IT is strange with what pertinacity the ignorant retain those customs which their fathers observed, and which they hold sacred without understanding either their origin or their purpose. It is an attribute of human nature to hallow all that belongs to the past. It is impossible to look without admiration upon a venerable building which has lived through centuries, an immortal work of art; it is natural that we should also revere those customs which have descended to us by no written laws, by no kingly proclamations, but simply from lip to ear, from father to son. Before I enter the homes of our peasants however, come with me to the mountains of Wales where we shall find the true descendants, not only of the ancient Britons but also of the Holy Druids themselves. I mean the Bards, or harpers, who still continue to strike melodious notes in this land of music and metheglin, and who still convey to their hearers the precepts of their great ancestors. The Bards were always held in high reverence in Wales, and that is why they have lived so long. When the priests had been swept away by the sword of the new religion, this glorious association of musicians remained, and consented to sing praises to Jesus Christ the Redeemer, instead of to HU the pervading spirit. Indeed it was said of Barach, who was chief Bard to Conchobhar Nessan, King of Ulster, that he described the passion of Jesus in such moving words that the king, transported with rage, drew his sword and fell to hacking and hewing the trees of the wood in which he was standing, mistaking them for Jews, and even died of the frenzy. By studying the old Welsh laws of Howel the good king (A. D.,940), one finds some curious matter respecting the position which the Bards held at that time in the Court and country. Y Bardd Teulu, or Court Bard (an appointment from which that of our poet-laureate probably originated) on receiving his commission, was presented by the king with a silver harp, by the queen with a gold ring. He held the eighth place at Court. He possessed his land free. At the three great festivals of the year, Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, he sat at the prince's table. On these occasions, he was entitled to have the disdain's or steward-of-the-household's garment for his fee. In addition to these perquisites, the king found him in woolen robes, and the queen in linen, and he received a present from every maiden when she married, but nothing at the bridal feasts of women who had been married before. At regal feasts the guests were placed in threes; a tune called Gosteg yr Halen, "the prelude of the salt," was sung as the salt-cellar was placed before the king, and as they were served with meats, &c.;, upon platters of clean grass and rushes, the harp played all the while. When a song was called for after the feast, the Oadeir-fardd, or the bard who possessed the badge of-the-chair sang a hymn to the glory of God, and then another in honor of the king. After which, the Teuluwr, or Bard of the Hall sang upon some other subject. If the queen wished for a song after she had retired to her apartment, the Teuluwr, might sing to her, but in a low voice, lest he disturb the other performers in the hall. If a Bard desired a favor of the king, he was obliged to play one of his own compositions; if of a nobleman, three; and if of a villain, till he was exhausted. His person was held so sacred that whoever slightly injured him was fined VI cows and CXX pence, and the murderer of a Bard was fined CXXVI cows. The worst murder in those days, like criminal conversations in the present age, only needed pecuniary atonement. On a plundering expedition, the Bard received a large portion of the spoil. He preceded the warriors to battle, reciting a poem called Unhenaeth Prydain, "the glory of Britain." An edict was issued by King Edward I. authorizing the massacre of the Bards, one of them having prophesied the liberation of Wales. The murder of the last Bard has been beautifully described by Gray in one of his poems. Queen Elizabeth also issued a proclamation, but of a less sanguinary character against certain wandering minstrels, who appear to have been among the musicians of those days what quacks are among our modern M.D.'s. It also commissioned certain gentlemen to inquire into the various capabilities of the Welsh Bards, and to license those who were most fit to represent the musical talent of their country. This profound question was settled at an Eisteddfod, or a musical meeting of the Bard who contested once a year for a silver harp. This practice which had existed from time immemorial is still continued in Wales, and the transactions of the Aberffraw Royal Eisteddfod were published in the year 1849. I know little of the peculiar character of Welsh music except that it is executed mostly in B flat. Part-singing may be considered as a peculiarity of the Welsh bards. Extempore performances were common to all the ancient minstrels of the world. A kind of extempore composition is still exercised among the Welsh peasantry, and is called Penillion singing. The harper being seated, plays one of his native airs while the singers stand round him and alternately compose a stanza upon any subject they please. There are many clerwyr, or wandering minstrels still in Wales. Like their predecessors, they are in the habit of going from house to house, and of officiating, as our gypsy fiddlers do at all rustic festivals and weddings. They have a curious tradition, that Madoc, a brother of one of the Kings of Wales, sailed from that country in the year 1171 A. D. and was the first European settler in Mexico. Sir Thomas Herbert who wrote a scarce book of travels in 1665, mentions it as a fact, and in Hackett's Collection of Epitaphs (1757) is this one:-- FOUND AT MEXICO. "Madoc wyf mwydic ei wedd lawn genan Owain Gwynedd Ni fynnwn dir fy awydd oedd Na da mawr ond y Moroedd." Madoc I am-mild in countenance Of the right line of Owen Gwynedd I wished not for land; my bent was For no great riches, but for the seas. We have it on the authority of a Captain Davies, and Lieutenant Roberts of Hawcorden in Flintshire, and from a MS. entry in William Penn's journal, evidence collected by the famous Dr. Owen Pughe, that the tribes of the Illinois, Madocautes, the Padoucas and Mud Indians spoke the Welsh language. Without entering into a useless dissertation upon this subject, I will note a curious custom in which the American Indians resemble the Welsh, viz., in the habit of carrying their canoes upon their backs from rapid to rapid. Giraldus Cambrensis informs us that the Welsh used to carry their triangular boats from river to river, which occasioned a famous dealer, named Bledherc, to say: "There is amongst us a people who when they go out in search of prey carry their horses on their backs to the place of plunder; in order to catch their prey, they leap upon their horses, and when it is taken, carry their horses home again upon their shoulders." They worshipped the same symbols of God as the ancient British-the sun, the moon, fire, water, the serpent, the cross, &c.;, and in the course of this chapter I shall mention other customs common to both nations. Among the peasantry of Great Britain and Ireland, there are observed not only those traditional customs which are meaningless because they are out of date, but actual idolatries. It may surprise the reader that the worship of fire with which our preachers and tract-writers jeer the inhabitants of Persia, is not yet extinct among us. Spenser says that the Irish never lighted a fire without uttering a prayer. In some parts of England it is considered unlucky for the fire to go out. They have a peculiar fuel