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this woman (hir words, displeasure, and cursses meeting so justly with their misfortune) doo not onlie conceive, but also are resolved, that all their mishaps are brought to passe by hir onelie means.
“ The witch on the other side expecting hir neighbors mischances, and seeing things sometimes come to passe according to hir wishes, cursses, and incantations (for Bodin himself confesseth, that not above two in a hundred of their witchings or wishings take effect) being called before a Justice, by due examination of the circumstances is driven to see hir imprecations and desires, and hir neighbors harmes and losses to concurre, and as it were to take effect: and so confesseth that she (as a goddes) hath brought such things to passe. Wherein, not onelie she, but the accuser, and also the Justice are fowlie deceived and abused; as being thorough hir confession and other circumstances persuaded (to the injurie of Gods glorie) that she hath doone, or can doo that which is proper onelie to God himselfe.
“ Another sort of witches there are, which be absolutelie cooseners: These take upon them, either for glorie, fame, or gaine, to doo any thing, which God or the divell can doo: either for fortelling things to come, bewraieng of secrets, curing of maladies, or working of miracles."*
To this chapter from Scot, which we have given entire, may be added the admirable description of the abode of a witch from the pen of Spenser, who, as Warton hath observed, copied from living objects, and had probably been struck with seeing such a cottage, in which a witch was supposed to live:
“ There in a gloomy hollow glen she found
And hellish arts from people she might hide,
* Discoverie of Witchcraft, book i. chap. 3. pp. 7-9.
+ Todd's Spenser, vol. iv. pp. 480, 481. Faerie Queene, book iji. canto 7. stanza 6. and note.
This very striking picture for ever fixed the character of the habitation allotted to a witch; thus in a singularly curious tract, entitled “ Round about our Coal-Fire," published about the close of the seventeenth century, and which details, in a pleasing manner, the traditions of the olden time, as a source of Christmas amusement, it is said that “a Witch must be a hagged old woman, living in a little rotten cottage, under a hill, by a wood-side, and must be frequently spinning at the door: she must have a black cat, two or three broom-sticks, an imp or two, and two or three diabolical teats to suckle her imps."
Of the wonderful feats which the various kinds of witches were supposed capable of performing, Scot has favoured us with the following succinct enumeration : there are three sorts of witches he tells us, “one sort can hurt and not helpe, the second can helpe and not hurt, the third can both helpe and hurt. Among the hurtfull witches there is one sort more beastlie than any kind of beasts, saving wolves: for these usually devour and eate yong children and infants of their owne kind. These be they that raise haile, tempests, and hurtfull weather; as lightening, thunder, &c. These be they that procure barrennesse in man, woman, and beast. These can throwe children in waters, as they walke with their mothers, and not be seene. These can make horsses kicke, till they cast their riders. These can passe from place to place in the aire invisible. These can so alter the mind of judges, that they can have no power to hurt them. These can procure
to themselves and to others, taciturnitie and insensibilitie in their torments. These can bring trembling to the hands, and strike terror into the minds of them that apprehend them. These can manifest unto others, things hidden and lost, and foreshew things to come; and see them as though they were present. These can alter men's minds to inordinate love or hate. These can kill whom they list with lightening and thunder. These can take away man's courage.
These can make a woman miscarrie in childbirth, and destroie the child in the mother's wombe, without any sensible
means either inwardlie or outwardlie applied. These can with their looks kill either man or beast.
“ Others doo write, that they can pull downe the moone and the starres. Some write that with wishing they can send needles into the livers of their enemies. Some that they can transferre corne in the blade from one place to another. Some, that they can cure diseases supernaturallie, fie in the aire, and danse with divels, Some write, that they can plaie the part of Succubus, and contract themselves to Incubus. Some saie they can transubstantiate themselves and others, and take the forms and shapes of asses, woolves, ferrets, cowes, asses, horsses, hogs, &c. Some say they can keepe divels and spirits in the likenesse of todes and cats.
