The third Discourse, entreating of Fansies, Visions, Spirits, Enchaunters, Char∣mers, VVitches, and Hags: Contayning besides di∣uers strange matters which haue hapned, delightfull and not lesse necessarie to be knowen.
SO soone as I knew of your beeing here, I made as much hast as I possibly might to come to you, and had not it been that some occasions hindered mee, I woulde not haue failed to haue beene the first.
I likewise had a desire to haue come sooner, to the end I might the more at leysure haue enioyed the pleasant freshnes of this Garden. But because the way betweene this and my lodging is long, I stayed for the company of signior Anthonio, to enioy by the way his good conuersation.
To say the very truth, I am glad that I finde you here, for if I had been heere my selfe alone, I should haue beene halfe a∣fraid.
And of what?
Haue you not heard that which is bruited abroad these few dayes past?
I haue not heard any thing, neither know I what you meane, vnlesse you first declare it vnto me.
Why it is openly sayde ouer all the Towne, that there hath of late appeared in thys Garden certaine visions & Spirits, which haue affrighted di∣uers men, so that for my part, though it be somewhat against my good reputation, I am not ashamed to confesse it, I am so fearefull, that I had rather fight with any man, how far so∣euer aboue mee in force and strength, then to be alone in place, where any such cause of feare and amazement might happen.
There are many which would laugh at this which you say, & attribute your feare to faintnes and want of courage: but I will not meruaile hereat, because I know how violently such passions and conditions of the mind are, which as it seemeth, grow and are borne in men, so that, though they would neuer so faine, yet they cannot shake them off & for∣get Page 59 them: so that I haue seene a man, who, if you shewed him * a Rat, would cry out, and enter into amazement, trembling like a child; though in all other his actions, he wanted neither valour nor courage. Besides this, it is a thing publique and well knowne, of a Noble man in this Country of ours, who, if you shut any doore in the whole house where hee is, at what houre so euer it be of the night, entereth into such an alterati∣on * and agony, that sometimes he is ready to throw him selfe out at the window. And there are others, which if you make any iesture at them with your hands or fingers, they trouble and vexe them selues, as though you did them the greatest oppression and outrage in the world.
These are na∣turall passions and imperfections, which seeing, as the olde prouerbe is: no man can take away that which Nature hath giuen, they that are troubled with them, are not to be blamed, if they cannot leaue and cast them off so lightly, as it seemeth they might, to those that are not encombred with them.
They are not so absolutely naturall, as you terme them, for they are qualities which worke in men, according to the com∣plexion of which they are: and as the complexion which is the causer of them may change, and is often changed through space of time and many other accidentall causes; so also may be changed, these which you call passions, defects, or inclina∣tions naturall. We see this verified by good experience, in those who are much troubled with melancholly, who so long as this humor dureth, are amazed at all things which they see, hauing in their minds a kind of impression and imagination, which maketh those thinges seeme to be of an other figure, then in deede they are: but this humor consuming, and the other humors comming to praedominate aboue that of me∣lancholly, this amazement of theirs weareth away, and they become in conditions far different to that they were before: in this sort the chollerick man is commonly hasty and heede∣lesse in all occasions; and the flegmatick more slowe and tar∣dise: But age, time, and chaunces, change many times one complexion into an other, and ioyntly the passions, conditi∣ons, and operations of them, as by example we see euery day.
So that you say, though they be not wholy naturall, yet Page [unnumbered] there is no great error in saying that they are, whiles their com∣plexion so continueth without changing.
Vnderstand it how you will, but howsoeuer they are, the force which they haue is great, so that if it be not with singuler reason and dis∣cretion, they are sildome kept vnder, and subdued.
May they then at any time be subdued?
Yea indeed may they, for I my selfe haue seene good experience thereof, * in a kindswoman of mine, not dwelling farre from hence, which being vexed with a kind of melancholly, called by the Phisitions Mirrachia, vvhich bereaueth the Patient of all iudgement, driuing him to a kind of madnes and frenzie: in such sort suppressed and preuented the same with discretion and reason, that shee sildome suffered her selfe to be vanqui∣shed thereof: And truly it was strange, to see the combate that passed betweene her & the melancholly, in such sort that you should see her sometimes forced to fall downe groueling to the ground, flat vpon her face: and though the violence of this humor was such, that it forced her somtimes to teare in peeces such thinges as she had about her, and to cast stones at those that passed by, and to bite those that approached her: yet reason continually so striued against the vehemencie of these passions, gouerning, detaining, & suppressing them, that by little and little they vtterly forsooke her, leauing her sences cleare, & her iudgment vntroubled as it was before: but lea∣uing this, and returning to your speech of the Spirits, which are reported to be seene somtimes in this Garden: did you e∣uer procure to sound out the truth thereof?
Yes mar∣rie did I, but I could neuer learne any certainty thereof, so that I hold it for a iest, and all other such like tales, of which the common people speaketh.
There are some, certainly, yea, and very many, which I take to be meere fictions and fa∣bles, inuented by men for their pastime, or some other cause that moued them: others there are, which are vndoubtedly of most assured truth, as it appeareth by sundry examples & successes which cannot be denied.
Truly Signior An∣thonio, I shold be very glad, throughly to vnderstand this mat∣ter of Spirits, whether they be illusions & deceits of the deuill, who representeth thē in imagination & fancy only; or whe∣ther Page 60 they are truly seene & discerned with our bodily eyes, for according to the diuersity of tales which I haue heard, and of such diuers sorts, I knowe not what I should iudge thereof.
You haue entred into a matter very deepe, & me thinks you go about to make me a Diuine perforce, as yesterday you did, in that of terestriall Paradise, wherin because I found you then easie to be contented, I am the readier now to satisfie you so far as my knowledge extendeth. Let vs therfore repose our selues on this greene banke, where with the shadow of those trees of one side, & the freshnes of this Fountain on the other, we shal sit to our ease & contentment.
We are ready to fulfill & obey your cōmaundement in all things, especially in this tending to so good an end: & surely I haue oftentimes beaten my braines about this matter, of which you will nowe entreate, but still in the end, finding the conceite thereof intri∣cate & aboue my capacity, I gaue it quite ouer.
Well therfore, I wil begin to say what I know, & as there ariseth a∣ny doubt, aske, and I wil doe my best to resolue & satisfie you as wel as I can, & with the greatest breuity possible, for other∣wise the matter is so great & so much thereof written, that we should neuer bring it to an end: and because these illusions & * apparitions of Spirits chiefely proceed of the deuils, let vs first see what the ancient Philosophers thought of them, not tou∣ching our Christian Religion. The Peripatetikes & chiefely Aristotle, were of opinion, that there were no deuils at all, and so saith Aueroes, that hee knew no spirituall substances, but those which moue the heauens, which he calleth also Angels, seperated substances, intelligences, & mouing vertues, so that the deuils being spirituall substances, he seemeth to deny that there be any. Of the same opinion was Democrites, & therin so obstinate, that certaine yong men clothing themselues one * night in deformed & vgly attire, seeming to be very deuils in deed, thinking to make him afraide, when they came into the place where he was, vsing horrible & feareful gestures, he she∣wed himselfe secure without any alteration at all, bidding thē cease to play the fools, because he knew wel there were no such bugs as they represented. And when these Philosophers were asked, what griefe that was which those endured who Page [unnumbered] were possessed of Spirits: they answered it was a passion pro∣ceeding * of a melancholly humor, affirming melancholly to be able to worke those effects: and as yet the most part of Phi∣sitions, maintaine the same; affirming that when the deuill speaketh in diuers tongues, yea, though often very highly and mistically, yet that all this may well proceed through the ope∣ration of a vehement melancholly. But this is a manifest er∣ror, for amongst the Ethnike Philosophers them selues, there were diuers of a contrary opinion: as Pythagoras, Plato, So∣crates, Trismegistus, Proculus, Pophirius, Iamblicus, & many others, though S. Austine in his ninth booke De ciuitate Dei, sayeth, that Plato and his followers called the superiour An∣gels Gods, and that they were the selfe same, whom Aristotle called Angels; and in this sort is to be vnderstoode the spirit of Socrates, so famous in Platos works, and of which Apulei∣us writeth a whole booke, and whosoeuer attentiuely readeth the Tymeus of Plato, and his Cratilus in the tenth Dialogue De legibus, shal find that he meant the same: & Aristotle him selfe, sayeth, that Lemures and Lamiae dwell in a sad Region.
I vnderstand not these names if you declare thē not plain∣lier vnto me.
The deuils are called by sundry & different * names, which though for certaine respects keepe their parti∣culer significations, & Lamiae properly signifie a kind of de∣uils, yet vnder the same name, are also contayned Hags and Witches, as persons who haue confederation and agreement with the deuill: and Lemures or Lares are such as wee call Hobgoblins or domesticall Spirits: and as these are Spirits, it seemeth to make against that which in other places he main∣tained: But leauing these men who went so blindly and ob∣scurely to worke: Let vs come to the trueth it selfe, which is Christ, and to our Christian Religion, which manifestly tea∣cheth vs to vnderstand, what we should beleeue as touching these maligne Spirits, whose being, is proued by so many ex∣amples and testimonies of the holy Scripture, and by the mi∣steries and miracles wrought by the same God our Sauiour, in casting them foorth of humaine bodies: The which after∣wards the Apostles and holy men, did in like sort. The Phi∣losophers which confessed that there were deuils, though they Page 61 vnderstood, that theyr office was to torment the soules of e∣uill liuers, as saith Plato, and Xenocrates in his booke which he made of death, yet they drawe diuers waies, for they make good spirits and euil spirits, and they call the departed soules of great wise men, Spirits, & halfe Gods, feyning thē through the excellencie of their merrits, to be assumpted into heauen, where, though they neuer entered into the Consistory with * the other Gods, but when they were called and appointed, yet were they Mediators for men that liued on the earth, car∣rying and offering vp theyr messages, requests, demaunds & supplications to the Gods in heauen. Neyther made they heere an end, but they called also the Gods, Daemons, as it ap∣peareth * by the words of Trismegistus, which are thus. When the separation, saith he, shall be of the soule from the bodie, the examination thereof shall be tryed by the power & iudg∣ment of the chiefe Daemon, who finding it righteous & god∣lie, will assigne it a conuenient & happy place: but if he find it spotted with wickednes, and defiled with sinnes and offen∣ces, hee will throw it into the deepe Abysmes, where there is alwayes horror and confusion, terrible tempests, violent waters, and vnquenchable fires; And so by degrees downe∣wardes towards the earth, they place other Gods, still decly∣ning, till they come to the ill Spirits, which they say are those who dwell vnder the earth in the deepe Abysmes thereof. Feyning besides, a hundred thousand other such like toyes & vanities, which if you desire to see, you may reade the Phylo∣sophers before named, and besides them Caelius Rodiginus, Protinus, Pselius and many others, who haue perticulerlie written of this matter. But one thing I will assure you, that he had neede of a very diuine iudgement, whom they confound not with theyr intricate and obscure contrarieties: it is best therefore that we referre our selues to the Church, following for Pylots in this matter the holy Doctors, who cleerelie ex∣presse the pure truth hereof, and so shall we attaine to the vn∣derstanding of that which we pretend.
You say well, but first declare vnto vs, whether Lucifer & those other An∣gels that offended with him in ambition and pryde, fell alto∣gether into hell, or no?
They fell not altogether into Page [unnumbered] the very Abysme of Hell, though they all fell into the truest hell, which is Punishment. Those which remained in the * places betweene, was because they had not offended with so determinate an obstination and vehemence as the others had, and they remained also there, because it was necessary & con∣uenient for our merite, that we should haue Spirits for our e∣nemies, & in such place where they might vexe vs with theyr temptations. For which cause, God permitted a great part of them to remaine in the ayre, the earth, and the water, vvhere they shall continue till the day of iudgement, and then they shall be all damned into the very dungeon of Hell: so that we haue with them a continuall warre: who though they be in the places which I haue said, yet are they not out of Hell in respect of torment, for theyr paine is all alike. All this is out of S. Thomas, in the first part. Quest. 64. Ar. 4. The diffe∣rence of the degrees of Spirits, is rehearsed by Gaudencius Merula, taking the same out of Pselius, who maketh 6. kinds * of Spirits betweene Heauen & Hell. The first, who are those that remained in the highest region of the Ayre, hee calleth Angels of fire: because they are neere vnto that Region, and perchance within it. The second kinde, saith hee, is from the middle region of the Ayre downeward towardes the Earth. The third, on the earth it selfe. The fourth, in the waters. The fift, in the Caues and hollow vautes of the earth. The sixt in the very dungeon and Abysme of Hell.
In such sort, that they are as it were enter-linked one with another, but tell mee, haue all these Spirits one selfe dutie and office.
No, if we will beleeue Gaudencius Merula, but manie, and * those of diuers sorts. For the cheefest greefe and paine of the first, which vvere those that had least offended, seeing them∣selues so neere Heauen, is the contemplation, that through theyr wickednes they haue lost so great a Beatitude, (though this be generall to them all) and these are nothing so harmfull as the others are. For those which are in the middle of the re∣gion of the Ayre, and those that are vnder them neerer the earth, are those which sometimes, out of the ordinary opera∣tion of Nature, doe mooue the windes with greater fury then they are accustomed, & doe out of season congele the clowes, Page 62 causing it to thunder, lighten, haile, and to destroy the grasse, Corne, Vines, and fruites of the earth, and these are they, whose helpe the Negromancers do often vse in their deuilish operations. Amongst other things which are written in the Booke called Mallcus Maleficarum, you shall finde, that the Commissioners hauing apprehended certaine Sorceresses, * willed one of them to shew what she could doe, assuring her life, on condition that from thence forward, shee should no more offend in the like. Wherupon, going out into the fields, in presence of the Commissioners & many other besides, she made a pitte in the ground with her hands, making her vva∣ter into the same, which being done, she stirred about the v∣rine with one of her fingers, out of the which, by little & lit∣tle after shee had made certaine Characters, and mumbled a few wordes, there arose a vapour, which ascending vpwarde like a smoake, began to thicken of it selfe in the midst of the region of the ayre, gathering and making there a blacke fear∣full Clowde, which cast out so many thunders & lightnings, that it seemed to be a thing hellish and infernall: the vvoman remaining all thys while still, asked at last the Commissioners where they woulde haue that clowde to discharge a great quantitie of stones, they poynting her to a certaine place, where it could doe no hurt at all, the clowde of a suddaine be∣gan to moue it selfe, with a great furious blustering of winds, and in short space comming ouer the place appointed, dys∣charged a great number of stones, like a violent shower, di∣rectly within the compasse thereof. And in this sort may the Witches and Negromancers worke many such like thinges, through the help of those Spirits, as we wil hereafter declare. But turning to the third kind of Spirits beeing on the earth, * whose principall office & function is to persecute men, and to tempt and allure them to sinne, and thereby to worke theyr damnation, enuying that those glorious places which they once enioyed in heauen, should bee possessed & replenished with men. These vex vs, these trouble vs, these deceiue vs, and * entise vs to all those wicked offences, which we cōmit against the maiestie of him, who made & created vs of nothing these lie in waight day and night to entrap vs, sleeping and waking Page [unnumbered] they allure vs to euill thoughts and naughty works, tempting our soules, & perswading vs to run the way of perdition: the which because they are Spirits they may very well do, in vex∣ing and tempting our Spirit, yea, and many times so that wee are not not able to perceaue it. And though Gaudencius & * Pselius attribute to sundry kindes of Spirits, sundry functions in perticuler, yet in generall each of thē can indifferently vse them, though they be of another kinde. For in dooing euill, they agree all in one malice, and most earnest desire to worke our damnation by all meanes possibly they may.
