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      Although the spread of education has doubtlessly weakened in an extraordinary degree the hold which superstition formerly maintained on the mind of the public, yet vestiges of the more innocent portions of superstitious belief are still in considerable repute amongst the lower orders, and may be found in all their force in many of the rural districts. It may be a question how far a complete eradication of these would benefit the cause of religion and morality, treason though it be in these times to doubt the efficacy of argumentative education. But all of us cannot be philosophers; and need we reprove a pretty village maiden for plucking the even-ash or four-leaved clover? The selfish tendencies of the age, in their opposition to every action which partakes of poetry or romantic belief, will effect their mission without the aid of the cynic.

      The subject of rural charms, many of which are lineal descendants from those used by our Anglo-Saxon ancestors, is one of great interest and curiousity; and it were much to be wished that a complete collection of them were formed. The following one is taken from a p.207 / manuscript of the time of Queen Elizabeth; the others are for the most part still in use.

This charme shall be said at night, or against night, about the place or feild, or about beasts without feild, and whosoever cometh in, he goeth not out for certaine.
On three crosses of a tree,
Three dead bodyes did hang;
Two were theeves,
The third was Christ,
On whom our beleife is.
Dismas and Gesmas;
Christ amidst them was;
Dismas to heaven went,
Gesmas to heaven was sent.
Christ that died on the roode,
For Marie's love that by him stood,
And through the vertue of his blood,
Jesus save us and our good,
Within and without,
And all this place about!
And through the vertue of his might,
Lett noe theefe enter in this night
Noe foote further in this place
That I upon goe,
But at my bidding there be bound
To do all things that I bid them do!
Starke be their sinewes therewith,
And their lives mightles,
And their eyes sightles!
Dread and doubt
Them enclose about,
As a wall wrought of stone;
So be the crampe in the ton (toes):
Crampe and crookeing,
And tault in their tooting,
The might of the Trinity
Save these goods and me,
In the name of Jesus, holy benedicité,
All about our goods bee,
Within and without,
And all place about!

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      Warts.—Whoever will charm away a wart must take a pin and go to an ash-tree. He then crosses the wart with the pin three times, and, after each crossing, repeats:

Ash-tree, ashen-tree,
Pray buy this wart of me!
After which he sticks the pin in the tree, and the wart soon disappears, and grows on the tree instead. This must be done secretly. I need scarcely observe that the ash is sacred amongst all the Teutonic and Scandinavian nations.
      Another.—Take a bean-shell, and rub the wart with it; then bring the bean-shell under an ash-tree, and repeat:
As this bean-shell rots away,
So my wart shall soon decay!
This also must be done secretly.

The Hiccup.
Hickup, hickup, go away,
Come again another day:
Hickup, hickup, when I bake,
I'll give to you a butter-cake.

      The Ague.—Said on St. Agnes's eve, sometimes up the chimney, by the oldest female in the family:
         Tremble and go!
First day shiver and burn:
         Tremble and quake!
Second day shiver and learn:
         Tremble and die!
Third day never return.

      Cattle.—Reginald Scot relates that an old woman who cured the diseases of cattle, and who always required a penny and a loaf for her services, used these lines for the purpose:

p.209 /

My loaf in my lap,
     My penny in my purse;
Thou art never the better,
     And I am never the worse.
      The same writer gives a curious anecdote of a priest who, on one occasion, went out a-nights with his companions, and stole all the eels from a miller's wear. The poor miller made his complaint to the same priest, who desired him to be quiet, for he would so denounce the thief and his confederates by bell, book, and candle, they should have small joy of their fish. Accordingly, on the following Sunday, during the service, he pronounced the following sentences to the congregation:
All you that have stol'n the miller's eels,
     Laudate Dominum de cælis;
And all they that have consented thereto,
     Benedicamus Domino.
"So," says he, "there is sauce for your eels, my masters!"
      An "old woman came into an house at a time whenas [lit.] the maid was churning of butter, and having laboured long, and could not make her butter come, the old woman told the maid what was wont to be done when she was a maid, and also in her mother's young time, that if it happened their butter would not come readily, they used a charm to be said over it whilst yet it was in beating, and it would come straightways, and that was this:
Come, butter, come,
Come, butter, come;
Peter stands at the gate,
Waiting for a buttered cake;
Come, butter, come!
This, said the old woman, being said three times, will make your butter come, for it was taught my mother by a learned churchman in Queen Marie's days; whenas churchmen had more cunning and could teach people p.210 / many a trick that our ministers now-a-days know not." —Ady's Candle in the Dark, 1656, p. 59.
      "There be twenty several ways," says Scot, 1584, "to make your butter come, which for brevity I omit, as to bind your church with a rope, to thrust therein a red-hot spit, &c.; but your best remedy and surest way is to look well to your dairy-maid or wife, that she neither eat up the cream, nor sell away your butter."

