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nue, the ambassador retreated to his study, opened his book, and evoked a fiend in the shape of a huge black horse, mounted upon his back, and forced him to fly through the air towards France. As they crossed the sea, the devil insidiously asked his rider, What it was that the old women of Scotland muttered at bed-time? A less experienced wizard might have answered, that it was the Pater Noster, which would have licenced the devil to precipitate him from his back. But Michael sternly replied, " What is that to thee i Mount, Diabolus, and fly!" When he arrived at Paris, he tied his horse to the gate of the palace, entered, and boldly delivered his message. An ambassador, with so little of the pomp and circumstance of diplomacy, was not received with much respect, and the king was about to return a contemptuous refusal to his demand, when Michael besought him to suspend his resolution till he had seen his horse stamp three times. The first stamp shook every steeple in Paris, and caused all the bells to ring; the second threw down three of the towers of the palace; and the infernal steed had lifted his hoof to give the third stamp, when the king rather chose to dismiss Michael, with the most ample concessions, than to stand to the probable consequences. Another time it is said, that, when residing at the tower of Oakwood, upon the Ettricke, about three miles above Selkirk, he heard of the fame of a sorceress, called the witch of Falsehope, who lived on the opposite side of the river. Michael went one morning to put her skill to the test, but was disappointed, by her denying positively any knowledge of the necromantic art. In his discourse with her, he laid his wand inadvertently on the table, which the hag observing, suddenly snatched it up, and struck him with it. Feeling the force of the charm, he rushed out of the house; but, as it had conferred on him the external appearance of a hare, his servant, who waited without, halloo'd upon the discomfited wizard his own greyhounds, and pursued him so close, that, in order to obtain a moment's breathing to reverse the charm, Michael, after a very fatiguing course, was fain to take refuge in his own jorohole (anglice, common sewer). In order to revenge himself of the witch of Falsehope, Michael, one morning in the ensuing harvest, went to the hill above the house with his dogs, and sent down his servant to ask a bit of bread from the good-wife for his greyhounds, with instructions what to do if he met with a denial. Accordingly, when the witch had refused the boon with contumely, the servant, as his master had directed, laid above the door a paper, which he had given him, containing, amongst many cabalistical words, the well-known rhyme,—
Maister Michael Scott's man
Immediately the good old woman, instead of pursuing her domestic occupation, which was baking bread for the reapers, began to dance round the fire, repeating the rhyme, and continued this exercise till her husband sent the reapers to the house, one after another, to see what had delayed their provision; but the charm caught each as they entered, and, losing all idea of returning, they joined in the dance and chorus. At length the old man himself went to the house; but as his wife's frolic with Mr Michael, whom he had seen on the hill, made him a little cautious, he contented himself with looking in at the window, and saw the reapers at their involuntary exercise, dragging his wife, now completely exhausted, sometimes round, and sometimes through the fire, which was, as usual, in the midst of the house. Instead of entering, he saddled a horse, and rode up the hill, to humble himself before Michael, and beg a cessation of the spell; which the good-natured warlock immediately granted, directing him to enter the house backwards, and, with his left hand, take the spell from above the door; which accordingly ended the supernatural dance.—This tale was told less particularly in former editions, and I have been censured for inaccuracy in doing so.—A similar charm occurs in Huon de Bourdeaux, and in the ingenious Oriental tale, called the Caliph Vathek.
Notwithstanding his victory over the witch of Falsehope, Michael Scott, like his predecessor Merlin, fell at last a victim to female art. His wife, or concubine, elicited from him the secret, that his art could ward off any danger except the poisonous qualities of broth, made of the flesh of a breme sow. Such a mess she accordingly administered to the wizard, who died in consequence of eating it; surviving, however, long enough to put to death his treacherous confidante.
Note XIV. The words, that cleft Eildon Hills in three, And bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone.—P. 52. Michael Scott was, once upon a time, much embarrassed by a spirit, for whom he was under the necessity of finding constant employment. He commanded him to build a cauld, or dam-head, across the Tweed at Kelso; it was accomplished in one night, and still does honour to the infernal architect. Michael next ordered, that Eildon hill, which was then a uniform cone, should be divided into three. Another night was sufficient to part its summit into the three picturesque peaks which it now bears. At length the enchanter conquered this indefatigable daemon, by employing him in the hopeless and endless task of making ropes out of sea-sand.
Note XV. That lamp shall burn unquenchably.—P. 54. Baptista Porta, and other authors who treat of natural magic, talk much of eternal lamps, pretended to have been found burning in ancient sepulchres. Fortunius Licetus investigates the subject in a treatise, De Lucernis antiguorum reconditis, published at Venice, 1621. One of these perpetual lamps is said to have been discovered in the tomb of Tulliola, the daughter of Cicero. The wick was supposed to be composed of asbestos. Kircher enumerates three different receipts for constructing such lamps; and wisely concludes, that the thing is nevertheless impossible.—MundusSubterraneus,]). 72. Delrio imputes the fabrication of such lights to magical skill.—Disquisitiones Magicte, p. 58. In a very rare romance, which" treateth of the lyfe of Virgilius, and of his deth, and many marvayles that he dyd in his lyfe-time, by wyche-crafte and nygramancye, throughe the helpe of the devyls of hell," mention is made of a very extraordinary process, in which one of these mystical lamps was employed. It seems, that Virgil, as he advanced in years, became desirous of renovating his youth by his magical art. For this purpose he constructed a solitary tower, having only one narrow portal, in which he placed twenty-four copper figures, armed with iron flails, twelve on each side of the porch. These enchanted statues struck with their flails incessantly, and rendered all entrance impossible, unless when Virgil touched the spring, which stopped their motion. To this tower he repaired privately, attended by one trusty servant, to whom he communicated the secret of the entrance, and hither they conveyed all the magician's treasure. "Then sayde Virgilius, my dere beloved frende, and he that I above alle men truste and knowe mooste of my secret;" and then he led the man into a cellar, where he made a fayer lamp at all seasons burnynge. And then sayd Virgilius to the man, " Se you the barrel that standeth here ?" and he sayd, yea: "Therein must you put me: fyrste ye must slee me, and hewe me smalle to pieces, and cut my hed in iiii pieces, and salte the heed under in the bottom, and then the pieces there after, and my herte in the myddel, and then set the barrel under the lampe, that