We have not space to pursue the subject further, interesting though undoubtedly it is, and must leave to others the task of collecting what further remains of local words and traditions. As in Norfolk, a limp corpse is an invariable warning of death, and many a household has been alarmed by the midnight howling of a dog, which is also regarded as an evil omen. To help to salt is said to help to sorrow, and crossed knives are viewed with a shudder. If a bit of bride-cake is put under the pillow, it is believed that the future husband or wife will appear in sleep, and there is a tradition that quicksilver put inside a penny loaf and cast into a river will invariably indicate the whereabouts of the body of a drowned man. With reference to the supposed virtues of quicksilver, an instance of rural superstition may be appropriately given. About a pound of quicksilver was recently found in a walnut-tree at Denton, on the borders of the county, and interesting discussions took place on the subject both in Notes and Queries and the Pharmaceutical Journal. One correspondent surmised that it was placed there with malicious intent in order to spite a neighbour. Mr. Thiselton Dwyer, however, thinks that it is connected with the old belief prevailing in country districts, that when a tree is infested with insect plagues of any sort it may be cured by boring a hole obliquely in the trunk and filling it with mercury. The Chinese have a similar notion. They profess to be able to restore Cycas revoluta to health by driving an iron nail into the stem. If you have money in your pocket when you first hear the cuckoo you will continue in possession of it throughout the year. Again, if the sun shines through the apple-trees at noon on Christmas Day, it will be a good apple year. A wedding-ring is looked upon as a powerful charm to cure a sty by rubbing, while there are innumerable charms for warts, and of weather rhymes and sayings there are scores. ‘Till May is out ne’er cast a clout’ is a well-known Nottinghamshire maxim, while of magpies it is said:

‘One for sorrow,
Two for mirth,
Three for a wedding,
Four for a birth.’

Among the familiar sayings current in the county we give a few of the most characteristic. One old couplet runs as follows:

‘Happy is the bride that the sun shines on;
Blessed is the corpse that the rain rains on.’

If it should happen to rain while the corpse is carried to the church, it is reckoned to bode well to the deceased whose bier is wet with the dew of heaven—so says Pennant, whilst Herrick (‘ Hesp.’ p. 152) writes

‘While that others do divine,
Blest is the bride on whom the sun does shine.’

The following has long been a beekeeper’s tradition of the apiary:

‘A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay,
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon,
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.’

There are extended variations of these sayings current amongst the villagers. The following explanation is given by Dr. Fuller in his ‘Worthies of England’ relative to the Nottinghamshire saying:

‘The little smith of Nottingham,
He doth the work that no man can.

‘Who this little smith and great workman was, and when he lived, I know not; perhaps this of Nottingham is a periphrasis of a person who never was. By way of sarcasm it is applied to those who, being conceited of their skill, pretend to the achievement of impossibilities.’ A correspondent says, ‘What Fuller and Deering count a proverb was often given as a riddle formerly:

“I’m the little smith of Nottingham,
I do the work that no man can;
Riddle my riddle, if you can.”

Most of the weather rhymes common to various parts of England are frequently heard in the county. Here is one relating to St. Swithin:

‘St. Swithin’s Day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain;
St. Swithin’s Day, if thou be fair,
For forty days ‘twill rain nae mair.’

Gay says:

‘Now, if on St. Swithin’s feast the welkin lowers,
And every penthouse streams with hasty showers,
Twice twenty days shall clouds their fleeces drain,
And wash the pavement with incessant rain;
Let not such vulgar tales debase the mind,
Nor Paul nor Swithin rule the cloud and wind.’

A country clergyman, having asked one of his tenants whether he had better pray for rain, was answered: ‘What’s t’ use of prayin’ for t’ rain when t’ winds i’th north?’ Most villagers have faith in the following rhyme:

‘The south wind brings wet weather,
The north wind brings wet and cold together;
The west wind brings rain,
The east wind blows it back again.’

Here is another weather prognostication in rhyme, which often proves true:

‘Evening red and morning gray
Will set the trav’ler on his way;
But evening gray and morning red
Will bring down rain upon his head.’

Of the tombstone epitaphs the following are reproduced as quaint specimens. In the churchyard at Sibthorpe, where four infants are buried in one grave:

‘The cup of life just with their lips they pressed,
They found it bitter and declined the rest;
Averse then, turning from the face of day,
They softly sighed their little souls away.’

Here is a professional epitaph at Bridgford-on-the-Hill:

‘Sacred to the memory of John Walker, the only son of Benjamin and Ann Walker, Engineer and Palisade Maker; died September 22nd, 1832, aged 36 years.’

‘Farewell, my wife and father dear;
My glass is run, my work is done,
And now my head lies quiet here.
That many an engine I’ve set up,
And got great praise from men;
I made them work on British ground,
And on the roaring seas;
My engine stopp’d, my valves are bad,
And lies so deep within;
No engineer could there be found
To put me new ones in.
But Jesus Christ converted me,
And took me up above,
I hope once more to meet once more,
And sing redeeming love.’

At Edwalton, under date of 1741, on Mrs. Rebecca Freeland, is a grotesque example:

‘She drank good ale, good punch, and wine,
And lived to the age of ninety-nine.’

In the churchyard at Edwinstowe there used to be the following inscription.:

‘Robert Rockley body here is laid,
It’s for him these lines are made,
That we all here may remember
He died the 19th of September.
Robert Rockley son he be,
His age is near to 23.

At Bilsthorpe there is, or was, another attempt at poetry of similar merit. It runs thus:

‘Little Mary’s dead and gone,
And was a loving
And a precious wife to little John