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should saie bugles, and other kinde of glasse, and all to shine to the eye. Besides all this, they are so faced and withall so lined, as the inner side standeth almost in as muche as the outside : some have sleeves, othersome have none, some have hoodes to pullover the heade, some have none, some are hanged with pointes and tasselles of gold, silver, or silke, some without all this.
“ To these have they their rapiers, swordes, and daggers, gilt twise or thrise over the hiltes with good angell golde, or els argented over with silver both within and without: and, if it be true as I heare say it is, there be some hiltes made all of pure silver itself, and covered with golde. Other some, at the least, are damasked, vernished, and ingraven marveilous goodly; and, least any thyng should be wantyog to set forth their pride, their scaberdes and sheathes are of velvet, or the like.”
What a poor unfledged animal does the best accoutred dandy of these degenerate days appear by the side of the exquisite of the sixteenth century, with his spherical hat surmounted by a gallant plume of party-coloured feathers ; his neck defended by a broad cheveux de frise of ruff, with its buttresses of starch and wire; his curving sweep of doublet, well padded, pinked and slashed; his damask hosen; his nether-stocks curiously knit with quirks and clocks; his cork-heeled pantofles, embroidered with silk and gold; equipped with his cloak of fine cloth, bordered with gold lace; and armed with rapier and dagger, with silver hilts and velvet scabbards !
This ungallant puritan shews little mercy to the frivolities and vanities of the fair sex, which, he observes,
“ If I should endeavour myself to express, I might with like facilitie number the sands of the sea, the starres in the skye, or the grasse upon the earth, so infinite and innumerable be their abuses. For, were I never so expert an arithmetician, or never so skillfull a mathematician, I were never capable of the one half of them, the devil brocheth so many newe fashions every daie,”
He draws up all the fathers of the church in battle-array against the practice of colouring the face “with certaine oyles, liquors, unguents, and waters, made to that end ;” and denounces it, in a marginal anathema, as blasphemous, idolatrous, and what not. The iniquity of false hair is not forgotten; and starch and ruffs come in for a second castigation. We are next regaled with a delectable story of “ a faire gentlewoman of Eprautna,” who, being invited to a wedding, decked herself out in her finest array, dyed her hair and painted her face ; but her attendants could not please her in starching and setting her ruffs. On this she began to “ sweare and teare, to curse and ban,” wishing the devil might take her if she wore any of those ruffes and neckerchers again. That gentleman immediately stepped in, in
and adjustimacy of the
ping he tent, that she
the shape of a proper young man, to pay his devoirs; and, seeing the lady in such a “ peltyng chafe,” inquired the cause of her perturbation. On being informed of the obstinacy of the ruffs, he gallantly offered his services, and adjusted them so much to her heart's content, that she permitted him to salute her, and in so doing he took the liberty of wringing her neck asunder. The body immediately changed to all manner of colours, “ most ugglesome to behold ;” and, when placed in a coffin, the strength of all the assistants was insufficient to lift it. On opening the coffin, to discover the cause of this phenomenon, they found the body was gone, and “a black catte, verie leane and deformed, sittyng in the coffin, settyng of great ruffes and frizling of haire, to the greate feare and wonder of all beholders.”-We cannot follow our anatomist in his account of perfumes, nosegays, ringes, bracelettes, amlettes, and velvet maskes to ride abroad with, which are severally condemned, as well as looking-glasses, which are designated as “the devil's spectacles :" we must, however, find room for such an article of dress as the gown.
