Mercurius Venereus, WHEREIN He Relates what hapned to Him in his severall SHAPES and TRANSMIGRATIONS. AND Communicates Intelligence From all Places, except the HEAD QVARTERS.

By Borealis de la Garde.

Printed in the Year 1649.

[Page 1] MERCVRIVS VENEREVS: Wherein he Relates what hapned to him in His severall Shapes and Transmigrations.

THough the name of Mercury hath been lately so defyl'd, that scarce a scurri­lous sheete hath appear'd, but it hath assumed his Name; yet since they have injured him only in his Office, of poli­tick capacity, it is the more pardonable. Reader, the Mercury you have so much heard of, I am, who do now appear abroad, to shew thee, that I have a naturall, or physical capacity too, though it be but a moderne one, wherein I am as serviceable to Ve­nus, as I was heretofore to Iupiter.

It is not yet full an hundred years since Mercury made Vulcan a Cuckold, and had first to do with Venus, ever since vvhich time I am known by the pleasing appellation of sweet Mercury: Since Paracelsus made me one of his Tri­nity, constituting me the third principle, or creator of all things, I have been sufficiently debased by his Successors; for whereas heretofore I plaid the theef for mine own use, [Page 2] now the Chymists send me to the bottome of your pockets to pick the money out for their worships; and though they give you nothing in exchange, yet they call it transmutation: and if they would stop here, they were as reasonable as other Physitians; but they send me of an errant into the bowels, and bodies of both sexes, where I should, though an unpleasing guest, so journe all my life, if I did not sometimes make an eruption, or get out at ano­ther door, like that poor Queene, who sunke down at Cheering Cross, and rose up at Queene-Hive: by this meanes I come to know the secrets of persons, of all conditions and qualities, which for the publick good I do intend to declare in this ensuing Discourse.

First, then, that I may not be thought a Leveller, I will begin with the Lords in Parliament assembled: Into one of whom I got admittance (it seems the priviledge of Peeres protects them only from Law, but not from Physick) here I expected to have been at the inventing of some rare Plot, agreeable to my active nature; for it was just as the Scots Army had entred upon English ground; and to that end, thought to have mounted up into this great persons head, but I found that so filled with lead before, that there was no roome for poor Mercury; nay, I could not make him sensible of the dangerous courses he run, so that I found nothing more certaine then that, Ex quovis ligno non fit Mercurius. We should stay sometimes three houres to­gether in expectation of what the Iuncta of Ladies had contrived, which we swallowed without bones; whence I learned, that as the Commons are servants to the peo­ple, so the Lords are to the Ladies: but this course of life was so contrary to my Genius, to sit still three or four houres and do nothing, that I tooke the opportunity of [Page 3] his yawning, (for he never spoke,) to steale out of his mouth and be gone; though since I heare I might have stayed, for that they are now to sit no more.

When thus I had obtained my liberty, I found the Army was marching out of Wales, to fight the Scots; then would I rather then my life have turned Souldier, to have revenged the many injuries, affronts, and confine­ments put upon me by Quacks of that Nation, who are more, I dare say, then of all the world beside; but I per­ceived it was a harder matter to get into the Army, then into the house of Peers: in summe, it vvas impossible to obtaine entrance, whether it were that they would not spend so lightly, or that they have all handsome wives, (as most other Preachers have) I know not, but now it will be much more difficult to gain admission, for as much as I understand they have cast off their Doctor of Phy­sick: well fare the Cavalier Souldiers yet, though they are better born, yet they are not so hard of access; a Gen­tleman, as the Play hath it, is known by his Gentleman­like conditions: this I am sure (my friends of the Army) they would never have suffered themselves to have been twice conquered by such Sectaries as you are, if they had been tam Marte, quam Mercurio.

Being disappointed here, I thought to make my address to the Iuncta-Ladyes, that I might comprehend (though a­mongst the Lords I could not, by what deepe and grave councels, this last Summers war was mannaged; but I fai­led of my attempt there too) for they were so stricken in years (as wisdome you know, is the daughter of gray haires) and had been so accustomed to Mercuries service, that they were grown (like Mithridates) proof against me, and knew by experience that I was but like Herb Iohn to [Page 4] them, and could doe no further good to their faces, or harme to their bones: all that I learnt here, was, that most of the beauties turne wits afterward, as naturally as a Caterpillar becomes a butterflie; and last of all arrive to be Statists.

