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For thousands came with Bilboe blade.
And such a bloody slaughter made
That all the channels ran with blood.
In every street, where they remained ; Yea, every one in danger stood.
That any of their part maintain'd; The rich, the poor, the old, the young,
Beyond the seas though born and bred, By 'prentices they sufier'd wrong.
When armed thus theygathcr'd head.
Such multitudes together went,
No warlike troops could them withstand. Nor could by policy prevent,
What they by force thus took in hand * Till, at the last, king Henry's power
This multitude encompass'd round, Where, with the strength of London's tower,
They were by force supprcss'd and bound.
And hundreds hang'd by martial law.
On sign-posts at their masters' doors. By which the rest were kept in awe.
And frighted from such loud uproars , And others which ths fact repented
(Two Thousand 'prentices at least) Were all unto the king presented.
As mayor and magistrates thought best.
With two and two together tied.
Through Temple-bar and Strand they go. To Westminster, there to be tried.
With ropes about their necks also: But such a cry in every street,
Till then was never heard or known. By mothers for their children sweet,
Unhappily thus overthrown;
Whose bitter moans and sad laments,
Posscss'd the court with trembling fear j Whereat the queen herself relents,
Though it concern'd her country dear . What if (quoth she) by Spanish blood,
Have London's stately streets been wet. Yet will I seek this country's good.
And pardon for these young men get j
Or else the world will speak of me.
And say queen Katherine was unkind, And judge me still the cause to be,
These young men did these fortunes find: And so, disrob'd from rich attires,
With hair hang'd down, she sadly hies, And of her gracious lord requires
A boon, which hardly he denies.
The lives (quoth she) of all the blooms
Yet budding green, these youths I crave; O let them not have timeless tombs.
For nature longer limits gave: In saying so, the pearled tears
Fell trickling from her princely eyes j Whereat his gentle queen he cheers.
And says, stand up, sweet lady, rise ;
The lives of them I freely give,
No means this kindness shall debar, Thou hast thy boon, and they may live
To serve me in my Bullcn war: No sooner was this pardon given.
But peals of joy rung through the hall, As though it thundered down from heaven,
The queen's renown amongst them all.
For which (kind queen) with joyful heart,
And so from them did gently part,
And when king Henry stood in need
These 'prentices prov'd men indeed,
For, at the siege of Tours, in France,
TheyshowM themselves brave Englishmen; At Bullen, too, they did advance
Saint George's ancient standard then; Let Tourine, Tournay, and those towns
That good king Henry nobly won, Tell London's 'prentices' renowns.
And of their deeds by them there done.
For III May-day, and I'll May-games,
Perform'd in young and tender days. Can be no hindrance to their fames,
Or stains of manhood any ways: But now it is ordain'd by law,
We see on May-day's eve, at night, To keep unruly youths in awe.
By London's watch, in armour bright
Still to prevent the like misdeed,
Which once through headstrong young men
And that's the cause that I do read,
The old May-pole was painted with various colors. On the next page is an engraving of one as it appears in Mr. Tollett's painted glass window, at Betley in Staffordshire, "which exhibits, in all probability, the most curious as well as the oldest representation of an English May-game and morris dance that is any where to be found."" Concerning this dance and the window further particulars will be stated hereafter. Upon Mr. Tollett's May-pole are displayed St George's red cross, or the banner of England, and a white pennon, or streamer, emblazoned with a red cross, terminating like the blade of a sword, but the delineation thereof is much faded.t
* Mr. Doucc's Illustrations of Shakspeare, i. 445.
t Malonc's Shakspeare, 1821 xvi. 426.
