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the diocese of London feats on that day, and why the other side being in the diocese of Canterbury fasts not ?f
On St. Mark's day blessings on the corn were implored. According to a manuscript of Mr. Pennant's, no farmer in North Wales dare hold his team on this day, because they there believe one man's team that worked upon it was marked with the loss of an ox. A Yorkshire clergyman informed Mr. Brand, that it was customary in that county for the common people to sit and watch in the church porch on St. Mark's Eve, from eleven o'clock at night till one in the morning. The third year (for this must be done thrice,) they are supposed to see the ghosts of all those who are to die the next year, pass by into the church. When any one sickens that is thought to have been seen in this manner, it is presently whispered about that he will not recover, for that such, or such an one, who has watched St. Mark's Eve, says so. This superstition is in such force, that, if the patients themselves hear of it, they almost despair of recovery. Many are said to have actually died by their imaginary fears on the occasion. The terrors of the ignorant are high in proportion to the darkness wherein they grovel.
A correspondent near Peterborough, who has obliged the editor by transmitting what he denominates some "miscellaneous superstitions and shadows of customs whose origins are worn out," includes among them the following'interesting communication respecting St, Mark's day usages in Northamptonshire. For the Every-Day Book.
On St. Mark's Eve, it is still a custom about us for young maidens to make the dumb cake, a mystical ceremony which has lost its origin, and in some counties may have ceased altogether. The number of the party never exceeds three; they meet in silence to make the cake, and as soon as the clock strikes twelve, they each break a portion off to eat, and when done, they walk up to bed backwards without speaking a word, for if one speaks the spell is broken. Those that are to be married see the likeness of their sweethearts hurrying after them, as if wishing to catch them before they get into bed, but the maids being apprized of this before hand, (by the cautions of old women who have tried it,) take care to un
"* T.he tanijrnje ef Funics Church ia 1561. See
pin their clothes before they start, and are ready to slip into bed before they are caught by the pursuing shadow; if nothing is seen, the desired token may be a knocking at the doors, or a rustling in the house, as soon as they have retired. To be convinced that it comes from nothing else but the desired cause, they are always particular in turning out the cats and dogs before the ceremony begins. Those that are to die unmarried neither see nor hear any thing; but they have terrible dreams, which are sure to be of new-madq graves, winding-sheets, and church-yards, and of rings that will fit no finger, or which, if they do, crumble into dust as soon as put on. There is another dumb ceremony, of eating the yolk of an egg in silence, and then filling the shell with salt, when the sweetheart is sure to make his visit in some way or other before morning. On this same night too, the more stout-hearted watch the churchporch, they go in the evening and lay in the church-porch a branch of a tree, or a flower, large enough to be readily found in the dark, and then return home to wait the approach of midnight. They are to proceed to the porch again before the clock strikes twelve, and to remain in it till it has struck; as many as choose accompany the maid, who took the flower or branch and is to fetch it again, as far as the church-gate, and there wait till their adventuring companion returns, who, if she is to be married within the year; is to see a marriage procession pass by her, with a bride in her own likeness hanging on the arm of her future husband; as many bridesmen and maidens as appear to follow them, so many months is the maid to wait before her marriage. If she is to die unmarried, then the expected procession is to be a funeral, consisting of a coffin covered with a white sheet, borne on the shoulders of shadows that seem without heads. This custom, with all its contingent" hopes and fears," is still practised, though with what success, I am not able to determine. The imagination may be wrought to any height in such matters, and doubtless some persuade themselves that they see what the story describes. An odd character at Helpstone, whose name is Ben Barr, and whom the villagers call and believe as "the prophet," watches the church-porch every year, and pretends to know the fate of every one in the villages round, and who shall be married or die in tie
r; but as a few pence, generally pur
je a good omen, he seldom prophesies
the deaths of his believers. T. H.
This " Ben Barr," of Helpstone, must be an useful fellow to timid believers in such affairs. He seems to have created for himself a place of trust and profit; if he is only a wag he may enjoy his emoluments with his humour, and do no harm; but should he assume to foretel mischief to his believers, he is, legally speaking, a " sturdy rogue." The seeing of supernatural sights by a paid proxy is a novelty in the annals of superstition. But if Ben Barr is the first, so he is the last of such seers. He will have no successor in office, there will be little demand for such a functionary, the income will fall off, and no one will undertake to see " Satan's invisible world," and warn unbelievers in ghosts, for nothing.
Clarimond Tulip. Tulipa preecox.
St. Cletm, Pope and Martyr, A. d, 89. St. Marcellinus, Pope and Martyr, A. D. 304. St. Richarius, or Riquier, Abbot, about 645. St. I'aschasius Radbert, Abbot, about 805.
Chronology. 1716. The great lord Somers died. He was lord chancellor, and at different periods held other offices of high trust, which he ennobled by acts of distinguished virtue and patriotism: he vindicated public liberty with courage, and maintained it with success to the end of his life.
