moste pleasantly compil'd:
In time obscured was and so,
siince that hath been exilde.
Exilde, because perchaunce at first,
Shifts, such as those in such a time,
Abuse? yea sure and that with spight
Fel sure & vaine, if judgement right
Grace? nay sure ungratiousnes,
which may be tolde in these our daies |
to make us laugh also.
Also to laugh? nay rather weep,
Abused? yea, and quite downe cast,
The Cat ful pleasantly wil shew,
Lothe? yea, for over passing greef,
Finde? yea, who can now boste but that
[ p.3 ] (image of pages 2-3)
he would rather doo him self, to have as hee deserveth the glory of bothe: therfore I besech you to learne his minde heerin. And if he agre it pas in such sort : yet that he peruse it before the printing, and amend it if in any point I have mistaken him. I pray you likewise to ask M Ferrers his judgement heerin, and shew him that the cure of the great plague of M Streamers translation out of the Arabique, which he sent me from Margets, shalbe imprinted as soon as I may conveniently. And if I shal perceive by your triall that M. Streamer allow my endevours in this kinde: I wil heer after (as Plato did by socrates) pen out such things of the rest of our Christmas communications as shalbe to his great glory, and no lesse pleasure to all them that desire such kindes of knowledge . in the mean while i beseech you to accept my good wil and learn to beware|
form that i seek : but also please
the almightie who alwayes
Yours to his power. G. B.
[ p.5 ]
thing by them spoken or reasonably doon (which kinde Esope lawdably used) yet it was uncomely (said I) and without example of any authour to bring them in lively parsonages to speake, doo, reason, and allege authorites out of authours. M. Stremer my Lordes Divine, beeing more divine in this point then I was ware of, held the contrary parte, afferming that beasts and foules have reason, and that asmuch as men, yia and in some points more. M. Ferrers him self and his Astronomer, waked with our talke and harkned to us, but would take parte on neither side. And when M. Stremer had for proofe of his assertion declared many things of Elephants that walked uppon cords, Hedghogs that knew alwaies what wether would come.|
Foxes and Dogges that after they had been all night a brode killing Geese and Sheep, would come home in the morning and put their necks into their collers. Parats that bewailed their keepers death. Swalowes that with Sellendine open their yung ones eyes, & an hundred things more which I denyed to come of reason, and to be but naturall kindely actions, alledging for my proof authoritie of moste grave and learned Philosophers. Wel quoth maister Stremer I knowe what I knowe, and I speak not onely what by hearsay of some Philosophers I knowe: but what I my self have prooved. Why? quoth I then, have you proofe of beasts & foweles reason? Yea quoth he I have herd them and understand them bothe speak and reason aswel as I hear and under
stand you. At this M. Ferrers laughed, but I remembring what I had red in Albertus woorks, thought their might be somwhat more then I did knowe, wherfore I asked him what beasts or fowles he had heard, and where and when? At this hee paused awhile, and at last said. If that I thought you could be content to hear me, and without any interruption til I have doon to mark what I say: I would tel you such a story of one peece of myne owne experimenting, as should bothe make you wunder and put you out of dout concerning this matter, but this I promise you a fore if I doo tel it, that assoon as any man curiously interupteth mee: I wil leave of & not speak one woord more. When we had pro-|
him self so in his bed as we
might best heare him,
said as followeth.
[ p.8 ] (image of pages 8-9)
Why All =
was so na=
wil soonest assent that Aluredus builded this, but they are deceived. For he and his wife Algay builded Algate, which therof taketh the name, as Criplegate dooth of a Criple, who begged so much in his life (as put to the Silver wether cock which he stole from Powles steeple) after his death builded it.
But wherof soever this gate Aldergate took the name (which longeth cheefly to historyers to knowe) at my freendes house which (as I said) standeth so neer that it is over it, I lay often times and that for sundry causes. Sometime for lack of other lodging, and somtime as while my Greeke Alphabets were in printing, to see that it might bee truly corrected. And sure it is a shame for all yung men that they be no more studious in the tunges, but the world is now come to that passe, that if hee can prate a little Latin, & handle a Racket and a pair of sixsquare bowles: he shall sooner obtain any living then the best learned in a whole Citie, which is the cause that learning is so dispised, and bagagicall things so much advanced.
While I lay at the forsaid house for the causes aforesaid : I was lodged in a
geth abho =
live by the
|Chamber hard by the Printing house, which had a faire bay window opening in the Garden, the earth wherof is almost as high as S. Annes Church top which standeth therby. At the other end of the Printing house as you enter in, is a side doore and 3 or 4 steps which go up to the Leads of the Gate, wheras somtime quarters of men (which is a lothely & abhominable sight) doo stand up upon Poles. I call it abhominable because it is not only against nature : but against Scripture. For God commanded by Moyses, that after the Sun went down: all such as were hanged or otherwise put to death should be buried, lest if the Sun saw them the next day : his wrath should come upon them and plague them, as he hath doon this and many other Realmes for the like transgression. And I mervel where men have learned it, or for what cause they doo it, except it be to feed & please the Devils. For sure I beleeve that some spirits Misanthropi or Molochitus. who lived by the savour of mans blood did after their sacrifices failed, in whiche men were slaine and offered unto them put into butcherly heathen tirants heds|
to mangle and boile christen transgressors, & to set up their quarters for them to feed upon. And therfore I would counsail all men to bury or burn all executed bodies and refrain from making such abhominable sacrifice, as I have often seen with Ravens or rather devils feeding upon them in this forsaid Leads. In the which every night many Cats assembled, and there made such a noyse that I could not sleep for them.
Wherfore on a time I was sitting by the fire with certain of the house : I told them what a noise & what a wawling the Cats had made there the night before from ten a clock til one, so that neither I could sleep nor study for them. And by menes of this introduction : we fel in communication of Cats. And some affirming as I doo now, (but I was against it then) that they had understanding, for confirmation wherof one of the servants tolde this story.
Ther was in my countrie (quoth he) a man (the fellow was borne in Stafford shire) that had a yung Cat which he had brought up of a kitling & would nightly dally and play with it. And on a time as he rode through Kank wood,
A wise man
may in some
unge his o=
A cat spake
to a man in
ful wit of a
about certain busines, a Cat (as hee thought) leaped out of a bush before him and called him twise or thrise by his name, but because he made none answere, nor spake (for hee was so afraid that hee could not) she spake to him plainly twise or thrise these woords folowing. Commend mee unto Titton Tatton, and to Pus thy Catton, and tel her that Grimmalkin is dead. This doon shee went her way, and the man went forward about his busines. And after that he was returned home, in an evening sitting by the fire with his wife and his housholde: he tolde of his adventure in the wood, and when he had tolde them all the Cats message: his Cat which had harkned unto the tale, looked upon him sadly and at the last said. And is Grimmalkin dead then farewel Dame, & therwith went her way and was never seen after.
When this tale was doon: another of the company which had been in Ireland asked this fellowe when this thing which hee had tolde happned, hee answered that hee could not tel wel, how be it as hee conjectured not past 11 yeeres for his mother knew bothe the man
and the woman which ought the Cat that the message was sent unto.
Sure quoth the other, then it may wel be, for about the same time as I heard a like thing hapned in Ireland where if I conjecture not amisse, Grimalkin of whom you spake, was slain. Yea sir quoth I, I pray you how so ? I wil tel you Maister Streamer (quoth hee) that which was toulde mee in Ireland and which I have til now, so litle credited that I was a shamed to reporte it, but hearing that I heare now, and calling to minde mine owne experience when it was: I doo so litle misdout it, that I think I never tolde, nor you ever heard a more likely tale.
