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no reverence to the Sundaie, and therfore this heris wolle I kepe unto ye day of Dome in reproffe of the. Thane he left of all his sharyng and toke the heris of the fiend, and made to brene hem in his owne hand for penaunce, whiche him thought he was worthé to suffre : and bode unshaven unto Monday. This is saide in reproffe of hem that worchen at afternone on Saturdayes."
The Hallowyng of Saturday afternoon is thus accounted for in the Dialogue of Dives and Pauper, 1493 : “ The thridde Precepte, xiv. chap. Dives. How longe owyth the haliday to be kept and halowyd ? Pauper. From even to even. Nathelesse summe begynne sonner to halow after that the feest is, and after use of the cuntré. But that men use in Saturdaies and vigilies to ryng holy at midday compellith nat men anon to halowe, but warnythe them of the haliday folowynge, that they shulde thynke thereon and spede theym, and so dispose hem and their occupacions that they might halowe in due tyme.”
It appears by a Council of William, king of Scotland, A.D. 1203, that it was then determined that Saturday, after the twelfth hour, should be kept holy.' King Edgar, A.D. 958, made an Ecclesiastical law that the Sabbath or Sunday should be observed on Saturday at noon, till the light should appear on Monday morning. Mr. Johnson upon this law says, the Noontide “ signifies three in the afternoon, according to our present account: and this practice, I conceive, continued down to the Reformation. In King Withfred's time, the Lord's Day did not begin till sunset on the Saturday. See 697, Numb. 10. Three in the afternoon was hora nona in the Latin account, and therefore called noon : how it came afterwards to signifie mid-day, I can but guess. The monks by their rules could not eat their dinner till they had said
1 “In Scotia anno salutis 1203, Gulielmus Rex primorum regni sui con. cilium cogit, cui etiam interfuit, pontificius legatus, in quo decretum est, ut Saturni dies ab hora 12 meridiei sacer esset, neque quisquam res profanas exerceret, quemadmodum aliis quoque festis diebus vetitum id erat. Idque campanæ pulsu populo indicaretur, ac postea sacris rebus, ut diebus festis operam darint, concionibus interessent, vesperas audirent, idque in diem lunæ facerent, constituta transgressoribus gravi pæna."-Boet. lib. xiii. de Scot, ex Hospinian. p. 176.
2 “ Dies Sabbathi ab ipsa diei Saturni hora pomeridiana tertia, usque in lunaris diei diluculum festus agitator," &c.--Selden, Angl. lib. ii. cap. 6.
their Noon-song, which was a service regularly to be said at three o'clock : but they probably anticipated their devotions and their dinner, by saying their Noon-song immediately after their Mid-day song, and presently falling on. I wish they had never been guilty of a worse fraud than this. But it may fairly be supposed that when mid-day became the time of dining and saying noon-song, it was for this reason called noon by the monks, who were the masters of the language during the dark ages. In the Shepherd's Almanack, noon is mid-day; high noon, three.” (Johnson's Const. Part 1, Ann. 958. 5.)
In Yet a Course at the Romyshe Foxe, p. 21, is the fol. lowing Processyon upon Saturdayes at even-songe.-“Your holye father Agapitus, popett of Rome, fyrst dreamed it out and enacted it for a lawdable ceremonye of your whoryshe churche. But I marvele sore that ye observe yt upon Saturdayes at nyght at even-songe, he commaundynge yt to bee observed upon the Sondayes, in the mornynge betwixt holie water makynge and high masse.”—“Moch is Saturnus beholden unto yow (whych is one of the olde goddes) to garnyshe the goyng out of hys day with so holye an observacyon. Joye yt ys of your lyfe as to remember your olde fryndes. Doubt lesse yt ys à fyne myrye pageant, and yow worthye to be called a Saturnyane for it.” Hence, without doubt, was derived the present (or, more properly speaking, the late) custom of spending a part of Saturday afternoon without servile labour.!
Wheatley tells us, that in the East, the church thought fit to indulge the humour of the Judaizing Christians so far as to observe the Saturday as a festival day of devotion, and thereon to meet for the exercise of religious duties, as is plain from several passages of the ancients.-Illustr. of the Common Prayer, ed. 1848, p. 186. The religious observation of the Saturday afternoon is now entirely at an end.
