« IndietroContinua »
they have made the day especially, their what; and becomes a grave authority to own; they are its annalists. A poet's in- the grave antiquary. The sweetest of all vitation to his mistress to enjoy the festi- British bards that sing of our customs, vity, is historical; if he says to her, beautifully illustrates the May-day of “together let us range,” he tells her for England:—
Get up, get up for shame, the blooming morne Upon her wings presents the God unshorne. See how Aurora throwes her faire Fresh-quilted colours through the aire; * Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and sce . . * * The dew bespangling herbe and tree. Each flower has wept, and bow'd toward the east, * * Above an houre since, yet you not drest, " . . . Nay! not so much as out of bed; - When all the birds have matteyns Seyd, o And sung their thankfull hymnes; 'tis sin, - Nay, profanation to keep in, - - When as a thousand virgins on this day, Spring sooner ther the lark, to fetch in May. . . ... . .
... n. * * * * * *
Rise, and put on your foliage, and be seene * . - of To come forth, like the spring-time, fresh and greene, And sweet as Flora. Take no care For jewels for gowne or haire; * . . . . . . 2 Feare not, the leaves will strew Gemms in abundance upon you; Besides, the childhood of the day has kept, Against you come, some orient pearls unwept. Come, and receive them while the light ... . . Hangs on the dew-locks of the night: And Titan on the eastern his ------ o Retires himselfe, or else stands still " " " Till you come forth, Wash, dresse, be brief in praying; Few beads are best, when once we goe a Maying.
Come, my Corinna, come; and, comming, marke * * * * * * How each field turns a street, each street a parke . . . . ; * - * Made green, and trimm'd with trees; see how .*.*, * Devotion gives each house a bough, - :- Or branch; each porch, each doore, ere this, ** * : *...* , --, An arke, a tabernacle is, - Made up of white-thorn neatly interwove ; *:: *** As if here were those cooler shades of love . . . . . Can such delights be in the street, a . . . . . . . . * . . . . . . , , , , , , , And open fields, and we not see’t? - - ... no -Come, we'll abroad, and let's obay - or 1. *** * * * * of The proclamation made for May: * And sin no more, as we have done, by staying -- * * * * * : * * But, my Corinna, come, let's goe a Maying. - * o - * * * There's not a budding boy or girle, this day, - ". . . . But is got up, and gone to bring in May. . . . . . A deale of youth, ere this, is come , "... * * * * -Back, and with white-thorn laden home. : * * * * Some have dispatcht their cakes and creame - Before that we have left to dreame; ''And some have wept, and woo'd, and plighted troth, And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth : * - Many a green gown has been given; . . . - o • * * * * * * * *Many a kisse, both odde and even; * " . . . - - - - - - - Many a glance, too, has been sent " ' ' ' ' ' ' ". . . . . . in , . From out the eye, love's firinament; o' voo v " " ' "
** * * *
- * * *
*** - no
A gatherer of notices respecting our dred men, women, and children followtimes says, “The after-part of May- it, with greate devotion. And thus ay is chiefly spent in dancing round a beyng reared up, with handkerchiefes and .# Poll, which is called a May Poll; flagges streamyng on othe toppe, they which being placed in a convenient part strawe the grounde aboute, bindegreene of the village, stands there, as it were boughes about it, sett ". Sommer haules, consecrated to the Goddess of Flowers, Bowers, and Arbours hard by it. And without the least violation offer'd to it, in then fall they to banquet and feast, to the whole circle of the year.”". One who leape and daunce aboute it, as the Heawas an implacable enemy to popular then people did at the dedication of their o. relates the fetchingoing of “the Idolles, whereof this is offect patterne, ay" from the woods: “But," says he, or rather the thyng itself.” " --“ their cheesest jewell they bring from , , The May-pole is up, thence is their Maie poole, whiche, they . . ... Now give me the cup; bring, home with greate veneration, as I'll drink to the garlands around it; thus. They have twentie or fourtie yoke But first into those """ of oxen, every oxe havyng a sweete nose- ". . whose hands did compose o ie of flowers tyed on the tippe of his "The glory of flowers that crown'd it. ornes, and these oxen drawe home this "" - * * * *** ***** - to of TTief. Maie poole, which is covered all over . Another poet, a erefore- no-cowith A. and hearbes, bounde rounde ponent to ło, o on no ol aboute with stringes, from the top to the 3. so describes part of it bottome, and sometyme painted with và- to make a beautiful pictur triable colours, with twoo or three hun- Potose
-- * - - ---' * -- in *...A. poet, who has not versified, (Mr. forget the delight I felt on first seeing a Washington Irving,) says, “I shall never May-pole. It was on the banks of the
Dee, close by the picturesque old bri
that stretches across the fiverifrom the quaint little city or Chester. I had already been carried back into former days by the antiquities of that venerable place; the examination of which is equal to turning over the pages of a black-letter volume, or gazing on the pictures in Froissart. The May-pole on the margin of that tic stream completed the illusion. y fancy adorned it with wreaths of flowers, and peopled the green bank with all the dancing revelry of May-day. The mere sight of this May-pole gave a glow to my feelings, and spread a charm over the country for the rest of the day; and as I traversed apart of the fair plains -arc. to •ud; bo.