Effusion of Blood.—From Worcestershire.
Jesus was born in Bethlem,
Baptized in the river Jordan;
The water was wild and wood,
But he was just and good;
God spake, and the water stood,
And so shall now thy blood.
      Charms were formerly always used when wounds were attempted to be cured. So in the old ballad of Tommy Potts:
Tom Potts was but a serving-man,
     But yet he was a doctor good;
He bound his handkerchief on the wound,
     And with some words he staunched the blood.

      Bed-charm.—The following is one of the most common rural charms that are in vogue. Boys are taught to repeat it instead of a prayer:
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
Bless the bed that I lay on;
Four corners to my bed,
Four angels round my head,
One at head and one at feet,
And two to keep my soul asleep!
There are many variations of it. Ady, in his Candle in the Dark, 1656, p. 58, gives the first two lines as having been used by an old woman in the time of Queen Mary.

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Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Bless the bed that I lie on!
All the four corners round about,
When I get in,when I get out!
      The two following distiches were obtained from Lancashire, but I cannot profess to explain them, unless indeed they were written by the Puritans to ridicule the above:
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Hold the horse that I leap on!

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
Take a stick and lay upon!

      Burn.—The following charm, repeated three times, was used by an old woman in Sussex, within the last forty years:
Two angels from the North,
One brought fire, the other brought frost:
                  Out fire!
                  In frost!
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
      Pepys has recorded this, with a slight variation, in his Diary, vol. ii. p. 416.

      Thorn.—This rural charm for a thorn was obtained from Yorkshire:

Unto the Virgin Mary our Saviour was born,
And on his head he wore a crown of thorn;
If you believe this true and mind it well,
This hurt will never fester nor swell!
      The following one is given by Lord Northampton in his Defensative against the Poyson of supposed Prophecies, 1583, as having been used by Mother Joane of Stowe:
Our Lord was the fyrst man
That ever thorne prickt upon;
It never blysted, nor it never belted,
And I pray God nor this not may.

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      And Pepys, ii. 415, gives another:

Christ was of a virgin born,
And he was pricked with a thorn;
And it did neither bell nor swell,
And I trust in Jesus this never will.
      Toothache.—A very common one in the North of England, but I do not remember to have seen it in print.
Peter was sitting on a marble-stone,
     And Jesus passed by;
Peter said, "my Lord, my God,
     How my tooth doth ache!"
     Jesus said, "Peter art whole!
And whoever keeps these words for my sake
Shall never have the tooth-ache!"*

It is a fact that within the last few years the following ignorant copy of this charm was used by a native of Craven, recorded by Carr, ii. 264, and I have been informed on credible authority that the trade of selling efficacies of this kind is far from obsolete in the remote rural districts:
   "Ass Sant Petter Sat at the Geats of Jerusalem our blesed Lord and Sevour Jesus Crist Pased by and Sead, What Eleth thee hee Sead Lord My Teeth Ecketh he Sead arise and folow Mee and Thy Teeth shall Never Eake Eney Moor. fiat + fiat + fiat +."


      Aubrey gives another charm for this complaint, copied out of one of Ashmole's manuscripts:
Mars, hurs, abursa, aburse;
Jesu Christ, for Mary's sake,
Take away this tooth-ache!
      Against an evil tongue. From Aubrey, 1696, p. 111.—"Take unguentum populeum and vervain, and hypericon, and put a red-hot iron into it. You must anoint the backbone, or wear it on your breast. This is printed in Mr. W. Lilly's Astrology. Mr. H. C. hath try'd this receipt with good success.
"Verbain and dill
Hinders witches from their will."
      Cramp.—From Pepys' Diary, ii. 415:
Cramp, be thou faintless,
As our Lady was sinless,
When she bare Jesus.
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      Sciatica.—The patient must lie on his back on the bank of a river or brook of water, with a straight staff by his side between him and the water, and must have the following words repeated over him—

Bone-shave right,
Bone-shave straight;
As the water runs by the stave,
Good for bone-shave.
The bone-shave is a Devonshire term for the sciatica. See the Exmoor Scolding, ed. 1839, p. 2.

