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Rearing thy head to brave the storm
The lowly Primrose shall be dear.
Down with the Misleto;
The greener Box (for show.)
Let Box now domineere
Or Easter's Eve appeare.
Your houses to renew,
Unto the crisped Yew.
And many flowers beside;
To honour Whitsontide.
With cooler Oaken boughs,
Proverbs relating to February.
Februeer doth cut and shear.
February makes a bridge, and March breaks it.—Ray.
The superstitious husbandman on this vigil anxiously awaits for the oracle of Apollo tomorrow, and hopes to read in his countenance the signs of the weather for the ensuing year.
“ There is a general tradition,” says Sir Thomas Browne, “ in most parts of Europe, that inferreth the coldnesse of succeeding weather from the shining of the sun on Candlemas Day, according to the proverbial distich :
“ Si Sol splendescat Maria purificante,
Major erit glacies post festum quam fuit ante." In the Country Almanack for 1676, under February we read
Foul weather is no news; hail, rain, and snow
February 2. PURIFICATIO B. V. MARIAE, or
Lyra et Leo occidunt.-- Rom. Cal. lloliday at the Public Offices. Holly and Ivy taken down.
An old metrical proverb, frequently quoted in Poor Robin's, Moore's, and other Almanacks, reminds us :
If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter is gone, and will not come again. This adage seems, in part, to be a free translation of the prophetic ancient verses quoted yesterday :
Si Sol splendescat Maria purificante, &c. The custom of lighting up candles in churches on the Feast of the Purification is very ancient; and it seems that an imaginary power over the elements was by superstitious people ascribed to those waxen Tapers, similar to that which some of the early Greeks and Romans attributed to Torches.
The Romans of old are well known to have carried about Candles and Torches in processions in honour of Februa, a
rite which coincides as to time of year with the Christian Feast of Candlemas. Nargeorgus observes :
Mira est candelis illis et magna potestas,
Nil sit opus, veroque Deo committere cuncta.
In the “ Doctrine of the Masse Booke," &c. from Wyttonburge, by Nicholas Doncaster, 1554, 8vo. signat. A. 8, we find
“ The Hallowing of Candles upon Candelmas Day."
The Prayer.-" O Lord Jesu Christ, blesse thou this creature of a waren Taper at our humble supplication, and, by the vertue of the holy crosse, poure thou into it an heavenly benediction; that as thou hast graunted it unto Man's use for the expelling of darknes, it may receave such a strength and blessing, thorow the token of thy holy crosse, that in what places soever it be lighted or set, the Divel muy avoid out of those habitacions, and tremble for feare, and fly away discouraged, and presume no more to unquiete them that serve thee, who with God,” &c. There follow other prayers, in which occur these passages : “ We humbly beseech ihee, that thou wilt vouchsafe to blesse and sanctifie these Candels, prepared unto the uses of Men, and health of bodies and soules, as wel on the land as in the waters.” « Vouchsafe
to blesse and sanctifye, and with the Candle of heavenly benediction, to lighten these Tapers; which we thy servants taking in the honour of thy name (whan they ar lighted) desire to beare,” &c. ir Here let the Candles be sprinkled with holy water.” Concluding with this rubrick: "When the halowyng of the Candels is done, let the Candels be lighted and distributed.”
În Wodde's Dialogues, under Palm Sunday and keeping of Candles, he says, these are useful to light up in Thunder, and to bless Men when they lie a dying.–See a curious Form for the Benediction of Candles recorded in BRAND's Antiquities. - See also Forster's Atmos. Phenom. London, 1823. FLORA:— The Snowdrop Galantha nivalis first blows about this time, and is hailed as the harbinger of the early Spring.
On the Snowdrop, by Mrs. BARBAULD.
And Winter lingers in its icy veins. Ovid notices the setting of Lyra and Leo, above alluded to, and denoted in the Roman Calendar, in the following lines :
Proximus Hesperias Titan abiturus in undas,
Gemmea purpureis cum juga demet equis;
Dicet, ubi est bodie, quae Lyra fulsit heri?
In liquidas subito mersa notabit aquas. That the ancient Pagan, as well as the modern Christian Romans, should have celebrated a purified Queen of Heaven on nearly the same day, is so curious a coincidence, that it has been made use of, among numerous other similar coincidences, to prove that both had reference to some particular phenomena of the seasons, whose particular meaning is lost in the night of time. Nevertheless, there are two other modes of explaining it which are more consistent with Christianity: firstly, the Februatio Junonis, afterwards personified into a separate goddess Februa, may be the remains of some obscure and ancient type of the Purificatio Beatae Virginis Mariae ; and pious Catholics may have transferred many of the ceremonies of the prototypical feast to the real and sacred festival, as appears to have been the case in numerous other instances alluded to in this work; or there may be some particular laws respecting the coincidence of events which our imperfect perceptions of the grand scheme of nature have not yet unravelled. The two above explanations are compatible. And while the Christian relies on the succession of miracles performed in attestation of the sanctity of the Church, he fearlessly attempts the explanation of every apparently contradictory problem.-See Milner's End of Religious Controversy, London, 1819, a work which has been styled a code of learning on religious subjects.
In this work the author has ably combatted the arguments of Middleton, Volney, and other writers, who, rallying all their forces in opposition to the Catholic religion, endeavoured to identify the religious rites of modern with the superstitions of ancient Rome.
February 3. St. BLAZE. St. Margaret, V. St.
Wereburge, V. A.
Delphinus occidit.Rom. Cal. FLORA.—Double Daisies begin in mild Seasons to blow and ornament Cottage Gardens about this time. The GREAT HENBIT Lamium amplericunte is generally in flower by this time in mild seasons.
St. Margaret, celebrated this day, was a Virgin of English birth, who retired to the Cistercian Nunnery of Seaove Benoite in France. From her, perhaps, the Daisy obtained its cognomen.
Etymologists agree with the old Bard in his derivation of the Daisy, viz. Day's Eye. Under the French name Belle Margarette it is probable a compliment was intended to some lady, but critics are not agreed who this lady was. Like many other flowers, the
single Daisy becomes double by culture, and frequently proliferous ; in this state it is called the Hen and Chicken Daisy. Chaucer writes :
And in special one called se of the daie
Such that Men callen Daisies in our Town. The 3d of February is, in some Calendars, recorded as the Woolcombers' Festival.
Candles were lighted up on this day as well as Candlemas Day in former times, and their power over the coming weather was acknowledged by the superstitious, who confounded a particular physical fact with an imagined miraculous influence. Great light as well as great noise is known to break superimpending clouds, and a great blaze of light may exercise an influence on impending storms. A similar notion to this, namely, that the music of Bells will disperse Storms, is founded on fact. In Weaver's Funeral Monuments, among a number of inscriptions on Church Bells, we find the following :
Sabbata pango, funera plango, fulgura frango,
Excito lentos, dissipo ventos, paco cruentos. And Bells were formerly rung to dispel storms as well as to repel the Devil. The aërial percussion being extended up to the clouds above, is well known to produce changes in their structure so. as to produce rain. . A discharge of artillery, in battle, has brought down drops of