The visions of dom Francisco de Quevedo Villegas, knight of the Order of St. James made English by R.L.
Quevedo, Francisco de, 1580-1645., L'Estrange, Roger, Sir, 1616-1704.
Page  113


ABout four a Clock, in a Cold Frosty Morning, when it was much better being in a Warm Bed, with a good Bedfellow, then upon a Biere in the Church-Yard; as I lay ad∣vising with my Pillow, Tumbling and Tossing a Thousand Love-Toyes in my Head, I past from one Phansy to ano∣ther, till at last, I fll into a slumber; and there appear'd the Genius of Dis∣abuse; Laying before me all the Follies, and Vanities of Love; and supporting her Opinions, with great Authorities, and Reasons. I was carry'd then (me∣thought I knew not how) into a fair Medow: A Medow, pleasant and agreeable infinitely beyond the very Fictions of your half-witted Poets, Page  114 with all their far-fetch't Gildings, and Enamellings (for a Paper of Verses is worth nothing with them, unless they force Nature for't, and Riffle both the Indies. This Delicious Field was wa∣ter'd with two Riv'lets; the One, Bitter; the Other, Sweet; and yet they ming∣led their streams with a pretty kind of Murmur, Equal perhaps to the best Mu∣sick in the World. The use of these Waters was, (as I observ'd) to temper the Darts of Love; for while I was up∣on the Prospect of the Place, I saw several of Cupid's little Officers, and sub∣jects, dipping of Arrows there, for their Entertainment, and Ease. Upon this, I Phansy'd my self in one of the Gar∣dens of Cyprus, and that I saw the very Hive, where the Bee liv'd, that stung my Young Master, and occasion'd that Ex∣cellent Ode which Anacreon has writ∣ten upon the Subject. The next thing I cast my Eye upon, was a Palace, in the Mid'st of the Medow; a rare piece, as well for the Structure, as Design. The Porches, were of the Doric Order, excel∣lently wrought; And the Pedestals, Bases, Columns, Cornishes, Capitals, Ar∣chitraves, Page  115 Freezes (and in short the whole Front of the Fabrick) was Beauti∣fied with Imaginary Trophies, and Tri∣umphs of Love, in Half Relief, which as they were intermixt with other Phantastick works and Conceits, car∣ry'd the face of several little Histories, and gave a great Ornament to the Build∣ing. Over the Porch, there was in Gol∣den Letters, upon black Marble, This Inscription.

This is call'd Fools Paradise,
From the Loving Fools that dwell in't,
Where the great Fools rule the Less,
The Rest Obey, and all do well in't.

The Finishing, and Materials were pleasant to Admiration. The Portal, spacious; the Doors, always open, and the House free to all Comers, which were very many; the Porter's place was supply'd by a Woman; Exquisitely handsome, both for Face and Person; Tall; Delicately shap'd, and set off with great Advantages of Dress, and Iewells. She was made up in fine, of Charmes, and her Name (as I understood) was Page  116Beauty. She would let any man in to see the House for a Look; and that was all I paid for my Passage. In the first Court, I found a many of Both Sexes, but so alter'd in habit, and Counte∣nance, that they could scarce know one another. They were sad, Pensive; and their Complexions teinted with a yel∣low Paleness (which Ovid calls Cupid's Livery) There was no talk of being True to Friends; Loyal to Superiors; and Dutiful to Parents: But Kinred did the Office of Procurers; and Procurers were call'd Cousins. Wives lov'd their Hus∣bands She-Friends, and Husbands did as much for Them, in loving their Gal∣lants.

While I was upon the Contempla∣tion of these Encounters of Affection, their appear'd a strange Extravagant figure, but in the likeness of a Humane Creature. It was neither perfectly Man, nor perfectly Woman, but had indeed a Resemblance of Both. This Person I perceiv'd was Ever busy, up and down, going and coming; beset all over with Eyes and Ears, and had one of the Craftiest distrustful Lookes (me∣thought) Page  117 that ever I saw. And withal (as I observ'd) no small Authority in the Place, which made me enquire after this Creature's Name, and Office. My Name (quoth she) for now it prov'd to be a Woman) is Ielousy, and methinks, you and I should be better acquainted, for how come you here else? However, for your satisfaction; you are to un∣derstand that the greater part of the Distemper'd people you see here, are of my bringing; and yet I am not their Physician, but their Tormentor; and serve only to aggravate, and Embitter their Misfortunes. If you would know any thing further of the House, never ask me, for 'tis Forty to One I shall tell you a Lye; I have not told you half the Truth even of my self; and to deal plainly with you, I am made up of In∣ventions, Artifice, and Imposture: But the Good Old man that walks there, is the Major Domo, and will tll you all, if you will but bear with his slow way of Discourse.

