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Anyone for curses?
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: February 10, 2005 04:17AM

I went to a talk about reivers (cattle and horse theives and general thugs - both English and Scottish - in the Scottish borders in medieval times) last night and was read the most wonderful curse (see below) by the Archbishop Dunbar. This reminded me of a super curse on book theives someone had seen in a bookshop (in turn filched from an old library or something) which I used to have and can't locate. It's likely I got it from an e-mule posting. Can anyone remember it (it was a helluva lot shorter than the one below, but equally vituperative).

"I denounce, proclaim and declare all the committers of the said senseless murders, slaughters, burning, torturing, plundering, raping and pillaging, openly by daylight and under silence of night, even on such peaceful ground as church lands; together with their families, henchmen, suppliers, and willing conspirators who give them refuge, their receivers of goods stolen by them, and any benefit or part thereof, and their counsellors and defenders of their evil deeds, generally CURSED, denounced, execrated, in sum total, with the GREAT CURSING."

"I curse their head and all the hairs of their head; I curse their face, their brain (innermost thoughts), their mouth, their nose, their tongue, their teeth, their forehead, their shoulders, their breast, their heart, their stomach, their back, their womb, their arms, their leggs, their hands, their feet, and every part of their body, from the top of their head to the soles of their feet, before and behind, within and without."

"I curse them going and I curse them riding; I curse them standing and I curse them sitting; I curse them eating and I curse them drinking; I curse them rising, and I curse them lying; I curse them at home, I curse them away from home; I curse them within the house, I curse them outside of the house; I curse their wives, their children, and their servants who participate in their deeds. I (bring ill wishes upon) their crops, their cattle, their wool, their sheep, their horses, their swine, their geese, their hens, and all their livestock. I (bring ill wishes upon) their halls, their chambers, their kitchens, their stanchions, their barns, their cowsheds, their barnyards, their cabbage patches, their plows, their harrows, and the goods and houses that are necessary for their sustenance and welfare."

"May all the malevolent wishes and curses ever known, since the beginning of the world, to this hour, light on them. May the malediction of God, that fell upon Lucifer and all his fellows, that cast them from the high Heaven to the deep hell, light upon them."
"May the fire and the sword that stopped Adam from the gates of Paradise, stop them from the glory of Heaven, until they forebear, and make amends."
"May the evil that fell upon cursed Cain, when he slew his brother Abel, needlessly, fall on them for the needless slaughter that they commit daily."
"May the malediction that fell upon all the world, man and beast, and all that ever took life, when all were drowned by the flood of Noah, except Noah and his ark, fall upon them and drown them, man and beast, and make this realm free of them, for their wicked sins."
"May the thunder and lightning which rained down upon Sodom and Gomorra and all the lands surrounding them, and burned them for their vile sins, rain down upon them and burn them for their open sins. May the evil and confusion that fell on the Gigantis for their opression and pride in building the Tower of Babylon, confound them and all their works, for their open callous disregard and opression."
"May all the plagues that fell upon Pharoah and his people of Egypt, their lands, crops and cattle, fall upon them, their equipment, their places, their lands, their crops and livestock."
"May the waters of the Tweed and other waters which they use, drown them, as the Red Sea drowned King Pharoah and the people of Egypt, preserving God's people of Israel."
"May the earth open, split and cleave, and swallow them straight to hell, as it swallowed cursed Dathan and Abiron, who disobeyed Moses and the command of God."
"May the wild fire that reduced Thore and his followers to two-hundred-fifty in number, and others from 14,000 to 7,000 at anys, usurping against Moses and Aaron, servants of God, suddenly burn and consume them daily, for opposing the commands of God and Holy Church."
"May the malediction that suddenly fell upon fair Absolom, riding through the wood against his father, King David, when the branches of a tree knocked him from his horse and hanged him by the hair, fall upon these untrue Scotsmen and hang them the same way, that all the world may see."
"May the malediction that fell upon Nebuchadnezzar's lieutenant, Olifernus, making war and savagery upon true christian men; the malediction that fell upon Judas, Pilate, Herod, and the Jews that crucified Our Lord; and all the plagues and troubles that fell on the city of Jerusalem therefore, and upon Simon Magus for his treachery, bloody Nero, Ditius Magcensius, Olibrius, Julianus Apostita and the rest of the cruel tyrants who slew and murdered Christ's holy servants, fall upon them for their cruel tyranny and murder of Christian people."
"And may all the vengeance that ever was taken since the world began, for open sins, and all the plagues and pestilence that ever fell on man or beast, fall on them for their openly evil ways, senseless slaughter and shedding of innocent blood."

"I sever and part them from the church of God, and deliver them immediately to the devil of hell, as the Apostle Paul delivered Corinth. I bar the entrance of all places they come to, for divine service and ministration of the sacraments of holy church, except the sacrament of infant baptism, only; and I forbid all churchmen to hear their confession or to absolve them of their sins, until they are first humbled / subjugated by this curse."
"I forbid all christian men or women to have any company with them, eating, drinking, speaking, praying, lying, going, standing, or in any other deed-doing, under the pain of deadly sin."
"I discharge all bonds, acts, contracts, oaths, made to them by any persons, out of loyalty, kindness, or personal duty, so long as they sustain this cursing, by which no man will be bound to them, and this will be binding on all men."
"I take from them, and cast down all the good deeds that ever they did, or shall do, until they rise from this cursing."
"I declare them excluded from all matins, masses, evening prayers, funerals or other prayers, on book or bead (rosary); of all pigrimages and alms deeds done, or to be done in holy church or be christian people, while this curse is in effect."

