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bolical illusion, and to be acted only in a dream. And it is exposed as such by Oldham (Works, 6th edit. p. 254):
" As men in sleep, though motionless they lie,
And think they through the airy regions ride.”! Lord Verulam tells us that “the ointment that witches use is reported to be made of the fat of children digged out of their graves ; of the juices of smallage, wolfbane, and cinquefoil, mingled with the meal of fine wheat ; but I suppose
the soporiferous medicines are likest to do it, which are henbane, hemlock, mandrake, moonshade, or rather nightshade, tobacco, opium, saffron, poplar-leaves, &c.”
There had been about the time of Lord Verulam no small stir concerning witchcraft. “Ben Jonson,” says Dr. Percy, “ has left us a witch song which contains an extract from the various incantations of classic antiquity. Some learned wiseacres had just before busied themselves on this subject, with our British Solomon, James the First, at their head. And these had so ransacked all writers, ancient and modern, and so blended and kneaded together the several superstitions of different times and nations, that those of genuine English growth could no longer be traced out and distinguished.”
The Witch Song in Macbeth is superior to this of Ben Jonson. The metrical incantations in Middleton's Witch are also very
curious. As the play is not much known, the following is given as a specimen of his incantations :
“1 Witch. Here's the blood of a bat.
Put in that, oh put in that.
All. Round, around, around,” &c.? See more authorities in the notes upon Hudibras, III. i. 411-12; Grey's Notes on Shakespeare, ii. 140.
? The witches caldron is thus described by Olaus Magnus : “Olla autem omnium maleficarum commune solet esse instrumentum, quo succos, herbas, vermes, et exta decoquant, atque ea venefica dape ignavos ad vota alliciunt, et instar bullientis ollæ, navium et equitum aut cursorum excitant celeritatem.” Olai Magni Gent. Septentr. Hist. Brevis. p. 96.
At these meetings they have feastings, music, and dancing, the devil himself condescending to play at them on the pipes or cittern. They afterwards proceed at these assemblies to the grossest impurities and immoralities, and it may be added blasphemies, as the devil sometimes preaches to them a mock
Butler has an allusion to something of this kind in Hudibras, III. i. 983:
"And does but tempt them with her riches
To use them as the devil does witches;
For ever may become his vassals." The Sabbath of the witches is supposed to be held on a Saturday; when the devil is by some said to appear in the shape of a goat, about whom several dances and magic ceremonies are performed. Before the assembly breaks up, the witches are all said to have the honour of saluting Satan's posteriors. (See King James's remarks on this subject in his Dæmonology.) Satan is reported to have been so much out of humour at some of these meetings, that, for his diversion, he would beat the witches black and blue with the spits and brooms, the vehicles of their transportation, and play them divers other unlucky tricks. There is a Scottish proverb, “Ye breed of the witches, ye can do nae good to yoursel.”
They afterwards open graves for the purpose of taking out joints of the fingers and toes of dead bodies, with some of the winding-sheet, in order to prepare a powder for their magical purposes. Here also the devil distributes apples, , dishes, spoons, or other trifles, to those witches who desire to torment any particular person, to whom they must present them. Here also, for similar purposes, the devil baptises waxen images. King James, in his Dæmonology, book ii. chap. 5, tells us that “the devil teacheth how to make pictures of wax or clay, that by roasting thereof, the persons that they bear the name of may be continually melted or dried away by continual sickness.”;
| See Servius on the 8th Eclogue of Virgil ; Theocritus, Idyl. ii. 22 ; Hudibras, part II. canto ii. 1. 351. Ovid says :
“ Devovet absentes, simulachraque cerea figit
Et miserum tenues in jecur urget acus.” Heroid. Ep. vi. 1. 91. See also Grafton's Chronicle, p. 587, where it is laid to the charge (among others) of Roger Bolinbrook, a cunning necromancer, and Margery
It appears from Strype's Annals of the Reformation, i. 8, under anno 1558, that Bishop Jewel, preaching before the queen, said : " It may please your grace to understand that witches and sorcerers within these few last years are marvellously increased within your Grace's realm. Your Grace's subjects pine away, even unto the death, their colour fadeth, their flesh rotteth, their speech is benumbed, their senses are bereft. I pray God they never practice further than upon the subject. This,” Strype adds, “I make no doubt was the occasion of bringing in a bill, the next parliament, for making enchantments and witchcraft felony.” One of the bishop's strong expressions is, “ These eyes have seen most evident and manifest marks of their wickedness.”[
Andrews, in his Continuation of Henry's History of Great Britain, 4to. p. 93, tells us, speaking of Ferdinand Earl of Derby, who in the reign of Queen Elizabeth died by poison :
The credulity of the age attributed his death to witchcraft. The disease was odd, and operated as a perpetual emetic; and a waxen image with hair like that of the unfortunate earl, found in his chamber, reduced every suspicion to certainty. Jordane, the cunning witch of Eye, that they, at the request of Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester, had devised an image of wax representing the king (Henry the Sixth), which by their sorcery a little and little consumed; intending thereby in conclusion to waste and destroy the king's person. Shakespeare mentions this, 2 Henry VI. act i. sc. 4.
It appears from the same work, iv. 7, sub anno 1589, that “one Mrs. Dier had practised conjuration against the queen, to work some mischief to her Majesty; for which she was brought into question; and accordingly her words and doings were sent to Popham, the queen's attorney, and Egerton, her solicitor, by Walsingham, the secretary, and Sir Thomas Heneage, her vice-chamberlain, for their judgment, whose opinion was that Mrs. Dier was not within the compass of the statute touching witchcraft, for that she did no act, and spake certain lewd speeches tending to that purpose, but neither set figure nor made pictures.” Ibid. ii. 545, sub anno 1578, Strype says: “Whether it were the effect of magic, or proceeded from some natural cause, but the queen was in some part of this year under excessive anguish by pains of her teeth, insomuch that she took no rest for divers nights, and endured very great torment night and day."
2 « The wife of Marshal d'Ancre was apprehended, imprisoned, and beheaded for a witch, upon a surmise that she had enchanted the queen to dote upon her husband ; and they say the young king's picture was found in her closet, in virgin wax, with one leg melted away. When asked by her judges what spells she had made use of to gain so powerful an ascendency over the queen, she replied, “That ascendency only which strong minds ever gain over weak ones. Seward's Anecdotes of some Distin. guished Persons, &c. iii. 215.
Blagrave, in his Astrological Practice of Physick, p. 89, observes that "the way which the witches usually take for to afflict man or beast in this kind is, as I conceive, done by image or model, made in the likeness of that man or beast they intend to work mischief upon, and by the subtilty of the devil made at such hours and times when it shall work most powerfully upon them by thorn, pin, or needle, pricked into that limb or member of the body afflicted.” This is farther illustrated by a passage in one of Daniel's Sonnets :
“ The slie inchanter, when to work his will
Whereby to vexe the partie day and night.”'
6 Witches which some murther do intend
Doe make a picture and doe shoote at it;
And in that part where they the picture hit,
The parties self doth languish to his end.” Coles, in his Art of Simpling, p. 66, says that witches “take likewise the roots of mandrake, according to some, or as I rather suppose the roots of briony, which simple folke take for the true mandrake, and make thereof an ugly image, by which they represent the person on whom they intend to exercise their witchcraft.” He tells us, ibid. p. 26 : “Some plants have roots with a number of threads, like beards, as mandrakes, whereof witches and impostors make an ugly image, giving it the form of the face at the top of the root, and leave those strings to make a broad beard down to the feet.”
Sometimes witches content themselves with a revenge mortal, causing the objects of their hatred to swallow pins, crooked nails, dirt, cinders, and trash of all sorts ; or by drying up their cows and killing their oxen ; or by preventing butter from coming in the churn, or beer from working: Sometimes, to vex squires, justices, and country parsons, fond of hunting, they change themselves into hares, and elude the speed of the fleetest dogs.
| Son. 10; from Poems and Sonnets annexed to Astrophil and Stella, 4to. 1591.
It was a supposed remedy against witchcraft to put some of the bewitched person's water, with a quantity of pins, needles, and nails, into a bottle, cork them up, and set them before the fire, in order to confine the spirit ; but this sometimes did not prove sufficient, as it would often force the cork out with a loud noise, like that of a pistol, and cast the contents of the bottle to a considerable height. Bewitched persons were said to fall frequently into violent fits and to vomit needles, pins, stones, nails, stubbs, wool, and straw. See Trusler's Hogarth Moralized, art. Medley.
It is related in the Life of Lord Keeper Guildford, p. 131, that, when his lordship was upon the circuit at Taunton Dean, he detected an imposture and conspiracy against an old man charged with having bewitched a girl about thirteen years of age, who, during pretended convulsions, took crooked pins into her mouth, and spit them afterwards into bystanders' hands. “As the judge went down stairs out of the court, an hideous old woman cried God bless your worship ! • What's the matter, good woman ? said the judge. My lord,' said she, 'forty years ago they would have hanged me for a witch, and they could not; and now they would have hanged my poor son.' The first circuit his lordship went westward, Mr. Justice Rainsford, who had gone former circuits there, went with him; and he said that the year
before a witch was brought to Salisbury, and tried before him. Sir James Long came to his chamber and made a heavy complaint of this witch, and said that if she escaped, his estate would not be worth anything, for all the people would go away. It happened that the witch was acquitted, and the knight continued extremely concerned; therefore the judge, to save the poor gentleman's estate, ordered the woman to be kept in gaol, and that the town should allow her 2s. 6d. a week, for which he was very thankful. The very next assizes he came to the judge to desire his lordship would let her come back
I Jorden, in his curious Treatise of the Suffocation of the Mother, 1603, p. 24, says: “Another policie Marcellus Donatus tells us of, which a physition used towardes the Countesse of Mantua, who, being in that disease which we call melancholia hypochondriaca, did verily believe that she was bewitched, and was cured by conveying of nayles, needles, feathers, and such like things into her close-stoole when she took physicke, making her believe that they came out of her bodie,”