Finding my selfe like thus to remaine in Cuerpo, I resol­ved to doe as Gallants doe, who when (in a long vacation, or plague time) they finde themselves destitute of the amours of gallant Ladies (which, you will say, is a hard case in these dayes) are faine to betake themselves to Bloomesbury; so I, rather then I would want a place to hide my head in, rendered my selfe at discretion to my old enemy the Chymist, who when he had ex [...]ined and tortured me, sent me prisoner into the body of a fat Law­yer, who had not long before married a Ladies daughter, by which match he became so much a Gentleman, that he was made fit for my Company; at my first entrance into his head, I found all in disorder, nothing but crabbed en­tails and cases, but I mended the conveiances in his brain, and opened more obstructions then are in the sale of Bi­shops Lands: at last, his little Law, and lesse equity, by the help of the nimblenesse I lent his tongue, brought Jndy's home, for I put mettall into him, and he played they Phylosophers stone, and turned all that mettall in­to Gold; had not he then a good wife, that could heigh­ten his eloquence thus, and by her practice mend his? One day my Lawyer went to plead at the Committee of Indempnity, and as he was opening a Petition, I crept up into one of his eyes, to peep out, and looke about me, to see if I could spie any of my acquaintance, and vvho should I first blurt upon, but a worthy Member of that Committee, whose inward friend I had long been; when [Page 5] he savv me, he was so angry, that I should come to af­front and upbraid him there, that he silenced my Coun­sellour, and vvould never heare Petition opened since. Notwithstanding, my Patron was not long after made Sergeant, and as he was trimming himselfe in the glasse, I could not abstaine from looking abroad againe, to be­hold by reflection his reverend aspect, when finding his beard shaved, and a coife on his head, I conceived my selfe to be a guest to one of these ancient procuring Matrons, in whose corps I had been so often tormented; and without farther study, broke out at his nostrils in a sneeze, and carryed away halfe his braines with me; but the remaining halfe vvill be sufficient for him now, since he is to have double fees.

When I was got out here, I bethought vvhat could happen to me worse, and could guesse nothing, except I should be sent (as the Devils were) into svvine. Well, imployment grew scarse, and Mercury cannot be idle: I was resolved to trie my fortune anew, and bound my selfe apprentice to an Apothecary, who presently sold me to one of your renevvers of nature, or menders of Ladies faces, who was a french man, newly come over to recruit, and lengthen out English beauties; My new Master clapt me into a pot, with some other ingredients, and sent me to a Country Lady, new come to Towne, to take off her husbands Sequestration, from whom she had received two things in commission: First, to strive to looke faire when she went to the Lords, and then to take care, she fell not acquainted with the wits; and being by a great Lady addrest to my Master, and being supplyed in the first point, by spreading me as thick as bread and butter on her face, she goes one morning to [Page 6] Westminster, to the lobby by the Lords house, but it not being much past eleven, which is too early an houre for their Lordships, she enquired the way to the Com­mons House, at whose doore she waited, till a spruce handsome Gentleman, powdered, perfumed, and set round with ribbons of severall colours, came out, to vvhom she makes her application, and cries, Sir, if I were sure you vvere not one of the wits (as I hope you are none, for you seeme to be a fine Gentleman) I should in­vite you to my lodging; but indeed my husband hath given me warning of those naughty men, who they say, if a poore Lady doe but pleasure a friend, or be trou­bled with the rheume at the mouth, or a cold in her bones, presently they make songs and libels of her, and doe no more esteeme the embraces of persons of quality, then of a milkemaid, or a Landresse: The Mon­sieur, with a low leg, replies, I beseech you Madam to satisfie your selfe that I am none of the wits; if I were, I should scarce have the honour to sit vvithin the walls of this house: they alas are carelesse, slovenly people; vvhereas I have all my cloathes, powder, linnen, nay, gloves and ribbons out of France; besides, I voted the Army to be disbanded eighteen moneths agoe, with six weekes pay, and have ever since been of the side against them, even since the Scots were beaten, and made a bon­fire at my doore, the last 19▪ of November. And then Madam, tis well knovvne, that I honour great Ladies so much, that I am seldome out of their company, and had rather loose my money at twelve-peny-Gleeke with them, though I see them jogg one another, or be seene with them in a velvet coach in Hide-parke, though it cost me tvvo peeces in stops, or venture my health to enjoy [Page 7] the oldest of them, then be plunged in the embraces of a young, fresh, innocent Countrey beauty, with an Or­dinance of an indempnity in her breech: more he would have said, but my Lady was by this satisfied, that the Gentleman was none of the wits, which makes her in­vite him to her lodging in Covent Garden, about eleven a clock that night: he promised to obey the summons, though for the present he was much distracted with pub­lique businesse; and had his head full of freedome, ho­nour and safety.

