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Title: The Every-day Book and Table Book, v. 1 (of 3)

Author: William Hone

Release date: October 14, 2016 [eBook #53275]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chris Curnow, Harry Lamé, Google Books for
some images. and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
at (This file was produced from images
generously made available by The Internet Archive)


Please see the Transcriber’s Notes at the end of this text.

Please see the Transcriber’s Notes at the end of this text.
The cover image has been created for this e-text and is placed in the public domain.

Bona Dea—The Earth.
See Page 1655.


Each of the Three Hundred and Sixty-five Days,


I tell of festivals, and fairs, and plays,
Of merriment, and mirth, and bonfire blaze;
I tell of Christmas-mummings, new year’s day,
Of twelfth-night king and queen, and children’s play;
I tell of valentines, and true-love’s-knots,
Of omens, cunning men, and drawing lots:
I tell of brooks, of blossoms, birds, and bowers,
Of April, May, of June, and July flowers.
I tell of May-poles, hock-carts, wassails, wakes,
Of bridegrooms, brides, and of their bridal cakes;
I tell of groves, of twilights, and I sing
The court of Mab, and of the fairy king.









Dear L——,

Your letter to me, within the first two months from the commencement of the present work, approving my notice of St. Chad’s Well, and your afterwards daring to publish me your “friend,” with your “proper name” annexed, I shall never forget. Nor can I forget your and Miss Lamb’s sympathy and kindness when glooms outmastered me; and that your pen spontaneously sparkled in the book, when my mind was in clouds and darkness. These “trifles,” as each of you would call them, are benefits scored upon my heart; and



May 5, 1826.

[vi, vii]


This volume is a specimen of a work undertaken for the purpose of forming a collection of the manners and customs of ancient and modern times, with descriptive accounts of the several seasons of popular pastime.

Each of the three hundred and sixty-five days in the year is distinguished by occurrences or other particulars relating to the day, and by the methods of celebrating every holyday; the work is therefore what its title purports, The Every-Day Book.

It is an Everlasting Calendar—because its collection of facts concerning the origin and usages of every remarkable day, including movable feasts and fasts, constitute a calendar for every year.

It is a History of the Year—because it traces the commencement and progress of the year from the first day to the last.

It is a History of the Months—because it describes the appearances that distinguish each month from the other months.

It is a History of the Seasons—because it describes the influences and character of the four quarters into which the year is divided, and the most remarkable objects in natural history peculiar to each season.

It is a Perpetual Key to the Almanack—because it explains the signification of every name and term in the almanack.

Its antiquarian and historical notices are calculated to engage the attention of almost every class of readers, and to gratify several who would scarcely expect such particulars in such a miscellany. The perplexities attending the discovery of certain facts, and the labour of reducing all into order, will be appreciated by the few who have engaged in similar pursuits. Some curious matters are now, for the first time, submitted to the public; and others are so rare as to seem altogether new.

As regards the engravings, to such as are from old masters, notices of their prints are always annexed. The designs for the allegorical and other illustrations, have originated with myself; and the drawings been accommodated, and the engravings executed, according to my own sense of subject and style. In numerous instances they have been as satisfactory to me as to my readers; many of whom, however, are less difficult to please than I am, and have favourably received some things which I have been obliged to tolerate, because the exigency of publication left me no time to supply their place. I know what art can accomplish, and am therefore dissatisfied when artists fail to accomplish.


I may now avow that I have other aims than I deemed it expedient to mention in the prospectus:—to communicate in an agreeable manner, the greatest possible variety of important and diverting facts, without a single sentence to excite an uneasy sensation, or an embarrassing inquiry; and, by not seeming to teach, to cultivate a high moral feeling, and the best affections of the heart:—to open a storehouse, from whence manhood may derive daily instruction and amusement, and youth and innocence be informed, and retain their innocency.

To these intentions I have accommodated my materials under such difficulties as I hope may never be experienced by any one engaged in such a labour. To what extent less embarrassed and more enlarged faculties could have better executed the task I cannot determine; but I have always kept my main object in view, the promotion of social and benevolent feelings, and I am persuaded this prevailing disposition is obvious throughout. The poetical illustrations, whether “solemn thinkings,” or light dispersions, are particularly directed to that end.

I may now be permitted to refer to the copious indexes for the multifarious contents of the volume, and to urge the friends to the undertaking for assistance towards its completion. There is scarcely any one who has not said—“Ah! this is something that will do for the Every-Day Book:” I crave to be favoured with that “something.” Others have observed—“I expected something about so and so in the Every-Day Book.” It is not possible, however, that I should know every thing; but if each will communicate “something,” the work will gratify every one, and my own most sanguine wishes.

And here I beg leave to offer my respectful thanks to several correspondents who have already furnished me with accounts of customs, &c. which appear under different signatures. Were I permitted to disclose their real names, it would be seen that several of these communications are from distinguished characters. As a precaution against imposition, articles of that nature have not been, nor can they be, inserted, without the name and address of the writer being confided to myself. Accounts, so subscribed, will be printed with any initials or mark, the writers may please to suggest.

From the publication of the present volume, a correct judgment may be formed of the nature and tendency of the work, which incidentally embraces almost every topic of inquiry or remark connected with the ancient and present state of manners and literature. Scarcely an individual is without a scrap-book, or a portfolio, or a collection of some sort; and whatever a kind-hearted reader may deem curious or interesting, and can conveniently spare, I earnestly hope and solicit to be favoured with, addressed to me at Messrs. Hunt and Clarke’s, Tavistock-street, who receive communications for the work, and publish it in weekly sheets, and monthly parts, as usual.


May, 1826.

[1, 2]


Cold man and dog


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—

Hark, the cock crows, and yon bright star
Tells us, the day himself’s not far;
And see where, breaking from the night,
He gilds the western hills with light.
With him old Janus doth appear,
Peeping into the future year,
With such a look as seems to say,
The prospect is not good that way.
Thus do we rise ill sights to see,
And ’gainst ourselves to prophesy;
When the prophetic fear of things
A more tormenting mischief brings,
More full of soul-tormenting gall
Than direst mischiefs can befall.
But stay! but stay! Methinks my sight,
Better inform’d by clearer light,
Discerns sereneness in that brow,
That all contracted seem’d but now.
His revers’d face may show distaste,
And frown upon the ills are past;
But that which this way looks is clear,
And smiles upon the new-born 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 [3, 4] 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 well
In 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 day
An hatchet keene, with which he felled wood,
And from the trees did lop the needlesse spray.

January 1.

Circumcision. {

A close holiday at all public offices except the Excise, Customs,
and Stamps.

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 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 festivals popular. For example, the saints in Butler’s Lives on this day occur in the following order:

St. Fulgentius; St. Odilo, or Olou; St. Almachus, or Telemachus; St. Eugendus, or Oyend; St. Fanchea, or Faine; St. Mochua, or Moncain, alias Claunus; St. Mochua, alias Cronan, of Balla.

Sts. Mochua. According to Butler, these were Irish saints. One 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,” 1674, 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 repentance 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.


The King of Light, father of aged Time,
Hath brought about that day, which is the prime
To the slow gliding months, when every eye
Wears symptoms of a sober jollity;
And every hand is ready to present
Some 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 gay
As the brisk courtly sir,) and thinks that he
Cannot, without a gross absurdity,
[5, 6] Be this day frugal, and not spare his friend
Some gift, to show his love finds not an end
With the deceased year.

Pooles’s Eng. Parnassus.

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,

‘I saw the skirts of the departing year.’

“The elders with whom I was brought up, were of a character not likely to let slip the sacred observance of any old institution; and the ringing out of the old year was kept by them with circumstances of peculiar ceremony. In those days the sound of those midnight chimes, though it seemed to raise hilarity in all around me, never failed to bring a train of pensive imagery into my fancy. Yet I then scarce conceived what it meant, or thought of it as a reckoning that concerned me. Not childhood alone, but the young man till thirty, never feels practically that he is mortal.”

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 “Shakspeare 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 at 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 [7, 8] 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.

Thomas Naogeorgus, in “The Popish Kingdome,” a Latin poem written in 1553, and Englished by Barnabe Googe, after remarking on days of the old year, urges this recollection:

The next to this is Newe yeares day whereon to every frende,
They costly presents in do bring, and Newe yeares giftes do sende,
These giftes the husband gives his wife, and father eke the childe,
And maister on his men bestowes the like, with favour milde.

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 Autolycus, in the “Winter’s Tale,” invites the country girls to buy: he enters singing,

Lawn, as white as driven snow;
Cypress, black as e’er was crow;
Gloves, as sweet as damask roses
Masks for faces, and for noses;
Bugle bracelet, necklace-amber,
Perfume for a lady’s chamber;
Golden quoifs, and stomachers,
For my lads to give their dears;
Pins, and poking-sticks of steel,
What maids lack from head to heel:
Come, buy of me, come: come buy, come buy;
Buy, lads, or else your lasses cry,
Come, buy, &c.

Dr. Drake says, that though Elizabeth made returns to the new year’s gifts, in plate and other articles, yet she took sufficient care that the balance should be in her own favour.

No. 4982, in the Catalogue for 1824, of Mr. Rodd, of Great Newport-street, is a roll of vellum, ten feet long, containing the [9, 10] 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

————————————— a jolly
Verse, crown’d with ivy and with holly;
That tells of winter’s tales and mirth,
That milk-maids make about the hearth;
Of Christmas’ sports, the wassail bowl,
That tost-up after fox-i’ th’ hole;
Of blind-man-buff, and of the care
That young men have to shoe the mare;
Of twelfth-tide cakes, of pease and beans,
Wherewith ye make those merry scenes:
Of crackling laurel, which fore-sounds
A plenteous harvest to your grounds
Of those, and such like things, for shift,
We send, instead of New Year’s Gift.
Read then, and when your faces shine
With buxom meat and cap’ring wine
Remember us in cups full crown’d
And let our city-health go round.
Then, as ye sit about your embers,
Call not to mind the fled Decembers
But think on these, that are t’appear
As daughters to the instant year;
And to the bagpipes all address
Till sleep take place of weariness.
And thus throughout, with Christmas plays,
Frolick the full twelve holidays.

Mr. Ellis, in a note on Brand, introduces a poetical new year’s gift in Latin, from the stern Buchanan to the unhappy Mary of Scotland.

“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 [11, 12] 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:

If New Year’s eve night-wind blow south,
It betokeneth warmth and growth;
If west, much milk, and fish in the sea;
If north, much cold, and storms there will be;
If east, the trees will bear much fruit
If north-east, flee it man and brute.

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 gude-wife 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 carried [13, 14] 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’étrennes, 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 cæteras 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, stockings, 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 fête. 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 [15, 16] 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, “unvexed 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.

On new year’s day the man of business opens new account-books. “A good beginning makes a good ending.” Let every man open an account to himself; and to begin the new year that he may expect to say at its termination—it has been a good year. In the hilarity of the season let him not forget that to the needy it is a season of discomfort.

There is a satisfaction
In doing a good action:

and he who devises liberal things will find his liberality return to him in a full tide of happiness. An economist can afford to be generous. “Give me neither poverty nor riches,” prayed the wise man. To him who is neither encumbered by wealth, nor dispirited by indigence, the stores of enjoyment are unlocked.

He who holds fast the Golden Mean,
And lives contentedly between
The little and the great,
Feels not the wants that pinch the poor,
Nor plagues that haunt the rich man’s door,
Embitt’ring all his state.
The tallest pines feel most the pow’r
Of wintry blasts; the loftiest tow’r
Comes heaviest to the ground;
The bolts that spare the mountain’s side
His cloud-capt eminence divide,
And spread the ruin round.
The well-inform’d philosopher
Rejoices with a wholesome fear,
And hopes, in spite of pain;
If Winter bellow from the North,
Soon the sweet Spring comes dancing
And Nature laughs again.
If hindrances obstruct thy way,
Thy magnanimity display,
And let thy strength be seen;
But oh! if fortune fill thy sail
With more than a propitious gale,
Take half thy canvass in.



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 [17, 18] 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 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 Shakspeare’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 [19, 20] different from any thing like the warm and circling amplitude, which

Sweetly recommends itself
Unto our gentle senses.

Add to this, benumbed fingers, which may help you to cut yourself, a quivering body, a frozen towel, and an ewer full of ice; and he that says there is nothing to oppose in all this, only shows, at any rate that he has no merit in opposing it.”

Gymnastics for Youth.

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 [21, 22] 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

—————— The night comes calmly forth,
Bringing sweet rest upon the wings of even:
The golden wain rolls round the silent north,
And earth is slumbering ’neath the smiles of heaven.


January 2.

St. Macarius; St. Concordius; St. Adalard or Alard.

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 Scetè, 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 journies 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 one 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 said deeper than from heaven to earth: he demanded again, if there were any there lower than his own soul—the head said the Jews were lower than he was: the saint inquired if there were any lower than the Jews—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 Macarius’s 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, because [23, 24] 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.”

[25, 26]

January 3.

St. Genevieve. St. Anterus, Pope. St. Gordius. St. Peter Balsam.

St. Genevieve, Patroness of Paris.

Alban Butler affirms that she was born in 422, at Nanterre, four miles from Paris, near the present Calvary there, and that she died a virgin on this day in 512, and was buried in 545, near the steps of the high altar in a magnificent church, dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, began by Clovis, where he also was interred. Her relics were afterwards taken up and put into a costly shrine about 630. Of course they worked miracles. Her shrine of gold and silver, covered with precious stones, the presents of kings and queens, and with a cluster of diamonds on the top, presented by the intriguing Mary de Medicis, is, on calamitous occasions, carried about Paris in procession, accompanied by shrines equally miraculous, and by the canons of St. Genevieve walking bare-foot.

The miracles of St. Genevieve, as related in the Golden Legend, were equally numerous and equally credible. It relates that when she was a child, St. Germaine said to her mother, “Know ye for certain that on the day of Genevieve’s nativity the angels sung with joy and gladness,” and looking on the ground he saw a penny signed with the cross, which came there by the will of God; he took it up, and gave it to Genevieve, requiring her to bear in mind that she was the spouse of Christ. She promised him accordingly, and often went to the minster, that she might be worthy of her espousals. “Then,” says the Legend, “the mother was angry, and smote her on the cheek—God avenged the child, so that the mother became blind,” and so remained for one and twenty months, when Genevieve fetched her some holy water, signed her with the sign of the cross, washed her eyes, and she recovered her sight. It further relates, that by the Holy Ghost she showed many people their secret thoughts, and that from fifteen years to fifty she fasted every day except Sunday and Thursday, when she ate beans, and barley-bread of three weeks old. Desiring to build a church, and dedicate it to St. Denis and other martyrs, she required materials of the priests for that purpose. “Dame,” answered the priests, “we would; but we can get no chalk nor lime.” She desired them to go to the bridge of Paris and bring what they found there. They did so till two swineherds came by, one of whom said to the other, “I went yesterday after one of my sows and found a bed of lime;” the other replied that he had also found one under the root of a tree that the wind had blown down. St. Genevieve’s priests of course inquired where these discoveries were made, and bearing the tidings to Genevieve the church of St. Denis was began. During its progress the workmen wanted drink, whereupon Genevieve called for a vessel, prayed over it, signed it with the cross, and the vessel was immediately filled; “so,” says the Legend, “the workmen drank their belly full,” and the vessel continued to be supplied in the same way with “drink” for the workmen till the church was finished. At another time a woman stole St. Genevieve’s shoes, but as soon as she got home lost her sight for the theft, and remained blind, till, having restored the shoes, St. Genevieve restored the woman’s sight. Desiring the liberation of certain prisoners condemned to death at Paris, she went thither and found the city gates were shut against her, but they opened without any other key than her own presence. She prayed over twelve men in that city possessed with devils, till the men were suspended in the air, and the devils were expelled. A child of four years old fell in a pit and was killed. St. Genevieve only covered her with her mantle and prayed over her, and the child came to life and was baptized at Easter. On a voyage to Spain she arrived at a port “where, as of custom, ships were wont to perish.” Her own vessel was likely to strike on a tree in the water, which seems to have caused the wrecks; she commanded the tree to be cut down, and began to pray; when lo, just as the tree began to fall, “two wild heads, grey and horrible, issued thereout, which stank so sore, that the people that were there were envenomed by the space of two hours, and never after perished ship there; thanks be to God and this holy saint.”

At Meaux, a master not forgiving his servant his faults though St. Genevieve prayed him, she prayed against him. He was immediately seized with a hot ague; “on the morrow he came to the holy virgin, running with open mouth like a German bear, his tongue hanging out like a boar, and requiring pardon.” She then blessed him, the fever left him, and [27, 28] the servant was pardoned. A girl going by with a bottle, St. Genevieve called to her, and asked what she carried, she answered oil, which she had bought; but St. Genevieve seeing the devil sitting on the bottle, blew upon it, and the bottle broke, but the saint blessed the oil, and caused her to bear it home safely notwithstanding. The Golden Legend says, that the people who saw this, marvelled that the saint could see the devil, and were greatly edified.

It was to be expected that a saint of such miraculous powers in her lifetime should possess them after her death, and accordingly the reputation of her relics is very high.

Several stories of St. Genevieve’s miraculous faculties, represent them as very convenient in vexatious cases of ordinary occurrence; one of these will serve as a specimen. On a dark wet night she was going to church with her maidens, with a candle borne before her, which the wind and rain put out; the saint merely called for the candle, and as soon as she took it in her hand it was lighted again, “without any fire of this world.”

Other stories of her lighting candles in this way, call to mind a candle, greatly venerated by E. Worsley in a “Discourse of Miracles wrought in the Roman Catholic Church, or, a full Refutation of Dr. Stillingfleet’s unjust Exceptions against Miracles,” octavo, 1676. At p. 64, he says, “that the miraculous wax candle, yet seen at Arras, the chief city of Artois, may give the reader entertainment, being most certain, and never doubted of by any. In 1105, that is, much above 569 years ago, (of so great antiquity the candle is,) a merciless plague reigned in Arras. The whole city, ever devout to the Mother of God, experienced her, in this their necessity, to be a true mother of mercy: the manner was thus. The Virgin Mary appeared to two men, and enjoined them to tell the bishop of Arras, that on the next Saturday towards morning she would appear in the great church, and put into his hands a wax candle burning; from whence drops of wax should fall into a vessel of water prepared by the bishop. She said, moreover, that all the diseased that drank of this water, should forthwith be cured. This truly promised, truly happened. Our blessed Lady appeared all beautiful, having in her hands a wax candle burning, which diffused light over the whole church; this she presented to the bishop; he, blessing it with the sign of the cross, set it in the urn of water; when drops of wax plentifully fell down into the vessel. The diseased drank of it, all were cured, the contagion ceased, and the candle to this day preserved with great veneration, spends itself, yet loses nothing; and therefore remains still of the same length and greatness it did 500 years ago. A vast quantity of wax, made up of the many drops which fall into the water upon those festival days, when the candle burns, may be justly called a standing, indeficient miracle.”

This candle story, though gravely related by a catholic writer, as “not doubted of by any,” and as therefore not to be doubted, miraculously failed in convincing the protestant Stillingfleet, that “miracles wrought in the Roman catholic church,” ought to be believed.


1639. A manuscript entitled “Commentaries of the Civil Wars, from 1638 to 1648,” written by Sir Henry Slingsby, bart., a royalist, intimates the struggle, then approaching, between Charles I. and the nation. He says, “The 3d of January, 1639, I went to Bramham-house, out of curiosity, to see the training of the light-horse, for which service I had sent two horses, by commandment of the lieutenant and sir Joseph Ashley, who is lately come down, with special commission from the king to train and exercise them. These are strange spectacles to this nation in this age, that has lived thus long peaceably, without noise of drum or of shot, and after we have stood neuter, and in peace, when all the world besides hath been in arms.” The “training” was preparatory to the war with the Scots, the resistance of the commons in parliament, and its levies of troops to oppose the royal will.

“The armourers ————
With busy hammers closing rivets up
Gave dreadful note of preparation.”

The conflict ended in the death of Charles on the scaffold, the interregnum, the restoration, and the final expulsion of the Stuart race.

January 4.

St. Titus, disciple of St. Paul. St. Gregory, bishop of Langres. St. Rigobert or Robert. St. Rumon.

[29, 30]

St. Rumon.

Alban Butler informs us, from William of Malmsbury, that he was a bishop, though of what nation or see is unknown, and that his name is in the English martyrology. Cressy says, that his body was buried at Tavistock, where, about 960, Ordgar, count of Devonshire, father to Elfrida, the second wife of king Edgar, built a monastery “very agreeable and pleasant, by reason of the great variety of woods, pastures, and rivers abounding with fish.” St. Rumon consecrated the church. About thirty years afterwards, the monastery was destroyed and burnt by the Danes. It is memorable, that Edulf, a son of Ordgar, buried in that monastery, was a man of gigantic stature, and of such wonderful strength, that going to Exeter, and finding the gates shut and barred, he broke the outer iron bars with his hands, burst open the gates with his foot, tore the locks and bolts asunder, and broke down part of the wall.


1568. On the 4th of January Roger Ascham died, and was buried at St. Sepulchre’s church, London. He was born in Yorkshire about 1515, and is celebrated for his learning, for having been tutor and Latin secretary to queen Elizabeth, and for having written “the Scholemaster.” This work originated from mention having been made at dinner that some Eton scholars “had run away from school for fear of beating.” Ascham expressed his opinion that “young children were sooner allured by love, than driven by beating, to attain good learning.” He then retired up stairs “to read with the queen’s majesty: we read then together that noble oration of Demosthenes against Æschines, for his false dealing in his embassy to king Philip of Macedon; sir Richard Sackville came up soon after.” Sackville took Ascham aside, “A fond (silly) schoolmaster,” said sir Richard, “before I was fully fourteen years old, drove me so, with fear of beating, from all love of learning, as now, when I know what difference it is to have learning, and to have little, or none at all, I feel it my greatest grief, and find it my greatest hurt, that ever came to me, that it was so my ill chance, to light upon so lewd (ignorant) a schoolmaster.” The whole conversation was very interesting, and so impressed Ascham with its importance, that he says, he “thought to prepare some little treatise for a new-year’s gift that Christmas,” but it grew beneath his hands and became his “Scholemaster, showing a plain and perfect way of teaching the learned languages.” The best edition of this work, which Ascham did not live to publish, is that edited by the Rev. James Upton, 1743, octavo. The book was first printed by Ascham’s widow, whom with her children he left in distress. It was eminently serviceable to the advancement of teachers and pupils, at a period when it was the fashion to flog. Its most remarkable feature is the frowning down of this brutal practice, which, to the disgrace of our own times, is still heard of in certain seminaries, both public and private. The good old man says, “Beat a child if he dance not well, and cherish him though he learn not well, ye shall have him unwilling to go to dance, and glad to go to his book: knock him always when he draweth his shaft ill, and favour him again though he fault at his book, ye shall have him very loth to be in the field, and very willing to go to school.” He observes, “If ever the nature of man be given at any time, more than another, to receive goodness, it is in innocency of young years before that experience of evil have taken root in him. For the pure, clean wit of a sweet young babe, is like the newest wax, most able to receive the best and fairest printing; and like a new bright silver dish never occupied, to receive and keep clean any good thing that is put into it. Therefore, to love or to hate, to like or contemn, to ply this way or that way, to good or to bad, ye shall have as ye use a child in his youth.” He exemplifies this by a delightful anecdote of the young, beautiful, and accomplished lady Jane Grey, who shortly afterwards perished by the axe of the executioner. Ascham, before he went into Germany, visited Broadgate in Leicestershire, to take leave of her. “Her parents, the duke and duchess, with all the household, gentlemen and gentlewomen, were hunting in the park. I found her,” says Ascham, “in her chamber, reading Phædo Platonis in Greek, and that with as much delight, as some gentlemen would read a merry tale in Boccace. After salutation, and duty done, with some other talk, I asked her, why she would lose such pastime [31, 32] in the park? Smiling, she answered me:

“‘I wist, all their sport in the park is but a shadow to that pleasure that I find in Plato. Alas! good-folk, they never felt what true pleasure meant.’

“‘And how came you, madam,’ quoth I, ‘to this deep knowledge of pleasure? And what did chiefly allure you unto it, seeing not many women, but very few men, have attained thereunto?’

“‘I will tell you,’ quoth she, ‘and tell you a truth, which perchance you will marvel at. One of the greatest benefits that ever God gave me, is, that he sent me so sharp and severe parents, and so gentle a schoolmaster. For when I am in presence either of father or mother, whether I speak, keep silence, sit, stand, or go, eat, drink, be merry, or sad, be sewing, playing, dancing, or doing any thing else, I must do it, as it were, in such weight, measure, and number, even so perfectly, as God made the world; or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened, yea presently sometimes with pinches, nips, and bobs, and other ways (which I will not name for the honour I bear them) so without measure misordered, that I think myself in hell, till time come that I must go to Mr. Elmer; who teacheth me so gently, so pleasantly, with such fair allurements to learning, that I think all the time nothing, while I am with him: and when I am called from him, I fall on weeping, because whatsoever I do else, but learning, is full of grief, trouble, fear, and whole misliking unto me: and thus my book hath been so much my pleasure and bringeth daily to me more pleasure and more, that in respect of it, all other pleasures in very deed, be but trifles and troubles unto me.’”

Surely this innocent creature’s confession, that she was won to the love of learning and her teacher by his gentleness, and the disclosure of her affliction under the severe discipline of her parents, are positive testimony to the fact, that our children are to be governed and taught by the law of kindness: nor let it detract from the force of the remark, that in connection with her artless feelings and blameless deportment, if her hard fate call forth a versified effusion.


Young, beautiful, and learned Jane, intent
On knowledge, found it peace; her vast acquirement
Of goodness was her fall; she was content
With dulcet pleasures, such as calm retirement
Yields to the wise alone;—her only vice
Was virtue: in obedience to her sire
And lord she died, with them, a sacrifice
To their ambition: her own mild desire
Was rather to be happy than be great;
For though at their request she claimed the crown,
That they, through her, might rise to rule the state,
Yet, the bright diadem, and gorgeous throne,
She view’d as cares, dimming the dignity
Of her unsullied mind, and pure benignity.


1815. On the 4th of January, died Alexander Macdonald, Esq., who is no other way remarkable, than for a chivalrous devotion to the family of Stuart. He raised a monument in the vale of Glenfinnyn, at the head of Lochshiel, in the county of Inverness, with a Latin, Gaelic, and English inscription, to commemorate the last open efforts of that family, for the recovery of a crown they had forfeited by innumerable breaches of the laws, and whose aggressions on life and property being suffered, till

Non-resistance could no further go,”

they were excluded from the throne of the people, by the aristocracy and commonalty of England in parliament assembled. As evidence of the spirit that dictated such a memorial, and of the proper feeling which permits that spirit to be expressed, in spite of its hostility to the principles that deposited and continued the diadem of the commonwealth in the custody of the house of Hanover, the inscription on the monument is placed in the next column. It stands in English in these words:

[33, 34]

On the spot where
First raised his Standard,
On the 19th day of August, MDCCXLV,
When he made the daring and romantic attempt
To recover a Throne lost by the imprudence of his
This Column was erected by
To commemorate the generous zeal,
Undaunted bravery, and the inviolable fidelity,
Of his forefathers, and the rest of those
Who fought and bled in that
Arduous and unfortunate enterprise.
This Pillar is now,
Also become the Monument
Of its amiable and accomplished Founder,
Before it was finished,
Died in Edinburgh on the 4th day of January,

The “right line” of the Stuart race terminated in the late cardinal York. He was the second son of “the Pretender,” and was born at Rome on the 26th of March 1725; where he was baptized by the name of Henry Benedict Maria Clemens: he died there in 1807, in the 83d year of his age. In 1745 he went to France to head an army of fifteen thousand men, assembled at Dunkirk for the invasion of England. The battle of Culloden settled “the arduous and unfortunate enterprise,” which the “amiable and accomplished founder” of the monument commemorates, and not a single transport left Dunkirk roads. As soon as Henry Benedict heard of the affair at Culloden, he returned to Rome, entered into priest’s orders, and in 1747 was made a cardinal by pope Benedict XIV. It was taunted by a former pope upon James II. that he “lost his kingdom for a mass;” and it is certain that Henry Benedict was better qualified to take a red-hat and pull on and off red stockings, than to attempt the conquest of a free protestant nation.

After the expulsion of pope Pius VI. from “the chair of St. Peter,” by the French, he fled from his splendid residences at Rome and Frascati to Venice, infirm in health, distressed in circumstances, and at the age of seventy-five. He subsisted for awhile on the produce of some silver plate, which he had saved from the ruin of his property. By the friendly interference of sir John Cox Hippisley, the cardinal’s situation was made known to his late majesty, and lord Minto had orders to remit him a present of 2000l., which he received in February 1800, with an intimation that he might draw for the same amount in the July following; and sir J. C. Hippisley communicated to him, that an annuity of 4000l. would be at his service, so long as his circumstances might require it. This liberality was received and acknowledged by the cardinal in terms of gratitude, and made a considerable impression on the reigning pope and his court. These facts are extracted from the Gentleman’s Magazine, (vols. 74 and 77,) which also observes, that “from the time he devoted himself to ecclesiastical functions he seemed to have laid aside all worldly views, till his father’s death in 1788, when he had medals struck, bearing on their face his head, with ‘Henricus nonus Angliæ Rex;’ on the reverse, a city, with ‘Gratia Dei, sed non Voluntate Hominum:’ if we are not misinformed, our sovereign has one of these medals.” From one in the possession of the compiler of this work, he is enabled to present an engraving of it to his readers.


[35, 36]


January 5.

St. Simeon Stylites. St. Telesphorus. St. Syncletia.

St. Simeon Stylites.

Alban Butler declares, that St. Simeon astonished the whole Roman empire by his mortifications. In the monastery of Heliodorus, a man sixty-five years of age, who had spent sixty-two years so abstracted from the world, that he was ignorant of the most obvious things in it; the monks ate but once a day: Simeon joined the community, and ate but once a [37, 38] week. Heliodorus required Simeon to be more private in his mortifications; “with this view,” says Butler, “judging the rough rope of the well, made of twisted palm-tree leaves, a proper instrument of penance, Simeon tied it close about his naked body, where it remained unknown both to the community and his superior, till such time as it having ate into his flesh, what he had privately done was discovered by the effluvia proceeding from the wound.” Butler says, that it took three days to disengage the saint’s clothes, and that “the incisions of the physician, to cut the cord out of his body, were attended with such anguish and pain, that he lay for some time as dead.” After this he determined to pass the whole forty days of Lent in total abstinence, and retired to a hermitage for that purpose. Bassus, an abbot, left with him ten loaves and water, and coming to visit him at the end of the forty days, found both loaves and water untouched, and the saint stretched on the ground without signs of life. Bassus dipped a sponge in water, moistened his lips, gave him the eucharist, and Simeon by degrees swallowed a few lettuce leaves and other herbs. He passed twenty-six Lents in the same manner. In the first part of a Lent he prayed standing; growing weaker he prayed sitting; and towards the end, being almost exhausted, he prayed lying on the ground. At the end of three years he left his hermitage for the top of a mountain, made an enclosure of loose stones, without a roof, and having resolved to live exposed to the inclemencies of the weather, he fixed his resolution by fastening his right leg to a rock with a great iron chain. Multitudes thronged to the mountain to receive his benediction, and many of the sick recovered their health; but as some were not satisfied unless they touched him in his enclosure, and Simeon desired retirement from the daily concourse, he projected a new and unprecedented manner of life. He erected a pillar six cubits high, (each cubit being eighteen inches,) and dwelt on it four years; on a second of twelve cubits high he lived three years; on a third of twenty-two cubits high ten years; and on a fourth of forty cubits, or sixty feet high, which the people built for him, he spent the last twenty years of his life. This occasioned him to be called stylites, from the Greek word stylos, a pillar. This pillar did not exceed three feet in diameter at the top, so that he could not lie extended on it: he had no seat with him; he only stooped or leaned to take a little rest, and bowed his body in prayer so often, that a certain person who counted these positions, found that he made one thousand two hundred and forty-four reverences in one day, which if he began at four o’clock in the morning and finished at eight o’clock at night, gives a bow to every three-quarters of a minute; besides which he exhorted the people twice a day. His garments were the skins of beasts, he wore an iron collar round his neck, and had a horrible ulcer in his foot. During his forty days’ abstinence throughout Lent, he tied himself to a pole. He treated himself as the outcast of the world and the worst of sinners, worked miracles, delivered prophecies, had the sacrament delivered to him on the pillar, and died bowing upon it, in the sixty-ninth of his age, after having lived upon pillars for six and thirty years. His corpse was carried to Antioch attended by the bishops and the whole country, and worked miracles on its way. So far this account is from Alban Butler.

Without mentioning circumstances and miracles in the Golden Legend, which are too numerous, and some not fit to be related, it may be observed that it is there affirmed of him, that after his residence on the pillars, one of his thighs rotted a whole year, during which time he stood on one leg only. Near Simeon’s pillar was the dwelling of a dragon, so very venomous, that nothing grew near his cave. This dragon met with an accident; he had a stake in his eye, and coming all blind to the saint’s pillar, and placing his eye upon it for three days without doing harm to any one, Simeon ordered earth and water to be placed on the dragon’s eye, which being done, out came the stake, a cubit in length; when the people saw this miracle, they glorified God, and ran away for fear of the dragon, who arose and adored for two hours, and returned to his cave. A woman swallowed a little serpent, which tormented her for many years, till she came to Simeon, who causing earth and water to be laid on her mouth, the little serpent came out four feet and a half long. It is affirmed by the Golden Legend, that when Simeon died, Anthony smelt a precious odour proceeding from his body; that the birds cried so much, that both men and beasts cried; that an angel came down in a cloud that [39, 40] the patriarch of Antioch taking Simeon’s beard to put among his relics, his hand withered, and remained so till multitudes of prayers were said for him, and it was healed: and that more miracles were worked at and after Simeon’s sepulture, than he had wrought all his life.


1724. Jan. 5. An extraordinary instance of longevity is contained in a letter dated the 29th of January, 1724, from M. Hamelbranix, the Dutch envoy at Vienna, to their high mightinesses the states general, and published in a Dutch dictionary, “Het Algemeen historisch, geographisch en genealogisch Woordenboek,” by Luiscius. It relates to an individual who had attained the extraordinary age of one hundred and eighty-five years.

“Czartan Petrarch, by religion a Greek, was born in the year 1539, and died on the 5th of January, 1724, at Kofrosch, a village four miles from Temeswar, on the road leading to Karansebes. He had lived, therefore, a hundred and eighty-five years. At the time when the Turks took Temeswar from the Christians, he was employed in keeping his father’s cattle. A few days before his death he had walked, with the help of a stick, to the post-house at Kofrosch, to ask charity from the travellers. His eyes were much inflamed, but he still enjoyed a little sight. His hair and beard were of a greenish, white colour, like mouldy bread; and he had a few of his teeth remaining. His son, who was ninety-seven years of age, declared his father had once been the head taller; that at a great age he married for the third time; and that he was born in this last marriage. He was accustomed, agreeably to the rules of his religion, to observe fast days with great strictness, and never to use any other food than milk, and certain cakes, called by the Hungarians kollatschen, together with a good glass of brandy, such as is made in the country. He had descendants in the fifth generation, with whom he sometimes sported, carrying them in his arms. His son, though ninety-seven, was still fresh and vigorous. When field marshal count Wallis, the commandant of Temeswar, heard that this old man was taken sick, he caused a portrait of him to be painted, and when it was almost finished he expired.”

1808. Early in January, this year, the shaft of death supplied another case of longevity. At the advanced age of 110 years, died Dennis Hampson, the blind bard of Maggiligan, of whom an interesting account has been given by lady Morgan, in “The Wild Irish Girl.” The “Athenæum,” from whence this notice is extracted, relates, that only a few hours before his decease he tuned his harp, that he might have it in readiness to entertain sir H. Bruce’s family, who were expected to pass that way in a few days, and who were in the habit of stopping to hear his music; suddenly, however, he felt the approach of death, and calling his family around him resigned his breath without a struggle, and in perfect possession of his faculties to the last moment. A kindred spirit produced the following tribute to the memory of this “aged son of song.” He was the oldest of the Irish bards.

The fame of the brave shall no longer be sounded,
The last of our bards now sleeps cold in his grave;
Maggiligan rocks, where his lays have resounded,
Frown dark at the ocean, and spurn at the wave.
For, Hampson, no more shall thy soul-touching finger
Steal sweet o’er the strings, and wild melody pour;
No more near thy hut shall the villagers linger,
While strains from thy harp warble soft round the shore.
No more thy harp swells with enraptured emotion,
Thy wild gleams of fancy for ever are fled,
No longer thy minstrelsy charms this rude ocean,
That rolls near the green turf that pillows thy head.
Yet vigour and youth with bright visions had fired thee,
And rose-buds of health have blown deep on thy cheek;
The songs of the sweet bards of Erin inspired thee,
And urged thee to wander like laurels to seek.
Yes, oft hast thou sung of our kings crown’d with glory,[41, 42]
Or, sighing, repeated the lover’s fond lay;
And oft hast thou sung of the bards famed in story,
Whose wild notes of rapture have long past away.
Thy grave shall be screen’d from the blast and the billow,
Around it a fence shall posterity raise;
Erin’s children shall wet with their tears thy cold pillow,
Her youths shall lament thee, and carol thy praise.

This is the eve of the Epiphany, or Twelfth-night eve, and is a night of preparation in some parts of England for the merriments which, to the present hour, distinguish Twelfth-day. Dr. Drake mentions that it was a practice formerly for itinerant minstrels to bear a bowl of spiced-wine to the houses of the gentry and others, from whom they expected a hospitable reception, and, calling their bowl a wassail-bowl, to drink wassail to their entertainers. These merry sounds of mirth and music are not extinct. There are still places wherein the wandering blower of a clarionet, and the poor scraper of as poor a fiddle, will this evening strain their instruments, to charm forth the rustic from his dwelling, and drink to him from a jug of warm ale, spiced with a race of ginger, in the hope of a pittance for their melody, and their wish of wassail. Of the wassail-bowl, much will appear before the reader in the after pages of this work.

In certain parts of Devonshire, the farmer, attended by his workmen, with a large pitcher of cider, goes to the orchard this evening; and there, encircling one of the best bearing trees, they drink the following toast three times:

“Here’s to thee, old apple-tree, hence thou mayst bud, and whence thou mayst blow!
And whence thou mayst bear apples enow!
Hats full! caps full!
Bushel—bushel—sacks full,
And my pockets full too! Huzza!”

This done, they return to the house, the doors of which they are sure to find bolted by the females, who, be the weather what it may, are inexorable to all entreaties to open them till some one has guessed at what is on the spit, which is generally some nice little thing, difficult to be hit on, and is the reward of him who first names it. The doors are then thrown open, and the lucky clodpole receives the tit-bit as his recompense. Some are so superstitious as to believe, that if they neglect this custom, the trees will bear no apples that year. To the preceding particulars, which are related in the Gentleman’s Magazine for 1791, may be added that Brand, on the authority of a Cornishman, relates it as a custom with the Devonshire people to go after supper into the orchard, with a large milk-pan full of cider, having roasted apples pressed into it. “Out of this each person in company takes, what is called a clayen cup, that is an earthenware cup full of liquor, and standing under each of the more fruitful apple-trees, passing by those that are not good bearers, he addresses it in the following words:

‘Health to thee, good apple-tree,
Well to bear, pocket-fulls, hat-fulls,
Peck-fulls, bushel-bag-fulls!’

And then drinking up part of the contents, he throws the rest, with the fragments of the roasted apples, at the tree. At each cup the company set up a shout.”

Pennant, in his tour in Scotland, says respecting this custom, that after they have drank a cheerful glass to their master’s health, with success to the future harvests, and expressed their good wishes in the same way, they feast off cakes made of caraways and other seeds soaked in cider, which they claim as a reward for their past labours in sowing the grain. “This,” says Pennant, “seems to resemble a custom of the ancient Danes, who, in their addresses to their rural deities emptied, on every invocation, a cup in honour of them.”

So also Brand tells us that, in Herefordshire, [43, 44] “at the approach of evening on the vigil of the twelfth day, the farmers, with their friends and servants, meet together, and about six o’clock walk out to a field where wheat is growing. In the highest part of the ground, twelve small fires and one large one are lighted up. The attendants, headed by the master of the family, pledge the company in old cider, which circulates freely on these occasions. A circle is formed round the large fire, when a general shout and hallooing takes place, which you hear answered from all the adjacent villages and fields. Sometimes fifty or sixty of these fires may be all seen at once. This being finished, the company return home, where the good housewife and her maids are preparing a good supper. A large cake is always provided, with a hole in the middle. After supper, the company all attend the bailiff (or head of the oxen) to the wain-house, where the following particulars are observed. The master, at the head of his friends, fills the cup, (generally of strong ale,) and stands opposite the first or finest of the oxen. He then pledges him in a curious toast: the company follow his example with all the other oxen, addressing each by his name. This being finished, the large cake is produced, and, with much ceremony, put on the horn of the first ox, through the hole above-mentioned. The ox is then tickled, to make him toss his head: if he throw the cake behind, then it is the mistress’s perquisite; if before, (in what is termed the boosy,) the bailiff himself claims the prize. The company then return to the house, the doors of which they find locked, nor will they be opened till some joyous songs are sung. On their gaining admittance, a scene of mirth and jollity ensues, and which lasts the greatest part of the night.”

Mr. Beckwith relates in the Gentleman’s Magazine, 1784, that “near Leeds, in Yorkshire, when he was a boy, it was customary for many families, on the twelfth eve of Christmas, to invite their relations, friends, and neighbours, to their houses, to play at cards, and to partake of a supper, of which minced pies were an indispensable ingredient; and after supper was brought in, the wassail cup or wassail bowl, of which every one partook, by taking with a spoon, out of the ale, a roasted apple, and eating it, and then drinking the healths of the company out of the bowl, wishing them a merry Christmas and a happy new year. (The festival of Christmas used in this part of the country to hold for twenty days, and some persons extended it to Candlemas.) The ingredients put into the bowl, viz. ale, sugar, nutmeg, and roasted apples, were usually called lambs’-wool, and the night on which it is used to be drunk (generally on the twelfth eve) was commonly called Wassil eve.” The glossary to the Exmore dialect has “Watsail—a drinking song on twelfth-day eve, throwing toast to the apple-trees, in order to have a fruitful year, which seems to be a relic of the heathen sacrifice to Pomona.”

Brand found it observed in the ancient calendar of the Romish church, that on the fifth day of January, the eve or vigil of the Epiphany, there were “kings created or elected by beans;” that the sixth of the month is called “The Festival of Kings;” and “that this ceremony of electing kings was continued with feasting for many days.”

Twelfth-night eve or the vigil of the Epiphany is no way observed in London. There Twelfth-day itself comes with little of the pleasure that it offered to our forefathers. Such observances have rapidly disappeared, and the few that remain are still more rapidly declining. To those who are unacquainted with their origin they afford no associations to connect the present with former ages; and without such feelings, the few occasions which enable us to show a hospitable disposition, or from whence we can obtain unconstrained cheerfulness, will pass away, and be remembered only as having been.

January 6.

Epiphany. {

Close holiday at all Public offices
except Stamp, Customs, and Excise.

St. Melanius. St. Peter. St. Nilammon.

St. Peter was a disciple of Gregory the Great, the first abbot of St. Augustine’s monastery at Canterbury, and drowned in 608 while proceeding on a voyage to France. According to Cressy, the inhabitants buried his body without knowing any thing about him, till “a heavenly light appeared every night over his sepulture,” when they held an inquest, and a count Fumert buried him in the church of Boulogne. From a quotation in Patrick, it appears that a weasel who gnawed his robe was found dead upon it for his sauciness.

[45, 46]


The Rev Thomas Dudley Fosbroke, M. A. F. A. S., &c. whose “Encyclopædia of Antiquities” has been already cited from, is the author of “British Monachism, or, Manners and Customs of the Monks and Nuns of England,” 4to. 1817; a most erudite work, wherein he gives an account, from Du Cange, of the Feast of the Star, or Office of the Three Kings, a catholic service performed on this day. “Three priests, clothed as kings, with their servants carrying offerings, met from different directions of the church before the altar. The middle one, who came from the east, pointed with his staff to a star: a dialogue then ensued; and after kissing each other, they began to sing, ‘Let us go and inquire;’ after which the precentor began a responsory, ‘Let the Magi come.’ A procession then commenced, and as soon as it began to enter the nave, a crown like a star, hanging before the cross, was lighted up, and pointed out to the Magi, with ‘Behold the star in the east.’ This being concluded, two priests, standing at each side of the altar, answered, meekly, ‘We are those whom you seek,’ and drawing a curtain showed them a child, whom, falling down, they worshipped. Then the servants made the offerings of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which were divided among the priests. The Magi in the mean while continued praying till they dropped asleep; when a boy clothed in an alb, like an angel, addressed them with, ‘All things which the prophets said are fulfilled.’ The festival concluded with chanting services, &c.”

Mr. Fosbroke adds, that at Soissons a rope was let down from the roof of the church, to which was annexed an iron circle, having seven tapers, intended to represent Lucifer, or the morning star.

The three persons honoured by this service, and called kings, were the three wise men who, in catholic works, are usually denominated the Three Kings of Cologne. Cressy tells us, that the empress Helena, who died about the year 328, brought their bodies from the east to Constantinople; from whence they were transferred to Milan, and afterwards, in 1164, on Milan being taken by the emperor Frederick, presented by him to the archbishop of Cologne, who put them in the principal church of that city, “in which place,” says Cressy, “they are to this day celebrated with great veneration.” Patrick quotes a prayer to them from the Romish service, beginning “O, king Jaspar, king Melchior, king Balthasar;” and he says that the Salisbury Missal states their offerings to have been disposed of in this way:—“Joseph kept of the gold as much as him needed, to pay his tribute to the emperor, and also to keep our lady with while she lay in childbed, and the rest he gave to the poor. The incense he burnt to take off the stench of the stable there as she lay in; and with the myrrh, our lady anointed her child, to keep him from worms and disease.” Patrick makes several observations on the service to these three kings of Cologne, and as to the credibility of their story; and he inquires what good this prayer will do to Jaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, when another tradition says their names were Apellius, Amerus, and Damascus; a third, that they were Magalath, Galgalath, and Sarasin; and a fourth, Ator, Sator, and Peratoras; which last, Patrick says, he should choose in this uncertainty to call them by, as having the more kingly sound, if it had not been that Casaubon represents these three, “together with Misael, Achael, Cyriacus, and Stephanus, (the names of the four shepherds that came to visit our Lord in Bethlehem,) had been used (and he tells how) for a charm to cure the biting of serpents and other venomous beasts.” Patrick gives other prayers to these three kings, one of them from the “Hours of the Virgin,” and also quotes this miraculous anecdote; that one John Aprilius, when he was hanged, implored the patronage of the three kings of Cologne; the consequence of which seems to have been, that after he had been hung three days and was cut down, he was found alive; whereupon he came to Cologne half naked, with his halter about his neck, and returned thanks to his deliverers.

[47, 48]


Such are the scenes, that, at the front and side
Of the Twelfth-cake-shops, scatter wild dismay;
As up the slipp’ry curb, or pavement wide,
We seek the pastrycooks, to keep Twelfth-day;
While ladies stand aghast, in speechless trance,
Look round—dare not go back—and yet dare not advance.

In London, with every pastrycook in the city, and at the west end of the town, it is “high change” on Twelfth-day. From the taking down of the shutters in the morning, he, and his men, with additional assistants, male and female, are fully occupied by attending to the dressing out of the window, executing orders of the day before, receiving fresh ones, or supplying the wants of chance customers. Before dusk the important arrangement of the window is completed. Then the gas is turned on, with supernumerary argand-lamps and manifold wax-lights, to illuminate countless cakes of all prices and dimensions, that stand in rows and piles on the counters and sideboards, and in the windows. The richest in flavour and heaviest in weight and price are placed on large and massy salvers; one, enormously superior to the rest in size, is the chief object of curiosity; and all are decorated with all imaginable images of things animate and inanimate. Stars, castles, kings, cottages, dragons, trees, fish, palaces, cats, dogs, churches, lions, milkmaids, knights, serpents, and innumerable other forms in snow-white confectionary, [49, 50] painted with variegated colours, glitter by “excess of light” from mirrors against the walls festooned with artificial “wonders of Flora.” This “paradise of dainty devices,” is crowded by successive and successful desirers of the seasonable delicacies, while alternate tapping of hammers and peals of laughter, from the throng surrounding the house, excite smiles from the inmates.

The cause of these sounds may be inferred from something like this passing outside.

Constable. Make way, make way! Clear the way! You boys stand aside!

Countryman. What is all this; Is any body ill in the shop?

1st Boy. Nobody, sir; it’s only Twelfth day!

2d Boy. This is a pastrycook’s, sir; look at the window! There they stand! What cakes!

3d Boy. What pretty ones these are!

4th Boy. Only see that!

5th Boy. Why it’s as large as the hind-wheel of a coach, and how thick!

6th Boy. Ah! it’s too big to come out at the door, unless they roll it out.

7th Boy. What elegant figures, and what lots of sweetmeats!

8th Boy. See the flowers; they look almost like real ones.

Countryman. What a crowd inside!

9th Boy. How the people of the house are packing up all the good things!

Countryman. What a beautiful lady that is behind the counter!

10th Boy. Which?

Countryman. Why the young one!

10th Boy. What her? oh, she’s the pastrycook’s daughter, and the other’s her mother.

Countryman. No, no; not her; I mean her, there.

10th Boy. Oh, her; she’s the shopwoman; all the pastrycooks always try to get handsome ladies to serve in the shop!

11th Boy. I say, I say! halloo! here’s a piece of work! Look at this gentleman—next to me—his coat-tail’s nailed to the window! Look, look!

Countryman. Aye, what?

All the boys. Ah! ah! ah! Huzza.

Countryman. Who nailed my coat-tail? Constable!

12th Boy. That’s the boy that’s got the hammer!

2d Boy. What, me? why that’s the boy—there; and there’s another boy hammering! and there’s a man with a hammer!

1st Boy. Who pinned that woman to the gentleman? Why there’s a dozen pinned together.

Countryman. Constable! constable!

2nd Boy. Here comes the constable. Hark at him!

Const. Clear away from the doors! Let the customers go in! Make way! Let the cakes come out! Go back, boy!

13th Boy. If you please, Mr. Constable, I’m going to buy a cake!

Const. Go forward, then!

Man with cakes. By your leave! by your leave.

Const. Clear the way!

All the Boys. Huzza! huzza! More people pinned—and plenty nailed up!——

To explain, to those who may be ignorant of the practice. On Twelfth-night in London, boys assemble round the inviting shops of the pastrycooks, and dexterously nail the coat-tails of spectators, who venture near enough, to the bottoms of the window frames; or pin them together strongly by their clothes. Sometimes eight or ten persons find themselves thus connected. The dexterity and force of the nail driving is so quick and sure, that a single blow seldom fails of doing the business effectually. Withdrawal of the nail without a proper instrument is out of the question; and, consequently, the person nailed must either leave part of his coat, as a cognizance of his attachment, or quit the spot with a hole in it. At every nailing and pinning shouts of laughter arise from the perpetrators and the spectators. Yet it often happens to one who turns and smiles at the duress of another, that he also finds himself nailed. Efforts at extrication increase mirth, nor is the presence of a constable, who is usually employed to attend and preserve free “ingress, egress, and regress,” sufficiently awful to deter the offenders.

Scarcely a shop in London that offers a halfpenny plain bun to the purchase of a hungry boy, is without Twelfth-cakes and finery in the windows on Twelfth-day, The gingerbread-bakers—there are not many, compared with their number when the writer was a consumer of their manufactured goods,—even the reduced gingerbread-bakers periwig a few plum-buns with sugar-frost to-day, and coaxingly interpolate them among their new made [51, 52] sixes, bath-cakes, parliament, and ladies’ fingers. Their staple-ware has leaves of untarnished dutch-gilt stuck on; their upright cylinder-shaped show-glasses, containing peppermint-drops, elecampane, sugar-sticks, hard-bake, brandy-balls, and bulls’-eyes, are carefully polished; their lolly-pops are fresh encased, and look as white as the stems of tobacco-pipes; and their candlesticks are ornamented with fillets and bosses of writing paper; or, if the candles rise from the bottom of inverted glass cones, they shine more sparkling for the thorough cleaning of their receivers in the morning.

How to eat Twelfth-cake requires no recipe; but how to provide it, and draw the characters, on the authority of Rachel Revel’s “Winter Evening Pastimes,” may be acceptable. First, buy your cake. Then, before your visitors arrive, buy your characters, each of which should have a pleasant verse beneath. Next look at your invitation list, and count the number of ladies you expect; and afterwards the number of gentlemen. Then, take as many female characters as you have invited ladies; fold them up, exactly of the same size, and number each on the back; taking care to make the king No. 1, and the queen No. 2. Then prepare and number the gentlemen’s characters. Cause tea and coffee to be handed to your visitors as they drop in. When all are assembled and tea over, put as many ladies’ characters in a reticule as there are ladies present; next put the gentlemen’s characters in a hat. Then call on a gentleman to carry the reticule to the ladies as they sit, from which each lady is to draw one ticket, and to preserve it unopened. Select a lady to bear the hat to the gentlemen for the same purpose. There will be one ticket left in the reticule, and another in the hat, which the lady and gentleman who carried each is to interchange, as having fallen to each. Next, arrange your visitors according to their numbers; the king No. 1, the queen No. 2, and so on. The king is then to recite the verse on his ticket; then the queen the verse on hers; and so the characters are to proceed in numerical order. This done, let the cake and refreshments go round, and hey! for merriment!

They come! they come! each blue-eyed sport,
The Twelfth-night king and all his court—
’Tis Mirth fresh crown’d with mistletoe!
Music with her merry fiddles,
Joy “on light fantastic toe,”
Wit with all his jests and riddles,
Singing and dancing as they go.
And Love, young Love, among the rest,
A welcome—nor unbidden guest.

Twelfth-day is now only commemorated by the custom of choosing king and queen. “I went,” says a correspondent in the Universal Magazine for 1774, “to a friend’s house in the country to partake of some of those innocent pleasures that constitute a merry Christmas. I did not return till I had been present at drawing king and queen, and eaten a slice of the Twelfth-cake, made by the fair hands of my good friend’s consort. After tea yesterday, a noble cake was produced, and two bowls, containing the fortunate chances for the different sexes. Our host filled up the tickets; the whole company, except the king and queen, were to be ministers of state, maids of honour, or ladies of the bed-chamber. Our kind host and hostess, whether by design or accident, became king and queen. According to Twelfth-day law, each party is to support their character till midnight.” The maintenance of character is essential to the drawing. Within the personal observation of the writer of these sheets, character has never been preserved. It must be admitted, however, that the Twelfth-night characters sold by the pastrycooks, are either commonplace or gross—when genteel they are inane; when humorous, they are vulgar.

Young folks anticipate Twelfth-night as a full source of innocent glee to their light little hearts. Where, and what is he who would negative hopes of happiness for a few short hours in the day-spring of life? A gentle spirit in the London Magazine beautifully sketches a scene of juvenile enjoyment this evening: “I love to see an acre of cake spread out—the sweet frost covering the rich earth below—studded all over with glittering flowers, like ice-plants, and red and green knots of sweetmeat, and hollow yellow [53, 54] crusted crowns, and kings and queens, and their paraphernalia. I delight to see a score of happy children sitting huddled all round the dainty fare, eyeing the cake and each other, with faces sunny enough to thaw the white snow. I like to see the gazing silence which is kept so religiously while the large knife goes its round, and the glistening eyes which feed beforehand on the huge slices, dark with citron and plums, and heavy as gold. And then, when the “Characters” are drawn, is it nothing to watch the peeping delight which escapes from their little eyes? One is proud, as king; another stately, as queen; then there are two whispering grotesque secrets which they cannot contain (those are sir Gregory Goose and sir Tunbelly Clumsy.) The boys laugh out at their own misfortunes; but the little girls (almost ashamed of their prizes) sit blushing and silent. It is not until the lady of the house goes round, that some of the more extravagant fictions are revealed. And then, what a roar of mirth! Ha, ha! The ceiling shakes, and the air is torn. They bound from their seats like kids, and insist on seeing Miss Thompson’s card. Ah! what merry spite is proclaimed—what ostentatious pity! The little girl is almost in tears; but the large lump of allotted cake is placed seasonably in her hands, and the glass of sweet wine ‘all round’ drowns the shrill urchin laughter, and a gentler delight prevails.” Does not this make a charming picture?

There is some difficulty in collecting accounts of the manner wherein Twelfth-night is celebrated in the country. In “Time’s Telescope,” an useful and entertaining annual volume, there is a short reference to the usage in Cumberland, and other northern parts of England. It seems that on Twelfth-night, which finishes their Christmas holidays, the rustics meet in a large room. They begin dancing at seven o’clock, and finish at twelve, when they sit down to lobscouse, and ponsondie; the former is made of beef, potatoes, and onions fried together; and in ponsondie we recognise the wassail or waes-hael of ale, boiled with sugar and nutmeg, into which are put roasted apples,—the anciently admired lambs’-wool. The feast is paid for by subscription: two women are chosen, who with two wooden bowls placed one within the other, so as to leave an opening and a space between them, go round to the female part of the society in succession, and what one puts into the uppermost bowl the attendant collectress slips into the bowl beneath it. All are expected to contribute something, but not more than a shilling, and they are best esteemed who give most. The men choose two from themselves, and follow the same custom, except that as the gentlemen are not supposed to be altogether so fair in their dealings as the ladies, one of the collectors is furnished with pen, ink, and paper, to set down the subscriptions as soon as received.

If a satirical prophecy in “Vox Graculi,” 4to. 1623, may be relied on as authority, it bears testimony to the popularity of Twelfth-night at that period. On the 6th of January the author declares, that “this day, about the houres of 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, yea, in some places till midnight well nigh, will be such a massacre of spice-bread, that, ere the next day at noon, a two-penny browne loafe will set twenty poore folkes teeth on edge. Which hungry humour will hold so violent, that a number of good fellowes will not refuse to give a statute-marchant of all the lands and goods they enjoy, for half-a-crown’s worth of two-penny pasties.” He further affirms, that there will be “on this night much masking in the Strand, Cheapside, Holbourne, or Fleet-street.”

“The twelve days of Christmas,” as the extent of its holidays, were proverbial; but among labourers, in some parts, the Christmas festivities did not end till Candlemas. Old Tusser, in his “Five Hundred Points of good Husbandry,” would have the merriments end in six days; he begins January with this advice to the countryman:

When Christmas is ended, bid feasting adue,
Goe play the good husband, thy stock to renue:
Be mindful of rearing, in hope of a gaine,
Dame Profit shall give thee reward for thy paine.

This was the recommendation of prudence tempered by kindness; a desire for diligence in the husbandman, with an allowance of reasonable pastime to sweeten his labour.

From Naogeorgus, in “The Popish Kingdome,” a poem before quoted, and which will be frequently referred to for its lore regarding our ancient customs, it [55, 56] is to be gathered, that the king of Twelfth-night, after the manner of royalty, appointed his officers. He himself attained his dignity thus:

Then also every householder, to his abilitie,
Doth make a mightie cake, that may suffice his companie:
Herein a pennie doth he put, before it come to fire,
This he divides according as his householde doth require,
And every peece distributeth, as round about they stand,
Which in their names unto the poore is given out of hand.
But who so chaunceth on the peece wherein the money lies,
Is counted king amongst them all, and is with showtes and cries
Exalted to the heavens up.

Mr. Fosbroke notices, that “the cake was full of plums, with a bean in it for the king, and a pea for the queen, so as to determine them by the slices. Sometimes a penny was put in the cake, and the person who obtained it, becoming king, crossed all the beams and rafters of the house against devils. A chafing-dish with burning frankincense was also lit, and the odour snuffed up by the whole family, to keep off disease for the year. After this, the master and mistress went round the house with the pan, a taper, and a loaf, against witchcraft.”

So far Mr. Fosbroke abridges Naogeorgus’s account, which goes on to say, that

— in these dayes beside,
They judge what weather all the yeare shall happen and betide:
Ascribing to each day a month, and at this present time,
The youth in every place doe flocke, and all apparel’d fine,
With pypars through the streetes they runne, and singe at every dore.
There cities are, where boyes and gyrles, together still do runne,
About the streete with like, as soone as night beginnes to come,
And bring abrode their wassel bowles, who well rewarded bee,
With cakes and cheese, and great good cheare, and money plenteouslee.

Queen Elizabeth’s Progresses by Mr. Nichols, contain an entertainment to her at Sudley, wherein were Melibæus, the King of the Bean, and Nisa, the queen of the Pea.

Mel. Cut the cake: who hath the beane, shall be King; and where the peaze is, she shall be Queene.

Nis. I have the peaze, and must be Queene.

Mel. I have the beane, and King; I must commande.”

Pinkerton’s “Ancient Scotish Poems,” contain a letter from sir Thomas Randolph, queen Elizabeth’s chamberlain of the Exchequer, to Dudley lord Leicester, dated from Edinburgh on the 15th January, 1563, wherein he mentions, that Lady Flemyng was “Queen of the Beene” on Twelfth-day in that year: and in Ben Jonson’s Masque of Christmas, Baby-cake, one of the characters, is attended by “an Usher, bearing a great cake with a bean, and a pease.” Herrick, the poet of our festivals, has several allusions to the celebration of this day by our ancestors: the poem here subjoined, recognises its customs with strict adherence to truth, and in pleasant strains of joyousness.

Twelfe-night, or King and Queene.

Now, now the mirth comes
With the cake full of plums,
Where beane’s the king of the sport here,
Beside, we must know,
The pea also
Must revell, as queene in the court here.
Begin then to chuse,
This night as ye use,
Who shall for the present delight here,
Be a king by the lot,
And who shall not
Be Twelfe-day queene for the night here.
Which knowne, let us make
Joy-sops with the cake;
And let not a man then be seen here,
Who unurg’d will not drinke,
To the base from the brink,
A health to the king and the queene here.
Next crowne the bowle ful.
With gentle lambs-wooll;
Adde sugar, nutmeg, and ginger,
With store of ale, too;
And thus ye must doe
To make the wassaile a swinger.
Give them to the king
And queene wassailing;
And though with ale ye be whet here;
Yet part ye from hence,
As free from offence,
As when ye innocent met here.

A citation by Brand represents the ancient Twelfth-night-cake to have been composed of flour, honey, ginger, and pepper. The maker thrust in, at random, a small coin as she was kneading it. When baked, it was divided into as many parts as there [57, 58] were persons in the family, and each had his share. Portions of it were also assigned to Christ, the Virgin, and the three Magi, and were given in alms.

On Twelfth-day the people of Germany and the students of its academies chose a king with great ceremony and sumptuous feastings.

In France, the Twelfth-cake is plain, with a bean; the drawer of the slice containing the bean is king or queen. All drink to her or his majesty, who reigns, and receives homage from all, during the evening. There is no other drawing, and consequently the sovereign is the only distinguished character. In Normandy they place a child under the table, which is so covered with a cloth that he cannot see; and when the cake is divided, one of the company taking up the first piece, cries out, “Fabe Domini pour qui?” The child answers, “Pour le bon Dieu:” and in this manner the pieces are allotted to the company. If the bean be found in the piece for the “bon Dieu,” the king is chosen by drawing long or short straws. Whoever gets the bean chooses the king or queen, according as it happens to be a man or woman. According to Brand, under the old order of things, the Epiphany was kept at the French court by one of the courtiers being chosen king, and the other nobles attended an entertainment on the occasion; but, in 1792, during the revolution, La Fête de Rois was abolished; Twelfth-day was ordered to be called La Fête de Sans-Culottes; the old feast was declared anti-civic; and any priest keeping it was deemed a royalist. The Literary Pocket Book affirms, that at La Fête de Rois the French monarch and his nobles waited on the Twelfth-night king, and that the custom was not revived on the return of the Bourbons, but that instead of it the royal family washed the feet of some people and gave them alms.

There is a difference of opinion as to the origin of Twelfth-day. Brand says, “that though its customs vary in different countries, yet they concur in the same end, that is, to do honour to the Eastern Magi.” He afterwards observes, “that the practice of choosing ‘king,’ on Twelfth-day, is similar to a custom that existed among the ancient Greeks and Romans, who, on the festival days of Saturn, about this season of the year, drew lots for kingdoms and like kings exercised their temporary authority.” Indeed, it appears, that the question is almost at rest. Mr. Fosbroke affirms that “the king of Saturnalia was elected by beans, and that from thence came our king and queen on this day.” The coincidence of the election by beans having been common to both customs, leaves scarcely the possibility of doubt that ours is a continuation of the heathen practice under another name. Yet “some of the observances on this day are the remains of Druidical, and other superstitious ceremonies.” On these points, if Mr. Fosbroke’s Dictionary of Antiquities be consulted by the curious inquirer, he will there find the authorities, and be in other respects gratified.

The Epiphany is called Twelfth-day, because it falls on the twelfth day after Christmas-day. Epiphany signifies manifestation, and is applied to this day because it is the day whereon Christ was manifested to the Gentiles. Bourne in his Vulgar Antiquities, which is the substructure of Brand’s Popular Antiquities, remarks that this is the greatest of the twelve holidays, and is therefore more jovially observed, by the visiting of friends and Christmas gambols, than any other.

Finally, on observances of this festival not connected with the Twelfth-night king and queen. It is a custom in many parishes in Gloucestershire on this day to light up twelve small fires and one large one; this is mentioned by Brand: and Mr. Fosbroke relates, that in some countries twelve fires of straw are made in the fields “to burn the old witch,” and that the people sing, drink, and dance around it, and practise other ceremonies in continuance. He takes “the old witch” to be the Druidical God of Death. It is stated by sir Henry Piers, in genl. Vallancey’s “Collectanea,” that, at Westmeath, “on Twelve-eve in Christmas, they used to set up as high as they can a sieve of oats, and in it a dozen of candles set round, and in the centre one larger, all lighted; this in memory of our saviour and his apostles, lights of the world.” Sir Henry’s inference may reasonably be doubted; the custom is probably of higher antiquity than he seems to have suspected.

A very singular merriment in the Isle of Man is mentioned by Waldron, in his history of that place. He says, that “during the whole twelve days of Christmas, [59, 60] there is not a barn unoccupied, and that every parish hires fiddlers at the public charge. On Twelfth-day, the fiddler lays his head in some one of the girls’ laps, and a third person asks, who such a maid, or such a maid shall marry, naming the girls then present one after another; to which he answers according to his own whim, or agreeable to the intimacies he has taken notice of during this time of merriment. But whatever he says is as absolutely depended on as an oracle; and if he happens to couple two people who have an aversion to each other, tears and vexation succeed the mirth. This they call cutting off the fiddler’s head; for, after this, he is dead for the whole year.”

It appears from the Gentleman’s Magazine, that on Twelfth-day 1731, the king and the prince at the chapel royal, St. James’s, made their offerings at the altar, of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, according to custom, and that at night their majesties, &c. played at hazard for the benefit of the groom-porter. These offerings which clearly originate from the Roman church, and are not analogous to any ceremony of the church of England, continue to be annually made; with this difference, however, that the king is represented by proxy in the person of some distinguished officer of the household. In other respects the proceedings are conducted with the usual state.


sun and earth

Midwinter is over. According to astronomical reckoning, we have just passed that point in the earth’s orbit, where the north pole is turned most from the sun. This position is represented in the diagram above, by the direction of the terminator, or boundary line of light and darkness, which is seen to divide the globe into two equal parts; the north pole, which is the upper pole in the figure, and all parts within 3212 degrees, being enveloped in constant darkness. We now trace the sun among the stars of the constellation Capricorn or sea-goat, and it is winter in the whole northern hemisphere. At the beginning of January the earth is at its least distance from the sun, which is proved by measuring the apparent magnitude of that luminary by means of an instrument called a micrometer, his disc being now about 32 minutes of a degree; whereas at the opposite season, or at the beginning of July, near our Midsummer, his apparent diameter is only about 31 minutes. The coldness of winter therefore does not depend on the distance of the earth from the sun, but on the very oblique or slanting direction of his rays; less heat falling on any given part of the earth, than when the rays fall more direct. From the slanting direction of his rays they pass through a more dense region of the atmosphere, and are somewhat intercepted; while another cause of the cold is the shortness of our days and the length of our nights; the sun continuing only about seven hours and a half above the horizon, while he is absent for about sixteen hours and a half.

This position of the earth relatively to the sun is exemplified in the Popular Lectures on Astronomy, now delivering at the Assembly-room, Paul’s Head, Cateaton-street, by Mr. John Wallis, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. His explanations of this noble science are familiarly and beautifully illustrated, by an original and splendid apparatus devised and constructed by his own hands. It consists of extensive mechanism and numerous brilliant transparencies. Mr. Wallis’s lectures on Tuesday and Thursday next, the 18th and 20th of January, 1825, are under the patronage of the Lord Mayor. Here is a sure mode of acquiring astronomical knowledge, accompanied by the delightful gratification of witnessing a display of the heavens more bewitching than the mind can conceive. Ladies, and young persons especially, have a delightful opportunity of being agreeably entertained by the novelty and beauty of the exhibition and the eloquent descriptions of the enlightened lecturer.

The holly with its red berries, and the “fond ivy,” still stick about our houses to maintain the recollection of the seasonable festivities. Let us hope that we may congratulate each other on having, while we kept them, kept ourselves within compass. Merriment without discretion is an abuse for which nature is sure to [61, 62] punish us. She may suffer our violence for a while in silence; but she is certain to resume her rights at the expense of our health, and put us to heavy charges to maintain existence.

January 7.

St. Lucian. St. Cedd. St. Kentigerna. St. Aldric. St. Thillo. St. Canut.

St. Lucian.

This saint is in the calendar of the church of England on the following day, 8th of January. He was a learned Syrian. According to Butler, he corrected the Hebrew version of the Scriptures for the inhabitants of Palestine, during some years was separated from the Romish church, afterwards conformed to it, and died after nine years imprisonment, either by famine or the sword, on this day, in the year 312. It further appears from Butler, that the Arians affirmed of St. Lucian, that to him Arius was indebted for his distinguishing doctrine, which Butler however denies.


The day after Twelfth-day was so called because it was celebrated in honour of the rock, which is a distaff held in the hand, from whence wool is spun by twirling a ball below. It seems that the burning of the flax and tow belonging to the women, was the men’s diversion in the evening of the first day of labour after the twelve days of Christmas, and that the women repaid the interruption to their industry by sluicing the mischief-makers. Herrick tells us of the custom in his Hesperides:—

St. Distaff’s day, or the morrow after Twelfth-day.

Partly work, and partly play,
Ye must on S. Distaff’s day:
From the plough soone free your teame,
Then come home and fother them.
If the maides a spinning goe,
Burne the flax, and fire the tow;
Bring in pailes of water then,
Let the maides bewash the men:
Give S. Distaffe all the right,
Then bid Christmas sport good-night.
And next morrow, every one
To his owne vocation.

In elder times, when boisterous diversions were better suited to the simplicity of rustic life than to the comparative refinement of our own, this contest between fire and water must have afforded great amusement.


1772. “An authentic, candid, and circumstancial narrative of the astonishing transactions at Stockwell, in the county of Surry, on Monday and Tuesday, the 6th and 7th days of January, 1772, containing a series of the most surprising and unaccountable events that ever happened; which continued from first to last upwards of twenty hours, and at different places. Published with the consent and approbation of the family, and other parties concerned, to authenticate which, the original Copy is signed by them.

This is the title of an octavo tract published in “London, printed for J. Marks, bookseller, in St. Martin’s-lane, 1772.” It describes Mrs. Golding, an elderly lady, at Stockwell, in whose house the transactions happened, as a woman of unblemished honour and character; her niece, Mrs. Pain, as the wife of a farmer at Brixton-causeway, the mother of several children, and well known and respected in the parish; Mary Martin as an elderly woman, servant to Mr. and Mrs. Pain, with whom she had lived two years, having previously lived four years with Mrs. Golding, from whom she went into Mrs. Pain’s service; and Richard Fowler and Sarah, his wife, as an honest, industrious, and sober couple, who lived about opposite to Mr. Pain, at the Brick-pound. These were the subscribing witnesses to many of the surprising transactions, which were likewise witnessed by some others. Another person who bore a principal part in these scenes was Ann Robinson, aged about twenty years, who had lived servant with Mrs. Golding but one week and three days. The “astonishing transactions” in Mrs. Golding’s house were these:

On Twelfth-day 1772, about ten o’clock in the forenoon, as Mrs. Golding was in her parlour, she heard the china and glasses in the back kitchen tumble down and break; her maid came to her and told her the stone plates were falling from the shelf; Mrs. Golding went into the kitchen and saw them broke. Presently after, a row of plates from the next shelf fell down likewise, while she was there, and nobody near them; this [63, 64] astonished her much, and while she was thinking about it, other things in different places began to tumble about, some of them breaking, attended with violent noises all over the house; a clock tumbled down and the case broke; a lantern that hung on the staircase was thrown down and the glass broke to pieces; an earthen pan of salted beef broke to pieces and the beef fell about; all this increased her surprise, and brought several persons about her, among whom was Mr. Rowlidge, a carpenter, who gave it as his opinion that the foundation was giving way and that the house was tumbling down, occasioned by the too great weight of an additional room erected above: “so ready,” says the narrative, “are we to discover natural causes for every thing!”

Mrs. Golding ran into Mr. Gresham’s house, next door to her, where she fainted, and in the interim, Mr. Rowlidge, and other persons, were removing Mrs. Golding’s effects from her house, for fear of the consequences prognosticated. At this time all was quiet; Mrs. Golding’s maid remaining in her house, was gone up stairs, and when called upon several times to come down, for fear of the dangerous situation she was thought to be in, she answered very coolly, and after some time came down deliberately, without any seeming fearful apprehensions.

Mrs. Pain was sent for from Brixton-causeway, and desired to come directly, as her aunt was supposed to be dead;—this was the message to her. When Mrs. Pain came, Mrs. Golding was come to herself, but very faint from terror.

Among the persons who were present, was Mr. Gardner, a surgeon, of Clapham, whom Mrs. Pain desired to bleed her aunt, which he did; Mrs. Pain asked him if the blood should be thrown away; he desired it might not, as he would examine it when cold. These minute particulars would not be taken notice of, but as a chain to what follows. For the next circumstance is of a more astonishing nature than any thing that had preceded it; the blood that was just congealed, sprung out of the basin upon the floor, and presently after the basin broke to pieces; this china basin was the only thing broke belonging to Mr. Gresham; a bottle of rum that stood by it broke at the same time.

Among the things that were removed to Mr. Gresham’s was a tray full of china, &c., a japan bread-basket, some mahogany waiters, with some bottles of liquors, jars of pickles, &c. and a pier glass, which was taken down by Mr. Saville, (a neighbour of Mrs. Golding’s;) he gave it to one Robert Hames, who laid it on the grass-plat at Mr. Gresham’s; but before he could put it out of his hands, some parts of the frame on each side flew off; it raining at that time, Mrs. Golding desired it might be brought into the parlour, where it was put under a side-board, and a dressing-glass along with it; it had not been there long before the glasses and china which stood on the side-board, began to tumble about and fall down, and broke both the glasses to pieces. Mr. Saville and others being asked to drink a glass of wine or rum, both the bottles broke in pieces before they were uncorked.

Mrs. Golding’s surprise and fear increasing, she did not know what to do or where to go; wherever she and her maid were, these strange, destructive circumstances followed her, and how to help or free herself from them, was not in her power or any other person’s present: her mind was one confused chaos, lost to herself and every thing about her, drove from her own home, and afraid there would be none other to receive her, she at last left Mr. Gresham’s, and went to Mr. Mayling’s, a gentleman at the next door, here she staid about three quarters of an hour, during which time nothing happened. Her maid staid at Mr. Gresham’s, to help put up what few things remained unbroken of her mistress’s, in a back apartment, when a jar of pickles that stood upon a table, turned upside down, then a jar of raspberry jam broke to pieces.

Mrs. Pain, not choosing her aunt should stay too long at Mr. Mayling’s, for fear of being troublesome, persuaded her to go to her house at Rush Common, near Brixton-causeway, where she would endeavour to make her as happy as she could, hoping by this time all was over, as nothing had happened at that gentleman’s house while she was there. This was about two o’clock in the afternoon.

Mr. and Miss Gresham were at Mr. Pain’s house, when Mrs. Pain, Mrs. Golding, and her maid went there. It being about dinner time they all dined together; in the interim Mrs. Golding’s servant was sent to her house to see how [65, 66] things remained. When she returned, she told them nothing had happened since they left it. Sometime after Mr. and Miss Gresham went home, every thing remaining quiet at Mr. Pain’s: but about eight o’clock in the evening a fresh scene began; the first thing that happened was, a whole row of pewter dishes, except one, fell from off a shelf to the middle of the floor, rolled about a little while, then settled, and as soon as they were quiet, turned upside down; they were then put on the dresser, and went through the same a second time: next fell a whole row of pewter plates from off the second shelf over the dresser to the ground, and being taken up and put on the dresser one in another, they were thrown down again. Two eggs were upon one of the pewter shelves, one of them flew off, crossed the kitchen, struck a cat on the head, and then broke to pieces.

Next Mary Martin, Mrs. Pain’s servant, went to stir the kitchen fire, she got to the right hand side of it, being a large chimney as is usual in farm houses, a pestle and mortar that stood nearer the left hand end of the chimney shelf, jumped about six feet on the floor. Then went candlesticks and other brasses: scarce any thing remaining in its place. After this the glasses and china were put down on the floor for fear of undergoing the same fate.

