Born: Richard II, King of England, 1366;
Joan d'Arc, 1402; Peter Metastasio, poet, 1698; Benjamin
Franklin, philosopher, Boston, U.S., 1706; David Dale,
philanthropist, 1739; George Thomas Doo, engraver,
Died: Seth Ward, Bishop of Salisbury,
mathematician, 1689; John Dennis, critic, 1734; Madame
d'Arblay (Frances Burney), novelist, 1840; James
Smith, comic poet, 1840; Fanny Wright, lady
Feast Day: St. Melanius, bishop, 490. St. Nilammon,
Hermit. St. Peter, abbot of St. Austin's, Canterbury,
Modern society has felt as if there were some-thing
wanting in the character of Franklin; yet what the man
positively had of good about him was, beyond all
doubt, extremely good. Self-denial, energy, love of
knowledge, sagacity to I discern and earnestness to
pursue what was calculated to promote happiness
amongst mankind, scientific ingenuity, courage in the
protection of patriotic interests against misrule—all
were his. How, few men possess half so many high
It is an extremely characteristic circumstance
that, landing at Falmouth from a dangerous voyage, and
going to church with his son to return thanks to God
for their deliverance, he felt it as an occasion when
a Catholic would have vowed to build a chapel to some
saint: 'not being a Catholic,' said the philosopher,
'if I were to vow at all, it would be to build a
lighthouse' [the article found chiefly wanting towards
the end of their voyage].
It is little known that it was mainly by the advice
of Franklin that the English government resolved to
conquer Canada, and for that purpose sent out Wolfe's
While in our island at that time (1759), as agent
for the colony of Pennsylvania, he made an excursion
to Scotland, accompanied by his son. His reputation as
a man of science had made him well known there, and he
was accordingly received with distinction by Hume,
Robertson, Lord Kames, and other literary men of note,
was made a doctor of St. Andrew's University, and a
burgess by the Town Council of Edinburgh.
paid a long visit to Lord Kames at his seat of Kames
in Berwickshire, and when he came away, his host and
hostess gave him a convoy into the English border.
Some months after, writing to his lordship from
London, he said:
'How much more agreeable would our
journey have been, if we could have enjoyed you as far
as York! We could have beguiled the way by discoursing
on a thousand things that now we may never have an
opportunity of considering together; for conversation
warms the mind, enlivens the imagination, and is
continually starting fresh game that is immediately
pursued and taken, and which would never have occurred
in the duller intercourse of epistolary
correspondence. So that when ever I reflect on the
great pleasure and ad vantage I received from the free
communication of sentiment in the conversation we had
at Kames, and in the agreeable little rides to the Tweedside, I shall ever regret our premature parting.'
'Our conversation,' he added, 'until we came to
York, was chiefly a recollection of what we had seen
and heard, the pleasure we had enjoyed, and the
kindnesses we had received in Scotland, and how far
that country had exceeded our expectations. On the
whole, I must say, I think the time we spent there was
six weeks of the densest happiness I have ever met
with in any part of my life; and the agreeable and
instructive society we found there in such plenty, has
left so pleasing an impression on my memory, that, did
not strong connections draw me elsewhere, I believe
Scotland would be the country I should choose to spend
the remainder of my days in.'
Soon after, May 3rd, 1760, Franklin communicated to
Lord Kames a plan he had formed to write a little book
under the title of The Art of Virtue.
he said, 'lead bad lives that would gladly lead good
ones, but do not know how to make the change. They
have frequently resolved and endeavoured it; but in
vain, because their endeavours have not been properly
conducted. To expect people to be good, to be just, to
be temperate, &c., without shewing them how they
should become so, seems like the ineffectual charity
mentioned by the Apostle, which consisted in saying to
the hungry, the cold, and the naked, "Be ye fed, be ye
warmed, be ye clothed," without shewing them how they
should get food, fire, or clothing.
'Most people have naturally some virtues, but none
have naturally all the virtues."
'To inquire those that are wanting, and secure what
we require as well as those we have naturally, is the
subject of an art. It is properly an art, as painting,
navigation, or architecture. If a man would become a
painter, navigator, or architect, it is not enough
that he is advised to be one, that he is convinced by
the arguments of his adviser that it would be for his
advantage to be one, and that he resolves to be one;
but he must also be taught the principles of the art,
be shewn all the methods of working, and how to
acquire the habits of using properly all the
instruments; and thus regularly and gradually he
arrives, by practice, at some perfection in the art.
If he does not proceed thus, he is apt to meet with
difficulties that might discourage him, and make him
drop the pursuit.’
'The Art of Virtue has also its instruments, and
teaches the manner of using them.
'Christians are directed to have faith in Christ,
as the effectual means of obtaining the change they
desire. It may, when sufficiently strong, be effectual
with many; for a full opinion, that a teacher is
infinitely wise, good, and powerful, and that he will
certainly reward and punish. the obedient and
disobedient, must give great weight to his precepts,
and make them much more at-tended to by his disciples.
