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Be this day frugal, and not spare his friend kind feelings in former times; and wliy Some gift, to show his love finds not an end should they be unfashionable in our own? With the deceased year.
Dr. Drake observes, in “Shakspeare and POOLES'S ENG. PARNASSUS.
his Times," that the ushering in of the new In the volume of “ ELIA,” an excellent year, or new year's tide, with rejoicings, paper begins with “ Every man hath two presents, and good wishes, was a custom birthdays : two days, at least, in every observed, during the 16th century, with year, which set him upon revolving the great regularity and parade, and was as lapse of tinie, as it affects his mortal dura- cordially celebrated in the court of the tion. The one is that which in an especial prince as in the cottage of the peasant. manner he termeth his. In the gradual « Encyclopedia of Antiquities," adduces
The Rev.T.D. Fosbroke, in his valuable desuetude of old observances, this custom nearly passed away, or is left to children, the Romans on this day. The origin, he of solemnizing our proper birthday hath various authorities to show that congratu
lations, presents, and visits were made by who reflect nothing at all about the matter, nor understand any thing beyond the says, is ascribed to Romulus and Tatius, cake and orange. But the birth of a
and that the usual presents were figs and new year is of an interest too wide to be dates, covered with leaf-gold, and sent by pretermitted by king or cobbler. No one
clients to patrons, accompanied with a ever regarded the first of January with piece of money, which was expended to indifference. It is that from which all purchase the statues of deities. He mendate their time, and count upon what is tions an amphora (a jar) which still exists, left. It is the nativity of our common
with an inscription denoting that it was a Adam.
new year's present from the potters to “Of all sound of all bells- bells, the Count Caylus a piece of Roman pottery,
patroness. He also instances from music nighest bordering upon heaven)most solemn and touching is the peal
with an inscription wishing “ a happy which rings out the old year. I never
new year to you;" another, where a person hear it without a gathering-up of wy medalliops, with the laurel leaf, fig, and
wishes it to himself and his son; and three mind to a concentration of all the images date; one, of Commodus; another, of that have been diffused over the past Victory; and a third, Janus, standing in a twelvemonth ; all I have done or suffered, performed, or neglected—in that regretted temple,with an inscription,wishing a happy time. I begin to know its worth as when
new year to the emperor. New year's gifts a person dies. It takes a personal colour; until they were prohibited by Claudius.
were continued under the Roman emperors nor was it a poetical flight in a contem
Yet in the early ages of the church the porary, when he exclaimed,
Christian emperors received them; nor did • I saw the skirts of the departing year.'
they wholly cease, although condemned
by ecclesiastical councils on account of the “ The elders with whom I was brought pagan ceremonies at their presentation. up, were of a character not likely to let The Druids were accustomed on certain slip the sacred observance of any old in- days to cut the sacred misletoe with a stitution; and the ringing out of the old golden knife, in a forest dedicated to the year was kept by them with circumstan- gods, and to distribute its branches with ces of peculiar ceremony.. In those days much ceremony as new year's gifts among the sound of those midnight chimes, the people. though it seemed to raise hilarity in all The late Rev. John Brand, in his around me, never failed to bring a train “Popular Antiquities” edited by Mr. Ellis, of pensive imagery into my fancy. Yet I observes from Bishop Stillingfleet, that then scarce conceived what it meant, or among the Saxons of the North, the festhought of it as a reckoning that con tival of the new year was observed with cerned me.' Not childhood alone, but the more than ordinary jollity and feasting, young man till thirty, never feels practi- and by sending new year's gifts to one cally that he is mortal.”