“ Their gounes be no lesse famous than the rest, for some are of silke, some of velvet, some of grograine, some of taffatie, some of scarlet, and some of fine clothe, of ten, twentie, or fortie shillynges a yard. But if the whole goune be not silke or velvet, then the same shall be laied with lace, two or three fingers broade, all over the goune, or els the moste parte. Or if not so, (as lace is not fine enough sometymes) then it must be garded with greate gardes of velvet, every gard fouer or sixe fingers broade at the least, and edged with costly lace, and as these gounes be of divers and sundrie colours, so are they of divers fashions, changyng with the moone : for some be of the newe fashion, some of the old, some of this fashion, some of that, some with sleeves hanging downe to their skirtes trailyng on the ground, and cast over their shoulders, like cowe-tailes. Some have sleeves much shorter, cut up the arme, and poincted with silke ribbons verie gallantly, tied with true loves' knottes (for so they call them.) Some have capes reachynge doune to the middest of their backes, faced with velvet or els with some fine wrought silke taffatie, at the least, and fringed about verie bravely; and (to shut up alle in a woord) some are pleated and riveted doune the backe wonderfully with more knacks than I can declare. Then have they petticoats of the best clothe that can be bought, and of the fairest dye that can be made. And sometimes they are not of clothe neither, for that is thought too base, but of scarlet, grograine, taffatie, silke, and such like, fringed about the skirtes with silke fringe, of changable colour. But which is more vaine, of whatsoever their petticoats be, yet must they have kirtles (for so they call them) either of silke, vel. vett, grograine, taffetie, satten, or scarlett, bordered with gardes, lace, fringe, and I cannot tell what besides. Soé that when they have all these goodly robes upon them, women seeme to be the smallest part of themselves, not natural women but artificial women, not women of fleshe and blood, but rather puppits or maumets, consysting of ragges and cloutes compact together. Soe farr hath this cancker of pride eaten into the bodie of the common-wealth, that every poore yeoman his daughter, every husbandman his daughter, and every cottager his daughter, will not spare to flaunt it out, in such gounes, petticoats, and kirtles, as these. And notwithstanding, that their parents owe a brase of hundred poundes more than they are worthe, yet will they have it, quo jure qua injuria, either by hooke or by crooke, by right or by wrong, as they say: wherby it cometh to passe, that one can scarsly knowe, who is a noble woman, who is an honourable or worshipful woman, from them of the meaner sorte. * * * The women also there have dublettes and jerkins, as men have here, buttoned up the breast, and made with winges, weltes and pinions on the shoulderpointes, as manne's apparell is for alle the worlde.”
The sin of incontinence is next reprehended, and the punishment inflicted in different countries is detailed. Death is recommended as the most appropriate punishment, or branding on the face if a more lenient course were preferred. The gluttony and drunkenness of the people of Ailgna, with examples of divine judgment, are duly recorded. The following passage is written with considerable force.
“A man once dronke with wine, or strong drinke, rather resembleth a brute beaste than a Christian man: for do not his eyes beginne to stare, and to bee red, fierie, and bleared, blubbering forthe seas of teares: Doeth he not frothe and fome at the mouth like a bore ? Doeth not his tongue faulter and stammer in his mouthe? Doeth not his hedde seem as heavie as a milstone, he not beeying able to beare it up? Are not his wittes and spirites as it were drowned. Is not his understanding altogether decaied. Doe not his handes and all his bodie evibrate, quaver, and shake, as it were with a quotidian fever? Besides these, it castest him into a dropsie or pluresie nothyng so sore: it enfeebleth the senewes, it weakeneth the natural strength, it corrupteth the bloode, it dissolveth the whole man, at the length, and finally maketh him forgetfull of hymself altogether, so that what he doeth being dronke, he remembreth not beeing sober. The dronkard in his dronkennesse killeth his freend, revileth his lover, discloseth secretes, and regardeth no man; he either expelleth all feare of God out of his minde, all love of his freendes and kinsfolkes, all remembrance of honestie, civilitie, and humanitie: so that I will not feare to call dronkerdes beastes and no men, and much worse than beastes, for beastes never excede in any such kinde of excesse or superfluitie, but alwaie modum adhibent appetitui. They measure their appetites by the rule of necessitie, whiche, would God, we woulde doe.”
Under the head of “ Covetousnesse in Ailgna” are detailed the racking of landlords, the inclosing of commons, the fleecing of lawyers, and the frauds of merchantmen. The taking of in
terest for money and imprisonment for debt are condemned. Scriveners are called “ the devil's agents ;” and an usurer, we are told, is “ worse than a Jew—than Judas—than Hell—than death-than the devil.” Profane swearing and neglect of keeping holy the sabbath are next denounced, and the Papists are introduced for the purpose of being pointed out to abhorrence and extermination. The zeal of our reforming Puritan, as might be expected, burns with added fury as he approaches the subject of “ Stage plays and enterludes with their wickednesse,” and a formidable battalia of authorities is marshalled to encounter the “harlotry players.” It must have cost our author some pains to have strung together so many vituperative epithets as he has accumulated in the following extract.
“ Then, saying that playes were first invented by the devill, practised by the heathen Gentiles, and dedicate to their false idols, gods, and goddesses: as the house stage, and apparell to Venus ; the music to Apollo; the pennyng to Minerva and the Muses; the action and pronunciation to Mercurie and the rest; it is more than manifest, that they are no fitt exercises for Christian men to followe. But if there were no evill in them, save this, namely, that the argumentes of tragedyes are, anger, wrathe, immunitie, crueltie, injurie, inceste, murther, and suche like: the persons or actors are gods, goddesses, furies, fiends, hagges, kynges, queens, or potentates. Of commedies, the matter and grounde is, love, bawdrie, cozenage, flatterie, adulterie. The persons or agents, queanes, bawdes, scullions, knaves, curtezans, letcherous olde men, amorous young men, with such like of infinite varietie. If I say there were nothing els but this, it were sufficient to withdraw a good Christian from the usyng of them. For so often as they goe to those houses where players frequent, they go to Venus' palace and Sathan's sinagogue, to worshippe devills and betraye Christ Jesus.
“ And whereas, you saie there are goode examples to be learned in them : truely so there are: if you will learne falsehood: if you will learne cozenage: if you will learne to deceive: if you will learne to play the hipocrite : to cogge, to lye and falsifie: if you will learne to jest, laugh, and feere, to grinne, to nodd, and mowe: if you will learne to play the dice, to sweare, teare, and blaspheme both heaven and earth : if you will learne to become * * * * * * uncleane, and to diverginate maides, to deflowre honest wives : if you will learne to murther, slaie, kill, picke, steale, robbe, and rove: if you will learne to rebell against princes, to commit treasons, to consume treasures, to practise idlenesse, to sing and talke of love and venerie: if you will learne to deride, scoffe, mocke, and flowte, to fatter and smooth: if you will learne to plaie the rake, the glutton, drunkard, or incestuous person : if you will learne to become proude, hautie, and arrogant : and finally, if you will learne to contemne God and all his lawes, to care neither for Heaven nor Hell, and to commit all kinde of sinne and mischiefe, you neede to goe to no other schoole, for all these
good examples maie you see painted before your eyes in enterludes and plaies."
The Abbot has recently introduced “ the Lord of Misrule” into polished society. His portrait by the crabbed Puritan does not differ essentially from that given by the great Novelist.
“ Firste, all the wilde heades of the parishe, conventyng together, chuse them a graund capetaine (of all mischeef) whom they innoble with the title of my Lord of Misserule, and him they croune with great solemnitie, and adopt for their kyng. This kyng anointed, choseth forth twentie, fortie, three-score, or a hundred lustie guttes like to hymself, to waite uppon his lordely majestie, and to guard his noble persone. Then every one of these his menne, he investeth with his liveries, of greene, yellow, or some other light wanton colour. And as though that were not (baudie) gaudie enough, I should saie, they bedecke themselves with scarffes, ribons, and laces hanged all over wyth golde rynges, precious stones, and other jewelles : this doen, they tye about either legge twentie or fourtie belles, with riche handkercheefes in their hands, and sometimes laied acrosse over their shoulders and neckes, borrowed for the moste parte of their pretie Mopsies and loovyng Bessies, for bussyng them in the darcke. Thus all thinges sette in order, then have they their hobbie-horses, dragons and other antiques, together with their baudie pipers, and thunderyng drommers, to strike up the Deville's daunce withall: then marche these heathen companie towardes the churche and churcheyarde, their pipers pipyng, their drommers thunderyng, their stumpes dauncyng, their belles jynglyng, their handkercheefes swyngyng about theire heades like madmen, their hobbie-horses and other monsters skirmishyng amongest the throng; and in this sorte they goe to the churche (though the minister bee at praier or preachyng) dauncyng and swingyng their handkercheefes over their heades, in the church, like devilles incarnate, with suche a confused noise, that no manne can heare his own voice. Then the foolishe people, they looke, they stare, they laugh, they fleere, and mounte upon formes and pewes, to see these goodly pageauntes, solemnized in this sorte. Then after this, aboute the churche they goe againe and againe, and so forthe into the churchyarde, where they have commonly their sommer haules, their bowers, arbours, and banquettyng houses set up, wherein they feaste, banquet, and daunce all that daie, and (peradventure) all that night too. And thus these terrestrial furies spend the sabbaoth daie.”
In spite of the imputed wickednesses of " Mai-games in Ailgna,” we shall venture to regret the disuse of those freshening out-of-door festivities--those periodical overflowings of healthful mirth, which swept away the accumulating cares and forms that narrowed and dulled the gentle current of social feeling, and left it to pursue its kindly course, “ making sweet musick with its amourous banks.”