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The hedge, green satin pink'd and cut arrays;
The heliotrope to cloth of gold aspires;
The cheerful lark, mounting from early bed,
With sweet salutes awakes the drowsy light;
St. David's Day.
On this great festival of the patron of Wales, there is a very curious Latin poem in excessive praise of the saint and his country, entitled "Martis Calenda-, sive landes Cambro-Britannicse."
On March 1, 1666-7, -Mr. Pepys says, "In Mark Lane I do observe (it being St. David's Day) the picture of a man, dressed like a Welchman, hanging by the neck upon one of the poles that stand out at the top of one of the merchant's houses, in full proportion, and very handsomely done; which is one of the oddest sights I have seen a good while."
Swig Day, At Cambridge.
On St. David's Day an immense silver gilt bowl, containing ten gallons, which was presented to Jesus College, Oxford, by Sir Watkin Williams Wynne, in 1732, is filled with "swig," and handed round to those who are invited to sit at the festive and hospitable board.f
The punch-bowl has been often described; but the ladle, its companion, which holds a full Winchester half-pint, has been always unjustly, for what reason we know not, overlooked ; though it is an established custom, when strangers visit the bursary, where this bowl is kept, to fill the ladle alone to the memory of the worthy donor.J
• Phineas Fletcher's Purple Island, 1633.
The following is the method of manufacturing the grateful beverage before mentioned under the denomination
Put into a bowl half a pound of Lisbon sugar; pour on it a pint of warm beer; grate into it a nutmeg and some ginger; add four glasses of sherry and five additional pints of beer; stir it well; sweeten it to your taste; let it stand covered up two or three hours; then put into it three or four slices of bread, cut thin and toasted brown, and it is fit for use. A couple or three slices of lemon, and a few lumps of sugar rubbed on the peeling of a lemon, may be introduced.
Bottle the liquor, and in a few days it may be drank in a state of effervescence.*
At Jesus College " swig " is called the wassail bowl, or wassail cup; but the true wassail drink, though prepared in nearly the same way, instead of the toasted bread, contained roasted apples, or more properly crabs, the original apples of England; an allusion to which is in M idsummer Night's Dream.
Sometimes lurk I in a gossip's bowl.
In very likeness of a roasted crab,
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her wither' d dewlap pour the ale
Brown Betty. To make a brown Betty you must dissolve a pound of brown sugar in a pint of water; slice a lemon into it; let it stand it quarter of an hour; then add a small quantity of powdered cloves and cinnamon, half a pint of brandy, and a quart of good strong ale; stir all well together, put into the mixture a couple of slices of toasted bread, grate some nutmeg and ginger on the toast, and you have a brown Betty. Ice it, and you will find it excellent in summer; warm it, and it will be right comfortable in winter.'
Under the date of March 1,1760, Ben Tyrrell, the noted " Oxford Pieman," or some one in his behalf, issued the following verses on his adventuring to announce an increase of his manufacture, in anticipation of increased demand:—
Mt'TTON Pies For The Assizes. March 1, 1760. Behold, once more, facetious Ben Steps from his paste to take the pen; And as the trumpets, shrill and loud, Precede the sheriff's javclin'd crowd, So Ben before-hand advertises His snug-laid scheme for the Assizes. Each of the evenings, Ben proposes. With pies so nice to smoke your noses: No cost, as heretofore, he grudges; He'll stand the test of able judges; And think that, when the hall is up. How cheap a juryman may sup! For lawyer's clerks, in wigs so smart, A tight warm room is set apart.— My masters eke (might Ben advise ye), Detain'd too long at m'sey prizey, Your college commons lost at six,— At Ben's the jovial evening fix; From /ripe-indentures, stale and dry, Escap'd to porter and a pie. Hither, if ye have any taste, Ye booted evidences, haste! Ye lasses too, both tall and slim, In riding-habits drcss'd so trim, Who, usher'd by some young attorney. Take, each assize, an Oxford journey; All who, subpoena'd on the occasion, Require genteel accommodation, Oh! haste to Ben's, and save your fines Yon'd pay at houses deck'd with signs! Lo 11 a cook of taste and knowledge. And bred the ooqmu of a college, Having lung known the student's bounty, Now dare to cater for the county.
On the 1st of March, 1818, died Mr. Thomas Pleasants, an opulent and benevolent native of Ireland. He bequeathed his valuable collection of paintings to the Dublin Society for the encouragement of the fine arts in Ireland, and left £22,000 to various charitable uses. In his life-time his benelicenre was various and splendid. Besides continued and extensive charities within his private circle, he gave, in a time of general calamity, £10,000 to the Murth Hospital. In 1814, when 22,000 woollen weavers of Dublin were out of employment, and suffering heart-rending distress, in consequence of its being impossible to dry the cloth during the inclemency of the season, a sum of £3500 was required for erecting a building to be applied to that use. Petitions for that sum were addressed to rich individuals and to parliament in vain, and every expedient to raise the amount was abandoned in despair. At that juncture Thomas Pleasants stepped in, and at an expense of £l 4,000 purchased ground and built the Stove Tenter House for the use of the poor weavers of Dublin for ever. He was at the expense of erecting the handsome gates and lodges of the Botanical Garden near Dublin, and, by like acts of munificence, erected imperishable monuments to his exalted humanity and patriotism.
