Obrazy na stronie


What the pricks were I can't quite make out. T. Roberts, in the Glossary to his English Bowman, 1801, p. 292, has the following: Prick mark.- The white Mark or Target shot at. PRICKING. Prick-shooting.

}--Shooting at prick Marks. PRICKS. - The place where the pricks or marks are placed.

shaft.-An arrow used in prick-shooting. Pricker.—The needle or instrument with which the target card is pricked or

marked. In the well-known Archery Statute, 33 Henry VIII. cap. 9, the word prick is used for target or butt, and prick-shaft for arrow. “ That no man under the Age of Twenty-four Years shall shoot at any standing Prick, except it be at a Rover, whereat he shall change at every Shoot his Mark, upon Pain [to forfeit] for every Shoot doing the contrary iv.d.; and that no Person above the said Age of Twenty-four Years shall shoot at any Mark of eleven score Yards or under, with any Prick-shaft or Flight under the Pain to forfeit for every Shoot, Six shillings Eight-pence

and also that Butts be made on this side the Feast of St Michael the Archangel next coming in every City, Town and Place, by the Inhabitants of every such City, Town and Place according to the Law of ancient Time used." Palsgrave has · Pricke, a marke-marque,' and Prompt. ‘Prykke, merke, meta.'

It seems clear that the butts were for near or short shooting, and the pricks for long ranges, which is, I suppose, the meaning of “a mark of compass t."

Moll. Out upon him, what a suiter have I got, I am sorry you are so bad an Archer, sir.

Eare. Why Bird, why Bird?

Moll. Why, to shoote at Buts, vvhen you shou'd use prick-shafts, short shooting vvill loose ye the game, I as[sure) you, sir. Eare. Her minde runnes sure upon a Fletcher, or a Bouyer,

1633, Rowley.' A Match at Midnight, Act ii. sc. 1 (ref. in Richardson). “ The Cornish men,” says Carew I, are “well skilled in near shooting, and in wellaimed shooting ;-the butts made them perfect in the one, and the roaving in the

• An accidental mark, in contradistinction to butts and targets : trees, bushes, posts, mounds of earth, landmarks, stones, &c., are roving marks. Hansard's Archery, p. 362.

† And first for shooting in the long-bowe a man must observe these few rules: first that hee haue a good eye to behold and discerne his marke, a knowing iudgment to understand the distance of ground to take the true aduantage of a side-winde, and to know in what compasse [trajectory) his arrow must flie. G. M[arkham), Countrey Contentments, 1615, p. 107, referred to by Strutt.

1 Carew's Cornwall, 1602, Bk. i. fol. 73, in Strute's Sports and Pastimes, p. 49.

[ocr errors]

other, for the prickes, the first corrupters of archery through too much preciseness, were formerly scarcely known, and little practised.”

Ascham seems to use the word pricks for—1. the uprights of a target, or a pair of targets, one at the top and the other at the bottom of the range, as in the engraving in Strutt; 2. the target itself; and, 3. the white in the centre of it, or piece of wood (Halliwell),

Off the marke he welde not fayle,

He cleffed the preke on thre.- Robin Hood, i. 91. I. and II. “A pair of winding pricks' is one of the things that hinder a man which looketh at his mark to shoot straight,' ib. p. 161. “If the pricks stand of a straight plain ground, they be the best to shoot at. If the mark stand on a bill-side . . a man's eye shall think that to be straight which is crooked,' ib. p. 159, pricks being here equivalent to mark. “To shoot straight, they have invented some ways . . to have some notable thing betwix: the marks ; and once I saw a good archer which did cast off his gear, and laid his quiver with it, even in the midway betwixt the pricks,' ib. p. 159. (Markham, in his Art of Archerie, 1634 (which seems little more than his own Introduction, and a copy of parts of Ascham's Toxophilus), has “betwixt the marks' in both places : p. 165. • And once I heard in Cambridge the down-marke at Twelue. score-prick for the space of three markes was thirteene score and an halfe, p. 151.) 'I suppose it be a great deal more pleasure also to see a soul fly in Plato, than a shaft fly at the pricks,' ib. p. 12. “You may stand sometime at the pricks, and look on them which shoot best,' ib. p. 90.

