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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.”2 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."
3 « The wife of Marshal d'Ancre was apprehended, imprisoned, and be. headed 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 Distinguished 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
And secret wrong on some forspoken wight,
Whereby to vexe the partie day and night.”.
“ 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 less 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 banged 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 28. 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
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 vewitched, 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."
to the town. And why? They could keep her for one shil. ling and sixpence there, and in the gaol she cost them a shilling more.” p. 130.
(WITCHCRAFT.–Our Wick contemporary gives the following recent instance of gross ignorance and credulity : “Not far from Louisburgh there lives a girl who, until a few days ago, was suspected of being a witch. In order to cure her of the witchcraft, a neighbour actually put her into a creed halffilled with wood and shavings, and hung her above a fire, setting the shavings in a blaze. Fortunately for the child and himself she was not injured, and it is said that the gift of sorcery has been taken away from her. At all events, the intelligent neighbours aver that she is not half so witch-like in her appearance since she was singed.” — Inverness Courier. - Times, Dec. 8, 1845.]
In ancient times even the pleasures of the chase were checked by the superstitions concerning witchcraft. Thus, in Scot's Discovery, p. 152: “That never hunters nor their dogs may be bewitched, they cleave an oaken branch, and both they and their dogs pass over it.”
Warner, in his Topographical Remarks relating to the South-western Parts of Hampshire, 1793, i. 241, mentioning Mary Dore, the "parochial witch of Beaulieu," who died about half a century since, says : “Her spells were chiefly used for purposes of self-extrication in situations of danger; and I have conversed with a rustic whose father had seen the old lady convert herself more than once into the form of a hare, or cat, when likely to be apprehended in wood-stealing, to which she was somewhat addicted.” Butler, in his Hudibras, II. iii. 149, says, speaking of the witch-finder, that of witches some be hanged
-" for putting knavish tricks Upon green geese and turkey-chicks, Or pigs that suddenly diseas'd
Of griefs unnat'ral, as he guess'd.” Henry, in his History of Great Britain, i. 99, mentions Pomponius Mela as describing a Druidical nunnery, which,
situated in an island in the British sea, and contained nine of these venerable vestals, who pretended that they could raise storms and tempests by their incantations,
could cure the most incurable diseases, could transform themselves into all kinds of animals, and foresee future events."
For another superstitious notion relating to the enchantment of witchcraft, see Lupton's First Book of Notable Things, 1660, p. 20, No. 82. See also Guil. Varignana, and Arnoldus de Villa Nova.
In vexing the parties troubled, witches are visible to them only; sometimes such parties act on the defensive against them, striking at them with a knife, &c.
Preventives, according to the popular belief, are scratching or pricking a witch; taking the wall of her in a town or street, and the right hand of her in a lane or field; while passing her, by clenching both hands, doubling the thumbs beneath the fingers ; and also by saluting her with civil words before she speaks ; but no presents of apples, eggs, or other things must be received from her on any account.
It was a part of the system of witchcraft that drawing blood from a witch rendered her enchantments ineffectual, as appears from the following authorities : In Glanville's Account of the Dæmon of Tedworth, speaking of a boy that was bewitched, he says : “ The boy drew towards Jane Brooks, the woman who had bewitched him, who was behind her two sisters, and put his hand upon her, which bis father perceiving, immediately scratched her face and drew blood from her. The youth then cried out that he was well.” Blow at Modern Sadducism, 12mo. 1668, p. 148. In the First Part of Shakespeare's Henry the Sixth, act i. sc. 5, Talbot says to the Pucelle d'Orleans,
.“ I'll have a bout with thee; Devil, or devil's dam, I'll conjure thee :
Blood will I draw on thee, thou art a witch.” Thus also in Butler's Hudibras :
“Till drawing blood o' the dames like witches,
They're forthwith cur'd of their capriches.” And again, in Cleveland's Rebel Scot:
“ Scots are like witches; do but whet your pen,
Scratch till the blood come, they'll not hurt you then." This curious doctrine is very fully investigated in Hathaway's trial, published in the State Trials. The following passage is in Arise Evan's Echo to the Voice from Heaven,