THE SECOND VISION OF DEATH and her EMPIRE.
MEan Souls do naturally breed sad Thoughts, and in Soli∣tude, they gather together in Troops to assault the Unfortunate; which is the Tryal (according to my Observation) wherein the Coward does most betray himself; and yet cannot I for my life, when I am alone, avoid those Accidents and Surprizes in my self, which I condemn in others. I have sometime, upon Reading the Grave and Severe Lucretius, been seized with a strange Damp; whether from the strik∣ing of his Counsels upon my Passions, or some tacite reflection of shame upon my self, I know not. However, to render this Confession of my weakness the more excusable, I'l begin my Dis∣course Page 28 with somewhat out of that ele∣gant and excellent Poet;
Put the Case (sayes he) that a Voice from Heaven should speak to any of us after this manner; What do'st thou ail, O Mortal Man, or to what purpose is it, to spend thy life in Groans, and Com∣plaints, under the apprehension of Death? where are thy past Years and Pleasures? Are they not vanish't and lost in theFlux of Time, as if thou hadst put Water into a Sieve? Bethink thy self then of a Re∣treat, & leave the World with the same content, & satisfaction, as thou wouldst do a plentiful Table, and a jolly Com∣pany upon a full stomach. Poor Fool that thou art! thus to Macerate and Torment thy self, when thou may'st enjoy thy Heart at Ease, and Possess thy Soul with Repose and Comfort, &c.
This passage brought into my mind, the words of Iob. Cap. 14. and I was carried on from one Meditation to another, till at length, I fell fast asleep over my Book, which I ascribed rather to a favourable providence, then to my natural Disposition. So soon as my Soul felt her self at Liberty, she gave Page 29 me the entertainment of this following Comedy, my Phansy supplying both the Stage and the Company.
In the first Scene, enter'd a Troop of Physicians, upon their Mules, with deep Foot-cloths; marching in no very good Order, sometime fast, sometime slow, and to say the Truth, most commonly in a huddle. They were all wrinkled and wither'd about the Eyes; I sup∣pose with casting so many sowre looks upon the Piss-pots and Close-stools of their Patients: bearded like Goats; and their Faces so overgrown with Hair, that their Fingers could hardly find the way to their Mouths. In their left hand they held their Reins, and their Gloves roul'd up together; and in the right, a Staffe à la mode, which they carryed ra∣ther for Countenance, then Correction; (for they understood no other Manege than the Heel) and all along, Head and Body went too, like a Baker upon his Panniers. Divers of them I observ'd, had huge Gold Rings upon their Fing∣ers, and set with Stones of so large a size, that they could hardly feel a Pa∣tients Pulse, without minding him of Page 30 his Monument. There were more tha• a good many of them, and a world of Puny Practisers at their heels, that came out Graduates, by conversing ra∣ther with the Mules than the Doctors: Well! said I to my self; if there goes no more than This to the making a Physitian, it is no marvel we pay so dear for their Experience.
After These, follow'd a long Train of Mountebank Apothecaries laden with Pestles, and Mortars, Suppositories, Spa∣tulas, Glister-Pipes and Siringes, ready charg'd, and as mortal as Gun-shot, and several Titled Boxes with R•medies with∣out, and Poysons within: Ye may ob∣serve that when a Patient comes to die, the Apothecaries Mo•tar rings the Pas∣sing-Bell, as the Priests R•quiem finishes the business. An Apothec•ries Shop is (in effect) no other than the Physitians Armory, that supplies him with Wea∣pons; and (to say the truth) the In∣struments of the Apothecary and the Souldier are much of a quality: What are their Boxes but Petards? their Sy∣ringes, Pistols; and their Pills, but Bul∣lets? And after all, considering their Page 31 Purgative Medicines, we may properly enough call their Shops Purgatory; and why not their Persons Hell? their Pa∣tients the Damn'd? and their Masters the Devils? These Apothecaries were in Iacquets, wrought all over with Rs, struck through like wounded hearts, and in the form of the first Character of their Prescriptions; which (as they tell us) signifies Recipe (T•ke thou) but we find it to stand for Recipio (I take.) Next to this Figure, they write Ana, Ana, which is as much as •o say An Ass, An Ass; and after this, march the Ounces and the Scruples: an incomparable Cor∣dial to a dying man; the former to di∣spatch the Body, and the latte•, to put the Soul into the high-way to the D•∣vil. To hear them call over their Sim∣ples, would make you swear, they were raising so many Devils. Ther••s your Opopanax, Buphthalmus, Ast•p•y∣linos, Alectorolophos, Ophios•orod•n, Ane∣mosphorus, &c.
And by all this formidable Bombast, is meant nothing in the world but a few paltry Roots, as Carrots, Turneps, Skirrets, Radish and the like. But they Page 32 have the old Proverb at their fingers ends, He that knows thee will never buy thee; and therefore every thing must be made a Mystery, to hold their Pa∣tients in ignorance, and keep up the Price of the Market. And were not the very names of their Medicines suf∣ficient to fright away any Distemper, 'tis to be fear'd the Remedy would prove worse than the Disease. Can any pain in Nature, think ye, have the confidence to look a Physitian in the face, that comes arm'd with a Drug made of Man's Grease? though dis∣guis'd under the name of Mummy, to take off the Horrour and Disgust of it: Or to stay for a dressing with Dr. Wha∣chums Plaster, that shall fetch up a man's leg to the size of a Mill-post? When I saw these people Herded with the Phy∣sitians, methought the old sluttish Pro∣verb, that says, There is a great distance between the Pulse and the Arse, was much to blame for making such a difference in their Dignities, for I find none at all; but the Physitian skips in a trice from the Pulse to the Stool and Vrinals, ac∣cording to the Doctrine of Galen, who Page 33 sends all his Disciples to those unsavou∣ry Oracles: from whose hands the De∣vil himself, if he were sick, would not receive so much as a Glister. Oh! these cursed and lawless Arbitrators and Disposers of our Lives! that with∣out either Conscience or Religion, di∣vide our Souls and Bodies, by their damn'd poysonous Potions, Scarifica∣tions, Incisions, Excessive Bleedings, &c. which are but the several wayes of exe∣cuting their Tyranny and Injustice up∣on us.
In the tail of These, came the Surge∣ons, laden with Pincers, Cranes-bills, Ca∣theters, Desquamatories, Dilaters, Scis∣sers, Saws; and with them, so horrid an outcry, of Cut, Tear, Open, Saw, Flay, Burn, that my Bones were ready to creep one into another for fear of an Operation.
The next that came in, I should have taken by their Min, for Devils disguised, if I had not spyed their Chains of Rot∣ten Teeth, which put me in some hope they might be Tooth-drawers, and so they prov'd; which is yet one of the lewdest Trades in the world; for they Page 34 are good for nothing but to depopu∣late our Mouths, and make us old before our time. Let a man but yawn, and ye shall have one of these Rogues examin∣ing his Grinders, and there's not a sound Tooth in your head, but he had rather see't at his Girdle, than in the place of its nativity: Nay, rather than fail, hee'l pick a quarrel with your Gums. But that which puts me out of all pa∣tience, is to see these Scoundrels ask twice as much for drawing an old Tooth as would have bought ye a new One.
