Page images

second joined with memory of that which is past; and the third is of things present, or as if they were present; for I comprehend in this, imaginations feigned, and at pleasure; as if one should imagine such a man to be in the vestments of a pope, or to have wings. I single out, for this time, that which is with faith or belief of that which is to come. The inquisition of this subject in our way, which is by induction, is wonderful hard: for the things that are reported are full of fables; and new experiments can hardly be made, but with extreme caution; for the reason which we will hereafter declare.

The power of imagination is of three kinds; the first upon the body of the imaginant, including likewise the child in the mother's womb; the second is, the power of it upon dead bodies, as plants, wood, stone, metal, &c. ; the third is, the power of it upon the spirits of men and living creatures: and with this last we will only meddle.

The problem therefore is, whether a man constantly and strongly believing that such a thing shall be, as that such a one will love him; or that such a one will grant him his request; or that such a one shall recover a sickness j or the like; it doth help any thing to the effecting of the thing itself. And here again we must warily distinguish; for it is not meant, as hath been partly said before, that it should help by making a man more stout, or more industrious, in which kind a constant belief doth much, but merely by a secret operation, or binding, or changing the spirit of another: and in this it is hard, as we began to say, to make any new experiment; for I cannot command myself to believe what I will, and so no trial can be made. Nay, it is worse; for whatsoever a man imagineth doubtingly, or with fear, must needs do hurt, if imagination have any power at all; for a man representeth that oftener that he feareth, than the contrary.

The help therefore is, for a man to work by another, in whom he may create belief, and not by himself; until himself have found by experience, that imagination doth prevail; for then experience *orketh in himself belief; if the belief that such a thing shall be, be joined with a belief that his imagination may procure it.

946. For example; I related one time to a man that was curious and vain enough in these things, that I saw a kind of juggler, that had a pair of cards, and would tell a man what card he thought. This pretended learned man told me, it was a mistaking in me; "for," said he, " it was not the knowledge of the man's thought, for that is proper to God, bntit was the enforcing of a thought upon him, and binding his imagination by a stronger, that he could think no other card." And thereupon he asked me a question or two, which I thought he did but cun"ingly, knowing before what used to be the feats of the juggler. "Sir," said he, "do you remember whether he told the card the man thought, himself, °' bade another to tell it?" I answered, as was ,rue, that he bade another tell it. Whereunto he "id, " So I thought: for," said he, " himself could tot have put on so strong an imagination; but by telling the other the card, who believed that the

juggler was some strange man, and could do strange things, that other man caught a strong imagination." I hearkened unto him, thinking for a vanity he spoke prettily. Then he asked me another question: saith he, " Do you remember, whether he bade the man think the card first, and afterwards told the other man in his ear what he should think; or else that he did whisper first in the man's ear that should tell the card, telling that such a man should think such a card, and after bade the man think a card?" I told him, as was true, that he did first whisper the man in the ear, that such a man should think such a card: upon this the learned man did much exult and please himself, saying; "Lo, you may see that my opinion is right: for if the man had thought first, his thought had been fixed; but the other imagining first, bound his thought." Which though it did somewhat sink with me, yet I made it lighter than I thought and said; I thought it was confederacy between the juggler and the two servants; though, indeed, I had no reason so to think, for they were both my father's servants; and he had never played in the house before. The juggler also did cause a garter to be held up; and took upon him to know, that such a one should point in such a place of the garter; as it should be near so many inches to the longer end, and so many to the shorter; and still he did it, by first telling the imaginer, and after bidding the actor think.

Having told this relation, not for the weight thereof, but because it doth handsomely open the nature of the question, I return to that 1 said; that experiments of imagination must be practised by others, and not by a man's self. For there be three means to fortify belief: the first is experience; the second is reason; and the third is authority : - and that of these which is far the most potent, is authority; for belief upon reason, or experience, will stagger.

