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ther approaching. Crows flocking together in great companies, or calling early in the morning with a full and clear voice, or at any time of the day gaping against the sun, foreshews hot and dry weather : but if at the brink of ponds they do wet their heads, or stalk into the water, or cry much towards the evening, are signs of rain.'
In the Earl of Northampton's Defensative against the Poyson of supposed Prophesies, 1583, we read: “The flight of many crowes upon the left side of the campe made the Romans very much afrayde of some badde lucke: as if the greate God Jupiter had nothing else to doo (sayd Carneades) but to dryve jacke dawes in a fock together.” Bartholomæus says, f. 168, of the crowe—“Divynours tell,
_ that she taketh hede of spienges and awaytynges, and teacheth and sheweth wayes, and warneth what shal fal. But it is ful unleful to beleve, that God sheweth his prevy counsayle to crowes as Isidore sayth. Among many divynacions divynours meane that crowes token reyne with gredynge and cryenge, as this verse meaneth,
Nunc plena cornix pluviam vocat improba voce: That is to understonde,
• Nowe the crowe calleth reyne with an eleynge voyce.'” In the Supplement to the Athenian Oracle, p. 476, we are informed that “people prognosticate a great famine or mortality when great flocks of jays and crows forsake the woods ; because these melancholy birds, bearing the characters of Saturn, the author of famine and mortality, have a very early perception of the bad disposition of that planet.”
In the Secret Memoirs of Mr. Duncan Campbell, p. 60, it is said : “Some will defer going abroad, though called by business of the greatest consequence, if, happening to look out of the window, they see a single crow. Ramesey, in his Elminthologia, 1668, p. 271, says: “If a crow fly but over the house and croak thrice, how do they fear, they, or some one else in the family, shall die ?”
“The woodpecker's cry denotes wet. Buzards, or kites, when they do soar very high and much to lessening them
Gaule, in his Mag-astromancers Posed and Puzzel’d, p. 181, inserts among vain observations and superstitious ominations thereupon, “A crow lighting on the right hand or the left.”
selves, making many plains to and again, foreshews hot weather, and that the lower region of the air is inflamed, which for coolnesse makes them ascend.”
In the Dialogue of Dives and Pauper, fol. 1493, first precepte, 46th chapter, we read : “Some bileve that yf the kyte or the puttock de ovir the way afore them that they should fare wel that daye, for sumtyme they have farewele after that they see the puttock so fleynge; and soo they falle in wane by leve and thanke the puttocke of their welfare and nat God, but suche foles take none hede howe often men mete with the puttok so fleynge and yet they fare nevir the better : for there is no folk that mete so oft with the puttoke so fleynge as they that begge their mete from dore to dore. Cranes soaring aloft, and quietly in the air, foreshews fair weather ; but if they do make much noise, as consulting which way to go, it foreshews a storm that's neer at hand. Herons, in the evening, flying up and down, as if doubtful where to rest, presages some evill approaching weather.”
Nash, in his Christ's Teares over Jerusalem, 1613, p. 185, speaking of the plague in London, says: “The vulgar menialty conclude therefore it is like to increase, because a hearnshaw (a whole afternoone together) sate on the top of Saint Peter's Church in Cornehill. They talk of an oxe that told the bell at Wolwitch, and howe from an oxe he transformed himselfe to an old man, and from an old man to an infant, and from an infant to a young man. Strange prophetical reports (as touching the sicknes) they mutter he gave out, when in truth they are nought els but cleanly coined lies, which some pleasant sportive wits have devised to gull them most grossely,"
Werenfels says, p. 6: “If the superstitious man has a desire to know how many years he has to live, he will enquire of the cuckoo." See Halliwell's Popular Rhymes, p. 221.
The chattering of a magpie is ranked by Bourne, p. 71, among omens.
It is unlucky,” says Grose, “to see first one magpie, and then more: but to see two, denotes marriage or merriment; three, a successful journey; four, an unexpected piece of good news; five, you will shortly be in a great company.” See the verses in Halliwell, ibid. p. 168.
In the Dialogue of Dives and Pauper, fol. Pynson, 1493, signat. e. 2, among superstitious practices then in use, and
censured by the author, we find the following: “Divynaciones by chyterynge of byrdes, or by fleyinge of foules.'
The ancient augurs foretold things to come by the chirping or singing of certain birds, the crow, the pye, the chough, &c.: hence perhaps the observation, frequent in the mouths of old women, that when the pye chatters we shall have strangers.
It is very observable, that, according to Lambarde, in his Topographical Dictionary, p. 260, Editha persuaded her husband to build a monastery at Oseney, near Oxford, upon the chattering of pies. Magpies are ranked among omens by Shakespeare'. Reginald Scot, in his Discovery of Witchcraft, p. 95, says: “That to prognosticate that guests approach to your house, upon the chattering of pies or haggisters (haggister in Kent signifies a magpie) is altogether vanity and superstition."
