Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/427

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329
GHOSTS—FAIRIES—WITCHES

they are easily persuaded the same is done by themselves; imprinting in their minds an earnest and constant imagination thereof. They are lean and deformed, showing melancholy in their faces, to the horror of all that see them. They are doting, scolds, mad, devilish, and much differing from them that are thought to be possessed with spirits; so firm and steadfast in their opinions, as whosoever shall only have respect to the constancy of their words uttered, would easily believe they were true indeed.

"These miserable witches are so odious unto all their neighbours, and so feared, as few dare offend them, or deny them anything they ask; whereby they take upon them, yea, and sometimes think, that they can do such things as are beyond the ability of human nature. They go from house to house, and from door to door for a pot full of milk, yeast, drink, pottage, or some such relief; without the which they could hardly live; neither obtaining for their service or pains, nor by their art, nor yet at the devil's hands (with whom they are said to make a perfect and visible bargain) either beauty, money, promotion, worship, pleasure, honour, knowledge, learning, or any benefit whatsoever."

To this description let us add the following vivid passage from Archbishop Harsnet's Decla-