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the rest of the company that dined with them, the taylor also being present: “ Gentlemen (said he) this gentleman, that sat here at dinner amongst us, is surely Don Sebastian the King of Portugal. I am that countryman and know him well, for I have seen him many times before his departure into Africa to war against the Infidels. All we Portuguese hold it for an assured verity, that he escaped at that time very sore hurt, and that he was seen afterwards in Portugal, from whence he fled, but how or what way we could never yet learn."
The taylor no sooner heard these words, but he went presently and told them to the King. This speech much offended the King, and grieved him not a little; and withal, remembering that Friar Alonso had in his mere simplicity betrayed him: and moreover, considering that the King of Castile's agent was advised that he was in that city, and plotted against him, being in great fear what evil might happen unto him, resolved presently to steal away secretly, without taking leave either of host, con-, fessor, or laylor.
This discourse the taylor himself uttered unto me, with many other particularities, in the temple of St. Silvester, in Verona, confirming the same in his own house afterwards, with the effusion of abundance of tears running down his cheeks and beard, with such zealous lamentation, as he forced me to accompany him in the self-same manner of grieving. He told me also that he remained in his house with him seven months at the least, and was attended on by his daughter, being a fair young maiden: and in all that while he protested the King did not once look directly in her face, commending him for his temperate, affable, and exceeding virtuous behaviour, and that he observed his fasts very severely, praying almost continually: and said farther unto me weeping : “ Father, I fear that prince is much injured : I beseech the Almighty God to preserve him: 0 that it were lawful for me, and for his safety, that I might keep him within my simple habitation, not as he is a prince, but in respect of his bounty and honour: and, if I should happen to die before him, I could leave him sufficient to live on all the days of his life." Trust me the simplicity of this poor old man pleased me exceedingly, and induced me the rather to believe him. He also informed me by what title the senate of Venice called him, and inquired of him if ever he entertained him in his house, and whether his answers to divers interrogatives were true or not, and whether all that he told the lords were true or false? To which he answered justly, and failed not a jot; and he maintained him to be the true King of Portugal, having many reasons so to persuade him : the one was, the confident assertion of the Portuguese gentleman that dined in his company at Ferrara, saying he departed out of Portugal secretly, yet proved by many circumstances: and this old man assisted me much when the senate convened him before them, asking him how long he kept company with him before he came to Ferrara, and whether he were the same man that lodged in his house. Then he kneeled down before his feet, embracing them, and, looking towards the senate, said: This is Don Sebastian, King of Portugal, which lodged in my house, whom afterward I accompanied to Ferrara. And when the King was asked of the judges, whether he knew that old man or no: he answered,
that he had never seen him before this day. At which answer, the old man told me he was more perplexed, than he was with his sudden de: parture from him at Ferrara, and wept most bitterly. I must excuse ihe King for thus confuting the old man before the senate, for that he understood at Venice and Padua, a little after he departed from the presence of the senate, that they had straightly imprisoned and punished ore Monsieur Jeronimo at Venice, for entertaining him in his house, and had punished divers others for doing him the like favour. And the King, fearing that the like rigour might be offered this silly old man, made him disclaim his acquaintance : which the King, upon his return to prison, revealed incontinently to Count Cæsar diartinengo, to Count Charles his brother, and divers others his fellow prisoners
. " And the lords said unto me, they called me to see one John Baptista Sartori de Verona, and asked me if I knew him; and for that I was much bound to this good old man, for many good offices done unto me, and for that I saw it turned them all to displeasure, that did me any good, I answered for his safety, that I knew him not, nor had ever seen him : which the poor old man digests very heavily: and, if any good friend would but deliver this my excuse unto him, I will acknowledge myself much bound to him for that friendly courtesy."
The self-same act, in the like words, a canon of Bresse reported unto me, meeting me in tha: city, accompanying me as far as Lac, happening to speak of the King, and of the opinion that was delivered of them generally that had seen him : that it was thought verily he was Don Sebastian the King most assuredly, not knowing me to be a favourer of his proceedings : telling me that all he knew of the matter, he heard of these counts and gentlemen that were in prison with him, for the space of five months: whereof he recited unto me many particulars: and this canon (as I take it to be) was called De Lone: su after long conference, the night approaching, I took my leave of him, &c.
