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Be this as it may. Even if relig-
ion inspired them with such thoughts,
they certainly were not insensible to
the beauty which daily blossoms in
the sky. "There is,** cries St. Chry-
sostom, << a meadow on the earth and
a meadow, too, in the sky. There
are the various flowers of the stars,
the rose below, the rainbow above."*
^ Look up to heaven," he says, "and
see how much more beautiful it is than
the roof of palaces. The pavement of
the palace above is much more grand
than the roof below.^f His writings
are fuU of metaphors drawn from the
sky .and the clouds. He speaks of
^snow-storms of miracles," and
" thick-falling showers of cares," and
cries, "When God doth comfort,
though sorrows come upon thee by
thousands like snow-flakes, thou shalt
be above them all." He reproaches
men for looking down like swine to
the earth, and not up to the sky,|
which he declares is the fairest of
roofs, guiding them by its beauty to
their Maker.§ And filled with that
democratic spirit which so bums in aU
his writings, he cries to the poor man,

* ** Homilies on tta« Stataes.** Th« Oxford
t ** Homiliee on 1 Thetsalonians iv. 19."
i " Homillefl on St. Matthew." Part IL
I " HomUieB on St John." Part U.

" Seest thou this heaven here, how beau-
tiful, how vast it is, how it is placed on
high ? This beauty the rich man en-
joyeth not more than thou, nor is it
in his power to thrust thee aside, and
make it all his own ; for as it was
made for him, so it was, too, for thee.
...... Do not all enjoy it

equally — rich and poor ?

Yea, rather, if I must speak somewhat
marvellously, we poor ei\joy it more

than they The poor

more than any enjoy the luxury of
the elements." *

The passage is full <^ the deepest in-
terest. Mr. Ruskin has shown us
with what mixed feelings the Greeks
loved the clouds, and how the med-
iievalist feared them. It would be
well to know how they have been and
are still viewed in England by the
lower classes. For, as we before wd,
the upper classes care little about the
clouds. The iio^ ijfdpai (change-
ful days) of England pass by unno-
ticed, except to fill up a gap in a
conversation. St. Swithin is our na-
tional saint, but we are not enthupias-
tic devotees. Only when a picnic or
a cricket match is involved do we
trouble ourselves about the clouds.
Then the barometer is studied, and the
weathercock becomes an object of in-
terest. In short, only when our pleas-
ures are at stake do we care whether
the day is wet or fine. On the other
hand, life with the poor, man depends
on the weather. Three continuous
wet days in London throw no less than
twenty thousand people out of em-
ployment. Fine weather is the po<^
man's bread-winner, his comforter,
his physician. He may therefore be
pardoned if, with Ulysses, he in the
first place regards it from an economic&l
point of view. Thus the laborers in
the north midland counties speak of
showery weather as " riph weather,*'
-—that is, not only enriching the crops,
but themselves. On the cotitraiy, aa
producing a different effect on their
^calling, Sie sailors on the north-east

* '' HomlUea on % Corinthiana."

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coast speak of sucli weather as '' shab-
by weather/' and call rain — ^useless to
them — ^^dirt." This indeed mast be
the case. In the lowest as in the
earliest stages of society, this utilitap
liaa spirit — not necessarily base, but
co-existent with eren a passionate
lore of beauty — ^most prevail The
laborer whose da/s wage depends on
the clouds, and the fisherman whose
meal rests with the winds^ will natui^
ally first think of them as subservient
to the needs of life. Badly clothed,
and ill-fed, they cannot possibly appre-
ciate Mr. Kingsle/s admiration of the
east wind. The fisherman only knows
it as producing a dearth of fish. To
the midland peasant it is his '^red
wind," — -just as Virgil spoke of niger-
rimui Auster^ and as the Greeks called
the north wind ^ the black wind," still
the 6u0 of the Mediterranean. In
the east of England the nightingale is
not the bird of song, not Ben Jonson's
**dear good angel of the spring," but
the « bw-ley-biid," because it arrives
when the barley is sown. For, on the
whole, barley is more important to the
peasant than song, and therefore the
bird is thus called. Nevertheless the
song may be highly prized, but it is
still secondary. Thus we stumble
upon a curious explanation of the util-
itarian spirit observed in Homer and
the earliest pamters. And the terms
of oar country-people throw a plain
light upon the Homeric epithets ^ fruit-
ftd* <^i<k)yior),and "loamy" (ipii9«^of),
applied to the earth ; and the phrases
of oar fishermen curiously illustrate
the terms "barren" (irpvyevof), and
" teeming with fish" {ixdvotio)^ as ap-
plied to the sea. Society in the same
or parallel stage ever gives the same

The reality, too, of the elements, as
Lear and Jacques would say, touches
the poor to the quick. Hence in the
north they simply call rain "waters,"
just in the same way as the Greeks
used if^u^ whilst in the midland coun-
ties they nearly as often say "it is wet-
ting AS " it is raining." Their pro-
yeiiM^ too^ smack of the fierceness of

men who have struggled with the
storm. So the Anglian countryman
sings of the first three days of

" First comefl Dayld, then comes Chad.
Then comes Wlnnol blowing like mad.'*

Their vocabulary, too, teems with
words expressive of every shade and
variety of weather. Our skies and
clouds have entered far more into the
composition of popular phrases than
we are commonly aware. Such triv-
ial expressions as "being under a
cloud," "laying up for a rainy day,"
unconsciously reflect the character of
our weather. Its power overshadows
even the altar and the grave in the
common rhyme :

"Ilappj the bride whom the son shines on.
Happy the dead whom the rain rains on."

And the rhyme at one time really ex-
ercised a spelL You find it used by
lovers amongst our Elizabethan dra-
matists, who 80 faithfully reflected the
spirit of the day. Thus, in Webster's
jbackesa of Mcdfy^ Ferdinand cries to
the duchess about her lover :

^* Let not the snn
Shine on him UU he's dead/'

But the poor possess an abundance of
such expressions. And as life is real
to them* so their sayings are quick-
ened with reality* Thus> " to be bom
in a frost^' is in Yorkshire an euf
phemism for being foolish. In the
same county, " to obtain anything un-
der the wind" means to obtain it se-
cretly. In Norfolk the ploughman
says " there is a good steward when
the wind-frost blows." Just consider,
too, the richness of their vocabulary
of weather-terms, and the observa-
tion which it implies. Take York-
shire alone, and there we shall find
"dag,** "douk," "pell," "pelse,**
" rouk," " rag," " sops," all standing
for different kinds and degrees of rain
and showers. There the white win-
ter-mist is the "hag" the hoar-frost
the "rind," the snow-flakes "clarts
of snow," and the summer heat-mist
the "gossamer," as Wedgwood no^

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The Clauds and the Poor.

tices, the Marien fdden of Grermanj.
Go into the eastern conntiefi, and the
dialect is as rich. Th^ sea-mist is the
" sea-fret" and the ** sea-roke." The
heavy rain, which soaks into the earth,
is the ^ ground-rain." The light rain
is the " smur" in Suffolk, the " brange"
in Essex, and the *^ da^' in Norfolk,
from which last word the various cor-
ruptions *^ water-dogs" and ^ sun-dogs"
are formed.

Passing, however, from words, let
us note a few of the weather-rhymes
and weather-proverbs which show
what accurate observers necessity has
made our peasants. There is not a
village where the local phenomena of
mists and clouds are not preserved in
some rhyme. From Cumberland to
JDevonshire the land echoes with these
weather-saws. In the former county
we have— '

"If Bkiddawhathacapf
Criffel woU mil well of that**

In the latter, the rhyme— this time
really a rhyme — ^runs :

" When Hftldon wean a hat,
Let Kenton beware of a skat."

