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n. An art of converting superstition into coin. There are other arts serving the same high purpose, but the discreet lexicographer does not name them.

Magic and Imposture—A Couple of Knaves

The secrecy, the mystery, and the supernatural pretensions associated with the so-called occult sciences necessarily recommended them to the knave and the cheat as instruments of imposition. If some of the earlier professors of Hermeticism, the first seekers after the philosophical stone, were sincere in their convictions, and actuated by pure and lofty motives, it is certain that their successors were mostly dishonest adventurers, bent upon turning to their personal advantage the credulous weakness of their fellow-creatures. With some of these the chief object was money; others may have craved distinction and influence; others may have sought the gratification of passions more degrading even than avarice or ambition. At all events, alchemy became a synonym for fraud: a magician was accepted as, by right of his vocation, an impostor; and the poet and the dramatist pursued him with the whips of satire, invective, and ridicule, while the law prepared for him the penalties usually inflicted upon criminals. These penalties, it is true, he very frequently contrived to elude; in many instances, by the exercise of craft and cunning; in others, by the protection of powerful personages, to whom he had rendered questionable services; and again in others, because the agent of the law did not care to hunt him down so long as he forbore to bring upon himself the glare of publicity. Thus it came to pass that generation after generation saw the alchemist still practising his unwholesome trade, and probably he retained a good deal of his old notoriety down to as late a date as the beginning of the eighteenth century. It must be admitted, however, that his alchemical pursuits gradually sank into obscurity, and that it was more in the character of an astrologer, and as a manufacturer of love-potions and philtres, of charms and waxen images—not to say as a pimp and a bawd—that he looked for clients. In the Spectator, for instance, that admirable mirror of English social life in the early part of the eighteenth century, you will find no reference to alchemy or the alchemist; but in the Guardian  Addison's light humour plays readily enough round the delusions or deceptions of the astrologer. The reader will remember the letter which Addison pretends to have received with great satisfaction from an astrologer in Moorfields. And in contemporary literature generally, it will be found that the august inquirer into the secrets of nature, who aimed at the transmutation of metals, and the possession of immortal youth, had by this time been succeeded by an obscure and vulgar cheat, who beguiled the ignorant and weak by his jargon about planetary bodies, and his cheap stock-in-trade of a wig and a gown, a wand, a horoscope or two, and a few coloured vials. This ‘modern magician' is, indeed, a common character in eighteenth-century fiction.

But a century earlier the magician retained some little of the ‘pomp and circumstance' of the old magic, and was still the confidant of princes and nobles, and not seldom the depository of State secrets involving the reputation and the honour of men and women of the highest position. So much as this may be truly asserted of Simon Forman, who flourished in the dark and criminal period of the reign of James I., when the foul practices of mediæval Italy were transferred for the first and last time to an English Court. Forman was born at Quidham, a village near Wilton, in Wilts, in 1552. Little is known of his early years; but he seems to have received a good education at the Sarum Grammar School, and afterwards to have been apprenticed to a druggist in that ancient city. Endowed with considerable natural gifts and an ambitious temper, he made his way to Oxford, and was entered at Magdalene College, but owing to lack of means was unable to remain as a student for more than two years. To improve his knowledge of astrology, astronomy, and medicine, he visited Portugal, the Low Countries, and the East.

On his return he began to practise as a physician in Philpot Lane, London; but, as he held no diploma, was four times imprisoned and fined as a quack. Eventually he found himself compelled to take the degree of M.D. at Cambridge (June 27, 1603); after which he settled in Lambeth, and carried on the twofold profession of physician and astrologer. In his comedy of ‘The Silent Woman,' Ben Jonson makes one of his characters say: ‘I would say thou hadst the best philtre in the world, and could do more than Madam Medea or Doctor Forman,' whence we may infer that the medicines he compounded were not of the orthodox kind or approved by the faculty. Lovers resorted to him for potions which should soften obdurate hearts; beauties for powders and washes which might preserve their waning charms; married women for drugs to relieve them of the reproach of sterility; rakes who desired to corrupt virtue, and impatient heirs who longed for immediate possession of their fortunes, for compounds which should enfeeble, or even kill. Such was the character of Doctor Forman's sinister ‘practice.' Among those who sought his unscrupulous assistance was the infamous Countess of Essex, though Forman died before her nefarious schemes reached the stage of fruition.

His death, which took place on the 12th of September, 1611, was attended (it is said) by remarkable circumstances. The Sunday night previous, ‘his wife and he being at supper in their garden-house, she being pleasant, told him she had been informed he could resolve whether man or wife should die first. “Whether shall I,” quoth she, “bury you or no?” “Oh, Truais,” for so he called her, “thou shalt bury me, but thou wilt much repent it.” “Yea, but how long first?” “I shall die,” said he, “on Thursday night.” Monday came; all was well. Tuesday came, he not sick. Wednesday came, and still he was well, with which his impertinent wife did much twit him in his teeth. Thursday came, and dinner was ended, he very well; he went down to the water-side, and took a pair of oars to go to some buildings he was in hand with in Puddle Dock. Being in the middle of the Thames, he presently fell down, only saying, “An impost, an impost,” and so died. A most sad storm of wind immediately following.'

It seems as if these men could never die without bringing down upon the earth a grievous storm or tempest! The preceding story, however, partakes too much of the marvellous to be very easily accepted.

According to Anthony Wood, this renowned magician was ‘a person that in horary questions, especially theft, was very judicious and fortunate' (in other words, he was well served by his spies and instruments); ‘so, also, in sickness, which was indeed his masterpiece; and had good success in resolving questions about marriage, and in other questions very intricate. He professed to his wife that there would be much trouble about Sir Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset, and the Lady Frances, his wife, who frequently resorted to him, and from whose company he would sometimes lock himself in his study one whole day. He had compounded things upon the desire of Mrs. Anne Turner, to make the said Sir Robert Carr calid quo ad hanc, and Robert, Earl of Essex frigid quo ad hanc ; that his, to his wife the Lady Frances, who had a mind to get rid of him and be wedded to the said Sir Robert. He had also certain pictures in wax, representing Sir Robert and the said Lady, to cause a love between each other, with other such like things.'

A Cause Célèbre

Lady Frances Howard, second daughter of the Earl of Suffolk, was married, at the age of thirteen, to Robert, Earl of Essex, who was only a year older. The alliance was dictated by political considerations, and had been recommended by the King, who did not fail to attend the gorgeous festivities that celebrated the occasion (January 5th, 1606). As it was desirable that the boy-bridegroom should be separated for awhile from his child-wife, the young Earl was sent to travel on the Continent, and he did not return to claim his rights as a husband until shortly after Christmas, 1609, when he had just passed his eighteenth birthday. In the interval his wife had developed into one of the most beautiful, and, unfortunately, one of the most dissolute, women in England. Naturally impetuous, self-willed, and unscrupulous, she had received neither firm guidance nor wise advice at the hands of a coarse and avaricious mother. Nor was James's Court a place for the cultivation of the virtues of modesty and self-restraint. The young Countess, therefore, placed no control upon her passions, and had already become notorious for her disregard of those obligations which her sex usually esteem as sacred. At one time she intrigued with Prince Henry, but he dismissed her in angry disgust at her numerous infidelities. Finally, she crossed the path of the King's handsome favourite, Sir Robert Carr, and a guilty passion sprang up between them. It is painful to record that it was encouraged by her great-uncle, Lord Northampton, who hoped through Carr's influence to better his position at Court; and it was probably at his mansion in the Strand that the plot was framed of which I am about to tell the issue. But the meetings between the two lovers sometimes took place at the house of one of Carr's agents, a man named Coppinger.

At first, when Essex returned, the Countess refused to live with him; but her parents ultimately compelled her to treat him as her husband, and even to accompany him to his country seat at Chartley. There she remained for three years, wretched with an inconceivable wretchedness, and animated with wild dreams of escape from the husband she hated to the paramour she loved.

