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Essays on the Powers of Reproduction, by John Davenport

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Title: Aphrodisiacs and Anti-aphrodisiacs: Three Essays on the Powers of Reproduction

Author: John Davenport

Release Date: January 9, 2009 [EBook #27752]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Bryan Ness, Turgut Dincer and the Online
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Transcriber's note:

Old spellings and syntax in the French and English texts have not been corrected except the typos. The letter "m" with a macron have been replaced by "mm" as there is no unicode symbol or symbol combination to display this character satisfactorily. Footnote 224 is reference twice.




Of the Ancient Oscans.

Aphrodisiacs and Anti-Aphrodisiacs:







Ubi stimulus, ibi fluxus.Hippocrates.




T HE reproductive powers of Nature were regarded by the nations of remote antiquity with an awe and reverence so great, as to form an object of worship, under a symbol, of all others the most significant,—the Phallus; and thus was founded a religion, of which the traces exist to this day, not in Asia only, but even in Europe itself.

That scarcely any notices of this worship should appear in modern works, except in the erudite pages of a few antiquarians may be accounted for by considering the difference of opinion between the ancients and the moderns as to what constitutes—modesty; the former being unable to see any moral turpitude in actions they regarded was the designs of nature, while the latter, by their over-strained notions of delicacy, render themselves, viin some degree at least, obnoxious to the charge that, in proportion as manners becomes corrupt, language becomes more guarded,—modesty, when banished from the heart, taking refuge on the lips.

To supply, to some extent, this lacuna in our popular literature has been the object of the present work, in which, it is hoped, may be found much curious and interesting physiological information, interspersed with recherché and festivous anecdotes.

The text is illustrated by a few plates, drawn from antiquarian sources.

J. D.



Note.As it was found impossible always to insert the illustrations opposite the explanatory text, the following List will assist the reader to those pages which explain the objects represented:

Plate Described on page
  Frontispiece, Inscribed Votive Columns Facing title

Of small size and of great antiquity; in use amongst the Oscan people, who were finally subjugated by the Sabines.

I. Figure 1,

Egyptian Phallus

1, 2, 3

From "Recueil d'Antiquités Egyptiennes, &c., par le Comte de Caylus."

   "       2,

do., different view

1, 2, 3
   "       3,

Two views of a double figure

1, 2, 3
   "       4,

Roman Priapus over a baker's door at Pompeii


From "Musée secret de Naples."

II. Figure 1,


1, 2, 3

From M. Sonnerat's "Voyage aux Indes Orientales."

1, 2, 3
   "       2,

Pan's Head

9, 10
III. Figure 1,

Leaden Phallus


From the "Forgeais Collection of Plombs Historiques."

   "       2,

ditto, a different view

   "       3,

ditto,       ditto

   "       4,

ditto,       ditto

viiiIV. Figure 1,

Round Tower

5, 6, 7

From O'Brien's "History of the Round Towers of Ireland."

5, 6, 7
   "       2,

Three-headed Osiris

7, 8, 9

From the Comte de Caylus' "Recueil d'Antiquités Egyptiennes," &c.

7, 8, 9
V. Figure 1,


12, 13, 14

From Higgin's "Anacalypsis."

12, 13, 14
   "       2,

Another example

12, 13, 14

From the same work.

12, 13, 14
   "       3,

Another example

12, 13, 14

From the same work.

12, 13, 14
   "       4,

Another example

12, 13, 14

From the same work.

12, 13, 14
VI. Figure 1,

Ex Voto

18, 19, 20

From the British Museum copy of R. Payne Knight's "History of the Worship of Priapus."

18, 19, 20
   "       2,

Dudaïm or Mandrake

67, 70, 71, 74

From Dr. Kitto's "Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature."

67, 70, 71, 74
VII. Figure 1,


142, 3

From Holyday's "Juvenal."

142, 3
   "       2,

Another example of a different construction

142, 3




ANCIENT Phallic Worship:
Phallic Worship the most ancient and general
Phallic Worship found to exist in America
Indian Trimourti or Trinity
Lingham 3
Yoni or Cteis, and Pulleiar 4
Taly, Anectode of the 4

Leaden Phalli found in the river Rhône


Round Towers in Ireland—Phallic temples


The May-Pole a relic of phallic worship


Phallus held in reverence by the Jews—King David


Le prerogativi de' Testicoli (note)


An Egyptian Phallic Oath


Ancient Welsh Phallic Law


London Costermongers' Oath "By my taters"


Bembo (Cardinal), his saying (note)


Priapus, derivation of the word


Priapus, how reverenced by Roman women


Priapus, decline of his worship


The Cross (T) known to the Buddhists and the Lama of Thibet


Cross (the) regarded by the Ancients as the emblem of fruitfulness


     Rev. Mr. Maurice quoted


x The Tau, Crux-Ansata, or triple Phallus


Remains of Phallic Worship in Europe


Lampsacus, the Birth-place of the deity Priapus (note)


Saint Foutin


The Phallus of Foutin at Embrun—the holy vinegar


Curious Phallic Customs


Godfrey de Bouillon and the Holy prepuce


Il santo-membro


Sir W. Hamilton's account of the Worship paid to Saints Cosmo and Damianus


Ex votos



Anaphrodisia, or Absence of the Productive Power:

Impotency, three kinds of, according to the Canon Law


Impotency, Causes of, proper to Men


Impotency, Causes of, proper to Women


Sterility and its Causes


Morgagni quoted


Clitoris, its length sometimes prevents the sexual union—case quoted by Sir Everard Home


Columbus, Martial, Haller, Juvenal, and Ariosto quoted


Impotency, Moral Causes of


Montaigne's Advice


Impotency caused by too great warmth of Clothing—Hunter's Opinion


Point-Tying—Voltaire's Pucelle d'Orléans quoted


Point-Tying known to the Ancients—instances quoted


Point-Tying among the Moderns recognised by James I.


Counter-Charm to Point-Tying


Agreeable Mode of curing such Enchantment


Case of Point-Tying related by Venette


Montaigne's curious Story


Judicial Congress in Cases of alleged Impotency


xiManner of conducting the Congress


Judicial Congress originated with the Church


Judicial Congress practised in France during the 16th and 17th Centuries—Forbidden in 1677


Boileau quoted


Cases determined by the Judicial Congress


Willick, Dr., his Remarks and Advice upon the Sexual Intercourse



Aphrodisiacs and Anti-Aphrodisiacs:

The Mandrake or Dudaïm the most ancient aphrodisiac


Rachel and Leah


Solomon's Song


Pliny the Elder quoted


Sappho's love for Phaon accounted for


Superstitious ideas respecting the mandrake during the Middle Ages


The Knights Templars accused of adoring it


Mandrake, Weir's description of it


Mandrake under the name of Mandragora used as a charm


Macchiavelli's Comedy of La Mandragora and Voltaire's account of it


Love potions, Venetian law against them


Richard III. accuses Lady Grey of witchcraft


Maundrell's account of the Dudaïm


Singular Aphrodisiac used by the Amazons


Philters, or love potions used by the ancients


Hippomanes, wonderful powers of, as an aphrodisiac


Recipes for love-potions


Fish an aphrodisiac—Hecquet's anecdote


Mollusca, truffles and mushrooms used as aphrodisiacal


George IV.'s appreciation of truffles (note)


Effect of truffles described by a lady


xiiLatin epigram on the vices of the monks


Naïveté of a monk on the score of adultery


Curious Quatrain in the Church of St. Hyacinth


Madame Du Barri's secret


Do., Do., description of (note)


Tablettes de Magnanimité—Poudre de joie—Seraglio Pastilles


Musk, Cantharides—effects of the latter


Cardinal Dubois' Account of a Love-Potion


Caricature upon Dubois (note)


Indian Bang


Stimulating Powers of Odours


Cabanis quoted


D'Obsonville quoted


Portable Gold—Shakespeare quoted


Bouchard's Account of Aphrodisiacal Charms


Flagellation—Graham's Celestial Bed—Lady Hamilton—Lord Nelson, &c.


Burton quoted




Refrigerants—Recommendation of Plato and Aristotle


Sir Thos. Brown quoted




Camphor an anti-aphrodisiac


Coffee an anti-aphrodisiac—Abernethey's saying (note)


Infibulation, Holyday quoted


Bernasco Padlocks


Voltaire's poem of the Cadenas


Rabelais' anti-aphrodisiacal remedies



Plate I.

Pompeian House—sign.




FROM the investigations and researches of the learned, there appears to be no doubt but that the most ancient of all superstitions was that in which Nature was contemplated chiefly under the attribute or property of fecundity; the symbols of the reproductive power being those under which its prolific potencies were exhibited. It is not because modern fastidiousness affects to consider those symbols as indecent, and even obscene, that we should therefore suppose them to have been so regarded by the ancients: on the contrary, the view of them awakened no impure ideas in the minds of the latter, being regarded by them as the most sacred objects of worship. The ancients, indeed, did not look upon the pleasures of love with the same eye as the moderns do; the tender union of the sexes excited their veneration, because religion appeared to consecrate it, inasmuch as their mythology presented to them all Olympus as more occupied with amatory delights than with the government of the universe.

The reflecting men of those times, more simple, but, it must be2 confessed, more profound, than those of our own day, could not see any moral turpitude in actions regarded by them as the design of nature, and as the acme of felicity. For this reason it is that we find not only ancient writers expressing themselves freely upon subjects regarded by us as indecent, but even sculptors and painters equally unrestrained in this particular.

The statesman took advantage of these religious impressions: whatever tended to increase population being held in honour. Those images and Priapi so frequently found in the temples of the ancients, and even in their houses, and which we consider as objects of indecent lewdness, were, in their eyes, but so many sacred motives exciting them to propagate their species.

In order to represent by a physical object the reproductive power of the sun in spring-time, as well as the action of that power on all sentient beings, the ancients adopted that symbol of the male gender which the Greeks, who derive it from the Egyptians, called—Phallus.1 This worship was so general as to have spread itself over a large portion of the habitable globe, for it flourished for many ages in Egypt and Syria, Persia, Asia Minor, Greece and Italy: it was, and still is, in vigour in India and many parts of Africa, and was even found in America on its discovery by the Spaniards. Thus Garcilaso de la Vega informs us2 that, in the public squares of Panuco (a Mexican town), bas-3reliefs were found which, like those of India, represented, in various ways the sexual union; while at Tlascala, another town of that country, the reproductive act was worshipped under the joint symbol of the generative organs, male and female.

A more surprising fact is, that this worship has, as will be shewn hereafter, been perpetuated to a very late date, among the Christians of Europe.

In its origin, the Phallus or emblem of the generative and procreative powers of nature appears to have been of a very simple and inoffensive character—although it was afterwards made subservient to the grossest and most superstitious purposes.

In India this worship is everywhere to be found accompanying the triune God, called by the Hindoos, Trimourti or Trinity, and the significant form of the single obelisk or pillar called the Linga or Lingham;3 and it should be observed, in justice to the Hindoos that it is some comparative and negative praise to them, that this emblem, under which they express the elements and operations of nature is not externally indecorous. Unlike the abominable realities of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, we see this Indian phallic emblem in the Hindoo religious exhibitions, without offence, nor know, until information be extorted, that we are contemplating a symbol whose prototype is obscene.4

Plate II.



Besides the Lingham, the equally significant Yoni or Cteis is to be seen, being the female organ of generation. It is sometimes single, often in conjunction, for the Indians, believing that the emblem of fecundity might be rendered more energetic by combining the organs of both sexes, did so unite them, giving to this double symbol the name of Pulleiar, confounded by some writers with the Lingham itself. This pulleiar is highly venerated by the sectarian worshippers of Siva (the third god of the Trimourti), who hang it round their neck, as a charm or amulet, or enclosing it in a small box, fasten it upon their arm. The Indians have also a little jewel called taly, worn, in like manner, by females round their necks as a charm. It is presented to them on their wedding day by their husbands, who receive it from the hands of the Brahmins. Upon these jewels is engraved the representation, either of the Lingham or of the Pulleiar. The following anecdote connected with this custom is given by M. Sonnerat.5

"A Capuchin missionary had a serious dispute with the Jesuits residing at Pondicherry, which was referred for decision to the judicial courts. The disciples of Loyola, who can be toleration itself when toleration furthers their crafty and ambitious views, had declined all interference with the above custom. M. Tournon, the Pope's legate apostolic, who regarded the matter as one not to be trifled with, and with whom, moreover, the Jesuits were no favourites, strictly prohibited the taly, enjoining all female converts to substitute in its place either a cross or a medal of the Virgin. The Indian women, strongly attached to their ancient customs, refused obedience. The missionaries, apprehensive of losing the fruits of their zealous labours, and seeing the number of 5their neophytes daily diminishing, entered into a compromise by adopting a mezzo-termine with the females in question, and it was agreed that a Cross should be engraved upon the taly, an arrangement by which the symbol of Christian salvation was coupled with that of the male and female pudenda."

The deep and enthusiastic veneration felt by the Hindoos for this worship is naturally explained by their intense anxiety and desire for having children who might perform those ceremonies to their manes which they firmly and piously believe will have the effect of mitigating their punishment in the world to come. They worship the Lingham, therefore, for the sake of having progeny, and husbands, whose wives are barren, send them to adore that symbol, and, if report be true, the ladies take especial care not to disappoint the wish of their dear spouses.

It is probable that the introduction of this worship is due to the Indians who founded the sect of Siva, imagining, as they no doubt did, that the most effectual means of propagating it would be by presenting their deity under the form of that organ by which the reproduction of the human race is effected.

Nothing can be a greater proof of the high antiquity of the Indians than this worship, it being certain that the Egyptians did not establish it, as well as the dogma of the Metempsychosis, among themselves, until after they had travelled in India.

Phalli, usually in lead, have been even found in the river Rhône. These were most likely the signs and tokens belonging to some secret society probably of a licentious character. Similar ones are in the Forgeais collection, and were engraved in the Plombs Historiés of that antiquarian.6

Plate III.

Found in the Rhone.
From the Forgeais Collection.

According to an ingenious writer,7 who is of opinion that the 6Indians sent, at a very remote period, colonists to Ireland, the round towers, so numerous in that island, are no other than ancient Phallic temples erected in honour of the fructifying power of nature emanating, as it was supposed to do, from the sun, under the name of Sol, Phœbus, Apollo, Abad, or Budh.8

Alluding to these towers, Mr O'Brien observes, "the eastern votaries, suiting the action to the idea, and that their vivid imaginations might be still more enlivened by the very form of the temple, actually constructed its architecture after the model of the membrum virile, which, obscenity apart, is the divinity-formed and indispensable medium selected by God himself for human propagation and sexual prolificacy." There is every reason to believe that our May-pole is a relic of the ancient Phallic worship.

Plate IV.   



The manners of the ancient Hebrews seem to have differed little, if at all, in this respect, from those of the nations surrounding them: thus, David, dancing with all his might before the ark, lifted up his ephod and exhibited his nakedness to "the eyes of the handmaids of his servants." No blame is attached to the king for such gross indecency during a public and religious ceremony; while Michal, his wife, was punished with barrenness, for expressing her disapprobation of his conduct.9

This example attests the great respect entertained by the Hebrews for the organs of generation;10 but we have a further 7proof of this reverence for them in the fact that, when taking a solemn oath, they placed their hand upon them in token of its inviolability: When Abraham, addressing "his oldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had," is made to say, "Put I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and I will make thee swear, by the Lord, the God of Heaven, and the God of the earth that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son, of the daughters of the Canaanites:"11 and when Jacob, at the point of death, "called his son Joseph, and said unto him, "If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt,"12 the Hebrew text has been incorrectly translated in both these instances; for, according to learned commentators, it is not the thigh, but the phallus that is meant; such tact having, in the opinion of the Rabbins, been introduced for the purpose of doing honour to circumcision.

This custom obtains in Egypt, even in our own day, for many travellers assert that the Arabs, when desirous of saluting or making a promise with great solemnity, place their hand upon the part in question. A case in point is related in a letter of the Ad8jutant-General Julian to a member of the Institute of Egypt.13 An Egyptian, who had been arrested as a spy, and brought before the general, finding that all his asservations of innocence could not be understood "leva sa chemise bleue, et prenant son phallus à la poignée, resta un moment dans l'attitude théatrale d'un dieu jurant par le Styx. Sa physionomie semblait me dire: Après la serment terrible que je fais pour vous prouver mon innocence, osez-vous en douter? Son geste me rappela que du tems d'Abraham on jurait vérité en portant la main aux organes de la génération." The vast antiquity of this custom among the ancient Egyptians is proved by figure 2, Plate IV. This figure, which is copied from Caylus, Vol. VI., Plate I., figure 4, represents Osiris grasping his phallus while taking an oath.

A custom greatly resembling this manner of swearing existed also in the north of Europe, as is proved by an ancient law still extant: thus, one of the articles of the Welsh laws enacted by Hoel the Good, provides that, in cases of rape, if the woman wishes to prosecute the offender, she must, when swearing to the identity of the criminal, lay her right hand upon the relics of the saints and grasp with her left one, the peccant member of the party accused.14

It may be mentioned, en passant, that the low Irish in Dublin, and the London costermongers, often make use of an expression which, whether connected or not with the custom above noted, offers for our consideration a curious coincidence at least. If extra 9force is to accompany an assertion, it is very common for the vulgar to say in conclusion: "S'elp my taters!" or "So help me testes"—equal to saying, "I swear by my member." That the word "taters" is a corruption of, and vulgarism for, "testes" we see very readily in the expression "strain my taters"—i.e., to pass urine or make water.

The Greeks had consecrated the same symbols of universal fecundity in their mysteries, the phallus and the cteis being publicly exhibited in the sanctuary of Eleusis. The membrum virile or active principle of generation was carried to the temple of Bacchus and there crowned with a garland by one of the most respectable matrons of the town or city. The Egyptian Osiris, and the female pudenda, or symbol of the passive principle of generation were, in like manner, carried in procession to the temple of Libera or Proserpine.

The worship of Priapus among the Romans was derived from the Egyptians, who, under the form of Apis, the sacred Bull, worshipped the generative power of nature; and, as the syllable pri or pre signifies, in the Oriental tongue, principle, production, or natural or original source, the word Priapus may be translated principle of production or of fecundation of Apis. The same symbol also bore among the Romans the names of Tutunus, Mutinus, and Fascinum. Among the many places where this divinity was worshipped, Lampsacus,15 in Asia Minor, was the most noted on account of the obscene rites there practised. The Priapi were of different forms; some having only a human head 10and the Phallus; some with the head of Pan or of a faun—that is, with the head and ears of a goat.16 Others, with their indecent attribute, were placed in the public roads, and were then confounded with the divinities Mercury and Terminus, who presided over boundaries. Scaliger says that he saw at Rome, in the palace of a cardinal,17 a similar statue, whose phallus had served as a sign post.18 All the human part of these Priapi were invariably painted red.19

When furnished with arms, which he was when representing Terminus, Priapus held in one hand a reaping hook, and, like Osiris, grasped with the other the characteristic feature of his divinity, which was always of a monstrous size and in a state of energy.

In the towns, Priapus had public chapels, whither such devotees as were suffering from maladies connected with his attributes repaired for the purpose of offering to him ex-votos representing the parts afflicted; these ex-votos being sometimes paintings and, at others, little figures made of wax or of wood, and occasionally, even of marble.

Females as superstitious, as they were lascivious, might be seen offering in public to Priapus, as many garlands as they had had lovers. These they would hang upon the enormous phallus of the idol, which was often hidden from sight by the number suspended by only one woman.


Others offered to the god as many phalli, made of the wood of the willow tree, as they had vanquished men in a single night.

St. Augustine informs us that it was considered by the Roman ladies as a very proper and pious custom to require young brides to seat themselves upon the monstrous and obscene member of Priapus: and Lactantius says, "Shall I speak of that Mutinus, upon the extremity of which brides are accustomed to seat themselves in order that the god may appear to have been the first to receive the sacrifice of their modesty?"20

These facts prove that the worship of Priapus had greatly degenerated with the Romans, since, losing sight altogether of the object typified, they attach themselves to the symbol alone, in which they could see only what was indecent; and hence religion became a pretext for libertinism.21

Respected so long as the Roman manners preserved their pristine simplicity, but degraded22 and vilified in proportion as the morals of that people became corrupted, the very sanctuary itself of Priapus failed to protect him from obloquy and ridicule. Christian writers added their indignant invectives to the biting sarcasms of the poets, and the worship of Priapus would have been annihilated had not superstition and the force of habit, that most indestructible of all human affections, come to the rescue. These two powerful levers of mankind triumphed over reason 12and Christianity, and succeeded, notwithstanding the strenuous and continued efforts of the latter, in maintaining in some degree the worship of that filthy deity; for the Christian priests, while opposing à l'outrance, the superstitions and impure practices already adverted to, did not so do, as regarded the other customs equally repugnant to decency and true religion. Less austere to these, and consulting their own interests, they turned to their profit the ancient worship established by the Romans and strengthened by habit: they appropriated to themselves what they could not destroy, and, in order to attract to their side the votaries of Priapus, they made a Christian of him.

But besides the Lingham of the Indians, the Phallus of the Greeks, and the Priapus of the Romans, the Cross (symbol T), although generally thought to be exclusively emblematical of eternal life, has also an account of its fancied similarity to the membrum virile, been considered by many as typical of the reproductive powers of nature. It was known as such to the Indians, being as common in their country as in Egypt or in Europe.23 "Let not the piety of the Catholic Christian," says the Rev. Mr. Maurice, "be offended at the preceding assertion that the Cross was one of the most usual symbols among the hieroglyphics of Egypt and India. Equally honoured in the Gentile and the world, this Christian emblem of universal nature, of that world to whose four corners its diverging radii pointed, decorated the hands of most of the sculptured images in the former country (Egypt), and the latter (India) stamped its form upon the most majestic of the shrines of their deities."

Plate V.


It is well known that the cross was regarded by the ancient Egyptians as the emblem of fruitfulness. Thus the Rev. Mr. 13Maurice describes a statue bearing a kind, of cross in its hand as the symbol of fertility, or, in other words, of the procreative and generative powers.24 The cross symbol T so common upon Egyptian monuments was known to the Buddhists and to the Lama of Thibet 700 years before Christ. The Lama takes his name from the Lamah, which is an object of profound veneration with his followers: "Cequi est remarquable," says M. Avril, "c'est que le grand prêtre des Tartares porte le nom de Lama, qui, en langue Tartare, désigne la Croix, et les Bogdoi qui conquirent la Chine en 1664, et qui sont soumis au Dulai-Lama dans les choses de la religion, ont toujours des croix sur eux, qu'ils appalent lamas."25

The letter Tau symbol T, being the last one of the ancient alphabets, was made to typify, not only the end, boundary, or terminus of districts, but also the generative power of the eternal transmigratory life, and was used indiscriminately with the Phallus; it was, in fact, the Phallus.26 Speaking of this emblem, Payne Knight observes: "One of the most remarkable of those symbols of generation is a cross in the form of the letter symbol T, which thus served as the emblem of creation and generation before the church adopted it as the sign of salvation, a lucky coincidence of ideas which, without doubt, facilitated the reception of it among the faithful."27 And again, "the male organs of generation are sometimes represented by signs of the same sort, which might properly be called symbols of symbols. One of the most remarkable14 of these is the Cross in the form of the letter symbol T, which thus served as the emblem of creation and generation."28

The famous Crux ansata29 which may be seen on all the monuments of Egypt is what is alluded to by the Prophet Ezekiel,30 and is affirmed by the learned L. A. Crozius to be nothing else than the triple Phallus mentioned by Plutarch.31

We shall now proceed to notice a few of the traces of the phallic worship as were still to be found lingering in some parts of Europe so late as the 18th century, a tenacity of existence by no means surprising if it be considered that of all the human affections none is more dangerous to oppose, none more difficult to eradicate, than habit. Accordingly it will be found that the above superstition has maintained itself in countries where Christianity was already established, and that, bidding defiance to the severe precepts of that pure faith, it successfully resisted for at least seventeen centuries every effort made to extirpate it by the Christian clergy backed by the civil power. Its triumph was, however, by no means complete, for this worship was constrained to yield to circumstances and to use a disguise by adopting the forms and designations peculiar to Christianity, a mask which on the other hand, favoured not a little, its preservation.


Hence it was that the names of certain legendary saints were given to the ancient God of Lampsacus,32 the said names having some relation either to the act over which that deity presided, or to his most prominent attributes.

The first bishop of Lyon was honoured throughout Provence, Languedoc, and the Lyonnais as a saint, and as his name happened to be Pothin, Photin, or Fotin, commonly pronounced by the low orders Foutin, these people, who are very apt to judge of the nature of things by the sound of the words by which they are designated, thought St. Foutin worthy of replacing Saint Priapus, and accordingly conferred upon him the prerogatives of his predecessor.

Saint Foutin de Varailles had particular reverence paid to him in Provence, nor is this to be wondered at, since the power was attributed to him of rendering barren women fruitful, stimulating flagging husbands, and curing their secret maladies. It was consequently the custom to lay upon his altar, as was formerly done on that of the god Priapus, small votive offerings, made of wax, and representing the weak or otherwise afflicted parts. Sanci says, "To this saint are offered waxen models of the pudenda of both sexes. They are strewn in great numbers over the floor of the chapel, and should a gust of wind cause them to rustle against one another, it occasioned a serious interruption to the devotions paid to the saint. I was very much scandalized," 16continues he, "when, passing through the town, I found the name of Foutin very common among the men. My landlord's daughter had for godmother a young lady whose name was Foutine."

The same saint was similarly honoured at Embrun. When the Protestants took that town in 1585, they found, among the relics of the principal church, the Phallus of St. Foutin. The devotees of that town, in imitation of pagan ones, made libations to this obscene idol. They poured wine over the extremity of the Phallus, which was dyed red by it. This wine being afterwards collected and allowed to turn sour, was called the holy vinegar, and, according to the author from whom this account is taken,33 was applied by women to a most extraordinary purpose; but what that purpose was we are not informed, and therefore can only guess it.

At Orange there was also a phallus much venerated by the inhabitants of that town. Larger than the one at Embrun, it was, moreover, covered with leather, and furnished with its appendages. When, in 1562, the protestants destroyed the church of St. Eutropius, in this town, they seized the enormous Phallus and burned it in the market place. Similar Phalli were to be found at Poligny, Vendre in the Bourbonnais, and at Auxerre.

The inhabitants of Puy-en-Velay even to this day speak of their St. Foustin who, in times not far remote from our own, was invoked by barren women who, under the idea of giving greater efficacy to their prayers, scraped the phallus of the saint, and, mixing the particles so abraded in water, devoutly swallowed them, in the hope of thereby being rendered fruitful.

It is no doubt to one of these phallic saints that Count de 17Gebelin refers when, speaking of the goat Mendés, he says: "I have read somewhere that in the south of France there existed not long ago a custom resembling the one mentioned; the women of that part of the country devoutly frequented a temple containing a statue of the saint, and which statue they embraced, expecting that their barrenness would be removed by the operation.34

In the neighbourhood of Brest stood the chapel of the famous Saint Guignole, or Guingalais, whose Phallic symbol consisted of a long wooden beam which passed right through the body of the saint, and the fore-part of which was strikingly characteristic. The devotees of this place, like those of Puy-en-Velay, most devoutly rasped the extremity of this miraculous symbol for the purpose of drinking the scrapings mixed with water as an antidote against sterility, and when by the frequent repetition of this operation, the beam was worn away, a blow with a mallet in the rear of the saint propelled it immediately in front. Thus, although it was being continually scraped, it appeared never to diminish, a miracle due exclusively to the mallet.

Antwerp was the Lampsacus of Belgium, Priapus being the tutelary god of that city. Ters was the name given to him by the inhabitants who held this divinity in the greatest veneration. Females were accustomed to invoke him on the most trivial occasions, a custom which Goropius informs us continued as late as the 16th century.35

So inveterate was this superstition that Godefrey de Bouillon, marquis of that city, the illustrious leader of the first crusade, in order to eradicate it, or to replace it by the ceremonies of the 18 Christian church, sent to Antwerp, from Jerusalem, as a present of inestimable value, the foreskin of Jesus Christ.36 This precious relic, however, found but little favour with the Belgian ladies, and utterly failed to supersede their beloved Fascinum.37

In the kingdom of Naples, in the town of Trani, the capital of the province of that name, there was carried in procession, during the Carnival, an old wooden statue representing an entire Priapus, in the ancient proportions; that is to say, that the distinguishing characteristic of that god was very disproportioned to the rest of the idol's body, reaching, as it did, to the height of his chin. The people called this figure il Santo Membro, the holy member. This ancient ceremony, evidently a remains of the feasts of Bacchus, called by the Greeks Dyonysiacs, and by the Romans Liberalia, existed as late as the commencement of the 18th century, when it was abolished by Joseph Davanzati, archbishop of that town.

