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The following lines relate to the sort of scenes and weather which sometimes prevail on the Vigil of St. Paul:
On St. Paul's Ede, 1823.
And Caecias blows his bitter blaste of woe;
And famished birds are shivering in the snowe.
And at the windows seek for scraps of foode
Right weeting that in need of it they stoode,
The Redbreast welcome to the cotter's house,
The dingie Dunnock, and swart Colemouse ;
The Bullfinch and the Goldspinck, with the king
The Blackbird, wont to whistle in the Spring,
January 25. Conversion of St. Paul. St. Apollo.
The sudden Conversion of St. Paul by means of the Vision of a Blaze of Light may, perhaps, have contributed to make the vulgar and superstitious ascribe to this Feast wonderful powers prognosticative of the future influence of the Sun.
The Festival of the Conversion of St. Paul, whatever the reason of it inay be, has always been reckoned particularly ominous with respect to the future weather of the year; and, what very curious, this notion prevails in many countries distant from each other.
The following Monkish Rhymes seem in the early ages to have been familiar to every body :
Clara dies Pauli bona tempora denotet Anni,
Then wars shall trouble the Realın full oft. According to the old Almanacks, when this day was clear, we are to expect a fruitful year; but it has never been discovered by examination of journals, that after clear
weather at this time of year, Pomona, the following autumn, has evacuated her cornucopia more bounteously than in less auspicious seasons. Cold and clear weather at the end of January is, nevertheless, admittedly both salubrious and productive often of a good Spring. We find the following lines recorded in Bourne's Antiquities of the Common People :
If St. Paul's Day be faire and cleare,
It doth forebode a fruitfull yeare. Hospitian observes – Est hic dies apud plebem criticus, utpote cuius serenitas fructuum abundantiam, venti bella, nebulae pestem, nix et pluvia curitatem indicare creduntur.
Gay advises the rejection of these rules as being superstitious :
All superstition from thy breast repel:
January 26. St. Polycarp. St. Paula.
Waite BUTTERBUR Tussilago alba flowers. We yesterday noticed the Prognostics of the Seasons which our Ancestors made from observing the weather of St. Paul's Day. We shall be more profitably employed, perhaps, today in making ourselves acquainted with the Signs of the change of weather wbich Virgil collected from popular observations, and inserted in his Georgicks.
Numquam imprudentibus imber
Et sola in sicca secum spatiatur arena.
Virg. Geor. lib. i. 592.
Clouds small and round, like a dapple grey, with a North wind, fair weather for two or three days.
Large clouds like rocks, forebode great showers.
Mists, if they rise in low ground and soon vanish, fair weather.
If mists rise to the hilltops, rain in a day or two.
A general mist before the sun rises, near the full moon, fair weather.
If mists in the new moon, rain in the old.
Observe that in eight years time there is as much Southwest wind, as Northeast, and consequently as many wet years as dry.
When the wind turns to Northeast, and it continues two days without rain, and does not turn South the third day, nor rain the third day, it is likely to continue Northeast, for eight or nine days, all fair; and then to come to the South again.
If the wind turns again out of the South to the Northeast with rain, and continues in the Northeast two days without rain, and neither turns South, nor rains the third day, it is likely to continue Northeast for two or three months.
After a Northerly wind for the most part two months or more, and then coming South, there are usually three or four fair days at first, and then on the fourth or fifth day comes rain, or else the wind turns North again, and con. tinues dry.
If the wind returns to the South within a day or two without rain, and turn Northward with rain, and return to the South, in one or two days more, two or three times together, after this sort, then it is likely to be in the South or Southwest, two or three months together, as it was in the North before.
Fair weather for a week, with a Southern wind, will
* The same is observed of the Moon, of whose three several indications the adage says,
Pallida luna pluit, rubicunda flat, alba serenat.
produce a great drought, if there has been much rain out of the South before. The wind usually turns from North to South, with a quiet wind without rain, but returns to the North with a strong wind and rain. The strongest winds are when it turns from South to North by West.
Clouds.- In summer or harvest, when the wind has been South two or three days, and it grows very hot, and you see clouds rise with great white tops like towers, as if one were upon the top of another, and joined together with black on the nether side, there will be thunder and rain suddenly. *
If two such clouds arise, one on either hand, it is time to make haste to shelter.
If you see a cloud rise against the wind or side wind, when that cloud comes up to you, the wind will blow the same way that the cloud came. And the same rule holds of a clear place, when all the sky is equally thick, except one clear edge.
Sudden rains never last long : but when the air grows thick by degrees, and the Sun, Moon, and Stars shine dimmer and dimmer, then it is likely to rain six hours usually.
If it begin to rain from the South, with a high wind for two or three hours, and the wind falls, but the rain continues, it is likely to rain twelve hours or more, and does usually rain till a strong North wind clears the air. These long rains seldom hold above twelve hours, or happen above once a year.
If it begin to rain an hour or two before sunrising, it is likely to be fair before noon, and so continue that day : but if the rain begin an hour or two after sunrising, it is likely to rain all that day, except the rainbow be seen before it rains.
If the last eighteen days of February and ten days of March be for the most part rainy, then the spring and summer quarters will probably be so too: and I never knew a great drought but it entered in that season.
If the latter end of October and beginning of November be for the most part warm and rainy, then January and February are likely to be frosty and cold, except after a very dry summer.
If October and November be snow and frost, then January and February are likely to be open and mild.
More Prognosticks of weather may be found in Forster's Researches about Atmospheric Phenomena, London, 1823; and in Arati Diosemea. "See March 3d of this Calendar.
* This is the formation of cumulostratus called Twaincloud.
January 26 was , in 1821. So the Reader who understands the fall of Leap Year may calculate the day of the week for any ensuing year. The weather, when not frosty, is now usually very wet.
"Wet Weather, from Gay.
O'er the moist Earth in clinking Pattens tread. This Evening is the Vigil of that day when, according to the Old Calendar, the Romans celebrated the dedication of the Temple of Castor and Pollux. As we must regard this as an Atmospherical Fable, and those Deities to have been the phenomena now called Fires of St. Helmo, we may properly notice them on the eve of this anniversary. The alighting of one or of two of them on a ship's mast by night is considered ominous of a storm by mariners, and Horace's invocation of them, for a prosperous voyage for his friend, corresponds with this idea. Castor and Pollux may be seen on the meridian between ten and eleven o'clock to night. Horace observes :
Sic fratres Helenae, lucida sidera,
Ventorumque regat pater.
Gemelle Castor et Gemelle Castoris. “ Castor and Pollux, or the Twin Stars, are two stars in the Constellation Gemini. The former is of the first magnitude, and is in the head of the Twin Castor, in mean longitude 3*. 17o. 44' 10". and latitude 10'. 4'. 20", North. It is also called Apollo. The latter in the head of Pollux, (called sometimes Hercules) is between the first and second magnitude, in longitude 38. 20°. 44'. 55". and latitude 6o. 39'. 59". N. But on account of the precession of the Aequinox we must subtract nearly a wbole sign or 30". to bring our calculation to apply to the period in wbich Catullus wrote.
“ The mythological history of Castor and Pollux informs us that they were originally two heroes in the Argonautio expedition, on whose heads lambent fires were observed playing during a storm, 'which afterwards subsided. When they died and were translated into heaven, their appearance was esteemed a propitious Prognostic to Mariners. To which Horace alludes :
“ Clarum Tyndaridae sidus ab infimis,
Quassas eripiunt aequoribus rates."-Forster's Catullus.
January 27. St. John Chrysostom. St. Julian.
Castoris et Pollucis templum dicatum.-Rom. Cal. St. John Chrysostom, recorded to day, whose surname was given him by St. Ephrem, on account of his eloquence,