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THE ancients adopted a very pecu- ed person was to rise at midnight, and to liar method of pacifying the wan- walk barefooted, silently, only making dering spirits of such as had been slain a small noise with his thumb and finger, by treachery. The murderer never to keep the disturbed spirit at some disthought himself safe from being haunted tance he then must wash his hands by the spectre of the person whom he three times in spring water, and fill his had killed, until he had cut off the feet, mouth with beans, which he was to the hands, the nose, and the ears, from throw behind him, for the spectre, who the slaughtered corpse, and hung them watched his motions, to pick up; he to his own neck, or under his arm-pits. was at the same time to pronounce, This appears from the Greek scholiasts "With these beans I redeem me and on Sophocles, Eschylus,&c. Deiphobus, mine"-without turfing back his head. the husband of Helena, was probably Then after one more ablution, after treated in this way; which accounts for striking a vessel of brass, and after adthe uncouth appearance which he made juring the ghost nine several times, by before Æneas in the shades.

--------- “ Lacerum, crudeliter ora, Ora, manusque, ambos, populataque tempora, raptis, Auribus et truncas, inhonesto vulnere nares." "Midst other barbarous devices, The Greeks had cut his face in slices,

name, to depart, he might turn his head, and the ceremony was ended.*

In what manner are we to account for the difference between that noble wildness found in the tales of superstition, handed down to us by our Celtic ances

Of cheeks, nose, lips, they'd quite bereft him, tors, and the uninteresting insipidity of

And not an inch of ear had left him.”

And this naturally introduces the Roman method of getting rid of those troublesome, nocturnal visitors, the Lemures, 30 named from a transversion of the word Remus, who was said to have haunted his brother, and murderer, Ro

mulus.

On this account, the hag-ridden prince instituted a festival, called Lemuria, to appease the unquiet dead. The hauntG Vol. 2. ATHENEUM.

all the ghost and witch stories which the latter ages have produced? Perhaps the cause may be found in that universal allowance of preternatural visitations, which, in former times, pervaded every rank of society, and, of course, encouraged the greatest and most fanciful wits of the time to busy themselves in invent

*It should seem that a person who had resolution enough to pass through a form so

very alarming, must have too firm a mind to

give any credit to such childish expiatory cer

emonies.

42.

Superstition.

[VOL. 2 ing and recounting picturesque relations, to conquer and devour the buried surwhile in modern days, since the belief of vivor. He added, that the spectre had such events has been confined wholly to so far prevailed, as to have feasted on the ignorant, the poor, and the superan- the horse, the dog, and half the face of nuated, neither genius nor imagination the wretched narrator; but that he had are at hand to raise the tale one degree at length, by the exertion of his old prowabove a white sheet, or a pair of saucer ess, overpowered the spectre, and beeyes, nor to supply the spectre with any headed and buried the possessed carcase." language more expressive than that of scratching, knocking, or fluttering. Let us, for example's sake, recount one out of a hundred stories told by the ancient northern writers.

Here the story ends; and perhaps one of the most singular parts of it is, that it was told to the Norwegian Prince in extempore verse.* A circumstance, which, in the mouth of a man who had been one hundred years fighting with a goblin, and who had but half a face left,

seems uncommon.+ But such effusions of poetry were usual in former ages, in all remarkable occurrences. The modern vampire has strong traces of descent from the above quoted Gothic phantom.

Asuithus and Asmundus were heroes and companions in arms they had fought and conquered together during many years, and their friendship was spoken of as a pattern to the warriors of the North. At length, the one, after a desperate conflict, was slain in battle: the survivor, after causing a spacious vault to be constructed for his friend's Thus we are told by Matthew Paris, body, and after having seen his arms, that, as Gilbert Folliot (afterwards Bishhis horse, and his favourite dog (as was op of London) was, one night, revolving the mode of the times), placed within in his head certain points in politics, a his reach, besides a large store of provi- science to which he had a stronger turn sions, entered the cavern armed as he than to divinity, he was most fearfully was, and, in consequence of a mutual interrupted in his meditation by Satan, vow which had passed between them, who, with an unpleasant tone of voice, insisted on being closed in with his deceased comrade. The orders of such a man were not to be disputed. The soldiers walled up the opening of the vault, heaped over the whole the usual mound of earth, and departed, lamenting the loss of two such leaders. It chanced that, a century afterwards, Eric, a Swedish Prince, marching, with his army, near the scene of this awful event, was incited by the hopes of finding some vast treasure to violate the asylum of the dead. His pioneers instantly levelled the hillock, and the arch of the vault soon gave way; when, instead of the expected solemn stillness of a tomb, the ghastly figure of the surviving hero rushed forth all covered with blood, and deprived of half his visage.

Quid stupetis, qui relictum me colore cer

nitus

Nescio que Stigie numinis ausu,
Obsolescit nempe vivis omnis inter mortuos
Missus ab inferis, spiritus Assuíti,
Sævis alipedem dentibus edit,

Infandoque canem præbuit ore.
Nec contentus equi nec canis esse,
Mox, in me, rapidos transtulit ungues,
Hinc, lacere vultus horret imago,
Discissâque genâ, sustulit aurem,
Emicat, inque fere vulnere sanguis,
Haut impune tamen monstrifer egit,
Nam ferro secur, mox, caput ejus,
Profodique nocens stipite corpus.

+A Mr. Child, of Plymstock, in Devonshire, was inspired by the Muses, if we may believe tradition, on an occasion almost as half frozen, and on the point of perishing, unpromising for a bard. He was benighted, when, with the point of his sword, he wrote, with his horse's blood, this testamentary

distich:

The tale he told to the Norwegian The Land of Plimstock---that shall be his "Whoever finds, and brings me to my tomb--was frightful as his own appearance. doom." "As soon," he said, 66 as the tomb bad been closed, a hungry cruel spirit had taken possession of the body of his slaughtered friend, and had, without ceasing a moment, employed all the force and arms of the deceased in order

The monks of Ford Abbey are said to have gained the estate so bequested by throwing a the body from their burial ground; and a temporary bridge over a river which separated bridge near the ruins of that religious house, still is reported to bear the name of Guile Bridge. Dr. Fuller says he cannot tell the date of this tale.

VOL. 2.]

Superstition.

43

thus accosted him in rhyme, "O Gil- pants poison, and other deadly things, berte Folliot ---Dum revolvis tot et tot and let the eggs lie therein for some -Deus tuus est Astarot."-To whom days: set them under hens that do cluck, the unterrified priest replied, with great- but shake them not in your hands, lest er presence of mind than civility,+"Men- you destroy the mischief sought for. tiris, Dæmon, Qui est Deus-Sabbaoth, There is no greater cause to be found to est ille meus." produce divers monsters, than by eggs."

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Near the abbey of Clairvaux, in SwitNo man ever gave into popular and zerland, there is a tradition that an evil superstitious prejudices more readily spirit lies beneath a mountain, enchain- than the (otherwise) ingenious and ened by St. Bernard; and the smiths of tertaining antiquarian, John Aubrey. that neighbourhood, when they go to His method of relation was always work in the morning, always think it quaint, and sometimes too general, as in their duty to strike three strokes on their the following instance :anvils to rivet his fetters.

This infernal being deserves much less compassion than those industrious phantoms, who, according to a reputable tradition, are still to be heard near a south ern cliff in Wales, constantly employed in hammering on the brasen wall which Merlin intended for the defence of Britain. But the headless enchanter having, after he had set them to work, been decoyed by the lady of the lake into a perpetual confinement, the poor spirits still continue their unavailing labor, and must hammer on till Merlin regains his freedom.

"Anno 1670, not far from Cirencester, was an apparition. Being demanded whether a good spirit or a bad? returned no answer, but disappeared with a curious perfume and most melodious twang."

