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poisonous stench. In consequence, a mortality and sickness will attack great numbers, and loud peals will be heard, and voices in the air that shall terrify the hearts of those who hear them, and the wind shall raise aloft the sands and the dust from the face of the earth, and shall utterly overwhelm the cities situate on the plain, and especially those in the sandy regions, those in the fifth climate, to wit; as Mecca, Barsara, Baldac, 33 and Babylon; nor shall any land be left otherwise than covered with the sand and dust, and be utterly ruined thereby; so much so, that the regions of Egypt and Æthiopia shall become almost uninhabitable. And from the West this calamity will extend to all parts of the East. In the regions of the West also shall arise dissensions; and seditions of the people shall take place, and there shall be one of them who shall levy armies innumerable, and shall wage war on the shore of the waters, on which a slaughter so vast will take place that the flow of the blood so shed will equal the surging waves. Let each person feel assured that the conjunction about to take place, whatever others may say, signifies to me, if God so wills, the mutation of kingdoms, the superiority of the Franks, the destruction of the Saracenic race, with the superior blessedness of the religion of Christ, and its especial exaltation, together with longer life to those who shall be born hereafter.”
In like manner, William the Astrologer, clerk to John, the constable of Chester, wrote concerning the before-mentioned conjunctions of the planets to the following effect :
“In the year from the Incarnation of our Lord one thousand one hundred and eighty-six, in the month of August, on the completion of the thirtieth day thereof, and in the following night, at the ninth hour, in the twenty-ninth degree of Virgo, which is called the degree of periods and the period of woes, Leo being in the ascendant, this conjunction, which is called a minor conjunction, is most portentous. Evil is predominant in this figure. This is followed by a conjunction of Mars and Saturn, in the fourth degree of Libra, on the seventh day of September, at the fourth hour, being the first day of the week ; the Sun being the lord of the hour, and Sagittarius the horoscope. This conjunction is called a mid-conjunction. In this conjunction good fortune is predominant; and in this inclination
33 Probably Bassora and Bagdad.
evil is mitigated. Then follows a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, which is styled a major conjunction, in the eighth degree of Libra, on the tenth day of October, being the sixth day of the week, at the ninth hour. Mercury is then the lord of the hour, Capricorn the horoscope ; Mars being in conjunction in the fourteenth degree with the Tail of the Dragon. This conjunction portends wondrous events; thunder and lightning, with fiery flashes running to and fro in the air. But not regarding the conjunction of these, be it our part to record by figure what other persons have couched under an enigmatical form, as to the conjunction of all the planets in Libra, which will have an effect in our day before unknown, and not to be known in times to come. This conjunction will take place on the sixteenth day of September, being the third day of the week, at the first hour; Mars being the lord of the hour, and the Sun in the East, and the planets in their several places, as follows: Libra being the horoscope, 33* and beginning in the first degree [of longitude]; the Sun being in the thirtieth degree of Virgo ; Jupiter in two degrees three minutes; Venus in three degrees forty - nine minutes; Saturn in eight degrees six minutes ; Mercury in four degrees ten minutes; Mars in nine degrees eighteen minutes; the Tail [of the Dragon] in eighteen degrees twenty-three minutes; the Part of Warfare in fifteen degrees; the Moon in seventeen degrees eight minutes; the Part of Fortune in nineteen degrees. The second [horoscope] is Libra, beginning at its twenty-fifth degree. The third is Scorpio, beginning at its twenty-fourth degree. The fourth is Capricorn, beginning at its first degree. The fifth is Aquarius, beginning at its fifth degree. The sixth is Pisces, beginning at its seventh degree. The seventh is Aries, beginning at its first degree. Now, as Saturn is most elevated in orbit, let us first treat of him. He signifies the Pagans, and all who are opposed to the laws of Christianity. Now, inasmuch as in the figure of the sphere Saturn is in the mid-heaven governing the Cairy] triplicity, from the triplicity of the figure the Saracen magicians 34 are auguring victory on their side, especially as the Sun 33* Also called “the house" by more recent astrologers.
is possible that this may be the meaning of the mystic letters which here occur ; Tr. G. F. S. M. standing for “ Triplicitate figuræ gentis Saracenæ magi.” If not, those who are skilled in judicial astrology may, possibly, be able to give a better translation.
at his setting is seeking the superior conjunction of the planets. However, from an estimate of the figure we form a very different opinion. For the Sun signifies the potentates of Christendom, and in this figure is seeking conjunction with Jupiter ; but Jupiter, being powerless, seeks conjunction with Venus, and she with Saturn. Mercury then, by retrograding, cutting it off, 35 would naturally appear by his retrograde motion to indicate the elevation of their religion and the depression of
But as Mercury imparts this same disposition to Jupiter, and Jupiter imparts it to none, 36 this marks the lasting nature of our faith. Now since the Sun is of the greatest influence in this figure, a man, a Christian, is arising among us, one of great fame, whose name will be exalted until the end of the world.38 But because this conjunction takes place in a changeable sign, the career of this person will be closed before Saturn shall have passed through this sign; and inasmuch as Jupiter denotes power of prophecy, he will last
enumerated among the prophets. In this figure, Mars being separated from Saturn, transfers the properties of Saturn to the Tail (of the Dragon]; which not retaining this position, as though by a retrograde movement, carries back again towards Mars what has been so entrusted to it. But, inasmuch as Mars is being scorched by the orb of the Sun, being thus impeded and embarrassed between two evils, Saturn and the Tail [of the Dragon], he becomes infected with their nature, and signifies by his properties, sorrows, contentions, alarms, catastrophes, murders, and spoliation of property. The Tail also signifies separations, losses, dangers, and diminution of possessions; and because Mars forms an evil conjunction with the Tail [of the Dragon) in the ascendant, I do therefore contradict the judgment pronounced by Albumasar upon this figure in his Hundred Discourses.39 Turn your eyes from the figure in which Mars is at the greatest angle when Scorpio is in the ascendant, or when he is with the Tail ;40 and as it is evident to every astrologer that Saturn has an influence over this climate, the Moon participating with him, I am of opinion that he cannot be considered as exempt
