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Now as soon as the lovely day was broken, and the bright Sun, having raised himself above the hills, had again took himself to his appointed office in the high Heaven, my good champions began to rise out of their beds, and leisurely to make themselves ready for the Inquisition. Whereupon, one after another, they came again into the hall, and saying good morning, demanded how we had slept that night; and having seen our bonds, there were some that reproved us for being so cowardly, and because we had not, rather, like them, hazarded upon all adventures. However, some of them whose hearts still smote them made no loud cry of the business. We excused ourselves with our ignorance, hoping we should now soon be set at liberty, and learn wisdom by this disgrace, that they on the contrary had not yet altogether escaped; and perhaps their greatest danger was still to come.
At length everyone being assembled again, the trumpets began again to sound and the kettle drums to beat as formerly, and we then imagined nothing other but that the Bridegroom was ready to present himself; which nevertheless was a huge mistake. For it was again the Virgin of yesterday, who had arrayed herself all in red velvet, and girded herself with a white scarf. On her head she had a green wreath of laurel, which greatly suited her. Her train was now no more of small tapers, but consisted of two hundred men in armour, who were all (like her) clothed in red and white.
Now as soon as they were alighted from the throne, she came straight to us prisoners, and after she had saluted us, she said in few words: "That some of you have been aware of your wretched condition is hugely pleasing to my most mighty Lord, and he is also resolved you shall fare the better for it".
And having seen me in my habit, she laughed and said, "Goodness! Have you also submitted yourself to the yoke? I imagined you would have made yourself very smug". With which words she caused my eyes to run over. After which she commanded that we should be unbound, and coupled together and placed in a station where we might easily see the Scales. For, she said, it may yet fare better with them, than with the presumptuous who still stand here at liberty.
Meanwhile the scales, which were entirely of gold, were hung up in the middle of the hall; there was also a little table covered with red velvet, and seven weights placed on it. First of all there was a pretty big one, next four little ones, lastly two great ones. And these weights were so heavy in proportion to their bulk, that no man can believe or comprehend it. But each of the armoured men had, together with a naked sword, a strong rope; these she distributed according to the number of weights into seven bands, and out of every band chose one for their own weight; and then again sprang up into her high throne. Now as soon as she had made her reverence, in a very shrill tone she began to speak as follows:
Whoever goes into an artist's room
And nothing knows of painting
And yet will speak with much display
Will yet be mocked by everyone.
And he who enters artist's orders
Who hath not been selected
And begins to paint with much display
Will yet be mocked by everyone.
And who will to a wedding come
And hath not bidden been,
And yet doth come with much display
Will yet be mocked by everyone.
And who will climb upon these scales
And find he weigheth not,
But is shot up with mighty crash
Will yet be mocked by everyone.
As soon as the Virgin had finished speaking, one of the pages commanded each one to place himself according to his order, and one after another to step in. Which one of the Emperors made no scruple of, but first of all bowed himself a little towards the Virgin, and afterwards in all his stately attire went up: whereupon each Captain put in his weight, against which (to the wonder of all) he held out. But the last was too heavy for him, so that he must go forth; and that he did with so much anguish that (as it seemed to me) the Virgin herself had pity on him, and beckoned to her people to hold their peace; yet the good Emperor was bound and delivered over to the Sixth Band. Next after him again there came another Emperor, who stepped haughtily into the Scale, and, having a great thick book under his gown, he imagined he would not fail; but he was scarcely able to abide the third weight, and was unmercifully flung down, and his book in that upheaval fell from him, and all the soldiers began to laugh, and he was delivered up bound to the Third Band. Thus it went also with some of the other Emperors, who were all shamefully laughed at and put in captivity.
After these there came forth a short little man with a curled brown beard, also an Emperor, who after the usual reverence got up, and held out so steadfastly, that I thought that had there been more weights ready he would have outstood them. To him the Virgin immediately arose, and bowed before him, making him put on a gown of red velvet, and finally gave him a branch of laurel, of which she had a good store upon her throne, upon the steps of which she asked him to sit down. Now how it fared with the rest of the Emperors, Kings and Lords after him, would take too long to recount; but I cannot leave unmentioned that few of those great personages held out. However, various eminent virtues (beyond my hopes) were found in many. One could stand out this, the second another, some two, some three, four or five, but few could attain to the just perfection; and everyone who failed was miserably laughed at by the bands.
After the Inquisition had also passed over the gentry, the learned, and unlearned, and all the rest, and in each condition perhaps one, it may be two, but for the most part none, was found perfect, it came at length to those honest gentlemen the vagabond cheaters, and rascally Lapidem Spitalanficum makers, who were set upon the Scale with such scorn that I myself, in spite of all my grief, was ready to burst my belly with laughing, nor could the very prisoners themselves refrain. For the most part could not abide that severe trial, but were jerked out of the Scale with whips and scourges, and led to the other prisoners, but to a suitable band. Thus of so great a throng so few remained, that I am ashamed to reveal their number. However, there were persons of quality also amongst them, who notwithstanding were (like the rest) honoured with velvet robes and wreaths of laurel.
