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WILLIS'S CURRENT NOTES.
"Takes note of what is done
By note to give and to receive."-SHAKESPEARE.
LATE in the fifteenth century, there lived at Leatherhead, anciently Leddrede, in Surrey, an alewife of some distinction, and whom Skelton the poet in The Tunnyng of Elynour Rumminge, has conferred lasting celebrity. The tunning or brewing of Elinor Rumming, would seem to have been one of Skelton's most popular productions, and is an admirable specimen of his talent for the low burlesque,-a description of a real alewife, and of the various gossips who throng to her for liquor, as if under the influence of some potent spell. As Mr. Dyce justly observes,-" if few compositions of the kind have more coarseness or extravagance, there are few that have greater animation, or are of a richer humour."
centuries, is still tenantable, and has been recently enlarged.*
Dallaway in his Lethereum, states, that "when the Court of Henry VIII. was held at Nonsuch, about six miles distant, the laureate Skelton, with other courtiers, oft-times resorted to Leatherhead for the diversion of fishing in the river Mole, and were made welcome at No mention of her death occurs, as that happened no the cabaret of Elinour Rummyng." Whether the late Vicar of Leatherhead, based this assertion on tradition or doubt, before the introduction of parish registers; but otherwise, it is as a matter of fact undeserving the Dallaway conjectured that persons of the ale-wife's family were long after resident in the parish, as he found the slightest consideration. When Skelton wrote "the Tunning" is not clearly defined, but he died in Sanc-name of Rumming in the burial register under the tuary, at Westminster, June 21, 1529, more than ten years 1663 and 1669. years prior to that monarch's having possession of Cuddington, or had commenced the building of the palace, since denominated Nonsuch.
Skelton is supposed to have been born about 1460, and probably "The tunnyng of Elinour Rumminge was written sometime about 1500, if not before. He describes Elinor as "ugly faire, and well worne in age," wearing a huke or cloak of Lincoln green, that had been hers, he believed, more than forty years. She wore also a "furred flocket, and grey russet rocket," the former a loose garment, with large sleeves; the latter, a garment with or without sleeves, that sometimes was made to reach to the ground; or was otherwise much shorter, and open at the sides. Her kyrtel or petticoat was of Bristow red;
With clothes vpon her hed,
Skelton notices she "dwelt on a hyll," her cabaret was on a rising ground contiguous to the old bridge that crossed the Mole. Her domicile was a small timber built house, with low rooms and over-hanging chambers, and although much altered in the course of several
Skelton's Poems, printed in 1571, is a rude woodcut of Brayley states that on the title-page of an edition of an old ill-favoured woman holding at arm's length, in either hand, a leathern pot or black jack, with the inscription
When Skelton wore the laurel crown, My Ale put all the Ale-wives down.' Where that edition is extant, it is highly desirable to know; it seems to be unknown to the editor of Skelton's works; nor does any earlier woodcut of Elynour Rumming appear to be extant than that attached to Rand's edition, 1624, 4to., where she is represented as holding in either hand as described, two black earthen pots, which were common in the ale-houses of that period and long after. That some earlier edition of the sixteenth century, presented a similar portrait of Elinour Rumming is not to be doubted, it is the original of MOTHER RED CAP, and wherever the sign so designated has been painted, the figure as in Rand's edition, has been the prototype. The gear in 'saracyn gyse' about her head, being painted as a conical red cap or hat.
The illustration shows the house, as it appeared in the spring of 1845; since which time the doorway has been removed, and other alterations made. It is now known by the sign of the Running Horse.
In Bacchus Bountie, by Philip Foulface of Aleford, servants, at Henslow's Theatre, the Rose on the BankStudent in good Felloship, 1593, 4to., Skelton is mis-side, in December, 1597; and in the inventory of the named as "Anthony Skelton," and there is a cursory dresses and properties mentioned as belonging to that mention of "Tom Tipsay, an English Tapster, wel nere Theatre, March 10th, 1598-9, is noticed— choaked with a marvelous drie heat, which of late he had got by lifting ouerlong at old Mother Red Caps."
