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or rather to their factious humours and designs; and after their sermons, their female flocks gossip Scripture, visiting each other to confer notes and make repititions of the sermons, as also to explain and expound them. For, first the minister expounds the Scripture, and then the women-hearers expound the sermon; so that there are expoundings upon expoundings, and preaching upon preaching, insomuch as they make such a medley or hash of the Scripture, as certainly the right and truth is so hidden and obscured that none can find it; and surely the Holy Spirit, whom they talk so much of, knows not what they mean or preach, being so much and such nonsense in their sermons, as God Himself cannot turn to sense. But howsoever, it works on some to a good effect, and causes as much devotion amongst many, as if they preached learnedly, eloquently, and interpreted rightly, and to the true sense and meaning; for many sorrowful and penitent tears are shed. But whether they be bottled up in heaven, I know not: certainly Mary Magdalen could not weep faster for the time, or fetch deeper sighs, or stronger groans for her sins, than they do, which shows that they have been grievous sinners; but whether their sins were of the same kind as hers were, I cannot tell, and I think they would not confess, for confession they account popish. But truly, and verily, the Lady Puritan who hath been to visit me this afternoon, hath so tired me with her preaching discourse, as I think I shall not recover my weary spirits and deafened ears, this two days, unless a quiet sleep cure me. Nay, she hath so filled my head with words, as I doubt it will hinder my silent repose; howsoever I'll try and so taking my leave as going to bed, I rest, Madam,

Your faithful fr. and s.



MADAM, I shall not trouble you now to buy the round of feathers that came out of France, for I have one made here in this town both cheaper and better than those

were; but I have sent as many several messages, or letters, concerning the cap and feathers, as I have heard a lady did to her husband, being in the chief city, and she in the country, who sent to him to buy her a hat and feather, the next week she sent to buy her a hat, but not a feather, the third week, to buy her a feather but not a hat, the fourth week she would have neither hat nor feather. But I have bought a cap, and many feathers, not only that they are in fashion, but for use, for the hanging, or falling feathers shadow my face from the burning sun, and fan a gentle air on my face, that cools the sultry heat, so that were it not a general fashion, it should be my particular fashion in summer time. Indeed, feathers, in my opinion, become women better than men, for women are more of the nature of birds than beasts, not only for their hopping and dancing, which resembles flying, but because they are more useless creatures, for most birds are of no use but to sing, and some to prate, they are neither useful for labor nor war, as most beasts are; 'tis true, vultures, ravens, crows, and such like birds, will be at the end of a battle, but 'tis only to feed on the dead carcasses slain in the battle, like those that feed on the slanders of their sex; also feathers are light, not for shining, but in weight, and so women have light natures; feathers are unsteady and restless, so are women both in body and mind; indeed feathers. and muffs are not so seemly for men as for women, for how can a man guide his horse, or use his sword, when his hands are in a muff? Yet it was all the fashion the last winter for men to wear muffs, tied to a long string about their necks, the muffs hanging at the lower end of the string, and when they had an occasion to lay by their muffs, they flung them behind their backs, which seems like as poor, beggarly soldiers' knapsacks, or as tinkers' budgets, and the string about their neck seems like as if they were going to be hanged for stealing some bread and cheese, or for robbing an apple-orchard, or for stealing ragged linen off the hedges, or some such petty, or worthless things.