A glass tumbler that was put on the floor jumped about two feet and then broke. Another that stood by it jumped about at the same time, but did not break till some hours after, when it jumped again and then broke. A china bowl that stood in the parlour jumped from the floor, to behind a table that stood there. This was most astonishing, as the distance from where it stood was between seven and eight feet, but was not broke. It was put back by Richard Fowler, to its place, where it remained some time, and then flew to pieces.

The next thing that followed was a mustard-pot, that jumped out of a closet and was broke. A single cup that stood upon the table (almost the only thing remaining) jumped up, flew across the kitchen, ringing like a bell, and then was dashed to pieces against the dresser. A tumbler with rum and water in it, that stood upon a waiter upon a table in the parlour, jumped about ten feet and was broke. The table then fell down, and along with it a silver tankard belonging to Mrs. Golding, the waiter in which had stood the tumbler, and a candlestick. A case bottle then flew to pieces.

The next circumstance was, a ham, that hung on one side of the kitchen chimney, raised itself from the hook and fell down to the ground. Some time after, another ham, that hung on the other side of the chimney, likewise underwent the same fate. Then a flitch of bacon, which hung up in the same chimney, fell down.

All the family were eye-witnesses to these circumstances as well as other persons, some of whom were so alarmed and shocked, that they could not bear to stay.

At all the times of action, Mrs. Golding’s servant was walking backwards and forwards, either in the kitchen or parlour, or wherever some of the family happened to be. Nor could they get her to sit down five minutes together, except at one time for about half an hour towards the morning, when the family were at prayers in the parlour; then all was quiet; but, in the midst of the greatest confusion, she was as much composed as at any other time, and with uncommon coolness of temper advised her mistress not to be alarmed or uneasy, as she said these things could not be helped.

“This advice,” it is observed in the narrative, surprised and startled her mistress, almost as much as the circumstances that occasioned it. “For how can we suppose,” says the narrator, “that a girl of about twenty years old, (an age when female timidity is too often assisted by superstition,) could remain in the midst of such calamitous circumstances, (except they proceeded from causes best known to herself,) and not be struck with the same terror as every other person was who was present. These reflections led Mr. Pain, and at the end of the transactions, likewise Mrs. Golding, to think that she was not altogether so unconcerned as she appeared to be.”

About ten o’clock at night, they sent over the way to Richard Fowler, to desire he would come and stay with them. He came and continued till one in the morning, when he was so terrified, that he could remain no longer.

As Mrs. Golding could not be persuaded to go to bed, Mrs. Pain, at one o’clock, made an excuse to go up stairs to her youngest child, under pretence of getting it to sleep; but she really acknowledged it was through fear, as she declared she could not sit up to see such strange things going on, as every thing one after another was broken, till there was not above two or three cups and saucers remaining out of a [67, 68] considerable quantity of china, &c., which was destroyed to the amount of some pounds.

About five o’clock on Tuesday morning, the 7th, Mrs. Golding went up to her niece, and desired her to get up, as the noises and destruction were so great she could continue in the house no longer. Mrs. Golding and her maid went over the way to Richard Fowler’s: when Mrs. Golding’s maid had seen her safe to Richard Fowler’s, she came back to Mrs. Pain, to help her to dress the children in the barn, where she had carried them for fear of the house falling. At this time all was quiet: they then went to Fowler’s, and then began the same scene as had happened at the other places. All was quiet here as well as elsewhere, till the maid returned.

When they got to Mr. Fowler’s, he began to light a fire in his back room. When done, he put the candle and candlestick upon a table in the fore room. This apartment Mrs. Golding and her maid had passed through. Another candlestick with a tin lamp in it that stood by it, were both dashed together, and fell to the ground. At last the basket of coals tumbled over, and the coals rolling about the room, the maid desired Richard Fowler not to let her mistress remain there, as she said, wherever she was, the same things would follow. In consequence of this advice, and fearing greater losses to himself, he desired Mrs. Golding would quit his house; but first begged her to consider within herself, for her own and the public sake, whether or not she had not been guilty of some atrocious crime, for which Providence was determined to pursue her on this side the grave. Mrs. Golding told him she would not stay in his house, or any other person’s, as her conscience was quite clear, and she could as well wait the will of Providence in her own house as in any other place whatever; upon which she and her maid went home, and Mrs. Pain went with them.

After they had got to Mrs. Golding’s, a pail of water, that stood on the floor, boiled like a pot; a box of candles fell from a shelf in the kitchen to the floor, and they rolled out, but none were broken, and the table in the parlour fell over.

Mr. Pain then desired Mrs. Golding to send her maid for his wife to come to them, and when she was gone all was quiet; upon her return she was immediately discharged, and no disturbances happened afterwards; this was between six and seven o’clock on Tuesday morning. At Mrs. Golding’s were broken the quantity of three pails full of glass, china, &c. Mrs. Pain’s filled two pails.

The accounts here related are in the words of the “narrative,” which bears the attestation of the witnesses before mentioned. The affair is still remembered by many persons: it is usually denominated the “Stockwell Ghost,” and deemed inexplicable. It must be recollected, however, that the mysterious movements were never made but when Ann Robinson, Mrs. Golding’s maid-servant, was present, and that they wholly ceased when she was dismissed. Though these two circumstances tend to prove that this girl was the cause of the disturbances, scarcely any one who lived at that time listened patiently to the presumption, or without attributing the whole to witchcraft. One lady, whom the editor of the Every-Day Book conversed with several times on the subject, firmly believed in the witchcraft, because she had been eye-witness to the animation of the inanimate crockery and furniture, which she said could not have been effected by human means—it was impossible. He derived, however, a solution of these “impossibilities” from the late Mr. J. B———, at his residence in Southampton-street, Camberwell, towards the close of the year 1817. Mr. B——— said, all London was in an uproar about the “Stockwell Ghost” for a long time, and it would have made more noise than the “Cock-lane Ghost,” if it had lasted longer; but attention to it gradually died away, and most people believed it was supernatural. Mr. B———, in continuation, observed, that some years after it happened, he became acquainted with this very Ann Robinson, without knowing for a long time that she had been the servant-maid to Mrs. Golding. He learned it by accident, and told her what he had heard. She admitted it was true, and in due season, he says, he got all the story out. She had fixed long horse hairs to some of the crockery, and put wires under others; on pulling these, the “movables” of course fell. Mrs. Golding was terribly frightened, and so were all who saw any thing tumble. Ann Robinson herself, dexterously threw many of the things down, which the persons present, when they turned round and saw them in motion or broken, attributed to unseen agency. These spectators were all too much alarmed by their own dread of infernal power to examine any thing. [69, 70] They kept at an awful distance, and sometimes would not look at the utensils, lest they might face fresh horrors; of these tempting opportunities she availed herself. She put the eggs in motion, and after one only fell down, threw the other at the cat. Their terrors at the time, and their subsequent conversations magnified many of the circumstances beyond the facts. She took advantage of absences to loosen the hams and bacon, and attach them by the skins; in short, she effected all the mischief. She caused the water in the pail to appear as if it boiled, by slipping in a paper of chemical powders as she passed, and afterwards it bubbled. “Indeed,” said Mr. B———, “there was a love story connected with the case, and when I have time, I will write out the whole, as I got it by degrees from the woman herself. When she saw the effect of her first feats, she was tempted to exercise the dexterity beyond her original purpose for mere amusement. She was astonished at the astonishment she caused, and so went on from one thing to another; and being quick in her motions and shrewd, she puzzled all the simple old people, and nearly frightened them to death.” Mr. B——— chuckled mightily over his recollections; he was fond of a practical joke, and enjoyed the tricks of Ann Robinson with all his heart. By his acuteness, curiosity, and love of drollery, he drew from her the entire confession; and “as the matter was all over years ago, and no more harm could be done,” said Mr. B., “I never talked about it much, for her sake; but of this I can assure you, that the only magic in the thing was, her dexterity and the people’s simplicity.” Mr. B. promised to put down the whole on paper; but he was ailing and infirm, and accident prevented the writer from caring much for a “full, true, and particular account,” which he could have had at any time, till Mr. Brayfield’s death rendered it unattainable.


Mr. Arthur Aikin, in his “Calendar of Nature,” presents us with a variety of acceptable information concerning the operations of nature throughout the year. “The plants at this season,” he says, “are provided by nature with a sort of winter-quarters, which secure them from the effects of cold. Those called herbaceous, which die down to the root every autumn, are now safely concealed under-ground, preparing their new shoots to burst forth when the earth is softened in spring. Shrubs and trees, which are exposed to the open air, have all their soft and tender parts closely wrapt up in buds, which by their firmness resist all the power of frost; the larger kinds of buds, and those which are almost ready to expand, are further guarded by a covering of resin or gum, such as the horse-chestnut, the sycamore, and the lime. Their external covering, however, and the closeness of their internal texture, are of themselves by no means adequate to resist the intense cold of a winter’s night: a bud detached from its stem, enclosed in glass, and thus protected from all access of external air, if suspended from a tree during a sharp frost, will be entirely penetrated, and its parts deranged by the cold, while the buds on the same tree will not have sustained the slightest injury; we must therefore attribute to the living principle in vegetables, as well as animals, the power of resisting cold to a very considerable degree: in animals, we know, this power is generated from the decomposition of air by means of the lungs, and disengagement of heat; how vegetables acquire this property remains for future observations to discover. If one of these buds be carefully opened, it is found to consist of young leaves rolled together, within which are even all the blossoms in miniature that are afterwards to adorn the spring.”

During the mild weather of winter, slugs are in constant motion preying on plants and green wheat. Their covering of slime prevent the escape of animal heat, and hence they are enabled to ravage when their brethren of the shell, who are more sensible of cold, lie dormant. Earthworms likewise appear about this time; but let the man of nice order, with a little garden, discriminate between the destroyer, and the innocent and useful inhabitant. One summer evening, the worms from beneath a small grass plat, lay half out of their holes, or were dragging “their slow length” upon the surface. They were all carefully taken up, and preserved as a breakfast for the ducks. In the following year, the grass-plat, which had flourished annually with its worms, vegetated unwillingly. They were the under-gardeners that loosened the sub-soil, and let the warm air through their entrances to nourish the roots of the herbage.

“Their calm desires that asked but little room,”

were unheeded, and their usefulness was unknown, until their absence was felt.

[71, 72]

street festivities

Plough Monday

The first Monday after Twelfth-day is called Plough Monday, and appears to have received that name because it was the first day after Christmas that husbandmen resumed the plough. In some parts of the country, and especially in the north, they draw the plough in procession to the doors of the villagers and townspeople. Long ropes are attached to it, and thirty or forty men, stripped to their clean white shirts, but protected from the weather by waistcoats beneath, drag it along. Their arms and shoulders are decorated with gay-coloured ribbons, tied in large knots and bows, and their hats are smartened in the same way. They are usually accompanied by an old woman, or a boy dressed up to represent one; she is gaily bedizened, and called the Bessy. Sometimes the sport is assisted by a humorous countryman to represent a fool. He is covered with ribbons, and attired in skins, with a depending tail, and carries a box to collect money from the spectators. They are attended by music, and Morris-dancers when they can be got; but there is always a sportive dance with a few lasses in all their finery, and a superabundance of ribbons. When this merriment is well managed, it is very pleasing. The money collected is spent at night in conviviality. It must not be supposed, however, that in these times, the twelve days of Christmas are devoted to pastime, although the custom remains. Formerly, indeed, little was done in the field at this season, and according to “Tusser Redivivus,” during the Christmas holidays, gentlemen feasted the farmers, and every farmer feasted his servants and taskmen. Then Plough Monday reminded them of their business, and on the morning of that day, the men and maids strove who should show their readiness to commence the labours of the year, by rising the earliest. If the ploughman could get his whip, his plough-staff, hatchet, or any field implement, by the fireside, before the maid could get her kettle on, she lost her Shrove-tide cock to the men. Thus did our forefathers strive to allure youth to their duty, and provided them innocent mirth as well as labour. On Plough Monday night the farmer gave them a good supper and strong ale. In some places, where the ploughman went to work on Plough Monday, if, on his return at night, he came with his whip to the kitchen-hatch, and cried “Cock in pot,” before the maid could cry “Cock on the dunghill,” he gained a cock for Shrove Tuesday.

Blomefield’s History of Norfolk tends to clear the origin of the annual processions on Plough Monday. Anciently, a [73, 74] light called the Plough-light, was maintained by old and young persons who were husbandmen, before images in some churches, and on Plough Monday they had a feast, and went about with a plough and dancers to get money to support the Plough-light. The Reformation put out these lights; but the practice of going about with the plough begging for money remains, and the “money for light” increases the income of the village alehouse. Let the sons of toil make glad their hearts with “Barley-wine;” let them also remember to “be merry and wise.” Their old acquaintance, “Sir John Barleycorn,” has had heavy complaints against him. There is “The Arraigning and Indicting of Sir John Barleycorn, knt. printed for Timothy Tosspot.” This whimsical little tract describes him as of “noble blood, well beloved in England, a great support to the crown, and a maintainer of both rich and poor.” It formally places him upon his trial, at the sign of the Three Loggerheads, before “Oliver and Old Nick his holy father,” as judges. The witnesses for the prosecution were cited under the hands and seals of the said judges, sitting “at the sign of the Three merry Companions in Bedlam; that is to say, Poor Robin, Merry Tom, and Jack Lackwit.” At the trial, the prisoner, sir John Barleycorn, pleaded not guilty.

Lawyer Noisy.—May it please your lordship, and gentlemen of the jury, I am counsel for the king against the prisoner at the bar, who stands indicted of many heinous and wicked crimes, in that the said prisoner, with malice propense and several wicked ways, has conspired and brought about the death of several of his majesty’s loving subjects, to the great loss of several poor families, who by this means have been brought to ruin and beggary, which, before the wicked designs and contrivances of the prisoner, lived in a flourishing and reputable way, but now are reduced to low circumstances and great misery, to the great loss of their own families and the nation in general. We shall call our evidence; and if we make the facts appear, I do not doubt but you will find him guilty, and your lordships will award such punishment as the nature of his crimes deserve.

Vulcan, the Blacksmith.—My lords, sir John has been a great enemy to me, and many of my friends. Many a time, when I have been busy at my work, not thinking any harm to any man, having a fire-spark in my throat, I, going over to the sign of the Cup and Can for one pennyworth of ale, there I found sir John, and thinking no hurt to any man, civilly sat me down to spend my twopence; but in the end, sir John began to pick a quarrel with me. Then I started up, thinking to go away; but sir John had got me by the top of the head, that I had no power to help myself, and so by his strength and power he threw me down, broke my head, my face, and almost all my bones, that I was not able to work for three days; nay, more than this, he picked my purse, and left me never a penny, so that I had not wherewithal to support my family, and my head ached to such a degree, that I was not able to work for three or four days; and this set my wife a scolding, so that I not only lost the good opinion my neighbours had of me, but likewise raised such a storm in my family, that I was forced to call in the parson of the parish to quiet the raging of my wife’s temper.

Will, the Weaver.—I am but a poor man, and have a wife and a charge of children: yet this knowing sir John will never let me alone; he is always enticing me from my work, and will not be quiet till he hath got me to the alehouse; and then he quarrels with me, and abuses me most basely; and sometimes he binds me hand and foot, and throws me in the ditch, and there stays with me all night, and next morning leaves me but one penny in my pocket. About a week ago, we had not been together above an hour, before he began to give me cross words: at our first meeting, he seemed to have a pleasant countenance, and often smiled in my face, and would make me sing a merry catch or two; but in a little time, he grew very churlish, and kicked up my heels, set my head where my heels should be, and put my shoulder out, so that I have not been able to use my shuttle ever since, which has been a great detriment to my family, and great misery to myself.

Stitch, the Tailor, deposed to the same effect.

Mr. Wheatly.—The inconveniencies I have received from the prisoner are without number, and the trouble he occasions in the neighbourhood is not to be expressed. I am sure I have been oftentimes very highly esteemed both with lords, knights, and squires, and none could please them so well as James Wheatly, the baker; but now the case is [75, 76] altered; sir John Barleycorn is the man that is highly esteemed in every place. I am now but poor James Wheatly, and he is sir John Barleycorn at every word; and that word hath undone many an honest man in England; for I can prove it to be true, that he has caused many an honest man to waste and consume all that he hath.

The prisoner, sir John Barleycorn, being called on for his defence, urged, that to his accusers he was a friend, until they abused him; and said, if any one is to be blamed, it is my brother Malt. My brother is now in court, and if your lordships please, may be examined to all those facts which are now laid to my charge.

Court.—Call Mr. Malt.

Malt appears.

Court.—Mr. Malt, you have (as you have been in court) heard the indictment that is laid against your brother, sir John Barleycorn, who says, if any one ought to be accused, it should be you; but as sir John and you are so nearly related to each other, and have lived so long together, the court is of opinion he cannot be acquitted, unless you can likewise prove yourself innocent of the crimes which are laid to his charge.

Malt.—My lords, I thank you for the liberty you now indulge me with, and think it a great happiness, since I am so strongly accused, that I have such learned judges to determine these complaints. As for my part, I will put the matter to the bench. First, I pray you consider with yourselves, all tradesmen would live; and although Master Malt does make sometimes a cup of good liquor, and many men come to taste it, yet the fault is neither in me nor my brother John, but in such as those who make this complaint against us, as I shall make it appear to you all.

In the first place, which of you all can say but Master Malt can make a cup of good liquor, with the help of a good brewer; and when it is made, it will be sold. I pray which of you all can live without it? But when such as these, who complain of us, find it to be good, then they have such a greedy mind, that they think they never have enough, and this overcharge brings on the inconveniences complained of, makes them quarrelsome with one another, and abusive to their very friends, so that we are forced to lay them down to sleep. From hence it appears it is from their own greedy desires all these troubles arise, and not from wicked designs of our own.

Court.—Truly, we cannot see that you are in the fault. Sir John Barleycorn, we will show you so much favour, that if you can bring any person of reputation to speak to your character, the court is disposed to acquit you. Bring in your evidence, and let us hear what they can say in your behalf.

Thomas, the Ploughman.—May I be allowed to speak my thoughts freely, since I shall offer nothing but the truth.

Court.—Yes, thou mayest be bold to speak the truth, and no more, for that is the cause we sit here for; therefore speak boldly, that we may understand thee.

Ploughman.—Gentlemen, sir John is of an ancient house, and is come of a noble race; there is neither lord, knight, nor squire, but they love his company, and he theirs; as long as they don’t abuse him, he will abuse no man, but doth a great deal of good. In the first place, few ploughmen can live without him; for if it were not for him, we should not pay our landlords their rent; and then what would such men as you do for money and clothes? Nay, your gay ladies would care but little for you, if you had not your rents coming in to maintain them; and we could never pay, but that sir John Barleycorn feeds us with money; and yet would you seek to take away his life! For shame, let your malice cease, and pardon his life, or else we are all undone.

Bunch, the Brewer.—Gentlemen, I beseech you, hear me. My name is Bunch, a brewer; and I believe few of you can live without a cup of good liquor, no more than I can without the help of sir John Barleycorn. As for my own part, I maintain a great charge, and keep a great many men at work; I pay taxes forty pounds a year to his majesty, God bless him, and all this is maintained by the help of sir John; then how can any man for shame seek to take away his life.

Mistress Hostess.—To give evidence in behalf of sir John Barleycorn, gives me pleasure, since I have an opportunity of doing justice to so honourable a person. Through him the administration receives large supplies; he likewise greatly supports the labourer, and enlivens the conversation. What pleasure could there be at a sheep-clipping without his company, or what joy at a feast without his assistance? I know him to be an honest [77, 78] man, and he never abused any man, if they abused not him. If you put him to death, all England is undone, for there is not another in the land can do as he can do, and hath done; for he can make a cripple go, the coward fight, and a soldier neither feel hunger nor cold. I beseech you, gentlemen, let him live, or else we are all undone; the nation likewise will be distressed, the labourer impoverished, and the husbandman ruined.

Court.—Gentlemen of the jury, you have now heard what has been offered against sir John Barleycorn, and the evidence that has been produced in his defence. If you are of opinion he is guilty of those wicked crimes laid to his charge, and has with malice propense conspired and brought about the death of several of his majesty’s loving subjects, you are then to find him guilty; but if, on the contrary, you are of opinion that he had no real intention of wickedness, and was not the immediate, but only the accidental, cause of these evils laid to his charge, then, according to the statute law of this kingdom, you ought to acquit him.

Verdict, Not Guilty.

From this facetious little narrative may be learned the folly of excess, and the injustice of charging a cheering beverage, with the evil consequences of a man taking a cup more of it than will do him good.

January 8.

St. Lucian—Holiday at the Exchequer.

St. Appollinaris. St. Severinus. St. Pega. St. Vulsin. St. Gudula. St. Nathalan.

St. Lucian.

The St. Lucian of the Romish church on this day was from Rome, and preached in Gaul, where he suffered death about 290, according to Butler, who affirms that he is the St. Lucian in the English Protestant calendar. There is reason to suppose, however, that the St. Lucian of the church of England was the saint of that name mentioned yesterday.

St. Gudula

Is the patroness of Brussels, and is said to have died about 712. She suffered the misfortune of having her candle blown out, and possessed the miraculous power of praying it a-light again, at least, so says Butler; “whence,” he affirms, “she is usually represented in pictures with a lantern.” He particularizes no other miracle she performed. Surius however relates, that as she was praying in a church without shoes, the priest compassionately put his gloves under her feet; but she threw them away, and they miraculously hung in the air for the space of an hour—whether in compliment to the saint or the priest does not appear.


1821. A newspaper of January 8, mentions an extraordinary feat by Mr. Huddy, the postmaster of Lismore, in the 97th year of his age. He travelled, for a wager, from that town to Fermoy in a Dungarvon oyster-tub, drawn by a pig, a badger, two cats, a goose, and a hedgehog; with a large red nightcap on his head, a pig-driver’s whip in one hand, and in the other a common cow’s-horn, which he blew to encourage his team, and give notice of this new mode of posting.

Let us turn away for a moment from the credulity and eccentricity of man’s feebleness and folly, to the contemplation of “the firstling of the year” from the bosom of our common mother. The Snow-drop is described in the “Flora Domestica” as “the earliest flower of all our wild flowers, and will even show her head above the snow, as if to prove her rivalry in whiteness;” as if

—Flora’s breath, by some transforming power,
Had chang’d an icicle into a flower.

Mrs. Barbauld.

One of its greatest charms is its “coming in a wintry season, when few others visit us: we look upon it as a friend in adversity; sure to come when most needed.”

Like pendent flakes of vegetating snow,
The early herald of the infant year,
Ere yet the adventurous crocus dares to blow,
Beneath the orchard-boughs, thy buds appear.
While still the cold north-east ungenial lowers,
And scarce the hazel in the leafless copse,
Or sallows, show their downy powder’d flowers,
The grass is spangled with thy silver drops.

Charlotte Smith.

[79, 80]

January 9.

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 mentioning.


1766. On the 9th of January died Dr. Thomas Birch, a valuable contributor to history and biography. He was born on the 23d 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 a 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 flowret’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.

January 10.

St. William. St. Agatho, Pope. St. Martian.

St. William.

This saint, who died in 1207, was archbishop of Bourges, always wore a hair shirt, never ate flesh meat, when he found himself dying caused his body to be laid on ashes in his hair shirt, worked miracles after his death, and had his relics venerated till 1562, when the Hugonots burnt them without their manifesting miracles at that important crisis. A bone of his arm is still at Chaalis, and one of his ribs at Paris; so says Butler, who does not state that either of these remains worked miracles since the French revolution.

1820. The journals of January relate some particulars of a gentleman remarkable for the cultivation of an useful quality to an extraordinary extent. He drew from actual memory, in twenty-two hours, at two sittings, in the presence of two well-known gentlemen, a correct plan of the parish of St. James, Westminster, with parts of the [81, 82] parishes of St. Mary-le-bone, St. Ann, and St. Martin; which plan contained every square, street, lane, court, alley, market, church, chapel, and all public buildings, with all stable and other yards, also every public-house in the parish, and the corners of all streets, with every minutiæ, as pumps, posts, trees, houses that project and inject, bow-windows, Carlton-house, St. James’s palace, and the interior of the markets, without scale or reference to any plan, book, or paper whatever. He did the same with respect to the parish of St. Andrew, Holborn, in the presence of four gentlemen, from eight to twelve, one evening at a tavern; and he also undertook to draw the plan of St. Giles-in-the-fields, St. Paul’s, Covent-garden, St. Mary-le-strand, St. Clement’s, and three-fourths of Mary-le-bone, or St. George’s. The plans before alluded to were drawn in the presence of John Willock, Esq. Golden-square; Mr. Robinson, of Surrey-road; William Montague, Esq. of Guildhall; Mr. Allen, vestry clerk of St. Ann’s; John Dawson, Esq. of Burlington-street; N. Walker, Holborn; and two other gentlemen. He can tell the corner of any great and leading thoroughfare-street from Hyde Park-corner, or Oxford-street, to St. Paul’s; or from the New-road to Westminster abbey; and the trade or profession carried on at such corner house. He can tell every public shop of business in Piccadilly, which consists of two hundred and forty-one houses, allowing him only twenty-four mistakes; he accomplished this in the presence of four gentlemen, after five o’clock, and proved it before seven in the same evening. A house being named in any public street, he will name the trade of the shop, either on the right or left hand of the same, and whether the door of such house so named is in the centre, or on the right or left. He can take an inventory, from memory only, of a gentleman’s house, from the attic to the groundfloor, and afterwards write it out. He did this at lord Nelson’s, at Merton, and likewise at the duke of Kent’s, in the presence of two noblemen. He is known by the appellation of “Memory-corner Thompson.” The plan of his house, called Priory Frognall, Hampstead, he designed, and built it externally and internally, without any working-drawing, but carried it up by the eye only. Yet, though his memory is so accurate in the retention of objects submitted to the eye, he has little power of recollecting what he hears. The dialogue of a comedy heard once, or even twice, would, after an interval of a few days, be entirely new to him.

January 11.

St. Theodosius. St. Hyginus. St. Egwin. St. Salvius.

St. Theodosius

This saint visited St. Simeon Stylites on his pillar and had his fortune told. He ate coarse pulse and wild herbs, never tasted bread for thirty years, founded a monastery for an unlimited number of monks, dug one grave large enough to hold the whole community, when he received strangers, and had not food enough, he prayed for its miraculous increase and had it multiplied accordingly, prophesied while he was dying, died in 529, and had his hair shirt begged by a count, who won a victory with it. He was buried according to Butler, who relates these particulars, in the cave wherein the three kings of Cologne were said to have lodged on their way to Bethlehem.


In hard frosts holes must be broken in the ice that forms upon fish ponds, or the fish will die. It is pleasing to watch the finny tenants rising half torpid beneath a new-formed hole for the benefit of the air. Ice holes should be kept open during the frost: one hole to a pond is sufficient.

At Logan or Port Nessock in Wigtownshire, North Britain, a large saltwater pond was formed for Cod in 1800. It is a basin of 30 feet in depth, and 160 feet in circumference, hewn out from the solid rock, and communicating with the sea by one of those fissures which are common to bold and precipitous coasts. Attached to it is a neat Gothic cottage for the accommodation of the fisherman, and the rock is surmounted all round by a substantial stone wall at least 300 feet in circumference. In every state of the wind or tide, winter and summer, when not a single boat dare venture to sea, Colonel M‘Dowal can command a supply of the finest fish, and study at his leisure the instincts and habits of the “finny nations,” with at least all the accuracy of those sage naturalists, [83, 84] who rarely travel farther than Exeter ’Change. From the inner or back door of the lodge, a winding stair-way conducts to the usual halting place—a large flat stone projecting into the water, and commanding a view of every part of the aquatic prison. When the tide is out, this stone is left completely dry, and here a stranger perceives with surprise, a hundred mouths simultaneously opened to greet his arrival.

The moment the fisherman crosses his threshold, the pond is agitated by the action of some hundred fins, and otherwise thrown into a state of anarchy and confusion. Darting from this, that, and the other corner, the whole population move as it were to a common centre, elevate their snouts, lash their tails, and jostle one another with such violence, that on a first view they actually seem to be menacing an attack on the poor fisherman, in place of the creel full of limpets he carries. Many of the fish are so tame, that they will feed greedily from the hand, and bite your fingers into the bargain, if you are foolish enough to allow them; while others again are so shy, that the fisherman discourses of their different tempers, as a thing quite as palpable as the gills they breathe, or the fins they move by. One gigantic cod, which seems to answer to the name of “Tom,” and may well be described as the patriarch of the pond, forcibly arrests attention. This unfortunate, who passed his youth in the open sea, was taken prisoner at the age of five, and has since sojourned at Port Nessock, for the long period of twelve years, during all which time he has gradually increased in bulk and weight. He is now wholly blind from age or disease, and he has no chance whatever in the general scramble. The fisherman, however, is very kind to him, and it is affecting as well as curious, to see the huge animal raise himself in the water; and then resting his head on the flat stone, allow it to be gently patted or stroked, gaping all the while to implore that food which he has no other means of obtaining. In this pond, cod appears to be the prevailing species; there are also blochin or glassin, haddocks, flounders, and various other kinds. Salmon, which at spawning time visit the highest rivers, could not of course obey their instincts here, and accordingly there is only one specimen of this favourite fish in the pond at present. As the fisherman remarked, “he is far soupler than any o’ the rest,” and by virtue of this one quality, chases, bites, and otherwise annoys a whole battalion of gigantic cod, that have only, one would think, to open their mouths and swallow him. To supply them with food is an important part of the fisherman’s duty; and with this view, he must ply the net, and heave the line, during two or three days of every week. He has also to renew the stock, when the pond appears to be getting thin, from the contributions levied on it by the cook.

A letter from Cairo, in a journal of January 1824, contains a whimsical exemplification of Turkish manners in the provinces, and the absurdity of attempting to honour distant authorities, by the distinctions of civil society. A diploma of honorary member of the Society of Frankfort was presented to the Pacha, at the divan (or council.) The Pacha, who can neither read nor write, thought it was a firman (despatch) from the Porte. He was much surprised and alarmed; but the interpreter explained to him that it was written in the Nemptchee (German) language, contained the thanks of the ulemas (scholars) of a German city named Frankfort, for his kindness to two Nemptchee travelling in Egypt.

But the most difficult part was yet to come; it was to explain to him that he had been appointed a member of their society; and the Turkish language having no word for this purely European idea, the interpreter, after many hesitations and circumlocutions, at last succeeded in explaining, “that as a mark of respect and gratitude, the society had made him one of their partners.” At these words the eyes of the Pacha flashed with anger, and with a voice of thunder he roared that he would never again be the partner of any firm; that his partnership with Messrs. Briggs and Co. in the Indian trade, cost him nearly 500,000 hard piasters; that the association for the manufactory of sugar and rum paid him nothing at all; and, in short, that he was completely tired of his connections with Frank merchants, who were indebted to him 23,000,000 of piasters, which he considered as completely lost. In his rage, he even threatened to have the interpreter drowned in the Nile, for having presumed to make offer of a mercantile connection, against his positive orders.

[85, 86]

The poor interpreter was confounded, and unable to utter a word in his defence. At this critical moment, however, Messrs. Fernandez, Pambonc, and others who have access to the Pacha, interposed; and it was some time before they could reduce his Highness to reason; his passion had thrown him into an hysterical hiccup. When his Highness was a little recovered, Mr. Fernandez endeavoured to explain to him that there was no question about business: that the ulemas of Frankfort were possessed of no stock but books, and had no capital. “So much the worse,” replied the Pacha; “then they are sahhaftehi, (booksellers,) who carry on their business without money, like the Franks at Cairo and Alexandria.” “Oh, no, they are no sahhaftehi, but ulemas, kiatibs, (authors,) physicians, philoussoufs, &c., who are only engaged in science.” “Well,” said he, “and what am I then to do in their society; I, a Pacha of three horse tails?” “Nothing at all, your Highness, like perhaps most of the members of their society, but by receiving you into their society, these gentlemen intended to show you their respect and gratitude.” “That is a strange custom, indeed,” cried the Pacha, “to show respect to a person by telling or writing to him in funny letters—you are worthy of being one of us.” “But this is the custom,” added Divan Effendi (his Secretary.) “Your Happiness knows that the friends (Franks) have many customs different from ours, and often such as are very ridiculous. For instance, if they wish to salute a person, they bare their heads, and scrape with their right foot backwards; instead of sitting down comfortably on a sofa to rest themselves, they sit on little wooden chairs, as if they were about to be shaved: they eat the pillao with spoons, and the meat with pincers; but what seems most laughable is, that they humbly kiss the hands of their women, who, instead of the yashmak, (veil,) carry straw baskets on their heads; and that they mix sugar and milk with their coffee.” This last sally set the whole assembly (his Highness excepted) in a roar of laughter. Among those who stood near the fountain in the middle of the hall, several exclaimed with respect to the coffee with sugar and milk, Kiafirler! (Ah, ye infidels!)

In the end the Pacha was pacified, and “All’s well that ends well;” but it had been better, it seems, if, according to the customs of the east, the society of Frankfort had sent the Pacha the unquestionable civility of a present, that he could have applied to some use.


On the 11th of January, 1825, a sketch of this church was taken from a second-floor window in the house No. 115, Fleet-street, which stands on the opposite side of the way to that whereon the opening was made by the late fire; and the subjoined engraving from the sketch is designed to perpetuate the appearance through that opening. Till then, it had been concealed from the view of passengers through Fleet-street by the houses destroyed, and the conflagration has been rightly deemed a favourable opportunity for endeavouring to secure a space of sufficient extent to render the church a public ornament to the city. To at least one person, professionally unskilled, the spire of St. Bride’s appears more chaste and effective than the spire of Bow. In 1805, it was 234 feet high, which is thirty-two feet higher than the Monument, but having been struck by lightning in that year, it was lowered to its present standard.

St. Bride’s Church, London, as it appeared Jan. 11, 1825.
From the opening in Fleet-street made by the Fire of Sunday, November 14, 1824.

St. Bride’s church was built by sir Christopher Wren, and completed in 1680. It has been repeatedly beautified: its last internal decorations were effected in 1824. In it are interred Thomas Flatman the poet, Samuel Richardson the novelist, and William Bingley, a bookseller, remarkable for his determined and successful resistance to interrogatories by the court of King’s Bench—a practice which that resistance abated for ever: his latter years were employed, or rather were supported, by the kindness of the venerable and venerated John Nichols, Esq. F. S. A. whose family tablet of brass is also in this church. As an ecclesiastical edifice, St. Bride’s is confessedly one of the most elegant in the metropolis: an unobstructed view of it is indispensable therefore to the national character. Appeals which will enable the committee to purchase the interests of individuals on the requisite site are now in progress, and can scarcely be unheeded by those whom wealth, taste, and liberality dispose to assist in works of public improvement. The engraved sketch does not claim to be more than such a representation as may give a distant reader some grounds for determining whether a vigorous effort to save a building [87, 88] of that appearance from enclosure a second time ought not now to be made. The proceedings for that purpose are in this month, and are entitled to a place in this sheet.

[89, 90]


This diversion, resorted to at visitings during the twelve days of Christmas, as of ancient custom, continues without abatement during the prolongation of friendly meetings at this season. Persons who are opposed to this recreation from religious scruples, do not seem to distinguish between its use and its abuse. Mr. Archdeacon Butler refers to the “harmless mirth and innocent amusements of society,” in his sermon on “Christian Liberty,” before the duke of Gloucester, and the university of Cambridge, on his royal highness’s installation as chancellor, June 30, 1811. The archdeacon quotes, as a note on that point in his sermon, a remarkable passage from Jeremy Taylor, who says, “that cards, &c. are of themselves lawful, I do not know any reason to doubt. He can never be suspected, in any criminal sense, to tempt the Divine Providence, who by contingent things recreates his labour. As for the evil appendages, they are all separable from these games, and they may be separated by these advices, &c.” On the citation, which is here abridged, the archdeacon remarks, “Such are the sentiments of one of the most truly pious and most profoundly learned prelates that ever adorned any age or country; nor do I think that the most rigid of our disciplinarians can produce the authority of a wiser or a better man than bishop Jeremy Taylor.” Certainly not; and therefore an objector to this pastime will do well to read the reasoning of the whole passage as it stands at the end of the archdeacon’s printed sermon: if he desire further, let him peruse Jeremy Taylor’s “advices.”

Cards are not here introduced with a view of seducing parents to rear their sons as gamblers and blacklegs, or their daughters to

“a life of scandal, an old age of cards;”

but to impress upon them the importance of “not morosely refusing to participate in” what the archdeacon refers to, as of the “harmless mirth and innocent amusements of society.” Persons who are wholly debarred from such amusements in their infancy, frequently abuse a pleasure they have been wholly restrained from, by excessive indulgence in it on the first opportunity. This is human nature: let the string be suddenly withdrawn from the overstrained bow, and the relaxation of the bow is violent.

Look at a juvenile card-party—not at that which the reader sees represented in the engraving, which is somewhat varied from a design by Stella, who grouped boys almost as finely as Fiamingo modelled their forms—but imagine a juvenile party closely seated round a large table, with a Pope Joan board in the middle; [91, 92] each well supplied with mother-o’-pearl fish and counters, in little Chinese ornamented red and gold trays; their faces and the candles lighting up the room; their bright eyes sparkling after the cards, watching the turn-up, or peeping into the pool to see how rich it is; their growing anxiety to the rounds, till the lucky card decides the richest stake; then the shout out of “Rose has got it!” “It’s Rose’s!” “Here, Rose, here they are—take ’em all; here’s a lot!” Emma, and John, and Alfred, and William’s hands thrust forth to help her to the prize; Sarah and Fanny, the elders of the party, laughing at their eagerness; the more sage Matilda checking it, and counting how many fish Rose has won; Rose, amazed at her sudden wealth, talks the least; little Samuel, who is too young to play, but has been allowed a place, with some of the “pretty fish” before him, claps his hands and halloos, and throws his playthings to increase Rose’s treasure; and baby Ellen sits in “mother’s” lap, mute from surprise at the “uproar wild,” till a loud crow, and the quick motion of her legs, proclaim her delight at the general joy, which she suddenly suspends in astonishment at the many fingers pointed towards her, with “Look at baby! look at baby!” and gets smothered with kisses, from which “mother” vainly endeavours to protect her. And so they go on, till called by Matilda to a new game, and “mother” bids them to “go and sit down, and be good children, and not make so much noise:” whereupon they disperse to their chairs; two or three of the least help up Samuel, who is least of all, and “mother” desires them to “take care, and mind he does not fall.” Matilda then gives him his pretty fish “to keep him quiet;” begins to dress the board for a new game; and once more they are “as merry as grigs.”

In contrast to the jocund pleasure of children at a round game, take the picture of “old Sarah Battle,” the whist-player. “A clear fire, a clean hearth, and the rigour of the game,” was her celebrated wish. “She was none of your lukewarm gamesters, your half-and-half players, who have no objection to take a hand, if you want one to make up a rubber; who affirm that they have no pleasure in winning; that they like to win one game, and lose another; that they can wile away an hour very agreeably at a card-table, but are indifferent whether they play or no; and will desire an adversary, who has slipt a wrong card, to take it up and play another. Of such it may be said that they do not play at cards, but only play at playing at them. Sarah Battle was none of that breed; she detested them from her heart and soul; and would not, save upon a striking emergency, willingly seat herself at the same table with them. She loved a thorough-paced partner, a determined enemy. She took and gave no concessions; she hated favours; she never made a revoke, nor ever passed it over in her adversary, without exacting the utmost forfeiture. She sat bolt upright, and neither showed you her cards, nor desired to see yours. All people have their blind side—their superstitions; and I have heard her declare, under the rose, that Hearts was her favourite suit. I never in my life (and I knew Sarah Battle many of the best years of it) saw her take out her snuffbox when it was her turn to play, or snuff a candle in the middle of a game, or ring for a servant till it was fairly over. She never introduced, or connived at, miscellaneous conversation during its process: as, she emphatically observed, cards were cards. A grave simplicity was what she chiefly admired in her favourite game. There was nothing silly in it, like the nob in cribbage—nothing superfluous. To confess a truth, she was never greatly taken with cribbage. It was an essentially vulgar game, I have heard her say,—disputing with her uncle, who was very partial to it. She could never heartily bring her mouth to pronounce ‘go,’ or ‘that’s a go.’ She called it an ungrammatical game. The pegging teased her. I once knew her to forfeit a rubber, because she would not take advantage of the turn-up knave, which would have given it her, but which she must have claimed by the disgraceful tenure of declaring ‘two for his heels.’ Sarah Battle was a gentlewoman born.” These, omitting a few delicate touches, are her features by the hand of Elia. “No inducement,” he says, “could ever prevail upon her to play at her favourite game for nothing.” And then he adds, “With great deference to the old lady’s judgment on these matters, I think I have experienced some moments in my life when playing at cards for nothing has even been agreeable. When I am in sickness, or not in the best spirits, I sometimes call for the cards, and play a game at piquet for love with my cousin Bridget—Bridget Elia.” Cousin Bridget [93, 94] and the gentle Elia seem beings of that age wherein lived Pamela, whom, with “old Sarah Battle,” we may imagine entering their room, and sitting down with them to a square game. Yet Bridget and Elia live in our own times: she, full of kindness to all, and of soothings to Elia especially;—he, no less kind and consoling to Bridget, in all simplicity holding converse with the world, and, ever and anon, giving us scenes that Metzu and De Foe would admire, and portraits that Denner and Hogarth would rise from their graves to paint.

January 12.

St. Arcadius. St. Benedict Biscop, or Bennet. St. Ælred, Tygrius.

St. Benedict Biscop, or Bennet.

Butler says he was in the service of Oswi, king of the Northumbrians; that at twenty-five years old he made a pilgrimage to Rome, returned and carried Alcfrid, the son of Oswi, back to the shrines of the apostles there, became a monk, received the abbacy of Sts. Peter and Paul, Canterbury, resigned it, pilgrimaged again to Rome, brought home books, relics, and religious pictures, founded the monastery of Weremouth, went to France for masons to build a church to it, obtained glaziers from thence to glaze it, pilgrimaged to Rome for more books, relics, and pictures, built another monastery at Jarrow on the Tine, adorned his churches with pictures, instructed his monks in the Gregorian chant and Roman ceremonies, and died on this day in 690. He appears to have had a love for literature and the arts, and, with a knowledge superior to the general attainment of the religious in that early age, to have rendered his knowledge subservient to the Romish church.


1807. The 12th of January in that year is rendered remarkable by a fatal accident at Leyden, in Holland. A vessel loaded with gunpowder entered one of the largest canals in the Rapenburg, a street inhabited chiefly by the most respectable families, and moored to a tree in front of the house of professor Rau, of the university. In Holland, almost every street has a canal in the middle, faced with a brick wall up to the level of the street, and with lime trees planted on both sides, which produce a beautiful effect, and form a delightful shade in hot weather. Vessels of all kinds are frequently moored to these trees, but Leyden being an inland town, the greater part of those which happened to be in the Rapenburg were country vessels. Several yachts, belonging to parties of pleasure from the Hague and other places, were lying close to the newly arrived vessel, and no person was aware of the destructive cargo it contained.

A student of the university, who, at about a quarter past four o’clock in the afternoon, was passing through a street from which there was a view of the Rapenburg, with the canal and vessels, related the following particulars to the editor of the Monthly Magazine:—

“At that moment, when every thing was perfectly tranquil, and most of the respectable families were sitting down to dinner in perfect security, at that instant, I saw the vessel torn from its moorings: a stream of fire burst from it in all directions, a thick, black cloud enveloped all the surrounding parts and darkened the heavens, whilst a burst, louder and more dreadful than the loudest thunder, instantly followed, and vibrated through the air to a great distance, burying houses and churches in one common ruin. For some moments horror and consternation deprived every one of his recollection, but an universal exclamation followed, of “O God, what is it?” Hundreds of people might be seen rushing out of their falling houses, and running along the streets, not knowing what direction to take; many falling down on their knees in the streets, persuaded that the last day was come; others supposed they had been struck by lightning, and but few seemed to conjecture the real cause. In the midst of this awful uncertainty, the cry of “O God, what is it?” again sounded mournfully through the air, but it seemed as if none could answer the dreadful question. One conjecture followed another, but at last, when the black thick cloud which had enveloped the whole city had cleared away a little, the awful truth was revealed, and soon all the inhabitants of the city were seen rushing to the ruins to assist the sufferers. There were five large schools on the Rapenburg, and all at the time full of children. The horror of the parents and relations of these youthful victims is not to be described or even imagined; and [95, 96] though many of them were saved almost miraculously, yet no one dared to hope to see his child drawn alive from under a heap of smoking ruins.

“Flames soon broke out from four different parts of the ruins, and threatened destruction to the remaining part of Leyden. The multitude seemed as it were animated with one common soul in extricating the sufferers, and stopping the progress of the flames. None withdrew from the awful task, and the multitude increased every moment by people coming from the surrounding country, the explosion having been heard at the distance of fifty miles. Night set in, the darkness of which, added to the horrors of falling houses, the smothered smoke, the raging of the flames, and the roaring of the winds on a tempestuous winter night, produced a scene neither to be described nor imagined; while the heart-rending cries of the sufferers, or the lamentations of those whose friends or children were under the ruins, broke upon the ear at intervals. Many were so entirely overcome with fear and astonishment, that they stared about them without taking notice of any thing, while others seemed full of activity, but incapable of directing their efforts to any particular object.”

In the middle of the night, Louis Bonaparte, then king of Holland, arrived from the palace of Loo, having set out as soon as the express reached him with the dreadful tidings. Louis was much beloved by his subjects, and his name is still mentioned by them with great respect. On this occasion his presence was very useful. He encouraged the active and comforted the sufferers, and did not leave the place till he had established good order, and promised every assistance in restoring both public and private losses. He immediately gave a large sum of money to the city, and granted it many valuable privileges, besides exemption from imposts and taxes for a number of years.

Some degree of order having been restored, the inhabitants were divided into classes, not according to their rank, but the way in which they were employed about the ruins. These classes were distinguished by bands of different colours tied round their arms. The widely extended ruins now assumed the appearance of hills and valleys, covered with multitudes of workmen, producing to the eye an ever-varying scene of different occupations. The keel of the vessel in which the catastrophe commenced, was found buried deep in the earth at a considerable distance, together with the remains of a yacht from the Hague with a party of pleasure, which lay close to it. The anchor of the powder vessel was found in a field without the city, and a very heavy piece of lead at the foot of the mast was thrown into a street at a great distance.

One of the most affecting incidents was the fate of the pupils of the different schools on the Rapenburg. At the destructive moment, the wife of the principal of the largest of them was standing at the door with her child in her arms; she was instantly covered with the falling beams and bricks, the child was blown to atoms, and she was thrown under a tree at some distance. Part of the floor of the school-room sunk into the cellar, and twelve children were killed instantly; the rest, miserably wounded, shrieked for help, and one was heard to call, “Help me, help me, I will give my watch to my deliverer.” Fathers and mothers rushed from all parts of the city to seek their children, but after digging five hours they found their labour fruitless; and some were even obliged to leave the spot in dreadful suspense, to attend to other near relations dug out in other quarters. They at last succeeded, by incredible efforts, in bringing up some of the children, but in such a state that many of their parents could not recognise them, and not a few were committed to the grave without its being known who they were. Many of these children, both among the dead and those who recovered, bled profusely, while no wound could be discovered in any part of their bodies. Others were preserved in a wonderful manner, and without the least hurt. Forty children were killed. In some houses large companies were assembled, and in one, a newly married couple, from a distance, had met a numerous party of their friends. One person who was writing in a small room, was driven through a window above the door, into the staircase, and fell to the bottom without receiving much hurt. Many were preserved by the falling of the beams or rafters in a particular direction, which protected them, and they remained for many hours, some for a whole day and night. A remarkable [97, 98] fact of this kind happened, when the city of Delft was destroyed by an explosion of gunpowder in 1654; a child, a year old, was found two days afterwards sucking an apple, and sitting under a beam, with just space left for its body. Two others at a little distance were in their cradles quite safe. At that time almost the whole of Delft was destroyed.

Leyden is as large a city, but not so populous, as Rotterdam, the second city in Holland. Upwards of two hundred houses were overthrown on this occasion, besides churches and public buildings; the Stadt, or town-house, was among the latter.

One hundred and fifty-one dead bodies were taken from the ruins, besides many that died after. Upwards of two thousand were wounded more or less dangerously. It is remarkable that none of the students of the university were either killed or wounded, though they all lodge in different parts of the city, or wherever they please. Contributions were immediately began, and large sums raised. The king of Holland gave 30,000 gilders, and the queen 10,000; a very large sum was collected in London.

Leyden suffered dreadfully by siege in 1573, and by the plague in 1624 and 1635, in which year 15,000 of the inhabitants were carried off within six months. In 1415 a convent was burnt, and most of the nuns perished in the flames. An explosion of gunpowder, in 1481, destroyed the council-chamber when full of people, and killed most of the magistrates.

The misfortunes of this city have become proverbial, and its very name has given rise to a pun. “Leyden” is “Lijden;” Leyden, the name of the city, and Lijden, (to suffer,) have the same pronunciation in the Dutch language.

The chirp of the crickets from the kitchen chimney breaks the silence of still evenings in the winter. They come from the crevices, when the house is quiet, to the warm hearth, and utter their shrill monotonous notes, to the discomfiture of the nervous, and the pleasure of those who have sound minds in sound bodies. This insect and the grasshopper are agreeably coupled in a pleasing sonnet. The “summoning brass” it speaks of, our country readers well know, as an allusion to the sounds usually produced from some kitchen utensil of metal to assist in swarming the bees:—

To the Grasshopper and the Cricket.

Green little vaulter in the sunny grass,
Catching your heart up at the feel of June,
Sole voice that’s heard amidst the lazy noon,
When ev’n the bees lag at the summoning brass;
And you, warm little housekeeper, who class
With those who think the candles come too soon,
Loving the fire, and with your tricksome tune
Nick the glad silent moments as they pass;
Oh, sweet and tiny cousins, that belong,
One to the fields, the other to the hearth,
Both have your sunshine; both, though small, are strong
At your clear hearts; and both were sent on earth
To sing in thoughtful ears this natural song,—
In doors and out, summer and winter, Mirth.

L. Hunt.

January 13.

Cambridge Lent Term begins.

St. Veronica of Milan. St. Kentigern.

St. Hilary.

The festival of St. Hilary is not, at this time, observed by the Romish church until to-morrow, but it stands in old calendars, and in Randle Holmes’s Heraldry, on this day, whereon it is also placed in the English calendar. Butler says, he was born at Poictiers, became bishop of that city, was a commentator on Scripture, an orator, a poet, wrote against the Arians, was banished for his orthodoxy, but returned to his see, worked miracles, and died on the 13th of January, 368. Ribadeneira says, that in a certain island, uninhabitable by reason of venemous serpents, they fled from his holiness; that he put up a stake as a boundary, commanding them not to pass it, and they obeyed; that he raised a dead child to life, prayed his daughter to death, and did other astonishing things; especially after his decease, when two merchants, [99, 100] at their own cost and by way of venture, offered an image at his shrine, but as one begrudged the cost of his share, St. Hilary caused the image to divide from top to bottom, while being offered, keeping the one half, and rejecting the niggard’s moiety. The Golden Legend says, that St. Hilary also obtained his wife’s death by his prayers; and that pope Leo, who was an Arian, said to him, “Thou art Hilary the cock, and not the son of a hen;” whereat Hilary said, “I am no cock, but a bishop in France;” then said the pope, “Thou art Hilary Gallus (signifying a cock) and I am Leo, judge of the papal see;” whereupon Hilary replied, “If thou be Leo, thou art not (a lion) of the tribe of Juda.” After this railing the pope died, and Hilary was comforted.

St. Veronica.

She was a nun, with a desire to live always on bread and water, died in 1497, and was canonized, after her claim to sanctity was established to the satisfaction of his holiness pope Leo X.

St. Kentigern.

He was bishop of Glasgow, with jurisdiction in Wales, and, according to Butler, “favoured with a wonderful gift of miracles.” Bishop Patrick, in his “Devotions of the Romish Church,” says, “St. Kentigern had a singular way of kindling fire, which I could never have hit upon.” Being in haste to light candles for vigils, and some, who bore a spite to him, having put out all the fire in the monastery, he snatched the green bough of an hazel, blessed it, blew upon it, the bough produced a great flame, and he lighted his candles: “whence we may conjecture,” says Patrick, “that tinder-boxes are of a later invention than St. Kentigern’s days.”


Term is derived from Terminus, the heathen god of boundaries, landmarks, and limits of time. In the early ages of Christianity the whole year was one continued term for hearing and deciding causes; but after the establishment of the Romish church, the daily dispensation of justice was prohibited by canonical authority, that the festivals might be kept holy.

Advent and Christmas occasioned the winter vacation; Lent and Easter the spring; Pentecost the third; and hay-time and harvest, the long vacation between Midsummer and Michaelmas.

Each term is denominated from the festival day immediately preceding its commencement; hence we have the terms of St. Hilary, Easter, the Holy Trinity, and St. Michael.

There are in each term stated days called dies in banco, (days in bank,) that is, days of appearance in the court of common bench. They are usually about a week from each other, and have reference to some Romish festival. All original writs are returnable on these days, and they are therefore called the return days.

The first return in every term is, properly speaking, the first day of the term. For instance, the octave of St. Hilary, or the eighth day, inclusive, after the saint’s feast, falls on the 20th of January, because his feast is on the 13th of January. On the 20th, then, the court sits to take essoigns, or excuses for non-appearance to the writ; “but,” says Blackstone, “as our ancestors held it beneath the condition of a freeman to appear or to do any thing at the precise time appointed,” the person summoned has three days of grace beyond the day named in the writ, and if he appear on the fourth day inclusive it is sufficient. Therefore at the beginning of each term the court does not sit for despatch of business till the fourth, or the appearance day, which is in Hilary term, for instance, on the 23d of January. In Trinity term it does not sit till the fifth day; because the fourth falls on the great Roman catholic festival of Corpus Christi. The first appearance day therefore in each term is called the first day of the term; and the court sits till the quarto die post, or appearance day of the last return, or end of the term.

In each term there is one day whereon the courts do not transact business; namely, on Candlemas day, in Hilary term; on Ascension day, in Easter term; on Midsummer day, in Trinity term; and on All Saints’ day, in Michaelmas term. These are termed Grand days in the inns of court; and Gaudy days at the two universities; they are observed as Collar days at the king’s court of St. James’s, for on these days, knights wear the collars of their respective orders.

An old January journal contains a remarkable anecdote relative to the decease [101, 102] of a M. Foscue, one of the farmers-general of the province of Languedoc. He had amassed considerable wealth by means which rendered him an object of universal detestation. One day he was ordered by the government to raise a considerable sum: as an excuse for not complying with the demand, he pleaded extreme poverty; and resolved on hiding his treasure in such a manner as to escape detection. He dug a kind of a cave in his wine-cellar, which he made so large and deep, that he used to go down to it with a ladder; at the entrance of it was a door with a spring lock on it, which on shutting would fasten of itself. He was suddenly missed, and diligent search made after him; ponds were drawn, and every suggestion adopted that could reasonably lead to his discovery, dead or alive. In a short time after, his house was sold; and the purchaser beginning to make some alterations, the workmen discovered a door in the wine-cellar with a key in the lock. On going down they found Foscue lying dead on the ground, with a candlestick near him, but no candle in it. On searching farther, they found the vast wealth that he had amassed. It is supposed, that, when he had entered his cave, the door had by some accident shut after him; and thus being out of the call of any person, he perished for want of food, in the midst of his treasure.


The hollow winds begin to blow;
The clouds look black, the glass is low;
The soot falls down, the spaniels sleep;
And spiders from their cobwebs peep.
Last night the sun went pale to bed;
The moon in halos hid her head.
The boding shepherd heaves a sigh,
For, see, a rainbow spans the sky.
The walls are damp, the ditches smell,
Clos’d is the pink-ey’d pimpernel.
Hark! how the chairs and tables crack,
Old Betty’s joints are on the rack:
Her corns with shooting pains torment her,
And to her bed untimely send her.
Loud quack the ducks, the sea fowl cry,
The distant hills are looking nigh.
How restless are the snorting swine!
The busy flies disturb the kine.
Low o’er the grass the swallow wings
The cricket too, how sharp he sings!
Puss on the hearth, with velvet paws,
Sits wiping o’er her whisker’d jaws.
The smoke from chimneys right ascends
Then spreading, back to earth it bends.
The wind unsteady veers around,
Or settling in the South is found.
Through the clear stream the fishes rise,
And nimbly catch the incautious flies.
The glow-worms num’rous, clear and bright,
Illum’d the dewy hill last night.
At dusk the squalid toad was seen,
Like quadruped, stalk o’er the green.
The whirling wind the dust obeys,
And in the rapid eddy plays.
The frog has chang’d his yellow vest,
And in a russet coat is drest.
The sky is green, the air is still.
The mellow blackbird’s voice is shrill.
The dog, so alter’d is his taste,
Quits mutton-bones, on grass to feast.
Behold the rooks, how odd their flight
They imitate the gliding kite,
And seem precipitate to fall,
As if they felt the piercing ball.
The tender colts on back do lie,
Nor heed the traveller passing by.
In fiery red the sun doth rise,
Then wades through clouds to mount the skies.
’Twill surely rain, we see’t with sorrow,
No working in the fields to-morrow.


January 14.

Oxford Lent Term begins.

St. Hilary. St. Felix. Sts. Isaias and Sabbas. St. Barbasceminus, &c.

St. Felix of Nola, an exorcist, and afterwards a priest, was, according to Butler and Ribadeneira, a great miraculist. He lived under Decius, in 250; being fettered and dungeoned in a cell, covered with potsherds and broken glass, a resplendent angel, seen by the saint alone, because to him only was he sent, freed him of his chains and guided him to a mountain, where bishop Maximus, aged and frozen, lay for dead, whom Felix recovered by praying; for, straightway, he saw a bramble bear a bunch of grapes, with the juice whereof he recovered the bishop, and taking him on his back carried him home to his diocese. Being pursued by pagans, he fled to some ruins and crept through a hole in the wall, which spiders closed with their webs before the pagans got up to it, and there lay for six months miraculously supported. According to the Legend, his body, for ages after his death, distilled a liquor that cured diseases.


In January, 1784, died suddenly in Macclesfield-street, Soho, aged 79, Sam. [103, 104] Crisp, esq., a relation of the celebrated sir Nicholas Crisp. There was a remarkable singularity in the character of this gentleman. He was a bachelor, had been formerly a broker in ’Change-alley, and many years since had retired from business, with an easy competency. His daily amusement, for fourteen years before, was going from London to Greenwich, and immediately returning from thence, in the stage; for which he paid regularly £27 a year. He was a good-humoured, obliging, and facetious companion, always paying a particular attention, and a profusion of compliments, to the ladies, especially to those who were agreeable. He was perpetually projecting some little schemes for the benefit of the public, or, to use his own favourite maxim, pro bono publico; he was the institutor of the Lactarium in St. George’s Fields, and selected the Latin mottoes for the facetious Mrs. Henniver, who got a little fortune there. He projected the mile and half stones round London; and teased the printers of newspapers into the plan of letter-boxes. He was remarkably humane and benevolent, and, without the least ostentation, performed many generous and charitable actions, which would have dignified a more ample fortune.


A suppliant to your window comes,
Who trusts your faith, and fears no guile:
He claims admittance for your crumbs,
And reads his passport in your smile.
For cold and cheerless is the day,
And he has sought the hedges round;
No berry hangs upon the spray,
Nor worm, nor ant-egg, can be found.
Secure his suit will be preferred,
No fears his slender feet deter;
For sacred is the household bird
That wears the scarlet stomacher.

Charlotte Smith.

January 15.

St. Paul, the first Hermit. St. Maurus. St. Main. St. John, Calybite. St. Isidore. St. Bonitus. St. Ita, or Mida. St. Paul, A. D. 342.

The life of St. Paul, the first hermit, is said, by Butler, to have been written by St. Jerome in 365, who received an account of it from St. Anthony and others. According to him, when twenty-two years old, St. Paul fled from the persecution of Decius to a cavern, near which grew a palm-tree, that supplied him with leaves for clothing, and fruit for food, till he was forty-three years of age; after which he was daily fed by a raven till he was ninety, and then died. St. Anthony, in his old age, being tempted by vanity, imagined himself the first hermit, till the contrary was revealed to him in a dream, wherefore, the next morning, he set out in search of St. Paul. “St. Jerome relates from his authors,” says Butler, “that he met a centaur, or creature, not with the nature and properties, but with something of the mixt shape of man and horse; and that this monster, or phantom of the devil, (St. Jerome pretends not to determine which it was,) upon his making the sign of the cross, fled away, after pointing out the way to the saint. Our author (St. Jerome) adds, that St. Anthony soon after met a satyr, who gave him to understand that he was an inhabitant of those deserts, and one of the sort whom the deluded gentiles adored for gods.” Ribadeneira describes this satyr as with writhed nostrils, two little horns on his forehead, and the feet of a goat. After two days’ search, St. Anthony found St. Paul, and a raven brought a loaf, whereupon they took their corporal refection. The next morning, St. Paul told him he was going to die, and bid him fetch a cloak given to St. Anthony by St. Athanasius, and wrap his body in it. St. Anthony then knew, that St. Paul must have been informed of the cloak by revelation, and went forth from the desert to fetch it; but before his return, St. Paul had died, and St. Anthony found two lions digging his grave with their claws, wherein he buried St. Paul, first wrapping him in St. Athanasius’s cloak, and preserving, as a great treasure, St. Paul’s garment, made of palm-tree leaves, stitched together. How St. Jerome, in his conclusion of St. Paul’s life, praises this garment, may be seen in Ribadeneira.


A writer, who signs himself “Crito” in the “Truth Teller,” No. 15, introduces us to an honest enthusiast, discoursing to his hearers on the snow-drop of the season, and other offerings from Flora, to the rolling year. “Picture to your imagination, a poor, ‘dirty’ mendicant, of the order of St. Francis, who had long prayed and fasted in his sanctuary, and long laboured in his garden, issuing out on the morning of his first pilgrimage, without money and without [105, 106] provisions, clad in his mantle and hood, ‘like a sad votarist in palmer’s weeds;’ and thus, and in these words, taking leave of the poor flock who lived round his gothic habitation.—‘Fellow-men, I owe you nothing, and I give you all; you neither paid me tithe nor rent, yet I have bestowed on you food and clothing in poverty, medicine in sickness, and spiritual counsel in adversity. That I might do all these things, I have devoted my life in the seclusion of those venerable walls. There I have consulted the sacred books of our church for your spiritual instruction and the good of your souls; to clothe you, I have sold the embroidered garment, and have put on the habit of mendicity. In the intercalary moments of my canonical hours of prayer, I have collected together the treasures of Flora, and gathered from her plants the useful arts of physic, by which you have been benefited. Ever mindful of the useful object of the labour to which I had condemned myself, I have brought together into the garden of this priory, the lily of the valley and the gentian of the mountain, the nymphæa of the lake, and the cliver of the arid bank; in short, I have collected the pilewort, the throatwort, the liverwort, and every other vegetable specific which the kind hand of nature has spread over the globe, and which I have designated by their qualities, and have converted to your use and benefit. Mindful also of the pious festivals which our church prescribes, I have sought to make these charming objects of floral nature, the timepieces of my religious calendar, and the mementos of the hastening period of my mortality. Thus I can light the taper to our Virgin Mother on the blowing of the white snowdrop, which opens its floweret at the time of Candlemas; the lady’s smock and the daffodil remind me of the Annunciation; the blue harebell, of the festival of St. George; the ranunculus, of the Invention of the Cross; the scarlet lychnis, of St. John the Baptist’s day; the white lily, of the Visitation of our Lady; and the virgin’s bower, of her Assumption; and Michaelmas, Martinmas, Holy Rood, and Christmas, have all their appropriate monitors. I learn the time of day from the shutting of the blossoms of the star of Jerusalem and the dandelion, and the hour of the night by the stars.”’

From kind feelings to the benevolence of the Franciscan mendicant’s address, which we may suppose ourselves to have just heard, we illustrate something of his purpose, by annexing the rose, the tulip, and the passion-flower, after an engraving by a catholic artist, who has impressed them with devotional monograms, and symbols of his faith.

flowers with devotional monograms


Margaret.—What sports do you use in the forest?—
Simon.—Not many; some few, as thus:—
To see the sun to bed, and to arise,
Like some hot amourist with glowing eyes,
Bursting the lazy bands of sleep that bound him,
With all his fires and travelling glories round him.
Sometimes the moon on soft night clouds to rest,
Like beauty nestling in a young man’s breast,
And all the winking stars, her handmaids, keep
Admiring silence, while those lovers sleep,
Sometimes outstretcht, in very idleness,
Naught doing, saying little, thinking less,
To view the leaves thin dancers upon air,
Go in eddy ground; and small birds, how they fare,
[107, 108] When mother Autumn fills their beaks with corn,
Filch’d from the careless Amalthea’s horn;
And how the woods berries and worms provide
Without their pains, when earth has naught beside
To answer their small wants.

C. Lamb.

January 16.

St Marcellus, Pope. St. Macarius the elder, of Egypt. St. Honoratus. St. Fursey. St. Henry, Hermit, &c.

St. Marcellus, Pope.

According to Butler, he was so strict in penance, that the Christians disliked him; he was banished by Maxentius, “for his severity against a certain apostate;” and died pope in 310.


In the first of the “Letters from the Irish Islands,” in 1823, the writer addresses to his friend, a description of the rainbow on the hills at this season of the year. He says, “I could wish (provided I could ensure you one fine day in the course of the week) that you were here, to enjoy, in rapid succession, and, with all its wild magnificence, the whirlwind, the tempest, the ocean’s swell, and, as Burns beautifully expresses it,

Some gleams of sunshine, ’mid renewing storms.

To-day there have been fine bright intervals, and, while returning from a hasty ride, I have been greatly delighted with the appearance of a rainbow, gradually advancing before the lowering clouds, sweeping with majestic stride across the troubled ocean, then, as it gained the beach, and seemed almost within my grasp, vanishing amid the storm, of which it had been the lovely, but treacherous, forerunner. It is, I suppose, a consequence of our situation, and the close connection between sea and mountain, that the rainbows here are so frequent, and so peculiarly beautiful. Of an amazing breadth, and with colours vivid beyond description, I know not whether most to admire this aerial phenomenon, when, suspended in the western sky, one end of the bow sinks behind the island of Boffin, while, at the distance of several leagues, the other rests upon the misty hills of Ennis Turc; or when, at a later hour of the day, it has appeared stretched across the ample sides of Mülbrea, penetrating far into the deep blue waters that flow at its base. With feelings of grateful recollection too, we may hail the repeated visits of this heavenly messenger, occasionally, as often as five or six times in the course of the same day, in a country exposed to such astonishing, and, at times, almost incessant floods of rain.”

Behold yon bright, ethereal bow,
With evanescent beauties glow;
The spacious arch streams through the sky,
Deck’d with each tint of nature’s dye,
Refracted sunbeams, through the shower,
A humid radiance from it pour;
Whilst colour into colour fades,
With blended lights and softening shades.


“It is a happy effect of extreme mildness and moisture of climate, that most of our hills (in Ireland) are covered with grass to a considerable height, and afford good pasturage both in summer and winter. The grasses most abundant are the dogstail, (cynosurus cristatus,) several species of the meadow grass, (poa,) the fescue, (festuca duriuscula and pratensis,) and particularly the sweet-scented vernal grass, (anthoxanthum odoratum,) which abounds in the dry pastures, and mountain sides; where its withered blossoms, which it is remarkable that the cattle do not eat, give a yellowish brown tint to the whole pasture. Our bog lands are overrun with the couch, or fiorin grass, (agrostis stolonifera,) several other species of the agrostis, and the aira. This is, indeed, the country for a botanist; and one so indefatigable as yourself, would not hesitate to venture with us across the rushy bog, where you would be so well rewarded for the labour of springing from one knot of rushes to another, by meeting with the fringed blossoms of the bog-bean, (menyanthes trifoliata,) the yellow asphodel, (narthecium ossifragum,) the pale bog violet, (viola palustris,) both species of the pinguicula, and of the beautiful drosera, the English fly-trap, spreading its dewy leaves glistening in the sun. I could also point out to you, almost hid in the moist recesses of some dripping rock, the pretty miniature fern, (trichomanes Tunbridgensis,) which you may remember showing me for the first time at Tunbridge Wells: the osmunda lunaria and regalis are also to be found, with other ferns, mosses, and lichens, which it is far beyond my botanical skill to distinguish.—The man of science, to whatever branch of natural history his attention is directed, will indeed find [109, 110] never-failing sources of gratification, in exploring paths, hitherto almost untrodden, in our wild country. Scarcely a county in England is without its peculiar Flora, almost every hill and every valley have been subject to repeated, scientific examination; while the productions of nature, so bountifully accorded to poor Ireland, are either unknown or disregarded.”


From the many games of forfeits that are played in parlours during in-door weather, one is presented to the perusal of youthful readers from “Winter Evening Pastimes.”

Aunty’s Garden.

“The company being all seated in a circle, the person who is to conduct the game proposes to the party to repeat, in turns, the speech he is about to make; and it is agreed that those who commit any mistake, or substitute one word for another, shall pay a forfeit. The player then commences by saying, distinctly, ‘I am just come from my aunt Deborah’s garden. Bless me! what a fine garden is my aunt’s garden! In my aunt’s garden there are four corners.’ The one seated to the player’s right is to repeat this, word for word: if his memory fails he pays a forfeit, and gives up his turn to his next right-hand neighbour, not being permitted to correct his mistake. When this has gone all round, the conductor repeats the first speech, and adds the following:

‘In the first corner stands a superb alaternus,
Whose shade, in the dog-days, won’t let the sun burn us.’

“This couplet having been sent round as before, he then adds the following:

‘In the second corner grows
A bush which bears a yellow rose:
Would I might my love disclose!’

“This passes round in like manner:

‘In the third corner Jane show’d me much London pride;
Let your mouth to your next neighbour’s ear be applied,
And quick to his keeping a secret confide.’

“At this period of the game every one must tell his right-hand neighbour some secret.

“In the fourth round, after repeating the whole of the former, he concludes thus:

‘In the fourth corner doth appear
Of amaranths a crowd;
Each secret whisper’d in the ear
Must now be told aloud.’

“Those who are unacquainted with this game occasionally feel not a little embarrassed at this conclusion, as the secrets revealed by their neighbour may be such as they would not like to be published to the whole party. Those who are aware of this finesse take care to make their secrets witty, comic, or complimentary.”


This is the eldest of the seasons: he
Moves not like Spring with gradual step, nor grows
From bud to beauty, but with all his snows
Comes down at once in hoar antiquity.
No rains nor loud proclaiming tempests flee
Before him, nor unto his time belong
The suns of summer, nor the charms of song,
That with May’s gentle smiles so well agree.
But he, made perfect in his birthday cloud,
Starts into sudden life with scarce a sound,
And with a tender footstep prints the ground,
As tho’ to cheat man’s ear; yet while he stays
He seems as ’twere to prompt our merriest lays,
And bid the dance and joke be long and loud.

Literary Pocket Book, 1820.

January 17.

St. Anthony, Patriarch of Monks. Sts. Speusippus, Eleusippus, and Meleusippus. Sts. Sulpicius I. and II., Abps. of Bourges. St. Milgithe. St. Nennius, or Nennidhius.

St. Anthony, Patriarch of Monks.

The memoirs of St. Anthony make a distinguished figure in the lives of the saints by Alban Butler, who states the particulars to have been extracted from “The Life of St. Anthony,” compiled by the great St. Athanasius; “a work,” says [111, 112] Butler, “much commended by St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Jerom, St. Austin,” &c. This statement by Butler, whose biographical labours are estimated by catholics as of the highest order, and the extraordinary temptations which render the life of St. Anthony eminently remarkable, require at least so much notice of him, as may enable the general reader to determine upon the qualities attributed to him, and the reputation his name has attained in consequence.

According to Butler, St. Anthony was born in 251, at Coma near Heraclea in Egypt, and in that neighbourhood commenced the life of a hermit: he was continually assailed by the devil. His only food was bread with a little salt, he drank nothing but water, never ate before sunset, sometimes only once in two or four days, and lay on a rush mat or on the bare floor. For further solitude he left Coma, and hid himself in an old sepulchre, till, in 285, he withdrew into the deserts of the mountains, from whence, in 305, he descended and founded his first monastery. His under garment was sackcloth, with a white sheepskin coat and girdle. Butler says that he “was taught to apply himself to manual labour by an angel, who appeared, platting mats of palm-tree leaves, then rising to pray, and after some time sitting down again to work; and who at length said to him, ‘Do this, and thou shalt be saved.’ The life, attributed by Butler to St. Athanasius, informs us that our saint continued in some degree to pray whilst he was at work; that he detested the Arians; that he would not speak to a heretic unless to exhort him to the true faith; and that he drove all such from his mountain, calling them venomous serpents. He was very anxious that after his decease he should not be embalmed, and being one hundred and five years old, died in 356, having bequeathed one of his sheepskins, with the coat in which he lay, to St. Athanasius.” So far Butler.

St. Anthony meets the devil

St. Athanasius, or rather the life of St. Anthony before alluded to, which, notwithstanding Butler’s authorities, may be doubted as the product of Athanasius; but, however that may be, that memoir of St. Anthony is very particular in its account of St. Anthony’s warfare with the infernal powers. It says that hostilities commenced when the saint first determined on hermitizing; “in short, the devil raised a great deal of dust in his thoughts, that by bemudding and disordering his intellects he might make St. Anthony let go his design.” In his first conflict with the devil he was victorious, although satan appeared to him in an alluring shape. Next he came in the form of a black boy, and was again defeated. After that Anthony got into a tomb and shut down the top, but the devil found him out, and, with a great company of other devils, so beat and bruised him, that in the morning he was discovered by the person who brought his bread, lying like a dead man on the ground; whereupon he took him up and carried him to the town church, where many of his friends sat by him until midnight. Anthony then coming to himself and seeing all asleep, caused the person who brought him thither to carry him back privately, and again got into the tomb, shutting down the tomb-top as before. Upon this, the devils being very much exasperated, one night, made a noise so dreadful, that the walls shook. “They transformed themselves into the shapes of all sorts of beasts, lions, bears, leopards, bulls, serpents, asps, scorpions and wolves; every one of which moved and acted agreeably to the creatures which they represented; the lion roaring and seeming to make towards him, the bull to butt, the serpent to creep, and the wolf to run at him, and so in short all the rest; so that Anthony was tortured and mangled by them so grievously that his bodily pain was greater than before.” But, as it were laughingly, he taunted them, and the devils gnashed their teeth. This continued till the roof of his cell opened, a beam of light shot down, the devils became speechless, Anthony’s pain ceased, and the roof closed again. At one time the devil laid the semblance of a large piece of plate in his way, but Anthony, perceiving the devil in the dish, chid it, and the plate disappeared. At another time he saw a quantity of real gold on the ground, and to show the devil “that he did not value money, he leaped over it as a man in a fright over a fire.” Having secluded himself in an empty castle, some of his acquaintance came often to see him, but in vain; he would not let them enter, and they remained whole days and nights listening to a tumultuous rout of devils bawling and wailing within. He lived in that state for twenty years, never seeing or being seen by any one, till his friends broke open the door, and “the spectators [113, 114] were in amazement to see his body that had been so belaboured by devils, in the same shape in which it was before his retirement.” By way of a caution to others he related the practices of the devils, and how they appeared. He said that, “to scare us, they will represent themselves so tall as to touch the ceiling, and proportionably broad; they often pretend to sing psalms and cite the scriptures, and sometimes while we are reading they echo what we read; sometimes they stamp, sometimes they laugh, and sometimes they hiss: but when one regards them not, then they weep and lament, as vanquished. Once, when they came threatening and surrounding me like soldiers, accoutred and horsed, and again when they filled the place with wild beasts and creeping things, I sung Psalm xix. 8., and they were presently routed. Another time, when they appeared [115, 116] with a light in the dark, and said, ‘We are come, Anthony, to lend thee our light,’ I prayed, shutting my eyes, because I disdained to behold their light, and presently their light was put out. After this they came and hissed and danced, but as I prayed, and lay along singing, they presently began to wail and weep as though they were spent. Once there came a devil very tall in appearance, that dared to say, ‘What wouldst thou have me bestow upon thee?’ but I spat upon him and endeavoured to beat him, and, great as he was, he disappeared with the rest of the devils. Once one of them knocked at the door of my cell, and when I opened it I saw a tall figure; and when I asked him, ‘Who art thou?’ he answered, ‘I am satan; Why do the monks blame and curse me? I have no longer a place or a city, and now the desert is filled with monks; let them not curse one to no purpose.’ I said to him, ‘Thou art a liar,’ &c. and he disappeared.” A deal more than this he is related to have said by his biographer, who affirms that Anthony, “having been prevailed upon to go into a vessel and pray with the monks, he, and he only, perceived a wretched and terrible stink; the company said there was some salt fish in the vessel, but he perceived another kind of scent, and while he was speaking, a young man that had a devil, and who had entered before them and hid himself, cried out, and the devil was rebuked by St Anthony and came out of him, and then they all knew that it was the devil that stunk.”—“Wonderful as these things are, there are stranger things yet; for once, as he was going to pray, he was in a rapture, and (which is a paradox) as soon as he stood up, he saw himself without himself, as it were in the air, and some bitter and terrible beings standing by him in the air too, but the angels, his guardians, withstood them,”—“He had also another particular favour, for as he was sitting on the mount in a praying posture, and perhaps gravelled with some doubt relating to himself, in the night-time, one called to him, and said, ‘Anthony, arise, go forth and look;’ so he went out and saw a certain terrible, deformed personage standing, and reaching to the clouds, and winged creatures, and him stretching out his hands; and some of them he saw were stopped by him, and others were flying beyond him; whereupon the tall one gnashed his teeth, and Anthony perceived that it was the enemy of souls, who seizes on those who are accountable to him, but cannot reach those who are not persuadable by him.” His biographer declares that the devils fled at his word, as fast as from a whip.

