Towards the latter end of this month, September, Charles will begin to recover his perfect health, according to his nativity, which, casting it myself, I am sure is true, and all things hitherto have happened accordingly to the very time that I predicted them.
Astrology, however, against which so much of the satire [in Hudibras] is directed was not more the folly of Puritans than of others. It had in that time a very extensive dominion. Its predictions raised hopes and fears in minds which ought to have rejected it with contempt. In hazardous undertakings care was taken to begin under the influence of a propitious planet; and when the king was prisoner in Carisbrook Castle, an astrologer was consulted what hour would be found most favourable to an escape.
Whenever the word influence occurs in our English poetry, down to comparatively a modern date, there is always more or less remote allusion to the skyey or planetary influences supposed to be exercised by the heavenly bodies upon men.
We speak of a person as jovial, or saturnine, or mercurial. Jovial, as being born under the planet Jupiter or Jove, which was the joyfullest star and the happiest augury of all. A gloomy person was said to be saturnine, as being born under the planet Saturn, who was considered to make those that owned his influence, and were born when he was in the ascendant, grave and stern as himself. Another we call mercurial, that is light-hearted, as those born under the planet Mercury were accounted to be.