Cooke, Roger (DNB00)

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COOKE, ROGER (b. 1553), astrologer, was born in 1553, and became Dr. Dee's assistant at the age of fourteen. He seems to have shown considerable aptitude; for Dr. Dee instructed him in many of his discoveries. Thus we find in Dr. Dee's ‘Diary’ in the Ashmolean Library at Oxford, under date 28 Dec. 1579, ‘I reveled to Roger Coke the gret secret of the salt οφ ακετελε ονε υππον αυνδρεδ,’ and in the Ashmolean MS. 1788, fol. 147, ‘he revealed to Roger Cooke the great secret of the Elixar, as he called it, of the salt of metalls, the projection whereof was one upon an hundred.’ Cooke would seem to have been a man of morose and often violent temper; but for reasons which do not appear Dr. Dee seems to have been loth to part with him. Thus, we find under date 12 July 1581, ‘About 10 of the clock ½ before noone Roger, his incredible doggednes and ingratefulnes agains me to my face, almost redi to lai violent hand on me, major Henrik can partly tel’ (the passage is in Greek character). Things culminated in the same year, on 5 Sept., when we read: ‘Roger Cook, who had byn with me from his 14 yeres of age till 28, of a melancholik nature, pycking and divising occasions of just cause to depart on the suddayn, abowt 4 of the clok in the afternone requested of me lycense to depart, wheruppon rose whott words between us; and he imagining with his self that he had on the 12 of July deserved my great displeasure, and finding himself barred from vew of my philosophicall dealing with Mr. Henrik, thowght that he was utterly recist from intended goodnes toward him. Notwithstanding Roger Cook, his unseamly dealing, I promised him, yf he used himself toward me now in his absens, one hundred pounds as sone as of my own clere liability I might spare so much; and moreover, if he used himself well in lif toward God and the world, I promised him some pretty alchemicall experiments, wheruppon he might honestly live.’ ‘Sept. 7th.—Roger Cook went for altogether from me.’ After this Cooke seems to have set up for himself. An almanack for 1585 bears his name, after which all trace of him is lost.

[Dr. Dee's Diary, published by Camden Society; Black's Cat. of MSS. in Ashmolean Library.]

E. H.-A.