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


Of Certain Observations, Producing Wonderful Virtues.

They say that certain acts and observations have a certain power of natural things; that they believe diseases may be expelled, or brought thus and thus. So they say that quartanes may be driven away if the parings of the nails of the sick be bound to the neck of a live eel, in a linen cloth, and she be let go into the water. And Pliny saith that the parings of a sick man's nails of his feet and hands being mixed with wax, cure the quartan, tertian, and quotidian ague; and if they be before Sunrising fastened to another man's gate, will cure such like diseases. In like manner, let all the parings of the nails be put into the caves of ants, and the first ant that begins to draw at the parings must be taken and bound to the neck of the sick, and by this means will the disease be cured. They say that by wood, stricken with lightning, and cast behind the back with one's hands, any disease may be removed; and, in quartanes, a piece of a nail from a gibbet, wrapped up in wool, and hung about the neck, cures them; also, a rope doth the like that is taken from a gallows and hid under

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ground so that the Sun cannot reach it. The throat of him that hath a hard swelling, or imposthume, being touched with the hand of him that died by an immature death, will be cured thereby. They say, also, that a woman is presently eased of her hard labor if any one shall put into her bed a stone or dart with which a boar or a bear or man hath been killed with one blow. The same doth a spear that is pulled out of the body of a man, if it shall not first touch the ground; also, they say, that arrows, pulled out of the body of a man, if they have not touched the earth, taken and stealthily placed under any one lying down, will procure love. The falling sickness is cured by meat made of the flesh of a wild beast, slain in the same manner as a man is slain. A man's eyes that are washed three times with the water wherein he hath washed his feet shall never be sore or blear. It is said that some do cure diseases of the groin with thread taken out of a weaver's loom and tying into it seven or nine knots, the name of some widow being named at every knot. The spleen of cattle, extended upon painful spleens, cures them if he that applies it saith that he is applying a medicine to the spleen to cure and ease it. After this, they say, the patient must be shut into a sleeping room, the door being sealed up with a ring, and some verse be repeated over nineteen times. The water of a green lizard cures the same disease if it be hanged up in a vessel before the patient's bed-chamber so that he may, as he passes in and out, touch it with his hand. And a little frog climbing up a tree, if any one shall spit in his mouth, and then let him escape, is said to cure the cough. It is a wonderful thing, but easy to experience, that Pliny speaks of, that if any one shall be sorry for any blow that he hath given another, afar off or nigh at hand, if he shall presently spit into the middle of that hand with which he gave the blow, the party

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that was smitten shall presently be freed from pain. This hath been approved of in a four-footed beast that hath been sorely hurt. Some there are that aggravate the blow before they give it. In like manner, spittle carried in the hand, or to spit in the shoe of the right foot before it be put on, is good when any one passeth through a dangerous place. They say that wolves will not come to a field if one of them be taken and his blood let by little and little out of his legs, being unbroken, with a knife, and sprinkled about the outside of the field, and he himself be buried in that place from whence he was first drawn. The Methanenses, citizens of Trezenium, accounted it as a present remedy for preserving of vines from the wrong of the southern wind, having always found it by most certain experience, if, whilst the wind blows, a white cock should be pulled to pieces in the middle by two men, both of whom, each keeping his part, must walk each way around the vineyard, until both meet in the place from whence they began their circuit, and must in that place bury the pieces of the cock. Also, if any one shall hold a viper over a vapor with a staff, he shall prophesy, and that the staff wherewith a snake was beaten is good against female diseases. These things Pliny recites. It is said that in gathering roots and herbs we must draw three circles round about them first, with a sword, and then dig them up, meanwhile taking heed of any contrary wind. Also they say, that if any one shall measure a dead man with a rope, first from the elbow to the biggest finger, then from the shoulder to the same finger, and afterwards from the head to the feet, making thrice those mensurations; if any one afterwards shall be measured with the same rope, in the same manner, he shall not prosper, but be unfortunate and fall into misery and sadness. Albertus of Chyrannis saith, that if any woman hath enchanted thee to love her, take the gown she sleepeth

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in out of doors and spit through the right sleeve thereof, when the enchantment will be quitted. And Pliny saith, that to sit by women far with child, or when a medicine is given to any one of them, the fingers being joined together like the teeth of a comb, is a charm; so much the more if the hands be joined about one or both knees. Also, to sit cross legged is sorcery; therefore it was forbidden to be done in the counsels of princes and rulers, as a thing which hindered all acts. And, it is said, if any one shall stand before a man's chamber door, and call to him by name and the man answer, if then he fasten a knife or needle on the door, the edge or point being downward, and break it, he that be in the room shall be unable of his intention so long as those things shall be there.

Next: Chapter LII. Of the Countenance and Gesture, the Habit and the Figure Of The Body, and to What Stars Any of These Do Answer—Whence Physiognomy, and Metoposcopy, and Chiromancy, Arts of Divination, Have Their Grounds