Sidonia The Sorceress V2
Part 3 out of 8
So my gracious Prince sits and thinks awhile, then shakes his
head, and says, laughing, "Methinks such a virgin were rarer than
a white raven. It would be easy to find one pure in form, but a
virgin pure in soul--and then as brave as Deborah and Judith. Mag.
Joel, such a virgin, methinks, is not to be had, and you did evil
to put your poor little daughter to such a test. For woman-flesh
is a weak flesh since the day of Eve, as we all know. But you
talked of a second mode: what is it? Let me hear."
Hereupon the _magister_ sighed for grief, wiped his eyes, and
spake--"Ah, yes! you are right, my good lord. Fool that I was, I
might have had my little daughter still, for though she only
allowed the student to kiss her, yet by that one kiss the pure
mirror of her soul was dimmed, and before the angels of God she
was henceforth unholy. However, as touching the second method, it
is the Schem Hamphorasch, through which all things are possible."
_The Duke_.--"What is the Schem Hamphorasch?"
_Ille_.--"The seventy names of the Most High and ever-blessed
God, according to the seventy nations, and the seventy tongues,
and the seventy elders of Moses, and the seventy disciples of
Christ, and the seventy weeks of Daniel. To him who knows this
name, the holy God will appear again as He did aforetime in the
days of the patriarchs."
_The Duke_.--"You are raving, good Joel; yet--but how can
this be possible?"
_Ille_.--"I am not raving, gracious Prince; for tell me,
wherefore is it that the great God does not appear to men now as
He did in times long past? I answer, because we no longer know His
name. This name, or the Schem Hamphorasch, Adam knew in Paradise,
and therefore spake with God, as well as with all animals and
plants. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, &c.--all knew this name, and
performed their wonders by it alone. But when the beastly and
idolatrous Jews gave themselves over to covetousness and all
uncleanness, they forgot this holy name; so, as a punishment, they
endured a year of slavery for each of the seventy names which they
had forgotten; and we find them, therefore, serving seventy years
in Babylonian bonds. After this they never learned it again, and
all miracles and wonders ceased from amongst them, until the
ever-blessed God sent His Son into the world, to teach them once
more the revelation of the Schem Hamphorasch; and to all who
believed on Him He freely imparted this name, by which also they
worked wonders; and that it might be fixed for ever in their
hearts, He taught them the blessed Pater Noster, in which they
were bid each day to repeat the words, 'Hallowed be Thy name.'
Yea, even in that last glorious high-priestly prayer of His--in
face of the bitter anguish and death that was awaiting Him, He
says, 'Father, keep them in Thy name;' or, as Luther translates
it, 'Keep them above Thy name.' For how easily this name is lost,
we learn from David, who says that he spelt it over in the night,
so that it might not pass from his mind (Psalm cxix. 55).
_Item_, after the resurrection, He gave command to go and
baptize all nations-not in the name of the Father, of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost, as Luther has falsely rendered the passage, but
_for_, or _by_, the name-that such might always be kept
before their eyes, and never more pass away from the knowledge of
mankind. And the holy apostles faithfully kept it, and St. Paul
made it known to the heathen, as we learn (Acts ix, 15). And all
miracles that they performed were by this name. Now the knowledge
remained also with the early Christians, and each person was
baptized _by_ this name; and he who knew it by heart could
work miracles likewise, as we know by Justin Martyr and others,
who have written of the power and miraculous gifts of the early
Church. But when the pure doctrine became corrupted, and the
Christian Church (like the Jewish of former times) gave itself up
to idolatry, masses, image-worship, and the like, the knowledge of
the mystic name was withdrawn, and all miracles have ceased in the
Church from that up to this day."
While Magister Joel so spake, his Highness Duke Francis fell into
a deep fit of musing. At last he exclaimed, "Good Joel, you are a
fanatic, an enthusiast--surely we know the name of God; or what
hinders us from knowing it?"
_Ille_.--"You err, my gracious Prince, for this name is the
holy and mystic _Tetragrammaton_, 'Jehovah,' which is the
chief and highest name of God, and which truly is found written in
the Scriptures; but of the true pronunciation of the name no man
knoweth at this day, for the letters J H V H are wanting in all
the old manuscripts." [Footnote: For those who are unacquainted
with Hebrew, I shall just observe here, that, in fact, the proper
pronunciation of the name "Jehovah" is a vexed question with the
learned up to this hour. Ewald, one of the latest authorities, and
who has taken much trouble in investigating the subject, says,
that there is the highest probability that the word should be
pronounced "Jahve," signifying, He who should come
(hoxrcho'menos), for which reason the Baptist's disciples asked
Christ (Matt. xi. 13), "Art Thou He who should come?"--namely, the
Messias, Jahve, or, as we call it, Jehovah. Compare Heb. x. 37;
Hagg. ii. 6, 7; Rev. i. 8. I must observe, next, that all the
Theophanisms (God manifestations) recorded in the Old Testament,
to which the theosophistic, cabalistic Dr. Joel refers, were
considered by the earty Christian fathers as manifestations to the
senses, not of _God_--whom no man hath seen or can see--but
of the asarchos Christ. Even the elder rabbins understand, in
these Theophanisms, not _God_, but the Mediator between God
and the world--the angel Metatron. For the rest, I need scarcely
remark that the exegesis of Dr. Joel is false throughout. The
Bible has been so tortured to support each man's individual,
strange, crude dogma, that it is no wonder even Protestants are
falling back upon _tradition_ as the best and surest
interpreter of Scripture, and the clearest light to read it by.]
Magister Joel continues--"But be comforted; there were some
faithful souls on the earth, who did not entirely lose the
remembrance of the Schem Hamphorasch; and your Highness will
wonder to hear, that even in this very town the secret exists, in
the possession of an old man, who has it, really and truly, locked
up in his trunk, though, I confess, he is as great a rogue himself
as ever breathed."
Hereupon his Grace jumped up, and embraced the _magister_.
"Let him not spare the gold; only bring him this treasure. How
could it be done? How did the man get it? Let him tell the whole
_Ille_.--"It was a long story; but he would just give it in
brief:--A Jew out of Anklam, named Benjamin, went on a pilgrimage
to Jerusalem; and having suffered great hardships and distress by
the way, was taken in and sheltered by a hermit, in the desert,
who converted and baptized him. The Jew stayed with the old hermit
till he died; and the old man, as a costly legacy, left him the
Schem Hamphorasch, written on seventy palm-leaves. But as Benjamin
could not read a word of Hebrew, he resolved to return home to
Pomerania, where his mother's brother lived-the Rabbi Reuben Ben
Joachai, of Stettin. However, when he presented himself, poor and
naked as he was, at his uncle's door, the rabbi pushed him away,
and shut the door in his face the moment he said he had a favour
to ask of him. This treatment so afflicted Benjamin that he took
ill on his return to the inn; but having nothing wherewith to pay
the host, he sent a message to his uncle, the rabbi, bidding him
come to him, as he had a secret to impart.
"When the rabbi arrived, Benjamin asked, 'What he would give for
the Schem Hamphorasch, for people told him that it was the
greatest of all treasures?--to him, however, it was useless, since
he could not read Hebrew.'
"Hereat the rabbi's eyes sparkled; he took the palm-leaves in his
hand, and seeing that all was correct, offered a ducat for the
whole; this Benjamin refused. Whereupon, after many cunning
efforts to possess himself of it, which were all in vain, the
rabbi had to depart without the treasure. However, Benjamin,
suspecting that he would come back for it in a little while, cut
out two of the leaves from revenge, and when my knave of a rabbi
returned, he sold him the incomplete copy for five ducats at last.
"This same Benjamin I (the _magister_) attended afterwards in
hospital when he was dying, and as the poor wretch had no money,
he gave me himself, upon his death-bed, the two abstracted
palm-leaves out of gratitude, being all he had to offer. These two
are now in my possession, and if we could only obtain the other
portion, your Highness would have the holy and mystic Schem
Hamphorasch complete. But how to get it? Gold he had already
offered in vain to the Jew, Rabbi Reuben, who even denied having
the Schem Hamphorasch at all; but his servant, Meir, for a good
bribe, told him in confidence that his master, the rabbi, really
and in truth had this treasure, though the knave denied the fact
to him. It lay in a drawer in the Jewish school, beside the book
of the law or the _Thora_, and my magister thought they might
manage to gain admittance some night into the Jews' school by
bribing the man Meir well. Then they could easily possess
themselves of the Schem Hamphorasch (which indeed was of no use to
the old knave of a rabbi), for the drawer could be known at once
by the tapestry which hung before it, in imitation of the veil of
the Temple. If they once had the treasure, the angel Metatron
would appear to them, the mightiest of all angels, and his
Highness could not only obtain his protection against the devil's
magic of the sorceress of Marienfliess, but also induce him to
look graciously upon his Grace's dear spouse, whom this evil
dragon had bewitched, as all the world saw plainly, so that she
remained childless, as well as all the other dukes and duchesses
of dear Pomerania land, who were rendered barren and unfruitful
likewise by some demon spell."
Hereupon his Grace cried out with joy, "True, true! I will make
him do all that; and when I obtain the Schem Hamphorasch I will
learn it myself by heart, and repeat it day and night like King
David, so that it never shall go out of my head--_item_, all
priests in the land shall learn it by heart; and I will gather
them together three times a year at Camyn, and hear them myself,
man by man, repeat this said Schem Hamphorasch, so that never more
can it pass from the memory of our Church, as it did from that of
the filthy Jews, or the impure Christians of the Papacy."
_Summa_.--The rabbi's servant, Meir, is bribed, and he
promises to admit them both next night into the Jews' school, for
there was to be a meeting there of the elders, and his master, the
said Rabbi Reuben Ben Joachai, was to examine a _moranu_ or
teacher. They could conceal themselves in the women's gallery,
where no one would discover them, and after every one had gone,
slip down and take what they pleased out of the drawer, then make
off, for he would leave the door open for them--that was all he
could do--his master might come, &c.
So all was done as agreed upon; the Prince and Mag. Joel crept up
to the women's gallery, in which were little bull's-eyes, through
which they could see clearly all that was going on; and scarcely
were the candles lit when my knave of a rabbi enters (he was a
long, dry carl, with a white beard, and ragged coat bound round
the waist with a girdle); _item_, the candidate, I think he
was called David, a little man, with curly red beard, and long red
locks falling down at each side upon his breast; _item_,
seven elders, and they place themselves in their great hats round
a table. Then the Rabbi Reuben demands of the candidate to pay his
dues first, for a knave had lately run away without paying them at
all; the dues were ten ducats.
When the candidate had reckoned down the gold, Rabbi Reuben
commenced to question him in Hebrew; whereupon the other excused
himself, said he knew Hebrew, but could not answer in it; prayed,
therefore, the master would conduct the examination in German.
