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week. Heliodorus required Simeon to be more private in his mortifications; “with this view,” says Butler, “judging the rough rope of the well, made of twisted palm-tree leaves, a proper instrument of penance, Simeon tied it close about his naked body, where it remained unknown both to the community and his superior, till such time as it having ate into his flesh, what he had privately done was discovered by the effluvia proceeding from the wound.” Butler says, that it took three days to disengage the saint's clothes, and that “the incisions of the physician, to cut the cord out of his body, were attended with such anguish and pain, that he lay for some time as dead.” After this he determined to pass the whole forty days of Lent in total abstinence, and retired to a hermitage for that purpose. Bassus, an abbot, left with him ten loaves and water, and coming to visit him at the end of the forty days, found both loaves and water untouched, and the saint stretched on the ground without signs of life. Bassus dipped a sponge in water, moistened his lips, gave him the eucharist, and Simeon by degrees swallowed a few lettuce leaves and other herbs. He passed twenty-six Lents in the same manner. In the first part of a Lent he prayed standing; growing weaker he prayed sitting; and towards the end, being almost exhausted, he prayed lying on the ground. At the end of three years he left his hermitage for the top of a mountain, made an enclosure of loose stones, without a roof, and having resolved to live exposed to the inclemencies of the weather, he fixed his resolution by fastening his right leg to a rock with a great iron chain. Multitudes thronged to the mountain to receive his benediction, and many of the sick recovered their health; But as some were not satisfied unless they touched him in his enclosure, and Simeon desired retirement from the daily concourse, he projected a new and unprecedented manner of life. He erected a pillar six cubits high, (each cubit being eighteen inches,) and dwelt on it four years; on a second of twelve cubits high he lived three years; on a third of twentytwo cubits high ten years; and on a fourth of forty cubits, or sixty feet high, which the people built for him, he spent the last twenty years of his life. This occasioned him to be called stylites, from the Greek word stylos, a pillar. This pillar did not exceed three feet in diame
ter at the top, so that he could not lie extended on it: he had no seat with him; he only stooped or leaned to take a little rest, and bowed his body in prayer so often, that a certain person who counted these positions, found that he made one thousand two hundred and forty-four reverences in one day, which if he began at four o'clock in the morning and finished at eight o'clock at night, gives a bow to every three-quarters of a minute; besides which he exhorted the people twice a day. His garments were the skins of beasts, he wore an iron collar round his neck, and had a horrible ulcer in his foot. During his forty days' abstinence throughout Lent, he tied himself to a pole, He treated himself as the outcast of the world and the worst of sinners, worked miracles, delivered prophecies, had the sacrament delivered to him on the pillar, and died bowing upon it,in the sixty-ninth of his age, after having lived upon pillars for six and thirty years. His corpse was carried to Antioch attended by the bishops and the whole country, and worked miracles on its way. So far this account is from Alban Butler. Without mentioning circumstances and miracles in the Golden Legend, which are too numerous, and some not fit to be related, it may be observed that it is there affirmed of him, that after his residence on the pillars, one of his thighs rotted a whole year, during which time he stood on one leg only. Near Simeon's pillar was the dwelling of a dragon, so very venomous, that nothing grew near his cave. This dragon met with an accident; he had a stake in his eye, and coming all blind to the saint's pillar, and placing his eye upon it for three days without doing harm to any one, Simeon ordered earth and water to be placed on the dragon's eye, which being done, out came the stake, a cubit in length; when the people saw this miracle, they glorified God, and ran away for fear of the dragon, whe arose and adored for two hours, and returned to his cave. A woman swallowed a little serpent, which tormented her for many years, tih she came to Simeon, who causing earth and water to be laid on her mouth, the little serpent came out four feet and a half long. It is affirmed by the Golden Legend, that when Simeon died, Anthony smelta precious odour proceeding from his body; that the birds cried so much, that both men and beasts cried; that an angel came down in a cloud; that the patriarch of Antioch taking Simeon's beard to put among his relics, his hand withered, and remained so till multitudes of prayers were said for him, and it was healed: and that more miracles were worked at and after Simeon's sepulture, than he had wrought all his life.
1724. Jan. 5. An extraordinary instance of longevity is contained in a letter dated the 29th of January, 1724, from M. Hamelbranix, the Dutch envoy at Vienna, to their high mightinesses the states general, and published in a Dutch dictionary, “Het Algemeen historisch, geographisch en genealogisch Woordenbock,” by Luiscius. It relates to an individual who had attained the extraordinary age of one hundred and eighty-five years.