with which they feed it during the night. The Scotch peat-fires are seldom allowed to die out. There are three days in the year on which the worship of fire is especially observed-May-day, Midsummer Eve and Allhallow E'en. On the first of May which is called Beltan, or Beltein-Day from the Druidic Beltenus, the Phœnician Baal, the Highland herdsmen assemble on a moor, They cut a table in the sod, of a round figure, by casting a trench in the ground of such circumference as to hold the whole company. They kindle a wood fire and dress a large caudle of eggs, butter, oatmeal and milk, taking care to be supplied with plenty of beer and whiskey as well. The rites begin with spilling some of the caudle on the ground by way of a libation; on that, every one takes a cake of oatmeal, upon which are raised nine square knobs, each dedicated to some particular being, the supposed preserver of their flocks and herbs, or to some particular animal the real destroyer of them. Each person then turns his face to the fire, breaks off a knob and flinging it over his shoulder, says: This I give to thee, preserve thou my horses; this I give to thee, preserve thou my sheep, and so on. After that, they use the same ceremony to the noxious animals. This I give to thee, oh fox! spare thou my lambs! this to thee, oh hooded crow; this to thee, oh eagle! They then knead another cake of oatmeal which is toasted at the embers against a stone. They divide this cake into so many portions (as similar as possible to each other in size and shape) as there are persons in the company. They daub one of these portions all over with charcoal until it is quite black. They put all the bits into a bonnet and every one, blind-folded, draws. He who holds the bonnet is entitled to the last bit. Whoever draws the black morsel is the devoted person who is to be sacrificed to Baal, and is compelled to leap three times through the fire, after which they dine on the caudle. When the feast is finished, the remains are concealed by two persons deputed for that purpose, and on the next Sunday they re-assemble and finish it. This, you see, is a relic of the Druidic human sacrifices as well as of their fire-worship. I will give two more examples of the former. I have noticed the custom of the Druids in great extremities of constructing a large wicker engine, of filling it with sheep, oxen and sometimes men, and setting light to it, as a mammoth sacrifice. Dr. Milner in his History of Winchester, informs us that at Dunkirk and at Douay there has existed an immemorial custom of constructing huge figures of wicker-work and canvas, and moving them about to represent a giant that was killed by their patron saint. And St. Foix, in his Essay on Paris, describes a custom which is not yet abolished in some of the small towns in France, viz., for the mayors on the Eve of St. John to put into a large basket a dozen or two cats, and to throw them into one of the festive bonfires lighted upon that occasion. To return to May Day. In Munster and Connaught the Irish peasants drive their cattle between two fires, as if for purposes of purification. In some parts of Scotland they light a fire to feast by, and having thrown a portion of their refreshments into the flames as a propitiatory sacrifice, deck branches of mountain-ash with wreaths of flowers and heather, and walk three times round it in a procession. Precisely the same custom is observed by the natives of America and at the same period, i.e., that of the vernal equinox. In India there is a festival in honor of Bhavani (a Priapic personification of nature and fecundity), which the Hindoos commemorate by erecting a pole in the fields, and by adorning it with pendants and flowers round which the young people dance precisely the same as in England. The Jews also keep a solar festival at the vernal equinox, on which occasion the Paschal lamb is sacrificed. The Floridians and Mexicans erect a tree in the centre of their sacred enclosures around which they dance. On May Eve the Cornish erect stumps of trees before their doors. On the first of the month the famous May-pole is raised, adorned with flowers and encircled by the pretty country lasses who little know of what this pole, or is an emblem. On Midsummer Eve an involuntary tribute is paid by the peasants of Great Britain and Ireland to the shades of their ancient priests, and to the Gods whom they worshipped, by lighting bonfires. The word bonfire, I may observe, is by some called bonefire because they believe (without any particular reason), that their fuel consisted of bones; by others boon-fire, because the wood was obtained by begging. Utrum horum marvis accipe. The cooks of Newcastle lighted fires on Midsummer Day in the streets of that town; the custom is general almost all over Ireland, and as late as the year 1786, the custom of lighting fires was continued in the Druidic Temple at Bramham, near Harrowgate in Yorkshire, on the eve of the summer solstice. In the Cornish tongue, Midsummer is called Goluan, which means light and rejoicing. At that season, the natives make a procession through the towns or villages with lighted torches. The Irish dance round these fires, and sometimes fathers, taking their children in their arms, will run through the flames. In Hindostan it is the mother who performs this office. On all sacred days among the Druids, they resorted to their different kinds of divination, and I should tire the reader were I to enumerate half the charms and incantations which are made use of in the country on Midsummer Eve. I have always remarked that those divinations which were probably used by priests to foretell the fate of a kingdom, or to decide upon the life or death of a human being, have now become mere methods of love prophecies with village sweethearts. One will sow hemp-seed on Midsummer Eve, saying, Hemp-seed I sow, hemp-seed I hoe, and he that is my true love come after me and mow. She will then turn round, and expects to see the young man who will marry her. Another will pick a kind of root which grows under mug-wort, and which, if pulled exactly at midnight on the Eve of St. John the Baptist and placed under her pillow, will give her a dream of her future husband. Another will place over her head the orphine-plant, commonly called Midsummer-men: the bending of the leaves to the right or to the left will tell her whether her husband was true or false. Bourne cites from the Trullan Council a species of divination, so singular, that it is impossible to read it without being reminded of the Pythoness on her tripod, or the Druidess on her seat of stone. "On the 23rd of June, which is the Eve of St. John the Baptist, men and women were accustomed to gather together in the evening at the sea-side or in certain houses, and there adorn a girl who was her father's first-begotten child after the manner of a bride. Then they feasted and leaped after the manner of Bacchanals, and danced and shouted as they were wont to do on their holy-days; after this, they poured into a narrow-necked vessel some of the sea-water, and also put into it certain things belonging to each of them. Then as if the devil gifted the girl with the faculty of telling future things, they would enquire with a loud voice about the good or evil fortune that should attend them; upon this the girl took out of the vessel the first thing that came to hand and showed it, and gave it to the owner, who, upon receiving it, was so foolish as to imagine himself wiser, as to the good or evil fortune that should attend him." The Druidic vervain was held in estimation on this day as we read in Ye Popish Kingdome. Then doth ye joyfal feast of John ye Baptist take his turne, When bonfiers