It appears from lady Morgan, that at the confectioners’ in Rome, on twelfth-day, “saints melt in the mouth, and the temptations of St. Anthony are easily digested.”

Alban Butler says that there is an extant sermon of St. Anthony’s wherein he extols the efficacy of the sign of the cross for chasing the devil, and lays down rules for the discernment of spirits. There is reason to believe that he could not read; St. Austin thinks that he did not know the alphabet. He wore his habit to his dying day, neither washing the dirt off his body, nor so much as his feet, unless they were wet by chance when he waded through water on a journey. The jesuit Ribadeneira affirms, that “all the world relented and bemoaned his death for afterwards there fell no rain from heaven for three years.”

The Engraving of St. Anthony conflicting with the Devil, in the present sheet, is after Salvator Rosa.

Saints’ bodies appear, from the Romish writers, to have waited undecomposed in their graves till their odour of sanctity rendered it necessary that their remains should be sought out; and their bodies were sure to be found, after a few centuries of burial, as fresh as if they had been interred a few weeks. Hence it is, that though two centuries elapsed before Anthony’s was looked for, yet his grave was not only discovered, but his body was in the customary preservation. It was brought to Europe through a miracle. One Joceline, who had neglected a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, was, therefore, sorely wounded in battle, and carried for dead into a chapel dedicated to St. Anthony. When he began to revive, a multitude of devils appeared to drag him to hell and one devil cast a halter about his neck to strangle him, wherefore St. Anthony appeared; the devils flew from him of course, and he commanded Joceline to perform his pilgrimage, and to convey his body from the east; whereupon Joceline obeyed, and carried it to France. When Patrick wrote, the saint’s beard was shown at Cologne, with a part of his hand, and another piece of him was shown at Tournay; [117, 118] two of his relics were at Antwerp; a church dedicated to him at Rome was famous for his sackcloth, and part of his palm coat; the other part of it was exhibited at Vienna, and the rest of his body was so multiplied about, that there were limb-bones enough for the remains of half a dozen uncanonized persons. The Romish church has not made saints of late years.


On St. Anthony’s day, the beasts at Rome are blessed, and sprinkled with holy water. Dr. Forster, in his “Perennial Calendar,” remarks, that “the early Catholics regarded no beasts, birds, or fish, as hateful.” He says, that “St. Anthony was particularly solicitous about animals, to which a whimsical picture by Salvator Rosa represents him as preaching;” and he suggests, that “from his practices, perhaps, arose the custom of blessings passed on animals still practised at Rome; he regarded all God’s creatures as worthy of protection”—except heretics, the doctor might have added; unless, indeed, which seems to have been the case, Anthony regarded them as “creatures” of the devil, between whom, and this saint, we have seen that the Rev. Alban Butler takes especial care we should not be ignorant of the miraculous conflicts just related.

Lady Morgan says, that the annual benediction of the beasts at Rome, in a church there dedicated to St. Anthony, lasts for some days: “for not only every Roman from the pope to the peasant, who has a horse, a mule, or an ass, sends his cattle to be blessed at St. Anthony’s shrine, but all the English go with their job horses and favourite dogs; and for the small offering of a couple of paoli, get them sprinkled, sanctified, and placed under the protection of this saint. Coach after coach draws up, strings of mules mix with carts and barouches, horses kick, mules are restive, and dogs snarl, while the officiating priest comes forward from his little chapel, dips a brush into a vase of holy water, sprinkles and prays over the beasts, pockets the fee, and retires.”

Dr. Conyers Middleton says, that when he was at Rome, he had his own horses blest for eighteen-pence, as well to satisfy his curiosity, as to humour his coachman, who was persuaded that some mischance would befall them in the year, if they had not the benefit of the benediction.

Lady Morgan describes a picture in the Borghese palace at Rome, representing St. Anthony preaching to the fishes: “The salmon look at the preacher with an edified face, and a cod, with his upturned eyes, seems anxiously seeking for the new light. The saint’s sermon is to be had in many of the shops at Rome. St. Anthony addresses the fish, ‘Dearly beloved fish;’ and the legend adds, that at the conclusion of the discourse, ‘the fish bowed to him with profound humility, and a grave and religious countenance.’ The saint then gave the fish his blessing, who scudded away to make new conversions,—the missionaries of the main.

“The church of St. Anthony at Rome is painted in curious old frescos, with the temptations of the saint. In one picture he is drawn blessing the devil, disguised in a cowl; probably at that time

‘When the devil was sick, and the devil a monk would be;’

“the next picture shows, that

‘When the devil was well, the devil a monk was he;’

“for St. Anthony, having laid down in his coffin to meditate the more securely, a parcel of malicious little imps are peeping, with all sorts of whimsical and terrific faces, over its edges, and parodying Hogarth’s enraged musician. One abominable wretch blows a post-horn close to the saint’s ear, and seems as much delighted with his own music as a boy with a Jew’s-harp, or a solo-player with his first ad libitum.”

St. Anthony’s sermon to the fish is given in some of our angling books. If this saint was not the preacher to the fish, but St. Anthony of Padua, the latter has lost the credit of his miraculous exhortation, from the stupendous reputation of his namesake and predecessor. Not to risk the displeasure of him of Padua, by the possibility of mistake, without an attempt to propitiate him if it be a mistake, let it be recorded here, that St. Anthony of Padua’s protection of a Portuguese regiment, which enlisted him into its ranks seven hundred years after his death, procured him the honour of being promoted to the rank of captain, by the king of Portugal, as will appear by reference to his military certificate set forth at large in “Ancient Mysteries described.”

[119, 120]


St. Anthony’s fire is an inflammatory disease which, in the eleventh century, raged violently in various parts. According to the legend, the intercession of St. Anthony was prayed for, when it miraculously ceased; and therefore, from that time, the complaint has been called St. Anthony’s fire.


Bishop Patrick, from the Salisbury missal and other Romish service-books, cites the supplications to St. Anthony for relief from this disease. Catholic writers affirm it to have been cured by the saint’s relics dipped in wine, which proved a present remedy. “Neither,” says Patrick, who quotes the Romish writers, “did this benefit by the intercession of St. Anthony accrue only to men, but to cattle also; and from hence we are told the custom arose of picturing this saint with a hog at his feet, because, the same author (Aymerus) says, on this animal God wrought miracles by his servant.” Patrick goes on to say, that in honour of St. Anthony’s power of curing pigs, “they used in several places to tie a bell about the neck of a pig, and maintain it at the common charge of the parish,” from whence came our English proverb of “Tantony pig,” or t’Antony, an abridgement of the Anthony pig.

“I remember,” says Stow, “that the officers charged with the oversight of the markets in this city did divers times take from the market people, pigs starved, or otherwise unwholesome for man’s sustenance; these they did slit in the ear. One of the proctors for St. Anthony’s (Hospital) tied a bell about the neck, (of one of them,) and let it feed on the dunghills: no man would hurt or take it up; but if any gave to them bread, or other feeding, such they (the pigs) would know, watch for, and daily follow, whining till they had somewhat given them: whereupon was raised a proverb, ‘Such an one will follow such an one, and whine as it were (like) an Anthony pig.’” If such a pig grew to be fat, and came to good liking, (as oftentimes they did,) then the proctor would take him up to the use of the hospital.

St. Anthony’s school in London, now gone to decay, was anciently celebrated for the proficiency of its pupils. Stow relates, that, in his youth, he annually saw, on the eve of St. Bartholomew, the scholars of the different grammar-schools assembled in the churchyard of St. Bartholomew, Smithfield, and then St. Anthony’s scholars commonly were the best, and carried the prizes; and that when the boys of St. Paul’s school met with those of St. Anthony’s, “they would call them St. Anthony’s pigs, and they again would call the others pigeons of Paul’s; because many pigeons were bred in Paul’s church, and St. Anthony was always figured with a pig following him.”

The seal of St. Anthony’s Hospital in London was about the size of a half-crown; it represented the saint preaching to a numerous congregation, with his pig beneath him. The Rev. Mr. Orton, rector of Raseby in Leicestershire, was supposed to have been its possessor by the late Mr. S. Ayscough, who adds (in the Gent. Mag.) that the hospital of St. Anthony had a grant of all the stray pigs which were not owned. He presumes that, from thence, originated the emblem of the saint’s pig. In this he seems to have been mistaken; it clearly did not originate in England. Patrick’s solution of it is more probable, and very likely to be correct.

St. Anthony is always represented by the old painters with a pig by his side. He is so accompanied in the wood-cut to his life in the Golden Legend. There are many prints of him, by early masters, in this way. Rubens painted a fine picture of the Death of St. Anthony, with his pig, or rather a large bacon hog, lying under the saint’s bed: there is a good engraving from this picture by Clouwet.

In the British Museum there is a MS. with a remarkable anecdote that would form an appendix to St. Anthony’s day. The names of the parties are forgotten; but the particulars, recollected from accidental perusal, are these:

A tailor was met out of doors by a person who requested to be measured for a suit of clothes, to be ready on that spot by that day week; and the stranger gave him a piece of cloth to make them with. From certain circumstances, the tailor suspected his new customer to be the devil, and communicated his conjectures to a clergyman, who advised him to execute the order, but carefully to save every piece, even the minutest shred he cut from the cloth, and put the whole into a wrapper with the clothes; he further promised the tailor to go with him on the [121, 122] appointed day to the place where they were delivered. When all was ready and the day arrived, they both went thither, and the person waiting justified the tailor’s suspicions; for he abused the tailor because he brought a divine, and immediately vanished in their presence, leaving the clothes and pieces of cloth in the possession of the tailor, who could not sell the devil’s cloth to pay himself for the making, for fear of the consequences:

And here ends the history
Of this wonderful mystery;

from which may be drawn, by way of moral, that a tailor ought not to take an order from a stranger without a reference.

January 18.

St. Peter’s Chair at Rome. St. Paul and Thirty-six Companions in Egypt. St. Prisca. St. Deicolus. St. Ulfrid.

The Feast of St. Peter’s chair is kept by the Romish church on this day. Lady Morgan says that it is one of the very few functions as they are called (funzioni) celebrated in the cathedral of St. Peter, at Rome. She briefly describes this celebration, and says something respecting St. Peter’s chair. “The splendidly dressed troops that line the nave of the cathedral, the variety and richness of vestments which clothe the various church and lay dignitaries, abbots, priests, canons, prelates, cardinals, doctors, dragoons, senators, and grenadiers, which march in procession, complete, as they proceed up the vast space of this wondrous temple, a spectacle nowhere to be equalled within the pale of European civilisation. In the midst of swords and crosiers, of halberds and crucifixes, surrounded by banners, and bending under the glittering tiara of threefold power, appears the aged, feeble, and worn-out pope, borne aloft on men’s shoulders, in a chair of crimson and gold, and environed by slaves, (for such they look,) who waft, from plumes of ostrich feathers mounted on ivory wands, a cooling gale, to refresh his exhausted frame, too frail for the weight of such honours. All fall prostrate, as he passes up the church to a small choir and throne, temporarily erected beneath the chair of St. Peter. A solemn service is then performed, hosannas arise, and royal votarists and diplomatic devotees parade the church, with guards of honour and running footmen, while English gentlemen and ladies mob and scramble, and crowd and bribe, and fight their way to the best place they can obtain.

“At the extremity of the great nave behind the altar, and mounted upon a tribune designed or ornamented by Michael Angelo, stands a sort of throne, composed of precious materials, and supported by four gigantic figures. A glory of seraphim, with groups of angels, sheds a brilliant light upon its splendours. This throne enshrines the real, plain, worm-eaten, wooden chair, on which St. Peter, the prince of the apostles, is said to have pontificated; more precious than all the bronze, gold, and gems, with which it is hidden, not only from impious, but from holy eyes, and which once only, in the flight of ages, was profaned by mortal inspection.

“The sacrilegious curiosity of the French broke through all obstacles to their seeing the chair of St. Peter. They actually removed its superb casket, and discovered the relic. Upon its mouldering and dusty surface were traced carvings, which bore the appearance of letters. The chair was quickly brought into a better light, the dust and cobwebs removed, and the inscription (for an inscription it was) faithfully copied. The writing is in Arabic characters, and is the well-known confession of Mahometan faith,—‘There is but one God, and Mahomet is his prophet!’ It is supposed that this chair had been, among the spoils of the crusaders, offered to the church at a time when a taste for antiquarian lore, and the deciphering of inscriptions, were not yet in fashion. This story has been since hushed up, the chair replaced, and none but the unhallowed remember the fact, and none but the audacious repeat it. Yet such there are, even at Rome!”

St. Prisca.

This saint’s festival stands in the calendar of the church of England this day, as well as in that of the Romish church. Nothing is certainly known of her except that she was a Roman, and martyred about 275.


In the London journals of January, 1824, the following anecdote from a Carlow paper bears the above title:—“A young lady, who died in this town, had been some time previous to her death [123, 124] attended by a gentleman of the medical profession. On the evening of her decease, as this gentleman was sitting in company with a friend of his, and in the act of taking a glass of punch, he imagined he saw the lady walking into the room where himself and his friend were sitting, and, having but a few hours before visited her, and found her in a dying state, the shock that his nerves experienced was so great, that the glass which held the punch fell from his hands, and he himself dropped on the floor in a fainting fit. After he had perfectly recovered himself, and made inquiry about the lady, it was ascertained that a few minutes before the time the medical gentleman imagined he had seen her in his friend’s apartment, she had departed this life.” Perhaps this vision may be illustrated by others.


The Editor of the Every-Day Book now relates an appearance to himself.

One winter evening, in 1821, he was writing in a back room on an upper floor of the house No. 45, Ludgate-hill, wherein he now resides. He had been so closely engaged in that way and in reading during several preceding days, that he had taken every meal alone, and in that room, nor did he usually go to bed until two or three o’clock in the morning. In the early part of the particular evening alluded to, his attention had become wearied. After a doze he found himself refreshed, and was writing when the chimes of St. Paul’s clock sounded a quarter to two: long before that dead hour all the family had retired to rest, and the house was silent. A few minutes afterwards he moved round his chair towards the fire-place, and opposite to a large pane of glass which let the light from the room into a closet otherwise dark, the door of which opened upon the landing-place. His eye turning upon the glass pane, he was amazed by the face of a man anxiously watching him from the closet, with knit inquiring brows. The features were prominent and haggard, and, though the look was somewhat ferocious, it indicated intense curiosity towards the motions of the writer, rather than any purpose of immediate mischief to him. The face seemed somewhat to recede with a quick motion when he first saw it, but gazing on it with great earnestness it appeared closer to the glass, looking at him for a moment, and then with more eager anxiety bending its eyes on the writing-table, as though it chiefly desired to be acquainted with the books and papers that lay upon it. The writer shut and rubbed his eyes, and again the eyes of the face were intently upon him; watching it, he grasped the candlestick, strode hastily towards the room door, which is about two feet from the pane, observed the face as hastily draw back, unlatched the closet door on the landing, was in an instant within the closet, and there to his astonishment found nothing. It was impossible that the person could have escaped from the closet before his own foot was at its door, yet he examined nearly every room in the house, until reflecting that it was folly to seek for what, he was convinced, had no bodily existence, he returned up stairs and went to bed, pondering on the recollection of the spectre.


To the preceding narrative the Editor adds an account of a subsequent apparition, which he saw, and for greater ease he writes it in the first person, as follows:

In January, 1824, one, whose relationship commanded my affection, was about to leave England with his family for a distant part of the world. The day or two preceding his departure I passed with him and his wife and children. Our separation was especially painful; my mind was distressed, and I got little sleep. He had sailed from Gravesend about three days, and a letter that he had promised to write from the Downs had not arrived. On the evening of the 29th I retired late, and being quite wearied slept till an unusually late hour the next morning, without a consciousness of having dreamed, or being, as I found myself, alone. With my head on the pillow I opened my eyes to an extraordinary appearance. Against the wall on the opposite side of the room, and level with my sight, the person, respecting whom I had been so anxious, lay a corpse, extended at full length, as if resting on a table. A greyish cloth covered the entire body except the face; the eyes were closed, the countenance was cadaverous, the mouth elongated from the falling of the jaws, and the lips were purpled. I shut my eyes, rubbed them and gently raising my head continued to gaze on the body, till from weariness of the attitude and exhausted spirits, I dropped on the pillow, and insensibly sunk to sleep, for perhaps a quarter of an hour. On again awaking, the spectre was [125, 126] not there. I then arose, and having mentioned the circumstance to some of my family, caused a memorandum to be made of what I had seen. In the course of the forenoon a person arrived who had gone round with the vessel to the Downs, from whence he had been put ashore the morning before, and saw the ship in full sail. He was the bearer of the letter I had expected from the individual aboard, whose appearance I had witnessed only a few hours previous to its being put into my hands; it of course relieved no apprehension that might have been excited by the recent spectre.

“That the dead are seen no more,” said Imlac, “I will not undertake to maintain against the concurrent and unvaried testimony of all ages and of all nations. There is no people, rude or learned, among whom apparitions of the dead are not related and believed. This opinion, which, perhaps, prevails as far as human nature is diffused, could become universal only by its truth; those, that never heard of one another, would never have agreed in a tale which nothing but experience can make credible. That it is doubted by single cavillers can very little weaken the general evidence, and some who deny it with their tongues confess it by their fears.”

No man is privileged to impugn the knowledge of existences which others have derived from their experience; but he who sees, without assenting to realities, audaciously rejects positive proof to himself, where presumptive testimony would be satisfactory to most: he daringly falsifies what he knows to be indubitably true, and secret convictions belie the shameless hardihood of pretended incredulity. These, it is presumed, would be the sentiments of the great author of Rasselas, upon the expression of disbelief in him who had witnessed spectral appearances; and yet the writer of these pages, with a personal knowledge upon the subject, declines to admit that knowledge as good evidence. He would say untruly were he to affirm, that when he saw the corpse-like form, and for some time afterwards, he had no misgivings as to the safety of his friend. It was not until a lapse of six months that the vessel was reported to have touched at a certain port in good condition, and this was followed by a letter from the individual himself, wherein he affirmed his good health; he subsequently wrote, that he and his family were at the place of their destination. This spectral appearance therefore at Ludgate-hill, between eight and nine o’clock of the morning on the 30th of January, was no indication of his death, nor would it have been had he died about that time, although the coincidence of the apparition and his decease would have been remarkable. The case at Carlow only differs from the case at Ludgate-hill by the decease of the lady having been coeval with her spectral appearance to the gentleman who was depressed by her illness. The face which the writer saw looking at him from a closet in the dead of night was no likeness of any one he knew, and he saw each spectre when his faculties had been forced beyond their healthful bearing. Under these circumstances, his eyesight was not to be trusted, and he refuses to admit it, although the spectres were so extraordinary, and appeared under such circumstances that probably they will never be forgotten.

Coupled with the incidents just related, the death of the king of Naples in January 1825, which was first announced in the “News” Sunday paper on the 16th of the month, recalls the recollection of a singular circumstance in the bay of Naples. The fact and the facts preceding it are related by Dr. Southey in his “Life of Nelson.” Having spoken of Nelson’s attachment to lady Hamilton, and his weariness of the world, Dr. Southey proceeds thus:—

“Well had it been for Nelson if he had made no other sacrifices to this unhappy attachment than his peace of mind; but it led to the only blot upon his public character. While he sailed from Palermo, with the intention of collecting his whole force, and keeping off Maretimo, either to receive reinforcements there, if the French were bound upwards, or to hasten to Minorca, if that should be their destination, capt. Foote, in the Seahorse, with the Neapolitan frigates and some small vessels under his command, was left to act with a land force consisting of a few regular troops, of four different nations, and with the armed rabble which cardinal Ruffo called the Christian army. His directions were to cooperate to the utmost of his power with royalists, at whose head Ruffo had been placed, and he had no other instructions whatever. Ruffo advancing without [127, 128] any plan, but relying upon the enemy’s want of numbers, which prevented them from attempting to act upon the offensive, and ready to take advantage of any accident which might occur, approached Naples. Fort St. Elmo, which commands the town, was wholly garrisoned by the French troops; the castles of Uovo and Nuovo, which commanded the anchorage, were chiefly defended by Neapolitan revolutionists, the powerful men among them having taken shelter there. If these castles were taken, the reduction of Fort St. Elmo would be greatly expedited. They were strong places, and there was reason to apprehend that the French fleet might arrive to relieve them. Ruffo proposed to the garrison to capitulate, on condition that their persons and property should be guaranteed, and that they should, at their own option, either be sent to Toulon, or remain at Naples, without being molested either in their persons or families. This capitulation was accepted: it was signed by the cardinal, and the Russian and Turkish commanders; and, lastly, by capt. Foote, as commander of the British force. About six and thirty hours afterwards Nelson arrived in the bay, with a force which had joined him during his cruise, consisting of seventeen sail of the line, with 1700 troops on board, and the prince royal of Naples in the admiral’s ship. A flag of truce was flying on the castles, and on board the Seahorse. Nelson made a signal to annul the treaty; declaring that he would grant rebels no other terms than those of unconditional submission. The cardinal objected to this: nor could all the arguments of Nelson, sir W. Hamilton, and lady Hamilton, who took an active part in the conference, convince him that a treaty of such a nature, solemnly concluded, could honourably be set aside. He retired at last, silenced by Nelson’s authority, but not convinced. Capt. Foote was sent out of the bay; and the garrisons taken out of the castles, under pretence of carrying the treaty into effect, were delivered over as rebels to the vengeance of the Sicilian court.—A deplorable transaction! a stain upon the memory of Nelson, and the honour of England! To palliate it would be in vain; to justify it would be wicked: there is no alternative, for one who will not make himself a participator in guilt, but to record the disgraceful story with sorrow and with shame.

“Prince Francesco Caraccioli, a younger branch of one of the noblest Neapolitan families, escaped from one of these castles before it capitulated. He was at the head of the marine, and was nearly seventy years of age, bearing a high character both for professional and personal merit. He had accompanied the court to Sicily; but when the revolutionary government, or Parthenopæan republic, as it was called, issued an edict, ordering all absent Neapolitans to return, on pain of confiscation of their property, he solicited and obtained permission of the king to return, his estates being very great. It is said that the king, when he granted him this permission, warned him not to take any part in politics; expressing, at the same time, his own persuasion that he should recover his kingdom. But neither the king, nor he himself, ought to have imagined that, in such times, a man of such reputation would be permitted to remain inactive; and it soon appeared that Caraccioli was again in command of the navy, and serving under the republic against his late sovereign. The sailors reported that he was forced to act thus: and this was believed, till it was seen that he directed ably the offensive operations of the revolutionists, and did not avail himself of opportunities for escaping when they offered. When the recovery of Naples was evidently near, he applied to cardinal Ruffo, and to the duke of Calvirrano, for protection; expressing his hope, that the few days during which he had been forced to obey the French, would not outweigh forty years of faithful services:—but, perhaps, not receiving such assurances as he wished, and knowing too well the temper of the Sicilian court, he endeavoured to secrete himself, and a price was set upon his head. More unfortunately for others than for himself, he was brought in alive, having been discovered in the disguise of a peasant, and carried one morning on board lord Nelson’s ship, with his hands tied behind him.

“Caraccioli was well known to the British officers, and had been ever highly esteemed by all who knew him. Capt. Hardy ordered him immediately to be unbound, and to be treated with all those attentions which he felt due to a man who, when last on board the Foudroyant, had been received as an admiral and a prince. Sir William and lady Hamilton were in the ship; but Nelson, it is affirmed, [129, 130] saw no one, except his own officers, during the tragedy which ensued. His own determination was made; and he issued an order to the Neapolitan commodore, count Thurn, to assemble a court-martial of Neapolitan officers, on board the British flag-ship, proceed immediately to try the prisoner, and report to him, if the charges were proved, what punishment he ought to suffer. These proceedings were as rapid as possible; Caraccioli was brought on board at nine in the forenoon, and the trial began at ten. It lasted two hours; he averred, in his defence, that he acted under compulsion, having been compelled to serve as a common soldier, till he consented to take command of the fleet. This, the apologists of lord Nelson say, he failed in proving. They forget that the possibility of proving it was not allowed him; for he was brought to trial within an hour after he was legally in arrest; and how, in that time, was he to collect his witnesses? He was found guilty, and sentenced to death; and Nelson gave orders that the sentence should be carried into effect that evening, at five o’clock, on board the Sicilian frigate La Minerva, by hanging him at the fore-yard-arm till sunset; when the body was to be cut down, and thrown into the sea. Caraccioli requested lieutenant Parkinson, under whose custody he was placed, to intercede with lord Nelson for a second trial,—for this, among other reasons, that count Thurn, who presided at the court-martial, was notoriously his personal enemy. Nelson made answer, that the prisoner had been fairly tried by the officers of his own country, and he could not interfere: forgetting that, if he felt himself justified in ordering the trial and the execution, no human being could ever have questioned the propriety of his interfering on the side of mercy. Caraccioli then entreated that he might be shot.—‘I am an old man, sir,’ said he: ‘I leave no family to lament me, and therefore cannot be supposed to be very anxious about prolonging my life; but the disgrace of being hanged is dreadful to me.’ When this was repeated to Nelson, he only told the lieutenant, with much agitation, to go and attend his duty. As a last hope, Caraccioli asked the lieutenant, if he thought, an application to lady Hamilton would be beneficial? Parkinson went to seek her. She was not to be seen on this occasion,—but she was present at the execution. She had the most devoted attachment to the Neapolitan court; and the hatred which she felt against those whom she regarded as its enemies, made her, at this time, forget what was due to the character of her sex, as well as of her country. Here, also, a faithful historian is called upon to pronounce a severe and unqualified condemnation of Nelson’s conduct. Had he the authority of his Sicilian majesty for proceeding as he did? If so, why was not that authority produced? If not, why were the proceedings hurried on without it? Why was the trial precipitated, so that it was impossible for the prisoner, if he had been innocent, to provide the witnesses who might have proved him so? Why was a second trial refused, when the known animosity of the president of the court against the prisoner was considered? Why was the execution hastened, so as to preclude any appeal for mercy, and render the prerogative of mercy useless?—Doubtless, the British admiral seemed to himself to be acting under a rigid sense of justice; but, to all other persons, it was obvious, that he was influenced by an infatuated attachment—a baneful passion, which destroyed his domestic happiness, and now, in a second instance, stained ineffaceably his public character.

“The body was carried out to a considerable distance, and sunk in the bay, with three double-headed shot, weighing 250 pounds, tied to its legs. Between two and three weeks afterward, when the king was on board the Foudroyant, a Neapolitan fisherman came to the ship, and solemnly declared, that Caraccioli had risen from the bottom of the sea, and was coming, as fast as he could, to Naples, swimming half out of the water. Such an account was listened to like a tale of idle credulity. The day being fair, Nelson, to please the king, stood out to sea; but the ship had not proceeded far before a body was distinctly seen, upright in the water, and approaching them. It was soon recognised to be, indeed, the corpse of Caraccioli, which had risen, and floated, while the great weights attached to the legs kept the body in a position like that of a living man. A fact so extraordinary astonished the king, and perhaps excited some feeling of superstitious fear, akin to regret. He gave permission for the body to be taken on shore, and receive christian burial.”

[131, 132]

The late Dr. Clarke mentions in his “Travels,” that as he was “one day leaning out of the cabin window, by the side of an officer who was employed in fishing, the corpse of a man, newly sewed in a hammock, started half out of the water, and continued its course, with the current, towards the shore. Nothing could be more horrible: its head and shoulders were visible, turning first to one side, then to the other, with a solemn and awful movement, as if impressed with some dreadful secret of the deep, which, from its watery grave, it came upwards to reveal.” Dr. Ferriar observes, that “in a certain stage of putrefaction, the bodies of persons which have been immersed in water, rise to the surface, and in deep water are supported in an erect posture, to the terror of uninstructed spectators. Menacing looks and gestures, and even words, are supplied by the affrighted imagination, with infinite facility, and referred to the horrible apparition.” This is perfectly natural; and it is easy to imagine the excessive terror of extreme ignorance at such appearances.

January 19.

Sts. Martha, Maris, Audifax, and Abachum. St. Canutus. St. Henry. St. Wulstan. St. Blaithmaie. St. Lomer.

Sts. Martha, Maris, &c.

St. Martha was married to St. Maris, and with their sons, Sts. Audifax and Abachum, were put to death under Aurelian (A. D. 270.) Butler says, that their relics were found at Rome, in 1590, one thousand three hundred and twenty years afterwards.


The monks, or the observers of monkish rules, have compiled a Catalogue of Flowers for each day in the year, and dedicated each flower to a particular saint, on account of its flowering about the time of the saint’s festival. Such appropriations are a Floral Directory throughout the year, and will be inserted under the succeeding days. Those which belong to this and the eighteen preceding days in January are in the following list:—


1st. St. Faine. New Year’s Day.

Laurustine. Viburnum Tinus.

2d. St. Macarius.

Groundsel. Senecio vulgaris.

3d. St. Genevieve.

Persian Fleur-de-lis. Iris Persica.

4th. St. Titus.

Hazel. Corylus avellana.

5th. St. Simeon Stylites.

Bearsfoot. Helleborus fœtidus.

6th. St. Nilammon.

Screw Moss. Tortula rigida.

7th. St. Kentigern.

Portugal Laurel. Prunus Lusitanica.

8th. St. Gudula.

Yellow Tremella. Tremella deliquescens.

9th. St. Marciana.

Common Laurel. Prunus Laurocerasus.

10th. St. William.

Gorse. Ulex Europæas.

11th. St. Theodosius.

Early Moss. Bryum horæum.

12th. St. Arcadius.

Hygrometic Moss. Funaria hygrometica.

13th. St. Veronica.

Yew Tree. Taxus baccata.

14th. St. Hilary.

Barren Strawberry. Fragaria sterilis.

15th. St. Paul the Hermit.

Ivy. Hedera helix.

16th. St. Marcellus.

Common Dead Nettle. Larnium purpureum.

17th. St. Anthony.

Garden Anemone. Anemone hortensis.

18th. St. Prisca.

Four-toothed Moss. Bryum pellucidum.

19th. St. Martha.

White Dead Nettle. Larnium album.


In the “Flora Domestica” there is a beautiful quotation from Cowley, in proof that the emperor Dioclesian preferred his garden to a throne:

Methinks I see great Dioclesian walk
In the Salonian garden’s noble shade,
Which by his own imperial hands was made
I see him smile, methinks, as he does talk
With the ambassadors, who come in vain
T’entice him to a throne again.
“If I, my friends,” said he, “should to you show
All the delights which in these gardens grow,
’Tis likelier far that you with me should stay,
Than ’tis that you should carry me away;
And trust me not, my friends, if, every day,
I walk not here with more delight,
Than ever, after the most happy fight,
In triumph to the capitol I rode,
To thank the gods, and to be thought myself almost a god.”

[133, 134]

To the author of the “Flora Domestica,” and to the reader who may not have seen a volume so acceptable to the cultivator of flowers, it would be injustice to extract from its pages without remarking its usefulness, and elegance of composition. Lamenting that “plants often meet with an untimely death from the ignorance of their nurses,” the amiable author “resolved to obtain and to communicate such information as should be requisite for the rearing and preserving a portable garden in pots;—and henceforward the death of any plant, owing to the carelessness or ignorance of its nurse, shall be brought in at the best as plant-slaughter.”

The cultivation of plants commences with our infancy. If estranged from it by the pursuits of active life, yet, during a few years’ retirement from the “great hum” of a noisy world, we naturally recur to a garden as to an old and cheerful friend whom we had forgotten or neglected, and verify the saying, “once a man, and twice a child.” There is not “one of woman born” without a sense of pleasure when she sees buds bursting into leaf; earth yielding green shoots from germs in its warm bosom; white fruit-blossoms, tinted with rose-blushes, standing out in clumps from slender branches; flowers courting the look by their varied loveliness, and the smell by their delicacy; large juicy apples bowing down the almost tendril-shoots wherefrom they miraculously spring; plants of giant growth with multiform shrubs beyond, and holly-hocks towering like painted pinnacles from hidden shrines:

————— Can imagination boast,
’Mid all its gay creation, charms like these?

Dr. Forster, the scientific author of a treatise on “Atmospheric Phenomena,” and other valuable works, has included numerous useful observations on the weather in his recently published “Perennial Calendar,” a volume replete with instruction and entertainment. He observes, in the latter work, that after certain atmospheric appearances on this day in the year 1809, “a hard and freezing shower of hail and sleet came with considerable violence from the east, and glazed every thing on which it fell with ice; it incrusted the walls, encased the trees and the garments of people, and even the plumage of birds, so that many rooks and other fowls were found lying on the ground, stiff with an encasement of ice. Such weather,” Dr. Forster observes, “has been aptly described by Philips as occurring oftentimes during a northern winter:—

Ere yet the clouds let fall the treasured snow,
Or winds begun through hazy skies to blow,
At evening a keen eastern breeze arose,
And the descending rain unsullied froze.
Soon as the silent shades of night withdrew,
The ruddy morn disclosed at once to view
The face of Nature in a rich disguise,
And brightened every object to my eyes;
For every shrub, and every blade of grass,
And every pointed thorn, seemed wrought in glass,
In pearls and rubies rich the hawthorns show,
While through the ice the crimson berries glow,
The thick-sprung reeds the watery marshes yield
Seem polished lances in a hostile field.
The stag in limpid currents, with surprise,
Sees crystal branches on his forehead rise.
The spreading oak, the beech, and tow’ring pine,
Glaz’d over, in the freezing ether shine.
The frighted birds the rattling branches shun,
That wave and glitter in the distant sun.
When, if a sudden gust of wind arise,
The brittle forest into atoms flies;
The cracking wood beneath the tempest bends,
And in a spangled shower the prospect ends.

Philips, Lett. from Copenhagen.

“It may be observed, that in both the above descriptions of similar phenomena, the east wind is recorded as bringing up the storm. There is something very remarkably unwholesome in east winds and a change to that quarter often disturbs [135, 136] the nervous system and digestive organs of many persons, causing head-aches, fevers, and other disorders. Moreover, a good astronomical observation cannot be made when the wind is east: the star seems to oscillate or dance about in the field of the telescope.”

In the truth of these observations as regards health, he who writes this is unhappily qualified to concur from experience; and were it in his power, would ever shun the north-east as his most fearful enemy.

Sir, the north-east, more fierce than Russian cold,
Pierces the very marrow in the bones,
Presses upon the brain an arid weight,
And superflows life’s current with a force
That checks the heart, and soul, and mind, and strength,
In all their purposes.——
Up with the double window-sashes—quick!
Close every crevice from the withering blast,
And stop the keyhole tight—the wind-fiend comes!


January 20.

St. Fabian, Pope. St. Sebastian. St. Enthymius. St. Fechin.

St. Fabian.

This saint is in the church of England calendar; he was bishop of Rome, A. D. 250: the Romish calendar calls him pope.

St. Sebastian’s Day

Is noted in Doblada’s Letters from Spain, as within the period that ushers in the carnival with rompings in the streets, and vulgar mirth.

“The custom alluded to by Horace of sticking a tail, is still practised by the boys in the streets, to the great annoyance of old ladies, who are generally the objects of this sport. One of the ragged striplings that wander in crowds about Seville, having tagged a piece of paper with a hooked pin, and stolen unperceived behind some slow-paced female, as wrapt up in her veil, she tells the beads she carries in her left hand, fastens the paper-tail on the back of the black or walking petticoat called Saya. The whole gang of ragamuffins, who, at a convenient distance, have watched the dexterity of their companion, set up a loud cry of ‘Làrgalo, làrgalo’—‘Drop it, drop it’—this makes every female in the street look to the rear, which, they well know, is the fixed point of attack with the merry light-troops. The alarm continues till some friendly hand relieves the victim of sport, who, spinning and nodding like a spent top, tries in vain to catch a glance at the fast-pinned paper, unmindful of the physical law which forbids her head revolving faster than the great orbit on which the ominous comet flies.”


Formerly this was a night of great import to maidens who desired to know who they should marry. Of such it was required, that they should not eat on this day, and those who conformed to the rule, called it fasting St. Agnes’ fast.

And on sweet St. Agnes’ night
Please you with the promis’d sight,
Some of husbands, some of lovers,
Which an empty dream discovers.

Ben Jonson.

Old Aubrey has a recipe, whereby a lad or lass was to attain a sight of the fortunate lover. “Upon St. Agnes’ night you take a row of pins, and pull out every one, one after another, saying a Pater Noster, sticking a pin in your sleeve, and you will dream of him or her you shall marry.”

Little is remembered of these homely methods for knowing “all about sweethearts,” and the custom would scarcely have reached the greater number of readers, if one of the sweetest of our modern poets had not preserved its recollection in a delightful poem. Some stanzas are culled from it, with the hope that they may be read by a few to whom the poetry of Keats is unknown, and awaken a desire for further acquaintance with his beauties:—

[137, 138]

The Eve of St. Agnes.

St. Agnes’ Eve? Ah, bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
The hare limp’d trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold.
They told her how, upon St. Agnes’ Eve,
Young virgins might have visions of delight,
And soft adorings from their loves receive
Upon the honey’d middle of the night,
If ceremonies due they did aright;
As, supperless to bed they must retire,
And couch supine their beauties, lily white;
Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require
Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire.
Full of this whim was thoughtful Madeline
Out went the taper as she hurried in;
Its little smoke, in pallid moonshine, died:
She clos’d the door, she panted, all akin
To spirits of the air, and visions wide
No uttered syllable, or, woe betide!
But to her heart, her heart was voluble,
Paining with eloquence her balmy side;
As though a tongueless nightingale should swell
Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled, in her dell.
A casement high and triple arch’d there was,
All garlanded with carven imag’ries
Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot grass,
And diamonded with panes of quaint device
Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes,
As are the tiger-moth’s deep damask’d wings;
And in the midst, ’mong thousand heraldries,
And twilight saints, with dim emblazonings,
A shielded ’scutcheon blush’d with blood of queens and kings,
Full on this casement shone the wintry moon,
And threw warm gules on Madeline’s fair breast,
As down she knelt for Heaven’s grace and boon;
Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest,
And on her silver cross soft amethyst,
And on her hair a glory, like a saint:
She seem’d a splendid angel, newly drest,
Save wings, for Heaven:—
——————————— Her vespers done
Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees;
Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one;
Loosens her fragrant boddice; by degrees
Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees
Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea-weed,
Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees,
In fancy, fair St. Agnes in her bed,
But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled.
Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly nest,
In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex’d she lay,
Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress’d
Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away;
Flown, like a thought, until the morrow day;
Blissfully haven’d both from joy and pain;
Clasp’d like a missal where swart Paynims pray;
Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain,
As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again.
Stol’n to this paradise, and so extranced,[139, 140]
Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress,
And listened to her breathing.————
———————— Shaded was her dream
By the dusk curtains:—’twas a midnight charm
Impossible to melt as iced stream:—
He took her hollow lute,—
Tumultuous,—and, in chords that tenderest be,
He play’d an ancient ditty, long since mute,
In Provence call’d, “La belle dame sans mercy:”
Close to her ear touching the melody;—
Wherewith disturb’d, she utter’d a soft moan:
He ceas’d—she panted quick—and suddenly
Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone:
Upon his knees he sank, pale as smooth-sculptured stone.
Her eyes were open, but she still beheld,
Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep:
There was a painful change, that nigh expell’d
The blisses of her dream so pure and deep,
At which fair Madeline began to weep,
And moan forth witless words with many a sigh,
While still her gaze on Porphyro would keep;
Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous eye,
Fearing to move or speak, she look’d so dreamingly.
“Ah, Porphyro!” said she, “but even now
“Thy voice was at sweet tremble in mine ear,
“Made tuneable with every sweetest vow;
“And those sad eyes were spiritual and clear:
“How chang’d thou art! how pallid, chill, and drear
“Give me that voice again, my Porphyro,
“Those looks immortal, those complainings dear?
“Oh, leave me not in this eternal woe,
“For if thou diest, my love, I know not where to go.”
Beyond a mortal man impassion’d far
At these voluptuous accents, he arose,
Ethereal, flush’d, and like a throbbing star,
Seen ’mid the sapphire heaven’s deep repose,
Into her dream he melted, as the rose
Blendeth its odour with the violet,—
Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows
Like Love’s alarum pattering the sharp sleet
Against the window-panes.
“Hark! ’tis an elfin-storm from faery land,
“Of haggard seeming, but a boon indeed:
“Arise—arise! the morning is at hand;—
“Let us away, my love, with happy speed.—”
And they are gone: ay, ages long ago
These lovers fled away into the storm.


St. Fabian
Large Dead Nettle. Larnium garganicum.

[141, 142]


The sun enters Aquarius on this day, though he does not enter it in the visible zodiac until the 18th of February.

Ganymede, who succeeded Hebe as cup-bearer to Jove, is fabled to have been changed into Aquarius. Canobus of the Egyptian zodiac, who was the Neptune of the Egyptians, with a water-vase and measure, evidently prefigured this constellation. They worshipped him as the God of many breasts, from whence he replenished the Nile with fertilizing streams. Aquarius contains one hundred and eight stars, the two chief of which are about fifteen degrees in height:

His head, his shoulders, and his lucid breast,
Glisten with stars; and when his urn inclines,
Rivers of light brighten the watery track.


January 21.

St. Agnes. St Fructuosus, &c. St. Vimin, or Vivian. St. Publius. St. Epiphanius.

St. Agnes.

“She has always been looked upon,” says Butler, “as a special patroness of purity, with the immaculate mother of God.” According to him, she suffered martyrdom, about 304, and performed wonderful miracles before her death, which was by beheading, when she was thirteen years old; whereupon he enjoins females to a single life, as better than a married one, and says, that her anniversary “was formerly a holiday for the women in England.” Ribadeneira relates, that she was to have been burned, and was put into the fire for that purpose, but the flames, refusing to touch her, divided on each side, burnt some of the bystanders, and then quenched, as if there had been none made: a compassionate quality in fire, of which iron was not sensible, for her head was cut off at a single blow. Her legend further relates, that eight days after her death she came to her parents arrayed in white, attended by virgins with garlands of pearls, and a lamb whiter than snow; she is therefore usually represented by artists with a lamb by her side; though not, as Mr. Brand incautiously says, “in every graphic representation.” It is further related, that a priest who officiated in a church dedicated to St. Agnes, was very desirous of being married. He prayed the pope’s license, who gave it him, together with an emerald ring, and commanded him to pay his addresses to the image of St. Agnes in his own church. Then the priest did so, and the image put forth her finger, and he put the ring thereon; whereupon the image drew her finger again, and kept the ring fast, and the priest was contented to remain a bachelor; [143, 144] “and yet, as it is sayd, the rynge is on the fynger of the ymage.”

In a Romish Missal printed at Paris, in 1520, there is a prayer to St. Agnes, remarkably presumptive of her powers; it is thus englished by Bp. Patrick:

Agnes, who art the Lamb’s chaste spouse,
Enlighten thou our minds within;
Not only lop the spreading boughs.
But root out of us every sin.
O, Lady, singularly great,
After this state, with grief opprest
Translate us to that quiet seat
Above, to triumph with the blest.

From Naogeorgus, we gather that in St. Agnes’ church at Rome, it was customary on St. Agnes’ Day to bring two snow-white lambs to the altar, upon which they were laid while the Agnus was singing by way of offering. These consecrated animals were afterwards shorn, and palls made from their fleeces; for each of which, it is said, the pope exacted of the bishops from eight to ten, or thirty thousand crowns, and that the custom originated with Limes, who succeeded the apostle Peter: whereupon Naogeorgus inquires,

But where was Agnes at that time? who offred up, and how,
The two white lambes? where then was Masse, as it is used now?
Yea, where was then the Popish state, and dreadfull monarchee?
Sure in Saint Austen’s time, there were no palles at Rome to see, &c.

In Jephson’s “Manners, &c. of France and Italy,” there is one dated from Rome, February, 14, 1793. That this ceremony was then in use, is evident from the following lines:—

St. Agnes’ Shrine.

Where each pretty Ba-lamb most gaily appears,
With ribands stuck round on its tail and its ears;
On gold fringed cushions they’re stretch’d out to eat,
And piously ba, and to church-musick bleat;
Yet to me they seem’d crying, alack, and alas!
What’s all this white damask to daisies and grass?
Then they’re brought to the Pope, and with transport they’re kiss’d,
And receive consecration from Sanctity’s fist.

Blessing of Sheep.

Stopford, in “Pagano-Papismus,” recites this ceremony of the Romish church. The sheep were brought into the church, and the priest, having blessed some salt and water, read in one corner this gospel, “To us a child is born,” &c. with the whole office, a farthing being laid upon the book, and taken up again; in the second corner he read this gospel, “Ye men of Galilee,” &c. with the whole office, a farthing being laid upon the book, and taken up again; in the third corner he read this gospel, “I am the good shepherd,” &c. with the whole office, a farthing being laid upon the book, and taken up again; and in the fourth corner he read this gospel, “In these days,” &c. with the whole office, a farthing being laid upon the book, and taken up again. After that, he sprinkled all the sheep with holy water, saying, “Let the blessing of God, the Father Almighty, descend and remain upon you; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” Then he signed all the sheep with the sign of the cross, repeated thrice some Latin verses, with the Paternoster and Ave-Marias, sung the mass of the Holy Ghost, and at the conclusion, an offering of fourpence was for himself, and another of threepence was for the poor. This ceremony was adopted by the Romish church from certain customs of the ancient Romans, in their worship of Pales, the goddess of sheepfolds and pastures. They prayed her to bless the sheep, and sprinkled them with water. The chief difference between the forms seems to have consisted in this, that the ancient Romans let the sheep remain in their folds, while the moderns drove them into the church.


St. Agnes.
Christmas Rose. Helleborus niger flore albo.


Dainty young thing
Of life!—Thou vent’rous flower,
Who growest through the hard, cold bower
Of wintry Spring:—
Thou various-hued,
Soft, voiceless bell, whose spire
Rocks in the grassy leaves like wire
In solitude:—
[145, 146]
Like Patience, thou
Art quiet in thy earth.
Instructing Hope that Virtue’s birth
Is Feeling’s vow.
Thy fancied bride!
The delicate Snowdrop, keeps
Her home with thee; she wakes and sleeps
Near thy true side.
Will Man but hear!
A simple flower can tell
What beauties in his mind, should dwell
Through Passion’s sphere.

J. R. Prior.


1793. On the 21st of January, Louis XVI. was beheaded at Paris, in the thirty-ninth year of his age, and nineteenth of his reign, under circumstances which are in the recollection of many, and known to most persons. A similar instrument to the guillotine, the machine by which Louis XVI. was put to death, was formerly used in England. It was first introduced into France, during the revolution, by Dr. Guillotine, a physician, and hence its name.


The History of Halifax in Yorkshire, 12mo. 1712, sets forth “a true account of their ancient, odd, customary gibbet-law; and their particular form of trying and executing of criminals, the like not us’d in any other place in Great Britain.” The Halifax gibbet was in the form of the guillotine, and its gibbet-law quite as remarkable. The work referred to, which is more curious than rare, painfully endeavours to prove this law wise and salutary. It prevailed only within the forest of Hardwick, which was subject to the lord of the manor of Wakefield, a part of the duchy of Lancaster. If a felon were taken within the liberty of the forest with cloth, or other commodity, of the value of thirteen-pence halfpenny, he was, after three market-days from his apprehension and condemnation, to be carried to the gibbet, and there have his head cut off from his body. When first taken, he was brought to the lord’s bailiff in Halifax, who kept the town, had also the keeping of the axe, and was the executioner at the gibbet. This officer summoned a jury of frith-burghers to try him on the evidence of witnesses not upon oath: if acquitted, he was set at liberty, upon payment of his fees; if convicted, he was set in the stocks on each of the three subsequent market-days in Halifax, with the stolen goods on his back, if they were portable; if not, they were placed before his face. This was for a terror to others, and to engage any who had aught against him, to bring accusations, although after the three market-days he was sure to be executed for the offence already proved upon him. But the convict had the satisfaction of knowing, that after he was put to death, it was the duty of the coroner to summon a jury, “and sometimes the same jury that condemned him,” to inquire into the cause of his death, and that a return thereof would be made into the Crown-office; “which gracious and sage proceedings of the coroner in that matter ought, one would think, to abate, in all considering minds, that edge of acrimony which hath provoked malicious and prejudiced persons to debase this laudable and necessary custom.” So says the book. In April, 1650, Abraham Wilkinson and Anthony Mitchell were found guilty of stealing nine yards of cloth and two colts, and on the 30th of the month received sentence, “to suffer death, by having their heads severed and cut off from their bodies at Halifax gibbet,” and they suffered accordingly. These were the last persons executed under Halifax gibbet-law.

The execution was in this manner:—The prisoner being brought to the scaffold by the bailiff, the axe was drawn up by a pulley, and fastened with a pin to the side of the scaffold. “The bailiff, the jurors, and the minister chosen by the prisoner, being always upon the scaffold with the prisoner, in most solemn manner, after the minister had finished his ministerial office and christian duty, if it was a horse, an ox, or cow, &c. that was taken with the prisoner, it was thither brought along with him to the place of execution, and fastened by a cord to the pin that stay’d the block, so that when the time of the execution came, (which was known by the jurors holding up one of their hands,) the bailiff, or his servant, whipping the beast, the pin was pluck’d out, and execution done; but if there were no beast in the case, then the bailiff, or his servant, cut the rope.”

[147, 148]

The Halifax Gibbet.

But if the felon, after his apprehension, or in his going to execution, happened to make his escape out of the forest of Hardwick, which liberty, on the east end of the town, doth not extend above the breadth of a small river; on the north about six hundred paces; on the south about a mile; but on the west about ten miles;—if such an escape were made, then the bailiff of Halifax had no power to apprehend him out of his liberty; but if ever the felon came again into the liberty of Hardwick, and were taken, he was certainly executed. One Lacy, who made his escape, and lived seven years out of the liberty, after that time coming boldly within the liberty of Hardwick, was retaken, and executed upon his former verdict of condemnation.

The records of executions by the Halifax gibbet, before the time of Elizabeth, are lost; but during her reign twenty-five persons suffered under it, and from 1623 to 1650 there were twelve executions. The machine is destroyed. The engraving placed above, represents the instrument, from a figure of it in an old map of Yorkshire, which is altogether better than the print of it in the work before cited.

The worthy author of the Halifax gibbet-book seems by his title to be well assured, that the machine was limited to, and to the sole use and behoof of, his district; but in this, as in some other particulars, he is mistaken.

A small print by Aldegraver, one of the little German masters, in 1553, now lying before the writer, represents the execution of Manlius, the Roman, by the same instrument; and he has a similar print by Pens, an early engraver of that school. There are engravings of it in books printed so early as 1510. In Hollinshed’s Chronicle there is a cut of [149, 150] a man who had attempted the life of Henry III. suffering by this instrument. In Fox’s “Acts and Monuments,” there is another execution in the same manner.

The “maiden” by which James, earl of Morton, the regent of Scotland, was put to death for high treason in 1581, was of this form, and is said to have been constructed by his order from a model of one that he had seen in England: he was the first and last person who suffered by it in Scotland; and it still exists in the parliament-house at Edinburgh. In “The Cloud of Witnesses; or the last Speeches of Scottish Martyrs since 1680,” there is a print of an execution in Scotland by a similar instrument. The construction of such a machine was in contemplation for the beheading of lord Lovat in 1747: he approved the notion—“My neck is very short,” he said, “and the executioner will be puzzled to find it out with his axe: if they make the machine, I suppose they will call it lord Lovat’s maiden.”

Randle Holme in his “Armory” describes an heraldic quartering thus:—“He beareth gules, a heading-block fixed between two supporters, with an axe placed therein; on the sinister side a maule, all proper.” This agreeable bearing he figures as the reader sees it.

beheading implement

Holme observes, that “this was the Jews’ and Romans’ way of beheading offenders, as some write, though others say they used to cut off the heads of such, with a sharp, two-handed sword: however, this way of decollation was by laying the neck of the malefactor on the block, and then setting the axe upon it, which lay in a rigget in the two side-posts or supporters; the executioner with the violence of a blow on the head of the axe, with his heavy maul, forced it through the man’s neck into the block. I have seen the draught of the like heading-instrument, where the weighty axe (made heavy for that purpose) was raised up and fell down in such a riggetted frame, which being suddenly let to fall, the weight of it was sufficient to cut off a man’s head at one blow.”


Remarkable instances of the mildness of January, 1825, are recorded in the provincial and London journals. In the first week a man planting a hedge near Mansfield, in Yorkshire, found a blackbird’s nest with four young ones in it. The Westmoreland Gazette states, that on the 13th a fine ripe strawberry was gathered in the garden of Mr. W. Whitehead, Storth End, near End-Moor, and about the same time a present of the same fruit was made by Thomas Wilson, Esq. Thorns, Underbarrow, to Mr. Alderman Smith Wilson, some of them larger in bulk than the common hazel-nut. Indeed the forwardness of the season in the north appears wonderful. It is stated in the Glasgow Chronicle of the 11th, that on the 7th, bees were flying about in the garden of Rose-mount; on the 9th, the sky was without a cloud; there was scarcely a breath of wind, the blackbirds were singing as if welcoming the spring; pastures wore a fine, fresh, and healthy appearance; the wheat-braird was strong, thick in the ground, and nearly covering the soil; vegetation going on in the gardens; the usual spring flowers making their appearance; the Christmas rose, the snowdrop, the polyanthea, the single or border anemone, the hepatica in its varieties, and the mazerion were in full bloom; the Narcissus making its appearance, and the crocusses showing colour. On the 11th, at six o’clock, the thermometer in Nelson-street, Glasgow, indicated 44 degrees; on the 9th, the barometer gained the extraordinary height of 31·01; on the 11th, it was at 30·8. The Sheffield Mercury represents, that within six or seven weeks preceding the middle of the month, the barometer had been lower and higher than had been remarked by any living individual in that town. On the 23d of November it was so low as 27·5; and on the 9th of January at 11 P. M. it stood at 30·65. In the same place the following meteorological observations were made:

[151, 152]

January, 1825.
11th 42   38  
12th 43   37  
13th 44   40  
14th 44   43  
11th 30 ·4 30 ·3
12th 30 ·3 30 ·2
13th 30 ·5 29 ·9
14th 29 ·5 29 ·7

At Paris, in the latter end of 1824, the barometer was exceedingly high, considering the bad weather that had prevailed, and the moisture of the atmosphere. There had been almost constant and incessant rain. The few intervals of fair weather, were when the wind got round a few points to the west, or the northward of west: but invariably, a few hours after, the wind again got to the southwest, and the rain commenced falling. It appeared as if a revolution had taken place in the laws of the barometer. The barometer in London was at 30·48 in May, 1824, and never rose higher during the whole year.

January 22.

St. Vincent. St. Anastasius.

St. Vincent was a Spanish martyr, said to have been tormented by fire, so that he died in 304. His name is in the church of England calendar. Butler affirms that his body was “thrown in a marshy field among rushes, but a crow defended it from wild beasts and birds of prey.” The Golden Legend says that angels had the guardianship of the body, that the crow attended to drive away birds and fowls greater than himself, and that after he had chased a wolf with his bill and beak, he then turned his head towards the body, as if he marvelled at the keeping of it by the angels. His relics necessarily worked miracles wherever they were kept. For their collection, separation, and how they travelled from place to place, see Butler.

Brand, from a MS. note by Mr. Douce, referring to Scot’s “Discoverie of Witchcraft,” cites an old injunction to observe whether the sun shines on St. Vincent’s-day:

“Vincenti festo si Sol radiet memor este.”

It is thus done into English by Abraham Fleming:

Remember on St. Vincent’s day
If that the sun his beams display

Dr. Forster, in the “Perennial Calendar,” is at a loss for the origin of the command, but he thinks it may have been derived from a notion that the sun would not shine unominously on the day whereon the saint was burnt.


1800.—On the 22d of January, in this year, died George Steevens, Esq. F. R. S. F. A. S. He was born at Stepney, in 1751 or 1752, and is best known as the editor of Shakspeare, though to the versatility and richness of his talents there are numerous testimonials. He maintained the greatest perseverance in every thing he undertook. He never relaxed, but sometimes broke off favourite habits of long indulgence suddenly. In this way he discontinued his daily visits to two booksellers. This, says his biographer in the Gentleman’s Magazine, he did “after many years’ regular attendance, for no real cause.” It is submitted, however, that the cause, though unknown to others may have been every way sufficing and praiseworthy. He who has commenced a practice that has grown into a destroyer of his time and desires to end it, must snap it in an instant. If he strive to abate it by degrees, he will find himself relaxing by degrees.

“Delusions strong as hell will bind him fast,” unless he achieve, not the determination to destroy, but the act of destruction. The will and the power are two. Steevens knew this, and though he had taken snuff all his life, he never took one pinch after he lost his box in St. Paul’s church-yard. Had he taken one he might have taken one more, and then only another, and afterwards only a little bit in a paper, and then, he would have died as he lived—a snuff-taker. No; Steevens appears to have discovered the grand secret, that a man’s self is the great enemy of himself, and hence his intolerance of self-indulgence even in degree.

His literary collections were remarkably curious, and as regards the days that are gone, of great value.


St. Vincent.
Early Witlow grass. Draba verna.

[153, 154]

January 23.


St. Raymund of Pennafort, A. D. 1275. St. John the Almoner, A. D. 619. St. Emerentia, A. D. 304. St. Clement of Ancyra. St. Agathangelus. St. Ildefonsus, A. D. 667. St. Eusebius, Abbot.

This being the first day of term, the judges of the different courts at Westminster, take their seats in Westminster-hall to commence business.

The engraving represents the interior of the hall at the time when the print from whence it is taken was engraved by C. Mosley. The drawing was by Gravelot, who died in 1773.

Westminster Hall, with its Shops.

[155, 156]

The shops within the hall are remarkably curious from their situation, and indeed the courts themselves are no less worthy of observation. It will be recollected that the court of Chancery and the court of King’s Bench, at the upper end were, until the coronation, enclosed from sight and hearing; in the print they are open. This is the print alluded to in the volume on “Ancient Mysteries,” p. 266, wherein is cited Ned Ward’s remarks respecting the sempstresses, by whom some of these shops were occupied.

It is of ancient custom on the first day of term for the judges to breakfast with the lord chancellor in Lincoln’s-inn-hall, and proceed with him in their respective carriages to Westminster-hall. Being arrived at the hall door in Palace-yard, and having alighted with their officers and train bearers, they formed a procession along the hall until they came opposite to the court of Common Pleas, before which stood the serjeants at law, who had previously arranged themselves in their full dress wigs and gowns, and awaited the coming of the judges, who were also in their full dress. Then the serjeants all bowed, and their obeisance being acknowledged by the judges in like manner, the lord chancellor, being first, approached the first serjeant in the rank, and shook hands with him, saying, “How d’ye do, brother? I wish you a good term;” whereupon the serjeant bowed and thanked his lordship, and the chancellor bowing to him, the serjeant again bowed; and the chancellor saluted and shook hands with the next serjeant in like manner, and so he did with each serjeant present, and then proceeded with his officers to his court. The lord chief justice of England and each of the puisne judges of the court of King’s Bench, saluting and shaking hands with each serjeant in the same manner, followed the chancellor and went into their court. In the same manner also did the chief justice and puisne judges of the court of Common Pleas, and entered their court at the back of the serjeants. Lastly, the lord chief baron and the puisne barons of the Exchequer, having also so saluted the serjeants, returned back and entered the court of Exchequer, which is at the right hand immediately on entering the hall; the entrance to the court of Common Pleas being about midway on the same side of the hall, whither, on the barons having retired, the serjeants withdrew to commence business before the judges. The site of the court of Chancery is on the same side up the steps at the end of the hall, and that of the court of King’s Bench level with it on the left-hand side. It is to be noted, that one judge does not salute the serjeants before the rest of the judges begin to salute them, but each follows the other. Thus whilst the chancellor is saluting the second serjeant the lord chief justice salutes the first, and he salutes the second while the chancellor salutes the third, the next judge of the King’s Bench court saluting the first serjeant; and so the judges proceed successively, and close to each other, till all the serjeants have been saluted. It is further observable, that more extended greetings sometimes pass between the judges and serjeants who are intimate.

In 1825, the 23d of January, whereon Hilary term commences, happening on a Sunday, which is a dies non, or no day in law, the courts were opened on the 24th, when the judges refreshed themselves in Lincoln’s-inn-hall with the lord chancellor, as usual, and departed at half-past twelve o’clock. On retiring, sir Charles Abbot, as lord chief justice, took precedence of lord Gifford, the master of the rolls, though he ranks as a baron of the realm, and is deputy speaker of the house of lords. The court of Chancery in Westminster-hall being under reparation, the chancellor remained in Lincoln’s-inn to keep his term there. For the same reason, the serjeants did not range themselves in the hall at Westminster, but awaited the arrival of the judges of the Common Pleas in their own court; the carriages of the judges of the King’s Bench turned to the right at the top of Parliament-street, and proceeded to the new Sessions’ house, where the judges sit until the new court of King’s Bench in Westminster-hall shall be prepared.

It is further to be remarked, that the Side Bar in Westminster-hall stood, till very lately, within a short space of the wall, and at a few feet on the Palace-yard side of the court of Common Pleas’ steps. Formerly, attorneys stood within this bar every morning during term, and moved the judges for the common rules, called side-bar rules, as they passed to their courts, and by whom they were granted them as of course. These motions have been long discontinued; the rules are applied for and obtained at the rule-office as rules of course; but each rule still expresses [157, 158] that it has been granted upon a “side-bar” motion.

To recur to the engraving, which exhibits Westminster-hall at no distant period, in a state very dissimilar to its more late appearance. The original print by Mosley bears the following versified inscription:

When fools fall out, for ev’ry flaw,
They run horn mad to go to law,
A hedge awry, a wrong plac’d gate,
Will serve to spend a whole estate,
Your case the lawyer says is good,
And justice cannot be withstood;
By tedious process from above
From office they to office move;
Thro’ pleas, demurrers, the dev’l and all,
At length they bring it to the hall;
The dreadful hall by Rufus rais’d,
For lofty Gothick arches prais’d.
The First of Term, the fatal day,
Doth various images convey;
First from the courts with clam’rous bawl
The criers their attorneys call;
One of the gown, discreet and wise,
By proper means his witness tries;
From Wreathock’s gang—not right or laws
H’assures his trembling client’s cause;
This gnaws his handkerchief, whilst that
Gives the kind ogling nymph his hat;
Here one in love with choiristers
Minds singing more than law affairs.
A serjeant limping on behind
Shews justice lame, as well as blind.
To gain new clients some dispute,
Others protract an ancient suit,
Jargon and noise alone prevail,
While sense and reason’s sure to fail;
At Babel thus law terms began,
And now at Westm——er go on.

The advocate, whose subornation of perjury is hinted at, is in the foremost group; he is offering money to one of “Wreathock’s gang.” This Wreathock was a villainous attorney, who received sentence of death for his criminal practices, and was ordered to be transported for life in 1736. It is a notorious fact, that many years ago wretches sold themselves to give any evidence, upon oath, that might be required; and some of these openly walked Westminster-hall with a straw in the shoe to signify that they wanted employment as witnesses; such was one of the customs of the “good old times,” which some of us regret we were not born in. The “choirister” in a surplice, bearing a torch, was probably one of the choir belonging to Westminster-abbey. To his right hand is the “limping serjeant” with a stick; his serjeantship being denoted by the coif, or cap, he wears; the coif is now diminished into a small circular piece of black silk at the top of the wig, instead of the cap represented in the engraving. The first shop, on the left, is occupied by a bookseller; the next by a mathematical instrument maker; then there is another bookseller; beyond him a dealer in articles of female consumption; beyond her a bookseller again; and, last on that side, a second female shopkeeper. Opposite to her, on the right of the hall, stands a clock, with the hands signifying it to be about one in the afternoon; the first shop, next from the clock, is a bookseller’s; then comes a female, who is a map and printseller; and, lastly, the girl who receives the barrister’s hat into her care, and whose line appears to sustain the “turnovers” worn by the beaus of those days with “ruffles,” which, according to Ned Ward, the sempstresses of Westminster-hall nicely “pleated,” to the satisfaction of the “young students” learned in the law.

Enough has, probably, been said of the engraving, to obtain regard to it as an object worth notice.

The first day of term is occupied, in the common law courts, by the examination of bail for persons who have been arrested, and whose opponents will not consent to the bail justifying before a judge at his chambers. A versified exemplification of this proceeding in the court of King’s Bench, was written when lord Mansfield was chief, and Mr. Willes a justice of the court; a person named Hewitt was then cryer, Mr. Mingay, a celebrated counsel, still remembered, is represented as opposing the bail proposed by Mr. Baldwin, another counsel:


Baldwin. Hewitt, call Taylor’s bail,—for I
Shall now proceed to justify.
Hewitt. Where’s Taylor’s bail?
1st Bail.————————— I can’t get in.
Hewitt. Make way.
Lord Mansfield.—— For heaven’s sake begin.
Hewitt. But where’s the other?
2d Bail.————————— Here I stand.
Mingay. I must except to both.—Command
Silence,—and if your lordship crave it,
Austen shall read our affidavit.
Austen. Will. Priddle, late of Fleet-street, gent.
Makes oath and saith, that late he went
To Duke’s-place, as he was directed[159, 160]
By notice, and he there expected
To find both bail—but none could tell
Where the first bail lived—
Mingay.———————Very well.
Austen. And this deponent further says,
That, asking who the second was,
He found he’d bankrupt been, and yet
Had ne’er obtained certificate.
When to his house deponent went,
He full four stories high was sent,
And found a lodging almost bare;
No furniture, but half a chair,
A table, bedstead, broken fiddle
And a bureau.
(Signed) William Priddle.
Sworn at my chambers.
Francis Buller.
Mingay. No affidavit can be fuller.
Well, friend, you’ve heard this affidavit,
What do you say?
2d Bail.———Sir, by your leave, it
Is all a lie.
Mingay. Sir, have a care,
What is your trade?
2d Bail.———— A scavenger.
Mingay. And, pray, sir, were you never found
2d Bail. I’m worth a thousand pound.
Mingay. A thousand pound, friend, boldly said—
In what consisting?
2d Bail.————Stock in trade.
Mingay. And, pray, friend, tell me,—do you know
What sum you’re bail for?
2d Bail.—————— Truly no.
Mingay. My lords, you hear,—no oaths have check’d him:
I hope your lordships will—
Willes.———————— Reject him.
Mingay. Well, friend, now tell me where you dwell.
1st Bail. Sir, I have liv’d in Clerkenwell
These ten years.
Mingay.—— Half-a-guinea dead. (Aside.)
My lords, if you’ve the notice read,
It says Duke’s-place. So I desire
A little further time t’ inquire.
Baldwin. Why, Mr. Mingay, all this vapour?
Willes. Take till to morrow.
Lord Mansfield.———— Call the paper.

The preceding pleasantry came from the pen of the late John Baynes, Esq. a Yorkshire gentleman, who was born in April, 1758, educated for the law at Trinity college, Cambridge, obtained prizes for proficiency in philosophy and classical attainments, was admitted of Gray’s-inn, practised in his profession, and would probably have risen to its first honours. Mr. Nichols says “his learning was extensive; his abilities great; his application unwearied; his integrity unimpeached. In religious principles he was an Unitarian Christian and Protestant; in political principles the friend of the civil liberties of mankind, and the genuine constitution of his country. He died August 4, 1787, and was buried on the 9th in Bunhill-fields’ burying-ground, near to the grave of Dr. Jebb,” his tutor at college: “the classical hand of Dr. Parr” commemorated him by an epitaph.

One of the best papers in Mr. Knight’s late “Quarterly Magazine,” of good articles, is so suitable to this day, legally considered, that any one sufficiently interested to sympathize with “the cares and the fears” of a young lawyer, or, indeed, any one who dares to admit that a lawyer may have bowels, as well as an appetite, will suffer the Confessions of a Barrister to be recorded here.


“A lawyer,” says an old comedy which I once read at the British Museum, “is an odd sort of fruit—first rotten—then green—and then ripe.” There is too much of truth in the homely figure. The first years of a young barrister are spent, or rather worn out, in anxious leisure. His talents rust, his temper is injured, his little patrimony wastes away, and not an attorney shows a sign of remorse. He endures term after term, and circuit after circuit, that greatest of all evils—a rank above his means of supporting it. He drives round the country in a post-chaise, and marvels what Johnson found so exhilarating in its motion—that is, if he paid for it himself. He eats venison, and drinks claret; but he loses the flavour of both when he reflects that his wife (for the fool is married, and married for love too!) has perhaps just dined for the third time on a cold neck of mutton, and has not tasted wine since their last party—an occurrence beyond even legal memory. He leaves the festive board early, and takes a solitary walk—returns to his lodgings in the twilight, and sees on his table a large white rectangular body, which for a moment he supposes may be a brief—alas! it is only a napkin. He is vexed, and rings to have it removed, when up comes his clerk, who is drunk and insolent: he is about to kick him down stairs, but stays his foot on recollecting the arrears of the [161, 162] fellow’s wages; and contents himself with wondering where the fellow finds the means of such extravagance.—Then in court many are the vexations of the briefless.—The attorney is a cruel person to them—as cruel as a rich coxcomb in a ball-room, who delights in exciting hopes only to disappoint them. Indeed I have often thought the communications between the solicitors and the bar have no slight resemblance to the flirtation between the sexes. Barristers, like ladies, must wait to be chosen. The slightest overture would be equally fatal to one gown as the other. The gentlemen of the bar sit round the table in dignified composure, thinking just as little of briefs as a young lady of marriage. An attorney enters—not an eye moves; but somehow or other, the fact is known to all. Calmly he draws from his pocket a brief: practice enables us to see at a glance that the tormentor has left a blank for the name of his counsel. He looks around the circle as if to choose his man; you cannot doubt but his eye rests on you; he writes a name, but you are too far off to read it, though you know every name on your circuit upside down. Now he counts out the fee, and wraps it up with slow and provoking formality. At length all being prepared, he looks towards you to catch (as you suppose) your eye. You nod, and the brief comes flying; you pick it up, and find on it the name of a man three years your junior, who is sitting next you: you curse the attorney’s impudence, and ask yourself if he meant to insult you.—“Perhaps not,” you say, “for the dog squints.”—I received my maiden brief in London. How well do I recollect the minutest circumstances connected with that case! The rap at the door! I am a connoisseur in raps—there is not a dun in London who could deceive me: I know their tricks but too well; they have no medium between the rap servile, and the rap impudent. This was a cheerful touch; you felt that the operator knew he should meet with a face of welcome. My clerk, who is not much under the influence of sweet sounds, seemed absolutely inspired, and answered the knock with astonishing velocity. I could hear from my inner room the murmur of inquiry and answer; and though I could not distinguish a word,—the tones confirmed my hopes;—I was not long suffered to doubt—my client entered, and the roll of pure white paper tied round with the brilliant red tape, met my eye. He inquired respectfully, and with an appearance of anxiety, which marked him to my mind for a perfect Chesterfield, if I was already retained in —— v. ——? The rogue knew well enough that I had never had a retainer in my life. I took a moment to consider; after making him repeat the name of his case, I gravely assured him I was at perfect liberty to receive his brief. He then laid the papers and my fee upon the table; asked me if the time appointed for a consultation with the two gentlemen who were “with me” would be convenient; and finding that the state of my engagements would allow me to attend, made his bow and departed. That fee was sacred, and I put it to no vulgar use. Many years have now elapsed since that case was disposed of, and yet how fresh does it live in my memory! how perfectly do I recollect every authority to which he referred! how I read and re-read the leading cases that bore upon the question to be argued! One case I so bethumbed that the volume has opened at it ever since, as inevitably as the prayer-book of a lady’s maid proffers the service of matrimony. My brief related to an argument before the judges of the King’s Bench, and the place of consultation was Ayles’s coffee-house, adjoining Westminster-hall. There was I before the clock had finished striking the hour; my brief I knew by heart. I had raised an army of objections to the points for which we were to contend, and had logically slain every one of them. I went prepared to discuss the question thoroughly; and I generously determined to give my leaders the benefit of my cogitations—though not without a slight struggle at the thought of how much reputation I should lose by my magnanimity. I had plenty of time to think of these things, for my leaders were engaged in court, and the attorney and I had the room to ourselves. After we had been waiting about an hour, the door flew open, and in strode one of my leaders, the second in command, less in haste (as it appeared to me) to meet his appointment, than to escape from the atmosphere of clients in which he had been just enveloped, during his passage from the court.—Having shaken off his tormentors, Mr. —— walked up to the fire—said it was cold—nodded kindly to me—and had just asked what had been the last night’s division in the house—when the powdered head of an usher was [163, 164] protruded through the half open door to announce that “Jones and Williams was called on.” Down went the poker, and away flew —— with streaming robes, leaving me to meditate on the loss which the case would sustain for want of his assistance at the expected discussion. Having waited some further space, I heard a rustling of silks, and the great ——, our commander in chief, sailed into the room. As he did not run foul of me, I think it possible I may not have been invisible to him; but he furnished me with no other evidence of the fact. He simply directed the attorney to provide certain additional affidavits, tacked about and sailed away. And thus ended the first consultation. I consoled myself with the thought that I had all my materials for myself, and that from having had so much more time for considering the subject than the others, I must infallibly make the best speech of the three. At length the fatal day came. I never shall forget the thrill with which I heard —— open the case, and felt how soon it would be my turn to speak. O, how I did pray for a long speech! I lost all feeling of rivalry; and would gladly have given him every thing that I intended to use myself, only to defer the dreaded moment for one half-hour. His speech was frightfully short, yet, short as it was, it made sad havoc with my stock of matter. The next speaker’s was even more concise, and yet my little stock suffered again severely. I then found how experience will stand in the place of study. These men could not, from the multiplicity of their engagements, have spent a tithe of the time upon the case which I had done: and yet they had seen much which had escaped my research. At length my turn came. I was sitting among the back rows in the old court of King’s Bench. It was on the first day of Michaelmas term, and late in the evening. A sort of “darkness visible” had been produced by the aid of a few candles dispersed here and there. I arose, but I was not perceived by the judges, who had turned together to consult, supposing the argument finished. B—— was the first to see me, and I received from him a nod of kindness and encouragement which I hope I shall never forget. The court was crowded, for it was a question of some interest; it was a dreadful moment—the ushers stilled the audience into awful silence. I began, and at the sound of an unknown voice, every wig of the white inclined plane, at the upper end of which I was standing, turned round; and in an instant I had the eyes of seventy “learned friends” looking me full in the face! It is hardly to be conceived by those who have not gone through the ordeal, how terrific is this mute attention to the object of it. How grateful should I have been for any thing which would have relieved me from its oppressive weight—a buzz, a scraping of the shoes, or a fit of coughing, would have put me under infinite obligations to the kind disturber. What I said I know not; I knew not then; it is the only part of the transaction of which I am ignorant; it was “a phantasma, or hideous dream.” They told me, however, to my great surprise, that I spoke in a loud voice; used violent gesture, and as I went along seemed to shake off my trepidation. Whether I made a long speech or a short one I cannot tell; for I had no power of measuring time. All I know is, that I should have made a much longer one, had I not felt my ideas, like Bob Acre’s courage, oozing out of my fingers’ ends. The court decided against us, erroneously as I of course thought, for the young advocate is always on the right side. The next morning I got up early to look at the newspapers, which I expected to see full of our case. In an obscure corner, and in a small type, I found a few words given as the speeches of my leaders: and I also read that “Mr. —— followed on the same side.”


It is affirmed of sir William Blackstone, that so often as he sat down to the composition of his Commentaries on the Laws of England, he always ordered a bottle of wine wherewith to moisten the dryness of his studies; and in proof that other professional men sometimes solace their cares by otherwise disporting themselves, there is a kind of catch, the words of which, having reference to their art or mystery, do so marvellously inspire them, that they chant it with more glee than gravity, to a right merry tune:—

A woman having settlement,
Married a man with none;
The question was, he being dead
If that she had was gone?
Quoth sir John Pratt, her settlement[165, 166]
Suspended did remain,
Living the husband—but, him dead,
It doth revive again.
Living the husband—but, him dead,
It doth revive again.


Peziza. Peziza acetabulum.

January 24.

St. Timothy, disciple of St. Paul. St. Babylas, A. D. 250. St. Suranus, 7th century. St. Macedonius. St. Cadoc, of Wales.


1721. On the 24th of January in this year, the two houses of parliament ordered several of the directors of the South Sea company into the custody of the usher of the black rod and serjeant at arms: this was in consequence of a parliamentary inquiry into the company’s affairs, which had been so managed as to involve persons of all ranks throughout the kingdom in a scene of distress unparalleled by any similar circumstance in English annals.


In 1711, the ninth year of queen Anne’s reign, a charter of incorporation was granted to a company trading to the South Seas; and the South Sea company’s affairs appeared so prosperous, that, in 1718, king George I. being chosen governor, and a bill enabling him to accept the office having passed both houses, on the 3d of February, his majesty in person attended the house of lords, and gave the royal assent to the act. A brief history of the company’s subsequent progress is interesting at any time, and more especially at a period when excess of speculation may endanger private happiness, and disturb the public welfare.

