« PreviousContinue »
(1) In “Vox Dei, or the great Duty of Self did commonly execute people for it, calling Reflection upon a Man's own Wayes,” by N. them eye-biting Witches." Wanley, M.A. and minister of the Gospel at (4) Martin, in the same work, p. 38, speakReeby, in Leicestershire, 12mo. Lond. 1658, ing of the Isle of Harries, says : “ There is p. 85, the author, speaking of St. Paul's hav- variety of nuts, called Molluka Beans, some ing said that he was, touching the righteous of which are used as amulets against Witchnesse which is in the law, blamelesse, observes craft or an evil eye, particularly the white upon it, “ No man could say (as the proverb one: and, upon this account, they are wore hath it) black was his eye.”
about children's necks, and if any evil is inIn Browne's “ Map of the Microcosme," tended to them, they say the nut changes into 12mo. Lond. 1642, signat. D 4 b, we read: a black colour. That they did change colour “ As those eyes are accounted bewitching, qui | I found true by my own observation, but cangeminam habent pupillam, sicut Illyrici, which not be positive as to the cause of it. have double-sighted eyes; so," &c.
“ Malcom Campbell, Steward of Harries, () In Herrick's “ Hesperides," p. 150, in told me that some weeks before my arrival “ The Kisse, a Dialogue," we read :
there all his cows gave blood instead of milk “ It is an active flame that flies,
for several days together : one of the neighFirst, to the babies of the eyes,
bours told his wife that this must be Witchcraft, And charmes them there with lullabies.” and it would be easy to remove it, if she would
but take the white nut, called the Virgin So “Upon Mistresse Susannah Southwell's Mary's Nut, and lay it in the pail into which Eyes," p. 225 :
she was to milk the cows. This advice she “ Cleere are her eyes,
presently followed, and, having milked one Like purest skies,
cow into the pail with the nut in it, the milk Discovering from thence
was all blood, and the nut changed its colour A baby there,
into dark brown. She used the nut again, and That turns each sphere,
all the cows gave pure good milk, which they Like an intelligence."
ascribe to the virtue of the nut. This very
nut Mr. Campbell presented me with, and I bid. p. 138, “ To Virgins :"
keep it still by me.
(5) “Charms,” the writer adds, "are the like to these, (a)
chief remedies applied for their diseases. I Or those babies in your eyes,
have been, myself, acquainted with an antiIn their christall nunneries;
burgher clergyman in these parts, who actually Notwithstanding Love will win,
procured from a person, who pretended skill Or else force a passage in."
in these charms, two small pieces of wood,
curiously wrought, to be kept in his father's (3) In Adey's “Candle in the Dark," p. cow-house, as a security for the health of his 104, we read : “Master Scot, in his · Dis
It is common to bind into a cow's tail covery,' telleth us that our English people in a small piece of mountain-ash wood, as a Ireland, whose posterity were lately barbar charm against Witchcraft. Few old women ously cut off, were much given to this idolatry are now suspected of Witchcraft; but many in the queen's time, insomuch that, there being tales are told of the conventions of Witches in a disease amongst their cattle that grew blinde, the kirks in former times." being a common disease in that country, they In“ The History of Philocles and Doriclea,"
“ The Two Lancashire Lovers," inscribed (a) 1. e. Rosamond and Danaë.
to Alexander Rigby, Esq., Clarke of the
Crowne for the County Palatine of Lancaster, most hurt are particularly when the party 8vo. London, 1640, p. 19, in Camillus's envied is beheld in glory and triumph.'' speech to Doriclea, in the Lancashire dialect, Lupton, in his fourth “ Book of Notable he tells her, in order to gain her affections, Things," No. 81, (edit. 8vo. 1660, 103,) “We han store of goodly cattell; my mother, says: “The eyes be not only instruments of though shee bee a vixon, shee will blenke enchantment, but also the voyce and evil blithly
on you for my cause; and we will ga tongues of certain persons; for there are found to the Dawnes and slubber up a sillibub; and in Africk, as Gellius saith, families of men, I will looke babies in your eyes, and picke silly- that, if they chance exceedingly to praise fair cornes out of your toes: and wee will han a trees, pure seeds, goodly children, excellent whiskin at every Rush-bearing, a wassel-cup horses, fair and well-liking cattle, soon after at Yule, a seed-cake at Fastens, and a lusty they will wither and pine away, and so dye ; cheese-cake at our Sheepe-wash ; and will not no cause or hurt known of their withering or aw this done bravely, jantlewoman?”—In death. Thereupon the custome came, that her answer to this clown's addresses, she when any do praise anything, that we should observes, among other passages, “ What know say, God blesse it or keepe it. Arist. in Prob. you but I may prove untoward ? and that will by the report of Mizaldus.” bring your mother to her grave; make you In Boswell's “ Life of Johnson,” edit. 8vo. (pretty babe] put finger ith eye, and turne the vol. iii. p. 200, it is observed : “In days of doore quite off the hinges." The above ro superstition they thought that holding the mance is said to have been founded on a true poker before the fire would drive away the history: the costume appears to be very accu
Witch who hindered the fire from burning, as rate and appropriate.
