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if he be of able body, he commonly leads Which freely drink to your Lord's health, the swarth in reaping and mowing. It is Than to the plough, the commonwealth ; customary to give gloves to reapers, es
Next to your failes, your fanes, your faits, pecially where the wheat is thistly. As Then to the maids with whealen hats ; to crying a Largess, they need not be re
To the rough sickle, and the crookt sythe minded of it in these our days, whatever Drink, frollick, boyes, till all be blythe,
Feed and grow fat, and as ye eat, they were in our author's time.”
Be mindfull that the lab'ring neat,
And know, besides, ye must revoke Stevenson, in his “Twelve Moneths," The patient oxe unto the yoke, 1661, mentions under August, that “the And all goe back unto the plough furmenty pot welcomes home the har. And harrow, though they're hang'd up now. vest cart, and the garland of flowers And, you must know, your Lord's word's true, crowns the captain of the reapers; the feed him ye must, whose food fils you. battle of the field is now stoutly fought. And that this pleasure is like raine, The pipe and the tabor are now busily Not sent ye for to drowne your paine. set a-work, and the lad and the lass will But for to make it spring againe.
Herrick. have no lead on their heels. O! 'tis the merry time wherein honest neighbours make good cheer; and God is glorified in
Hoacky is brought his blessings on the earth.”
Home with hallowin,
The cart following.
Poor Robin, 1676. Come sons of summer, by whose toile We are the Lords of wine and oile;
Mr. Brand says,
“the respect shown to Ly whoce tough labours, and rough hands, servants at this season, seems to have sprung We rip up first, then reap our lands, from a grateful sense of their good services. Crown'd with the eares of corne, now come,
Every thing depends at this juncture on And, to the pipe, sing harvest home.
their labour and despatch. Vacina, (or Come forth, my Lord, and see the cart, Drest up with all the country art.
Vacuna, so called as it is said à vacando, See here a maukin, there a sheet
the tutelar deity, as it were, of rest and As spotlesse pure as it is sweet :
ease,) among the ancients, was the name The horses, mares, and frisking fillies, of the goddess to whom rustics sacrificed Clad, all, in linnen, white as lillies,
at the conclusion of harvest. Moresin The harvest swaines and wenches bound tells us, that popery, in imitation of this, For joy, to see the hock-cart crown'd. brings home her chaplets of corn, which About the cart heare how the rout
she suspends on poles, that offerings are Of rural younglings raise the shout;
made on the altars of her tutelar gods, Pressing before, some coming after,
while thanks are returned for the collected Those with a shout, and these with laughter. Some blesse the cart; some kisse the sheaves; ture ease and rest.
stores, and prayers are made for fuSome prank them up with oaken leaves :
Images too of straw Some crosse the fill-horse ; some with great
or stubble, he adds, are wont to be carried Devotion stroak the home-borne wheat:
* about on this occasion; and that in EngWhile other rusticks, lesse attent
land he himself saw the rustics bringing To prayers than to merryment,
home in a cart, a figure made of corn, Run after with their breeches rent.
round which men and women were singWell, on brave boyes, to your Lord's hearth ing promiscuously, preceded by a drum or Glittring with fire, where, for your mirth, piper." You shall see first the large and cheese
The same collector acquaints us that Foundation of your feast, fat beese :
Newton, in his “ Tryall of a Man's owne With upper stories, mutton, veale, And bacon, which makes full the meale ;
Selfe,” (12mo. London, 1602,) under With sev'rall dishes standing by,
breaches of the second commandment, As here a custard, there a pie,
censures “ the adorning with garlands, or And here all-tempting frumentie.
presenting unto any image of any saint, And for tu make the merrie cheere
whom thou hast made speciall choice of If smirking wine be wanting here,
to be thy patron and advocate, the firstThere's that which drowns all care, stout lings of thy increase, as corne and graine, beere,
and other oblations.'
up, crying thrice. a knack,' which all the
rest repeat: the person in the middle then As we were returning, says Hentzner,
says in 1598, to our inn, we happened to meet
« Well cut! well hound ! some country people celebrating their harvest-home; their last load of corn they Well shocked ! well saved from the ground.' crown with flowers, having besides an He afterwards cries whoop,' and his image richly dressed, by which perhaps companions holloo as loud as they can." they would signify Ceres. This they keep “I have not,” says Mr. Brand,“ the moving about, while men and women, most distant idea of the etymology of the men and maid-servants, riding through knack,' used on this occasion. I applied the streets in the cart, shout as loud as for one of them.
No farmer would part they can till they arrive at the barn. with that which hung over his table; but
“ I have seen,” says Hutchinson in his one was made on purpose for me. 1 “History of Northumberland,” “ in some should suppose that Moresin alludes to places, an image apparelled in great something like this when he says, finery, crowned with flowers, a sheaf of spiceas papatus (habet) coronas, quas corn placed under her arm, and a scycle videre est in domibus,' &c.” in her hand, carried out of the village in the morning of the conclusive reaping day, with music and much clamour of the
It is noticed by Mr. Brand, that Purchas reapers, into the field, where it stands in his “ Pilgrimage,” speaking of the Pefixed on a pole all day, and when the ruvian superstitions, and quoting Acosta, reaping is done, is brought home in like tells us, “In the sixth moneth they offered manner. This they call the harvest queen, a hundred sheep of all colours, and then and it represents the Roman Ceres."
made a feast, bringing the mayz from the Mr. Brand says, an old woman, who
fields into the house, which they yet use. in a case of this nature is respectable au
This feast is made, coming from the farm thority, at a village in Northumherland, to the house, saying certain songs, and informed me that not half a century ago, praying that the mayz may long continue. they used every where to dress up some. They put a quantity of the mayz (the best thing similar to the figure above described, that groweth in their farms)'in a thing (by Hutchinson,) at the end of harvest, which they call pirva, with certain cerewhich was called a harvest doll, or. kern monies, watching three nights. Then do .baby. This northern word is plainly a they put it in the richest garment they corruption of corn baby, or iinage, as is have, and, being thus wrapped and the kern supper, of corn supper. In Carew's dressed, they worship this pirva, holding 'Survey of Cornwall,' p. 20. b. •
it in great veneration, and saying, it is the kerned or saved harvest' occurs."
mother of the mayz of their inheritance,
and that by this means the mayz augments At Werington, in Devonshire, the and is preserved. In this moneth they clergyman of the parish informed Mr. make a particular sacrifice, and the Brand, that when a farmer finishes his witches demand of this pirva if it hath reaping, a small quantity of the ears of strength enough to continue until the next the last corn are twisted or tied together year; and if it answers no, then they into a curious kind of figure, which is carry this maiz to the farm whence it was brought home with great acclamations, taken, to burn, and make another pirva as hung up over the table, and kept till the before : and this foolish vanity still connext year. The owner would think it ex
tinueth." tremely unlucky to part with this, which
On this Peruvian “ pirva,” the rev. Mr. 1s called “ a knack. The reapers whoop Walter, fellow of Christ's-college, Camand hollow "a knack ! a knack ! well cut! bridge, observes to Mr. Brand, that it well bound! well shocked !” and, in some
bears a strong resemblance to what is places, in a sort of mockery it is added, called in Kent, an ivy girl, which is a * well scattered on the ground.” A figure composed of some of the best corn countryman gave a somewhat different the field produces, and made, as well as account, as follows : “ When they have they can, into a human shape ; this is cut the corn, the reapers assemble to- afterwards curiously dressed by the wogether: 'a knack' is made, which one
men, and adorned with paper trimmings, placed in the middle of the company holds cut to resemble a cap, ruffles, handker.
chief, &c. of the finest lace. It is brought but I forgive her, as you know she is home with the last load of corn from the blind. May I, Mr. Editor, converse with
waggon, and they suppose you in this way a little ? entitles them to a supper at the expense In Gloucestershire this interesting of their employers.
season is thus kept. Of course the good man of the house has informed the indus
trious and notable dame the day for “ Crying the Mare."
harvest-home; and she, assisted by her
daughters, makes every preparation to This custom is mentioned by Mr. Brand keep out famine and banish care-the as existing in Hertfordshire and Shrop- neighbours and friends are invited, hot shire. The
reapers tie together the tops cakes of Betty's own making, and such of the last blades of corn, which they butter that Sukey herself had churned, call “ mare," and standing at some dise tea, ale, syllabub, gooseberry wine, &c. tance, throw their sickles at it, and he who And what say you? Why, Mr. Editor, this cuts the knot, has the prize, with acclama- is nothing, this is but the beginning the tions and good cheer. Blount adds, re- grand scene is out of doors. Look yonspecting this custom, that “after the knot der, and see the whole of the troop of is cut, then they cry with a loud voice
men, women, and children congregated three times, 'I have her. Others answer together. They are about to bring home as many times, ' what have you?'— 4 the last load. You have seen election mare, a mare, a mare.!:—Whose is she,' chairings, Mr. Editor; these are mere thrice also.— J. B.' (naming the owner jokes to it. This load should come from three times.) — Whither will you send the furthest field, and that it should be the her ? — To J. a Nicks,' (naming some
smallest only just above the rails, a large neighbour who has not all his corn reaped ;) then they all shout three times, and children are placed on the load, boys
bough is placed in the centre, the women and so the ceremony ends with good
on the horses, they themselves trimmed cheer. In Yorkshire, upon the like occasion, they have a harvest dame; in Bed with shouts of " harvest-home," the horses
with cowslips and boughs of leaves, and fordshire, a Jack and a Gill.”
are urged forward, and the procession comes full gallop to the front of the farm
house, where the before happy party are Having been preceded “ into the waiting to welcome home the last load. bosom of the land” by a lady, and be- Now, he who has the loudest and the come acquainted with accounts from clearest voice, mounts upon a neighbourearlier chroniclers of harvest customs, we ing shed, and with a voice which would now pay our respects to the communica- do credit to your city crier, shouts tions of other correspondents, who have aloudbeen pleased to comply with our call for information,
We have ploughed, we have sowed,
We have brought home every load,
Hip, hip, hip, Harvest home? To the Editor of the Every-Day Book. and thus, sir, the whole assembly shout
Sir,---With pleasure I have read your “ huzza.”. The strong ale is then put entertaining and instructing collection round, and the cake which Miss made with from its commencement, and I perceive her own hands :—the load is then driven you have touched upon a subject in one round to the stack-yard or barn, and the of your sheets, which in my youth used horses put into the stable. John puts on to animate my soul, and bring every
a clean white frock, and William a clean energy of my mind and of my body into coloured handkerchief: the boys grease activity; I mean, harvest.
their shoes to look smart, and all meet Yes, sir, in my younger days I was in the house to partake of the harvest introduced into the society of innocence supper,when the evening is spent in cheerand industry; but, I know not how it fulness. Here, Mr. Editor, is pomp withwas, Dame Fortune kicked me out, and out pride, liberality without ostentation, I was obliged to dwell in smoke and cheerfulness without vice, merriment withdirt, in noise and bustle, in wickedness out guilt, and happiness without alloy. and strife compared with what I left; They say that old persons are old fools,
and although I am almost blind, yet I
NORFOLK. cannot resist telling you of what I have
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book. also seen in my boyish days in Suffolk. I do not mean to be long, sir, but merely
Norfolk, August, 14, 1826. to give you a few particulars of an ancient
Sir, In this county it is a general custom, which I must leave you to finish, practice on the first day of harvest, for the so that while you take a hearty pinch of men to leave the field about four o'clock, snuff (I know you don't like iobacco) I and retire to the alehouse; and have what shall have completed.
is here termed a “ whet;" that is, a sort At the commencement of harvest one of drinking bout to cheer their hearts for is chosen to be “ my lord.” He goes
labour. They previously solicit any who first in reaping, and mowing, and leads in happen to come within their sight with, every occupation. Now, sir, if you were
“I hope, sir, you will please to bestow a to pass within a field or two of this band largess on us?” If the boon is conceded the of husbandmen, “my lord” would leave giver is asked if he would like to have his the company, and approaching you with largess halloed ; if this is assented to, the respect, ask of you a largess. Supposing hallooing is at his service. he succeeded, which I know he would, he
At the conclusion of wheat harvest, it would hail his companions, and they would is usual for the master to give his men thus acknowledge the gift : my lord each a pot or two of ale, or money, to enwould place his troop in a circle, suppose where a cheerful merry meeting is held
able them to get some at the alehouse, fifteen men, and that they were reaping, each one would have a hook in his hand, amongst themselves. or, if hoeing of turnips, he would bring here called) is decorated with flags and
The last, or “horkey load" (as it is his hoe. My lord then goes to a distance, mounts the stump of a tree, or a gate post
, streamers, and sometimes a sort of kern and repeats a couplet (forgive the baby is placed on the top at front of the treachery of my memory, for I forget the load. This is commonly called a “ ben;" words). The men still standing in the why it is so called, I know not, nor have circle listen with attention to the words I the smallest idea of its etymon, unless of my lord, and at the conclusion each a person of that name was dressed up with his reap-hook pointing with his and placed in that situation, and that, right hand to the centre of the circle, and
ever after, the figure had this name given with intent as if watching and expecting, to it. This load is attended by all the they utter altogether a groan as long as
party, who had been in the field, with hal. four of your breves (if you go by notes): looing and shouting, and on their arrival then, as if impelled together, their
in the farmyard they are joined by the are lifted to the heavens above them, their others. The mistress with her maids are hooks point in the same direction, and at out to gladden their eyes with this wel. the same time they change the doleful
come scene, and bestir themselves to pregroan to a tremendous shout, which is pare the substantial, plain, and homely repeated three distinct times.
feast, of roast beef and plumb pudding. The money thus got during harvest, is
On this night it is still usual with some saved to make merry with at a neigh- of the farmers to invite their neighbours, bouring public-house, and the evening is friends, and relations, to the “horkey supspent in shouting of the largess, and joyful
Smiling faces grace the festive mirth,
board; and many an ogling glance is I am, Sir, &c. thrown by the rural lover upon the nut
brown maid, and returned with a blush. ing simplicity, worth all the blushes ever
made at court. Supper ended, they leave Another correspondent presents an the room, (the cloth , &c. are removed,) interesting description of usages in another and out of doors they go, and a hallooing county.
(tcith three successire !Vkoops.)
The inen and boys form a circle by to enable him to keep his back in nearly taking hold of hands, and one of the party a horizontal position. The doctor brings standing in the centre, having a gotch with him the tongs, which he uses for the of horkey ale placed near him on the purpose of extracting the tooth : this is a ground, with a horn or tin sort of trumpet piece of tobacco pipe adapted to the ocin his hand, makes a signal, and “halloo! casion, and placed in the mouth; a faintlar-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-ge-ess” is given as loud ing takes place from the violence of the and as long as their lungs will allow, at operation, and the bellows are used as a the same time elevating their hands as means of causing a reviving hope. high as they can, and still keeping hold. When the ale has so far operated that The person in the centre blows the horn some of the party are scarcely capable of one continued blast, as long as the “balloo- keeping upon their seal, the ceremony of largess." This is done three times, and im- drinking healths takes place in a sort of mediately followed by three successive glee or catch; -one or two of which you whoops; and then the glass, commonly have below. This health-drinking genera horn one, of spirit-stirring ale, freely ally finishes the horkey. On the followcircles. At this time the halloning-largess ing day the party go round among the is generally performed with three times neighbouring farmers (having various cothree.
loured ribands on their hats, and steeple This done, they return to the table, or sugar-loaf formed caps, decked with where foaming nappy ale is accompanied various coloured paper, &c.,) to taste by the lily taper tube, and weed of their horkey beer, and solicit largess of any India growth; and now mirth and jollity one with whom they think success is abound, the horn of sparkling beverage likely. The money so collected is usuis put merrily about, the song goes round, ally spent at the alehouse at night. To and the joke is cracked. The females this “largess money spending," the wives are cheerful and joyous partakets of this and sweethearts, with the female servants “ flow of soul.”
of their late masters, are invited ; and When the "juice of the barrel” has a tea table is set out for the women, the exhilarated the spirits, with eyes beaming men finding more virtue in the decoction cheerfulness, and in true good rustic hu- of Sir John Barleycorn, and a pipe of the mour, the lord of the harvest accompa- best Virginia. nied by his lady, (the person is so called I have put together what now occurs to who goes second in the reap, each some- me respecting harvest-home, and beg to times wearing a sort of disguise,) with refer you to Bloomfield's “Wild Flowers," two plates in his hand, enters the parlour in a piece there called the “Horkey;" it winere the guests are seated, and solicits is most delightfully described. a largess from each of them. The collec- The glee or catch at the health-drinking tion made, they join their party again at is as follows :the table, and the lord recounting to his Here's a health unto our master, company the success he has met with, a
He is the finder of the feast : fresh zest is given to hilarity, a dance is God bless his endeavours, struck up, in which, though it can hardly And send him increase, be said to be upon the “ light fantastic And send him increase, boys, toe," the stiffness of age and rheumatic All in another year, pangs are forgotten, and those who have Here's your master's good health passed the grand climactric, feel in the So drink off your beer ; midst of their teens.
I wish all things may prosper, -Another show of disguising is com- Whate'er he takes in band; monly exhibited on these occasions, which We are all his servants, creates a hearty rustic laugh, both loud And are all at his command. and strong. One of the party habited as a female, is taken with a violent pang of And see you do not spill ;
So drink, boys, drink, the tooth ache, and the doctor is sent for. For if you do, He soon makes his appearance, mounted You shall drink two, on the back of one of the other men as a For 'tis your master's will. horse, having in his hands a common Another Health Drinking. milking stool, which he bears upon, so as
Behold, and see, his glass is full, A large stone, ut earthen pitcher,
At which he'll take a hearty pull ,