March 1. Day breaks . . 4 43 Sun rises .... 6 35 — sets .... 5 25 Twilight ends . . 7 17 The pale purple-and-white crocus flowers; it resembles the common crocus in its markings, but more inclines to blue, and the flower is larger; it equals in size the common yellow crocus.
Old Fashion Op Travelling.
Mr. Pennant, in his "Journey from Chester to London," says—" In March, 1739-40, I changed my Welsh school for one nearer to the capital, and traveled in the Chester stage—then no despicable vehicle for country gentlemen. The first day, with much labor, we got from Chester to Whitchurch, twenty miles; the second day, to the Welsh Harp; the third, to Coventry; the fourth, to Northampton; the fifth, to Punstable; and, as a wondrous effort, on the last, to London before the commencement of night. The strain and labor of six good horses, sometimes eight, drew us through the sloughs of Mireden, and many other places. We were constantly out two hours before day, and as late at night; and in the depth of winter proportionably later. Families who travelled in their own carriages contracted with Benson and Co., and were dragged up, in the same number of days, by three sets of able horses. The single gentlemen, then a hardy race, equipped in jack-boots and trowsers, up to their middle, rode post through thick and thin, and, guarded against the mire, defied the frequent stumble and fall; arose and pursued their journey with alacrity: while in these days their enervated posterity sleep away their rapid journeys in easy chaises, fitted for the conveyance of the soft inhabitants of Sybaris."
In 1609 the communication between the North of England and the Universities was maintained by carriers, who performed a uniform, but tedious route, with whole trains of pack-horses. Not only the packages, but frequently the young scholars were consigned to their care. Through these carriers epistolary correspondence was conducted, and, as they always visited London, a letter could scarcely be exchanged between Oxford and Yorkshire in less time than a month.
About 1670 the journey from Oxford to London, which is under sixty miles, occupied two days. An invention called the "Flying Coach," achieved it in thirteen successive hours: but, from Michaelmas to Lady-day, it was uniformly a two-days' performance.
In the winter of 1682 a journey from Nottingham to London occupied four whole days.
In 1673, a writer suggested, "that the multitude of stage-coaches and caravans travelling on the roads might all, or most of them, be suppressed, especially those withm forty, fifty, or sixty miles off London." He proposed that the number of stage coaches should be limited to one to every shire-town in England, to go
once a-week, backwards and forwards, and to go through with the same horses they set out with, and not travel more than thirty miles a-day in summer, and twenty-five in winter. His arguments in support of these proposals were, that coaches and caravans were mischievous to the public, destructive to trade, and prejudicial to lands; because, firstly, they destroyed the breed of good horses, and made men careless of horsemanship; secondly, they hindered the breed of watermen, who were the nursery of seamen; thirdly, they lessened the revenue.
The state of the roads in the South of England, in 1703, may be inferred from the following statement in the December of that year, by an attendant on the king of Spain, from Portsmouth to the Duke nf Somerset's, at Petworth, in Sussex; for they were fourteen hours on the journey. "We set out at six o'clock in the morning to go to Petworth, and did not get out of the coaches, save only when we were overturned or stuck fast in the mire, till we arrived at our journey's end. Twas hard service for the prince to sit fourteen hours in the coach that day, without eating any thing, and passing through the worst ways that I ever saw in my life: we were thrown but once indeed in going, but both our coach which was leading, and his highness's body coach, would have suffered very often, if the nimble boors of Sui sex had not frequently poised it, or supported it with their shoulders, from Godalmin almost to Petworth; and, the nearer we approached the duke's, the more inaccessible it seemed to be. The last nine miles of the way cost six hours time to conquer. In the lifetime of the proud duke of Somerset, who died in 1748, the loads in Sussex were so bad that, in order to arrive at Guildford from Petworth; persons were obliged to make for the nearest point of the great road from Portsmouth to London, and the journey was a work of so much difficulty as to occupy the whole day. The distance between Petworth and London is less than fifty miles, and yet the duke had a house at Guildford which was regularly occupied as a resting place for the night by any part of his family travelling to the metropolis-*
This representation of " Six ladies and gentlemen in a garden, playing at chess," is an attempt to reduce a rare and very valuable copper-plate print, after an engraving of it in " A collection of 129 facsimiles of scarce and curious prints" edited by Mr. Ottley. That gentleman inclines to believe that the original of this print was executed by a celebrated artist, who is called •' the Master of 1466," because that date is affixed to some of his plates, and his name is unknown. He was the earliest engraver of the German school.
