Imagini ale paginilor

also, p. 60, ""How common is it for people to account it a signe of ill-luck to have the salt-cellar to be overturned, the salt falling towards them!"

The subsequent quotations are from Roberti Keuchenii Crepundia, 8vo. Amstel. 1662, p. 215:

"Salinum Eversum.

"Prodige, subverso casu leviore salino,
Si mal venturum conjicis omen: adest."


"Deliras insulse; salem sapientia servat:
Omen ab ingenio desipiente malum."


"Perde animam temulente, cades; sic auguror omen;
Non est in toto corpore mica salis."

Bishop Hall, in his Characters of Vertues and Vices, 1608, speaking of the superstitious man, says: "If the salt fall towards him he looks pale and red, and is not quiet till one of the waiters have poured wine on his lappe." "I have been at table where this accident happening, it has been thought to have been averted by throwing a little of the salt that fell over the left shoulder.

Mr. Pennant, in his Journey from Chester to London, p. 31, tells us: "The dread of spilling salt is a known superstition among us and the Germans, being reckoned a presage of some future calamity, and particularly that it foreboded domestic feuds; to avert which it is customary to fling some salt over the shoulder into the fire, in a manner truly classical :

"Mollivit aversos Penates,
Farre pio, saliente mica."

Horat. lib. iii. Od. 23.

Both Greeks and Romans mixed salt with their sacrificial cakes; in their lustrations also they made use of salt and water, which gave rise in after-times to the superstition of holy water. Stuckius, in his Convivial Antiquities, p. 17, tells us that the Muscovites thought that a prince could not show a greater mark of affection than by sending to him salt from his own table.

The same author, in his Tour in Wales, tells us that "a tune called 'Gosteg yr Halen, or the Prelude of the Salt,' was always played whenever the salt-cellar was placed before King Arthur's knights at his Round Table.



Selden, in his notes on the Polyolbion, Song xi., observes of salt, that it "was used in all sacrifices by expresse command of the true God, the salt of the covenant in Holy Writ, the religion of the salt, set first and last taken away, as a symbole of perpetual friendship, that in Homer Пaori & Aλos Ociolo, he sprinkled it with divine salt, the title of ayvirns, the cleanser, given it by Lycophron,-you shall see apparent and apt testimonie of its having had a most respected and divinely honoured name."

It has been observed by Bailey, on the falling of salt,' that it proceeds from an ancient opinion that salt was incorruptible; it had therefore been made the symbol of friendship; and if it fell, usually, the persons between whom it happened thought their friendship would not be of long duration.

Gaule, in his Mag-astromancers Pozed and Puzzel'd, p. 181, reckons among vain observations and superstitious ominations thereupon, "the spilling of the wine, the overturning of the salt." He afterwards, in p. 320, tells us: "I have read it in an orthodox divine, that he knew a young gentleman who, by chance spilling the salt of the table, some that sate with him said merrily to him that it was an ill omen, and wish't him take heed to himselfe that day of which the young man was so superstitiously credulous, that it would not go out of his mind; and going abroad that day, got a wound, of which he died not long after."


In Melton's Astrologaster, p. 45, this occurs in a "Catalogue of many Superstitious Ceremonies," No. 26, "That it is ill-lucke to have the salt-sellar fall towards you." Gayton, in his Art of Longevity, 4to. 1659, p. 90, says:

"I have two friends of either sex, which do
Eat little salt, or none, yet are friends too,
Of both which persons I can truly tell,
They are of patience most invincible,
Whom out of temper no mischance at all
Can put-no, if towards them the salt should fall.”

'Grose says, on this subject: "To scatter salt, by overturning the vessel in which it is contained, is very unlucky, aud portends quarrelling with a friend, or fracture of a bone, sprain, or other bodily misfortune. Indeed this may in some measure be averted by throwing a small quantity of it over one's head. It is also unlucky to help another person to salt. whom the ill luck is to happen does not seem to be settled.”


In the British Apollo, fol. Lond. 1708, i. No. 24, it is said:

"Wee'l tell you the reason
Why spilling of salt

Is esteem'd such a fault :
Because it doth ev'rything season.

Th' antiques did opine
'Twas of friendship a sign,

So serv'd it to guests in decorum;

And thought love decay'd

When the negligent maid

Let the salt-cellar tumble before them."

In the Rules of Civility, 12mo. Lond. 1695 (transl. from the French), p. 134, we read: "Some are so exact, they think it uncivil to help anybody that sits by them either with salt or with brains; but in my judgment that is but a ridiculous scruple, and, if your neighbour desires you to furnish him, you must either take out some with your knife, and lay it upon his plate, or, if they be more than one, present them with the salt, that they may furnish themselves."

