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shrill for their lost Io does proclaim an approaching storm.' We read in the eleventh book of Notable Things, by Thomas Lupton, 8vo. Lond. 1660, No. 10, p. 311, that "the peacock, by his harsh and loud clamor, prophesies and foretells rain, and the oftener they cry, the more rain is signified." Theophrastus and Mizaldus are cited :-" and Paracelsus saies, if a peacock cries more than usual, or out of his time, it foretells the death of some in that family to whom it doth belong." As also, ibid. : "Doves coming later home to their houses than they are accustomed to do presages some evil weather approaching." So, ibid. p. 133: "Jackdaws, if they come late home from foraging, presages some cold or ill weather neer at hand, and likewise when they are seen much alone.” So, ibid. p. 132: 'Ducks, mallards, and all water-fowls, when they bathe themselves much, prune their feathers, and flicker, or clap themselves with their wings, it is a sign of rain or wind." The same with "cormorants and gulls.'
[It is reckoned by many a sure sign of death in a house, if a white pigeon is observed to settle on the chimney.
Dotterels. (From a Hampshire correspondent.)—Within the last few days several strong flights of this highly esteemed migratory feathered visitant have been observed in the hilly districts around Andover. The shepherds, who are prone to study the habits of such birds of passage who visit that extensive range of downs called Salisbury Plain (upon which latter they may be almost said to spend their lives), hold the following trite saying among them, and as they are guided as to the management of their flocks, in a great measure, by the signs of the seasons, there can be no doubt but that the adage carried some weight with it:
"When dotterel do first appear, it shews that frost is very near;
But when that dotterel do go, then you may look for heavy snow."]
In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, iii. 478, the minister of Arbirlot, in the county of Forfar, informs us, "The sea-gulls are considered as ominous. When they appear in the fields, a storm from the south-east generally follows; and when the storm begins to abate, they fly back to the shore."
Ibid. i. 32, parish of Holywood, Dumfreisshire: "During the whole year the sea-gulls, commonly called in this parish
sea-maws, occasionally come from the Solway Frith to this part of the country; their arrival seldom fails of being followed by a high wind and heavy rain, from the south-west, within twenty-four hours; and they return to the Frith again as soon as the storm begins to abate."
Willsford, in his Nature's Secrets, p. 134, says: "Seamews, early in the morning making a gaggling more than ordinary, foretoken stormy and blustering weather."
Moresin ranks the unseasonable crowing of the cock among omens. As also the sudden fall of hens from the house-top. These fowl omens are probably derived to us from the Romans, at whose superstitions on this account Butler laughs in his Hudibras.2 [The proverb says:
"If the cock crows on going to bed,
He's sure to rise with a watery head;"
i. e. it is sure to prove rainy the next morning.]
In Willsford's Nature's Secrets, 8vo. Lond. 1658, p. 132, we read: "The vigilant cock, the bird of Mars, the good housewife's clock and the Switzer's alarum, if he crows in the day time very much, or at sun-setting, or when he is at roost at unusual hours, as at nine or ten, expect some change of weather, and that suddenly, but from fair to foul, or the contrary; but when the hen crows, good men expect a storm within doors and without. If the hens or chickens in the morning come late from their roosts (as if they were constrained by hunger) it presages much rainy weather." In the British Apollo, fol. 1708, vol. i. No. 64, to a query, "When my hens do crow,
Tell me if it be ominous or no?"
1 "Gallorum gallinaceorum cucurritum intempestivum.-Gallinarum subitum e tecto casum," p. 2. Gaule, in his Mag-astromancers Posed and Puzzel'd, p. 181, enumerating vain observations and superstitious ominations thereupon, has not overlooked "the cock's crowing unseasonably." 2 "A flam more senseless than the roguery
Of old aruspicy and aug'ry,
That out of garbages of cattle
Presag'd th' events of truce or battle;
From flight of birds or chickens pecking
Success of great'st attempts would reckon."
P. ii. canto iii. 1. 29.
It is answered:
"With crowing of your hens we will not twit ye,
Since here they every day crow in the city;
Thence thought no omen."
Park, in his Travels in the Interior of Africa, has the following passage: "While journeying on, Johnson, the interpreter, discovered a species of tree for which he had made frequent inquiry. He tied a white chicken to the tree by its leg to one of the branches, and then said that the journey would be prosperous. He said the ceremony was an offering or sacrifice to the spirits of the woods, who were a powerful race of beings, of a white colour, with long flowing hair."
Werenfels, in his Dissertation upon Superstition, p. 7, says, speaking of a superstitious man: "When he returns home, he will often be in fear, too, lest a cockatrice should be hatched from his cock's egg, and kill him with its baneful aspect." He had given the following trait of his character before: "When he goes out of doors, he fears nothing so much as the glance of an envious eye."
"Mischiefs are like the cockatrice's eye;
If they see first, they kill; if seen, they die." Dryden.
