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Seven and Ten, This line describes the
year when these events shall happen. Seven and ten make seventeen, which I explain seventeen hundred, and this number added to nine, makes the year we are now in; for it must be understood of the natural year, which begins the first of January
Tamps Rivere twys, &c. The river Thames frozen twice in one year, so as men to walk on it, is a very signal accident, which perhaps hath not fallen out for several hundred years before, and is the reason why some astrologers have thought that this prophecy could never be fulfilled, because they imagined such a thing would never happen in our climate.
From Town of Stoffe, &c. This is a plain designation of the duke of Marlborough : one kind of stuff used to fatten land is called marle, and every body knows that borough is a name for a town; and this way of expression is after the usual dark manner of old astrological predictions.
Then shall the Fyshe, &c. By the fish is understood the dauphin of France, as their kings eldest sons are called : it is here said, he shall fament the loss of the duke of Burgundy, called the Bosse, which is an old English word for humpshoulder, or crookback, as that duke is known to be; and the prophecy seems to mean that he should be overcome or slain. By the green berrys, in the next line, is meant the young duke of Berry, the dauphin's third son, who shall not have valour or fortune enough to supply the loss of his eldest brother.
Ponge bpmnele, &c. By Symnele, is meant the pretended prince of Wales, who, if he offers to attempt any thing against England, shall miscarry as he did before. Lambert Symnele is the name of a young man, noted in our histories for personating the son (as I remember) of Edward the Fourth.
And Norwaps Pryd, &c. I cannot guess who is meant by Norway's pride; * perhaps the reader may, as well as the sense of the two following lines.
Reaums shall, fc. Reaums, or, as the word is now, realms, is the old name for kingdoms : and this is a very plain prediction of our happy union, with the felicities that shall attend it. It is added that Old England shall be no more, and yet no man shall be sorry for it. And indeed, properly speaking, England is now no more, for the whole island is one kingdom under the name of Britain.
Gerpon shall, &c. This prediction, though somewhat obscure, is wonderfully adapt. Geryon is said to have been a king of Spain, whom Hercules slew. It was a fiction of the poets, that he had three heads, which the author says he shall have again: that is, Spain shall have three kings; which is now wonderfully verified; for beside the king of Portugal, which properly is part of Spain, there are now two rivals for Spain, Charles and Philip: but Charles being descended from the count of Hapsburg, founder of the Austrian family, shall
soon make those heads but two by overturning Philip, and driving him out of Spain.
Some of these predictions are already fulfilled; and it is highly probable the rest may be in due time; and I think, I have not forced the words by my explication into any other sense, than what they will naturally bear. If this be granted, I am sure it must be also allowed, that the anthor (whoever he were) was a person of extraordinary sagacity: and that astrology brought to such perfection as this, is by no means an art to be despised, whatever Mr Bickerstaff, or other merry gentlemen are pleased to think. As to the tradition of these lines having been writ in the original by Merlin, I confess I lay not much weight upon it; but it is enough to justify their authority, that the book whence I have transcribed them, was printed 170 years ago, as appears by the titlepage. For the satisfaction of any gentleman, who may
be either doubtful of the truth, or curious to be informed, I shall give order to have the very book sent to the printer of this paper, with directions to let any body see it that pleases, because I believe it is pretty scarce.