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(which they did to drowne the charmes of witches, that the Moon might not heare them, and so be drawne from her spheare as they supposed), I shall not need to speake, being a thing so generally kuowne, a custom continued among the Turks at this day: yet I cannot but adde, and wonder at, what Joseph Scaliger, in his · Annotations upon Manilius,' reports out of Bonincontrius, an ancient commentator upon the same poet; who affirmes that, in a towne of Italy where he lived (within these two centuries of yeares), he saw the same peece of Paganisme acted upon the like occasion.”

In the “ General History of China," done from the French of P. Du Halde, 8vo. Lond. 1736, vol. iii. p. 88, we are told, “The very moment the inhabitants perceive the Sun or Moon begin to be darkened, they fall on their knees and beat the ground with their forehead; at the same time is heard a dreadful rattling of drums and kettle-drums throughout Pekin, according to the persuasion the Chinese formerly had that by this noise they assisted the Sun or Moon, and prevented the cælestial Dragon from devouring such useful planets. Though the learned, and people of quality,


I RANK this among omens, as it is an indication of some future thing, which the persons to whom it is communicated get, as it were, by accident, and without their seeking for, as is always the case in divination. Dr. Johnson, who, a few years before his death, visited the scene of the declining influence of Second Sight, has superseded every other account of it by what he has left us on the subject. “We should have had little claim," says he, "to the praise of curiosity, if we had not endeavoured with particular attention to examine the question of the Second Sight. Of an opinion received for centuries by a whole nation, and supposed to be confirmed through its whole descent by a series of successive facts, it is desirable that the truth should be established, or the fallacy detected.

“ The Second Sight is an impression made

are quite free from this ancient error, and are persuaded that eclipses are owing to a natural cause, yet such a prevalence has custom over them, that they will not leave their ancient ceremonies: these ceremonies are practised in the same manner in all parts of the empire."

The subsequent passage is in Osborne's “Advice to his Son,” 8vo. Oxford, 1656, p. 79: “The Irish or Welch, during eclipses, run about beating kettles and pans, thinking their clamour and vexations available to the assistance of the higher orbes."

From a passage, Dr. Jamieson says, in one of Dunbar's poems, it should appear to have been customary, in former times, to swear by the Moon : “ Fra Symon saw it ferd upon


wyse, He had greit wounder; and sueris by the

Mone, Freyr Robert las richt weil his devoir done."

Maitland's Poems, p. 79.

either by the mind upon the eye, or by the eye upon the mind, by which things distant or future are perceived and seen as if they were present. A man on a journey, far from home, falls from his horse; another, who is perhaps at work about the house, sees him bleeding on the ground, commonly with a landscape of the place where the accident befalls him. Another seer, driving home his cattle, or wandering in idleness, or musing in the sunshine, is suddenly surprised by the appearance of a bridal ceremony, or funeral procession, and counts the mourners or attendants, of whom, if he knows them, he relates the names; if he knows them not, he can describe the dresses. Things distant are seen at the in-. stant when they happen. Of things future I know not that there is any rule for determining the time between the sight and the event.

“This receptive faculty, for power it cannot mine what is fit and what is beneficial, they be called, is neither voluntary nor constant. presuppose more knowledge of the universal The appearances have no dependence upon system than man has attained, and therefore choice: they cannot be summoned, detained, depend upon principles too complicated and or recalled. The impression is sudden, and extensive for our comprehension; and that the effect often painful. By the term Second there can be no security in the consequence, Sight seems to be meant a mode of seeing when the premises are not understood : that superadded to that which nature generally be the Second Sight is only wonderful because it stows. In the Erse it is called Taisch; which is rare, for, considered in itself, it involves no signifies likewise a spectre or a vision.). I more difficulty than dreams, or perhaps than know not, nor is it likely that the Highlanders the regular exercises of the cogitative faculty : ever examined, whether by Taisch, used for that a general opinion of communicative imSecond Sight, they mean the power of seeing pulses, or visionary representations, has preor the thing seen.