Sir W. Hamilton's account of the worship paid to St. Cosmo and St. Damianus is very curious. "On the 27th September, at Isernia, one of the most ancient cities of the kingdom of Naples, situated in the province called the Contado di Molise, and adjoining the Aruzzo, an annual fair is held which lasts three days. On one of the days of the fair the relics of Sts. Cosmo and Damianus are exposed. In the city and at the fair, ex-votos of wax representing the male parts of generation, of various dimensions, sometimes even of the length of a palm, are publicly 19exposed for sale. There was also waxen vows that represent other parts of the body mixed with them, but of those there are few in comparison of the number of the Priapi.

Plate VI.


The distributors of these vows carry a basket full of them in one hand, and hold a plate in the other, to receive the money, crying out, "Saints Cosmo and Damianus!" If you ask the price of one, the answer is, "più ci metti, più meriti;" the more you give, the more the merit. The vows are chiefly presented by the female sex, and they are seldom such as represent legs, arms, &c., but most commonly the male parts of generation. The person who was at the féte, in the year 1780, and who gave me this account (the authenticity of which has since been confirmed to me by the governer of Isernia) told me also that he heard a woman say, at the time she presented a vow, "Santo Cosmo, benedetto, cosi lo voglio." Blessed St. Cosmo, "let it be like this!" The vow is never presented without being accompanied by a piece of money, and is always kissed by the devotee at the moment of presentation.38

But, as might naturally be expected, this does not suffice to fructify barren women; and consequently another ceremony, one which is doubtless more efficacious, was required.

The parties who resort to this fair, slept for two nights, some in the church of the Capuchian friars and the others in that of the Cordeliers, and when these two churchs were found to be 20insufficient to contain the whole of such devotees, the church of the Hermitage of St. Cosmo received the surplus.

In the three edifices, the women were during the two nights, separated from the men, the latter lying under the vestibule, and the women, in the church, these, whether in the church of the Capuchins or in that of the Cordeliers, were under the protection of the Father guardian, the vicar, and a monk of merit. In the hermitage, it was the hermit himself who watched over them.

From this it may easily be imagined how the miracle was effected without troubling Saint Cosmo and Saint Damianus at all, in the matter, as well as that the virtue, possessed by those two saints was extended even to young maidens and widows.




ADESCRIPTION of the symbols under which the reproductive power was anciently worshipped, having been given in the preceding Essay, the present one will contain some account of the negation or absence of that faculty, whether total or partial, as known under the names of Impotency and Sterility.

Potency or power, as regards the generative act, may be defined as—the aptitude or ability to beget; and Impotency, the negation or absence of such power.

The canon law distinguished three kinds of impotency—viz., that which proceeds from frigidity; that which is caused by sorcery (ligature or point-tying), and that which proceeding from some defect of conformation is properly designated as impotentia coeundi. The different lends of impotency may be thus classed—1. Those which are proper to men; 2. Those proper to women, and 3. Those common to both sexes.22

The causes of impotency proper to man are natural frigidity; defect of conformation, and accident.

The causes of impotency proper to women are all such obstacles as arise ex clausurâ uteri aut nimia arctitudine.

The causes common both to men and women are the defect of puberty and imperfect conformation.39

Impotency may also be divided into natural and accidental; the former being that which a person is born with, or which proceeds ex vitio naturalis temperamenti vel partium genitalium; and the latter that which arises from some accident, as ex casu vel morbo.40

Another definition of impotency in man is the non posse seminare in vase idoneo; three things being considered as indispensable to his due performance of the generative act.—Ut arriget or erection; 2, Ut vas fœmineum resaret, or intromission, and 3, Ut in vase seminat, or emission.

Sterility must not be confounded with impotency. Many women are barren, but very few are impotent; while, on the contrary, many men are impotent who ought not, on that account, to be regarded as barren. In either sex impotency is present when from whatever cause an individual cannot concur in the sexual contact. Sterility exists when the contact, after having been regularly accomplished, is followed by no productive result.

With the exception of those pathological cases in which deformities are sometimes, but very rarely, met with, it may be affirmed that woman is never impotent, for her organization opposes it. Radical impotence, in fact, results in the female from the complete absence, or the occlusion simply, of the 23vagina. Now, these cases are extremely rare, and may there fore be considered as exceptions or as real monstrosities.

As the causes of sterility in women are numerous and of various kinds, we shall briefly enumerate them.

The absence of ovaries or their deceased state are the radical cause of sterility. These causes may be suspected but not cured. When there is no uterus, still fecundation and pregnancy are not impossible, since extra-uterine pregnancies are occasionally observed, that is to say, cases in which the product of conception has escaped the uterus, and proceeded to establish itself in some point of the lower belly. Neither is the vagina indispensable, for cases are cited of the contraction of this organ accompanied by the rectovaginal fistula, in which fecundation is effected, although the fecundating fluid had been confined to the rectum.

Female masturbation is another rife cause of barrenness in women. If it be true that the number of eggs is limited, and that there are not more than from 15 to 20 in each ovary, it is evident that sterility must ensue when these 15 or 20 eggs have been detached without fecundation. If, on the contrary, new eggs are continually secreted by the ovaries, it is equally evident that the secretory action must, sooner or later, become exhausted by the over excitement caused by the indulgence above mentioned.

Another very great cause of sterility, and which must be of frequent occurrence, is found in the obstructed or choked-up state of the Fallopian tubes. These passages, which establish the communication between the ovary and the uterus, may be obstructed by inflammation, either acute or chronic, to which they must be subject in all diseases to the abdomen, as well as by frequent excitement.

Morgagni speaks of certain women of the town, with whom24 the Fallopian tubes were completely obliterated by the thickening of the parietes or sides, an evident consequence of the continual orgasm in which they were kept by immoderate indulgence in coition.

The absence of menstruation almost always induces barrenness. Cases are, notwithstanding, reported in which women have their menses during pregnancy, but these are exceptions which so far from invalidating the rule, confirm it.

Polypi, or the developement of fibrous bodies in the uterus, present an equal obstacle to fecundation, their presence having the effect of perverting the physiological functions of the uterus, nor does their removal always cause sterility to disappear.

Impotency in women can only result from the absence of the vagina, or from its excessive narrowness which does not allow of the approach of the male, although instances have occured of fecundation being effected without the introduction of the male organ. Thus cases have been found of women who have been fecundated, and have even arrived at the term of pregnancy, having been obliged to submit to a surgical operation for the removal of the Hymen, which membrane had not been broken in the acts which had nevertheless effected the fecundation. Lastly, the excessive length, when it does exist, of the clitoris, also opposes the conjugal act, by the difficulty it presents to the introduction of the fecundating organ; the only remedy to employed in this case consists in amputation, an operation which has been frequently performed. The organ in question is known to resemble, in a very great degree, the virile member, both in external form and internal structure, to be susceptible of erection and relaxation and endowned with exquisite sensibility. It has been seen equal to the penis in volume.25 A remarkable instance is given by Home.41 It occured in a negress who was purchased by General Melville, in the island of Dominica, in the West Indies, about the year 1744. She was of the Mandango nation, 24 years of age, her breasts were very flat, she had a rough voice, and a masculine countenance. The clitoris was two inches long, and in thickness resembled a common sized thumb, when viewed at same distance the end appeared round and of a red colour, but upon closer examination was found to be more pointed than that of a penis, and having neither prepuce nor perforation; when handled it became half erected, and was in that state fully three inches long and much thicker than before: when she voided her urine she was obliged to lift it up, as it completely covered the orifice of the urethra. The other parts of the female organs were found to be in a natural state. Columbus quotes the existence of a woman who had a clitoris as long as the little finger. Haller speaks of another in whom this organ was seven inches in length. Some have even been said to be of the monstrous length of twelve inches. These are the enormous dimensions which sometimes deceive as to the real character of the sex, and which have occasioned a belief in the existence of real hermaphrodites. Women so formed have also a great disposition to usurp the virile functions; they preserve scarcely anything of their sex except their habits and manners. Their stature is in general tall, their limbs muscular, their face masculine, their voice deep, and their deportment bold and manly—in a word, they completely justify the words of Martial:

"Mentiturque virum prodigiosa Venus."42


In the case of man's impotency it often happens, on the contrary, that, with organs to all appearance perfectly formed, he is, nevertheless, impotent.

If the woman be organized for receiving, the man is formed for imparting; now, in the majority, of cases, his impotency is such that, although he seems to be provided with abundant stores he is precluded from offering them.

... "Si Coneris, jacet exiguus cum ramice nervus Et quamvis tota palpetur nocte, jacebit."43

Such, in fact, is the great difficulty of those individuals who have abused their organs and destroyed their sensibility. The erectile tissue whose turgescence is indispensable, no longer admits into its vascular plexus or network, a quantity of fluid sufficient to give the organ the power of penetrating—jacet exiguus—and, although it may be supposed that the seminal glands perform their functions perfectly well, and secrete abundantly the fluid peculiar to them, the copulative organ remains paralyzed. This is the impotence which is brought on by old age, and which Ariosto has so forcibly described in the following lines, wherein he relates the futile attempts made upon Angelica by the hermit:

Egli l'abbraccia, ed a piacer la tocca: Ed ella dorme, e non più fare ischermo: Or le baccia il bel petto, ora la bocca, Non è, ch'l veggia, in quel loco aspro ed ermo. Ma nel incontro, it suo destrier trabocca Che al desio non risponde, it corpo infirmo: ......... 27 ......... ......... Tutte le vie, tutti i modi tenta, Ma quel pigre rozzo non però salta Indarno el fren gli scoute e li tormenta E non può far che tenga la testa alta.44

At other times the impotency of the man is independent of the secretion of the fecundating fluid and even of the erection, both of which are regular. In such case it is caused either by the gland not being properly perforated, or by a contraction of the urethral canal, which contraction arrests the seminal fluid at the moment of expulsion, causing it to flow back towards the bladder, or else intercepting the continuous stream and allowing it to run by dribblets only. The former of these imperfections technically called Hypospadias is a vice of conformation in which the penis, instead of being perforated at the summit of the gland, presents its opening at a greater or less distance from the gland, at the lower part of the urethra or at the perinæum.

As might be expected, impotency when precocious, influences, in no small degree, the moral character. Cabanis knew three men who, in the vigour of age, had suddenly became impotent, although in other respects they were in good health, much engaged in business, and had but little reason to be affected by the loss of pleasures in which they indulged but very rarely and with great moderation, yet their character became gloomy and irascible, and their mental powers appeared to diminish daily.45 The celebrated Ribeiro Sanchez, a pupil of Boerhaave, observes in his "Traité des maladies Vénériennes chroniques," that these 28diseases particularly dispose those subject to them to superstitious terrors.

Impotency may, however, equally proceed from moral as from physical causes. In this case it consists in the total privation of the sensibility peculiar to the reproductive organs. This insensibility is by no means infrequent in persons whose mental powers are continually in action, as the following case will shew:—

A celebrated mathematician of a very robust constitution, having married a young and pretty woman, lived several years with her, but had not the happiness of becoming a father. Far from being insensible to the charms of his fair wife, he, on the contrary, felt frequently impelled to gratifying his passion, but the conjugal act, complete in every other respect, was never crowned by the emission of the seminal fluid. The interval of time which occurred between the commencement of his labour of love and the end was always sufficiently long to allow his mind, which had been for a moment abstracted by his pleasure, to be brought back to the constant objects of his meditation—that is, to geometrical problems or algebraical formula. At the very moment even of the orgasm, the intellectual powers resumed their empire and all genital sensation vanished. Peirible, his medical adviser, recommended Madame —— never to suffer the attentions of her husband until he was half-seas-over, this appearing to him the only practicable means of withdrawing her learned spouse from influence of the divine Urania and subjecting him more immediately to that of the seductive goddess of Paphos. The advice proved judicious. Monsieur —— became the father of several fine and healthy boys and girls, thus furnishing another proof of the truth of the maxim, "Sine Cerere et Baccho friget Venus."

But the impotency arising from the predominance of the intellect is the least formidable of all. The one most to be dreaded is29 that which results from the excessive and premature exercise of the reproductive functions, for, as has been well observed, "the too frequent indulgence of a natural propensity at first increases the concomitant desire and makes its gratification a part of the periodical circle of action; but by degrees the over excitement of the organs, abating their tone and vitality, unfits them for the discharge of their office, the accompanying pleasures are blunted, and give place to satiety and disgust."46

Such unfortunate persons as are the victims of this kind of anaphrodisia become old long before their natural time, and have all their generative apparatus blasted with impotency. Their testicles withered and dried up secrete nothing but a serous fluid void of all virtue; the erectile tissue no longer admits into its plexus the quantum of blood necessary for turgescence, the principal organ of the reproductive act remains in a state of flaccidity, insensible to the reiterated and most stimulating solicitations; the muscles destined to favour erection are stricken with paralysis, and the violence of their desires, joined to the want of power to gratify them, drives the unhappy victim to acts of the most revolting lubricity and thence to despair.

An instance of this kind occurred in the case of a young man, the son of an opulent family. He had arrived at puberty, but from the early age of ten had been accustomed to indulge in indecent familiarities with young girls, who had gratified him by lascivious manipulations; the consequence was an entire loss of the erectile power. Travelling being recommended, he proceeded to France, where he consulted, but without avail, several celebrated physicians. He then went to the waters of Spa, and there his case was attentively and anxiously considered by Van-Hers.


The sensibility and weakness of the genital member were so great that on the slightest touch, and without any sensation or desire to sexual intercourse the young man emitted a fluid similar to whey. This secretion continued night and day, every time that he made water, or upon the slightest friction of his linen. After various remedies being proposed, without any beneficial results, Van-Hers considered the disease as incurable; but, as the patient would not coincide in his opinion and was very rich, he continued his travels in Italy, France, and Germany, in the hope of recovering his powers of virility. He failed not, as usual, to meet with physicians who, from mercenary motives, held out to him the most illusory prospects of a perfect cure. At length, after six years passed in travelling and in vain attempts to regain the generative faculty, he returned to the candid and able physician from whom he had the truth, and whose opinion he was now convinced was but too well founded. As may be supposed, Van-Hers perceived no new circumstance to justify an alteration in his view of the case, and the unfortunate young man returned home, deeply deploring the advantages of a fortune which had made him the victim of the precocious abuse of pleasures to which he must now bid adieu for ever.47 Too great warmth of passion may not only defeat its own object, but also produce a temporary impotency. A lover, after having, with all the ardour of affections, longed for the enjoyment of his mistress, finds himself at the moment of fruition incapable of consummating his happiness. The only remedy for this misfortune is to allay the over-excitement and to restrain the exuberance of the imagination. It would be madness to persist in endeavouring to obtain a victory which 31must be certain, as soon as the heat of the animal spirits being abated, a portion of them proceeds to animate the agents of voluptuous passion. The following are cases of this description.

"A young man whose wife's relations had promised him a considerable estate as soon as she proved to be pregnant, fatigued himself to no purpose by continued devotions at the shrine of love; his over anxiety defeating the very object he so ardently desired to accomplish. In despair at the failure of his repeated efforts, he was, at length, on the point of believing his wife barren, when, following the advice of a judicious physician, he absented himself from home for a fortnight, and upon his return proved by the success which attended his amorous labours, that absence is sometimes the best doctor."

"A noble Venetian, aged twenty years, was married to a very handsome lady, with whom he cohabited with a good deal of vigour, but never could emit semen in the coition, whereas in his dreams he could discharge very freely. This misfortune very much afflicted him and his family; and as no remedy could be found at home, the Venetian ambassadors residing at the different courts of Europe were desired to consult some of the most eminent physicians in the cities where they resided, to account for the causes, and to find a cure for this extraordinary complaint of the difference of the states when in sleep and when actually in coition.

"I was of opinion that it consisted altogether in the urethra being closely shut by the vigour of the erection in coition which found so great a resistance that the powers that throw the seed out of the vesiculæ seminals could not overcome it; whereas, in dreams, the pressure on the urethra being much less, an evacuation was affected."

The method of cure was not less successful than obvious from32 the foregoing account: for gentle evacuations and a slender diet brought about and fully completed their desires.48

Cabanis is of opinion that debility of the stomach almost always produces a similar state in the organs of generation. "L'énergie ou la débilité de l'éstomac produit, presque toujours, un état analogue dans ceux de la génération. J'ai soigné un jeune homme chez qui la paralysie accidentelle de ces derniers avait été produit par certains vices de la digestion stomachique; et qui reprit la vigueur de son âge, aussitôt qu'il eût récouvré la puissance de digérer."49

Old Montaigne's advice in cases similar to those above cited is worthy of notice. "As to what concerns married people," says he, "having the year before them, they ought never to compel, or so much as offer at the feat, if they do not find themselves very ready. And it is better indecently to fail of handling the nuptial sheets, and of paying the ceremony due to the wedding night, when man perceives himself full of agitation and trembling, expecting another opportunity at a better and more private leisure, when his fancy shall be better composed, than to make himself perpetually miserable for having misbehaved himself, and being baffled at the first result. Till possession be taken, a man that knows himself subject to this infirmity, should leisurely and by degrees make certain little trials and light offers, without attempting at once to force an absolute conquest over his own mutinous and indisposed faculties; such as know their members to be naturally obedient to their desires, need to take no other care but only to counterplot their fancy. The indocile 33and rude liberty of this scurvy member, is sufficiently remarkable by its importunate, unruly, and unseasonable tumidity and impatience at such times as we have nothing for it to do, and by its most unseasonable stupidity and disobedience when we stand most in need of its vigour, so imperiously contesting the authority of the will, and with so much obstinacy denying all solicitations of hand and fancy. And yet, though his rebellion is so universally complained of, and that proofs are not wanting to condemn him, if he had, nevertheless, feed me to plead his cause, I should, peradventure, bring the rest of his fellow-members into suspicion of complotting the mischief against him, out of pure envy of the importance and ravishing pleasure peculiar to his employment, so as to have, by confederacy, armed the whole world against him, by malevolently charging him alone with their common offence."50

Too great warmth of clothing round the parts of generation, or too great pressure upon them, may be reckoned as causes of impotency. The custom of wearing breeches was considered by Hippocrates51 as a predisposing cause of the impotency so common among the ancient Scythians. Mr. Hunter was also of opinion that this article of dress by keeping the parts too warm, affording them a constant support, and allowing the muscles but little freedom of motion, may, at least, relax and cause them to become flaccid, if it do not totally incapacitate them for the due performance of their functions.

Equally disadvantageous, in this respect, is the practice of riding upon horseback, as the organs of generation are, of necessity, frequently compressed either against the saddle or the horse's back. Lalemant, in his Commentaries upon Hippocrates, adduces 34the case of bakers, upon whom, by their not wearing breeches, the contrary effect is produced. "We have often heard," says he, "that bakers and others whose parts of generation are not covered by clothing, but hang freely, have large, well-grown testicles.52

Another cause of impotency is the allowing the parts of generation to remain too long in a state of inaction. Those parts of the body which are most exercised are always found to be better grown, stronger, and more fitted for the discharge of their natural functions provided the exercise be neither too violent nor too frequent. The parts, on the contrary, which are condemned to rest and inactivity wither and gradually lose their tone, as well as the power of effecting the movements natural to them. Galen observes that the genital organs of the athletæ, as well as those of all such whose profession or calling compelled them to remain chaste, were generally shrunken and wrinkled like those of old men, and that the contrary is the case with those who use them to an excess. "All the athletæ," says he, "as well as those who for the sake of preserving or improving the voice, are, from their youth, debarred the pleasures of love, have their natural parts shrunken and wrinkled like those of old men, while, in such as have from an early age indulged in those delights to an excess, the vessel of those parts, by the habit of being dilated, cause the blood to flow there in great abundance, and the desire of coition to be proportionately increased, all which is a natural consequence of those general laws which all our faculties obey. Thus it is that the breasts of women who have never had children remain always small, while those of females who have been mothers, and who suckle their children, acquire a considerable 35volume, that they continue to give milk as long as they suckle their infants, and that their milk does not fail until they cease to nourish them."53 So well, indeed, was this fact known to the ancients, that Aristophanes uses the expression, πόσθην μικραν, penem exiguum, as an attribute of a youth who has preserved his innocence and κωλῆν μεγάλην, penem magnum, as the sign of a dissolute one.

It will easily be supposed that superstition when brought to act upon weak and ignorant minds, is capable of producing temporary impotence. The pretended charm or witchery common in France as late as the close of the 17th century, and known by the name of nouer l'aiguillette (point tying) is a proof of this:

Ami lecteur, vous avez quelquefois Oui conter qu'on nouait l'aiguillette, C'est une étrange et terrible recette, Et dont un Saint ne doit jamais user, Que quand d'un autre il ne peut s'aviser. D'un pauvre amant, le feu se tourne en glance; Vif et perclus, sans rien faire, il se lasse; Dans ses efforts étonné de languir, Et consume sur le bord du plaisir. Telle une fleur des fear du jour séchée, La tête basse, et la tige penchée, Demande en vain les humides vapeurs Qui lui rendaient la vie et les couleurs.54

In olden times, prior to the invention of buttons, the femoral habiliments of men, or hose, as they were called, were fastened up by means of tags or points (Gallice) aiguillettes. Thus, Falstaff says, "Their points being cut, down fell their hose." 36 From this French word aiguillette was derived the term nouer aiguillette (to tie up the points), equivalent to—button up the flap, to express the rendering, by enchantment, a husband incapable of performing the conjugal rite. The whole secret of this charm consisted in the impostor choosing for his victim an individual whose youth, inexperience, or superstition presented him with a fit subject to work upon. The imagination of the party being already predisposed for the trick, a look, a sign, a menace, either of the voice or of the hand, accompanied by some extraordinary gesture, was sufficient to produce the effect, and, as the mere apprehension of an evil frequently occasions its occurrence, it followed that, superstition having prepared the event, the latter, in his turn, fortified the superstition, a vicious circle which may justly be considered an opprobrium to a man's intelligence.

That such was the opinion entertained of it by sensible men when it was in vogue, will be seen by the following curious passage from an old and quaint French writer:

"Quelques uns tiennent cela pour superstition, qui quand on dit la Messe des espousées, lorsque l'on prononce ce mot Sara, à la bénédiction nuptiale, si vous estrerignez une esguillette, que le marié ne pourra rien faire á son espousée la nuict suyuante, tant que la dite esguillette demeurera noüée. Ce que j'ay veu expérimenter faux infinies fois: car pourveuque l'esguillette du compagnon soit destachée, et qu'il siot bien roide et bien au point il ne faut point douter qu'il n'accoustre bien la besongne, comme il appartient. Aussi donne l'on vn folastre amulette et digne du subject: c'est à sçavoir que pour oster le sort, it faut pisser au travers d'une bague de laquelle on a esté espousé. Véritablement ie le croy: car c'est à dire, en bon Français que si on degoutte dans cet anneau de Hans Carvel, il n'y a charme qui puisse nuire. Aussi nouer l'esguillette ne signifie autre chose qu'vn37 coüard amant qui aura le mēbre aussi peu disposé, que si l'esguillette ne sa brayette estoit nouée.55

As to the mode itself of conjuration, Bodin, a writer upon these subjects, asserts that there are not less than fifty different ways of performing it: of all which the most efficacious one is to take a small strip or thong of leather, or silken or worsted thread, or cotton cord, and to make on it three knots successively, each knot, when made, being accompanied by the sign of the cross, the word Ribald being pronounced upon making the first knot, Nabal upon making the second one, and Vanarbi upon making the third and last one; all which must be done during the celebration of the marriage ceremony. For the sake of change, one of the verses of the Miserere mei, Deus! may be repeated backwards, the names of the bride and bridegroom being thrice pronounced. The first time, the knot must be drawn rather tight; the second time still more so, and the third time quite close. Vulgar operators content themselves with pronouncing some cabalistic words during the marriage rite, tracing, at the same time, some mysterious figures or diagrams on the earth with the left foot, and affixing to the dress of the bride or bridegroom small slips of paper having magical characters inscribed upon them. Further details may be found in the works of Sprenger, an inquisitor, Crespet of Sans, Debris, a Jesuit, Bodin, Wier, De Lancre, and other learned demonologists.

This species of enchantment was not unknown to the ancients. Accordingly to Herodotus56 Amasis was prevented enjoying his wife Ladice by a sorcery of this description, nor was it till after the Queen had vowed a statue to Venus, "si secum coiret Amasis," that the king's wishes and her own were gratified.


Plato warns married persons against such sorceries.57 Virgil speaks also of impotency effected by ligature.

Terna tibi hæc primum, duplici diversa colore Licia circumdo.58

Ovid admits the power of such charms in the following lines:

Carmine læsa, Ceres sterilem vanescit in herbam Deficiunt læsi carmine fontis aquæ: Ilicibus glandes, cantataque vitibus uva Decedit, et nulla forma movente, flexunt. Quid vetat et nervos Et juveni et Cupido, carmine abesse viro.59

Of that most detestable of all tyrants, Nero, it is said that, finding he could not enjoy a female whom he passionately desired, he complained of having been bewitched.

The fables of Apuleius are full of the enchantments of Pamphilus.60

Numantina, the first wife of Plautius Sylvanus, was accused of having rendered her husband impotent by means of sorcery "injecisse carminibus et veneficiis vecordium marito."61

Paulus (Julius) of Tyr states that the law of the Twelve Tables contained an express prohibition against the employment of ligatures; "qui, sacra, impia nocturnave fecerint, ut quem incantarent, obligarent," &c.62

Gregory of Tours relates63 that Eulatius having taken a young 39 woman from a monastery and married her, his concubines, actuated by jealousy, put such a spell upon him, that he could by no means consummate his nuptials. Paulus Æmilius, in his life of King Clovis says that Theodoric sent back his wife Herméberge to her father, the King of Spain, as he had received her, a pure virgin, the force of witchcraft having incapacitated him from taking her maidenhead; which sorcery Aimoinus Monachaus64 asserts to have been effected by Queen Brunchante.

The practise of point tying was formerly so general that princes and princess made it one of their most amusing pastimes. Louis Sforza having seen the young Princess Isabella, daughter of Alphonso King of Arragon, and who was betrothed to Galeas, duke of Milan, was so enamoured of her beauty that he point-tyed Galeas for several months. Marie de Padille, concubine of Don Pedro King of Castille and Leon, point-tied him so effectually that he could not give the least marks of his fondness to his consort Queen Blanche.

That the church acknowledged the power of these point-tiers is proved by the fact of their having been publicly anathematized by the provincial Councils of Milan and Tours, the Synods of Mont-Cassin and Ferriare, and by the clergy of France assembled at Mélun in 1579. A great number of rituals specify the means to be employed as counter-charms to the sorceries of the point-tiers; and the Cardinal Cu Perron,65 a very able and experienced prelate, has inserted in the ritual of Evreux very sage directions for this purpose. Similar precautions may be found in the 40synodal statues of Lyons, Tours, Sens, Narbonne, Bourges, Troyes, Orléans, and many other celebrated churches. St. Augustine, St. Thomas and Peter Lombard positively recognise the power of point-tying and of disturbing, in this manner, married persons in the enjoyment of their dearest privilege. "Certum est," says St. Augustine, "corporis vires incantationibus vinciri."

Our James I., who prided himself so much upon his skill in demonology, declares positively that sorcerers and witches possess the power of point-tying, "Or else by staying married folkes, to have naturally adoe with other, by knitting knottes upon a point at the time of their marriage."66

The old parliament of France have generally admitted the power of these sorcerers. In 1582 the Parliament of Paris condemned one Abel de la Rue to be hung and afterwards burnt for having wickedly and wilfully point-tied Jean Moreau de Contommiers. A singular sentence was pronounced in 1597 against M. Chamouillard for having so bewitched a young lady about to be married that her husband could not consummate the marriage. But the most singular instance of the kind upon record is that of R. F. Vidal de la Porte, who was condemned by the judges of Riom to make the amende honorable, and afterwards to be hung, and his lady to be burnt until reduced to ashes for having by sorceries and wicked and sacrilegious words point-tied, not only the young men of his town, but also all the dogs, cats and other domestic animals, so that the propagation of these species so useful to man was upon the point of being stopped. In 1718 the Parliament of Bordeaux ordered a famous point-tier to be burnt. This pretended sorcerer had been accused and convicted of having point-tied a nobleman 41of high family, his wife, and all the men and women servants in his establishment.

It must not be supposed that no counter-charms or amulets existed. The Curate Thiers, who has written at large upon this subject, enumerates twenty-two different ones, the most potent of which were the following:

1. To put salt in the pocket before proceeding to church; pennies marked with the cross and put into the shoes of the bride and bridegroom were equally efficacious.

2. To pass three times under the crucifix without bowing to it.

3. For the bridegroom to wear upon the wedding day, two shirts, one turned inside out upon the other, and to hold, in the left hand, during the nuptial benediction, a small wooden cross.

4. To lay the new married couple naked upon the ground; to cause the bridegroom to kiss the great toe of the bride's left foot, and the bride the great toe of the bridegroom's right foot: after which they must make the sign of the cross with the left hand and repeat the same with the right or left hand.

5. To take the bridegroom's point-hose and pass it through the wedding ring: knot the said point, holding the fingers in the ring, and afterwards cut the knot saying, "God loosens what the Devil fastens."

