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came to the ears of the Christian emperor, Heraclius, the latter being offended at such an insult to his own faith, collected a mighty army, and met the son of Cosroes by the Danube, when it was agreed that they should fight it out between themselves upon a bridge, and whichever conquered should have the other's empire. If any one presumed to interfere in favour of either, he was tɔ have his arms and legs cut off and be flung into the river. Heraclius gained the day; but he hardly seems to have acted on the square with his opponent, for he went after Cosroes himself who knew nothing of what had happened, and, finding him as usual upon his throne, insisted that he should turn Christian, and upon his refusal to comply with this demand smote off his head without farther ceremony.
From this and the other like monstrous fables on the subject, differing only in detail, it may be fairly inferred that Cosroes was a bitter opponent of the Christians, whose faith nevertheless in the end prevailed, and hence the phrase the exaltation, or triumph, of the cross.
Another custom peculiar to this day seems to have been the going into the wood a nutting. Thus in the old play of Grim, the Collier of Croydon :
"This day they say is called Holy-Rood Day,
STURBRIGE, STERES-BRIGGE, STURBITCH, OR STIRBICH, FAIR; September 19.—This fair is held in a field about half a mile square, bounded on the north by the Cam, and on the east by the Stour,† a brook running into the river
* GRIM, THE COLLIER OF CROYDON, Act IV. Scene 1.
+ "Stour, or Sdour, is water in the Brittish. Bech, or Beck, means a little brook or rivulet. On the other side the river is Waterbech and Landbech, which take their name from the Carsdike." Dr. Stukeley's
Grant. From this brook the fair has derived its name, the provincial mode of pronouncing the word, stir, or stur, having in all probability led to a corresponding corruption in the mode of writing. The other half of the compound originates in Bech or Beck, and not in brigge or bridge, as it is more frequently written, in the efforts of modern wiseacres to be more learned than the vulgar.* Hence it would seem that the more correct way of writing the name is Stourbech, as indeed we occasionally find it in old notices of the fair or the place itself. Such a word might easily degenerate amongst careless speakers into Sturbich, Sturbech, or Stirbich.
The origin of this fair has been much disputed; but after all that has been said and written on the subject, nothing has been brought forward that is at all satisfac
Medallic History of M. A. V. Carausius. Book i. p. 210. 4to. London. 1757.
We find the same word with a kindred, but not exactly a like, explanation in THE DOOME, by Stephen Batman, published in 1581. "The fishers took a disfigured dyvell in a certain stoure (which is a mighty gathering together of waters from some narrow lake of the sea) a horryble monster with a goate's heade, and eies shynyng like fyre, whereupon they were all afrayde and ranne awaye; and that ghoste plunged himselfe under the ise, and running uppe and downe in the stoure made a terrible noyse and sound."
* Hone is particularly hard upon those, who are so ignorant as to call it Sturbitch, having, as is no uncommon case with him, found a mare's nest. At the same time I ought to mention that Francis Blomefield has favoured us with a very different etymology of the word from that given in the text, and he is a writer, whose opinion ought not to be lightly treated. "Sturbrige," he says, "where the famous Mart or Fair (commonly called Sturbrige Fair) is kept, does not take its name from the bridge over the river of that name, but from the toll or custom that was paid at it for all steers and young cattle that passed here." Collectanea Cantabrigiensia, p. 171, 4to. Norwich. 1750. I must confess that this appears to me to be exceedingly problematical.
tory. Dr. Stukely maintains that "the inauguration. day of Carausiust was the occasion of this famous tour bech Fair then held; and which brought the corn from all Cambridgeshire to the corn-boats lying in the river at Chesterton; and a fortnight's time was allowed for that work, which is the continuance of the fair; then the fleet set forwards northward, in the Carsdike. This was not only the origin of Stourbech Fair; but we may trace the progress of the corn-boats the whole length of the Fossa by the same observation of Fairs."
Fuller urch historian, on the other hand tells a story how a clothier, having by accident wetted his cloth in the Stour, exposed it on the spot for sale as a damaged article. Finding his market prove a good one, he returned next year with some other of his townsmen, and so on year after year, till at last "hither came a confluence of buyers, sellers, and lookers on, which are the three prin
* Medallic History, vol. i. p. 208.
+ Carausius was a native of Britain. Having defeated the fleet of Maximian in our Southern channel under the Isle of Wight, the latter conceded to him the sovereignty of Britain, where he reigned in as full and absolute a manner as Maximian and Diocletian on the continent.
The Carsdike, or Fossa as it was called in olden times, was an artificial canal formed by the Romans at an early period of their settlement in the island, and even then extended from Peterborough through the whole length of the fenny part of Lincolnshire, till it fell into the Trent at Torksey. From this point it proceeded by natural rivers to York, and thence as far as Alborough by Boroughbridge, the object being to convey corn from the warm and fertile South to the Northern parts of the island, and thus supply provisions to the soldiery stationed along the whole line of defence against the Picts and Scots. But even this prodigious extent of canal-prodigious for the time in which it was made-did not satisfy the active and enterprizing spirit of Carausius; he carried it yet farther in another direction, extending it along the edge of the high country next to the fens of Huntingdon and Cambridgeshire, and joining to the river Cam, from which after a time it starts towards the north.
of the Saxons, for they seem to have combined the double character of a feast and of a court-day for settling disputes and trying offences, the priests exercising the crimi nal jurisdiction and lending it the consecration of religion. Hence the Christians condemned them under the name of devil-gilds, and would fain have forbidden the people from feasting in honour of the demons,* as they chose to term it; but amongst the German race it was a difficult matter to put them down altogether.†
The Flora and garden of this month are somewhat barren when compared with those of its predecessors, yet still they are not without interest. The Mushroom tribe are now very numerous, constituting the first link in the great chain of vegetable life, which connects organized bodies with inorganic matter. Their seeds are so light as to be easily dispersed by the air, and fasten on every kind of decaying matter. The kinds most popularly known are the Truffle, the Morel, and the Mushroom-so called par excellence-which is used for making catchup; but these fungi appear in a variety of shapes; the Boleti, * "Si quis in honorem dæmonum comederit," &c. Leg. Withredi, 12, 13.-Canuti Leges, Eccl. 5. Capitulare de Part. Saxon. c. 21.
"Die Anfänge des Sächsischen Städt-wesens sind auf die Gilden zu heidnischen Opfern zurückzuführen. Diese Festen waren mit den Gerichts-und-Mark-tagen verknüpft und konnten auf der dem Feste folgenden Morgensprache (Morgenspace) durch den den Priestern zustehenden Blutbann haüfig einen sehr ernsten Charakter annehmen. Das gemeinschaftliche Mahl, welches einen gar wichtigen Anfangspunct vieler politischen Einrichtungen gebildet hat, erhielt die Weihe des religiosen Cultus, welcher in den später erhaltenen Trinksprüchen der Angelsachsen noch wiedererkannt werden möchte. Jene Teufelsgilden, wie die Christliche Gesetzgebung sie nannte, ganz zu unterdrücken war in den germanischen Ländern sehr schwer, und es musste nicht für den Cultus selbst, sondern auch für die mit demselben, mit grösserer oder geringerer Willkührlichkeit, verknüpften Einrichtungen ein Ersatz dargeboten werden."—Lappenberg's Geschichte von England. Erster Band, s. 609.
the Puff-Balls, the Blight and Smut of wheat, the tinging matter of the celebrated Northern Red Snow, all belong to the same class; and, so far from being of one uniform dull colour, some of them present the brightest hues in the vegetable kingdom, rivalling in grace and brilliance even the rose and the lily.
If we turn to the Flora of the month, we shall find that great changes have taken place. The scarlet berries of the Mezereon, which appeared in July, and whose pink. flowers ornamented the early spring, now fall off, leaving nothing on the shrub but the leaves. Towards the end of this month the Michaelmas Daisy,-Aster Tradescanti— often begins to blow, and continues throughout the next month, or even through a part of November. This daisy would seem to be an especial favourite with the bees, for when the weather is at all clear and open they may be seen hanging about it in numbers. Yet even now there is no want of other flowers, suited to their tastes and habits. The Sunflower, to which they are particularly partial, is abundant, while Nasturtiums, Guernsey Lilies, China Asters, Marigolds, that close their flowers against rain,† SweetPeas, Mignionette, Golden Rods, Stocks, Tangier Peas, Holyhocks, and Saffron, a species of crocus, are also in profusion. Amongst the maritime plants may be named the Marsh Glasswort, and the Sea-Stork's Bill, on sandy shores; and the Officinal Marshmallow, in salt marshes.
Other symptoms of Autumn show themselves in the full ripening of the pears and apples, and in the commencing of the cider vintage, if the word, vintage, can with propriety be so applied. The grapes, which had been ripe a month ago in Italy, Spain, and Portugal, as well as the south of
* At one time the Sunflower was also named Marygold; and the Marygold was termed Sunflower.
This is more particularly the case with the Rainy Marigold, or Calendula Pluvialis.