How Socrates in his returne from Macedony to Larissa was spoyled and robbed, and how he fell acquainted with one Meroe a Witch.
Alas poore miser that I am, that for the onely desire to see a game of triall of weapons, am fallen into these miseries and wretched snares of misfortune. For in my returne from Macedonie, wheras I sould all my wares, and played the Merchant by the space of ten months, a little before that I came to Larissa, I turned out of the way, to view the scituation of the countrey there, and behold in the bottom of a deep valley I was suddenly environed with a company of theeves, who robbed and spoiled me of such things as I had, and yet would hardly suffer me to escape. But I beeing in such extremity, in the end was happily delivered from their hands, and so I fortuned to come to the house of an old woman that sold wine, called Meroe, who had her tongue sufficiently instructed to flattery: unto whom I opened the causes of my long peregrination and careful travell, and of myne unlucky adventure: and after that I had declared to her such things as then presently came to my remembrance, shee gently entertained mee and made mee good cheere; and by and by being pricked with carnall desire, shee brought me to her own bed chamber; whereas I poore miser the very first night of our lying together did purchase to my selfe this miserable face, and for her lodging I gave to her such apparel as the theeves left to cover me withall.
The I understanding the cause of his miserable estate, sayd unto him, In faith thou art worthy to sustaine the most extreame misery and calamity, which hast defiled and maculated thyne owne body, forsaken thy wife traitorously, and dishonoured thy children, parents, and friends, for the love of a vile harlot and old strumpet. When Socrates heard mee raile against Meroe in such sort, he held up his finger to mee, and as halfe abashed sayd, Peace peace I pray you, and looking about lest any body should heare, I pray you (quoth he) I pray you take heed what you say against so venerable a woman as shee is, lest by your intemperate tongue you catch some harm. Then with resemblance of admiration, What (quoth I) is she so excellent a person as you name her to be? I pray you tell me. Then answered hee, Verily shee is a Magitian, which hath power to rule the heavens, to bringe downe the sky, to beare up the earth, to turne the waters into hills and the hills into running waters, to lift up the terrestrial spirits into the aire, and to pull the gods out of the heavens, to extinguish the planets, and to lighten the deepe darknesse of hell. Then sayd I unto Socrates, Leave off this high and mysticall kinde of talke, and tell the matter in a more plaine and simple fashion. Then answered he, Will you hear one or two, or more of her facts which she hath done, for whereas she enforceth not onely the inhabitants of the countrey here, but also the Indians and the Ethiopians the one and the other, and also the Antictons, to love her in most raging sort, such as are but trifles and chips of her occupation, but I pray you give eare, and I will declare of more greater matters, which shee hath done openly and before the face of all men.