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p. 264, speaking of the shrine of St. Alban, which contained the reliques of that martyr, "made of beaten gold and silver and enriched with gems and sculpture," says: "The gems were taken from the treasury, one excepted, which, being of singular use to parturient women, was left out. This was no other than the famous æetites or eagle-stone, in most superstitious repute from the days of Pliny (lib. xxxvi. c. 21) to that of Abbot Geffry, refounder of the shrine." "We may add here," he continues, "another superstition in respect to this animal. It was believed by some old writers to have a stone in its head, fraught with great virtues, medical and magical. It was distinguished by the name of the reptile, and called the Toad-stone, Bufonites, Crapaudine, Krottenstein (Boet. de Boot de Lap. et Gem. 301, 303); but all its fancied powers vanished on the discovery of its being nothing but the fossile tooth of the sea-wolf, or some other flat-toothed fish, not unfrequent in our island, as well as several other countries." To this toad-stone Shakespeare alludes in the following beautiful simile:
"Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Steevens, in his note upon this passage, says that Thomas Lupton, in his first Book of Notable Things, bears repeated testimony to the virtues of the tode-stone called crapaudina. In his seventh book he instructs how to procure it, and afterwards tells us : "You shall knowe whether the tode-stone be the ryght and perfect stone or not. Holde the stone before a tode, so that he may see it; and, if it be a right and true stone, the tode will leape towarde it, and make as though he would snatch it. He envieth so much that man should have that stone." In Lluellin's Poems, 8vo. Lond. 1679, p. 85, are the following lines on this subject:
"Now, as the worst things have some things of stead,
The author of the Gentle Shepherd (a beautiful pastoral in the Scottish dialect, that equals perhaps the Idyllia of Theocritus) has made great use of this superstition. He introduces a clown telling the powers of a witch in the following words:
"She can o'ercast the night, and cloud the moon,
At midnight hours o'er the kirkyards she raves,
Rins withershins about the hemlock's low;
Of ony ane she hates; and gars expire
Afterwards she describes the ridiculous opinions of the country people, who never fail to surmise that the commonest natural effects are produced from supernatural causes :
"When last the wind made glaud a roofless barn;
When Mungo's mare stood still and swat with fright,
The old woman, in the subsequent soliloquy, gives us a philosophical account of the people's folly:
"Hard luck, alake! when poverty and eild
That I'm a wretch in compact with auld Nick,
To speak and act aboon their common thought."
This pastoral, unfortunately for its fame, is written in a dialect by no means generally understood. Had Mr. Addison known, or could he have read this, how fine a subject
would it have afforded him on which to have displayed his inimitable talent for criticism!
The subsequent, much to our purpose, is from the Life of Lord Keeper Guildford, p. 129: "It is seldom that a poor old wretch is brought to trial (for witchcraft) but there is at the heels of her a popular rage that does little less than demand her to be put to death; and if a judge is so clear and open as to declare against that impious vulgar opinion, that the devil himself has power to torment and kill innocent children, or that he is pleased to divert himself with the good people's cheese, butter, pigs, and geese, and the like errors of the ignorant and foolish rabble, the countrymen (the triers) cry, this judge hath no religion, for he doth not believe witches,' and so, to show they have some, hang the poor wretches."1
A writer in the Gent. Mag. for March, 1736, vi. 137, says: "The old woman must, by age, be grown very ugly, her face shrivelled, her body doubled, and her voice scarce intelligible: hence her form made her a terror to children, who, if they were affrighted at the poor creature, were immediately said to be bewitched. The mother sends for the parish priest, and the priest for a constable. The imperfect pronunciation of the old woman, and the paralytic nodding of her head, were concluded to be muttering diabolical charms, and using certain magical gestures: these were proved upon her at the next assizes, and she was burnt or hanged as an enemy to mankind."
