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that the same which is due should be delivered unto
The Christian's Answere.
“ It is no strange matter to here those dispute of equitie which are themselves most unjust; and such as have no faith at all, desirous that others should ob. serve the same inviolable, the which were yet the more tolerable, if such men would be contented with reasonable things, or at the least not altogether unreasonable : but what reason is there that one man should unto his own prejudice desire the hurt of another : as this Jew is content to lose nine hundred crownes to have a pound of my Aesh, whereby is manifestely seene the ancient and cruel háte which he beareth not only unto Christians, but unto all others which are not of his sect: yea, even unto the Turkes, who overkindly doe suffer such vermine to dwell amongst them, seeing that this presumptuous wretch dare not onely doubt, butappeale from the judgement of a good and just judge, and afterwards he would by sophisticall reasons prove that his abhomination is equitie: trulie I confesse that I have suffered fifteen daies of the tearme to passe ; yet who can tell whether he or I is the cause thereof; as for me, I think that by secret meanes he has caused the monie to be delaied, which from sundry places ought to have come unto me before the tearm which I promised unto him ; otherwise, I would never have been so rash as to bind myselfe so strictly; but although he were not the cause
of the fault, is it therefore said, that he ought to be so imprudent as to go about to prove it no strange matter that he should be willing to be paied with man's flesh, which is a thing more natural for tigres, than men, the which also was never heard of? but this divil in shape of man, seeing me oppressed with necessitie, propoundeth this cursed obligation unto me. Whereas he alleageth the Romaines for an example, why doth he not as well tell on how for that crueltie in afflicting debtors over grievously, the commonwealth was almost overthrowne, and that shortly after it was forbidden to imprison men any more for debt. To breake promise is, when a man sweareth or promiseth a thing, the which he hath no desire to performe, which yet upon an extreame necessity is some. what excusable: as for me I have promised, and accomplished my promise, yet not so soon as I would ; and although I knew the danger wherein I was to satisfie the crueltie of this mischievous man with the price of my flesh and blood, yet did I not flie away, but submitted myselfe unto the discretion of the judge who hath justly repressed his beastliness. Wherein then have I satisfied my promise, is it in that I would not (like him) disobey the judgment of the judge ? Behold I will present a part of my bodie unto him, that he may paie himselfe, according to the contents of the judgement; where is then my promise broken? But it is no marvaile if this race be so obstinat and cruell against us, for they do it of set purpose to of. fend our God whom they have crucified : and where.
fore? Because he was holie, as he is yet so reputed of this worthy Turkish nation : but what shall I say? Their own Bible is full of their rebellion against God, against their priests, judges, and leaders. What did not the very patriarchs themselves, from whom they have their beginning? They sold their brother, and had not it been for one amongst them, they had slaine him for verie envie. How inany adulteries and abhominations were committed amongst them ? How many murthers? Absalom did he not cause his bro. ther to be murdered? Did he not persecute his fa. ther Is it not for their iniquitie that God hath dispersed them, without leaving them one onlie foot of ground ? If then, when they had newlie received their law from God, when they saw his wonderous works with their eies, and had yet their judges amongst them, they were so wicked, what may one hope of
them now, when they have neither faith nor law, but best their rapines and usuries ? and that they believe they
do' a charitable work, when they do some great wrong unto one that is not a Jew? It may please you then, most righteous judge, to consider all these cir. cumstances, having pittie of him who doth wholly submit himselfe unto your just clemencie: hoping thereby to be delivered from this monster's crueltie.”
FARMER. The “ History of Gesta Romanorum," is advertised at the end of the comedy of Mucidorus, 1668, to be sold, among other books, on Saffron-Hill, in Wine
Street, near Hatton-Garden. Again, in Giles Goosea
cap, 1606 :
“ Then for your ladyship’s quips and quick jests, why Gesta Romanorum were nothing to them.” Again, in Chapman's May-Day, 1611 :
one that has read Marcus Aurelius, Gesta Romanorum, the Mirror of Magistrates," &c.
Gregorio Leti, in his Life of Sixtus V. translated by Ellis Farneworth, 1754, has likewise this kind of story.
It was currently reported in Rome that Drake had taken and plundered St. Domingo, in Hispaniola, and carried off an immense booty : this account came in a private letter to Paul Secchi, a very considerable mer. chant in the city, who had large concerns in those parts which he had insured. Upon the receiving this news he sent for the insurer Samson Ceneda, a Jew, and acquainted him with it. The Jew, whose interest it was to have such a report thought false, gave many reasons why it could not possibly be true ; and at last worked himself up into such a passion, that he said, “I'll lay you a pound of my flesh that it is a lie.'
Secchi, who was of a fiery hot temper, replied, “If you like it, I'll lay you a thousand crowns against a pound of
flesh that it is true." The Jew accepted the wager, and articles were immediately executed between them, the substance of which was, “ That if Secchi won, he should himself cut the flesh with a sharp knife from whatever part of the Jew's
body he pleased. Unfortunately for the Jew, the truth of the account was soon after confirmed, by other advices from the West-Indies, which threw him almost into distraction ; especially when he was informed that Secchi had solemnly sworn he would compel him to the exact literal performance of his contract, and was determined to cut a pound of flesh from that part of his body which it is not necessary to mention. Upon this he went to the governor of Rome, and begged he would interpose in the affair, and use his authority to prevail with Secchi to accept of a thousand pistoles as an equivalent for the pound of flesh: but the governor not daring to take upon him to determine a case of so uncommon a nature, made a report of it to the pope, who sent for them both, and having heard the articles read, and informed himself perfectly of the whole affair from their own mouths, said, “When contracts are made, it is just they should be fulfilled, as we intend this shall. Take a knife, therefore, Secchi, and cut a pound of flesh from any part you please of the Jew's body. We would advise you, however, to be very careful; for if you cut but a scruple or grain more or less than your due, you shall certainly be hanged. Go, and bring hither a knife, and a pair of scales, and let it be done in our presence."
The merchant at these words, began to tremble like an aspin-leaf, and throwing himself at his holiness's feet, with tears in his eyes protested, “ It was far from his thoughts to insist upon the performance