The Country. A town life is coveted by the artificial, and praised to ecstacy by mindless minds. They who can only derive entertainment from
Shows and sights, and hateful forms,
and they who are without intellectual resources, throw themselves into the floods of the "mighty heart," in search of refreshing pleasures. Not so he, who has
tasted the " knowledge of good and evil," and from depth of reflection welled up wisdom: he loves only what is good, and attaches himself only to what is great in his species; this is from sympathy, not contact. Silence and time are not of man's make, and hence the wise court solitude from the wrongs and follies of surrounding beings, and enjoy a portion of their existence in contemplating the pure forms of nature. The perverted genius which preferred
M The sweet shady side
to rural scenery, by a little further perversion, would have preferred the groves of Moloch to the plains of Mamre.
If one would live by nature's laws,
Than in the country tell me where
So much are rustic scenes admir'd,
Whoe'er with success is elated,
Yellow Eryseraum. Erysemum Barbarea. Dedicated to St. Richarius.
t. Anthimut, Bp. and many other Martyrs at Nicomedia, A. D. 303. St. Anastasius, Pope, A. D. 401. St. Zita, x. D. 1272.
1742. Nicholas Amhurst, an English political, poetical, and miscellaneous writer, died in poverty and of a broken heart at Twickenham, at the age of thirtysix. He was author of " Terra; Filius," a severe satire on the'university of Oxford, from whence he had been expelled, and he edited the once celebrated "Craftsman," one of the 'most popular journals ever printed, and the most effective of all the publications against the
Walpole administration. Bolingbroke and Pulteney with whom he had been associated in the conduct of this paper, and whose interests he had promoted by his wit, learning, and knowledge, deserted him when they had attained their purposes by Walpole's downfal. Mr; A. Chalmers concludes a memoir of him by an observation that ought to be rivetted on the mind of every man who thinks himself a public character. "The ingratitude of statesmen to the persons whom they make use of as the instruments of their ambition, should furnish an instruction to men of abilities in future times; and engage them to build their happiness on the foundation of their own personal integrity, discretion, and virtue." Ralph the historian, in one of his pamphlets, says " Poor Amhurst, after having been the drudge of his party for the best part of twenty years together, was as much forgotten in the famous compromise of 1742, as if he had never been born ! and when he died of what is called a broken heart, which happened a few months afterwards, 'became indebted to the charity of (Richard Francklin) a bookseller for a grave; not to be traced now, because then no otherwise to be distinguished, than by the freshness of the turf, borrowed from the next common to cover it."
There is an order Of mortals on the earth, who do become Old in their youth, and die ere middle age, Without the violence of warlike death; Some perishing of pleasure—some of study— Some worn with toil—some of mere weariness— Some of disease—and some insanity— And some of withered, or of broken hearts; For this last is a malady which slays More than are numbered in the lists of Fate, Taking all shapes, and bearing many names. Byron.
1785. Prince Leopold of Brunswick, was drowned by the waters of Frankfort upon the Oder, in endeavouring to succour the inhabitants of a village which was overflowed.
1794. Sir William Jones died, aged forty-eight.
. 1794. James Bruce, the traveller into Abyssinia, died by falling down the stairs of his own house. He was born at Kinnaird, in Stirlingshire, North Britain, 1730. His veracity, defamed in his lifetime, has been supported by every subse
quent information concerning the regions he visited.
Floral Directory. Great Daffodil. Narcissus major. > ^ Dedicated to St. Anastasius.
St. Fifafo, Martyr, about 62.' Ste. Didymus and Theodora, A. D. 304. St. Patricius, Bp. of Prussia, in Bithynia, Martyr.
1535. Albert Pio, price of Carpi, was buried with extraordinary pomp in the church of the Cordeliers at Paris. He had been deprived of his principality by the duke of Ferara, became an author, and finally a fanatic. Entering one day into one of the churches at Madrid, he presented holy water to a lady who had a very thin hand ornamented by a most beautiful and valuable ring. He exclaimed in a loud voice as she reached the water, "Madam, I admire the ring more than the hand." The lady instantly exclaimed with reference to the cordon with which he was decorated, "And for my part, I admire the halter more than I do the ass." He was buried in the habit of a Cordelier, and Erasmus made a satire upon the circumstance, entitled the " Seraphic Interment."
1772. The counts Struensee, the Danish prime minister, and Brandt, the favourite of the king of Denmark, were executed opposite the eastern gate of Copenhagen. Their alleged crime was an intrigue with the queen of Denmark, the princes Carolina Matilda of England, sister to king George Ill., on whose entreaty she was removed from confinement in the castle of Cronenburg to Zell in the electorate of Hanover, where she died about three years afterwards.
Cuckoo Pink. Arum Maculatum. Dedicated to Sts. Didymus and Theodora.
A Morning in Spring.
The dawn now breaks,'the dews distil,
Herb Robert. Geranium Robertianum. Dedicated to St. Robert.
St. Peter, Martyr, A. D. 1252. St. Robert, Abbot of Molesme, A. D. 1110. St. Hugh, Abbot of Cluni, A. D. 1109. I St. Fiachna, A. D. C30.
Chronology. 1779. Died at Pershore in Worcestersnire, the Rev. John Ash, L. L. D. He was an eminent minister^among the dissenters, but is better known for his grammar and other works in philology. His "Complete English Dictionary," until the appearance of Mr. Todd's octavo edition of Johnson's, was the best compendium of words that could be referred to, and may still be consulted with advantage by the student.
1822. Sir Isaac Heard, garter principal king at arms, died aged ninety-one. He was a good herald and an amiable mam
St. Catharine of Sienna, A. D. 1380. St. Maximus, A. D. 250. Sts. James, Marian, Sfc. Martyrs in Numidia, A. D. 259. St. Erkonwald, Bishop of London, 7th Cent. St. Ajutre or Adjutor, A. D. 1131.
St. Catharine of Sienna. St. Catharine often saw the devil. According to Ribadeneira, at six years old she knew the lives of the holy fathers and hermits by revelation, practised abstinence, and shut herself up with other children in a room, where they whipped themselves. At seven she offered herself to the Virgin as a spouse for her son. When marriageable, she refused the importunity of her parents to wed; and huving cut off her hair to keep her Tow, they made her a kitchen-maid; but her father, one day as he was praying in a corner, seeing the Holy Ghost sitting upon her head in the shape of a dove, she was released from drudgery, and was favoured with a revelation from St. Dominick. She eat no meat, drank only water, and at last left off bread, sustaining herself by herbs alone, and her grace before meals was, "Let us go take the punishment due to this miserable sinner." She so mastered sleep, that she scarcely took any rest, and her bed was only boards. She wore around her body next to the skin a chain of iron, which sunk into her flesh. Three times a day, and for an hour and a half each time, she flogged herself with another iron chain, till great streams of blood ran down; and when she took the black and white habit of the order of St. Dominick she increased her mortification. For three years she never spoke, except at confession; never stirred out of her cell but to go to the church; and sat up all night watching—taking rest in the quire at matins only, and then lying upon the floor with a piece of wood under her head for a bolster. She was tempted by devils in a strange manner described by Ribadeneira: but to drive them away, she disciplined her body with the iron chain so much the more. When the fiend perceived he could make no impression on her virginal heart, he changed his battery. She had undertaken to cure an old woman who had a cancer in her breast so loathsome, that no one would go near her, but by the devil's instigation, the old woman gave out that Catharine was not as good as she should be, and stuck to her point. Catharine, knowing the devil's tricks, would not desist; and, to do her honour,Christ appeared, and offered to her the choice of two crowns—one of pure gold, the other of thorns; she took the crown of thorns, pressed it so close upon her head, that it gave her great'pain ; and Christ commanded her to continue her attendance upon the woman, who, in consequence of a vision, confessed her calumny, to the great confusion of the devil. Ribadeneira says that after this, Christ appeared to her, "opened to her the wound in his side,'and made her drink till she was so ravished, that her soul was deprived of its functions." Her love and affection to Christ was so intense, that she was almost always languishing and sick; at last it took away her life, and she was dead for
four hours, in which time she saw strange things concerning heaven, hell, and purgatory. On a certain day he appeared to her, with his mother and other saints, and espoused her in a marvellous and singular manner; visited her almost continually with the greatest familiarity and affection, sometimes in their company, though ordinarily he came alone, and entertained her by reciting and singing psalms with her. Once as she was coming home from church, he appeared to her in the disguise of a pilgrim, and begged a coat of her; she [returned to the church, and secretly taking off her petticoat, brought it to him, not knowing who he was. He asked her for a shirt; she bade him follow her home, and she gave him her shift. Not content with this, he requested more clothes of her, as well for himself as a companion; but as she had nothing else left, and was much afflicted, in the night, he appeared to her as the pilgrim, and showing her what she had bestowed upon him in the garb he had assumed, promised to give her an invisible garment, which should keep her from all cold both of body and soul. One time she prayed to him to take from her her heart of flesh, and it seemed to her that he came, and opening her side, took out her heart, and carried it away with him. It appeared almost incredible to her confessor when she told him she had no heart; "Yet," says Ribadeneira, that which happened afterwards was a certain argument of the truth; for, in a few days, Christ appeared to her in great brightness, holding in his hand a ruddy heart, most beautiful to behold, and coming to her, put it into her left side, and said, ' My daughter Catharine, now thou hast my heart instead of thy own;' and having said this, he closed up her side again, in proof whereof a scar remained in her side, which she often showed." By her influence with heaven, she obtained forgiveness for numbers that were ready to fall into hell. Two hardened and impenitent thieves, being led to execution, and tied and tortured on a cart, were attended by a multitude of devils. Catharine begged the favour of going with them in the cart to the city gates, and there by her prayers and intercession, Christ showed himself to the thieves, all bloody and full of wounds, invited them to penance, and promised them pardon if they would repent, which they accordingly did. Through her intercession, her mother, who1 died