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I love to listen when the year grows old
We can picmode of dissipating the reserve of ture, without incurring any charge of an English constitution, than by sub- romantic exaggeration, the cottage hind jecting it to the influence of a brisk hanging over his blazing faggots,
telling fire during the dark evenings of De- or listening to the tales of faithful love, cember. We may venture, indeed, to or goblin fear; or recounting, with remark, that, like the hoary vesture of blithesome glee and reiterated peals of a winter's morning, exhaling in the laughter, the frolics of his earlier days; solar light, so vanishes this repulsive nor heeding, unless to enhance the comfrost-work of the soul before the exhil- forts of his warm retreat, arating illumination of the social hearth.
The storm that blows It is also curious and pleasant to trace Without, and rattles on his humble roof. the effects of such relaxation on the two We can also paint, with equal faciligreat classes of mankind; to compare ty and truth, the gaiety, the wit, and the tranquil and elegant gratifications humour that sparkle by the fire-side of of the educated circles of both sexes in him who, with a few friends, alike disthe middle order of society, with the tinguished for their worth, their wisdom hearty but too often boisterous mirth and their taste, knows how to illuminate of the honest peasant in his chimney the dreariest night of winter corner. With both,however, rest those
With mirth that, after, no repenting draws. feelings of homefelt enjoyment, which so generally shun the halls of grandeur But where, except in the abodes of and of wealth, and which, most assu- rustic honesty or educated virtue, shall redly, keep far aloof from the mansions we find that heartfelt exhilaration, or
х ATHENEUM VOL. 10.
those pure and attic pleasures, which have given to the fire-sides of our countrymen a character so enviably sacred ? Highly privileged as we are in this repect, let us show our gratitude to Him who affords us these blessings, by extending our assistance to the poor cottager, who is now, perhaps, stretched on the bed of sickness, and is surrounded with a starving family. Think of his sufferings, at this inclement season, and let the perusal of the following eloquent, but not exaggerated, descriptions of them, induce you to give your mite towards their relief.
Now driving sleets and piercing whistling wind
'Tis on the prison.s finty floor,
And looks below!
Ah! no !
Man's desp'rate foe.
Ah! no !
False praise bestow !
Ah ! no!
Forbtars to flow ! Rain and wind are now very prevalent; and as severe frost seldom sets in till the latter end of the month, December may be reckoned the most unpleasant of the whole year. At other times, November is better entitled to this appellation, and ice and snow contribute io give to Christmas that union of frost and good cheer which form the usual character of this season. December has, occasionally, put on a milder form. In the year 1760, in this month, many pear-trees in the gardens about London appeared in blossom, and others were bursting into leaf; primroses and daisies were seen in the fields, and other indications of approaching spring. In a gentleman's garden in Cumberland there were marigolds and ten different kinds of flowers in full bloom, and all the trees in the garden in bud. On the 23d of January following, at Swansea,a gooseberry bush was observed with gooseberries on it, as large as cherry-stones ;
The Wintry Day.
Ah ! no !
Ah! no !
O'erwhelmed with woe;
and had the mild weather continued, it of the year. The whole race of insects, was thought that several sorts of sum- which filled every part of the summer mer fruit would have been ripe before landscape with life and motion, are now Easter. This extraordinary season either buried in profound sleep, or acwill remind the reader of a winter in tually no longer exist, except in the unItaly,
formed rudiments of a future progeny.
Many of the birds and quadrupeds (as Where no perpetual drizzle drires or soaks ; Where skies are bloe, and suns give light and heat ;
the frog, lizard, badger, hedgehog, &c.) Where the wind woos you lovingly, and where
are retired to concealments, from which Wit walks the street, and music's in the air. not even the calls of hunger can force
* The above lines (observes a mod- them; and the rest, intent only on a ern traveller, in a letter dated from Ve joyless life, have ceased to exert those nice in December 1817) comprise, in powers of pleasing, which, at other my opinion, the principal attractions seasons, contribute to their mutual hapof Italy, and I ought to confess, that I
piness as to the amusement of their have found all these without going far
human sovereign. ther south than Venice in pursuit of tiful cones, such as firs and pines, are
The evergreen trees with their beauthem. Till within these three days, we have had the weather of an English In the warmer countries, where shade .
now particularly observed and valued. May, with its accompaniments of green is more desirable, their worth and beaupeas, strawberries and roses. Italy's skies and suns have passed Virgil talks of the pine as being hand
ty are more regularly appreciated. into a proverb : but I have never yet somest in gardens : and it is a great. heard her comparative calm comment- favourite with Theocritus, especially for ed upon, though she affords a strange the fine sound of the air under its kind contrast in this to England; which
of vaulted roof. But we have flower may be compared to the island of
as well as leaves in winter-time; besides Ruach, whose inhabitants, Rabelais tells us, “ eat nothing but wind, drink
a few of last month, there are the aco
nite and hellebore, two names of very nothing but wind, and have no other houses but weather-cocks.” Not only of the flowering shrubs, which put forth
different celebrity ; in addition to some England ; I think every of Eu
their beauty at Christmas. rope which I have visited is more swept by winds than Italy, where continued greens and winter flowers are like real gales are unknown ; such rarely con- liar disposition, whether serious or gay,
friends, who, whatever be their pecutinuing, even in the season of the equi- will never forsake us. Even roses, with nox, for more than three or four days which we are apt to associate summer without intermission, so that a winter's gale of wind is here little more than ber inclusive ; and, during the winter
weather, flourish from May to Decemwhat seamen call a summer's gale in England. A striking proof indeed of months, will live and prosper in apart
We need not be without them comparative calm may be observed in from the first day of the year to the last. the public gardens of Venice. These are situated on the sea-side of the town,
LINES yet their acacias are neither bent nor broken. Something of which may be
Sent with a Cluster of December Roses. observed of the bays of Naples and I gathered these roses, my love, in July, Genoa, along both of which are thousands of trellised galleries, covered with As sweet to the scent, and as soft to the eye,
But, oh! not so lovely as these. the vine or the oleander, whose foliage remains undishevelled by the wind.'
For they were but one in a crowd of delights,
The children of sunshine and dev, From the fall of the leaf, and wither. When the days were all blessed, all blessed tlas ing of the herb, an unvarying deathlike
nights, torpor oppresses alınost the whole veg And the sky an unchangeable blue, etable creation, and a considerable part But these, when Dicumber is da k over head, of the animal, during this entire portion And the garden all leafless around,
When the roses were thick on the trees,
We cherish these buds as a voice from the dead, They should hare drawn thee by the high-beapt
hearth, As a well in the summer-scorched ground.
Old Winter ! seated in thy great arm chair, As the prisoner would cherish the strugglings of Watching the children at their Christmas mirth; light,
Or circled by them, as thy lips deelare That found their way into his cell,
Some merry jest, or tale of murder dire,
Pausing at times to move the languid fire,
In concluding our eighth annual surThere is one portion of the winter vey of frost and snow, of fruits, and (observes an amiable writer) when the flowers, and shrubs, -of birds and infire-side, from the customary convivial- sects,--and of the various beauties and ities of the period, becomes peculiarly curiosities of the Creation,—we cannot, attractive. I allude to the season of we think, render a more acceptable Christmas, a festival which, from a service to our readers, than earnestly vivid recollection of the manner of its to recommend to them the study of celebration in the North about forty Natural History. It is one of the most years ago, has been indissolubly asso- delightful occupations that can employ ciated in my mind with all the delight- the attention of reasoning man ;-the ful reminiscences of early life; blending engaging companion of every rural the rainbow visions of youth and unal- walk,-courting his attention with unloyed hope, with those religious feelings ceasing variety, and raising the humble and innocent recreations which give to mind to the first GREAT CAUSE, with the close of the year so hallowed, and, more gentle and sweet satisfaction than at the same time, so exhilarating an any other of his permitted resources; aspect. With what a soothing melan- excepting, perhaps, Astronomy,—a scicholy, as the blast sweeps across my ence too sublime for the contemplation shutters and whistles round my room, of common man.—Young minds cannot do I often sit by the fire-side on the be too early impressed with the simple dark nights of December, and call to wonders of Creation by which they are mind the festivo pleasures of a northern surrounded ; in the race of life they Christmas eve ;
may be passed by, the occupation of The happy night,
existence may not admit attention to That, to the cottage as the crown,
them ;-they may not be sufficiently Brought tidings of salvation down;
heeded among the unceasing cares of when, after having surrounded the yule- some bias to the reasoning mind,
the world, but yet will not fail to give clog, as it lay in ponderous majesty on may contribute to soothe the gloomy the kitchen foor, and each had sung hours of adversity. his yule-song, standing on its centre, we consigned it to the fames that I love to mark the pow'ret's eye,
To rest where pebbles form my bed, Went roaring up the chimney wide,
Where shapes and colours scattered lie
In varying millions round my head. and, tripping across the hall, sprang
The soul rejoices when alone, with joyous faces into the parlour, And feels her glorious empire free; where the tale, the dance, and the game, Sees GOD in every shining stone, the minced-pie, and the spiced bowl,
And revels in variety. rendered doubly sweet by the approv
Then tell me not that I shall grow ing smiles of our delighted parents,
Forlorn, that fields and woods will clos;
From Nature and her changes flow completed our satisfaction.
