Following up this petition, the poor man, grown desperate, three days later (June 8) presented an address in verse to Parliament, begging them to pass "an Act Generall against slander, with a special penal order for John Dee, his case." He was far too much in earnest to be suspectedof any humorous intention, but a thought of the needful reformation such an Act might have wrought in the country by this time cannot be suppressed. Certainly it would have been a more creditable piece of legislation than the Act which afforded such wicked and cruel pretext for espionage and terrorism, and for putting unfortunate lunatics - called witches - to death by hanging, burning and stoning by a mob.
It seems as if Dee's ruined and beggared condition, the long procession of disappointments he had patiently borne, had entirely destroyed the sense of proportion in his mind between personal and public affairs. Continual brooding over the thought of the neglect, the suspicion, that his undeniable talents had undergone, the obstinate slander, ignorant incredulity, or flat denial of things in which he most truly put his faith, all distorted by his natural vanity and good opinion, seems to have convinced him that his crushed and melancholy fate was little short of a national disaster. This feeling had become an obsession.
There was unfortunately nothing in his halting verses to induce Parliament to pay any heed to a tiresome old petitioner, a survival from the last century and the last reign, who had outlived every contemporary inclined to believe in him, and whose course was now nearly run.
Nor did James respond in any way to his heartbroken petition. Robert Cecil, and all who wished to stand well with him, took their cue from the King, and Dee in his old age was left forsaken and alone.
The following is the address to Parliament: -
"TO THE HONORABLE ASSEMBLIE
OF THE COMMONS IN THE PRESENT PARLIAMENT."
"The Honor due unto you all,
And reverence to you each one,
I do first yeeld most speciall;
Grant me this time to heare my mone.
"Now (if you write) full well you may,
Fowle sclandrous tongues and divelish hate,
And help the truth to beare some sway
In just defence of a good Name.
"In sundry sorts, this sclander great
(Of conjurer) I have sore blamde:
But wilfull, rash, and spiteful heat,
Doth nothing cease to be enflamde.
"Your helpe, therefore, by Wisdom's lore,
And by your Powre, so great and sure,
I humbly crave, that never more
This hellish would I shall endure.
"And so your Act, with Honour great
All Ages will hereafter prayse;
And Truth, that sitts in Heavenly sear,
Will in like case your comforts rayse.
Most dutifully in all humilitie at your commandment, John Dee, servant and Mathematician to his most royall Majestie.
An. 1604. Junij 8."
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