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and worn by the boy. We have not heard of the result, which is not at all wonderful, considering the extreme improbability of there being any result at all. We talk of the dark ages, of alchemy and sorcery, but really, on hearing such narrations as these, one begins to doubt whether we are much more enlightened in this our day."-Yorkshireman, 1846-7. A similar instance, which occurred about fourteen years since, has been furnished to the publisher by Mr. R. Bond, of Gloucester: "The epilepsy had enervated the mental faculties of an individual moving in a respectable sphere, in such a degree as to partially incapacitate him from directing his own affairs, and numerous were the recipes, the gratuitous offerings of friends, that were ineffectually resorted to by him. At length, however, he was told of 'what would certainly be an infallible cure, for in no instance had it failed;' it was to personally collect thirty pence, from as many respectable matrons, and to deliver them into the hands of a silversmith, who in consideration thereof would supply him with a ring, wrought out of half-a-crown, which he was to wear on one of his fingers, and the complaint would immediately forsake him! This advice he followed, and for three or four years the ring ornamented (if I may so express it) his fifth, or little finger, notwithstanding the frequent relapses he experienced during that time were sufficient to convince a less ardent mind than his, that the fits were proofs against its influence. Finally, whilst suffering from a last visitation of that distressing malady, he expired, though wearing the ring-thus exemplifying a striking memento of the absurdity of the means he had had recourse to."]!
A stone not altogether unsimilar was the turquoise. "The turkeys," says Fenton, in his Secrete Wonders of Nature, 4to. 1569, b. 1. p. 51, b, "doth move when there is any peril prepared to him that weareth it."
The turquoise (by Nicols in his Lapidary) is likewise said to take away all enmity, and to reconcile man and wife. Other superstitious qualities are imputed to it, all of which were either monitory or preservative to the wearer.
Holinshed, speaking of the death of King John, says: "And when the king suspected them (the pears) to be poisoned indeed, by reason that such precious stones as he had about See also vol. i. pages 150-1.
him cast forth a certain sweat, as it were bewraeing the poison," &c.
The atites, or eagle stone, has been more than once mentioned as a charm of singular use to parturient women. Levinus Lemnius says: "It makes women that are slippery able to conceive, being bound to the wrist of the left arm, by which from the heart toward the ring finger, next to the little finger, an artery runs; and if all the time the woman is great with child this jewel be worn on those parts, it strengthens the child, and there is no fear of abortion or miscarrying." English Transl. fol. 1658, p. 270. Ibid. p. 391: “So coral, piony, misseltoe, drive away the falling sicknesse, either hung about the neck or drank with wine... Rosemary purgeth houses, and a branch of this hung at the entrance of houses drives away devills and contagions of the plague; as also ricinus, commonly called palma christi, because the leaves are like a hand opened wide. Corall bound to the neck takes off turbulent dreams and allays the nightly fears of children. Other jewels drive away hobgoblins, witches, nightmares, and other evil spirits, if we will believe the monuments of the ancients." This superstition is treated with great pleasantry in Lluellin's Poems, 1679, p. 36:
"Some the night-mare hath prest
With that weight on their brest,
We can take off her saddle,
And turn out the night-mare to grasse."
The following is the ingenious emendation of the reading in
a passage in King Lear, act ii. sc. 5, by Dr. Farmer: "Saint Withold footed thrice the oles,
He met the night-mare and her nine foles."
Oles is a provincial corruption of wolds, or olds. "That your stables may bee alwaies free from the queene of the goblins," is deprecated in Holiday's Marriage of the Arts, 4to. Herrick has the following in his Hesperides, p. 336, a charm for stables:
In the collection entitled Sylva, or the Wood, 1786, p. 130, two or three curious instances of rustic vulgar charms are found: such as wearing a sprig of elder in the breeches pocket, to prevent what is called losing leather in riding; and curing a lame pig by boring a little hole in his ear, and putting a small peg into it. So Coles, in his Art of Simpling, 1656, p. 68: "It hath been credibly reported to me from severall hands, that if a man take an elder stick, and cut it on both sides so that he preserve the joynt, and put it in his pocket when he rides a journey, he shall never gall." In Richard Flecknoe's Diarium, 1658, p. 65, he mentions:
"How alder-stick in pocket carried
1 It is said in Gerrard's Herbal, (Johnson's edition, p. 1428): "That the Arbor Judæ is thought to be that whereon Judas hanged himself, and not upon the elder-tree, as it is vulgarly said." I am clear that the mushrooms or excrescences of the elder-tree, called Auriculæ Judæ in Latin, and commonly rendered "Jews' eares," ought to be translated Judas' ears, from the popular superstition above mentioned. Coles, in his Adam in Eden, speaking of "Jewes eares," says: "It is called, in Latine, Fungus Sambucinum and Auricula Judæ : some having supposed the elder-tree to be that whereon Judas hanged himself, and that, ever since, these mushroomes, like unto eares, have grown thereon, which I will not persuade you to believe." See also his Introduction to the Knowledge of Plants, p. 40. In Paradoxical Assertions and Philosophical Problems, by R. H., 1669, Second Part, p. 2, is a silly question: "Why Jews are said to stink naturally? Is it because the Jews' ears grow on stinking elder (which tree that fox-headed Judas was falsly supposed to have hanged himself on), and so that natural stink hath been entailed on them and their posterities as it were ex traduce?" In the epilogue to Lilly's Alexander and Campaspe, written in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, a passage is found which implies that elder was given at that time as a token of disgrace: "Laurel for a garland, or ealder for a disgrace." Coles, in his Introduction to the Knowledge of Plants, p. 63, tells us: "That parsley was be
In Blagrave's Supplement to Culpepper's English Physician 1674, p. 62: "It is reported that, if you gently strike a horse that cannot stale with a stick of this elder, and bind some of the leaves to his belly, it will make him stale presently. It is also said, and some persons of good credit have told me (but I never made any experiment of it), that if one ride with two little sticks of elder in his pockets, he shall not fret nor gaul, let the horse go never so hard." The first of these superstitions is again mentioned in Coles's Adam in Eden.
