« PreviousContinue »
paid twelve pence only, by the chamber- 'appears in England, through his personal lain of the church, and no more to be re- representatives, at this season of the year. quired. For the performance of this annual present of venison, he charged his To the Editor of the Every-Day Book. lands and bound his heirs; and twenty seven years afterwards, his son, sir Walter,
Sir, confirmed the grant.
I send you an account of the ChristThe observance of this ceremony, as to mas drama of “St. George," as acted in the buck, was very curious, and in this Cornwall, subscribing also my name and
On the aforesaid feast-day of address, which you properly deem an inthe commemoration, the buck being dispensable requisite. I thereby vouch brought up to the steps of the high altar for the authenticity of what I send you. in St. Paul's church at the hour of proces. Having many friends and relations in the sion, and the dean and chapter being ap- west, at whose houses I have had free parelled in their copes and vestments, quent opportunities of seeing the festiwith garlands of roses on their heads, they vities and mixing in the sports of their sent the body of the buck to be baked; farm, and other work-people, at the joyand having fixed the head on a pole, ous times of harvest home, finishing the caused it to be borne before the cross in barley mow, (of which more hereafter if their procession within the church, until . agreeable,) Christmas, &c. In some of they issued out of the west door. There the latter it is still customary for the masthe keeper that brought it blew “ the ter of the house and his guests to join at death of the buck," and then the horners the beginning of the evening, though this that were about the city answered him in practice, I am sorry to say, is gradually like manner. For this the dean and wearing out, and now contined to a few chapter gave each man fourpence in places. I have “footed it” away in sir money and his dinner, and the keeper that Roger de Coverley, the hemp-dressers,&c. brought it was allowed during his abode (not omitting even the cushion dance,) there, meat, drink and lodging, at the dean with more glee than I ever slided through and chapter's charges, and five shillings in the chaine anglaise, or demi-queue de chat, money at his going away, together with a and have formed acquaintance with the loaf of bread, with the picture of St. Paul master of the revels, or leader of the paon it. It appears also that the granters of rish choir, (generally a shrewd fellow, the venison presented to St. Paul's ca well versed in song,) in most of the thedral two special suits of vestments, to western parishes in Cornwall; and from be worn by the clergy on those two them have picked up much information days; the one being embroidered with on those points, which personal observabucks, and the other with does.
tion alone had not supplied to my satisThe translator of Dupre's work on the faction. “Conformity between modern and ancient You may be sure that “St. George" ceremonies," also misled by other autho- with his attendants were personages too rities, presumed that the “ bringing up a remarkable not to attract much of my atfat buck to the altar of St. Paul's with tention, and I have had their adventures hunters, horns blowing, &c. in the middle represented frequently; from aifferent of divine service," was of heathen deriva- versions so obtained, I am enabled to tion, whereas we see it was only a provi- state that the performances in different sion for a venison feast by the Romish parishes vary only in a slight degree from clergy, in return for some waste land of each other. one of their manors.
St. George and the other tragic per
formers are dressed out somewhat in the NATURALIST'S CALENDAR. style of morris-dancers, in their shirtMean Temperatare . . .35 · 10. sleeves, and white trowsers much deco
rated with ribands and handkerchiefs,
each carrying a drawn sword in his hand, January 26.
if they can be procured, otherwise a cud
gel. They wear high caps of paste“ St. George he was for England.".
board, adorned with beads, small pieces So says a well-known old ballad, and of looking-glass, coloured paper, &c.; sewe are acquainted, by the following com veral long strips of pith generally hang munication, that our patron saint still down from the top, with small pieces
of different coloured cloth, strung on them: I was born in a rocky country, where the whole has a very smart effect.
there was no wood to make me a cradle; Father Christmas is personified in a I was rocked in a stouring bowl, which grotesque manner, as an ancient man, made me round shouldered then, and I wearing a large mask and wig, and a am round shouldered still. huge club, wherewith he keeps the by- [He then frisks about the room, until he standers in order.
thinks he has sufficiently amused the The doctor, who is generally the merry
spectators, when he makes his exit andrew of the piece, is dressed in any ri with this speech, diculous way, with a wig, three-cornered hat, and painted face.
Who went to the orchard, to steal The other comic characters are dressed apples to make gooseberry pies against
Christmas ? according to fancy
The female, where there is one, is [These prose speeches, you may suppose, usually in the dress worn half a century depend much upon the imagination of ago.
the actor. The hobby-horse, which is a character
Enter Turkish Knight. sometimes introduced, wears a represent. Here comes I, a Turkish knight, ation of a horse's hide.
