The Art of Iugling or Legerdemaine
by Samuel Rid
Home - Random Browse


Art of Iugling or


Wherein is deciphered, all the conueyances of Legerdemaine and Iugling, how they are effected, & wherin they chiefly consist.

Cautions to beware of cheating at Cardes and Dice.

The detection of the beggerly Art of Alcumistry, &, The foppery of foolish cousoning Charmes.

All tending to mirth and recreation, especially for those that desire to haue the insight and priuate practise thereof.

By S.R.

Quod noua testa capit, Inueterata sapit.



This short conceipt, that I haue writ of late, To you kinde Father BVBB, I dedicate, Not that I meane heereby (good sir) to teach, For I confesse, your skills beyond my reach: But since before with me much time you spent, Good reason then, first fruits I should present: That thankefull [*] Bird that leaues one young behinde, Ensamples me, to bear a thankefull minde: Vngratefull he, that thankes can not repay To him, that hath deseru'd it euery way: Accept (kinde Sir) my loue, that being doone, I aske no more, desire no other Boone.

Your Lo: sonne in all loue, SA: RID.

[* Sidenote: The nature of this Bird is: that building her nest vnder the couer of houses (as the Swallow doth with vs) leaue euer behinde her for the owner of the house, one young one, in token of her thankfulnesse: and as I may say, for pawne of her rent.]

TO HIS LOVING FRIEND AND adopted Sonne Mr. Sa: Rid.

_Most worthy sonne,

Your labour and obseruance heerein, with the gift of your first fruits, is both worthy commendations and acceptance: and to cherrish you further in this your discouery, I will giue an addition to your second treatise. So I leaue you to God: and belieue you, not a more louing friend then,_

William Bubb.

To the curteous Reader.

There goeth a prety Fable of the Moone: On a time she earnestly besought her mother to prouide her a garment, comely and fit for her body: how can that bee sweete daughter (quoth the mother) sith that your body neuer keepes it selfe at one staye, nor at one certaine estate, but changeth euery day in the month, nay euery houre? The application heereof needes no interpretation: Fantasie and foolery who can please? and desire who can humour? no Camelion changeth his coulour as affection, nor any thing so variable a Populus Chorus Fluuius.

I would with all my heart, euery Author that had done no better then I haue, had done no worse: and it were to be wished that some caprichious Coxecombes, with their desperate wits, were not so forward to disbowell the entrails of their own ouerweening, singular, infectious, & pestiferous thoughts, as I knowe some.

But I cannot stand all day nosing of Candlestickes; meane time beare with a plaine man: whatsoeuer I haue now done, I hope no exception can be taken, it is for your mirth and recreation (and I pray you so take it.) let such as will needes barke at the Moone, yell till their hearts ake: Gentle and Gentlemens spirits, wil take all kindely that is kindely presented.

Yours in loue S.R.

THE Art of Iugling or Legerdemaine.

Heretofore we haue runne ouer the two pestiferous carbuncles in the commonwealth, the Egyptians and common Canters: the poore Canters we haue canuased meetely well, it now remaines to proceede where I left, ond to goe forward with that before I promised: St. Quintane be my good speede, I know I haue runne thorow the hands of many, censured of diuers, & girded at not of a few: But humanity is euer willinger to loue then hate: curtesie much forwarder to commend then dispraise: clemency infinitely proner to absolue then to condemn. Is it not possible to find sauery hearbs among netles, roses among prickles, berries among bushes, marrow among bones, grain among stubble, and a little corne among a great deale of chaffe? In the rankest and strongest poysons, pure and sweet balmes may be distilled, and some matter or other worthy to be remembred may be embraced, whosoeuer is Author. There is nothing so exceeding foolish but hath bene defended by some wise man, nor any thing so passing wise, but hath bene confuted by some foole: Tut, St. Barnard saw not all things, and the best cart may eftsoones ouerthrow: That curld pate Rufus that goes about with Zoylus to carpe and finde fault, must bring the Standard of iudgement with him, and make wisedome the moderater of his wit, otherwise they may be like to purchase to themselues the worshipfull names of Dunces and Dottipoles. So much by the way.

These kinde of people about an hundred yeares agoe, about the twentith yeare of King Henry the eight, began to gather an head, at the first heere about the Southerne parts, and this (as I am informed) and as I can gather, was their beginning.

Certaine Egiptians banished their cuntry (belike not for their good conditions) ariued heere in England, who being excellent in quaint trickes and deuises, not known heere at that time among vs, were esteemed and had in great admiration, for what with strangenesse of their attire and garments, together with their sleights and legerdemaines, they were spoke of farre and neere, insomuch that many of our English loyterers ioyned with them, and in time learned their craft and cosening. The speach which they vsed was the right Egiptian language, with whome our Englishmen conuersing with, at last learned their language. These people continuing about the cuntry in this fashion, practising their cosening art of fast and loose, and legerdemaine, purchased to themselues great credit among the cuntry people, and got much by Palmistry, and telling of fortunes: insomuch they pittifully cosoned the poore cuntry girles, both of mony, siluer spoones, and the best of their apparrell, or any good thing they could make, onely to heare their fortunes.

This Giles Hather (for so was his name) together with his whore Kit Calot, in short space had following them a pretty traine, he tearming himselfe the King of Egiptians, and she the Queene, ryding about the cuntry at their pleasures vncontrolled: at last about forty yeres after, when their knauery began to be espied, and that their cosonages were apparant to the world, (for they had continued neere thirty yeares after this manner, pilling and polling, and cosening the cuntry) it pleased the Councell to looke more narrowly into their liues, and in a Parliament made in the first and second yeares of Phillip and Mary, there was a strict Statute made, that whosoeuer should transport any Egiptians into this Realme, should forfeit forty pounds: Moreouer, it was then enacted, that such fellowes as tooke vpon them the name of Egiptians, aboue the age of fourteene, or that shall come ouer and be transported into England, or any other persons, and shall be seene in the company of vagabonds, calling themselues Egiptians, or counterfeiting, transforming, or disguising themselues by their apparrell, speach, or other behauiours like vnto Egiptians, and so shall continue, either at one or seuerall times, by the space of a month, they should be adiudged fellons, not allowed their booke or Clergy. These Acts and Statutes now put forth, and come to their hearing, they deuide their bands and companies into diuers parts of the Realme: for you must imagine and know that they had aboue two hundred roagues and vagabonds in a Regiment: and although they went not altogether, yet would they not be aboue two or three miles one from the other, and now they dare no more be knowne by the name of Egiptians, nor take any other name vpon them then poore people. But what a number were executed presently vpon this statute, you would wonder: yet not withstanding all would not preuaile: but still they wandred, as before vp and downe, and meeting once in a yeere at a place appointed: sometimes at the Deuils arse in peake in Darbishire, and otherwhiles at Ketbrooke by Blackeheath, or elsewhere, as they agreed still at their meeting. Then it pleased Queene Elizabeth to reuiue the Statute before mentioned, in the twentith yeare of her happy raigne, endeauouring by all meanes possible to roote out this pestiferous people, but nothing could be done, you see vntill this day: they wander vp and downe in the name of Egiptians, cullouring their faces and fashioning their attire and garment like vnto them, yet if you aske what they are, they dare no otherwise then say, they are Englishmen, and of such a shire, and so are forced to say contrary to that they pretend.

But to come a little neerer our purpose, these fellowes seeing that no profit comes by wandring, but hazard of their liues, doe daily decrease and breake off their wonted society, and betake themselues many of them, some to be Pedlers, some Tinkers, some Iuglers, and some to one kinde of life or other, insomuch that Iugling is now become common, I meane the professors who make an occupation and profession of the same: which I must needs say, that some deserue commendation for the nimblenes and agillity of their hands, and might be thought to performe as excellent things by their Legerdemaine, as any of your wisards, witches, or magitians whatsoeuer. For these kinde of people doe performe that in action, which the other do make shew of: and no doubt many when they heare of any rare exploit performed which cannot enter into their capacity, and is beyond their reach, straight they attribute it to be done by the Deuill, and that they worke by some familiar spirit, when indeede it is nothing els but meere illusion, cosoning, and legerdemaine. For you haue many now adaies, and also heeretofore many writers haue bene abused, as well by vntrue reports as by illusion and practises of confederacy, & legerdemaine, &c. Sometimes imputing to words that which resteth in nature, and sometimes to the nature of the thing that which proceedeth of fraud and deception of sight. But when these experiments growe to superstition and impiety, they are either to be forsaken as vaine, or denyed as false: howbeit, if these things be done for recreation and mirth, and not to the hurt of our neighbour, nor to the prophaning and abusing of Gods holy name: then sure they are neither impious nor altogether vnlawfull, though heerein or heereby a naturall thing be made to seeme supernaturall. And Gentlemen, if you will giue me patience, I will lay open vnto you the right Art Iugling and Legerdemain, in what poynt it doth chiefly consist: principally being sorry that it thus fals out, to lay open the secrets of this mistery to the hinderance of such poore men as liue thereby, whose doings heerein are not onely tollerable, but greatly commendable, so they abuse not the name of God, nor make the people to attribute vnto them his power, but alwaies acknowledge wherein the Art consisteth.

