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This volume is a specimen of a work undertaken for the purpose of forming a collection of the manners and customs of ancient and modern times, with descriptive accounts of the several seasons of popular pastime.
Each of the three hundred "jid sixty-five days in the year is distinguished by occurrences or other particulars relating to the day, and by the methods of celebrating every holyday; the work is therefore what its title purports, The Every-day Book.
It is an Everlasting Calendar.—because its collection of facts concerning the origin and usages of every remarkable day, including movable feasts and fasts, constitute a calendar for every year.
It is a History Of The Year—because it traces the commencement and progress of the year from the first day to the last.
It is a History Of The Months—because it describes the appearances that distinguish each month from the other months.
It is a History Of The Seasons- -because it describes the influences and character of the four quarters into which the year is divided, and the most remarkable objects in natural history peculiar to each season.
It is a Perpetual Key To The Almanack—because it explains the signification of every name and term in the almanack.
Its antiquarian and historical notices are calculated to engage the attention of almost every class of readers, and to gratify several who would scarcely expect such particulars in such a miscellany. The perplexities attending the discovery of certain facts, and the labour of reducing all into order, will be appreciated by the few who have engaged in similar pursuits. Some curious matters are now, for the first time, submitted to the public; and others are so rare as to seem altogether new.
As regards the engravings, to such as are from old masters, notices of their prints are always annexed. The designs for the allegorical and other illustrations, have originated with myself; and the drawings been accommodated, and the engravings executed, according to my own sense of subject and style. In numerous instances they have been as satisfactory to me as to my readers; many of whom, however, are less difficult to please than I am, and have favourably received some things which I have been obliged to tolerate, because the exigency of publication left me no time to supply their place. I know what art can accomplish, and am therefore dissatisfied when artists fail to accomplish.
I may now avow that I have other aims than I deemed it expedient to mention in the prospectus :—to communicate in an agreeable manner, the greatest possible variety of important and diverting facts, without a single sentence to excite an uneasy sensation, or an embarrassing inquiry; and, by not seeming to teach, to cultivate a high moral feeling, and the best affections of the heart:—to open a storehouse, from whence manhood may derive daily instruction and amusement, and youth and innocence be informed, and retain their innocency.
. To these intentions I have accommodated my materials under such difficulties as I hope may never be experienced by any one engaged in such a labour. To what extent less embarrassed and more enlarged faculties could have better executed the task I cannot determine; but I have always kept my main object in view, the promotion of social and benevolent feelings, and I am persuaded this prevailing disposition is obvious throughout. The poetical illustrations, whether " solemn thinkings," or light dispersions, are particularly directed to that end.
I may now be permitted to refer to the copious indexes for the multifarious contents of the volume, and to urge the friends to the undertaking for assistance towards its completion. There is scarcely any one who has not said— "Ah! this is tomHhiiig that will do for the Every-Day Book:" I crave to be favoured with that "something." Others have observed—" I expected tomething about so and so in the Every-Day Book." It is not possible, however, that I should know every thing; but if each will communicate "something," the work will gratify every one, and my own most sanguine wishes.
And here I beg leave to offer my respectful thanks to several correspondents who have already furnished me with accounts of customs, &c, which appear under different signatures. Were I permitted to disclose their real names, it would be seen that several of these communications are from distinguished characters. As a precaution against imposition, articles of that nature have not been, nor can they be, inserted, without the name and address of the writer being confided to myself. Accounts, so subscribed, will be printed with any initials or mark, the writers may please to suggest.
From the publication of the present volume, a correct judgment may be formed of the nature and tendency of the work, which incidentally embraces almost every topic of inquiry or remark connected with the ancient and present state of manners and literature. Scarcely an individual is without a scrap-book, or a portfolio, or a collection of some sort; and whatever a kindhearted reader may deem curious or interesting, and can conveniently spare, I earnestly hope and solicit to be favoured with, addressed to me at Messrs. Hunt and Clarke's, Tavistock-street, who receive communications for the York, and publish it in weekly sheets, and monthly parts, as usual.
J. HIS is the first and the coldest month of the year. Its zodiacal sign is Aquarius or the Waterbearer. It derives its name from Janus, a deity represented by the llomans with two faces, because he was acquainted with past and future events. Cotton introduces him into a poem on the new year—
Hark, the cock crows, and yon bright star
Tells us, the day himselfis not far;
And see where, breaking from the night,
He gilds the western hills with light.
With him old Janus doth appear,
Peeping into the future year,
With such a look as seems to say,
The prospect is not good that way.
Thus do we rise ill sights to see,
And 'gainst ourselves to prophesy;
When the prophetic fear of things
A more tormenting mischief brings,
More full of soul-tormenting gall
Than direst mischiefs can befall.