vailed in all ages and all nations; that parti“I do not find it to be true, as it is reported, cular instances have been given, with such that to the Second Sight nothing is presented evidence as neither Bacon nor Boyle has been but phantoms of evil. Good seems to have able to resist; that sudden impressions, which the same proportion in those visionary scenes the event has verified, have been felt by more as it obtains in real life.

than own or publish them: that the Second “ That they should often see death is to be Sight of the Hebrides implies only the local expected, because death is an event frequent frequency of a power which is nowhere totally and important. But they see likewise more unknown; and that, where we are unable to pleasing incidents. A gentleman told me decide by antecedent reason, we must be conthat, when he had once gone far from his own tent to yield to the force of testimony. island, one of his labouring servants predicted “ By pretension to Second Sight, no profit his return, and described the livery of his at was ever sought or gained. It is an involuntendant, which he had never worn at home; tary affection, in which neither hope nor fear and which had been, without any previous de are known to have any part. Those who prosign, occasionally given him.

fess to feel it do not boast of it as a privilege, “ It is the common talk of the Lowland nor are considered by others as advantageScots, that the notion of the Second Sight is ously distinguished. They have no temptawearing away with other superstitions; and tion to feign, and their hearers have no motive that its reality is no longer supposed but by to encourage the imposture. the grossest people. How far its prevalence “To talk with any of these seers is not ever extended, or what ground it has lost, I easy. There is one living in Sky, with whom know not. The islanders of all degrees, whe we would have gladly conversed; but he was ther of rank or understanding, universally ad very gross and ignorant, and knew no English. mit it, except the ministers, who universally The proportion in these countries of the poor deny it, and are suspected to deny it in con to the rich is such, that, if we suppose the sequence of a system, against conviction. One quality to be accidental, it can rarely happen of them honestly told me that he came to Sky to a man of education; and yet on such men it with a resolution not to believe it.

has sometimes fallen. There is now a Second “Strong reasons for incredulity will readily Sighted gentleman in the Highlands, who com

This faculty of seeing things out of plains of the terrors to which he is exposed. sight is local, and commonly useless. It is a “ The foresight of the seers is not always breach of the common order of things, with prescience: they are impressed with images, out any visible reason or perceptible benefit. of which the event only shows them the meanIt is ascribed only to a people very little en ing. They tell what they have seen to others, lightened ; and among them, for the most who are at that time not more knowing than part, to the mean and ignorant.

themselves, but may become at last very ade"To the confidence of these objections it quate witnesses by comparing the narrative may be replied, that, by presuming to deter with its verification.


" To collect sufficient testimonies for the satisfaction of the public or ourselves would have required more time than we could bestow. There is against it, the seeming analogy of things confusedly seen and little understood; and for it, the indistinct cry of national persuasion, which may perhaps be resolved at last into prejudice and tradition.” He concludes with observing: “I never could advance my curiosity to conviction; but came away, at last, only willing to believe."

This question of Second Sight has also been

discussed by Dr. Beattie in his “ Essays," 8vo. Edinb. 1776, pp. 480-2.

In Macculloch's " Western Islands of Scotland," 8vo. Lond. 1819, vol. ii. p. 32, the author says, “To have circumnavigated the Western Isles without even mentioning the Second Sight would be unpardonable. No inhabitant of St. Kilda pretended to have been forewarned of our arrival. In fact, it has undergone the fate of witchcraft; ceasing to be believed, it has ceased to exist."


(0) Jamieson (Etymolog. Dict. Supplement) defines Second Sight, a power believed to be possessed by not a few in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, of foreseeing future events, especially of a disastrous kind, by means of a spectral exhibition, to their eyes, of the persons whom these events respect, accompanied with such emblems as denote their fate. Jamieson says,

" Whether this power was communicated to the inhabitants of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland by the northern nations, who so long had possession of the latter, I shall not pretend to determine; but traces of the same wonderful faculty may be found among the Scandinavians. Isl. rammskygn, denotes one who is endowed with the power of seeing spirits : 'qui tali visu

præter naturam præditus est, ut spiritus et dæmones videat, opaca etiam visu penetret.' Verel. Ind. The designation is formed from ramm-ur viribus pollens, and skygn videns; q. powerful in vision.”