      Night-mare.—The following charm is taken from Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft, 1584, p. 87:

S. George, S. George, our ladies knight,
He walkt by daie, so did he by night.
Untill such time as he her found,
He hir beat and he hir bound,
Untill hir troth she to him plight,
She would not come to hir that night.

      Sore eyes.—From the same work, p. 246:
The diuell pull out both thine eies,
And etish in the holes likewise.

      For rest.—From the same work, p. 260:
In nomine Patris, up and downe,
Et Filii et Spiritus Sancti upon my crowne,
Crux Christi upon my brest;
Sweete ladie, send me eternall rest.

      Stopping of Blood.—From the same work, p. 273:
In the bloud of Adam death was taken +
In the bloud of Christ it was all to-shaken
And by the same bloud I doo thee charge
That thou doo runne no longer at large.
This charm continued in use long after the publication of Scot's work. A version of it, slightly altered, is given in the Athenian Oracle, 1728, i. 158, as having been used by a country empyryc.

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      Evil Spirits.—"When I was a boy," says Aubrey, MS. Lansd. 231, "a charme was used for (I thinke) keeping away evill spirits, which was to say thrice in a breath—

"Three blew beanes in a blew bladder,
Rattle, bladder, rattle."
These lines are quoted by Zantippa in Peele's Old Wives Tale, 1595.

Buckee, Buckee, biddy Bene,
Is the way now fair and clean?
Is the goose ygone to nest,
And the fox ygone to rest?
Shall I come away?
These curious lines are said by Devonshire children when they go through any passages in the dark, and are said to be addressed to Puck or Robin Goodfellow as a method of asking permission to trace them. Biddy bene, A.-S. biddan, to ask or pray, bén, a supplication or entreaty. Buckee, possibly a corruption of Puck.

      In Herefordshire, on the eve of Twelfth-day, the best ox, white or spotted, has a cake placed on his left horn; the men and girls of the farm-house being present, drink out of a silver tankard to him, repeating this verse—
We drink to thee and thy white horn,
Pray God send master a good crop of corn,
Wheat, rye,and barley, and all sorts of grain:
If alive at the next time, I'll hail thee again!
The animal is then sprinkled with the libation. This makes him toss his head up and down, and if, in so doing, the cake be thrown forwards, it is a good omen; if back- p.215 / wards, the contrary. Sir S. Meyrick, Trans. Brit. Arch. Assoc. Glouc. 1848, p. 128, appears to consider this custom a relic of the ancient Pagan religion.

      Butter-dock.—The seeds of butterdock must be sowed by a young unmarried woman half an hour before sunrise on a Friday morning, in a lonesome place. She must strew the seeds gradually on the grass, saying these words—
     I sow, I sow!
Then, my own dear,
Come here, come here,
     And mow and mow!
      The seed being scattered, she will see her future husband mowing with a scythe at a short distance from her. She must not be frightened, for, if she says "Have mercy on me," he will immediately vanish. This method is said to be infallible, but it is looked upon as a bold, desperate, and presumptuous undertaking.
      True-love.—Two young unmarried girls must sit together in a room by themselves, from twelve o'clock at night till one o'clock the next morning, without speaking a word. During this time each of them must take as many hairs from her head as she is years old, and, having put them into a linen cloth with some of the herb true-love, as soon as the clock strikes one, she must burn every hair separately, saying—
I offer this my sacrifice
To him most precious in my eyes;
I charge thee now come forth to me,
That I this minute may thee see.
Upon which her first husband will appear, and walk round the room, and then vanish. The same event happens to both the girls, but neither see the other's lover.

p.216 /

      Gerard says of the herb true-love or moonwort, p. 328, that "witches do wonders withall, who say that it will loose locks, and make them to fall from the feete of horses that grase where it doth growe."
      A charm-divination on the 6th of October, St. Faith's day, is still in use in the North of England. A cake of flour, spring water, salt and sugar, is made by three girls, each having an equal hand in the composition. It is then baked in a Dutch oven, silence being strictly preserved, and turned thrice by each person. When it is well baked, it must be divided into three equal parts, and each girl must cut her share into nine pieces, drawing every piece through a wedding-ring which had been borrowed from a woman who has been married seven years. Each girl must eat her pieces of cake while she is undressing, and repeat the following verses:

