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lost by its reverence being destroyed, and those which have succeeded it have nearly run their race. The Grey Liverwort was at one time thought not only to have cured hydrophobia, but, by wearing it about the person, to have prevented the bite of mad dogs. Calvert paid devotions to St. Hubert for the recovery of his son, who was cured by this
The son also performed the necessary rites at the shrine, and was cured not only of the hydrophobia, “but of the worser frenzy with which his father had instilled him." Cramp rings were also used, and eel-skins tied round the limbs, to prevent this spasmodic affection; and sticks laid crosswise on the floor on going to bed have also performed the like service. Numerous are the charms, amulets, and incantations used even in the present day for the removal of warts. We are told by Lord Verulam (vol. iii. p. 234) that, when he was at Paris, he had above a hundred warts on his hands, and that the English ambassador's lady, then
court, and a woman far above superstition, removed them all by rubbing them with the fat side of the rind of a piece of bacon, which was afterwards nailed to a post with the fat side towards the south.
“In five weeks,” says my lord," they were all removed."
As Lord Verulam is allowed to have been as great a genius as this country ever produced, it may not be irrelevant to the present subject to give, in his own words, what he has observed respecting the power of amulets. After deep metaphysical observations in nature, and arguments in palliation of sorcery, witchcraft, and divination, effects that far outstrip the belief in amulets, he observes, “ We should not reject all of this kind, because it is not known how far those contributing to superstition depend on natural causes. Charms have not their power from contracts with evil spirits, but proceed wholly from strengthening the imagination, in the same manner that images and their influence have prevailed in religion; being called, from a different way of use and application, sigils, incantations, and spells.
There are many enthusiastic and equally credulous authors who have encouraged the belief in the reality of philters, and who adduce facts in confirmation of their opinions, as in all doubtful cases. Among these may be quoted Van Helmont, who says that, by holding a certain herb in his hand, and afterwards taking a little dog by the foot with the same hand, the animal followed him wherever he went, and quite deserted his former master. He also adds that philters only require a confirmation of Mumia. [By Mumia is here understood that which was used by some ancient physicians for some kind of implanted spirit, found chiefly in carcases, when the infused spirit is filed; a kind of sympathetic influence, communicated from one body to another, by which magnetic cures, etc. were said to be performed.] On the principle of sympathetic influence he accounts for the phenomena of love transplanted by the touch of an herb; “ for,” says he," the heat communicated to the herb, not coming alone, but animated by the emanations of the natural spirits, determines the herb towards the man, and identifies it to him. Having then received this ferment, it attracts the spirit of the other object magnetically, and gives it an amorous motion. But all this is mere absurdity, and has fallen to the ground with the other irrational bypothesis from the same source.-Demonologia.
ON THE ORIGIN AND SUPERSTITIOUS INFLUENCE OF RINGS.
According to the accounts of the heathen mythologists, Prometheus, who, in the first times, had discovered a great number of secrets, having been delivered from the charms by which he was fastened to Mount Caucasus for stealing fire from heaven, in memory or acknowledgment of the favour he received from Jupiter, made himself of one of those chains a ring, in whose collet he represented the figure of part of the rock where he had been detained, -or rather, as Pliny says, set it in a bit of the same rock, and put it on his finger. This was the first ring and the first stone. But we otherwise learn that the use of rings is very ancient, and the Egyptians were the first inventors of them; which seems confirmed by the person of Joseph, who, as we read (Genesis, chap. xi.) for having interpreted Pharaoh's dream, received not only his liberty, but was rewarded with his
prince's ring, a collar of gold, and the superintendency of Egypt.
Josephus, in the third Book of Jewish Antiquities, says the Israelites had the use of them after passing the Red Sea, because Moses, at his return from Mount Sinai, found that they had forged the golden calf from their wives' rings, enriched with precious stones. The same Moses, upwards of 400 years before the wars of Troy, permitted to the priests whom hehad established the use of gold rings, enriched with precious stones. The high priest wore upon his ephod, which was a kind of camail, rich rings, that served as clasps : a large emerald was set and engraved with mysterious names. The ring he wore on his finger was of inestimable value and celestial virtue. Had not Aaron, the high priest of the Hebrews, a ring on his finger, whereof the diamond, by its virtues, operated prodigious things ? For it changed its vivid lustre into a dark colour, when the Hebrews were to be punished by death for their sins. When they were to fall by the sword it appeared of a blood-red colour; if they were innocent it sparkled as usual.
