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has heard affirmed, that it preserves the house from fire;" "no fire ever happened in a house that had one." This undoubtedly is a relic of the old superstition; as is also a vulgar notion in the west of England, that the straight stripe down the shoulders of the ass, intersected by the long one from the neck to the tail, is a cross of honour conferred upon him by Christ, and that before Christ rode upon the ass, that animal was not so distinguished.
Hot-cross-buns are the ecclesiastical Eulogiee, or consecrated loaves, bestowed in the church as alms, and to those who from any impediment could not receive the host. They are made from the dough from whence the host itself is taken, and are given by the priest to the people after mass, just before the congregation is dismissed, and are kissed before they are eaten. They are marked with the cross as our Good Friday buns are. Winckelman relates this remarkable fact, that at Herculaneum were found two entire loaves of the same size, a palm and a half, or five inches in diameter. They were marked by a cross, within which were four other lines; and so the bread of the Greeks was marked from the earliest periods. Sometimes it had only four lines, and then it was called quadra. This bread had rarely any other mark than a cross, which was on purpose to divide and break it more easily."
The Tenebrce, a Roman catholic service signifying darkness, is performed on and before Good Friday, to denote the circumstances and darkness at the crucifixion. This is partly symbolized by a
triangular candlestick with fourteen yellow wax candles and one white one seven of these yellow candles being on one side, the seven other yellow ones on the i ther side, and the white wax candle being at the top. The fourteen yellow candles represent the eleven apostles, the virgin Mary, and the women that were with her at the crucifixion; the white candle at the top is to represent Christ. Fourteen psalms are sung, and at the end of each psalm one of the yellow candles is put out till the whole fourteen are extinguished, and the white candle alone left alight. After this and the extinction of the light on the altar, "the white candle is taken down from the top of the triangular candlestick, and hid under the altar." The putting out of the fourteen candles is to denote the flight or mourning of the apostles and the women; and the hiding of the white candle denotes that Christ is in the sepulchre; then a noise is made hy beating the desks or books, and by beating the floor with the hands and feet, and this noise is to represent the earthquake and the splitting of the rocks at the crucifixion.*
In the church of St. Peter's at Rome on Good Friday, the hundred burning lamps on the tomb of St. Peter are extinguished, and a stupendous illuminated cross depends from the immense dome of the cathedral, as if it hung self-supported. But to relate the papal ceremonies pertaining to the fast of lent, and its ensuing festival, would fill volumes of this size, and we hasten from the devices of men to contemplate works which all his art is incompetent to rival.
Nature ! to me, thou art more beautiful
In thy most simple forms, than all that man
Hath made, with all his genius, and his power
Of combination : for he cannot raise
One structure, pinnacled, or domed, or gemm'd,
By architectural rule, or cunning hand,
I N, to the smallest plant, or flower, or leaf,
Which living hath a tongue, that doth discourse
Most eloquent of Him, the great Creator
Of all living things. Man's makings fail
To tell of aught but this, that he, the framer
Sought also to create, and fail'd, because
No life can he impart, or breath infuse,
To give inertness being.
* Butler's Moveable frails.
Next came fresh April, full of lustyhed, And wanton as a kid whose home new buds; Upon a bull he rode, the same which led Europa floting through th' Argolick finds: His horns were gilden all with golden studs, And garnished with garlands goodly dight Of all the fairest flowers and freshest buds Which th' earth brings forth ; and wet he seem'd in sight With waves, through which he waded for his love's delight. Spenser.