An everlasting tide of joy. • It is in combination with imagery
I grant that Summer heats will burn, such as this, which, in the morning of That keen will come the frosty night ; life, spread as it were a fairy mantle But both shall please : and each, in turn, over the severest rigours of the season ;
Yield Reason's most supreme delight. that winter, independent of the attrac
Build me a shrine, and I could kneel tions arising from its awful and sublime
To rural gods, or prostrate fall;
Did I not ste, did I not feel, scenery, ever after charms.'
That one GREAT SPIRIT governs all.
THE FLORIDA PIRATE.
A SERIES of misfortunes had un- thing must be done,” I exclaimed, start
expectedly thrown me upon a fo- ing up : “ If these are pirates, I will reign land, and entirely deprived me of join them. My profession will enable the means of subsistence. I knew not me to render them valuable services. I where to apply for relief, or how to shall be guilty of no crime in doing so ; avoid the alarming evils that threaten. —the law of nature compels me to vioed me on every side. I was on one of late the laws of man." I looked anxthe Bahama islands. I could not enjoy iously towards the schooner, which lay the temporary asylum I then possessed within half a mile of the shore, in hopes longer than two days, without involv- that I should see her boat approaching, ing myself in debts which I was unable and thus find means of speaking with to pay, and consequently bringing my the person who commanded her. person under the power of individuals, I waited upwards of an hour, but who, I was inclined to suspect, had could not discover that those on board nothing humare or generous in their made any preparation for coming characters. I wandered along the sea- ashore. It was now dark, and the beach shore, sometimes shuddering at the was silent and deserted.
I found a dreariness of my prospects, and some- small boat lying upon the sand ; and, times trembling lest the horrors of want having pushed her off, I cautiously emshould urge me to obtain the necessa- barked, and began to row towards the ries of life by concealing from others schooner—but, after a few strokes of the that I was in absolute poverty. oars, my resolution almost failed. I
When about a mile distant from the shuddered at the idea of forming a league small town where I lodged, my atten- with the outcasts of society, and rendertion was attracted by a schooner lying ing myself amenable to the laws of evat anchor behind a projecting point of ery civilized nation. The gloom of the land. I knew that vessels did not usu- night, the calmness of the ocean, and ally moor in such a situation, and in- the brightness of the sky, seemed to quired at a fisherman, whom I met on urge me to reflect upon what I was the beach, if he could tell me what the doing. I did reflect- I looked towards schooner did there? “I am not quite the town—a sense of the wretchedness sure,” returned he,“ but I rather sus- of my condition struck irresistibly upon pect she's a pirate. Those on board my mind,and I pushed furiously forward. of her are mostly blacks, and they seem When I had got within a short disvery anxious to keep out of sight. Had tance of the schooner, one of her crew she been a fair trader, she would have called out, “ Avast, avast! who have we come into the harbour at once. here ?" On reaching the side of the
This information startled me a good vessel,I said I wished to see the captain. deal. I became excessively agitated “What do you want with him ?" dewithout knowing the reason; and felt an manded the same voice. anxious desire to repress some idea that speak with him alone,” answered I. had, as it were, arisen in my mind, with- The questioner retired to the stern, and out my being conscious of its existence. I heard the sound of people talking, as
I left my informant,and seated myself is in consultation for a little time. I under a cliff. Half of the sun had disap- was then desired to come on board ; peared below the horizon. I watched and, the moment I stepped upon deck, his descending orb, and wished I could a negro led me towards a man who retard the flight of time, when I reflect- stood near the helm. ed, that, after the lapse of two days, I He was very tall and athletic, and of should perhaps be destitute of an asy- a jet black, and wore only a shirt and lum, and perishing from want. “ Some- white trowsers. His face had a bold
6 I must