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Or else some lady is humbly bowed to, and gravely addressed with "Ma'am, I beg your pardon, but you've something on your face!" "Indeed, my man! what is it?" "Your note, ma'am—Ah 1 you April fool 1"
The tricks that youngsters play off on the first of April are various as their fancies. One, who has yet to know the humours of the day, they send to a cobbler's for a pennyworth of the best " stir
rup oilthe cobbler receives the money and the novice receives a hearty cut ot two from the cobbler's strap: if he does not, at the same time, obtain the informa tion that he is " an April fool." he is sure to be acquainted with it on returning to his companions. The like knowledge is also gained by an errand to some shop for half a pint of " pigeon's milk," or an inquiry at a bookseller's for the "Life and Adventures of Eve's Mother."
Then, in-door young ones club their wicked wits,
And almost frighten servants into fits—
"Oh, John! James! John !—oh, quick! oh! Molly, oh
Oh, the trap-door! oh, Molly! down below!"
"What, what's the matter!" scream, with wild surprise
John, James, and Molly, while the young ones' cries
Redouble till they come; then all the boys
Shout" Ah! you April fools !" with clamorous noise;
And little girls enticed down stairs to see,
Stand peeping, clap their hands, and cry " te-hee I"
Each gibing boy escapes a different way.
And meet again some trick, " as good as that," to play.
Much is written concerning the custom of fool-making on the first of April, but with this result only, that it is very ancient and very general. As a better opportunity will occur hereafter, nothing will be said here respecting " fools" by profession.
The practice of making fools on this day in North Britain, is usually exercised by sending a person from place to place by means of a letter, in which is written
"On the first day of April
This is called "hunting the gowk;" and the bearer of the "fools' errand'' is called an " April gowk." Brand says, that gown is properly a cuckoo, and is used here metaphorically for a fool; this appears correct; for from the Saxon "geac, a cuckoo," is derived geck,\ which means " one easily imposed on." Malvolio, who had been " made a. fool" by a letter, purporting to have been written by Olivia, inquires of her
"Why have you suffered me to be— —Made the most notorious geek and gull That e'er invention play'd on?"
Olivia affirms, that the letter was not written by her, and exclaims to Malvolio
"Alas, poor/W/ how have they baffled thee I"
• Ennd. t Ash.
Geek is likewise dnrivr.ble "from the Teutonic geck,joc,u."*
The " April fool" is among the Swedes. Tor?en, one of their travellers, says, u We set sail on the first of April, and the nrind made April fools of us, for we were forced to return before Shagen." On the Sunday and Monday preceding Lent, people are privileged at Lisbon to play the fool: it is thought very jocose to pour water on any person who passes, or throw powder in his face; but to do both is the perfection of wit.f The Hindoos also at their Huli festival keep a general holiday on the 31st of March, and one subject of diversion is to send people on errands and expeditions that are to end in disappointment, and raise a laugh at the expense of the persons sent. Colonel Pearce says, that " high and low join in it; and," he adds, "the late Suraja Ooulah, I am told, was very fond of making Huli fools, though he was a mussulman of the highest rank. They carry the joke here (in India) so far, as to send letters making appointments, in the nam« of persons, who, it is known, must be absent from their house at the time fixed upon; and the laugh is always in proportion to the trouble given."J
The April fool among the French is called " «k poisson b 4vril." Their trans
• Jamieson, in Nare'a Glossary.
♦ Southey, quoted in Brand, as also Toreen. t Asist. Res. in Brand, from Maurice.
ormation of the term is not well accounted for, but their customs on the day are similar to ours. In one instance a "joke" was carried too far. At Paris, on the 1st of April, 1817, a young lady pocketed a watch in the house of a friend. She was arrested the same day, and taken before the correctional police, when being charged with the fact, she said it was an April trick (un poiston d'Avril.) She was asked whether the watch was in her custody? She denied it; but a messenger was sent to her apartment, and it was found on the chimney-place. Upon which the young lady said, she had made the messenger tin pouson d'Avrll, "an April fool." The pleasantry, however, did not end so happily, for the young lady was jocularly recommended to remain in the house of correction till the 1st of April, 1818, and then to be discharged as unpoisson d'Avril.*
It must not be forgotten, that the practice of " making April fool " in England, is often indulged by persons of maturer years, and in a more agreeable way. There are some verses that pleasantly exemplify this :f
To a Lady, who threatened to make the
Why strive, dear girl, to make a fool
Of one not wise before,
Would fain go there no more?
