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AMONG the awful and awakening events of the present day, the demise of one of the most popular Sovereigns who ever held the sceptre of England since the days of the Henrys and Edwards; and the advancement to the Throne of a young and amiable Princess, on whose future wisdom and prudence the dearest hopes and most important interests of the kingdom are suspended; in such times of popular feeling, and amid the perpetual libration of hope and fear, it is not to be expected that the * still small voice' of Literature will be heard with the usual attention, or find the mind in that state of calm and leisure, which are necessary to its success. Yet the strongest reasons forbid us to move from our accustomed road, or break the chain of our various argument, to second the more perishable, though more imposing impressions of the day.
We belong emphatically to past times: yet we must not form a gulf between the past and the present; or let it be supposed that there is no link which unites all knowledge however remote, and no analogies which can unfold the secret alliance that subsists between them. The knowledge of the past, it must be remembered, is not to be gathered up like spontaneous flowers under our feet; its archives are not to be read with a cursory and casual glance like a recent inscription; nor are its original records stamped with the signet of official authority. As the sands of the desert are heaped around the sacred vestiges of Antiquity on the shores of the Nile, so even in our own history, truth is mingled with error, light with darkness, partiality with candour, sincerity with falsehood; and it is the peculiar office of the Antiquary to examine and separate these heterogeneous materials, and scrutinize into their comparative importance. Hence the absolute value of minute details and fragmentary documents, amid which Truth often takes up her retired abode, when she avoids the more open and showy plains of History. The Antiquary also learns the value of comparison, when he finds one mass of truth lie apart from another to which it originally belonged, and from which it had been finally separated; while the parts of junction have been perhaps for ever disfigured or destroyed. The study of Antiquity has ever been an important and a valuable part of our Magazine, and we have reason, we think, to be proud of our Antiquarian lore. Thus, as Scaliger observes, we ascend to general conclusions, from particular enquiries—* Observatione speciahum ad generalia ascendendo.' Our modern historians know the value of this science; and if the names (how illustrious!) of Robertson and Hume are ever superseded, and their light dimmed, it will be solely that they trusted to their eminent genius and great accomplishments to afford them those conclusions, which could only be safely drawn from a humbler but more authentic method of inquiry. We therefore exhort our Contributors to continue to us on these subjects their valuable and various support.
Embellished with an original Portrait of John Stowe, the Antiquary;
Mr. Urban,—A friend of mine having recently presented me with an extremely interesting typographical relic, I think fit to apprise you thereof, as perchance the notice of it may induce some of your numerous able Contributors to provide your columns with a historical disquisition on Almanacs; a subject offording scope for many curious particulars, and which has been slightly disserted on by Beckman, History of Inventions, vol. iii. The gift of my friend is an "Almanacke for xii. yere," printed by Wynkyn de Worde, anno 1508, which, in so far as I am aware, has not been noticed by any bibliographer. It consists of 15 leaves, and, with the exception of a small portion torn off one of them, is in the highest preservation. It is a Lilliputian square tome, resembling the size commonly termed sixty-fours. There are neither red-letters nor wood-cuts in the "bookie." The matter introductory is as follows: — "% This Almanacke and Table shall endure xii. yere, and is calked after the latytude of Oxe'forde, & it is taken out of the grete ephymerides or almanacke of xxx. yere, & sheweth the coniunccio's, that is to say, the metyng & fyrst lyghtnynge that the mone taketh from the sonne, the whiche is called the chaunge or the newe mone amonge us. And the opposycyons, that is to say, the fuls mone, when we see it full & rou'de. « And ye shall alway begyn the day marked in the almanacke at after none of the day past, Sec. If Also ye shal fynde euery yere how longe the flesshe tyme is betwene Crystmas and lente, & that is called Intervalu', and there ye shall se how mani wrkcs and dares the tyme is betwene Crystmas and lente, & so forthe shal ye fynde Septuagesima, that is, whan Alleluye Gloria i' excelsis, & Te Deu' laudamus is layde downe inHoly Chyrche; and than foloweth Quadragesima, that is, the fyrst sondayc in clcne lente, and than ye shal fynde eester daye, Kogacyon daye, Ascensyn day, Whytsonday, and Aduent sondaye. And also ye shal fynde the eclypses betweene the sonne and the mone, with the daye, houre, and mynute folowynge, lately corrected, and emprynted at London, in the Fletestrete, by Wynkyn de Worde. In the yere of the Incarnacyon of our lorde. a. MCCCCC. and .viii. The .xxiii. yere of the reygne of our most redoubted soueraygne lorde kl'ge Henry the vii." I do not remember to have seen or heard of an older British Almanac. I have a sheet one, printed la black and red, for the yere 1534. W. B. D. D.turnbull.
M. H. R. directs attention to the "Fragment on Mummies," which is attributed to Sir Thomas Brown, in the recent edition of his Works, at the 374th page of the 4th volume. He remarks: "On my first perusal, some doubts of its genuineness suggested themselves; and a further examination of the 'Fragment.' greatly confirmed them. I am far from insinuating that Mr. Crossley, on whose authority it rests, was not a believer in its genuineness ; but the manuscript from which he copied it might have been intended merely as an imitation of Sir Thomas Brown's style. It is one which we might suppose Charles Lamb to have written on some blank page of the MS. The thoughts and reflections of Sir Thomas Brown are slavishly copied ; perhaps there is not one of which the germ might not be found in his genuine writings ; but they are not first thought! which were afterwards to be wrought into his finished works; for the composition is methodical, and very elaborate. But while such is the nature of the thoughts, the flow of the language, the rhythm, and the texis of the sentences, all strike the ear as modern. Can any of your better-informed Readers contribute any argument either to authenticate it as Sir Thomas Brown's, or to prove demonstrably its spuriousness? On the latter supposition, the occurrence of some word used in a modern sense might be sufficient to determine the question. The subject, though capable of being made an interesting one, had escaped my recollection, until I saw a part of the Fragment quoted in the Edinburgh Review, as an undoubted relics of Sir Thomas Brown; and yet it was a part that struck me as peculiarly suspicious."
J. G. N. would be glad to be referred to any copies, whether in print or manuscript, of a political Song, evidently written in 163.?, beginning,
When Charles has brought his Spanish girl.
In answer to the inquiry of a Correspondent, Mr. Gregory, of the Lord Mayor's Court Office, replies that Alderman Rudge was buried on the 18th Dec. 1640, in the chancel of AUhallows church, Broad-street; which may be found upon reference to the Parish Register. He served the office of Sheriff in 16.17; but never was Lord Mayor of London.
We beg to return the thanks of J. W. B. and our own, to Mr. S. Horsfigld, and propose to adopt his recommendation.