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March, various, fierce, and wild, with wind-cracked cheeks,' By wilder Welchmen led, and crowned with leeks.—Churchill.
March, the third month of our year, was the first of the Romans, and so called by Romulus, after his supposed father, Mars. Accordingly March is usually drawn by artists in tawny, with a fierce aspect, and a helmet upon his head, to show the martial spirit of the god to which it is dedicated. But our cut represents this month in its genuine character, without flattery; the chief valour of the season consisting in blustering winds, extremely injurious to ladies' complexions, and sometimes to pedestrians, by capsizing umbrellas, and briuging down upon their luckless tetes volleys of tiles and chimneypots, or perhaps some towering spire! Except these gambols, the equinoctial
gales which come careering over our fields and roads, and pathways, although cold and keen to the invalid, are healthy and invigorating, and highly beneficial to the coming spring. They dry up the superabundant moisture of the earth, and by giving to the soil * mealy consistency, prepare it for the process of vegetation. Those trees which in February were budding, now begin to put forth their leaves; and the embryo blossoms are almost visibly struggling towards light and life, beneath the rough and unpromising outer coats—unpromising only to the unobservant; but to the eye that "can see Othello's visage in his mind," bright and beautiful, in virtue of the brightness they cover but not conceal. The latest springs are always the most favourable, because, as the buds and blossoms do not appear so soon, they are not liable to be cut off by chilling blasts. At the commencement of March—
"Winter flies! And, see the source of light and life uprise! A heigtu'ning arch o'er southern hills be.
bends; Warm on the cheek the slanting beam
descends, And gives the reeking mead a brighter hue, And draws the modest primrose bud to view."
Marriages made in this month are accounted unhappy; they are certainly not so pleasant as when made in May or June, since nature then-lends all her charms to embellish the blessed rite.!'
THE CLERGY, MERCHANTS, AND PEA/ 'SANTS OF RUSSIA.
Among the clergy we find metropolitans, archbishops, -bishops, archimandrites, monks, priests, &c. Since the days of Paul, the clergy have received, civil rank, so that it is very common to find the cross of Christ and the cross of a Russian order suspended together from the neck.
The merchants are divided into three guilds, according to their declared capital. The most distinguished take the title of Kommertche'shii Sovetnik, or counsellor of commerce, and wear its badge of honour, a large medal, suspended round the neck by a blue ribbon. All the merchants are addressed as Gospodins, or Sirs, ard so are the simple Mestchanins, or burgesses.
The peasants are addressed simply thus: John, the son of James, [Ivan Yahovle'vitch.) But, contrary to the assertion of some travellers, they have a family name, which is used on necessary occasions, as in law deeds, contracts, &e. The emperor may be addressed in the same words as the meanest peasant of the empire, (whose name is the same,) simply Alexander Pavlovitch, or Alexander, the son of Paul; and nothing is so polite as this mode of address, nor is so much cherished by the natives of all ranks.
It is a fact now generally known, that, according to his rank in life, a person is permitted to drive certain kinds of carriages, and a certain number of horses; and at one period the laws were rigidly observed, so that a 'man's rank was known by his equipage. The same laws still exist, but thev are not strictly adhered ^to; great toleration being allowed by the present government.
To so great a length did the attention to rank and titles extend about twenty years agp, that the address of every; letter
was examined at the post-office beforibeing received. If any address was found deficient in the full title of the individual, or if the smallest error was remarked, the letter was returned to be enclosed in another envelope, according to the custom of the country, and addressed anew. Atlength the address of a letter absolutely became a sort of narrative of the individual to whom it was sent, and required Some time to be read.—Lyall's Russia.
INFLUENCE OF THK REFORMATION ON THE CONDITION OF THE LABOURING
Having, in our former article, traced the origin of the Poor and of the Poor Laws, we will next show how the con^ dition of the Working Classes was affected by the Reformation, and consequent dissolution of religious houses. . .
Monastic institutions had so far departed from their original object as to become only the nurseries of vice and indolence, and the benefit society derived from their existence, bore no proportion to the expense of maintaining them. Unfortunately, at the dissolution of these establishments, the property and revenues attached to them, instead of being distributed through society, passed into the hands of a few individuals, by whose mismanagement and neglect.it contributed very little to augment the wealth and ge^ neral comfort of the community. It is certain, from the popular ballads of the time, that the abolition of religious houses was a subject of regret to the lower orders; and old Harry Jenkins laments that those days were over, in which he used to be invited to the lord abbot's chamber to feast on "a quarter of a yard of roast beef; and wassail in a black-jack." The clergy contributed to the improvement of gardening; and, by their hospitality and distribution of alms, they were much endeared to the commonalty. Of the two evils, anindolent and expensive priesthood, who cultivate at least, in some degree, the manners of the people, and rapacious and overgrown landlords, who perform no useful function in society, but spend in riot and luxury the funds which ought to remunerate the cultivators of the soil, there can be no difficulty in awarding a preference.
It would, however, be a grievous mistake, and a most absurd paradox to maintain, like Mr. Cobbett, that the Reformation was not a great blessing to the country, and tended most essentially to better the condition of the Working Classes*
Had popery (such popery we mean as existed at that day) continued the established religion, the present condition of the people would have been no better than that of the degraded and fanatical rabble in tl>e Peninsula, who have been latterly seeking to exterminate the unfortunate Constitutionalists. Knowledge was incompatible with the power of the catholic priesthood. Their influence was founded on a belief in miracles, the sanctity of relics, and other pious frauds, to which popular illumination would have been fatal. Without; therefore, the mental stirring of the Reformation, and the freedom of discussion with which it was accompanied, the people would have continued in a state of intellectual darkness; their ignorance was necessary to the power of those in whose hands they were, and Of course they would have been kept in that state, and withheld from the only means by which their rank and condition in society could be advanced and ameliorated.
As to the hospitality and almsgiving of the papal times, which have been dwelt upon as advantageous, they may be very shortly answered. It is natch better, we think, that the condition of society should be such that its members can be able to pay for the freedom and entertainment of an inn, without being indebted for a supper or night's lodging to some lordly abbot; and that the Working Classes should be in a condition to claim as a right, rather than receive as charity, the means of subsistence. If these benefits have not flowed from the Reformation, that event certainly first put us in possession, by removing the intellectual incubus of popery, of the only instrument by which they can be ultimately obtained. The only subject of regret at the Reformation is, that the wealth it rescued from the grasp of a vicious and indolent priesthood, was not made subservient to the general interests of the commonwealth. To proceed, however, with our history.
The most extraordinary feature in the character of these times is the prevalence of crime, and the immense number of executions: in the reign.of Henry VIII. 22,000 persons were capitally executed, —a prodigious number, when the amount of the population is considered. Notwithstanding these sanguinary punishments the country continued in a dreadful state of disorder. Every part of the kingdom was infested with robbers and idle vagabonds, who, refusing to labour, lived by plundering the peaceable inhabitants; and often strolling about the country in bodies of 300 or 400, they attacked with impunity the sheepfolds and dwellings of
the people. The laws and the police were totally inadequate to control these turbulent and lawless spirits, who, by rendering both property and persons insecure, checked the rising prosperity of the country. The cause of these outrages may be traced to the changes which had just then taken place in society; the abolition of villanage, was undoubtedly both just and beneficial; but the sudden transition of a large body of people, still comparatively barbarous and uninstructed, from a state of bondage to that of free labourers, was naturally attended with transitory disorder and confusion.
.Besides, the country had not yet attained anything like a state of refinement, as we may learn from Pr. Henry's account of the defective system of education and manners still prevalent even among the better sort. Schools were rare; and before the Reformation young men were educated in monasteries, women in nunneries; where the latter were instructed in writing, drawing, confectionary) and needlework, and what was then regarded as female accomplishments, in physic and surgery. The acquisitions of the former were confined to writing, and a tincture, probably, of barbarous Latin; but ignorance was so common that Fitzherbert recommends to gentlemen unable to commit notes to writing, the practice of notching a stick to assist their memory. When removed from these seminaries to the houses of their parents, both sexes were treated in a manner that precluded improvement. Domestic manners were severe and formal; a haughty reserve was affected by the old, and an abject deference exacted from the young. Sons, when arrived at manhood, are represented as standing uncovered and silent in their father's presence; and daughters, though women, were placed like statues at the cupboard, nor permitted to sit and repose themselves, otherwise than by kneeling on a cushion, till their mothers departed. Omissions were punished by stripes and blows, and chastisement was carried to such excess that the daughters trembled at the sight of their mother, and the sons avoided and hated their father.