In Lancashire, among the vulgar, it is accounted very unlucky to see two magpies (called there pynots, in Northum
1 “The raven rook'd her on the chimney's top,
Henry VI, act v. sc. 6. Also in Macbeth:
Augurs, and understood relations, have
The secretst man of blood.” On which Steevens observes : "-In Cotgrave's Dictionary a magpie is called magatapie.” So in the Night Raven, a Satirical Collection, &c. :
“ I neither tattle with jackdaw
Or maggot-pye on thatch'd house straw." Magot-pie is the original name of the bird; magot being the familiar appellation given to pies, as we say Robin to a redbreast, Tom to a tit. mouse, Philip to a sparrow, &c. The modern mag is the abbreviation of the ancient magot, a word which we had from the French. See Halliwell,
In the Supplement to Johnson and Steevens's Shakespeare, 8vo. Lond. 1780, ii. 706, it is said that the magpie is called, in the west, to this hour, a magatipie, and the import of the augury is determined by the number of the birds that are seen together : “ One for sorrow; two for mirth ; three for a wedding; four for death." Mr. Park, in a note in his copy of Bourne and Brand's Popular Antiquities, p. 88, says that this regulation of the magpie omens is found also in Lincolnshire. He adds that the prognostic of sorrow is thought to be averted by turning thrice round.
berland pyanots) together : thus, in Tim Bobbin's Lancashire Dialect, 8vo. 1775, p. 31: " I saigh two rott'n pynots (hongum) that wur a sign o bad fashin; for I heard my gronny say hoode os leef o seen two owd harries (devils) os two pynots.”
The magpie continues to be ominous in Scotland. The Glossary to the Complaynt of Scotland, 8vo. Edinb. 1801, v. Piett, a magpie, observes that “it is, according to popular superstition, a bird of unlucky omen. Many an old woman would more willingly see the devil
, who bodes no more ill luck than he brings, than a magpie perching on a neighbouring tree.”
Gaule, in his Mag-astromancers Posed and Puzzel’d, p. 181, notices among vain observations, “the pyes chattering about the house."
Dr. Nathaniel Home, in his Dæmonologie, 8vo. Lond. 1650, speaking of popular superstitions, p. 59, tells us : “By the chattering of magpies they know they shall have strangers. By the flying and crying of ravens over their houses, especially in the dusk evening, and where one is sick, they conclude death : the same they conclude by the much crying of owles in the night, neer their houses, at such a time.
Alexander Ross, in his Appendix to the Arcana Microcosmi, p. 219, tells us, that " in the time of King Charles the Eighth of France, the battle that was fought between the French and Britans, in which the Britans were overthrown, was foreshewed by a skirmish between the magpies and jackdaws.
The following is from Glossarium Suio-Gothicum, auctore I. Ihre, fol. Upsaliæ, 1769, v. Skata, ii. 565 : “ Skata, Pica. Quum illius plurimus in auguriis usus fuerit, v. Plinii Hist. Nat. lib. x. 18, interque aves sinisterioris ominis semper locum invenerit, unde etiam videmus, veteris superstitionis tenacem plebem nostram volucrem hanc stabulorum portis expansie alis suspendere, ut, quod ait Apuleius, suo corpore luat illud infor. tunium quod aliis portendit: arbitror a scada nocere, A.S. scathian, nomen illi inditum fuisse. Vocatur alias Skjura, forté a garritu, ut etiam Latiné Garrulus nuncupabatur.” Such is the opinion of the common people in Sweden. The same Glossary, v. Thuesnek, the cry of the lapwing, tells us that “in the south and west of Scotland this bird is much detested, though not reckoned ominous. As it frequents solitary places, its haunts were frequently intruded upon by the fugitive Presbyterians, during the persecution which they suffered in the disgraceful and tyrannical reigns of Charles the Second and James the Second, when they were often discovered by the clamours of the lapwing."
[The following extract respecting the dove is taken from the old ballad of the Bloody Gardener:
“ As soon as he had clos’d his eyes to rest,
A milk white dove did hover on his breast;
And now all three are in their silent graves.”] The quaint author of A strange Metamorphosis of Man transformed into a Wildernesse, deciphered in Characters, 12mo. Lond. 1634, speaking of the goose, says :
“ She is no witch, or astrologer, to divine by the starres, but yet hath a shrewd guesse of rainie weather, being as good as an almanack to some that beleeve in her.”
We read in Willsford's Nature's Secret's, p. 132, that “the offspring or alliance of the capitolian guard, when they do make a gaggling in the air more than usual, or seem to fight, being over greedy at their meat, expect then cold and winterly weather.” Also, ibid. p. 134: “Peacocks crying loud and