another. Mr. Fosbroke notices the conRinging out the old and ringing in the tinuation of the Roman practice during new year, with“ a merry new year! a the middle ages; and that our kings, and happy new year to you!" on new year's the nobility especially, interchanged preday, were greetings that moved sceptred sents. Mr. Ellis quotes Matthew Paris, pride, and humble labour, to smiles and who appears to show that Henry III ex
torted new year's gifts; and he cites from most of the peeresses, gave rich gowns, a MS. of the public revenue, anno 5, petticoats, shifts, silk stockings, garters, Edward VI. an entry of “ rewards given sweet-bags, doublets, mantles embroidered on new year's day to the king's officers with precious stones, looking-glasses, fans, and servants in ordinary 1551. 58., and bracelets, caskets studded with jewels, to their servants that present the king's and other costly trinkets. Sir Gilbert najestie with new year's gifts." An Dethick, garter king at arms, gave a book orange stuck with cloves seems, by refer- of the States in William the Conqueror's ence to Mr. Fosbroke and our early au- time; Absolon, the master of the Savoy, thors, to have been a popular new year's gave a Bible covered with cloth of gold, gift. Mr. Ellis suggests, that the use of garnished with silver gilt, and plates of this present may be ascertained from a the royal arms; the queen's physician remark by old Lupton, that the flavour of presented her with a box of foreign wine is improved, and the wine itself pre- sweetmeats; another physician presented served from mouldiness, by an orange or a pot of green ginger, and a pot of orange lemon stuck with cloves being hung within flowers; her apothecaries gave her a box of the vessel so as not to touch the liquor. lozenges, a box of ginger candy, a box of
Thomas Naogeorgus, in “ The Popish green ginger, and pots of other conserves. Kingdome," a Latin poem written in 1553, Mrs. Blanch a Parry gave her majesty a and Englished by Barnabe Googe, after little gold comfit-box and spoon; Mrs. remarking on days of the old year, urges Morgan gave a box of cherries, and one this recollection :
of apricots. The queen's master cook The next to this is Newe yeares day
and her serjeant of the pastıy, presented whereon to every frende,
her with various confectionary and preThey costly presents in do bring,
serves. Putrino, an Italian, gave her two and Newe yeares giftes do sende, pictures; Ambrose Lupo gave her a box of These giftes the husband gives his wife, lute strings, and a glass of sweet water; and father eke the childe,
each of three other Italians presented her And maister ou his men bestowes
with a pair of sweet gloves; a cutler the like, with favour milde.
gave her a meat knife having a fan haft Honest old Latimer, instead of present- of bone, with a conceit in it , Jeromy ing Henry VIII. with a purse of gold, as Bassano gave two drinking glasses; and was customary, for a new year's gift, put Smyth, the dustman, presented her mainto the king's hand a New Testament, jesty with two bolts of cambrick. Some of with a leaf conspicuously doubled down these gifts to Elizabeth call to recoilection at Hebrews xiii
. 4, which, on reference, the tempting articles which Autolycus, in will be found to have been worthy of all the “Winter's Tale,” invites the country acceptation, though not perhaps well ac- girls to buy : he enters singing, cepted. Dr. Drake is of opinion that the wardrobe and jewellery of queen Elizabeth
Lawn, as white as driven snow; were principally supported by these an
Cypress, black as e'er was crow; nual contributions on new year's day. He
Gloves, as sweet as damask roses
Masks for faces, and for noses ; cites lists of the new year's gifts presented Bugle bracelet, necklace-amber, to her, from the original rolls published in
Perfume for a lady's chamber ; her Progresses by Mr. Nichols; and from Golden quoifs, and stomachers, these it appears that the greatest part, if For my lads to give their dears; not all the peers and peeresses of the Pins, and poking-sticks of steel, realm, all the bishops, the chief officers of What naids lack from head to hecl : state, and several of the queen's house Come, buy of me, come: come buy, come hold servants, even down to her apothe
buy ; caries, master cook, serjeant of the pastry,
Buy, lads, or else your lasses cry, &c. gave new year's gifts to her majesty;
Come, buy, &c. consisting, in general, either of a sum of Dr. Drake says, that though Elizabeth money, or jewels, trinkets, wearing appa- made returns to the new year's gifts, in rel, &c. The largest sum given by any plate and other articles, yet she took sufof the temporal lords was 201.; but the hicient care that the balance should be in arc hop of Canterbury gave 401., the her own favour. archbishop of York 301., and the other No. 4982, in the Catalogue for 1824, of spiritual lords 201. and 101.; many of Mr. Rodd, of Great Newport-street, is a the temporal lords and great officers, and roll of vellum. ten feet long, containing the
new year's gifts from king James I. to the sent to Sir Simon Steward." fle compersons whose names are therein mention- mences it merrily, and goes on to call it ed ou the 1st of January 1605, with the
a jolly new year's gifts that his majesty received Verse, crown'd with ivy and wieh holly'; the same day; the roll is signed by James That tells of winter's tales and mirth, himself and certain officers of his house- That inilk-maids make about the hearth; hold.