O good St. Faith, be kind to-night,
And bring to me my heart's delight;
Let me my future husband view,
And be my visions chaste and true.
All three must then get into one bed, with the ring suspended by a string to the head of the couch. They will then dream of their future husbands, or if perchance one of them is destined to lead apes, she will dream of wandering by herself over crags and mountains.
      On the 28th of the same month, another divination is practised by the paring of an apple, which is taken by a girl in the right hand, who recites the following lines, standing in the middle of a room—
St. Simon and Jude, on you I intrude,
     By this paring I hold to discover,
Without any delay, to tell me this day
     The first letter of my own true lover.
She must then turn round three times, casting the paring over her left shoulder, and it will form the first letter of her husband's name; but if the paring breaks into p.217 / many pieces so that no letter is discernible, she will never marry. The pips of the apple must then be placed in cold spring water, and eaten by the girl; but for what further object my deponent sayeth not.
      A very singular divination practised at the period of the harvest-moon is thus described in an old chap-book. When you go to bed, place under your pillow a prayer-book open at the part of the matrimonial service, "With this ring I thee wed;" place on it a key, a ring, a flower, and a sprig of willow, a small heart-cake, a crust of bread, and the following cards:—the ten of clubs, nine of hearts, ace of spades, and the ace of diamonds. Wrap all these in a thin handkerchief of gauze or muslin, and on getting into bed, cross your hands, and say—
Luna, every woman's friend,
To me thy goodness condescend;
Let me this night in visions see
Emblems of my destiny.
If you dream of storms, trouble will betide you; if the storm ends in a fine calm, so will your fate; if of a ring or the ace of diamonds, marriage; bread, an industrious life; cake, a prosperous life; flowers, joy; willow, treachery in love; spades, death; diamonds, money; clubs, a foreign land; hearts, illegitimate children; keys, that you will rise to great trust and power, and never know want; birds, that you will have many children; and geese, that you will marry more than once.
      In Dorsetshire, the girls have a method of divination with their shoes for obtaining dreams of their future husbands. At night, on going to bed, a girl places her shoes at right angles to one another, in the form of a T, saying—
Hoping this night my true love to see,
I place my shoes in the form of a T.
      On St. Luke's day, says Mother Bunch, take mari- p.218 / gold flowers, a sprig of marjoram, thyme, and a little wormwood; dry them before a fire, rub them to powder; then sift it through a fine piece of lawn, and simmer it over a slow fire, adding a small quantity of virgin honey, and vinegar. Anoint yourself with this when you go to bed, saying the following lines three times, and you will dream of your partner "that is to be:"
St. Luke, St. Luke, be kind to me,
In dreams let me my true love see.
      If a girl desires to obtain this information, let her seek for a green peascod in which there are full nine peas, and write on a piece of paper—
Come in, my dear,
And do not fear;
which paper she must inclose in the peascod, and lay it under the door. The first person who comes into the room will be her husband. Does Shakespeare allude to some notion of this kind by the wooing of a peascod in As You Like It, ii. 4?

      "The women have several magical secrets handed down to them by tradition, as on St. Agnes' night, 21st January. Take a row of pins, and pull out every one, one after another, saying a Pater Noster, sticking a pin in your sleeve, and you will dream of him or her you shall marry. You must lie in another county, and knit the left garter about the right-legg'd stockin (let the other garter and stockin alone), and as you rehearse these following verses, at every comma knit a knot:
This knot I knit
To know the thing I know not yet:
That I may see
The man that shall my husband be,
How he goes and what he wears,
And what he does all the days.
p.219 /

Accordingly in your dream you will see him, if a musitian [lit.] with a lute or other instrument, if a scholar, with a book, &c. A gentlewoman that I knew confessed in my hearing, that she used this method, and dreamt of her husband whom she had never seen. About two or three years after, as she was on Sunday at church, up pops a young Oxonian in the pulpit. She cries out presently to her sister, 'This is the very face of the man that I saw in my dream.' "—Aubrey's Miscellanies, ed. 1696, p. 105.
      On St. Agnes' day, take a sprig of rosemary, and another of thyme, and sprinkle them thrice with water. In the evening put one in each shoe, placing a shoe on each side of the bed, and when you retire to rest, say the following lines, and your future husband will appear "visible to sight:"

St. Agnes, that's to lovers kind,
Come ease the trouble of my mind.