With regard to Saturday afternoons, perhaps men who live
"In the year 1332, at a provincial Council, held by Archbishop Mepham, at Mayfield, after complaint made, that instead of fasting upon the vigils, they ran out to all the excesses of riot, &c., it was appointed among many other things relative to holy-days, that, “ The solemnity for Sunday should begin upon Saturday in the evening, and not before, to prevent the miscono struction of keeping a Judaical Sabbath."-See Collier's Eccl. Hist., i. 531.
by manual labour, and have families to support by it, cannot spend them better than in following the several callings in which they have employed themselves on the preceding days of the week. For industry will be no bad preparation for the Sabbath. Considered in a political view, much harm has been done by that prodigal waste of days, very falsely called holy days, in the Church of Rome. They have, however well intended, greatly favoured the cause of vice and dissipation, without doing any essential service to that of rational religion. Complaints appear to have been made in almost every Synod and Council of the licentiousness introduced by the keeping of vigils. Nor will the philosopher wonder at this, for it has its foundation in the nature of things.
I find the following homely rhymes upon the several days of the week in Divers Crab-tree Lectures, 1639, p. 126 :
“You know that Munday is Sundayes brother ;
Tuesday is such another;
The Saturday is half-holiday agen.” Hooker says: “Holydays were set apart to be the landmarks to distinguish times.”
THE BORROWED DAYS. THERE is a singular old proverb preserved in Ray's Collection: “April borrows three days of March, and they are ill.” April is pronounced with an emphasis on the last syllable, so as to make a kind of jingling rhyme with “ill,” the last word in the line.
I have taken notice of this, because I find in the ancient Calendar of the Church of Rome, to which I have so often referred, the following observations on the 31st of March : “The rustic fable concerning the nature of the month. The rustic names of six days which shall follow in April, or may be the last in March.”] There is no doubt but that these observations
1 “Rustica fabula de natura mensis. Nomina rustica 6 dierum, qui sequentur in Aprili, seu ultimi sint Martii."
in the ancient Calendar, and our proverb, are derived from one common origin; but for want of more lights, I am unable at present to trace them any further.
The Borrowing Days, as they are called, occur in The Complaynt of Scotland, p. 58. “There eftir i entrit in ane grene forest, to contempil the tender zong frutes of grene treis, because the borial blastis of the thre borouing dais of Marche hed chaissit the fragrant flureise of evyrie frut-tree far athourt the feildis.” The glossary explains “Borrouing days, the three last days of March :” and adds, “concerning the origin of the term, the following popular rhyme is often repeated :
“ March borrowit fra Averill
Three days, and they were ill." [Brockett, in his N. C. Glossary, gives the following modernised version :
“ March borrowed of April
Three days, and they were ill :
The third was the worst that e'er did blow."]
“ March said to Aperill,
I see three hogs upon a hill;
The three silly hogs came hirplin hanie.” In the Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791, i. 57, Parish of Kirkmichael, the minister, mentioning an old man of the age of 103 years, says: “ His account of himself is, that he was born in the Borrowing Days of the year that King William came in.” A note adds, “ that is on one of the three last days of March 1688."
In the Country Almanack for 1676, among the “remarques upon April,” are the following:
“ No blust'ring blasts from March needs April borrow :
In the British Apollo, vol. iii. No. 18, the meaning is asked of the old poetical saying:
“ March borrows of April
Three days, and they are ill;
Three days, and they are rain.” A. Proverbs relating to the weather cannot be founded on any certainty. The meaning of this is, that it is more seasonable for the end of March and the beginning of April to be fair, but often
“ March does from April gain
Three days, and they're in rain ;
Three days, and they're in wind.” [The following allusion to these days occurs in Poor Robin's Almanack for 1731: “There is an old proverb in antique verse, viz. :
• March borrow'd of April three days and they were ill,
They kill'd three lambs were playing on a hill.' But it is disputed amongst those experienced prognosticators vho carry almanacks in their shoes, and foretel weather by the aching of their corns, or the itching of their elbows, whether these borrowing days be the three last days of March, or the three first of April. Now Easter holidays are come, and young men and maids go a walking, talking, courting, loving, which often ends in marrying; which is a commencement of a lease upon lives, and seldom both live to see it expired.”]
A clergyman in Devonshire informed me that the old farmers in his parish call the first three days of March “Blind Days,” which were anciently considered as unlucky ones, and upon which no farmer would sow any seed. This superstition, however, is now, rapidly disappearing.
These had not escaped the observation of the learned author of the Vulgar Errors. He, too, seems to have been in the dark concerning them ; for he barely tells us, p. 247 : “It is usual to ascribe unto March certain Borrowed Daies from April.”
Dr. Jamieson, in his Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, says: “These days being generally stormy, our forefathers have endeavoured to account for this circumstance, by pretending that March borrowed them from April, that he might extend his power so much longer.” “Those," he adds,