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A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume I by De Morgan

Which appeared after the death of Agrippa


Nicolai de Cusa Opera Omnia. Venice, 1514. 3 vols. folio.

The real title is "Haec accurata recognitio trium voluminum operum clariss. P. Nicolai Cusae ... proxime sequens pagina monstrat."[44] Cardinal Cusa, who died in 1464, is one of the earliest modern attempters. His quadrature is found in the second volume, and is now quite unreadable.

{48} In these early days every quadrator found a geometrical opponent, who finished him. Regimontanus[45] did this office for the Cardinal.


De Occulta Philosophia libri III. By Henry Cornelius Agrippa. Lyons, 1550, 8vo.

De incertitudine et vanitate scientiarum. By the same. Cologne, 1531, 8vo.

The first editions of these works were of 1530, as well as I can make out; but the first was in progress in 1510.[46] In the second work Agrippa repents of having wasted time on the magic of the first; but all those who actually deal with demons are destined to eternal fire with Jamnes and Mambres and Simon Magus. This means, as is the fact, that his occult philosophy did not actually enter upon _black_ magic, but confined itself to the power of the stars, of numbers, etc. The fourth book, which appeared after the death of Agrippa, and really concerns dealing with evil spirits, is undoubtedly spurious. It is very difficult to make out what Agrippa really believed on the subject. I have introduced his books as the most marked specimens of treatises on magic, a paradox of our day, though not far from orthodoxy in his; and here I should have ended my notice, if I had not casually found something more interesting to the reader of our day.



Walter Scott, it is well known, was curious on all matters connected with magic, and has used them very widely. But it is hardly known how much pains he has taken to be correct, and to give the real thing. The most decided detail of a magical process which is found in his writings is that of Dousterswivel in _The Antiquary_; and it is obvious, by his accuracy of process, that he does not intend the adept for a mere impostor, but for one who had a lurking belief in the efficacy of his own processes, coupled with intent to make a fraudulent use of them. The materials for the process are taken from Agrippa. I first quote Mr. Dousterswivel:

"... I take a silver plate when she [the moon] is in her fifteenth mansion, which mansion is in de head of _Libra_, and I engrave upon one side de worts _Schedbarschemoth Scharta_ch_an_ [_ch_ should be _t_]--dat is, de Intelligence of de Intelligence of de moon--and I make his picture like a flying serpent with a turkey-cock's head--vary well--Then upon this side I make de table of de moon, which is a square of nine, multiplied into itself, with eighty-one numbers [nine] on every side and diameter nine...."

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