« PreviousContinue »
Nec frustrà, teneris actus ab ignibus,
Salso condiderit pede.
January 12. St. Arcadius. St. Benedict Biscop.
St. Aelred. Plough Monday in 1818. On this day, or about this time, in the north, the Fool Plough goes about, a pageant that consists of a number of sword dancers, dragging a plough, with music, and one, sometimes two, in a very fantastic dress; the Bessy, in the grotesque habit of an old woman, and the Fool, almost covered with skins, wearing a hairy cap, and the tail of some animal hanging from his back.
In the year 1679 a great darkness is recorded as having taken place in London at noon on this day.
January 13. St. Veronica, V. St. Kentigern, B. C.
This day was anciently called the Octave of the Epiphany, and kept as a holiday by the Christians. Cambridge term begins today.
Ipus. — Festum Jovis. Redditae Provinciae. - Rom. Cal. This seems to have been the day when the Romans celebrated the Restoration of the Provinces, to which Virgil has been said, by some authors, to allude in the first Eclogue:
Fortunate senex ! ergo tua rura manebunt; &c. If the frost breaks, hunting is now resumed again. For the amusement of the reader today we may insert the following: Verses addressed to a Person who, in making a List of the Hounds, had omitted one named SPECTRE, remarkable for his slow Paces.
Ou, recreant Scribe, thou hast forgotten
The Poet's Reply.
January 14. St. HILARY. St. Felix. $S. Bar
basceminus and Others, M. M.
Oxford Term begins. St. Hilary was born at Poictiers in France, of an illustrious family; and of this place he was chosen bishop in the year 353. Having taken an active part against the Arians, he was banished to Phrygia, by order of the Emperor Constantius, in 356, where he remained for three years. After various travels in different parts, and many sufferings, he died at his native place in the year 368.
Very cold weather usually takes place about this time of year, and when it happens otherwise it generally either rains or blows a gale.
“ Excessively cold weather occurred on the 14th of January, 1820. The quicksilver in my thermometer fell to —5o at eleven o'clock at night. Another thermometer was also observed, hanging in a window in the house, to be likewise much below Zero. At the same time, and during the night, I ascertained by a Six's thermometer, that the cold had been -10°, that is ten degrees below 0 of Fahrenheit's Scale, or forty degrees below the freezing point. This extraordinary degree of cold appeared to be partial, and to occur in a particular line of places, as if a stream of excessive cold were drawn along over partial tracts of country.” — Forster's Atmospheric Phenomena.
Translation of the Days of the Week.
- Love's halmie spells, must now to Frea yield;
January 15. St. Paul, the first Hermit. St. Mida, V.
St. Main. St. Maurus. St. John Calybite, R. SS. Isidore.
Sacrificium Carmentis, Porrimae et Postvertae.-Rom. Cal. The St. Paul who is celebrated today was the first who led a completely eremitical life ; and Butler, in the Lives of the Saints, relates a curious vision, whereby he was led to the retirement of St. Anthony, then very old, and hermitized in the fourth century. - See Butler's Lives, Jan. 15.
Atmospheric Appearances of the Heavens this evening, from Frend's Evening Amusements. — The first Star of the Ram, as soon as the twilight will permit its rays to have effect, is seen upon the meridian, and the Dog Star is just arisen, and will be discovered by looking towards the south east: the eastern part of the heavens exhibiting now a very splendid appearance, from the brilliancy of the Pleiades, Aldebaran, and Orion. The Pleiades pass the meridian at seven: Aldebaran, a little before eight: the second star of the Bull, and the middle star of the Belt of Orion, at a quarter before nine; and Sirius, a little before ten: and these directions will serve for the discovery of these stars to the end of the month.
Larks now congregate, and fly to the warm stubble for shelter; and the Nuthatch is heard. The Slug makes its appearance, and commences its depredations on garden plants and green wheat. The Missel Thrush begins its song. The Hedge Sparrow and the Thrush begin to sing. The Wren, also, ' pipes her perennial lay,' even among the flakes of snow. The Titmouse pulls straw out of the thatch,
in search of insects; Linnets congregate, and Rooks resort to their nest trees. Pullets begin to lay; young Lambs are dropped now.
The House Sparrow chirps; the Bat appears; Spiders shoot out their webs; and the Blackbird whistles. The Fieldfares, Redwings, Skylarks, and Titlarks, resort to watered meadows for food, and are, in part, supported by the gnats which are on the snow, near the water. The tops of tender turnips and ivy berries afford food for the graminivorous birds, as the Ringdove, &c. Earth worms lie out on the ground, and the Snail appears.
Mr. Gisborne, in his · Walks in a Forest,' draws a lively picture of cattle going to their accustomed pools to drink, when completely frozen over, and of their awkward attempts to obtain the grateful beverage.
Sunk in the vale, whose concave depth receives
Reply; forth gushes the imprisoned wave. In the “ Fides Catholica," by Philostratus, will be found some strong physical arguments for a celibate life, and a defence of Hermits and Anchorites, which the Saint's name recorded today brings to our memory :
It is a principle proved by M. Malthus, in his book on Population, and acknowledged by all able writers, that man, in common with other animals, has a power and tendency to multiply beyond the means of sustenance which the earth produces; there must be, therefore, checks to fecundity. Various have been the endeavours to make this principle out to be fallacious, but none have succeeded. For if alone every couple could produce four children, and this is a small allowance to young natural and healthy persons, the time must come when there would be too many people in the world. For let even the whole surface of the earth be cultivated, its anpual produce is, after all, only a constant quantity; while population, though not unlimited, proceeds on an arithmetical ratio of increase. Various means have been devised for checking an undue advance of
population ; and wars, diseases, and vice, have been shown to be the natural source of that untimely devastation of human life and fecundity, which everywhere thins the inhabitants of the globe.
“Now, in proportion as moral and physical knowledge may be promoted, may it be hoped that these natural sources of destruction will be diminished, and that population will find some check more congenial to the advanced state of society ? May not, then, the increased fervour of devotion which shall accompany multiplied proofs of Christianity induce a yet larger number of individuals to assume professions of celibacy, so as to arrest an undue increase of mankind ?”
January 16. St. Marcellus, P. M. St. Macarius. .
St. Honoratus. St. Fursey. St. Henry, H. SS. Five Friars.
O rises vii. 51', sets 1v. 9'.
Battle of Coruna in 1809. The clear frosty nights which sometimes happen at this time afford good opportunity for astronomical observations; and Orion being now conspicuous, we may make observations on that extraordinary phenomenon the change of colour, in starlight, which is conspicuous in Betalgeus the red star in his shoulder, and in certain other stars, of which we select an account published in the Monthly Magazine by Dr. T. Forster:
“ The alternation of the colours of the light of certain stars does not appear to me to have sufficiently engaged the attention of astronomers; and it is with a view to excite inquiry into its cause that I am induced to offer the following observations.
“Some years ago, on looking towards the constellation of the Scorpion, I observed a remarkable changing of colour in Antares: for a second or two of time it appeared of a deep crimson colour, then of a whitish colour; then the crimson was resumed, and so on at alternating periods. Sometimes every other twinkle showed the red colour, while the alternating twinkle appeared of the ordinary colour of starlight.
" What is commonly called the twinkling of a star seems to be an apparent fit of dilatation and increased brilliancy, rapidly succeeded by the opposite state of apparent contraction of surface and dulness. I have observed, also, that the twinkles are of longer or shorter duration, at different