      The young women of some districts in the North of England have a method of divination by kale or broth, which is used for the purpose of learning who are to be their future husbands. The plan followed is this. The maiden at bedtime stands on something on which she never stood before, holding a pot of cold kale in her hand, and repeating the following lines. She then drinks nine times, goes to bed backwards, and of course dreams of her partner:
Hot kale or cold kale, I drink thee;
If ever I marry a man, or a man marry me,
I wish this night I may him see,
     To-morrow may him ken
In church, fair, or market,
     Above all other men.
On Valentine's day take two bay leaves, sprinkle p.220 / them with rose-water, and lay them across your pillow in the evening. When you go to bed, put on a clean nightgown turned wrong side outwards, and, lying down, say these words softly to yourself:
Good Valentine, be kind to me,
In dreams let me my true love see.
After this go to sleep as soon as you can, and you will see in a dream your future husband.
      Schoolboys have several kinds of divination-verses on going to bed, now repeated "more in mock than mark," but no doubt originating in serious belief—
Go to bed first,
A golden purse;
Go to bed second,
A golden pheasant;
Go to bed third,
A golden bird.
The positions they occupy in the bed are suggestive of the following fortunes:
He that lies at the stock,
Shall have the gold rock;
He that lies at the wall,
Shall have the gold ball;
He that lies in the middle,
Shall have the gold fiddle.

Cook a ball, cherry-tree;
Good ball, tell me
How many years I shall be
Before my true love I do see?
One and two, and that makes three;
Thank'ee, good ball for telling of me.
Cook is to toss, or throw, a provincialism common in the Midland counties. The ball is thrown against a p.221 / wall, and the divination is taken from the number of rebounds it makes. Another version is—
Cuckoo, cherry-tree,*
Good ball, tell me
How many years I shall be
Before I get married?

The following lines reached me without an explanation. They seem to be analogous to the above:
Cuckoo, cherry-tree,
Lay an egg, give it me;
Lay another,
Give it my brother!

And this is probably correct, for we appear to have formed this method of divination in some indirect manner from a custom still prevalent in Germany of addressing the cuckoo, when he is first heard, with a view of ascertaining the duration of life, by counting the number of times it repeats its note. The lines used on this occasion are given by Grimm:
Kukuk, Beckenknecht!
     Sag mir recht,
Wie viel jahr Ich leben soll?
An old story is told of a man who was on his road towards a monastery, which he was desirous of entering as a monk for the salvation of his soul, and hearing the cuckoo, stopped to count the number of notes. They were twenty-two. "Oh!" said he, "since I shall be sure to live twenty-two years, what is the use of mortifying myself in a monastery all that time? I'll e'en go and live merrily for twenty years, and it will be all in good time to betake me to a monastery for the other two." See Wright's Essays, i. 257; and Latin Stories, p. 42, de cuculo; p. 74, de muliere in extremis quæ dixit kuckuc. Both these tales curiously illustrate the extent to which faith in the divination extended.
      If a maid desires to attach the affections of her love unalterably to her, she must wait till she finds him p.222 / asleep with his clothes on. She must then take away one of his garters without his perceiving it, and tie it to her own in a true-love knot, saying—
Three times this knot
     I tie secure;
Firm is the knot,
     Firm his love endure.
      In many parts of the country, it is considered extremely unlucky to give a person anything that is sharp, as a knife, razor, &c., but the bad fortune may be averted if the receiver gives something, however trifling, in return, and exclaims—
If you love me as I love you,
No knife shall cut our love in two!
      In counting the buttons of the waistcoat upwards, the last found corresponding to one of the following names indicates the destiny of the wearer:
My belief,—
A captain, a colonel, a cow-boy, a thief.

      A girl must pluck a leaf from the even-ash, and, holding it in her hand, say—
This even-ash I hold in my hand,
The first I meet is my true man.
She carries it in her hand a short distance, and if she meets a young man, he will be her future husband. If not, she must put the leaf in her glove, and say—
This even-ash I hold in my glove,
The first I meet is my true love.
She carries it in her glove a short time, with the same intention as before, but if she meets no one, she places the leaf in her bosom, saying—
This even-ash I hold in my bosom,
The first I meet is my husband.

p.223 /

And the first young man she meets after this will infallibly be her future partner. There are a great variety of rhymes relating to the even-ash. Another is—

If you find even-ash or four-leaved clover,
You will see your love afore the day's over.