947. For authority, it is of two kinds; belief in an art; and belief in a man. And for things of belief in an art, a man may exercise them by himself; but for belief in a man, it must be by another. Therefore if a man believe in astrology, and find a figure prosperous; or beUeve in natural magic, and that a ring with such a stone, or such a piece of a living creature, carried, will do good; it may help his imagination: but the belief in a man is far the more active. But howsoever, all authority must be out of a man's self, turned, as was said, either upon an art or upon a man: and where authority is from one man to another, there the second must be ignorant, and not learned, or full of thoughts; and such are, for the most part, all witches and superstitious persons; whose beliefs, tied to their teachers and traditions, are no whit controlled either by reason or experience; and upon the same reason, in magic, they use for the most part boys and young people, whose spirits easiliest take belief and imagination.

Now to fortify imagination, there be three ways: the authority whence the belief is derived; means to quicken and corroborate the imagination; and means to repeat it and refresh it.

948. For the authority, we have already spoken

as for the second, namely, the means to quicken and corroborate the imagination; we see what hath been used in magic, if there be in those practices any thing that is purely natural, as vestments, characters, words, seals; some parts of plants, or living creatures; stones; choice of the hour: gestures and motions j also incenses and odours; choice of society, which increaseth imagination; diets and preparations for some time before. And for words, there have been ever used, either barbarous words, of no sense, lest they should disturb the imagination; or words of similitude, that may second and feed the imagination; and this was ever as well in heathen charms, as in charms of latter times. There are used also Scripture words; for that the belief that religious texts and words have power, may strengthen the imagination. And for the same reason, hebrew words, which amongst us is counted the holy tongue, and the words more mystical, are often used.

949. For the refreshing of the imagination, which was the third means of exalting it, we see the practices of magic, as in images of wax, and the like, that should melt by little and little; or some other things buried in muck, that should putrify by little and little; or the like: for so oft as the imaginant doth think of those things, so oft doth he represent to his imagination the effect of that he desireth.

950. If there be any power in imagination, it is less credible that it should be so incorporeal, and immateriate a virtue, as to work at great distances, or through all mediums, or upon all bodies: but that the distance must be competent, the medium not adverse, and the body apt and proportionate. Therefore if there be any operation upon bodies in absence by nature, it is like to be conveyed from man to man, as fame is; as if a witch, by imagination, should hurt any afar off, it cannot be naturally: but by working upon the spirit of some that cometh to the witch; and from that party upon the imagination of another; and so upon another; till it come to one that hath resort to the party intended; and so by him to the party intended himself. And although they speak, that it sufficeth to make a point, or a piece of the garment, or the name of the party, or the like; yet there is less credit to be given to those things, except it be by working of evil spirits.

The experiments, which may certainly demonstrate the power of imagination upon other bodies, are few or none: for the experiments of witchcraft are no clear proofs; for that they may be by a tacit operation of malign spirits: we shall therefore be forced, in this inquiry, to resort to new experiments; wherein we can give only directions of trials, and not any positive experiments. And if any man think that we ought to have stayed till we had made experiment of some of them ourselves, as we do commonly in other titles, the truth is, that these effects of imagination upon other bodies have so little credit with us, as we shall try them at leisure; but in the mean time we will lead others the way.

951. When yon work by the imagination of

another, it is necessary that he, by whom you work, have a precedent opinion of you that you can do strange things; or that you are a man of art, as they call it; for else the simple affirmation to another, that this or that shall be, can work but a weak impression in his imagination.

952. It were good, because you cannot discern fully of the strength of imagination in one man more than another, that you did use the imagination of more than one, that so you may light upon a strong one. As if a physician should tell three or four of his patient's servants, that their master shall surely recover.

953. The imagination of one that you shall use, such is the variety of men's minds, cannot be always alike constant and strong; and if the success follow not speedily, it will faint and lose strength. To remedy this, you must pretend to him, whose imagination you use, several degrees of means, by which to operate: as to prescribe him that every three days, if he find not the success apparent, he do use another root, or part of a beast or ring, &c. as being of more force; and if that fail, another; and if that, another, till seven times. Also you must prescribe a good large time for the effect you promise; as if you should tell a servant of a sick man that his master shall recover, but it will be fourteen days ere he findeth it apparently, &c. All this to entertain the imagination that it waver less.