“Czartan Petrarch, by religion a Greek, was born in the year 1539, and died on the 5th of January, 1724, at Kofrosch, a village four miles from Temeswar, on the road leading to Karansebes. He had lived, therefore, a hundred and eightyfive years. At the time when the Turks took Tenneswar from the Christians, he was employed in keeping his father's cattle. A few days before his death he had walked, with the help of a stick, to the post-house at Kofrosch, to ask charity from the travellers. His eyes were much inflamed, but he still enjoyed a little sight. His hair and beard were of a greenish, white colour, like mouldy bread; and he had a few of his teeth remaining. IIis son, who was ninety-seven years of age, declared his father had once been the head taller; that at a great age he married
for the third time ; and that he was born in this last marriage. He was accustomed, agreeably to the rules of his religion, to observe fast days with great strictness, and never to use any other food than milk, and certain cakes, called by the Hungarians kollatschen, together with a good glass of brandy, such as is made in the country. He had descendants in the fifth generation, with whom he sometimes sported, carrying them in his arms. His son, though ninety-seven, was still fresh and vigorous. When field marshal count Wallis, the commandant of Temeswar, heard that this old man was taken sick, he caused a portrait of him to be painted, and when it was almost finished he expired.” 1808. Early in January, this year, the shaft of death supplied another case of longevity. At the advanced age of 110 years, died Dennis Hampson, the blind bard of Maggiligan, of whom an interesting account has been given by lady Morgan, in “The Wild Irish Girl.” The “ Athenaeum,” from whence this notice is extracted, relates, that only a few hours before his decease he tuned his harp, that he might have it in readiness to entertain sir H. Bruce's family, who were expected to pass that way in a few days, and who were in the habit of stopping to hear his music; suddenly, however, he felt the a proach of death, and calling his family around him resigned his breath without a struggle, and in perfect possession of his faculties to the last moment. A kindred spirit produced the following tribute to the memory of this “ aged son of song.” He was the oldest of the Irish bards.
The fame of the brave shall no longer be sounded,
Maggiligan rocks, where his lays have resounded,
For, Hampson, no more shall thy soul-touching finger
No more near thy hut shall the villagers linger,
No more thy harp swells with enraptured emotion,
Yet vigour and youth with bright visions had fired thee,
The songs of the sweet bards of Erin inspired thee,
Yes, oft hast thou sung of our kings crown'd with glory,
And oft hast thou sung of the bards famed in story,
Thy grave shall be screen'd from the blast and the billow, Around it a fence shall posterity raise;
Erin's children shall wet with their tears thy cold pillow, Her youths shall lament thee, and carol thy praise.
This is the eve of the Epiphany, or Twelfth-night eve, and is a night of preparation in some parts of England for the merriments which, to the present hour, distinguish Twelfth-day. Dr. Drake mentions that it was a practice formerly for itinerant minstrels to bear a bowl of spiced-wine to the houses of the gentry and others, from whom they expected a hospitable reception, and, calling their bowl a wassail-bowl, to drink wassail to their entertainers. These merry sounds of mirth and music are not extinct. There are still places wherein the wandering blower of a clarionet, and the poor scraper
of as poor a fiddle, will this evening strain their instruments, to charm forth the rustic from his dwelling, and drink to him from a jug of warm ale, spiced with a race of ginger, in the hope of a pittance for their melody, and their wish of was— sail. Of the wassail-bowl, much will appear before the reader in the after pages of this work. In certain parts of Devonshire, the farmer, attended by his workmen, with a large pitcher of cider, goes to the orchard this evening; and there, encircling one of the best bearing trees, they drink the following toast three times:
“Here's to thee, old apple-tree, hence thou mayst bud, and whence thou mayst blow! And whence thou mayst bear apples enow ! Hats full! caps full! Bushel—bushel—sacks full, And my pockets full too! Huzza!”