Such being the general state of misery, disorder, and* ignorance prior to the Reformation, we have only to contrast it with the condition of society a short period after, to be convinced how much that great event tended to advance the country in the career of happiness and improvement.
"Mark me, master Launcelot, I have looked
upon the gewgaws, and do find some that would
make texts whereon to string preachments."—
What a. garden of virtue would England be, and what an utopia should we live in, were our doubly armed gentry to follow to the letter the injunctions conveyed in those pithy sentences denominated mottos; and which, with the assistance of. the graver, and the painter, are impressed upon their seals, or emblazoned upon their coach pannels. A recent ordinance compels hackney-coachmen to affix their numbers on the inside, as well as the outside, of their vehicles, would it not be an equally wise command to insist on the mottos aforesaid being treated with a situation in my lord dukes, or the squire's carriage. Such an inspiring sentence as, "sola virtus invicta:" virtue atone is invincible; or the sensible " cavendo tutus:" secure by caution, are Mentorian bits of advice, which, like the voice of friendship in a strange land, may occasionally avert attention from the halls of dissipation, or the dangers of the gaming table. A slight incident, or a brief lesson, has, ere now, restored many a mind that hovered between danger and safety to " the better reason." It is not all, we hope, that are so lost as to require for their reformation the handwriting upon the wall.
Is it probable that the noble family of Dorset should fail to "look before they leap," when they consider that the motto of their house, aut nunquam tenes, aut perfice, teaches them to "attempt only where they can accomplish;" or will the cspe'rance en Dieu of a Percy, or the craignez honte of aBentinck, fail to inculcate, trust in God, and to fear shame. Can a duke of Beaufort be either fickle or spiritless, when he reflects upon the mutare vel timore sperno, that confronts him; or shall his grace of Bolton ever forget to "honour the king," whilst aymez loyaulte is an adjunct to his quarterings 1
"Brevity is the soul of wit," and I, therefore, devote the remainder of my paper to notice the punning portion of the labels under inquiry, for many of them are little better than actual puns upon the family names of our nobility; and as, without doubt, many of those who adopt them have gone a long way back to trace the glories of the genealogical tree, we must not wonder at some of them being farfetched.
Every body will in time know that fame is the patronymic appellation of the earls of Westmoreland, is not, therefore, the "ne vile fano " of their motto, of the
description I speak of. "Templa quam delecta !" needs less distortion than most others, and is natural enough for the (several branches of the Temple family to say of each other: whilst the bellasyse, earl of Fauconberg, and who first sported "bonne et belle-azzez"—" good and handsome enough "—must, indeed, have been a little puffed with the leaven of vanity, and was, at all events, determined to bear the bell, in the article of self admiration. But the " ver-non semper viret" of lord Vernon, is the most pat of the whole; and, since it conveys a useful lesson, and tells us that " the spring is not always green," any more than our age, it must serve as my tail-piece.
I cannot help thinking, that a skilful labourer may work out much instruction from the idea I have started: all, at present, that I hope for is, that some of my readers will deem my article an amusing one.
To the honour of the musical taste of this metropolis, the noble species of harmonic entertainment first introduced to English ears by the immortal Handel, and admired and patronised by their late majesties, and all the lovers of the old school of counterpoint, has enjoyed a large portion of the public favour, and proved the force of sublimity in composition, aided by solemnity of style in performance. The sacred piece with which the great German musician, first treated his English patrons, was the oratorial drama of Esther, which was brought forward at the Opera-house, and attended by as crowded an audience as ever occupied the seats of that theatre. The unbounded applause with which that fine production was received, encouraged its unequalled composer to proceed in that high province of his art; and for a long course of years, he continued to gratify the town with new and similar emanations of his genius and science. After the death of the father of English oratorios, Schmidt, his amanuensis, carried them on at Coventgarden ; and when the latter died, he was succeeded by Stanley, the celebrated organist and composer. Since Stanley's time, various adventurers have tried their skill in the task of conducting these sacred performances ; but among those of the last half century, no one has equalled the late Dr. Arnold.—But to our more immediate purpose.
