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Nobember 24. St. John of the Cross Confessor,
St. Chrysogonus Martyr. SS. Flora and Mary Virgins and Martyrs. St. Cianan or Kenan Bishop in Ireland.
St. John of the Cross was born at Avila in Old Castile in 1542, and died in 1591. With his mother's milk, says Butler, he sucked in the most tender devotion to the blessed Virgin, and was preserved from many dangers by her visible intercession. To satisfy his devotion to her he took, at 21 years of age, the religious habit among the Carmelite Friars of Medina in 1563. After deliberating with himself about entering the Order of Carthusians, he at length was persuaded by St. Teresa to become one of the reformed or barefooted Carmelites, which took place on Advent Sunday in 1568. So great were the austerities of those Friars, that St. Teresa was forced to exert herself to limit them. This Order was, however, approved of by Pope Pius V. and confirmed by Gregory the XIII. in 1580. See Butler's Lives, XI. p. 404. From the great attachment of this Saint to the Cross, the emblem of our religion, he was called St. John of the Cross. And from his fervid and flowery discourses with this ensign in his hand he made many converts even in the wavering age in which he lived, when the austere religious rites of early Christianity were about to give place to the acquisitive and crafty policy of more unsteady times.
Lines on the Dissolution of Monasteries, by a modern Poet, whose name
has escaped our memory; in which, however, the impresside verses are recorded.
Threats come which no submission may assuage;
The lovely Nun, submissive but more meek
To unrelenting mandates that pursue
Brumalia.-Rom. Cal. The festivals called Brumalia, in honour of Bacchus, were celebrated to day; also on the 14th December, which see. From the ivy crowns and evergreen decorations used at the Brumalia, was derived our custom of garnishing churches and houses with green boughs and berries at Christmas.
CHRONOLOGY.—Transit of 8 in 1639. FLORA.-Some Fungi still appear: we see them bere and there springing up in places where they are least expected, and where they have perhaps never grown before. How do the seeds come in such places ? A learned cryptogamist once said, he thought their Semina fvated in the air, and were carried up into the clouds and wafted along with them, and deposited by fogs on the Earth's surface. Quere- Is there any particular aspect or side of Trees more obnoxious to the growth of parasitical Fungi than others ?
HECATE.-We shall take our leave of Ghosts and Spectres, so often alluded to in this Calendar, (see September 26th and 30th, and November 17th, and our Index,) with the following remark :
We have read in Darwin's Zoonomia a comparison made between Ocular Spectres, such as muscae volitantes, &c. and Images of Spectral Illusion or apparitions. Now they essentially differ in this, that Ocular Spectra move with the motion of the eye, whatever may be the forms of
the spectrum on the retina; hence they are spectra in the eye. But the Images of Spectral Illusion or ghosts, seem to move with their own proper motion, like real persons, and like the objects we see in dreams; hence they are not in the eye itself or retina; but they may take place in the brain; that is, in the organs of form, colour, size, and so on.
And over these organs that of Supernaturality may exert its influence. But we have already explained the real cause of spectres. We know nothing of the particular laws whereby the special forms of the phantoms are regulated, as they occur without the conscious precurrence of the usual chains of thought, and often represent forms and combinations of forms almost entirely new to us; as was the case with the remarkable phantoms that haunted Nicolai the bookseller of Berlin, related by Dr. Ferriar, in his Theory of Apparitions, page 41. It appears that some persons only see these spectres once or twice in their lives, and that only during diseases: others are continually harassed by them, and often mistake some one consistent spectre, which frequently comes and converses with them, for their Guardian Angel. In proportion, however, as the phantom gains on the credulity of the patient who beholds it, the latter approximates towards insanity; and we suspect that madmen often see and credit the existence of these apparitions, the inflammatory state of their brain being favourable to such hallucinations. According to the organization of the brain of the individuals, the spectres are either borrifying or delightful; they partake of the character of the patient's mind, because the Organs of Form, of Colour, and others which produce them, are influenced variously by the Organs of Fear, of Supernaturality, of Hope, and so on. We have known instances where the antiphlogistic measures resorted to with success have been viewed by the patient, when recovered, as positive evils, having forcibly torn from him some perpetual and pleasing illusion. See our October 2d. Such patients have exclaimed, with Horace, pol me occidistis amici !--for to them the spectres destroyed by the medicine, together with the insane belief attendant on them, were really mentis gratissimus error.
