Bawds, Philters, Causes

Bawds, Philters, Causes

When all other engines fail, that they can proceed no farther of themselves, their last refuge is to fly to bawds, panders, magical philters, and receipts; rather than fail, to the devil himself. Flectere si nequeunt superos, Acheronta movebunt. And by those indirect means many a man is overcome, and precipitated into this malady, if he take not good heed. For these bawds, first, they are everywhere so common, and so many, that, as he said of old Croton, omnes hic aut captantur, aut captant, either inveigle or be inveigled, we may say of most of our cities, there be so many professed, cunning bawds in them. Besides, bawdry is become an art, or a liberal science, as Lucian calls it; and there be such tricks and subtleties, so many nurses, old women, panders, letter carriers, beggars, physicians, friars, confessors, employed about it, that nullus tradere stilus sufficiat, one saith,

--"trecentis versibus
Suas impuritias traloqui nemo potest."

(Plautus Tritemius. "Three hundred verses would not comprise their indecencies.")

Such occult notes, stenography, polygraphy, Nuntius animatus, or magnetical telling of their minds, which Cabeus the Jesuit, by the way, counts fabulous and false; cunning conveyances in this kind, that neither Juno's jealousy, nor Danaë's custody, nor Argo's vigilancy can keep them safe. 'Tis the last and common refuge to use an assistant, such as that Catanean Philippa was to Joan Queen of Naples, a bawd's help, an old woman in the business, as Myrrha did when she doted on Cyniras, and could not compass her desire, the old jade her nurse was ready at a pinch, dic inquit, opemque me sine ferre tibi -- et in hac mea (pone timorem) Sedulitas erit apta libi, fear it not, if it be possible to be done, I will effect it: non est mulieri mulier insuperabilis, Cúlestina said, let him or her be never so honest, watched and reserved, 'tis hard but one of these old women will get access: and scarce shall you find, as Austin observes, in a nunnery a maid alone, "if she cannot have egress, before her window you shall have an old woman, or some prating gossip, tell her some tales of this clerk, and that monk, describing or commending some young gentleman or other unto her." "As I was walking in the street" (saith a good fellow in Petronius) "to see the town served one evening, I spied an old woman in a corner selling of cabbages and roots" (as our hucksters do plums, apples, and such like fruits) ; "mother" (quoth he) "can you tell where I can dwell? she, being well pleased with my foolish urbanity, replied, and why, sir, should I not tell? With that she rose up and went before me. I took her for a wise woman, and by-and-by she led me into a by-lane, and told me there I should dwell. I replied again, I knew not the house; but I perceived, on a sudden, by the naked queans, that I was now come into a bawdy-house, and then too late I began to curse the treachery of this old jade." Such tricks you shall have in many places, and amongst the rest it is ordinary in Venice, and in the island of Zante, for a man to be bawd to his own wife. No sooner shall you land or come on shore, but, as the Comical Poet hath it,

"Morem hunc meretrices habent,
Ad portum mittunt servulos, ancillulas,
Si qua peregrina navis in portum aderit,
Rogant cujatis sit, quod ei nomen siet,
Post illæ extemplo sese adplicent."

Plautus Menech. "These harlots send little maidens down to the quays to ascertain the name and nation of every ship that arrives, after which they themselves hasten to address the new-comers."

These white devils have their panders, bawds, and factors in every place to seek about, and bring in customers, to tempt and waylay novices, and silly travellers. And when they have them once within their clutches, as Ægidius Mascrius in his comment upon Valerius Flaccus describes them, "with promises and pleasant discourse, with gifts, tokens, and taking their opportunities, they lay nets which Lucretia cannot avoid, and baits that Hippolitus himself would swallow; they make such strong assaults and batteries, that the goddess of virginity cannot withstand them: give gifts and bribes to move Penelope, and with threats able to terrify Susanna. How many Proserpinas, with those catchpoles, doth Pluto take? These are the sleepy rods with which their souls touched descend to hell; this the glue or lime with which the wings of the mind once taken cannot fly away; the devil's ministers to allure, entice," &c. Many young men and maids, without all question, are inveigled by these Eumenides and their associates. But these are trivial and well known. The most sly, dangerous, and cunning bawds, are your knavish physicians, empirics, mass-priests, monks, Jesuits, and friars. Though it be against Hippocrates' oath, some of them will give a dram, promise to restore maidenheads, and do it without danger, make an abortion if need be, keep down their paps, hinder conception, procure lust, make them able with Satyrions, and now and then step in themselves. No monastery so close, house so private, or prison so well kept, but these honest men are admitted to censure and ask questions, to feel their pulse beat at their bedside, and all under pretence of giving physic. Now as for monks, confessors, and friars, as he said,

"Non audet Stygius Pluto tentare quod audet
Effrenis monachus, plenaque fraudis anus;"

"That Stygian Pluto dares not tempt or do,
What an old hag or monk will undergo;"

either for himself to satisfy his own lust; for another, if he be hired thereto, or both at once, having such excellent means. For under colour of visitation, auricular confession, comfort and penance, they have free egress and regress, and corrupt, God knows, how many. They can such trades, some of them, practise physic, use exorcisms, &c.

That whereas was wont to walk and Elf,
There now walks the Limiter himself,
In every bush and under every tree,
There needs no other Incubus but he.

In the mountains between Dauphiné and Savoy, the friars persuaded the good wives to counterfeit themselves possessed, that their husbands might give them free access, and were so familiar in those days with some of them, that, as one observes, "wenches could not sleep in their beds for necromantic friars:" and the good abbess in Boccaccio may in some sort witness, that rising betimes, mistook and put on the friar's breeches instead of her veil or hat. You have heard the story, I presume, of Paulina, a chaste matron in Ægesippus, whom one of Isis's priests did prostitute to Mundus, a young knight, and made her believe it was their god Anubis. Many such pranks are played by our Jesuits, sometimes in their own habits, sometimes in others, like soldiers, courtiers, citizens, scholars, gallants, and women themselves. Proteus-like, in all forms and disguises, that go abroad in the night, to inescate and beguile young women, or to have their pleasure of other men's wives; and, if we may believe some relations, they have wardrobes of several suits in the colleges for that purpose. Howsoever in public they pretend much zeal, seem to be very holy men, and bitterly preach against adultery, fornication, there are no verier bawds or whoremasters in a country; "whose soul they should gain to God, they sacrifice to the devil." But I spare these men for the present.

The last battering engines are philters, amulets, spells, charms, images, and such unlawful means: if they cannot prevail of themselves by the help of bawds, panders, and their adherents, they will fly for succour to the devil himself. I know there be those that deny the devil can do any such thing (Crato epist. 2. lib. med.) , and many divines, there is no other fascination than that which comes by the eyes, of which I have formerly spoken, and if you desire to be better informed, read Camerarius, oper subcis. cent. 2. c. 5. It was given out of old, that a Thessalian wench had bewitched King Philip to dote upon her, and by philters enforced his love; but when Olympia, the Queen, saw the maid of an excellent beauty, well brought up, and qualified -- these, quoth she, were the philters which inveigled King Philip; those the true charms, as Henry to Rosamond,

"One accent from thy lips the blood more warms,
Than all their philters, exorcisms, and charms."

