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They swordes enchaunt, and horses strong,
and flesh of men they make So harde and tough, that they ne care what
blowes or cuttes they take ; And, using Necromancie thus, themselves
they safely keepe, From bowes or guns, and from the wolves
their cattel, () lambes, and sheepe : No journey also they doe take, but Charmes
they with them beare ; Besides, in glistering glasses fayre, or else
in christall cleare, They Sprightes enclose ; and as to Prophets
true, so to the same They go, if any thing be stolne, or any
taken lame, And when theyr kine doe give no milke,
or hurt, or bitten sore, Or any other harme that to these wretches
happens more. In Bale's “ Interlude concerning Nature, Moses, and Christ,” 4to. 1562, signat. Cib, Idolatry is described with the following qua.
“ Theyr wells I can up drye,
Cause trees and herbes to dye,
Whereas men doth me move :
And do but cast my glove.
No man therwyth dyseased." Dr. Henry, in his “ History of Great Britain," vol. i. p. 286, says, “When the minds of men are baunted with Dreams of Charms and Enchantments, they are apt to fancy that the most common occurrences in Nature are the effects of magical arts." (9)
Camden, in his “ Ancient and Modern Manners of the Irish," tells us,
They think women have Charms divided and distributed among them; and to them persons apply according to their several disorders, and they constantly begin and end the Charm with Pater Noster and Ave Maria." See Gough's edition of the “ Britannia," 1789, vol. iii.
“ Mennes fortunes she can tell;
Yea, and fatche the Devyll from Hell.”
Many sutelties contryve :
That they shall never thryve.”
Mason, in the “ Anatomie of Sorcerie," 4to. Lond. 1612, p. 62, says, “ The word CHARME is derived of the Latin word Carmen, the letter h being put in.” (8)
Avicen, to prove that there are Charms, affirms that all material substances are subject to the human soul, properly disposed and exalted above matter. Dict. Cur. p. 144.
NOTES TO CHARMS.
(1) In the “ Statistical Account of Scot- (3) In the “ Athenian Oracle," vol. ii. land,” vol. xvi. 8vo. Edinb. 1795, p. 122, p. 421, a Charm is defined to be “ a form of parish of Killearn, county of Stirling, we read, words or letters, repeated or written, whereby To A certain quantity of cow-dung is forced strange things are pretended to be done, beinto the mouth of a Calf immediately after yond the ordinary power of Nature." it is calved, or at least before it receives any Andrews, in his continuation of Dr. Henry's meat; owing to this, the vulgar believe that “ History of Great Britain," p. 383, quoting Witches and Fairies can have no power ever Scot's “ Discovery of Witchcraft," says: after to injure the calf. But these and such- “ The stories wbich our facetious author relike superstitious customs are every day more lates of ridiculous Charms, which by help of and more losing their influence.”
credulity operated wonders, are extremely (2) Sir Thomas Browne tells us, that to laughable. In one of them a poor woman is sit cross-legged, or with our fingers pectinated commemorated who cured all diseases by or shut together, is accounted bad, and friends muttering a certain form of words over the will persuade us from it. The same conceit party afflicted; for which service she always religiously possessed the ancients, as is ob- received one penny and a loaf of bread. At servable from Pliny, “Poplites alternis geni- length, terrified by menaces of flames both in bus imponere nefas olimn;" and also from this world and the next, she owned that her Athenæus that it was an old venificious prac- whole conjuration consisted in these potent tice; and Juno is made in this posture to lines, which she always repeated in a low hinder the delivery of Alcmæna. See Bourne voice near the head of her patient: and Brand's “ Popular Antiquities,” p. 95.
Thy loaf in my hand, Mr. Park, in his copy of that work, has in
And thy penny in my purse, serted the following Note: “ To sit cross- Thou art never the betterlegged I have always understood was in
And I-am never the worse." tended to produce good or fortunate consequences. Hence it was employed as a Charm In “ The Works of John Heiwood, newlie at school by one boy who wished well for imprinted,” &c. 4to. Lond. 1598, signat. c 2, another, in order to deprecate some punish- | I find the following Charm : ment which both might tremble to have incurred the expectation of. At a Card-table
“I claw'd her by the backe in way of a I have also caught some superstitious players
Charme, sitting cross-legged with a view of bringing
To do me not the more good, but the lesse good luck."
