ページの画像
PDF
ePub

in the town of Patare, and threw bags of money into it, at the window, that his daughters, three young and pretty girls, who had been reduced by the misfortunes of their father to seek their maintenance by evil courses, might be enabled to find husbands, and abandon their wicked life.

Whatever may have been the origin of the circumstances we have recorded, it is certain that St. Ni. cholas is still held in great veneration in the ancient province of Lorraine, one town of which still bears his name, that of St. Nicholas, near the city of Nancy. He is, in this country, the patron Saint of children of both sexes, and of adolescence in the male. At the age of ten or twelve years, the girls lose the protection of this great Saint, to pass immediately under the pious guardianship of Saint Catherine, their common patron; the boys, to the day of their marriage, remain devoted to the worship of St. Nicholas, whose fête is celebrated every year with feasting, and other pleasant meetings. The fathers and mothers, among the common people, instil into their children, from their earliest infancy, the notion, that on the night of the 6th of December, the day of the fête of Saint Nicholas, he descends into all tbe houses through the chimney, and lcaves for every child some mark of his satisfaction or displeasure, according as the infant has been good or naughty in his behaviour. Saint Nicholas, they say, travels in the air, followed by an ass, laden with two panniers; one of them full of sugar-plums and good things,-and the other of rods : he leaves his ass at the top of the chimney, and descends alone into the room. That the Saint's opinion of the young family may be known, each of them is ordered to put, near the principal fire-place in the house, one or two of the shoes they are accustomed to wear; for it is there that the great distributor of rewards and punishments to children places his sweetmeats or his rods." · On the 5th of December, in the evening, all the

children, boys as well as girls, before they go to bed, bring a clean pair of shoes, and place them under the chimney; and the pext morning, very early, every one runs with eagerness to receive the present of Saint Nicholas. The parents, who have for a long time previously to this day, threatened and promised the youngsters in the name of the great St. Nicholas, put something in the shoes, according to the bebaviour of the children. They commonly fill the shoes with sweetmeats, pastry, dry confectionary, and other niceties; sometimes they put in money, or a particular toy for which the child has expressed a wish; and lastly, rods, the length and thickness of which are proportioned to the age of the child and the offences it has committed. Sometimes a sprig of birch accompanies the sugar-plums, to show that the Saint is still somewhat angry, and as a warning to the child to behave better in future. The moment of visiting the shoes, for the sake of discovering their contents, is always an interesting one to the parents, who watch with anxiety the joy of some, and the tears of others of their children. "

This singular custom was, before the Revolution, observed by all classes of society, and the poor children who had no leather shoes, placed their sabots (wooden shoes) under their parent's chimney; who, instead of sugar-plums and sweetmeats, furnished the sabots with some fruit or cheap cakes. This was also the custom in Holland, as appears by a picture of Cornelius Troost's, a Dutch painter distinguished by his portraits and historical pieces. This painting was engraved in 1761, by the celebrated Jacob Houbraken, under the name of the Fête of Saint Nicholas. It represents the interior of a Dutch house, at the moment when four children come to examine their shoes, and receive the gifts of the great Saint Nicholas, in the presence of the father and mother. One of the children is crying, because he has found no

large garden, e saw this amusem the top of tr

thing but rods, while the others are sufficiently pleased with their toys and cakes.

Mad. de Genlis says, that in Swisserland, on St. Nicholas's day, playthings are hid among the flowers and fruits, and a part is put on the top of trees for the boys. We saw this amusement take place in a large garden, and the crowds of children assembled formed one of the most animating and pleasing sights.

A singular instance of superstition, as it respects St. Nicholas, lately took place in Devonshire :-see our last volume, p. 366.

7.-SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT.

Hymn for this Day, by Professor MIMAN,
The chariot! the chariot! its wheels roll on fire,
As the Lord cometh down in the pomp of his ire:
Self-moving it drives on its pathway of cloud,
And the Heavens with the burthen of Godhead are bowed.
The glory! the glory! by myriads are poured,
The hosts of the Angels to wait on their Lord;
And the glorified saints and the martyrs are there,
And all who the palm-wreath of victory wear!
The trumpet! the trumpet! the dead have all heard :
Lo, the depths of the stone-covered charnel are stirred:
From the sea, from the land, from the south and the north,
The vast generations of man are come forth.
The judgment! the judgment! the thrones are all set,
Where the Lamb and the white-vested Elders are met!
All flesh is at once in the sight of the Lord,
And the doom of eternity hangs on his word !
Oh mercy! oh mercy! look down from above,
Creator ! on us, thy sad children, with love!
When beneath to their darkness the wicked are driven,
May our sanctified souls find a mansion in heaven!

Bp. Heber's Hynins. 8.-CONCEPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY. This festival was instituted by Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, because William the Conqueror's fleet, being in a storm, afterwards came safe to shore.

eve: 0 son to be sung froem, which,

13.--SAINT LUCY. Lucy, a virgin martyr, was a native of Syracuse, who suffered in the year 305.

*14. 1826.-M. MALTE-BRUN DIED, Author of Political, Physical, and Mathematical Geography,' in sixteen volumes octavo; “A Summary of Universal Geography;' and other valuable and important works.

- 16.-0 SAPIENTIA. This is the commencement of an anthem, which, in the Romish church, used to be sung from this day until Christmas-eve: 0 sapientia, quæ ex ore Altissimi prodisti, &c.

17, 19, 20.—EMBER DAYS. See p. 50.

21.-SAINT THOMAS THE APOSTLE. St. Thomas is said to have preached the Gospel in Media and Persia, and, about the year 73, to have been pierced through with a dart.

This is the shortest day, and is at London 7 h. 44 m. 17. s.; allowing 9 m. 5 s. for refraction.- Let us remember that life itself is but one long day, divided into the four portions of infancy, youth, manhood, and age; the morning, noon, eve, and night, of our earthly sojourn in this vale of tears. With what beauty and pathos does the amiable author of the Pelican Island' dilate upon the different periods of life!

Life is the transmigration of a soul
Through various bodies, various states of being;
New mavners, passions, tastes, pursuits in each;
In nothing, save in consciousness, the same.
Infancy, adolescence, manbood, age,
Are alway moving onward, alway losing
Themselves in one another, lost at length,
Like undulations, on the strand of death.
The sage of threescore years and ten looks back,-
With many a pang of lingering tenderness,
And many a sbuddering conscience-fit-on what
He hath been, is not, cannot be again;
Nor trembles less with fear and hope, to think

What he is now, but cannot long continue,
And what he must be through uncounted ages.
-The Child ;-we know no more of happy childhood,
Than happy childhood knows of wretched eld;
And all our dreams of its felicity
Are incoherent as its own crude visions :
We but begin to live from that fine point
Which memory dwells on, with the morning-star,
The earliest note we heard the cuckoo sing,
Or the first daisy that we ever plucked,
When thoughts themselves were stars, and birds, and flowers,
Pure brilliance, simplest music, wild perfume.
Thenceforward, mark the metamorphoses !
-The Boy, the Girl; -when all was joy, hope, promise ;
Yet who would be a Boy, a Girl again,
To bear the yoke, to long for liberty,
And dream of what will never come to pass ?
-The Youth, the Maiden ;-living but for love,
Yet learning soon that life hath other cares,
And joys less rapturous, but more enduring:
-The Woman:-in her offspring multiplied ;
A tree of life, whose glory is her branches,
Beneath, whose shadow, she (both root and stem).
Delights to dwell in meek obscurity,
That they may be the pleasure of beholders :

- The Man ;-as father of a progeny,
Whose birth requires his death to make them room,
· Yet in whose lives he feels his resurrection,
And grows immortal in bis children's children: :
-Then the gray Elder ;-leaning on his staff,
And bowed beneath a weight of years, that steal
Upon him with the secrecy of sleep,
(No snow falls lighter than the snow of age,
None with such subtlety benumbs the frame)
Till be forgets sensation, and lies down
Dead in the lap of his primeval mother;
She throws a shroud of turf and flowers around him, ;
Then calls the worms, and bids them do their office:

Man giveth up the ghost,-and where is He?

Heaven and earth
Shall pass away, but that which thinks within me
Must tbink for ever; that which feels must feel :
--I am, and I can never cease to be.

O thou that readest! take this parable
Home to thy bosom; think as I have thought,

« 前へ次へ »