Hereupon my knave of a rabbi looked grave, seemed to think that
would be impossible, consulted with the elders, and finally asked
them, if the candidate David paid down each of them two ducats,
and ten to himself, would they consent to have the examination
conducted in the language of the German sow? Would they consent to
this, out of great charity and mercy to the candidate David?
"Yea, yea--even so let it be," screamed the elders; "God is
So my David again unbuttoned his coat, and reckoned down the fine;
whereupon the examination began in German, and I shall here note
part of it down, that all men may know what horrible blindness and
folly has fallen upon the Jews, by permission of the Lord God,
since they imprecated the blood of Christ upon their own heads.
Not even amongst the blindest of the heathen have such base, low,
grovelling superstitions and dogmas been discovered as these
accursed Jews have forged for themselves since the dispersion, and
collected in the Talmud. Well may the blessed Luther say, "If a
Christian seeks instruction in the Scripture from a Jew, what else
is it than seeking sight from the blind, reason from the mad, life
from the dead, grace and truth from the devil?"
And this madness and blindness of the accursed race would never
have been fully known, only that the examination was held in
German (for in general it is conducted in Hebrew, to please the
vain Jews), by which means the Prince and Doctor Joel heard every
word, and wrote it all down on their return home; and when
afterwards his Highness Duke Francis succeeded to the government,
he banished this rabbi and the elders, with their whole forge of
blasphemy and lies, for ever from his capital.
Here, therefore, are some of the most remarkable questions; but I
must premise that K. means my Knave, namely, the rabbi, and C. the
_Candidates_. [Footnote: Lest my reader might think that what
follows is a malicious invention of my own to bring the Jews into
disrepute, I shall add the precise page of the Talmud from which
each question is taken (from Eisenmenger's "Judaism Unveiled,"
Königsberg, 1711, and other sources). The Jews, I know, endeavour
to deny that they hold these doctrines; but it is nevertheless
quite true that all their learned men who have been converted to
Christianity since the time of the Reformation confessed that
these dogmas were intimately woven into their belief, and formed
_K_.--"Which is holier, the Talmud or the Scriptures?"
_C_.--"I think the Talmud."
_C_.--"Because Raf Aschi hath said, he who goes from the
Hálacha (the Talmudical teaching) to the Scripture will have no
more luck; [Footnote: Talmud, tract. Chagiga, fol. X. col. I. Raf
Aschi, the author the Gemara, a portion of the Talmud.] and good
luck we all prize dearly above all things--eh, my master?"
_K._--"Right, right. Who is he like who reads only in the
Scripture, and not in the Talmud? What say our fathers of blessed
_C_.--"They say that he is like one who has no God."
[Footnote: Talmud, tract. Eruvin.]
_K._--"Can the holy and ever-blessed One sin? What is the
greatest sin He has committed?"
_C._--"First; He made the moon smaller than the sun."
_K._--"Our rabbis of blessed memory are doubtful upon this
point, as Jonathan, the son of Usiel, says, in the Targum of
Moses. [Footnote: The ancient Chaldee paraphrase of the Old
Testament is called Targum by the Jews. It is split into the
Jerusalemitan, and the Babylonian Targum.] But which is the
greatest sin of all that the holy and ever-blessed One committed?"
_C._--"I think it was when He forswore himself. [Footnote:
Talmud, tract. Sanhedrin.] For He first swore, saith Rabbi
Eliaser, that the children of Israel, who were wandering in the
desert, should have no part in eternal life; and then His oath lay
heavy on Him, so that He got the angel Mi to absolve Him
_K._--"It was, in truth, a great sin, but a greater,
methinks, was, that He created the accursed Nazarene--the
Jesu--the idol of the children of Edom. I mean the Christ."
_C._--"Rabbi, that is not in the Talmud."
_K._--"Fool! it is the same. _I_ have said it, therefore
it is true. Knowest thou not, when a rabbi says, 'This thy right
hand is thy left, and this thy left hand is thy right,' thou must
believe it, or thou wilt be dammed?" [Footnote: Targum upon Deut.
Here all the elders cried out--
"Yea, yea; the word of a rabbi is more to be esteemed than the
words of the law, and their words are more beautiful than the
words of the prophets, for they are words of the living God."
[Footnote: Talmud, tract. Sanhedrin.]
_K._--"Now answer--what says the Talmud of that Adam Belial,
that Jesu, that crucified, of whom the Christians say that he was
_C._--"That he was the son of an evil woman, who learned
sorcery in Egypt, and he hid the sorcery in his flesh, in a wound
which he made therein, and with the magic he deceived the people,
and turned them from God. He practised idolatry with a baked
stone, and prostrated himself before his own idol; and finally, as
a fit punishment, he was first stoned to death, upon the eve of
the passover, and then hung up upon a cross made of a
cabbage-stalk, after which, Onkelos, the fallen Titus' sister's
son, conjured him up out of hell." [Footnote: Although the Jews
deny that Christ is named in the Talmud, saying that another Jesus
is meant, yet Eisenmenger has fully proved the contrary, on the
most convincing grounds.]
_K_.--"Is it possible to find more detestable Gojim than
these impure and dumb children of Talvus--these Christian swine?"
[Footnote: Children of Edom, children of harlots, swine, dogs,
abominations, worshippers of the crucified, idolaters, are titles
of honour freely given to Christians by the rabbis.--See
_C_.--"No; that were impossible."
_K_.--"It permitted us to deceive them and spoil them of
_C_.--"Eh? Wherefore are we the selected people, if we could
not spoil the children of Edom? They are our slaves, for we have
gold and they have none."
_K_.--"Good, good; but where is it written that we may spoil
the swine and take their goods?"
_C_.--"The Talmud says, it is permitted to deceive a Goi, and
take his goods." [Footnote: Tract. Bava Mezia.]
_K_.--"Forget not the principal passage, Tract. Megilla, fol.
l3--'What, is it then permitted to the just to deal deceitfully?
And he answered, Yea, for it is written, With the pure thou shalt
be pure, and with the froward thou shalt learn frowardness.'
[Footnote: 2 Sam. xxii. 27; a specimen of how the Talmudists
interpret the Bible.] _Item_, it is written expressly in the
_Parascha Bereschith_, 'It is permitted to the just to deal
deceitfully, even as Jacob dealt;' and if our fathers of blessed
memory acted thus, we were fools indeed not to skin the Christian
dogs and flog them to the death. (Spitting out.) Curse on the
_C._--"I will be no such fool, rabbi, and if they compel me
to take an oath, I will do as Rabbi Akkiva of blessed memory."
_K._--"Right, my son; pity thou canst not speak Hebrew;
methinks then thou wouldst have been a light in Israel. Speak--how
hath the Rabbi Akkiva sworn?"
_C._--"The Talmud says, 'Hereupon the Rabbi Akkiva took the
oath with his lips, but in his heart he abjured it." [Footnote:
Talmud, tract. Calla.]
_K._--"The Rabbi Akkiva, of blessed memory, was but a sorry
liver. Canst thou, too, defend the violation of the marriage vow?"
_C._--"With the wives of the unclean Christian dogs,
wherefore not? For Moses saith (Lev. xx. 10), 'He who committeth
adultery with his _neighbour's_ wife shall be put to death;'
so saith the Talmud, the wives of _others_ are excepted; and
Rabbi Solomon expressly says on this passage, that under the word
'others' the wives of Gojim, or the Christian dogs, are meant."
[Footnote: Eisenmenger quotes a prayer-book of the Jews on this
subject, called _The Great Tephilla_.]
_K._--"Yea, cursed be they and their whole race. Dost thou
curse them daily, as is thy duty?"
_C._--"My duty is to curse them once; I curse them thrice."
[Footnote: Talmud, tract. Sanhedrin.]
_K._--"Then wilt thou be recompensed threefold when Messias
comes, and the fine dishes and the fine clothes will grow out of
the blessed earth of themselves, that it will be a pleasure to see
them. [Footnote: Talmud, tract. Kethuvoth.] Speak--what saith the
Talmud? How large will the grapes then be?"
_C._--"So large that a man will put a single grape in the
corner of his house, and tap it as if it were a beer-barrel. Is
not that almost too large, master!"
_K_.--"Look at my pert wisehead! Knowest thou not, that he
who mocks the words of the wise goes straight to hell, as happened
to that disciple who laughed at the Rabbi Jochanan when he said
that precious stones should be set in the gates of Jerusalem,
three ells long and three ells broad? [Footnote: Talmud, tract
Bava Bathra.] _Item_, hast thou not read how Rabbi Jacob Ben
Dosethai went one morning from Lud to Ono for three miles in pure
honey, or how Rabbi Ben Levi saw grapes in the land of Canaan so
large that he mistook them for fatted calves. What, then, will it
not be when Messias comes? [Footnote: In tractat Kethuvoth] But
who will _not_ partake these blessings?"
_C._--"The accursed swine, the Christians." [Footnote:
Eisenmenger ii. 777, &c. On this point he brings forward numerous
quotations from the later rabbinical writings; for it is certain
that on _this_ subject the Talmud judges more mildly.]
_C._--"Because they cat swine's flesh, and believe on the
Talvus, who deceived the people through his sorceries."
_K_.--"All true; but when the Talmud says that the impure
Nazarene brought all his sorceries out of Egypt, what say our
rabbis of blessed memory against that?"
_C._--"That he secretly stole the Schem Hamphorasch out of
the Temple, and stitched it into his flesh." [Footnote: An extract
from the horrible book of curses against the Saviour, the
_Toledotk Jeschu_, is given in Eisenmenger; the entire is
printed in Dr. Wagenseil's _Tela Ignea Satanć_]
_K_.--"What is the Schem Hamphorasch?"
_C._--"God's wonder, His greatest! the seventy names of the
holy and ever-blessed God; and to him who knows them will the
angel Metatron appear, as he appeared to our forefathers, and all
stones can he turn to diamonds, and all loam to gold."
_K_.--"Dost thou know, my son, that I myself possess this
_C_ (clasping his hands).--"Wonder of God! can it be? And
have you all these riches?"
_K_.--"One of the accursed Christian dogs deceived me, and
kept back two of the leaves (may God plague him in eternity for
it), but still it effects much. I sell the holy Schem in little
pieces, as a cure for all diseases; yea, even bits no larger than
a grain will bring three ducats; _item_, I sell bits of it to
the dying to lay upon their stomachs, that so they may gain
eternal blessedness. Wilt thou buy a little grain too--eh? Ask the
elders here if ever better physic were found than the least grain
of dust from the holy Schem Hamphorasch?"
So the elders swore as my knave bid them, and said that no better
physic could be, and told of the various diseases which it had
cured in their own persons; _item_, that no Jew in the whole
town was without a morsel, be it large or small, to lay on his
stomach when dying; "but the greater the piece," said the rabbi,
"the greater the blessedness."
Now as the red-haired disciple seemed much inclined to purchase a
bit, the rabbi went over to the drawer, withdrew the tapestry, and
lifting up the golden jad, [Footnote: The jad--a gold or silver
hand with which a priest pointed out each line to the reader of
the Tora.] pointed smilingly to the palm-leaves therein with it.
