Witchcrafte by a Picture


Happy Halloween!

Trinity College Library, Cambridge

Witches were believed to bring about the mutilation or death of their victims by making a likeness of them and then destroying it.  This is alluded to in line 6 of  John Donne‘s poem ‘Witchcrafte by a Picture’ (R.3.12)

R.3.12 R.3.12, p. 98

WITCHCRAFT BY A PICTURE
by John Donne

I FIX mine eye on thine, and there
Pity my picture burning in thine eye ;
My picture drown’d in a transparent tear,
When I look lower I espy ;
Hadst thou the wicked skill
By pictures made and marr’d, to kill,
How many ways mightst thou perform thy will?

But now I’ve drunk thy sweet salt tears,
And though thou pour more, I’ll depart ;
My picture vanished, vanish all fears
That I can be endamaged by that art ;
Though thou retain of me
One picture more, yet that will be,
Being in thine own heart…

View original post 11 more words

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About bibliodeviant

This is the journal of Jonathan Kearns Rare Books & Curiosities, and all who sail in her. Information, updates, rantings, musings and pretty pictures related (loosely I would imagine) to the world of rare and antiquarian books will be brought to you by a number of different personalities, some of whom cohabit in the same person's head. We welcome queries, comments and contributions of virtually any description, and in return we will attempt to rein in our multitudinous personality disorders and deliver wonders and joys beyond compare. At least that's the plan. View all posts by bibliodeviant

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