This done, they return to the house, the doors of which they are sure to find bolted by the females, who, be the weather what it may, are inexorable to allentreaties to open them till some one has guessed at what is on the i. which is generally some nice little thing, difficult to be hit on, and is the reward of him who first names it. The doors are then thrown open, and the lucky clodpole receives the tit-bit as his recompense. Some are so superstitious as to believe, that if they neglect this custom, the trees will bear no apples that year. To the preceding particulars, which are related in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1791, may be added that Brand, on the authority of a Cornishman, relates it as a custom with the Devonshire people to go after supper into the orchard, with a large milk-pan full of cider, having roasted apples pressed into it. “Out of this each person in company takes, what is called a clayen cup, that is an earthenware cup full of liquor, and standing under ... of the more fruitful
apple-trees, passing by those that are not good bearers, he addresses it in the following words: “Health to thee, good apple-tree, Well to bear, pocket-fulls, hat-fulls, Peck-fulls, bushel-bag-fulls P And then drinking up part of the contents, he throws the rest, with the fragments of the roasted apples, at the tree. At each cup the company set up a shout.” Pennant, in his tour in Scotland, says respecting this custom, that after they have drank a cheerful glass to their master's health, with success to the future harvests, and expressed their good wishes in the same way, they feast off cakes made of caraways and other seeds soaked in cider, which they claim as a reward for their past labours in sowing the grain. “This,” says Pennant, “seems to resemble a custom of the ancient Danes, who, in their addresses to their rural deities, emptied, on every invocation, a cup in honour of them.” So also Brand tells us that, in Herefordshire, “at the approach of evening on the vigil of the twelfth day, the farmers, with their friends and servants, meet together, and about six o'clock walk out to a field where wheat is growing. In the highest part of the ground, twelve small fires and one large one are lighted up. The attendants, headed by the master of the family, pledge the company in old cider,which circulates freely on these occasions. A circle is formed round the large fire, when a general shout and hallooing takes place, which you hear answered from all the adjacent villages and fields. Sometimes fifty or sixty of these fires may be all seen at once. This being finished, the company return home, where the good housewife and her maids are preparing a good supper. A large cake is always provided, with a hole in the middle. After supper, the company all attend the bailiff (or head of the oxen) to the wain-house, where the following particulars are observed. The master, at the head of his friends, fills the cup, (generally of strong ale,) and stands opposite the first or finest of the oxen. He then pledges him in a curious toast: the company follow his example with all the other oxen, addressing . by his name. This being finished, the large cake is produced, and, with much ceremony, put on the horn of the first ox, through the hole above-mentioned. The ox is then tickled, to make him toss his head: if he throw the cake behind, then it is the mistress's perquisite; if before, (in what is termed the boosy,) the bailiff himself claims the prize. The company then return to the house, the doors of which they find locked, nor will they be opened tili some joyous songs are sung. On their gaining admittance, a scene of mirth and jollity ensues, and which lasts the greatest part of the night.” Mr. Beckwith relates in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1784, that “near Leeds, in Yorkshire, when he was a boy, it was customary for many families, on the twelfth eve of Christmas, to invite their relations, friends, and neighbours, to their houses, to play at cards, and to partake of a supper, of which minced pies were an indispensable ingredient; and after supper was brought in, the wassail cup or wassail bowl, of which every one partook, by taking with a spoon, out of the ale, a roasted apple, and eating it, and then drinking the healths of the company out of the bowl, wishing them a merry Christmas and a happy new year. (The festi
val of Christmas used in this part of the country to hold for twenty days, and some persons extended it to Candlemas.) The ingredients put into the bowl, viz. ale, sugar, nutmeg, and roasted apples, were usually called lambs'-wool, and the night on which it is used to be drunk (generally on the twelfth eve) was commonly called Wassil eve.” The glossary to the Exmore dialect has “Watsail—a drinking song on twelfth-day eve, throwing toast to the apple-trees, in order to have a fruitful year, which seems to be a relic or the heathen sacrifice to Pomona.” Brand found it observed in the ancient calendar of the Romish church, that on the fifth day of January, the eve or vigil of the Epiphany, there were “kings created or elected by beans;” that the sixth of the month is called “The Festival of Kings;” and “that this ceremon of electing kings was continued wi feasting for many days.” Twelfth-night eve or the vigil of the Epiphany is no way observed in London. There Twelfth-day itself comes with little of the pleasure that it offered to our forefathers. Such observances have rapidly disappeared, and the few that remain are still more rapidly declining. To those who are unacquainted with their origin they afford no associations to connect the present with former ages; and without such feelings, the few occasions which enable us to show a hospitable disposition, or from whence we can obtain unconstrained cheerfulness, will pass away, and be remembered only as having been.
St. Melanius. St. Peter. St. Vilam 2non.
St. Peter was a disciple of Gregory the Great, the first abbot of St. Augustine's monastery at Canterbury, and drowned in 608 while proceeding on a voyage to France. According to Cressy, the inhabitants buried his body without knowing any thing about him, till “a heavenly light appeared every night over his sepulture,” when they held an inquest, and a count Fumert buried him in the church of Boulogne. From a quotation in Patrick, it appears that a weasel who gnawed his robe was found dead upon it for his sauciness.