THIS is the first and the coldest month of the year. Its zodiacal sign is Aquarius or the Waterbearer. It derives its name from Janus, a deity represented by the Romans with two faces, because he was acquainted with past and future events. Cotton introduces him into a poem on the new year
According to the ancient mythology, Janus was the god of gates and avenues, and in that character held a key in his right hand, and a rod in his left, to symbolize his opening and ruling the year: sometimes he bore the number 300 in one hand, and 65 in the other, the number of its days. At other times he was represented with four heads, and placed in a temple of four equal sides, with a door and three windows in each side, as emblems of the four seasons and the twelve months over which he presided. According to Verstegan (Restitution of Decayed Intelligence, 4to. 1628, p. 59) the Saxons called this month "Wolf-monat," or Wolf-month, because the wolves of our ancient forests, impelled by hunger at this season, were wont to prowl and attack man himself; the inferior animals, on whom they usually preyed, having retired or perished from the inclemency of the weather. The Saxons also called this month "Aefter-yula," or After Christmas. In illuminated calendars prefixed to catholic missals, or service books, January was frequently depicted as a man with fagots or a woodman's axe, shivering and blowing his fingers. Spenser introduces this month in his Faerie Queene:
Then came old January, wrapped wellIn many weeds to keep the cold away;Yet did he quake and quiver like to quell;And blow his nayles to warme them if he may;For they were numb'd with holding all the dayAn hatchet keene, with which he felled wood,And from the trees did lop the needlesse spray.2
This festival stands in the calendar of the church of England, as well as in that of the Roman catholic church. It is said to have been instituted about 487; it first appeared in the reformed English liturgy in 1550.
Without noticing every saint to whom each day is dedicated in the Roman catholic calendars, the names of saints will be given day by day, as they stand under each day in the last edition of their "Lives," by the Rev. Alban Butler, in 12 vols. 8vo. On the authority of that work the periods will be mentioned when the saints most noted for their miracles flourished, and some of those miracles [will] be stated. Other miracles will be given: First, from The Golden Legend, a black letter folio volume, printed by W. de Worde.-Secondly, from The Church History of Britain, by the Benedictine father, S. Cressy, dedicated by him to the queen consort of Charles II., a folio, printed in 1668.- Thirdly, from the catholic translation of the Lives of the Saints, by the Rev. Father Peter Ribadeneira, priest of the society of Jesus, second edition, London, 1730, 2 vols. folio ; and Fourthly, from other sources which will be named. By this means the reader will be acquainted with legends that rendered the saints and the celebration of their festival popular. For example, the saints in Butler's Lives on this day occur in the following order:)
Sts. Mochua. According to Butler, these were Irish saints. One 3 founded the monastery, now the town of Balla, in Connaught. The other is said to have founded 120 cells, and thirty churches, in one of which he passed thirty years, and died about the sixth century. Bishop Patrick, in his "Reflexions upon the Devotions of the Roman Church," 1764, 8vo. cites of St. Mochua, that while walking and praying, and seeing a company of lambs running hastily to suck their mothers, he drew a line upon the ground which none of the hungry lambs durst pass. Patrick again cites, that St. Mochua having been visited by St. Kyenanus and fifteen of his clergy, they came to an impetuous and impassable river on their return, and wanted a boat; whereupon St. Mochua spread his mantle on the water, and Kyenanus with his fifteen priests were carried safely over upon the mantle, which floated back again to St. Mochua without wrinkle or wetting.
St. Fanchea, or Faine, is said by Butler to have been an Irish saint of the sixth century. Patrick quotes that St. Endeus desiring to become a monk, his companions approached to dissuade him; but upon the prayers of St. Faine, and her making the sign of the cross, their feet stuck to the earth like immovable stones until by repentence they were loosed and went their way.
St. Fulgentius, according to Butler, died on the 1st of January, 533, sometimes went barefoot, never undressed to take rest, nor ate flesh meat, but chiefly lived on pulse and herbs, though when old he admitted the use of a little oil. He preached, explained mysteries, controverted with heretics, and built monasteries. Butler concludes by relating, that after his death, a bishop named Pontian was assured in a vision of Fulgentius's immortality; that his relics were translated to Bourges, where they are venerated; and that the saint's head is in the church of the archbishop's seminary.
