Also, in calendars, the month of May
Is marked the month of Love—two lovers stray,
   In the old wood-cuts, in a forest green,
Looking their love into each other's eyes,
And dreaming happiness that never dies;
   And there they talk unheard, and walk unseen,
Save by the birds, who chant a louder lay
To welcome such true lovers with the May.


The month of May was deemed by the Romans to be under the protection of Apollo; and it being the month wherein they made several expiations, they prohibited marrying in May. On the first day of May the Roman ladies sacrificed to Bona Dea, the Good Goddess, or the Earth, represented in the Frontispiece [link] to the first volume of the Every-Day Book, with the zodiacal signs of the celestial system, which influences our sphere to produce its fruits in due order.

It is in May that "Spring is with us once more pacing the earth in all the primal pomp of her beauty, with flowers and soft airs and the song of birds every where about her, and the blue sky and the bright clouds above. But there is one thing wanting, to give that happy completeness to her advent, which belonged to it in the elder times; and without which it is like a beautiful melody without words, or a beautiful flower without scent, or a beautiful face without a soul. The voice of man is no longer heard, hailing her approach as she hastens to bless him; and his choral symphonies no longer meet and bless her in return—bless her by letting her behold and hear the happiness that she comes to create. The soft songs of women are no longer blended with her breath as it whispers among the new leaves; their slender feet no longer trace her footsteps in the fields and woods and wayside copses, or dance delighted measures round the flowery offerings that she prompted their lovers to place before them on the village green. Even the little children themselves, that have an instinct for the spring, and feel it to the very tips of their fingers, are permitted to let May come upon them, without knowing from whence the impulse of happiness that they feel proceeds, or whither it tends. In short,

'All the earth is gay;
Land and sea
Give themselves up to jollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth every beast keep holiday:'

while man, man alone, lets the season come without glorying in it; and when it goes he lets it go without regret; as if 'all seasons and their change' were alike to him; or rather, as if he were the lord of all seasons, and they were to do homage and honour to him, instead of he to them! How is this? Is it that we have 'sold our birthright for a mess of pottage?'—that we have bartered 'our being's end and aim' for a purse of gold? Alas! thus it is:

'The world is too much with us; late and soon,
   Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
   Little we see in nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away—a sordid boon!'

—But be this as it may, we are still able to feel what nature is, though we have in a great measure ceased to know it; though we have chosen to neglect her ordinances, and absent ourselves from her presence, we still retain some instinctive reminiscences of her beauty and her power; and every now and then the sordid walls of those mud hovels which we have built for ourselves, and choose to dwell in, fall down before the magic touch of our involuntary fancies, and give us glimpses into "that imperial palace whence we came," and make us yearn to return thither, though it be but in thought.

'Then sing ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
And let the young lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound!
We in thought will join your throng,
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts to-day
Feel the gladness of the MAY!'"*
[Mirror of the Months.]

May 1.

St. Philip and St. James.† [See vol. i. p. 541.][link]



Come, lads, with your bills,
   To the wood we'll away,
We'll gather the boughs,
   And we'll celebrate May.

We'll bring our load home,
   As we've oft done before,
And leave a green bough,
   At each good master's door. [Hone has in brackets, "good neighbour's" and "pretty maid's" for future or alternate refrains.]

To-morrow, when work's done,
   I hold it no wrong,
If we go round in ribands,
   And sing them a song.

Come, lads, bring your bills,
   To the wood we'll away,
We'll gather the boughs,
   And we'll celebrate May.

There is a rural ditty changed in villages and country towns, preparatory to gathering the May:—


If we should wake you from your sleep,
   Good people listen now,
Our yearly festival we keep,
   And bring a Maythorn bough.

An emblem of the world it grows,
   The flowers its pleasures are,
But many a thorn bespeaks its woes,
   Its sorrow and its care.

Oh! sleep you then, and take your rest,
   And, when the day shall dawn,
May you awake in all things blest—
   A May without a thorn.

And when, to-morrow we shall come
   Oh! treat us no with scorn;
From out your bounty give us some—
   Be May without a thorn.

May He, who makes the May to blow,
   On earth his riches sheds,
Protect thee against every woe,
   Shower blessings on thy heads.


On the Mayers deign to smile,
   Master, mistress, hear our song,
Listen but a little while,
   We will not detain you long.

Life with us is in its spring,
   We enjoy a blooming May,
Summer will its labour bring,
   Winter has its pinching day.

Yet the blessing we would use
   Wisely—it is reason's part—
Those who youth and health abuse,
   Fail not in the end to smart.

Mirth we love—the proverb says,
   Be ye merry but be wise,
We will walk in wisdom's ways,
   There alone true pleasure lies.

May, that now is in its bloom,
   All so fragrant and so fair,
When autumn and when winter come,
   Shall its useful berries bear.

We would taste your home-brew'd beer,—
   Give not, if we've had enough,—
May it strengthen, may it cheer,
   Waste not e'er the precious stuff.

We of money something crave,
   For ourselves we ask no share,
John and Jane the whole shall have,
   They're the last new married pair.

May it comfort to them prove,
   And a blessing bring to you;
Blessings of connubial love,
   Light on all like morning dew.

So shall May, with belssings crown'd,
   Welcom'd be by old any young,
Often as the year comes round,
   Shall the May-day song be sung.

Fare ye well, good people all,
   Sweet to night may be your rest,
Every blessing you befall,
   Blessing others you are blest.

As the day advances, a ballad suitable to the "village sports" is sung by him who has the honour to crown his lass as the "May-day queen."—


This slender rod of leaves and flowers,
   So fragrant and so gay,
Produce of spring's serener hours,
   Peculiarly is May.

This slender rod, the hawthorn bears,
   And when its bloom is o'er,
Its ruby berries then it wears,
   The songster's winter store.

Then, though it charm the sight and smell,
   In spring's delicious hours,
The feather'd choir its praise shall tell,
   'Gainst winter round us lowers.

O then, my love, from me receive,
   This beauteous hawthorn spray,
A garland for thy head I'll weave,
   Be thou my queen of May.

Love and fragrant as these flowers,
   Live pure as thou wert born,
And ne'er may sin's desctructive powers,
   Assail thee with its thorn.


Now at length 'tis May-day morn,
And the herdsman blows his horn;
Green with grass the common now,
Herbage bears for many a cow.

Too long in the straw yard fed,
Have the cattle hung their head,
And the milk did well nigh fail,
The milk-maid in her ashen pail.

Well the men have done their job,
Every horn has got its knob;
Nor shall they each other gore,
Not a bag, or hide, be tore.

Yet they first a fight maintain,
Till one cow the mastery gain;
They, like man, for mastery strive,
They by others' weakness thrive.

Drive them gently o'er the lawn,
Keep them from the growing corn;
When the common they shall gain,
Let them spread wide o'er the plain.

Show them to the reedy pool,
There at noon their sides they'll cool,
And with a wide whisking tail,
Thrash the flies as with a flail.

Bring them gently home at eve,
That their bags they may relieve,
And themselves of care divest,
Chew the cud and take their rest.

Now the dairy maid will please,
To churn her butter, set her cheese;
We shall have the clotted cream,
The tea-table's delightful theme.

Raise the song, then, let us now,
Sing the healthful, useful cow,
England well the blessing knows,
A land with milk that richly flows.

May-day is a Spring day.

Spring—"the innocent spring," is the firstling of revolving nature; and in the first volume, is symbolized by an infant. [link to March 6 image] In that engraving there is a sort of appeal to parental feeling; yet an address more touching to the heart is in the following little poem:—

A Mother to her First-born.

'Tis sweet to watch thee in thy sleep,
   When thou, my boy, art dreaming;
'Tis sweet, o'er thee a watch to keep,
To mark the smile that seems to creep
   O'er thee like daylight gleaming.

'Tis sweet to mark thy tranquil breast,
   Heave like a small wave flowing;
To see thee take thy gentle rest,
With nothing save fatigue opprest,
   And health on thy cheek glowing.

To see thee now, or when awake,
   Sad thoughts, alas! steal o'er me;
For thou, in time, a part must take,
That may thy fortunes mar or make,
   In the wide world before thee.

But I, my child, have hopes of thee
,    And may they ne'er be blighted!—
That I, years hence, may live to see
Thy name as dear to all as me,
   Thy virtues well requited.

I'll watch thy dawn of joys, and mould
   Thy little mind to duty—
I'll teach thee words, as I behold
Thy faculties like flowers unfold,
   In intellectual beauty.

And then, perhaps, when I am dead,
   And friends around me weeping—
Thoul't see me to my grave, and shed
A tear upon my narrow bed,
   Where I shall then be sleeping!


The Maypole nearest to the metropolis, that stood the longest within the recollection of the editor, was near Kennington-green, at the back of the houses, at the south corner of the Workhouse-lane, leading from the Vauxhall-road to Elizabeth-place. The site was then nearly vacant, and the Maypole was in the field on the south side of the Workhouse-lane, and nearly opposite to the Black Prince public house. It remained till about the year 1795, and was much frequented, particularly by milk maids.

A delightfully pretty print of a merry-making "round about the Maypole," supplies an engraving on the next page illustrative of the prevailing tendency of this work, and the simplicity of rural manners. It is not so sportive as the dancings about the Maypoles near London formerly; there is nothing of the boisterous rudeness which must be well remembered by many old Londoners on May-day.

The Country Maypole.

The Country Maypole.

It is a pleasant sight, to see
A little village company
Drawn out upon the first of May
To have their annual holiday:—
The pole hung round with garlands gay;
The young ones footing it away;
The aged cheering their old souls
With recollections and their bowls;
Or, on the mirth and dancing failing,
Their oft-times-told old tales re-taleing.


The innocent and the unaspiring may always be happy. Their pleasures like their knitting needles, and hedging gloves, are easily purchased, and when bestowed are estimated as distinctions. The late Dr. Parr, the fascinating converser, the skilful controverter, the first Greek scholar, and one of the greatest and most influential men of the age, was a patron of May-day sports. Opposite his parsonage-house at Hatton, near Warwick, on the other side of the road, stood the parish Maypole, which on the annual festival was dressed with garlands, surrounded by a numerous band of villagers. The doctor was "first of the throng," and danced with his parishioners the gayest of the gay. He kept the large crown of the Maypole in a closet of his house, from whence it was produced every May-day, with fresh flowers and streamers preparatory to its elevation, and to the doctor's own appearance in the ring. He always spoke of this festivity as one wherein he joined with peculiar delight to himself, and advantage to his neighbours. He was deemed eccentric, and so he was; for he was never proud to the humble, nor humble to the proud. His eloquence and wit elevated humility, and crushed insolence; he was the champion of the oppressed, a foe to the oppressor, a friend to the friendless, and a brother to him who was ready to perish. Though a prebend of the church with university honours, he could afford to make his parishoners happy without derogating from his ecclesiastical dignities, or abatement of self-respect, or lowering himself in the eyes of any who were not inferior in judgment, to the most inferior of the villagers of Hatton.

Formerly a pleasant character dressed out with ribands and flowers, figured in village May-games under the name of



The Jack-o'-the-Greens would sometimes come into the suburbs of London, and amuse the residents by rustic dancing. The last of them, that I remember, were at the Paddington May-dance, near the "Yorkshire Stingo," about twenty years ago, from whence, as I heard, they diverged to Bayswater, Kentish-town, and adjoining neighbourhoods. A Jack-o'-the-Green always carried a long walking stick with floral wreaths; he whisked it about in the dance, and afterwards walked with it in high estate like a lord mayor's footman.

On this first of the month we cannot pass the poets without listening to their carols, as we do, in our walks, to the songs of the spring birds in their thickets.


