The superstition of a fallen branch affording a presage of approaching death is not peculiar to the family I have mentioned. Many other old houses have been equally favored: in fact, there is scarcely an ancient family in the kingdom without a boding sign. For instance, the Breretons of Brereton, in Cheshire, were warned by the appearance of stocks of trees floating, like the swollen bodies of long-drowned men, upon the surface of a sombre lake--called Blackmere, from the inky color of its waters--adjoining their residence; and numerous other examples might be given. The death-presage of the Breretons is alluded to by Drayton in the "Polyolbion."
It has been well observed by Barry Cornwall, "that the songs which occur in dramas are more natural than those which proceed from the author in person." With equal force does the reasoning apply to the romance, which may be termed the dram