vol II date / index
St. Marcellus, Pope. St. Macarius the elder, of Egypt. St. Honoratus. St. Farsey. St. Henry, Hermit, &c.
St. Marcellus, Pope.
According to Butler, he was so strict in penance, that the Christians disliked him; he was banished by Maxentius, "for his severity against a certain apostate;" and died pope in 310.
WINTER RAINBOW in Ireland.
In the first of the "Letters from the Irish Islands," in 1823, the writer addresses to his friend, a description of the rainbow on the hills at this season of the year. He says, "I could wish (provided I could ensure you one fine day in the course of the week) that you were here, to enjoy, in rapid succession, and, with all its wild magnificence, the whirlwind, the tempest, the ocean's swell, and, as Burns beautifully expresses it,
Some gleams of sunshine, 'mid renewing storms.
To-day there have been fine bright intervals, and, while returning from a hasty ride, I have been greatly delighted with the appearance of a rainbow, gradually advancing before the lowering clouds, sweeping with majestic stride across the troubled ocean, then, as it gained the beach, and seemed almost within my grasp, vanishing amid the storm, of which it had been the lovely, but treacherous, forerunner. It is, I suppose, a consequence of our situation, and the close connection between sea and mountain, that the rainbows here are so frequent, and so peculiarly beautiful. Of an amazing breadth, and with colours vivid beyond description, I know not whether most to admire this aerial phenomenon, when, suspended in the western sky, one end of the bow sinks behind the island of Boffin, while, at the distance of several leagues, the other rests upon the misty hills of Ennis Turc; or when, at a later hour of the day, it has appeared stretched across the ample sides of Mölbrea, penetrating far into the deep blue waters that flow at its base. With feelings of grateful recollection too, we may hail the repeated visits of this heavenly messenger, occasionally, as often as five or six times in the course of the same day, in a country exposed to such astonishing, and, at times, almost incessant floods of rain."
Behold yon bright, etherial bow,
With evanescent beauties glow;
The spacious arch streams through the sky,
Deck'd with each tint of nature's dye,
Refracted sunbeams, through the shower,
A humid radiance from it pour;
Whilst colour into colour fades,
With blended lights and softening shades.
"It is a happy effect of extreme mildness and moisture of climate, that most of our hills (in Ireland) are covered with grass to a considerable height, and afford good pasturage both in summer and winter. The grasses most abundant are the dogstail, (cynosaurus cristatus,) several species of the meadow grass, (poa,) the fescue, (festuca duriuscula and pratensis,) and particularly the sweet-scented vernal grass, (anthoxanthum odoratum,) which abounds in the dry pastures, and mountain sides; where its withered blossoms, which it is remarkable that the cattle do not eat, give a yellowish brown tint to the whole pasture. Our bog lands are overrun with the couch, or fiorin grass, (agrostis stolonifera,) several other species of the agrostis, and the aira. This is, indeed, the country for a botanist; and one so indefatigable as yourself, would not hesitate to venture with us across the rushy bog, where you would be so well rewarded for the labour of springing from one knot of rushes to another, by meeting with the fringed blossoms of the bog-bean, (menyanthes trifoliata,) the yellow asphodel, (narthecium ossifragum,) the pale bog violet, (viola palustris,) both species of the pinguicula, and of the beautiful drosera, the English fly-trap, spreading its dewy leaves glistening in the sun. I could also point out to you, almost hid in the moist recesses of some dripping rock, the pretty miniature fern, (trichomanes Tunbridgensis,) which you may remember showing me for the first time at Tunbridge Wells: the osmunda lunaria and regalis are also to be found, with other ferns, mosses, and lichens, which it is far beyond my botanical skill to distinguish.—The man of science, to whatever branch of natural history his attention is directed, will indeed find never-failing sources of gratification, in exploring paths, hitherto almost untrodden, in our wild country. Scarcely a county in England is without its peculiar Flora, almost every hill and every valley have been subject to repeated, scientific examination; while the productions of nature, so bountifully accorded to poor Ireland, are either unknown or disregarded."
A SEASONABLE DIVERSION.
From the many games of forfeits that are played in parlours during in-door weather, one is presented to the perusal of youthful readers from "Winter Evening Pastimes."
"The company being all seated in a circle, the person who is to conduct the game proposes to the party to repeat, in turns, the speech he is about to make; and it is agreed that those who commit any mistake, or substitute one word for another, shall pay a forfeit. The player then commences by saying, distinctly, 'I am just come from my aunt Deborah's garden. Bless me! what a fine garden is my aunt's garden! In my aunt's garden there are four corners.' The one seated to the player's right is to repeat this, word for word: if his memory fails he pays a forfeit, and gives up his turn to his next right-hand neighbour, not being permitted to correct his mistake. When this has gone all round, the conductor repeats the first speech, and adds the following:
'In the first corner stands a superb alaternus,
Whose shade, in the dog-days, won't let the sun burn us.'
"This couplet having been sent round as before, he then adds the following:
'In the second corner grows
A bush which bears a yellow rose:
Would I might my love disclose!'
"This passes round in like manner:
"In the third corner Jane show'd me much London pride;
Let your mouth to your next neighbour's ear be applied,
And quick to his keeping a secret confide."
"At this period of the game every one must tell his right-hand neighbour some secret.
In the fourth round, after repeating the whole of the former, he concludes thus:
'In the fourth corner doth appear
Of amaranths a crowd;
Each secret whisper'd in the ear
Must now be told aloud.'
"Those who are unacquainted with this game occasionally feel not a little embarrassed at this conclusion, as the secrets revealed by their neighbour may be such as they would not like to be published to the whole party. Those who are aware of this finesse take care to make their secrets witty, comic, or complimentary."
This is the eldest of the seasons: he
Moves not like Spring with gradual step, nor grows
From bud to beauty, but with all his snows
Comes down at once in hoar antiquity.
No rains nor loud proclaiming tempests flee
Before him, nor unto his time belong
The suns of summer, nor the charms of song,
That with May's gentle smiles so well agree.
But he, made perfect in his birthday cloud,
Starts into sudden life with scarce a sound,
And with a tender footstep prints the ground,
As tho' to cheat man's ear; yet while he stays
He seems as 'twere to prompt our merriest lays,
And bid the dance and joke be long and loud.
Literary Pocket Book, 1820.