Welcome! dawn of summer's day,
Youthful, verdant, balmy May!
Sunny fields and shady bowers,
Spangled meads and blooming flowers,
Crystal fountains—limpid streams,
Where the sun of nature beams,
As the sigh of morn reposes,
Sweetly on its bed of roses!
Welcome! scenes of fond delight,
Welcome! eyes with rapture bright—
Maidens' sighs—and lovers vows—
Fluttering hearts—and open brows!
And welcome all that's bright and gay,
To hail the balmy dawn of May!

J. L. Stevens.

The most ancient of our bards makes noble melody in this glorious month. Mr. Leigh Hunt selects a delightful passage from Chaucer, and compares it with Dryden's paraphrase:—

It is sparkling with young manhood and a gentle freshness. What a burst of radiant joy is in the second couplet; what a vital quickness in the comparison of the horse, "starting as the fire;" and what a native and happy case in the conclusion!

The busy lark, the messenger of day,
Saleweth* [Saluteth] in her song the morrow gray;
And fiery Phœbus riseth up so bright,
That all the orient laugheth of the sight;
And with his stremès drieth in the greves† [Groves.]
The silver droppès hanging in the leaves;
And Arcite, that is in the court real [doubledagger][Royal.]
With Theseus the squier principal,
Is risen, and looketh on the merry day;
And for to do his observance to May,
Remembring on the point of his desire,
He on the courser, starting as the fire;
Is risen to the fieldès him to play,
Out of the court, were it a mile or tway.
And to the grove, of which that I you told,
By àventure his way he gan to hold,
To maken him a garland of the greves,
Were it of woodbind or of hawthorn leaves,
And loud he sung against the sunny sheen:
"O May, with all thy flowers and thy green,
Right welcome be thou, fairè freshè May:
I hope that I some green here getten may."
And from his courser, with a lusty heart,
Into the grove full hastily he start,
And in a path he roamed up and down.

Dryden falls short in the freshness and feeling of the sentiment. His lines are beautiful; but they do not come home to us with so happy and cordial a face. Here they are. The word morning in the first line, as it is repeated in the second, we are bound to consider as a slip of the pen; perhaps for mounting.

The morning-lark, the messenger of day,
Saluteth in her song the morning gray;
And soon the sun arose with beams so bright,
That all the horizon laughed to see the joyous sight:
He with his tepid rays the rose renews,
And licks the drooping leaves, and dries the dews;
When Arcite left his bed, resolv'd to pay
Observance to the month of merry May:
Forth on his fiery steed betimes he rode,
That scarcely prints the turf on which he trod:
At ease he seemed, and prancing o'er the plains,
Turned only to the grove his horses' reins,
The grove I named before; and, lighted there,
A woodbine garland sought to crown his hair:
Then turned his face against the rising day,
And raised his voice to welcome in the May:
"For thee, sweet month, the groves green liveries wear,
If not the first, the fairest of the year:
For thee the Graces lead the dancing hours,
And Nature's ready pencil paints the flowers:
When thy short reign is past, the feverish sun
The sultry tropic fears, and moves more slowly on.
So may thy tender blossoms fear no blight,
Nor goats with venom'd teeth thy tendrils bite,
As thou shalt guide my wandering steps to find
The fragrant greens I seek, my brows to bind."
His vows address'd, within the grove he stray'd.

"How poor," says Mr. Hunt, "is this to Arcite's leaping from his courser 'with a lusty heart.' How inferior the commonplace of the 'fiery steed,' which need not involve any actual notion in the writer's mind, to the courser 'starting as the fire;'—how inferior the turning his face to 'the rising day,' and 'raising his voice,' to the singing 'loud against the sunny sheen;' and lastly, the whole learned invocation and adjuration of May, about guiding his 'wandering steps' and 'so may thy tender blossoms' &c. to the call upon the fair fresh May, ending with that simple, quick-hearted line, in which he hopes he shall get 'some green here;' a touch in the happiest taste of the Italian vivacity. Dryden's genius, for the most part, wanted faith in nature. It was too gross and sophisticate. There was as much difference between him and his original, as between a hot noon in perukes at St. James's, and one of Chaucer's lounges on the grass, of a May morning. All this worship of May is over now. There is no issuing forth in glad companies to gather boughs; no adorning of houses with 'the flowery spoil;' no songs, no dances, no village sports and coronations, no courtly-poetries, no sense and acknowledgement of the quiet presence of nature, in grove or glade.

O dolce primavera, o fior novelli,
O aure o arboscelli, o fresche erbette,
O piagge benedette, o colli o monti,
O valli o fiumi o fonti o verde rivi,
Palme lauri ed olive, edere e mirti;
O gloriosi spirti de gli boschi;
O Eco, o antri foschi o chiare linfe,
O faretrate ninfe o agresti Pani,
O Satiri e Silvani, o Fauni e Driadi,
Naiadi ed Amadriadi, o Semidee,
Oreadi e Napee,—or siete sole.


O thou delicious spring, O ye new flowers,
O airs, O youngling bowers; fresh thickening grass,
And plains beneath heaven's face; O hills and mountains,
Vallies, and streams, and fountains; banks of green,
Myrtles, and palms serene, ivies, and bays;
And ye who warmed old lays, spirits o' the woods,
Echoes, and solitudes, and lakes of light;
O quivered virgins bright, Pans rustical,
Satyrs and Sylvans all, Dryads, and ye
That up the mountains be; and ye beneath
In meadow or flowery heath,—ye are alone.

"This time two hundred years ago, our ancestors were all anticipating their May holidays. Bigotry came in, and frowned them away; then debauchery, and identified all pleasure with the town; then avarice, and we have ever since been mistaking the means for the end.— Fortunately, it does not follow, that we shall continue to do so. Commerce, while it thinks it is only exchnaging commodities, is helping to diffuse knowledge. All other gains,—all selfish and extravagant systems of acquisition,—tend to over-do themselves, and to topple down by their own undiffused magnitude. The world, as it learns other things, may learn not to confound the means with the end, or at least, (to speak more philosophically,) a really poor means with a really richer. The veriest cricket-player on a green has as sufficient a quantity of excitement, as a fundholder or a partizan; and health, and spirits, and manliness to boot. Knowledge may go on; must do so, from necessity; and should do so, for the ends we speak of: but knowledge, so far from being incompatible with simplicity of pleasures, is the quickest to perceive its wealth. Chaucer would lie for hours looking at the daisies. Scipio and Lælius could amuse themselves with making ducks and drakes on the water. Epaminondas, the greatest of all the active spirits of Greece, was a flute-player and dancer. Alfred the Great could act the whole part of a minstrel. Epicurus taught the riches of temperance and intellectual pleasure in a garden. The other philosophers of his country walked between heaven and earth in the colloquial bowers of Academus; and 'the wisest heart of Solomon,' who found every thing vain because he was a king, has left us panegyrics on the spring and 'the voice of the turtle,' because he was a poet, a lover, and a wise man."* [The Indicator.]

Aubrey remarks, that he never remembers to have seen a Maypole in France; but he says, "in Holland, they have their May-boons, which are streight young trees, set up; and at Woodstock, in Oxon, they every May-eve goe into the parke, and fetch away a number of hawthorne-trees, which they set before their dores: 'tis pity that they make such a destruction of so fine a tree."

As the old antiquary takes us to Woodstock, and novel by the "Great Unknown," bears that title, we will "inn" there awhile, agreeably to an invitation of a correspondent who signs [greek characters], and who promises entertainment to the readers of the Every-Day Book, from an account of some out-of-the-way doings at that place, when there were out-of-the-doings every where. Our friend with the Greek name is critical; for as regards the "new novel," he says, that "Woodstock would have been much better if the author had placed the incidents before the battle of Worcester, and supposed that Charles had been drawn over to England to engage in some plot of Dr. Rochecliffes, which had proved unsuccessful. This might have spared him one great anachronism, (placing the pranks of the merry devil of Woodstock in 1651, instead of 1649,) at the same time that it would throw a greater air of probablility over the story; for the reader who is at all acquainted with English history, continually feels his pleasure destroyed by the recollection that in Charles's escapes after the battle of Worcester, he never once visited Woodstock. Nor does the merry devil of Woodstock excite half the interest, or give us half the amusement he would have done, if the author had lately read the narrative I am now about to copy. He seems to have perused it at some distance of time, and then to have written the novel with imperfect recollection of the circumstances.—But let me begin my story; to wit, an article in the 'British Magazine' for April, 1747, which will I suppose excite some curiosity, and is in the following words:—

of the

"Famous in the world in the year 1649, and never accounted for, or at all understood to this time."

The teller of this "Genuine History" proceeds as hereafter verbatim.

Some original papers having lately fallen into my hands under the name of "Authentic Memoirs of the Memorable Joseph Collins of Oxford, commonly known by the name of Funny Joe, and now intended for the press," I was extremely delighted to find in them a circumstantial and unquestionable account of the most famous of all invisible agents, so well known in the year 1649, under the name of the good devil of Woodstock, and even adored by the people of that place for the vexation and distress it occasioned some people they were not much pleased with. As this famous story, though related by a thousand people, and attested in all its circumstances beyond all possibility of doubt by people of rank, learning, and reputation, of Oxford and the adjacent towns, has never yet been accounted for or at all understood, and is perfectly explained in a manner that can admit of no doubt in these papers, I could not refuse my readers their share of the pleasure it gave me in reading[.]

As the facts themselves were at that time so well known that it would have been tedious to enumerate them, they are not mentioned in these papers; but that our readers may have a perfect account of the whole transaction, as well as the secret history of it, I shall prefix a written account of it, drawn up and signed by the commissioners themselves, who were the people concerned, and which I believe never was published, though it agrees very well with the accounts Dr. Plot and other authors of credit give of the whole affair. This I found affixed to the author's memorial, with this title:—

"A particular account of the strange and surprising apparitions and works of spirits, which happened at Woodstock, in Oxfordshire, in the months of October and November, in the year of our Lord Christ 1649, when the honourable the commissioners for surveying the said manor-house, park, woods, and other demesnes belonging to that manor, sat and remained there. Collected and attested by themselves.

"The honourable the commissioners arrived at Woodstock manor-house, October 13th, and took up their residence in the king's own rooms. His majesty's bedchamber they made their kitchen, the council hall their pantry, and the presence chamber was the place where they sat for despatch of business. His majesty's dining-room they made their wood yard, and stowed it with no other wood but that of the famous royal oak* [This is not king Charles the Second's celebrated "Royal Oak," but the "King's Oak" so often mentioned in the novel. To make it standing in 1651 is another anachronism by the by. [greek character name.]] from the high park, which, that nothing might be left with the name of the king about it, they had dug up by the roots, and bundled up into faggots for their firing.

"October 16. This day they first sat for the despatch of business. In the midst of their first debate there entered a large black dog (as they thought) which made a terrible howling, overturned two or three of their chairs, and doing some other damage, went under the bed, and there gnawed the cords. The door this while continued constantly shut, when after some two or three hours, Giles Sharp, their secretary, looking under the bed, perceived that the creature was vanished, and that a plate of meat which one of the servants had hid there was untouched, and showing them to their honours, they were all convinced there could be no real dog concerned in the case; the said Giles also deposed on oath that to his certain knowledge there was not.

"October 17. As they were this day sitting at dinner in a lower room, they heard plainly the noise of persons walking over their heads, though they well knew the doors were all locked, and there could be none there; presently after they heard also all the wood of the king's oak brought by parcels from the dining-room, and thrown with great violence into the presence chamber, as also the chairs, stools, tables, and other furniture, forcibly hurled about the room, their own papers of the minutes of their transactions torn, and the ink-glass broken. When all this had some time ceased, the said Giles proposed to enter first into these rooms, and in presence of the commissioners of whom he received the key, he opened the door, and entereing with their honours following him, he there found the wood strewed about the room, the chairs tossed about and broken, the papers torn, and the ink-glass broken over them, all as they had heard, yet no footsteps appeared of any person whatever being there, nor had the doors ever been opened to admit or let out any persons since their honours were last there. It was therefore voted nem. con. that the person who did this mischief could have entered no other way than at the keyhole of the said doors.

"In the night following this same day, the said Giles and two other of the commissioners' servants, as they were in bed at the same room with their honours, had their bed's feet lifted up so much higher than their heads, that they expected to have their necks broken, and then they were let fall at once with such violence as shook them up from the bed to a good distance; and this was repeated many times, their honours being amazed spectators of it. In the morning the bedsteads were found cracked and broken, and the said Giles, and his fellows, declared they were sore to the bones with the tossing and jolting of the beds.

"October 19. As they were all in bed together, the candles were blown out with a sulphurous smell, and instantly many trenchers of wood were hurled about the room, and one of them putting his head above the clothes, had not less than six forcibly thrown at him, which wounded him very grievously. In the morning the trenchers were all found lying about the room, and were observed to be the same they had eaten on the day before, none being found remaining in the pantry.

"October 20. This night the candles were put out as before, the curtains of the bed in which their honours lay, were drawn to and fro many times with great violence; their honours received many cruel blows, and were much bruised beside with eight great pewter dishes, and three dozen wooden trenchers which were thrown on the bed, and afterwards heard rolling about the room.

"Many times also this night they heard the forcible falling of many faggots by their bed side, but in the morning no faggots were found there, no dishes or trenchers were there seen neither, and the aforesaid Giles attests that by their different arranging in the pantry, they had assuredly been taken thence and after put there again.

"October 21. The keeper of their ordinary and his bitch lay with them; this night they had no disturbance.

"October 22. Candles put out as before. They had the said bitch with them again, but were not by that protected; the bitch set up a very piteous cry, the clothes of their beds were all pulled off, and the bricks, without any wind, were thrown off the chimney tops into the midst.

"October 24. The candles put out as before. They thought all the wood of the king's oak was violently thrown down by their bedsides; they counted sixty-four faggots that fell with great violence, and some hit and shook the bed, but in the morning none were found there, nor the door of the room opened in which the said faggots were.

"October 25. The candles put out as before. The curtains of the bed in the drawing-room were forcibly drawn many times; the wood thrown out as before; a terrible crack like thunder was heard, and one of the servants running to see if his masters were not killed, found at his return three dozen of trenchers laid smoothly upon his bed under the quilt.

"October 26. The beds were shaken as before, the windows seemed all broken to pieces, and the glass fell in vast quantities all about the room. In the morning they found the windows all whole, but the floor strewed with broken glass, which they gathered and laid by.

"October 29.* [Sic in orig. Why the other two days are passed over so silently I know not. — [greek name.]] At midnight, candles went out as before; something walked majestically through the room and opened and shut the window; great stones were thrown violently into the room, some whereof fell on the beds, others on the floor; and at about a quarter after one a noise was heard as of forty cannon discharged together, and again repeated at about eight minutes distance. This alarmed and raised all the neighbourhood, who coming into their honours' room gathered up the great stones, fourscore in number, many of them like common pebbles and boulters, and laid them by hwhere they are to be seen to this day a corner of the adjoining field. This noise, like the discharge of cannon, was heard throughout the country for sixteen miles round. During these noises, which were heard in both rooms together, both the commissioners and their servants gave one another over for lost and cried out for help, and Giles Sharp snatching up a sword had well nigh killed one of their honours, taking him for the spirit as he came in his shirt into the room. While they were together the noise was continued, and part of the tiling of the house and all the windows of an upper room were taken away with it.

"October 30. At midnight, something walked into the chamber treading like a bear: it walked many times about, then threw the warming-pan violently on the floor, and so bruised it that it was spoiled. Vast quantities of glass were now thrown about the room, and vast numbers of great stones and horses bones thrown in; these were all found in the morning, and the floor, beds, and walls, were all much damaged by the vilence they were thrown in.

"November 1. Candles were placed in all parts of the room, and a great fire made; at midnight, the candles all yet burning, a noise like the burst of a cannon was heard in the room, and the burning billets were tossed all over the room and about the beds, that had not their honours called in Giles and his fellows, the house had been assuredly burnt; an hour after the candles went out as usual, the crack of many cannon was heard, and many pails full of green stinking water were thrown on their honours in bed; great stones were also thrown in as before, the bed curtains and bedsteads torn and broken: the windows were now all really broken,a nd the whole neighbourhood alarmed with the noises; nay, the very rabbit-stealers that were abroad that night in the warren, were so frightened at the dismal thundering, that they fled for fear, and left their ferrets behind them.

"One of their honours this night spoke, and in the name of God asked what it was and why it disturbed them so. No answer was given to this, but the noise ceased for a while, when the spirit came again, and as they all agreed brought with it seven devils worse than itself. One of the servants now lighted a large candle, and set it in the doorway between the two chambers, to see what passed, and as he watched it he plainly saw a hoof striking the candle and candlestick into the middle of the room, and afterwards making three scrapes over the snuff of the candle to scrape it out. Upon this, the same person was so bald as to draw a sword; but he had scarce got it out when he perceived another invisible hand had hold of it too, and pulled with him for it, and at length prevailing, struck him so violently on the head with the pummel, that he fell down for dead with the blow. At this instant was heard another burst like the discharge of a broadside of a ship of war, and at about a minute or two's distance each, no less than nineteen more such; these shook the house so violently that they expected every moment it would fall upon their heads. The neighbours on this were all alarmed, and running to the house, they all joined in prayers and psalm-singing, during which the noise still contined in the other rooms, and the discharge of cannon without though no one was there."

Dr. Plot concludes his relation of this memorable event with observing, that though tricks have been often played in affairs of this kind, many of these things are not reconcileable to juggling; such as—1. The loud noises beyond the power of man to make without such instruments as were not there. 2. The tearing and breaking the beds. 3. The throwing about the fire. 4. The hoof treading out the candle; and, 5. The striving for the sword, and the blow the man received from the pummel of it.

To see, however, how great men are sometimes deceived, we may recur to this one tract, where among other things there is one entitled "The secret history of the good devil of Woodstock," in which we find it under the author's own hand, that he, Joseph Collins, commonly called funny Joe, was himself this very devil; that he hired himself as a servant to the commissioners under the feigned name of Giles Sharp, and by the help of two friends, an unknown trap-door in the ceiling of the bedchamber, and a pound of common gunpowder, played all these amazing tricks by himself, and his fellow servants, whom he had introduced on purpose to assist him, had lifted up their own beds.

The candles were contrived by a common trick of gunpowder put in them, to put themselves out by a certain time.

The dog who began the farce was, as he swore, no dog, but truly a bitch who had the day before whelped in that room and made all this disturbance in seeking for her puppies; and which when she had served his purpose, he let out and then looked for. The story of the hoof and the sword himself alone was witness to, and was never suspected as to the truth of them though mere fictions. By the trap-door his friends let down stones, faggots, glass, water, &c. which they either left there or drew up again as best suited with him; and by this way let themselves in and out without opening the doors and going through the key-holes; and all the noises he declares he made by placing quantities of white gunpowder over pieces of charcoal on plates of tin, which as they melted went off with that violent explosion.

One thing there was beyond all these he tells us, which was also what drove them from the house in reality, though they never owned it. This was they had formed a reserve of part of the premises to themselves, and hid their mutual agreement, which they had drawn up in writing, under the earth in a pot in a corner of the room in which they usually dined, in which an orange tree grew; when in the midst of their dinner one day this earth of itself took fire and burned violently with a blue flame, filling the room with a strong sulphurous stench; and this he also professes was his own doing, by a secret mixture he had placed there the day before.

I am very happy in having an opportunity of setting history right about these remarkable events; and would not have the reader disbelieve my author's account of them, from his naming either white gunpowder going off when melted, or his making the earth about the pot take fire of its own accord; since, however improbable these accounts may appear to some readers, and whatever secrets they might be in Joe's time, they are well known now in chemistry. As to the last, there needs only to mix and equal quantity of iron filings, finely powdered, and powder of pure brimstone, and make them into a paste with fair water. This paste, when it has lain together about twenty-six hours, will of itself take fire, and burn all the sulphur away, with a blue flame and great stink. For the others, what he calls white gunpowder, is plainly the thundering powder called pulvis fulminaus by our chemists. It is made only of three parts of saltpetre, two parts of pearl-ashes, or salt of tartar, and one part of flower of bringstone, mixed together and beat to a fine powder; a small quantity of this held on the point of a knife over a candle will not go off till it melts, and then give a report like a pistol; and this he might easily dispose of in larger quantities, so as to make it go off of itself, while he was with his masters.

From this diversion at Woodstock, wherein if we have exceeded be it remembered that Aubrey carried us thither, we return to the diversions of the month.

Ye shepherdesses, in a goodly round,
Purpled with health, as in the greenwood shade,
Incontinent ye thump the echoing ground,
And deftly lead the dance along the glade;
(O may no showers your merry makes affray!)
Hail at the opening, at the closing day,
All hail, ye Bonnibels, to your own season, May.

Nor ye absent yourselves, ye shepherd swains,
But lead to dance and song the liberal May,
And while in jocund ranks you beat the plains,
Your flocks shall nibble and your lambkins play,
Frisking in glee. To May your garlands bring,
And ever and anon her praises sing:
The woods shall echo May,—with May the vallies ring.


The truant schoolboy now at eve we meet,
Fatigued and sweating thro' the crowded street,
His shoe embrown'd at once with dust and clay,
With whitethorn loaded, which he takes for May.
Round his flapp'd hat in rings the cowslips twine,
Or in cleft osiers form a golden line.
On milk-pail rear'd the borrow'd salvers glare,
Topp'd with a tankard, which two porters bear,
Reeking they slowly toil o'er rugged stones,
And joyless milkmaids dance with aching bones.

The Milkmaids' Dance.

The Milkmaids' Dance.

   A pageant quite as gay, of less estate,
With flowers made and solid silver plate—
A lesser garland—on a damask bed,
Was carried on a skilful porter's head;
It stopp'd at every customer's street-door,
And all the milkmaids ranged themselves before;
The fiddler's quick'ning elbow quicker flew,
And then he stamp'd, and then the galliard grew.
   Then cows the meadows ranged and fed on grass,
And milk was sometimes water'd—now, alas!
In huge first floors each cow, a prison'd guest,
Eats rancid oil-cake in unnat'ral rest,
Bids from her udder unconcocted flow
A stream a few short hours will turn to—foh!
   Milk manufactories usurp the place
Of wholesome dairies, and the milkmaid's face,
And garlands go no more, and milkmaids cease—
Yet tell me one thing, and I'll be at peace;
May I, ye milk companions, hope to see
Old "milk mi-eau" once more dilute my tea?



Planting the Village Maypole.

Planting the Village Maypole.

Profitons enfans des beaux jour
Cette verdure passagère
Nous apprend qu'une loy sévère
En doit bientost finir le cours.

In this way the setting up of the Maypole is represented by one of the old French prints of the customs of the seasons, published "à Paris chez I. Mariette," with the preceding lines subjoined. It is wholly a rustic affair. In an English village such an event would have been celebrated to the simple sounds from a pipe and tabor, or at most a fiddle; but our neighbours of the continent perform the ceremony by beat of drum and sound of trumpet. Their merriments are showy as themselves; ours are of a more sober character, and in the country seem nearer to a state of pastoral simplicity.

My brown Buxoma is the featest maid,
That e'er at wake delightsome gambol play'd,
Clean as young lambkins or the goose's down,
And like the goldfinch in her Sunday gown.
The witless lamb may sport upon the plain,
The frisking kid delight the gaping swain,
The wanton calf may skip with many a bound,
And my cur, Tray, play deftest feats around;
But neither lamb, nor kid, nor calf, nor Tray
Dance like Buxoma on the first of May.


Also, on May-day we have the superstitions of innocence, or ignorance if the reader please—no matter which, it is the same thing. In the same poet's budget of country charms and divinations belonging to different seasons, he represents a young girl divining respecting her sweetheart, with as much certainty as the Pythian dame concerning the fate of nations.

Last May-day fair I search'd to find a snail
That might my secret lover's name reveal:
Upon a gooseberry-bush a snail I found,
For always snails near sweetest fruit abound.
I seiz'd the vermine; home I quickly sped,
And on the hearth the milk-white embers spread,
Slow crawl'd the snail, and if I right can spell,
In the soft ashes mark'd a curious L:
Oh, may this wond'rous oman lucky prove!
For L is found in Luberkin and Love.
   With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
   And turn me thrice around, around, around.


For the Every-Day Book.

On the first day of May, in Dublin and its vicinity, it is customary for young men and boys to go a few miles out of town in the morning, for the purpose of cutting a May-bush. This is generally a white thorn, of about four or five feet high, and they carry it to the street or place of their residence, in the centre of which they dig a hole, and having planted the bush, they go round to every house and collect money. They then but a pound or more of candles, and fasten them to various parts of the tree or bush, in such a manner so as to avoid burning it. Another portion of "the collection" is expended in the purchase of a heap of turf, sufficient for a large fire, and, if the funds will allow, an old tar barrel. Formerly it was not considered complete without having a horse's skull and other bones to burn in the fire. The depots for these bones were the tanners' yards in a part of the suburbs, called Kilmainham; and on May morning, groups of boys drag loads of bones to their several destinations. This practice gave rise to a threat, yet made use of:—"I will drag you like a horse's head to the bone-fire." About dusk when no more money can be collected, the bush is trimmed, the turf and bones are made ready to set on fire, the candles are all lighted, the bush fully illuminated, and the boys giving three huzzas, begin to dance and jump roundit. If their miney will afford the expenditure, they have a pot of porter to drink round. After an hour or so, the heap of turf and bones are set fire to, and when the candles are burnt out, the bush is taken up and thrown into the flames. They continue playing about until the fire is burnt out; each then returns to his home; and so ends their May-day.

About two or three miles from Dublin, on the great northern road, is a village called Finglass; it is prettily situated, and is the only place I know of in the neighbourhood of Dublin, where May-day is kept up in the old style. A high pole is decorated with garlands, and visiters come in from different parts of the country, and dance round it to whatever music chance may have conducted there. The best male and female dancer are chosen king and queen, and placed on chairs.

When the dancing is over, they are carried by some of the party to an adjacent public-house, where they regale themselves with ham, beef, whiskey-punch, ale, cakes, and porter, after which they generally have a dance in-doors, and then disperse.

There is a an old song relating to the above custom, beginning—

Ye lads and lasses all to-day,
To Finglas let us haste away;
With hearts so light and dresses gay
   To dance around the Maypole.—

A. O. B.

It is communicated by T. A. that it was formerly a custom in Cheshire for young men to place birchen boughs on May-day over the doors of their mistresses, and marke the residence of a scold by and alder bough. There is an old rhyme which mentions peculiar boughs for various tempers, and owler (alder) for a scolder, a nut for a slut, &c. Mr. Ormerode, the county historian, presumes the practice is disused; but he mentions that in the main street of Weverham, in Cheshire, are two Maypoles, which are decorated on this day with all due attention to the ancient solumnity: the sides are hung with garlands, and the top terminated by a birch, or other tall slender tree with its leaves on; the bark being peeled, and the stem spliced to the pole, so as to give the appearance of one tree from the summit.


Our usages on this day retian the character of their ancient origin.

The Romans commenced the festival of Flora on the 28th of April, and continued it through several days in May. Ovid records the mythological attributes and dedication of the season to that goddess:—

Fair Flora! now attend thy sportful feast,
Of which some days I with design have past;—
A part in April and a part in May
Thou claims't, and both command my tuneful lay;
And as the confines of two months are thine
To sing of both the double task be mine.
Circus and stage are open now and free—
Goddess! again thy feast my theme must be.
Since new opinions oft delusive are
Do thou, O Flora, who thou art declare;
Why should thy poet on conjectures dwell?
Thy name and attributes thou best can'st tell.
Thus I.—to which she ready answer made,
And rosy sweets attended what she said;
Though, now corrupted, Flora be my name,
From the Greek Chloris that corruption came:—
In fields where happy mortals whilome stray'd
Chloris my name, I was a rural maid;
To praise herself a modest nymph will shun,
But yet a god was by my beauty won.

Flora then relates, that Zephyr became enamoured of her as Boreas had been, that "by just marriage to his bed," she was united to Zephyr, who assigned her the dominion over Spring, and that she strews the earth with flowers and presides over gardens. She further says, as the deity of flowers,—

      I also rule the plains.
When the crops flourish in the golden field;
The harvest will undoubted plenty yield;
If purple clusters flourish on the vine,
The presses will abound with racy wine;
The flowering olive makes a beauteous year,
And how can bloomless trees ripe apples bear?
The flower destroyed of vetches, beans, and peas,
You must expect but small or no increase;
The gift of honey's mine, the painful bees,
That gather sweets from flowers or blooming trees,
To scented shrubs and violets I invite,
In which I know they take the most delight;
A flower an emblem of young years is seen,
With all its leaves around it fresh and green;
So youth appears, when health the body sways,
And gladness in the mind luxuriant plays.

From these allegorical ascriptions, the Roman people worshipped Flora, and celebrated her festivals by ceremonies and rejoicings, and offerings of spring flowers and the branches of trees in bloom, which through the accomodation of the Romish church to the pagan usages, remain to us at the present day.


For the Every-Day Book.

It has been usual for the people in this neighbourhood to assemble on the Wrekin-hill, on the Sunday after May-day, and the three successive Sundays, to drink a health "to all friends round the Wrekin;" but as on this annual festival various scenes of drunkenness and other licentiousness were frequently exhibited, its celebration has, of late, been very properly discouraged by the magistracy, and is going deservedly to decay.

February, 1826.

W. P.


To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

April 25, 1826.

Sir,—At a village in Westmoreland called Temple Sowerby, perhaps if not the most, at least one of the most beautiful in the north of England, there has been, "from time whereof the memory of man is not to the contrary," and still is, a custom on the first day of May for a number of individuals to assemble on the green, and there propose a certain number as candidates for contesting the various prizes then produced, which consist of a grindstone as the head prize; a hone or whetstone, for a razor, as the second; and whetstones of an inferior description, for those who can only reach a state of mediocrity in "the noble art of lying."

The people are the judges: each candidate in rotation commences a story, such as his fertile genius at the moment prompts; and the more marvellous or improbable his story happens to be, so much the greater chance is there of his success.

After being amused in this manner for a considerable length of time, and awarding the prizes to the most deserving, the host of candidates, judges, and other attendants, adjourn to the inns, where the sports of the day very often end in a few splendid battles.

There is an anecdote, very current in the place, of a late bishop of Carlisle passing through in his carriage on this particular day, when his attention being attracted by the group of persons assembled together, very naturally inquired the cause. His question was readily answered by a full statement of facts which brought from his lordship a severe lecture on the iniquity of such a proceeding; and at the conclusion, he said, "For my part I never told a lie in my life." This was immediately reported to the judges, upon which, without any dissent, the hone was awarded to his lordship as most deserving of it; and, as is reported, it was actually thrown into his carriage.

For the truth of the anecdote I cannot venture to assert; but the existence of the custom is a well-known fact to many of your readers in the metropolis.

I am, Sir, &c.
C. T.


Over a door in the consistory of the Hôtel de Ville at Toulouse, is a small marble figure of Clemence Isaure. In this consistory, the meetings were held for distributing the prizes in the floral games; the figure had flowers in her hand, but they are broken off. Below it on a tablet of brass, is a Latin inscription, in Roman capitals but with so many abbreviations, and some of these of a nature so unintelligible, that the meaning is scarcely to be deciphered. Thus much, however, is to be collected from it, that Clemence Isaure is represented to have been the daughter of L. Isaurus, of the ancient and illustrious family of the Isauræ of Toulouse; that the institution of the "floral games" is ascribed to her; that she is said to have built the Hôtel de Ville at her own expense; to have bequeathed to the city the markets for corn, wine, fish, and vegetables; and to have left the emainder of her property in perpetuity to the city for the support of the floral games; yet, it does not mention her age, or at what period she lived, or whether she was maiden, wife, or widow.

"Le Roman de Clemence Isaure," an old ballad story, represents her to have been a fair lady of Toulouse, with whom the handsome Lautrec was deeply enamoured, and that she returned his love with equal passion. Alphonso, her father, having chosen another husband for Clemence, she resisted the union, declaring that her life was at his disposal, but that as long as she should live, her heart must be wholly Lautrec's. Then Alphonso caused her to be chained, and shut her up in a strong tower, and threatened Lautrec's life if he could get him into his power; and Lautrec, having found the place of his mistress's imprisonment, like a true lover despised her cruel father's threats, and went to the tower and repeated his vows and sorrows to the fair Clemence, who came to the grate and told him of his danger, and prayed him to enter into the service of the French king, and follow military glory, and chase the recollection of their loves and their misfortunes; and as a pledge, she presented him with three flowers, a violet, an eglantine, and a marigold. The first she gave him as her colour, that he might appear as her knight; the second was her favourite flower; and the third an emblem of the chagrin and sorrow by which her heart was consumed. Then Clemence kissed the flowers, and let her tears fall on them, and threw them to her lover, and her father appeared, and Lautrec gathered up the flowers, and hastily withdrew. In obedience to the injunctions of his mistress, he departed from Toulouse for the French king's court; but before he had proceeded far on his journey, he heard that the English were marching against the city; and he returned when the inhabitants were flying before the enemy, and abandoning the ramparts, and leaving them defenceless: and only one old man resisted and valiantly maintained his ground. Then Lautrec fled to his assistance, and discovered him to be Alphonso, the father of Clemence: and at the moment when a fatal stroke was aimed at the old man, he rushed forward and received the moral wound himself, and died in Alophonso's arms, and gave him the flowers he received from Clemence, and conjured him to deliver them to his daughter, and to console her under the distress his fate would bring upon her. And Alphonso relented, and in great sorrow carried the flowers to Clemence, and related the untimely death of Lautrec, and her afflictions were too heavy for her to bear, and she fell a victim to despair and anguish, and followed her lover to the grave. But in remembrance of their sad story, she bequeathed her whole property to the city of Toulouse for the celebration of annual games, at which, prizes of golden flowers, like those she had given to Lautrec, were to be distributed tot he skilful troubadours who should compose the best poem, upon the occasion. This is the history of the gallant Lautrec and the fair Clemence, in the poetical romance.

But according to Pierre Caseneuve, the author of an "Inquiry into the Origin of the Floral Games at Toulouse," there is strong reason to doubt whether such a person as Clemence ever existed. Among the archives of the Hôtel de Ville are several chronicles of the floral games, the oldest of which states, that in the year 1324, seven of the principal inhabitants of Toulouse, desirous to promote the fame and prosperity of the city, resolved to establish an annual festival there, for the cultivation of the Provençal poetry, a spirit of piety, and suavity of manners. They therefore proposed that all persons skilled in Provençal poetry, should be invited to assemble at Toulouse every year in the beginning of May, to recite their compositions, and that a violet of gold should be given to him whose verses the judges should determine the most worthy; and a circular letter in the Provençal poetry was dispersed over the province of Languedoc, inviting competitors to assemble in the beginning of May the following year, to celebrate this festival.

The poetical compositions were not to be confined to the lays of lovers reciting their passion, and the fame of their mistresses; but the honour of God, and glorifying his name, was to be their first object. It was wished that poetry should conduce to the happiness of mankind, and by furnishing them a source of innocent and laudable amusement, make time pass pleasantly, repress the unjust sallies of anger, and dissipate the dark vapours of sadness. For these reasons it was termed, by the institutors, the "Gay Science."

In consequence of this invitation, a large concourse of competitors resorted to Toulouse; and in May, 1325, the first festival of the floral games was celebrated. Verses were recited by the candidates before a numerous assembly. The seven persons with whom the meeting originated, presided under the title of the chancellor of the "Gay Science, and his six assessors, and there also sat with them, the capitouls of chief magistrates of the town as judges; and there was a great assemblage of knights, of gentlemen, and of ladies. The prize was given to the candidate whose verses were deteremined by the majority of the judges to be the most worthy.

The "floral games" of Toulouse continued to be celebrated in like manner, at the sole expense of the institutors, till the magistrates seeing the advantage they were of to the town, by the vast concourse of people brought thither, and considering that their continuance must be precarious while they depended upon the ability and disposition of a few individuals for their support, resolved to convert the institution into a public concern; and, with the concurrence of the principal inhabitants, it was determined that the expense should in future be defrayed by the city, that to the original prize two others should be added, a silver eglantine, and a silver marigold; and that occasional ones might be distributed at the option of the judges to very young poets, as stimulants to them to aim at obtaining the principal prizes.

After about thirty years it was judged expedient to appoint a committee, who should draw up such a code of statutes as might include every possible case that could occur, and these statutes were laid before the judges for their approbation.

Among these decrees the principal were, that no prize could be given to a heretic, a schismatic, or an excommunicated person; that whoever was a candidate for any of the prizes, should take a solemn oath that the poetry was his own composition, without the least assistance from any other person; that no woman should be admitted to the competition, unless her talents in composing verses were so celebrated as to leave no doubt of her being capable fo writing the poetry offered:—that no one who gained a prize was allowed to be a candidate again till after a lapse of three years, though he was expected in the intervening years to compose verses for the games, and recite them; and that if any or all the prizes remained undisposed of, from no verses being produced that were judged worthy of them, the prizes were to remain over to the next year, then to be given away in addition to the regular prizes of the year.

Under these and other regulations the "floral games" became celebrated throughout Europe; and within fifty years from their first institution they were the resort of all persons of distinction. In 1388, the reigning king of Arragon [sic] sent ambassadors to Charles the Sixth of France, with great pomp and solemnity, requesting that some of the poets of the "floral games" at Toulouse might be permitted to come to the court, and assist in establishing similar games there; promising that, when they had fulfilled their mission, they should receive rewards equal to their merits, and consistent with his royal munificence.

This account of the institution of the "floral games" is from the oldest registers relative to them; wherein there is no mention made of the lady Clemence Isaure till 1513, nearly two hundred years after their institution; and it is well known that the statue of the lady Clemence in the consistory, was not put up till the year 1557. In that year it had been proposed in the college of the Gay Science to erect a monument to her memory in the church of La Dorade, where she was reputed to have been buried; but this idea was afterwards changed for putting up her statue in the room where the "floral games" were held. From that time the statue was always crowned with flowers at the time of the celebration of the games, and a Latin oration pronounced in honour of her. A satirical sonnet in the Provençal language upon the idea of erecting either a monument or a statue to a lady who never had any existence in the world, as preserved in Pierre Caseneuve's "Inquiry into the Origin of the Floral Games."

But by whomsoever the "floral games" of Toulouse were instituted, it is remarkable, that the festival was constantly observed for more than four centuries and a half without interruption. It did not cease to be celebrated till the revolution. It was not, however, continued entirely according to the original institution, since for a considerable time the use of the Provençlanguage, in the poetry for the prizes, had been abandoned, and the French substituted for it. At what period this change took place does not seem to be well ascertained. The number of prizes, too, was increased to five, the principal of which was still the golden violet; but instead of one eglantine, and one marigold of silver, two of each were given. The violet was appropriated to the best ode; the others were for a piece in heroic poetry, for one in pastoral poetry, for a satirical piece, and for a sonnet, a madrigal, a song, or some other minor effusion.

Three of the deputies to the parliament had for some time presided at these games, instead of the chancellor of the Gay Science with his six assessors; and with them were associated the capitouls, or chief magistrates of the town. All the other magistrates, and the whole body of the parliament, attended in their robes of office, with the principal gentlemen of the town, and a brilliant assemblage of ladies in full dress. These were ranged round the room in seats raised like an amphistheatre, and teh students of the university sat on benches in the centre. The room was ornamented with festoons of flowers and laurel, and the statue of Clemence Isaure was crowned with them. After the oration in honour of her was pronounced, the judges, having previously consulted together in private, and assigned the prizes to the pieces which they thought most worthy of them, stood up, and, naming the poem to which one was given, pronounced with an audible voice, "Let the author come forward." The author then presented himself; when his name was declared, it was followed by a grand flourish of music. The same ceremony ws repeated as each piece was announced. The whole concluded with each author publicly reading his poem.

Many of these prize poems are to be found in different collections. Several prizes were in latter times adjudged to females, without any strict investigation having been previously made into the possibility of the pieces to which they were decreed being female compositions. It was owing to having gained a silver eglantine at one of these festivals that the celebrated Fabre d'Englantine assumed the latter part of his name. He was a Languedocian by birth, a native of Limoux, a small town about four leagues from Toulouse.* [Plumptre]

Without such encouragements to be poetical, as were annually offered by the conductors of the "floral games" at Toulouse, our kind feelings have been cultivated, and our literature is enriched by a race of poets, whom we may venture to array against the united armies of continental bards. It may be doubted whether a May prize of Toulouse was ever awarded for sweeter verses, than Matt. Prior's on Chloe's May flowers.


The pride of every grove I chose
   The violet sweet and lily fair,
The dappled pink, and blushing rose,
   To deck my charming Chloe's hair.

At morn the nymph vouchsaf'd to place
   Upon her brow the various wreath;
The flowers less blooming than her face,
   The scent less fragrant than her breath.

The flowers she wore along the day,
   And every nymph and shepherd said,
That in her hair they looked more gay
   Than glowing in their native bed.

Undrest at evening, when she found
   Their odour lost, their colours past
She changed her look, and on the ground
   Her garland and her eye she cast.

The eye dropt sense distinct and clear,
   As any muse's tongue could speak
When from its lid a pearly tear
   Ran trickling down her beauteous cheek.

Dissembling what I knew too well,
   "My love, my life," said I, "explain
This change of humour; pr'ythee tell:
   That falling tear—what does it mean?"

She sighed; she smil'd; and, to the flowers
   Pointing, the lovely moralist said,
"See, friend, in some few fleeting hours
   See yonder, what a change is made!

"Ah me! the blooming pride of May,
   And that of beauty are but one,
At morn both flourish bright and gay;
   Both fade at evening, pale and gone.

"At dawn poor Stella danc'd and sung;
   The amorous youth around her bowed,
At night her fatal knell was rung;
   I saw and kissed her in her shroud.

"Such as she is, who died to-day;
   Such I, alas! may be to morrow;
Go, Damon, bid thy muse display
   The justice of thy Chloe's sorrow."


A beautiful ode by another of our poets graces the loveliness of the season, and finally "points a moral" of sovereign virtue to all who need the application, and will take it to heart.


Lo! where the rosy bosom'd hours,
   Fair Venus' train appear,
Disclose the long expected flowers,
   And wake the purple year!
The attic warbler pours her throat,
Responsive to the cuckoo's note,
   The untaught harmony of spring:
While whispering pleasure as they fly,
Cool zephyrs through the clear blue sky
   Their gathered fragrance fling.

Where'er the oak's thick branches stretch
   A broader, browner shade;
Where'er the rude and moss-grown beech
   O'er-canopies the glade,
Beside some water's rushy brink
With me the muse shall sit, and think
   (At ease reclined in rustic state)
How vain the ardour of the crowd,
How low how little are the proud,
   How indigent the great!

Still is the toiling hand of care;
   The panting herds repose:
Yet hark, how through the peopled air
   The busy murmur glows!
The insect youth are on the wing,
Eager to taste the honied spring,
   And float amid the liquid noon:
Some lightly o'er the current skim,
Some slow, their gayly-gilded trim
   Quick-glancing to the sun.

To Contemplation's sober eye
   Such is the race of man:
And they that creep and they that fly,
   Shall end where they began.
Alike the busy and the gay
But flutter through life's little day
   In fortune's varying colours drest.
Brushed by the hand of rough mischance;
Or chill'd by age, their airy dance
   They leave in dust to rest.

Methinks I hear in accents low
   The sportive kind reply;
"Poor moralist! and what art thou?
   A solitary fly!
Thy joys no glittering female meets,
No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,
   No painted plumage to display:
On hasty wings thy youth is flown
Thy sun is set, thy spring is gone—
   We frolic while 'tis May."


Then, too, a bard of the preceding centuries introduces "the Shepherd's Holiday," the day we now memorialize, with nymphs singing his own sweet verses in "floral games."

         Nymph 1.

Thus, thus begin, the yearly rites
Are due to Pan on these bright nights;
His morn now riseth, and invites
To sports, to dances, and delights:
   All envious, and profane away,
   This is the shepherd's holiday.

         Nymph 2.

Strew, strew, the glad and smiling ground,
With every flower, yet not confound
The primrose drop, the spring's own spouse,
Bright daisies, and the lips-of-cows,
   The garden-star, the queen of May,
   The rose, to crown the holiday.

         Nymph 3.

Drop drop your violets, change your hues,
Now red, now pale, as lovers use,
And in your death go out as well
As when you lived unto the smell:
   That from your odour all may say,
   This is the shepherd's holiday.


It is to be observed as a remarkable fact, that among the poets, the warmest advocates and admirers of the popular sports and pastimes in village retreats, uniformly invigorate and give keeping to their pictures, by sparkling lights and harmonizing shadows of moral truth.

But hark! the bagpipe summons on the green,
   The jocund bagpipe, that awaketh sport;
The blithesome lasses, as the morning sheen,
   Around the flower-crown'd Maypole quick resort;
The gods of pleasure here have fix'd their court.
   Quick on the wing the flying moment seize,
Nor build up ample schemes, for life is short,
   Short as the whisper of the passing breeze.


This engraving represents certain lads and lasses of "auld Reekie," who are early gatherers of "May-dew," in the act of dancing to the piper's "skirl." From a slight sketch accompanying the communication, Mr. George Cruikshank's pencil depicts the "action," which it should be observed takes place on a hill.

May-dew Dancers at Arthur's-seat, Edinburgh.

May-dew Dancers at Arthur's-seat, Edinburgh.

——— Strathspeys and reels,
Put life and metal in their heels.


To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

Edinburgh, April 20, 1826.

My Dear Sir,— Allow me, without preface, to acquaint you with a cusom of gathering the May-dew here on the first of May.

About four o'clock in the morning there is an unusual stir; a great opening of area gates, and ringing of bells, and a "gathering" of folk of all clans, arrayed in all the colours of the rainbow; and a hurrying of gay throngs of both sexes through the King's-park to Arthur's-seat.

In the course of half an hour the entire hill is a moving mass of all sorts and sizes. At the summit may be seen a company of bakers, and other craftsmen, dressed in kilts, dancing round a Maypole. On the more level part "next door," is usually an itinerant vender of whiskey, or mountain (not May) dew, your approach to whom is always indicated by a number of "bodies" carelessly lying across your path, not dead, but drunk. In another place you may descry two parties of Irishmen, who, not content with gathering the superficial dew, have gone "deeper and deeper yet," and fired by a liberal desire to communicate the fruits of their industry, actively pelt each other with clods.

These proceedings commend with the daybreak. The strong lights thrown upon the various groups by the rising sun, give a singularly picturesque effect to a scene, wherein the every-varying and unceasing sounds of the bagpipes, and tabours and fifes, et hoc genus omne, almost stun the ear. About six o'clock, the appearance of the gentry, toiling and pechin up the ascent, becomes the signal for serving men and women to march to the right-about; for they well know that they must have the house clean, and every thing in order earlier than usual on May-morning.

About eight o'clock the "fun" is all over; and by nine or ten, were it not for the drunkards who are staggering towards the "gude town," no one would know that any thing particular had taken place.

Such, my dear sir, is the gathering of May-dew. I subjoin a sketch of a group of dancers, and

I am, &c.
P.P., Jun.

It is noticed in the "Morning Post" of the second of May, 1791, that the day before, "being the first of May, according to annual and superstitious custom, a number of persons went into the fields and bathed their faces with the dew on the grass, under the idea that it would render them beautiful."

May-dew was held of singular virtue in former times. Pepys on a certain day in May makes this entry in his diary:—

"My wife away, down with Jane and W. Hewer to Woolwich, in order to a little ayre, and to lie there to night, and so to gather May-dew to-morrow morning, which Mrs. Turner hath taught her is the only thing in the world to wash her face with; and" Pepys adds, "I am contented with it." His "reasons for contentment" seem to appear in the same line; for he says, "I (went) by water to Fox-hall, and there walked in Spring-garden;" and there he notices "a great deal of company, and the weather and garden pleasant: and it is very pleasant and cheap going thither, for a man may go to spend what he will, or nothing—all as one: but to hear the nightingale and other birds; and here a fiddler, and there a harp; and here a jew's-trump, and here laughing, and there fine people walking, is mighty diverting," says Mr. Pepys, while his wife is gone to lie at Woolwich, "in order to a little ayre, and to gather May-dew."


Basing Lane.

Whence this lane derived its name of Basing, Stow cannot tell. It runs out of Bread-street, and was called the Bakehouse, but, "whether meant for the king's bakehouse, or bakers dwelling there, and baking bread to serve the market in Bread-street, where the bread was sold, I know not," says Stow; "but sure I am, I have not read of Basing or of Gerard, the tyant, to have any thing there to doe."

It seems that this Maypole was fabled to have been "the justing staff of Gerard, a gyant." Stow's particular concerning it, and his account of Gerard's-hall, which at this time is an inn for Bath and West of England coaches and other conveyances, are very interesting. He says, "On the south side of this (Basing) lane is one great house, of old time builded upon arched vaults, and with arched gates of stone, brought from Cane in Normandie; the same is now a common ostrey for receit of travelers, commonly and corruptly called Gerard's-hall, of a gyant said to have dwelled there. In the high roofed hall of this house, sometime stood a large Firre-Pole, which reached to the roofe thereof, and was said to be one of the staves that Gerard the gyant used in the warres, to runne withall. There stood also a ladder of the same length, which (as they said) served to ascend to the top of the staffe. Of later yeeres this hall is altered in building, and divers roomes are made in it. Notwithstanding, the pole is removed to one corner of the hall, and the ladder hanged broken upon a wall in the yard. The hosteler of that house said to mee, the pole lacked half a foote of forty in length. I measured the compasse thereof, and found it fifteene inches. Reason of the pole could the master of the hostery give me none, but bade mee reade the Chronicles, for there he heard of it. Which answer," says Stow, "seemed to me insufficient: for he meant the description of Britaine, for the most part drawne out of John Leyland, his commentaries (borrowed of myselfe) and placed before Reynes Wolfe's Chronicle, as the labours of another." It seems that this chronicle has "a chapter of gyants or monstrous men—of a man with his mouth sixteene foote wide, and so to Gerard the gyant and his staffe," which Stow speaks of as "these fables," and then he derives the house called Gerard's-hall, from the owner thereof, "John Gisors, maior of London, in the yeere 1245," and says, "The pole in the hall might bee used of old time (as then the custome was in every parish) to bee set up in the summer, a Maypole, before the principall house in the parish or streete, and to stand inthe hall before the scrine, decked with hollie and ivie at the feast of Christmas. The ladder served for the decking of the Maypole, and reached to the roof of the hall."

To this is added, that "every mans house of old time was decked with holly and ivie in the winter, especially at Christmas;" whereof, gentle reader, be pleased to take notice, and do "as they did in the old time."

We think we remember something about milkmaids and their garlands in our boyish days; but even this lingering piece of professional rejoicing is gone; and instead of intellectual pleasures at courst, manly games among the gentry, the vernal appearance every where of boughs and flowers, and the harmonious accompaniment of ladies' looks, all the idea that Londoner now has of May-day, is the dreary gambols and tinsel-fluttering squalidness of the poor chimney-sweepers! What a personification of the times;—paper-gilded dirt, slavery, and melancholy, bustling for another penny!

Something like celebrations of May-day still loiter in more remote parts of the country, such as Cornwall, Devonshire, and Westmoreland; and it is observable, that most of the cleverest men of the time come from such quarters, or have otherwise chanced upon some kind of insulation from its more sophisticated commonplaces.—Should the subject come before the consideration of any persons who have not had occasion to look at it with reference to the general character of the age, they will do a great good, and perhaps help eventually to alter it, by fanning the little sparks that are left them of a brighter period. Our business is to do what we can, to remind the others of what they may do, to pay honours to the season ourselves, and to wait for that alteration in the times, which the necessity of things must produce, and which we must endeavour to influence as genially as possible in its approach.* [The Examiner.]

From Mr. Leslie's pencil, there is a picture of May-day, "in the old time"—the "golden days of good queen Bess"—whereon a Lady, whose muse delights in agreeable subjects, has written the following descriptive lines:—


By Leslie.

Beautiful and radiant May,
Is not this thy festal day?
Is not this spring revelry
Held in honour, queen, of thee?
'Tis a fair: the booths are gay,
With green boughs and quaint display;
Glasses, where the maiden's eye
May her own sweet face espy;
Ribands for her braided hair,
Beads to grace her bosom fair;
From yon stand the juggler plays
With the rustic crowd's amaze;
There the morris-dancers stand,
Glad bells ringing on each hand;
Here the Maypole rears its crest,
With the rose and hawthorn drest;
And beside are painted bands
Of strange beasts from other lands.
In the midst, like the young queen,
Flower-crowned, or the rural gree,
Is a bright-cheeked girl, her eye
Blue, like April's morning sky,
With a blush, like what the rose
To her moonlight minstrel shows;
Laughing at her love the while,—
Yet such softness in the smile,
As the sweet coquette would hide
Woman's love by woman's pride.
Farewell, cities! who could bear
All their smoke and all their care,
All their pomp, when wooed away
By the azure hours of May?
Give me woodbine, scented bowers
Blue wreaths of the violet flowers,
Clear sky, fresh air, sweet birds, and trees,
Sights and sounds, and scenes like these!

L. E. L.

Northampton May Garland.

Northampton May Garland.

To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

Northampton, April, 1826.

Sir,— Having received much information from your Every-Day Book, I shall be very happy to afford any that I may be able to glean; but my means are extremely limited. I however mention a custom at Northampton on the first of May, with some hope that I am not troubling you with a "twice-told tale."

The girls from the neighbouring villages of Kingsthorpe, &c. on the morning of May-day, come into the town with May garlands, which they exhibit from house to house, (to show, as the inhabitants say, what flowers are in season,) and usually receive a trifle from each house. The garland is composed of two hoops crossing each other vertically, and covered with flowers and streamers of various coloured ribands; these are affixed to a staff about five feet long by which it is carried, and in each of the apertures between the hoops is placed a smartly dressed doll.

The accompanying sketch will convey some idea of the garland. There are numerous streamers attached to it, of all the colours of the rainbow. Should you think this notice worth inserting, I shall fell obliged by your substituting any signature you please for my name, which, agreeable to your request to correspondents who communicate accounts of customs &c., I subjoin.

I am, &c.
B. S. G. S.

The Last Chimney Sweeper.

The Last Chimney Sweeper.

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 it descent; and thus you have your chimney swept perfectly clean by this machine, which is called a Scandiscope.

Some wooden tubes, a brush, and rope,
Are all you need employ;
Pray order, maids, the Scandiscope,
And not the climbing boy.

Copy of a printed hand-bill, distributed before May-day, 1826.

No May Day Sweeps.


The inhabitants of this parish are most respectfully informed, that the UNITED SOCIETY OF MASTER CHIMNEY SWEEPERS intend giving their apprentices a dinner, at the Eyre Arms St. John's Wood, on the first of May, instead of suffering them to collect money as heretofore; the public are therefore cautioned against encouraging in any way such collections, as they are too frequently obtained by persons of the worst descriptions, or for the sinister purposes of their employers.

N.B. The procession will start from the Bedford Arms, Charlotte-street, Bedford-square, at eleven o'clock.

On Monday, the first of May, 1826, (pursuat to the above notice,) the first anniversary dinner of the "United Society of Master Chimney Sweepers," took place at the Eyre tavern, St. John's-wood, Marylebone.

About eleven o'clock, two hundred of their apprentices proceeded in great regularity through the principal streets and squares at the west end of the town, accompanied by an excellent band of music. The clean and wholesome appearance of the lads, certainly, reflected much credit on their masters, and attracted crowds of persons to the above tavern, where the boys were regaled with a substantial repast of roast beef and plum-pudding; after which the masters themselves sat down to a very excellent dinner provided for the occasion.

On the cloth being removed, and the usual routine of loyal toasts drank, the chairman addressed his brother tradesmen, congratulating them on the formation of a society that was calculated to do such essential service to the trade in general. It would be the means of promoting the welfare of their apprentices,—which was a feeling he was convinced every one of them had at heart,—who, instead of being permitted to loiter and dance about the streets on the first of May, dressed up in tawdry apparel, and soliciting money, should in future be regaled with substantial fare on each forthcoming day of the anniversary of the society, in order to put an end to the degrading practice which had for such a length of time stigmatized the trade. (Applause.)

"Success to the United Society of Chimney Sweepers," having been drank with thunders of applause,

Mr. BENNETT, of Welbeck-street, addressed the company on the subject of cleansing chimnies with the machine, the introduction of which he was confident would never answer the intended purposes. He urged the absolute necessity of employing climbing boys in their trade; and instanced several cases in which the machines were rendered perfectly useless: most of the chimnies in the great houses at the west end of the town were constructed in such a manner that it was utterly impossible to clear them of soot, unless a human being was sent up for that purpose. He admitted that some houses had chimnies which were built perpendicular; but even in those were frequently to be met with what the trade called "cores," which were large pieces of mortar that projected out from the brick-work, and that collected vast quantities of soot on their surface, so that no machine could get over the difficulty. When the subject of the climbing boys was before the house of lords, he (Mr. Bennett) was sent for by the earl of Hardwicke, who was desirous of personally ascertaining whether the practice of allowing boys to ascend chimnies could be dispensed with entirely. He (Mr. Bennett) had attended at his lordship's residence with the machine, which was tried in most of the chimnies in the house, but the experiment failed; one of his apprentices having been ultimately obliged to ascend for the purpose of extricating the machine from impediments which were only to be surmounted by the activity of climbing boys. The result was, that his lordship subsequently expressed his opinion that the machines could never answer the purposes for which they were originally intended, and therefore had his chimnies swept by the old method. Mr. Bennett concluded by making some observations on the harsh manner in which the trade had been aspersed. He said it had been insinuated that their apprentices, in consequence of being permitted to ascend chimnies, were often rendered objects for the remainder of their lives. There were, he admitted, a few solitary instances of accidents happening in their trade as well as in every other. He now only wished that their opponents might have an opportunity of witnessing the healthy and cheerful state in which their apprentices were.

A master chimney-sweeper, with great vehemence of action and manner, said, "I am convinced, Mr. Chairman, that it is a thing impossible to do away with our climbing boys. For instance, look at the duke of York's fifty-one new chimnies. Let me ask any one of you in company, is it possible a machine could be poked up any one of them? I say, no; and for this reason—that most of them run in a horizontal line, and then abruptly turn up, so that you see a machine would be of no more use than if you were to thrust up an old broomstick; and I mean to stick to it, that our opponents may as well try to put down chimney-sweepers in the old way, as the Equitable Loan Bank Company endeavoured to cut up the buisness of the pawnbrokers. (Applause.) When I look round the table, (said the speaker,) and see such respectable gentlemen on my right and on my left, and in front of me, who dares to say that the United Society of Master Chimney Sweepers are not as respectable a body of tradesmen as any in London? and although, if I may be excused the expression, there is not a gentleman now present that has not made his way in the 'profession,' by climbing up chimnies. (There was a universal nod of assent at this allusion.) Therefore, continued the speaker, the more praise is due to us, and I now conclude by wishing every success to our new society." The above animated address was received with the loudest plaudits.

Several other master chimney-sweepers addressed the company, after which the ladies were introduced into the room, and dancing commenced, which was kept up to a late hour.* [The Times, May 3, 1826.]

On the first of May, 1807, the slave trade in the West Indies was proscribed by the British parliament, and we see by the proceedings at the Eyre tavern, St. John's-wood, that on the first of May, 1826, an effort was made to continue the more cruel black slavery of white infants. Some remarks reported to have been made by these gentlemen in behalf of their "black art," require a word or two.

We are told that after the usual routine of loyal toasts, the chairman congratulated his "brother tradesmen" on the formation of a society that was calculated to do "essential service to the trade in general." There can be no doubt that "the king" was the first name on their list of toasts, yet it happens that his majesty is at the head of an association for abolishing their "trade." The first names on the roll of "The Society for suspending Climbing Boys by the use of the Scandiscope," are those of the "patron," and the president, vice-presidents, committee, and treasurer. These are chiefly prelates, peers, and members of the house of commons; but the "patron" of the society is "the king," in opposition to whom, in the capacity of "patron," Mr. Bennett, the master-sweep, of Welbeck-street, urges the "absolute necessity" of employing climbing boys. One of his reasons is, that in some chimnies the bricklayers have "cores" of mortar whereon the soot accumulates so that no machine can get over the difficulty; but this only shows the "absolute necessity" of causing the "cores" to be removed from chimnies already so deformed, and of making surveyors of future houses responsible for the expenses of alteration, if they suffer them to be so improperly constructed. Mr. Bennett says, that lord Hardwicke was convinced "the machines could never answer the purposes for which they were originally intended, and therefore had his chimnies swept by the old method." If his lordship did express that opinion, it is in opposition to the opinion of the king, as "patron," the late bishop of Durham, the present bishop of Oxford, the duke of Bedford, the lords Grosvenor, Morley, Harrowby, Gwydir, Auckland, and other distinguished individuals, who as president and vice-presidents of the society, had better opportunities of determining correctly, than Mr. Bennett probably afforded to earl Hardwicke.

Another "master chimney-sweeper" is reported to have said, "look at the duke of York's fifty-one new chimnies:—most of them run in a horizontal line, and then abruptly turn up, so that, you see, a machine would be of no more use than if you were to thrust up an old broomstick:" and then he asks, "who dares to say that the United Society of Master Chimney Sweepers are not as respectable a body of tradesmen as any in London?" and triumphantly adds, that "there is not a gentleman now present that has not made his way in the profession by climbing up chimnies." To this "there was a universal nod of assent." But a universal admission by all "the gentlemen present" that they had climbed to respectability by climbing up chimnies, is of very little weight with those who observe and know that willing slaves become the greatest and most effective oppressors; and as to the duke of York's new chimnies, it is not credible his royal highness can be informed that the present construction of his chimnies necessarily dooms unborn infants to the certain fate of having the flesh torn from their joints before they can sweep such chimnies. The scandalous default of a surveyor has subjected the duke of York to the odium of being quoted as an authority in opposition to a society for abolishing a cruel and useless trade, wherein servitude is misery, and independence cannot be attained but by the continual infliction of blows and torture on helpless children. Yet as an act of parliament abated the frequency of conflagrations, by empowering district surveyors to cause the erection of party walls, so a few clauses added to the building act would authorize the surveyors to enforce the building of future chimnies without "cores," and of a form to be swept by the "Scandiscope." Master chimney-sweepers would have no reason to complain of such enactment, inasmuch as they would continue to find employment, till the old chimnies and the prejudices in favour of cruelty to children, disappeared by effluxion of time.

The engraving at the head of this article is altered from a lithographic print representing a "Scandiscope." Perhaps the machine may be better understood from the annexed diagram. It simply consists of a whalebone brush, and wooden cylinders strung on a rope, and put into action by the method described beneath the larger engraving.

Mr. George Smart obtained two gold medals from the Society of Arts for this invention. The names of the machine chimney-sweepers in different parts of

[Scandiscope - detail.]

London may be obtained from Mr. Wilt, secretary of the "Society for superseding Climbing Boys," No. 125. Leadenhall-street; the treasurer of the institution is W. Tooke, esq., F.R.S. Any person may become a member, and acquaint himself with the easy methods by which the machine is adopted to almost any chimney. As the climbing chimney-sweepers are combining to oppose it, all humane individuals will feel it a duty to inquire whether they should continue willing instruments in the hands of the "profession" for the extension of the present cruel practice.

The late Mrs. Montagu gave an annual dinner to the poor climbing boys which ceased with her death.

And is all pity for the poor sweeps fled,
Since Montagu is numbered with the dead?
She who did once the many sorrows weep,
That met the wanderings of the woe-worn sweep!
Who, once a year, bade all his griefs depart,
On May's sweet morn would doubly cheer his heart!
Washed was his little form, his shirt was clean,
On that one day his real face was seen,
His shoeless feet, now boasted pumps—and new,
The brush and shovel gaily held to view!
The table spread, his every sense was charmed,
And every savoury smell his bosom warmed;
His light heart joyed to see such goodly cheer,
And much be longed to taste the mantling beer:
His hunger o'er—the scene was little heaven—
If riches thus can bless, what blessings might be given!
But, she is gone! none left to soothe their grief,
Or, once a year, bestow their meed of beef!
Now forth he's dragged to join the beggar's dance;
With heavy heart, he makes a slow advance,
Loudly to clamour for that tyrant's good,
Who gives with scanty hand his daily food!

It is the interest of the "United Society of Master Chimney Sweepers" to appear liberal to the wretched beings who are the creatures of their mercy; of the variation and degrees of that mercy, there is evidence before the committee of the house of commons. Sympathy for the oppressed in the breast of their oppressors is reasonably to be suspected. On the minutes of the "Society for superseding Climbing Boys," there are cases that make humanity shudder; against their recurrence there is no security but the general adoption of machines in chimnies—instead of children.

Mr. Montgomery's "Chimney Sweeper's Friend, and Climbing Boys' Album," is a volume of affecting appeal, dedicated to the king, "in honour of his majesty's condescending and exemplary concern for the effectual deliverance of the meanest, the poorest, and weakest of British born subjects, from unnatural, unnecessary, and unjustifiable personal slavery and moral degradation." It contains a variety of beautiful compositions in prose and verse: one of them is—


Communicated by Mr. Charles Lamb, from a very rare and curious little work, Mr. Blake's "Songs of Innocence."

When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me, while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry, "Weep! weep! weep!"
So your chimnies I sweep, and in soot I sleep.

There's little Tom Toddy, who cried when his head,
That was curl'd like a lamb's back, was shaved, so I said,
"Hush, Tom, never mind it for when your head's bare,
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair."

And so he was quiet, and that very night
As Tom was a sleeping, he had such a sight,
That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack,
Were all of them locked up in coffins so black.

And by came an angel, who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins, and set them all free;
Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing, they run,
And wash in a river, and shine in the sun,

Then naked and white, all their bags left behind,
They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind;
And the angel told Tom, if he'd be a good boy
He'd have God for his father, and never want joy.

And so Tom awoke, and we rose in the dark,
And got with our bags and our brushes to work;
Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy and warm,
So if all do their duty they need not fear harm.

Dining with Duke Humphrey,


In old St. Paul's cathedral "within a proper chappel purposely made for him," and in a proper tomb, sir John Beauchamp, constable of Dover, and warden of the cinque ports, was buried in the year 1358. "This deceased nobleman," says Stow, "by ignorant people hath been erroneously mistermed and said to be duke Humfrey, the good duke of Gloucester, who lyeth honourably buried at Saint Albans in Hartfordshire, twenty miles from London; in idle and frivolous opinion of whom, some men, of late times, have made a solemne meeting at his tombe upon Saint Andrewe's day in the morning (before Christmasse) and concluded on a breakfast or dinner, as assuring themselves to be servants and to hold diversity of offices hunder the good duke Humfrey."

Stow's continuator says, "Likewise, on May-day, tankard bearers, watermen, and some other of like quality beside, would use to come to the same tombe early in the morning, and, according as the other, deliver serviceable presentation at the same monument, by strewing herbes, and sprinkling faire water on it, as in the duty of servants, and according to their degrees and charges in office: but (as Master Stow hath discreetly advised such as are so merrily disposed, or simply profess themselves to serve duke Humfrey in Pauls) if punishment of losing their dinners daily, there, be not sufficient for them, they should be sent to St. Albans, to answer there for their disobedience, and long absence from their so highly well deserving lord and master, as in their merry disposition they please so to call him."

There can be no doubt that this mock solemnity on May-day, and the feast of St. Andrew, on pretence of attending a festival in Paul's, on the invitation of a dead nobleman in another place, gave rise to the saying concerning "dining with duke Humfrey." It is still used respecting persons who inquire "where shall I dine?" or who have lost, or are afraid of "losing their dinners."


The following particulars of a very curious celebration is remarkable, as being a description of the old mode of festivous enjoyment, "according to order," and the wearing of garlands by the stewards, with "whifflers" in the procession.* [Whifflers, see vol. i. p. 1444, note, and 1488.] It is extracted from Randle Holme's "Storehouse of Armory, 1688."

Stationers' Hall May Feast.

The Printers, Journeymen, with the Founders and Ink-makers have every year a general Feast, which is kept in the Stationers Hall on or about May Day. It is made by 4 Stewards, 2 Masters, and 2 Journeymen; and with the Collection of half a Crown a piece of every Guest, the charges of the whole Feast is defrayed.

About 10 of the Clock in the Morning on the Feast day, the Company invited meet at the place appointed, and from thence go to some Church thereabouts in this following Order. First, 4 Whifflers (as Servitures) by two and two, walking before with white Staves in their Hands, and red and blew Ribbons hung Beltwise upon their Shoulders: these make way for the Company.

