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Upon his breast a pentacle.-P. 153. **A pentacle is a piece of fine linen, folded with five cors 'ners, according to the five senses, and suitably inscribed with characters. This the magician extends towards the spirits which he evokes, when they are stubborn and rebellious, and refuse to be conformable unto the ceremonies and rites of magic.” See the Discourse, &c. above mentioned, p. 66.
As born upon that blessed night,
Proclaimed hell's empire overthrown.-P. 155. It is a popular article of faith, that those who are born on Christmas, or Good-Friday, have the power of seeing spirits, and even of commanding them. The Spaniards imputed the haggard and down-cast looks of their Philip II., to the disagreeable visions to which this privilege subjected him.
Yet still the mighty speur and shield,
Upon the brown hilt's breast.-P. 161. The following extract from the Essay upon the Fairy Superstitions, in “The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border,” Vol. II., will shew whence many of the particulars of the combat between Alexander IIL. and the Goblin Knight are derired:
“Gervase of Tilbury (Otia Imperial. ap. Script. rer. Bruns. vic, Vol. I. p. 797.) relates the following popular story concerning á fairy knight: “Osbert, a bold and powerful baron, visited a noble family in the vicinity of Wandlebury, in the bishopric of Ely. Among other stories related in the social cir. cle of his friends, who; according to custom, amused each other by repeating ancient tales and traditions, he was informed, that if any knight, unattended, entered an adjacent plain by moonlight, and challenged an adversary to appear, he would be immediately encountered by a spirit in the form of a knight. Os. bert resolved to make the experiment, and set out, attended by a single squire, whom he ordered to remain without the limits of the plain, which was surrounded by an ancient entrenchment. On repeating the challenge, he was instantly assailed by an adversary, whom he quickly unhorsed, and seized the reins of his steed. During this operation, bis ghostly opponent sprung up, and, darting his spear, like a javelin, at Os. bert, wounded him in the thigh. Osbert returned in triumph with the horse, which he committed to the care of his servants. The horse was of a sable colour, as well as his whole accoutrements, and apparently of great beauty and vigour. He remained with his keeper till cock-crowing, when, with eyes flashing fire, he reared, spurned the ground, and vanished. On dis. arming himself, Osbert perceived that he was wounded, and
that one of his steel-boots was full of blood. Gervase adds, that, as long as he lived, the scar of his wound opened afresh on the anniversary of the eve on which he encountered the spirit.-Less fortunate was the gallant Bohemian knight, who, travelling by night, with a single companion, came in sight of a Fairy host, arrayed under displayed banners. Despising the remonstrances of his friend, the knight pricked forward to break a lance with a champion, who advanced from the ranks, apparently in defiance. His companion beheld the Bohemian overthrown, horse and man, by his aërial adversary; and returning to the spot next morning, he found the mangled corpses of the knight and steed.” — Hierarchie of Blessed Angels, p. 554.
Besides the instances of Elfin Chivalry, above quoted, many others might be alleged in support of employing Fairy machinery in this manner. The forest of Glenmore, in the North Highlands, is believed to be hannted by a spirit called Lhamdearg, in the array of an ancient warrior, having a bloodyhand, from which he takes his name. He insists upon those with whom he meets doing battle with 'him; and the clergyman, who makes up an account of the district, extant in the Macfarlane MS., in the Advocates' Library, gravely assures us, that, in his time, Lham-dearg fought with three brothers whom he met in his walk, none of whom long survived the ghostly conflict. Barclay, in his “ Euphormion,' gives a sin. gular account of an officer who had ventured, with his servant, rather to intrude upon a haunted house, in a town in Flanders, than to put up with worse quarters elsewhere. After taking the usual precautions of providing fires, lights, and arms, they watched till midnight, when, behold! the severed arm of a man dropped from the ceiling; this was followed by the legs, the other arm, the trunk, and the head of the body, all separately. The members rolled together, united themselves in the presence of the astonished soldiers, and formed a gigantic warrior, which defied them both to combat. Their blows, although they penetrated the body, and amputated the limbs of their strange antagonist, had, as the reader may easily believe, little effect on an enemy who possessed such powers of self-union; nor did his efforts make more effectual impression npon them. How the combat terminated I do not exactly remember, and have not the book by me; but I think the spirit made to the intruders on bis mansion the usual proposal, that they should renounce their redemption; which being de, clined, he was obliged to retreat.
The most singular tale of the kind is coutained in an extract communicated to me by my friend Mr. Surtees of Mainsforth, in the bishopric, who copied it from a MS. note in a copy of Burthogge “On the Nature of Spirits,” 8vo, 1694, which had been the property of the late Mr. Gill, attorney, general to Egerton, Bishop of Durham. “ It was not,” says my obliging correspondent, “in Mr. Gill's own hand, but probably an hundred years older, and was said to be E libro Con vent. Dunelm. per T. C. extract., whom I'believe to have been Thomas Cradocke, Esq. barrister, who held several of fices under the see of Durhan an hundred years ago. Mr. Gill was possessed of most of his manuscripts." The extract, which, in fact, suggested the introduction of the tale into the. presept poem, runs thus :
“ Rem miram hujusmodi quæ nostris temporibus evenit, teste viro nobili ac fide dignissimo, enarrare haud pigebit. Radulphus Bulmer, cum e castris quæ tunc temporis prope Norham posita: erant, oblectationis causa exiissit, ac in ulteriore Tuedæ ripâ præ-, dam cum canibus leporariis insequeretur, forte cum Scoto quodam nobili, sibi antehac ut videbatur familiariter cognito, congressus est; ac ut fas erat inter inimicos, flagrante bello, brevissima interrogationis morâ interposita, alterutros invicem incitalo-cursu infestis animis petiere. Noster, primo occursu, equo præ acerrimo. hostis impetu labante, in terram eversus pectore et capite læso, sanguinem, mortuo similis, evomebat. Quem ut se ægre habentem comiter allocutus est alter, pollicitusque modo auxilium non abnegaret, monitisque obtemperans ab omni rerum sacrarum cogitatione abstineret, nec Deo, Deiparæ Virgini, Sanctove ullo, preces aut vota efferret vel inter sese conciperet, se brevi eum sanum validumque restiturum esse. Præ angore oblata conditio accepta est ; ac veteratur ille nescio quid obscæni murmuris insusurrans, prehensa manu, dicto citius in pedes sanum ut antea sublevavit. Noster autem, maxima præ rei inauditâ novitate formidine perculsus, Mı Jesu! exclamat, vel quid simile ; ac subite respiciens nec hostem nec ullum alium conspicit, equum solum gravissimo nuper casu aflictum, per summam pacem in rivo fluvii pascentem. Ad castra itaque mirabundus revertens, fidei dubius, rem primo occultavit,