vol II date / index
St. Vincent. St. Anastasius.
St. Vincent was a Spanish martyr, said to have been tormented by fire, so that he died in 304. His name is in the church of England calendar. Butler affirms that his body was "thrown in a marshy field among rushes, but a crow defended it from wild beasts and birds of prey." The Golden Legend says that angels had the guardianship of the body, that the crow attended to drive away birds and fowls greater than himself, and that after he had chased a wolf with his bill and beak, he then turned his head towards the body, as if he marvelled at the keeping of it by the angels. His relics necessarily worked miracles wherever they were kept. For their collection, separation, and how they travelled from place to place, see Butler.
Brand, from a MS. note by Mr. Douce, referring to Scot's "Discoverie of Witchcraft," cites an old injunction to observe whether the sun shines on St. Vincent's-day:
"Vincenti festo si Sol radiet memor este."
It is thus done into English by Abraham Fleming:
Remember on St. Vincent's day
If that the sun his beams display.
Dr. Forster, in the "Perennial Calendar," is at a loss for the origin of the command, but he thinks it may have been derived from a notion that the sun would not shine unominously on the day whereon the saint was burnt.
1800.—On the 22nd of January, in this year, died George Steevens, Esq. F. R. S. F. A. S. He was born at Stepney, in 1751 or 1752, and is best known as the editor of Shakspeare, though to the versatility and richness of his talents there are numerous testimonials. He maintained the greatest perseverance in every thing he undertook. He never relaxed, but sometimes broke off favourite habits of long indulgence suddenly. In this way he discontinued his daily visits to two booksellers. This, says his biographer in the Gentleman's Magazine, he did "after many years' regular attendance, for no real cause." It is submitted, however, that the cause, though unknown to others may have been every way sufficing and praiseworthy. He who has commenced a practice that has grown into a destroyer of his time and desires to end it, must snap it in an instant. If he strive to abate it by degrees, he will find himself relaxing by degrees.
"Delusions strong as hell will bind him fast," unless he achieve, not the determination to destroy, but the act of destruction. The will and the power are two. Steevens knew this, and though he had taken snuff all his life, he never took one pinch after he lost his box in St. Paul's church-yard. Had he taken one he might have taken one more, and then only another, and afterwards only a little bit in a paper, and then, he would have died as he lived—a snuff-taker. No; Steevens appears to have discovered the grand secret, that a man's self is the great enemy of himself, and hence his intolerance of self-indulgence even in degree.
His literary collections were remarkably curious, and as regards the days that are gone, of great value.
Early Witlow grass. Draba verna.