« ПредишнаНапред »
ST. ANDREW'S DAY; November 30.-A day that never was of much note with us, though in Scotland it has given rise to many observances. The only point worth recording of it in respect to this country is the annual Kentish custom, or diversion as it is called, of hunting the squirrel. "The labourers and lower kind of people assembling together form a lawless rabble, and being accoutred with guns, poles, clubs, and other such weapons, spend the greatest part of the day in parading through the woods and grounds, with loud shoutings, and under the pretence of demolishing the squirrels, some few of which they kill, they destroy numbers of hares, pheasants, partridges, and in short, whatever comes in their way, breaking down the hedges and doing much other mischief; and in the evening betaking themselves to the alehouses, finish their career there, as is usual with such sort of gentry.' л*
In Saxony the young girls in the time of Luther used to strip themselves naked, and recite the following prayer, in order to learn what kind of a husband they were like to have. "Oh God! my God!-Oh Saint Andrew! take care that I have a good and pious husband; and show me this day who it is that is to marry me.”
* HASTED'S HISTORY OF KENT, vol. 11, p. 757.
"Deus, deus meus!-O sancte Andrea, effice ut bonum et pium acquiram virum; hodie mihi ostende qualis sit qui me in uxorem ducere debet."-LUTHER'S COLLOQUIA MENSALIA, part 1, p. 233.
ANCIENT AND POPULAR SUPER
STITIONS AND CUSTOMS.
Ir is an ordinary superstition of old women that they dare not intrust a child alone in the cradle without a candle. This conceit derived from the Jews, who were afraid of a she-devil called Lilith.*
Flowers at Funerals.-The custom of rosemarie and flowers owing to the Jews, whose ancient custom it was, as they went by the waie with their corpses, to pluck every one a blade or two of grass, as who should say, they were not sorry as men without hope, for their brother was but so cropt off and should spring up again.†
* Abp. Kennett's MS. Collection, Lansdowne Cat. Brit. Mus. N. 1039. Plut. 79. F. vol. 105. fol. 8.-The Lilith mentioned by Kennett was, properly speaking, either a bird of night (nocturna avis) or an animal howling in the night-time (animal noctu clamans. Vid. Hoffman's Lexicon.) Hence,-and the transition is not very difficultthe Lilith passed into a female spectre, that appeared in the night-time and was supposed to be peculiarly hostile to new-born children. The fables in regard to he amongst the Jews are numerous. They hold her to be the mother of demons, and had a regular demonifuge song, or incantation, which they chaunted to protect infants in the cradle against her influence.
+ Id. p. 8.
Building.-"Now a custom of the Jews when they build any hous to leave part of it unfinisht in memory of the destruction of Jerusalem. Nay, the Jews say that God himself purposely left one part unfinisht."*
Dead Bodies.-"The Mahometans to this day, when they have washed their dead, they dispose of them in such a place where they may be layd out so as that the face and feet may most directly be towards the temple of Meccha; which custom is but a transcript of the Jewish rite, which was to carry up the dead bodie, when washed into such a place as is a vπερоv, or upper chamber, where they composed the corpse in such posture as turned the face and feet toward Jerusalem. This perhaps gives original to our burial with face to the east. The modern Jews lay out a dead corpse with the feet toward the chamber door, and a wax-candle at the head put into a pot of ashes.”†
Shaving." Priests were allowed no whiskers, but to shave their whole face."‡
Custom at Sea." It was the custom in a storm to cast lots, and the person, on whom the lot fell, was exposed in a little boat as in the example of Jonas. practised in the reign of King Stephen."§
* Id. fol. 8.
Id. fol. 9.
