Chapter XXII


"I came among a people who relied much on dreams. And I told them except they could distinguish between dream and dream they would mash or confound all together. For there were three sorts of dreams. For multitude of business sometimes caused dreams; and there were whisperings of Satan in man in the night season; and there were speakings of God to man in dreams."

George Fox, Journal

The Warden was apparently absent from his charge at Manchester for two years and a quarter, between March, 1598, and June, 1600. When he resumed his diary to chronicle his return, it appeared that he had been very busy in London, arranging for a special commission to sit in the college chapter house, to inquire into encroachments made upon the manor of Newton. His wife and two elder sons, Arthur and Rowland; Mary Nicholls, daughter of his old friend and pupil, Francis Nicholls; all travelled with him from London. What became of the younger children we can only guess. The party set out on the 10th and arrived in Manchester on June 18. Rowland was then seventeen, a Grammar School boy on Bishop Oldham's foundation in Manchester. Early in the following December, he obtained an exhibition at Oxford fromthe school. Dee, as Warden, was charged with certain official visits of inspection of the Grammar School, and was by no means always pleased with the reult. He says, for instance, on August 5 of this year, "I visited the Grammar Schole, and fownd great imperfections in all and every of the scholers, to my great grief." Of an earler visit he says it was "to see the ower, &x., for Mr. Heton," i.e., to see the clock.

Dee had almost completed his seventy-third year, and had maintained his bodily strength on the whole remarkably well. This summer he observed that for the first time inhis life his pulse assumed the well-known symptom of intermittent beating, or pulsation. With all his usual exactitude, he records that his pulse kept on missing a pulsation after the fifth, or the seventh, or eleventh beat, although it was for the rest strong and equal. He mentions a great many sleepless nights. "Nocte Amaritudo mea," "Circa mediam noctem Amaritudo mea," are entries that occur with some frequency. On July 7, he says, "This morning, as I lay in my bed, it came into my fantasy to write a boke: De differentiis quibusdam corporum et spirituum." His views on this subject are again sometimes noted. If they are not about books, they concerned that long-frustrated hope of his life, that he might actually one day, and by no fraud or trickery, stumble on the secret which Kelly had professed to know. By this time, Dee must have been assured of Kelly's knavery, and yet his faith in the possibilities of alchemy remained unshaken to the end. "I had a dream after midnight," he says, "of my enjoying and working of the philosopher's stone, with other. My dream was after midnight, toward day." Alas! this pleasure he was never to enjoy in the flesh. Next night: "I dreamed that along betwene Aldgate and the postern on Tower Hill did men stand in a lane, with pikes in theyr hands, as though more should come to them, or that they wayted for somebody. But theyr regard and looking was directly to Y Towre, where certeyn great personages dyd stand; and one of them as upon a stage did declare with a loud voice to the pikemen, matter of importance, very loud."

Previous page Table of Contents Next page