Every-Day Book
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December 4.

St. Peter Chrysologus, A. D. 450. St. Barbara, A. D. 306. St. Anno, Abp. of Cologn[e], A. D. 1075. St. Osmund, Bp. A. D. 1099. St. Maruthas, Bp. 5th Cent. St. Siran, or Sigirannus, A. D. 655. St. Clement, or Alexandria, A. D. 189.

Ancient Divinations in Advent.

From the following lines of Barnaby Googe, it appears that rustic young girls in ancient times, indulged at this season in attempting to divine the name of the man they were to marry, from forcing the growth of onions in the chimney-corner, and that they ascertained the temper of the good man, from the straitness or crookedness of a faggot-stick drawn from a woodstack. Advent seems likewise to have been a time wherein the young ones went about and levied contributions.

Three weekes before the day whereon
   was borne the Lorde of Grace,
And on the Thursday boyes and girles
   do runne in every place,
And bounce and beate at every doore,
   with blowes and lustie snaps,
And crie, the advent of the Lord
   not borne as yet perhaps.
And wishing to the neighbours all,
   that in the houses dwell,
A happie yeare, and every thing
   to spring and prosper well:
Here have they peares, and plumbs, and pence,
   ech man gives willinglee,
For these three nightes are always thought
   unfortunate to bee:
Wherein they are afrayde of sprites,
   and cankred witches spight,
And dreadfull devils blacke and grim,
   that then have chiefest might.
In these same dayes yong wanton gyrles
   that meete for marriage bee,
Doe search to know the names of them
   that shall their husbands bee.
Foure onyons, five, or eight, they take
   and make in every one,
Such names as they do fansie most,
   and best do thinke upon.
Thus neere the chimney them they set,
   and that same onyon than,
That first doth sproute, doth surely beare
   the name of their good man.
Their husbandes nature eke they seeke
   to know, and all his guise,
When as the sunne hath hid himselfe,
   and left the starrie skies,
Unto some woodstacke do they go,
   and while they there do stande
Eche one drawes out a faggot sticke,
   the next that commes to hande,
Which if it streight and even be,
   and have no knots at all,
A gentle husband then they thinke
   shall surely to them fall.
But if it fowle and crooked be,
   and knottie here and theare,
A crabbed and churlish husband then,
   they earnestly do feare.
These thinges the wicked papistes beare,
   and suffer willingly,
Because they neyther do the ende,
   nor fruites of faith espie:
And rather had the people should
   obey their foolish lust,
Than truely God to know; and in
   him here alone to trust.


Barbadou Gooseberry. Cactus Pereskia.
Dedicated to St. Peter Chrysologus.