, whom thei solde for a grete summe of money, vnder this condicion and mo|nicion to the byer, that the asse scholde not goe ouer the water in eny wise. The byer kepede that commaundemente streytely a longe season, neuerthelesse he hade more liberte in kepenge by processe of tyme, whiche goenge ouer a water was restorede in to his propre forme. The byer of the asse folowenge, inquirede of euery man with whom he did mete of his asse. That man restorede to his propre forme seide that he was that asse, and to be restorede to Page 427, vol.2 his propre similitude. The seruaunte and keper of that asse brouȝhte the man to his lorde. Then the lorde and byer of that asse brouȝhte bothe the wicches to Leo the pope, whiche conuicte afore the pope grauntede that thynge. The pope dowtenge of that thynge, Damianus, a man ex|cellente in sapience, affermede Faustinianus to be seen in the similitude of Simon Magus, and to be dredde soore of his awne childer. Augustinus, ubi supra. Hit is to be holden that the deuelles may not do eny thynge but by the permission and sufferaunce of God, neither to create eny nature, neither to chaunge the body or sawle of those thynges which be create of Allemyȝhty God. Ne|uerthelesse thei appere to chaunge thynges to the siȝhte, as the vertu fantasticalle, when a man is in slepe, causethe a man as to apparence to be chaungede in to an other simi|litude, and soe that thynge fantasticalle apperethe to theyme Page 429, vol.2 as thynge corporealle in a straunge similitude, and to bere burdones, whiche be borne of deuelles and if the trawthe myȝhte be knowen. A nowble man, Prestantius by name, rehersethe suche a thynge to haue happede to his fader by the eytenge of chese, lyenge in his bedde that he myȝhte not move. Whiche man awakede rehersede meruellous thynges whiche he hade suffrede, and how that he was made in the similitude of an horse, and how he bare corne amonge other bestes to Retica,*. [Rethica, MSS.] whiche thynge was provede to haue bene after his narracion. Also that men of Arcadia be chaungede in to wulfes, and that þe felawes of Vlixes were chaungede in to bryddes thro Circe,*. [So MSS. and Cx., for Circe; but correctly above; Sirces, Harl. MS.] y thenke that hit may be doen by this maner rehersede afore. The fe|lawes of Diomedes be supposede to haue bene chaungede in to bryddes, whiche were pereschede as sodenly of myȝhty bryddes, callede Gripes, but to be trawede raþer that thei were deuelles, whiche bryddes were brouȝhte thro the Page 431, vol.2 illusion of the deuelle, and subrogate in þe places of those men. Lyke as a herte was knowen to haue bene putte in the place of Iphigenia*. [Ephigenia, MSS. and Cx.] doȝter of Agamemnon.*. [Agamenon, MSS. and Harl. MS.] And that grete bryddes caste water with theire bylles in the temple of Diomedes, and schewe as a glosenge chere to men of Grece, is causede by the illusion of the deuelle, causenge men to beleve that Diomedes was a godde, that men scholde be deceyvede in the worschippenge of false goddes. R. Be|holde more of this matere afore, libro primo, capitulo 34o. Giraldus in Topographia. Deuelles or ylle men may not chaunge nature of eny thynge, but thei may chaunge similitudes thro the permission of God, so that the trawthe of the thynge dothe not appere, the wyttes oppressede with the illusion of the deuelle; but after a similitude fantasti|calle made and causede by wycchecrafte. But we beleve Godde, that made nature, to chaunge theym, lyke as he chaungede the wife of Loth in to a grete parte and quantite of salte, and water in to wyne.