comets


comets
   As with spectacular *storms and winds, whenever a comet appears, it is bound to portend great events. Tacitus thought so, and Bede in the 8th century agreed - 'Comets are long-haired stars with flames, appearing suddenly, and presaging a change in sovereignty, or plague, or war, or winds, or floods' (De Natura Rerum (c.725), xxiv). Queen Elizabeth I was reputedly above such things (Hazlitt, 1905: 142), but John Evelyn was not sure. He noted in his Diary, 12 December 1680: 'They may be warnings from God, as they commonly are for-runners of his animadversions . . .'
   ■ Opie and Tatem, 1989: 93; N&Q 11s:1 (1910), 448; 151 (1926), 224, 267

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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