Thereupon I went to the Good Man, whom I knew presently to be Time: and desir'd him o let me look into the se∣veral Page  118 Quarters and Lodgings of the House, for there were some Fools of my Acquaintance there I'd fain Visit; He told me that he was at present so busie about making of Candles, Cock∣broths, and Gellies for his Patients, that he could not stir; but yet he directed me where I might find all those I inqui∣red for, and gave me the freedom of the House to walk at pleasure.

I past out of the First Court, into the Maids-Quarter, which was the very strongest part of the whole Building; and so't had need; for divers of the Young Wenches were so Extravagant and Furious, that no other place would have held them. (The Wives and Wid∣dows were in another Room apart.) Here ye should have One, sobbing and raging with Ielousie of a Rival. There Another, Stark mad for a Husband; and inwardly bleeding because she durst not discover it. A Third was writing of Letters all Riddle and Mystery, Mending and Marring, till at last the Paper had more blots than whole words in it. Some were practising in the Glass the Graci∣ous Smile, the Rowle of the Eye, the Vel∣vet Page  119 Lip, &c. Others again were in a Diet of Oatmeal, Clay, Chalk, Cole, Hard Wax, and the like. Some were condi∣tioning with their Servants for a Ball, or a Serenade, that the whole Town might ring of the Address. Yes, yes, they cry'd, You can go to the Park with This Lady, and to a Play with That Lady, and to Banstead with T'other Lady, and spend whole Nights at Beste or Ombre with my Lady Pen-Tweezel; but by my Troth, I think you are asham'd to be seen in my Company. Some I saw upon the very point of Sealing and Delivering. I am Thine (crys one) and Thine Alone, or let all the Devils in Hell, &c. But be sure you be Constant. If I he not (says he) let my Soul, &c. and the silly Jade believes him. In one Corner ye should have them praying for Husbands, that they might the better love at Randome: In another, nothing would please them but to be Marry'd-Mens Wives, and this Dis∣ease was lookt upon as a little Despe∣rate. Some again stood ready furnisht with Love-Letters and Tickets to be cast out at the Window, or thrust under the Door, and These were lookt upon not only as Fools but Beasts.

Page  120I had seen as much already as I de∣sir'd, for I had learnt of Old, that He that keeps such Company, seldom comes off without a scratcht face: but if he misses a Mistress, he gets a Wife, and stands condemn'd to a Repentance du∣ring Life, without Redemption, unless One of the Two dies. For Women in the Case are worse than Pyrats; a Gally-Slave may compound for his Freedom, but there's no thought of Ransom in Case of Wedlock. I had a good mind to a little Chat with some of them, but (thought I) they'l Phancy I'm in Love wih them. And so I e'en march'd off into the Marry'd Quarter.

Where there was such Ranting, Damning, and Tearing, as if Hell had been broke los. And what was all This? but a number of women that had been lockt up and shackl'd by their Husbands, to keep them in Obedience, and had now broken their Prisons, and their Chains, and were grown ten times madder than before. Some I saw Cares∣sing and Cokesing their Husbands, in the very moment they design'd to betray them. Others were picking their Husbands Page  121 Pockets to pay now and then for a By-Blow. Some again were upon a Reli∣gious point, and all upon the Humour (for∣sooth) of Pilgrimages and Lectures; when alas! they had no other business with the Altars or Churches, than a Sacrifice to Venus, or a Love-meeting. Divers there were that went to the Bath; but Ba∣thing was the least part of their Errand. Others to Confession, that mistook their Martyr for their Confessor: Some to be reveng'd of Ielous Husbands, were re∣solving to do the thing they fear'd; and pay them in their Coin. Others were for making sure afore-hand by way of Advance; for that's the Revenge, they say, that's as sweet as Muscadine and Eggs. One was Melancholy for a Delay; Another for a Defeat; a Third is pre∣paring to make her Market at a Play. There was One among the rest, was ne∣ver out of her Coach; and asking her the Reason, she told me, she lov'd o be olted. In this Crowd of Women, you mut know that there were no Wives of Embassadors, Souldiers, or Merchants that were abroad upon Commission; fr such were consider'd in effect as single Page  122 Women, and not allow'd as members of this Commonwealth.

