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Monday, 4 May 2009

Love Potion

File:The Love Potion.jpg

Accompanied by her familiar
to carry out her errands and spells
perhaps, or then again
protected perhaps incompletely
from her romantic silliness
by her loyal and abiding little
friend--"an instrument for the children
to learn benevolence upon
for every house is incomplete
without him and a blessing
is lacking in the spirit."

The Love Potion: Evelyn De Morgan, 1903 (Bridgeman Library/De Morgan Art Centre, London)


Anonymous said...

Cats and witches, infallible recipe.

TC said...

The Jacobean writer Edward Topsell, author of The History of Four-Footed Beasts (1607), opined that "The familiars of witches do most ordinarily appear in the shape of cats, which is an argument that the beast is dangerous to soul and body."

Topsell's view was not original; in fact his work is largely translated verbatim from a five-volume Historia Animalium (1551-1587) by the Swiss naturalist, Konrad Gesner. Gesner in turn based his work for the most part on classical writers like Aristotle, Xenophon and Pliny. Legend and myth rather than empirical observation guided all these "experts". (Note: all these writers were, obviously, males.)

Anonymous said...

Of course they were. Witches were dangerous women for men in power. They did not need to cast any spell, they just needed to think independently in order to be hunted down. If men had those views upon women who did not abide by their precepts, I can only imagine what they thought of cats.

The twistS of human mind will never cease to surprise me.