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and there was scarce a Shepherd to be met with who had not seen a Spirit. Hence
Thofe Tales of vulgar Sprites,
Which frighted Boys relate on Winter Nights,
Our Shakespear's Ghofts excel all others :-The Terrible indeed is his Forte:-How awful is that Description of the dead Time of Night, the Seafon of their Perambulation!
"'Tis now the very witching Time of Night,
"When Church yards yawn, and Hell itself breathes out "Contagion to the World."
The Antients, because the Cock gives Notice of the Approach and Break of Day, have, with a Propriety equal to any Thing in their Mythology,
* Mr. Gay has left us too a pretty Tale of an Apparition :-The golden Mark being found in Bed, is indeed after the indelicate Manner of Swift, but yet is one of thofe happy Strokes, that rival the Felicity of that Dash of the Spunge which (as Pliny tells us) hit off fo well the Expreffion of the Froth in Protogenes' Dog-It is impoffible not to envy the Author the Conception of a Thought, which we know not whether to call more comical or more pointedly fatyrical.
+ Thus alfo in Hume's Douglas :
In fuch a Place as this, at fuch an Hour,
If Ancestry can be in aught believ'd,
Defcending Spirits have convers'd with Man,
And told the Secrets of the World unknown.
In Scotland, Children dying unbaptized (called Tarans) were fuppofed to wander in Woods and Solitudes, lamenting their hard Fate, and were faid to be often fecn.-It is thought here very unlucky to go over their Graves.-It is vulgarly called going over Sunchriftened Ground."
dedicated this Bird to Apollo.-They have alfo made him the Emblem of Watchfulness, from the Circumstance of his fummoning Men to their Business by his crowing, and have therefore dedicated him also to Mercury. With the Lark, he may be poetically ftiled "the Herald of the Morn." The Day civil or political has been divided into thirteen Parts. The After-midnight and the Dead t of the Night, are the moft folemn of them all, and have therefore, it fhould feem, been appropriated by antient Superstition to the walking of Spirits.
* Vanes on the Tops of Steeples were antiently in the Form of a Cock (called from hence Weather Cocks) and put up in papal Times to remind the Clergy of Watchfulness. "In fummitate Crucis, quæ Campanario vulgo imponitur, Galli Gallinacei effingi folet Figura, quæ Ecclefiarum Rectores Vigilantiæ admoneat."
Du Cange. Gloff.
1. After-midnight. 2. Cock-crow. 3. The Space between. the firft Cock-crow and Break of Day. 4. The Dawn of the Morning. 5. Morning. 6. Noon. 7. Afternoon. 8. Sunfet. 9. Twilight. 10. Evening. 11. Candle Time. 12. Bed Time. 13. The Dead of the Night.-The Church of Rome made four nocturnal Vigils: The Conticinium, Gallicinium or Cock-crow, Intempeftum et Antelucinum.
Durand. de Nocturnis.
Dr. Johnson, in his Description of the Buller of Buchan, in Scotland, pleasantly tells us, "If I had any Malice against a walking Spirit, inftead of laying him in the Red Sea, I would condemn "him to refide in the Buller of Buchan."
The Streets of this Northern Metropolis were formerly (fo vulgar Tradition has it) haunted by a nightly Guest, which appeared in the Shape of a Mastiff Dog, &c. and terrified fuch as were afraid of Shadows. This Word is a Corruption of the Anglo-Saxon gast, fpiritus, anima. I have heard, when a Boy, many Stories concerning it.
CHA P. VII.
Of Church-yards; why the Vulgar are generally afraid of paffing through them at Night: The Original of this Fear: That there is nothing in them now, more than in other Places to be afraid of.
HE moft of ignorant People are afraid
of going through a Church-Yard at Night-time. If they are obliged upon fome hafty and urgent Affair, they fear and tremble, till they are beyond its Bounds, but they generally avoid it, and go further about. would, no Question,, be better if there were fewer Path-ways through Church-Yards than there are, both as it would prevent several Abufes committed in them, and alfo cause the Afhes of the Dead to be in greater Quiet, and more undisturbed Peace: We fhould not then fee Church-Yards changed into common Dunghills, nor fhould we tread fo frequently upon the Bones of our Friends: But when for the Conveniency of Neighbourhood, or other Reafons, there are allowed public Ways, it is a very great Weakness to be afraid of paffing through them.
The Reason of this Fear is, a Notion they -have imbib'd, that in Church-Yards there is a frequent walking of Spirits at the Dead-time
of Night. Indeed there is at that Time fomething awful and horrible every where, and it must be confefs'd fomething more folemn in a Church-Yard, than in the Generality of other Places; but that it is then more frequented with Apparitions and Ghofts than other Places are, is at this Time of Day intirely groundlefs, and without any Reafon.
The Original of this Timorousness may be deduc'd from the Heathens: For they believed that the departed Ghofts came out of their Tombs and Sepulchres, and wander'd about the Place where the Body lay buried. Thus * Virgil tells us, That Meris could call the Ghosts out of their Sepulchres: And † Ovid, that Ghosts came out of the Sepulchres, and wandered about: And Clemens Alexandrinus, in his Admonitions to the Gentiles, upbraids them with the Gods they worshipped; which,
fays he, are wont to appear at Tombs and Sepulchres, and which are nothing but fading Spectres and airy Forms. And the learned Mr. Mede obferves, from a Paffage of this fame ancient Father, §"That the Heathens fuppofed the Prefence and Power of Demons "(for fo the Greeks called the Souls of Men
*Mærin fæpe animas imis excire fepulchris,
-Vidi-Bucol. 8. Virg.
+ Nunc anime tenues.-Sepulchris.-Errant.-Ovid. Faft. Poos oun, &c. Admonit. ad Gent. P. 37. Mede, Lib. 3. P. 633. de Cultu Demon.
departed) at their Coffins and Sepulchres;
as tho' there always remain'd fome natural "Tye between the Deceafed and their Relicts." Agreeable to this, Dr. Scot, * in his Difcourfe of the Christian Life, fpeaks of "grofs and fenfual Souls, who appeared often, after "their Separation, in Church-Yards or Char"nel-Houfes, where their Bodies were laid. "The † Soul that is infected with a great Luft to the Body, continues fo, for a great while after "Death, and fuffering many Reluctances, ho
vers about this vifible Place, and is hardly "drawn from thence by Force; ly the Dæmon "that hath the Guard and Care of it. By the . vifible Place, he means their Monuments "and Sepulchres, where the fhadowy Fantafms, "of fuch Souls, have fometimes appeared."
It having therefore been a current Opinion of the Heathens, that Places of Burial and Church-Yards were frequently haunted with Spectres and Apparitions, it is easy to imagine, that the Opinion has been handed from them, among the Ignorant and unlearned, throughout all the Ages of Chriftianity to the prefent Day. And indeed, tho' now there may be no fuch Things, yet that there have been, need not be difputed; not that they were the real Souls of Men departed: For I cannot fee for
*Scot, Chrift. Life, P. 71. Part 1.