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esteemed favourable Omens by the Seamen, for their boundings, springs, and frolics in the water are held to be sure signs of an approaching gale."
Willsford, in his “Nature's Secrets,” p. 135, tells us: “ Porpaises, or Sea-Hogs, when observed to sport and chase one another about ships, expect then some stormy weather. (3)
“ Dolphins, in fair and calm weather, persuing one another as one of their waterish pastimes, foreshews wind, and from that part whence they fetch their frisks; but if they play thus when the seas are rough and troubled, it is a sign of fair and calm weather to
in his “ Characters of Vertues and Vices," speaking of the superstitious man, observes that “ He will never set to sea but on a Sunday.”
Sailors have various puerile apprehensions of its being ominous to whistle on shipboard, to carry a Corpse in their vessel, &c.
I find the following in A Helpe to Memory and Discourse," 12mo. Lond. 1630, p. 56 : “ Q. Whether doth a dead Body in a shippe cause the shippe to sayle slower, and if it doe, what is thought to be the reason thereof ?-A. The shippe is as insensible of the living as of the dead ; and as the living make it goe the faster, so the dead make it not goe the slower, for the dead are no Rhemoras to alter the course of her passage, though some there be that thinke so, and that by a kind of mournful sympathy." ()
The common sailors account it very unlucky to lose a Water-Bucket or a Mop. To throw a Cat over-board, or drown one at sea, is the same. Children are deemed lucky to a ship. Whistling at sea is supposed to cause increase of wind, and is therefore much clisliked by Seamen, though sometimes they themselves practise it when there is a dead calm.
Pennant says, in his “ Zoology," vol. iii. p. 67, that “ the appearance of the DolPHIN and the PORPEsse are far from being
s“CUTTLES, with their many legs, swimming on the top of the water, and striving to be above the waves, do presage a storm.
“ Sea-URCHins thrusting themselves into the mud, or striving to cover their bodies with sand, foreshews a storm.
Cockles, and most Shell-Fish, are observed against a tempest to have gravel sticking hard unto their shells, as a providence of Nature to stay or poise themselves, and to help weigh them down, if raised from the bottome by surges.
“ Fishes in general, both in salt and fresh waters, are observed to sport most, and bite more eagerly, against rain than at any other time.”
NOTES TO OMENS AMONG SAILORS.
() “ Audio enim non licere cuiquam mor- Flashes, Shadows, Echoes, and other visible talium iu nave neque ungues neque capillos appearances, nightly seen and heard upon the deponere, nisi quum pelago ventus irascitur.” surface of the water.' Petron. 369, edit. Mich. Hadrianid. And Andrews, in his “ Anecdotes,” p. 331, says, Juvenal, Sat. xii. 1. 81, says:
“Superstition and Profaneness, those ex
tremes of human conduct, are too often found “Tum stagnante sinu, gaudent. ubi vertice
united in the Sailor; and the man who dreads
the stormy effects of drowning a Cat, or of Garrula securi narrare pericula Nautæ.”
whistling a Country-dance while he leans Sailors, usually the boldest men alive, are over the gunwale, will, too often, wantonly yet frequently the very abject slaves of super- defy bis Creator by the most daring execrastitious fear. “ Innumerable,” says Scot on tions and the most licentious behaviour." He Witchcraft, p. 53, “ are the reports of acci- softens, however, the severity of this charge by dents unto such as frequent the seas, as Fish- owning “ that most assuredly he is thoughtless crmen and Sailors, wlio discourse of Noises, of the faults he commits."
(2).“ Our sailors," says Dr. Pegge (under / gular passage : That a King-fisher, hanged the signature of T. Row), in the “Gent. by the bill, showeth us what quarter the wind Mag." for January, 1763, vol. xxxiii. p. 14, is, by an occult and secret propriety, con“I am told, at this very day, I mean the verting the breast to that point of the horizon vulgar sort of them, have a strange opinion of from whence the wind doth blow, is a received the Devil's power and agency in stirring up opinion and very strange—introducing natuwinds, and that is the reason they so seldom ral weathercocks, and extending magnetical whistle on ship-board, esteeming that to be a positions as far as animal natures : a conceit mocking, and consequently an enraging, of supported chiefly by present practice, yet not the Devil. And it appears now that even made out by reason or experience." Zoroaster himself imagined there was an Evil (3) In “ Canterbury Guests, or a Bargain Spirit called Vato, that could excite violent Broken,” a comedy, by Ravenscroft, Ato. p. storms of wind.”