He keeps the assignation, and comes; after the usuall complements, she fals to tell the story of her life and businesse, which is too dull for Mercury to remem­ber, and conculdes all with an earnest request, that he will tell her what these wits are, that she may avoyde them: he easily condescends, and begins, Madam, you must know, that before these warres, the wits were a Cor­poration, or rather a Monopoly, for no man was suffered to be accounted able, or esteemed for parts, if he were not free of their company, or at least, had licence from them; They set up some for Schoole Divinty and Fa­thers; Others for inventing new Religions; Some for Politicians; The inferiour sort, for Poltry, and all for Scepticks. Hither all the young Courtiers, and Innes of Court men made their addresse, to know whether they might like the last new play or no? whether such a Lady might be cride up for a wit? or such a new face rankt among the beauties? vvhether such a worke was well written? and they gave out their orders, as duly as Sion Colledge did▪ what Doctrine was to be preacht. These was were esteemed and honoured every where but at the Court, where they were abominably laught [Page 8] at; notwithstanding some of them repented since, were converted from being wits, and dyed in the Kings ser­vice; Those that remaine of them, are so few, and so scattered, that they are not able to set up; such of them as are of the Kings side, are all to be Secretaries of State, the rest are about this Town; you may know them by their discourses of the affaires and resolutions of Christen­dome, by their curiosity and desire to see strange things, by their crying downe our English wayes and behaviour, by their invectives against the Ladies of this Towne; a Lady cannot whisper in Company, but they are so ma­licious, that it must be an appointment, or at least, want of breeding; If a Countesse talke aloud, sweare, or drinke a quart of Sack at a meeting, they will help her into a Lampoon; In summe, the poore beauties of this Age stand in more awe of them, then they doe of Oba­diah. If a Lady slip aside at a ball, and be lost two houres with her Gallant, the wits finde her out: If a maid be but out of Towne three monthes, or a young widdow leave off her buske, they will be playing the Phyloso­phers, and searching out the cause. A great Lady can­not eat her break-fast in bed, and dine within an houre af­ter, make one colation at Hide-Parke, and another at Spring-Garden, and then goe to a great Supper at Picadil­ly, or the Beare, and at last, be entertained with a Ban­quet on the water, and this not above six times a week, but these will be apt to thinke her a glutton. And then they will make you such Encomiums of the Ladies of Queen Elizabeths time, who understood worth, and e­steemed men of parts (and those they would have you conceive to be such as themselves) they tell you that then an Anagram on a Mistresses name, or a Sonnet to [Page 9] her could prevaile more then all the Sullibubs, and Cheescakes of the Age; whereas these women (they tell you) had rather heare one crie God dam me Ma­dam, or whistle a French tune, then have whole Ar­cadiaes made to them: then they will count you long sto­ries, what wise discreet husbands parents would in those dayes provide for their daughters, and adde, that now, if a young Gentlewoman doe not marry a foole, her mo­ther will thinke her cast away; and if the poore Bride­groome prove in time to have any Sparkes of wisdome, is ready to put him for a cheat. They will urge next, that there was no Lady in those dayes, but scorned to accept Diamond Rings, to have Gownes sent them by Gentlemen out of France, to be fancied at Faires, or be trusted by Millaners, for gloves, ribbons, or Spanish red, or to walke in the Exchange to have sweet meates given them. If a woman of quality be led in Spring gar­den, by a Gentleman bare-headed, you shall have one of them breake a jest, and cry, why should men be suffer­ed in these dayes of Reformation to worship in Groves? If any of them get admittance into a Ladies chamber, and finde her Sperma-caeta▪maske, he exclaimes (by way of a Saryricall strong line) oh what a case are we poore men in, that the whales lust must be brought hither to enflame ours! If he finde out her Sunday teeth, though they be of purest Ivory, they cannot scape him, but he will crie out, What, must both the Sea and Land Mon­sters, Leviathan and Bohemoth contribute to the luxury of this Age? one to plaister the cheeke, and the other to repaire the jaw? but these are sometimes scorned in their kinde, for I am credibly informed, that he who writ [Page 10] the Parliament of Ladies, dyed not long after of a Prya­pisme, and not a Lady, or Gentlewoman in this Town could be entreated to take pitie on him, and cure him: a judgement much like that, which befell the Author of Ignoramus, who lost a living for want of a Lawyer. Then they are as hard to be pleased with men too, and as censorious as Schoole-masters: They will allow a quib­ble to be no jest, & cannot heare a gingle with patience, they dispraise you Quarlles, and Withers works, and crie up Dr Donnes Poems, Coopers Hill, and Mr. Mayes Continu­ation: And if any of them chance to be married, or keep a Mistresse, they are as vigilant over them, and as jealous; Here the young Lady could hold no longer, but exclaimed, marry! out upon them villaines, Ile heare no more of them, I shall keep my selfe well enough from them, and addes, Sir, I feare it is late, and you may have farre to your loding, if you please to accept halfe my bed, you shall be very welcome, for my husband saith, he is so confident of my affection, that he dares trust me with any living: The Gentleman was some­what startled in Conscience, for to say truth, his con­versation vvith great Ladies had made him stand more in need of me, then the Lady: notwithstanding, recolle­cting himselfe, that his Covenant (as he was much for the Covenant) did engage him to bring Delinquents to punishment, of whom the Lady was one; he consented, and leaps into the bed, and she (as soone as she had put out the candle) takes a cloath, and wipes me off from her cheeke, and shewes me a way tovvard the fire, by the help of which I soone evaporated away, and got my libertie, without being able to know what this vvorthie [Page 11] member did in her husbands, or her businesse.

