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wet and cold weather, and open against hot and dry times, The leaves of trees and plants in general will shake and tremble against a tempest more than ordinary: All tender buds, blossoms, and delicate flowers, against the incursion of a storm, do contract and withdraw themselves within their husks and leaves, whereby each may preserve itself from the injury of the weather.' He says,
ibid. p. 144: “Leaves in the wind, or down floating upon the water, are signs of tempests. In autumn (some say), in the gall, or oak-apple, one of these three things will be found (if cut in pieces): a flie, denoting want; a worm, plenty; but, if a spider, mortality.” He tells us, ibid., that ; ,
, “the broom having plenty of blossoms, or the walnut tree, is a sign of a fruitful year of corn.” That “great store of nuts and almonds presage a plentiful year of corn, especially filberds. When roses and violets flourish in autumn, it is an evil sign of an insuing plague the year following, or some pestiferous disease.”
Lupton, in his third Book of Notable Things (edit. 8vo. 1660, p. 52), No. 7, says: “ If you take an oak-apple from an oak tree, and upon the same you shall find a little worm therein, which if it doth flye away it signifies wars; if it creeps, it betokens scarceness of corn ; if it run about, then it foreshews the plague. This is the countryman's astrology, which they have long observed for truth.—Mizaldus.” He says, ibid., 25:
“ The leaves of an elm tree or of a peach tree, falling before their time, do foreshew or betoken a murrain or death of cattle.-Cardanus.”
In the Supplement to the Athenian Oracle, p. 476 : “ The fly in the oak-apple is explained as denoting war; the spider, pestilence; the small worm, plenty.”!
[' The following, communicated by Mr. R. Bond, of Gloucester, was received too late for insertion under its proper heading in Vol. I.: А circumstance which occurred in my presence on Saturday evening last (the 31st of March), brought to my recollection a superstitious notion which I have often heard repeated. A lady (in the common acceptation of the term) requested of a seedsman that she might be then furnished with various flower-seeds, ‘for,' she added, “I must not omit sowing them to-morrow. May I inquire,' exclaimed the astonished shopman, if there is any particular reason for your making choice of that day?" "Yes,' was the answer; “it is because to-morrow is Palm Sunday, and the ad. vantage to be derived from sowing on that day is, that the flowers will be sure to come double.' "]
We gather, from Congreve's Love for Love, where, in the character of Old Foresight, he so forcibly and wittily satirises superstition, that to stumble in going down stairs is held to be a bad omen. From him, as well as from the Spectator, we gather, that sometimes “a rusty nail, or a crooked pin, shoots up into prodigies !”
Cicero, in his second book, De Divinatione, $ 40, observes : “Quae si suscipiamus, perlis offensio nobis, et abruptio corrigiæ et sternutamenta erunt observanda.” In Pet. Molinæi Vates, p. 218, we read : “Si quis in limine impegit, ominosum est.”
s That you may never stumble at your going out in the morning," is found among the omens deprecated in Barton Holiday's Marriage of the Arts, 4to.
Poor Robin, in his Almanack for 1695, thus ridicules the superstitious charms to avert ill luck in stumbling : “All those who, walking the streets, stumble at a stick or stone, and when they are past it turn back again to spurn or kick the stone they stumbled at, are liable to turn students in Goatam college; and, upon admittance, to have a coat put upon him, with a cap, a bauble, and other ornaments belonging to his degree.”
“ It is lucky," says Grose, "to tumble up stairs.” Probably this is a jocular observation, meaning it was lucky the party did not tumble down stairs. Melton, in his Astrologaster, p. 45, says ; “10. That if a man stumbles in a morning as soon as he comes out of dores, it is a signe of ill lucke.” He adds: “30. That if a horse stumble on the highway, it is a signe of ill lucke.” Bishop Hall, in his Characters of Vertues and Vices, under the head of the Superstitious Man, observes, that “ if he stumbled at the threshold, he feares a mischief.” Stumbling at a grave was anciently reckoned ominous; thus Shakespeare :
“How oft to-night Have my old feet stumbled at graves !" In Whimzies, or a New Cast of Characters, 1631, speaking of a yealous (jealous) neighbour, the author says: “His earth-reverting body (according to his mind) is to be buried
in some cell, roach, or vault, and in no open space, lest passengers (belike) might stumble on his grave."
Gaule, in his Mag-astromancers Posed and Puzzel'd, p. 181, omits not, in his very full catalogue of vain observations and superstitious ominations thereupon, “the stumbling at first going about an enterprise.”
KNIVES, SCISSORS, RAZORS, &c.
