Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/131

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93
LIFE IN THE CAPITAL

Which they have seen in travelling the skies.
Vain boasters, liars, make-shifts, they are all,
Men that removed from their inkhorn terms,
Bring forth no action worthy of their bread."

In The Terrors of the Night, he says: "They [the cunning men] may very well pick men's purses, like the unskillfuller kind of alchemists, with their artificial and ceremonial kind of magic, but no effect shall they achieve thereby, though they would hang themselves."

Though, Dr. Dee was well educated and a Cambridge master of arts, there were many of his class who deserved the condemnation of Nash, pronounced in the following words: "How many be there in the world that childishly deprave alchemy, and cannot spell the first letter of it."

The evil effects of professional astrology were almost equaled by its disastrous effects upon private fortunes. It was frequently followed merely as the hobby of a gentleman. Thus, in Middleton's Anything for a Quiet Life, one entreats "that you would give ore this fruitless, if I may not say this idle study of alchemy; why, half your house looks like a glass house.… And the smoke you make is a worse enemy to good housekeeping than tobacco.… Should one of your glasses break, It might bring you to a dead palsy.