The description I had heard made of a vvit, filled me with ambition, to be in the possession of one of them, vvhich was crost a long time, for that this Sect of men have little to do vvith Physitians; at last, by the help of a Baud, and a Scots-man, I got entrance into one, who soone perceived vvhat guest he had (notwithstanding that the Scots-man cry'd, The Deel tack my sal gif ye gat eny) and vvould never rest till he vvas rid of me; it seems men of the same profession cannot bear one another, vvhich was the cause that vve two great vvits could not live un­der one roofe, so that by the helpe of an able Quack, he made me be drawn by the head and shoulders out of his shin-bones; the example, and miracle of vvhich conver­ted almost all the wits, and they are since married; for though they are scattered and dispersed, yet they, like the Iews, keep a strict correspondency.

The next body I got into, was a great masty London Parson, with a red head, which was thus; this Patriarke was not so much of the Spirit, but he was somewhat for the flesh too, which made his wife, out of pure jealousie send for me, and put me into a caudle, to dispatch him; but as the devill would have it, and the sins of his Parish, being brought to him one day, as he was reading the Per­fect Occurrences, to examine his Hebrew, and con his In­telligence by heart, to help him out with his next thanks­giving Sermon, he swallowed me, but his red head overcame me, it being naturall for one poyson to con­quer another, and so I could do him no harme: but he had little need of my help, for he never preached, but he could poyson the people without Mercury: he was a great dri­ver [Page 12] of State affaires, the Presbyterian members rid him, and he rid the City, and begot Petitions, and Remonstran­ces, no man was a more punctuall expecter of the Northren Letters then he, in hope to be inspired from Scotland (for the Spirit, as it did from Rome to Trent, comes thence e­very week in a cloakbag) and he was once gathering hands to a Petition, to have the day of the Posts arrivall chan­ged from Munday to Saturday, that so the people here might know their duty out of the Pulpit a week sooner: When he inveighed against the sins of his Auditory, he did it with so much scurility, that they could not be more asha­med of them, then they were of him, for he vented Libells in stead of Sermons, whilst they that heard him did pen­nance, and his Pulpit was the chair of Repentance for the whole Parish: when he chanced to preach before an assembly of Ladyes, he would confute open breasts, and prove black patches to be the marke of the beast, and ever was in league with some Waiting-woman, or Cham­ber-maide, of whom he learned the name of every pin and knot, the way to put on their cravats, handcharchiefs and cauls, to pin their bought locks to their rolls, and the very ingredients of their washes, dentifrises, and powders to dry sweat (for it seemes English Ladies must, like beefe, be powdered, to keep them from stinking) all which served him in stead of Schoole Divinity, which he abhorred as Popery, or Cavalarisme: when he came to any Lords, or Parliament mans table (whom he preached into great places, as they voted him into livings) there it was that he chiefly promoted the work of Reformation: he visited every dish more strictly then the University of Oxford, and imposed censures on the wine, & servants, but would not [Page 13] suffer Gluttony to be any of the enumerated cases, nor cause one dish to be suspended from the blessed table: when he was full fraught here (though most of the wives and daughters of his Classis were at his disposall for their spirituall, and his