"This," he said to the disciple, "was the ever-blessed Schem
Hamphorasch itself, if he had not already believed his words."
Meanwhile the aforesaid Meir, the rabbi's servant, crept forth
from under the women's gallery, and spake--"Now may ye stick two
Christian dogs dead, who are hiding here to steal the blessed
golden treasure from my master the rabbi: the clock has struck
eleven, and the Christian swine are snoring in all quarters of the
city. Up to the women's gallery! up to the women's gallery! There
they sit! Their six ducats I have safe: kill the dumb
uncircumcised dogs! strike them dead! For a ducat I will fling
them into the Oder. Come, come! here are knives! here are knives."
When the Duke and Doctor Joel heard all this, and saw all through
the little bulls'-eyes, they jumped up and clattered down the
stairs, the Duke drawing his dagger, which by good luck he had
brought with him. But the Jews are already on them, and the rabbi
strikes the Duke on the face with the golden jad, screaming--
"Accursed dog! there is one golden blow for thee, and a second
golden blow for thee, and a third golden blow for thee; put them
out to interest, and thou wilt have enough to buy the Schem
Hamphorasch." And the others fell upon the doctor, beating him
till their fists were bloody, and sticking him with their knives.
So my _magister_ roared, "Oh, gracious lord! tell your name,
I beseech you, or in truth they will murder us--they will beat us
But the Duke had hit the rabbi such a blow with his dagger across
the hand, that the golden jad fell to the ground, and the Duke,
leaning his back against a pillar, hewed right and left, and kept
them all at bay.
But this did not help, for the traitor knave, Meir, creeping along
on his knees, got hold of the Duke's foot, and lifting it up
suddenly in the air, made him lose his balance, and my gracious
Prince stumbled forward, and the dagger fell far from his hand,
upon which he cried out, "Listen, ye cursed Jewish brood! I am
your Prince, the Duke of Pomerania! My brother shall make ye pay
for this: your flesh shall be torn from the bones, and flung to
dogs by to-morrow, if you do not instantly give free passage to me
and my attendant." Then taking his signet from his finger, he held
it up, and cried, "Look here, ye cursed brood; here are my
arms--the ducal Pomeranian arms--behold! behold!"
At this hearing, the rabbi turned as pale as chalk, and all the
others started back from Dr. Joel, trembling with terror, while
the Duke continued--"We came not here to steal the Schem
Hamphorasch, as your traitor knave has given out, but to hear your
accursed Satan's crew with our own ears, which also we have done."
"Oh, your Highness," cried the rabbi, "it was a jest--all a mere
innocent jest. The accursed knave is guilty of all. Come, gracious
Prince, I will unbar the door; it was a jest--may I perish if it
was anything more than a merry jest, all this you have heard."
And scarcely had the door been closed upon the Duke and Dr. Joel,
when they heard the Jews inside falling upon the traitorous knave
and beating him till he roared for pain, as if in truth they had
stuck him on a pike. But they cared little what became of him, and
hastened back with all speed to the ducal residence.
_How the Duke Francis seeks a virgin at Marienfliess to cite the
angel Och for him--Of Sidonia's evil plot thereupon, and the
terrible uproar caused thereby in the convent._
After his Highness found that to obtain the Schem Hamphorasch was
an impossible thing, he resolved to seek throughout all Pomerania
for a pure and brave-hearted virgin, by whose aid he could break
Sidonia's demon spells, and preserve his whole princely race from
fearful and certain destruction. He therefore addressed a circular
to all the abbesses, conjecturing that if such a virgin were to be
found, it could only be in a cloister; and this was the letter:--
"FRANCISCUS, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, DUKE OF POMERANIA, STETTIN,
CASSUBEN, AND WENDEN, BISHOP OF CAMYN, PRINCE OP RUGEN, COUNT OF
GUTZKOW, LORD OF THE LANDS OF LAUENBURG AND BUTOW, &C.
"WORTHY ABBESS, TRUSTY AND GOOD FRIEND,--Be it known to you that
we have immediate need of the services of a pure virgin--but in
all honour--and are diligently seeking for such throughout our
ducal and ecclesiastical states; but understand, not alone a
virgin in act--for they can be met with in every house--but a
virgin in soul, pure in thought and word, for by her agency we
mean to build up a holy and virtuous work; as Gregory Nyssensis
says (_De Virginitate_, Opp. tom. ii. fol. 593):--'Virginity
must be the fundamentum upon which all virtue is built up, then
are the works of virtue noble and holy; but virginity, which is
only of the form, and exists not in the soul, is nothing but a
jewel of gold in a swine's snout, or a pearl which is trodden
under foot of swine.'
"Further, the said virgin must be of a brave, steadfast, and
man-like spirit, who fears nothing, and can defy death and the
devil, if need be.
"If ye have such a virgin, upon whom, with God's help, I can build
up my great virtuous work, send her to our court without delay,
and know that we shall watch over such virgin with all princely
goodness and clemency; but know also, that if on trial such virgin
is not found pure in thought and word, great danger is in store
for her, perchance even death.
"Signatum Camyn, 1st September 1617.
"FRANCISCUS, _manu sua_.
"_Postscriptum._--Are the winter gloves ready? Forget not to
send them with the beer-waggon; my canons esteem them highly."
When this letter reached the abbess of Marienfliess by the
beer-waggon of the honourable chapter of Camyn, she was much
troubled as to how she ought to proceed. Truly there were two
young novices lately arrived, of about fifteen or sixteen, named
Anna Holborne and Catharina Maria von Wedel. These the abbess
thought would assuredly suit his Highness--_item_, they were
of a wonderful brave spirit, and had gone down at night to the
church to chase away the martens, though they bit them cruelly,
because they prevented the people sleeping; and, further, never
feared any ghost-work or devil's work that might be in the church,
but laughed over it. When these same virgins, however, heard what
the abbess wanted, they excused themselves, and said they had not
courage to peril their lives, though in truth they were pure
virgins in thought and word. But they could not hold their tongue
quiet, but must needs blab (alas, woe!) to Anna Apenborg, who runs
off instantly to the refectory to Sidonia, whom she had appeased
by means of some sausages, and tells her the whole story, and of
his Grace's wonderful letter.
So my hag laughed--never suspecting that she was the cause of
all--and said, "She would soon make out if such a virgin were to
be found in the convent; but would Anna promise secrecy?" And when
the other asseverated that she would be as silent as a stone in
the earth, my hag continued--
"I have got a receipt from that learned man, Albertus Magnus--his
book upon women--and we shall try it upon the nuns; but thou must
hold thy tongue, Anna."
"Oh, she would sooner have her tongue cut out than blab a word;
but what was the receipt?"
Here Sidonia answered, "She would soon see. She would give the
sisterhood a little of her fine beer to drink, with some of it
therein; and as she had got fresh sausages, and other good things
in plenty by her, she would pray the abbess and the whole convent
to dine with her on the following Monday; then the dear sister
should see wonders."
And in truth my hag was so shameless, that on Sunday, after
church, she prayed all the virgins, saying, "Would the dear
sisters eat their mid-day meal with her next day, to show that
they forgave her, if she had ever been over-hasty? Ah, God! she
loved peace above everything; but they must each bring their own
can, for she had not cans enough for all; and her new beer was
worth tasting-a better beer had she never brewed."
_Summa_.--All the sisterhood gladly accepted her invitation,
thinking from her Christian mildness of speech in the church that
she indeed wished to be reconciled to them; _item_, the
abbess promised to come, holding that compliance brings grace, but
harshness disfavour; but here the reverse was the case.
Early on this same Monday, the waggon returned laden with beer for
the honourable chapter, and the abbess despatched an answer by it
to his Highness the Bishop, as follows:--
MOST REVEREND BISHOP AND ILLUSTRIOUS PRINCE, MY FRIENDLY SERVICES
TO YOUR GRACE.
"GRACIOUS LORD,--Concerning the matter of which your Highness
writes, I think there is no lack here of such virgins as you
describe, but none are of steadfast enough heart to brave the
great danger with which your Highness says they are menaced; for
we have a nature like all women, and are weak and faint-hearted.
But, methinks, there is one brave enough, and in all things pure,
who would be of the service your Grace demands--I mean Diliana
Bork, daughter of Jobst Bork of Saatzig; I counsel your Grace,
therefore, to try her.
"Now, as touching the winter gloves, I shall send some along with
this; but Sidonia will knit no gloves, and says, 'The fat canons
are like enough to old women already, without putting gloves on
them;' by which your Highness may judge of her impure mouth. God
"Your princely Grace's and my reverend Bishop's humble servant and
"MAGDELENA V. PETERSDORFIN.
"Marienfliess, 5th Sept. 1617."
Now when twelve o'clock struck, and mid-day shone on the blessed
land, all the nuns proceeded in their long black habits and white
veils to Sidonia's apartment, each with her beer-can in her hand
(woe is me! how soon they rushed back again in storm and anger).
Then they sat down to the sausages and other good morsels, while
Anna Apenborg was on tiptoe of expectation to see what would
happen; and old Wolde was there quite well again (for ill weeds
never die--no winter is cold enough for that). And she filled each
of their cans with the beer which Sidonia had brewed, after a new
formula; but, lo! no sooner had they tasted it than first Dorothea
Stettin starts up, and Sidonia asks what ails her.
To which she answers: "She is not superstitious, but there was
surely something wrong in the beer. She felt quite strange." And
she left the room, then another, and another--in fine, all who had
tasted the beer started up in like manner and followed Dorothea.
Only the abbess and some others who had not partaken of it
remained. Anna Apenborg had disappeared amongst the first, and
presently a terrific cry was heard from the courtyard, as if not
alone the cloister, but the whole world was in flames. Curses,
cries, menaces, threats, screams, all mingled together, and shouts
of "Run for a broomstick! the accursed witch! the evil hag! let us
punish her for this!"
Whereupon the abbess jumps up, flings open the window, and beholds
Dorothea Stettin so changed in mien, voice, gestures--in fine, in
her whole being--that she was hardly to be recognised. She looks
black and blue in the face, has her fists clenched, stamps with
her feet, and screams.
"For God's sake! what ails you, Dorothea?" asked the alarmed
abbess. But no answer can she hear; for all the virgins scream,
roar, howl, and curse in one grand chorus, as if indeed the last
day itself were come. So she runs down the steps as quick as she
can, while Sidonia looks out at the window, and laughing, said,
"Eh, dear sisters, this is a strange pastime you have got; better
come up quickly, or the pudding will be cold."
