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William Lilly's History of His Life and Times From the Year 1602 to 1681   By: (1602-1681)

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First Page:

WILLIAM LILLY'S

HISTORY

OF HIS

LIFE AND TIMES,

FROM THE YEAR 1602 TO 1681.

Written by Himself,

IN THE SIXTY SIXTH YEAR OF HIS AGE, TO HIS WORTHY FRIEND,

ELIAS ASHMOLE, ESQ.

PUBLISHED FROM THE ORIGINAL MS.

LONDON , 1715.

LONDON:

RE PRINTED FOR CHARLES BALDWYN,

NEWGATE STREET.

M.DCCC.XXII.

MAURICE, PRINTER, PENCHURCH STREET.

LIST OF PLATES.

William Lilly, (from Marshall's Print)

Ditto (from the Picture)

Dr. Simon Forman 34

John Booker 68

Charles the Second 95

Charles the First 107

Hugh Peters 134

Speaker Lenthall 159

Oliver Cromwell 175

Dr. John Dee 223

Edward Kelly 226

Napier of Merchiston 236

ADVERTISEMENT.

PREFIXED TO THE LIVES OF ELIAS ASHMOLE & WILLIAM LILLY.

In 1 vol. 8vo. 1772.

Although we cannot, with justice, compare Elias Ashmole to that excellent Antiquary John Leland, or William Lilly to the learned and indefatigable Thomas Hearne; yet I think we may fairly rank them with such writers as honest Anthony Wood, whose Diary greatly resembles that of his cotemporary, and intimate friend, Elias Ashmole.

Some anecdotes, connected with affairs of state; many particulars relating to illustrious persons, and antient and noble families; several occurrences in which the Public is interested, and other matters of a more private nature, can only be found in works of this kind. History cannot stoop to the meanness of examining the materials of which Memoirs are generally composed.

And yet the pleasure and benefit resulting from such books are manifest to every reader.

I hope the admirers of the very laborious Thomas Hearne will pardon me, if I should venture to give it as my opinion, and with much deference to their judgment, that William Lilly's Life and Death of Charles the first contains more useful matter of instruction, as well as more splendid and striking occurrences, than are to be found in several of those monkish volumes published by that learned Oxonian.

Lilly affords us many curious particulars relating to the life of that unfortunate Prince, which are no where else to be found. In delineating the character of Charles, he seems dispassionate and impartial, and indeed it agrees perfectly with the general portraiture of him, as it is drawn by our most authentic historians.

The History of Lilly's Life and Times is certainly one of the most entertaining narratives in our language. With respect to the science he professed of calculating nativities, casting figures, the prediction of events, and other appendages of astrology, he would fain make us think that he was a very solemn and serious believer. Indeed, such is the manner of telling his story, that sometimes the reader may possibly be induced to suppose Lilly rather an enthusiast than an impostor. He relates many anecdotes of the pretenders to foretell events, raise spirits, and other impostures, with such seeming candor, and with such an artless simplicity of style, that we are almost persuaded to take his word when he protests such an inviolable respect to truth and sincerity.

The powerful genius of Shakespeare could carry him triumphantly through subjects the most unpromising, and fables the most improbable: we therefore cannot wonder at the success of such of his plays, where the magic of witches and the incantation of spirits are described, or where the power of fairies is introduced; when such was the credulity of the times respecting these imaginary beings, and when that belief was made a science of, and kept alive by artful and superstitious, knavish, and enthusiastic teachers; what Lilly relates of these people, considered only as matter of fact, is surely very curious... Continue reading book >>




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