For this purpose she sought the assistance of Mrs. Anne Turner, the widow of a respectable physician, and a woman of considerable personal charms, who had become the mistress of Sir Arthur Mainwaring.[32] Mrs. Turner introduced her to Dr. Simon Forman, and an agreement was made that Forman should exercise his magical powers to fix young Carr's affections irrevocably upon the Countess. The intercourse between the astrologer and the ladies became very frequent, and the former exercised all his skill to carry out their desires. At a later period, Mrs. Forman deposed in court ‘that Mrs. Turner and her husband would sometimes be locked up in his study for three or four hours together,' and the Countess learned to speak of him as her ‘sweet father.'

The Countess next conceived the most flagitious designs against her husband's health; and, to carry them out, again sought the assistance of her unscrupulous quack, who accordingly set to work, made waxen images, invented new charms, supplied drugs to be administered in the Earl's drinks, and washes in which his linen was to be steeped. These measures, however, did not prove effectual, and letters addressed by the Countess at this time to Mrs. Turner and Dr. Forman complain that ‘my lord is very well as ever he was,' while reiterating the sad story of her hatred towards him, and her design to be rid of him at all hazards. In the midst of the intrigue came the sudden death of Dr. Forman, who seems to have felt no little anxiety as to his share in it, and, on one occasion, as we have seen, professed to his wife ‘that there would be much trouble about Carr and the Countess of Essex, who frequently resorted unto him, and from whose company he would sometimes lock himself in his study a whole day.' Mrs. Forman, when, at a later date, examined in court, deposed ‘that Mrs. Turner came to her house immediately after her husband's death, and did demand certain pictures which were in her husband's study, namely, one picture in wax, very mysteriously apparelled in silk and satin; as also another made in the form of a naked woman, spreading and laying forth her hair in a glass, which Mrs. Turner did confidently affirm to be in a box, and she knew in what part of the room in the study they were.' We also learn that Forman, in reply to the Countess's reproaches, averred that the devil, as he was informed, had no power over the person of the Earl of Essex. The Countess, however, was not to be diverted from her object, and, after Forman's death, employed two or three other conjurers—one Gresham, and a Doctor Lavoire, or Savory, being specially mentioned.

What followed has left a dark and shameful stain on the record of the reign of James I. The King personally interfered on behalf of his favourite, and resolved that Essex should be compelled to surrender his wife. For this purpose the Countess was instructed to bring against him a charge of conjugal incapacity; and a Commission of right reverend prelates and learned lawyers, under the presidency—one blushes to write it—of Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, was appointed to investigate the loathsome details. A jury of matrons was empanelled to determine the virginity of Lady Essex, and, as a pure young girl was substituted in her place, their verdict was, of course, in the affirmative! As for the Commission, it decided, after long debates, by a majority of seven to five, that the Lady Frances was entitled to a divorce—the majority being obtained, however, only by the King's active exercise of his personal influence (September, 1613). The lady having thus been set free from her vows by a most shameless intrigue, James hurried on a marriage between her and his favourite, and on St. Stephen's Day it was celebrated with great splendour. In the interval Carr had been raised to the rank and title of Earl of Somerset, and his wife had previously been made Viscountess Rochester.

A strenuous opponent of these unhallowed nuptials had been found in the person of Sir Thomas Overbury, a young man of brilliant parts, who stood towards Somerset in much the same relation that Somerset stood towards the King. At the outset he had looked with no disfavour on his patron's intrigue with Lady Frances, but had actually composed the love-letters which went to her in the Earl's name; but, for reasons not clearly understood, he assumed a hostile attitude when the marriage was proposed. As he had acquired a knowledge of secrets which would have made him a dangerous witness before the Divorce Commission, the intriguers felt the necessity of getting him out of the way. Accordingly, the King pressed upon him a diplomatic appointment on the Continent, and when this was refused committed him to the Tower. There he lingered for some months in failing health until a dose of poison terminated his sufferings on September 13, 1613, rather more than three months before the completion of the marriage he had striven ineffectually to prevent. This poison was unquestionably administered at the instigation of Lady Essex, though under what circumstances it is not easy to determine. The most probable supposition seems to be that an assistant of Lobell, a French apothecary who attended Overbury, was bribed to administer the fatal drug.

For two years the murder thus foully committed remained unknown, but in the summer of 1615, when James's affection for Somerset was rapidly declining, and a new and more splendid favourite had risen in the person of George Villiers, some information of the crime was conveyed to the King by his secretary, Winwood. How Winwood obtained this information is still a mystery; but we may, perhaps, conjecture that he received it from the apothecary's boy, who, being taken ill at Flushing, may have sought to relieve his conscience by confession. A few weeks afterwards, Helwys, the Lieutenant of the Tower, under an impression that the whole matter had been discovered, acknowledged that frequent attempts had been made to poison Overbury in his food, but that he had succeeded in defeating them until the apothecary's boy eluded his vigilance. Who sent the poison he did not know. The only person whose name he had heard in connection with it was Mrs. Turner, and the agent employed to convey it was, he said, a certain Richard Weston, a former servant of Mrs. Turner, who had been admitted into the Tower as a keeper, and entrusted with the immediate charge of Overbury.

On being examined, Weston at first denied all knowledge of the affair; but eventually he confessed that, having been rebuked by Helwys, he had thrown away the medicaments with which he had been entrusted; and next he accused Lady Somerset of instigating him to administer to Overbury a poison, which would be forwarded to him for that purpose. Then one Rawlins, a servant of the Earl, gave information that he had been similarly employed. As soon as Somerset heard that he was implicated, he wrote to the King protesting his innocence, and declaring that a conspiracy had been hatched against him. But many suspicious particulars being discovered, he was committed to the custody of Sir Oliver St. John; while Weston, on October 23, was put on his trial for the murder of Overbury, and found guilty, though no evidence was adduced against him which would have satisfied a modern jury.

On November 7 Mrs. Turner was brought before the Court. Her trial excited the most profound curiosity, and Westminster Hall was crowded by an eager multitude, who shuddered with superstitious emotion when the instruments employed by Forman in his magical rites were exposed to view.[33] It would seem that Mrs. Turner, when arrested, immediately sent her maid to Forman's widow, to urge her to burn—before the Privy Council sent to search her house—any of her husband's papers that might contain dangerous secrets. She acted on the advice, but overlooked a few documents of great importance, including a couple of letters written by Lady Essex to Mrs. Turner and Forman. The various articles seized in Forman's house referred, however, not to the murder of Overbury, but to the conjurations employed against the Earls of Somerset and Essex. ‘There was shewed in Court,' says a contemporary report, ‘certaine pictures of a man and a woman made in lead, and also a moulde of brasse wherein they were cast, a blacke scarfe alsoe full of white crosses, which Mrs. Turner had in her custody,' besides ‘inchanted paps and other pictures.' There was also a parcel of Forman's written charms and incantations. ‘In some of those parchments the devill had particular names, who were conjured to torment the lord Somersett and Sir Arthur Mannering, if theire loves should not contynue, the one to the Countesse, the other to Mrs. Turner.' Visions of a dingy room haunted by demons, who had been summoned from the infernal depths by Forman's potent spells, stimulated the imagination of the excited crowd until they came to believe that the fiends were actually there in the Court, listening in wrath to the exposure of their agents; and, behold! in the very heat and flush of this extravagant credulity, a sudden crack was heard in one of the platforms or scaffolds, causing ‘a great fear, tumult, and commotion amongst the spectators and through the hall, every one fearing hurt, as if the devil had been present and grown angry to have his workmanship known by such as were not his own scholars.' The narrator adds that there was also a note showed in Court, made by Dr. Forman, and written on parchment, signifying what ladies loved what lords; but the Lord Chief Justice would not suffer it to be read openly. This ‘note,' or book, was a diary of the doctor's dealings with the persons named; and a scandalous tradition affirms that the Lord Chief Justice would not have it read because his wife's name was the first which caught his eye when he glanced at the contents.