See how old beldams expiations make : cross-legged, spitting three times, east, south, To atone the Gods the Bantling up they west; and afterwards prefers his vallor to
a catechising office. In the name of God, His lips are wet with lustral spittle; thus quoth he, what art thou? whence dost thou They think to make the Gods propitious. come ? &c., seeing something that he supposed
to be a Ghost. Spitting, according to Pliny, was supersti- Fishwomen generally spit upon their handtiously observed in averting Witchcraft and in sel, i. e. the first money they take, (5) for giving a shrewder blow to an enemy. Hence good luck. Grose mentions this as a comseems to be” derived the custom our Bruisers
mon practice among the lower class of huckhave of spitting in their hands before they sters, pedlers, and dealers in fruit or fish, begin their barbarous diversion, unless it was on receiving the price of the first goods they originally done for luck's sake. Several other vestiges of this superstition, relative to fasting I gather from a collection of the ancient Spittle, (3) mentioned also by Pliny, may yet religious customs in North Wales, drawn up be placed among our vulgar customs.
by a clergyman deceased, and which has freThe boys in the North of England have a quently been referred to in the former part custom amongst themselves of spitting their of this work as Mr. Pennant's Manuscript, faith (or, as they call it in the northern dia- that there, “in the Church, they usually spit lect,
their Saul,” ise. Soul), when required at the name of the Devil, and smite their to make asseverations in matters which they breasts at the name of Judas. In their orthink of consequence.
dinary conversation the first name gives them In combinations of the Colliers, &c., about no salivation, but is too familiar in their Newcastle-upon-Tyne, for the purpose of rais- mouths." () ing their wages, they are said to spit upon a The following is in Scot's “ Discovery of stone together, by way of cementing their Witchcraft,” p. 137 : “ To heal the King or confederacy. Hence the popular saying, when Queen's Evil, or any other soreness in the persons are of the same party, or agree in throat, first touch the place with the hand of sentiments, that, “ they spit upon the same one that died an untimely death : otherwise stone." (*)
let a virgin fasting lay ber hand on the sore, In “The Life of a Satirical Puppy called and say— Apollo denyeth that the heat of Nim,' &c., 8vo. Lond. 1657, p. 35, I find the plague can increase where a naked virthe following passage: “ One of his guardians gin quencheth it; and spet three times upon (being fortified with an old Charm) marches
NOTES TO SALIVA, OR SPITTING.
() So Potter, in his “Greek Antiquities,” vol. i. p. 346, tells us that among the Greeks “ it was customary to spit three times into their bosoms at the sight of a Madman, or one troubled with an Epilepsy.” He refers to this passage of Theocritus, Idyll. xx. v. 11, for illustration. This, he adds, they did in defiance, as it were, of the Omen; for spitting was a sign of the greatest contempt and aversion : whence, aluare, i. e. to spit, is put for καταφρονείν, εν ουδενί λογίζειν, i.e. to contemn, as the Scholiast of Sophocles observes upon these words, in “ Antigone,' v. 666.
'Αλλα πυσας ώσει δυσμενή.
Spit on him as an enemy.
stetit arcta, Despuit in molles, et sibi quisque sinus." (2) “ This custom of Nurses lustrating the Children by spittle,” says Seward in his “ Con.
formity between Popery and Paganism,” p. 54, with fasting Spittle, and all those effects will
was one of the ceremonies used on the Dies be gone and discussed. Since the qualities Nominalis, the day the child was named; so and effects of Spittle come from the humours, that there can be no doubt of the Papists de (for out of them is it drawn by the faculty of riving this custom from the Heathen nurses nature, as fire draws distilled water from and grandmothers. They have indeed christ hearbs,) the reason may be easily understood ened it, as it were, by flinging in some scrip why Spittle should do such strange things, tural expressions; but then they have carried and destroy some creatures." Secret Mirait to a more filthy extravagance by daubing cles of Nature, English Transl. fol. Lond. it on the nostrils of adults as well as of 1658, p. 164. children."
Sir Thomas Browne, in his “ Vulgar ErPlutarch and Macrobius make the days rors,” p. 152, leaves it undecided whether the of lustration of infants thus : “ The 8th day fasting Spittle of man be poison unto snakes for girls, and the 9th for boys. Gregory Na and vipers, as experience hath made us doubt. zianzen calls this festival Oyojersingsce, because In Browne's “ Map of the Microcosme, upon one of those days the child was named. &c. 12mo. Lond. 1642, signat. B 8 b, speakThe old Grandmother or Aunt moved round in ing of lust, the author says: 6. Fewell also a circle, and rubbed the child's forehead with must bee withdrawne from this fire, fasting spittle, and that with her middle finger, to Spittle must kill this serpent.” preserve it from Witchcraft. It is to this
(1) The following is in “Plaine Percevall foolish custom St. Athanasius alludes, when the Peace Maker of England,” 4to. b. I. no he calls the heresy of Montanus and Priscilla date, but on the well-known subject of Martin ggañv alvopata.” Sheridan's Persius, 2d edit. Mar-Prelate, signat. D 2: “Nay, no further, p. 34, Note.
Martin, thou maist spit in that hole, for I'll It is related by the Arabians that when come no more there." Hassan, the grandson of Mahomet, was born, Park, in his “Travels in the Interior of he spit in his mouth. See Ockley's History Africa,” has the following passage : “ They of the Saracens, vol. ii. p.
had not travelled far before the attendants Park, in his “ Travels into the Interior of insisted upon stopping, to prepare a Saphie or Africa,” speaking of the Mandingoes, says: Charm, to ensure a good journey: this was “ A Child is named when it is seven or eight done by muttering a few sentences, and spitdays old.