In the Athenian Oracle, iii. 545, is the following relation : "A friend of mine, being lately upon the road a horseback, was extreamly incommoded by loss of leather; which coming to the knowledge of one of his fellow travellers, he over-persuaded him to put two elder sticks into his pocket, which not only eased him of his pain, but secured the remaining portion of posteriours, not yet excoriated, throughout the rest of his journey."
In An Hue and Crie after Cromwell, 4to. Nol-nod, 1649, p. 4, we read:
"Cooke, the recorder, have an elder-tree,
There is a vulgar prejudice that "if boys be beaten with an elder stick, it hinders their growth." In the Anatomie of the Elder, translated from the Latin of Dr. Martin Blochwich, and dedicated to Alexander Pennycuick, of New Hall, late chirurgion-general to the auxiliary Scotch army, by C. de Iryngio, at the camp in Athol, June 30, 1651, 1655, p. 211, is the following: "The common people keep as a great secret in curing wounds, the leaves of the elder which they have gathered the last day of April; which to disappoint the charms of witches, they had affixed to their dores and windows." At p. 207, ibid. there is mentioned an amulet against erysipelas, made of the elder on which the sunn never shined. If the piece betwixt the two knots be hung about the patient's neck, it is much commended. Some cut it in little pieces, and sew
stowed upon those that overcame in the Grecian games, in token of victory." So also Bartholomæus, De Proprietatibus Rerum, lib. xvii. fol. 249: De apio. Somtyme victours had garlondes of it, as Isydore sayth, lib. xvii., Hercules made him fyrste garlondes of this herbe." I find the following in Green's second part of Conny-catching: "Would in a braverie weare parsley in his hat."
it in a knot in a piece of a man's shirt, which seems superstitious." Two instances of its success are recorded. At p. 52, ibid.: "There is likewise set down" against the epilepsia, "a singular amulet, made of the elder growing on a sallow. If, in the month of October, a little before the full moon, you pluck a twig of the elder, and cut the cane that is betwixt two of its knees, or knots, in nine pieces, and these pieces, being bound in a piece of linnen, be in a thread so hung about the neck that they touch the spoon of the heart, or the sword-formed cartilage; and that they may stay more firmly in that place, they are to be bound thereon with a linnen or silken roller wrapped about the body, till the thred break of itself. The thred being broken, and the roller removed, the amulet is not at all to be touched with bare hands, but it ought to be taken hold on by some instrument and buried in a place that nobody may touch it." Ibid. p. 54, we are told: "Some hang a cross made of the elder and sallow, mutually inwrapping one another, about the children's neck."
"The boneshave, a word perhaps nowhere used or understood in Devonshire but in the neighbourhood of Exmoor, means the sciatica; and the Exmorians, when affected therewith, use the following charm to be freed from it: the patient must lie upon his back on the bank of the river or brook of water, with a straight staff by his side, between him and the water; and must have the following words repeated over him, viz.:
As the water runs by the stave
They are not to be persuaded but that this ridiculous form of words seldom fails to give them a perfect cure." See Exmoor Scolding, p. 8, n.
In a receipt in Vicarie's Treasure of Anatomy, 1641, p. 234, the subsequent most curious ingredient, and which must have
Lupton, in his fifth book of Notable Things, edit. 1660, p. 182, says: "Make powder of the flowers of elder, gathered on a Midsummer-day, being before well-dryed, and use a spoonfull thereof in a good draught of borage water, morning and evening, first and last, for the space of a month, and it will make you seem young a great while."