Mrs. Turner's conviction followed as a matter of course upon Weston's. There was no difficulty in proving that she had been concerned in his proceedings, and that if he had committed a crime she was particeps criminis. Both she and Weston died with an acknowledgment on their lips that they were justly punished. Her end, according to all accounts, was sufficiently edifying. Bishop Goodman quotes the narrative of an eye-witness, one Mr. John Castle, in which we read that, ‘if detestation of painted pride, lust, malice, powdered hair, yellow bands, and the rest of the wardrobe of Court vanities; if deep sighs, tears, confessions, ejaculations of the soul, admonitions of all sorts of people to make God and an unspotted conscience always our friends; if the protestation of faith and hope to be washed by the same Saviour and the like mercies that Magdalene was, be signs and demonstrations of a blessed penitent, then I will tell you that this poor broken woman went a cruce ad gloriam, and now enjoys the presence of her and our Redeemer. Her body being taken down by her brother, one Norton, servant to the Prince, was in a coach conveyed to St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, where, in the evening of the same day, she had an honest and a decent burial.' Her sad fate seems to have appealed strongly to public sympathy, and to have drawn a veil of oblivion over the sins and follies of her misspent life. A contemporary versifier speaks of her in language worthy of a Lucretia:

‘O how the cruel cord did misbecome Her comely neck! and yet by Law's just doom Had been her death. Those locks, like golden thread,That used in youth to enshrine her globe-like head,Hung careless down; and that delightful limb,Her snow-white nimble hand, that used to trim Those tresses up, now spitefully did tear And rend the same; nor did she now forbear To beat that breast of more than lily-white,Which sometime was the bed of sweet delight.From those two springs where joy did whilom dwell,Grief's pearly drops upon her pale cheek fell.'

The next to suffer was an apothecary named Franklin, from whom the poison had been procured. ‘Before he was executed, he threw out wild hints of the existence of a plot far exceeding in villainy that which was in course of investigation. He tried to induce all who would listen to him to believe that he knew of a conspiracy in which many great lords were concerned; and that not only the late Prince [Henry] had been removed by unfair means, but that a plan had been made to get rid of the Electress Palatine and her husband. As, however, all this was evidently only dictated by a hope of escaping the gallows, he was allowed to share with the others a fate which he richly deserved.'

After the execution of these smaller culprits, some months elapsed before Bacon, as Attorney-General, was directed to proceed against the greater. It was not until May 24, 1616, that the Countess of Somerset was put upon her trial before the High Steward's Court in Westminster Hall. Contemporary testimony differs strangely as to her behaviour. One authority says that, whilst the indictment was being read, she turned pale and trembled, and when Weston's name was mentioned hid her face behind her fan. Another remarks: ‘She won pity by her sober demeanour, which, in my opinion,' he adds, ‘was more curious and confident than was fit for a lady in such distress, yet she shed, or made show of some tears, divers times.' The evidence against her was too strong to be confuted, and she pleaded guilty. When the judge asked her if she had anything to say in arrest of judgment, she replied, in low, almost inaudible tones, that she could not extenuate her fault. She implored mercy, and begged that the lords would intercede with the King on her behalf. Sentence was then pronounced, and the prisoner sent back to the Tower, to await the King's decision.

On the following day the Earl was tried. Bacon again acted as prosecutor, and in his opening speech he said that the evidence to be brought forward by the Government would prove four points: 1. That Somerset bore malice against Overbury before the latter's imprisonment; 2. That he devised the plan by which that imprisonment was effected; 3. That he actually sent poisons to the Tower; 4. That he had made strenuous efforts to conceal the proofs of his guilt. He added that he himself would undertake the management of the case on the first two points, leaving his subordinates, Montague and Crew, to deal with the third and fourth.

Bacon had chosen for himself a comparatively easy task. The ill-feeling that had existed between Overbury and his patron was beyond doubt; while it was conclusively shown, and, indeed, hardly disputed, that Somerset had had a hand in Overbury's imprisonment, and in the appointment of Helwys and Weston as his custodians. Passages from Lord Northampton's letters to the Earl proved the existence of a plot in which both were mixed up, and that Helwys had expressed an opinion that Overbury's death would be a satisfactory termination of the imbroglio. But he might probably have based this opinion on the fact that Overbury was seriously ill, and his recovery more than doubtful.

When Bacon had concluded his part of the case, Ellesmere, who presided, urged Somerset to confess his guilt. ‘No, my lord,' said the Earl calmly, ‘I came hither with a resolution to defend myself.'

Montague then endeavoured to demonstrate that the poison of which Overbury died had been administered with Somerset's knowledge. But he could get no further than this: that Somerset had been in the habit of sending powders, as well as tarts and jellies, to Overbury; but he did not, and could not prove that the powders were poisonous. Nor was Serjeant Crew able to advance the case beyond the point reached by Bacon; he could argue only on the assumption of Somerset's guilt, which his colleagues had failed to establish.

In our own day it would be held that the case for the prosecution had completely broken down; and I must add my conviction that Somerset was in no way privy to Overbury's murder. He had assented to his imprisonment, because he was weary of his importunity; but he still retained a kindly feeling towards him, and was evidently grieved at the serious nature of his illness. As a matter of fact, it was not proved even that Overbury died of poison, though I admit that this is put beyond doubt by collateral circumstances. Somerset's position, however, before judges who were more or less hostilely disposed, with the agents of the Crown bent on obtaining his conviction, and he himself without legal advisers, was both difficult and dangerous. He was embarrassed by the necessity of keeping back part of his case. He was unable to tell the whole truth about Overbury's imprisonment. He could not make known all that had passed between Lady Essex and himself before marriage, or that Overbury had been committed to the Tower to prevent him from giving evidence which would have certainly quashed Lady Essex's proceedings for a divorce. And, in truth, if he mustered up courage to tell this tale of shame, he could not hope that the peers, most of whom were his enemies, would give credence to it, or that, if they believed it, they would refrain from delivering an adverse verdict.

Yet he bore himself with courage and ability, when, by the flickering light of torches, for the day had gone down, he rose to make his defence. Acknowledging that he had consented to Overbury's imprisonment in order that he might throw no obstacles in the way of his marriage with Lady Essex, he firmly denied that he had known anything of attempts to poison him. The tarts he had sent were wholesome, and of a kind to which Overbury was partial; if any had been tampered with, he was unaware of it. The powders he had received from Sir Robert Killigrew, and simply sent them on; and Overbury had admitted, in a letter which was before the Court, that they had done him no mischief. Here Crew interrupted: The three powders from Killigrew had been duly accounted for; but there was a fourth powder, which had not been accounted for, and had (it was assumed) contained poison. Now, it was improbable that the Earl could remember the exact history of every powder sent to Overbury two years before, and, besides, it was a mere assumption on the part of the prosecution that this fourth powder was poison. But Somerset's inability to meet this point was made the most of, and gave the peers a sufficient pretext for declaring him guilty. The Earl received his sentence with the composure he had exhibited throughout the arduous day, which had shown how a nature enervated by luxury and indulgence can be braced up by the chill air of adversity, and contented himself with expressing a hope that the Court would intercede with the King for mercy.

I have dwelt at some length on the details of this celebrated trial because it is the last (in English jurisprudence) in which men and women of rank have been mixed up with the secret practices of the magician; though, for other reasons, it is one of very unusual interest. In briefly concluding the recital, I may state that James was greatly relieved when the trial was over, and he found that nothing damaging to himself had been disclosed. It is certain that Somerset was in possession of some dark secret, the revelation of which was much dreaded by the King; so that precautions had even been taken, or at all events meditated, to remove him from the Court if he entered upon the dangerous topic, and to continue the trial in his absence. He would probably have been silenced by force. The Earl, however, refrained from hazardous disclosures, and James could breathe in peace.