Is that true which they say, that there is no man but hath at his right hand a good Angell, and at his left hand a bad.
Doubt not of this, for as God, for our good and benefit, hath ordeyned to each one of vs a good Angel to accompanie vs, * whom we call our Angel of gard, who as by the holy church we are taught, keepeth & defendeth vs frō many dangerous temptations, by which the deuil procureth to work our dam∣nation: so also haue we at our left hand an ill Spirit, which stil is solliciting, perswading and alluring vs to sin and offend by all meanes possibly he may. And the Gentiles, though they were not so illuminated as we are, yet did they in part acknow ledge this, calling the good Angell, Genium Hominis: though * this of the euill Angell I haue not found approoued by ame Author, onely that it is an opinion which the common peo∣ple holdeth, and is generally allowed: and besides, the readi∣nes of them at hande to procure vs to sin, is confirmed by the holy Scripture in sundry places.
What power hath God giuen vnto these good and bad Angels, which wee carry daily in our company?
That may you vnderstand by the wordes of Iob, who sayth: There is no power which may be compared thereunto: and * so leauing aside that which concerneth the good Angels, all whose works are wholy directed to the seruice & wil of God: as touching the euill spirit, our enemy, he is so mighty & puis∣sant in forces, that in a moment he can throw downe moun∣taines, and raise vp valleis, force riuers to runne against their streame, dry vp the Sea, and turne all thinges in the vvorlde topsie turuie, so that hee ouerthrowe not the frame and Page 63 Machine thereof made and ordayned by the hand of God. But you must consider, that they cannot vse and put in effect * this power and vertue, with the which they were first created, when they list: For God hath so bound and limited them, as S. Austine saith in his third booke de Trinitate, that they can∣not put in excution the full puissance of their malicious de∣sire, without the permission of God, by which they are bride∣led and restrained.
How commeth it then, that they doe often vexe and torment men, not onely doing them great and greeuous da∣mages, but also oppressing them with violent and sodaine death: As for example, I can tell you two thinges of mine owne knowledge, both most true and strange: vvhereof this * one that followeth happened in the Towne vvhere I was borne & brought vp, in which there was a man of very good quality, and well learned, who had two Sonnes, the one of which being about the age of 12. or 13. yeeres, had through some fault of his so offended his Mother, that in a rage shee began to curse him with detestable maledictions, betaking him to the deuils of hell, and wishing that they would fetch him out of her presence, with many other horrible execrati∣ons: this was about ten a clok at night, the same being passing darke and obscure; the foolish woman continuing her wic∣ked curses so long, till at last the Boy through feare, went out into a little Court behind the house, out of which he sodainly vanished, in such sort, that though with great diligence they searched round about the house, they could by no meanes finde him, at which both his Father and Mother exceedingly wondred, because both the dores of the same Court, and all o∣thers about the house at which hee might goe out, were fast bolted & lockt; about two houres after, they heard in a cham∣ber ouer their heads, a very great noise, and withall the young Boy groaning, with extreame anguish and griefe: whereup∣pon they presently going vp, and opening the chamber dore, which they found also fast lockt, they perceaued the seely boy lie groueling on the ground, in the most pittifull plight that might be: for besides his garments which were rent & torne all to peeces, his face, hands, and in a manner his whole body, Page [unnumbered] was scratcht & grated, as though he had been drawn through thornes and briers: and he was so disfigured & dismayed, that hee came not that whole night to himselfe. In the meane time, his parents caused him to be drest and cured in the care∣fullest sort they might, omitting nothing which they thought to be expedient for the recouery of his health: The next day, after his sences were somwhat comforted, and that he began to recouer his iudgment, they asked him by what meanes this mischaunce had happened vnto him, to whom he made aun∣swere, that as he stoode in the court or trippet, there came vn∣to him certaine men of exceeding great stature, grim in coun∣tenance, and in gesture lothsome and horrible, who presently without speaking any word, hoised him vp into the ayre, and caried him away, with such swiftnes, that it was not possible to his seeming, for any Bird in the world to flie so fast; and at last lighting downe amongst certaine mountaines full of bu∣shes & briers, they trailed him through the thickest of them, from one side to another, araying him in such sort, as at this present he was to be seene: and thinking surely none other, but that they would kill him, he had at last the grace and me∣mory to commend him selfe vnto God, beseeching him to helpe and assist him: at which very instant they turned backe with him through the aire, and put him in at a little window, which was there in the chamber, where when they had left him, they vanished away. This Boy I knew familierly, both in his young and elder yeeres, for he liued many yeeres after: but hee remained euer after that time deafe, and dull concei∣ted, neuer recouering his former quicknes and viuacity of spi∣rit: taking continually exceeding griefe, when any man tal∣ked with him of this matter, or brought it anie way into his memorie.
Trulie those parents who in their angrie moods, offer and betake their children to the deuill doe most greeuously offend, of which this that you haue said is an ex∣cellent example: But now for aunswere of your obiection, I say that somtimes, for iust causes, God permitteth the deuill to vse and put in execution, some part of the much which hee may doe: as you may vnderstand by his suffering sathan to persecute Iob, whom he yet so limited, that he could haue no Page 64 power to touch his soule, and the like hath he done and doth, in other things which we haue seene and knowne, and haue happened, and daily happen in diuers parts: of the which I will tell you one, that happened about 8. or 10. yeeres since, in a Village called Benauides, where two men being together in * a fielde, there arose of a sodaine a terrible tempest, with such violence of vveather and vvinde, and presently there-vpon a vvhirl-wind so strangely impetuous, that it amazed those that beheld it. The two young men seeing the fury thereof come amaine towards them, to auoide the maine danger, ran away as fast as they possibly might: but to be short, make what hast they could, in fine it ouertooke them, who fearing least the same should swinge them vp into the aire, let them selues fall flatlong downe to the earth, where the vvhirl-wind, whisking round about them a pretty while, and then passing forth, the one of them arose, so altered, and in such an agony, that he was scarcely able to stand on his feete, yet as well as he could, som∣times going and somtimes creeping, hee came towards those that stoode vnder a hedge, beholding this which had passed, who seeing that the other made no semblance at all to rise, but lay still without stirring or motion, went to see hovv he did, and found him to be starke dead, not without markes vpon him of wonderfull admiration, for all his bones were so crush∣ed, that the pipes and ioynts of his legs and armes, vvere as ea∣sie to be turned the one way as the other, as though his whole body had beene made of mosse, and besides, his tongue vvas pulled out by the rootes, vvhich could not by any meanes be found, though they sought the same round about the place most diligently. This matter vvas diuersly iudged of, but the most part tooke it to be the iust iudgement of God, vvhom it pleased to make this man, an example to the vvorld, in suf∣fering * him to end his dayes so miserably, and to haue his tong torne out of his head, and carried away: for he vvas noted to be a great outragious swearer, and blasphemer of Gods holy name, vvhile hee liued.
And may it not be that the vvhirle-vvind catching this man in the midst thereof, might haue povver to vvorke these effects, as vvell as vvhole Rocks to be vvhirled vp, and trees to be turned vp by the rootes, by Page [unnumbered] the furious buffing together of vvindes, when they meete.
I confesse vnto you, that the force of whirle-windes are very great, and that they worke often very dangerous and damageabe effects, as that which destroyed Algadefres, ouer∣throwing the houses and buildings, and making them all flat with the earth; in like sort it is passing dangerous at Sea, when two contrary winds take a ship betweene them, for sildome or neuer any shippe so taken escapeth: but as for this which happened in Benauides, I cannot iudge it to be other, then the worke of the deuill, through the permission of God as by two reasons it appeareth: the first, that they being two men together, the one was saued: the other, that the dead mans tongue was wanting, & could not be found.
You haue satisfied vs, as concerning the power, which the deuil hath, and the limitation thereof therfore passe on I pray you with your former discourse.
The fourth kind of Spirits are those which are in the waters, as well the Sea, as Floods, Riuers, and * Lakes, these neuer cease to raise damps, and stormes, persecu∣ting those which saile, putting them in great and fearefull dangers, through violent and raging tempests, procuring to destroy and drowne the ships also, through the ayde of mon∣sters, rocks, and shallowes which are in the Sea: the like doe those of the Riuers, guiding in such sort the Boates, that they make them to ouerturne, and causing those that swimme, to entangle them selues in sedge or weeds, or bringing them in∣to some pits or holes where they cannot get out: and finally, by all meanes possible they persecute and molest them, so far as the limitation of their power extendeth. The fifth kind of Spirits, are those which are in the Caues, & vautes of the earth, * where they lie in waite to entrap those that digge in Mines, and Wells, and other workes vnder the ground, whose death and destruction, they couet and procure as much as they may. These cause the motions and tremblings of the earth, through the ayde of the windes which are therein enclosed, whereby * whole Citties are often in danger to be swallowed vp, especi∣ally those which are built neere the Sea, whole mountaines are heereby throwne downe, infinite peoples destroyed, yea, and sometimes the Sea, heereby breaketh into the Land, wa∣sting Page 65 & deuouring whatsoeuer it findeth before it. The sixth * and last kinde of Spirits, are those who are in the Abysmes & place, whose name is Hell, whose principall and proper office is, besides the paines which they endure, to torment the dam∣ned soules; This is the place where is no order at all, as sayth Iob, but continuall feare, horror and amazement.
See∣ing you haue declared vnto vs how many sorts of Spirits there are, tell vs also I pray you, whether they haue bodies or no: because I haue often beaten my braines about this secrete, without finding any man that could herein resolue me.
You may well call it a secret, considering the diuers opinions that are thereof, for many say that they are pure Spirits, as A∣puleius, who made himselfe so well acquainted with them, writeth that there is a kinde of Spirits, who are alwayes free from the strings and bonds of the body, of vvhich number is Sleepe and Loue, whom he termeth spirits: vvhereby he see∣meth to confesse, that there are others which haue bodyes, & so thinketh S. Basile, who attributeth bodies not only to these Spirits, but also to the Angels. The like is vnderstood by the * words of Pselius. They who followe this opinion, alleage for the maintenance thereof the wordes of the Prophet Dauid, where he saith: He which maketh his Angels, spirits, and his ministers of fire, &c. They alleage also S. Augustine to haue beene of the same opinion, saying: that the Angels before theyr fall, had all, their bodies formed of the superior & pu∣rest part of the Ayre, and such those haue as yet, which re∣mained guiltlesse of Lucifers offence: the bodies of whose followers were turned into a thicker and grosser ayre, to the end they might be therein more tormented. But the Maister of Sentences sayth in his second booke, that this is not Saint Augustines opinion, but falsely attributed vnto him, and so the common opinion of all the holy Doctors is, that both the Angels and deuils are pure Spirits, as S. Thomas, and Saint * Iohn Damascene, and S. Gregory, who aunswere most suffi∣cientlie to such doubts, as may herevpon be mooued, as how they may feele, suffer and receaue punishment: though Gau∣dencius Merula defend the contrary, saying, that thinges in∣corporat, cannot onely suffer or receaue feeling, of any bodily Page [unnumbered] paine, but that also to feele them in vnderstanding is vnpossi∣ble. But as for this opinion, holde it for a manifest error, for truly Gaudencius in some of his opinions, goeth farre vvide of the marke. If I should heere rehearse each of the seuerall * Doctors opinions, I should beginne an endlesse worke: lea∣uing them therefore, I will come to the poynt indeed, & that which the rest confesse to be the generall opinion, as I sayde before, of all or the most part of the holy Doctors of the Church, which is, that the Angels when it is necessarie, doe fashion & make vnto thēselues visible bodies, for the effects which they pretend, as we finde in many places of the holie * Scripture: whether it be of ayre thickned, of fire or of earth, it maketh no matter, but that so it is, see what is written of the three Angels that came to the house of Abraham in the like∣nesse of three beautifull young men: and the Angell Gabri∣ell appeared to the glorious virgine in a most goodlie forme and figure, when he brought her the salutation. The selfe same is permitted to deuils in their operations, whose bodies though we call fantasticall, because they vanish presentlie a∣way, yet they verily are visible bodies, formed of some such substance as I said before, but the same is so fine and delicate, that it straight dissolueth & vanisheth.
And because this is to the purpose of that which you asked mee, and which we now discourse of, I haue so lightlie passed ouer all the rest, for there haue not wanted Doctors vvhich affirme the deuils to be in such manner bodily, that they haue neede of foode vvherewith to sustaine themselues and that they feare stoute men, and flie from theyr sharpe vveapons, and that beeing striken, they feele anguish and payne. And if you be desirous to see many particularities, and the seuerall opinions of diuers learned Authors, read Caelius Rodiginus, in his second Booke De Antiquis Lectionibus, where hee dis∣courseth copiously thereof. But now, for not digressing frō the principall, let vs come to that which they call, Phantasma,* the vvhich hath his beginning in the fantasie, which is a ver∣tue in Man, called by an other name Imaginatiue, and because thys vertue beeing mooued, worketh in such sort, that it cau∣seth in it selfe the thinges feigned and imagined to seem pre∣sent, Page 66 though in truth they are not: Wee say also, that the thinges which vanish away so soone as we haue seene them, are fantasies, seeming to vs that wee deceaue our selues, and that we sawe them not, but that they were onely represented in our fansie. But thys is in such sort, that sometimes we tru∣lie see them indeed, and other times, our imagination & fan∣sie so present them to our view, that they deceaue vs, and wee vnderstand not whether they were things seene or imagined, and therefore, as I thinke, comes it, that wee call the thinges which we really see, Visions: and others which are fantasti∣cated and represented in the fantasie, Fancies; vvhether of which this was that hapned in Fuentes de Ropell, I know not, but sure I am that it was as true as strange, neither is the place so farre distant, beeing onely two miles hence, but that you may by infinite witnesses, be thorowly resolued of the veritie thereof. There lyued about 30. yeeres since, a Gentleman of good account, called Anthonio Costilla, who (of the vvhich I * my selfe can giue good witnesse) was one of the valiantest & hardiest men of all the Country, for I haue beene present at some broyles & byckerings of his, in which I haue seen him acquite himselfe with incredible courage and valour: Inso∣much that beeing somewhat haughtie, and suffering no man to ouercrowe him, he had many enemies thereabouts, which caused him, wheresoeuer he went, to goe alwayes well proui∣ded: so that one day riding from his owne house to a place called Uilla Nueua, hauing vnder him a good Ginet, and a strong Launce in his hand, when he had doone his businesse, the night cōming on, and the same very darke, he lept a horse back, and put himselfe on his way homeward: comming to the end of the Village where stoode a Chappell, in the fore∣part or portall of which there was a lettice window, & within the same a Lampe burning: thinking that it shoulde not be wel done to passe any further without saying his prayers, hee drewe neere vnto the same, saying his deuotions a horseback, where whiles hee so remained looking into the Chappell, hee savve three visions like Ghostes issue out of the middest thereof, seeming to come out from vnder the ground, & to touch the height of the roufe with their heads.
Page [unnumbered] As he had beheld them awhile, the haire of his head began to stand an end, so that being somewhat affrighted, he turned his horse bridle, and rode away: but he had no sooner lyfted vp his eyes, when hee sawe the three visions going together a little space before him, seeming as it were to beare him com∣pany, so that commending himselfe to God, & blessing him selfe many times, he turned his horse, spurring him from one side to another, but wheresoeuer hee turned, they were al∣waies before his eyes; vvhereupon, seeing that he coulde not be rid of them, putting spurres to his horse, he ranne at them as hard as he could with his Launce, but it seemed that the vi∣sions went and mooued themselues, according to the same compasse wherein hee guided his horse, for if he went, they went, if he ranne, they ranne, if he stood still, they stood still, alwaies keeping one euen distance from him, so that hee was perforce constrained to haue them in his company, till hee came to his owne house, before which there was a great court or yard, opening the gate of which, after hee was lighted of his horse, as he entred he found the same visions before him, and in this manner came hee to the doore of a lodging where his wife was, at which knocking and beeing let in, the visions vanished away: but hee remained so dismayed and changed in his colour, that his wife thinking hee had receaued some wounde or mishap by his enemies, often asked him the cause of this his deadly countenaunce & alteration, and seeing that he would not reueale the same vnto her, she sent for a friende of his that dwelt thereby, a man of good qualitie, and of sin∣guler learning and integritie of life, who presently comming, and finding him in that perplexity, importuned him vvith such instance, that at last he recounted vnto him the particu∣larity of each thing that had hapned. He being a very discrete man, making no exterior shewe of vvonder or amazement, bad him be of good courage, and shake off that dismaiment, with many other comfortable perswasions, causing him to goe to supper, and from thence brought him to his bedde, in which leauing him layd, with light burning by him, he vvent forth, because he would haue him take his rest and sleep, but hee was scarcely gone out of his chamber, when AnthonioPage 67Costilla began with a loud skrietch to cry out for help, where∣vpon he with the rest entring into the chamber, and demaun∣ding the cause of this outcry: he told them, that hee was no sooner left alone, but that the three visions came to him a∣gaine, and made him blind with throwing dust vpon his eyes, which they had scraped out of the ground: which in trueth thed found it to be so: from that time forward therefore they neuer left him vnaccompanied: but all profited nothing, for the seauenth day without hauing had Ague or any other ac∣cident, he departed out of this world.
If there were pre∣sent heere any Phisition, hee would not leaue to affirme and maintaine, that this proceeded of some melancholly humor, ruling in him with such force, that he seemed really to behold, that which was represented in his fantasie.
The same also may wel be, for many times it seemeth that we see things, which in deed we doe not, being deceaued through the force of our imagination: and perchance this of those visions may be the like, who being once represented in the imagination of fancie, had force to work those effects: and the humor which caused the same, encreasing through amazement and feare, might at last procure death: yet for all this, I will not leaue to beleeue, but that these visions were some Spirits, who taking those bodies of ayre, earth, water, or fire, or mingling for that effect any of those Elements together, came to put so great amazement in this man, that the same was cause of his death.
In all things which by certaine knowledge, cannot be throughly approoued, there neuer want diuers and contrary opinions: so that in this diuersity of iudgements, I would ra∣ther impute it to the worke of Spirits, then to any melanchol∣ly passion or humor: and perchaunce if these visions had not had sufficient force, through this amazement, to procure his death, yet would they haue been cause vnto him of som other secret infirmity: but howsoeuer it was, it was by the secret permission of GOD, the which we comprehend not, and therefore it were in vaine to trouble our selues more about it.
Many the like things happen in the world, full of ad∣miration, as well for the terror of their effects as for the miste∣ry of their causes which we conceaue not. Of which sort was Page [unnumbered] that which happened in Bolonia to Iohn Vasques de Ayola, * the verity of which I haue found to be approued by most cer∣taine & indubitable proofes.
I haue heard this often, as a thing whose truth is not to be doubted of: but seeing you vndertooke to tell it, I pray you goe forward with the same.
I will tell it you, as it was told me, & as it is both in Bo∣lonia and Spaine, by infinite testimonies confirmed. This Ayola in his youth, with other Spaniards his companions, comming to Bolonia, with intention to remaine there, and to study the Lawes, as many of his other Country-men did, and finding at the first no conuenient lodging, wherin they might commodiously remaine, so as for their study was necessary: as they went, enquiring vp & downe the streetes, they met with three or foure Gentlemen of the Towne, of whom they de∣manded, if they could adresse them to any good place where they might abide being strangers newly come out of Spaine, and vnacquainted: the one of the Gentlemen smiling, made them aunswere, that if they desired to haue a commodious house, he would furnish them with one, poynting to a good∣ly great house in the same streete, whose dores and windowes were fast closed vp, and that without any rent or hire at all: at which liberall offer of his the Spanish Studients being som∣what abashed, thought surely that hee had iested with them, till another of the Bolonians tolde them that the same was in deede spoken merily, because the same house had beene mu∣red, well twelue yeeres since, no man in all this space daring liue within the same, by reason of the fearefull visions and sights, which are there vsually seene and heard by night: so that the owner, sayth he, hath giuen ouer and abandoned it as a thing lost, because there is not any man found so hardy, that dare aduenture to abide there onely one night. If the matter be no greater then this (quoth Ayola) let him deliuer me the keyes, and I and my companions will (God willing) goe liue in the same, come what will. The Gentleman hearing this their resolute answer, told them that if they required the keies, they would cause them to be deliuered vnto them, with many thanks besides: vvherevpon finding them still persist in their determination, they brought them to the owner of the house, Page 68 who laying many terrors before their eyes, & seeing them not regard the same, but rather to laugh thereat, caused the doores to be vnrammed & opened: and deliuering them the keyes, put them in possession of the house, assisting thē besides with some necessary houshold-stuffe; the rest that wanted, they prouided for themselues, so that being furnisht of all thinges, they tooke vp their lodging, in a chamber that opened into a great Hall, hiring a woman that dwelt there without to dresse their victuals, for they could not finde any that dared serue them within the house. All those of Bolonia stood intentiue to behold the successe of this matter: the Spaniards only ma∣king a mockery thereof, for hauing beene there aboue thirty dayes, they had neuer seene nor heard any thing, so that they held all that which was said to be a meere fable: but within a while after, the two being one night laid downe to sleepe, & Ayola remaining at his study, towards midnight he heard of a sodaine a great brute & noise, as if it had been the clattering of many chaines together: vpon which, growing into some al∣teration, he imagined presently with him selfe the same to be without doubt the vision, which was wont to be seene in this house, & therefore determined to goe & waken his compani∣ons, but being about to goe, it seemed that his hart failed him, so that he was, as it were, forced to attend the euent of this a∣lone: after he had listned intentiuely a while, he perceiued that the same noise cam vp the great staires of the hall, so that pul∣ling vp his spirits, & cōmending himselfe to God with a good hart, & blessing himselfe many times, taking in one hand his sword, & in the other a candel lighted, he went out of his chā∣ber, and put himselfe in the midst of the Hall, for the chaines, though the noise they made were great, seemed to come very leasurely: standing so a while, he might see com towards him throgh the dore that opened to the staires, a fearful vision, that affrighted him extreamely, & made all his haire stand an end, for it was the carkas of a very great man, only knit together by the bones without any flesh at all, like the forme wherin death is painted: he was tied about the legs, & round about the body with certain cha••es, which he drew trailing along: & so stai∣ed himselfe, the one & the other stood still beholding a while, Page [unnumbered] till at length Ayola recouering courage, seeing that the vision moued not, began to coniure him with the greatest & holiest wordes that his feare suffered him to imagine, to tell him what the thing was which he sought or desired, and to let him vn∣derstand, if he needed any thing, promising him his helpe & assistance so farre as he possibly could. The vision laide his armes a crosse, and making shew that hee receaued gratefully this offer, seemed to recommend himselfe vnto him. Ayola bad him againe, tell him, if he would haue him goe with him to any place. The vision bowed downe his head, & pointed to the staires, whence he came. Ayola bad him goe on before in Gods name, promising stedfastly to follow him, whether so euer hee went: vpon which, the vision began to returne whence he came, going with great space and leasure, seeming to be so clogged with the chaines, that he could goe no faster. Ayola following him, as he came to the midst of the staires, whether through the wind, or that he trembled in seeing him∣selfe alone with such company, his candell went out, so that his amazement & feare was much greater then before, yet gathe∣ring together his spirits as well as he might, he said to the visi∣on: thou seest that my candell is out, therefore stay heere a while, & I will goe light him, and come presently back againe, where-vpon going backe, & kindling the same in the fire, he returned, finding the vision in the selfe same place where hee left him, so that the one & the other going on a new, they past through the whole house, and came into a Court, and from thence into a great Garden, into which the vision entred, and Ayola after him: but because there was in the midst thereof a great deepe Well, Ayola stayed, feating least the vision shold turne vpon him, & doe him some outrage: vvhich the vision perceauing, made signes that he shold not be afraid, as it were requesting him to goe with him to a certaine place of the garden, towards which he pointed, whether they were no soo∣ner come, but the vision vanished sodainly away.
Ayola beeing alone, began to call and coniure him, making great protestations, that if there were any thing, in vvhich he might stand him in sted, he was there ready to performe the same, and that there should be in him no fault at all: but stay∣ing Page 69 there awhile, and seeing not hearing any thing more, he aduised to pull vp foure or fiue handfuls of grasse & herbes, in the selfe same place where himselfe thought that the vision vanished, hauing done which, hee returned and awaked his companions, whom he found both soundly sleeping. They looking vp vpon him, sawe him so altered, and his colour so changed, that they verily thought he would there haue ended his life, whereupon they rose vp, and forced him to eate of a conserue which they had, and to drinke a little wine, then lay∣ing him downe on his bedde, they asked him what was the cause of this his deadly alteration of looke, wherupon he told them all that had happened, beseeching them to keepe it se∣cret, because in reuealing it to others, they shoulde neuer be beleeued. But, as these things are hard to be kept secret, so one of them told it in a place, whence it was knowne throughout the whole Citty, and came at last to the hearing of the chiefe Magistrate, who endeuouring to sound out the truth therof, commaunded Ayola by solemne oath to declare the particu∣laritie of each thing which he had seene, who did so, making this former relation. The Gouernour hearing him tell the same with such assurance, went with others of the Towne to the same place of the Garden, where, according as hee had told them, they founde a great heape of withered grasse, in which, commaunding certaine men to digge with spytters, they founde, and that not very deepe, vnder the grounde a graue, and in the same a carkas with all the markes declared by Ayola, which was the cause that his whole report was cre∣dited to be true, but seeking to enquire and learne what body the same so buried should be, so encheyned and exceeding in greatnes the ordinary stature of other men, they founde no man that could expresly satisfie them therein, though there were diuers old tales told of the predicessours of the owner of that house. The Gouernour caused incontinently the carkas to be taken vp, and buried in a Church, from which time for∣ward, there were neuer any fearefull visions or noyses seen or heard more in that house. Ayola returned afterwardes into Spayne, and was prouided, through his learning, of many of∣fices vnder the Crowne, and his sonne after him, in our time, Page [unnumbered] was a man of great sway and authoritie in this Country.
It seemeth that Ayolas courage was farre better then Costil∣las, seeing the one dyed through feare, and the other remay∣ned liuing: but I would faine vnderstande in what sort thys Vision might appeare, which seemeth not to be a matter of so great misterie.
At least the Phylosophers and Phy∣sitions, cannot attribute it, to the abundance of melancholie, because it appeared by the carkas which they found buried, that the same vision was truly and substancially seene by Ay∣ola, and not represented in his fancie. And if there were here any Diuines, I dare vndertake there would not want diuersity of opinions, for some would say that it was the worke of the deuill, to no other end then to mocke the people, in forming to himselfe a body of ayre or earth, of the same figure like the carkas that lay buried: Others woulde rather maintaine the same to be a good Angell dooing so, to the intent that the same body, whose soule was perchaunce in heauen, might enioy sacred buriall, neither woulde they want reasons for maintenaunce of their opinions, euery man may therfore be∣leeue herein as pleaseth him, without offending, but howso∣euer it vvere, by a good or euill Angell, it was by the wil and sufferaunce of God, and for my part I take it to be the surest to iudge alwayes the best.
Your reason is good, & tru∣lie this matter is not without some great mistery which vvee vnderstand not, and therefore let vs spend no more time in altercation about it.
Many thinges haue hapned and happen daily in the world, to search the depth and bottom of whose secrets, were great presumption, at which, though som times by signes and tokens we may giue a gesse, yet we must alwayes thinke, that there is some thing hidden from vs, and of this sort is that which hapned to a Gentleman in thys our * Spayne, whose name, for the foulenes of his endeuour, and many respects beside, I wil conceale, and the name also of the towne where it hapned. This Gentleman being very rich & noble, delt in matters of dishonest loue with a Nun, the which to th'end shee might enioy his abhominable embracements, willed him to make a key like vnto that of the Church doore, and shee would finde time and meanes (through her turne Page 70 which shee had about the seruice of the Sachristie and other such occasions, to meete him there, where they both might satiate theyr filthy lusts and incestuous desires. The Gentle∣man exceedingly reioycing at this match, caused two keyes to be made, the one for the doore of the Church Portall, and an other of the Church doore it selfe, which beeing doone, be∣cause it was somewhat farre from his house, hee tooke one night his horse, and for the more secrecie of the matter rode thither alone: being come thither about midnight, leaping of his horse, and tying him by the reynes of the bridle to a con∣uenient place, he went towards the Monastery, of which o∣pening the first doore of the Portall, hee founde that of the Church open of it selfe, and in the Church a great light and brightnes of Torches and Wax candels, and withall, he heard voyces, as it were of men singing, and doing the funerall ser∣uice of some one that was deceased: at which being amazed, he drew neerer, better to behold the manner therof, where he might see the Church to be full of Fryers and Priests, singing these obsequies, hauing in the midst of them a coffin couered with blacke, about which were many light & tapers burning, each of the Friers, Priestes, and many other men besides that seemed to assist at these funerals hauing also a waxcandle bur∣ning in their hands, but his greatest astonishment of all, vvas that he knew not one of thē: after hee had remained a while beholding thē, he approched neere one of the Friers, & asked him for whom those honorable solemnities were done, vvho answered him that such a gentleman, naming his own proper name, was dead, and that they were nowe performing the ho∣nors of his burial. The gentleman laughing replied, saying, he whō you speak of, liueth, & you are deceiued, nay, quoth the Fryer, you are deceaued, for he is assuredly dead, & his bodie here present to be buried, & therwith fell to his singing again. The gentleman being herewith in a great confusion asked an other, of whom he receiued the selfe same answer, so that be∣ing striken with a great amazement, without more attending he went out of the Church, and getting vp on his horse, be∣gan to ride as fast as he could homeward: but he had no soo∣ner turned his horse head, whē he was ware of two great black Page [unnumbered] mastiues that accompanied him, of each side of his horse one: who doe what he could, with rating and striking at thē with his sword, would neuer leaue him, till he came to the gate of his house, where lighting off his horse and entring in, his Pa∣ges and seruants comming to receaue him; wondred to see the colour of his face so pale and deadly; assuring themselues that some great mischance had hapned vnto him, beseeching him with such instance to tell thē what ayled him, that at last, hee recited vnto them all the particularities of this before re∣hearsed history; hauing made an end of which, and entring into his chamber, the two black mastiues of a suddaine rushed in vpon him, and woried him, so that his seruants not beeing able to succour him, hee dyed presently, verifying that of his funerals, which he had seene done while he liued.