On the 27th of January, 1719, the South Sea company proposed a scheme to parliament for paying off the national debt, by taking into its funds all the debt which the nation had incurred before the year 1716, whether redeemable or irredeemable, amounting in the whole to the sum of 31,664,551l. 1s. 114d. For this the company undertook to pay to the use of the public the sum of 4,156,306l.; besides four years and a half’s purchase for all the annuities that should be subscribed into its fund, and which, if all subscribed, would have amounted to the sum of 3,567,503l.; amounting, with the above-mentioned sum, to 7,723,809l.: in case all the annuities were not subscribed, the company agreed to pay one per cent, for such unsubscribed annuities.

To this arrangement parliament acceded, and an act was passed to ratify this contract, and containing full powers to the company accordingly. In March following South Sea stock rose from 130 to 300, gradually advanced to 400, declined to 330, and on the 7th of April was at 340. This so encouraged the directors, that on the 12th they opened books at the South Sea house for taking in a subscription for a portion of their stock to the amount of 2,250,000l. every 100l. of which they offered at 300l.: it was immediately subscribed for at that price, to be paid for by nine instalments within twelve months. On the 21st, a general court of the company resolved, that the Midsummer dividend should be 10 per cent., and that the aforesaid subscription, and all other additions to their capital before that time, should be entitled to the said dividend. This gave so favourable a view to the speculation, that on the 28th the directors opened a second subscription for another million of stock, which was presently taken at 400l. for every 100l., and the subscribers had three years allowed them for payment. On the 20th of May, South Sea stock rose to 550. So amazing a price created a general infatuation. Even the more prudent, who had laughed at the folly and madness of others, were seized with the mania; they borrowed, mortgaged, and sold, to raise all the money they could, in order to hold the favourite stock; while a few quietly sold out and enriched themselves. Prodigious numbers of people resorted daily from all parts of the kingdom to ’Change-alley, where the assembled speculators, by their excessive noise and hurry, seemed like so many madmen just escaped from cells and chains. All thoughts of commerce were laid aside for the buying and selling of estates, and traffic in South Sea stock. Some, who had effected sales at high premiums, were willing to pay out the money on real property, which consequently advanced beyond its actual value: cautious landowners justly concluded that this was the time to get money without risk, and therefore [167, 168] sold their property; shortly afterwards they had an opportunity of purchasing more, at less than half the price they had obtained for their own.

On the 2d of June, South Sea stock rose to 890. On the 15th, many persons who accompanied the king on his foreign journey, sold their stock, which suddenly fell; but the directors promising larger dividends, it got up higher than ever. On the 18th they opened books for a third subscription of four millions more stock, at 1000l. for each 100l., and before the end of the month it had advanced to 1100l., between which and 1000l. it fluctuated throughout the month of July. On the 3d of August they proposed to receive subscriptions for all the unsubscribed annuities, and opened books for the purpose during the ensuing week, upon terms which greatly dissatisfied the annuitants, who, confiding in the honour of the directors, had left their orders at the South Sea House, without any previous contract, not doubting but they should be allowed the same terms with the first subscribers. Finding, to their great surprise and disappointment, that, by the directors’ arrangements, they were only to have about half what they expected, many repaired to the South Sea House to get their orders returned; but these being withheld, their incessant applications and reflections greatly affected the stock, insomuch that, on the 22d of the month, at the opening of the books, it fell to 820. The directors then came to the desperate resolution of ordering the books to be shut; and on the 24th they caused others to be opened for a fourth money subscription for another million of their stock, at 1000l. for each 100l., payable by five instalments within two years: this million was subscribed in less than three hours, and bore a premium the same afternoon of 40 per cent. On the 26th the stock, instead of advancing, fell below 830. The directors then thought fit to lend their proprietors 4,000l. upon every 1000l. stock, for six months, at 4 per cent.; but the annuitants becoming very clamorous and uneasy, the directors resolved that 30 per cent. in money should be the half-year’s dividend due at the next Christmas, and that from thence, for twelve years, not less than 50 per cent. in money should be the yearly dividend on their stock. Though this resolution raised the stock to about 800 for the opening of the books, it soon sunk again.

On the 8th of September, the stock fell to 640, on the 9th to 550, and by the 19th it came to 400. On the 23d the Bank of England agreed with the South Sea company to circulate their bonds, &c. and to take their stock at 400 per cent., in lieu of 3,775,000l., which the company was to pay them. When the books were opened at the Bank for taking in a subscription for supporting the public credit, the concourse was at first so great, that it was judged the whole subscription, which was intended for 3,000,000l., would have been filled that day. But the fall of South Sea stock, and the discredit of the company’s bonds, occasioned a run upon the most eminent goldsmiths and bankers, some of whom, having lent great sums upon the stock and other public securities, were obliged to shut up their shops. The Sword-blade company also, who had been hitherto the chief cash-keepers of the South Sea company, being almost drawn of their ready money, were forced to stop payment. All this occasioned a great run upon the Bank. On the 30th South Sea stock fell to 150, and then to 86.

“It is very surprising,” says Maitland, “that this wicked scheme, of French extraction, should have met with encouragement here, seeing that the Mississippi scheme had just before nearly ruined that nation. It is still more surprising, that the people of divers other countries, notwithstanding the direful effects of this destructive scheme before their eyes, yet, as it were, tainted with our frenzy, began to court their destruction, by setting on foot the like projects: which gives room to suspect,” says Maitland, “that those destructive and fatal transactions were rather the result of an epidemical distemper, than that of choice; seeing that the wisest and best of men were the greatest sufferers; many of the nobility, and persons of the greatest distinction, were undone, and obliged to walk on foot; while others, who the year before could hardly purchase a dinner, were exalted in their coaches and fine equipages, and possessed of enormous estates. Such a scene of misery appeared among traders, that it was almost unfashionable not to be a bankrupt: and the dire catastrophe was attended with such a number of self-murders, as no age can parallel.”

Hooke, the historian of Rome, was a severe sufferer by the South Sea bubble. He thus addresses lord Oxford, in a letter [169, 170] dated the 17th of October 1722: “I cannot be said at present to be in any form of life, but rather to live extempore. The late epidemical (South Sea) distemper seized me: I endeavoured to be rich, imagined for a while that I was, and am in some measure happy to find myself at this instant but just worth nothing. If your lordship, or any of your numerous friends, have need of a servant, with the bare qualifications of being able to read and write, and to be honest, I shall gladly undertake any employments your lordship shall not think me unworthy of.”

In 1720, soon after the bursting of the South Sea bubble, a gentleman called late in the evening at the banking-house of Messrs. Hankey and Co. He was in a coach, but refused to get out, and desired that one of the partners of the house would come to him. Having ascertained that it was really one of the principals, and not a clerk, who appeared, he put into his hands a parcel, very carefully sealed up, and desired that it might be laid on one side till he should call again, which would be in the course of a few days. A few days passed away—a few weeks, a few months, but the stranger never returned. At the end of the second or third year, the partners agreed to open this mysterious parcel, in the presence of each other. They found it to contain 30,000l., with a letter, stating that it was obtained by the South Sea speculation, and directing that it should be vested in the hands of three trustees, whose names were mentioned, and the interest appropriated to the relief of the poor, which was accordingly done.

It has been calculated, that the rise on the original South-sea stock of ten millions, and the subsequent advance of the company’s four subscriptions, inflated their capital to nearly three hundred millions. This unnatural procedure raised bank stock from 100l. to 260l. India, from 100l. to 405l. African, from 100l. to 200l. York-buildings’ shares, from 10l. to 305l. Lustring, from 5l. 2s. 6d. to 105l. English copper, from 5l. to 105l. Welch copper, from 4l. 2s. 6d. to 95l. The Royal Exchange Assurance, from 5l. 5s. to 250l. The London Assurance, from 5l. to 175l., to the great injury of the various purchasers at such prices.

The South Sea scheme terminated in the sudden downfall of the directors, whose estates were confiscated by parliament, and the proceeds applied to the relief of many thousands of families, who had been wholly ruined by the speculation. These dupes of overweening folly and misplaced confidence, were further benefited by a remission in their favour of the national claims on certain of the South Sea company’s real assets. The extent of these donations to the sufferers amounted to 40l. per cent. upon the stock standing in their names.


One consequence of the prosperous appearance that the South Sea scheme bore, till within a short period before its failure, was a variety of equally promising and delusive projects. These were denominated bubbles. Alarmed at the destructive issue of the master-bubble, government issued the following manifesto: “The lords justices in council, taking into consideration the many inconveniences arising to the public, from several projects set on foot for raising of joint-stocks for various purposes; and that a great many of his majesty’s subjects have been drawn in to part with their money, on pretence of assurances that their petitions, for patents and charters to enable them to carry on the same, would be granted: to prevent such impositions, their excellencies ordered the said several petitions, together with such reports from the Board of Trade, and from his majesty’s attorney and solicitor general, as had been obtained thereon, to be laid before them; and, after mature consideration thereof, were pleased, by advice of his majesty’s privy-council, to order that the said petitions be dismissed.” The applications thus rejected prayed patents for various fisheries, for building ships to let or freight, for raising hemp, flax, and madder, for making of sail-cloth, for fire-assurances, for salt-works, for the making of snuff in Virginia, &c.

In defiance of this salutary order, the herd of projectors, with an audacity that passed on the credulous for well-grounded confidence, continued their nefarious traffic. Proclamations from the king, and even acts of parliament, were utterly disregarded; and companies which had been established by charter increased the evil, by imitating the South Sea company’s fatal management, and taking in subscriptions. This occasioned the lords justices to issue another order, wherein they declared that, having been attended by Mr. [171, 172] attorney-general, they gave him express orders to bring writs of scire facias against the charters or patents of the York-building’s company, Lustring company, English copper, Welsh copper, and lead, and also against other charters or patents which had been, or should be made use of, or acted under, contrary to the intent or meaning of an act passed the last session of parliament, &c.

They likewise instructed the attorney-general to prosecute, with the utmost severity, all persons opening books for public subscriptions; or receiving money upon such subscriptions; or making or accepting transfers of, or shares upon, such subscriptions; of which they gave public notice in the Gazette, as “a farther caution to prevent the drawing of unwary persons, for the future, into practices contrary to law.” This effectually frustrated the plans of plunder, exercised or contemplated at that period. How necessary so vigorous a resistance was must be obvious from this fact, that innumerable bubbles perished in embryo; besides an incredible number which could be named that were actually set in motion, and to support which the sums intended to be raised amounted to about 300,000,000l. The lowest advance of the shares in any of these speculations was above cent. per cent., most of them above 400l. per cent.; and some were raised to twenty times the price of the subscription. Taking these circumstances into account, the scandalous projects would have required seven hundred millions sterling, if such a sum could have been realized in the shape of capital. To such a height of madness had the public mind been excited, that even shares were eagerly coveted, and bargained for, in shameless schemes which were not worth the paper whereon their proposals were printed, at treble the price they nominally bore. From a list of only a part of those that the air of ’Change-alley teemed with, the names of a few are here set forth:


Joint Stock Companies of 1825.

The large quantity of surplus capital and consequent low rate of interest during the last, and in the present, year, induce its possessors to embark their money in schemes for promoting general utility. One of the advantages resulting from a state of peace is the influx of wealth that pours forth upon the country for its improvement. Yet it behoves the prudent, and those of small means, to be circumspect in their outlays; to see with their own eyes, and not through the medium of others. The premiums that shares in projects may bear in the market, are not even a shadow of criterion whereon to found a judgment for investment. This is well known to every discreet man who has an odd hundred to put out; and he who cannot rely on his own discrimination for a right selection from among the various schemes that are proffered to his choice, will do well to act as if none of them existed, and place his cash where the principal will at least be safe, and the [173, 174] interest, though small, be certain. This month presents schemes for




A correspondent in the “London Magazine” declares, that “if we named the several divisions of the year after the French revolutionary fashion, by the phenomena observable in them, we should, from our experience of January, 1825, call it Bubblose—it has been a month of most flagitious and flourishing knavery.” He pleasantly assumes that Mr. Jeremiah Hop-the-twig, attorney at law, benevolently conceives the idea of directing “surplus capital” to the formation of “a joint stock company for the outfit of air-balloons, the purchase of herds of swine, and the other requisites for a flourishing lunar commerce; Capital One Million, divided into 10,000 shares of 100l. each.” The method is then related of opening an account with a respectable banking-house, obtaining respectable directors, appointing his son-in-law the respectable secretary, the son of a respected director the respectable standing counsel, and the self-nomination of the respectable Mr. Jeremiah H. and Co. as the respectable solicitors. Afterwards come the means of raising the bubble, to the admiration of proper persons who pay a deposit of 5l. per share; who, when the shares “look down,” try to sell, but there are “no buyers,” the “quotations are nominal;” a second instalment called for, the holders hesitate; “their shares are forfeited;” the speculation is consequently declared frustrated; and there being only £10,000 in the bankers’ hands to pay “Mr. Hop-the-twig’s bill of 10,073l. 13s. 4d. that respectable solicitor is defrauded of the sum of 73l. 13s. 4d. This is the rise and fall of a respectable bubble.”

Undoubtedly, among these various schemes afloat, some will be productive of great benefit to the country; but it is seriously to be considered whether the estimation of some of them in a money view be not too high, and forced to an undue price by the arts of jobbing:

Haste instantly and buy, cries one
Real Del Monte shares, for none
Will hold a richer profit;
Another cries—No mining plan
Like ours—the Anglo-Mexican
As for Del Monte, scoff it.
This grasps my button, and declares
There’s nothing like Columbian shares,
The capital a million;—
That, cries La Plata’s sure to pay;
Or bids me buy without delay
Hibernian or Brazilian.
’Scaped from the torments of the mine
Rivals in Gas, an endless line,
Arrest me as I travel;
Each sure my suffrage to receive,
If I will only give him leave,
His project to unravel.
By Fire and Life insurers next
I’m intercepted, pester’d, vex’d,
Almost beyond endurance;
And though the schemes appear unsound,
Their advocates are seldom found
Deficient in assurance.
Last I am worried, shares to buy
In the Canadian company,
The Milk Association,
The Laundry-men who wash by steam,
Rail-ways, Pearl-fishing, or the scheme,
For Inland Navigation.

New Monthly Mag.


Stalkless moss. Phascum muticum.

January 25.

Holiday at the Public Office; except the Excise, Stamps, and Customs.

Conversion of St. Paul. Sts. Juventinus and Maximinus, A. D. 363. St. Projectus, A. D. 674. St. Poppo, A. D. 1048. St. Apollo, A. D. 393. St. Publius, A. D. 369.

[175, 176]

The Conversion of St. Paul.

This is a festival in the calendar of the church of England, as well as in that of the Romish church.

St. Paul’s Day.

On this day prognostications of the months were drawn for the whole year. If fair and clear, there was to be plenty; if cloudy or misty, much cattle would die; if rain or snow fell then it presaged a dearth; and if windy, there would be wars:

If Saint Paul’s Day be fair and clear.
It does betide a happy year;
But if it chance to snow or rain,
Then will be dear all kinds of grain;
If clouds or mists do dark the skie,
Great store of birds and beasts shall die;
And if the winds do fly aloft,
Then wars shall vex the kingdome oft.

Willsford’s Nature’s Secrets.

These prognostications are Englished from an ancient calendar: they have likewise been translated by Gay, who enjoins,

Let no such vulgar tales debase thy mind,
Nor Paul nor Swithin rule the clouds and wind.

The latter lines are allusive to the popular superstitions, regarding these days, which were before remarked by bishop Hall, who observes of a person under such influences, that “St. Paule’s day, and St. Swithine’s, with the twelve, are his oracles, which he dares believe against the almanacke.” It will be recollected that “the twelve” are twelve days of Christmastide, mentioned on a preceding day as believed by the ignorant to denote the weather throughout the year.

Concerning this day, Bourne says. “How it came to have this particular knack of foretelling the good or ill fortune of the following year is no easy matter to find out. The monks, who were undoubtedly the first who made this wonderful observation, have taken care it should be handed down to posterity; but why, or for what reason, they have taken care to conceal. St. Paul did indeed labour more abundantly than all the apostles; but never that I heard in the science of astrology: and why this day should therefore be a standing almanac to the world, rather than the day of any other saint, will be pretty hard to find out.” In an ancient Romish calendar, much used by Brand, the vigil of St. Paul is called “Dies Ægyptiacus;” and he confesses his ignorance of any reason for calling it “an Egyptian-day.” Mr. Fosbroke explains, from a passage in Ducange, that it was so called because there were two unlucky days in every month, and St. Paul’s vigil was one of the two in January.

Dr. Forster notes, that the festival of the conversion of St. Paul has always been reckoned ominous of the future weather of the year, in various countries remote from each other.

According to Schenkius, cited by Brand, it was a custom in many parts of Germany, to drag the images of St. Paul and St. Urban to the river, if there was foul weather on their festival.


St. Paul’s day being the first festival of an apostle in the year, it is an opportunity for alluding to the old, ancient, English custom, with sponsors, or visitors at christenings, of presenting spoons, called apostle-spoons, because the figures of the twelve apostles were chased, or carved on the tops of the handles. Brand cites several authors to testify of the practice. Persons who could afford it gave the set of twelve; others a smaller number, and a poor person offered the gift of one, with the figure of the saint after whom the child was named, or to whom the child was dedicated, or who was the patron saint of the good-natured donor.

Ben Jonson, in his Bartholomew Fair, has a character, saying, “And all this for the hope of a couple of apostle-spoons, and a cup to eat caudle in.” In the Chaste Maid of Cheapside, by Middleton, “Gossip” inquires, “What has he given her? What is it, Gossip?” Whereto the answer of another “Gossip” is, “A faire high-standing cup, and two great ’postle-spoons—one of them gilt,” Beaumont and Fletcher, likewise, in the Noble Gentleman, say:

“I’ll be a Gossip. Bewford,
I have an odd apostle-spoon.”

[177, 178]

A Set of Apostle-Spoons.

[179, 180]

The rarity and antiquity of apostle-spoons render them of considerable value as curiosities. A complete set of twelve is represented in the sketch on the opposite page, from a set of the spoons themselves on the writer’s table. The apostles on this set of spoons are somewhat worn, and the stems and bowls have been altered by the silversmith in conformity with the prevailing fashion of the present day; to the eye of the antiquary, therefore, they are not so interesting as they were before they underwent this partial modernization: yet in this state they are objects of regard. Their size in the print is exactly that of the spoons themselves, except that the stems are necessarily fore-shortened in the engraving to get them within the page. The stem of each spoon measures exactly three inches and a half in length from the foot of the apostle to the commencement of the bowl; the length of each bowl is two inches and nine-sixteenths of an inch; and the height of each apostle is one inch and one-sixteenth: the entire length of each spoon is seven inches and one-eighth of an inch. They are of silver; the lightest, which is St. Peter, weighs 1 oz. 5 dwts. 9 gr.; the heaviest is St. Bartholomew, and weighs 1 oz. 9 dwts. 4 gr.; their collective weight is 16 oz. 14 dwts. 16 gr. The hat, or flat covering, on the head of each figure, is usual to apostles-spoons, and was probably affixed to save the features from effacement. In a really fine state they are very rare.

It seems from “the Gossips,” a poem by Shipman, in 1666, that the usage of giving apostle-spoons at christenings, was at that time on the decline:

“Formerly, when they us’d to troul,
Gilt bowls of sack, they gave the bowl;
Two spoons at least; an use ill kept;
’Tis well if now our own be left.”

An anecdote is related of Shakspeare and Ben Jonson, which bears upon the usage: Shakspeare was godfather to one of Jonson’s children, and, after the christening, being in deep study, Jonson cheeringly asked him, why he was so melancholy? “Ben,” said he, “I have been considering a great while what should be the fittest gift for me to bestow upon my godchild, and I have resolved it at last.” “I prithee, what?” said Ben, “I’ faith, Ben,” answered Shakspeare, “I’ll give him a dozen good latten spoons, and thou shalt translate them.” The word latten, intended as a play upon latin, is the name for thin iron tinned, of which spoons, and similar small articles of household use, are sometimes made. Without being aware of the origin, it is still a custom with many persons, to present spoons at christenings, or on visiting the “lady in the straw;” though they are not now adorned with imagery.


Winter hellebore. Helleborus hyemalis.

January 26.

St. Polycarp. St. Paula. St. Conan.


On winter comes—the cruel north
Pours his furious whirlwind forth
Before him—and we breathe the breath
Of famish’d bears, that howl to death:
Onward he comes from rocks that blanch
O’er solid streams that never flow,
His tears all ice, his locks all snow,
Just crept from some huge avalanche.



M. M. M. a traveller in Russia, communicates, through the Gentleman’s Magazine of 1785, a remarkable method of cultivating bees, and preserving them from their housebreakers, the bears. The Russians of Borodskoe, on the banks of the river Ufa, deposit the hives within excavations that they form in the hardest, strongest, and loftiest trees of the forest, at about five-and-twenty or thirty feet high from the ground, and even higher, if the height of the trunk allows it. They hollow out the holes lengthways, with small narrow hatchets, and with chisels and gouges complete their work. The longitudinal aperture of the hive is stopped by a cover of two or more pieces exactly fitted to it, and pierced with small holes, to give ingress and egress to the bees. No means can be devised more ingenious or more convenient for climbing the highest and the smoothest trees than those practised by this people, for the construction and visitation of these hives. For this purpose they use nothing but a very sharp axe, a leathern strap, or a common rope. The man places himself against the trunk of the tree, and passes the cord round his body and round the tree, just leaving it sufficient play for casting it higher and higher, by jerks, towards the elevation he desires to attain, and there to place his body, bent as in a swing, his feet resting against the tree, and preserving the free use of his hands. This done, he takes his axe, and at about the height of his body makes the first notch or step in the tree; then he takes his rope, the two ends whereof he takes care to have tied very fast, and throws it towards the top of the trunk. Placed thus in his rope by the middle of his body, and resting [181, 182] his feet against the tree, he ascends by two steps, and easily enables himself to put one of his feet in the notch. He now makes a new step, and continues to mount in this manner till he has reached the intended height. He performs all this with incredible speed and agility. Being mounted to the place where he is to make the hive, he cuts more convenient steps, and, by the help of the rope, which his body keeps in distension, he performs his necessary work with the above-mentioned tools, which are stuck in his girdle. He also carefully cuts away all boughs and protuberances beneath the hive, to render access as difficult as possible to the bears, which abound in vast numbers throughout the forests, and in spite of all imaginable precautions, do considerable damage to the hives. On this account the natives put in practice every kind of means, not only for defending themselves [183, 184] from these voracious animals, but for their destruction. The method most in use consists in sticking into the trunk of the tree old blades of knives, standing upwards, scythes, and pieces of pointed iron, disposed circularly round it, when the tree is straight, or at the place of bending, when the trunk is crooked. The bear has commonly dexterity enough to avoid these points in climbing up the tree; but when he descends, as he always does, backwards, he gets on these sharp hooks, and receives such deep wounds, that he usually dies. Old bears frequently take the precaution to bend down these blades with their fore-paws as they mount, and thereby render all this offensive armour useless.

Russian Tree-Climbing and Bear Trap.

Another destructive apparatus has some similitude to the catapulta of the ancients. It is fixed in such a manner that, at the instant the bear prepares to climb the tree, he pulls a string that lets go the machine, whose elasticity strikes a dart into the animal’s breast. A further mode is to suspend a platform by long ropes to the farthest extremity of a branch of the tree. The platform is disposed horizontally before the hive, and there tied fast to the trunk of the tree with a cord made of bark. The bear, who finds the seat very convenient for proceeding to the opening of the hive, begins by tearing the cord of bark which holds the platform to the trunk, and hinders him from executing his purpose. Upon this the platform immediately quits the tree, and swings in the air with the animal seated upon it. If, on the first shock, the bear is not tumbled out, he must either take a very dangerous leap, or remain patiently in his suspended seat. If he take the leap, either involuntarily, or by his own good will, he falls on sharp points, placed all about the bottom of the tree; if he resolve to remain where he is, he is shot by arrows or musket balls.


White butterbur. Tressilago alba.

January 27.

St. John Chrysostom. St. Julian of Mans. St. Marius.


It is observed in Dr. Forster’s “Perennial Calendar,” that “Buds and embryo blossoms in their silky, downy coats, often finely varnished to protect them from the wet and cold, are the principal botanical subjects for observation in January, and their structure is particularly worthy of notice; to the practical gardener an attention to their appearance is indispensable, as by them alone can he prune with safety. Buds are always formed in the spring preceding that in which they open, and are of two kinds, leaf buds and flower buds, distinguished by a difference of shape and figure, easily discernible by the observing eye; the fruit buds being thicker, rounder, and shorter, than the others—hence the gardener can judge of the probable quantity of blossom that will appear:”—

Lines on Buds, by Cowper.

When all this uniform uncoloured scene
Shall be dismantled of its fleecy load,
And flush into variety again.
From dearth to plenty, and from death to life,
Is Nature’s progress, when she lectures man
In heavenly truth; evincing, as she makes
The grand transition, that there lives and works
A soul in all things, and that soul is God.
He sets the bright procession on its way,
And marshals all the order of the year;
He marks the bounds which winter may not pass,
And blunts his pointed fury; in its case,
Russet and rude, folds up the tender germ,
Uninjured, with inimitable art;
And ere one flowery season fades and dies,
Designs the blooming wonders of the next.

“Buds possess a power analogous to that of seeds, and have been called the viviparous offspring of vegetables, inasmuch as they admit of a removal from their original connection, and, its action being suspended for an indefinite time, can be renewed at pleasure.”

On Icicles, by Cowper.

The mill-dam dashes on the restless wheel,
And wantons in the pebbly gulf below
No frost can bind it there; its utmost force
Can but arrest the light and smoky mist,
That in its fall the liquid sheet throws wide.
And see where it has hung th’ embroidered banks
With forms so various, that no powers of art,
The pencil, or the pen, may trace the scene!
Here glittering turrets rise, upbearing high
(Fantastic misarrangement!) on the roof
Large growth of what may seem the sparkling trees
And shrubs of fairy land. The crystal drops
That trickle down the branches, fast congealed,
Shoot into pillars of pellucid length,
And prop the pile they but adorned before.


[185, 186]

Earth Moss. Phascum cuspidatum.
Dedicated to St. Chrysostom.

January 28.

St. Agnes.—Second Commemoration.

St. Cyril, A. D. 444. Sts. Thyrsus, Leucius, and Callinicus. St. John of Reomay, A. D. 540. Blessed Margaret, Princess of Hungary, A. D. 1271. St. Paulinus, A. D. 804. Blessed Charlemagne, Emperor, A. D. 814. St. Glastian, of Fife, A. D. 830.

St. Thyrsus.

Several churches in Spain are dedicated to him. In 777, the queen of Oviedo and Asturia presented one of them with a silver chalice and paten, a wash-hand basin and a pipe, which, according to Butler, is “a silver pipe, or quill to suck up the blood of Christ at the communion, such as the pope sometimes uses—it sucks up as a nose draws up air.”


John Gottlob Immanuel Breitkopf, a celebrated printer, letter-founder, and bookseller of Leipsic, died on this day, in the year 1794: he was born there November 23, 1719. After the perusal of a work by Albert Durer, in which the shape of the letters is deduced from mathematical principles, he endeavoured to fashion them according to the most beautiful models in matrices cut for the purpose. His printing-office and letter-foundery acquired very high reputation. It contained punches and matrices for 400 alphabets, and he employed the types of Baskerville and Didot. Finding that engraving on wood had given birth to printing, and that the latter had contributed to the improvement of engraving, he transferred some particulars, in the province of the engraver, to that of the printer; and represented, by typography, all the marks and lines which occur in the modern music, with all the accuracy of engraving, and even printed maps and mathematical figures with movable types; though the latter he considered as a matter of mere curiosity: such was also another attempt, that of copying portraits by movable types. He likewise printed, with movable types, the Chinese characters, which are, in general, cut in pieces of wood, so that a whole house is often necessary to contain the blocks employed for a single book. He improved type-metal, by giving it that degree of hardness, which has been a desideratum in founderies of this kind; and discovered a new method of facilitating the process of melting and casting. From his foundery he sent types to Russia, Sweden, Poland, and even America. He also improved the printing-press.

Besides this, his inquiries into the origin and progress of the art of printing, furnished the materials of a history, which he left behind in manuscript. He published in 1784, the first part of “An Attempt to illustrate the origin of playing-cards, the introduction of paper made from linen, and the invention of engraving on wood in Europe;” the latter part was finished, but not published, before his death. His last publication was a small “Treatise on Bibliography,” &c. published in 1793, with his reasons for retaining the present German characters. With the interruption of only five or six hours in the twenty-four, which he allowed for sleep, his whole life was devoted to study and useful employment.


Double Daisy. Bellis perennis plenus.
Dedicated to St. Margaret of Hungary.

January 29.

St. Francis of Sales, A. D. 1622. St. Sulpicius Severus, A. D. 420. St. Gildas the Abbot, A. D. 570. St. Gildas, the Scot, A. D. 512.

This being the anniversary of the king’s accession to the throne, in 1820, is a Holiday at all the public offices, except the Excise, Stamps, and Customs.


Flowering Fern. Osmunda regalis.
Dedicated to St. Francis of Sales.

January 30.


Holiday at the Public Offices; except the Stamps, Customs, and Excise.

St. Bathildes, Queen of Navarre, A. D. 680. St. Martina. St. Aldegondes, A. D. 660. St. Barsimæus, A. D. 114.

St. Martina.

The Jesuit Ribadeneira relates that the emperor Alexander IV., having decreed that all christians should sacrifice to the Roman gods, or die, insinuated to St. [187, 188] Martina, that if she would conform to the edict, he would make her his empress but on her being taken to the temple, “by a sudden earthquake the blockish idol of Apollo was broken in pieces, a fourth part of his temple thrown down, and, with his ruins, were crushed to death; his priests and many others, and the emperor himself, began to fly.” Whereupon St. Martina taunted the emperor; and the devil, in the idol, rolling himself in the dust, made a speech to her, and another to the emperor, and “fled through the air in a dark cloud; but the emperor would not understand it.” Then the emperor commanded her to be tortured. The jesuit’s stories of these operations and her escapes, are wonderfully particular. According to him, hooks and stakes did her no mischief; she had a faculty of shining, which the pouring of hot lard upon her would not quench; when in gaol, men in dazzling white surrounded her; she could not feel a hundred and eighteen wounds; a fierce lion, who had fasted three days, would not eat her, and fire would not burn her; but a sword cut her head off in 228, and at the end of two days two eagles were found watching her body. “That which above all confirmeth the truth of this relation,” says Ribadeneira, “is, that there is nothing herein related but what is in brief in the lessons of the Roman Breviary, commanded by public authority to be read on her feast by the whole church.”


On this day, in the year 1649, king Charles I. was beheaded. In the Common Prayer Book of the Church of England, it is called “The Day of the Martyrdom of the Blessed King Charles I.;” and there is “A Form of Prayer, with Fasting, to be used yearly” upon its recurrence.

The sheet, which received the head of Charles I. after its decapitation, is carefully preserved along with the communion plate in the church of Ashburnham, in this county; the blood, with which it has been almost entirely covered, now appears nearly black. The watch of the unfortunate monarch is also deposited with the linen, the movements of which are still perfect. These relics came into the possession of lord Ashburnham immediately after the death of the king.—Brighton Herald.

Lord Orford says, “one can scarce conceive a greater absurdity than retaining the three holidays dedicated to the house of Stuart. Was the preservation of James I. a greater blessing to England than the destruction of the Spanish armada, for which no festival is established? Are we more or less free for the execution of king Charles? Are we at this day still guilty of his blood? When is the stain to be washed out? What sense is there in thanking heaven for the restoration of a family, which it so soon became necessary to expel again?”

According to the “Life of William Lilly, written by himself,” Charles I. caused the old astrologer to be consulted for his judgment. This is Lilly’s account: “His majesty, Charles I., having intrusted the Scots with his person, was, for money, delivered into the hands of the English parliament, and, by several removals, was had to Hampton-court, about July or August, 1647; for he was there, and at that time when my house was visited with the plague. He was desirous to escape from the soldiery, and to obscure himself for some time near London, the citizens whereof began now to be unruly, and alienated in affection from the parliament, inclining wholly to his majesty, and very averse to the army. His majesty was well informed of all this, and thought to make good use hereof: besides, the army and parliament were at some odds, who should be masters. Upon the king’s intention to escape, and with his consent, madam Whorewood (whom you knew very well, worthy esquire) came to receive my judgment, viz. In what quarter of this nation he might be most safe, and not to be discovered until himself pleased. When she came to my door, I told her I would not let her come into my house, for I buried a maid-servant of the plague very lately: however, up we went. After erection of my figure, I told her about twenty miles (or thereabouts) from London, and in Essex, I was certain he might continue undiscovered. She liked my judgment very well; and, being herself of a sharp judgment, remembered a place in Essex about that distance, where was an excellent house, and all conveniences for his reception. Away she went, early next morning, unto Hampton-court, to acquaint his majesty; but see the misfortune: he, either guided by his own [189, 190] approaching hard fate, or misguided by Ashburnham, went away in the night-time westward, and surrendered himself to Hammond, in the Isle of Wight. Whilst his majesty was at Hampton-court, alderman Adams sent his majesty one thousand pounds in gold, five hundred whereof he gave to madam Whorewood. I believe I had twenty pieces of that very gold for my share.” Lilly proceeds thus: “His majesty being in Carisbrook-castle, in the Isle of Wight, the Kentish men, in great numbers, rose in arms, and joined with the lord Goring; a considerable number of the best ships revolted from the parliament; the citizens of London were forward to rise against the parliament; his majesty laid his design to escape out of prison, by sawing the iron bars of his chamber window; a small ship was provided, and anchored not far from the castle to bring him into Sussex; horses were provided ready to carry him through Sussex into Kent, that so he might be at the head of the army in Kent, and from thence to march immediately to London, where thousands then would have armed for him. The lady Whorewood came to me, acquaints me herewith. I got G. Farmer (who was a most ingenious locksmith, and dwelt in Bow-lane) to make a saw to cut the iron bars in sunder, I mean to saw them, and aqua fortis besides. His majesty in a small time did his work; the bars gave liberty for him to go out; he was out with his body till he came to his breast; but then his heart failing, he proceeded no farther: when this was discovered, as soon after it was, he was narrowly looked after, and no opportunity after that could be devised to enlarge him.”

Lilly goes on to say, “He was beheaded January 30, 1649. After the execution, his body was carried to Windsor, and buried with Henry VIIIth, in the same vault where his body was lodged. Some, who saw him embowelled, affirm, had he not come unto this untimely end, he might have lived, according unto nature, even unto the height of old age. Many have curiously inquired who it was that cut off his head: I have no permission to speak of such things; only thus much I say, he that did it is as valiant and resolute a man as lives, and one of a competent fortune. For my part, I do believe he was not the worst, but the most unfortunate of kings.”

Lilly elsewhere relates, “that the next Sunday but one after Charles I. was beheaded, Robert Spavin, secretary unto lieutenant-general Cromwell at that time, invited himself to dine with me, and brought Anthony Pierson, and several others, along with him to dinner. Their principal discourse all dinner-time was, who it was beheaded the king: one said it was the common hangman; another, Hugh Peters; others also were nominated, but none concluded. Robert Spavin, so soon as dinner was done, took me by the hand, and carried me to the south window; saith he, ‘These are all mistaken, they have not named the man that did the fact; it was lieutenant-colonel Joice: I was in the room when he fitted himself for the work, stood behind him when he did it; when done, went in again with him. There is no man knows this but my master, viz. Cromwell, commissary Ireton, and myself.’—‘Doth not Mr. Rushworth know it?’ said I. ‘No, he doth not know it,’ saith Spavin. The same thing Spavin since hath often related unto me when we were alone.”


Shrove Tuesday regulates most of the moveable feasts. Shrove Tuesday itself is the next after the first new moon in the month of February. If such new moon should happen on a Tuesday, the next Tuesday following is Shrove Tuesday. A recently published volume furnishes a list, the introduction of which on the next page puts the reader in possession of serviceable knowledge on this point, and affords an opportunity for affirming, that Mr. Nicolas’s book contains a variety of correct and valuable information not elsewhere in a collected form:—

[191, 192]


Tables, Calendars, &c. for the use of Historians, Antiquaries, and the Legal Profession, by N. H. Nicolas, Esq.

Advent Sunday, is the nearest Sunday to the feast of St. Andrew, November 30th, whether before or after.

Ascension Day, or Holy Thursday, is the Thursday in Rogation week, i. e. the week following Rogation Sunday.

Ash Wednesday, or the first day in lent, is the day after Shrove Tuesday.

Carle, or Care Sunday, or the fifth Sunday in lent, is the fifth Sunday after Shrove Tuesday.

Corpus Christi, or Body of Christ, is a festival kept on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday; and was instituted in the year 1264.

Easter Day. The Paschal Sabbath. The Eucharist, or Lord’s Supper, is the seventh Sunday after Shrove Tuesday, and is always the first Sunday after the first full moon, which happens on or next after the 21st of March.

Easter Monday
Easter Tuesday

{ are the Monday and Tuesday following Easter day.

Ember Days, are the Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, after the first Sunday in lent; after the Feast of Pentecost; after Holy-rood Day, or the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, viz. 14th September; and after St. Lucia’s day, viz. 15th December.

Ember Weeks, are those weeks in which the Ember days fall.

The Eucharist. See Easter day.

Good Friday, is the Friday in Passion Week, and the next Friday before Easter day.

Holy Thursday. See Ascension day.

Lent, a Fast from Ash Wednesday, to the Feast of Easter, viz. forty days.

Lord’s Supper. See Easter day.

Low Sunday, is the Sunday next after Easter day.

Maunday Thursday, is the day before Good Friday.

Midlent, or the fourth Sunday in Lent, is the fourth Sunday after Shrove Tuesday.

Palm Sunday, or the sixth Sunday in Lent, is the sixth Sunday after Shrove Tuesday.

Paschal Sabbath. See Easter day.

Passion Week, is the week next ensuing after Palm Sunday.

Pentecost or Whit Sunday, is the fiftieth day and seventh Sunday after Easter day.

Quinquagesima Sunday, is so named from its being about the fiftieth day before Easter. It is also called Shrove Sunday.

Relick Sunday, is the third Sunday after Midsummer-day.

Rogation Sunday, is the fifth Sunday after Easter day.

Rogation Days are the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday following Rogation Sunday.

Shrove Sunday, is the Sunday next before Shrove Tuesday. It is also called Quinquagesima Sunday.

Septuagesima Sunday, so called from its being about the seventieth day before Easter, is the third Sunday before Lent.

Sexagesima Sunday, is the second Sunday before Lent, or the next to Shrove Sunday, so called as being about the sixtieth day before Easter.

Trinity Sunday, or the Feast of the Holy Trinity, is the next Sunday after Pentecost or Whitsuntide.

Whit Sunday. See Pentecost.

Whit Monday
Whit Tuesday

{ are the Monday and Tuesday following Whit Sunday.

Whitsuntide, is the three days above-mentioned.

The Vigil or Eve of a feast, is the day before it occurs. Thus the Vigil of the feast of St. John the Baptist is the 23d of June. If the feast-day falls upon a Monday, then the Vigil or the Eve is kept upon the Saturday preceding.

The Morrow of a feast, is the day following: thus the feast of All Souls, is November 2d, and the Morrow of All Souls is consequently the 3d of November.

The Octave or Utas of each feast, is always the eighth day after it occurs; for example, the feast of St. Hillary, is the 13th of February, hence the Octave of St. Hillary, is the 20th of that month.

In the Octaves, means within the eight days following any particular feast.


Is the ninth Sunday before Easter Sunday.

[193, 194]


Is the eighth Sunday before Easter.


Is the seventh Sunday before Easter.


Is the sixth Sunday before Easter, and the first Sunday in Lent, which commences on Ash Wednesday.

“The earliest term of Septuagesima Sunday is the 18th of January, when Easter day falls on the 22d of March; the latest is the 22d of February, when Easter happens on the 25th of April.”


Shepherd in his “Elucidation of the Book of Common Prayer” satisfactorily explains the origin of these days:

“When the words Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima were first applied to denote these three Sundays, the season of Lent had generally been extended to a fast of six weeks, that is, thirty-six days, not reckoning the Sundays, which were always celebrated as festivals. At this time, likewise, the Sunday which we call the first Sunday in Lent, was styled simply Quadragesima, or the fortieth, meaning the fortieth day before Easter. Quadragesima was also the name given to Lent, and denoted the Quadragesimal, or forty days’ fast. When the three weeks before Quadragesima ceased to be considered as weeks after the Epiphany, and were appointed to be observed as a time of preparation for Lent, it was perfectly conformable to the ordinary mode of computation to reckon backwards, and for the sake of even and round numbers to count by decades. The authors of this novel institution, and the compilers of the new proper offices, would naturally call the first Sunday before Quadragesima, Quinquagesima; the second, Sexagesima; and the third, Septuagesima. This reason corresponds with the account that seems to be at present most generally adopted.”

There is much difference of opinion as to whether the fast of Lent lasted anciently during forty days or forty hours.


Common Maidenhair. Asplenium trichomanes.
Dedicated to St. Martina.

January 31.

King George IV. proclaimed. Holiday at the Exchequer.

St. Peter Nolasco, A. D. 1258. St. Serapion, A. D. 1240. St. Cyrus and John. St. Marcella, A. D. 410. St. Maidoc, or Maodhog, alias Aidar, otherwise Mogue, Bishop of Ferns, A. D. 1632.

St. Peter Nolasco.

Ribadeneira relates, that on the 1st of August 1216, the virgin Mary with a beautiful train of holy virgins appeared to this saint at midnight, and signified it was the divine pleasure that a new order should be instituted under the title of Our Blessed Lady of Mercy, for the redemption of captives, and that king James of Aragon had the same vision at the same time, and “this order, therefore, by divine revelation, was founded upon the 10th, or as others say, upon the 23d of August.” Then St. Peter Nolasco begged for its support, and thereby rendered himself offensive to the devil. For once taking up his lodging in private, some of the neighbours told him, that the master of the house, a man of evil report, had lately died, and the place had ever since been inhabited by “night spirits,” wherein he commended himself to the virgin and other saints, and “instantly his admonitors vanished away like smoke, leaving an intolerable scent behind them.” These of course were devils in disguise. Then he passed the sea in his cloak, angels sung before him in the habit of his order, and the virgin visited his monastery. One night he went into the church and found the angels singing the service instead of the monks; and at another time seven stars fell from heaven, and on digging the ground “there, they found a most devout image of our lady under a great bell,”—and so forth.


Hartstongue. Asplenium Scolopendium.
Dedicated to St. Marcella.

[195, 196]


——— Then came cold February, sitting
In an old waggon, for he could not ride,
Drawne of two fishes, for the season fitting,
Which through the flood before did softly slyde
And swim away; yet had he by his side
His plough and harnesse fit to till the ground,
And tooles to prune the trees before the pride
Of hasting prime did make them burgeon round.


This month has Pisces or the fishes for its zodiacal sign. Numa, who was chosen by the Roman people to succeed Romulus as their king, and became their legislator, placed it the second in the year, as it remains with us, and dedicated it to Neptune, the lord of waters. Its name is from the Februa, or Feralia, sacrifices offered to the manes of the gods at this season. Ovid in his Fasti attests the derivation:

In ancient times, purgations had the name
Of Februa, various customs prove the same;
The pontiffs from the rex and flamen crave
A lock of wool; in former days they gave
To wool the name of Februa.
A pliant branch cut from a lofty pine,
Which round the temples of the priests they twine,
Is Februa called; which if the priest demand,
A branch of pine is put into his hand;
In short, with whatsoe’er our hearts we hold
Are purified, was Februa termed of old;
Lustrations are from hence, from hence the name
Of this our month of February came;
In which the priests of Pan processions made;
In which the tombs were also purified
Of such as had no dirges when they died;
For our religious fathers did maintain
Purgations expiated every stain
Of guilt and sin; from Greece the custom came,
But here adopted by another name;
The Grecians held that pure lustrations could
Efface an impious deed, or guilt of blood
Weak men; to think that water can make clean
A bloody crime, or any sinful stain.

Massey’s Ovid.

Our Saxon ancestors, according to Verstegan, “called February Sprout-kele, by kele meaning the kele-wurt, which we [197, 198] now call the colewurt, the greatest pot-wurt in time long past that our ancestors used, and the broth made therewith was thereof also called kele; for before we borrowed from the French the name of potage, and the name of herbe, the one in our owne language was called kele, and the other wurt; and as this kele-wurt, or potage-hearbe, was the chiefe winter-wurt for the sustenance of the husbandman, so was it the first hearbe that in this moneth began to yeeld out wholesome yong sprouts, and consequently gave thereunto the name of Sprout-kele.” The “kele” here mentioned, is the well-known kale of the cabbage tribe. But the Saxons likewise called this month “Solmonath,” which Dr. Frank Sayers in his “Disquisitions” says, is explained by Bede “mensis placentarum,” and rendered by Spelman in an unedited manuscript “pan-cake month,” because in the course of it, cakes were offered by the pagan Saxons to the sun; and “Sol,” or “soul,” signified “food,” or “cakes.”

In “The Months,” by Mr. Leigh Hunt, he remarks that “if February were not the precursor of spring, it would be the least pleasant season of the year, November not excepted. The thaws now take place; and a clammy mixture of moisture and cold succeeds, which is the most disagreeable of wintry sensations.” Yet so variable is our climate, that the February of 1825 broke in upon the inhabitants of the metropolis with a day or two of piercing cold, and realized a delightful description of January sparkled from the same pen. “What can be more delicately beautiful than the spectacle which sometimes salutes the eye at the breakfast-room window, occasioned by the hoar-frost dew? If a jeweller had come to dress every plant over night, to surprise an Eastern sultan, he could not produce any thing like the ‘pearly drops,’ or the ‘silvery plumage.’ An ordinary bed of greens, to those who are not at the mercy of their own vulgar associations, will sometimes look crisp and corrugated emerald, powdered with diamonds.”


Sunk in the vale, whose concave depth receives
The waters draining from these shelvy banks
When the shower beats, yon pool with pallid gleam
Betrays its icy covering. From the glade
Issuing in pensive file, and moving slow,
The cattle, all unwitting of the change,
To quench their customary thirst advance.
With wondering stare and fruitless search they trace
The solid margin: now bend low the head
In act to drink; now with fastidious nose
Snuffing the marble floor, and breathing loud,
From the cold touch withdraw. Awhile they stand
In disappointment mute; with ponderous feet
Then bruise the surface: to each stroke the woods
Reply; forth gushes the imprisoned wave.

February 1.

St. Ignatius. St. Pionius, A. D. 250. St. Bridget. St. Kinnia. St. Sigebert II. King.

St. Bridget.

St. Bride, otherwise St. Bridget, confers her name upon the parish of St. Bride’s, for to her its church in Fleet-street is dedicated. Butler says she was born in Ulster, built herself a cell under a large oak, thence called Kill-dara, or cell of the oak, was joined by others of her own sex, formed several nunneries, and became patroness of Ireland. “But,” says Butler, “a full account of her virtues has not been transmitted down to us, together with the veneration of her name;” yet he declares that “her five modern lives mention little else but wonderful miracles.” According to the same author, she flourished in the beginning of the sixth century, her body was found in the twelfth century, and her head “is now kept in the church of the Jesuits at Lisbon.” This writer does not favour us with any of her miracles, but bishop Patrick mentions, that wild ducks swimming in the water, or flying in the air, obeyed her call, came to her hand, let her embrace them, and then she let them fly away again. He also found in the breviary of Sarum, that when she was sent a-milking by her mother to make butter, she gave away all the milk to the poor; that when the rest of the maids brought [199, 200] in their milk she prayed, and the butter multiplied; that the butter she gave away she divided into twelve parts, “as if it were for the twelve apostles; and one part she made bigger than any of the rest, which stood for Christ’s portion; though it is strange,” says Patrick, “that she forget to make another inequality by ordering one portion more of the butter to be made bigger than the remaining ones in honour of St. Peter, the prince of the apostles.”


In Mr. Fosbroke’s “British Monarchism,” the observation of this catholic ceremony is noticed as being mentioned in “Ernulphus’s Annals of Rochester Cathedral,” and by Selden. From thence it appears to have taken place just before the octaves of Easter. Austin says, “that it used to be sung in all churches from Easter to Pentecost, but Damasus ordered it to be performed at certain times, whence it was chanted on Sundays from the octaves of Epiphany to Septuagesima, and on the Sundays from the octaves of Pentecost and Advent. One mode of burying the Alleluia was this: in the sabbath of the Septuagesima at Nones, the choristers assembled in the great vestiary, and there arranged the ceremony. Having finished the last ‘Benedicamus,’ they advanced with crosses, torches, holy waters, and incense, carrying a turf (Glebam) in the manner of a coffin, passed through the choir and went howling to the cloister, as far as the place of interment; and then having sprinkled the water, and censed the place, returned by the same road. According to a story (whether true or false) in one of the churches of Paris, a choir boy used to whip a top, marked with Alleluia, written in golden letters, from one end of the choir to the other. In other places Alleluia was buried by a serious service on Septuagesima Sunday.”


Lesser Water Moss. Fontinalis minor.
Dedicated to St. Ignatius.
Bay. Laurus nobilis.
Dedicated to St. Bridget.

February 2.

Holiday at the Public Offices, except Excise, Stamps, and Customs.

The Purification. St. Laurence, Archbishop of Canterbury, A. D. 619.


This being the festival which catholics call the Purification of the virgin, they observe it with great pomp. It stands as a holiday in the calendar of the church of England. Naogeorgus thus introduces the day; or rather Barnaby Googe, in his translation of that author’s, “Popish Kingdom:”

“Then comes the Day wherein the Virgin offred Christ unto
The Father chiefe, as Moyses law commaunded hir to do.
Then numbers great of Tapers large, both men and women beare
To Church, being halowed there with pomp, and dreadful words to heare.
This done, eche man his Candell lightes where chiefest seemeth hee,
Whose Taper greatest may be seene and fortunate to bee;
Whose Candell burneth cleare and bright, a wondrous force and might
Doth in these Candels lie, which if at any time they light,
They sure beleve that neyther storme or tempest dare abide,
Nor thunder in the skies be heard, nor any Devil’s spide,
Nor fearefull sprites that walke by night, nor hurts of frost or haile.”—

According to “The Posey of Prayers, or the Key of Heaven,” it is called Candlemas, because before mass is said this day, the church blesses her candles for the whole year, and makes a procession with hallowed or blessed candles in the hands of the faithful.

From catholic service-books, quoted in “Pagano Papismus,” some particulars are collected concerning the blessing of the candles. Being at the altar, the priest says over them several prayers; one of which commences thus: “O Lord Jesu Christ, who enlightenest every one that cometh into the world, pour out thy benediction upon these Candles, and sanctifie them with the light of thy grace,” &c. Another begins: “Holy Lord, Father Almighty, Everlasting God, who hast created all things of nothing, and by the labour of bees caused this liquor to come to the perfection of a wax candle; we humbly beseech thee, that by the invocation of thy most holy name, and by the intercession of the blessed virgin, ever a virgin, whose festivals are this day devoutly celebrated, and by the prayers of all thy saints, thou wouldst vouchsafe to bless and sanctifie these candles,” &c. Then the priest sprinkles the candles thrice with holy water, saying “Sprinkle me with,” &c. and perfumes them thrice with incense. One of the [201, 202] consecratory prayers begins: “O Lord Jesu Christ, bless this creature of wax to us thy suppliants; and infuse into it, by the virtue of the holy cross, thy heavenly benediction; that in whatsoever places it shall be lighted, or put, the devil may depart, and tremble, and fly away, with all his ministers, from those habitations, and not presume any more to disturb them,” &c. There is likewise this benediction: “I bless thee, O wax, in the name of the holy trinity, that thou may’st be in every place the ejection of Satan, and subversion of all his companions,” &c. During the saying of these prayers, various bowings and crossings are interjected; and when the ceremonies of consecration are over, the chiefest priest goes to the altar, and he that officiates receives a candle from him; afterwards, that priest, standing before the altar towards the people, distributes the candles, first to the priest from whom he received a candle, then to others in order, all kneeling (except bishops) and kissing the candle, and also kissing the hand of the priest who delivers it. When he begins to distribute the candles, they sing, “A light to lighten the gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” After the candles are distributed, a solemn procession is made; in which one carries a censer, another a crucifix, and the rest burning candles in their hands.

The practice is treated of by Butler in his notice of the festival under this head, “On blessing of Candles and the Procession.” It is to be gathered from him that “St. Bernard says the procession was first made by St. Joseph, Simeon, and Anne, as an example to be followed by all the earth, walking two and two, holding in their hands candles, lighted from fire, first blessed by the priests, and singing.” The candle-bearing has reference to Simeon’s declaration in the temple when he took Jesus in his arms, and affirmed that he was a light to lighten the gentiles, and the glory of Israel. This was deemed sufficient ground by the Romish church, whereon to adopt the torch-bearing of the pagans in honour of their own deities, as a ceremony in honour of the presentation of Jesus in the temple. The pagans used lights in their worship, and Constantine, and other emperors, endowed churches with land and various possessions, for the maintenance of lights in catholic churches, and frequently presented the ecclesiastics with coffers full of candles and tapers. Mr. Fosbroke shows, from catholic authorities, that light-bearing on Candlemas day is an old Pagan ceremony; and from Du Cange, that it was substituted by pope Gelasius for the candles, which in February the Roman people used to carry in the Lupercalia.

Pope Innocent, in a sermon on this festival, quoted in “Pagano Papismus,” inquires, “Why do we (the catholics) in this feast carry candles?” and then he explains the matter by way of answer. “Because,” says he, “the gentiles dedicated the month of February to the infernal gods, and as, at the beginning of it, Pluto stole Proserpine, and her mother, Ceres, sought her in the night with lighted candles, so they, at the beginning of this month, walked about the city with lighted candles; because the holy fathers could not utterly extirpate this custom, they ordained that Christians should carry about candles in honour of the blessed virgin Mary: and thus,” says the pope, “what was done before to the honour of Ceres is now done to the honour of the Virgin.”

Polydore Vergil, observing on the pagan processions and the custom of publicly carrying about images of the gods with relics, says, “Our priests do the same thing. We observe all these ceremonies, but I know not whether the custom is as good as it is showy; I fear, I fear, I say, that in these things, we rather please the gods of the heathen than Jesus Christ, for they were desirous that their worshippers should be magnificent in their processions, as Sallust says; but Christ hates nothing more than this, telling us, When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door pray to thy Father. What will then become of us, if we act contrary to his commandment? Surely, whatever may become of us, we do act contrary to it.”

Brand shows, from “Dunstan’s Concord of Monastic Rules,” that the monks went in surplices to the church for candles, which were to be consecrated, sprinkled with holy water, and censed by the abbot. Every monk took a candle from the sacrist, and lighted it. A procession was made, thirds and mass were celebrated, and the candles, after the offering, were offered to the priest. The monks’ candles signified the use of those in the parable of the wise virgins.

In catholic countries the people joined the priests in their public processions to [203, 204] the churches, every individual bearing a burning candle, and the churches themselves blazed with supernumerary illuminations at mid-day.

It is to be noted, that from Candlemas the use of tapers at vespers and litanies, which prevailed throughout the winter, ceased until the ensuing All Hallow Mass; and hence the origin of an old English proverb in Ray’s Collection—

“On Candlemas-day
Throw candle and candlestick away.”

Candlemas candle-carrying remained in England till its abolition by an order in council, in the second year of king Edward VI.

The “Golden Legend” relates, that a lady who had given her mantle to a poor man for the love of our lady, would not go to church on Candlemas-day, but went into her own private chapel, and kneeling before the altar, fell asleep, and had a miraculous vision, wherein she saw herself at church. Into this visionary church she imagined that a troop of virgins came, with a noble virgin at their head, “crowned ryght precyously,” and seated themselves in order; then a troop of young men, who seated themselves in like order; then one, with a proper number of candles, gave to each a candle, and to the lady herself he gave a candle of wax; then came St. Laurence as a deacon, and St. Vincent as a sub-deacon, and Jesus Christ as the priest, and two angels bearing candles; then the two angels began the Introit of the mass, and the virgins sung the mass; then the virgins went and each offered the candle to the priest, and the priest waited for the lady to offer her candle; then “the glorious quene of virgyns” sent to her to say that she was not courteous to make the priest tarry so long for her, and the lady answered that the priest might go on with the mass, for she should keep her candle herself, and not offer it; and the virgin sent a second time, and the lady said she would not offer the candle; then “the quene of virgyns” said to the messenger, “Pray her to offer the candle, and if she will not, take it from her by force;” still she would not offer the candle, and therefore the messenger seized it; but the lady held so fast and long, and the messenger drew and pulled so hard, that the candle broke, and the lady kept half. Then the lady awoke, and found the piece of candle in her hand; whereat she marvelled, and returned thanks to the glorious virgin, who had not suffered her to be without a mass on Candlemas-day, and all her life kept the piece of candle for a relic; and all they that were touched therewith were healed of their maladies and sicknesses.

Poetry is the history of ancient times. We know little of the times sung by Homer but from his verses. To Herrick we must confess our obligation for acquaintance with some of the manners pertaining to this “great day in the calendar.” Perhaps, had he not written, we should be ignorant that our forefathers fared more daintily during the Christmas holidays than at other seasons; be unaware of the rule for setting out the due quantum of time, and orderly succession, to Christmas ever-greens; and live, as most of us have lived, but ought not to live longer, without being informed, that the Christmas-log may be burnt until this day, and must be quenched this night till Christmas comes again.

Candlemas Eve.

End now the white-loafe and the pye,
And let all sports with Christmas dye.
Kindle the Christmas Brand, and then
Till sunne-set let it burne,
Which quencht, then lay it up agen,
Till Christmas next returne.
Part must be kept wherewith to teend
The Christmas Log next yeare,
And where ’tis safely kept, the fiend
Can do no mischiefe there.


How severely he enjoins the removal of the last greens of the old year, and yet how essential is his reason for their displacement:

Candlemas Eve.

Down with the Rosemary, and so
Down with the Baies and Misletoe;
Down with the Holly, Ivie, all
Wherewith ye drest the Christmas Hall;
That so the superstitious find
No one least Branch there left behind:
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected there, maids, trust to me,
So many goblins you shall see.


Hearken to the gay old man again, and participate in his joyous anticipations of pleasure from the natural products of the new year. His next little poem is a collyrium for the mind’s eye:

[205, 206]

Ceremonies for Candlemasse Eve.

Down with the Rosemary and Bayes,
Down with the Misleto;
Instead of Holly, now up-raise
The greener Box (for show.)
The Holly hitherto did sway;
Let Box now domineere,
Untill the dancing Easter-day,
On Easter’s Eve appeare.
Then youthful Box, which now hath grace,
Your houses to renew,
Grown old, surrender must his place
Unto the crisped Yew.
When Yew is out, then Birch comes in,
And many Flowers beside,
Both of a fresh and fragrant kinne,
To honour Whitsuntide.
Green Bushes then, and sweetest Bents,
With cooler Oken boughs,
Come in for comely ornaments
To re-adorn the house.
Thus times do shift; each thing his turne do’s hold;
New things succeed, as former things grow old.


Brand cites a curious anecdote concerning John Cosin, bishop of Durham, on this day, from a rare tract, entitled “The Vanitie and Downefall of superstitious Popish Ceremonies, preached in the Cathedral Church of Durham, by one Peter Smart, a prebend there, July 27, 1628,” Edinborough, 4to. 1628. The story is, that “on Candlemass-day last past, Mr. Cozens, in renuing that popish ceremonie of burning Candles to the honour of our lady, busied himself from two of the clocke in the afternoon till foure, in climbing long ladders to stick up wax candles in the said Cathedral Church: the number of all the Candles burnt that evening was two hundred and twenty, besides sixteen torches; sixty of those burning tapers and torches standing upon, and near, the high Altar, (as he calls it,) where no man came nigh.”

A contributor to the Gentleman’s Magazine informs Mr. Urban, in 1790, that having visited Harrowgate for his health a few years before, he resided for some time at that pleasant market-town Rippon, where, on the Sunday before Candlemas-day, he observed that the collegiate church, a fine ancient building, was one continued blaze of light all the afternoon from an immense number of candles.

Brand observes, that in the north of England this day is called the “Wives’ Feast Day;” and he quotes a singular old custom from Martin’s book on the Western Islands, to this effect:—“The mistress and servants of each family dress a sheaf of oats in women’s apparel, put it in a large basket, and lay a wooden club by it, and this they call Brüd’s Bed; and the mistress and servants cry three times, ‘Brüd is come, Brüd is welcome!’ This they do just before going to bed. In the morning they look among the ashes, and if they see the impression of Brüd’s club there, they reckon it a presage of a good crop, and prosperous year; if not, they take it as an ill omen.”

A Dorsetshire gentleman communicates a custom which he witnessed at Lyme Regis in his juvenile days; to what extent it prevailed he is unable to say, his knowledge being limited to the domestic circle wherein he was included. The wood-ashes of the family being sold throughout the year as they were made, the person who purchased them annually sent a present on Candlemas-day of a large candle. When night came, this candle was lighted, and, assisted by its illumination, the inmates regaled themselves with cheering draughts of ale, and sippings of punch, or some other animating beverage, until the candle had burnt out. The coming of the Candlemas candle was looked forward to by the young ones as an event of some consequence; for, of usage, they had a sort of right to sit up that night, and partake of the refreshment, till all retired to rest, the signal for which was the self-extinction of the Candlemas candle.

Bishop Hall, in a Sermon on Candlemas-day, remarks, that “it hath been an old (I say not how true) note, that hath been wont to be set on this day, that if it be clear and sun-shiny, it portends a hard weather to come; if cloudy and louring, a mild and gentle season ensuing.” This agrees with one of Ray’s proverbs:

“The hind had as lief see
his wife on the bier,
As that Candlemas-day
should be pleasant and clear.”

So also Browne, in his “Vulgar Errors,” affirms, that “there is a general tradition in most parts of Europe, that [207, 208] inferreth the coldness of succeeding winter from the shining of the sun on Candlemas-day, according to the proverbial distich:

‘Si Sol splendescat Mariâ purificante,
Major erit glacies post festum quam fuit ante.’”

The “Country Almanac” for 1676, in the month of February, versifies to the same effect:

“Foul weather is no news;
hail, rain, and snow,
Are now expected, and
esteem’d no woe;
Nay, ’tis an omen bad,
The yeomen say,
If Phœbus shows his face
the second day.”

Country Almanac, (Feb.) 1676.

Other almanacs prophesy to the like purport:

“If Candlemas-day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight;
But if Candlemas-day be clouds and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again.”

The next old saw is nearer the truth than either of the preceding:

“When Candlemas-day is come and gone,
The snow lies on a hot stone.”


Snowdrop. Galanthus Nivalis
Dedicated to the Purification of the Virgin Mary.

February 3.

Holiday at the Exchequer.

St. Blase. St. Anscharius, A. D. 865. St. Wereburge, Patroness of Chester. St. Margaret, of England.

St. Blase.

This saint has the honour of a place in the church of England calendar, on what account it is difficult to say. All the facts that Butler has collected of him is, that he was bishop of Sebaste in Armenia, receiver of the relics of St. Eustratius, and executor of his last will; that he is venerated for the cure of sore throats; principal patron of Ragusa, titular patron of the wool-combers; and that he was tormented with iron combs, and martyred under Licinius, in 316.

Ribadeneira is more diffuse. He relates, that St. Blase lived in a cave, whither wild beasts came daily to visit him, and be cured by him; “and if it happened that they came while he was at prayer, they did not interrupt him, but waited till he had ended, and never departed without his benediction. He was discovered in his retirement, imprisoned, and cured a youth who had a fish-bone stuck in his throat by praying.” Ribadeneira further says that Ætius, an ancient Greek physician, gave the following

Receipt for a stoppage in the throat:

“Hold the diseased party by the throat, and pronounce these words:—Blase, the martyr and servant of Jesus Christ, commands thee to pass up or down!”

The same Jesuit relates, that St. Blase was scourged, and seven holy women anointed themselves with his blood; whereupon their flesh was combed with iron combs, their wounds ran nothing but milk, their flesh was whiter than snow, angels came visibly and healed their wounds as fast as they were made; and they were put into the fire, which would not consume them; wherefore they were ordered to be beheaded, and beheaded accordingly. Then St. Blase was ordered to be drowned in the lake; but he walked on the water, sat down on it in the middle, and invited the infidels to a sitting; whereupon threescore and eight, who tried the experiment, were drowned, and St. Blase walked back to be beheaded.

The “Golden Legend” says, that a wolf having run away with a woman’s swine, she prayed St. Blase that she might have her swine again, and St. Blase promised her, with a smile, she should, and the wolf brought the swine back; then she slew it, and offered the head and the feet, with some bread and a candle, to St. Blase. “And he thanked God, and ete thereof; and he sayd to her, that every yere she sholde offre in his chirche a candell. And she dyd all her lyf, and she had moche grete prosperyte. And knowe thou that to thee, and to all them that so shal do, shal well happen to them.”

It is observed in a note on Brand, that the candles offered to St. Blase were said to be good for the tooth-ache, and for diseased cattle.

“Then followeth good sir Blase, who doth a waxen Candell give,
And holy water to his men, whereby they safely live
[209, 210]
I divers Barrels oft have seene, drawne out of water cleare,
Through one small blessed bone of this same holy Martyr heare:
And caryed thence to other townes and cities farre away,
Ech superstition doth require such earnest kinde of play.”

The origin of St. Blase’s fame has baffled the inquiry of antiquaries; it seems to have rolled off with the darkness of former ages, never to be known again. To the wool-combers this saint is indebted for the maintenance of his reputation in England, for no other trade or persons have any interest in remembering his existence; and this popularity with a body of so much consequence may possibly have been the reason, and the only reason, for the retention of his name in the church calendar at the Reformation. That it is not in the wane with them, is clear from a report in the Leeds Mercury, of the 5th of February, 1825. The article furnishes the very interesting particulars in the subjoined account:—

Celebration of
Bishop Blase’s Festival,

The septennial festival, held in honour of bishop Blase, and of the invention of wool-combing attributed to that personage, was on this day celebrated at Bradford with great gaiety and rejoicing.

There is no place in the kingdom where the bishop is so splendidly commemorated as at Bradford. In 1811, 1818, and at previous septennial periods, the occasion was celebrated with great pomp and festivity, each celebration surpassing the preceding ones in numbers and brilliance. The celebration of 1825 eclipsed all hitherto seen, and it is most gratifying to know, that this is owing to the high prosperity of the worsted and woollen manufactures, which are constantly adding fresh streets and suburban villages to the town.

The different trades began to assemble at eight o’clock in the morning, but it was near ten o’clock before they all were arranged in marching order in Westgate. The arrangements were actively superintended by Matthew Thompson, Esq. The morning was brilliantly beautiful. As early as seven o’clock, strangers poured into Bradford from the surrounding towns and villages, in such numbers as to line the roads in every direction; and almost all the vehicles within twenty miles were in requisition. Bradford was never before known to be so crowded with strangers. Many thousands of individuals must have come to witness the scene. About ten o’clock the procession was drawn up in the following order:—

Herald bearing a flag.
Woolstaplers on horseback, each horse caparisoned with a fleece.
Worsted Spinners and Manufacturers on horseback, in white stuff waistcoats, with each a sliver over the shoulder, and a white stuff sash; the horses’ necks covered with nets made of thick yarn.
Merchants on horseback, with coloured sashes.
Three Guards. Masters’ Colours. Three Guards.
Apprentices and Masters’ Sons, on horseback, with ornamented caps, scarlet stuff coats, white stuff waistcoats, and blue pantaloons.
Bradford and Keighley Bands.
Mace-bearer, on foot.
Six Guards. King. Queen. Six Guards.
Guards. Jason. Princess Medea. Guards.
Bishop’s Chaplain.
Shepherd and Shepherdess.
Shepherd Swains.
Woolsorters, on horseback, with ornamented caps, and various coloured slivers.
Comb Makers.
Charcoal Burners.
Combers’ Colours.
Woolcombers, with wool wigs, &c.
Dyers, with red cockades, blue aprons, and crossed slivers of red and blue.

The following were the numbers of the different bodies, as nearly as could be estimated:—24 woolstaplers, 38 spinners and manufacturers, 6 merchants, 56 apprentices and masters’ sons, 160 wool-sorters, 30 combmakers, 470 wool-combers, and 40 dyers. The King, on this occasion, was an old man, named Wm. Clough, of Darlington, who had filled the regal station at four previous celebrations. Jason (the celebrated legend of the Golden Fleece of Colchis, is interwoven with the commemoration of the bishop,) was personated by John Smith; and the fair Medea, to whom he was indebted for his spoils, rode by his side.—BISHOP BLASE was a personage of very becoming [211, 212] gravity, also named John Smith; and he had enjoyed his pontificate several previous commemorations; his chaplain was James Beethom. The ornaments of the spinners and manufacturers had a neat and even elegant appearance, from the delicate and glossy whiteness of the finely combed wool which they wore. The apprentices and masters’ sons, however, formed the most showy part of the procession, their caps being richly adorned with ostrich feathers, flowers, and knots of various coloured yarn, and their stuff garments being of the gayest colours; some of these dresses, we understand, were very costly, from the profusion of their decorations. The shepherd, shepherdess, and swains, were attired in light green. The wool-sorters, from their number and the height of their plumes of feathers, which were, for the most part, of different colours, and formed in the shape of fleur-de-lis, had a dashing appearance. The combmakers carried before them the instruments here so much celebrated, raised on standards, together with golden fleeces, rams’ heads with gilded horns, and other emblems. The combers looked both neat and comfortable in their flowing wigs of well-combed wool; and the garb of the dyers was quite professional. Several well-painted flags were displayed, one of which represented on one side the venerable Bishop in full robes, and on the other a shepherd and shepherdess under a tree. Another had a painting of Medea giving up the golden fleece to Jason: a third had a portrait of the King: and a fourth appeared to belong to some association in the trade. The whole procession was from half a mile to a mile in length.

When the procession was ready to move, Richard Fawcett, Esq. who was on horseback at the head of the spinners, pronounced, uncovered, and with great animation, the following lines, which it had long been customary to repeat on these occasions, and which, if they have not much poetical elegance, have the merit of expressing true sentiments in simple language:—

Hail to the day, whose kind auspicious rays
Deign’d 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 British 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.

These lines were afterwards several times repeated, in the principal streets and roads through which the cavalcade passed. About five o’clock they dispersed.


Great water moss. Fontinalis Antepyretica.
Dedicated to St. Blase.

February 4.

St. Andrew Corsini, A. D. 1373. St. Phileas. St. Gilbert. St. Jane, or Joan, Queen, A. D. 1505. St. Isidore, of Pelusium, A. D. 449. St. Rembert, Archbishop of Bremen, A. D. 888. St. Modan, of Scotland. St. Joseph, of Leonissa, A. D. 1612.

Goe plow in the stubble, for now is the season
For sowing of fitches, of beanes, and of peason.
Sow runciuals timely, and all that be gray,
But sow not the white, till St Gregorie’s day.



Goldilocks. Polytricum Commune.
Dedicated to St. Jane.
[213, 214] Indian Bay. Laurus Indica.
Dedicated to St. Margaret of England.

February 5.

Holiday at the Exchequer.

St. Agatha. The Martyrs of Japan. The Martyrs of China. St. Avitus, Archbishop, A. D. 525. St. Alice, or Adelaide, A. D. 1015. St. Abraamius, Bishop of Arbela.

St. Agatha.

This saint, who is in the calendar of the church of England, was a Sicilian martyr about the year 251. Butler relates, that before her death she was tortured, and being refused physicians, St. Peter himself came from heaven, healed her wounds, and filled her prison with light. He also as gravely states, that several times when Catana was in danger from the eruptions of mount Ætna, her veil carried in procession averted the volcanic matter from the city.


Common Primrose. Primula vulgaris.
Dedicated to St. Agatha.
Red Primrose. Primula aculis.
Dedicated to St. Adelaide.

February 6.

Sexagesima Sunday.

St. Dorothy, A. D. 308. St. Vedast, Bishop, A. D. 539. St. Amandus, A. D. 675. St. Barsanuphius.


Blue Jacinth. Hyacinthus Orientalis cœruleus.
Dedicated to St. Dorothy.

February 7.

St. Romuald, A. D. 1027. St. Richard, King of the West Saxons, A. D. 722. St. Theodorus of Heraclea, A. D. 319. St. Tresain, 6th Cent. St. Augulus, Bishop.


Roundleaved Cyclamen. Cyclamen Coum.
Dedicated to St. Romuald.

February 8.

St. John of Matha, A. D. 1213. St. Stephen of Grandmont, A. D. 1124. St. Paul, Bishop of Verdun, A. D. 631. St. Cuthman.


Narrow Spring Moss. Mnium Androgynum.
Dedicated to St. John of Matha.

February 9.

St. Apollonia, A. D. 249. St. Nicephorus, A. D. 260. St. Theliau, Bishop, A. D. 580. St. Ansbert, Abp. of Rouen, A. D. 695. St. Attracta or Tarahata of Ireland. St. Herard or Eberhard.


Roman Narcissus. Narcissus Romanus.
Dedicated to St. Apollonia.

February 10.

St. Scholastica, A. D. 543. St. Coteris, 4th Cent. St. William of Maleval, A. D. 1157. St. Erlulph, Scotch Bishop.


Mezereon. Daphne Mezereon.
Dedicated to St. Scholastica.
Silky Fork Moss. Mnium heteomallum.
Dedicated to St. Coteris.

February 11.

St. Saturninus Dativus, &c. of Africa, A. D. 304. St. Severinus, A. D. 507, The Empress Theodora, A. D. 867.


Red Primrose. Primula Verna rubra.
Dedicated to St. Theodora.

February 12.

St. Benedict of Anian, A. D. 821. St. Meletius of Antioch. A. D. 381. St. Eulalia of Barcelona. St. Anthony Cauleas, A. D. 896.



Noble Liverwort. Anemone hepatica.
Dedicated to St. Eulalia.

February 13.

St. Catherine de Ricci. A. D. 1589. St. Licinius, Bishop, A. D. 618. St. Polyeuctus, A. D. 257. St. Gregory II. Pope. St. Martinianus. St. Modomnoc or Dominick of Ossory, 6th Cent. St. Stephen, Abbot, 6th Cent. Roger, Abbot, A. D. 1175.

[215, 216]


Polyanthus. Primula polyantha.
Dedicated to St. Catherine de Ricci.

February 14.


St. Valentine. St. Maro, A. D. 433. St. Abraames, A. D. 422. St. Augentius, 5th Cent. St. Conran, Bishop of Orkney.

St. Valentine.

Of this saint, so celebrated among young persons, little is known, except that he was a priest of Rome, and martyred there about 270.

It was a custom with the ancient Roman youth to draw the names of girls in honour of their goddess Februata-Juno on the 15th of February, in exchange for which certain Roman catholic pastors substituted the names of saints in billets given the day before, namely, on the 14th of February.

Postman on donkey
Where can the postman be, I say?
He ought to fly—on such a day!
Of all days in the year, you know,
It’s monstrous rude to be so slow:
The fellow’s so exceeding stupid—
Hark!—there he is!—oh! the dear Cupid!

Two hundred thousand letters beyond the usual daily average, annually pass through the twopenny post-office in London on St. Valentine’s Day. “Two hundred thousand twopences,” said an old gentleman as he read this in a March newspaper, “are four hundred thousand pence,”—and he was going to cast up the amount—“Why, papa,” said his daughter, “that’s just the number of young folks there must be in love with each other—that’s the way to reckon.” “Ah, my child, that’s not the way to reckon; you have taken something into the account that has no business there: all Valentine-writers are not in love, nor are all lovers Valentine-writers; and remember, my dear girl, that as smiles on the face sometimes conceal cruel dispositions, so there are some who write Valentines, and trifle with hearts for the mere pleasure of inflicting pain.” “I will show you what I [217, 218] mean,” said the old gentleman, and taking a paper from a drawer, he held up this exemplification:

Bear eating heart

Just then an unmarried gentleman, “of a certain age,” entered the room. On becoming acquainted with the topic, he drew from his pocket a small packet, and said, with a merry smile, “Here was my Valentine.” It contained a rib of some small animal completely enveloped with white satin ribbon, ornamented by a true lover’s knot at each end, and another in the middle. Father and daughter both had a laugh at the “old bachelor,” and he, laughing with them, put into the young lady’s hand the poetical address that accompanied his rib:

Go contemplate this lovely sign!
Haste thee away to reason’s shrine,
And listen to her voice;
No more illusive shades pursue,
To happiness this gives the clue,
Make but a prudent choice.
’Till Adam had a partner given,
Much as fair Eden bloom’d like heaven,
His bliss was incomplete;
No social friend those joys to share,
Gave the gay scene a vacant air!
She came—’twas all replete.
And could not genuine Paradise,
The most extensive wish suffice,
Its guiltless lord possest?
No—not without a kindred mate;
How then in this degen’rate state,
Can man, alone be blest?
But now the Muse withdraws her aid;
Enough, thy folly to upbraid;
Enough to make thee wise:
No more of pensive hours complain,
No more, that all life’s joys are vain,
If thou this hint despise.

Feb. 13, 182—.

A Friend.

