« PreviousContinue »
“He said the book which he gave me,
# * * * * * * * * * * He shewed me none durst bury under that stone, More than he had been dead a few years agone; For Mr. Michael's name does terrify each one.
Spain, from the reliques, doubtless, of Arabian learning and superstition, was accounted a favourite residence of magicians. Pope Sylvester, who actually imported from Spain the use of the Arabian numerals, was supposed to have learned there the magic for which he was stigmatised by the ignorance. of his age. William of Malme: tury, lib. ii. cap. 10. There were public schools, where magic, or rather the sciences supposed to involve its mysteries, were regularly taught, at Toledo, Seville, and Salamanca. In the latter city, they were held in a deep cavern ; the mouth of which was walled up by queen Isabella, wife of king Ferdinand. D'Autun on learned incredulity, p. 45 The celebrated magician Maugis, cousin to Rinaldo of Montalban, called by Ariosto, Malagigi, studied the black art at Toledo, as we learn from L'Historie de Maugis D’Aygremont. He even held a professor's chair in the necromantic university ; for so I interpret the passage, “qu'en tous les sept ars d'enchantement, des charmes et conjurations il n'y avoit meilleur maistre que lui ; et entel renom, qu'on le laissoit en chaise, et l'appelloit en maistre Maugis.” This Salamancan Domdaniel is said to have been founded by Hercules. If the classic reader inquires where Hercules himself learned magic, he may consult, “Les faicts et processes du noble et vaillant Hercules,” where he will learn, that the fable of his aiding Atlas to support the heavens, arose from the said Atlas having taught Hercules, the no
ble knight-errant, the seven liberal sciences, and in particular that of judicial astrology. Such according to the idea of the middle ages, were the studies, “maximus qua docuit Atlas.” In a romantic history of Roderic, the last Gothic king of Spain, he is said to have entered one of those enchanted caverns.
It was situated beneath an ancient tower near Tole
do ; and, when the iron gates, which secured the entrance, were unfolded, there rushed forth so dreadful a whirlwind, that hitherto no one dared to penetrate into its recesses. But Roderic, threatened with an invasion of the Moors, resolved to enter the cavern, where he expected to find some prophetic intimation of the event of the war. Accordingly his train
being furnished with torches so artificially composed,
that the tempest could not extinguish them, the king with great difficulty penetrated into a square hall, inscribed all over with Arabian characters. In the
midst stood a colossal statue of brass, representing a
Saracen wielding a Moorish mace, with which it discharged furious blows on all sides, and seemed thus to excite the tempest which raged around. Being conjured by Roderic, it ceased from striking, until he read, inscribed on its right hand, “Wretched monarch, for thy evil hast thou come hither ;” on the left hand, “Thou shalt be dispossessed by a strange people s” on one shoulder, “I invoke the sons of Ha
gar;” on the other, “I do mine offce.” When the king had decyphered these ominous inscriptions, the statue returned to its exercise, the tempest commenced anew, and Roderic retired to mourn over the predicted evils which approached his throne. He caused the gates of the cavern to be locked and barricaded ; but, in the course of the night, the tower fell with a tremendous noise, and under its ruins concealed forever the entrance to the mystic cavern. The conquest of Spain by the Saracens, and the death of the unfortunate Don Roderic, fulfilled the prophecy of the brazen statue. Hitoria verdadera del Rey Don Rodrigo por el sabio Alcayde Abulcacim, traduzeda de la lengua Arabiga por Miquel de Luna, 1654, cap. vi.
The bells would ring in notre dame—Ver. 13, p. 42.
“ Tantamne rem tam negligenter?” Says Tyrwhitt, of his predecessor Speight; who, in his commentary on Chaucer, had omitted as trival and fabulous, the story of Wade and his boat Guingelot, to the great prejudice of posterity ; the memory of the hero, and the boat, being now entirely lost. That future antiquarians may lay no such omission to my charge, I have noted one or two of the most current traditions concerning Michael Scott. He was chosen, it is said, to go upon an embassy, to obtain from the king of France satisfaction for certain piracies committed by his subjects upon those of Scotland. Instead of preparing a new equipage and splendid retinue, the ambassador retreated to his study, opened his book, and evoked a fiend in the shape of a huge black horse, mounted upon his back, and forced him to fly through the air towards France. As they crossed the sea, the Devil insidiously asked his rider, what it was that the old women of Scotland muttered at bedtime : A less experienced wizard might have answered, that it was the Pater Noster, which would have licensed the Devil to precipitate him from his back. But Michael sternly replied “What is that to thee : Mount, Diabolus, and fly!” When he arrived at Paris, he tied his horse to the gate of the Palact, entered and boldly delivered his message. An ambassador, with so little of the pomp and circumstance of diplomacy, was not received with much respect ; and the king was about to return a contemptuous refusal to his demand, when Michael besought
him to suspend his resolution till he had seen his horse stamp three times. The first stamp shook every steeple in Paris, and caused all the bells to ring ; the second threw down three of the towers of the palace ; and the infernal steed had lifted his hoof to give the third stamp, when the king rather