24, we read : “My heart begins to leap, and Sir Thomas Browne has the following sin play like a Porpice before a Storm.”
WEATHER OMENS. THE SKY, PLANETS, &c.
The learned Moresin, in his “ Papatus,” happes of princes.” He adds, “ I can affirm reckons among Omens the Hornedness of the thus much, as a present witnesse, by mine Moon, the Shooting of the Stars, and the Cloudy owne experience." Rising of the Sun." ()
There is nothing superstitious in prognosShakspeare, in his “Richard II.,' act ii. tications of weather from Aches and CORNS. sc. 4, tells us :
“ Aches and Corns," says Lord Verulam,“ do “ Meteors fright the fixed Stars of engrieve (afflict) either towards rain or frost; heaven;
the one makes the humours to abound more, The pale-fac'd Moon looks bloody on the
and the other makes them sharper.” Thus earth,
also Butler, in his “Hudibras,” p. iii, c. ii. And lean-look'd prophets whisper fearful
1. 405 : change:
“ As old sinners have all points These signs forerun the death or fall of
O'th' compass in their bones and joints, kings.”
Can by their pangs and aches find In “A Defensative against the Poyson of
All turns and changes of the wind, supposed Prophecies, by the Earl of North
And, better than by Napier's bones,
Feel in their own the ampton,” 4to. Lond. 1583, signat. V 4, we
of moons." read, “When dyvers, uppon greater scru In the following passage from Gay's first pulosity than cause, went about to dis
Pastoral are some curious rural Omens of swade her Majestye, (Queen Elizabeth,) lying the weather: then at Richmonde, from looking on the Comet which appeared last; with a courage
“ We learnt to read the skies, aunswerable to the greatnesse of her state, shee To know when Hail will fall, or Winds caused the windowe to be sette open, and cast
arise. out thys worde, jacta est alea, the dyce are He taught us erst the Heifer's Tail to throwne, affirming that her stedfast hope and view, (?) confidence was too firmly planted in the When stuck aloft, that show'rs would providence of God to be blasted or affrighted straight ensue; with those beames, which either had a ground He first that useful secret did explain, in nature whereuppon to rise, or at least no Why pricking Corns foretold the gath’ring warrant out of scripture to portend the mis
When SWALLOWS fleet soar high and sport Leonard Digges, gentleman, in his rare work in air,
entitled “A Prognostication Euerlasting of He told us that the welkin would be clear.” ryght good Effecte,” &c. 4to. Lond. 1556, Thus also in the “ Trivia” of the same
fol. 6 b, tells us, “ Thunders in the morning
signifie wyude; about noone, rayne; in the poet similar Omens occur for those who live
evening, great tempest. Somme wryte (their in towns:
ground I see not) that Sondayes thundre “ But when the swinging Signs your ears shoulde brynge the death of learned men, offend
judges, and others; Mondaye's thundre, the With creaking noise, then rainy floods im death of women ; Tuesdaye’s thundre, plentie pend;
of graine; Wednesday's thundre, the deathe Soon shall the kennels swell with rapid of harlottes, and other blodshede; Thursday's streams
thundre, plentie of shepe and corne ; Fridaie's
thundre, the slaughter of a great man, and On hosier's poles depending stockings tied
other horrible murders; Saturdaye's thunFlag with the slacken d gale from side to
dre, generall pestilent plague and great
deathe." (0) CHURCH MONUMENTS foretel the changing
In Lloyd's “Stratagems of Jerusalem," 4to. air ; (3)
1602, p. 286, we read: “The Thracians, when Then Niobe dissolves into a tear,
it thunders, take their bowes and arrowes, and And sweats with secret grief; you'll hear
shoote up to the cloudes against the Thunder, the sounds
imagining by their shooting to drive the
Thunders away. Of whistling winds, ere kennels break their
Cabrias, the generall of bounds;
Athens, being ready to strike a battell on sea, Ungrateful odours COMMON-SHORES dif it suddenly lightened, which so terrified the fuse,
soldiers that they were unwilling to fight,
untill Cabrias said that now the time is to And dropping vaults distil unwholesome dews,
fight, when Jupiter himselfe, with his lightenEre the tiles rattle with the smoking
ing, doth shewe a signe that he is ready show'r," &c.