“Well now, this is capital!” exclaimed the laughing lass. “After such a Valentine, you must take the hint, my dear sir, it’s really a shame that so good-natured a man should remain a bachelor. I recollect, that when I could only just run about, you used to be so kind to me; besides, how you dandled and played with me! and since then, how you have read to me and instructed me till I grew up! Such a man is the very man to be married: you are every way domestic, and it’s settled; you must get married.”—“Well, then, will you have me?” he inquired, with a cheerful laugh. “I have you? No! Why, you are too old; but not too old to find a wife: there are many ladies whom we know, of your age, wholly disengaged; but you don’t pay them any particular attention.” Her father interposed; and the gentleman she addressed playfully said, “It is a little hard, indeed, that I should have these fine compliments and severe reproaches at the same time: however,” taking her by the hand, “you will understand, that it is possible I may have paid particular attention to a lady at an age when the affections are warmer; I did; and I reconciled myself to rejection by courting my books and the pleasures of solitude—

Hast thou been ever waking
From slumbers soft and light,
And heard sweet music breaking
The stillness of the night;
When all thy soul was blending
With that delightful strain,
And night her silence lending
To rivet fancy’s chain;
Then on a sudden pausing,
Those strains have ceas’d to play
A painful absence causing
Of bliss that died away!
So from my soul has vanish’d
The dream of youthful days;
So Hope and Love are banish’d,
And Truth her pow’r displays.”

The origin of so pleasant a day, the first pleasant day in the year, whether its season be regarded, or the mode of its celebration, requires some little investigation; nor must some of its past and present usages be unrecorded here.

St. Valentine’s Morning.

Hark! through the sacred silence of the night
Loud chanticleer doth sound his clarion shrill,
Hailing with song the first pale gleam of light
Which floats the dark brow of yon eastern hill.
[219, 220]
Bright star of morn, oh! leave not yet the wave
To deck the dewy frontlet of the day;
Nor thou, Aurora, quit Tithonus’ cave,
Nor drive retiring darkness yet away.
Ere these my rustic hands a garland twine,
Ere yet my tongue endite a single song,
For her I mean to hail my Valentine,
Sweet maiden, fairest of the virgin throng.

Dodsley’s Miscell.

Attend we upon Elia. Hark, how triumphantly that noble herald of the college of kindness proclaims the day!

“Hail to thy returning festival, old Bishop Valentine! Great is thy name in the rubric, thou venerable arch-flamen of Hymen! Immortal Go-between! who and what manner of person art thou? Art thou but a name, typifying the restless principle which impels poor humans to seek perfection in union? or wert thou indeed a mortal prelate, with thy tippet and thy rochet, thy apron on, and decent lawn sleeves? Mysterious personage! like unto thee, assuredly, there is no other mitred father in the calendar.—Thou comest attended with thousands and ten thousands of little Loves, and the air is

Brush’d with the hiss of rustling wings;

singing Cupids are thy choristers, and thy precentors; and instead of the crosier, the mystical arrow is borne before thee.

“In other words, this is the day on which those charming little missives, ycleped Valentines, cross and intercross each other at every street and turning. The weary and all for-spent twopenny postman sinks beneath a load of delicate embarrassments, not his own. It is scarcely credible to what an extent this ephemeral courtship is carried on in this loving town, to the great enrichment of porters, and detriment of knockers and bell-wires. In these little visual interpretations, no emblem is so common as the heart,—that little three-cornered exponent of all our hopes and fears,—the bestuck and bleeding heart; it is twisted and tortured into more allegories and affectations than an opera-hat. What authority we have in history or mythology for placing the head-quarters and metropolis of god Cupid in this anatomical seat rather than in any other, is not very clear; but we have got it, and it will serve as well as any other thing. Else we might easily imagine, upon some other system which might have prevailed for any thing which our pathology knows to the contrary, a lover addressing his mistress, in perfect simplicity of feeling, ‘Madam, my liver and fortune are entirely at your disposal;’ or putting a delicate question, ‘Amanda, have you a midriff to bestow?’ But custom has settled these things, and awarded the seat of sentiment to the aforesaid triangle, while its less fortunate neighbours wait at animal and anatomical distance.

“Not many sounds in life, and I include all urban and all rural sounds, exceed in interest a knock at the door. It ‘gives a very echo to the throne where Hope is seated.’ But its issues seldom answer to this oracle within. It is so seldom that just the person we want to see comes. But of all the clamorous visitations, the welcomest in expectation is the sound that ushers in, or seems to usher in, a Valentine. As the raven himself was hoarse that announced the fatal entrance of Duncan, so the knock of the postman on this day is light, airy, confident, and befitting one that ‘bringeth good tidings.’ It is less mechanical than on other days; you will say, ‘That is not the post, I am sure.’ Visions of Love, of Cupids, of Hymens, and all those delightful, eternal common-places, which ‘having been, will always be;’ which no schoolboy nor schoolman can write away; having their irreversible throne in the fancy and affections; what are your transports, when the happy maiden, opening with careful finger, careful not to break the emblematic seal, bursts upon the sight of some well-designed allegory, some type, some youthful fancy, not without verses—

Lovers all,
A madrigal,

or some such device, not over abundant in sense—young Love disclaims it,—and not quite silly—something between wind and water, a chorus where the sheep might almost join the shepherd, as they did, or as I apprehend they did, in Arcadia.

“All Valentines are not foolish, and I shall not easily forget thine, my kind friend (if I may have leave to call you [221, 222] so) E. B.—E. B. lived opposite a young maiden, whom he had often seen, unseen, from his parlour window in C——e-street. She was all joyousness and innocence, and just of an age to enjoy receiving a Valentine, and just of a temper to bear the disappointment of missing one with good humour. E. B. is an artist of no common powers; in the fancy parts of designing, perhaps inferior to none; his name is known at the bottom of many a well-executed vignette in the way of his profession, but no further; for E. B. is modest, and the world meets nobody half-way. E. B. meditated how he could repay this young maiden for many a favour which she had done him unknown; for, when a kindly face greets us, though but passing by, and never knows us again, nor we it, we should feel it as an obligation; and E. B. did. This good artist set himself at work to please the damsel. It was just before Valentine’s day three years since. He wrought unseen, and unsuspected, a wondrous work. We need not say it was on the finest gilt paper with borders—full, not of common hearts and heartless allegory, but all the prettiest stories of love from Ovid, and older poets than Ovid (for E. B. is a scholar.) There was Pyramus and Thisbe, and be sure Dido was not forgot, nor Hero and Leander, and swans more than sang in Cayster, with mottoes and fanciful devices, such as beseemed,—a work in short of magic. Iris dipt the woof. This on Valentine’s eve he commended to the all-swallowing indiscriminate orifice—(O, ignoble trust!)—of the common post; but the humble medium did its duty, and from his watchful stand, the next morning, he saw the cheerful messenger knock, and by and by the precious charge delivered. He saw, unseen, the happy girl unfold the Valentine, dance about, clap her hands, as one after one the pretty emblems unfolded themselves. She danced about, not with light love, or foolish expectations, for she had no lover; or, if she had, none she knew that could have created those bright images which delighted her. It was more like some fairy present; a God-send, as our familiarly pious ancestors termed a benefit received, where the benefactor was unknown. It would do her no harm. It would do her good for ever after. It is good to love the unknown. I only give this as a specimen of E. B., and his modest way of doing a concealed kindness.

“Good morrow to my Valentine, sings poor Ophelia; and no better wish, but with better auspices, we wish to all faithful lovers, who are not too wise to despise old legends, but are content to rank themselves humble diocesans with old Bishop Valentine, and his true church.”

Mr. Douce, whose attainments include more erudition concerning the origin and progress of English customs than any other antiquarian possesses, must be referred to upon this occasion. He observes, in his “Illustrations of Shakspeare,” concerning St. Valentine’s day, that “it was the practice in ancient Rome, during a great part of the month of February, to celebrate the Lupercalia, which were feasts in honour of Pan and Juno, whence the latter deity was named Februata, Februalis, and Februlla. On this occasion, amidst a variety of ceremonies, the names of young women were put into a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed. The pastors of the early christian church, who by every possible means endeavoured to eradicate the vestiges of pagan superstitions, and chiefly by some commutations of their forms, substituted, in the present instance, the names of particular saints instead of those of the women, and as the festival of the Lupercalia had commenced about the middle of February, they appear to have chosen St. Valentine’s day for celebrating the new feast, because it occurred nearly at the same time. This is, in part, the opinion of a learned and rational compiler of the ‘Lives of the Saints,’ the Rev. Alban Butler. It should seem, however, that it was utterly impossible to extirpate altogether any ceremony to which the common people had been much accustomed: a fact which it were easy to prove in tracing the origin of various other popular superstitions. And accordingly the outline of the ancient ceremonies was preserved, but modified by some adaptation to the christian system. It is reasonable to suppose that the above practice of choosing mates would gradually become reciprocal in the sexes; and that all persons so chosen would be called Valentines, from the day on which the ceremony took place.”

Leaving intermediary facts to the curious inquirer, we come immediately to a few circumstances and sayings from grave authors and gay poets respecting [223, 224] this festival, as it is observed in our own country. It is recorded as a rural tradition, that on St. Valentine’s day each bird of the air chooses its mate; and hence it is presumed, that our homely ancestors, in their lusty youth, adopted a practice which we still find peculiar to a season when nature bursts its imprisonments for the coming pleasures of the cheerful spring. Lydgate, the monk of Bury, who died in 1440, and is described by Warton to have been “not only the poet of his monastery, but of the world in general,” has a poem in praise of queene Catherine, consort to Henry V., wherein he says:

Seynte Valentine. Of custome yeere by yeere
Men have an usaunce, in this regioun,
To loke and serche Cupides kalendere,
And chose theyr choyse, by grete affeccioun;
Such as ben move with Cupides mocioun,
Takyng theyre choyse as theyr sort doth falle:
But I love oon whiche excellith alle.

Chaucer imagines “Nature the vicare of the Almightie Lord,” to address the happiest of living things at this season, the birds, thus:

Foules, take hede of my sentence I pray,
And for your own ease in fordring of your need,
As fast as I may speak I will me speed:
Ye know well, how on St. Valentine’s day
By my statute and through my governaunce,
Ye doe chese your Makes, and after flie away
With hem as I move you with pleasaunce.
Saint Valentine, thou art full high on loft,
Which drivest away the long nightès black,
Thus singen smallè foules for thy sake,
Will have they causè for to gladden oft,
Since each of them recovered hath his Make:
Full blissful may they sing, when they awake.

Our young readers are informed, that the word “make” in Chaucer, now obsolete, signified mate.

Jago, a poet, who, if he has not soared to greatness, has at least attained to the easy versification of agreeable, and sometimes higher feelings, has left us a few stanzas, which harmonize with the suppositions of Chaucer:

St. Valentine’s Day.

The tuneful choir in amorous strains
Accost their feathered loves;
While each fond mate, with equal pains,
The tender suit approves.
With cheerful hop from spray to spray
They sport along the meads;
In social bliss together stray,
Where love or fancy leads.
Through Spring’s gay scenes each happy pair
Their fluttering joys pursue;
Its various charms and produce share,
For ever kind and true.
Their sprightly notes from every shade
Their mutual loves proclaim;
Till Winter’s chilling blasts invade,
And damp th’ enlivening flame.
Then all the jocund scene declines,
Nor woods nor meads delight;
The drooping tribe in secret pines,
And mourns th’ unwelcome sight.
Go, blissful warblers! timely wise,
Th’ instructive moral tell;
Nor thou their meaning lays despise,
My charming Annabelle!

Old John Dunton’s “British Apollo” sings a question and answer:

Why, Valentine’s a day to choose
A mistress, and our freedom lose?
May I my reason interpose,
The question with an answer close?
To imitate we have a mind,
And couple like the winged kind.

Further on, in the same miscellany, is another question and answer:

Question. In chusing valentines (according to custom) is not the party chusing (be it man or woman) to make a present to the party chosen?

Answer. We think it more proper to say, drawing of valentines, since the most customary way is for each to take his or her lot. And chance cannot be termed choice. According to this method, [225, 226] the obligations are equal, and therefore it was formerly the custom mutually to present, but now it is customary only for the gentlemen.”

This drawing of valentines is remarked in Poor Robin’s Almanac for 1676, under St. Valentine’s day:

“Now Andrew, Antho-
ny, and William,
For Valentines draw
Prue, Kate, Jilian.”

Misson, a learned traveller, who died in England about 1721, describes the amusing practices of his time:—“On the eve of the 14th of February, St. Valentine’s day, the young folks in England and Scotland, by a very ancient custom, celebrate a little festival. An equal number of maids and bachelors get together, each writes their true or some feigned name upon separate billets, which they roll up, and draw by way of lots, the maids taking the men’s billets, and the men the maids’; so that each of the young men lights upon a girl that he calls his valentine, and each of the girls upon a young man which she calls hers. By this means each has two valentines: but the man sticks faster to the valentine that is fallen to him, than to the valentine to whom he is fallen. Fortune having thus divided the company into so many couples, the valentines give balls and treats to their mistresses, wear their billets several days upon their bosoms or sleeves, and this little sport often ends in love. This ceremony is practised differently in different counties, and according to the freedom or severity of madam Valentine. There is another kind of valentine, which is the first young man or woman that chance throws in your way in the street, or elsewhere, on that day.”

In some places, at this time, and more particularly in London, the lad’s valentine is the first lass he sees in the morning, who is not an inmate of the house; the lass’s valentine is the first youth she sees. Gay mentions this usage on St. Valentine’s day: he makes a rustic housewife remind her good man,—

I early rose just at the break of day,
Before the sun had chas’d the stars away;
A field I went, amid the morning dew
To milk my kine, (for so should house-wives do,)
Thee first I spied, and the first swain we see
In spite of Fortune shall our true-love be.

So also in the “Connoisseur” there is mention of the same usage preceded by certain mysterious ceremonies the night before; one of these being almost certain to ensure an indigestion is therefore likely to occasion a dream favourable to the dreamer’s waking wishes.—“Last Friday was Valentine’s day, and, the night before, I got five bay-leaves, and pinned four of them to the four corners of my pillow, and the fifth to the middle; and then, if I dreamt of my sweetheart, Betty said we should be married before the year was out. But to make it more sure, I boiled an egg hard, and took out the yolk, and filled it with salt; and when I went to bed, ate it, shell and all, without speaking or drinking after it. We also wrote our lovers’ names upon bits of paper, and rolled them up in clay, and put them into water: and the first that rose up was to be our valentine. Would you think it, Mr. Blossom was my man. I lay a-bed and shut my eyes all the morning, till he came to our house; for I would not have seen another man before him for all the world.”

Shakspeare bears witness to the custom of looking for your valentine, or desiring to be one, through poor Ophelia’s singing

Good morrow! ’tis St. Valentine’s day
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your valentine!

Sylvanus Urban, in 1779, was informed by Kitty Curious, that on St. Valentine’s day in that year, at a little obscure village in Kent, she found an odd kind of sport. The girls from five or six to eighteen years old were assembled in a crowd, burning an uncouth effigy which they called a “holly boy,” and which they had stolen from the boys; while in another part of the village the boys were burning what they called an “ivy girl,” which they had stolen from the girls. The ceremony of each burning was accompanied by acclamations, huzzas, and other noise. Kitty inquired the meaning of this from the oldest people in the place, but she could learn no more than that it had always been a sport at that season.

[227, 228]

A correspondent communicates to the Every-Day Book a singular custom, which prevailed many years since in the west of England. Three single young men went out together before daylight on St. Valentine’s day, with a clapnet to catch an old owl and two sparrows in a neighbouring barn. If they were successful, and could bring the birds to the inn without injury before the females of the house had risen, they were rewarded by the hostess with three pots of purl in honour of St. Valentine, and enjoyed the privilege of demanding at any other house in the neighbourhood a similar boon. This was done, says our correspondent, as an emblem that the owl being the bird of wisdom, could influence the feathered race to enter the net of love as mates on that day, whereon both single lads and maidens should be reminded that happiness could alone be secured by an early union.

On this ancient festival, it was formerly the custom for men to make presents to the women. In Scotland these valentine gifts were reciprocal, as indeed they are still in some parts.

Hurdis calls this

The day Saint Valentine,
When maids are brisk, and at the break of day
Start up and turn their pillows, curious all
To know what happy swain the fates provide
A mate for life. Then follows thick discharge
Of true-love knots and sonnets nicely penned.

St. Valentine is the lover’s saint. Not that lovers have more superstition than other people, but their imaginings are more. As it is fabled that Orpheus “played so well, he moved old Nick;” so it is true that Love, “cruel tyrant,” moves the veriest brute. Its influence renders the coarsest nature somewhat interesting. A being of this kind, so possessed, is almost as agreeable as a parish cage with an owl inside; you hear its melancholy tee-whit tee-who, and wonder how it got there. Its place of settlement becomes a place of sentiment; nobody can liberate the starveling, and it will stay there. Its mural notes seem so many calls for pity, which are much abated on the recollection, that there are openings enough for its escape. The “tender passion” in the two mile an hour Jehu of an eight-horse waggon, puzzles him mightily. He “sighs and drives, sighs and drives, and drives and sighs again,” till the approach of this festival enables him to buy “a valentine,” with a “halter” and a “couple o’ hearts” transfixed by an arrow in the form of a weathercock, inscribed

“I’ll be yours, if you’ll be mine,
I am your pleasing Valentine.”

This he gets his name written under by the shopkeeper, and will be quite sure that it is his name, before he walks after his waggon, which he has left to go on, because neither that nor his passion can brook delay. After he is out of the town, he looks behind him, lest anybody should see, and for a mile or two on the road, ponders on the “two hearts made one,” as a most singular device, and with admired devotion. He then puts it in the trusty pocket under his frock, which holds the waggon bill, and flogs his horses to quicken their pace towards the inn, where “she,” who is “his heart’s delight,” has been lately promoted to the rank of under kitchen-maid, vice her who resigned, on being called “to the happy estate of matrimony” by a neighbouring carter. He gives her the mysterious paper in the yard, she receives it with a “what be this?” and with a smack on the lips, and a smack from the whip on the gown. The gods have made him poetical, and, from his recollection of a play he saw at the statute-fair, he tells her that “love, like a worm in the mud, has played upon his Lammas cheek” ever since last Lammas-tide, and she knows it has, and that she’s his valentine. With such persons and with nature, this is the season of breaking the ice.

St. Valentine, be it repeated, is the saint of all true lovers of every degree, and hence the letters missive to the fair, from wooers on his festival, bear his name. Brand thinks “one of the most elegant jeu-d’esprits on this occasion,” is one wherein an admirer reminds his mistress of the choice attributed by the legend to the choristers of the air on this day, and inquires of her—

Shall only you and I forbear
To meet and make a happy pair?
Shall we alone delay to live?
This day an age of bliss may give.
[229, 230]
But, ah! when I the proffer make,
Still coyly you refuse to take;
My heart I dedicate in vain,
The too mean present you disdain.
Yet since the solemn time allows
To choose the object of our vows;
Boldly I dare profess my flame,
Proud to be yours by any name.

A better might have been selected from the “Magazine of Magazines,” the “Gentleman’s,” wherein Mr. Urban has sometimes introduced the admirers of ladies to the admirers of antiquities—under which class ladies never come. Thence, ever and anon, as from some high barbican or watchtower old, “songs of loves and maids forsaken,” have aroused the contemplation from “facts, fancies, and recollections” regarding other times, to lovers “sighing like furnace” in our own. Through Sylvanus, nearly a century ago, there was poured this

Invocation of St. Valentine.

Haste, friendly Saint! to my relief,
My heart is stol’n, help! stop the thief!
My rifled breast I search’d with care,
And found Eliza lurking there.
Away she started from my view,
Yet may be caught, if thou pursue;
Nor need I to describe her strive—
The fairest, dearest maid alive!
Seize her—yet treat the nymph divine
With gentle usage, Valentine!
Then, tell her, she, for what was done,
Must bring my heart, and give her own.

So pleasant, so descriptive an illustration of the present custom, requires a companion equally amiable:


Mark’d you her eye’s resistless glance,
That does the enraptur’d soul entrance?
Mark’d you that dark blue orb unfold
Volumes of bliss as yet untold?
And felt you not, as I now feel,
Delight no tongue could e’er reveal?
Mark’d you her cheek that blooms and glows
A living emblem of the rose?
Mark’d you her vernal lip that breathes
The balmy fragrance of its leaves?
And felt you not, as I now feel,
Delight no tongue can e’er reveal?
Mark’d you her artless smiles that speak
The language written on her cheek,
Where, bright as morn, and pure as dew,
The bosom’s thoughts arise to view?
And felt you not, as I now feel,
Delight no tongue could e’er reveal?
Mark’d you her face, and did not there,
Sense, softness, sweetness, all appear?
Mark’d you her form, and saw not you
A heart and mind as lovely too?
And felt you not, as I now feel,
Delight no tongue could e’er reveal?
Mark’d you all this, and you have known
The treasured raptures that I own;
Mark’d you all this, and you like me,
Have wandered oft her shade to see,
For you have felt, as I now feel,
Delight no tongue could e’er reveal?

High Wycombe.

Every lady will bear witness that the roll of valentine poesy is interminable; and it being presumed that few would object to a peep in the editor’s budget, he offers a little piece, written, at the desire of a lady, under an engraving, which represented a girl fastening a letter to the neck of a pigeon:—


“Va, porter cet écrit à l’objet de mon cœur!”

Outstrip the winds my courier dove!
On pinions fleet and free,
And bear this letter to my love
Who’s far away from me.
It bids him mark thy plume whereon
The changing colours range;
But warns him that my peace is gone
If he should also change.
It tells him thou return’st again
To her who sets thee free;
And O! it asks the truant, when
He’ll thus resemble thee!

Lastly, from “Sixty-five Poems and Sonnets,” &c. recently published, he ventures to extract one not less deserving the honour of perusal, than either that he has presented:—


No tales of love to you I send,
No hidden flame discover,
I glory in the name of friend,
Disclaiming that of lover.
And now, while each fond sighing youth
Repeats his vows of love and truth,
Attend to this advice of mine—
With caution choose a Valentine.
Heed not the fop, who loves himself,
Nor let the rake your love obtain;
Choose not the miser for his pelf,
The drunkard heed with cold disdain;
The profligate with caution shun,
His race of ruin soon is run:
To none of these your heart incline,
Nor choose from them a Valentine.
[231, 232]
But should some generous youth appear,
Whose honest mind is void of art,
Who shall his Maker’s laws revere,
And serve him with a willing heart;
Who owns fair Virtue for his guide,
Nor from her precepts turns aside;
To him at once your heart resign,
And bless your faithful Valentine.
Though in this wilderness below
You still imperfect bliss shall find,
Yet such a friend will share each woe,
And bid you be to Heaven resign’d:
While Faith unfolds the radiant prize,
And Hope still points beyond the skies,
At life’s dark storms you’ll not repine,
But bless the day of Valentine.

Wit at a pinch.

A gentleman who left his snuffbox at a friend’s on St. Valentine’s Eve, 1825, received it soon after his return home in an envelope, sealed, and superscribed—

To J—— E——, Esq.

Dear Sir,

I’ve just found proof enough,
You are not worth a pinch of snuff;
Receive the proof, seal’d up with care,
And extract from it, that you are.

Valentine, 1825



Sir William Blackstone died on the 14th of February, 1780. He was born at the house of his father, a silkman, in Cheapside, London, on the 10th of July, 1723; sent to the Charter-house in 1730; entered Pembroke-college, Cambridge, in 1738; of the Middle Temple, 1741; called to the bar in 1746; elected recorder of Wallingford in 1749; made doctor of civil law in 1750; elected Vinerian professor of common law in 1758; returned a representative to Parliament in 1761; married in 1761; became a justice of the court of Common Pleas in 1770. In the course of his life he filled other offices. He was just and benevolent in all his relations, and, on the judicial seat, able and impartial. In English literature and jurisprudence he holds a distinguished rank for his “Commentaries on the Laws of England.” This work originated in the legal lectures he commenced in 1753: the first volume was published in 1759, and the remaining three in the four succeeding years. Through these his name is popular, and so will remain while law exists. The work is not for the lawyer alone, it is for every body. It is not so praiseworthy to be learned, as it is disgraceful to be ignorant of the laws which regulate liberty and property. The absence of all information in some men when serving upon juries and coroners’ inquests, or as constables, and in parochial offices, is scandalous to themselves and injurious to their fellow men. The “Commentaries” of Blackstone require only common capacity to understand. Wynne’s “Eunomus” is an excellent introduction to Blackstone, if any be wanting. With these two works no man can be ignorant of his rights or obligations; and, indeed, the “Commentaries” are so essential, that he who has not read them has no claim to be considered qualified for the exercise of his public duties as an Englishman. He is at liberty, it is true, for the law leaves him at liberty, to assume the character he may be called on to bear in common with his fellow-citizens; but, with this liberty, he is only more or less than a savage, as he is more than a savage by his birth in a civilized country, and less than a savage in the animal instinct, which teaches that self-preservation is the first law of nature; and still further is he less, because, beside the safety of others, it may fall to him, in this state of ignorance, to watch and ward the safety of the commonwealth itself.

Blackstone, on making choice of his profession, wrote an elegant little poem, entitled “The Lawyer’s Farewell to his Nurse.” It is not more to be admired for ease and grace, than for the strong feeling it evinces in relinquishing the pleasures of poesy and art, and parting for ever from scenes wherein he had happily spent his youthful days. Its conclusion describes his anticipations—

Lost to the field and torn from you—
Farewell! a long—a last adieu!
Me wrangling courts and stubborn law
To smoke and crowds, and cities draw;
There selfish faction rules the day,
And pride and av’rice throng the way;
Diseases taint the murky air,
And midnight conflagrations glare:
Loose revelry and riot bold
In frighted streets their orgies hold;
Or when in silence all is drowned,
Fell murder walks her lonely round
No room for peace—no room for you
Adieu, celestial nymph, adieu!


Its origin and progress may be traced in the Tree engraved on the opposite page.

[233, 234]

The Tree of Common Law.

Enlarged illustration (290 kB).

[235, 236]

A few whimsical miscellanies are subjoined, not derogatory from the importance or necessity of legislation, but amusingly illustrative of legal practice in the sinuosities it has acquired during successive stages of desuetude and change. Those only who know the law are acquainted with the modes by which numerous deformities in its application have originated, or the means by which they may be remedied; while all who experience that application are astonished at its expensiveness, and complain of it with reason.

A legal practitioner is said to have delivered a bill containing several charges of unmerciful appearance, to a client, who was a tailor; and the tailor, who had made a suit of clothes for his professional adviser, is said to have sent him the following bill by way of set-off.

George Grip, Esq.  
Dr. to Samuel Smart.  
  £. s. d.
Attending you, in conference, concerning your proposed Suit, conferring thereon when you could not finally determine 0 6 8
Attending you again thereon, when found you prepared, and taking measures accordingly 0 6 8
Entering 0 3 4
Instructions and warrant to woollen-draper 0 5 0
Copy thereof to keep 0 2 0
Instructions to foreman 0 6 8
Difficulty arising as to proceedings, attending him in consultation 0 6 8
Paid fees to woollen-draper 4 18 6
Attending him thereon 0 6 8
Perusing his receipt 0 3 4
Attending to file same 0 3 4
Filing 0 1 0
Attending button-maker, instructing him 0 6 8
Paid his charges 2 19 0
Having received summons to proceed, perusing and considering same 0 6 8
Drawing consent, and copy to keep 0 4 4
Postage 0 1 6
Copy order thereon and entering 0 3 0
Appointing consultation as to further proceedings, and attending same 0 13 4
Foreman having filed a demurrer, preparing argument against same 0 6 8
Attending long argument on demurrer, when same overruled 0 10 0
Perusing foreman’s plea 0 6 8
Excepting to same 0 6 8
Entering exceptions 0 3 4
Perusing notice of motion to remove suit, and preparing valid objections to lay before you 0 10 0
Same being overruled, consent thereto, on an undertaking 0 6 8
Expenses on removal of suit—paid by you at the time 0 0 0
Writing you my extreme dissatisfaction on finding the suit removed into the King’s Bench, and that I should move the court, when you promised to obtain a Rule as soon as term commenced, and attend me thereon 0 10 0
Conferring with you, in presence of your attendant, at my house, on the first day of term, when you succeeded in satisfying me that you were a Gent. one, &c. and an honourable man, and expressed great dissatisfaction at the proceedings had with the suit while out of my hands; receiving your instructions to demand of your Uncle that same should return to me, on my paying him a lien he claimed thereon, and received from you his debenture for that purpose 0 13 4
Perusing same, and attending him in St. George’s-fields therewith and thereon 0 10 0
Paid him, principal and interest 2 10 4
In consideration of circumstances, no charge for receiving suit back[237, 238] 0 0 0
Perusing letter unexpectedly received from you, dated from your own house, respecting short notice of trial 0 6 8
Attending you thereon 0 6 8
Attending at Westminster several mornings to try the suit, when at last got same on 2 2 0
Paid fees 0 12 0
Fee to porter 0 5 0
It being determined that the suit should be put into a special case, drawing special instructions to Boxmaker for same 0 13 4
Attending him therewith and thereon 0 6 8
Paid him his fee for special case 2 2 0
Paid his clerk’s fee 0 2 6
Considering case, as settled 0 6 8
Attending foreman for his consent to same, when he promised to determine shortly 0 6 8
Attending him again thereon to obviate his objections, and obtained his consent with difficulty 0 6 8
Drawing bill of costs 0 15 0
Fair copy for Mr. —— to peruse and settle 0 7 6
Attending him therewith 0 6 8
Fee to him settling 0 5 0
Attending him for same 0 6 8
Perusing and considering same, as settled 0 6 8
Attending Mr. —— again suggesting amendments 0 6 8
Fee to him on amending 0 5 0
Perusing same as amended 0 6 8
Fair copy, with amendments, to keep 0 7 6
Entering 0 5 0
Fair copy for service 0 7 6
Thirty-eight various attendances to serve same 6 6 8
Service thereof 0 6 8
Drawing memorandum of service 0 5 0
Attending to enter same 0 3 4
Entering same 0 2 6
Attending you concerning same 0 6 8
Accepted service of order to attend at the theatre, and gave consent 0 6 8
Retaining fee at box-office 0 1 0
Service of order on box-keeper 0 6 8
Self and wife, with six children, two of her cousins, her brother, and his son, two of my brothers, my sister-in-law, three nephews, four nieces, each attending for four hours and a half to see the Road to Ruin, and the Beggars’ Opera, eighty-five hours and a half, at 3s. 4d. per hour—very moderate 17 0 10
Coach hire there and back 0 18 0
Attending you to acquaint you with particulars in general, and concerning settlement particularly 0 6 8
Instructions for receipt 0 3 4
Drawing receipt 0 5 0
Vacation fee 1 1 0
Refreshing fee 0 13 4
Perusing receipt, and amending same 0 6 8
Fair copy to keep 0 2 6
Engrossing on stamp 0 2 6
Paid duty and paper 0 3 1
Fee on ending 2 2 0
Letters and messengers 0 10 0
  £63 0 9
To numerous, various, and a great variety of divers, and very many letters, messages, and attendances to, from, on, and upon, you and your agents and others, pending a negotiation for settlement, far too numerous to be mentioned; and an infinite deal of trouble, too troublesome to trouble you with, or to be expressed; without more and further trouble, but which you must, or can, or shall, or may know, or be informed of—what you please  

Item in a Bill of Costs

Attending A in conference concerning the best mode to indemnify B against C’s demand for damages, in consequence of his driving D’s cart against E’s house, and thereby breaking the window of a room occupied by F’s family, and cutting the head of G, one of his children, which H, the surgeon, had pronounced dangerous, and advising on the steps necessary for such indemnity. Attending I accordingly thereon, who said he could do nothing without the concurrence of his brother J, who was on a visit to his friend K, but who afterwards consented thereto, upon having a counter-indemnity from L. Taking instructions for, and writing the letter accordingly, but he refused to accede thereto, in consequence of misconduct in some of the parties towards his distant relation M, because he had arrested N, who being in custody of O, the officer, at P’s house, was unable to prevail upon Q and R to become bail. Attending in consequence upon S, the [239, 240] sheriff, when he said, if he received an undertaking to give a bail-bond at the return of the writ, the defendant should be discharged. Attending T for undertaking accordingly, conferring thereon; but he declined interfering without the concurrence of V, to whom he was largely indebted, in whose hands he had lodged several title-deeds as a collateral security, and who, it appeared, had sent the deeds to his attorney U, for the purpose of preparing a mortgage to W, in trust, for securing his demand, and also of a debt due to X. Attending afterwards on A’s clerk Y, communicating the result of our numerous applications, and conferring with him thereon, when he at length informed me that Z had settled the business.

Legal Recreations.

“To him that goes to law, nine things are requisite: 1. A good deal of money—2. A good deal of patience—3. A good cause—4. A good attorney—5. Good counsel—6. Good evidence—7. A good jury—8. A good judge—and lastly, good luck.”

“Reason is the life of the law, nay, the common law itself is nothing else but reason.”

If a man says of a counsellor of law, Thou art a daffa-down-dilly, an action lies. So adjudged in Scaccario, and agreed per totam curiam.—1 Vin. Abb. 445.

He hath no more law than Mr. C.’s bull. These words being spoken of an attorney, the court inclined that they were actionable, and that the plaintiff should have judgment, though it was objected that the plaintiff had not declared that C. had a bull.—Siderfin, 327, pl. 8. Pasch. 19 Car. II. Baker v. Morfue. The chief justice was of opinion, that if C. had no bull, the scandal was the greater. And it was pronounced per curiam in the same case, that to say of a lawyer, that he has no more law than a goose, has been adjudged actionable.—Sid. 127, pl. 8.—There is quære added as to the saying, He hath no more law than the man in the moon (Ib. 2 Kib. 209); the law, doubtless, contemplating the possibility of there being a man in the moon, and of his being a good lawyer.

My lord chief baron cannot hear of one ear, adjudged actionable, there being a colloquium of his administration of justice. But not so if there had been no discourse of his justice.—1 Vin. Ab. 446.

Adjudged, that the death of a parson is a non-residency, within 13 Eliz. c. 20, so as to avoid his leases. Mott v. Hales, Crok. Eliz. 123

Eden and Whalley’s case:—“One Eden confessed himself guilty of multiplication, and that he had practised the making of quintessence, and the philosopher’s stone, by which all metals might be turned into gold and silver; and also accused Whalley, now a prisoner in the Tower, of urging and procuring him to practise this art; and that Whalley had laid out money in red wine and other things necessary for the said art. And, because this offence is only felony, Eden, the principal, was pardoned by the general pardon; but Whalley, who was but accessary in this case, was excepted as one of those who were in the Tower. The question was moved, whether Whalley should be discharged;—Quære, the statute of 5 Hen. IV. 4, which enacts, ‘that none should use to multiply gold or silver, nor use the craft of multiplication; and if any the same do, that he incur the pain of felony in this case.’—Quære—Whether there can be any accessary in this new felony?—1 Dyer, 87, 6, Easter Term, 7 Ed. VI. This statute was repealed by the stat. of 1 Will. & Mary.”

In the case of monopolized cards, there was cited a commission in the time of Henry V. directed to three friars and two aldermen of London, to inquire whether the philosopher’s stone was feasible, who returned it was, and upon this a patent was made out for them to make it—Moore, 675; Dancey’s case.

According to the Asiatic Researches, a very curious mode of trying the title of land is practised in Hindostan:—Two holes are dug in the disputed spot, in each of which the plaintiff and defendant’s lawyers put one of their legs, and remain there until one of them is tired, or complains of being stung by the insects, in which case his client is defeated. In this country it is the client, and not the lawyer, who puts his foot into it.

Professional practice is frequently the subject of theatrical exhibition. “Giovanni in London” has a scene before going to trial, with the following

[241, 242]


First Lawyer, Second Lawyer, Giovanni.
Air—“Soldier, gave me one Pound.”

First Lawyer.

Giovanni, give me one pound.

Second Lawyer.

Giovanni, give me two.

First Lawyer.

Trial it comes on to-day;

Second Lawyer.

And nothing we can do.

First Lawyer.

You must give a fee,
Both to me—

Second Lawyer.

And me.

Both Lawyers.

For, oh! the law’s a mill that without grist will never go.


Lawyer, there is one pound;
(to second Lawyer)
Lawyer, there are two;
(to first Lawyer)
And now I am without a pound,
Thanks to the law and you.
For, oh! I feel the law
Has clapp’d on me its paw;
And, oh! the law’s a mill
that without grist will never go.

Collop Monday.

The Monday before Shrove Tuesday is so called because it was the last day of flesh-eating before Lent, and our ancestors cut their fresh meat into collops, or steaks, for salting or hanging up till Lent was over; and hence, in many places, it is still a custom to have eggs and collops, or slices of bacon, at dinner on this day. The Rev. Mr. Bowles communicates to his friend Mr. Brand, that the boys in the neighbourhood of Salisbury go about before Shrove-tide singing these lines:

Shrove-tide is nigh at hand,
And I am come a shroving;
Pray, dame, something,
An apple or a dumpling,
Or a piece of Truckle cheese
Of your own making,
Or a piece of pancake.

Polydore Virgil affirms of this season and its delicacies, that it sprung from the feasts of Bacchus, which were celebrated in Rome with rejoicings and festivity at the same period. This, therefore, is another adoption of the Romish church from the heathens; and it is observed by Brand, that on Shrove Monday it was a custom with the boys at Eton to write verses concerning Bacchus, in all kinds of metre, which were affixed to the college doors, and that Bacchus’ verses “are still written and put up on this day.” The Eton practice is doubtless a remnant of the catholic custom.


Yellow Crocus. Crocus Mæsiacus.
Dedicated to St. Valentine.

February 15.

Sts. Faustinus and Jovita, A. D. 121. St. Sigefride, or Sigfrid, of Sweden, Bp. A. D. 1002.


It is communicated to the Every-Day Book by a correspondent, Mr. R. N. B——, that at Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire, the old curfew-bell, which was anciently rung in that town for the extinction and relighting of “all fire and candle light” still exists, and has from time immemorial been regularly rang on the morning of Shrove Tuesday at four o’clock, after which hour the inhabitants are at liberty to make and eat pancakes, until the bell rings again at eight o’clock at night. He says, that this custom is observed so closely, that after that hour not a pancake remains in the town.

The Curfew.

I hear the far-off curfew sound,
Over some wide-water’d shore,
Swinging slow with sullen roar.


That the curfew-bell came in with William the Conqueror is a common, but erroneous, supposition. It is true, that by one of his laws he ordered the people to put out their fires and lights, and go to bed, at the eight-o’clock curfew-bell; but Henry says, in his “History of Great Britain,” that there is sufficient evidence of the curfew having prevailed in different parts of Europe at that period, as a precaution against fires, which were frequent and fatal, when so many houses were built of wood. It is related too, in Peshall’s “History of Oxford,” that Alfred the Great ordered the inhabitants of that city to cover their fires on the ringing of the bell at Carfax every night at eight [243, 244] o’clock; “which custom is observed to this day, and the bell as constantly rings at eight as Great Tom tolls at nine.” Wherever the curfew is now rung in England, it is usually at four in the morning, and eight in the evening, as at Hoddesdon on Shrove Tuesday.

Concerning the curfew, or the instrument used to cover the fire, there is a communication from the late Mr. Francis Grose, the well remembered antiquary, in the “Antiquarian Repertory” (vol. i.) published by Mr. Ed. Jeffery. Mr. Grose enclosed a letter from the Rev. F. Gostling, author of the “Walk through Canterbury,” with a drawing of the utensil, from which an engraving is made in that work, and which is given here on account of its singularity. No other representation of the curfew exists.


“This utensil,” says the Antiquarian Repertory, “is called a curfew, or couvre-feu, from its use, which is that of suddenly putting out a fire: the method of applying it was thus;—the wood and embers were raked as close as possible to the back of the hearth, and then the curfew was put over them, the open part placed close to the back of the chimney; by this contrivance, the air being almost totally excluded, the fire was of course extinguished. This curfew is of copper, rivetted together, as solder would have been liable to melt with the heat. It is 10 inches high, 16 inches wide, and 9 inches deep. The Rev. Mr. Gostling, to whom it belongs, says it has been in his family for time immemorial, and was always called the curfew. Some others of this kind are still remaining in Kent and Sussex.” It is proper to add to this account, that T. Row, in the “Gentleman’s Magazine,” because no mention is made “of any particular implement for extinguishing the fire in any writer,” is inclined to think “there never was any such.” Mr. Fosbroke in the “Encyclopædia of Antiquities” says, “an instrument of copper presumed to have been made for covering the ashes, but of uncertain use, is engraved.” It is in one of Mr. F.’s plates.

On T. Row’s remark, who is also facetious on the subject, it may be observed, that his inclination to think there never was any such implement, is so far from being warrantable, if the fact be even correct, that it has not been mentioned by any ancient writer, that the fair inference is the converse of T. Row’s inclination. Had he consulted “Johnson’s Dictionary,” he would have found the curfew itself explained as “a cover for a fire; a fire-plate.—Bacon.” So that if Johnson is credible, and his citation of authorities is unquestionable, Bacon, no very modern writer, is authority for the fact that there was such an implement as the curfew.

Football at Kingston.

Mr. P., an obliging contributor, furnishes the Every-Day Book with a letter from a Friend, descriptive of a custom on this day in the vicinity of London.

[245, 246]

Respected Friend,

Having some business which called me to Kingston-upon-Thames on the day called Shrove Tuesday, I got upon the Hampton-court coach to go there. We had not gone above four miles, when the coachman exclaimed to one of the passengers, “It’s Foot-ball day;” not understanding the term, I questioned him what he meant by it; his answer was, that I would see what he meant where I was going.—Upon entering Teddington, I was not a little amused to see all the inhabitants securing the glass of all their front windows from the ground to the roof, some by placing hurdles before them, and some by nailing laths across the frames. At Twickenham, Bushy, and Hampton-wick, they were all engaged in the same way: having to stop a few hours at Hampton-wick and Kingston, I had an opportunity of seeing the whole of the custom, which is, to carry a foot-ball from door to door and beg money:—at about 12 o’clock the ball is turned loose, and those who can, kick it. In the town of Kingston, all the shops are purposely kept shut upon that day; there were several balls in the town, and of course several parties. I observed some persons of respectability following the ball: the game lasts about four hours, when the parties retire to the public-houses, and spend the money they before collected in refreshments.

I understand the corporation of Kingston attempted to put a stop to this practice, but the judges confirmed the right of the game, and it now legally continues, to the no small annoyance of some of the inhabitants, besides the expense and trouble they are put to in securing all their windows.

I was rather surprised that such a custom should have existed so near London, without my ever before knowing of it.

From thy respected Friend,

N—— S——

Third Month, 1815.

J.—— B.——

Pancakes and Confession.

As fit—as a pancake for Shrove Tuesday.


Pancake Day is another name for Shrove Tuesday, from the custom of eating pancakes on this day, still generally observed. A writer in the “Gentleman’s Magazine, 1790,” says, that “Shrive is an old Saxon word, of which shrove is a corruption, and signifies confession. Hence Shrove Tuesday means Confession Tuesday, on which day all the people in every parish throughout the kingdom, during the Romish times, were obliged to confess their sins, one by one, to their own parish priests, in their own parish churches; and that this might be done the more regularly, the great bell in every parish was rung at ten o’clock, or perhaps sooner, that it might be heard by all. And as the Romish religion has given way to a much better, I mean the protestant religion, yet the custom of ringing the great bell in our ancient parish churches, at least in some of them, still remains, and obtains in and about London the name of Pancake-bell: the usage of dining on pancakes or fritters, and such like provision, still continues.” In “Pasquil’s Palinodia, 1634,” 4to. it is merrily observed that on this day every stomach

till it can hold no more,
Is fritter-filled, as well as heart can wish;
And every man and maide doe take their turne,
And tosse their pancakes up for feare they burne;
And all the kitchen doth with laughter sound,
To see the pancakes fall upon the ground.

Threshing the Hen.

This singular custom is almost obsolete, yet it certainly is practised, even now, in at least one obscure part of the kingdom. A reasonable conjecture concerning its origin is, that the fowl was a delicacy to the labourer, and therefore given to him on this festive day, for sport and food.

At Shrovetide to shroving, go thresh the fat hen,
If blindfold can kill her, then give it thy men.
Maids, fritters and pancakes inough see you make,
Let slut have one pancake, for company sake.

[247, 248]

So directs Tusser in his “Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry, 1620,” 4to. On this his annotator, “Tusser Redivivus, 1710,” (8vo. June, p. 15,) annexes an account of the custom. “The hen is hung at a fellow’s back, who has also some horse bells about him, the rest of the fellows are blinded, and have boughs in their hands, with which they chase this fellow and his hen about some large court or small enclosure. The fellow with his hen and bells shifting as well as he can, they follow the sound, and sometimes hit him and his hen, other times, if he can get behind one of them, they thresh one another well favour’dly; but the jest is, the maids are to blind the fellows, which they do with their aprons, and the cunning baggages will endear their sweethearts with a peeping-hole, whilst the others look out as sharp to hinder it. After this the hen is boil’d with bacon, and store of pancakes and fritters are made.”

Threshing the Fat Hen at Shrovetide.

Tusser’s annotator, “Redivivus,” adds, after the hen-threshing. “She that is noted for lying a-bed long, or any other miscarriage, hath the first pancake presented to her, which most commonly falls to the dog’s share at last, for no one will own it their due. Thus were youth encourag’d, sham’d, and feasted with very little cost, and always their feasts were accompanied with exercise. The loss of which laudable custom, is one of the benefits we have got by smoking tobacco.” Old Tusser himself, by a reference, denotes that this was a sport in Essex and Suffolk. Mr. Brand was informed by a Mr. Jones that, when he was a boy in Wales, the hen that did not lay eggs before Shrove Tuesday was considered useless, and to be on that day threshed by a man with a flail; if he killed her he got her for his pains.

[249, 250]

A Hen that spoke on Shrove Tuesday.

On Shrove Tuesday, at a certain ancient borough in Staffordshire, a hen was set up by its owner to be thrown at by himself and his companions, according to the usual custom on that day. This poor hen, after many a severe bang, and many a broken bone, weltering in mire and blood, recovered spirits a little, and to the unspeakable surprise and astonishment of all the company, just as her late master was handling his oaken cudgel to fling at her again, opened her mouth and said—“Hold thy hand a moment, hard-hearted wretch! if it be but out of curiosity, to hear one of my feathered species utter articulate sounds.—What art thou, or any of thy comrades, better than I, though bigger and stronger, and at liberty, while I am tied by the leg? What art thou, I say, that I may not presume to reason with thee, though thou never reasonest with thyself? What have I done to deserve the treatment I have suffered this day, from thee and thy barbarous companions? Whom have I ever injured? Did I ever profane the name of my creator, or give one moment’s disquiet to any creature under heaven? or lie, or deceive, or slander, or rob my fellow-creatures? Did I ever guzzle down what should have been for the support and comfort (in effect the blood) of a wife and innocent children, as thou dost every week of thy life? A little of thy superfluous grain, or the sweeping of thy cupboard, and the parings of thy cheese, moistened with the dew of heaven, was all I had, or desired for my support; while, in return, I furnished thy table with dainties. The tender brood, which I hatched with assiduity, and all the anxiety and solicitude of a humane mother, fell a sacrifice to thy gluttony. My new laid eggs enriched thy pancakes, puddings, and custards; and all thy most delicious fare. And I was ready myself at any time, to lay down my life to support thine, but the third part of a day. [251, 252] Had I been a man, and a hangman, and been commanded by authority to take away thy life for a crime that deserved death, I would have performed my office with reluctance, and with the shortest, and the least pain or insult, to thee possible. How much more if a wise providence had so ordered it, that thou hadst been my proper and delicious food, as I am thine? I speak not this to move thy compassion, who hast none for thy own offspring, or for the wife of thy bosom, nor to prolong my own life, which through thy most brutal usage of me, is past recovery, and a burden to me; nor yet to teach thee humanity for the future. I know thee to have neither a head, a heart, nor a hand to show mercy; neither brains, nor bowels, nor grace, to hearken to reason, or to restrain thee from any folly. I appeal from thy cruel and relentless heart to a future judgment; certainly there will be one sometime, when the meanest creature of God shall have justice done it, even against proud and savage man, its lord; and surely our cause will then be heard, since, at present, we have none to judge betwixt us. O, that some good Christian would cause this my first, and last speech to be printed, and published through the nation. Perhaps the legislature may not think it beneath them to take our sad case into consideration. Who can tell but some faint remains of common sense among the vulgar themselves, may be excited by a suffering dying fellow-creature’s last words, to find out a more good-natured exercise for their youth, than this which hardens their hearts, and taints their morals? But I find myself spent with speaking. And now villain, take good aim, let fly thy truncheon, and despatch at one manly stroke, the remaining life of a miserable mortal, who is utterly unable to resist, or fly from thee.” Alas! he heeded not. She sunk down, and died immediately, without another blow. Reader, farewell! but learn compassion towards an innocent creature, that has, at least, as quick a sense of pain as thyself.

This article is extracted from the “Gentleman’s Magazine,” for the year 1749. It appeals to the feelings and the judgment, and is therefore inserted here, lest one reader should need a dissuasive against the cruelty of torturing a poor animal on Shrove Tuesday.

Hens were formerly thrown at, as cocks are still, in some places.


This brutal practice on Shrove Tuesday is still conspicuous in several parts of the kingdom. Brand affirms that it was retained in many schools in Scotland within the last century, and he conjectures “perhaps it is still in use:” a little inquiry on his part would have discovered it in English schools. He proceeds to observe, that the Scotch schoolmasters “were said to have presided at the battle, and claimed the run-away cocks, called fugees, as their perquisites.” To show the ancient legitimacy of the usage, he instances a petition in 1355, from the scholars of the school of Ramera to their schoolmaster, for a cock he owed them upon Shrove Tuesday, to throw sticks at, according to the usual custom for their sport and entertainment. No decently circumstanced person however rugged his disposition, from neglect in his childhood, will in our times permit one of his sons to take part in the sport. This is a natural consequence of the influence which persons in the higher ranks of life can beneficially exercise. Country gentlemen threw at the poor cock formerly: there is not a country gentleman now who would not discourage the shocking usage.

Strutt says that in some places, it was a common practice to put a cock into an earthen vessel made for the purpose, and to place him in such a position that his head and tail might be exposed to view; the vessel, with the bird in it, was then suspended across the street, about 12 or 14 feet from the ground, to be thrown at by such as chose to make trial of their skill; twopence was paid for four throws, and he who broke the pot, and delivered the cock from his confinement, had him for a reward. At North Walsham, in Norfolk, about 60 years ago, some wags put an owl into one of these vessels; and having procured the head and tail of a dead cock, they placed them in the same position as if they had appertained to a living one; the deception was successful; and at last, a labouring man belonging to the town, after several fruitless attempts, broke the pot, but missed his prize; for the owl being set at liberty, instantly flew away, to his great astonishment, and left him nothing more than the head and tail of the dead bird, with the potsherds, for his money and his trouble; this ridiculous adventure exposed [253, 254] him to the continual laughter of the town’s people, and obliged him to quit the place.

Shying at Leaden Cocks.

A correspondent, S. W., says, “It strikes me that the game of pitching at capons, practised by boys when I was young, took its rise from this sport, (the throwing at cocks,) indulged in by the matured barbarians. The capons were leaden representations of cocks and hens pitched at by leaden dumps.”

Another correspondent, whose MS. collections are opened to the Every-Day Book, has a similar remark in one of his common-place books, on the sports of boys. He says, “Shying at Cocks.—Probably in imitation of the barbarous custom of ‘shying’ or throwing at the living animal. The ‘cock’ was a representation of a bird or a beast, a man, a horse, or some device, with a stand projecting on all sides, but principally behind the figure. These were made of lead cast in moulds. They were shyed at with dumps from a small distance agreed upon by the parties, generally regulated by the size or weight of the dump, and the value of the cock. If the thrower overset or knocked down the cock, he won it; if he failed, he lost his dump.

Shy for shy.—This was played at by two boys, each having a cock placed at a certain distance, generally about four or five feet asunder, the players standing behind their cocks, and throwing alternately; a bit of stone or wood was generally used to throw with: the cock was won by him who knocked it down. Cocks and dumps were exposed for sale on the butchers’ shambles on a small board, and were the perquisite of the apprentices, who made them; and many a pewter plate, and many an ale-house pot, were melted at this season for shying at cocks, which was as soon as fires were lighted in the autumn. These games, and all others among the boys of London, had their particular times or seasons; and when any game was out, as it was termed, it was lawful to steal the thing played with; this was called smugging and it was expressed by the boys in a doggrel: viz.

“Tops are in. Spin ’em agin.
Tops are out. Smuggin about.


Tops are in. Spin ’em agin.
Dumps are out, &c.

“The fair cock was not allowed to have his stand extended behind, more than his height and half as much more, nor much thicker than himself, and he was not to extend in width more than his height, nor to project over the stand; but fraudulent cocks were made extending laterally over the side, so as to prevent his lying down sideways, and with a long stand behind; the body of the cock was made thinner, and the stand thicker, by which means the cock bent upon being struck, and it was impossible to knock him over.” This information may seem trifling to some, but it will interest many. We all look back with complacency on the amusements of our childhood; and “some future Strutt,” a century or two hence, may find this page, and glean from it the important difference between the sports of boys now, and those of our grandchildren’s great grandchildren.


The cruelty of cock-fighting was a chief ingredient of the pleasure which intoxicated the people on Shrove Tuesday.

Cock-fighting was practised by the Greeks. Themistocles, when leading his troops against the Persians, saw two cocks fighting, and roused the courage of his soldiers by pointing out the obstinacy with which these animals contended, though they neither fought for their country, their families, nor their liberty. The Persians were defeated; and the Athenians, as a memorial of the victory, and of the incident, ordered annual cock-fighting in the presence of the whole people. Beckmann thinks it existed even earlier. Pliny says cock-fighting was an annual exhibition at Pergamus. Plato laments that not only boys, but men, bred fighting birds, and employed their whole time in similar idle amusements. Beckmann mentions an ancient gem in sir William Hamilton’s collection, whereon two cocks are fighting, while a mouse carries away the ear of corn for which they contest: “a happy emblem,” says Beckmann, “of our law-suits, in which the greater part of the property in dispute falls to the lawyers.” The Greeks obtained their fighting cocks from foreign countries; according to Beckmann, the English import the strongest and best of theirs from abroad, especially from Germany.

Cæsar mentions the English cocks in his “Commentaries;” but the earliest [255, 256] notice of cock-fighting in England is by Fitz-Stephens, who died in 1191. He mentions this as one of the amusements of the Londoners, together with the game of foot-ball. The whole passage is worth transcribing. “Yearly at Shrove-tide, the boys of every school bring fighting-cocks to their masters, and all the forenoon is spent at school, to see these cocks fight together. After dinner, all the youth of the city goeth to play at the ball in the fields; the scholars of every study have their balls; the practisers also of all the trades have every one their ball in their hands. The ancienter sort, the fathers, and the wealthy citizens, come on horseback, to see these youngsters contending at their sport, with whom, in a manner, they participate by motion; stirring their own natural heat in the view of the active youth, with whose mirth and liberty they seem to communicate.”

Cock-fighting was prohibited in England under Edward III. and Henry VIII., and even later: yet Henry himself indulged his cruel nature by instituting cock-fights, and even James I. took great delight in them; and within our own time, games have been fought, and attendance solicited by public advertisement, at the Royal Cock-pit, Whitehall, which Henry VIII. built.

Beckmann says, that as the cock roused Peter, so it was held an ecclesiastical duty “to call the people to repentance, or at least to church;” and therefore, “in the ages of ignorance, the clergy frequently called themselves the cocks of the Almighty.”

Old Shrove-tide Revels.

On Shrove Tuesday, according to an old author, “men ate and drank, and abandoned themselves to every kind of sportive foolery, as if resolved to have their fill of pleasure before they were to die.”

The preparing of bacon, meat, and the making of savoury black-puddings, for good cheer after the coming Lent, preceded the day itself, whereon, besides domestic feasting and revelry, with dice and card-playing, there was immensity of mumming. The records of Norwich testify, that in 1440, one John Gladman, who is there called “a man who was ever trewe and feythfull to God and to the kyng” and constantly disportive, made a public disport with his neighbours, crowned as king of christmas, on horseback, having his horse bedizened with tinsel and flauntery, and preceded by the twelve months of the year, each month habited as the season required; after him came Lent, clothed in white and herring-skins, on a horse with trappings of oyster-shells, “in token that sadnesse shulde folowe, and an holy tyme;” and in this sort they rode through the city, accompanied by others in whimsical dresses, “makyng myrth, disportes, and playes.” Among much curious observation on these Shrove-tide mummings, in the “Popish Kingdome” it is affirmed, that of all merry-makers,

The chiefest man is he, and one that most deserveth prayse
Among the rest, that can finde out the fondest kinde of playes.
On him they look, and gaze upon, and laugh with lustie cheere,
Whom boys do follow, crying foole, and such like other geare.
He in the mean time thinkes himselfe a wondrous worthie man, &c.

It is further related, that some of the rout carried staves, or fought in armour; others, disguised as devils, chased all the people they came up with, and frightened the boys: men wore women’s clothes, and women, dressed as men, entered their neighbours’ or friends’ houses; some were apparelled as monks, others arrayed themselves as kings, attended by their guards and royal accompaniments; some disguised as old fools, pretended to sit on nests and hatch young fools; others wearing skins and dresses, became counterfeit bears and wolves, roaring lions, and raging bulls, or walked on high stilts, with wings at their backs, as cranes:

Some like filthy forme of apes, and some like fools are drest,
Which best beseeme those papistes all, that thus keep Bacchus’ feast.

Others are represented as bearers of an unsavoury morsel—

—————————— that on
a cushion soft they lay,
And one there is that, with a flap
doth keepe the flies away

Some stuffed a doublet and hose with rags or straw—

Whom as a man that lately dyed of honest life and fame,
In blanket did they beare about, and streightways with the same
They hurl him up into the ayre, not suff’ring him to fall,[257, 258]
And this they doe at divers tymes, the citie over all.

The Kentish “holly boy,” and “ivy girl” are erroneously supposed (at p. 226,) to have been carried about on St. Valentine’s day. On turning to Brand, who also cites the circumstance, it appears they were carried the Tuesday before Shrove Tuesday, and most probably were the unrecognised remains of the drest mawkin of the “Popish Kingdome,” carried about with various devices to represent the “death of good living,” and which our catholic neighbours continue. The Morning Chronicle of March the 10th, 1791, represents the peasantry of France carrying it at that time into the villages, collecting money for the “funeral,” and, “after sundry absurd mummeries,” committing the body to the earth.

Naogeorgus records, that if the snow lay on the ground this day, snow-ball combats were exhibited with great vigour, till one party got the victory, and the other ran away: the confusion whereof troubled him sorely, on account of its disturbance to the “matrone olde,” and “sober man,” who desired to pass without a cold salutation from the “wanton fellowes.”

The “rabble-rout,” however, in these processions and mockeries, had the honour of respectable spectators, who seem to have been somewhat affected by the popular epidemic. The same author says that,

——————— the noble men, the rich and men of hie degree,
Least they with common people should not seeme so mad to bee,

came abroad in “wagons finely framed before” drawn by “a lustie horse and swift of pace,” having trappings on him from head to foot, about whose neck,

—————— and every place before,
A hundred gingling belles do hang, to make his courage more,

and their wives and children being seated in these “wagons,” they

——————behinde themselves do stande
Well armde with whips, and holding faste the bridle in their hande.

Thus laden and equipped

With all their force throughout the streetes and market place they ron,
As if some whirlwinde mad, or tempest great from skies should come

and thus furiously they drove without stopping for people to get out of their way:

Yea, sometimes legges or arms they breake, and horse and cart and all
They overthrow, with such a force, they in their course do fall!

The genteel “wagon”-drivers ceased not with the cessation of the vulgar sports on foot,

But even till midnight holde they on, their pastimes for to make,
Whereby they hinder men of sleepe, and cause their heades to ake
But all this same they care not for, nor do esteeme a heare,
So they may have their pleasure, &c.


Shrove Tuesday was until late years the great holiday of the apprentices; why it should have been so is easy to imagine, on recollecting the sports that boys were allowed on that day at school. The indulgencies of the ancient city ’prentices were great, and their licentious disturbances stand recorded in the annals of many a fray. Mixing in every neighbouring brawl to bring it if possible to open riot, they at length assumed to determine on public affairs, and went in bodies with their petitions and remonstrances to the bar of the house of commons, with as much importance as their masters of the corporation. A satire of 1675 says,

They’r mounted high, contemn the humble play
Of trap or foot-ball on a holiday
In Finesbury-fieldes. No, ’tis their brave intent,
Wisely t’ advise the king and parliament.

But this is not the place to notice their manners further. The successors to their name are of another generation, they have been better educated, live in better times, and having better masters, will make better men. The apprentices whose situation is to be viewed with anxiety, are the out-door apprentices of poor persons, who can scarcely find homes, or who being orphans, leave the factories or work-rooms of their masters, at night, to go where they can, and do what they please, without paternal care, or being the creatures of any one’s solicitude, and are yet expected to be, or become good members of society.

[259, 260]


A MS. in the British Museum quoted by Brand states, that in 1560, it was a custom at Eton school on Shrove Tuesday for the cook to fasten a pancake to a crow upon the school door; and as crows usually hatch at this season, the cawing of the young ones for their parent, heightened this heartless sport. From a question by Antiquarius, in the “Gentleman’s Magazine,” 1790, it appears that it is a custom on Shrove Tuesday at Westminster school for the under clerk of the college, preceded by the beadle and the other officers, to throw a large pancake over the bar which divides the upper from the lower school. Brand mentions a similar custom at Eton school. Mr. Fosbroke is decisive in the opinion that pancakes on Shrove Tuesday were taken from the heathen Fornacalia, celebrated on the 18th of February, in memory of making bread, before ovens were invented, by the goddess Fornax.


This was, and remains, a game on Shrove Tuesday, in various parts of England.

Sir Frederick Morton Eden in the “Statistical account of Scotland,” says that at the parish of Scone, county of Perth, every year on Shrove Tuesday the bachelors and married men drew themselves up at the cross of Scone, on opposite sides; a ball was then thrown up, and they played from two o’clock till sun-set. The game was this: he who at any time got the ball into his hands, run with it till overtaken by one of the opposite party; and then, if he could shake himself loose from those on the opposite side who seized him, he run on; if not, he threw the ball from him, unless it was wrested from him by the other party, but no person was allowed to kick it. The object of the married men was to hang it, that is, to put it three times into a small hole in the moor, which was the dool or limit on the one hand: that of the bachelors was to drown it, or dip it three times in a deep place in the river, the limit on the other: the party who could effect either of these objects won the game; if neither won, the ball was cut into equal parts at sun-set. In the course of the play there was usually some violence between the parties; but it is a proverb in this part of the country that “All is fair at the ball of Scone.” Sir Frederick goes on to say, that this custom is supposed to have had its origin in the days of chivalry; when an Italian is reported to have come into this part of the country challenging all the parishes, under a certain penalty in case of declining his challenge. All the parishes declined this challenge except Scone, which beat the foreigner, and in commemoration of this gallant action the game was instituted. Whilst the custom continued, every man in the parish, the gentry not excepted, was obliged to turn out and support the side to which he belonged, and the person who neglected to do his part on that occasion was fined; but the custom being attended with certain inconveniences, was abolished a few years before Sir Frederick wrote. He further mentions that on Shrove Tuesday there is a standing match at foot-ball in the parish of Inverness, county of Mid Lothian, between the married and unmarried women, and he states as a remarkable fact that the married women are always successful.

Crowdie is mentioned by sir F. M. Eden, (“State of the Poor,”) as a never failing dinner on Shrove Tuesday, with all ranks of people in Scotland, as pancakes are in England; and that a ring is put into the basin or porringer of the unmarried folks, to the finder of which, by fair means, it was an omen of marriage before the rest of the eaters. This practice on Fasten’s Eve, is described in Mr. Stewart’s “Popular Superstitions of the Highlands,” with little difference; only that the ring instead of being in “crowdie” is in “brose,” made of the “bree of a good fat jigget of beef or mutton.” This with plenty of other good cheer being despatched, the Bannich Junit, or “sauty bannocks” are brought out. They are made of eggs and meal mixed with salt to make them “sauty,” and being baked or toasted on the gridiron, “are regarded by old and young as a most delicious treat.” They have a “charm” in them which enables the highlander to “spell” out his future wife: this consists of some article being intermixed in the meal-dough, and he to whom falls the “sauty bannock” which contains it, is sure—if not already married—to be married before the next anniversary. Then the Bannich Brauder, or “dreaming bannocks” find a place. They contain “a little of that substance which chimney-sweeps call soot.” In baking them “the baker must be as mute as a stone—one word would destroy the [261, 262] whole concern.” Each person has one, slips off quietly to bed, lays his head on his bannock, and expects to see his sweetheart in his sleep.

Shakspeare in King Henry IV. says,

Be merry, be merry,————
’Tis merry in hall, when beards wag all
And welcome merry Shrovetide.
Be merry, be merry, &c.

It is mentioned in the “Shepherd’s Almanack” of 1676, that “some say, thunder on Shrove Tuesday foretelleth wind, store of fruit, and plenty. Others affirm that so much as the sun shineth on that day, the like will shine every day in Lent.”


Cloth of Gold. Crocus sulphureus.
Dedicated to St. Sigifride.

February 16.

St. Onesimus. Sts. Elias, Jeremy, Isaias, Samuel, and Daniel, A. D. 309. St. Juliana. St. Gregory X. Pope, A. D. 1276. St. Tanco, or Tatta, of Scotland, A. D. 815.

Ash Wednesday.

Holiday at the Public Offices; except the Stamps, Customs, and Excise.

This is the first day of Lent. It is called Ash Wednesday, because in the Roman catholic church the priest blesses ashes on this day, and puts them on the heads of the people. These ashes are made of the branches of brushwood or palms, consecrated the year before. The ashes are cleaned, and dried, and sifted, fit for the purpose. After the priest has given absolution to the people, he prays “Vouchsafe + to bless and sanctify + these ashes—that whosoever shall sprinkle these ashes upon them for the redemption of their sins, they may obtain health of body and protection of soul,” &c. Prayers ended, the priest sprinkles the ashes with holy water, and perfumes them thrice with incense, and the people coming to him and kneeling, he puts ashes on their heads in the form of a cross with other ceremonies.

Platina, a priest, and librarian to the Vatican, who wrote the lives of the popes relates that Prochetus, archbishop of Geneva, being at Rome on Ash Wednesday, he fell at the feet of pope Boniface VIII., who blessed and gave out the ashes on that day, in order to be signed with the blessed ashes as others had been. Thinking him to be his enemy, instead of uttering the usual form, “Remember, O man, because thou art dust, thou shalt return to dust,” &c., the pope parodied the form and said “Remember thou art a Gibelline, and with the Gibellines thou shalt return to ashes,” and then his holiness threw the ashes in the archbishop’s eyes.

It is observed by Mr. Fosbroke that ladies wore friars’ girdles in Lent. This gentleman quotes, from “Camden’s Remains,” that sir Thomas More, finding his lady scolding her servants during Lent, endeavoured to restrain her. “Tush, tush, my lord,” said she, “look, here is one step to heavenward,” showing him a friar’s girdle. “I fear me,” said he, “that one step, will not bring you up one step higher.” There are various instances of belief in the virtues of garments that had been worn by monks and friars; some of them almost surpassing belief.

Ash Wednesday is observed in the church of England by reading publicly the curses denounced against impenitent sinners; to each malediction the people being directed to utter, amen. Many who consider this as cursing their neighbours, keep away from church on the occasion; which absence from these motives Mr. Brand regards as “a folly and superstition worthy of the after-midnight, the spirit-walking time of popery.” On this eloquent remark, and Mr. Brand is seldom warmed to eloquence, it may be observed, that persons far removed from superstition and who have never approached “the valley of the shadow of popery,” deem the commination of the “Common Prayer Book,” a departure from the christian dispensation, and its injunctions of brotherly kindness.


Lilac Primrose. Primula acaulis plena.
Dedicated to St. Juliana.

February 17.

St. Flavian, Archbishop of Constantinople, A. D. 449. Sts. Theodulus and Julian. St. Silvin of Auchy, A. D. 718. St. Loman, or Luman, Bishop. St. Fintan, Abbot.

[263, 264]


Scotch Crocus. Crocus Susianus.
Dedicated to St. Flavian.


On the 17th of February, 1563, died Michael Angelo Buonarroti, as an artist and a man one of the most eminent ornaments of the times wherein he lived. A bare record of his decease is not sufficient. Thousands of readers have heard his name; some know his works; few know his character.

Michael Angelo was born in Tuscany, on the 6th of March, 1474. Fascinated by art at an early age, he executed a facsimile of a picture in his thirteenth year, which he presented to the owner instead of the original, who did not discover the deception till a confidant of Michael’s began to laugh. He afterwards studied under Ghirlandaïo, and at fifteen drew an outline round a drawing by his master which showed its defects and his own superiority. Studying in a garden supplied by the celebrated Lorenzo de Medici with antique statues and other forms, he saw a student modelling figures in clay, and emulous of excelling in the same branch, begged a piece of marble, and the use of implements, from one of the workmen employed in making ornaments for Lorenzo’s library. With these he imitated an old head, or mask, of a laughing faun, supplying the deficiencies effected by time, by his own invention, and making other additions. Lorenzo saw it, and good humouredly remarked, “You have restored to the old faun all his teeth, but don’t you know that a man of such an age has generally lost some?” As soon as Lorenzo departed, Michael broke a tooth from the upper jaw, and drilled a hole in the gum to denote that it had decayed. Lorenzo at his next visit was delighted by this docility, and to encourage Michael assigned him an apartment in his palace for a workroom, seated him at his table, and introduced him to the men of rank and talent who daily resorted to Lorenzo, as the munificent patron of learning and the arts. He justified this distinction by labouring with intense ardour. At seventeen years of age he sculptured in brass the battle of Hercules with the Centaurs; a work of which he said at seventy, “When I see it now, I repent that I did not entirely devote myself to sculpture.” His reputation increased with his application, for application brought him nearer to excellence. By the merit of a sleeping cupid from his chisel, which was stained and buried by a dealer to be dug up as an antique, and purchased by cardinal Giorgio under the persuasion that it was one, he was invited to Rome.

On the elevation of Julius II. to the pontificate he desired a mausoleum for his remains, and commissioned Michael Angelo to execute it. The design was magnificent and gratified Julius. He inquired the cost of completing it, “A hundred thousand crowns,” answered Michael; the pope replied, “It may be twice that sum,” and gave orders accordingly. The pontiff further determined on rebuilding the cathedral of St. Peter on a plan of corresponding grandeur wherein the mausoleum should be erected. It was for the prosecution of this vast structure for Romish worship, that Leo X. sold the indulgencies against which Luther inveighed, and by establishing the right of private judgment shook the papacy to its foundations. While Michael was engaged on the mausoleum, Julius caused a covered bridge to be erected by which he might pass from the Vatican to Michael’s study unobserved. Envy was excited in the papal dependents by this distinction, and insinuated so much to Michael’s disadvantage that his unrestrained visits to the Vatican were suddenly interrupted. “I have an order not to let you enter,” said the groom of the chamber: a prelate inquired if he knew to whom he spoke; “Well enough,” answered the officer, “and it is my duty to obey my orders.” “Tell the pope,” said Michael indignantly, “if he wants me, he shall have to seek me in another place.” He returned home, ordered his servants to sell his furniture immediately, and follow him to Florence, and the same evening left Rome.

The pope sent couriers to force his return, but before he was overtaken he had reached a territory wherein the papal mandate was without authority. “Immediately return to Rome on pain of our disgrace,” was the pope’s letter. Michael’s answer was, that having been expelled his holiness’s antichamber without having merited disgrace, he had left Rome to preserve his character, and that he would not return; for if he had been deemed worthless one day, he could be little valued the next, unless by a caprice that would neither be creditable to the pope nor to himself. Having despatched the [265, 266] pope’s couriers with this letter, he proceeded to Florence. To the government of this city Julius wrote: “We know the humour of men of his stamp; if he will return, we promise he shall be neither meddled with nor offended, and he shall be reinstated in the apostolic grace.” Michael was unmoved. A second and a third arrived, each more impressive, and Michael remained unchanged; but the Gonfaloniere of Florence, to whom these epistles were addressed, became alarmed and expostulated: “You have done by the pope what the king of France would not have presumed to do; he must be no longer trifled with; we cannot make war against his holiness to risk the safety of the state; and therefore you must obey his will.” Thus remonstrated with, Michael entertained a proposal for entering into the service of the sultan Bajazet II., and building a bridge from Constantinople to Pera. The sultan had even sent him letters of credit on Florence and all the cities on his way; and appointed escorts of Janizaries to await his arrival on the Turkish frontiers, and conduct him, by whatever road he pleased, to the Mahometan capital. To divert Michael Angelo from this course, the Gonfaloniere urged that it was better to die under the pope’s displeasure than to live in the Turkish service; and that if he were apprehensive for his security at Rome, the government of Florence would send him thither as its ambassador, in which character his person would be inviolable. Michael, urged by these and other reasons, relented, and met the pope at Bologna, a city which had been betrayed to the papal arms, and taken possession of by Julius in great pomp just before Michael’s arrival. The cardinal Soderini, brother to the Gonfaloniere, was to have introduced Michael to the pope, but indisposition constrained him to depute that office to a prelate of his household. The pope askanced his eye at Michael with displeasure, and after a short pause saluted him, “Instead of your coming to us, you seem to have expected that we should attend upon you.” Michael answered, that his error proceeded from too hastily feeling a disgrace he was unconscious of having merited, and hoped his holiness would pardon what had passed. The officious prelate who had introduced him, not thinking this apology sufficient, observed to the pope, that great allowance was to to be made for such men, who were ignorant of every thing but their art. “Thou,” answered the pontiff, “hast vilified him; I have not: thou art no man of genius but an ignorant fellow; get out of my sight.” The prelate was pushed from the room. The pope gave Michael his benediction, restored him to full favour, and desired him not to quit Bologna till he had given him a commission for some work. In a few days, Michael received an order from Julius for a colossal statue of himself in bronze. While it was modelling, the pope’s visits to Michael were as frequent as formerly. This statue was grand, austere, and majestic: the pope familiarly asked if the extended arm was bestowing a blessing or a curse upon the people. Michael answered that the action only implied hostility to disobedience, and inquired whether he would not have a book put into the other hand. “No,” said the pope, “a sword would be more adapted to my character, I am no book-man.” Julius quitted Bologna, and left Michael Angelo there to complete the statue; he effected it in sixteen months, and having placed it in the façade of the church of St. Petronio, returned to Rome. This product of Michael’s genius was of short existence. The prosperity of Venice under united councils, and a prudent administration of its affairs, excited the hatred of the European powers. An infamous league was entered into at Cambray for the ruin of the Venetian government, and the partition of its territory; Julius became a party to this alliance, with the hope of adding Romagna to the dominions of the church, and retaining possession of Bologna. Effecting his object, he withdrew from the league; and by a change of policy, and a miscalculation of his strength, quarrelled with Louis XII. who had assisted him in subjecting Bologna. That monarch retook the city, restored the Bentivoglio family, which had been displaced by the papal arms, and the populace throwing down Michael’s statue of the pope, dragged it through the streets, and broke it to pieces. With the mutilated fragments the duke of Ferrara cast a cannon, which he named Julio, but preserved the head entire, as an invaluable specimen of art, although it bore the countenance of his implacable enemy.

Michael Angelo resumed Julius’s mausoleum, but the pontiff had changed his mind, and sorely against Michael’s inclination, engaged him to decorate the ceilings and walls of the Sixtine chapel, with [267, 268] paintings in fresco, to the memory of Sixtus VI., the pope’s uncle. For the purpose of commencing these paintings, ropes were let through the ceiling to suspend the scaffolding. Michael asked Bramante the architect, who had arranged this machinery, how the ceiling was to be completed if the ropes were suffered to remain? The answer did not obviate the objection. Michael represented to the pope that the defect would have been avoided if Bramante had better understood the application of mechanical principles, and obtained the pope’s permission to take down the inefficient contrivance and erect another. This he effected; and his machinery was so ample and complete, that Bramante himself adopted it in the building of St. Peter’s. Michael gave this invention to the poor man who was his carpenter in constructing it, and who realized a fortune from the commissions he received for others on the same plan. To indulge his curiosity, and watch the progress of the work, the pope ascended the ladder to the top of Michael’s platform almost daily. He was of an impetuous temper, and impatient to see the general effect from below before the ceiling was half completed: Michael, yielding to his impatience, struck the scaffold; and so eager were men of taste to obtain a view, that before the dust from displacing the machinery had settled, they rushed into the chapel to gratify their curiosity. Julius was satisfied: but Michael’s rivals, and Bramante among the rest, secretly solicited the pope to intrust the completion of the cartoons to Raphael. Michael had intimation of these wiles, and in the presence of Bramante himself, claimed and obtained of the pope the entire execution of his own designs. He persevered with incessant assiduity. In twenty months from the commencement of “this stupendous monument of human genius” it was completed, and on All Saints’ day, 1512, the pontiff himself opened the chapel in person with a splendid high mass, to crowds of devotees and artists. Whatever Julius conceived he hastened with the ardour of youth; he was old, and knowing that he had no time to spare, he had so harassed the progress of these cartoons by his eagerness, that the scaffolding was struck before they were thoroughly completed; yet, as there was not any thing of importance to be added, Michael determined not to undergo the labour of reerecting the machinery. The pope loved splendour, and wished them ornamented with gold. Michael answered, “In those days gold was not worn, and the characters I have painted were neither rich, nor desirous of riches; they were holy men with whom gold was an object of contempt.”

Julius soon afterwards died; and the execution of his mausoleum was frustrated by Leo X., to whose patronage Michael was little indebted. He finished his celebrated cartoon of the Last Judgment, for the east end of the Sistine chapel, in 1541. On Christmas-day in that year the chapel was opened, and residents in the most distant parts of Italy thronged to see it. In the following year, he painted the Conversion of St. Paul, and the Crucifixion of St. Peter, on the walls of the chapel Paolina. In 1546, when he was 72 years old, the reigning pope nominated him architect of St. Peter’s. Michael would only accept the appointment on the condition that he received no salary; that he should have uncontrolled power over the subordinate officers; and be allowed to alter the original design conformably to his own judgment. It was necessary to adapt and contract that design to the impoverished state of the papal exchequer. Though numerous impediments were purposely opposed to his progress with this splendid edifice, he advanced it rapidly; and before he was 74, he had completed the Farnese palace, built a palace on the hill of the Capitol for the senator of Rome, erected two galleries for sculpture and painting on the same site, and threw up a flight of steps to the church of the convent of Araceli—an edifice remarkable for its occupying the highest part of the hill whereon the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus formerly stood, and, more especially, for Gibbon having mused there, while listening to the vespers of the bare-footed friars, and conceived the first thought of writing his “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.”

In 1550, Julius III. succeeded to the pontificate, and Michael to new vexations. His rivals endeavoured to displace him for unfitness in the conduct of St. Peter’s. A committee of architects was appointed to investigate the charge, in the presence of the pope. The committee alleged that the church wanted light; and they furnished the cardinals Salviati and Marcello Cervino with plans, to show that Michael had walled up a recess for three chapels, and made only three [269, 270] insufficient windows. “Over those windows are to be placed three others,” answered Michael. “You never said that before,” answered one of the cardinals. To this Michael indignantly replied, “I am not, neither will I ever be, obliged to tell your eminence, or any one else, what I ought or am disposed to do; it is your office to see that money be provided, to keep off the thieves, and to leave the building of St. Peter’s to me.” The pope decided in Michael’s favour. From that time Julius prosecuted no work in painting or sculpture without Michael’s advice; and his estimation of him was so high, that he told him at a public audience, that if he died before himself, he should be embalmed, and kept in his own palace, that his body might be as permanent as his works. Soon after the death of Julius III. in 1555, Paul IV., the new pontiff, expressed his displeasure of the academical figures in the Last Judgment, and intimated an intention to “reform” the picture. Michael sent this message to him: “What the pope wishes, is very little, and may be easily effected; for if his holiness will only ‘reform’ the opinions of mankind, the picture will be reformed of itself.” This holy father plunged Italy in blood by his vindictive passions; and while war ravaged its plains, Michael, at the age of 82, retreated for a while to a monastery. On coming from his seclusion, he wrote to Vasari, “I have had a great deal of pleasure in visiting the monks in the mountains of Spoleto: indeed, though I am now returned to Rome, I have left the better half of myself with them; for in these troublesome times, to say the truth, there is no happiness but in such retirement.” The death of this pope filled Rome with “tumultuous joy,” and the papal chair was ascended by Pius IV., in whose pontificate, wearied and reduced by the incessant attacks and artifices of his enemies, Michael, at the age of 87, resigned his office of architect to St. Peter’s; but the pope, informed of the frauds which had occasioned it, reinstated him, and to induce him to retain the appointment, ensured strict adherence to his designs until the building should be completed.

At the age of eighty-nine a slow fever indicated Michael Angelo’s approaching decease. His nephew, Leonardo Buonarrotti, was sent for; but not arriving, and the fever increasing, he ordered the persons who were in the house into his chamber, and in the presence of them and his physicians uttered this verbal will:—“My soul I resign to God, my body to the earth, and my worldly possessions to my nearest of kin:” then admonishing his attendants, he said, “In your passage through this life, remember the sufferings of Jesus Christ.”

Thus died one of the greatest artists, and one of the noblest men of modern times. The ceremony of his funeral was conducted at Rome with great pomp, but his remains were removed within a month to Florence, and finally deposited in the church of Santa Croce at Florence. In 1720, the vault was opened; the body retained its original form, habited in the costume of the ancient citizens of Florence, in a gown of green velvet, and slippers of the same.

According to his English biographer, Mr. Duppa, Michael Angelo was of the middle stature, bony in make, rather spare, and broad shouldered; his complexion good, his forehead square and “somewhat” projecting; his eyes hazel and rather small; his brows with little hair; his nose flat from a blow given him in his youth by Torrigiano; his lips thin; his cranium large in proportion to his face. Within these pages a detail of his works will not be sought. The few particulars mentioned are from Mr. Duppa’s quarto life, where many of them are enumerated, and outline sketches of some of them are engraved.

The portrait of Michael Angelo selected by Mr. Duppa, to precede his life, is engraved by Bartolozzi, from a profile in Gori’s edition of “Condivi’s Memoir.” He says its original was a drawing supposed to have been made by Julio Bonasoni, from which Mr. Duppa presumes that artist to have etched a print bearing his name, and dated in the year 1546. There is an engraved portrait dated 1545, without any artist’s name attached. Mr. Duppa says, “of these two prints Bonasoni’s is much the best; and although the second has a prior date, it appears to have been engraved from the same original.” That “original,” whatever it was, is no longer in existence. Certainly Bonasoni’s print is better as a print, for it has the grace of that master’s point, yet as a likeness the print of 1545 seems to the editor of the Every-day Book to have a stronger claim to regard; not because it is of prior date, but because it has more decisive marks of character. He conjectures, that the [271, 272] anonymous print of 1545 may have been executed from a bust or statue of Michael. There is a laboured precision in the contour, and a close mannered marking of the features, that denote the “original” to have been marble. The conjecture is strengthened by the fact, that the eye in the anonymous print is without an iris; a deficiency which exists in no engraved portraits unless they are executed from a marble “original.” While correctness seems to have been the aim of the engraver in this anonymous print, elegance appears to have been the object of the painter Bonasoni in his etching. Bonasoni’s portrait is comparatively common; the anonymous one is rare; a copy of it from the print in the editor’s possession, is executed on wood, by Mr. T. Williams, and placed under the reader’s eye.

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Michael Angelo was remarkable for nothing but his genius. He slept little, and was abstemious; he was accustomed to say, “However rich I may have been, I have always lived as a poor man.” He obtained the reputation of being proud and odd; for he found little pleasure in the society of men from whom he could not learn, or whom he could not teach. He was pleased by originality of character in whatever rank he met with it; and cultivated in mature life the society of persons respected for their talents and learning. When young he endeavoured to acquaint himself with every branch of knowledge that could contribute to his improvement. In common with all who have obtained a deserved eminence, he was never satisfied with his performances; if he perceived an imperfection that might have been avoided, he either threw aside the work in disgust, or commenced it anew.

He continued to study to the end of his life. In his old age the cardinal Farnese found him walking in solitude amidst the ruins of the Coliseum and expressed his surprise. Michael answered, “I go yet to school that I may continue to learn.” He lived much alone. His great excess seems to have been indulgence in reflection, and the labours of his profession. The power of generalizing facts, and realizing what he conceived, he drew from this habit: without it some men have become popular for a time, but no man ever became great.

Grandeur was Michael Angelo’s prevailing sentiment. In his architecture of St. Peter’s, he seems to have been limited by the impossibility of arriving to excellence without adopting the ancient styles, and the necessity of attempting something great without them; and to speak with the severity of uncompromising truth he failed. Of what else he did in that science, and he did much, for which he obtained deserved renown, there is neither room nor occasion to speak. In painting and sculpture, if he did not always succeed in embodying his feelings, yet he succeeded more frequently than any other artist since the revival of arts; and, as his power was greater than theirs, so he accomplished greater works. His aim was elevated as that of the giants who warred against the fabled gods; in one respect he was unlike them—he conquered. Majestic and wild as nature in her undescribable sublimity, he achieved with corresponding greatness and beauty. His forms and their intellectual expression are of the highest order. He never did any thing little. All was in harmony with a mind which he created of himself by adding fact to fact, by severe reading, by close observation, by study, by seclusion. He was the quarrier, and architect, and builder-up of his own greatness.

Sir Joshua Reynolds speaks with becoming deference of Michael Angelo’s powers.—“It will not be thought presumptuous in me to appear in the train, I cannot say of his imitators, but of his admirers. I have taken another course, one more suited to my abilities, and to the taste of the times in which I live. Yet however unequal I feel myself to that attempt, were I now to begin the world again, I would tread in the steps of that great master: to kiss the hem of his garment, to catch the slightest of his perfections, would be glory and distinction enough for an ambitious man. He was the bright luminary from whom painting has borrowed a new lustre, under whose hands it assumed a new appearance, and became another and superior art, and from whom all his contemporaries and successors have derived whatever they have possessed of the dignified and majestic.”

There are excellent casts from three of Michael Angelo’s statues exhibited by Mr. West at Mr. Bullock’s museum, in Piccadilly; they are, Christ, from the church of Sta. Maria at Florence, Lorenzo de Medici from his monument, and the celebrated Moses, from the church of St. Pietro, in Vincoli, at Rome. The editor of the Every-day Book has conversed with persons who think themselves pupils and students in sculpture and painting without having seen these!

Michael Angelo had studied anatomy profoundly. Condivi, who was his pupil and one of his biographers, says that his knowledge of human anatomy and of other animals was so correct, that those who had studied it as a profession all their lives, scarcely understood it so well. When he began to dissect he conceived disgust from the offensiveness of the operation and desisted; but reflecting that it was disgraceful to abandon what others [275, 276] could achieve, he resumed and pursued it to the fullest extent. Perceiving the utility of Albert Durer’s “Treatise on the Proportions of the Human Body,” he deemed it capable of improvement. Its rules were in his opinion insufficient and too mechanical, and he contemplated a treatise to exhibit the muscles in their various action. A friend, whom he consulted on the subject, sent him the body of a fine young Moor, which he dissected and made remarks on, but they were never published. The result of his anatomical knowledge may be seen in the powerful muscular developement of his figures: he left no part undefined.

Several remarks occur in the course of Michael Angelo’s letters concerning his art. Speaking of the rivalry between sculpture and painting, he says, “The sculptor arrives at his end by taking away what is superfluous; the painter produces his, by adding the materials which embody the representation to the mind: however, after all, they are both produced by the same intelligence, and the superiority is not worth disputing about, since more time may be lost in the discussion, than would produce the works themselves.” At one time, however, Michael Angelo regarded painting with less favour than he expresses in this letter. It is addressed to Varchi, who wrote a dissertation on the subject, and sent it to him with an inquiry, which had divided the amateurs of Florence, as to whether painting or sculpture required the most talent. Varchi’s treatise has the merit of having convinced Michael Angelo that he was in error, and with the truth and candour inseparable from such a character he confessed his mistake. “Of the relative importance of painting and sculpture,” says Michael Angelo, “I think painting excellent in proportion as it approaches relievo, and relievo bad in proportion as it partakes of the character of a picture, and therefore I was used to be of opinion, that painting might be considered as borrowing light from sculpture, and the difference between them as the sun and moon. Now, however, since I have read your dissertation, which treats the subject philosophically, and shows, that those things which have the same end, are one, and the same, I have changed my opinion, and say, that, if greater judgment, labour, difficulty, and impediment, confer no dignity on the work on which it is bestowed, painting and sculpture may be considered without giving the preeminence to either: and since it has been so considered, no painter ought to undervalue sculpture, and in like manner, no sculptor ought to make light of painting.”

Great as Michael Angelo was in art, his intellectual character was greater. “No one,” says Mr. Duppa, “ever felt the dignity of human nature with its noblest attributes more forcibly than Michael Angelo, and his disgust at any violation of principle was acute in proportion to his sensibility and love of truth.” He despised and shrunk from the shadow of a meanness: hating the heartlessness of unmeaning profession, he regarded the dazzling simulation which constitutes the polish of society as a soul-cloud. With these commanding views of self dignity he poured out his feelings to his friend Luigi del Ricco, in


Translated by Robert Southey Esq.

(From Mr. Duppa’s Life of Michael Angelo.)

Ill hath he chosen his part who seeks to please
The worthless world,—ill hath he chosen his part,
For often must he wear the look of ease
When grief is at his heart;
And often in his hours of happier feeling
With sorrow must his countenance be hung,
And ever his own better thoughts concealing
Must in stupid grandeur’s praise be loud,
And to the errors of the ignorant crowd
Assent with lying tongue.
Thus much would I conceal—that none should know
What secret cause I have for silent woe;
And taught by many a melancholy proof
That those whom fortune favours it pollutes
I from the blind and faithless world aloof,
Nor fear its envy nor desire its praise,
But choose my path through solitary ways.

It was one of Michael Angelo’s high qualities to bear about him an atmosphere which the parasite dared not approach: no heart-eater could live in it.

He justly estimated whatever was influential in society; and hence though he seemed to look down upon rank as an accident of life, he was not regardless of its use. To those whom distinctions had raised, he paid the deference accorded to their dignities. Yet towards him who touched his integrity, he bore a lofty carriage, and when he condescended to resent [277, 278] the attack, hurled an impetuous defiance that kindled as it flew, and consumed the insulting defamer, though he were ensconced behind countless quarterings, or ermined and enthroned. To the constant calumny of jealous rivalry, and the daily lie of envy and enmity, he was utterly indifferent. When asked why he did not resent the aspersions incessantly poured upon him by one of his assailants, he answered—“He who contends with the worthless can gain nothing worth possessing.”

Michael Angelo’s temper was “sudden and quick;” but his nature was kind and benevolent. Inferior artists frequently experienced his friendly disposition. He sometimes made drawings and modelled for them. To Minigella, a very indifferent hand, he gave the model of a crucifix beautifully executed, from which the poor fellow formed a mould and made casts of papier mache to sell to the country people. Friendship and esteem for particular individuals oftener induced him to undertake works than proffers of large sums. Yet he was not indifferent or insensible to a just estimation of his talents when they were undervalued. For Angelo Doni, a Florentine of taste, he painted a holy family, and sent it home with a note requiring seventy ducats for it. Doni told the messenger he thought forty were enough; Michael replied by demanding the picture or a hundred; Doni said he was willing to pay the seventy; Michael demanded a hundred and forty, and Doni paid the sum.

He honoured worthy men in every station. His purse was open to their necessities; he condoled with them in their afflictions, and lightened their oppressions by his sympathies and influence. To artists and men of talent his liberality was munificent. He neither loved money nor accumulated it. His gifts were the free-will offerings of his heart, and hence its dispensations were unaccompanied by a notoriety which sullies the purity of primary obligation, by exposing the nakedness of its object.

Conversing one day with his old and faithful servant, he said, “What will become of you, Urbine, if I should die?” “I must then seek another master” was the reply. “Poor fellow,” said Michael, “thou shalt not need another master,” and he gave him two thousand crowns. This was a large sum in those days: Vasari says such a donation would only have been expected from popes and great emperors. Michael afterwards procured him an appointment in the Vatican to take care of the pictures, with a monthly salary of six ducats; and preserving his regard for the old man, Michael, though at that time eighty-two years of age, sat up with him by night in his last illness. “His death has been a heavy loss to me,” he wrote to Vasari, “and the cause of excessive grief, but it has also been a most impressive lesson of the grace of God: for it has shown me, that he, who in his lifetime comforted me in the enjoyment of life, dying has taught me how to die; not with reluctance, but even with a desire of death. He lived with me twenty-six years, grew rich in my service, and I found him a most rare and faithful servant; and now that I calculated upon his being the staff and repose of my old age he is taken away, and has left me only the hope of seeing him again in paradise.”

Michael Angelo was never married. To one who lamented that he had no children to inherit his property, Michael answered, “My works must supply their place; and if they are good for any thing they will live hereafter. It would have been unfortunate for Lorenzo Ghiberti, had he not left the doors of S. Giovanni, for his sons and his nephews have long since sold and dissipated his accumulated wealth; but his sculpture remains, and will continue to record his name to future ages.” These “doors” were of bronze. When Michael was asked his opinion of them, he said they were fit to be the doors of paradise.

Throughout the poetry of Michael Angelo, of which there is much in existence, love is a pervading sentiment, though, without reference to any particular object. Condivi had often heard him discourse upon it as a passion platonically; and Mr. Duppa gives the following sonnet, translated from the Italian of Michael Angelo by Mr. Wordsworth, as exemplifying Michael’s turn of thought:

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By Michael Angelo.

Yes! hope may with my strong desire keep pace,
And I be undeluded, unbetray’d;
For, if of our affections none find grace
In sight of Heaven, then wherefore hath God made
The world which we inhabit? Better plea
Love cannot have, than that in loving thee,
Glory to that eternal Peace is paid,
Who such divinity to thee imparts
As hallows and makes pure all gentle hearts.
His hope is treacherous only, whose love dies
With beauty, which is varying every hour;
But in chaste hearts, uninfluenced by the power
Of outward change, there blooms a deathless flower
That breathes on earth the air of Paradise.

The personal beauty and intellectual endowments of Vittoria Colonna, marchioness of Pescara, impressed Michael Angelo with sentiments of affectionate esteem. She admired his genius, and frequently left her residence at Viterbo for the sole purpose of enjoying his society at Rome. He addressed three sonnets and a madrigal to her. In her last moments he paid her a visit, and told Condivi he grieved he had not kissed her cheek, as he had her hand, for there was little hope of his ever seeing her again. He penned an epitaph on her decease: the recollection of her death constantly dejected him.

To the purity of his thoughts, there is a high testimony by Condivi. “In a long intimacy, I have never heard from his mouth a single word that was not perfectly decorous, and had not for its object to extinguish in youth every improper and lawless desire: his nature is a stranger to depravity.” He was religious, not by the show, but from feeling and conviction As an instance, a short poetical supplication, translated by Mr. Duppa into prose, is remarkable for its self-knowledge and simplicity; it is here subjoined:—

To the Supreme Being.

“My prayers will be sweet if thou lendest me virtue to make them worthy to be heard; my unfruitful soil cannot produce virtue of itself. Thou knowest the seed, and how to sow it, that it may spring up in the mind to produce just and pious works: if thou showest not the hallowed path, no one by his own knowledge can follow thee. Pour thou into my mind the thoughts that may conduct me in thy holy steps; and endue me with a fervent tongue, that I may alway praise, exalt, and sing thy glory.”

Finally, it may be added, that in an age of splendid vice, Michael Angelo was an illustrious example of virtue.

To Michael Angelo—Immortal

Michael! to what thou wert, if I could raise
An aspiration, or a holy light,
Within one reader, I’d essay to praise
Thy virtue; and would supplicate the muse
For flowers to deck thy greatness: so I might
But urge one youthful artist on to choose
A life like thine, I would attempt the hill
Where well inspiring floods, and thence would drink
Till—as the Pythoness of old, the will
No longer then controll’d by sense—I’d think
Alone of good and thee, and with loud cries,
Break the dead slumber of undeeming man,
Refresh him with a gush of truth, surprise
Him with thy deeds, and show him thine was Wisdom’s plan.

[281, 282]


This zodiacal sign is said to symbolize the fishery of the Nile, which usually commenced at this season of the year. According to an ancient fable, it represents Venus and Cupid, who, to avoid Typhon, a dreadful giant with a hundred heads, transformed themselves into fish. This fabulous monster, it seems, threw the whole host of heathen deities into confusion. His story shortly is, that as soon as he was born, he began to avenge the death of his brethren, the giants who had warred against Olympus, by resuming the conflict alone. Flames of fire darted from his eyes and mouths; he uttered horrid yells, and so frightened the pagan celestials, that Jupiter himself became a ram, Juno a cow, Mercury an ibis, Apollo a crow, Bacchus a goat, Diana a cat, Venus a fish, &c. till Jupiter hurled a rock and buried him under Ætna. The idol Dagon, with a human head and arms, and a fish’s tail, is affirmed to be the symbol of the sun in Pisces, and to allegorize that the earth teems with corn and fruits.

The sun generally enters Pisces about the period of February; for instance, in 1824 on the 16th, in 1825 on the 18th of the month. The Romans imagined that the entrance of the sun into Pisces was attended by bad weather, and gales of uncertainty to the mariner.[1] Thomson sings, that in this month—

Muttering, the winds at eve, with blunted point,
Blow hollow-blustering from the south. Subdued,
The frost resolves into a trickling thaw,
Spotted, the mountains shine; loose sleet descends,
And floods the country round. The rivers swell,
Of bonds impatient. Sudden from the hills,
O’er rocks and woods, in broad, brown cataracts,
A thousand snow-fed torrents shoot at once;
And where they rush, the wide resounding plain
Is left one slimy waste.


[1] Dr. Forster’s Perenn. Cal.

February 18.

St. Simeon, Bp. of Jerusalem, A. D. 116. Sts. Leo and Paregorius, 3d Cent.


On the 18th of February 1734, the house of commons received a petition from Mr. Samuel Buckley, a learned printer; setting forth that he had, at his sole expense, by several years’ labour, and with the assistance of some learned persons abroad and at home, made collections of original papers and letters relating to “Thuanus’s History,” written in Latin, in order to a new and accurate edition, in 7 vols. folio, which was finished; that the act of the 8th of Q. Anne, [283, 284] for the encouragement of learning, extended only to the authors, purchasers, or proprietors of the copy-right of any book in English, published after the 10th of April, 1710, and allowed the importation or vending of any books in foreign language printed beyond the seas; so that any books, first compiled and printed in this kingdom in any of those languages, might be reprinted abroad and sold in this kingdom, to the great damage of the first printer or proprietor: he therefore prayed, that he might be allowed the same benefit in his copy of the “History of Thuanus,” in Latin, for fourteen years. Leave was given to bring in the bill, and it afterwards passed into an act.

The protection of this excellent work was a justice due to the spirit and liberality of Mr. Buckley. He had been originally a bookseller. John Dunton says of him, “He is an excellent linguist, understands the Latin, French, Dutch, and Italian languages, and is master of a great deal of wit: he prints the ‘Daily Courant,’ and ‘Monthly Register,’ which, I hear, he translates out of the foreign papers himself:”—a great merit, it should seem, in the eyes of old Dunton.

Mr. Buckley was a really learned printer. The collections for his edition of Thuanus were made by Carte, who had fled to France from an accusation of high treason, during the rebellion of 1715 and while in that country possessed himself of so many materials for the purpose, that he consulted Dr. Mead, the celebrated physician, and patron of literary men, concerning the undertaking. By the doctor’s recommendation, it was intrusted to Mr. Buckley, who imported the paper for it, which, with the materials, cost him 2,350l. He edited the work with fidelity, and executed it with elegance.

Mr. Buckley was the publisher of the “Spectator,” which appeared in folio from his shop at the Dolphin in Little Britain, a place then filled with booksellers. At the close of the seventh volume this popular work was suspended, but resumed by Buckley in Amen-corner. He attained to opulence and respectability, was in the commission of the peace for Middlesex, and died, greatly esteemed, on the 8th of September, 1741, in the sixty-eighth year of his age.[2]

It is related of the great lord chancellor Hardwicke, that he so highly regarded “Thuanus’s History,” as to have resigned the seals for the express purpose of being enabled to read it in the original language.[3] It has been computed that a person who gave his attention to this work for four hours every day, would not finish the perusal in twelve months. It comprehends the events of sixty-four years, during the times wherein Thuanus lived and flourished as an eminent French author and statesman. His English biographer quotes, as a character of his writings, that, “in a word, they are calculated to render those who attend to them better and wiser men.”[4]


Wall Speedwell. Veronica vivensis.
Dedicated to St. Simeon of Jerusalem.

[2] Mr. Nichols’s Lit. Anecdotes.

[3] Bibliog. Dict.

[4] Mr. Collinson’s Life of Thuanus.

February 19.

St. Barbatus, or Barbas, Bp. A. D. 682.

This saint is patron of Benevento, of which city he was bishop. Butler relates no miracle of him, nor does it appear from him that any other name in the calendar of the Romish church is affixed to this day.


A pretty trifle from the Greek is descriptive of appearances about this period:—

To a Lady on her Birthday

See amidst the winter’s cold,
Tender infant of the spring;
See the rose her bud unfold,
Every sweet is on the wing.
Hark! the purple flow’ret cries,
’Tis for thee we haste away,
’Tis for thee we brave the skies,
Smiling on thy natal day,
Soon shalt thou the pleasure prove,
Which awaits on virtuous love.
Place us ’midst thy flowing hair,
Where each lovely grace prevails,
Happier we to deck the fair,
Than to wait the vernal gales.


Field Speedwell. Veronica agrestis.
Dedicated to St. Barbatus.

[285, 286]

February 20.

St. Tyrannio, Bp. &c. A. D. 310. Sts. Sadoth, Bp. &c. A. D. 342. St. Eleutherius, Bp. A. D. 532. St. Mildred, Abbess. St. Eucherius, Bp. A. D. 743. St. Ulrick.

St. Mildred.

This saint was the first abbess of Minster, in the isle of Thanet, founded by king Egbert about 670, in satisfaction for having murdered his two nephews, Etheldred and Ethelbright; to which satisfaction he was “miraculously terrified, by seeing a ray of bright light dart from the heavens upon their grave.” In 1033, her remains were removed to St. Augustine’s monastery at Canterbury, and venerated above all the relics there, and worked miracles, as all saints’ relics did in those favoured times. The churches of St. Mildred, Bread-street, and St. Mildred in the Poultry, London, are dedicated to her.[5]

In St. Mildred’s church in the Poultry, Thomas Tusser, whose “Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandrie” have been cited in former pages of this work, was buried, and on his tomb this


Here Thomas Tusser, clad in earth, doth lie,
That sometime made the pointes of Husbandrie:
By him then learne thou maist: here learne we must,
When all is done, we sleepe, and turne to dust:
And yet, through Christ, to Heaven we hope to goe;
Who reades his bookes, shall find his faith was so.[6]

St. Ulrick.

Of this saint, who died the 28th of February, 1154, Butler says little.

The Flowers of the Lives of the most renowned Saincts of the three kingdoms, England, Scotland, and Ireland, written and collected out of the best authours and manuscripts of our nation, and distributed according to their feasts in the calendar, By the R. Father, Hierome Porter, Priest and Monke of the holy order of Sainct Benedict, of the Congregation of England, Printed at Doway with licence, and approbation of the Ordinary, M.dc.xxxii,” relates of this saint, that he was born in a village called Lenton, or Litton, near Bristol, with many marvels concerning him, and among them this:—He became a priest, but kept hawks and dogs for sport, till he met a beggar who asked alms. Ulrick said, he did not know whether he had aught to bestow: “Look in thy purse,” quoth the beggar, “and there thou shalt find twopence halfpenny.” Ulrick finding as he was told, received thanks, and a prophecy that he should become a saint, whereupon he starved and hermitized at Hessleborough, in Dorsetshire, about thirty miles from Exeter. “The skin only sticking to his bones,” his daintiest food was oaten-bread and water-gruel. He passed many nights without sleep, never slept but when he could not keep awake, and never went to bed, “but, leaning his head to a wall, he tooke a short allowance;” and when he awoke, “he would much blame and chastise his body, as yielding vnto ouermuch nicenesse.” His pillow was ropes of hay, his clothing poor, and lined next the skin with a rough shirt of hair-cloth, till his flesh having overcome its uneasiness, he wore next his skin an iron coat of mail. In the sharpest cold of winter, having first put off his iron shirt, he was wont to get into a vessel of cold water and recite psalms. His coat of mail hanging below his knees, he went to the knight who gave it to him, to take counsel therein. His military adviser persuaded him to send it to London to be cut; but he gave the knight “a payre of sheares.” The knight hesitated, the other entreated. “The one falls to his prayers, the other endeavours with iron and steale to cut iron and steale, when both their labours tooke prosperous effect; for the knight, in his cutting worke, seemed rather to divide a piece of cloath than a peece of iron.” Then the saint, “without any sheeres, pulled asunder the little rings of that part of his coate cutt off, and distributed them charitably to all that desired, by virtue whereof manie diseases were cured.” Envying such rare goodness, an infernal spirit, in most horrible shape, dragged him into the church, and ran him round the pavement, till the apparition of a virgin stopped this rude behaviour; however, the infernal took advantage of the saint when he was sick, and with a staff he had in his hand gave him three knocks on the head, and departed. The devil tormented him other [287, 288] ways; he cast him into an intolerable heat, then he gave him an intolerable cold, and then he made him dream a dream, whereby the saint shamed the devil by openly confessing it at church on Easter-day before all the people. At length, after other wonders, “the joints of his iron coate miraculously dissolved, and it fell down to his knees.” Upon this, he foretold his death on the next Saturday, and thereon he died. Such, and much more is put forth concerning St. Ulrick, by the aforesaid “Flowers of the Saincts,” which contains a prayer to be used preparatory to the perusal, with these words, “that this holy reading of their lives may soe inflame our hearts, that we may follow and imitate the traces of their glorious example, that, after this mortall life, we may be made worthie to enjoy their most desired companie.”


Navelwort. Cynoglossum omphalodes.
Dedicated to St. Mildred.


On the 20th of February 1749, Usher Gahagan, by birth a gentleman, and by education a scholar, perished at Tyburn. His attainments were elegant and superior; he was the editor of Brindley’s beautiful edition of the classics, and translated Pope’s “Essay on Criticism” into Latin verse. Better grounded in learning than in principle, he concentrated liberal talents to the degrading selfishness of robbing the community of its coin by clipping. During his confinement, and hoping for pardon, he translated Pope’s “Temple of Fame,” and his “Messiah,” into the same language, with a dedication to the duke of Newcastle. To the same end, he addressed prince George and the recorder in poetic numbers. These efforts were of no avail. Two of his miserable confederates in crime were his companions in death. He suffered with a deeper guilt, because he had a higher knowledge than ignorant and unthinking criminals, to whom the polity of society, in its grounds and reasons, is unknown.

Accomplishments upon vice are as beautiful colours on a venomous reptile. Learning is a vain show, and knowledge mischievous, without the love of goodness, or the fear of evil. Children have fallen from careless parents into the hands of the executioner, in whom the means of distinguishing between right and wrong might have become a stock for knowledge to ripen on, and learning have preserved the fruits to posterity. Let not him despair who desires to know, or has power to teach—

There is in every human heart,
Some not completely barren part,
Where seeds of truth and love might grow
And flowers of generous virtue blow:
To plant, to watch, to water there,
This be our duty, be our care.


[5] Butler’s Lives of the Saints.

[6] Stow.

February 21.

St. Severianus, Bp. A. D. 452. Sts. German, Abbot, and Randaut, or Randoald, A. D. 666. Sts. Daniel and Verda, A. D. 344. B. Pepin, of Landen, A. D. 640.


“Here it is,” says the “Indicator,” “ready laid. Imprimis, tea and coffee; secondly, dry toast; thirdly, butter; fourthly, eggs; fifthly, ham; sixthly, something potted; seventhly, bread, salt, mustard, knives and forks, &c. One of the first things that belong to a breakfast is a good fire. There is a delightful mixture of the lively and the snug in coming down into one’s breakfast-room of a cold morning, and seeing every thing prepared for us; a blazing grate, a clean table-cloth and tea-things, the newly-washed faces and combed heads of a set of good-humoured urchins, and the sole empty chair at its accustomed corner, ready for occupation. When we lived alone, we could not help reading at meals: and it is certainly a delicious thing to resume an entertaining book at a particularly interesting passage, with a hot cup of tea at one’s elbow, and a piece of buttered toast in one’s hand. The first look at the page, accompanied by a coexistent bite of the toast, comes under the head of intensities.”


The weather is now cold and mild alternately. In our variable climate we one day experience the severity of winter, and a genial warmth prevails the next; and, indeed, such changes are not unfrequently felt in the same day. Winter, however, at this time breaks apace, and we have presages of the genial season.

[289, 290]

Oxen, o’er the furrow’d soil,
Urging firm their annual toil;
Trim cottages that here and there,
Speckling the social tilth, appear:
And spires, that as from groves they rise,
Tell where the lurking hamlet lies:
Hills white with many a bleating throng,
And lakes, whose willowy banks along,
Herds or ruminate, or lave,
Immersing in the silent wave.
The sombre wood—the cheerful plain,
Green with the hope of future grain:
A tender blade, ere Autumn smile
Benignant on the farmer’s toil,
Gild the ripe fields with mellowing hand,
And scatter plenty through the land.

Baron Smith.


White crocus. Crocus versicolor.
Dedicated to St. Servianus.

February 22.

The Chair of St. Peter at Antioch. St. Margaret, of Cortona, A. D. 1297. Sts. Thalasius and Limneus. St. Baradat.

St. Margaret.

She was a penitent, asked public pardon for her sins with a rope about her neck, punished her flesh, and worked miracles accordingly.[7]

Sts. Thalasius and Limneus.

St. Thalasius dwelt in a cavern, “and was endowed with extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost; but was a treasure unknown to the world.” St. Limneus was his disciple, and “famous for miraculous cures of the sick,” while his master “bore patiently the sharpest cholics, and other distempers, without any human succour.”[8]

St. Baradat.

This saint lived in a trellis-hut, exposed to the severities of the weather, and clothed in the skins of beasts.[9]


Herb Margaret. Bellis perennis.
Dedicated to St. Margaret, of Cortona.


A valued correspondent obliges the Every-Day Book with an original sketch, hasty and spirited as its hero, when the sports of the field allured him from the pursuits of literature at college, and the domestic comforts of wife and home.

To the Editor.

To disemburthen oneself of ennui, and to find rational amusement for every season of the year, is a grand desideratum in life. Luckily I have hit on’t, and beg leave, as being the properest place, to give my recipe in the Everlasting Calendar you are compiling. I contrive then to give myself employment for every time of year. Neither lively Spring, glowing Summer, sober Autumn, nor dreary Winter, come amiss to me; for I have contrived to make myself an Universal Sportsman, and am become so devoted a page of Diana, that I am dangling at her heels all the year round without being tired of it. In bleak and frozen January, besides sliding, skating in figures, and making men of snow to frighten children with, by means of a lantern placed in a skull at the top of them, I now and then get a day’s cock shooting when the frost breaks, or kill a few small birds in the snow. In lack of other game, a neighbour’s duck, or goose, or a chicken, shot and pocketed as I sally out to the club dinner, are killed more easily than my dairymaid does it, poor things!

In February, the weather being rainy or mild, renders it worth my while to send my stud into Leicestershire for hunting again; and so my white horse Skyscraper, my old everlasting chestnut Silvertail, the only good black in the hunt Sultan, and the brown mare Rosinante, together with Alfana the king of the Cocktails, a hack or two, and a poney for errands, are “pyked off” pack and baggage for Melton; and then from the first purple dawn of daylight, when I set off to cover, to the termination of the day with cards, I have plenty of rational amusement. Next month, forbearing March hares, I shoot a few snipes before they are all gone, and at night prepare my fishing tackle for April, when the verdant meadows again draw me to the riverside to angle.

My wife has now rational employment for the rest of the Summer in catching and impaling the various flies of the season against my trout mania comes, which is usual early in May, when all her maids assist in this flyfowling sport. I have generally been successful in sport, but I shall never forget my disappointment [291, 292] when on throwing in a flyline which was not baited by myself, I found that Sally, mistaking her new employment, had baited my hook with an earwig. In June I neglected my Grass for the same sport, and often let it stand till the Hay is spoiled by Swithin, who wipes his watery eyes with what ought to be my Winter’s fodder. This gives me rational, though troublesome, employment in buying Hay or passing off the old at market. July, however, affords plenty of bobfishing, as I call it, for roach, dace, perch, and bleak. I also gudgeon some of my neighbours, and cast a line of an evening into their carp and tench ponds. I have not, thank my stars, either stupidity or patience enough for barbel. But in August, that is before the 12th, I get my trolling tackle in order, and am reminded of my old vermin college days, when shutting my room door, as if I was “sported in” and cramming Euclid, I used to creep down to the banks of the Cam, and clapping my hands on my old rod, with his long line to him, exclaimed, in true Horatian measure, the only Latin line I ever cited in my life,

Progenie longa gaudes captare Johannes.

But, oh! the 12th day of August, that mountain holiday, ushered in by the ringing of the sheep bell—’tis then that, jacketed in fustian, with a gun on my shoulder, and a powder horn belted to my side, I ramble the rough highland hills in quest of blackcocks and red game, get now and then a chance shot at a ptarmagan, and once winged a Capercaille on a pine tree at Invercauld. In hurrying home for the First of September, I usually pass through the fens of Lincolnshire, and there generally kill a wild duck or two. You must know I have, besides my pointers, setters, and spaniels, water dogs of every sort. Indeed my dog establishment would astonish Acteon. There are my harriers, Rockwood, Ringwood, Lasher, Jowler, Rallywood, and twenty more; my pointers, Ponto and Carlo; my spaniels, Dash and Old Grizzle; Hedgehog and Pompey, my water dogs. No one, I bet a crown, has better greyhounds than Fly and Dart are, nor a surer lurcher than Groveller. I say nothing of those inferior “Lares,” my terriers—ratcatching Busy, Snap, and Nimbletoes, with whom, in the absense of other game, I go sometimes for a frolic to a farmhouse, disguised as a ratcatcher, and take a shilling for ferret work.

But now I come to thy shrine, O lovely Septembria, thou fairest nymyh in Diana’s train, with rolling blue eyes as sharp and as true as those of a signal lieutenant; I come to court thee again, and may thy path be even paved with the skulls of partridges. Again I come to dine with thee on the leveret’s back or pheasant’s wings. We’ve wildboars’ bladders for wine bottles, ramshorns for corkscrews, bugles for funnels, gunpowder for snuff, smoke for tobacco, woodcock’s bills for toothpicks, and shot for sugar plums! I dare not proceed to tell you now many brace of birds Ponto and I bag the first day of shooting, as the long bow, instead of the fowling piece, might be called my weapon. But enough rodomontading.

I now come to October. Pheasants by all that’s volatile! And then, after them, I go to my tailor and order two suits—scarlet for master Reynard, and a bottlegreen jacket for the harriers, top-boots, white corderoy inexpressibles, and a velvet cap. Then when the covers ring again with the hallowed music of harriers, I begin skylarking the gates and setting into wind to follow the foxhounds in November. When

The dusky night rides down the sky,
And ushers in the morn,
The Hounds all make a jovial cry,
And the Huntsman winds his horn.

With three days in the week chace, and pretty little interludes of hunting with beagles, or of snipe shooting, I manage to get through December to the year’s end. My snug Winter evenings are spent in getting ready my guns, smacking new hunting whips, or trying on new boots, while my old hall furnishes ample store of trophies, stags’ horns hunted by my great grandfather, cross bows, guns, brushes won on rivals of Pegasus, and all sorts of odd oldfashioned whips, horns, and accoutrements, hanging up all round, which remind me of those days of yore when I remember the old squire and his sporting chaplain casting home on spent horses all bespattered from the chase, before I had ridden any thing but my rocking horse. There then have I rational amusement all the year round. And much and sincerely do I praise thee, O Diana! greatest Diana of the Ephesians! at thy feet will I repose my old and weatherbeaten carcass at last and invoke thy [293, 294] tutelary protection for my old age, thou who art Hunting, Shooting, and Fishing personified, the true Diva Triformis of Antiquity.

Imminens Villæ tua Pinus esto,
Quam per exactos ego lætus annos,
Verris obliquum meditantis ictum,
Sanguine donem.

I have the honour to remain,
Yours ever,
Jack Larking.

To a “proper new” tune.

No!—I have nothing new to say,
Why must ye wait to hear my story?
Go, get thee on thy trackless way,
There’s many a weary mile before ye—
Get thee to bed, lest some poor poet,
Enraptur’d with thy phiz, should dip
A pen in ink to let thee know it,
And (mindful not to let thee slip
His fingers) bid thy moonship stay
And list, what he might have to say.
Yet I do love thee!—and if aught
The muse can serve thee, will petition
Her grace t’ attend thine airy court,
And play the part of first musician—
But “ode,” and “lines,” “address,” and “sonnet,”
“To Luna dedicate,” are now
So plentiful, that (fie upon it!)
She’ll add no glory to thy brow,
But tell thee, in such strains as follow,
That thy mild sheen beats Phosphor hollow!
That thou art “fairest of the fair,”
Tho’ Phœbus more that’s grand possesses,
That tree and tower reflect thy glare,
And the glad stream thy ray confesses,
That, when thy silvery beams illumine
The landscape, nature seems bedight
With loveliness so rare, that few men
Have e’er been blessed with such a sight!
And all such moonshine:—but enough
Of this tame “milk and water” stuff.


[7] Butler’s Saints.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

February 23.

St. Serenus, A. D. 307. St. Milburge. B. Dositheus. St. Peter Damian, Card. Bp. A. D. 1072. St. Boisil, Prior of Melross.

St. Milburge, 7th Cent.

She was sister to St. Mildred, wore a hair cloth, and built the monastery of Wenlock, in Shropshire. One day being at Stokes, a neighbouring village, brother Hierome Porter says, that “a young gallant, sonne to a prince of that countrey, was soe taken with her beautie, that he had a vehement desire to carrie her away by force and marrie her.” St. Milburge fled from him and his companions till she had passed a little brook, called Corfe, which then suddenly swelled up and threatened her pursuers with destruction, wherefore they desisted. She ordered the wild geese who ate the corn of her monastic fields to be gone elsewhere, and they obeyed her as the waters did. After her death, her remains were discovered, in 1100, by two children sinking up to their knees in her grave, the dust whereof cured leprosies, restored the sight, and spoiled medical practice. A diseased woman at Patton, drinking of the water wherein St. Milburge’s bones were washed, there came from her stomach “a filthie worme, ugly and horrible to behold, having six feete, two hornes on his head, and two on his tayle.” Brother Porter tells this, and that the “worme was shutt up in a hollow piece of wood, and reserved afterwards in the monasterie, as a trophie, and monument of S. Milburg, untill by the lascivious furie of him that destroyed all goodnes in England, that, with other religious houses, and monasteries, went to ruine.”[10] Hence the “filthie worme” was lost, and we have nothing instead but the Reformation.


Apricot. Prunus Armeniaca.
Dedicated to St. Milburge.


If ice still remain let those who tempt it beware:—

The frost-bound rivers bear the weight
Of many a vent’rous elf;
Let each who crowds to see them skate
Be careful for himself:
For, like the world, deceitful ice
Who trusts it makes them rue:
’Tis slippery as the paths of vice,
And quite as faithless too.

[295, 296]

Stoning Jews in Lent.—A Custom.

From the sabbath before Palm-Sunday, to the last hour of the Tuesday after Easter, “the Christians were accustomed to stone and beat the Jews,”[11] and all Jews who desired to exempt themselves from the infliction of this cruelty, commuted for a payment in money. It was likewise ordained in one of the Catholic services, during Lent, that all orders of men should be prayed for except the Jews.[12] These usages were instituted and justified by a dreadful perversion of scripture, when rite and ceremony triumphed over truth and mercy. Humanity was dead, for superstition Molochized the heart.

From the dispersion of the Jews they have lived peaceably in all nations towards all, and in all nations been persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and put to death, or massacred by mobs. In England, kings conspired with their subjects to oppress them. To say nothing of the well-known persecutions they endured under king John, the walls of London were repaired with the stones of their dwellings, which his barons had pillaged and destroyed. Until the reign of Henry II., a spot of ground near Red-cross-street, in London, was the only place in all England wherein they were allowed to bury their dead.

In 1262, after the citizens of London broke into their houses, plundered their property, and murdered seven hundred of them in cold blood, King Henry III. gave their ruined synagogue in Lothbury to the friars called the fathers of the sackcloth. The church of St. Olave in the Old Jewry was another of their synagogues till they were dispossessed of it: were the sufferings they endured to be recounted we should shudder. Our old English ancestors would have laughed any one to derision who urged in a Jew’s behalf, that he had “eyes,” or “hands,” “organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions;” or that he was “fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian [297, 298] is.” They would have deemed a man mad had one been found with a desire to prove that

———— the poor Jew,
In corporal sufferance feels a pang as great
As when a Christian dies.

To say nothing of their more obvious sufferings for many centuries, the tide of public opinion raged against the Jews vehemently and incessantly. They were addressed with sneers and contumely; the finger of vulgar scorn was pointed at them; they were hunted through the streets in open day, and when protected from the extremity of violence, it was with tones and looks denoting that only a little lower hate sanctuaried their persons. In conversation and in books they were a by-word, and a jest.

A work printed in 1628, for popular entertainment, entitled “A Miscellany of Seriousness with Merriment, consisting of Witty Questions, Riddles, Jests,” &c. tells this story as a good joke. A sea captain on a voyage, with thirty passengers, being overtaken by a violent tempest, found it necessary to throw half of them overboard, in order to lighten the vessel. Fifteen of the passengers were Christians, and the other fifteen were Jews, but in this exigency they unanimously agreed in the captain’s opinion, and that he should place the whole thirty in a circle, and throw every ninth man over till only fifteen were left. To save the Christians, the captain placed his thirty passengers in this order, viz.: four Christians, five Jews; two Christians, one Jew; three Christians, one Jew; one Christian, two Jews; two Christians, three Jews; one Christian, two Jews; two Christians, one Jew. He began to number from the first of the four Christians thus:


By this device, the captain preserved all the Christians, and deeped all the Jews.

Selden says, “Talk what you will of the Jews, that they are cursed, they thrive wherever they come: they are able to oblige the prince of their country by lending him money; none of them beg; they keep together; and for their being hated, my life for yours, Christians hate one another as much.” This was true, but it is also true that three quarters of a century have not elapsed since hatred to the Jews was a national feeling. In 1753, a bill was brought into the House of Lords for naturalizing the Jews, and relieving them from persecuting disabilities. It passed there on the ground that it would operate to the public advantage, by encouraging wealthy persons professing the Jewish religion to remove hither from foreign parts to the increase of the capital, commerce, and credit of the kingdom. The corporation of London in common council assembled, petitioned against it on the ground that it would dishonour the christian religion, endanger the constitution, and prejudice the interest and trade of the kingdom in general, and London in particular. A body of London merchants and traders also petitioned against it. Certain popular orators predicted that if the bill passed, the Jews would multiply so fast, become so rich, and get so much power, that their persons would be revered, their customs be imitated, and Judaism become the fashionable religion; they further alleged that the bill flew in the face of prophecy, which declared that the Jews should be scattered without a country or fixed habitation till their conversion, and that in short it was the duty of Christians to be unchristian. But the bill passed the commons after violent debates, and received the royal sanction. The nation was instantly in a ferment of horror and execration; and on the first day of the next session of parliament, ministers were constrained to bring in a bill to repeal the act of naturalization, and to the foul dishonour of the people of England at that period, the bill was repealed. From that hour to the present, the Jews have been subjected to their old pains, penalties, disqualifications, and privations. The enlightenment of this age has dispelled much of the darkness of the last. Yet the errors of public opinion then respecting the Jews, remain to be rectified now by the solemn expression of a better public opinion. Formerly, if one of the “ancient people” had said in the imploring language of the slave, “Am I not a man, and a brother?” he might have been answered, “No, you are not a man, but a Jew.” It is not the business of the Jews to petition for justice, but it is the duty of Christians to be just.

In the “General Evening Post” of June 21, 1777, a paragraph states, that [299, 300] “the following circumstance is not more ridiculous than true;” and it proceeds to relate, that some years before, at Stamford, in the province of Connecticut, America, it was determined to build a church; but “though the church was much wanted, as many people in that neighbourhood were at a loss for a place of public worship, yet the work stood still a considerable time for want of nails (for it was a wooden building;) at last, a Jew merchant made them a present of a cask, amounting to four hundred weight, and thus enabled the church to proceed.” Such an act might make some Christians exclaim, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Jew rather than remain a Jew-oppressor under the name of a Christian.” It is not, however, on private, but on open grounds and high principle, that justice should spontaneously be rendered to the Jews. The Jew and the Christian, the Catholic and the Protestant, the Episcopalian and the Dissenter, the Calvinist and the Arminian, the Baptist and the Unitarian, all persons, of all denominations, are willed and empowered by their common document to acts of justice and mercy, and they now meet as brethren in social life to perform them; but the unsued claim of their elder brother, the Jew, is acknowledged no where, save in the conscience of every “just man made perfect.”

To extend the benefits of Education to the children of the humbler classes of Jews, is one of the first objects with their opulent and enlightened brethren. The “Examiner” Sunday newspaper of the 4th of February, 1825, cooperates in their benevolent views by an article of information particularly interesting:—

“On Friday last, the Jews held their anniversary, at the London Tavern, Bishopsgate-street, to celebrate their plan for the education of 600 boys and 300 girls, instituted April 20, 1818, in Bell-lane, Spitalfields. It was gratifying to contrast the consideration in which the Jews are now held in this country with their illiberal and cruel treatment in former times; and it was no less gratifying to observe, that the Jews themselves are becoming partakers of the spirit of the present times, by providing for the education of the poor, which, till within a very few years past, had been too much neglected; another pleasing feature in the meeting was, that it was not an assemblage of Jews only, but attended by people of other denominations, both as visitors and subscribers. Samuel Joseph, Esq., the president, was in the chair. Some loyal and patriotic toasts were given, appropriate addresses were delivered by different gentlemen, and the more serious business, of receiving and announcing new subscriptions, was much enlivened by a good band of vocal and instrumental music. Among the subscriptions referred to, one was of a peculiarly generous nature. An unknown hand had forwarded to the treasurer on the two last meetings a sum of 200l. This year he received instructions to clothe all the children at the expense of the same generous donor. The procession of the children round the hall, was an agreeable scene at this important meeting. A poetical address in the Hebrew language was delivered by one of the boys, and an English translation of it by one of the girls, each with propriety of accent, and much feeling.”

A record testifying the liberal disposition and humane attention of the Jews to the welfare of their offspring, is not out of place in a work which notices the progress of manners; and it is especially grateful to him who places it on this page, that he has an opportunity of evincing his respect for generous and noble virtues, in a people whose residence in all parts of the world has advantaged every state, and to whose enterprise and wealth, as merchants and bankers, every government in Europe has been indebted. Their sacred writings and their literature have been adopted by all civilized communities, while they themselves have been fugitives every where, without security any where. They are

———————a people scatter’d wide indeed,
Yet from the mingling world distinctly kept:
Ages ago, the Roman standard stood
Upon their ruins, yet have ages swept
O’er Rome herself, like an o’erwhelming flood,
Since down Jerus’lem’s streets she pour’d her children’s blood,
And still the nation lives!

Mr. Bull’s Museum.

[10] Porter’s Flowers of the Saints.

[11] Mr. Fosbroke’s Brit. Mon.

[12] Ibid.

[301, 302]

February 24.

St. Matthias, the Apostle. Sts. Montanus, Lucius, Flavian, Julian, Victoricus, Primolus, Rhenus, and Donation, A. D. 259. St. Lethard, or Luidhard, Bp. A. D. 566. B. Robert of Arbrissel, A. D. 1116. St. Pretextatus, or Prix, Abp. A. D. 549. St. Ethelbert, King.

St. Ethelbert.

He was king of Kent, and, according to Butler, the first christian king. It was under him that St. Augustine found favour when he landed in England with his monks, and is said to have introduced Christianity to the English people; an assertion wholly unfounded, inasmuch as it had been diffused hither centuries before. Augustine established nothing but monasteries and monkery, and papal domination.

Bertha, the queen of Ethelbert, was a convert, and her spiritual director officiated, before Augustine’s arrival, in the little church of St. Martin, situated just without Canterbury on the road to Margate; the present edifice is venerable for its site and its rude simplicity.

Ethelbert’s power is said to have extended to the Humber, and hence he is often styled king of the English. He was subdued to the views of the papacy by Augustine. Ethelbert founded Canterbury cathedral, and built without the walls of the city, the abbey and church of St. Peter and St. Paul, the ruins of which are denominated at this day St. Augustine’s monastery and Ethelbert’s tower. The foundation of the cathedral of Rochester, St. Paul’s at London, and other ecclesiastical structures, is ascribed to him. He died in 616. Sometimes he is called St. Albert, and churches are dedicated to him under that name.


On the 24th of February, 1809, died Mr. Jennings of Galley-lane, near Barnet, Herts. A few days previous to his decease he called on Mr. Wm. Salmon, his carpenter, at Shenley-hill, to go with him and fix upon a spot for his vault. On the Sunday before his death he went on horseback to Shenley-hill, and stopped at the White Horse to have a glass of warm wine, with the same intention of going to Ridge; and afterwards, seeing the rev. Mr. Jefferson, endeavoured to buy the ground, but differed with him for two guineas. On the Monday, he applied to Mr. Mars, of Barnet, for a vault there, but Mr. Jefferson sending him a note acceding to his terms, he opened it before Mr. Salmon and Dr. Booth, and after he had read it, showed it them, with this exclamation—“There, see what these fellows will do!” The day before he died he played at whist with Dr. Rumball, Dr. Booth, and his son, in bed: in the course of the evening he said, “The game is almost up.” He afterwards informed his son, he had lent a person some money that morning, and desired him to see it repaid. To some friends he observed, that he should not be long with them, and desiring them to leave the room he called back his son, for the purpose of saying to him, “I gave William money for coals this morning; deducting the turnpike, mind he gives you eleven and eightpence in change when he comes home. Your mother always dines at three o’clock, get your dinner with her, I shall be gone before that time—and don’t make any stir about me.” He died at half-past two. This account is from the manuscript papers of the late Mr. John Almon, in possession of the editor.

Regarding the season, there is an old proverb worthy noticing:

February fill dike, be it black or be it white:
But if it be white, it’s the better to like.

Old Proverb.


Great Fern. Osmunda regalis.
Dedicated to St. Ethelbert.

February 25.

St. Tarasius, A. D. 806. St. Victorinus, A. D. 284. St. Walburg, Abbess. St. Cæsarius, A. D. 369.

St. Walburg.

This saint, daughter of Richard, king of the West Saxons, also a saint, became a nun at Winburn in Dorsetshire, from whence, twenty-seven years after she had taken the veil, she went to Germany, and became abbess of a nunnery at Heidenheim in Suabia, where her brother governed an abbey of monks, which at his death, in 760, she also governed, and died in 779. His relics were distributed in the principal cities of the Low Countries, and the cathedral of Canterbury. [303, 304] The catalogue of relics in the electoral palace of Hanover, published there in 1713, mentions some of them there in a rich shrine. Butler calls them “rich particles.” Part of her jawbone, at Antwerp, was visited and kissed by the archduke Albert and Isabella in 1615. An oily liquor flowed from her tomb, and was a sovereign remedy, till the chemists and apothecaries somehow or other got their simples and substances into superior reputation. Strange to say, these victors over relics have never been canonized, yet their names would not sound badly in the calendar: for instance, St. William Allen, of Plough-court; St. Anderson, of Fleet-street; St. Cribb, of High Holborn; St. Hardy, of Walworth; St. Fidler, of Peckham; St. Perfect, of Hammersmith; &c.


It is observed by Dr. Forster in the “Perennial Calendar,” that about this season the purple spring crocus, crocus vernus, now blows, and is the latest of our crocuses. “It continues through March like the rest of the genus, and it varies with purple, with whitish, and with light blue flowers. The flowers appear before the leaves are grown to their full length. The vernal and autumnal crocus have such an affinity, that the best botanists only make them varieties of the same genus. Yet the vernal crocus expands its flowers by the beginning of March at farthest, often in very rigorous weather, and cannot be retarded but by some violence offered; while the autumnal crocus, or saffron, alike defies the influence of the spring and summer, and will not blow till most plants begin to fade and run to seed.

On the Seasons of Flowering, by White.

Say, what impels, amid surrounding snow,
Congealed, the Crocus’ flamy bud to glow?
Say, what retards, amid the Summer’s blaze,
The autumnal bulb, till pale, declining days?
The God of Seasons, whose pervading power
Controls the sun, or sheds the fleecy shower:
He bids each flower his quickening word obey;
Or to each lingering bloom enjoins delay.

We may now begin to expect a succession of spring flowers; something new will be opening every day through the rest of the season.”


A writer under the signature Crito in the “Truth Teller” dilates most pleasantly in his fourth letter concerning flowers and their names. He says “the pilgrimages and the travelling of the mendicant friars, which began to be common towards the close of the twelfth century, spread this knowledge of plants and of medical nostrums far and wide. Though many of these vegetable specifics have been of late years erased from our Pharmacopœias, yet their utility has been asserted by some very able writers on physic, and the author of these observations has himself often witnessed their efficacy in cases where regular practice had been unavailing. Mr. Abernethy has alluded to the surprising efficacy of these popular vegetable diet drinks, in his book on the ‘Digestic Organs.’ And it is a fact, curiously corroborating their utility, that similar medicines are used by the North American Indians, whose sagacity has found out, and known from time immemorial, the use of such various herbs as medicines, which the kind, hospitable woods provide; and by means of which Mr. Whitlaw is now making many excellent cures of diseases.” He then proceeds to mention certain plants noted by the monks, as flowering about the time of certain religious festivals: “The SNOWDROP, Galanthus nivalis, whose pure white and pendant flowers are the first harbingers of spring, is noted down in some calendars as being an emblem of the purification of the spotless virgin, as it blows about Candlemas, and was not known by the name of snowdrop till lately, being formerly called FAIR MAID OF FEBRUARY, in honour of our lady. Sir James Edward Smith, and other modern botanists, make this plant a native of England, but I can trace most of the wild specimens to some neighbouring garden, or old dilapidated monastery; and I am persuaded it was introduced into England by the monks subsequent to the conquest, and probably since the time of Chaucer, who does not notice it, though he mentions the daisy, and various less striking flowers. The LADYSMOCK, Cardamine pratensis, is a word corrupted of ‘our lady’s smock,’ a name by which this plant (as well as that of Chemise de nôtre Dame) is still known in parts of Europe: it first flowers about Lady Tide, or the festival of the Annunciation, and hence its name. Cross Flower, Polygala Vulgaris, which begins to flower about the Invention of the Cross, May 3, [305, 306] was also called Rogation flower, and was carried by maidens in the processions in Rogation week, in early times. The monks discovered its quality of producing milk in nursing women, and hence it was called milkwort. Indeed so extensive was the knowledge of botany, and of the medical power of herbs among the monks of old, that a few examples only can be adduced in a general essay, and indeed it appears that many rare species of exotics were known by them, and were inhabitants of their monastery gardens, which Beckmann in his ‘Geschichte der Erfindungen,’ and Dryander in the ‘Hortus Kewensis,’ have ascribed to more modern introducers. What is very remarkable is, that above three hundred species of medical plants were known to the monks and friars, and used by the religious orders in general for medicines, which are now to be found in some of our numerous books of pharmacy and medical botany, by new and less appropriate names; just as if the Protestants of subsequent times had changed the old names with a view to obliterate any traces of catholic science. Linnæus, however, occasionally restored the ancient names. The following are some familiar examples which occur to me, of all medicinal plants, whose names have been changed in later times. The virgin’s bower, of the monastic physicians, was changed into flammula Jovis, by the new pharmaciens; the hedge hyssop, into gratiola; the St. John’s wort (so called from blowing about St. John the Baptist’s day) was changed into hypericum; fleur de St. Louis, into iris; palma Christi, into ricinus; our master wort, into imperatoria; sweet bay, into laurus; our lady’s smock, into cardamine; Solomon’s seal, into convallaria; our lady’s hair, into trichomanes; balm, into melissa; marjorum, into origanum; crowfoot, into ranunculus; herb Trinity, into viola tricolor; avens into caryophyllata; coltsfoot, into tussilago; knee holy, into rascus; wormwood, into absinthium; rosemary, into rosmarinus; marygold, into calendula, and so on. Thus the ancient names were not only changed, but in this change all the references to religious subjects, which would have led people to a knowledge of their culture among the monastic orders, were carefully left out. The THORN APPLE, datura stramonium, is not a native of England; it was introduced by the friars in early times of pilgrimage; and hence we see it on old waste lands near abbeys, and on dunghills, &c. Modern botanists, however, have ascribed its introduction to gipsies, although it has never been seen among that wandering people, nor used by them as a drug. I could adduce many other instances of the same sort. But vain indeed would be the endeavour to overshadow the fame of the religious orders in medical botany and the knowledge of plants; go into any garden and the common name of marygold, our lady’s seal, our lady’s bedstraw, holy oak, (corrupted into holyhock,) the virgin’s thistle, St. Barnaby’s thistle, herb Trinity, herb St. Christopher, herb St. Robert, herb St. Timothy, Jacob’s ladder, star of Bethlehem, now called ornithogalum; star of Jerusalem, now made goatsbeard; passion flower, now passiflora; Lent lilly, now daffodil; Canterbury bells, (so called in honour of St. Augustine,) is now made into Campanula; cursed thistle, now carduus; besides archangel, apple of Jerusalem, St. Paul’s betony, Basil, St. Berbe, herb St. Barbara, bishopsweed, herba Christi, herba Benedict, herb St. Margaret, (erroneously converted into la belle Marguerite,) god’s flower, flos Jovis, Job’s tears, our lady’s laces, our lady’s mantle, our lady’s slipper, monk’s hood, friar’s cowl, St. Peter’s herb, and a hundred more such.—Go into any garden, I say, and these names will remind every one at once of the knowledge of plants possessed by the monks. Most of them have been named after the festivals and saints’ days on which their natural time of blowing happened to occur; and others were so called, from the tendency of the minds of the religious orders of those days to convert every thing into a memento of sacred history, and the holy religion which they embraced.”

It will be perceived that Crito is a Catholic. His floral enumeration is amusing and instructive; and as his bias is natural, so it ought to be inoffensive. Liberality makes a large allowance for educational feelings and habitual mistake; but deceptive views, false reasonings, and perverted facts, cannot be used, by either Protestant or Catholic, with impunity to himself, or avail to the cause he espouses.

Leo the XII., the present pope, on the 24th of May, 1824, put forth a bull from St. Peter’s at Rome. “We have resolved,” he says, “by virtue of the authority given [307, 308] to us by heaven fully to unlock the sacred treasure composed of the merits, sufferings, and virtues of Christ our Lord, and of his Virgin Mother, and of all the saints, which the author of human salvation has intrusted to our dispensation. Let the earth therefore hear the words of his mouth. We proclaim that the year of Atonement and Pardon, of Redemption and Grace, of Remission and Indulgence is arrived. We ordain and publish the most solemn Jubilee, to commence in this holy city from the first vespers of the nativity of our most holy saviour, Jesus Christ, next ensuing, and to continue during the whole year 1825, during which time we mercifully give and grant in the Lord a Plenary Indulgence, Remission, and Pardon of all their Sins to all the Faithful of Christ of both sexes, truly penitent and confessing their sins, and receiving the holy communion, who shall devoutly visit the churches of blessed Peter and Paul, as also of St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major of this city for thirty successive days, provided they be Romans or inhabitants of this city; but, if pilgrims or strangers, if they shall do the same for fifteen days, and shall pour forth their pious prayers to God for the exaltation of the holy church, the extirpation of heresies, concord of catholic princes, and the safety and tranquillity of christian people.” The pope requires “all the earth” to “therefore ascend, with loins girt up, to holy Jerusalem, this priestly and royal city.”—He requires the clergy to explain “the power of Indulgences, what is their efficacy, not only in the remission of the canonical penance, but also of the temporal punishment,” and to point out the succour afforded to those “now purifying in the fire of Purgatory.” However, in February, 1825, one of the public journals contains an extract from the French Journal des Debats, which states that there was “a great falling off in the devotion of saints and pilgrims,” and it proves this by an article from Rome, dated January 25, 1825, of which the following is a copy:

“The number of pilgrims drawn to Jerusalem (Rome) by the Jubilee is remarkably small, compared with former Jubilees. Without adverting to those of 1300 and 1350, when they had at least a million of pilgrims; in 1750, they had 1,300 pilgrims presented on the 24th of December, at the opening of the holy gate. That number was increased to 8,400 before the ensuing New Year’s day. This time (Christmas, 1824) they had no more than thirty-six pilgrims at the opening of the holy gate, and in the course of Christmas week, that number increased only to 440. This is explained by the strict measures adopted in the Italian states with respect to the passports of pilgrims. The police have taken into their heads, that a vast number of individuals from all parts of Europe wish to bring about some revolutionary plot. They believe that the Carbonari, or some other Italian patriots, assemble here in crowds to accomplish a dangerous object. The passports of simple labourers, and other inferior classes, are rejected at Milan, and the surrounding cities of Austrian Italy, when they have not a number of signatures, which these poor men consider quite unnecessary. They cannot enter the Sardinian states without great difficulty. These circumstances are deplorable in the eyes of religious men. We are all grieved at this place.”

On this, the Journal des Debats remarks, “Notwithstanding the excuse for so great a reduction of late years in the number of these devotees, it has evidently been produced by the diffusion of knowledge. Men, in 1825, are not so simple as to suppose they cannot be saved, without a long and painful journey to Jerusalem (Rome.)”

Floral Directory.

Peach. Amygdalus Persica.
Dedicated to St. Walburg.

February 26.

St. Alexander. St. Porphyrius, Bishop of Gaza, A. D. 420. St. Victor, or Vittre, 7th Cent.

St. Alexander.

This is the patriarch of Alexandria so famous in ecclesiastical history for his opposition to Arius whom, with St. Athanasius and Marcellus of Ancyra, as his especial colleagues, he resisted at the council of Nice, till Arius was banished, his books ordered to be burnt, and an edict issued denouncing death to any who secreted them. On the death of St. Alexander in 420, St. Athanasius succeeded to his patriarchal chair.


The fogs of England have been at all times the complaint of foreigners. Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador, when [309, 310] some one who was going to Spain waited on him to ask whether he had any commands, replied, “Only my compliments to the sun, whom I have not seen since I came to England.”—Carraccioli, the Neapolitan minister here, a man of a good deal of conversation and wit, used to say, that the only ripe fruit he had seen in England were roasted apples! and in a conversation with George II. he took the liberty of preferring the moon of Naples to the sun of England.

On seeing a Lady walking in the Snow.

I saw fair Julia walk alone,
When feather’d rain came softly down,
’Twas Jove descending from his tower,
To court her in a silver shower,
A wanton flake flew on her breast,
As happy dove into its nest,
But rivall’d by the whiteness there,
For grief dissolv’d into a tear,
And falling to her garment’s hem,
To deck her waist, froze to a gem.


Lesser Periwinkle. Vinca minor.
Dedicated to St. Victor.

February 27.

St. Leander, Bishop, A. D. 596. St. Julian, Chronion, and Besas. St. Thalilæus. St. Galmier, or Baldomerus, A. D. 650. St. Nestor, A. D. 250. St. Alnoth.

St. Thalilæus.

This saint was a weeper in Syria. He hermitized on a mountain during sixty years, wept almost without intermission for his sins, and lived for ten years in a wooden cage.

St. Galmier.

Was a locksmith at Lyons, and lived in great poverty, for he bestowed all he got on the poor, and sometimes his tools. An abbot gave him a cell to live in, he died a subdeacon about 650, and his relics worked miracles to his fame, till the Hugonots destroyed them in the sixteenth century.

St. Alnoth.

Was bailiff to St. Wereburge, became an anchoret, was killed by robbers, and had his relics kept at Stow, near Wedon, in Northamptonshire.


‘Time is the stuff that life is made of,’ says Young.

Begone about your business,” says the dial in the Temple: a good admonition to a loiterer on the pavement below.

The great French chancellor, d’Aguesseau, employed all his time. Observing that madame d’Aguesseau always delayed ten or twelve minutes before she came down to dinner, he composed a work entirely in this time, in order not to lose an instant; the result was, at the end of fifteen years, a book in three large volumes quarto, which went through several editions.


Lungwort. Pulmonaria Officinalis.
Dedicated to Leander.

February 28.

Martyrs to the Pestilence in Alexandria, 261, &c. St. Proterius, Patriarch of Alexandria, 557. Sts. Romanus and Lupicinus.

Sts. Romanus and Lupicinus.

These saints were brothers, who founded the monastery of Condate with a nunnery, in the forest of Jura. St. Lupicinus prescribed a hard regimen. He lived himself on bread moistened with cold water, used a chair or a hard board for a bed, wore no stockings in his monastery, walked in wooden shoes, and died about 480.


Purple Crocus. Crocus vernus.
Dedicated to St. Proterius.

Five Sundays in February.

The February of 1824, being leap-year, consisted of twenty-nine days; it contained five Sundays, a circumstance which cannot again occur till another leap-year, wherein the first of February shall fall on Sunday.


Old Memorandum of the Months.

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November,
All the rest have thirty and one,
Except February, which hath twenty-eight alone.

[311, 312]


—Sturdy March with brows full sternly bent
And armed strongly, rode upon a ram,
The same which over Hellespontus swam;
Yet in his hand a spade he also hent,
And in a bag all sorts of weeds ysame,
Which on the earth he strewed as he went,
And fill’d her womb with fruitfull hope of nourishment.


March is the third month of the year; with the ancients it was the first: according to Mr. Leigh Hunt, from Ovid, the Romans named it from Mars, the god of war, because he was the father of their first prince. “As to the deity’s nature, March has certainly nothing in common with it; for though it affects to be very rough, it is one of the best natured months in the year, drying up the superabundant moisture of winter with its fierce winds, and thus restoring us our paths through the fields, and piping before the flowers like a bacchanal. He sometimes, it must be confessed, as if in a fit of the spleen, hinders the buds which he has dried from blowing; and it is allowable in the less robust part of his friends out of doors, to object to the fancy he has for coming in such a cutting manner from the east. But it may be truly said, that the oftener you meet him firmly, the less he will shake you; and the more smiles you will have from the fair months that follow him.”

Perhaps the ascription of this month to Mars, by the Romans, was a compliment to themselves; they were the sons of War, and might naturally deduce their origin from the belligerent deity. Minerva was also patroness of March.

Verstegan says of our Saxon ancestors, that “the moneth of March they called Lenct-monat, that is, according to our new orthography, Length-moneth, because the dayes did then first begin in length to exceed the nights. And this moneth being by our ancestors so called when they received Christianity, and consequently therewith the ancient christian custome of fasting, they called this chiefe season of fasting the fast of Lenct, because of the Lenct-monat, whereon the most [313, 314] part of the time of this fasting alwayes fell; and hereof it cometh that we now cal it Lent, it being rather the fast of Lent, thogh the former name of Lenct-monat be long since lost, and the name of March borrowed in stead thereof.” Lenct, or Lent, however, means Spring; hence March was the Spring-month. Dr. Sayer says the Saxons likewise called it Rhed-monath, a word derived by some from one of their deities, named Rheda, to whom sacrifices were offered in March; others derive it from ræd, the Saxon word for council, March being the month wherein wars or expeditions were usually undertaken by the Gothic tribes. The Saxons also called it Hlyd-monath, from hlyd, which means stormy, and in this sense March was the Stormy month.

No living writer discourses so agreeably on the “Months” as Mr. Leigh Hunt in his little volume bearing that title. He says of March, that—“The animal creation now exhibit unequivocal signs of activity. The farmer extends the exercise of his plough; and, if fair weather continues, begins sowing barley and oats. Bats and reptiles break up their winter sleep: the little smelts or sparlings run up the softened rivers to spawn: the field-fare and woodcock return to their northern quarters; the rooks are all in motion with building and repairing their nests; hens sit; geese and ducks lay; pheasants crow; the ring-dove coos; young lambs come tottering forth in mild weather; the throstle warbles on the top of some naked tree, as if he triumphed over the last lingering of barrenness; and, lastly, forth issues the bee with his vernal trumpet, to tell us that there is news of sunshine and the flowers.—In addition to the last month’s flowers, we now have the crown-imperial, the dog’s-tooth violet, fritillaries, the hyacinth, narcissus, (bending its face like its namesake,) pilewort, scarlet ranunculus, great snow-drop, tulips, (which turned even the Dutch to enthusiasts,) and violets, proverbial for their odour, which were perhaps the favourite flowers of Shakspeare. The passage at the beginning of ‘Twelfth Night,’ in which he compares their scent with the passing sweetness of music is well-known, and probably suggested the beautiful one in lord ‘Bacon’s Essays,’ about the superiority of flowers in the open air, ‘where the scent comes and goes like the warbling of music.’”

Now, Winter, dispossessed of storms, and weak from boisterous rage,

———— Ling’ring on the verge of Spring,
Retires reluctant, and from time to time
Looks back, while at his keen and chilling breath
Fair Flora sickens.

March 1.

St. David, Archbishop, A. D. 544. St. Swidbert, or Swibert, A. D. 713. St. Albinus, Bishop, A. D. 549. St. Monan, A. D. 874.

Patron of Wales.

St. David, or, in Welch, Dewid, was son of Xantus, prince of Cardiganshire, brought up a priest, became an ascetic in the Isle of Wight, afterwards preached to the Britons, founded twelve monasteries, ate only bread and vegetables, and drank milk and water. A synod being called at Brevy, in Cardiganshire, A. D. 519, in order to suppress the heresy of Pelagius, “St. David confuted and silenced the infernal monster by his learning, eloquence, and miracles.” After the synod, St. Dubritius, archbishop of Caerleon, resigned his see to St. David, which see is now called St. David’s. He died in 544. St. Kentigern saw his soul borne by angels to heaven; his body was in the church of St. Andrew. In 962, his relics were translated to Glastonbury.[13]

Butler conceals that St. David’s mother was not married to his father, but Cressy tells the story out, and that his birth was prophecied of thirty years before it happened.

One of the miracles alleged of St. David is, that at the anti-Pelagian synod he restored a child to life, ordered it to spread a napkin under his feet, and made an oration; that a snow white dove descended from heaven and sat on his shoulders; and that the ground whereon he stood rose under him till it became a hill, “on the top of which hill a church was afterwards built, which remains to this day.” He assembled a provincial synod to confirm the decrees of Brevy; and wrote the proceedings of both synods for preservation in his own church, and to be sent to the other churches of the province; but they were lost by age, negligence, and the incursions of pirates, who almost every summer came [315, 316] in long boats from the Orkneys, and wasted the coasts of Cambria. He invited St. Kined to this synod, who answered that he had grown crooked, distorted, and too weak for the journey; whereupon ensued “a double miracle,” for “St. Kined having been restored to health and straightness by the prayers of St. David, by his own prayers he was reduced again to his former infirmity and crookedness.” After this synod he journeyed to the monastery of Glastonbury, which he had built there and consecrated, with intent to repair it, and consecrate it again; whereupon “our Lord appearing to him in his sleep, and forbidding him to profane the sacred ceremony before performed, he, in testimony, with his finger pierced a hole in the bishop’s hand, which remained open to the view of all men till the end of the next day’s mass.” Before his death “the angel of the lord appeared to him, and said to him, Prepare thyself.” Again: “When the hour of his departure was come, our Lord Jesus Christ vouchsafed his presence, to the infinite consolation of our holy father, who at the sight of him exulted.” More to the same purpose is alleged by the catholic writers respecting him. Such as, that at his death “being associated to a troop of angels, he with them mounted up to heaven,” and that the event was known “by an angel divulging it.” This is Cressy’s account.

According to another biographer of St. David, he was uncle to the famous prince Arthur, or, strictly speaking, half uncle, if St. David’s illegitimacy be authentic. The same author relates of him, that on his way from building the church of Glastonbury he went to Bath, cured an infection of the waters, and by his prayers and benediction gave them the perpetual heat they still retain. On the same authority, St. David’s posthumous virtue, in the reign of king Stephen, occasioned the brook above the church-yard of St. David’s church to run wine, by miracle: the well near it, called Pisteldewy or the conduit of David, sent forth milk instead of water. Also a boy, that endeavoured to take pigeons from a nest in St. David’s church at Lhannons, had his fingers miraculously fastened to the stone, till by his friends’ watching, fasting, and praying before the altar three days and nights, the stone fell from his hand. “Manie thousands of other miracles have been wrought by the meritts of this holy man, which for brevities sake we omitt. I only desire all true hearted Welchmen allwaies to honour this their great patrone and protector, and supplicate the divine goodnes to reduce his sometimes beloved countrey out of the blindnes of Protestancie, groveling in which it languisheth. Not only in Wales, but all England over is most famous in memorie of St. David. But in these our unhappie daies the greatest part of his solemnitie consisteth in wearing of a greene leeke, and it is a sufficient theme for a zealous Welchman to ground a quarrell against him, that doeth not honour his capp with the like ornament that day.” So saith Porter.

This legend has been the theme of successive writers, with more or less of variation, and much of addition.

Inscription for a monument in the Vale of Ewias.

Here was it, stranger, that the Patron Saint
Of Cambria past his age of penitence,
A solitary man; and here he made
His hermitage, the roots his food, his drink
Of Hodney’s mountain stream. Perchance thy youth
Has read, with eager wonder, how the knight
Of Wales, in Ormandine’s enchanted bower
Slept the long sleep: and if that in thy veins
Flow the pure blood of Britain, sure that blood
Hath flowed with quicker impulse at the tale
Of David’s deeds, when thro’ the press of war
His gallant comrades followed his green crest
To conquest. Stranger! Hatterill’s mountain heights
And this fair vale of Ewias, and the stream
Of Hodney, to thine after-thoughts will rise
More grateful, thus associate with the name
Of David, and the deeds of other days.

Mr. Southey.

[317, 318]

St. David’s Day.
Wearing the Leek.

Mr. Brady, in the “Clavis Calendaria,” affirms that the custom of wearing the leek on St. David’s day is derived from St. David; who, according to him, caused the Britons under king Cadwallader to distinguish themselves from their enemies during a great battle, wherein they conquered the Saxons by virtue of his prayers and that regulation. Unfortunately he lays no ground for this positive statement, and the same misfortune attends almost every representation in his book, which would really be useful if he had pointed to his sources of information. A work professing to state facts without referring to authorities has no claim to confidence, whoever may be its author.

For any thing in the shape of ancient and authentic statement to the contrary, the institution of wearing the leek on St. David’s day by the saint himself, may rest on a Jeffrey of Monmouth authority, or on legends of no higher estimation with the historian, than “The famous History of the Seven Champions of Christendom,” by Richard Johnson.

Shakspeare, whose genius appropriated every thing that his extraordinary faculty of observation marked for its own, introduces this custom of the Welch wearing leeks upon St. David’s day into his play of King Henry V.

