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In Wales, Switzerland, &c. the common people say, that when the mountains have their caps on, the rain will soon fall. In such countries, during a showery time, the peaks of the mountains are generally capped with clouds of the low and nimbiform kind. The clearness of the tops of mountains is a contrary sign.
If woolly fleeces strew the heavenly way,
March 6. St. Chrodegang, Bishop of Metz. B. Co
lette, V. St. Fridolin, A. St. Cadroe. SS. Tibba and others.
O rises at vi. 26' and sets at v. 34'.
Vestae festum. Cathedra Julii.-Rom. Cal. This feast day of Vesta must not be confounded with the Vestalia celebrated June the 9th. There seems some confusion about the identification of this goddess. Considered as Patroness of Vestal Virgins and Goddess of Fire, she is said to be daughter of Saturn and Rhea. Aeneas first introduced her mysteries into Italy, and Numa made a temple to her, in which none but Virgins entered: hence cloistered Catholic Virgins are by some people metaphorically called Vestals. The Temple of Vesta was of a round form, and a fire constantly kept burning in it. If the fire of Vesta was ever extinguished, it was supposed to threaten the republic with some sudden calamity. The Virgin by whose negligence it had been extinguished was severely punished, and it was kindled again by the rays of the Sun.' The Temple of Vesta was of a round form, and the goddess was represented in a long flowing robe, with a veil on her head, holding in one hand a lamp, or a two eared vessel, and in the other a javelin, or sometimes a palladium. On some medals she appears holding a drum in one hand, and a small figure of victory in the other.-Hesiod. Theog. v. 454.—Cic. de Leg. ii. c. 12.- Apollod. i. c. 1.–Virg. Aen. ii. v. 296.-Diod. v.Ovid. Fast. vi. Trist. iii.- Val. Max.i. c. 1.–Plut. in Num.Paus. v. c. 14.
The fact is, that Vesta is originally the figurative emblem of Fire, anciently worshipped by the Persians. Thus the Poet observes :
Nec tu aliud Vestam quam vivam intellige flammam. The same argument holds good with regard to the other Heathen Gods: and from this consideration of Vesta we may
take occasion to offer a short illustration of the origin of these deities.
From the metaphorical nature and imperfect mechanism of language, one is induced to individualize and to personify a sort of supposed common cause of effects; and thus we speak of the Procreative Power, the Formative Nisus, and many others : we know only the effects, and are too apt, from viewing a number of these as possessing a real or fancied similarity, to ascribe them hastily to some identical common principle. Certain individuals who possess in a high degree the faculties of comparison and individuality, and thence acquire a metaphorical and generalizing turn of mind, frequently class a number of effects together, and suppose a common cause. The Principle of Destruction is said to be always actively proceeding in the Universe; while we usually refer another class of important phenomena in the machine to the Principle of Reparation provided by Nature against wear and injury. A greater activity of this metaphorizing disposition, combined with the individualizing power, induced the ancients to adopt a yet more perfect form of personification; whence Fortuna or the Principle of Chance, Prudentia or the Principle of Foresight, Jupiter or the Atmospherical Power, together with Pallas, Neptune, Venus, and numberless others, originally forms of identification afforded by language, in order to facilitate the communication of ideas, were afterwards personified into deities by mythologists.
Hence do we learn to give to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name. Coelum.—On the Period called Spring.–“ Spring,” says Mr. Howard, “commences the 6th of the third month, March : its duration is 93 days, during which the medium temperature is elevated, in round numbers, from 40 to 58 degrees. The mean of the season is 48.94°—the Sun effecting by his approach an advance of 11.18° upon the mean temperature of the winter. This increase is retarded in the forepart of the Spring by the winds from North to East, then prevalent ; and which form two thirds of the complement of the season; but proportionately accelerated afterwards by the Southerly winds, with which it terminates. A strong evaporation, in the first instance followed by showers, often with thunder and hail in the latter, characterize this period. The temperature commonly rises, not by a steady increase from day to day, but by sudden starts, from the breaking in of sunshine upon previous cold cloudy weather. At such times, the vapour appears to be now and then thrown up, in too great plenty, into the cold region above; where being
suddenly decomposed, the temperature falls back for awhile, amidst wind, showers, and hail, attended, in some instances, with frost at night.
Our own island, however, suffers but little from Hailstones, compared with the fine fields of some provinces of France, which from time immemorial have been subject to their destructive visits. Human ingenuity, always exercised in one way or other in an uncertain strife with the elements, has here, however, resorted to a bold and singular expedient, and the French actually blow up the nascent storm with gunpowder! An account of this process, as practised in the high lands of the district of the Maconnais, is given by Mr. Howard, as an appendix to one of his Meteorological Tables.