With this alone Lucretia brags in Aretine, she could do more than all philosophers, astrologers, alchemists, necromancers, witches, and the rest of the crew. As for herbs and philters, I could never skill of them, "The sole philter that ever I used was kissing and embracing, by which alone I made men rave like beasts stupefied, and compelled them to worship me like an idol." In our times it is a common thing, saith Erastus, in his book de Lamiis, for witches to take upon them the making of these philters, "to force men and women to love and hate whom they will, to cause tempests, diseases," &c., by charms, spells, characters, knots.-- hic Thessala vendit Philtra. St. Hierome proves that they can do it (as in Hilarius' life, epist. lib. 3) ; he hath a story of a young man, that with a philter made a maid mad for the love of him, which maid was after cured by Hilarion. Such instances I find in John Nider, Formicar. lib. 5. cap. 5. Plutarch records of Lucullus that he died of a philter; and that Cleopatra used philters to inveigle Antony, amongst other allurements. Eusebius reports as much of Lucretia the poet. Panormitan, lib. 4. de gest. Aphonsi, hath a story of one Stephan, a Neapolitan knight, that by a philter was forced to run mad for love. But of all others, that which Petrarch, epist. famil. lib. 1. ep. 5, relates of Charles the Great (Charlemagne) is most memorable. He foolishly doted upon a woman of mean favour and condition, many years together, wholly delighting in her company, to the great grief and indignation of his friends and followers. When she was dead, he did embrace her corpse, as Apollo did the bay-tree for his Daphne, and caused her coffin (richly embalmed and decked with jewels) to be carried about with him, over which he still lamented. At last a venerable bishop, that followed his court, prayed earnestly to God (commiserating his lord and master's case) to know the true cause of this mad passion, and whence it proceeded; it was revealed to him, in fine, "that the cause of the emperor's mad love lay under the dead woman's tongue." The bishop went hastily to the carcass, and took a small ring thence; upon the removal the emperor abhorred the corpse, and, instead of it, fell as furiously in love with the bishop, he would not suffer him to be out of his presence; which when the bishop perceived, he flung the ring into the midst of a great lake, where the king then was. From that hour the emperor neglected all his other houses, dwelt at Ache, built a fair house in the midst of the marsh, to his infinite expense, and a temple by it, where after he was buried, and in which city all his posterity ever since use to be crowned. Marcus the heretic is accused by Irenæus, to have inveigled a young maid by this means; and some writers speak hardly of the Lady Katharine Cobham, that by the same art she circumvented Humphrey Duke of Gloucester to be her husband. Sycinius Æmilianus summoned Apuleius to come before Cneius Maximus, proconsul of Africa, that he being a poor fellow, "had bewitched by philters Pudentilla, an ancient rich matron, to love him," and, being worth so many thousand sesterces, to be his wife. Agrippa, lib. 1. cap. 48. occult. philos. attributes much in this kind to philters, amulets, images: and Salmutz com. in Pancirol. Tit. 10. de Horol. Leo Afer, lib. 3, saith, 'tis an ordinary practice at Fez in Africa, Præstigiatores ibi plures, qui cogunt amores et concubitus: as skilful all out as that hyperborean magician, of whom Cleodemus, in Lucian, tells so many fine feats performed in this kind. But Erastus, Wierus, and others are against it; they grant indeed such things may be done, but (as Wierus discourseth, lib. 3. de Lamiis. cap. 37.) not by charms, incantations, philters, but the devil himself; lib. 5. cap. 2. he contends as much; so doth Freitagius, noc. med. cap. 74. Andreas Cisalpinus, cap. 5; and so much Sigismundus Scheretzius, cap. 9. de hirco nocturno, proves at large. "Unchaste women by the help of these witches, the devil's kitchen maids, have their loves brought to them in the night, and carried back again by a phantasm flying in the air in the likeness of a goat. I have heard" (saith he) "divers confess, that they have been so carried on a goat's back to their sweethearts, many miles in a night." Others are of opinion that these feats, which most suppose to be done by charms and philters, are merely effected by natural causes, as by man's blood chemically prepared, which much avails, saith Ernestus Burgravius, in Lucerna vitæ et mortis Indice, ad amorem conciliandum et odium, (so huntsmen make their dogs love them, and farmers their pullen,) 'tis an excellent philter, as he holds, sed vulgo prodere grande nefas, but not fit to be made common: and so be Mala insana, mandrake roots, mandrake apples, precious stones, dead men's clothes, candles, mala Bacchica, panis porcinus, Hyppomanes, a certain hair in a wolf's tail, &c., of which Rhasis, Dioscorides, Porta, Wecker, Rubeus, Mizaldus, Albertus, treat: a swallow's heart, dust of a dove's heart, multum valent linguæ viperarum, cerebella asinorum, tela equina, palliola quibus infantes obvoluti nascuntur, funis strangulati hominis, lapis de nido Aquilæ, &c. See more in Sckenkius observat. medicinal, lib. 4. &c., which are as forcible and of as much virtue as that fountain Salmacis in Vitruvius, Ovid, Strabo, that made all such mad for love that drank of it, or that hot bath at Aix in Germany, wherein Cupid once dipped his arrows, which ever since hath a peculiar virtue to make them lovers all that wash in it. But hear the poet's own description of it,

"Unde hic fervor aquis terra erumpentibus uda?
Tela olim hic ludens ignea tinxit amor;
Et gaudens stridore novo, fervete perennes
Inquit, et hæc pharetræ sint monumenta meæ.
Ex illo fervet, rarusque hic mergitur hospes,
Cui non titillet pectora blandus amor."

(Baltheus Veneris, in quo suavitas, et dulcia colloquia, benevolentiæ, et blanditiæ, suasiones, fraudes et veneficia includebantur. "Whence that heat to waters bubbling from the cold moist earth? Cupid, once upon a time, playfully dipped herein his arrows of steel, and delighted with the hissing sound, he said, boil on for ever, and retain the memory of my quiver. From that time it is a thermal spring, in which few venture to bathe, but whosoever does, his heart is instantly touched with love.")

These above-named remedies have happily as much power as that bath of Aix, or Venus' enchanted girdle, in which, saith Natales Comes, "Love toys and dalliance, pleasantness, sweetness, persuasions, subtleties, gentle speeches, and all witchcraft to enforce love, was contained." Read more of these in Agrippa de occult. Philos. lib. 1. cap. 50. et 45. Malleus malefic. part. 1. quæst. 7. Delrio tom. 2. quest. 3. lib. 3. Wierus, Pomponatis, cap. 8. de incantat. Ficinus, lib. 13. Theol. Plat. Calcagninus, &c.

 

Previous Next