Certainly (said I to my self) we are now past the worst, unless the Devil himself come next: And in that instant I heard the Brushing of Guy•ars, and the Ratling of Citterns, Raking over certain Passacailles and Sarabands. These are a Kennel of Barbers thought I, or I'l be hang'd; and any man that had ever seen a Barber's shop might have told you as much without a Con∣jurer, both by the Musick, & by the very Instruments, which are as proper a part of a Barbers Furniture, as his Comb-Cases and Wash-balls. It was to me a pleasant entertainment, to see them Page 35 lathering of Asses heads, of all sorts and sizes, and their Customers all the while winking and sputtering over their Ba∣sons.
Presently after these, appear'd a Consort of loud and tedious Talkers, that tired and deafen'd the Company with their shrill, and restless Gaggle: but as one told me, these were of several sorts. Some they call'd Swimmers from the motion of their Arms in all their Dis∣courses, which was just as if they had been Padling. Others they called Apes, (and we Mimicks) these were perpetu∣ally making of Mopps, and Mowes, and a thousand Antick Ridiculous Gestures, in derision and imitation of Others. In the third place, were Make-Bates, and Sowers of Dissention, and these were still Rolling their Eyes (like a Bartlemey-Puppet, without so much as moving the Head) and leering over their Shoulders, to surprize people at unawares in their Familiarities, and Privacies, and ga∣ther matter for Calumny and Detraction. The Lyers follow'd next; and these seem'd to be a jolly contented sort of People, well Fed, and well Clothed; Page 36 and having nothing else to trust to, me∣thought it was a strange Trade to live upon. I need not tell you, that they are never without a full Audience, since all Fools and Impertinents are of their Congregation.
After these, came a Company of Medlers; a Pragmatical Insolent Ge∣neration of men that will have an Oar in every Boat, and are indeed the Bane of honest Conversation, and the Trou∣blers of all Companies and Affairs: The most Prostitute of all Flatterers; and only devoted to their own Profit. I thought this had been the last Scene, because no more came upon the Stage for a good while; and indeed I won∣der'd that they came so late themselves, but one of the Bablers told me (unaskt) that this kind of Serpent carrying his Venome in his tayl, it seem'd reasona∣ble, that being the most Poysonous of the whole Gang, they should bring up the Rear.
I began then to take into thought, what might be the meaning of this Oglio of People of several Conditions and Hu∣mours, met together; but I was quickly Page 37 diverted from that Consideration, by the Apparition of a Creature which lookt as if 'twere of the Feminine Gen∣der. It was a Person, of a thin and slender make; laden with Crowns, Gar∣lands, Scepters, Scythes, Sheep-hooks, Pattins, Hob-nail'd-shooes, Tiaras, Straw-hats, Miters, Mounmoth Caps, Embroideries, Skins, Silk, Wool, Gold, Lead, Diamonds, Shells, Pearl, and Pebles: She was drest up in all the Co∣lours of the Rainbow; she had one eye shut, the other open; young on the one side, and old o' the other. I thought at first, she had been a great way off, when indeed she was very neer me, and when I took her to be at my Chamber-door, she was at my Beds head. How to unridle this mystery I knew not; nor was it possible for me to make out the meaning of an Equi∣page so extravagant, and so fantasti∣cally put together. It gave me no affright however, but on the contrary I could not forbear laughing, for it came just then into my mind that I had for∣merly seen in Italy a Farce, where the Mimick, pretending to come from the Page 38 other world, was just thus Accoutred, and never was any thing more Nonsen∣sically pleasant. I held as long as I could, and at last, I askt what she was? she answer'd me, I am Death. Death! (the very word brought my Heart into my Mouth) and I beseech you Madam, quoth I (with great Humility and Re∣spect) whither is your Honour a going? No further (said she) for now I have found you, I am at my Journey's End. Alas, Alas! and must I Dye then (said I) No, no, (quoth Death) but I'l take thee Quick along with me: For since so many of the Dead have been to visit the Living, It is but equal for once, that one of the Living should Return a Visit to the Dead. Get up then and come along; and never hang an Arse for the matter: for what you will not do wil∣lingly, you shall do in spight of your Teeth. This put me in a Cold Fit; but without more delay up I started, and desired leave only to put on my Breech∣es. No, no, (said she) no matter for Clothes, no body wears them upon this Road; wherefore come away, naked as you are, and you'l Travel the better. Page 39 So up I got, without a word more and follow'd her; in such a Terrour, and Amazement, that I was but in an ill Condition to take a strict account of my Passage; yet I remember, that up∣on the way, I told her; Madam, under Correction, you are no more like the Deaths that I have seen, then an Apple's like an Oyster. Our Death is pictur'd with a Scyth in her hand; and a Carkass of bones, as clean, as if the Crows had pick'd it: Yes, yes (said she) turning short upon me, I know that very well: but in the mean time your Designers, and Painters, are but a Company of Buzzards. The Bones you talk of, are the Dead, or otherwise the miserable Remainders of the Living; but let me tell you, that you your selves are your own Death, and that which you call Death, is but the Period of your Life, as the first moment of your Birth, is the be∣ginning of your Death: And effectually, ye Dye Living, and your Bones are no more then what Death has left, and committed to the Grave. If this were rightly understood, every man would find a Memento Mori, or a Death's HeadPage 40 in his own Looking-glass; and consi∣der every house with a Family in't, but as a Sepulchre fill'd with Dead Bo∣dies; a Truth which you little dream of, though within your daily View and Experience. Can you imagine a Death elsewhere, and not in your selves? Be∣lieve't y' are in a shameful mistake; for you your selves are Skeletons before ye are aware.
But Madam, under Favour, what may all these People be that keep your Ladish•p Company? and since you are Death (as you say) how comes it, that the Bablers, and Make-bates▪ are neerer your Person, and more in your Good Graces, than the Physicians? Why (sayes she) there are more People Talk'd to Death and dispatcht by Bablers, then by all the Pestilential Diseases in the World. And then your Make-bates, and Medlers kill more then your Physicians, though (to give the Gentlemen of the Faculty their due) they labour night and day for the enlargement of our Em∣pire. For you must understand, that though distemper'd humours make a man sick, 'tis the Physician Kills him; and Page 41 looks to be well paid for't too: (and 'tis fit that every man should live by his Trade) so that when a man is askt, what such or such a one dy'd of; He is not presently to make answer, that he dy'd of a Fever, Pleurisie, the Plague, Purples, or the like; but that He dy'd of the Doctor. In one point, however I must needs acquit the Physician; Ye know that the stile of right Honourable, and right Worshipful, which wa• hereto∣fore appropriate onely to Persons of Eminent degree and Quality, is now in our days used by all sorts of little peo∣ple; Nay the very Bare-foot Friers, that live under Vows of Humility and Morti∣fication, are stung with this Itch of Title and Vain-Glory. And your ordinary Trades-men, as Vintners, Taylors, Masons, and the like, must be all drest up for∣sooth in the Right Worshipful: whereas your Physician does not so much Court Honour of Appellation (though, if it should rain Dignities, he might be per∣swaded happily to venture the wet∣ting) but sits down contentedly with the Honour of disposing of your Lives and Moneys, without troubling him∣self Page 42 about any other sort of Reputa∣tion.
