"Martinmass" by John Clare written on 11 Nov 1841.

    ‘Tis Martinmass from rig to rig
    Ploughed fields and meadow lands are blea
    In hedge and field each restless twig
    Is dancing on the naked tree
    Flags in the dykes are bleached and brown
    Docks by its sides are dry and dead
    All but the ivy-boughs are brown
    Upon each leaning dotterel’s head

    Crimsoned with awes the awthorns bend
    O’er meadow-dykes and rising floods
    The wild geese seek the reedy fen
    And dark the storm comes o’er the woods
    The crowds of lapwings load the air
    With buzes of a thousand wings
    There flocks of starnels too repair
    When morning o’er the valley springs

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5 Responses to Martinmass

  1. Geoffrey says:

    Happy Martinmas! As we Portuguese say, “É dia de São Martinho; comem-se castanhas, prova-se o vinho (It is Saint Martin’s Day; we’ll eat chestnuts, we’ll taste the wine).

  2. vincentuher says:

    Yes, today we eat the chestnuts & taste the wine. A joyful Day of St. Martin to you, Father Z. and especially to people of the parishes that bear the honour of his name!

    It has always been important for us on Martinmas to recount stories from the good saint’s life with the younger children doing their best to act out the tales and endear themselves to the grandparents.

    And now with ‘Anglicanorum coetibus’ we can pray for each Anglican parish named for St. Martin to come home to Rome! Laus Deo!

  3. rhetoric57 says:

    Sounds as if it is influenced by Norfolk / Lincolnshire surroundings.
    Definitely reminiscent of GM Hopkins SJ’s “sprung rhythm”

  4. jfk03 says:

    St. Martin was the first of two saints honored at today’s Divine Liturgy. The other was St. Theodore, Abbott of the Studios monastery in Constantinople. He is called “Theodore the Studite.” Theodore’s life spanned part of the 8th and 9th centuries. He was a fighter of the iconoclasts, and his work resulted in the Triumph of Orthodoxy in the 9th century. Both the Orthodox and the Latin churches recognize him as a saint.

    In medieval Europe, St. Martin’s day (Martinmas) was a carnival-like feast because it preceded the Nativity Fast — something that disappeared in the West after the Renaissance. The Nativity Fast is still observed in the East; it is like a little lent: shorter and not quite as strict.

    I believe the Holy Father has invoked St. Martin of Tours in his fight to reclaim Europe for the Christian Faith. He is a truly great saint. It is sad to see him so neglected in these modern times.

  5. Traductora says:

    St Martin’s Day is traditionally the day for slaughtering hogs in Spain (and other parts of Europe, too, I believe). The day itself and several days afterwards are the “matanza,” the slaughter, and this is also the time when people make sausages, blood pudding, etc. There is a saying associated with the day that I have always liked, in a vindictive sort of way. It is often used when talking about offensive politicians and others of that stripe: “A cada cerdo le llega su San Martin,” literally, “To every pig comes his St. Martin’s Day.” In other words, sooner or later, this person is going to get what’s coming to him.

    But the chestnuts and wine are a prettier image…