Radi or And trusty bow well gathered
on A or wo is -sell oil as . missis o nois “and there, too, in a subsequent stage of s “The archer-men in green, o of figurong a : . . . . . . . -“I value every custom that tends to infuse poetical feeling into the common people, and to sweeten, and soften the rudeness of rustic manners, without destroying their simplicity, Indeed it is to she decline of this happy simplicity that the decline of this custom may be traced; and the rural dance on the green, and the homely May-day pageant, have gradually disappeared, in proportion as the peasantry have become expensive and artificial in their pleasures, and too knowing for simple enjoyment. Some attempts, indeed, have been made of late years, by men of both taste and learning, to rally back the popular feeling to these standards of primitive simplicity; but the time has gone by, the feeling has become chilled by habits of gain and traffic; the country apes the manners and, amusements of the town, and little, is heard of May-day at present, except from the lamentations of authors, who sight after it from among the brick walls of the city.” r o h of -, i., * to exact so ca, w is , , – There will be opportunity in the course of this work to dilate somewhat concern
of Cheshire, and the beautiful borders of Wales, and looked from among swelling hills down a long green valley, through which," the Deva, wound its wizard stream,' my imagination turned all into a perfect Arcadia—One can readily imagine what a gay scene it must have been in jolly old London, when the doors were rated with flowering branches, when every hat was decked with haw. thorn; and Robin Hobd, friar Tuck, Maid Marian, the morris-dancers, and all the other fantastic masks and revellers were performing their antics about the May-pole in every part of the city. On this occasionowe are, o Robin Hood presided as Lord of the May:
ovo, or solo is is of food: ing the May-pole and the characters sh #. and therefore little will be adduced at present as to the origin of pastimes, '...} royalty itself-desighted in, and corporations patronized: For example of these honours to the festal day, an honest gatherer of older chroniclés shall relate in his own words, so much's **.*.*.*......... * “In §. moneth of May, ohamely on May day in the morning, every man, except impediment, would walke into the sweet meddowes and green woods, there to rejoyce their *. the beauty and savour of sweet flowers, and with the harmonie of birds, praising God in their kinde." And for example hereof, Edward Hall hath noted, that king Henry the eighth, as in the third of his reigne, and divers, other yeeres, so namely in the seventh of his reigne, on May day in the morning, with queené Katharine his wife, accompanied with many lords and ladies, rode a Maying from Greenwich to the high ground of Shooters-hill; where as
greene, with greene, hoods, and with
bowes and arrowes, to the number of 200. One, being their chieftaine, was called Robin Hood, who required the king and all his company to stay and see his men shoot: whereunto the king granting, Robin Hood whistled, and all the 200 archers shot off, loosing all at once; and when he whistled againe, they likewise shot againe: their arrows whistled by craft of the head, so that the noise was strange and loud, which greatly delighted the king, queene, and their company.
“ Moreover, this Robin Hood desired the king and queene, with their retinue, to enter the greene wood, where, in arbours made of boughes, and deckt with flowers, they were set and served plentifully with venison and wine, by Robin Hood and his meyny, to their great contentment, and had other pageants and pastimes; as yee may read in my said author.
“I find also, that in the month of May, the citizens of London (of all estates) lightly in every parish, or sometimes two or three parishes joyning together, had their severall Mayings, and did fetch in May-poles, with divers warlike shewes, with good archers, morice-dancers, and other devises for pastime all the day long; and towards the evening, they had stageplaies, and bonefires in the streets.
“Of these Mayings, we read in the reign of Henry the sixth, that the aldermen and sherifles of London, being on May day at the bishop of Londous wood in the parish of Stebunheath, and having there a worshipfull dinner for themselves and other commers, Lydgate the poet, that was a monk of Bury, sent to them by a pursivant a joyfull commendation of that season, containing sixteene staves in meeter royall, beginning thus:- * ar
“Mighty Flora, goddesse of fresh flowers, which clothed hath the soyle in lusty green,
by influence of the sunne shine, To doe pleasance of intent full cleane, unto the states which now sit here,
Made buds to spring, with her sweet showers, - - - - o
Hath Wer downe seat her own daughter deare,
“Making the vertue, that dured in the root, o
Called the vertue, the vertue vegetable,
Into the top, this season so agreeable : * * *
the bawmy liquor is so commendable, . . That it rejoyceth with his fresh moisture, man, beast, and fowle, and every creature,” &c.