But stay ! but stay! Methinks my sight,
Better inform'd by clearer light,
Discerns sereneness in that brow,
According to the ancient mythology, Janus was the god of gates and avenues, and in that character held a key in his right hand, and a rod in his left, to symbolize his opening and ruling the year: sometimes he bore the number 300 in one hand, and 65 in the other, the number of its days. At other times he was represented with four heads, and placed in a temple of four equal sides, with a door and three windows in each side, as emblems of the four seasons and the twelve months over which he presided.
According to Vetslegan (Restitution o. Decayed Intelligence, 4to. 1628, p. 59) the Saxons called this month " Wolfmonat," or Wolf-montn, oecauM tar
wolves of our ancient forests, impelled by hunger at this season, were wont to prowl and attack man himself; the inferior animals, on whom they usually preyed, having retired or perished from the inclemency of the weather. The Saxons also called this month "Aefter-yula," or After Christmas. In illuminated calendars prefixed to catholic missals, or service books, January was frequently depicted as a man with fagots or a woodman's axe, shivering and blowing his fingers. Spenser introduces this month in nis Faerie Queene: Then came old January, wrapped well In many weeds to keep the cold away; Yet did he quake and quiver like to quell; And blow his nayles towarme them if he may; For they were numb'd with holding all the
day An hatchet keene, with which he felled wood, And from the trees did lop the needlesse spray.
fA close holiday at all public offices except the Excise, Customs, and Stamps.
This festival stands in the calendar of the church of England, as well as in that of the Roman catholic church. It is said to have been instituted about 487; it first appeared in the reformed English liturgy in 1550.
Without noticing every saint to whom each day is dedicated in the Roman Catholic calendars, the names of saints will be given day by day, as they stand under each day in the last edition of their "Lives/' by the Rev. Alban Butler, in 12 vols. 8vo. On the authority of that work, the periods will be mentioned when the saints most noted for their miracles flourished, and some of those miracles be stated. Other miracles will be given: First, from "The Golden Legend," a black letter folio vol um<>, printed by W. de Worde.—Secondly, from "The Church History of Britain," by the Benedictine father, S. Cressy, dedicated by him to the queen consort of Charles H., a folio, printed in 1668— Thirdly, from the Catholic translation of the "Lives of the Saints," by the Rev. Father Peter Ribadeneira, priest of the society of Jesus, second edition, London, 1730, 2 vols, folio; and Fourthly, from other sources which will be named. By this means the reader will be acquainted with legends that rendered the saints and the celebration of their festivals popular. For example,the saints in Butler's Lives on this day occur in the following order:
St. Fulgentius; St. Odilo, or Olou; St. Almachus, or Telemachus; St. Eu«cndm, or Oyend; St. Fanchea, or Funic; St. Mochua, or Moncain, alias Claunut; St. Mochua, alias Cronan, ofBalla.
Sts. Mochua. According to Butler, these were Irish saints. One founded the monastery, now the town of Balla, in Connaught. The other is said to have founded 110 cells, and thirty churches, in one of
which he passed thirty years, and died about the sixth century. Bishop Patrick, in his" Reflexions upon the Devotions of the Roman Church," 1674, 8vo. cites of St. Mochua, that while walking and praying, and seeing a company of lambs running hastily to suck their mothers, he drew a line upon the ground which none of the hungry lambs durst pass. Patrick again cites, that St. Mochua having been visited by St. Kyenanus and fifteen of his clergy, they came to an impetuous and impassable river on their return, and wanted a boat; whereupon St. Mochua spread his mantle on the water, and Kyenanus with his fifteen priests were carried safely over upon the mantle, which floated back again to St. Mochua without wrinkle or wetting.
St. Fanchea, or Faine, is said by Butler to have been an Irish saint of the sixth century. Patrick quotes that St. Endeus desiring to become a monk, his companions approached to dissuade him; but, upon the prayers of St. Faine, and her making the sign of the cross, their feet stuck to the earth like immovable stones, until by repentance they were loosed and went their way.
St. Fulgenlius, according to Butler, died on the 1st of January, 533, sometimes went barefoot, never undressed to take rest, nor ate flesh meat, but chiefly lived on pulse and herbs, though when old he admitted the use of a little oil. He preached, explained mysteries, controverted with heretics, and built monasteries. Butler concludes by relating, that after his death, a bishop named Pontian was assured in a vision of Fulgentius's immortality; that his relics were translated to Bourges, where they are venerated; and that the saint's head is in the church of the archbishop's seminary.'
NEW YEAR'S DAY.
The King of Light, father of aged Time, Hath brought about that day, which is the
prime To the slow gliding months, when every eye Wears symptoms of a sober jollity; And every hand is ready to present Some service in a real compliment. Whilst some in golden letters write their
love, Some speak affection by a ring or glove, Or pins and points (for ev'n the peasant may, After his ruder fashion, be as gay As the brisk courtly sir,) and thinks that u cannot, without a gross absurdity,