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To later Summer's fragrant breath
Clematis'* feathery garlands dance;
While to tall Mullein's yellow lance,
And where the timid Halcyon hides,
Waves with Arundo o'er the tides;
Papaver! || that an opiate dew
Contrasting with the Cornflower blue,
Bend in the rustling gale amid the tawny sheaves.
April 1st, to the time by the Dial udd..
1 12 16tb, from the time by the Dial subtract 0 6 21st,
1 16 26th,
April 31. Vestae Palatinae Ovid. Laurentia Plut.-Rom. Cal.
The Roman Calendar records a 31st day of April, dedicated to Vesta: thus Ovid :
Part of the day to Phoebus is a feast;
For three eternal gods within it reign. Tomorrow being May Day, it is usual on the present eve for young persons to ramble through the fields and groves to gather flowers, to deck the May Poles and May Day Garlands in the morning.
We shall close the account of today, the 30th April, with the following verses from Shakespeare, as they suit the time of year, and particularly the eve of May Day :
On the Power of Love.
• Virgin's Bower. + Yellow Lady's Bedstraw.
But, with the motion of all elements,
MAY. MAYMONAT. FLORIDUS.
May 1. St. Philip and St. James the Less,
Apostles. St. Asaph. St. Marcou. St. Sigismund. St. Andeolus. St. Brieuc. St. Amator. SS. Acius and Acteolus, MM.
o rises at iv. 38'. and sets at vii. 22. KALENDAE MAIAE. Laribus praestantibus ara posita. Capella
oritur.-Rom, Cal. Ovid, in the beginning of the fifth book of his Fasti, gives a tiresome and ambageous dissertation on the origin of this month, which it is not worth while to quote. The Romans this day celebrated their festival to the tutelary gods called Lares, which we have hinted at in the account of the Penates, January 31.
The Lares were gods of inferior power, who presided over houses and families. They were two in number, sons of Mercury by Lara. In process of time their power was extended not only over houses, but also over the country and the sea, and we find Lares Urbani to preside over the cities, Familiares over houses, Rustici over the country, Compitales over cross roads, Marini over the sea, Viales over the roads, Patellarii, &c. According to the opinion of
some, the worship of the gods Lares, who are supposed to be the same as the Manes, arises from the ancient custom among the Romans and other nations of burying their dead in their houses, and from their belief that their spirits continually hovered over the houses, for the protection of the inhabitants. The statues of the
Lares, resembling Monkeys, and covered with the skin of a Dog, were placed in a niche behind the doors of the houses, or around the hearths. At the feet of the Lares was the figure of a Dog barking, to intimate their care and vigilance. Incense was burnt on their altars, and a Sow was also offered on particular days. The festivals were observed at Rome in the month of May, when their statues were crowned with garlands of flowers, and offerings of fruit presented. The word Lares seems to . be derived from the Etruscan word Lars, which signifies conductor or leader. - Ovid. Fast. v. 129. Juv. viii. 8. Plut. in Quaest. Rom. Varro de L. L. iv. c. 10. Horat. iii. od. 23. Plaut. in Aul. & Cist.
We have before alluded to the propensity inherent in human nature, and early apparent in children, to the above sort of harmless idolatry. It was evidently the same feeling which placed the Lares in the corner of the houses of illustrious Romans, that every day places a favourite Doll or wooden Monkey in the snug corner of a child's babyhouse." And I will place thee old woden Monkey from Stourbridge, and thee old woden Lyon, in a comer of my house, and in a tree over my doore, and ye shall be to me both my Lares and
my Penates." -Miscell. S. R. 1796-7.
The disposition to form to oneself imaginary deities, and to seek the protection of tutelary Angels, is one of those weaknesses of human nature to be ascribed to the overpowering influence of mysterizing and of fear. In adversity, trouble, and prosperity, how natural it is to seek for some guide, some protecting spirit, some Aarão! Then all mankind love to have some Deity, some presiding sprite, to whom they can confide their thoughts and trust to for guidance in the chequered mazes of this life, and to whom they are ever ready to cry,
And thou shalt be my star of Arcady or Tyrian Cynosure !
