By king or cobbler

Photo by Garret Crawford. Click for sourceA thoughtful reflection on the psychology of the New Year, published in 1895 by the acclaimed essayist Charles Lamb in his collection The Essays of Elia.

Every man has two birth-days: two days 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 solemnising our proper birth-day hath nearly passed away, or is left to children, who reflect nothing at all about the matter, nor understand anything in it beyond 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.

Charles Lamb was one of the most celebrated writers of his generation although struggled with mental illness for much of his life and directed a great deal of his energies to caring for his sister, Mary, who was similarly affected by mental disorder and an exceptional talent for literature.

Link to Wikipedia page on Charles Lamb.

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