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rinus officinalis) begin to open; the winter aconite (helleborus hiemalis), and the bear's foot (h. fœtidus), are in flower about the middle of the month; the mezereon (daphne m.) • breathes mild its early sweets; and the red dead-nettle (lamium purpureum) flowers under the shelter of southern hedges. The snowdrop (galanthus nivalis) seems on the point of blowing.
Ye simple snowdrops! firstlings of the year!
The common creeping crowfoot (ranunculus repens) is now in flower; and the crocus, if the weather be mild, appears above ground. Ivy casts its leaves; the catkin, or male blossom of the hazel (corylus avellana), unfolds; the flowers of the holly (ilex aquifolium) begin to open; and the leaves of the honeysuckle lonicera periclymenum) are quite out. Towards the end of January, the daisy (bellis perennis) is in full bloom. In naming this pretty flower, we willingly quote the beautiful lines of a sweet, but neglected, poet :—
Her1 divine skill taught me this,
G. WITHER 2,
The china rose (rosa chinensis and rosa semperflorens), till lately unknown to us, and at first considered only as a greenhouse plant, is now seen in blow
1 His Muse.
2 See Mr. Wordsworth's Poems, 8vo, 2 vols. 1815, for several poems on the Daisy.
in the open air, even in the month of December, often with its red buds mossed with frost. The wallflower (cheiranthus), periwinkle (vinca, major & minor), and heart's-ease (viola tricolor), are still in blow.
The golden saxifrage, called also golden moss, and stonecrop (chrysoplenium), in the absence of other flowers, affords its little aid to give life and beauty to the garden. The bramble (rubus fruticosus) still retains its leaves, and gives a thin scattering of green in the otherwise leafless hedges; while the berries of the hawthorn, the wild rose, and the spindle-tree, afford their brilliant touches of red. The twigs of the red dogwood, too, give a richness amid the general brown of the other shrubs.
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.
Hunting and shooting are among the favourite amusements of this season. Skating, also, is much practised by young persons.
Though the cheerful scenes of a great city, its glittering shops, passing thousands,' attractions of every kind, draw many try at this season, there are even now rural sounds,' which have much to the ear to please,' particularly when
and countless from the counrural sights and charm the eye,
the Sun extends his cheering beam,
And round their tops, in many a pendent row,
And laurels mix their glossy oval leaves;
Where these from storms the spacious greenhouse screen,
While striped geranium shows its tufts of red,
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 th manes the deceased. The Saxons named February sprout kele, on account of the sprouts of the cole-wort which began to appear in this month.
WHEN the words Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima (seventieth, sixtieth, and fiftieth), were first applied to denote these three Sundays, the season of Lent had generally been extended to a fast
1 That well-known beautiful flowering evergreen, commonly called Laurustinus.
of six weeks, that is, thirty-six days, not reckoning the Sundays, which were always celebrated as festivals.
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.
3. SAINT BLASE.
He was Bishop of Sebaste, in Armenia, and suffered martyrdom in 316, under the persecution of Licinius. Blase is the principal patron of Ragusa, and also of the woolcombers, who still keep a solemn guild at Norwich, in memory of their tutelar saint. 5.-SAINT AGATHA.
Saint Agatha suffered martyrdom under Decius, in the year 251. She was honourably descended, and very beautiful. Her personal charms soon attracted the notice of Quintianus, prætor or governor of the province; who, being unable to accomplish his base designs, ordered her to be scourged, and then imprisoned, for not worshipping the Pagan deities. After which, still persisting in the faith, she was put to the rack, burnt with hot irons, and had her breasts cut off. *6. 1685.-JAMES II BEGAN TO REIGN.
In many respects it must be owned that he was a virtuous man, as well as a good monarch. He was frugal of the public money; he encouraged commerce with great attention; he applied himself to naval affairs with success; he supported the fleet as the glory and protection of England. He was also zealous for the honour of his country; he was capa ble of supporting its interests with a degree of dignity in the scale of Europe. In his private life he was almost irreproachable; he was an indulgent parent, a tender husband, a generous and steady friend; in his deportment he was affable, though stately he be
stowed favours with peculiar grace; he prevented solicitation by the suddenness of his disposal of places: though scarce any prince was ever so generally deserted, few ever had so many private friends; those who injured him most were the first to implore his forgiveness, and, even after they had raised another. prince to the throne, they respected his person, and were anxious for his safety. To these virtues he added a steadiness of counsels, a perseverance in his plans, and courage in his enterprises. He was honourable and fair in all his dealings; he was unjust to men in their principles, but never with regard to their property. Though few monarchs ever offended a people more, he yielded to none in his love of his. subjects; he even affirmed, that he quitted England, to prevent the horrors of a civil war, as much as from fear of a restraint upon his person from the Prince of Orange. His great virtue was a strict adherence to facts and truth in all he wrote and said, though some parts of his conduct had rendered his sincerity in his political professions suspected by his enemies.-Macpherson.
*8. 1587.-MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS BEHEADED. This beautiful, accomplished, interesting, and unfortunate woman, after being ranked among the most abandoned of her sex for nearly two centuries, owing to the envy and malice of her rival cousin and sister, Queen Elizabeth, has at length found champions in Mr. Goodall, Mr. Tytler, and Mr. Whitaker, who have vindicated her character, and shown, that, if, in some respects, she was imprudent,-yet that she is more to be pitied than censured, and more pure than her calumniators, and that one of her greatest errors was, confiding in her who was seeking her life.
On Tuesday the 7th of February, the earls of Shrewsbury and Kent arrived at Fotheringay, and, demanding access to the queen, read in her presence the warrant for execution, and required her to prepare to die next morning. Mary heard them to the end,