954. It is certain, that potions, or things taken into the body; incenses and perfumes taken at the nostrils; and ointments of some parts, do naturally work upon the imagination of him that taketh them. And therefore it must needs greatly co-operate with the imagination of him whom you use, if you prescribe him, before he do use the receipt, for the work which he desireth, that he do take such a pill, or a spoonful of liquor; or burn such an incense: or anoint his temples, or the soles of his feet, with such an ointment or oil: and you must choose, for the composition of such pill, perfume, or ointment, such ingredients as do make the spirits a little more gross or muddy; whereby the imagination will fix the better.

955. The body passive, and to be wrought upon, I mean not of the imaginant, is better wrought upon, as hath been partly touched, at some times than at others: as if you should prescribe a servant about a sick person, whom you have possessed that his master shall recover, when his master is fast asleep, to use such a root, or such a root. For imagination is like to work better upon sleeping men, than men awake: as we shall show when we handle dreams.

956. We find in the art of memory, that images visible work better than other conceits: as if you would remember the word philosophy, you shall more surely do it, by imagining, that such a man, for men are best places, is reading upon Aristotle's "Physics:" than if you should imagine him to sav, "I'll go study philosophy." And therefore this observation would be translated to the subject we now speak of: for the more lustrous the imagination is, it filleth and fixeth the better. And therefore I conceive, that you shall, in that experiment, whereof we spake before, of binding of thoughts, less fad, if you tell one that such a one shall name one of twenty men, than if it were one of twenty cards. The experiment of binding of thoughts would be diversified and tried to the full: and you are to note, whether it hit for the most part, though not always.

'j:>J. It is good to consider, upon what things imagination hath most force: and the rule, as I conceive, is, that it hath most force upon things that have the lightest and easiest motions. And therefore above all, upon the spirits of men: and in them, upon such affections as move lightest; as upon procuring of love; binding of lust, which is ever with imagination; upon men in fear; or men in irresolution; and the like. Whatsoever is of this kind would be throughly inquired. Trials likewise would be made upon plants, and that diligently: as if you should tell a man, that such a tree would die this year; and will him at these and these times to go unto it, to see how it thriveth. As for inanimate things, it is true, that the motions of shuffling of cards, or casting of dice, are very light motions: and there is a folly very usual, that gamesters imagine, that some that stand by them bring them ill luck. There would be trial also made, of holding a ring by a thread in a glass, and telling him that holdeth it, before, that it shall strike so many times against the side of the glass, and no more; or of holding a key between two men's fingers, without a charm; and to tell those that hold it, that at such a name it shall go off their fingers: for these two are extreme light motions. And howsoever I have no opinion of these things, yet so much I conceive to be true; that strong imagination hath more force upon things living, or that have been living, than things merely inanimate: and more force likevise upon light and subtile motions, than upon motions vehement or ponderous.

958. It is a usual observation, that if the body of one murdered be brought before the murderer, the wounds will bleed afresh. Some do affirm, that the dead body, upon the presence of the murderer, hath opened the eyes j and that there have been such like motions, as well where the parties murdered have been strangled or drowned, as where they hare been killed by wounds. It may be, that this participateth of a miracle, by God's just judgment, *ho usually bringeth murders to light: but if it be natural, it must be referred to imagination.

959. The tying of the point upon the day of marriage, to make men impotent towards their wives, which, as we have formerly touched, is so frequent in Zant and Gascony, if it be natural, must be referred to the imagination of him that tieth the point. I conceive it to have the less affinity with witchcraft, because not peculiar persons only, such as •itches are, but any body may do it.

Experiment* in consort touching the secret virtue of sympathy and antipathy.

