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web of a very large spider, whose premises he had unfortunately trespassed upon. Thus, it is evident that this tiger of an insect des yours creatures larger than itself. If the means by which he is en: abled to do it were common to the beasts of the forest, how dreada ful would be a net spun by the lion or the tiger, from which the horse and his rider could not disentangle themselves, no more than a strong bee can from this pest of the garden.”

[2o be concluded next Month.) “

CHRISTMAS :

MR EDITOR, It is astonishing how little is known of the origin and intention of the customs which distinguish this festival. It is understood to bring with it good eating and drinking, and few families are anxious to ascertain any thing more, than the parties they are to visit, or to receive, on Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Twelfth Night. For the information of those, therefore, who may not be contented with mere beef and pudding, I transmit you the following curious historical and traditionary illustrations. w; THE CUSTOM OF DRESSING CHURCHES AND HOUSES AT CHRISTMAS

WITH HOLLY, &c. &c. Stow, in his Survey of London, tells us, against the feast of Christ mas, every man's house, as also the parish churches, were decked with holme, ivy, bayes, and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green : The conduits and standards in the streets were likewise garnished.

In the ancient calendar of the church of Rome, I find the following observation on Christmas Eve :

« Templa exornantur ,

“ Churches are decked.”
Mr. Gay, in his Trivia, describes this custom :

When rosemary and bays, the poet's crown,
Are bawl'd in frequent cries through all the town;
Then judge the festival of Christmas near;
Christmas, the joyous period of the year.
Now with bright holly all the temples strow,

With laurel green, and sacred misletoe. There is an essay in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1765, in which it is conjectured that the ancient custom of dressing churches and houses, at Christmas, with laurel, box, holly or ivy, was in allusion to many figurative expressions in the prophets, relative to Christ, the branch of righteousness, &c. or that it was in remembrance of the oratory of Wrythers Wands, or Boughs, which was the first christian church erected in Britain. Before we can admit either of these hypotheses, the question must be determined whether or no this custom was not prior to the introduction of the christian faith amongst us. the British Saturnalia, by feasting and sending presents, or new year's gifts, one to another." .

The learned Dr. Chandler observes, that, “ It is related where Druidism prevailed, the houses were decked with ever-greens in December, that the sylvan spirits might repair to them, and remain unnipped with frost and cold winds, until a milder season had, renewed the foliage of their darling abodes." u i, in CHRISTMAS BOX, .

l :: We are told, in the Athenian Oracle, that the *Christmas-BoxMoney is derived from hence. The Romish priests had masses said, for almost every thing: If a ship went out to the Indies, the priests had a box in her, under the protection of some saint: And for 'masses, as their cant was, to be said for them to that saint, &c.

The poor people must put something into the priest's box, which was not to be opened till the ship returned. Sot

The mass at that time was called Christmas; the Bor, Christmas Bor; a money gathered against that time, that masses might be made by the priests to the saints, to forgive the people the debaucheries of that time; and from this, servants had the liberty to get box money, that they too might be enable to pay the priest for his masses, knowing well the truth of the proverb.

. “ No penny, no paternoster."

. .. NEW YEAR'S DAY. . . Bishop Stillingfleet informs us, that “among the Saxons of the Northern Nations, the feast of the new year was observed with more than ordinary jollity: 'thence, as Olaus Wormius and Scheffer observe, they reckoned their age by so many tlolas; and Snorro Sturleson describeth this new year's feast just as Buchannan sets out

This is still retained in public houses and barber's shops ; it is put against the "wall, and every customer puts in something. Mr. Gay mentions it thus :

Some boys are rich by birth, beyond all wants,
Belov'd by uncles, and kind, good old aunts;
When time comes round a Christmas-box they bear,
And one day makes them rich for all the year.

Gay's Trivia. . .
+ Jola, in the Gothic language, signifies to make merry.

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The poet Nadgeorgus says, * that it was usual, at that time, for friends to present each other with a new year's gift; for the husband, the wife; the parents, their children; and masters, their servants; which, as † Hospinian tells us, was an ancient custom of the Heathens, and afterwards practised by the Christians. • The very ingenious Scotch writer, Buchannan, presented to the unfortunate Mary queen of Scots, the following singular kind of new year's gift. History is silent concerning the manner in which her majesty received it.

Ad Mariam Scotiæ Reginam:
Do quod adest: opto quod abest tibi, dona darentur
Aurea, Sors animo si foret æqua meo.
Hoc leve si credis, paribus me ulciscere donis :
Et quod abest, opta tu mihi : da quod adest.

: TWELFTH DAY. The rites of this day are different in divers places, though the end of them is much the same in all ; namely, to do honour to the memory of the eastern magi, whom they suppose to have been kings. In France, one of the courtiers is chosen king, when the king himself, and the other nobles, attend at an entertainment. In Germany, they observe the same thing on this day in academies and cities, where the students and citizens create one of themselves king, and provide a magnificent banquet for him, and give him the attendance of a king, or a stranger guest. Now this is answerable to that custom of the Saturnalia, of masters making banquets for their servants, and waiting on them; and no doubt this custom has in part sprung from that.

Not many years ago, this was a common Christmas gambol, in both our universities; and it is still usual in other places of our land, to give the name of king or queen to that person whose luck hits upon that part of the divided cake, which is honoured above the others with the sacred name of majesty,

More particulars will be learned of the manner of drawing king and queen, from a letter preserved in the Universal Magazine,

Iani.-...-Calendis,
Atque etiam strenæ charis mittuntur amicis :
Conjugibusg ; viri donant, gnatisq; parentes,
Et domini famulis, &c.

Hosp. de Orig. Fest. Christ. P. 41.
+ Hospin. ibid.

1774; whence I shall take the liberty of extracting a few passages. “ I went to a friend's house in the country, to partake of some of those innocent pleasures that constitute a merry Christmas; I did not return till I had been present at drawing king and queen, and eaten a slice of the twelfth cake. After ten, yesterday, a noble cake was produced, and two bowls containing the fortunate chances for the different sexes." . . . . . ;. . ; ..,14 According to the twelfth day low, each party is to support their character till midnight." in iis

Sometimes the characters have a poetical description, in the manner of the following, which are from the pens of a late field marshal, and a dignified clergyman, now living; those written by the latter are distinguished by an asterisk. They have not before been printed.

..10 i King . ..
I am your king, behold my wide domain!
O'er all this chamber's vast extent I reign.
With pearls and diamonds tho' your scepters shine,
Moguls and sultans, you may envy mine!
For to my throne, no slave, nor traitor bends,
Who reign in comfort o'er an host of friends.se
0! may the gracious monarch of these isles,
Still reign like me amidst his people's smiles: : :
Their pleasure only study, still like me,
And to be happy, make his subjects frec,

Nun.

Just from my pious convent fled,
'Tis a bold step at once to wed;
But then our cloyster was so cold,
The nuns were dull; the priests were old, .
'Twas mournful living in a cell;
I thought the world might do as well ;
And shou'd I e'en my hand bestow,
"Twere only changing vow for vow.
You're now my priest, my faults confess'd;
If you absolve me, I am blest.

Butcher.
I am a butcher, ma'am, 'tis true,
But so I apprehend are you ;
The only difference in our trade,
You use your eyes, and I my blade.
Then take me, and I trust you'll see,
Two of a trade for onee agree.

Cinder Wench. Tho' from my business I may be

A little smutty, as you see, Yet with the flames which I've bestow'd, Full many a gentle swain has glow'd. And since all mortals here below Are dust and ashes, as we know; Duchess or cinder-wench, 'tis all the same, And Cinderella's only chang'd in name.

Dancing Master.
Of beaux and beanties I'm the cream;
Does not my air my trade proclaim?
If still my name you cannot hit,
Know, madam, I am call'd beau-kit.
I practice àla-mode de France,
I'll lead you ma'am, a charming dance ;
And fear not when you marry me,,
You'll have a num'rous family; : ,
Talk with my misses at their ball,
You'll be the mother of them all.

Apple Woman.
Tho’I'm but a poor apple woman,
Pray let me be despis’d by no man;
Since we descend, as I believe,
In line direct from mother Eve;
For, as we all too well do know,
She was an apple woman too.
Then take me, sir, you'll have a power
Of golden pippins for your dower ;
A nonpareil to, I'll be then,
To you my Adam, first of men.

Nabeb.*
If 'tis your wish, my fair, to live,
Endow'd with all that wealth can give,
Accept a nabob's offer'd hand,
Who can all worldly pomp command;
Partake my splendor but be wise,
And ask not whence these riches rise.

Cook Maid.
Sir, you've a liquorish taste, I see,
Or you'd have neer selected me,
If you prove true, with daintiest fare
To mit your taste shall be my care;
But, if inconstant I should find you,
Yop'll have the dish.clout pina'd behind you.

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