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A very entertaining and curious account of ceremonies and superstitions still practised at Christmas time in France may be seen in our last volume, pp. 355-359.
Some ceremonies at Rome, at this period, are thus described by the author of 'A Narrative of three Years' Residence in Italy.'
On the evening of Christmas-day we were invited to Eugenio's festa. Eugenio is a boy of eight years old, the son of Baron Kniested, High Chamberlain to the King of Wirtemburgh, Curiosity to see a German custom, induced us to accept the invitation: we were shown into a spacious apartment, in which a platform was raised, covered with moss, on which were a number of Lilliputian horses, cows, sheep, and lambs, as if in the act of grazing. In the centre was fixed a tree with spreading branches, from which were suspended Eugenio's Christmas gifts. On a table in the same room, lay all his new and best clothes ; at the farther end a kind of stage was fitted up for the performance of Marionetti, with which the evening's entertainment was to close, and many a little eager eye was fixed on that spot. During the remainder of this month, there is a: Presepio, or representation of the manger in which our Saviour was laid, to be seen in many of the churches. That of the Ara Coeli is best worth seeing. That church occupies the site of the Temple of Jupiter, and is adorned with some of its beautiful pillars. On entering, we found daylight completely excluded from the church; and, until we advanced, we did not perceive the artificial light, which was so well managed as to stream in fluctuating rays from intervening silvery clouds, and shed a radiance over the lovely babe and bending mother, who, in the most graceful attitude, lightly holds up the drapery which half conceals her sleeping infant from the bystanders. He lies in richly embroidered swaddling clothes, and his person, as well as that of his virgin mother, are ornamented with diamonds and other precious stones; for which purpose we were informed, the princesses and ladies of highest rank lend their jewels. Groups of cattle grazing, peasantry engaged in different occupations, and other objects enliven the picturesque scenery; every living creature in the group, with eyes directed towards the Presepio, falls prostrate in adoration. In the front of this theatrical representation, a little girl, about six or eight years old, stood on a bench preaching extempore as it appeared, to the persons who filled the church, with all the gesticulation of a little actress, probably in commemoration of those words of the Psalmist quoted by our blessed Lord, Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, thou hast perfected praise,'
To add to their Christmas festivities, we will present our readers with two beautiful songs, one from the · Records of Woman and other Poems,' by that Sappho of the day, Felicia Hemans; and the other an offering to Time's Telescope, from the elegant and varied muse of Delta of Blackwood's Magazine.
A PARTING SONG,
When will ye think of me?--
Then let it be!
When will ye think of me?-
Then let it be !
When will ye think of me?
Then let it be!
Thus ever think of me!
Give me BUT THY Love.
If thy presence cheer me.
When thou smilest near me.
Happy 'twere, beloved one,
To thy fond arms retiring,
Are sweetest thoughts inspiring.
To hearts that ever knew love :
On the path of true love?,
To cherish and caress thee;
With all my heart to bless thee! DELTA.
26.-SAINT STEPHEN. Stephen was the first deacon chosen by the apostles: he was stoned to death in the
33.-See an anecdote in our last volume, p. 359. 27.-JOHN EVANGELIST. See
221. 28.-INNOCENTS. This day, often called Childermas Day, is set apart to celebrate the slaughter of the Jewish children by Herod, mentioned by Saint Matthew, and confirmed by Macrobius.--An account of the manner in which the funerals of young children are generally conducted, in Catholic countries, is given in T.T. for 1827, p.379.
EPITAPH on an INFANT.
[By S. T. Coleridge, Esq.!
Death came, with friendly care ;
Watis's Poetical Album.
To my Twin Boys.
[ By D. L. Richardson. ]
Londori Weekly Review. 31.- SAINT SILVESTER. Silvester was Bishop of Rome, succeeding Miltiades in 314: he died in 334.--For a carious custom in France, on this day, see our last volume, p. 360. On the last day of the year, our readers may peruse with advantage an eloquent passage from a celebrated modern author, entitled
The Last Time In one only situation can å man be placed where the awful doubt is converted into a tremendous certainty- not the sick patient on the bed of death, whose pulse beats faintly, and whose subsiding pain seems to announce the coming of his release. He may linger for hours; he may recover-the ray of hope beams, and those who love him share its brightness. His hours are not numbered. The sinking mariner clings to the last fragment of his ill-fated ship, and holds on while nature gives him strength; and as he mounts'the toppling wave, straips his anxious eyes in search of assistance. A vessel may heave in sight; he may be drifted to some kindly shore; his fate is not decided.
The unhappy wretch who alone lives his last day hopeless and in unmitigated misery, is the sentenced convict on the eve of execution; he sees and bears all that is passing round him with the terrible consciousness that it is for the last time.' He beholds the sun gleaming through the bars of his cell, in all bis parting brightness, and knows he sees his golden rays for the • last time;' he hears the prison clock record the fleeting minutes -how fastly fleeting to bim! throughout the night each hour
sounds to him for the last time. Seven strikes upon the bellat eight he dies! His wife, his children, his beloved parents, come to him: he stands amidst his family in the full possession of his bodlly health and all his mental faculties. He clasps them to his heart-they go : the door of his cell closes and shuts them from bis sight: he has seen them for the last time.'
He is summoned to the scaffold—the engine of death stands ready: he feels the pure air of heaven blow upon his face--the summer sun shines brightly; for the last time? he sees the green fields and the trees, and ten thousand objects familiar to us all. The cap is drawn over his tear-fraught eyes !-the objects vanish, never, never to be seen again by him! He hears for the last time' the sacred word of God from human lips; in another moment the death-struggle is on him, and he breathes for the • last time!
To him alone, then, is the exit from this world of cares regular and certain: in every other case it is a mystery when the last time' shall come. -Sayings and Doings, Third Series.
The Past Year.
[ By John Malcolm, ]
Another year has darkly flown;
Hath come and gone.
Gone with its feverish hopes and fears;
Its smiles and tears.
What may the mystic emblem be?
A shoreless sea ?
Of thee all nature utters speech;
Doth knowledge teach.
That ever restless sink and swell,
Thy ceaseless knell.
Each leaflet falling from the tree;
All breathe of thee.