Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

post) to depose things they know no more than the man i'th' moon as if hell were accessory to all the cheating tricks hell inspires him with." Also, in the last page: "He impairs God's universal monarchy, by making the stars sole keepers of the liberties of the sublunary world; and, not content they should domineer over naturals, will needs promote their tyranny in things artificial too, asserting that all manufactures receive good or ill fortunes and qualities from some particular radix, and therefore elects a time for stuing of pruins, and chuses a pisspot by its horoscope. Nothing pusles him more than fatal necessity: he is loth to deny it, yet dares not justify it, and therefore prudently banishes it his theory, but hugs it in his practice, yet knows not how to avoid the horns of that excellent dilemma propounded by a most ingenious modern poet:

If fate be not, how shall we aught foresee?
Or how shall we avoid it, if it be?

If by free-will in our own paths we move,
How are we bounded by decrees above?"

"6

Werenfels, in his Dissertation upon Superstition, p. 6, says, speaking of a superstitious man: He will be more afraid of the constellation-fires, than the flame of his next neighbour's house. He will not open a vein till he has asked leave of the planets. He will avoid the sea whenever Mars is in the middle of Heaven, lest that warrior god should stir up pirates against him. In Taurus he will plant his trees, that this sign, which the astrologers are pleased to call fix'd, may fasten them deeper in the earth... He will make use of no herbs but such as are gathered in the planetary hour. Against any sort of misfortune he will arm himself with a ring, to which he has fixed the benevolent aspect of the stars, and the lucky hour that was just at the instant flying away, but which, by a wonderful nimbleness, he has seized and detained."

Gaule, in his Mag-astromancers Posed and Puzzel'd, p. 181, asks: "Where is the source and root of the superstition of vain observation, and the more superstitious ominations thereupon to be found, save in those arts and speculations that teach to observe creatures, images, figures, signes, and accidents, for constellational, and (as they call them) second stars; and so to ominate and presage upon them, either as touching themselves or others? As, namely, to observe dayes

for lucky or unlucky, either to travail, sail, fight, build, marry, plant, sow, buy, sell, or begin any businesse in."

In Sir Aston Cokain's Poems, 8vo. Lond. 1658, is the following quip for astrologers: "70. To astrologers.

'Your industry to you the art hath given

To have great knowledge in th' outside of Heaven :
Beware lest you abuse that art, and sin,
And therefore never visit it within.'"

"Astrology," says the Courtier's Calling, &c. by a person of honour, 1675, p. 242, "imagines to read in the constellations, as in a large book, every thing that shall come to pass here below; and figuring to itself admirable rencounters from the aspects and conjunctions of the planets, it draws from thence consequences as remote from truth as the stars themselves are from the earth. I confess, I have ever esteemed this science vain and ridiculous: for, indeed, it must either be true or false: if true, that which it predicts is infallible and inevitable, and consequently unuseful to be foreknown. But, if it is false, as it may easily be evinced to be, would not a man of sense be blamed to apply his minde to, and lose his time in, the study thereof? It ought to be the occupation of a shallow braine, that feeds itself with chimerical fancies, or of an imposter who makes a mystery of every thing which he understands not, for to deceive women and credulous people." In the Athenian Oracle, iii. 149, we read: "Astra regunt homines, sed regit astra Deus, is a maxim held by all astrologers."

Sheridan, in his notes on Persius, 2d edit. 1739, p. 79, says: "To give some little notion of the ancients concerning horoscopes. The ascendant was understood by them to be that part of Heaven which arises in the east the moment of the child's birth. This containing thirty degrees was called the first house. In this point the astrologers observed the position of the celestial constellations, the planets, and the fixed stars, placing the planets and the signs of the zodiack in a figure which they divided into twelve houses, representing the whole circumference of heaven. The first was angulus orientis, (by some called the horoscope,) shewing the form and complexion of the child then born; and likewise the rest had their several significations, too tedious to be inserted here, because of no use in the least. The heathen astrologers, in

casting nativities, held, that every man's genius was the companion of his horoscope, and that the horoscope was tempered by it: hence proceeded that union of minds and friendship which was observed among some. This appears from Plutarch in his life of Anthony, concerning the genii of Anthony and C. Octavius. Those who have the curiosity of being farther informed in these astrological traditions, let them consult Ptolemy, Alcabitius, Albo Hali, Guido Bonat, &c."

