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Les Plantes semblent avoir été semées, avec profusion, sur la terre, comme les étoiles dans le ciel, pour inviter l'homme, par l'attrait du plaisir et de la curiosité, à l'étude de la Nature. ROUSSEAU.
Almighty Power! if e'er I turn,
My soul beholds the Deity.
If wand'ring through the fruitful plain,
My soul beholds the Deity.
The world is a glasse wberein we may contemplate the eternall power and niajestie of God: it is that great booke of so large a character, that a man may run and read it; yea, even the simplest man that cannot read, may yet spell out of this booke that there is a God. Every shepheard hath this Calendar, and every ploughman this A, B, C.
JANUARY THIS month, whose zodiacal sign is Aquarius, derives its name from Janus, a deity represented by the Romans with two faces, as indicating his acquaintance with the past and the future.
In JANUARY 1829.
1.-CIRCUMCISION. This festival commemorates the circumcision of our Lord on the eighth day of his nativity. This is · also New Year's Day; which is generally kept as a holiday, and much visiting and good cheer belong to its celebration. But the observance of this and other festivals becomes every year less practised : many of those in Scotland are fast sinking into oblivion. Among the holidays of the colliers, and, indeed, of the lower classes in general, the first Monday of the year, reckoning by old style, and termed Old Handsel Monday, is their day of greatest festivity throughout the year. On this day, the most rigorous master relinquishes his claim to the services of his domestics. No mechanic or artisan works at his ordinary employment on this day. The
females visit their friends, and the young men generally meet at some rendezvous, to try their skill as marksmen at a wad-shooting, that is, firing with ball at a mark for small prizes, which are paid for by the contributions of the candidates, and carried off by him who hits nearest the mark. The barbarous custom of throwing and shooting at cocks, tied by the leg to prevent their escape, which was formerly but too common on this day, is now, we trust, entirely abolished in this country. It was an amusement fit only for a savage, and not for humanized men, much less for Christians. We wish it consigned to eternal oblivion.
The practice, now so prevalent, of indulging to excess in the use of spirituous liquors, was formerly, in a great measure, unknown among the labouring classes. At their festive meetings they drank of a more simple and less pernicious beverage. One William Hunter, a collier in the parish of Tillicoultry, was cured, in the year 1758, of an inyeterate 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; and on the evening of Handsel Monday, 0. S. some of his neighbours came to make merry with him: though he could not rise, 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 com. plaint.-See Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xv,
It was formerly the general custom in England, as it still is on the continent (see our last volume, pp. 2, 3) to make presents on New Year's Day to relatives or acquaintances. The following curious letter, extracted from the Lansdowne MSS. in the
British Museum, was written by Edwin Sandys, Bp. of Worcester, to Sir W. Cecill (afterwards Lord Burghley), on the occasion of presenting him with a curious clock, which formerly belonged to King Edward VI:
What way I may declare any part of my bounden Deutie towardes you, for the manifold benefitte received, certanlie I wote not. For as ye haue bene the meane to bringe me into the place of honestie, from malice, whiche mynded to Impeache yt, which benefitt of all others I esteame the most, and can no otherwise recompense, but onlie by bearing of good will, which when seasonable tymes will make bud forth and yelde fruyt, ye may of right clanie the same as youre owne. Suche ys the barrennes of this contrie that yt bringith nothing forth fitt to remember you withall, and therfor I am bold to present you with an olde clock, in the stead of a New Yeares Gift. Which I trust ye will the rather accept because yt was yor olde Masters of happy memorie, K. Edwards, and afterwards yor lovinge and learned brothers Mr. Cheekes, and synes hys who thinkith him self in many respectes most bounden unto you; whois prayer ye shall euer haue, whois seruice ye may euer vse: as knowith the Almightie; who grant you many happie yeares with much increase in the knowledge of Christ vnto whois mercifull governance I commend you, from my house at Hartillbury, this 28 of December, 1563.
Yor in Christ most bounde,
ED. WIGORN.' As a contrast to the above fragment of antiquity, we present our readers with the following elegant effusion by Miss M.J.Jewsbury, 'sent with an hourglass to a lady on New Year's Day: it first appeared in the Leeds Intelligencer, and has been reprinted by Mr. Watts, in his amusing and judiciously selected - Poetical Album,' lately published.