At this the screeching and howling were redoubled, and Dorothea
spat up at the window, and another flung up a broomstick, so that
my hag got a bloody nose, and drew in her head screaming now
Then they all wanted to rush up into the refectory, each armed
with a broomstick to punish Sidonia, and they would not heed the
abbess, who still vainly asked what had angered them? but the
other sisters who were descending met them half way, and prevented
their ascent; whereupon the abbess raised her voice and called out
loud: "Whoever does not return instantly at my command as abbess,
shall be imprisoned forthwith, and condemned to bread and water
for a whole day! _Item_, whoever speaks until I address her,
shall be kept half-a-day on bread and water. Now Dorothea,
speak--you alone, and let every one of you descend the steps and
return here to the courtyard." This menace availed at last, and
with many sobs and groans, Dorothea at last told of Sidonia's
horrible plot, as Anna Apenborg had explained to them. How she had
invited them on purpose to disgrace them for ever in the eyes of
the Prince and of the whole world, and the abbess could now judge
herself, if they had not a right to be angry. But she must have
her sub-prioret back again, out of which the scandalous witch had
tricked her, and the abbess must forthwith despatch a messenger to
his Highness, praying him to chase this unclean beast out of the
convent, and into the streets again, from which they had taken
her; for neither God nor man had peace or rest from her.
Sidonia overhearing this from the window, stretched out her grey
head again, wiped away with her hand the blood that was streaming
from her nose, and then menacing the abbess with her bloody fist,
screamed out, "Write if you dare! write if you dare!" So the
curses, howls, yells, screeches, all break loose again; some pitch
their shoes up at the windows, others let fly the broomsticks at
the old hag, and Dorothea cried out, "Let all pure and honourable
virgins follow me!" Yet still a great many of the sisters gathered
round the abbess, weeping and wringing their hands, and praying
for peace, declaring they would not leave her; but all the younger
nuns, particularly they who had drunk of Sidonia's accursed beer,
followed the sub-prioress, and as the discontented Roman people
withdrew once to the Aventine mount, so the cloister malcontents
withdrew to the Muhlenberg, howling and sobbing, and casting
themselves on the ground from despair. In vain the abbess ran
after them, conjuring them not to expose themselves before God and
man: it was all useless, my virgins screamed in chorus--"No, that
they would never do, but to the cloister they would not return
till the princely answer arrived, expelling the dragon for ever.
Let what would become of them, they would not return. The jewel of
their honour was dearer to them than life."
Now Sidonia was watching all this from her window, and as she
justly feared that now in earnest the wrath and anger of the two
Princes would fall on her, she goes straight to the abbess, who
sits in her cell weeping and wringing her hands, menaces her again
with her bloody fist, and says, "Will you write? will you write?
ay, you may, but you will never live to hear the answer!" Upon
which, murmuring to herself, she left the chamber. What can the
poor abbess do? And the cry now comes to her, that not only the
miller and his men, but half the town likewise, are gathered round
the virgins. Oh, what a scandal! She wrings her hands in prayer to
God, and at last resolves to lay down her poor life, so that she
may fulfil her hard duty bravely as beseems her, goes then
straight to the Muhlenberg and arranges the evil business
thus:--Let the virgins return instantly to the cloister, and she
would herself write to the Duke, and despatch the messenger this
very night. But she begged for just two hours to herself, that she
might make her will, and send for the sheriff's secretary to draw
it up properly; also to search for her shroud which lay in her
chest. For since her cruel children demanded her life, she would
give it to them. The Duke's answer she would never live to hear.
So Sidonia had prophesied just now.
Then she descended the hill, chanting that beautiful hymn of Dr.
Nicolai's, while the virgins followed, and some lifted up their
weeping voices in unison with hers:--
'Awake! the watchers on the tower
Chant aloud the midnight hour;
Awake, thou bride Jerusalem!
Through the city's gloomy porches
See the flashing bridal torches;
Awake, thou bride Jerusalem!
Come forth, come forth, ye virgin choir,
Light your lamps with altar fire!
Hallelujah! in His pride
Comes the Bridegroom to His bride;
Awake, thou fair Jerusalem!
Zion heard the watchers singing,
From her couch in beauty springing,
She wakes, and hastens joyful out.
Lo! He comes in heavenly beauty,
Strong in love, in grace, in duty;
Now her heart is free from doubt.
Light and glory flash before Him,
Heaven's star is shining o'er Him,
On His brow the kingly crown,
For the Bridegroom is THE SON.
Hallelujah! follow all
To the heavenly bridal-hall,
There the Lamb holds festival!'
But behold, as they reached the convent gates, chanting their
heavenly melody, there stood the demon-witch, dancing and singing
her hellish melody--
"Also kleien und also kratzen,
Meine Hunde und meine Katzen."
And old Wolde and the cat, in his little red stockings, danced
right and left beside her.
At this horrible sight the poor virgins scampered off hither and
thither to their cells, like doves flying to their nests, without
uttering a word, only the abbess exclaimed--"But two hours, my
children, in the church!" Whereupon she goes, makes her will, and
prepares her shroud. _Item_, sends for the dairy-mother,
gives her the shroud. _Item_, a sack of moss and hops to make
a pillow for her coffin, for such she would like her poor corpse
to have. Then sends for the convent carpenter, and makes him take
her measure for a coffin; and, lastly, strengthened in God, goes
to the church to write her own death-warrant, namely, the letter
to his Highness. Yet many of the virgins, for fear of Sidonia,
refused to affix their signatures thereto, among whom was Anna
Apenborg, who, as soon as she left the church, ran up to the
refectory to chatter over the whole business with Sidonia.
_Item_, how the new convent-porter was to be sent that same
midnight with the letter to his Highness.
So Sidonia began now to scold, because Anna could not hold her
tongue, and had betrayed her secret to the sisters. But the other
"She thought it was all a pure jest, and had told them for fun,
that they might have a good laugh together; for how could she know
that they would all grow raging mad like that!"
So my hag forgave her, and bid her sit down and eat some sausage
for her supper, in return for the news she had brought her.
Meanwhile, she would write a letter to his Highness likewise, and
Anna should give it to the convent-porter, to take with him along
with that of the abbess. This was the letter:--
"SERENE PRINCE AND GRACIOUS LORD,--
"Now will your Highness perceive, by this writing, how faithful
and true a servant I am to your princely house, though the godless
world has raised up an evil cry against me in your Highness's
ears. Gracious Prince, the reverend Lord Bishop wrote to our
worthy abbess of Marienfliess, bidding her seek out for him a
virgin, pure in thought, word, and deed, by whose help he might
perform some great virtue-work. Now, the abbess confided her
perplexities on the matter to me, as sub-prioress; whereupon I
said, 'That to serve your Highness, I would show whether such a
virgin were in the convent, but she must keep silence;' this she
promised. Whereon I brewed a drink, according to Albertus
Magnus--it is at the 95th page--and bade them all to dinner, when
I secretly put the drink into some of my best beer. Now Albertus
states that the drink will have no effect on a pure virgin, only
on the reverse. Your Highness, therefore, may judge what sort of
sisterhood we have, when, no sooner had they drank, than almost
all rose up raging mad, and rushed out of the convent into the
courtyard, where such a _scandalum_ arose--screams, curses,
yells, and shrieks, that your Grace may surely judge no honourable
virgin was to be found amongst them. In fact, the worthy abbess, a
few others, and I myself, were the only persons who remained
unaffected by the draught. Therefore, I counsel our gracious
Bishop to select one from amongst us, for his great virtue-work.
I, indeed, have the strongest heart of all, and the bravest
"But, assuredly, the worst of all these light wantons was Dorothea
Stettin, from whom I received the sub-prioret, because, as your
Grace heard, she held unchaste discourse during her illness, and,
therefore, is as much suited to be sub-prioress as a jewel of gold
to a swine's snout. She, therefore, drew off all the other raging
wantons to the Muhlenberg, declaring that they would not return
until I, who had done this great service to my Lord Bishop, was
turned out into the streets. Then the lewd common folk gathered
round the sisters on the hill, who betrayed their own evil case,
methinks, by their rage, and mocked and jeered them, till the
abbess herself had to go forth and entreat them to return; but
they despised her, and the sheriff must needs gallop up with his
horsewhip, and whip them before him, but in vain; the evil is too
strong in them. They still said, that I, unfortunate maiden, 'must
be accused to your Highness of all this scandal,' for the silly
abbess had betrayed what I had done; 'and that till I was turned
out of the convent, they would not come back.' Now the poor abbess
fell sick at such base contempt and insult to her authority, and,
feeling her end near, she made her will, and took out the shroud
from her trunk, and had the carpenter to measure her for her
coffin, and at last consented to write to your Grace, because by
no other means would these evil wantons be satisfied, or the great
scandal and disgrace to the convent be averted. But, I think, if
your Grace would write her a private letter, she would change her
opinion (Ah, yes, the hag means her to receive it!) and make a far
different resolve when your Grace sees how true and faithful I
have acted as,
"Your Highness's most humble maiden,
"Otto Bork's only and unfortunate orphan.
"Marienfliess, 6th Sept. 1617.
"P.S.--If she dies, I pray your Grace to hold me in your
_Of the death of the abbess, Magdalena von Petersdorfin--Item,
how Duke Francis makes Jobst Bork and his daughter, Diliana, come
to Camyn, and what happens there._
Now the messenger had hardly departed, when Sidonia arranged her
food for three days, laid two new brooms crosswise under the
table; _item_, had her bath carried up by old Wolde from the
kitchen to the refectory, and lastly, locked herself up, giving
out that she must and will pray to God to pardon her fallen
sisters for all their sins, and that up to Friday night no one
should disturb her.
_Summa_.-The unfortunate abbess ascertained, but too well,
that same night, what such praying betokened. She screamed out,
like all the others, that it seemed as if a miner was in her
breast, and hammered there, striving to raise up the bones; and
the good dairy-mother, a pious and tender-hearted creature, not
very old either, never left her side during all her martyrdom. For
three days and three nights she took no rest, but watched by the
sick abbess; lifting her from the bed to the cold floor, and from
the cold floor to the bed, and refused a piece of gold the abbess
offered for her trouble, begging it might be given to Lisa
Behlken, a little gipsy maiden, whose thievish and heathenish
parents had left her behind them in the town, but who had been
taken in and sheltered by the poor widow, though she had enough to
do to get her living alone.
_Summa_.--On the Friday night the worthy abbess expired in
horrible tortures; and, in consequence, such a fear and horror
fell upon the whole convent, that they trembled and shook like
aspen leaves, and bitterly repented now of their folly with loud
cries and weeping, in having, with their own hands, helped to cast
down their only stay and support.
So, next morning, Sidonia summoned the whole chapter to her
apartment, drew herself up like a black adder, as she was, menaced
them with her dry fists, and spake--
"See now, ye shameless wantons, what ye have done! Ye have
murdered the worthy abbess, though she told you herself, it would
be her death if ye came not down from the Muhlenberg; giving up
your honour and the honour of our convent, ye vile crew, as a prey
to the malicious world. In vain have I cried to God three days and
three nights for pardon for your heavy sins, and for support for
our dear mother; your sins are an offence to the Lord, and He
would not hearken to me. For this morning I hear, to my great
terror, that the good abbess, just as I feared, has been done to
death by your vile obduracy and disobedience."
As the blasphemous devil thus went on, all were silent round her.
Even Dorothea Stettin had not a word--for, though her wrath was
great, her fear was yet greater. Only Anna Apenborg, who had her
eyes always about, cried out--"See there, dear sisters, there
comes the porter back from Old Stettin. Ah, that he should find
our good mother in her coffin, as she prophesied!"
So Sidonia despatches a sister for the princely letter, and bids
the others remain; and when the letter is brought, Sidonia breaks
the seal, runs over the contents to herself, laughs, and then
says, at last--
"Listen to the message his Grace sends to our, alas! now dead
mother, as a kind and just father!" Reads--
"HONOURABLE MOTHER, WORTHY ABBESS,--
"As our serene and gracious Prince is just setting off to hunt
with the illustrious patricio, Philip Heinhofer of Augsburg, his
Grace bids me say that he will visit the convent himself next
month on his way to New Stettin, to advise with you, and
investigate, in person, this evil business with the sisterhood. As
to Sidonia, he reserves a different treatment for her.
"Your good son and friend, "FRANCISCA BLODOW," Ducal Secretary.
"Old Stettin, 8th Sept. 1617."
Hereupon she stuck the letter in her pocket, clapped her hand over
it, and continued--
"That is what I call a just, good father; and if I had not
interposed with Christian charity, who knows what heaps of vile,
shameless wantons might not be cast forth upon the streets. But I
remember the words of my heavenly Bridegroom--'Forgive, and it
shall be forgiven you!' And now to end, good sisters, since our
worthy mother is no more, we must have a ruler over this
uproarious convent. Therefore, let us proceed at once to elect her
successor from amongst ourselves, that so our gracious Prince may
be able to confirm your choice on his arrival next month. Proceed,
then, since ye are all assembled here, that the convent may know
in whom it may place confidence. Speak, Anna Apenborg, whom dost
thou name for an abbess, my much-loved sister?"
With Sidonia's sausage still in her stomach, what else could she
do, but bow and say--
"I think no one so worthy as our good sister Sidonia."
Hereat laughed my hag, and went on to ask the other virgins; and
all those who had not been affected by the hellish drink cried out
"Sidonia!" while those who had been were afraid to dissent, and so
cried out too for her. In fine, "Sidonia! Sidonia!" was heard from
all lips, and so they took her for their abbess, whom but a few
days before they would have flung out into the streets. Even
Dorothea Stettin consented, on condition that she received back
the sub-prioret. Whereupon Sidonia loosed her veil with the one
golden key, and restored it to Dorothea with the Judas kiss; then
bid her fetch the veil of the abbess with the two golden keys, for
this was an heirloom in the cloister. When it arrived, Sidonia
goes to her trunk, and takes out a large regal cape that looked
like ermine, but was only white cat's skin. She hung this upon her
neck, and exclaimed--
"Hitherto I was lady of castles and lands--now, as abbess, I am of
princely rank, for many princesses were abbesses in the time of
the Papacy; therefore, it is meet that I array myself as a
princess, and I command ye all to treat me as a princess, and
honour me as your abbess, and kiss my hand, which is the proper,
due, and fitting reverence to be paid to my rank. The late worthy
matron, indeed, suffered ye to treat her with little respect, and
your late vile contempt of her on the Muhlenberg shows (God be
good to us!) but too well what fruit her neglect of these things
Truly the pride of this hag was equal to her wickedness; for mark,
already for a year and a day before this, she had made the
convent-porter and others bring her white cats and black cats;
these she killed and skinned, and sewed the black cats' tails on
the white skins, to make a show withal, for ermine skin was above
her price, I am thinking. Yet no one knew wherefore she killed the
cats, and for what cause. Now it all came to light.
No doubt these circumstances gave rise to that error which runs
through the Pomeranian cotemporary authors, who assert all of
them, that Sidonia was abbess of Marienfliess--though, in truth,
she never was duly elected. [Footnote: Cramer and Mikrćlius make
the same mistake.]
But let us return now to his Highness, Bishop Francis. He sent to
Jobst Bork, bidding him come instantly to Camyn with his little
daughter, Diliana. They knew nothing of his Grace's purpose, but
were soon informed on entering the episcopal palace. For, after
his Highness, with whom was Doctor Joel, desired them to be
seated, the Doctor placed Diliana upon a stool, close to the
window, beside which my magister had hung up a magic screen on
purpose; and, as the blessed sun poured in through the window,
Diliana's beautiful, delicate form was shadowed forth upon the
pure white linen with which it was covered. Whereupon the magister
bent down, stuck his hands on his fat sides, knit his brows, and
contemplated the image steadily for some time; then, starting up,
gave a loud huzzah, and cried out--
"Gracious Prince, we have found it, we have found it! Here is a
pure virgin. I know by the formation of the shadows along the
virgin-linen that she is pure as the sun-angel--as the ascending
Here Jobst Bork shook his head, and the maiden blushed to her
finger-ends, and looked down ashamed in her lap. Then his Grace
"Do not wonder at our joy, for the destiny of our whole race, good
Jobst, lies now in you and your daughter's hands. Through the
witchcraft of Sidonia Bork, as ye know, and all the world
testifies, our ancient race has been melted away till but a few
dry twigs remain, and no young eyes look up to us when our old
eyes are failing. But what Sidonia Bork has destroyed, Diliana
Bork, by God's help, can restore. For, mark! after all human help
had been found of no avail, this man whom ye see here, a
_magister artium_ of Grypswald, Joel by name, inquired of the
spirits how the great evil could be turned away from our race; but
they declared that none knew except the sun-angel, because he saw
all that passed upon the earth. This angel, however, being the
greatest of all spirits, will not appear unless a brave and pure
virgin--pure in thought, word, and work--stand within the magic
circle; therefore, we have sent for your daughter, hearing that
she was such an one, and the magister hath proved the truth of the
report even now. It rests with you, therefore, much-prized
Diliana, sister to the angels in purity, and last and only hope of
my perishing race, to save them at my earnest petition."
When he ended, Diliana remained quite silent, but Jobst wriggled
on his chair, and at last spake--
"Serene Prince, you know me for the most obedient of your
subjects, but with the devil's work I will have nothing to do;
besides, I see not why you must trouble spirits about my evil
cousin, the sorceress of Marienfliess. Send to my castellan of
Pansin, George Putkammer, he will thrust her in a sack to-night,
and carry her to-morrow to Camyn--_that_ you may believe, my
Then he related what the brave knight had done, and how Sidonia
had in truth left him in peace ever since, all through fear of the
young knight's good sword. His Grace wondered much at this. "Never
could I have believed that so stouthearted a man was to be found
in all Pomerania--one that would dare to touch this notorious
And he fell into deep musing, keeping his eyes upon Jobst's
jack-boots, in which he had stuck a great hunting-knife. At last
he spake--"But if I seize her and burn her, will it be better with
our race? I trow not; for she can leave the evil spell on us,
perhaps, even if she were a hundred times burned. Her magic hath
great power. Will burning her break the spell? No; we must act
more cunningly with the dragon. Earth cannot help us in this. And
here you see, Jobst, why I demand your daughter's help to conjure
the angels of God."
"Then seek another virgin, my Prince," answered Jobst, "mine you
shall never have. I have been once in the devil's claws, and I
won't thrust myself into them again--much less my only darling
child, whom I love a thousand times better than my life. No, no,
her body and soul shall never be endangered by my consent."
"But where is the danger?" said the Duke. "It is with an angel,
not a devil, your daughter is to speak; and surely no evil, then,
could happen to our dear and chaste little sister?"
At last Diliana exclaimed eagerly, "Ah; can it be possible to
speak with the blessed angels, as the evil women speak with the
devil? In truth, I would like to see an angel."
At this the Duke looked significantly at the magister, who
immediately advanced, and began to explain the _opus magicum et
theurgicum_ to the maiden, as follows:--
"You know, fair young virgin, that our Saviour saith of the
innocent children, 'Their angels always see the face of My Father
which is in heaven' (Matt xviii.). _Item/_, St. Paul (Heb.
i.): 'Are not the angels ministering spirits, sent forth for the
service of those who are heirs of salvation?' This is no new
doctrine, but one as old as the world. For you know, further, that
Adam, Noah, the holy patriarchs, the prophets, &c., talked with
angels, because their faith was great. _Item_, you know that,
even in the New Testament, angels were stated to have appeared and
talked with men; but later still, during the papal times even, the
angels of God appeared to divers persons, as was well known, and
of their own free will. For they did not always appear of _free
will_; and therefore, from the beginning, conjurations were
employed to _compel/_ them, and fragments of these have come
down to us _ex traditione_, as we magistri say, from the time
of Shem, the son of Noah, who revealed them to his son Misraim;
and so, from son to son, they have reached to our day, and are
"But," spake Diliana, "is it then possible for man to compel
_Ille_.-"Yes, by three different modes; first, through the
word, or the intellectual vinculum; secondly, through the heavenly
bodies, or the astral vinculum; lastly, through the earthly
creatures, or the elementary vinculum.
"Respecting first the _word_, you know that all things were
made by it, and without it was nothing made that is made. With God
the Lord, therefore, _word_ and _thing_ are one and the
same; for when He speaks it is done; He commands, and it stands
there. Also, with our father, Adam, was the _word_
all-powerful; for he ruled over all beasts of the field, and
birds, and creeping things by the _name_ which he gave unto
them, that is, by the _word_ (Gen. ii.). This power, too, the
word of Noah possessed, and by it he drew the beasts into the ark
(Gen. vii.); for we do not read that he _drave_ them, which
would be necessary now, but they _went_ into the ark after
him, two and two, _i.e._, compelled by the power of his word.
" Next follows the _astral vinculum, i.e._, the sympathy
between us and those heavenly bodies or stars wherein the angels
dwell or rule. We must know their divers aspects, configurations,
risings, settings, and the like, also the precise time, hour, and
minute in which they exercise an influence over angel, man, and
lower creatures, according as the ancients, and particularly the
Chaldeans have taught us; for spirit cannot influence spirit at
every moment, but only at particular times and under particular
"Lastly comes the _elementary vinculum_, or the sympathy which
binds all earthly creatures together--men, animals, plants,
stones, vapours and exhalations, &c., but above all, this
cementing sympathy is strongest in pure virgins, as you,
Hereupon she spake surprised: "How can all this be? Is it not
folly to suppose that the blessed angels could be compelled by
influences from plants and stones?"
"It is no folly, dear maiden, but a great and profound truth,
which I will demonstrate to you briefly. Everything throughout the
universe is effected by two opposing forces, _attraction_ or
sympathy, _repulsion_ or antipathy. All things in heaven as
well as upon earth act on each other by means of these two
"And as all within, above, beneath, in the heaven and on the
earth, are types insensibly repeated of one grand archetype, so we
find that the sun himself is a magnet, and by his different poles
repels or attracts the planets, and amongst them our earth; in
winter he repels her, and she moves darkly and mournfully along;
in spring he begins to draw her towards him, and she comes
joyfully, amidst songs of the holy angels, out of night and
darkness, like a bride into the arms of her beloved. And though no
ear upon earth can mark this song, yet the sympathies of each
creature are attracted and excited thereby, and man, beast, bird,
fish, tree, flower, grass, stones, all exhale forth their
subtlest, most spiritual, sweetest life to blend with the holy
"O maiden, maiden, this is no folly! Truly might we say that each
thing feels, for each thing loves and hates--the animate as the
inanimate, the earthly as the heavenly, the visible as the
invisible. For what is love but attraction or sympathy towards
some object, whereby we desire to blend with it? And what is hate
but repulsion or antipathy, whereby we are forced to fly or recoil
"We, silly men, tear and tatter to pieces the rude coarse
_materia_ of things, and think we know the nature of an
object, because, like a child with a mirror, we break it to find
the image. But the life of the thing--the inner, hidden mystic
life of _sympathies_--of this we know nothing, and yet we
call ourselves wise!
"But what is the signification of this widespread law of love and
hate which rules the universe as far as we know? Nothing else than
the dark signature of _faith_ impressed upon every creature.
For what the thing loves, that is its God; and what the thing
hates, that is its devil. So when the upright and perfect soul
ascends to God, the source of all attraction, God descends to it
in sympathy, and blends with it, as Christ says, 'Whoso loves Me,
and keeps My word, My Father will love him, and we will come and
take up our abode with him.' But if the perverted soul descends to
the source of all repulsion, which is the devil, God will turn
away from him, and he will hate God and love the devil, as our
blessed Saviour says (Matt. vi.), 'No man can serve two masters,
he will _hate_ one and _love_ the other; ye cannot serve
God and the devil.' Such will be the law of the universe until the
desire of all creatures is fulfilled, until the living Word again
descends from heaven, and says, 'Let there be light!' and the new
light will fall upon the soul. Then will the old serpent be cast
out of the new heaven and the new earth. Hate and repulsion will
exist no longer, but as Esaias saith, 'The wolf and the lamb, the
leopard and the kid, will lie down together, and the child may
play fearlessly upon the den of the adder.' Hallelujah! Then will
creation be free! then will it pass from the bondage of corruption
into the lordly freedom of the children of God (Rom. viii.), and
Earth, angels, men,
Beasts, plants, stones,
The living as the dead,
The great as the small,
The visible as the invisible,
Will find at last
The source of all attraction
Which they have ever ardently desired--
Round which they will ever circle
Day on day, night on night,
Century on century, millennium on millennium,
Lost in the infinite and eternal abyss
Of all love--
[Footnote: Almost with the last words of this sketch, the second
part of _Kosmos_, by Alexander von Humboldt, came to my hand.
Evidently the great author (who so well deserves immortality for
his contributions to science) views the world also as a whole; and
wherever in ancient or modern times, even a glimpse of this
doctrine can be found, he quotes it and brings it to light. But
yet, in a most incomprehensible manner, he has passed over those
very systems in which, above all others, this idea finds ample
room; namely, the new platonism of the ancients (the Theurgic
Philosophy), and the later Cabalistic, Alchymical, Mystic
Philosophy (White Magic), from which system the deductions of
Magister Joel are borrowed; but above all, we must name
_Plotinus_, as the father of the new Platonists, to whom
nature is throughout but one vast unity, one divine totality, one
power united with one life. In later times, we find that Albertus
Magnus, Cornelius Agrippa, and Theophrastus Paracelsus held the
same view. The latter uses the above word "attraction" in the
sense of sympathy. And the systems of these philosophers, which
are in many places full of profound truths, are based upon this
_Jobst Bork takes away his daughter by force from the Duke and
Dr. Joel; also is strengthened in his unbelief by Dr.
Cramer--Item, how my gracious Prince arrives at Marienfliess, and
there vehemently menaces Sidonia._
When Dr. Joel had ended his discourse, the fair young virgin's
eyes overflowed with tears; and clasping her hands, she sprang up,
and seizing my magister by the hand, exclaimed, "O sir, let us see
the blessed angels! Let me talk with them."
But her father, who was dry and brief in speech, tore her away,
saying sourly, "Have done, child; you must not dare to do it!"
Then they all prayed him to consent--the Duke, and the magister,
and Diliana herself; and the magister said, that in a few days the
sun would be in Libra, which would be the fitting and best time;
if they delayed, then a whole year must pass over without
obtaining any help, for he had already demonstrated that each
spirit had its particular time of influence. And so my magister
went on. But all was in vain. So Diliana stroked her father's
beard with her little hands and said, "Think, dear papa, on
grandmamma--her poor ghost; and that I can avenge her if I keep my
virgin honour pure in thought, word, and deed! Is it not strange
that my gracious Prince should just now come and demand the proof
of my purity? Let me pass the trial, and then I can avenge the
poor ghost, and calm the fears of his Highness all at once; for
assuredly he has cause to fear Sidonia." So the Duke and Magister
Joel inquired eagerly what she meant by the ghost; and when they
heard, they rejoiced, and said the finger of God was in it. "Would
the knight still strive against God?"
"No," he answered, "but against the devil; for Luther says, 'Such
ghost-work must be of the devil, since the departed soul must
either be in heaven or in hell; if in heaven, it would have rest,'
therefore he feared the ghost of his poor mother had nothing good
about it, and he would take care and keep his child from the claws
of the devil."
Thus the argument and strife went on, till Jobst at last cried out
sharply, "Diliana, dost thou esteem the fifth commandment? If so,
come with me." Whereupon the pious virgin threw herself upon his
neck, exclaiming, "Father, I come!"
But my magister took her by the hand, to draw her from her father,
whereat Jobst seized the hunting-knife that he had stuck in his
jack-boots, and brandishing it, cried out, "Hands off, fellow, or
I'll paint a red sign upon thee! My Lord Duke, in the name of the
three devils, seek out another virgin; but my virgin, your
Highness shall never have." Then seizing his little daughter by
the waist, he rushed out of the room with her, growling like a
bear with his cub, and down the stairs, and through the streets,
never stopping or staying till he reached the inn, nor even once
looking behind him or heeding his Grace, who screamed out after
him, "Good Jobst, only one word; only one word, dear Jobst!"
And when my Jobst reached the inn, he roared for the coachman, bid
him follow him with all speed to the road, paid down his reckoning
to mine host, and was off, and already out of the town, just as
the Duke and Dr. Joel reached the inn, to try and get him back
again. So they return raging and swearing, while Jobst crouches
down behind a thorn-bush with his little daughter, till the coach
comes up. And they have scarcely mounted it, when Dr. Cramer, of
Old Stettin, drives up; for he was on his way to induct a rector
(I know not whom) into his parish, as the ecclesiastical
superintendent lay sick in his bed. This meeting rejoiced the
knight's heart mightily; and after he had peered out of the coach
windows, to see if the Duke or the doctor were on his track, and
making sure that he was not pursued, he prayed Dr. Cramer to bide
a while, and discourse him on a matter that lay heavy on his
conscience. The doctor having consented, they all alighted, and
seated themselves in a hollow, where the coachman could not
overhear their discourse. Then Jobst related all that had
happened, and asked had he acted rightly?
"In all things you have done well, brave knight," answered my
excellent godfather, "for though, doubtless, spirits can and do
appear, yet is there always great danger to body and soul in
practising these conjurations; and no one can say with security
whether such apparition be angel or devil; because St. Paul says
(2 Cor. xi. 14), that 'Satan often changes himself into an angel
of light;' and respecting the ghost of your mother, in my opinion,
it was a devil sent to tempt your dear little daughter; for it is
written (Wisdom xxxi.), 'The just are in the hand of God, and no
evil troubles them.'"
He is going on with his quotations, when Diliana calls out,
"Godfather, here is a coach coming as fast as it can drive; and
surely two men are therein!"
"Adieu! adieu!" cried the knight, springing up, and dragging his
daughter into the coach as quick as he could. Then he bid the
coachman drive for life and death; and when they reached the wood,
to take the first shortest cut to the left.
Meanwhile, the Duke and Dr. Joel come up with my worthy godfather,
stop him, and ask what the knight, Jobst Bork, was saying to him?
for they had seen them both together, sitting in the hollow, along
On this, the dry sheep's cough got into my worthy godfather's
throat from pure fright, for a lie had never passed his lips in
all his life; therefore he told the whole story truly and
Meanwhile, the other coach drove on rapidly through the wood; and
the coachman did as he was desired, and took the first path to the
left, where they soon came on a fine thick hazel grove. Here Jobst
stopped to listen, and truly they could hear the other coach
distinctly crushing the fallen leaves, and the voice of the Duke
screaming, "Jobst, dost thou hear?--Jobst, may the devil take
thee, wilt thou stop?"
"Ay, my Lord Duke," thought Jobst to himself, "I will stop as you
wish, but I trust the devil will neither take me nor my daughter."
Then he lifted the fair Diliana himself out of the coach, and laid
her on the green grass, under the thick nut trees, saying, "Where
shall we fly to, my daughter? What thinkest thou?"
_Illa_.--"Why, to thy good castle of Saatzig, my father."
_Ille_.--"Marry, I'll take good care I won't--to fly from one
danger to another; for will he not hunt us there--ay, till his
spurs are red, and shouting all the way after me till his lungs
burst like an old wind-bag."
_Illa_.--"Whither, then, my father?"
_Ille_.--"To Stramehl, methinks, to my cousin Bastien, where
we shall remain until the time is passed in which he can question
the spirits; for, if I remember rightly, the sun will enter Libra
in a few days."
_Illa_.--"But, dear father, is it not cruel thus to torment
the good Prince? Oh! it must be so beautiful to talk to an angel!"
_Ille_.--"Do not anger me, my heart's daughter, do not anger
me. Better be George Putkammer's good loving wife; turn thy
thoughts that way, my daughter, and in a year there will be
something better worth looking at in the cradle than a spirit."
_Illa_ blushes and plucks the nuts over her head.
_Ille_.--"What sayest thou? Art thou for ever to put off
these marriage thoughts?"
_Illa_.--"Ah! my heart's dear father, what would my poor
grandmother say in eternity? It is impossible that, without God's
will, the Duke and the poor ghost should have come upon the same
thoughts about me."
_Ille_.--"Anger me not, child; thou art a silly,
superstitious thing; without God's will, it may well be, but not
without the devil's will. Thou hast heard what Luther says of
ghosts, and we must believe him. Eh?"
_Illa_.--"But my Lord Duke and Dr. Joel say quite
differently. Ah, father, let me see the blessed angels! Dr. Joel
surely has seen them often, and yet no danger befell him."
_Ille_.--"Anger me not, daughter, I say, for the third time.
It is written, 'Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God;' and is not
this tempting Him--setting heaven and hell in an uproar all about
a wicked old hag of a witch? Wherefore is the Duke such a goose?
But I will give him no child of mine to run a race with to hell.
Now rise, child, and follow me to the coach!"
_Illa_.--"But you must make me one promise" (weeping).
_Illa_.--"Speak no more of marriage to me till I say,
'Father, now let the marriage be.'"
_Ille_.--"With the young knight, George?"
_Illa_.-"I have no objection to offer to him; but the young
man is not to come before my eyes until then."
_Ille_.--"Ah, thou art as obstinate as the Rügen geese! Well,
have it thy own way, child. And now to Stramehl!"
Still the Duke was hunting after them, through thick and thin, and
roaring for the knight at the top of his voice, till the wood
re-echoed; and though some squires, who came up through the
forest, declared that no carriage had passed their way, yet he
continued his chase, feeling certain that no matter what bypath
the knave had taken, yet he would assuredly come up with him at
So the next day he reached the castle, for it lay but ten miles
from Camyn, but no knight was there. The Duke waited for two days,
still no sign of him. So he amused the time by fishing, and making
inquiries amongst all the neighbouring people about Sidonia, and
so strange were the tales repeated by the simple, superstitious
folk, that his Highness resolved to make a detour home by
Marienfliess, just to get a passing glimpse of this devil's
residence. Here he met a shepherd, who told many strange things,
and swore that he had seen her many times flying out of the
chimney on her broomstick; and, as the convent lay right before
them, his Grace asked which was Sidonia's chimney, and the carl
pointed out the chimney with his hand--it was the fourth from the
church there, where the smoke was rising. Whereupon my Lord Duke
shuddered, and went his way as quick as he could up the Vossberg.
He knew not that upon that very day his brother, Duke Philip, had
arrived at Marienfliess from Old Stettin, on his way to the diet
at New Stettin. The herald had been despatched by his Highness,
some days before, to inform Sheriff Eggert Sparling of his
approach, and that his Highness and suite would arrive about noon.
He was also to say the same to the nuns, particularly to Sidonia
So at mid-day my sheriff set off to the cloister, with the steward
and the secretaries, and waited there in the nuns' courtyard for
the arrival of the Duke, and a boy was placed in the mill to wave
his cap the moment his Highness came in sight. Yet my Eggert was
suffering terrible anguish all the time in his mind, for he
thought that the Duke might bid him seize the devil's witch.
Soon the cry rose that the Duke was coming--his six coaches had
just come in sight. Then the convent gate opened, and my hag
appeared at the head of the entire sisterhood, all in their black
robes and white veils; she the same, except that she wore the
abbess veil whereon two golden keys were embroidered. _Item_,
the white cats'-skin cape, which I have noticed before, was
displayed upon her shoulders. Thus she came forth from the convent
gate with all the sisters, two and two, and she threw up her eyes,
and raised the hymn of St. Ambrose, just as the Duke and his six
coaches drove into the courtyard, and the whole convent joining,
they advanced thus singing to meet his Highness.
Now, his Highness was a meek man and seldom angry, but his brow
grew black with wrath, when Sidonia, stepping up to the coach,
bowed low, and in her cats' tippet--herself a cat in cunning and
deceit--threw up her eyes hypocritically to heaven.
"How now," cried his Grace; "who the devil hath suffered you,
Sidonia, to play the abbess over these virgins?"
To which my hag replied--
"Gracious Prince, ask these virgins here if they have not selected
me as their abbess of their own free will, and they are now come
to entreat your Highness to confirm the choice of their hearts."
"Marry," quoth the Duke, "I have heard enough of your doings from
the neighbouring nobles and others. I know well how you made the
poor abbess Magdalena bite the dust; _item_, how you forced
these poor virgins to elect you abbess through mortal and deadly
fear. Speak, dear sisters, fear nothing--I, your Prince, command
you: have ye not elected this piece of sin and vanity to be your
abbess simply through fear of your lives?"
But the virgins looked down upon the ground, were silent and
trembled, while my sheriff plunged his hand into his wide boots
for the kerchief to wipe his face, for he saw well how it would
end, and the sweat of anguish was dripping from his brow. A second
time his Grace asked--"Was it from fear?" When at last one
answered, named Agnes Kleist, not the stout Dinnies' sister, but
"In truth, gracious Prince, it was from pure bodily fear alone
that we elected Sidonia as our abbess."
Her courage pleased the Duke so much that he inquired her name,
and hearing it, said--
"Ay, I thought you must be a Kleist; and now, for your truth and
courage, I make you abbess of Marienfliess; _item_, Dorothea
Stettin sub-prioress. And mark me, Sidonia Bork--it is for the
last time--if you attempt to dispute my will, or make the least
disturbance in the convent in consequence of my decision, you
shall be sent over the frontier. I have tried kindness long enough
by you--now for justice!"
"Sparling, I command you by your duty to me as your Prince, if
this evil and notorious hag should make the least disturbance or
strife in the convent, seize her that instant, either yourself or
by means of your bailiffs, and chase her over the frontiers.
_Item_, you are not to permit her to leave the convent, to
alarm or intimidate the neighbouring nobles, as she hath hitherto
done. Therefore I command the new abbess to replace the heavy
padlock on the gate from this day forth. Do you hear this,
Sidonia? These poor maidens shall have peace at last. Too long
they have been your sport and mockery, but it shall end."
So the new abbess answered--"Your Highness shall be obeyed!"
But my sheriff could not utter a word from horror, and seemed
stifling with a thick, husky cough in his throat. But when Sidonia
crept up close to him, and menaced him privately with her dry,
clenched hand, he forgot himself entirely, and made a spring that
brought him clean over the churchyard wall, while his sword
clattered after him, and his plumed beaver dropt from his head to
the ground. All the lacqueys laughed loud at the sight, even his
Grace laughed. But my sheriff makes the best of it, and calls
"Ah, see, my Lord Duke, how the little boys have stolen the
flowers that I myself planted on the grave of the blessed abbess.
I'll make them pay for it, the thieving brats!"
Hereat his Grace asked why the abbess was not buried within the
church, but in the graveyard. And they answered, she had so
commanded. Whereupon he said mildly--
"The good mother is worthy of a prayer; I shall go and say a
paternoster upon her grave, and see if the youngsters have left me
a flower to carry away for memory."
So he alighted, made Eggert show him the grave, removed his hat,
and prayed, while all his suite in the six coaches uncovered their
heads likewise. Lastly, he made the sign of the cross, and bent
over the grave to pluck a flower. But just then a warm heavy wind
blew across the graves, and all the flowers drooped, faded, and
turned yellow as it passed. Yea, even a yellow stripe seemed to
mark its passage straight across all the graves over the court, up
to the spot where the thrice-accursed witch stood upon the convent
wall, and people afterwards remarked that all plants, grass,
flowers, and shrubs within that same stripe turned pale and faded,
only some poison plants, as hemlock, nightshade, and the like,
stood up green and stiff along that livid line. When the Duke
observed this, he shook his head, but made no remark, stepped
hastily, however, into his carriage, after again earnestly
admonishing Sidonia; _item_, the sheriff to remember his
commands. He ordered the procession to start, and proceeded on his
way to the Diet.
It may be easily believed that no one ventured to put the commands
of his Grace into execution; therefore, Sidonia remained abbess as
heretofore. Agnes Kleist, indeed, that same day, had the great
padlock put upon the gate; but my hag no sooner sees it than she
calls for the convent servant, saying she must go forth to drive,
then takes her hatchet, and with it hews away at the padlock,
until it falls to the ground. Whereupon, laughing scornfully, she
went her way out into the road; and the new abbess could not
remonstrate, for on Sidonia's return home (I forgot to say that,
latterly, she had gone much about amongst the neighbouring nobles,
even as his Highness observed, frightening them to death with her
visits) she shut herself up again; and Anna Apenborg soon brings
the news from Wolde, "The lady is praying;" and Anna, having
privately slid under the window, found that it was even so.
So the whole convent shuddered; but no one dared to say a word,
though each sister judged for herself what the praying betokened,
without venturing to speak her surmise. But this time she did not
pray for three days and three nights, only once in the week, when
her bath-day came; by which, people suspected that his Highness
was destined to a slower death than the other victims of her
_Of the fearful death of his Highness, Duke Philip II. of
Pomerania, and of his melancholy but sumptuous burial._
After the before-mentioned festival of the jubilee, it happened
that one day Anna Apenborg went to the brew-house, which lay
inside the convent walls (it was one of Sidonia's praying days),
and there she saw a strange apparition of a three-legged hare. She
runs and calls the other sisters; whereupon they all scamper out
of their cells, and down the steps, to see the miracle, and
behold, there sits the three-legged hare; but when Agnes Kleist
took off her slipper, and threw it at the devil's sprite, my hare
is off, and never a trace of him could be found again in the whole
brew-house or in the whole convent court. Hereat the nuns
shuddered, and each virgin has her opinion on the matter, but
speaks it not; for just then, too, comes Sidonia forth, with old
Wolde and the cat, and the three begin their devil's dance, while
the cat squalls and wails, and the old witch-hag screams her usual
"Also kleien und also kratzen,
Meine Hunde und meine Katzen."
Next day, however, the poor virgins heard, to their deep sorrow,
what the three-legged hare betokened even as they had suspected;
for the cry came to the convent that his Grace, good Duke Philip,
was dead, and the tidings ran like a signal-fire through the
people, that this kind, wise, just Prince had been bewitched to
death. (Ah! where in Pomerania land--yea, in all German
fatherland--was such a wise, pious, and learned Prince to be
found? No other fault had he but one, and that was not having,
long before, burned this devil's witch, this accursed sorceress,
with fire and faggot.)
And now I must tell how his Grace had scarcely left Marienfliess
and reached Saatzig (they were but a mile from each other) when he
felt suddenly weak. He wondered much to find that his dear lord
brother, Duke Francis, had only left the castle two hours before.
_Item_, that Jobst Bork had not arrived there, and no man
knew whither the knight had flown. Here the Duke grew so much
worse, that his ministers earnestly entreated him to postpone the
diet at New Stettin, and return home; for how could it please the
knights and burgesses to see their beloved Prince in this sad
extremity of suffering?
