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is supposed also to be the first production of Markam: it went through many impressions under various titles, and from one of these termed Cavelarice, printed in 1607, I shall select a minutely curious picture of the "horseman's apparel."
"First, when you begin to learne to ride, you must come to the stable, in such decent and fit apparel, as is meet for such an exercise, that is to say, a hat which must sit close and firme upon your heade, with an indifferent narrow verge or brim, so that in the saults or bounds of the horse, it may neither through widenesse or unweldinesse fall from your head, nor with the bredth of the brim fall into your eies, and impeach your sight, both which are verie grosse errors: About your neck you shall weare a falling band, and no ruffe, whose depth or thicknesse, may, either with the winde, or motions of your horse, ruffell about your face; or, according to the fashion of the Spaniards, daunce hobby-horse-like about your shoulders, which though in them is taken for a grace, yet in true judgment it is found an errour. Your doublet shal be made
close and handsome to your bodie, large wasted, so that you may ever be sure to ride with your points trussed (for to ride otherwise is most vilde) and in all parts so easye, that it may not take from you the use of anie part of your bodie. About your waste you must have ever your girdle and thereon a smal dagger or punniard, which must be so fast in the sheath that no motion of the horse may cast it forth, and yet so readie, that upon any occasion you may draw it. Your hose would be large, rounde, and full, so that they may fill your saddle, which should it otherwise be emptie and your bodie looke like a small substance in a great compasse, it were wondrous uncomely. Your bootes must be cleane, blacke, long, and close to your legge, comming almost up to your middle thigh, so that they may lie as a defence betwixt your knee and the tree of your saddle. Your boote-hose must come some two inches higher then your bootes, being hansomely tied up with pointes. Your spurres must be strong and flat inward, bending with a compasse under your ancle: the neck of your spurre must be long and straight, and rowels thereof longe and sharp, the prickes thereof not standing thicke together, nor being above five in number. Upon your handes you must weare a hansome paire of gloves, and in your right hande you must have a long rodde finely rush-growne, so that the small hande thereof be hardly so great as a round packe-threed, insomuch that when you move or shake it, the noyes thereof may be lowde and sharpe." *
Having thus noticed the great rural diversions of this period, as far as they deviate from modern practice, the remainder of the chapter will be occupied by such minor amusements of the country as may now justly be considered obsolete; for it must be recollected, to enumerate only what is peculiar to the era under consideration, forms the object of our research. It should, likewise, here be added, that those amusements which are equally common to both country and town, will find their place under the latter head, such as cards, dice, the practice of archery, baiting, etc. etc.
Among the amusements generally prevalent in the country, Burton has included the Quintain. This, was originally a mere martial sport; and, as Vegetius informs us, familiar to the Romans, from an individual of which nation, named Quintus, it is supposed to have derived its etymology. During the early feudal ages of modern Europe it continued to support its military character, was prac tised by the higher orders of society, and preceded, and probably gave origin to tilting, justs, and tournaments. These, however, as more elegant and splendid in their costume, gradually superseded it during the prevalence of chivalry; it then became an exercise for the middle ranks, for burgesses and citizens, and at length, towards the close of the sixteenth century, degenerated into a mere rustic sport.
It would appear, from comparing Stowe with Shakspeare, that about the year 1600, the Quintain was made use of under two forms; the most simple consisting of a post fixed perpendicularly in the ground, on the top of which was a cross-bar turning upon a pivot or spindle, with a broad board nailed at one end and a bag of sand suspended at the other; at the board they ran on horseback with spears
Right Worshipfull, and his singular good father, Ma. Rob. Markham, of Cotham, in the County of Nottingham, Esq. by Jervis Markham. Licensed 29 January, 1592-3." Vide Herbert, v. 2 1102.
Cavelarice, or the arte and knowledge belonging to the Horse-ryder, 1607. Book ii. chap. 24.
or staves and "hee," says Stowe, "that hit not the broad end of the quinten was of all men laughed to scorne; and hee that hit it full, if he rid not the faster, had a sound blow in his necke with a bagge full of sand hanged on the other end." A more costly and elaborate machine, resembling the human form, is alluded to by Shakspeare in As You Like It, where Orlando says,
In Italy, Germany, and Flanders a quintain, carved in wood in imitation of the human form, was, during the sixteenth century, in common use. † The figure very generally represented a Saracen, armed with a shield in one hand, and a sword in the other, and, being placed on a pivot, the skill of those who attacked it, depended on shivering the lance to pieces between the eyes of the figure; for if the weapon deviated to the right or left, and especially if it struck the shield, the quintain turned round with such velocity as to give the horseman a violent blow on the back with his sword, a circumstance which covered the performer with ridicule, and excited the mirth of the spectators. That such a machine, termed the shield quintain, was used in Ireland during the reign of Richard the Second, we have the authority of Froissart; it is therefore highly probable, that this species of the diversion was as common in England, and still lingered here in the reign of Elizabeth; and that to a quintain of this kind, representing an armed man, and erected for the purpose of a military exercise, Shakspeare alludes in the passage just quoted.
It must, however, be allowed, that at the commencement of the seventeenth century, and for several years anterior, the quintain had almost universally become the plaything of the peasantry, and was seldom met with but at rural weddings, wakes, or fairs; or under any other form than that which Stowe has described. No greater proof of this can be given than the fact, that when Elizabeth was entertained at Kenelworth Castle, in 1575, with an exact representation of a Country Bridale, a quintain of this construction formed a part of it. "Marvellous," says Laneham, "were the martial acts that were done there that day; the bridegroom for pre-eminence had the first course at the Quintaine, brake his spear treshardiment; but his mare in his manage did a little so titubate, that much ado had his manhood to sit in his saddle, and to scape the foil of a fall: With the help of his hand, yet he recovered himself, and lost not his stirrups. for he had none to his saddle); had no hurt as it hapt, but only that his girth burst, and lost his pen and inkhorn that he was ready to weep for; but his handkerchief, as good hap was, found he safe at his girdle; that cheered him somewhat, and had good regard it should not be filed. For though heat and coolness upon sundry occasions made him sometime to sweat, and sometime rheumatic; yet durst he be bolder to blow his nose and wipe his face with the flappet of his father's jacket, than with his mother's muffler: 'tis a goodly matter, when youth is mannerly brought up, in fatherly love and motherly awe.
"Now, Sir, after the bride-groom had made his course, ran the rest of the band a while, in Some order; but soon after, tag and rag, cut and long tail; where the specialty of the sport was to see how some for his slackness had a good bob with the bag; and some for his haste to topple down right, and come tumbling to the post: Some striving so much at the first setting out, that it seemed a question between the man and the beast, whether the course should be made a horseback or a foot: and put forth with the spurs, then would run his race by us among the thickest of the throng, that down came they together hand over head. Another, while he directed his course to the quintaine, his jument would carry him to a mare among the people; so his horse as amorous s himself adventurous: An other, too, run and miss the quintaine with his staff, and hit the board with his head!
*Survey of London, 4to. 1618. p. 145.
+ Vide Pluvinel sur l'exercice de monter à cheval, part iii. p. 177. et Traité des Tournois, Joustes, &c. par Claude Fran, Menestrier, p. 264.
"Many such gay games were there among these riders who by and by after, upon a greater courage, left their quintaining, and ran one at another. There to see the stern countenances. the grim looks, the couragious attempts, the desperate adventures, the dangerous courses, the fierce encounters, whereby the buff at the man, and the counterbuff at the horse, that both sometime came toppling to the ground. By my troth, Master Martin, 'twas a lively pastime; i believe it would have moved some man to a right merry mood, though it had been told him his wife lay a dying."
This passage presents us with a lively picture of what the rural quintain was in the days of Elizabeth, an exercise which continued to amuse our rustic forefathers for more than a century after the princely festival of Kenelworth. Minshieu, who published his Dictionary in 1617, the year subsequent to Shakspeare's death, informs us that "A quintaine or quintelle," was a game in request at marriages, when Jac and Tom, Dic, Hob and Will, strive for the gay garland." Randolph in 1642, alluding in one of his poems to the diversions of the Spaniards, says
"Foot-ball with us may be with them balloone;
As they at tilts, so we at quintaine runne;
Plott in his History of Oxfordshire, first printed in 1677, mentions the Quintain as the common bridal diversion of the peasantry at Deddington in that county; "it is now," he remarks, "only in request at marriages, and set up in the way for young men to ride at as they carry home the bride, he that breaks the board being counted the best man ;" and in a satire published about the year 1690, under the title of "The Essex Champion; or the famous History of Sir Billy of Billerecay, and his Squire Ricardo," intended as a ridicule, after the manner of Cervantes, on the romances then in circulation, the hero, Sir Billy, is represented as running at a quintain, such as Stowe has drawn in his Survey, but with the most unfortunate issue, for "taking his launce in his hand, he rid with all his might at the Quinten, and hitting the board a full blow, brought the sand-bag about with such force, as made him measure his length on the ground.”‡ Most of the numerous athletic diversions of the country remaining what they were two centuries ago, cannot, in accordance with our plan, require any comment or detail; two, however, now, we believe, entirely obsolete, and which serve to mark the manners of the age, it will be necessary to introduce. Mercutio, in a contest of pleasantry and banter with Romeo, exclaims, "Nay, if thy wits run the wild-goose chase, I have done."
This barbarous species of horse-race, which has been named from its resemblance to the flight of wild-geese, was a common diversion among the countrygentlemen of this period; Burton, indeed, calls it one of "the disports of great men;" a confession which does no honour to the age, for this elegant amusement consisted in two horses starting together, and he who proved the hindmost rider was obliged to follow the foremost over whatever ground he chose to carry him, that horse which could distance the other winning the race.
Another sport still more extraordinary and rude, and much in vogue in the south-western counties, was one of the numerous games with the ball, and termed Hurling. Of this there were two kinds, "hurling to the goales" and "hurling to the country," and both have been described with great accuracy by Carew, in his Survey of Cornwall. The first is little more than a species of hand-ball, but the second, when represented as the amusement of gentlemen, furnishes a curious picture of the civilisation of the times.
"In hurling to the country," says Carew, "two or three, or more parishes agree to harl against two or three other parishes. The matches are usually made by gentlemen, and their
Nichols's Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, vol. i. and Laneham's Letter, p. 30-32.
+ Natural Hist. of Oxfordshire, p. 200. Anatomy of Melancholy, 8th edit. P. 170.
Censura Literaria, vol. viii. p. 233, 234.
goales are either those gentlemen's houses, or some towns or villages three or four miles asunder, of which either side maketh choice after the nearnesse of their dwellings; when they meet, there is neyther comparing of numbers nor matching of men, but a silver ball is cast up, and that company which can catch and carry it by force or slight to the place assigned, gained the ball and the victory. Such as see where the ball is played give notice, crying 'ware east,' ware west,' as the same is carried. The hurlers take their next way over billes, dales, hedges, ditches; yea, and thorow busches, briars, mires, plashes, and rivers whatsoever, so as you shall sometimes see twenty or thirty lie tugging together in the water scrambling and scratching for the ball.”
The domestic amusements in the country being nearly, if not altogether, the same with those which prevailed in the city, we shall, with one exception, refer the consideration of them to another part of this work. The pastime for which this distinction is claimed, was known by the name of Shovel-board, or Shuffleboard, and was so universally prevalent throughout the kingdom, during the era of which we are treating, that there could scarcely be found a nobleman's or gentleman's house in the country in which this piece of furniture was not a conspicuous object. The great hall was the place usually assigned for its station, though in some places, as, for instance, at Ludlow Castle, a room was appropriated to this purpose, called the Shovell-Board Room.+
The table necessary for this game, now superseded by the use of Billiards, was frequently upon a very large and expensive scale.
"It is remarkable," observes Dr. Plott,
that in the ball at Chartley the shuffle-board table, though ten yards one foot and an inch long, is made up of about two hundred and sixty pieces, which are generally about eighteen inches long, some few only excepted, that are scarce a foot; which, being laid on longer boards for support underneath, are so accurately joined and glewed together, that no shume-board whatever is freer from rubbs or casting.-There is a joynt also in the shuffle-board at Madeley Manor exquisitely well done." ‡
The mode of playing at Shovel-board is thus described by Mr. Strutt :"At one end of the shovel-board there is a line drawn across, parallel with the edge, and about three or four inches from it; at four feet distance from this line another is made, over which it is necessary for the weight to pass when it is thrown by the player, otherwise the go is not reckoned. The players stand at the end of the table, opposite to the two marks above mentioned, each of them having four flat weights of metal, which they shove from them, one at a time, alternately and the judgment of the play is, to give sufficient impetus to the weight to carry it beyond the mark nearest to the edge of the board, which requires great nicety, for if it be too strongly impelled, so as to fall from the table, and there is nothing to prevent it, into a trough placed underneath for its reception, the throw is not counted; if it hangs over the edge, without falling, three are reckoned towards the player's game; if it lie between the line and the edge, without hanging over, it tells for two; if on the line, and not up to it, but over the first line, it counts for one. The game, when two play, is generally eleven; but the number is extended when four, or more, are jointly concerned." S
It appears from a passage in the Merry Wives of Windsor, that, in Shakspeare's time, the broad shillings of Edward VI. were made use of at shovel-board instead of the more modern weights. Falstaff is enquiring of Pistol if he picked master Slender's purse, a query to which Slender thus replies: "Ay, by these gloves, did he (or I would I might never come in mine own great chamber again else), of seven groats in mill-sixpences, and two Edward shovel-boards, that cost me two shillings and two-pence a-piece of Yead Miller, by these gloves." "That Slender means the broad shilling of one of our kings," remarks Mr. Malone, appears from comparing these words with the corresponding passage in the old quarto: Ay by this handkerchief did he ;-two faire shovel-board shillings, besi les seven groats in mill-sixpences.''
Mr. Douce is of opinion that the game of shovel-board is not much older than the reign of Edward VI., and that it is only a variation, on a larger scale, of what was term'd Shove-groat, a game invented in the reign of Henry VIII., and
Carew's Survey of Cornwall, 1602, book i. p. 74. ‡ Natural History of Staffordshire, p. 383.
+ Vide Todd's Milton, 2d. edit vol. vi. p. 192, § Sports and Pastimes, p. 264.
described in the statutes, of his 33d year, as a new game. Shove-groat was also played, as the name implies, with the coin of the age, namely silver groats, then as large as our modern shillings, and to this pastime and to the instrument used in performing it, Shakspeare likewise, and Jonson, allude; the first in the Second Part of King Henry IV., where Falstaff, threatening Pistol, exclaims, "Quoit him down, Bardolph, like a Shove-groat shilling:" the second in Every Man in his Humour, where Knowell, speaking of Brain-worm, says that he has "translated begging out of the old hackney pace, to a fine easy amble, and made it run as smooth off the tongue as a shove-groat shilling." + That the game of Shovel-board is subsequent, in point of time, to the diversion of Shove-groat, is probable from the circumstance noticed by Mr. Douce, that no coin termed shovel-groat is any where to be found, and consequently the era of the broad shilling may be deemed that also of shovel-board. Mr. Strutt supposes the modern game of Justice Jervis to resemble, in all essential points, the ancient Shove-groat. ‡ Between the juvenile sports which were common in the reigns of Elizabeth and James, and those of the present day, little variation or discrepancy, worth noticing, can be perceived; they were, under slight occasional alterations of form and name, equally numerous, trifling, or mischievous, and Shakspeare has now and then referred to them, for the purposes of illustration or similitude; he has, in this manner, alluded to the well-known games of leap-frog ; § handydandy;** wildmare, or balancing; ++ flap-dragons; ‡‡ loggats, or kittlepins; SS countrybase, or prisoner's bars;*** fast and loose;††† nine men's morris, or live-penny morris; ‡‡‡ cat in a bottle; SSS figure of eight, **** etc. etc.; games which, together with those derived from balls, marbles, hoops, etc. require no description, and which, deviating little in their progress from age to age, can throw no material light on the costume of early life. Very few diversions, indeed, peculiar to our youthful days have become totally obsolete; among these, however, may be mentioned one, which, from the obscurity resting on it, its peculiarity, and former popularity, is entitled to some distinction. We allude to the diversion of barley-breake, of the mode of playing which, Mr. Strutt confesses himself ignorant, and merely quotes the following lines from Sidney, as given by Johnson in his Dictionary:
66 By neighbours prais'd, she went abroad thereby,
Barley-breake was, however, among young people, one of the most popular amusements of the reigns of Elizabeth and James the First, and continued so until the austere zeal of the Puritans occasioned its suppression: thus Thomas Randall, in "An Eclogue" on the diversions of Cotswold Hills, complains that
"Some melancholy swaines, about have gone,
And Barley-breake the ready way to hell." ‡‡1‡
Before this puritanical revolution took place, barley-breake was a common theme with the amatory bards of the day, and allusions to it were frequent in their songs, madrigals, and ballets. With one of these, written about 1600, we shall present the reader, as a pleasing specimen of the light poetry of the age: