Page images
PDF
EPUB

.

ST. DAVID,

a

part of the time of this fasting alwayes Now, Winter, dispossessed of storms, fell; and hereof it cometh that we now and weak from boisterous rage, cal it Lent, it being rather the fast of Lent, thogh the former name of Lenct

· Ling'ring on the verge of Spring, monat be long since lost, and the name of Retires reluctant, and from time to time March borrowed in stead thereof." Lenct,

Looks back, while at his keen and chilling

breath or Lent, however, means Spring ; hence Fair Flora sickens. March was the Spring-month. Dr. Sayer says the Saxons likewise called it Rhed monath,a word derived by some from one of

March 1. their deities, named Rheda, to whom sacri- St. David, Archbishop, A. D. 544. St. fices were offered in March; others derive it from ræd, the Saxon word for council,

Swidbert, or Swibert, A. D. 713. St. March being the month wherein wars or

Albinus, Bishop, A. D. 549. St. Mos expeditions were usually undertaken by

nan, A. D. 874. the Gothic tribes. The Saxons also called it Hlyd-monath, from hlyd, which means

Patron of Wales. stormy, and in this sense March was the

St. David, or, in Welch, Dewid, was Stormy month.

son of Xantus, prince of Cardiganshire, No living writer discourses so agreea- the Isle of Wight, afterwards preached to

brought up a priest, became an ascetic in bly on the “ Months” as Mr. Leigh Hunt the Britons, founded twelve monasteries, in his little volume bearing that title. He ate only bread and vegetables, and drank says of March, that—"The animal creation milk and water. A synod being called now exhibit unequivocal signs of activity. The farmer extends the exercise of his at Brevy, in Cardiganshire, A. D. 319, in plough; and, if fair weather continues,

order to suppress the heresy of Pelagius, begins sowing barley and oats. Bats and infernal monster by his learning, elo

“ St. David confuted and silenced the reptiles break up their winter sleep: the little smelts or sparlings run up the soft- quence, and miracles.” After the synod, ened rivers to spawn: the field-fare and St. Dubritius, archbishop of Caerleon, rewoodcock return to their northern quar- now called St. David's. He died in 544.

signed his see to St. David, which see is ters; the rooks are all in motion with St. Kentigern saw his soul borne by angels building and repairing their nests; hens to heaven; his body was in the church of sit ; geese and ducks lay ; pheasants crow; St. Andrew. In 962, his relics were the ring-dove coos; young lambs come

translated to Glastonbury.* tottering forth in mild weather; the throstle warbles on the top of some naked

Butler conceals that St. David's mother tree, as if he triumphed over the last lina was not married to his father, but Cressy gering of barrenness; and, lastly, forth is- tells the story out, and that his birth was sues the bee with his vernal trumpet, to

prophecied of thirty years before it haptell us that there is news of sunshine and

pened. the flowers.-In addition to the last

One of the miracles alleged of St. David month's flowers, we now have the crown

is, that at the anti-Pelagian synod he re

stored a child to life, ordered it to spread a imperial, the dog's-tooth violet, fritillaries, the hyacinth, narcissus, (bending its face napkin under his feet, and made an oration;

that a snow white dove descended from like its namesake,) pilewort, scarlet ranunculus, great snow-drop, tulips, (which the ground whereon he stood rose under

heaven and sat on his shoulders ; and that turned even the Dutch to enthusiasts,) and him till it became a hill, “ on the top of violets, proverbial for their odour, which were perhaps the favourite flowers of which remains to this day.” He assem

which hill a church was afterwards built, Shakspeare. The passage at the begin: bled a provincial

synod to confirm the dening of Twelfth Night,' in which he compares their scent with the passing sweet- of both synods for preservation in his

crees of Brevy; and wrote the proceedings bess of inusic is well-known, and probably suggested the beautiful one in lord churches of the province; but they were

own church, and to be sent to the other • Bacon's Essays,' about the superiority of lost by age, negligence, and the incursions flowers in the open air, where the scent of pirates, who almost every summer came comes and goes like the warbling of music.'"

* Butler's Saints. No. 11,

in long boats from the Orkneys, and wasted way from building the church of Glaston-
the coasts of Cambria. He invited St. bury he went to Bath, cured an infection
Kined to this synod, who answered that of the waters, and by his prayers and be-
he had grown crooked, distorted, and too nediction gave them the perpetual heat
weak for the journey; whereupon ensued they still retain. On the same authority,
“ a double miracle," for “St. Kined hav- St. David's posthumous virtue, in the reign
ing been restored to health and straight- of king Stephen, occasioned the brook
ness by the prayers of St. David, by his above the church-yard of St. David's
own prayers he was reduced again to his church to run wine, by miracle: the well
former infirmity and crookedness.” After near it, called Pisteldewy or the conduit
this synod he journeyed to the monastery of David, sent forth milk instead of
of Glastonbury, which he had built there water. Also a boy, that endeavoured to
and consecrated, with intent to repair it, take pigeons from a nosi in St. David's
and consecrate it again; whereupon our church at Lhannons, had his fingers mi-
Lord appearing to him in his sleep, raculously fastened to the stone, till by his
and forbidding him to profane the friends' watching, fasting, and praying
sacred ceremony before performed, he, in before the altar three days and nights, the
testimony, with his finger pierced a hole stone fell from his hand. “Manie thou-
in the bishop's hand, which remained open sands of other miracles have been wrought
to the view of all men till the end of the by the meritts of this holy man, wbich for
next day's mass.” Before his death “ the brevities sake we omitt. "I only desire all
angel of the lord appeared to him, and true hearted Welchmen allwaies to ho-
said to him, Prepare thyself.” Again: nour this their great patrone and protec-
" When the hour of his departure was tor, and supplicate the divine goodnes to
come, our Lord Jesus Christ vouchsafed reduce his sometimes beloved countrey out
his presence, to the infinite consolation of of the blindnes of Protestancie, groveling
our holy father, who at the sight of him in which it languisheth. Not only in
exulted.” More to the same purpose is Wales, but all England over is most fa-
alleged by the catholic writers respecting mous in memorie of St. David. But in
him. Such as, that at his death being these our unhappie daies the greatest part
associated to a troop of angels, he with of his solemnitie consisteth in wearing of
them mounted up heaven," and that a greene leeke, and it is a sufficient theme
the event was known “ by an angel di- for a zealous Welchman to ground a quar-
vulging it.” This is Cressy's account. rell against him, that doeth not honour

According to another biographer of St. his capp with the like ornament that
David, he was uncle to the famous prince day.” So saith Porter.
Arthur, or, strictly speaking, half uncle, if This legend has been the theme of suc-
St. David's illegitimacy be authentic. The cessive writers, with more or less of varia.
same author relates of him, that on his tion, and much of addition.

«

Inscription for a monument in the Vale of Ewias.

Here was it, stranger, that the Patron Saint
Of Cambria past his age of penitence,
A solitary man; and here he made
His hermitage, the roots his food, his drink
Of Hodney's mountain stream. Perchance thy youth
Has read, with eager wonder, how the knight
Of Wales, in Ormandine's enchanted bower
Slept the long sleep : and if that in thy veins
Flow the pure blood of Britain, sure that blood
Hath flowed with quicker impulse at the tale
Of David's deeds, when thro' the press of war
His gallant comrades followed his green crest
To conquest. Stranger ! Hatterill's mountain heights
And this fair vale of Ewias, and the stream
Or Hodney, to thine after-thonghts will rise
More grateful, thus associate with the name
Of David, and the deeds of other days.

MR. SOUTHEY.

[ocr errors]

St. David's Day.

Wearing the Leek.

a

Mr. Brady, in the “Clavis Calendaria,” memory, an't please your majesty, and your affirms that the custom of wearing the great-uncle, Edward, the black prince, as leek on St. David's day is derived from I have read in the chronicles, fought a St. David; who, according to him, caused most prave pattle here in France. the Britons under king Cadwallader to K. Henry. They did, Fluellen. distinguish themselves from their enemies F. Your majesty says very true: if your during a great battle, wherein they con- majesties is remembered of it, the Welchquered the Saxons by virtue of his prayers men did goot service in a garden where and that regulation. Uniortunately he leeks did grow, wearing leeks in their Monlays no ground for this positive statement, mouth caps; which, your majesty knows, and the same misfortune attends almost is an honourable padge of the service: every representation in his book, which and, I do believe, your majesty takes no would really be useful if he had pointed scorn to wear the leek upon Saint Tavy's day. to his sources of information. À work K. H. I wear it for a memorable professing to state facts without referring honour : for I am a Welch, you know, good to authorities has no claim to confidence, countryman. whoever may be its author.

This allusion by Fluellen to the Welch For any thing in the shape of ancient having worn the leek in a battle under the and authentic statement to the contrary, black prince, is not, perhaps, as some the institution of wearing the leek on St. writers suppose, wholly decisive of its David's day by the saint himself, may having originated in the fields of Cressy or rest on a Jeffrey of Monmouth authority, Poictiers; but it shows that when Shake or on legends of no higher estimation speare wrote, Welchmen wore leeks. In with the historian, than “ The famous the same play, the well-remembered History of the Seven Champions of Chris- Fluellen's enforcement of Pistol to eat tendom,” by Richard Johnson.

the leek he had ridiculed, further establishes

the wearing it as a usage. Fluellen wears Shakspeare, whose genius appropriated his leek in the battle of Agincourt, which every thing that his extraordinary faculty it will be recollected takes place in this of observation marked for its own, intro- play, and is there mentioned, as well as duces this custom of the Welch wearing in the chronicles, to have been "fought leeks upon St. David's day into his play on the day of Crispin Crispianus,” in the of King Henry V.

month of October. The scene between Enter Pistol to King Henry. Fluellen and Pistol takes place the day Pistol. Qui va ?

after this battle. K. Henry. A friend.