960. There be many things that work upon the spirits of man by secret sympathy and antipathy: •he virtues of precious stones worn, have been anciently and generally received, and curiously as

signed to work several effects. So much is true; that stones have in them fine spirits, as nppeareth by their splendour ; and therefore they may work by consent upon the spirits, to comfort and exhilarate them. Those that are the best, for that effect, are the diamond, the emerald, the hyacinth oriental, and the gold stone, which is the yellow topaz. As for their particular proprieties, there is no credit to be given to them. But it is manifest, that light, above all things, excelleth in comforting the spirits of men: and it is very probable, that light varied doth the same effect, with more novelty. And this is one of the causes why precious stones comfort. And therefore it were good to have tincted lanthorns, or tincted screens, of glass coloured into green, blue, carnation, crimson, purple, &c. and to use them with candles in the light. So likewise to have round glasses, not only of glass coloured through, but with colours laid between crystals, with handles to hold in one's hand. Prisms are also comfortable things. They have of Paris-work, looking-glasses, bordered with broad borders of small crystal, and great counterfeit precious stones, of all colours, that are most glorious and pleasant to behold; especially in the night. The pictures of Indian feathers are likewise comfortable and pleasant to behold. So also fair and clear pools do greatly comfort the eyes and spirits, especially when the sun is not glaring, but over-cast; or when the moon, shineth.

961. There he divers sorts of bracelets fit to comfort the spirits; and they be of three intentions; refrigerant, corroborant, and aperient. For refrigerant, I wish them to be of pearl, or of coral, as is used; and it hath been noted that coral, if the party that weareth it be indisposed, will wax pale; which I believe to be true, because otherwise distemper of heat will make coral lose colour. I commend also beads, or little plates of lapis lazuli; and beads of nitre, either alone, or with some cordial mixture.

962. For corroboration and coufortation, take such bodies as are of astringent quality, without manifest cold. I commend bead-amber, which is full of astriction, but yet is unctuous, and not cold; and is conceived to impinguate those that wear such beads; I commend also beads of hartshorn and ivory; which are of the like nature; also orange beads; also beads of lignum aloes, macerated first in rose-water, and dried.

963. For opening, I commend beads, or pieces of the roots of carduus benedictus: also the roots of piony the male; and of orrice; and of calamus aromaticus; and of rue.

964. The cramp no doubt cometh of contraction of sinews; which is manifest, in that it cometh either by cold or dryness; as after consumptions, and long agues; for cold and dryness do, both of them, contract and corrugate. We see also, that chafing a little above the place in pain, easeth the cramp; which is wrought by the dilatation of the contracted sinews by heat. There are in use for the prevention of the cramp, two things; the one, rings of seahorse teeth worn upon the fingers; the other, bauds of green periwinkle, the herb, tied about the calf of the leg, or the thigh, &c. where the cramp useth to come. I do find this the more strange, because neither of these have any relaxing virtue, but rather the contrary. I judge therefore, that their working is rather upon the spirits, within the nerves, to make them strive less, than upon the bodily substance of the nerves.

965. I would have trial made of two other kinds of bracelets, for comforting the heart and spirits: the one of the trochisk of vipers, made into little pieces of beads; for since they do great good inwards, especially for pestilent agues, it is like they will be effectual outwards; where they may be applied in greater quantity. There would be trochisk likewise made of snakes; whose flesh dried is thought to have a very opening and cordial virtue. The other is, of beads made of the scarlet powder, which they call kermes; which is the principal ingredient in their cordial confection alkermes: the beads would be made up with ambergrease, and some pomander.

966. It hath been long received and confirmed by divers trials, that the root of the male piony dried, tied to the neck, doth help the falling sickness; and likewise the incubus, which we call the mare. The cause of both these diseases, and especially of the epilepsy from the stomach, is the grossness of the vapours which rise and enter into the cells of the brain: and therefore the working is by extreme and subtile attenuation; which that simple hath. I judge the like to be in castoreum, musk, rue seed, agnus castus seed, &c.

967. There is a stone which they call the bloodstone, which worn is thought to be good for them that bleed at the nose: which, no doubt, is by astriction and cooling of the spirits. Query, if the stone taken out of the toad's head, be not of the like virtue; for the toad loveth shade and coolness.