35 Conjunction with Saturn. Being powerless, as stated above.
38 In the text it is “ usque ad finem arin." It is possible that the last word may have some cabalistic meaning. It hardly seems to belong to the European families of words. It is also very possible that it may be a misprint for “ævi," "of time." Centiloquio.”
40 Of the Dragon.
from the evil before-mentioned. Wherefore, the only remedy remaining is, for princes to be on their guard, to serve God and eschew the devil, that so the Lord may avert their imminent punishments. Amen."
Again, with reference to the before-mentioned conjunction of the planets, the following was written :
"To all literate men, and especially to scholars, to whose presence this present page shall come, Anselm, the humble brother in the Lord, of the monastery at Worcester, greeting. Marvellous is God in His Saints and in His works, who never ceases to work miracles in behalf of His people. And, inasmuch as no man places a light under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may give light to all, a miracle, wondrous beyond measure, took place in our house on the day before the calends of November; which, in order that it might come to the knowledge of those not present, by writing at least, I have committed to writing. Be it known then unto your discreetness, that one of our lay brothers, falling into a trance, lay nine days and nine nights like one dead before a certain altar, prostrate there in the form of a cross ;41 and as he was a religious man, and a brother of a holy mode of life, no one of us dared to remove him thence. On the tenth day, at the third hour, in a low voice, and with a wailing tone, still in a wondrous lament, he chaunted the following lines ten times or even more, in the same order in which they are here written:
4266 " The fall of mankind and the sudden ruin of this world, a pernicious fatality is hurrying on. Children of tender age one universal slaughter overwhelms; by the same death young and old must die. The water shall be tainted by the corruption of the substance of the air, and with deadly dew shall the whole ground be drenched. Hence shall a dreadful mortality arise, and universal carnage.
A universal cause is there of death, a universal cause of woe.
For as soon as the Sun shall touch the back of the Lion slain by Hercules, a two-fold heat shall parch the entrails dried-up. Then, though there shall be a thousand like Lachesis, and even hands as many to each, still, at the same instant will Atropos cut all their threads. For with the sword of death will the just vengeance of God visit the sins of the people. Ah wretched
41 With his arms extended. 42 This pretended prophecy is couched in sixty-six hexameters and pentameters, of no merit whatever.
me! alas! what will be my lot? Behold! the sword is gleaming, which will the whole world destroy. Behold the hand of the Lord! Ah wretched me! whither shall I fly? Behold the wrath of the Lord! shall I take to flight, or here conceal myself? Whither shall I fly from God, for God is everywhere? If the Divine will cannot be moved by prayer, then the seed with the chaff will the wrath of God beat down. That all things must return unto their ancient Chaos, the opinions of the philosophers prove. Still, thus it cannot be, as it is clear that whatever has been, and most things that now are, must remain as they are." Now, above the stars am I borne, and though my eyes are closed, lifted up to the stars, either house of the Sun do I behold. There is night without the stars and Moon, and day without the Sun : but though so it is, why so it is I cannot tell. The stars of Mercury, of Venus, and of Jove, now lie concealed. They exist not, or if they do exist, they have forsaken the sky. Through the whole Zodiac they roam at large, both Mars and the noxious star of the scythe-bearing old man who wields the scythe.44 Mars smites with his sword, Saturn smites with his hurtful scythe ;45 he strives to inflict ruin on the interests of men.
Hence am I now borne to the dubious realms of the Stygian tyrant, in which there is, and will be, everlasting gloom. Amid gloom so great, neither San, nor Moon, nor fire, in this place of wretchedness are able to direct the eyes. Here is toil, and grief, and anxiety inextricable : here for the wretched guilty are grievous punishm prepared. Here resounds everlastingly the direful dirge, woe! woe! The gloom how great! woe, woe is me! woe! woe! 46 Cerberus is raging before the gates, and is yawning with his three throats; three dreadful sounds from his mouth at the same instant does he send. Three Furies guard the portals, Alecto, Megæra, and Tisiphone, on whose features horror is impressed. Horrid is their aspect, and foul the breath of
43 These lines are in their present state incapable of being reduced to sense—perhaps, indeed, it was never intended they should have any. They are as follows ;
“Sic tamen esse nequit, quia constat quæque fuisse,
Pluraque quæ veluti sunt modo, semper erunt.” 41 Saturn.
45 “ Falce;" more properly “sickle." 46 This pentameter is worth preserving as a curiosity :
“Quantæ sunt tenebræ ! væ mihi, væ mihi, væ !"