Enter Fluellen and Gower. P. What's thy name?

Gower. Why wear you your leek to. K. H. Harry le Roy.

day? St. David's day is past. P. Le Roy! a Cornish name: art thou Fluellen. There is occasions and causes of Cornish crew ?

why and wherefore in all things. The K. H. No, I am a Welchman.

rascally, scald, peggarly, pragging knave, P. Knowest thou Fluellen?

Pistol, a fellow look you now of no merits, K. H. Yes.

he is come to me with pread and salt yes P. Tell him, I'll knock his leek about terday, look you, and pid me eat my leek.

it was in a place where I could not preed Upon St. David's day.

no contentions with him, but I will be so K. H. Do not you wear your dagger in pold as to wear it in my cap till I see him your cap that day, lest he knock that about once again, and then—(Enter Pistol) yours.

Got pless you, ancient Pistol! you scurvy It is again referred to in a dialogue be- knave, Got pless you ! tween Henry V. and Fluellen.

P. Hence! I am qualmish at the smell Fluellen. Your grandfather of famous of loet.

66

a

his pate

G. I peseech you heartily scurvy knave, onions were also deposited in the sacred at my desires, and my requests, and my chests of the mysteries both of Isis and petitions, to eat, look you, this leek. Ceres, the Ceudven of the Druids ; leeks

P. Not for Cadwallader, and all his are among the Egyptian hieroglyphics ; goats.

sometimes a leek is on the head of Osiris; F. There is one goat for you. (strikes and at other times grasped in an extended him.) Will you be so goot, scald knave, as hand; and thence, perhaps, the Italian eat it?

proverb, “ Porro che nasce nella mano," P. Base Trojan, thou shalt die. a leek that grows in the hand, for a virtue.

F. I desire you to live in the mean Porrus, a leek, is derived by Bryant from time, and eat your victuals; come there is the Egyptian god Pi-orus, who is the sauce for it. --strikes him.) If you can same as the Beal Peor of the Phænicians, mock a leek, you can eat a leek.

and the Bel or Bellinis of the Druids. By beating and taunt, Fluellen forces These accordances are worth an ancient Pistol to eat the leek, and on its being Briton's consideration. wholly swallowed, Fluellen exhorts him Ridicule of national peculiarities was “ when you take occasions to see leeks formerly a pleasantry that the English hereafter, I pray you, mock at them, that freely indulged in. They seemed to think is all !" Having thus accomplished his that different soil was good ground purpose, Fluellen leaves Pistol to digestion, for a laugh at a person, and that it and the consolation of Gower, who calls justified coarse and insolent remarks. In him “counterfeit cowardly knave : will an old satirical tract there is the following you mock at an ancient tradition, begun sneer at the Welch: upon an honourable aspect, and worn as a "A WELCHMAN, Is the Oyster that memorable trophy of predeceased valour, the Pearl is in, for a man may be pickt and dare not avouch in your deeds any of out of him. He hath the abilities of the your words ?"

mind in potentiâ, and actu nothing but Here we have Gower speaking of the boldnesse. His Clothes are in fashion custom of the Welch wearing leeks as “an before his Bodie; and he accounts boldancient tradition," and as “ a memorable nesse the chiefest vertue. Above all men trophy of predeceased valour." Thoroughly he loves a Herrald, and speakes pedia versed in the history of the few reigns pre- grees naturally. He accompts none well ceding the period wherein he lived, it is descended that call him not Cosen, and not likely that Shakspeare would make a prefers Owen Glendower before any of character in the time of Henry V. refer to the nine worthies. The first note of his an occurrence under the black prince, familiaritie is the confession of his valour; little more than half a century before the and so he prevents quarrels. Hee battle of Agincourt, as an affair of “ an. voucheth Welch a pure, an unconquered cient tradition.” Its origin may be fairly language; and courts Ladies with the referred to a very early period.

storie of their Chronicle. To conclude, A contributor to a periodical work* he is pretious in his own conceit, and rejects the notion, that wearing leeks on St. upon St. David's day without comDavid's day originated at the battle be- parison."* tween the Welch and the Saxons in the Not quite so flouting is a poetical satire sixth century; and thinks it more probable called, that leeks were a druidic symbol employ

The Welchman's Song in praise of Wales. ed in honour of the British Ceudven or Ceres. In which hypothesis, he thinks,