Up like a princess starts the merry morning,
In draperies of many-colored cloud;
Pipe forth their hearty welcomes long and loud;
And every flower his laughing eye beguiles—
He courts and wins them with effulgent smiles—
And all of life beneath its glory straying
Among the additions to "The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia, written by sir Philip Sidney, knight," we have an account of » rural mask, or May-game, performed at
Wanstead, in honor of queen Elizabeth, which begins by stating that" Her most excellent Majestie walking in Wanstead Garden, as she Dassed down into the grove there
came suddenly, among the train, one apparelled like an honest man's wife of the countrie; where crying out for justice, and desiring all the lords and gentlemen to speak- a good word for her, shee was brought to the presence of her Majestie, to whom upon her knees shee offered a supplication, and used this speech:"—
"Most fair ladie 1 for as for other your titles of state statelier persons shall give you,and thus much mine own eies are witnesses of, take here the complaint of mee poor wretch, as deeply plunged in miserie as I wish to you the highest point of happiness.
"Onely one daughter I have, in whom I had placed all the hopes of my good hap, so well had shee with her good parts recompensed my pain of bearing her, and care of bringing her up: but now, alas I that shee is com to the time I should reap my full comfort of her, so is shee troubled, with that notable matter which we in the countrie call matrimonie, as I cannot chuse but fear the loss of her wits, at least of her honestie. Other women think they may bee unhappily combred with one master husband; my poor daughter is oppressed with two, both loving her, both 1 equally liked of her, both striving to deserve her. But now lastly (as this jealousie forsooth is a vile matter) each have brought their partakers with them, and are at this present, without your presence redress it, in some bloodie controversie; now sweet Ladie help, your own way guides you to the place where they encomber her. I dare stay here no longer, for our men say in the countrie, the sight of you is infectious." .
The speech, &c., was delivered by a female called "the Suitor," who finally presented the queen with a written supplication, in verse, and departed.
"Herewith the woman-suitor being gon, there was heard in the wood a confused noise, and forthwith there came out six shepherds, with as many forresters, haling and pulling to whether side they should draw the Ladie of May, who seemed to incline neither to the one nor the other side. Among them was master Rombus a schoolmaster of a village thereby, who, being fully persuaded of his own learned wisdom, came thither with his authorities to part their fray; where for answer hee received many unlearned blows. But the Queen coming to the place where she was seen of them, though they knew not her estate, yet something there was which made
them startle aside and gaze upon her: till old father Lulus stepped forth (one of the substantiallest shepherds) and, making a leg or two, said these few words:—
"May it pleas your dignitie to give a little superfluous intelligence to that which, with the opening of my mouth, my tongue and teeth shall deliver unto you. So it is, right worshipful audience, that a certain shee creature, whieh wee shepherds call a woman, of a minsical countenance, but (by my white lamb) not three-quarters so beauteous as yourself, hath disannulled the brain-pain of two of our featioust young men. And will you wot how? By my mother Kil'i soul, with a certain fransical ma-ladie they call love; when I was a young man they called it flat follie. But here is a substantial schoolmaster can better disnounce the whole foundation of the matter, although in sooth, for all his eloquence, our young men were nothing dutious to his clerkship ; com on, com on master schoolmaster, bee not so bashless; we say that the fairest are ever the gentlest: teil the whole case, for you can much better vent the points of it than I."
Then came forward master Rombus, and in the manner of " Lingo," in the " Agree able surprise" (a character undoubtedly derived from this Rombus), he made "a learned oration" in the following words: "Now the thunderthumping Jove transfund his dotes into your excellent formositie, which have with your resplendant beams thus segregated the enmities of these rural animals: I am Potcntissma Domini, a schoolmaster, that is to say, a pedagogue, one not a little versed in the disciplinating of the juvenal frie, wherein (to my laud I say it) I use such geometrical proportion as neither wanted mansuetude nor correction; for so it is described, Porcare Subjcctos et debellire Superbos. Yet hath not the pulcritudeof my virtues protected mee from the contaminating hands of these plebeians; for coming, solummodo, to have parted their sanguinolent fray, they yielded mee no more reverence than if I had been som Pecoriut Asinus. I, even I, that am, who am I? Dirt, verbus sapiento solum at. But what said that Trojan Aeneas, when hee sojourned in the surging sulks of the sandiferous seas, Hee ohm memo- 1 iiasse juvebit. Well, Well, ud propositus revertebo; the puritie of the veritie is, that a certain Pulcra puella proferlo, elected and constituted by the integrated determination of all this topographical region, as the sovereign ladie of this dame Maie's
month, hath oeen quotlammodo hunted, as you would say, pursued by two, a brace, a couple, a cast of young men, to whom the craftie coward Cupid had inquam delivered his dire-dolorous dart."