Of Christmas' sports, the wassail bowl, In a “Banquet of Jests, 1634,” 12mo., That tost-up after fox-i' th' hole ; there is a pleasant story of Archee, the Of blind-inan-buff, and of the care king's jester, who, having fooled many,
Thai young men have to shoe the mare ; was fooled himself. Coming to a noble- of twelfth-tide cakes, of pease and beans,
ye make those merry scenes ; man, upon new year's day, to bid him good-morrow, Archee received twenty A plenteous harvest to your grounds
Of crackling laurel, which fore-sounds pieces of gold; but, covetously desiring of those, and such like things, for shiît, more, he shook them in his hand, and said 'We send, instead of New Year's Gift. they were too light. The donor answered: Read then, and when your faces shine “I prithee, Archee, let me see them again, with buxom meat and cap'ring wine, for there is one amongst them I would be Remember us in cups full crown'd loth to part with.” Archee, expecting the And let our city-health go round. sum to be increased, returned the pieces Then, as ye sit about your embers, to his lordship; who put them in his Call not to mind the fied Decembers, pocket with this remark, “I once gave As daughters to the instant year;
But think on these, that are t'appear, money into a fool's hand, who had not the And to the bagpipes all address wit to keep it." Pins were acceptable new year's gifts And thus throughout, with Christmas plays,
Till sleep take place of weariness, to the ladies, instead of the wooden skew- Frolick the full twelve holidays. ers which they used till the end of the fifteenth century. Sometimes they re
Mr. Ellis, in a note on Brand, intro ceived a composition in money: and hence duces a poetical new year's gift in Latin, allowances for their separate use is still from the stern Buchanan to the unhappy denominated “ pin-money.”
Mary of Scotland. Gloves were customary new year's
“ New year's gifts," says Dr. Drake, gifts. They were more expensive than “were given and received, with the mutual in our times, and occasionally a money expression of good wishes, and particularly present was tendered instead : this was that of a happy new year. The complicalled “glove-money.” Sir Thomas More, ment was sometimes paid at each other's as lord chancellor, decreed in favour of doors in the form of a song; but more gea Mrs. Croaker against the lord Arundel. nerally, especially in the north of EngOn the following new year's day, in land and in Scotland, the house was entoken of her gratitude, she presented sir tered very early in the morning, by some Thomas with a pair of gloves, containing young men and maidens selected for the forty angels. “It would be against good purpose, who presented the spiced bowl, manners,” said the chancellor, to forsake and hailed you with the gratulations of a gentlewoman's new year's gift, and I the season." To this may be added, that accept the gloves; their lining you will it was formerly the custom in Scotland to be pleased otherwise to bestow.'
send new year's gifts on new year's Mr. Brand relates from a curious MS. eve; and on new year's day to wish in the British Museum, of the date of each other a happy new year, and ask for 1560, that the boys of Eton school used a new year's gift. There is a citation in on this day to play for little new year's Brand, from the “ Statistical Account of gifts before and after supper; and also Scotland,” concerning new year's gifts to to make verses, which they presented to servant maids by their masters; and it the provost and masters, and to each other; mentions that “ there is a large stone, new year's gifts of verses, however, were about nine or ten feet high, and four not peculiar to schoolboys. A poet, the broad, placed upright in a plain, in the beauties of whose poetry are justly re- (Orkney) isle of North Ronaldshay; but marked to be “ of a kind which time has no tradition is preserved concerning it, a tendency rather to hallow than to in- whether erected in memory of any signa! jure,” Robert Herrick, presents us, in his event, or for the purpose of administering Hesperides, with “a New Year's Gift justice, or for religious worship. The
writer of this (the parish priest) has seen ferent apartments, till the vapour from the fifty of the inhabitants assembled there, burning branches condenses into opaque on the first day of the year, dancing by clouds, and coughing, sneezing, wheezing, moonlight, with no other music than gasping, and other demonstrations of suftheir own singing.”