Nettle in, dock out,
Dock rub nettle out!
If a person is stung with a nettle, a certain cure will be effected by rubbing dock leaves over the part, repeating the above charm very slowly. Mr. Akerman gives us another version of it as current in Wiltshire:
Out 'ettle, in dock,
Dock zhall ha' a new smock;
'Ettle zhant ha' narrun!

      This plant, in the eastern counties, is termed yarroway, and there is a curious mode of divination with its serrated leaf, with which you must tickle the inside of your nose, repeating the following lines. If the operation causes the nose to bleed, it is a certain omen of success:
Yarroway, yarroway, bear a white blow,
If my love love me, my nose will bleed now.
      Another mode of divination with this plant caused a dream of a future husband. An ounce of yarrow, sewed up in flannel, must be placed under your pillow when you go to bed, and having repeated the following words, the required dream will be realized:
Thou pretty herb of Venus' tree,
     Thy true name it is yarrow;
Now who my bosom friend must be,
     Pray tell thou me to-morrow.

p.224 /

      Boys have a variety of divinations with the kernels of pips of fruit. They will shoot one with their thumb and forefinger, exclaiming—

Kernel come kernel, hop over my thumb,
And tell me which way my true love will come;
East, West, North, or South,
Kernel, jump into my true love's mouth.
This is taken from Mr. Barnes's Dorset Gl., p. 320, but the author does not inform us in what way the divination was effected. I remember throwing apple-pips into the fire, saying—
If you love me, pop and fly,
If you hate me, lay and die!
addressing an imaginary love, or naming some individual whose affection was desired to be tested.
      Girls used to have a method of divination with a "St. Thomas's onion,"* for the purpose of ascertaining their future partners.

One of the old cries of London was, "Buy my rope of onions—white St. Thomas's onions." They are also mentioned in the "Hog hath lost his Pearl," i. 1.

They peeled the onion, wrapped it up in a clean handkerchief, and then placing it under their heads, said the following lines:

Good St. Thomas, do me right,
And let my true love come to-night,
That I may see him in the face,
And him in my kind arms embrace;
which were considered infallible for procuring a dream of the beloved one.
      To know if your present sweetheart will marry you, let an unmarried woman take the bladebone of a shoulder of lamb, and borrowing a penknife, without on any account mentioning the purpose for which it is required, stick it through the bone when she goes to bed for nine nights in different places, repeating the following lines each time:

p.225 /

'Tis not this bone I mean to stick,
But my love's heart I mean to prick,
Wishing him neither rest nor sleep,
Until he comes to me to speak.
Accordingly at the end of the nine days, or shortly afterwards, he will ask for something to put to a wound he will have met with during the time he was thus charmed. Another method is also employed for the same object. On a Friday morning, fasting, write on four pieces of paper the names of three persons you like best, and also the name of Death, fold them up, wear them in your bosom all day, and at night shake them up in your left shoe, going to bed backwards; take out one with your left hand, and the other with your right, throw three of them out of the shoe, and in the morning whichever name remains in the shoe is that of your future husband. If Death is left, you will not marry any of them.