The next Quarter was that of the Grave and Wise; the Right Reverend Widdows; Women in appearance of Marvelous severity and reserve, and yet every One of them had her weak side, and ye might read her Folly and Distem∣per through her Disguise. One of them I saw crying with one Eye for the loss of one Husband, and laughing with t'other upon him that was to come next. Ano∣ther, with the Ephesian Matron, was ma∣king the best of a bad Game, and solacing her self with her Gallant, before her Husband was thorough cold in the mouth; considering, that he that dy'd half an hour ago, is as dead as William the Conqueror. There were several others passing to and again, quite out of their mourning, that lookt so de∣murely (I warrant ye) as if Butter would not have melted in their mouths, and yet Apostate Widdows (as I was told) and there they were kept as strictly, as if they had been in the Spanish Inquisi∣tion. Some were laying wagers, whose mourning was most a-la-mode, and best Page  123 made; or whose Peak or Veil became her Best: and setting themselves off with a Thousand tricks of Ornament and Dress. The Widdows I observ'd that were marching off, with the marque out of their mouths, were hugely concern'd to be thought Young, and still talking of Masques, Balls, Fiddles, Treats; Chant∣ing and Iigging to every tune they heard, and all upon the Hoyty-Toyty like mad wenches of fifteen. The Younger, on the other side, made use of their time and took pleasure while 'twas to be had. There were too of the Religious strain; a people much at their Beads, and in private; and These were there in the Quality of Love-Hereticks, or Pla∣tonicks, and under the Penance of perpe∣tual Abstinence from the Flesh they lov'd best (which is the most Mortifying Lent of all Other) Some, that had skill in Perspective, were before the Glass with their Boxes of Patch and Paint about them; Shadowing, Drawing out, Re∣freshing, and in short, Covering and Pal∣liating, all the Imperfections of Feature and Complexion, every one after her own Humour. Now these women were Page  124 absolutely insufferable, for they were most of them Old and Head-strong, ha∣ving got the better of their Husbands, so that they would be taking upon them to domineer here, as they had done at home; and indeed, they found the Master of the College enough to do.

When I had tyr'd my self with this Variety of Folly and Madness, I went to the Devotes; where I found a great many women and girles that had Cloy∣stered up themselves from the Conver∣sation of the World; and yet were not a jot soberer than their Fellows. These one would have thought might have been easily cur'd, but many of them were in for their Lives, in despight of Either Counsel or Physick. The Room where they were was Barricado'd with strong Bars of Iron; and yet when the Toy took them, They'd make now and then a Sally: for when the Fit was up∣on them, they'd own no Superior but Love, come what would on't in the Event. The greater part of these good People, were writing of Tickets and Dispatches, which had still the sign of the Cross at the Top, and Satan at the Page  125Bottom, concluding with This, or some such Postscript; I commend this Paper to your Discretion. The Fools of This Pro∣vince would be Twatling Night and Day; and if it happen'd that any one of them had talkt her self a weary, (which was very rare) she would presently take up∣on her very gravely to admonish the Rest, and read a Lecture of Silence to the Company. There were some that for want of better Entertainment fell in Love with one another; but these were lookt upon as a sort of Fops and Ninnys, and therefore the more favou∣rably us'd; but they'd have been of another mind, if they had known the Cause of their Distemper.

The Root of all these several Extra∣vagancies was Idleness, which (accord∣ing to Petrarch's Observation) never fails to make way for wantonness. There was One among the Rest, that had more Letters of Exchange upon the Credit of her insatiable desires, than a whole Regiment of Banquiers. Some of them were sick of their Old Visiter, and call'd for a Fresh∣man. Others, by Intervals, I perceiv'd had their wits about them, and con∣tented Page  126 themselves discreetly with the Physician of the House. In short, It e'en pity'd my heart to see so many poor people in so sad a Condition, and with∣out any hope of Relief, as I gather'd from him that had them in care: for they were still Puddering and Royling their Bodies; and if they got a little Ease for the present, they'd be down again, as soon as they had taken their Medicine.

From thence, I went to the single women (such as made Profession never to marry) which were the least Outra∣gious, and discompos'd of all; for they had a thousand wayes to Lay the Devil as well as to Raise him. Some of them liv'd like common High-way men, by Robbing Peter to Pay Paul; and strip∣ping honest men to cloth Rascals, which is (under favour) but a lewd kind of Charity. Others there were, that were absolutely out of their seven senses, and as Mad as March-Hares for This Wit, and t'other Poet; that never fail'd to pay them again in Rimes, and Madri∣gals, with Ruby Lips; Pearly Teeth: so that to read their Veres, a man would Page  127 swear the whole woman to be directly Petrify'd.

Of Saphir fair, or Chrystal cleer,
Is the Forehead of my Dear, &c.

I saw One in Consultation with a Cunning man to know her Fortune; Another, dealing with a Conjurer for a Philtre, or Drink to make her Be∣lov'd. A Third was dawbing and patch∣ing up an Old ruin'd-Face, to make it fresh and young again: but she might as well have been washing of a Black∣moor to make him White. In fine, a world there were, that with their borrow'd Hair, Teeth, Eyes, Eye-Brows, look't like fine folks at a Distance, but would have been left as Ridiculous, as AEsop's Crow, if every Bird had fetch't away his own Feather. 'Deliver me (thought I, smiling and shaking my head) if This be Woman.

And so I step't into the Men's Quar∣ter which was but next door, and only a Thick Wall between. Their great Mi∣sery was that they were deaf to good ad∣vice, obstinately hating, and despisingPage  128 both Physick, and Physician: for if they would have either quitted, or chang'd, they might have been cured. But they chose rather to dye, and though they saw their Errour, would not mend it. Which minded me of the Old Rime:

Where Love's in the Case,
The Doctor's an Ass.

These Fools-male were all in the same Chamber; and one might per∣fectly read their Humour, and Distemper, in their Looks and Gestures. Oh! how many a gay Lad did I see there, in his Poynt Band, and Embroyder'd Vest, that had not a whole Shirt to his Back! How many Huffes and Highboyes, that had no∣thing else in their Mouths, but the Lives and Fortunes they'd spend in their sweet Ladies service! that would yet have run five miles on your Errand, to have been treated but at a Three-penny Ordinary? How many a poor Devil that wanted Bread, and was yet troubled with the Re∣bellion of the Flesh! Some there were, that spent much time in setting their Page  129Perruques, Ordering the Mustache, and dressing up the very face of Lucifer himself for a Beauty: (The Woman's Privilege, and in truth an Encroch∣ment, to their prejudice) There were Others, that made it their Glory to pass for Hectors; Sons of Priam; Brothers of the Blade; and Talk't of nothing but Attacques, Combats, Reverses, Stra∣mazons, Stoccados: not considering that a Naked Weapon is present Death to a Timerous Woman. Some were taking the Round of their Ladies Lodgings, at Midnight, and went to bed again as wise as they rose. Others fell in Love by Contagion, and meerly conversing with the Infected. Some again went Post from Church to Chappel, every Ho∣ly-day, to hunt for a Mistress; and so turn'd a Day of Rest into a Day of La∣bour. Ye might see others skipping con∣tinually from house to house, like the Knight upon a Chess-bord, without ever catching the (Queen or) Dame. Some, like crafty Beggars made their Case worse then 'twas: And Others though 'twere n'ere so bad, durst not so much as open their Mouths. Really it griev'd me for Page  130 the poor Mutes, and I wish't with all my Heart, their Mistresses had been Witches, that they might have known their Meaning by their Mumping; but they were lost to all Counsel, so that there was no advising them. There was another sort of Elevated, and Conceited Lovers: and These forsooth were not to be satisfy'd without the Seven Libe∣ral Sciences, and the Four Cardinal Ver∣tues, in the shape of a Woman; and their Case was Desperate. The next I ob∣serv'd, were a Generation of Modest Fools, that past there under the Notion of people Diffident of Themselves. They were generally men of good Under∣derstanding, but for the most part Younger Brothers, of low fortunes, and such as for want of wherewithal to go to the Price of higher Amours, were fain to take up with Ordinary Stuffe, that brought them nothing in the End, but Beggery, and Repentance. The Hus∣bands, I perceiv'd, were horribly furi∣ous, although in Manacles, and Shackles. Some of them left their own Wives, and fell upon their Neighbours. Others to keep the good Women in Awe and Obedi∣ence,Page  131 would be taking upon them, and playing the Tyrants, but upon the Up∣shot they found their Mistake, and that though they came on as fierce as Lions, they went off as Tame as Muttons. Some were making Friendships with their Wives She-Cousins: and agreeing upon a Cross-Gossipping whoever should have the first Child.

