The Witching Hour

Dorrbecker a Prophecy

This image depicts the Great plague of 1665 which, according to. Dörrbecker, here symbolises all of the plagues suffered by mankind.

 

“Numberless were the imagined omens and presages which the terrified inhabitants could now call to mind of their dreadful calamities. Some said that the desolation of the village had been at various times prognosticated. Many could recollect having seen the white cricket, and heard it sound the death-knell on their hearths.

Others remembered having heard for three successive nights the invisible ‘death watch’ in the dead of night. And some called to mind how often, during a few preceding winters, they had listened to the doleful howlings of the *Gabriel- hounds.”

*Gabriel-hounds are believed to be the unbaptized infants which are destined to hover in the air, and by a faint dog-like howling announce the death of individuals of their respective families.        

            – Excerpt from “The History and Antiquities of Eyam” by J.A. Warwick

The Witching Hour

rosemary

As no one knew what caused the plague, most remedies were based around superstition. Many, if not most, of the cures were based on plant ingredients commonly used at the time in apothecaries’ shops, but also available to the general population. Plants, flowers and herbs commonly sought after in remedies were angelica (Angelica archangelica), borage (Borago officinalis), butterbur (Petasites hybridus), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), sage (Salvia officinalis), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), valerian (Valeriana officinalis), wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), and yarrow (Achillea millefolium).

Tonight the spirits wake her, every witching hour.

The candle burns down the wick, and darkness forms no sound.

Tonight the spirits wake her, every witching hour, in the house by the church in town.

 

Tonight tonight her sleep must come, even if it’s brief. She cannot bear to see the sun, as light begins to creep.

Tonight tonight her sleep must come, bring her some relief, from the devil who plagues the street.

Oh she prays for sleep,  burning herbs and Rosemary sweet,

Oh she prays for sleep,  for the night will bring no peace.

 

Her songs are long forgotten, silently she waits. The dreaded lonely hours that seems to be her fate.

Flower scent upon the air, heavy on the shroud, in the house by the church in town.

Tonight tonight her sleep must come, even if it’s brief. She cannot bear to see the sun, as light begins to creep.

Tonight tonight her sleep must come, bring her some relief, from the devil who plagues the street.

Oh she prays for sleep,   burning herbs and Rosemary sweet, Oh she prays for sleep,   for the night will bring no peace.

Night is calling, waking on the hour.  Night is calling, waking on the hour. Save me, save me. Can you hear all the hounds calling on the hour, As they run in the night, running in the dark hour. Save me, save me.

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