« VorigeDoorgaan »
tion, the spirit, vexed at the disappointment, snatched him out of his circle, and carried him from his house in the Minories into a field near Battersea Causeway.
King James, in his Dæmonologia, says: “The art of sorcery consists in divers forms of circles and conjurations rightly joined together, few or more in number according to the number of persons conjurors (always passing the singular number), according to the qualitie of the circle and form of the apparition. Two principal things cannot well in that errand be wanted : holy water (whereby the devil mocks the Papists), and some present of a living thing unto him. There are likewise certain daies and houres that they observe in this purpose. These things being all ready and prepared, circles are made, triangular, quadrangular, round, double, or single, according to the form of the apparition they crave.
But to speake of the diverse formes of the circles, of the innumerable characters and crosses that are within and without, and out-through the same; of the diverse formes of apparitions that the craftie spirit illudes them with, and of all such particulars in that action, I remit it over to many that have busied their heads in describing of the same, as being but curious and altogether unprofitable. And this farre only I touch, that, when the conjured spirit appeares, which will not be while after many circumstances, long prayers and much muttering and murmurings of the conjurers, like a papist prieste despatching a huntting masse-how soone, I say, he appeares, if they have missed one jote of all their rites; or if any of their feete once slyd over the circle, through terror of this fearful apparition, he paies himself at that time, in his owne hand, of that due debt which they ought him and otherwise would have delaied longer to have paied him; I meane, he carries them with him, body and soul.
“If this be not now a just cause to make them weary of these formes of conjuration, I leave it to you to judge upon; considering the longsomeness of the labour, the precise keeping of daies and houres (as I have said), the terribleness of the apparition, and the present peril that they stand in in missing the least circumstance freite that they ought to observe: and, on the other part, the devill is glad to moove them to a plaine and square dealing with them, as I said before.”
“ This," Grose observes, “is a pretty accurate description of this mode of conjuration, styled the circular method; but, with all due respect to his Majesty's learning, square and triangular circles are figures not to be found in Euclid or any of the common writers on geometry. But perhaps King James learnt his mathematics from the same system as Doctor Sacheverell, who, in one of his speeches or sermons, made use of the following simile: They concur like parallel lines, meeting in one common centre.'
The difference between a conjuror, a witch, and an enchanter, according to Minshew, in his Dictionary, is as follows: “The conjurer seemeth by praiers and invocations of God's powerful names, to compel the divell to say or doe what he commandeth him. The witch dealeth rather by a friendly and voluntarie conference or agreement between him and her and the divell or familiar, to have his or her turn served, in lieu or stead of blood or other gift offered unto him, especially of his or her soule. And both these differ from inchanters or sorcerers, because the former two have personal conference with the divell, and the other meddles but with medicines and ceremonial formes of words called charmes, without apparition.”
Reginald Scot, in his Discourse on Devils and Spirits, p. 72, tells us that, with regard to conjurors, “The circles by which they defend themselves are commonly nine foot in breadth, but the eastern magicians must give seven.”
Melton, in his Astrologaster, p. 16, speaking of conjurors, says: “They always observe the time of the moone before they set their figure, and when they have set their figure and spread their circle, first exorcise the wine and water which they sprinkle on their circle, then mumble in an unknown language. Doe they not crosse and exorcise their surplus, their silver wand, gowne, cap, and every instrument they use about their blacke and damnable art ? Nay, they crosse the place whereon they stand, because they thinke the devill hath no power to come to it when they have blest it.”
The following passage occurs in A Strange Horse-Race, by Thomas Dekker, 1613, signat. D. 3: “He darting an eye upon them, able to confound a thousand conjurers in their own circles (though with a wet finger they could fetch up a little divell)."
In Osborne's Advice to his Son, 8vo. Oxf. 1656, p. 100, speaking of the soldiery, that author says: “They, like the spirits of conjurors, do oftentimes teare their masters and raisers in pieces, for want of other imployment.”!
I find Lubrican to have been the name of one of these spirits thus raised ; in the second part of Dekker's Honest Whore, 1630, is the following:
As for your Irish Lubrican, that spirit
Then any tyrant's soule."
“I'll be no pander to him; and if I finde
Any loose Lubrick 'scapes in him, I'll watch him,
And, at my return, protest I'll shew you all.” The old vulgar ceremonies used in raising the devil, such as making a circle with chalk, setting an old hat in the centre of it, repeating the Lord's Prayer backward, &c. &c., are now altogether obsolete, and seem to be forgotten even amongst our boys.
