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A WINTER THOUGHT.
BY BERNARD BARTON.
In hours of grief and gloom;
Than in joy's brightest bloom ;
That one bright star above,
To gratitude and love.
When cloudless are the skies,
Till slumber seal his eye;
And heaven is drear and dark,
By that he guides his bark! So clouds have veiled cach star and sun,
Once wont my life to cheer;
By which my course I steer.
My path have long since fled;
My autumn fruit been shed. But thou in winter storms art yet
Unchanged in faith to me; And dear, though hapless seems the debt
I long have ow'd to thee.
This month was dedicated by Romulus to Mars, from whum it was called March. In Saxon, it was called Rethe or Rough Monath, and Lenet, or Length Monath, from the lengthening of the days. Thence the name of Lent.
In France, March was reckoned the first month until 1564, when the commencement of the year was changed to January by Charles the Ninth. In Scotland it was the first month till 1599; and in England partially till the last century.
In France when the co by Charles th 1599; an
1.-ST. DAVID. The fame of this celebrated personage having been so great throughout Christendom, we might naturally expect that the materials for the history of his life would be abundant, and of easy access. But when from the mass which tradition has handed down to us, we throw aside the monkish legends that are related of his birth, actions, character, and death, the facts that remain will be found exceedingly few, and by no means of established authenticity. He is stated to have been the son of Sandde ab Cedig ab Ceredig ab Cunedda, a prince of Ceredigion, or Cardigan, by Non the daughter of Gynyr of Caer Gawch in Pembrokeshire. Other authorities call the lady Melaria, but all agree that she was a nun, wlio became a mother by the forcible violation of her chastity. The period of his birth is assigned to the middle of the fifth century. Cressy* places it in the year 462,
* History of Bittany, Lib. X. Cap. 8.
but the author of his life in the great work of the Jesuits, Acta Sanctorum, in a learned dissertation on the subject, assigns it to the year 445,* while others fix it still later than either of these dates. After receiving the first rudiments of his education at old Menapia, where he imbibed a taste for literature, and determined upon embracing a religious life, he removed to the Isle of Wight to avail himself of the instructions of Paulinus, a disciple of St. Germanus, who at that time presided over a public school for the education of persons designed for the clerical office. Here he remained ten years prosecuting his studies with great ardour and success. At the expiration of this term he returned to his native country, and having fixed his residence in a secluded place called Vallis Rosina, the vale of Roses, he laid there the foundation of a monastic institution, which in the course of time raised the favored spot to the dignity of an archiepiscopal metropolis. David brought together here a considerable body of scholars, some of whom, as Teilo, Aidan, Madoc, Padarn, or Paternus, and Kynedd, became afterwards greatly celebrated for their sanctity. The rules which he laid down for the observance of his followers were exceedingly strict. Every member was bound to labour daily with his hands for the common benefit of the monastery. They were forbidden to receive all gifts or possesssions offered by unjust men, and to cherish a hatred of riches. “ They never conversed together by talking but when necessity required, but each performed the labour enjoined him, joining thereto prayer or holy meditation on divine things; and having finished their country work they returned to their monastery, where they spent the remainder of the day till the evening in reading or writing.
* Acta Sanctorum, Martii Tom. I. p. 39.
In the evening, at the sounding of a bell, they all left their work, and immediately repaired to the church, where they remained till the stars appeared, and then went all together to their refection, eating sparingly and not to satiety. Their food was bread with roots or herbs seasoned with salt, and their thirst they quenched with a mixture of water and milk. Supper being ended, they continued about three hours in watchings, prayers, and genuflextions. As long as they were in the church, it was not permitted to any to slumber, or sneeze, or cast forth spittle. After this they went to rest, and at cock crowing they rose, and continued at prayer till day appeared. All their inward sensations and thoughts they discovered to their superior, and from him they demanded permission in all things, even when they were urged to the necessities of nature.* Their clothing was skins of beasts.”
In the year 519, according to Usher, a Synod was convened at Llandewi Brefi in Cardiganshire, for the purpose of checking the Pelagian heresy, which at this time had re-appeared in the kingdom. To this assembly David, after repeated entreaties, repaired; and with such zeal and success did he preach against the obnoxious doctrines,t that he was, by the unanimous voice of all present, appointed archbishop of Caerleon, in the room of Dubricius, who, on account of his age and infirmities, wished to resign. He is said, however, to have consented to his elevation, only on condition of being permitted to remove the see to Menevia. Some years subsequently, David convoked another assembly of all the clergy of Wales, but for what
* Patrisque licentiam etiam ad naturæ secreta requirebant. Acta Sanctorum ubi sapra, p. 46.
+ See above, page 480.
specific purpose is not now known. Here, the acts and decrees of the Synod of Brefi were confirmed, and some new acts passed for the regulation of the doctrine and discipline of the churches. This convocation is called the Synod of Victory. The decrees of these two Synods were committed to writing by St. David himself, and deposited in the archives of his own cathedral; and having been approved by the court of Rome, were for many ages received by the Welch churches as their rule and directory in all ecclesiastical matters. These ancient documents were in after times destroyed by the barbarian invaders, who repeatedly pillaged the church, and too often wantonly burnt what they found it useless to remove.
The time of St. David's death, and the age at which he died, are as undetermined as the period of his birth. Giraldus and John of Tinmouth state that he died in the year 609 at the great age of one hundred and forty-seven. Pitts places his death in 544, but assigns to him the same incredible length of years. The author of his life in the Acta Sanctorum agrees with this statement as to the time of his death, but makes him only ninety-seven years old; and he suggests that the difference on this point may probably be accounted for by supposing that the dates having been originally written LXXXXVII or CXXXXVII, the first numeral L, was mistaken for C. Usher also concurs in placing his death in 544, but makes his age only eightytwo. He was canonized by Calixtus the second, who held the papal see from A.D. 1119 to 1124.
He was to all a mirror and a pattern of life; he taught both by precept and example : was an excellent preacher in words, but more excellent in works. He was a doctrine to those who heard him, a model to the religious, life to the needy, defence to orphans, support to widows, a father to the