the object desired. But his recipes are in themselves so curious that I
shall transcribe a few of the most remarkable, although strongly
disposed to consider all as little better than the dreams of some
monkish artist too lazy to try the experiment of their truth. In the
frequent introduction of earth-worms into his menstrua, there may lurk some reminiscence of Solomon's worm Samir, whose blood dissolved all gems—that fable of the wooden-headed Rabbis, engendered upon the employment of the smyr (emery) by the practical Greeks.
HERACLIUS ON SOFTENING GEMS.
notion entertained by many, and which involuntarily forces itself upon
the mind on examining the facile execution of many of their works, viz.
that some secret for softening the gems beforehand was known to the
ancients, derives some confirmation from the following recipes of
Heraclius, who wrote at a period (the 7th century) when the
traditionary proceeds were still kept up, though in a faint and feeble
existence. If we could believe his positive assertion in his prelude,
that he had himself tested all his recipes,
" Nil tibi scribo quidem quod non prius ipse probassem,"
whole mystery would be solved at once ; but his promises are so
extravagant as to make one suspect that, instead of disclosing ancient
trade-secrets, he is merely passing off for such chimerical theories of
his own, after the common manner of Mediaeval quacks.
from a MS. of the 13th century, in the Library of Tr'm. Coll.,
Cambridge, published in Baspe's Treatise on Oil-Painting.
" Of engraving upon Glass.—Ye
artists who wish to engrave glass handsomely, now will I disclose to
you a method exactly as I myself have proved it. I collected fat
earth-worms turned up by the plough out of the ground ; and at the same
time the art useful for such matters directed me to get
vinegar, and the hot blood out of a big he-goat : which I skilfully fed
upon strengthening herbs for a short time, when kept tied up in-doors.
With the hot blood I then mixed the worms and the vinegar, and so