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llie blaze in a multitude of shining colours. This is our second post. About a month ago, before the thaw came on, there was a storm of wind; during the whole night, such were the thunders and bowlings of the breaking ice, that they have left a conviction on my mind, that there are sounds more sublime than any sight can be, more absolutely suspending the power of comparison, and more utterly absorbing the mind's self-consciousness in its total attention to the object working upon it Part of the ice, which the vehemence of the wind had shatteied, was driven shoreward, and froze anew. On the evening of the next day at sunset, the shattered ice thus frozen appeared of a deep blue, and in shape like an agitated sea; beyond this, the water that ran up between the great islands of ice which had preserved their masses entire and smooth, shone of a yellow green; but all these scattered ice islands themselves were of an intensely bright blood colour—they seemed blood and light in union! On some of the largest of these islands, the fishermen stood pulling out their immense nets through the holes made in the ice for this purpose, and the men, their net poles, and their huge nets, were a part of the glory—say rather, it appeared as if the rich crimson light had shaped itself into these forms, figures, and attitudes, to make a gforious vision in mockery of earthly things.
The lower lake is now all alive with skaters and with ladies driven onward by them in their ice cars. Mercury surely was the first maker of skates, and the wings at his feet are symbols of the invention. In skating, there are three pleasng circumstances—the infinitely subtle particles of ice which the skaters cut up, lid which creep and run before the skate Jike a low mist and in sunrise or sunset become coloured; second, the shadow of the skater in the water, seen through the transparent ice; and third, the melancholy undulating sound from the skate not without variety ; and when very many are skating together, the sounds and the noises give an impulse to the icy trees, and the woods all round the lake Iriukle.
In the frosty season when the sun Wss set, and visible for many a mile. The cott«ge windows through the twilight blazed, heeded not the summons;—happy time
It was indeed for nil of us, to me
horn, The pack loud bellowing and the hunted
hare. So through the darkness and the cold we
flew, And not a voice was idle ; with the din. Meanwhile the precipices rang aloud, The leafless trees and every icy crag Tinkled like iron, while the distant hills Into the tumult sent an alien sound Of melancholy—not unnoticed, while the
stars Eastward, were sparkling clear, and in the
west The orange sky of evening died away.
Not seldom from the uproar I retired Into a silent bay, or sportively Glanced sideway, leaving the tumultuoiK
throng To cut across the image of a star That gleamed upon the ice; and oftentimes Where we had given our bodies to the wind, And all the shadowy banks on either side Came sweeping through the darkness, shunning still The rapid line of motion, then at once Have I, reclining back upon my heels. Stopped short; yet still the solitary cliffs Wheeled by me even as if the earth had
rolled With visible motion her diurnnl round! Behind me did they stretch in lolcim
train Feebler and feebler, and I stood and
watched Till all was tranquil as a summer sea.
The earliest notice of skating in Kngland is obtained from the earliest description of London. Its histoiian relates that, "when the great fenne or moore (which watereth the walles of the citie on the north side) is frozen, many young men play upon the yce." Happily, and probably for want of a term to call it by, he desciibes so much of this pastime in Moorfields, as acquaints us with their mode of skating: "Some," he says, "stryding as wide as they may, doe slide swiftly," this then is sliding; but he proceeds to tell us, that " some tye bones to
their feete, and under their heeles, and shoving themselves by a little picked staffs doe slide as swiftly as a birde flyeth in the air, or an arrow out of a crossel^ow."• Here, although the implements were rude, we have skaters ; and it seems that one of their sports was for two to start a great way off opposite to each other, and when they met, to lift their poles and strike each other, when one or both fell, and were carried to a distance from each other by the celerity of their motion. Of the present wooden skates, shod with iron, there is no doubt, we obtained a knowledge from Holland.
The icelanders also used the shankbone of a deer or sheep about a foot long, ■which they greased, because they should not be stopped by drops of water upon them. -J
Jt is asserted in the "Encyclopaedia Britannica," that Edinburgh produced more instances of elegant skaters than perhaps any other country, and that the institution of a skating club there contributed to its improvement. "I have however seen, some years back,'' says Mr. Strutt, " when the Serpentine river was frozen over, four gentlemen there dance, if I may be allowed the expression, a double minuet in skates with as much ease, and I think more elegance, than in a ball room ; others again, by turning and winding with much adroitness, have readily in succession described upon the ice the form of all the letters in the alphabet." The same may be observed there during every frost, but the elegance of skaters on that sheet of water is chiefly exhibited in quadrilles, which some parties go through with a beauty scarcely imaginable by those who have not seen graceful skating. In variety of attitude, and rapidity of movement, the Dutch, who, of necessity, journey long distances on their rivers and canals, are greatly our superiors.
Mean Temperature ... 36 • 35.
1826. Hilary Term begins.
It appears that our ingenious neighbours, the French, are rivalled by the lark-catchers of Dunstaple, in the mode of attracting those birds.
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.
6, Bermondsey New RoadSir, January 18, 1826.
