During the middle ages it was a widespread
superstition that storms and tempests were the work of evil spirits,
and that they could be dispersed by the ringing of consecrated
bells--a reason why church bells are often found cast with scriptural
texts on them.
Francis Bacon apparently believed in this superstition, for in his Sylva Sylvarum (1622) he writes :
"It is thought that the sound of bells will dispel lightnings and thunder."
Is it a coincidence that "Shakespeare" held the
same opinion for in "The Tempest," published in 1623, the following
year, we find that Prospero wishes to allay the storm that had
wrecked the King's ship, and does so in part by the ringing of