'I fortuned to come with three or four that went to shoot at the pricks,' p. 11; the customable shooting at home at butts and pricks,' p. 82. “You must take heed also, if ever you shoot where one of the marks, or both, stands a little short of a high wall, for there you may be easily beguiled. For the wind which cometh indeed against you, redoundeth back again at the wall, and whirleth back to the prick, and a little farther, and then turneth again,' p. 156. “Use of pricking, and desire of near shooting at home, are the only causes of strong shooting in war,' p. 80.

III. In the singular, the prick, at other times called the white, is the white spot or point in the midst of the mark,' says Dr Giles, ib. p. 91, in a note to at all times to hit the prick, shall no shooter ever do.' • The best end in shooting, which you call hitting of the prick,' p. 91. 'And by & by he lifteth his arme of pricke heyght.' (Folio 54, ed. 1571.) But yet at p. 99, 'what handling belongeth to the mark? Tox. To mark his standing, to shoot compass to consider the nature of the prick, in hills and dales, in straight plains and winding places, and also to espy his mark.' • Other men use to espy some mark almost a bow wide of the prick, and then go about to keep himself on the hand that the prick is on,' p. 160.

Haring referred the question of the various meanings of the word prick to the best authority in Britain, Mr Peter Muir, Bowmaker to the Royal Archers at Edinburgh, he answers :— 1st. See Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, page 62, ed. 1838, “ The marks usually shot at by Archers for pastime were Butts, prickes, and Roavers.” The Butt, we are told, was a level mark, &c. The Pricke was 'a marke of compass,' but certain in its distance, and to this mark strong swift arrows of one flight were best suited. 2nd. In Roberts' English Bowman, page 241 (London, 1801), is the following, in an article, sect. v. “Of Prick shooting :'—"In archery we frequently find mention of prick shooting. Prick-marks and Prick. shafts are noticed in Stat. of the 33rd H. VIII. c. 9, before cited. The latter, we know, are arrows considerably lighter than those used in other kinds of shooting

except flight shooting. The ancient prick-mark was frequently called the White, and consisted probably of a card or piece of stiff white paper. In the Garland, indeed, we read of prick wands and willow wands, probably peeled sticks. One thing we may collect, which distinguishes this kind of shooting from others, namely, that the prick or mark was generally fixed to one spot, and at a less distance, than in other kinds of shooting, and not varied during the shooting. Hence the Statute terms it a standing prick, or mark. Prick being a Saxon word for point, seems to indicate that this kind of shooting was chiefly confined to small marks, &c. Carew observes it required too much preciseness.' Holinshed and Ascham allude to it as shooting round compass.' The marks used for this kind of shooting for two centuries past consisted either of a small circular piece of white paper fixed to a post (wand) or of a target. Modern prick shooting is practised by the Royal Archers at Edinburgh, and is their favourite, at a small round target fixed at 180 yards. Within 30 years they shot at a square mark of canvas on a frame, and called the Clout;' and an arrow striking the target is still called 'a clout.' They count arrows in the ground within four bow-lengths, or 24 feet of the target, the nearest arrow only counting, which is decided by a cord from the centre of the target, and may have been the origin of the mark of compass. The Royal Archers still shoot at Butts 100 feet at the small paper which is enclosed [four inches in diameter, with a white dot as a centre, and four rings outside it). Till within these few years the Kilwinning Archers (the oldest club in Britain) shot Butts at a white paper two inches in diameter. Lately they adopted a mark 12 inches, with a two-inch white in the centre, and other two rings outside of different values."

Mr Wright glosses pricks as “ a game like bowls.” Bowls was a game known in early times. Among the sports to make a young lady forget her lover is this,

A hundred knightes, truly told,
Shall play with boucls in alleys cold,
Your diseases to drive away.

Squyer of Lowe Degre, Ellis. Spec. p. 337. If any reader of this note feels certain as to the meaning of pryckis, he knows more about it than I do.


