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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, 1ather 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 exlains, 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 'postlespoons—one of them gilt.” Beaumont and Fletcher, likewise, in the Noble Gentleman, say:
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 §. 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 christ
enings, or on visiting the “lady in the straw;” though they are not now adorned with imagery. FLORAL DIRECTORY. Winter hellebore. Helleborus hyemalis.
3anuarp 26. St. Polycarp. St. Paula. St. Conan." the SEASON. 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. Incog. BEARS AND BEES. 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 ". 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
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. 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 musketballs.
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
A soul in all things, and that soul is God.
ass, And o, 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 con gealed, Shoot into pillars of pellucid length, And prop #. pile they but adorned besore,