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On hosier's poles depending stockings tied
Ere the tiles rattle with the smoking show'r,” &c.
“ 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.”
[The following curious lines respecting the hedgehog occur in Poor Robin's Almanack for 1733 :
“ Observe which way the hedge-hog builds her nest,
To front the north or south, or east or west ;
That thinks himself fit to make almanacks.”] 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 hedgehog to be & prognosticator of the weather. Edit. 8vo. Lond. 1600 :
“ As hedge-hogs doe fore-see ensuing stormes,
So wise men are for fortune still prepared." The following simile is found in Bishop Hall's Virgidemiarum, 12mo. 1598, p. 85 :
“ So lookes he like a marble toward rayne.” In the Husbandman's Practice, or Prognostication for Ever, 8vo. Lond. 1664, p. 137, I find the following omens of rain : “Ducks and drakes shaking and fluttering their wings when they rise-young horses rubbing their backs against the ground -sheep bleating, playing, or skipping wantonly-swine being
seen to carry bottles of hay or straw to any place and hide them-oxen licking themselves against the hair-the sparkling of a lamp or candle—the falling of soot down a chimney more than ordinary--frogs croakingswallows flying low," &c. &c.
I find the following in the Curiosities or the Cabinet of Nature, 1637, p. 262 : “Q. Why is a storme said to followe presently when a company of hogges runne crying home? A. 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.” In Dekker's Match me in London, act iv. we read :
“Beasts licking 'gainst the hayre Foreshew some storme, and I fore-see some snare." Thus also in Smart's Hop-garden, b. ii. 1. 105, p. 127 :
“ And oft, alas ! the long-experienc'd wights
(Oh! could they too prevent them !) storms foresee,
“ Next hark
To soak thy hops, and brew thy generous beer."
p. 38, says : "If the down flyeth off colt's-foot, dandelyon, and thistles, when there is no winde, it is a signe of rain.”
On thunder-superstitions our testimonies are as numerous as those of rain. Leonard Digges, gentleman, in his rare work entitled A Prognostication Everlasting of ryght good Effecte,” &c. 4to. Lond. 1556, fol. 6 b, tells us : " Thunders in the morning signifie wynde ; about noone, rayne; in the evening, great tempest. Somme wryte (their ground I see not) that Sondayes thundre shoulde brynge the death of learned men, judges, and others ; Mondaye's thundre, the death of women; Tuesdaye's thundre, plentie of graine ; Wednesday's thundre, the deathe of harlottes, and other blodshede; Thursday's thundre, plentie of shepe and corne; Fridaie's thundre, the slaughter of a great man, and other horrible murders ; Saturdaye's thundre, a generall pestilent plague and great deathe.'
Among Extraordinarie Tokens for the Knowledge of Weather, he adds: “Some have observed evil weather to folow when watry foules leave the sea, desiring lande ; the foules of the lande flying hyghe : the crying of fowles about waters, making a great noyse with their wynges; also the sees swellyng with uncustomed waves ; if beastes eate gredely; if they lycke their hooves ; if they sodaynlye move here and there, makyng a noyse, brethyng up the syre with open nostrels, rayne foloweth. Also the busy heving of moules : the appering or coming out of wormes ; hennes resorting to the perche or reste, covered with dust, declare rayne. The ample working of the spinnar in the ayre; the ant busied with her egges; the bees in fayre weather not farre wandryng; the continuall pratyng of the crowe, chiefly twyse or thryse quycke calling, shew tempest. Whan the crowe or raven gapeth against the sunne, in summer, heate foloweth. If they busy themselfes in proyning or washyng, and that in wynter, loke for raine. The uncustomed noise of pultry, the noise of swine, of pecokes,
In the Statistical Account of Scotland, xiii. 557, parish of Lochcarron, co. Ross, we read : “Everything almost is reckoned a sign of rain. It there be a warm or hot day, we shall soon have rain; if a crow begin to chatter, she is calling for rain ; if the clouds be heavy, or if there be a mist upon the top of the hills, we shall see rain. In a word, a Highlander may make anything a sign of rain, and there is no danger he shall fail in his prognostication."
