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England in Shakespeare's Day by Harrison G. B.;

England in Shakespeare's Day by Harrison G. B.;

Author:Harrison, G. B.; [Harrison, G. B.]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 1474771
Publisher: Routledge


III. QUACKS

HENRY CHETTLE. Kind-heart’s Dream. 1592 ; vol. iv, pages 26, 27, 32 in the Bodley Head Quartos.

For the dead palsy, there is a woman hath a desperate drink that either helps in a year, or kills in an hour. Beside, she hath a charm that mumbled thrice over the ear, together with oil of suamone (as she terms it) will make them that can hear but a little, hear in short time never a whit. But above all, her medicine for the quartine ague is admirable, viz. a pint of exceeding strong March beer, wherein is diffused one drop of aqua mirabilis ; this, taken at a draught before the fit, is intolerable good, and for a precedent, let this serve.

A gentlewoman about London, whose husband is heir of a right worshipful house, was induced to take this drench from this wise woman ; for every drop of that strong water she must have twelve pence. A spoonful at the least was prized at forty shillings. Thus, daily for almost a month, she ministered, the gentlewoman, having still good hope, at last was put by her husband quite out of comfort for any good at this woman’s hands ; for he, by chance getting the deceiver’s glass, would needs pour out a spoonful whatever he paid ; she cried out she could not spare it ; all helped not, he took it and tasted, and found it to be no other than fountain water. . . .

Besides these runagates, there are some of good experience, that giving themselves to inordinate excess, when they are writ unto by learned physicians to minister for the patient’s health, according to their advised prescription, negligently mistake. As for example, a doctor directs to his apothecary a bill to minister to a man having an ulcerous sore, certain pills for the preparing of his body, withal, a receipt for the making a corrosive to apply to the sore ; he (either witless, which is too bad, or wilful, which is worse) prepares the corrosive in pills, and forms the receipt for the pills in manner of a plaster. The party receives the corrosive inward, his maw is fretted, death follows. If there be such an apothecary that hath so done, let him repent his dealings, lest the blood of that man light on his head. . . .

A Charm. First, he must know your name, then your age, which in a little paper he sets down. On the top are these words, In verbis, et in herbis, et in lapidibus sunt virtutes,104 underneath he writes in capital letters A AB ILLA, HURS GIBELLA, which he swears is pure Chaldee, and the names of three spirits that enter into the blood and cause rheums,105 and so consequently the toothache. This paper must be likewise three times blessed,106 and at last with a little frankincense burned, which being thrice used, is of power to expel the spirits, purify the blood, and ease the pain, or else he lies, for he hath practised it long, but shall approve it never.



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