Nascitur Oleniae signum pluviale Capellae. We will proceed to the consideration of the 1st of May among the moderns, and shall subjoin the observations of the learned Brande, author of the Popular Antiquities, who says :
“ It was anciently the custom for all ranks of people to
go out a Maying early on the first of May. Bourne tells us that, in his time, in the villages in the North of England, the juvenile part of both sexes were wont to rise a little after midnight on the morning of that day, and walk to some neighbouring wood, accompanied with music and the blowing of horns, where they broke down branches from the trees, and adorned them with nosegays and crowns of flowers. This done, they returned homewards with their booty, about the time of sunrise, and made their doors and windows triumph in the flowery spoil.
“ There was a time when this custom was observed by noble and royal personages, as well as the vulgar. Thus we read, in Chaucer's Court of Love, that, early on May Day, • Fourth goth al, the Court, both most and lest, to fetche the flouris fresh, and braunch, and blome.'
“ Shakespeare says, (Hen. VIII. act v. sc. 3.) it was impossible to make the people sleep on May Morning; and (Mids. N. Dream, act iv. sc. 1.) that they rose early to observe the rite of May.
( If thou lovest me then,
There will I stay for thee.' “ The Court of King James the First, and the populace, long preserved the observance of the day, as Spelman's Glossary remarks, under the word Maiuma. “ Milton has the following beautiful song :
On May Morning.
Hail, bounteous May! that dost inspire
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
And welcome thee, and wish thee long."" The above song is said to be still sung on the top of one of the colleges in Oxford every May morning at sunrise.
“ In an old Calendar of the Romish Church is the following observation on the 30th of April :
The boys go out and seek May trees.' “This receives illustration from an Order in a Manuscript in the British Museum, which has been already quoted more
than once, entitled, The State of Eton School, A. D. 1560,' wherein it is stated, that, on the day of St. Philip, and St. James, if it be fair weather, and the Master grants leave, those boys who choose it may rise at four o'clock to gather May branches, if they can do it without wetting their feet: and that on that day they adorn the windows of the bedchamber with green leaves, and the houses are perfumed with fragrant herbs.
“ Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell; p. 307, says, “ On the first of May, and the five and six days following, all the pretty young country girls that serve the town with milk, dress themselves up very neatly, and borrow abundance of silver plate, whereof they make a pyramid, which they adorn with ribands and flowers, and carry upon their heads, instead of their common milk pails. In this equipage, accompanied by some of their fellow milkmaids and a bagpipe or fiddle, they go from door to door, dancing before the houses of their customers, in the midst of boys and girls that follow them in troops; and every body gives them something.'
“ In the Dedication to Col. Martin's Familiar Epistles, &c. 4to. Lond. 1685, we have the following allusion to this custom :- What's a Mayday milkingpail without a garland and fiddle ?
"The Mayings,' says Mr. Strutt, • are in some sort yet kept up by the milkmaids at London, who go about the streets with their garlands and music, dancing: but this tracing is a very imperfect shadow of the original sports; for Maypoles were set up in the streets, with various martial shows, morris dancing and other devices, with which, and revelling, and good cheer, the day was passed away. At night they rejoiced, and lighted up their bonfires.””
In Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and indeed in most countries, Mayday customs still prevail. Ju Sussex the children maké garlands and sing songs about the villages.-For particulars see Brunde’s Popular Antiquities, vol. i. May 1.
Now give me the cup,
But first unto those
Whose hands did compose
The glory of flowers that crowned it." Bourne, speaking of the first of May, tells us, “The afterpart of the day is chiefly spent in dancing round a tall poll, which is called a Maypoll; which being placed in a convenient part of the village, stands there, as it were con