In the present volume of your EveryDay Book, p. 93, a correspondent at Abbeville has given an account of larkshooting in that country, in which he mentions a machine called a miroir, as having been used for the purpose of attracting the birds within shot. Perhaps you are not aware that in many parts of England a similar instrument is employed for catching the lark when in flight, and at Dunstaple. At that place, persons go out with what is called a larking glass, which is, if I may so term it, a machine made somewhat in the shape of a cucumber. This invention is hollow, and has holes cut round it, in which bits of looking-glass are fitted; it is fixed on a polo, and has a sort of reel, from which a line runs; this line, at a convenient distance, is worked backward and forward, so as to catch the rays of the sun : the larks seeing themselves in the glass, as some think, but more probably blinded by the glare of it, come headlong down to it, a net is drawn over them, and thus many are taken, deceived like ourselves with glittering semblances. Yes ! lords as we deem ourselves of the creation, we are as easily lured by those who bait our passions or propensities, as those poor birds. This simple truth I shall conclude with the following lines, which, be they good, bad. or indifferent, are my own, and such as they are I give them to thee :—
As in the fowler's class the lark espies
His feath'ry form from 'midst unclouded skies;
.And pleased, and dazzled with the novel sight,
Wings to the treacherous earth his rapid flight,
So, in the glass of self conceit we view
Our soul's attraction, and pursue it too,
* Foabroke'i I'ict. of AutiquitiM.
In every shape wherein it may arise,
In gold, or land, or love before our eyes,
And in the wary net are captive ta'en,
By the sure hand of woman, or of gain. S. 11. Jackton.
, The scenes and weather which sorae
>'ATURAL1ST8 CALENDAR. times preva|l on ,he Vigil of St pau,
M an Temperature ... 36 • 57. are described in some verses inserted by Dr. Forster in his "Perennial Calendar."
St. Paul's Eve.
Winter's white shrowd doth cover all the grounde,
And Caecias blows his bitter blaste of woe;
And famished birds are shivering in the snowe.
And at the windows seek for scraps of foode
Right weeting that in need of it they stoode,
The sparrowe pert, the chaffinch? gay and cleane,
The redbreast welcome to the cotter's house,
The dingie dunnock, and the swart colemouse;
The bullfinch and the goldspinck, with the king
The blackbird, wont to whistle in the spring,
the origin of this custom, is stated by Stow
Naturalists' Calendar. to the following purport. Mean Temperature ... 36 • 60. Mentioning the opinion already noticed,
which, strange to tell, has been urged
Ol-mu-ii-n 9^ ever since lus tm,ei ne says m its refuta
j<iniwup zo, tion ,<But true it is ^have read an
Conversion of St. Paul* ancient deed to this effect," and the " ef
This Romish festival was first adopted *ect" 's»tnat "n 1274, the dean and chapter
by the church of England in the year °f St. Paul's granted twenty-two acres of
■ 662, during the reign of Charles II. lanal, Part of t'>eir manor of Westley, in
St. Paul's Day Essex, to sir William Baud, knt., for the
a t jr. • <,„ n /„ „ , , purpose of being «mclosed by him within
Buck and Doe m St. Panf* Cathedral. his park of c.iringham; in consideration
Formerly a buck's head was carried in whereof he undertook to bring to them on
procession at St. Paul's Cathedral. This the feast day of the Conversion of St. Paul,
by some antiquaries is presumed to have i„ winter, a good doe, seasonable and
been the continuation of a ceremony in sweet; and upon the feast of the comme
more ancient times when, according to moration of St. Paul in summer, a good
certain accounts, a heathen temple existed buck, and offer the same to be spent (or
on that site. It is remarkable that this divided) among the canons resident; the
noli?n as to the usage is repeated by wri- doe to be brought by one man at the hour
ters whose experience in other respects of procession, and through the procession
has obtained them well-earned regard: to the high altar, and the bringer to have
- nothing; the buck to be brought by all
* Sec vol. i. p. 175. his men in like manner, and they to be
paid twelve pence only, by the chamlierlain of the church, and no more to be required. For the performance of this annual present of venison, he charged his lands and bound his heirs; and twenty ieven years afterwards, Ins son, sir Waller, confirmed the grant.
The observance of this ceremony, as to the bttek, was very curious, and in this manner. On the aforesaid feast-day of the commemoration, the buck being brought up to the steps of the high altar in St. Paul's church at the hour of procession, and the dean and chapter being apparelled in their copes and vestments, with garlands of roses on their heads, they sent the body of the buck to be baked; and having fixed the head on a pole, caused it to be borne before the cross in their procession within the church, ui.til they issued out of the west door. There the keeper that brought it blew "the death of the buck," and then the homers that were about the city answered him in like manner. For this the dean and chapter gave each man fourpence in money and his dinner, and the keeper that brought it was allowed during his abode there, meal, drink and lodging, at the dean and chapter's charges, and five shillings in money at his going away, together with a loaf of bread, with the picture of St. Paul on it. It appears also that the granters of the venison presented to St. Paul's cathedral two special suits of vestments, to be worn by the clergy on those two days; the one being embroidered with bucks, and the other with does.
