Page images

“ Her features all as fresh above,
As is the grass that grows by Dove,

And lythe as lass of Kent..
Her skin as soft as Lemster wool,
As white as snow on Peakish Hull,

Or swan that 'swims in Trent.

« This maiden in a morn betime,
Went forth when May was in the prime,

To get sweet setywall,
The honey-suckle, the harlock,
The lily, and the lady-smock,

To deck her summer-hall.”

“But the great storehouse for sketches of the manners of the period referred to, is Bishop Earle's Miscrocosmography: some of his limnings are quite admirable. Take, for example, this scrap, which contains his description of

THE UPSTART OF ELIZABETH'S TIME. “ He is a holiday clown, and differs only in the stuff of his clothes, not the stuff of himself, for he bare the king's sword before he had arms to wield it; yet being once laid o'er the shoulder with a knighthood, he finds the herald his friend. His father was a man of good stock, though but a tanner or usurer; he purchased the land, and his son the title. He has doffed off the name of a country-fellow, but the look not so easy, and his face still bears a relish of churne-milk. He is guarded with more gold lace than all the gentlemen of the county, yet his body makes his clothes still out of fashion. His housekeeping is seen much in the distinct families of dogs, and serving-men attendant on their kennels, and the deepness of their throats is the depth of his discourse. A hawk he esteems the true burden of nobility, and is


wrong with company, aurtul of being

exceeding ambitious to seem delighted in the sport, and have his fist gloved with his jesses. A justice of peacę he is to domineer in his parish, and do his neighhour wrong with more right. He will be drunk with his hunters for company, and stain his gentility with droppings of ale. He is fearful of being sheriff of the shire by instinct, and dreads the assize-week as much as the prisoner. In sum, he's but a clod of his own earth, or his land is the dunghill and he the cock that crows over it: and commonly his race is quickly run, and his children's children, though they'scape hanging, return to the place from whence they came.”

" To this let me add a sketch of the squire about the period of the Revolution, from Hutchin's History of Dorsetshire.”

A SQUIRE OF THE REVOLUTION. “ Mr Hastings was low of stature, but strong and active, of a ruddy complexion, with flaxen hair. His cloaths were always of green cloth, his house was of the old fashion ; in the midst of a large park, well stocked with deer, rabbits, and fish-ponds. He had a long narrow bowling-green in it, and used to play with round sand-bowls. Here, too, he had a banquetting-room built, like a stand, in a large tree. He kept all sorts of hounds that ran buck, fox, hare, otter, and badger ; and had hawks of all kinds, both long and short-winged. His great hall was commonly strewed with marrowbones, and full of hawk-perches, hounds, spaniels, and. terriers. The upper end of it was hung with fox-skins of this and the last year's killing. Here and there a .pole-cat was intermixed ; and hunter's poles in great abundance. The parlour was a large room, completely furnished in the same style. On a broad hearth, paved with brick, lay some of the choicest terriers, hounds and

spaniels. One or two of the great chairs had litters of cats in them, which were not to be disturbed. Of these, three or four always attended him at dinner, and a little white wand lay by his trencher, to defend it, if they were too troublesome. In the windows, which were very large, lay his arrows, cross-bows, and other accoutrements. The corners of the room were filled with his best hunting and hawking poles. His oyster table stood at the lower end of the room, which was in constant use twice a day all the year round; for he never failed to eat oysters both at dinner and supper, with which the neighbouring town of Pool supplied him. At the upper end of the room stood a small table with a double desk; one side of which held a CHURCH BIBLE, the other the Book OF MARTYRS. On different tables in the room lay hawks' hoods, bells, old hats, with their crowns thrust in, full of pheasant eggs; tables, dice, cards, and store of tobacco pipes. At one end of this room was a door which opened into a closet, where stood bottles of strong beer and wine, which never came out but in single glasses, which was the rule of the house ; for he never exceeded himself, nor permitted others to exceed. Answering to this closet was a door into an old chapel, which had been long disused for devotion ; but in the pulpit, as the safest place, was always to be found a cold chine of beef, a venison pasty, a gammon of bacon, or a great apple-pye, with thick crust well baked. His table cost him not much, though it was good to eat at. His sports supplied all but beef and mutton ; except on Fridays, when he had the best of fish. He never wanted a London pudding; and he always sang it in with, “My part lies therein-a. He drank a glass or two of wine at meals, put syrup of gilly-flowers into his sack, and had always a tun glass of small-beer standing by him, which hè often stirred about with rosemary. He lived to be an hundred, and

Nattles of streglasses. Whimself, ose

never lost his eye-sight. nor used spectacles. He got on horseback without help, and rode to the death of the stag till he was past four score."

“ But this you will say is the portrait of an individual, one Mr Hastings; take, however, another sketch of his general contemporary. It is from Grose’s Olio."

A SQUIRE OF QUEEN ANNE'S TIME. « The little independent gentleman of three hundred pounds per annum, who commonly appeared in a plain drab or plush coat, large silver buttons, a jockey cap, and rarely without boots. His travels never exceeded the distance of the county town, and that only at assize and session time, or to attend an election. Once a week he commonly dined at the next market town, with the attornies and justices. This man went to church reglle larly, read the Weekly Journal, settled the parochou disputes between the parish officers at the vestry, and afterwards adjourned to the neighbouring alehouse, where he usually got drunk for the good of his country. He never played at cards but at Christmas, when a family pack was produced from the mantle-piece. He was commonly followed by a couple of greyhounds and a pointer, and announced his arrival at a neighbour's house by smacking his whip, or giving the view-halloo. His drink was generally ale, except on Christmas, the fifth of November, or some other gala days, when he would make a bowl of strong brandy punch garnished with a toast and nutmeg. A journey to London was, by one of these men, reckoned as great an undertaking as is at present a' voyage to the East Indies, and undertaken with scarce less precaution and preparation,

“ The mansion of one of these 'squires was of plaister. striped with timber, not unaptly called callimanco work,

or of red brick, large casemented bow windows, a porch with seats in it, and over it a study; the eaves of the house well inhabited by swallows, and the court set round with holly-hocks. Near., the gate a horse-block for the conveniency of mounting.

“ The hall was furnished with Aitches of bacon, and the mantle-piece with guns and fishing rods of different dimensions, accompanied by the broad sword, partizan, and dagger, borne by his ancestor in the civil wars. The vacant spaces were occupied by stag's horns. Against the wall was posted King Charles's Golden Rules, Vincent Wing's Almanack, and a portrait of the Duke of Marlborough; in his window lay Baker's Chronicle, Fox's Book of Martyrs, Glanvil on Apparitions, Quincey's Dispensatory, the Complete Justice, and a Book of Farriery.

“ In the corner, by the fire side, stood a large wooden two-armed chair with a cushion ; and within the chimney corner were a couple of seats. Here, at Christmas, he €.. ertained his tenants assembled round a glowing fire made of the roots of trees, and other great logs, and told and heard the traditionary tales of the village respecting ghosts and witches, till fear made them afraid to move. In the mean time the jorum of ale was in continual circulation.

.“ The best parlour, which was never opened but on particular occasions, was furnished with Turk-worked chain, and hung round with portraits of his ancestors; the men in the character of shepherds, with their crooks, dressed in full suits and huge full-bottomed perukes ; others in complete armour or buff coats, playing on the base viol or lute. The females likewise as shepherdesses, with the lamb and crook, all habited in high heads and flowing robes.

Alas! these men and these houses are no more!

« PreviousContinue »