The true Art therefore of Iugling, consisteth in Legerdemaine: that is, the nimble conueyance and right dexteritie of the hand, the which is performed diuers waies, especially three: The first and princiall consisteth in hiding & conueying of balls: The second in alteration of money: The third in the shuffling of Cards: and he that is expert in these, may shew many feates, and much pleasure. There are diuers and rare experiments to be showne by confederacy, either priuate or publike, all which in place conuenient, shall be spoken of. And forasmuch as I professe rather to discouer then teach these misteries, it shall suffice to signifie vnto you, that the endeauour and drift of Iuglers, is onely to abuse mens eyes and iudgements: now then my meaning is in wordes as plaine as I can, to rip up some proper tricks of that Art, wherof some are pleasant & delectable, othersome dreadful & desperate, and all but meere delusions and counterfeit actions, as you shal soone see by due obseruation of euery knacke by me heereafter deciphered: And first in order I will begin with the playes and deuises of the ball, which are many: I will touch onely but a few, and as in this, so in all the rest I will runne ouer slightly, yet as plaine as I can.

Notes and obseruations to be marked of such as desire to practise Legerdemaine.

Remember that a Iugler must set a good face vppon that matter he goeth about, for a good grace and carriage is very requisite to make the art more authenticall.

Your feates and trickes then must be nimbly, cleanly, and swiftly done, and conueyed so as the eyes of the beholders may not discerne or perceaue the tricke, for if you be a bungler, you both shame your selfe, and make the Art you goe about to be perceaued and knowne, and so bring it into discredit.

Wherefore vse and exercise makes a man ready. Vsus promptus facit, and by that meanes your feats being cunningly handled, you shall deceaue both the eye, the hand, and the eare: for often times it will fall out in this arte, and deuises Deceptio visus, Deceptio tactus, et Deceptio Auditus.

Note also that you must haue none of your Trinckets wanting, least you be put to a non plus: besides it behooueth you to be mindefull whereabout you goe in euery trick, least you mistake, and so discredit the arte.

You must also haue your words of Arte, certaine strange words, that it may not onely breed the more admiration to the people, but to leade away the eie from espying the manner of your conuayance, while you may induce the minde, to conceiue, and suppose that you deale with Spirits: and such kinde of sentenses, and od speeches, are vsed in diuers manners, fitting and correspondent to the action and feate that you goe about. As Hey Fortuna, furia, nunquam, Credo, passe passe, when come you Sirrah? or this way: hey Iack come aloft for thy masters aduantage, passe and be gone, or otherwise: as Ailif, Casil, zaze, Hit, metmeltat, Saturnus, Iupiter, Mars, Sol, Venus, Mercurie, Luna? or thus: Drocti, Micocti, et Senarocti, Velu barocti, Asmarocti, Ronnsee, Faronnsee, hey passe passe: many such obseruations to this arte, are necessary, without which all the rest, are little to the purpose.

Feates of Legerdemaine vsed with the Balls, with one or more.

Concerning the Ball, the playes and deuises thereof are infinite: insomuch, as if you can vse them wel, you may shew an hundred feats, but whether you seeme to throw the Ball into the ayre, or into your mouth, or into your left hand, or as you list, it must be kept still in your right hand: if you practise first with the leaden bullet, you shall the sooner, and better do it with balls of Corke: the first place at your first learning, where you are to bestow a great ball, is in the palme of your hand, with your ring finger, but a small ball is to be placed with your thumbe betwixt your ring finger and middle finger: then are you to practise to do it betwixt your other fingers, then betwixt the forefinger & the thumbe, with the forefinger & middle finger ioyntly, and therein is the greatest and the strangest conueying shewed. Lastly the same small ball is to be practised in the palme of your hand, and so by vse, you shall not only seeme to put any ball from you, and yet retaine it in your hand, but you shall keepe fower or fiue, as clenly and certaine as one, this being first learned and sleight attayned vnto, you shall worke wonderfull feates: as for ensample.

Note for this feate yow must haue fower boxes made in the manner of extinguishers that are made to put out candles, but as big againe: but for want of them, you may take smal candlesticks, or saltseller couers, or som such like.

Lay three or fower balls before you, and as many boxes or small candlesticks &c, then first seeme to put one ball into your left hand, and therewithall seeme to holde the same fast. Then take one of the boxes &c. or any other thing (hauing a hollow foote, and being great) and seeme to put the ball which is thought to be in your left hand vnderneath the same, and so vnder the other candlesticks Boxes &c. seeme to bestow the other balls, and all this while the beholders will suppose each ball to be vnder each box, or candlestick &c. this done vse some charme or forme of words (before set downe) as hey Fortuna furie nunquam credo, passe passe: then take vp the candlestick with one hand and blow, saying thats gone you see: and so likewise looke vnder each candlestick with like grace and words (for you must remember to carry a good grace and face on the matter) and the beholders will wonder where they are become: But if you in lifting vp the candlesticks with your right hand leaue all those three or fower balls vnder one of them (as by vse you may easily doe) hauing turned them all downe into your hand and holding them fast with your little, and ring finger, and take the box or candlestick &c. with your other fingers and cast the balls vp into the hollownes thereof (for so they will not rowle so soone away) the standers by will be much astonished, but it will seeme wonderfull strange, if also in shewing how there remaineth nothing vnder an other of the said candlesticks taken vp with your left hand you leaue behinde you a great ball, or any other thing, the miracle will be the greater. For first, they will thinke you haue pulled away all the balls by miracle, then that you haue brought them againe by like meanes and they nether thinke, or looke that any other thing remaineth behinde vnder any of them, and therfore after many other feates don returne to your candlesticks, remembring where you left the great ball, and in no wise touch the same, but hauing another great ball about you, seeme to bestow the same in manner and forme aforesaid vnder a candlestick which standeth farthest from that where the ball lyeth, and when you shall with words and charmes seeme to conuey the same ball from vnder the same box or candlestick &c. (and afterward bring it vnder the box &c. which you touched not) it will (I say) seeme wonderfull strange.

To make a little Ball swell in your hand till it be very great.

Take a very great ball in your left hand, or three indifferent big balls, and shewing one or three little balls, seeme to put them into your said left hand, concealing (as you may well do) the other balls which were there before: Then vse charmes, and words, and make them seem to swell, and open your hand &c. This play is to be varied an hundred waies for as you finde them all vnder the boxe or candlesticke, so may you goe to a stander by, and take off his hat or cap and shew the balls to be there, by conueying them thereinto as you turne the bottome vpward. These things to them that know them are counted ridiculous, but to those that are ignorant they are maruelous.

To consume, (or rather conuay) one or many Balls into nothing.

If you take a ball or more, and seeme to put it into your other hand, and whilst you vse charming words, you conuey them out of your right hand into your lap, it will seeme strange, for when you open your left hand, immediately the sharpest lookers on will say, it is in your other hand, which also then you may open, and when they see nothing there, they are greatly ouertaken.

An other pretty feat with Balls.

Take foure Balls, one of the which keep betweene your fore-finger and your middle, laying the other three vpon the table, then take vp one and put it into your left hand, and afterward take vp another, and conuaying it and the other betweene your fingers into your left hand, taking vp the third and seeming to cast it from you into the ayre, or into your mouth, or else where you please, vsing some words or charmes as before: the standers by when you aske them how many you haue in your hand, will iudge there are no more then two, which when you open your hand they shall see how they are deluded. But I will leaue to speake of the ball any more, for heerein I might hold you all day, and yet shall I not be able to teach you the vse of it, nor scarcely to vnderstand what I meane or write, concerning it, vnlesse you haue had some sight thereof heeretofore by demonstration: and alwaies remember that the right hand be kept open and straight, only keepe the palme from view: and therefore I will end with this miracle.

A feat, tending chiefly to laughter and mirth.

Lay one ball vpon your shoulder, an other on your arme, and the third on the table: which because it is round and will not easily lye vpon the point of your knife, you must bid a stander by, lay it theron, saying, that you meane to cast all those three Balls into your mouth at once: and holding a knife as a penne in your hand, when he is laying vpon the poynt of your knife, you may easily with the haft rap him on the fingers, for the other matter will be hard to doe.

And thus much of the Balls. To come to the second principall part of Legerdemaine, which is conuayance of mony, wherein by the way obserue that the mony must not be of too small nor too great a circumference, least either, it hinder the conuayance.

Of conueyance of mony.

The conueying of mony is not much inferiour to the Ball, but much easier to doe: The principall place to keepe a peece of mony in, is the palme of your hand: The best peece to keepe, is a testor, but with exercise all will be alike, except the mony be very small, and then it must bee kept betweene the fingers, and almost at the fingers end, where as the ball is to be kept, and below neere to the palme.

To conuey mony out of one hand into the other, by Legerdemaine.

First you must hold open your right hand and lay therin a testor or counter, and then lay thereupon the top of your long left finger, and vse words &c. and vpon the sudden slip your right hand from your finger, wherewith you held downe the testor, and bending your hand a very little, you shall retaine the testor therein, and sodainely (I say) drawing your right hand thorough your left, you shal seeme to haue left the testor there, especially when you shut in due time your left hand, which that it may more plainely appeare to be truely done, you may take a knife and seeme to knocke against it, so as it shall make a great sound: but instead of knocking the peece in the left hand (where none is) you shall hold the point of the knife fast with the left hand, and knocke against the testor held in the other hand, and it will be thought to hit against the mony in the left hand: then vse words, and open the hand, and when nothing is seene, it will be wondred at, how the testor was remoued.

To conuert or transubstantiat money into Counters, or Counters into money.

An other way to deceaue the lookers on, is to doe as before with a testor, and keeping a Counter in the palme of your left hand, secretly to seeme to put the testor thereinto, which being retained still in the right hand, when the left hand is opened, the testor will seeme to be transubstantiated into a counter.

To put one Testor into one hand, and another into an other hand, and with words to bring them together.

He that hath once attayned to the facillity of reteyning one peece of money in his right hand, may shew an hundred pleasant conceits by that meanes, and may reserue two or three as well as one: and loe, then may you seeme to put one peece into your left hand, and retaining it still in your right hand, you may together therewith take vp another like peece, and so with words seeme to bring both peeces together.

To put one testor into a strangers hand and an other in your owne hand, and to conuay both into the strangers hand with words.

Take two testors eeuenly set together, and put the same in stead of one testor into a strangers hand: and then making as though you put one testor into your left hand, with words you shall make it seeme that you conuey the testor in your hand into the strangers hand: for when you open your said left hand, there shall be nothing seene: and he opening his hand, shall finde two where he thought was but one. By this deuise I say an hundred conceits may be shewed.

To throwe a peece of money away and to finde it againe where you please.

You may with the middle and ring-finger of the right hand, conuey a testor into the palme of the same hand, and seeming to cast it away, keepe it still, which with confederacy will seeme strange: to wit, when you finde it againe, where another hath bestowed the very like peece. But these things without exercise cannot be done, and therefore I will proceede to shew things to be brought to passe by many, with lesse difficulty, and yet as strange as the rest, which being vnknowne, are maruelously commended, but being vnknowne, are derided and nothing at all regarded.

To make a testor or a groat, leap out of a potte, or run along vpon a table with words.

You shall see a Iugler take a testor or groate & throw it into a pot, or lay it on the middest of the table, and with inchanting words cause the same to leape out of the pot, or run towards him or from him wards alongest the table, which will seeme miraculous, vntill that you know that it is done with a long black haire of a womans head, fastned to the brim of a groat by meanes of a little hole driuen through the same with a spanish needle: in like sort you may vse a knife or any other small thing. But if you would haue it to goe from you, you must haue a confederate by which meanes all Iugling is greased, and amended. This feate is the stranger if it be done by night, a candle placed betweene the lookers on and the Iugler: for by that meanes the eysight is hindred from deserning the conceyt.

A very pretty trick to make a groate or a testor to sinck thorow a table, and to vanish out of a hand kercheife very strangely.

A Iugler sometimes will borrow a groate or a testor, and marke it before you, and seeme to put the same into a hand kercheife, and winde it so that you may the better see and feele it: then will he take you the handkercheif and bid you feele whether the groate be there or no: And he will also require you to put the same vnder a candlestick or some such thing: then will he send for a Bason and holding the same vnder the boord right against the candlestick will vse certen words of inchantments, and in short space you shall here the groat fall into a bason: this done, one takes of the candlestick and the Iugler taketh the handcarcheife by the tassell, and shaketh it: but the money is gone, which seemeth as strange as any feate what soeuer: but being knowne, the miracle is turned into a bable, for it is nothing but to sowe a counter into the corner of a handkercher finely couered with a peece of linnen little bigger then the counter, which corner you must conuey in steede of the groat deliuered vnto you, in the middle of your handkercheife, leauing the other eyther in your hand or lappe, which afterwards you must seeme to pull through the board, letting it fall into a bason.

To conuey one shilling being in one hand into an other, holding your armes abroad like to a roode.

Euermore it is necessary to mingle some merry toyes among your graue miracles, as in this case of money: Take a shilling in each hand, and holding your armes abroad, to lay a wager that you will put them both into one hand without bringing them any whit nerer together: the wager being layde, hold your armes abroad like a roode, and turning about with your body, lay the shilling out of one of your hands vppon the table, and turning to the other side take it vp with the other hand, and so you shall winne your wager.

Of Cardes and Dice, with good cautions how to auoyde cosenage therein: speciall rules to conuey and handle the cardes, and the manner and order how to accomplish all difficult, & strange things wrought with cardes.

Hauing bestowed some wast money amonge you, I will set you to Cardes, and Dice: A cupple of honest friends that drawe both in a yoke together, which haue bin the ouerthrow, of many a hundred in this Realme, and these are not the slightest matters whereuppon Iuglers worke vpon, and shew their feates. By which kinde of Iugling, a great number haue Iugled away, not only their money, but also their landes, their health, their time, and their honestie: I dare not (as I could) shew the lewde Iugling that cheaters practise, least it minister some offence, to the well disposed: to the simple hurt and losse, and to the wicked occasion of euill doing. But by the way I will a little speake of dice, and the vse of them, as caueats, rather to let you take heede of their cosonings, then to giue you light to follow their doings: Non ad imitandum sed ad cuitandum.

First, you must know a Langret, which is a die that simple men haue seldom heard of, but often seene to their cost, and this is a well fauoured die, and seemeth good and square, yet is it forged longer, vppon the Cater, and Trea, then any other way: And therefore it is called a Langret. Such be also cal'd bard Cater treas, because commonly, the longer end will of his owne sway drawe downewards, and turne vp to the eie, Sixe, Sincke, Deuce or Ace. The principall vse of them is at Nouum, for so longe a paire of Bard cater treas be walking on the bourd, so longe can ye not cast fiue, nor nine, vnles it be by greate chance, that the roughnes of the table, or some other stoppe force them to stay, and runne against their kinde: for without Cater or trea, ye know that fiue or nine can neuer come.

But you will say by this reason, he that hath the first dice, is like alwaies to stripp and rob all the table about. To helpe this, there must be for that purpose, an odd Die, called a flat Cater trea ready at hand, and no other number, for graunting the trea and Cater be allwaies vppon the one Die, then is there no chance vpon the other Die, but may serue to make fiue or nine, & cast forth, & loose all.

But now to share you what shifts they haue to bring the flat die in and out, which is a iolly cunning property of Iugling, with them called foysting: the which is nothing else but a slight, to carry easly within the hand, as often as the foister list: so that when either he or his partner shall cast the dice, the flat comes not abroad, till hee hath made a great hand and won as much as him listeth: otherwise the flat is euer one, vnlesse at few times vpon purpose he suffer the silly soules to cast in a hand or two, to giue them courage to continue the play, and liue in hope of winning.

These things I know seeme very strange to the simple, and as yet cannot sinke into their braine, how a man may carry so many dice in one hand, and chop and change them so often, and neuer be espied: so as before I tolde you, Iuglers conueyance seemeth to exceede the compas of reason till you know the feat: but what is it that vse and labour ouercometh not. To foyst finely and readily and with the same hand to tell mony to and fro, is a thing hardly learned, and asketh a bold spirit and long experience, though it be one of the first the Cheater learneth.