Wilt thou, my teacher be?
Which thou canst give to me.
One of thy kind and gentle looks, ) Thy smiles devoid of art,
Avail, beyond all crabbed books,
To regulate my heart.
On any April-day,
Or wander from his way.
Whatever change may be,
And fondly gazed on thee.
Thy spirit placed it there:
thou seest the blossoms here.
* Mom. Chron. June 17, 1817. « Cited by Brand from Julia, or Last hollies 1798, 4to.
Annual Mercury. Mercurialit annuaDedicated to St. Hugh.
St. Francis of Paula. St. Apian, A. D. 306. St. Theodosia, A. D. 308. St. Nicetim, Abp. of Lyons, A. D. 577. St. Ebba, Abbess, and her companions, A. D. 870, or 874. B. Constantine II. king of Scotland, A. D. 874. St lironacha, or Bronanna, Abbess.
St. Francis of Paula
Was a Calabrian, and at fifteen years old shut himself up in a cave, in a rock on the coast. Before twenty he was joined by two others, and the people built them three cells; the number increased, and so arose the order of friar Minims, which means the least of the friars. Constant abstinence from flesh, and all food made of milk or eggs, was one of their rules. In 1479, being invited to Sicily, "he was received there as an angel from heaven, wrought miracles, and built several monasteries." He prophesied, held burning coals in his hand without being burnt, restored his nephew to life, cured people of the plague, received the host with a cord about his neck on Maundy Thursday, died on the 2d of April, 1508, aged ninety-one, and was buried till 1562 when-the hugonots burnt his bones with the wood of a crucifix,
Besides this, it is related, that the elements lost their force against him; thai he walked upon fire; entered into a burning oven without harm ; and made a sea voyage on his own cloak instead of a ship, and had a companion on board with liim.f
According to another account he was much worried by the devil. Once while he was at prayers the devil called him three times by his own name. Another time he was so possessed by the fiend, that he had no other way to get rid of him, than by stripping and beating himself with a hard cord, crying while he did it, "thus brother ass thcu must be beaten;" after which he ran into the snow and made seven snowballs, intending to swallow them if the devil had not taken his leave. Then a whole parcel of devils came one night, and gave him a grievous
• Butler. t ttibadenelra.
beating; this was because he lodged in a cardinal's palace, and it occasioned him to shift his lodging. Afterwards, when at prayers, he saw upon the roof of the house whole companies of these infernals. He was a bird-fancier. A bird sat singing on a fig-tree by the side of his cell, he called it to him; the bird ex. ne upon his hand, and he said to it—" Sing, my sister, and praise the Lord," and the bird sat singing till he gave it liberty to go away. Going to Venice with his companions, and hearing birds singing in a wood, he proposed to sing the canonical hours, but the monks could not hear themselves for the chanters of the grove, wherefore, he entreated the feathered choir to be silent, and they remained so till he gave them liberty to proceed. At another place when he was preaching, he could not be heard for the swallows, which were making their nests; he said to them—" Sister swallows, it is time for me to speak; as you've said enough, be quiet," and so they were. It was customary with him when one of his friars had committed a fault to take off the friar's hood, and throw it into the fire, from whence after staying there a proper time, he commanded it to be restored to the friar, and the hood was then taken out of the fire without having sustained injury. More to the like effect, and of equal credibility, is related of this saint in the Golden Legend. Chronology. 1801. Lord Nelson's victory at Copenhagen, when eighteen sail of the line were either captured or destroyed.
White Violet. Viola alba. Dedicated to St. Francis of Paula.
•#* An Error under the above title having crept into the Kvery-Dny Book, at p. 190, and who extended to the list of "Moveable feasts," the reader will please to correct that list, Cfc. by the following statement.
Shrove Sunday is the Sunday next before Shrove Tuesday. It is also called Quinquagesima Sunday.
Shrove Tuesday is always the seventh Tuesday before Easter-day.
Care, or Carle Sunday is the fifth Sunday in Lent, and the second Sunday before Easter-day.
Maundy Thursday, also called Chare or Shete Thursday, is the day before Good Friday.
Good Friday is the Friday in Passionweek, and consequently the Friday next before Easter-day.
Easter-day is always the first Sunday after the first fall moon, which happens on or next after the 21st of March; but if the full moon happens upon a Sunday, Easter-day is the Sunday following. Octave or Utasofa Feast.