This man was payd the hyre of his desert, for what more greeuous offence can a man commit, then to endeuour to violate that, which is to God so folemnely sacred▪ and surely for my part I am of opinion that these mastiues were two deuils, set lose by God, receauing of him power and permission thus cruelly to punish a wickednes so detestable, or els they might be two very mastiues indeede guided by the deuill, through the suf∣ferance of God. And perchance those visions which he sawe in habites of Fryers and Priestes, were to warne him of his er∣ror and offence, to the end hee might haue repented & cra∣ued pardon, & the like might be of the mastiues that accom∣panied him to his house: but he like an ill christian, neglect∣ing to vse permitence & contrition, paied with the losse of his life, that which his offence deserued, I will not iudge of his soule, which in so dangerous an estate passed from his body.
I take it for al this that he might be saued, if at such time as he saw himselfe assaulted by the dogs he had the grace har∣tilie to repent.
Happy was he if he had this grace, and most vnhappy and miserable if he wanted it, but leauing this, passe on I pray you Signior Anthonio.
There is another written by Alexander de Alexan∣dro, in his Diebus genealibus, which because it serueth fitly to our purpose, I will not passe it ouer: and as the same Alex∣ander sayeth, it was told him by a great friend of his, whom he Page 71 so highly commendeth, and with such earnest words, to be a man of great vertue and no lesse credite, that hee putteth no doubt, but that the matter passed really and truly as he told it him. This friend of mine, sayeth he, had a deere companion, * a Gentleman of good quality, who through a long infirmity, hauing endured exceeding paine & anguish, and being coun∣celed for the recouery of his health, to goe to the Bathes of Cuma, requested him to beare him company, which hee did with many other Gentlemen besides: after they had remai∣ned there a certaine space, the sicke Gentleman daily so em∣paired in health, that finding no amendment, they returned backe towards Rome againe: but by the way, his infirmity so encreased, and hee waxed there-with, and with the wearines of trauaile so weake, that he ended his dayes in an Inne by the way, where he came to lodge: His companions heauily be∣wailing his death, caused him to be buried with the greatest funerall solemnity they might, in the Church of the Village where they were, remaining there some few dayes after, about the performance of his obsequies, which being finished, they departed towards Rome: Growing one night late they took vp their Inne in a Village, where this friend and companion of the deceased Gentleman layd him selfe downe to sleepe, in a bed that stoode alone in a chamber, the dore of which being fast lockt, and a candell burning by his bed side, being broade awaked, of a sodaine he saw stand before him his dead com∣panion, whom he had left buried in the other Village, his eyes hollow, his face deadly, his countenance pittifull, leane, and yellow, who approaching the bed, and beholding him with∣out speaking a word, began to put off his cloathes, which see∣med to be the very same that he ware while he liued: what so euer he that lay in the bed said vnto him, he aunswered not a word, but after his cloaths were off, lifting vp the couerlet & sheete, hee laide him downe in the bed by him, who through great feare was so dismayed, that he had not the power to re∣sist him, so that the dead man came neerer vnto him, & made semblance to take him in his armes, who with exceeding hor∣ror, seeing himselfe in this distresse, and being shrunke to the farther side of the bed, when hee sawe there was no remedy, Page [unnumbered] tooke as good courage as he could, and thrusting downe the cloathes betweene them, because he should not touch him, be∣gan to make resistance, which the dead man perceauing, and beholding him with a grim & angry countenance, rose out of the bed, putting on his cloathes & shooes againe, and so went his wayes, without being seene from that time forward any more. The other remained in the bed, with so great feare and perplexity, that he fell therof greeuously sicke, & was in great hazard of his life, though he recouered at last: hee affirmed, that when hee made that resistance to keepe the dead man from him, that by chaunce the other touched him with one of his feete, which exceeded all the Ice of the world, in extreami∣ty of coldnes.
This thing is surely very strange, and hardly to be iudged of, for what way so euer you will conster it, there cannot want contradiction.
I confesse it to be so, yet I should vndoubtedly hold it to be an illusion of the deuill, who endeuored, if he could, to haue deceaued him that lay in the bed, taking vpon him the shape and figure of his dead friend: but God would not suffer him to doe him any hurt, and in manner as the same deuill came not imagined or fantasticall, but taking on him a visible body, and such as through the thicknes thereof might be touched, so vanished hee away, and turned into ayre againe. And that the deuills forme and thicken in such sort their bodies, that they seeme somtimes verily and visibly to resemble vs: you may plainely vnderstand by another example of the said Alexander, who sayeth, that a certaine Monke called Thomas, with whom he * was familiarly acquainted, beeing a man euer after this acci∣dent of a most holy and approued good life, who being resi∣dent in a Monastery neere vnto the Citty of Luka, being si∣tuated amongst certaine mountaynes, falling one day out with some other of the Monkes, and mooued with an excee∣ding passion of choller, went furiously out of the Cloyster, with determination to absent himselfe from thence for euer, and to goe liue in some other part: as he was thus trauersing the thickest of the mountaine, hee met with a great tall man, of a tawnie Sunne-burnd complexion, with a long blacke beard, rowling eyes, and his garment hanging downe to the Page 72 ground. After hauing saluted him, the Moonke asked him whether he went that way, seeing the same was no beaten or vsuall path: The other aunswered him, that hee followed a horse of his, which was broken loose, and had strayed ouer those mountaines into certaine meddowes on the other side, so that they went on together talking, till they came to a Ri∣uer at the foote of the mountaine: which because the same was very deepe, and full of great pits, they went along the side thereof seeking a Foord or passage, till at last comming to a certaine place which seemed passable: the Moonke would haue puld off his hose and shooes, but the other would by no meanes suffer him so to doe, saying: that he was tall & strong enough, to carry him safely ouer on his shoulders, in which perswasion he was so earnest, that make the Monke what ex∣cuse he could, he trussed him, halfe perforce vp vpon his shol∣ders: at which instant looking downward, he chanced to spie his Ferrymans feete, not hauing seene them till then, which were of a farre different making from those of other mens, so that entring into some suspition, hee would faine haue losed himselfe, but he could not, for the other began to wade with him into the deepest of the streame: vvhere-vpon, fearing it to be as in truth it was, he began with great inward deuotion to commend him selfe to God, and to call vpon the blessed name of Iesus for helpe: at which very instant, the other who was the deuill indeede, threw him downe on the shoare of the Riuer, vanishing presently away, vvith so horrible a noise and tempest, that the very sands of the Riuer, were turned vpsie downe: and the Oakes that grew vpon the banks were torne vppe by the rootes, and the poore Moonke left in a traunce, halfe dead, who so soone as he reuiued and came to him selfe returned penitently to his Cloyster, giuing thankes vnto GOD, for the danger out of which hee had deliuered him.
To make recitall of all such like things as hap∣pen in the vvorlde, were to beginne an endlesse and infinite worke: for the deuils, though they lost grace, yet lost they not theyr naturall vertue, as Anthonio de Florencia vvry∣teth, so that if the same vvere not restrayned through the vvill of GOD, they coulde vvorke many greater hurtes Page [unnumbered] and damages, then those which they doe.
According to the saying of S. Paule, they cannot onely take vpon them such formes of bodies as we haue said, but they can also trans∣forme them selues into Angels of light to deceaue vs, which they would each moment put in practise, as sometimes they doe, were not their power suppressed and preuented, which God doth somtimes by his only will, and somtimes by a third person, as that of the deuill, which vnder the habite of a very beautifull and wise woman dined with a Bishop, who was de∣liuered from destruction by S. Andrew the Apostle, cōming to demaund almes of him like a Pilgrime, by aunswering a * question proposed to him by the deuill: which was, how far distant the heauen was from the earth: Thou shouldst better know then I, answered S. Andrew, because thou hast falne from thence; where-with the deuill finding him selfe disco∣uered, vanished presently. But it is to no purpose to detaine our selues in these examples, because there are whole volumes full of them: and Saint Gregory in his Morrals, rehearseth many notable thinges, which they may reade that desire to know them.
For all this, I must needs tell you one * by the way, which hath been told me for a matter vndoubted, and most assuredly true, of one Don Anthonio de la Cueua, a Gentleman passing well knowne in this our Country, nowe lately dead: vvho by Gods permission, for some cause to vs vnknowne, was, while he liued, often tempted and vexed with visions and fantasies, so that in continuance of time, he began not to feare them, though hee accustomed to haue all night long continually a candell burning by him in the chamber where he slept. One night amongst others, lying in his bed, and reading of a booke, he might heare a great rumbling vn∣der the bed, and as he lay imagining what the same might be, he perceaued come from vnder the bed close by the bed side an arme and hand, seeming to be of a naked Blackamoore: which taking the candell, turned it downwards in the candle∣stick and put it forth, and at that very instant, offered to come into the bed to him, which he endeuoring to refist, the blacke Moore, or rather deuill, grasped him by the armes, & he him likewise, beginning to wrestle and strugle together with such Page 73 force, and making so great a noyse, that the seruaunts of the house awaked, who comming into the Chamber to knovve what the matter was, found Don Anthonio de la Cueua alone, in such a heate and sweating, as though he had newly come out of a Stew or Hothouse, who declared vnto them the particu∣laritie of this accident, and withall, that so soone as they be∣gan to enter into the Chamber, the vision vntwynged him∣selfe from him, so that he knew not what was becom thereof.
At one thing I doe much wonder, which I haue of∣ten heard to be affirmed for truth, that the deuils also are In∣cubi and Succubi, taking oftentimes to that ende the shape & * likenes, sometimes of men, sometimes of women.
This is affirmed by many Authours: For their malice is so great, that they will not stick to commit the greatest abhomi∣nation * and wickednes that may be, so that ioyntly they may procure and cause men to commit it with them. Caelius Ro∣diginus saith, that there was in Greece a man called Marcus, naturall of Cafronesus, vvho had great familiaritie with de∣uils, for which cause he liued alwaies solitary, conuersing little with other men. This man vttered many of the deuils secrets, of which this of the Incubi and Succubi was one, and many o∣ther, that for theyr filthines and abhomination are not to be spoken of: but according to his confession, all the deuils doe * not vse this execrable offence, but those onely who are neere vnto vs, and doe forme theyr bodies of a grosse substance, as of water or earth. Saint Augustine saith, that the Satyres and Faunes were thought of some to be Incubi, because they were so luxurious. Hence many tooke occasion to authorise that for truth, which is reported of Marlyn, that he was begotten of a deuill, but thys is better said then affirmed, for whether it be so or no, God onely knoweth: and besides this vvhich I haue said, he speaketh of many other particularities & secrets, that are amongst the deuils, which in truth, it is best not to know nor vnderstand, for the knowledge of them can be no way profitable, and may perchance be some way hurtfull.
If the deuill can doe that which this Marcus sayeth, perchance Lactantius Firmianus tooke thence occasion, to vvrite that folly of his, saying that the authority of Genesis,Page [unnumbered] vvhich saith, As the sonnes of GOD sawe the daughters of men, which were beautifull, they tooke them for wiues, and had children by them, is vnderstood by the Angels, vvhom * God held heere in the world, so that he attributeth to thē bo∣dies, with which they conuersed with women and begot chyl∣dren.
Truly you may rightly terme it his folly, for there cannot be a greater, as both S. Thomas & all the other Doc∣ters of Theologie affirme, vnderstanding by the sons of God, men that serued him, & walked in the way of righteousnes, & by the sons of men, those that followed their owne lusts and pleasures, not regarding that which they ought to doe: for it were absurd to thinke that the Angels should pollute them∣selues with such filthines as the deuils doe, who also doe it not because they therin receiue delight, but because of the sin and and offence, which they therin make men to commit ioyntly with them: for they cannot in truth, howsoeuer they fashion their bodies, exercise any vitall operation, though there want not some, who say that the deuils come to be enamoured of women, & pursue them in loue with lust and desire: but I e∣steem this to be a meere mockery, for it the deuill at any time make a shew of loue, the same is dissembled, & that which he only seeks, is the destruction of the soule, without hauing any other respect, for verification of which, I will tell you what I saw in the Iland of Cerdinia, in the citie of Caliar, where at that instant was handled the inquisition of certaine Witches, vvho they said, had confederation & did cōmunicate, with those of Fraunce & Nauarre, of which many not long before had bin * sought out & punished: at that very time there was a beau∣tifull young mayden of the age of 17. or 18. yeres old appre∣hended & accused to haue acquaintance and fleshly conuer∣sation with the deuill, brought to the same by the allurements and entisements of one of these Witches. The deuill vsed of∣tentimes to resort vnto her in the likenes of one of the most beautifull young gentlemen in the world, vsing so sweete and comely behauiour, that the poore wench, became so vehe∣mently enamoured, and so deepely inflamed in his loue, that of all worldly felicities, she accounted his company to be the greatest: but he when he saw his time, and thought her to be Page 74 sure enough his, tooke such order that the matter was disco∣uered and the mayden taken, who persisted so obstinatelie a∣gainst the perswasions of those that willed her to repent & to craue mercy, that it was wonderfull, thinking surelie that the deuill woulde helpe her, as he had promised, perseuering in such ardant loue and affection towardes him, that, with her passionate speeches, she amazed and moued to pitty, those that heard her speake: and for conclusion, willingly suffered herselfe to be put aliue into the fire and burnt, still in vaine re∣claiming the promised assistance of her abhominable Louer, loosing thereby both her body and soule, which so easily shee might haue saued, in dying Christianlike, and taking patient∣lie with repentance her bodily death in this world.
Trulie, her end was most pittifull and lamentable, yet farre better did another of which I haue heard, beeing lyke∣wise a young mayden, rich, beautifull, & of good parentage, * who with extreame and vehement affection, became to be in∣amoured of a young Gentleman liuing in the same Tovvne where shee remained, but for her reputations sake, she coue∣red so warily this secrete feruent affection of hers, that it was neyther perceaued of the Gentleman himselfe, nor of any man else, the deuill onely excepted, who, seeing occasion of∣fered, whereby, as he thought, to procure her damnation: tooke vpon him the likenes, habite and gesture of the Gen∣tleman: offring vnto her his seruice and loue, with such arti∣ficiall perswasions, that after solemne promise of marriage, he came to haue the vse of her body, to which otherwise her chast desire woulde neuer haue consented: after which hee frequented many nights her companie, lying in naked bedde with her, as if hee had beene indeede the Gentleman vvhose shape he tooke vpon him, and with whose loue the mayden was so ardently enflamed. In this manner passed ouer manie monthes, the deuill alwaies perswading her, not to sende him any messages, because it was for some respects conuenient to keepe the matter for a while secret, & withall, that she should not conceaue any vnkindnesse, if seeing her in publique, hee vsed no outward semblance of loue towards her, aduising her also, to vse in all poynts, the like strangenesse towardes him, Page [unnumbered] preuenting heereby the inconuenience that might haue hap∣ned, if she should haue found herselfe in company with the supposed Gentleman. The matter continuing thus, it fell out that the Mother of this mayden gaue vnto her a booke of de∣uout prayers to read, which she often perusing, the deuill had no more power at all to come in place where she was, nor to abuse her any longer, because she ware the same continuallie about her necke: Whereupon, at the end of three Moneths, shee wondring much at his absence, and withall, hearing that he, I meane the supposed Gentleman, courted another Gen∣tlewoman, entring into a most vnpatient iealousie, shee sent him one day word, that by any meanes he should com speak with her, about a matter most important. The Gentleman, without vnderstanding the cause, beeing full of curtesie and good behauiour, awayting a time when her mother was out, came and founde her alone, and after hauing curteously salu∣ted her, demaunded what her pleasure was. The mayden see∣ing him speake as one that scarcely knewe her, bathing her face with teares, in wordes full of griefe, complayned of his strangenesse and forgetfulnesse, asking him for what deme∣rite of hers he had left her so long vnuisited. The Gentleman astonished at this manner of speech, aunswered her as a man amazed, and vtterlie ignorant of her meaning: whereupon, kindled with exceeding choller, shee began to threaten him, that seeing he had despoyled her of that which she held dea∣rest, that he should not now thinke to cast her of, and that if he would not of his owne accord accomplish the promise of marriage vvhich he had vowed vnto her, shee would besides her complaints to God and the world, doe her vttermost di∣ligence to constraine him perforce to that, whereto by his most solemne protestation hee was bound. The Gentleman, strooken heerewith into greater admiration then before, aun∣swered her, that he thought her not to be in her right sences, for neuer in his life had he promised marriage, nor once spo∣ken to her in secret, neyther was of meaning to satis-fie anie such demaund of hers.