Dallaway in his Tour to Constantinople, p. 390, tells us that astrology is a favorite folly with the Turks. "Ulughbey," he says, "amongst very numerous treatises, is most esteemed. He remarks the 13th, 14th, and 15th of each month as the most fortunate; the Ruz-nameh has likewise its three unlucky days, to which little attention is paid by the better sort. The sultan retains his chief astrologer, who is consulted by the council on state emergencies. When the treaty of peace was signed at Kainargi in 1774, he was directed to name the hour most propitious for that ceremony. The vizier's court swarms with such imposters. It was asserted that they foretold the great fire at Constantinople in 1782. There was likewise an insurrection of the Janissaries which they did not foretel, but their credit was saved by the same word bearing two interpretations of insurrection and fire. It may now be considered rather as a state expedient to consult the astrologer, that the enthusiasm of the army may be fed, and subordination maintained by the prognostication of victory."

CHIROMANCY, OR MANUAL DIVINATION BY PALMISTRY, OR LINES OF THE HAND.

IN Indagine's Book of Palmestry and Physiognomy, translated by Fabian Withers, 1656, there is a great waste of words on this ridiculous subject. The lines in the palm of the hand are distinguished by formal names, such as the table line, or line of fortune, the line of life or of the heart, the middle natural line, the line of the liver or stomach, &c. &c.

&c., the triangle, the quadrangle. The thumb, too, and fingers, have their "hills" given them, from the tops of which these manual diviners pretended that they had a prospect of futurity. The reader will smile at the name and not very delicate etymon of it, given in this work to the little finger. It is called the ear-finger, because it is commonly used to make clean the ears. This does no great honour to the delicacy of our ancestors.

Gaule, in his Mag-astromancers Posed and Puzzel'd, p. 188, exposes the folly of palmistry, which tells us, "that the lines spreading at the bottom joynt of the thumb signe contentions; the line above the middle of the thumbe, if it meet roundabout, portends a hanging destiny; many lines transverse upon the last joynt of the fore-finger, note riches by heirdome; and right lines there are a note of a jovial nature; lines in the points of the middle finger (like a gridiron) note a melancholy wit, and unhappy; if the signe on the little finger be conspicuous, they note a good witt and eloquent, but the contrary, if obscure. Equal lines upon the first joynt of the ring-finger are marks of an happy wit." To strike another's palm is the habit of expression of those who plight their troth, buy, sell, covenant, &c. "He that would see the vigour of this gesture in puris naturalibus must repaire to the horse-cirque or sheep-pens in Smithfield, where those crafty olympique merchants will take you for no chapman, unlesse you strike them with good lucke and smite them earneste in the palme." See Bulwer's Chirologia, pp. 93, 105.

Agrippa, in his Vanity of Sciences, p. 101, speaking of chiromancy, says that it "fancies seven mountains in the palm of a man's hand, according to the number of the seven planets; and by the lines which are there to be seen, judges of the complection, condition, and fortune of the person; imagining the harmonious disposition of the lines to be, as it were, certaine cælestial characters stampt upon us by God and nature, and which, as Job saith, God imprinted or put in the hands of men, that so every one might know his works; though it be plain that the divine author doth not there treat of vain chiromancy, but of the liberty of the will." He gives a catalogue of great names of such authors as have written on this science falsely so called, but observes that "none of them have been able to make any further progress than conjecture,

and observation of experience. Now that there is no certainty in these conjectures and observations, is manifest from thence, because they are figments grounded upon the will; and about which the masters thereof of equal learning and authority do very much differ."

Mason, in his Anatomie of Sorcery, 1612, p. 90, speaks of "vaine and frivolous devices, of which sort we have an infinite number also used amongst us, as namely in palmestry, where men's fortunes are told by looking on the palmes of the hande."

Newton, in his Tryall of a Man's owne Selfe, 1692, p. 145, under breaches of the eighth commandment, inquires whether the governors of the commonwealth "have suffered palmesters, fortune-tellers, stage-players, sawce-boxes, enterluders, puppit players, loyterers, vagabonds, land-leapers, and such like cozening make-shifts, to practise their cogging tricks and rogish trades within the circuite of his authoritie, and to deceive the simple people with their vile forgerie and palterie." By "governors of the commonwealth" here, it should seem, he means justices of the peace.

Dr. Ferrand, in his Love's Melancholy, 1640, p. 173, tells us that "this art of chiromancy hath been so strangely infected with superstition, deceit, cheating, and (if durst say so) with magic also, that the canonists, and of late years Pope Sixtus Quintus, have been constrained utterly to condemn it. So that now no man professeth publickely this cheating art, but theeves, rogues, and beggarly rascals; which are now every where knowne by the name of Bohemians, Egyptians, and Caramaras; and first came into these parts of Europe about the year 1417, as G. Dupreau, Albertus Krantz, and Polydore Vergil report."

ONYCHOMANCY, OR ONYMANCY,

DIVINATION BY THE FINGER-NAILS.

THERE was anciently a species of divination called onychomancy, or onymancy, performed by the nails of an unpolluted boy. Vestiges of this are still retained. Sir Thomas Browne,

« VorigeDoorgaan »