But many have this faith in so weak a degree, that it
does not produce the effect. Our Art of Virtue may,
therefore, be of great service to those whose faith is
unhappily not so strong, and may come in aid of its
weakness. Such as are naturally well-disposed, and
have been so carefully educated as that good habits
have been early established and bad ones prevented,
have less need of this art; but all may be more or
less benefited by it.'
Between two men of such sentiments as Franklin and
Lord Kames, thrown together for six weeks, the
subject of religious toleration we may well suppose to
have been frequently under discussion. Franklin
communicated to his Scotch friend a small piece, of
the nature of an apologue, designed to give a lesson
of toleration, and which Kames afterwards published.
It has often been reprinted as an original idea of the
American philosopher; but, in reality, he never
pretended to anything more than giving it its literary
style, and the idea can be traced back through a
devious channel to Saadi, the Persian poet, who, after
all, relates it as coming from another person. It was
- And it came to pass after these things, that
Abraham sat in the door of his tent, about the going
down of the sun.
- And behold a man, bowed with age, came from
the way of the wilderness, leaning on a staff.
- And Abraham arose and met him, and said unto
him, "Turn in, I pray thee, and wash thy feet, and
tarry all night, and thou shalt arise early on the
morrow, and go on thy way."
- But the man said, "Nay, for I will abide under
- And Abraham pressed him greatly; so he turned,
and they went into the tent, and Abraham baked
unleavened bread, and they did eat.
- And when Abraham saw that the man blessed not
God, he said unto him, "Wherefore dost thou not
worship the most high God, Creator of heaven and
- And the man answered and said, " I do not
worship the God thou speakest of, neither do I call
upon his name; for I have made to myself a god which
abideth alway in mine house, and provideth me with all
- And Abraham's zeal was kindled against the
man, and he arose and fell upon him, and drove him
forth with blows into the wilderness.
- And at midnight God called unto Abraham,
saying, "Abraham, where is the stranger?"
- And. Abraham answered and said, "Lord, he
would not worship thee, neither would he call upon thy
name; therefore have I driven him out from before my
face into the wilderness."
- And God said, "Have I borne with him these
hundred ninety and eight years, and nourished him, and
clothed him, notwithstanding his rebellion against me;
and couldst not thou, that art thyself a sinner, bear
with him one night?
- And Abraham said, "Let not the anger of the
Lord wax hot against his servant; lo, I have sinned;
forgive me, I pray thee."
- And Abraham arose, and went forth into the
wilderness, and sought diligently for the man and
found him, and returned with him to the tent: and when
he had entreated him kindly, he sent him away on the
morrow with gifts.'
Printing Press worked on by
while in London
That Franklin should have ascended from the
condition of a journeyman compositor to be a great
philosopher and legislator, and 'to stand before
kings,' is certainly one of the most interesting
biographical facts which the eighteenth century
presents. Without that frugal use of means, the want
of which so signally keeps our toiling millions poor,
it never could have been.
Of ever memorable value is the anecdote he tells of
his practice in a London printing-office.
only water,' says he; 'the other workmen, near fifty
in number, were great drinkers of beer. On one
occasion, I carried up and down stairs a large form of
types in each hand, when others carried but one in
both hands. They wondered to see that the Water
American, as they called me, was stronger than
themselves who drank strong beer. We had an alehouse
boy, who always attended in the house to supply the
workmen. My companion at the press drank every day a
pint before breakfast, a pint at breakfast with his
bread and cheese, a pint between breakfast and
dinner, a pint at dinner, a pint in the afternoon
about six o'clock, and another when he had done with
his day's work. I thought it a detestable custom; but
it was necessary, he sup-posed, to drink strong beer
that he might be strong to labour. I endeavoured to
convince him that the bodily strength afforded by beer
could only be in proportion to the grain or flour of
the barley dissolved in the water of which it was
made; that there was more flour in a pennyworth of
bread; and therefore, if he could eat that with a pint
of water, it would give him more strength than a quart
of beer. He drank on, however, and had four or five
shillings to pay out of his wages every Saturday night
for that vile liquor; an expense I was free from. And
thus these poor devils kept themselves always under.'
THE RETREAT FROM CAUBUL, 1842
The British power went into Afghanistan, in 1839,
upon an unrighteous cause. The punishment which
Providence, in the natural course of events, brings
upon such errors, overtook it towards the close of
1841, and on the 6th of January it became a necessity
that an army of about 4,500 men, with 12,000 camp
followers, should commence a precipitate retreat from
its Caubul cantonments, through a difficult country,
under frost and snow, which it was ill-fitted to
endure, and harassed by hordes of implacable enemies.
The Noche Triste of Cortez's troops on their
retirement from Mexico, the terrible retreat of
Napoleon's army from Moscow, even the fearful scenes
which attended the destruction of Jerusalem, scarcely
afford a more distressing narrative of human woe. The
first day's march took them five miles through the
snow, which was in many places dyed with their blood.
They had to bivouack in it, without shelter, and with
scarcely any food, and next morning they resumed their
journey, or rather flight, —a long confused line of
soldiery mixed with rabble, camels and other beasts of
burden, and ladies with their children; while the
native bands were continually attacking and
plundering. The second evening saw them only ten miles
advanced upon their fatal journey, and the night was
again spent in the snow, which proved the
winding-sheet of many before morning. It is believed
that if they had started more promptly, and could have
advanced more rapidly, the enemy, scarcely prepared to
follow them, could not have proved so destructive. But
the general - Elphinstone, - and other chief officers,
were tempted to lose time in the hope of negotiating
with the hostile chiefs, and particularly
for a purchased safety.
Unfortunately, the native chiefs had little or no
control over their followers. It was on this third day
that they had to go through the celebrated
Koord-Caubul Pass. The force, with its followers, in a
long disorderly string, struggled on through the
narrow defile, suffering under a constant and deadly
fire from the fanatical Ghilzyes, or falling under
their knives in close encounter. Thus, or by falling
exhausted in the snow, 3,000 are said to have
perished. Another night of exposure, hunger, and
exhaustion followed. Next day, the sadly reduced
files were stayed for a while, to try another
negotiation for safety. The ladies and the married
officers were taken under the protection of Akbar-Khan,
and were thus saved.
The remaining soldiery, and
particularly the Indian troops, were now paralyzed
with the effects of the cold, and scarcely able to
handle or carry their arms. Many were butchered this
day. They continued the march at night, in the hope of
reaching Jugdulluck, and next day they still went on,
doing their best to repel the enemy as they went.
Reduced to a mere handful, they still exhibited the
devoted courage of British soldiers. While the
wretched remnant halted here, the general and two
other officers gave themselves up to Akbar-Khan, as
pledges that Jellalabad would be delivered up for the
purchase of safety to the troops.
The arrangement only
served to save the lives of those three officers. The
subsequent day's march was still harassed by the
natives, and at a barrier which had been erected in
the Jugdulluck Pass, the whole of the remainder were
butchered, excepting about twenty officers and
forty-five soldiers. After some further collisions
with the foe, there came to be only six officers alive
at a place about sixteen miles from Jellalabad. On the
13th of January, the garrison of that fortress saw a
single man approaching their walls, mounted on a
wretched little pony, and hanging exhausted upon its
neck. He proved to be Dr. Bryden, the only one of the
force which left Caubul a week before, who had escaped
to tell the tale.
It is easy to shew how the policy of particular
commanders had a fatal effect in bringing about this
frightful disaster to the British power—how, with
better management on their part, the results might
have been, to some extent, otherwise; but still the
great fact remains, that a British army was where it
ought never to have been, and of course exposed to
dangers beyond those of fair warfare. An ancient Greek
dramatist, in bringing such a tragedy before the
attention of his audience, would have made the Chorus
proclaim loudly the wrath of the gods. Ignorant men,
of our own day, make comments not much different. The
remark which a just philosophy makes on the subject
is, that God has arranged that justice among men
should have one set of effects, and injustice another.
Where nations violate the Divine rule to do to others
as they would have others to do to them, they lay
themselves open to all the calamitous consequences
which naturally flow from the act, just as surely as
do individuals when they act in the same manner.
This day, called
Twelfth-Day, as being in that
number after Christmas, and Epiphany from the Greek 'Ε∏ιΦáνєια',
signifying appearance, is a festival of the Church, in
commemoration of the Manifestation of Christ to the
Gentiles; more expressly to the three Magi, or Wise
Men of the East, who came, led by a star, to worship
him immediately after his birth. (Matt. ii. 1-12.) The
Epiphany appears to have been first 'observed as a
separate feast in the year 813. Pope Julius I is,
however, reputed to have taught the Church to
distinguish the Feasts of the Nativity and Epiphany,
so early as about the middle of the fourth century.
The primitive Christians celebrated the Feast of
the Nativity for twelve days, observing the first and
last with great solemnity; and both of these days were
denominated Epiphany, the first the greater Epiphany,
from our Lord having on that day become Incarnate, or
made his appearance in "the flesh;" the latter, the
lesser Epiphany, from the three-fold manifestation of
His Godhead—the first, by the appearance of the
blazing star which conducted Melchior, Jasper, and
Balthuzar, the three Magi, or wise men, commonly
styled the three Kings of Cologne, out of the East, to
worship the Messiah, and to offer him presents of "Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh"—Melchior the Gold, in
testimony of his royalty as the promised King of the
Jews; Jasper the Frankincense, in token of his
Divinity; and Balthuzar the Myrrh, in allusion to the
sorrows which, in the humiliating condition of a man,
our Redeemer vouchsafed to take upon him: the second,
of the descent of the Holy Ghost in the form of a
Dove, at the Baptism: and the third, of the first
miracle of our Lord turning water into wine at the
marriage in Cana. All of which three manifestations of
the Divine nature happened on the same day, though not
in the same year.