great with lofty flame in every town doe burne, And young men round about with maides doe dance in every streete, With garlands wrought of mother-wort, or else with verwain sweete. The following extract from the Calendar of the Romish Church, shows us what doings there used to be at Rome on the Eve and Day of St. John the Baptist--the Roman Pales--the Druidic Belenus. JUNE. 23. The Virgil of the Nativity of John the Baptist. Spices are given at Vespers. Fires are lighted up. A girl with a little drum that proclaims the garland. Boys are dressed in girl's clothes: Carols to the liberal: imprecations against the avaricious. Waters are swum in during the night, and are brought in vessels that hang for purposes of divination. Fern in great estimation with the vulgar on account of its seed. Herbs of different kinds are sought with many ceremonies. Girl's Thistle is gathered, and a hundred crosses by the same. 24. The Nativity of John the Baptist. Dew and new leaves in estimation. The vulgar solstice. It was on Hallow-E'en that the Druids used to compel their subjects to extinguish their fires, which, when the annual diies were paid, were relighted from that holy fire which burnt in the clachan of the Druids, and which never died. Even now all fires are extinguished on HallowE'en, and a fire being made by rubbing two sticks together they are relighted from that, and from that alone. The same custom is observed among the Cherokee Indians. At the village of Findern in Derbyshire, the boys and girls go every year on the 2nd of November and light a number of small fires among the furze growing there, which they call Tindles. They can give no reason for so doing. Throughout the United Kingdom there are similar divining customs observed to those which I have just described as exercised on Midsummer Eve. There are miscellaneous vestiges of fire-worship besides those already noticed. In Oxfordshire revels, young women will sometimes tuck their skirts (twisting them in an ingenious manner round the ankles, and holding the ends in front of them) into a very good resemblance of men's trousers, and dance round a candle placed upon the floor, concluding by leaping over it three times. The name of this dance, too coarse to be written here, as the dance is to be described, betrays its phallic origin. Then there is the "Dance round our coal fire," an ancient practice of dancing round the fires in the Inns of Court, which was observed in 1733, at an entertainment at the Inner Temple Hall on Lord Chancellor Talbot's taking leave of the house, when "the Master of the Revels took the Chancellor by the hand, and he Mr. Page, who with the Judges, Sergeants and Benchers danced round the Coal Fire, according to the old ceremony three times; and all the time the ancient song with music was sung by a man in a bar gown." Last and most singular of all the Tinegin, or need-fire of the Highlanders. To defeat sorceries, certain persons appointed to do so are sent to raise the need-fire. By any small river or lake, or upon any island a circular booth of turf or stone is erected, on which a rafter of birch-tree is placed and the roof covered over. In the centre is set a perpendicular post, fixed by a wooden pin to the couple, the lower end being placed in an oblong groove on the floor, and another pole placed horizontally between the upright post and the leg of the couple into both of which the ends being tapered are inserted. This horizontal timber is called the auger, being provided with four short spokes by which it can be turned. As many men as can be collected are then set to work. Having divested themselves of all kinds of metals, they turn the pole two at a time by means of the levers, while others keep driving wedges under the upright post so as to press it against the auger, which by the friction soon becomes ignited. From this the need-fire is instantly procured, and all other fires being quenched, those that are rekindled both in dwelling houses and offices are accounted sacred, and the diseased and bewitched cattle are successively made to smell them. This contrivance is elaborate and its description not unnaturally awkward. It is however worthy of remark that in the initiation of Freemasons all metals are taken from them. Water was worshipped by the Druids, and was used by them for purification. The Welsh peasantry hold sacred the rain-water which lodges in the crevices of their cromleachs or altars, and the Irish proverb "To take a dip in the Shannon," would seem to show that its waters were held in the same superstitious reverence as are those of the Ganges by the natives of Hindostan. The Druids besprinkled themselves with dew when they went to sacrifice, and it is a belief among the English lasses that those who bathe their faces in the dew on May Day morning will have beautiful complexions. It is a belief in Oxfordshire that to cure a man bitten by a mad dog, he should be taken to the sea and dipped therein nine times. The regard still paid, however, to wells and fountains by the peasantry is the most extraordinary feature of water-worship. In the early ages it prevailed with such strength, that the Roman Catholics fearing to combat the custom christianized it by giving the holy wells the names of popular saints, and by enjoining pilgrimages after the Pagan fashion to their shrine. In some parts of England it is still customary to decorate these wells with boughs of trees, garlands of tulips, and other flowers placed in various fancied devices. At one time, indeed it was the custom on Holy Thursday, after the service for the day at the church, for the clergyman and singers to pray and sing psalms at these wells. Pilgrimages are still made by invalids among the poor Irish to wells, whose waters are supposed to possess medicinal properties under the influence of some beneficent saint. The well of Strathfillan in Scotland is also resorted to at certain periods of the year. The water of the well of Trinity Gask in Perthshire is supposed to cure any one seized with the plague. In many parts of Wales the water used for the baptismal font is fetched from these holy wells. Not only a reverence, but actual sacrifices are offered to some of these wells and to the saints which preside over them, or to the spirits which are supposed to inhabit them. In a quillet, called Gwern Degla, near the village of Llandegla in Wales there is a small spring. The water is under the tutelage of St. Tecla and is esteemed a sovereign remedy for the falling sickness. The patient washes his limbs in the well, makes an offering into it of fourpence, walks round it three times, and thrice repeats the Lord's prayer. If a man, he sacrifices a cock; if a woman a hen. The fowl is carried in a basket first round the well, after that into the churchyard and round the church. The votary then enters the church, gets under the communion table, lies down with the Bible under his head, is covered with a cloth and rests there till break of day. When he departs, he offers sixpence and leaves the fowl in the church. If the bird dies, the cure is supposed to have been affected and the disease transferred to the devoted victim. The custom of sticking bits of rag on thorns near these wells is inexplicable, as it is universal. Between the walls of Alten and Newton, near the foot of Rosberrye Toppinge, there is a well dedicated to St. Oswald. The neighbors have a belief that a shirt or shift taken off a sick person and thrown into the well will prognosticate his fate. If it floats the person will recover, if it sinks he will die. And to reward the saint for his intelligence, they tear a rag off the shirt and leave it hanging -on the briars thereabouts, "where" says Grose, citing a MS. in the Cotton Library, marked Julius F. vi. "I have seen such numbers as might have made a fayre rheme in a pajermyll." That the Highlanders still believe in spirits which inhabit their lakes is easily proved. In Strathspey there is a lake called Loch nan Spiordan, the Lake of Spirits. When its waters are agitated by the wind and its spray mounts whirling in the air, they believe that it is the anger of this spirit whom they name Martach Shine, or the Rider of the Storm. The Well of St. Keyne in the parish of St. Keyne, in Cornwall, is supposed to possess a curious property which is humorously explained in the following verses THE WELL OF ST. KEYNE. A well there is in the west country, And a clearer one never was seen There is not a wife in the west country But has heard of the Well of St. Keyne. An oak and an elm tree stand beside, And behind doth an ash tree grow, And a willow from the bank above Droops to the water below. A traveler came to the Well of St. Keyne, Pleasant it was to his eye; For from cock-crow he had been traveling, and there was not a cloud in the sky. He drank of the water so cool and clear, For thirsty and hot was he; And he sat him down upon the bank, Under the willow tree. There came a man from a neighboring town, At the well to fill his pail; On the well-side he rested it, And bade the stranger hail. Now, art thou a bachelor, stranger? quoth he, For an if thou hast a wife, The happiest draught thou hast drank this day That ever thou didst in thy life. Or has your good woman, if one you have, In Cornwall ever been? For an if she have, I'll venture my life, She has drunk of the Well of St. Keyne. I have left a good woman who never was here, The stranger he made reply; But that my draught should be better for that, I pray thee tell me why. St. Keyne, quoth the countryman, many a time, Drank of this chrystal well; And before the angel summoned her, She laid on the water a spell. If the husband, (of this gifted well), Shall drink before his wife, A happy man thenceforth is he, For he shall be master for life. But if the wife should drink of it first, God help the husband then! The stranger stooped to the well of St. Keyne, And drank of its waters again. You drank of the well I warrant betimes? He to the countryman said, But the countryman smiled as the stranger spoke, And sheepishly shook his head. I hastened as soon as the wedding was done. And left my wife in the porch, But i'faith I found her wiser than me, For she took a bottle to church. I must not omit to mention a method of divination by water, which is practiced at Madern Well in the parish of Madern, and at the well of St. Ennys, in the parish of Sancred, Cornwall. At a certain period of the year, moon or day, come the uneasy, impatient and superstitious, and by dropping pins or pebbles into the water, and by shaking the ground round the spring so as to raise bubbles from the bottom, endeavor to predict the future. This practice is not indigenous to Britain. The Castalian fountain in Greece was supposed to be of a prophetic nature. By dipping a mirror into a well the Patræans received, as they supposed, omens of ensuing sickness or health from the figures portrayed upon its surface. In Laconia, they cast into a lake, sacred to Juno, three stones, and drew prognostications from the several turns which they made in sinking. I will translate at length a pretty French story which I have met with, and which will adorn as well as illustrate the present subject:-- THE LEGEND OF THE PIN. In the West of France the pin is endowed with a fabulous power, which is not without a certain interest. One of its supposed attributes is the power of attracting lovers to her who possess it, after it has been used in the toilet of a bride. Consequently it is a curious sight in La Vendeé or Les Deux-Sèvres, to see all the peasant girls anxiously placing a pin in the bride's dress: the number being often so considerable that she is forced to have a pin -cushion attached to her waist-band to receive all the prickly charms. At night, on the threshold of the bridal chamber, she is surrounded by her companions, each one easily seizing upon the charmed pin, which is kept as a sacred relic. In Brittany the pin is regarded as the guardian of chastity, a mute witness which will one day stand forth to applaud or condemn in the following manner:-- Some days before the wedding, the betrothed leads his future bride to the edge of some mysterious current of water, and taking one of her pins drops it into the water. If it swims, the girl's innocence is incontestable--if on the contrary it sinks to the bottom, it is considered the judgment of heaven; it is an accusation which no evidence can overcome. But as the peasant girls in Brittany never use any pins heavier than the long blackthorn, which they find in the hedges, the severity of the tribunal is not very formidable. On the 7th of December, a young peasant mounted on a strong cob, full of hope and gaiety, was seen urging his way towards Morlaix with a handsome girl of twenty on a pillion behind him, her arm tenderly clasping his waist. It was easy to see in their happy faces that they were two lovers, and from the direction which they took, that they were going on a pilgrimage to try the charm of the pin at the fountain of St. Douet. Jean's father was one of the richest land-holders in the neighborhood, but above all the young ladies round him, he had chosen Margaret, whose sole wealth consisted in her beauty and virtue. Through all the glades of the wood with wild thyme and violets beneath their horses feet, they journeyed on till they came to a wild and deserted plain, whence they plunged once more into the dark forests of Finisterre filled with Druidical memories. It might have been those sombre shades which saddened them for a moment, but it was only for a moment. jean feared not the trial, for he loved Margaret, and believed her to be an angel. And Margaret feared it not, for she knew that she was innocent. Now they were close to the sacred fountain, which burst through the crevices of a rock overgrown with moss into a natural bason, and thence like a thread of silver through the forest. They dismounted, and Margaret, kneeling down, prayed fervently for some moments. Then rising, she gave her left hand to her lover, and full of confidence, advanced toward the well. Alas! she had too much faith in the virtue of the legend. Instead of a thorn pin, she took from a neckerchief one with a silver head which he had given her. He pressed her fingers affectionately as he took it from her hand and dropped it into the well. It disappeared instantaneously. Margaret sank to the ground with a heart-broken groan. He raised her and placed her on his horse, but he did not speak to her, he did not caress her. In mournful silence he walked by her side. Her arm could no longer embrace him. She was not his Margaret now. She was a guilty wretch who had dared to tempt the judgment of God. He placed her down at her father's door, and stooping he kissed her on the forehead. It was a silent adieu he was bidding her; it was his last kiss -it was the kiss of death. Next morning her corpse was found underneath his window. There were no marks of violence upon her body; the wound was in her heart; she had died a victim to a destestable superstition. To the element of air we do not find our peasants pay any particular homage, unless the well-known practice of sailors of whistling for the wind in a dead calm, and of the Cornish laborers when engaged in winnowing may be regarded as such. But the worship of the heavenly bodies has not yet died out among us' The astrologists of the middle ages were but copyists of the ancient Chaldeans, and the lower classes to this day draw omens from meteors and falling stars. General Vallancey, by the way, records a curious instance in his Collectanea de rebus Hibernicis, of an Irish peasant who could neither read nor write but who could calculate eclipses. When we consider how universal and how prominent was the worship of the sun in the world, it is almost surprising that we do not find more vestiges of this idolatry. There are some few however. It was once a custom of the vulgar to rise early on Easter Day to see the sun dance, for they fancied that the reflection of its beams played or danced upon the waters of any spring or lake they might look into. In the British Apollo, fol. Lond. 1708, vol. i. No. 40, we read: Q. Old wives, Phœbus, say That on Easter day, To the music o'the spheres you do caper, If the fact, sir, be true, Pray let's the cause know, When you have any room in your paper. A. The old wives get merry, With spic'd ale or sherry, On Easter, which makes them romance And whilst in a rout, Their brains whirl about, They fancy we caper and dance. The sun shining on the bride as she goes to church is a good omen. The cloudy rising of the sun is a presage of misfortune. The Highlanders, when they approach a well to drink, walk round it from east to west, sometimes thrice. The Orkney fishermen, on going to sea, would think themselves in imminent peril, were they by accident to turn their boat in opposition to the sun's course; and I have seen many well-educated people seriously discomfited if the cards from the pack, the balls from the pool-basket, or the decanters at the dining-table had not been sent round as the sun goes. All the ancient dances were in imitation of the revolutions of the heavenly bodies, and were used in religious worship. Such were the circular dances of the Druids--the slower and statelier movements of the Greek strophe--the dances of the Cabiri or Phoenician priests, the devotional dances of the Turkish dervishes, the Hindoo Raas Jattra or dance-of-the-circle, and the war dances of the American and other savage nations round their camp-fires, lodges, or triumphal poles. Such also is the Round About, or Cheshire Round, which is referred to by Goldsmith in his Vicar of Wakefield, and which is not yet extinct in England. But the best instance of sun-worship is found in the fires lighted by the common Irish on Midsummer's Eve, and which they tell you candidly are burnt "in honor of the sun." The fires which the Scotch Highlanders light on May Day are to welcome back the sun after his long pilgrimage in the frosts and darkness of winter. Crantz in his History of Greenland, informs us that the natives of that country observe a similar festival to testify their joy at the re-appearance of the sun, and the consequent renewal of the hunting season. In matters of divination, the moon is supposed by the vulgar to possess a peculiar power. She was supposed to exercise an influence not only over the tides of the sea, and over the minds of men, but also over the future, in weather, cookery, and physic. When the moon is encircled by a halo, or is involved in a mist, when she is called "greasy," it portends rain--when she is sharp horned, windy weather. It is also a general belief among all classes that as the weather is at the new moon, so it will continue during the whole month. In many of the old almanacs and books of husbandry, it is directed to kill hogs when the moon is increasing, and the bacon will prove the better, in boiling; to shear sheep at the moon's increase; to fell hand-timber from the full to the change; to fell frith, coppice, and fuel at the first quarter; to geld cattle when the moon is in Aries, Sagittarius, or Capricorn. In The Husbandman's Practice, or Prognostication for ever, the reader is advised "To purge with electuaries the moon in Cancer, with pills the moone in Pisces, with potions the moone in Virgo," and in another place, "To set, sow seeds, graft, and plant, the moone being in Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn, and all kinds of corne in Cancer, to graft in March, at the moone's increase, she being in Taurus or Capricorn." Werenfels in his Dissertation on Superstition, speaking of a superstitious man, writes, "He will have his hair cut either when the moon is in Leo, that his locks may stare like the lion's shag, or in Aries that they may stare like a ram's horn. Whatever he would have to grow he sets about when she is in the increase; for whatever he would have made less he chooses her wane. When the moon is in Taurus, he can never be persuaded to take physic, lest that animal which chews its cud should make him cast it up again; and if at any time he has a mind to be admitted to the presence of a prince, he will wait till the moon is in conjunction with the sun, for 'tis then the society of an inferior with a superior is salutary and successful." The islanders of Sky will not dig peats (which is their only fuel) in the increase of the moon, believing that they are less moist, and will burn more clearly if cut in the wane. In the parishes of Kirkwall and St. Ola, Orkney, none marry or kill cattle in the wane. In Angus it is believed that if a child be put from the breast during the waning of the moon, it will decay all the time that the moon continues to wane. I will mention two more instances of divination, one from Thomas Hodge's Incarnate Divells, viz., "That when the moone appeareth in the springtime, the one horn spotted and hidden with a blacke and great cloude from the first day of her apparition to the fourth day after, it is some signe of tempests and troubles in the aire the summer after." When the new moon appears with the old moon in her arms, or in other words when that part of the moon which is covered by the shadow of the earth is seen through it, it is considered not only an omen of bad weather, but also of misfortune, as we learn from the following stanza in the ballad of Sir Patrick Spence: Late, late yestreen I saw the new moone Wi'the auld moone in her arme; And I feir, I feir, my deir master, That we will come to harm. One might enumerate examples of this kind to volumes, and I fear I have already passed the limits of human endurance; I must, however, write a few words upon the subject of moon-worship. The feminine appellation is traditionally derived from the fable of Isis, who was entitled the wife of the sun. The superstition of the man-in-the-moon, is supposed to have originated in the account given in the Book of Numbers, XV. 32 et seq. of a man punished with death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath Day, though why, it is difficult to explain. In Ritson's Ancient Songs we read, "The man-in-the-moon is represented leaning upon a fork, on which he carries a bush of thorn, because it was for 'pycchynde stake' on a Sunday that he is reported to have been thus confined." And in Midsummer Night's Dream, one of the actors says, "All I have to say is to tell you that the lantern is the moon, I the man-in-the-moon, this thorn bush my thorn bush, and this dog my dog." Vide also Tempest, act. ii. sc. 2. The new moon still continues to be idolatrously worshipped by the vulgar of many countries. On the night of the new moon, the Jews assemble to pray to God under the names of the Creator of the planets, and the restorer of the moon. The Madingoe Tribe of African Indians whisper a short prayer with their hands held before their face; they then spit upon their hands and religiously anoint their faces with the same. At the end of the Mahometan Feast of Rhamadan (which closely resembles the Romish Carnival) the priests await the reappearance of the moon, and salute her with