St. Peter of Sebaste. St. Julian and Basilissa. St. Marciana. St. Brithwald. St. Felan. St. Adrian. St. Vaneng.
Of the seven Romish saints of this day scarcely an anecdote is worth relating.
1766. On the 9th of January died Dr. Thomas Birch, a valuable contributor to history and biography. He was born on the 23rd of November, 1705, of Quaker parents. His father was a coffee-mill maker, and designed Thomas for the same trade; but the son "took to reading," and being put to school, obtained successive usherships; removing each time into a better school, that he might improve his studies; and stealing hours from sleep to increase his knowledge. He succeeded in qualifying himself for the church of England, without going to the university; obtained orders from bishop Hoadley in 1731, and several preferments from the lord chancellor Hardwicke and earl Hardwicke; became a member of the Royal Society before he was thirty years of age, and of the Antiquarian Society about the same time; was created a doctor of divinity, and made a trustee of the British Museum; and at his death, left his books and MSS. to the national library there. Enumeration of his many useful labours would occupy several of these pages. His industry was amazing. His correspondence was extensive; his communications to the Royal Society were various and numerous, and his personal application may be inferred from there being among his MSS. no less than twenty-four quarto volumes of Anthony Bacon's papers transcribed by his own hand. He edited Thurloes' State Papers in 7 vols. folio; wrote the Lives of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain, and History of the Royal Society; published miscellaneous pieces of lord Bacon, before unprinted, and produced a large number of other works. The first undertaking wherein he engaged, with other learned men, was the "General Dictionary, Historical and Critical,"—a most useful labour, containing the whole of Bayle's dictionary newly translated, and several thousand additional lives. He was enabled to complete his great undertakings by being a very early riser, and by usually executing the business of the morning before most persons had commenced it.
From "Poetic Vigils," by BERNARD BARTON
The floweret's bloom is faded,
Its glossy leaf grown sere;
The landscape round is shaded
By Winter's frown austere.
The dew, once sparkling lightly
On grass of freshest green,
In heavier drops unsightly
On matted weeds is seen.
No songs of joy, to gladden,
From leafy woods emerge;
But winds, in tones that sadden,
Breathe Nature's mournful dirge.
All sights and sounds appealing,
Through merely outward sense,
To joyful thought and feeling,
Seem now departed hence.
But not with such is banished
The bliss that life can lend;
Nor with such things hath vanished
Its truest, noblest end.
The toys that charm, and leave us,
Are fancy's fleeting elves;
All that should glad, or grieve us,
Exists within ourselves.
Enjoyment's gentle essence
Is virtue's godlike dower;
Its most triumphant presence
Illumes the darkest hour.