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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, Svo. 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.1
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 expansis alis suspendere, ut, quod ait Apuleius, suo corpore luat illud infortunium 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,
The fluttering wings did beat, which wak'd him from his sleep,
To his mother's garden, then, he did repair,
For to lie, and lament himself there;
When he again the dove did see sitting on a myrtle tree
With drooping wings, it desolate appear'd.
'Thou dove, so innocent, why dost thou come?
That thou dost dog me here, all round the vallies fair.'
She in distraction run, and told him what she'd done,
He nothing more did say, but took a knife,
Farewell, the joy and pleasure of my life!'
He in the garden flew, and pierc'd his body through,
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
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, Dum freisshire: "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. [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,
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