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is also New Year's Day, when we may say with the poet
“ The King of light, father of aged Time,
Some service in a real compliment.” At this season gifts and gratulations pass freely between relatives and friends; and many sports and pastimes are still observed. A pleasing picture of some of these castoms is given in the following, from the lively pen of Mr. Stringer :
Ah! what sound is that? 'Tis a merry one! What a lively welcome those bells are pealing forth to the infant year! whilst I am sitting alone in “musing melancholy.” Why, then, am I here alone ? Oh! I will not think of myself, but of those who are where I should have been. I wonder whether they have observed the good old custom of making a “ well-spiced” wassailbowl. I think they must, at all events they ought to, have done so. If they have, it will, ere this, have been once emptied, and is, perhaps, at this moment being replenished. They filled it first on the departure of the old year, and they are now filling it a second time on the entrance of the new one. May they prove as happy, as they are earnest, in the healths they have been and are drinking round the glowing Christmas block! I fear, however, that they will not have the noble boar's head, with its “ garlands and rosemary,” on their midnight board; but that is not of much consequence, (though I should like to hear it was there,) as they will certainly have plenty of “ turkeys with the chine”-
“crammed capons”—and “fat hens with dumpling legs" - for
“Without their help, who can good Christmas keep?" If, too, no simple yule cakes have been prepared for the feast, there will be no lack in it of the more eatable “ consecrated” mince-pie, and no longer “ heretical” plum-porridge. I fancy I see the maidens and youths of the party playfully exchanging the oranges and lemons stuck with cloves, those pretty little memorials of the more substantial, but, as testimonies of continued or renewed friendsbip and affection, not more valuable, presents, which used to be made on these joyful occasions. And I fancy I hear the jovial songs and lively jokes that are “ setting the table in a roar;" for
“ 'Tis mirth, not dishes, sets a table off.” But, perhaps, by this time that table is cleared, the wassail-bowl again dry, each turkey, capon, and fat hen, devoured; every mince-pie and mess of plum-porridge finished, and the basket of oranges and lemons exhausted. Well! there are the “ merry disports” yet to be gone through-yes ! though the Lord of Misrule is absent, the Hobby-horse neglected, and the Mummers not to be found, yet has the master of that happy hospitable mansion still his " harp in ball.” Listen! Already are its quivering strings pouring out their jocund notes. Every part of the evergreen-covered room is full of life and animation ; in the middle, many a couple are floating or dodging through some dance or reel : in one corner the tiny slipper is being hunted by some younger branches of the company, and, from the screams and laughter in another, you may tell that some, a little
older, are there enjoying all the “hair-breadth scapes,” and teasing tricks of blindman's-buff.
“ Young men and maidens now
Their stations take." But, alas! “ the best friends must part." The entrance of
“ Froze January, leader of the year," has been duly and fully celebrated-he has received all honour, and been received with every festivity. See now with what pretended unwillingness those giggling girls are drawn towards the door through which they must make their exit, and over which hangs the “sacred” misletoe, threatening a kiss for each individual berry it bears. Observe what a hearty smack the young men give the lips of their sisters and cousins, and other female relations, and how gallantly and genteelly they salute their more distant, yet now more welcome, acquaintances of the softer sex.
Ab! that sound again! Are those chimes ringing a second cheerful round ? No, no; 'tis “ the waits :" how beautifully this solemn silence sets off their instruments ! “ Play on,” my good fellows !
“ If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting,
But I suppose you will be coming to me before the next twelve hours are past for your vails, you rogues ! Well, well; you shall have them. “ I love music-I must love it for ever—it is the language of recollection.”
“ The man that hath not music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Let no such man be trusted.—Mark the music !” By what air is “ the dull ear of night” thus “ startled ?" -" They're a' noddin”- No; I am not, though I should be; so farewell, ye minstrels! Believe me, no being under heaven can wish you more sincerely than I do—"a merry Christmas, and a happy new year!"
THE NEW YEAR.
Here let me rest awhile,
And watch the funeral pile.
Age after age sweeps by;
To look around and die !
As yet is hid from me ;
Spreads o'er the days to be ;
It may be dark,-a rising storm
To blast with lightning wing
It may be doomed to bring
Its hopes will not forego ;-
As on the clouds of woe;
But I must steer my bark of life
Towards a deathless land :
May it but reach the strand
2, 1831. M. NIEBUHR DIED, ÆTAT 53. This eminent historian died at Bonn in Prussia, and was the son of Carston Niebuhr, the oriental traveller. In 1812 he published, at Berlin, the first portion of his History of Rome ; a translation of which appeared in this country in 1827. Mr. Walter, the translator, in his preface, gives the following account of the labours of the author. " This work was founded on a series of lectures delivered by M. Niebubr. Though he remodelled, to a certain extent, and adopted a more comprehensive title, yet the original texture or mould is at times palpably evident. The style is characterised by excessive brevity and abruptness of transition,-an inordinate imitation (so to call it) of the great Tacitus.” The more important characteristics of the work are, however, that it contains,“ many new and original views, many profound and ingenious disquisitions, many bold and successful conjectures; boundless erudition, occasional flights of eloquence--an enthusiasm in the cause of liberty, which, though sometimes carried to a considerable