clapping of hands, beating of drums and firing of muskets. In the 65th Canon of the 6th council of Constantinople, A. D. 680, is the following interdiction: "Those bone-fires that are kindled by certaine people on new moones before their shops and houses, over which also they are most foolishly and ridiculously to leape by a certaine antient custom, we command them from henceforth to cease. Whoever therefore shall do any such thing, if he be a clergyman let him be deposed-if a layman let him be excommunicated." No bonfires are now lit in honor of the new moon, but the common Irish on beholding her for the first time cross themselves, saying: May thou leave us as safe as thou hast found us. English peasants often salute the new moon, saying: "There is the new moon, God bless her," usually seating themselves on a stile as they do so. They also believe that a new moon seen over the right shoulder is lucky, over the left shoulder unlucky, and straight before good luck to the end of the moon. That if they look straight at the new moon (or a shooting star) when they first see it, and wish for something, their wish will be fulfilled before the end of the year. The peasant girls, in some parts of England, when they see the new moon in the new year, take their stocking off from one foot and run to the next stile; when they get there, they look between the great toe and the next, and expect to find a hair which will be the color of their lover's. In Yorkshire, it is common enough for an inquisitive maid to go out into a field till she finds a stone fast in the earth, to kneel upon this with naked knees and looking up at the new moon to say: All hail, new moon, all hail to thee, I prithee, good moon, reveal to me This night, who shall my true love be, Who he is, and what he wears, And what he does all months and years. She then retires backwards till she comes to a stile, and goes to bed directly without speaking a word. The Irish believe that eclipses of the moon are effected by witchcraft, and this occasions me to narrate a curious custom of the ancient Peruvians who were the Egyptians of the New World. When the moon became eclipsed, they imagined that she was ill and would fall down and crush the world. Accordingly as soon as the eclipse commenced, they made a noise with cornets and drums, and tying dogs to trees beat them till they howled in order to awake the fainting moon who is said to love these animals, for Diana and Nehalenna are seldom represented without a dog by their side. Since we find in a book, called Osborne's Advice to his Son, p. 79, that "the Irish and Welch during eclipses ran about beating kettles and pans, thinking their clamor and vexations available to the assistance of the higher orbes," it is probable that they made use of the same canine resources as the natives of Peru, and that such is the origin of the Irish proverb that "dogs will bark at the moon." Having thus considered the worship of the elements and of the heavenly bodies extant among us, let us pass on to those minor idolatries which are still retained among the lower orders. There is no religious custom of the Russians so celebrated as that of presenting each other with eggs dyed and stained, saying, "Christ is risen." To which the other replies "He is indeed," and they exchange kisses. An egg was the Egyptian emblem of the universe, and it was from the Egyptians that all the Pagan nations, and afterwards the Greek Christians derived this ceremony. They are used also by the Roman Catholics and by the Jews in their Paschal festival. It is probable that it was also a Druidic ceremony, for it prevails in Cumberland and many other counties of England. On Easter Monday and Tuesday the inhabitants assemble in the meadows, the children provided with hard boiled eggs, colored or ornamented in various ways, some being dyed with logwood or cochineal; others tinged with the juice of herbs and broom-flowers; others stained by being boiled in shreds of parti-colored riband; and others covered with gilding. They roll them along the ground, or toss them in the air till they break when they eat them-a part of the ceremony which they probably understand the best. They are called pace-eggs or paste-eggs, probably corrupted from pasche. This reminds us of the strange fable of the serpent's egg. As I mentioned in an earlier chapter many of these eggs or adder-stones are preserved with great reverence in the Highlands. There are also some traditions upon this subject which are worth narrating. Monsieur Chorier in his Histoire de Dauphiné informs us that in the divers parts of that county, especially near the mountain of Rochelle on the borders of Savoy, serpents congregate from the 15th of June to the 15th of August for purposes of generation. The place which they have occupied after they have gone, is covered with a sticky white foam which is indescribably disgusting to behold. Camden relates that in most parts of Wales and throughout Scotland and Cornwall, it is an opinion of the vulgar that about Midsummer Eve the snakes meet together in companies, and that by joining heads together and hissing, a kind of bubble is formed which the rest by continual hissing blow on till it quite passes through the body, when it immediately hardens and resembles a glass ring which will make its finder prosperous in all his undertakings. The rings thus generated are called gleinu madroeth, or snake stones. They are small glass amulets commonly about half as wide as our finger rings, but much thicker, of a green color usually though sometimes blue and waved with red and white. Careu in his Survey of Cornwall says that its inhabitants believe that snakes breathing upon a hazel wand produce a stone ring of a blue color, in which there appears the yellow figure of a snake, and that beasts which have been bit by a mad dog or poisoned, if given some water to drink wherein this stone has been infused, will perfectly recover. The following custom is evidently a dramatic representation of the rape of the serpent's egg à la Pliny: On Easter Monday, in Normandy, the common people congregate à la motte de Pougard which they surround. They place at the foot a basket containing a hundred eggs, the number of the stones of the temple of Aubury. A man takes the eggs and places them singly on the top of the tumulus, and then descends in the same manner to return them to the basket. While this is doing, another man runs to a village half a league off, and if he can return before the last egg is restored to the basket, he gains a barrel of cider as a prize, which he empties with the co-operation of his friends, and a Bacchanalian dance round the tumulus ends the proceedings. Serpent-worship is almost extinct, if not entirely so; . and the belief of the lower orders in Ireland that St. Patrick expelled all the snakes and other reptiles from the island is perhaps derived from his having extinguished their adorers. However, it is considered unlucky in England to kill the harmless green snake; and there is a superstition almost universally present, that it will not die till the setting of that sun, of which it was an emblem. Its tenacity of life is indeed something marvelous. Mr. Payne Knight, in his work on Phallic worship, (which I read at the British Museum, but which is somewhat absurdly excluded from the catalogue) states that he has seen the heart of an adder throb for some moments after it had been completely taken from the body, and even renew its beatings ten minutes afterwards when dipped in hot water. Many of our ladies wear bracelets in the shape of a snake, as did the Egyptian dames of old. The lower orders believe that a serpent's skin will extract thorns, and its fat