A drama entitled Mother Red Cap, written by Anthony Munday and Michael Drayton, was performed by the Earl of Nottingham, the Lord High Admiral's
To seek this nymph among the glorious dead, Tir'd with his search on earth, is GULSTON fled? Still for these charms enamour'd MUSGRAVE sighs, To clasp these beauties ardent BINDLEY dies. For these, while yet unstag'd to public view, Impatient BRAND o'er half the kingdom flew ; These, while their bright ideas round him play, From classic WESTON force the Roman lay: Oft too, my STORER, heaven heard thee swear, Not Gallia's murder'd Queen was half so fair: A New Europa,' cries the exulting BULL, 'My Granger now, I thank the gods, is full:' Even CRACHERODE's self, whom passions rarely move, At this soft shrine has deign'd to whisper love. Haste then, ye swains, who Rumming's form adore, Possess your Elinour, and sigh no more. Steevens subscribed W. R. to these lines, but he was the author; Richardson had no predilection for versification.
The Lincoln volume contained other extremely rare tracts, that Dr. Dibdin subsequently contrived, by exchanging for his own books, to obtain, and break up; he then printed a Catalogue entitled the Lincolne Nosegaye, the impressions limited to, with him a favourite number, thirty-six copies; and sold the whole to distinguished collectors. Heber purchased Rand's quarto edition of Elinour Rumming; it is now in the library of Mr. George Daniel, of Canonbury Square, Islington.
Item, j syne [one sign] for Mother Red Cap. Early in the seventeenth century, was the sign of the Mother Red Cap at Holloway, beyond Islington; a token was issued from the house in the reign of Charles the Second; there was also the Mother Red Cap at Kentish Town, that gave rise to a rival sign, nearly opposite, named Mother Black Cap; both still houses of considerable notoriety. Taylor the Water-poet in his Ribble Rubble of Gossips, observes :
"To conclude the businesse, Martha protests shee will neuer trust Tomasin againe while she lives, because she promised to meet her at Pimlico, and bring her neighbour Bethya, but came not, neverthelesse Faith went to Mother Red Caps, and by the way, met with Joyce, who very kindly batled her penny with her at a fat pig.'
Hoxton, the Mother Red Cap would appear to have been As the Pimlico here alluded to was at Hogsden, now that at Holloway.
Later, the author of Whimsies: or a New Cast of Characters, 1631, duod., describing a sign-painter,
He bestowes his pencile on an aged piece of canvas in a sooty ale-house, where Mother Red Cap must be set out in her colours. Here he and his barmy hostess draw both together, but not in like nature, she in Ale, he in Oyle: but her commoditie of which he means to have his full share, when his work is done, goes better downe. If she aspires to the conceite of a signe, and desire to have her birch-pole pulled downe, he will supply her with one.
FREDERICK THE GREAT'S OLD BREECHES. THIS monarch greatly elevated the character and fame of Prussia, mainly by his alliance with England, that enabled him successfully to withstand the world arrayed in arms against him. He died at Berlin about 3 o'clock in the morning, August 17, 1786, in his seventyfifth year. Economical and sparing in all that related to himself, his wardrobe on his demise presented nothing of any particular value. Among his linen were found but eleven shirts! and his clothes given by his successor to the late king's pages, were sold by them to some Jews for 402 rix-dollars. They in their turn realized an enormous profit, not by the excellence of the regal habiliments, or the quantity, but from the generally expressed ardour of many persons to possess something that had been the property or pertained to Frederick the Great. More than four thousand rix-dollars were admitted to have been realised in this resale, and among the purlate into the field, and there remaining but an old much chasers, an old lady, maiden or not is not stated; coming worn pair of breeches, joyously carried them off at the price of two hundred rix-dollars! When Frederick William shall be gathered to his fathers, will any one care to possess aught that he may leave behind?