6. When the new-married couple are about to retire for the night to fasten upon the thigh of each a little slip of paper, inscribed with these words, Domine, quis similis tibi?

7. To broach a cask of white wine from which none has yet been drawn, and pour the first of the liquor which flows, through the wedding ring.

8. To rub with wolf's grease the door posts through which the married couple pass on their way to the nuptial bed.

429. To write upon virgin parchment before sunrise, and for nine days successively, the word Arigazartor.

10. To pronounce the word Temon three times successively at sunrise, provided the day promises to be fine.

But the mode of procedure in which the learned curate Thiers appears to place the greatest confidence is that employed by a priest of his acquaintance. This person's plan was to tie the bride and bridegroom to a pillar and administer to them with his own hand the stimulus with which the pedagogue awakens the genius of idle and sluggish pupils; after this flagellation they are unbound and left together, amply provided with such restorative and stimulants as are proper to maintain the condition so favourable to Venus, in which he had placed them. The result was in the highest degree satisfactory.

Bodin informs us that he knew at Bordeaux, a woman of middle age, but still lively and fresh, who professed to cure radically all enchantments of this description. Nothing could be more natural than her modus operandi. She got into bed with her patients, and there by the resources of her amatory powers succeeded so well in arousing their flagged and sluggish desires that their domestic peace was never afterwards disturbed by the reproaches of their disappointed spouses. Upon her mother's death, the daughter embraced the same interesting profession and in addition to acquiring considerable reputation by her successful practise, realized a handsome fortune.

Ridiculous and contemptible as this quackery now appears, so great at one time was its power, that persons every way qualified for the generative act, have been seen suddenly reduced to a humiliating nullity, in consequence of an impudent charlatan, a village sorcerer or a fortune-teller having threatened them with point-tying. Saint André, a French physician, gives an account43 of a poor weaver, who having disappointed Madame André in not bringing home some work was threatened by that lady with being point-tied by her husband the doctor. The poor fellow was so alarmed that the charm had the same effect as a reality, nor was it until the work he had in hand was finished, and the lady had consented to restore him to his natural state, that he could resume the exercises of his conjugal duties.

Venette gives the case of one Pierre Buriel. "This man," to use Venette's own words, "was about thirty-five years of age, a cooper and brandy manufacturer by trade. Being at work one day for my father in one of his country houses, he offended me by some impertinent observations, to punish which I told him the next day that I would point-tie him when he married. It so happened that he had the intention of uniting himself with a servant girl who lived in the neighbourhood, and although I had threatened him merely in a jesting manner, it made so strong an impression upon him that although, when married, he felt the most ardent desire to enjoy his connubial rights, he found himself totally incapacitated for the work of love. Sometimes when he flattered himself with being on the point of accomplishing his wishes, the idea of the witchcraft obtruded itself, and rendered him for the time completely impotent. This incapacity alienated the affections of his wife, and produced on her part towards him the most repulsive coldness. I need not say what gain I felt on witnessing these effects, how I regretted having, I may truly say, unintentionally caused so unpleasant a state of things, and I did and said everything in my power to disabuse the man, and prove to him the folly of his impressions. But the more I did so, the more he testified his abhorrence of me, and his conviction that I had really bewitched him. At length the curate of Notre Dame, who had married them, interfered, and after some time succeeded,44 though with considerable difficulty, in freeing him from his imaginary bonds. They lived together for twenty-eight years, and several children, now citizens of Rochelle, were the issue of their union."

Montaigne gives us a curious story upon this subject, which he introduces thus: "I am not satisfied and make a very great question, whether those pleasant ligatures with which the age of ours is so fettered—and there is almost no other talk—are not mere voluntary impressions of apprehension and fear; for I know by experience, in the case of a particular friend of mine, one for whom I can be as responsible as for myself, and a man that cannot possibly fall under any manner of suspicion of sufficiency, and as little of being enchanted, who having heard a companion of his make a relation of an unusual frigidity that surprised him at a very unseasonable time, being afterwards himself engaged upon the same account, the horror of the former story so strangely possessed his imagination that he ran the same fortune the other had done; he from that time forward (the scurvy remembrance of his disaster running in his mind and tyrannizing over him) was extremely subject to relapse into the same misfortune. He found some remedy, however, for this inconvenience by himself frankly confessing and declaring beforehand to the party with whom he was to have to do, the subjection he lay under, and the infirmity he was subject to; by which means the contention of his soul was, in some sort, appeased; and knowing that now some such misbehaviour was expected from him, the restraint upon those faculties grew less, and he less suffered by it, and afterwards, at such times as he could be in no such apprehension as not being about any such act (his thoughts being then disengaged and free, and his body being in its true and natural state) by causing those parts to be handled and communicated to45 the knowledge of others, he was at last totally freed from that vexatious infirmity. After man has once done a woman right, he is never after in danger of misbehaving himself with that person, unless upon the account of a manifest and inexcusable weakness. Neither is this disaster to be feared but in adventures where the soul is over-extended with desire or respect, and especially where we meet with an unexpected opportunity that requires a sudden and quick despatch; and in these cases, there is no possible means for a man always to defend himself from such a surprise as shall put him damnably out of countenance. And yet I have known some who have secured themselves for this misfortune by coming half-sated elsewhere, purposely to abate the ardour of their fury, and others who being grown old, find themselves less impotent by being less able; and particularly one who found an advantage by being assured by a friend of his that had a countercharm against certain enchantments that would defend him from this disgrace. The story itself is not much amiss, and therefore you shall have it.—A count of a very great family, and with whom I had the honour to be familiarly intimate, being married to a very fair lady, who had formerly been pretended to and importunately courted by one who was invited to and present at the wedding. All his friends were in very great fear, but especially an old lady, his kinswoman, who had the ordering of the solemnity, and in whose house it was kept, suspecting his rival would, in revenge, offer foul play, and procure some of these kinds of sorceries to put a trick upon him, which fear she also communicated to me, who, to comfort her, bade her not trouble herself, but rely upon my care to prevent or frustrate any such designs. Now, I had, by chance, about me, a certain flat piece of gold, whereon were graven some celestial figures good to prevent frenzy occasioned by the heat of the sun, or for any pains of the head, being applied to the suture; where, that it46 might the better remain firm, it was sewed to a ribbon, to be tied under the chin. A foppery cousin-german to this of which I am speaking was Jacques Pelletier who lived in the house, presented to me for a singular rarity and a thing of sovereign virtue. I had a fancy to make some use of this quack, and therefore privately told the count that he might probably run the same fortune other bridegrooms had sometimes done, especially some persons being in the house who, no doubt, would be glad to do him such a courtesy; but let him boldly go to rest, for I would do him the office of a friend, and if need were, would not spare a miracle that it was in my power to do, provided he could engage to me, upon his honour, to keep it to himself, and only when they came to bring him his candle (a custom in France being to bring the bridegroom a candle in the middle of the night, on his wedding night) if matters had not gone well with him, to give such a sign, and leave the rest to me. Now, he had his ears so battered and his mind so prepossessed with the eternal tattle of this business, that when he came to it, he did really find himself tired with the trouble of his imagination, and accordingly, at the time appointed, gave me the sign. Whereupon I whispered him in the ear, that he should rise under pretence of putting us out of the room, and after a jesting manner, pull my night-gown from my shoulders, throw it over his own, and keep it there till he had performed what I appointed him to do, which was that when we were all gone out of the chamber, he should withdraw to make water, should three times repeat such and such words and as often do such and such actions; that at every of the three times be should tie the ribbon I put into his hand about his middle, and be sure to place the medal that was fastened to it (the figures in such a posture) exactly upon his reins; which being done, and having the last of the three times so well girt and fastened the ribbon that it could neither untie nor slip47 from its place, let him confidently return to his business, and withal not to forget to spread my gown upon the bed so that it might be sure to cover them both. These ridiculous circumstances are the main of the effect, our fancy being so far seduced as to believe that so strange and uncouth formalities must of necessity proceed from some abstruse science. Their inanity gives them reverence and weight. However, certain it is that my figures proved themselves more Veneran than Solar, and the fair bride had no reason to complain."

Upon a due consideration of this singular superstition, it must be obvious to any person of sense that these pretended ligatures are, in fact, the consequence of an enfeebled constitution, weak intellects, and sometimes of an ardent imagination, an over-excited desire which carries the vitality to the head, and diverts it from its principal direction. Do away with these circumstances and imagine a man in full health, and gifted with a young and vigorous constitution, alike incapable of allowing himself to be acted upon by vain terrors, and of permitting his passions an uncontrolable course; and all the charms and incantation of these redoubted point-tiers would immediately cease. Who, for instance, could pretend to point-tie that hero of ancient Greece so famous for his twelve labours, of which by far the most brilliant was the transforming, in the course of one night, fifty young virgins into as many women!67

The most singular circumstance, however, connected with impotency is, that for a long time there existed exclusively in France a particular kind of proof called—The Judicial Congress. In the old jurisprudence of that country but little value was attached to moral proofs; all was made to depend upon material ones, which were made by witnesses. The whole enquiry after truth was made to depend upon the establishment of the fact, and, 48too frequently, the administrators of the law were not over-scrupulous as to the nature of the testimony by which it was to be proved. Provided there were such testimony, no matter of whatever kind, no matter how contradictory to common sense, justice pronounced itself satisfied, for, relying upon this testimony it was enabled to pronounce its decision, and this was all it required. Hence all those personal examinations of litigants, so often practised formerly, and hence the judge, whatever might be the nature of the suit or complaint, ordered a report to be made by parties chosen to that effect, and who were called experts or examiners. This mode of procedure was employed in cases in which a woman applied for a divorce from her husband on the ground of impotency: hence arose the Congrés, in which the justice of the application was to be proved in the presence of examiners appointed to give in a report upon the case to the court. "Ce qui est encore plus honteux," says a writer of the 17th century, "c'est qu'un quelques procés, les hommes ont visité la femme, et au contraire, les femmes ont été admises à visiter l'homme, qui a été cause d'une grande irrison et moquerie, que telles procédures ont servi de contes joyeux et plaisans discours en beaucoup d'endroits."68 The whole was a most disgusting procedure, which, although greatly abused, was for a long time encouraged as offering a legal mode of dissolving a marriage which was incompatible with the happiness of both the parties, but which the law declared to be indissoluble. The judges who introduced or maintained the Congress, who, in fact, protected it, only contemplated it, but certainly most erroneously as a proper means of legalizing divorces.

All historians, and other writers who have treated of this disgraceful institution, pretty generally agree in giving it an origin 49not further back than the commencement of the 16th century; it is, however, but the extension of a custom almost as obscene which prevailed in the first ages of Christianity. This was nothing less than the subjecting a young girl, whether nun or otherwise, accused of fornication, to a rigorous personal examination, whence was to result the proof of her innocence or guilt. Siagrius, Bishop of Verona, and who lived towards the close of the fourth century, condemned a nun to undergo this disgusting and insulting examination. St. Ambroise, his metropolitan, disapproved of the Bishop's sentence, declared the examination as indecent, thus attesting its existence. The opinion, however of this prelate, supposed as it was by that of several others, did not prevent the continuance of this custom for a very long time. The ecclesiastical and civil tribunals frequently directed this proof to be made; and Venette69 cites the procès-verbal of a similar examination made by order of the Mayor of Paris in 1672, in the case of a woman who complained of violence committed on her by a man of dissolute habits.

We prefer giving the following curious description of the manner of conducting the Congress in the original quaint and antiquated French:

"La forme duquel Congrez est, qui le iour et heure prins, et les Expers connenus ou nommez (qui sont ordinairement ceux mêmes qui ont fait la visitation lesquels partant n'ont garde de se contrarier ny de rapporte que l'homme y a fait l'intromission ayant desia (déjà) rapporté sa partie vierge et non corrompüe) le juge prend le serment des parties, qu'elles tascheront de bonne foy et sans dissimulation d'accōplir l'œuvre de mariage sans y apporter empeschement de part ny d'autre: des Expers qu'ils ferōt fidelle rapport de ce qui se passera au Congrez; cela fait 50les parties et les expers se retirent en une chābre pour ce préparée, où l'homme et la femme sont de rechef visités, l'homme, afin de sçavoir s'il a point de mal, s'en estans trouué à aucuns l'ayans gaigné depuis avoir esté visité qui n'ont laissé d'estre séparés encore, qu'il parust assez par là qu'ils n'estoient impuissans, la femme pour considérer l'estat de se partie honteuse et, par ce moyen cognoistre la difference de son ouverture et dilatation, auant et après le Congrez, et si l'intromission y aura esté faicte, ou non: sans, toutefois, parler en leur rapport de la virginité ou corruption de la femme, reputée vierge, ayant vne fois esté rapportée telle, sans qu'on la visite plus pour cela. En quelques procès (comme en celuy de Bray, 1578) les parties sont visités nues depuis le sommet de la teste iusques à la plante des pieds, en toutes les parties des leurs corps, etiam in podice, pour sçavior s'il n y a rien sur elles qui puissent auancer ou empescher le congrez, les parties honteuses de l'homme lavées d'eau tiéde (c'est a sçavoir à quelle fin) et la femme mise en demy bain, où elle demeure quelque temps. Cela fait, l'homme et la femme se couchent en plein iour en un lict, Expers présens, qui demeurent en la chambre, ou se retirent (si les parties le requièrent on l'vne d'elles, en quelque garde-robe ou gallerie prochaine, l'huis (la porte) entreouvert toutefois, et quand aux matrones se tiennent proche du lict, et les rideaux estant tirez, c'est à l'homme à se mettre en devoir de faire preuve de sa puissance habitant charnellement avec sa partie et faisant intromission: ou souvent aduiennent des altercations honteuses et ridicules, l'homme se plaignant que sa partie ne le veut laisser faire et empesche l'intromission; elle le niant et disant qu'il veut mettre le doigt et la dilater, et ouvrir par ce moyen; de sorte qu'il faudroit qu'un homme fust sans appréhension et pire qu'aucunes bêstes, ou que mentula velut digito uteretur, s'il ne desbandsit cependant au cas qu'il fust en estat, et si nō obstant ces indignitez il passait autre iusques à faire intromission; en51core ne sçauroit il, quelque érection qu'il face (fasse), si la partie veut l'empescher si on ne lui tenoit les mains et les genoux ce qui ne se fait pas. En fin, les parties ayās esté quelque tēps au lict, comme une heure ou deux, les Espers appellex, ou de leur propre mouvement, quand ils s'ennuyent en ayant de subject, si sint viri, s'approchent, et ouvrans les rideaux, s'informent de ce qui s'est passé entre elles, et visitent la femme derechef, pour sçavoir si elle est plus ouverte et dilatée que lorsqu' elle s'est mise au lict, et si intromission a été faicte aussi, an facta sit emission, ubi, quid et quale emissio. Ce qui ne se fait pas sans bougie et lunettes à gens qui s'en seruent pour leur vieil age, ni sans des recherches fort sales et odieuses: et font leur procès verbal de ce qui s'est passé au Congrez (ou pour mieux dire) de ce qu'ils veulent, qu'ils baillent au juge, estant au mesme logis vne salle, ou chambre à part, avec les procureurs et patriciens, en cour d'Eglise, attendant la fin de cet acte lequel rapporte est tousiours (toujours) au desaduantage des hommes à faute d'auoir fait intromission, sans laquelle, l'érection etiam sufficiens ad coeundem, ny l'émission n'empeschent la séparation, comme il se voit par les procès verbaux des Congrez de De Bray des onziesme et vingt unsiesme d'Apuril, 1578. Auxquels Congrez, principalement au premier, il fit érection rapportée suffisante ad copulem carnalem, et emisit extra vas, sed non intromisit, et pour cela fut séparé; laquelle intromission ne peust aussi estre faite au Congrez par quelque homme que ce fut, si la femme n'y preste consentement, et empesche, comme il est tout notaire.

The first judicial sentence which ordered a Congress is said to have been caused by the shameless effrontery of a young man who, being accused of impotency, demanded permission to exhibit proof of his powers before witnesses, which demand being complied with, the practice was introduced into the jurisprudence of the country. But, as we have already shown, the52 custom of the Judicial Congress may be referred to a far earlier period, in fact, to the remotest times of the middle ages, and that it originated with the Church, when the public morals were far from being well ascertained, as is proved by many well-known privileges belonging to the Seigneur or Lord of the Manor. Pope Gregory the Great, who was raised to the Pontificate in 590, appears to have been the first who conferred upon bishops the right of deciding this description of questions. It was, doubtless, from considerations of tender regard for female modesty that the Church took upon itself the painful duty of investigating and deciding upon questions of this nature. Numerous instances prove this, especially the dissolution of the marriage of Alphonso VI. of Portugal and his Consort, pronounced in 1688, and mentioned by Bayle.70 The great antiquity of this custom is proved by the 17th Art. of the Capitulars of Pepin, in the year 752, which bears a direct allusion to it: inasmuch as that article established as a principle that the impotency of a husband should be considered as a lawful cause for divorce, and that the proof of such impotency should be given, and the fact verified at the foot of the Cross—exeant ad crucem, et si verum fuerit, separantur.

That the Congress originated with the Church, who considered it as an efficacious means for deciding questions of impotency, is still further proved by the President Boutrier and by other writers, who assert that the ecclesiastical judges of other times were alone empowered (to the exclusion of all secular ones) to take cognizance of cases of impotency.

It is well attested that during the 16th and 17th centuries all the courts of law in France held the opinion that a marriage be anulled on the demand of a wife who claimed the Congress.


The fatal blow to this disgusting custom was given by a decree of the Parliament of Paris, under the presidency of the celebrated Lamoignon, dated Feb. 18, 1677, which decree forbids the practice by any other court whatsoever, ecclesiastical or civil. It is supposed that the ridicule cast upon it by the following lines of Boileau had no small share in causing its suppression.

"Jamais la biche en rut, n'a pour fait d'impuissance Trainé du fond des bois, un cerf à l'audience; Et jamais juge, entre eux ordonnant le congrès, De ce burlesque mot n'a sali ses arrêts."71

Three causes were alleged for the abolition of the Congress—its obscenity, its inutility, and its inconveniences. Its obscenity; for what could be more infamous, more contrary to public decency and to the reverence due to an oath than the impurity of the proof, both in its preparation and execution? Its inutility; for what could be less certain and more defective? Can it be, for one moment, imagined that a conjunction ordered by judges between two persons embittered by a law-suit, agitated with hate and fury against each other, can operate in them? Experience has shown that, of ten men the most vigorous and powerful, hardly one was found that came out of this shameful combat with success; it is equally certain that he who had unjustly suffered dissolution of his marriage, for not having given a proof of his capacity in the infamous Congress, had given real and authentic evidences of it in a subsequent marriage. This degrading mode of proof, in short, far from discovering the truth, was but the cause and foundation for impotence and falsehood. Its inconveniences; these are—the declared nullity of a legitimate marriage—the dishonour cast upon the husband, and the unjust damages, oftentimes exorbi54tant, which he is condemned to pay—two marriages contracted upon the dissolution of the first—both of which, according to purity and strictness, are equally unlawful—the error or the malice discovered, ex post facto, and, nevertheless, by the authority of the law, became irreparable.

It was in the power of the magistrate, upon a complaint of impotency being alleged by a wife against her husband, to order examiners to make an inspection of the husband's parts of generation, and upon their report to decide whether there was just cause for a divorce; and this without proceeding to order the congress. The following are a few cases of this description, and are extracted from the reports and judgments of the Officialty at Paris in cases of impotency.

Case I. Jean de But, master fringe maker, was, in 1675, charged with impotency by Genevieve Helena Marcault, his wife; he being inspected by Renauolot, a physician, and Le Bel, a surgeon, by order of the official; they declared that, after a due and thorough examination of all the members and parts of the said De But, as well genital, as others which might throw a light upon the case and likewise his condition of body, his age, the just conformation and proportion of his limbs, but especially his penis, which was found to be of as proper a thickness, length and colour as could be wished: and likewise his testicles, which exhibited no perceptible viciousness or malformation, they are of opinion that from all these outward marks, which are the only ones they consider themselves justified in judging from, the said De But is capacitated to perform the matrimonial act. Signed by them at Paris, July 18, 1675, and attested by the Sieur de Combes. And on August 23, 1675, by the sentence of M. Benjamin, official, the said Marcault was non-suited and ordered to return to her husband and cohabit with him.

55Case II. Inspection having been ordered by the official of Paris of the body of Joseph Le Page, who is taxed with impotency by Nicola de Loris, his wife, the said inspection was made by Deuxivoi and De Farci, physicians, and Paris and Du Fertre, surgeons; their report is as follows:—

"We have found the exterior of his person to be like that of other men's, the penis of a good conformation and naturally situated, with the nut or glans bare, its adjoining parts fringed with soft, fine hair, the scrotum of an unexceptional thickness and extent, and in it vessels of good conformation and size, but terminating unequally; on the right side, they end in a small, flabby substance instead of a true testicle; and on the left side we observed a testicle fixed to the extremity of one of the vessels, as usual, invested in its tunicle, which left testicle we do not find to be at all flabby, but of a middling size: upon the whole, we are of opinion that the said Le Page is capable of the conjugal act but in a feeble manner. Signed and dated March 5, 1684. By the sentence of M. Cheron, the official, the said De Loris's petition is rejected, and she is enjoined to return to her husband.

Case III. Peter Damour being accused of impotency by his wife Louisa Tillot an inspection was ordered to be made by Rainset and Afforti, physicians, and Franchet and Colignon, surgeons. They report as follows:—"We have proceeded to inspect Peter Damour, master saddler at Paris, and having attententively examined his parts of generation, we have found them well constituted and in good condition as to their size, conformation and situation for the conjugal act; according, however to the statement of the said Damour himself, the erection is imperfect, the penis not being sufficiently rigid for perforating the vagina; admitting this, however, to be the case, we are of opinion that the imperfection may be remedied, repaired, and56 rectified, in time, by proper remedies. Signed January 16, 1703. In consequence the official, M. Vivant, refused Villot's demand, and ordered her to go home to her husband and cohabit with him as her lawful spouse.

Case IV. In the suit of Demoiselle Maris Louise Buchères accusing of impotence Antoine de Bret, an inspection was ordered and performed by Venage and Lita, physicians, Lombard and Delon, surgeons. They reported as follows: "We find the string of the foreskin shorter than it should be for giving the nut free scope to extend itself when turgid:—that the body of the left testicle is very diminutive and decayed, its tunicle separated, the spermatic vessels very much disordered by crooked swollen veins—that the right testicle is not of a due thickness, though thicker than the other: that it is somewhat withered and the spermatic vessels disordered by crooked swollen veins. On all which accounts we do not think that the natural parts of the said Sieur de Bret have all the disposition requisite for the well performing the functions they were designed for; yet we cannot say that he is impotent until we have inspected the wife. Paris July 11, 1703, Signed. On the 22d of July, 1703, the wife was inspected by the said physicians and surgeons and by two matrons; the result of which was that they observed no visciousness of conformation in her womb: the valvula were circular and the carunclæ myrtiformes, placed in the neck of the vagina, were soft, supple, flexible, entire, and did not seem to have suffered any violence or displacing, and the cavity of the womb-pipe was free and without any obstacle. Therefore they are of opinion that she is not capable of the conjugal act, and that there has been no intromission, consequently that she is a virgin, and that if the marriage had not been consummated, it is her husband's fault, because of his great debility and defective conformation of his parts of generation. Another inspection57 of the same parties was ordered Aug. 1, 1703. Bourges and Thuillier being the physicians, and Tranchet and Meri the surgeons, who declared that after due and careful examination they had found no defect which could hinder generation. Their report is dated Paris, Aug. 13, 1703. M. Chapelier ordered, in consequence, both parties,—viz., the Sieur De Bret and the said Buchères to acknowledge each other for man and wife.

Case V. On the 2nd April, 1653, the Chevalier René de Cordovan, Marquis de Langey, aged 25 years, married Maria de Saint Simon de Courtomer between 13 and 14 years of age. The parties lived very happily for the first four years, that is to say, up to 1657, when the lady accused her husband of impotency. The complaint was heard before the Lieutenant Civil of the Chatelet, who appointed a jury to examine the parties. The examination was made, and the report declared that both parties were duly and fully qualified for performing the conjugal act. In order to invalidate this report the lady affirmed that if she was not a virgin it was in consequence of the brutal efforts of one whose impotency rendered him callous as to the means he employed to satisfy himself. The Chevalier de Langey, much incensed at this imputation, demanded the Congress; the judge granted the petition, the wife appealed from the sentence, but it was confirmed by the superior courts.

For carrying the sentence into effect, the house of a person named Turpin, who kept baths, was chosen. Four physicians, five surgeons and five matrons were present. It is impossible to enter into the details of this disgusting prequisition; they are given in full detail in the procès verbal. Suffice it to say that the event being unfavourable to the chevalier, his marriage was declared void by a decree of the 8th of February, 1659.

58By this decree the chevalier was not only condemned to pay back the dowry which he had had with his wife, but was prohibited from contracting another marriage—the lady, on the contrary, was allowed to enter into any other engagement she might think fit, as being considered entirely freed from her former bonds.

The next day after this decree the chevalier made his protest against it before two notaries, declaring that he did not acknowledge himself to be impotent, and that he would, in defiance of the prohibition imposed upon him, enter into wedlock again whenever he pleased.

The lady St. Simon contracted a marriage with Peter de Caumont, Marquis de Boèsle, and from this marriage were born three daughters. At the same time the Chevalier de Langley married Diana de Montault de Navaille, and their marriage was followed by the birth of seven children.

In 1670 the Marchioness de Boèsle, the ci-devant Countess de Langey, died.

It was in consequence of the ulterior proceedings in the law courts respecting the real paternity of the children of the marchioness that the government availed itself of the opportunity of abolishing, as we have seen, the useless and obscene ordeal of the congress.

We shall conclude the present Essay by transcribing Dr. Willick's judicious observations upon the sexual intercourse.

Of the Sexual Intercourse in particular; its physical consequences with respect to the Constitution of the Individual; under what circumstances it may be either conducive or detrimental to Health.

"A subject of such extensive importance, both to our physical59 and moral welfare, as the consequences resulting from either a too limited or extravagant intercourse between the sexes deserves the strictest enquiry, and the most serious attention of the philosopher.

The inclination to this intercourse, and the evacuation connected with it, are no less inherent in human nature than other bodily functions. Yet, as the semen is the most subtle and spirituous part of the human frame, and as it contributes to the support of the nerves, this evacuation is by no means absolutely necessary; and it is besides attended with circumstances not common to any other. The emission of semen enfeebles the body more than the loss of twenty times the same quantity of blood; more than violent cathartics, emetics, &c.; hence excesses of this nature produce a debilitating effect on the whole nervous system, on both body and mind.

It is founded on the observations of the ablest physiologists, that the greatest part of this refined fluid is re-absorbed and mixed with the blood, of which it constitutes the most rarified and volatile part; and that it imparts to the body singular sprightliness, vivacity, and vigour. These beneficial effects cannot be expected if the semen be wantonly and improvidently wasted. Besides the emission of it is accompanied with a peculiar species of tension and convulsion of the whole frame, which is always succeeded by relaxation. For the same reason, even libidinous thoughts, without any loss of semen, are debilitating, though in a less degree, by occasioning a propulsion of blood to the genitals.

If this evacuation, however, took place only in a state of superfluity, and within proper bounds, it is not detrimental to health. Nature, indeed, spontaneously effects it in the most healthy individuals during sleep; and as long as we observe no difference 60 in bodily and mental energy after such losses, there is no danger to be apprehended from them. It is well established and attested by the experience of eminent physicians, that certain indispositions, especially those of hypochondriasis and complete melancholy and incurable by any other means, have been happily removed in persons of both sexes, by exchanging a single state for wedlock.

There are a variety of circumstances by which the physical propriety of the sexual intercourse is in general to be determined. It is conductive to the well being of the individual, if the laws of nature and society (not an extravagant or disordered imagination) induce man to satisfy this inclination, especially under the following conditions:

1. In young persons, that is, adults, or those of a middle age; as from the flexibility of their vessels, the strength of their muscles, and the abundance of their vital spirits, they can more easily sustain the loss thence occasioned.

2. In robust persons, who lose no more than is speedily replaced.

3. In sprightly individuals, and such as are particularly addicted to pleasure; for the stronger the natural and legal desire, the less hurtful is its gratification.

4. In married persons who are accustomed to it; for nature pursues a different path, according as she is habituated to the reabsorption or the evacuation of this fluid.

5. With a beloved object; as the power animating the nerves and muscular fibres is in proportion to the pleasure received.

6. After a sound sleep, because then the body is more energetic; it is provided with a new stock of vital spirit, and the fluids are duly prepared;—hence the early morning appears to be61 designed by nature for the exercise of this function; as the body is then most vigorous, and being unemployed in any other pursuit, its natural propensity to this is the greater; besides, at this time a few hours sleep will, in a considerable degree restore the expended powers.

7. With an empty stomach; for the office of digestion, so material to the attainment of bodily vigour, is then uninterrupted. Lastly.

