« PreviousContinue »
When clad with snow each leatless tree,
And ev'ry other songster's fled,
Soft carolled from bis ivy bed.
I love to hear his early song ;
And wish he may his stay prolong.
That gave the ivy for his nest,
Harmed not the bird with crimson breast.
Its happy inmate ever gay;
They charm the wint'ry hours away.
For thee the gay green moss I'll spread,
Some scattered crumbs of hoarded bread..
I'll give thee leave afar to fly;
To live beneath some friendlier eye. In this month, the farmer carries out manure to his fields, and repairs quickset hedges; taking advantage of the dry and hard ground, during frost. The barn resounds with the flail, barley being now threshed for malting. He lops forest trees, and cuts timber for winter use. About the end of the month, in dry weather, peas and beans are sown, and vetches for seed or fodder. Hogs are killed for bacon, and beef and hams are smoked.
Great inconvenience is sometimes experienced in winter from the freezing of ponds. These are often frozen over with thick ice, and it is necessary to break a place in this, and throw out the ice, for the cattle to get at the water: the fresh ice too must be broken, and thrown out; and so on, till almost all the water is conyerted into solid rock. To remedy this, our Huntingdonshire correspondent suggests the following idea of
A FROST WELL. A pond might be kept open, and a sort of well formed, by sinking a tub or barrel, without a bottom, or a square frame-work of rough wood, into a hole broken in the ice, so as to rise some inches above the water; and to put round this some dry sweet litter, very close; and over the top a wooden cover, or lid, like a lid to a copper, which may be taken off at such stated times as are proper for the cattle to drink, and then put on again, and covered with litter, This would, probably, keep even very severe frost from freezing the water within, and only require the trouble of removing the litter and cover each time, instead of the very great labour of breaking the ice with a club, or pick-ax, or mattock, Fresh horse-litter from the stable would answer the purpose of keeping the water from freezing better than the plain straw; but, as this would hurt the pond, if suffered to drain into it, or if not taken away as soon as the thaw commences, straw may be safer for use in general cases. Some rough boards, with some litter over them, should be laid on the ice, from the edge of the pond to the well, for the cattle to tread on, to prevent either their slipping, or breaking in the ice: and it would be still better to have rails on each side of this way to the well, to prevent the cattle going on the naked ice.
The timely covering up of wells, pipes, and pumps, and drawing off the water from tubs, to prevent their bursting at the approach of frost, are most important points to be attended to.
FEBRUARY SOME etymologists derive February from Februa, an epithet given to Juno, as the Goddess of Purification; while others attribute the origin of the name to Februa, a feast held by the Romans in this month, in behalf of the manes of the deceased.
In FEBRUARY 1823,
*1. 1811.-VOLCANO IN. THE SEA, On this day a tremendous volume of smoke was seen to issue and rise from the sea (near the Azores), though apparently thick and dense, to an extraordinary height above the first region of the atmosphere, At intervals, a dark muddy substance was driven up to ten, and sometimes to twenty, fathoms. No flame was visible during the day: it was at night that the phenomenon filled the mind with the most terrific and sublime sensations; it was at night that the awful contest between two of the grand elements of nature struck the senses with the most unmingled wonder and admiration. The flame did not always ascend very high, perhaps not more than twenty feet above the surface of the sea; but at times of remoter intervals, the fire accompanied the smoke to a prodigious height, carrying up with it substances resembling pieces of stone or metal. An explosion on the fifth day was far more tremendous than any former one. The fire ascended like a host of skyrockets to an immense height, and the burning fluid, or lava, was not extinguished till it plunged again into the ocean. The distance from the shore is about a mile and a half; and when the eruption had, in some degree, subsided, the spot appeared like a rock under water, with the sea breaking furiously over it. 2.-PURIFICATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
MARY. This festival is of high antiquity, and the antient christians observed it by using a great number of lights; in remembrance, as it is supposed, of our
blessed Saviour's being declared by Simeon to be a light to lighten the Gentiles; hence the name of Candlemas-day. The Benediction of the Candles at Rome on this day is described in our last volume,
8.-SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY. See SEPTUAGESIMA
SUNDAY, p. 15.
3.- SAINT BLASE. He was Bishop of Sebaste in Armenia, and suffered martyrdom in 316, under the persecution of Licinius, by command of Agricolaus, governor of Cappadocia and the Lesser Armenia.
5,-SAINT AGATHA. She suffered martyrdom under Decius, in the year 251. In the third part of the homily against peril of idolatry it is said, * Ænomaus and Hesiodus show, that, in their time, there were thirty thousand gods. I think we had no fewer saints, to whom we gave the honour due to God. And they have not only spoiled the true living God of his due honour in temples, cities, countries, and lands, by such devices and inventions, as the Gentile idolaters have done before them, but the sea and waters have, as well, special saints with them, as they had gods with the Gentiles, Neptune, Triton, Nereus, Castor and Pollux, Venus, and such other; in whose places be come in St. Christopher, St. Clement, and diverse others, and specially our Lady, to whom shipmen sing Ave; maris stella. Neither hath the fire escaped their idolatrous inventions; for, instead of Vulcan and Vesta, the Gentiles' gods of the fire, our men have placed St. Agatha, and make letters on her day for to quench fire with.'
The fête of this saint is celebrated with great pomp at Catania, in Sicily. The following account is given by a traveller who witnessed it in 1819. The image of the saint, of the natural size, is carried on the shoulders of four.priests to the church : this object of the adoration of the people was deco
rated with diamonds and all kinds of precious stones, and reclined on a massive plate of silver; it was covered with a veil. Cries of Long live St. Agatha' resounded through the church, which was splendidly illuminated. The soldiers, ranged in two lines, could scarcely make a passage for it: every one was in motion, and was continually leaping before the statue, exclaiming, 'Oh, how handsome she is! Oh, how good,' &c. From the church the image was conveyed to an enormous car, drawn by twenty pair of oxen, and thus paraded round the city amid peals of applause from the infatuated multitude. The fête was terminated by a display of fire-works and a general illumination. 9.-QUINQUAGESIMA. SUNDAY. See SEPTUAG E
SIMA, p. 15. *9. 1555.-DR. ROWLAND TAYLOR MARTYRED.
He was Rector of Hadleigh in Suffolk, and was burnt alive in the sanguinary persecution under Queen Mary, for his adherence to the doctrines of the reformation. The following is the inscription on a monument erected on Oldham Common to commemorate his martyrdom:
Mark this rude stone, where TAYLOR dauntless stood,
To the blind pair' his farewel alms were cast;
As tbon hast aided us, be God thine aid.'
And soared on seraph wing to meet his God! The following words are engraved in rude capitals upon the unhewn stone at the foot of the monument: