[Milton-L] Cromwell and miracles

tuck at mail.utexas.edu tuck at mail.utexas.edu
Sun Jul 31 11:25:47 EDT 2005


I agree with John Hale -- this thread is very interesting and I hope it
continues.  

Whether or not we now believe a particular disease exists that can be cured only
by a prince's touch (and I assume none of us does), the idea had a strong hold
in 1660.  Charles II and his propagandists made good use of it; my guess is OC
didn't, though I don't know.

The actual touching might not have been very agreeable to a man with Charles's
sensibilities.  According to the OED, scrofula is "a constitutional disease
characterized mainly by chronic enlargement and degeneration of the lymphatic
glands," or tuberculosis of the lymph glands.  "King's evil" seems to have
involved usually visible (and palpable), itchy sores and pustules.  Elyot in
1540, again from the OED, defines it as "Swellinges in the neck ful of matter,
called the kinges evyll."  Not what we normally think of now as TB
(tuberculosis of the lungs).

Matthew Tucker
Ph.D. Candidate
University of Texas at Austin


Quoting Carol Barton <cbartonphd at earthlink.net>:

> John . . . are you seriously suggesting that *anyone's* touch cured scrofula
> (tuberculosis)????
> 
> Interesting, indeed!
> 
> But then, such feats were probably well within the realm of possibility for
> someone who left us three "authentic" skulls . . .
> 
> Best,
> 
> Carol Barton
> 
> 
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> John Hale wrote (in part):
> 
> 3. We should instead or as well be hearing about OC's powers as a curer of
> > the (interestingly named!) King's evil.  If he did cure this, what was the
> > timing in relation to his status and rumoured aspirations?
> 
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
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> 
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