The translator of Dupre's work on the "Conformity between modern and ancient ceremonies," also misled by other authorities, presumed that the " bringing up a fat buck to the altar of St. Paul's with hunters, horns blowing, &c. in the middle of divine service," was of heathen derivation, whereas we see it was only a provision for a venison feast by the Romish clergy, in return for some waste land of one of their manors.
SATURAIIST S CALENDAR.
Mean Temperatare . . .35 -10.
"St. George he was for England.".
So says z well-known old ballad, and we are acquainted, by the followiiiff communication, that our patron saint still
appears in England, through his personal representatives, at this season of tlie year.
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book. Sir,
I send you an account of the Christmas drama of "St. George," as acted in Cornwall, subscribing also my name and address, which you properly deem an indispensable requisite. I thereby vouch for the authenticity of what I send you. Having many friends and relations in the west, at whose houses I have had frequent opportunities of seeing the festivities and mixing in the sports of tlieii farm, and other work-people, at the joyous times of harvest home, finishing the barley mow, (of which more hereafter it agreeable,) Christmas, &c. In some ol the latter it is still customary for the master of the house and his guests to join at the beginning of the evening, though this practice, I am sorry to say, is gradually wearing out, and now confined to a few places. I have " footed if away in sir Roger de Coverley, the hemp-diessers,&c. (not omitting even the cushion dance,) with more glee than lever slided through the chaim: angla'ue, or demi-qneuc de that, and have foimed acquaintance with the master of the revels, or leader of the parish choir, (generally a shrewd fellow, well versed in song,) in most of tho western parishes in Cornwall ; and from them have picked up much information on those points, which personal observation aluie had not supplied to my satisfaction.
Yon may be sure that "St. George" with his attendants were personages too icmarkuble not to attract much of my attention, and I have had their adventures represented frequently; from different versions so obtained, I am enabled to state lhai the performances in different parishes vary only in a slight degree from each other.
St. George and the other tragic performers are dressed out somewhat in the style of morris-dancers, in their shirtsleeves, and white trowsers much decorated with ribands and handkerchiefs, each carrying a drawn sword in hij hand, if they can be procured, otherwise a cudgel. They wear high caps of pasteboard, adorned with beads, small pieces of looking-glass, coloured paper. 8cc.; several long strips of pith generally hang down fioin the top, with small piece* of different coloured cloth, strung on them: the whole has a very smart effect.
Father Christmas is personified in a grotesque manner, as an ancient man, wearing a large mask and wig, and a huge club, wheiewith he keeps the bystanders in order.
The doctor, who is generally the merryandrew of the piece, is dressed in any ridiculous way, with a wig, three-cornered hat, and painted face.
The other comic characters are dressed according to fancy.
The female, where there is one, is usually in the dress worn half a century msrn.
The hobby-horse, which is a character sometimes introduced, wears a representation of a horse's hide.
Besides the regular drama of "St. George," many parties of mummers go about in fancy dresses of every sort, most commonly the males in female attire, and vice versa.
This Christmas play, it appears, is, or was in vogue also in the north of England as well as in Scotland. A correspondent of yours (Mr. Reddock) has already given an interesting account of that in Scotland, and a copy of that acted at Newcastle, printed there some thiity or forty years since, is longer than any 1 have seen in the west. * By some the play is considered to have reference to the time of the crusades, and to have been introduced on the return of the adventurers from the Holy-Land, as typifying their battles. Before proceeding with our drama iu the west, I have merely to observe that the old fashion was to continue many of the Christmas festivities till Candlemas-day, (February 2,) and then "throw cards and candlesticks away.'' Battle of St. George.
[One of the party steps in, crying out— "Room, a room, brave gallants, room,
Within this court
I do resort,
To show some sport
Gentlemen and ladies, in the Christmas time—
[After thin note of preparation, old Father Christmas capers into the room, laying.
Here comes I, old Father Christmas,
I hope old Father Christmas
I was born in a rocky country, whew there was no wood to make me a cradle; I was rocked in a stouring bowl, which made me round shouldered then, and I am round shouldered still.
[He then frisk* about the room, until he thinks he has sufficiently amused the spectators, when he makes his exit with this speech,
Who went to the orchard, to steal apples to make gooseberry pies against Christmas?
[These prose speeches, you may suppose, depend much upon the imagination of the actor.
Enter Turkish Knight.
Enter St. George.
that worthy champion bold,
I won three crowns of gold.
and brought him to the slaughter. By that I gained fair Sabra, the king of Egypt's daughter. T. K. Saint George, I pray be not too bold, If thy blood is hot, I'll soon make it cold. St. G. Thou Turkish knight, I pray forbear, I'll make thee dread my sword and spear. [They fight until the T. knight falls. St. G. 1 have a little bottle, which goes by the name of Elicumpane, If the man is alive let him rise and fii-ht
again. [The knight here rises on one knee, and endeavours to continue the fight, tmt is again xtruck down. T. K. Oh! paidon me, St. George,oh! pardon me I crave. Oh! pardon me this once, and I will be thy slave. St. G. I'll never pardon a Turkish Knight, Therefore arise, and try thy might. [The knight gets up, and they again fight, till the knight receives « heavy blow, and then drops on the ground as dead.
St. G. Is there a doctor to be found, To cure a deep and deadly wound?