I's come not here to tauke of Prut, there is nothing strained or far-fetched, from whence the Welse dos take hur root ; presuming that the Druids were a branch Nor tell long pedegree of Prince Camber, of the Phænician priesthood. Both were Nor sing the deeds of ould Saint Davie,

Whose linage would fill full a chamber; aridicted to oak worship; and during the The Ursip of which would fill a navie, funereal rites of Adonis at Byblos, leeks But hark you me now, for a liddell tales i onions were exhibited in “pots with Sall make a great deal to the creddit of Wales,

sogetables, and called the gardens
'ity." The leek was worshipped
in, (whence the modern terin of

"A wife, now the widdow of sir Thomas Overbury **,) as it was in Egypt. Leeks and being a most exquisite and singular poem of the

choice of a wife, whereunto are added many to

characters," &c. London, printed for Lawrence "Gazette of Fashion," March 2, 1822, Lisle, Sto. 1614.

a

a

For hur will tudge your eares,

tablished in 1714; they celebrate it with With the praise of hur thirteen seers; festivity in behalf of the Welch charity And make you as glad and merry, school in Grays-inn-road, which was As fourteen pot of perry.

instituted in 1718 for boarding, clothThere are four other stanzas; one of ing, and educating 80 boys and 25 them mentions the leek :

girls, born of Welch parents, in or with

in ten miles of the metropolis, and not But all this while was never thiuk A word in praise of our Welse drink :

having

parochial settlement within Yet for aull that is a cup of bragat

those limits. This institution has the а Aull England seer may cast his cap at.

king for patron as prince of Wales, and And what you say to ale of Webley,

is supported by voluntary contributions. Toudge bim as well, you'll praise him trebly The Ancient Britons,” according to As well as metheglin, or syder, or meath, annual custom, go in procession to the Sall sake it your dagger quite out o’the seath. royal residence on St. David's day, and

And oat cake of Guarthenion, receive the royal bounty. The society
With a goodly leek or onion,

are in carriages, and each wears an To give as sweet a rellis

artificial representation of the leek in his As e'er did Harper Ellis. *

hat, composed of ribbands and silver foil. In“ Time's Telescope,” an annual vo- They have been sometimes accompanied lume already mentioned for its pleasant by horsemen decorated in the same way, varieties and agreeable information, there and are usually preceded by marshals, is a citation of flouting lines from “Poor also on horseback, wearing leeks of larger Robin's Almanac,” of 1757, under the dimension in their hats, and ornamented month of March :

with silk scarfs. In this state they pro

ceed from the school-house to some adjaThe first of this month some do keep, cent church, and hear a discourse delivered For honest Taff to wear his leek ;

on the occasion, by a prelate or other Who patron was, they say, of Wales, And since that time, cuts-plutter-a nails,

dignified clergyman. The day is conAlong the street this day doth strut

cluded by an elegant dinner under the With hur green leek stuck in hur hat,

regulation of stewards, when a collection And if hur meet a shentleman

is made for the institution, and a handSalutes in Welch ; and if hur can

some sum is generally contributed.
Discourse in Welch, then hur shall be
Amongst the green-horned Taffy's free.

Leek: Album Porrum.
The lines that immediately succeed the

Dedicated to St, David.
above, and follow below, are a versified
record of public violence to the Welch
character, which Englishmen in this day

March 2. will read with surprise :

St. Ceada, or Chad. Martyrs under the But it would make a stranger laugh

Lombards, 6th Cent. St. Simplicius, Pope To see th’ English hang poor

A. D. 483. St. Marnan, A. D. 620. St. A pair of breeches and a coat,

Charles the Good, Earl of Flanders, A. D. Hat, shoes and stockings, and what not ; 1124. St. Joavan, or Joevin. All stuffed with hay to represent

St. Chad, A.D. 673. The Cambrian hero thereby meant ;

His name is in the calendar of the With sword sometimes three inches broad,

church of England. He was founder of And other armour made of wood,

the see, and bishop of Lichfield. AcThey drag hur to some publick tree, And hang hur up in effigy.

cording to Bede, joyful melody as of per

sons sweetly singing descended from These barbarous practices of more heaven into his oratory for half an hour, barbarous times have disappeared as and then mounted again to heaven. This knowledge has advanced.

was to presage his death, and accordingly he died, attended by his brother's

soul and musical angels. St. David's day in London is the An

St. Chad's Well niversary of “ the most Honourable and

Is near Battle-bridge. The miraculou Loyal Society of Ancient Britons,” es- water is aperient, and was some years ago

quaffed by the bilious and other invalids * "An Antidote against Melancholy," 4to. 1661.

who flocked thither in crowds, to drink a

FLORAL DIRECTORY,

Taff ;

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »