Samuel Rid.

The Art of Iugling or Legerdemaine online

. (page 1 of 4)
Online LibrarySamuel RidThe Art of Iugling or Legerdemaine → online text (page 1 of 4)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Produced by Robert Shimmin, David King, and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team


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._


and my louing father, Mr.

_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,

[* 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

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

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_

Art of Iugling or

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

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

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

1 3 4

Online LibrarySamuel RidThe Art of Iugling or Legerdemaine → online text (page 1 of 4)