Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 10.djvu/233

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'Julius Csesar' when he speaks of the war in the clouds which drizzled blood upon the Capitol. Shakspeare in ' Hamlet ' meant to speak of dews of blood and stars with trains of fire. I do not know why I should have mentioned the comet which appeared after the death of Caesar. Horatio is referring to the signs which preceded his death. In ' Richard II. ' amongst the omens which boded ill to the king were the meteors which frighted the fixed stars of heaven ; and these may be compared to the stars with trains of fire which appeared before the fall of Julius. I think that the word disasters is used in its ordinary sense of misfortunes. As, to use Campbell s happy expression, " coming events cast their shadows before," so did the disasters of Caesar's murder and attendant evils foreshow themselves in apparitions, in the appearance of comets, in the consequent dimming of the sun, in the eclipse of the moon, and in the fall of blood upon the earth. But the dimming of the sun was a phenomenon that lasted for a whole year. may also remark that it was Athene, not Here, whose flight was compared to that of a meteor by Homer. E. YARDLEY.

The following is from Hesiod :

fMeya 8' CKTUTTC [MfjTieTa Zei>s, K0.8&' <x/>' UTT' ovpavoQcv ijsidSas /JaAcv di/za- roeo-cras,

'Scut. Here., '383.

Cicero ridicules alleged portents such as the raining of blood (' De Divinatione,' ii. 26, 58).

Livy gives many examples of prodigies ; see ' Index Reram in Titi Livii Historiarum Libros' in Valpy's "Delphin Classics," s.v. 'Prodigia.' ROBERT PIERPOINT.

St. Austin's, Warrington.

OXFORD AT THE ACCESSION OF GEORGE I. Queen Anne died on Sunday, 1 August, 1714, and it may be not uninteresting to record some particulars concerning the accession of George I., gleaned chiefly from the 'Remains of Thomas Hearne,' the anti- quary, showing the great disaffection preva- lent in Oxford, and the strong attachment existing in the university to the exiled family. Nothing would have induced Tom Hearne to call King George anything but the Elector of Hanover or Brunswick. Two or, three short extracts from his diary may be worth insert- ing as illustrative :

"Aug. 3 [1714]. On Sunday last in the afternoon, George Lewis, Elector of Brunswick, was pro-

claimed in London King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland by virtue of an Act of Parliament, by which those that are much nearer to the crown by bloud [sic] are excluded."

" Aug. 4. This day, at two o'clock, the said Elector of Brunswick (who is in the fifty-fifth year of his age, being born May 28th, 1660) was proclaimed in Oxford."

" Aug. 5. The illumination and rejoicing in Oxford was very little last night. The proclamation was published at Abbingdon also yesterday, but there was little appearance."

The writer goes on to mention that a threatening letter was received by the Mayor of Oxford containing treasonable matters, and bidding him proclaim King James III. The Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Gardiner, Warden of All Souls' College, offered a reward of one hundred pounds for the detection of the author of the letter, or the person who delivered it, who was said to be dressed " in an open-sleeved gown and a cinnamon-coloured coat." The letter was signed "Legion, and we are many." Very probably only slight exertion was used to detect the offender. The coronation ot*George I. took, place on 20 October, 1714, a very short period indeed intervening after his landing in England on 8 September, and most probably was hastened on in consequence of the prevalence of disaffection. Hearne, commenting on this, observes :

" Oct. 21 [17141 The rejoicings last night in Ox- ford were very little. Nor did any person that I know of drink King George's health, but mentioned him with ridicule. The illuminations and bonfires were very poor and mean."

It is said that Bishop Atterbury, who was one of the ablest men of his age, wished immediately on Queen Anne's death to have formally proclaimed King James III. In all likelihood the members of the house of Brunswick did not expect the crown, except- ing the old Princess Sophia, who predeceased Queen Anne by only a few weeks, and said that she would have died contented had Sophia, Queen of England, been inscribed on her coffin-plate. The rebellion of 1715 soon succeeded ; the indecisive battle of Sheriff- muir and the surrender at Preston both took place on the same day, 13 November, 1715, facts not mentioned by the Oxford antiquary. Before the second outbreak in 1745 he had found a grave in the churchyard of St. Peter- in-the-East, close to his old rooms in St. Ed- mund Hall, where his tomb may yet be seen, and was recently in a most dilapidated condition. He died 10 June, 1735.

Times are indeed altered since George I. was king, and Oxford has undergone in them great and sweeping changes. Hearne would scarcely recognize it could he awake, as did