The Warwickshire and Worcester-
shire peasants in the Yale of Evesham
repeat a similar couplet about their
own fircdon, and the Leicestershire
and Lincolnshire churls about their
Belvoir. Weather-rhymes lie treas-
ured up throughout the midland coun-
ties about

** The green-bine mackerel sky,
Never holds three dajra dry;"

in the northern counties about ^ mony
haws, mony snaws," and in the east-
em of the "near bur, rain fur.*' In
England we, too, can rhyme about la
joumee dupU&rin. For centuries the
village poet has sung of" mare's tails"
,and " hen-scrattins," and the great
•" Noah's Ark cloud," and the " weath-
er-head," of the changes of the moon,

** Satnrday change, and Snnday Ml,
Keyer did good, nor never wnU:**

For the peasant in his rude fashion is
a meteorok)gi8t9 and has studied the

ways of the clouds, " water wagons,"
as in some counties he calls them.
From him Aratus might have filled
another Diosemeia, and Virgil improv-
ed his first Greorgic. Our Elizabethan
dramatists have borrowed some of
their most life-like touches from the
peasant's weather-lore. Thus Cun-
ningham, in Beaumont and Fletcher^s
Wit at Several Weapons, says of
wrangling :

** It never comes bnt, like a atorm of hail,
*Ti8 Bare to bring fine weather in the tail on^t.*^
Act. M., Sc 1.

And Webster, borrowing from the
sailor, makes Silvio say of the cardi-
nal that he

" Liftt np hit noee like a fool porpoiao beftve

DuOiess itfMaUfy, Act, Hi., Sc. 8.

Shakespeare borrows from both peasant
and sailor. His finest descriptions of
doud scenery, as we shall show, are
based upon popular phrases. Two
of his most beautiful similes illustrate
the villager's weather lore. Thus Lu-
crece is described :

** And roand abont her tear-distrained eye.
Bine circles streamed like rainbows in tne aky.
Those water-galls in her dim element,
Foretell new storms to those already spent."

And again, in AWs Well that Midi
Well, the countess says to Helena :

" WhaCs the matter
That this distempered messenger of wet,
The many-colored Iris, rounds thine eye r*

Act. L,Se.9.

And the peasant's rhymes and sayings
undoubtedly contain some germs »of
truth, or ihej could never have so
long held their ground. Admiral
Fitzroy, in his " Weather Book," has
rightly given a collection of sudi saws,
though it might with advantage be
greatly enlar^. Science has before
now been forestalled by some bold
guess of the vulgar, j^d oden has
some happy intuition outstripped tlie
slow labor of the inductive process.

But with the English peaaant a
sense of the beautiful accompanies
that of the nsefuL Living ever out
of doors, he names his douds alter
natural objects* He thus gives a real*

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The Cbudi and the Poor.


ifj to them which is unknown to
scientific nomenclatare. The ^ lamb
storms'* of Derbyshire, and the "pewit
storms'' in Yorkskire, significantly
miurk the time of year when the
Jambs are yeaned in the dooghs, and
the pewits return to the moors to
breed. His symbolism is always
trae. The peasant in the eastern
eoonties talks of "bulfinch skies" to
express the lovely warm vermib'cm
tuits of sunset clouds. Tennyson's
**da£hdi[ sky" is not truer, nor
Homer^s gpoKdimrXc^ *Huc more poeti-
caL In Devonshire the peasan has
his "lamb's-wool sky" the tennia
lana vellera of ViigiL In parts of the
midland counties he has his " sheep
clouds " the $ehdffchen am kimmel of
the German, the same clouds which
the Norfolk peasant boy has described
with so perfect a touch :

** Detached io ranges through the air,
Spotleea as snow, and conntlera aa they're fair.
Scattered InnneneelT wide flrom eaat to west,
The beanteona aemblance of a flock at rest."

The Derbyshire countryman knows
the hard stratified masses of cloud
(ewntUo-Miralf) by the happy name of
''rock clouds" and the great white
rolling avalanches (cumuH) as '^ snow
packs" and ^ wool packs " the former
being rounder than the latter, which
lie in folds pressed and packed upon
one another. Further living amongst
hills and mountains, watching them, as
Wordsworth says, "grow" at night,
enlarging with ike darkness, he finely
calls the great hilL at the entrance to
Dovodale, Thorpe Cloud. He had
seen it apparently shift and move with
the changes of light and atmosphere,
and he could only liken it to a doud.
Perhaps, even at times, some fiunt
glimmering might flit across his mind
of the instability of the hills, and the
rack to him thus became a symbol of
the world's unsubstantial pageant.

The midland counties peasant, too,
employs such old-world phrases as
the sun is "wading" when it is strag-
gling through a heavy scud, and the
sun is " sitting" when her dark side is
toned toward the earth. Ibe poets

themselves may be in vain searched
for a finer expression than the first.
The beginning of Sidney's sonnet,
which Wordsworth has adopted,

** With how aad atepa, O moon, thou climb'at
the sky,"

and Milton's description,

** Aa if her head she bow*d
Stooping through a fleecy cloud,"

are somewhat parallel. But the peas-
ant's expression is equally fine. Most
readers of ^Modern Painters" will
remember Mr. Ruskin's vivid descrip-
tion of what he so well calls the ** hel-
met cloud," which rests on the peaks
of mountains. But long before Mr.
Ruskin wrote, the Westmoreland and
Cumberland dalesman named the
cloud that at times floats round the
tor of Cross Fell by the still better
names *^helm doud" and ''helm

We could indeed wish that Mr.
Ruskin had more deeply studied
peasant life and peasant habits. The
meaning of the clouds in Tumer^s
« Salisbury" and «* Stonehenge" would
have then been more thoroughly ap-
preciated. Fine and poetical as is
Mr. Ruskin's interpretation, yet we
venture to think that he misses the
truth when, in this case, he refers
Turner's inspiration to Greek sources.
To those who have lived near the
Plain, and have mixed with the shep-
herds, the meaning and the symbolism
come far nearer home, and more close-
ly touch the heart Tamer was here
no Greek, except as all men who love
beauty are Greeks. Here he was, at
all events, intensely English. Sprung
like so many great poets and painters
from the lower class, he could sympa-
thize with the shepherds of the Plain.
To them, as to the shepherd in the
*^ Iliad," standing on the hill-top facing
the sea, shepherding their flooks, far
away from any village, on the vast
treeless down, the clouds become a
constant source of fear or joy. Their
hearts gladden as the light white
clouds roll up from the English
Channel, and then, as they say, ''purl

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Tk$ CbniA and Ae Poor.

round" and retreat In spring and
summer they joyfullj bail the *^ water
dogs/' the " gossamer'' of the York-
shire peasant, which herald the fine
weather. They, above all other Eng-
lish peasants, solitary on that wide
plain, watch with fear the <^ san*galls,"
Shakespeare's ^water-galls," as the
broken bits and patches of rainbows
are called, hanging glorious, but
wrathftil, in the far horizon. They
mark widi dread ^' the messengers" and
^ water streamers," and at night, too,
anxiously note the amber ^wheel-
cloud" round the moon.

With all this, like a true poet, Tur-
ner sympathized. He entered into the
reality of shepherd Ufe up<m the
Plain ; ks joys and its dangers* In
one picture, therefore, he hiets given
us the rain-clouds showering their
blessings upon man, and in the other
revealed the dread fatalistic power
that ever darkens the background of

But we must leave the peasant, and
turn to the fisherman. More even
than the peasant, he naturally i-egards
the weather in its effects upon his call-
ing. The ram with him — ^we are
speaking more especially now of the
North Country fisherman — ^is " dirt,"
^and a rainy sky a "dirty sky." The
. <* water-galls" of the Salisbury shep-
herd) from which Shakespeare took
those most exquisite similes, have with
him lost their beauty, and are changed
into *i seandevils," evil prophets of
tempest The fiyipg clouds, that her-
ald the storm, are with him " the fly-
ing devil and his imps." He realizes
the danger, and therefore christens
the clouds with rough names.

He too, like the peasant, is learned
in weather-lore, and keeps an alman-
ac of weather-rhymes in his memory.
In such fishing villages as Staithes
and Bunswick, on the north-east York-
shire ooast^ a lai^e collection might
easily be formed. They partake of
the roughness and the truthfulness of
the inhabitants. Such jingles as :

" When wind comes before rain
Then let your topudls renuiln :

Bat if the wind follows rain.
Then yon may cIom reef again,**

are certainly more accurate in sense
than rhythm. Again, the couplet :

" When Uie snn crossoa line, and wind's fn ths

It will hand (hold) that way meaat, first ctuirter

at least,"

contains a warning not always to be
despised. The riddle of the ** brough,"
that amber halo of clouds seen some-
times round the moon, which the shep-
herds of Salisbury Plain call ^the
wheel," and the midland peasants ^ the
burr," is solved by the rhyming ad-

Means a near hand rough/*

But we must not be too critical, and
demand both sense and rhythm. It
is something if in poetry we obtain
truth. At' all events, the Yorkshire
fishermen's rhymes are quite as good
as a great many of those in which
Apollo formerly conveyed his prophe-
cies to mankind. And we think that
Admiral FiUiroy might have profita-
bly added some of them to his collec-

Many a time have we seen at some
little fishing village the fishermen all
detained by some " breeder," or " flyer,"
whose meaning their eyes alone could
read. If the threatened storm has
not visited the coast, yet the heavy
sea tumbling in without a breath of
air has shown that the gale has
broken not far distant. Still mbtakes
arise. Life is constantly sacrificed.
But the glory and the pride of science
is, that, whUst serving the snblimest
ends, it still helps the humblest. We
may be unable to control the dements.
But we shall triumph over the law by
obeying the law. The day will come
when the notion of chance will be al-
together eliminated, and the law bj
which the clouds are governed recog-
nized. And in the blessings of science
f^ men are partakers^ Alike shall
the fisherman steer his crafi with a
firmer faith in the essential goodneaa
of all things, and tbe hand of the air-
tist gain strength md his eye see a

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Tie (Mauds and the Poor.


deq>er beoofyy when each knows that
the clouds are as regular in their
moYements as the stars.

Of course men living bj the sea,
daily watching the clouds, life itself
hanging upon a knowledge, however
uncertain, of the meaning of their
color and their shapes, have naturally
named them in a rude fashion. Lands-
men, who only now and then gaze at
the douds, are apt to regard them as
ever changing. But not ^a wisp"
flies in the hi^est air, not <<a creeper"
rises out of the sea, whose sliapes are
not moulded by a definite law. Day
by day the same forms repeat them-
selves with unceasing regularity. The
douds might be mapped out Uke the
land and sea over which they fly.
More than half a century has passed
since Howard first gave them names.
After him Foister wrote, and like him
illustrated his theory with diagrams
of the principal doud-forms. And
now Admiral Fitzroy has so improv-
ed upon their nomenclature, that there
is not a cloud that cannot be sdentific-
ally named and defined. But our sail-
ors and fishermen have long ago known
these facts. Not a stray waif of film
flecks the heavens which they have not
diristened. They know all kinds and
shapes, from the << crow-nests," those
tiny white spots (cirriti) dotting
the sky, up to the glorious *' Queen
Anne's feather," waving far away into
the horizon its soft downy plume, rip-
pled and barred by the wind.