They can raise spirits (as others affirme), drie up springs, turne the course of running waters, inhibit the sune, and staie both day and night, changing the one into the other. They can go in and out at awger holes, and saile in an egge shell, a cockle or muscle shell, through and under the tempestuous seas. — They can bring soules out of the graves. They can teare snakes in pieces. — They can also bring to pass, that chearne as long as you list, your butter will not come; especiallie, if either the maids have eaten up the creame; or the good-wife have sold the butter before in the market.” *
The only material accession which the royal James has made to this curious catalogue of the deeds of witchcraft, consists in informing us, that these aged and decrepid slaves of Satan “ make pictures of waxe or clay, that by the roasting thereof, the persons that they beare the name of, may be continually melted or dried away by continuall sicknesse †;" and his mode of explaining how the devil performs this marvel, is a notable instance both of his ingenuity and his eloquence. This deed he says “is verie possible to their master to performe: for although that instrument of waxe have no vertue in that turne doing, yet may he not very well, even by the same measure, that his conjured slaves melts that waxe at the fire, may hee not, I say, at these same times, subtily, as a spirit, so weaken and scatter the spirits of life of the patient, as may make him on the one part, for faintnesse, to sweat out the humour of his bodie, and on the other part, for the not concurrence of these spirits, which causes his digestion, so debilitate his stomache, that this humour radicall continually, sweating out on the one part, and no newe good sucke being put in the place thereof, for lacke of digestion on the other, he at last shall vanish away, even as his picture will doe at the fire ? And that knavish and cunning workeman, by troubling him, onely at sometimes, makes a proportion, so neere betwixt the working of the one and the other, that both shall end as it were at
* Discoverie of Witchcraft, book i. chap. 4. pp. 9-11. + James's Works, by Winton, p. 116.
one time.” *
It remains to notice the nature of the compact or bargain, which witches were believed to enter into with their seducer, and the species of homage which they were compelled to pay him; and here again we must have recourse to Scot, not only as the most compressed, but as the most authentic detailer of this strange credulity of his times. “ The order of their bargaine or profession,” says he, double ; the one solemne and publike; the other secret and private. That which is called solemne or publike, is where witches come together at certaine assemblies, at the times prefixed, and doo not onelie see the divell in visible forme; but confer and talke familiarlie with him. In which conference the divell exhorteth them to observe their fidelitie unto him, promising them long life and prosperitie. Then the witches assembled, commend a new disciple (whom they call a novice) unto him: and if the divell find that yoong witch apt and forward in renunciation of christian faith, in despising anie of the seven sacraments, in treading upon crosses, in spetting at the time of the elevation, in breaking their fast on fasting daies, and fasting on sundaies : then the divell giveth foorth his hand, and the novice joining hand in hand with him, promiseth to observe and keepe all the divels commandements.
* James's Works, by Winton, p. 117.
“ This doone, the divell beginneth to be more bold with hir, telling hir plainlie, that all this will not serve his turne; and therefore requireth homage at hir hands : yea he also telleth hir, that she must grant him both hir bodie and soule to be tormented in everlasting fire; which she yeeldeth unto. Then he chargech hir, to procure as manie men, women, and children also, as she can, to enter into this societie. Then he teacheth them to make ointments of the bowels and members of children, whereby they ride in the aire, and accomplish all their desires. So as, if there be anie children unbaptized, or not garded with the signe of the crosse, or orisons ; then the witches may and doo catch them from their mothers sides in the night, or out of their cradles, or otherwise kill them with their ceremonies; and after buriall steale them out of their graves, and seeth them in a caldron, until their flesh be made
Of the thickest whereof they make ointments, whereby they ride in the aire; but the thinner potion they put into flaggons, whereof whosoever drinketh, observing certaine ceremonies, immediatelie becommeth a maister or rather a mistresse in that practise and facultie.
“ Their homage with their oth and bargaine is received for a certeine terme of yeares; sometimes for ever. Sometimes it consisteth in the deniall of the whole faith, sometimes in part. And this is doone either by oth, protestation of words, or by obligation in writing, sometimes sealed with wax, sometimes signed with blood, sometimes by kissing the divels bare buttocks.
“ You must also understand, that after they have delicatlie banketted with the divell and the ladie of the fairies; and have eaten
up a fat oxe, and emptied a butt of malmesie, and a binne of bread at some noble man's house, in the dead of the night, nothing is missed of all this in the morning. For the ladie Sibylla, Minerva, or Diana with a golden rod striketh the vessel and the binne, and they are fully replenished againe.” After mentioning
After mentioning that the bullock is