On July 13, the King pardoned Lady Somerset, who was certainly the guiltiest of all concerned. The Earl was left in prison, with sentence of death suspended over him for several years, in order, no doubt, to terrify him into silence. A few months before his death, James appears to have satisfied himself that he had nothing to fear, and ordered the Earl's release (January, 1622). Had he lived, he would probably have restored him to his former influence and favour.[34]


[32] This woman has a place in the records of fashion as introducer of the novelty of yellow-starching the extensive ruffs which were then generally worn. When Lord Chief Justice Coke sentenced her to death (as we shall hereafter see) for her share in the murder of Overbury, he ordered that ‘as she was the person who had brought yellow-starched ruffs into vogue, she should be hanged in that dress, that the same might end in shame and detestation.' As the hangman was also adorned with yellow ruffs, it is no wonder that Coke's prediction was amply fulfilled.

[33] Arthur Wilson, in his ‘Memoirs,' furnishes a strange account of the practices in which Lady Essex, Mrs. Turner, and the conjurer took part. ‘The Countess of Essex,' he says, ‘to strengthen her designs, finds out one of her own stamp, Mrs. Turner, a doctor of physic's widow, a woman whom prodigality and looseness had brought low; yet her pride would make her fly any pitch, rather than fall into the jaws of Want. These two counsel together how they might stop the current of the Earl's affection towards his wife, and make a clear passage for the Viscount in his place. To effect which, one Dr. Forman, a reputed conjurer (living at Lambeth) is found out; the women declare to him their grievances; he promises sudden help, and, to amuse them, frames many little pictures of brass and wax—some like the Viscount and Countess, whom he must unite and strengthen, others like the Earl of Essex, whom he must debilitate and weaken; and then with philtrous powders, and such drugs, he works upon their persons. And to practise what effects his arts would produce, Mrs. Turner, that loved Sir Arthur Manwaring (a gentleman then attending the Prince), and willing to keep him to her, gave him some of the powder, which wrought so violently with him, that through a storm of rain and thunder he rode fifteen miles one dark night to her house, scarce knowing where he was till he was there. Such is the devilish and mad rage of lust, heightened with art and fancy.

‘These things, matured and ripened by this juggler Forman, gave them assurance of happy hopes. Her courtly incitements, that drew the Viscount to observe her, she imputed to the operation of those drugs he had tasted; and that harshness and stubborn comportment she expressed to her husband, making him (weary of such entertainments) to absent himself, she thought proceeded from the effects of those unknown potions and powders that were administered to him. So apt is the imagination to take impressions of those things we are willing to believe.

‘The good Earl, finding his wife nurseled in the Court, and seeing no possibility to reduce her to reason till she were estranged from the relish and taste of the delights she sucked in there, made his condition again known to her father. The old man, being troubled with his daughter's disobedience, embittered her, being near him, with wearisome and continued chidings, to wean her from the sweets she doted upon, and with much ado forced her into the country. But how harsh was the parting, being sent away from the place where she grew and flourished! Yet she left all her engines and imps behind her: the old doctor and his confederate, Mrs. Turner, must be her two supporters. She blazons all her miseries to them at her depart, and moistens the way with her tears. Chartley was an hundred miles from her happiness; and a little time thus lost is her eternity. When she came thither, though in the pleasantest part of the summer, she shut herself up in her chamber, not suffering a beam of light to peep upon her dark thoughts. If she stirred out of her chamber, it was in the dead of the night, when sleep had taken possession of all others but those about her. In this implacable, sad, and discontented humour, she continued some months, always murmuring against, but never giving the least civil respect to, her husband, which the good man suffered patiently, being loth to be the divulger of his own misery; yet, having a manly courage, he would sometimes break into a little passion to see himself slighted and neglected; but having never found better from her, it was the easier to bear with her.'

[34] See ‘The State Trials;' ‘The Carew Letters;' Spedding, ‘Life and Letters of Lord Bacon;' Amos, ‘The Grand Oyer of Poisoning;' and S. R. Gardiner, ‘History of England,' vol. iv., 1607-1616.