The Northern Way

The Anglo-Saxon Metrical Charms

Metrical Charm 2: The Nine Herbs Charm

Remember, Mugwort, what you revealed,
What you arranged at Regenmeld.
You were called Una, oldest of herbs,
Power against three and against thirty,
Power against poison and against venom,
Power against the enemy who travels over the earth.

And you, Plantain, mother of herbs,
Opening from eastward, inwardly mighty;
Over you carts creaked, over you queens rode,
Over you brides bridalled, over you bulls bellowed.
All these you weathered and withstood;
So may you withstand poison and venom,
And the enemy who travels over the earth.

This herb is called Stune; it grew on stone,
It withstands poison, withstands pain.
It is named 'Harsh', it withstands venom,
It exiles the enemy, works against venom.
This is the herb that fought with the serpent;
This power against poison, power against infection,
Power against the enemy who travels over the earth.

Cock's-spur grass, though minor, overcome mighty poisons,
Mighty poisons conquer minor, till he is remedied of both.

Remember, Camomile, what you made known,
What you accomplished at Alorford;
That he never let up his life for infection,
After Camomile was cooked with his food.

This is the herb that is called crab-apple;
The seal sent this over the back of the sea
As a nostrum for other noxious poisons.
These nine have power against nine poisons

A worm came sneaking, it struck a man;
Then Woden took nine wondrous staves,
smote the snake so it split into nine.
And there ended apple and poison
so never again would she go in her house.

Chervil and fennel, fearsome pair,
These herbs were wrought by the wise lord,
holy in heaven, there did he hang;
He set and sent them in seven worlds
To remedy all, the rich and the needy.

It stands against pain, stands against poison,
has might against three and against thirty,
Against devil's hand and against deception,
Against the witchcraft of the wicked ones.

These nine herbs have power against nine horrors,
Against nine venoms and against nine poisons:
Against the red venom, against the running venom,
Against the white venom, against the purple venom,
Against the yellow venom, against the green venom,
Against the black venom, against the blue venom,
Against the brown venom, against the bay venom;
Against worm-blister, against water-blister,
Against thorn-blister, against thistle blister,
Against ice-blister, against poison-blister.
If any venom comes flying from the east,
Or any from the north, .... comes,
Or any from the west upon the tribe of men.

Christ stood over sickness of every sort.
Only I know the Running River
Where the nine snakes behold it near.
May all weeds now spring up worts,
The seas dissolve, all salt water,
When I blow this bane from you.

Mugwort, plantain that is open from the east, lamb's cress, cock's-spur grass, camomile, nettle, crab-apple, chervil and fennel, old soap. Grind the herbs into powder, mix them with soap and apple juice. Make a paste of water and ashes, take the fennel, boil it in the paste and bathe it with a beaten egg, when he applies the salve, both before and after. Sing this spell over each herb, three times before he prepares them and also on the apple; and sing it in the mouth and both ears of the man and the same spell on the wound, before he applies the salve.

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