The King, departing from Ferrara, held on his way to Padua, and being there, he thought it fit he should attend the answer of his letters he sent into Portugal by Marco Tullio Catizzone : his devotion performed to St. Anthony, he determined to go to Venice, where all these things happened unto him, which we have already reported in the former treaties, intitked, Admirable Adventures, &c. as you may read in a letter sent to me from John de Castro ; and in that, which the King wrote to his holiness : where it is at large specified, how he was betrayed into ile hands of the Castilians, by one of his own servants for reward, and so committed to prison. This treacherous varlet, being convinced and reproved by some of the King's friends, that had une derstanding of his perfidious service, being already bought and corrupted with a few pence, following the perjured faction like a masterless curr, fell into the art of slandering, and banding against his royal masier with hot pursuit, and vehement accusations, as sodomy, cousénage
, in prison and abroad. Notwithstanding all this villainy, God, that weighs all men's causes in equal balance, will not suffer his servants ever to quail under the burden of iniquity : the hearing of this cause was committed tu Sir Marco Quirini, which was at that time Sabio de
la terre firme, and at this day is Sabio Grande, one of the four judges, commissioners allotted for this circuit. The said Quirini, reporting to the senate what he had heard concerning his accusations, and what also was testified in his defence, said, “ 'That he not only found this man innocent and guiltless of the crimes laid to his charge, but thought him generally to have lived a harmless life.” This sentence was well approved and allowed by the senators: and as soon as it was published, which was in the beginning of the year 1599, they freed the King from the dungeon where he lay before, and placed him in a more favourable prison, a place of some liberty. You shall read here, after the pains and punishment Don Sebastian, the King my master, endured since his misadventure in Africa, until the day of his manifestation to the world: I beseech you hold me excused, though I satisfy you not so plentifully and so orderly as you expect or desire: It is all I could learn, and it is hard to gather so much in these parts, where the truth hath been so ingeniously laboured to be suppressed and smothered : besides, the great hazard of my person in travelling to obtain this little, assuring you that our hope withers not, but springs daily, to see my Lord Don Sebastian to be as absolute King of Portugal, as it is justly due unto him by the law of God and nations: then shall my ten trample upon the vail of tyranny and oppression, that now so im. periously curbs poor patience and equity.
Seeing God hath hitherto been both his lamp and shield, to lighten and guard him, through so many dark and dangerous ambushments : why should we not be assured that he, that can, hath a purpose to make us rejoice, and wonder as much at his advancement and dignity, as his poor friends and servants are grieved and dismayed with his fall and misery; hoping all Christian, magnificent, and majestical princes will join in intercession to the Almighty, to restore my poor, yet princely master, from his woeful imprisonment, to bis crown and liberty.
NOW it is requisite, that I report unto you somewhat concerning the ring, that hath been so famous throughout the world, and of the rare virtues it was esteemed for; and so proceed to handle other matters, whercof some make for his purpose, and others as much for his hinderance.
You have heard, gentle reader, of one that shewed this King a ring, &c. thus it happened: As soon as he was come to Venice, there was a warning given to the goldsmiths, both by himself and some other of his friends, that he was robbed of certain pieces of gold and jewels at Rome; then he gave them the marks and tokens, desiring them, that if any such came into their hands by chance, they would make stay of them, until he, or some for him, came to challenge them. Not long after, a goldsmith lighted upon a ring of gold, whereon was engraven the arms of Portugal, which ring he presently brought to Monsieur Jeronimo, of whom you have read before, an inhabitant of the same town, who was jointly apprehended with the King for lodging in his house, and was not delivered until five hours after the King was set at liberty. Jeronimo took the ring, and brought it secretly to the King, lodging privily in his house. As soon as the King beheld the ring, he said, This ring is none of mine, but belongs to Don Antonio, my cousin. This relation I had from Jeronimo himself, at Venice, in the presence of many witnesses, and how the goldsmith happened to get this ring. In Moran, an island some half league from Venice, there is an Abbot called Capelo, a gentleman of Venice, a grave personage, and of great authority, hearing that the King laid wait for certain jewels that he had lost, hoping thereby to recover some of them, having a diamond in his keeping, with the arms of Portugal, came to the town to the conventicles of St. Francis, called Frari, where the King lay concealed, for that he was pursued by some that meaned him no good; who no sooner beheld the ring, but he said, verily this is mine; and I either lost the same in Flanders, or else it was stolen from me. And, when the King had put it upon his finger, it appeared otherwise engraven than before. The abbot enquiring of him that brought him the ring, how he came by it? He answered, it is true that the King hath said. There hence arose a strange rumour of a ring, that, by tuming the stone, you might discern three great letters engraven, S. R. P. that is as much to say, Sebastianus Rex Portugalliæ. Ignorant people, not conceiving aright of the thing, raised thereupon such rumours, as their own imaginations could gatber; and at all times, so often as the abbot shewed the ring to the King, he had many witnesses to testify the same. I sojourned three weeks in the same isle, very near the abbot's house, after this had passed.
To the second point: although the King was lean and weak, by reason of his travel and troubles, as it is like he could not be so strong and puissant as he was when he reigned in Portugal, being there full-fed and corpulent; yet in Padua, in the house of Don Prospero Baracco, he was seen to lift up two 'men at once with great i..cility, one of which was called Pasquino Morosini, the other Bernardino Santi; both these together, putting his arm between their legs, he heaved from the ground, without straining or wrenching, in the view of many. He did the like in the isle of Moran to two others, the one called 'Jeronimo Calegari, the other Pasquilino Calegari, and there was present the archbishop of Spalato, at the like performance of his puissance, with other men of quality; and this Pasquilino was a man both tall and corpulent. A Venetian gentleman, of the house wherein the King was prisoner, oftentimes took occasion to scoff at the King, saying, it was impossible he should be the person he reported himself to be, with other jearing frumps; whereto the King said earnestly, Sir, I pray you tell me the reason of your incredulity, and whereupon it is grounded; and Moliner answered, because I have heard it often reported, that the King, Don Sebastian, was a lusty strong man, of power to pull a horse-shoe in sunder with his hands, and able to tire six horses in an hour; and you are but a spare, poor, meager shrimp, and a gristle in respect of such a one, and scarcely able to tear four cards asunder, if they be well joined together, nor like to tire one horse in an hour. Well, said the King, if force will prove me to be Don Sebastian, &c. and the matter rest only upon that, it may be, that one day I may satisfy you in that point. So long this gallant continued in his former jearing and railing, that, one day above the rest, he moved the King's patience, and made him angry, and constrained him to shew him by the force of his hands, that he was Don Sebastian, &c. and made himn confess the same; for, being in a rage, he came upon him directly, and took bim by the girdle with his right-hand, and, heaving him higher than his head, carried him round about the prison in that manner, to the great admiration of all that beheld it; and this gentleman, never after, durst abuse him any more, but used him with the honour and reverence that was due unto him. In like manner, he took up in the same prison, by the girdle, one Gasparo Turloni, a gentleman of Venice, with his right-hand, and Baptista Marsoto with his left-hand, and lifted them both up from the ground at one time. He also, in the same prison, took up, putting his arm between their legs, two other gentlemen, one very gross and corpulent, namely Messier Lucio de Messine, and Alexander de Alexandria, and lifted them of a good height; the opportunity of this gentleman made him do it in prison; and at Padua, and at Moran, he was disposed to shew his force, to pleasure his friends thereby. That, which was spoken before of the ring, and of his forces, were the two things I thought necessary first to give you notice of,
To add to the two first two others; In Venice there is a rich and an honorable merchant, who, hearing of this King, what marks and tokens he had on his body, and what he had said and done, took occasion to go to him, and made means to deserve his love and amity, by the performance of many kind offices towards him. This merchant was a Piedmontese by nation, by name called Monsieur John Bassaņesse, and his mother, being a widow, married after to one Bartholomæo Verneti, a Piedmontese born also, who often used to check and reprove his son-in-law for going so much to the King, saying, he was an impostor and a counterfeit ; and his son-in-law boldly defended the King, by all the means and reasons he could deviše. During this contention betwist the father and the son-in-law, the old man said, come hither, hear me: Emanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, sent an ambassador to Don Sebastian, King of Portugal, his nephew, son to his cousin german, which ambassador brought him a present, and returned back again from the said King with an answer, and another present from the King to the duke; the ambassador's name was Dominico Belli, whose servant I was at that very instant, by means whereof I saw, and was privy to all the parcels, and placed them myself in the casket, and likewise saw advisedly what was returned from the King. Now, sir, if you can persuade that man, that says he is Don Sebastian, &c. to tell me what parcels those were, that were sent to and fro, directly, you shall bring me to be of your mind, and to confess, that he is the very same man he nominates himself to be. John Bassanesse hearing these words, bethought himself which way he might come to have conference with the King, to understand the right of this matter; and, as he was studying how to bring his purpose