The Widdowers, that had bit of the Bridl, past from place to place, where they staid more or less, according to their Entertainment, and so were in ef∣fect, as good as marry'd; for as long, or as little a while as Themselves pleas'd. These liv'd single, and spent their time in Visiting, first One Friend, then Ano∣ther. Here they fell in Love; There they kindled a Ielousy, which they con∣tracted Themselves in one place, and cur'd it in another. But the Miracle was, that they all knew, and confest themselves a Company of Mad Fools, and yet continu'd so. Those that had skill in Musick, and could either Sing or Fiddle, made use of their Gifts, to put the silly Wenches that were but half Mop'd before, directly out of their Wits.Page  132 They that were Poetical, were perpe∣tually hammering upon the Subjects of Cruelty, and Disappointment. One tells his Good Fortune to another, that requies him with the story of his Bad. They that had set their Hearts upon Girls, were beating the streets all day, to find what Avenues to a Lady's lodg∣ings at night. Some were tampering and Caressing the Chamber-maid, as the ready way to the Mistress. Others chose rather to put it to the Push, and attempt the Lady Her self. Some were Examining their Pockets, and taking a View of their Furniture; which con∣sisted much in Love-Letters, delicately seal'd up with perfum'd Wax, upon Raw silk; and a Thousand pretty Devices within; All wrap't up in Riddle, and Cipher. Abundance of Hair Bracelets, Lockets, Pomanders, Knots of Ribband, and the like. There were others, that were call'd the Husband's Friends, who were ready upon all Occasions to do This, and to do That Kindness for the Husband. Their Purse, Credit, Coach and Horses, were all at his service: And in the mean time, who but They to Gal∣lantPage  133 the Wife? To the Park, the Gar∣dens, a Treat, or a Comedy: where forty to one, by the Greatest good luck in the World, they stumble upon an Aunt, an old House-Keeper of the Family, or some such Reverend Goer-between, that's a well-willer to the Mathe∣maticks; she takes the hint, performs the Good Office, and the Work is done.

Now there were two sorts of Fools for the Widdows; The one was Belov'd; and the Other not. The latter were con∣tent to be a kind of Voluntary slaves, for the compassing their Ends: but the other, were the Happier; for they were ever at perfect Liberty to do their Pleasure, unless some Friend or Child of the House perchance came in, in the Mischievous Nick, and then in case of a little colour more than Ordinary, or a tumbled Handkercher, 'twas but chang∣ing the Scene and strugling for a paper of Verses or some such business to keep all in Countenance. Some made their A••aults both with Love, and Money, and they seldom fail'd, for they came doubly arm'd; and your Spanish Pistols Page  134 are a sort of Battery hardly to be re∣sisted.

I came now to reflect upon what I had seen, and as I was walking (in that Meditation) toward another lodging, I found my self (ere I was aware) in the first Court again; where I enter'd, and in it I observ'd new Wonders: I saw that the Number of the Mad fools in∣creas'd every moment; Although Time (I perceiv'd) did all that was possible to recover them. There was Ielousy tor∣menting even those that were most con∣fident of the Faith of what they lov'd. There was Memory rubbing of Old sores. There was Vnderstanding, lock't up in a dark Cellar: and Reason with both her Eyes out. I made a little pause, the better to observe these Varieties, and Disgui∣ses. And when I had look't my self a weary, I turn'd about and spy'd a Door; but so Narrow that it was hardly passa∣ble; And yet streight as it was, divers there were that Ingratitude, and Infide∣lity had set at Liberty; and made a shift to get through. Upon which Opportu∣nity of Returning, I made what haste I could to be One of the first at the Page  135 Door, and in that Instant, my Man drew the Curtain of my Bed, and told me, the Morning was far gone. Where∣upon I wak'd, and recollecting my self, found all was but a Dream. The very Phansy however of having spent so much time in the Company of Fools, and Madmen, gave me some Disorder, but with this Comfort, that both sleep∣ing and waking, I had experimented Passionate Love to be nothing else then a meer Phrensy, and Folly.

The end of the fourth Vision.