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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 t;" 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

* Discoverie of Witchcraft, book i. chap. 4. pp. 9--11. + James's Works, by Winton, p. 116.

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

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, “ is 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 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

witch apt

* James's Works, by Winton, p. 117.

joining hand in hand with him, promiseth to observe and keepe all the divels commandements.

“ 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 potable. 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 that the bullock is


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aloft.” *

restored in the same magical manner, he states it as an “ infallible rule, that everie fortnight, or at the least everie moneth, each witch must kill one child at the least for hir part.” He also relates from Bodin, that " at these magicall assemblies, the witches never faile to danse, and whiles they sing and danse, everie one hath a broome in hir hand, and holdeth it

up To these circumstances attending the meetings of this unhallowed sisterhood, King James adds, that Satan, in order that “ hee may the more vively counterfeit and scorne God, oft times makes his slaves to conveene in those very places, which are destinate and ordained for the conveening of the servants of God (I meane by churches) : — further, witches oft times confesse, not only his conveening in the church with them, but his occupying of the pulpit.” + For this piece of information James seems to have been indebted to the confessions of Agnis Tompson; but he also relates, that the devil, as soon as he has induced his votaries to renounce their God and baptism, gives them his marke upon some secret place of their bodie, which remaies soare unhealed, whilst his next meeting with them, and thereafter ever insensible, however it be nipped or pricked by any;" a seal of distinction which, he tells us at the close of his treatise, is of great use in detecting them on their trial, as “the finding of their marke, and the trying the insensiblenes thereof,” was considered as a positive proof of their craft.

His Majesty, however, proceeds to mention another mode of ascertaining their guilt, terminating the paragraph in a manner not very flattering to his female subjects, or very expressive of his own gallantry. “ The other is,” he tells us, “ their fleeting on the water : for as in a secret murther, if the dead carkasse bee at any time thereafter handled by the murtherer, it will gush out of blood, as if the blood were crying to the heaven for revenge of the murtherer, God having appointed


* Discoverie of Witchcraft, book iii. chap. 1, 2. pp. 40-42.

Works apud Winton, pp. 112, 113.

that secret supernaturall signe, for triall of that secret unnaturall crime, so it appeares that God hath appointed (for a supernaturall signe of the monstrous impietie of Witches) that the water shall refuse to receive them in her bosome, that have shaken off them the sacred water of Baptisme, and wilfully refused the benefite thereof : No, not so much as their eyes are able to shed teares (threaten and torture them as you please) while first they repent (God not permitting them to dissemble their obstinacie in so horrible a crime) albeit the women-kind especially, be able otherwayes to shed teares at every light occasion when they will, yea, although it were dissemblingly like the Crocodiles.” *

Such are the chief features of this gross superstition, as detailed by the writers of the period in which it most prevailed in this country. Scot has taken infinite pains in collecting, from every writer on the subject, the minutiæ of Witchcraft, and his book is expanded to a thick quarto, in consequence of his commenting at large on the particulars which he had given in his initiatory chapters, for the purpose of their complete refutation and exposure; a work of great labour, and which shows, at every step, how deeply this credulity had been impressed on the subjects of Elizabeth. James, on the other hand, though a man of considerable erudition, and, in some respects, of shrewd good sense, wrote in defence of this folly, and, unfortunately for truth and humanity, the doctrine of the monarch was preferred to that of the sage.

When such was the creed of the country, from the throne to the cottage; when even the men of learning, with few fexceptions, ranged themselves on the side of the Dæmonologie, it was highly judicious in Shakspeare, in his dramatic capacity, to adopt, as a powerful instrument of terror, the popular belief; popular both in his

* King James's Works apud Winton, pp. 111. 135, 136.

† Among these we find the mighty name of Bacon; this great man attributing, in the Tenth Century of his Natural History, the achievements and the confessions of witches and wizards to the effects of a morbid imagination.

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