Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

following curious and pleasing account of the ceremonies of Twelfth-night, as we may suppose them to have been then observed in almost every private family:

TWELFTH NIGHT; or, King and QUEEN.
Now, now the mirth comes

With the cake full of plums,
Where Beane's the king of the sport bere ;

Beside, we must know,

The Pea also
Must revell, as Queene, in the court here.

Begin then to chuse,

This night as ye use,
Who shall for the present delight here,

Be a King by the lot,

And who shall not
Be Twelfe-day Queene for the night here.

Which knowne, let us make

Joy-sops with the cake;
And let not a man then be seen here,

Who unurged will not drinke

To the base from the brink
A health to the King and the Queene bere.

Next crowne the bowle full

With gentle lambs-wooll;
Adde sugar, nptmeg and ginger,

With store of ale, too;

And thus ye must doe
To make the wassaile a swinger.

Give then to the King

And Queene wassailing;
And though with ale ye be whet here;

Yet part ye from hence,

As free from offence, As when ye innocent met here. During the reigns of Elizabeth and James I, the celebration of Twelfth-night was, equally with Christmas Day, a festival through the land, and was observed with great ostentation and ceremony in both the Universities, at Court, at the Temple, and at Lincoln's and Gray's Inn. Many of the Masques of Ben Jonson were written for the amusement of the

[ocr errors]

course

Royal Family on this night; and Dugdale, in his Origines Juridicales, has given us a long and particular account of the revelry at the Temple on each of the twelve days of Christmas, in the year 1562. It appears from this document that the hospitable rites of St. Stephen's Day, St. John's Day, and Twelfth Day, were ordered to be exactly alike; and as many of them are, in their nature, perfectly rural, and were, there is every reason to suppose, observed, to a certain extent, in the halls of the country gentry and substantial yeomanry, a short record here of those that fall under this description cannot be deemed inapposite.

The breakfast on Twelfth Day is directed to be of brawn, mustard, and malmsey; the dinner of two courses, to be served in the hall; and after the first

cometh in the Master of the Game, apparalled in green velvet; and the Ranger of the Forest also, in a green suit of satten, bearing in his hand a green bow and divers arrows, with either of them a hunting horn about their necks, they pace round about the fire three times. Then the Master of the Game maketh three curtesies, kneels down, and petitions to be admitted into the service of the Lord of the Feast.

'This ceremony performed, a huntsman cometh into the hall with a fox, and a purse-net with a cat, both bound at the end of a staff, and with them nine or ten couple of hounds, with the blowing of huntinghorns. And the fox and cat are by the hounds set upon, and killed beneath the fire. This sport finished, the Marshal (an officer so called, who, with many others under different appellations, were created for the purpose of conducting the revels) placeth them in their several appointed places.'

After the second course, the, “antientest of the Masters of the Revels singeth a song, with the assistance of others there present; and, after some repose and revels, supper, consisting of two courses, 3 is then served in the hall, and, being ended, the

Marshall presenteth himself with drums afore him,

mounted upon a scaffold, born by four men; and i goeth three times round about the harthe, crying

out aloud ' A Lord, a Lord,' &c.; then he descendeth,

and goeth to dance. This done, the Lord of Misrule C addresseth himself to the Banquet, which ended with

some minstralsye, mirth, and dancing, every man departeth to rest.'-See Dr. Drake's admirable Illustrations of the manners and customs of these times, in his Shakspeare,' vol. i, p. 131, and the authors there cited.

The customs on this day in Northumberland, France, and at Rome, are described at length in T.T. for 1815, p. 5. On the Epiphany, the King of England offers annually, by proxy, at the chapel royal, St. James's, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The day after Twelfth Day was called St. Distaff's Day.'

*6. 1684.-THE THAMES FROZEN. Mr. Evelyn in his 'Memoirs' affords some curious particulars of this remarkable frost. “Jan. 9. I went crosse the Thames on the ice, now become so thicke as to beare not only streetes of boothes in which they roasted meate, and had divers shops of ware quite across as in a towne, but coaches, carts, and horses passed over.-16. The Thames was filled with people and tents, selling all sorts of wares as in the city.-24. The frost continuing more and more severe, the Thames before London was still planted with boothes in formal streetes, all sorts of Trades and shops furnish'd and full of commodities, even to a printing presse, where the people and ladyes tooke a fancy to have their names printed, and the day and yeare set down when printed on the Thames; this humour tooke so universally, that 'twas

i See some lines on this subject in T. T. for 1814, p. 4.

estimated the printer gained £5. a day, for printing
a line onely, at sixpence a name, besides what he
got by ballads, &c. Coaches plied from West-
minster to the Temple, and from several other
staires to and fro, as in the streetes; sleds, sliding
with skeetes, a bull-baiting, horse and coach races,
puppet plays and interludes, cookes, tipling, and
other lewd places, so that it seemed to be a baccha-
nalian triunīph, or carnival on the water; whilst it
was a severe judgment on the land, the trees not
onely splitting as if lightning-struck, but men and
cattle perishing in divers places, and the very seas
so locked up with ice, that no vessells could stir out
or come in. The fowles, fish, and birds, and all
our exotiq plants and greenes universally perishing.
Ma parkes of deer were destroied, and all sorts
of fuell so deare that there were greate contributions
to preserve the poore alive. Nor was this severe
weather much lesse intense in most parts of Europe,
even as far as Spaine and the most southern tracts.
London, by reason of the excessive coldnesse of
the aire hindering the ascent of the smoke, was so
filled with the fuliginous streame of the sea-coale,
that hardly could one see crosse the streetes, and
this filling the lungs with its grosse particles, ex-
ceedingly obstructed the breast, so as one could
scarcely breath. Here was no water to be had from
the pipes and engines, nor could the brewers and
divers other tradesmen worke, and every moment
was full of disastrous accidents'.'
*7. 1796.--PRINCESS CHARLOTTE OF WALES BORN,

Cold is her heart, so lately warm,
That now the colder urn incloses;

And stretched at length the fairest form
That now in coffined shroud reposes.

'For an account of the remarkable Frost of 1814, see an interesting little volume entitled Frostiana,

Oh, ever-loved! too early fled ;
Thus numbered with the silent dead;
And with thee gone, from earth beguiled,
Our infant hope, thy cherub-child !

Oh, early lost! just loved, and snatched away!
Politely learned, and elegantly gay!
Blest with each charm the British heart to gain,
To all most dear-to England dear in vain.

Daughter of Joy! the scene is past,

Which we must shortly prove;
Though Hope reserved Thee for the last

Of ALL a people love!
The scene is past and we may weep
Till anguish lull our grief asleep.

8.SAINT LUCIAN. Lucian, a native of Syria, was celebrated in his youth for his eloquence, and intimate acquaintance with polite literature. After the death of his parents, he gave all his fortune to the poor, and confined himself to the study of the scriptures. He was a proficient in the Hebrew, and revised the Septuagint version of the Bible. He wrote an apology for the Christians, and presented it to Maximinus II. After having undergone various torments at the instigation of this emperor, he was martyred in the year 312.

*9. 1818.-JOHN SMITH DIED, ÆT. 99. Individuals possessing rank and talents in society have the fairest claim to biographical distinction. But where these are wanting, eccentricity of character alone will sometimes produce a narrative both amusing and instructive; and accordingly the names of persons in humble stations have often been recorded merely on account of some singularity which attends them, not generally observed in others in the passing scenes of life. John Smith, born in or about the year 1719, although not destined to fill an elevated station, was by no means obscure; for few men were better known in the great circle of his movements. But little can be learned of his early

B

1

« PoprzedniaDalej »