vol II date / index
St. Phocas, a Gardner, A.D. 303. St. Guthagon. St. Gunthiern, a Welsh Prince, 6th Cent. St. Bertram, 6th Cent.
The Bleeding Image.
On the 3d of July is annually celebrated, in Paris, in the church of St. Leu and St. Giles, a solemn office, in commemoration of a miracle wrought by the blessed virgin, in la Rue aux Ours, or the street for the bears; the history of which is as follows:— In the year 1518, a soldier coming out of a tavern in this Bear-street, where he had been gambling, and losing his money and clothes, was blaspheming the name of God; and as he passed by the image of the holy virgin, standing very quietly and inoffensively at the corner of the street, he struck it, or her, furiously with a knife he had in his hand; on which God permitted, as the modern and modest tellers of this tale say, the image [began] to bleed abundantly. The ministers of justice were informed, and the wretch was seized, conducted to the spot where he had committed the sacrilege, tied to a post, and scourged, from six o'clock in the morning till night, till his eyes dropped out; his tongue was bored with a hot iron, and his body was cast into the fire. The blessed image was transported to Rome. This was the origin of a ceremony still remembered, and which once was very curious. The zeal of the inhabitants of Bear-street was conspicuous, and their devotion to the blessed virgin not less so. At first they only made the figure of the soldier, as we in England do of Guy Faux, and threw it into the fire; by degrees the feast became more solemn, and the soldier, who had been rudely fashioned out of faggots, was at last a composition of fireworks, which, after being carried in procession through the streets of Paris, took a flight into the air, to the great joy and edification of the Parisians, particularly of Bear-street. At last, however, the magistrates wisely recollected that the streets being narrow, and the buildings numerous in that part of the city, a fire might happen, and it would then be still more miraculous if the holy image should travel from Rome to Paris to extinguish the flames: not to mention that the holy image might not at that precise moment be so plentifully supplied as on a similar occasion our friend Gulliver was. In 1744, therefore, they forbad any future fire-work soldiers, and the poor distressed inhabitants of Bear-street, were once more reduced to their man of wood, whom they continue to burn with great affection every 3d of July, after having walked him about Paris three days. This figure is now made of osier, clothed, and armed with a knife, and of so horrid an appearance, it would undoubtedly frighten women and children who did not know the story of the sacrilegious soldier; as it is, they believe they see him breathe blasphemy. Messieurs, the associated gentlemen of Bear-street, give the money formerly spent in fireworks, to make a procession to the proxy of the blessed image which now stands where the bleeding one did, and to say a solemn mass to the blessed virgin, for the souls of the defunct gentlemen, associates of Bear-street. The mummery existed under Napoleon, as appears by the preceding particulars, dated Paris, July 12, 1807, and may be seen in the Sunday Advertiser, of the 19th of that month.
On the 3d of July, 1810, a small loaf fastened by a string, was suspended from the equestrian statue at Charing-cross, to which was attached a placard, stating, that it was purchased from a baker, and was extremely deficient in weight, and was one of a numerous batch. The notice concluded by simply observing, "Does this not deserve the aid of parliament?" This exhibition attracted a great crowd of people, until the whole of the loaf was nearly washed away by subsequent heavy rain.
"The Dog-star rages."
Sirius, or the Dog-star, is represented as in the above engraving, on a garnet gem, in lord Besborough's collection, etched by Worlidge. The late Mr. William Butler, in his Chronological Exercises, says, that on this day "commence, according to the almanacs, the Canicular, or Dog-days, which are a certain number of days preceding and following the heliacal rising of Canicula, or the Dog-star, in the morning. Their beginning is usually fixed in the calendars on the 3d of July, and their termination on the 11th of August; but this is a palpable mistake, since the heliacal rising of this star does not now take place, at least in our latitude, till near the latter end of August; and in five or six thousand years more, Canicula may chance to be charged with bringing frost and snow, as it will then, owing to the precession of the equinoxes, rise in November and December."
Dr. Hutton remarks, that some authors say, from Hippocrates and Pliny, that the day this star first rises in the morning, the sea boils, wine turns sour, dogs begin to grow mad, the bile increases and irritates, and all animals grow languid; also, "the diseases it usually occasions in men are burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies. The Romans sacrificed a brown dog every year to Canicula, at his first rising to appease his rage."
A Cambridge contributor to the Every-Day Book affirms, that, in the year 1824, an edict was issued there for all persons keeping dogs either to muzzle or tie them up, and many a dog was tied up by the neck as a sacrifice; whether to the Mayor or Canicular, this deponent saith not; but the act and deed gave rise to the following
Good mister Mayor
All dogs declare
The beam of justice falters!
To miss the puppies—sure she's blind,
For dogs they are alone consign'd
To muzzles or to halters!
Mr. Brady observes, in his "Clavis Calendaria," "That the weather in July and August is generally more sultry than at any other period of the year, and that some particular diseases are consequently at that time more to be dreaded, both to man and beast, is past dispute. The exaggerated efffects of the rising of Sirius are now, however, known to be groundless; and the superior heat usually felt during the Dog-days has been more philosophically accounted for. The sun, at this period of the year, not only darts his rays almost perpendicularly upon us, and of course with greater power; but has also contined to exert his influence through the spring and summer seasons, whereby the atmosphere and earth have received a warmth, proportioned to the continuity of its action; and moisture, in itself naturally cold, has been dissipated. Even in the course of a day, which has been aptly typified as a short year, the greatest effect of the sun is generally felt at about two o'clock, although it has then passed the meridian, because by having so much longer exerted its powers, its consequent effects are more than commensurate for the diminution of heat in its rays. The cold of winter in like manner augments about the time the days begin to increase, and continues to do so, for a considerable time after, because, at that season, the earth has become wet and chilled, from the effects of the preceding gradual decrease of power in the sun, although, at that time, when the cold is usually most severe, that orb is ascensive, and returning from the winter solstice: and our Saxon ancestors were experimentally so well aware of this latter circumstance, that in the delineation on their calendars, to illustrate the characters of the months they represented February, as a man in the act of striking his arms across his body to warm himself: while there is also yet in common use a very old saying, grounded upon the like conviction, that 'when the days lengthen, the frost is sure to strengthen.'
"The early Egyptians, whose hieroglyphical characters, aptly adapted by them to the peculiarity of their climate and circumstances, were the principal or perhaps sole origin of all the heathenish superstitions of other nations, were taught by long observation and experience, that as soon as a particular star became visible, the Nile would overflow its banks; and they accordingly upon its very first appearance retreated to their terraces, where they remained until the inundation had subsided. This star, therefore, was called by them Sihor, i.e. the Nile; as Σειριος is in Greek, and Sirius in Latin; and from the warning it afforded them, they typified it as a dog, or in most cases as a man with a dog's head; that faithful animal having been, even in those times, distinguished for his peculiar qualities of watching over the affairs of man, and affording warning of approaching danger. The names assigned to this star by the Egyptians was Thaaut, or Tayout, the dog; and in later times Sothis, Thotes, or Thot, each bearing the like signification; but it was left for the subsequent ignorance of those other nations who adopted that character for Sihor, now Sirius, without considering the true origin of its appellation, falsely to assign to it, the increasing heat of the season, and its consequent effects upon animated nature. The idea, however, of any such effects, either as to heat, or to disorders, from the influence of the canicular star, is now wholly exploded, from the reasons already assigned, and because 'that star not only varies in its rising every year, as the latitude varies, but that it rises later and later every year in all latitudes;' so that when it rises in winter, which by the way, cannot be for five or six thousand years, it might, with equal propriety, be charged with increasing the frost: and besides, it is to be observed, that although Sirius is the nearest to the earth of any of the fixed stars, it is computed to be at the enormous distance of 2,200,000,000,000 miles from our globe; a space too prodigious to admit of its rays affording any sensible heat; and which could not be passed by a canon-ball, flying with its calculated velocity of 480 miles in one hour, in less than 523,211 years! Upon the whole, therefore, it evidently appears, that the origin of the name of this star was not only wholly disregarded, but that common and undigested opinion made its conjunction with the sun, the cause of heat, &c. instead of having regarded it as a sign of the period when such effects might naturally be expected."