While I was in Ireland in the time that Mackmorro & all the rest of the wilde Lords were the kings enemies what time also mortall warre was between the Filzharises & the Prior and Covent of the Abbay of Tintern, who counted them the Kings freends & subjects, whose neighbour was Cayr Macart a wilde Irish man, then the kings enemy, and one which dayly made inrodes into the countie of Washford, and burned such Townes and caried
slain in Ire=
is an infali=
Civil warre between the
on of the I
|away all such Cattell as hee might come by, by means wherof, all the Cuntrie from Climine to Rosse became a wast wildernes and is scarce recovered until this day. In this time I say, as I was on a night at Coshery with one of Filzberies churles: we fel in talke as we have doon now of straunge adventures and of Cats, and there among other things the Churle (for so they call all Farmers & husband men) told me as you shall heare. There was, not seven yeres past, a Kern of John Butlers dwelling in the Fassock of Bantry called Patrik Apore, who minding to make apray in the night upon Cayer Makart his maisters enemy: got him with his boy, (for so they call their horse keepers be they never so olde knaves) into his Cuntrie, & in the night time entred into a town of two howses and brake in and slve the people, and then took such cattel as they found which was a Cow and a sheep and departed therwith homeward, but douting they should be pursued : (the Curre dogs made such a shril barking) he got bin [him] in to a church, thinking to lurk ther til midnight was past, for there he was|
|suer that no man would respect or seek him, for the wild Irish men had Churches in such reverence, til our men taught them the contrary, that they neither would nor durst either rob ought thence, or hurt any man that took the church yard for sanctuary, no though he had killed his father , and while this Kern was in the Church: he thought it best to dine for he had eaten litle that day, wherfore he made his boy go gather sticks and strake fire with his feres, and made a fire in the Churche and killed the Sheep, and after the Irish fashion layd it there upon and rosted it, but when it was ready and that he thought to eat it there came in a cat and set her by him, and said in Irish , Shane foel, which is give mee some meat, he amazed at this, gave her the quarter that was in his hand, whiche immediatly she did eat up, and asked more til she had consumed all the sheep, and like a cormorant not satisfied therwith asked stil for more, wherfore they supposed it were the Devil, and therefore thinking it wisdome to please him killed the Cow which they had stolen, and when they had flaid it : gave the||
then we in
was to dine
gest that co
A Cat did
eat a sheep.
|Cat a quarter which she immediatlye devoured, then they gave her two other quarters, and in the mean while after the cuntrie fashion they did cut a peece of the hide and pricked it upon fower stakes which they set about the fire, and therin they set a peece of the Cow for them selves, and with the rest of the hide, they made eche of them laps to were about their feet like broges, bothe to keep theire feet from hurt all the next day : and also to serve for meat the next night if they could get none other, by broyling them upon coles By this time the Cat had eaten three quarters and called for more, wherfor they gave her that which was a seething, and douting lest when she had eaten that, she would eat them to because they had no more for her: they got them [?then] out of the Church and the Kern tooke his horse and a way he rode as fast as he could hie. When he was a mile or two from the Church : the moone began to shine, and his boy espied the cat upon his maisters horse behinde him, tolde him, wherupon the kern took his Dart and turning his face toward her flang it, and stroke her thorough with|
|it but immediatly there came to her such a sight of Cats, that after long fight with them : his boy was killed and eaten up, and he him self, as good and as swift as his horse was had much to doo to scape. When he was come home and had put of his harnes (which was a Corslet of maile made like a Shirt, and his Seul covered over with gilt lether and crested with Ottersain ) all weary and hungry set him down by his wife and tolde her his adventure, which when a Kitling which his wife kept scarce half a yeere had heard: up she started and said, hast thou killed Grimmalkin? & therwith she plunged in his face, and with her teeth took him by the throte, & ere that shee could be taken away : she had strangled him. This the Churle tolde mée, now about 33 winters past, and it was doon, as he and divers other credible men infourmed mee not seaven yeeres before, wherupon I gather that this Grimmalkin was it which the Cat in Kank wood sent newes of unto the cat which we heard of even now. Tush quoth an other that sate by, your conjecture is to unresonable, for to admit||
kill and eat
eth what is
|that Cats have reason, & that they doo in theire owne language understand one another, yet how shoulde a Cat in Cank wood knowe what is doone in Ierland? How quoth hee, even as wee knowe what is doon in the realmes of Fraunce, Flaunders & Spain, yea and almost in all the world beside, There be few ships but have Cats belonging unto them, which bring newes unto their fellowes out of all quarters. Yea quoth the other, but why should all cats loove to heare of Grimmalkin? or how should Grimmalkin eat so much meat as you speak of? or why should all cats so labour to revenge her death? Nay that passeth my cunning (quoth hee) to shew in all : how be it in parte conjectures may be made, as thus. It may be that Grrmmalkin and her line is as much esteemed and hath the same dignitie among Cats: as either the humble or maister Be hath among the whole hive, at whose commaundement all Bees are obedient, whose succour and safegarde they seek, whose wrongs they all revenge, or as the Pope hath had ere this over all Christendome, in whose cause all his clergie would not|
|onely scrat and bite: but kil and burn to pouder (though they know not why) whome so ever they thought, to think but once against him. Which Pope all things considered, devoureth more at every mele then Grimmalkin did at her last supper. Nay said I then, although the Pope by exactions and other baggaical trumpery have spoyled all people of mighty spoyles, yet as touching his owne persone: he eateth and weareth as little as any other man, though paradventure more sumptuous and costly, and greater abundance provided. And I heard a very proper saying, in this behalf of King Henry the seventh. When a servant of his tolde him what a bundance of meat he had seen at an Abbots Table: he reported him to be a great Glutton. He asked if the Abbot eat up all, and when he answered no, but his Geasts did eat the most parte (ah quoth the King) thou callest him glutton for his liberality to feed thee and such other unthankful churles. Like to this felow are all Ruffians, for let honest worshipful men of the Citie, make them good cheer or lend them money as they commonly||
A little suf=
stes a man
of king Hen
ry the Se=
are to be
|doo: what have they for their laboure? either foule reprochful names as dunghil churles, Cuckolde knaves, or else spiteful and slaunderous reports, as to be usurers, and deceivers of the common wele. And although that some of them be such indeed, yet I abhor to hear other of whome they deserve wel so lewdly to reporte them . But now to returne to your communication, I mervel how Grimmalkin as you tearm her, if she were no bigger: could eat so much meat at once, I doo not think (quoth he that tolde the tale) that she did eat all: although she asked all, but took her choice and left the rest by, as wee see in the feeding of many things. For a Woolf although a Cony be more then he can eat, yet wil he kil a Cow or twaine for his breakfast like wise all other ravenous beasts. Now that love and fellowship and a desire to save their kinde is among Cats: I knowe by experience. For there was one that hired a freend of mine in pastime to roste a Cat alive, and promised him for his labour twentie Shillings, my freend to be sure: caused a Couper to fasten him into a Hogshed, in which he|
turned a spit wherupon was a quick Cat, but ere he had turned a while: whether it was the smel of the Cats wul that singed, or els her cry that called them: I cannot tel, but there cam such a sorte of Cats, that if I and other hardy men (which were well scrat for our labour) had not behaved us the better: the Hogshed as fast as it was hooped could not have kept my Cosin from them. Indeed quooth a wel lerned man and one of excellent judgement that was then in the company. It dooth appeere that there is in Cats as in all other kindes of beasts, a certaine reason and language wherby they understand one another. But as touching this Grimmalkin: I take rather to be an Hagat or a Witch then a Cat. For witches have gone often in that likenes, And therof hath come the proverb as trew as common, that a Cat hath nine lives, that is to say, a witch may take on her a Cats body nine times.
By my faith sir this is strange (quod I my self) that a Witch should take on her a Cats bodie. I have read that the Pithonesses could cause their spirites to take upon them dead mens bodies,
Cat will to kinde.
ts take on
them dead me
well seen in
|and the ayry spirits whiche wee call Demones, of which kinde are Iucub9 and Succubus, Robin goodfelowe the Fairy and Goblines, which the Miners call Telchines, could at their pleasure take upon them any other sortes. But that a woman beeing so large a bodie, should strain her into the body of a Cat or into that forme either : I have not much heard of, nor can well perceive how it may be, which maketh me I promise you beleeve it the lesse. Wel maister Streamer (quoth he) I knowe you are not so ignorant heerin as you make your self : but this is your accustomed fashion alwaies to make men beleeve that you be not so well lerned as you be. Sapiens enim celat scienciam which apeered wel by Socrates. For I knowe beeing skild as you be in the tunges cheefly the Calde, Arabik and Egiptian, and having read so many Authors therin, you must needs be skilful in these matters but where you spake of intrusion of a womans body in to a Cat: you either play Nicodem, or the stubbern Popish conjurer, wherof the one would creep into his mothers belly again: that other would bring|
|Christe out of Heaven to thrust him into a peece of bread, but as the one of them is groce & the other pervers: so in this point I must place you with one of them For although witches may take upon them Cats bodies, or alter the shape of their or other bodies yet this is not doon by putting their owne bodies therinto but either by bringing their soules for the time out of their bodies, and putting them in the other, or by deluding the sight and fantasies of the seers. As when I make a candle with the brain of an Horse and Brimstone, the light of the candel maketh all kinds of heads appeer horseheads but yet it altereth the form of no head, but deceiveth the right concepcion of the eye, which through the false light receiveth a like forme. Then quoth he that had been in Ireland, I cannot tel sir by what means witches doo change their one likenes and the shapes of other things. But I have heard of so many, and seen so much my self, that I am sure they doo it. for in Ireland (as they have been in England) witches are for feare had in high reverence, and they be so cunning: that they can chaunge the shapes of things as they list at their plea||
ced for fear
An act for
of hay and
him self to
have been a
|sure, & so deceve the people therby that an act was made in Ireland, that no man should buy any red swine. The cause wherof was this. Witches used to send to the markets many red swine fair & fat to see unto as any mought be, & would in that forme continew long, but it chanced the buiers of them to bring them to any water : immediatly they found them returned either into wisps of Haye, Straw, olde rotten boords or some other such like trumpery, by meanes wherof they have lost their money or such other cattel as they gave in exchange for them There is also in Ireland one nacion, wherof some one man and woman are at every seven yeeres end turned into Wulves, and so continew in the woods the space of seven yeers and if they hap to live out the time : they return to their own forme again: and other twain are turned for the like time into the same shape, which is a penance (as they say) enjoyned that stock by Saint Patrick for some wickednes of their ancestors & that this is true : witnesed a man whom I left alive in Ireland, who had performed this seven yeeres penance, whose wife was slaine while she was a Wulf|
in her last yeer. This man told to many men whose cattel he had wooried, & whose bodyes he had assailed, while he was a wulf so plain and evident tokens & shewed such scares of wounds which other men had given him, bothe in his mannes shape before he was a wulf, and in his wulfs shape since, which al appered upon his skin: that it was evident to all men, yea and to the Bishop too (upon whose grant it was recorded and regestred) that the matter was undoutedly past peradventure.
And I am sure you are not ignorant of the Hermit whom as S.Augustine writeth, a witch would in an Asses forme ride upon to market. But now how these Witches made their swine, & how these folk were turned from shap to shap whether by some ointment whose cleernes deceived mens sights til either the water washed away the ointment or that the cleernes of the water excelled the cleernes of the Ointment, and so betraied the operation of it I am as uncertain as I am sure that it were the spirits caled Demones, forced by inchantment which mooved those bodies, til shame of their shape discovered, caused them to
are the soul
es of counter
are by natu
is kin to un
both goe by
|leave them. But as for the transformasion of the wulfes, is either miraculus as Naamans lepry in the flock of Gehesie, or els to shamful, crafty, malicious sorcery. And as the one way is unserchable : so I think there might means bee found to gesse how it is doon the other way. For witches are by nature exceeding malicious: and it may chaunce that some witches for displeasure taken with this wulvish nation, gave her daughter charge in her death bed, when she taught her the science (for til that time witches never teach it nor then but to their eldest and best beloved daughter) that she should at every seven yeeres ende: confect some ointment which for seven yeeres space might be in force against all other cleernes to represent unto mens eyes the shape of a wulfe, and in the night season to goe her self in likenes either of the mare or some other night fourme, and anoint therwith the bodies of some couple of that kinred which she hated, & that after her time she should charge her daughter to observe the same & to charge her daughter after her to doo the like for ever so that this charge is given alwayes by tradicion|
with the science, and so is continued & observed by this Witches ofspring by whom two of this kinred, as it may be supposed, are from every seven for every seven yeers space turned into wulfes
When I had heard these tales, and the reason of the dooing shewed by the teller. ah Thomas (quoth I, for that was his name, hee died afterward of a disease which hee took in Newgate, where he lay long for suspection of magik because he had desired a prisoner to promise him his soul after he was hanged) I perceive now the olde proverb is true, the stil sow eateth up all the draff You go & behave your self so simply that a man would think you were but a fool but you have uttred such a proof of naturall knowledg in this your breef talke as I think, except my self and few more the best learned alive, none could have doon the like, you say your pleasur maister Stremer quoth he as for me I have said nothing save that I have seen & wherof any man might conjectur as I doo. you have spoken ful wel, quoth he that gave occasion of this tale, and your conjectures are right reasonable. For like as by ointments, as you suppose the I
the best ler=
ned are not
that a man
but to evil.
|rish witches doo make the form of Swin and wolves appeere to all mens sight: so think I that by the like power English witches, and Irish witches, may and doo turn them selves into Cats for I heard it tolde while I was in the Universitie, by a credible Clark of Oxford how that in the dayes while he was a Childe : an olde woman was brought before the Officiall & accused for a witch which in the likenes of a Cat would goe into her neighbours houses & stele thence what she listed, which complaint was prooved true, by a place of the womans Skin which her accusers with a fire brand that they hurled at her had singed whil she went a theeving in her cats likenes So that to conclude as I began, I think that the cat which you call Grimalkin whose name caryeth in it matter to confirm my Conjecture. For Malkin is a womans name as witnesseth the proverb. there be mo maides then Malkin I Think ( I say) that it was a witch in a cats likenes and that for the wit & craft of her : other natural cats that were not so wise, have had her & her race in reverence among them, thinking her to be but a meer cat as they them selves were, like|
as we ly fooles long time for his sly & crafty jugling, reverenced the Pope, thinking him to have been but a man (though much holier then we our selves were) where as indeed he was a very incarnated devil, like as this Grimmalkin was an incarnate witch. why then sir (said I) doo you think that naturall cats have wit & that they understand one an other, what els maister Stremer (quod he) there is no kinde of sencible creatures but have reason and understanding wherby (in their kinde) eche understandeth other, & doo therin some points so excell: that the consideration therof, moved Pithagoras (as you knowe) to beleeve & affirm that after death, mens soules went into beasts, & beasts souls into men, and every one according to his desert in his former body.
And although his opinion be fond and false : yet that which drew him therto is evident and true, & that is the wit and reason of divers beasts, and again the dul beastly brutish ignorance of divers men, but that beasts understand one another, and Fowles likewise, besid that we see by dayly experience in marking them, the story of the Bishop of Alexan
all kinde of
is the organ
dria by record dooth prove. for he found the mean either through diligenc so to mark them or els through Magik naturall, so to subtilitate his sencible power either by purging his braine by dry drinkes & fumes, or els to augment the braines of his power perceptible, by other naturall medicines, that he understood al kind of creatures by their voyces. For being on a time sitting at dinner in a house among his freends : he harkned diligently to a Sparow that came fleeing and chirping to other that were about the house, & smiled to him self to hear her, and when one of the company desired to knowe why he smiled : he said at the Sparowes tale. For shee telleth them (quoth he) that in the highway not a quarter of a mile hence a sack of wheat is even now fallen of an horse back & broken, & all the wheat run out, and therfore biddeth them come thether to dinner. and when the geasts mused heer at, sent to proove the trueth : they found it even as he had tolde them.
When this tale was ended the clock strook nine wherupon olde Thomas because he had far to his lodging: took his leave and departed, the rest of the compa
ny gat them also either to their busines or to their beds.
And I went straight do my chamber before remembred, and took a book in my hand to have studied, but the remembraunce of this former talke so troubled me that I could think of nothing els, but mu=
more narowely that every
man had spoken.
[ p.32 ]
ster Streamers Oration.
bled in the
|parte of their meaning: I went softly and faire into a Chamber which hath a windowe into the same leads, and in the dark standing closely: I vewed through the trellice as wel as I could, all their gestures and behaviour, And I promise you it was a thing woorth the marking to see what countenaunces, what becks yea and what order was among them. For one Cat which was a mightie big one, gray heared, bristle bearded, and having brode eyes which shone and sparkled like two Starres, sate in the mids, and on either side of her sate an other, and before her stood three more, wherof one mewed continewally, save when the great Cat groned, & ever when the gret Cat had doon : this mewing Cat began a gain, first stretching out her neck & as it were making beshens to them which sat. And often times in the middest of this Cats mewing : all the rest would suddenly, eche one in his tune braied forth, and incontinently husht again, as it were laughing at somwhat which they heard the other Cat declare. After this sorte I behelde them from ten til it was twelve a clock, at which time, whether it were vessel in the kitchin under, or some boord||
in the printing house hard by, I cannot tel, but some what fel wit h sueh a noise that all the cats gat them up upon the house and I fearing lest any arose to see what was fallen, they would charge me with the hurling down of it if they found mee there I whipt into my Chamber quickly and finding my lamp burning: I set me down upon my bed, and devised upon the dooings of these Cats, casting all maner of wayes, what might be conjectured therof to know what they meaned. And by and by I deemed that the gray cat which sat in the midst : was the cheef, & sat as a Judge among the rest, and that the Cat which continually mewed : declared some matter or made account to her of somewhat.
By meanes wherof I was straight caught with such a desire to knowe what she had said : that I could not sleep of all that night, but lay devising by what meanes I might learn to understand them. And calling to minde that I had read in Altus Magnus works, a way how to be able to understand birds voyces: I mad no more to doo but sought in my library for the litle book intituled De virtutibus animalium, &c. and greedely red it over
|and when I came to Si vis voces avium intelligere. & c. Lord how glad I was. And when I had throughly marked the discripsion of the medicen, and considred with my self the nature and power of every thing therin, and how and upon what it wrought : I devised therby how with parte of those things, & adition of other like vertue & operation, to make a Philtre to serve for my purpose. And as soon as restles Phebus was come up out of the smoking Sea, & with shaking his golden coulored beames which were all the night long in Thetis moist bosome had dropped of his silver sweat in to Herdaes dry lap, & kissing faire Aurora with glowing mouth, had driven from ther h’aduoutrer Lucifer & was mounted so hye to look upon Europa that for at the heiht of Mile end steeple he spied mee through the glasse windowe lying on my bed, up I rose and got me abroad to seek for such things as might serve for my earnest busines which I went about, and because you be all my freends that are heere : I wil hide nothing from you, but declare from point to point how I behaved myself bothe in making & taking of my Philtre, If thou wilt understand (saith Al||
nature of al
of the resur
may be hid
ving an ex
hog is one
of the pla
bert) the voices of birds or beasts, take two in thy company, and upon Simon and Judes day early in the morning, get thee with Hounds into a certain wood, and the first beast that thou meetest take and prepare with the hart of a Fox, and thou shalt have thy purpose, and who soever thou kistest shal understand them as wel as thy self.
Because his writing heer is doutful because he saith Quoddam nemus a certain wood & because I knew three men (not many yeeres past) which while they went about this hunting were so fraid, whether with an evil Spirite or with their own immagination I cannot tel, but home they came with their here standing on end, and some of them have been the woorse ever since and the hounds likewise, and seeing it was so long to S. Judas day therfore I determined not to hunt at all, but a conjecturing that the best that they should take was an Hedgehog (which at that time of the yeer goeth moste abrode, and knowing by reason that the flesh therof was by nature ful of naturall heat, and therfore the principal parts beeing eaten: must needs cxpulce groce matters and subtil the braine, as by the like power it
|ingendreth fine blood, so helpeth it much bothe against the Gout and the Cramp, I got me foorth toward S. Johns wood, and wheras not two dayes before I had seen one, and see the lucky and unlucky chaunce, by the way as I went I met with Hunters, who bad [had] that morning kild a Foxe and three Hares, who (I thank them) gave me an Hare : and the Foxes whole body except the cace, and six smart lashes with a siip, because (wherin I did mean no harm) I asked them if they had seen any where any hedghog that morning And heer save that my tale is otherwise long, I would shew you my minde of these wicked superstitious observation of foolish hunters, for they be like as seemeth me to the papists, which for speaking of good and trewe woords: punish good & honest men. Are not, Apes, Owles, Cuckowes, Beares and Urchins Gods good creatures? Why then is it not lawful to name them? If they say it bringeth evil luck in the game: then are they unlucky Idolatrical miscreant Infidels and have no true beleefe in Gods providence I beshrew their supersticious hartes, for my buttocks bear the burthen of their misbeleef, and yet I thank them again for||
ters ar kin
es ar wo=
rdes : argu=
He that see
saith if a
why he ma=
keth it: it
wil be of
|the Fox & the hare which they gave me, for with those two Houndes at my girdle I went a hunting, til indeed under a Hedge in a hole of the earth by the root of an hollow tree: I found an hedghog with a bushel of crabs about him, whom I killed straight with my knife, saying. Shauol swashmeth, gorgona liscud, & with the other beasts hung him at my girdle and came homeward as fast as I could hye But when I came in the close besides Islington commonly caled S. Johns feeld A kite belike very hungry, spide at my back the skinlesse Fox, and thinking to have had a morsel: strake at it, and that so egerly that one of his clawes was entred so deep, that before he could leuse it: I drew out my knife and killed him, saying Iauolsheleg hutotheca Iiscud and to make up the messe, brought him hom with the rest , and ere I had layd them out of my hand: came Thomas whom you heard of before, & brought me a Cat which for dooing evill turnnes: they had that morning caught in a snare set for her two dayes before, which for the skins sake beeing flain: was so exceeding fat, that after I had taken some of the greace the inwards and the hed, to make (as I|
|made him beeleve) a medicine for the gout, they perboyled the rest & at night rosted and farced with good hearbes, did eat it up every morsel, and was as good meat as was or could be eaten But now mark, for when Thomas was departed with his Cat : I shut my Chamber doores to men, and flaied my Irchin, wishing oft for Doctor Nicholas or some other expert Phisition to mak the disseccion, for the better knowledge of the Anotomy. The flesh I washed clene, and put it in a pot, and with white wine, Mellisophillos or Melissa, commonly called Balme, Rosemary, Netes tung, foure pattes of the first & two of the second, I made a broth and set it on the fire & boyled it, setting on a Lembick with a Glas at the end over the mouth of the pot, to receive the water that distilled from it, in the seething wherof I had a pinte, of a pottel of Wine which I put in the pot. Then because it was about the Solsticium estivale, and that in confections the houres of the planets, must for the better operacion be observed: I taried til ten a clock before dinner, what time Mercury began his lucky reigne, and then I took a peece of the Cats liver, & a peece of||
A Cat was
man is ei=
ther a God
or a beast.
dus fiat in
|the kidney, a peece of the milt & the whole hart, the Foxes hart and lights, the Hares braine, the kites mawe, and the Irchins kidneies, all these I beat in a morter togither til it were small, & then made a cake of it, and baked it upon an hot stone til it was drye like bread. And while this was a baking: I took 7 parts of the Cats greace, as much of her brain with 5 heares of her beard, 3 black and two gray, three partes of the Foxes grec as much of her braine, with the hooves of his left feet, the like porcion of the Irchins greace and brain with his stones, all the kites brain, all the Marow of her bones, the juce of her hart, her upper beke and the middle claw of her left foot, the fat of the Hares kidneies, and the juce of his right shoulder bone. All these things I punned to gether in a Morter by the space of an houre, and then I put it in a cloth, and hung it over a bason in the sun, out of which dropped within 4 houres after, about half a pint of Oyle very fair and cleere. Then took I the galles of all these beasts and the kites too and served them likewise, keeping the licour that dropped from them. At twelve a clock what time the Sun began his planeticall do-|
|minion, I went to dinner, and meat I eat none save the boyled Irchin : my bred was the cake mencioned afore, my drink was the distillation of the Irchins brothe which was exceeding strong and plesant bothe in taste and sauour. After that I had dined wel: my head waxed so hevy, that I could not chase but sleep, and after that I waked again which was within an houre : my mouth and my nose purged exceedingly, such yelow, white and tawny matters: as I never saw before, nor thought that any such had been in mannes body. When a pinte of this gere was come forth : my rume ceased, and my head and all my body was in exceeding good temper, and a thousand things which I had not thought of in twenty yeeres before: came so freshly to my minde as if they had been then presently doon, heard or seen. Wherby I perceived that my brain cheefly the nuke memorative was mervelously well purged my imagination also was so fresh, that by and by I could shew probable reason, what and in what sorte, and upon what matter every thing which I had taken, wrought, and the cause why. Than to be occupied after my sleep: I cast away the||
in the nod
dle of the
is good af
ge the hed
A good me=
dicin for a
|carcas of the Fox, & of the kite, with all the garbage bothe of them & the rest, saving the tungs and the eares, which were very necessary for my purpose. And thus I prepared them. I took all the eares and scaloed of the hear : then stamped I them in a morter, & when they all were like a dry gelly: I put to them Rue, Fenel Lowach and leeke blades, of each a handful, and punned them a fresh then devided I all the matter in two egall parts, and made two litle pillowes, & stuffed them therwith. And when Saturnes dry houre of dominion approched: I fryed these pillowes in good oyle olife, and layd them hot to mine eares, to eche ere one, and kept them therto til nine a clock at night , which holpe exceedingly to comfort my understanding power. But because as I perceived the cell perceptible of my brain intelligible, was yet to grosse, by meanes that the filmy panicle comming from dure mater, made to strait opilations, by ingrossing the pores and conduts imaginative, I devised to help that with this gargaristicall fume, whose subtil ascention is wunderful. I took the cat the Foxes, and the Kites tung, and sod them in Wine welneere to gelly, then|
|took I them out of the wine, and put them in a Morter & added to them of new cats dung an ounce of Musterd seed, Garlike and Pepper asmuch, and when they were with beating incorpored: I made lossenges and trociskes therof And at six a clock at night, what time the suns dominion began againe I supped with therest of the meat which I left at dinner & when Mercuryes reigne aproched which was within two hours after : I drank a great draught of my stilled water & anointed all my head over with wine and oyle before described, and with the water which came out of the galles: I washed mine eyes, and because no humors should ascend into my head by evaporation of my reins through the chine bone, I took an ounce of Alkakengy in powder which I had for a like purpose not two daies afore bouht at the Potecaries, and therwith rubbed and chafed my back from the neck down to the midle, and heating in a frying pan my pillowes afresh & laid them to mine eares, and tied a kerchef about my head and with my losenges and trociskes in a boxe, I went out among the servants, among whom was a shrewd boy, a very crackrope, that needs would knowe what||
es most to
al fine and
est point of
is to pre-
|was in my boxe, and I to sause him after his sawsines: called them Prescienciall pilles, affirming that who so might eat one of them should not only understand wonders: but also prophecye after them. Wheruppon the boy was exceeding ernest in intreating me to give him one, and when at last very lothely (as it seemed) I graunted his request: he took a losenge, put it in his mouth, and chewed it apace, by means wherof when the fume ascended: he began to spattle and spit, saying by Gods bones it is a Cats toord. At this the compauy laughed apace, & so did I to, verifiying it to be as he said, & that he was a Prophet. But that he might not spue to much by Imagination: I took a losenge in my mouth, and kept in under my tung, shewing therby that it was not evil. While this pastime endured : me thought I heard one cry with a loud voice, what Isegrim, and therfore I asked whose name was Isegrim, saying that one did call him, but they said that they knew none of that name, nor heard any that did cal. No quoth I (for it called stil) hear you no body? who is that called so lowd ? we hear nothing but a cat (quod they) which mewes aboove in the Leads|
|When I saw it was so indeed, and that I understood what the cat said glad was I as any man alive, and taking my leave of them as though I would to bed straight, I went into my chamber, for it was past nine of the clock, and because the houre of Saturnus colde dominion approched : I put on my gown & got me prively to the place in the which I had vewed the Cats the night before. And when I had setled my self where I might couveniently heer and see all things doon in the Leads where this Cat cryed stil for Isegrim. I put in to my two nosethrils two trosisques, & in to my mouth two losenges, one aboove my tung the other under, and put of my left shoo because of Jupiters appropinquation & layd the Fox taile under my foot. And to hear the better: I took of my pillowes whiche stopped mine eares and then listned and vewed as attentively as I could, but I warrant you the pelicle or filmy rime that lyeth within the bottome of mine eare hole, from whence little vainescary the sounds to the sences, was with this medicine in my pillowes so purged and parched, or at least dryed : that the least mooving of the ayre, whether stroke with breth of is-||
ces of thi-
Saturn is a
ing in due
|ving creatures which we call voyces, or with the mooving of dead, as windes, waters, trees, carts, falling of stones &c which are named noyses, sounded so shril in my head by reverberacion of my fined filmes, that the sound of them altogither was so disordered and monstrous: that I could discern no one from other, save only the Hermony of the mooving of the Spheres, which noyse excelled all other asmuch bothe in pleasantnes & shril highnes of sound : as the Zodiack it self surmounteth all other creatures in altitude of place. For in comparison of the basest of this noyse which is the mooving of Saturn by meanes of his large compas, the highest voyces of birds, and the straitest whistling of the winde, or any other organ pipes (whose sounds I heard confused togither) appeered but a lowe bace, and yet was those an high treble to the voice of beasts, to which as a mean, the running of rivers was a tenor: and the boyling of the Sea and the caterakts or gulfes therof a goodly base, and the rashing, brising and falling of the clowdes, a deep diapason. While I harkned to this broil, laboring to discern bothe voices and noyces a sunder, I heard such a mixture as I|
|think was never in Chaucers house of fame, for there was nothing within an hundred mile of me doon on any side, (for from so far but no farther the ayre may come because of obliquation) but I herd it as wel as if I had been by it, and could discern all voyces, but by means of noyses understand none. Lord what a doo women made in their beds? some scolding, some laughing, some weeping, some singing to their sucking children which made a woful noyse with their continuall crying. and one shrewd wife a great way of (I think at S. Albons) called her husband Cuckolde so lowd and shrilly: that I heard that plain, and would fain have I heard the rest, but could not by means of barking of dogges, grunting of hoggs wauling of cats, rumbling of ratts, gagling of geese humming of bees, rousing of Bucks, gagling of ducks, singing of Swannes, ringing of pannes, crowing of Cocks sowing of socks, kacling of hens scrabling of pennes, peeping of mice, trulling of dice, corling of froges, and todes in the bogges, chirping of crickets, shuting of wickets, skriking of owles, flitring of fowles, rowting of knaves, snorting of slaves, farting of churls fisling of||
teth by me
ane of the
ses in the
ch all men
girles, with many things else, as ringing of belles.counting of coines.mounting of groines, whispering of loovers, springling of ploovers, groning and spuing, baking and bruing, scratching & rubbing, watching and shrugging, with such a sorte of commixed noyses as would deaf any body to have heard, much more me, seeing that the pannicles of mine eares were with my medisine made so fine and stif, and that by the temperate heat of the things therin, that like a taber dryed before the fire, or els a lute string by heat shrunk neerer, they were incomparably amended in receiving and yeelding the shrilnes of any touching sounds.
While I was ernestly harkning as I said to hear the woman (minding nothing els) the greatest bell in Saint Botulphes steeple, which is hard by, was tolled for some rich body that then lay in passing, the sound wherof came with such a rumble into mine eare : that I thought all the devils in hel had broken lose, and were come about me, and was so a fraid ther with that when I felt the Foxe taile under my foot (which through feare I had forgotten) I deemed it had bee n the devil indeed. And therfore I cried out as lowd
|as ever I could : the devil, the devil, the devil. But when some of the folke raised with my noise had sought me in my chamber and found me not there: they went seeking about calling one to a nother, where is he? where is he? I cannot finde Maister Streamer, which noise & stir of them was so great in mine eares, & passing mans common sound : that I thought they had been devils indeed which sought and asked for me. Wherfore I crept close in to a corner in the chimney and hid me, saying many good praiers, to save me from them. And because their noise was so terrible that I could not abide it : I thought best to stop mine ears, thinking therby I should be the lesse affraid. And as I was there about: a crowe which belike was by nodding a sleep on the chimny top, fel down into the chimney over my head, whose flittering in the fall made such a noice, that when I felt his feet upon my head : I thought that the devil had been come indeed and seised upon me. And when I cast up my hand to save me and therwith touched him: he called me knave in his languege after such a sorte that I swouned for feare. And by that I was come to my self again he was flow-||
A man may
en from me into the chamber roof & there he sat all night, Then took I my pillowes and stopped mine eares, for the rumble that the servaunts made I took for the devils it was so great and shril, and I had no sooner put them on: but by and by I heard it was the servants which sought for me and that I was deceived through my cleernes in hearing. For the bel which put me in all this feare (for which I never looved belles since) tolled stil, and I perceived wel inough what it was. And seeing that the servants would not leave calling and seeking til they had
and fained that a Cat had been in
my chamber, and frayed mee.
wheruppon they went
to bed again, and
I too mine olde
[ p.51 ]
ster Streamers Oration.
is cause of
I take this
bee it that
is intitu -
led of the
|causeth the Sea to eb and flowe, neither to nepe and spring : but the neping and springing of the Sea is cause of the Moons bothe waxing and waning. For the Moon light is nothing save the shining of the Sun. cast into the element by opposition of the Sea, as also the stares are nothing els but the sun light reflectted upon the face of rivers, & cast upon the christalline heaven, which because Rivers alway keep like course, therfore are the starrs alway of one bignes, As for the course of the starrs from east to west is natural by meanes of the sunnes like mooving, but in that they ascend & descend, that is, sometime come northward and some time goe southward: that is caused also by the sunnes beeing either on this side or on the other side his line likenighticall: the like reason foloweth for the poles not mooving, and that is the situation of chose rivers or dead seas which cast them, and the roundnes and egforme of the firmament. But let this passe which in my book of Heaven and Hell, shalbe plainly not onely declared: but bothe by reason and experience prooved, I wil come again to my matter. When Cinthea (I say) folowing her bro-|
|thers steps had looked in at my chamber windowe, & saw me neither in my bed nor at my book: she hied her apace into the south, and at a little hole in the house roof, peeped in and saw me where I was set to harken to the Cats. And by this time all the Cats which were there the night before: were assembled with many other, onely the great gray one excepted. Unto whom as soon as he was come all the rest did their beysance as they did the night before. And when he was set: thus he began in his language, which I understood as wel as if he had spoken English, A my deer freends and felowes you may say I have been a lingerer this night, and that I have taried long but you must pardon me, for I could come no sooner. For when this evening I went into an ambry where was much good meat, to steale my supper: there came a wench not thinking I had been there, and clapped the lid down, by means wherof I have had much to doo to get foorth. Also in the way as I came hether over the house tops, in a gutter were theeves breaking in at the windowe, who frayed me so: that I lost my way and fel down into the streat, and had much to||
Cats are a-
chin is the
|doo to escape the dogges, But seeing that by the grace of Hagat and Heg, I am now come, although as I perceive by the taile of the great Beare, and by Alhabor which are now somwhat southward that the fifth houre of our night approcheth, yet seeing this is the last night of my charge, and that to morrow I must again to my Lord Cammoloch (at this all the cats spred a long there tailes and cryed Hagat and Heg save him) go to now good mouse sleyer (q he) and that in time which my misfortune hath lost: recover again by breefnes of thy talke. I will my Lord quoth Mousleyer, which is the Cat which as I tolde you stood before the great Cat the night before, continually mewing, who in her language after that with her taile shee had made curtesie, shrunk in her neck and said. wheras by vertue of your commission from my Lord Cammoloch (whose life Hagat and Heg defend) who by inheritance and our free election injoyeth the Empire of his traiterously murthered mother, the Goddes Grimolochin, you his greffier and cheef counseller my Lord Grisard with Isegrim and Poilnoer your assistants, upon a complaint put up in your high dees,|
|by that false accuser Catchrat (who beareth me malice because I refused his lecherously offered delights) have caused me in purging my selfe before this honorable company, to declare my whole life since the blinde dayes of my kitlinghood, you remember I trust, how in the two nights passed, I have declared my life for 4 yeeres space wherin you perceive how I behaved me all that time. Wherfore to begin where I left last: you shall understand that my Lord and Lady whose lives I declared unto you last yester night, left the Citie and went to dwel in the Country, and caried me with them. And beeing there straunge: I lost their house, and with Bird hunt my make, the gentlest in honest venery that ever I met with, when to a town where he dwelt called Stratford either stony, upon Tine, or upon Avon, I doo not wel remember which where I dwelt halfe a yeere, and this was in the time when Preachers had leave to speake against the Masse, but it was not forbidden til halfe a yeere after. In this time I saw nothing woorthy to sertifie my Lord of: save this. My dame with whom I dwelt and her husband were bothe olde, and||
self by de-
ors ar hard
to be re-
Cats ar ad-
A joly per
|therfore hard to be turned from their rooted beleefe which they had in the masse, which caused divers yung folke cheefly their sonnes, and a lerned kinseman of theires to be the more ernest to teach & perswade them. And when they had all moste brought the matter to a good point: I cannot tell how it chaunced: but my dames sight failed her, and she was so sick: that she kept her bed two dayes. Wherfore she sent for the parish Preest her olde gostly father, and when all wer voyded the chamber save I & they two : she tolde him how sick she was and how blinde, so that she could see nothing, and desired him to pray for her and give her good counsaile. To whom he said thus, it is no mervaile though you be sick and blinde in body which suffer your souls willingly to be blinded, you send for me now : but why send you not for me when these new herericks teach you to leave the catholicke beleef of Christes flesh in the Sacrament? Why sir (quod shee) I did send for you once, and when you came they posed you so with holy write, and Saints writing: that you could say nothing but call them Hereticks, and that they had made the new Testament them|
selves. Yea quoth he, but did not I bid you take heed then, & tolde you how God would plage you? Yes good sir, quoth she you did, and now to my pain I finde you to true a Prophet, but I beseech you for give me and pray to God for me & whatsoever you wil teach me: that wil I beleeve unto the death. Well (quod he) God refuseth no sinners that wil repent, and therfore in any case beleeve that Christes, flesh body, soule, and bone is as it was born of our blessed Lady, in the consecrated host & see that therfore you woorship it: pray and offer to it. For by it any of your freends soules may be brought out of purgatory, which thes new heretickes say is no place at all, but when their soules fry in it : they shal tel me another tale. And that you may know all that I say is true & that the masse can deliver such as trust in it, from all maner of sinnes: I wil by & by say you a masse that shall restore your sight and helth. Then took he out of his bosome a Wafer cake, and called for Wine, and then shutting the door unto him, revised him self in a surples and upon a table set before the bed: he laid his Portuse and therout he said masse.
And when he came to the levation:
A tru cole
uncel of a
|he lifted up the cake and said to my dame ( which in two dayes afore sawe nothing ) wipe thine eyes thou sinful woman and look upon thy maker. With that shee lifted up her self and saw the cake, and had her sight and her helth aswel as ever shee had before. When mas was doon : she thanked God and him excedingly, and he gave her charge that shee should tel to no yung folks how she was holpe, for his bishop had through out the dioces forbidden them to say or sing any masse but commaunded her that secretly unto olde honest men and women: shee should at all times moste devoutly reherse it. And by reason of this miracle many are so confirmed in the beleef, that although by a common law, all masses upon penaltie were since forbidden : divers have th em privily and nightly said in their chambers until this day. Mary sir (quoth Poilnoer) this was either a mightie miracle : or els a mischevous subteltie of a magesticall minister. But sure if the Preest by magicall art blinded her not afore, and so by like massicall sorcery cured her again. It were good for us to hire him or other preests at our deliverye to sing a mas before our kitlings,|
|that they might in their birth be delivered of their blindenes, & sure if I knew that preest : it should scape me hard but I would have one litter of kitlings in some chamber where he useth now to say his privy night masses. What need that (q Mouslear) it would do them no good For I my self upon like consideration kitned since in an other mistresses chamber of mine, where a preeste every day said mas but my kitlings sawe nought the better : but rather the worse. But when I heard that the Lord with whome I went into the countrey, would to London to dwel again : I kept the house so wel for a moneth before, that when my Lady when she went caried me with her. And when I was come to Loudon again: I went in visitation to mine olde acquaintance, & when I was great with kitling because I would not be unpurveyed of a place to kitten in : I got in favour & housholde with an olde gentlewoman a widdowe, with whom I passed out this whole yeere. This woman got her living by boording yung gentlemen. for whom she kept alwaies faire wenches in store for whose sake she had the more resorte, & to tel you the trueth of her trade: it was fine and crafty, and not so daunge||
mas so yung
spi a profit
of an olde
wil to car-
All is fish
not see to
|rous, as deceitful. For when she had soked from yung Gentlemen all that they had : then would she cast them of except they fell to cheting. Wherfore many of them in the night time would goe abrode, and hring [bring] the next morning home with them some times money, sometime Jewels, as ringes or chaines, somtime apparel, and somtime they would come again cursing their il fortune, with nothing save peradventure drye blowes or wet wounds, but whatsoever they broght my dame would take it, and finde the meanes either so to gage it that she would never fetch it again : or els melt it & sel it to the Goldesmithes. And not withstanding that she used these wicked practises : yet was she very holy and religious, & therfore although that all Images were forbidden : yet kept she one of our Lady in her cofer and every night when every body were gone to bed, & none in her chaumber but she and I, then would she fetch her out, and set her upon her Cupborde and light up two or three war candels before her, and then kneele down to her, sometime an hole houre saying over her bedes, and praying her to be good unto her, and to save her and all her geasts|
|bothe from daunger and shame, and promising that then shee would honor and serve her during all her life. While I was with this woman: I was alway much cherished and made of, for on nights while she was praying: I would bee playing with her bedes, and alway catch them as she let them fall, & would somtime put my head in the compas of them, and run away with them about my neck, wherat many times she took great pleasure, yea and so did our Lady too. For my dame would say somtimes to her, yea blessed Lady, I knowe thou hearest me by thy smiling at my Cat. And never did my dame doo me any hurt save once, and that I was even with her for, and that was thus. There was a gentleman one of her bourders much enamored in the beauty of a marchantmans wife in the Citie, whom he could by no means perswade to satisfie his lust, yea when hee made her great banquets, offred her rich apparel, & all kinde of Jewels pretious which commonly women delight in yea and large summes of money which corrupte, even the Gods them selves : yet could he by no means alter her minde, somuch she esteemed her good name and honesty.||
is hired to
to see the
Love is loi
All is not
|Wherfore forced through desire of that which he could not but long for, & so much the more, because it was moste ernestly denied him: he brake his minde to my dame, and intreated her to aid him to win this yung womans favour, and promised her for her labour whatsoever she would require. Wherupon my dame which was taken for as honest a woman as any in the Citie, found the meane to desire this yung woman to a dinner, & against she should come: my dame gave me a peece of a pudding which she had filled full of mustard. Which as soon as I had eaten, wrought so in my head that it made mine eyes run al the day after, & to mend this: she blew pepper in my nose to make me neese. And when the yung wife was come, after that my dame had shewd her all the comodities of her house (for women delight much to shew forth what they have) they set them down togither at the table, none save only they two, and while they were in gossips talk about the behaveours of this woman, and that I came as I was accustomed and sate by my dame. And when the yung woman hearing me cough and seeing me weep continually : asked what I ayled, my|
|dame, who had teares at her commaundement sighed, & fallen as it were in a sodain dump, brast foorth in weeping and said. In faith maistres I think I am the infortunatest woman alive, upon whom God hath at once powred foorth all his plagues, for my husband the honestest man that lived, he hath taken from me, and with him mine heire & onely sonne, the most towardly yung man that was alive, and yet not satisfied heer with : loe heer mine onely daughter which though I say it: was as faire a woman and as fortunately maried as any in this Citie he hath (for her honestie or crueltie I can not tel whether) turned into this likenes wherin she hath been aboove these two monethes, continually weeping as you see, and lamenting her miserable wretchednes. The yung woman astonished at this tale and crediting it, by meanes of my dames lachrimable procestations and deep dissimulation : asked her the more ernestly how and by what chance, and for what cause as shee thought shee was so altered. Ah (quod my dame) as I said before, I cannot tel what I should think, whether excuse my daughter and accuse God: or els blame her and acquite||
of an olde
ful life sh-
ning an =
It is as
to see a
weep as to
see a goos
|him. For this my daughter beeing as I sayd fortunately maried, and so belooved of her husband : and looving again to him (as now wee bothe to late doo, and ever I think shall rue) was looved exceedingly of another yung man, who made great sute and laboure unto her. But shee as I think all women should, esteeming her honestie and promise made unto her husband the day of their mariage : refused stil his desire, but because he was importunate : she came at the last and tolde me it And I thinking that I had doon wel : charged her in any case, which ful oft since I have repented, that she should not consent unto him, but to shake him of with shrewd woords and thretning answers. She did so, alas alas the while, and the yung man seeing none other boot : went home & fel sick, and looving so honestly and secretly, that he would make none other of his counsel, forpined and languished upon his bed the space of three daies, receving neither meat nor drink, and then perceving his death to aproche : he wrote a letter which I have in my pursse, and sent it by his boy to my daughter, if you can reed you shall see it, I cannot but my daughter heer could very wel, and write to. Heer-|
with my dame wept apace, and took the letter and gave it this yung woman who red it in forme folowing.