like woodmen, and their heads bound with large garlands of ivy-leaves, intertwined with sprigs of hawthorn. Then followed sir young maidens of the village, dressed in blue kirtles, with garlands of primroses on their heads, leading a fine sleek cow decorated with ribbons of various colours, interspersed with flowels; and the horms of the animal were tipped with gold. These were o iny sir foresters, equipped in green tunics, with hoods and hosen of the same colour; each of them carried a bugle-horn attached to a baldrick of silk, which he sounded as he passed the barrier. . After them came Peter Lanaret, the baron's chief falconer, who personified Robin Hood; he was attired in a bright grass-green tunic, fringed with gold; his hood and his hosen were parti-coloured, blue and white; he had a large garland of rosebuds on his head, a bow bent in his hand, a sheaf of arrows "at his girdle, and a o depending from a baldrick of light blue tarantine, embroidered with silver; he had also a sword and a dagger, the hilts of both being richly embossed with gold.—Fabian, a page, as Little John, walked at his right-hand; and Cecil Cellerman the butler, as Will Stukely, at his left. These, with ten others of the jolly outlaw's attendants who followed, were habited in green garments, bearing their bows bent in their hands, and their arrows in their girdles. Then came two maidens, in orange-coloured kirtles with white courtpies, strewing flowers, followed immediately by the Maid Marian, elegantly habited in a watchet-coloured" tunic "reaching to the ground; over which she wore a white linen rochet with loose sleeves, fringed with silver, and very neatly plaited; her girdle was of silver baudekin, fastened with a double bow on the left side; her long flaxen hair was divided into many ringlets, and flowed tipon her shoulders; the top part of her head was covered with a net-work cawl of gold, upon which was placed a garland of silver, ornamented with blue violets. She was supported by two bride-maidemus, in sky-coloured rochets girt with crimson girdles, wearing garlands upon their heads of blue and wnite violets. After them came four other females in green courtpies, and garlands of violets and cowslips. Then
Sampson the smith, as Friar Tuck, carry-,
ing a huge quarter-staff on his shoulder; and Morris, the mole-taker, who, represented. Much, the miller's son, having a long pole with an inflated bladder attached to: end. And after them the Maypole, drawn by eight fine oxen, decorated with scarfs, ribbons, and flowers of divers colours; and the tips of their horns were embellished with gold. rear Was closed by the hobby-horse and the dra...two. the May-pole was drawn into the square, the foresters sounded their horns, and the populace expressed their pleasure by shouting incessantly until it reached the place assigned elevation : — and during the time ground was preparing for its reception, the barriers of the bottom of the inclosure were opened for the villagers to approach, and adorn it with ribbons, garlands, and - flowers, as their inclination prompted them.—The pole being sufficiently onera
ted with finery, the square was cleared .
frem such as had no part to perform in
the pageant; and then it was elevated amidst the reiterated acclamations of the spectators. The woodmen and the milkmaidens danced around it according to the rustic fashion; the measure was played by Peretto Cheveritte, the baron's chief minstrel, on the bagpipes accompanied with the pipe and tabour, performed by one of his associates. When the dance was finished, Gregory the jester, who undertook to play the hobby-horse, came forward with his appropriate equipment, and, frisking up and down the square without restriction, imitated the galloping, curvetting, ambling, trotting, and other paces of a horse, to the infinite satisfaction of the lower classes of the spectators. He was followed by Peter Parker, the baron's ranger, who personated a dragon, hissing, yelling, and shaking his wings with wonderful ingenuity; and to complete the mirth, Morris, in the character of Much, having small bells attached to his knees and elbows, capered here and there between the two monsters in the form of a dance; and as often as he came near to the sides of the inclosure, he cast slily a handful of meal into the faces of the gaping rustics, or rapped them about their heads with the bladder tied at the end of his pole. In the mean time, Sampson, representing Friar Tuck, walked with much gravity around the square, and occasionally let fall his heavy staff upon the toes, of such of the crowd as he thought were approaching more forward than they ought to do; and if the sufferers cried out from the sense of pain, he addressed them in a salematone of voice, advising them to count their beads, say a paternoster or two, and to beware of purgatory. These vagaries, were highly palatable to the populace, who announced , their delight by repeated plaudits, and loud bursts of laughter; for this reason they were continued for a considerable length of time: but Gregory, beginning ... at last to faulter in his paces, ordered the dragon to fall back: the well-nurtured beast, being out of breath, readily obeyed, and their two companions followed their example ; which concluded, this part of the pastime—Then the archers set up a target at the lower part of the green, and made trial of their skill in a regular succession. ~ Robin Hood and , Will Stukely, excelled, their comrades; and both of them lodged an arrow in the centre circle of gold, so, near, to each other that the difference could not readily