focation ensue. The operator, aware that In Mr. Stewart's “ Popular Superstitions the more intense the “ smuchdan," the of the Highlands," there is some account more propitious the solemnity, disregards of the Candlemas bus, on new year's these indications, and continues, with eve, as introductory to che new year. streaming eyes and averted head, to inThe term Candlemas, applied to this sea crease the fumigation, until in his own son, is supposed to have originated in defence he admits the air to recover the some old religious ceremonies performed exhausted household and himself. He by candlelight. The Bull us à passing then treats the horses, cattle, and other cloud, which Highland imagination per- bestial stock in the town with the same verts imo the form of that animal; as it smothering, to keep them from harm rises or falls or takes peculiar directions, throughout the year. When the gudeof great significancy to the seers, so does wife gets up, and having ceased from it prognosticate good or bad weather. The coughing, has gained sufficient strength more northern nations anciently assigned to reach the bottle dhu, she administers portentous qualities to the winds of new its comfort to the relief of the sufferers : year's eve. One of their old legends in laughter takes place of complaint, all the Brand may be thus versified-the last line family get up, wash their faces, and reeking out the verse:
ceive the visits of their neighbours, who If New Year's eve night-wind blow south,
arrive full of gratulations peculiar to the It betokeneth warmth and growth;
day. Mu nase choil orst, “My CandleIf west, much milk, and fish in the sea ;
mas bond upon you
is the customary If north, much cold, and storms there will be; salutation, and means, in plain words, If east, the trees will bear much fruit
“ You owe me a new year's gift." A If north-east, flee it man and brute.
point of great emulation is, who shall Mr. Stewart says, that as soon as night salute the other first; because the one sets in it is the signal with the Strath- who does so is entitled to a gift from the down highlander for the suspension of his person saluted. Breakfast, consisting of usual employment, and he directs his at all procurable luxuries, is then served, the tention to more agreeable callings. The neighbours not engaged are invited to men form into bands with tethers and partake, and the day ends in festivity. axes, and, shaping their course to the Riding stang, a custom that will be juniper bushes, they return home laden observed on hereafter, prevails in some with mighty loads, which are arranged parts of England on new year's day to round the fire to-day till morning. A cer- the present hour. The " stang” is a tain discreet person is despatched to the cowl-staff; the cowl is a water-vessel, dead and living ford to draw a pitcher of borne by two persons on the cowl-staff
, water in profound silence, without the which is a stout pole whereon the vessel vessel touching the ground, lest its virtue hangs. “ Where's the cowl-staff ?” cries should be destroyed, and on his return all Ford's wife, when she purposes to get retire to rest. Early on new year's morn- Falstaff into a large buck-basket, with two ing the Usque-Cashrichd, or water from handles; the cowl-staff, or stang,” is the dead and living ford, is drank, as a produced, and, being passed through the potent charm, until next new year's day, handles, the fat knight is borne off by two of against the spells of witchcraft, the malig- Ford's men. A writer in the Gentleman's nity of evil eyes, and the activity of all Magazine, 1791, says, that in Westmoreinfernal agency. The qualified highlander land and Cumberland, on the 1st of Jathen takes a large brush, with which he nuary, multitudes assemble early in the profusely asperses the occupants of all morning with baskets and “stangs," and beds; from whom it is not unusual for · whoever does not join them, whether him to receive ungrateful remonstrances inhabitant or 'stranger, is immediately against ablution. This ended, and the mounted across the “ stang," and carried, doors and windows being thoroughly shoulder height, to the next public-house, closed, and all crevices stopped, he kindles where sixpence liberates the prisoner. piles of the collected juniper, in the dif- Women are seized in this way, and car
ried in baskets--the sex being privileged large amount, and the fancy articles exfrom riding “ stang,” in compliment, per- ported in the first week in the year to haps, to the use of side-saddles. In the England and other countries, is computed same part of the country, no one is al- at one-fourth of the sale during the twelve lowed to work on new year's day, how- months. In Paris it is by no means unerer industrious. Mr. Ellis shows that it common for a man of 8,000 or 10,000 was a new year's day custom in ancient francs a year to make presents on new Rome for tradesmen to work a little only, year's day which cost him a fifteenth part for luck's sake, that they might have con- of his income. No person able to give stant business all the year after.