Mason, in his Anatomie of Sorcerie, 1612, p. 86, ridicules “Inchanters and charmers—they, which by using of certaine conceited words, characters, circles, amulets, and such-like vaine and wicked trumpery (by God's permission) dve worke great
marvailes : : as namely in causing of sicknesse, as also in curing diseases in men's bodies. And likewise binding some, that they cannot use their naturall powers and faculties, as we see in night-spells ; insomuch as some of them doe take in hand to bind the divell himselfe by their inchantments." The following spell is from Herrick's Hesperides,
“ Holy water come and bring;
Cast in salt for seasoning;
["D-n that old firelock, what a clatter he makes ; curse him, he 'll never be a conjurer for he wa'nt born dumb.”—History of Jack Connor, 1752, i. 233.]
Sacred spittle bring ye hither ;
Far from hence the evill sprite." The subsequent will not be thought an unpleasant comment on the popular creed concerning spirits and haunted houses. It is taken from a scene in Mr. Addison's wellknown comedy of the Drummer, or the Haunted House : the gardener, butler, and coachman of the family, are the dramatis personæ.
“ Gardn. Prithee, John, what sort of a creature is a conjurer?
Butl. Why he's made much as other men are, if it was not for his long grey beard.—His beard is at least half a yard long ; he's dressed in a strange dark cloke, as black as a coal. He has a long white wand in his hand.
Coachm. I fancy ’tis made out of witch elm.
Gardn. I warrant you if the ghost appears he'll whisk you that wand before his eyes, and strike you the drum-stick out of his hand.
Butl. No; the wand, look ye, is to make a circle ; and if he once gets the ghost in a circle, then he has him. A circle, you must know, is a conjurer's trap.
Coachm. But what will he do with him when he has him there?
Butl. Why then he'll overpower him with his learning.
Gardn. If he can once compass him, and get him in Lob's pound, he'll make nothing of him, but speak a few hard words to him, and perhaps bind him over to his good behaviour for a thousand years.
Coachm. Ay, ay, he'll send bim packing to his grave again with a flea in his ear, I warrant him.
Butl. But if the conjurer be but well paid, he'll take pains upon the ghost and lay him, look ye, in the Red Sea-and then he's laid for ever.
Gardn. Why, John, there must be a power of spirits in that same Red Sea. I warrant ye they are as plenty as fish. I wish the spirit may not carry off a corner of the house with
Butl. As for that, Peter, you may be sure that the steward has made his bargain with the cunning man beforehand, that he shall stand to all costs and damages."
Another mode of consulting spirits was by the berryl, by means of a speculator or seer, who, to have a complete sight, ought to be a pure virgin, a youth who had not known woman, or at least a person of irreproachable life and purity of man
The method of such consultation is this : the coujuror, having repeated the necessary charms and adjurations, with the Litany, or invocation peculiar to the spirits or angels he wishes to call (for every one has his particular form), the seer looks into a crystal or berryl, wherein he will see the answer, represented either by types or figures : and sometimes, though very rarely, will hear the angels or spirits speak articulately. Their pronunciation is, as Lilly says, like the Irish, much in the throat.
In Lodge's Devils Incarnat of this Age, 1596, in the epistle to the reader, are the following quaint allusions to sorcerers and magicians : "Buy therefore this Christall, and you shall see them in their common appearance : and read these exorcismes advisedly, and you may be sure to conjure them without crossings : but if any man long for a familiar for false dice, a spirit to tell fortunes, a charme to heale disease, this only book can best fit him.” Vallancey, in his Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis, No. xiii. 17, says: “In the Highlands of Scotland a large chrystal, of a figure somewhat oval, was kept by the priests to work charms by; water poured upon it at this day is given to cattle against diseases : these stones are now preserved by the oldest and most superstitious in the country (Shawe). They were once common in Ireland. I am informed the Earl of Tyrone is in possession of a very fine one." In Andrews's Continuation of Henry's History of Great Britain, p. 388, we read: "The conjurations of Dr. Dee having induced his familiar spirit to visit a kind of talisman, Kelly (a brother adventurer) was appointed to watch and describe his gestures.” The dark shining stone used by these impostors was in the Strawberry Hill collection. It appeared like a polished piece of cannel coal. To this Butler refers when he writes :
“ Kelly did all his feats upon
The devil's looking-glass, a stone."