This is the fourth month of the year. Its Latin name is Aprilu, from aperio, to open or set forth. The Saxons called it, Otter or Eattermonath, in which month, the feast of the Saxon goddess, Batter, Batter, or Eotter is said to have been celebrated.* April, with us, is sometimes represented as a girl clothed in green, with a garland of myrtle and hawthorn buds; holding in one hand primroses and violets, and in the other the zodiacal sign, Taurus, or the bull, into which constellation the sun enters during this month. The Romans consecrated the first of April to Venus, the goddess of beauty, the mother of love, the queen of laughter, the mistress of the graces; and the Roman widows and virgins assembled in the temple of Virile Fortune, and dis
* Saver's Ditquititiciu.
closing their personal deformities, prayed the goddess to conceal them from their husbands'
In this month the business of creation seems resumed. The vital spark rekindles in dormant existences; and all things "live, and move, and have their being." The earth puts on her livery to await the call of her lord; the air breathes gently on his cheek, and conducts to his ear the warblings of the birds, and the odours of new-born herbs and flowers ; the great eye of the world " sees and snines'' with bright and gladdening glances; the waters teem with life; man himself feels the revivifying and all-pervading influence; and his
——- spirit holds communion sweet
On the first of April, 1712, Lord Bolingbroke stated, that in the wats, called the " glorious wars of queen Anne," the duke of Marlborough had not lost a single battle—and yet, that the French had carried their point, the succession to the Spanish monarchy, the pretended cause of these wars. Dean Swift called this statement " a due donation for 'All Fools' Day !'"
On the first of April, 1810, Napoleon married Maria Louisa, archduchess of Austria, on which occasion some of the waggish Parisians called him " im pohson d'Avril," a term which answers to our April fool. On the occasion of his nuptials, Napoleon struck a medal, with Love bearing a thunderbolt for its device.
It is customary on this day for boys to practise jocular deceptions. When they succeed, they laugh at the person whom they think they have rendered ridiculous, and exclaim, " Ah! yon April fool!"
Thirty years ago, when buckles were worn in shoes, a boy would meet a person in the street with—" Sir, if you please, your shoe's unbuckled," and the moment the accosted individual looked towards his feet, the informant would cry—" Ah! you April fool 1" Twenty years ago, when buckles were wholly disused, the urchin-cry was—" Sir, your shoe's untied ;" and if the shoe-wearer lowered his eyes, he was hailed, as his buckled predecessor had been, with the said—" Ah! you April fool!" Now, when neither buckles nor strings are worn, because in the year 1825 no decent man " has a shoe to his foot," the waggery of the day is— "Sir, there's something out of your pocket." "Where?" "There I" "What?" "Your hand, sir—Ah! you April fool!"
Or else tome lady is humbly bowed to, and gravely addressed with "Ma'am, I beg your pardon, but you've something on your face!" "Indeed, my man! what is it V "Your note, ma'am—Ah! you April fool!"
The tricks that youngsters play off on the first of April are various as their fancies. One, who has yet to know the humours of the day, they send to a cobbler's for a pennyworth of the best " stir
rup oil;" the cobbler receives the money, and the novice receives a hearty cut or two from the cobbler's strap: if he does not, at the same time, obtain the information that he is " an April fool," he is sure to be acquainted with it on returning to his companions. The like knowledge is also gained by an errand to some shop for half a pint of " pigeon's milk," or an inquiry at a bookseller's for the "Life and Adventures of Eve's Mother."
Then, in-door young ones club their wicked wits,
And almost frighten servants into fits—
"Oh, John! James! John !—oh, quick! oh! Molly, oh!
Oh, the trap-door! oh, Molly! down below!"
'• What, what's the matter!" scream, with wild surprise,
John, James, and Molly, while the young ones' cries
Redouble till they come; then all the boys
Shout" Ah! you April fools !" with clamorous noise;
And little girls enticed down stairs to see,
Stand peeping, clap their hands, and cry " te-hee I"
Each gibing boy escapes a different way,
And meet again some trick, " as good as that," to play.
Much is written concerning the custom of fool-making on the first of April, but with this result only, that it is very ancient and very general.* As a better opportunity will occur hereafter, nothing will be said here respecting " fools" by profession.
The practice of making fools on this day in North Britain, is usually exercised by sending a person from place to place by means of a letter, in which is written
"On the first day of April
This is called " hunting the gowk;" and the bearer of the "fools' errand" is called an "April gowk." Brand says, that gown is properly a cuckoo, and is used here metaphorically for a fool; this appears correct; for from the Saxon "geac, a cuckoo," is derived geek, which means " one easily imposed on." Malvolio, who had been " made a fool" by a letter, purporting to have been written by Olivia, inquires of her
"Why have you suffered me to be— —Made the most notorious geek and gull That e'er invention play'd on?"
Olivia affirms, that the letter was not written by her, and exclaims to Malvolio
"Alas, poor/bo/.' how have they baffled thee I"
Geek is likewise derivable "from the Teutonic geek, joctu."*
The " April fool" is among the Swedes. Toreen, one of their travellers, says, "We set sail on the first of April, and the wind made April fooh of us, for we were forced to return before Shagen." On the Sunday and Monday preceding Lent, people are privileged at Lisbon to play the fool: it is thought very jocose to pour water on any person who passes, or throw powder in his face; but to do both is the perfection of wit.f The Hindoos also at their Huli festival keep a general holiday on the 31st of March, and one subject of diversion is to send people on errands and expeditions that are to end in disappointment, and raise a laugh at the expense of the persons sent. Colonel Pearce says, that " high and low join in it ; and," he adds, " the late Suraja Ooulah, I am told, was very fond of making Huli fools, though he was a mussuhnan of the highest rank. They carry the joke here (in India) so far, as to send letters making appointments, in the name of persons, who, it is known, must be absent from their house at the time fixed upon; and the laugh is always in proportion to the trouble given."'
The April fool among the French is called " tin poiston b 4vril." Their trans
* Jamiesnn, in Nare'a Glossary.
+ Southey, quoted in Brand, aa also Torcca.
] Aiiat. Re*, in Brand, from Maurice.
formation of the term is not well accounted for, but their customs on the day are similar to ours. In one instance a " joke * was carried too far. At Paris, on the 1st of April, 1817, a young lady pocketed a watch in the house of a friend. She was arrested the same day, and taken before the correctional police, when being charged with the fact, she said it was an April trick (un poisson d'AvrU.} She was asked whether the watch was in her custody? She denied it; but a messenger was sent to her apartment, and it was found on the chimney-place. Upon which the young lady said, she had made the messenger un pohson d'Avril, "an April fool." The pleasantry, however, did not end so happily, for the young lady was jocularly recommended to remain in the house of correction till the 1st of April, 1818, and then to be discharged as «n poiason d'Avril.*
Annual Mercury. Mercurialit annuaDedicated to St. Hugh.
St. Franeu of Paula. St. Apian, A. U. 306. 5t. Tkeodotia, A. n. 308. St. Xicetiut, Abp. of Lyons, A. D. 577. St. Ebba, Abbess, and her companions, A. D. 870, or 874. B. Comtantiue II. king of Scotland, A. n. 874. St Bronacha, or Bronanna, Abbess.
St. Francis of Paula
Was a Calabrian, and at fifteen years old shut himself up in a cave, in a rock on the coast. Before twenty he was joined by two others, and. the people built them three cells; the number increased, and so arose the order of friar Minims, which means the least of the friars. Constant abstinence from flesh, and all food made of milk or eggs, was one of their rules. In 1479, being invited to Sicily, "he was received there as an angel from heaven, wrought miracles, and built several monasteries." He prophesied, held burning coals in his hand without being burnt, restored his nephew to life, cured people of the plague, received the host with a cord about his neck on Maundy Thursday, died on the 2d of April, 1508, aged ninety-one, and was buried till 1562 when the hugonots burnt his bones with the wood of a crucifix.*
Besides this, it is related, that the elements lost their force against him; that he walked upon fire; entered into a burning oven without harm ; and made a sea voyage on his own cloak instead of a ship, and had a companion on board with him.-t
According to another account he was much worried by the devil. Once while he was at prayers the devil called him three times by his own name. Another time he was so possessed by the fiend, that be had no other way to get rid of him, than by stripping and beating himself with a hard cord, crying while he did it, "thus brother ass thcu must be beaten;" after which he ran into the snow and made seven snowballs, intending to swallow them if the devil had not taken his leave. Then a whole parcel of devils came one night, and gave him a grievous