(3) Rowlands, in his “Mona Antiqua Restaurata,” p. 140, note, tells us: “The magic of the Druids, or one part of it, seems to have remained among the Britons even after their conversion to Christianity, and is called Taish in Scotland; which is a way of predicting by a sort of vision they call Second Sight: and I take it to be a relic of Druidism, particularly from a noted story related by Vopiscus, of the Emperor Diocletian, who, when a pri

vate soldier in Gallia, on his removing thence, reckoning with his hostess, who was a Druid woman, she told him he was too penurious, and did not bear in him the noble soul of a soldier; on his reply that his pay was small, she, looking steadfastly on him, said that he needed not be so sparing of his money,

for after he should kill a boar she confidently pronounced he would be Emperor of Rome, which he took as a compliment from her; but, seeing her serious in her affirmation, the words she spoke stuck upon him, and was after much delighted in hunting and killing of boars, often saying, when he saw many made emperors and his own fortune not much mending, I kill the boars, but 'tis others that eat the flesh. Yet it happend that, many years after, one Arrius Aper, father-in-law of the Emperor Numerianus, grasping for the empire, traitorously slew him, for which fact being apprehended by the soldiers and brought be. fore Diocletian, who being then become a prime commander in the army, they left the traytor to his disposal, who, asking his name, and being told that he was called Aper, i. e. a boar, without further pause he sheathed his sword in his bowels, saying, et hunc aprum cum cæteris, i. e. “Even this boar also to the rest;' which done, the soldiers, commending it as a quick, extraordinary act of justice, without further deliberation saluted him by the name of emperor. I bring this story here in view, as not improper on this hint, nor un

useful to be observed, because it gives fair abstracting the substance from one milk, and evidence of the antiquity of the Second Sight, adding to another, is rarely questioned.' and withal shows that it descended from the May not the following passage from Walancient Druids, as being one part of the dia dron's “ Description of the Isle of Man" bolical magic they are charg'd with : and, (Works, folio, p. 139) be referred to this upon their dispersion into the territories of Second Sight? Denmark and Swedeland, continued there in “ The natives of the island tell you that, the most heathenish parts to this day, as is set before any person dies, the procession of the forth in the story of the late Duncan Camp funeral is acted by a sort of beings, which for bell.”

that end render themselves visible. I know In the “Ode on the Popular Superstitions several that have offered to make oath that, of the Highlands of Scotland," by Collins, I as they have been passing the road, one of find the following lines on this subject: these funerals has come behind them, and

even laid the bier on their shoulders, as though “ How they, whose sight such dreary dreams to assist the bearers. One person, who asengross,

sured me he had been served so, told me that With their own vision oft astonish'd

the flesh of his shoulder had been very much droop,

bruised, and was black for many weeks after. When, o'er the wat'ry strath, or quaggy moss, There are few or none of them who pretend They see the gliding ghosts unbodied not to have seen or heard these imaginary obtroop.

sequies, (for I must not omit that they sing Or, if in sports, or on the festive green,

psalms in the same manner as those do who Their destin'd glance some fated youth

the accompany corpse of a dead friend,) which

so little differ from real ones, that they are not descry,

to be known till both coflin and mouruers are Who now, perhaps, in lusty vigour seen,

seen to vanish at the church doors. These And rosy health, shall soon lamented die.

they take to be a sort of friendly demons; and their business, they say, is to warn people


of what is to befall them : accordingly, they To monarchs dear, some hundred miles give notice of any stranger's approach by the astray,

trampling of horses at the gate of the house Oft have they seen fate give the fatal where they are to arrive. blow!

“As difficult as I found it to bring myself to The seer, in Sky, shriek'd as the blood give any faith to this, I have frequently been did flow

very much surprised, when, on visiting a When headless Charles warm on the scaf friend, I have found the table ready spread, fold lay!”

P. 12. and everything in order to receive me, and

been told by the person to whom I went that See on this subject some curious particulars he had knowledge of my coming, or some in Aubrey's “ Miscellanies," p. 187.

other guest, by these good-natured intelliIn Sir John Sinclair's “Statistical Account gencers. Nay, when obliged to be absent of Scotland,” vol. iii. 8vo. Edinb, 1792, p. some time from home, my own servants have 380, the minister of Applecross, in the county assured me they were informed by these of Ross, speaking of his parishioners, says: means of my return, and expected me the With them the belief of the Second Sight is very hour I came, though perhaps it was some general, and the power of an evil eye is com days before I hoped it myself at my going monly credited and though the faith in abroad. That this is fact I am positively witchcraft be much enfeebled, the virtue of convinced by many proofs.”




Salt falling towards a person was con water.() Stuckius, in his “ Convivial Antisidered formerly as a very unlucky omen. quities,". 17, tells us that the Muscovites Something had either already happened to thought that a prince could not show a greater one of the family, or was shortly to befall the mark of affection than by sending to him Salt persons spilling it.(') It denoted also the from his own table. falling out of friends.

Selden, in his notes on the “Polyolbion," Bishop Hall, in his “Characters of Vertues Song xi., observes of Salt, that it " was used and Vices," Svo. Lond. 1608, speaking of in all sacrifices by expresse command of the the superstitious man, says: “If the Salt fall true God, the Salt of the covenant in Holy towards him he looks pale and red, and is not Writ, the religion of the Salt, set first, and quiet till one of the waiters have poured wine Jast taken away, as a symbole of perpetual on his lappe."

friendship, that in Homer Πασσί δ' Aλος Θείοιο, I have been at table where, this accident he sprinkled it with divine Salt, the title of happening, it has been thought to have been arvitns, the cleanser, given it by Lycophron, averted by throwing a little of the Salt that -you shall see apparent and apt testimonie fell over the shoulder.

of its having had a most respected and divinely Mr. Pennant, in his “ Journey from Ches | honoured name.” ter to London," p. 31, tells us, “ The dread of It has been observed by Bailey, on the fallspilling Salt is a known superstition among ing of Salt,(%) that it proceeds from the anus and the Germans, being reckoned a presage cient opinion that Salt was incorruptible : it of some future calamity, and particularly that had therefore been made the symbol of friendit foreboded domestic feuds; to avert which, ship; and if it fell, usually, the persons beit is customary to fling some Salt over the tween whom it happened thought their friendshoulder into the fire, in a manner truly clas ship would not be of long duration.(*). sical:

Reginald Scot, in bis “Discovery of Witch“ Mollivit aversos Penates,

craft," p. 95, observes that “to recount it good Farre pio, saliente mica."

or bad luck when Salt or Wine falleth on the Horat. lib. iii. Od. 23.

table, or is shed, is altogether vanity and su

perstition.” See also Mason's “Anatomy of Both Greeks and Romans mixed Salt with Sorcery,” 4to. Lond. 1612, p. 90. Melton, their sacrificial cakes: in their lustrations also

in his “ Astrologaster,” p. 45, No. 27, observes they made use of Salt and water, which gave that “ If the BEERE fall next a man it is a rise in after-times to the superstition of holy signe of good luck." (5)


() So Pet. Molinæi,“ Vates," p. 154 :“Si Salinum in Mensa evertatur-ominosum est."

Dr. Nathaniel Home, in his“ Dæmonologie,” p. 58, enumerates among bad omens, “The Falling of Salt towards them at the table, or the Spilling of Wine on their clothes :" saying also, p. 60, “How common is it for people to account it a signe of ill-luck to have the

Salt-cellar to be overturneri, the Salt falling towards them !!"

The subsequent quotations are from Ro. berti Keuchenii “ Crepundia,” Svo. Amstel. 1662, p. 215 :

Salinum Eversum.
“Prodige, subverso casu leviore Salino,

Si mal venturum conjicis Omen : adest.”

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