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added, the only verse where Constantine is stated as giving Rome to Silvester, would have been sufficient, on account of the words puzza forte, to prohibit the poem.
Here I could not help begging Voltaire to allow me to remark, that greater objection had been made to the verses in which Ariosto expresses his doubts as to the resurrection of the human race at the end of the world. Speaking of the hermit, who wishes to prevent Rodomont making himself master of Isabella, the widow of Zerbin, he represents the African, tired of his remonstrances, laying hold of the hermit, and hurling him away with such violence, that, dashed against a rock, he remains in so profound a sleep-
“ Che al novissimo di forse sia desto."'* The word forse, which the poet used merely as a rhetorical ornament, caused a general clamour, which would probably have made Ariosto laugh.
" It is a great pity,” exclaimed Madame Denis, “ that Ariosto did not avoid exaggerations.” “ You are inistaken, my dear niece,” replied Voltaire,
even his exaggerations are well conceived and extremely beautiful.”
We now conversed on other subjects, all relating to literature; and at last his piece entitled “ L'Ecossaise," which had then been acted at Solothurn, became the topic of conversation. Voltaire remarked, that if it would afford me any pleasure to personate a character at his house, he would request Monsieur de Chavigny to prevail on his lady to play the part of Lindanet, and he himself would act the part of Monrose. I politely thanked him for his kindness, but declined the proposition, adding, that Madame de Chavigny was at Basil, and that I was obliged to continue my journey on the following day.
on the following day. Upon this he raised a loud cry, and put the whole company in an uproar, alleging that my visit would be an insult to him, unless I remained with him at least a week. · I told him I had come to Geneva expressly to see him, and having accomplished this, I had nothing else to detain me here.
V.“ Have you come to speak with me,” he asked, I should speak with you?”
C. “ I came here, above all things, for the sake of your conversation.”
V, “You must then stay at least three days longer. Dine with me every day, and we will converse together."
I accepted the offer, but returned to my inn, having much writing to do.
you wish that MILK AND HONEY, OR THE LAND OF PROMISE.
* That the last day only will perhaps awake him.
† Alluding to an adventure of Casanova in Solothurn, with which Voltaire had been made acquainted.
Sir BALAAM Barrow to Mr. JEREMIAH Dawson,
Journey to Brighton and Journey in America contrasted.—Landladies. Beggars.
Apples at Coach-door. Barmaid at Cuckfield. Ladder from Coach Top.-An Ame-
Whoever has taken, his loose nerves to tighten,
Ah! Jerry! how nobler a prospect engages
We dined on the road upon junks of boil'd yam,
I guess we had rather have no roads at all.
“ You don't seem to answer me, Mister; mayhap
These questions, I own, made me simper and stammer:
would let me have Cobbett on Grammar:
For want of that key, how I sigh when I miss The wit that is lock’d up in caskets like this, “ What's your daughter's name?”—“ Jane.”—“ Have you dined ?"
-“ Yes, a craw full.” “ I've an item of that.”—“ Aye?”—“ I hope she's not awful.”
Is your son his own boss?"--" Yes, he keeps by that hedge.” “ How's his health?”—“ Mighty grand, and his spirits are kedge! He bought his own store by an elegant trick, At a lag?"_“How's his bus'ness?”—“ Progressively slick." “ Tom's done up, I guess; but he wa'n't much to blame.” “How's Billy?”_" Clcard out.”—“ What an almighty shame !" “ I'll bet you a cent. he recovers his station.” “ Guess how much he owes me?”—“Ten dollars !"_" Tarnation!"
My tea is too weak: I am never so spry, “ As when I've a raft of good tea.”—" No, nor I.” “ Ma'am, where does your young one hang out ?”—“Doctor Tebb’s.
They put him last week in his abls and his elbs.
What a pity it is, that you poor British caititt's
You say that you're thinking to emigrate too,
ride in a cart wheri the weather is fogky?
THE NEW YEAR.