GRAVE OF HAMLET AT ELSINORE. MANY objects of interest present themselves to the stranger at Elsinore. Among them, more particularly, are the fortress, and the garden of Marienslust, where is to be seen what is traditionally said to be the grave of Hamlet. Yet, the interior of the fortress contains nothing remarkable; and the grave is a misnomer; for Hamlet lived, reigned, died, and was buried in Jutland. As the earlier chronicles relate, being apprised of the conspiracy against his life by his stepfather and mother, he feigned imbecility of mind, and in a retaliatory revenge, destroyed them in their house, by blocking up the doors, and setting fire to it. Hamlet then reigned in quiet, maintained his dignity respectably, and died a natural death. Those who have wept over the sorrows of Ophelia, as portrayed by England's dramatic bard, may be relieved by the assurance, that the whole is a fiction by Shakespeare, and that nowhere, near Elsinore, is there any brook, with willows, in which Ophelia could have perished.
The grave of Hamlet, as shewn in Denmark, is about a stone's throw distance at the back of the mansion of Marienslust. The sea is seen between a continous clump of trees planted in a circle, and the grave is noted by some scattered square stones of small size, which appear to have once served for a cenotaph, and stand on a knoll or rising mound covered and surrounded by beech trees. Nothing of their history is known, they seem to be little respected or thought about by the towns-people of Elsinore; but pious and romantic pilgrims from another fatherland, have borne off considerable portions as relics, and a few years will probably witness their total disper
CHRISTMAS-DAY.-In Current Notes, vol. iv. p. 12, the remark that "December 25th was fixed on, as more likely than any other to be the correct day, in the absence of any specific information as to the exact period," being quite new to me, I will attempt to fix the date.
Spanheim, in his fifth Dissertation "de Capricorno in Nummis," exhibits the reverse of a small brass coin of Agosta, so named in honour of Augustus, on which Capricorn is depicted holding in front a globe, and in the field behind, a star.* This star, I presume to have been the same, that preceded the Magi to the birth-place of
Landseer, Sabean Researches, p. 288, presents a remarkable signet, that, at p. 290, he describes as "the Capricorn of the Babylonian Zodiac, the mechanical figure beneath being an early and rude attempt to shew, by means of measured degrees, that portion of the zodiac, that was occupied by the stars of Capricorn." Referring to a portion of the vignette, almost every line in these early representations, which relate to the coming of the
Dissertationes de Præstantia et Usu Numism. Antiquorum. Lond. 1717. fol. vol. 1. p. 240.
Messiah, being significant, I shall explain only what applies to the present purpose. The ladder-like figure of six bars beneath Capricorn, contains four spaces, cach containing or representing beyond doubt, five days; thus the five spaces indicate twenty-five days. Above Capricorn, precisely over the termination of the fifth space, is the symbol of the obedient son with power: the crescent before his head, to denote the predicted time; and in front of the whole is a priest receiving or acknowledging his belief in the certain accomplishment and truth of the first revelation given to mankind.
Referring to the Oriental Zodiac, Asiatic Researches, vol. ii. p. 303; as their year began in Aries, or March, Capricorn is consequently the sign of December. It is named Macar, and one of its significations is "the God of Love." The eighteenth figure in Macar's lunar mansion, called Jyeshtha, p. 293, has in the fish-like tail of Capricorn, three stars, which deserve particular attention. These three stars form an equilateral triangle, in a dark circle, intended to portray the womb of time; and the inner concentric circle of Jyeshtha is light, typifying birth; the entrance into this world, or the nativity of our Saviour.
That the very day of his nativity should have been foretold, may be considered as improbable, but is it more surprising than that the very year 4000 should have been predicted (leaving four years for purity of life in Paradise, that may be shewn to be probable)? or is it more surprising, than that the wise men from the East should arrive at Bethlehem at the very period of time foretold the event would happen?
It appears, therefore, the star that conducted the Magi finally settled over the sacred manger of the Messiah on the 25th of December; that in the symbolic tail of Capricorn (December), was contained three stars typifying a Tri-une God, and answering to J. d. e. in the belief in the revelation, made to our first parents, the tail of our Capricorn; and that by the priesthood, was kept secret, and held as "a mystery, even the hid den wisdom" of God. T. R. BROWN.
Vicarage, Southwick, March 6.