corporall consolation) he would sneake into a little blinde bordell in Holborne, where he would have three young wenches whip him; so great an enemy was he to the superstition of Rome, that what that Church ordained for pennance to take down the flesh, he used to raise it. He married his eldest son to a Parsons daughter, whose father soon after deceased, and left her portion in Sermons, all of the Presbyterian cut, which being tipt a little with the story of the times, and some new inve­ctives against the Independents, would have served him all his life, when behold a most sad accident; the Trum­peters of Sion (for so the Kirk of Scotland stile themselves) had just changed their old tune, and learned another of the English Troopers, and had sent strict orders to their subjects here, that no more Presbytery should be heard of in the Pulpit, no more Independents delivered to Sa­than; this put him into great straights, as well what Ser­mons to preach, as what Religion to be of▪ and if he have any, I beleeve he is by this, a Seeker, for I came away with­out taking leave, having perswaded two of his teeth to fall out to open me a passage, and make his tedious discourses in the Pulpit less intelligible.

By this time you will beleeve I had need of a little aire, vvhich I went to take in St. Iameses Parke, vvith a resolu­tion, that if I could, like the Camelion, live by it, never to be a Caniball, and feed on mans flesh more: vvhen I came into the Parke, it was Sunday after Sermon, and by [Page 14] reason that Spring garden was by speciall order shut, and so the tarts and rhenish-wine suspended till the next day; I found the great walke full of Ladies and Gentlemen, and all of my acquaintance, which made me steale back a­gaine for fear of being ingaged; and as I vvas nigh the out­most gate, a leane chapfaln Chymist starts out of the cock­pit, snaps me up, and vvhen he had conveied me home, clapt me into a Pill, and carried me the next morning to a grave Member of the House of Commons, of the Presby­terian judgement: the Gentleman made many faces, & was very unwilling to swallow me, for (as I understood since) he tooke me for the self-denying Ordinance; at length he past me, and I began to comfort my self, in hope now to comprehend the true meaning of the Covenant; but I soone found that he knew no more of that then I, but had trusted the Assembly with the interpretation▪ and they the Scots; he never spake in the House till he received a nod from some of the Grandees of his luncta, whom they needed not trouble themselves to keep in ignorance, Nature had saved them that labour: He never spoke Non-sence, but he told Mr. Speaker twas the sense of the City, and thought the best Government in the world, was a Commoncounsell; at last I began to dislike the dulness of my clime, and resolved to be gone, and thought to have taken my opportunity one day, when the House was divided, and those of my Patrons faction went out, but he (conceiting that two vallant Independents, who stood neer the door, looked sterne upon him) durst not go out, but hath been ever since for a balloting box, and was in minde once to move the House, that (seeing he, and many more of his party had voted Blindfold, for above [Page 15] two years together) those two Gentlemen might at least be blinded, when the House was divided, that so people might go according to their consciences: Well, thought I, tis not safe for me to dwel with a man of so little courage, lest I be knocked; so when his nose dropt, I slipt out, and got into the nosegay of him that was next me, who hap­ned to be of the other faction, he soone snuft me up into his nose, and thence into his head.