+ Id. fol. 8. § Id. f. 9.-Strange as this custom may be, the archbishop had good authority for asserting it. The story is to be found in William of Newburgh, where it is told of a certain Rayner, a great enemy to the church, whose iniquities were such as once, when voyaging with his wife, to render the ship on the sudden immovable. Thereupon the sailors cast lots according to ancient custom, when the lot fell upon Rainerus. That this might not be the mere effect of chance they threw a second and a third time, and the result being the same, it was unanimously pronounced to be the judgment of God. He was therefore put into a boat with his wife and his ill-acquired wealth, when the boat being submerged by the weight of his sins was swallowed up by the waters. "Alter verò Rainerus nomine, præcipuus ecclesiarum effractor atque
Cross. At one time people used to sign themselves with the sign of the cross before they slept, and believed they were not otherwise under God's protection. Thus when a certain pious hermit, by name, Ketellus, who had the gift of seeing devils, returned home one night weary with the labours of the field and forgot to sign himself as usual with the sign of the cross, two fiends immediately took advantage of this neglect. "Aha!" quothed they;
we have caught you at last, Master Ketellus!" Upon this he tried to cross himself and invoke the name of Christ, but found both his hands and tongue were tied. In the midst however of their diabolical taunts, a resplendent youth appeared bearing in his hands an axe, which being only slightly touched sent forth such a sound that the terrified demons incontinently fled. And now the youth-whom our historian has no doubt is the hermit's angel-accosts the anchorite, and, rebuking him for his negligence, says, "take care they do not catch you napping again, friend Ketellus.*"
Scadding of Peas.—" A custom in the north of boiling the common grey peas in the shell and eating them with butter and salt, first shelling them. A bean shell and incensor, cum uxore suo transfretans, iniquitatum suarum pondere in medio mari navim, qua vehebatur, fecit immobilem. Quod cum maximo nautis, et aliis qui simul vehebantur, esset stupori, antiquo exemplo jacta est sors, et cecidit sors super Rainerum. Et ne forte hoc casu accidisse videretur, iterum et tertiò sorte jacta et fideli inventa, judicium Dei declaratum est. Itaque, ne universi cum ipso et propter ipsum perirent, expositus est in scapha cum uxore et pecunia male adquisita. Navis illico expedita est, et cursu solito ferebatur. Scapha verò pondere peccatoris subsedit, fluctibusque absorpta est." GULIELMI NEUBRIGENSIS HISTORIA. p. 46. Lib. i. cap. xi. Tom 1. 8vo. Oxonii. 1719. It is hardly necessary to add that this custom must have originated in the scriptural tradition of Jonah and the whale.
* Id. Lib. Secundus, Cap. xxi. p. 173.
all is put into one of the pea-pods; whosoever gets this bean is to be first married."
Places deemed fatal.—It was a common superstition to attach fatality to certain places. Thus we read that to enter Lincoln was supposed to be fatal to any English monarch; and King Stephen has obtained no little praise from some historians for having the courage to disregard the popular belief and causing himself to be crowned there in the twelfth year of his reign, after he had extorted the city from the hands of the Earl of Chester.t
Gipseys. This word, which is pronounced hard, is a Yorkshire term for certain springs, which burst occasionally from the earth, and run off into the sea. When they dry up they are supposed to portend good, but when on the contrary they continue to flow on they are supposed to be ominous of evil.‡
Heretics Branded.—In the reign of Henry II. the socalled heretics were branded on the forehead, amerced of all their goods, and publicly whipt with rods, the harbouring of them or in any way assisting them being forbidden under severe penalties. William of Neubury gives us a long story of a set of heretics, who came out of Gascony into England, under the guidance of a certain Gerard, whom they respected as their prince. They professed to be Christians and to venerate the apostolic
* GROSE'S PROVINCIAL GLOSSARY. Sub voce Scadding.
+ "Anno regni suo duodecimo, cum rex Stephanus extorta de manibus comitis Cestrensis civitate Lincolnia potiretur, ibidem in celebritate natalis Dominici solemniter voluit coronari, vetustam superstitionem, qua reges Anglorum eandem civitatem ingredi vetabantur, laudabiliter parvipendens. Denique incunctanter ingressus, nihil sinistri ominis, sicut illa vanitas comminabatur, expertus est." GUILIELMI NEUBRIGENSIS HISTORIA, Vol. i. Lib. 1. cap. xviii. p. 59. 8vo. Oxonii. 1719.
Id. p. 95. Lib. Primus. Cap. xxviii.