Here the " May-Ludie" interrupted his speech, at which master Rumbus in a great chafe, cried out—"0 Tempori, O Moribus! in profession a childe, indignitie a woman, in years a ladie, in cateris a maid, should thus turpifie the reputation of my doctrine, with the superscription of a fool, O Temper«, O Moribus!"
Then the May-Lady said again," Leave off good latine fool, and let mee sat is lie the long desire I have had to feed mine eies with the onely sight this age hath granted to the world."
The poor schoolmaster went his way back, and the May-Lady kneeling down, thus concluded a speech to her Majesty: "Indeed so it is, that I am a fair wench, or els I am deceived, and therefore by the consent of all our neighbors have been chosen for the absolute ladie of this merrie month. With me have been (alas I am ashamed to tell it) two young men, the one a forrester named Therion, the other Espilus, a shepherd, very long even in love forsooth. I like them both, and love neither; Espilus is the richer, but Therion the livelier. Therion doth mee many pleasures, as stealing me venison out of these forrests, and many other such like prettie and prettier services, but withal hee grows to such rages, that sometimes hee strikes mee, sometimes hee rails at mee. This shepherd Espilus of a milde disposition, as his fortune hath not been to mee great service, so hath hee never don mee any wrong, but feeding his sheep, sitting under som sweet bush, sometimes they say hee records my name in deleful verses. Now the question I am to ask you, fair .adie, is, whether the many deserts and many faults of Therion, or the very small deserts and no faults of Espilut, bee to be preferred. But before you give your judgment (most excellent ladie) you shall hear what each of them can say for themselves in their rural songs."
Here Therion in six verses challenged Etpiius to sing with him. And " Espilus, as if hee had been inspired with the muses, began forthwith to sing, whereto his fellow Shepherds set in with their recorders, which they bare in their bags like pipes; and so of Therion's side did the foresters, with the cornets they wore about their necks like hunting horns in baudrikes."
At the close of this contest between Therion and Espilus, they jointly supplicated the queen's determination. "But as they waited for the judgment her Majestie should give of their deserts, the shepherds and forresters grew to a great contention, whether of their fellows had sung better, and so whether the estate of shepherds or forresters were the more worshipful. The speakers were Dorcas an old shepherd, and .Sum a young forrester, between whom the schoolmaster liombus came in as a moderator."
To the shepherd Dorcas, who achieved his best, the forester Rixus answered, —"The shepherd's life had som goodness in it, becaus it borrowed of the countrie quietness something like ours, but that is not all; for ours, besides that quiet part, doth both strengthen the bodie, and raise up the minde with this gallant sort of activitie. O sweet contentation 1 to see the long life of the hurtless trees, to see how in streight growing up, though never so high, they hinder not their fellows; they only enviously trouble which are crookedly bent. What life is to bee compared to ours, where the very growing things are ensamples of goodness? wee have no hopes but we may quickly go about them, and going about them we soon obtain them."
The May-Lady submitted to the deci sion of the queen in a short speech, and "it pleased her majesty to judge that Espilus did the better deserve her."
Upon this judgment, "the shepherds and forresters made a full concert of their cornets and recorders, and then did Ewilus sing."
