List Of Contents | Contents of Miscellanies upon Various Subjects
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

most of them well habited, on their knees very busy, as if they had
been weeding. I could not presently learn what the matter was; at last
a young man told me, that they were looking for a coal under the root
of a plantain, to put under their head that night, and they should
dream who would be their husbands:It was to be sought for that day
and hour.

The women have several magical secrets handed down to them by
tradition, for this purpose, as, on St. Agnes' night, 21st day of
Jannary, take a row of pins, and pull out every one, one after
another, saying a Pater Noster, or (Our Father) sticking a pin in your
sleeve, and you will dream of him, or her, you shall marry. Ben Jonson
in one of his Masques make some mention of this.

      And on sweet Saint Agnes night
      Please you with the promis'd sight,
      Some of husbands, some of lovers,
      Which an empty dream discovers,

Another. *To know whom one shall marry.

You must lie in another county, and knit the left garter about the
right legged stocking (let the other garter and stocking alone) and
as you rehearse these following verses, at every comma, knit a knot.

      This knot I knit,
      To know the thing, I know not yet,
      That I may see,
      The man (woman) that shall my husband (wife) be,
      How he goes, and what he wears,
      And what he does, all days, and years.

Accordingly in your dream you will see him: if a musician, with a
lute or other instrument; if a scholar, with a book or papers.

A gentlewoman that I knew, confessed in my hearing, that she used this
method, and dreamt of her husband whom she had never seen: about two
or three years after, as she was on Sunday at church, (at our Lady's
church in Sarum) up pops a young Oxonian in the pulpit: she cries out
presently to her sister, this is the very face of the man that I saw
in my dream. Sir William Soames's Lady did the like.

Another way, is, to charm the moon thus: at the first appearance of
the new moon* after new year's day, go out in the evening, and stand
over the spars of a gate or stile, looking on the moon and say, **

      All hail to the moon, all hail to thee,
      I prithee good moon reveal to me,
      This night, who my husband (wife) must be.

You must presently after go to bed.

* Some say any other new moon is as good.
** In Yorkshire they kneel on a ground-fast stone.

I knew two gentlewomen that did thus when they were young maids, and
they had dreams of those that married them.

Alexander Tralianus, of curing diseases by spells, charms, &c. is
cited by Casaubon, before John Dee's Book of Spirits: it is now
translated out of the Greek into English.

Moreri's Great Historical, Geographical, and Poetical Dictionary.
Abracadabra, a mysterious word, to which the superstitious in former
times attributed a magical power to expel diseases, especially the
tertian-ague, worn about their neck in this manner.

Some think, that Basilides, the inventor, intends the name of GOD by
it. The method of the cure was prescribed in these verses.

      "Inscribes Chartae quod dicitur Abracadabra
      Saepius, & subter repetes, sed detrahe summam
      Et magis atque magis desint elementa figuris
      Singula quae semper capies & caetera figes,
      Donec in angustum redigatur Litera Conum,
      His lina nexis collo redimire memento.
      Talia languentis conducent Vincula collo,
      Lethalesque abigent (miranda potentia) morbos".

      Abracadabra, strange mysterious word,
      In order writ, can wond'rous cures afford.
      This be the rule:-a strip of parchment take,
      Cut like a pyramid revers'd in make.
      Abracadabra, first at length you name,
      Line under line, repeating still the same:
      Cut at its end, each line, one letter less,
      Must then its predecessor line express;
      'Till less'ning by degrees the charm descends
      With conic form, and in a letter ends.
      Round the sick neck the finish'd wonder tie,
      And pale disease must from the patient fly.

Mr. Schoot, a German, hath an excellent book of magick: it is
prohibited in that country. I have here set down three spells, which
are much approved.

**To cure an Ague.

Write this following spell in parchment, and wear it about your neck.
It must be writ triangularly.

      A B R A C A D A B R A
       A B R A C A D A B R
        A B R A C A D A B
         A B R A C A D A
          A B R A C A D
           A B R A C A
            A B R A C
             A B R A
              A B R
               A B

With this spell, one of Wells, hath cured above a hundred of the ague.

**To cure the biting of a Mad-Dog, write these words in paper, viz.

"Rebus Rubus Epitepscum", and give it to the party, or beast bit, to
eat in bread, &c. A Gentleman of good quality, and a sober grave
person, did affirm, that this receipt never fails.

**To cure the Tooth-Ach: out of Mr. Ashmole's manuscript writ with
his own hand.

      "Mars, hur, abursa, aburse".
      Jesu Christ for Mary's sake,
      Take away this Tooth-Ach.