There is no cure for the bite of a mad dog; and as at this time dogs go mad, it is proper to observe, that immediate burning out of the bitten part by caustic, or the cutting of it out by the surgeon's knife, is the only remedy. If either burning or cutting be omitted, the bitten person, unless opiumed to death, or smothered between featherbeds, will in a few days or weeks die in unspeakable agony. The latter means are said to have been sometimes resorted to as a merciful method of extinguishing life. It is an appalling fact, that there is no cure for hydrophobia.
Preventive is better than cure, and in this case it is easy. Dogs, however useful in some situations, are wholly useless in towns. Exterminate them.
Against this a cry will go forth from all dog-owners: they will condemn the measure as proceeding from a barbarian; but they are the barbarians who keep animals subject to a disease fatal to human life. Such persons, so far from being entitled to a voice against its execution, merit abhorrence and contempt for daring to propose that every man, woman, and child among their friends and neighbours, should run the risk of a cruel death for the gratification of selfishness. Every honest man in every town who keeps a dog, should destroy it, and use his influence with others to destroy theirs. No means of preventing hydrophobia exists but the destruction of dogs.
Oh! but dogs are useful; they guard our houses at night; they go in carts and guard our goods by day; they catch our rats; and, then, they are such faithful creatures! All this, though very true, does not urge one reason against their destruction as a preventive from their communicating a fatal and wholly incurable disease. Instead of house-dogs at night, get additional watchmen, or secure watchmen more vigilant than those you have, by paying a proper price for the important services required of them, which in most places are not half requited. Instead of cart-dogs, employ boys, of whom there are scores half-starving, who would willingly take charge of carts at little more than the expense of dog-keep. If rats must be caught, cats can catch them, or they may be poisoned. Instead of cultivating the fidelity of dogs, let dog-keepers cultivate a little fidelity in themselves towards their neighbours, and do as they would be done unto, by destroying their dogs.
Oh, but would you deprive the "poor" man of his dog? Yes. The poorer he is, the less occasion he has for a dog, and the less ability he has to maintain a dog. Few poor men in towns keep dogs but for the purpose of sport of some kind; making matches to fight them, drawing badgers with them, baiting bulls with them, or otherwise brutally misemploying them.
An act of parliament, inflicting heavy penalties for keeping dogs in towns, and empowering constables, beadles, street-keepers, and others, with rewards for carrying it into effect on every dog they meet, would put an end to hydrophobia.
It is a common practice to kill dogs at this season in some parts of the continent, and so did our ancestors. Ben Jonson, in his "Bartholomew Fair," speaks of "the dog-killer in this month of August." A dog-destroyer in every parish would be an important public officer. REMEMBER! there is no cure for the bite of a mad dog.
To the Bellflower.
With drooping bells of clearest blue
Thou didst attract my childish view,
The azure butterflies that flew
Where on the heath thy blossoms grew
So lightly trembling.
Where feathery fern and golden broom
Increase the sandrock cavern's gloom
I've seen thee tangled,
'Mid tufts of purple heather bloom
By vain Arachne's treacherous loom
With dewdrops spangled.
'Mid ruins tumbling to decay,
Thy flowers their heavenly hues display,
Still freshly springing,
Where pride and pomp have passed away
On mossy tomb and turret gray,
Like friendship clinging.
When glowworm lamps illume the scene
And silvery daisies dot the green,
Thy flowers revealing,
Perchance to soothe the fairy queen,
With faint sweet tones on night serene,
Soft bells are pealing.
But most I love thine azure braid,
When softer flowers are all decayed,
And thou appearest
Stealing beneath the hedgerow shade,
Like joys that linger as they fade,
Whose last are dearest.
Thou art the flower of memory;
The pensive soul recalls in thee
The year's past pleasures;
And, led by kindred thought, will flee,
Till, back to careless infancy,
The path she measures.
Beneath autumnal breezes bleak,
So faintly fair, so sadly meek,
I've seen thee bending.
Pale as the pale blue veins that streak
Consumption's thin, transparent cheek,
With death hues blending.
Thou shalt be sorrow's love and mine;
The violet and the eglantine
With Spring are banished.
In Summer pinks and roses shine,
But I of thee my wreath will twine,
When these are vanished.
May you like it.
Tried Mallow. Malva Sylvestris
Dedicated to St. Phocas.