« AnteriorContinuar »
the weather of the coming year, of which our poet Churchill makes this month the leader:
Froze January, leader of the year,
Minced pies in van, and call's bead in the rear. The custom of ringing in the New Year is still preserved in most Christian churches. Many people make a point to wear some new clothes on New Year's Day, and esteem the omission of this as unlucky. The customs on this day have reference to those anciently belonging to the festival of Janus.
To day is kept a close holiday at the Bank, South Sea House, East India House, and Exchequer of London.
January 2. St. Macarius, A.-SS. Martyrs.
The Germans called this month Jenner: the French in their revolutionary calendar Nivose.
January, from Aikin's Calendar.
Or driving snows obscure the turbid air. The beautiful constellation Orion, recognized immediately by the three Stars of his Girdle, makes a conspicuous figure in the heavens on clear evenings during this month.
The antient writers spoke of the rising of Orion as a stormy sign; but whether they alluded to the heliacal, cosmical, acronycal, or nightly rising of this constellation, must be left to the reader to judge from the passages themselves. The same may be said of the other stars held as ominous by the Greeks and Romans of old. Horace observes :
Dum pecori Lupus, et nautis infestus Orion
Turbaret hibernum inare. And again, in invoking all the evil omens against the Bark of Maevius :
Nec sidus atra nocte amicum appareat,
Qua tristis Orion cadit. And in lib. i. 21.
Me quoque devexi rapidus comes 'Orionis
Illyricis Notus obruit undis. Virgil describes the violence of a tempest at sea as taking place :
Cum subito adsurgit Auctu nimbosus Orion.
On the Setting of Orion's Belt.
January 3. St. GENEVIEVE, V. Patroness of Paris,
Octipedis frustra queruntur brachia Cancri
Praeceps occiduas ille subivit aquas.
It freezes on,
A livid tract, cold gleaming on the Moon. It may be useful, early in the year, to become acquainted with the place of the Sun in the bestarred heavens during each succeeding month, and to know the day of his entering each sign of the Zodiac. It must be observed, however, that owing to the precession of the Aequinox, when the Sun is said to enter the aequinoctial point or Aries, he is really in the constellation Pisces; so that the nominal signs have become merely terms denoting the Sun's distance from that part of the sky where he appears at the period of the vernal Aequinox. The Sun enters into the nominal sign :ARIES, or the Ram.....
July 28. m Virgo, or the Virgin
August 23. - Libra, or the Balance •
January 4. St. Gregory. St. Titus. St. Rumon.
Broom Bryum Dicranium Scoparium. This is almost always a cold time of year: it used to be the custom to sing the old song beginning
Cold and raw the north wind blows,
Bleak in the morning early;
As it is in the winter yearly, &c. The Churches and Houses during January are still decorated with Evergreens; and the Berries of Ivy, Holly, and the Missletoe, give a liveliness to the internal decorations of apartments at this dull season. Virgil thus describes the missletoe, Aen. vi. 205.
Quale solet sylvis brumali frigore viscum
January 5. St. Syncletica, V. St. Telesphorus.
NONAE.-Lyra oritur.-Rom. Cal. It must be observed, that the rising and setting of certain constellations, denoted in the Roman Calendar, allude here to the cosmical rising and setting. There are two others commonly alluded to in the same calendar, namely, the heliacal, and the acronycal or visible rising of the star in the evening, The vespertine rising is often spoken of by Aratus, Manlius, Theophrastus, and other old writers.
The bright star in this constellation, called Lucida Lyrae, is well known to every body, and is one of the principal ornaments of a summer evening's sky. Ovid observes of today :
Institerint Nonae; nissi tibi vubibus atris
Signa dabunt imbres ex oriente Lyra. The following are the Signs employed for the Planets in the Ephemerides and Almanacks of Europe, together with the Zodiacal Signs, and are used in this work :
THE PLANETS, &c.
2. Jupiter. & Venus.
h Saturn. NEW DISCOVERED PLANETS SINCE 1780. W Uranus. + Ceres. $ Pallas. Juno. Vesta.
THE CHARACTERS OF THE ASPECTS. 88 The Moon's, or any other Planet's Ascending Node. 8 The Descending Node. 6 Conjunction, or Planets situated in the same Longitude. Quadrature, or Planets situated in Longitudes differing 3 Signs from
each other. A Trine. 8 Opposition, or Planets situated in opposite Longitudes, or differing
6 Signs from each other. * Sextile.
SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC.
6 - Libra. 1 8 Taurus.
7 m Scorpio. 2 I Gemini.
8 Sagittarius. 3 B Cancer.
9 V8 Capricornus. 4 1 Leo.
10 Aquarius. 5 m Virgo.
11 * Pisces.
PHASES OF THE MOON.
Eve of the Epiphany. In Herefordshire, on the Eve of the Epiphany, the Farmers collect together, and go into the wheat fields, and there light twelve small fires, and one large one. The attendants, headed by the master of the family, pledge the company in old cyder, which circulates freely on these occasions. A circle is formed round the large fire, when a general shout and hallooing takes place, which you hear answered from all the adjacent villages and fields. Sometimes fifty or sixty of these fires may be all seen at
This being finished, the company return home, where the good housewife, and her maids, are preparing a good supper. A large cake is always provided, with a hole in the middle. After supper, the company all attend the bailiff (or head of the oxen) to the Wainhouse, where the following particulars are observed :- The master, at the head of his friends, fills the cup, generally of strong ale, and stands opposite the first, or finest of the oxen. He then pledges him in a curious toast: the company follow his example with all the other oxen, addressing each by his name. This being finished, the large cake is produced, and, with much ceremony, put on the born of the first ox, through the hole above mentioned. The ox is then tickled, to make him toss his head : if he throw the cake behind, then it is the mistress's perquisite ; if before, in what is termed the boosy, the bailiff himself
claims the prize. The company then return to the house, the doors of which they find locked; nor will they be opened, till some joyous songs are sung. On their gaining admittance, a scene of mirth and jollity ensues, and which lasts the greatest part of the night.
January 6. EPIPHANY or Twelfth Day.
St. Nilammon. o rises at viii. 2. sets at 111. 58'. HYGROMETRIC Moss Funaria hygrometica fructifies. This is Old Christmas Day, and is still kept a holiday at the Bank, East India House, South Sea House, and Exchequer at London.
The old custom of eating twelfthcake, and drawing for king and queen on this day, serve to beguile the long and dreary hours of candlelight at this disagreeable time of year. The same ceremonies prevail in Germany, in France, and in other parts of Europe, and were originally instituted in honour of the Eastern Magi, who are said to have been of royal origin. A custom similar to this was practised anciently by the Greeks and Romans on the Festival of Saturn, where persons drew lots for imaginary kingdoms.
Barnaby Googe observes of this day:
An old song used to be sung to children on this night, beginning
Lavender is blue, diddle, diddle,
Rosemary is green;
I will be queen. In the Gentleman's Magazine for February, 1784, Mr. Beckwith tells us, p. 98, that “near Leedes, in Yorkshire, when he was a boy, it was customary for many families, on the Twelfth Eve of Christmas, to invite their relations, friends, and neighbours, to their houses, to play at cards, and to partake of a supper, of which minced pies were an indispensable ingredient; and after supper was brought in, the Wassail Cup, or Wassail Bowl, of which every one partook, by taking with a spoon, out of the ale, a roasted apple, and eating it, and then drinking the healths of the company out of the bowl, wishing them a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.”