See Horace's excellent description in Epist. II. ii. 140. See also Apparition in our Index.
Frightful Spectrum.— The late Mr. John Wheeler, prebendary of Westminster, used to relate a remarkable story of the Abbé Pilori at Florence, who incurred a tremendous spectral disorder in consequence of a surfeit of mushrooms he one day ate. These fungi, not digesting, disturbed his brain,
and he saw the frightful and appalling forms of scorpions continually before his eyes for a length of time..
This brings to our minds yet another observation with regard to spectra. Besides the Images of Spectral Illusion described, persons who are somewhat delirious from fever are apt to give to half distinguished forms, in a darkish chamber, the most frightful imaginary shapes. This is a disorder distinct from that of seeing Phantoms. A. Y. R. a child, being ill of fever, saw some bulbous roots laying on a table in the room, and conceived them immediately to be scorpions; nor could any thing convince her of the contrary, and they consequently were removed out of the room to relieve her terrors.
False Voices and Sounds.-A familiar instance of deception is exemplified in the false voices which some persons hear calling them, faintly in common, but so as to deceive for a moment. When this false perception of sound concurs with Images of Spectral Illusion, a formidable imitation of reality is maintained.
November 25. St. Catherine Virgin and Martyr. St. Erasmus or Elme Bishop and Martyr.
O rises at vii. 49'. and sets at iv. 11. St. Catherine the virgin and martyr was born, according to her legend, at Alexandria, and of so wonderful a capacity, that having, in 305, disputed with fifty heathen philosophers, she converted them all to the true faith. For this offence, the Emperor Maxentius caused her to be instantly cast into prison. Here, by her eloquence and learning, she converted the Empress and one of the principal generals of Maxentius. This so enraged the Emperor, that he ordered her to be tortured with four cutting wheels in which were saws of iron, sharp nails, and sharp knives; the wheels turned one against another, and thus the saws, knives, and nails met. She was so tied to one of the wheels, that the other, being turned the contrary way, her body might be torn in different places with the sharp instruments : she was afterwards beheaded. The Catherine Wheel, used as a sign to public houses, and as a name for pinwheels—a sort of artificial fireworks, derived their origin from this instrument of torture; and St. Catherine is usually represented with a large wheel by her side. From a corrupted pronunciation of St. Catherine's Wheel, came the common sign of the Cat and Wheel at public houses and shops.
Coelum.--Autumnal appearances are increasing, and occasional gales of wind and interchanges of nipping frost hasten the approaching winter. The following passage in Isaiah seems to allude to the wintery garb of Nature:
The earth mourneth and languisheth; Lebanon is ashamed and withereth away; Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits.-ISAIAH, xxiii. 9.
Seon shall we be compelled to exclaim with the poet, in reference to this, generally speaking, gloomy season,
That time of year thou mayest in me behold,
Bare ruined quires, where late the sweet birds sang. November, however, has its bright, as well as its dark side. " It is now,” observes a pleasing writer, before quoted, “ that the labourer is about to enjoy a temporary mitigation of the season's toil. His little store of winter provision having been hardly earned and safely lodged, his countenance brightens, and his heart warms, with the anticipation of winter comforts. As the day shortens, and the hours of darkness increase, the domestic affections are awakened anew by a closer and more lengthened converse; the father is now once more in the midst of his family; the child is now once more on the knee of its parent; and she, in whose comfort bis heart is principally interested, is again permitted, by the privileges of the season, to increase and to participate his happiness. It is now that the husbandman is repaid for his former risk and anxiety—that, having waited patiently for the coming harvest, he builds up his sheaves, loads his waggons, and replenishes his barns.” It is now that men of study and literary pursuit are admonished of the best season suited for the pursuits of literature; and the snug fireside in an armed chair, during a long winter's evening, with an entertaining book, is a pleasure by no means to be despised. There is something, too, very pleasing in the festivals which are now approaching, and which preserve the recollection of olden time.
November 26. St. Peter Bishop
St. Peter Bishop and Martyr. St. Nicon Confessor. St. Sylvester Gozzolini Abbot.
St. Conrad Bishop and Confessor. CHRONOLOGY.-In the year 1703, ou this day, began the tremendous wind, so memorable for the extent of its inischief among shipping; indeed, every where in this part of Europe, both by land and sea, so that it was