Изображения страниц

So when Rinaldo struck the conscious rind,
He found a nymph in every trunk confined ;
The forest labours with convulsive throes,
The bursting trees the lovely births disclose,
And a gay troop of damsels round hinu stood;
Where late was rugged bark and lifeless wood.
Lo! the bright train their radiant wings unfold,
With silver fringed, and freckled o'er with gold :
On the gay bosom of some fragrant flower
They idly fluttering live their little hour;
Their life all pleasure, and their task all play,
All spring their age, and sunshine all their day,

July 20. ST. MARGARET, V. M. St. Joseph Bar

sabus. St. Ceslas. St. Aurelius. St. Ulmar.
St. Jerom Aemiliani. SS. Justa and Rufina MM.

O rises at iv. 1'. and sets at vii. 59.
CHRONOLOGY.—The massacre of Valteline commenced in 1620.

St. Margaret was born at Antioch, and was the daughter of a pagan priest. She is one of the tutelar saints of Cremona, and Vida wrote two hymns to her. Olibius, president of the East under the Romans, wished to marry her; but finding that Margaret was a Christian, he postponed his intended nuptials until he could prevail on her to renounce her religion. St. Margaret, however, was inflexible, and was first tortured, and then beheaded, in the last general persecution at Antioch in Pisidia.

St. Margaret's Day used to have some curious superstitions connected with it relative to the fecundating power of this lady's festival, quite at variance with her character as a Vestal virgin.

We extract from the Star Newspaper of June 12, 1820, the following sonnet to this saint, written on viewing Raphael's picture of her :

To St. Margaret.
Hail, Saint! whose form the pencil yet pourtrays,

Calling our minds to hallowed times of old,

When pastors grave, to guard their wandering fold,
From prowling Wolf that on meek virtue preys,
Gathered their focks on holie ground to graze,

By fountains pure where sacred waters rolled.

And when at eve the vespers bell had tolled,
Around their hopes the pen of faith did raise,
Inspire me to exhort our faultering race;

To strive with him thou martyred virgin trod.
Then chere thou with thy form and tranquil face,

Christ's sheep awaiting his directing nod,
Who whylome held on earth the heavenlie mace,

And brought them back to their appeased God.

From the picture of St. Margaret by Raphael, above alluded to, was probably taken the device of St. Margaret painted by Dufresnoy, and now preserved in the gallery of the Louvre at Paris. In the Gentleman's Magazine for 1823 is a letter on the subject of this and several other saints who bear the same name, and some critical inquiries into the origin of the emblem of the vanquished Dragon which makes a part of every picture of St. Margaret. Some have explained this as being merely emblematical of the power of Holy Virgin Innocence to trample the tempter to sin, and consider the Dragon as meant to represent the Devil: others think, but with less probability, that it alludes to some particular tutelary patronage exercised over some animals; for in the extravagance of pious superstition people formerly assigned particular animals to the care of particular saints : thus St. Anthony protects Hogs; St. Ferioll presides over Geese, whom others have given to St. Galla; St. Galla also protects the keepers of Geese; St. Gertrude presides over Mice and Eggs; St. Hubert protects Dogs, and is invoked against the bite of mad ones; St. Loy is for Horses and Kine; St. Magnus is invoked against Locusts and Caterpillars; St. Pelagius otherwise Št. Pelage protects Oxen; and St. Wendeline, Sheep; or, as one writer has it, St. Wolfe. Many other and spurious saints are recorded with the animals over which they have either presided or triumphed, as St. Margaret over the Mouse;. St. Susanna the Cat and Kittens; St. Julia the Chickens, the Swallow, and the reptiles ; St. Elizabeth the Redbreast; St. Hemma the Cat, the Hedgehog, the Mouse, and that little household god the Redbreast;. St. Harriet over poultry and many others. This is again following the ancients, for Minerva had a Cock and sometimes an Owl by her side; Fortuna a Cat at her feet, emblematical of restlessness; Venus stood on a Tortoise, and so on of many others.

In an old work called the World of Wonders, p. 308, we find, “ When St. Eloy, who is the Saint for Smiths, doth hammer his irons, is he not instead of god Vulcan? and do they not give the same titles to St. George, which in old times were given to Mars ? and do they not honour St. Nicholas after the same manner that pagans honoured god Neptune ? and when St. Peter is made a porter, doth he not represent god Janus ? Nay, they would faine make the angell Gabriel beleeve that he is god Mercury. And is not Pallas the goddesse of arts and sciences represented to us by S. Katherine ? And have they not S. Hubert the god of Hunters, instead of Diana ? which office some give to S. Eustace. And when they apparell John Baptist in a


Lion's skin, is it not to represent Hercules unto us? And is not St. Katherine commonly painted with a wheele, as they were wont to paint Fortune ?

