« PreviousContinue »
For the farmer's general diet he assigns, in Lent, red herrings, and salt fish, which may remain in store when Lent is past: at Easter, veal and bacon at Martinmas, salted beef, when dainties are not to be had in the country: at Midsummer, when mackerel are no longer in season, grasse, or sallads, fresh beef, and pease: at Michaelmas, fresh herrings, with fatted crones, or sheep: at All Saints, pork and pease, sprats and spurlings: at Christmas, good cheere and plaie. The farmer's weekly fish-days, are Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday; and he is charged to be careful in keeping embrings and fast-days".
Among the Husbandlie Furniture are recited most of the instruments now in use, yet with several obsolete and unintelligible names of farming utensils. Horses, I know not from what superstition, are to be annually blooded on Saint Stephen's day". Among the Christmas husbandlie fare*, our author recommends good drinke, a good fire in the Hall, brawne, pudding and souse, and mustard withall, beef, mutton, and pork, shred, or minced, pies of the best, pig, veal, goose, capon, and turkey, cheese, apples, and nuts, with jolie carols. A Christmas carol is then introduced to the tune of King Salomon".
In a comparison between Champion and Severall, that is, open and inclosed land, the disputes about inclosures appear to have been as violent as at present". Among his Huswifelie Admonitions, which are not particularly addressed to the farmer, he advises three dishes at dinner, which being well dressed, will be sufficient to please your friend, and will become your Hall. The prudent housewife is directed to make her own tallow-candles. Servants of both sexes are ordered to go to bed at ten in the summer, and nine in the winter; to rise at five in the winter, and four in the summerd. The ploughman's feasting
Chap. 12. fol. 25, 26. Chap. 15. fol. 31, 32, 33. Y Fol. 52. [Tusser, says Mr. Stillingfleet, seems to have been a good-natured cheerful man, and though a lover of economy, far from meanness, as appears in many of his precepts, wherein he shows his disapprobation of that pitiful spirit which makes farmers starve their cattle, their land, and every thing belonging to them; choosing rather to lose a pound than spend a shilling. He throws his precepts into a calendar, and gives many good rules in general, both in relation to agriculture and œconomy; and had he not written in miserable hobbling and obscure verse, might have rendered more service to his countrymen.-Mem. for Hist. of Husbandry in Coxe's Life of Stillingfleet, ii. 567.-PARK.]
Z Chap. 30. fol. 37. These are four of the lines:
Euen Christ, I meane, that virgins child,
That lambe of God, that prophet mild,
Mar. 4, 1559, there is a receipt from Ralph Newbery for his licence for printing a ballad called "Kynge Saloman.' Registr. Station. Comp. Lond. notat. A. fol. 48 a. Again, in 1561, a licence to print "iij balletts, the one entituled Newes oute of Kent; the other, a newe ballat after the tune of kynge Solomon; and the other, Newes out of Heaven and Hell.” Ibid. fol. 75 a. See Lycence of John Tysdale for printing "Certayne goodly Carowles to be songe to the glory of God," in 1562. Ibid. fol. 86 a. Again, Ibid. "Crestenmas Carowles auctorisshed by my lord of London." A ballad of Solomon and the queen of Sheba is entered in 1567. Ibid fol. 166 a. In 1569, is entered an "Enterlude for boyes to handle and to passe tyme at Christimas." Ibid. fol. 183 b. Again, in the same year, fol. 185 b. More instances follow.
Chap. 52. fol. 111.
b Fol. 133.
• Fol. 135.
d Fol. 137.
days, or holidays, are PLOUGH-MONDAY, or the first Monday after Twelfth-day, when ploughing begins, in Leicestershire. SHROF-Tide, or SHROVE-TUESDAY, in Essex and Suffolk, when after shroving, or confession, he is permitted to go thresh the fat hen, and "if blindfold [you] can kill her, then giue it thy men," and to dine on fritters and pancakes. SHEEP-SHEARING, which is celebrated in Northamptonshire with wafers and cakes. The WAKE-DAY, or the vigil of the church saint, when everie wanton maie danse at her will, as in Leicestershire, and the oven is to be filled with flawnes. HARVEST-HOME, when the harvest-home goose is to be killed. SEED-CAKE, a festival so called at the end of wheat-sowing, in Essex and Suffolk, when the village is to be treated with seed-cakes, pasties, and the frumentie-pot. But twice a week, according to ancient right and custom, the farmer is to give roast-meat, that is, on Sundays and on Thursday nights. We have then a set of posies or proverbial rhymes, to be written in various rooms of the house, such as " Husbandlie posies for the Hall, Posies for the Parlour, Posies for the Ghests chamber, and Posies for thine own bedchambers." Botany appears to have been eminently cultivated, and illustrated with numerous treatises in English, throughout
I have before mentioned ShroveTuesday as a day dedicated to festivities. See supr. vol. ii. p. 530. note 9. In some parts of Germany it was usual to celebrate Shrove-tide with bonfires. Lavaterus of Ghostes, &c. translated into English by R. H. Lond. 1572. 4to. fol. 51. bl. lett. Polydore Virgil says, that so early as the year 1170, it was the custom of the English nation to celebrate their Christmas with plays, masques, and the most magnificent spectacles; together with games at dice, and dancing. This practice, he adds, was not conformable to the usage of most other nations, who permitted these diversions, not at Christmas, but a few days before Lent, about the time of Shrovetide. Hist. Angl. lib. xiii. f. 211. Basil. 1534. By the way, Polydore Virgil observes, that the Christmas-prince or Lord of Misrule, is almost peculiar to the English. De Rer. Inventor. lib. v. cap. ii. Shrove-Tuesday seems to have been sometimes considered as the last day of Christmas, and on that account might be celebrated as a festival. In the year 1440, on Shrove-Tuesday, which that year was in March, at Norwich there was a Disport in the streets, when one rode through the streets havyng his hors trappyd with tyn-soyle, and other nyse disgysyngs, coronned as Kyng of Crestemasse, in tokyn that seson should end with the twelve moneths of the yere:
aforn hym went yche [each] Moneth dysgusysyd after the seson requiryd," &c. Blomf. Norf. ii. p. 111. This very poetical pageantry reminds me of a similar and a beautiful procession at Rome, described by Lucretius, where the Seasons, with their accompaniments, walk personified. Lib. v. 736.
It VER et VENUS, et Veneris prænuntius
Pinnatus ZEPHYRUS graditur vestigia
Cuncta coloribus egregiis et odoribus
[For an account of the several festivals mentioned in the text, see Mr. Brand's "Popular Antiquities."-PRICE.] f Fol. 138.
Fol. 144, 145. See Inscriptions of this sort in " The Welspring of wittie Conceites," translated from the Italian by W. Phist. Lond. for R. Jones, 1584. bl. lett. 4to. Signat. N. 2.
[This is one of the books which Ritson regarded as supposititious; but a copy of it is in the library of Mr. Bindley, whence several extracts were taken, and exhibited to public attention in the Monthly Mirror for July 1803. Another copy occurs in the Bodleian library.-PARK.]
the latter part of the sixteenth century. In this work are large enumerations of plants, as well for the medical as the culinary garden.
Our author's general precepts have often an expressive brevity, and are sometimes pointed with an epigrammatic turn and a smartness of allusion. As thus,
Saue wing for a thresher, when gander doth die;
Again, under the lessons of the housewife,
Though cat, a good mouser, doth dwell in a house,
And in the following rule of the smaller economics,
Saue droppings and skimmings, however ye doo,
In these stanzas on haymaking, he rises above his common manner.
Go muster thy seruants, be captain thyselfe,
With tossing, and raking, and setting on cox,
A great variety of verse is used in this poem, which is thrown into numerous detached chapters. The HUSBANDRIE is divided into the
several months. Tusser, in respect of his antiquated diction, and his argument, may not improperly be styled the English Varro*.
Such were the rude beginnings in the English language of didactic poetry, which, on a kindred subject, the present age has seen brought to perfection, by the happy combination of judicious precepts with the most elegant ornaments of language and imagery, in Mr. Mason's ENGLISH GARDEN.
William Forrest's poems. His Queen Catharine, an elegant manuscript, contains anecdotes of Henry's divorce. He collects and preserves ancient music. Puritans oppose the study of the classics. Lucas Shepherd. John Pullayne. Numerous metrical versions of Solomon's Song. Censured by Hall the satirist. Religious rhymers. Edward More. Boy-bishop, and miracle-plays, revived by queen Mary. Minute particulars of an ancient miracle-play.
AMONG Antony Wood's manuscripts in the Bodleian library at Oxford, I find a poem of considerable length written by William Forrest, chaplain to queen Mary". It is entitled, "A true and most notable History of a right noble and famous Lady produced in Spayne entitled the second GRESIELD, practised not long out of this time in much part tragedous as delectable both to hearers and readers." This is a panegyrical history in octave rhyme, of the life of queen Catharine, the first queen of king Henry the Eighth. The poet compares Catharine to patient Grisild, celebrated by Petrarch and Chaucer, and Henry to
[Barnaby Googe, in his preface to the translation of Herebach's four books of Husbandrie, 1578, sets Fitzherbert and Tusser on a level with Varro and Columella and Palladius: but the sedate Stillingfleet would rather compare Tusser to old Hesiod, from the following considerations. They both wrote in the infancy of husbandry in their different countries: both gave good general precepts without entering into the detail, though Tusser has more of it than Hesiod: they both seem desirous to improve the morals of their readers as well as their farms, by recommending industry and economy: and, that which perhaps may be looked upon as the greatest resemblance, they both wrote in verse; probably for the same reason, namely, to propagate their doctrines more effectually. But here the resemblance ends: the Greek was a very
earl Walter her husband. Catharine had certainly the patience and conjugal compliance of Grisild; but Henry's cruelty was not, like Walter's, only artificial and assumed. It is dedicated to queen Mary*: and Wood's manuscript, which was once very superbly bound and embossed, and is elegantly written on vellum, evidently appears to have been the book presented by the author to her majesty. Much of its ancient finery is tarnished; but on the brass bosses at each corner is still discernible AVE MARIA GRATIA PLENA. At the end is this colophon: "Here endeth the Historye of Grysilde the second, dulie meanyng Queene Catharine mother to our most dread soveraigne Lady queene Mary, fynysched the xxv day of June, the yeare of owre Lorde 1558. By the symple and unlearned Syr Wylliam Forrest preeiste, propria manu." The poem, which consists of twenty chapters, contains a zealous condemnation of Henry's divorce; and, I believe, preserves some anecdotes, yet apparently misrepresented by the writer's religious and political bigotry, not extant in any of our printed histories. Forrest was a student at Oxford, at the time when this notable and knotty point of casuistry prostituted the learning of all the universities of Europe, to the gratification of the capricious amours of a libidinous and implacable tyrant. He has recorded many particulars and local incidents of what passed in Oxford during that transaction. At the end of the poem is a metrical ORATION CONSOLATORY, in six leaves, to queen Mary.
In the British Museum is another of Forrest's poems, written in two splendid folio volumes on vellum, called "The tragedious troubles of the most chast and innocent Joseph, son to the holy patriarch Jacob,” and dedicated to Thomas Howard duke of Norfolk 4. In the same repository is another of his pieces, never printed, dedicated to king Edward the Sixth, "A notable warke called The PLEASANT POESIE OF PRINCELIE PRACTISE, composed of late by the simple and unlearned sir Wil
The affecting story of Patient Grisild seems to have long kept up its celebrity. In the books of the Stationers, in 1565, Owen Rogers has a licence to print" a ballat intituled the songe of pacyent Gressell vnto hyr make." Registr. A. fol. 132 b. Two ballads are entered in 1565,"to the tune of pacyente Gressell." Ibid. fol. 135 a. In the same year T. Colwell has licence to print " The History of meke and pacyent Gresell." Ibid. fol. 139 a. Colwell has a second edition of this history in 1568. Ibid. fol. 177 a. Instances occur much lower.
[In poetic compliment to his royal patroness, Forrest wrote and printed "A new ballade of the Mari-golde." This is preserved in the archives of the Society of Antiquaries, and has been reprinted in the Harl. Miscell. Suppl. vol. ii.-PARK.]
In the first chapter, he thus speaks of
the towardliness of the princess Catharine's younger years:
With stoole and needyl she was not to
And other practiseingis for ladyes meete;
He adds, that she was a pure virgin when married to the king; and that her first husband prince Arthur, on account of his tender years, never slept with her.
d MSS. Reg. 18 C. xiii. It appears to have once belonged to the library of John Theyer of Cooper's-hill near Gloucester. There is another copy in University-college Library, MSS. G. 7. with gilded leaves. This, I believe, once belonged to Robert earl of Aylesbury. Pr. "In Canaan that country opulent."