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M DCCC LVII.
"IF GOD REVEAL ANY THING TO YOU BY ANY OTHER INSTRUMENT OF HIS, BE AS READY TO
HOULSTON & WRIGHT, 65, PATERNOSTER ROW.
The Poetry of the New Year.
CHARLES LAMB says, 'Every man hath two birthdays; two, at least, in every year, which set him upon revolving the lapse of time as it affects his mortal duration. The one is that which, in an especial manner, he termeth his. In the gradual desuetude of old observances, this custom of solemnizing our proper birthday hath nearly passed away, or is left to children, who reflect nothing at all about the matter, nor understand anything beyond the cake and orange. But the birth of a new year is of an interest too wide to be pretermitted by king or cobbler. No one ever regarded the first of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. It is the nativity of our common Adam.'
I interrupt Elia to make two remarks. First-he commits a bachelor's mistake (Oh! let us speak softly of this noblest of celibates! Gentle reader, learn, if you know it not, the pitiful story of the single blessedness of this gentle creature)-when he says children think nothing of their birthdays beyond the cake or orange. The visitor, the friend, nay, the brother, may fancy so, if he have, as most likely he has, forgotten his own childhood. But I appeal to Fruitful Vines who read this, and Spouses whose Olive-branches are growing into inquisitiveness, whether, at such sacred moment as the lull of a Sunday evening twilight, a child doth not sometimes put questions concerning himself and his advent which awaken 'thoughts that do lie too deep for tears?' Second-I wish to ask, in passing, why all human intellects seem to have hit upon the king and the cobbler as the natural types of antithetic condition in life? Unless my memory fails me, this idea runs through literatures where the alliteration is lost; so that it is no answer to say that king suggests kobbler as peer does peasant. Let us take up with Elia again: "Of all sound of bells (bells, the music nighest bordering upon heaven), most solemn and touching is the peal