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Gazette of the Fashionable world.

No. 297.




pomp, and a cake was offered up to him, in which


we may trace the origin of the modern Twelfth

Our attention has been called to this subject

So persuaded were the Romans that the em- subject which ought to prove interesting to the

ployment of the first day of the new year had a taste and feelings of every Briton—by the apGezat institutions have perished, while others, decided influence on that of all the others, that pearance of an unpretending volume of trazisthe most frivolous, have survived the wreck of the artists and workmen generally devoted a part atlantic poetry,* published in the sister isle. time, and have, through the lapse of ages, been of that day to labour to avert the omen of inac- When we opened this volume, we endeavoured transmitted down to us. Of this number, is the tivity.

to divest our mind of home-prejudice; in other custom of making presents, on the first day of the new year; for the original type of which we

On that day, too, the Consuls elect took office words, to curb that national feeling, which is a must go back to the time of the Romans.

and repaired to the Capitol, where they sacrificed virtue when not carried to excess, but which

to Jupiter Capitolinus; while the Flamens ad becomes a vice when it renders us blind to all Impressed with the belief that auguries of the dressed their prayers to heaven for the pros talent save that which is of English growth. future might be drawn from the first things perity of the empire and the health of the Genius is not confined to this or to that spot : which they did, saw, or heard, that superstitious Emperor.

it is a denizen of the wide and populous earth ; it people equally imagined that, one first day of

Under the reign of Augustus, the people, the should therefore be warmly and honestly greeted, the new year, no prayer was addressed in vain to Knights

, and the Senate, waited on the

Emperor whether we behold it in the ripened summer of the ears of the gods. Two very curious monu

to present him with their New Year's Gifts; classic cultivation, or in the germ,—even as the ments have been preserved of the votive offerings and, in his absence, they were deposited in the rose, ere its leaves have opened to receive the of the Romans on this occasion. They are two Capitol

. The money given on these occasions kisses of the sun,—even as the untaught bird, little rases of baked clay, upon the first of which

was never employed in the personal expenditure which pours forth a gush of melody in the green are the words. “ Annum novum faustum, felicem of the Prince, but was devoted to the purchase savanna, or on those untrodden hills where the tibi " " Opto” being understood; and, upon of the statues of the gods

. Tiberius, finding that eagle broods and the storm musters its artillery. the second, the same phrase, but in which the this ceremony occupied too much of the people's And we do not hesitate to assert, that in many words " Mihi et filio” are substituted for the time for it sometimes lasted more than a week poems of the present collection, more especially tibi " of the first.

-restricted its exercise to the first day of those which bear the names of Bryant, Percival, To these votive offerings visits and presents January. But his successors, Caligula and Clau- Brainard, Willis and Lydia Sigourney, we trace were added, the latter consisting of dates and figs, dian, were not of the same opinion: the former che presence of that power which places man BUT

a little below the angels." which were frequently enveloped in leaves of gave out, that he would condescend at any time gold: these presents were emblematic of the to receive presents; while the latter proscribed The first: named poet we shall, of course, notice sweets of happiness which they wished their rela. the custom altogether; which, notwithstanding-firsts. There is a greatness of conception, and a tions or friends during the forthcoming year. the imperial anathema, was still perpetuated in prodigaliųj of tancy about Bryant, which are well The clients offered their patrons a piece of money private life.

fittegro describe the scenes of his fatherland in token of submission and tribute ; and, at a later

that land where nature presents to us the features

Christianity, which dissipated so many profane period this became to the haughty patrician a source traditions, in no respect affected those connected and bearing of a giant—that land, where all of considerable revenue. These annual offerings with the first day of the new year. But the things wear the impress of an antediluvian world, received the name of Strennæ; from which the church consecrated this day to fasting and prayer,

save the dewy morn when it breaks above some modern French term, Etrennes, is probably de- as an expiation of the licentiousness to which the

cot nestled on the green but sunny side of a rived. We are indebted to Nonius Marcellus people gave themselves up. In the early ages of grassy valley, with its woodbine-shadowed casefor the etymology of the word. On the first day Christianity, the custom of presenting the Em- ment, its martin's nest, and its familiar sparrow of the new year, which, at that period, fell on the peror and magistrates with New Year's Gifts was

chirping on the house-top, as chirped an English first of March, Tatius, King of the Sabines

, and still preserved; but the fathers of the church, and sparrow in the home of our childhood. the associate of Romulus, received a present, the councils, exclaimed against the abuse, and it

Yes! Bryant has the true material of poetry which he looked upon as a happy augury: it

about him ; raw material, it may, by some, was abolished; but from the moment that New consisted of some branches, cut in a wood con

Year's Gifts became the emblems of friendship perhaps, be deemed, -still, it is such material as, secrated to Strenna, the Goddess of Strength. and goodwill , and were purged of all the hea did favouring circumstance permit

, which it does Flattered with this gift, so complimentary to his thenish ceremonies, the church revoked its not—for America is at present a mercantile courage, Tatius observed that it might be re- sentence.

rather than a literary land—might be wrought newed every year; and he named those presents

into a fabric that would outlive our day.

In modern times, the French, above all other Strenne, after the divinity to whom he conse- nations, have preserved this custom in its greatest suggest that had Bryant's muse been duly nur

Shall we be deemed irreverent if we venture to erated them.

integrity. The appearance of the magazins, tured, he might have become the American But the dedication of the Strennce was soon devoted to the sale of Etrennes, is, at this period, changed. When Numa introduced the two brilliant in the extreme; while the tax imposed • Selections from the American Poets, with some Dew months into the Kalendar, they were conse.

Introductory Remarks : published by Wakeman, upon the purse, by this ancient custom, must

Dublin ; Simpkin and Marshall, London. The volume erated to Janus. At the Kalends of January, have been felt by all those who have been in the inscribed to Mrs Hemans; and, with the exception of

a crude, pert, flippant Preface, by the Editor, in alto. his festival was celebrated with considerable gay capital of France " Au Jour de l'An.” gether a very creditable putlication.


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