: Popular Rhymes And Nursery Tales

Although the spread of education has doubtlessly weakened in an

extraordinary degree the hold which superstition formerly maintained on

the mind of the public, yet vestiges of the more innocent portions of

superstitious belief are still in considerable repute amongst the lower

orders, and may be found in all their force in many of the rural

districts. It may be a question how far a complete eradication of these

would benefit the cause of religion and morality, treason though it be

in these times to doubt the efficacy of argumentative education. But all

of us cannot be philosophers; and need we reprove a pretty village

maiden for plucking the even-ash or four-leaved clover? The selfish

tendencies of the age, in their opposition to every action which

partakes of poetry or romantic belief, will effect their mission without

the aid of the cynic.