vol II date / index
St. John, Pope, A.D. 526. St. Bede, A. D. 735. St. Julius, about A.D. 302.
St. John, Pope.
This pontiff was imprisoned by Thodoric, king of the Goths, in Italy, and died in confinement. This sovereign had previously put to death the philosopher Boëtius, who, according to Ribadeneira, after he was beheaded, was scoffingly asked by one of the executioners, "who hath put thee to death?" whereupon Boëtius answered, "wicked men," and immediately taking up his head in his own hands, walked away with it to the adjoining church.
The life of "Venerable Bede" in Butler, is one of the best memoirs in his biography of the saints. He was an Englishman, in priest's orders. It is said of him that he was a prodigy of learning in an unlearned age; that he surpassed Gregory the Great in eloquence and copiousness of style, and that Europe scarcely produced a greater scholar. He was a teacher of youth, and, at one time had six hundred pupils, yet he exercised his clerical functions with punctuality, and wrote an incredible number of works in theology, science, and the polite arts. It is true he fell into the prevailing credulity of the early age wherein he flourished, but he enlightened it by his erudition, and improved it by his unfeigned piety and unwearied zeal.
Not to ridicule so great a man, but as an instance of the desire to attribute wonderful miracles to distinguished characters, the following silly anecdote concerning Bede is extracted from the "Golden Legend." He was blind, and desiring to be led forth to preach, his servant carried him to a heap of stones, to which, the good father, believing himself preaching to a sensible congregation, delivered a noble discourse, whereunto, when he had finished his sermon, the stones answered and said "Amen!"
Methinks that to some vacant hermitage
My feet would rather turn—to some dry nook
Scooped out of living rock, and near a brook
Hurled down a mountain cove from stage to stage,
Yet tempering, for my sight, its bustling rage
In the soft heaven of a translucent pool;
Thence creeping under forest arches cool,
Fit haunt of shapes whose glorious equipage
Perchance would throng my dreams. A beechen bowl,
A Maple dish, my furniture should be;
Crisp yellow leaves my bed; the hooting Owl
My nightwatch: nor should e'er the crested fowl
From thorp or vill his matins sound for me,
Tired of the world and all its industry.
But what if one, through grove or flowery mead,
Indulging thus at will the creeping feet
Of a voluptuous indolence, should meet
The hovering shade of venerable Bede,
The saint, the scholar, from a circle freed
Of toil stupendous, in a hallowed seat
Of learning, where he heard the billows beat
On a wild coast—rough monitors to feed
Perpetual industry—sublime recluse!
The recreant soul, that dares to shun the debt
Imposed on human kind, must first forget
Thy diligence, thy unrelaxing use
Of a long life, and, in the hour of death,
The last dear service of thy passing breath!
Every thing of good or evil, incident to any period of the year, is to be regarded seasonable; the present time of the year, therefore, must not be quarrelled with, if it be not always agreeable to us. Many days of this month, in 1825, have been most oppressive to the spirits, and injurious to the mental faculties, of persons who are unhappily susceptible of changes in the weather, and especially the winds. These have been borne with some philosophy, by the individual now holding the pen; but, alas! the effects are too apparent, he apprehends, to many who have read what he has been scarcely able to throw together. He hopes that these defaults will be placed to their proper account, and that cloudless skies and genial breezes will enable him to do better.
All hail to thee, hail to thee, god of the morning!
How joyous thy steeds from the ocean have sprung!
The clouds and the waves smile to see the returning,
And young zephyrs laugh as they gambol along.
No more with the tempest the river is swelling,
No angry clouds frown, and no sky darkly lowers;
The bee winds his horn, and the gay news is telling,
That spring is arrived with her sunshine and flowers.
From her home in the grass see the white primrose peeping,
While diamond dew-drops around her are spread,
She smiles through her tears, like an infant, whose weeping
To laughter is changed when its sorrows are fled.
In the pride of its beauty the young year is shining,
And nature with blossoms is wreathing the trees,
The white and the green, in rich clusters entwining,
Are sprinkling their sweets on the wings of each breeze.
Then hail to thee, hail to thee, god of the morning!
Triumphant ride on in thy chariot of light;
The earth, with thy bounties her forehead adorning,
Comes forth, like a bride, from the chamber of night.
Buttercups. Ranunculus acris.
Dedicated to St. John, Pope.
Yellow Bachelor's Buttons. Ranunculus acris plenus.
Dedicated to St. Bede.