The print is remarkable as a specimen of the arts of design and engraving when in their infancy. It shows the costume, and dandy-like deportment towards the ladies, of the gentlemen of that age. It is further remarkable as being the earliest engraved representation, in existence, of persons engaged in playing the game of chess.
An artist of the first eminence, recently deceased, designed a beautiful set of pieces for the chess-board, which were executed
n his lifetime, and played with. If a few choice anecdotes, or notices concerning
chess, or chess-players, or moves in the game, are immediately afforded, they will be very acceptable as accompaniments to specimens of the elegant forms of some of these chess-men, which are now in the hands of the engraver, with the hope, and in anticipation, that this desire may be gratified.
A Morality On Chess,
This world is nearly like a Chess Board, of which the points are alternately white and black, figuring the double state of life and death, grace and sin.
The families of the Chess-board are like mankind: they all come out of one bag, and are placed in different stations. They have different appellations; one is called king, another queen, the third rook, the fourth knight, the fifth alphin, the sixth pawn.
The condition of the game is, that one piece takes another; and, when the game is finished, they are all deposited together, like man, in the same place. There is not any difference between the king and the poor pawn; and it often happens that, when thrown promiscuously into the bag, the king lies at the bottom; as some of the great will find themselves, after their transit from this world to the next.
The king goes into all the circumjacent places, and takes every thing in a direct line: which is a sign that the king must never omit doing justice to all. Hence, in whatever manner a king acts, it is reputed just; and what pleases the sovereign has the force of law
The queen goes and takes in an oblique line; because women, being of an avaricious nature, take whatever they can, and often, being without merit or grace, are guilty of rapine and injustice.
The rook is a judge, who perambulates the whole land in a straight line, and should not take any thing in an oblique manner, by bribery and corruption, nor spare any one.
But the knight, in taking, goes one point directly, and then makes an oblique circuit; signifying that knights and lords of the land may justly take the rents justly due to them, and the fines justly forfeited to them ; their third point being oblique, refers to knights and lords when they unjustly extort.
The poor pawn goes directly forward, in his simplicity; but he takes obliquely. Thus man, while he is poor and contented, keeps within compass, and lives honestly; but in search of temporal honors he fawns, cringes, bribes, forswears himself, and thus goes obliquely, till he gains a superior degree on the chess-board of the world. When the pawn attains the utmost in his power, he changes to fen; and, in like manner, humble poverty becomes rich and insolent.
The alphins represent various prelates; a pope, archbishop, and subordinate bishops. Alphins move and take obliquely three points; perhaps the minds of certain prelates are perverted by fawning, falsehood, and bribery, to refrain from reprehending the guilty, and denouncing the vices of the great, whose wickedness they absolve.
In this chess-game the Evil one says, "Check 1" whenever he insults and strikes one with his dart of sin; and, if he that is struck cannot immediately deliver himself, the arch enemy, resuming the move, says to him, " Mate I" carrying his soul along with him to that place from which there is no redemption.
Under the date of March 3,1793, there is a communication in the Gentleman's Magazine, from which, and from a previous account, it appears that in the preceding September several newspapers contained a paragraph, stating that a hawk had been found at the Cape of Good Hope, and brought from thence by one of the India ships, having on its neck a gold collar, on which were engraven the following words:—"This goodlie hawk doth belong to his most excellent majestie, James, king of England. A. D. 1610."
In a curious manuscript, containing remarks and observations on the migration of birds, and their flying to distant regions, is the following passage, relating, it is presumable, to this bird :—" And here I call to mind a story of our Anthony Weldon, in his Court and Character of king James; 'The king,' saith he, 'being at Newmarket, delighted much to fly his goshawk at herons; and the manner of the conflict was this: the heron would mount, and the goshawk would get much above it; then, when the hawk stooped at the game, the heron would turn up his belly to receive him with his claws and sharpbill; which the hawk perceiving, would dodge and pass by, rather than endanger itself. This pastime being over, both the hawk and heron would mount again, to the utmost of their power, till the hawk would be at another attempt; and, after divers such assaults, usually, by some lucky hit or other, the hawk would bring her down; but, one day, a most excellent hawk being at the game, in the king's presence, mounted so high with his game, that both hawk and heron got out of sight, and were never seen more: inquiry was made, not only all over England, but in all the foreign princes' courts in Europe; the hawk having the king's jesses, and marks sufficient whereby it might be known; but all their inquiries proved ineffectual.'"
In the printed edition of Sir Anthony Weldon's Court of king James, the pas sage in question stands thus:—" The