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to, but more delicate than, asparagus, now begins to sprout. The male blossoms of the yew-tree expand and discharge their farina. Sparrows are busily employed in forming their nests. Young lambs are yeaned this month.
In March the farmer dresses and rolls his meadows; spreads ant hills; plants quicksets, osiers, &c.; sows flax seed, artificial grasses, beans and peas, broom and whin seeds, and grass seeds among wheat. About the 23d, he ploughs for and sows oats, and hemp and flax. A dry season is very important to the farmer, that he may get the seed early into the ground.
Forth fly the tepid airs; and unconfined
Winds the whole work, and sidelong lays the glebe.
APRIL is derived from Aprilis, of aperio, I open; because the earth, in this month, begins to open her bosom for the production of vegetables.
In APRIL 1820.
1.-EASTER EVE. PARTICULAR mortifications were enjoined to the earliest Christians on this day. From the third century, the fast was indispensable and rigid, being protracted always to midnight, sometimes to the cock-crowing, and sometimes to the dawn of Easter-day; and the whole of the day and night was employed in religious affairs.
1. ALL POOLS' DAY. On this day every body strives to make as many fools as he can: the wit chiefly consists in sending persons on what are called sleeveless errands, for the history of Eve's mother, for pigeon's milk, stirrup oil, and similar ridiculous absurdities. * 1. 1405.-TAMERLANE THE GREAT DIED.
2.-EASTER DAY, or EASTER SUNDAY. Much difference of opinion prevailed in the Eastern and Western churches respecting the precise time of observing Easter; till, in 325, the Council of Nice declared that the feast should be kept by all churches on the same day. Easter is styled by the fathers the highest of all festivals, the feast of feasts, the queen of festivals, and Dominica Gaudii, the joyous Sunday. Masters granted freedom to their slaves at this season, and valuable presents were made to the
poor, The august ceremonies performed at Rome on this day, Whitsunday, and other festivals, are noticed in T. T. for 1815, p. 165: the magnificent pageant at Moscow, on account of the Resurrection, is also described at p. 90 of the same volume. For a variety of old English customs observed at Easter, we refer to T.T. for 1814, pp. 82-84.
As we have recommended books for the perusal of
our readers during Passion Week, so we cannot do better than remind them, for this week, of West's Observations upon the History of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and Bp. Sherlock's Trial of the Witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus.
3, 4.-EASTER MONDAY and TUESDAY. Every day in this week was formerly observed as a religious festival, sermons being preached, and the sacrament administered. In many places, servants were permitted to rest from their usual employments, that they might constantly attend public worship. During fifteen days, of which the paschal solemnity consisted, the courts of justice were shut, and all public games, shows, and amusements, were prohibited. It is unnecessary to observe that this practice has long ceased, and that the Easter week is usually devoted to relaxation and amusement.
The great amusement of the Easter-holidays in antient times consisted in playing at hand-ball, a game at which, says the ritualists Belithus and Durandus, bishops and archbishops used, upon the continent at this period, to recreate themselves with theirinferior clergy; nor was it uncommon for corporate bodies on this occasion in England to amuse themselves in a similar way with their burgesses and young people. Antiently this was the custom, says Mr. Brand, at Newcastle, at the feasts of Easter and Whitsuntide, when the mayor, aldermen, and sheriff, accompanied by great numbers of the burgesses, used to go yearly at these seasons to the Forth, or little mall of the town, with the mace, sword, and cap of maintenance carried before them, and not only countenance, but frequently join in the diversions of hand-ball, dancing, &c.
The constant prize at hand-ball, during Easter, was a tansy-cake, supposed to be allusive to the bitter herbs used by the Jews on this festival. Selden, the contemporary of Shakspeare, speaking of our chief holidays, remarks, that our Meats and Sports have much of them relation to Church-works.
The coffin of our Christmas pies, in shape long, is in imitation of the Cratch: our chusing kings and queens on Twelfth Night, hath reference to the three kings. So likewise our eating of fritters, whipping of tops, roasting of herrings, Jack of Lents, &c. they are all in imitation of church-works, emblems of martyrdom. Our tansies at Easter have reference to the bitter herbs ; though at the same time 'twas always the fashion for a man to have a gammon of bacon, to show himself to be no Jew.' Fuller has noticed this Easter game under his Cheshire, where, explaining the origin of the proverb, “When the daughter is stolen shut Pepper Gate,' he says, “The mayor of the city had his daughter, as she was playing at ball with other maidens in Pepper-street, stolen away by a young man through the same gate, whereupon he caused it to be shut up.' (Dr. Drake's Shakspeare, vol. i, p. 146.)
Easter Monday is the day appointed by law for the choosing of churchwardens, and was, till very lately, for overseers and constables also, in every parish. As so much of the order, and prosperity, and happiness of every particular parish, and consequently of the nation at large, depends upon the proper discharge of these offices, we wish
at more care was generally taken in the choice of them. See an admirable Charge to Churchwardens by the present venerable Bishop of Durham, in the 3d vol. of The Reports of the Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor; and another to Overseers, by the late excellent Sir Thomas Bernard, in vol. i of the same work.
3.-RICHARD, Bishop. Richard, surnamed de Wiche, from a place in Worcestershire where he was born, was educated at the Universities of Oxford and Paris. He was as remarkable for his learning and diligence in preaching, as he was for integrity.
*3. 1736.-J. A. PABRICIUS DIED, A celebrated German divine, professor of Eloquence at Hamburg, and author of several learned works, chiefly Bibliographical, equal to at least 30 vols. in 8vo.
*3. 1632.-GEORGE HERBERT DIED. He was Public Orator of the University of Cambridge, and author of a collection of Sacred Poems called The Temple, as well as an admirable book on the pastoral care, called 'A Priest to the Temple,' which should be the vade-mecum of every clergyman. He published also a collection of Sayings, under the title of · Jacula Prudentum.'
4.-SAINT AMBROSE. Our saint was born about the year 340, and was educated in his father's palace, who was Prætorian Præfect of Gaul. He ruled over the see of Milan with great piety and vigilance for more than twenty years; during which time, he gave all his money to pious uses, and settled the reversion of his estate upon the church.
He converted the celebrated St. Augustine to the faith, and, at his baptism, composed that divine hymn, so well known in the church by the name of Te Deum. He died, aged fifty-seven, A.D. 396.
*5. A.D. 33.-RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD. The noble and sublime doctrine of the Resurrection receives illustration from the resuscitation of Nature, after the ravages and desolations of Winter. Thus the pious and sensible observer of the, rolling seasons has his faith confirmed and his hope animated.
O tell me not, most subtle disputant,