Thus to take a few examples. The
North Torkahire fisherman has his
<^ dyer's neif," a small dark purple
doud, so called from its supposed re-
semblance to the bhick grained fist
(neif) of a dyer. Some three thou-
sand years ago, Elijah's servant, on
Mount Cormd,- cried that he saw a
little doud rising out of the sea like a
man's hand. Ajid still on the York-
shire coast the fisherman utters the
same language, and knows that cloud
still as the forerunner of storm and
rain. Quite as striking, too, is the
way in which his names of clouds
throw a light upon Shakespeare. All

readers will remember the passage
between Hamlet and Polonins, ending
with " Very like a whale /* a phrase
which has passed into a proverb for
anything very improbable. And no
actor can utter it on the stage without
producing a peal of laughter. Yet
the proverb and the laughter are
equally inappropriate. The names
of the clouds in the passage are all
real names. The " dromedary cloud,"
or, OS Shakespeare calls it, *< the camel
cloud," is well known to si^ilors. It is
a species of cumulus, a white, packed,
humped cloud, and when seen in the
southern hemisphere is stud to foretell
heat ; but, in the northern, cold. It is
also called the ^hunchback cloud."
'' See, there's the hunchback ; look at
its pads," North Country fishermen
will say. The " weasel-cloud" also is
known, though not so well, and is
more often called ^ the hog-eloud" and
the *< wind-bog," from its being the
forerunner of wind. But the " whale-
doud" is as wdl known to sailors,
especially those employed in the
Greenland trade, as the "bridge-
cloud," or "feather-cloud," or any
other well recognized form. "We
shall hae a bit o' a puff, lads. See
that sea-devil ; and yondei^s a regular
finner to the norrard," have we heard
North Sea captains say. A " finner," it
should be explained, is a small whale.
If ever there was a realist, Shake-
speare was. He drew direct from na-
ture* But, like a true artist, he knew
how to mould and shape mere barren
naturalism by the vitalizing power of
the imagination. In its white heat he
fused all things. And so, noting the
common names of clouds as daily used
in conversation by sailors and fishermen
and seafaring folk, he could rise from
the satire of Hamlet to the high pathe-
tic pitch of Antony's speech :

** Sometime we see a cloud that's dragonieh;
A vapor, Hometlme, like a bear or lion,
.A towered citadel, a pendent rock,
A forked mountain, or blue promontory.
With trees upon't, that nod into the world,
And mock onr eyes with air. Thoa hast

these signs ;
They are Mack Tespec^ pageanta.

Brot. Ay, my lord.

Antony, That which is now a he
with a thought

horse, eT«&

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The Chudi and the Poor.

The rtck dlnlimns ; and makes it Indittinci
Mm water la In water.
Sr08. It does, my lord.

Antonv, JUj good knave, Broa, now thy ci^)-
Xren snch a body."

Anttmjf and Ctsopatra^ Act <9., 3e, IS.

Here the whole scene is colored by
the imagination and ennobled b j hu-
man pathos, such as no other man
ever possessed. But the basis oi the
thought is the simplest naturalism,
Buch as other men hild seen and ob-
serred a thousand times before. The
Flying Dragon is mentioned as far
back as the latter part of the sixteenth
century by Hyll in his '' Contempla-
tion of Mysteries/' where the first
rude ideas of weather forecasts may
be found. The <' pendent rock" and
** forked mountain" are nothing more
than the ^ rock-clouds" of the Derby-
shire peasant, conceming which a local
rhyme rups:

** When clonds appear Hke rocka and towere.
The earth*a refreshed by l^rant showera."

We must not, however, lose sight
of our North Country fisherman. If
to him the sky is at times black with
terror, yet it is also splendid with
beauty. In fine weather it is his gar-
den, the heavenly ^meadow," as St.
Chrysostom would say, blossomed
over with flakes and garlands of cloud-
bloom, white and peach-colored. He
has his names for them, his ^'crow
buds," and his " cherry flowers," and
the great ^ tree cloud" with its purple
branches. It is, too, his fairyland full
of loveliest shapes flying and wander-
ing here and there, ** pigeons," as he
calls those white detached winged
"flyers," "flying fish," "streamers,"
and pencilled " plumes."

Thus far of the peasant and the
sailor. They certainly more than any

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