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morating the return of the day on which the infant received its name, they now keep the day of the saint whose name it bears: just as our own King's birth-day is kept, not on the 12th of August, but on the 23d of April, or St. George's Day; his name-day.
Signs of Good Luck to New-born Children. Whence is the origin (says a French Antiquary) of the custom of giving children, when they enter a house for the first time, eggs and a small packet of salt ? Why is this offering considered a sign of good-luck, and its omission almost an injury ? Presents of this kind do not appear at all appropriate to a new-born infant. It is not able to make use of the gifts offered to it; it cannot nourish itself with the egg, and sugar would be far more suitable for it than salt: we must, then, give a figurative meaning to these presents, and thus seek their relation to the child. The egg, from its form, was always considered as the emblem of the duration of time; and is used at Easter, to represent the past year, and that which is to come, Hence, perhaps, the reason of giving an egg to an infant whose career has just commenced; and the concealed meaning of this gift would be, to wish the child life without end, or as long as possible, in conformity to the shape of the egg, of which we can neither see the beginning nor the end. Salt is equally an emblem of the duration of life, as it prevents putrefaction; it is used in ablutions as purifying; it is given in the first act of catholicity, as an emblem of wisdom; and is as much a moral emblem as the egg is a physical one. If we wish the infant a long life, we also hope that it will be wise and good; hence, without doubt, the offering of the two emblems, of a life of long duration, and without blemish, Alexander ab Alexandro says, that the Greeks offered salt to a stranger, before a repast, in token of friendship; this fresh signification would also be favourable to the new-born; after hạving wished it a long life and
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wisdom, we desire that it may be happy, and thus offer it the symbol of friendship'.
The Oath. The form of the Oath among the Greeks and the Romans, was to call the gods to witness to the certainty of any thing, and to swear, by them, the truth. The manner of taking an oath with us (observes a French antiquary), is very different, consisting in an expressive gesture peculiar to us; and it is among our ancestors only that we must look for the origin of this custom. When the ancient Franks undertook, with an oath, to perform or observe any thing, they drew their swords, and brandished them; and the same practice is still in use in the army, when an oath is taken; but in the courts of law the hand alone is raised. Under the first race of kings, the judge, to remind the witnesses of the importance of the oath they were about to take, gave them a box on the ears. This custom is still preserved in the Catholic Church at confirmation, where the catechumen who goes to take upon himself the vows made in his name at his baptism, receives a slight box on the ear, not only as a mark of humiliation, but to make him reflect upon the nature of his vow.
The Salutation. • To have the hair cut close, says St. Foix, was a mark of degradation. The first race of kings let their hair grow long; it was the royal prerogative. The nobility wore their hair a little shorter, and the peo. ple had their's cut quite close, as we still see among the peasants, who were commonly serfs, or slaves. The ecclesiastics, still further to mark their humility, or spiritual servitude, entirely shaved the head, ex
i Hutchinson, in his History of Northumberland, says, that children in that county, when first sent abroad in the arms of a nurse to visit a neighbour, are presented with an egg, salt, and fine bread. The egg was a sacred emblem, and seems well adapted to infancy. Brand's Antiquities, by Ellis, vol. ii, p. 15.
ame of Cher one, nothin', and pr
cept a little patch of hair on the occiput, called the tonsure, from tondere, to clip, or shave. It was formerly the custom to swear by the hair; as we do now by our honour; witness Alaric and Clovis, who swore to preserve peace by their beards; and for any one to cut them was the highest degradation. To drive Theodoric from the throne, Childeric II had him shaved and placed in a convent of monks at St. Denis; for the same reason, Clodian received the hono. rary name of Chevelu, or long-haired.
In saluting any one, nothing was considered more polite than to pluck out a hair, and present it to him; as much as to say, that the person who made the offering was devoted to the service of the other: the man, indeed, who was made a slave, cut off his hair and presented it to his master, as a homage due to him. Clovis plucked a hair from his beard and gave it to St. Gremier, to manifest his veneration and respect; each courtier also gave one to this bishop, who returned to his diocese quite delighted with the politeness of the court.
In this custom (continues our French Antiquary) we trace the origin of our manner of salutation; we uncover the head, bend forward as if we would offer our hair, put the hand to the forehead as if to pluck one, and again incline towards the person whom we salute, as if to present him with this offering. M. Dulaure, in his History of Paris, remarks, that at the ceremony of the entry of the parliament into Paris, at Martinmas, the presidents and counsellors passed before one another, and curtsied to each other, in the same manner as females do.
Swallows.. The nests of swallows, built under eaves of windows, are held sacred, and are never disturbed by the servants; being considered to foretel good luck to the inmates of the house which is frequented by the birds.
Customs at Deaths. Among the customs observed in France, immediately after death, are the taking off or stopping of the pendulums of clocks, and the covering up of looking-glasses and portraits. The last hour has sounded; time no longer exists for him who has been struck by the hand of death; he enters into eternity, and for him the hours cease to be marked; hence the custom of stopping clocks and watches on the decease of any one. The custom of veiling the looking-glasses is equally emblematical and proper. The individual has disappeared; he is carried to the bosom of the great family; he will not appear again on earth. Thus his portrait, the glasses which represent only his mortal remains, become useless when the soul which animated them is no longer among us, but has flown to infinite space, and reposes in the bosom of its Creator. For the same reason that the glasses are veiled, many persons, particularly the Jews, empty all the water from the vessels in the house; and the country people in France assign as a motive for doing so, that they are afraid the soul, in departing from the body, will be drowned while washing itself in the water !
Alexander the Great.
(From Swain's Metrical Essays.]
That glorious name I sing,
As sunlight to the spring:
As though a God it owned ; .
With hundred conquests 'throned !
A spell it was of fear;
And humbling to thine ear.
And in thy quailing heart
With which 'tis bliss to part.
Vict'ry seemed proud to grace his brow,
Fortune to lead bis car;
Upon the waves, a star!
And the vast realm of seas
Her golden argosies.
Its gardens of the rose
And never wish to close ;-
The banquet board is spread,
Their lord-their king-is dead! Hear ye those sounds-loud as the storm
O'er the dark forest sweeps; Wild as the giant cataract
From rock to valley leaps; Hear ye those martial strains which swell
Like floods when thunders fall ?-
A monarch's funeral!
And glorious 'tis to see
The silver panoply;
The banners' státely fold,
The throne of burnished gold!
O’er wbicb bis banners wave,
One narrow spot-bis grave!
They, on whose lightest breath Hundreds attend? then, what is pride
?Fore its high master-Death? A morning sunbeam on the lake,
Slave to each tyrant sbade;
A flower, ere night to fade.
To fix the heart and eye
For these shall never die!