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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


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Online LibrarySamuel RidThe Art of Iugling or Legerdemaine → online text (page 3 of 4)