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ANALOGY BETWEEN BUTTEBFLIES AND FLOWEBS. 321
butterflies open their pinions to receive his welcome rays; sometimes alternately closing them in fan-like motion, to temper probably his too ardent beams. Sometimes, with the devoted worship of the sun-flower, a butterfly will follow the God of Day in his ascension and decline. Our purple emperor mounts from his leafy throne, the top of an oak or elm tree, to a height invisible, and highest under a noonday sun; then redescending, lowers his flight with the setting luminary.
As the blowing of flowers can be forced or retarded by artificial heat or cold, so it has been found with the emergement of butterflies. Reaumur made many successful experiments by aid of hot-houses, and hens upon various chrysalises, from which he caused the premature evolvement of the perfect insect, and proposed the employment of the same means on a large scale, to cause summer flowers and summer flutterers to appear together in the midst of winter.
Darwin had a pretty fancy, that butterflies usually resemble the flowers they are most accustomed to frequent; and whether this is true or not as a general rule, there is a very large proportion of white and yellow flowers, which are visited perhaps most frequently by an equally large proportion of white and yellowish butterflies. The greater number of blue butterflies are certainly accustomed to frequent the blue flowers roost abounding in chalky soils; and the rich tone of colouring in our autumn flowers harmonises well with that of autumn butterflies. But whether they be or be not dyed usually after the colours of their favourite blossoms, it seems agreed on all hands, that the butterfly form and its fluttering habiliments are always fashioned after the floral pattern, as it prevails in the papilionaceous families of the vegetable world.
This also appears a striking fact as regards the colouring of the butterfly, that it is governed by the same laws which regulate the colour of the flowers in their respective seasons. In spring soft and tender, of a delicate hue, giving the idea of youthfulness and grace; in summer acquiring more variety and depth of colour, like the flowers of the summer field and garden; and in autumn presenting intensity and richness, in wonderful accordance with the oranges, deep purples, crimsons, and rich blues of the autumnal flowers."
THE ANTIQUARIAN MONTH.
"There can be no doubt whatever," says Mr. Soane, in his instructive work, the "Book of the Months," to which we have already been much indebted, " that the English name of this month is derived from the Latin Junius, though in regard to the etymology of the latter the opinions of the classic writers are exceedingly various and contradictory. Macrobius tells us that it was so named either from Juniores, the younger part of the Romans, to whom Romulus assigned the defence of the city, or from the old word Junonius; or from Junius Brutus, because in this month Tarquinius being driven from the city, he in pursuance of his vow dedicated a temple upon Mount Caelius to Carna, the Goddess of the Hinge (Cardinis), who, according to Ovid, by her power opens or shuts all things.
"Amongst our Saxon ancestors this month had various names, and all of them much more appropriate than the one we have borrowed, and retained, from the Romans. It was called ANTIQUAEIAN MONTH.
Weydmonath, from the German weiden, to pasture; Mede- monath; Midsumormonath; Braeckmonath, or Brachmonat, i. e. breaking the soil, from the Saxon brcBcan; Solstitialis; Woedmoneth, i. e. weed-month; and Lida-erra.
"Midsummer Eve, the Vigil of Saint John the Baptist's Day.—June 23. Properly speaking, Midsummer Day denotes the time of the summer solstice, and is not, as many from its name have supposed, connected at all with the idea of middle, though it seems hardly possible to assign anything like a rational derivation to the word mid. In old English, as in the German mit, from which it may have been derived, mid signified with, and adopting Horne Tooke's mode of viewing the prepositions, it had possibly some relation to commencement. Be this as it may, Midsummer Day is now generally understood to imply the twenty-fourth, this change having arisen from the errors and improvements in the calendar, though, as we shall presently see, all the ceremonies, appropriated to it by the Catholics, are in reality nothing more than the old Pagan mode of celebrating the return of summer.
"On the eve of Saint John it was customary, among other observances, to light large bonfires, which at one time were chiefly made of bones and other impurities, if we may believe the Catholic writers on the subject. With them indeed these bonfires had an especial meaning, or perhaps I should rather say they endeavoured to make of the custom a Christian type and symbol, in order to conceal its Pagan origin. For the existence of it we have authorities innumerable. To quote from one only: Durandus has recorded, that men and boys collect bones and other impurities, which they burn, and also carry about burning torches. But it is in the reasons assigned for these observances that we are most called upon to admire the inexhaustible fertility of the author's inventive powers, and his determination at any price to convert Paganism into Christianity. Thus he supposes that these bonfires might be lighted to drive away the dragons, who at this time of the year are flying about in swarms, and who might else drop their spawn into the rivers to the great detriment of water-drinkers and the poisoning of the air in general—or it might be that such conflagrations were intended as a memorial that the heathens burnt the bones of Saint John at Sebaste—or it might signify that on the coming of the new law, the old should cease. Then again the torches are borne about to signify that John was a burning light himself, and the preserver of the light that was to illuminate all—a mode of argument that is absolutely unanswerable.
"The notion of lighting fires to keep off the dragons bears, or seems to bear, a striking analogy to the old solstitial creed, as typified by Hercules slaying the dragons. This matter has been well explained by Gebelin. The solstices were called the head and tail of the dragon, and the caduceus of Mercury is composed of two dragons strangled at the middle, the one male, the other female; the point of union was called Hercules, and Mercury was the inventor of astronomy. The strangling of the two dragons then by Hercules is an allegory relative to the caduceus, or the subject represented by it, and is intimately connected with the year of the agriculturist, of which it makes the commencement. Now if we adopt this ingenious solution of the classic allegory, we cannot fail to see the connection between the old and the more modern superstition. The dragons of Hercules were but types of the solstices, and the dragons of popery, borrowed from the same fable, are but emblems of the same thing. The fires, of course, were intended, as Gebelin well observes, to express the joy of the people at the commencement of the year, for June in the early times was considered to be its commencement. But I cannot agree with him that the custom which prevailed of dancing about the fires and leaping over them was in early times the result of joy, or merely to show agility. Still less can I agree with Moresin, that this custom is a relic of the ordeal, according to which he who passed safely through the flames was held to be innocent; for the bonfires are a much more ancient observance than the ordeal. It is, I should rather imagine, a religious rite of very remote origin, such as I have already spoken of under the month of May, and I need now only add that a similar custom prevailed in the Cerealia, and it is also mentioned in Ovid's 'Fasti' as being of the superstitious ceremonies used in the Palilia, or feasts of Pales, the presiding goddess of gardens.
"These bonfires, however they may have originated, have MIDSUMMEE-BONriEES.
been common on St. John the Baptist's Eve at all times and in all countries. They blazed equally in India and Egypt, in the north and amongst the Druids, from the last of whom the custom was in all probability more immediately derived to us. In Cornwall the day was anciently called Goluan, a word, as Borlase tells us, expressive both of light and joy, while in other parts of the west they had the name of Blessing Fires, a tolerably plain hint of their religious origin. That this has at all times been the notion of the Christian world is plain from the interdictions of the Roman Catholics and the comments of the more rigid dissenters. Prynne, in his 'Histriomastix' (p. 585), quotes the sixty-fifth canon of the sixth Council of Constantinople, wherein we read, 'Those bonfires that are kindled by certaine people on New Moones before their shops and houses, over which also they use ridiculously and foolishly to leape, by a certaine antient custome, we command them from henceforth to cease. Whoever therefore shall doe any such thing, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed; if a layman, let him be excommunicated. For in the fourth Booke of the Kings it is thus written: "And Manasses built an altar to all the hoast of heaven, in the two courts of the Lord's house, and made his children to passe through the fire, &c, and walked in it that he might doe evill in the sight of the Lord to provoke him to wrath."' 'In the months of June and July,' says Stow, 'on the vigils of festival days, and on the same festival days in the evenings after the sun setting, there were usually made bonfires in the streets, every man bestowing wood or labour towards them; the wealthier sort also, before their doors near to the said bonfires, would set out tables on the vigils, furnished with sweet bread and good drink, and on the festival days with meats and drinks plentifully, whereunto they would invite their neighbours and passengers also to sit and be merry with them in great familiarity, praising God for his benefits bestowed on them. These were called bonfires'—(another derivation of the word!) 'as well of good amity amongst neighbours that, being before at controversy, were there by the labour of others reconciled and made of bitter enemies loving friends; and also for the virtue that a great fire hath to purge the infection of the