      The herb vervain was formerly held of great efficacy against witchcraft, and in various diseases. Sir W. Scott mentions a popular rhyme, supposed to be addressed to a young woman by the devil, who attempted to seduce her in the shape of a handsome young man:
Gin you wish to be leman mine,
Leave off the St. John's wort and the vervine.
By his repugnance to these sacred plants, his mistress discovered the cloven foot. Many ceremonies were used in gathering it. "You must observe," says Gerard, "Mother Bumbies rules to take just so many knots or sprigs and no more, least it fall out so that it do you no good, if you catch no harme by it; many odde olde wives' fables are written of vervaine, tending to witchcraft and sorcerie, which you may reade elsewhere, for I am not willing to trouble your eares with reporting such trifles p.226 / as honest eares abhorre to heare." An old English poem on the virtue of herbs, of the fourteenth century, says:
As we redyn, gaderyd most hym be
With iij. pater-noster and iij. ave,
Fastand, thow the wedir be grylle,
Be-twen mydde arch and mydde Aprille,
And zet awysyd moste the be,
That the sonne be in ariete.
      A magical MS. in the Chetham Library at Manchester, of the time of Queen Elizabeth, furnishes us with a poetical prayer used in gathering this herb:
All hele, thou holy herb vervin,
Growing on the ground;
In the mount of Calvery
There was thou found;
Thou helpest many a greife,
And stenchest many a wound.
In the name of sweet Jesus,
I take thee from the ground.
O Lord, effect the same
That I doe now goe about.
The following lines, according to this authority, were to be said when pulling it:
In the name of God, on Mount Olivet
First I thee found;
In the name of Jesus
I pull thee from the ground.
      Two hogsheads full of money were concealed in a subterraneous vault at Penyard Castle, in Herefordshire. A farmer undertook to drag them from their hiding-place, a matter of no small difficulty, for they were protected by preternatural power. To accomplish his object, he took twenty steers to draw down the iron doors of the vault in which the hogsheads were deposited. The door was partially opened, and a jackdaw was seen perched on one of the casks. The farmer p.227 / was overjoyed at the prospect of success, and as soon as he saw the casks, he exclaimed, "I believe I shall have it." The door immediately closed with a loud clang, and a voice in the air exclaimed—
Had it not been
     For your quicken-tree goad,
And your yew-tree pin,
     You and your cattle
Had all been drawn in!
The belief that the quicken-tree is of great efficacy against the power of witches is still in force in the North of England. The yew-tree was formerly employed in witchcraft, a practice alluded to in Macbeth:
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goats, and slips of yew,
Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse.

      There is a superstition, says Forby, ii. 411, respecting cutting the nails, and some days are considered more lucky for this operation than others. To cut them on a Tuesday is thought particularly auspicious. Indeed if we are to believe an old rhyming saw on this subject, every day of the week is endowed with its several and peculiar virtue, if the nails are invariably cut on that day and no other. The lines are as follow:
Cut them on Monday, you cut them for health;
Cut them on Tuesday, you cut them for wealth;
Cut them on Wednesday, you cut them for news;
Cut them on Thursday, a new pair of shoes;
Cut them on Friday, you cut them for sorrow;
Cut them on Saturday, see your true love to-morrow;
Cut them on Sunday, the devil will be with you all the week.
      The following divination-rhymes refer to the gifts, or white spots on the nails, beginning with the thumb, and p.228 / going on regularly to the little finger. The last gift will show the destiny of the operator pro tempore,—
A gift—a friend—a foe—
A journey—to go.

Monday's child is fair in face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for its living;
And a child that's born on Christmas day
Is fair and wise, good and gay.

      Colour-superstitions, though rapidly disappearing, still obtain in the remote rural districts. The following lines were obtained from the East of England:
Blue is true,
Yellow's jealous,
Green's forsaken,
Red's brazen,
White is love,
And black is death!

The Man in the Moon
Sups his sowins with a cutty-spoon.
A Northumberland dish called sowins, is composed of the coarse parts of oatmeal, which are put into a tub, and covered with water, and then allowed to stand till it turns sour. A portion of it is then taken out, and sapped with milk. It may easily be imagined that this is a substance not very accessible to the movements of a cutty or very small spoon.

p.229 /

      Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, p. 412, informs us that there are three legends connected with the Man in the Moon; the first, that this personage was Isaac carrying a bundle of sticks for his own sacrifice; the second, that he was Cain; and the other, which is taken from the history of the Sabbath-breaker, as related in the Book of Numbers. The last is still generally current in this country, and is alluded to by Chaucer, and many early writers. The second is mentioned by Dante, Inferno, xx., Cain sacrificing to the Lord thorns, the most wretched production of the ground,—

      ——chè già tiene 'l confine
D'amenduo gli emisperi, e tocca l'onda
Sotto Sibilia, Caino e le spine.
      It appears that sowins were not the only food of the lunary inhabitant, for it is related by children he once favoured middle-earth with his presence, and took a fancy to some pease-porridge, which he was in such a hurry to devour that he scalded his mouth:
     The Man in the Moon
     Came tumbling down,
And asked his way to Norwich;
     He went by the south,
     And burnt his mouth
With supping hot pease-porridge.
His chief beverage, as everybody knows, was claret:
The Man in the Moon drinks claret,
     But he is a dull Jack-a-Dandy;
Would he know a sheep's head from a carrot,
     He should learn to drink cyder and brandy.
Another old ballad commences,—
The Man in the Moon drinks claret,
With powder-beef, turnip, and carrot.