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birds or insects, or destroying their nests, will gave offence to our first Christian Missiona. infallibly, within the course of the year, break ries, and, by their commands, he is still hunted a bone, or meet with some other dreadful mis- and killed by the peasants on Christmas Day, fortune. (9) On the contrary, it is deemed and on the following (St. Stephen's Day) he lucky to have Martins or Swallows build is carried about hung by the leg in the centre their nests in the eaves of a house, or in the of two hoops crossing each other at right chimneys.

angles, and a procession made in every vilIts being accounted unlucky to destroy lage, of men, women, and children, singing Swallows is probably a pagan relic. We an Irish catch, importing him to be the king read in Ælian that these birds were sacred to of all birds. Hence the name of this bird in the penates, or household gods of the ancients, all the European languages,-Greek, Teóxidos, and therefore were preserved. They were Baciasus, Trochilus, Basileus; Rex Avium, honoured anciently as the nuntios of the Senator; Latin, Regulus; French, Roytelet, spring. The Rhodians are said to have had Berichot, (4) but why this nation call him a solemn anniversary song to welcome in the Bæuf de Dieu I cannot conjecture; Welsh, Swallow. Anacreon's Ode to that bird is

Bren, King; Teutonic, Koning Vogel, King well known.

Bird; Dutch, Konije, little King." () Willsford, in his “ Nature's Secrets,” p. In Sonnini's “ Travels in Upper and Lower 134, says : “Swallows flying low, and touch- Egypt,” translated from the French, 4to. - ing the water often with their wings, presage Lond. 1800, pp. 11, 12, we have the following rain.''

account of “ Hunting the Wren;" Gaule, in his “ Mag-astromancers posed “While I was at Le Ciotat (near Marand puzzeld,” p. 181, takes notice, among seilles in France) the particulars of a siugular other vain observations and superstitious omi- ceremony were related to me, which takes nations thereupon, 5 the Swallows falling place every year at the beginning of Nivose down the chymney."

(the latter end of December): a numerous In Lloyd's “ Stratagems of Jerusalem,” body of men, armed with swords and pistols, 4to. Lond. 1602, p. 285, it is repeated that set off in search of a very small bird which the Swallow is a classical bird of omen. Ву the ancients call Troglodytes (Motacella Swallows lighting upon Pirrhus' tents, and Troglodytes, L. Syst. Nat. edit. 13, Anglicè lighting upon the mast of Mar. Antonius' the common Wren), a denomination retained ship, sayling after Cleopatra to Egipt, the by Guenau de Montbellard, in his Natural soothsayers did prognosticate that Pirrhus History of Birds.' When they have found should be slaine at Argos in Greece, and Mar. it (a thing not difficult, because they always Antonius in Egipt.”

take care to have one ready), it is suspended “ Swallowes," he adds, “ followed King on the middle of a pole, which two men carry Cyrus going with his army from Persia to on their shoulders, as if it were a heavy burthen. Scythia, as Ravens followed Alexander the This whimsical procession parades round the Great at returning from India and going to town; the bird is weighed in a great pair of Babilon; but as the Magi tolde the Persians scales, and the company then sits down to that Cyrus should die in Scythia, so the table and makes merry. The name they give Chaldean astrologers told the Macedonians to the Troglodytes is not less curious than the that Alexander the Great, their king, should kind of festival to which it gives occasion. die in Babilon, without any further warrant They call it at La Ciotat, the Pole-cat, or but by the above Swallowes and Ravens." Père de la bécusse (father of the woodcock),

Colonel Vallancey, in the thirteenth Num. on account of the resemblance of its plumage ber of his “ Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis," to that of the woodcock, supposed by them p. 97, speaking of the Wren, the augur’s fa- to be engendered by the polecat, which is a vourite bird, says that “The Druids repre- great destroyer of birds, but which certainly sented this as the king of all birds. The su- produces none. perstitious respect shown to this little bird





( ) A Note in Mr. Park's copy of Bourne and Brand, p. 92, says :

“ When a boy, I remember it was said, in consonance with the above superstition, that

Tom Tit and Jenny Wren

Were God Almighty's cock and hen: and therefore to be held sacred."

(*) In “ Six Pastorals, &c., by George Smith, Landscape Painter, at Chichester, in Sussex,” 4to. Lond. 1770, p. 30, the following occurs : “I found a Robin's nest within our shed, And in the barn a Wren has young ones

bred. I never take away their nest, nor try. To catch the old ones, lest a friend should

die. Dick took a Wren's nest from his cottage

side, And ere a twelvemonth past his mother dy'd!

