Notes and Queries, Number 15, February 9, 1850 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 52 pages of information about Notes and Queries, Number 15, February 9, 1850.

Dyot Street, St. Giles’s.—­This street was inhabited, as late as 1803, by Philip Dyot, Esq., a descendant of the gentleman from whom it takes its name.  In 1710 there was a certain “Mendicant’s Convivial Club” held at the “Welch’s Head” in this street.  The origin of this club dated as far back as 1660, when its meetings were held at the Three Crowns in the Poultry.

Denmark Street, St. Giles’s.—­Originally built in 1689.  Zoffany, the celebrated painter, lived at No. 9. in this street.  The same house is also the scene of Bunbury’s caricature, “The Sunday Evening Concert:”—­

“July 27. 1771.—­Sir John Murray, late Secretary to the Pretender, was on Thursday night carried off by a party of strange men, from a house in Denmark Street, near St. Giles’s church, where he had lived some time.” —­MS. Diary quoted in Collet’s Relics of Literature, p. 306.


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Metrical Charms.—­In the enumeration of the various branches of that interesting subject, the “FOLK LORE OF ENGLAND,” on which communications were invited in the last number of “NOTES AND QUERIES,” there is an omission which I beg to point out, as it refers to a subject which, I believe, deserves especial investigation, and would amply repay any trouble or attention that might be bestowed upon it.  I allude to Metrical Charms, many of which are still preserved, and, in spite of the corruptions they have undergone in the course of centuries, would furnish curious and valuable illustrations of the Mythological System on which they are founded.

   “Spirits of the flood and spirits of the hills found a
    place in the mythology of Saxon England,”

says an able reviewer of Mr. Kemble’s Saxons in England, in The Anthenaeum (13th Jan. 1849); and he continues,

“The spells by which they were invoked, and the forms by which their aid was compelled, linger, however, still amongst us, although their names and powers have passed into oblivion.  In one of the Saxon spells which Mr. Kemble has inserted in the Appendix, we at once recognised a rhyme which we had heard an old woman in our childhood use,—­and in which many Saxon words unintelligible to her were probably retained.”

Who would not gladly recover this “old rhyme?”—­I can say for myself, that if these lines should ever meet the eye of the writer of the passage I have quoted, I trust he will be induced to communicate, in however fragmentary a shape, this curious addition to our present scanty stories of mythological information.

While on the subject of Charms and Spells, I would ask those who are more familiar than myself with the Manuscript treasures of the British Museum, and of our University Libraries, whether they have ever met with (except in MSS. of Chaucer) the remarkable “Night Spell” which the Father of English Poetry has preserved in the following passage of his Miller’s Tale.  I quote from Mr. Wright’s edition, printed for the Percy Society:—­

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Notes and Queries, Number 15, February 9, 1850 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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