it made the sign of the Cross." Voluey, in his “ Travels in Egypt and In Scotland they say, "if ye can draw blud Syria," vol. i. p. 246, says: " The ignorant aboon the braith," the fascinating power of a mothers of many of the modern Egyptians, / Witch's eyes will cease. whose hollow eyes, pale faces, swoln bellies, (0) Ibid. vol. xiv. p. 526, parish of Auchand meagre extremities make them seem as if terhouse, co. of Forfar; extracts from the they had not long to live, believe this to be Parish Register : A fast to be kept July 9, the effect of the evil eye of some envious person 1646, for various reasons: among them, “1thly, who has bewitched them; and this ancient Because of the pregnant scandal of Witches and prejudice is still general in Turkey."
charmers within this part of the land, we are “Nothing,” says Mr. Dallaway, in his“ Ac to supplicate the Lord therefore.” The third count of Constantinople,” 4to. Lond. 1797, is singularly curious : “ Because of the desop. 391, “can exceed the superstition of the late stat and cure of several congregations, Turks respecting the evil eye of an enemy or
which have been starved by dry.breasted miinfidel. Passages from the Koran are painted nisters this long time bygone, and now are on the outside of the houses, globes of glass wandering like sheep but (i. e. without) shepare suspended from the ceilings, and a part herds, and witnesseth no sense of scant.”—“66 of the superfluous caparison of their horses is Janaure, 1650 : On that day the minister designed to attract attention and divert a desired the Session to make search every ane sinister influence."
in their own quarter gave they knew of any That this superstition was known to the Witches or charmers in the paroch, and delate Romans we have the authority of Virgil: them to the next Session.” “ July 18, 1652: “ Nescio quis teneros oculus mihi fascinat
Janet Fife made her public repentance before ågnos.” Ecl. ii.
the pulpit, for learning M. Robertson to
charm her child; and whereas M. Robertson The following passage from one of Lord should have done the like, it pleased the Lord Bacon's works is cited in “ Minor Morals," before that time to call upon her by death.” vol. i. p. 24: “It seems some have been so Ibid. vol. xix. p. 354, parish of Bendothy, curious as to note that the times when the co. of Perth : “I have known an instance in stroke or percussion of an envious eye does churning butter, in which the cream, after
PENNANT, in his “Zoology,” 8vo. Lond. 1776, vol. iii. p. 15, speaking of the Toad, with the Roman Fables concerning it, adds : “ In after-times superstition gave it preternatural powers, and made it a principal ingredient in the incantations of nocturnal hags:
Toad, that under the cold stone
Boil thou first i'th' charmed pot.' “We know by the poet that this was intended for a design of the first consideration, that of raising and bringing before the eyes of Macbeth a bateful second sight of the prosperity of Banquo's line.
“This shows the mighty powers attributed to this animal by the dealers in the magic art. But the powers our poet endues it with are far superior to those that Gesner ascribes to it. Shakspeare's Witches used it to disturb the dead: Gesner's only to still the living." ()
“We may add here," he continues, ther 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 flattoothed fish, not unfrequent in our island, as well as several other countries." To this
() The “Morning Herald” newspaper of Friday, Aug. 16, 1839, affords an evidence of the belief in the fascination of Witches still occasionally existing in London, in the instance of two lodgers, one of whom squinted, and the other, to avert the supposed consequences from the defect of the first, considered she could only protect herself by spitting in her face three times a day.
Toad-stone Shakspeare alludes in the follow-
Which, like the Toad, ugly and venomous,
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, And mak the deils obedient to her crune. At midnight hours o'er the kirkyards she
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
When last the burn bore down
mither's yarn ; When brawny elf-shot never mair came
bame; When Tibby kirnd, and there nae butter
came; When Bessy Freetock's chuffy-cheeked
wean To a fairy turn'd, and could nae stand its
When Wattie wander'd ae night thro' the
shaw, And tint himsel amaist amang the snaw; When Mungo's mare stood still and swat
with fright, When he brought east the howdy under
night; When Bawsy shot to dead upon the green, And Sarah tint a snood was nae mair seen; You, Lucky, gat the wyte of aw fell out, And ilka ane here dreads you round
about,” (3) &c.
NOTES TO TOAD-STONE.
(1) See vol. ii. p. 106, note, Pennant, in the volume already quoted, p. 154, speaking of the wolf-fish teeth, observes : “ These and the other grinding teeth are often found fossil, and in that state called Bufonites, or Toadstones : they were formerly much esteemed for their imaginary virtues, and were set in gold, and worn as rings."
Connected with this is a similar ancient superstition with regard to the Ætites or Eaglestone, concerning which, the same author (Zoology, vol. i. p. 167) tells us :
" The ancients believed that the pebble commonly called the Ætites or Eagle-stone, was found in the eagle's nest, and that the eggs could not be hatched without its assistance. Many absurd stories have been raised about this fossil.”
The same writer, in his “Journey from Chester to London," 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 Ætites 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.”
(%) Steevens, in his note upon this passage, says that Thomas Lupton, in his first “ Book
of Notable Things,” 4to. b. I. 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 Todestone 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 stove, the Tode will leape towarde it, and make as though he would snatch it. He envieth so much that man should have that stone." See Reed's edit. of Shaksp. 1803, vol. viii. p. 41.
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, And some Toads treasure jewels in their
head." (3) The old woman, in the subsequent soliloquy, gives us a philosophical account of the people's folly : “ Hard luck, alake! when poverty and eild
Weeds out of fashion; and a lanely bield,
This pastoral, unfortunately for its fame, is nera quinque Domini sint Medicina mei 144. written in a language but local, and not gene Virgo Maria mihi succurre, et defende ab rally understood. Had Mr. Addison known, omni maligno Demonio, et ab omni maligno or could he have read this, how fine a subject Spiritu : Amen. Wat would it have afforded him on which to have Tetragrammaton. Alpha. Htoo. pridisplayed his inimitable talent for criticism! mogenitus, vita, vita. sapiencia, te
The subsequent, much to our purpose, is Virtus, Jesus Nazarenus rex judeorum, from the “Life of Lord Keeper Guildford,” fili Domini, miserere mei Amen. 1 Marcus p. 129: “It is seldom that a poor old wretch Matheus Lucas 1 Johannes mihi sucis brought to trial (for witchcraft) but there is currite et defendite Amen. Omnipotens at the heels of her a popular rage that does sempiterne Deus, hunc N. famulum tuum little less than demand her to be put to death; hoc breve Scriptum super se portantem prosand if a judge is so clear and open as to de pere salvet dormiendo, vigilando, potando, et clare against that impious vulgar opinion, that precipue sompniando ab omni maligno Dethe Devil himself has power to torment and monio, eciam ab omni maligno spiritu." kill innocent children, or that he is pleased to In Scot's “ Discovery,” p. 160, we have divert himself with the good people's cheese, “A special Charm to preserve all Cattel from butter, pigs, and geese, and the like errors of Witchcraft." the ignorant and foolish rabble, the country " At Easter, you must take certain drops men (the triers) cry, this judge hath no reli that lie uppermost of the holy paschal candle, gion, for he doth not believe witches,' and and make a little wax candle thereof; and so, to show they have some, hang the poor upon some Sunday morning rathe, light it, and wretches."
hold it so as it may drop upon and between See also “ Pandæmonium, or the Devil's the horns and ears of the beast, saying, “In Cloyster; proving the Existence of Witches," nomine Patris et Filii,' &c., and burn the &c. 8vo. 1684; and Peck's “ Desiderata
beast a little between the horns on the ears Curiosa," vol. ii. p. 476.
with the same wax; and that which is left A writer in the “Gent. Mag." for March, thereof, stick it cross-wise about the stable or 1736, vol. vi. p. 137, says:
“ The old woman stall, or upon the threshold, or over the door, must, by age, be grown very ugly, her face
where the cattle use to go in and out: and for shriveled, her body doubled, and her voice all that year your cattle shall never be bescarce intelligible: hence her form made her witched." a terror to children, who, if they were affrighted Pennant tells us, in his “ Tour in Scotat the poor creature, were immediately said to
land,” that the farmers carefully preserve their be bewitched. The mother sends for the parish cattle against witchcraft by placing boughs of priest, and the priest for a constable. The mountain-ash and honeysuckle
in their cowimperfect pronunciation of the old woman, houses on the 2nd of May. They hope to and the paralytic nodding of her head, were preserve the milk of their cows, and their concluded to be muttering diabolical charms, wives from miscarriage, by tying threads and using certain magical gestures : these about them: they bleed the supposed witch were proved upon her at the next assizes, and to preserve themselves from her charms. she was burnt or hang'd as an enemy to man Gaule, as cited before, p. 142, speaking of kind.”
the preservatives against witchcraft, mentions, From a physical manuscript in quarto, of as in use among the Papists, “ the tolling of a the date of 1475, formerly in the collection of baptized bell, signing with the signe of the Mr. Herbert, of Cheshunt, now in my library, Crosse, sprinkling with holy water, blessing of I transcribe the following charm against witch oyle, waxe, candles, salt, bread, cheese, garcraft:
ments, weapons, &c., carrying about saints' “ Here ys a Charme for wyked Wych. In reliques, with a thousand superstitious fopnomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, peries ;" and then enumerates those which are Amen. Per Virtutem Domini sint Medicina used by men of all religions: “1. In seeking mei pia Crux et passio Christi . Vul to a witch to be holpen against a witch. 2. In