(3) “Sparrows,” he adds,“ in the morning early, chirping, and making more noise than ordinary they use to do, foretells rain or wind;

the Tit-mouse, cold, if crying pincher.” “Birds in general that do frequent trees and bushes, if they do fly often out, and make quick returns, expect some bad weather to follow soon after.'

Alexander Ross, in his Appendix to the “ Arcana Microcosmi," p. 219, informs us that “In this land, of late years, our present miseries and unnatural wars bave been forewarned by ai mies of Swallows, Martins, and other birds, fighting against one another.”

(4) Berchot is rendered in Cotgrave's Dictionary of Old French, “the little Wrenne, our Ladies henne.” In the “Livre vii, de la Nature des Oyseaux, par P. Belon,” fol. Par. 1555, p. 342, we read :

“Due Roytelet. Les Grecs l'ont anciennement nommé Trochylos, Presuis, ou Basileus, et les Latins Trochylus, Senator, Regulus. ll est diversement nommé en Francoys: car les uns dient le Roy Bertauld, les autres un Berichot, les autres un Bæuf de Dieu.” “ Aristote dit, que pource qu'il est nommé

Senateur & Roy, il a combat contre l'Aigle. Le Roytelet de si petite stature fait nuisance à l'Aigle, qui maistrise touts autres Oyseaux."

I should suppose the name of “ Troglodytes, c'est à dire, entrants es Cavernes,” from the nature of this bird's nest, which Belon thus describes : “ La structure du nid de ce Roytelet, tel qu'il le fait communement à la couverture de chaume, qui dedens quelque pertuis de Muraille est composé en forme orale, couvert dessus, et dessous, n'y laissant qu'un seul moult petit pertuis, par lequel il y peult entrer."

Pliny says : “ Dissident-Aquilæ & Trochilus, si credimus, quoniam Rex appellatur Avium.” edit. Harduin. i. 582, 27.

He further tells us what a singular office the Wren performs in Egypt to the Crocodile :

“Hunc (i.e. Crocodilum) saturum Cibo piscium, et semper esculento Ore, in litore somno datum, parva Avis, quæ Trochilus ibi vocantur, Rex avium in Italia, invitat ad hiandum pabuli sui gratia, os primum ejus assultim repurgans, mox dentes, et intus fauces quoque ad hanc scabendi dulcedinem quam maxime hiantes.“

(5) Mr. Gregory informed me, May 23, 1805, that in Ireland they still go out on St. Stephen's Day to hunt the Wren. J. B.

Aubrey, in his “Miscellanies,” 2nd edit. 8vo. p. 45, having mentioned the last battle fought in the North of Ireland between the Protestants and the Papists, in Glinsuly, in the county of Donegal, says:

66 Near the same place a party of the Protestants had been surprised sleeping by the Popish Irish, were it not for several Wrens that just wakened them by dancing and pecking on the drums as the enemy were approaching. For this reason the wild Irish mortally hate these birds to this day, calling them the Devil's Servants, and killing them wherever they can catch them; they teach their children to thrust them full of thorns; you'll see sometimes on holidays a whole parish running like madmen from hedge to hedge a Wren-hunting.


Bishop Hall, in his “ Characters of Ver- bodily accident, before you return home. To tues and Vices," so often cited, speaks of this avert this, you must endeavour to prevent her, superstition when treating of the superstitious crossing you: and if that cannot be done you man, observing that“ if but a Hare crosse him must ride round on fresh ground; if the Sow in the way, he returnes.''

is with her litter of pigs, it is lucky, and deMelton, too, in his “ Astrologaster," p. 45,

notes a successful journey." informs us that “it is very ill lucke to have According to the following passage in Ela Hare cross one in the high way.' Burton,

lison's “ Trip to Benwell," lix., it should also, in his “Anatomy of Melancholy," edit. seem that Swine appearing in sight, in travel4to. 1621, p. 214, observes, “ There is a feare ling, was an omen of good luck: which is commonly caused by prodigies and

“ Neither did here dismall accidents, which much troubles many of us. as if a Hare crosse the way at our going

In sight appear

Of Swine, foul, dreadful nomen; forth, &c.” The omen of the Hare crossing

Which common Fame the way occurs with others in the old play of

Will oft proclaim the “ Dumb Kright,” by Lewis Machin,

Of luck, dire, wretched omen." (*) act iv. sc. I, in a passage already quoted. It is found also in Ellison's “ Trip to Ben- The meeting of a Weasel is a bad omen. well,” lx.:

See Congreve's comedy of Love for Love." (5)

Melton, in his “ Astrologaster,” p. 46, says: “Nor did we meet, with nimble feet, One little fearful Lepus,