968. Light may be taken from the experiment of the horse-tooth ring, and the garland of periwinkle, how that those things which assuage the strife of the spirits, do help diseases contrary to the intention desired: for in the curing of the cramp, the intention is to relax the sinews; but the contraction of the spirits that they strive less, is the best help: so to procure easy travails of women, the intention is to bring down the child; but the best help is, to stay the coming down too fast: whereunto they say, the toad-stone likewise helpeth. So in pestilent fevers, the intention is to expel the infection by sweat and evaporation: but the best means to do it is by nitre, diascordium, and other cool tilings, which do for a time arrest the expulsion, till nature can do it more quietly. For as one saith prettily; " In the quenching of the flame of a pestilent ague, nature is like people that come to quench the fire of a house; which are so busy, as one of them letteth another." Surely it is an excellent axiom, and of manifold use, that whatsoever appcaseth the contention of the spirits, farthereth their action.

969. The writers of natural magic commend the wearing of the spoil of a snake, for preserving of health. I doubt it is but a conceit: for that the

snake is thought to renew her youth, by casting her spoil. They might as well take the beak of an eagle, or a piece of a hart's hom, because those renew.

970. It hath been anciently received, for Pericles the Athenian used it, and it is yet in use, to wear little bladders of quicksilver, or tablets of arsenic, as preservatives against the plague: not as they conceive for any comfort they yield to the spirits, but for that being poisons themselves, they draw the venom to them from the spirits.

971. Vide the experiments 95, 96, and 97, touching the several sympathies and antipathies for medicinal use.

972. It is said, that the guts of a wolf, being applied to the belly, do cure the colic. It is true, that the wolf is a beast of great edacity and digestion; and so it may be the parts of him comfort the bowels.

973. We see scare-crows are set up to keep birds from corn and fruit; it is reported by some, that the head of a wolf, whole, dried, and hanged up in a dove-house, will scare away vermin; such as are weasels, pole-cats, and the like. It may be the head of a dog will do as much; for those vermin with us know dogs better than wolves.

974. The brains of some creatures, when their heads are roasted, taken in wine, are said to strengthen the memory; as the brains of hares, brains of hens, brains of deers, &c. And it seemeth to be incident to the brains of those creatures that are fearful.

975. The ointment that witches use, is reported to be made of the fat of children digged out of their graves; of the juices of smallage, wolf-bane, and cinque-foil, mingled with the meal of fine wheat. But I suppose, that the soporifcrous medicines are likest to do it; which are henbane, hemlock, mandrake, moonshade, tobacco, opium, saffron, poplar leaves, &c.

976. It is reported by some, that the affections of beasts when they are in strength do add some virtue unto inanimate things; as that the skin of a sheep devoured by a wolf, moveth itching; that a stone bitten by a dog in anger, being thrown at him, drunk in powder, provoketh choler.

977. It hath been observed, that the diet of women with child doth work much upon the infant; as if the mother eat quinces much, and corianderseed, the nature of both which is to repress and stay vapours that ascend to the brain, it will make the child ingenious; and on the contrary side, if the mother eat much onions or beans, or such vaporous food; or drink wine or strong drink immoderately ; or fast much ; or be given to much musing; all which send or draw vapours to the head; it endangereth the child to become lunatic, or of imperfect memory: and I make the same judgment of tobacco often taken by the mother.

978. The writers of natural magic report, that the heart of an ape, worn near the heart, comforteth the heart, and increaseth audacity. It is true that the ape is a merry and bold beast. And that the same heart likewise of an ape, applied to the neck or head, lielpeth the wit; and is good for the falling sickness: the ape also is a witty beast, and halh a dry brain; which may be some cause of attenuation of vapours in the head. Yet it is said to move dreams also. It may be the heart of a man would do more, but that it is more against men's minds to use it; except it be in such as wear the reliques of saints.

9/9. The flesh of a hedge-hog, dressed and enten, is said to be a great drier: it is true that the juice of a hedge-hog must needs be harsh and dry, because it putteth forth so many prickles: for plants also that are full of prickles are generally dry; as briers, thorns, berberries; and therefore the ashes of an hedge-hqg are said to be a great desiccative of fistulas.

980. Mummy hath great force in stanching of blood; which, as it may be ascribed to the mixture of balms that are glutinous; so it may also partake of a secret propriety, in that the blood draweth man's flesh. And it is approved that the moss which groweth upon the skull of a dead man unburied, will stanch blood potently: and so do the dregs or powder of blood, severed from the water, and dried.

