vol II date / index
St. Clement, Pope, A. D. 100. St. Amphilochius, Bp. of Iconium, A. D. 394. St. Tron, A. D. 693. St. Daniel, Bp. A. D. 545.
This saint is in the church of England calendar and the almanacs.
Clement was a follower and coadjutor of the apostle Paul, who, writing to the Philippians, (iv. 3.) requires them to be mindful of the flock and their teachers, and distinguishes Clement by name—"help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, and with Clement also, and with other my follow-labourers." The Romish writers contend for the direct papal succession from the apostles, and call Clement a pope; but in the uninterrupted succession they claim for the pontiffs of their hierarchy, they fail in establishing as indisputable whether he was the first, second, or third pope; the name itself was not devised until centuries afterwards. Some of them say he was martyred, others contend that he died a natural death. The advocates for his martyrdom assign him an anchor as a symbol of distinction, because they allege that he was thrown into the sea with an anchor about his neck. It is further alleged that two of his disciples desirous of recovering his remains, assembled a multitude and prayed for the discovery, and, as usual, there was a miracle. "Immediately the sea retired for the space of three miles, or a league, in such sort that they could go into it for all that space as upon the dry land; and they found in it a chapel, or little church, made by the hands of angels; and within the church a chest of stone, in which was the body of St. Clement, and by it the anchor with which he had been cast into the sea. This miracle did not happen only that year in which the holy pope died, but it happened also every year, and the sea retired itself three miles, as was said, leaving the way dry for seven days, namely, the day of his martyrdom, and the other six following days."*  Though "travellers see strange sights," no modern tourist has related this annual miracle, which is still performed by the sea in the neighbourhood of Rome, on the days aforesaid, as duly and truly as the annual liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius at Naples—"or, if not, why not?"
Protestants, in London, are reminded of St. Clement's apocryphal death by his anchor being the weathercock that "turns and turns," to every wind, on the steeple of the parish church of St. Clement Danes in the Strand. It denotes the efflux of time as a minute-hand upon the clock; it denotes the limits of the parish as a mark upon the boundary stones; it graces the beadles' staves; and on the breasts of the charity children is, in the eyes of the parishioners, "a badge of honour."
It appears from a state proclamation, dated July 22, 1540, that children were accustomed to be decked, and go about on St. Clement's day in procession. From an ancient custom of going about on the night of this festival to beg drink to make merry with, a pot was formerly marked against the 23d of November upon the old clog-almanacs.†
St. Clement is the patron of blacksmiths. His quality in this respect is not noticed by Brand, or other observers of our ancient customs, nor do they mention any observances by that trade in commemoration of his festival. But the following communications will show the estimation wherein he is held among the "cunning workmen in iron."
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.
Chancery-lane, Nov. 19, 1825.
As secretary of the "Benevolent Institution of Smiths," I take the liberty of jogging your memory. I hope you will not forget our St. Clement, (Nov. 23,) in your interesting Every-Day Book. When I was a child, an old man went about in the trade, reciting the following ode on smithery, which, I believe, is very old. If you think it worthy a place in your work, it will much oblige me and our trade; for it is now quite forgot, with many good customs of hospitality of the olden days which are no more. I hope you will cull your flowers of antiquity, and collect all you can for our trade; there is a story of St. Dunstan, the smith, with his tongs, pinching the devil by the nose, &c.
An Ode on Smithery, 1610.
"By reading of old authors we do find
The smiths have been a trade time out of mind;
And it's believed they may be bold to say,
There's not the like to them now at this day.
For was it not for smiths what could we do,
We soon should loose our lives and money too;
The miser would be stript of all his store,
And lose the golden god he doth adore:
No tradesman could be safe, or take his rest
But thieves and rogues would nightly him molest;
It's by our cunning art, and ancient skill,
That we are saved from those who would work ill.
The smith at night, and soon as he doth rise,
Doth always cleanse and wash his face and eyes;
Kindles his fire, and the bellows blows,
Tucks up his shirt sleeves, and to work he goes:
Then makes the hammer and the anvil ring,
And thus he lives as merry as a king.
A working smith all other trades excels,
In useful labour wheresoe'er he dwells;
Toss up your caps ye sons of Vulcan then,
For there are none of all the sons of men,
That can with the brave working smiths compare,
Their work is hard, and jolly lads they are.
What though a smith looks sometimes very black,
And sometimes gets but one shirt to his back
And that is out at elbows, and so thin
That you through twenty holes may see his skin;
Yet when he's drest and clean, you all will say,
That smiths are men not made of common clay.
They serve the living, and they serve the dead,
They serve the mitre, and the crowned head;
They all are men of honour and renown,
Honest, and just, and loyal to the crown.
The many worthy deeds that they have done,
Have spread their fame beyond the rising sun
So if we have offended rich or poor,
We will be good boys, and do so no more.
I hope you will polish up for insertion. I will call for the old copy at your office: I should have sent it sooner, but could not find it, and the trouble it has cost me has made it valuable.
I remain, &c.
The editor has given the "ode" without Mr. Johnson's alterations and additions, because its original state is better suited to convey a notion of his predecessors' manners; for the same reason, his suggestion to "polish up" has been declined. The homliness of those who preceded him is not discreditable to him, or any of the brethren of his trade. They are daily increasing in respectability, and ought to be a thriving branch. Compared with those who lived before them, they have extraordinary means of becoming acquainted with the principles of their varied manufacture, by becoming members of the Mechanics' Institution. Many blacksmiths have already joined that society. A diligent and good hand who knows more than his fellows, will be the best workman, and get the most money; and frugality abroad, and economy at home, will secure his independence. Attendance at the Mechanics' Institution will teach these things: and St. Clement cannot be better honoured than by observing them.
ST. CLEMENT, at Woolwich.
R. R. obligingly communicates with his name, the following account of an annual ceremony on the evening of St. Clement's day, by the blacksmiths' apprentices of the dockyard there.
(For the Every-Day Book.)
One of the senior apprentices being chosen to serve as old Clem, (so called by them,) is attired in a great coat, having his head covered with an oakham wig, face masked, and a long white beard flowing therefrom; thus attired, he seats himself in a large wooden chair, chiefly covered with a sort of stuff called buntin, with a crown and anchor, made of wood, on the top, and around it, four transparencies, representing "the blacksmiths' arms," "anchor smiths at work," "Britannia with her anchor," and "Mount Etna." He has before him a pair of tongs and wooden hammer which, in general, he makes good use of whilst reciting his speech. A mate, also masked, attends him with a wooden sledge-hammer; he is also surrounded by a number of other attendants, some of whom carry torches, banners, flags, &c.; others battle-axes, tomahawkes, and other accoutrements of war. This procession, headed by a drum and fife, and six men with old Clem mounted on their shoulders, proceed round the town, stopping and refreshing at nearly every public house, (which, by the by, are pretty numerous,) not forgetting to call on the blacksmiths and officers of the dockyard: there the money-box is pretty freely handed, after old Clem and his mate have recited their speeches, which commence by the mate calling for order, with
"Gentlemen all, attention give,
And wish St. Clem, long, long to live."
Old Clem then recites the following speech:—
"I am the real St. Clement, the first founder of brass, iron, and steel, from the ore. I have been to Mount Etna, where the god Vulcan first built his forge, and forged the armour and thunderbolts for the god Jupiter. I have been through the deserts of Arabia; through Asia, Africa, and America; through the city of Pongrove; through the town of Tipmingo; and all the northern parts of Scotland. I arrived in London on the twenty-third of Nivember, and came down to his majesty's dockyard, at Woolwich, to see how all the gentlemen Vulcans came on there. I found them all hard at work, and wish to leave them well on the twenty-fourth."
The mate then subjoins:—
"Come all you Vulcans stout and strong,
Unto St. Clem we do belong,
I know this house is well prepared
With plenty of money and good strong beer,
And we must drink before we part,
All for to cheer each merry heart.
Come all you Vulcans, strong and stout,
Unto St. Clem I pray turn out;
For now St. Clem's going round the town,
His coach and six goes merrily round.
Huzza, —a, —a."
After having gone round the town and collected a pretty decent sum, they retire to some public house, where they enjoy as good a supper as the money collected will allow.
Convex Wood Sorrel. Oxalis convexula.
Dedicated to St. Clement.
Notes [all notes are Hone's unless otherwise indicated]:
1. Ribadeneira. [return]
2. Plot's Staffordshire. [return]