vol II date / index
Next him September marched eke on foot;
Yet was he heavy laden with the spoyle
Of harvest's riches, which he made his boot,
And him enriched with bounty of the soyle;
In his one hand, as fit for harvest's toyle,
He held a knife-hook; and in th' other hand
A paire of weights, with which he did assoyle
Both more and lesse, where it in doubt did stand,
And equal gave to each as justice duly scanned.
This is the ninth month of the year: anciently it was the seventh, as its name imports, which is compounded of septem, seven, and imber, a shower of rain, from the rainy season usually commencing at this period of the year.
Our Saxon ancestors called this month "Gerst-monat, for that barley which that moneth commonly yeelded was antiently called gerst, the name of barley being given unto it by reason of the drinke therewith made, called beere, and from beerlegh it come to be berlegh, and from berleg to barley. So in like manner beereheym, to wit, the overdecking or covering of beere, came to be called berham, and afterwards barme, having since gotten I wot not how many names besids.—This excellent and healthsome liquor, beere, antiently also called ael, as of the Danes it yet is (beere and ale being in effect all one,) was first of the Germans invented, and brought in use."* 
Mr. Leigh Hunt notices, that Spenser takes advantage of the exuberance of the harvest, and the sign of the zodiac, libra, in this month, to read another lesson on justice. "This is the month," Mr. Hunt continues, "of the migration of birds, of the finished harvest, of nut-gathering, of cyder and perry-making, and, towards the conclusion, of the change of colour in trees. The swallows and many other soft-billed birds that feed on insects, disappear for the warmer climates, leaving only a few stragglers behind, probably from weakness or sickness, who hide themselves in caverns and other sheltered places, and occasionally appear upon warm days. The remainder of harvest is got in; and no sooner is this done, than the husbandman ploughs up his land again, and prepares it for the winter grain. The oaks and beeches shed their nuts, which in the forest that still remain, particularly the New Forest in Hampshire, furnish a luxurious repast for the swine, who feast of an evening in as pompous a manner as any alderman, to the sound of the herdsman's horn. But the acorn must not be undervalued because it is food for swine, nor thought only robustly of, because it furnishes our ships with timber. It is also one of the most beautiful objects of its species, protruding its glossy green nut from its rough and sober-coloured cup, and dropping it in a most elegant manner beside the sunny and jagged leaf. We have seen a few of them, with their stems in water, make a handsome ornament to a mantle-piece, in this season of departing flowers.—The few additional flowers this month are cornflowers, Guernsey-lilies, starwort, and saffron, a species of crocus, which is cultivated in separate grounds. The stamens of this flower are pulled, and dried into flat square cakes for medicinal purposes. It was formerly much esteemed in cookery. The clown in the Winter's Tale, reckoning up what he is to buy for the sheepshearing feast, mentions 'saffron to colour the warden-pies.' The fresh trees and shrubs in flower are bramble, chaste-tree, laurustinus, ivy, wild honey-suckle, spirea, and arbutus, or strawberry-tree, a favourite of Virgil, which, like the garden of Alcinous, in Homer, produces flower and fruit at once. Hardy annuals, intended to flower in the spring, should now be sown; annuals of curious sorts, from which seed is to be raised, should be sheltered till ripened; and auriculas in pots, which were shifted last month, moderately watered. The stone-curlew clamours at the beginning of this month, wood-owls hoot, the ring-ouzel reappears, the saffron butterfly is seen, hares congregate; and, at the end of it, the woodlark, thrush, and blackbird, are heard."
Mr. Hunt further observes that, September, though its mornings and evenings are apt to be chill and foggy, and therefore not wholesome to those who either do not, or cannot, guard against them, is generally a serene and pleasant month, partaking of the warmth of summer and the vigour of autumn. But its noblest feature is a certain festive abundance for the supply of all the creation. There is grain for men, birds, and horses, hay for the cattle, loads of fruit on the trees, and swarms of fish in the ocean. If the soft-billed birds which feed on insects miss their usual supply, they find it in the southern countries, and leave one's sympathy to be pleased with an idea, that repasts apparently more harmless are alone offered to the creation upon our temperate soil. The feast, as the philosophic poet says on a higher occasion—
The feast is such as earth, the general mother,
Pours from her fairest bosom, when she smiles
In the embrace of Autumn. To each other
As some fond parent fondly reconciles
Her warring children, she their wrath beguiles
With their own sustenance; they, relenting, weep.
Such is this festival, which from their isles,
And continents, and winds, and oceans deep,
All shapes may throng to share, that fly, or walk, or creep.
St. Giles, Abbot, 7th Cent. Twelve Brothers, Martyrs, A. D. 258. St. Lupus, or Leu, Abp. A. D. 623. St. Firminus II., Bp. of Amiens, A. D. 347.
This saint is in the church of England calendar. He was born at Athens, and came into France in 715, having first disposed of his patrimony to charitable uses. After living two years with Cæsarius, bishop of Arles, he commenced hermit, and so continued till he was made abbot of an abbey at Nismes, which the king built for his sake. He died in 750.*
St. Giles is the patron of beggars. Going to church in his youth, he gave his coat to a sick beggar who asked alms of him, the mendicant was clothed, and the garment miraculously cured his disorder. He was also the patron of cripples. After he had retired to a cave in a solitary desert, the French king was hunting near his thicket, and Giles was wounded by an arrow from a huntsman's bow while at prayers; whereupon being found unmoved from his position, the king fell at his feet, craved his pardon, and gave orders for the cure of his wound, but this the saint would not permit, because he desired to suffer pain and increase his merits thereby, and so he remained a cripple, and received reverence from the king whom he counselled to build a monastery; and the king did so, and Giles became abbot thereof, "and led the life of an angel incarnate," and converted the king.† It is related of him that he raised the dead son of a prince to life, and made a lame man walk: our church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, is dedicated to him. It is further told, that at Rome he cast two doors of cypress into the Tiber, and recommended them to heavenly guidance, and on his return to France found them at the gates of his monastery, and set them up as the doors of his own church. These are some only of the marvels gravely told of him, "many wytnisse that they herde the company of aungelles berynge the soul of hym into heven."* 
Great Sedum. Sedum Telephium.
Dedicated to St. Giles.
Notes [all notes are Hone's unless otherwise indicated]:
1. Verstegan. [return]
2. Audley's Companion to the Almanac. [return]
3. Ribadeneira. [return]
4. Golden Legend. [return]