[Note: POOLE'S ENG. PARNASSUS. ]The King of Light, father of aged Time,Hath brought about that day, which is the primeTo the slow gliding months, when every eyeWears symptoms of a sober jollity;And every hand is ready to presentSome service in a real compliment.Whilst some in golden letters write their love,Some speak affection by a ring or glove,Or pins and points (for ev'n the peasant may,After his ruder fashion, be as gayAs the brisk courtly sir,) and thinks that heCannot, without a gross absurdity,Be this day frugal, and not spare his friendSome gift, to show his love finds not an endWith the deceased year.
In the volume of "ELIA," an excellent paper begins with ‘"Every man hath two birthdays: two days, at least, in every year, which set him upon revolving the lapse of time, as it affects his mortal duration. The one is that which in an especial manner he termeth his. In the gradual desuetude of old observances, this custom of solemnizing our proper birthday hath nearly passed away, or is left to children, who reflect nothing at all about the matter, nor understand any thing beyond the cake and orange. But the birth of a new year is of an interest too wide to be pretermitted by king or cobbler. No one ever regarded the First of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. It is the nativity of our common Adam. ’
Of all sound of all bells-(bells, the music nighest bordering upon heaven)-most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the old year. I never hear it without a gathering-up of my mind to a concentration of all the images that have been diffused over the past twelvemonth; all I have done or suffered, performed, or neglected-in that regretted time. I begin to know its worth as when a person dies. It takes a personal colour; nor was it a poetical flight in a contemporary, when he exclaimed,
Ringing out the old and ringing in the new year, with "a merry new year! A happy new year to you!" on new year's day, were greetings that moved sceptred pride, and humble labour, to smiles and kind feelings in former times; and why should they be unfashionable in our own?
Dr. Drake observes, in Shakespeare and his Times, that the ushering in of the new year, or new year's tide, with rejoicings, presents, and good wishes, was a custom observed, during the 16th century, with great regularity and parade, and was as cordially celebrated in the court of the prince as in the cottage of the peasant.
The Rev. T.D. Fosbroke, in his valuable Encyclopedia of Antiquities, adduces various authorities to show that congratulations, presents, and visits were made by the Romans on this day. The origin, he says, is ascribed to Romulus and Tatius, and that the usual presents were figs and dates, covered with leaf-gold, and sent by clients to patrons, accompanied with a piece of money, which was expended to purchase the statues of deities. He mentions an amphora (a jar) which still exists, with an inscription denoting that it was a new year's present from the potters to their patroness. He also instances from Count Caylus a piece of Roman pottery, with an inscription wishing "a happy new year to you;" another, where a person wishes it to himself and his son; and three medallions, with the laurel leaf, fig, and date; one, of Commodus; another, of Victory; and a third, Janus, standing in a temple, with an inscription, wishing a happy new year to the emperor. New year's gifts were continued under the Roman emperors until they were prohibited by Claudius. Yet in the early ages of the church the Christian emperors received them; nor did they wholly cease, although condemned by ecclesiastical councils on account of the pagan ceremonies of their presentation.
The Druids were accustomed on certain days to cut the sacred misletoe with a golden knife, in a forest dedicated to the gods, and to distribute its branches with much ceremony as new year's gifts among the people.
The late Rev. John Brand, in his Popular Antiquities edited by Mr. Ellis, observes from Bishop Stillingfleet, that among the Saxons of the north, the festival of the new year was observed with more than ordinary jollity and feasting, and by sending new year's gifts to one another. Mr. Fosbroke notices the continuation of the Roman practice during the middle ages; and that our kings, and the nobility especially, interchanged presents. Mr. Ellis quotes Matthew Paris, who appears to show that Henry III extorted new year's gifts; and he cites from a MS. Of the public revenue, anno 5, Edward VI. an entry of "rewards given on new year's day to the king's officers and servants in ordinary 155l. 5s., and to their servants that present the king's majestie with new year's gifts." An orange stuck with cloves seems, by reference to Mr. Fosbroke and our early authors, to have been a popular new year's gift. Mr. Ellis suggests, that the use of this present may be ascertained from a remark by old Lupton, that the flavour of wine is improved, and the wine itself preserved from mouldiness, by an orange or lemon stuck with cloves being hung within the vessel so as not to touch the liquor.