8. In the vernal months; as nature at this season in particular, incites all the lower animals to sexual intercourse, as we are then most energetic and sprightly; and as the spring is not only the safest, but likewise the most proper time with respect to the consequences resulting from that intercourse. It is well ascertained by experience that children begotten in spring are of more solid fibres, and consequently more vigorous and robust, than those generated in the heat of summer or cold of winter.

It may be collected from the following circumstances, whether or not the gratification of the sexual intercourse has been conducive to the well-being of the body; namely, if it be not succeeded by a peculiar lassitude; if the body do not feel heavy, and the mind averse to reflection, these are favourable symptoms, indicating that the various powers have sustained no essential loss, and that superfluous matter only has been evacuated.

Farther, the healthy appearance of the urine in this case, as well as cheerfulness and vivacity of mind, also prove a proper action of the fluids, and sufficiently evince an unimpaired state of the animal functions, a due perspiration, and a free circulation of the blood.

There are times, however, in which the gratification is the62 more pernicious to health, when it has been immoderate, and without the impulse of nature, but particularly in the following situations.

1. In all debilitated persons; as they do not possess sufficient vital spirits, and their strength after this venerating emission is consequently much exhausted. Their digestion necessarily suffers, perspiration is checked, and the body becomes languid and heavy.

2. In the aged; whose vital heat is diminished, whose frame is enfeebled by the most moderate enjoyment, and whose vigour, already reduced, suffers a still greater diminution from every loss that is accompanied with a violent convulsion of the whole body.

3. In persons not arrived at the age of maturity; by an easy intercourse with the other sex, they become enervated and emaciated, and inevitably shorten their lives.

4. In dry, choleric and thin persons; these, even at a mature age, should seldom indulge in this passion, as their bodies are already in want of moisture and pliability, both of which are much diminished by the sexual intercourse, while the bile is violently agitated, to the great injury of the whole animal frame. Lean persons generally are of a hot temperament; and the more heat there is in the body the greater will be the subsequent dryness. Hence, likewise, to persons in a state of intoxication, this intercourse is extremely pernicious; because in such a state the increased circulation of the blood towards the head may be attended with dangerous consequences, such as bursting of blood-vessels, apoplexy, etc. The plethoric are particularly exposed to these dangers.

63 5. Immediately after meals; as the powers requisite to the digestion of food are thus diverted, consequently the aliment remains too long unassimilated, and becomes burdensome to the stomach.

6. After violent exercise; in which case it is still more hurtful than in the preceding, where muscular strength was not consumed, but only required to the aid of another function. After bodily fatigue, on the contrary, the necessary energy is in a manner exhausted, so that every additional exertion of the body must be peculiarly injurious.

7. In the best of summer it is less to be indulged in than in spring and autumn; because the process of concoction and assimilation is effected less vigorously in summer than in the other seasons, and consequently the losses sustained are not so easily recovered. For a similar reason the sexual commerce is more debilitating, and the capacity for it sooner extinguished in hot than in temperate climates. The same remark is applicable to very warm temperature combined with moisture, which is extremely apt to debilitate the solid part. Hence hatters, dyers, bakers, brewers, and all those exposed to steam, generally have relaxed fibres.

It is an unfavourable symptom if the rest after this intercourse be uneasy, which plainly indicates that more has been lost than could be repaired by sleep; but if, at the same time, it be productive of relaxation, so as to affect the insensible perspiration, it is a still stronger proof that it has been detrimental to the constitution.72





WWhen it is considered how strongly the sexual desire is implanted in man, and how much his self-love is interested in preserving or in recovering the power of gratifying it, his endeavours to infuse fresh vigour into his organs when they are temporarily exhausted by over-indulgence, or debilitated by age cannot appear surprising.

This remark particularly applied to natives of southern and eastern climes, with whom the erotic ardour makes itself more intensely felt; since it is there that man's imagination, as burning as the sky beneath which he first drew breath, re-awakens desires his organs may have long lost the power of satisfying, and consequently it is there more especially that, notwithstanding the continual disappointment of his hopes, he still pertinaciously persists in searching for means whereby to stimulate his appetite for sexual delights. Accordingly it will be found that in66 the remotest ages, even the vegetable, animal, and mineral kingdoms have been ransacked for the purpose of discovering remedies capable of strengthening the genital apparatus, and exciting it to action.

But however eager men might be in the above enquiry, their helpmates were equally desirous of finding a means whereby they might escape the reproach of barrenness,—a reproach than which none was more dreaded by eastern women. Such means was at last discovered, or supposed to be so, in the mandrake,73 a plant which thenceforth became, as the following quotation proves, of inestimable value in female eyes.

"And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother, Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes.

"And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to-night for thy son's mandrakes.

"And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me, for surely I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.

"And God harkened unto Leah, and she conceived and bare Jacob the fifth son."74

There is only one other passage in the Bible in which this plant is alluded to, and that is in Solomon's song:


"The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved."75

All that can be gathered from the former of the above quotations is that these plants were found in the fields during the wheat harvests and that, either for their rarity, flavour, or, more probably, for their supposed quality of removing barrenness in women, as well as for the stimulating powers attributed to them, were greatly valued by the female sex. In the quotation from Solomon's Song, the Hebrew word Dudaim expresses some fruit or flowers exhaling a sweet and agreeable odour, and which were in great request among the male sex.76

According to Calmet, the word Dudaim may be properly deduced from Dudim (pleasures of love); and the translators of the Septuagint and the Vulgate render it by words equivalent to the English one—mandrake. The word Dudaim is rendered in our authorized version by the word mandrake—a translation sanctioned by the Septuagint, which, in this place, translates Dudaim by μῆλα μανδραγορῶν, mandrake—apples, and in Solomon's Song by οἱ μανδραγὸραι (mandrakes). With this, Onkelos77 and the Syrian version agree; and this concurrence of authorities, with the fact that the mandrake (atropa mandragora) combines in itself all the circumstances and traditions required for the Dudaim, has given to the current interpretation, its present prevalence.


Pythagoras was the first (followed by Plutarch) who gave to this plant the name of ἀνθρωπομορφος (man-likeness), an appellation which became very generally used; but why he gave it is not precisely known: Calmet, however, suggests as a reason the partial resemblance it bears to the human form, from the circumstance of its root being parted from the middle, downwards.

The opinion respecting the peculiar property of the mandrake was not confined to the Jews, but was also entertained by the Greeks and Romans, the former of whom called its fruit—love-apples, and bestowed the name of Mandragorilis upon Venus. Dioscorides knew it by that of Μανδραγορας, and remarks that the root is supposed to be used in philters or love-potions;78 and another writer lauds it as exciting the amorous propensity, remedying female sterility, facilitating conception and prolificness, adding the singular fact that female elephants, after eating its leaves, are seized with so irresistible a desire for copulation, as to run eagerly, in every direction, in quest of the male.79

Speaking of the plant Eryngium, the elder Pliny says: "The whole variety of the Eryngium known in our (the Latin) language as the centum capita has some marvellous facts recorded of it. It is said to bear a striking likeness to the organs of generation of either sex; it is rarely met with, but if a root resembling the male organ of the human species be found by a man, it will ensure him woman's love; hence it is that Phaon, the Lesbian, was so passionately beloved of 69Sappho."80 If it be true, as is asserted by medical writers, that the above root contains an essential oil of peculiarly stimulating qualities, the fact would account, not only for Sappho's passion for Phaon, but also for the high value set upon it by the rival wives of Jacob.

For the same reason as that suggested by Calmet, Columella calls the mandrake semihomo:

"Quamvis semihominis vesano gramine fœta Mandragoræ pariat flores."81
"Let it not vex thee if thy teeming field The half-man Mandrake's madd'ning seed should yield;"

and qualifies its seed by the epithet vesanus, because in his time (the first century after Christ) it was still supposed to form one of the ingredients of philters or love-potions. The superstitious ideas attached to the mandrake were indeed so current throughout Europe during the middle ages, that one of the accusations brought against the Knights Templars was that of adoring, in Palestine, an idol to which was given the name of Mandragora.82 Even, comparatively, not very long ago, there might be seen in many of the continental towns quacks and mountebanks exhibiting little rudely-carved figures, which they declared to be genuine mandrakes, assuring their gaping auditors, at the same time, that they were produced from the urine of a gibbeted thief, and seriously warning those who might have to pull any out of the ground to stop their ears first, for otherwise the piercing shrieks of these plants would infallibly strike them with deafness. Wier thus describes the manufacture of these interesting little gentlemen: "Impostors carve 70upon these plants while yet green the male and female forms, inserting millet or barley seeds in such parts as they desire the likeness of human hair to grow on; then, digging a hole in the ground, they place the said plants therein, covering them with sand till such time as the little seeds have stricken root, which, it is said, would be perfectly effected within twenty days at furthest. After this, disinterring the plants, these impostors, with a sharp cutting knife, so dexterously carve, pare, and slip the little filaments of the seeds as to make them resemble the hair which grows upon the various parts of the human body."83

"I have seen," says the Abbé Rosier, "mandrakes tolerably well representing the male and female parts of generation, a resemblance which they owe, almost entirely, to manual dexterity. For the intended object, a mandrake is chosen having a strong root, which, at the end of a few inches, bifurcates into two branches. As the root is soft, it easily takes the desired form, which it preserves on becoming dry."84 The author then describes the process of producing the resemblance of human hair, and which is similar to that given above.

In the year 1429, a Cordelier by name Brother Richard, fulminated from the pulpit a vigorous sermon against the amulette then much in vogue, and called "Mandragora." He convinced his auditors, both male and female, of its impiety and inutility, and caused hundreds of those pretended charms which, upon that occasion, were voluntarily delivered up to him, to be publicly burnt. It is no doubt, to these mandragoras that an old chronicler alludes in the following strophe:

71 J'ai puis vu soudre en France Par grant dérision, La racine et la branche De toute abusion. Chef de l'orgueil du monde Et de lubricité; Femme où tel mal habonde Rend povre utilité.85

In the 15th century the mandrake enjoyed in Italy so great a reputation as an erotic stimulant, that the celebrated Macchiavelli wrote a much admired comedy upon it, called "La Mandragora." The subject of this piece, according to Voltaire, who asserts "qu'il vaut, peut être mieux que toutes les pièces d'Aristophane, est un jeune homme adroit qui veut coucher avec la femme de son voisin. Il engage, avec de l'argent, un moine, un Fa tutto ou un Fa molto, à séduire sa maitresse et à faire tomber son mari dans un piège ridicule. On se moque tout le long de la pièce, de la religion que toute l'Europe professe, dont Rome est le centre et dont le siège papal est le trone."86

Callimaco, one of the dramatis-personæ of this comedy, thus eulogizes the plant in question, "Voi avete a intendere che non è cosa più certa a ingravidare, d'una pozione fatta di Mandragola. Questa è una cosi sperimentata da me due para di volte, e se non era questa, la Reina di Francia sarebbe sterile, ed infinite altre principesse in quello Stato."87


"You must know that nothing is so sure to make women conceive, as a draught composed of Mandragola. That is a fact which I have verified upon four occasions, and had it not been for the virtues of this plant, the queen of France, as well as many noble ladies of that kingdom, would have proved barren."

By the Venetian law the administering of love-potions was accounted highly criminal. Thus the law "Dei maleficii et herbarie." Cap. XVI. of the code, entitled "Della Commissione del maleficio" says, Statuimo etiamdio che se alcun homo o femina harra fatto maleficii, iguali so dimandono volgarmente amatorie, o veramente alcuni altri maleficii, che alcun homo o femina se havesson in odio, sia frusta et bollade, et che hara consigliato, patisca simile pena."88

The notion of the efficacy of love powders was also so prevalent in the 15th century in our own country that in the Parliament summoned by King Richard III., on his usurping the throne, it was publicly urged as a charge against Lady Grey, that she had bewitched King Edward IV. by strange potions and amorous charms.

"And here also we considered how that the said pretended marriage betwixt the abovenamed King Edward and Elizabeth Grey, was made of great presumption, without the knowing and assent of the Lords of this land, and also by sorcery and witchcraft committed by the said Elizabeth and her mother Jaquet Duchesse of Bedford, as the common opinion of the people and the public voice and fame is thorow all this land." 73(From the "Address of Parliament to the high and mightie Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester.")89

Modern writers, as might be expected, have taken a very wide range in their inquiries as to what kind of plant the Dudaïm really was, some regarding it as lilies, roses, violets, snowdrops, and jasmine; others, as melons, plantain fruits, whirtleberries, dwarf brambles, the berries of the physalis or winter cherry, grapes of some peculiar kinds, or even underground fungi, as truffles, &c. Many have supposed the word to mean the ingredients, whatever they might have been, of a charm or love potion, and hence have recurred to the mandrake, celebrated, as already said, throughout antiquity, for its supposed virtues, and whose history has been tricked out with all the traditionary nonsense that might be imagined to confirm that report of such qualities.

Liebentantz,90 in 1660; the younger Rudbeck,91 in 1733, and Celsius,92 in 1745, have displayed much erudition and research in their inquiries; but the first of these writers arrived at the conclusion that nothing certain could be come to on the subject; while the second proposed raspberries as the Dudaïm; and the third maintained that they were the fruit of the Zizyphus, the Spina Christi of the disciples of Linnæus.

Maundrell, who travelled in the East in the 17th century, informs us that, having asked the chief priest of Aleppo what sort of a plant or fruit the Dudaïm, or (as we translate it) the mandrakes, were which Leah gave to Rachel for the purchase 74of her husband's embraces, the holy man replied "that they were plants of a large leaf bearing a certain sort of fruit, in shape resembling an apple, growing ripe in harvest, but of an ill savour, and not wholesome. But the virtue of them was to help conception, being laid under the genial bed. That the women were wont to apply it at this day, out of an opinion of its prolific virtue."93

Some writers have supposed the Dudaïm to be neither more nor less than the truffle. Virey asserts it to be a species of Orchïs; and, indeed, considering the remarkable conformation of the root of this plant,94 the slightly spermatic odour of its farinaceous substance, as well as that of the flowers of another one belonging to the same family, an odour so similar to the emanations of an animal proverbial for its salaciousness, and to which its bearded spikes or ears give additional resemblance, the almost unbounded confidence which the ancients reposed in its aphrodisiacal virtues cannot appear surprising.

One of the most extraordinary aphrodisiacs upon record is that reported to have been employed by the Amazons. The "Amazons," says Eustathius,95 "broke either a leg or an arm of the captives they took in battle, and this they did, not only to prevent their attempts at escape, or their plotting, but also, and this more especially, to render them more vigorous in the venereal conflict; for, as they themselves burnt away the right breast of their female children in order that the right arm might 75become stronger from receiving additional nutriment, so they imagined that, similarly, the genital member would be strengthened by the deprivation of one of the extremities, whether a leg or an arm. Hence, when reproached by the Scythians with the limping gait of her slaves, Queen Antianara replied, "ἄριστα χωλὸς οιφεῖ," "the lame best perform the act of love."

Among the ancient Romans, it was impossible that philters, or love-potions, should not be introduced amid the general depravity so common in every class; and hence we meet with frequent allusions to them in their writers. Thus, the emperor Julian, surnamed the Apostate, writing to his friend Callixines, observes "At enim inquies, Penelopes etiam amor et fides erga virum tempore cognita est. Et quis, tandem, inquam, in muliere amorem conjugis sui religioni ac pietati anteponet quam continuò mandragoræ bibesse judicitur?"96

"But you, Callixines, observe that Penelope's love to her husband was always thus manifested. To this I answer, who but he that has habitually drunk Mandragora can prefer in a woman conjugal affection to piety?"

The over excitement caused in the nervous system by such potions frequently proved fatal. Such, according to Eusebius, was the fate of the poet Lucretius, who, having been driven to madness by an amatory potion, and having, during the intervals of his insanity, composed several books, which were afterwards corrected by Cicero, died by his own hand, in the 44th year of his age.97 It should, however, be remembered that this 76account has been questioned by the poet's translator and annotator, the late Mr. Mason Good, in these words:

"By whom the potion was administered is conjectured only from a passage in St. Jerome,98 who says that a certain Lucilia killed her husband or her lover by giving him a philtre, which was intended to secure his love, but the effect of which was to make him insane. This Lucilia is supposed to have been the wife or the mistress of Lucretius, but by whom the supposition was first made, I am not able to discover."99 Suetonius relates the same thing of Caius Caligula, who although, when he arrived at manhood, endured fatigue tolerably well, was still occasionally liable to faintness, owing to which he remained incapable of any effort. He was not insensible to this disorder of his mind, and sometimes had thoughts of retiring.100 "Creditum," he continues, "potionatus a Cæsonia uxore, amatorio quodam medicamento, sed quod furorem verterit."101

"It is thought that his wife Cæsonia administered to him a love-potion, which threw him into a phrensy." It is in allusion to this that Juvenal writes

"Tamen hoc tolerabile, si non Et furere incipias, ut avunculus ille Neronis Cui totam tremuli frontem Cæsonia pulli Infudit."102


"Some nimbler juice would make him foam and rave, Like that Cæsonia to her Caius gave, Who, plucking from the forehead of the foal The mother's love, infused it in the bowl: The boiling blood ran hissing through his veins, Till the mad vapour mounted to his brains."

These concoctions were publicly sold at Rome, their ingredients consisting of herbs of various kinds, in the culling and testing of which the shepherds were often employed. The remora, or sucking-fish, certain bones of the frog, the astroit, or star-fish, and the hippomanes were also used. Horace informs us that dried human marrow and liver were also had recourse to:

"Exsucta uti medulla et aridum jecur Amoris esset poculum."103

That his parch'd marrow might compose, Together with his liver dried, an amorous dose.

Del Rio104 and Wallick105 assert that to the above were likewise added nail-parings, sundry metals, reptiles, and the intestines of particular birds and fishes, and even semen virile and sanguis menstruus.106 During the concoction of these filthy, disgusting, and abominable compounds, the Infernal Deities were earnestly invoked.

Of all the above ingredients the most famous was the hippomanes, which, according to Wier, was a piece of flesh upon the 78forehead of a young colt, of a black or brown colour, in size and shape like a fig, which the mare is said to bite off as soon as she has foaled, the mare forsaking her offspring when prevented from so doing; hence the hippomanes, which was in reality nothing more than a caul or part of the omentum attached to the head of the foal, as it is also sometimes to that of infants, was thought to be particularly effective in conciliating love, especially when calcined or reduced to powder, and swallowed in some of the blood of the person beloved. This superstition is, however, in some degree excusable, if it be considered that, even in the present day, many persons in our own country firmly believe the human caul to have the power of saving its possessor from drowning; and that in the good old times, it was regarded as a visible indication that Providence had designed the infant so furnished for the service of religion, such children, whether male or female, being destined, in consequence, for the cloister.

Virgil thus mentions it as one of the ingredients of the philter that Dido caused to be made for her previously to her committing suicide:

"Falcibus et messæ ad Lunam quæruntur alienis Pubentes herbæ, nigri cum lacte veneni. Quæritur et nascentis equi in fronte revulsus Et matri præruptus amor."107
"Herbs are brought, by moonlight mow'd With brazen scythes, big, swol'n with milky juice Of curious poison, and the fleshy knot Torn from the forehead of a new foal'd colt To rob the mother's love."

The following curious account of the wonderful effects of the 79hippomanes, and which fully justifies the etymology of that word, is given by Pausanias:

"Among these (offerings) you may behold those of Phormis Menalius.... His gifts in Olympia are two horses and two charioteers, one of which horses the Ælians assert to have been made by a magician, of brass, into which metal he had previously infused the hippomanes, and which, in consequence, possessed the power of exciting in horses a mad desire for coition. The horse so made by the magician was, both in size and shape, inferior to many horses which are dedicated within Altis, and was rendered still more deformed by having no tail. Horses desire connection with this image not only in spring, but every day throughout the year, for, breaking their bridles or running away from their drivers, they rush into Altis and attack the horse in a manner much more furious than if it was the most beautiful mare, and one they were acquainted with. Their hoofs, indeed, slip from the side of the image, but nevertheless they never cease neighing vehemently and leaping furiously on the figure till they are driven off by the whip or by some other violent means, for till such methods are applied, it is impossible to disengage them from the brass."108

Many formula for love-potions may be found in the work of Albertus Magnus, who, among other things, particularly recommends "the brains of a partridge calcined into powder and swallowed in red wine," a remedy which is also much insisted upon by Platina, who, in praising the flesh of the partridge, says, "Perdicis caro bene ac facile concoquitur, multum in se nutrimenti habet, cerebri vim auget, genituram facilitat ac demortuam Venerem excitat."109


"The flesh of the partridge, which is of good and easy digestion, is highly nutritious; it strengthens the brain, facilitates conception, and arouses the half-extinct desire for venereal pleasures." Mery110 confidently prescribes, for the same purpose, the partes genitales of a cock prepared and administered in like manner.

The following compositions enjoyed a vast reputation during the 17th century:

Fortuna Veneris.—"Take of pismires or ants (the biggest, having a sourish smell, are the best) two handfuls, spirits of wine one gallon; digeste them in a glasse vessel, close shut, for the space of a month, in which time they will be dissolved into a liquor; then distil them in balneo till all be dry. Then put the same quantity of ants as before; do this three times, then aromatize the spirit with cinnamon. Note, that upon the spirit will float an oil which must be separated. This spirit (continues the inventor) is of excellent use to stir up the animal spirits insomuch that John Casimire, Palsgrave of the Rhine, and Seyfrie of Collen, general against the Turks, did always drink thereof when they went to fight, to increase magnanimity and courage, which it did even to admiration."

"This spirit doth also wonderfully irritate them that are slothful to venery."111

Aqua Magnanimitatis.—Take of ants or pismires a handful of their eggs two hundred, of millepedes (wood-lice) two hundred, of bees two hundred and fifty; digeste them together, the space of a month, then pour off the clear spirit, and keep it safe. This water or spirit is of the same value as the former.112


But, quitting these "fond conceits," as honest old Burton113 calls them, and investigating the subject upon acknowledged and recognised principles, it will be found that, as the ancient philosophers and naturalists regarded the semen as the purest and most perfect part of our blood, the flower of our blood and a portion of the brain, so the sole object of all aphrodisiacal preparations should be to promote its copious secretion.

Before, however, proceeding to indicate the means most conducive thereto, it may prove interesting to the reader to be informed what were the opinions of some of the most celebrated philosophers of antiquity, upon the semen. "Let us first," says Montaigne,114 know whether, at least, all they (physicians) agree about the matter whereof men produce one another.... Archesilaus, the physician, whose favourite and disciple Socrates was, said that men and beasts were formed of a lacteous slime, expressed by the heat of the earth. Pythagoras says that our seed is the foam or cream of our better blood. Plato, that it is the distillation of the marrow of the back-bones; and raises his argument from this: that that part is first sensible of being weary of the work. Alcmeon, that it is a part of the substance of the brain, and that it is so, says he, is proved by its causing weakness of the eyes in those who are over-immoderately addicted to that exercise. Democritus, that it is a substance extracted from soul and body. Aristotle, an excrement drawn from the aliment of the last blood which is diffused over all our members; others, that it is a blood concocted and digested by the heat of the genitals."

But, to return from this digression. Under whatever point of view the semen verile be considered, whether as containing, 82according to some physicians, all the parts of the fœtus, under the name of organic molecules, or as being, in the opinion of others, merely destined to fecundate the female egg, it will be equally true that the semen is a fluid impregnated with a vivifying principle regarded as the most important (validissimum) of our humours, by Hippocrates, who, in support of this his opinion, adduces the fact of our becoming debilitated, however small the quantity we may lose of it in the venereal act.115

Zeno, the father of the Stoic philosophy, called the loss of semen the loss of part of the animating principle; and that sage's practice was conformable with his principles, for he is recorded to have embraced his wife but once in his life, and that out of mere courtesy.

Epicuras and Democritus were nearly of the same opinion as Zeno; and the Athletæ, that their strength might be unimpaired, never married. The Rabbis, in their anxiety to preserve their nation, are said to have ordered, with a view of preventing a loss of vigour, that a peasant should indulge but once a week, and a merchant but once a month, a sailor but twice a year, and a studious man but once in two years; and for the same reason, Moses forbade indulgence before battle.

"Les êtres," says a writer in the Dictionnaire des Sciences Médicales,116 "qui font le plus abus de leurs facultés intellectuelles et sensitives extérieures, sont les moins capables d'un coït fréquent, tandis que les idiots, les crétins, l'exercent bien davantage. De même, l'âne, le cochon se livrent plus stupidement à l'acte de propagation et repandent beaucoup plus de sperme que des espèces intelligentes; enfin les animaux à petit 83cerveau, tels que les poissons, montrent une extrême fécondité."

If now, it be asked what will best promote the secretion of the seminal fluid, or, in other words, which is the best aphrodisiac, it may be confidently answered, the use of a substantial nourishment, such as medical men designate as an analeptic diet. Food of this description, without fatiguing the gastric organs, furnishes an abundant chyle, from which is elaborated a rich blood, and in which the secretory organs find materials of an excellent quality, and in an almost constant proportion with the regular consumption of their products. All food of easy and quick digestion is an analeptic, whence it follows that the same substance which is an analeptic to one person, may prove indigestible and innutritious for another. The numerous treatises upon digestion render it unnecessary to specify here the different aliments most proper for convalescents, suffice it to say, generally, that those meats in which azezome is found are the most nutritious. This animal principle is that extractive matter of animal fibre which produces the red appearance of uncooked meat; it is also that which forms what is called the brown of roasted meats, gives the flavour to broths and soups, the peculiar smell to boiled meat, and constitutes the much admired gout of game and venison. It is not found in the flesh of young animals, which is said, with reason, to be, on that very account, less nutritious. It is only when they have attained the adult age that it appears in them; it is abundant in beef, mutton, kid, hare, pigeon, partridge, pheasant, woodcock, quail, duck, goose, and generally, in all animals having dark coloured flesh. Mushrooms and oysters also contain some, but in a very small proportion.

Food in which this principle exists appears to impress upon the membrane of the stomach an increase of activity; the84 digestion is easy, and from a small mass of alimentary substance an abundant chyle is obtained. The chyliferous vessels derive a very great proportion of reparative materials; there is found but little excrementitious residue, the blood is enriched and its course accelerated, while the impulsive force of the heart and arteries is strong and more lively. Under the influence of this regimen a greater quantity of heat is developed and, in a given time, there is a greater absorption of oxygen than during a vegetable one; the respiration is performed more freely, the organs increase in size, but it is then a genuine embonpoint; nutrition is, in reality, more active, it is not a deceptive turgidity; the energy of the secretions and exhalations is redoubled, cutaneous perspiration becomes more abundant, and the glandular apparatus fulfil their functions with greater facility. A man who adopts this food becomes consequently very well fitted to make the sacrifices exacted by the calls of love, to which he is then more frequently solicited.

The mollusca in general, and testaceous animals in particular, have been considered as endowed with aphrodisiac properties. Juvenal attributes this quality to oysters which, together with mussles, have in this respect become vulgarly proverbial.

"Quis enim Venus ebria curat? Inguinis et capitis quæ sint discrimina nescit Grandia quæ mediis jam noctibus ostrea mordet."117
"For what cares the drunken dame? (Take head or tail), to her 'tis much the same Who at deep midnight on fat oysters sups."


Wallich informs us that the ladies of his time had recourse, on such occasions, to the brains of the mustela piscis. The Sepia octopus was also in great repute, and Plautus, in his play of Cisina, introduces an old man who has just been purchasing some at the market.

Appuleius, the celebrated author of the Metamorphoseon de Asino aureo (Metamorphoses of the Golden Ass), and who lived in the 2nd century, under the Antonines, having married a rich widow, was accused by her father Æmilian, before Claudius Maximus, pro-Consul of Asia, of having employed sorcery and charms in order to gain her affections (a parallel case with that of Shakespear's Othello). The love-potions alleged to have been administered were asserted to be chiefly composed of shell-fish, lobsters, sea hedge-hogs, spiced oysters, and cuttle-fish, the last of which was particularly famed for its stimulating qualities. Appuleius fulley exonerated himself in his admirable Apologia ceu oratio de Magica, so esteemed for the purity of its style as to have been pronounced by Saint Augustine (De Civitate Dei, lib. xviii. c. 20) as copiosissima et disertissima oratio. The reason adduced by Æmilian for believing that Appuleius had chiefly used fish for the purpose was, that they must necessarily have great efficacy in exciting women to venery, inasmuch as Venus herself was born of the sea.

Venette118 supports this view when he says:

"Nous avons l'expérience en France que ceux qui ne vivent presque que de coquillages et de poissons qui ne sont que de l'eau rassemblée, sont plus ardents à l'amour que les autres, en effet, nous nous y sentons bien plus y portés en Caresme qu'en tout autre saison parce-qu'en ce temps là nous ne nous nourrissons86 que de poissons et d'herbes qui sont des aliments composés de beaucoup d'eau.

Should this be true, the Infallible (?) Church must have committed an astounding blunder in thinking to mortify, for six weeks, the sinful lusts and affections of its dupes, by confining them, for the above period, to the exclusive use of such articles of food.

