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otherwise, he is esteemed proud; a bold look is looked upon as impudence ; if modest, (then to be sure) he must be hypocritical ; if his behaviour is grave, it is owing to a sullenness of temper ; if affable, he is but little regarded ; if strictly just, then cruel must be his character ; but, if merciful and forbearing, then (of consequence) a silly, sheepish-headed fool! Now, I challenge all the ASS-TROLOGERS and CONJURERS, throughout the whole kingdom, to demonstrate that all the whimsey-headed opinions which different men retain of different actions, together with their being so vastly different at different times, one from another ; I say, I call
upon them all to prove, that they are (wholly) owing to the STARRY influences! There being, (I believe) in general as many different ideas and conceptions in the mind of mankind, as there are variety of complexions and countenances.”
His observations on the four unequal quarters of the year, as he terms them, are no less satirical, humorous, and full of truth, and so much in “
opposition” with others of the trade, that poor old Robin, in good sense and trite remarks, carries away the palm from all his predecessors and contemporaries ; indeed, he is so little of an astrologer, that, instead of consulting the angles, aspects, conjunctions and trines, of the planets, he is vulgar enough to attach more importance to the substantials and doings of this nether world. We present our readers with the following as a specimen, which, though in his usual way, a little rough-mouthed, occasionally is free from that almanack-cant which characterises the vocations of his fellow-labourers in the same field.
which, being the most delightful season in the whole year, as it comes the next after a long and cold winter makes it as welcome as it is delightful; for now the lengthening days afford full time for every body but drunkards and watchmen to finish their respective day's works by day-light, besides some time to spare to walk abroad, to see the fine new livery with which Dame Flora has now decked out Mother Earth. In the opening of the Spring, when all nature begins to recover herself, the same animal pleasure which makes the bird sing, and the whole brute creation rejoice, rises very sensibly in the hearts of mankind. This quarter will bring whole shoals of mackerel, and plenty of green pease ; likewise gooseberries, cherries, cheese cakes, and custards.
But, let us now moralize,-and improve these vernal delights into real virtue; and, when we find within ourselves a secret satisfaction arising from the beauties of the creation, may we consider to whom we stand indebted for all these various gratifications and entertainments of sense; who it is that opens thus his hand, and fills the world with good! But so soon as this quarter is ended; i. e. there, or then, or thereabout, for in this case a day or two can break no great squares-I say this quarter (as usual) will be followed by the
when, and at which time the days will have attained their greatest, and consequently the nights the shortest lengths. June, in which month this quarter is said to begin, will retain some likeness, if not exhibit the perfections of the Spring; but the two next succeeding months will perhaps have less vigour, but a greater degree of heat; for, as they pass on, they will be ripening the fruits of the earth; whilst the Dog star is shooting his rays amongst, the industrious farmer will have business enough upon his hands : for now he expects to be reaping and gathering together the returns of his labour; but then he must expect, nevertheless, to bear the heat and burthen of the day.
This quarter very justly represents a man in the full vigour of health and strength; the beauty of the Spring is gone! The strength of Summer is of short continuance! It will very soon be succeeded by Autumn : thus, and thus (O reader) do then consider, hast thou seen the seasons, two, three, or four times return in regular succession : remember that the time is coming, when all opportunities of this sort will be for ever hid from thine eyes : remember if forty years have passed thee, I say, I would have thee remember, that thy spring is gone, thy summer almost spent ! Have then, therefore, a very serious retrospective view of thy past, and, (if it please God) a fixed resolution to amend thy prolonged life : then being now arrived almost on the eve of
which begins this year (as usual) when, or then, or thereabouts, the time the Summer quarter endsnamely, when the nights begin to grow longer and the days shorter : this is the time when the barns are filled with wheat, which soon must be thrashed out, in order to be sowed again. This also is the time when the orchards abound with fruits of the kind, and consequently the properest time to make cider.
Lamentable now must be the case of those poor women who, in this quarter, happen to long for green pease or strawberries; for I dare assure them, upon the honest word of an astrologer, that they can get none on this side of next Easter. Some now-abouts under the notion of soldiers, shall sally out at night upon Pullen, or perhaps lie in embuscade for a rope of onions, as if they were Welsh freebooters. Loss of time and money may be recovered by industry: but to be a fool-born, or a rogue in nature, are di. seases incurable.
Remember that in any quarter of the year, this is almost always a certain presage of a wedding, when all parties are agreed, and the parson in readiness ; and then you must be sure to have money
in readiness too, or your intended marriage may happen to prove a miscarriage. But those who are able to pay for tying the knot, when it is fairly tied, may go home to dinner and be merry ; go to the tavern and be merry ; go to supper and be merry ; rise next morning and be merry: and let the world know, that a married life is a plentiful life, when people have good estates ; a fruitful life when they have many children ; and an happy life, when man and wife love each other as they ought to do, and never quarrel nor disagree.
OF THE WINTER QUARTER.
But now comes on the cold, dirty, dithering, pouting, rainy, shivering, freezing, blowing, stormy, blustering, cruel quarter called winter ; the very thoughts of it are enough to fright one ; but that it very luckily happens to be introduced (this year) by a good, fat merry Christmas : yet it is the last and worse, and very much resembles extreme old age accompanied by poverty ; this quarter is also pretty much like Pharoah's lean kine; for it generally (we find) eats up and devours most of the produce of the preceding seasons : now the sun entering the southern tropic, affords us the least share ofhis light, and consequently the longest long nights : yet, nevertheless, in this uncomfortable quarter, you may possibly pick up some crumbs of comfort, provided you have good health, good store of the ready Rhino, a good wife, and other good things about you: and especially a good conscience : for then the starry influences must necessarily appear very benign, notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather ; for in such cases there will be frequent conjunctions of sirloins and ribs of beef; aspects of legs and shoulders of mutton, with refrenations of loins of veal, shining near the watery triplicity of plumb-porridge-together with trine and sextile of minced pies; collared brawn from the Ursus major, and sturgeon from Pisces—all for the honour of Christmas : and I think it is a much pleasanter sight than a Covent-Garden comedy, to see a dozen or two of husbandmen, farmers, and honest