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


Of the Virtues of Things Which Are in Them Only in Their Life Time, and Such as Remain in Them Even After Their Death.

Moreover, we must know that there are some properties in things only whilst they live, and some that remain after their death. So the little fish echeneis stops the ships, and the basilisk and catablepa kill with their sight when they are alive; but when they are dead do no such thing. So they say that in the colic, if a live duck be applied to the abdomen it takes away the pain and herself dies. Like to this is that which Archytas says: If you take a heart, newly taken out of an animal, and, whilst it is yet warm, hang it upon one that hath a quartan fever, it drives it away. So if any one swallow the heart of a lapwing, or a swallow, or a weasel, or a mole, whilst it is yet warm with natural heat it shall be helpful to him for remembering, understanding, and for foretelling. Hence is this general rule, viz.: That whatsoever things are taken out of animals, whether they be any member, the hair, nails, or such like, they must be taken from those animals whilst they be yet living; and, if it be possible, that so they may be alive afterwards. Whence they say, when you take the tongue of a frog, you must put the frog into the water again; and if you take the tooth of a wolf, you must not kill the wolf; and so of the rest. So writes Democritus, if any one take out the tongue of a water-frog, yet living, no other part of the body

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sticking to it, and she be let go into the water again, and lay it upon the place where the heart beats of a woman, she shall answer truly whatsoever you ask her. Also they say, that if the eyes of a frog be before sunrising bound to the sick party, and the frog be let go again, blind, into the water, they will drive away tertian ague; as also that they will, being bound with the flesh of a nightingale in the skin of a hart, keep one always watchful without sleep. Also the ray of the fork-fish, being bound to the navel, is said to make a woman have an easy travail, if the ray be taken from the fish alive and it put into the sea again. So they say the right eye of a serpent, being applied, doth help the watering of the eyes if the serpent be let go alive. And there is a certain fish or great serpent, called Myrus, whose eye, if it be pulled out, and bound to the forehead of the patient, is said to cure the inflammation of the eyes; and that the eye of the fish grows again; and that he is taken blind who will not let the fish go. Also the teeth of all serpents, being taken out whilst they are alive, and hanged about the patient, are said to cure the quartan. So doth the tooth of a mole, taken out whilst she is alive, being afterwards let go, cure the toothache; and dogs will not bark at those that have the tail of a weasel that is escaped. And Democritus relates that the tongue of a chameleon, if it be taken from her alive, doth conduce to a good success in trials, and is profitable for women that are in travail, if it be about the outside of the house, for you must take heed that it be not brought into the house, because that would be most dangerous.

Moreover, there be some properties that remain after death, and of these the Platonists say, that they are things in which the Idea of the matter is less swallowed up. In these, even after death, that which is immortal in them doth not cease to work wonderful things. So in the herbs and plants, pulled asunder

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and dried, that Virtue is quick and operative which was infused at first into them by the Idea. Thence it is that as the eagle all her life time doth overcome

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all other birds, so also her feathers, after her death, destroy and consume the feathers of all other birds. Upon the same account doth a lion's skin destroy all other skins; and the skin of the civet cat destroys the skin of the panther; and the skin of a wolf corrodes the skin of a lamb. And some of these do not do it by way of a corporeal contact, but also sometimes by their very sound. So a drum made of the skin of a wolf makes a drum made of a lamb-skin not so sound. Also a drum made of the skin of the fish called rochet drives away all creeping things, at what distance soever the sound of it is heard; and the strings of an instrument made of the intestines of a wolf, and being strung upon a harp or lute with strings made of the intestines of a sheep, will make no harmony.

Next: Chapter XXII. How Inferior Things Are Subjected to Superior Bodies, and How the Bodies, the Actions, and Dispositions of Men Are Ascribed to Stars and Signs