It is unlucky, says Grose, to lay one's knife and fork crosswise; crosses and misfortunes are likely to follow. Melton, in his Astrologaster, p. 45, in his catalogue of many superstitious ceremonies, observes : “25. That it is naught for any man to give a pair of knives to his sweetheart, for feare it cuts away all love that is betweene them.” Thus Gay, in his second Pastoral of “The Shepherd's Week :”
“ But woe is me! such presents luckless prove,
For knives, they tell me, always sever love !" It is, says Grose, unlucky to present a knife, scissors, razor, or any sharp or cutting instrument, to one's mistress or friend, as they are apt to cut love and friendship. To avoid the ill effects of this, a pin, a farthing, or some trifling recompense, must be taken in return. To find a knife or razor denotes ill luck and disappointment to the party.
The following is found in Delrio, Disquisit. Magic., p. 494, from Beezius : “ Item ne alf, vel mar equitet mulierem in puerperio jacentem, vel ne infans rapiatur (a strigibus) debet poni cultellus vel corrigia super lectum.”
OF FINDING OR LOSING THINGS. Melton, in his Astrologaster, p. 46, says: "]1. That if a
11. man, walking in the fields, finde
he shall, in a small while after, finde some good thing.” us, ibid. : “15. That it is naught for a man or woman to lose
» He tells
their hose garter.” As also, ibid. : “14. That it is a sign of ill lucke to finde money."
Greene, in his Art of Conny-Catching, signat. B, tells us, “ 'Tis ill lucke to keepe found money.” Therefore it must be spent.
Dr. Nathaniel Home, in his Dæmonologie, or the Character of the Crying Evils of the Present Times, &c., 8vo. Lond. 1650, p. 60, tells us : “ How frequent is it with people (especially of the more ignorant sort, which makes the things more suspected) to think and say (as Master Perkins relates), if they finde some pieces of iron, it is prediction of good lucke to the finders ! If they find a piece of silver, it is a foretoken of ill lucke to them.”
Mason, in his Anatomie of Sorcerie, 1612, p. 90, enumerating our superstitions, mentions, as an omen of good luck, “ If drinke be spilled upon a man; or if he find old iron.” Hence it is accounted a lucky omen to find a horseshoe.
Boyle, in his Occasional Reflections, 1665, p. 217, says: “The common people of this country have a tradition that 'tis a lucky thing to find a horse-shoe. And, though 'twas to make myself merry with this fond conceit of the superstitious vulgar, I stooped to take this up.”
There is a popular custom of crying out “Halves!” on seeing another pick up anything which he has found, and this exclamation entitles the person who makes it to one half of the value. This is alluded to as follows in Dr. John Savage’s Horace to Scæva imitated, 1730, p. 32:
“ And he who sees you stoop to th' ground,
Cries, Halves ! to ev'rything you've found.” The well-known trick of dropping the ring is founded on this custom. See further in Halliwell's Popular Rhymes, p.257.
Among the Greeks it was an ancient custom to refer misfortunes to the signification of proper names.
The Scholiast upon Sophocles, as cited by Jodrell in his Euripides, ii. 349, &c. observes, that this ludicrous custom of analysing the proper names of persons, and deriving ominous inferences from their different significations in their state of analysis, appears to have prevailed among the Grecian poets of the first reputation. Shakespeare, he adds, was much addicted to it. He instances Richard II., act ii. sc. 1: “How is't with aged Gaunt ?"
In an alphabetical explanation of hard words, at the end of the Academy of Pleasure, 1658, an anagram is defined to be “a divination by names, called by the ancients Onomantia. The Greeks referre this invention to Lycophron, who was one of those they called the Seven Starres, or Pleiades; afterwards (as witnesses Eustachius) there were divers Greek wits that disported themselves herein, as he which turned Atlas, for his heavy burthen in supporting heaven, into Talas, that is, wretched. Some will maintain that each man's fortune is written in his name, which they call anagramatism, or metragramatism ; poetical liberty will not blush to use e for æ, v for w, s for z. That amorous youth did very queintly sure (resolving a mysterious expression of his love to Rose Hill), when in the border of a painted cloth he caused to be painted, as rudely as he had devised grossly, a rose, a hill, an eye, a loaf, and a well, that is, if you spell it, 'I love Rose Hill well.'"
In the Husbandman's Practice, or Prognostication for Ever, as Teacheth Albert, Alkind, Haly, and Ptolemy, 8vo. Lond. 1658, p. 153, there is a considerable waste of words to show what moles in several parts of the body denote, almost too ridiculous to be transcribed. Some of the first are as follow : “If the man shall have a mole on the place right against the heart, doth denote him undoubtedly to be wicked. If a mole shall be seen either on the man's or woman's belly, doth demonstrate that he or she be a great feeder, glutton. If a mole, in either the man or woman, shall appear on the place right against the spleen, doth signify that he or she shall be much passionated, and oftentimes sick.” As all the remain