October Rhymes and Miscellanea

The woods never look more beautiful than from the close of last month to the middle of October, for by that time it seems as if nature had exhausted all her choicest colours on the foliage. We see the rich, burnished bronze of the oak; red of many hues, up to the gaudiest scarlet; every shade of yellow, from the wan gold of the primrose to the deep orange of the tiger-lily . . . and all so blended and softened together in parts, that like the colours on a dove’s neck, we cannot tell where one begins and the other ends.
Chambers Book of Days (1864)


October, the tenth month of the year, was the eighth month of the Roman calendar. Its name is derived from the Latin octo, eight. The Anglo Saxons called it Wynmonath (‘wind month’) and Winterfyllith, the month of the winter moon. The Irish-Gaelic name Deireadh Fomhair, means ‘end of autumn’. In Welsh it is Hydref – the month of autumn, and in Gaelic-An Domhais – the month of deer rutting.


If in October you do marry
Love will come but riches tarry.

Drunk or sober,
Sow wheat in October

A good October and a good blast
To blow the hog, acorn and mast.

Married when leaves in October thin,
Toil and hardship for you begin/

For every fog in October, a snow in the winter, heavy or light according as the fog is heavy or light.

In October dung your field
And your land its wealth shall yield.

A warm October presages a cold February.

As the weather is in October, so it will be next March.

Where the wind is at Hollantide (Hallowe’en) the season of All Saints, it will be most of the winter.

If the October moon comes without frost, expect no frost till the full moon of November.

October hath always
One and twenty fine days.

An October bride is fair of face and affectionate, but she is also jealous.

If the deer’s coat is grey in October, there will be a severe winter.

If the October moon appears with the points of her crescent up the month will be dry; if down, wet.

If during the fall of leaves in October many leaves remain hanging and wither on the bough, a frosty winter with much snow will follow.

Much rain in October, much wind in December.

A warm October, a cold February.


















The Merrie Month of May

Jolly rumbelow
We were up
Long before the day-o,
To welcome in the summer,
To welcome in the May-o!
Summer is a comin’ in
And winter’s gone away-o!


Rough winds do shake
The darling buds of May


May probably takes its name from Maia, a Roman goddess of growth. The Welsh word is Mai. The Irish-Gaelic name for the month is Bealtaine. The festival Beltane takes place on 1st May.

The Anglo-Saxons named it Tri-Milchi, because cattle feeding on the rich pastures could be milked three times a day. The Gauls called it Mios Bochuin – the month of swelling.

May brings with her the beauty and fragrance of hawthorn blossoms and the song of the nightingale. Our old poets delighted in describing her as a beautiful maiden, clothed in sunshine, and scattering flowers on the earth, while she danced to the music of birds and brooks.

She has given a rich greenness to the young corn, and the grass is now tall enough for the flowers to play at hide-and-seek as they are chased by the wind. The grass also gives a softness to the dazzling white of the daisies and the glittering gold of the buttercups.


Here are some popular rhymes and sayings for May:

A hot May makes a fat churchyard

The haddocks are good
When dipped in May flood

Many thunderstorms in May
And the farmer sings ‘hey, hey!’

“Keep buttoned to the chin ’till May be out.”

Shear your sheep in May
And shear them all away.

Married when bees over May-blossom flit,
Strangers around your board will sit.

A warm and dapple May,
The barns are full of hay.

“Cold May
Long corn, short hay.”

Cast not a clout
‘Till May is out.

Marry in May
Rue the day.

Who weeds in May
Throws all away.

“A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay.”

Water in May is bread all the year

A snowstorm in May
Brings weight to the hay.

Who doffs his coat on a winter’s day
Will gladly put it on in May.

“A windy March and a rainy April
Make a beautiful May.”

May makes or mars the wheat.

Mist in May, heat in June
Makes the harvest come right soon.

No wind is colder than a May wind