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peculiar presages of their deaths; amongst In the - Memoirs of Mr. Duncan Campothers are the Howling of Dogs.
bell," we read, p. 76: “I have some little “ Capitolinus tells us that the Dogs by their faith in the Howling of a Dog, when it does Howling presaged the death of Maximinus. not proceed from hunger, blows, or confine
“Pausanias (in Messe) relates that before ment. As odd and unaccountable as it may the destruction of the Messenians, the Dogs seem, those animals scent death, even before it brake out into a more fierce bowling than seizes a person." ordinary Cooliga tñ nepavyn xeáusyon: and we Mr. Douce's Notes say, “ It was formerly read in Fincelius that, in the year 1553, some believed that Dogs saw the ghosts of deceased weeks before the overthrow of the Saxons, the persons. In the “Odyssey,” b. xvi., the Dogs Dogs in Mysinia flocked together, and used of Eumæus are described as terrified at the strange howlings, in the woods and fields. | sight of Minerva, though she was then invisible The like howling is observed by Virgil, pre- | to Telemachus. The Howling of Dogs bas saging the Roman calamities in the Pharsalick generally been accounted a sign of approachwar:
ing death.” 'Obscænique canes, importunæque Volucres
Armstrong, in his “ History of the Island of Signa dabant.'—
Minorca," p. 158, says: “We have so many
owls, that we are everywhere entertained with “So Lucan to the same purpose : 'flebile their note all night long. sævi latravere canes :' and Statius, 'Noctur
"Solaque culminibus ferali carmine Bubo nique Cænum gemitus.'”. Io one inquiring in the “British Apollo,"!
Visa queri, & longas in fletum ducere fol. Lond. 1708, vol. i. No. 26, “Whether
noctes.' the Dogs Howling may be a fatal prognostic,
Virg. Æn. iv. I. 462. or no;" it is answered, “we cannot determine, The ass usually joins in the melody, but 'tis probable that out of a sense of sorrow and when the moon is about the full, the for the sickness or absence of his master, or Dog likewise intrudes himself as a performer the like, that creature may be so disturbed.” in the concert, making night hideous."
CATS, RATS, AND MICE.
OMENS were drawn by ancient supers i- | The Cat sneezing appears to have been contion from the coming in and going out of sidered as a lucky omen to a bride who was strange Cats, as the learned Moresin informs to be married the next day. (8) us. ()
In Southey's “ Travels in Spain," we read, Melton, in his “ Astrologaster," p. 45, tells « The old woman promised him a fine day us, “ 29. That when the Cat washes her face to-morrow, because the Cat's skin looked over her eares, wee shall have great store of bright.” raine." ()
It was a vulgar notion that Cats, when Lord Westmoreland, in a poem “ To al hungry, would eat coals. In the “ Tamer Cat bore me company in Confinement,” says, tamed, or Woman's Pride,” Izamo says to
- "scratch but thine ear, Moroso, Then boldly tell what weather's drawing “I'd learn to eat coals with an hungry Cat :" near."
and, in “ Bonduca,” the first daughter says, And we read in Peele's play of the “ Novice:"
“ They are cowards : eat coals like comEre Gib our Cat can lick her eare.”
Rats gnawing the hangings of a room, says , edit. 4to. 1621, p. 214, says, “ There is a Grose, is reckoned the forerunner of a death | feare, which is commonly caused by prodi. in the family. He mentions also the follow gies and dismal accidents, which much ing to the like purport: “ If the neck of a troubles many of us, as if a Mouse gnaw our child remains flexible for several hours after clothes." (*) its decease, it portends that some person in Willsford, in his “Nature's Secrets,' p. 134, that house will die in a short time."
says, “ Bats, or flying Mice, coming out of Melton, in his “ Astrologaster,” p. 45, tells their bolesquickly after sunset, and sporting us, " 21. That it is a great signe of ill lucke themselves in the open air, premonstrates fair if rats gnaw a man's cloathes."
and calm weather." Burton, in his “ Anatomy of Melancholy,"
NOTES TO CATS, RATS, AND MICE.
( “ Felium peregrinarum Egressum, In- , freshing of the moist season." It is added, gressum.”-“Ex Felis vel Canis transcursu “ The crying of Cats, Ospreys, Ravens, and qui inauspicati habebantur.” Casaubonus, other birds, upon the tops of houses, in the p. 341, ad Theophrasti Characteres. Fabricii night time, are observed by the vulgar to preLibliogr. Antiq. p. 421, edit. 1716.
signify death to the sick." (2) Herrick, in his "Hesperides,” p. 155,
(3) “ Felis sternutans. mentions
Crastina nupturæ lux est prosperrima “ True calendars, as Pusses eare
Sponsæ : Wash't o’re to tell what change is neare.” | Felix fele bonum sternuit Omen Amor." Gaule, in his “Mag-astromancers posed
Roberti Keuchenii Crepundia, p. 413. and puzzel'd,” p. 181, ranks ", The Cats lick (4) Cicero, in his Second Book on Diviing themselves' among “ Vain Observations nation, $ 27, observes: “Nos autem ita leves, and Superstitious Ominations thereupon.” atque inconsiderati sumus, ut, si Mures cor
In Willsford's “ Nature's Secrets,"? &c., roserint aliquid, quorum est opus hoc unum, 8vo. Lond. 1658, p. 131, speaking of the monstrum putemus? Ante vero Marsicum weather's prediction, he says, * Cats coveting bellum quod Clypeos Lanuvii-mures rosisthe fire more than ordinary, or licking their sent, maxumum id portentum haruspices feet and trimming the hair of their heads and esse dixerunt. Quasi vero quicquam intersit, mustachios, presages rainy weather.”
mures, diem noctem aliquid rodentes, scuta Mr. Park's Notes in his copy of Bourne and an cribra corroserint. Nam si ista sequimur; Brand's “ Popular Antiquities,' p. 92, say, quod Platonis Politian nuper apud me mures “ Cats sitting with their tails to the fire, or corroserint, de Republica debui pertimescere: washing with their paws behind their ears, are aut, si Epicuri de Voluptate Liber corrosus said to foretell change of weather.”
esset, putarem Annonam in macello cariorem In the Supplement to the “ Athenian Oracle," p. 474, we are told: “ When Cats " Cum Vestis a soricibus roditur, plus comb themselves (as we speak) 'tis a sign of
timere suspicionem futuri mali, quam præsens rain; because the moisture which is in the damnum dolere. Unde illud eleganter dicair before the rain, insinuating itself into the tum est Catonis, qui cum esset consultus a fur of this animal, moves her to smooth the quodam, qui sibi erosas esse Caligas diceret same and cover her body with it, that so she a Soricibus respondit, non esse illud monmay the less feel the inconvenience of winter; strum; sed verè monstrum habendum fuisse, as, on the contrary, she opens her fur in sum. si Sorices a Caligis roderentur." Delrio, Dismer that she may the better receive the re- | quisit. Magic. p. 473.
In Pet. Molinæi “Vates," p. 155, we read : Maximo Dictaturam, Caio Flaminio Magis“ A pud Romanos Soricis vox audita, turbabat terium, Equitum deponendi causam præbuit:" Comitia. Domitores Orbis ex stridore Muris , and again, p. 219, “ Homines qui ex Salino, pendebant. Valerius Maximus, lib. i. cap. 3, aut Muribus aut Cineribus capiunt Omina, hæc habet. Occentus soricis auditus, Fabio Deum in Scriptura loquentem non audiunt."
It is a lucky sign to have Crickets in the 1 The following line occurs in Dryden's and house. (1) Grose says it is held extremely Lee's “ dipus :" unlucky to kill a Cricket, perhaps from the
« Owls, Ravens, Crickets, seem the watch idea of its being a breach of hospitality, this insect taking refuge in bouses.
of death.” (%) Melton, in bis 6 Astrologaster," p. 45, says, Pliny, in his “ Natural History,” book xxix. “ 17. That it is a signe of death to some in mentions the Cricket as much esteemed by that house where Crickets have been many the ancient magicians: there is no doubt but yeares, if on a sudden they forsake the that our superstitions concerning these little chimney."
domestics have been transmitted to us from Gay gives the following, in his Pastoral his times. Dirge, among the rural prognostications of Willsford, in his “ Nature's Secrets," p. 135, death :
says, “ Flies in the spring or sommer season,
if they grow busier or blinder than at other 66 And shrilling Crickets in the chimney | times, or that they are observed to shroud cry'd.”
themselves in warm places, expect then So also in Reed's Old Plays:
quickly for to follow, either hail, cold storms
of rain, or very much wet weather; and if “ And the strange Cricket i'th' oven sings those little creatures are noted early in auand hops."
tumn to repair into their winter quarters, it Vol. vi. p. 357.
presages frosty mornings, cold storms, with
the approach of hoary winter. The voice of a Cricket, says the “Spec “Atomes or Flies swarming together and tator," has struck more terror than the roaring | sporting themselves in the sun-beams is a of a lion.
good omen of fair weather.”
NOTES TO CRICKETS. FLIES.
() Ad Grillum.
Gaule, in his “ Mag-astromancers posed
and puzzel'd," p. 181, mentions among other O qui meæ Culina
vain observations and superstitious ominaArgutulus choraules,
tions thereupon, “ The Crickets chirping beEt Hospes es canorus
hind the chimney stock, or creeping upon Quacunque commoreris
the foot-pace." Felicitatis Omen.
Ramesey says, in his 6 Elminthologia," 8vo. Bourne, Poematia, edit. 1764, p. 133. | Lond. 1668, p. 271, “ Some sort of people, at every turn, upon every accident, how are, the cold uncomfortable months in profound they therewith terrified! If but a Cricket un- slumber; but these residing as it were in a usually appear, or they hear but the clicking torrid zone, are always alert and merry: a of a death-watch, as they call it, they, or good Christmas fire is to them like the heats some one else in the family, shall die."
of the dog-days.” “ Though they are freIn White's Selborne, p. 235, that writer, quently heard by day, yet is their natural speaking of Crickets, says, “ They are the time of motion in the night.” housewife's barometer, foretelling her when ☺) Dr. Nathaniel Home, in his “ Dæmonit will rain; and are prognostic sometimes, ologie," 8vo. Lond. 1650, p. 59, after saying she thinks, of ill or good luck, of the death that, “ by the flying and crying of Ravens of a near relation, or the approach of an ab over their houses, especially in the dusk of sent lover. By being the constant companions evening, and where one is sick, they conclude of her solitary hours, they naturally become death ;” adds, “ the same they conclude of the objects of her superstition." “ Tender in a Cricket crying in a house where there was sects that live abroad, either enjoy only the wont to be none." short period of one summer, or else doze away
ROBIN RED BREAST:
THE “ Guardian," No. 61, speaking of the ascribed to the Ruddock or Robin, by Dray. common notion that it is ominous or unlucky ton, in his poem called “ The Owl." to destroy some sorts of birds, as Swallows and Martins, observes that this opinion might “ Cov'ring with moss the dead's unclosed possibly rise from the confidence these birds
eye, seem to put in us by building under our
The little Redbreast teacheth charitie." roofs ; so that it is a kind of violation of See Reed's edit. Shaks. vol. xviii. p. 577. the laws of hospitality to murder them. As for Robin Redbreasts in particular, 'tis not Thus also in “ Cymbeline," act iv. sc. 2: improbable they owe their security to the old
_ “ The Ruddock would ballad of the Children in the Wood. The
With charitable bill, (O bill sore shaming subsequent stanza of that well-known song
Those rich-left heirs that let their fathers places them in a point of view not unlikely
lie to conciliate the favour of children:
Without a monument!) bring thee all this; “ No burial this pretty pair
Yea, and furr'd moss besides, when flowers Of any man receives,
To winter-ground thy corse."
Percy's Old Ballads, vol. iii. p. 176. | Again in Reed's Old Plays, vol. vi. p. 358 : Orthe Robin Redbreast, says Grey on Shak “ Call for the Robin Redbreast and the Wren, speare, vol. ii. p. 226, it is commonly said, Since o‘er shady groves they hover, that if he finds the dead body of any rational
And with leaves and flow'rs do cover creature he will cover the face at least, if not
The friendless bodies of unburied men.” the whole body, with moss. An allusion probably to the old ballad. (1)
Thomson, in his Winter, thus mentions the The office of covering the dead is likewise familiarity of this bird:
- One alone, The Red breast sacred to the household gods, Wisely regardful of th’embroyling sky, In joyless fields and thorny thickets leaves His shiv'ring mates, and pays to trusted
man His annual visit.”
Mr. Park bas inserted the following note in his copy of Bourne and Brand's “ Popular Antiquities," p. 92: “ There is also a popular belief in many country places that it is unlucky either to kill or keep Robins. This
is alluded to in the following lines of a modern poet, which occur in an ode to the Robin :
· For ever from his threshold fly,
J. H. Pott's Poems, 8vo. 1780, p. 27."
NOTE TO ROBIN REDBREAST.
(1) An Essayist in the “ Gent. Mag." for Sept. 1735, vol. v. p. 534, observes: “It is well known the ancient Romans relied very much upon birds in foretelling events; and thus the Robin Redbreast hath been the cause of great superstition among the common people of England ever since the silly story of the Children in the Wood. One great instance of this is their readiness to admit him into their houses and feed him on all occasions; though he is certainly as impudent and as mischievous a little bird as ever flew."
In Stafford's “Niobe dissolved into a Nilus," 12mo. Lond. 1611, p. 241, it is said, “ On her (the Nightingale) waites Robin in his redde livorie ; who sits as a crowner on the murthred man; and seeing his body naked, plays the sorrie tailour to make him a mossy rayment.”
Thus, in Herrick’s “ Hesperides," p. 49:
Soft and soule-melting murmurings,
Brought leaves and mosse to cover her.” Also, ibid. p. 126:
To the Nightingale and Robin Redbrest. " When I departed am, ring thou my knell,
Thou pittifull and pretty Philomel :
Thou sexton (Redbrest) for to cover me." Pope thus speaks of this bird :
The Robin Redbreast till of late had rest,
SWALLOWS, MARTINS, WRENS, LADY-BUGS, SPAR
ROWS, AND TITMOUSE.
It is held extremely unlucky, says Grose, tich, he adds, in favour of the Robin and to kill a Cricket, a Lady-Bug, a Swallow, Martin, Robin Redbreast, or Wren ; perhaps
“A Robin and a Wren from the idea of its being a breach of hospita7, all these birds and insects alike taking
Are God Almighty's cock and hen.” (1) ge in houses. There is a particular dis- | Persons killing any of the above-mentioned