Starch 7. St. Perpetua &c. Martyrs. $t. Thomas
of Aquino. St. Paul Anchoret. St. Paul the Anchoret, recorded today, was a man of profound ignorance, and extreme humility. He retired from the world in consequence of disgust to his wife's levity. The plan he adopted, was to make a pilgrimage to the desert to visit St. Anthony, who, after numerous ceremonies, and trials of Paul's sincerity, gave him the monastic order.
Nonae Vejoois fest. Pegasus oritur heliace. --- Rom. Cal. The Romans celebrated today the feast of the infant Jupiter, who was fed' by Nymphs of Crete on the milk of Goats. Ovid explains the origin of this singular name, thus translated :
And as that Ve denotes whate'er is small,
So Vejovis' this little Jové we call. The heliacal rising of Pegasus, who sprung from the slaughter of Medusa, is mentioned today. Many of the Stars on this sign were feigned to be the spots of blood on his mane. Ovid says, that his foot kicking the ground produced the Fons Caballinus, or Pierian Spring, and adds,
No, Heaven his further wandering confines,
And light with fifteen splendid Stars he shines.
It is certain, that the place of the Moon has much influence on the weather. That changes of weather oftener take place about the full and new of the moon, and about
the quadratures, than at other times, is really a fact founded on long observation, and is quite conformable to what we actually know respecting the Moon's influence on the Tides *.
There is yet another extremely curious circumstance about the effect of the place of the Moon: it is well known to physicians, that there are periods of greater and lesser irritability in the human body, and that, at the irritable periods, many diseases occur to which the patient may be predisposed : now it seems, by the result of long continued observation, that these periods of irritability oftener occur about the new and full of the Moon, than about the quarters. Every body almost must know, from their own experience, that they get up in the morning on particular days less disposed to be pleased, and with more general irritability than usual; these days also happen nearer to the times of the full Moon, or of the new Moon, than to that of either quadrature.
To bring this observation into a smaller compass, and to confirm it by future remarks, I have proposed to meteorologists to divide the Lunar Revolution into four equal parts or weeks, in the middle of each of which weeks, one of the changes of the Moon shall take place. By doing this, we shall find the greater proportion of headaches and nervous diseases of many kinds to occur in those weeks, in the middle of which the new and the full Moon shall take place. Moreover, the sudden occurrence of East Winds, so obnoxious to nervous persons, seems to me to produce more violent effects about the time of the' new or full Moon.-Obs. on Atmosph. Diseases, 1817.
It is probably some imperfect observations on the Moon of the above sort, which have led to numerous lunar superstitions, and produced those numberless proverbs, adages, and quaint sayings, respecting the Moon's influence, which we find more or less prevalent in all ages and countries.
Butler, in his Hudibras, Part II. Canto iii. 1. 239, touches on the subject of Lunar Superstitions. Speaking of his Conjurer, he tells us :
But with the Moon was more familiar
A Proverb says:
In the wane of the Moon
A cloudy morning bodes a fair afternoon. Also: Rain in the new moon, fair in the old, &c. See Ray's Collection of Proverbs, and Erasmi Adagia.
Her secrets understood so clear,
For cutting Corns, or letting Blood. In Barnaby Googe's Translation of Naogeorgus's “ Popish Kingdome,” 4to, London, 1570, fol. 44, we have the following lines concerning Moon Superstitions :
No Vaine they pearse, nor enter in the Bathes at any day,
Martin, in his Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, p. 174, speaking of Skie, says:— " The Natives are very much disposed to observe the influence of the Moon on human bodies, and for that cause they never dig their Peats but in the decrease; for they observe, that if they are cut in the increase, they continue still moist, and never burn clear; nor are they without smoke, but the contrary is daily observed of Peats cut in the increase. They make up their earthen Dykes in the decrease only, for such as are made at the increase are still observed to fall."
To an Enquiry in the British Apollo, fol. London, 1710,
Pray tell your Querist if he may
And give the reason why 'tis so. In Sussex, and many other parts of England, people still look at the Almanack, to find when the moon is in the wane, in order to cut their corns with more advantage.
The subsequent very singular Superstitions respecting the Moon may be found in « The Husbandman's Practice or Prognostication,” above quoted, p. 110: “ Good to purge with Electuaries, the Moon in Cancer. With Pills, the Moon in Pisces. With Potions, the Moon in Virgo. Good to take Vomits, the Moon being in Taurus, Virgo, or the latter part of Sagittarius. To purge the Head by sneezing, the Moon being in Cancer, Leo, or Virgo. To stop Fluxes and Rheumes, the Moone being in Taurus,