“ 16. That it is a very unfortunate thing for a That certain sign, as some divine,

man to meete early in a morning an ill-faOf fortune bad to keep us." ()

voured Man or Woman, a rough-footed Hen,

a shag-haird Dog, or a black Cat." The ancient Britons made use of Hares for Shaw, in his “ History of Moray," tells us the purposes of divination.(2) They were that the ancient Scots much regarded oinens never killed for the table. 'Tis perhaps from in their expeditions: an armed man meeting hence that they have been accounted ominous them was a good omen :0 if a woman by the vulgar. See Cæsar's “ Commenta- bare-foot crossed the road before them, they ries," p. 89.

seized her and fetched blood from her foreI find the following in “A Help to Dis- head : if a Deer, Fox, Hare, or any beast of course," 12mo. Lond. 1633, p. 310 : 1

Q. game appeared, and they did not kill it, it Wherefore hath it anciently beene accounted was an unlucky omen. good lucke, if a Wolfe crosse our way, (3)

In “Secret Memoirs of the late Mr. Duncan but ill luck if a Hare crosse it?-A. Our an- Campbell,” 8vo. Lond. 1732, p. 61, we read : cestors, in times past, as they were merry “Some will defer going abroad, though called conceited, so were they witty : and thence it by business of the greatest consequence, if on grew that they held it good lucke if a Wolf going out they are met by a person who has crest the way and was gone without any more the misfortune to squint. This turns them danger or trouble; but ill luck, if a Hare immediately back, and, perhaps, by delaying crost and escaped them, that they had not till another time what requires an immediate taken her."

despatch, the affair goes wrong, and the omen Grose tells us, “ If going on a journey on is indeed fulfilled, which, but for the superbusiness a Sow cross the road, you will pro- stition of the observer, would have been of no bably meet with a disappointment, if not a effect."

We gather from a remarkable book enti- that in the ages of chivalry it was thought tled “ The Schoolemaster, or Teacher of Table unlucky to meet with a priest, if a man were Philosophy,". 4to. Lond. 1583, b. iv. cap. 8, going forth to war or a tournament. ()


very ill

(") “ Alex, ab Alexandro,” lib. v. c. 13, | Hungary : see Dr.Townson's “Travels in Hunp. 685, has the following passage : Lepus gary." He says: “ This superstition is very quoque occurrens in Via, infortunatum iter ancient, and is mentioned in a very old Latin præsagit et ominosum."

treatise called "Lagrographie,' 4to. Edinb. In Bebelii “ Facetiæ," edit, 4to. 1516, sig. | 1797." E iij., we read: “Vetus est superstitio et Dr. Nathaniel Home, in his “ Dæmonofalsa Credulitas rusticorum, ut si cui mané logie,” 8vo. Lond. 1650, p. 60, says: “ If an lepus transverso itinere obvius venerit, malum Hare, or the like creature, cross the way where aliquid illi hoc die portendi.”

one is going, it is (they say) a signe Gaule, in his “Mag-astromancers posed luck. In so much as some in company with and puzzel'd," p. 181, ranks among vain ob- a woman great with childe, bave, upon the servations and superstitious ominations there- crossing of such creatures, cut or torne some upon, “ A Hare crossing the way''-as also of the clothes off that woman with childe, " the Swine grunting."

to prevent (as they imagine) the ill luck that Ramesey, in his “

Elminthologia,” 8vo. might befall her. I know I tell you most Lond. 1668, p. 271, speaking of superstitious true; and I hope in such a subject as this, persons, says: “ If an Hare do but cross their touching these superstitions, I shall not offend way, they suspect they shall be rob’d, or come in acquainting you with these particulars.” to some mischance forthwith."

(%) Borlase, in his “ Antiq. of Cornwall,”. Mason, in “The Anaiomie of Sorcerie," p. 135, tells us of " a remarkable way of di4to. Lond. 1612, p. 85, enumerates among vining related of Boadicea, Queen of the Brithe superstitious persons of his age those who tons--when she had harangued her soldiers prognosticate some misfortune if a Hare to spirit them up against the Romans, she

opened her bosom and let go a Hare, which Sir Thomas Browne tells us, " if a Hare she had there concealed, that the augurs cross the highway there are few above three might thence proceed to divine. The frighted score years that are not perplexed thereat, animal made such turnings and windings in which, notwithstanding, is but an augurial her course, as, according to the then rules of terror, according to that received expression, judging, prognosticated happy success. The • Inauspicatum dat iter oblatus lepus. And joyful multitude made loud huzzas, Boadicea the ground of the conceit was probably no seized the opportunity, approved their ardour, greater than this, that a fearful animal passing led them straight to their enemies, and gained by us portended unto us something to be

the victory." feared : as, upon the like consideration, the (3) Lupton, in his third book of “Notable meeting of a Fox presaged some future im- Things' (edit. 8vo. 1660, p. 52), 5, says : posture. These good or bad signs, sometimes “Plinie reports that men in antient times did succeeding according to fears or desires, have fasten upon the gates of their towns the heads left impressions and timorous expectations of Wolves, thereby to put away witchery, sorin credulous minds for ever."

cery, or enchantment; which many hunters The superstitious notion of a Hare crossing observe or do at this day, but to what use the road being an ill omen is prevalent in they know not."