The Inquisition being completely finished, and none but we poor coupled hounds standing aside, at length one of the Captains stepped forth, and said, "Gracious Madam, if it please your Ladyship, let these poor men who acknowledged their misunderstanding be set upon the Scale too, without their incurring any danger of penalty, and only for recreation's sake, if perhaps anything that is right may be found amongst them".
In the first place I was in great perplexity, for in my anguish this was my only comfort, that I was not to stand in such ignominy, or to be lashed out of the Scale. For I did not doubt that many of the prisoners wished that they had stayed ten nights with us in the hall. Yet since the Virgin consented, so it must be, and we were untied and one after another set up. Now although the most part miscarried, they were neither laughed at, nor scourged, but peaceably placed on one side. My companion was the fifth, and he held out bravely, whereupon all, but especially the Captain who made the request for us, applauded him, and the Virgin showed him the usual respect. After him again two more were dispatched in an instant. But I was the eighth.
Now as soon as (with trembling) I stepped up, my companion who already sat by in his velvet looked friendlily upon me, and the Virgin herself smiled a little. But for as much as I outstood all the weights, the Virgin commanded them to draw me up by force, wherefore three men also hung on the other side of the beam, and yet nothing could prevail. Whereupon one of the pages immediately stood up, and cried out exceedingly loud, "THAT'S HE": upon which the other replied, "Then let him gain his liberty"; which the Virgin accorded. And, being received with due ceremonies, the choice was given me to release one of the captives, whosoever I pleased; whereupon I made no long deliberation, but elected the first Emperor whom I had long pitied, who was immediately set free, and with all respect seated amongst us.
Now the last being set up, and the weights proving too heavy for him, in the meantime the Virgin had spotted my roses, which I had taken out of my hat into my hands, and thereupon presently through her page graciously requested them of me, and I readily sent them to her.
And so this first Act was finished about ten in the morning. Whereupon the trumpets began to sound again, which nevertheless we could not as yet see. Meantime the bands were to step aside with their prisoners, and await the judgement. After which a council of the seven captains and us was set, and the business was propounded by the Virgin as President, who desired each one to give his opinion how the prisoners were to be dealt with. The first opinion was that they should all be put to death, yet one more severely than another, namely those who had presumptuously intruded themselves contrary to the express conditions. Others would have them kept close prisoners. Both of which pleased neither the President, nor me. At length by one of the Emperors (the same whom I had freed), my companion, and myself, the affair was brought to this point: that first of all the principal Lords should with a fitting respect be led out of the Castle; others might be carried out somewhat more scornfully. These would be stripped, and caused to run out naked; the fourth should be hunted out with rods, whips or dogs. Those who the day before willingly surrendered themselves, might be allowed to depart without any blame. And last of all those presumptuous ones, and they who behaved themselves so unseemly at dinner the day before, should be punished in body and life according to each man's demerit. This opinion pleased the Virgin well, and obtained the upper hand. There was moreover another dinner vouchsafed them, which they were soon told about. But the execution was deferred till twelve noon.
Herewith the Senate arose, and the Virgin also, together with her attendants, returned to her usual quarter. But the uppermost table in the room was allotted to us, they requesting us to take it in good part until the business was fully dispatched. And then we should be conducted to the Lord Bridegroom and the Bride, with which we were at present well content. Meanwhile the prisoners were again brought into the hall, and each man seated according to his quality. They were likewise told to behave themselves somewhat more civilly than they had done the day before, about which they yet did not need to have been admonished, for without this, they had already put up their pipes.
And this I can boldly say, not with flattery, but in the love of truth, that commonly those persons who were of the highest rank best understood how to behave themselves in so unexpected a misfortune. Their treatment was but indifferent, yet respectful; neither could they yet see their attendants, but to us they were visible, at which I was exceedingly joyful. Now although Fortune had exalted us, yet we did not take upon us more than the rest, advising them to be of good cheer, the event would not be so bad. Now although they would gladly have us reveal their sentence, yet we were so deeply obligated that none of us dared open his mouth about it.
Nevertheless we comforted them as well as we could, drinking with them to see if the wine might make them any more cheerful. Our table was covered with red velvet, beset with drinking cups of pure silver and gold, which the rest could not behold without amazement and very great anguish. But before we had seated ourselves, in came the two pages, presenting everyone on the Bridegroom's behalf with the Golden Fleece with a flying Lion, requesting us to wear them at the table, and as became us, to observe the reputation and dignity of the Order which his Majesty had now vouchsafed us; and we should be ratified with suitable ceremonies. This we received with profoundest submission, promising obediently to perform whatsoever his Majesty should please. Besides these, the noble page had a schedule in which we were set down in order. And for my part I should not otherwise wish to conceal my place, if perhaps it might not be interpreted as pride in me, which is expressly against the fourth weight.
Now because our entertainment was exceedingly stately, we demanded of one of the pages whether we might not have leave to send some choice bit to our friends and acquaintances; he made no difficulty of it, and everyone sent plentifully to his acquaintances by the waiters, although they saw none of them; and because they did not know where it came from, I myself wished to carry something to one of them. But as soon as I had risen, one of the waiters was at my elbow, saying he desired me to take friendly warning, for if one of the pages had seen it, it would have come to he King's ear, who would certainly have taken it amiss of me; but since none had observed it but himself, he did not intend to betray me, but that I ought for the time to come to have better regard for the dignity of the order. With which words the servant really astonished me so much that for a long time afterwards I scarcely moved in my seat, yet I returned him thanks for his faithful warning, as well as I was able in my haste and fear.
