Saturday, March 16, 2013

Britomart's Glauce as a "Witch or Cunning-Woman", from 1735

Some Account of Merlin and the Figures that attend him, in the new erected Cave at Richmond
London Magazine, or Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer, December, 1735

"After Merlin, the first Figure that presents itself is the Amazon Britomartis, by whom (as the Name seems to imply) we suppose is meant the martial Spirit of Britannia, as we see her represented on some of our Coins, half Soldier, half Woman, formidably arm'd, but extremely encumber'd with Petticoats.

"She seems to be in a very declining Condition, and (being no Conjurer herself) comes in the most anxious and submissive Manner to enquire her Fate from the Mouth of that Inchanter, who by his Skill in the Black Art had brought it to depend upon him.

"This Britomartis or Britannia is led by a lean elderly Lady whom some stile Glauce, mention'd by Spencer; others Melissa, from Ariosto; and others Mother Shipton, famous in British Story, but her Character and Office are better known, being allowed by all to be a sort of a Witch or Cunning-Woman, and something between Dry-Nurse and Governess to Britomartis, employed by Merlin in the blackest of his Art, viz. as his Priestess or Pope Joan. She is likewise a great Pretender to Science, and Diver into Mysteries."

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