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France and Germany, now begin to ripen in the north of France, Flanders, and England. Walnuts too are in season.
But the most striking symptom of the decline of the year is to be found in the diminished number of the swallows and martins, who for some time past have been migrating to a more genial climate, and have left only a few stragglers behind. The oak and beach-tree shed their nuts, the leaves begin to change their colour, and the mornings as well as evenings are apt to be chill and foggy. The stone-curlew clamours, wood-owls hoot, the ring-ousels re-appear upon the scene, the saffron butterfly is on the wing, hares congregate, and, towards the end of the month, the blackbird, thrush, and woodlark, may again be heard. Not unfrequently the ground is covered with swarms of spider-webs,-gossamers as they are called-or they may be seen extended from shrub to shrub, or floating in the air. This is caused by the multitude of spiders incident to the season, who, when they wish to change their places, have the power of shooting forth several long threads, to which they attach themselves, and are thus borne along through the air, till they choose to descend, when they coil up their threads and come lightly to the ground. Stoats and weasels too at this season are very active in their depredations upon the poultry yard.
In the early part of this month the herrings pay their annual visit to the Eastern and Western parts of our coast, and the great fishery commences.
BARTHOLOMEW FAIR; September 3.-This fair dates so far back as the time of Henry the Second, who granted to the Priory of St. Bartholomew in Smithfield,* "the pri
* Smithfield would seem to have been so called from its being a smethe, or smooth ground: "Est ibi," says Fitz-Stephens, "extra unam portarum statim in suburbio quidam planus campus re et nomine."-There without one of the city gates immediately in the sub
vilege of a fair to be kept yearly at Bartholomew-tide for three days; to wit, the eve, the day, and the next morrow. To the which the clothiers of England, and the drapers of London repaired; and had their booths and standings within the churchyard of this Priory, closed in with walls and gates, locked every night, and watched for safety of men's goods and wares. A Court of Pie-powder † was daily urbs a certain field smooth both in name and reality.-VITA SANCTI THOME ARCH. ET MARTYR. A WILIELMO FILIO STEPHANI, (i. e. Fitz Stephens), p. 67, 4to. London, 1772. In another part he calls
it suburbana planities, and the commentator upon the text observes that Smith signifies smooth, from the Saxon Smeth. In Minshew moreover we find an indirect indication of smeth and smooth being synonymous. He says, "Smeth or Smootherie, a medicine or physical ointment to take away haire."
At a yet earlier period, Smithfield was called the Elms; or at least that Western portion of it, which lay between the Horsepool and Turnmill Brook, known also under the name of the River of the Wells. But the Pool and the Brook were eventually doomed to vanish before the rage for building, and at length, as Stow observes in a tone of no little regret, it had so increased that it left not a single tree standing, though it was to the many elms that the place had originally owed its appellation. But no site in all London has undergone greater vicissitudes; at one time it was the field of justs and tournaments; then it was "the place of execution for offenders;" (Stow, Farringdon Ward Without ;) and then it was a market for cattle.
The Pie-powder Court was established for the purpose of suing for debts and contracts relative to the fair. It was an exceedingly summary court of justice, for the party might be arrested, the cause tried, and judgment given in less than an hour. Some wise-acres have derived the word from the dusty feet of the suitors, or, as Sir Edward Coke says, "because justice is there done as speedily as dust can fall from the feet." Sir Edward might have been a good lawyer, but he was a bad philologist. A pied puldreux,—in Latin pede-pulverosus,— means a pedlar, or trafficker in small wares, and the court was a pedlar's court. The whole matter is so well explained by Skene, that we need go no farther. "Pede - Pulverosus, ane French word, pied puldreux, Dustie-fute, or an vagabound, speciallie ane merchand, or cremar" (cremar, from the German Krämer, a dealer, trader,) "quha hes na certaine dwelling-place, quhair the dust may be dicht
held during the fair for debts and contracts. But now, notwithstanding all proclamations of the prince, and also the act of parliament, in place of booths within this churchyard, (only letten out in the fair time, and closed up all the year after), be many large houses builded; and the north wall towards Long Lane, being taken down, a number of tenements are there erected for such as will give great rents."*
Unluckily for both parties, the custos of the city had a dispute with the Prior of St. Bartholomew in 1295, about the customs and benefits of the fair, which coming to the ears of the King, that royal lion, Edward the First, acted after the manner of others of his kind, and issued his brief, laying claim to the city's moiety, on the score that the city's privileges were forfeited and in his hand. Stow however does not give us the issue of this contest, though, in another part of the same work † he says "the Earl of Warwick and Holland is concerned in the toll gathered the three first days in the fair, being a penny for every from his feet or schone. To quhom justice suld be summarlie ministred within three flowinges and ebbings of the see. pedder is called ane merchōd, or cremar, quha beirs ane pack or creame" (creame, from the German Kram, i. e. wares, commodities,) upon his bak, quha are called beirares of the puddill be (i. e. by) the Scottesmen in the realme of Polonia, quhair I saw an greate multitude in the town of Cracowia anno Dom. 1569." Skene, DE VERBORUM SIGNIFICATIONE, given at the end of his "Lawes and Actes," folio, Edinburgh, 1597.
The only fault to be found with this explanation is in the little vagary about pedlars being called dusty-foots, because they had no home to wipe their feet in; the epithet is so exceedingly applicable to a man who tramps about dusty roads all day long as to leave no room for such absurdities. In addition to this, we have Roquefort in his Glossaire de la Langue Romaine explaining "PIE POUDREUX, ETRANGER, marchand forain, qui court les foires."
*STOW's SURVEY, vol. i.-Faringdon Ward Without.-Bartholomew Fair, p. 235, fol. Lond. 1720.
+ P. 285.
burthen of goods brought in or carried out; and to that end there are persons that stand at all the entrances into the fair; but they are of late years grown so nimble, that these blades will extort a penny if one hath but a little bundle under one's arms, and nothing related to the fair."
According to the original grant, the fair was to last for three days only; but those who let the booths, and those who hired them, being equally interested in the abuse, the time was eventually extended to fourteen days, the first three being devoted exclusively to buying and selling cloth, stuffs, leather, pewter, live cattle, and other commodities, while the rest of the fair-time was in a great measure given up to sports and amusements adapted to the populace, such as drolls, farces, rope-dancing, feats of activity, wonderful and monstrous creatures, wild beasts, giants, dwarfs, &c.
But in the course of time this led to
such scenes of riot and debauchery, that at a Court of Common Council in June, 1708, the duration of the fair was limited to three days, and to the selling of merchandizes. The latter prohibition however, as respected the sports, seem very soon to have been disregarded, and not only so, but of late years the original object of the fair, the sale of cloth, cattle, and other commodities has been totally lost sight of and forgotten. In fact it differs from no country fairs except in its superior magnitude and profligacy.*
* Those, who wish for a minute account of the various amusements of the fair in modern times will do well to consult Hone's Every Day Book. Whatever he could see with his own eyes, and which did not require the aid of learning to develope it, Hone was sure to narrate with the utmost fidelity. His picture of Bartholomew Fair as he saw it in 1825, will one day be invaluable to the antiquarian; indeed it is only on such occasions that his book is worth any thing, for his scholarship was of the lowest order, and all the vigour of his mind, joined to an earnest love of truth, could never supply the original defects of education.
NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, September 8. -The time when this festival was first established, is uncertain, though the Roman Catholic writers have been anxious to make out its claims to antiquity. Baronius, even while confessing that he knows nothing whatever of its origin, yet strongly insists upon its belonging to an early period, although he honestly cites Augustine to prove that in his time it was unusual to celebrate any nativity in the churches, except those of Christ and John the Baptist. Baptista Spagnoli, commonly called Baptista Mantuanus, roundly declares that it certainly is not ancient,§ and even Durandus is of the same opinion.||
It would appear that this festival was instituted somewhere about the year 695 by Pope Sergius. The cause of it is related by Baptista Mantuanus, very much after the fashion of Ovid's Metamorphoses in regard to manner, though it must be admitted that his verse is any thing but Ovidian. Being reduced to plain prose his story amounts to this. A certain Carmelite, who had taken a fancy to turn hermit and live by himself on the top of a high mountain, was surprized one night, while stargazing, to hear the
* "Quonam autem potissimum tempore fuerit ejusmodi solemnitas instituta, nusqua expressum reperi, nec quid certi affirmare ausim." BARONII MARTYROLOGICUM ROMANUM, p. 574.
"Satis sit constare eam esse antiquam, et tam Latinos quàm Græcos eadem animi pietate concordiique studio permotos eadem die sacratissimum Dei genetricis natalitium solemniter celebrandum esse duxisse." Idem, p. 575.
"Ut autem omnis prorsus ansa tollatur existimandi Augustini tempore hoc festum esse celebratum, adducam de ea re ejusde Augustini clarissima testimonia, qui Sermone 21 et 22 de Sanct. testatur nullius alterius ortum quam solius Domini nostri Jesu Christi et Sancti Ioannis Baptistæ in ecclesia celebrari consuevisse." Idem. p. 274. § Hunc antiqua diem festis non intulit ætas." Baptista Mantuanus, Lib. ix. FAST.
"Sané hoc festum olim non celebrebatur." DURANDI RATIONALE DIVIN. OFFICIORUM, Lib. vii., cap. 28, p. 296. 4to. Venet. 1609.