Soon after, the drums began to beat again, to which we were already accustomed: for we knew well it was the Virgin, so we prepared ourselves to receive her; she was now coming in with her usual train, upon her high seat, one of the pages bearing before her a very tall goblet of gold, and the other a patent in parchment. Having alighted from the seat in a marvellous skillful manner, she took the goblet from the page, and presented the same on the King's behalf, saying that it was brought from his Majesty, and that in honour of him we should cause it to go round. Upon the cover of this goblet stood Fortune curiously cast in gold, who had in her hand a red flying ensign, because of which I drunk somewhat more sadly, having been all too well acquainted with Fortune's waywardness. But the Virgin as well as us was adorned with the Golden Fleece and Lion, from which I observed that perhaps she was the president of the Order. So we asked of her how the Order might be named. She answered that it was not yet the right time to reveal this, till the affair with the prisoners was dispatched. And therefore their eyes were still veiled ; and what had hitherto happened to us, was to them only like an offence and scandal, although it was to be accounted as nothing in regard to the honour that attended us. Hereupon she began to distinguish the patent which the other page held into two different parts, out of which about this much was read before the first company:
"That they should confess that they had too lightly given credit to false fictitious books, had assumed too much to themselves, and so come into this Castle, although they were never invited into it, and perhaps the most part had presented themselves with design to make their market here, and afterwards to live in greater pride and lordliness; and thus one had seduced another, and plunged him into this disgrace and ignominy, wherefore they were deservedly to be soundly punished."
Which they with great humility readily acknowledged, and gave their hands upon it. After which a severe check was given to the rest, much to this purpose:
"That they very well knew, and were in their consciences convinced, that they had forged false fictitious books, had fooled others, and cheated them, and thereby had diminished regal dignity amongst all. They knew likewise what ungodly deceitful figures they had made use of, in so much as they spared not even the Divine Trinity, but accustomed themselves to cheat people all the country over. It was also now as clear as day with what practices they had endeavoured to ensnare the true guests, and introduce the ignorant: in such a manner that it was manifest to all the world that they wallowed in open whoredom, adultery, gluttony, and other uncleannesses: All which was against the express orders of our Kingdom. In brief, they knew they had disparaged Kingly Majesty, even amongst the common sort, and therefore they should confess themselves to be manifest convicted vagabond-cheaters, knaves and rascals, whereby they deserved to be kept from the company of civil people, and severely punished."
The good artists were loath to come to this confession, but inasmuch as not only the Virgin herself threatened them, and swore that they would die, but the other party also vehemently raged at them, and unanimously cried out that they had most wickedly seduced them out of the Light, they at length, to prevent a huge misfortune, confessed the same with sadness, and yet withal alleged that what had happened here was not to be animadverted upon them in the worst sense. For inasmuch as the Lords were absolutely resolved to get into the Castle, and had promised great sums of money to that effect, each one had used all craft to seize upon something, and so things were brought to that state that was now manifest before their eyes. But just because it had not succeeded, "They", in their opinion, "had deserved no less than the Lords themselves; Who should have had so much understanding as to consider that, if anyone could be sure of getting in, he should not have clambered over the wall with them, that there should be so great peril for the sake of a slight gain?"
Their books also sold so well, that whoever had no other means to maintain himself, had to engage in such a deception. They hoped moreover, that if a right judgement were made, they should be found in no way to have miscarried, for they had behaved themselves towards the Lords, as became Servants, upon their earnest entreaty.
But answer was made to them that his Royal Majesty had determined to punish them all, every man, although one more severely than another. For although what had been alleged by them was partly true, and therefore the Lords should not wholly be indulged, yet they had good reason to prepare themselves for death, they who had so presumptuously obtruded themselves, and perhaps seduced the more ignorant against their will; as likewise those who had violated Royal Majesty with false books, for the same might be shown from their very writings and books.
Hereupon many began to lament, cry, weep, entreat and prostrate themselves most piteously, all of which notwithstanding could avail them nothing, and I marvelled much how the Virgin could be so resolute, when their misery caused our eyes to run over, and moved our compassion (although the most part of them had procured us much trouble and vexation). For she presently dispatched her page, who brought with him all the Curiassiers who had this day been appointed at the Scales, who were each of them commanded to take his own to him, and in an orderly procession, so that each Curiassier should go with one of the prisoners, to conduct them into her great garden. At which time each one so exactly recognised his own man, that I marvelled at it. Leave was also likewise given to my companions of yesterday to go out into the garden unbound, and to be present at the execution of the sentence. Now as soon as every man had come forth, the Virgin mounted up into her high throne, requesting us to sit down upon the steps, and to appear at the judgement; which we did not refuse, but left everything standing upon the table (except the goblet, which the Virgin committed to the pages' keeping) and went forth in our robes, upon the throne, which moved by itself as gently as if we passed through the air, till in this manner we came into the garden, where we all arose together.
This garden was not extraordinarily curious, but it pleased me that the trees were planted in such good order. Besides, there ran in it a most costly fountain, adorned with wonderful figures and inscriptions and strange characters (which, God willing, I shall mention in a future book). In this garden was raised a wooden scaffold, hung about with curiously painted figured coverlets. Now there were four galleries made one over another; the first was more glorious than any of the rest, and therefore covered with a white taffeta curtain, so that at that time we could not perceive who was behind it. The second was empty and uncovered. Again the last two were covered with red and blue taffeta. Now as soon as we had come to the scaffold, the Virgin bowed herself down to the ground, at which we were mightily terrified, for we could easily guess that the King and Queen must not be far off. Now we also having duly performed our reverence, the Virgin led us up by the winding stairs into the second gallery, where she placed herself uppermost, and us in our former order. But how the Emperor whom I had released behaved himself towards me, both at this time and also before at the table, I cannot well relate without slander of wicked tongues. For he might well have imagined in what anguish and solicitude he should now have been, in case he were at present to attend the judgement with such ignominy, and that only through me he had now attained such dignity and worthiness.
Meanwhile the Virgin who first of all brought me the invitation, and whom until now I had never since seen, came in. First she gave one blast upon her trumpet, and then with a very loud voice declared the sentence in this manner:
"The King's Majesty my most gracious Lord could wish with all his heart that each and every one here assembled had upon his Majesty's invitation presented themselves so qualified as that they might (to his honour) with greatest frequency have adorned this his appointed nuptial and joyful feast. But since it has otherwise pleased Almighty God, his Majesty has nothing about which to murmur, but must be forced, contrary to his own inclination, to abide by the ancient and laudable constitutions of this Kingdom. But now, so that his Majesty's innate clemency may be celebrated all over the world, he has so far absolutely dealt with his Council and estates, that the usual sentence shall be considerably lenified.
So in the first place he is willing to vouchsafe to the Lords and Potentates, not only their lives entirely, but also that he will freely and frankly dismiss them; friendlily and courteously entreating your Lordships not at all to take it in evil part that you cannot be present at his Majesty's Feast of Honour; but to remember that there is notwithstanding more imposed upon your Lordships by God Almighty (who in the distribution of his gifts has an incomprehensible consideration) than you can duly and easily sustain. Neither is your reputation hereby prejudiced, although you be rejected by this our Order, since we cannot all of us do all things at once. But for as much as your Lordships have been seduced by base rascals, it shall not, on their part, pass unrevenged. And furthermore his Majesty resolves shortly to communicate to your Lordships a catalogue of heretics or Index Expurgatorius, that you may henceforth be able to discern between the good and the evil with better judgement. And because his Majesty before long also intends to rummage his library, and offer up the seductive writings to Vulcan, he friendlily, humbly, and courteously entreats every one of your Lordships to do the same with your own, whereby it is to be hoped that all evil and mischief may for the time to come be remedied. And you are withal to be admonished, never henceforth to covet an entrance here so inconsiderately, lest the former excuse about seducers be taken from you, and you fall into disgrace and contempt with all men. Finally, for as much as the estates of the land still have something to demand of your Lordships, his Majesty hopes that no man will think much to redeem himself with a chain or whatever else he has about him, and so in friendly manner to depart from us, and through our safe conduct to take himself home again.
The others who did not stand up to the first, third and fourth weight, his Majesty will not so lightly dismiss. But so that they also may now experience his Majesty's gentleness, it is his command to strip them stark naked and so send them forth.
Those who in the second and fifth weight were found too light, shall besides stripping, be noted with one, two or more brand-marks, according as each one was lighter or heavier.
They who were drawn up by the sixth or seventh, and not by the rest, shall be somewhat more graciously dealt with, and so forward. (For to every combination there was a certain punishment ordained, which is here too long to recount.)
They who yesterday separated themselves freely of their own accord, shall go out at liberty without any blame.
Finally, the convicted vagabond-cheaters who could move up none of the weights, shall as occasion serves be punished in body and life, with the sword, halter, water and rods. And such execution of judgement shall be inviolably observed as an example to others."
Herewith our Virgin broke her wand, and the other who read the sentence blew her trumpet, and stepped with most profound reverence towards those who stood behind the curtain.
But here I cannot omit to reveal something to the reader concerning the number of our prisoners, of whom those who weighed one, were seven; those who weighed two, were twenty one; they who three, thirty five; they who four, thirty five; those who five, twenty one; those who six, seven; but he that came to the seventh, and yet could not well raise it, he was only one, and indeed the same whom I released. Besides these, of them who wholly failed there were many; but of those who drew all the weights from the ground, but few. And as these each stood before us, so I diligently numbered them and noted them down in my table-book; and it is very admirable that amongst all those who weighed anything, none was equal to another. For although amongst those who weighed three, there were thirty five, yet one of them weighed the first, second, and third, another the third, fourth, and fifth, a third, the fifth, sixth, and seventh, and so on. It is likewise very wonderful that amongst one hundred and twenty six who weighed anything, none was equal to another; and I would very willingly name them all, with each man's weight, were it not as yet forbidden me. But I hope it may hereafter be published with the Interpretation.