From a physical manuscript in quarto, of the date of 1475, formerly in the collection of Mr. Herbert, of Cheshunt, now in my library, I transcribe the following charm against witchcraft:-"Here ys a Charme for wyked Wych. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, Amen. Per Virtutem Domini sint medicina mei pia Crux et passio Christi. Vulnera quinque Domini sint medicina mei. Virgo Maria mihi succurre, et defende ab omni maligno demonio, et ab omni maligno spiritu: Amen. agla Tetragrammaton. Alpha. 00.primogenitus, vita, vita. sapiencia, Virtus, Jesus Nazarenus rex judeorum,fili Domini, miserere mei, Amen. Marcus Ma
'See also Pandæmonium, or the Devil's Cloyster; proving the Existence of Witches, &c. 8vo. 1684; and Peck's Desiderata Curiosa, ii. 476.
theus Lucas Johannes mihi succurrite et defendite, Amen. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, hunc N. famulum tuum hoc breve scriptum super se portantem prospere salvet dormiendo, vigilando, potando, et precipue sompniando ab omni maligno demonio, eciam ab omni maligno spiritu."
In Scot's Discovery, p. 160, we have "A Special Charm to preserve all Cattel from Witchcraft.-At Easter, you must take certain drops that lie uppermost of the holy paschal candle, and make a little wax candle thereof; and upon some Sunday morning rathe, light it, and hold it so as it may drop upon and between the horns and ears of the beast, saying, 'În nomine Patris et Filii,' &c., and burn the beast a little between the horns on the ears with the same wax; and that which is left thereof, stick it cross-wise about the stable or stall, or upon the threshold, or over the door, where the cattle use to go in and out: and for all that year your cattle shall never be bewitched."
Pennant tells us, in his Tour in Scotland, that the farmers carefully preserve their cattle against witchcraft by placing boughs of mountain-ash and honeysuckle in their cowhouses on the 2d of May. They hope to preserve the milk of their cows, and their wives from miscarriage, by tying threads about them they bleed the supposed witch to preserve themselves from her charms.
Gaule, as before cited, p. 142, speaking of the preservatives against witchcraft, mentions, as in use among the Papists, "the tolling of a baptized bell, signing with the signe of the crosse, sprinkling with holy water, blessing of oyle, waxe, candles, salt, bread, cheese, garments, weapons, &c., carrying about saints' reliques, with a thousand superstitious fopperies;' and then enumerates those which are used by men of all religions: "1. In seeking to a witch to be holpen against a witch. 2. In using a certain or supposed charme, against an uncertaine or suspected witchcraft. 3. In searching anxiously for the witches signe or token left behinde her in the house under the threshold, in the bed-straw; and to be sure to light upon it, burning every odd ragge, or bone, or feather, that is to be found. 4. In swearing, rayling, threatning, cursing, and banning the witch; as if this were a right way to bewitch the witch from bewitching. 5. In banging and basting, scratching and clawing, to draw blood of the witch. 6. In daring
and defying the witch out of a carnal security and presumptuous temerity."l
The following passage is taken from Stephens's Characters, p. 375: "The torments therefore of hot iron and mercilesse scratching nayles be long thought uppon and much threatned (by the females) before attempted. Meanetime she tolerates defiance thorough the wrathfull spittle of matrons, in stead of fuell, or maintenance to her damnable intentions." He goes on-"Children cannot smile upon her without the hazard of a perpetual wry mouth: a very nobleman's request may be denied more safely than her petitions for butter, milke, and small beere; and a great ladies or queenes name may be lesse doubtfully derided. Her prayers and amen be a charm and a curse: her contemplations and soules delight bee other men's mischiefe: her portion and sutors be her soule and a succubus: her highest adorations be yew-trees, dampish churchyards, and a fayre moonlight: her best preservatives be odde numbers and mightie Tetragramaton."
THE SORCERER, OR MAGICIAN.
A SORCERER or magician, says Grose, differs from a witch in this a witch derives all her power from a compact with the devil: a sorcerer commands him, and the infernal spirits, by his skill in powerful charms and invocations: and also soothes and entices them by fumigations. For the devils are observed to have delicate nostrils, abominating and flying some kinds of stinks: witness the flight of the evil spirit into the remote parts of Egypt, driven by the smell of a fish's liver burned by Tobit. They are also found to be peculiarly fond of certain perfumes: insomuch that Lilly informs us that, one Evans having raised a spirit at the request of Lord Bothwell and Sir Kenelm Digby, and forgotten a suffumiga
1 It was an article in the creed of popular superstition concerning witches to believe "that, when they are in hold, they must leave their DEVIL." See Holiday's old play of the Marriage of the Arts, 4to. 1630, signat. N. 4. "Empescher qu'un sorcier," says M. Thiers, "ne sorte du logis où il est, en mettant des balais à la porte de ce logis." Traité des Superstitions, p. 331.