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The following anecdote from the same writer is more particular:-" When I" (the writer,J.Aubrey) was a freshman at Oxford, 1642, I was wont to go to Christ Church to see King Charles 1. at supper; where I once heard him say, that as he was bawking in Scotland, he rode into a quarry, and found the covey of partridges falling on the hawk: "Should a glass-house fire be kept up and I do remember this expression furwithout extinction for a longer term than ther; viz. And I will swear upon the seven years, there is no doubt but that book 'tis true. When I came to my a salamander would be generated in the chamber, I told this story to my tutor ; cinders." This very rational idea is much said he, That covey was London.' " more generally credited than wise men would readily believe.

The annals of France report that in 793 there fell out an uncommon scarcity;

In a folio book of some price, we the ears of corn were all void of submeet the following recipe :

"How to make a Basiliske. "I deny not" (quoth the Author) "but a living creature may be generated, that shall poison one by seeing and touching, as if it were Basiliske. But take heed, you that try to produce this creature, that you do not endanger your self, which, I think, may easily come to pass. Infuse fruitful eggs, where you have a liquid moisture of arsenic or ser

"While thus you're revolving on good and
on evil,

This world is your Heaven, your God is the
Devil."

✦ “Satan, thou liest! the God who evermore
Both was and is, is him whom I adore."

stance, and strange preternatural beings. were heard in the air, proclaiming themselves to be demons who had ravaged the harvests in order to revenge the clergy for the reluctance of the people as to the payment of tythes; which, in consequence of this diabolical interference, were ordered to be regularly discharged. St. Foix, who relates this story, humourously asks, "How the devils came to interest themselves so warmly in behalf of the priesthood?"

King James the First defines a necromancer to be the devil's master, and to command him by art. A witch his ser vant, for whom he works by compact.

44

On the Increase of the Glaciers of Chamouni.

The learned Godwin, in his Antiqui

[VOL. 2

With such as these, the rabbis assert

ties of the Jewish Nation, favors us with that Laban spake. the method of composing the Teraphim,

which were a species of image endued by land," after repeating the old prophetic Dr. Fuller, in his " Worthies of Engmagic art with the power of prophesying; proverb, "The Teraphim have spoken vanity." Zech. x. 2. Rabbi Eliezer is quoted as the author.

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Recipe for making the Teraphim.

They killed a man that was a firstborn son, and wrung off his head, and seasoned it with salt and spices, and wrote upon a plate of gold the name of an unclean spirit, and put it under the head on a wall, and lighted candles before it and worshipped it."

"When our Lady falls in our Lord's lap, “Then let England beware a mishap :" and after bringing fifteen instances of singular misfortunes, which have happened to England when such a conjunction of feasts has occurred, warns the next generation to beware of what may fall out in the year 1722: happily, that year is past, and probably another like era, without any signal misfortune happening to the kingdom.-Aug. 1817.

ON THE INCREASE OF THE GLACIERS OF CHAMOUNI.

TR

BY PROFESSOR PICTET, OF GENEVA.

From the New Monthly Magazine.

:

RAVELLERS who have visited most frequented of these glaciers, had the valley of Chamouni, and those made in 1815 such advances as began persons also who are acquainted with it to excite alarm; for its foot had actually from description alone, know that the reached woods and meadows from which prodigiously thick masses of ice which it had before been always more or less cover Mont Blanc, descend into that val- distant. The guides unanimously agreed ley to the foot of the mountain, fill up the in the reality of these advances, though broad ravines or rather dales formed by they widely differed in their estimate of nature on the sides of the vast colossus, the magnitude of them and in stateand at length dissolve in the plain far dis- ments of this kind there is always reason tant from the spot which gave them birth. to apprehend exaggeration. I resolved, These icy vales are called glaciers, and therefore, at the time of my visit to the each of them has its appropriate name. valley of Chamouni, in August 1815, Along the valley of Chamouni there are to determine by accurate measurements six of these glaciers which follow in this the horizontal distance of some of the order as you go up the valley; La Gria, projecting points of the lowest mass of Taconna, Les Bossons, Les Bois, Ar- the glacier, from such spots in the meadgentiere, and Le Tour. ow grounds menaced and partly reached Between the continual descent of the by the ice, as were marked by blocks of ice which composes these glaciers, and granite. Two of the oldest and most inits annual effusion at the foot of them, is telligent guides, Pierre Balmat and Gaformed a kind of equilibrium by means chat, surnamed the Giant, assisted me in of which the foot or extremity of the gla- this operation. I left with them a copy cier advances or recedes, according as of these measurements, distinguished by the mean temperature of the year is lower numbers, with directions to repeat them or higher. At the foot of the Bois gla- in the same manner from time to time, cier, near the source of the Arveron, is and to acquaint me with the result. to be seen a number of large blocks of granite which serve to mark how far the glacier that brought them advanced at different periods beyond its present lin