Now this judgement being read over, the Lords in the first place were well satisfied, because in such severity they did not dare look for a mild sentence. So they gave more than was desired of them, and each one redeemed himself with chains, jewels, gold, money and other things, as much as they had about them, and with reverence took leave. Now although the King's servants were forbidden to jeer at any at his going away, yet some unlucky birds could not hold their laughter, and certainly it was sufficiently ridiculous to see them pack away with such speed, without once looking behind them. Some desired that the promised catalogue might at once be dispatched after them, and then they would take such order with their books as should be pleasing to his Majesty; which was again assured. At the door was given to each of them out of a cup a draught of FORGETFULNESS, so that he might have no further memory of misfortune.
After these the Voluntiers departed, who because of their ingenuity were allowed to pass, but yet so as never to return again in the same fashion. But if to them (as likewise to the others) anything further were revealed, then they should be welcome guests.
Meanwhile others were stripping, in which also an inequality (according to each man's demerit) was observed. Some were sent away naked, without other hurt. Others were driven out with small bells. Some were scourged forth. In brief the punishments were so various, that I am not able to recount them all. In the end it came to the last, with whom a somewhat longer time was spent, for while some were being hung, some beheaded, some forced to leap into the water, and the rest otherwise being dispatched, much time was consumed. Verily at this execution my eyes ran over, not indeed in regard of the punishment, which they for their impudency well deserved, but in contemplation of human blindness, in that we are continually busying ourselves in that which ever since the first Fall has been hitherto sealed up to us. Thus the garden which so recently was quite full, was soon emptied, so that besides the soldiers there was not a man left.
Now as soon as this was done, and silence had been kept for the space of five minutes, there came forth a beautiful snow-white unicorn with a golden collar (having on it certain letters) about his neck. In the same place he bowed himself down upon both his forefeet, as if hereby he had shown honour to the lion, who stood so immoveably upon the fountain, that I had taken him to be of stone or brass. The lion immediately took the naked sword which he had in his paw, and broke it in two in the middle, and the pieces of it, it seemed to me, sunk into the fountain; after which he roared for so long, until a white dove brought a branch of olive in her bill, which the lion devoured in an instant, and so was quieted. And so the unicorn returned to his place with joy.
Hereupon our Virgin led us down again by the winding stairs from the scaffold, and so we again made our reverence towards the curtain. We were to wash our hands and heads in the fountain, and there to wait a little while in our order, till the King was again returned into his hall through a certain secret gallery, and then we were also conducted into our former lodging with choice music, pomp, state, and pleasant discourse. And this was done about four in the afternoon. But so that in the meantime the time might not seem too long to us, the Virgin bestowed on each of us a noble page, who were not only richly dressed, but also exceedingly learned, so that they could so aptly discourse upon all subjects that we had good reason to be ashamed of ourselves. These were commanded to lead us up and down the Castle, but only into certain places, and if possible, to shorten the time according to our desire. Meanwhile the Virgin took leave with this consolation, that at supper she would be with us again, and after that celebrate the ceremonies of the hanging up of the weights, requesting that we would in patience wait till the next day, for on the morrow we must be presented to the King.
She having thus departed from us, each of us did what best pleased him. One part viewed the excellent paintings, which they copied out for themselves, and considered also what the wonderful characters might signify. Others wanted to occupy themselves again with meat and drink.
I caused my page to conduct me (together with my companion) up and down the Castle, which walk I shall never regret as long as I have a day to live. For besides many other glorious antiquities, the Royal Sepulchre was also showed to me, by which I learned more than is extant in all books. There in the same place stands also the glorious phoenix (about which, two years ago, I published a particular small discourse). And I am resolved (in case this narration shall prove useful) to set forth several particular treatises concerning the lion, eagle, griffin, falcon and the like, together with their draughts and inscriptions. It grieves me for my other companions, that they neglected such precious treasures. And yet I cannot but think it was the special will of God that it should be so. I indeed reaped the most benefit from my page, for according as each one's genius lay, so he led whoever was entrusted to him into the quarters and places which were pleasing to him. Now the keys belonging hereunto were committed to my page, and therefore this good fortune happened to me before the rest; for although he invited others to come in, yet they imagining such tombs to be only in the churchyard, thought they should get there well enough, whenever anything was to be seen there. Neither shall these monuments (as both of us copied and transcribed them) be withheld from my thankful scholars.
The other thing that was shown to us two was the noble library as it was all together before the Reformation. Of which (although it makes my heart rejoice as often as I call it to mind) I have so much the less to say, because the catalogue of it is very shortly to be published. At the entry to this room stands a great book, the like of which I never saw, in which all the figures, rooms, portals, also all the writings, riddles and the like, to be seen in the whole Castle, are delineated. Now although we made a promise concerning this also, yet at present I must contain myself, and first learn to know the world better. In every book stands its author painted; of which (as I understood) many were to be burnt, so that even their memory might be blotted out from amongst the righteous.
