Mr. Hart, minister of the English colony at Stade, who had escaped from the Spanish service in Flanders with Sir William Stanley, and the Deputy Governor of Stade, both came from the port town near by to see Dee. Dr. Heinrich Khunrath was the chief writer of the advanced school of alchemists who passed from the pursuit of material gold to the discovery of incorruptible spiritual treasures hidden in the palaces of truth to which they provided a spiritual key; and it is a pregnant fact that all of his books were published after this conference with Dee. Daniel Vander Muelen was another visitor, and from Mr. Southwell Dee had news that Edward Dyer was sent on a mission to Denmark. Two or three weeks later, he met Dyer unexpectedly in the town. News came of Rosenberg, and several of Dee's men left him to return to Kelly. He was warned to leave his house in Bremen.
By November, Dee resolved to wait no longer for Kelly, but to start for England. He still hoped, however, to meet that individual ere he embarked. On November 19, his whole party took ship by the Vineyard. A crowd of townspeople and students collected to bid him good speed, and to see the homeward bound travellers off; qute a little scene took place, which must have pleased and flattered Dee immensely, for there was no lack of a man's full share of vanity in him. Pezel had composed some verses on his departure, had got them printed the night before, and as the party were leaving Bremen for the seaport, a few miles away, the Professor distributed copies as a parting surprise. The travellers arrived in the Thames at Gravesend on December 2, and on landing the next day went straight to the house of Mr. Justice Thomas Young, at Stratford. We may imagine Jane's relief at getting her children safely back to England, with the addition of Michael, born at Prague, nearly four years, and little Theodore, born at Trebona, nearly two years before.
Since Dee's departure from England six years ago, great events had happened. The "invincible" Armada of Philip had been beaten in a six days' running fight up the Channel. The Queen's hated rival, Mary Queen of Scotland, had been put to death; Leicester's short dictatorship of the Netherlands had begun and come to an end. Leicester had been dead about a year. New favourites had arisen in the Queen's favour. But even more significant than these public affairs had been the upward movement in literature, the birth of dramatic art, a passionate outburst of poetic fervour, the frowth of a taste for well-disciplined prose. Many splendid fruits of this movement had net yet seen the light, Sidney's Arcadia and the first part of Spenser's Faerie Queen were to be issued within a few months; the first play of Shakespeare was publicly performed within little more than a year of Dee's return. But Lyly and Marlowe had already, during his absence, given Campaspe, Tamburlaine and Doctor Faustus, to be performed by actors in the first stationary home of the earlier nomadic players, the theatres of Shoreditch, immediately to be followed by those of Bankside. Bacon was perhaps even then meditating his Essays, published some half a dozen years later; Hooker issued the first books of his monumental Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity within four years; and nash, Peele, Green, and a horde of ther writers, were contributing to establish the English literary renaissance. One can scarcely help wondering how much the fabulous stories of Dee and Kelly, which must have reached Marlowe's ears, contributed to his splendid dramatisation of the Faust legend (first printed in Frankfort in 1587). But after all, even the story of Dee's angels and Kelly's gold, pales before the lurid glow of the stories of the earlier alchemists, Agrippa and Paracelsus.
Dee landed in England a disappointed and a partly disillusioned
man, clinging to a belief which was yet useless, unprofitable
to him. He could prove nothing of Kelly's exploits. But he lost
no time in repairing to Court, and on December 19 he was graciously
received by the Queen at Richmond.
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