Though this Boke of Nurture by John Russell is the most complete and elaborate of its kind, I have never seen it mentioned by name in any of the many books and essays on early manners and customs, food and dress, that have issued from the press. My own introduction to it was due to a chance turning over, for another purpose, of the leaves of the MS. containing it. Mr Wheatley then told me of Ritson's reference to it in his Bibliographica Poetica, p. 96; and when the text was all printed, a reference in The Glossary of Domestic Architecture (v. III. Pt. I. p. 76, note, col. 2) sent me to MS. Sloane 1315 in the Glossary stated to have been written in 1452—which proved to be a different and unnamed version of Russell. Then the Sloane Catalogue disclosed a third MS., No. 20272, and the earliest of the three, differing rather less than No. 1315 from Russell's text, but still anonymous. I have therefore to thank for knowledge of the MSS. that special Providence which watches over editors as well as children and drunkards, and have not on this occasion to express gratitude to Ritson and Warton, to whom every lover of Early English Manuscripts is under such deep obligations, and whose guiding hands (however faltering) in Poetry have made us long so often for the like in Prose. Would that one of our many Historians of English Literature had but conceived the idea of cataloguing the materials for his History before sitting down to write it! Would that a wise Government would commission another Hardy to do for English Literature what the DeputyKeeper of the Public Records is now doing for English History

1 This MS. contains a copy of “The Rewle of the Moone,” fol. 49-67, which I hope to edit for the Society.

2 The next treatise to Russell in this MS. is “ The booke off the gouernaunce off Kyngis and Pryncis,” or Liber Aristotiles ad Alexandrum Magnum, a book of Lydgate's that we ought to print from the best MS. of it. At fol. 74 b. is a heading,

Here dyed this translatour and noble poette Lidgate and the yong follower gan his prolog on this wys.

give us a list of the MSS. and early printed books of it! What time and trouble such a Catalogue would save !

But to return to John Russell and his Boke. He describes himself at the beginning and end of his treatise as Usher and Marshal to Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, delighting in his work in youth, quitting it only when compelled by crooked age, and then anxious to train up worthy successors in the art and mystery of managing a well-appointed household. A man evidently who knew his work in every detail, and did it all with pride; not boastful, though upholding his office against rebellious cooks', putting them down with imperial dignity, “we may allow and disallow ; our office is the chief !” A simple-minded religious man too,--as the close of his Treatise shows,—and one able to appreciate the master he served, the "prynce fulle royalle," the learned and munificent Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, the patron of Lydgate, Occleve, Capgrave, Withamstede, Leonard Aretine, Petrus Candidus, Petrus de Monte, Tito Livio, Antoyne de Beccara, &c. &c., the lover of Manuscripts, the first great donor to the Oxford University Library which Bodley revived”, “that prince peerless," as Russell calls him, a man who, with all his faults, loved books and authors, and shall be respected by us as he was by Lydgate. But our business is with the Marshal, not the Master, and we will hear what John Russell says of himself in his own verse,

an vsshere y Am/ ye may beholde / to a prynce of highe degre, þat enioyethe to enforme & teche / alle po thatt wille thrive & thee, Of suche thynges as here-aftur shalle be shewed by my diligence To them þať nought Can / with-owt gret exsperience ; Therfore yf any mañ þut y mete withe, þat for fawt of necligence, y wylle hym enforme & teche, for hurtynge of my Conscience. To teche vertew and connynge, me thynketh hit charitable, for moche youthe in connynge / is bares & fulle vnable. (1. 3-9.)

At the end of his Boke he gives us a few more details about himself and his work in life:

One can fancy that a cook like Wolsey's (described by Cavendish, vol. i. p. 34), " a Master Cook who went daily in damask satin, or velvet, with a chain of gold about his neck” (a mark of nobility in earlier days) would be not leef but loth to obey an usher and marshal. ? Warton, ii. 264-8, ed. 1840.

For further details about the Duke see the Appendix to this Preface.

« PoprzedniaDalej »