Now having taken a full view of this, and having scarcely gone forth, another page came running to us, and having whispered something in our page's ear, he delivered up the keys to him, who immediately carried them up the winding stairs. But our page was very much out of countenance, and we having set hard upon him with entreaties, he declared to us that the King's Majesty would by no means permit that either of the two, namely the library and sepulchres, should be seen by any man, and therefore he besought us as we cared for his life, to reveal this to no man, he having already utterly denied it. Whereupon both of us stood hovering between joy and fear, yet it continued in silence, and no man made further enquiry about it. Thus in both places we passed three hours, which I do not at all repent.
Now although it had already struck seven, yet nothing had so far been given us to eat; however, our hunger was easy to abate by constant revivings, and I could be well content to fast all my life long with such entertainment. About this time the curious fountains, mines, and all kinds of art-shops, were also shown to us, of which there was none but surpassed all our arts, even if they should all be melted into one mass. All their chambers were built in a semi-circle, so that they might have before their eyes the costly clockwork which was erected upon a fair turret in the centre, and regulate themselves according to the course of the planets, which were to be seen on it in a glorious manner. And hence I could easily conjecture where our artists failed; however it's none of my duty to inform them.
At length I came into a spacious room (shown indeed to the rest a great while before) in the middle of which stood a terrestrial globe, whose diameter was thirty feet, although nearly half of it, except a little which was covered with the steps, was let into the earth. Two men might readily turn this globe about with all its furniture, so that no more of it was ever to be seen, just so much as was above the horizon. Now although I could easily conceive that this was of some special use, yet I could not understand what those ringlets of gold (which were upon it in several places) served for; at which my page laughed, and advised me to view them more closely. In brief, I found there my native country noted in gold also; whereupon my companion sought his, and found that so too. Now for as much as the same happened in a similar way to the rest who stood by, the page told us for certain that it was yesterday declared to the King's Majesty by their old Atlas (so is the Astronomer named) that all the gilded points exactly answered to their native countries, according as had been shown to each of them. And therefore he also, as soon as he perceived that I undervalued myself and that nevertheless there stood a point upon my native country, moved one of the Captains to entreat for us that we should be set upon the scale (without peril) at all adventures; especially seeing one of our native countries had a notable good mark. And truly it was not without reason that he, the page who had the greatest power of all the rest, was bestowed on me. For this I then returned him thanks, and immediately looked more diligently upon my native country, and found moreover that besides the ringlet, there were also certain delicate streaks upon it, which nevertheless I would not be thought to speak about to my own praise and glory.
I saw much more too upon this globe than I am willing to reveal. Let each man take into consideration why every city does not produce a philosopher. After this he led us right into the globe, which was thus made: on the sea (there being a large square beside it) was a tablet, on which stood three dedications and the author's name, which a man might gently lift up and by a little joined board go into the centre, which was capable of holding four persons, being nothing but a round board on which we could sit, and at ease, by broad daylight (it was now already dark) contemplate the stars. To my thinking they were mere carbuncles which glittered in an agreeable order, and moved so gallantly that I had scarcely any mind ever to go out again, as the page afterwards told the Virgin, with which she often teased me.
For it was already supper-time, and I had so much amused myself in the globe, that I was almost the last at the table; so I made no more delay, but having put on my gown again (which I had before laid aside) and stepping to the table, the waiters treated me with so much reverence and honour, that for shame I dared not look up, and so unawares permitted the Virgin, who attended me on one side, to stand, which she soon perceiving, twitched me by the gown, and so led me to the table. To speak any further concerning the music, or the rest of that magnificent entertainment, I hold it needless, both because it is not possible to express it well enough, and because I have reported it above according to my power. In brief, there was nothing there but art and amenity.
Now after we had related our employment since noon to each other (however, not a word was spoken of the library and monuments), being already merry with the wine, the Virgin began thus: "My Lords, I have a great contention with one of my sisters. In our chamber we have an eagle. Now we cherish him with such diligence, that each of us is desirous to be the best beloved, and upon that score we have many a squabble. One day we concluded to go both together to him, and toward whom he should show himself most friendly, hers should he properly be. This we need, and I (as commonly) carried in my hand a branch of laurel, but my sister had none. Now as soon as he saw us both, he immediately gave my sister another branch which he had in his beak, and reached for mine, which I gave him. Now each of us hereupon imagined herself to be best beloved of him; which way am I to resolve myself? "
This modest proposal of the Virgin pleased us all mighty well, and each one would gladly have heard the solution, but inasmuch as they all looked to me, and wanted me to begin, my mind was so extremely confounded that I knew not what else to do with it but propound another in its stead, and therefore said: "Gracious Lady, your Ladyship's question would easily be resolved if one thing did not perplex me. I had two companions, both of which loved me exceedingly; now they being doubtful which of them was most dear to me, concluded to run to me, I unawares, and that he whom I should then embrace should be the right. This they did, yet one of them could not keep pace with the other, so he stayed behind and wept, the other I embraced with amazement. Now when they had afterwards discovered the business to me, I did not know how to resolve myself, and have since then let it rest in this manner, until I may find some good advice herein".
The Virgin wondered at it, and well observed whereabout I was, whereupon she replied, "Well then, let us both be quit"; and then desired the solution from the rest.