The Entertainment of these Lectures, and discourses made the way seem short and Pleasant, and we were just now en∣tring into a Place, betwixt Light, and Dark; and of Horrour enough, if Death and I had not by this time been very well acquainted. Upon one side of the Passage, I saw three moving Figures; Arm'd, and of Humane shape; and so alike, that I could not say which was which. Just Opposite, on the other side, a Hideous Monster, and these Three to One, and One to Three, in a Fierce, and Obstinate Combate. Here Death made a stop, and facing about, askt me, if I knew these People. Alas! No (quoth I) Heaven be praised, I do not, and I shall put it in my Litany that I never may. Now to see thy Ignorance, cry'd Death; These are thy old Acquain∣tance, and thou hast hardly kept any other Company since thou wert born. Those Three are, the World, the Flesh, and the Devil; the Capital Enemies of thy Soul: and they are so like one ano∣ther, as well in Quality, as Appearance, Page 43 that Effectually, whoever has One, has All. The Proud, and Ambitious man thinks he has got the World, but it proves the Devil. The Lecher, and the Epicure, perswade themselves that they have gotten the Flesh, and that's the Devil too; and in fine, thus it fares with all other kinds of Extravagants. But what's He there, said I, that ap∣pears in so many several shapes? and fights against the other three? That (quoth Death) is the Devil of Money, who maintains that He himself Alone is Equivalent to them Three, and that wherever He comes, there's no need of Them. Against the World, He argues from their own Confession, and Expe∣rience: for it passes for an Oracle; that There's no World but Money; He that's out of Money, 's out of the World. Take away a man's Money, and take away his Life. Money answers All things. Against the second Enemy, he pleads that Money is the Flesh too: witness the Girles and the Ganimedes it procures, and main∣tains. And against the Third, He urges that there's nothing to be done with∣out this Devil of Money. Love does Page 44 much but Money does All: And Money will make the Pot boyl, though the Devil piss in the Fire. So that for ought I see, (quoth I) the Devil of Money has the better end of the staffe.
After this, advancing a little further, I saw on One hand, Iudgment; and Hell, on the other (for so Death called them) Upon the sight of Hell, making a stop, to take a stricter Survey of it, Death askt me, what it was I look't at? I told her, it was Hell; and I was the more intent upon it, because I thought I had seen it, somewhere else before. She question'd me, where? I told her, that I had seen it in the Corruption and Avarice of Wick∣ed Magistrates; In the Pride and Haugh∣tiness of Grandees; In the Appetites of the Voluptuous; In the lewd Designs of Ruine, and Revenge; In the Souls of Op∣pressours; and in the Vanity of divers Princes. But he that would see it whole, and Entire, in one subject, must go to the Hypocrite who is a kind of a Religi∣ous Broker, and puts out at five and forty per Cent. the very Sacraments, and ten Commandments.
I am very glad too (said I) that I Page 45 have seen Iudgment as I find it here, in it's Purity; for That which we call Iudgment in the World, is a meer Mock∣ery: If it were like This, men would live otherwise than they do. To con∣clude; if it be expected that our Iudges should govern Themselves and Us by This Iudgment, the world's in an ill Case; for there's but little of't there. And to deal plainly, as matters are, I have no great maw to go home again: for 't is better being with the Dead, where there's Iustice, then with the Li∣ving, where there's None.
Our next step was into a fair and spa∣cious Plain, encompass'd with a huge wall, where he that's once in, must never look to come out again. Stop here (quoth Death) for we are now come to my Iudgment-Seat, and here it is that I give Audience. The Walls were hung with Sighs and Grones, Ill-News, Fears, Doubts, and Surprizes. Tears did not there avail, either the Lover or the Beg∣gar; but Grief and Care were without both Measure and Comfort; and serv'd as Vermine, to gnaw the Hearts of Em∣perours, and Princes, feeding upon the Page 46 Insolent, and Ambitious; as their pro∣per Nourishment. I saw Envy there drest up in a Widdow's Vail, and the very Picture of the Governant of one of your Noblemen's Houses. She kept a Continual Fast as to the Shambles, Prey∣ing only upon her self; and could not but be a very slender Gentlewoman, up∣on so spare a Diet. Nothing came a∣miss to her Teeth (Good or Bad) which made the whole set of them Yellow and Rotten, and the reason was, that though she bit, and set her mark upon the Good, and the Sound, she could never swallow it. Under her, sate Discord; the Legi∣timate Issue of her own Bowels. She had formerly convers'd much with married people, but finding no need of her there, away she went to Colleges and Corporations, where it seems they had more already than they knew what to do withall: and then she betook her self to Courts, and Palaces, and Officia∣ted there, as the Devil's Lieutenant. Next to Her, was Ingratitude, and she out of a certain Paste made up of Pride and Malice, was moulding of New De∣vils. I was extreme glad of this Disco∣very, Page 47 being of Opinion, till now, that the Vngrateful had been the Devils Themselves, because I read, that the An∣gels that fell were made Devils for their Ingratitude. To be short, the whole Pl•ce Eccho'd with Rage and Curses. What a Devil have we here to do, (said I) does it rain Curses in this Country? With that, a Death at my Elbow askt me, what a Devil I could expect else, in a place where there were so many Match-makers, Atturneys, and Common-Barretters; who are a Pack of the most Accursed Wretches in Nature? Is there any thing more Common in the World, then the Exclamations of Husbands and Wives? Oh! that Damn'd Devil of a Pander: A heavy Curse upon that Bitch of a Bawd that ever brought us together. The Pillory and ten thousand Gibbets to boot, take that Pick-pocket Atturney, that advised me to this Law-suit; h•as ruin'd me for ever. But pray'e (said I) what do all these Match-makers and Atturneys here together? Do they come for Au∣dience? Death was here a little quick upon me, and called me Fool for so Im∣pertinent a Qustei•n. If th•re were Page 48 no Match-makers (said she) we should not have the Tenth part of these Ske∣letons, and Desperado's. Am not I here the fifth Husband of a woman yet living in the world, that hopes to send twice as many more after me, and drink Maudlin at the fifteenth Funeral? You say well (said I) as to the business of Match-ma∣kers; But why so many Petty-foggers I pray'e? Nay then I perceive (quoth Death) now you have a mind to seize me; for that Rascally sort of Cater∣pillers have been my undoing. Had not a man better dye by the Common Hangman, than by the Hand of an At∣torney? to be killed by Falsities, Quirks, Cavils, Delays, Exceptions, Cheats, Cir∣cumventions: Yes, yes, And it must not be deny'd, that these Makers of Matches, and Splitters of Causes, are the Principal support of this Imperial Throne.
At these words, I rais'd my Eyes, and saw Death seated in her Chair of state, with abundance of little Deaths crowd∣ing about her; As the Death of Love, of Cold, Hunger, Fear, and Laughter; All, with their several Ensigns and Page 49 Devices. The Death of Love, I per∣ceived, had very little Brain, and to keep her self in Countenance, she kept Company with Pyramus and Thisbe; Hero and Leander, and some Amadis's and Palmerins d' Oliva; all Embalm'd, steep'd in good Vinegar, and well Dry'd. I saw a great many other sorts of Lovers too, that were brought, in all Appearance, to their last Agonies, but by the singular Miracle of self-In∣terest recover'd, to the Tune of
The Death of Cold, was attended by a many Prelates, Bishops, Abbots, and other Ecclesiasticks; who had neither Wives, nor Children, nor indeed any body else that cared for them, further than for their Fortunes. These, when they come to a Fit of sickness, are Pil∣lag'd even to their sheets and Bedding, before ye can say a Pater-noster. Nay, many times they are stript, e're they are Laid, and destroy'd for want of Clothes to keep them warm.
