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The Philosophy of Natural Magic, by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, L. W. de Laurence ed. [1913], at


Of Sorceries, and Their Power.

The force of sorceries is reported to be so great that they are believed to be able to subvert, consume and change all inferior things, according to Virgil's muse:

p. 130

Mœris for me these herbs in Pontus chose,
And curious drugs, for there great plenty grows;
I, many times, with these have Mœris
spied Chang’d to a wolfe, and in the woods to hide;
From Sepulchres would souls departed charm,
And Corn bear standing from another's Farm.

Also, in another place, concerning the companions of Ulysses, whom

The cruel Goddess, Circe, there invests
With fierce aspects, and chang’d to savage beasts.

And, a little after,

When love from Picus, Cerce could not gaine,
Him, with her charming-wand, and hellish bane,
Chang’d to a bird, and spots his speckled wings
With sundry colors——

Now, there are some kinds of these sorceries mentioned by Lucan concerning that sorceress, Thessala, calling up ghosts, where he saith:

Here all Nature's products unfortunate:
Foam of mad Dogs, which waters fear and hate;
Guts of the Lynx; Hyena's, knot imbred;
The marrow of a Hart with Serpents fed
Were not wanting; no, nor the sea Lamprey,
Which stops the ships; nor yet the Dragon's eye.

And such as Apuleius tells of concerning Pamphila, that sorceress, endeavoring to procure love; to whom Fotis, a certain maid, brought the hairs of a goat (cut off from a bag or bottle made with the skin thereof) instead of Bæotius’ (a young man) hair. Now she, saith Apuleius, being out of her wits for the young man, goeth up to the tiled roof and, in the upper part thereof, makes a great hole open to all the oriental and other aspects, and most fit for these her arts, and there privately worships; having before furnished her mournful house with suitable furniture, with all kinds of spices, with plates of iron with strange words engraven upon them, with parts of sterns of ships that were cast

p. 131

away and much lamented, and with divers members of buried carcasses cast abroad—here noses and fingers, there the fleshy nails of those that were hanged, and, in another place, the blood of them that were murdered, and their skulls, mangled with the teeth of wild beasts. Then she offers sacrifices (their enchanted entrails lying panting), and sprinkles them with divers kinds of liquors; sometimes with fountain water, sometimes with cow's milk, sometimes with mountain honey, and mead. Then she ties those hairs into knots, and lays them on the fire, with divers odors, to be burnt. Then presently, with an irresistible power of magic, and blind force of the gods, the bodies of those whose hairs did smoke, and crash, did assume the spirit of a man, and feel, and hear, and walk, and come whither the stink of their hair led them, and, instead of Bæotius, the young man, come skipping and leaping with joy and love into the house. Austin also reports that he heard of some women sorceresses, that were so well versed in these kind of arts, that, by giving cheese to men, they would presently turn them into working cattle and, the work being done, restored them into men again.

Next: Chapter XLII. Of the Wonderful Virtues of Some Kinds of Sorceries