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He takes it out with such long wind,
I shall be happy if this will afford the That he'll not leave one drop behind. readers of the Every-Day Book any in
formation concerning the harvest customs Behold and see what he can do,
of this county.
am, Sir, &c. He has not put it in his shoe ;
6. *. I. He has not drank one drop in vain, He'll slake his thirst, then drink again. Here's a health anto my brother John,
A valuable correspondent transmits a It's more than time that we were gone; particular account of his country custom, But drink your fill, and stand your ground, which will be read with pleasure. This health is called the plough-boys round.
Devon. To this may be added the following.
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book. A Health Drinking.
Sir,-As the harvest has now become There was a man from London came, very general, I am reminded of a circumWith a rum-bum-bum-bare-larum;
stance, which I think worthy of communiDrink up your glass for that's the game, cating to you. After the wheat is all cut, And say ne'er a word, except—Mum.
on most farms in the north of Devon, the The great object is to start something the neck." I believe that this practice is
harvest people have a custom of “ crying which will catch some unguarded reply seldom omitted on any large farm in that in lieu of saying “Mum,” when the party part of the country. 'It is done in this so unguardedly replying, is fined to drink
way. An old man, or some one else well two glasses. For the beginning of Harvest there is acquainted with the ceremonies used on
the occasion, (when the labourers are this
reaping the last field of wheat,) goes round Harvest Song
to the shocks and sheaves, and picks out
a little bundle of all the best ears he can Now Lammas comes in,
find ; this bundle he ties up very neat Our harvest begin,
and trim, and plats and arranges the We have done our endeavours to get the straws very tastefully. This is called the
corn in ;
neck" of wheat, or wheaten-ears. After
the field is cut out, and the pitcher once And we stoutly blow And cut down the corn
more circulated, the reapers, binders, and That did sweetly grow. the women, stand round in a circle. The
person with “ the neck” stands in the cenThe poor old man
tre, grasping it with both his hands. He That can hardly stand,
first stoops and holds it near the ground, Gets up in the morning, and do all he can, and all the men forming the ring, take off Gets up, &c.
their hats, stooping and holding them I hope God will reward
with both hands towards the ground. Such old harvest man. They then all begin at once in a very pro
longed and harmonious tone to cry the But the man who is lazy
neck !" at the same time slowly raising And will not come on,
themselves upright, and elevating their He slights his good master
arms and hats above their heads; the And likewise his men ;
person with “ the neck” also raising it on We'll pay him his wages
high. This is done three times. They And send him gone,
then change their cry to wee yen !" — For why should we keep
way yen !”—which they sound in the Such a lazy drone.
same prolonged and slow manner as beNow harvest is over
fore, with singular harmony and effect, We'll make a great noise,
three times. This last cry is accompanied Our master, he says,
by the same movements of the body and You are welcome, brave boys ;
arms as in crying “ the neck.” I know We'll broach the old beer,
nothing of vocal music, but I think I may And we'll knock along,
convey some idea of the sound, by giving And Dow we will sing an old harvest song you the following cotes in gamut.
We Let these notes be played on a fute that they mean by “ we yen!” we have with perfect crescendos and diminuendoes, ended. It may more probably mean “we and perhaps some notion of this wild end,” which the uncouth and provincial sounding cry may be formed. Well, pronunciation has corrupted into “ after having thus repeated “the neck"
I am, Sir, three times, and wee yen” or
Your obedient servant, yen" as often, they all burst out into a
R. A. R. kind of loud and joyous laugh, flinging P. S. In the above hastily written acup their hats and caps into the air, caper- count, I should have mentioned that “the ing about and perhaps kissing the girls. neck” is generally hung up in the farmOne of them then gets “ the neck," and house, where it remains sometimes three runs as hard as he can down to the farm
or four years. I have written “we yen," house, where the dairy-maid, or one of because I have always heard it so prothe young female domestics, stands at the nounced; they may articulate it differdoor prepared with a pail of water. If
ently in other parts of the country. he who holds “ the neck" cau manage to get into the house, in any way unseen, or
Essex. openly, by any other way than the door ai which the girl stands with the pail of
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book. water, then he may lawfully kiss her; but,
Sir,--As harvest has began in various if otherwise, he is regularly soused with counties, I beg leave to give you a desthe contents of the bucket. On a fine cription of what is called the “ harvest still autumn evening, the “crying of the supper,” in Essex, at the conclusion of neck" has a wonderful effect at a distance,
the harvest. far finer than that of the Turkish muezzin,
After the conclusion of the harvest, a which lord Byron eulogizes so much, and supper is provided, consisting of roast which he says is preferable to all the bells beef and plum.pudding, with plenty of in Christendom.' I have once or twice strong ale, with which all the men who heard upwards of twenty men ery it, and have been employed in getting in the corn sometimes joined by an equal number of regale themselves. At the beginning of female voices. About three years back, whole of them at the supper.