Page 50The Death of Hunger was encom∣passed with a Multitude of Avaritious Misers, that were Cording up of Trunks; Bolting of Dores, and Windows; Lock∣ing up of Cellars, and Garrets; and Nailing down of Trap-doors; Burying of Pots of Money, and starting at every Breath of Wind they heard. Their Eyes were ready to drop out of their heads, for want of sleep; their Mouths and Bellies complaining of their Hands, and their Souls turn'd into Gold and Sil∣ver (the Idols they ador'd.)
The Death of Fear, had the most Magnificent Train and Attendance, of all the rest, being accompanied with a great number of Vsurpers, and Tyrants, who commonly do Justice upon Them∣selves, for the Injuries they have done to Others: Their own Consciences do∣ing the Office of Tormentors, and Avenging their Publique Crimes by their Private Sufferings; for they live in a perpetual Anguish of Thought, with Fears and Jealousies.
The Death of Laughter, was the last of all, and surrounded with a Throng of people, hasty to Believe, and slow to Page 51Repent; Living without fear of Iu∣stice, and Dying without hope of Mercy. These are they that pay all their Debts and Duties with a Jest. Bid any of them give every man his Due, and Re∣turn what he has either Borrow'd, or wrongfully taken, His Answer is, You'd make a man dye with Laughing. Tell him, my Friend, You are now in years, Your dancing dayes are done, and your Body is worn out; what should such a Scare-Crow as you are, do with a Bed-fellow? Give over your Bawdy Haunts for shame, and do n't make a man Glory of a Sin, when you're past the Pleasure of it, and your self upon all Accompts con∣temptible into the Bargain. This Fellow (sayes He) would make a man break his heart with Laughing. Come, come, say your Prayers, and bethink your self of Eternity, you have one Foot in the Grave already, and 'tis high time to fit your self for the other World. Thou wilt absolutely kill me with Laughing. I tell thee I'm as sound as a Roche, and I do not Remember that ever I was bet∣ter in my Life. Others there are, that, let a man advise them upon their Death Page 52 Beds and even at the last Gasp, to send for a Divine, or to make some handsome settlement of their Estates. Alas, Alas! they'l cry; I have been as bad as this many a time before, and (with Falstaffe's Hostess) I hope in the Lord there's no need to think of him yet. These men are lost for ever, before they can be brought to understand their Danger. This Vision wrought strangely upon me, and gave me all the Pains and Marques Imagina∣ble of a true Repentance. Well, (said I) since so it is, that man has but one life allotted him, and so many Deaths; but one way into the World, and so many Millions out of it, I will certainly at my Return make it more my Care than it has been to Live with a Good Con∣science, that I may dye with Com∣fort.
These last words were scarce out of my Mouth, when the Cryer of the Court with a loud Voice, Called out, The Dead, The Dead; Appear the Dead. And so immediately, I saw the Earth begin to Move, and gently opening it self, to make way, first for Heads and Arms, and then by Degrees for the whole Bo∣diesPage 53 of Men and Women, that came out, half muffled in their Night-Caps, and ranged themselves in excellent Order, and with a profound silence. Now (says Death) let every one speak in his Turn; And in the instant, up comes One of the Dead to my very Beard, with so much Fury and Menace, in his Face and Action, that I would have gi∣ven him half the Teeth in my Head for a Composition. These Devils of the World (quoth he) what would they be at? my Masters, cannot a poor Wretch be quiet in his Grave for ye? but ye must be Casting your Scorns upon him, and charging him with things that up∣on my Soul, he's as Innocent of as the Child that's Unborn. What hurt has he done any of you (ye Scoundrels you) to be thus Abused. And I beseech you, Sir, said I (under your Favourable Correction) who may you be? for I confess I have not the Honour either to Know or to understand ye. I am (quoth he) the Unfortunate Tony, that has been in his Grave now this many a fair year, and yet your wise Worships forsooth have not wit enough to make your Page 54 Selves and your Company merry, but Tony must still be one half of your En∣tertainment and Discourse. When any man plays the Fool or the Extravagant, presently He's a Tony. Who drew this or that Ridiculous Piece? Tony. Such or such a one was never well taught: No, he had a Tony to his Master. But let me tell ye, He that shall call your Wisdoms to shrift, and take a strict ac∣compt of your words and actions, will upon the Upshot find you all a Compa∣ny of Tonys: and in Effect the Greater Impertinents. As for Instance; Did I ever make Ridiculous Wills (as you do) to oblige others to pray for a man in his Grave, that never pray'd for Himself in his Life? Did I ever rebell against my Superiors? Or, was I ever so arrant a Coxcomb, as by colouring my Cheeks and Hair, to imagine that I could reform Nature, and make my Self young again? Can ye say, that I ever put an Oath to a Lye? or, broke a solemn Promise, as you do every day that goes over your Heads? Did I ever enslave my self to money? Or, on the other side, make Ducks and Drakes with it? and squander it away in Gaming, Page 55 Revelling, and Whoring? Did my Wife •ver wear the Breeches? Or, did I ever marry at all, to be reveng'd of a false Mistress? Was I ever so very a fool as to believe any man would be True to me, who had betray'd his Friend? Or, to ven∣ture all my Hopes upon the Wheel of For∣tune? Did I ever envy the Felicity of a Court-life, that sells and spends all for a Glance? What pleasure did I ever take in the lewd Discourses of Hereticks and Li∣bertines? Or, did I ever List my self in the party, to get the name of a Gifted-Brother? Who ever saw me Insolent to my Inferiors, or Basely Servile to my bet∣ters? Did I ever go to a Conjurer, or to your Dealers in Nativities, and Horoscopes upon any Occasion of Loss or Death? Now if you your selves be guilty of all these Fopperies, and I innocent, I beseech ye where's the Tony? So that you see To∣ny is not the Tony you take him for. But (to Crown his other Vertues) he is also endued with so large a stock of Pa∣tience, that whoever needed it, had it for the asking: Unless it were such as came to borrow money; or in Cases of Women, that claim'd Marriage of him; Page 56 or Laquais that would be making sport with his Bauble; and to These, He was as Resolute as Iohn Florio.
While we were upon this Discourse, another of the Dead came marching up to me, with a Spanish pace and gra∣vity; and giving me a Touch o'the El∣bow; Look me in the Face (quoth he with a stern Countenance) and know Sir, that you are not now to have to do with a Tony. I beseech your Lordship (said I, saving your Reverence) let me know your Honour, that I may pay my Respects accordingly; for I must confess, I thought all people here had been, Hail fellow well met? I am call'd (quoth he) by mortals, Queen Dick; and whether you know me or not, I'm sure you'l think of me often enough: and if the Devil did not possess ye, you would let the Dead alone, and content your selves to persecute One Another. Ye can't see a High-crown'd Hat, a Thred-bare Cloak, a Basket-hilt Sword, or a Dudgeon Dagger, nay not so much as a Reverend Matron well stri∣ken in years, but presently ye cry This or That's of the Mode or Date of Page 57Queen Dick. If ye were not every Mother's Child of ye stark mad, ye would confess that Queen Dick's were Golden-daies to those ye have had since, and 'tis an easie matter to prove what I say. Will ye see a Mother now teaching her Daughter a Lesson of good Government? Child (says she) you know that modesty is the great Ornament of your Sex; wherefore be sure, when ye come in Company, that you don't stand staring the men in the Face, as if ye were looking Babies in their Eyes, but rather look a little Downward, as a Fashion of Behaviour, more sutable to the Obligations of your Sex. Downward? (says the Girl) I beseech you, Madam, Excuse me: This was well enough in the Days of Queen Dick, when the poor Crea∣tures knew no better. Let the Men look downward toward the Clay of which they were made, but Man was our Ori∣ginal, and it will become us to keep our Eyes upon the matter from whence we came. If a Father give his Son in Charge, to Worship his Creator, to say his Prayers Morning and Evening, to give Thanks before and after Meat, to have a Page 58 care of Gaming and Swearing. Ye shall have the Son make Answer, that 'tis true, this was practis'd in the time of Queen Dick; but it is now quite out of Mode: And in plain English, men are better known now a daies by their Atheism and Blasphemy, than by their Beards.
Hereupon, Queen Dick withdrew, and then appear'd a large Glass-bottle, wherein was Luted up (as I heard) a famous Necromancer, hackt and minc'd according to his own Order, to render him Immortal. It was boiling upon a Quick fire, and the Flesh by little and little began to piece again, and made first an Arm, then a Thigh, after That a Leg; and at last there was an entire Body, that rais'd it self upright in the Bottle. Bless me (thought I!) what's here? A man made of a Pottage, and brought into the world out of the Bel∣ly of a Bottle? This Vision affrighted me to the very Heart; and while I was yet panting and trembling, a voice was heard out of the Glass. In what year of our Lord are we. 1636 (quoth I) And welcome, said he; for 'tis the hap∣py Page 59 year I have longed for this many a day. Who is it, I pray'e (quoth I) that I now see and hear in the belly of this Bottle? I am (said he) the Great Necromancer of Europe; and certainly you cannot but have heard both of my Operations in General, and of this par∣ticular Design. I have heard talk of you from a Child (quoth I) but all those stories I took only for old Wives Fa∣bles. You are the man then it seems: I must confess that at first, at a Distance I took this bottle for the Vessel that the Ingenious Rablais makes mention of; but coming neer enough to see what was in it, I did then imagine it might be some Philosopher by the fire, or some Apothecary doing Penance for his Er∣rors. In fine, it has cost me many a heavy step to come hither, and yet to see so great a Rarity I cannot but think my Time and Pains very well bestow'd. The Necromancer call'd to me then to unstop the Bottle, and as I was breaking the Clay to open it: Hold, Hold a lit∣tle, He cry'd; and I prethee tell me first how go squares in Spain? What Mony? Force? Credit? The Plate-Fleets go Page 60 and come (said I) reasonably well; but the Forreigners that come in for their snips have half spoil'd the Trade. The Genoeses run out as far as the mountains of Potoss, and have almost drain'd them dry. My Child (quoth He) That Trade can never be secure and open, so long as Spain has any Enemy that's Po∣tent at Sea. And for the Genoeses, they'l tell you this is no Injustice at all, but on the Contrary, a new way of quitting old scores, and justifying his Catholick Majesty for a good Pay-master. I am no Enemy to that Nation, but upon the Accompt of their Vices and Encroch∣ments; and I confess, rather than see these Rascals prosper, I'd turn my self into a Bouillon again, as ye saw me just now; nay, I did not care if 'twere into a Powder, though I ended my daies in a Tobacco-box. Good Sir, (said I) com∣fort your self, for these people are as miserable as you'd wish them. You know they are Cavaliers and Signeurs already, and now (forsooth) they have an Itch upon them to be Princes: A va∣nity that gnaws them like a Cancer; and by drawing on great Expences, breeds Page 61 a Worm in their Traffick, so that you'l find little but Debt and Extravagance at the foot of the Accompt. And then the Devils in them for a Wench, inso∣much, that 'tis well, if they bring both ends together; for what's gotten upon the Change is spent in the Stews.
This is well (quoth the Necromancer) and I'm glad to hear it. Pray'e tell me now, what price bears Honour and Ho∣nesty in the World? There's much to be said (quoth I) upon that point: but in brief, there was never more of it in Talk, nor less in Effect. Upon my Ho∣nesty cries the Tradesman: Upon my Honour, says his Lordship. And in a word, Every man has it, and Every thing is it, in some disguise or other: but duly consider'd, there's no such thing upon the Face of the Earth. The Thief says 'tis more Honourable to Take than Beg. He that asks an Alms, pleads that 'tis Honester to Beg than Steal. Nay the False Witnesses and Murtherers them∣selves, stand upon their points, as well as their Neighbours, and will tell ye that a Man of Honour will rather be bu∣ried alive than Submit: (though they Page 62 will not alwayes do as they say) Upon the whole matter, every man sets up a Court of Honour within himself; pro∣nounces every thing Honourable that serves his Purpose, and laughs at them that think otherwise. To say the Truth, All things are now Topsy Turvy. A good Faculty in Lying is a fair step to Prefer∣ment; and to Pack a Game at Cards, or help the frail Dye, is become the Marque, and Glory of a Cavalier. The Spaniards were heretofore, I confess, a very Brave, and well govern'd People: But they have Evil Tongues among them now adays, that say they might e'en go to School to the Indians to learn Sobriety, and Vertue. For they are not really Sober, but at their own Tables, which indeed, is rather Avarice▪ than Moderation; for when they Eat or Drink at another man's Cost, there are no greater Gluttons in the World; and for Fudling, they shall make the best Pot-Companion in Switzerland knock under the Table.
The Necromancer went on with his Discourse, and askt me what store of Lawyers, and Atturneys in Spain at pre∣sent? Page 63 I told him, that the whole world swarm'd with them, and that there were of several sorts; some, by Profession; Others, by Intrusion, and Presumption; and some again by Study, but not many of the last, though in∣deed sufficient of every kind to make the People pray for the Egyptian Lo∣custs and Caterpillars in Exchange for that Vermine. Why then (quoth the Necromancer) if there be such Plagues Abroad, I think I had best e'en keep where I am. It is with Iustice (said I) as with sick men; In time past, when we had fewer Doctors (as well of Law as of Physick) we had more Right, and more Health: but we are now destroy'd by Multitudes, and Consultations, which serve to no Other end than to enflame both the Distemper, and the Reckoning. Iustice, as well as Truth, went naked, In the Dayes of Old; One single Book of Laws and Ordinances, was enough for the best Order'd Governments in the world. But the Iustice of our Age, is trickt up with Bills, Parchments, Writs, and Labels; and furnish't with Millions of Codes, Digests, Pandects, Page 64 Pleadings, and Reports; And what's their use, but to make wrangling a Sci∣ence? and to Embroil us in seditions, Suits, and Endless Trouble and Confu∣sion. We have had more books pub∣lish't this last Twenty years, than in a Thousand before, and there hardly passes a Term without a New Author, in four or five Volumes at least under the Titles of Glosses, Commentaries, Ca∣ses, Iudgments, &c. And the great strife is, who writes Most, not Best; so that the whole Bulk, is but a Body with∣out a Soul, and fitter for a Church-yard than a Study. To say the Truth, These Lawyers and Sollicitors, are but so ma∣ny Smoak-Merchants; Sellers of Wind, and Troublers of the Publick Peace. If there were no Atturneys, there would be no Suits; if no Suits, No Cheats, No Serjeants; No Catchpoles, No Prisons; If no Prisons, no Iudges; No Iudges, No Passion; No Passion, No Bribery or Subornation.