Honest old Latimer, instead of presenting Henry VIII. with a purse of gold, as was customary, for a new year's gift, put into the king's hand a New Testament, with a leaf conspicuously doubled down at Hebrews xiii. 4, which, on reference, will be found to have been worthy of all acceptation, though not perhaps well accepted. Dr. Drake is of opinion that the wardrobe and jewellery of queen Elizabeth were principally supported by these annual contributions on new year's day. He cites lists of the new year's gifts presented to her, from the original rolls published in her Progresses by Mr. Nichols; and from these it appears that the greatest part, if not all the peers and peeresses of the realm, all the bishops, the chief officers of state, and several of the queen's household servants, even down to her apothecaries, master cook, serjeant of the pastry, &c. gave new year's gifts to her majesty; consisting, in general, either of a sum of money, or jewels, trinkets, wearing apparel, &c. The largest sum given by any of the temporal lords was 20l.; but the archbishop of Canterbury gave 40l., the archbishop of York 30l., and the other spiritual lords 20l. and 10l.; many of the temporal lords and great officers, and most of the peeresses, gave rich gowns, petticoats, shifts, silk stockings, garters, sweet-bags, doublets, mantles embroidered with precious stones, looking-glasses, fans, bracelets, caskets studded with jewels, and other costly trinkets. Sir Gilbert Dethick, garter king at arms, gave a book of the States in William the Conqueror's time; Absolon, the master of the Savoy, gave a Bible covered with cloth of gold, garnished with silver gilt, and plates of the royal arms; the queen's physician presented her with a box of foreign sweetmeats; another physician presented a pot of green ginger, and a pot of orange flowers; her apothecaries gave her a box of lozenges, a box of ginger candy, a box of green ginger, and pots of other conserves. Mrs. Blanch a Parry gave her majesty a little gold comfit-box and spoon; Mrs. Morgan gave a box of cherries, and one of apricots. The queen's master cook and her serjeant of the pastry, presented her with various confectionary and preserves. Putrino, an Italian, gave her two pictures; Ambrose Lupo gave her a box of lute strings, and a glass of sweet water; each of three other Italians presented her with a pair of sweet gloves; a cutler gave her a meat knife having a fan haft of bone, with a conceit in it; Jeromy Bassano gave two drinking glasses; and Smyth, the dustman, presented her majesty with two bolts of cambrick. Some of these gifts to Elizabeth call to recollection the tempting articles which Autylocus, in the "Winter's Tale," invites the country girls to buy: he enters singing,
No. 4982, in the Catalogue for 1824, of Mr. Rodd, of Great Newport-street, is a roll of vellum, ten feet long, containing the new year's gifts from king James I. to the persons whose names are therein mentioned on the 1st of January 1605, with the new year's gifts that his majesty received the same day; the roll is signed by James himself and certain officers of his household.
In a Banquet of Jests, 1634," 12mo., there is a pleasant story of Archee, the king's jester, who, having fooled many, was fooled himself. Coming to a nobleman, upon new year's day, to bid him good-morrow, Archee received twenty pieces of gold; but, covetously desiring more, he shook them in his hand, and said they were too light. The donor answered: "I prithee, Archee, let me see them again, for there is one amongst them I would be loth to part with:" Archee, expecting the sum to be increased, returned the pieces to his lordship; who put them in his pocket with this remark, "I once gave money into a fool's hand, who had not the wit to keep it."
Pins were acceptable new year's gifts to the ladies, instead of the wooden skewers which they used till the end of the fifteenth century. Sometimes they received a composition in money: and hence allowances for their separate use is still denominated "pin money."
Gloves were customary new year's gifts. They were more expensive than in our times, and occasionally a money present was tendered instead: this was called "glove-money." Sir Thomas More, as lord chancellor, decreed in favour of a Mrs. Croaker against the lord Arundel. On the following new year's day, in token of her gratitude, she presented sir Thomas with a pair of gloves, containing forty angels. "It would be against good manners," said the chancellor, to forsake a gentlewoman's new year's gift, and I accept the gloves; their lining you will be pleased otherwise to bestow."
Mr. Brand relates from a curious MS. in the British Museum, of the date of 1560, that the boys of Eton school used on this day to play for little new year's gifts before and after supper; and also to make verses, which they presented to the provost and masters, and to each other: new year's gifts of verses, however, were not peculiar to schoolboys. A poet, the beauties of whose poetry are justly remarked to be "of a kind which time has a tendency rather to hallow than to injure," Robert Herrick, presents us in his Hesperides, with "a New Year's Gift sent to Sir Simon Steward." He commences it merrily, and goes on to call it
"New year's gifts," says Dr. Drake, "were given and received, with the mutual expression of good wishes, and particularly that of a happy new year. The compliment was sometimes paid at each other's doors in the form of a song; but more generally, especially in the north of England and in Scotland, the house was entered very early in the morning, by some young men and maidens selected for the purpose, who presented the spiced bowl and hailed you with the gratulations of the season." To this may be added, that it was formerly the custom in Scotland to send new year's gifts on new year's eve; and on new year's day to wish each other a happy new year, and ask for a new year's gift. There is a citation in Brand, from the "Statistical Account of Scotland," concerning new year's gifts to servant maids by their masters; and it mentions that "there is a large stone, about nine or ten feet high, and four broad, placed upright in a plain, in the (Orkney) isle of North Ronaldshay; but no tradition is preserved concerning it, whether erected in memory of any signal event, or for the purpose of administering justice, or for religious worship. The writer of this (the parish priest) has seen fifty of the inhabitants assembled there, on the first day of the year, dancing by moonlight, with no other music than their own singing.
In Mr. Stewart's "Popular Superstitions of the Highlands," there is some account of the Candlemas bull, on new year's eve, as introductory to the new year. The term Candlemas, applied to this season, is supposed to have originated in some old religious ceremonies performed by candlelight. The bull is a passing cloud, which Highland imagination perverts into the form of that animal; as it rises or falls or takes peculiar directions, of great significancy to the seers, so does it prognosticate good or bad weather. The more northern nations anciently assigned portentous qualities to the winds of new year's eve. One of their old legends in Brand may be thus versified—the last line eking out the verse:
Mr. Stewart says, that as soon as night sets in it is the signal with the Strathdown highlander for the suspension of his usual employment, and he directs his attention to more agreeable callings. The men form into bands with tethers and axes, and, shaping their course to the juniper bushes, they return home laden with mighty loads, which are arranged round the fire to-day till morning. A certain discreet person is despatched to the dead and living ford to draw a pitcher of water in profound silence, without the vessel touching the ground, lest its virtue should be destroyed, and on his return all retire to rest. Early on new year's morning the Usque-Cashrichd, or water from the dead and living ford, is drank, as a potent charm, until next new year's day, against the spells of witchcraft, the malignity of evil eyes, and the activity of all infernal agency. The qualified highlander then takes a large brush, with which he profusely asperses the occupants of all beds; from whom it is not unusual for him to receive ungrateful remonstrances against ablution. This ended, and the doors and windows being thoroughly closed, and all crevices stopped, he kindles piles of the collected juniper, in the different apartments, till the vapour from the burning branches condenses into opaque clouds, and coughing, sneezing, wheezing, gasping, and other demonstrations of suffocation ensue. The operator, aware that the more intense the "smuchdan," the more propitious the solemnity, disregards these indications, and continues, with streaming eyes and averted head, to increase the fumigation, until in his own defence he admits the air to recover the exhausted household and himself. He then treats the horses, cattle, and other bestial stock in the town with the same smothering, to keep them from harm throughout the year. When the gudewife gets up, and having ceased from coughing, has gained sufficient strength to reach the bottle dhu, she administers its comfort to the relief of the sufferers: laughter takes place of complaint, all the family get up, wash their faces, and receive the visits of their neighbours, who arrive full of gratulations peculiar to the day. Mu nase choil orst, "My Candlemas bond upon you" is the customary salutation, and means, in plain words, "You owe me a new year's gift." A point of great emulation is, who shall salute the other first; because the one who does so is entitled to a gift from the person saluted. Breakfast, consisting of all procurable luxuries, is then served, the neighbours not engaged are invited to partake, and the day ends in festivity.
Riding stang, a custom that will be observed on hereafter, prevails in some parts of England on new year's day to the present hour. The 'stang' is a cowl-staff; the cowl is a water-vessel, borne by two persons on the cowl-staff, which is a stout pole whereon the vessel hangs. "Where's the cowl-staff?" cries Ford's wife, when she purposes to get Falstaff into a large buck-basket, with two handles; the cowl-staff, or "stang," is produced, and, being passed through the handles, the fat knight is borne off by two of Ford's men. A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1791, says, that in Westmoreland and Cumberland, on the 1st of January, multitudes assemble early in the morning with baskets and "stangs," and whoever does not join them, whether inhabitant or stranger, is immediately mounted across the "stang," and carried, shoulder height, to the next public-house, where sixpence liberates the prisoner. Women are seized in this way, and car ried in baskets—the sex being privileged from riding "stang," in compliment, perhaps, to the use of side-saddles. In the same part of the country, no one is allowed to work on new year's day, however industrious. Mr. Ellis shows that it was a new year's day custom in ancient Rome for tradesmen to work a little only, for luck's sake, that they might have constant business all the year after.
A communication in an English journal of January 1824 relates, that in Paris on new year's day, which is called le jour d'[e-acute]trennes, parents bestow portions on their children, brothers on their sisters, and husbands make presents to their wives. Carriages may be seen rolling through the streets with cargoes of bon-bons, souvenirs, and the variety of et c[ae=ligature]teras, with which little children and grown-up children are bribed into good humour; and here and there pastrycooks are to be met with, carrying upon boards enormous temples, pagodas, churches, and playhouses, made of fine flour and sugar, and the embellishments which render French pastry so inviting. But there is one street in Paris to which a new year's day is a whole year's fortune—this is the Rue des Lombards, where the wholesale confectioners reside; for in Paris every trade and profession has its peculiar quarter. For several days preceding the 1st of January, this street is completely blocked up by carts and waggons laden with cases of sweetmeats for the provinces. These are of every form and description which the most singular fancy could imagine; bunches of carrots, green peas, boots and shoes, lobsters and crabs, hats, books, musical instruments, gridirons, frying-pans, and saucepans; all made of sugar, and coloured to imitate reality, and all made with a hollow within to hold the bon-bons. The most prevailing device is what is called a cornet, that is, a little cone ornamented in different ways with a bag to draw over the large end, and close it up. In these things, the prices of which vary from one franc (tenpence) to fifty, the bon-bons are presented by those who choose to be at the expense of them, and by those who do not, they are only wrapped in a piece of paper; but bon-bons in some way or other must be presented. It would not, perhaps, be an exaggeration to state that the amount expended for presents on new year's day in Paris, for sweetmeats alone, exceeds 500,000 francs,or 20,000l. sterling. Jewellery is also sold to a very large amount, and the fancy articles exported in the first week in the year to England and other countries, is computed at one-fourth of the sale during the twelve months. In Paris it is by no means uncommon for a man of 8,000 or 10,000 francs a year to make presents on new year's day which cost him a fifteenth part of his income. No person able to give must on this day pay a visit empty-handed. Every body accepts, and every man gives according to the means which he possesses. Females alone are excepted from the charge of giving. A pretty woman, respectably connected, may reckon her new year's presents at something considerable. Gowns, jewellery, gloves, stocking, and artificial flowers, fill her drawing-room; for in Paris it is a custom to display all the gifts, in order to excite emulation, and to obtain as much as possible. At the palace the new year's day is a complete jour de f[e-circ]te. Every branch of the royal family is then expected to make handsome presents to the king. For the six months preceding January 1824, the female branches were busily occupied in preparing presents of their own manufacture, which would fill at least two common-sized waggons. The duchess de Berri painted an entire room of japanned pannels, to be set up in the palace; and the duchess of Orleans prepared an elegant screen. An English gentleman who was admitted suddenly into the presence of the duchess de Berri two months before, found her, and three of her maids of honour, lying on the carpet, painting the legs of a set of chairs, which were intended for the king. The day commences with the Parisians, at an early hour, by the interchange of their visits and bon-bons. The nearest relations are visited first, until the furthest in blood have had their calls; then friends and acquaintances. The conflict to anticipate each other's calls, occasions the most agreeable and whimsical scenes among these proficients in polite attentions. In these visits, and in gossiping at the confectioners' shops, which are the great lounge for the occasion, the morning of new year's day is passed; a dinner is given by some member of the family to all the rest, and the evening concludes, like Christmas day, with cards, dancing, or any other amusement that may be preferred. One of the chief attractions to a foreigner in Paris is the exhibition which opens there on new year's day, of the finest specimens of the Sevres china manufactured at the royal establishment in the neighbourhood of Versailles during the preceding year.
Undoubtedly, new year's gifts originated in heathen observances, and were grossly abused in after ages; yet latterly they became a rational and pleasant mode of conveying our gentle dispositions towards those we esteem. Mr. Audley, in his compendious and useful "Companion to the Almanack," says, with truth, that they are innocent, if not praiseworthy; and he quotes this amiable sentiment from Bourne: "If I send a new year's gift to my friend it shall be a token of my friendship; if to my benefactor, a token of my gratitude; if to the poor, which at this season must never be forgot, it shall be to make their hearts sing for joy, and give praise and adoration to the Giver of all good gifts." The Jews on the first day of their new year give sumptuous entertainments, and joyfully wish each other "a happy new year." This salutation is not yet obsolete even with us; but the new year's gift seldom arrives, except to honest rustics from their equals; it is scarcely remembered with a view to its use but by young persons, who, "invexed with all the cares of gain," have read or heard tell of such things, and who, with innocent hearts, feeling the kindness of the sentiment, keep up the good old custom among one another, till mixture with the world, and "long experience, makes them sage," and sordid.
New year's day in London is not observed by any public festivity; but little social dining parties are frequently formed amongst friends; and convivial persons may be found at taverns, and in publicans' parlours, regaling on the occasion. Dr. Forster relates, in his "Perennial Calendar," that many people make a point to wear some new clothes on this day, and esteem the omission as unlucky: the practice, however, from such motives, must obviously be confined to the uninformed. The only open demonstration of joy in the metropolis, is the ringing of merry peals from the belfries of the numerous steeples, late on the eve of the new year, and until after the chimes of the clock have sounded its last hour.
1308. On the 1st of January in this year, William Tell, the Swiss patriot, associated himself on this day with a band of his countrymen, against the tyranny of their oppressors. For upwards of three centuries the opposition was carried on, and terminated by the treaty of Westphalia in 1648, declaring the independence of Switzerland.
1651. On the 1st of January Charles II. was crowned at Scone king of the Scots. Charles, when a child, was weak in the legs, and ordered to wear steel-boots. Their weight so annoyed him that he pined till recreation became labour. An old rocker took off the steel-boots, and concealed them; promising the countess of Dorset, who was Charles's governess, that she would take any blame for the act on herself. Soon afterwards the king, Charles I., coming into the nursery, and seeing his boy's legs without the boots angrily demanded who had done it? "It was I, sir," said the rocker, "who had the honour, some thirty years since, to attend on your highness, in your infancy, when you had the same infirmity wherewith now the prince, your very own son is troubled; and then the lady Cary, (afterwards countess of Monmouth) commanded your steel-boots to be taken off, who, blessed be God, since have gathered strength, and arrived at a good stature." Clare, chaplain to Charles II., at the time the affair happened, related this anecdote to old Fuller, who in 1660, contemplating "the restoration," tells the story, and quaintly exclaims, "the nation is too noble, when his majesty shall return from foreign parts, to impose any other steel-boots upon him, than the observing the laws of the land, which are his own stockings, that so with joy and comfort he may enter on what was his own inheritance." The nation forgot the "steel-boots," and Charles forgot the "stockings."
1801. January 1. The Union of Great Britain with Ireland commenced according to act of parliament, and the event was solemnized by the hoisting of a new royal flag on the Tower of London, accompanied by the firing of guns there and in St. James's Park. On the 3d the king received the great seal of Great Britain from the lord chancellor, and causing it to be defaced, presented to him a new great seal for the United Kingdom. On the same day, January 1st, 1801, Piazzi, the astronomer at Palermo, discovered a new primary planet, making an eleventh of that order: he called it Ceres, from the goddess of that name, who was highly esteemed by the ancients of Sicily.
Usually at this period the rigour of cold is severely felt. The indisposition of lie-a-beds to face its severity is pleasantly pictured by Mr. Leigh Hunt, in a paper in the Indicator. He imagines one of those persons to express himself in these terms:
"On opening my eyes, the first thing that meets them is my own breath rolling forth, as if in the open air, like smoke out of a cottage-chimney. Think of this symptom. Then I turn my eyes sideways and see the window all frozen over. Think of that. Then the servant comes in. 'It is very cold this morning, is it not?'—'Very cold, sir.' 'Very cold indeed, isn't it?'—Very cold indeed, sir.'—'More than usually so, isn't it, even for this weather?' (Here the servant's wit and good nature are put to a considerable test, and the inquirer lies on thorns for the answer.) 'Why, Sir . . . . . I think it is.' (Good creature! There is not a better, or more truth-telling servant going.) 'I must rise, however—Get me some warm water.'—here comes a fine interval between the departure of the servant and the arrival of the hot water; during which, of course, it is of 'no use' to get up. the hot water comes. 'Is it quite hot?'—'Yes, sir.'—'Perhaps too hot for shaving: I must wait a little?'—'No sir; it will just do.' (There is an over-nice propriety sometimes, an officious zeal of virtue, a little troublesome.) 'Oh—the shirt—you must air my clean shirt:—linen gets very damp in this weather.'—'Yes, sir.' Here another delicious five minutes. A knock at the door. 'Oh, the shirt—very well. My stockings—I think the stockings had better be aired too.'—'Very well, sir.'—Here another interval. At length every thing is ready, except myself. I now cannot help thinking a good deal—who can?—upon the unnecessary and villainous custom of shaving; it is a thing so unmanly (here I nestle closer)—so effeminate, (here I recoil from an unlucky step into the colder part of the bed.)—No wonder, that the queen of France took part with the rebels against that degenerate king, her husband, who first affronted her smooth visage with a face like her own. The emperor Julian never showed the luxuriancy of his genius to better advantage than in reviving the flowing beard. Look at cardinal Bembo's picture—at Michael Angelo's—at Titian's—at Shakespeare's—at Fletcher's—at Spenser's—at Chaucer's—at Alfred's—at Plato's. I could name a great man for every tick of my watch. Look at the turks, a grave and otiose people—think of Haroun Al Raschid and Bed-ridden Hassan—Think of Wortley Montague, the worthy son of his mother, a man above the prejudice of his time—Look at the Persian gentlemen, whom one is ashamed of meeting about the suburbs, their dress and appearance are so much finer than our own—Lastly, think of the razor itself—how totally opposed to every sensation of bed—how cold, how edgy, how hard! how utterly different from any thing like the warm and circling amplitude, which
This engraving represents simple methods by which, at this season especially, the health of young persons may be maintained, and the constitution invigorated. Two round parallel bars at two feet distance from each other, on round standards three or four feet high, firmly fixed in the ground, will afford boys the means of actively exerting their limbs and muscles: and if the ends of a pole be let into opposite walls or fastened to trees, the boys may be taught to climb single ropes, and hold on while swinging by them. The engraving is placed before the eyes of parents and teachers with the hope of directing their attention to gymnastic exercises, as diversions for youth, and they are referred to a practical treatise on the subject by Mr. Clias, that may be safely used. His judicious reasoning must convince every reader of their importance to the rising generation, and that it is within the means of all classes of persons to let boys acquire a knowledge of the feats represented in the plates to his work, for teaching which his explanations are numerous and clear.
An unseasonable occurrence in the cellar of the late sir Joseph Banks may be acceptable in the mention, and excite particular sympathy in persons who recreate with the juice of the vine: as a fact, it may tend to elucidate the origin and nature of vegetable fungi, particularly of that species termed mushroom. The worthy baronet had a cask of wine rather too sweet for immediate use; he therefore directed that it should be placed in a cellar, in order that the saccharine matter it contained might be more perfectly decomposed by age. At the end of three years, he directed his butler to ascertain the state of the wine, when, on attempting to open the cellar door, he could not effect it, in consequence of some powerful obstacle. The door was cut down, and the cellar found to be completely filled with a firm fungous vegetable production—so firm that it was necessary to use the axe for its removal. This appeared to have grown from, or have been nourished by, the decomposed particles of the wine: the cask was empty, and carried up to the ceiling, where it was supported by the surface of the fungus.
At the close of this day he who can reflect with satisfaction on the past, may anticipate with calm delight the entrance of the new year, and lift his eyes to the living lustres of the firmament with grateful feelings. They shine out their prismatic colours through the cold thin air, keeping watch while man slumbers, or cheering him, who contemplates their fires, to purposes of virtue. In this season
St. Macarius. A.D. 394. Alban Butler says he was a confectioner of Alexandria, who, in the flower of his age, spent upwards of sixty years in the deserts in labour, penance, and contemplation. "Our saint," says Butler, "happened one day inadvertently to kill a gnat, that was biting him in his cell; reflecting that he had lost the opportunity of suffering that mortification, he hastened from his cell for the marshes of Scete, which abound with great flies, whose stings pierce even wild boars. There he continued six months, exposed to those ravaging insects; and to such a degree was his whole body disfigured by them, with sores and swellings, that when he returned he was only to be known by his voice." The Golden Legend relates of him, that he took a dead pagan out of his sepulchre, and put him under his head for a pillow; whereupon certain devils came to affright the saint, and called the dead pagan to go with them; but the body under the saint said he could not, because a pilgrim lay upon him, so that he could not move; then Macarius, nothing afraid, beat the body with his fist, and told him to go if he would, which caused the devils to declare that Macarius had vanquished them. Another time the devil came with a great scythe on his shoulder, to smite the saint, but he could not prevail against him, on account of his virtues. Macarius, at another time, being tempted, filled a sack with stones, and bore it many journeys through the desert. Seeing a devil before him in the shape of a man, dressed like "a herawde," with his clothing full of holes, and in every hole a phial, he demanded of this devil whither he went; and why he had so many phials? The devil answered, to give drink to the hermits; and that the phials contained a variety of liquors, that they might have a choice, and so fall into temptation. On the devil's return, the saint inquired how he had sped; and the devil answered very evil, for they were so holy that only on Theodistus would drink: on this information Macarius found Theodistus under the influences of the phial, and recovered him. Macarius found the head of a pagan, and asked where the soul of its body was; in hell, said the head: he asked the head if hell was deep;—the head answered, the false Christian-men were lower than the Jews, and more tormented: there the dialogue between the saint and the head appears to have ended. Macarius seems, by the Golden Legend, to have been much annoyed by the devil. In a nine days' journey through a desert, at the end of every mile he set up a reed in the earth, to mark his track against he returned; but the devil pulled them all up, made a bundle of them, and placed them at Macros' head, while he lay asleep, so that the saint with great difficulty found his way home again.
St. Adalard, according to Butler, was grandson of Charles Martel, brother to king Pepin, and cousin-german to Charlemagne, who created him a count: he left his court in 773, became a monk at Corbie in Picardy, died in 827, aged seventy three, and wrought miracles, which procured his body to be enshrined with great pomp in 1010, a history of which solemnity is written by St. Gerard, who composed an office in St. Adalard's honour, be cause through his intercession he had been cured of a violent head-ache. — The same St. Gerard relates seven other miracles by St. Adalard of the same nature. Butler says, his relics are still at Corbie, in a rich shrine, and two smaller cases, except a small portion given to the abbey of Chelles.
The first Monday after new year's day is called Handsel Monday in some parts of Scotland, and is observed by merry-making. In sir J. Sinclair's "Statistical Account," it is related of one William Hunter, a collier, that he was cured in the year 1758 of an inveterate rheumatism or gout, by drinking freely of new ale, full of barm or yeast. "The poor man had been confined to his bed for a year and a half, having almost entirely lost the use of his limbs. On the evening of Handsel Monday, as it is called, some of his neighbours came to make merry with him. Though he could not rise, yet he always took his share of the ale, as it passed round the company; and, in the end, became much intoxicated. The consequence was, that he had the use of his limbs the next morning, and was able to walk about. He lived more than twenty years after this, and never had the smallest return of his old complaint." This is a fact worth remembering, as connected with chronical complaints.
On the 2d of January, A.D. 17, Ovid the celebrated Roman poet died; he was born at Sulmo on the 20th of March, forty-three years before the Christian era. His father designed him for the bar, and he became eminently eloquent, but every thing he wrote was expressed in poetical numbers; and though reminded by his father, that even Homer lived and died in poverty, he preferred the pleasures of imagination to forensic disputation. He gained great admiration from the learned. Virgil, Horace, Tibullus, and Propertius, were his friends, and Augustus became his liberal patron, till he banished him for some unknown cause. In his exile he was cowardly, and prostituted his pen to flatter baseness; and though he desired the death of the emperor, he fawned upon him in his writings to meanness. He died at Tomos on the Euxine sea, the place of his banishment, under the reign of Tiberius, who had succeeded Augustus, and was deaf to the poet's entreaties for permission to return to Rome. Whatever subject Ovid wrote on, he exhausted; he painted nature with a masterly hand, and his genius imparted elegance to vulgarity; but he defiled the sweetness of his numbers by impurity, and though he ranks among the splendid ornaments of ancient literature, he sullied his fame by the grossest immorality in some of his finest productions.
Livy, the Roman historian, died at Padua on the same day and in the same year with Ovid. His history of the Roman Empire was in one hundred and forty books, of which only thirty-five are extant. Five of these were discovered at Worms in 1431, and some fragments are said to have been lately discovered at Herculanæum. Few particulars of his life are known, but his fame was great even while he lived, and his history has rendered him immortal. He wrote some philosophical treatises and dialogues, with a letter to his son on the merit of authors, which Dr. Lempriere says, ought to be read by young men.
In the Literary Pocket Book there are some seasonable facts which may be transplanted with advantage to the reader, and, it is hoped, without disadvantage to the writer of the articles. He says that a man is infinitely mistaken, who thinks there is nothing worth seeing in winter-time out of doors, because the sun is not warm, and the streets are muddy. "Let him get, by dint of good exercise, out of the streets, and he shall find enough. In the warm neighbourhood of towns he may still watch the field-fares, thrushes, and blackbirds; the titmouse seeking its food through the straw-thatch; the red-wings, field-fares, sky-larks, and tit-larks, upon the same errand, over wet meadows; the sparrows and yellow-hammers, and chaffinches, still beautiful though mute, gleaning from the straw and chaff in farmyards; and the ring-dove, always poetical, coming for her meal to the ivy-berries. About rapid streams he may see the various habits and movements of herons, wood-cocks, wild-ducks, and other water-fowl, who are obliged to quit the frozen marshes to seek their food there. The red-breast comes to the windows, and often into the house itself, to be rewarded for its song, and for its far-famed 'painful' obsequies to the Children in the Wood."