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An essay by Thomas De Quincey

Prefigurations Of Remote Events

Title:     Prefigurations Of Remote Events
Author: Thomas De Quincey [More Titles by De Quincey]


(April, 1823.)

With a total disbelief in all the vulgar legends of supernatural agency, and _that_ upon firmer principles than I fear most people could assign for their incredulity, I must yet believe that the 'soul of the world' has in some instances sent forth mysterious types of the cardinal events, in the great historic drama of our planet. One has been noticed by a German author, and it is placed beyond the limits of any rational scepticism; I mean the coincidence between the augury derived from the flight of the twelve vultures as types of the duration of the Roman empire, _i. e._ Western Empire, for twelve centuries, and the actual event. This augury we know to have been recorded many centuries before its consummation; so that no juggling or collusion between the prophets and the witnesses to the final event can be suspected. Some others might be added. At present I shall notice a coincidence from our own history, which, though not so important as to come within the class of prefigurations I have been alluding to, is yet curious enough to deserve mention. The oak of Boscobel and its history are matter of household knowledge. It is not equally well known, that in a medal, struck to commemorate the installation (about 1636) of Charles II., then Prince of Wales, as a Knight of the Garter, amongst the decorations was introduced an oak-tree with the legend--'Seris factura nepotibus umbram.'

[Footnote 1: This is only signed Z in _The London Magazine_, but is clearly labelled 'DE QUINCEY' in ARCHDEACON HESSEY'S marked copy.--H.]

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Thomas De Quincey's essay: Prefigurations Of Remote Events