The above were harmless abuses of the religious character and spirit of those early ages, but they have been made use of by some writers to strengthen the charge of idolatry brought against the Catholic religion. That there is a natural tendency in the human mind to form images emblematical of any occult powers on which we rely cannot be doubted; and the Christian religion being in its ceremonious part adapted to the failings of human nature, it was wise when the new religion was established at Rome instead of abolishing the iconical and figurative symbols to change them, and to substitute images of real saints and emblems of historical facts for the figures of Pallas, Juno, Jupiter, and other figurative representatives of the powers of the elements. For as our whole connexion with the world is by means of our senses and other organs, so our communication with Heaven, while here, must of necessity be by means of sensible signs and of feelings which exist by the intervention of the bodily powers. Hence the total fallacy of the spiritualism of enthusiasts and of many sects becomes manifest. Images are forcible mementoes, and those who object to their presence in churches might as well object also to pictures. “ It would be insulting common sense,” says a modern writer, “to suppose, as some calumniators of religion have asserted, that the enlightened catholic worshipped either the molten image or the coloured canvas, while the whole history of the church shows that these things were only regarded as memorials. An ornamented cathedral may seem absurd enough, perhaps, in the mind of a mercantile Dutch Calvinist; but to the classic historian and antiquary, and, above all, to the catholic, every decoration of an ecclesiastical building is legible as a monumental document to the faithful. The lofty spire of the building points,' as a learned architect expresses it, ' to that heaven to which we are to aspire.' The Cock on the vane is an emblem of clerical vigilance; for the bird of dawning sounds the early clarion to call us to prayer. The bells too of cathedrals and churches had suitable inscriptions, as ADESTE PIDELES, CONVOCO SANCTOS, &c. The storied windows, richly adorned with sacred subjects, forcibly bring into our minds the most important events of religious history; the very make of a cathedral, the sublime form of its architecture, the mixed voices and music of the choristers,-all conjoin and constitute an outward and sensible sign of the inward and spiritual sentiment of veneration, and become a source of excitement to the cardinal virtues, which reminds one of the words of the prophet, “ Yea the very stone crieth out of the wall.

The fact is, that the natural conscience which is given in a greater or less degree to every man for his guide, and which is the basis of religious obligation, requires to be instructed, and may, even in the most enlightened minds, be deluded in its judgment by early false impressions; hence the numerous errors in religion. Contrasted with the Catholics are the Quakers or Society of Friends, who, rejecting altogether the forms and ceremonies of the Christian religion as abuses, have exhivited to the world an example of Christian practices highly honourable to them as a body, and in which they approximate as nearly as may be to the character of the first followers of Jesus Christ and his disciples.

July 21. St. Praxedes V. St. Zoticus. St. Victor.

St. Barhadbesciabas. St. Arbogastus. Mundi natalis ex Aegypt. Sarcedot. Sententia. Soli.-Rom. Cal.

The Aegyptian priests pretended this was the anniversary of the Creation, and therefore, according to a poetical proverb, it will be also that of its destruction:

Six thousand years the world shall then expire,
By water once and then destroyed by fire ;
The first two thousand void, the next the law,

The last two thousand under the Messiah's awe! CHRONOLOGY.–Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. The death of the gallant Hotspur. Burns the Ayrshire poet died in 1796.

Mr. John Mayne, one of the respectable editors of the Star Newspaper, whose poetical effusions have often appeared before the public, writes thus of the favourite poet of his native country:

In Commemoration of Robert Burns.
Of all the bards who shone by turns,
Scotland is proudest far of Burns :
Ordained a poet from his birth,
But, too resplendent for this earth,
He met, alas! an early doom,
And slumbers in the silent tomb !
Yet, though the Almighty, good and wise,
Hath called his spirit to the skies,
His works, sweet bard! till ending time,
Shall live in every age and clime,
Unfading, beautiful, sublime !

On the Rival Poets.
Fach country to some learned Muse is bound,
Old Homer's song made ancient Greece resound;
Proud Italy the Lyre of Horace claimed,
Nor less for Virgil and for Ovid famed:
Milton's majestic Muse o'er Albion smiled,
Where warbled Shakespeare, Nature's favoured child.
France had Voltaire — each nation shone by turns,

Till Scotland crowned the catalogue with Burns. Notwithstanding the high and just praises bestowed on Burns by the literati of every clime, the sarcastic and illnatured jealousy of a southern Tory has stigmatized him as A nasty drunken exciseman; mean in his origin, sceptical in his religion, jacobinical in his principles, low in his amours, profligate in his morals, and faithful to nothing, not even in the vulgar objects of his misplaced friendship.” Far be it from us to join in this illiberal censure; and we think we can trace the origin of it in the severe satire against aristocrary contained in the poet's inimitable poems of the Twa Dogs, and the praises of humble happiness set forth in his Cotter's Saturday Night. As a proof of Burns' occasional melancholy, we may cite the following prayer left among his papers, “ God have mercy on me a poor, damnit, incautious, dupit, unfortunate fool; the sport, the miserable victim of rebellious pride, hypochondriacal imagination, agonizing sensibility, and bedlam passions.” Peace to his Manes.

Flora.—The larger Garden Bindweed Condoloulus pupureus begins to blow, and its funnel shaped flowers of deep azure and gold, or of white hue, have a very rich and pleasing effect when hanging numerously from their climbing plant. The lesser Garden Bindweed Convolvulus tricolor is now very abundant, and mixes its three coloured flowers of light blue white and yellow, very well with the last species, and both are set off by the accompaniment of another climbing plant now common, the Nasturtium Tropoeolum majus. Sweet Williams and Scarlet Lychnis still remain, and the garden now presents a rich show of innumerable Summer flowers.

July 22. ST. MARY MAGDALEN. St. Dabius. St. Joseph of Palestine. St. Meneve. St. Vandrille.

rises at iv. 4'. and sets at vii. 56'. This day was first dedicated to the memory of St. Mary Magdalen by King Edward VI. And in his Common Prayer the Gospel for the day is from St. Luke, c. vii. v. 36. The reformers as they were called, upon a more strict inquiry, finding it doubtful whether this was the Mary Magdalen mentioned in Scripture, for this reason, together with the inordinate desire for innovation, discontinued it.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »