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ry's “History of Great Britain,” 4to. p. 178, speaking of the profligate Bothwell, says, in a note: “It seems strange that an author so respectable as Mr. Guthrie should allow any credit to the asseverations in a will in which the testator affirms, that as he had from his youth addicted himself much to the art of enchantment at Paris and elsewhere, he had bewitched the queen (Mary) to fall in love with him,'” &c. &c.
In “The Comical Pilgrim's Pilgrimage
into Ireland," 8vo. Lond. 1723, p. 97, we read : “ They often useil philtres.” spark that's resolved to sacrifice his youth and vigour on a damsel, whose coyness will not accept of his love oblations, he threads a needle with the hair of her head, and then running it through the most fleshy part of a dead man, as the brawn of the arms, thigh, or the calf of the leg, the charm has that virtue in it, as to make her run mad for him whom she so lately slighted."
NOTES TO LOVE CHARMS.
(1)— "Thou hast practis'd on her with foul
Acti. sc. 2. Again, sc. 3: “She is abus'd, stol'n from me, and cor
rupted By spells and medicines bought of moun
tebanks." And again :
" I therefore vouch again, That with some mixtures powerful o'er
the blood, Or with some dram conjur’d to this effect, He wrought upon her." (3) Newton, in his “Tryall of a Man's owne Selfe," 12mo. Lond. 1602, p. 116, enquires, under Breaches of the seventh Commandment, “Whether by any secret sleight, or cunning, as drinkes, drugges, medicines, charmed potions, amatorious philters, figures, characters, or any such like paltering instruments, devises, or practises, thou hast gone about to procure others to doate for love of thee."
Dr. Ferrand, in his “Love Melancholy,'' 8vo. Oxf. 1640, p. 176, tells us: “We have sometimes among our silly wenches some that, out of a foolish curiosity they have, must needs be putting in practice some of those feats that they have received by tradition from their mother, perhaps, or nurse, and so, not
thinking forsooth to doe any harme, as they hope, they paganize it to their own damnation. For it is most certain that Botanomancy, which is done by the noise or crackling that kneeholme, box, or bay-leaves make when they are crushed betwixt one's hands, or cast into the fire, was of old in use among the Pagans, who were wont to bruise poppy flowres betwixt their hands, by this means thinking to know their loves; and for this cause Theocrie tus cals this hearb Tηλιφίλον, quasi Δηλιφιλον, as if we should say Tel-love."
In the same work, p. 310, Dr. Ferrand, speaking of the ancient Love Charmes, Characters, Amulets, or such like Periapses, says, they are “such as no Christian physitian ought to ase; notwithstan:ling that the common people doe to this day too superstitiously believe and put in practice many of these paganish devices.”
In “ The Character of a Quack Astrologer," 4to. 1673, signat. C2, we are told : “ He trappans a young heiress to run away witha footman, by perswading a young girl 'tis her destiny; and sells the old and ugly philtres and love-powder to procure them sweetharts.”
(3) The following is copied from the “Gent. Mag.” for Jan. 1731, vol. i. p:
A man at a village near Mortagne, in France, had been long ill of a distemper which puzzled the physicians : his wife believed he was bewitched, and consulted a pretended conjurer, who shewed her the wizard (her husband's uncle) in a glass of water, and told her that, to oblige him to withdraw the charm, they
must beat him and burn the soles of his feet. On her return she sent for the Uncle, and with the assistance of her relations beat lim unmercifully, and burnt the soles of his feet and the crown of his head in such a manner that in two days after he died. The woman and her accomplices were seized. She owned the fact, and said, if it was to do again, she would do it. This happened in December last.” In the same Magazine, for August, 1731, page 358, we read that “ The Tournelle condemned the woman to he hanged" for the above fact, but that “great interest was making to get her sentence commuted, the fact proceeding from conjugal affection.”
In the Comedy entitled “The Mock Marriage," 4to. Lond. 1696, signat. G, some Love Charms occur to cause a person to dream of his lover. “ Hide some dazy-roots under your pillow, and hang your shoes out of the win. dow."
The following is found in Herrick's “Hesperides," p. 215 :
“ A Charme, or an Allay, for Love.
If so be a Toad be laid
In your pocket, for a trust,
Sir Thomas Browne, in his “ Quincunx artificially considered," p. 111, mentions a rural Charm against Dodder, Tetter, and strangling Weeds, by placing a chalked tile at the four corners, and one in the middle of the fields, which, though ridiculous in the intention, was rational in the contrivance, and a good way to diffuse the magic through all parts of the area.
The following rural Charms are found in -a Collection entitled “Wit a sporting in a pleasant Grove of new Fancies,” 8vo. Lond. 1657, p. 78. They also occur in Herrick's Hesperides,” p. 383. “ This I'le tell ye by the way,
Maidens, when ye leavens lay,
Some older Charms, however, are to be found in Bale's Interlude concerning the Laws of Nature, Moses, and Christ, 4to. 1562, signat. C 3 b. Idolatry says: “ With blessynges of Saynt Germayne
I wyll me so determyne,
Shall do my chyckens harme.
There is no better Charme.
« In the morning when ye risc,
So farre keeps the evil spright.” (1) “ If ye feare to be affrighted,
When ye are (by) chance benighted :
Take me a Napkyn folte
No better thynge can be :
On my lyfe I warrande ye.
A dram of a shepe's tyrdle,
Are wholsom for the pyppe :
Whom nowe I over hyppe.” (3) Ady, in his “ Candle in the Dark,” 4to. Lond. 1655, p. 58, says : “ It appeareth still among common silly country people, how they had learned Charms by tradition from popish times, for curing cattle, men, women, and children; for churning of butter, for baking their bread, and many other occasions; one or two whereof I will rehearse only, for brevity. An old woman in Essex, who was living in my time, she had lived also in Queen Marie's time, had learned thence many popish Charms, one whereof was this : every night when she lay down to sleep she charmed her bed, saying
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
The bed be blest that I lye on: and this would she repeat three times, reposing great confidence therein, because (she said) she had been taught it, when she was a young maid, by the church.men of those times.
“ Another old woman came into an house at a time whenas the maid was churning of butter, and having laboured long and could not make her butter come, the old woman told the maid what was wont to be done when she was a maid, and also in her mother's young time, that if it happened their butter would not come readily, they used a Charm to be said over it, whilst yet it was in beating, and it would come straightways, and that was this:
Come, butter, come,
Come, butter, come. This, said the old woman, being said three times, will make your butter come, for it was taught my mother by a learned church-man in Queen Marie's days, whenas churchmen had more cunning, and could teach the people
many a trick that our ministers now a days know not.” (3)
Coles, his “ Art of Simpling," p. 69, says:
“ It is said that if a handfull of Arsmart be put under the saddle, upon a tired horse's back,(*) it will make him travaile fresh and lustily;” and “ If a footman take mugwort and put it into his shoes in the morning, he may goe forty miles before noon, and not be weary.” p. 70. “The seed of Fleabane strewed between the sheets causeth chastity."
“ If one that hath eaten Comin dve but breathe on a painted face, the colour will vanish away straight.” “ The seeds of Docks tyed to the left arme of a woman do helpe barrennesse." p. 70.
« All kinde of Docks have this property, that what flesh, or meat, is sod therewith, though it be never so old, hard, or tough, it will become tender and meet to be eaten.' " Calamint will recover stinking meat, if it be laid amongst it whilst it is raw. The often smelling to Basil breedeth a scorpion in the brain.” p. 69. “ That the root of Male- Piony dryed, tied to the neck, doth help the Incubus, which we call the Mare.” p. 68. « That if maids will take wilde Tansey, and lay it to soake in butlermilke nine dayes, and wash their faces therewith, it will make them looke very faire."
