« PreviousContinue »
Or does a worse disgrace betide ? Hath no one since his death applied ? Alas!
know the cause too well. The salt is spilt, to me it fell ; Then, to contribute to my loss, My knife and fork were laid across, On Friday too! the day I dread! Would I were safe at home in bed! Last night, (I vow to Heav'n 'tis true,) Bounce from the fire a coffin flew. Next post some fatal news shall tell! God send my Cornish friends be well!
of Forglen, in the county of Banff, we read : “ Still some charms are secretly used to prevent evil; and some Omens looked to by the older people."
Omens are also noticed by Moulin. “Satan summus fallendi artifex, propensione hominum ad scrutanda futura abutitur ad eos ludificandos : eosque exagitans falsis ominibus et vanis terriculamentis, aut inani spe lactans, multis erroribus implicat. Hujus seductionis species sunt infinitæ et vanitas inexplicabilis, Casum vertens in Præsagia et capiens Auguria de futuris ex Bestiis, Aquis, Oculis, Fumo, Stellis, Fronte, Manibus, Somniis, vibratione Palpebræ, Sortibus, Jactis, &c., ad quæ præsagia homines bardi stupent attoniti : inquisitores futurorum negligentes præsentia." Petri Molinæi Vates, p. 151.
Dr. Hickes, in a letter to Dr. Charlett, Master of University College, Oxford, dated Jan. 23, 1749, and preserved in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, mentions the OMENs that happened at the Coronation of K. James the Second, which,"says he,“ I saw: viz. the tottering of the crown upon his head; the broken canopy over it; and the rent flag hanging upon the White Tower when I came home from the coronation. It was torn by the wind at the same time the signal was given to the Tower that he was crowned. I put no great stress upon these Omens, but I cannot despise them; most of m, I believe, come by chance, but some from superior intellectual agents, especially those which regard the fate of kings and nations." See the Supplement to Seward's Anecdotes, p. 81.
Of this unfortunate Monarch, his brother, Charles the Second, is said to have prophesied as follows, with great success: the King said one day to Sir Richard Bulstrode, “ I am weary of travelling, I am resolved to go abroad no more: but when I am dead and gone, I know not what my brother will do; I am much afraid when he comes to the throne he will be obliged to travel again.” Ibid. p. 51.
Gay, in his fable of the Farmer's Wife and the Raven, ridicules, in the following manner, some of our superstitious Omens : “Why are those tears ? why droops your
That raven on yon left-hand oak
toad, A murrain take thy whoreson throat! I knew misfortune in the note. Dame, quoth the raven, spare your
oaths, Unclench your fist, and wipe your clothes ; But why on me those curses thrown? Goody, the fault was all your own; For, had you laid this brittle ware On Dun, the old sure-footed mare, Though all the ravens of the hundred With croaking had your tongue out-than
der'd, Sure-footed Dun had kept her legs, And you, good woman, sav'd your eggs."
“Nothing is more contrary to good sense than imagining everything we see and hear is a prognostic either of good or evil, except it be the belief that nothing is so.” Secret Memoirs of the late Mr. Duncan Campbell, 8vo. Lond. 1732, p. 60.
Aubrey, in his “Remains of Gentilisme," notices several portents which happened before changes of government in his time. At Sir Thomas Trenchard's, at Lichyat in Dorset, on the first day of the sitting of the parliament, 1641, while the family were at dinner, the
sceptre fell out of the King's hand, in plaister, in the ball. At his Majesty's trial the head of his cane fell off. And before Cromwell's death a great whale came to Greenwich. He notices, also, the tearing of the canopy at
James the Second's coronation, in returning from the Abbey: adding, “'twas of cloth of gold (and my strength I am confident could not have rent it), and it was not a windy day.”
THE SILLY HOW,(1) i. e. THE HOLY OR FORTUNATE CAP OR HOOD.
CAULS are little membranes found on it is firm and crisp: if dead or sick, relaxed some children, encompassing the head, when and flaccid. born. This is thought a good omen to the Sir Thomas Browne thus accounts for this child itself, and the vulgar opinion is, that phenomenon. “To speak strictly," he says, whoever obtains it by purchase will be fortu is the effect is natural, and thus to be connate, and escape dangers. An instance of ceived : the infant hath three teguments, or great fortune in one born with this Coif is membranaceous filmes, which cover it in the given by Ælius Lampridius, in his “ History womb, i.e. the Corion, Amnios, and Allantois; of Diadumenus,” who came afterwards to the the Corion is the outward membrane, wherein sovereign dignity of the empire. This
super are implanted the veins, arteries, and umbilistition was very prevalent in the primitive cal vessels, whereby its nourishment is conages of the Church. St. Chrysostom inveighs veyed; the Allantois, a thin coat seated under against it in several of his homilies. He is the Corion, wherein are received the watery particularly severe against one Prætus, a cler separations conveyed by the Urachus, that the gyman, who, being desirous of being fortunate, acrimony thereof should not offend the skin: bought 'such a Coif of a midwife. (?)
the Amnios is a general investment, containing In France it is proverbial : “ être né coiffée" the sudorous, or thin serosity perspirable is an expression (3) signifying that a person is through the skin. Now about the time when extremely fortunate. This Caul, thought me the infant breaketh these coverings, it somedical in diseases, is also esteemed an infallible times carrieth with it, about the head, a part of preservative against drowning: and, under that the Amnios or nearest coat: which, saith Spiidea, is frequently advertised for sale in our gelius, either proceedeth from the toughness public papers (*) and purchased by seamen. of the membrane or weaknesse of the infant Midwives used to sell this membrane to ad that cannot get clear thereof, and therefore vocates, as an especial means of making them herein significations are natural and concludeloquent. (5) They sold it also for magical ing upon the infant, but not to be extended
Grose says that a person possessed of unto magical signalities, or any other pera Caul may know the state of health of the son." (1) party who was born with it: if alive and well,
NOTES TO CHILD'S CAUL.
( ) “In Scotland," says Ruddiman in his “Glossary to Douglas’s Virgil,” v. How, “ the women call a haly or sely How (i. e. holy or
fortunate Cap or Hood), a film, or membrane, stretched over the heads of children new born, which is nothing else but a part of that which
covers the fætus in the womb; and they give “Outre les tuniques ordinaires qui enveout that children so born will be very fortu- lopent l'Enfant dans le ventre de sa mere, il nate."
s'en trouve quelquefois une, qui luy couvre la In the North of England, and in Scotland, teste en forme de casque, ou de capuchon, si a midwife is called a Howdy or Howdy Wife. I justement & si fortement, qu'en sortant il ne take Howdy to be a diminutive of How, and la peut rompre, & qu'il naist coiffé. Voyes to be derived from this almost obsolete opinion Riolan, du Laurens, et les autres Anatomistes : of old women. I once heard an etymon of on croit que les enfans qui naissent de la sorte Howdy to the following effect : “How d’ye,” sont heureux, & la superstition attribuë à -midwives being great gossipers. This is cette Coiffure d'etranges vertus. Je dis, la evidently of a piece with Swift's “ All Eggs superstition & credulité, non pas d'hier, ni under the Grate."
d'aujourd'hui, mais dès les temps des derniers (%) “Quelques enfans viennent au monde Empereurs : car Ælius Lampridius, en la vie avec une pellicule qui leur couvre le teste, d'Antonin, surnommé Diadumène, remarque, que l'on appelle du nom de Coëffe, et que que cet Empereur, qui nâquit avec une bande, l'on croit estre une marque de bonheur. Ce ou peau sur le front, en forme de diademe, & qui a donné lieu au proverbe François, selon d'ou il prit son nom, joüit d'une perpetuelle lequel on dit d'un homme heureux, qu'il est felicité durant tout le cours de son regne, & né coeffé. On a vû autrefois des avocats as- de sa vie : et il ajoûte, que les sages femmes sez simples pour s'imaginer que cette Coeffe vendoient bien cher cette coiffe aux avocats pouvoit beaucoup contribuer à les rendre elo- qui croyoient que la portant sur eux, ils acquents, pouvoû qu'ils la portassent dans leur queroient une force de persuader, laquelle, sein.
les juges & les auditeurs ne pouvoient resister. “Elius Lampridius en parle dans la vie Les sorciers mesmes, s'en servoient à diverses d'Antonin Diadumene, mais se Phylactere sortes de malefices, comme il se voit dans les estant si disproportionné a l'effet qu'on luy Notes de Balsamon, sur les Conciles; où il attribuë, s'il le produisoit, ce ne pourroit estre reporte divers canons, condamnans ceux qui que par le Ministere du Demon, qui voudroit se servoient de cela, soit à bonne, soit a maubien faire de sa fausse eloquence à ceux qu'il vaise fin. Voyes M. Saumaise, et, sur tout, coëffe de la sorte." Traité des Supersti- Casaubon, en leurs Commentaires sur les tions, &c., 12mo. Par. 1679, tom. i. p. 316. Ecrivains de l'Histoire Auguste.” (3) “ Il est né Coiffé.
