« AnteriorContinuar »
and Popular Antiquities; and thus the Plants which were usually in flower, the particular Animals which appeared, the Migratory Birds which arrived, and the several Games, Sports, Superstitions, and Ceremonies of the common People, belonging to each Day, Month, or Season, were successively added by the Editor and his friends, as a Matter of Amusement to themselves, as well as for the memorial Purposes already described.
The Explanation of the Roman or Julian Calendar was afterwards inserted, according to the proper Day of each recorded Observation, and an Account of the various Heathen Deities was appended.
Numerous Persons sent to the Editor original and recollected Poetry relating to the Seasons; and we recorded, as they arrived to us, many curious Observations, Essays, and Anecdotes. Thus, by repeated interpolations, the Book acquired considerable magnitude, but was necessarily of a very multifarious nature, and is so apparently disjointed in some places, as to need the excuse we have made for it, by thus candidly avowing its accidental Origin, and reminding the Reader of its being the first attempt of the kind.
During the Period alluded to, one or two Almanacks, and Keys to the Subjects of the Calendar, of a novel Nature, appeared in print, which described and recorded collaterally the various religious Festivals, the Chronology, and Natural History of the Year; but, as none of them related to Every Day, the Editors conceived that a yet more perfect Calendar was still wanting, and the idea naturally suggested itself, that the Manuscript Compilation which he
had made, since it described each Day distinct: ively, might be made to serve this purpose. The other Calendars, too, related to individual Years, and were annually renewed. The Diary of the present Work recorded such permanent Facts as would apply to the same Day again and again in each revolving Year throughout Ages. Hence the name of Permanent Calendar suggested itself.
The present Work, however, would probably have remained for ever in MS., had not an eminent Bookseller advised its being published, for being a Sort of Work as yet wanting in historical Literature. It was consequently revised by one of its Compilers, and offered to the Public. It pretends to no original Merit, being a Compilation for which the Memory of the Editor has furnished the greatest part of the Materials from out of the numberless Books, Manuscripts, and Ancient Records, of which private and public Libraries furnished an ample Store.
The Arrangement of the Work is entirely new; and, as it suggested itself as it were accidentally, and was not projected by the foresight of any individual, the Editor may be allowed to say, without Vanity, that he believes this mode of recording Facts to be attended with unparelleled Utility, both as strengthening and chronologically systematizing the Memory, and as furnishing daily and seasonable Hints for Reflection, and for the perfecting of innumerable Branches of Knowledge on the part of many ingenious Readers, who may catch Ideas from the Observations herein recorded, while Year after Year they read the Account of each Day in the Morning at Breakfast, or while reclining in their elbow Chairs at Night. The Matter of the Work,
with the Exception of a few original Essays, and poetical Fragments, is admittedly a Compilation. And if any of the numerous original and philosophic Writers nullius addicti jurare in verba magistri-should vauntingly uphold the superiority of primary over secondary Compositions, we would remind them, that as Canals and Fishponds are, for the Commerce and Supply of the World in general, more useful if they be less beautiful than Rivers and their parent Fountains; so, in the Republic of Letters, are Histories and Compilations often found of more Utility for the Advancement of Learning, and the Commerce of Arts, than the original Effusions of Genius. The latter may be, as it were, a Flow of Honey from primaeval Blossoms in their Season; but the former may be likened unto a Store of Pabulum for the literary Hive to feed on all the Year round. Our Apology, however, is already pleaded of old : Nec aranearum sane textus ideo melior quia ex'se
fila gignunt, nec noster vilior quia ex alienis libamus ut apes.
As a Volume composed from time to time, as it were,
The first Thing which will strike the Reader is, that
persons, on account of their Martyrdoms and Sufferings for the Cause of Christianity, Sketches of their Lives will be interesting to the popular "Reader, from their connexion with general History, and the assistance which a knowledge thereof will afford us in the fixing of Dates, and in estimating the relative historical Importance of different Ages of the World since the Birth of Jesus Christ, from which our Aera is computed. These short and compressed Notices of the Lives of the Saints and other distinguished Persons, extracted from the most authentic Sources, were the first Notations that it occurred to us to make in the blank Book, divided into Compartments for separate Days as a Journal, for the purpose of facilitating the acquisition of a well arranged Memory of certain historical Facts which we should see alluded to in various Almanacks and Calendars of Europe. Closely connected with the consideration of the Saints were the Festivals and Fasts of the Catholic Church, afterwards adopted in part by the Churches of England, Scotland, and Germany: these are also described collaterally, in chronological order. A short Chronology of remarkable Events; a Notation of the Hour of Sunrise; the Position of the Stars; and other familiar Observations belonging to each Day in the Year, were added.
The utility of a concise Explanation of the Facts recorded in the old Roman or Julian Calendar next suggested itself; and we attempted, under each Day in which any memorable Fact was recorded, or any ancient Festival kept, such an Illustration of the said Festivals as the classical Studies of academic Life furnished ; together with mythological Histories of the Gods and Goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome, to which such frequent allusion is made by the Poets of every Age and Country.
But in contemplating the heathen Mythology it became impossible not to see into its physical Origin ;