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


Of the Wonderful Power of Enchantments.

They say that the power of enchantments and verses is, so great, that it is believed they are able to subvert almost all Nature. Apuleius saith that with a magical whispering, swift rivers are turned back, the slow sea is bound, the winds are breathed out with one accord, the Sun is stopped, the Moon is clarified, the Stars are pulled out, the day is kept back, the night is prolonged; and of these things Lucan writes:

The courses of all things did cease, the night
Prolonged was, ’twas long before ’twas light;
Astonied was the headlong World—all this
Was by the hearing of a verse.

And a little before:

Thessalian verse did into his heart so flow,
That it did make a greater heat of love.

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And elsewhere:

No dregs of poison being by him drunk;
His wits decay’d enchanted——

Also Virgil, in Damon,

Charms can command the Moon down from the Skie;
Circe's Charms chang’d Ulysses’ company.
A cold snake, being charm’d, burst——

And Ovid, in his untitled book, saith:

With charms doth with 'ring Ceres dye,
  Dried are the fountains all,
Acorns from Okes, enchanted Grapes,
  And apples from trees fall.

If these things were not true, there would not be such strict penal statutes made against them that should enchant fruit. And Tibullus saith of a certain enchantress:

Her with Charms drawing Stars from Heaven, I,
And turning the course of rivers, did espy;
She parts the earth, and Ghosts from Sepulchres
Draws up, and fetcheth bones away from th’ fires,
And at her pleasure scatters clouds i’ th’ Air,
And makes it Snow in Summer hot and fair.

Of all which that enchantress seems to boast herself in Ovid, when she saith:

At will, I make swift streams retire
To their fountains, whilst their Banks admire;
Sea toss and smooth; clear Clouds with Clouds deform.
With Spells and Charms I break the Viper's jaw,
Cleave solid Rocks, Oakes from their seizures draw,
Whole Woods remove, the lofty Mountains shake,
Earth for to groan, and Ghosts from graves awake,
And thee, O Moon, I draw——

Moreover, all poets sing, and philosophers do not deny, that by verses many wonderful things may be done, as corn to be removed, lightnings to be commanded, diseases to be cured, and the like. For Cato,

p. 218

himself, in country affairs, used some enchantments against the diseases of beasts, which as yet are extant in his writings. Also Josephus testifies that Solomon was skilled in those kinds of enchantments. Also Celsus Africanus reports, according to the Egyptian doctrine, that man's body, according to the number of the faces of the Zodiac Signs, was taken care of by so many, viz., thirty-six spirits, whereof each undertake and defend their proper part, whose names they call with a peculiar voice, which, being called upon, restore to health with their enchantments, the diseased parts of the body.

Next: Chapter LXXIII. Of the Virtue of Writing, and of Making Imprecations, and Inscriptions