Every-Day Book


January 31.

King George IV. proclaimed.
—Holiday at the Exchequer.


A newspaper of this day,* [1] in the year 1821, relates the following anecdote:—

All through Ireland the ceremonial of wakes and funerals is most punctually attended to, and it requires some savoir faire to carry through the arrangement in a masterly manner. A great adept at the business, who had been the prime manager at all the wakes in the neighbourhood for many years, was at last called away from the death-beds of his friends to his own. Shortly before he died he gave minute directions to his people as to the mode of waking him in proper style. "Recollect," says he, "to put three candles at the head of the bed, after you lay me out, and two at the foot, and one at each side. Mind now, and put a plate with the salt on it just a top of my breast. And, do you hear? have plenty of tobacco and pipes enough; and remember to make the punch strong. And—but what the devil is the use of talking to you? sure I know you'll be sure to botch it, as I won't be there myself."

MR. JOHN BULL, an artist, with poetical powers exemplified in the first volume* [2] by a citation from his poem entitled "The Museum," which deserves to be better known, favours the Every-Day Book with the following original lines. the conflict between the cross and the crescent, renders the communication peculiarly interesting to those who indulge a hope that the struggle will terminate in the liberation of Greece from "worse than Egyptian bondage."


By Mr. John Bull.

Arch of peace! the firmament
   Hath not a form more fair
Than thine, thus beautifully bent
   Upon the lighten'd air.

Well might the wondrous bards of yore
   Of thee so sweetly sing;
Thy fair foot on their lovely shore
   Returning with the spring!

An angel's form to thee they gave,
   Celestial feign'd thy birth,
Saw thee now span the light green wave,
   And now the greener earth.

Yet then, where'er thy smile was seen,
   On land, or billowy main,
Thou seem'd to watch, with look serene,
   O'er Freedom's glorious reign.

Thy brilliant arch, around the sky,
   The nurse of hope appear'd,
Sweet as the light of liberty,
   Wherewith their souls were cheer'd!

But ah! if thou, when Greece was young,
   Didst visit realms above;
Go and return, as minstrels sung
   A messenger of love:

What tale, in heaven, hast thou to tell,
   Of tyrants and their slaves—
Despots, and soul-bound men that dwell
   Without their fathers' graves!

Oh! when they see thy beauteous bow,
   Surround their ancient skies,
Do not the Grecian warriors know,
   'Tis then their hour to rise?

Let them unsheath the daring sword,
   And, pointing up to thee,
Speak to their men, one fiery word,
   And march to set them free[.]

Upon thine arch of hope they'd glance,
   And say, "The storm is o'er!
"The clouds are breaking off—advance,
   ["]We will be slaves no more!"

The "Mirror of the Months" represents of the coming month, that:—

"Now the Christmas holidays are over, and all the snow in Russia could not make the first Monday in this month look any other than black, in the home-loving eyes of little schoolboys; and the streets of London are once more evacuated of happy wondering faces, that look any way but straight before them; and sobs are heard, and sorrowful faces seen to issue from sundry post-chaises that carry sixteen inside, exclusive of cakes and boxes; and theatres are no longer conscious of unconscious éclats de rire, but the whole audience is like Mr. Wordsworth's cloud, "which moveth altogether, if it move at all."

In the gardens of our habitations, and the immense tracts that provide great cities with the products of the earth, the cultivator seizes the first opportunity to prepare and dress the bosom of our common mother. "Hard frosts, if they come at all, are followed by sudden thaws; and now, therefore, if ever, the mysterious old song of our school days stands a chance of being verified, which sings of

'Three children sliding on the ice,
All on a summers day!'

Now the labour of the husbandman recommences; and it is pleasant to watch (from your library-window) the plough-team moving almost imperceptibly along, upon the distant upland that the bare trees have disclosed to you.—Nature is as busy as ever, if not openly and obviously, secretly, and in the hearts of her sweet subjects the flowers; stirring them up to that rich rivalry of beauty which is to greet the first footsteps of spring, and teaching them to prepare themselves for her advent, as young maidens prepare, months before hand, for the marriage festival of some dear friend.—If the flowers think and feel (and he who dares to say that they do not is either a fool or a philosopher—let him choose between the imputations!)—if the flowers think and feel, what a commotion must be working within their silent hearts, when the pinions of winter begin to grow, and indicate that he is at least meditating his flight! Then do they, too, begin to meditate on May-day, and think on the delight with which they shall once more breathe the fresh air, when they have leave to escape from their subterranean prisons: for now, toward the latter end of this month, they are all of them at least awake from their winter slumbers, and most are busily working at their gay toilets, and weaving their fantastic robes, and shaping their trim forms, and distilling their rich essences, and, in short, getting ready in all things, that they may be duly prepared to join the bright procession of beauty that is to greet and glorify the annual coming on of their sovereign lady, the spring. It is true none of all this can be seen. But what a race should we be, if we knew and cared to know of nothing, but what we can see and prove!"* [3]


Mean Temperature   . . .   39 . 35.

Notes [all notes are Hone's unless otherwise indicated]:

1. New Times. [return]

2. P. 299. [return]

3. Mirror of the Months. [return]