Billeder på siden

carrying any of them off.

One of them, in spite, leaped from

his horse, and, coming to he wore round his waist; and, setting his foot upon his body, pulled it till it broke, and carried it away with him. They rode off at the gallop; and, the shepherd giving the alarm, the blood-hound was turned loose, and the people in the neighbourhood alarmed. The marauders, however, escaped, notwithstanding a sharp pursuit. This circumstance serves to show how very long the license of the Borderers continued in some degree to manifest itself.

the shepherd, seized him by the belt




She wrought not by forbidden spell.-St. V. 179.

Popular belief, though contrary to the doctrines of the church, made a favourable distinction betwixt magicians, and necromancers, or wizards; the former were supposed to command the evil spirits, and the latter to serve, or at least to be in league and compact with, those enemies of mankind. The arts of subjecting the dæmons were manifold; sometimes the fiends were actually swindled by the magicians, as in the case of the bargain betwixt one of their number and the poet Virgil. The classical reader will doubtless be curious to peruse this anecdote.

"Virgilius was at scole at Tolenton, where he stodyed dylygently, for he was of great understandynge. Upon a tyme, the scolers had lycense to go to play and sporte them in the fyldes, after the usance of the holde tyme. And there was also Virgilius therbye, also walkynge among the hylles alle about. It fortuned he spyed a great hole in the syde of a great hyll, wherein he went so depe, that he culd not see no more lyght; and than he went a lytell farther therin, and than he saw some lyght agayne, and than he went fourth streyghte, and within a lytyll wyle after he harde a voyce that called, "Virgilius! Virgilius!" and looked aboute, and he colde nat see no body. Than sayd he (i. e. the voice), “ Virgilius, see ye not the lyttyll bourde lyinge bysyde you there markd with that word?" Than answered Virgilius, “I see that borde well anough." The voyce said, "Doo awaye that borde, and lette me out there atte." Than answered Virgilius to the voyce that was under the lytell borde, and sayd, "Who art thou that callest me so?" Than answered the devyll, "I am a devyll conjured out of the body of a certeyne man, and banysshed here tyll the day of judgemend, without that I be delyvered by the handes of men. Thus, Virgilius, I pray the, delyvere me out of this payn, and I shall shewe unto many bokes of negromancye, and how thou shalt come by it lyghtly, and know the practise therein, that no man in the scyence of negromancye shall the. And moreover, I shall shewe and enforme the so, that thou shalt have alle thy desyre, whereby mythinke it is a great gyfte for so lytyll a do



ynge. For ye may also thus all your power frendys helpe, and make ryche your enemyes."- -Thorough that great promyse was Virgilius tempted; he badde the fynd show the bokes to him, that he might have and occupy them at his wyll, and so the fynde shewed hym. And than Virgilius pulled open a bourde, and there was a lytell hole, and therat wrang the devyll out lyke a yeel, and cam and stode before Virgilius lyke a bygge man; wherof Virgilius was astonied and marveyled greatly thereof, that so great a man myght come out at so lytell a

hole. Than sayd Virgilius, "Shulde ye well passe into the

hole that ye cam out of?"-"Yea, I shall well," sayd the devyl. "I holde the best plegge that I have, that ye shall not do it." "Well," sayd the devyll, "thereto I consent." And than the devyll wrange himselfe into the lytell hole ageyne; and as he was therein, Virgilius kyverd the hole ageyne with the bourde close, and so was the devyll begyled, and myght nat there come out agen, but abydeth shytte styll therein. Than called the devyll dredefully to Virgilius, and said, "What have ye done, Virgilius?" Virgilius answered, "Abyde there styll to your day appoynted;" and fro thens forth abydeth he there.And so Virgilius became very connynge in the practyse of the black scyence."

This story may remind the reader of the Arabian tale of the Fisherman and the imprisoned Genie; and it is more than probable, that many of the marvels narrated in the life of Virgil are of oriental extraction. Among such I am disposed to reckon the following whimsical account of the foundation of

« ForrigeFortsæt »