4. Witches foretell the death of Ivan the Terrible in (1584)
(Sir Jerome Honey first went to Russia in 1573 as a clerk in the service of the Russia Company and returned to England in 158o with a commission from Ivan the Terrible to purchase munitions. He spent the next ten years in Russia, making further trips to England and gaining special privileges for the Company; but left Russia under accusation of fraud in 1591. He spent the next thirty years of his life in Buckinghamshire and was knighted in 1604. He died in 1627.)
The Kinge in furie, much distrected and douptinge, caused many witches magicians presently to be sent for owt of the North, wirer ther is store between Collongorod and Lappia. Threscore wear brought post to the Musquo, placed and garded, and dailie dieted and daily vissited and atended one by the Emperors favorett, Bodan Belskoye, who was only trusted by the Emperor to receave and bringe from them their divelinacions or oracles upon the subjects that was geaven them in charge. This favoret was now revolted in fathe to the Kinge, wholly sekinge now and servinge the turns of the sonn risinge, wearied and tired with the divelsh tiranicall practices, horrable influencis and wicked devices, of this Helligabelous. The sowthsaiers tell him that the best signes `constellations' and strongest plannetts of heaven was against the Emperower, which would produce his end by such a daye; but he durst not to tell him so; he fell in rage, and told them they wear veri lildy to be all burnt that daye. The Emperowr began griviously to swell in his coddes, with which he had most horrablie offended above so years together, bostinge of thowsand virgens he had deflowred and thowsands of children of his begettinge distroied.
Carried everie daye in his chair into his treasurie. One daye the prince beckoned to me to follow. I stode emonge the rest venturously, and herd him call for som precious stones and jeweils. Told the prince and nobles present before and aboute him the venue of such and such, which I observed, and do pray I maye a littell degress to declare for my own memorie sake.
`The load-stone you all know hath great and hidden vertue, without which the seas that compas the world ar not navigable, nor the bounds nor circle of the earth cannot be knowen. Mahomett, the Percians proffit, his tombe of steel hangs in their Rapatta at Darbent most miracously.' — Caused the waiters to bringe a chaine of nedells towched by this load-stone, hanged all one by the other. — °This faire currell [coral] and this faire tunas you see; take in your hand; of his natur arr orient coullers; put them on my hand and arm. I am poisned with disease: you see they shewe their virtue by the chainge of their pure culler into pall: declares my death. Reach owt my staff roiall; an unicorns horn garnished with verie fare diomondes, rubies, saphiers, emeralls and other precious stones that ar rich in vallew; cost 70 thowsand marckes sterlinge of David Gower, from the fowlkers of Ousborghe. Seeke owt for som spiders.' Caused his phiziccians, Johannes LIoff, to scrape a circle therof upon the tabell; putt within it one spider and so one other and died, and some other without that ran alive apace from it. — 'It is to late, it will not preserve me. Behold these precious stones.
This diomond is the orients richest and most precious of all other. I never affected it; yt restreyns furie and luxurie and abstinacie and chasticie; the least parcell of it in powder will poysen a horss geaven to drink, much more a man.' Poynts at the ruby. `0! this is most comfortable to the hart, braine, vigar and memorie of man, clarifies congelled and corrupt bloud.' — Then at the emorald. —'The natur of the reyn-bowe; this precious stone is an enemye to uncleannes. Try it: though man and wiff cohabitt in lust together, havinge this stone aboute them, yt will burst at the spendinge of natur. The saphier I greatlie delight in; yt preserves and increaseth courage, joies the hart, pleasinge to all the vitall sensis, precious and verie soveraigne for the eys, clears the sight, takes awaye bloud shott, and streingthens the mussells and strings thereof.' — Then takes the onex in hand. — 'All these ar Gods wonderfull guifts, secreats in natur, and yet revel's [reveals] them to mans use and contemplacion, as frendes to grace and vertue and enymies to vice. I fainte, cane me awaye till an other a tyme.'
In the afternone peruseth over his will and yet thinckes not to die: he hath ben bewitched in that place, and often tymes unwiched againe; but now the divell faiells. Comaunds the master of his oppathicke and phizicians to prepare and atend for his solace and bathinge; loeks for the goodnes of the signe; send his favorett to his witches againe to know their calculacions. He corns and tells them the Emperor will burry or burn them all quicke for their fals illucions and lies. The daye is come; he is as hartt holl as ever he was. 'Sir, be not so wrathfull. You know the daie is com and ends with the settinge of the sun.' — He hasts him to the Emperor: made great preparacion for the bathe. About the third hower of the daye the Emperor went into it, sollaced himself and made merie with pleasant songs as he useth to doe: came owt about the 7th hower well refreshed; brought forth, setts him down upon his bead; calls Rodovone Bcerken, a gentilman whome he favored, to bringe the chess board. He setts his men! his chieff favorett and Boris Fedorowich
Goddonove and others about him. The Emperor in his lose gown, shirtt and lynnen hose, faints and falls backward. Great owt-crie and stun; one sent for aqua vita, another to the oppatheke for 'marigold and' rose water, and to call `his gostlie father and' the phizicions. In the mean he was strangled and stark dead. Som shew of hope was made for recoverie to still the owt-crie. The said Bodan Belskoie and Boris Fedomich, unto whom the Emperor had bequeathed, the first of fower other noblemen, and brother to this Emperor Feodor Ivanowich his wiff and Emporis that must now succed, the government of all, goe owt upon the tarras, acompaned so suddenly at hand with so many, and other multitudes of the nobillite his famillier fronds, as it was strainge to behold. Cried owt to the captains and gonnors to kepe their gard strange and the gaetts shure aboute the pallace, with their peces and matches lighted: the gaetts of the castell presently shutt and well watched. I offered myself, men, powder and pistolls, to atend the prince protector: he accepted me amonge his famillie and servants, passinge by with a chearfull countenance upon me `said:' — 'Be faithfull and fear not.'