Finally, at the end of the singing and the music, the May-Lady took her departure with this speech to her majesty: "Ladie, yourself, for other titles do rather diminish than add unto you, I and my little companies must now leave you. I should do you wrong to beseech you to take our follies well, since your bountie is such as to pardon greater faults. Therefore I will wish you good night, praying to God, according to the title I possess, that as hitherto it hath excellently don, so henceforward the flourishing of May may long remain in you, and with you."
And so ended this May-game at Wanstead.
The Maidens' Portion. [To Mr Hone.] Sir—The following particulars of asingular bequest, under the above title, I have for some years past heard of, but a few weeks ago I visited the place purposely to get some information respecting it, which I obtained very readily from the clerk of the Parish, on telling him that it was for you.
It appears that John Herman, a native of Sutton Cold field, and a prelate in the reign of Henry VIII., was promoted by that monarch to the see of Exeter, in the eleventh year of his reign; and in consequence of this part of the kingdom being but thinly inhabited at that time, owing to its having been the resort of William the Conqueror and several kings after him, for indulging in their favorite diversion of hunting, this bishop of Exeter was extremely desirous to increase its population, as will appear from his having established the " Maidens' Portion," as recorded upon his tomb, in Sutton Coldfield church—" So great was his affection for this his native place that he spared neither cost nor pains to improve it and make it flourish. He procured it to be incorporate by the name of a warden and society of the king's town of Sutton Coldfield, granting to them and to their successors forever the chase, park, and manor. He built two aisles to the church, and an organ; he erected the moot (or town) hall, with a prison under it, and a market place; also fifty-one stone houses, two stone bridges (one at Curdworth, and one at Water-Horton); paved the whole town, gave a meadow to poor widows, and for the improvement of youth founded and endowed a free grammar school. He built Moor Hall, where he spent the latter part of his life in hospitality and splendor, saw for many years the good effect of his munificence, and died in the 103rd year of his age, in the year of our Lord 1555."
Bishop Herman directed that upon his death a certain sum of money should be so invested and the interest be equally divided and given annually to four poor maidens, natives or long residents of Sutton, of unexceptionable good character, who snould have been married in the past year. This latter condition was obviously to encourage wedlock in order to increase the population.
The interest at first was £20, and consequently it was £5 each; but subsequently, owing to its having lain dormant and money having risen, the interest is increased to £100 or £25 each.
The bequest is announced in the parish church annually by the clerk, and is given
away on the first of May. There are usually eight or ten applicants, whose respective merits are tried by the warden and corporation, by whose decision the sums are awarded.
Natives of the place are of course preferred; but if tour cannot be found of good character and w ith other qualifications then the longest residents are taken.
Birmingham, December 1820.
It is mentioned by a correspondent that a girl of Kaine's charity school, at St. Georges in the East near London, is selected annually on May-day, and married with £100 for her portion, from the funds of the school, according to ancient custom.
On the first of May 1826, in a field called the Hollies, belonging to Sir Edward Smythe, Bart., of Acton Burnell in Shropshire, a flock of pigeons, and eight or ten crows, were all busily seeking food. A hawk, sailing in the air over them, pounced on one of the pigeons, and dispersed both crows and pigeons. In the courts of a few seconds one of the crows seemed to recollect himself, and flew swiftly at the hawk with the courage and daring of a game cock. The hawk was compelled to defend himself, and forced to release his prey, which, with the loss of a few feathers, flew after its company, while a furious engagement for about two minutes ensued, in which the crow succeeded in driving off the adversary. At the close of the conflict the hero joined his brother crows, who, from their seats on the surrounding trees, had witnessed the combat: with a few croaks he seemed to say " I have rescued the captive," and the sable company all set up a loud cawing, as if singing " Io Paean to the victor 1
All this passed under the eye of a steady young man, who happened to be in the next meadow, and was struck mute with astonishment. *
A few years ago Mr. Taylor, of Morton, received the silver medal of the Society of
• Shrewibury Chronicle.