See now what a Train of Mischiefs one wretched Pettyfogger draws after him! If you go to him for Counsel, he hears your Story, Reads your Case, Page 65 and tells you very gravely: Sir, This is a Nice point, and would be well hand∣led; Wee'l see what the Law says. And then he runs ye over with his Eye and Finger, a matter of a Hundred Volums, grumbling all the while, like a Cat that Claws in her Play 'twixt jest and Earn∣est. At last, down comes the Book, he shews ye the Law, bids ye leave your Papers, and hee'l study the Question. But your Cause is very good (sayes he) by what I see already, and if you'l come again in the Evening, or to mor∣row morning, I'le tell ye more. But pardon me, Sir, now I think on't, I am so full of Business at present, It cannot be till Munday Next, and then I'm for ye. When ye are to part, and that you come to the Greasing of his Fift; (The best Thing in the World both for the Wit, and Memory) Good Lord! Sir (says he) what do ye Mean? I beseech you Sir; Nay, pray'e Sir, and if he spyes you drawing back, the Paw opens, sei∣zes the Guinneys, and Good morrow Country man; sayst thou me so? (quoth the good Fellow in the Glas) stop me up close again as thou lov'st me then: Page 66 for the very Air of these Rascals will poyson me, if ever I put my Head out of this Bottle, till the whole Race of them be extinct. In the mean time, take this for a Rule. He that would thrive by Law, must fee his Enemies Counsel as well as his own.
But now ye talk of great Cheats; what News of the Venetians? Is Ve∣nice yet in the World or no? In the World do ye say? Yes, marry Is't (said I) and stands just where it did. Why then (quoth He) I prethee give it to the Devil from me as a Token of my Love; for 'tis a Present equal to the severest Revenge. Nothing can ever destroy that Republick but Consci∣ence; and then you'l say 'tis like to be Long-liv'd; for if every man had his own, it would not be left worth a Groat. To speak freely, 'tis an od kind of Common-wealth. 'Tis the very Arse∣gut, the Drain and Sink of Monarchies, both in War and Peace. It helps the Turk to Vex the Christians, and the Christians to Gall the Turk, and main∣tains it self to torment Both. The In∣habitants are neither Mores nor Christi∣ans,Page 67 as appears by a Venetian Captain, in a Combat against a Christian Enemy: Stand to't my Masters (says he) Ye were Venetians before ye were Christians.
Enough enough, of This, cry'd the Necromancer, and tell me, how stand the people affected? what Malecontents and Mutiners? Mutiny (said I) is so Univer∣sal a Disease, that every Kingdom is (in Effect) but a Great Hospital, or ra∣ther a Bedlam (for all men are mad) to entertain the Disaffected. There's no stirring for me then (quoth the Necro∣mancer) but pray'e commend me how∣ever to those busy Fools, and tell them, that carry what Face they will, there's Vanity and Ambition in the Pad. Kings and Princes have in •heir Nature much of Quick silver. They are in perpetual Agitation, and without any Repose Press them too hard, (that is to say be∣yond the Bounds of Duty and Reason) and they are lost. Ye may observe, that your Guilders, and great Dealers in Quick-silver, are generally troubled with the Palsy; and so should all Sub∣jects Tremble that have to do with Majesty, and better to do it at first, out Page 68 of Respect, then afterward, upon Force and Necessity.
But before I fall to pieces again, as you saw me e'en now (for better so than worse) I beseech ye, One word more, and it shall be my Last. Who's King of Spain now? You know (said I) that Phillip the 3d. is Dead: Right (quoth he) A Prince of Incomparable Piety, and Vertue (or my stars deceive me) After him, (said I) came Philip the 4th. If it be so (quoth he) Break, break my Bottle immediately, and help me out; for I am resolv'd to try my Fortune in the world once again, under the Reign of that Glorious Prince. And with that word, he dash't the Glass to pieces against a Rock, crept out of his Case and away he ran. I had a good mind to have kept him Company; but as I was just about to start, Let him go, let him go, cry'd one of the Dead; (and laid hold of my Arm) He has Devil∣lish Heeles, and you'l never overtake him.
So I staid, and what should I see next? but a wondrous Old Man, whose Name might have been Bucephalus by his Head,Page 69 and the Hair on his Face might very well have stuff'd a Couple of Cushions: take him together, and you'l find his Picture in the Map, among the Savages. I need not tell ye that I stared upon him sufficiently; and he taking notice of it, came to me, and told me; Friend (says he) My Spirit tells me that you are now in Pain to know who I am; Understand, that my Name is Nostrada∣mus. Are you the Author then (quoth I) of that Gallimaufry of Prophecyes that's publish't in your Name? Galli∣maufry say'st thou? Impudent and Bar∣barous Rascal that thou art; to despise Misteries, that are above thy Reach, and to Revile the Secretary of the Stars, and the Interpreter of the Destinyes; Who is so Brutal as to doubt the Mean∣ing of these Lines?
Reprobated and besotted Villains that ye are! what greater blessing Page 70 could betide the world, then the Ac∣complishment of this Prophecy? would it not Establish Justice and Ho∣lyness, and suppress all the vile suggesti∣ons, and motions of the Devil? Men would not then any longer set their Hearts upon Avarice, Cozening and Ex∣tortion; and make Money their God; That Vagabond Money, that's perpe∣tually trotting up and down like a wan∣dring whore, and takes up most com∣monly with the unworthy, leaving the Philosophers and Prophets, which are the very Oracles of the Heavens (such as Nostradamus) to go barefoot. But let's go on with our Prophecyes, and see if they be so frivolous and dark, as the world reports them.
