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


Of the Virtue of Writing, and of Making Imprecations, and Inscriptions.

The use of words and speech is to express the inwards of the mind, and from thence to draw forth the secrets of the thoughts, and do declare the will of the speaker. Now, writing is the last expression of the mind, and is the number of speech and voice, as, also, the collection, state, end, continuing, and iteration, making a habit, which is not perfected with the act of one's voice. And whatsoever is in the mind, in voice, in word, in operation, and in speech, the whole and all of this is in writing also. And as nothing which is conceived in the mind is not expressed by voice, so nothing which is expressed is not also written. And, therefore, magicians command that in every work there be imprecations and inscriptions made, by which the operator may, express his affection; that if he gather an herb, or a stone, he declare for what use he doth it; if he make a picture, he say and write to what end he maketh it, with imprecations and inscriptions. Albertus, also, in his book, called the Speculum, doth not disallow this, without

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which all our works would never be brought into effect, seeing a disposition does not cause an effect, but the act of the disposition. We find, also, that the same kind of precepts was in use amongst the ancients, as Virgil testifies when he sings:

      I walk around
First with these Threads—in number which three are—
’Bout th’ Altars, thrice I shall thy Image bear.

And a little after:

Knots, Amaryllis, tie! of Colors three,
Then say, "These bonds I knit for Venus be."

And in the same place:

As with one fire this clay doth harder prove,
The wax more soft; so, Daphnis, with our love.

Next: Chapter LXXIV. Of the Proportion, Correspondency, and Reduction of Letters to the Celestial Signs and Planets, According to Various Tongues, and a Table Thereof