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sheep-shearing, when they are clipt, and their wool woven by some dexterous hand into an archiepiscopal pall or pallium.
If saints and saints' days were not things altogether beyond the pale of human reason, we might wonder how so bitter an enemy to the marriage state, as far as concerned herself, should ever be induced to reveal to curious maids and bachelors the forms of their future partners in wedlock. Yet so it was. "On St. Agnes night," says Aubrey, " take a row of pins and pull out every one, one after another, saying a pater-noster or our father, sticking a pin in your sleeve, and you will dream of him or her you shall marry." Fasting however, according to some authorities, was a requisite part of the ceremony, or perhaps if this were observed the pin-sticking might be dispensed with. Thus, in the old comedy of " Cupid's Whirligig," the alderman's daughter Nan tells her friend, that she could find in her heart "to pray nine times to the moone, and fast three Saint Agnes' Eves, so that I might bee sure to have him to my husband." So too Burton: "they'll give anything to know when they shall be married, how many husbands they shall have, by cromnyomantia, a kinde of divination with onions laid on the altar on Christmass Eve, or by fasting on St. Agnes' Eve or night, who shall be their first husband; or by amphitomantia, by beans in a cake, &c., to burn the same."
We cannot close this antiquarian lore more agreeably than by giving some portions of Keats's poem of " The Eve of St. Agnes":—
St . Agnes' Eve 1 Ah, bitter chill it was!
They told her how upon St. Agnes' Eve,
Full of this whim was thoughtful Madeline.
Out went the taper as she hurried in,
A casement high and triple arched there was,
Full on the casement shone the wintry moon,
Her vespers done ******
Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees
We live in a land of dreams, in sooth,
We dream o'er the flowers in spring!
Like dew from an angel's wing.
Who hath not dreamed in the falling snow—
The soft and slumbrous snow,
Shed over the world below?
Like the pure and peaceful thoughts which come
To the mild but earnest heart: Gentle, and noiseless, and full of light
As angels' tears may start,
To come to earth in purity,
Like all the gifts of God:
Soon borrow the taint of sod.
The loveliest thing is soonest marred—
The purest, soonest stained;
By her lightest pang was pained.
'Tis sad to see the truth that comes
Like the Heaven-sent, stainless snow, Eeveal the print of the ruthless foot,
With its soil of sin and woe.
But the holy sunshine comes to bless,
To renew the tarnished sod; To diffuse the gift of purity,
And call it back to God.
The stains of earth return to earth
As the body returns to dust;
Like the soul on the wings of trust.
Elizabeth Marianne Sterling.
Bishop Blaise born, 1788.