The ceremony commences by ting upon a stone which was laid upon the shaving the infant's head. The priest, after a ground. The same ceremony was repeated prayer in which he solicits the blessing of three times, after which the negroes proceeded God upon the child and all the company, with the greatest confidence.” whispers a few sentences in the child's ear, (5) “ It is still customary in the West of and spits three times in his face, after which, England, when the conditions of a bargain are pronouncing his name aloud, he returns the agreed upon, for the parties to ratify it by joinchild to his mother."
ing their hands, and at the same time for the (3) “Fascinationes Saliva jejuna repelli, purchaser to give an earnest." Supplem, to veteri superstitione creditum est." Alex. ab Johnson and Steevens's Shaksp. 1780, vol. ij. Alexandro. Levinus Lemnius tells us :
o Of the Handsel, Misson, in his “ Travels riments show what power and quality there in England," p. 192, observes as follows: is in man's fasting Spittle, when he hath nei “Une espece de Pourvoyeuse me disoit l'auther eat nor drunk before the use of it: for it tre jour, que les Boucheres de Londres, les cures all tetters, itch, scabs, pushes, and Femmes qui apportent de la volaille au creeping sores; and if venemous little beasts marché, du beurre, des æufs, &c. et toutes have fastened on any part of the body, as hor sortes des gens, font un cas particulier de nets, beetles, toads, spiders, and such like, l'argent qu'ils reçoivent de la primiere vente that by their venome cause tumours and great qu'ils font. Ils le baisent en le recevant, crapains and inflammations, do but rub the places chent dessus, et le mettent dans une poche
6 Divers expe
that is to say,
apart:" thus translated by Ozell, p. 130:"A woman that goes much to market cold me t'other day that the Butcher-women of London, those that sell fowls, butter, eggs, &c., and in general most tradespeople, have a particular esteem for what they call a Handsel;
the first money they receive in a morning; they kiss it, spit upon it, and put it in a pocket by itself.”
Lemon explains “ Handsel,” in his Dictionary, “The first Money received at market, which many superstitious people will spit on, either to render it tenacious that it may remain with them, and not vanish away like a fairy gift, or else to render it propitious and lucky, that it may draw more money to it."
(1) In Browne's “ Britannia's Pastorals,” b. i. p. 129, there is an account of the difficulty a blacksmith has to shoe “a stubborne nagge of Galloway:"" “Or unback'd jennet, or a Flaunders mare, That at the forge stand snuffing of the agre; The swarty smith spits in his buckhorne fist, And bids his man bring out the five-fold
twist,"' &c. (8) Scot, ut supra, p. 152, prescribes the subsequent Charm against Witchcraft: “To unbewitch the bewitched, you must spit in the pot where you have made water. Otherwise spit into the shoe of your right foot be
fore you put it on; and that Vairus saith is good and wbolesome to do before you go into any dangerous place." Spitting in the right shoe is in “Monsr. Oufle," p. 282, Notes.
Delrio, in his “ Disquisitiones Magicæ,” lib. vi. c. 2, sect. 1, quæst. 1, mentions the following, which with great propriety he calls “Excogitata nugasissimæ Superstitiones—de iis qui crines pectinando evulsos non nisi ter consputos abjiciunt." i.e. That upon those hairs which come out of the head in combing they spit thrice before they throw them away. This is mentioned also in the “ History of Mons. Oufle," p. 282, Notes.
Grose tells us of a singular superstition in the army, where we shall hope it is not without its use. “ Cagg, to cagg, says he, is a military term used by the private soldiers, signifying a solemn vow or resolution not to get drunk for a certain time, or, as the term is, till their cagg is out; which vow is commonly observed with the strictest exactness. Ex. “I have cagged myself for six months.' * Excuse me this time, and I will cagg myself for a year. This term is also used in the same sense among the common people in Scotland, where it is performed with divers ceremonies.”
Vallancey, in his “ Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis,” No. x. p. 490, tells us that“Cag is an old English word for fasting, or abstaining from meat or drink."
CHARM IN ODD NUMBERS.
In setting a Hen, says Grose, the good wo. sidered as extremely ominous, it being held men hold it an indispensable rule to put an that, when thirteen persons meet in a room, odd number of Eggs.
one of them will die within a year.() All sorts of remedies are directed to be The seventh son of a seventh son is accounted taken three, seven, or nine times. Salutes an infallible doctor.(8) with cannon consist of an odd number. A In a Manuscript on Witchcraft, by John royal salute is thrice seven, or twenty-one Bell, a Scottish minister, 1705, which has been guns.
already quoted more than once, I find the This predilection for Odd Numbers is very following passage, p. 48: “ Are there not some ancient, and is mentioned by Virgil in his who cure by observing number? after the exeighth Eclogue, where many Spells and ample of Balaam, who used magiam geomeCharms, still practised, are recorded : () tricam, Numb. xxiii. 4, ‘Build me here seven but, notwithstanding these opinions in favour altars, and prepare me seven oxen and seven of odd Numbers, the number thirteen is con- rams,' &c. There are some witches who en