Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 10.djvu/63

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9.s.x. JULY 19, 1902.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


and is "forced to confess that every great day of festival and fast and every popular ceremony and rite pressed into the Christian theology were pre-identified in these islands," and goes on to refer to the Egyptian gene- trix, the "goddess of the hinder quarter," as follows :

"In the 'Witches' Sabbath' the eye-witnesses tell us how they joined hands and formed a circle, standing face outwards, and how, at certain parts of the dance, the buttocks were clashed together in concert, in the worship of the goddess ; and at one time a ceremony was observed at Birmingham on Easter Monday, called ' clipping the church,' when the first comers placed themselves hand in hand with their backs to the church and thus gradually formed a chain of sufficient length to embrace the building. In our Easter and Pa^sch we have the same season doubly derived from Hest and Pasht, two Egyptian goddesses. The term Easter denotes the division of Hest, the British Eseye and Egyptian Isis, who was the earlier Taurt, whence Hes-ta-urt, Astarte, Ishtar, and Eostre. She was the Sabean- lunar genitrix. Pasht is the later solar goddess, whose name denotes the division of Easter. Both Hest and Pasht were typified by the seat, the hind quarter, which became the seat of worship, as the church, just as Stonehenge had been the seat of

Eseye About the end of the sixth century it was

discovered that the difference in point of time between the British Pasag, as celebrated by the natives (as Christians or pre-Christians), and the Easter ceremonies as observed in Rome was an entire month. This means that the festival had been kept in the British Isles for 2,155 years pre- vious to the sixth Century, and the people were behind solar time to that extent, on account of their not having readjusted the time of the feasts, fairs, and fasts by which the reckoning was kept."

From his reference to Birmingham "at one time" the researchful author was evidently not aware that the ancient pagan rite is, as related by your correspondents, still observed in certain country districts. I may add, for the information of those interested in British symbolical customs, that they will find much concerning them in the first volume of Mr. Massey's work (Williams & Norgate, 1881). DOUGLAS OWEN.

Savile Club.

"AUTOCRAT" IN RUSSIAN (9 th S. x. 6). The Rev. Jonas Dennis, in ' A Key to the Regalia ' (London, 1820), p. 54, says :

" The Emperors of Russia, on the contrary, while they demand the spiritual benediction of the Church at their Coronation, refuse to let the Crown be placed upon their heads by the hands of eccle- siastics, ana actually have the presumption to crown themselves. The rejection of the ministra- tion of ecclesiastics is evidently the result not of accident, but of design, and appears intended to support the assumption of the arrogant title of Autocrat, or self-created potentate."

It would be interesting to know which, if any, of the statements made in this extract

are true. For a long time it was an article of faith at Moscow that the first Emperor of Russia was crowned by a bishop deputed for that purpose by one of the Byzantine emperors, and that part of the Russian regalia could be traced back to that inter- esting ceremony. This, however, was a pious fiction. W. R. BARKER.

MERRY ENGLAND AND THE MASS (9 th S. ix. 508). A passage in Becon I have not the reference seems to indicate a prevailing idea in England that the sight of the Host at the elevation brought joy to the heart. Becon describes how at this moment in the service a man would jostle his neighbour in his eagerness to look on the Holy Sacrament, exclaiming that he "could not be blithe until he had seen his Lord God that day," or words to that effect. This possibly accounts for the sixteenth -century saying quoted by MR. NORTH. A. H. BAVERSTOCK.

ARTHUR'S CROWN (9 th S. ix. 388, 491). I am obliged to MR. KREBS for his reply at the* last reference. May I now supplement ray first query by asking whether there is any evidence extant connecting this crown with Arthur ? When is it first mentioned as a heirloom of the house of Gwynedd or other Welsh kings? , C. C. B.

"SIXES AND SEVENS" (9 th S. ix. 427). In the process of teaching the elements of arith- metic, either by means of the abacus or by counting the digits of each hand in reckon- ing a decade, it would be comparatively easy to count as far as " five," while confusion would probably arise in the infant mind at the second stage of the enumeration, begin- ning with " six and seven," and it is worthy of note that both Chaucer and Shakespeare use the phrase, not in the plural, as the modern form has it, but in the singular, " at six and seven." In Chaucer's ' Troilus,' iv. 622, the sense is evidently that of "to confound " : ,

Let not this wreched wo thyne herte gnawe, But, manly, set the worlde on six and sevene, And if thou deye a martyr, go to hevene.

In the sense of confusion Shakespeare ('Richard II.,' II. ii. 122) has :

All is uneven, And everything is left at six and seven.

I think, therefore, that very probably this is the origin of the saying. The horn-book, which sometimes bore the numerals as well as the alphabet, has given rise to several sayings of a proverbial character, as "to know one's book," " as plain as A B C," " to know B from a bull's foot" or " from a battle-