The first oratorial performance of the present season, was that of Judas Maccabaus, given at Covent-garden; which, though a fine specimen of sacred composi157
REMARKS ON DRESS.
tion, and on the whole, very excellently performed, under the conduct of Mr. Samuel Wesley, went off rather heavily, and drew, from but a scanty audience, only a moderate degree of applause. On the following Wednesday, selections from Haydn's Creation, and the whole of Mozart's Requiem, were performed at the same house. Neither of these very distinguished masters ever, perhaps, had greater justice done to their original, grand, and lofty ideas, than, on this occasion, they received from the vocal and instrumental exertions of the orchestra. The judicious and mellifluous vociferations of Braham, Sapio, and Miss Paton, especially the first of these charming performers in Luther's Hymn, " Great God, what do I see and hear V afforded us the most exquisite pleasure, and were received with the enthusiastic applause they merited. The third act consisted of that motley congregation of pieces usually designated a Selection, and was wholly modern; with The Triumph of Freedom by Sapio, we were highly gratified, his efforts were ardent, and well seconded by Harper's trumpet obligato. The ballad of Kelvin Grove is so peculiar in its style, as to carry with it strong claims upon the common ear, while there is a certain piquantness in the construction of its passages well worthy of pleasing the best judges. Braham, who makes the most of every thing, turned the tinsel of this little Scotch melody into gold, and produced a loud demand for its repetition. Arne's bravura, "The soldier tir'd," we have heard intonated by all the best soprano singers, from Miss Brent, the original Mundane, to Walsh's pupil, Miss WilSon, now studying at Florence; but we scruple not to say, that, in respect both of sweetness and brilliancy of execution, Miss Paton equals the most perfect of that euphonious group.
The succeeding Friday presented us, at Drury-lane, with a martial piece, a celebrated cantata of Weber, entitled Kempf mid Seig. It was skilfully and effectively executed, and received the warmest encomiums. The second and third acts were miscellaneous. Braham, Sapio, Bellamy, Miss Graddon, and Signor and Madame De Begnis, were the principal singers, and were as frequently as deservedly applauded. Unfortunately, sudden indisposition prevented Miss StePhens from .assisting in this part of the evening's entertainment; a privation of pleasure of which the audience were ap<rized, between the second and third acts, y Mr. Bedford's personal appeal to their indulgence. The performance, conducted by Bishop,
was'splendidly and numerously attended. It commenced with God save the King, was embellished by Kiesewetten, with a fantasia on the violin, between the first and second acts; by Platt, with a concerto on the horn, between the second and third; and the whole was enriched with as masterly an execution of Mozart's Overture to the Zauberfiotc, as the composer himself could have wished, had he been living and present.
REMARKS ON DRESS.
I Shall commence my objections to modern costume by stating, that I look upon buttons as one of the greatest disfigurements to the male attire of the present age. The number of them with which our coats are studded before and behind, many of them without the least pretension to utility, gives them an appearance of stiffness and formality the very opposite of elegance. To remedy this would be very easy ; the tunic divested entirely of these unsightly ornaments, fastened at the top by a buckle or clasp, and confined round the waist by a sash, would answer every purpose. It should, however, be made double-breasted, so that the fastening might be rather on the side.
The high and stiff collar should give place, if to any collar at all, to one which would not interfere with the motions of the head and neck. Tight neckcloths, also, should be discontinued; indeed, it would be better if the use of the neckcloth were entirely abandoned, and the shirt-collar worn open, or falling back over the coat.
A grand and appropriate addition might be made to this dress by the introduction of a loose mantle to correspond with the Roman toga, which might be so contrived as to be drawn over the body, thrown back, or looped up, at the pleasure or convenience of the wearer.
The next thing I shall notice will be the hat, which, as it has been justly observed by a writer in the " European Review," does not harmonize with the looser costume which has lately been adopted; besides this, it is also deficient in that ease and convenience which could alone render it desirable. I do not know of any thing which could be recommended in lieu of it, superior to the Highland bonnet, or at least something of the sort, which could be worn quite plain or decorated, as the taste or circumstances of the individual might dictate.
For the clothing of the legs, trowsers possess a decided superiority, both in ele