When I began to understand his secrets, I wondred to see him there, for I found that he was no member, but unlawfully returned; and looking into his conscience, perceived he was no Independent neither, only he had received this light, that the only way to stay in the house, was to seeme so, and his staying there the only way to escape the comming to an account for fifty thou­sand pounds he owed the State. Mercury was never in his own element till he came to him, for I learned my old trade of stealing, perfecter then ever; I used before to filch here and there, a bit from such as were not aware of me; but I was with one now, who took all he saw, even from them that trusted him, and like Midas, turned every thing he touched into gold. Then he had other trades too, he would fall in talke with people he never saw, and make them speak against the Army, which he adored (especial­ly since their great Remonstrance speaks nothing of ac­countants and would threaten to informe, except they compounded with him: nay, he was the Grandees set­ter, to watch what the Presbyterians who sate next him whispered one to another; he applied himself to the Congregations too, would have been entred at the Or­thodox Club at the Rose, but they were too honest for [Page 16] him, and would talke all day of glorious lights, and steale at night to a baudy house, without so much as a Lanthorne and candle; whether for secresie I know not, or covetousnesse; for he was so sparing, that two pence roast▪beefe in Hell was a feast to him, which he dis­patch't vvhen the House was up, for sooner he durst not goe, though he should have starved, for feare of dis­pleasing the Grandees: This custome kept him fasting so long, that I began to be in danger of my life (for no­thing kills Mercury sooner then fasting spittle) which made me thinke of dislodging, and I tooke my opportu­nity one Sunday, as he was preaching in a Coach-house, in Vinegar yard, and came out of him without a lavvfull call.

Reader, I should now descend, to acquaint thee with my severall transmigrations through the Ladies of this Town, vvith many of which I have had not only a su­perficiall correspondence (as vvith the sequestered) but much intimacie too; I should relate how I was tost like a Shuttle-cock, from this Lady, to that Lord, from him, to the next waiting-woman, and so to the Roarers, where I learnt to stand bare to exchange women, and call Chamber-maids Madam, and by them sent to the Citie, and so backe againe to Westminster. How I went in the long vacation to the Bath, and hovv I past my time there, but this would require a volume by it selfe, and vvould containe a Diurnall, or rather Nocturnall of the women of this Town. But most men being so inge­nious in the vvritings of others, and malice being the greatest ingenuitie of this Age, I feare I should not want Commentators, vvho would point out every Subject, as [Page 17] if she vvere named, or glanc▪t at, vvhich proceedings Mercury abhorres; nothing but this can sublimate me, and make me poyson, by rendring that a Libell, which was meant a faithfull history: And though I am not ig­norant, that if I should take so bad a course, I might happily please more generally, then I displease; the La­dies of these times having no higher pleasure, or greater Lechery, then to heare one another spoke ill of, and to joyne in the defamation; yet all that cannot vvorke with Mercury, who amongst all his thefts, never stole any per­sons reputation from him; and though he have much of a French man, yet he is unlike them in this qualitie of theirs, that if they get possession of a beauty, they cannot rest, till they proclaime her name to all the world: No, the obligation I have to that Sex, is too no­torious to expect such a returne, they having kept me out of Gilders shops, and Schoole-Masters clutches (vvhere I should have made ointments for ringwormes, and waters for scabbie Children) to give me a noble ha­bitation in their owne bodies and bosomes. Thus much notwithstanding, to avoid calumnies, I am forced to say in generall, for mine ovvne justification, That many of these beauties having made their breath stink with talking bau­dy, would lay the fault upon poore Mercury. And as for the old saying, that Ladies never piss, but spit only, though the modesty of that, & all such expressions be wholly laid aside, few fearing to avow any evacuation of nature, or to call it by any name; yet that Proverb was never lit­terally true till now, for few females of my acquaintance void any moisture, but at the pores, and mouth: Sure, if I had been as much in credit thirtie yeares agoe, as now, [Page 18] this Nation might have been happy, and have avoided this warre, and undone hackney Coach-men; for the Children of this Age (I meane stall of Lords and Gen­tlemen) which will be men the next, will be of too de­licate a constitution to make Troopers of, and will be contented to travell up and downe, in Chaires and Lit­ters. See then rare beauties the reciprocall obligation you have to Mercury, who hath not only changed him­selfe into more shapes then ever Jupiter did, to serve your Sex, but even of a God, made himselfe corruptible, to be disgested by you, and converted into you, and your poste­rities; so that whilst he lives, he lives serving you, and when he is killed, his desire is that he may be employed to make Looking-glasses, that so he may ever be before your faces.


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