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  Then came hot July, boiling like to fire,
    That all his garments he had cast away.
  Upon a lyon raging yet with ire
    He boldly rode, and made him to obey:
  (It was the beast that whilom did forray
    The Nemæan forest, till the Amphitrionide
  Him slew, and with his hide did him array:)
    Behind his backe a sithe, and by his side
Under his belt he bore a sickle circling wide.


July is the seventh month of the year. According to ancient reckoning it was the fifth, and called QUINTILIS, until Mark Antony denominated it July, in compliment to Caius Cæsar, the Roman dictator, whose surname was Julius, who improved the calendar, and was born in this month.

July was called by the Saxons hen-monath, which probably expressed the meaning of the German word hain, signifying wood or trees; and hence hen-monath might mean foliage month. They likewise called it heymonath, or hay-month; "because," says Verstegan, "therein they usually mowed and made their hay harvest;" and they also denominated it Lida-aftera, meaning the second "Lida," or second month after the sun's descent.* [1]

The beautiful representation preceding Spenser's personification of July, on the preceding page, was designed and engraved by Mr. Samuel Williams, of whom it should in justice be said, that his talents have enriched the Every-Day Book with most of its best illustrations.

Now comes July, and with his fervid noon
Unsinews labour. The swinkt mower sleeps;
The weary maid rakes feebly; the warm swain
Pitches his load reluctant; the faint steer,
Lashing his sides, draws sulkily along
The slow encumbered wain in midday heat.

Mr. Leigh Hunt in his Months, after remarking that "July is so called after Julius Cæsar, who contrived to divide his names between months and dynasties, and among his better deeds of ambition reformed the calendar," proceeds to notice, that—"The heat is greatest in this month on account of its previous duration. The reason why it is less so in August is, that the days are then much shorter, and the influence of the sun has been gradually diminishing. The farmer is still occupied in getting the productions of the earth into his garners; but those who can avoid labour enjoy as much rest and shade as possible. There is a sense of heat and quiet all over nature. The birds are silent. The little brooks are dried up. The earth is chapped with parching. The shadows of the trees are particularly grateful, heavy, and still. The oaks, which are freshest because latest in leaf, form noble clumpy canopies, looking, as you lie under them, of a strong and emulous green against the blue sky. The traveller delights to cut across the country through the fields and the leafy lanes, where nevertheless the flints sparkle with heat. The cattle get into the shade, or stand in the water. The active and air-cutting swallows, now beginning to assemble for migration, seek their prey about the shady places, where the insects, though of differently compounded natures, 'fleshless and bloodless,' seem to get for coolness, as they do at other times for warmth. The sound of insects is also the only audible thing now, increasing rather than lessening the sense of quiet by its gentle contrast. The bee now and then sweeps across the ear with his gravest tone. The gnats

Their murmuring small trumpets sounden wide; Spenser.

and here and there the little musician of the grass touches forth his tricksy note.

The poetry of earth is never dead;
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead:
That is the grasshopper's.


"Besides some of the flowers of last month, there are now candy-tufts, catch-fly, columbines, egg-plant, French mary-golds, lavateras, London-pride, marvel of Peru, veronicas, tuberoses, which seem born of the white rose and lily; and scarlet-beans, which though we are apt to think little of them because they furnish us with a good vegetable, are quick and beautiful growers, and in a few weeks will hang a walk or trellis with an exuberant tapestry of scarlet and green.

"The additional trees and shrubs in flower are bramble, button-wood, iteas, cistuses, climbers, and broom. Pimpernel, cockle, and fumitory, are now to be found in corn-fields, the blue-bell in wastes or by the road-sides; and the luxuriant hop is flowering.

"The fruits begin to abound and are more noticed, in proportion to the necessity for them occasioned by the summer-heat. The strawberries are in their greatest quantity and perfection; and currants, gooseberries, and raspberries, have a world of juice for us, prepared, as it were, in so many crowds of little bottles, in which the sunshine has turned the dews of April into wine. The strawberry lurks about under a beautiful leaf. Currants are also extremely beautiful. A handsome bunch looks like pearls or rubies, and an imitation of it would make a most graceful ear-ring. We have seen it, when held lightly by fair fingers, present as lovely a drop, and piece of contrast, as any holding hand in a picture of Titian.

"Bulbous rooted flowers, that have almost done with their leaves, should now be taken up, and deposited in shallow wooden boxes. Mignionette should be transplanted into small pots, carnations be well attended to and supported, and auriculas kept clean from dead leaves and weeds, and in dry weather frequently watered.

"It is now the weather for bathing, a refreshment too little taken in this country, either in summer or winter. We say in winter, because with very little care in placing it near a cistern, and having a leathern pipe for it, a bath may be easily filled once or twice a week with warm water; and it is a vulgar error that the warm bath relaxes. An excess, either warm or cold, will relax; and so will any other excess: but the sole effect of the warm bath moderately taken is, that it throws off the bad humours of the body by opening and clearing the pores. As to summer bathing, a father may soon teach his children to swim, and thus perhaps might be the means of saving their lives some day or other, as well as health. Ladies also, though they cannot bathe in the open air as they do in some of the West Indian islands and other countries, by means of natural basins among the rocks, might oftener make a substitute for it at home in tepid baths. The most beautiful aspects under which Venus has been painted or sculptured, have been connected with bathing: and indeed there is perhaps no one thing that so equally contributes to the three graces of health, beauty, and good temper;—to health, in putting the body into its best state; to beauty, in clearing and tinting the skin; and to good temper, in rescuing the spirits from the irritability occasioned by those formidable personages 'the nerves,' which nothing else allays in so quick and entire a manner. See a lovely passage on the subject of bathing in sir Philip Sydney's 'Arcadia,' where 'Philoclea, blushing, and withall smiling, making shamefastnesse pleasant, and pleasure shamefast, tenderly moved her feet, unwonted to feel the naked ground, until the touch of the cold water made a pretty kind of shrugging come over her body, like the twinkling of the fairest among the fixed stars.'"

July 1.

St. Rumbold, Bp. A.D. 775. Sts. Julius and Aaron. St. Theobald, or Thibault, 11th Cent. St. Gal I. Bp. 5th Cent. St. Calais, or Carilephus, A.D. 542. St. Leonorus, or Lunaire, Bp. St. Simeon Salus, 6th Cent. St. Thieri, A.D. 533. St. Cybar, A.D. 581.


1690. The battle of the Boyne, fought on this day, decided the fate of James II. and the Stuart tyranny, and established William III. on the throne of the people.


Agrimony. Agrimonia Eupatoria.
Dedicated to St. Aaron.


Notes [all notes are Hone's unless otherwise indicated]:

1. Dr. Frank Sayers. [return]