must on this day pay a visit empty-handed. A communication in an English journal Every body accepts, and every man gives of January 1824 relates, that in Paris on according to the means which he possesses. new year's day, which is called le jour Females alone are excepted from the charge d'étrennes, parents bestow portions on of giving. A pretty woman, respectably their children, brothers on their sisters, connected, may reckon her new year's preand husbands make presents to their wives. sents at something considerable. Gowns, Carriages may be seen rolling through the jewellery, gloves, stockings, and artificial streets with cargoes of bon-bons, souvenirs, flowers, fill her drawing-room; for in Paris and the variety of et cæteras with which it is a custom to display all the gifts, in little children and grown-up children are order to excite emulation, and to obtain bribed into good humour; and here and as much as possible. At the palace the there pastrycooks are to be met with, car new year's day is a complete jour de rying upon boards enormous temples, pa- fête. Every branch of the royal family is godas, churches, and playhouses, made of then expected to make handsome presents fine flour and sugar, and the embellish- to the king. For the six months preceding ments which render French pastry so in- January 1824, the female branches were viting. But there is one street in Paris busily occupied in preparing presents of to which a new year's day is a whole their own manufacture, which would fill year's fortune-this is the Rue des Lom at least two common-sized waggons. The bards, where the wholesale confectioners duchess de Berri painted an entire room reside; for in Paris every trade and pro- of japanned pannels, to be set up in the fession has its peculiar quarter. For se- palace; and the duchess of Orleans preveral days preceding the 1st of January, pared an elegant screen. An English this street is completely blocked up by gentleman who was admitted suddenly carts and waggons laden with cases of into the presence of the duchess de Berri sweetmeats for the provinces. These are of two months before, found her, and three every form and description which the most of her maids of honour, lying on the carsingular fancy could imagine; bunches of pet, painting the legs of a set of chairs, carrots, green peas, boots and shoes, lob- which were intended for the king. The sters and crabs, hats, books, musical in- day commences with the Parisians, at an struments, gridirons, frying-pans, and early hour, by the interchange of their saucepans; all made of sugar, and co visits and bon-bons. The nearest relations loured to imitate reality, and all made are visited first, until the furthest in blood with a hollow within to hold the bon-bons. have had their calls; then friends and acThe most prevailing device is what is quaintances. The conflict to anticipate called a cornet, that is, a little cone orna- each other's calls, occasions the most agreemented in different ways with a bag to able and whimsical scenes among these draw over the large end, and close it up. proficients in polite attentions. In these In these things, the prices of which vary visits, and in gossiping at the confecfrom one franc (tenpence) to fifty, the tioners' shops, which are the great lounge bon-bons are presented by those who for the occasion, the morning of new choose to be at the expense of them, and by year's day is passed; a dinner is given those who do not, they are only wrapped by some member of the family to all the in a piece of paper ; but bon-bons in some rest, and the evening concludes, like way or other must be presented. It would Christmas day, with cards, dancing, or not, perhaps, be an exaggeration to state any other amusement that may be prethat the amount expended for presents on
ferred. One of the chief attractions to a new year's day in Paris
, for sweetmeats foreigner in Paris is the exhibition, which alone, exceeds 500,000 francs, or 20,000l. opens there on new year's day, of the sterling. Jewellery is also sold to a very "finest specimens of the Sevres china manu