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   The eighth was August, being rich array'd
      In garment all of gold downe to the ground:
   Yet rode he not, but led a lovely mayd
      Forth by the lily hand, the which was crown'd
   With cares of corne, and full her hand was found.
      That was the righteous Virgin, which of old
   Liv'd here on earth, and plenty made abound;
      But after wrong was lov'd, and justice solde,
She left th' unrighteous world, and was to heav'n extoll'd.


August is the eighth month of the year. It was called Sextilis by the Romans, from its being the sixth month in their calendar, until the senate complimented the emperor Augustus by naming it after him, and through them it is by us denominated August.

Our Saxon ancestors called it "Arnmonat, (more rightly barn-moneth,) intending thereby the then filling of their barnes with corne."* [1] Arn is the Saxon word for harvest. According to some they also called it Woedmonath, as they likewise called June.† [2]

The sign of the zodiac entered by the sun this month is Virgo, the Virgin. Spenser's personation of it above is pencilled and engraved by Mr. Samuel Williams.

"Admire the deep beauty of this allegorical picture," says Mr. Leigh Hunt. "Spenser takes advantage of the sign of the zodiac, the Virgin, to convert her into Astrea, the goddess of justice, who seems to return to earth awhile, when the exuberance of the season presents enough for all."

Mr. Leigh Hunt notes in his Months, that,—"this is the month of harvest. The crops usually begin with rye and oats, proceed with wheat, and finish with peas and beans. Harvest-home is still the greatest rural holiday in England, because it concludes at once the most laborious and most lucrative of the farmer's employments, and unites repose and profit. Thank heaven there are, and must be, seasons of some repose in agricultural employments, or the countryman would work with as unceasing a madness, and contrive to be almost as diseased and unhealthy as the citizen. But here again, and for the reasons already mentioned, our holiday-making is not what it was. Our ancestors used to burst into an enthusiasm of joy at the end of harvest, and appear even to have mingled their previous labour with considerable merry-making, in which they imitated the equality of the earlier ages. They crowned the wheat-sheaves with flowers, they sung, they shouted, they danced, they invited each other, or met to feast, as at Christmas, in the halls of rich houses; and what was a very amiable custom, and wise beyond the commoner wisdom that may seem to lie on the top of it, every one that had been concerned, man, woman, and child, received a little present—ribbons, laces, or sweatmeats. [sic]

"The number of flowers is now sensibly diminished. Those that flower newly are nigella, zinnias, polyanthuses, love-apples, mignionette, capsicums, Michaelmas daisies, auriculus, asters, or stars, and China-asters. The additional trees and shrubs in flower are the tamarisk, altheas, Venetian sumach, pomegranates, the beautiful passion-flower, the trumpet-flower, and the virgin's bower, or clematis, which is such a quick and handsome climber. But the quantity of fruit is considerably multiplied, especially that of pears, peaches, apricots, and grapes. And if the little delicate wild flowers have at last withdrawn from the hot sun, the wastes, marshes, and woods are dressed in the luxuriant attire of ferns and heaths, with all their varieties of green, purple, and gold. A piece of waste land, especially where the ground is broken up into little inequalities, as Hampstead-heath, for instance, is now a most bright as well as picturesque object; all the ground, which is in light, giving the sun, as it were, gold for gold. Mignonette, intended to flower in the winter, should now be planted in pots, and have the benefit of a warm situation. Seedlings in pots should have the morning sunshine, and annuals in pots be frequently watered[.]

"In the middle of this month, the young goldfinch broods appear, lapwings congregate, thistle-down floats, and birds resume their spring songs: —a little afterwards flies abound in windows, linnets congregate, and bulls make their shrill autumnal bellowing; and towards the end the beech tree turns yellow,—the first symptom of approaching autumn."

The garden blooms with vegetable gold,
And all Pomona in the orchard glows,
   Her racy fruits now glory in the sun,
The wall-enamour'd flower in saffron blows,
Gay annuals their spicy sweets unfold,
   To cooling brooks the panting cattle run:
Hope, the forerunner of the farmer's gain,
Visits his dreams and multiplies the grain.

More hot it grows; ye fervours of the sky
Attend the virgin—lo! she comes to hail
   Your sultry radiance.—Now the god of day
Meets her chaste star—be present zephyr's gale
To fan her bosom—let the breezes fly
   On silver pinions to salute his ray;
Bride of his soft desires, with comely grace
He clasps the virgin to his warm embrace.

The reapers now their shining sickles bear
A band illustrious, and the sons of Health!
   They bend, they toil across the wide champaign,
Before them Ceres yields her flowing wealth;
The partridge-covey to the copse repair
   For shelter, sated with the golden grain,
Bask on the bank, or thro' the clover run
Yet safe from fetters, and the slaughtering gun.

August 1.

St. Peter ad Vincula, or St. Peter's chains. The seven Machabees, Brothers, with their Mother. Sts. Faith, Hope, and Charity. St. Etholwold, Bp. A. D. 984. St. Pellegrini, or Peregrinus, A. D. 643.

St. Peter ad Vincula, or the Feast of St. Peter's chains.

The Romish church pretending to possess one of the chains wherewith Peter was bound, and from which the angel delivered him, indulges its votaries with a festival in its honour on this day. "Pagan Rome," says Alban Butler, "never derived so much honour from the spoils and trophies of a conquered world, as christian Rome receives from the corporal remains of these two glorious apostles, (Peter and Paul,) before which the greatest emperors lay down their diadems, and prostrate themselves." Be it observed, that the papacy also pretends to possess the chains of Paul: pope Gregory writing to the empress Constantia tells her he will quickly send her some part of Paul's chains, if it be possible for him to file any off;—"for," says Gregory, "since so many frequently come begging a benediction from the chains, that they may receive a little of the filings thereof, therefore a priest is ready with a file; and when some persons petition for it, presently in a moment something is filed off for them from the chains; but when others petition, though the file be drawn a great while through the chains, yet cannot the least jot be got off." Upon this, bishop Patrick says,—"One may have leave to ask, why should not this miraculous chain of St. Paul have a festival appointed in memory of it, as well as that of St. Peter? you may take Baronius's answer to it till you can meet with a better." Baronius, the great Romish luminary and authority in the affairs of papal martyrs, relics, and miracles, says,—"Truly the bonds of St. Peter seem not without reason to be worshipped, though the bonds of the other apostles are not: for it is but fit, that since he has the chief power in the church of binding and loosing other men's bonds, that his bonds also should be had in honour of all the faithful." This is a sufficing reason to the believers in the "binding and loosing" according to the gloss put upon that power by Romish writers.

The empress Eudocia is affirmed to have brought the two chains of St. Peter from Jerusalem, in the year 439, one whereof she gave to a church in Constantinople, and sent the other to Rome, where the old lady's chain has yielded, or not yielded, to the raspings of the file from time immemorial. This chain was pleased to part with some of its particles to the emperor Justinian, who sent ambassadors begging to the pope for a small portion, "The popes," says Butler, "were accustomed to send the filings as precious relics to devout princes —they were often instruments of miracles—and the pope himself rasped them off for king Childebert, and enclosed them in a golden key to be hung aboout the neck." Childebert, no doubt, experienced its aperient qualities. They would be very serviceable to the papal interest at this period.

Gule of August.

The first day of August is so called. According to Gebelin, as the month of August was the first in the Egyptian year, it was called Gule, which being latinized, makes Gula, a word in that language signifying throat. "Our legendaries," says Brand, "surprised at seeing this word at the head of the month of August, converted it to their own purpose." They made out of it the feast of the daughter of the tribune Quirinus, who they pretend was cured of a disorder in the throat, (Gula,) by kissing the chain of St. Peter on the day of its festival. Forcing the Gule of the Egyptians into the throat of the tribune's daughter, they instituted a festival to Gule upon the festival-day of St. Peter ad Vincula[.]


So stands the first of August in our English almanacs, and so it stands in the printed Saxon Chronicle. "Antiquaries," says Brand, "are divided in their opinions concerning the origin of Lammas-Day; some derive it from Lamb-Mass, because on that day the tenants who held lands under the cathedral church in York, which is dedicated to St. Peter ad Vincula, were bound by their tenure to bring a live lamb into the church at high mass: others derive it from a supposed offering or tything of lambs at this time." Various other derivations have been imagined. Blount, the glossographer, says, that Lammas is called Hlaf-Mass, that is Loaf-Mass, or Bread-Mass, which signifies a feast of thanksgiving for the first fruits of the corn. It was observed with bread of new wheat, and in some places tenants are bound to bring new wheat to their lord, on, or before, the first of August. New wheat is called Lammas-Wheat. Vallancey affirms that this day was dedicated, in Ireland, to the sacrifice of the fruits of the soil; that La-ith-mas the day of the obligation of grain, is pronounced La-ee-mas, a word readily corrupted to Lammas; that ith, signifies all kinds of grain, particularly wheat, and that mas signifies fruit of all kinds, especially the acorn, whence the word mast.* [3] From these explications may easily be derived the reasonable meaning of the word Lammas.


To the Editor of thte Every-Day Book.

As in your little calendar of worthy observancies you sometimes notice the birthdays of those whom we most desire, and who most deserve to be remembered, and as I am one, who like yourself, am unwilling any thing should be forgotten, or trodden down under the feet of thoughtless and passing generations, that has pleasant speculation in it, pray remember that on the first day of August, Francisco Petrarca was born.—But remember also, that on that same day, in 1578, was born our Juliet Capulet. "On Lammas eve at night shall she be fourteen. That shall she, marry; I remember it well. 'Tis since the earthquake now eleven years, an' she was weaned." Shakspeare's characters, as we all know, be they of what country or of what age they may, speak as an Englishman would have done in his own times, and the earthquake here referred to was felt in 1580. That Juliet, our Juliet, should have been born on the very same day as Petrarch was certainly accidental; yet it is a coincidence worth observing; and if a calendar of birthdays be to recall pleasant recollections, over "our chirping cups," why may not Juliet be remembered, and her sweetly poetical existence be associated with the reality of Petrarca's life. And where is the difference? Petrarca is,

———nor hand nor foot
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man.

And what are all the great men that have ever lived but such mocking names! Montaigne who translated a theological work by Raimondi di Sibondi, on being told by some learned friend that he suspected it was but an abstract of St. Thomas of Aquin, says "'tis a pity to rob Sibondi of his honours on such slight authority:"—what honours? when are they offered? to whom? it is not known that such a man ever had existence! Not love, nor reverence, nor idolatrous admiration can stay the progress of oblivion: the grave shuts us out for ever from our fellows, and our generation is the limit of our personal and real existence:—mind only is immortal. Francisco Petrarca was dead, and buried, and forgotten, five hundred years ago: he is now no more in reality than Juliet; nay, to myself, not so much so. The witches in Macbeth, though pure creations, have more of flesh and blood reality, are more familiar to the thoughts of all, than the Lancashire witches that lived cotemporary with the poet, and suffered death from the superstition of the age. There have been many Shakspeares, we know but one; that one indeed, from association and recollection, has a real character in our minds, and a real presence in our hearts:—have we neither association nor recollection with the name Juliet Capulet?



Stramony. Datura Stramonium.
Dedicated to St. Peter ad Vincula.


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

1. Verstegan. [return]

2. Dr. F. Sayers. [return]

3. Brand. [return]