I recollect nothing at present which seems to have been derived into modern superstition from the ancient mode of deducing omens from the inside of animals, unless it be that concerning the merry thought, thus noticed by the Spectator: "I have seen a man in love turn pale and lose his appetite from the plucking of a merry thought."
In the British Apollo, fol. Lond. 1708, i. No. 84, is the following query: "For what reason is the bone next the breast of a fowl, &c., called the merry thought, and when was it first called so? A. The original of that name was doubtless from the pleasant fancies that commonly arise upon the breaking of that bone, and 'twas then certainly first called so, when these merry notions were first started."
In Lloyd's Stratagems of Jerusalem, p. 285, we are told: "Themistocles was assured of victory over King Xerxes and his huge army by crowing of a cocke, going to the battle at Artemisium, the day before the battell began, who having obtained so great a victory, gave a cocke in his ensigne ever after." Ibid. we read: "The first King of Rome, Romulus, builded his kingdom by flying of fowles and soothsaying. So
Numa Pompilius was chosen second King of Rome by flying of fowles. So Tarquinius Priscus, an eagle tooke his cappe from his head and fled up on high to the skies, and after descended, and let his cappe fall on his head againe, signifying thereby that he should be King of Rome."
Ibid. p. 289: "The Arabians, Carians, Phrygians, and Cilicians, do most religiously observe the chirping and flying of birds, assuring themselves good or bad events in their warres. Ibid. p. 290: "So superstitious grew the Gentils, with such abominable idolatry, that in Persia by a cock, in Egypt by a bull, in Æthiope by a dog, they tooke soothsaying; in Beotia by a beech tree, in Epyre by an oake, in Delos by a dragon, in Lycia by a wolfe, in Ammon by a ramme, they received their oracles, as their warrant to commence any warre, to enter any battell, or to attempt any enterprize."
The Earl of Northampton's Defensative against the Poison of supposed Prophecies, 1583, says: "The Romaines tooke the crowing of a cocke for an abode of victory, though no philosopher be ignorant that this proceedeth of a gallant lustinesse uppon the first digestion.
In Morier's Journey through Persia, 1810, p. 62, we read: "Among the superstitions in Persia, that which depends on the crowing of a cock is not the least remarkable. If the cock crows at a proper hour, they esteem it a good omen; if at an improper season, they kill him. I am told that the favorable hours are at nine, both in the morning and in the evening, at noon, and at midnight."
Pennant, in his Zoology, i. 258, speaking of the hoopoe, tells us that the country people in Sweden look on the appearance of this bird as a presage of war: "Facies armata videtur." And formerly the vulgar in our country esteemed it a forerunner of some calamity. The same writer, ii. 508, tells us : "That the great auk is a bird observed by seamen never to wander beyond soundings, and according to its appearance they direct their measures, being then assured that land is not very remote." Thus the modern sailors pay respect to auguries in the same manner as Aristophanes tells us those of Greece did above two thousand years ago. See Aves, 1. 597:
Προερεῖ τιστ ἀεὶ τω ὀρνίθων μαντευομένῳ περὶ τοῦ πλοῦ,
"From birds in sailing men instructions tae.
Pennant further observes, ibid. p. 554, that the stormy petrel presages bad weather, and cautions the seamen of the approach of a tempest, by collecting under the sterns of the ships. Halcyon," says Willsford, ut supra, p. 134, "at the time of breeding, which is about fourteen days before the winter solstice, foreshows a quiet and tranquil time, as it is observed about the coast of Sicily, from whence the proverb is transported, the Halcyon Days. Pliny."
Dallaway, in his Constantinople, Ancient and Modern, 1797, p. 137, speaking of the Bosphorus, says: "Scarcely a minute passes but flocks of aquatic birds, resembling swallows, may be observed flying in a lengthened train from one sea to the other. As they are never known to rest, they are called halcyons, and by the French 'ames damnées.' They are superstitiously considered by all the inhabitants."
In Smith's Travels, 1792, p. 11, it is said: "On sailing along the coasts of Corsica and Sardinia, June 9, we saw a sea monster, which (or others of the same kind) appeared several times the same day, spouting water from its nose to a great height. It is called caldelia, and is said to appear frequently before a storm. A storm came on next morning, which continued four days."
In Lloyd's Stratagems of Jerusalem, p. 290, we read: "Aristander the soothsayer, in the battell at Arbela, being the last against Darius, was then on horsebacke hard by Alexander, apparelled all in white, and a crowne of golde upon his head, encouraging Alexander, by the flight of an eagle, the victory should be his over Darius. Both the Greekes, the Romaines, and the Lacedemonians, had theyr soothsayers hard by them in their warres." Bishop Hall, in his Characters of Vertues and Vices, speaking of the superstitious man, says: "If a bittourn fly over his head by night, he makes his will." In Wild's Iter Boreale, p. 19, we read:
"The peaceful king-fishers are met together
About the decks, and prophesie calm weather."