Enter Pistol to King Henry.

Pistol. Qui va là?

K. Henry. A friend.

P. What’s thy name?

K. H. Harry le Roy.

P. Le Roy! a Cornish name: art thou of Cornish crew?

K. H. No, I am a Welchman.

P. Knowest thou Fluellen?

K. H. Yes.

P. Tell him, I’ll knock his leek about his pate Upon St. David’s day.

K. H. Do not you wear your dagger in your cap that day, lest he knock that about yours.

It is again referred to in a dialogue between Henry V. and Fluellen.

Fluellen. Your grandfather of famous memory, an’t please your majesty, and your great-uncle, Edward, the black prince, as I have read in the chronicles, fought a most prave pattle here in France.

K. Henry. They did, Fluellen.

F. Your majesty says very true: if your majesties is remembered of it, the Welchmen did goot service in a garden where leeks did grow, wearing leeks in their Monmouth caps; which, your majesty knows, is an honourable padge of the service: and, I do believe, your majesty takes no scorn to wear the leek upon Saint Tavy’s day.

K. H. I wear it for a memorable honour: for I am a Welch, you know, good countryman.

This allusion by Fluellen to the Welch having worn the leek in a battle under the black prince, is not, perhaps, as some writers suppose, wholly decisive of its having originated in the fields of Cressy or Poictiers; but it shows that when Shakspeare wrote, Welchmen wore leeks. In the same play, the well-remembered Fluellen’s enforcement of Pistol to eat the leek he had ridiculed, further establishes the wearing it as a usage. Fluellen wears his leek in the battle of Agincourt, which it will be recollected takes place in this play, and is there mentioned, as well as in the chronicles, to have been “fought on the day of Crispin Crispianus,” in the month of October. The scene between Fluellen and Pistol takes place the day after this battle.

Enter Fluellen and Gower.

Gower. Why wear you your leek to-day? St. David’s day is past.

Fluellen. There is occasions and causes why and wherefore in all things.—The rascally, scald, peggarly, pragging knave, Pistol, a fellow look you now of no merits, he is come to me with pread and salt yesterday, look you, and pid me eat my leek, it was in a place where I could not preed no contentions with him, but I will be so pold as to wear it in my cap till I see him once again, and then—(Enter Pistol)—Got pless you, ancient Pistol! you scurvy knave, Got pless you!

P. Hence! I am qualmish at the smell of leek.

[319, 320]

G. I peseech you heartily scurvy knave, at my desires, and my requests, and my petitions, to eat, look you, this leek.

P. Not for Cadwallader, and all his goats.

F. There is one goat for you. (strikes him.) Will you be so goot, scald knave, as eat it?

P. Base Trojan, thou shalt die.

F. I desire you to live in the mean time, and eat your victuals; come there is sauce for it.—(strikes him.) If you can mock a leek, you can eat a leek.

By beating and taunt, Fluellen forces Pistol to eat the leek, and on its being wholly swallowed, Fluellen exhorts him “when you take occasions to see leeks hereafter, I pray you, mock at them, that is all!” Having thus accomplished his purpose, Fluellen leaves Pistol to digestion, and the consolation of Gower, who calls him “counterfeit cowardly knave: will you mock at an ancient tradition, begun upon an honourable aspect, and worn as a memorable trophy of predeceased valour, and dare not avouch in your deeds any of your words?”

Here we have Gower speaking of the custom of the Welch wearing leeks as “an ancient tradition,” and as “a memorable trophy of predeceased valour.” Thoroughly versed in the history of the few reigns preceding the period wherein he lived, it is not likely that Shakspeare would make a character in the time of Henry V. refer to an occurrence under the black prince, little more than half a century before the battle of Agincourt, as an affair of “ancient tradition.” Its origin may be fairly referred to a very early period.

A contributor to a periodical work[14] rejects the notion, that wearing leeks on St. David’s day originated at the battle between the Welch and the Saxons in the sixth century; and thinks it more probable that leeks were a druidic symbol employed in honour of the British Ceudven or Ceres. In which hypothesis, he thinks, there is nothing strained or far-fetched, presuming that the Druids were a branch of the Phœnician priesthood. Both were addicted to oak worship; and during the funereal rites of Adonis at Byblos, leeks and onions were exhibited in “pots with other vegetables, and called the gardens of that deity.” The leek was worshipped at Ascalon, (whence the modern term of Scallions,) as it was in Egypt. Leeks and onions were also deposited in the sacred chests of the mysteries both of Isis and Ceres, the Ceudven of the Druids; leeks are among the Egyptian hieroglyphics; sometimes a leek is on the head of Osiris; and at other times grasped in an extended hand; and thence, perhaps, the Italian proverb, “Porro che nasce nella mano,” a leek that grows in the hand, for a virtue. Porrus, a leek, is derived by Bryant from the Egyptian god Pi-orus, who is the same as the Beal Peor of the Phœnicians, and the Bel or Bellinis of the Druids. These accordances are worth an ancient Briton’s consideration.

Ridicule of national peculiarities was formerly a pleasantry that the English freely indulged in. They seemed to think that different soil was good ground for a laugh at a person, and that it justified coarse and insolent remarks. In an old satirical tract there is the following sneer at the Welch:

“A WELCHMAN, Is the Oyster that the Pearl is in, for a man may be pickt out of him. He hath the abilities of the mind in potentiâ, and actu nothing but boldnesse. His Clothes are in fashion before his Bodie; and he accounts boldnesse the chiefest vertue. Above all men he loves a Herrald, and speakes pedigrees naturally. He accompts none well descended that call him not Cosen, and prefers Owen Glendower before any of the nine worthies. The first note of his familiaritie is the confession of his valour; and so he prevents quarrels. Hee voucheth Welch a pure, an unconquered language; and courts Ladies with the storie of their Chronicle. To conclude, he is pretious in his own conceit, and upon St. David’s day without comparison.”[15]

Not quite so flouting is a poetical satire called,

The Welchman’s Song in praise of Wales.

I’s come not here to tauke of Prut,
From whence the Welse dos take hur root;
Nor tell long pedegree of Prince Camber,
Whose linage would fill full a chamber;
Nor sing the deeds of ould Saint Davie,
The Ursip of which would fill a navie,
But hark you me now, for a liddell tales
Sall make a great deal to the creddit of Wales,
For hur will tudge your eares,[321, 322]
With the praise of hur thirteen seers;
And make you as glad and merry,
As fourteen pot of perry.

There are four other stanzas; one of them mentions the leek:

But all this while was never think
A word in praise of our Welse drink:
Yet for aull that is a cup of bragat
Aull England seer may cast his cap at.
And what you say to ale of Webley,
Toudge him as well, you’ll praise him trebly
As well as metheglin, or syder, or meath,
Sall sake it your dagger quite out o’ the seath.
And oat cake of Guarthenion,
With a goodly leek or onion,
To give as sweet a rellis
As e’er did Harper Ellis.[16]

In “Time’s Telescope,” an annual volume already mentioned for its pleasant varieties and agreeable information, there is a citation of flouting lines from “Poor Robin’s Almanac,” of 1757, under the month of March:

The first of this month some do keep,
For honest Taff to wear his leek;
Who patron was, they say, of Wales,
And since that time, cuts-plutter-a nails,
Along the street this day doth strut
With hur green leek stuck in hur hat,
And if hur meet a shentleman
Salutes in Welch; and if hur can
Discourse in Welch, then hur shall be
Amongst the green-horned Taffy’s free.

The lines that immediately succeed the above, and follow below, are a versified record of public violence to the Welch character, which Englishmen in this day will read with surprise:

But it would make a stranger laugh
To see th’ English hang poor Taff;
A pair of breeches and a coat,
Hat, shoes and stockings, and what not;
All stuffed with hay to represent
The Cambrian hero thereby meant;
With sword sometimes three inches broad,
And other armour made of wood,
They drag hur to some publick tree,
And hang hur up in effigy.

These barbarous practices of more barbarous times have disappeared as knowledge has advanced.

St. David’s day in London is the Anniversary of “the most Honourable and Loyal Society of Ancient Britons,” established in 1714; they celebrate it with festivity in behalf of the Welch charity-school in Grays-inn-road, which was instituted in 1718 for boarding, clothing, and educating 80 boys and 25 girls, born of Welch parents, in or within ten miles of the metropolis, and not having a parochial settlement within those limits. This institution has the king for patron as prince of Wales, and is supported by voluntary contributions. The “Ancient Britons,” according to annual custom, go in procession to the royal residence on St. David’s day, and receive the royal bounty. The society are in carriages, and each wears an artificial representation of the leek in his hat, composed of ribbands and silver foil. They have been sometimes accompanied by horsemen decorated in the same way, and are usually preceded by marshals, also on horseback, wearing leeks of larger dimension in their hats, and ornamented with silk scarfs. In this state they proceed from the school-house to some adjacent church, and hear a discourse delivered on the occasion, by a prelate or other dignified clergyman. The day is concluded by an elegant dinner under the regulation of stewards, when a collection is made for the institution, and a handsome sum is generally contributed.


Leek. Allium Porrum.
Dedicated to St. David.

[13] Butler’s Saints.

[14] “Gazette of Fashion,” March 9, 1822.

[15] “A wife, now the widdow of sir Thomas Overburye, being a most exquisite and singular poem of the choice of a wife, whereunto are added many witty characters,” &c. London, printed for Lawrence Lisle, 4to. 1614.

[16] “An Antidote against Melancholy,” 4to 1661.

March 2.

St. Ceada, or Chad. Martyrs under the Lombards, 6th Cent. St. Simplicius, Pope A. D. 483. St. Marnan, A. D. 620. St. Charles the Good, Earl of Flanders, A. D. 1124. St. Joavan, or Joevin.

St. Chad, A. D. 673.

His name is in the calendar of the church of England. He was founder of the see, and bishop of Lichfield. According to Bede, joyful melody as of persons sweetly singing descended from heaven into his oratory for half an hour, and then mounted again to heaven. This was to presage his death, and accordingly he died, attended by his brother’s soul and musical angels.

St. Chad’s Well

Is near Battle-bridge. The miraculous water is aperient, and was some years ago quaffed by the bilious and other invalids, who flocked thither in crowds, to drink at [323, 324] the cost of sixpence, what people of these latter days by “the ingenious chemists’ art,” can make as effectual as St. Chad’s virtues “at the small price of one halfpenny.”

If any one desire to visit this spot of ancient renown, let him descend from Holborn-bars to the very bottom of Grays-inn-lane. On the left-hand side formerly stood a considerable hill, whereon were wont to climb and browze certain mountain goats of the metropolis, in common language called swine; the hill was the largest heap of cinder-dust in the neighbourhood of London. It was formed by the annual accumulation of some thousands of cart loads, since exported to Russia for making bricks to rebuild Moscow, after the conflagration of that capital on the entrance of Napoleon. Opposite to this unsightly site, and on the right-hand side of the road is an angle-wise faded inscription:

St. Chad’s Well.

It stands, or rather dejects, over an elderly pair of wooden gates, one whereof opens on a scene which the unaccustomed eye may take for the pleasure-ground of Giant Despair. Trees stand as if made not to vegetate, clipped hedges seem willing to decline, and nameless weeds straggle weakly upon unlimited borders. If you look upwards you perceive painted on an octagon board “Health Restored and Preserved.” Further on towards the left, stands a low, old-fashioned, comfortable-looking, large windowed dwelling; and ten to one, but there also stands, at the open door, an ancient ailing female, in a black bonnet, a clean coloured cotton gown, and a check apron; her silver hair only in part tucked beneath the narrow border of a frilled cap, with a sedate and patient, yet, somewhat inquiring look. This is “the Lady of the Well.” She gratuitously informs you, that “the gardens” of “St. Chad’s well” are “for circulation” by paying for the water, of which you may drink as much, or as little, or nothing, as you please, at one guinea per year, 9s. 6d. quarterly, 4s. 6d. monthly, or 1s. 6d. weekly. You qualify for a single visit by paying sixpence, and a large glass tumbler full of warm water is handed to you. As a stranger, you are told, that “St. Chad’s well was famous at one time.” Should you be inquisitive, the dame will instruct you, with an earnest eye, that “people are not what they were,” “things are not as they used to be,” and she “can’t tell what’ll happen next.” Oracles have not ceased. While drinking St. Chad’s water you observe an immense copper into which it is poured, wherein it is heated to due efficacy, and from whence it is drawn by a cock, into the glasses. You also remark, hanging on the wall, a “tribute of gratitude” versified, and inscribed on vellum, beneath a pane of glass stained by the hand of time and let into a black frame: this is an effusion for value received from St. Chad’s invaluable water. But, above all, there is a full-sized portrait in oil, of a stout, comely personage, with a ruddy countenance, in a coat or cloak, supposed scarlet, a laced cravat falling down the breast, and a small red night cap carelessly placed on the head, conveying the idea that it was painted for the likeness of some opulent butcher who flourished in the reign of queen Anne. Ask the dame about it, and she refers you to “Rhone.” This is a tall old man, who would be taller if he were not bent by years. “I am ninety-four,” he will tell you, “this present year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five.” All that he has to communicate concerning the portrait is, “I have heard say it is the portrait of St. Chad.” Should you venture to differ, he adds, “this is the opinion of most people who come here.” You may gather that it is his own undoubted belief. On pacing the garden alleys, and peeping at the places of retirement, you imagine the whole may have been improved and beautified for the last time by some countryman of William III., who came over and died in the same year with that king, and whose works here, in wood and box, have been following him piecemeal ever since.

St. Chad’s well is scarcely known in the neighbourhood, save by its sign-board of invitation and forbidding externals. An old American loyalist, who has lived in Pentonville ever since “the rebellion” forced him to the mother country, enters to “totter not unseen” between the stunted hedgerows; it was the first “place [325, 326] of pleasure” he came to after his arrival, and he goes no where besides,—“every thing else is so altered.” For the same reason, a tall, spare, thin-faced man, with dull grey eyes and underhung chin, from the neighbourhood of Bethnal-green, walks hither for his “Sunday morning’s exercise,” to untruss a theological point with a law clerk, who also attends the place because his father, “when he was ’prentice to Mr. —— the great law stationer in Chancery-lane in 1776, and sat writing for sixteen hours a day, received great benefit from the waters, which he came to drink fasting, once a week.” Such persons from local attachment, and a few male and female atrabilarians, who without a powerful motive would never breathe the pure morning air, resort to this spot for their health. St. Chad’s well is haunted, not frequented. A few years and it will be with its water as with the water of St. Pancras’ well, which is enclosed in the garden of a private house, near old St. Pancras’ churchyard.

Holy Wells.

The holy wells of London have all declined in reputation, even to St. Bride’s well, whose fame gave the name of Bridewell to an adjoining hospital and prison, and at last, attached the name to every house of correction throughout the kingdom. The last public use of the water of St. Bride’s well drained it so much, that the inhabitants of St. Bride’s parish could not get their usual supply. This exhaustion was effected by a sudden demand. Several men were engaged in filling thousands of bottles, a day or two before the 19th of July 1821, on which day his majesty, king George IV. was crowned at Westminster; and Mr. Walker of the hotel, No. 10, Bridge-street, Blackfriars, purveyor of water to the coronation, obtained it, by the only means through which the sainted fluid is now attainable, from the cast-iron pump over St. Bride’s well, in Bride-lane.


Dwarf Cerastium. Cerastium pumilum.
Dedicated to St. Chad.

March 3.

St. Cunegundes, Empress, A. D. 1040. Sts. Marinus and Asterius, or Astyrius. St. Emeterius, or Madir, and St. Chelidonius. St. Winwaloe, Abbot, A. D. 529. St. Lamalisse, 7th Cent.

Sts. Emeterius and Chelidonius.

Two Spanish saints, famous against hailstorms. When hailstorms come on, the clergy proceed thus:

By the time this chain is linked, the storm finishes.


On the 3d of March, 1792, died Robert Adam, Esq. He was born at Kirkaldy, in Fifeshire, in 1728, educated at the university of Edinburgh, devoted himself to architecture, went to Italy to study its ancient remains, became proficient in his profession, and rose to its highest honours: he was appointed architect to their majesties, and chosen fellow of the Royal and Antiquarian Societies of London and Edinburgh. In conjunction with his brother, Mr. James Adam, who died 20th November 1794, he built some of the finest of our modern mansions. His genius and acquirements adorned London with several structures, eminently superior in beauty to those which arose around him under the direction of other hands; but the work for which the Adams are chiefly celebrated, is the elegant range of buildings called the Adelphi. This Greek word, denoting the relationship of brothers, was conferred in compliment to the brothers, by whose intellect and science, in opposition to long vitiated taste, and difficulties deemed impracticable, these edifices were elevated. It is related that soon after their completion, a classically educated gentleman being present at a public dinner, and intending to toast the Messrs. Adams, who were also present, begged to give “the Adelphi;” and that this occasioned a worthy citizen to exclaim, “Bless me! it’s a very odd toast; what [327, 328] drink the health of a parcel of houses! However, oh, oh! ah, ah! I see! yes, yes! oh, the witty rogue! What, the street’s in a healthy spot? so it is; very healthy! Come I’ll drink its health with all my heart!—Here’s the Adelphi Terrace! I’ll stand up to it, (rising) and I hope it will never go down!”

Garrick resided in one of the houses of the Adelphi until his death, and was a friend of the Adams, who indeed were intimate with most of the eminent men in art and literature. Before the Adelphi was finished, the late Mr. Thomas Becket, the bookseller, desired the corner house of Adam-street, then building as a spacious avenue by the Adams to their terrace and the adjacent thoroughfares. Garrick anxious to secure the commanding corner for his friend Becket, wrote a warm-hearted letter in his behalf to Messrs. Adam. The letter has never been published, and being in the possession of the editor of the Every-Day Book, he inserts a copy of it, with a correct fac-simile of the commencement and conclusion. This hasty unstudied note, warm from the feelings, is testimony of Garrick’s zeal for a friend’s success, and of his qualifications as a solicitor to promote it: there is in it

—— a grace beyond the reach of art.
Hampton Monday 8. My dear Adelphi:

I forgot to speak to you last Saturday about our friend Becket.—We shall all break our hearts if he is not bookseller to ye Adelphi, & has not ye corner house that is to be built.—Pray, my dear & very good friends, think a little of this matter, & if you can make us happy, by suiting all our conveniences—we shall make his shop, as old Jacob Tonson’s was formerly, ye rendevouz for ye first people in England.—I have a little selfishness in this request—I never go to coffee-houses, seldom to taverns, & should constantly (if this scheme takes place) be at Becket’s at one at noon, & 6 at night; as ye monkey us’d to be punctual in Piccadilly.

When you left me on Saturday, whether I had exerted my spirits too much, or gave too great a loose to my love of drinking with those I like, I know not; but I was attack’d terribly with a fit of ye stone, & had it all yesterday morning, till I was relieved from torture, to ye great joy of my wife & family.—I was 4 hours upon ye rack, & now as free from pain as ever I was. I am weak wh my disorder; but I could eat turtle, & laugh with you again to day, as if nothing had ail’d me—’tis a curs’d disorder, & that you may never have that curse make yr peace wth heav’n by an act [329, 330] of righteousness, & bestow that corner blessing (I have mention’d) upon Becket & his family—this is ye pray’r & petition


Mr. Becket had the “corner blessing” conferred upon him.—He removed into the house from another part of the Strand, and remained tenant to the “Adelphi,” until he retired into Pall Mall.


Golden Fig Marygold. Mesembrianthemum aureum.
Dedicated to St. Cunegundes.

March 4.

St. Casimir. St. Lucius, Pope, A. D. 253. St. Adrian, Bishop, A. D. 874.

St. Casimir,

Was born a prince on the 5th of October, 1458, and died 4th March, 1482. He was second son of Casimir III. king of Poland; and, according to Ribadeneira, he wore under his princely attire a prickly hair shirt, fasted rigorously, prayed at night till he fell weary and exhausted on the bare floor; often in the most sharp and bitter weather went barefoot to church at midnight, and lay on his face before the door; studied to advance the catholic religion, and to extinguish or drive heresy out of Poland; persuaded his father to enact a law that no new church should be built for heretics, nor any old ones repaired; in a particular virtue “surpassed the angels;” committed suicide; resigned his soul amidst choirs of priests; had it carried to heaven surrounded with a clear bright light by angels; and thirty-six years after his death he appeared in glittering armour and gallantly mounted; led the Polish army through an impassable river, and conquered the Muscovites; and the next year marched before his beloved Poles in the air against the enemy, and as “he beat them before, so he beat them again.”


On the 4th of March, 1583, died Bernard Gilpin. He was born at Kentmire, in Westmoreland, 1517, sent to Queen’s college, Oxford, in 1553, read the writings of Erasmus, excelled in logic and philosophy, and studied Greek and Hebrew; being a Catholic he held a public disputation against John Hooper, the Protestant, who was martyred at the stake under Henry VIII. Appointed to hold a disputation against Peter Martyr, another eminent reformer, who read the divinity lecture in Oxford, he diligently studied the scriptures and the writings of the early fathers, and “was not sorry to be overcome by the truth.” Cuthbert Tunstall, bishop of Durham, gave him a living, which he shortly afterwards resigned, because he desired to travel, and could not hold it while absent with peace of conscience. “But,” saith the bishop, “thou mayst hold it with a dispensation, and thou shalt be dispensed withal.” To this Gilpin answered, that when he should be called on for an account of his stewardship, he feared it would not serve his turn to answer, that he had been “dispensed withal.” Whereupon the bishop admired, and “Father’s soul!” said he, “Gilpin will die a beggar.” He afterwards went to Lovaine and Paris, from whence he returned to England in the days of queen Mary; and bishop Tunstall gave him the rectory of Essingdon, by which he became archdeacon of Durham, and preached on scriptural authority against the vices in [331, 332] the church. Those who hated his integrity and feared his talents, sought his blood by insnaring controversy. He avoided vain jangling, and beat his adversaries in solid argument. At one of these disputations, carried on in an undertone with bishop Tunstall’s chaplains, and close behind the bishop, who was sitting before the fire, the bishop, leaning his chair somewhat backwards, hearkened to what was said; and when they had done, turning to his chaplains, “Father’s soul!” said the bishop, “let him alone, for he hath more learning than you all.” He was twice accused of heresy to Tunstall, who abhorred to shed blood; but information being given against him to Bonner, bishop of London, an order was issued for his apprehension. Gilpin had intelligence of the danger, yet he only provided against it by ordering William Airy, his house steward, to provide a long garment, that he might go the more comely to the stake. The sudden death of Mary cleared off the impending storm. Not long afterwards, bishop Tunstall presented Gilpin to the rectory of Houghton, a large parish with fourteen villages, which he laboriously served. He built a grammar school, from whence he sent students almost daily to the university, and maintained them there at his own cost. Honoured by the wise, and respected by the noble, the earl of Bedford solicited from queen Elizabeth the vacant bishopric of Carlisle for Gilpin. A congé d’élire was accordingly issued, but Gilpin resisted the dignity against all entreaties. “If I had been chosen to a bishopric elsewhere,” he said, “I would not have refused it; but in Carlisle I have many friends and kindred, at whom I must connive in many things, not without hurt to myself, or else deny them many things, not without hurt to them, which difficulties I have avoided by the refusal of that bishopric.” He was chosen provost of his own (Queen’s) college in Oxford, but this advancement he also declined. Yet he did the office and work of a bishop, by preaching, taking care of the poor, providing for the necessities of other churches, erecting schools, encouraging learned men, and keeping open house to all that needed. Cecil, lord Burleigh, the queen’s secretary, having visited Gilpin at Houghton, on his return towards Durham, when he came to Rainton-hill, reflected his eye upon the open country he had passed, and looking earnestly upon Gilpin’s house, said, “I do not blame this man for refusing a bishopric. What doth he want that a bishopric could more enrich him withal? besides that he is free from the great weight of cares.” Gilpin annually visited the people of Ridsdale and Tindale, and was “little else than adored by that half barbarous and rustic people.” When at Rothbury, in these parts, “there was a pestilent faction among some of them who were wont to resort to the church; the men being bloodily minded, practised a bloody manner of revenge, termed by them a deadly feud:” if one faction came to the church the other kept away, inasmuch as they could not meet without bloodshed. It so happened that when Gilpin was in the pulpit both parties came to the church; one party stood in the chancel, the other in the body of the church. Each body was armed with swords and javelins, and their weapons making a clashing sound, Gilpin, unaccustomed to such a spectacle, was somewhat moved, yet he proceeded with his sermon. A second time the weapons clashed; the one side drew near to the other; and they were about to commence battle in the church. Gilpin descended, stepped to the leaders on each side, appeased the tumult, and laboured to establish peace between them; but he could only obtain from these rude borderers, that they would not break the peace while Mr. Gilpin remained. On this he once more ascended the pulpit, and spent the allotted time in inveighing against this unchristian and savage custom, and exhorting them to forego it for ever. Another incident, further illustrating the manners of the people, will be mentioned below; it may be added here, however, that afterwards, when he revisited these parts, any one who dreaded a deadly foe, found himself safer in Gilpin’s presence than with armed guards. In his younger years, while on a ride to Oxford, Gilpin overtook a youth who was one while walking, and at another time running. He found that the lad came from Wales, knew Latin, had a smattering of Greek, and was bound for Oxford, with intent to be a scholar. “Wilt thou,” said Gilpin, “be contented to go with me? I will provide for thee.” The youth assented, Gilpin took him first to Oxford, afterwards to Houghton, where he improved him exceedingly in Greek and Hebrew, and sent him at last to Oxford. This youth was the learned Hugh Broughton; he is said to have requited this protection and care by something worse than inconstancy. Gilpin’s nature was kind and charitable, he visited sick chambers [333, 334] and prisons, and dispensed large bounties. He was firm in rectitude; and hence, on one occasion, when bishop Tunstall had inclined to his enemies, and insisted on Gilpin’s preaching, sorely against the good man’s petitions to be excused, and repeated refusals, he at length mounted the pulpit, and concluded his discourse by denouncing the enormities in the bishop’s diocese; looking at Tunstall, he said “Lest your lordship should make answer, that you had no notice of these things given you, behold, I bring them to your knowledge. Let not your lordship say these crimes have been committed by the faults of others, without your knowledge; for whatsoever either yourself shall do in person, or suffer through your connivance to be done by others, is wholly your own. Therefore,” thundered forth the faithful preacher, “in presence of God, his angels and man, I pronounce your fatherhood to be the author of all these evils; yea, and, in that strict day of the general account, I shall be a witness to testify against you, that all these things have come to your knowledge by my means: and all these men shall bear witness thereof, who have heard me speaking unto you this day.” Gilpin’s adherents, terrified at this unexpected and bold address, apprehended the worst consequences from the bishop’s power. “You have,” said they, “put a sword into his hand to slay you. If heretofore he hath been offended with you without a cause, what may you now expect from him who, being provoked, shall make use of his own power to injure you by right or wrong.” Gilpin answered, “Be not afraid; the Lord God over-ruleth us all; so that the truth may be propagated, and God glorified, God’s will be done concerning me.” After dinner, Gilpin waited on the bishop to take leave of him, and return home. “It shall not be so,” said the bishop, “for I will bring you to your house.” When they arrived at Mr. Gilpin’s house, and had entered the parlour, the bishop on a sudden caught Mr. Gilpin by the hand, and addressed him in these words:—“Father Gilpin, I acknowledge you are fitter to be bishop of Durham, than myself to be parson of this church of yours; I ask forgiveness for errors past; forgive me, father. I know you have hatched up some chickens that now seek to pick out your eyes; but so long as I shall live bishop of Durham, be secure: no man shall injure you.” Thus the fearless integrity of Gilpin, by which it was conceived he had jeopardized his life, saved him from his enemies and advanced him beyond the reach of their further hate.

After a life excellent for kindness, charity, and faithful dealing towards the people intrusted to his care, he died at the age of sixty-six worn out by labour in well doing.


Chickweed. Alsine media.
Dedicated to St. Casimir.

March 5.

Sts. Adrian and Eubulus, A. D. 309. St. Kiaran, or Kenerin. St. Roger, A. D. 1236.

St. Piran.

This saint, anciently of good repute in Cornwall, is not mentioned by Butler. According to Porter he was born in Ireland, and became a hermit there. He afterwards came to England, and settling at Cornwall, had a grave made for him, entered into it, and dying on the 6th of March, “in the glorie of a great light and splendour that appeared at the same instant,” was buried at Padstow. “He is reported,” says Porter, “to have wrought manie wonderfull miracles in his lifetime, which bicause they tend rather to breed an incredulous amazement in the readers, then move to anie workes of vertues or pietie, we have willingly omitted.” We have had a specimen of such miracles as father Porter deemed worthy of belief; those of St. Piran which would have caused “incredulous amazement” in Porter’s readers must have been “passing wonderfull.”

St. Piran’s day is said to be a favourite with the tinners; having a tradition that some secrets regarding the manufacture of tin was communicated to their ancestors by that saint, they leave the manufacture to shift for itself for that day and keep it as a holiday.


Green Hellebore. Helleborus viridis.
Dedicated to St. Adrian.

March 6.

St. Chrodegang, Bishop, A. D. 766. B. Colette. St. Fridolin, A. D. 538. St. Baldrede. Sts. Kyneburge, Kyneswid, and Tibba. St. Cadroe, A. D. 975.

[335, 336]

St. Baldrede,

Bishop of Glasgow, died in London A. D. 608, and his relics were famous in many churches in Scotland. Bollandus says, “he was wonderfully buried in three places; seeing that three towns Aldham, Tinningham, and Preston, contended for his body.” In those days when there were no parish registers, these miraculous powers of self-multiplication after death, must have been sadly perplexing to topographers and antiquaries.


The “New-come” of the year is born to-day,
With a strong lusty laugh, and joyous shout,
Uprising, with its mother, it, in play,
Throws flowers on her; pulls hard buds about,
To open them for blossom; and its voice,
Peeling o’er dells, plains, uplands, and high groves,
Startles all living things, till they rejoice
In re-creation of themselves; each loves,
And blesses each; and man’s intelligence,
In musings grateful, thanks All Wise Beneficence.

Spring commences on the 6th of March, and lasts ninety-three days.

According to Mr. Howard, whose practical information concerning the seasons is highly valuable, the medium temperature during spring is elevated, in round numbers, from 40 to 58 degrees. “The mean of the season is 48.94°—the sun effecting by his approach an advance of 11.18° upon the mean temperature of the winter. This increase is retarded in the forepart of the spring by the winds from north to east, then prevalent; and which form two-thirds of the complement of the season; but proportionately accelerated afterwards by the southerly winds, with which it terminates. A strong evaporation, in the first instance followed by showers, often with thunder and hail in the latter, characterises this period. The temperature commonly rises, not by a steady increase from day to day, but by sudden starts, from the breaking in of sunshine upon previous cold, cloudy weather. [337, 338] At such times, the vapour appears to be now and then thrown up, in too great plenty, into the cold region above; where being suddenly decomposed, the temperature falls back for awhile, amidst wind, showers, and hail, attended, in some instances, with frost at night.”

Our ancestors varied their clothing according to the season. Strutt has given the spring dress of a man in the fourteenth century, from an illumination in a manuscript of that age: this is a copy of it.

14th century man

In “Sylvan Sketches,” a new and charming volume by the lady who wrote the “Flora Domestica,” it is delightfully observed, that, “the young and joyous spirit of spring sheds its sweet influence upon every thing: the streams sparkle and ripple in the noon-day sun, and the birds carol tipseyly their merriest ditties. It is surely the loveliest season of the year.” One of our living minstrels sings of a spring day, that it

Looks beautiful, as when an infant wakes
From its soft slumbers;

and the same bard poetically reminds us with more than poetical truth, that at this season, when we

See life and bliss around us flowing,
Wherever space or being is,
The cup of joy is full and flowing.


Another, whose numbers are choralled by worshipping crowds, observes with equal truth, and under the influence of high feelings, for seasonable abundance, that

To enjoy is to obey.


Grateful and salutary spring the plants
Which crown our numerous gardens, and
Invite to health and temperance, in the simple meal,
Unpoisoned with rich sauces, to provoke
Th’ unwilling appetite to gluttony.
For this, the bulbous esculents their roots
With sweetness fill; for this, with cooling juice
The green herb spreads its leaves; and opening buds,
And flowers and seeds, with various flavours.


Sweet is thy coming, Spring!—and as I pass
Thy hedge-rows, where from the half-naked spray
Peeps the sweet bud, and ’midst the dewy grass
The tufted primrose opens to the day:
My spirits light and pure confess thy pow’r
Of balmiest influence: there is not a tree
That whispers to the warm noon-breeze; nor flow’r
Whose bell the dew-drop holds, but yields to me
Predestinings of joy: O, heavenly sweet
Illusion!—that the sadly pensive breast
Can for a moment from itself retreat
To outward pleasantness, and be at rest:
While sun, and fields, and air, the sense have wrought
Of pleasure and content, in spite of thought!


In spring the ancient Romans celebrated the Ludi Florales. These were annual games in honour to Flora, accompanied by supplications for beneficent influences on the grass, trees, flowers, and other products of the earth, during the year. The Greeks likewise invoked fertility on the coming of spring with many ceremonies. The remains of the Roman festivals, in countries which the Roman arms subdued, have been frequently noticed already; and it is not purposed to advert to them further, than by observing that there is considerable difficulty in [339, 340] so apportioning every usage in a modern ceremony, as to assign each to its proper origin. Some may have been common to a people before they were conquered; others may have been the growth of later times. Spring, as the commencement of the natural year, must have been hailed by all nations with satisfaction; and was, undoubtedly, commemorated, in most, by public rejoicing and popular sports.


Dr. Samuel Parr died on the 6th of March, 1825.


The Germans retain many of the annual customs peculiar to themselves before the Roman conquest. Whether a ceremony described in the “Athenæum,” as having been observed in Germany of late years, is derived from the victors, or from the ancient nations, is not worth discussing.

The approach of spring was there commemorated with an abundance of display, its allegorical character was its most remarkable feature. It was called Der Sommers-gewinn, the acquisition of summer; and about thirty years ago was celebrated at the beginning of spring by the inhabitants of Eisenach, in Saxony, who, for that purpose, divided themselves into two parties. One party carried winter under the shape of a man covered with straw, out of the town, and then, as it were, sent him into public exile; whilst the other party, at a distance from the town, decked spring, or, as it was vulgarly called, summer, in the form of youth, with boughs of cypress and May, and marched in solemn array to meet their comrades, the jocund executioners of winter. In the meanwhile national ballads, celebrating the delights of spring and summer, filled the skies; processions paraded the meadows and fields, loudly imploring the blessings of a prolific summer; and the jovial merry-makers then brought the victor-god home in triumph. In the course of time, however, this ceremonial underwent various alterations. The parts, before personified, were now performed by real dramatis personæ; one arrayed as spring, and another as winter, entertained the spectators with a combat, wherein winter was ultimately vanquished and stripped of his emblematical attire; spring, on the contrary, being hailed as victor, was led in triumph, amidst the loud acclamations of the multitude, into the town. From this festival originated a popular ballad, composed of stanzas each of which conclude thus:

Heigho! heigho! heigho! Summer is at hand!
Winter has lost the game,
Summer maintain’d its fame;
Heigho! heigho! heigho! Summer is at hand!

The day whereon the jubilee takes place is denominated der Todten sonntag, the dead Sunday. The reason may be traced perhaps to the analogy which winter bears to the sleep of death, when the vital powers of nature are suspended. The conjecture is strengthened by this distich in the ballad before quoted:

Now we’ve vanquish’d Death,
And Summer’s return ensured:
Were Death still unsubdued,
How much had we endured!

But of late years the spirit of this festival has disappeared. Lately, winter was uncouthly shaped of wood, and being covered with straw, was nailed against a large wheel, and the straw being set on fire, the apparatus was rolled down a steep hill! Agreeably to the intention of its inventors, the blazing wheel was by degrees knocked to pieces, against the precipices below, and then—winter’s effigy, to the admiration of the multitude, split into a thousand fiery fragments. This custom too, merely from the danger attending it, quickly fell into disuse; but still a shadow of the original festivity, which it was meant to commemorate, is preserved amongst the people of Eisenach. “Although” says the writer of these particulars, “we find winter no longer sent into banishment, as in former times, yet an attempt is made to represent and conciliate spring by offerings of nosegays and sprays of evergreen, adorned with birds or eggs, emblematical of the season.” Probably the latter usages may not have been consequent upon the decline of the former, but were coeval in their origin, and are the only remains of ancient customs peculiar to the season.


Lent Lily. Narcissus Pseudonarcissus multiplex.
Dedicated to St. Colette.

March 7.

St. Thomas Aquinas, A. D. 1274. Sts. Perpetua and Felicitas, A. D. 203. St. Paul, Anchoret.

St. Perpetua.

This saint is in the church of England calendar. She was martyred under the emperor Severus in 205.

[341, 342]

St. Paul the Anchoret.

This saint was “a man of profound ignorance.” Butler says he was named “the simple.” He journeyed eight days into the desert on a visit, and to become a disciple of St. Antony, who told him he was too old, and bade him return home, mind his business, and say his prayers; he shut the door upon him. Paul fasted and prayed before the door till Antony opened it, and out of compassion made a monk of him. One day after he had diligently worked at making mats and hurdles, and prayed without intermission, St. Antony bid him undo his work and do it all over again, which he did, without asking for a morsel of bread though he had been seven days without eating; this was to try Paul’s obedience. Another day when some monks came to Antony for advice, he bid Paul spill a vessel of honey and gather it up without any dust: this was another trial of his obedience. At other times he ordered him to draw water a whole day and pour it out again; to make baskets and pull them to pieces; to sew and unsew garments and the like: these were other trials of his obedience. When Antony had thus exercised him he placed him in a cell three miles from his own, proposed him as a model of obedience to his disciples, sent sick persons to him, and others possessed with the devil, whom he could not cure himself, and “under Paul,” Butler says, “they never failed of a cure.” He died about 330.


Early Daffodil. Narcissus Pseudonarcissus simplex.
Dedicated to St. Perpetua.

March 8.

St. John of God, A. D. 1550. St. Felix, A. D. 646. Sts. Apollonius, Philemon, &c. A. D. 311. St. Julian, Abp. of Toledo, A. D. 690. St. Duthak, Bp. of Ross, A. D. 1253. St. Rosa, of Viterbo, A. D. 1261. St. Senan, 5th Cent. St. Psalmod, or Saumay, about 589.

Romish saints are like earthquakes, wherein shocks crowd so fast they cannot be noted.

An Earthquake in London.

On the 8th of March, 1750, an earthquake shook all London. The shock was at half past five in the morning. It awoke people from their sleep and frightened them out of their houses. A servant maid in Charterhouse-square, was thrown from her bed, and had her arm broken; bells in several steeples were struck by the chime hammers; great stones were thrown from the new spire of Westminster Abbey; dogs howled in uncommon tones; and fish jumped half a yard above the water.

London had experienced a shock only a month before, namely, on the 8th of February 1750, between 12 and 1 o’clock in the day. At Westminster, the barristers were so alarmed that they imagined the hall was falling.


Everblowing Rose. Rosa Semperflorens.
Dedicated to St. Rosa of Viterbo.
Great Jonquil. Narcissus lætus.
Dedicated to St. Felix.

March 9.

St. Frances, Widow, A. D. 1440. St. Gregory, of Nyssa, Bp. 4th Cent. St. Pacian, Bp. A. D. 373. St. Catherine, of Bologna, A. D. 1463.


Scots’ mists, like Scots’ men, are proverbial for their penetration; Plymouth showers for their persevering frequency. The father of Mr. Haydon, the artist, relates that in the latter portion of 1807, and the first three or four months of 1808, there had been more than 160 successive days in which rain, in more or less quantities, had fallen in that neighbourhood. He adds, indeed, by way of consolation, that in winter it only rained there, while it snowed elsewhere. It has been remarked that in this opinion he might be correct; at least if he compared the climate of Plymouth with that of the western highlands. A party of English tourists are said to have stopped for several days at an uncomfortable inn, near Inverary, by the unremitting rains that fall in that country about Lammas, when one of them pettishly asked the waiter, “Does it rain here ALWAYS?” “Na! na!” replied Donald, “it snaws whiles,” i. e. sometimes.


Petticoat Daffodil. Narcissus Bulbocodium.
Dedicated to St. Catherine.

[343, 344]

March 10.

Forty Martyrs of St. Sebasti, A. D. 320. St. Droctovæus, Abbot, A. D. 580. St. Mackessoge.

The 10th of March, 1702, is erroneously said to have been the day whereon died sir Hugh Myddleton; a man renowned in English annals for having abundantly supplied London with water, by conducting the New River from Ware, in Hertfordshire, to the Clerkenwell suburb of the metropolis.

The first View of the New River—from London.

This is seen immediately on coming within view of Sadler’s Wells, a place of dramatic entertainment. After manifold windings and tunnellings from its source, the New River passes beneath the arch in the engraving, and forms a basin within a large walled enclosure, from whence diverging main pipes convey the water to all parts of London. At the back of the boy angling on the wall, is a public-house with tea-gardens and a skittle-ground, “commonly called, or known by the name or sign of, the sir Hugh Myddleton, or of the sir Hugh Myddleton’s head,” a portrait of sir Hugh hangs in front of the house. To this stream, as the water nearest London favourable to sport, anglers of inferior note repair:—

Here “gentle anglers,” and their rods withal,
Essaying, do the finny tribe inthrall.
Here boys their penny lines and bloodworms throw,
And scare, and catch, the “silly fish” below:
Backstickles bite, and biting, up they come,
And now a minnow, now a miller’s thumb.
Here too, experienced youths of better taste
And higher aim resort, who bait with paste,
Or push beneath a gentle’s shining skin
The barbed hook, and bury it within;
The more he writhes the better, if he die
Not one will touch him of the finny fry;
If in strong agony the sufferer live,
Then doth the “gentle angler” joy receive,
Down bobs the float, the angler wins the prize,
And now the gentle, now the gudgeon dies.

[345, 346]

Concerning Sir Hugh Myddleton there will be occasion to speak again.

In the Church.

In the notice of Bernard Gilpin, March 4, (p. 332,) it is said, “another incident further illustrating the manners of the Northern Borderers will be mentioned below.” The observation refers to a singular challenge, which the arrangements of that day could not include, and is now inserted.

On a certain Sunday Mr. Gilpin going to preach in those parts wherein deadly feuds prevailed, observed a glove hanging up on high in the church. He demanded of the sexton what it meant, and why it hung there. The sexton answered, that it was a glove which one of the parish hung up there as a challenge to his enemy, signifying thereby, that he was ready to enter combat hand to hand, with him or any one else who should dare to take the glove down. Mr. Gilpin requested the sexton to take it down. “Not I, sir,” replied the sexton, “I dare do no such thing.” Then Mr. Gilpin, calling for a long staff, took down the glove himself, and put it in his bosom. By and by, when the people came to church, and Mr. Gilpin in due time went up into the pulpit, he in his sermon reproved the barbarous custom of challenges, and especially the custom which they had, of making challenges by the hanging up of a glove. “I hear,” said he, “that there is one amongst you, who, even in this sacred place, hath hanged up a glove to this purpose, and threateneth to enter into combat with whosoever shall take it down. Behold, I have taken it down myself.” Then plucking out the glove, he showed it openly, and inveighing against such practices in any man that professed himself a Christian, endeavoured to persuade them to the practice of mutual love and charity.


The memory of man supplies no recollection of so wet a season as from September 1824 to March 1825; it produced the rot in sheep to an alarming extent. In consequence of the animals being killed in this disease, the mutton is unwholesome for human food, and produces mortality even in dogs. The newspapers relate that such mutton given to a kennel of dogs rendered them fat, till on a sudden their good looks declined, they became lean, and gradually died, without any other cause being assignable for the mortality, than the impure flesh of the sheep. In such a season, therefore, families should shrink from the use of mutton as from a pestilence. There is no security, but in entire abstinence. Almost every hare shot during the same period had a tainted liver. Under such circumstances lamb should be sparingly used, and, if possible, refrained from altogether, in order to secure mutton at a reasonable price hereafter.


1792. John, earl of Bute, died. He was prime minister soon after the accession of George III.; and of all who guided the helm of state, the most unpopular.

On the 10th of March, 1820, died Benjamin West, esq., president of the Royal Academy, in the eighty-second year of his age. It was his delight to gently lead genius in a young artist; and Mr. William Behnes, the sculptor, was honoured by the venerable president with the means of transmitting his parting looks to an admiring world, upon whom he was soon to look no more. Mr. West’s sittings to Mr. Behnes were about two months before his death. Expressing himself to his young friend in terms of high satisfaction at the model, he encouraged him to persevere in that branch of art which Mr. Behnes has since distinguished, by admirable power of design and use of the chisel. To speak of Mr. Behnes’s model as a mere likeness, is meagre praise of an effort which clearly marks observation, and comprehension, of Mr. West’s great mental powers. The bust, as it stands in marble, in sir John Leicester’s gallery, is a perfect resemblance of Mr. West’s features, and an eloquent memorial of his vigorous and unimpaired intellect in the last days of earthly existence. If ever the noblest traits of humanity were depicted by the hand of art, they are on this bust. Superiority of mind is so decidedly marked, and blended, with primitive simplicity, and a beaming look of humanity and benevolence, that it seems the head of an apostle.

Mr. West was an American; he was [347, 348] born at Springfield, in Pennsylvania, on the 10th of October, 1738; his ancestors and parents were “Friends:” the family had emigrated from England with the illustrious founder and legislator of Pennsylvania, William Penn: of whose treaty with the Indians for a tract of their territory, it is observed, that it was the only christian contract unsanctioned by an oath, and the only one never violated.[17] The first of the family who embraced Quaker principles was colonel James West, the friend and companion in arms of the great John Hampden.

Mr. West’s genius developed itself very early. When a child he saw an infant smile in its sleep, and forcibly struck with its beauty, seized pens, ink, and paper, which happened to lie by him, and endeavoured to delineate a portrait; at this period he had never seen an engraving or a picture. He was afterwards sent to school in the neighbourhood, and during hours of leisure was permitted to draw with a pen and ink. It did not occur to any of the family to provide him with better materials, till a party of Indians being amused with little Benjamin’s sketches of birds and flowers, taught him to prepare the red and yellow colours with which they painted their ornaments, and his mother adding blue, by giving him a piece of indigo, he became possessed of the three primary colours. As he could not procure camels’ hair pencils, and did not even know of their existence, he supplied the deficiency by cutting fur from the end of the cat’s tail. From the frequent necessity for repeating this depredation, his father observed the altered appearance of his favourite, and lamented it as the effect of disease; the young artist, with due contrition, informed his father of the true cause, and the old gentleman was highly pleased by his son’s ingenuousness. Mr. Pennington, a merchant of Philadelphia, struck with the genius of the child, sent him a box of paints and pencils, with some canvass, and six engravings by Grevling. Little West rose with the dawn of the next day, carried the box into the garret, prepared a pallet, began to imitate the figures in the engravings, omitted to go to school, and joined the family at dinner, without mentioning how he had been occupied. In the afternoon he again retired to his garret; and for several successive days thus devoted himself to painting. The schoolmaster, however, sent to know the reason of his absence. Mrs. West recollecting that she had seen Benjamin going up stairs every morning, and suspecting that it was the box which occasioned this neglect of the school, affected not to notice the message, but went immediately to the garret, and found him employed on the picture. If she had anger, it was changed to a different feeling by the sight of his performance; she kissed him with transports of affection, and assured him that she would intercede to prevent his being punished. It seemed ever the highest pleasure of Mr. West emphatically to declare, that it was this kiss that made him a painter.

After numerous indications of uncontrollable passion for his favourite and only pursuit, a consultation of “Friends” was held, on the propriety of allowing young West to indulge a taste, which the strict discipline of the society inhibits:—

Genius has such resistless power
That e’en the Quaker, stern and plain,
Felt for the blooming painter boy.

The destiny he desired was fixed. In 1760 he left Philadelphia for Rome, pursued his studies in the capital of art, visited the galleries and collections of Italy with an ardour that impaired his health, came through France to London, and was about to return to America, when sir Joshua Reynolds, and Wilson, the landscape painter, used their utmost persuasions to detain him in this country. There was only one obstacle; he had formed an attachment on his native soil:

Wheree’er he turn’d, whatever realms to see,
His heart, untravell’d, fondly turn’d

to her whom he loved. This difficulty was overcome, for the lady, Miss Shewell, came over; they were married in London, in 1764. Thus “settled,” in the following year Mr. West was chosen a member and one of the directors of the Society of Artists, afterwards incorporated with the Royal Academy, which he assisted in forming, and over which he afterwards presided till his death.

As an artist his works in the various collections and edifices throughout England exhibit his talents, but above all “West’s Gallery,” now open in Newman-street for public inspection, is an assemblage of testimonials to the justice [349, 350] of his fame among his adopted countrymen. His talent germinated on the shores of the Atlantic, but with us it flourished. America at that period was not sufficiently advanced to cultivate his genius: now that she has risen in commerce and the arts, and taken her stand among the nations, she will retain her future Wests to adorn her greatness. May the people of England and America contend with each other no more but in works of peace and good will; and may the interchange of talented individuals from each, contribute to the prosperity and moral grandeur of both countries!

As a man, Mr. West’s characteristics were kindness and warmth of heart. From accordant feelings, he painted with delight and energy some of the most affecting incidents in the New Testament history. His “Christ healing the sick” will be remembered by all who saw it, with reverend solemnity. In his “Christ Rejected,” the various bad passions in the malignant spectators and abettors of the outrage; the patient suffering of the great and all-enduring character; the sympathizing feelings of his adherents; and the general accessories, are great lineaments of the designer’s power. His “Death on the Pale Horse,” and more especially the sketch for that painting, express masterly thought and conception. These are Mr. West’s “large” pictures. Some of his smaller ones and his sketches, the beholder studies and lingers over till his limbs and body tire; and he leaves the large assemblage of paintings in “West’s Gallery” with a conviction, that no artist has yet fully occupied his place. Perhaps there is only one who would have designed the “Death on the Pale Horse” more effectively, and he would have had no compeer—Mr. Fuseli; whose compositions are of a higher order than those of any other in this country, and will be duly estimated when the price set upon his works cannot be useful to their author. No one is valued till he is dead; after the last sigh has sobbed from the body, comes the time for some to suspect that they had inflicted pangs upon its infirmity when living, and a desire to know more of a man, the rufflings of whose dying pillow the breath of their friendship might have smoothed, and whom, to the extent of their comprehension they might have known, if their little feelings, in a state too easy, had not excluded him from their society.


Upright Chickweed. Veronica triphyllos.
Dedicated to St. Droctavæus.

[17] Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary, London edit. vol. v. p. 367.

March 11.

St. Eulogius of Cordova, A. D. 859. St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, A. D. 640. St. Ængus, Bishop, A. D. 824. St. Constantine, 6th Cent.


1752. Papers were affixed in the avenues to both houses of parliament, giving notice that the farmers and their servants intended to destroy the pheasant and partridge eggs, and leverets, if the country gentlemen, who had entered into an association for the preservation of game, did not desist. There were sad hearts at this time between the owners and occupiers of land, from the obnoxiousness of the game laws, and the severity of their execution.


Cornish Heath. Erica vaguus.
Dedicated to St. Eulogius.

March 12.

St. Gregory the Great. St. Maximilian, A. D. 296. St. Paul, Bishop of Leon, about 573.

St. Gregory the Great.

He was prætor of Rome in 574, under the emperor Justin; next year he became a monk, and by fasting and study so weakened his stomach, that he swooned if he did not frequently eat. “What gave him the greatest affliction,” says Butler, “was, his not being able to fast on an Easter-eve; a day on which, says St. John the deacon, ‘every one, not even excepting little children are used to fast;’ whereupon, by praying that he might be enabled to fast, he not only fasted, but quite forgot his illness.” He determined to come to Britain to propagate the faith; but the whole city rose in an uproar to prevent his departure, and the pope constrained him to remain. Pope Pelagius II. sent him as nuncio to Constantinople, where Eutychius fell into an error, importing that after the resurrection glorified bodies would not be palpable, but of a more subtile texture than air. Whereupon, says Butler, St. Gregory was alarmed, and clearly demonstrated that their bodies would be the [351, 352] same which they had on earth, and Eutychius retracted his error: on his return to Rome he took with him an arm of St. Andrew, and the head of St. Luke. Pelagius made him his secretary, and after his death was elected pope himself. To escape from the danger of this elevation, he got himself carried out of Rome in a wicker basket, and lay concealed in woods and caverns for three days. He was afterwards consecrated with great pomp, and on that occasion sent a synodal epistle to the other patriarchs, wherein he declared that “he received the four councils as the four gospels.” Butler says, he extended his charity to the heretics, and “to the very Jews,” yet he afterwards adds, that in Africa “he extirpated the Donatists.” He subscribed himself in his letters, “Servant of the Servants of God.” He sent to the empress Constantina a veil which had touched the relics of the apostles, and assured her that miracles had been wrought by such relics, and promised her some dust-filings of the chains of St. Paul. He sent St. Austin and other monks to convert the English. (See February 24, St. Ethelbert.) He died on the 25th of January, 604.[18] His devotion to the church was constant; he was learned, enterprising, sincere, and credulous, and, for the times wherein he lived, charitable, and merciful. It should be observed, that he was the author of the church-singing called the Gregorian chaunt.

Many miracles are related of St. Gregory, as that going to bless a church in honour of St. Agnes, which had been used by the Arians, he caused the relics to be placed on the altar, whereon a hog went grunting out of the church with a fearful noise; whence it was averred that the devil, who had been served in it by the heretic Arians, was driven out by the relics. Sometimes the lamps were miraculously lighted. One day a bright cloud descended on the altar, with a heavenly odour, so that from reverence no one dared to enter the church. At another time, when Gregory was transubstantiating the wafers a woman laughed; he asked her why she laughed? to which at length she answered, “because you call the bread which I made with my own hands the body of our Lord;” whereupon he prayed, and the consecrated bread appeared flesh to every one present; and the woman was converted, and the rest were confirmed. At another time, some ambassadors coming to Rome for relics, Gregory took a linen cloth which had been applied to the body of a saint, and enclosing it in a box gave it to them. While on their journey home they were curious to see the contents of the box: and finding nothing within it but the cloth, returned to St. Gregory complaining that he had deceived them. On this he took the cloth, laid it on the altar, prayed, pricked it with a knife, the cloth shed blood, and the astonished ambassadors reverently took back the box. Another time one who had been excommunicated by St. Gregory for having put away his lawful wife, bargained with certain sorcerers and witches for revenge; who, when the holy pope rode through the city, sent the devil into his horse, and made him caper, so that he could not be held; then with the sign of the cross the pope cast out the devil, and the witches by miracle becoming blind were converted, and St. Gregory baptized them; yet he would not restore their sight, lest they should read their magical books again, but maintained them out of the church rents. After his death there was a famine in Rome, and the people being falsely persuaded that St. Gregory had wasted the church property, gathered his writings to burn them; wherefore Peter, the deacon, who had been intimate with Gregory, affirmed, that “he had often seen the Holy Ghost, in form of a dove upon St. Gregory’s head whilst he was writing, and that it would be an insufferable affront to burn those books, which had been written by his inspiration;” and to assure them of this he offered to confirm it by oath, but stipulated that if he died immediately after he had taken the oath, they should believe that he had told them the truth: this being assented to, he took the oath, and thereupon died, and the people believed; and “hence the painters came to represent St. Gregory, with a dove at his ear, to signify that the Holy Ghost inspired and dictated what he writ.”[19]

It is also a legend concerning St. Gregory, that when he fled from Rome to avoid the dignity of popedom and lay hid, a bright pillar of fire descending from heaven, glittered above his head, and angels appeared descending and ascending by [353, 354] the same fiery pillar upon him, wherefore he was “miraculously betrayed.”[20]

After St. Gregory’s death there was a hermit, who had left all his goods, and left the world, and kept nothing but his cat, and this cat he used to play with, and hold in his lap tenderly: one day he prayed that it might be revealed to him, to the joy of what saint he should hereafter come; then St. Gregory was revealed to him, and that he should come to his joy; wherefore the hermit sighed, and disliked his poverty, because St. Gregory had possessed so much earthly riches: and in revelation it was commanded him to be quiet, because he had more pleasure in stroking and playing with his cat, than St. Gregory had in all his riches. Then the hermit prayed that he might have the like merit and reward with St. Gregory; and in this story, lieth great moral.


Although this is not a family receipt-book, yet a prescription is extracted from the “Yea and Nay Almanack for 1678,” because the remedy has been tried and approved.

For the Eyes.

In the morning as soon as you rise, instead of fasting spittle, or a cat’s tail, rub your eyes with a hundred broad pieces of your own gold; and I tell thee friend, it will not only do thy eyes good, but thy purse also.


1689. King James II. landed at Kinsale in Ireland, with an army he brought from France, to assist in the recovery of the throne he had abdicated. He afterwards made a public entry into Dublin, and besieged Londonderry, which vigorously defended itself under the rev. George Walker, and suffered dreadful privations till it was relieved, and the siege abandoned. He then held a parliament in Dublin, coined base money, and committed various outrages, till William III. signally defeated him at the battle of the Boyne, and compelled him to fly to France.


Among the proposals in 1825, a year prolific of projects, there is one for a Joint Stock Company or Society for the Encouragement of Literature; the capital to be £100,000. in shares of £25. to be increased, if advisable; shareholders to be allowed to subscribe at par; each shareholder to be entitled to a copy of every work published by the society, at two-thirds of the publication price; interest 5 per cent., to be paid half yearly on the instalments subscribed; a deposit of £1. per share to be paid on subscribing, the remainder by instalments as the extension of the society’s concerns may demand; of the profits one-fourth to form a fund for the benefit of authors, at the discretion of the society; two-fourths to be divided among the proprietors annually; the remaining one-fourth to accumulate into a perpetual triennial fund, to meet unforeseen expenditure, the possibility of loss, &c. &c. &c. There is not one word about the Encouragement of Literature beyond the title. This absence is the most intelligible part of the proposals.

There was a Society for the Encouragement of Learning, established in May, 1736. The duke of Richmond was president, sir Hugh Smithson, (afterwards duke of Northumberland,) and sir Thomas Robinson, bart., were vice-presidents. The trustees were the earl of Hertford, earl of Abercorn, Harley, earl of Oxford, earl Stanhope, lord Percival, Dr. Mead, Dr. Birch, Paul Whitehead, Ward, the professor at Gresham college, Sale, the translator of the Koran, and other really eminent men; Alexander Gordon, the author of “Iter Septentrionale,” a “History of Amphitheatres,” and other learned and antiquarian works, was their secretary. In the December of the same year Gordon wrote a letter to Dr. Richardson, master of Emanuel college Cambridge, soliciting his interference with Dr. Conyers Middleton, to obtain for the society the publication of the life of Cicero. “They have already entirely paved the way for the reception of authors,” says Gordon; “appointed booksellers for their service; settled the regulations concerning printers, and the printing part;” and, “in fine nothing is wanting but to set out with some author of genius and note.” Dr. Middleton chose to publish his life of Cicero with a bookseller, notwithstanding an army of really great names had made all those arrangements, and courted him to their encouragement. In the outset of this society Mr. Clarke in a letter to Mr. Bowyer [355, 356] expressed his conviction, that “it must be at last a downright trading society,” and said “I hope you will take care to be one of their printers, for there will certainly be a society for encouraging printing.” Mr. Bowyer took the hint, and printed for them. The security was good, because each member of such a society is answerable individually for its debts. At the end of three years “Dr. Birch, as treasurer to the society, handed over to Mr. Stephen le Bas, his successor in office, the astonishing balance of 59l. 3s. 912d. During that period the society had printed only four books; and then, deeming the assistance of booksellers necessary, they entered into a contract for three years with A. Millar, J. Gray, and J. Nourse; afterwards they contracted with six other booksellers, whose profits they retrenched: then they became their own booksellers; then they once more had recourse to three other booksellers; and finally, finding their finances almost exhausted, they laid before the public a memorial of the Present State of Affairs of the Society, April 17, 1748,” whereby it appeared that they had incurred so considerable a debt they could proceed no further.[21]

Less than fifty years ago another society existed, under the very title of the Joint Stock Society proposed in 1825. Mr. Tyson, in a letter of June 21, 1779, to his friend Mr. Gough, the antiquary, mentions that a bequest of £5. was “left at the disposal of the Society for the Encouragement of Literature.”[22] If the literature of the present day owes its existence to that society, its offspring is most ungrateful; the foster-parent is not even remembered, nor is the time of its birth or death recorded in any public register. That it survived the bequest alluded to, only a very short period, appears certain; for in the very next year, 1780, Dr. Lettsom issued “Hints for establishing a Society for promoting useful Literature.” The doctor, a most benevolent man, and a good physician, dispensed much charity in private as well as in public, and patronized almost every humane institution for the relief and cure of human infirmity; and hence his eye was as microscopic in discernment, as his hand was experimental in the healing of griefs. Literature seems to have been to him as a gentle river that he rilled into, and which he thought could be diverted, or regulated by new channels and sluices; he appeared not to know, that it is an ocean of mighty waters, with countless currents and varying tides. He proposed largesses to indigent writers, and their widows and orphans, and “honorary rewards” to successful ones. Robertson, Bryant, Melmoth, Johnson, Gibbon, and many other “useful and accomplished writers,” were to have had the “honorary rewards” of the encouraging society. Such honours, such a society was to have forced on such men! The doctor’s “hints” were not adopted, except that to relieve the casualties of minor literary men, and their dependents, there now exists the Literary Fund.

In the records of former days there is mention of a project for extracting, bottling, and preserving sunbeams from cucumbers, for use at that season when sunbeams are rare, and cucumbers not at all. The projector seems to have inferred, that as cucumbers derived their virtue from sunbeams, it would be virtuous in cucumbers to return the deposit. Whatever virtue cucumbers had, it would not be forced. Experiment, doubtless, disappointed hope; the promising project absorbed the capital advanced, as completely as the cholicky vegetables tenaciously retained the solar rays; and the deposit never found its way to the shareholders.

Any Society for the Encouragement of Literature, save one, is a fallacy—that one is society itself. All interposition in its behalf is feeble and doting interference. A public Joint Stock Company can neither create literary talent, nor by divided efforts obtain so much; nor with capital, however great, reward it so well, as the undivided interest, industry, and unshared purse of the private publisher.

If a Society for the Encouragement of Literature be instituted, when more institution is threatened, and less institution is necessary, than at any former period, such society will be a hot-bed for the cultivation of little more than hopeful weeds. A few literary shoots may be set in warm borders, and drawn up under frames, to look handsome, but they will not bear transplanting to open ground. Their produce will be premature, of inferior quality, and not repay the trouble and expense of rearing. If left unsheltered, the first chill will kill them. Weak suckers, however well favoured, will never come to trees.

[357, 358]

The monarch of the forest, in natural solitude, drinking sunshine and dews, uninterrupted and untainted by human encroachments, and striking deep root beneath virgin earth, attains, in fulness of time, to majestic growth. In like manner the silent spirit of man, seeking peace in solitary imaginings, penetrating below the foundations of human knowledge, and generalizing and embodying the objects of sight and feeling, arrives to a grandeur astonishing to men’s eyes, because not the work of men’s hands. This self-created power, is denominated Genius. In an incipient state it evaporates beneath the meddling touch, and at maturity soars above its reach. Talent is ungovernable. It directs itself, appoints its own trustees for uses, and draws drafts upon the public which are honoured at sight. The demand for talent is greater than the supply.

What is to be done?—nothing. What can be done?—nothing. Literature must be let alone. Under bounties and drawbacks, it becomes tortuous and illicit.


Channelled Ixia. Ixia Bulbocodium.
Dedicated to St. Gregory.

[18] Butler’s Saints.

[19] Ribadeneira’s Saints.

[20] Porter’s Flowers.

[21] Nichols’s Anecdotes.

[22] Ibid.

March 13.

St. Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople, A. D. 828. St. Euphrasia, A. D. 410. St. Theophanes, Abbot, A. D. 818. St. Kennocha, A. D. 1007. St. Gerald, Bishop, A. D. 732. St. Mochoemoc, in Latin, Pulcherius, Abbot, A. D. 655.

Mid-Lent Sunday.

Winter and Spring allegorized—a Sport.

Mothering Sunday.—Refreshment Sunday.—Rose Sunday.

This is the fourth Sunday in Lent, and noted as a holiday in the church of England calendar.

On this day boys went about, in ancient times, into the villages with a figure of death made of straw; from whence they were generally driven by the country people; who disliked it as an ominous [359, 360] appearance, while some gave them money to get the mawkin carried off. Its precise meaning under that form is doubtful, though it seems likely to have purported the death of Winter, and to have been only a part of another ceremony conducted by a larger body of boys, from whom the death-carriers were a detachment, and who consisted of a large assemblage carrying two figures to represent Spring and Winter, whereof one was called “Sommer tout”—

Apparelde all in greene, and drest in youthful fine arraye;
The other Winter, cladde in mosse, with heare all hoare and graye.[23]

These two figures they bore about, and fought; in the fight Summer, or Spring, got the victory over Winter, and thus was allegorized the departure or burial of the death of the year, and its commencement or revival as Spring. The custom described on March the 6th, (p. 339,) was only a variation of the present, wherein also the boys carried about cracknels or cakes:—

Thus children also beare, with speares, their cracknelles round about.[24]

It is still a custom on Mid-Lent Sunday in many parts of England, for servants and apprentices to carry cakes or some nice eatables or trinkets, as presents to their parents; and in other parts, to visit their mother for a meal of furmity, or to receive cakes from her with her blessing. This is called going a mothering.[25] Herrick mentions this custom in Gloucestershire:

I’le to thee a simnell bring
’Gainst thou go’st a mothering,
So that when she blesseth thee
Half that blessing thoul’t give me.

Going a mothering is from the Roman catholic custom of going to the mother-church on Mid-Lent Sunday, to make offerings at the high altar; and that custom of the Romish Church is derived from the Hilaria, a heathen festival celebrated by the ancient Romans, in honour of the Mother of the Gods on the ides of March.[26] The offerings at the altars were in their origin voluntary, and became church property. At length the parish priests compounded with the church at a certain sum, and these voluntary donations of the people have become the dues known by the name of Easter Offerings.

Mid-Lent, or Mothering Sunday is likewise called Refreshment Sunday, “the reason of which,” says Wheatly, (on the Common Prayer) “I suppose is the Gospel for that day, which treats of our Saviour’s miraculously feeding five thousand; or else, perhaps, from the first lesson in the morning, which gives us the story of Joseph entertaining his brethren.” It is also denominated Rose Sunday, from the pope on this day carrying a golden rose in his hand, which he exhibits on his way to and from mass.[27]

On this day at Seville there is an usage evidently the remains of an old custom. Children of all ranks, poor and gentle, appear in the streets fantastically dressed, somewhat like English chimney-sweepers on May-day, with caps of gilt and coloured paper, and coats made of the crusade bulls of the preceding year. During the whole day they make an incessant din with drums and rattles, and cry “Saw down the old woman.” At midnight, parties of the commonalty parade the streets, knock at every door, repeat the same cries, and conclude by sawing in two the figure of an old woman representing Lent. This division is emblematical of Mid-Lent.[28]


Heartsease. Viola Tricolor.
Dedicated to St. Euphrasia.

[23] Gouge’s Naogeorgus.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Gentleman’s Magazine.

[26] Fosbroke’s British Monachism.

[27] Shepherd, on Common Prayer.

[28] Doblado’s Letters.

March 14.

St. Maud, or Mathildis, Queen, A. D. 968. Sts. Acepsimas, Bishop, Joseph, and Aithilahas, A. D. 380. St. Boniface, Bishop of Ross, about 630.


1733. The Excise scheme was first moved in the House of Commons, by resolutions, which were powerfully resisted, but on the 16th finally carried, and the Excise bill brought in. On the 4th of April the bill was read a first time, and carried by a majority of 36; the majority being 230, the minority 200. There were petitions against it from every trading town of the kingdom, and great tumults in London; the obnoxious members were attacked on their way to parliament. The measure was so unpopular that it was for that time dropped, whereon public feeling was manifested by general illuminations, and other rejoicings.

1757. Admiral John Byng, second son of lord viscount Torrington, was shot at Portsmouth, under the sentence of a [361, 362] court martial, for not having done his duty in an action between the British and French fleets on the 20th of May preceding. After he had made his defence, and conducted himself throughout the trial with coolness and courage, he was so sure of acquittal, that he ordered his coach to be in waiting to convey him to London. He suffered on board the Monarque with undaunted firmness, walking out of the cabin with unchanged countenance to the quarter-deck, where the marines were stationed to execute the sentence. He desired to die with his eyes uncovered; but on its being represented that his intrepid looks might intimidate the soldiers, and frustrate their aim, he tied a handkerchief over his eyes, and then dropping another, five musket balls passed through his body, and he fell dead instantly. An historian of the day says of him, that “Whatever his errors and indiscretions might have been, he seemed to have been rashly condemned, meanly given up, and cruelly sacrificed to vile considerations.” It is believed that popular fury had been excited against him by various arts, and especially by the suppression of important passages in his official despatches. He delivered a paper to the marshal of the admiralty on the morning of his death, wherein he expressed his conviction, that he should hereafter be regarded as a victim to divert the indignation and resentment of an injured and deluded people from the proper objects, and that his very enemies believed him innocent.

1797. Courtney Melmoth died at Bath, aged 89 years; he translated part of “Cicero’s Works,” and “Pliny’s Epistles,” and wrote “Fitzosborne’s Letters,” and the “Memoirs of a late eminent Advocate;” his father was the author of “The great Importance of a Religious Life.”

1803. Frederick Klopstock, a German writer, author of the “Messiah” and other works, chiefly poetical, died at Hamburgh, aged 80. His funeral was a public one, and conducted with a marked solemnity, denoting affectionate respect for his talents and character.


Mountain Soldanel. Soldanella Alpina.
Dedicated to St. Maud.

March 15.

St. Abraham, Hermit, and his niece, St. Mary, 4th Cent. St. Zachary, Pope, A. D. 752.


Forty-four years before Christ, Julius Cæsar was assassinated by Brutus and his associates in the senate-house of Rome, in the 56th year of his age. He is said to have conquered three hundred nations, taken eight hundred cities, defeated three hundred millions of men, and slain one hundred millions on the field of battle. He was learned himself, and an encourager of learning and the arts. He wrote the “Commentaries on the wars of Gaul,” a book which bears his name, and which would have been lost in the bay of Alexandria, if he had not swam from his ship with his book in one hand, and his arms in the other. His ruling passion was ambition, yet he was a slave to sensuality; with talents that might have made him the protector of Roman liberty he destroyed it.

1784. Dr. Thomas Franklin, translator of Sophocles, Phalaris, and Lucian, died. He was born about 1720, and wrote two tragedies, the “Earl of Warwick” and “Matilda.”


Coltsfoot. Tussilago Farfala.
Dedicated to St. Zachery.
Lasting Mercury. Mercurialis perennis.
Dedicated to St. Abraham.

March 16.

St. Julian, of Cilicia. St. Finian, surnamed Lobhar, or the Leper.

St. Finian.

He was descended from Alild, king of Munster, built the abbey of Innis-Fallen in an island on the lake of Loughlane, county of Kerry; another at Ardfinnan, in Tipperary; and a third at Cluin-more Madoc, in Leinster, where he was buried.[29]

It is related of St. Finian, that he visited St. Ruadanus, who had a miraculous tree in his cell, dropping a liquor so peculiar, into a vessel from nine o’clock to sun-set, that it sufficed to dine him and all his brotherhood every day. St. Finian’s visit was to persuade St. Ruadanus to live like other people; therefore, when St. Finian came to the tree, he signed it with the sign of the cross, by virtue of which the liquor ceased to flow after nine o’clock. This was in the absence of Ruadanus, who being informed on his return, that St. Finian and others had come to see him, he ordered his servant [363, 364] to prepare the miraculous water dinner as usual; the servant surprised to find the vessel empty, told his master, who bade him to fill it with common water from a fountain, which he had no sooner done, than the water was changed into the liquor that flowed from the tree. St. Ruadanus ordered the man to carry it to St. Finian, who making a cross over the liquor, changed it back to water, and said why is this liquor of a false name given to me? St. Finian’s companions urged him to go and cross the fountain as he had crossed the tree; but Finian answered, it would only grieve Ruadanus, who would go to the next bog, and change the water there into the same liquor. In the end, St. Finian and his companions persuaded St. Ruadanus not to work any more miracles, but to live as others did, whereunto he yielded. Thus St. Finian having out-miracled the miracle of St. Ruadanus, and stopped him from working the same miracle again, departed with his companions.[30]


1723. March 16, a royal proclamation was issued for a thanksgiving for our preservation from the plague.

[It has been lately proved that the plague is not contagious. Dr. Maclean is understood to have established the fact to the satisfaction of government, and it is in contemplation to repeal the present laws of quarantine.]


Nodding Daffodil. Narcissus nutans.
Dedicated to St. Julian.

[29] Butler’s Saints.

[30] Patrick’s Devotions.

March 17.

St. Patrick. St. Joseph, of Arimathea. St. Gertrude, Abbess, A. D. 626.

St. Patrick,
Apostle of Ireland.

St. Patrick was born towards the end of the fourth century, in Killpatrick, between Dunbriton and Glasgow. At sixteen he was carried off with many of his father’s vassals into slavery, and compelled for six months to keep cattle on the mountains in Ireland, from whence he escaped through the humanity of some sailors. He travelled into Gaul and Italy, and received his apostolical mission to convert the Irish, from pope Celestine, who died in 432. Determined on attempting the conversion of the people, he penetrated to the remotest corners of Ireland, baptized multitudes, ordained clergy to preside over them, instituted monks, gave alms to the poor of the provinces, made presents to the kings, educated children to serve at the altar, held councils, founded monasteries, restored health to the sick, sight to the blind, raised dead persons to life, continued his missions during forty years, and died at Down in Ulster, where he was buried. Such, in brief, is Alban Butler’s account, who assigns the year 464, for a period wherein he lived.

Ribadeneira affirms it, as a most famous miracle, and well known to the whole world, that St. Patrick did so free Ireland of all venomous beasts, that none could ever since breed or live there, and that even the very wood has a virtue against poison, “so that it is reported of king’s college, Cambridge, that being built of Irish wood, no spider doth ever come near it.”

Jocelin, a Cistercian monk of Furnes in the twelfth century, wrote “The Life and Acts of St. Patrick,” wherein he relates many extraordinary particulars, of which the few that follow are specimens: St. Patrick when a child in winter time brought home some pieces of ice, his nurse told him he had better have brought home wood, whereupon he heaped together the ice, and prayed, and the ice immediately became a bonfire. After this his foster-father died, and to relieve his nurse’s distress, St. Patrick prayed, signed him with the sign of the cross, and so restored him to life. Then by the same sign he freed a cow from an evil spirit; recovered five cows she had wounded; and, by the same means, when his nurse was ill and longed for honey, he “immediately changed water into the best honey.” At another time, when she was commanded to clean out some filthy stables, St. Patrick prayed, and they were cleaned without hands. Then St. Patrick himself was carried into slavery, and sold for a kettle; but the kettle being placed on the fire, the hotter the fire burned, the colder became the kettle; whereupon the seller of St. Patrick returned the kettle, took St. Patrick back, and the vessel was restored to its wonted power of boiling. St. Patrick desiring to eat meat, obtained some pork, and having concealed it for a convenient season, presently [365, 366] he saw a man with eyes before and eyes behind, and asked him why he was so formed; the seer answered, “I am the servant of God; with the eyes in my forehead I see things open to view, with my eyes behind I see a monk hiding flesh meat in a vessel to satisfy his appetite privately.” Then the seer vanished. St. Patrick repented, prayed for pardon, besought for a sign that he had it, was told by an angel to put the pork into water, did as the angel bid him, and the pork “immediately became fishes.” Having journeyed into Britain, he saw a leper whom mariners would not carry in their ship, whereon St. Patrick took a stone altar consecrated by the pope, cast it into the sea, caused the leper to sit on it, and the leper immediately set sail on the stone, kept company with the ship all the voyage, and got into port with her at the same time. St. Patrick, returning to Ireland, on approaching the shore, saw a multitude of devils in the form of a globe surrounding the whole island, when he “raised his sacred right hand, made the sign of the cross, and, unhurt and unterrified, passed he over.” Some fishermen in the county of Leinster, drawing their nets from a river loaded with fish, St. Patrick asked them for some; they refused him; he cursed them, and the river; and from that day the river never produced fish. Once when the chief king of Ireland ordered his subjects to prevent St. Patrick from landing, they set a fierce dog at him, whereupon the dog stiffened like a stone; then a gigantic man brandished his sword at the saint, the man stiffened likewise, but repented, and St. Patrick unstiffened him, and baptized him. An old man, would not believe St. Patrick’s preaching. St. Patrick asked him whether he would be persuaded by a miracle; the old man said he would, then St. Patrick prayed, laid his hand on him, “and immediately the old man became beautiful and young, and flourished again, as in his early youth,” and was so made to believe. Having converted Mochna, a virtuous swineherd, while they were conversing together, a staff from heaven fell between them, which St. Patrick gave to Mochna for a pastoral staff, consecrated him bishop of Edrum, “and the staff is in that church still preserved, and called the flying staff.”

St. Patrick’s nephew, St. Lumanus, being desirous of taking a journey by sea when wind and tide were against him, he hoisted the sails, trusted in the merits of St. Patrick, and, “O, miracle till then unheard and unknown! the ship, without any pilot, sailed against wind and stream,” and he made a prosperous voyage. At another time, St. Patrick seeing a hundred men unable to stir a large stone, he, alone, raised it up, and placed it where it was wanted. He was accustomed to stop and erect a cross at the head-stone of every christian who was buried outside of a burial-place; one day, coming to the graves of two men newly buried, and observing that one of the graves only had a cross over it, he stopped his chariot, and speaking to the dead man below, asked him what religion he had been, the dead man answered a pagan, St. Patrick inquired why then a cross was put over him, the dead pagan replied, he who is buried near me was a christian, and one of your faith coming hither placed the cross at my head; the saint stepped out of his chariot, rectified the mistake, and went his way. One Foylge, an idolator, strangled the driver of St. Patrick’s chariot, in his seat, wherefore the saint cast his “holy curse” at Foylge, who pierced thereby, fell dead into hell; but the devil entering the dead body, walked about in it, and seemed as if he were Foylge himself, till one day St. Patrick called at the dead man’s house, and asking the family where Foylge was, they answered he was at home, when the saint told them of Foylge’s death, and that Satan “had entered into his corpse and occupied it as his own proper vessel,” then St. Patrick gave notice to the devil to leave his lodging in Foylge’s body, which he did immediately, and Foylge was buried. Preaching on a journey to 14,000 men, “he first fed them all with spiritual food,” then commanding a cow to be killed, with two stags, and a couple of boars, the people ate abundantly, the remnants were gathered up; and “thus with the flesh of five animals, did St. Patrick plenteously feed 14,000 men.” Once when he was preaching, by way of a strong argument, he raised to life nineteen dead men, one of whom had been buried for ten years. After that, St. Patrick passing over a river one of his teeth dropped into the water, and his disciples could not find it till night, when the tooth in the river shone as a radiant star, and being so discovered was brought to St. Patrick, who on that spot built a church, and deposited his tooth beneath the altar. Desiring to pass an impassable river, and no boat being [367, 368] at hand, St. Patrick prayed, and dividing the river, made himself and followers a free passage, then “he blessed the river, and being so blessed, it abounded in fishes above all others.” St. Mel being denounced unjustly to St. Patrick, and preferring to prove his innocence by a miracle rather than by an oath, he ploughed up the earth on a certain hill, and took by the ploughshare many and large fishes out of the dry land; thereupon St. Patrick absolved him, but lest St. Mel should continue to work miracles presumptuously, “he bade him that he should thenceforth plough on the land, and fish in the water.” St. Patrick had a goat, a thief stole it, and ate it, and when accused, denied it; but the goat bleating in the stomach of the thief, proclaimed the merit of St. Patrick; and, to increase the miracle, by the sentence of the saint, all the posterity of the man were marked with the beard of a goat. St. Patrick having labored to convert a tyrant, who laughed him to scorn, he immediately converted the tyrant, against his will, into a fox; which fox went off with a hard run, and could never be found. Another time being benighted in the open air, violent rain fell around St. Patrick and his companions, but did not wet them a drop. On the same night, the driver of his chariot could not for the darkness find the horses to re-yoke them, on which St. Patrick, drawing his right hand from his sleeve, and lifting up his fingers, they “shone even as sun-beams, and wonderfully illumining the whole country, turned darkness into light, and night into day—then by the aid of the radiant miracle, the chariot-driver found his steed.” After the death of St. Patrick, there was no night for twelve days.

These are some of the miracles attributed to St. Patrick by Jocelin, whose life of him published in “Dublin, Printed for the Hibernia Press Company, By James Blyth,” is sold in London by Messrs. Keating and Brown, Catholic Printers and Publishers, No. 38, Duke-street, Grosvenor-square, in one volume 12mo. containing 264 pages, price 2s. 6d. in boards.

To what extent Catholics believe such miracles, as have been just related is unknown to a Protestant; but the publication of Jocelin’s works by catholic booksellers in a cheap form, seems to signify that it it held in repute by Catholics in a humble rank of life. To what extent the catholic clergy have instructed this class of their flocks, or rather to what extent they design to instruct them, is also unknown to a Protestant; but should the higher classes of catholics enjoy the civil rights, which the most wise and enlightened of their Protestant fellow-subjects deplore they do not possess, and most anxiously desire they should possess, it is not too much to hope that it will become the anxious wish, as it is the positive duty of the catholic clergy to inform the ignorant of their community. An union between the church of England, or any other protestant church, and the church of Rome, never can take place; but protestant churchmen, and Protestants of all denominations, can and will unite with Catholics, if Catholics can and will unite with them, to enlighten the Egyptian darkness, which ensures the mind worse than Egyptian bondage. The education of helpless infancy, and the fixation of just principles in youth, form the best security against criminal manhood. In this, surely, both Protestants and Catholics will concur, and their earnest cooperation to obtain this security will be a firm pledge that each desires the welfare of each. The marked separation of churches and doctrines cannot much longer separate man from man. In the bigotted and selfish interests that dam the social affections, there are incurable and daily widening breaches: the issues alternate and vary, but the first high tide of mutual kindness will burst the restrictions, and sweep them away for ever.

St. Patrick’s Day.

This being the anniversary of the day whereon St. Patrick died, it is commemorated as a high festival in the catholic church; and it is celebrated to his honour in that country, with every demonstration of affection for his memory as the apostle and patron saint of Ireland, that a warm-hearted, enthusiastic, joyous people, can possibly express. An eye-witness represents to the editor of the Every-Day Book that St. Patrick’s day in Dublin is a scene of festivity and mirth unequalled by any thing observable in this country. From the highest to the lowest, all hearts seem inspired by the saint’s beneficence. At day-break flags fly on the steeples, and [369, 370] the bells ring out incessant peals till midnight. The rich bestow their benevolence on the poor, and the poor bestow their blessings on the rich, and on each other, and on the blessed St. Patrick. The “green immortal” shamrock is in every hat. Sports of manly exercise exhibit the capabilities of the celebrated “shillelah,” and before night many a head gives token of the application of its wonderful powers, by a muscular hand. Priestly care soothes querulousness; laughter drowns casualty; innumerable bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked, jaunty lasses dance with their mirth-loving lads; old women run about with children in the hoods of their cloaks, to publicly share care-drowning cups of sweet consolation with each other; and by the voice of wit, humour, and frolic, this miraculous day is prolonged till after the morning dawn.

A popular song on this festal occasion contains these verses:

Saint Patrick’s, the holy and tutelar man;
His beard down his bosom like Aaron’s ran:
Some from Scotland, from Wales, will declare that he came,
But I care not from whence now he’s risen to fame:—
The pride of the world and his enemies scorning,
I will drink to St. Patrick, to-day, in the morning!
He’s a desperate big, little Erin go brah;
He will pardon our follies and promise us joy.
By the mass, by the Pope, by St. Patrick, so long
As I live, I will give him a beautiful song!
No saint is so good, Ireland’s country adorning;
Then hail to St. Patrick, to-day, in the morning!

In London St. Patrick’s day is observed at court as a high festival, and the nobility crowd to pay their compliments in honour of Ireland’s tutelar saint. For many years it has been selected as an occasion for soliciting and obtaining aid to a great national object—the promotion of education. It is the anniversary of the “Benevolent Society of St. Patrick,” for clothing and educating children of Irish parents who need the assistance, by voluntary contribution. The festival is attended by Irishmen of different political parties and religious persuasions, and many of the highest rank. On this anniversary, in 1825, the marquess of Londonderry was in the chair, with the duke of Leinster on his right, and the marquess of Lansdown at his left hand: several of the king’s ministers and nobility were present. The report stated, that 400 children were educated in the school, the funds admitted of only 240 being clothed, the rest were supplied with shirts, shoes, and stockings; and the committee earnestly invited inspection of the schools from nine till two every day, except on the sabbath and Monday. A donation to the charity, from his majesty of 100 guineas, was followed by others, and by hopes that absent Irishmen and Englishmen who could, would cheerfully contribute towards an institution which on its merits required general support. Speeches from the chairman and noble guests, the chancellor of the exchequer, Mr. O’Connell, Mr. Huskisson, and other distinguished characters, breathed sentiments of universal good will, and must have inspired every individual to kindness, and desire of extending, and cementing, the conciliation so happily commenced between the people of both countries.

It is related that during the dinner, the party at the head table were much amused by a bottle of genuine (illegal) poteen, neat as imported from the emerald isle, being handed to the chancellor of the exchequer, who, forgetting the good of the revenue in the memory of St. Patrick, put a portion of the naughty liqueur in his glass, and drank it with becoming devotion.

In the forenoon of the same day, the festival was celebrated at the Roman catholic chapel in Sutton-street, Soho, with an unusual degree of splendour. The archbishop of Armagh in his mitre and pontifical robes, officiated as high-priest, assisted by the two English catholic bishops, Poynter and Bramston, and one of the Irish bishops, and several of the minor clergy. A selection of music, chiefly from Haydn’s masses, was powerfully performed by a very numerous choir, accompanied by a full band; and after a sermon by Dr. Poynter, a collection was made, to the amount of £65., to assist the chapel and the schools attached to it.

Order of St. Patrick.

In February, 1783, letters patent created a brotherhood denominated “Knights of the illustrious order of St. Patrick,” to consist of the sovereign for the time being, as sovereign of the order; and fifteen knights companions, the “lieutenant-general and general governor of Ireland, or the lord [371, 372] deputy or deputies, or lord’s justices, or other chief governor or governors” for the time being, officiating as deputy grand masters. The statutes of the order of St. Patrick direct the badge to be of gold, surmounted with a wreath of shamrock or trefoil, surrounding a circle of gold, bearing the motto of the order in gold letters, Quis separabit? with the date MDCCLXXXIII, wherein the order was founded, and encircling the cross of St. Patrick gules, surmounted with a trefoil vert, each leaf charged with an imperial crown or, upon a field argent; the badge, encircled with rays in form of a star of silver of eight points, four greater and four lesser, worn on the left side of the outer garment.

The Shamrock.

The shamrock is the trefoil. The Druids used it to cure diseases. The Irish use it as a national cognizance. It is said that when St. Patrick landed near Wicklow to convert the Irish in 433, the pagan inhabitants were ready to stone him; he requested to be heard, and endeavoured to explain God to them as the Trinity in Unity, but they could not understand him, till plucking a trefoil from the ground, he said, “Is it not as possible for the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as for these leaves, to grow upon a single stalk,” then the Irish were immediately convinced.[31]

St. Patrick.

The Welch claim St. Patrick. Mr. Owen in his “Cambrian Biography” affirms, he was born at Aberllychwr in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, where there is a church dedicated to him. They call him Padrig, the son of Mawrn or Maenwyn, of the laird of Gwyr. Mr. Owen cites from the genealogy of the British saints, that, “It was the glory of the emperor Theodosius, in conjunction with Cystonnin Llydaw, surnamed the blessed, to have first founded the college of Illtyd, which was regulated by Balerus, a man from Rome; and Padrig, son of Mawrn, was the principal of it, before he was carried away a captive by the Irishman.” In corroboration, Mr. Owen says, it is recorded in the history of Wales, “that the Irish were enabled to settle themselves along nearly the whole extent of its coast, in the beginning of the fifth century, and continued there until nearly the middle of the same era; when they were expelled from the north by the natives, assisted by the sons of Cunedda, and from the south with the aid of Urien.” Thus Wales contends for the honour of the birth-place of Patrick with Scotland, while Ireland has the honour of the saint himself.

A London Bull.

The “Athenæum” affirms the following to be a literal transcript of a letter sent to a gentleman, who had recommended a patient to that excellent institution called the London Electrical Dispensary:—

“To Mr. G——

“No. 5081.


Having by your recommendation been received a patient at the London Electrical Dispensary, and being discharged this day dead, I beg leave to return my humble and hearty thanks for the same.

“March 7, 1810.”

Except the No., date, and the word dead, which are written, all the rest of the letter is printed.


Sweet Violet. Viola odorata.
Dedicated to St. Gertrude.
Shamrock. Trifolium repens.
Dedicated to St. Patrick.

[31] Brand’s Pop. Antiquities.

March 18.

St. Alexander, Bp. of Jerusalem, A. D. 251. St. Cyril, Abp. of Jerusalem, A. D. 386. St. Edward, King, A. D. 979. St. Anselm, Bp. of Lucca, A. D. 1086. St. Fridian, Erigdian, or Frigdian, Bp. of Lucca, A. D. 578.

St. Edward.

This is the English king who was stabbed in the back with a dagger, by order of his stepmother, Elfrida, while drinking on horseback at the gate of Corfe castle, in the isle of Purbeck. He spurred his horse, which plunged him into a deep marsh, and there he died of his wounds, in 979. Butler says his body was discovered by a pillar of light, and buried in Wareham church, and worked miracles. His name is in the church of England calendar.

It is an historical fact, that the wretched contriver of king Edward’s murder passed the remainder of her days in dismal horror; and her nights brought no repose from the afflictions of her conscience. She obtained a kind of armour formed of [373, 374] crucifixes, wherein she encased herself, performed penances, built monasteries, and died universally execrated by the indignant people. The treachery of the crime occasioned a general distrust, no one would drink without security from him, who sat beside him, that he was safe while the bowl was at his lips; and hence is said to have originated the customary expression at table of “I pledge you,” when one person invites another to drink first.


1745. Sir Robert Walpole, earl of Orford, died, aged 71.


Great Leopard Bane. Doronicum Pardalionetes.
Dedicated to St. Cyril.

March 19.

St. Joseph. St. Alemund, 819.

St. Joseph.

The church of Rome has canonized Joseph the spouse of the Virgin Mary, and honours him with offices and worship of various forms.


720, B. C. the first eclipse of the moon on record happened on this day.

1355. Pressing for seamen to man the navy commenced.

1668. Sir John Denham, poet, died in London; he was born in Dublin, 1615.

1719. A surprising meteor was seen about eight o’clock in the evening, from all parts of England, Scotland, and Ireland. To an observer in St. Paul’s churchyard, it appeared a ball of fire as large as the moon, of a pale bluish light, and with little motion, till in a moment it assumed the shape of a common meteor with a stream of light, double the diameter of its first appearance, emitting a splendour by which the smallest print might have been read. Its duration was not above half a minute, and its greatest light about the tenth part of a minute. At Exeter its light exceeded that of the sun at noonday, and there it seemed to break like a skyrocket, into sparks of red fire, which reflected that colour on the houses, and shortly after a report, loud as cannon, shook the windows, succeeded at the interval of a minute by about thirty others; “they sounded just as the tower guns did in Mincing-lane, but shook the houses and windows much more.” Mr. Whiston calculated the greatest height of this extraordinary meteor to have been forty-three or fifty-one statute miles: it gradually descended lower till it came to Devonshire, where it was about thirty-nine miles high, and broke over the sea, near the coast of Brittany; its altitude then being about thirty miles.[32]


Yellow Star of Bethlehem. Ormithogalum luteum.
Dedicated to St. Joseph.

[32] Whiston’s Account of a Meteor, 8vo. 1719.

March 20.

St. Cuthbert, Bp. of Lindisfarne, A. D. 687. St. Wulfran, Abp. of Sens, A. D. 720.

St. Cuthbert.

Of this saint there will be mention hereafter.


1727. Sir Isaac Newton died; he was born December 25th, 1642.

1751. Frederick, prince of Wales, father of king George III. died aged 44.

1793. Died William Murray, earl of Mansfield. He was born on the 2d of March, 1705, and during thirty years, and until his death, presided as lord chief justice of the court of King’s Bench. He was eminent as a lawyer, and dignified as a judge. It is said that he altered the common law of England, by ingrafting upon it the civil law in his decisions. As an elegant scholar, of highly cultivated and vigorous intellect, he shone in the constellation of great men, which arose in the reign of queen Anne. In eloquence and beauty of diction, he outrivalled his predecessors, and has not been excelled by any successor in the high office he filled.

1811. Napoleon, son of the late emperor of France, by the empress Maria Louisa, was born, and received the title of king of Rome.

On the 20th of March, the sun enters the constellation ♈ Aries, or the Ram, which is the first zodiacal sign; and this day is the first day of Spring.

By an accident, the remarks relating to Spring were inserted under March 6, instead of this day: and as the error is thus particularly noticed, in order as far as possible to rectify it, the reader will please to consider all that has been said [375, 376] on the sixth of March as applicable to the twentieth alone. The editor, while acknowledging, and craving pardon for a vexatious and unpurposed misrepresentation, will endeavour to set a watch upon himself in future, to guard against a similar accident.

Aries, or the ram, as a zodiacal sign, is said to have been derived by the Greeks from the golden fleece brought from Colchis by Jason, about 1263 years before Christ; but as it is a hieroglyphic on Egyptian monuments, it is of higher antiquity, and symbolizes that season when sheep yean their lambs. The people of Thebes slew a ram in honour of Jupiter Ammon, who personifies the sun in Aries, and is represented by ancient sculpture and coins with the horns of a ram on his head. The Hebrews at this season sacrifice a lamb, to commemorate their deliverance from Egypt. Aries, or the ram, was the ensign of Gad, one of their leaders.



The remarks on the Vernal Equinox, immediately following, are communicated by a respected scientific friend to the editor.

This is a day of great consequence in the year, and one that must excite many associations in the mind of the astronomer, and of every one who entertains a due reverence for our sacred records. The sun on this day passes the imaginary line in the heavens, called the equator, or equinoctial; it being the middle circle equally distant in every part from the north or the south poles. The line is passed to an observer on Greenwich hill, at ten minutes past nine in the morning; and, consequently, when it is on the meridian, or its highest point at noon, it will appear to every observer in the united kingdom at some distance from the equator. It is commonly said, that at this time the day is equal to the night all the world over; but this is a vulgar error. The day is not equal to the night in this country; that is, the sun appears for more than twelve hours above the horizon, and, consequently, a less time than twelve hours elapses before it shines again to us in the morning. Besides, the fallacy of this common saying is perceived at once by any one who considers, that the inhabitant of the north pole, if there is any inhabitant there, has already seen for some days the sun above his horizon, and it will not set to him for above six months. The day then is not equal to the night, either in the united kingdom, or at the north pole. We will leave to the astronomer to determine at what part of the earth this circumstance really takes place; in the investigation of the problem he may encounter some difficulties, of which at present he is probably not aware. The sun crosses the equinoctial line at ten minutes past nine; it was therefore at its rising south of that line, and at its setting it will be north of that line. The line it marks out in the heavens is an arc of a spiral; but had it risen and set in the equinoctial line, the arc would have been circular.

[377, 378]

To leave, however, the circumstances peculiarly relative to astronomy, let us consider this day in another point of view. The sun and the moon are the regulators of days, and months, and years, and times, and seasons. Every nation in the world pays some regard to their motions; and in this country they are the subjects of legislative enactments—enactments which have been laughed at by our makers of almanacs; disregarded by the church, though sanctioned in its rubrics; and set at naught by courts of justice, whose openings at certain periods depend on prescribed appearances in the heavens. Of this, hereafter, sufficient proof will be given; and, in thus noticing the errors of past times, there is a chance, that a statute of importance, certainly, as it has been thought worthy of legislation, should not be hereafter violated without the interposition of the legislature.

Our ancestors began their year about this time, and not without reason; for they had for it the sanction of a divine command. To the Israelites it was commanded, that this should be the beginning of their sacred year, on which the great festivals prescribed by their law should depend. Their civil year begins in September, and they continue to observe the command, having an almanac founded on the complicated motions of the sun and moon, whose calculations are of a very subtle nature, and whose accuracy far exceeds that of the polished nations of Europe. That the year should begin either at the vernal or the spring equinox, or at the autumnal equinox, good reasons may be given; but for our taking the first of January for the commencement of the year, nothing more can be said, than the old theme,

Sic volo, sic jubeo, stet pro ratione voluntas.

—Such is my will, the sun and moon may move as they please.

Except for the refraction of the atmosphere, the inhabitants of the equator would have at all times twelve hours’ day and twelve hours’ night; the sun being north or south of this circle not causing any difference, for the equator and ecliptic being both great circles of the sphere, the two points of intersection must be in the same diameter.

By the almanac it will be found, that there are nearly eight days more in the interval between the vernal and the autumnal equinox, than between the latter and the return of the vernal equinox. As, therefore, from the vernal to the autumnal equinox, the sun is on the northern side of the equator, our summer occurring during this period, gives us an advantage of nearly eight days, in this respect, over the southern hemisphere. This difference arises from the oval or elliptical form of the earth’s orbit. The earth, therefore, being at different distances from the sun during the year, it is found to move with different velocities; moving slowest when furthest from the sun, and quickest when nearest to that luminary. It happens to be at its greatest distance just after our Midsummer, and moving consequently slower during our spring and summer months; our summer is about eight days longer than that of the southern hemisphere, our winter eight days shorter than theirs.

The annexed diagram will exhibit the equinoctial condition of the earth; the sun’s rays at their noon falling vertically to the inhabitants of the equator.


Care Sunday.

Care Sunday; care away,
Palm Sunday, and Easter day.

Care Sunday is the fifth Sunday from Shrove Tuesday, consequently it is the next Sunday before Palm Sunday, and the second Sunday before Easter. Why it is denominated Care Sunday is very uncertain. It is also called Carle Sunday, and in some parts Carling Sunday. A native of Newcastle-upon-Tyne[33] observes, that in that town, and many other places in the north of England, peas after having been steeped a night in water, are fried with batter, given away, eaten at a kind of entertainment on Carle Sunday, and are called Carlings, “probably as we call the presents at fairs, fairings.” To this he attaches a query, whether Carlen may not be formed from the old plural termination in en, as hosen, &c. The only attempt at a derivation of the word Care, is, that “the Friday on which [379, 380] Christ was crucified, is called in German both Gute Freytag and Carr Freytag;” and that the word karr signified a satisfaction for a fine, or penalty.[34] The inference is corroborated, by the church of Rome anciently using rites on this day peculiar to Good Friday, whence it was also called Passion Sunday. It is noted in an old calendar, that on this day “a dole is made of soft beans,” which was also “a rite in the funeral ceremonies of heathen Rome.” This “dole” of soft beans on Care Sunday, accounts for the present custom of eating fried peas on the same day. No doubt the beans were a very seasonable alms to help out the poor man’s lent stock of provision. “In Northumberland the day is called Carling Sunday. The yeomanry in general steep peas, and afterwards parch them, and eat them on the afternoon of that day, calling them carlings. This is said by an old author, to have taken its rise from the disciples plucking the ears of corn, and rubbing them in their hands.”[35] Hence it is clear, that the custom of eating peas or beans upon this day, is only a continuation of the unrecollected “dole” of the Romish church. It is possible, however, that there may have been no connection between the heathen funeral rite of giving beans, and the church donation, if the latter was given in mere charity; for there was little else to bestow at such a time of the year, when dried pulse, variously cooked, must have been almost the only winter meal with the labourer, and a frequent one with his employer.

The couplet at the head of this article Mr. Nichols says he heard in Nottinghamshire. There is another,

Tid, Mid, Misera,
Carling, Palm, Paste Egg day.

The first line is supposed to have been formed from the beginning of Psalms, &c. viz. Te deum—Mi deus—Miserere mei.[36]

But how is it that Care Sunday is also called Carl Sunday and Carling Sunday; and that the peas, or beans, of the day are called carlings? Carle, which now means a churl, or rude boorish fellow, was anciently the term for a working countryman or labourer; and it is only altered in the spelling, without the slightest deviation in sense, from the old Saxon word ceorl, the name for a husbandman. The older denomination of the day, then, may not have been Care but Carl Sunday, from the benefactions to the carles or carlen. These are still the northern names for the day; and the dialect in that part of the kingdom is nearer to Saxon etymology. But whether the day were called Carle or Care Sunday it is now little known, and little more can be said about it, without the reader feeling inclined to say or sing,

“Begone dull Care.”


Dog’s Violet. Viola Canina.
Dedicated to St. Wulfran.

[33] Mr. Brand.

[34] Brand’s Pop. Antiq. from Marshal on the Saxon Gospels.

[35] Gentleman’s Magazine, 1786.

[36] Brand’s Pop. Antiquities.

March 21.

St. Benedict, or Bennet, Abbot, A. D. 543. St. Serapion, called the Sindonite, A. D. 388. St. Serapion, Abbot. St. Serapion, Bishop, 4th Age. St. Enna, or Endeus, Abbot, 6th Cent.

St. Benedict, or Bennet,
Founder of the order of St. Benedict.

The accounts of distinguished persons of the Romish church written by its ecclesiastics are exceedingly curious. The rev. Alban Butler states of St. Benedict, that he was born in Umbria about 480, sent to school at Rome, and afterwards being determined to leave the world, “therefore left the city privately, and made the best of his way to the deserts.” Here he remained secreted at a place called Sublacum, till a “certain pious priest,” whilst preparing a dinner on Easter-day, heard a voice say to him, “you are preparing for yourself a banquet whilst my servant Benedict at Sublacum is distressed with hunger.” Then the priest found out Benedict, and invited him to eat, “saying it was Easter-day, on which it was not reasonable to fast.” Bennet answered, he did not know it; and Alban Butler says, “nor is it to be wondered at that he should not understand the Lunar cycle, which at that time was known by very few.” Soon after, some shepherds found him near his cave, and “took him for a wild beast; for he was clad with the skins of beasts, and they imagined no human creature could live among those rocks.” From that time he began to be known and visited, and the devil came to him “in the shape of a little [381, 382] blackbird.” After this, Benedict rolled himself in briars and nettles, till he was covered with blood; and his fame spreading still more abroad, several forsook the world to live with him; and he became an abbot, and built twelve monasteries. In one of these, a monk becoming slothful, St. Benedict said, “I will go and correct him myself;” and Butler, says, “such indeed was the danger and enormity of this fault, as to require the most speedy and effectual remedy;” wherefore St. Benedict coming to the lazy monk “at the end of the divine office, saw a little black boy leading him by the sleeve out of the church,” and applied the “speedy and effectual remedy” to the monk’s shoulders, in the shape of a cudgel; and so “the sinner was freed from the temptation” of the little black boy, who was the devil. Then by Benedict’s prayers a fountain sprung up; and a monk cleaving wood with a hedging bill, and the iron falling into the water, by holding the wooden handle in the water, the iron miraculously swam up to it of its own accord. Such growing fame brought to Benedict “many who came clad in purple with gold and precious stones.” “He seemed,” says Alban Butler, “indued with an extraordinary power, commanding all nature, and foreseeing future events; he baffled the various artifices of the devil, with the sign of the cross; rendered the heaviest stone light; by a short prayer raised to life a novice who had been crushed by the fall of a wall;” and after other wonders died, about the year 543, aged 63.[37]

Pope St. Gregory, of whom some account is given on his festival, (see March 12,) wrote the life and miracles of St. Benedict.[38] This work of many chapters relates how Benedict dispossessed a certain clerk of the devil; how he miraculously discovered the hiding of a flagon of wine; how in a scarcity two hundred bushels of meal were miraculously brought to his monastery; how a boy marvellously cast out of his grave, was miraculously kept in it by St. Benedict putting the host on his body; how a glass bottle cast down on the stones was not broken; how an empty tun was filled with oil by his prayers; how he gave another monk a slap in the face and drove the devil out of him; how he saw the soul of his sister in form of a dove; how he foretold his own death; how he performed miracles too many to be here related; all which, however, may be seen in the said life of St. Benedict, by the said pope St. Gregory, who it will be remembered is called by way of distinction St. Gregory the Great.

St. Benedict founded the order of monks under his name. A reader who desires to be acquainted with its rules may consult Mr. Fosbroke’s “British Monachism,” who remarks, that monkery is an institution founded upon the first principles of religious virtue, wrongly understood and wrongly directed. He then proceeds to remark, that, “If man be endowed with various qualities, in order to be severely punished for using them, God is made the tempter of vice, and his works foolish. If voluntary confinement, vegetable eating, perpetual praying, wearing coarse clothing, and mere automatical action through respiration, be the standard of excellence, then the best man is only a barrel organ set to psalm-tunes.”


1556. Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, was burnt for heresy at Oxford, between Baliol college and St. Mary’s church.

A correspondent, Lector, communicates that there is against the south wall of Camberwell church, an inscription commemorative of “Bartholomew Scott, esq. justice of peace in the county of Surrey,” in which he is said to have married “Margaret, the widow of the right reverend prelate and martyr, Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterburie.” Strype, (Life, p. 418. b. iii. ch. xxviii.) says, that the name of Cranmer’s last wife was Ann; and that she survived him, was living towards the latter end of archbishop Parker’s time, and “for her subsistence enjoyed an abbey in Nottinghamshire.” He does not seem very sanguine on this head, but gives the passage on authority of “a very angry book, writ against the execution of justice in England by cardinall Allen.” Fox, in his “Actes and Monumentes,” says, that Cranmer’s wife was “a Dutchewoman, kynne to the wyfe of Osiander;” and that Cranmer having “sold hys plate, and payed all his debts, so that no man could ask him a grote,” left his wife and children unprovided. The marriage of “Bartholomew [383, 384] Scott, esq.” with Cranmer’s widow, was certainly an act of noble disinterestedness. He is celebrated for his never-dying virtues, and described as a “valiant, wise, and religious gentleman,” of “right worshipful and ancient familie.”


Bulbous Fumitory. Fumaria bulbosa.
Dedicated to St. Bennet.

[37] Alban Butler, the English biographer of St. Benedict, and the rest of the saints, died in May, 1773, aged 63.

[38] Pope St. Gregory’s labour is translated under the title of “The Life and Miracles of our Holie Father St. Benedict—Permissu Superiorum. Printed an. 1628.” 18mo.

March 22.

St. Basil of Ancyra, A. D. 362. St. Paul, Bp. St. Lea, A. D. 384. St. Deogratias, Bp. of Carthage, A. D. 457. St. Catharine of Sweden, Abbess, A. D. 1381.


1687. John Baptist Lulli, the celebrated musician, died, aged 54. He was born at Florence, in 1634, and from being page to madame Montpensier, niece to Louis XIV. became superintendent of music to that monarch.

The Plague in London.

In March, 1665, London abounded in wealth and grandeur, in comparison with its state in former ages. Goldsmiths’ shops shone with plate all along the south-side of the street called Cheapside, then named Goldsmiths’-row. The Strand then united London and Westminster by a range of palaces, inhabited by the nobility, with gardens in the rear reaching to the Thames, from whence through water-gates they descended by stairs to take water. Each of these mansions was named after its owner or occupier; as Essex, Arundel, Norfolk, Salisbury, Worcester, Exeter, Hungerford, Howard, York, and Northumberland. They were built at equal distances from each other, in the grandest style of antique architecture. Such was London in March 1665, when it was visited by the plague, which raged with such unabating fatality, that three, four, and five thousand of the inhabitants died weekly. Deaths increased so fast that the usual mode of interment could no longer be observed; large pits were dug at Hollywell-mount, and in other suburbs of the city, to which the dead were carried in carts, collected by the ring of a bell, and the doleful cry of “Bring out your dead.” The bodies were brought out of the houses, and placed in the carts with no other covering than rugs or sheets tied round them, and were thrown into the pits in promiscuous heaps. Trade was at a stand, the shops were shut up, every day had the appearance of a sabbath; grass grew on the Royal Exchange, and most of the public streets; and Whitechapel might be mistaken for green fields.


Dr. Forster observes, in his “Perennial Calendar,” that about this time spiders begin to appear in the gardens, for in winter, they are only seen in houses; and that the species which inhabits our dwellings, is quite distinct from the garden spider. These are a very interesting tribe of insects, in spite of their ugly appearance, and the general dislike which most persons, especially females, attach to them, in common with earwigs and other unsightly insects. Naturalists have found out this curious propensity in spiders, that they seem remarkably fond of music, and have been known to descend from the ceiling during concerts, and to retire when the strain was finished; of which the following old verses, from the “Anthologia Borealis et Australis,” remind us:—

To a Spider which inhabited a Cell.

In this wild, groping, dark, and drearie cove,
Of wife, of children, and of health bereft,
I hailed thee, friendly spider, who hadst wove
Thy mazy net on yonder mouldering raft:
Would that the cleanlie housemaid’s foot had left
Thee tarrying here, nor took thy life away;
For thou, from out this seare old ceiling’s cleft,
Came down each morn to hede my plaintive lay;
Joying like me to heare sweete musick play,
Wherewith I’d fein beguile the dull dark lingering day.

[385, 386]


Pilewort. Ficaria verna.
Dedicated to St. Catharine of Sweden.

March 23.

St. Alphonsus Turibius, Abp. of Lima, A. D. 1606. Sts. Victorian, &c. A. D. 484. St. Edelwald, A. D. 699.

St. Edelwald.

This was an English benedictine monk of Rippon, who became a hermit, and was buried by St. Cuthbert in St. Peter’s church, at Lindisfarne.


1801. Paul, emperor of Russia, was strangled at St. Petersburg.


Peerless Daffodil. Narcissus incomparabilis.
Dedicated to St. Alphonsus.

March 24.

Cambridge Term ends.

St. Irenæus, Bp. of Sirmium, A. D. 304. St. Simon, an Infant Martyr. St. William of Norwich.

St. Simon, an Infant.

The Jews are said to have murdered this infant in 1472. After having deliberated at their synagogue in the holy week, on the preparations for their passover, they came to the resolution of crucifying a child on Good Friday, and having stolen Simon, they made him the victim, and sung around his body while elevated. Whenever an act of cruelty was to be perpetrated on the Jews, fables like these were forged, and the brutal passions of the mob let loose upon the life and wealth of fugitive Israelites.

St. William of Norwich, A. D. 1137,

Was another of these pretended martyrs to Jewish hatred. Weever states, that “the Jews in the principal cities of the kingdom, did use sometimes to steal away, and crucify some neighbour’s male child,” as if it were a common practice. Since protestantism, no such barbarities have been imputed to the Jews.


1580. The first bombs were thrown upon the town of Wachtendonck in Guelderland. The invention is commonly attributed to Galen, bishop of Munster.

1726. Daniel Whitby, the learned commentator on the New Testament, died. He was born at Rushden, Northamptonshire, in 1638, and was eminent for ability and honesty throughout his life.


Golden Saxifrage. Chrysosplenum oppositifolium.
Dedicated to St. Irenæus.

March 25.

Lady Day. Holiday at the Public Offices, except the Excise, Stamp, and Custom.

The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Cammin, Abbot, A. D. 653.

Lady Day.

The Roman Catholic festival of the Annunciation is commonly called in England LADY DAY, an abridgement of the old term Our Lady’s Day, or the Day of our blessed Lady.

This is a “gaudy day” in the Romish church. Deeming the mother of Christ an intercessor and mediatrix, it offers innumerable honours and devotions to her. Hail Mary! resounds in the masses to her praise; and the worshippers of her shrines and resemblances, are excited to a fervour of devotion which would astonish, if it were not known that sculpture, painting, poetry, vocal and instrumental music, have been added to revive the recollection of monkish fables, and early impressions in her behalf.

In the Golden Legend, a book formerly read instead of the New Testament, but now, in degree, supplanted by Butler’s more voluminous and almost equally miraculous “Lives of the Saints,” there is a story in honour of the virgin, concerning a noble and ignorant knight, who, to amend his life, entered an abbey, but was so incapable of learning, that he could say nothing but Ave Maria, which words he continually repeated wherever he was. When this knight died he was buried in the church-yard of the abbey, and there afterwards grew out of his grave a fair fleur de lis, and in every flower grew, in letters of gold, the words Ave Maria; and at the miracle, the brethren marvelled, and opened the sepulchre, and found the root of the fleur de lis came out of the mouth of the said knight; and then they understood that he was to be honoured for his great devotion [387, 388] to the virgin, by using the words Ave Maria.

There is another story in the “Golden Legend” of “another knyght.” “He had a fayre place bisyde the hye waye where moche people passed, whome he robbed,” and so he did all his life; yet he had “a good custom” of saluting the virgin every day, by saying Ave Maria, and so he went on committing highway robberies, and saluting the virgin day by day, till his people having put “a holy man” in bodily fear and robbed him, the said “holy man” desired to be brought before their master, the knight, and seeing him, required him to summon all his attendants, which the knight did; but the “holy man” objected that one of them was not present. Then the knight perceived that his chamberlain was not there, and called for him; and when the holy man saw the chamberlain, he conjured him to declare who he was, and the chamberlain being so enforced answered, “I am no man, but am a devil in the form of a man;” and he acknowledged that he had abided with the knight fourteen years, and watched him night and day, hoping the knight might leave off saying the salutation Ave Maria, that so he might strangle him, “and brynge him to hell,” because of his evil life; but, because there passed no day without the knight saying Ave Maria, the devil could not have him for all his long waiting. Then the knight fell down at the feet of the holy man, and demanded pardon of his sins, and the “holy man” commanded the devil to depart; wherefore says the “Golden Legend,” “let us pray to the gloryous virgyn Mary, that she kepe us from the devyll.”

The festival of the annunciation is kept at Rome by sumptuous shows. The author of “Rome in the nineteenth Century” relates the pope’s proceedings on the occasion: “We drove through streets lined with expecting crowds, and windows hung with crimson and yellow silk draperies, and occupied by females in their most gorgeous attire, till we made a stop near the church before which the pope’s horse-guards, in their splendid full-dress uniforms, were stationed to keep the ground; all of whom, both officers and men, wore in their caps a sprig of myrtle, as a sign of rejoicing. After waiting a short time, the procession appeared, headed by another detachment of the guards, mounted on prancing black chargers, who rode forward to clear the way, accompanied by such a flourish of trumpets and kettle-drums, that it looked at first like any thing but a peaceable or religious proceeding. This martial array was followed by a bareheaded priest, on a white mule, bearing the host in a gold cup, at the sight of which every body fell upon their knees. The pope used formerly to ride upon the white mule himself, and all the cardinals used to follow him in their magnificent robes of state, mounted either on mules or horses; and as the Eminentissimi are, for the most part, not very eminent horsemen, they were generally fastened on, lest they should tumble off. This cavalcade must have been a very entertaining sight. Pius VI., who was a very handsome man, kept up this custom, but the (then) present pope (Pius VII.) is far too infirm for such an enterprise; so he followed the man on the white mule, in a state coach; at the very sight of which, we seemed to have made a jump back of two hundred years at least. It was a huge machine, composed almost entirely of plate-glass, fixed in a ponderous carved and gilt frame, through which was distinctly visible the person of the venerable old pope, dressed in robes of white and silver, and incessantly giving his benediction to the people, by a twirl of three fingers; which are typical of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; the last being represented by the little finger. On the gilded back of this vehicle, the only part that was not made of glass, was a picture of the pope in his chair of state, and the virgin Mary at his feet. This extraordinary machine was drawn by six black horses, with superb harness of crimson velvet and gold; the coachmen, or rather postillions, were dressed in coats of silver stuff, with crimson velvet breeches, and full bottomed wigs well powdered, without hats. Three coaches, scarcely less antiquely superb, followed with the assistant cardinals, and the rest of the train. In the inside of the church, the usual tiresome ceremonies went on that take place when the pope is present. He is seated on a throne, or chair of state; the cardinals, in succession, approach and kiss his hand, retire one step, and make three bows or nods, one to him in front, and one on the right hand, and another on the left; which are intended for him (as the personification of the Father,) and for the Son, and for the Holy Ghost, on either [389, 390] side of him; and all the cardinals having gone through these motions, and the inferior priests having kissed his toe—that is, the cross, embroidered on his shoe—high mass begins. The pope kneels during the elevation of the host, prays in silence before the high altar, gets up and sits down, reads something out of a great book which they bring to him, with a lighted taper held beside it; and, having gone through many more such ceremonies, finally ends as he began, with giving his benediction with three fingers, all the way he goes out. During all the time of this high mass, the pope’s military band, stationed on the platform in front of the church, played so many clamorous martial airs, that it effectually put to flight any ideas of religious solemnity.”

In England, Lady Day is only remembered as the first quarter-day in the year, and is therefore only kept by tenants who truly pay rent to their landlords. A few years ago a country gentleman wrote a letter to a lady of rank in town, and sent it through the general post with the following address:

“The 25th of March,
“Foley-place, London.”

The postman duly delivered the letter at the house of Lady Day for whom it was intended.


1688. Parochial charity schools, for the education of the children of poor persons, were instituted in London and its vicinity.

1748. A fire broke out at one o’clock in the morning in ’Change-alley, Cornhill, London, which raged for ten hours, consuming all the buildings in ’Change-alley and Birchin-lane; and in Cornhill, from ’Change-alley to St. Michael’s-alley, including several celebrated taverns and coffee-houses, and many valuable shops, including five booksellers. There were eighty houses destroyed by this conflagration.

1809. Anna Seward, the friend of Dr. Darwin, and recollected for her life of him, and for her poetry and correspondence, died in the bishop’s palace at Lichfield, aged 66. She was born at Eyan, in Derbyshire. Her poetry is easy, rather than vigorous.


Marigold. Calendula Officinalis.
Annunciation of V. Mary.

March 26.

Oxford Term ends.

St. Ludger, Bp. of Munster, A. D. 809. St. Braulio, Bp. of Saragossa, A. D. 646.


Now in many situations may be heard the cuckoo. Its distant note intimating dislike to human approach, comes upon the ear as a soft welcome from a shy stranger:—

Hail, beauteous stranger of the grove,
Thou messenger of spring!
How heaven repairs thy rural seat,
And woods thy welcome sing.
What time the daisy decks the green
Thy certain voice we hear;
Hast thou a star to guide thy path,
Or mark the rolling year?
Delightful visitant! with thee
I hail the time of flowers,
And hear the sounds of music sweet
From birds among the bowers.
The school-boy wandering thro’ the wood
To pull the primrose gay,
Starts—the new voice of spring to hear
And imitates thy lay.
Soon as the pea puts on its bloom,
Thou fliest thy vocal vale,
An annual guest in other lands,
Another spring to hail.
Sweet bird, thy bower is ever green,
Thy sky is ever clear;
Thou hast no sorrow in thy song,
No winter in thy year!
O! could I fly, I’d fly with thee;
We’d make with social wing
Our annual visit o’er the globe,
Companions of the spring.



Lurid Henbane. Hyoscyamus Scopolia.
Dedicated to St. Braulio.

March 27.

St. John of Egypt, Hermit, A. D. 394. St. Rupert, or Robert, Bp. of Saltzbourg.

St. John of Egypt

Was a hermit, inured to obedience by an ancient holy anchoret, “who made [391, 392] him water a dry stick for a whole year, as if it were a live plant.” He walled himself up at the top of a rock, “from the fortieth or forty-second to the ninetieth year of his age,” and “drew the admiration of the whole world on him,” says Butler, by “the lustre of his miracles,” and the “fame of his predictions.”


1801. The peace of Amiens between France and England was signed in France.

Palm Sunday.

This is the first Sunday before Easter, and is sometimes called Passion Sunday. It is denominated Palm Sunday, because on this day the Roman catholic church ordains boughs or branches of palm trees to be carried in procession, in imitation of those strewed before Christ when he rode into Jerusalem. In this monkish procession the host was carried upon an ass, branches and flowers were strewed on the road, the richest cloths were laid down, and others were hung up. The palms were consecrated by the priest, and after they were used they were preserved to be burned for holy ashes, to lay on the heads of the people on Ash Wednesday in the following year, as before-mentioned (see p. 261,) on that day.

On Palm Sunday, the palm flowers and leaves to be consecrated by the officiating prelate or priest were laid upon the high altar, and those for the poor laity being placed upon the south step of the altar the priest arrayed in a red cope proceeded [393, 394] to consecrate them by a prayer, commencing “I conjure thee, thou creature of flowers and branches, in the name of God the Father,” &c. This was to displace the devil or his influences, if he or they lurked or were hidden in or about the “creature of flowers and branches.” Then followed a prayer wherein he said, with crosses, “We humbly beseech thee that thy truth may + sanctify this creature of flowers and branches, and slips of palms, or boughs of trees, which we offer,” &c. Then the “creature of flowers and branches” was fumed with smoke of frankincense from the censers, and there were other prayers with crossings, and they were sprinkled with holy water with this supplication: “Bless + and sanctify + these branches of palms, and other trees and flowers,” &c. Then the sacrists distributed the palms to the abbots, priors, and nobler persons, and the flowers and leaves to the others. When this was done the procession moved, and afterwards made a stand while two priests brought a Pascal in which the crucifix was laid; afterwards the banner and cross-bearers filed off to the right and to the left, and the boys and monks of the convent arranged themselves, and, after a short service, the priests with the tomb, headed by the banner and cross, passed between the monks, who knelt as they passed. When they came to the city-gates they divided again on two sides, and the shrine being put on a table, was covered with cloth. Above the entrance of the gates, in a place handsomely prepared with hangings, were boys with other singers whom the chanter had appointed, and these sang, “Gloria, Laus,” “Glory, praise,” &c. After having made a procession through the city, they returned to the convent-gate, where the shrine was laid on the table and covered with cloth, and a religious service was performed. The monks then returned to the church, and stood before the crucifix uncovered, while mass was performed; and after they had communicated, the deacon first and the rest afterwards, they offered their palms and flowers, at the altar.[39]

It was also an old Roman catholic custom on Palm Sunday, to draw about the town a wooden ass with a figure on it, representing Christ riding into Jerusalem, and the people strewing palms before it. Googe’s Naogeorgus says:—

A woodden Asse they have, and Image great that on him rides,
But underneath the Asse’s feete a table broad there slides,
Being borne on wheeles, which ready drest, and al things meete therfore,
The Asse is brought abroad and set before the churche’s doore:
The people all do come, and bowes of trees and Palmes they bere,
Which things against the tempest great the Parson conjures there,
And straytwayes downe before the Asse, upon his face he lies,
Whome there an other Priest doth strike with rodde of largest sise:
He rising up, two lubbours great upon their faces fall,
In straunge attire, and lothsomely, with filthie tune, they ball:
Who, when againe they risen are, with stretching out their hande,
They poynt unto the wooden knight, and, singing as they stande,
Declare that that is he that came into the worlde to save,
And to redeeme such as in him their hope assured have:
And even the same that long agone, while in the streate he roade,
The people mette, and Olive-bowes so thicke before him stroade.
This being soung, the people cast the braunches as they passe,
Some part upon the Image, and some part upon the Asse:
Before whose feete a wondrous heape of bowes and braunches ly:
This done, into the Church he strayght is drawne full solemly:
The shaven Priestes before them marche, the people follow fast,
Still striving who shall gather first the bowes that downe are cast:
For falsely they beleeve that these have force and vertue great,
Against the rage of winter stormes and thunders flashing heate.
In some place wealthie citizens, and men of sober chere,
For no small summe doe hire this Asse with them about to bere,
And manerly they use the same, not suffering any by
To touch this Asse, nor to presume unto his presence ny.
For they suppose that in this thing, they Christ do lightly serve,
And well of him accepted are, and great rewardes deserve.

When the wooden ass had performed [395, 396] in the church procession, the boys hired him:

The Sexten pleasde with price, and looking well no harme be done:
They take the Asse, and through the streets and crooked lanes they rone,
Whereas they common verses sing, according to the guise,
The people giving money, breade, and egges of largest sise.
Of this their gaines they are compelde the maister halfe to give,
Least he alone without his portion of the Asse should live.

On the Romish processioning on Palm Sunday, it is observed by an old writer that, “Among x thousand, scarce one knew what this meant. They have their laudable dumme ceremonies, with Lentin crosse and Uptide crosse, and these two must justle til lent break his necke. Then cakes must be caste out of the steple, that al the boyes in the parish must lie scambling together by the eares, tyl al the parish falleth a laughyng. But, lorde, what asses-play made they of it in great cathedral churches and abbies. One comes forth in his albe and his long stole (for so they call their girde that they put about theyr neckes,) thys must be leashe wise, as hunters weares their hornes.—This solempne Syre played Christe’s part, a God’s name. Then another companye of singers, chyldren and al, song, in prick-song, the Jewe’s part—and the Deacon read the middel text. The Prest at the Alter al this while, because it was tediouse to be unoccupyed, made Crosses of Palme to set upon your doors, and to beare in your purses, to chace away the Divel.”[40]

Dr. Fulke, opposing the Catholics, observes on their carrying of the host on Palm Sunday,—“It is pretty sport, that you make the priests carry this idol to supply the room of the ass on which Christ did ride. Thus you turn the holy mystery of Christ’s riding to Jerusalem to a May-game and pagent-play.” In the accounts of St. Andrew Hubbard’s parish, there are Palm Sunday charges for the following items: In 1520, eightpence for the hire of an angel. In 1535-7, another eightpence for a priest and a child that played as a messenger: in that year the angel was hired for fourpence. By the churchwardens of St. Mary-at-hill, in 1451, fourpence was paid to one Loreman for playing the prophet on Palm Sunday. Though Roman catholic ceremonies were generally disused under Henry VIII., yet he declared that the bearing of palms on Palm Sunday was to be continued and not cast away; and it appears, that they were borne in England until the second year of Edward VI. In “Stowe’s Chronicle,” by Howes, the practice is said to have been discontinued in 1548.[41]

It was likewise a Roman catholic custom to resort to “our lady of Nantswell,” at Little Conan, in Cornwall, with a cross of palm; and the people, after making the priest a present, were allowed to throw the cross into the well; if it swam, the thrower was to outlive the year; if it sunk, he was not.[42]

Recently, it is related, that on the Saturday before Palm Sunday, the boys of the grammar-school at Lanark, according to ancient usage, parade the streets with a palm, or, its substitute, a large tree of the willow kind, salix cafrea, in blossom, ornamented with daffodils, mezereon, and box-tree. This day there is called Palm Saturday, and the custom is supposed to be “a popish relic of very ancient standing.”[43] Mr. Douce, in a manuscript note, cited by Mr. Ellis, says “I have somewhere met with a proverbial saying, that he that hath not a palm in his hand on Palm Sunday, must have his hand cut off.”

According to Stowe, in the week before Easter, there were great shows in London for going to the woods, and fetching into the king’s house a twisted tree, or withe; and the like into the house of every man of note or consequence.

Palm Sunday remains in the English calendars. It is still customary with men and boys to go a palming in London early on Palm Sunday morning; that is, by gathering branches of the willow or sallow with their grey shining velvet-looking buds, from those trees in the vicinity of the metropolis: they come home with slips in their hats, and sticking in the breast button holes of their coats, and a sprig in the mouth, bearing the “palm” branches in their hands. This usage remains among the ignorant from poor neighbourhoods, but there is still to be found a basket woman or two at Covent-garden, and in the chief markets with this “palm,” as they call it, on the Saturday [397, 398] before Palm Sunday, which they sell to those who are willing to buy; but the demand of late years has been very little, and hence the quantity on sale is very small. Nine out of ten among the purchasers buy it in imitation of others, they care not why; and such purchasers, being Londoners, do not even know the tree which produces it, but imagine it to be a “real” palm tree, and “wonder” they never saw any “palm” trees, and where they grow.


Sweet scented Jonquil. Narcissus Odorus.
Dedicated to St. John of Egypt.

[39] Fosbroke’s British Monach. Brand’s Pop. Antiq. &c.

[40] From a “Dialogue, concerning the chyefest ceremonyes by the Impes of Anti-Christ, 1554,” 12mo. Quoted by Brand.

[41] Brand.

[42] Carew.

[43] Sinclair’s Statist. Acc.

March 28.

Priscus, Malchus, and Alexander, Martyrs, A. D. 260. St. Sixtus III. Pope, A. D. 440. St. Gontran, King and Confessor, A. D. 593.


On this day in 1380, gunpowder was first used in Europe by the Venetians against the Genoese. Its power is said by the Germans to have been discovered accidentally by Berthold Schwartz; but our Roger Bacon who died in 1278, certainly was acquainted with it. Gunpowder was known in India very early, and from thence the knowledge of it was obtained by the Arabians, who employed it in a battle near Mecca so long ago as the year 690.

1677. Wenceslaus Hollar, the engraver, died at Westminster. His view of London in Howell’s “Londinopolis,” and the numerous plates he executed for Dugdale’s “Monasticon,” “Warwickshire,” “St. Paul’s,” “Origines Juridiciales,” and other works have made him well known to the topographer and portrait collector; but his “muffs” and “insects” are particularly beautiful. His style almost peculiar to himself, is known at a glance by the experienced eye; Gaywood, in portraits, and King, in views, were inferior artists of the same school. Merian, in some insects, rivals him formidably. Hollar’s labour was immense as may be seen from Vertue’s catalogue of his prints; yet he often worked at fourpence an hour, and perished in poverty.

1801. Sir Ralph Abercrombie died in Egypt. He received his death-wound on the 21st., during his memorable victory over the French at Alexandria.

1802. Pallas, a new planet, was discovered by Dr. Olbers, of Bremen in Germany.


Lesser Leopardsbane. Doronicum Plantagineum.
Dedicated to St. Priscus.

March 29.

Sts. Jonas, Barachisius, &c. A. D. 327. Sts. Armogastes, Archinimus, and Saturus, A. D. 457. St. Eustasius, or Eustachius, Abbot, A. D. 625. St. Gundleus, a Welsh King, 5th Cent. St. Mark, Bishop, 4th Cent.


1315. Raymond Lulle, the most celebrated chemist and alchymist of his time, was stoned to death by the natives of Mauritania, whither he had gone on a religious mission, at the age of eighty. His attention was directed to chemistry by the power of love. A lady, very handsome, with whom he was passionately enamoured, refused to marry him. One day, when he renewed his solicitation, she showed her bosom inflamed by a cancer. Young Lulle instantly took leave, with the resolution to cure, and if possible, conquer the heart of his mistress. He searched with all the ardour, which affection and compassion could inspire, into the secrets of medicine and chemistry, and had the good fortune to cure, and to marry her. After her death he attached himself to the church. The inhabitants of the island of Majorca, where he was born, in 1236, revere him as a martyr.

1461. The battle which decided the claims of the houses of York and Lancaster was fought between Towton and Saxton, two villages near York. It commenced in a snow storm at day break, was contested with fearful obstinacy till three in the afternoon, and terminated in a deluge of blood. Eight and thirty thousand human beings were left dead on the field; of whom the heralds appointed to number the slain, returned that twenty-eight thousand were Lancastrians. Edward, duke of York, who won the day, rode from the scene of carnage to York, where he ordered the death of several prisoners; while Henry VI. of Lancaster, who lost the crown, escaped with great difficulty to the borders.


Oxelip. Primula elatior.
Dedicated to St. Eustasius.
Fumitory. Fumaria officinalis.
Dedicated to St. Jonas.

[399, 400]

March 30.

St. John Climacus. St. Zozimus, Bishop of Syracuse, A. D. 660. St. Regulus, or Rieul, Bishop of Senlis.

St. John Climacus, A. D. 605,

Was caverned as a hermit in a rock near Mount Sinai, in Syria, and became at seventy-five, abbot and superior-general of all the monks and hermits of the country. He admired one of the principal citizens of Alexandria in Egypt, who, petitioning to become a monk, was ordered to remain without the gate, and manifested his obedience by staying there for seven years, and begging prayers for his leprous soul of every passenger. St. John also admired a monkish cook, because he generally cried while he cooked, and assigned as a reason, that “the fire he always had before his eyes, reminded him of that fire which will burn souls for all eternity.”[44] It is related that a woman who had committed so enormous a sin that she dare not confess it, came to St. John, who bade her write it, and seal it, and give it to him, and he would pray for her; this she did, and shortly after St. John died. The woman sorely afraid that her written secret would be read, wept and prayed at St. John’s tomb, and begged he would appear and tell her what he had done with the paper; on a sudden, St. John came forth habited like a bishop, with a bishop on each side of him, and he said to the woman, “Why troublest thou me so much, and these saints with me? thou sufferest us to have no rest: look here, our clothes are all wet with thy tears.” Then he delivered to her the paper, sealed as she had given it to him, and said, “See here, look at the seal, open the writing, and read it.” So she did; and she found all her sin “defaced clean out;” and instead thereof was written, “All thy sins are forgiven, and put away by the prayer of St. John, my servant.” Then she returned thanks, and St. John and his two bishops returned to their sepulchres.


Rough Carameni. Cardemeni hirsuta.
Dedicated to St. John of Climacus.
Lesser Daffodil. Narcissus minor.
Dedicated to St. Zozimus.

[44] Butler’s Saints.

March 31.

St. Benjamin, Deacon, Martyr, A. D. 424. St. Acacius, or Achates, Bishop of Antioch, A. D. 250, or 251. St. Guy, A. D. 1046.


1814. On this day the sovereigns who have since formed the holy alliance, entered Paris at the head of the Russian troops. The capitulation of this capital was succeeded by the return of the Bourbons to France.

Maundy Thursday,

Maundy Thursday is always the Thursday before Easter; its name has occasioned some trouble to antiquaries. One writer conceives maundy to be corrupted from the mandate of Christ to his disciples to break bread in remembrance of him: or from his other mandate, after he had washed their feet, to love one another.[45] With better reason it is conceived to be derived from the Saxon word mand, which afterwards became maund, a name for a basket, and subsequently for any gift or offering contained in the basket. Thus Shakspeare says, “a thousand favours from her maund she drew:” and Hall in his satires, speaks of “a maund charged with household merchandize:” so also Drayton tells of “a little maund being made of osiers small;” and Herrick says,

“Behold, for us, the naked graces stay
With maunds of roses, for to strew the way.”

The same poet speaks of maundie at alms:

“All’s gone, and death hath taken
Away from us
Our maundie, thus
The widdowes stand forsaken.”

Thus then, “Maundy Thursday, the day preceding Good Friday, on which the king distributes alms to a certain number of poor persons at Whitehall, is so named from the maunds in which the gifts were contained.”[46]

[401, 402]

According to annual custom, on Maundy Thursday, 1814, the royal donations were distributed at the Chapel Royal, Whitehall. In the morning, Dr. Carey, the sub-almoner, and Mr. Hanby, the secretary to the lord high almoner, Mr. Nost, and others belonging to the lord chamberlain’s office, attended by a party of the yeomen of the guard, distributed to seventy-five poor women, and seventy-five poor men, being as many as the king was years old, a quantity of salt fish, consisting of salmon, cod, and herrings, pieces of very fine beef, five loaves of bread, and some ale to drink the king’s health. Mr. Hanby gave notice that in future their cases must be certified by the minister of the parish, by order of the lord almoner. At three o’clock they assembled again, the men on one side the chapel, and the women on the other. A procession entered, of those engaged in the ceremony, consisting of a party of yeoman of the guard, one of them carrying a large gold dish on his head, containing 150 bags, with seventy-five silver pennies in each, for the poor people, which was placed in the royal closet. They were followed by the sub-almoner in his robes, with a sash of fine linen over his shoulder and crossing his waist. He was followed by two boys, two girls, the secretary, and another gentleman, with similar sashes, &c. &c., all carrying large nosegays. The church evening service was then performed, at the conclusion of which the silver pennies were distributed, and woollen cloth, linen, shoes and stockings, to the men and women, and a cup of wine to drink the king’s health.

Anciently, on Maundy Thursday, the kings and queens of England washed and kissed the feet of as many poor men and women as they were years old, besides bestowing their maundy on each. This was in imitation of Christ washing his disciples’ feet. Queen Elizabeth performed this at Greenwich, when she was thirty-nine years old, on which occasion the feet of the same number of poor persons were first washed by the yeomen of the laundry with warm water and sweet herbs, afterwards by the sub-almoner, and lastly, by the queen herself; the person who washed, making each time a cross on the pauper’s foot above the toes, and kissing it. This ceremony was performed by the queen, kneeling, being attended by thirty-nine ladies and gentlewomen. Clothes, victuals, and money were then distributed among the poor.[47] James II. is said to have been the last of our monarchs who performed this ceremony in person. It was afterwards performed by the almoner. On the 5th of April, 1731, it being Maundy Thursday, the king being then in his forty-eighth year, there was distributed at the Banquetting-house, Whitehall, to forty-eight poor men and forty-eight poor women, boiled beef and shoulders of mutton, and small bowls of ale, which is called dinner; after that, large wooden platters of fish and loaves, viz. undressed, one large old ling, and one large dried cod; twelve red herrings, and twelve white herrings, and four half quartern loaves. Each person had one platter of this provision; after which was distributed to them shoes, stockings, linen and woollen cloth, and leathern bags, with one-penny, two-penny, three-penny, and four-penny pieces of silver, and shillings; to each about four pounds in value. His grace, the lord archbishop of York, lord high almoner, performed the annual ceremony of washing the feet of the poor in the Royal Chapel, Whitehall, as was formerly done by the kings themselves.[48]

This day was also called Shere Thursday, and by corruption Chare Thursday. Shere Thursday signified that it was the day whereon the clergy were wont to shere or shear their heads, or get them shorn or shaven, and to clip their beards against Easter-day.[49] In the miraculous legend of St. Brandon it is related that he sailed with his monks to the island of sheep, “and on sherethursdaye, after souper, he wesshe theyr feet and kyssed them lyke as our lorde dyd to his dyscyples.”[50] Maundy Thursday is nowhere observed in London except, as before stated, at the Chapel Royal.

[45] Dunton’s British Apollo.

[46] Archdeacon Nares’s “Glossary,” wherein the authorities briefly cited above are set forth at large.

[47] Gentleman’s Magazine.

[48] Lambarde.

[49] Brand’s Pop. Antiq. Nares’s Glossary, Chare and shere.

[50] Golden Legend.

Good Friday.

A Holiday at all the Public Offices.

This and Christmas-day are the only two close holidays now observed throughout London, by the general shutting up of shops, and the opening of all the churches. The dawn is awakened by a cry in the streets of “Hot-cross-buns; one-a-penny [403, 404] buns, two-a-penny buns; one-a-penny, two-a-penny, hot-cross-buns!” This proceeds from some little “peep-o’-day boy,” willing to take the “top of the morning” before the rest of his compeers. He carries his covered buns in a basket hanging on one arm, while his other hand is straightened like an open door, at the side of his mouth, to let forth his childish voice, and he “pipes and trebles out the sound” to the extremity of his lungs. Scarcely has he departed before others come; “another and another still succeeds,” and at last the whole street is in one “common cry of buns.” Old men and young men, young women and old women, big children and little children, are engaged in this occupation, and “some cry now who never cried before.” The bun-venders who eclipse the rest in voice and activity, are young women who drive fruit-barrows—barrows, by the bye, are no more, but of them by and bye. A couple of these ex-barrow-women trip along, carrying a wicker clothes-basket between them, in which the “hot-cross-buns” are covered, first by a clean flannel or green baize, and outwardly by a clean white cloth, which coverings are slowly and partially removed, for fear of letting the buns cool, when a customer stops to buy, or calls them to the door. They continue their lengthened cry, with a volume of concerted sound, unequalled by other rivals in the ephemeral Good Friday trade. These scenes and sounds continue till church-time, and resume in the afternoon. It partially commences on the evening before Good Friday, but with little success.

Some thirty or forty years ago pastrycooks and bakers vied with each other for excellence in making hot-cross-buns; the demand has decreased, and so has the quality of the buns. But the great place of attraction for bun-eaters at that time was Chelsea; for there were the two “royal bun-houses.” Before and along the whole length of the long front of each, stood a flat-roofed, neat, wooden portico or piazza of the width of the foot-path, beneath which shelter “from summer’s heat and winter’s cold,” crowds of persons assembled to scramble for a chance of purchasing “royal hot cross Chelsea buns,” within a reasonable time; and several hundreds of square black tins, with dozens of hot buns on each tin, were disposed of in every hour from a little after six in the morning, till after the same period in the evening of Good Friday. Those who knew what was good, better than new comers, gave the preference to the “old original royal bun-house,” which had been a bun-house “ever since it was a house,” and at which “the king himself once stopped,” and who could say as much for the other? This was the conclusive tale at the door, and from within the doors, of the “old original bun-house.” Alas! and alack! there is that house now; and there is the house that was opened as its rival; but where are ye who contributed to their renown and custom, among the apprentices and journeymen, and the little comfortable tradesmen of the metropolis, and their wives and children—where are ye? With ye hath the fame of “Chelsea buns” departed, and the “royal bun-houses” are little more distinguished than the humble graves wherein ye rest.

Formerly “hot-cross-buns” were commonly eaten in London by families at breakfast, and some families still retain the usage. They are of the usual form of buns; though they are distinguished from them inwardly by a sweeter taste, and the flavour of all-spice, and outwardly by the mark or sign of the cross. The “hot-cross-bun” is the most popular symbol of the Roman catholic religion in England that the reformation has left. Of the use of the cross, as a mark or sign in papal worship and devotion, most readers are aware; for it has been insisted on by Roman catholic writers from the days of Constantine to Alban Butler himself, who giving example of its great virtue on Good Friday, says, “to add one more instance, out of many, St. Teresa assures us, in her own life, that one day the devil, by a phantom, appeared to sit on the letters of her book, to disturb her at her devotions; but she drove him away thrice by the sign of the cross, and at last sprinkled the book with holy water; after which he returned no more.”[51] In the houses of some ignorant people, a Good Friday bun is still kept “for luck,” and sometimes there hangs from the ceiling a hard biscuit-like cake of open cross-work, baked on a Good Friday, to remain there till displaced on the next Good Friday by one of similar make; and of this the editor of the Every-Day Book [405, 406] has heard affirmed, that “it preserves the house from fire;” “no fire ever happened in a house that had one.” This undoubtedly is a relic of the old superstition; as is also a vulgar notion in the west of England, that the straight stripe down the shoulders of the ass, intersected by the long one from the neck to the tail, is a cross of honour conferred upon him by Christ, and that before Christ rode upon the ass, that animal was not so distinguished.

Hot-cross-buns are the ecclesiastical Eulogiæ, or consecrated loaves, bestowed in the church as alms, and to those who from any impediment could not receive the host. They are made from the dough from whence the host itself is taken, and are given by the priest to the people after mass, just before the congregation is dismissed, and are kissed before they are eaten. They are marked with the cross as our Good Friday buns are. Winckelman relates this remarkable fact, that at Herculaneum were found two entire loaves of the same size, a palm and a half, or five inches in diameter. They were marked by a cross, within which were four other lines; and so the bread of the Greeks was marked from the earliest periods. Sometimes it had only four lines, and then it was called quadra. This bread had rarely any other mark than a cross, which was on purpose to divide and break it more easily.[52]

The Tenebræ, a Roman catholic service signifying darkness, is performed on and before Good Friday, to denote the circumstances and darkness at the crucifixion. This is partly symbolized by a triangular candlestick with fourteen yellow wax candles and one white one, seven of these yellow candles being on one side, the seven other yellow ones on the other side, and the white wax candle being at the top. The fourteen yellow candles represent the eleven apostles, the virgin Mary, and the women that were with her at the crucifixion; the white candle at the top is to represent Christ. Fourteen psalms are sung, and at the end of each psalm one of the yellow candles is put out till the whole fourteen are extinguished, and the white candle alone left alight. After this and the extinction of the light on the altar, “the white candle is taken down from the top of the triangular candlestick, and hid under the altar.” The putting out of the fourteen candles is to denote the flight or mourning of the apostles and the women; and the hiding of the white candle denotes that Christ is in the sepulchre; then a noise is made by beating the desks or books, and by beating the floor with the hands and feet, and this noise is to represent the earthquake and the splitting of the rocks at the crucifixion.[53]

In the church of St. Peter’s at Rome on Good Friday, the hundred burning lamps on the tomb of St. Peter are extinguished, and a stupendous illuminated cross depends from the immense dome of the cathedral, as if it hung self-supported. But to relate the papal ceremonies pertaining to the fast of lent, and its ensuing festival, would fill volumes of this size, and we hasten from the devices of men to contemplate works which all his art is incompetent to rival.

Nature! to me, thou art more beautiful
In thy most simple forms, than all that man
Hath made, with all his genius, and his power
Of combination: for he cannot raise
One structure, pinnacled, or domed, or gemm’d,
By architectural rule, or cunning hand,
Like to the smallest plant, or flower, or leaf,
Which living hath a tongue, that doth discourse
Most eloquent of Him, the great Creator
Of all living things. Man’s makings fail
To tell of aught but this, that he, the framer
Sought also to create, and fail’d, because
No life can he impart, or breath infuse,
To give inertness being.

[51] Butler’s Moveable Feasts, 1774, 8vo. p. 379.

[52] Fosbroke’s Brit. Monach. Herculaneum it will be remembered was overwhelmed and destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius, A. D. 79.

[53] Butler’s Moveable Feasts.

[407, 408]


Next came fresh April, full of lustyhed,
And wanton as a kid whose horne new buds;
Upon a bull he rode, the same which led
Europa floting through th’ Argolick fluds:
His horns were gilden all with golden studs,
And garnished with garlands goodly dight
Of all the fairest flowers and freshest buds
Which th’ earth brings forth; and wet he seem’d in sight
With waves, through which he waded for his love’s delight.


This is the fourth month of the year. Its Latin name is Aprilis, from aperio, to open or set forth. The Saxons called it, Oster or Eastermonath, in which month, the feast of the Saxon goddess, Eastre, Easter, or Eoster is said to have been celebrated.[54] April, with us, is sometimes represented as a girl clothed in green, with a garland of myrtle and hawthorn buds; holding in one hand primroses and violets, and in the other the zodiacal sign, Taurus, or the bull, into which constellation the sun enters during this month. The Romans consecrated the first of April to Venus, the goddess of beauty, the mother of love, the queen of laughter, the mistress of the graces; and the Roman widows and virgins assembled in the temple of Virile Fortune, and disclosing their personal deformities, prayed the goddess to conceal them from their husbands.[55]

In this month the business of creation seems resumed. The vital spark rekindles in dormant existences; and all things “live, and move, and have their being.” The earth puts on her livery to await the call of her lord; the air breathes gently on his cheek, and conducts to his ear the warblings of the birds, and the odours of new-born herbs and flowers; the great eye of the world “sees and shines” with bright and gladdening glances; the waters teem with life, man himself feels the revivifying and all-pervading influence; and his

—— spirit holds communion sweet
With the brighter spirits of the sky.

[54] Sayer’s Disquisitions.

[55] Lempriere.

[409, 410]

April 1.—All Fools’ Day.

St. Hugh, Bp. A. D. 1132. St. Melito, Bp. A. D. 175. St. Gilbert, Bp. of Cathness, A. D. 1240.

On the first of April, 1712, Lord Bolingbroke stated, that in the wars, called the “glorious wars of queen Anne,” the duke of Marlborough had not lost a single battle—and yet, that the French had carried their point, the succession to the Spanish monarchy, the pretended cause of these wars. Dean Swift called this statement “a due donation for ‘All Fools’ Day!’”

On the first of April, 1810, Napoleon married Maria Louisa, archduchess of Austria, on which occasion some of the waggish Parisians called him “un poisson d’Avril,” a term which answers to our April fool. On the occasion of his nuptials, Napoleon struck a medal, with Love bearing a thunderbolt for its device.

It is customary on this day for boys to practise jocular deceptions. When they succeed, they laugh at the person whom they think they have rendered ridiculous, and exclaim, “Ah! you April fool!


Thirty years ago, when buckles were worn in shoes, a boy would meet a person in the street with—“Sir, if you please, your shoe’s unbuckled,” and the moment the accosted individual looked towards his feet, the informant would cry—“Ah! you April fool!” Twenty years ago, when buckles were wholly disused, the urchin-cry was—“Sir, your shoe’s untied;” and if the shoe-wearer lowered his eyes, he was hailed, as his buckled predecessor had been, with the said—“Ah! you April fool!” Now, when neither buckles nor strings are worn, because in the year 1825 no decent man “has a shoe to his foot,” the waggery of the day is—“Sir, there’s something out of your pocket.” “Where?” “There!” “What?” “Your hand, sir—Ah! you April fool!” [411, 412] Or else some lady is humbly bowed to, and gravely addressed with “Ma’am, I beg your pardon, but you’ve something on your face!” “Indeed, my man! what is it?” “Your nose, ma’am—Ah! you April fool!”

The tricks that youngsters play off on the first of April are various as their fancies. One, who has yet to know the humours of the day, they send to a cobbler’s for a pennyworth of the best “stirrup oil;” the cobbler receives the money, and the novice receives a hearty cut or two from the cobbler’s strap: if he does not, at the same time, obtain the information that he is “an April fool,” he is sure to be acquainted with it on returning to his companions. The like knowledge is also gained by an errand to some shop for half a pint of “pigeon’s milk,” or an inquiry at a bookseller’s for the “Life and Adventures of Eve’s Mother.”

Then, in-door young ones club their wicked wits,
And almost frighten servants into fits—
“Oh, John! James! John!—oh, quick! oh! Molly, oh
Oh, the trap-door! oh, Molly! down below!”
“What, what’s the matter!” scream, with wild surprise
John, James, and Molly, while the young ones’ cries
Redouble till they come; then all the boys
Shout “Ah! you April fools!” with clamorous noise;
And little girls enticed down stairs to see,
Stand peeping, clap their hands, and cry “te-hee!”
Each gibing boy escapes a different way,
And meet again some trick, “as good as that,” to play.


Much is written concerning the custom of fool-making on the first of April, but with this result only, that it is very ancient and very general.[56] As a better opportunity will occur hereafter, nothing will be said here respecting “fools” by profession.

The practice of making fools on this day in North Britain, is usually exercised by sending a person from place to place by means of a letter, in which is written

“On the first day of April
Hunt the gowk another mile.”

This is called “hunting the gowk;” and the bearer of the “fools’ errand” is called an “April gowk.” Brand says, that gowk is properly a cuckoo, and is used here metaphorically for a fool; this appears correct; for from the Saxon “geac, a cuckoo,” is derived geck,[57] which means “one easily imposed on.” Malvolio, who had been “made a fool” by a letter, purporting to have been written by Olivia, inquires of her

“Why have you suffered me to be—
—Made the most notorious geck and gull
That e’er invention play’d on?”

Olivia affirms, that the letter was not written by her, and exclaims to Malvolio

“Alas, poor fool! how have they baffled thee!”

Geck is likewise derivable “from the Teutonic geck, jocus.”[58]

The “April fool” is among the Swedes. Toreen, one of their travellers, says, “We set sail on the first of April, and the wind made April fools of us, for we were forced to return before Shagen.” On the Sunday and Monday preceding Lent, people are privileged at Lisbon to play the fool: it is thought very jocose to pour water on any person who passes, or throw powder in his face; but to do both is the perfection of wit.[59] The Hindoos also at their Huli festival keep a general holiday on the 31st of March, and one subject of diversion is to send people on errands and expeditions that are to end in disappointment, and raise a laugh at the expense of the persons sent. Colonel Pearce says, that “high and low join in it; and,” he adds, “the late Suraja Doulah, I am told, was very fond of making Huli fools, though he was a mussulman of the highest rank. They carry the joke here (in India) so far, as to send letters making appointments, in the name of persons, who, it is known, must be absent from their house at the time fixed upon; and the laugh is always in proportion to the trouble given.”[60]

The April fool among the French is called “un poisson d’Avril.” Their transformation [413, 414] of the term is not well accounted for, but their customs on the day are similar to ours. In one instance a “joke” was carried too far. At Paris, on the 1st of April, 1817, a young lady pocketed a watch in the house of a friend. She was arrested the same day, and taken before the correctional police, when being charged with the fact, she said it was an April trick (un poisson d’Avril.) She was asked whether the watch was in her custody? She denied it; but a messenger was sent to her apartment, and it was found on the chimney-place. Upon which the young lady said, she had made the messenger un poisson d’Avril, “an April fool.” The pleasantry, however, did not end so happily, for the young lady was jocularly recommended to remain in the house of correction till the 1st of April, 1818, and then to be discharged as un poisson d’Avril.[61]

It must not be forgotten, that the practice of “making April fool” in England, is often indulged by persons of maturer years, and in a more agreeable way. There are some verses that pleasantly exemplify this:[62]

To a Lady, who threatened to make
Author an April Fool.

Why strive, dear girl, to make a fool
Of one not wise before,
Yet, having ’scaped from folly’s school,
Would fain go there no more?
Ah! if I must to school again,
Wilt thou my teacher be?
I’m sure no lesson will be vain
Which thou canst give to me.
One of thy kind and gentle looks,
Thy smiles devoid of art,
Avail, beyond all crabbed books,
To regulate my heart.
Thou need’st not call some fairy elf,
On any April-day,
To make thy bard forget himself,
Or wander from his way.
One thing he never can forget,
Whatever change may be,
The sacred hour when first he met
And fondly gazed on thee.
A seed then fell into his breast;
Thy spirit placed it there:
Need I, my Julia, tell the rest?
Thou seest the blossoms here.


Annual Mercury. Mercurialis annua.
Dedicated to St. Hugh.

[56] Brand.

[57] Ash.

[58] Jamieson, in Nare’s Glossary.

[59] Southey, quoted in Brand, as also Toreen.

[60] Asiat. Res. in Brand, from Maurice.

[61] Morn. Chron. June 17, 1817.

[62] Cited by Brand from Julia, or Last Follies, 1798, 4to.

April 2.

St. Francis of Paula. St. Apian, A. D. 306. St. Theodosia, A. D. 308. St. Nicetius, Abp. of Lyons, A. D. 577. St. Ebba, Abbess, and her companions, A. D. 870, or 874. B. Constantine II. king of Scotland, A. D. 874. St. Bronacha, or Bronanna, Abbess.

St. Francis of Paula

Was a Calabrian, and at fifteen years old shut himself up in a cave, in a rock on the coast. Before twenty he was joined by two others, and the people built them three cells; the number increased, and so arose the order of friar Minims, which means the least of the friars. Constant abstinence from flesh, and all food made of milk or eggs, was one of their rules. In 1479, being invited to Sicily, “he was received there as an angel from heaven, wrought miracles, and built several monasteries.” He prophesied, held burning coals in his hand without being burnt, restored his nephew to life, cured people of the plague, received the host with a cord about his neck on Maundy Thursday, died on the 2d of April, 1508, aged ninety-one, and was buried till 1562 when the hugonots burnt his bones with the wood of a crucifix.[63]

Besides this, it is related, that the elements lost their force against him; that he walked upon fire; entered into a burning oven without harm; a