Feb. 3.] st. blaize's day. 61
Before the procession started it was addressed by Richard Fawcett, Esq., in the following lines:
Hail to the day, whose kind auspicious rays Deigned first to smile on famous Bishop Blase! To the great author of our Combing trade, This day's devoted, and due honour's paid To him whose fame thro* Britain's isle resounds, To him whose goodness to the poor abounds. Long shall his name in Br1sth annals shine, And grateful ages offer at his shrine! By this our trade are thousands daily fed, By it supplied with means to earn their bread. In various forms our trade its work imparts, In different methods, and by different arts; Preserves from starving indigents distress'd, As Combers, Spinners, Weavers, and the rest. We boast no gems, or costly garments vain, Borrow'd from India or the coast of Spain; Our native soil with wool our trade supplies, While foreign countries envy us the prize. No foreign broil our common good annoys, Our country's product all our art employs; Our fleecy flocks abound in every vale, Our bleating lambs proclaim the joyful tale. So let not Spain with us attempt to vie, Nor India's wealth pretend to soar so high; Nor Jason pride him in his Colchian spoil, By hardships gain'd, and enterprising toil; Since Britons all with ease attain the prize, And every hill resounds with golden cries, To celebrate our founder's great renown. Our shepherd and our shepherdess we crown. For England's commerce and for George's sway Each loyal subject give a loud Huzza. Huzza! Every Pay Book, vol. i. p. 209. See also Northamptonshire Words and Phrases, ii. p. 416.
Minshen, in his Ductor in Linguas, (1617, p. 236), under the word Hock-tide speaks of S. Blase his day, about Candlemas, when countrywomen goe about and make good cheere ; and if they finde any of their neighbour women a spinning that day, they burne and make a blaze of fire of the distaffe, and thereof called S. Blaze his day.
Dr. Percy, in his Notes to the Northumberland Household Book (1825, pp. 333-435), tells us that the anniversary of