TheOctave or Utas of each feast is always the eighth day after it occurs; for exam pie, the feast of St. Hillary is the 13th of January, hence the octave of St. Hillary is the 22d of January.
■f+t These Corrections would have been madein the sheet itself. but a great number of copies having been printed, before the error was discovered, it became necessary to postpone the rectification. See Note below.*
Easter-day Is distinguished by its peculiar name, through our Saxon ancestors, who at this season of the year held a great festival, in honour of the goddess Eastor, probably the Astarteofthe eastern nations. The French call this festival Pannes, derived from the Greek pascha, which is also derived from the Hebrew pesech, meaning passover; and whence we have the English word paschal, applied to the lamb, which formed part of the . evening meal, the last of which our saviour partook, before his death, with his twelve missionaries. In Cambridgeshire the word pasch is still in use, and applied to a flower which appears at this time on the Gogmagog hills and its environs The day is of importance in a civil, as well as in a religious, light ; for on this day depend the openings of our courts of law, which take place after it, and the festivals of the church are arranged in conformity to it. By the act of parliament on this subject, and the rule given in conformity
* Mr. Nicolas obligingly inform* me, that since his " Sotitia Hlstorica" was printed, he has ascertained that the rule laid down for A'hrove Tuesday, in that work, was not correct, and that having made some alterations in the event of it second edition being demanded, and finding I had cited the part containing the error, he thought it right to send me a copy of his corrections, from whence the preceding list is formed. There can scarcely be a doubt that a second edition of Mr. Nicolas's "Notitia His. torica " will be required speedily, because the1 series of Tables, Calendars, and miscellaneous information which it contains must be eminently useful, not only to the legal profession, antiquaries, and every historical and topograph!; cal inquirer, but to general readers, many of whom daily suffer inconvenience without site* a source of reference. w H
to it in the "Common Prayer-Book," which of course every body has an opportunity of seeing, " Easter-oay » always the first Sunday after the Full Moon, which happens upon, or next after, the ticenty-first day of March; and if the Full Moon happen upon a Sunday, Easterday is the Sunday after."
One would think, that when such precise directions had been given, and the state of the moon on any day is so clearly and easily ascertained, that there would be no difficulty in following them ; but experience has proved that contrary deviations from the act of parliament have been numerous. These have been pointed out at various times, but without any effect on the public. In the year 1735, Henry Wilson, of Tower-hill, styling himself mathematician, denounced the errors on this subject in a very ingenious work, entitled " The regulation of Easter, I or the cause of the errours and differences contracted in the calculation of it, discovered and duly considered, showing— The frequency and consequence of that errour, with the cause from whence it proceeds, and a method proposed for rectifying it, and reconciling the differences about it, and for restoring the time of celebrating that great solemnity in its primitive certainty and exactness, and that without the difficulty and confusion which some have objected would attend such a regulation." 8vo.
Within these few years an error in the observance of Easter took place, and on all the almanacs fixing an improper day for its observance, a memorial was presented to the lords in council and to the prince regent, humbly soliciting their interference on this subject. It was noticed also by Mr. Frend, in his " Evening Amusements;" and a clergyman of Oxford published a pamphlet on the occasion. There was also, we believe, one clergyman, who, disregarding the almanac, obeyed the rubric, and read the services for Easter-day, and the Sundays depending on it, on very different days from those adopted in other churches. It was remarkable also, that in that very year, judge Garrow arrived at Gloucester a short time after twelve o'clock at night, of the day on which the assizes were fr) commence, and the high-sheriff very properly representing his scruples, on the legality of then commencing the assizes, they were delayed till the opinion of the judges could be taken, and the conse
quence was, the issuing of a new writ Thus the difference of a few minutes was considered fatal to the opening of a country court, though the courts of law at Westminster had been opened a few months before, when a much greater error had taken place with respect to Easter-day, on which, as before observed, the opening of those courts depends.
To understand this subject we must refer back to the origin of this festival, instituted in honour of the resurrection of our saviour, which took place on the third day after his execution as a malefactor. Friday had been fixed upon as the day of commemorating his death, and as that took place on the day of ful moon, the first full moon after the twentyfirst of March was fixed upon as the regulator of the festival. The great point had in view was to prevent the festival of Easter-day from being observed on the day of a full moon, but as near to it as circumstances would admit, and in consequence there is a great difference in the times of observing this festival; it being specially provided, however, that it should happen after a full moon. The Jews observe their passover by juster rules; the day for the celebration of it taking place on different days of the week: but the Christians having fixed on Friday for the celebration of the fast on the death of our saviour, the Easter-day, on the following Sunday, was accommo- i dated to it, and both were so fixed, that there could not be a full moon on the Easter-day, nor for some weeks after it.
