Coined by John Milton for the play Comus around 1634 (see quotation below). Various scholars suggest that the word comes from a classical source such as Latin Haemonia (“Thessaly”, a place associated with magic), Ancient Greek αἷμα (haîma, “blood”), or Ancient Greek αἵμων (haímōn, “skillful”).
- (rare) A magical plant mentioned by John Milton, said to be good against enchantments.
- 1637, John Milton, A Mask presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634, lines 638-641:
- He called it Hæmony, and gave it me,
And bad me keep it as of sovran use
’Gainst all inchantments, mildew, blast, or damp,
Or ghastly furies apparition.
- 1809, Henry John Todd, The Poetical Works of John Milton, page 342:
- It is not agreed whether Milton’s Hæmony is a real or poetical plant.
- 1970, Sacvan Bercovitch, “Milton's ‘Haemony’: Knowledge and Belief”, in Huntington Library Quarterly, page 351:
- In a recent study of Thyris' magical herb in Comus, John M. Steadman concludes that “haemony means knowledge” from Greek haimon “skillful.”
- For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:haemony.