(*) I copied the subsequent advertisement
from the London “Morning Post,” No. 2138, “ Cela se dit d'un homme heureux, à qui Saturday, Aug. 21st, 1779. “To the Gentletout rif, à qui les biens viennent en dormant, men of the Navy, and others going long Voy& sans les avoir merités : comme on l'expri.
ages to Sea. To be disposed of, a Child's ma il y a quelque temps dans ce joly Rondeau.
CAUL. Enquire at the Bartlet Buildings « Coiffé d'un froc bien raffiné
Coffee House in Holborn. N. B. To avoid Et revêtu d'un Doyenné,
unnecessary trouble the price is Twenty GuiQui luy raporte de quoy frire, Frère Renè devient Messire,
I read also an advertisement, similar to the Et vif comme un determiné
above, in the “ Daily Advertiser," in July Un prelat riche & fortuné
1790. Sous un bonnet enluminé
In the “ Times" Newspaper for February En est, si je l'ose ainsi dire
20, 1813, the following advertisement ocCoiffé.
curred : Ce n'est pas que frêre René
“A Child's Caul to be sold, in the highest D'aucun mérite soit orné,
perfection. Enquire at No. 2, Church Street, Qu'il soit docte, ou qu'il sache écrire,
Minories. To prevent trouble, price £12." Ni qu'il ait tant le mot pour rire,
And, in the same Newspaper for February Mais c'est seulement, qu'il est né
27, 1813, two advertisements of Cauls toCoiffé.
“ CAUL. A Child's Caul to be sold. En- we read. “Some would persuade us that such quire at No. 2, Greystoke Place, Fetter Lane." as are born with Cauls about their heads are
“To Persons going to Sea. A Child's Caul, not subjet to the miseries and calamities of in a perfect state, to be sold cheap. Apply at humanity, as other persons--are to expect all 5, Duke Street, Manchester Square, where it good fortune even so far as to become invulmay be seen.”
nerable, provided they be always careful to Weston, in his “Moral Aphorisms from carry it about them. Nay, if it should by the Arabic,” 8vo. Lond. 1801, p. xii., gives chance be Jost, or surreptitiously taken away, the following: “The Caul that enfolds the the benefit it would be transferred to the birth is the powerful guardian, like the seal- party that foute it." ring of a monarch, for the attainment of the In Digby’s “ Elvira," act v., Don Zancho arch of heaven, where, in the car of a bright says: luminary, it is crowned and revolved.”
“Were we not Lorn with Cauls upon our As a note, he says, “ The superstition of
heads? the Caul comes from the East; there are several
Think’st thou, chicken, to come off twice words in Arabic for it. It is not out of date with us among the people, and we often see 25
Thus rarely fron such dangerous advenand 30 guineas advertised for one.
tures?" (5) Lampridius, speaking of Diadumenus, says :
“ Solent deinde pueri pileo insigniri In Jonson’s “ Alchymist," Face says: naturali, quod obstetrices rapiunt et advocatis
“ Yes and that credulis vendunt, siquidem causidici hoc juvari dicuntur: at iste puer pileum non habuit,
Yo' were born with a Cawl o' sed diadema tenue, sed ita forte ut rumpi non Melton, in his “ Astrologaster," p. 45, men. potuerit, venis intercedentibus specii nervi tions this superstition : 22. That if a child sagittarii.”
be borne with a Cawle on his head he shall Mr. Douce observes on this : “ One is im
be very fortunate." mediately struck with the affinity of the See also upon this subject Le Brun in his judge's coif (a) to this practice of antiquity. “Superstitions Anciennes & Modernes.” To strengthen this opinion it may be added, (0) “Guianerius, cap. xxxvi. de Ægritud. that, if ancient lawyers availed themselves of Matr. speakes of a silly jealous fellowe, that this popular superstition, or fell into it them
seeing his child newborne included in a Kell, selves if they gave great sums to win these thought sure a Franciscan that used to come Cauls, is it not very natural to suppose that to his house was the father of it, it was so like they would feel themselves inclined to wear a frier's Cowle, and thereupon threatened the them?"
frier to kill him." Burton's " Anat. of MeSir Thomas Browne says, “ thus we read in lancholy,” 4to. Oxf. 1621, p. 688. the Life of Antonius,' by Spartianus, that (V) So Levinus Lemnius, in his “ Occult children are sometimes born with this natural Miracles of Nature," tells us, lib. ii. cap. 8, cap, which midwives were wont to sell to cre- that if this Caul be of a blackish colour it is dulous lawyers, who held an opinion that it an omen of ill fortune to the child, but if of contributed to their promotion.'
a reddish one it betokens every thing that is In the “ Athenian Oracle," vol. iii. p. 84, good. He observes “ There is an old opinion,
not only prevalent amongst the common and (a) Dugdale, in his “ Origines Judiciales,” p. 112, ignorant people, but also amongst men of great says: “In token or signe that all justices are thus
note, and physicians also, how that children graduate (i. e. serjeants at law), every of them always, whilst he sitteth in the King's Court, wear
born with a Caul over their faces are born eth u white coif of silk, which is the principal and with an omen, or sign of good or bad luck: chief insignment of habit, wherewith serjeants at when as they know not that this is common law in their creation are decked; and neither the
to all, and that the child in the womb was justice, nor yet the serjeant, shall ever put off the quoif, no not in the King's presence, though he be
defended by three membranes." English in talk with his Majesties Highness."
Translat. fol. Lond. 1658, p. 105.
I am of opinion that the vulgar saying, the same manner both to the father and
Oh, you are a lucky man ; you were wrap the sonne being much more rare," &c. He ped up in a part of your mother smock," goes on to make religious reflections thereoriginated in this superstition. Ing je “Athe upon, which are foreign to our present purpose. nian Oracle," vol. iii. p. 84, speasing of this He entitles this chapter, “ Concerning an exCawl, the authors say: "We be ieve no such traordinary Veile which covered my Body at correspondences betwixt the activos of human my comming into the World." This book is life and that shirt."
cited in Steevens's Shakspeare, vol. ii. p. In a very rare work in my possession, en
137. titled “Mount Tabor, or Private Exercises In “ Advice to a Painter," a poem, printed of a Penitent Sinner," publisi. A in 1639, in for J. Davis, 1681, 4to. (no place), is the folthe 75th year of the author (R. Willis, lowing passage, canto ii. p. 2: Esqrs.) (b) age, 12mo., he tells us, p. 89, “ Ther was one special remarkable thing con
barking bear-wardcerning myself, who being my parents' first
Whom pray'e dont forget to paint with's
staff, son, but their second child (they having a daughter before me), wèien I came into the
Just at this green bear's tail,world, my head, face, and foreparts of the
Watching (as carefull neat-herds do their body were all covered over with a thin kell
Lest she should eat her nauseous secundine. or skin, wrought like an artificial veile; as also my eldest sonne, being likewise my se
Then draw a hawthorn bush, and let him cond childe, was borne with the like extraor
place dinary covering : our midwives and gossips
The heam upon't with faith that the next holding such children as come so veiled into the world, to be very fortunate (as they call
May females prove”it), there being not one childe amongst many with this explanation at p. 13: “ This alhundreds that are so borne; and this to fall ludes to a little piece of superstition which
the country people use, carefully attending
their calving cows, lest they should eat their (b) R. Willis, Esq., appears, by his own account
after burthen, which they commonly throw of himself, to have been successively “ Secretary to the Lord Brooke, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and upon a hawthorn bush, with stedfast belief after that, to my much honoured Lord the Earl of that they shall have a cow-calf the next year Middlesex, and lastly to the most worthy my most after." Heam is explained to mean
" the noble Lord, the Lord Coventry, Lord Keeper of the Great Seale, in whose service I expect to end my
same in beasts as the secundine or skin that dayes.” p. 98.
the young is wrapped in.”
SNEEZING has been held ominous from times of the most remote antiquity. (1) Eustathius
Homer has long ago observed, that sneezing to the left was unlucky, but prosperous to the right.
Aristotle has a problem, “Why sneezing from noon to midnight was good, but from night to noon unlucky.”
St. Austin tells us that “ the ancients were wont to go to bed again, if they sneezed while they put on their shoe.”
The Rabbinical account of Sneezing is very singular. It is, that “Sneezing was a mortal sign even from the first man, until it was taken off by the special supplication of Jacob. From whence, as a thankful acknowledgment, this salutation first began, and was after continued by the expression of Tobim Chaiim, or vita bona, by standers by, upon all occasions of sneezing." ()
The custom of blessing persons when they sneeze has without doubt been derived to the