An Hermeticall kinde of life

Roger Crab (c.1616-1680) was a famous vegetarian and hermit. The following snippets, written by the printer, come from the introduction to his book, The English Hermite (1654).

That which is most strange and most to be admired, is his strange reserved and Hermeticall kinde of life, in refusing to eat any sort of flesh, and [he] saith it is a sinne against his body and soul to eat flesh, or to drinke any Beer, Ale, or Wine; his dyet is onely such poore homely foode as his own Rood of ground beareth, as Corne, Bread, and Bran, Hearbs, Roots, Dock-leaves, Mallowes, and Grasse. His drink is water, his aparrell is as meane also, he weares a sackcloth frock, and no band on his neck: and this he saith is out of conscience, and in obedience to that command of Christ.

He is well read in the Scriptures, he hath argued strongly with severall Ministers in the Country, about this and other strange opinions which he holds; but I will not be so tedious to the reader as to mention them all; he approves of civill Magistracy, and is neither for the Levelers, nor Quakers, nor Shakers, nor Ranters, but above Ordinances. He was seven years in the Warres for the Parliament; he is the more to be admired that he is alone in this opinion of eating, which though it be an error, it is an harmelesse error.

One more remarkable thing hee told me: That when hee was in Clarken-well Prison, the 17. of this January, 1654, his Keeper having a prejudice against him, ordered the Prisoners not to let him have bread with his water, and shut him downe in the hole all night. The next morning, being something hungry, walking in the Prison yard, there came a Spanniell which walked after him three or foure turnes, with a peece of bread in his mouth. He looked upon him, and wondered why the Dog walked (as he thought) with a Chip in his mouth. He looked at the Dogge, and it layd downe: and perceiving it was bread, he walked away againe, and the Dog walked after him with it againe, then he stooped, and the Dog layd it downe to his hand, then he tooke and wiped it, and eate it.

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