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['The earliest means made use of by the miners for the discovery of the lode was the divining rod, so late as three years

process has been tried. The method of procedure was to cut the twig of an hazel or apple tree, of twelve months' growth, into a forked shape, and to hold this by both hands in a peculiar way, walking across the land until the twig bent, which was taken as an indication of the locality of a lode. The person wlio generally practises this divination boasts himself to be the seventh son of a seventh son. The twig of hazel bends in his hands to the conviction of the miners that ore is present; but then the peculiar manner in which the twig is held, bringing muscular action to bear upon it, accounts for its gradual deflection, and the circumstance of the strata walked over always containing ore gives a further credit to the process of divination.]

The vulgar notion, still prevalent in the north of England, of the hazel's tendency to a vein of lead ore, seam or stratum of coal, &c., seems to be a vestige of this rod divination.

The virgula divina, or baculus divinatorius, is a forked branch in the form of a Y, cut off an hazel stick, by means whereof people have pretended to discover mines, springs, &c., underground. The method of using it is this : the person who bears it, walking very slowly over the places where he suspects mines or springs may be, the effluvia exhaling from the metals, or vapour from the water impregnating the wood, makes it dip, or incline, which is the sign of a discovery.

In the Living Library, or Historicall Meditations, fol. '1621, p. 283, we read : “No man can tell why forked sticks of hazill (rather than sticks of other trees growing upon the very places) are fit to shew the places where the veines of gold and silver are.

The sticke bending itselfe in the places, at the bottome where the same veines are." See Lilly's History of his Life and Times, p. 32, for a curious experiment (which he confesses however to have failed) to discover hidden treasure by the hazel rod.

In the Gent. Mag. for February 1752, xxii. 77, we read: "M. Linnæus, when he was upon his voyage to Scania, hearing his secretary highly extol the virtues of his divining wand, was willing to convince him of its insufficiency, and for that purpose concealed a purse of one hundred ducats under a ranunculus, which grew by itself in a meadow, and bid the

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secretary find it if he could. The wand discovered nothing, and M. Linnæus's mark was soon trampled down by the company who were present; so that when M. Linnæus went to finish the experiment by fetching the gold himself, he was atterly at a loss where to seek it. The man with the wand assisted him, and pronounced that he could not lie the way they were going, but quite the contrary : so pursued the direction of his wand, and actually dug out the gold. M. Linnæus adds, that such another experiment would be sufficient to make a proselyte of him.” We read, in the same work for Nov. 1751, xxi. 507 : “So early as Agricola the divining rod was in much request, and has obtained great credit for its discovery where to dig for metals and springs of water : for some years past its reputation has been on the decline, but lately it has been revived with great success by an ingenious gentleman, who, from numerous experiments, hath good reason to believe its effects to be more than imagination. He says, that hazel and willow rods, he has by experience found, will actually answer with all persons in a good state of health, if they are used with moderation and at some distance of time, and after meals, when the operator is in good spirits. The hazel, willow, and elm are all attracted by springs of water; some persons have the virtue intermittently; the rod, in their hands, will attract one half hour, and repel the next. The rod is attracted by all metals, coals, amber, and lime-stone, but with different degrees of strength. The best rods are those from the hazel, or nut tree, as they are pliant and tough, and cut in the winter months. A shoot that terminates equally forked is to be met with, two single ones, of a length and size, may be tied together with a thread, and will answer as well as the other.”

In the Supplement to the Athenian Oracle, p. 234, we read, that “the experiment of a hazel's tendency to a vein of lead ore is limited to St. John Baptist's Eve, and that with an hazel of that same year's growth."

There is a treatise in French, entitled La Physique occulte, ou Traité de la Baguette divinatoire, et de son utilité pour la découverte des Sources d'Eau des Minières, de Trésors cachez, des Voleurs, et des Meurtriers fugitifs; par M. L. L. de Vallemont, prêtre et docteur en théologie, 12mo. Amsterdam, 1693,

464 pages.

At the end of Henry Alan's edition of Cicero's treatises De

Divinatione, and De Fato, 1839, will be found “Catalogus auctorum de divinatione ac fato, de oraculis, de somniis, de astrologia, de dæmonibus, de magia, id genus aliis."

” With the divining rod seems connected a lusus naturæ of ash tree bough, resembling the litui of the Roman augurs and the Christian pastoral staff, which still obtains a place, if not on this account I know not why, in the catalogue of popular superstitions. Seven or eight years ago I remember to have seen one of these, which I thought extremely beautiful and curious, in the house of an old woman at Beeralston, in Devonshire, of whom I would most gladly have purchased it; but she declined parting with it on any account, thinking it would be unlucky to do so. Mr. Gostling, in the Antiquarian Repertory, ii. 164, has some observations on this subject. He thinks the lituus or staff, with the crook at one end, which the augurs of old carried as badges of their profession, and instruments in the superstitious exercise of it, was not made of metal, but of the substance above mentioned. Whether, says he, to call it a work of art, or nature, may be doubted; some were probably of the former kind; others, Hogarth, in his Analysis of Beauty, calls lusus naturæ, found in plants of different sorts, and in one of the plates of that work, gives a specimen of a very elegant one, a branch of ash. I should rather, continues he, style it a distemper, or distortion of nature; for it seems the effect of a wound by some insect, which piercing to the heart of the plant with its proboscis, poisons that, while the bark remains uninjured, and proceeds in its growth, but formed into various stripes, flatness, and curves, for want of the support which nature designed it. The beauty some of these arrive at might well consecrate them to the mysterious fopperies of heathenism, and their rarity occasion imitations of them by art. The pastoral staff of the church of Rome seems to have been formed from the vegetable litui, though the general idea is, I know, that it is an imitation of the shepherd's crook. The engravings given in the Antiquarian Repertory are of carved branches of the ash.

* Moresin, in his Papatus, p. 126, says: “ Pedum episcopale est litius augurum, de quo Livius, i."




OR BIBLE LOTS. This is a species of divination performed by opening the works of Virgil, &c., and remarking the lines which shall be covered with your thumb the instant the leaves are opened ; by which, if they can be interpreted in any respect to relate to you, they are accounted prophetic. This custom appears to have been of very ancient date, and was tried with Homer's poem as well as Virgil's. They who applied to this kind of oracle were said to try the sortes Homerice, or sortes Virgiliane.

King Charles the First is said to have tried this method of learning his fate, and to have found the oracle but too certain. I have subjoined the lines from Virgil as printed in Dryden's Miscellanies, vol. vi.

“ But vex'd with rebels and a stubborn race,
His country banish’d, and his son's embrace,
Some foreign prince for fruitless succours try,
And see his friends ingloriously die;
Nor, when he shall to faithless terms submit,
His throne enjoy, nor comfortable light,
But, immature, a shameful death receive,
And in the ground th’unbury'd body leave."


' Dr. Welwood says that King Charles the First and Lord Falkland, being in the Bodleian Library, made this experiment of their future fortunes, and met with passages equally ominous to each. Aubrey, however, in his manuscript on the Remains of Gentilism, tells the story of consulting the Virgilian lots differently. He says: "In December, 1648, King Charles the First being in great trouble, and prisoner at Carisbrooke, or to be brought to London to his tryal, Charles, Prince of Wales, being then at Paris, and in profound sorrow for his father, Mr. Abraham Cowley went to wayte on him. His Highnesse asked him whether he would play at cards, to divert his sad thoughts. Mr. Cowley replied he did not care to play at cards, but if his Highness pleased they would use sortes Virgilianæ (Mr. Cowley always had a Virgil in his pocket); the Prince liked the proposal, and pricked a pin in the fourth book of the Æneid, &c. The Prince understood not Latin well, and desired Mr. Cowley to translate the verses, which he did admirably well."

“At bello audacis populi vexatus et armis,
Finibus extorris, complexu avulsus Iuli,
Auxilium imploret, videatque indigna suorum
Funera ; nec, cum se sub leges pacis iniquæ
Tradiderit; regno aut optatâ luce fruatur;
Sed cadat ante diem : mediâque inhumatus arenâ.”

Æneid., lib. iv. l. 615,

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Waes me,

Dr. Johnson, in his Life of Cowley, suspects that great poet to have been tinctured with this superstition, and to have con'sulted the Virgilian lots on the great occasion of the Scottish treaty, and that he gave credit to the answer of the oracle.

Dr. Ferrand, in his Love Melancholy, 1640, p. 177, mentions the "kinde of divination by the opening of a booke at all adventures, and this was called the Valentinian chance, and by some sortes Virgilianæ ; of which the Emperor Adrian was won't' to 'make very much use." He adds, “I shalt omít to speak here' of astragalomancy, that was done with huckle bones ; ceromancy, and all other such like fooleries.".

Dr. Nathaniel Home, in his Dæmonologie, 1650, p. 81, says : "For sorcery, properly so called, viz. divination by lotts, it is too much apparent how it abounds.' For lusory lots, the state groans under the losse by them, to the ruine of many men and families ; as the churches lament under the sins by them; and for other lots, by sieves, books, &c., they “abound, as witchery, &c., abounds."? Allan' Ramsay, in his Poems, 1721, p. 81, has these linés :

for baith I canna get,
To ane by law we're stented;
Then I'll draw cutts, and take my fate,

And be with ane contented." In the Glossary, he explains cutts, lots. These cuts are usually made of straws unequally cut; which one hides between his finger and thumb, while another draws his fate." ^,**

Jodrell, in his Illustrations of Euripides, i. 174, informs us that a similar practice prevailed among the Hebrews, by whom it was called bath-kol.

The 'superstitious among the ancient Christians practised a similar "kind of divination by opening the Old and New Testament. See Gibbon's Decline and Fall

, vic 333. He is 'speaking of Clovis, A.D. 507, who, marching from Paris, as he proceeded with decent reverence through the holy diocese of Tours, consulted" the shrine of St. Martin; the sanctuary

of Gaul. His messengers were instructed to remark kinete

words of the psalm" which should happen to be chanted at the precise moment when they entered the church. These words most fortunately expressed the valour and victory of the champions of heaven, and the application was easily transferred to the new Joshua, the new Gideon, who went III.


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