Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/116

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THE ELIZABETHAN PEOPLE

taining to either of the allied arts; but rather to tell in the words of those who, at the time, were sharp enough to see through the deceitful practices, what was really done by the Elizabethan quacks. On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that there were honest and sincere devotees to each of these arts who practised for the love of science what they believed to be truth.

Whatever can be said of certain false astrologers, there can be no denial of the fact that they were believed in implicitly by the people, from the Queen down. The popularity of alchemy is sufficiently attested by the fact that no less than 113 books on the subject were published between 1595 and 1615. It was the Queen's patronage that contributed most largely to this popularity. At bottom, the whole thing rested on the belief in magic which we shall see was the mainstay of witchcraft. In the following words, Nash bitterly attacked the belief in sorcery:

"Purblind London, neither canst thou see that God sees thee, nor see into thyself. . . . Therefore hath He smitten thee and struck thee because thou wouldst not believe He was present with thee. . . . His hand I may well term it, for on many that are arrested with the Plague, is the print of a hand seen, and in the very moment it first takes them, they feel a sensible blow given