There are also some aliments which, although not included in the class of analeptics, are, nevertheless, reported to possess specific aphrodisiacal qualities; such are fish, truffles, and chocolate.

The following anecdote relative to this property in fish is related by Hecquet:119

"Sultan Saladin, wishing to ascertain the extent of the continence of the dervishes, took two of them into his palace, and, during a certain space of time, had them fed upon the most succulent food. In a short time all traces of their self-inflicted severities were effaced, and their embonpoint began to re-appear.

"In this state he gave them two Odalisques120 of surpassing beauty, but all whose blandishments and allurements proved ineffectual, for the two holy men came forth from the ordeal as pure as the diamond of Bejapore.121

"The Sultan still kept them in his palace, and, to celebrate their triumph, caused them to live upon a diet equally recherché, but consisting entirely of fish. A few days afterwards they were again subjected to the united powers of youth and beauty, but this time nature was too strong, and the too happy cenobites forgot, in the arms of voluptuousness, their vows of continence and chastity."


This peculiar property in fish has been attributed to the presence of phosphorus, which is known to exist somewhat plentifully in their substance, and has also been discovered in their roes in a simple state of combination. Now, phosphorus is one of the most powerful stimulants: it acts upon the generative organism in a manner to cause the most violent priapisms; but this principle does not act alone, and there must also be taken into account the different seasonings and condiments which form the basis of most culinary preparations to which fish are subjected, and which are all taken from the class of irritants.

The prolific virtues of fish have, no doubt, been greatly exaggerated, and it is certain that too much importance has been given to the observation made (rather upon slight grounds) by travellers as to the abundant population of ichthyophagic nations; nor would it be difficult to adduce facts to prove to the incredulous that the continuous use of fish excites lasciviousness in such persons only as are constitutionally inclined thereto.

The following instances sufficiently establish the aphrodisiacal qualities of phosphorus. A drake belonging to a chemist having drunk water out of a copper vessel which had contained phosphorus, ceased not gallanting his females till he died. An old man to whom a few drops only of phosphoric ether had been administered, experienced repeated and imperious venereal wants which he was compelled to satisfy. Leroy and Battatz, two celebrated French physicians of the last century, tried the effects of phosphorus upon themselves, with similar results. Sensations of the same kind are said to be experienced by persons whose occupation requires the frequent handling of this drug. It may thus be considered as satisfactorily proved that the above substance is essentially an energetic stimulant of the genital organs; but, should still further evidence be required,88 it may be found in the fact that the administration of it, even in small doses, has been productive of the most horrible and fatal results, instances of which are recorded in many medical works both foreign and English, but more particularly in those of Brera, Magendie, and others.

The erotic properties of truffles and mushrooms are considered by most writers as better established than those of fish. The ancient Romans were well acquainted with truffles, and obtained them from Greece and Africa, especially from the province of Libya, the fungi found there being particularly esteemed for their delicacy and flavour. In modern times, also, the truffle is regarded as the diamond of the kitchen, being highly valued for its capability of exciting the genesiac sense, it being a positive aphrodisiac which disposes men to be exacting and women complying.122

The following instance of its effects is given by Brillat Savarin,123 to whom the circumstances were communicated, in confidence, by the lady who was the subject of them:

"Je soupai," says she, "un jour chez moi en trio avec mon mari et un de ses amis dont le nom était V——. C'était un beau garçon et ne manquant pas d'esprit et venait souvent chez moi, mais il ne m'avait jamais rien dit qui put le faire regarder comme mon amant, et s'il me fesait la cour, c'était d'une manière si enveloppée qu'il n'y avait qu'une sotte qui eut pû s'en fâcher. Il paraissait, ce jour là, destiné á me tenir compagnie pendant le reste de la soirée, car mon mari avait un 89rendezvous et devait nous quitter bientôt. Notre souper avait pour base une petite volaill truffée. Les truffes étaient délicieuses, et quoique je les aime beaucoup, je me contins, nonobstant; je ne bus aussi qu'un seul verre de Champagne, ayant quelque pressentiment que la soirée ne se passerait pas sans évènement. Bientôt mon mari partit et me laissa seule avec V—— qu'il regardait comme tout à fait sans conséquence. La conversation roula d'abord sur des sujets indifférents, mais elle ne tarda pas à prendre une tournure plus sérieuse et plus intéressante. V—— fut successivement flatteur, expansif, affectueux, caressant, et voyant que je ne faisais que plaisanter de tant de belles choses, il devint si pressant que je ne pus plus me tromper de ses prétensions. Alors, je me reveillai comme d'une songe et me défendis avec autant plus de franchise que mon cœur ne me disait rien pour lui. Il persistait avec une action que pouvait devenir tout à fait offensante; j'eus beaucoup de peine de la remener, et j'avone, à ma honte, que toute espérance ne lui serait pas interdite. Enfin, il me quitta, j'allai me coucher et dormis tout d'un somme. Mais le lendemain fut le jour du jugement; j'examinai ma conduite de la veille, et je la trouvai repréhensible. J'aurais du arreter V—— dès les premières phrases, et ne pas me prêter à une conversation qui ne présageait rien de bon. Ma fierté aurait dû sonner, crier, me fâcher, faire, enfin, tout ce que je ne fis pas. Que vous dirai je, Monsieur, je mis tout cela sur le compte des truffes, et je suis réelement persuadée qu'elles m'avaient donne une prédisposition dangereuse, et si je n'y renonce pas (ce qui eut été trop rigoureux) du moins je n'en mange jamais sans que le plaisir qu'elles me causent ne soit mêlé d'un peu de défiance."

The mushroom was also equally well known as the truffle to the ancient Romans for its aphrodisiacal qualities. Thus, Martial says:

90 "Quum sit anus conjux et sint tibi mortua membra, Nil aliud bulbis quam sater esse potes."124
"If envious age relax the nuptial knot, Thy food be mushrooms, and thy feast shalot."

This bulb was believed by the ancients to be so decided a stimulant, that it was always served up, together with pepper and pine-nuts, at the wedding dinner.

An immoderate use of chocolate was, in the 17th century, considered so powerful an aphrodisiac that Jean Franco Raucher strenuously enforced the necessity of forbidding the monks to drink it, adding that if such an interdiction had been laid upon it at an earlier period, the scandal with which that sacred order had been assailed would have been prevented. It is a singular fact that, fearful of losing their character, or, what, perhaps, was dearer to them, their chocolate, the worthy cenobites were so diligent in suppressing Raucher's work that four copies only of it are said to be in existence.

The history of the middle ages abounds with complaints of the lubricity, gluttony, and drunkenness of the monks, vices which are described as being their ruin, in the fallowing pithy distich:

"Sunt tria nigrorum quæ vestant res monachorum, Renes et venter et pocula sumpta frequenter."125
"Three things to ruin monks combine— Venery, gluttony, and wine."

A monk who was a great enemy to adultery, was one day preaching against it, and grew so warm in his argument, and took so much pains to convince his congregation of his own abhorrence of it, that at last he broke out in the following solemn declaration:


"Yea, my brethren, I had rather, for the good of my soul, have to do with ten maids every month, than, in ten years, to touch one married woman!"

The celebrity they acquired in the field of Venus may readily be imagined from a quatrain that was affixed in a conspicuous part of the Church of St. Hyacinthe, and which runs thus:

"Femmes qui désirez de devenir enceinte Addressez cy vos vœux au grand Saint Hyacinthe, Et tout ce que pour vous le Saint ne pourra faire Les moines de céans pourront y satisfaire."126 You ladies who for pregnancy do wish To great St. Hyacinthe your prayers apply, And what his Saintship cannot accomplish The monks within will surely satisfy."

It would have been well had these holy men been contented with these, comparatively, venial indulgences. The following macaronic epigram, however, shows that they were but too much addicted to the Amour Socratique:

"Let a friar of some order tecum pernoctare Either thy wife or thy daughter hic vult violare, Or thy son he will prefer, sicut fortem fortis, God give such a friar pain in Inferni portis."127

But the open violation of their monastic vows, especially that of chastity, sometimes subjected monks to very severe punishment, a singular instance of which is recorded by Thevet,128 who, on account of the inimitable quaintness of his language and style, must be allowed to tell his own story:


"Phillippus Bourgoin, grād prieur de l'Abbaye de Cluny, voyant l'insolence, riblerïes et putasseries que menoient certains religieux de l'abbaye de Cluny les fist appeller particulièrement, leur demonstra le tort qu'ilz se faisoient et à la saincteté de leur ordre, et appercevant qu'ilz continuoient leur train, en pleine voute ou assemblée, qu'ils font en leur chapitre, leur denonça, pu'estāt en son oratoire Sainct Hugues s'estoit apparu à luy, le chargeant de leur fair entendre qu'ilz amendassent leur vie, ou autremĕt, qu'ilz tomberoient en son indignation, les ayant en telle verdeure envoya querir des maistres opérateurs sécretment en son logis et māda querir une nuict tous les plus mauvais garçons de Moynes, les uns après les autres, qui n'estaient plutôt entrez au logis du Prieur qu'ō leur bādoit les yeux, et après les maistres leurs nettòiét bragardement leurs petites boursettes de ce qui les faisoit hennir après leurs voluptéz et après les renvoiet en leurs chambres, plus legiers de deux grains qu'ilz n'etoiét auparavant, les ayant chappônez. Après telle exécution le bruict courut qu'ō avoit veu Sainct Hugues se pourmêant près de l'enfermerie de l'abbaye, qui fist croire aux pauvres Moynes hongres, que par adresse autre qu'humaine, ils avoiêt ainsi esté estropiez de leur virilité."

To these poor monks may, however, be applied the sly remark of Hume, upon a similar act of cruelty perpetuated, though for a far more innocent cause, by Geoffry, the father of Henry II., upon the prior and chapter of Seez in Normandy, viz., that "of the pain and danger they might justly complain, yet, since they had vowed chastity, he deprived them of a superfluous treasure."129

If the properties of ambergris be less potent than those of phosphorus, they are certainly less fatal. According to Bos93well,130 three grains of the former suffice to produce a marked acceleration of the pulse, a considerable development of muscular strength, a greater activity in the intellectual faculties, and a disposition to cheerfulness and venereal desires. The same author also says that it is a medicine which can, for a short time, restore an effete old man to juvenility.131 The ancients reposed great confidence in the virtues of this drug, employing it as a renovator of the vital powers and of the organs, whose energy had been exhausted by age or by excess; and throughout the East this perfume still maintains a reputation for life-preserving qualities.

Madame Du Barry,132 the infamous mistress of Louis XV., is reported to have availed herself of its aphrodisiacal qualities 94in order to stimulate the jaded appetites of her royal paramour. "L'attachement du roi pour Madame Du Barry133 lui est venu des efforts prodigieux qu'elle lui fit faire au moyen d'an baptême (lavement) ambré dont elle se parfuma intérieurement tous les jours. On ajoute qu'elle joignit à cela un secret dont on ne se sert pas encore en bonne société."

Piquant as is this anecdote, the key to it is equally so. "Les mouches cantarides, i diabolini l'essence de giroflée, les baptêmes ambrés, etc., sont des inventions de notre siecle dont la débilité eut été incurable sans ces secours, l'auteur ne peut rendre le secret de la mauvaise société, dont se sert la Comtesse, sans blesser la bonne, tout ce qu'il peut dire décemment est que ce secret est un diminutif des erreurs philosophiques."134

The old pharmacopœia are amply furnished with formula of which amber constitutes the base. These recipes are generally designated by names which, to a certain extent, indicate the particular use to which they are destined by their makers; thus, France formerly boasted her "Tablettes de Magnanimité," or "Electuaire Satyrion," and "Un poudre de joie." Troches, or odoriferous lozenges, to which the ancients gave the pretty name of "Avunculæ Cypriæ," were, and perhaps are still, sold in Paris under that of "Seraglio Pastilles." Ambergris forms the basis of these, as it also does of the Indian pastilles called "Cachunde," and which were equally in repute. Zactus Lusitanus135 states that they were composed of bole Tuccinum, musk, ambergris, aloes-wood, red and yellow sanders (pterocarpus95carpus santalinus) mastic, sweet-flag (calamus aromaticus) galanga, cinnamon, rhubarb, Indian myrobalon, absynth, and of some pounded precious stones, which, however, impart no additional quality to the composition. Speaking of this composition, the Encyclopœdia Perthensis describes it as "a medicine highly celebrated among the Chinese and Indians; it is composed of ambergris and several other aromatic ingredients, perfumes, medicinal earths, and precious stones. It imparts a sweetness to the breath, is a valuable medicine in all nervous complaints, and is esteemed as a prolonger of life and an exciter to venery.136

Rivière137 gives us the following formula for a potion whose virtue is indisputable. "Take of amber, half a drachm; musk, two scruples; aloes, one drachm and a half; pound them all together, pour upon the mass a sufficient quantity of spirits of wine so that the liquor may cover it to the height of about five fingers' breadth; expose it to sand heat, filter and distil it, close it hermetically, and administer it in broth in the dose of three or five drops. This liquor is also advantageous when mixed with syrup, prepared as follows:—Take of cinnamon water, four ounces; orange and rose water, each six ounces, and sugar candy q.s.

Musk taken internally is said by many physicians to be almost equal to ambergris for its aphrodisiacal qualities. Externally applied, this substance produces very singular phenomena. Borelli details the case of a man "qui s'étant frotté le penis avec du musc avant de se livrer à l'exercise des fonctions genitales, resta uni avec sa femme sans pouvoir s'en séparer. 96 Il fallait, dans cette position lui donner une quantité de lavements afin de ramoller les parties qui s'étaient extraordinairement tumifiées."138 Diermerbreek and Schurigius gave similar instances. The effects of musk are, therefore, almost equal to those produced by certain plants, as recorded by Theophrastus: "Esse herbas quæ vel ad sexagesimum coitum vim præstant sed at demum secernitur sanguis."139 Weickard says that by means of this drug he resuscitated the genital power in a man who had nearly completed his eightieth year.

But, of all aphrodisiacs, the most certain and terrible in its effects are cantharides, commonly known as Spanish flies. That they exercise a powerful and energetic action upon the organization and stimulate, to the utmost, the venereal desire, is but too true. The effects, however, which these insects, when applied as a blister upon the skin, are known to produce, are insignificant when compared with their intense action upon the stomach when taken internally; nor is it the stomach only which is affected by them: the bladder experiences an irritation exceeding even that caused by the severest strangury. To these succeed perforation of the stomach, ulcers throughout the entire length of the intestinal canal, dysentery, and, lastly, death in the midst of intolerable agonies. Medical works abound with observations concerning the fatal effects of cantharides when unduly administered, whether from ignorance or for exciting the venereal appetite. The two following cases are recorded by Pabrol in his "Observations Anatomiques":

"En 1752 nous fumes visiter un pauvre homme d'Organ en Provence atteint du plus horrible satyriasis qu'on saurait voir et penser. Le fait est tel. Il avait les quartes, pour en guerir 97prend conseil d'une sorcière, laquelle lui fait une potion d'une once de semences d'orties, de deux drachmes de cantharides, d'une drachme et demi de caboule et autres, ce qui le rendit si furieux à l'acte vénérien que sa femme nous jura son Dieu, qu'il l'avait chevauchée, dans deux mois, quatre vingt sept fois, sans y comprendre plus de dix fois qu'il s'était corrompu lui-même. Dans le temps que nous consultions, le pauvre homme spermatisa trois fois à notre présence, embrassa le pied du lit, et agitant contre lui comme si c'eust été sa femme. Ce spectacle nous étonn et nous hâta à lui faire des remèdes pour abattre cette furieusse chaleur, mais quel remède qu'on lui eust faire, se passa-t-il le pas."

"Un médecin à Orange, nommé Chauvel avait été appellé en 1758 à Caderousse, petite ville proche de sa résidence, pour voir un homme atteint d'une maladie du même genre. A l'entrée de la maison il trouve la femme du dit malade, laquelle se plaignit à lui de la furieuse lubricité de son mari, qui l'avait chevauchée quarante fois pour une nuit, et avait toutes les parties gonflées, étant contrainte les lui montrer afin qu'il lui ordonnast les remèdes pour abattre l'inflammation. Le mal du mari étant venu d'un breuvage semblable à l'autre que lui fut donné par une femme qui gardait l'hôpital, pour guérir la fièvre tierce qui l'affligeoit, de laquelle il tomba dans une telle fureur qu'il fallait l'attacher comme s'il eust été possédé du diable. Le vicaire du lieu fut présent, pour l'exhorter à la présence même du Sieur Chauvel, lesquels il priait le laisser mourir avec le plaisir, les femmes le plièrent dans un linsseuil mouillé en eau et en vinaigre, où il fut lassé jusqu'au le lendemain qu'elles allaient le visiter, mais sa furieuse chaleur fut bien abattue et eteinte, car elles le trouvèrent roid mort, la bouche béante, montrant les dents, et son membre gangréne."

98Paré also relates that a courtezan, having sprinkled the meat given by her to one of her lovers, with pounded cantharides, the wretched youth was seized with a violent priapism and loss of blood at the anus, of which he died.

Ferdinand the Catholic, of Castile, owed his death to the effects of a philter administered to him by his queen, Germaine de Foix, in the hope of enabling him to beget an heir to the crowns of Aragon, Navarre, and Naples. "Plusieurs dames," says Mignot,140 "attachées à la Reine, lui indiquèrent un breuvage qu'il fallait, disoit on donner à Ferdinand pour ranimer ses forces. Cette princese fit composer ce reméde, sous ses yeux, et le présenta au roi qui désirait, plus qu'elle, d'avoir un fils. Depuis ce jour, la santé de Ferdinand s'affaiblit, au point qu'il ne la recouvra jamais."

The life of the celebrated Wallenstein, one of the heroes of the "Thirty Years' war," was far a long time endangered from the effects of a potion administered to him by his countess. "De retour dans sa patrie, il (Wallenstein) sut inspirer une vive passion à une riche veuve de la famille de Wiezkova, et eut l'adresse de se faire préféré à des rivaux d'un rang plus élevé; mais cette union fut troublée par l'extrême jalousie de sa femme; ou prétend même qu'elle fit usage de philtres que pensèrent compromettre le santé de son mari."141

Cardinal Dubois,142 the favourite and minister of Philip Duke of Orleans, Regent of France, during the minority of Louis 99XV., gives the following amusing account of a love potion, to the powerful effects of which he considered himself indebted for his existence. "An old bachelor, of Brivas, had engaged to marry a young lady of only sixteen years of age. The night before the wedding he assembled the wise heads of his family for the purpose of consulting upon the best means of enabling him to perform his part creditably in the approaching amorous conflict. Opinions were divided; some maintained that nature was adequate to the occasion at any age, while others recommended a certain preparation in the Pharmacopeia, which would amply supply the defect of youth in a sexaginary husband. The old gentleman chose, without hesitation, the surest and speediest of these two chances of success. The prescription was sent to the shop of my worthy father, who was an apothecary in the town, and he accordingly immediately set to work, and made up a draught which would have awakened desire even in Methusaleh himself. This valuable philter was not to be sent to the party till the next day. It was late, and my mother," continues the Cardinal, "desired her husband to retire to rest and he, tired with his day's work, quickly undressed himself, blew out his candle, and deposited himself, like a loving husband, by the side of his dear spouse. Awakening in the middle of the night, he complained of being excessively thirsty, and his better half, roused from her slumbers, got up in the dark, and groping about for something wherewith to quench his thirst, her hand encountered the invigorating philter, which it truly proved to be, for I came into the world precisely nine months after that memorable night."143

Although love-potions and philters, as well as the other preparations had recourse to, for animating and arousing the 100organs for reproduction frequently owe, as we have shewn, their advantages to cantharides, and are, but too often productive of terrible effects, yet it cannot be denied that when administered by a skilful, cautious, and experienced physician, they have restored the desired vigour when all other means have failed.

The flesh of the Schinck (scincus), an amphibious animal of the lizard species, and sometimes of the land lizard, or crocodile, is said, when reduced to powder and drunk with sweet wine, to act miraculously in exciting the venereal action; it is also prepared for the same object in the form of the electuary known by the name of Diasatyrion. Ælius recommends that in order to cause the erection of the virile organ, the flesh of this animal should be taken from the vicinity of its genital apparatus.144 It is a well known fact that the Egyptian peasants carried their lizards to Cairo, whence they were forwarded, viâ Alexandria, to Venice and Marseilles. This species of lizard, which feeds upon aromatic plants, was also used as an aphrodisiac by the Arabs, and the well known anti-poisonous quality of its flesh had caused it, in more ancient times, to be employed as an ingredient in the far-famed Mithridates, or antidote to poison. Browne informs us145 "that in Africa, no part of the Materia Medica is so much in requisition as those which stimulate to venereal pleasure. The Lacerta scincus in powder, and a thousand other articles of the same kind, are in continual demand." The plant Chervri (sandix ceropolium) is also accounted as capable of exciting amorous propensities, so much so that Tiberius, the Roman emperor, the most lascivious, perhaps, of men, is said to have exacted a certain quantity of it from 101the Germans, by way of tribute, for the purpose of rendering himself vigorous with his women and catamites; and Venette says that the Swedish ladies give it to their husbands when they find them flag in their matrimonial duties.146

But it was upon the plant called Satyrion (orchis mascula) that those who required aphrodisiacal remedies rested their most sanguine hopes. This plant, Theophrastus assures us, possesses so wonderful a property of exciting venery that a mere application of it to the parts of generation will enable a man to accomplish the act of love twelve times successively. Speaking of this plant, Venette147 says that the herb which the Indian King Androphyl sent to King Antiochus was that it was so efficacious in exciting men to amorous enjoyment as to surpass in that quality, all other plants, the Indian who was the bearer of it assuring the king "qu'elle lui avait donné de la vigueur pour soixante dix embrassements," but he owned "qu'aux derniers efforts ce qu'il rendait n'était plus de semence."

Matthoile, however, observing that those persons who made use of it did not appear much given to lasciviousness, concluded that we had lost the true satyrion of the ancients; but, it is nevertheless certain, notwithstanding so adverse an opinion, that this plant long preserved its reputation, and was recommended by all botanists for its aphrodisiac potency. Of all the species of this plant the one popularly known as dog-stones is reputed to possess the greatest virtue.

The Turks have also their Satyrion (orchis morio), which grows upon the mountains near Constantinople, and which they 102make use of to repair their strength, and stimulate them to the generative act. From this root is made the salep of which the inhabitants of Turkey, Persia, and Syria, are extremely fond, being looked upon as one of the greatest restoratives and provocatives to venery in the whole vegetable world. But besides the aphrodisiacal qualities attributed to this plant by the above people, they give it credit for other ones, which good opinion experience has confirmed, and therefore whenever they undertake a long voyage, they never omit to carry it with them as a specific against all diseases. Modern practitioners likewise commend its restorative, mucilaginous and demulcent qualities as rendering it of considerable utility, particularly in sea scurvy, diarrhœa, dysentery, and stone or gravel. In addition to this property, salep also possesses the very singular one of concealing the taste of sea water, hence to prevent the dreadful calamity of perishing by thirst at sea it has been proposed that the powder of this plant should form part of the provisions of every ship's company.

Borax is likewise considered to possess peculiar aphrodisiacal qualities. "Il pénètre," says Venette, "toutes les parties de notre corps et ouvre tous les vaisseaux, et par la ténuité de sa substance, il conduit aux parties génitales tout ce qui est capable de nous servir de matière à la semence."148

The plant Rocket (Brasica eruca) has likewise been especially celebrated by the ancient poets for possessing the virtue of restoring vigour to the sexual organs, on which account it was consecrated to and sown around, the statue of Priapus; thus Columella says:—

103 "Et quæ frugifero seritur vicina Priapo Excitet ut veneri tardos eruca maritos."149
"Th' eruca, Priapus, near thee we sow To rouse to duty husbands who are slow."

Virgil attributes to it the same quality, designing it as—

"... Et venerem revocans eruca morantem."150   "Th' eruca, plant which gives to jaded appetite the spur."

Lobel151 gives an amusing account of the effects of this plant upon certain monks in the garden of whose monastery it was sown, an infusion of it being daily doled out to them under the impression that its cheering and exhilarating qualities would rouse them from the state of inactivity and sluggishness so common to the inmates of such establishments. But, alas! the continual use of it produced an effect far more powerful than had been contemplated by the worthy itinerant monk who had recommended it, for the poor cenobites were so stimulated by its aphrodisiacal virtues that, transgressing alike their monastic wall and vows, they sought relief for their amorous desires in the fond embraces of the women residing in the neighbourhood.

Salt, mala Bacchica152 Cubebs, Surag,153 and radix Chinæ (bark), were also regarded by ancient physicians as powerful 104aphrodisiacs. Gomez154 asserts of the first of these substances, that women who much indulge in it are thereby rendered more salacious, and that, for this reason, Venus is said to have arisen from the sea; whence the epigram:

"Unde tot in Veneta scortorum millia cur sunt? In promptu causa est. Venus orta mari."
"In Venice why so many punks abound? The reason sure is easy to be found: Because, as learned sages all agree, Fair Venus' birth-place was the salt, salt sea."

To the last of the above-mentioned plants, Baptista Porta ascribes the most wonderful powers, his words being: Planta quæ non solum edentibus, sed et genitale languentibus tantum valet, ut coire summe desiderant, quoties fere velint, possint; alios duodecies profecisse, alios ad sexaginta vices pervenisse, refert.155

Certain condiments are also aphrodisiacal, acting as they undoubtedly do, as powerful stimulants. Thus Tourtelle and Peyrible assure us that pepper is a provocative to venereal pleasures, while Gesner and Chappel cured an atony of the virile member of three or four years' duration, by repeated immersions of that organ in a strong infusion of mustard seed.

The principal ingredient of the Bang so much used by the Indians, as well as of the Maslac of the Turks is a species of the hemp plant. The Indians, says Acosta,156 masticate the 105seeds and leaves of several species of that plant, in order to increase their vigour in the venereal congress, and very frequently combine with it, ambergris, musk, and sugar, preparing it in the form of an electuary. It has been remarked, moreover, that even in our own climate, the caged birds that are fed with hemp seed are the most amorously inclined.

According to Browne157 whole fields are in Africa sown with hashish, the bang of the East Indies, for the purpose of being used as a stimulant to amorous dalliance. It is used in a variety of forms, but in none, it is supposed, more effectually than what in Arabic, is called Maijûn, a kind of electuary, in which both men and women indulge to excess.

It is said that the Chinese, domesticated at Batavia, avail themselves of a certain electuary for the purpose of stimulating their appetite for sexual intercourse. This preparation, called by them Affion, is chiefly composed of opium, and it is asserted that its effect is so violent that a brutal passion supervenes and continues throughout the night, the female being obliged to flee from the too energetic embraces of her lover.158

Narcotics, in general, and especially, opium, have been considered as direct aphrodisiacs, an opinion which, if well founded, would enable us to account more easily far those agreeable sensations by which the use of these substances is followed.

But it is very probable that narcotics act upon the genital organs in no other way than they do upon the other ones, that is to say, they certainly do simulate them, but only proportionately to the increase of force in the circulation of the blood and to the power or tone of the muscular fibre. It is also very 106probable that the voluptuous impressions superinduced by them depend upon the circumstances under which those persons are, who habitually indulge in them, and that they are connected with other impressions or with particular ideas which awaken them. If, for instance, in a Sultan reclining upon his sofa, the intoxication of opium is accompanied by images of the most ravishing delight, and if it occasions in him that sweet and lively emotion which the anticipation of those delights awakens throughout the whole nervous system, the same inebriation is associated in the mind of a Janizary or a Spahi with ideas of blood and carnage, with paroxysms, the brutal fury of which has certainly, nothing in common with the tender emotions of love. It is in vain to allege in proof of the aphrodisiacal qualities of opium the state of erection in which the genital members of Turks are found when lying dead on a field of battle,159 for this state depends upon, or is caused by, the violent spasm or universal convulsive movements with which the body is seized in the moment of death: the same phenomenon frequently appears in persons who suffer hanging. In warm countries, it is the concomitant of death from convulsive diseases, and in our own climate, it has been observed in persons who have died from apoplectic attacks.

The power which certain odours possess of exciting venereal desires admits not the slightest doubt, at least as far as the inferior animals are concerned. Nearly all the mammifera exhale or emit, in the rutting season, peculiar emanations serving to announce from afar to the male the presence of the female and to excite in him the sexual desire. Facts have been observed 107with respect to insects even, which cannot be otherwise accounted for than by odorous effluvia. If, for instance, the female of the bombyx butterfly, be placed in a box accurately closed, it will not be long before several males will be seen flying around the prison, and which could not possibly have known, by means of their visual organs, the presence of their captive Dulcinea. Now the question is, does anything analogous take place in our own species? Many authors assert that there does, and among them Virey, who, speaking of such exhalations, says: "L'extrême propreté des hommes et des femmes, l'habitude de se baigner et de changer souvent de linge font disparaïtre les odeurs génitales.60 ... On doit aussi remarquer que la haire des Cénobites, la robe des Capucins, le froc des moines, les vêtements rudes et mal-propres de diverses corporations religieuses exposent ceux qui les portent à de fortes tentations, à cause de la qualité stimulante et de la sueur fétide dont étaient bientôt empreintes toutes ces sortes d'habillements."161 "Odours," observes Cabanis162 "act powerfully upon the nervous system, they prepare it for all the pleasurable sensations; they communicate to it that slight disturbance or commotion which appears as if inseperable from emotions of delight, all which may be accounted for by their exercising a 108special action upon those organs whence originate the most rapturous pleasure of which our nature is susceptible. In infancy its influence is almost nothing, in old age it is weak, its true epoch being that of youth, that of love."

It is certain that among most nations, and from the remotest antiquity, voluptuous women strengthened their amorous propensities by the use of various perfumes, but particularly of musk, to which has been attributed the power of exciting nocturnal emissions. The great Henry IV., of France, no novice in love affairs, was opposed to the use of odours, maintaining that the parts of generation should be allowed to retain their natural scent, which, in his opinion, was more effectual than all the perfumes ever manufactured by art.

Another aphrodisiacal remedy, which for a long time enjoyed a great reputation was the penis of the stag, which was supposed to possess the virtue of furnishing a man with an abundance of seminal fluid. Perhaps the reason why the ancients attributed this property to the genital member of that animal was from the supposition that it was the receptacle of the bile; that the abundance and acrid quality of this fluid caused lasciviousness, and that the stag being transported by an erotic furor during the rutting season, he was the most salacious of animals, and consequently that the genital organ of this quadruped would, when applied to man's generative apparatus, impart thereto considerable heat and irritation. A somewhat similar opinion respecting the horse appears to have obtained among the Tartars, if we may judge from the following account given by Foucher d'Obsonville:163 "Les palefreniers aménent un cheval de sept à 109huit ans, mais nerveux, bien nourri et en bon état. On lui présente une jument comme pour la saillir, et cependant on le retient de façon à bien irriter ses idées. Enfin, dans le moment où il semble qu'il va lui être libre de s'élancer dessus, l'on fait adroitment passer la verge dans un cordon dont le nœud coulant est rapproché au ventre, ensuite, saisissant à l'instant où l'animal parait dans sa plus forte érection, deux hommes qui tiennent les extrémités du cordon le tirent avec force et, sur le champ, le membre est séparé du corps au dessus le nœud coulant. Par ce moyen, les esprits sont retenus et fixés dane cette partie laquelle rests gonflée; aussitôt on la lave et la fait cuire avec divers aromatiques et épiceries aphrodisiaques."

The means of procuring the vigour necessary for sexual delights has also been sought for in certain preparations celebrated by the alchymists. Struck by the splendour of gold, its incorruptibility, and other rare qualities, some physicians imagined that this metal might introduce into the animal economy an inexhaustible source of strength and vitality; while empirics, abusing the credulity of the wealthy and the voluptuous made them pay exorbitantly for aphrodisiacal preparations in which they assured their dupes that gold, under different forms, was an ingredient. Among innumerable other instances, is that of a French lady who, to procure herself an heir, strove to reanimate an exhausted constitution by taking daily in soup what she was made to believe was potable gold, to the value of 50 francs, a fraud to expose which it suffices to say that the largest dose of perchloride of gold that can be safely administered is 1/6th of a grain. The tincture of gold known by the name of Mademoiselle Grimaldi's potable gold enjoyed a wonderful reputation towards the close of the 18th century as an efficacious restorative and stimulant; and numerous instances of its all but110 miraculous powers were confidently adduced. Dr. Samuel Johnson, indeed, in a note upon a well-known passage in Shakespeare,164 denies the possibility of making gold potable: "There has long," he observes, "prevailed an opinion that a solution of gold has great medicinal virtues, and that the incorruptibility of gold might be communicated to the body impregnated with it. Some have pretended to make gold potable among other frauds practised upon credulity." So far back, however, as the 17th century the Abbé Guence shewed that it was feasible, and even described the process minutely; and it is now known to every chemist that gold is susceptible of entering into immediate combination with chlorine by the agency of heat, that it may even be dissolved in water charged with chlorine, and that various methods exist of obtaining chlorate of gold, a combination which is often successfully employed in the treatment of syphilitic cases. Ether, naptha, and essential oils take gold from its solvent, and form liquors which have been called potable gold.

Even the Christian Church itself possessed, in its early times, aphrodisiacs peculiarly its own. "On trouve," says Voltaire,165 "dans la lettre à Maitre Acacius Lampirius (Literæ virorum obscurorum) une raillerie assez forte sur la conjuration qu'on employait pair se faire aimer des filles. Le secret consistoit à prendre un cheveu be la fille, on le plaçoit d'abord dans son haut-de-chausses; on faisoit une confession générale et on fesoit dire trois messes, pendant les quelles on mettoit le 111cheveu autour de son col; on allumait un cièrge béni au dernier Evangile en on prononcait cette formule. 'O Vierge! je te conjure par la vertu du Dieu tout-puissant, par des neuf chœurs des anges, par la vertu gosdrienne, amène moi icelle fille, en chair et en os, afin que je la saboule à mon plaisir.'"

Bourchard, Bishop of Worms, has transmitted to us166 an account of certain aphrodisiacal charms practised by women of his time, the disgusting obscenity of which is such that we cannot venture upon translating the passage:

"Fecisti quod quædam mulieres facere solent? Tollunt menstruum suum sanguinem et immiscunt cibo vel potui et dant viris suis ad manducandum vel ad bibendum ut plus diligantur ab eis. Si fecisti, quinque annos per legitimas ferias pœniteas.

"Gustasti de semine viri tui ut propter tua diabolica facta plus in amorem exardisceret? Si fecisti, septem annos per legitimas ferias pœnitere debeas.

"Fecisti quod quædam mulieres facere solent? Prosternunt se in faciem et discoopertis natibus, jubent ut supra nudas nates conficirtur panis, ut eo decocto tradunt maritis suis ad comedendum. Hoc ideo faciunt ut plus exardescant in amorem suum. Si fecisti, duos annos per legitimas ferias pœniteas.

"Fecisti quad quædam mulieres facere solent? Tollunt piscem vivum et mittunt eum in puerperium suum, et tamdiu ibi tenent, donec mortuus fuerit, et decocto pisce vel assato, maritis suis ad comedendum tradunt. Ideo faciunt ut plus in amorem suum exardescant. Si fecisti, duos annos per legitimas ferias pœniteas."

Remedies taken internally are not the only ones which stimulate man to sexual intercourse. External applications materially contribute to that end, and liniments have been composed 112wherewith to anoint the parts of generation. These washes are made of honey, liquid storax, oil and fresh butter, or the fat of the wild goose, together with a small quantity of spurge, pyrethrum, ginger or pepper to insure the remedy's penetrating: a few grains of ambergris, musk, or cinnamon are to be added by way of perfume.

Remedies for the same purpose may also be applied to men's testicles especially; as according to the opinion of Galen, those parts are the second source of heat, which they communicate to the whole of the body; for, besides the power of engendering, they also elaborate a spirituous humour or fluid which renders man robust, hardy, and courageous. The best application of this kind is that composed of cinnamon powder, gilliflower, ginger and rose water, together with theriac, the crumb of bread, and red wine.

In addition to the means already mentioned for restoring vigour to the generative organs, two others may be reckoned which have been successfully resorted to for bracing them in such persons whose reproductive faculties lie dormant rather than extinct: these two methods are known as flagellation and urtication.167

Flagellation was recommended by several of the ancient physicians as an effectual remedy in many disorders, and this upon the physiological axiom of Hippocrates—ubi stimulus, ibi affluxus. Seneca considers it as able to remove the quartan ague. Jerome Mercurialis speaks of it as employed by many physicians in order to impart embonpoint to thin, meagre persons; and Galen informs us that slave merchants used it as a means of clearing the complexion of their slaves and plumping 113them up. Alædeus of Padua, recommends flagellation with green nettles, that is, urtication, to be performed on the limbs of young children for the purpose of hastening the eruption of the small pox. Thomas Campanella168 attributes to flagellation the virtue of curing intestinal obstructions, and adduces in proof to his assertion, the case of the Prince of Venosa, one of the best musicians of his time, who could not go to stool, without being previously flogged by a valet kept expressly for that purpose.

Even at a later period the same opinion obtained as to the efficacy of flagellation, it being supposed by many physicians to reanimate the torpid circulation of the capillary and cutaneous vessels, to increase muscular energy, to promote absorption, and to favour the necessary secretions of our nature.169 As an erotic stimulant, more particularly it may be observed that, considering the many intimate and sympathetic relations existing between the nervous branches of the extremity of the spinal marrow, it is impossible to doubt that flagellation exercised upon the buttocks and the adjacent parts, has a powerful effect upon the organs of generation.

Meibomius,170 the great advocate for the use of this remedy, 114remarks, that stripes inflicted upon the back and loins are of great utility in exciting the venereal appetite, because they create warmth in those parts whose office it is to elaborate the semen and to convey it to the generative organs. He, therefore, considered it by no means wonderful that the miserable victims of debauchery and lasciviousness, as well as those whose powers have been exhausted by age or excess, should have recourse to flagellation as a remedy. He observes that its effect is very likely to be that of renewing warmth in the now frigid parts, and of furnishing heat to the semen, an effect in producing which the pain itself materially contributes by the blood and heat which is thereby drawn down to the part until they are communicated to the reproductive organs, the erotic passion being thus raised, even in spite of nature herself, beyond her powers. A similar view is taken by a modern writer, whose opinion is "that the effect of flagellation may be easily referred to the powerful sympathy which exists between the nerves of the lower part of the spinal marrow and other organs. Artificial excitement appears in some degree natural; it is observed in several animals, especially in the feline race. Even snails plunge into each other a bony, prickly spur, that arises from their throats, and which, like the sting of the wasp, frequently breaks off, and is left in the wound."171

After the appearance of the Abbé Boileau's Histoire de la Flagellation, the Jesuits condemned several propositions found either in that work or in others approved by him. The following is one:

"Necesse est cum musculi lumbares virgis aut flagellis diverberantur, spiritus vitales revelli, adeoque salaces motus ob 115vicinam partium genitalium et testium excitari, qui venereis ac illecebris cerebrum mentemque fascinant ac virtutem castitatis ad extremas augustias redigunt."

From out of almost innumerable instances of the efficacy of flagellation as an aphrodisiac, the following are selected.

Cornelius Gallus, the friend of Virgil, Horace, Tibullus, and Catullus, and who, according to Pliny, died the most delightful of deaths by expiring in the embraces of the fondest object of his affections,172 was solely indebted for the delicious transports he enjoyed with her to the scourge with which her severe father chastised her for the faults that originated in too warm a temperament, a punishment which, instead of counteracting, furthered the wishes of the voluptuous Roman.

Jean Pic de Mirandole relates173 the case of a person known to him who, being a great libertine, could not consummate the act of love without being flagellated until the blood came, and that, therefore, providing himself for the occasion with a whip steeped in vinegar, he presented it to his inamorata, begging her not to spare him, for "plus on le fouettait, plus il y trouvait des délices, la douleur et la volupté marchant, dans cet homme, d'un pas egal."

Meibomius mentions the case of a citizen of Lubeck who, being accused and convicted of adultery, was sentenced to be banished. A woman of pleasure with whom this man had


been for a long time intimate, appeared before the judges as a witness on his behalf. This woman swore that the man was never able to consummate the act of love with her unless he had been previously flogged,—an operation which it was also necessary to repeat before each successive indulgence.

That this was a means employed by Abelard in his commerce with Heloisa, appears from the following passages in two of his letters to her;

"Verbera quandoque dabat amor non furor, gratia non ira quæ omnium unguentorum suavitatem transcenderent."174

"Stripes which, whenever inflicted by love, not by fury but affection, transcended, in sweetness, every unguent."

"Nosti quantis turpitudinibus immoderata mea libido corpora nostra addixerat et nulla honestatis vel Dei reverentia in ipsis diebus Dominicæ passionis vel quantarumque solemnitatem ut hujus luti volutabro me revocavit. Sed et te nolentem aut dissuadentem quæ natura infirmior eras, ut sæpius minis ac flagellis ad consensum trahebam.175"

"Thou knowest to what shameful excesses my unbridled lust had delivered up our bodies, so that no sense of decency, no reverence for God, could, even in the season of our Lord's passion, or during any other holy festival, drag me forth from out that cesspool of filthy mire; but that even with threats and scourges I often compelled thee who wast, by nature, the weaker vessel, to comply, notwithstanding thy unwillingness and remonstrances."

The renowned Tamerlane, the mighty conqueror of Asia, 117required a like stimulus,176 the more so perhaps from the circumstance of his being a monorchis.177

The Abbé Boileau, in his well known and entertaining "Histoire des Flagellants," partly attributes the gross licentiousness of that period to the strange practice then in vogue of doing penance by being scourged in public; and his brother the celebrated poet and critic, defending the Abbé against the animadversions of the Jesuits, remarks very forcibly:

"Non, le livre des Flagellans N'a jamais condamné, lisez le bien, mes pères, Ces rigidités salutaires Qui, pour ravir le Ciel, saintement violens, Exercent sur leurs corps, tant de Chrétiens austères; Il blâme seulement ces abus odieux D'étaler et d'offrir aux yeux Ce que leur doit toujours cacher la bienveillance, Et combat vivement la fausse piété, Qui sous couleur d'eteindre en nous la volupté Par l'austérité méme, et par la pénitence Sait allumer le feu de la lubricité.178"

Flagellation, indeed, as well as the custom of wearing the hair-shirt, so common with the monks, and even with religious lay catholics, was, by the stimulus it imparted to the skin, and hence to the internal viscera, much more likely to increase the 118 energy of the physiological functions, and thus excite the commission of the very acts they are intended to suppress.

The Abbé Chuppe d'Auteroche, member of the Académie des Sciences, and who died in California a few days after the observation of the Transit of Venus in 1760, remarks that the stripes given to persons frequenting the vapour baths in Russia impart activity to the fluids and elasticity to the organs and gives additional stimulus to the venereal appetite.179

M. Serrurier records the following curious case. "One of my schoolfellows, who found an indescribable pleasure in being flogged, purposely and wilfully neglected his duty in order to draw upon himself the correction, which never failed to produce an emission of semen. As may easily be imagined he soon began the practice of masturbation, in which he indulged to so frightful an extent that rapid consumption ensued, and he died, a most horrible and disgusting object, affording a melancholy example of that fatal vice."180

The case of Jean Jacques Rousseau is well known. When a child he was by no means displeased with the corrections administered to him by a lady considerably his elder, he even frequently sought for a whipping at her hands, especially after he perceived that the flagellation developed in him the manifest token of virility. But he must be allowed to give his own account of it. "Assez long temps," says he, "Madame Lambercier s'entint à la menace, et cette menace d'un châtiment tout nouveau pour moi me semblait très effrayante, mais après l'exécution, je la trouvai moins terrible à l'épreuve que l'attente 119ne l'avait été, et ce qu'il y a de plus bizarre est qui ce châtiment m'affectionna davantage d'elle qui me l'avoit imposé. Il fallait même toute la vérité de cette affection et toute ma douceur naturelle pour m'empêcher de chercher le retour du même traitement en le méritant, car j'avais trouvé dans la douleur, dans la honte même, un mélange de sensualité qui m'avait laissé plus de désir que de crainte de l'éprouver derechef, par la même main. Il est vrai que comme il se mêlait, sans doute, à cela quelque instinct précoce du sexe, le même châtiment reçu de son frère, ne m'eut point du tout, parut plaisant."180

As flagellation is practised by striking the skin with a rod formed of twigs, until the heat and redness become more intense, so if the twigs be replaced by fresh nettles, the operation will become,—urtication.

The employment of urtication is of great antiquity, for Celsus as well as Aretæus mentions the use of it, it being in those times, a popular remedy. That the Romans had frequent recourse to it in order to arouse the sexual appetite, is proved by the following passage from Petronius Arbiter, which for obvious reasons, we shall content ourselves with giving in the original only. "Oenothea semiebria ad me respiciens;—Perficienda sunt, inquit, mysteria ut recipas nervos.

"Simulque profert scorteum fascinum quod, ut olio et minuto pipere, atque urticæ trito circumdedit semine, paulatim cœpit inserere ano meo. Hoc crudelissima anus spargit subinde femina mea Nasturcii182 succum cum abrotono miscet, perfusis que inguinibus meis, viridis urticæ fascem comprehendit omnes que infra umbilicum cœpit lenta manu cædere."183


Menghus Faventinus assures us that nettles have "une propriété merveilleuse pour allonger, tendre, grossir et ériger le membre viril, qui, par une parsimonie de la nature, feroit craindre la stérilité."184

Urtication appears to have been well known in France during the time of Rabelais, who alluding to this mode of procuring the vigour necessary for the amorous conflict, says, "se frotter le cul au panicaut (a species of thistle) vrai moyen d'avoir au cul passion."

Une femme en mélancholie Pour faute d'occupation, Frottez moi le cul d'ortie Elle aura au cul passion.185

The irritation caused by nettles produces effects analogous to those which are observed in persons afflicted with the itch, the ring-worm and leprosy. The lubricity of those unfortunates is sometimes uncontrolable; they suffer violent priapisms, which are followed by ejaculation, whenever a severe itching forces them to scratch themselves with a kind of furor or madness.

"In a medical point of view," observes Dr. Milligen, "urtication, or stinging with nettles, is a practice not sufficiently appreciated. In many instances, especially in cases of paralysis it is more efficacious than blistering or stimulating frictions. Its effects, though perhaps less permanent, are general and diffused over the limb. This process has been found effectual in restoring heat to the lower extremities, and a case of obstinate lethargy was cured by Corvisart by a repeated urtication of the whole body. During the action of the stimulus, the patient, 121who was a young man, would open his eyes and laugh, but then sink again into a profound sleep. In three weeks, however, his perfect cure was effected.186

In 1783, Dr. James Graham, an humble imitator of the celebrated Cagliostro, commenced giving his sanatary lectures, which he illustrated by the dazzling presence of his Goddess of Health, a character which, for a short time, was sustained by Emma Harte, afterwards the celebrated Lady Hamilton, wife of Sir William Hamilton, English Ambassador at the Court of Naples, and the chère amie of the immortal Nelson.

After describing various aphrodisiacal remedies, the lecturer thus proceeds: "But, gentlemen, if all the above means and methods, which I have thus faithfully, ingenuously, and with the frankest and most unreserved liberality, recommended, fail, suffer me, with great cordiality, and assurance of success, to recommend my celestial, or medico, magnetico, musico, electrical bed, which I have, with so much study and at so vast an expense, constructed, not alone to insure the removal of barrenness, when conception is at all in the nature of things possible, but likewise to improve, exalt, and invigorate the bodily, and through them, the mental faculties of the human species. This bed, whose seemingly magical influences are now celebrated from pole to pole and from the rising to the setting sun! is indeed an unique in science! and unquestionably the first and the only one that ever was mentioned, erected, or even, perhaps, thought of, in the world; and I will now conclude the lecture with giving you a slight descriptive sketch of the structure of the bed, and the nature of those influences with which it glows—which it breathes forth, and with which it animates, 122regenerates, and transports those happy, happy persons who have the honour and the paradisiacal blessedness of reposing on it.

"The Grand Celestial State Bed! then, gentlemen, which is twelve feet long by nine wide, is supported by forty pillars of brilliant glass, of great strength and of the most exquisite workmanship, in regard to shape, cutting, and engravings; sweetly delicate and richly variegated colours, and the most brilliant polish! They are, moreover, invisibly incrusted with a certain transparent varnish in order to render the insulation still more complete; and that otherwise, properly assisted, we may have, in even the most unfavourable weather, abundance of the electrical fire.

"The sublime, the magnificent, and, I may say, the super-celestial dome of the bed, which contains the odoriferous, balmy, and ethereal spices, odours, and essences, and which is the grand magazine or reservoir of those vivifying and invigorating influences which are exhaled and dispersed by the breathing of the music, and by the attenuating, repelling, and accelerating force of the electrical fire,—is very curiously inlaid or wholly covered on the under side with brilliant plates of looking-glass, so disposed as to reflect the various attractive charms of the happy recumbent couple, in the most flattering, most agreeable and most enchanting style.

"On the top or summit of the dome, are placed, in the most loving attitudes, two exquisite figures, representing the marriage of Cupid and Psyche, with a fine figure of Hymen behind, and over them, with his torch flaming with electrical fire in one hand and, with the other, supporting a celestial crown, sparkling, likewise, with the effulgent fire over a pair of real living turtle-doves, who, on a little bed of roses, coo and bill under the super-animating impulses of the genial fire! The other elegant groups123 of figures which sport on the top of the dome—the Cupids, the Loves, and the Graces!—besides festoons of the freshest and most beautiful flowers, have each of them musical instruments in their hands, which by the exquisite and most expensive mechanism, are made to breathe forth sounds corresponding with the appearance of the several instruments,—flutes, guitars, violins, clarionets, trumpets, horns, oboes, kettle-drums, &c. On the posts or pillars, too, which support the grand dome are groups of figures, musical instruments, organ-pipes, &c., which, in sweet concert with the other instruments, at the commencement of the tender dalliance of the happy pair, breathe forth celestial sounds! lulling them in visions of elysian joys! opening new sources of pleasure, and "untwisting all the chains which tie the hidden soul of harmony!" At the head of the bed, in the full centre front, appears, sparkling with electrical fire, through a glory of burnished and effulgent gold, the great, first, ever-operating commandment, Be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth! under this is a most elegant and sweet-toned organ, in the front of which is a fine landscape of moving figures on the earth, birds flying, swans, &c., gliding on the waters, a fine procession, too, is seen, village nymphs strewing flowers before priests, brides, bridegrooms, and their attendants, who, all entering into the temple of Hymen, disappear from the delightful eye. The painting and embellishment of this front are most masterly, and reflect the highest honour on the artists by whom they were executed; and the whole view is terminated with fountains, waterfalls, shepherds, shepherdesses, and other peasants, as pastoral sports and rural employment, and by a little church, the dial of which points out truly and distinctly the hour.

124"In the celestial bed no feather bed is employed; sometimes mattresses filled with sweet new wheat or cut straw, with the grain in the ears, and mingled with balm, rose leaves, lavender flowers, and oriental spices, and, at other times, springy hair mattresses are used. Neither will you find upon the celestial bed linen sheets; our sheets are of the richest and softest silk or satin; of various colours suited to the complexion of the lady who is to repose on them. Pale green, for example, rose colour, sky blue, black, white, purple, azure, mazarin blue, &c., and they are sweetly perfumed in the oriental manner, with otto and odour of roses, jessamine, tuberose, rich gums, fragrant balsams, oriental spices, &c.,; in short, everything is done to assist the ethereal, magnetic, musical and electric influences, and to make the lady look as lovely as possible in the eyes of her husband and he, in hers. But to return, in order that I might have for the important purposes, the strongest and most springy hair, I procured, at a vast expense, the tails of English stallions, which when twisted, baked and then untwisted and properly prepared, is elastic to the highest degree.

"But the chief elastic principle of my celestial bed is produced by artificial loadstones. About fifteen hundred pounds' weight of artificial and compound magnets are so disposed and arranged as to be continually pouring forth in an ever-flowing circle inconceivable and irrestibly powerful tides of the magnetic effluxion, which is well known to have a very strong affinity with the electric fire.

"Such is a slight and inadequate sketch of the grand celestial bed, which, being thus completely insulated,—highly saturated with the most genial floods or electrical fire!—fully impregnated moreover, with the balmy vivifying effluvia of restorative125 balsamic medicines and of soft, fragrant, oriental gums, balsams and quintescence, and pervaded at the same times with full springing tides of the invigorating influences of music and magnets both real and artificial, gives such elastic vigour to the nerves, on the one hand, of the male, and on the other, such retentive firmness to the female; and, moreover, all the faculties of the soul being so fully expanded, and so highly illuminated, that it is impossible, in the nature of things, but that strong, beautiful, brilliant, nay, double-distilled children, if I may use the expression, must infallibly be begotten."

A digression may, perhaps, be here pardonable, in order to give some notice of the latter and last days of the beautiful, highly accomplished and fascinating woman mentioned above.

She had been presented to Nelson by her husband, who had previously told her that he was about to introduce her to a little thread-paper of a man, who could not boast of being very handsome, but who would become, some day, one of the greatest men that England ever produced. After the battle of the Nile he again visited Naples, and was now little better than a perfect wreck. At Calvi, in 1794, he had lost an eye. At Teneriffe his right arm was shattered and amputated close to the shoulder. At the battle of the Nile he was severely wounded in the head. Incessant anxiety and watchfulness for his country's honour and welfare had blanched his brow, and shattered the "little thread-paper of a man" at the outset, till, on his return in triumph to his mistress, he seemed to be on the verge of an early grave.

Yet she proved herself a true woman, if an erring one, in her reception of the man she loved, and unhesitatingly and unequivocally forsook her all, to attend upon and worship him.

126Not far from Merton turnpike stood the house of Nelson and his mistress. It was left with all its liabilities to Lady Hamilton, but she was obliged to take a hasty departure, and, harassed by creditors, in sickness of heart and without funds, the unhappy woman escaped to Calais.

Now for the sad, sad finale. From the portal of a house, as cheerless and dreary as can be imagined, in the month of January, with a black silk petticoat stretched on a white curtain thrown over her coffin for a pall, and an half-day Irish dragoon to act as chaplain over the grave, which was in a timber-yard, were the remains of Nelson's much-adored friend removed to their final resting place, under the escort of a sergent de ville.

She died without the common necessaries of life, and was buried at the expense of the town, notwithstanding Nelson's last words, "Blackwood, take care of my poor Lady Hamilton!"

"Whatever the errors of Lady Hamilton may have been," says Doran, "let us not forget that without her aid, as Nelson said, the battle of the Nile would never have been fought, and that in spite of her sacrifices and services, England left her to starve, because the government was too virtuous to acknowledge the benefits rendered to her country by a lady with too loose a zone."

The remarks of honest old Burton186 upon Aphrodisiacs, though quaint, are so judicious and pertinent, that we cannot better conclude this part of our essay than by quoting them:—

"The last battering engines," says he, "are philters, amulets, charms, images, and such unlawful meanes: if they cannot prevail of themselves by the help of bawds, panders, and their 127adherents, they will fly for succour to the devil himself. I know there be those that denye the devil can do any such thing, and that there is no other fascination than that which comes by the eyes. It was given out, of old, that a Thessalian wench had bewitched King Philip to dote on her, and by philters enforced his love, but when Olympia, his queen, saw the maid of an excellent beauty well brought up and qualified: these, quoth she, were the philters which enveagled King Philip, these the true charms as Henry to Rosamond."187

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

With that alone Lucretia brags, in Aretine, she could do more than all philosophers, astrologers, alychmists, necromancers, witches, and the rest of the crew. As for herbs and philters I could never skill of them. The sole philter I ever used was kissing and embracing, by which alone I made men rave like beasts, stupefied and compelled them to worship me like an idol.189



The means best calculated to produce effects contrary to those just treated of are of several kinds, but such as are derived from hygiene are entitled to be considered as the most powerful. Previously, however, to describing the medicinal substances that may be efficaciously employed in moderating, or rather checking, too violent a propensity to venery, some notice must be taken of the diet adapted to insure such a result.

The use of milk, vegetables, such as lettuce, water-purslain, cucumbers, &c., and especially of fruit in which the acid principle predominates, slackens the movement of the heart and of the sanguineous system; it diminishes the animal heat, the chief source of which is in the activity of the circulation; it produces a feeling of tranquillity and of coolness; the respiration being more slow, occasions the absorption of a less quantity of oxygen, add to which, as a less quantity of reparative materials is contained in this description of aliments, there result a less active nutrition, the loss of embonpoint and the complete prostration of every principle of irritability; in short, it is of all diets the one least capable of furnishing fuel to the passions. For common drink mere water, and, if the impulse of passion should increase, a small quantify of nitre, vinegar, or vitrolic acid, may, occasionally be added to the water to make it more cooling.

Other means conducive to the same end are a laborious life, much bodily exercise, little sleep, and a spare diet, so that the fluids may be more easily conducted to other parts, and129 that there may not be produced a greater quantity than is requisite for the support of the body. Equally valuable

"When there's a young and sweating devil That commonly rebels,"

will be found what Shakespeare recommends—

"A sequester from liberty, fasting and prayer, Much castigation, exercise devout."190

Should the desire of committing excesses rise to any height, immediate recourse must be had to some serious and mind-absorbing occupation, less nutritious food and drink should be taken, all dishes peculiarly stimulating to the palate avoided, as well as the use of wine and other spirituous liquors.

A cool regimen in every respect was particularly insisted upon by the ancients: hence Plato and Aristotle recommended the custom of going barefoot as a means of checking the stimulus to carnal desire, a suggestion which appears to have been acted upon by some of the monkish orders. The cold bath was considered equally efficacious, while some, among whom may be reckoned Pliny and Galen, advised thin sheets of lead to be worn on the calves of the legs and near the kidneys.

The first and most important of the hygienic means consists in shunning every species of excitement and in having little or no communication with the sex, and the earlier such restraint is imposed, the better. "He that is chaste and continent, not to impair his strength, or terrified by contagion, will hardly be heroically virtuous. Adjourn not that virtue until those years when Cato could lend out his wife, and impotent satyrs write satires against lust—but be chaste in thy flaming days, when Alexander dared not trust his eyes upon the fair sisters of 130Darius, and when so many men think that there is no other way than that of Origen."191 192

The next means is that of carefully abstaining from the perusal of all publications calculated to inflame the passions, by which publications are meant, not obscene books only. With respect to these, indeed, a great error obtains, for the persons most anxious to peruse them are, for the most part, old, worn-out debauchees, men whose generative powers are, comparatively, feeble, if not altogether destroyed, and who, unfortunately for themselves, require this unnatural and detestable kind of stimulus, while, on the contrary, young men and those in middle life, who had not drawn too largely upon their constitution, and for whom the allurements of nature are themselves a sufficient provocative, regard such publications with horror and disgust. It is not, therefore, we repeat, works of this description which we allude to, but those the perusal of which is more dangerous during the period of the passions—novels, more especially such as, under the pretext of describing the working of the human heart, draw the most seducing and inflammatory pictures of illicit love, and throw the veil of sentimental philosophy over the orgies of debauchery and licentiousness. Nothing is more perilous to youth, especially of the female sex, than this description of books. Their style is chaste, not one word is found 131that can offend the ear, while the mind of the unsuspecting reader is often tainted and corrupted by the most impure ideas and descriptions clothed in the most elegant phraseology. How admirably does Voltaire stigmatise this attention to a mere superficial (if the epitaph be allowed) purity! "Plus," says he "les mœurs sont dépravés, plus les expressions deviennent mésurées: on croit de gagner en langage ce qu'on a perdu en vertu. La pudeur s'est enfuite des cœurs et s'est refugiée sur les lèvres."

There are two kinds of study particularly adapted to preserve the mind and the affections from the assaults of vice and libidinousness. The first of these is the Mathematics, whose efficacy in this respect has been proved by frequent experience. The Venetian lady mentioned by Rousseau in his "Confessions" was not ignorant of this their power, when, seeing the singular effect which her charms had produced upon the, as yet, youthful philosopher, said to him, "Gianetto, lascia le donne e studia la matimatica." "James, give up the ladies, and apply yourself to mathematics." It will, indeed, be found that, in all ages, mathematicians have been but little disposed or addicted to love, and the most celebrated among them, Sir Isaac Newton, is reputed to have lived without ever having had sexual intercourse. The intense mental application required by philosophical abstraction forcibly determines the nervous fluid towards the intellectual organs, and hinders it from being directed towards those of reproduction.

After the study of the Mathematics comes that of Natural History, which will be found to be almost equally beneficial, requiring as it does, the unremitting attention of the student, his perambulation of the open country, and the personal observation of all animated objects.

132This peculiar influence of the above-mentioned studies ought particularly to engage the attention of persons who superintend the education of youth; there being no doubt that the effervescence of youthful passions may, to a great extent, be allayed by directing the juvenile mind to either of those studies, according as the constitution exhibits greater or less ardour and precocity. Sometimes, however, there are found idiosyncrasies which bid defiance to remedies of this description, but, nevertheless, yield to the force of medicine: of such, the following is an instance:

"A man, by profession a musician, of an athletic figure and sanguine complexion, with red hair, and a very warm temperament, was so tormented with erotic desires that the venereal act, repeated several times in the course of a few hours, failed to satisfy him. Disgusted with himself, and fearing, as a religious man, the punishment with which concupiscence is threatened in the Gospel, he applied to a medical practitioner, who prescribed bleeding and the use of sedatives and refrigerants, together with a light diet. Having found no relief from this course of treatment, he was then recommended to have recourse to wedlock, and, in consequence, married a robust and healthy young woman, the daughter of a farmer. At first, the change appeared to benefit him, but, in a short time, he tired his wife out by his excessive lubricity, and relapsed into his former satyriasis. His medical friend now recommended frequent fasting, together with prayer, but these also failing of effect, the unhappy man proposed to submit to castration, an operation which was judged to be highly improper, considering the great risks the patient must necessarily incur. The latter, however, still persisted that his wish should be complied with, when, fortunately, a case having occurred in Paris, in which a person afflicted with neph133ritic pains occasioned by the presence of a calculus, was cured by a preparation of nitre, at the expense, however, of being for ever incapacitated for the pleasures of love, the hint was taken, and doses of nitre dissolved in aqua nymphæ were given, night and morning, during the space of eight days, and with such success that, at the end of that time, he could scarcely satisfy the moderate claims of his wife."193

Some physicians place great confidence in the medicines called refrigerants. The most favourite of these are infusions from the leaves or flowers of the white water-lily (nymphea alba), sorrel, lettuce, perhaps also from mallows, violets, and endive (cichorium), oily seeds, and waters distilled from lettuce, water lily, cucumbers, purslain, and endives. In equal esteem are the syrups of orgeat, lemons, and vinegar, to which may be added cherry-laurel water, when given in proper and gradually-increasing doses. Hemlock, camphor, and agnus-castus, have likewise been much recommended as moderators of the sexual appetite.

According to Pliny,194 the nymphea alba was considered so powerful that these who take it for twelve days successively will then find themselves incapable of propagating their species, and if it be used for forty days, the amorous propensity will be entirely extinguished.

With respect to hemlock, it is too dangerous a medicine to repose confidence in.

The ancients had a high opinion of camphor, a reputation which this drug preserved until, comparatively, a late period, for Scaliger informs that, in the 17th century, monks were compelled to smell and masticate it for the purpose of extinguishing 134concupiscence; and it was a favourite maxim of the medical school of Salernum195 that—

"Camphora per nares castrat odore mares."
Camphor if smell'd A man will geld.

This fatal property, however, has been denied by modern medical authorities, and apparently with reason, if the fact be true that such workmen as are employed in extracting this useful vegetable product, and who may be said to live constantly in a highly camphorated atmosphere, do not find themselves in the leash degree incapacitated for gratifying the calls of l'amour physique.

There is no doubt, on the other hand, that camphor has been successfully employed in cases of nymphomania, and that several medical writers have asserted its efficacy in neutralising the properties of cantharides, adducing instances which would appear to prove its sedative power: the following one is related by Groenvelt:—196

A young man who had taken a large dose of cantharides in some wine, felt at first, a sort of violent itching, accompanied by great irritation in the bladder, and soon after he suffered 135greatly from extreme heat, together with an intolerable strangury. Bleeding, emulsions, injections, and opium preparations afforded not the slightest relief. Groenvelt prescribed two scruples of camphor in two boluses. The first dose partly mitigated the pains, and the second one removed them entirely. The remedies which were first administered had, no doubt, weakened the inflammation, and the strangury being no longer kept up by the spasmodic state of the urinary apparatus, camphor sufficed to effect a cure. Burton asserts the value of camphor as an anti-aphrodisiac, and says that when fastened to the parts of generation, or carried in the breeches, it renders the virile member flaccid.

Agnus castus, so called from the down on its surface resembling that upon the skin of a lamb, and from its supposed anti-aphrodisiacal qualities, was in great repute among the Athenians, whose women, during the celebration of the Thesmophoria, or feasts and sacrifices in honour of Ceres or Thesmophoria, the legislatress, abstained for some days from all the pleasures of love, separating themselves entirely for that time from the men. It was also usual with them during the solemnities to strew their beds with agnus castus, fleabane, and other herbs as were supposed to have the power of expelling amorous inclinations. Arnaud de Villeneuve197 exaggerates, almost to a ridiculous degree, the virtue of the agnus castus, asserting as he does, that the surest way to preserve chastity, is to carry about the person, a knife with a handle made of its wood. It was also, and per136haps is still, much used by the monks, who made an emulsion of its seeds steeped in Nenuphar water, and of which they daily drank a portion, wearing at the same time round their loins a girdle made of its branches. Lettuce has also the reputation of being anti-aphrodisiacal. Lobel instances the case of an English nobleman who had long been desirous of having an heir to his estates, but all in vain. Being, however, at length advised to discontinue eating lettuces, of which he was particularly fond, his wishes were gratified by his being blessed with a numerous offspring.

The desire for coition was also supposed to be diminished by drinking a decoction of the pounded leaves of the willow. Vervain, dried coriander, and also mustard, drunk in a fluid state, are also said to prevent the erection of the penis. Alexander Benedictus declares that a topaz having been previously rubbed against the right testicle of a wolf, then steeped in oil or in rose water and worn as a ring, induces a disgust for venereal pleasures, as does also, if we may credit the same sapient physiologist, a powder made of dried frog. The two following prescriptions are also said to be of great efficacy:—

"Da verbena in potu, et non erigitur virga sex diebus. Utere menthâ siccâ cum aceto: genitalia illinita succo hyoscyami aut cicutæ coitûs appetitum sedant."

It has even been asserted that coffee possesses the same property. In the year 1695 it was maintained, in a thesis at the Ecole de Médicine at Paris, that the daily use of coffee deprived both man and woman of the generative power. M. Hecquet198 relates the following anecdote as a proof of such effect:—


A Queen of Persia seeing some grooms using all their efforts to throw a horse upon the ground, enquired the reason of the trouble they were thus taking. Her attendants gave her to understand as delicately as they could, that it was far the purpose of castrating him.

"How unnecessary is so much trouble," said her majesty, "they have only to give him coffee, and their object will be fully and easily attained."199

Most probably the queen spoke from her own experience of its anti-aphrodisiacal effects upon her royal consort.

There are some diseases which are considered as anti-aphrodisiacal, on account of the decided aversion which the patient who is afflicted with them feels for the pleasures of the sexual union. Thus a species of epidemic leprosy is common among the Cossacks of the Jaik, which is attended by pains in the joints and a disgust for copulation, a disgust the more extraordinary, not only because exanthematous diseases, in general excite a desire for the above act, but also inasmuch as this malady, in particular usually attacks persons in the prime of their youth. Another disease analogous to the one just mentioned, the Plica-Polonica, rages, during the autumnal season, in Poland, Lithuania, and Tartary. It is said to have been introduced into the first of these countries by the Tartars, who had it originally from India. One of the most singular phenomena attending this disorder, and which evidently proves the close sympathy existing between the head and the organs of generation, is that when the patient is bald, the Plica not unfrequently fastens upon the sexual parts, and acquires such a length as to descend below the calves of 138 the legs. The made of treatment, that of mercury and sudorifics, proves the mucous character of the disorder, and, consequently, accounts for its well known tendency to strike the whole animal economy with that prostration of strength which produces a total indifference to the sex.

Continual exercise on horseback was considered by Hippocrates200 as anti-aphrodisiacal and Van Sweiten commenting upon that opinion, justly observes that the continual joltings caused by so violent an exercise, added to the compression produced upon the parts of generation by the weight of the body, was by no means unlikely to produce a focal relaxation of those organs to such an extent as to prevent erection altogether.

If whatever opposes an obstacle to the gratification of the sexual appetite may be considered as having a place among the anti-aphrodisiacs, certain mechanical processes may be ranked as such. Of these, fibulation, from the Latin word fibula (a buckle or ring) was the very reverse of circumcision, since the operation consisted in drawing the prepuce over the glans, and preventing its return, by the insertion of the ring.201

The Fibula (buckle) is so called, because it serves to fix together and to re-unite parts which are separated. It was, formerly a surgical instrument which, besides the use now particularly in question, served also to keep closed the lips of any extensive wounds. It is mentioned as being so applied by Oribuse,202 and by Scribonius Largus.203 Employed, therefore, as it was for various uses, the fibula appears to have different shapes, now but little known to us. Rhodius204 has treated of all those mentioned in the writings of antiquity.


Meinsius thinks that the custom of infibulating may be traced back to the time of the siege of Troy, for the singer Demodocus, who was left with Clytemnestra by Agamemnon,205 appears to that critic, to have been a eunuch, or, at least, to here been infibulated.206

Among the ancients, as well as among many modern nations, the laws of chastity and the restraints of honour appeared scarcely sufficient to hinder the sexes from uniting, in spite of all the obstacles opposed by a vigilant watch and strict seclusion.207 Indeed, what Roman virgin could entertain very strict ideas of modesty while she saw the goddess of love honoured in the temple, or the amours of Venus and Mars celebrated, while the poor cuckolded Vulcan, after seizing the amorous couple in his net, way only thereby exposed to the ridicule of the Olympic Divinities. There can be little doubt but that excess of this description bastardized and corrupted the ancient Greeks and Romans, and that recourse was necessarily had to the fibula when the deities themselves set the example. Of what use, indeed, could be the moral lessons of a Plato or a Socrates, even when enforced by infibulation, if vice was thus sanctioned by divine example? The only aim of such a state of things was to vanquish obstacles. The art of eluding nature was studied, marriage was despised, notwithstanding the edicts of Augustus against bachelors; the depopulated republic wallowed in the most abandoned lust, and, as a natural consequence, the individual members of it became corrupted and enervated from their very infancy.

The infibulation of boys, sometimes on account of their voice, 140and not unfrequently, to prevent masturbation, was performed by having the prepuce drawn over the glans; it was then pierced, and a thick thread was passed through it, remaining there until the cicatrizing of the hole; when that took place, a rather large ring was then substituted, which was not removed but with the permission of the party ordering the operation.208 The Romans infibulated their singers in order to preserve their voice:

"Si gaudet cantu; nullius fibula durat Vocem vendentis prætoribus."209 "But should the dame in music take delight, The public singer is disabled quite; In vain the prætor guards him all he can, She slips the buckle (fibula) and enjoys her man."

They even subjected to the same operation most of their actors:

"Solvitur his magno comœdi fibula. Sunt, quæ Chrysogonum cantare vetent."210 "Take from Chrysogonus the power to sing, Loose, at vast prices, the comedian's ring." "Dic mihi, simpliciter, comœdis et citharœdis, Fibula, quod præstat?... carius ut futuunt."211

"Tell me, clasp! frankly, of what advantage are you to actresses and lute-players? To enhance their favours."

"Menophili, penem tam grandis fibula vestit Ut sit comœdis omnibus, una satis 141 Hunc ego credideram (nam sæpe lavamur in unum) Sollicitum voci parcere, Flacce, suæ; Dum ludit media populo spectante palæstra, Delapsa est misero, fibula; verpus erat."212

"Una si gran fibula copre il membro di Menofila, che sola basterebbe a tutti i commenianti. Io O Flacco, avevo creduto (imperocche si siamo sovente lavati insiême) che esso sollecito avesse cura delle sua voce; lotta in mezzo la palestra a vista del popolo, la fibula cascó sventvrato; era un' inciso."

Nor were dancers and gladiators exempted from the same operation, especially the latter, in order that they might preserve all the vigour required in their horrible and degrading occupation.

The best description of the fibula is that given by Holiday: "The fibula," says he, "does not strictly signifie a button, but also a buckle or clasp, or such like stay. In this place, the poet expresses by it the instrument of servilitie applied to those that were employed to sing upon the stage; the Prætor who set forth playes for the delight of the people, buying youths for that purpose, and that they might not, by lust, spoil their voice, their overseers closed their shame with a case of metal having a sharp spike of the same metal passing by the side of it, and sometimes used one of another form; or by a nearer crueltie, they thrust a brazen or silver wire thought that part which the Jew did lose in circumcision.

"The form of the first, and also another fashion, the curious reader may here see (being without any immodestie) as they are represented by Pignerius, de servis, p. 82. But whatsoever the fashion or invention was, the trust was but fond that was 142committed to them, seeing that the art of lust and gold could make them as vain as the Italian engines of jealousy in this day. Thus, 'O Lentulus,' says the poet, speaking figuratively to some nobleman, 'it is that thou art married; but it is some musician's or fencer's bastard that is born under thy lordly canopie.'"213

Plate VII.


Winkleman furnishes us with a description of an infibulated musician,214 it being a small bronze statue representing a naked deformed individual, as thin as a skeleton, and carrying a ring in his enormi mentula. Martial, who laughs at everything, speaks of these singers sometimes breaking their ring, and says that it becomes necessary to send them to the fibula-makers in order to have the damage repaired:215

"Et cujus refibulavit turgidum, faber, penem, Il di cui turgido membro abbia fabro fibbiato."

The practice of infibulation was very common in India, from religious motives. As a proof of their sanctity, many of the Santons, or Mohammedan saints, as well as other devout persons, bonzes, fakirs, and the like, devoted themselves to perpetual virginity. Whether it was with the intention of placing themselves beyond the possibility of breaking their vow, or of giving evidence of their constancy, certain it is that they loaded their prepuce with an enormous fibula, or ring; and, in their warm climate, where nudity does not shock ideas of propriety or decency, devout women not unfrequently repaired to these soi-disant saints, to admire and venerate such efforts of 143 virtue and self-denial; they are even reported to have knelt down, and, in that humiliating posture, to have kissed the preputial ring, no doubt with the vain hope of thereby obtaining indulgences. In some places, these martyrs fasten their fibula with a lock, the key which they deposit with the magistrate of the town or village. But, nature insisting upon her rights, is often too strong for this self-violence, nor can desire, or the not-to-be-mistaken symptom of it, be opposed, or even prevented, from being gratified; and since the lock, which obstructs the extremity of the prepuce only, cannot hinder a kind of erection, nor, indeed, of effusion of the seminal fluid, it cannot do more than oppose the introduction of the male organ into the receptacle destined for it.

Another description of fakirs were formerly to be seen in India, and, especially, in its southern peninsula, whose custom it was to traverse the country in a state of nudity, and who had been rendered impotent by the following regimen. The children destined for this penitential state are taken away from their parents at the age of six or seven years, and made to eat, daily, a quantity of the young leaves of a tree called Mairkousie. At first, the dose given them is not larger than a filbert. This regimen must be persisted in until the party reaches the age of five-and-twenty years, the dose being increased till, at the maximum, it is as large as a duck's egg. During all this time, the devotee is subjected to no other regimen, except a light purge, once in six months, by means of Kadoukaie, or the black mirobolan. Although rendered completely impotent by this mode of treatment, so far from their physical strength and beauty of form being diminished or deteriorated thereby, they are, on the contrary, improved by it; the enjoyment of constant good health is likewise almost an invariable consequence.

144Infibulation is not confined to the male sex exclusively, for it is practised on girls and women in India, Persia, and the East, generally, and most commonly consists in joining together the female sexual organ, or closing the labia of the vagina by a suture made with waxed thread, a small aperture being left for the egress of the urine and the menstrua.

Linschet witnessed the operation at Pegu, as did also Schultz, Brown saw it performed, at Darfour, on females from eleven to twelve years of age.216 At the time of marriage, a cut of the bistouri dissevers the parts which have been closed by the effects of the suture. Sometimes jealousy contents itself by passing a ring through the parts. Women, as well as girls, are subjected to this disgusting operation, the only difference being that the ring of the latter cannot be removed, while that of the former has a kind of lock, the key of which is in the husband's possession. Pallas informs us that the beautiful nation of the Tcherkesses, or Circassians carefully preserve the virginity of their girls by means of a leathern girdle, or rather corslet made of skin, and sewn immediately upon the naked body. The husband alone has the right of severing this corslet, which he does, on the nuptial night.

When the violation of virgin chastity and conjugal fidelity became more frequent, fathers and husbands had recourse, even in Europe, to a mechanical contrivance for the purpose of preserving intact the honour of the family. This was a kind of padlock, which shut up all access to the seat of voluptuousness. The invention is attributed to one Francesco di Carrera, an imperial judge of Padua, who lived about the close of the 15th century. The machine itself was called the Girdle of Chastity. Francesco's acts of cruelty brought him to the scaffold, where 145he was strangled in 1405, by a decree of the Senate of Venice. One of the principal accusations brought against him was the employment of the Girdle of Chastity, for his mistresses, and it is said by Misson217 that a box filled with these articles was for a long time preserved in the palace of St. Mark, at Venice. Rabelais speaks of these girdles, which he calls Ceintures á la Bergamasque, "Nay," says he, Pantagruel, "may that Nick in the dark cellar, who hath no white in his eye, carry me quiet away with him, if, in that case, whenever I go abroad from the palace of my domestic residence, I do not, with as much circumspection as they use to ring mares in our country, to keep them from being saillied by stoned horses, clap a Bergamesco lock upon my wife." Brantome has the following notice of these chastity preservers. "Des temps du roi Henri il yeut un certain Quinquallier qui apporte une douzaine de certains engins à la foire de St. Germain pour brider le cas des femmes. Ces sortes de cadenas estoient en usage à Venise dès devant l'année 1522, estoient faites de fer et centuroient comme une ceinture, et venoient à se prendre par le bas, et se fermer à clef, si subtilement faites, qu'il n'estoit pas possible que la femme en estant bridée und fois, s'en peust jamais prévaloir pour ce doux plaisir, n'ayant que quelques petits trous menus pour servir à pisser."218

An endeavour was made to introduce these Bernasco padlocks into France during the reign of Henry II., and a shop was opened by an Italian at the fair of St. Germain, where they were publicly sold, and in such numbers, that the French gallants, 146becoming alarmed, threatened to throw the vendor into the Seine, if he did not pack up his merchandise and decamp, which he immediately did for fear that the menace might be put in execution.

Voltaire describes the Cadenas as originating with Pluto, who, jealous of his wife Proserpine, was advised:

Qu'un cadenas, de la structure nouvelle Fut le garant de sa fidélité, A la vertu par la force asservie, Plus ne sera l'amant favorisé. En un moment, feux, enclumes, fourneaux Sont préparés aux gouffres infernaux; Tisiphone, de ces lieux, serrurière, Au cadenas met la main, la première, Elle l'achève et des mains de Pluton Proserpine reçut ce triste don, Or ce secret aux enfers inventé Chez les humains tôt après fut porté Et depuis ce temps dans Venise et dans Rome Il n'est pédant, bourgeois, ou gentilhomme Qui pour garder l'honneur de sa maison De cadenas n'ait sa provision.219
This sage advice, a loud applause From all the damned assembly draws; And straight, by order of the State, Was registered on brass by fate; 147 That moment, in the shades below, They anvils beat and bellows blow. Tisiphoned, the blacksmith's trade Well understood; the locks she made: Proserpina, from Pluto's hand Receiving, wore it by command. This lock, which hell could frame alone, Soon to the human race was known; In Venice, Rome, and all about it, No gentlemen or cit's without it.220

We shall close this our third essay with the amusing summary of anti-aphrodisiacal remedies, as given by Rabelais.

"You say," said the physician Rondibilis to Panurge, "that you feel in you the pricking stings of sensuality, by which you are stirred up to venery. I find in our faculty of medicine, and we have founded our opinion therein upon the deliberate resolution and final decision of the ancient Platonics, that carnal concupiscence is cooled and quelled five several ways:—

"Firstly. By the means of wine. I shall easily believe that quoth Friar John, for when I am well whittled with the juice of the grape, I care for nothing else, so I may sleep. When I say, quoth Rondibilis, that wine abateth lust, my meaning is, wine immoderately taken; for by intemperance, proceeding from the excessive drinking of strong liquor, there is brought upon the body of such a swill-down bouser, a chillness in the blood, a slackening in the sinews, a dissipation of the generative seed, a numbness and hebetation of the senses, with a perversive wryness and convulsion of the muscles, all which are 148great lets and impediments to the act of generation. Hence it is that Bacchus, the god of bibbers, tipplers, and drunkards, is most commonly painted beardless and clad in a woman's habit, as a person altogether effeminate, or like a libbed eunuch. Wine, nevertheless, taken moderately worketh quite contrary effects, as is implied by the old proverb, which saith,—That Venus taketh cold, when not accompanied by Ceres and Bacchus.221 This opinion is of great antiquity as appeareth by the testimony of Diodorus the Sicilian, and confirmed by Pausanias, and it is usually held among the Lampsacians, that Don Priapus was the son of Bacchus and Venus.

"Secondly. The fervency of lust is abated by certain drugs, plants herbs and roots, which make the taker cold, maleficiated, unfit for, and unable to perform the act of generation; as hath often been experimented by the water-lily, Heraclea, Agnus-Castus, willow-twigs, hemp-stalks, woodbine, honeysuckle, tamarisk, chastetree, mandrake, bennet keebugloss, the skin of a hippopotamus, and many other such, which, by convenient doses proportioned to the peccant humour and constitution of the patient, being duly and seasonably received within the body—what by their elementary virtues on the one side, and peculiar properties on the other, do either benumb, mortify and beclumpse with cold, the prolific semence, or scatter and disperse the spirits which ought to have gone along with, and conducted the sperm to the places destined and appointed for its reception,—or lastly, shut up, stop and obstruct the way, passages, and conduits, through which the seed should have expelled, evacuated, and ejected. We have, nevertheless, of those ingredients, 149which, being of a contrary operation, heat the blood, bind the nerves, unite the spirits, quicken the senses, strengthen the muscles, and thereby rouse up, provoke, excite and enable a man to the vigorous accomplishment of the feat of amorous dalliance. I have no need of those, quoth Panurge, God be thanked and you, my good master. Howsoever, I pray you, take no exception or offence at these my words; for what I have said was not out of any ill-will I did hear to you, the Lord, he knows.

Thirdly. The ardour of lechery is very much subdued and mated by frequent labour and continual toiling. For by painful exercises and laborous working so great a dissolution is brought upon the whole body, that the blood which runneth alongst the channels of the vein thereof for the nourishment and alimentation of each of its members, had neither time, leisure, nor power to afford the seminal resudation or superfluity of the third concoction, which nature most carefully reserves for the conservation of the individual, whose preservation she more heedfully regardeth than the propagation of the species and the multiplication of human kind. Whence it is that Diana is said to be chaste, because she is never idle, but always busied about hunting. For the same reason was a camp, or leaguer of old called—Castrum,222 as if they would have said—Castum; because the soldiers, wrestlers, runners, throwers of the bar, and other such like athletic champions, as are usually seen in a military circumvallation, do incessantly travail and turmoil, and are in a perpetual stir and agitation. To this purpose, also, Hippocrates writeth in his book, De Aere, Aqua et Locis:—That in 150his time there were people in Scythia as impotent as eunuchs in the discharge of a venerean exploit; because that, without any cessation, pause or respite, they were never from off horseback, or otherwise, assiduously employed in some troublesome and molesting drudgery.

On the other part, in opposition and repugnancy hereto, the philosophers say, that idleness is the mother of luxury. When it was asked Ovid, why Ægisthus became an adulterer? he made no other answer than this, Because he was idle.223 Who were able to rid the world of loitering and idleness might easily disappoint Cupid224 of all his designes, aims, engines and devices and so disable and appal him, that his bow, quiver, and darts should from thenceforth be a mere needless load and burthen to him; for that it could not then lie in his power to strike or wound any of either sex with all the arms he had. He is not, I believe so expert an archer as that he can hit the cranes flying in the air, or yet the young stags skipping through the thicket, as the Parthians knew well how to do; that is to say, people moiling, stirring, and hurrying up and down, restless and without repose. He must have those hushed, still, quiet, lying at a stay, lither and full of ease, whom he is able to pierce with all his arrows. In conformation thereof, Theophrastus being asked on a time, What kind of beast or thing he judged a toyish, wanton love to be? he made answer, That it was a passion of idle and sluggish spirits.224 From which pretty description of tickling-tricks, that of Diogenes, the Cynic, was not very discrepant when he defined lechery—The occupation of folk destitute of all 151other occupation. For this cause the Sicyonian sculptor Canachus,225 being desirous to give us to understand that slowth, drowsiness, negligence, and laziness, were the prime guardians and governesses of ribaldry, made the statue of Venus, not standing, as other stone-cutters had used to do, but sitting.

Fourthly. The tickling pricks of incontinency are blunted by an eager study; for from thence proceedeth an incredible resolution of the spirits, that oftentimes there do not remain so many behind as may suffice to push and thrust forwards the generative resudation to the places thereto appropriated, and therewithal inflate the cavernous nerve, whose office is to ejaculate the moisture for the propagation of human progeny. Lest you should think it is not so, be pleased but to contemplate a little the form, fashion, and carriage of a man exceeding earnestly set upon some learned meditation and deeply plunged therein, and you shall see how all the arteries of his brains are stretched forth, and bent like the string of a cross-bow, the more promptly, dexterously and copiously to suppeditate, furnish and supply him with store of spirits, sufficient to replenish and fill up the ventricles, seats, tunnels, mansions, receptacles and cellules of common sense—of the imagination apprehension, and fancy—of the ratiocination, arguing, and resolution—as likewise, of the memory, recordation, and remembrance; and with great alacrity, nimbleness, and agility, to run, pass and course from one to the other, through those pipes, windings, and conduits, which to skilful anatomists are perceivable at the end of the wonderful net, where all the arteries close in a terminating point; which arteries taking their rise and origin from the left capsule of the heart, bring, through several 152circuits, ambages, and anfractuosities, the vital spirits, to subtilize and refine them in the ætherial purity of animal spirits. Nay, in such a studiously meditating, musing person, you may espy so extravagant raptures of one, as it were out of himself, that all his natural faculties for that time will seem to lie suspended from each their proper charge and office, and his exterior senses to be at a stand. In a word, you cannot choose than think, that he is by an extraordinary ecstasy quite transported out of what he was or should be; and that Socrates did not speak improperly when he said, That philosophy was nothing else but a meditation upon death. This possibly is the reason why Democritus226 deprived himself of the sense of seeing, prizing, at a much lower rate, the loss of his sight, than the diminution of his contemplation which he had frequently found disturbed by the vagrant flying-out strayings of his unsettled and roving eyes.227 Therefore is it that Pallas, the goddess of wisdom, tutoress and guardianess of such as are diligently studious and painfully industrious, is and hath been still accounted a virgin. The Muses upon the same consideration are esteemed perpetual maids: and the Graces, for the same reason, have been held to continue in a sempiternal pudicity.