In this year, 18"i5, the full moon occurs at twenty-three minutes past six in the morning of the third of April; consequently, according to the actof parliament, and the rubric of the church, Easter-day ought to be celebrated on the tenth, and the courts of law ought to open, or Easter term begin, on the twtutyseventh; but our almanac-malers thought good to fix Easter-day on the third, and consequently Easter term is placed by them on the twentieth, on which day it is presumed that judicial proceedings will commence.
ICaster-day is observed all over Christendom with peculiar rites. In the catholic church high mass is celebrated, the host is adored with the greatest reverence, and both Catholics and Protestants might be led from it, to a more particular attention to the circumstances attending its form and substance. The host, do
rived from the Latin word hostia, meaning a victim, is a consecrated wafer, of a circular form, composed of flour and water. Both substance and form are regulated by custom of very ancient date. On the night before his execution, our saviour took bread, and blessing it, divided it among his missionaries; but the bread he took was not ordinary bread, but unleavened bread, such as is used by the Jews during the passover week in the present days. This bread is com
fx>sed of merely flour and water, no eaven during the festival of their passover being permitted to enter the house of a Jew. It is a kind of biscuit of a circular form, and the host thus, by its form and substance, brings us back to the recollection of the Catholics, and the rite celebrated by our saviour. It is the representation of the Jewish cake, or unleavened bread, which is to this day eaten by that nation during the Passover week.
The Protestants nave deviated from this custom, and in their churches use leavened bread, without any regard to form, and they cut it with a knife into small pieces, forgetting that our saviour broke the bread; but some use leavened bread, and, as they cannot break it, they attempt to imitate our saviour's action by tearing it in pieces.
For those who wish to have a more comprehensive view of this subject, the following works are recommended: Cardinal Bona on the mass; Dean Comber on the liturgy; and above all, the Hebrew ritual, which is translated into English, and to which both Catholics and Protestants are indebted for greater part of their services.'
1825. Easter Sunday. The Resurrection.
Sts. Agape, Chionia, and Irene, Sisters, and their Companions, A. D. 304; Sr. Richard. St. Ulpian. St. Nice>as, Abbot, A. D. 824.
St. Richard de Wiche Was born at Wiche, near Worcester; studied at Oxford, Paris, and Bologna; became chancellor to the diocese of Canterbury; and was consecrated bishop of Chichester in 1245, against the desire of
• This article on " Easter" is communicated by the gentleman who farourt-d the editor with the onouuntof the w Vernal Equinox," at p. 375.
Henry III who seized his temporalities. These he regained by replevin, and pleading his cause against the king's deputies before Innocent IV at Rome, a papal decree confirmed his election. Among his clergy he was a strict disciplinarian, and a friend and comforter to the poor Preaching a crusade, according to the fashion of those times, against the Saracens, he fell sick, and died in the hospital at Dover, called GodVhouse, in 125;t, in the fifty-sixth year of his age, and in thu ninth of his episcopal functions. This is a brief character of an exemplary prelate, but the credulous Butler chooses to affirm, that three dead persons were restored to life, and other miraculous cures were worked at his tomb. Father Porter gossips a story of a miraculous flow of unction at his consecration; of a dead-born child having been brought to life by his dead merits; and of the touch of his old clothes having cured the diseased, with other performances, " which moved pope Boniface IV. to enrol him into the number of the canonized saincts." Such wonders have never been performed in our days, and hence late popes have not been able to make saints. If bibles could be suppressed, and the printing-press destroyed, miracles and canonizations would "come in" again.
For particulars respecting Easter-day and Ester Monday, see Easter Tuesday, 5th of April.
Floral Directory. Evergreen Alkanet. Anchusa sempervirus.
Dedicated to St. Agape.
St. Isidore, Bishop of Seville, A. D. 630
Holiday at the Public Offices; except Excise
1774. Oliver Goldsmith died: he was born in Ireland, November 29th, 1728.
1802. Lloyd, lord Kenyon, lord chief justice of England, died, aged 69.
Red Crown Imperial. Fritillaria Imperialis.
Dedicated to St Isidore