St. Paul, the first Hermit. St. Maurus, St. Main. St. John, Calybite. St. Isidore. St. Bonitus. St. Ita, or Mida[.]
St. Paul, A. D. 342.
The life of St. Paul, the first hermit, is said, by Butler, to have been written by St. Jerome in 365, who received an account of it from St. Anthony and others. According to him when twenty-two years old, St. Paul fled from the persecution of Decius to a cavern, near which grew a palm-tree, that supplied him with leaves for clothing, and fruit for food, till he was forty-three years of age; after which he was daily fed by a raven till he was ninety and then died. St. Anthony, in his old age, being tempted by vanity, imagined himself the first hermit, till the contrary was revealed to him in a dream, wherefore, the next morning, he set out in search of St. Paul. "St. Jerome relates from his authors," says Butler, "that he met a centaur, or creature, not with the nature and properties, but with something of the mixt shape of man and horse; and that this monster, or phantom of the devil, (St. Jerome pretends not to determine which it was,) upon his making the sign of the cross, fled away, after pointing out the way to the saint. Our author (St. Jerome) adds, that St. Anthony soon after met a satyr, who gave him to understand that he was an inhabitant of those deserts, and one of the sort whom the deluded gentiles adored for gods." Ribadeneira describes this satyr as with writhed nostrils, two little horns on his forehead, and the feet of a goat. After two days' search, St. Anthony found St. Paul, and a raven brought a loaf, whereupon they took their corporal refection. The next morning, St. Paul told him he was going to die, and bid him fetch a cloak given to St. Anthony by St. Athanasius, and wrap his body in it. St. Anthony then knew that St. Paul must have been informed of the cloak by revelation, and went forth from the desert to fetch it; but before his return, St. Paul had died, and St. Anthony found two lions digging his grave with their claws, wherein he buried St. Paul, first wrapping him in St. Athanasius's cloak, and preserving, as a great treasure, St. Paul's garment, made of palm-tree leaves, stitched together. How St. Jerome, in his conclusion of St. Paul's life, praises this garment, may be seen in Ribadeneira.
A writer, who signs himself "Crito" in the "Truth Teller," No. 15, introduces us to an honest enthusiast, discoursing to his hearers on the snow-drop of the season, and other offerings from Flora, to the rolling year. "Picture to your imagination, a poor, 'dirty' mendicant, of the order of St. Francis, who had long prayed and fasted in his sanctuary, and long laboured in his garden, issuing out on the morning of his first pilgrimage, without money and without provisions, clad in his mantle and hood, 'like a sad votarist in palmer's weeds;' and thus, and in these words, taking leave of the poor flock who lived round his gothic habitation.— 'Fellowmen, I owe you nothing, and I give you all; you neither paid me tithe nor rent, yet I have bestowed on you food and clothing in poverty, medicine in sickness, and spiritual counsel in adversity. That I might do all these things, I have devoted my life in the seclusion of those venerable walls. There I have consulted the sacred books of our church for your spiritual instruction and the good of your souls; to clothe you, I have sold the embroidered garment, and have put on the habit of mendicity. In the intercalary moments of my canonical hours of prayer, I have collected together the treasures of Flora, and gathered from her plants the useful arts of physic, by which you have benefited. Ever mindful of the useful object of the labour to which I had condemned myself, I have brought together into the garden of this priory, the lily of the valley and the gentian of the mountain, the nymphæa of the lake, and the cliver of the arid bank; in short, I have collected the pilewort, the throatwort, the liverwort, and every other vegetable specific which the kind hand of nature has spread over the globe, and which I have designated by their qualities, and have converted to your use and benefit. Mindful also of the pious festivals which our church prescribes, I have sought to make these charming objects of floral nature, the timepieces of my religious calendar, and the mementos of the hastening period of my mortality. Thus I can light the taper to our Virgin Mother on the blowing of the white snow-drop, which opens its floweret at the time of Candlemas; the lady's smock and the daffodil remind me of the Annunciation; the blue harebell, of the festival of St. George; the ranunculus, of the Invention of the Cross; the scarlet lynchis, of St. John the Baptist's day; the white lily, of the Visitation of our Lady; and the virgin's bower, of her Assumption; and Michaelmas, Martinmas, Holy Rood, and Christmas, have all their appropriate monitors. I learn the time of day from the shutting of the blossoms of the star of Jerusalem and the dandelion, and the hour of the night by the stars."' From kind feelings to the benevolence of the Franciscan mendicant's address, which we may suppose ourselves to have just heard, we illustrate something of his purpose, by annexing the rose, the tulip, and the passion-flower, after an engraving by a catholic artist, who has impressed them with devotional monograms, and symbols of his faith.
What sports do you use in the forest?—
Not many; some few, as thus:—
To see the sun to bed, and to arise,
Like some hot amourist with glowing eyes,
Bursting the lazy bands of sleep that bound him,
With all his fires and travelling glories round him:
Sometimes the moon on soft night clouds to rest,
Like beauty nestling in a young man's breast,
And all the winking stars, her handmaids, keep
Admiring silence, while those lovers sleep,
Sometimes outstretcht, in very idleness,
Naught doing, saying little, thinking less,
To view the leaves thin dancers upon air,
Go in eddy ground [round?]; and small birds, how they fare,
When mother Autumn fills their beaks with corn,
Filch'd from the careless Amalthea's horn;
And how the woods berries and worms provide
Without their pains, when earth has naught beside
To answer their small wants.