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crosse a man.

Werenfels says, p. 7: “When the supersti- “ Hogs crying and running unquietly up tious person goes abroad he is not so much and down, with hay or litter in their mouths, afraid of the teeth as the unexpected sight of a foreshews a storm to be near at hand. Wolf, lest he should deprive him of his speech." “ Moles plying their works, in undermining

(TM) The following is from a rare collection the earth, foreshews rain; but if they do for. in black letter, which has been already quoted sake their trenches and creep above ground in more than once, entitled “ Wits, Fits, and summer time, it is a sign of hot weather; but Fancies,” 4to.: “A plaine country vicar per- when on a suddain they doe forsake the val. swaded his parishioners, in all their troubles leys and low grounds, it foreshews a flood and adversities, to call upon God, and thus he neer at hand; but their coming into meddows said : “There is (dearlie beloved) a certaine presages fair weather, and for certain no foods. familiar beast amongst you called a Hogge; “ The little sable beast (called a Fuea), if see you not how toward a storme or tempest it much thirsting after blood, it argues rain. crieth evermore, Ourgh, Ouryh? So must you “ The lamentable croaking of Frogs more likewise, in all your eminent troubles and than ordinary does denote rainy weather. dangers, say to yourselves, Lourghu, Lourghd, “Glow-Worms, SNAyles, and all such creahelpe me.'

tures, do appear most against fair weather ; but () In “Secret Memoirs of the late Mr. if Worms come out of the earth much in the Duncan Campbell," 8vo. 1732, p.60, we read : day-time it is a presage of wet weather ; but in “I have known people who have been put into the summer evenings it foreshews dewy nights, such terrible apprehensions of death by the and hot days to follow." squeaking of a Weasel, as have been very near (6) Gaule, in his “Mag-astromancers posed bringing on them the fate they dreaded.” and puzzel'd,” p. 312, mentions this super

In “Dives and Pauper," fol. 1493, the stition : “ Meeting of monks is commonly acfirste precepte, chap. 46: “Some man hadde counted as an ill omen, and so much the levyr to mete with a FROUDE or a Frogge in rather if it be early in the morning : because the way than with a knight or a squier, or with these kind of men live for the most part by any man of religion, or of holy churche, for the suduain death of men; as vultures do by than they say and leve that they shal have gold. slaughters." For sumtyme after the metyng of a Frogge or The following occurs in Pet. Molinæi a Tode they have resceyved golde-wele I “Vates," p. 154:“Si egredienti domo summo wote that they resseyve golde of men or of mane primus occurrit Æthiops, aut claudus, wymen, but nat of Frogges ne of Todes, but it ominosum est." Ex quibuslibet rebus Subé of the Devel in lyknesse of a Frogge or a perstitio captat Auguria, casum vertens in Tode-these labourers, delvers, and dykers, Omen." that moost mete with Frogges and Todes, been (1) Gaule, in his “ Mag-astromancers posed fulle pore comonly and but men paye them and puzzel d," p. 181, holds it as a vain obtheir hyre, they have lytel or nought.'

servation “to bode good or bad luck from the Willsford, in his “Nature's Secrets," 8vo. rising up on the right or left side; from lifting Lond. 1658, p. 130, tells us : “ Beasts eating the left leg over the threshold, at first going greedily, and more than they use to do, pre- out of doors; from the meeting of a beggar or notes foul weather; and all small cattel, that a priest the first in a morning; the meeting of seeme to rejoyce with playing and sporting a virgin or a harlot first; the running in of themselves, foreshews rain.

a child betwixt two friends; the justling one “ OXEN and all kind of Neat, if you do at another at unawares; one treading upon anoany time observe them to hold up their heads, ther's toes ; to meet one fasting that is lame, and siuffle in the air, or lick their hooves, or or defective in any member ; to wash in the their bodies against the hair, expect then raivy same water after another." weather.

The following superstitions among the Ma“ Asses or Mules, rubbing often their ears, labrians are related in Phillips's account of or braying much more than usually they are then, 12mo. 1717: “It is interpreted as a accustomed,

very bad sign if a blind man, a Bramin, or a

presages rain.

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