It is observable that the ancient Hebrews used rings even in the time of the wars of Troy. Queen Jezebel, to destroy Nabath, as it is related in the first Book of Kings, made use of the ring of Ahab, King of the Israelites, her husband, to seal the counterfeit letters that ordered the death of that unfortunate man. Did not Judah, as mentioned in the 38th chapter of Genesis, give to his daughter-in-law, Thamar, who had disguised herself, his ring and bracelets as a pledge of the faith he had promised her.
Though Homer is silent in regard to rings, both in his Iliad and Odyssey, they were, notwithstanding, used in the time of the Greeks and Trojans, and from them they were received by several other nations. The Lacedemonians, as related by Alexander ab. Alexandro, pursuant to the orders of their king, Lycurgus, had only iron rings, despising those of gold: either their king was thereby willing to retrench luxury or to prohibit the use of them.
The ring was reputed by some nations a symbol of liberality, esteem, and friendship, particularly among the Persians, none being permitted to wear any except they were
given by the king himself. This is what may be also remarked in the person of Apolloneus Thyaneus,who, as a token of singular esteem and liberality, received one from the great Iarchas, prince of the Gymnosophists, who were the ancient priests of India, and dwelt in forests, as our ancient bards and Druids, where they applied themselves to the study of wisdom, and to the observation of the heaven and the stars. This philosopher, by the means of that ring, learned every day the secrets of nature.
Though the ring found by Gyges, shepherd to the King of Lydia, has more of fable than of truth in it, it will not, however, be amiss to relate what is said concerning Herodotus Cælius, after Plato and Cicero, in the third Book of his Offices. This Gyges, after a great flood, passed into a very deep cavity in the earth, where, having found in the belly of a brazen horse, with a large aperture in it, a human body of enormous size, he pulled off from one of the fingers a ring of surprising virtue; for the stone on the collet rendered him who wore it invisible, or when the collet was turned towards the palm of the hand, the party could see, without being seen, all manner of persons and things. Gyges, having made trial of its efficacy, bethought himself that it would
be a means for ascending the throne of Lydia, and for gaining the queen to wife. He succeeded in his designs, having killed Candaules, her husband. The dead body to whom this ring belonged was that of an ancient Brahman, who, in his time, was chief of that sect.
In a Polyglot dictionary, published in the year 1625, by John Minshew, our attention was attracted by the following observations under the article “RING FINGER :"_" Vetus versicalus singulis digitis Annulum trebuens Miles, Mercator, Stultus, Maritus, Amator. Pollici adscribitur Militi, seu Doctor. Mercatorum à pollice secundum, stultorum, tertium. Nuptorum vel studiosorum quartum. Amatorum ultimum."
By which it appears that the fingers on which annuli were anciently worn were directed by the calling or peculiarity of the party. Were it
A soldier or doctor, to him was assigned the thumb;
A fool, the middle finger;
The medicinal or curative powers of rings are numerous, and, as a matter of course, founded on imaginary qualities. Thus the wedding ring rubbed upon that little abscess called the stye, which is frequently seen on the tarsi of the eyes, is said to remove it. Certain rings are worn as talismans, either on the fingers or suspended from the neck, the efficacy of which
be referred to the effects usually produced by these charms.—Thaumaturgia.
There is reason to believe that the Pagan priesthood were under the influence of some narcotic during the display of their oracular powers; but the effects produced would seem rather to resemble those of opium, or perhaps of stramonium, than of prussic acid. Monardus tells us, that the priests of the American Indians, whenever they were consulted by their chiefs, or caciques, as they are called, took certain leaves of the tobacco, and cast them into the fire, and then received the smoke thus produced in their mouths, in consequence of which they fell down upon the ground; and that after having remained for some time in a stupor, they recovered, and delivered the answers, which they pretended to have received during their supposed intercourse with the world of spirits. The sedative powers of the garden lettuce were known in the earliest times. Among the fables of antiquity we read, that after the death of Adonis, Venus threw herself upon a bed of lettuces, to lull her grief. The sea-onion, or squill, was administered by the Egyptians in cases of dropsy, under the mystic title of the Eye of Typhon. The practices of incision and scarification were employed in the camp of the Greeks before Troy, and the application of spirit to wounds was also understood, for we find the experienced Nestor applying a