981. It hath been practised, to make white swallows, by anointing of the eggs with oil. Which effect may be produced, by the stopping of the pores of the shell, and making the juice that putteth forth the feathers afterwards more penurious. And it may be, the anointing of the eggs will be as effectual as the anointing of the body ; of which vide the experiment 93.

982. It is reported, that the white of an egg, or blood mingled with salt-water, doth gather the saltMss, and maketh the water sweeter. This may be by adhesion; as in the sixth experiment of clarification: it may be also, that blood, and the white of an egg, which is the matter of a living creature, bave some sympathy with salt: for all life hath a sympathy with salt. We see that salt laid to a cut finger healeth it; so as it seemeth salt draweth blood, as well as blood draweth salt.

983. It hath been anciently received, that the sea-air hath an antipathy with the lungs, if it cometh near the body, and erodeth them. Whereof the cause is conceived to be, a quality it hath of heating the breath and spirits; as cantharides have upon the watery parts of the body, as urine and hydropical water. And it is a good rule, that whatsoever bath an operation upon certain kinds of matters, that, in man's body, worketh most upon those parts wherein that kind of matter aboundeth.

984. Generally that which is dead, or corrupted, or excerncd, hath antipathy with the same thing when it is alive, and when it is sound; and with those parts which do excern: as a carcass of man w most infectious and odious to man; a carrion of i horse to a horse, &c.; purulent matter of wounds, and ulcers, carbuncles, pocks, scabs, leprosy, to sound flesh; and the excrement of every species to that creature that excerneth them: but the excrements arc less pernicious than the corruptions.

985. It is a common experience, that dogs know the dog-killer; when, as in times of infection, some

petty fellow is sent out to kill the dogs; and that though they have never seen him before, yet they will all come forth, and bark and fly at him.

986. The relations touching the force of imagination, and the secret instincts of nature, are so uncertain, as they require a great deal of examination ere we conclude upon them. I would have it first throughly inquired, whether there be any secret passages of sympathy between persons of near blood; as parents, children, brothers, sisters, nurse-children, husbands, wives, &c. There be many reports in history, that upon the death of persons of such nearness, men have had an inward feeling of it. I myself remember, that being in Paris, and my father dying in London, two or three days before my father's death, I had a dream, which I told to (livers English gentlemen, that my father's house in the country was plastered all over with black mortar. There is an opinion abroad, whether idle or no I cannot say, that loving and kind husbands have a sense of their wives breeding children, by some accident in their own body.

987. Next to those that are near in blood, there may be the like passage, and instincts of nature, between great friends and enemies: and sometimes the revealing is unto another person, and not to the party himself. I remember Philippus Commincus, a grave writer, reporteth, that the archbishop of Vienna, a reverend prelate, said one day after mass to king Lewis the eleventh of France: "Sir, your mortal enemy is dead;" what time duke Charles of Burgundy was slain at the battle of Granson against the Switzers. Some trial also would be made, whether pact or agreement do any thing; as if two friends should agree, that such a day in every week, they, being in far distant places, should pray one for another; or should put on a ring or tablet one for another's sake; whether if one of them should break their vow and promise, the other should have any feeling of it in absence.

988. If there be any force in imaginations and affections of singular persons, it is probable the force is much more in the joint imaginations and affections of multitudes: as if a victory should be won or lost in remote parts, whether is there not some sense thereof in the people whom it concerned; because of the great joy or grief that many men are possessed with at once? Pius Quintus, at the very time when that memorable victory was won by the christians against the Turks, at the nayal battle of Lepanto, being then hearing of causes in consistory, brake off suddenly, and said to those about him, " It is now more time we should give thanks to God for the great victory he hath granted us against the Turks:" it is true, that victory had a sympathy with his spirit; for it was merely his work to conclude that league. It may be that revelation was divine; but what shall we say then to a number of examples amongst the Grecians and Romans? where the people being in theatres at plays, have had news of victories and overthrows, some few days before any messenger could come.

It is true, that that may hold in these things, which is the general root of superstition: namely,

« PreviousContinue »