The poore vvench welnigh out of her wits, after infinite exclamations, calling heauen and earth to witnes, began per∣ticulerly Page 75 to recite vnto him all such thinges as had passed be∣tweene her and the deuill, asking him how he could be so im∣pudent to deny the same; she mingled with threatning teares, wishing him to haue the feare of Gods vengeance before his eyes. The Gentleman with great confusion began to blesse himself, protesting vnto her by the most solemne sort of oaths he could, that she was deceaued, and that of this matter hee knew nothing at all. Oh God (quoth shee) and howe is this possible, doe you not remember that on such a very day (to mee most vnfortunate:) naming a great feastiuall day, you sware, and vowed to accomplish with mee the holy estate of marriage in the open face of the Church, which you said you were constrained to deferre as yet for some respects. But he hauing heere no longer patience, to the end (quoth he) that you shal fully and plainly perceaue your owne error, I will by sufficient information and vnrefusable witnesses proue vnto you, that I was not in this Towne the day you say, neither 20. dayes before, nor 20. dayes after: if any man therefore in my name haue deceaued you, I am not to be blamed: and to the end shee might be the better resolued, he sent incontinently for seauen or eight persons of credite, as well of his house as others, which without knowing the cause wherfore, solemnly swore and declared, that this Gentleman had beene the very day and all the time mentioned, absent in another Towne a∣boue fifty leagues from thence. The young Mayden remai∣ned confused and ashamed, as well for this, as for other parti∣culer things passed betweene her & the deuill, which seemed to her impossible to haue beene done by any humaine man, so that her iudgement waxing clearer, she nowe began to su∣spect this her detestable Louer, to be him who indeed he was, and there-vpon entring into a wonderfull deepe repentance, and vtterly giuing ouer the world, shee placed her selfe in a Monastery, where shee continued most deuoutly the rest of her life in Gods seruice.
She tooke in my iudgment the best and surest course, both for her owne saluation, and to reuenge her selfe of the iniury receaued by her enemy. But seeing you haue set vs in this matter, I pray you tell vs what power and authority they haue ouer the deuill, that vse and Page [unnumbered] exercise the Art of Negromancie: for it is manifest that Ne∣gromancers * and Witches, constraine the deuils & make them perforce obey and accomplish their commaundements: and many also carry them bound and enclosed in rings, boxes, lit∣tle viols, and many other things, applying their helps to such vses as they themselues will, and such deuils they commonly call Familiars.
It cannot be denied, but that there is such an Art called Negromancie, vsed in old times by faith∣full and vnfaithfull, and now in these our dayes also by diuers. But this Art may be exercised in two sorts, the first is naturall, * which may be wrought through things, whose vertue & pro∣perty is naturall to doe them, as hearbs, plants, and stones, and other things, as the planets, constellations, and heauenly influ∣ences: and this Art is lawfull, and may without scruple or offence be vsed and practised, of those that can attaine vnto the knowledge of their hidden properties; and such is that of which S. Thomas writeth in his Treatise, De ente et essentia, (though some doubt whether the same be his or no) where he alleageth, that Abel the Sonne of Adam, made a booke of all the vertues & properties of the planets, which, foreknow∣ing * that the world should perish through the generall flood, he enclosed so cunningly in a stone, that the waters could not come to corrupt the same, whereby it might be preserued and knowne to all people. This stone was found by Hermes Tris∣megistus, who breaking it, and finding the booke therein en∣closed, profited wonderfully by applying the contents there∣of to his vse; which booke comming afterwards to the hand of S Thomas, it is said, that he did there-with many great ex∣periences: amongst the which one was, that being sicke, and troubled with the noise of Beastes and carriages that passed through the streete, remedied that trouble, by making an I∣mage, such as the booke prescribed him, which being buried in the streete, none of all the Beasts had power to passe there∣by: but cōming thither staid or went backward, not being by any man to be constrained to do the contrary: He also telleth of a certaine friend of his, who by the selfe same booke made an Image, putting the which into a Fountaine, it caused all such vessels as touched the water thereof, presently to breake, Page 76 which came by obseruations of certaine houres and points in working of those Images, of which they tooke great recko∣ning and heede, to the end that the planets might the better vse their influences in working those thinges, which seemed supernaturall. The vse of all this is so lawfull, that there is no∣thing to be sayde to the contrary. The other kinde of Ne∣gromancie * or Art Magique, is, that which is vsed and practi∣sed through the helpe and fauour of the deuill, which hath beene of long time, as we know, exercised in the world? And of this, the holy Scriptures giue vs sufficient testimony, as well in the old Testament, speaking of the Magitians of Pharaoh, who contended with Moyses and Aaron, as in the new Te∣stament, in the Acts of the Apostles, making mention of Si∣mon Magus, rebuked by S. Peter: and besides, to satisfie your demaund, you must vnderstand, that the deuils may also be forced and constrained by the good Angels; and this is be∣cause of the grace which the one lost, and the other as yet re∣taine.
But leauing a-part the examples vvhich wee finde in the newe Testament, of that which our Sauiour Christ, as very GOD and manne wrought with them: Let vs come to the Apostles and Saints, who by the vertue of wordes, and in the onely name of Iesus, made them obey and accomplish all that which they commaunded them: But the Magitians, neyther by themselues, neyther by their wordes, Characters, or signes, haue power or force to constrayne the deuills to any thing, howe so euer they persvvade them selues to the contrarie: vvhich because you shall fully vnderstand to be so, you must knowe that none canne vse or exercise this Arte of Negro∣mancie, vnlesse hee first make a secrete agreement, or ex∣presse * couenaunt vvith the deuill, and such deuilles vvith vvhom they deale in these couenauntes, are not of the com∣mon sort, but of a higher and superiour condition: For a∣mongst them selues (sayeth Father Franciscus de victoria) in a Repetition vvhich hee made of Magique, they doe ob∣serue theyr orders and degrees of superioritie: and this is for the better vse of theyr wickednesse: and so sayeth Saint Tho∣mas: some deuils (sayeth hee) are preferred as principals, to Page [unnumbered] commaund the rest, and the inferiour deuils are subiect vnto * those, which are of mightier force, to execute theyr wicked∣nesse: and therefore the Iewes sayde vnto Christ, that hee wrought his miracles in the name of Belzebub, Prince of de∣uils, so that the Negromancers and Magitians that are confe∣derated with the Princes and Captaines of the Infernall Ar∣mie, haue alwaies the lesser & inferiour deuils in a readines at commaundement to doe their will and pleasure, being there∣vnto constrained, by those of the higher dignitie and conditi∣on. And whereas you say, that the deuils are kept by some bound and enclosed in Ringes, Boxes or Viols, it is a com∣mon error and deceite, which the deuils make them beleeue, with whom they deale, for they are where, & in what place, and when they list themselues, and how farre soeuer they be of, yet at such time as they are called, or theyr presence requi∣red, they come in the very same instant to make aunswere, to those which holding them for Familiars, and thinking surelie that they carry them alwaies present with them, demaund or aske any thing of them, who are greatly abused & deceaued, in presuming that they are able to hold them forcibly at theyr commaundement: because it proceedeth not through the words of the Negromancer, but through the might and au∣thority of the higher Spirits and deuils, which as Captaines gouerne and commaund them: Yea, and some-times con∣strayning them to remaine bound indeed, when they haue a∣ny notable exployt in hande, but els for the most-part they leaue them alwayes at libertie. This is not onely the opinion of S. Thomas, but also of S. Augustine, and almost all the rest of the Doctors that handle this matter, who write therof many particularities, leauing which, let vs passe now to other matters, no lesse worthy to be vnderstood.
Let then the first I pray you be one, which of long time, so often as I thinke thereof, hath and doth exceedingly trouble my vnderstanding, and the same is, if the soules of the deceased, returne at any time to visite or to speake with those that liue in the world: as I haue often heard say that they doe.
There want not sufficient reasons to confirme that which you say: but leauing the determination thereof to bet∣ter Page 77 Diuines then we are: let vs handle our former discourse of fancies, and visions, of which vndoubtedly many that are reported to be true, are faigned, and somtimes take their be∣ginning of occasions that happen, whereby they are thought to be true, when in deede they are not.
This is an or∣dinary matter & happeneth daily, for confirmation of which, I vvill tell you of one that chaunced not long since in this * Towne wherein we now are, and the party yet liuing, which was a woman, who rising one night very early before day, to doe certaine busines shee had; hauing ouer night willed her May de to leaue the fire well couered, to the ende shee might light her candle in the morning, and finding the same quite out when shee rose, fell into a great chafe: the may de seeing her Mistris so angry, stept out of dores with a candell in her hand, and going from house to house without finding fire, perceauing at last a Lamp burning within the Church, went and knocked at the dore thereof, desiring the Sexton to light her candell. Her Mistres being out of patience, and not en∣during to stay so long, tooke another candle, & going to the house of one of her acquaintance, lighted the same, returning at that very instant by one side of the Church, as her may de dyd by the other, and being in the Sommer time both vnclo∣thed, sauing onely that they had a thin white peticoate ouer theyr smockes, they chaunced to be seene by a neyghbour thereby, who was risen a little before, whose eyes belike not being well opened, he tooke them to be Sprights, and publi∣shed the next day that he had seene certain women go about the Church in Procession with candles in their hands. Some that heard him, added that they were eyght, others tvvelue, others twentie & thirtie; and amongst the rest they affirmed that some yet liuing, were seene, who hearing thereof, fell in∣to the greatest feare of the worlde that they shoulde not liue long, but I procured to search out the truth thereof, & found it to be in such sort as you haue hearde.
Let but once such a matter as this come amongst the common people, and it will growe so from one mouth to another, that at last, of a flie they will make an Elephant, neuer willing to acknovv∣ledge themselues to be deceaued, as it hapned in a very plea∣sant Page [unnumbered] tale, which I will tell you, the truth whereof came after to be discouered. There dyed in a towne of this Countrey, a Gentleman very rich and of great reputation, who had or∣dained his body to be buried in a Cloyster of Fryers, vvhich * was performed, and his funerals doone sumptuously, vvith great pompe and magnificence. The night comming, a cer∣taine mad woman that ranne vp and downe the towne halfe naked, was by chaunce left in the Church of the Monasterie when the Sexton lockt the doore, who hauing seene the dead mans Herse which stood in the midst of the Church couered ouer, & of each side with a black cloth trayling on the groūd, with great compasse and widenes as the manneris, and be∣ginning to be pinched with cold, (for it was in the middest of the Winter) went to shroud herselfe vnder the same, in which sort the fell a sleepe, till at last the Fryers came into the Quire to say theyr matins; with the noyse of whose voyces awaking, she thought good to sport with them a little, & to make them afrayde, beginning to giue great bounces and rumblings a∣gainst the Coffin, and withall, to skritche and howle in the lothsomest manner she could. The Pryor and his Brethren, somewhat troubled at the suddainenesse thereof, came downe into the body of the Church, bringing with them Holy-vva∣ter, and holding in theyr handes halowed Candles burning, and vsing such prayers and deuotions as for such a case they thought conuenient.
Notwithstanding, the foolish woman resolute to goe for∣ward with that which shee had begunne, the neerer she heard them approach, the greater bounsing shee made, and withall, rearing vp the coffin in height with her head, let both herselfe and the same fall as hard as she could, which though she did manie times, yet the largenes of the mourning cloth kept her from beeing discouered. The Pryor seeing that this coniura∣tions & exorcismes profited nothing at all, thought it should be a great rashnesse to lift vp the cloath, and to discouer vn∣derneath, least thereby, through feare and amazement, might ensue some harme or danger to some of the Fryers, and so commaunded them to returne to theyr Matines. The foole seeing the danger ouerpast, layd her downe to sleepe awhile, Page 78 and vvaking about the breake of day, conueyed herselfe se∣cretly from vnder the Herse, hyding herselfe in a place of the Church, vntill such time as the Sexton came to open the doore, and people began to presse in, at which time she stole priuily out of the Church. The Fryers comming to visit this Herse, & lifting vp the cloth, found nothing but the ground trampled and troden, so that they knewe not what to iudge thereof. This matter could not remaine so secrete, but that it was in fewe dayes published, not onely through the vvhole Cittie, but also in many other places, and euery man adding what pleased him, it was told in diuers sorts, and the opinions and iudgements thereof likewise were diuers, no man know∣ing the truth thereof, till on a certaine day, two months after the foresayd buriall, it chaunced that this foolish or franticke vvoman standing in the Market-place, and beeing enuironed with a number of boyes and idle fellowes, that were iesting and sporting with her, spyed by chaunce two Religious men of the same Cloyster passing by, at which breaking out into a great laughter, i-fayth, quoth shee, Fryers, Fryers, as lustie as you are, I made you once tremble and shake for feare: At which turning backe, better to vnderstande that which shee sayde, shee tolde them laughing that it was shee that lay the same night vnder the Herse, and which made thē so afray de vvhen they came into the Church to say theyr Matines. The standers by, made her by sweete speeches and fayre promises confesse all that had passed, laughing not a little at the crafti∣nesse of the foole, and at the generall error in which they had still remained, if shee had not herselfe disclosed vnto them all the particularities thereof.
Manie such thinges as these, without doubt, doe happen in the world, of which some neuer come to be disco∣uered: but seeing we haue sufficiently discoursed of the same, I pray you let me somwhat vnderstand your opinion as con∣cerning Robingoodfelowes & Hobgoblins, which are sayde * to be so common, that there is scarcely any man but will tell you one tale or other of them, of which for mine owne part, I beleeue none, but doe make reckoning that euery man for∣geth heerein, what pleaseth him.
Many of them without doubt are forged, and ma∣nie * also true, for these kindes of Spirits are more familiar and domesticall then the others, and for some causes to vs vn∣knowne, abide in one place more then in another, so that some neuer almost depart from some perticuler houses, as though they were their propper mansions, making in them sundry noyses, rumors, mockeries, gaudes, and iestes, without doing any harme at all: and though I am not my selfe witnes thereof, yet I haue heard many persons of credit affirme, that they haue heard them play as it were on Gyternes and Iewes Harpes, and ring Belles, and that they aunswer to those that call them, and speake with certaine signes, laughters & mer∣ry gestures, so that those of the house come at last to be so familiar and well acquainted with them that they feare them not at all. But in truth, as I said before, if they had free power to put in execution their malicious desire, we shoulde finde these pranks of theirs, not to be iestes, but earnest indeed, ten∣ding to the destruction both of our bodie and soule, but as I tolde you before, this power of theirs is so restrained and ty∣ed, that they can passe no farder then to iestes and gawdes: and if they doe any harme or hurt at all, it is certainlie verie little, as by experience we dailie see: and therefore leauing vn∣rehearsed an infinite number of fables and strange tales tolde of them by the common people, I will tell you truly what I savve my selfe, beeing a boy of tenne yeeres old, & a Schol∣ler in Salamanca.
There was in that Citty a widdow, very principall and rich, somewhat aged in yeeres, which kept in her house foure or fiue mayde Seruants, of the which two were young and very * beautifull. There was a common report bruted abroade in the Towne, that there should be in this vviddowes house a Hobgoblin or spright that plaid daily sundry strange pranks, of which the most vsuall was, that hee threw stones from the roofe of the house, not onely vpon the persons therein, but al∣so vpon others that came to visite the vviddow, in such quan∣tity, and with such noise, as though whole showers of them had beene rained out of the Element, yet alwayes harmlesly without hurting any man. This matter grew so publique, that Page 79 the brute thereof came at last to the eares of the Magistrate, who desiring to know the truth thereof, went presently to the widdowes house, with at least twenty in his company, entring into which, hee commaunded a Sergeant accompanied with foure other men, to seeke round about the house with a bur∣ning Torch, willing him not to leaue any corner aboue or beneath vnsearched, wherein by any possibility a man might be hidden, which he and his fellowes executed so neerely, that vnlesse they would haue vntiled the house they could doe no more: so that returning they made relation, that there was no seeking any farther, for all was safe: vvhere-vpon, the Magi∣strate told the Gentlewoman of the house, that she was abu∣sed and deceaued, and as it was most likely by her yong may∣dens, who might bring into her house their Louers, by whom these stones might be so throwne vp and downe: and there∣fore willed her for auoyding of all inconueniences, to looke more narrowly vnto them, least emboldened through this simplicity of hers, they might in time attempt some greater matter. The good Gentlewoman was the most ashamed of the world, not knowing what to reply, yet still persisted to af∣firme that of the throwing of the stones to be most true. The Magistrate and the rest iesting at her simplicity, tooke their leaue to be gone, but they were scarcely off the staires, but there came such a whirling of stones about their eares, & with such a noise, as though they had beene throwne with three or foure slings together, as thicke as might be: which falling on their leggs, armes, and feet, did them no hurt at all. The Ma∣gistrate caused the selfe same man which had searched be∣fore, to search againe, with great diligence and hast, but it was all in vaine, for there was no body to be found: at which, as they stood wondring, there fell of a sodaine in the portall of the house, such a shower of stones amongst them, that it farre exceeded the former, at which their amazement encreasing, one of the Sergeants tooke vp amongst the rest that lay on the flower, a markt stone, and throwing it ouer the top of the house that stoode on the other side of the streete in front; If thou be a right deuill (quoth he) returne me this stone again, at which very moment, the selfe same stone fel from the roofe Page [unnumbered] of the house, and hitte him on the brimme of his Hatte ouer his eyes, and the stone was euidently knowne of them all, to be the very same which hee had throwne ouer the other house, so that the Magistrate with the rest of those that were there present with him, departed out of the house, with the greatest astonishment that might be; and not long after there came thither a Priest, of the little Tower of Salamanca, who through certaine coniuration which hee wrought, deliuered the house both of this throwing of stones, and all other such like molestations.
In good sooth, I neuer heard of a merrier deuill: but afore you passe any farther, I will tell you of two thinges * which both happened in this same Towne where we nowe are: the one was of a young man, that being a Studient in Sa∣lamanca, came thence hither to see his mother, beeing a wid∣dow, and was certified by the folkes of the house, that there haunted in the same a Hobgobline, vvhich at sundry times played twenty knauish pranks with those of the house, which the Studient would by no meanes beleeue, but laughed at the reports thereof, and at last, grew into choller with them, be∣cause they persisted in the earnest affirmation thereof: At night calling for a candell, hee went to a chamber that vvas made ready for him, and shutting to the doore, layd himselfe downe to rest, but waking within a little while, he might see vnder his bed a light, like vnto a little flame of fire: at which lifting vp the cloathes, and starting out of the bed, he began to looke whence this fire might come, but the same presently vanishing, hee turned to his rest againe, thinking surely that his eyes had dazeled, but he had not line long when he per∣ceaued a greater flame then the first, to his seeming vnder the bed, at which lifting the couerings of the bed fearefully vp, and bowing downe his head very lowe to looke vnderneath the bed, he was sodainly taken by the legges, and pitcht top∣sie turuie ouer, and throwne into the midst of the chamber, where-with striken into a great amazement, he cryed out as loude as he could for a candell, which beeing brought, and searching vnder the bed, there was nothing at all to be found: from which time forward the Studient acknowledged his er∣ror, Page 80 and was lesse obstinate in beleeuing that were Hobgob∣lins. The other was of two Gentlemen, which are nowe the * chiefest in the Towne, and our especiall friends, who hearing of a Hobgobline that haunted a poore womans house, hol∣ding the same for a iest, would needes goe thither one night with a certaine Priest, to search out the secret cause whence this report might arise: comming thither, and giuing no cre∣dite to the poore womans wordes, of a sodaine one of them was striken a great blow vpon one of his iawes, with a clod of stinking filthy clay, of which he receaued no greater hurt, but that it astonished him a little: There fell also of this earth vp∣pon others of their company, and one of them was hitte a great blowe on the shoulder with a tile, so that the Gentle∣men and the Priest made as great hast as they could to gette thence, not without great wonder and meruaile.
Not long after, a Priest exorcising a vvoman that was pos∣sessed, the deuill that was within her, amongst other thinges, confessed that it was hee that which had handled them the o∣ther night, and that the same clay which hee threwe at them was out of a Graue, and of a putrified body, not throughly yet conuerted into earth. But if wee will enter into speech of this kinde of spyrites, wee shall neuer make an ende: for there is nothing tolde of them, so vnpossible, but I beleeue the same, seeing it is a thing so manifestly approoued, that they canne take vppon them, what shape or forme they list: Leauing therefore this, and passing to other poyntes of grea∣ter importaunce, I pray you make mee vnderstande, vvhe∣ther * this opinion which many doe holde be true, that when so euer any manne is possessed, the soule of some one that is dead, should enter into him, and speake within him.
In trueth you haue reason to seeke to be resol∣ued of so ignorant an absurdity as this of theirs is, vvho so e∣uer mainetayne or thinke the same; for though sometimes GOD permitte the soules departed, for some especiall cau∣ses to returne vnto the vvordle, yet dooth hee not permitte them to enter into a body, vvhere is an other soule: for two reasonable soules canne by no meanes abide in one body, so that there cannot be a greater falsenes and errour then this: Page [unnumbered] for without doubt they are deuils and not soules, as we may see by their casting forth, which is done by the vertue of holy and sacred words, at which time they vse their vttermost en∣deuour, not to be constrained to goe into places, where they cannot exercise their malice: of which we haue in the Scrip∣tures an example of him, who being as Saint Luke saith in his eight Chapter, possessed of a legion of deuils, was deliuered of them by our Sauiour, by whose permission they entred in∣to a Heard of Swine, which threw them selues immediatly downe the Rocks, tumbling into the Sea.
I would also gladly know, what should be the cause that the deuils are so desirous to enter into mens bodies, and can with such diffi∣culty be cast out of them, making there-vnto all resistance that they possibly may.
To this question Psellius ma∣keth aunswere, and Gaundencius Merula also saying, that * though the deuils are enemies vnto men, yet they enter into their bodies not so much with will to doe them hurt, as with desire of a vitall heate and warmenes, for these are such as doe enhabite the deepest and coldest places, where the cold is so pure that it wanteth moistnes, so that they couet places hote and moist, searching all oportunities and occasions to enter into them so often, as for some reasons which we vnderstand not, God suffereth & permitteth them so to doe. And when they cannot enter into the bodies of mē, they enter into those of other creatures, where willingly they detaine themselues so long as they may, and through the violent strength which the body by their entry receaueth, happen these tremblings, sha∣kings, and forcible motions, which we see they vse that are possessed. This kinde of deuils vse the spirit of the patient as their proper instrument, and with his tongue speake and vtter what they list: but if they be of those that flie the light, and dwell in the profundities of the earth, as the last and vtmost sort of those of the earth: they make the patient deafe and dumbe, like a blocke without vnderstanding, as though hee were depriued of all his sences & forces which he had before: and this is the worst sort of all, and with greatest difficulty cast out. But as for mee, I take these to be rather imaginations of those Authors, then opinions indeed to be allowed and held Page 81 for true: for the deuils not hauing bodies, nor entryng into the bodies otherwise then as pure Spirits, they can receaue neither good nor ill of the naturall heate, conteyned in the body of the men into which they enter.
Much might be replyed to the opinion of these two Authors, but I had ra∣ther, seeing the beginning of this our discourse was of the Witch, that with her vrine caused a clowde to rise in the ayre, that you would tell me what difference is betweene Witches and Inchaunters, and in what sort the one and the other vse their Science.
Much might be answered to this your demaunde, but omitting that which is lesse materiall, let vs come to that which in our vulgar and mother tongue we vn∣derstand. We call by name of Enchaunters, those who pub∣liquely * and openly haue any agreement or couenaunt vvith the deuill, by whose helpe they worke thinges which are in apparance wonderfull, entring into circles they cause them to appeare and to speake, consulting with them, vsing theyr fa∣uour and ayde in all theyr workes, and many they make the deuils alone to doe for thē. Witches are those which though they haue familiarity and conuersation with the deuill yet the * same is in such sort, that they themselues scarcely vnderstande the error wherewith they abuse themselues, vsing vnknowne signes, Characters, and other superstitions, in which they se∣cretly inuoke the names of the deuils, vsing theyr ayde and counsaile. And because the deuill may the better bring them to his byasse, hee discloseth vnto them some properties and vertues of rootes, herbes, and stones, and other things, which haue secret operations, mingling the one with the other, that is to say, that of naturall Magique with that of the deuill, but in conclusion, they may all be called Witches & Enchaunters, which with naturall Magique (which is the knowledge of those things to whom Nature hath imparted these secret ver∣tues) mingle signes, Characters, and words, vsing thē though they vnderstand them not, in theyr sorceries & vvitchcraftes.
By the way, before you passe any further, I pray you satisfie me in one thing which you sayd, that the deuill doth sometimes enter into the body of vnreasonable creatures, which to me seemeth verie strange, because I neuer heard the Page [unnumbered] the like before.
Is your memory so short, that you re∣member not that which wee saide a little before of the deuils cast forth by our Sauiour, which desired leaue of him to enter * into a heard of Swine, the which threw themselues presentlie headlong downe the rocks? But to the end that you may vn∣derstand that the deuils doe also enter into bruite beasts, at re∣quest of those with whom they are compacted, I will heere giue you a later example.
When I was a Student, it was my chaunce to be familiar∣lie acquainted with another young man that studied Phisick, in which he proued so excellent, that hee was preferred for a Phisition to the Emperour Charles the fifth. He and I bee∣ing one day in company, discoursing of such matters as these of which we now speake, he affirmed to me with great othes, that when hee studied Grammer in the Monastery of Gua∣dulupe, as he went foorth one euening to solace himselfe in the fieldes, he saw ryding on the high-way, a man in a religi∣ous * habit, vpon a horse so leane, and to the outward shewe so tyred, that hee seemed scarcely able to stande vpon his feete, within a while the passenger comming to the place where he walked, after salutations past of both sides, desired him of all fauour to goe vnto the towne, and to buy him somewhat for his supper, because for diuers causes he coulde not goe him∣selfe, promising him not to be vnthankfull for so great a cur∣tesie. The Student gently aunswered, that he was most vvil∣ling to doe him that or any other measure he could: vvhere∣vpon receauing money, he departed presently to the towne, & returned with speed, bringing such things as the other had required him to buy. The stranger being hungry, spred his cloake, & ouer that a napkin he carried with him, vppon the grasse, and fell to his victuals with an appetite, constrayning the student to sit downe & to eate with him. Where amongst other talke, the scholler asked him whether he rode that way, who aunswering to Granada, the scholler told him that if hee had beene prouided of meanes, he would willingly haue vn∣dertaken that voyage with him, to visite an old mother of his that lyued in that Cittie, whom in many yeeres hee had not seene. That shall not be your stay, aunswered the passenger, Page 82 for if it shall please you to beare mee company, I will defray your charges thither, and withall, I will promise you to take such order, that you shall neither be anoyed nor wearied with the length of the way, but vppon condition that wee depart presently, for I cannot stay long by any meanes. The scholler beeing poore, and the onely thing that letted him to vnder∣take this iourney, beeing the want of money, accepted vvil∣linglie his offer, desiring him onely to attend so long, till hee had taken leaue of some of his friendes in the towne, & fetcht a shirt or two. The passenger beeing therewith contented, he went his wayes and returned againe with great speede, but make as much hast as he could, the night was come on, so that he requested the other to stay till next morning, vvhich hee would in no wise doe, saying that it was rather better to tra∣uaile by night, and to rest by day, because beeing in the midst of Iune, the heate was most extreame: so that they began to goe onwards on theyr voyage, the one a foote, and the other on horsebacke, telling old stories, and discoursing of sundry matters, till when they had so gone a little while, the passen∣ger importuned the student to gette vp behinde him on the croupe of his horse, at which the scholler laughing, tolde him that his horse, in respect of his passing leanenesse, seemed to be fitter for dogs meate, then to carry two men at once on his backe. Well, quoth the passenger, if you knew my horse so well as I doe, you would not say so, for I assure you, howe il∣fauoured soeuer he looke, there is not his fellow in the world, neyther woulde I sell him for his weight in gold: and if you doubt of his ability to cary vs both, get but vp, and you shall ere it be long confesse the contrary; at which perswasions & others which he vsed, the student got vp behind him on his Palfry, which carryed them away with such smoothnesse and so swiftly, that hee though hee neuer rode pleasantlier in his life, & euery foote his companion askt him what he thought of his leane beast, assuring him that he would not be tyred or alter his pace, though the iourney were neuer so long. After they had ridden all night, at last the dawning of the day began to appeare, & the student saw before him a goodly countrey, ful of gardens & plesant trees, & not far of a very great citty, Page [unnumbered] asking of his companion what countrie and cittie the same was, hee made him aunswere, that they were within the pre∣cincts of Granada, and that the same was the Cittie vvhich they saw before them, instantly desiring him in recompence of his easie voyage, not to vtter this matter of him & his horse to anie man liuing: and so tooke his leaue of him, bidding him to goe where it pleased him, for hee was to take another way. The Student after many thankes dispatching himselfe out of his cōpany, went to the towne the most amazed man of the world, thinking it vnpossible to finish a voyage of so many miles in one night, vnlesse there had beene some deuill within the horse, as it is most likelie there was.
It is most manifest that this could not be without the work of the deuill, and I will recite vnto you another the like, which a most substantiall friende of mine, a man of verie good reputation told mee was most certaine and true, and it hapned on the selfe same way of Granada to his father, which * in companie of another of his friendes going homewardes, hauing parted from Valladolid and past the Towne of Ol∣medo, met by the way with a stranger, who told him that hee was also to goe the same way, and that if it pleased them, he would be glad to beare them company, with which they bee∣ing very well contented, rode on together, entertayning them selues with diuers kindes of discourses and pastimes, till ha∣uing ridden eight or nine miles, theyr newe companion per∣swaded them to light downe in a greene Medow by the high way side, which was to the eye very greene and pleasant, and there spreading a great cloake which he ware, drew out of his Budget prouision to eate, and so did the others also, and sate themselues all downe vpon the cloake, and two of theyr Lac∣quaies with them, and the newe commer would needs haue theyr horses also sette theyr feete vpon the same great cloake of his, and so breaking theyr fast with great leysure, and deui∣sing of sundry things, such as best pleased them, after they had sitten a good space without scarcely thinking of their iournie, they began to make hast to get a horsebake, but theyr nevve companion byd them take leysure, for they shoulde come in good time to Granada, shewing them with his finger the citty Page 83 not aboue a quarter of a league from thence, bidding them thanke his cloake: requesting them withall not to vtter this to any man, which they promised him not without singuler astonishment, vpon which he tooke his leaue of them, depar∣ting by a contrary way.
Truly eyther of both these things heere rehearsed, are passing strange: but if, as you say, the deuils lost not their nature, though they lost grace, then is the power and force which they haue, if they be in liberty & not restrained, like vnto that of the good Angels, and so as the Angell carried by the haire the Prophet Abacuck out of Iury into the denne of Lyons, which was in Babilon where Daniel was; might the deuill likewise carry in an houre these men, so great a way as is betwixt Olmedo and Granada: and in this manner doe I thinke that they carry those men and women, whom wee call Sorcerers and Hags, whether they will them∣selues. *
This is a lynage and kinde of people, which are expresly agreed and accorded with the deuill, holding and o∣beying him as their soueraigne Prince and Maister, and suffe∣ring thēselues to be marked of him as his slaues, which mark, some say, they beare in one of their eyes, fashioned like a Toades foote, by which they know and haue notice one of a∣nother: for they haue amongst themselues great companies and fraternities, making often generall meetings together, at which times, they pollute themselues with all filthines, in ac∣complishing most abhominable villanies, brutish lusts, and in∣fernall ceremonies; and alwayes when so euer they meete so together, they doe lowly homage and reuerence to the deuill, who most cōmonly appeareth to them in the figure of a great Ram-goate, where the wicked & hellish abhominations that they commit, are such, that they are not to be vttered. I will therefore onely tell you one, which was told me for a matter most assured and approued, by infinite testimonies and infor∣mations that were taken thereof, which was thus. A certaine * man well learned, and very discreete, suspected vehemently a neighbour of his to be a Sorcerer, and through the great de∣sire he had to be assured thereof, began to vse conuersation, and to enter in a great league of familiarity and friendshippe Page [unnumbered] with him, couering so finely his dissimulation, that the other assuring him selfe of his secrecie, discouered him selfe vnto him, with great instance, perswading him also to enter into their society, in which doing, he should enioy all the pleasures, delights, and contentments of the world, who faining him∣selfe to be very desirous of the same, it was agreed betweene them, that at the next assembly of theirs, hee should goe to make his couenant and confederation with the deuill, putting himselfe vnder his baner and protection. The day assigned, being come and gone, after it was darke night, the Sorcerer tooke the learned man out of the Towne, and carried him a∣long certaine valleyes and thickets, in which to his iudgment he had neuer beene before, though hee knew the Countrey round about very well; and in short space hee thought that they had gone very farre: comming at last into a plaine field enclosed round about with mountaines, where he saw a great number of people, men and women, that went vp and downe in great mirth, who all receaued him with great feast & glad∣nes, giuing him many thankes, for that it had pleased him to become a member of their society, assuring him that there was no greater happines in the world, then that which he should enioy. In midst of this field was a throne built very sumptu∣ously, on which stoode a great & filthy Ram-goate, to whom at a certaine houre of the night they all went to do reuerence, and going vp certain degrees one after another, they kist him in the foulest part behind. The learned man seeing an abho∣mination so great, though hee were by his companion tho∣roughly instructed, how he should behaue himselfe, could no longer haue patience, but began to call vnto God, at which very instant there came such a terrible thunder and tempest, as though heauen and earth should haue gone together, in such sort, that he became for a time, through great astonishment, sencelesse, and without all iudgement and vnderstanding, in which sort, he knew not himselfe how long he continued, but when hee came to himselfe, it was broade day, and hee found himselfe amongst certaine rough mountaines so brused and crushed, as though hee had scarcely any one sound bone in his body; and being desirous to know what this place might Page 84 be wherein he was, comming downe from those mountaines to the plain country vnderneath, he found people so strange∣lie differing in habite, custome, and speech, from those of this Country, that hee neyther vnderstoode their language, ney∣ther in the world knew what course he might best take to get home: But making of necessity vertue, crauing releefe by signes, and guiding himselfe by the Sunne, he tooke his way towards the West, and was three yeeres in his iourney home∣wards, enduring by the way great trauailes and misfortunes, of which presently vpon his ariuall, and of all the rest which he had passed and seene, he gaue notice to the Magistrate, ac∣cusing by name & sirname diuers persons which he had seene and knowne in the abhominable assembly, who were appre∣hended, found guilty and executed, whose processe hee that tolde me this, swore solemnly that hee had seene and reade.
As for me, I scarcely iustifie this learned mans action, for God knoweth what his meaning was, when he went with the other to their assembly and congregation; howsoeuer it was, it fell out well, that he had the grace to repent himselfe, and to returne home to his natiue Land, being by the deuils transported so far from thence.
Fryer Alonso de Castra, in his 16. Chapter De iusta Panitione Haereticorum, writeth a∣nother * History like vnto this: but I will first tell you certaine things that he writeth in particuler of these hags & Sorcerers, making a difference betweene them and Enchaunters and Witches: for this kind of people (sayth he) are agreed onely with the deuill, to the end that they might in this life enioy all manner of delights and pleasures. The first time that they goe to present themselues before him, and to doe him ho∣mage, they finde him not in the likenes of a Goate, but like a King of great & royal authority: they are all brought into his presence by other deuils, in figure of Ram-goates, whom they call Martinets: Moreouer, he sayeth, that the reuerence and homage which they doe vnto him, is not like to that which wee vse vnto Princes, but in turning theyr shoulders, and bovving dovvne theyr heads as lowe as they canne, and that hee vvhich is newly assumpted into this brotherhoode, doth first vvith vvordes vvicked and abhominable, blaspheme Page [unnumbered] and renounce all the holy points and misteries contayned in our Catholique beleefe, vowing vnto the deuill his faithfull seruice for euer, with many other execrable ceremonies, vows, and oaths, which he there vseth; which being accomplished, they mingle themselues altogether, & many deuils with them in likenes of young Gentlemen, & some of beautifull dames, where without shame or respect they fulfill in all abhomina∣tion their filthy lust and beastly appetite: and of this compa∣nie the greater part, or in a manner all are women, as beeing through frailty and ignorance, readiest to be deceaued by the deuill, and aptest therevnto through the lust of the flesh: and these women, saith he, are called Lamia and Striges, for Lamia is a most cruell beast, which hath the face of a woman, and the * feete of a horse: and Striges is a bird that flieth by night, ma∣king great shriking and noise, the which when she can gette into any place where children are, doth sucke out their blood * and drinke it, for which cause, the Sorcerers also are called Striges, because they worke the same effect, sucking out the blood of men, when by any meanes they may, especially that of little children.
I would be glad to vnderstand this a little better, because I haue heard both Phisitions and Phi∣losophers affirme and maintaine this to be vnpossibe, because the pores & veines are so close, that the blood cannot by any such sucking be drawne out of them.
This reason seemeth to be sufficient, but to be short, not onely the com∣mon people, but also many Authors of good credite, affirme it to be true; and it may be that the deuill whose knowledge and forces, you confesse, to be farre aboue our vnderstanding, maketh them heerein cunning and industrious in exceeding Nature.
VVhether this be so or no, the matter is not great, but according to the opinion of many Authors, the Sorcerers and Sorceresses goe vnto these assemblies in tvvo manners; the one through the deceite of certaine oyles and * oyntments, with which they anoynt themselues, which de∣priueth them of their right sence, making them imagine that they are transformed into Birds or Beasts, deceauing not on∣lie themselues with this error; but oftentimes also the eyes of others that behold and view them, for the deuill with deceit∣full Page 85 apparance, formeth about them that fantasticall body, which is also practised by sundry Enchaunters, who doe dazle and deceaue our sight, as did Cyrce and Medaea, and others that vsed the Art of Magique, turning and transforming men into brute beastes, to the seeming of all those which behelde them, though in truth it was nothing so. For as the Philoso∣pher sayeth, it is vnpossible to change one shape into another, and the Counsaile of Aquilon vseth these words. Whosoe∣uer doth affirme that any creature may be transformed into any other thing better or worse, or may take any other shape, then that in which it was of God created, is an Infidell. But the Sorcerers and Sorceresses, though they finde the manner where-with they are deceaued & abused, yet they take it well and giue consent there-vnto, thinking themselues in those i∣maginations to be transported with great swiftnes, into those parts which they desire, and verily to see and finde themselues in action of those thinges, which to their fancie are represen∣ted. The other kinde of going to these assemblies, and tran∣sporting them to farre places with such swiftnes, is really and truly by helpe of the deuils, vpon whom somtimes they ride, in likenes of Goates, somtimes they anoynt themselues with other oyntments, whose operation maketh them thinke that they are fowles and flie in the ayre, when in deede they are ca∣ried by the deuils. And though vppon this matter, there be many things to say and alleadge, as both by reading and ex∣perience I haue found to be true, yet for breuities sake I will omit them, onely this I will tell you, that there is no doubt at all to be made, but that the deuill can in very short space, and as it were in an instant, transport these Sorcerers into meruai∣lous farre Regions: For he which had power (speaking with feare and reuerence) to carry our Sauiour Christ out of the Desert. and to set him on the top of a pinacle on the temple, and from thence to conuey him to a high mountaine, whence he might view & discouer a great part of the world, can farre more easily transport a man or vvoman through the ayre, which to the end you may by example vnderstand: I will tell you what Fryer Alonso de Castra, writeth, alleadging the au∣thority of Paulus Grillandus, in his Treatise of Heretiques, Page [unnumbered] that a Sorceresse in Italy, hauing beene by the deuill carried into one of these assemblies, after she had filthily defiled her * selfe with their abhominations, as she was from thence retur∣ning homewards, by a Chappell where people often assem∣bled to pray, the Bell hapned to ring to seruice, which the de∣uill no sooner heard, but hee cast her off and went his wayes, leauing her in a fielde full of bryers neere to a Riuers side, whereby within a while a young man chaunced to passe that was of her acquaintance, whom so soone as shee saw, she cal∣led by his name, and desired him to come vnto her, but the young man seeing her naked, and her hayre flaring about her shoulders and breast, thinking her surely to be some Spright, feared to come any neerer, till at last, telling him that she was Lucrecia (for so was her name) and importunating him with weeping and pittifull words, he tooke hart a grace and drewe neere vnto her, asking her with great wonder what she made there at that time, and in so strange a sort: she answered him dissemblingly, vsing such excuses as she thought might serue to auoyde suspition of the truth indeed, but in such sort, as the young man cleerly perceiued them to be fictions, and there∣vpon told her, that vnlesse she would tell him the plain truth of the matter, shee should not expect of him any further assi∣stance at all: she seeing that lying auailed not after hauing cō∣iured him with many othes neuer to disclose it during his life, frō point to point discouered vnto him, this which you heere before haue heard: which the young man hauing wholy vn∣derstood, conueied her so secretly to her house that shee was not seene of any man, receauing of her many & sundry gifts to the end that he should keepe this matter secret, who acqui∣ted not so wel his promise vnto her, but that he opened it to a friend of his, in whom hee reposed great trust & confidence, who imparting it to another frō hand to hand, within a while it began to be spred abroad, in such sort that shee was taken, examined, found guilty & punished according to her desert. By this example you may perceaue that they are sometimes verily in person transported by the deuils, though sometimes they are by them abused & deceaued, perswading themselues that they bodily goe, see, & find themselues present in those Page 86 abhominable meetings, whē there is indeed but only, as I said before, a representation therof in their fancie, as for example. Malleus maleficarū telleth of a woman, who affirmed so obsti∣nately * before the Commissioners, that she could goe & come bodily whether she list in short space, though she were neuer so fast imprisoned, & the way neuer so farre of, that for tryall, they presently caused her to be shut vp in a chamber, & willed her to go to a certain house, & to learne what was there done, & to bring them relation thereof, the which she promising to do, after she had remained awhile alone, the Commissioners caused the dore to be suddainly opened, & entring the cham∣ber, found her lying stretched out on the ground, in such sort, as though shee had been verily dead: one of them curious to proue whether she had any feeling or no, tooke a candle, and with the flame therof scorched one of her legs, but seeing no signe of motion in her, he left her & they departed out of the chamber, causing the dore to be fast lockt again, presently vp∣on which she came forth, telling the Commissioners that she had gone and come with great trauaile, declaring vnto them the marks & tokens of all such things as they asked, obstinatly maintaining that she had beene present and viewed the same with her eyes: wherupon, they asked her if she felt no griefe in one of her legs, she answered that since her comming back it grieued her very sore: then layd they before her the grosse∣nes of the error wherewith she was abused, and told her what they had done vnto her in maner as before: which she trulie perceiuing, fell downe on her knees & craued pardon, which was granted, vpon promise of her repentance & amendment of life. Truly this is one of the greatest abhominations in the world, & though there be certaine Witches, that are not Sor∣cerers, as we may see in the Golden Asse of Lucius Apuleius, yet all those that are Sorcerers are Witches, seeing that by their sorceries they are able to change not onely theyr ovvne, but other mens shapes also, as Cyrce and Medaea did, & thys partly through Magique naturall, that is, the knowledge of the vertues of herbes, stones, oyles & oyntments, whose pro∣perties are by the deuil reuealed vnto them, & partly through the meere helpe of the deuill, employing therein his vvhole Page [unnumbered] power, for the better binding & assuring them to be perpe∣tually his.
This which you say, may very well be con∣firmed by that historie which I told you was like vnto that of the learned man, the which hauing almost forgotten, you haue brought into my memory againe: it is written by the selfe same Paulus Gryllandus. There was, sayth he, in Italie a woman, who through the temptation of the deuill, beeing * desirous to soyle herselfe in those abhominations amongst the other sorcerers, entred into their detestable societie, so that shee went and came so often from those assemblies, that her husband, after some manifest tokens thereof discouered, grew into great suspition of the matter, and hauing oftentimes wil∣led her to tell him the truth thereof, with solemne promise to conceale the same, shee would neuer by any meanes confesse it, but with great oathes and protestations affirmed the con∣trary: He remayning still firme in his imagination, carefullie endeuoured by all possible meanes to com to the knowledge thereof, watching her alwaies with great heede and continuall care, till at last, shee hauing one night lockt herselfe into a lit∣tle chamber, he looked in at a little hole which he had made, and sawe her annoynting herselfe with a kind of oyntment, which she had no sooner doone, but he thought that she was transformed into a Bird, and that she flew out at the louer of the house, loosing presently the sight of her, though he held his eyes most ententiuely fixed vpon her, whereupon going downe to the doore of his house, and finding the same fast shut, he went to bed, exceedingly amazed at that which hee had seene, where falling a sleepe, as hee awaked towards the morning, he found his wife lying close by his side; whereup∣on, with greater wonder then before, asking her if shee had skill in forcerie, and she with terrible oathes denying the same; he told her, that deniall could not serue her turne, because he had seene plainly her whole proceedings with his eyes, giuing her thereof so manifest tokens, that shee was in the greatest confusion that might be, yet she still perseuered with despe∣rate othes most obstinatly to deny the same til at last her hus∣band starting vp, and taking a good cudgell, and laying vpon her with heaue and ho; through pure feare made her to con∣fesse Page 87 it: but on such condition that hee should forgiue her, and neuer disclose word thereof to anie man liuing, therupon reuealing vnto him all the secret misteries of her wicked and damnable science: which her husband hearing, began to en∣ter into a great desire to see the manner of theyr meetings, whereupon, beeing agreed to goe together the selfe same night, after shee had craued leaue of sathan to admit her hus∣band, they both anoynted them selues, and were carryed to the wicked assembly, and place of their execrable and pesti∣ferous delights. The man after hauing gazed about him a∣while, & diligently beheld all that passed, sate himselfe downe at a table with the rest, furnished with sundry and diuers sorts of daintie meates, to the eye seeming delicate and good, but in proofe of a very sowre and vnpleasant tast, of which when he had prooued diuers, finding them all to be of a most vn∣fauorie relish, he began to call for salt, because there was none at all vpon the table, but seeing the bringing of the same de∣layd, he began to be more importunat in crauing it, at last, one of the deuils to please him set a salt-seller on the table, but hee beeing vnmindfull of his vviues admonishment, which vvas that hee shoulde there in no wise speake any word that vvere good & holie, seeing the salt come at last after so long calling for, God blesse vs, quoth he, I thought it would neuer haue come, which word he had no sooner spoken, but all that euer was there vanished away, with a most terrible noyse & tem∣pest, leauing him for a great while in a traunce, out of which so soone as he came to himselfe recouering his spirits & sence, hee founde himselfe naked in a field amongst certaine hilles, where walking vp and downe in great sadnes and anguish of spirit, so soone as the day came hee met with certaine Sheep∣heards, o whom demaunding what country the same vvas, he perceiued by theyr aunswere that he was aboue a hundred miles from his owne house, to which with much a doe, ma∣king the best shift he could, at last he returned, and made re∣lation of all this which you haue heard before the Inquisitors, whereupon, his wife and diuers others whō he accused, were apprehended, arraigned, found guihie and burnt.
I am gladde that you were put in minde to recite this history, Page [unnumbered] which truly is very strange, though I haue often reade and heard of the like; for that which concerneth this kind of peo∣ple, is no new matter, but very auncient: Many very old Au∣thours write much of them, and of Witches, Negroman∣cers, and Enchaunters, no lesse pestilent and pernitious to hu∣maine kinde, then these others: sith leauing to be men, they became to be deuils in their works, of which sort there haue beene very many famous, or rather infamous in the world, as Zoroastes, Lucius Apuleius, Apolonius Tyaneus, and many * others, of whom there is now no knowledge or memory, be∣cause Historiographers haue not vouchsafed to write of thē, as men not worthy to be commended to the posterity: as for this our time, the number of them is, the more the pitty, too great, which though they professe the faith of Christ, yet they are not ashamed to confederate themselues with the deuill, and to doe their works in the name of Belzebub (as the Pha∣risies sayd of our Sauiour) and for a small contentment in this worlde, make no account of the perdition of theyr soules, though for the greatest part also, they neuer enioy heere any great prosperity, or euer come to any good successe, for com∣monly their confederate the deuill, bringeth them to a shame∣full end, procuring the discouery of their wickednes, and so * consequently punishment for the same, which if one amongst twenty here escapeth, yet in the other world he is assured per∣petually to fry in the fire of hell: But leauing these, let vs now come to another sort of them, who handle the matter in such sort that they wil scarcely be knowne what they are: these are Charmers, the which as it seemeth, haue a perticuler gift of God to heale the biting of mad dogs, & to preserue people & cattell from being endomaged by them. These as they say are known, in that they haue the wheele of S. Katherin in the roof of their mouth, or in som other part of their body, who thogh in my iudgement it cannot be denied but that they doe great help in such like things: yet to heare their prayers, coniurati∣ons, & grosse clownish phrases, would moue a man to laugh∣ter, though they to whō they vse them seeme to recouer ther∣by their health.
This is a strange people, but truly this gift or vertue of theirs, is much to be doubted of, seeing for the Page 88 most part, as Frier Franciscus de Victoria saith, they are base for∣lorne people, & of ill example in their life, & somtimes such as boast & make their vaunts of more thē they can accomplish: and I haue heard that some of them wil creepe into a red hot Ouen, without danger of burning.
I cannot think that any man hath particuler grace to doe this, but rather that he doth it by the help, & in the name of the deuil.
No doubt but many of them doe so, though there are also som, to whom God hath imparted particuler graces and vertues, as those of whom Pliny writeth, alleaging the authority of Crates Perga∣menus, that there is in Hellespont, a kind of men called Ophro∣gens, who with only touching, heale the wounds made by ser∣pents, * vpon which imposition of their hands, they presently purge, cast out, & auoid all the poyson & venom with which they are infected: and Varro saith, that in the same Country, there are men, which with their spettle heale the biting of Ser∣pents, and it may be that these were all one people. Isigonus and Nimphodorus affirme, that there is in Affrica a certaine people, whose sight causeth all those things to perrish, vpon which it is intentiuely fixed, so that the very trees wither, and the children die there-with: The selfe same Isigonus sayeth, that in the Country of the Tribals and Ilyrians, there is a cer∣taine kind of people, which in beholding any one with frow∣ning eyes, if they detaine their sight any while vpon them, doe cause them to die: and Solinus writeth the like of cer∣tayne vvomen among the Scythians. Pirrhus King of Epy∣rotes, as Plutarch testifieth in his lyfe, had such vertue in the greate toe of his right foote, that vvho so euer had a sore mouth, if hee touched him there-with, was helped present∣lie: and some Authors vvrite, that hee healed also many o∣ther infirmities there-vvith. As for the King of Fraunce, it is a thing notorious to all menne, that hee hath a particuler grace and vertue in healing, the Lamparones or Kinges E∣uill: and it may bee, that as GOD hath imparted these graces to many and sundry kindes of people, so also may hee endue some of these menne, of vvhich wee novve speake vvith povver and vertue to heale a griefe so pestilent and raging, as that of the byting of a madde Dogge, of Page [unnumbered] which kind of cure, to the end you may better vnderstand the manner, I will tell you what happened to my Father when he was a young man. As he trauailed one day by the way, he was set vpon by a fierce Mastiue, by whom, make what de∣fence he could, he was bitten through the boot into the legge, of which making small account, because it went not deepe in∣to the flesh, he caried the hurt about him three or foure daies, without complaining of the same; the fourth day passing by a Chappell, and hearing the bell ring to Seruice, hee lighted off his horse, and stayed to heare the same which being done, as he was comming forth of the Chappell he was encountred by a Husbandman, who saluting him, demaunded if hee had not beene lately bitten by a mad dogge. My Father told him * he had beene indeede bitten of a dogge, demaunding of him the cause why he was so inquisitiue thereof; in good faith sir, quoth the Husbandman laughing, you may thanke God that it hath pleased him to guide and conduct you into this place, for this dogge by whom you are bitten, was mad, and if you should remaine nine dayes without helpe, there were no other way with you but death; and for the more assurance, that I tell you the truth, the dogge had such, and such markes: all which my Father acknowledging to be most true, & entring into some amazement, the other bad him be of good com∣fort, telling him, that hee had the gift of healing that disease, and if it pleased him to stay a day or two in the Village, hee would helpe him. My Father accepting courteously his of∣fer, went home with him to his house, where hee presently * blessed him, and all that euer he did eate, with certaine words and signes, and so likewise once againe after meate; towards the euening, he tolde him that if he would be cured, he must patiently endure three pricks in the nose, to which my Father being in extreame feare, willingly consented bidding him vse his pleasure, where-vpon, in presence of many the principal∣lest men of the Village, he tooke a sharpe pointed knife and prickt him three times on the nose, wringing gently out of each pricke a drop of blood, which he receaued in a little saw∣cer each drop by it selfe, and then washt his nose with a little white vvine, which was also charmed, after which, entertay∣ning Page 89 themselues in talke about halfe an howre, they lookt on the bloode which was in the sawcer, still remaining in theyr sight without beeing remoued, and they found in euery drop a liue worme bubling therein: which the Charmer shewing vnto my Father, sayd be of good cheere sir, for here is all the hurt that the dogge hath done you, but assure your selfe you should haue runne mad and dyed, if your good hap, or rather God had not guided you this way, giue God therfore thanks, and depart when you please. My Father requiting him in the thankfullest manner he coulde, tooke the next morning his leaue, and went on his way: As for this man that helped him, though it might be that God had giuen him some perticuler gift & vertue, yet for my part, I rather mistrust that he went not the right way, because hee could so readily tell the colour and tokens of the dogge.
Whatsoeuer he was, your Father had good hap in meeting with him. But now seeing it waxeth late, and wee haue so long discoursed of the manners and waies, whereby the deuill seeketh to deceaue vs, and to leade vs to perdition, I pray you resolue mee in one doubt which remaineth, the which is, in what sort they tempt men in theyr sleepe.
If you will reade Anthonio de Florencia, you shall there finde so many & diuers meanes and wayes, by the which he compasseth vs about with temptations, that to recite them all, we had need of farre longer time, then at this present vve haue; but amongst the rest this one is most vehement and of great force, which he suggesteth to vs in our sleepe, represen∣ting in our fantasie those thinges in which we take delight, & such as are pleasing to our humors and appetites, especiallie making vs dreame lasciuious Dreames, and tempting vs so farre with filthy and carnall lust, that he prouoketh vs often∣times to pollutions. To others he representeth in their sleepe * great treasures and riches, to the end that waking they might be stirred with desire of them, and haue their thoughts and imaginations busied about thē, leauing matter of better me∣ditation: But his malice is not alwaies herewith contented, for sometimes it tendeth farder, prouoking vs in our sleep to cō∣mit follies, wherby we may lose both body and soule at once, Page [unnumbered] which to the end that you may the better vnderstand, I will tell you what chaunced to a very principall gentleman of this countrey, whose surname was Tapia, whom beeing a boy, I knew passing well. This gentleman had so strange a conditi∣on in his sleep, that he arose diuers nights sleeping out of his bed, and went vp and downe the house from place to place, * without waking: for which cause, least hee might thereby come to receaue some mischiefe, his seruaunts accustomed to set euery night a great shallowe tub of water by his beds side, for it is a thing approoued, that whosoeuer is troubled vvith this passion, awaketh presently in: touching the colde vvater. It hapned one night among the rest, that his seruants hauing forgotten to sette this vessell as they vsually accustomed, that beeing in the hotest season of the Sommer, thys Gentleman arose sleeping out of his bedde, with the greatest agonie that might be to goe swimme in the Riuer, whereupon, casting a∣bout him a cloake ouer his shirt, he went out of his chamber, and vnbolted the doore of the house, making as fast towards the Riuers side as he could: comming to the townes end, he met with another companion, to whom, demaunding of him whether he went at that time of night, he made answer, that he felt such an extreame heate in his body, that he was deter∣mined to goe refresh & coole himselfe in the Riuer: I could neuer haue mette with a fitter companion, sayde the other, for I am also going thither for the same occasion; of vvhose company Tapia beeing glad, they went on together, till they came to the Riuers side, where, as Tapia hauing put of his cloake and his shirt, and was ready to enter into the vvater, the other fell a scoffing and iesting at him, as at one that knew not hovve to swimme, vvhich he taking in ill part, because he was therein very expert and cunning, aunswered in chol∣ler, that he would fwymme with him for as much, & for what wager soeuer he dared aduenture against him to the contra∣rie: that shall be soone seene, quoth the other, whither your cunning be such, that you dare boldly performe as much as you say, and thereupon, forthwith went vp to the toppe of a high Bridge, that crost ouer the same Riuer, whence, after he had stript himselfe naked, he threwe himselfe downe head∣long Page 90 into the vvater, the Riuer running in that place verie swift and dangerous, where swimming vp and downe in the maine streame, he called vpon Tapia, by dding him according to his promise, doe as much as he had doone: who disday∣ning to seeme eyther of lesse cunning or courage then the o∣ther, went likewise vp to the top of the Bridge, and threvve himselfe downe in the very same place, in which the other had so doone before him: till which time still remaining fast a sleepe, his feete were no sooner in the vvater, but hee avva∣ked presentlie, where finding himselfe plunging in midst of the rough streame, though he were in a wonderfull feare and amazement, yet as well as hee could, and with all the possible speede he might, he skambled foorth, earnestly calling vpon the companion that came thether with him, thinking assu∣redlie that there was a man swimming with him indeed, but hauing passed with great difficultie the danger of the stream, after long calling and looking about him, when hee coulde neyther see nor heare any man make aunswere, hee beganne to mistrust, that thys matter proceeded by the craftie illusion and deceit of the deuil, who (as he truly thought) endeuoured by that subtile practise and enticement, to destroy in his sleep both his body and soule. VVherupon, recommending him selfe by hartie prayer vnto almightie GOD, and going vp againe to that place of the Bridge where hee and his compa∣panion, as he imagined, had left their clothes, when he found no more then his owne, throughly confirming himselfe in the mistrust before conceaued, he returned homewardes to his owne house with very great astonishment, meeting by the way diuers of his seruaunts, who missing him in his chamber, and finding the doore of the house vnbolted, went seeking him vp and downe, to vvhō hee recited from poynt to point all that happened vnto him, from which time forward hee vvas lesse troubled with such passions, contayning himselfe alwayes in such heedfull sort, that the deuill could neuer haue power to deceaue him againe.
Truly this man was in great danger of eternall de∣struction: but GOD is so kind and mercifull, that he alwaies succoureth and assisteth all those, that in time of necessity and Page [unnumbered] danger, recommend themselues with a deuout hart vnto him. And therefore truly we had need looke well and carefullie to our selues, seeing wee haue so cautelous and craftie and aduer∣sarie, continually dressing so manie grinnes & trappes to en∣tangle * vs, and alwaies busie in laying baites and allurements ready to deceaue vs. But seeing it is now very late, and the pleasantnes of our discoursing hath made vs passe ouer the time without scarcely thinking of the same, I am of opinion that we should doe well to referre this our conuersation and meeting till another time, for the satisfaction of some doubts which as yet remaine, if it shall please Signior Anthonio to a∣gree thereunto.
No man better contented there-with then my selfe, appoynt therefore what time you thinke good and I will not faile to be ready.
Let vs then I pray you deferre the same no longer then till to morrowe morning.
I giue you my hand vpon the same.
And I also giue mine.