This gave me such a Fit of Laughing, that it made me cast my nose up into the Page 71 Air, like a Stone-horse that had got a Mare in the Wind: Which put the Astrologer out of all Patience. Buffon, and Dog-whelp, as ye are (quoth he) There's a Bone for you to pick; you must be snarling and snapping at every thing. Will your Teeth serve ye now to fetch out the Marrow of this Pro∣phecy? Hear then in the Devils name, and be Mannerly. Hear, and Learn I say, and let's have no more of that Grin∣ning, unless ye have a mind to leave your Beard behind he. Do you ima∣gine that all that are Marry'd, Marry? No, not the one half of them. When you are Marry'd, the Priest has done his part; but after that, to Marry, is to do the Duty of a Husband. Alack! How many Marry'd men live as if they were single; and how many Batchelors on the other side, as if they were Marry'd! after the Mode of the Times. And Wedlock, to divers Couples, is no other than a more sociable state of Virginity. Here's one half of my Prophecy ex∣pounded already, now for the Rest. Let me see you run a little for Experi∣ment, and try if you carry your El∣bows Page 72 before or behind. You'l tell me perhaps, that this is ridiculous, because every body knows it. A pleasant shift: As if Truth were the worse for being Plain. The things indeed that you de∣liver for Truths, are for the most part meer Fooleries and Mistakes; and it were a hard matter to put Truth in such a Dress as would please ye. What have ye to say now, either against my Pro∣phecy or my Argument? not a Sylla∣ble I warrant ye, and yet somewhat there is to be said, for There's no Rule without an Exception. Does not the Physician carry his Elbow before him, when he puts back his hand to take his Patients Money? And away he's gone in a Trice, so soon as He has made his Purchase. But to proceed, here's ano∣ther of my Prophecies for ye,
What say ye to this now? are there not many Husbands do ye think (if the Truth were known) that father more Page 73 Children than their own? Believe me (Friend) A man had need have good security upon a Womans Belly, for Chil∣dren are commonly made in the Dark, and 'tis no easie matter to know the Workman, especially having nothing but the woman's bare word for't. This is meant of the Court of Assistance; And whoever Interprets my Prophe∣sies to the Prejudice of any Person of Honour, abuses me. You little think what a world of our Gay folks in their Coaches and six, with Lacquies at their Heels by the Dozens, will be found at the last Day, to be only the Bastards of some Pages, Gentlemen-Vshers, or Valets de Chambre of the Family; nay per∣chance the Physician may have had his hand in the wrong Box, and in case of necessity, good Use has been made of a Lusty Coachman. Little do you think (I say) how many Noble Families upon that Grand Discovery, will be found Extinct for want of Issue.
I am now convinc'd (said I to the Mathematician) of the Excellency of your Predictions; and I perceive (since you have been pleas'd to be your own Page 74 Interpreter) that they have more weight in them, than we were aware of. Ye shall have one more (quoth he) and I have done.
I dare say that your wit will serve ye now to Imagine, that I'm talking of Rooks and Iack-daws; but I say, No. I speak of Lawyers, Attorneys, Clerks, Scriveners, and their Fellows, that with the Dash of a Pen, can defeat their Cli∣ents of their Estates, and flye away with them when they have done.
Upon these words Nostradamus Va∣nisht, and some body plucking me be∣hind, I turn'd my face upon the most meager, melancholick Wretch that ever was seen, and cover'd all in white. For pitty's sake (says he) and as you are a good Christian, do but deliver me from the Persecution of these Impertinents and Bablers that are now tormenting me, and I'l be your Slave for ever (casting himself at my Feet in the same Page 75 Moment, and crying like a Child.) And what art thou (quoth I) for a misera∣ble Creature? I am (says he) an Anci∣ent, and an Honest man, although de∣fam'd with a thousand Reproches and Slanders: And in fine, some call me Another, and others Some-body, and doubtless ye cannot but have heard of me. As Some-body says, cryes one, that has nothing to say for himself; and yet till this Instant, I never so much as open'd my mouth. The Latines call me Quidam, and make good use of me to fill up Lines, and stop Gaps. When you go back again into the World, I pray'e do me the Favour to own that you have seen me, and to justifie me for one that never did, and never will either speak or write any thing, whatever some Tatling Ideots may pretend. When they bring me into Quarrels and Brawles, I am call'd forsooth, A certain Person: In their Intrigues, I know not who: and in the Pulpit, A certain Au∣thor: and all this, to make a Mystery of my Name, and lay all their Foole∣ries at my Door. Wherefore I beseech ye help me; which I promis'd to do. Page 76 And so this Vision withdrew to make Place for another,
And That was the most frightful piece of Antiquity that ever Eye beheld in the shape of an Old Woman. She came nodding tow•rds me, and in a Hollow, Ratling Tone (for she spoke more with her Chops, than her Tongue) Pray'e (says she) •s there not some bo∣dy come lately hither from the other World? This Apparition, thought I, is undoubtedly one of the Devils Scare-Crows. Her Eyes were so sunk in their Sockets, that they lookt like a pair of Dice in the bottom of a couple of Red-boxes. Her Cheeks and the Soles of her Feet, were of the same Complexion. Her mouth was pale, and open too; the bet∣ter to receive the Distillations of her Nose. Her Chin was cover'd with a kind of Goose-Down, as Toothless as a Lam∣prey; and the Flaps of her Cheeks were like an Apes Bags; Her Head danc'd, and her Voice at every word kept time to't. Her Body was vail'd, or rather wrapt up in a shroud of Cre'pe. She had a Crutch in one hand, which serv'd her for a Supporter; and a Rosary in Page 77 t'other, of such a length, that as she stood stooping over it, a man would have thought she had been fishing for Deaths Heads. When I had done ga∣ping upon This Epitome of past-ages; Hola! Grannum (quoth I, good lustily in her Ear, taking for granted that she was deaf) what's your Pleasure with me? with that she gave a Grunt and being much in wrath to be called Gran∣num, clapt a fair pair of Spectacles up∣on her Nose, and pinking through them; I am, quoth she, neither Deaf, nor Gran∣num; but may be called by my Name as well as my Neighbours (giving to un∣derstand, that Women will take it ill to be called Old, even in their very Graves. As she spake, she came still neerer me, with her Eyes drop∣ping, and the smell about her perfect∣ly of a Dead Body. I beg'd her Par∣don for what was past, and for the future her Name, that I might be sure to keep my self within the Bounds of Respect. I am call'd (sayes she) Doüegna, or Ma∣dam the Gouvernante. How's that? quoth I, in a great Amazement. Have ye any of those Cattle in this Country? Page 78 Let the Inhabitants pray heartily▪ for Peace then; and all little enough to keep them quiet. But to see my mi∣stake now. I thought the Women had dyed, when they came to be Gouver∣nantes, and that for the punishment of a wicked World, the Gouver∣nantes had been Immortal. But I am now better inform'd, and very glad truly to meet with a Person I have heard so much talk of. For with us, Who but Madam the Gouvernante, at every turn? Do ye see that Mumping Hag, cryes One? Come here ye Damn'd Iade cryes Another. That Old Bawd, sayes a Third, has forgotten, I warrant ye, that ever she was a Whore, and now see if we do not remember ye: You do so, and I'm in your debt for your Remem∣brance, The Great Devil be your Pay-masters, ye Son of a Whore, you; Are there no more Gouvernantes than my self? Sure there are, and ye may have your Choice, without Affronting me. Well, Well, (said I) have a little Pati∣ence, and at my Return, I'l try if I can put things in better Order. But in the mean time, what business have you Page 79 here? her Reverence upon this was a little Qualified, and told me, that she had now been eight hundred years in Hell, upon a Design to erect an Order of the Gouvernantes; but the right Worshipful the Devil-Commissioners, are not as yet come to any Re•olution upon the Point. For say they, if your Gou∣vernantes should come once to settle here, there would need no other Tor∣mentors, and we should be but so many Iacks out of Office. And besides, we should be perpetually at Daggers draw∣ing about the Brands and Candles-Ends which they would still be filching, and laying out of the way; and for us to have our Fewel to seek, would be very Inconvenient. I have been in Purgatory too (she said) u•on the same Project, but there so soon as ever they set eye on me, all the Souls cry'd out Unani∣mously, Libera Nos, &c. As for Heaven That's no place for Quarrels, Slanders, Disquiets, Heart-burnings, and conse∣quently None for Me. The Dea•〈◊〉 none of my Friends neither, 〈…〉 grumble, and bid me let 〈…〉 as they do me; and beg 〈…〉Page 80 world again if I please, and there (they tell me) I may play the Gouvernante in saecula saeculorum. But truly I had ra∣ther be here at my Ease, than spend my Life crumpling, and brooding over a Carpet at a bed-side, like a thing of Clouts, to secure the Poultry of the Fa∣mily from strange Cocks, which would now and then have a Brush with a Vir∣gin Pullet, but for the Care of the Gou∣vernantes. And yet 'tis she, good wo∣man, beares all the blame, in Case of any Miscarriage: The Gouvernante was presently of the Plot, she had a Feeling in the Cause, a Finger in the Pye. And 'tis she in fine that must answer for all. Let but a Sock, and old Handkercher, the Greasy Li∣ning of a Masque, or any such Frippery piece of business be missing; Ask the Gouvernante for This, or for That. And in short, they take us certainly for so many Storks, and Ducks, to gather up 〈◊〉 the filth about the house. The 〈…〉 look upon us as Spyes and〈…〉Cousin forsooth, and 'tothers 〈…〉 not come to the house, for 〈…〉•ouvernante. And indeed I Page 81 have made many of them Cross them∣selves, that took me for a Ghost. Our Ma∣sters they curse us too, for Embroyling the Family. So that I have rather Chosen to take up here, betwixt the Dead and the Living, than to return again to my Charge of a Doüegna, the very sound of the Name being more Terrible than a Gibbet. As appears by one that was lately Travailing from Madrid, to Vailladolid, and asking where he might lodge that night. Answer was made at a small Village call'd Doüegnas. But is there no other place (quoth he) within some reasonable Distance, either short or beyond it. They told him no, un∣less it were at a Gallows. That shall be my Quarter then (quoth he) for a thou∣sand Gibbets are not so bad to me as one Doüegnas. Now ye see how we are abus'd (quoth the Gouvernante) I hope you'l do us some Right, when it lyes in your Power.
She would have talk't me to Death, if I had not given her the slip upon the removing of her Spectacles; but I could not scape so neither, for looking about me for a Guide to carry me home Page 82 again, I was arrested by one of the Dead; a good proper Fellow, only he had a pair of Rams-horns on his head, and I was about to salute him for Aries in the Zodiac: but when I saw him plant himself, just before me, with his best Leg forward, stretching out his Arms, Clutching his Fists, and looking as Soure as if He would have Eaten me without Mustard; Doubtless, (said I) the Devil is Dead and This is He. No, No, cry'd a by-stander, This is a man: Why then (sayd I) he's Drunk, I per∣ceive, and Quarrelsome in his Ale, for here's no body has touched him. With that as he was just ready to fall on, I stood to my Guard, and we were arm'd at all points alike, only he had the Ods of the Head-piece. Now, Sirrah, (says he) have at ye, slave that you are to make a Trade of Defaming Persons of Honour. By the Death that Com∣mands here, I'l ha' my Revenge, and turn your skin over your Ears: This In∣solent Language stir'd my Choler I confess, and so I call'd to him; Come, come on, Sirrah; A little neerer yet, and if ye have a mind to be twice kill'd, Page 83 I'l do your business; who the Devil brought this Cornuto hither to trouble me? The word was no sooner out, but we were immediately at it, Tooth and Nail, and if his Horns had not been flatted to his head, I might have had the worst on't. But the whole Ring pre∣sently came in to part us, and did me a singular kindness in't, for my Adversary had a Fork, and I had none. As they were staving and Tayling, you might have had more manners (cry'd one) than to give such Language to your Bet∣ters, and to call Don Diego Moreno, Cuckold. And is this That Diego Moreno then, said I,? Rascal that he is to charge me with abusing persons of Honour. A Scoundrel (said I) that 'tis a shame for Death to be seen in's Company, and was never fit for any thing in his whole life, but to furnish matter for a Farce. And that's my Grievance, Gentlemen, (quoth Don Diego) for which with your Leave he shall give me satisfaction. I do not stand upon the matter of being a Cuckold, for there's many a Brave fel∣low lives in Cuckolds-Row. But why does he not name others, as well as Page 84 me? As if the Horn grew upon no bo∣dies head but mine: I'm sure there are Others that a Thousand times bet∣ter deserve it. I hope, he cannot say that ever I gor'd any of my Superiors; or that my being Cornuted has rais'd the Price of Post-horns, Lanthorns, or Pocket-Ink-horns. Are not shooing-horns, and Knife-handles as cheap now as ever? Why must I walk the stage then more than my Neighbours? Beyond question there never liv'd a more peace∣able Wretch upon the face of the Earth, all things consider'd, than my self. Ne∣ver was man freer from Ielousy, or more careful to step aside at the Time of Vi∣sit: for I was ever against the spoiling of sport, when I could make None my self. I confess I was not so charitable to the poor as I might have been; The truth of't is, I watcht them as a Cat would do a Mouse, for I did not love them. But then in Requital, I could have out-snorted the seven sleepers, when any of the better sort came to have a word in private with my Wife. The short on't is, We agreed blessedly well together, she and I; for I did what∣ever Page 85 she would have me: and she would say a Thousand and a Thousand times: Long live my poor Diego, the best Condi∣tion'd, the most complaisant Husband in the World; whatever I do is well done, and he never so much as opens his mouth Good or Bad. But by her leave that was little to my Credit, and the Jade when she said it, was beside the Cushi∣on. For many and many a Time have I said, This is Well, and That's Ill. When there came any Poets to our house, Fid∣lers or Morrice-Dancers, I would say, This is not well. But when the Rich Merchants came; Oh very good, would I say, This is as well, as well can be. Sometime we had the hap to be visited by some Pennyless Courtier, or Low-Country Officer perchance; then should I take her aside, and Rattle her to some Tune: Sweetheart, would I say, Pray'e what ha' we to do with these Frippery Fellows, and Damme Boyes, shake them off, I'd advise ye, and take this for a warning. But when any came that had to do with the Mint, or Chequer, and spent freely, (for lightly come, lightly go) I marry, my Dear (quoth I) there's Page 86 nothing to be lost by keeping such Com∣pany. And what hurt in all this now? Nay, on the Contrary, my poor Wife enjoy'd her self happily under the Pro∣tection of my shadow, and being a Femme Couverte, not an Officer durst come neer her. Why should then this Buffon of a Poetaster make me still the Ridicu∣lous Entertainment of all his Interludes and Farces, and the Fool in the Play? By your Favour (quoth I) we are not yet upon even terms; And before we part, you shall know what 'tis to pro∣voke a Poet. If thou wert but now alive, I'd write the to Death, as Archi∣locus did Lycambes. And I'm resolv'd to put the History of thy life in a Satyre, as sharp as Vinegar, and give it the Name of The Life and Death of Don Diego Moreno; It shall go hard, (quoth he) but I'l prevent That, and so We fell to't again, Hand and Foot, till at length the very Fancy of a Scuffle wak'd me, and I found my self as weary, as if it had been a Real Combat. I began then to reflect upon the Particulars of my Dream, and to Consider what Ad∣vantage Page 87 I might draw from it: for the Dead are past fooling, and Those are the soundest Counsels, which we receive from such as advise us without either Passion or Interest.