I remember to have read that Cupid,227 on a time, being asked by his mother Venus, why he did not assault and set upon the Muses, his answer was, that he found them so fair, so 153neat, so wise, so learned, so modest, so discreet, so courteous, so virtuous, and so continually busied and employed,—one in the speculation of the stars,—another in the supputation of numbers,—the third in the dimension of geometrical quantities,—the fourth in the composition of heroic poems,—the fifth in the jovial interludes of a comic strain,—the sixth in the stately gravity of the tragic vein,—the seventh in the melodious disposition of musical airs,—the eighth in the completest manner of writing histories and books on all sorts of subjects, and—the ninth in the mysteries, secrets, and curiosities of all sciences, faculties, disciplines and arts whatsoever, whether liberal or mechanic,—that approaching near unto them he unbent his bow, shut his quiver, and extinguished his torch, through mere shame and fear that by mischance he might do them any hurt or prejudice. Which done, he thereafter put off the fillet wherewith his eyes were bound, to look them in the face, and to hear their melody and poetic odes. There took he the greatest pleasure in the world, that many times he was transported with their beauty and pretty behaviour, and charmed asleep by their harmony, so far was he from assaulting them or interrupting their studies. Under this article may be comprised what Hippocrates wrote in the afore-cited treatise concerning the Scythians, as also that in a book of his intituled, Of Breeding and Production, where he hath affirmed all such men to be unfit for generation as have their parotid arteries cut—whose situation is behind the ears—for the reason given already, when I was speaking of the resolution of the spirits, and of that spiritual blood, whereof the arteries are the sole and proper receptacles; and that likewise he doth maintain a large portion154 of the parastatic liquor to issue and descend from the brains and backbone.

Fifthly. By the too frequent reiteration of the act of venery. There did I wait for you, quoth Panurge, and shall willingly apply it to myself, whilst any one that pleaseth may, for me, make use of any of the four preceding. That is the very same thing, quoth Friar John, which Father Scyllion,228 Prior of St. Victor, at Marseilles, calleth maceration and taming of the flesh. I am of the same opinion, and so was the hermit of Saint Radegonde, a little above Chinon; for, quoth he, the hermits of Thebaïde can no way more aptly or expediently macerate and bring down the pride of their bodies, daunt and mortify their lecherous sensuality, or depress and overcome the stubbornness and rebellion of the flesh, than by dufling and fanfreluching five and twenty or thirty times a day."


1 For a representation of the Egyptian "Phallus" see Plate I., figures 1, 2, and 3. These are taken from the "Recueil d'Antiquites Egyptiennes" by the Comte De Caylus, who, speaking of the first of them, observes: "Cette figure représente le plus terrible Phallus qu'on ait vû, proportion gardée, sur aucun ouvrage. On n'ignore point la vénération que les Egyptiens avaient pour cet emblême, il est vrai; mais je doute que cette nation sage et peu outrée dans sa conduite eût consacré dans les premiers siécles, c'est a dire, avant le régne des Ptolemées, une pareille figure."

2 Historia de los Incas. Cap. VI.

3 In the church of St. Peter's at Rome, is kept, en secret, a large stone emblem of the creative power, of a very peculiar shape, on which are engraved Ζευς Σωτηρ. Only persons who have great interest can get a sight of it. Is it from this stone having some peculiar virtue that those preux chevaliers, the cardinals, keep it so closely? Perhaps they choose to monopolize the use of it? I never saw it, but I know that it was at St Peter's.—Higgins.

4 See Plate II., figure 1. This figure of the Lingham presents a kind of Trinity, the vase represents Vishnu, from the middle of which rises a column rounded at the top representing Siva, and the whole rests upon a pedestal typifying Brahma. From the Voyage aux Indes Orientales et à la Chine, par M. Sonnerat, depuis 1774 jusqu'en 1781. Tom. I., p. 179.

5 Voyage aux Indes et à la Chine., par Sonnerat, depuis 1774 jusqu'en 1781; Tom. I. liv. 2.

6 See Plate III., figures 1, 2, 3, and 4.

7 Henry O'Brien, Round Towers of Ireland. London, 1834. Chapter viii.

8 See Plate IV., figure 1.

9 Samuel II., chap. vi., v. 20, 21, 22, 23.

10 The indispensable and inseparable appendages to the male organ have thus been eulogized by Giov. Francesco Lazzarelli in his poem entitled, La Cicceide, p. 120.

LE PREROGATIVI DE'TESTICOLI.   Gran sostegni dei mondo, almi C ...... Del celeste Fattor, opre ingegnose; Da caricare i piccoli cannoni, Ond' armata va l'uom, Palle focose: Robusti, anchorè teneri Palloni, Con cui guiocan tra lor, mariti e spose; Del corpo uman spermatici Embrioni; De' venerei piacer fonti amorose; Magazzini vitali, ove Natura L'uman seme riposto, a' figli suoi D' assicurar la succession procura! etc.

11 Genesis, chap. xxiv. v. 2, 3.

12 Genesis, chap. xlvii. v. 29.

13 Mémoires sur l'Egypte, publiés pendant les Campagne de Bonaparte, Partie, 2, p. 193.

14 The Latin text of the law is as follows:—"Si mulier stuprata lege cum illo agere velit, membro virili sinistra prehenso et dextra reliquos sanctorum imposita, juret, super illas quod is per vim se, isto membro, vitiaverit."—Voyage dans le Département du Finisterre, Tom. iii., p. 233.

Hunc locum tibi dedico consacroque, Priape, Quæ domus tua, Lampsaei est, quaque silva, Priape. Nam te præcipue in suis urbibus colit, ora Hellespontia, cæteris ostreosior oris.—Catullus, Carm. xviii.

16 See Plate II., figure 2.

17 From possessing such an article of virtu, his Eminence must surely have been of the opinion of Cardinal Bembo—that there is no sin below the navel.

Falce minax et parte tui majore, Priape, Ad fontem quæso, dic mihi, qua sit iter.—Priapeia Carm.

19 See note (21), p. 11.

20 See S. Augustine, Civ. Dei., lib. 6, cap. 9, and Lactantius De falsa religione. lib. i.

21 See Plate I., figure 4. This phallus was found at Pompeii over a baker's door.

22 Thus his statue was placed in orchards as a scare-crow to drive away superstitious thieves, as well as children and birds.

Pomarii tutela, diligens rubro Priape, furibus minare mutino.—Priapeia Carm. 73.

23 Ind. Antiq. ii., p, 361.

24 Ind. Antiq., vol. I., p. 247.

25 Voyage dans la Chine par Avril, Liv. iii., p. 194.

26 Higgins, Anacalypsis, vol. i., p. 269.

27 Worship of Priapus.

28 Ibid., p 48.

29 For some ingenious and learned observations on the Tau or Crux Ansata see Classical Journal, No. 39, p. 182.

30 Chap. ix., v. 3. "And the Lord said unto him: Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the forehead of the men that sigh and cry for the abominations that be done in the midst thereof."

31 For a description of some of the above-mentioned Crosses, see Plate V., also "Voyage dans la basse et la haute-Egypte pendant les campagnes de Bonaparte, 1802 et 1829," par Denon—Planches 48, 78.

32 This city was the birth place of the deity Priapus, whose orgies were there constantly celebrated. Alexander the Great, in his Persian expedition, resolved to destroy Lampsacus on account of its many vices, or rather from a jealousy of its adherence to Persia; but it was saved by the artifice of the philosopher Anaxamenes, who, having heard that the king had sworn to refuse whatever he should ask him, begged him to destroy the city.

33 Journal d'Henri III. par l'Etoile. Tom. 5.

34 Historie Religieuse du Calendrier, p. 420.

35 Johannis Goropii Becani, Origines Antwerpianæ, 1569, lib. i., p.p. 26 and 101.

36 The foreskins, still extant, of the Saviour, are reckoned to be twelve in number. One was in the possession of the monks of Coulombs; another at the Abbey of Charroux; a third at Hildesheim, in Germany; a fourth at Rome, in the Church of St. Jean-de-Latran; a fifth at Antwerp; a sixth at Puy-en-Velay, in the Church of Notre Dame, &c., &c. So much for relics!

37 Dulaure, Singularités Historiques de l'Historie de Paris, p. 77. Paris, 1825.

38 Letter of Sir W. Hamilton prefixed to Payne Knight's "Worship of Priapus."

For a representation of the ancient, Ex voto, in silver, the size of the original see Plate VI., figure 1. It is copied from an additional plate inserted by M. Panizzi, late librarian of the British Museum, in the fly-leaf of Payne Knight's "Worship of Phallus."

39 To these the canon law adds sorcery, ligature or point-tying.

40 Zachais, Quæst. medico. leg. lib. II., tit. I, quæst. I.

41 See Lectures on Comparative Anatomy by Sir Everard Home, Bart. Vol. III., p. 166. London 1823.

42 Lib. I., Epigram. 91.

43 Juvenal Sat. I., vv. 204, 105.

44 Orlando Furioso, Can. I, stanz. 49, 60.

45 Rapport, Tom. I., p. 335.

46 Sir Charles Morgan, Philos. of Morals, p. 25.

47 Nosographie philosophique.

48 Medical Essays published by a society in Edinburgh, vol. I., p. 270. Case reported by W. Cockburn, M.D.

49 Rapport, tome II., p. 422.

50 Essays, Book I., chap. xx. Cotton's translation.

51 Hippocrates de Aer: aqua et loco, 210.

52 Treatise on the Venereal Disease.

53 Comment. de Aer: aqua et loco, 210.

54 Voltaire, Pucelle d'Orléans, Chant. xii.

55 Bigarrures du Seigneur des Accords.

56 Herodotus Enterpe clxxxii.

57 De Legibus, lib. ii.

58 Ecloga viii.

59 Amor., lib. iii., Eleg. 6.

60 De Asino Aureo, lib. ii., v. 3.

61 Tacitus Annal., lib. iv., 22.

62 Lib. v., Sentent, tit. 23.

63 De rebus gestis Francorum, lib. 4. cap. 94.

64 Histoire des Français.

65 Nominated to the Bishopric of Evreux by Henry IV. of France. His favourite authors were Rabelais and Montaigne.

66 Demonologie, 1603, Book I., Chap. III., p. 12.

67 "Hercules, puer, L. Virgines, una nocte, gravidus reddit."—Cœlius, lib. 14, cap. 8.

68 Traite premier de la dissolution de Mariage pour l'impuissance et froideur de l'homme, ou de la Femme, par Antoine Hotman, p. 63.

69 Tableau de l'Amour considéré dans l'état du Mariage, par II., chap. 2, art. 3.

70 Art Portugal. rem. F.

71 Boileau Despréaux, Satires, Satire VIII.

72 Willick's Lectures on Diet and Regimen, p. 538, et seq.

73 From μανδρα, relating to cattle, and αγαρον, baneful, injurious.

74 Genesis, Chap. xxx., v. 14, 15, 16, 17. The last verse must be considered as decisive of the efficacy of the mandrake.

75 Solomon's Song, chap. vii. v. 13.

76 See the word Dudaïm, in Dr. Kitto's Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature. The learned doctor has given a sketch of the plant Mandragora, a copy of which the reader will find in plate VI.

77 Onkelos was a celebrated rabbin contemporary with St. Paul, and to whom the Targum, that is, a translation or paraphrase of the Holy Scriptures, is attributed.

78 Lib. IV., cap. 76.

79 Quoted by Oct. Celsius in his "Hierobotanicon," Part I., par. 5. art. Dudaim, from Epiphan: Physiolog. c. 4.

80 Pliny's "Natural History," Vol. IV., p. 397 (Bohn's Classical Library).

81 Columella De hortorum Cultu., v. 19, 20.

82 See a manuscript Interrogatory still preserved in the "Bibliothèque Nationale," Fonds de Baluze, Rouleau 5.

83 See "De l'imposture des Diables," par Jacques Grévin, Tom. IV., p. 359.

84 From Weir "De Mag: demonia:" Cours Complet d'agriculture par l'Abbé Rosier, Tom. VI., p. 401.

85 Récollections des choses merveilleuses Advenues en notre temps par George Chastelain, Edition de Coustelier, p. 150.

86 Lettres d'Amabed, Vol. XXXIV., p. 261. Edition Beuchot, Paris.

87 Mandragola, Atto II. Scena 6. See also La Fontaine's tale of "La Mandragore," founded upon the above comedy.

88 See Warburton on Shakespear's Othello, Act I., Scene 8.

"By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks."

89 See Speed's Historie of Great Britaine. Richard III. Book II., page 913 folio edition, 1632.

90 Exercitatio de Rachelis Deliciis, 4to, 1678.

91 Atlantica illustrata, 1733.

92 Hierobotanicon, 1745.

93 "Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem at Easter, a.d., 1697."

94 Orchis is a Greek word signifying testicle, a name given by the ancients to this plant on account of the supposed resemblance of its root to that organ.

95 Eustathii Commentarii ad Homerum, Vol. I., p. 325, 403-9. Editio Lipsiæ, 1827.

96 Juliani Calixenæ Epistola.

97 "Amatorio poculo furorem versus, quum aliquot libros per intervalla conscripserat."

98 Epist. dissuas: ad Rufinum C. 22. Tom XII. p. 245, ad Varon.

99 Remarks on the life and poems of Lucretius, p. vi. (Bohn's Classical Library).

100 Probably to Anticyra, a Greek town situated at the mouth of the river Sperchius, and reputed to produce the genuine hellebore, recommended by the ancient physicians as a cure for insanity, whence the well known adage, "Naviget Anticyram."

101 Sueton. Calig. 50.

102 Juvenal. Sat. vi. v. 614.

103 Hor. Epod Lib. Carm. V. 1703. See also the admirable notes of Dacier and Sanadon upon the above ode.

104 Disquisitionum Magicarum, Lib. III. Quæstio III. De Amatorio Malaficio, page 7.

105 Cinq livres de l'imposture et tromperie des diables. Lib. II., p. 216, 1569.

106 De Margarum Daemonomania. Lib. I., Cap. III., p. 27.

107 Æneid, Lib. IV., v. 13, 14, 15, and 16.

108 Pausanias, Græciæ Descriptio, Lib. V., c. 27.

109 In his work "De valetudine tuendâ."

110 Traité universel des drogues simples.

111 The Holy Guide by John Heyden, Gent., φιλόνομος a servant of God and a Secretary of Nature, Lib. v. p. 61.

112 Ibid., p. 62.

113 Anatomy of Melancholy.

114 Essays, Vol. II., p. 262-3. Translated by Cotton. London, 1743.

115 "Cujus rei istud est argumentum, quod ubi rem veneream exercemus, tantillo emisse, imbecilles evadimus."—De Genitura.

116 Tome 52, p. 286, et seq.

117 Juvenal, Sat. 6, v. 302. "Ad venerem," says Lubinus in a note on this passage, "miris modis instigant (i.e., ostreæ), inde turpissimæ illæ bestiæ (feminæ) ostrea comedebant, ut ad Venerem promptiores essent."

118 De la génération de l'homme, p. 272.

119 Traité des dispenses et de Carême, Paris, 1709, en 12mo, réimprimé trois fois.

120 Names given to the female slaves or concubines in the harem of the Sultan.

121 A large province of the Deccan, said to have been famous, in ancient times, for its diamond mines.

122 That Coryphæus of voluptuaries, George IV., so highly appreciated this quality in truffles, that his Ministers at the courts of Turin, Naples, Florence, &c., were specially instructed to forward by a state messenger to the Royal Kitchen any of those fungi that might be found superior in size, delicacy or flavour.

123 Physiologie du Gout, par Brillat Savarin, Paris, 1859.

124 Martial, Epigram, lib. xiii. epig. 34.

125 Ducange, Glossaire.

126 J. H. Meibomius de flagrorum usu in Re medica et Venerea, Paris, 1792, p. 125.

127 See Macaronéana, par M. Octave Delepierre, Paris, 1852, p. 3.

128 Thevet, Portraits des Vies des Hommes Illustres, Vol. I., p. 13, fol. edit., Paris, 1584.

129 Hume's Hist. of England, Vol. I., p. 348.

130 Dissertatio Inauguralis de Ambra, § iv. p. 36.

131 Medicamentum quod non solum potenter stimulat, sed vel effœtum senem, pro brevi tempore, ad juventutem iterum restituit. Ibid. § viii., p. 44.

132 Née dans une condition obscure, vouée au libertinage dés sa plus tendre jeunesse, autant par goût que par état, Made. Du Barry ne put offrir à son auguste amant, malgré la fleur de la jeunesse et les brillants appas dont elle étoit encore pourvue, que les restes de la plus vile canaille, de la prostitution." Vie privée des maîtresses de Louis XV., p. 153.—"You are no doubt curious to hear an opinion of Madame Du Barri's beauty from the lips of one who has seen her both in her days of prosperity and after her downfall. She was a person of small, almost diminutive stature, extremely frail and delicate in feature, which saved her from being vulgar; but even from the first, she always wore that peculiarly fane look which she owed to a youth of dissipation, a maturity of unbounded indulgence. At the period of my visit she was about thirty-six years of age, but, from her child-like form and delicacy of countenance, appeared much younger, and her gambades and unrestrained gestures of supreme delight on having, as she said, quelqu'un à qui parler, did not seem displaced. Although alone, and evidently not in expectation of visitors, her toilet was brilliant and recherché, the result of the necessity of killing time."—"Talleyrand Papers."

133 Espion de la Cour.

134 Gazetier Cuirassé, ou Anecdotes Scandaleuses de la Cour de France.

135 In his "Praxis Medica Admiranda," wherein he also gives the formula of an electuary ad excitandum tentiginem nulli secundum, p, 295, Observ. XCI., as well as a recipe for pills ad Coitûs ignaviam, CXIII., p. 297.

136 Encyclopœdia Perthensis, Article Cachunde.

137 See his Premier Traité de l'homme et de son essentielle anatomie, avec les éléments et ce qui est en eux, de ses maladies, médicine et absolus remèdes, etc., Paris, 1588.

138 Cent. 2.

139 See Celius, lib. xiv., cap. 3.

140 Histoire de Ferdinand et Isabelle, Tom. II., 326. Paris, 1766.

141 Biographie Universelle, Art. Wallenstein.

142 Detested by the Parisians, Dubois was the object of innumerable caricatures, of which the most sanglante was one representing him "à genoux aux pieds d'une fille de joie qui prenait de ce sale écoulement qui afflige les femmes, tous les mois, pour lui en rougir sa calotte et le faire Cardinal." See Erotika Biblion. Paris, 1792, p. 52.

143 Mémoires du Cardinal Dubois, vol. I., p. 3.

144 Ælius Tetrabilis, I., Disc. Chap. 32 and 33.

145 Browne's Travels in Africa, etc., p. 343.

146 La génération de l'homme, ou tableau de l'amour conjugal. Tom. I., p. 276.

147 Ibid., p. 232.

148 Venette, Génération de l'homme, Tom. I., p. 279.

149 De cultu hortorum, v. 108.

150 Moretum, v. 85.

151 Mag. Nat., Lib. vii.

152 Mala Bacchica tanta olim in amoribus prævalerunt, ut coronæ ex illis statuæ Bacchi ponerentur.

153 Surag radis ad coitum summe facit: si quis comedat aut infusionem bibat, membrum subite erigitur. Leo Afric., Lib, IX., cap. ult., p. 302.

154 Gomez (Ferdinand) of Ciudad Real, a celebrated physician, born 1388, died 1457.

155 Mag. Nat. Lib. VII., c. 16.

156 Tractado de las drogas y medicinas de las Indias Orientales chap. LXI., p. 360, Burgos, 1578.

157 Travels in Africa, &c., p. 341.

158 Lignac. A physical view of man and woman in a state of marriage. Vol. I., p. 190.

159 Turcæ ad Levenzinum contra Comitem Ludovicum Souches pugnantes, opio exaltati turpiter cæsi, et octo mille numero occisi, mentulas rigidas tulere. Christen. Opium Hist.

160 It was, perhaps, the knowledge of this fact that suggested to La Fontaine the lines:—

"Un muletier à ce jeu Vaut trois rois."
"To play at which game, I'm sure it is clear, Three kings are no match for one muleteer."

161 Histoire Naturelle du Genre Humain. Tom. II., p. 123.

162 Cabanis, Rapport, &c., Tom. II., p. 89.

163 Essais philosophiques sur les mœurs de divers animaux étrangers.


"The care on thee depending Hath fed upon the body of my father, Therefore, thou best of gold art worst of gold; Other less fine in carat is more precious, Preserving life in medicine potable." Henry IV., sec. part, act iv. sc. v.

165 Lettres sur François Rabelais. Let. II.

166 De Pœnitentiâ Decretorum, lib. xix.

167 See Millengen's "Curiosities of Medical Experience," art. Flagellation Vol. II., p. 47 et seq.

168 Medic., Lib. III., art. 12.

169 See Richter, Opuscula medica Col. I., p. 273, "Qui novit ex stimulantium fonte, cardiaca, aphrodisiaca, diaphoretica, diuretica aliaque non infirmi ordinis medicamenta peti, perspicit plenius quam larga verberibus bene merendi sit, uti præsertim in torpore nervorum, paralysi, impotentia ad Venerem et naturalium excretionum eluxit."

170 Author of the work entitled, "De flagrorum usu in re venerea," Lug. Bat., 1639, with the motto:

"Delicias pariunt Veneri crudelia flagra, Dum nocet, illa juvat, dum juvat, ecce nocet.
"Lo! cruel stripes the sweets of love ensure, And painful pleasures pleasing pains procure."

171 Millingen, "Curiosities of Medical Experience." Vol. II., p. 52.

172 To this personage may justly be applied the French epitaph upon one who died under similar circumstances:

"Je suis mort de l'amour enterpris Entre les jambes d'une dame, Bien heureux d'avoir rendu l'âme, Au même lieu où je l'ai pris."

173 See his work, contra Astrologos, Lib. III., cap. 27.

174 Petri Abœlardi Abbatis Rugensis et Heloissæ Abbatissæ Paracletensis Epistolæ. Epist. I., p. 10.

175 Ibid., Epist. III., p. 81.

176 See Meibomius, p. 43, note a. Edit. Paris, 1792, 12mo.

177 Name given to persons having only one testicle.

178 Œuvres, Tom. I, p. 283. Ed. 1714.

179 Travels in Siberia in 1661, Tom. I., p. 319.

180 Dictionnaire des Sciences Médicales. Art. Pollution.

181 Confessions, Tom. I.

182 De Nasturcio mira refert Dioscoridas I., 2, c. 185.

183 Satyricon, Caput xxxviii.

183 Pract. part. ii. cap. de passioni membré-génital.

184 Ducatiana ii., b. 505.

185 Curiosities of Medical Experience, vol. II., p. 55.

186 Anatomy of Melancholy, Part 3, memb. 3, subj. 5.

188 Pornodidascalus seu Colloquium Muliebre Petri Aretini ingeniossimi et ferè incomparabilis virtutum et vitiorum demonstratoris: De Astu nefario, horrendisque dolis, quibus impudicæ mulieres juventuti incautæ insidiantur.—Francofurti. Anno 1623.

188 Verum omni istâ sciencâ (magica) (says Lucretia) nunquam potui movere cor hominis solâ vero salivâ mea (id est ampleux et basiis) inungens tam furiosè furere tam bestialiter obstupefieri plurimos coegi ut instar idoil me Amoresque meos adorarint.—p. 47-8.

190 Othello, Act iii. Sc. 10.

191 Sir Thos. Browne's Works, Vol. III., p. 89. Bohn's Edit.

192 Origen, one of the Fathers of the Church, born in a.d. 185, is a melancholy proof how far the reason may be perverted by erroneous views in religious matters; for according to Fulgos, "ut corpus ab omni venerea labe mundum servaret, omnique suspicione careret, sectis genitalibus membris, eunuchum se fecit." He, however, lived long enough to condemn his error. See his 15th sermon upon St. Matthew, cap. 19, v. 12; his work against Celsus, lib. 7; and his 7th Treatise upon the 18th and 19th Chapters of St. Matthew.

193 Baldassar Timœus Cas. med. Lib. XIX., Salacitas nitro curata.

194 Historie Mundi, Lib. XXVI., c. 7.

195 The medical school of Salerno (latine Salernum) was founded by Robert Guiscard at the end of the 11th century; and about the year 1100 a collection of medical aphorisms, was composed in Latin verse by a certain John of Milan, and published under the title of Medicina Salertina. Of this poem, which originally consisted of 1239 verses, only 373, or about a third, are extant. These were published at Paris in 1625 by Réné Moreau; in 1653 it was travestied by L. Martin; paraphrased by Bruzen de la Martinière in 1743, and by Dr. Levacher de la Feuverie in 1782.

196 De tuto cantharidum in medicinâ usu interno.

197 Arnaud de Villeneuve was one of the luminaries of the 13th century, being distinguished for his profound knowledge of medicine, chemistry, astrology, and theology. He discovered the sulphuric, muriatic and nitric acids, and was the first to compose alcohol and the essence of terebinth or turpentine.

198 Traité des dispenses du carême.

199 "Any man," said Abernethy, the celebrated and eccentric surgeon, "that drinks coffee and soda water, and smokes cigars, may lie with my wife."

200 De Aer: Aquā et Locis. Liber, caput x.

201 Comment. in Boerh. Aphor. sec. 1063, Vol. III.

202 De Machinis, C. IV.

203 No. 206.

204 Exercitatio de aciá, Cap. 4, et seq.

205 Odyssey VIII. line 477.

206 Introd. to Hesiod, cap. VI. p. 14. Edit. Plautin, 1603, in voce αοιδος.

207 Annals of Gallantry.

208 Celsus has described the operation, in detail. Medicina, lib. VII. c. 25.

209 Juvenal, Sat. VI. v. 379-80.

210 Ibid., v. 73-74.

211 Martialis, lib. XIV. Ep. 215.

212 Martialis, lib. VII. Ep. 81.

213 Holiday's Juvenal, Sat. VI., illustr. 11, note "Unbutton a Comedian." For a copy see plate VII., fig. 1. and 2.

214 Monumenti Antichi inediti. Rome, 1767, fol., p. IV. c. 8, p. 247, fig. 188.

215 Martial, Lib. IX. Epig. 28, v. 12.

216 Travels in Africa and Egypt.

217 "There (in the arsenal) are also various whimsical bolts and locks with which he (Carrera) used to keep his concubines confined." Travels in Italy. See The World, vol. 18, p. 154.

218 Brantome, Dames Galantes, tom. iii., p. 138.

219 Le Cadenas. This poem was composed by the author when he was only eighteen years of age, and it was occasioned by a lady who was in the circumstances here spoken of.

220 Dr Smollett's translation, Vol. XXXII.

221 Sine Baccho et Cerere friget Venus.

222 "Castrum quasi Castum, Castra," says Isidorus in his Etymologies, Lib. IX., "sunt ubi miles steterit: dicta autem, castra, quasi casta, eò quod ibi castraretur libido." A castle from castrating of lust.


Quæritur Ægystus quare sit factus adulter In promptu causa est: desidiosus.—De Remed. Amoris.

224 "Otia si tollas, periere Cupidinis artes."

225 See Pausanias's "Corinthians."

226 Vide Cicero, lib. V., Tusc. Questions and Plutarch's Treatise of Curiosity. It must, however, be observed, that this story is wholly incredible, inasmuch as the same writers affirm that Democritus employed his leisure in writing books and in dissecting the bodies of animals, neither of which could very well be effected without the eyes.

227 In Lucian, in the Dialogue entitled—"Venus and Cupid."

228 The story itself is the same as that related by Poggio (Bracciolini) of a hermit of Pisa. "Eremita," says he, "qui Pisis morabatur, tempore Petri Gambacurtæ, meretricem noctu in suam ce lulan deduxit, vigesiesque ea nocte mulierem cognovit; semper cum moveret clunes, ut crimen fugeret luxuriæ vulgaribus verbis dicens: 'domati, carne cattizella;' hoc est, doma te, miserrima caro!"


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