is sold to London chemists at five shillings a pound for its medicinal properties. Most curious of all, is the superstition that by eating snakes one may grow young, and of which the three following passages are illustrations. "A gentlewoman told an ancient bachelor, who looked very young, that she thought he had eaten a snake. No mistress, (he said) it is because I never meddled with any snakes which maketh me look so young. "--Holy State, 1642, p. 36. He hath left off o' late to feed on snakes, His beard's turned white again. Massinger, Old Law. Act V. Sc. 1. He is your loving brother, sir, and will tell nobody But all he meets, that you have eat a snake, And are grown young, gamesome, and rampant. Ibid, Elder Brother, Act IV., Sc- 4- Of stone worship there are still many vestiges. In a little island near Skye is a chapel dedicated to St. Columbus; on an altar is a round blue stone which is always moist. Fishermen, detained by contrary winds, bathe this stone in water, expecting thereby to obtain favorable winds; it is likewise applied to the sides of people troubled with stitches, and it is held so holy, that decisive oaths are sworn upon it. There is a stone in the parish of Madren, Cornwall, through which many persons are wont to creep for pains in the back and limbs, and through which children are drawn for the rickets. In the North, children are drawn through a hole cut in the Groaning Cheese, a huge stone, on the day they are christened. To go into the cleft of a rock was an ancient method of penitence and purification. It may be remembered that in the tradition of Hiram Abiff, the assassins were found concealed in a hollow rock, in which they were lamenting their crime. To sleep on stones on particular nights is a cure for lameness with our peasants, though perhaps a hazardous one, especially if the disease originated from rheumatism. A Druidic monument of great historical interest is to be seen under the coronation chair in Westminster Abbey. Originally called Liag-fial, the Fatal Stone, by others Cloch na cineamhna or the Stone of Fortune, it was that upon which the Kings of Ireland used to be inaugurated, and which, being enclosed in a wooden chair, was, by the ingenuity of the Druids, made to emit a sound under the rightful candidate, and mute under a man of bad title. It was superstitiously sent to confirm the Irish colony in Scotland, and it continued at Scone as the coronation of the Scotch Kings, from the commencement of the Christian Era till 1300 A. D.,when Edward I. imported it into England. It is still a superstition in the Highlands that those who lay their hands against the Druids' stones will not prosper. Many of these monuments are approached with great reverence by the natives of Scotland and the Isles, especially the Tighe nan Druidhneach in the Isle of Skye, little arched, round stone buildings capable of holding one, where the contemplative Druid sat when his oak could not shelter him from the weather. The common people never pass these without walking round them three times from east to west. In Chartres, which teems with Druidic vestiges, a curious specimen of stone worship remains. At the close of service in the cathedral, no one leaves the church without kneeling and saying a short prayer before a small pillar or stone--without polish, base or capital--placed in a niche, and much worn on one side by the kisses of the devout. This stone is rumored to be of high antiquity, even earlier than the establishment of Christianity--for many centuries to have remained in a crypt of the cathedral where lamps were constantly burning--but the stairs having been much worn on one side by the great resort of pilgrims to the spot, the stone had been removed from its original site, to avoid the expenses of repairs. It was said to be a miraculous stone, and that its miracles were performed at the intercession of the Virgin Mary. There is a certain reverence paid by the peasantry to those caves in which the Druids held their initiatory rites. Many of them are said to be inhabited by spirits, and there is one in the neighborhood of Dunskey, Scotland, which is held in peculiar veneration. At the change of the moon it is usual to bring even from a great distance infirm persons, and particularly rickety children whom they supposed bewitched, to bathe in a stream which flows from the hill, and then to dry them in the cave. As among the Druids it is still customary to place a platter of salt and earth upon the breast of the corpse in many parts of Britain. Salt was held in great reverence by the Eastern nations as an emblem of incorruptibility. So among us to spill salt is considered unlucky; it was only the other day that I saw a talented and well educated lady overwhelmed with consternation at this mishap, but with admirable presence of mind she flung a pinch over her left shoulder and so recovered her self-possession. Hare was forbidden to the ancient Britons by their religion, and to this day the Cornish eat it with reluctance. Boadicea also augured from the running of a hare; and a hare that runs across a path (to any one but a sportsman, or rather a pot-hunter) is an omen of ill-luck. The onion was an emblem of the deity among the Egyptians, perhaps also among the Druids, for it is a custom in some parts of England for girls to divine by it, as Barnaby Googe in his translation of Naogeorgus' Popish Kingdome informs us. In these same days young wanton gyrles that meete for marriage be, Doe search to know the names of them that shall their husbands bee; Four onyons, five, or eight, they take, and make in every one Such names as they do fancie most, and best to think upon, Thus nere the chimney them they set, and that same Onyon then That firste doth sproute, doth surely bear the name of their good man. In matters of dress, there are not many traces of the Druids and the ancient Britons to be found. The caps of rushes, however, which they wore tied at the top and twisted into a band at the bottom, may still be seen upon the heads of children in Wales and some parts of England. In Shetland, the ancient sandals of untanned skins are worn, and also, by fishermen in cold weather, the Druidic wooden shoes. I could not discover their real origin during my visit there: some said they had been imported by the Dutch, others that the Dutch had borrowed the idea from them; but in any case these wooden shoes, the sabots of the lower orders of France, are derived from the Druids. The best instance of dress however, is the Highland plaid, which was the very garment worn by the Druid Abaris, on his visit to Athens, and which is an extraordinary example of savage conservatism. From the breachan of the Gauls and Britons, is derived our word breeches and also that inelegant but necessary article of clothing. Upon the subject of words I will also remark that our word fortnight or fourteen nights, is derived from the Druidic habit of counting time by nights instead of days; and the word dizzy from their deisul, or circular dance, (in Hebrew dizzel). I could give a multitude more, but ohe! jam satis est. A very curious memorial of Druidism in the very bosom of victorious Christianity was discovered a few years ago by the well-known French Antiquary, M. Hersart de la Villemarqué. It is a fragment of Latin poetry which all the children in the parish of Nizon, Canton de Pont-Aven, are taught to sing at school and in church. The original poetry is almost the same as its Latin adaptation, except that in the latter various biblical allusions have been slipped in. I will give the first strophe of the original, then its translation in the French of M. Villemarqué which is too good for me to meddle with, and then the