MADAM, If you were here in this city, now all the ground of the streets is covered with snow, you would see the young men and their mistresses ride in sleds by torchlight, the women and the men dressed anticly, as also their horses that draw their sleds; and then every sled having a fair lady, at least to her lover's thinking, sitting at one end of the sled, dressed with feathers and rich clothes, and her courting servant like a coachman, or rather a carter, bravely accoutred, driving the horses with a whip, which draw the sled upon the snow with a galloping pace, whilst footmen run with torches to light them. But many of these lovers, not using to drive horses so often as court mistresses, for want of skill overturn the sled, and so tumble down their mistresses in the snow, whereupon they being in a frighted haste, take them up from that cold bed, and then the mistress appears like a pale ghost, or dead body in a winding sheet, being all covered with white snow; and the sled, when the mistress is seated again, instead of a triumphant chair, seems like a virgin's funeral herse, carried, and buried by torchlight; and her feathers seem like a silver crown, that usually is laid thereon, also the sled is drawn then in a slow, funeral pace, for fear of a second fall. By this custom and practice you may know, we have here recreations for every season of the year, and as the old saying is, that pride in winter is never cold, so it may here be said, that love in winter is never cold; indeed, I have heard say, that love is hot, and to my apprehension it must be a very hot amorous love that is not cold this weather. But leaving the hot lovers in the cold snow, I rest, by the fireside, Madam,

Your very faithful friend and servant.

SIR THOMAS BROWNE THE EXCELLENCY OF NATURE From RELIGIO MEDICI Natura nihil agit frustra, (nature makes nothing in vain) is the only indisputable

axiom in philosophy. There are no grotesques in nature; not any thing framed to fill up empty cantons, and unnecessary spaces. In the most imperfect creatures, and such as were not preserved in the ark, but, having their seeds and principles in the womb of nature, are everywhere, where the power of the sun is, in these is the wisdom of his hand discovered. Out of this rank Solomon chose the object of his admiration; indeed, what reason may not go to school to the wisdom of bees, ants, and spiders? What wise hand teacheth them to do what reason cannot teach us? Ruder heads stand amazed at those prodigious pieces of nature, whales, elephants, dromedaries, and camels; these, I confess, are the colossus and majestic pieces of her hand; but in these narrow engines there is more curious mathematics; and the civility of these little citizens more neatly sets forth the wisdom of their Maker. Who admires not Regio Montanus his fly beyond his eagle; or wonders not more at the operation of two souls in those little bodies than but one in the trunk of a cedar? I could never content my contemplation with those general pieces of wonder, the flux and reflux of the sea, the increase of Nile, the conversion of the needle to the north; and have studied to match and parallel those in the more obvious and neglected pieces of nature which, without farther travel, I can do in the cosmography of myself. We carry with us the wonders we seek without us: there is all Africa and her prodigies in us. We are that bold and adventurous piece of nature, which he that studies wisely learns, in a compendium, what others labour at in a divided piece and endless volume.

Thus there are two books from whence I collect my divinity. Besides that written one of God, another of his servant, nature, that universal and public manuscript, that lies expansed unto the eyes of all. Those that never saw him in the one have discovered him in the other: this was the scripture and theology of the heathens; the natural motion of the sun made them more admire him than its supernatural station did the children of Israel. The

ordinary effects of nature wrought more admiration in them than, in the other, all his miracles. Surely the heathens knew better how to join and read these mystical letters than we Christians, who cast a more careless eye on these common hieroglyphics, and disdain to suck divinity from the flowers of nature. Nor do I so forget God as to adore the name of nature; which I define not, with the schools, to be the principle of motion and rest, but that straight and regular line, that settled and constant course the wisdom of God hath ordained the actions of his creatures, according to their several kinds. To make a revolution every day is the nature of the sun, because of that necessary course which God hath ordained it, from which it cannot swerve but by a faculty from that voice which first did give it motion. Now this course of nature God seldom alters or perverts; but, like an excellent artist, hath so contrived his work, that, with the self-same instrument, without a new creation, he may effect his obscurest designs. Thus he sweeteneth the water with a word, preserveth the creatures in the ark, which the blast of his mouth might have as easily created; for God is like a skilful geometrician, who, when more easily, and with one stroke of his compass, he might describe or divide a right line, had yet rather do this in a circle or longer way, according to the constituted and forelaid principles of his art yet this rule of his he doth sometimes pervert, to acquaint the world with his prerogative, lest the arrogancy of our reason should question his power, and conclude he could not. And thus I call the effects of nature the works of God, whose hand and instrument she only is; and therefore, to ascribe his actions unto her is to devolve the honour of the principal agent upon the instrument; which if with reason we may do, then let our hammers rise up and boast they have built our houses, and our pens receive the honour of our writing. I hold there is a general beauty in the works of God, and therefore no deformity in any kind of species of creature whatsoever. I cannot tell by what logic we call a toad, a bear, or an

elephant ugly; they being created in those outward shapes and figures which best express the actions of their inward forms; and having passed that general visitation of God, who saw that all that he had made was good, that is, conformable to his will, which abhors deformity, and is the rule of order and beauty. There is no deformity but in monstrosity; wherein, notwithstanding, there is a kind of beauty; nature so ingeniously contriving the irregular parts, as they become sometimes more remarkable than the principal fabric. To speak yet more narrowly, there was never any thing ugly or mis-shapen, but the chaos; wherein, notwithstanding, to speak strictly, there was no deformity, because no form; nor was it yet impregnant by the voice of God. Now nature is not at variance with art, nor art with nature; they being both the servants of his providence. Art is the perfection of nature. Were the world now as it was the sixth day, there were yet a chaos. Nature hath made one world, and art another. In brief, all things are artificial; for nature is the art of God.




WHY have we none possessed with devils in England? The old answer is, the Protestants the Devil hath already, and the Papists are so holy he dares not meddle with them. Why then beyond seas where a nun is possessed, when a Huguenot comes into the Church, does not the Devil hunt them out? The priest teaches him you never saw the Devil throw up a nun's coats; mark that, the priest will not suffer it, for then the people will spit at him.

Casting out devils is mere juggling; they never cast out any but what they first cast in. They do it where for reverence no man shall dare to examine it; they do it in a corner, in a mortise-hole, not in the market place. They do nothing but what may be done by art; they make the Devil fly out of the window in the likeness of a

bat or a rat: why do they not hold him? Why in the likeness of a bat or a rat or some creature? That is, why not in some shape we paint him in, with claws or horns? By this trick they gain much, gain upon men's fancies, and so are reverenced; and certainly, if the priest deliver me from him that is my most deadly enemy, I have all the reason in the world to reverence him. Objection: But, if this be juggling, why do they punish impostures? Answer: For great reason, because they do not play their part well, and for fear others should discover them; and so all of them ought to be of the same trade.

A person of quality came to my chamber in the temple, and told me he had two devils in his head (I wondered what he meant), and just at that time one of them bid him kill me: with that I begun to be afraid, and thought he was mad. He said he knew I could cure him, and therefore entreated me to give him something, for he was resolved he would go to nobody else. I, perceiving what an opinion he had of me and that 'twas only melancholy that troubled him, took him in hand, warranted him if he would follow my directions to cure him in a short time. I desired him to let me be alone about an hour and then to come again, which he was very willing to. In the meantime I got a card, and lapped it up handsome in a piece of taffeta, and put strings to the taffeta, and, when he came gave it him to hang about his neckwithal charged him that he should not disorder himself neither with eating or drinking, but eat very little of supper, and say his prayers duly when he went to bed, and I made no question but he would be well in three or four days. Within that time I went to dinner to his house, and asked him how he did. He said he was much better but not perfectly well, or in truth he had not dealt clearly with me. He had four devils in his head, and he perceived two of them. were gone with that which I had given him, but the other two troubled him still. "Well," said I, "I am glad two of them are gone; I make no doubt but to get away the

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other two likewise." So I gave him another thing to hang about his neck. Three days after he came to me to my chamber, and professed he was now as well as ever he was in his life, and did extremely thank me for the great care I had taken of him. I, fearing lest he might relapse into the same like distemper, told him that there was none but myself and one physician more in the whole town that could cure devils in the head, and that was Dr. Harvey (whom I had prepared), and wished him, if ever he found himself ill in my absence, to go to him, for he could cure his disease as well as myself. The gentleman lived many years and was never troubled after.




HERE the place was very noble, being the market-place, a very large square, built with handsome brick houses, which had all balconies, which were adorned with tapestry and very beautiful ladies. Scaffolds were built round to the first story, the lower rooms being shops, and for ordinary use; and in the division of those scaffolds, all the magistrates and officers of the town knew their places. The pavement of the place was all covered with gravel (which in summer time was upon these occasions watered by carts charged with hogsheads of water). As soon as the king comes, some officers clear the whole ground from the common people, so that there is no man seen upon the plain but two or three alguazils, magistrates with their small white wands. Then one of the four gates which leads into the streets is opened, at which the torreadors enter, all persons of quality richly clad, and upon the best horses of Spain, every one attended by eight or ten or more lackeys, all clinquant with gold and silver lace, who carry the spears, which their masters are to use against the bulls; and with this entry many of the common

people break in, for which sometimes they back. Sometimes, by the strength of his pay very dear. The persons on horseback have all cloaks folded upon their left shoulder, the least disorder of which, much more the letting it fall, is a very great disgrace; and in that grave order they march to the place where the king sits, and after they have made their reverences, they place themselves at a good distance from one another, and expect the bull. The bulls are brought in the night before from the mountains by the people used to that work, who drive them into the town when nobody is in the streets, into a pen made for them, which hath a door, which opens into that large space; the key whereof is sent to the king, which the king when he sees everything ready, throws to an alguazil, who carries it to the officer that keeps the door, and he causes it to be opened, when a single bull is ready to come out. When the bull enters, the common people, who sit over the door or near it, strike him, or throw short darts with sharp points of steel, to provoke him to rage. He commonly runs with all his fury against the first man he sees on horseback, who watches him so carefully, and avoids him so dexterously, that when the spectators believe him to be even between the horns of the bull, he avoids by the quick turn of his horse, and with his lance strikes the bull upon a vein that runs through his pole, with which in a moment he falls down dead. But this fatal stroke can never be struck, but when the bull comes so near upon the turn of the horse, that his horn even touches the rider's leg, and so is at such a distance that he can shorten his lance, and use the full strength of his arm in the blow. And they who are the most skilful in the exercise do frequently kill the beast with such an exact stroke, insomuch as in a day two or three fall in that manner: but if they miss the vein, it only gives a wound that the more enrages him. Sometimes the bull runs with so much fierceness, (for if he escapes the first man, he runs upon the rest as they are in his way), that he gores the horse with his horns, and his guts come out, and he falls before the rider can get from his

neck, he raises horse and man from the ground, and throws both down, and then the greatest danger is another gore upon the ground. In any of these disgraces, or any other by which the rider comes to be dismounted, he is obliged in honour to take his revenge upon the bull by his sword, and upon his head, towards which the standers by assist him by running after the bull and hocking him, by which he falls upon his hinder legs; but before that execution can be done, a good bull hath his revenge upon many poor fellows. Sometimes he is so unruly that nobody dares to attack him, and then the king calls for his mastiffs, whereof two are let out at a time, and if they cannot master him, but are themselves killed, as frequently they are, the king then, as a last refuge, calls for the English mastiffs, of which they seldom turn above one at a time; and he rarely misses of taking the bull and holding him by the nose till the men run in; and after they have hocked him, they quickly kill him. In one of those days there were no fewer than sixteen horses, as good as any in Spain, the worst of which would that very morning have yielded three hundred pistoles, killed, and four or five men, besides many more of both hurt: and some men remain perpetually maimed: for after the horsemen have done as much as they can, they withdraw themselves, and then some accustomed nimble fellows, to whom money is thrown when they perform their feats with skill, stand to receive the bull, whereof the worst are reserved to the last : and it is a wonderful thing to see with what steadiness those fellows will stand a full career of the bull, and by a little quick motion upon one foot avoid him, and lay a hand upon his horn, as if he guided him from him; but then the next standers by, who have not the same activity, commonly pay for it, and there is no day without much mischief. It is a very barbarous exercise and triumph, in which so many men's lives are lost, and always ventured; but so rooted in the affections of that nation, that it is not in the king's power,

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