Salt was equally used in the sacrifices both by Jews and Pagans; but the use of salt in baptism was taken from the Gentile idolatry, and not from the Jewish sacrifices. Salt, as an emblem of preservation, was ordered by the law of Moses to be strewed on all flesh that was offered in sacrifice. But among the Pagans it was not only made use of as an adjunct, or necessary concomitant of the sacrifice, but was offered itself as a propitiation. Thus in the Ferialia, or Offerings to the Diis Manibus, when no animal was slain :

"Parva petunt Manes, pietas pro divite grata est
Munere; non avidos Styx habet una Deos
Tegula porrectis satis est velata coronis,

Et parcæ fruges, parvaque mica salis."

"The Manes' rights expenses small supply,
Their richest sacrifice is piety.

With vernal garlands a small tile exalt,
A little flour and little grain of salt."

That the flour and salt were both designed as propitiatory offerings to redeem them from the vengeance of the Stygian or infernal gods, may be proved from a like custom in the Lemuria, another festival to the Diis Manibus, where beans

are flung instead of the flour and salt; and when flung, the

person says,—


'His, inquit, redimo, meque, meosque fabis." Fast. lib. v.
"And with these beans I me and mine redeem."

"It is plain, therefore, that the salt in the former ceremony was offered as a redemption, which property the Papists impiously ascribe to it still; and the parva mica, a little grain, is the very thing put into the child's mouth at present."Seward's Conformity between Popery and Paganism, p. 53. Ibid. p. 50, we read: "Then he, the priest, exorcises and expels the impure spirits from the salt, which stands by him in a little silver box; and, putting a bit of it into the mouth of the person to be baptized, he says, 'Receive the salt of wisdom, and may it be a propitiation to thee for eternal life." By the following extract from Dekker's Honest Whore, 1635, the taking of bread and salt seems to have been used as a form of an oath or strong asseveration :

"Scena 13.

"He tooke bread and salt by this light, that he would
Never open his lips."

It is also said—

"He damned himself to hel, if he speak on't agein."

Of the oath of bread and salt, see Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, i. 236.

Waldron, in his Description of the Isle of Man (Works, fol. p. 187), says: "No person will go out on any material affair without taking some salt in their pockets, much less remove from one house to another, marry, put out a child, or take one to nurse, without salt being mutually interchanged; nay, though a poor creature be almost famished in the streets, he will not accept any food you will give him, unless you join salt to the rest of your benevolence." The reason assigned by the natives for this is too ridiculous to be transcribed, i. e. the account given by a pilgrim of the dissolution of an enchanted palace on the island, occasioned by salt spilled on the ground.

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, xvi. 121, parish of Killearn, co. Sterling, we read: "Superstition yet continues.

to operate so strongly on some people, that they put a small quantity of salt into the first milk of a cow, after calving, that is given any person to drink. This is done with a view to prevent skaith (harm), if it should happen that the person is not canny."

Camden, in his Ancient and Modern Manners of the Irish, says: "In the town when any enter upon a public office, women in the streets, and girls from the windows, sprinkle them and their attendants with wheat and salt. And before the seed is put into the ground, the mistress of the family sends salt into the field." Gough's Camden, fol. 1789, iii. 659. See also Memorable Things noted in the Description of the World, p. 112. Willsford, in his Nature's Secrets, p. 139, tells us : "Salt extracted out of the earth, water, or any mineral, hath these properties to foreshew the weather; for, if well kept, in fair weather it will be dry, and apt to dissolve against wet into its proper element; on boards that it hath lain upon, and got into the pores of the wood, it will be dry in fair and serene weather, but when the air inclines to wet it will dissolve; and that you shall see by the board venting his brackish tears; and salt-sellers will have a dew hang upon them, and those made of mettal look dim against rainy weather."

Park, in his Travels in the Interior of Africa, tells us: "It would appear strange to an European to see a child suck a piece of rock salt as if it were sugar; this is frequent in Africa; but the poorer sort of inhabitants are so rarely indulged with this precious article, that to say, 'A man eats salt with his victuals,' is to say he is a rich man.'


In the order for the house at Denton, by Tho. Lord Fairfax, among Croft's Excerpta Antiqua, p. 32, I find, "For the chamber let the best fashioned and apparell'd servants attend above the salt, the rest below."

["If salt fall tow'rds him, he looks pale and red,
Stares as the house were tumbling on his head,
Nor can recover breath till that mishap
Be purg'd by shedding wine into his lap.
Tate's Characters, 1691, p. 21.]

Reginald Scot, in his Discovery of Witchcraft, p. 95, observes that "to recount it good or bad luck when salt or wine falleth on the table, or is shed, is altogether vanity and super

« ÎnapoiContinuă »