Hereupon his Highness replied with the beautiful Latin words,
"_Officio mihi officio_." (And after his death, these words
were stamped on the burial-medals. _Item_, a rose, half-eaten
by a worm, with the inscription, "_Ut rosa rodimur omnes;_"
whereby many think allusion is made to the livid breath that
passed over the flowers at Marienfliess, but I leave these things
_Summa_.--His Highness proceeded to New Stettin, and decided
all the boundary disputes amongst the nobles, &c., returned then
to his court at Old Stettin, to hold the evangelical jubilee; but,
by that time, all the doctors from far and near could do naught to
help him; and though he lingered some months, yet, from the first,
he knew that death was on him; for nothing could appease the
tortures he suffered in his breast, even as all the others whom
Sidonia had murdered, and finally, on the 3rd day of February
1618, at ten of the clock, he expired--his age being forty-four
years, six months, and six days. And the corpse presented the same
signature of Satan, though his Grace's sickness had differed in
some particulars from that of Sidonia's other victims. To this
appearance of the princely corpse I myself can testify, for I
beheld it, along with many others, when it lay in state in the
On the 19th of March following, the princely ceremony of interment
took place. Let me see if my tears will permit me to describe
After the deputies from the three honourable estates had
assembled--the Stettin, the Wolgastian, and the ecclesiastical--in
the castle church, with the Princes of the blood, the nobles,
knights, and magnates of the land, three cannons were fired; and
at nine of the clock in the evening, the princely corpse was
carried first into the count's chamber, then to the knights'
chamber, from thence to the grand state-hall, by torchlight, by
twenty-four nobles, and from that to the castle square, which was
entirely covered with black cloth. Here it was laid down, and
sixty students from the university of Grypswald, and forty boys
from the town-school, sung the burial psalms from their books;
while, at intervals, the priests chanted the appointed portions of
the liturgy; after which all the bells of the town began to toll,
and the swan song was raised, "Now in joy I pass from earth."
Whereupon the nobles lifted up the bier again, and the procession
moved forwards. And could my gracious Prince have looked out
through the little window above his head, he would have seen not
only the blessed cross, but also his dear town, from street to
tower, covered with weeping human faces: for the procession passed
on through the main street, across the coal market, through castle
street, into the crane court--all which streets were lined with
the princely soldatesca, who also, each man, carried a torch in
his hand, besides the group of regular torch-bearers in the
procession--and windows, roofs, towers, presented one living mass
of human heads all along the way. And the order was thus:--
1. The song-master, _cum choro-item_, the rector, pćdagogis,
with his collegis.
2. The honourable ministerium from all the three states.
3. The Duke's trumpeters and drummers, with instruments reversed,
and drums covered with crape.
4. The rector magnificus, and the four deacons of the university
of Grypswald, among whom came Dr. Joel.
5. The land-marshal, with his black marshal's staff, alone; then
the pages, three and three, in mourning cloaks, and faces covered
with black taffety up to their noses.
6. The court-marshal, and the marshals of the three
states--_item_, the ambassadors, and other high officials of
foreign princes, &c.
7. Twelve knights, in full armour, upon twelve horses; each knight
bearing his standard, and each horse covered entirely with black
cloth, and having the arms of his rider embroidered on the
forehead-piece, and on the two sides was led by a noble on foot.
The supreme court-marshal followed these, his drawn sword covered
with crape, in his hand, the point to the ground.
Next the chancellor, with the seals covered with crape, and laid
upon a black velvet cushion.
The princely corpse, borne by twenty-four nobles, on a bier
covered with black velvet, and beneath a bluish-velvet canopy
embroidered on all sides with the arms of his Grace's illustrious
ancestors, with all their helmets, shields, devices, and
quarterings, gorgeously represented in gold and silver.
_Item_, on each side, twelve nobles, with lighted wax
torches, from which streamers of black crape floated, and twelve
halberdiers, with halberds reversed.
The last poor faded trefoil of our dear fatherland, namely, the
serene and illustrious Princes, Dukes, and Lords--Francis, Ulrich,
and Bogislaff, the princely brothers of Pomerania--all in long
velvet mantles, and their faces covered with black crape up to the
eyes. [Footnote: Note of Duke Bogislaff XIV.-The three accompanied
him to the grave; but who will walk mourner beside my bier? Ah!
that long ere this I had lain calmly in my coffin, and looked up
from the little window to my Lord, and rested in the God of my
His princely Highness, Duke Philip Julius of Wolgast--the last of
his name--and, like his cousins, wearing crape over his face to
The honourable chapter of Camyn.
The councillors, _medici_, and other officers.
The chamberlain, knights, and pages of the princely widow's
The princely widow herself, with all her ladies, in long black
silk mantles, their faces covered with black taffety up to the
eyes, and accompanied by their Graces the Elector of Brandenburg
and the Duke of Mechlenburg.
The princely widow, Hedwig, the bereaved spouse of Ernest Ludovic
of blessed memory--who was doomed to follow her whole illustrious
race to the grave--conducted by Duke William of Courland, and
Henry of Mangerson, ambassador from Brunswick.
The Countess von Eberstein, and Baroness von Putbus, with the
ladies in waiting to her princely Highness.
The noble ladies and maids of honour, amongst whom came Diliana
Burgomasters, sheriffs, and council of the good town of Old
Trumpeters and drummers, as before, and another songmaster _cum
choro_, as at the beginning; and so closed the procession.
And how can I ever forget the lamentations that broke forth from
all the people, as the princely bier approached--men, women,
children, all sobbed and wept, as if indeed their own father lay
there, and turned their torches down to view the blessed body
better, from the windows and the towers (for mostly all the people
carried torches). Then arose such a lamentation and cry as if no
comfort more was left for them upon earth, only in heaven must
they look for it; and as I stood in the coal-market, leaning my
shoulder against a post, and heard this great cry of a whole
people, and saw the flashing torches all bent upon this one point
in the dark midnight, behold the bright gold crucifix on the
coffin glittered as if in the clear light of the sun; and the
blaze of the torches was reflected from the black concave of
heaven, so that a glory seemed to rest around and above the bier,
and all shone and glittered in that radiant circle, so that it was
a pleasure and a wonder to gaze upon.
"Thus through sin and sorrow loometh,
Light of light from God that cometh,
Shining o'er life's saddest night.
For His glory ever stayeth,
On the soul that weeps and prayeth;
May the words that Jesu sayeth
Guide us onward towards that light!
The procession now returned again to the castle square, and from
thence to the chapel.
Now when the coffin was laid down before the altar, and all the
twelve knights with their standard gathered round it, my esteemed
godfather, Dr. Cramer, advanced up the nave to the altar, chanting
the Kyrie Eleison, and all the twelve knights lowered their
standards upon the coffin, and beat their breasts, crying
out--"Kyrie Eleison!" which cry was caught up by the whole
congregation, and they likewise--nobles, priests, people, prince,
peasant, men, women, children--all smote their breasts and cried
out, "Kyrie Eleison!" so that my blessed godfather, his voice
failed through weeping, and three times in vain he tried to speak.
After the sermon, the coffin was lifted up and lowered into the
vault, and the signet-ring of his Highness broken by the
land-marshal, and flung upon the coffin. But the twelve standards
were set down by the altar, and the marshal presented his staff to
Bishop Francis, now the serene and illustrious reigning Duke of
Pomerania; and the supreme court-marshal delivered up the sword,
and the chancellor the seals to his Serene Highness, and so this
mournful ceremony terminated.
_How Joist Bork and his little daughter are forced at last into
the "Opus Magicum"--Item, how his Highness, Duke Francis, appoints
Christian Ludecke, his attorney-general, to be witch-commissioner
Now my Jobst, guessing well what was in store for him if he
remained at the ducal court, ordered his horses to be ready
harnessed by four of the clock, on the morning after the funeral,
that he might get clear off with his daughter before my lord Duke
knew anything of the matter. But his Highness knew better than
that, for just as the knight and his daughter were stepping into
the coach, four of the Duke's equerries sprang forth and seized
the horses' heads, while four pages rushed down the castle steps,
and informed the knight that he must accompany them with his
daughter back to the castle, and up to the private apartment of
his Grace, for that the Duke had a word to say to him before his
departure. What could my Jobst do? He must take his Diliana out of
the coach again, and follow the pages through the castle up to the
Duke's quarters, which were filled with all beautiful things,
statues and paintings, &c., from Italy; and his private room was
decorated with the finest pieces of sculpture. So here they find
his Grace and Dr. Joel seated at a table, with the wine-can before
them, for they had sat up all night discoursing.
And when my Jobst enters with his sour face, holding his daughter
by the hand, the Duke calls out--
"Marry, brave vassal, why so sour? _I_ might well look sour,
since you and your little daughter lately chose to play
blind-man's-buff with your lawful Prince, making a mock of him.
But I pardon you, and hope you have come to your senses since.
Come, sit down; drink my health in the wine cup. I trow this wine
will please your palate."
But Jobst excused himself: "He never drank so early." Whereupon
the Duke continued--
"Well, as you please; but, good Jobst, you must be harder than a
stone, if you refuse now to assist me in binding this accursed
witch of Marienfliess, when you see this last evil which she has
done, and how all the weeping land mourns for its Prince. Will you
and your little daughter, this virgin, not deliver me and my
ancient race from so great and terrible a foe? What say ye, brave
Jobst? Come, sit down beside your afflicted Prince, you and your
little daughter, and tell me what help and comfort ye mean to
bring me in my sore grief and sorrow. Speak, Jobst; ah! say was
ever Prince like unto this Prince--and yet childless, childless,
as we are all! Have pity on my noble ancient race, or, even as he
lamented on his death-bed, 'Pomerania will pass in a little while
into stranger hands!'"
Now, my Jobst, who had sat down with his daughter on a couch near
the table, got the dry sheep's cough in his throat again, and, in
his embarrassment, snuffed out the candle; but, making a great
effort, at last said--
"His Grace must be resigned: who could withstand the will of God?
Yet he must say, in all honesty, that he had talked to many
persons about the matter, and some said it was folly and nonsense,
and there could be no reason in it. Others, amongst whom was Dr.
Cramer, said, if not folly, yet it was a dangerous business to
body and soul, and ought not to be attempted."
But my Jobst grows disturbed, and at last says, "Well, then, I
must speak out the truth. My child is not the pure virgin whom ye
seek. I mean in her thoughts, for she has already been betrothed
to a bridegroom."
At this the Duke clapped his hand to his forehead and sighed-"Then
my last hope has perished!" _Item_, the magister was quite
thunderstruck. But Diliana, who blushed to her finger-ends while
her father spoke, started from the couch, seized the hand of my
gracious Lord, and exclaimed--
"Be calm, my Lord Duke, my father hath said this but to free me,
as he thinks, from this dungeon business. But even against him I
must defend my honour, for in truth my soul has been ever pure
from all vain or sinful lusts, even as it is written (Tobias
iii.). And though my father has proposed a bridegroom to me, yet
up to this day I have constantly rejected him, partly for the sake
of my poor grandmother, whose ghost admonished me, and partly that
I might serve your gracious Highness as a pure and honourable
virgin." This hearing so rejoiced the Duke, that he kissed her
hand; but the fair young virgin, when she saw her father rise up
and walk hither and thither in great agitation, began to weep, and
ran to throw herself on his neck, sobbing forth, "Comfort
yourself, dear father, it could not be otherwise, for when you
uttered such hard words of your daughter, what could I do but
defend my honour, even against my own earthly father? Ah, dear
father! it was the cruellest word your little daughter ever heard
from you in her life--but one little kiss, and all will be right
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