The nameles loover to the nameles belooved / in whose loove sinth he may not live he desireth licence to dye.
which is also an ofice of freendship before the Gods meritorious. Cum visit him who if ought might quench loove, should not loove, whose mouth these three dayes hath taken no foode, whose eyes the like time have taken no rest, whose hart thes three weekes was never mery, whose minde these three monethes was never quiet, whose bed these seven nights was never made: and who ( to be breef ) is in all partesso infeebled: that living he dieth, and dead a while he liveth.
And when this sily ghoste shall leave this cruel and miserable prison, in recompence of his loove, life and death : let those white and tender hands of yours, close up those open windowes, through which the uncomfortable light of your beauty shone first into his hart. If you refuse this to doo : I beseech the Gods immortall, to whom immediatly I goe, that as without any kinde of e ither love or kindenes, you have caused me to dye : so that none other caught with your beauty, doo likewise perish, I besech (I say) the just Gods, that either they chaunge that honest stony hart or els disfigure that faire merciles favour. Thus for want of force either to indite or write any more,
I take my leave , desiring you either to come and see me dye, or if I be dead before to see me honestly buried.
Yours unregarded alive. G.S.
hart is easi
craft of a
to be for-
are a fraid
It is an un
at wil hurt
|all other, for as all exstremities are vices : so it is a vice as apeereth plainly by the punishment of my daughter to be to extream in honesty, chastety or any other kinde of vertue. This with the talke of my dame in the diner time so sank it to the yung womans minde : that the same after noon she sent for the gentleman whom she had erst so constantly refused, and promised him that if he would apoint her any unsuspected place : she would be glad to meet him to fulfil all his lust, which he appointed to be the next day at my dames house, where when they wer all assembled : I minding to acquite my dame for giving me mustard: caught a quick mouse, wherof my dame alwaies was exceedingly a fraid, and came with it under her clothes, and there let it goe, which immediatly crope up upon her leg But Lord how she bestired her then, how she cried out, & how pale shee looked, and I to amend the matter making as though I leaped at the mouse: all to bescrat her thies and her belly, so that I dare say she was not whole again in two monethes after, and when the yung woman to whom shee shewed her ponced thies, said I was an unnaturall daughter to deale so with|
|my mother nay ( quoth she) I cannot blam her, for it was through my counsel that she suffered this sorow, and yet I dare say she did it against her wil, thinking to have caught the mouse, which els I dare say would have crept into my bellie. By this meanes was this innocent woman other wise invincible: brought to comit whordome. Shortly after this yung woman begged me of my dame, and to her I went and dwelled with her all that yeer. In which yeer, as all the cats in the parish can tel, I never disobeyed or transgressed our holy law refusing the concupiscientiall company of any Cat nor the act of generation although sometimes, it were more painful to me then plesant, if it were offered in due and convenient time. In deed I confesse I refused Cachrat: & bit him and scrat him, which our law forbiddeth. For on a time this yeer when I was great with kitling: which he of a proud stomack refused to help to get: although I ernestly wooed him therto what time beloved so much his own daughter Slickskin that all other seemed vile in his sight, which also esteemed him as much as hee did the rest, that is never a whit. In this time (I say) when I was great with kit||
ey keep be
tter then we
shal be dis=
as wel as a-
It is the
it self that
a hot herb
|ling, I found him in a gutter eating of a Bat, which he had caught that evening and as you knowe, not only we but also women in our case doo oft long for many things: so I then longed for a peece of the Kermouse, and desired him for saving of my kitten : to give me a morsel, although it were but of the letherlike wing. But he like an unnaturall ravenous churle: eat it all up, and would give me none. And as men doo now a days to their wives, he gave me bitter woords, saing, we longed for wantonnes & not for any need This greeved me so sore , cheefly for the lack of that I longed for : that I was sick two dayes after, and had it not been for good dame Isegrim, who brought me a peece of a mouse, and made me beleeve it was of a back : I had lost my burden, by kitning tenne dayes before my time. When I was recovered & went abrode again about three dayes : this cruel churl met me, & needs would be dooing with me to whom when I had made answere according to his desert & tolde him withall which he might see to by my belly what cace I was in. Tush there was no remedy, I think he had eaten savery, but for all that I could say : he would have his wil,|
|I seeing that and that he would ravish me perforce I cryed out for help as lowd as ever I could squaile, & to defend my self til succour came : I scrat and bit as hard as ever I could & this notwithstanding had not Isegrim, & her sonne Lightfoot come the sooner (who bothe are heer & can witnes he would have marred me quite. Now whether I might in this case refuse him & doo as I did with out breach of our holy lawe which forbiddeth us females to refuse any males not exceeding the number of 10 in a night : judge you my Lords to whom the interpretation of the lawes belongeth Yes surely (q Grisard) for in the 3 yeere of the raigue of Glascaion, at a Court holden in Catwood, as apeereth in the recordes they decreed upon that exception forbidding any male in this case, to force any female and that upon great penalties But to let this pas, wherof we were satisfied in your purgation the first night : tel us how you behaved you with your new mistres, and that as breefly as you can for loe where Corleonis is almost plain west, wherby you knowe the Goblinns houre opprocheth. After I was come to my yung mistres, quoth Mousleyer, she made much of me thinking I had been||
A law for
of the cats
a clock at
ns go abr-
that is at
vers men de
light in di
ful are al=
|mine olde dames daughter, and many tales she tolde therof to her gossips. My Maister also made much of me because I would take meat in my foot : & therwith put it to my mouth & seed. In this house dwelt an ungracious felowe, who delighting much in unhappy turnes : on a time took 4 walnut shels, and filled them ful of soft Pitch , and put them upon my feet, and then put my feet into cold water til the pich was hardned, and then he let me goe. But Lord how strang it was to me to goe in shoos, & how they vexed me For when I ran upon any steep thing they made me slide & fall down. Wherfore all that after noon, for anger that I could not get of my shoos : I hid me in a corner of the garret which was boorded, under which my maister and Mistres lay. And at night when they were al in bed : I spyed a Mouse plaing in the flower, & when I ran at her to catch her : my shooes made such a noise upon the boords : that it waked my Maister who was a man very fearful of sprites. And when he with his servaunts harkned wel to the noise, which went pit pat, pit pat, as it had been the trampling of an horse : they waxed all afraid & said suerly it was the devil. And as|
|one of them an hardy fellowe, even he that had shooed me, came up staires to see what it was : I went downward to meet him and made such a ratling, that when hee saw my glistring eyes : he fel down backward, & brake his head crying out the devil the devil, the devil, which his maister and all the rest hearing ran naked as they were into the street, & cryed the same cry wherupon the neighboures arose & called up emong other an olde Preest, who lamented much the lack of holy water, which they were forbidden to make, how beit, he went to church & took out of the Font some of the Christning water and took his Chalice and a wafer unconsecrat and put on a Surples and his stole about his neck, & fet out of his chamber a peece of holy Candle which he had kept two yeere and heerwith he came to the house and with his Candle light in the one hand and a holy water sprinckel in the other hand, and his Chalice & wafer in sight in his bosome and a pot of Font water at his girdle : up he came praing toward the garret, and all the people after him. And when I saw this, and thinking I should have seen some mas that night as many nights before in other places I|
A meet pil
low for a
A lyer and
a dooer of
|had : I ran towards them thinking to meet them. But when the Preest heard mee come, and by a glimsing had seen mee: downe he fel upon them that were behinde him which with his chalice hurt one, with his water pot an other and his holy candle fel into an other Preests breech beneath, who (while the rest were hawsoning me) was conjuring our mayd at the staire foot and all to besinged him, for he was so afraid with the noyse of the rest which fel : that he had not the power to put it out. When I saw all this busines : down I ran among them where they lay on heaps but such a fear as they were all in then : I think was never seen afore. For the olde preest which was so tumbled among them that his face lay upon a boyes bare arse, which belike was fallen hedlong under him was so astonished: then when the boy (which for feare beshit him self) had al to rayed his face, he neither felt nor smelt it nor remooved from him. Then went I to my dame which lay among the rest God knoweth very madly, & so mewed and curled about her, that at last she said I ween it be my Cat. That hearing the knave that had shooed me, and caling to minde that erst he had forgot : said it|
was so indeed and nothing els. That hearing the preest, in whose holy breech the hooly candel all this while lay burning: he took hart a grace, and before he was spyed rose up and took the candle in his hand and looked upon me and al the rest of the company, and fel a laughing at the hansome lying of his felowes face. The rest hearing him : came every man to him self and arose & looked upon me and cursed the knave which had shood me, who would in no case be a known of it. This doon they got hot water & dissolved the pitch, & plucked of my shooes and then every man after they desired ech other not to be acknowen of this nights woork for shame departed to their lodgings, aud all our houshold went to bed again.
When all the Cats and I to for company, had laughed at this apace : Mousleyer proceeded and said.
After this about 3 quarters of a yeer, which was at whitsontide last, I played another prank and that was this. The Gentleman who (by mine olde dames lying and my weeping) was accepted & retaind of my mistres, came often home to our house, & alwaies in my Miasters absence was dooing with my Dame.
hed in cats
wife and a
ly so lo=
|Wherfore desirous that my maister might knowe it, for they spent his goods so lavishly between them, that not withstanding his great trade of Merchandise : they had unweeting to him almost undoon him alredy. I sought how I might bewray them which as hap would (at the time remembred) afore : came to pas thus, while this Gentleman was dooing with my dame my Maister came in so sodainly, that he had no leisure to pluck up his hose, but with them about his legs ran into a corner behinde the painted cloth, and there stood I warrant you as stil as a mouse. As soon as my maister came in, his wife according to her olde wunt : caught him about the neck and kissed him and devised many means to have got him foorth again but he beeing wery sat down & called for his diner, and when she saw there was none other remedy: she brought it him which was a mes of potage and a peece of Beef, wheras she & her franion had broke their fast with Capons, hot Venson mary bones and all other kinde of dainties. I seeing this, and minding to shew my Maister how he was ordered got behind the cloth and to make the man speak I all to pawed him with my clawes upon|
his bare legs and buttocks, & for all this he stood stil and never mooved. But my Maister heard me & thinking I was catching a mouse : bad my dame go help me who knowing what beast was there: came to the cloth, & called me away saing come pus, come pus, & cast me meat in to the flower. But I minding another thing, & seeing that scratching could not moove him: sudainly I lept up & caught him by the genitalls with my teeth, and bote so hard, that when he had restrained more then I thought any man could: at last he cryed out & caught me by the neck and thinking to have strangled me. My Maister not smelling but hearing such a Rat as was not wunt to be about suche walles: came to the cloth and lift it up and there he found this bare arst Gentleman strangling me, who had his stones in my mouth. & when I saw my maister I let goe my hold, and the Gentleman his and away I ran immediatly to the place where I now dwel, and never came there since so that how they agreed among them I cannot tel, nor never durst go see, for feare of my life.
Thus have I tolde you my good Lords all things that have been doon and hapned
al kind of
rish the in nocents
|through me wherin you perceive my loyaltie and obedience to all good lawes and how shamlesly and falsely I am accused for a transgressor, and I pray you as you have perceived : so certefie my leige great Cammoloch (whose life both Hagat & Heg preserve (of my behavior when Grisard, Isegrim and Poylnoer the commissioners had herd this declaration, and request of Mousleyer: they praised her much. And after that they had commaunded her with all the Cats there to be on Saint Katherins day next insuing at Catnes, wheras the say Camoloch would holde his court they departed & I glad to have herd that I herd, and sory that I had not understand what was said the other two nights before : got me to my bed & slept agood. And the next morning when I went out into the garden : I heard a straunge Cat ask of our Cat what Mousleyer had doon before the commissioners those three nights To whom our cat answered, that she had purged her self of a crime that was laid to her charge by Cachrat, & declared her whole life for 6 yeeres space wherfore in the first two yeers as we said: (said she) she had 5 Maisters, a preest, a Baker, a Lawyer,|
|a Broker and a Butcher, all whose privy deceits which shee had seen: shee declared the first night, In the next two yeers she had seven maisters, a Bishop, a Knight, a Pothecarie, a Goldesmith, an Usurer, an Alchimist, and a Lord, whose cruelty study, craft, cunning, niggishnes, folly, waste and oppression: she declared the second night, wherin this dooing was notable. Because the knight having a faire Lady to his wife, gave his minde so much to his book that he seldome lay with her. This Cat pitying her Mistres, and minding to fray him from lying alone, on a night when her Maister lay from her got to his mouth, and drue so his breth, that she almost stifled him. A like parte shee played with the Userer, who beeing rich & yet living miserably & faining him poore she got oue day while his tresure Chest stood open, and hid her therein, wherof hee not knowing : lockt her in it. And when at night he came thither again and heard one stirring there, & thinking it had been the Devil : he called the Preest and many other persones to come and help him to conjure, and when (in their sight) he openned his chest : out lept she, and they sawe what riches he had, and ceassed him ther||
to ly with
nor to a=
to dwel a
All in this
no thing in
of that the
son of a di
after. As for what was doon and said yesternight, bothe of my Lord Grisards hard adventure, & of Mousleyers bestoweing her other two last yeeres, which is nothing in comparison of any of the other two yeeres before: I need not tel you, for you were present and heard it your self.
This talke loe I heard between these two cats, and then I got me in, and brake my fast with bread and butter, & dined at noon with common meat, which so repleted my head again, and my other powers in the first digestion, that by night time : they were as groce as ever they were before. For when I harkned at night to other two cats which as I perceived by their gestures, spake of the same matter I understood never a woord. Lo heer have I tolde you al, cheefly you my Lord a wunderfull matter, and yet as uncredible as it is wunderful, notwithstanding when I may have convenient time: I wil tel you other things which these eyes of mine have seen, and these eares of mine have heard, and that of misteries so far passing this: that all which I have said now shall in commparison therof, be nothing at all to be beleeved. In the mean while I wil pray you to help to get me some money to con-
vay me on my journey to Cathenes, for I have been going thither these five yeeres, and never was able to performe my journey. When Maister Ferries had
shut up his shop windowes ,
which the forsaid talke
kept open two houres
longer then they
And that we may take profit by this declaration of Maister Streamer : let us so live bothe openly and prively that nether our own cat, admited to all secrets : be able to declare ought of us to the world save the what is lawdable and honest. Nor the Devils cat which wil we or nil we : seeeth and writeth all our il dooings , have ought to lay against us afore the face of God, who not onely with shame but with everlasting torment, wil punish all sinne and wickednes. And ever when yu goest about any thing: call to mind this proverb Beware the Cat, not to tye up thy Cat til thou have doon : but to see that nether thine owne nor the devils cat (which cannot be tied up) finde any thing therin wherof to accuse thee to thy shame.|
Thus dooing thou canst not doo amis but shalt have such good reporte through thy Cats declaration: that thou shalt in
bour who giveth thee this war=
ning, sing unto God this
Himne of his ma=
[ p.84 ]
And kindely speech, to fish, to flesh to fowles.
And spirit to men in soule and body clene:
To mark and knowe what other creatures mean
Which hast given grace to Gregory no Pope:
Which hast (I say) given grace to him to knowe:
To whom the hunter of birds, of mise and rats:
To him graunt Lord with helthy welth and rest:
London at the long Shop ad
joyning unto Saint Mil=
dreds Church in the Pul
trie by Edward
London at the long Shop ad=