But I had already made them wise. So the next began thus. "In the city where I live, a Virgin was recently condemned to death, but the Judge, being somewhat pitiful towards her, caused it to be proclaimed that if any man desired to become the Virgin's Champion, he should have free leave to do it. Now she had two lovers; the one presently made himself ready, and came into the lists to await his adversary; afterwards the other also presented himself, but coming somewhat too late, he resolved nevertheless to fight, and willingly suffer himself to be vanquished, so that the Virgin's life might be preserved, which also succeeded accordingly".
Whereupon each challenged her: "Now my Lords, instruct me, to which of them of right does she belong?"
The Virgin could hold out no longer, but said, "I thought to have gained much information, and have got myself into the net, but yet would gladly hear whether there are any more to come."
"Yes, that there are", answered the third, "a stranger adventure has not yet been recounted than that which happened to me. In my youth I loved a worthy maid: now so that my love might attain its desired end, I used to employ an ancient matron, who easily brought me to her. Now it happened that the maid's brethren came in upon us just as we three were together, and were in such a rage that they would have taken my life, but upon my vehement supplication, they at length forced me to swear to take each of them for a year, to be my wedded wife. Now tell me, my Lords, should I take the old, or the young one first?"
We all laughed sufficiently at this riddle, and though some of them muttered to one another about it, yet none would undertake to unfold it.
Hereupon the fourth began: "In a certain city there dwelt an honourable lady, who was beloved of all, but especially by a young nobleman, who was too importunate with her. At length she gave him this determination, that if he could lead her into a fair green garden of roses in a cold winter, then he should obtain what he desired, but if not, he must resolve never to see her again. The nobleman traveled to all countries to find such a man as might perform this, till at length he found a little old man that promised to do it for him, if he would assure him of half his estate; which he having consented to the other, was as good as his word. Whereupon he invited the aforesaid lady to his garden, where, contrary to her expectation, she found all things green, pleasant and warm, and remembering her promise, she only requested that she might once more return to her lord, to whom with sighs and tears she bewailed her lamentable condition. But because he sufficiently perceived her faithfulness, he dispatched her back to her lover who had so dearly purchased her, so that she might give him satisfaction. This husband's integrity did so mightily affect the nobleman, that he thought it a sin to touch so honest a wife; so he sent her home again with honour to her lord. Now the little man perceiving such faith in both these, would not, however poor he was, be the least in honour, but restored to the nobleman all his goods again and went his way. Now, my lords, I know not which of these persons may have shown the greatest ingenuity?"
Here our tongues were quite cut off. Neither would the Virgin make any other reply, but only that another should go on.
So the fifth, without delay, began: "My Lords, I do not wish to make long work of this; who has the greater joy, he that beholds what he loves, or he that only thinks on it?"
"He that beholds it," said the Virgin.
"No," I answered.
Hereupon a debate arose, so the sixth called out, "My lords, I am to take a wife; now I have before me a maid, a married wife, and a widow; ease me of this doubt, and I will afterwards help to order the rest."
"It goes well there," replied the seventh, "where a man has a choice, but with me the case is otherwise. In my youth I loved a fair and virtuous virgin from the bottom of my heart, and she loved me in similar manner; however, because of her friends' denial we could not come together in wedlock. Whereupon she was married to another, yet an honest and discreet person, who maintained her honourably and with affection, until she came to the pains of childbirth, which went so hard for her that all thought she was dead, so with much state and great mourning she was interred. Now I thought to myself, during her life you could have no part in this woman, but now she is dead you may embrace and kiss her sufficiently; so I took my servant with me, who dug her up by night. Now having opened the coffin and locked her in my arms, feeling about her heart, I found some little motion in it still, which increased more and more from my warmth, till at last I perceived that she was indeed still alive. So I quietly bore her home, and after I had warmed her chilled body with a costly bath of herbs, I committed her to my mother until she brought forth a fair son, whom I caused to be nursed faithfully, as for his mother. After two days (she being then in great amazement) I revealed to her all the preceding affair, requesting her for the time to come to live with me as a wife; against which she found exception, in case it should be grievous to her husband who had maintained her well and honourably. But if it could be otherwise, she was obliged in love at present to one as well as the other. Now after two months (being then about to make a journey elsewhere) I invited her husband as a guest, and amongst other things demanded of him whether, if his deceased wife should come home again, he would be content to receive her. He affirmed it with tears and lamentations, and I brought him his wife together with his son, and gave an account of all the preceding business, entreating him to ratify with his consent my intended espousals. After a long dispute he could not deny me my right, but had to leave me his wife. But there was still a debate about the son."
Here the Virgin interrupted him, and said, "It makes me wonder how you could double the afflicted man's grief."
"What," he answered, "Was I not concerned about it?" Upon this there arose a dispute amongst us, yet most affirmed that he had done right. "No," he said, "I freely returned him both his wife and his son. Now tell me, my Lords, was my honesty, or this man's joy, the greater?"
These words had so much cheered the Virgin that (as if it had been for the sake of these two) she caused a health to be drunk.
After which the rest of the proposals went on somewhat perplexedly, so that I could not retain them all; yet this comes to my mind, that one said that a few years before he had seen a physician, who brought a parcel of wood against winter, with which he warmed himself all winter long; but as soon as the spring returned he sold the very same wood again, and so had use of it for nothing.
"Here there must be skill," said the Virgin, "but the time is now past."
"Yes," replied my companion, "whoever does not understand how to resolve all the riddles may give each man notice of it by a proper messenger, and he will not be denied."
At this time they began to say grace, and we arose all together from the table, satisfied and merry rather than satiated; and it is to be wished that all invitations and feastings were kept like this. Having now taken a few turns up and down the hall again, the Virgin asked us whether we desired to begin the wedding.
"Yes, noble and virtuous lady," said one. Whereupon she privately despatched a page, and yet in the meantime proceeded in discourse with us. In brief she had already become so familiar with us, that I ventured to request her Name. The Virgin smiled at my curiosity, but yet was not moved, but replied:
"My Name contains five and fifty, and yet has only eight letters; the third is the third part of the fifth, which added to the sixth will produce a number whose root shall exceed the third itself by just the first, and it is the half of the fourth. Now the fifth and the seventh are equal, the last and the fifth are also equal, and make with the second as much as the sixth, which contains just four more than the third tripled. Now tell me, my lord, what am I called?"
The answer was intricate enough to me, yet I did not leave off, but said, "Noble and virtuous lady, may I not have only one letter?"
"Yes", she said, "that may well be done".
"What then," I replied again, "may the seventh contain?"
"It contains", she said, "as many as there are lords here".
With this I was content, and easily found her Name, at which she was very pleased, and assured us that much more should yet be revealed to us.
Meantime certain virgins had made themselves ready, and came in with great ceremony. First of all two youths carried lights before them; one of them was of jocund countenance, sprightly eyes and gentle proportion. The other looked rather angry, and whatever he would have, must be, as I afterwards perceived. After them first followed four virgins. One looked shame-facedly towards the earth, very humble in behaviour. The second also was a modest, bashful virgin. The third, as she entered the room, seemed amazed at something, and as I understood, she cannot easily abide where there is too much mirth. The fourth brought with her certain small wreaths, thereby to manifest her kindness and liberality.
After these four came two who were somewhat more gloriously appareled; they saluted us courteously. One of them had a gown of sky colour spangled with golden stars. The other's was green, beautified with red and white stripes. On their heads they had thin flying tiffaties, which adorned them most becomingly.
At last came one on her own, who had a coronet on her head, but looked up rather towards heaven than towards earth. We all thought it was the Bride, but were much mistaken, although otherwise in honour, riches and state she much surpassed the Bride; and she afterwards ruled the whole Wedding. Now on this occasion we all followed our Virgin, and fell down on our knees; however, she showed herself to be extremely humble, offering everyone her hand, and admonishing us not to be too much surprised at this, for this was one of her smallest bounties; but to lift up our eyes to our Creator, and learn hereby to acknowledge his omnipotency, and so proceed in our enterprised course, employing this grace to the praise of God, and the good of man. In sum, her words were quite different from those of our Virgin, who was somewhat more worldly. They pierced me through even to my bones and marrow.
"And you," she said further to me, "have received more than others, see that you also make a larger return." This to me was a very strange sermon; for as soon as we saw the virgins with the music, we imagined we must soon begin to dance, but that time was not as yet come. Now the weights, which have been mentioned before, stood still in the same place, so the Duchess (I knew not yet who she was) commanded each virgin to take up one, but to our Virgin she gave her own, which was the last and greatest, and commanded us to follow behind. Our majesty was then somewhat abated, for I observed well that our Virgin was too good for us, and we were not so highly reputed as we ourselves were almost in part willing to fantasise. So we went behind in our order, and were brought into the first chamber, where our Virgin in the first place hung up the Duchess' weight, during which an excellent spiritual hymn was sung. There was nothing costly in this room save only curious little prayer books which should never be missing. In the middle was erected a pulpit, very convenient for prayer, in which the Duchess kneeled down, and about her we all had to kneel and pray after the Virgin, who read out of a book, that this Wedding might tend to the honour of God, and our own benefit. Afterwards we came into the second chamber, where the first Virgin hung up her weight too, and so forward until all the ceremonies were finished. Hereupon the Duchess again presented her hand to everyone, and departed hence with her virgin.
Our president stayed yet a while with us. But because it had already been night for two hours, she would no longer detain us. I thought she was glad of our company, yet she bade us good night, and wished us quiet rest, and so departed friendlily, although unwillingly, from us. Our pages were well instructed in their business, and therefore showed every man his chamber, and stayed with us too in another bed, so that in case we wanted anything we might make use of them. My chamber (of the rest I am not able to speak) was royally furnished with rare tapestries, and hung about with paintings. But above all things I delighted in my page, who was so excellently spoken, and experienced in the arts, that he spent yet another hour with me, and it was half past three when I first fell asleep. And this was the first night that I slept in quiet, and yet a scurvy dream would not let me rest; for all the night I was troubled with a door which I could not get open, but at last I did it. With these fantasies I passed the time, till at length towards day I awakened.
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