Come from the Turkish land to fight, Besides the regular drama of “St. And if St. George do meet me here George,” many parties of mummers go I'll try his courage without fear. about in fancy dresses of every sort, most
Enter St. George. commonly the males in female attire, and
Here comes I, St. George; vice versa. This Christmas play, it appears, is, or
that worthy champion bold,
And, with my sword and spear, was in vogue also in the north of Eng
I won three crowns of gold. land as well as in Scotland. A corres
I fought the dragon bold, pondent of yours (Mr. Reddock) has al
and brought him to the slaughter, ready given an interesting account of
By that I gained fair Sabra, that in Scotland, and a copy of that acted
the king of Egypt's daughter. at Newcastle, printed there some thirty or
T. K. Saint George, I pray be not too forty years since, is longer than any
bold, I have seen in the west. By some the If thy blood is hot, I'll soon make it play is considered to have reference to
cold. the time of the crusades, and to have
St. G. Thou Turkish knight, I pray been introduced on the return of the adventurers from the Holy-Land, as typify: I'll make thee dread my sword and spear.
forbear, ing their battles. Before proceeding with
[They fight until the T. knight falls. our arama in the west, I have merely to observe that the old fashion was to conti
St. G. I have a little bottle, which goes nue many of the Christmas festivities till by the name of Elicumpane, Candlemas-day, (February 2,) and then If the man is alive let him rise and fight “throw cards and candlesticks away.”
again. Battle of St. George.
[The knight here rises on one knee, and
endeavours to continue the fight, but [One of the party steps in, crying out
is again struck down. « Room, a room, brave gallants, room, Within this court,
T. K. Oh! pardon me, St. George, oh! I do resort,
pardon me I crave. To show some sport
Oh! pardon me this once, and I will be And pastime,
thy slave. Gentlemen and ladies, in the Christmas
St. G. I'll never pardon a Turkish
Therefore arise, and try thy might. (After this note of preparation, old Father Christmas capers into the room, [The knight gets up, and they again saying,
fight, till the knight receives a heavy Here comes I, old Father Christmas,
blow, and then drops on the ground Welcome, or welcome not,
as dead. I hope old Father Christmas
St. G. Is there a doctor to be found, Will never be forgot.
To cure a deep and deadly wound?
son, &c.; but they are all of them much Oh! yes, there is a doctor to be found, in the style of that I have just described, To cure a deep and deadly wound. varying somewhat in length and number St. G. What can you cure ?
of characters. Doctor. I cani cure the itch, the palsy,
I am, Sir, and gout,
Your constant reader, If the devil's in him, I'll pull him out.
w.S. [The Doctor here performs the cure with sundry grimaces, and St. George and
NATURALISTS' CALENDAR. the Knight again fight, when the latter is knocked down, and left for
Mean Temperature . . 36. 20. 2 dead. [Then another performer enters, and on seeing the dead body, says,
The where eare [The hobby-horse here capers in, and
maketo i prvi ple of a perny
fonetecavnee maketb the pola penny [These characters serve a sort of burlesque on St. George and the
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES. other hero, and may be regarded in
1826. The alteration of the standard the light of an anti-masque.
this year, in order to its uniformity Enter the Bor-holder.
throughout the kingdom, however inconHere comes I, great head and little wit,
venient to individuals in its first applicaPut your hand in your pocket and give tion, will be ultimately of the highest what you think fit.
public advantage. The difference between Gentlemen and ladies, sitting down at beer, wine, corn, and coal measure, and
the difference of measures of the same your ease, Put your hands in your pockets, give me denomination in different counties, were what you please.
occasions of fraud and grievance without St. G. Gentlemen and Ladies, the sport remedy until the present act of parlia
ment commenced to operate. is almost ended,
In the Come pay to the box, it is highly com- established, and the table was kept in the
twelfth year of Henry VII. a standard was mended. The box it would speak, if it had but a
treasury of the king's exchequer, with tongue;
drawings on it, commemorative of the reCome throw in your money, and think it gulation, and illustrating its principles. no wrong.
The original document passed into the
collection of the liberal Harley, earl of The characters now generally finish Oxford, and there being a print of it with with a dance, or sometimes a song or two some of its pictorial representations, an is introduced. In some of the performances, engraving is here given of the mode of two or three other tragic heroes are brought trial which it exhibits as having been used forward, as the king of Egypt and his in the exchequer at that period.
From the same instrument is also taken terest, and daily experience will prove its the smaller diagram. They are curious wisdom and justice. It would be obvispecimens of the care used by our ances- ously inexpedient to state any of the partors to establish and exemplify rules by liamentary provisions in this work, which which all purchases and sales were to be now merely records one of the most re effected. In that view only they are in- markable and laudable acts in the history troduced here. Conformity to the new of our legislation, standard is every man's business and ins
not a peculiar of either Farringdons, noring refreshment! He looks like a whole him of Cripplegate, or St. Giles in the parish, full, 'important — but untaxed. Fields, or of any ward or precinct within The children of charity gaze at him with the bills : not this or that “good man" a modest smile. The straggling boys but the universal parish beadle. “How look on him with confidence. They do Christmas and consolatory he looks ! how not pocket their marbles. They do not redolent of good cheer is he! He is a fly from their familiar gutter. This is a cornucopia-an abundance. What pud- red-letter day; and the cane is reserved ding sleeves !—what a collar, red, and for to-morrow. like a beef steak, is bis! He is a walk . For the pleasant verbal descrip.