Write the words three times; and as you say the words, let the party
burn one paper, then another, and then the last. He says, he saw it
experimented, and the party "immediately cured."

Mr. Ashmole told me, that a woman made use of a spell to cure an ague,
by the advice of Dr. Nepier; a minister came to her, and severely
repremanded her, for making use of a diabolical help, and told
her, she was in danger of damnation for it, and commanded her to burn
it. She did so, and her distemper returned severely; insomuch that she
was importunate with the Doctor to use the same again; she used it,
and had ease. But the parson hearing of it, came to her again, and
thundered hell and damnation, and frighted her so, that she burnt it
again. Whereupon she fell extremely ill, and would have had it a third
time; but the Doctor refused, saying, that she had contemned and
slighted the power and goodness of the blessed spirits (or Angels) and
so she died. The cause of the Lady Honywood's Desparation was, that
she had used a spell to cure her.

      "Jamblicus de Mysteriis de nominibus Divinis."

"Porphyrius querit, cur Sacerdotes utantur nominibus quibusdam nihil
significantibus ? Jamblicus respondet, omnia ejusmodi nomina
significare aliquid apud deos: quamvis in quibusdam significata
nobis sint ignota, esse tamen nota quaedam, quorum interpretationem
divinitus accepimus, omnino vero modum ineis significandi
ineffabilem esse. Neque secundum imaginationes humanas, sed secundum
intellectum qui in nobis est, divinus, vel potius simpliciore
praestantiorieque modo secundum intellectum diis unitum. Auferendum
igitur omnes excogitationes & rationales discursus, atque
assimulationes naturalis vocis ipsius congenitas, ad res positas
innatum. Et quemadmodum character symbolicus divinae similitudinis in
se intellectualis est, atque divinus, ita hunc ipsum in omnibus
supponnere, accipereque debemus, &c."

      **Jamblicus, concerning the Mysteries relating to divine names.

Porphyrius asks the question why Priests make use of certain names
which carry with them no known import or signification ? Jamblicus
replies, that all and every of those sort of names have their
respective significations among the Gods, and that though the things
signified by some of them remain to us unknown, yet there are some
which have come to our knowledge, the interpretation of which we
have received from above. But that the manner of signifying by them,
is altogether ineffable. Not according to human imaginations, but
according to that divine intellect which reigns within us, or rather
according to an intellect that has an union with the Gods, in a more
simple and excellent manner. And whereas the symbolical character of
the divine likeness is in it self intellectual and divine, so are we
to take and suppose it to be, in all, &c.

      ** To cure an ague, Tertian or Quartan.

Gather Cinquefoil in a good aspect of {Jupiter} to the {Moon} and let
the moon be in the Mid-Heaven, if you can, and take --- of the powder
of it in white wine: if it be not thus gathered according to the
rules of astrology, it hath little or no virtue in it. With this
receipt --- one Bradley, a quaker at Kingston Wick upon Thames,
(near the bridge end) hath cured above an hundred.

      **To cure the Thrush.

There is a certain piece in the beef, called the mouse-piece, which
given to the child, or party so affected to eat, doth certainly cure
the thrush. From an experienced midwife.

      **Another to cure a Thrush.

Take a living frog, and hold it in a cloth, that it does not go down
into the child's mouth; and put the head into the child's mouth 'till
it is dead; and then take another frog, and do the same.

      **To cure the Tooth-Ach.

Take a new nail, and make the gum bleed with it, and then drive it
into an oak. This did cure William Neal's son, a very stout gentleman,
when he was almost mad with the pain, and had a mind to have pistolled

      **For the Jaundice.

The jaundice is cured, by putting the urine after the first sleep, to
the ashes of the ash-tree, bark of barberries.

      **To cure a Bullock, that hath the Whisp,
      (that is)lame between the Clees.

Take the impression of the bullock's foot in the earth, where he hath
trod then dig it up, and stick therein five or seven thorns on the
wrong side, and then hang it on a bush to dry: and as that dries, so
the bullock heals. This never fails for wisps. From Mr. Pacy, a yRoman
in Surry.

      **To cure a beast that is sprung, (that is) poisoned.

It lights mostly upon Sheep.
Take the little red spider, called a tentbob, (not so big as a great
pins-head) the first you light upon in the spring of the year, and rub
it in the palm of your hand all to pieces: and having so done, piss
on it, and rub it in, and let it dry; then come to the beast and make
water in your hand, and throw it in his mouth. It cures in a matter of
an hour's time. This rubbing serves for a whole year, and it is no
danger to the hand. The chiefest skill is to know whether the beast be
poisoned or no. From Mr. Pacy.

