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A Book of Elizabethan Magic- Thomas Hill's

Naturall and Artificall Conclusions


Thomas Ross

Thomas Hill's «Naturall and Artificiall Conclusions» is a significant index to Elizabethan culture and taste. Its first two editions (1567 and 1568) were sold and worn out: no copies have survived.
The «Conclusions» provide instructions for walking on water, for determining a maiden's virginity, and for increasing hens' egg-laying. Hill's experiments are, for the most part, innocent diversions. The «Conclusions» make very lively reading, and they provide important information about both the credulousness and the leisure-time activities of Shakespeare's society. As a way to assess Elizabethan culture, the book is perhaps as useful as are sober treatises like Ramus's logic or Montaigne's essays.