The same author, in his " Adam in Eden," p. 561, tells us : “ It is said, yea and believed by many, that Moonwort will open the locks wherewith dwelling-houses are made fast, if it be put into the key-hole: as also that it will loosen the locks, fetters, and shoes from those horses' feet that goe on the places where it groweth ; and of this opinion was Master Culpeper, who, though he railed against superstition in others, yet had enough of it himselfe, as may appear by his story of the Earl of Essex his horses, which being drawn up in a body, many of them lost their shoes upon White Downe in Devonshire, neer Tiverton, because Moonwort grows upon heaths.” (“)
Rue was hung about the neck, as an amulet against Witchcraft, in Aristotle's time. • Rutam fascini amuletum esse tradit Aristoteles." Wierii de Praestigiis Dæmonum, lib. v. cap. xxi. col. 584.
Shakspeare, in “Hamlet,” act iv. sc. 7, has this passage :
" There's rue for you
To keepe off death's pale dart: for (Jonson
then Thou had'st been number'd still with living
here's some for me. We may call it Herb of Grace on Sundays.“ Rue was called herb of grace by the country people, and probably for the reason assigned by Mr. Warburton, that it was used on Sundays by the Romanists in their exorcisms. See Grey's Notes on Shakspeare, vol. ii. p. 301.
Thunder Superstitions have been in part considered under Omens. The Charms and superstitious preservatives against thunder remain to be mentioned.
It appears from the following passage in Greene's “ Penelope's Web,” &c. 4to. Lond. 1601, signat. E 4, that wearing a Bay Leaf was a Charm against thunder : “He which weareth the bay-leafe is privileged from the prejudice of Thunder.”'
So in the old play of “ The White Devil,”
- Reach the Bays:
See also “ Whimzies; or a New Cast of Characters," p. 174. In “A strange Metamorphosis of Man, transformed into a Wildernesse, deciphered in Characters,” 12mo. Lond. 1634, under No. 37, The Bay Tree: it is observed, that it is “ so privileged by nature, that even thunder and lightning are here "even taxed of partiality, and will not touch him for respect's sake, as a sacred thing."
As a simile cited from some old English poet, in Bodenham's “ Belvedere, or the Garden of the Muses," 8vo. Lond. 1600, p. 90, we read: “As Thunder nor fierce Lightning harmes the
In “ Jonsonus Virbius," Verses upon Ben Jonson, signed Hen. King, (6) there is an elegant compliment paid to the memory of that poet, in allusion to the superstitious idea of Lawrel being a defensative against thunder:
Time's sythe had fear'd thy LAWRELL to
invade, Nor thee this subject of our sorrow made.*()
Leigh, in his “ Observations on the First Twelve Cæsars," 8vo. Lond. 1647, p. 63, speaking of Tiberius Cæsar, says, “ He feared thunder exceedingly, and when the Aire or Weather was anything troubled, he ever carried a chaplet or wreath of Lawrell about his neck, because that (as Pliny reporteth) is never blasted with lightning.' author, in his “Life of Augustus," p. 40, mentions a similar Charm. “He was so much afraid of thunder and lightning, that he ever carried about with him for a preservative remedy a Seale's skinne.” Here a Note adds : “ Or of a Sea-Calfe, which, as Plinie writeth, checketh all lightnings. Touitrua et Fulgura paulo infirmius expavescebat, ut semper et ubique pellem Vituli marini circumferret, pro remedio."
I find the following in “ Natural and Artificial Conclusions," by Thomas Hill, 8vo. Lond. 1670, cxxxix. “ A natural meanes to preserve your house in safety from Thunder and Lightening. An ancient author recited, (among divers other experiments of nature which he had found out,) that if the herb Housleek, or Syngreen, do grow on the house top, the same house is never stricken with Lightning or Thunder.”
It is still common, in many parts of England, to plant the herb house-leek upon the tops of cottage houses.
The learned author of the “ Vulgar Errors," (Quincunx, p. 126,) mentions this herb, as a supposed defensative, nearly in the same words with Hill.
Andrews, in his Continuation of Dr. Henry's History, 4to. p. 502, Note, tells us, from Arnot's “ Edinburgh," that “ In 1594 the Elders of the Scottish Church exerted their utmost influence to abolish an irrational custom among the husbandmen, which, with some reason, gave great offence. The farmers were apt to leave a portion of their land untilled and uacropped year after year. This spot was
supposed to be dedicated to Satan, and was styled 'the Good Man's Croft,' viz. the Landlord's Acre. It seems probable that some pagan ceremony had given rise to so strange a superstition :" no doubt as a Charm or peace offering, that the rest might be fertile. (8)
Martin, in his “ Description of the Western Islands," p. 120, says: " It is a received opinion in these islands, as well as in the neighbouring part of the main land, that women, by a Charm, or some other secret way, are able to convey the increase of their neighbour's cows' milk to their own use; and that the milk so charmeri doth not produce the ordinary quantity of butter; and the curds made of that milk are so tough, that it cannot be made so firm as the other cheese, and also is much lighter in weight. The butter so taken away and joined to the Charmer's butter is evidently discernible by a mark of separation, viz. the diversity of colour; that which is charmed being paler than the other. If butter, having these marks, be found on a suspected woman, she presently said to be
guilty. To recover this loss they take a little of the rennet from all the suspected persons, and put it into an egg-shell full of milk; and when that from the charmer is mingled with it, it presently curdles, and not before."
“Some women make use of the root of groundsel as an amulet against such charms, by putting it among the cream."
Ibid. p. 166, speaking of Fladda Chuan, Martin says, “ There is a chapel in the isle dedicated to St. Columbus. It has an altar in the east end, and, therein, a blue stone of a round form on it, which is always moist. It is an ordinary custom, when any of the fishermen are detained in this isle by contrary winds, to wash the blue stone with water, all round, expecting thereby to procure a favourable wind.”
- Aud so great is the regard they have for this stone, that they swear decisive oaths upon it.”
Ibid. p. 109, he says, “ It was an ancient custom among the islanders to hang a he-goat to the boat's mast, hoping thereby to procure a favourable wind."
NOTES TO RURAL CHARMS.
() The superstition of holding the Poker before the fire to drive away the witch has been already noticed. (See the present vol. p. 26.) Whatever may be the reason, it is a certain fact that setting up a poker before a fire has a wonderful effect in causing it to burn.
(%) In the “ Athenian Oracle," vol. i. p. 158, is preserved the following Charm to stop bleeding at the nose, and all other hæmorrbages, in the country: “ In the blood of Adam Sin was taken,
In the blood of Christ it was all to shaken,
large." (3) In “ Whimzies; or a New Cast of Characters," 12mo. Lond. 1631, the witty anonymous author, in his description of a ballad-monger, has the following: “ His bal(a)Naming the christian and surname of the party.
lads, cashiered the city, must now ride poast for the country; where they are no lesse admired than a Gyant in a pageant : till at last they grow so common there too, as every poore milk-maid can chant and chirpe it under her cow, which she useth as an harmeless Charme to make her let downe her milk.",
Grose tells us that “a slunk or abortive Calf, buried in the high way over which cattle frequently pass, will greatly prevent that misfortune happening to Cows. This is commonly practised in Suffolk.”
Lupton, in his third book of “ Notable Things,” (edit. 8vo. 1660, p. 53,) 12, says: “ Mousear, any manner of way ministered to horses, brings this help unto them, that they cannot be hurt whiles the Smith is shooing of them; therfore it is called of many Herba Clavorum, the Herb of Nails.” Mizaldus.
The well-known interjection used by the country people to their horses, when yoked to