“ New year forth looking out of Janus' gate,
Doth seem to promise hope of new delight,
SPENSER. Whether or not it was at the commencement of a new year that Horace, two thousand years ago, exclaimed :
“ Eheu! fugaces Posthume, Posthume,
Labuntur anni," he has not informed us; but the exclamation itself was never more appropriate than it would have been at that season. The poet took a right view of the question, at all events; and directed his ideas to the comparatively large portion of time which had fleeted by, out of the span allotted to human life, and did not go with the multitude in its greetings of the term newly commenced. We fear this mode, however, will not entirely do for us to follow; we must, in some respect, yield to the many, and look upon the beginning of the new year as a time of merriment and glee,—of thankfulness for prolonged existence—of wishes to be fulfilled, and pleasures to be enjoyed.
We must not hint at the spirit of prodigality we evince when we forget, amidst our exultations, the additional portion of our little time which has passed away; but act somewhat on the principle of those Indian tribes that make great rejoicings at the deaths of their compatriots, and be merry that our sand of life is so much nearer exhaustion.
Be it so: and let us for a moment overlook the less valued quarter of the picture, and, in compliment to the prevailing taste, admire only the brighter parts. The antiquity of the custom of marking in a peculiar manner the opening of the new year seems beyond written history. The Jews, one of the oldest nations, had their civil and religious years, and celebrated the commencement of the latter. Their civil year began with the month Tisri, or September, and their sacred year with Nisan, a month answering to the latter part of March and the beginning of April. Moses altered the commencement of the Jewish year,
which until that time had probably been the same as the Egyptian, and he distinguished it by the feast of the Passover in the first month, Nisan, purposely to commemorate the escape of the Israelites from bondage. Though this festival was not fixed to commence on the first day of the month, it expressly belonged to the opening of the new year, All the first days of the months, or moons, were distinguished beyond the other days; but whether that day in the month Nisan was particularly observed, is unknown. Subsequently, the Jews kept the first day of the first civil month, Tisri; but, as no command to do so appears
How swiftly, O Posthumus, gli:le away our flying years.
among the institutes of Moses, its observance was, perhaps, derived from the customs of surrounding nations. Indeed, it might not have been observed by them at all until they became a people dispersed over the world, and no longer preserved their unity as a nation. The Jews have, however, long given splendid entertainments on that day, and passed the compliments of the season to each other, as the Romans did, and as we do now. This seems to shew that the ceremony of greeting each other was adopted by them at a comparatively late period of their history; and was, perhaps, learned from their conquerors after the destruction of Jerusalem.
The Greeks, as most ancient nations did, held the opening of the new year in great esteem. They had festive meetings to celebrate the commencement of the sun's annual course, but these were probably not confined to one day. In fact, the Greek nations differed as to the period when the year began. In the days of Homer they do not appear to have had
and months, though they reckoned time by At a later era, the Macedonians dated their new year from the autumnal equinox, and called the first month Dius. The old Arcadian year was first composed of three months and afterwards of four. The Acarnanians counted six months to their year. The ancient Athenian year began after the winter solstice; and they calculated by lunar months, while the other nations of Greece used solar ones. Meton reformed the Athenian calendar, and settled the beginning of the year after the summer solstice, from the first new moon, being about the latter end of June. The first month was called Hecatombaion, on account of the number of sacrifices offered up at that time of the year. This first month consisted of thirty days: it was anciently named Kronios or Kronion, from Kronia, or the festival of Saturn, the Saturnalia of the Romans, on which our festival of Christmas appears to have been engrafted, † though, among the Romans, it seems to have been kept at a different time of the year from the Greeks. The Spartans chose one of the Ephori, chief magistrate on new year's day, who was changed every year at the new moon after the autumnal equinox, and that year was always called by the name of the magistrate so chosen.
The different years of Romulus, Numa, and Julius Cæsar, among the Romans, with the successive improvements in computing their time adopted by that people are generally known. The first month of the year of Romulus, the latter consisting of ten months, was consecrated to Mars, answering to our March. Numa added two other months, making twelve, namely: January, so called from the God Janus, and February, from Februo, to purify; because the feasts of the purification were celebrated in that month. It may not be irrelevant to observe that, seven hundred years before Christ, the foundation of the Purification, or Candlemas, of the Roman Catholic and English churches may be traced ; thus shewing how the heathen customs were transmuted in the early ages into the simple rites of Christianity, and what gross corruptions took place in the Christian worship, which have been continued to our day. Julius Cæsar effected the last improvement in the Roman year, which afterwards differed nothing from that now in use. New Year's day, or, according to the Roman phraseology, the
Homer's Odyss. 2. v. 161.