its.

Les Bossons, which is one of the most accessible and consequently one of the

In

July, 1816, I received from the son of one of these men a letter from which the following is an extract.

"I hasten to inform you, that agreeably to your instructions my father measured the Bossons glacier on the 30th of June, and found as follows::

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beheld a shadowing of those attributes which are assigned to the Deity! Yet, let me hasten to draw a veil before this picture of loathsome imbecility; and ought I not to apologize for having dwelt so long on a subject which must

sure you, as an apology, that my mind was haunted by this afflicting subject, as we are troubled by a frightful dream, which clings to our diseased imaginations.

It is some relief to the feeling mind to know, that this malady, which we have reason to believe bas always afflicted the Valaisans, has been of late years greatly alleviated; yet a traveller cannot enter far into this valley without being afflicted with the sight of goitrous persons employed at their avocations, or cretins inactive and insensible, reclining in chairs, or in the arms of their parents.

IN this valley are found persons called Goitres and Cretins. The former are distinguished by swellings of the neck, so large as to render them hideous; this disease does not materially diminish the distress you? I do so, and beg to asnumber of their days, although it has some effect on their general health. The cretins are the most powerless, the most loathsome, the most unlike human beings, yet bearing the human form, that I ever beheld; they are so baneful, that my nature chills even at the recollection of them. They are born idiots; they never attain a maturity of form or of intellect; their youth, their middle age, their latter years, are the same a heavy, an unchangeable, a leaden trance, locks up the sources of a physical and mental energy. They possess the appetitive organs, yet enjoy neither sights, nor sounds, nor odours, nor In considering the sources of these dissensations; but hunger,hunger approach- orders, Mr. Coxe appears to offer a theing voracity, appears to supply the dark- ory for the first only; it is his opinion ness of the other senses. They are sunk that this disease is attributable to a calcaeven beneath the lowest gradation of ani- reous deposit, found in the waters of the mated beings; they are incapable of the valleys where goitres reside; that the blind attachment of brutes, they have not adhesion of this to the glands of the throat, locomotion, for a cretin of twenty-five at that early period when they are most years cannot stand, but lives in a cradle, susceptible, causes this expansion, which or in the arms of the wretch whose des- at length becomes monstrous; he asserts tiny it is to preserve its existence. Add that animals also are affected in the same to this maturity of years, contracted fea- manner. This disorder is not peculiar tures of face, a head partially covered to Switzerland, or even Europe, it is with hair, bearing the dark hue of man- known to exist in Asia, for goitrous perhood, eyes weak and scarcely unclosed, sons are found in the valleys of all mounand lashes so clotted with thick moisture tainous countries, excepting those in a as to deform, rather than ornament, the high northern latitude. I do not hear, lid, flesh devoid of elasticity, with the indeed, that they are found farther north discoloration of death;-picture all this, than our own vale of Derbyshire. Mr. and you may think that you behold the Coxe, in proof of what he seems to concreature that has no parallel. Yet this sider no longer hypothetical, informs us being, fallen as it is below the vilest of that this calcareous deposit has been the brute species, bears the human form! found in the throats of such men and anthe form of man, in whom is sometimes imals as have been dissected.

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