"And, finally, I condemn them perpetually to the deep pit of hell, there to remain with Lucifer and all his fellows, and their bodies to the gallows of Burrow moor, first to be hanged, then ripped and torn by dogs, swine, and other wild beasts, abominable to all the world. And their candle (light of their life) goes from your sight, as may their souls go from the face of God, and their good reputation from the world, until they forebear their open sins, aforesaid, and rise from this terrible cursing and make satisfaction and penance."

Re: Anyone for curses?
Posted by: jenny22moon (
Date: February 10, 2005 05:21AM

Remind me never to annoy Archbishop Dunbar
Could this be what you're looking for?

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"For him that steals, borrows and returns not, a book from its owner, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with palsy, and all his members blasted. Let him languish in pain crying aloud for mercy, and let there be not surcease to his agony 'till he sing in dissolution. Let bookworms gnaw at his entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not. And when at last he goes to his final punishment, let the flames of Hell consume him forever."

Re: Anyone for curses?
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: February 10, 2005 12:03PM

"May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits!" Johnny Carson as Karnak.

Re: Anyone for curses?
Posted by: RJAllen (
Date: February 10, 2005 02:35PM

"May you live in interesting times."- Chinese curse.
"I hope sociologists are interested in you."- modern curse
In verse the curse in Richard Barham's The Jackdaw of Rheims is pretty impressive.

Re: Anyone for curses?
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: February 10, 2005 03:12PM

The Jackdaw of Rheims ...

The Cardinal rose with a dignified look,
He call'd for his candle, his bell, and his book!
In holy anger, and pious grief,
He solemnly cursed that rascally thief!
He cursed him at board, he cursed him in bed;
From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head;
He cursed him in sleeping, that every night
He should dream of the devil, and wake in a fright;
He cursed him in eating, he cursed him in drinking,
He cursed him in coughing, in sneezing, in winking;
He cursed him in sitting, in standing, in lying;
He cursed him in walking, in riding, in flying,
He cursed him in living, he cursed him in dying!--
Never was heard such a terrible curse!

Note the reference to the bell, book & candle, where there is a movie about witches with the same title (Kim Novak, nummy). I remember looking that one up, and I recall it came from the Catholic excommunication ceremony. I also did some research on Barham's Jim Crow line, but that is another story.

Re: Anyone for curses?
Posted by: Linda (
Date: February 10, 2005 06:25PM

The candle is put out, the bell rung and the book closed to symbolise the ending of the relationship.

Re: Anyone for curses?
Posted by: lg (
Date: February 10, 2005 09:04PM

Black magic operates most effectively in preconscious, marginal areas. Casual curses are the most effective.
---William S. Burroughs

Re: Anyone for curses?
Posted by: lg (
Date: February 10, 2005 09:08PM

May those who love us love us.
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we'll know them by their limping.


Re: Anyone for curses?
Posted by: lg (
Date: February 10, 2005 09:11PM

May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.


Re: Anyone for curses?
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: February 11, 2005 05:01AM

Thanks so much Jenny - that is the curse I had lost, and I'm delighted to see it again.

And thanks to everybody else for their curses - I wonder if the Jackdaw of Rheims one, which I'd come across before and forgotten about was inspired by Dunbar's, or whether there was actaully a religious format for cursing people - perhaps related to the excommunication procedure, (which seems to be inextricably linked to, if not encompassing, cursing) - that Dunbar was following and so was Barham.

The 'limping ' and 'wanting' ones that Les kindly supplied, and which also appeal greatly, remind me of the toast :

Champagne to our real friends
And real pain to our sham friends

which has always been a favourite of mine and is of the same format.

Thanks again - you've cheered me up no end between you (I've been having 'fun' at the dentists recently and needed the fillip!)

Re: Anyone for curses?
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (
Date: February 11, 2005 10:50AM

May you understand my postings

Re: Anyone for curses?
Posted by: Pam Adams (
Date: February 11, 2005 01:40PM

Okay, now that's scary!


Re: Anyone for curses?
Posted by: lg (
Date: February 11, 2005 02:08PM

Marian, for your worst enemy....

May his pipe never smoke, may his teapot be broke
And to add to the joke, may his kettle ne’er boil,
May he keep to the bed till the hour that he’s dead,
May he always be fed on hogwash and boiled oil,
May he swell with the gout, may his grinders fall out,
May he roll howl and shout with the horrid toothache,
May the temples wear horns, and the toes many corns,
Of the monster that murdered Nell Flaherty’s drake.

May his spade never dig may his sow never pig
May each hair on his wig be well thrashed with a flail
May his door have no latch, may his house have no thatch,
May his turkey not hatch, may the rats eat his meat
May every old fairy, from Cork to Dunleary,
Dip him snug and airy in river or lake,
Where the eel and the trout may feed on the snout
Of the monster that murdered Neill Falheerty’s drake


Re: Anyone for curses?
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (
Date: February 11, 2005 03:11PM

Yeah, I don't even wish that one on MYSELF !

Re: Anyone for curses?
Posted by: drpeternsz (
Date: February 11, 2005 04:47PM



Re: Anyone for curses?
Posted by: drpeternsz (
Date: February 11, 2005 04:48PM

works for me,


Re: Anyone for curses?
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: February 14, 2005 05:16AM

Thanks Les, that's a great one - but I don't think I have a bad enough enemy for it - I'll save it up in case one should arise. I do wonder, however, what the writer's response would have been if someone had murdered Nell Flaherty's husband or child, or was she someone who preferred wildfowl to people - an understandable, if unusual, standpoint?

As to understanding Johnny's postings - I fear that one's already beginning to work - he seems very comprehensible lately.

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