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scheme of the nativity, the knowledge of which is of most excellent use to all persons. Therefore let the nativities of children be diligently observed for the future, that is to say, the day, hour, and minute of birth as near as can be, which will be of use to the astrological physician, for the most principal conjecture of the malignity of the disease, whether it be curable, or shall end with death, depends upon the knowledge of the nativity; and very rarely any disease invades a person, but some unfortunate direction of the luminaries or ascendant to the body, or beams of malignant planets preceded the same, or did then operate, or at least some evil revolution, profection or transit, which cannot be discovered by any other way but by astrology. Moreover, it would be convenient that the true time of the first falling sick be observed precisely, and by that, together with the nativity, be judiciously compared, the physician shall gain more credit than by all his other skill; and herein, the astrologer's foresight shall often contradict the judgment of the physician ; for when the astrologer foretells a phlegmatic man, that at such a time he shall be afflicted with a choleric disease, the doctor will perceive by his physical symptoms, the astrologer, from his knowledge in more secret causes of nature, hath excelled him in his art.
“ Now if God Almighty do not countermand or check the ordinary course of nature, or the matter of elementary bodies here below be not unproportionable, and thereby unapt to receive their impressions, there is no reason why, in a natural and physical necessity, astrological predictions should not succeed and take effect, and by how much the knowledge which we have by the known causes is more demonstrative and infallible than that which we have either by signs or effects, so much by this companion doth Astrology appear worthy to be preferred before Physic.” Cardan, who was an excellent physician saith : “ If by the art of Astrology he had not better attained to the knowledge of his diseases, than the physician that would have administered to him by his skill, he had been assuredly cured by death, rather than preserved alive by physic. (Vide his Comment. upon Ptol. Quidrepart.) From hence it appears it is necessary that the physician should be skilful in as. trology, but on the contrary, ex quovis legno non fit Mercurius, every astrologer cannot be a physician; if the nativity be but precisely known, or if, but tempus ablatum or suppositum, and withal some notable accidents of sickness, danger of drowning, peril by fire, marriage, or other, the like accidents may be foreseen."
The astrologers were a set of cunning, equivocal rogues ; the more cautious of whom only uttered their prognostications in obscure and ambiguous language, which might be applied to all things, times, princes, and nations whatever. An almanack maker, a Spanish friar, predicted, in clear and precise words, the death of Henry the Fourth of France ; and Pierese, though he had no faith in star-gazing, yet, alarmed at whatever menaced the life of a beloved sovereign, consulted with some of the king's friends, and had the Spanish almanack laid before his Majesty, who courteously thanked them for their solicitude,
but utterly slighted the prediction : the event occurred, and in the following year, the Spanish Lilly spread his own fame in an new almanack. This prediction of the friar, was the result either of his being acquainted with the plot, or from his being made an instrument for the purposes of those who were.
Cornelius Agrippa rightly designates astrologers
a perverse and preposterous generation of men, who profess to know future things, but in the meantime are altogether ignorant of past and present ; and undertaking to tell all people most obscure and hidden secrets abroad, at the same time, know not what happens in their own houses.”
But this Agrippa, for profound
As if they were consenting to
We shall conclude our astrological strictures with the following advertisement, which affords as fine a satirical specimen of quackery as is to be met with. It is extracted from “ poor Robin's” almanack for 1773 ; and may not be without its use, to many at the present day. We will vouch for it being harmless, but as we are not in the secret of all that it contains, our readers must endeavour to get the information that may be wanted, on certain important points, from other quarters. It will shew, however, that the almanack astrologers did not live upon the best terms, but like their predecessors, were constantly abusing and attacking each other.
“ The best time to cut hair. How moles and dreams are to be interpreted. When most proper season to bleed. Under what aspect of the moon best to draw teeth, and cut corns. Pairing of nails, on what day unlucky. What the kindest sign to graft or inoculate in ; to open bee-hives, and kill swine. How many hours boiling my Lady Kent's pudding requires. With other notable questions, fully and faithfully resolved, by me Sylvester Patridge, student in physic and astrology, near the Gun in Moorfields."
“Of whom likewise may be had, at reasonable rates, trusses, antidotes, elixirs, love-powders. Washes for freckles, plumpers, glass-eyes, false calves and noses, ivory-jaws, and a new receipt to turn red hair into black.
Old Robin's almanack was evidently the best of the time, and free from all the astrological cant with which Patridge's Merlinus Liberatus was filled ; against which Poor Robin did not a little declaim. The motto to his title runs thus :
« We use no weather-wise predictions
Poor old Robin attacked the astrologers of his day with no little vehemence: “ How different a task is it,” says he, " for man to behave so in this world as to please all the people that inhabit it! A man who makes use of his best endeavours to please every body is sure to please but very few, and by that means displease a great many; which may very possibly be the case with poor Robin this year. But (be that as it will) old Bob is sometimes well pleased, when rogues, prick-eared coxcombs, fools, and such like, are the most displeased at him : be it therefore known, that it is only men of sense and integrity, (whether they have much money or no money) that he has any, (the least) regard for : I see very plainly, that an humble man is (generally) accounted base ; if