Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/346

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preted usually as a bad sign rather than as a good one. Thus a ship painted black all over, without a white spot anywhere to be seen, raised great fear in the hearts of those who saw it. (See Heywood's The Fair Maid of the West, iv. 2.)

There were numerous indications that pointed directly at death. "It is an unlucky sign in the chamber of the sick to talk of marriages; for my mother sayeth that it foreshoweth death." (Lyly, Sapho and Phao, iii. 3.) One whose name was mentioned frequently on a death bed would not live long. Drake quotes the following list of signs that usually implied either death or some dreadful calamity: lamentings in the air, shaking and trembling of the earth, sudden gloom at noonday, the appearance of meteors, eclipses of the sun and moon, the moon of a bloody hue, the shrieking of owls, the croaking of ravens, the shrilling of crickets, the night howling of dogs, the clicking of the death-watch, the chattering of pies, the wild neighing of horses, their running wild and eating each other, the cries of fairies, the gibbering of ghosts, the withering of bay trees, showers of blood, blood dripping thrice from the nose, horrid dreams, demoniacal voices, ghastly apparitions, winding sheets, corpse candles, night fires, and strange and fearful noises. Most of