As Cicero wrote: ‘Certain signs precede certain events.’ For example, the widening by the Germans of the Kiel Canal in 1909 to admit the passage of modern battleships was a sign preceding the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
The proverb is a quotation from Thomas Campbell’s Loichiel’s Warning. The Wizard is telling Sir Donald Cameron of Lochiel in advance of the victory of the English over the Scots, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Younger Pretender, at Culloden Moor in 1746.
Lochiel, Lochiel! beware of the day;
For, dark and despairing, my sight I may seal,
But man cannot cover what God will reveal.
‘Tis the sunset of life gives my mystical lore,
And coming events cast their shadows before.
I tell thee Culloden’s dread echoes shall ring
For the bloodhounds that bark for thy fugitive king.