« ZurückWeiter »
Banners shall float, with the trumpet's note,
And the palm-tree wave o'er my noble grave,
High hearts shall burn in the royal hall,
When the minstrel names that spot;
"Warrior! thou bearest a haughty heart,
How should'st thou know that thy soul will part
It may be far from thy steel-clad bands
'Death! Death! I go to a doom unblessed,
But the cross is bound upon my breast,
Sound, clarion, sound! for my vows are given
Cannon taken by the British troops at Alexandria, now in St. James's Park.
20. TRANSLATION OF EDWARD, King of W. Saxons. Edward was first buried at Wareham; but, three years afterwards, his body was removed to Shrewsbury, and there interred with great pomp.
This day is, in London, 16h. 34 m. 5s., allowing 9 m. 16 s. for refraction.
MOTTOES FOR SUN-DIALS.
SETTING SUN.-Redibo, tu nunquam.
Lord of the silent tomb! relentless Death!
Who danced our infancy upon their knee,
Of their strange ventures happed by land or sea,
How few, all weak and withered of their force,
Like stranded wrecks, the tide returning hoarse
Lady of the Lake.
24. SAINT JOHN BAPTIST, AND MIDSUMMER DAY. The nativity of St. John the Baptist is celebrated by the christian church on this day, because he was the forerunner of our blessed Lord, and, by preaching the doctrine of repentance, prepared the way for the gospel. For various ceremonies on this day, see our former volumes.-The following account of a curious custom, on the eve of this day, at Penzance, is extracted from The Guide to Mount's Bay and Land's End,' attributed to the indefatigable Dr. Paris:
The most singular custom is, perhaps, the celebration of the Eve of Saint John the Baptist, our town saint, which falls on Midsummer eve; and that of the Eve of St. Peter, the patron of fishermen. No sooner does the tardy sun sink into the western ocean, than the young and old of both sexes, animated by the genius of the night, assemble in the town and different villages of the bay with lighted torches. Tar-barrels having been erected on tall poles in the market-place, on the pier, and in other conspicuous spots, are soon urged into a state of vivid combustion, shedding an appalling glare on every surrounding object, and which, when multiplied by numerous reflections in the waves, produce, at a distant view, a spectacle so singular and novel as to defy the powers of description; while the stranger who issues forth to gain a closer view of the festivities of the town, may well imagine himself suddenly transported to the regions of the furies and infernal gods; or else that he is witnessing, in the magic mirror of Cornelius Agrippa, the awful celebration of the fifth day of the Eleusinian feast1; while the shrieks of the female spectators, and the triumphant yells of the torch-bearers, with their hair streaming in the wind, and their flambeaux whirling with inconceivable velocity, are realities not calculated to dispel the illusion. No sooner are the torches burnt out, than the numerous inhabitants engaged in the frolic, pouring forth from the quay and its neighbourhood, form a long string, and, hand in band, run furiously through every street, vociferating, 'an eye,'an eye, an eye!' At length they suddenly stop, and the two last of the string, elevatin their clasped hands, form an eye to this enormous needle, through which the thread of populace
The fifth day of the Eleusinian feast was called the day of the torches,' because at night the men and women ran about with them in imitation of Ceres, who, having lighted a torch at the fire of Mount Etna, wandered about, from place to place, in search of her daughter Proserpine. Hence, may we not trace the high antiquity of this species of popular rejoicing?
runs; and thus they continue to repeat the game until weariness dissolves the union, which rarely happens before midnight. On Midsummer Day, festivities of a very different character enliven the bay; and the spectator can hardly be induced to believe that the same actors are engaged in both dramas. At about four or five o'clock in the afternoon, the country people, drest in their best apparel, pour into Penzance from the neighbouring villages, for the purpose of performing an aquatic divertisement. At this hour, the quay and pier are crowded with holiday-makers, where a number of vessels, many of which are provided with music for the occasion, lie in readiness to receive them. In a short time, the embarkation is completed, and the sea continues, for many hours, to present a moving picture of the most animating description. Penzance is remarkable in history for having been entered and burnt by the Spaniards, in the year 1595. From time immemorial a prediction had prevailed, that a period would arrive when some strangers should land on the rocks of Merlin, who should burn Paul's church, Penzance, and Newlyn." Of the actual accomplishment of this prediction we receive a full account from Carew; from which it would appear, that on the 23d of July, 1595, about two hundred men landed from a squadron of Spanish galleys on the coast of Mousehole, when they set fire to the church of Paul, and then to Mousehole itself. Finding little or no resistance, they proceeded to Newlyn, and from thence to Penzance. Sir Francis Godolphin endeavoured to inspire the inhabitants with courage to repel these assailants; but so fascinated were they by the remembrance of the ancient prophecy, that they fled in all directions, supposing that it was useless to contend against the destiny that had been predicted. The Spaniards, availing themselves of this desertion, set it on fire in different places, as they had already done to Newlyn, and then returned to their galleys, intending to renew the flames on the ensuing day; but the Cornish having recovered from their panic, and assembled in great numbers on the beach, so annoyed the Spaniards with their bullets and arrows, that they drew their galleys farther off, and, availing themselves of a favourable breeze, put to sea and escaped. It is worthy of remark, that when the Spaniards first came on shore, they actually landed on a rock called 'Merlin.' The historian concludes this narrative by observing, that these were the only Spaniards that ever landed in England as enemies. Paul church is a very conspicuous object, from its high elevation, and interests the historian from the tra dition, already stated, of its having been burnt by the Spaniards; upon which occasion the south porch alone is said, in consequence of the direction of the wind, to have escaped the conflagration. A pleasing confirmation of this tradition was lately afforded during some repairs, when one of the wooden supporters was found charred at the end nearest the body of the church. It
also deserves notice, that the thick stone division at the back of the Trewarveneth pew, which has so frequently occasioned inquiry, is a part of the old church which escaped the fire. In the church is the following curious notice of its having been burnt:"The Spanger burnt this church in the year 1595. Most tourists inform us, that, in this churchyard, is to be seen the monumental stone with the epitaph of old Dolly Pentreath, so celebrated among antiquaries as having been the last person who spoke the Cornish language. Such a monument, however, if it ever existed, is no longer to be found; nor can any information be obtained with regard to its probable locality. Her epitaph is said to have been both in the Cornish and English language; viz.
Coth Dol Pentreath canz ha deaw
Old Dol Pentreath, one hundred age and two,
Both born and in Paul parish buried too;
Not in the church, 'mongst people great and high,
In some of the islands of the Archipelago, every housekeeper lights a fire in the area before his house, or in the balcony, on St. John's Eve. This fire is made of the dried leaves or stalks of the vine. Every member of the family is then expected to jump over this fire three times, using some ridiculous exclamation. This singular ceremony produces so much amusement among the children, that they generally repeat this cry for some time after. Women, with children at the breast, are not averse to this ceremony of jumping over the fire. It is also customary to roast heads of garlick, which are eaten with bread, and form the only supper allowed; and this abstinence or fast is said to be observed in honour of St. John. On the same evening, the young girls go 'round to all the houses, carrying with them a vessel half filled with water, into which each person throws a pledge. On the following day, they all assemble together, when a child being chosen to draw the pawns, the drawers are enjoined to perform various tasks by way of penitence: this game is called Clydonas. In this, as well as in other festivals, it is