the supper, the following is sung by the on some high grounds, where our people were harvesting, I heard six or seven
Here's a health to our master, “ necks” cried in one night, although I
The lord of the feast, know that some of them were four miles
God bless his endeavours,
And send him increase; off. They are heard through the quiet evening air, at a considerable distance May prosper his crops, boys, sometimes. But I think that the practice
That we may reap another year,
Here's your master's good health, boys, is beginning to decline of late, and many
Come, drink off your beer. farmers and their men do not care about keeping up this old custom. I shall al- After supper the following :ways patronise it myself, because I take Now harvest is ended and supper is past, it in the light of a thanksgiving. By the Here's our mistress's good health, boys, by, I was about to conclude, without en- Come, drink a full glass ; deavouring to explain the meaning of the For she is a good woman, sbe provides us words, “we yen !" I had long taken good cheer, them for Saxon, as the people of Devon Here's your mistress's good health, boys, are the true Saxon breed. But I think Come, drink off your beer. that I am wrong. I asked an old fellow The night is generally spent with great about it the other day, and he is the only mirth, and the merry-makers seldom disman who ever gave me a satisfactory ex- perse till " Bright Phæbus has mounted planation. He says, that the object of cry- his chariot of day.” ing“ the neck” is to give the surrounding
I am, &c. country notice of the end of harvest, and An Esses WAN AND SUBSCRIBE R.
It is the advice of the most popular Til Ploughmán thou givest of our old writers on husbandry, that
his harvest home gouse ; In harvest time, harvest folke,
Though goose goe in stubble, servants and all,
I passe not for that,
Let goose have a goose,
be she lean, be she fat.
Whereon “ Tusser Redivivus” notes,
that “the goose is forfeited, if they all harvest time long.
overthrow during harvest." A MS. Once ended thy harvest,
note on a copy of Brand's “ Antiquities,” let none be beguilde,
lent to the editor, cites from Boys's Please such as did please thee,
“Sandwich," an item “35 Hen. VIII. man, woman, and chlild.
Spent when we ete our harvyst goose Thus doing, with alway such help as they can,
iijs. vid. and the goose xd.” Thou wippest the praise
In France under Henry IV. it is cited of the labouring man.
by Mr. Brand from Seward, that " after
Tusser. the harvest, the peasants fixed upon some “Tusser Redivivus” says, “This, the poor regale, (by them called the harvest gos;
holiday to meet together and have a little labourer thinks, crowns all; a good supper ling,) to which they invited not only each must be provided, and every one that did any thing towards the Inning must other, but even their masters, who pleased now have some reward, as ribbons, laces,
them very much when they condescended rows of pins to boys and girls, if never
to partake of it." so small, for their encouragement, and, to be sure, plumb-pudding. The men must now have some better than best Mr. Brand, it was formerly the custom
According to information derived by drink, which, with a little tobacco and their screaming for their largesses, their
at Hitchin, in Hertfordshire, for each business will soon be done."
farmer to drive furiously home with the
last load of his corn, while the people Harvest Goose.
ran after him with bowls full of water in For all this good feasting,
order to throw on it; and this usage was yet art thou not loose,
accompanied with great shouting.
Unfolds its sunny lustre, and the dew
To the brook
It was formerly the custom in the whole band, and the evening spent in parish of Longforgan, in the county of joviality and dancing, while the fortunate Perth North Britain, to give what was lass who took the maiden was the queen called a maiden feast. “ Upon the of the feast; after which this handful of finishing of the barvest the last handful corn was dressed out generally in the form of corn reaped in the field was called of a cross, and hung up with the date of the maiden. This was generally con- the year, in some conspicuous part of the trived to fall into the hands of one of the house. This custom is now entirely done finest girls in the field, and was dressed away, and in its room each shearer is up with ribands, and brought home in given sixpence and a loaf of bread. Howtriumph with the music of fiddles or bag- ever, some farmers, when all their corns pipes. A good dinner was given to the are brought in, give their servants a dinner and a jovial evening, by way of harvesthome.*
The festiral of the in-gathering in Scotland, is poetically described by the elegant author of the “ British Georgics."
• Statistical Account of Scotland.
Bright now the shortening day, and blythe its close,
When ended the repast, and board and bench