declare the same. The swalowe flying and beating the water, the chirping of the sparow in the morning, signifie rayne. Raine sodainly dried up: woody coveringes strayter than of custome; belles harde further than commonly; the wallowyng of dogges; the alteration of the cocke crowing; all declare rainy weather. I leave these, wanting the good grounde of the rest. If the learned be desyrefull of the to forsayd,
. let them reade grave Virgil, primo Georgicorum, At Bor, &c.”
In Lloyd's Stratagems of Jerusalem, 4to. 1602, p. 286, we read: “The Thracians, when it thunders, take their bowes and arrowes, and shoote up to the cloudes against the thunder, imagining by their shooting to drive the thunders away. Cabrias, the generall of Athens, being ready to strike a battel on sea, it suddenly lightened, which so terrified the soldiers that they were unwilling to fight, until Cabrias said that now the time is to fight, when Jupiter himselfe, with his lightening, doth shewe he is ready to go before us. So Epaminondas, at his going to battell it suddenly lightened that it so amazed his souldiers that Epaminondas comforted them and saide, “Lumen hoc numina ostendunt,'-by these lightenings the Gods shew us that we shall have victories.” Ibid. p. 287: "In Rome, the dictator, the consul, the prætor, and other magistrates, were to be removed from their offices, if the soothsayer sawe any occasion by lightning, thundering, by removing of starres, by flying of fowles, by intrailes of beasts, by eclipse of the sun and moon.” Ibid. p. 288, we read : “ Pau. Æmilius, consul and generall of the Romanes in Macedonia, at what time he sacrific'd unto the gods in the city of Amphipolis, it lightned, whereby he was perswaded it pretended the overthrow of the kingdom of Macedonia, and his great victory and tryumph of the same at Rome.”
Willsford, in his Nature's Secrets, p. 113, says : “Thunder and lightning in winter in hot countryes is usual, and hath the same effects ; but in those northern climates it is held ominous, portending factions, tumults, and bloody wars, and a thing seldome seen, according to the old adigy, Winter's thunder is the sommer's wonder.'
Massey, in his notes on Ovid's Fasti, p. 90, says: “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."
Lord Northampton, in the Defensative against the Poyson
when swannes hatch their young; and yet no doubt it is a paradox of simple men to thinke that a swanne cannot hatch without a cracke of thunder.”
In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, x. 14, parish of Wick, co. Caithness, the minister, speaking of the swans which periodically visit the lakes there, says: “ They are remarkable prognosticators of the weather, and much relied on as such by the farmer.”
In the Cambrian Register, 1796, p. 430, we read : “ It cannot be denied that the Welsh have much superstition amongst them, though it is wearing off very fast. But the instance adduced here (by the Gleaner), that of their predicting a storm by the roaring of the sea, is a curious kind of proof of their superstition. Their predictions, if they may be so called, are commonly justified by the event; and may, I apprehend, be accounted for from causes as natural as the forebodings of shepherds ; for which they have rules and data as well known to themselves, and, perhaps, as little liable to error, as any of those established by the more enlightened philosophers of the present day.”
WILLSFORD, in his Nature's Secrets, p. 136, tells us that “ Trefoile, or claver-grasse, against stormy and tempestuous weather will seem rough, and the leaves of it stare and rise up, as if it were afraid of an assault. Tezils, or fuller's thistle, being gathered and hanged up in the house, where the air may come freely to it, upon the alteration of cold and windy weather, will grow smoother, and against rain will close up his prickles. Heliotropes and marigoids do not only presage stormy weather by closing or contracting together their leaves, but turn towards the sun's rays all the day, and in the evening shut up shop. Pine-apples, hanging up in the house, where they freely may enjoy the air, will close themselves againsi