What should I speak any more of false dice, of fullons, high-men, lowe-men, gourds, and brisled dice, grauiers, demies, and contraries, all which haue his sundry vses: but it is not my meaning to stand on this subiect: I would rather vse my pen, and spend my time, to disswade and perswade all gamesters, to beware not onely with what dice, but with what company and where they exercise gaming: and be well assured Gentlemen that all the friendly entertainement you shall finde amongst them is for no other end, but to perswade you to play, and therby by to breede your great losse, if not altogether your vndoing.

Therefore vtterly forbeare to hazard any thing at dice, and liue in doubt and suspition of cheating, wheresoeuer you play (vnles you know your company very well) for the contagion of cheating, is now growne so vniuersall, that they swarme in euery quarter: and therefore ye cannot be in safety, vnles you shunne the company of such altogether.

To leaue Dice and returne to Cardes, wherein is as much falsehood and cosening as in Dice: I will therefore disclose as much in one as in the other, for I would not giue a point to choose, which of them is the better, or rather the worse, for there is such a slight in shuffling and sorting of the Cardes, that play at what game you will, all is lost before hand, but if there be a confederate: either of the players or standers bie, the mischiefe can not be auoided.

Beware therefore when you play among strangers of him that seemes simple or drunken, for vnder their habit the most speciall cosoners are presented, and while you thinke by their simplicitie and imperfections to beguile them, (and thereof perchance are perswaded by their confederates) your very friends as you thinke, you your selfe will be most of all ouertaken.

Beware also of betters by, and lookers on: and namely on them that bet on your side: for whilst they looke on your game without suspition, they discouer it by signes to your aduersaries, with whome they bet, and yet are they confederates, whereof me thinkes this one aboue the rest proceedeth from a fine inuention.

A tricke by confederacy at Cardes.

A Gamester, after he had bene often times bitten by Cheators, and after much losse, grew very suspitious in his play, so that he would not suffer any of the sitters by to be priuy to his game, for this the Cheators deuised a new shift, that a woman should sit close by him, and by the swift and slowe drawing of her needle, giue a token to the Cheator what was the Cosens game.

Other helpes there be, as to set the Cosen vpon the bench, with a great Looking glasse behinde him on the wall, wherein the Cheator may alwaies see what Cardes hee hath in his hand, So that a few ensamples in stead of many that might be rehearsed, this one conclusion may be gathered, that whosoeuer is giuen to play, and once sitteth amongst them, it is great ods but that he shall rise a looser.

But many there be that liue so continently, that nothing can perswade them to put a penny in aduenture, and some againe are so vnskilfull that lacke of cunning forceth them to forbeare play: but yet hard it is for any man to fall into their company, but they will make him stoope at one game or other: and for this purpose, their first drift and intent is to seeke, by al meanes possible to vnderstand his nature, and whereunto he is most inclined: if they find that he taketh pleasure in the company of women, then seek they to strike him, at the Sacking law: (as they tearme it) and take this alwaies for a rule, that all the Baudes in the country be of the Cheaters familiar acquaintance.

Therefore it is not very hard for them at all times to prouide for their amorous Cosen, a lewd lecherous Lady to keepe him louing company: then fall they to banquetting, and carrowsing and hunting of Tauernes, and much is the cost that this silly Cosen shall be at in Iewels and apparrell, otherwise he shall not once get a graunt to haue a kisse of his mistris lips: and euer in middle of their conference she layeth in this reason, for her sake to put in twenty or thirty crownes in aduenture at Cardes or Dice: you know not (quoth she) what may be a womans lucke: if he refuse it, Lord how vnkindely she takes the matter, and cannot be reconciled with lesse then a gowne or a kirtle of silke.

But now if these Cheaters perceaue that he esteemeth no bruised ware, but is enamored with virginity, they haue a fine cast within an houres warning, to make Ione Siluerpin as good a maide as if she had neuer come to the stewes: but to let these things passe, for offending of chast eares, whose displeasure I would not incurre, for all the cheates these gamesters get in a whole yeare. But to our purpose.

There are two sorts of vsing the Cards, the one is in playing (with one or more) games, as Primero, Trumpe, Saunte, Decoye, &c.

The other vse of Cardes is to shew feates of Legerdemaine.

Concerning the first, if it be vsed for recreation and not to the prophaning of Gods holy name, nor hurt of our bretheren and neighbors, they are to be tollerated: but now (more is the pitty) they are not vsed in that fashion as they should be, but much hurt oft times ariseth thereof.

Primero now as it is in great vse, so is there much deceite in it, some play vppon the prick, some pinch the cardes priuily with their nailes, some turne vp the corners, some marke them with fine spots of Inck, some there be that trauell into Spaine and into Italie to learne fine tricks and quaint conueyances, at cardes and returne home, and winne much money with them here in England, but yet at the last they are still ouer-reached by some fine wittes that devise new sleights here at home.

At Trumpe, Saunte, and such other like games, cutting at the nick, is a great aduantage, so is cutting by Bumcard, finely vnder or ouer: stealing the stock or the discarded Cardes.

At Decoye they drawe twentie hands together and play all vpon assurance when to winne or loose, other helpes there be as I haue before set downe, with a looking glasse and confederacy: all which and such like, tende to cosoning and hurt of our brother: But we will proceed with the other vse of Cardes, which tendeth to mirth and recreation of minde and which in themselues simply is no hurt, vnles they are abused. In shewing feats & Iugling with cardes the principall poynt consisteth in shuffling them nimbly, and alwaies keeping one certen carde either in the bottom or in some knowne place of the stock, foure or fiue cardes from it, hereby you shall seeme to worke wonders, for it will be easie for you to see or espie one, which though you be perceiued to doe, it will not be suspected, if you shuffle them well afterwards, and this note I must giue you, That in reseruing the bottome carde, you must alwaies (whilst you shuffle) keepe him a little before, or a little behind, all the cardes lying vnderneath him, bestowing him (I say) eyther a little beyond his fellowes before right ouer the fore finger, or else behinde the rest, so as the little finger of the left hand may meete with it, which is the esier and the readier, and the better way: in the beginning of your shuffleing, shuffle as thick as you can, and in the end throw vppon the deck the nether carde, (with so many moe at the least as you would haue preserued for any purpose) a little before or behinde the rest; prouided alwaies that your fore finger if the pack be laide before, or the little finger if the pack lye behinde, creepe vp to meete with the bottome carde, and not lye betwixt the cardes, and when you feele it, you may there holde it vntill you haue shuffled ouer the cardes againe, still leauing your kept carde below being perfect herein, you may doe almost what you list with the cardes: By this meanes what pack soeuer you make, though it consist of eight, twelue, or twenty cardes, you may keepe them still together vnseuered next to the nether carde, and yet shuffle them often to satisfie the curious beholders, as for ensample, and for breuities sake, to shew you diuers feates vnder one.

How to deliuer out foure Aces, and to conuert them into foure Knaues.

Make a pack of eight cardes, to wit foure Knaues and foure Aces, and although all the eight cardes must lie imediately together, yet must ech Knaue and Ace be openly seauered, and the same eight cardes must lie also in the lowest place of the bunch, then shuffle them so, as alwaies at the second shuffling, or at least wise at the end of your shuffling the said pack, and of the pack one ace may lye nethermost or so as you may knowe where he goeth and lyeth, and alwaies I say let your foresaid pack, with three or foure cardes more, lye vnseperablely together, immediately vppon and with that ace, then vsing some speech or other deuise, and putting your hand with the cardes to the edge of the table, to hide the account, let out priuily a peece of the second card, which is one of the knaues holding forth the stock in both your hands, and shewing to the standers by the nether Card (which is the ace or kept Card) couering also the head or peece of the knaue (which is your next card) with your foure fingers: draw out the same knaue laying it down an the Table: then shuffle again keeping your packe whole, and so haue you two aces lying together in the bottome: & therefore to reforme that disordered Card, as also for a grace and countenance to that action, take off the vppermost Card of the bunch, and thrust it into the middest of the Cards, and then take away the nethermost Card, which is one of your aces, and bestow him likewise: then may you begin as before, shewing an other ace, and in stead thereof lay downe another knaue, and so forth, vntill instead of your foure aces you haue laid downe foure knaues. The beholders all this while thinking that there lye foure aces on the table, are greatly abused, and will maruell at the transformation.

How to tell one what Card he seeth in the bottome, when the same Carde is shuffled into the stock.

