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fever he will not drive away by medicines, but what is a more certain remedy, having paired his nails, and tied them to a cray-fish, he will turn his back, and, as Deucalion did the stones from which a new progeny of men arose, throw them behind him into the next river."
In Warner's Topographical Remarks relating to the Southwestern Parts of Hampshire, 1793, ii. 131, speaking of the old register of Christchurch, that author tells us: "The same register affords, also, several very curious receipts, or modes of cure, in some singular cases of indisposition: they are apparently of the beginning of the seventeenth century, and couched in the uncouth phraseology of that time. I forbear, however to insert them, from motives of delicacy."
SOME years ago, says the Connoisseur, No. 56, there was publicly advertised among the other extraordinary medicines whose wonderful qualities are daily related in the last page of a newspaper, a most efficacious love powder, by which a despairing lover might create affection in the bosom of the most cruel mistress. Lovers, indeed, have always been fond of enchantment. Shakespeare has represented Othello as accused of winning his Desdemona "by conjuration and mighty magic;" and Theocritus and Virgil have both introduced women into their pastorals, using charms and incanta
"Thou hast practis'd on her with foul charms;
Abus'd her delicate youth with drugs, or minerals
Again, sc. 3:
And again :
Act i. sc. 2.
"She is abus'd, stol'n from me, and corrupted
"I therefore vouch again,
tions to recover the affections of their sweethearts. also, in Gay's Shepherd's Week:
"Strait to the 'pothecary's shop I went,
And in love powder all my money spent ;
Newton, in his Tryall of a Man's owne Selfe, 1602, p. 116, inquires, under Breaches of the Seventh Commandment, "Whether by any secret sleight, or cunning, as drinkes, drugges, medicines, charmed potions, amatorious philters, figures, characters, or any such like paltering instruments, devises, or practices, thou hast gone about to procure others to doate for love of thee."
Dr. Ferrand, in his Love Melancholy, 1640, p. 176, tells us: "We have sometimes among our silly wenches some that, out of a foolish curiosity they have, must needs be putting in practice some of those feats that they have received by tradition from their mother, perhaps, or nurse, and so, not thinking forsooth to doe any harme, as they hope, they paganize it to their own damnation. For it is most certain that botanomancy, which is done by the noise or crackling that kneeholme, box, or bay-leaves make when they are crushed betwixt one's hands, or cast into the fire, was of old in use among the Pagans, who were wont to bruise poppy flowres betwixt their hands, by this means thinking to know their loves; and for this cause Theocritus cals this hearb Tηλipiλov, quasi Anλipiλov, as if we should say tel-love." In the same work, p. 310, Dr. Ferrand, speaking of the ancient love charmes, characters, amulets, or such like periapses, says, they are "such as no Christian physitian ought to use; notwithstanding that the common people doe to this day too superstitiously believe and put in practice many of these paganish devices."
In the Character of a Quack Astrologer, 1673, we are told: "He trappans a young heiress to run away with a footman, by perswading a young girl 'tis her destiny; and sells the old and ugly philtres and love-powder to procure them sweetharts."
An early instance of the use of love powder may be read in
one of the chapters of Froissart's Chronicle, in his account of Gaston Phoebus, Count of Foix, whose son Gaston received a bag of powder from his uncle, Charles the Bad, with direction to sprinkle a small quantity over anything which his father might eat, the effect of which would be to restore his father's affection for Gaston's mother, who was at that time parted from her husband, and resident at Charles the Bad's court. Charles the Bad intended to have poisoned Gaston. Werenfels, p. 6, says: "Whenever the superstitious person is in love, he will complain that tempting powder has been given him.”
The unfortunate Miss Blandy, who was executed many years ago for poisoning her father, persisted to the last in affirming that she thought the powder which her villainous lover, Cranston, sent her to administer to him was a love pow der, which was to conciliate her father's affection to the captain. She met her death with this asseveration; and I presume that those who have considered the wonderful power of superstition, added to the fascination of love, will be half persuaded to believe that she did not go out of the world with a lie in her mouth. Her dying request, too, to be buried close to her father, appears to me a corroborating proof that though she was certainly the cause of his premature death, and underwent the judgment of the law for the same, (which can take no cognizance for such excuses for so horrid a crime as parricide,) yet she was not, in the blackest sense of the word, his wilful murderess.
Andrews in his Continuation of Dr. Henry's History of Great Britain, 4to. p. 178, speaking of the profligate Bothwell, says, in a note: "It seems strange that an author so respectable as Mr. Guthrie should allow any credit to the asseverations in a will in which the testator affirms, that as he had from his youth addicted himself much to the art of enchantment at Paris and elsewhere, he had bewitched the queen (Mary) to fall in love with him.''
In the Comical Pilgrim's Pilgrimage into Ireland, 1723, p. 97, we read: "They often used philtres. The spark that's resolved to sacrifice his youth and vigour on a damsel, whose coyness will not accept of his love oblations, he threads a needle with the hair of her head, and then running it through the most fleshy part of a dead man, as the brawn of the arms, thigh, or the calf of the leg, the charm has that virtue
in it, as to make her run mad for him whom she so lately slighted."
The following is copied from the Gent. Mag. for Jan. 1731, i. 30: "A man at a village near Mortagne, in France, had been long ill of a distemper which puzzled the physicians: his wife believed he was bewitched, and consulted a pretended ♦ conjurer, who shewed her the wizard (her husband's uncle) in a glass of water, and told her that, to oblige him to withdraw the charm, they must beat him and burn the soles of his feet. On her return she sent for the uncle, and with the assistance of her relations beat him unmercifully, and burnt the soles of his feet and the crown of his head in such a manner that in two days after he died. The woman and her accomplices were seized. She owned the fact, and said, that if it was to do again, she would do it. This happened in December last." In the same Magazine, for August, 1731, p. 358, we read, that "the Tournelle condemned the woman to be hanged" for the above fact, but that "great interest was making to get her sentence commuted, the fact proceeding from conjugal affection."
In the comedy entitled the Mock Marriage, 1696, some love charms occur to cause a person to dream of his lover. "Hide some dazy-roots under your pillow, and hang your shoes out of the window." The following is found in Herrick's Hesperides, p. 245: "A charme, or an allay, for love:
'If so be a toad be laid
In a sheep-skin newly flaid,
And that ty'd to man, 'twill sever
Him and his affections ever." "
See other curious love-charms in Halliwell's Popular Rhymes, pp. 215-20.
SIR THOMAS BROWNE, in his Quincunx artificially considered, p. 111, mentions a rural charm against dodder, tetter, and strangling weeds, by placing a chalked tile at the four corners, and one in the middle of the fields, which, though ridiculous in the intention, was rational in the contrivance,
and a good way to diffuse the magic through all parts of the area. The following rural charms are found in a collection entitled, Wit a sporting in a pleasant Grove of New Fancies, Svo. Lond. 1657, p. 78. They also occur in Herrick's Hesperides, p. 383:
Some older charms, however, are to be found in Bale's Interlude concerning the Laws of Nature, Moses, and Christ, 4to. 1562. Idolatry says:
"With blessynges of Saynt Germayne
Take me a napkyn folte
No better thynge can be:
The superstition of holding the poker before the fire to drive away the witch has been already noticed. Whatever may be the reason, it is a certain fact that setting up a poker before a fire has a wonderful effect in causing it to burn.