Frequencies of Mulct:

The Anatomy of Melancholy Burton, Robert 1621 – 448833 words; 9 occurence(s)

Leviathan Hobbes, Thomas 1651 – 211574 words; 7 occurence(s)

The Ring and the Book Browning, Robert 1869 -165978 words; 6 occurence(s)

Other authors hardly used the word.

Some examples:

Very likely from the soile was the old name Blackmore. By report of this countrey, the change was from a white hart, reserued here from Chase, by expresse will of Hen. III. and afterward killed by Thomas de la Lynd, a Gentleman of these parts. For the offence, a mulct imposed on the possessors of Blackmore (called white-hart siluer) is to this day paid into the Exchequer. The destruction of woods here bewaild by the Muse, is (vpon occasion too often giuen) often seconded: but while the Muse bewailes them, it is Maryas and his country-men, that most want them.

Author and Text

And when once they come to those years, poverty shall hinder no man from marriage, or any other respect, but all shall be rather enforced than hindered, except they be dismembered, or grievously deformed, infirm, or visited with some enormous hereditary disease, in body or mind; in such cases upon a great pain, or mulct, man or woman shall not marry, other order shall be taken for them to their content.

If such voluntary tasks, pleasure and delight, or crabbedness of these studies, will not yet divert their idle thoughts, and alienate their imaginations, they must be compelled, saith Christophorus a Vega, cogi debent, l. 5. c. 14, upon some mulct, if they perform it not, quod ex officio incumbat, loss of credit or disgrace, such as our public University exercises. For, as he that plays for nothing will not heed his game; no more will voluntary employment so thoroughly affect a student, except he be very intent of himself, and take an extraordinary delight in the study, about which he is conversant. It should be of that nature his business, which volens nolens he must necessarily undergo, and without great loss, mulct, shame, or hindrance, he may not omit.

Lodovicus Cortesius, a rich lawyer of Padua (as Bernardinus Scardeonius relates) commanded by his last will, and a great mulct if otherwise to his heir, that no funeral should be kept for him, no man should lament: but as at a wedding, music and minstrels to be provided; and instead of black mourners, he took order, “that twelve virgins clad in green should carry him to the church.”

But, because this course is not generally approved, but rather contradicted as unlawful and abhorred, in most countries they do much encourage them to marriage, give great rewards to such as have many children, and mulct those that will not marry, Jus trium liberorum, and in Agellius, lib. 2. cap. 15. Elian. lib. 6. cap. 5. Valerius, lib. 1. cap. 9. We read that three children freed the father from painful offices, and five from all contribution. “A woman shall be saved by bearing children.”

What mulct, what penance soever is enjoined, they dare not but do it, tumble with St. Francis in the mire amongst hogs, if they be appointed, go woolward, whip themselves, build hospitals, abbeys, &c., go to the East or West Indies, kill a king, or run upon a sword point: they perform all, without any muttering or hesitation, believe all.

Another company are as mild on the other side; to avoid all heart-burning, and contentious wars and uproars, they would have a general toleration in every kingdom, no mulct at all, no man for religion or conscience be put to death, which Thuanus the French historian much favours; our late Socinians defend; Vaticanus against Calvin in a large Treatise in behalf of Servetus, vindicates; Castilio, &c., Martin Ballius and his companions, maintained this opinion not long since in France, whose error is confuted by Beza in a just volume.

Oftentimes, too, to aggravate the rest, concur many other inconveniences, unthankful friends, decayed friends, bad neighbours, negligent servants servi furaces, Versipelles, callidi, occlusa sibi mille clavibus reserant, furtimque; raptant, consumunt, liguriunt; casualties, taxes, mulcts, chargeable offices, vain expenses, entertainments, loss of stock, enmities, emulations, frequent invitations, losses, suretyship, sickness, death of friends, and that which is the gulf of all, improvidence, ill husbandry, disorder and confusion, by which means they are drenched on a sudden in their estates, and at unawares precipitated insensibly into an inextricable labyrinth of debts, cares, woes, want, grief, discontent and melancholy itself.

For the vulgar, restrain them by laws, mulcts, burn their books, forbid their conventicles; for when the cause is taken away, the effect will soon cease.

Author and Text

When the sad tumults of the Maze,
Arrests, suites, and the dreadfull face
Of Seargeants are not seene, and wee
No Lawyers Ruffes, or Gownes must fee:
When all these Mulcts are paid, and I
From thee, deare wit, must part, and dye;
Wee’le beg the world would be so kinde,
To give’s one grave, as wee’de one minde;

There (as the wiser few suspect,
That spirits after death affect)
Our soules shall meet, and thence will they
(Freed from the tyranny of clay)
With equall wings, and ancient love
Into the Elysian fields remove,

Author and Text

Mulct in The Ring and the Book (R. Browning):

And here is the truant priest o' the trio, worst
Or best--each quality being conceivable.
Let us impose a little mulct on each.
We punish youth in state of pupilage
Who talk at hours when youth is bound to sleep,
Whether the prattle turn upon Saint Rose
Or Donna Olimpia of the Vatican:
'T is talk, talked wisely or unwisely talked,
I' the dormitory where to talk at all
Transgresses, and is mulct: as here we mean.
For the wife,--let her betake herself, for rest,
After her run, to a House of Convertites--
Keep there, as good as real imprisonment:
Why I enforced not exhortation mild
To leave whore's-tricks and let my brows alone,
With mulct of comfits, promise of perfume?
"Far from that! No, you took the opposite course,
Breathed threatenings, rage and slaughter!" What you will!
Is the last penny extracted from my purse
To mulct me for demanding the first pound
Was promised in return for value paid?
Ever such tax comes of the foolish youth;
Men mulct the wiser manhood, and suspect
No veritable star swims out of cloud.
Bear thou such imputation, undergo
The penalty I nowise dare relax,--
Conventional chastisement and rebuke.
The inexorable need in man for life
(Life, you may mulct and minish to a grain
Out of the lump, so that the grain but live)
Laughed at your substituting death for life,--
And bade you do your worst: which worst was done
In just that age styled primitive and pure
When Saint this, Saint that, dutifully starved,
Froze, fought with beasts, was beaten and abused
And finally ridded of his flesh by fire:
He kept life-long unspotted from the world!--