Latin hymn as sung by the children ANN DROUIZ. Daik mab gwerm Drouiz; ore; Daik petra fell d'id-dei Petra ganinn-me d'id-de. AR MAP Kan d'in euz a eur raun, Ken a ouffenn breman. LE DRUIDE. Tout beau enfant blanc du Druide, tout beau réponds-moi; que veux-tu? te chanterai-je? L'ENFANT. Chante-moi la division du nombre un jusqu'à ce que je l'apprenne aujourd'hui. LE DRUIDE. Pas de division pour le nombre un, la nécessitéuni que; la mort père de la douleur; rien avant, rien après. Tout beau, &c.; L'ENFANT. Chante-moi la division du nombre deux, &c.; LE DRUIDE. Deux bœufs attelés à une coque; ils tirent, ils vont expirer--Voyez la merveille! Pas de division, &c.; L'ENFANT. Chante-moi la division du nombre trois, &c.; LE DRUIDE. Il y a trois parties dans le monde; trois commencements et trois fins pour l'homme, comme pour le chêne; trois cêlestes, royaumes de Merlin; fruits d'or, fleurs brillantes, petits enfants qui rient. Deux bœufs, &c.; Pas de division, &c.; The christianized version in Latin is as follows: L'ENFANT. Dic mihi quid unus, Dic mihi quid unus. LE MAITRE. Unus est Deus, Qui regnat in Cœlis. L'ENFANT. Dic mihi quid duo. Dic mihi quid duo. LE MAITRE. Duo testamenta, Unus est Deus, Qui regnat in Cœlis. L'ENFANT. Dic mihi qui sunt tres Dic mihi que sunt tres. LE MAITRE. Tres sunt patriarchæ, Duo sunt testamenta; Unus est deus, Qui regnat in Cœlis. Both of these dialogues are continued to the number twelve. In the Druidic version containing precepts on theology, cosmogony, chronology, astronomy, geography, magic, medicine and history. The Latin version teaching that there is one God, two testaments, three prophets, four evangelists, five books of Moses, six pitchers at the marriage of Cana, seven sacraments, eight beatitudes, nine choirs of angels, ten commandments, eleven stars which appeared to Joseph, and twelve apostles. The resemblance of style and precept throughout is very striking, and a discovery which I have made of the same nature renders it still more surprising. There is a peculiar song of the Oxfordshire peasants, the meaning of which had often perplexed me and which of course those who sung it were the least able to explain. It is sung in this manner. One of them begins:-- I will sing you my one O! To which the rest sing in chorus. What is your one O! And he sings. One is all alone, And ever doth remam so. The song continues to the number twelve, each verse repeated after each as in the original versions above. Most of these verses are local corruptions, and it is probable that in some parts of England a purer version is retained. However, since the first refers to the One Deity, the second to "two white boys clothed in green," the fourth to "four gospel preachers," the seventh to the "seven stars," &c.;, there can be no doubt as to its origin. There is so superstitious a reverence paid by the lower orders in many parts of Britain to bees, that one is almost inclined to suppose that they also were held sacred by the Druids. The Cornishmen consider bees too sacred to be bought. In other counties, on the death of their proprietor, a ceremonious announcement of the fact is made to them and a piece of funeral cake presented to them. It is believed that were this omitted they would fly away. In Lithuania a similar practice prevails. There is no clue to this, except in the circumstance that the bee-hive is one of the emblems of Freemasonry, and like many other Druidic and Masonic symbols, e.g. the seven stars, the cross-keys, &c.;, a favorite tavern sign. For instance the one at Abingdon, under which is written the following jocose distich: Within this hive were all alive, Good liquor makes us funny, So if your dry, come in and try, The flavor of our honey. From the apple-tree the Druids were wont to cut their divining rods. And to this tree at Christmas, in Devon, Cornwall and other counties a curious ceremony is paid. The farmer and his laborers soak cakes in cider, and place them on the trenches of an apple tree, and sprinkling the tree repeat the following incantation : Here's to thee, old apple tree! Whence thou mayst bud, and whence thou mayest blow. Hats full! Caps full? Bushel, bushel, sacks full! And my pockets full too! Huzza! After which they dance round the tree and get drunk on the cider which remains. They believe that if they did not do this the tree would not bear. I have now to consider the vestiges of mistletoe-worship extant among the descendants of the Druids. On Christmas Eve it was lately the custom at York to carry mistletoe to the high altar of the Cathedral, and to proclaim a public and universal liberty, pardon and freedom to all sorts of inferior and even wicked people at the gates of the city towards the four quarters of heaven. The mistletoe was considered of great medicinal virtue by Sir John Coldbatch for epilepsy and other convulsive disorders. The mistletoe of the oak is used by the common people for wind ruptures in children. Like the houzza! of the East, the mistletoe would seem to have a religious exclamation, as I judge from finding it so often the refrain to old French songs, especially this one : O gué la bonne adventure, O gué. And in one celebrated English ballad: O the mistletoe bough! and O the mistletoe bough! It is still a custom in many parts of France for children to run down the street on New Year's Day, and to rap the doors crying "Au gui l'an né, or Au gui, l'an neuf." In the island of Sein, there is a mistletoe feast which it is believed has been perpetuated by the Bas Breton tailors who, strange to say, have been formed from time immemorial into a fine association. They are poets, musicians and wizards who never contract marriages with strangers, and who have a language of their own, called lueache which they will not speak in the presence of foreigners. At this feast there is a procession. An altar covered with green boughs is erected in the centre of a circular space of ground. Thence they start, and thither marching round the island return. Two fiddlers form the vanguard; they are followed by children carrying bill-hooks and oak-branches, and leading an ox and a horse covered with flowers. After them a huge crowd which stops at intervals crying Gui-na-né voilà le Gui. There is one more mistletoe custom which I had almost forgotten. Let us imagine ourselves in the hall of some old-fashioned country mansion. Let it be Christmas- night, and at that hour when merriment and wine has flushed every face, and glowed into every heart. And now I will paint to you a young maiden who embraced in the arms of her lover is whirled round the hall, her eyes sparkling, her white bosom heaving and her little feet scarce seeming to touch the floor. They pause for a moment. An old lady with an arch twinkle in her eye whispers something to her partner, he nods and smiles; she blushes and turns her eyes, pretending not to hear. They join the dance again, when suddenly he stays her in the centre of the hall. Above their heads droops down a beautiful plant with pale white berries and leaves of a delicate green. He stoops and gives her the kiss-under-the-mistletoe. All laugh and follow his example till the scene vies the revels of the ancient Bacchanals. It is this picture which awakes me from a reverie into which I have long been buried. Reader! you have sought with me for the first germs of religion in the chaos of youthful Time; you have dived with me into those mysteries which the Veil of Isis held secret from our sight; you have sojourned with me among the tombs of the past, and trod upon the dust of a fallen World. Let us now return from these caverns of learning to the glorious day-light of the Present, and to the enjoyments, of a real existence.