to go before us. So Epaminondas, at his go
ing to battell it suddenly lightened that it so In “ The Husbandman's Practice, or Prog amazed his souldiers that Epaminondas comnostication for Ever," 8vo. Lond. 1664, p. 137, forted them and saide, ‘Lumen hoc numina I find the following Omens of RAIN: ostendunt,'— by these Lightenings the Gods
“ Ducks and DRAKES shaking and flutter shew us that we shall have victories." ing their wings when they rise-young HORSES Ibid. p. 287: “In Rome, the dictator, the rubbing their backs against the ground consul, the prætor, and other magistrates, were Sheep bleating, playing, or skipping wan to be removed from their offices, if the soothtonly-Swine being seen to carry bottles of
sayer sawe any occasion by Lightning, Thunhay or straw to any place and hide them (*). dering, by removing of Starres, by flying of OXEN licking themselves against the hair (5) | Fowles, by intrailes of Beasts, by eclipse of --the sparkling of a LAMP or Candle—the the Sun and Moon." falling of Soor down a chimney more than Ibid. p. 288, we read : “Pau. Æmilius, ordinary-Frogs croaking—Swallows fly consul and generall of the Romanes in Maceing low,” &c. &c. ()
donia, at what time he sacrific'd unto the gods Coles, in his “ Introduction to the Know in the city of Amphipolis, it lightned, whereby ledge of Plants, p. 38, says, If the down
he was perswaded it pretended the overthrow flyeth off Colt's-Foot, DANDELYON, and of the kingdom of Macedonia, and his great THISTLES, when there is no winde, it is a
victory and tryumph of the same at Rome.” signe of rain.”
Willsford, in his “ Nature's Secrets," p. On THUNDER-SUPERSTITIONS our 113, says: “ Thunder and Lightning in wintestimonies are as numerous as those of Rain. ter in hot countryes is usual, and hath the
same effects; but in those northern climates it is held ominous, portending factious, tumults, and bloody wars, and a thing seldome seen, according to the old adigy, Winter's Thunder is the sommer's wouder."
Massey, in his notes on Ovid's “ Fasti,” p. 90, says:
66 The left-hand Thunder was accounted a happy Omen by the Romans, but by the Greeks and barbarians it was thought otherwise : so inconsistent are superstitious observations." See Tully, de Divinatioue, lib. ij. cap. 39.
Lord Northampton, in the “ Defensative against the Poyson of supposed Prophecies,”
4to. Lond. 1583, signat. T' 2 b, tells us, “ It chaunceth sometimes to thunder about that time and season of the yeare when swannes batch their young; and yet no doubt it is a paradox of simple men to thinke that a swanne cannot hatıh without a cracke of Thunder." (0)
From the following simile given by Bodenham, in his “ Belvedere, or the Garden of the Muses,” p. 153, it should seem that our ancestors held somehow or other the HEDGE. Hog to be a proguosticator of the Weather. Edit. 8vo. Loud. 1600 : “As hedge-hogs doe fore-see ensuing Stormes,
So wise men are for fortune still prepared."
NOTES TO WEATHER OMENS.
(1) “ Lunæ corniculationem, Solis nubilum ortum, Stellarum trajectiones in aere." Papatus, p. 21. On the Hornedness of the Moon, see the present volume, p. 74.
Googe, in his translation of Naogeorgus's “Popish Kingdome,” fol. 44, has the following passage on
Sky Omens. “Beside they give attentive eare to blinde
borne and bred, What good or evill fortune doth hang over
tains, ships, forests, and a thousand other fine things in the air."
(2) In “ The British Apollo," fol. Lond. 1708, vol. i. No. 51, is said, « A learned case I now propound,
Pray give an answer as profound;
Does clap her tail against the hedge ?” In “ Tottenham Court,” a comedy, 4to. Lond. 1638, p. 21, we read, “I am sure I have foretold weather from the turning up of my cowe's tayle.”
(3) The following simile is found in Bishop Hall's “ Virgidemiarum,” 12mo. 1598, p. 85: “ So lookes he like a marble toward Rayne."
(*) I find the following in “ The Curiosities, or the Cabinet of Nature,” 12mo. Lond. 1637, p. 262: “ Qu. Why is a storme said to followe presently, when a company of hogges rupne crying home? An. Some say that a hog is most dull and of a melancholy nature; and so by reason doth foresee the raine that cometh ; and in time of raine indeed I have observed that most cattell doe pricke up their eares : as for example an asse will, when he perceiveth a storme of raine or hail doth follow."
Hereby they thinke assuredly to know what
shall befall, As men that have no perfite fayth nor trust
in God at all; But thinke that every thing is wrought and
wholly guided here, By mooving of the Planets, and the whirl
ing of the Speare.” In “ The Secret Memoirs of the late Mr. Duncan Campbell,” 8vo. Lond. 1732, pp. 61, 62, we read, “ There are others who from the clouds calculate the incidents that are to befal them, and see men on horseback, moun.
(5) See before, p. 107. In Dekker's “ Match move here and there, makyng a noyse, brethme in London,"act iv., we read,
yng up to the ayre with open nostrels, Rayne “ Beasts licking 'gainst the hayre
folowe!h. Also the busy heving of Moules; the Foreshew some storme, and I fore-see some
appering, or coming out of Wormes; Hennes snare.”
resorting to the perche or reste, covered with
dust, declare Rayne. The ample working of o Thus also in Smart's “ Hop-Garden," the Spinnar in the ayre; the Ant busied with b. ii. 1. 105, p. 127:
her egges; the Bees in fayre weather not farre " And oft, alas! the long-experienc'd wights wandryng; the continuall pratyng of the (Oh! could they too prevent them!) storms Crowe, chiefly twyse or thryse quycke calling, foresee,
shew Tempest. . Whan the Crowe or Raven For as the storm rides on the rising clouds, ga peth against the sunne, in summer, Heate Fly the fleet Wild-geese far away, or else
foloweth. If they busy themselfes in proyning The Heifer toward the zenith rears her or washyng, and that in wynter, loke for head,
Raine. The uncustomed noise of Pultry, the And with expanded nostrils snuffs the air : noise of Swine, of Pecokes, declare the same. The Swallows too their airy circuits weave,
The Swalowe flying and beating the water, And, screaming, skim the brook; and fen the chirping of the Sparow in the morning, sigbred Frogs
nifie Rayne. Raine sodainly dried up; woody Forth from their hoarse throats their old coveringes strayter than of custome; Belles grutch recite;
harde further then commonly; the wallowyng Or from her earthly coverlets the Ant of Dogges; the alteration of the Cocke crowHeaves her huge legs along the narrow
ing; all declare rainy weather. I leave these, way ;
wanting the good grounde of the rest. If the Or bends Thaumantia's variegated bow learned be desyrefull of the to forsayd, let Athwart the cope of heav'n; or sable Crow's them reade grave Virgil, primo Georgicorum, Obstreperous of wing, in crowds combine.” At Bor, &c.”
“ Next hark
(8) In Sir John Sinclair's “Statistical Account
of Scotland," vol. x. 8vo. Edinb. 1794, p. 14, How the curst Raven with her harmless
parish of Wick, co.of Caithness, the minister, voice Invokes the rain, and croaking to herself,
speaking of the Swans which periodically visit
the lakes there, says: “ They are remarkable Struts on some spacious solitary shore. Nor want thy serv nts and thy wife at
prognosticators of the weather, and much re
lied on as such by the farmer.” home Signs to presage the show'r; for in the hall Sheds Niobe her precious tears, and warns
In the “Cambrian Register,” 8vo. 1796, p. Beneath thy leaden tubes to fix the vase,
430, we read : “It cannot be denied that the And catch the falling dew-drops, which
Welsh have much superstition amongst them, supply
though it is wearing off very
fast. But the Soft water and salubrious, far the best
instance adduced here, (by “The Gleaner,') To soak thy hops and brew thy generous that of their predicting a Storm by the roaring beer."
of the sea, is a curious kind of proof of their (7) Among " Extraordinarie Tokens for the superstition. Their predictions, if they may Knowledge of Weather,” he adds: “Sume be so called, are commonly justified by the have observed evil weather to folow when
event; and may, apprehend, be accounted watry Foules leave the sea, desiring lande; the for from causes as natural as the forebodings of Foules of the lande flying hyghe; the crying shepherds; for which they have rules and data of Fowles about waters, making a great noyse as well known to themselves, and, perhaps, as with their wynges; also the sees swellyng with little liable to error, as any of those established uncustomed waves; if Beastes eate gredely; if by the more enlightened philosophers of the they lycke their hooves; if they sodaynlye present day."