      **To staunch Bleeding.

Out an ash of one, two, or three years growth, at the very hour and
minute of the sun's entring into Taurus: a chip of this applied will
stop it; if it is a shoot, it must be cut from the ground. Mr. Nicholas
Mercator, astronomer, told me that he had tried it with
effect. Mr. G. W. says the stick must not be bound or holden; but
dipped or wetted in the blood. When King James II. was at Salisbury,
1688, his nose bled near two days; and after many essays in vain, was
stopped by this sympathetick ash, which Mr. William Nash, a surgeon in
Salisbury, applied.

      **Against an evil Tongue.

Take Unguentum populeum and Vervain, and Hypericon, and put a red hot
iron into it; you must anoint the back bone, or wear it on your
breast. This is printed in Mr. W. Lilly's Astrology. Mr. H. C. hath
tried this receipt with good success.

      Vervain and dill,
      Hinders witches from their will.

A house (or chamber) somewhere in London, was haunted; the curtains
would be rashed at night, and awake the gentleman that lay there, who
was musical, and a familiar acquaintance of Henry Lawes. Henry Lawes
to be satisfied did lie with him; and the curtains were rashed so
then. The gentleman grew lean and pale with the frights; one Dr. ---
cured the house of this disturbance, and Mr. Lawes said,that the
principal ingredient was Hypericon put under his pillow.

In Herefordshire, and other parts, they do put a cold iron bar upon
their barrels, to preserve their beer from being soured by thunder.
This is a common practice in Kent.

To hinder the night mare, they hang in a string, a flint with a hole
in it (naturally) by the manger; but best of all they say, hung about
their necks, and a flint will do it that hath not a hole in it. It is
to prevent the nightmare, viz. the hag, from riding their horses, who
will sometimes sweat all night. The flint thus hung does hinder it.

Mr. Sp. told me that his horse which was bewitched, would break
bridles and strong halters, like a Samson. They filled a bottle of the
horse's urine, stopped it with a cork and bound it fast in, and then
buried it underground: and the party suspected to be the witch, fell
ill, that he could not make water, of which he died. When they took
up. the bottle, the urine was almost gone; so, that they did believe,
that if the fellow could have lived a little longer, he had recovered.

It is a thing very common to nail horse-shoes on the thresholds of
doors: which is to hinder the power of witches that enter into the
house. Most houses of the West end of London, have the horse-shoe on
the threshold. It should be a horse-shoe that one finds. In the
Bermudas, they use to put an iron into the fire when a witch comes in.
Mars is enemy to Saturn. There are very memorable stories of witches
in Gage's Survey of the West-Indies of his own Knowledge: which see.

At Paris when it begins to thunder and lighten, they do presently ring
out the great bell at the Abbey of St. Germain, which they do believe
makes it cease. The like was wont to be done heretofore in Wiltshire;
when it thundered and lightened, they did ring St. Aldhelm's bell, at
Malmsbury Abbey. The curious do say, that the ringing of bells
exceedingly disturbs spirits.

In the Golden Legend by W. de Worde. It is said the evill spirytes
that ben in the regyon of th'ayre doubte moche whan they here the
belles rongen. And this is the cause why the belles ben rongen whan it
thondreth, and whan grete tempeste aud outrages of wether happen to
the ende that the feudes and wycked spirytes shold be abasshed, and
flee and cease of the movynge of tempeste. Fol. xxiv.


**A Letter from the Reverend Mr. Andrew Paschal, B.D. Rector of
Chedzoy in Somersetshire, to John Aubrey, Esq. at Gresham College,


I LAST week received a letter from a learned friend, the minister of
Barnstable in Devon, which I think worthy your perusal. It was dated
May 3, 1683, and is as follows. (He was of my time in Queen's
College, Cambridge.)

There having been many prodigious things performed lately in a parish
adjoining to that which Bishop Sparrow presented me to, called
Cheriton-Bishop, by some discontented daemon, I can easily remember,
that I owe you an account thereof, in lieu of that which you desired
of me, and which I could not serve you in.

About November last, in the parish of Spreyton in the county of Devon,
there appeared in a field near the dwelling house of Philip Furze, to
his servant Francis Pry, being of the age of twenty-one, next
August, an aged gentleman with a pole in his hand, and like that he
was wont to carry about with him when living, to kill moles withal,
who told the young man he should not be afraid of him; but should tell
his master, i. e. his son, that several legacies that he had
bequeathed were unpaid, naming ten shillings to one, ten shillings to

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: