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1724. Jan. 5. An extraordinary instance of longevity is contained in a letter dated the 29th of January, 1724, from M. Hamelbranix, the Dutch envoy at Vienna, to their high mightinesses the states general, and published in a Dutch dictionary, “Het Algemeen historisch, geographisch en genealogisch Woordenbock,” by Luiscius. It relates to an individual who had attained the extraordinary age of one hundred and eighty-five years. “Czartan Petrarch, by religion a Greek, was born in the year 1539, and died on the 5th of January, 1724, at Kofrosch, a village four miles from Temeswar, on the road leading to Karansebes. He had lived, therefore, a hundred and eightyfive years. At the time when the Turks took Temeswar from the Christians, he was employed in keeping his father's cattle. A few days before his death he had walked, with the help of a stick, to the post-house at Kofrosch, to ask charity trom the travellers. His eyes were much inflamed, but he still enjoyed a little sight. His hair and beard were of a greenish, white colour, like mouldy bread; and he had a few of his teeth remaining. His son, who was ninety-seven years of age, declared his father had once been the head taller; that at a great age he married
for the third tituc; and that he was born in this last marriage. He was accustomed, agreeably to the rules of his religion, to observe fast days with great strictness, and never to use any other food than milk, and certain cakes, called by the Hungarians kollatschen, together with a good glass of brandy, such as is made in the country. He had descendants in the fifth generation, with whom he sometimes sported, carrying them in his arms. His son, though ninety-seven, was still fresh and vigorous. When field marshal count Wallis, the commandant of Temeswar, heard that this old man was taken sick, he caused a portrait of him to be painted, and when it was almost finished he expired.” 1808. Ealry in January, this year, the shaft of death supplied another case of longevity. At the advanced age of 110 years, died Dennis Hampson, the blind bard of Maggiligan, of whom an interesting account has been given by lady Morgan, in “The Wild Irish Girl." The “Athenæum,” from whence this notice is extracted, relates, that only a few hours before his decease he tuned his harp, that he might have it in readiness to entertain sir H. Bruce's family, who were expected to pass that way in a few days, and who were in the habit of stopping to hear his music; suddenly, however, he felt the approach of death, and calling his family around him resigned his breath without a struggle, and in perfect possession of his faculties to the last moment. A kindred spirit produced the following tribute to the memory of this “aged son of song.” He was the oldest of the Irish bards
Yes, oft hast thou sung of our kings crown d with glory,
And oft hast thou sung of the bards famed in story,
Thy grave shall be screen'd from the blast and the billow,
Her youths shall lament thee, and carol thy praise.
This is the eve of the Epiphany, or Twelfth-night eve, and is a night of preparation in some o of England for the metriments which, to the present hour, distinguish Twelfth-day. Dr. Drake mentions that it was a practice formerly for itinerant minstrels to '-war a bowl of spiced-wine to the houses of the gentry and others, from whom they expected a hospitable reception, and, calling their bowl a wassail-bowl, to drink wassail to their entertainers. These merry sounds of mirth and music are not extinct There are still places wherein the wandering blower of a clarionet, and the poor scraper
of as poor a fiddle, will this evening strain their instruments, to charm forth the rustic from his dwelling, and drink to him from a jug of warm ale, spiced with a race of ginger, in the hope of a pittance for their melody, and their wish of wassail. Of the wassail-bowl, much will appear before the reader in the after pages of this work. In certain parts of Devonshire, the farmer, attended by his workmen, with a large pitcher of cider, goes to the orchard this evening; and there, encircling one of the best bearing trees, they drink the following toast three times:
“Here's to thee, old apple-tree,
This done, they return to the house, the doors of which they are sure to find bolted by the females, who, be the weather what it may, are inexorable to allentreaties to open them till some one has guessed at what is on the spit, which is generally some nice little thing, difficult to be hit on, and is the reward of him who first names it. The doors are then thrown open, and the lucky clodpole receives the tit-bit as his recompense. Some are so superstitious as to believe, that if they neglect this custom, the trees will bear no apples that year. To the preceding particulars, which are related in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1791, may be added that Brand, on the authority of a Cornishman, relates it as a custom with the Devonshire people to go after supper into the orchard, with a large milk-pan full of tider, having roasted apples pressed into it. “Out of this each person in company takes, what is called a clayen cup, that is an earthenware cup full of liquor, and tlanding under 2ach of the more fruitful
apple-trees, passing by those that are not good bearers, he addresses it in the fol. lowing words: “Health to thee, good apple-tree, Well to bear, pocket-fulls, hat-fulls, Peck-fulls, bushel-bag-fulls :’ And then drinking up part of the contents, he throws the rest, with the fragments of the roasted apples, at the tree. At each cup the company set up a shout.” Pennant, in his tour in Scotland, says respecting this custom, that after they have drank a cheerful glass to their master's health, with success to the future harvests, and expressed their good wishes in the same way, they feast off cakes made of caraways and other seeds soaked in cider, which they claim as a reward for their past labours in sowing the grain. “This,” says Pennant, “seems to resemble a custom of the ancient Danes, who, in their addresses to their rural deities emptied, on every invocation, a cup in honour of them.” So also Brand tells us that, in Here
fordshire, “at the approach of evening on the vigil of the twelfth day, the farmers, with their friends and servants, meet together, and about six o'clock walk out to a field where wheat is growing. In the highest part of the ground, twelve small fires and one large one are lighted up. The attendants, headed by the master of the family, pledge the company in old cider,which circulates freely on these occasions. A circle is formed round the large fire, when a general shout and hallooing takes place, which you hear answered from all the adJacent villages and fields. Sometimes fifty or sixty of these fires may be all seen at once. This being finished, the comvany return home, where the good housewife and her maids are preparing a good supper. A large cake is always provided, with a hole in the middle. After supper, the company all attend the bailiff (or head of the oxen) to the wain-house, where the following particulars are observed. The master, at the head of his friends, fills the cup, (generally of strong ale,) and stands opposite the first or finest of the oxen. He then pledges him in a curious toast : the company follow his example with all the other oxen, addressing each by his name. This being finished, the large cake is produced, and, with much ceremony, put on the horn of the first ox, through the hole above-mentioned. The ox is then tickled, to make him toss his head : if he throw the cake behind, then it is the mistress's perquisite; if before, (in what is termed the boosy,) the bailiff himself claims the prize. The company then return to the house, the doors of which they find locked, nor will they be opened tili some joyous songs are sung. On their gaining admittance, a scene of mirth and jollity ensues, and which lasts the greatest part of the night.” Mr. Beckwith relates in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1784, that “near Leeds, in Yorkshire, when he was a boy, it was customary for many families, on the twelfth eve of Christmas, to invite their relations, friends, and neighbours, to their houses, to play at cards, and to partake of a supper, of which minced pies were an indispensable ingredient; and after supper was brought in, the wassail cup or wassail bowl, of which every one partook, by taking with a spoon, out of the ale, a roasted apple, and eating it, and then drinking the healths of the company out of the bowl, wishing them a merry Christmas and a happy new year. (The festi
val of Christmas used in this part of (ne country to hold for twenty days, and some persons extended it to Candlemas.) The ingredients put into the bowl, viz. ale, sugar, nutmeg, and roasted apples, were usually called lambs'-wool, and the night on which it is used to be drunk (generally on the twelfth eve) was commonly called Wassil eve.” The glossary to the Exmore dialect has “Watsail—a drinking song on twelfth-day eve, throwing toast to the apple-trees, in order to have a fruitful year, which seems to be a relic of the heathen sacrifice to Pomona.” Brand found it observed in the ancient calendar of the Romish church, that on the fifth day of January, the eve or vigil of the Epiphany, there were “kings created or elected by beans;” that the sixth of the month is called “The Festival of Kings;” and “that this ceremony of electing kings was continued with feast:::g for many days.” Twelfth-night eve or the vigil of the Epiphany is no way observed in London. There Twelfth-day itself comes with little of the pleasure that it offered to our forefathers. Such observances have rapidly disappeared, and the few that remain are still more rapidly declining. To those who are unacquainted with their origin they afford no associations to connect the present with former ages; and without such feelings, the few occasions which enable us to show a hospitable disposition, or from whence we can obtain unconstrained cheerfulness, will pass away, and be remembered only as having been.
Close holiday at all public offices xcept Stamp, Customs, and Excise. St. Melanius. St. Peter. St. Vilamsnon. St. Peter was a disciple of Gregory the Great, the first abbot of St. Augustine's monastery at Canterbury, and drowned in 608 while proceeding on a voyage to France. According to Cressy, the inhabitants buried his body without knowing any thing about him, till “a heavenly light appeared every night over his sepulture,” when they held an inquest, and a count Fumert buried him in th: church of Boulogne. From a quotation in Patrick, it appears that a weasel who gnawed his robe was found dead upon it for his sauciness.
The Rev Thomas Dudley Fosbroke, M.A. F. A. S., &c. whose “Encyclopædia of Antiquities" has been already cited from, is the author of “British Monach1sm, or, Manners and Customs of the Monks and Nuns of England,” 4to. 1817; a most erudite work, wherein he gives an account, from Du Cange, of the Feast of the Star, or Office of the Three Kings, a catholic service performed on this day. “Three priests, clothed as kings, with their servants carrying offerings, met from different directions o the church 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 recentor began a responsory, ‘Let the Magi come.’ A procession then commenced, and as soon as it began to enter the nave, a crown like a star, hanging before the 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 showed 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 in the mean while 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."
Mr. Fosbroke adds, that 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. The three persons honoured by this service, and called kings, were the three wise men who, in catholic works, are usually denominated the Three Kings of Cologue. Cressy tells us, that the empress, Helena, who died about the year 328, brought their bodies from the cast to Constonunople; from whence they were
transferred to Milan, and afterwards, in 1164, on Milan being taken by the emperor Frederick, presented by him to the archbishop of Cologne, who put them in the principal church of that city, “ in oil. place,” says Cressy, “they are to this day celebrated with great veneration.” Patrick quotes a prayer to them from the Romish service, beginning “O, king Jas
ar, king Melchior, king Balthasar;” and
e says that the Salisbury Missal states their offerings to have been disposed of in this way:-"Joseph kept of the gold as much as him needed, to pay his tribute to the emperor, and also to keep our lady with while she lay in childbed, and the rest he gave to the poor. The incense he burnt to take off the stench of the stable there as she lay in ; and with the myrrh, our lady anointed her child, to keep him from worms and disease.” Patrick makes several observations on the service to these three kings of Cologne, and as to the credibility of their story; and he inquires what o prayer will do to Jaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, when another tradition says their names were Apellius, Amerus, and Damascus; a third, that they were Magalath, Galga. lath, and Sarasin; and a fourth, Ator Sator, and Peratoras which last, Patrick says, he should choose in this uncertainty to call them by, as having the more kingly sound, if it had not been that Casaubon represents these three, “together with Misael, Achael, Cyriacus, and Stephanus, (the names of the four shepherds that came to visit our Lord in Bethlehem,) had been used (and he telis how) for a charm to cure the biting of serpents and other venomous beasts.” Patrick gives other }. to these three kings, one of them rom the “Hours of the Virgin,” and also quotes this miraculous anecdote; that one John Aprilius, when he was hanged, implored the patronage of the three kings of Cologne; the consequence of which seems to have been, that after he had been hung three days and was cut down, he was found alive; whereupon he came to Cologic half naked, with his halter about his neck, and returned thanks to his deliverers