'To render due honour to the memory of the ancient
Magi, who are supposed to have been kings, the monarch
of this country himself, either personally or through
his chamberlain, offers annually at the altar on this
day, Gold, Frank-incense, and Myrrh; and the kings of
Spain, where the Feast of Epiphany is likewise called
the "Feast of the Kings," were accustomed to make the
In the middle ages, the worship by the Magi was
celebrated by a little drama, called
the Feast of the
'Three priests, clothed as kings, with their
servants carrying offerings, met from different
directions before the altar. The middle one, who came
from the east, pointed with his staff to a star. A
dialogue then ensued; and, after kissing each other,
they began to sing, "Let us go and inquire;" after
which the precentor began a responsory, "Let the Magi
come." A procession then commenced; and as soon as it
began to enter the nave, a crown, with a star
resembling a cross, was lighted up, and pointed out to
the Magi, with, "Behold the Star in the East." This
being concluded, two priests standing at each side of
the altar, answered meekly, "We are those whom you
seek;" and, drawing a curtain, shewed them a child,
whom, falling down, they worshipped. Then the servants
made the offerings of gold, frankincense, and myrrh,
which were divided among the priests. The Magi,
meanwhile, continued praying till they dropped asleep;
when a boy, clothed in an alb, like an angel,
addressed them with, "All things which the prophets
said are fulfilled." The festival concluded with
chanting services, &c. At Soissons, a rope was let
down from the roof of the church, to which was annexed
an iron circle having seven tapers, intended to
represent Lucifer, or the morning star; but this was
not confined to the Feast of the Star.'—Fosbroke's Antiquities, ii. 700.
At Milan, in 1336, the
Festival of the Three Kings
was celebrated in a manner that brings forcibly before
us the tendency of the middle ages to fix attention on
the historical externals of Christianity. The affair
was got up by the Preaching Friars. 'The three kings
appeared, crowned, on three great horses richly
habited, surrounded by pages, body guards, and an
innumerable retinue. A golden star was exhibited in
the sky, going before them. They proceeded to the
pillars of St. Lawrence, where King Herod was
represented with his scribes and wise men. The three
kings ask Herod where Christ should be born, and his
wise men, having consulted their books, answer, at
Bethlehem. On which the three kings, with their golden
crowns, having in their hands golden cups filled with
frankincense, myrrh, and gold, the star going before,
marched to the church of St. Eustorgius, with all
their attendants, preceded by trumpets, horns, asses,
baboons, and a great variety of animals. In the
church, on one side of the high altar, there was a
manger with an ox and ass, and in it the infant Christ
in the arms of his mother. Here the three kings offer
Him gifts. The concourse of the people, of knights,
ladies, and ecclesiastics, was such as was never
In its character as a popular festival, Twelfth-Day
stands only inferior to Christmas. The leading object
held in view is to do honour to the three wise men,
or, as they are more generally denominated, the three
kings. It is a Christian custom, ancient past memory,
and probably suggested by a pagan custom, to indulge
in a pleasantry called the Election of Kings by Beans.
In England, in later times, a large cake was formed,
with a bean inserted, and this was called
Twelfth-Cake. The family and friends being assembled,
the cake was divided by lot, and who-ever got the
piece containing the bean was accepted as king for the
day, and called King of the Bean. The importance of
this ceremony in France, where the mock sovereign is
named Le Roi de la Fève, is indicated by the
proverbial phrase for good luck, 'Il a trouvé la fève
au gâteau,' He has found the bean in the cake. In
Rome, they do not draw king and queen as in England,
but indulge in a number of jocularities, very much
for the amusement of children. Fruit-stalls and
confectioners' shops are dressed up with great gaiety.
A ridiculous. figure, called Beffana, parades the
streets, amidst a storm of popular wit and nonsense.
The children, on going to bed, hang up a stocking,
which the Beffana is found next morning to have filled
with cakes and sweetmeats if they have been good, but
with stones and dirt if they have been naughty.
In England, it appears there was always a queen as
well as a king on Twelfth-Night. A writer, speaking of
the celebration in the south of England in 1774, says:
'After tea, a cake is produced, with two bowls
containing the fortunate chances for the different
sexes. The host fills up the tickets, and the whole
company, except the king and queen, are to be
ministers of state, maids of honour, or ladies of the
bed-chamber. Often the host and hostess, more by
design, than accident, become king and queen.
According to Twelfth-Day law, each party is to support
his character till midnight.'
In the sixteenth century, it would appear that some
peculiar ceremonies followed the election of the king
and queen. Barnaby Goodge, in his paraphrase of the
curious poem of Nagcorgus, The Popish Kingdom, 1570,
states that the king, on being elected, was raised up
with. great cries to the ceiling, where, with chalk,
he inscribed crosses on the rafters to protect the
house against evil spirits.
Election of the King of the Bean
The sketch above is copied from an
old French print, executed by J. Mariatte,
representing Le Roi de la Fève (the King of the Bean)
at the moment of his election, and preparing to drink
to the company. In France, this act on his part was
marked by a loud shout of 'Le Roi boit!' (The king
drinks,) from the party assembled.
A Twelfth-Day custom, connected with Paget's
Bromley in Staffordshire, went out in the seventeenth
century. A man came along the village with a mock
horse fastened to him, with which he danced, at the
same making a snapping noise with a bow and arrow. He
was attended by half-a-dozen fellow-villagers, wearing
mock deers' heads, and displaying the arms of the
several chief landlords of the town. This party danced
the Hays, and other country dances, to music, amidst
the sympathy and applause of the multitude. There was
also a huge pot of ale with cakes by general
contribution of the village, out of the very surplus
of which 'they not only repaired their church, but
kept their poor too; which charges,' Troth Dr Plot,
'are not now, perhaps, so cheerfully borne.'
On Twelfth-night, 1606,
Ben Jonson's masque of
Hymem was preformed before the Court; and in 1613, the
gentleman of Gray's Inn were permitted by Lord Bacon to perform a Twelfth-Day masque at Whitehall. In the masque the character of Baby cake is attended by 'an usher bearing a
great cake with a bean and 11 with good
will have spared unto your lordship, please.'
On Twelfth-Day, 1563, Mary Queen of Scots
celebrated the French pastime of the King of the Bean
at Holyrood, but with a queen instead of a king, as
more appropriate, in consideration of herself being a
female sovereign. The lot fell to the real queen's
attendant, Mary Fleming, and the mistress
good-naturedly arrayed the servant in her own robes
and jewels, that she might duly sustain the mimic
dignity in the festivities of the night. The English
resident, Randolph, who was in love with Mary Beton,
another of the queen's maids of honour, wrote in
excited terms about this festival to the Earl of
'Happy was it,' says he, 'unto this realm,
that her reign endured no longer. Two such sights, in
one state, in so good accord, I believe was never
seen, as to behold two worthy queens possess, without
envy, one kingdom, both upon a day. I leave the rest
to your lordship to be judged of. My pen staggereth,
my hand faileth, further to write.'
The queen of the bean was that day in a gown of
cloth of silver; her head, her neck, her shoulders,
the rest of her whole body, so beset with stones, that
more in our whole jewel-house were not to be found. .
. The cheer was great. I never found myself so happy,
nor so well treated, until that it came to the point
that the old queen [Mary] herself, to show her mighty
power, contrary unto the assurance granted me by the
younger queen [Mary Fleming], drew me into the dance,
which part of the play I could with good will have
spared unto your lordship, as much fitter for the
Charles I had his masque on Twelfth-Day, and the
Queen hers on the Shrovetide following, the expenses
exceeding £2000; and on Twelfth-Night, 1633, the Queen
feasted the King at Somerset House, and presented a
pastoral, in which she took part.
Down to the time of the Civil Wars, the feast was
observed with great splendour, not only at Court, but
at the Inns of Court, and the Universities (where it
was an old custom to choose the king by the bean in a
cake), as well as in private mansions and smaller
Then, too, we read of the English nobility keeping
Twelfth-Night otherwise than with cake and characters,
by the diversion of blowing up pasteboard castles;
letting claret flow like blood, out of a stag made of
paste; the castle bombarded from a pasteboard ship,
with cannon, in the midst of which the company pelted
each other with egg-shells filled with rose-water; and
large pies were made, filled with live frogs, which
hopped and flew out, upon some curious person lifting
up the lid.
Twelfth-Night grew to be a Court festival, in which
gaming was a costly feature. Evelyn tells us that on
Twelfth-Night, 1662, according to custom, his Majesty
[Charles II] opened the revels of that night by
throwing the dice himself in the Privy Chamber, where
was a table set on purpose, and lost his £100. [The
year before he won £1500.] The ladies also played very
deep. Evelyn came away when the Duke of Ormond had won
about £1000, and left them still at passage, cards,
&c., at other tables.
The Rev. Henry Teonge, chaplain of one of Charles's
ships-of-war, describes Twelfth-Night on board:
had a great kake made, in which was put a beane for
the king, a pease for the queen, a cloave for the
knave, &c. The kake was cut into several pieces in the
great cabin, and all put into a napkin, out of which
every one took his piece as out of a lottery; then
each piece is broaken to see what was in it, which
caused much laughter, and more to see us tumble one
over the other in the cabin, by reason of the ruff
The celebrated Lord Peterborough, then a
youth, was one of the party on board this ship, as
The Lord Mayor and Aldermen and the guilds of
London used to go to St. Paul's on Twelfth-Day, to
hear a sermon, which is mentioned as an old custom in
the early part of Elizabeth's reign.
A century ago, the king, preceded by heralds,
pursuivants, and the Knights of the Garter, Thistle,
and Bath, in the collars of their respective orders,
went to the Royal Chapel at St. James's, and offered
gold, myrrh, and frankincense, in imitation of the
Eastern Magi offering to our Saviour. Since the
illness of George III, the procession, and even the
personal appearance of the monarch, have been
discontinued. Two gentlemen from the Lord
Chamberlain's office now appear instead, attended by a
box ornamented at top with a spangled star, from which
they take the gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and place
them on an alms-dish held forth by the officiating
In the last century, Twelfth-Night Cards
represented ministers, maids of honour, and other
attendants of a court, and the characters were to be
supported throughout the night. John Britton, in his
Autobiography, tells us he ' suggested and wrote a
series of Twelfth-Night Characters, to be printed on
cards, placed in a bag, and drawn out at parties on
the memorable and merry evening of that ancient
festival. They were sold in small packets to pastrycooks, and led the way to a custom which
annually grew to an extensive trade. For the second
year, my pen-and-ink characters were accompanied by
prints of the different personages by Cruikshank
(father of the inimitable George), all of a comic or
ludicrous kind.' Such characters are still printed.
The celebration of Twelfth-Day with the costly and
elegant Twelfth-cake has much declined within the last
half-century. Formerly, in London, the confectioners'
shops on this day were entirely filled with
Twelfth-cakes, ranging in price from several guineas
to a few shillings; the shops were tastefully
illuminated, and decorated with artistic models,
transparencies, &c. We remember to have seen a huge
Twelfth-cake in the form of a fortress, with sentinels
and flags; the cake being so large as to fill two
ovens in baking.
One of the most celebrated and attractive displays
was that of Birch, the confectioner, No. 15, Cornhill,
[sketch to right] probably the oldest shop of its class in the
metropolis. This business was established in the reign
of King George I, by a Mr. Horton, who was succeeded
by Mr. Lucas Birch, who, in his turn, was succeeded by
his son, Mr. Samuel Birch, born in 1757; he was many
years a member of the Common Council, and was elected
alderman of the ward of Candlewick. He was also
colonel of the City Militia, and served as Lord Mayor
in 1815, the year of the battle of Waterloo. In his
mayoralty, he laid the first stone of the London
Institution; and when Chantrey's marble statue of
George III was inaugurated in the Council Chamber,
Guildhall, the inscription was written by Lord Mayor
Birch. He possessed considerable literary taste, and
wrote poems and musical dramas, of which the Adopted
Child remained a stock piece to our time. The alderman
used annually to send, as a present, a Twelfth-cake to
the Mansion House. The upper portion of the house in
Cornhill has been rebuilt, but the ground-floor
remains intact, a curious specimen of the decorated
shop-front of the last century, and here are preserved
two door-plates, inscribed, 'Birch, Successor to Mr.
Horton,' which are 140 years old. Alderman Birch died
in 1840, having been succeeded in the business in Cornhill in 1836 by the present proprietors, Ring and
Brymer. Dr. Kitchiner extols the soups of Birch, and
his skill has long been famed in civic banquets.
We have a Twelfth-Night celebration recorded in
theatrical history. Baddeley, the comedian (who had
been cook to Foote), left, by will, money to provide
cake and wine for the performers, in the green-room at
Drury-lane Theatre, on Twelfth-Night; but the bequest
is not now observed in this manner.
The period of Carnival—named as being carinvale, a
farewell to flesh—is well known as a time of
merry-making and pleasure, indulged in in Roman
Catholic countries, in anticipation of the abstemious
period of Lent: it begins at Epiphany, and ends on Ash
Wednesday. Selden remarks: 'What the Church debars
one day, she gives us leave to take out in another.
First, we fast, then we feast; first, there is a
Carnival, then a Lent.'
In these long revels, we trace some of the licence
of the Saturnalia of the Christian Romans, who could
not forget their pagan festivals. Milan, Rome. and
Naples were celebrated for their carnivals, but they
were carried to their highest perfection at Venice.
Bishop Hall, in his Triumphs of Rome, thus describes
the Jovial Carnival of that city:
'Every man cries Sciolta, letting himself loose to the maddest of
merriments, marching wildly up and down in all forms
of disguises; each man striving to outgo others in
strange pranks of humorous debauchedness, in which
even those of the holy order are wont to be allowed
their share; for, howsoever it was by some sullen
authority forbidden to clerks and votaries of any kind
to go masked and misguided in those seemingly abusive
solemnities, yet more favourable construction hath
offered to make them believe it was chiefly for their
sakes, for the refreshment of their sadder and more
restrained spirits, that this free and lawless
festivity was taken up.'
In modern Rome, the masquerading in the streets and
all the out-of-door amusements are limited to eight
days, during which the grotesque maskers pelt each
other with sugar-plums and bouquets. These are poured
from baskets from the balconies down upon the maskers
in carriages and afoot; and they, in their turn, pelt
the company at the windows: the confetti are made of
chalk or flour, and a hundredweight is ammunition for
a carriage-full of roisterers.
The Races, however, are one of the most striking
out-of-door scenes. The horses are without riders, but
have spurs, sheets of tin, and all sorts of things
hung about them to urge them onward; across the end of
the Piazza del Popolo is stretched a rope, in a line
with which the horses are brought up; in a second or
two, the rope is ]et go, and away the horses fly at a
fearful rate down the Corso, which is crowded with
people, among whom the plunging and kicking of the
steeds often produce serious damage.
Meanwhile, there is the Church's Carnival, or the
Carnivale Sanctificato. There are the regular
spiritual exercises, or retreats, which the Jesuits
and Passionists give in their respective houses for
those who are able to leave their homes and shut
themselves up in a monastery during the whole ten
days; the Via Crucis is practiced in the Coliseum
every afternoon of the Carnival, and this is followed
by a sermon and benediction; and there are similar
devotions in the churches. In the colleges are given
plays, the scenery, drops, and acting being better
than the average of public performances; and between
the acts are played solos, duets, and overtures, by
the students or their friends.
The closing revel of the Carnival is the Moccoletti,
when the sport consists in the crowd carrying lighted
tapers, and trying to put out each other's taper with
a handkerchief or towel, and shouting Sens moccolo. M.
Dumas, in his Count of Monte Christo, thus vividly
describes this strange scene:
'The anoccolo or moccoletti are candles, which vary
in size from the paschal taper to the rushlight, and
cause the actors of the great scene which terminates
the Carnival two different subjects of anxiety: 1st,
how to preserve their Moccoletti lighted; secondly,
how to extinguish the moccoletti of others. The
moccolo is kindled by approaching it to a light. But
who can describe the thousand means of extinguishing
The gigantic bellows, the monstrous
extinguishers, the superhuman fans?
The night was
rapidly approaching: and, already, at the shrill cry
of Moccoletti! repeated by the shrill voices of a
thousand vendors, two or three stars began to twinkle
among the crowd. This was the signal. In about ten
minutes, fifty thousand lights fluttered on every
side, descending from the Palais de Venise to the
Plaza del Popolo, and mounting from the Plaza del
Popolo to the Palais de Venise. It seemed the fėte of
It is impossible to form any idea of
it without having seen it. Suppose all the stars
descended from the sky, and mingled in a wild dance on
the surface of the earth; the whole accompanied by
cries such as are never heard in any other part of the
world. The facchino follows the prince, the
transtavere the citizen: every one blowing,
extinguishing, relighting. Had old Æolus appeared at
that moment, he would have been proclaimed king of the
Moccoli, and Aquilo the heir-presumptive to the
throne. This flaming race continued for two hours: the
Rue du Cour was light as day, and the features of the
spectators on the third and fourth stories were
plainly visible. Suddenly the bell sounded which gives
the signal for the Carnival to close, and at the same
instant all the Moccoletti were extinguished as if by
enchantment. It seemed as though one immense blast of
wind had extinguished them all. No sound was audible,
save that of the carriages which conveyed the masks
home; nothing was visible save a few lights that
gleamed behind the windows. The Carnival was over.'
In Paris. the Carnival is principally kept on the
three days preceding Ash Wednesday; and upon the last
day, the procession of the Bænf-gras or Government
prize ox, passes through the streets; then all is
quiet until the Thursday of Mid-Lent, or Mi-caréme, on
which day only the revelry breaks out wilder then
RHYTHMICAL PUNS ON NAMES
One of the best specimens of this kind of
composition is the poem said to have been addressed by
Shakespeare to the Warwiekshire beauty, Ann Hathaway,
whom he afterwards married. Though his biographers
assert that not a fragment of the Bard of Avon's
poetry on this lady has been rescued from oblivion,
yet, that Shakespeare had an early disposition to
write such verses, may be reasonably concluded from a
passage in Love's Labour Lost, in which he says:
'Never durst poet teach a pen to write,
Until his ink were tempered with love's sighs.'
The lines, whether written by Shakespeare or not,
exhibit a clever play upon words, and are inscribed:
To the idol of my eye, and delight
of my heart, Ann Hathway
Would ye be taught, ye feathered throng,
love's sweet notes to grace your song,
To pierce the
heart with thrilling lay,
Listen to mine Ann Hathaway!
She hath a way to sing so clear,
wondering stop to hear.
To melt the sad, make blithe
And Nature charm, Ann hath a way;
She hath a way,
To breathe delight, Ann hath a way.
When Envy's breath and rancorous tooth
Do soil and bite fair worth and truth,
And merit to
To soothe the heart Ann hath a way.
She bath a way to chase despair,
To heal all grief, to
cure all care,
Turn foulest night to fairest day.
Thou know'st, fond heart, Ann hath a way;
She hath a way,
To make grief bliss, Ann hath a way.
Talk not of gems, the orient list,
The diamond, topaze, amethyst,
The emerald mild, the ruby gay;
of my gem, Ann Hathaway!
She hath a way, with her
Their various lustre to defy,
she, and the foil they,
So sweet to look Ann hath a
She hath a way,
To shame bright gems, Ann hath a way.
But were it to my fancy given
To rate her charms, I'd call them heaven;
For though a mortal made of clay,
Angels must love
She bath a way so to control,
the imprisoned soul,
And sweetest heaven on earth display,
That to be heaven Ann hath a way;
She hath a way,
To be heaven's self, Ann hath a way! '
When James I visited the house of Sir Thomas Pope
in Oxfordshire, the knight's infant daughter was
presented to the king, with a piece of paper in her
hands, bearing these lines:
'See! this little mistress here
Did never sit in
Neither a triple crown did wear;
And yet she is a Pope!
No benefice she ever sold,
Nor did dispense with sin for gold;
She hardly is a fortnight old,
And yet she is a Pope!
No king her feet did ever kiss,
Or had from her worse looks than this;
Nor did she
To saint one with a rope,
And yet she is a Pope!
"A female Pope!" you'll say—" a second Joan!"
sure—she is Pope Innocent, or none.'
The following on a lady rejoicing in the name of
Rain is not unworthy of a place here:
'Whilst shivering beaux at weather rail,
and snow, and wind, and hail,
And heat, and cold, complain,
My steadier mind is
On one sole object of content
I ever wish for Rain!
Hymen, thy votary's prayer attend,
His anxious hope
and suit befriend,
Let him not ask in vain;
His thirsty soul, his
His glowing breast commiserate
In pity give his Rain!
Another amorous rhymester thus writes:
On a Young
Lady Named Careless
Careless by name, and Careless by nature;
Careless of shape, and Careless of feature.
Careless in dress, and Careless in air;
Careless of riding, in coach or in chair.
Careless of love, and Careless of hate;
Careless if crooked, and Careless if straight.
Careless at table, and Careless in bed;
Careless if maiden, not Careless if wed.
Careless at church, and Careless at play;
Careless if company go, or they stay.
E'en Careless at tea, not minding chit-chat;
So Careless! she's Careless for this or for that.
Careless of all love or wit can propose;
She's Careless—so Careless, there's nobody knows.
Oh! how I could love thee, thou dear Careless thing!
(Oh, happy, thrice happy! I'd envy no king.)
Careful for once to return me my love,
I'd care not
how Careless to others you 'd prove.
I then should be
Careless how Careless you were;
And the more Careless
you, still the less I should care.'
Thomas Longfellow, landlord of the
inn at Brecon, must have pulled a rather long face,
when he observed the following lines, written on the
mantelshelf of his coffee-room:
Toni Longfellow's name is most justly his due:
his neck, long his bill, which is very long too;
the time ere your horse to the stable is led,
before he's rubbed. down, and much longer till fed;
Long indeed may you sit in a comfortless room,
Till from kitchen long dirty your dinner shall
Long the often-told tale that your host will
Long his face while complaining how long
Long may Longfellow long ere he see me
Long 'twill be ere I long for Tom Longfellow's
Nor has the House of Lords, or even the Church,
escaped the pens of irreverent rhyming punsters. When
Dr. Goodenough preached before the Peers, a wag wrote:
"T’is well enough, that Goodenough
Before the Lords
For, sure enough, they're had enough
Again, when Archbishop Moore, dying, was succeeded
by Dr Manners Sutton, the following lines were
'What say you? the Archbishop 's dead?
indeed!—Oh, on his head
May Heaven its blessings pour!
But if with such a
heart and mind,
In Manners we his equal find,
Why should we wish for M-ore?
Our next example is of a rather livelier
At a tavern one night,
Messrs More, Strange, and Wright
Met to drink and their good thoughts exchange.
More, "Of us three,
The whole will agree,
There's only one knave, and that's Strange."
"Yes," says Strange, rather sore,
"I'm sure there's one More,
A most terrible knave, and a bite,
Who cheated his mother,
His sister, and brother."
"Oh yes," replied More, "that is Wright."'
Wright again comes in very appropriately in these
On Meeting an Old Gentleman Named Wright
What, Wright alive! I thought ere this
That he was
in the realms of bliss!
Let us not say that Wright is
Merely for holding out so long;
But ah! 'tis clear, though we 're bereft
Of many a
friend that Wright has left,
Amazing, too, in such a
That Wright and left should thus change place!
that I'd go such lengths as quite
To think him left
because he's Wright:
But left he is, we plainly see,
Or Wright, we know, he could not be:
For when he
treads death's fatal shore,
We feel that Wright will
be no more.
He's, therefore, Wright while left; but, gone,
Wright is not left: and so I've clone.'
When Sir Thomas More was Chancellor, it is said
that, by his unremitting attention to the duties of
his high office, all the litigation in the Court of
Chancery was brought to a conclusion in his lifetime;
giving rise to the following epigram:
When More some years had Chancellor been,
No more suits did remain.
The same shall never more be seen,
Till More be there again.'
More has always been a favourite name with the
punsters—they have even followed it to the tomb, as is
shown in the following epitaph in St. Benet's
Churchyard, Paul's Wharf, London:
'Here lies one More, and no more than he.
and no more! how can that be?
Why, one More and no more may well lie here alone;
But here lies one More, and that's more than one.'
Punning epitaphs, however, are not altogether
rarities. The following was inscribed in Peter-borough
Cathedral to the memory of Sir Richard Worme:
'Does worm eat Worme? Knight Worme this truth
For here, with worms, lies Worme, a dish for worms.
Does Worme eat worm? Sure Worme will this deny;
For worms with Worme, a dish for Woruae don't lie.
'Tis so, and 'tis not so, for free from worms
'Tis certain Worme is blest without his worms.'
In the churchyard of Barro-upon-Soar, in
Leicestershire, there is another punning epitaph on
Here, in this grave, there lies a Cave:
We call a cave a grave.
If cave be grave and grave be Cave,
Then, reader, judge, I crave,
Whether cloth Cave lie here in grave,
Or grave here lie in Cave:
If grave in Cave here buried lie,
Then, grave, where is thy victory?
Co, reader, and report, here lies a Cave,
Who conquers death, and buries his own grave.'
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