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THE present volume contains two curious documents concerning Dr. Dee, the eminent philosopher of Mortlake, now for the first time published from the original manuscripts. I. His Private Diary, written in a very small illegible hand on the margins of old Almanacs, discovered a few years ago by Mr. W. H. Black, in the library of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. II. A Catalogue of his Library of Manuscripts, made by himself before his house was plundered by the populace, and now preserved in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge.
The publication of this Diary will tend perhaps to set Dee’s character in its true light, more than any thing that has yet been printed. We have, indeed, his “ Compendious Rehearsall,” which is in some respects more comprehensive, but this was written for an especial purpose, for the perusal of royal commissioners, and he has of course carefully avoided every allusion which could be construed in an unfavourable light. In the other, however, he tells us his dreams, talks of mysterious noises in
his chamber, evil spirits, and alludes to various secrets of occult philosophy in the spirit of a true believer. Mr. D’Israeli has given a correct and able view of his character in his “ Amenities of Literature,” which is remarkably confirmed in almost every point by the narrative now published. “ The imagination of Dee,” observes that elegant Writer, “ often predominated over his science; while both were mingling in his intellectual habits, each seemed to him to confirm the other. Prone to the mystical lore of what was termed the occult sciences, which in reality are no sciences at all, since whatever remains occult ceases to be science, Dee lost his better genius.” I shall refer the reader to this popular work instead of attempting an original paper on the subject, which would necessarily be greatly inferior to that drawn by the masterly hand of the author of the “ Curiosities of Literature.”
The Catalogue of Dee’s Library of Manuscripts, although long since dispersed, is valuable for the notices which it preserves of several middle-age treatises not now extant. He is said to have expended on this collection the sum of three thousand pounds, a very large sum in those days
for a person of limited income.
J. O. H.
DR. DEE’S DIARY.
1554. Aug. 25th,. Barthilmew Hikman born at Shugborowh in Warwikshyre toward evening. My conjecture, uppon his own reporte of circumstances. Oct. 25th, D. Daniel Vander Meulen Antwerpiae, mane hora quarta.‘
1555. April 22nd, Jane Fromonds borne at Cheyham at none. Aug. 1st, Ed. Kelly natus hora quarta a meridie'l~ ut annotatum reliquit pater ejus- Oct. 12th, the Lord Willughby born hora
septima mane, ante meridiem, Lat. 51“ 30’, at Wesell in Gelderland.
1557. July 30th, Mr. Arundell of Cornwayle natus circa [horam] quartam a meridie.
1558. Dec. 14th, Mary Nevelle, alias Mary Lewknor, borne inter 11 et meridiem mane, by Chichester.
1560. July 8th, Margaret Russell, Cowntess of Cumberland, hora 2 min. 9 Exoniw mane.
1561. Aug. 14th, Mr. Heydon, of Baconsthorp in Norfolk, hora noctis 115- natus in comitatu Surrey.
1563. March 23rd, Mr. William Fennar a meridie inter horam undecimam et duodecimam nocte. June 23nd, Jane Cooper, now
* It is almost unnecessary to observe that this and the following are notes of nativities. They are not for the most part contemporary notices. but apparently inserted at various times by Dee when professionally consulted as an astrologer.
1- “ Anno 1555, Aug. 1, hora quarta a meridie Wigorniae natus Dominus Edouardns Keleus," MS. Ashm. 1788, fol. 140, where there is a horoscope of this nativity in the handwriting of Dr. Dee. Ashmole, in his MS. 1790, fol. .58, says “ Mr. Lilly told me that John Evans informed him that he was acquainted with Kelly's sister in
Worcester, that she shewed him some of the gold her brother had transmuted, and that Kelly was first an apothecary in Worcester."
CAMD. SOC.--DEE. B
Mystris Kelly, toward evening. Sept. 28th, Mr. John Ask ante meridiem, by York six myle on this syde; Elizabeth Mownson, circa horam 9 mane, soror magistri Thoma? Mownson ct uxor magistri Brown.
1564. Mrs. Brigit Cooke borne about seven of the clok on Saynt David’s Day, which is the first day of March, being Wensday; but I cannot yet lerne whether it was before none or after. But she thinketh herself to be but 27 yeres old, anno 1593, Martii primo, but it cannot be so. June 20th, Mr. Hudson, hora septima ante meridiem. Aug. 21st, Wenefride Goose, inter 9 et 10 a meridie by Kingstone.
1565. Sept. 12th, John Pontoys, inter 9 et 10 ante meridiem prope Stony-Stratford; puto potius hora 8 min. 43. Oct. 17th, Thomas Kelley* hora quarta a meridie at Wurceter. Dec. 21st, Mr. Thomas Mownson at ll of the clok in the morning.
1568. July 14th, William Emery born at Danbery in Essex paulo post undecimam horam noctis. Sept. 24th, Margaret Anderson mane inter 7 et 8.
1571. Samuel Swallow borne at Thaxstede in Essex Feb. 15 ante meridiem, inter horam undecimam et duodecimam, forte hora media post undecimam.
157 5. July 31st, Simeon Stuard natus ante diluculum per horam 115» at Shinfelde; his grandfather by the mother was Dr. Huyck the Quene’s physicien.
1577. Jan. 16th, the Erle of Lecester, Mr. Phillip Sydney, Mr. Dyer, 810., came to my howsexi' Jan. 22nd, The Erle of Bedford
* The brother of the celebrated astrologer before mentioned.
"r " Dr. Dee dweltin a house neere the water side, a little westward from the church [at Mortlake]. The buildings which Sir Fr. Crane erected for working of tapestry hangings, and are still (167 3) employed to that use, were built upon the ground whereon Dr. Dee’s laboratory and other roomes for that use stood. Upon the west is a square court, and the next is the house wherein Dr. Dee dwelt, now inhabited by one Mr. Selbury, and further west his garden."—MS. Ashm. 178B, fol. 149. The same account says that “ Dr. Dee was wel beloved and respected of all persons of quality thereabouts, who very often invited him to their houses or came to his."