vol II date / index
Next was November; he full grown and fat
As fed with lard, and that right well might seeme;
For he had been a fatting hogs of late,
That yet his browes with sweat did reek and steam;
And yet the season was full sharp and breem;
In planting eeke he took no small delight,
Whereon he rode, not easie was to deeme
For it a dreadful centaure was in sight,
The seed of Saturn and fair Nais, Chiron hight.
This is the eleventh month of the year. The anglo-saxons gave names in their own tongue to each month and "November they termed wint-monat, to wit, wind-moneth, whereby wee may see that our ancestors were in this season of the yeare made acquainted with blustring Boreas; and it was the antient custome for shipmen then to shrowd themselves at home, and to give over sea-faring (notwithstanding the littlenesse of their then used voyages) untill blustring March had bidden them well to fare."*  They likewise called it blot-monath. In the saxon, "blot" means blood; and in this month they killed great abundance of cattle for winter-store, or, according to some, for purposes of sacrifice to their deities.
Bishop Warburton commences a letter to his friend Hurd, with an allusion to the evil influence which the gloominess of this month is proverbially supposed to have on the mind. He dates from Bedford-row, October 28th, 1749:—"I am now got hither," he says, "to spend the month of November: the dreadful month of November! when the little wretches hang and drown themselves, and the great ones sell themselves to the court and the devil."
"This is the month," says Mr. Leigh Hunt, "in which we are said by the Frenchman to hang and drown ourselves. We also agree with him to call it 'the gloomy month of November;' and, above all, with our in-door, money-getting, and unimaginative habits, all the rest of the year, we contrive to make it so. Not all of us, however: and fewer and fewer, we trust, every day. It is a fact well known to the medical philosopher, that, in proportion as people do not like air and exercise, their blood becomes darker and darker: now what corrupts and thickens the circulation, and keeps the humours within the pores, darkens and clogs the mind; and we are then in a state to receive pleasure but indifferently or confusedly, and pain with tenfold painfulness. If we add to this a quantity of unnecessary cares and sordid mistakes, it is so much the worse. A love of nature is the refuge. He who grapples with March, and has the smiling eyes upon him of June and August, need have no fear of November.—And as the Italian proverb says, every medal has its reverse. November, with its loss of verdure, its frequent rains, the fall of the leaf, and the visible approach of winter, is undoubtedly a gloomy month to the gloomy; but to others, it brings but pensiveness, a feeling very far from destitute of pleasure; and if the healthiest and most imaginative of us may feel their spirits pulled down by reflections connected with earth, its mortalities, and its mistakes, we should but strengthen ourselves the more to make strong and sweet music with the changeful but harmonious movements of nature." This pleasant observer of the months further remarks, that, "There are many pleasures in November if we will lift up our matter-of-fact eyes, and find that there are matters-of-fact we seldom dream of. It is a pleasant thing to meet the gentle fine days, that come to contradict our sayings for us; it is a pleasant thing to see the primrose come back again in woods and meadows; it is a pleasant thing to catch the whistle of the green plover, and to see the greenfinches congregate; it is a pleasant thing to listen to the deep amorous note of the wood-pigeons, who now come back again; and it is a pleasant thing to hear the deeper voice of the stags, making their triumphant love amidst the falling leaves.
"Besides a quantity of fruit, our gardens retain a number of the flowers of last month, with the stripped lily in leaf; and, in addition to several of the flowering trees and shrubs, we have the fertile and glowing china-roses in flower: and in fruit the pyracantha, with its lustruous red-berries, that cluster so beautifully on the walls of cottages. This is the time also for domestic cultivators of flowers to be very busy in preparing for those spring and winter ornaments, which used to be thought the work of magic. They may plant hyacinths, dwarf tulips, polyanthus-narcissus, or any other moderately-growing bulbous roots, either in water-glasses, or in pots of light dry earth, to flower early in their apartments. If in glasses, the bulb should be a little in the water; if in pots, a little in the earth, or but just covered. They should be kept in a warm light room.
"The trees generally lose their leaves in the following succession:—walnut, mulberry, horse-chestnut, sycamore, lime, ash, then, after an interval, elm, then beech and oak, then apple and peach-trees, sometimes not till the end of November; and lastly, pollard oaks and young beeches, which retain their withered leaves till pushed off by their new ones in spring. Oaks that happen to be stripped of their leaves by chaffers, will often surprise the haunter of nature by being clothed again soon after midsummer with a beautiful vivid foliage.
"The farmer endeavours to finish his ploughing this month, and then lays up his instruments for the spring. Cattle are kept in the yard or stable, sheep turned into the turnip-field, or in bad weather fed with hay; bees moved under shelter, and pigeons fed in the dove-house.
"Among our autumnal pleasures, we ought not to have omitted the very falling of the leaves:
To view the leaves, thin dancers upon air,
Go eddying round.
"Towards the end of the month, under the groves and other shady places, they begin to lie in heaps, and to rustle to the foot of the passenger; and there they will like till the young leaves are grown overhead, and spring comes to look down upon them with their flowers:—
O Spring! of hope, and love, and youth, and gladness,
Wind-winged emblem! brightest, best, and fairest!
Whence comest thou, when, with dark winter's sadness,
The tears that fade in sunny smiles thou sharest?
Sister of joy, thou art the child who wearest
Thy mother's dying smile, tender and sweet;
Thy mother Autumn, for whose grave thou bearest
Fresh flowers, and beams like flowers, with gentle feet,
Disturbing not the leaves, which are her winding sheet.
All Saints. St. Cæsarius, A. D. 300. St. Mary. M. St. Marcellus, Bp. of Paris, 5th Cent. St. Benignus, Apostle of Burgundy, A. D. 272. St. Austremonius, 3d Cent. St. Harold VI., King of Denmark, A. D. 980.
This festival in the almanacs and the church of England calendar is from the church of Rome, which celebrates it in commemoration of those of its saints, to whom, on account of their number, particular days could not be allotted in their individual honour.
On this day, in many parts of England, apples are bobbed for, and nuts cracked, as upon its vigil, yesterday; and we still retain traces of other customs that we had in common with Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, in days of old.
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.
Should the following excerpt relative to the first of November be of use to you, it is at your service, extracted from a scarce and valuable work by Dr. W. Owen Pughe, entitled "Translations of the Heroic Elegies of Llywarch Hèn, London, 1792."
"The first day of November was considered (among the ancient Welsh) as the conclusion of summer, and was celebrated with bonfires, accompanied with ceremonies suitable to the event, and some parts of Wales still retain these customs. Ireland retains similar ones, and the fire that is made at these seasons, is called Beal teinidh, in the Irish language, and some antiquaries of that country, in establishing the eras of the different colonies planted in the island, have been happy enough to adduce as an argument for their Phœnician origin this term of Beal teinidh.
"The meaning of tàn, (in Welsh), like the Irish teinidh, is fire, and Bal is simply a projecting springing out or expanding, and when applied to vegetation, it means a budding or shooting out of leaves and blossoms, the same as balant, of which it is the root, and it is also the root of bala and of blwydd, blwyddyn and blynedd, a year, or circle of vegetation. So the signification of bál dán, or tán bál, would be the rejoicing fire for the vegetation, or for the crop of the year."
The following seven triplets by Llywarch Hèn, who lived to the surprising age of one hundred and forty years, and wrote in the sixth century, also relate to the subject. The translations, which are strictly literal, are also from the pen of Dr. Pughe.
On All Saints day hard is the grain,
The leaves are dropping, the puddle is full,
At setting off in the morning
Woe to him that will trust a stranger.
Calangauaf caled grawn
Dail ar gychwyn, Uynwyn Uawn:—
Y bore cyn noi fyned,
Gwae a ymddiried i estrawn
All Saints day, a time of pleasant gossiping,
The gale and the storm keep equal pace,
It is the labour of falsehood to keep a secret.
Calangauaf cain gyfrin,
Cyfred awel a drychin:
Gwaith celwydd yw celu rhin.
On All Saints day the stags are lean,
Yellow are the tops of birch; deserted is the summer dwelling:
Woe to him who for a trifle deserves a curse.
Calangauaf cul hyddod
Melyn blaen bedw, gweddw hafod:
Gwae a haedd mefyl er bychod.
On All Saints day the tops of the branches are bent;
In the mouth of the mischievous, distrubance is congenial:
Where there is no natural gift there will be no learning.
Calangauaf crwm blaen gwrysg:
Gnawd o ben diried derfysg;
Lle ni bo dawn ni bydd dysg.
On All Saints day blustering is the weather,
Very unlike the beginning of the past fair season:
Besides God there is none who knows the future.
Calangauaf garw hin,
Annhebyg i gyntefin:
Namwyn Duw nid oes dewin.
On All Saints day 'tis hard and dry,
Doubly black is the crow, quick is the arrow from the bow,
For the stumbling of the old, the looks of the young wear a smile.
Calangauaf caled cras,
Purddu bran, buan o fras:
Am gwymp hen chwerddid gwèn gwâs.
On All Saints day bare is the place where the heath is burnt,
The plough is in the furrow, the ox at work:
Amongst a hundred 'tis a chance to find a friend.
Calangauaf Uwn goddaith,
Aradyr yn rhych, ych yn ngwaith:
O'r cant oded cydymmaith.
It will be perceived that each triplet, as was customary with the ancient Britons is accompanied by a moral maxim, without relation to the subject of the song.
Laurastinus. Laurastinus sempervirens.
Dedicated to St. Fortunatus.