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hour that should favour his escape ; and in Burnet's History of his own Times, there is a story which strongly proves how much Charles II was bigotted to judicial astrology, a man, though a king, whose mind was by no means unenlightened. The most respectable characters of the age, Sir William Dugdale, Elias Ashmole, Dr. Grew, and others, were mem bers of the astrological club. Congreve's character of Foresight, in Love for Love, was then no uncommon person, though the humour, now, is scarcely intelligible. Dryden cast the nativities of his sons; and what is remarkable, his prediction relating to his son Charles, was accomplished. The incident being of so late a date, one might hope that it would have been cleared up; but, if it be a fact, it must be allowed that it forms a rational exultation for its irrational adepts. Astrologers were frequently, as may easily be understood, put to their wit's end when their predictions did not come to pass.
Great winds were foretold, by one of the craft, about the No unusual storms, however, happened. Bodin, to save the reputation of the art, applied it as a figure to
• The Chaldean Sages were nearly put to the route by a quarto pack of artillery, fired on them by Mr. John Chamber, in 1691. Apollo did not use Marsyas more inbumanly than his scourging pen this mystical race; and his personalities inade them sorely feel it. However, a Norwich knight, the very Quixote of Astrology, arrayed in the enchanted armour of his occult authors, encountered this pagan in a most stately carousal. He came forth with “ A Defence of Judi. cial Astrologye, in answer to a treatise lately published by Mr. John Chamber. By Christo her Knight. Printed at Cambridge, 1693.”
some revolutions in the state, of which there were instances enough at that time.
At the commencement of the i8th century, the Illuminati, a sect of astrologers, had excited considerable sensation on the continent. Blending philosophy with enthusiasm, and uniting to a knowledge of every chemical process a profound acquaintance with astronomy, their influence over the superstitious feelings of the people was prodigious; and in many instances the infatuation was attended with fatal consequences. We shall relate the following, as nearer home than many now before us.
THE HOROSCOPE, A TALE OF THE STARS.
On the summit of St. Vincent's rocks, in the neighbourhood of Clifton, looking on the Avon, as it rolls its lazy courses towards the Bristol Channel, stands an edifice, known by the name of “ Cooke's Folly.” It consists of a single round tower, and appears at a distance rather as the remnant of some extensive building, than a complete and perfect edifice, as it now exists. It was built more than two centuries ago, by a man named Maurice Cooke ; not, indeed, as a strong hold from the arms of a mortal enemy, but as a refuge from the evils of destiny. He was the proprietor of extensive estates in the neighbourhood; and while his lady was pregnant with her first child, as she was one evening walking in their domains, she encountered a strange looking gipsey, who, pestering her for alms, received but a small sum. The man turned over the coin in his hand, and implored a larger gift.
" That,” said the lady, “ will buy you food for the present.”
Lady,” said the gipsey, 6. it is not food for the wretched body that I require ; the herbs of the field, and the waters of the ditch, are good enough for that. I asked your alms for higher purposes. Do not distrust me, if my bearing be prouder than my garments; do not doubt the strength of my sunken eye, when I tell you that I can read the skies as they relate to the fate of men.
Not more familiar is his hornbook to the scholar, than are the heavens to my knowledge."
“ What, thou art an astrologer?”—“ Aye, lady! my fathers were so before me, even in the times when our people had a home amidst the pyramids of the mighty_in the times when you are told the mightier prophets of the Israelites put the soothsayers of Egypt to confusion ; idle tales ! but if true, all reckless now.
Judah's scattered sons are now desolate as ourselves ; but they bend and bow to the laws and ways of other land—we remain in the stern stedfastness of our own.”
“ If then,” returned the lady, “ I give thee more money, how will it be applied ?"
That is not a courteous question, but I will answer it. The most cunning craftsman cannot work without his tools, and some of mine are broken, which I seek to repair : another crown will be enough."
The lady put the required sum into his hand, and at the same time intimated a desire to have a specimen of his art.
“Oh! to what purpose should that be? why, why seek to know the course of futurity ? destiny runs on in a sweeping and resistless tide. Enquire not what rocks await your bark : the knowledge cannot avail you, for caution is useless against stern necessity.” Truly, you are not likely to get rich by your trade, if you thus deter customers.”—“ It is not for wealth I labour : I am alone on the earth, and have none to love. I will not mix with the world lest I should learn to hate. This present is nothing to me. It is in communion with the spirits who have lived in the times that are past, and with the stars—those historians of the times to come- -that I feel aught of joy. Fools sometimes demand the exertions of my powers, and sometimes I gratify their childish curiosity.”—“ Notwithstanding I lie under the imputation of folly, I will beg that you predict unto me the fate of the child which I shall bear.”—“ Well, you have obliged me, and I will comply. Note the precious moment at which it enters the world, and soon after you shall see me again."
Within a week the birth of an heir awoke the clamorous joy of the vassals, and summoned the strange gipsey to ascertain the necessary points. These learned, he returned home; and the next day presented Sir Maurice with a scroll, containing the following lines :
“ Twenty times shall Avon's tide
In chains of glistening ice be tied-
In spring burst forth in mantle gay,
The knight read it; and in that age, when astrology was considered a science as unerring as holy prophecies, it would have been little less than infidelity to have doubted the truth of the prediction. Sir Maurice, however, was wise enough to withold the
paper from his lady; and in answer to her inquiries, continually asserted that the gipsey was an impostor, and that the object of his assuming the character was merely to increase her alms.
The fated child grew in health and beauty; and as we are the most usually the more strongly attached to pleasures in proportion to the brevity of continuance, so did the melancholy fate of his son more firmly fix him in the heart of Sir Maurice. Often did the wondering lady observe the countenance of her husband with surprise, as watching the endearing sportiveness of the boy, his countenance, at first brightened by the smile of paternal love, gradually darkened to deepest grief, till unable to suppress his tears, he would cover the child with