« IndietroContinua »
GATHERING OF MAY DEw. a slight sketch accompanying the commuThis engraving represents certain lads nication, Mr. George Cruikshank's pencil and lasses of « auld Reekie," who are depicts the “ action," which it should early gatherers of “ May-dew,” in the act be observed takes place on a hill. of dancing to the piper's “ skirl.” From
Map-dew Dancers at Arthaes-seat, Edinburgh.
Strathspeys and reels,
through the King's-park to Arthur's-seat
In the course of half an hour the entire My Dear Sir,-Allow me, without pre- hill is a moving mass of all sorts and sizes face, to acquaint you with a custom of At the summit may be seen a company or gathering the May-dew here on the first of bakers, and other craftsmen, dressed in May.
kilts, dancing round a Maypole. On the About four o'clock in the morning there more level part“ next door," is usually is an unusual stir; a great opening of an itinerant vender of whiskey, or moun. area gates, and ringing of bells, and a tain (not May) dew, your approach to “ gathering” of folk of all clans, arrayed whom is always indicated by a namber of in all the colours of the rainbow; and a “ bodies ” carelessly lying across your
path, not dead, but drunk. In another and cheap going thither, for a man may place you may descry two parties of Irish- go to spend what he will, or nothing-all men, who, not content with gathering the as one but to hear the nightingale and superficial dew, have gone “deeper and other birds; and here a fiddler, and there deeper yet,” and fired by a liberal desire a harp; and here a jew's-trump, and here to communicate the fruits of their industry, laughing, and there fine people walking, actively pelt each other with clods. is mighty diverting,” says Mr. Pepys,
These proceedings commence with the while his wife is gone to lie at Woolwich, daybreak. The strong lights thrown upon“ in order to a little ayre, and to gather the various groups by the rising sun, give May-dew.” a singularly picturesque effect to a scene, wherein the ever-varying and unceasing sounds of the bagpipes, and tabours and Gerard's dall MAYPOLE. fifes, et hoc genus omne, almost stun the ear. About six o'clock, the appearance of
Basing Lane. the gentry, toiling and pechin up the
Whence this lane derived its name of ascent, becomes the signal for serving men Basing, Stow cannot tell. It runs out and women to march to the right-about; of Bread-street, and was called the Bakefor they well know that they must have house, but," whether meant for the king's the house clean, and every thing in order bakehouse, or bakers dwelling there, and earlier than usual on May-morning.
baking bread to serve the market in About eight o'clock the “ fun' is all Bread-street, where the bread was sold, I over; and by nine or ten, were it not for know not,” says Stow;“ but sure I am, the drunkards who are staggering towards I have not read of Basing or of Gerard, the “gude town,” no one would know the gyant, to have any thing there to that any thing particular had taken place. doe."
Such, my dear sir, is the gathering of It seems that this Maypole was fabled May-dew. I subjoin a sketch of a group
to have been “the justing staff of Gerard, of dancers, and
a gyant." Stow's particulars concerning I am, &c.
it, and his account of Gerard's-hall, which P. P., Jun.
at this time is an inn for Bath and West of England coaches and other convey
ances, are very interesting. He says, It is noticed in the“ Morning Post" of the “ On the south side of this (Basing) lane second of May, 1791, that the day before, is one great house, of old time builded « being the first of May, according to upon arched vaults, and with arched annual and superstitious custom, a num, gates of stone, brought from Cane in ber of persons went into the fields and Normandie; the same is now a common bathed their faces with the dew on the ostrey for receit of travelers, commonly grass, under the idea that it would render and corruptly called Gerard's-hall, of a them beautiful."
gyant said to have dwelled there. In the high roofed hall of this house, sometime
stood a large Firre-Pole, which reached to May-dew was held of singular virtue in the roofe thereof, and was said to be one former times. Pepys on a certain day in of the staves that Gerard the gyant used May makes this entry in his diary : in the warres, to runne withall. There
My wife away, down with Jane and stood also a ladder of the same length, W. Hewer to Woolwich, in order to a which (as they said) served to ascend to little ayre, and to lie there to night, and the top of the staffe. Of later yeeres this so to gather May-dew to-morrow morn- hall is altered in building, and divers ing, which Mrs. Turner hath taught her is roomes are made in it. Notwithstanding, the only thing in the world to wash her the pole is removed to one corner of the face with ; and" Pepys adds, “ I am con- hall, and the ladder hanged broken upon tented with it." His “ reasons for con a wall in the yard. The hosteler of that tentment" seem to appear in the same house said to mee, the pole lacked half a line ; for he says, “I (went) by water to foote of forty in length. I measured the Fox-hall, and there walked in Spring, compasse thereof, and found it fifteene garden;" and there he notices “ a great inches. Reason of the pole could the deal of company, and the weather and master of the hostery give me none, but garden pleasant : and it is very pleasant bade mee reade the Chronicles, for there
he heard of it. Which answer,” says they will do a great good, and perhaps Stow, “ seemed to me insufficient : for help eventually to alter it, by fanning the he meant the description of Britaine, for little sparks that are left them of a brightthe most part drawne out of John Leyland, er period. Our business is to do what his commentaries (borrowed of myselfe) we can, to remind the others of what they and placed before Reynes Wolfe's may do, to pay honours to the season Chronicle, as the labours of another.” ourselves, and to wait for that alteration It seems that this chronicle has “a chap- in the times, which the necessity of things ter of gyants or monstrous men-of a must produce, and which we must endeaman with his mouth sixteene foote wide, vour to influence as genially as possible and so to Gerard the gyant and his in its approach.* staffe," which Stow speaks of as “these fables," and then he derives the house called Gerard's-hall, from the owner From Mr. Leslie's pencil, there is a thereof, “ John Gisors, maior of London, picture of May-day, “in the old time"in the yeere 1245," and says, “The pole in the “golden days of good queen Bess" the hall might bee used of old time (as -whereon a lady, whose muse delights then the custome was in every parish) to in agreeable subjects, has written the bee set up in the summer, a Maypole, following descriptive lines :before the principall house in the parish or streete, and to stand in the hall before
ON MAY DAY. the scrine, decked with hollie and ivie at the feast of Christmas. The ladder served
By Leslie. for the decking of the Maypole, and Beautiful and radiant May, reached to the roof of the hall."
Is not this thy festal day? To this is added, that “ every mans
Is not this spring revelry house of old time was decked with holly Held in honour, queen, of thee ? and ivie in the winter, especially at Tis a fair : the booths are gay, Christmas;" whereof, gentle reader, be With green boughs and quaint display; pleased to take notice, and do " as they
Glasses, where the maiden's eye did in the old time."
May her own sweet face espy ;
Beads to grace her bosom fair ; Wethink we remember something about From yon stand the juggler plays milkmaids and their garlands in our boyish There the morris-dancers stand,
With the rustic crowd's amaze; days; but even this lingering piece of Glad bells ringing on each hand ; professional rejoicing is gone; and in- Here the Maypole rears its crest, stead of intellectual pleasures at courts, With the rose and hawthorn drest ; manly games among the gentry, the vernal And beside are painted bands appearance every where of boughs and Of strange beasts from other lands. flowers, and the harmonious accompani- In the midst, like the young queen, ment of ladies' looks, all the idea that a Flower-crowned, of the rural green, Londoner now has of May-day, is the Is a bright-checked girl, her eye dreary gambols and tinsel-fluttering
squa; With a blush, like what the rose
Blue, like April's morning sky, lidness of the
poor chimney-sweepers ! What a personification of the times ;
To her moonlight minstrel shows; paper-gilded dirt, slavery, and melan- Laughing at her love the while,
Yet such softness in the smile, choly, bustling for another penny !
As the sweet coquette would hide Something like celebrations of May-day Woman's love by woman's prida. still loiter in more remote parts of the Farewell, cities ! who could bear country, such as Cornwall, Devonshire, All their smoke and all their care, and Westmoreland ; and it is observable, All their pomp, when wooed away that most of the cleverest men of the time By the azure hours of May ? come from such quarters, or have other. Give me woodbine, scented bowers wise chanced upon some kind of insula- Blue wreaths of the violet Albwers, tion from its more sophisticated common
Clear sky, fresh air, sweeč birds, and trees, places. Should the subject come before Sights and sounds, and scenes like these !
L. E. L. The consideration of any persons who have Dot had occasion to look at it with reference to the general character of the age,
• The Examiner,
Northampton Map Garland. To the Editor of the Every-Day Book. ing each other vertically, and covered
Northampton, April, 1826. with flowers and streamers of various Sir,-Having received much inform- coloured ribands; these are affixed to a ation from your Every-Day Book, I staff about five feet long by which it is carshall be very happy to afford any that I ried, and in each of the apertures between may be able to glean; but my means are the hoops is placed a smartly dressed doll. extremely limited. I however mention a The accompanying sketch will convey custom at Northampton on the first of some idea of the garland. There are May, with some hope that I am not numerous streamers attached to it, of all troubling you with a twice-told tale." the colours of the rainbow. Should you
The girls from the peighbouring villages think this notice worth inserting, I shall of Kingsthorpe, &c. on the morning of feel obliged by your substituting any sigMay-day, come into the town with May, nature you please for my name, which, garlands, which they exhibit from house agreeable to your request to correspondto house, (to show, as the inhabitants say, ents who communicate accounts of cuswhat flowers are in season,) and usually toms, &c., I subjoin. receive a trifle from each house. The
I am, &c. gerland is composed of two hoops cross
B S. G. S.
A large brush made of a number of small whalebone sticks, fastened into a round ball of
wood, and extending in most cases to a diameter of two feet, is thrust up the chimney by means of hollow cylinders or tubes, fitting into one another like the joints of a fishing rod, with a long cord running through them ; it is worked up and down, as each fresh joint is added, until it reaches the chimney pot; it is then shortened joint by joint, and on each joint being removed, is in like manner worked up and down in its descent; and thus you have your chimney swept perfectly clean by this machine, which is called Scandiscope.
Some wooden tubes, a brush, and rope,
Are all you need employ;
And not the climbing boy.
Copy of a printed hand-bill, distributed before May-day, 1826.
No May Day Sweeps.
CAU TI ON. The inhabitants of this parish are most respectfully informed, that the UNITED SOCIETY OJ
MASTER CHIMNEY SWEEPERS intend giving their apprentices a dinner, at the Eyre Arms.