When you haue seene a Card priuily, or as though you marked it not, lay the same vndermost, and shuffle the Cards as before you were taught, till your Card ly againe belowe in the bottom: then shew the same to the beholders, willing them to remember it, then shuffle the Cards or let any shuffle them, for you know the Cardes already, and therefore may at any time tell them what Carde they saw, which neuerthelesse would be done with great circumstance and shew of difficultie.

A strange & excellent tricke to hold foure Kings in the hand, and by words to transform them into foure Aces, and after to make them all blancke Cardes, one after another.

You shall see a Iugler take foure Kings and no more in his hand, and apparantly shew you them, then after some words and charmes, he will throwe them downe before you vpon the table, taking one of the Kings away and adding but one other Card: then taking them vp againe and blowing vpon them, will shew you them transformed into blancke Cardes, white on both sides: after vsing charmes againe, throwing them downe as before, (with the faces downeward) will take them vp againe and shew you foure Aces, blowing still vpon them, that it may breede the more wonder, which tricke in my minde is nothing inferiour to the rest: and being not knowne, will seeme wonderfull strange to the spectators, yet after you knowe it, you can not but say the tricke is pretty. Now therefore to accomplish this feate, you must haue Cardes made for the purpose, (halfe Cardes ye may call them) that is the one halfe kings the other part aces, so that laying the aces, one ouer the other, nothing but the kings will be seene, and then turning the kings downward, the foure aces will be seene: prouided you must haue two whole, one whole king to couer one of the aces, or els it will be perceaued, and the other an ace to lay ouer the kings, when you meane to shew the aces: then when you will make them all blancke, lay the Cards a little lower, and hide the aces and they will appeare all white. The like you may make of the foure knaues, putting vppon them the foure fiues, and so of the rest of the Cardes: But this can not be well shewed you without demonstration.

Hitherto I haue intreated of the three principall kinds of Iugling, now it remaineth in order to speake of Iugling by confederacy, which is either priuate or publike.

Priuate conspiracy is, when one (by a speciall plot laid by himselfe, without any compact made with others) perswadeth the beholders, that he will suddenly and in their presence, doe some miraculous feate, which he hath already accomplished priuately: as for ensample, he will shew you a carde or any other like thing, and will say further unto you, behold and see what a marke it hath, and then burneth it, and neuertheles fetcheth another like Card, so marked out of some bodies pocket, or out of some corner, where he himselfe before had placed it, to the wonder and astonishment of simple beholders, which conceaue not that kinde of illusion, but expect miracles and strange workes.

I haue read of a notable exploit done before a King by a Iugler, who painted on a wall the picture of a doue, and seeing a pigeon sitting vpon the top of an house, said to the King, looke now your grace shall see what a Iugler can doe, if he be his craftes master, & then pricked the picture with a knife, so hard and so often, and with so effectuall words, as the pigeon fell downe from the top of the house starke dead, you may imagine how the matter was taken, what wondring was thereat, how he was prohibited to vse that feat any further, least he should imploy it in any other kinde of murder. This story is held yet of diuers as canonicall, but when you are taught the feat or slight, you will thinke it a mockery and a simple illusion.

To vnfold you the mistery heereof, so it is that the poore pigeon was before in the hands of the Iugler, into whom he had thrust a dramme of Nux vomica, or some other such poyson, which to the nature of the Bird was so extreame a poyson, as after the receit thereof, it could not liue aboue the space of halfe an houre, and being let loose after the medicine ministred, she alwaies resorteth to the top of the next house, which she will the rather doe, if there be any pigeons already sitting there, and after a short space falleth downe, either starke dead, or greatly astonished: but in the meane time, the Iugler vseth words of art, partly to protract time, and partly to gaine credit, and admiration of the beholders.

As with Cardes you may shew feates by priuate confederacy, so of the other two, that is to wit, with the balls and the mony, as to marke a shilling or any other thing, and throwe the same into a riuer or deepe pond, & hauing hid the shilling before, with like markes, in some other secret place, bid some goe presently and fetch it, making them beleeue that it is the very same which you threwe into the riuer the beholders will maruell much at it: and of such feates there may be many done, but more by publike confederacy, whereby one may tell another how much money he hath in his purse and an hundred like toyes.

Of publike confederacie and whereof it consisteth.

Publike confederacy is, when there is before hand a compacte made betwixt diuers persons: the one to be principall, the other to be assistant in working of miracles, or rather in cosoning and abusing the beholders, as when I tell you in the presence of a multitude, what you haue thought or done, or shall doe or thinke, when you and I were thereupon agreed before: and if this be cunningly and closely handled, it will induce great admiration to the beholders, especially when they are before amased and abused, by some experiment of art, magicke or legerdemaine. I will in briefe set you downe some pretty conclusions, and so I will proceede with other feates in other kindes.

To tell you how to know whether one caste Crosse or Pile; by the ringing

Lay a wager with your confederate (who must seeme simple or obstinate opposed against you) that standing behinde a dore, you will (by the sounding or ringing of the mony) tell him whether he cast crosse or pile, so as when you are gone, and he hath phillepped the money before the witnesses who are to be cosoned, he must say What is it if it be crosse, or What i'st if it be pile, or some other such signe, as you are agreed vpon; and so you neede not faile to gesse rightly. By this meanes if you haue any inuention, you may seeme to doe an hundred miracles, & to discouer a mans thought, or words spoken a far off.

How to tell where a stolne horse is become.

By meanes of confederacy Cuthbert Conycatcher, and one Swart Rutter, two that haue taken degrees in Whittington Colledge, abused notably the country people: for Cuthbert would hide away his neighbours horses, kine, colts, &c: and send them to Swart Rutter, (whom he before had told where they were) promising to send the parties vnto him, whome he described, and made knowne by diuers signes: so as this Swart would tell them at their first entrance vnto the dore, wherefore they came, and would say that their horses kine &c. were stolne, but the theefe should be forced to bring them backe againe, and leaue them within one mile (south and by west, &c.) of his house: euen as the plot was laid, and the pack made before by Cuthbert & him. This Cuthbert is esteemed of some, & thought to be a witch of others, he is accounted a coniurer, but commonly called a wise man, and are able of themselues, to tell you where any thing that is stolne is, as to build Pauls steeple vp againe.

To make one daunce naked.

It hath bene reported of such fellowes, and such, that they can doe rare feates, as to make one daunce naked. To the effecting of this, make a poore boy confederate with you: so as after charmes and words spoken by you, he vnclothe himselfe and stand naked: seeming (whilst he vndresseth him) to shake, stampe, and crie, still hastening to be vnclothed, till he be starke naked: or if you can procure none to goe so farre, let him only begin to stamp and shake &c. and to vnclothe him, and then you may (for reuerence of the company) seeme to release him.

To make a pot of any such thing standing fast on a cupbord, to fall downe thence by vertue of words.

Lett your cupbord be so placed, as your confederate may hould a black Threed without in the courete, behinde some windowe of that roome, and at a certen lowe word spoken by you, he may pull the same threed, being wound about the pot. And this was the feate of Eleazer the Iewe, which Iosephus reporteth to be such a miracle.

Now that we haue spoken of the three principle actes of Legerdemayne and of confederacy, I will go forward, and touch some fewe ordinary feates, which are pretty, yet not altogether to be compared with the rest; I meane for conceipt and nimblenes of the hand, yet such as to the ignorant, and those that knowe not the carriage, will seeme strange and wonderfull.

Of Boxes to alter one graine into another, or to consume the graine or corne to nothing.

There be diuers iugling boxes with false bottomes, wherein many false feates are wrought. First they haue a boxe couered or rather footed alike at each end, the bottome of the one end being no deeper then as it may containe one lane of corne or pepper, glewed there vpon. Then vse they to put into the hollow end thereof some other kind of graine, ground or vnground: then doe they couer it, and put it vnder a hat or candlesticke, and either in putting it thereinto, or pulling it thence, they turne the boxe, and open the contrary end, wherein is shewed a contrary graine, or else they shew the glewed end first, (which end they suddenly thrust into a bag of such graine as is glewed already therevpon) and secondly the empty boxe.

How to conuey (with words and charmes) the corne conteyned in one Box, into another.

There is another boxe fashioned like a bell, whereinto they put so much and such corne as the foresaid hollowe boxe can conteine: then they stop and couer the same with a peece of lether as broad as a tester, which being thrust vp hard to the middle part or waste of the said bell, will sticke fast and beare vp the corne, and if the edge of the same lether be wet, it will hold the better: then take they the other boxe, dipped (as is aforesaid) in corne, and set downe the same vpon the Table, the empty end vpward, saying, that they will conuey the graine therein, into the other boxe or bell, which being set downe somewhat hard vpon the table, the leather & corne therein will fall down, so as the said bell being taken vp from the table: you shal see the corne lying thereon, & the stopple wilbe hidden therewith, & couered, & when you vncouer the other box nothing shal remaine therein, but presently the corne must be swept downe with one hand, into the other, or into your lapp or hatt: many feates may be done with this boxe, as to put therein a toade, affirming the same to be so turned from corne, and then many beholders will suppose the same to be the Iuglers deuill, whereby his feates and myracles are wrought.

How to pull laces innumerable out of your mouth; of what colour or length you list, and neuer any thing seene to be therein.

As for pulling of laces forth of the mouth it is now somewhat stale, whereby Iuglers get much mony among maydes, selling lace by the yarde, putting into their mouthes one round bottome, as fast as they pull out another, & at the iust ende of euery yarde they tie a knott, so as the same resteth vppon their teeth, then cut they off the same, and so the beholders are double and treble deceaued, seeing so much lace as will be conteined in a hat, and the same of what collour you list to name, to bee drawne by so euen yards out of his mouth, and yet the Iugler to talke as though there were nothing at all in his mouth. There are diuers iugling trickes which I am loath to describe for some reasons before alleaged, whereof some are common some rarer and some desperate: I wil therefore shew a few desperate and dangerous iugling knackes, wherein the simple are made thinke, that a silly Iugler with words can hurt and helpe, kill and reuiue any creature at his pleasure: and first to kill any kinde of pullen and to make them reuiue.

To kill a Hen, chicken or Capon and giue it life againe.

Take a hen &c. and trust a naule, or a fine sharpe pointed knife through the middle of the head thereof, the edge toward the bill, so as it may seeme impossible for her to escape death. Then vse words or incantations, and pulling out the knife, lay otes before her and she wil eate and liue, being nothing at all greeued or hurt with the wound, because the braine lyeth so farre behinde in the head as it is not touched, though you thrust your knife betweene the combe and it:[*] And after you haue done this, you may conuert your speech and accions, to the greeuous wounding, and recouering of your owne selfe.

[* Sidenote: The naturall cause why a Hen thrust through the head with a Bodkin doth liue notwithstanding.]

To eate a Knife, and to fetch it forth of another place.

Take a knife, and conuey the same betweene your two hands, so as no parte be seene thereof, but a little of the poynt, which you must so bite at the first as noyse may be made therwith: then seeme to put a great parte therof into your mouth, and letting your hand slip downe, there will appeare to haue bin more in your mouth, then is possible to be conteyned therein: then send for drinke, or vse some other delaye vntill you haue let the said knife slip into your lap, holding both your fists close together as before, and then raise them so from the edge of the table where you sit (for from thence the knife may most priuily slippe downe into your lappe) and in steede of biting the knife, knab a little vppon your naile, and then seeme to thrust the knife into your mouth,[*] opening the hand next vnto it, and thrust vp the other, so as it may appeare to the standers by, that you haue deliuered your hands thereof, and thrust it into your mouth: then call for drinke, after countenance made of pricking, and daunger &c. lastly, put your hand into your lap, and taking that knife into your hand, you may seeme to bring it out from behinde you, or from whence you list: but if you haue another like knife, and a confederate, you may doe twentie notable wonders hereby: as to send a stander by into some garden or Orchard, describing to him some tree or herbe vnder which it sticketh: or else some strangers sheath or pocket &c.

[* Sidenote: This is pretty if it be cleanely done.]

To thrust a bodkin through your head, without any hurt.

Take a Bodkin so made, as the haft being hollow, the blade thereof may slip thereinto: as soone as you holde the poynt downeward, and set the same to your forehead, and seeme to thrust it into your head: and so (with a little sponge in your hand) you may wringe out blood or wine, making the beholders thinke the blood or wine (whereof you may say you haue drunke very much) runneth out of your forehead: Then after countenance of paine and greefe, pull away your hand suddenly, holding the poynt downeward, and it will fall so out, as it will seeme neuer to haue bin thrusted into the hafte: But immediately thrust that bodkin into your lappe or pocket, and pull out another playne bodkin like the same, sauing in that conceite.

To cut halfe your nose in sunder, and to heale it againe presently without any salue.

Take a knife, hauing a round hollow gappe in the middle, and lay it vppon your nose, and so shall you seeme to haue cut your nose in sunder:[*] prouided alwaies that in all these, you haue another like knife without a gap to be shewed vppon pulling out of the same and words of inchauntments to speake: Blood also to bewraye the wounde, and nimble conueyance.

[Sidenote: This is easily don, howbeit being nimbly done it will deceaue the sight of the beholders.]

To put a Ring through your cheeke.

There is pretty Knack, which seemeth dangerous to the cheeke: for the accomplishment whereof, you must haue two rings of like coullour and quantity, the one filed asunder, so as you may thrust it vpon your cheeke: the other must be whole and conueyed vpon a sticke, holding your hand therevpon in the middle of the sticke, deliuering each end of the same sticke to be holden fast by a stander by, then pulling the ring out of your cheeke, cleanely strike it against same part of the sticke, keeping it still in your hand, then pull your other hand from the sticke, and pulling it away, whirle about the ring, and so it will be thought that you haue put thereon the Ring which was in your cheeke.

Many other pretty feates of this nature might be here sett downe, as to cut of ones head and to laye it in a platter, which Iuglers cal the decollation of S. Iohn the Baptist, also to thrust a dagger or bodkin through your gutts very strangely, and to recouer imediately: after another way then with the bodkyn before rehearsed, also to draw a corde through your nose, mouth or hande so sencibly, as is wonderful to see, al which with many more, I here forbeare for breuities sake. There is a very pretty trick to make wine or beere, to come out of your browe, or eare, with a funnell after you haue drank the same, the which I am loath to discouer, as not willing to haue all the poore Iugglers trickes made known at once: there is a way to make fire to come out of your mouth by burning of towe, all which for reasons before aleadged, I wil here omit to discouer. But will hie me to another sorte of Iugglers, or rather cosoners, calling themselues by the name of alchimistes, professing themselues learned men, and to haue the Philosophers stone, these professors of the mysty or smokie science, studie and cast about how to ouer-reach and cosen the simple, and such as are giuen to coueteousnes or greedy desire after gaine, with such they insinuate themselues by little and little, professing a shew of honesty and plainnes, vntill they are acquainted with their desires, and found the length of their foote: telling them that they can doe wonders, make siluer of copper, and golde of siluer. Such a one a while agoe was in Battersey, who comming poore to towne, made some of the towne beleeue he had the Philosophers stone: wherevpon, one of the rest beleuing him, desired to be better acquainted with him: insomuch, that he requested him to take a poore bed at his house, and offred him great kindenesse, hoping in time to get some skil of him towards the attaining of the Philosophers stone: vpon a day as this Smith (for so imagine him to be) and beggerly Artist were together, desired him of all loues to impart to him some of his learning, assuring him, if it lay in his power to doe him a pleasure, he should not faile, protesting that both his purse and himselfe were both at his comaund: Herevpon, to be short, my Gentleman at the first was somewhat scrupilous, yet at the earnest request of his newe friend, did at last condiscende, charging him to be secret in what he should disclose vnto him. The Smith swore to be silent: then my cosoning copesmate instructs him as followeth.

In the month of Iuly, search for the seede of Fearne, which must be first and principall matter of working this, and effecting this hidden secret, and qd. he, if you had but an ounce of this fearneseede, thou shalt be made for euer, for it is very hard to finde: heerevpon he gets vp the next morning (for it was about the same time of the yeare which he prescribd him to search for this inestimable seede) and lookes very dilligently about the heath, (where store of fearne growes: but hauing) spent most part of the day in searching and looking, his backe ready to cracke with stooping, and his throate furd with dust, for want of small beere, so that the poore Smith was ready to faint for want of foode: by chance one of the towne came by, and seeing him search so dilligently vp & downe, and could not guesse for what, asked him what he sought for so busily? O quoth the Smith, for a thing that if I could finde, I should be made for euer: why quoth the fellow what I prethee ist? O no quoth the Smith I may not tell you: not tell me quoth the fellow, why what ist? I prethee tell me: at last, at the earnest entreaty of the fellow, the smith told he looked for fearne seede: with that the fellow laughed a good, and asked him who willed him to looke for that? that did M. Etseb quoth the smith, and if I can but finde one ounce of it, it would be of much worth: worth quoth the fellow, he that set thee to looke for that was a foole and thou art an Asse, for there was neuer any fearne seede as yet seene: therefore get thee home to the forge, for he makes but a foole of thee: at this the smith was blancke, and got him home to his anuill: but how the smith and the Alcumister, agreed vpon the reckoning for his cosening him, I meane not heere to deliuer: but this I bring in by the way, to shew that their art is nothing but deceipt, and themselues cosoners, which by two pretty tales I will declare vnto you,

How an Alcumister cousoned a priest.

Chaucer in one of his Canterbury tales, rehearseth this test of a cousoning Alcumist: espying on a day a coueteous priest, whose purse he knew to be well lyned: assaulted him with flattery and kinde speech, two principall points belonging to this art: at length he borrowed mony of this priest, which is the third part of this art, without the which the professors can doe no good, nor endure in good estate: then he at his day repayed the mony, which is the most difficult poynt in this art, and a rare experiment: finally to requite the priests curtesie, he promised vnto him such instructions, as therby within short time he should become infinitely rich, and all through this art of multiplication: and this is the most common point in this science, for heerein they must be skilfull before they be famous or attaine to any credit: the Preist disliked not his proffer, especially because it tended to his profit, and embraced his curtesie: then the foole-taker bad him send forthwith for three ounces of quicke-siluer, which hee said he would transubstantiate (by his art) into perfect siluer: the Priest thought nothing of deceit, but with great ioy accomplished his request.

And now forsooth goeth this iolly Alcumist about his busines, and worke of multiplication, and causeth the Priest to make a fire of coles, in the bottome whereof he placeth a croslet, and pretending onely to helpe the Priest to lay the coles handsomely, he foysteth into the middle ward or lane of coles, a beechen cole, within which was conueyed an ingot of perfect siluer, (which when the cole was consumed slipt down into the croslet, that was I say directly vnder it.) The Priest perceaued not the fraud, but receaued the ingot of siluer, and was not a little ioyfull to see such certen successe proceed from his own handy worke, wherein could be no fraud (as he surely conceaued) and therefore very dilligently gaue the knaue forty pounds, for the receit of this experiment, who for that summe of mony, taught him a lesson in Alcumistry, but he neuer returned to heare repetitions or to see how hee profited.

A merry tale how a cosoning Alcumist deceaued a country Gentleman.

A Gentleman in Kent of good worth, not long sithence was ouertaken by a cosoning knaue, who professed Alcumistry, Iugling, Witch craft, and coniuration, and by meanes of his companions and confederates, found the simplicitie and abilitie of the said Gentleman, & learnt his estate and humors to be conuenient for his purpose, and at last came a wooing to his daughter, to whome hee made loue cunningly in words, though his purpose tended to another end: and among other illusions and tales, concerning his owne commendations, for wealth, parentage, inheritance, alliance, learning and cunning, be bosted of the knowledge and experience in Alcumistry, making the simple Gentleman beleeue that he could multiply, and of one Angell make two or three, which seemed strange to the Gentleman: insomuch as he became willing enough to see that conclusion: whereby the Alcumister had more hope and comfort to attaine his desire, then if his daughter had yeelded to haue married him: to bee short, he in the presence of the said Gentleman, did include within a little ball of virgins ware a couple of Angells, & after certaine ceremonies and coniuring words, he seemed to deliuer the same vnto him, but in truth, through Legerdemaine, he conueyed into the Gentlemans hand, another ball of the same scantling, wherein were inclosed many more Angells then were in the ball which he thought he had receaued, Now (forsooth) the Alcumister bad him lay vp the same ball of ware, and also vse certaine ceremonies, (which I thought good heere to omit) and after certaine daies, houres, and minutes, they returned together according to the appointment, and found great gaines by multiplication of the angels, insomuch that he being a plaine man, was heereby perswaded that he should not onely haue a rare and notable good sonne in law, but a companion that might helpe to ad vnto his wealth much treasure, and to his estate great fortune and felicity: and to encrease this opinion in him, as also to winne his further fauour: but especially to bring his cunning Alcumistry, or rather his lend purpose to passe, he tolde him that it were folly to multiply a pound of gold, when as easily they might multiply a million, and therefore counselled him to produce al the money he had, or could borrowe of his neighbours, and freendes, and did put him out of doubt, that he would multiply the same, & reduble it exceedingly, euen as he sawe by experience how he delt with the smal somme before his face: this Gent. in hope of gaines and preferment, consented to his sweete motion, & brought out and layd before his feete, not the one halfe of his goodes, but all that he had, or could make or borrowe any manner of waye: then this Iuggling Alchimister hauing obtayned his purpose, foulded the same in a ball in quantity far bigger then the other. And conuaying the same vnto his bosome or pocket, deliuered another Ball (as before) in the like quantity, to be reserued, and safely kept in his cheste, whereof (because the matter was of importance) eyther of them must haue a keye, and a seuerall lock, that no interruption might be made to the ceremuny, or abuse by either of them in defrawding eche other. Now forsooth the circumstances, and ceremonies being ended & the Alchimisters purpose thereby performed, he tould the Gent. that vntil a certen day and hower lymited to retorne, either of them might imploye themselues about theire busines, and necessarie affaires, the Gent. to his busines, and he to the citty of London. And in the meane tyme the gould should multiply, But the Alchimister (belike) hauing other matters of more importance, cam not iust at the hower appoynted nor yet at the day, nor with in the yere, so as although it were som what, against the Gent. conscience to violate his promise or break the league yet partly by the longing he had to see, & partely the desire he had to enioy the frute of the excellent experiment, hauing for his own securitie (& the others Satisfaction) some testimonie at the opening thereof, to witnes his sincere dealing, he brake vp the coffer, & loe, he soone espied the Ball of ware which he himselfe had layd vpp there with his owne handes, so as he thought, if the hardest should fall, he should finde his principall, and why not as good incrase now, as of the other before? But alas, when the ware was broken and the mettall discouered, the gould was much abased and became perfect lead.

Hitherto haue I spoken somewhat of the knauerie of Alcumisry, now I will conclude with a pretty dialogue that Petrarke a man of great wisdome and learning, and of no lesse experience, hath written who as in his time, sawe the fraudulent fetches of this compassing craft, so hath there bin no age, since the same hath bin broached, but that some wise men haue smelt out the euill meaning of these shifting marchants, and bewrayed them to the world.

Francis Petrarke, (I say) treating of the same matter, in forme of a dialogue, introduceth a deciple of his, who fancied the foresaid profession and practise, speaking on this manner.

Decip. I hope for a prosperous successe in Alcamistrie.

Pet. It is a wonder from whence that hope should spring, sith the fruite thereof did neuer yet fall to thy lotte: nor yet at any time chance to another, as the report commonly goeth, that many rich men, by this vanity and madnes, haue bin brought to beggery, whilst they haue wearied their wealth, in trying of conclusions: to make gould ingender gould.

Decip. I hope for gould according to the workemans promise.

Petra. He that promised the gould, will runne away with the gould, and thou neuer the wiser.

Decip. He promiseth me greate good.

Petr. He will first serue his owne turne, and releeue his priuate pouerty, for Alcumisters are a beggerly kinde of people, who though they confesse themselues bare, and needy: yet wil they make other rich, and wealthie, as though others pouertie did molest, and greeue them more then their owne, so far the words of petrarke.

Albert in his booke of mineralls, reporteth that Auicen treating of Alcumistry: saith, Let the dealers of Alcumistry vnderstand, that the very nature of things, can not be changed: but rather made by arte, to resemble the same in shew, and likenes: so that they are not the very thing indeede, but seeme so to bee in appearance: As Castles and Towers doe seeme to be built in the ayre, whereas the representations there shewed, are nothing else, but the resemblance of certaine obiects belowe, caused in some bright, and cleere cloude: when the aire is voyde of thicknes, and grossenes, a sufficient proofe hereof may be the looking-glasse: and wee see (saith he) the yellow orringe cullour layde vppon red, seemeth to be gould.

Thus much for the fond, and vaine arte of Alcumistry, I will now drawe to an ende, leauing to speake of the innumerable charmes of coniurours, bad Phisitions, lewd Surgions, melancholy Witches, and cosoners, especially for such: as bad Phisitions and Surgions, knowe not how to cure: as against the falling euill, the biting of madde doggs, the stinging of a Scorpion, the tooth-ache, for a woman in trauell, for the kings euill: to get a thorne out of any member, or a bone out of ones throate: for sore eies, to open locks, against spirits: for the botts in a horse, for sower wines, and diuers others.

There are also diuers books imprinted, as it should appeare by the authoritie of the Church of Rome, wherin are conteyned many medecinall prayers, not only against all deseases of horses, but also for euery impediment, and fault in a horse, in so much as if a shooe fall in the middest of his iorney; there is a prayer to warrant your horses hoofe so as it shall not breake, how farre soeuer he be from the smythes forge: But these of all the rest are the fondest toyes, that euer were deuised, therefore we wil passe them ouer, and yet how many in these dayes are addicted to the beleefe of these charmes it is incredible, I will giue you a taste of two or three, because you shall see the foolery of the rest.

A Charme to be said each morning by a Witch fasting, or at least before she goe abroade.

The fire bites, the fire bites, the fire bites: hogs turde ouer it, hogges turde ouer it, hoggs turde ouer it. The Father with thee, the Sonne with me, the holy Ghost betweene vs both to be, thrise, then spitt ouer one shoulder, and then ouer the other, and then three times right forward.

An olde womans Charme wherewith she did much good in the cuntrie and grew famous thereby.

An olde woman that healed all deseases of cattell (for the which she neuer tooke any reward but a penny and a loafe) being seriously examined, by what words she brought these things to passe, confessed that after she had touched the sick creature, she alwaies departed immediately saying.

My loafe in my lap, My penie in my purse: Thou art neuer the better, And I am neuer the worse.

A slouenly Charme for sore eies.

The Deuill pull out both thine eies, And etish[*] in the holes likewise.

[Sidenote: spel this word backward and you shall see what a slouenly charme this is etish.]

A Miller that had his eeles stolne by night, made mone to the priest of the parish, who indeede was the principall of the theeues that stole the eeles, Sir Iohn willed him to be quiet, for said he I will to curse the theeues, and their adherents with bell, booke, and candle, that they shall haue small ioy of their fish, and therefore the next sonday Sir Iohn gotte him vp to the pulpit with his surplis on his back, and his Gole about his neck, and pronounced these words following, in the audience of the people.

All ye that haue stolne the myllers Eeles Laudate Dominum in coelis: And all they that haue consented therunto Benedicamus Domino.

By this little you may plainely perceaue the foppery of the Church of Rome, who hould such toyes as authenticall, and also there knauery to make the people beleeue, lies for truth, and falshod for honestie, Bearing them in hand, as in this, so in all the rest, with blindenes, and ignorance but hereof ynoughe.

And now to conclude, lett vs backe againe with one pretty knack, which is held to be meruilous and wonderfull. And that is to make a horse tell you how much money you haue in your purse: and I reade of a pretty story of an asse at Memphis in Egypt, that could do rare feates, among other Iuggling knackes, there and then vsed: there was one that tooke paynes with an asse, that he had taught him, all these quallities following, and for game he caused a stage to be made, and an assembly of people to meete, which being downe in the manner of a play, he came in with his asse, and sayde: The Sultan hath great neede of asses, to helpe to carry stones, and other stuffe towards his great building which he hath in hande: the asse immediately fell downe to the ground, and by all signes shewed himself to be sick, and at length to giue vp the ghost, so as the Iuggler begged of the assembly money towards his asse, and hauing gotten all that he could, he saide, now my masters you shall see mine asse is yet aliue, and doth but counterfeit, because he would haue some money to buy him prouender, knowing that I was poore and in some neede of reliefe: heere vpon he would needes lay a wager that his asse was aliue, who to euery mans seeing was starke dead: and when one had laid mony with him therevpon, he commaunded the asse to arise, but hee lay still as though he were dead: then did he beate him with a Cudgell, but that would not serue the turne, vntill he had addressed his speech to the Asse, saying as before in open audience, the Sultane hath commaunded that all the people shall ride out to morrow, and see the triumph, and that the faire Ladies will ride vpon the fairest Asses, and will giue notable prouender to them, and euery Asse shall drinke of the sweete water of Nylus: and then, loe the Asse did presently start vp, and aduance himself exceedingly. Loe quoth his master, now I haue wonne: but in troth the Maior hath borrowed my Asse for the vse of the old il-fauoured witch his wife: and therevpon immediately he hung downe his eares and halted downe right, as though he had bene starke lame: then said his Master, I perceaue you loue young pretty wenches: at which the asse looked vp as it were with a ioyfull cheere, and then his master bad him choose out one that should ride vpon him, and he ran to a very hansome woman, and touched her with his head.

Such a one is at this day to be seene in London, his master will say, sirra, heere be diuers Gentlemen, that haue lost diuers things, and they heare say that thou canst tell them tydings of them where they are: if thou canst, prethee shew thy cunning and tell them: then hurles he downe a handkercher or a gloue that he had taken from the parties before, and bids him giue it the right owner, which the horse presently doth: and many other pretty feates this horse doth, and some of those trickes as the Asse before mencioned did, which not one among a thousand perceaues how they are done, nor how he is brought to learne the same: and note that all the feates that this horse doth, is altogether in numbering: as for ensample, His master will aske him how many people there are in the roome: the horse will pawe with his foote so many times as there are people: and marke the eye of the horse is alwaies vpon his master, and as his master moues, so goes he or stands still, as he is brought to it at the first: as for ensample, his master will throw you three dice, and will bid his horse tell how many you or he haue throwne, then the horse pawes with his foote whiles the master stands stone still: then when his master sees hee hath pawed so many as the first dice shewes it selfe, then he lifts vp his shoulders and stirres a little: then he bids him tell what is on the second die, and then of the third die, which the horse will doe accordingly, still pawing with his foote vntill his master sees he hath pawed ynough, and then stirres: which the horse marking, will stay and leaue pawing. And note, that the horse will paw an hundred times together, vntill he sees his master stirre: and note also that nothing can be done, but his master must first know, and then his master knowing, the horse is ruled by him by signes. This if you marke at any time you shall plainely perceaue.

Now that we are come to our iournies end, let vs sit downe and looke about vs, whether we are al sonnes of one father, if there be no knaues among vs: St. Boniface light me the candle. Who doe I see? what the lustie lad of the Myter, that will binde beares, and ride his golden Asse to death but he will haue his will? Birlady, birlady sir, you of all the rest are most welcome, what how doth your stomack after your carrowsing banquet? what gorge vpon gorge, egges vpon egges, and sack vpon sack, at these yeares? by the faith of my body sir you must prouide for a hot kitchen against you growe olde, if you mean to liue my yeares: but happy the father that begot thee, and thrise happy the Nurse that soffred such a toward yonker as thy selfe: I know thy vertues as well as thy selfe, thou hast a superficiall twang of a little something: an Italian ribald can not vomit out the infections of the world, but thou my pretty Iuuinall, an English Dorrell-lorrell, must lick it vp for restoratiue, & putrifie thy gentle brother ouer against thee, with the vilde impostumes of thy lewd corruptions: God blesse good mindes from the blacke enemy say I: I know you haue bene prying like the Deuill from East to West, to heare what newes: I will acquaint thee with some, & that a secret distillation before thou goest. He that drinketh oyle of prickes, shall haue much a doe to auoyd sirrope of roses: and he that eateth nettles for prouender, hath a priuiledge to pisse vpon lillies for litter. I prethee sweete natures darling, insult not ouermuch vpon quiet men: a worme that is troden vpon will turne againe, and patience loues not to be made a cart of Croyden. I doe begin with thee now, but if I see thee not mend thy conditions, Ile tell you another tale shortly: thou shalt see that I can doot, I could bring in my Author to tell thee to thy face, that he hath found a knaue in grosse, of thee: but I can say, I haue found thee a foole in retaile: thou seest simplicity can not double, nor plaine dealing cannot dissemble, I could wish thee to amend thy life, and take heede of the Beadle.

Vale qui rediculose haec legeris.


[Transcriber's notes: Obvious typographical errors that were not plausible as historical or phonetic spellings were corrected. In the original, these read

"looke now your grace shall see what a Iugler can doe" originally "loo"

"bid some goe presently and fetch it" originally "fecth"

"so I will proceede with other feates" originally "proceene"

"the one filed asunder" originally "the the one"

"A slouenly Charme for sore eies" originally "eiet"

Abbreviations have been silently expanded. Where opening and closing parentheses were mismatched, commas were turned into parentheses (or vice versa) to make them match.]


Home - Random Browse