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of the rowan-tree, which whoever carries may defy the devil and all his works; and often at one corner of their purses will be discovered a bent coin, which is considered lucky. When first you hear the cuckoo sing, you should have money in your pocket if you wish to be fortunate. Indeed I believe our ancestors considered it unlucky to be without money at any time; and we moderns have retained a strong phrase which marks poverty as an unwelcome guest,-an empty pocket being proverbially the abode of the devil. Formerly there was a great charm in always having a guinea in your pocket: I have forgotten the tradition, but no one has yet arisen to consider it unlucky. Tusser in his "Goode Husbandrie" has preserved many of these old practices, and enumerates several customs which our antiquaries have not yet taken the trouble to investigate. Several of these passages I have marked, and shall some day throw what little light I possess upon them from customs which are extant even now in the North of England. Jenner thus describes the signs of the weather:
"The hollow winds begin to blow,
The clouds look black, the glass is low;
The smoke from chimneys right ascends,—
At dusk the squalid toad was seen
Behold the rooks, how odd their flight!
They imitate the gliding kite;
In fiery red the sun doth rise,
Then wades through clouds to mount the skies.
No working in the fields to-morrow."
"Our Saxon ancestors," says Verstegan, "called February Sprout-kele; by kele meaning the kele-wort, which we now call the colewort, the potwort, in time long past most used by our ancestors, and the broth made therewith was also called kele.* For before we borrowed the term potage from the French, the only one in our language was called kele, and the other wort: and as this kele-wort, or potage herb, was the chief winter-wort for the sustenance of the husbandman, so was it the first herb that in this month began to yield wholesome young sprouts ;-it consequently gave it the name of Sprout-kele. The kele here mentioned is the well-known kale of the cabbagetribe. But the Saxons likewise called this month Salmonath, which Dr. Frank Sayers, in his Disquisition,' says is explained by Bede, and rendered by Spelman, in an inedited manuscript, Pancake month,' because in the course of it cakes were offered to Sol, the sun. The custom of ringing pan
* I have no doubt that the real meaning of the word keel, in Shakspeare's song of Winter, is to put herbs into the pot when making broth." While greasy Jean doth keel the pot." I observe "cool" in nearly all the margins. Query-why should Jane cool the pot?-T. M.
cake-bell still exists in the country, and at Gainsborough in Lincolnshire commences at eleven o'clock, and it is considered unlucky to commence frying them before the bell has rung. Cock-fighting matches also take place at this time; and Shrovetide is a general holiday in the country, when foot-ball, wrestling, nor-spell, and other games are played. There is not perhaps a more healthful game in existence than that of foot-ball: the shouting, the struggling of the opposite parties, "forty feet kicking like one," and all trying to drive it as many ways; while some little urchin crouches under the legs of his taller adversaries, and calling "Time," bears it off to a remote corner of the field, where he enjoys the first kick. These are the pictures that give animation to a village-common. I abominate cock-fighting-it is a cruel pastime and foot-ball, cricketmatches, and such like sports, do no harm, and much good, by bringing health to the frame, and at night sound slumbers.
Sturm in his "Reflections" has the following remarks on fog: Fog, or mist, is formed of exhalations, which occupy the lower region of the atmosphere: they arise from the earth, and are condensed by the greater coldness of the surrounding air. During the continuance of a mist, a grey mantle is spread over the face of Nature; every object is imperfectly seen and enveloped in obscurity: the eye often in vain attempts to pierce the thick curtain; all is confused and indistinct, until the rising sun slowly disperses the vapours, and the surrounding objects are restored to our view, while the heavens resume their wonted light and beauty. The mist is, however, still seen on the earth; but it is close to the ground, or hangs on the roofs of houses, and the horizon, so long veiled from sight, again opens upon us. How uncertain and inconstant is the serenity of the sky at this season! How little are we able to rely with certainty upon the possession of the beneficent rays of the sun! At present he shines with unclouded majesty; but soon the clouds will thicken, and perhaps before noon the splendour and the beauty which in the morning shone upon the earth may be eclipsed;"
"When the sun's highest point
The alder-tree begins to disclose its flower-buds at the end of this month. It is perhaps the most picturesque, excepting the weeping willow, of the aquatic trees: its ramification and foliage are very beautiful. Some of the old alders, which are full of knots, possess all the richness of the curled maple, having also a deep red tint which produces a fine effect in furniture. They are great ornaments to river-scenery, and sometimes grow in such a bold form as to resemble the oak; and, but for the great depth of their green tints, might be mistaken for that tree. The alder frequently attains great beauty by age, and may occasionally be seen in perfection in some of those quiet valleys around Dorking and Mickleham, and the pleasant groves of Esher.
The catkins of the hazel also become visible about this time ; that lovely inhabitant of our old woods springing up beneath the taller trees in summer with a light transparent foliage that may dare to wave in competition of beauty with the proudest in-dweller of the forest. Dear is the remembrance of its smoothly-polished branches, which furnished us many a time in our boyhood with fishing-rods; but dearer still the recollection of those days when we wandered forth in all the enthusiasm of youth, with fair companions by our side, to gather the brown clusters in autumn, when a nutting-party was our greatest delight. It is thus that we should enjoy the beauties of a country, by gathering remembrances of past scenes, which furnish the mind with subjects for contemplation, and the thoughts with silent language. There is scarcely an object in creation that is not in some measure associated with ourselves if we see an oak, it perhaps recalls the recollection of a dear friend who is now no more or far away, with whom
we have held sweet converse under the shadow of such a tree. A simple flower may bring to mind the beloved companions of other years, with whom we have often wandered in springs long gone by, to gather flowers in the green lanes, and on the sunny banks by wood-sides.
Some have objected to the beauties of English scenery on account of its tameness. They want wild and lofty mountains, jagged and inaccessible, with frightful pine-forests. hanging over dreadful precipices, and dark chasms which echo to tumbling torrents, and turn the head giddy to look down. upon; lonely rocks, and lonelier ruins; savage caverns, and rugged plains unbroken by the ploughshare; wide desolate lakes and defiles, and gaping abysses over which the screaming eagle only soars. Truly these are majestic pictures; but instead of filling the mind with images of pleasure, they store it with ideas of awe and melancholy grandeur. There is more delight to be found in our pastoral valleys, our old woods and green hill-tops, than in these terrible palaces of Nature. They are associated in our minds with banditti, and brave men whose lives were hunted like those of savage beasts. But the former bring thoughts of comfort, May-games, and harvesthomes, the sound of village-bells, the songs of a happy peasantry, and all those sounds
-"When oft, at evening-close,
'he watch-dog's voice that bay'd the whispering wind,