Mother Knows Best

Being in the country in the vacation time not many years since, at Lindley in Leicestershire, my father’s house, I first observed this amulet of a what it isspider in a nut-shell lapped in silk, etc., so applied for an ague by my mother; whom although I knew to have excellent skill in chirurgery, sore eyes, aches, etc., and such experimental medicines, as all the country where she dwelt can witness, to have done many famous and good cures upon divers poor folks, that were otherwise destitute of help, yet, among all other experiments, this methought was most absurd and ridiculous, I could see no warrant for it. Quid aranea cum febre? [What has a spider to do with fever?] For what antipathy? till at length, rambling amongst authors (as often I do), I found this very medicine in Dioscorides, approved by Matthiolus, repeated by Aldrovandus; I began to have a better opinion of it, and give more credit to amulets, when I saw it in some parties answer to experience.

—Robert Burton, The Anatomy Of Melancholy

2 Responses to “Mother Knows Best”

  1. 1 Miep March 12, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    That’s not a spider. It’s probably collectible, though.

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When I Worked

March 2014

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