Then walks the Beadle of the Company of Stationers, with the Companies Staff in his Hand, and Ribbons as afore.

Then the Minister, whom the Stewards have engaged to Preach the Sermon, and his Reader or Clerk.

Then the Stewards walk, by two and two, with long white wands in their Hands, and all the rest of the Comapny follow in like order, till they enter the Church, &c. Service ended, and a Sermon suitable for the occasion finished, they all return to their Hall in the same order, where upon their entrance each Guest delivers his Ticket to a Person appointed, which gives him admittance; where every one Feasts himself with what he likes best, being delighted all the while with Musicks and Songs, &c.

After Dinner the Ceremony of Electing new Stewards for the next Year begins: then the Stewards withdraw into another Room, and put Garlands of Laurel or Box on their Heads, and white wands in their Hands, and are Ushered out of the withdrawing Room thus;—

First, the Companies Beadle with his Staff in his Hand, and Musick sounding before him;

Then one of the Whifflers with a great Bowl of White wine and Sugar in his right Hand, and his Staff in the left: after him follows the eldest Steward.

Then another Whiffler as aforesaid, before the second Steward; in like manner another Whiffler before the third; and another before the fourth Steward.

And thus they walk, with Musick sounding before them, three times round the Hall; and, in the fourth round, the first Steward takes the Bowl from his Whiffler, and Drinks to one (whom before he resolved on) by the Title of Mr. Steward Elect; and taking the Garland off his own Head, puts it on the Steward Elect's Head, at which all the Company clap their Hands in token of Joy.

Then the present Steward takes out the Steward elect, and Walks with him, hand in hand, (giving him the right Hand,) behind the three other Stewards, another round the Hall; and in the next round as aforesaid, the second Steward drinsk to another with the same Ceremony as the first did; and so the third, and so the fourth. And then all walk one round more, hand in hand, about the Hall, that the Company may take Notice of the Stewards Elect: and so ends the Ceremony of the Day.

Old Watch Tower

Old Watch Tower


This is a front view of a watch tower, or one of the barbicans, on the city wall, which was discovered near Ludgate-hill on the first of May, 1792. Below is a section of Ludgate-hill from a plan of London by Hollar, wherein this tower is described.

They are both represented in an engraving published by the late Mr. Nathaniel Smith, of Great May's buildings, from whence the preceding views are copied for the purpose of more especially marking the discovery of the old tower on this festival day.

Opera Arm Chairs.

A rare tract, connected with the history of the opera in England, records a jeu d'esprit, which, together with the tract, are attributed to the author of the "Pursuits of Literature:" it will be seen to relate to the present day from the following extracts from the pamphlet.




May 5, 1800.

Piu non si turbi all' anima
   La sua tranquillità:
Pensiamo solo a ridere;

Aria; Gli Zingari in Fiera. A. 2.

THE following poetical Composition appeared in the Morning Herald of May 1, 1800; and it is reprinted at the very particular request of several persons, votaries of the Opera, Fashion, Wit, and Poetry, who were desirous that it should be preserved in a less perishable form than that of a Newspaper.

The occasion of THE ARM-CHAIRS being placed in the Pit at the Opera House was this. Before the opening of the Opera House this season, it was generally understood, that HIS MAJESTY had graciously signified to Lord Salisbury his concern, that any of the Subscribers should be deprived of their Boxes on the nights when HIS MAJESTY honoured the Theatre with his presence. This being communicated to Mr. Taylor, he observed that the ROYAL objection might easily be obviated, by detaching the last row from the Pit, on these occasions, for the reception of the Subscribers. This was done accordingly, and a Row of ARM-CHAIRS, with Locks and Keys to the bottoms of them, were placed there, which on every other night were to be free for general accomodation. but about two months after, the Arm-Chairs were removed, and a long bench was substituted.

On this great event, the Editor has no Intercepted Letters to lay before the public by authority, and therefore he has not applied to Mr. Canning for a Preface, nor for Notes to Mr. Gifford. there is no Egyptian Fast to be solemnized, nor Festival to be celebrated. He can assure them also, that neither the Mustapha Raschid Effendi and Mustapha Ressichi Effendi for the Gradn Vizir; nor General Dessaix and Citizen Poussielgue for General Kleber, were Commissioners on signing this Convention. But THE EVACUATION OF THE ARM-ED CHAIRS was effected without bloodshed or loss on either side, by LORD GALLOWAY and Mr. BELL, Commissioners on the part of the Amateurs and Conoscenti, and by Signor LORENZO DA PONTE, Poet to the Opera House, and Mr. SOLOMON, Leader of the Band, Commissioners on the part of General Taylor and the Dramatic Field Marshal THE MARQUIS OF SALISBURY. The Arm-ed Chairs were surrendered three days after the signing of the Capitulation, without the intervention of any gallant Knight* [This differs a little from THE ARGUMENT prefixed to the Poem, but the impartial Historian of a future age will weigh the authorities on either side, and record the truth according to the evidence.
THE EDITOR.] from Sweden or from Malta.

Thus far is from the preface, and after a few remarks and a "Scena" in Italian, the poem alluded to, and here reprinted verbatim, is introduced in the following manner:—

March 19, 1800.


A month or two ago, Lord Galloway came to the Opera, and on the Pit-door near the Orchestra being opened, he perceived, to his confusion and astonishment, that a long Bench was substituted in the place of the Row of ARM-CHAIRS at the bottom of the Pit, the principal or central of which he had filled for so many nights with discernment and dignity, and to the general satisfaction of every person present. His Lordship conceiving, rather hastily, that this measure was intended as a personal slight to himself, retired disconcerted, without taking his seat; and, as he is a votary of the Muses, penned the following Lamentation, which he sent to Lord Salisbury the next day, and recovered his wonted good humour, cheerfulness, and gayety.









WHAT!—the proud honours of the chair
Must I no more, with CECIL (a), ["Our Midas sits Lord Chancellor of Plays."], share?—
   Still be my soul serene
Virtù, or virtue's but a name,
Brutus and Galloway exclaim,
   And sighing quit the scene.

Too sure I heard a warning knell,
And told my Critic Brother BELL (b) [Mr. BELL, an ingenious Gentleman, very conversant in the Stocks and Funds, Grand Amateur, and Connoisseur of the Lower Bench.]
   The fall of seats (c) [It is feared that the Noble Lord alludes to the value of seats in a certain House, after the Union. EDITOR.] and stocks;
Yet fondly sooth'd by BOLLA's airs,
Thought TAYLOR's bottom, and his chairs
   Secure with keys and locks. (d) [The bottoms of these lamented Chairs were kept under lock and key.]

But ah! how Fortune loves to joke!
Expell'd am I, who sung and spoke
   As loud as at the Fair: (e) [i.e. As loud as the very Gipsies themselves on the Stage at the Fair. This is poetry, but no fiction. EDITOR.]
While yearly, with six thousand pound,
The Commons ADDINGTON have bound
   Their Servant TO THE CHAIR.

My purer taste, my classic eye,
Unzon'd Thalia could descry,
   Who stepp'd beyond her place:
How oft I warn'd, in either house,
That charms too plain at last would rouse
   The Mitre and the Mace!

I with Pandolfo watch'd the sphere,
When Mars on Venus shone so clear,
   That Saturn (f) ["Quel Saturno briccon ti guarda trino."
Gli Singari in Fiera, A. 1.] felt the shock:
Grave SHUTE and HENRY shurnk at Love,
And at the loose flesh-colour'd glove,
   That blush'd at twelve o'clock.

I said, some folks would thunder Greek
At HILLIGSBERG'S Morale lubrique,
   And PARISOT'S costume! (g)[Contecta levi velatum pectus amictu,
Et tereti strophio luctantes vincta papillas.
Where shall Paullinia, tight and round, (h)[Alluding to the fascinating Ballet of Paul et Virginie. BACCHUS AND ARIADNE too are now constrained to appear in patch-work dresses. The Costume is lost, and the Graces mourn. Jacet semisepulta Venus. So says the D. of Q. and many others of the ton hold the same doctrine.
If Propertius were Ballet Master he would cast the parts of the HILLISBERT toujours gaie et intéressante, of the PARISOT au geste animé et sublime, and of the LABORIE à sourire doux et enchanteur, with exquisite and appropriate taste.
Hæc hederas legat in thyros, Hæc carmina nervis
Aptet, et Illa many texat utraque rosam!] In vest appropriate now be found,
   With India's palm and plume?

Old Q—NSB—RY feels his dotard qualm,
Tersichorè can pour no balm
   O'er half his visual ray;
Nor WILLIAM (i) [Lord William Gordon.] can console the Sag,
Nor Elisèe (k) [PERE ELISE'E, Conoscente e Medico di camera al Serenissimo Duca.
"Dorpo dotato di Sanità."
Gli Zingari in Fiera.] his pain assuage,
   Nor Yarmouth smooth his way.

When MARINARI's (l) [The painter of various exquisite scenes at the Opera House.] magic hand
Traced the bold view in fabled land,
   For Fawns and Wood-nymphs meet
Ah, soon, I cried, may SAL'SB'RY think,
'Tis just, that they who dance should drink,
   And they who sing, should eat. (ll) [Les Chanteurs et les Danseurs, des deux Sexes, a Monsieur T. si tendre et si cruel; "Il faut que nous vivions."—REPONSE dé Monsiur R. "Je n'en rois pas la nécessité."
Présenté à Monseigneur le Chambellan POLONIUS!
"Chanteurs, Danseurs, assailants, assaillis,
Battans, battus, dans ce grand chamaillis:
Ciel, que de cris, et que de herlemens!
PERE ELISE'E reprit un peu ses sens;
Il se tenoit les deux cotés de rire,
Et reconnut que ce fatal empire
De l'Opera, des Jeux, et du grand Ton,
Etoit sans doute une œuvre du Démon."

For this, in arbitrating state,
In presence of the wise and great,
   I sung the Sovereign's air: (m)[The Air of Midas in the Burletta, beginning thus:
"I'm given to understand that you're all in a pother here,
Disputing whether, &c."

Firm was my voice, for TAYLOR smil'd;
Nor deem'd I then, (too well beguil'd,)
   How slippery was the Chair.

Nor G—rd—n's coarse and brawny Grace,
The last new Woman IN THE PLACE (n)[An expression used, with a curious felicity, by her Grace for "the Manufactured Ladies of Fashion" imported from Yorkshire and other Counties into P{ortland Place, &c. whose houses she condescended to enter. But once she was most unfortunately mistaken.
Car Madame M—LLS, ouvrant un large bec,
(Ayant en un Palais changée s chaumière,
Son air de drap devint démarche fiere;)
Disoit tout haut, que G—RD—N parloit Grec.
Les Grands surpris admirent sa hauteur,
Et les Petits l'appellént Dame d'honneur.
LEÇON à deux tranchans, tant à la Bourgeoisie, qu' à la Noblesse.

   With more contempt could blast;
Not Marlb'rough's damp pn Blandfor'd purse
To me could prove a heavier curse;
   My fame, my glory past.

Fall'n though I am, I ne'er shall mourn,
Like the dark Peer on STORER's urn, (nn)[ANTONY STORER, Esq. formerly Member for Morpeth, (as some persons may possibly recollect,) a gentleman well known in the circles of fashion and polite literature.]
   Reflecting on his seat!
In vain that mean mysterious Sire
In embers would conceal the fire;
   While Honour's pulse can beat.

For me shall droop th' Assyrian Queen, (o)[BANTI la Sovrana.]
With softest train and tragic mien,
   The SIDDONS in her art;
E'en BOLLA (p) [BOLLA la Vezzosa.]shall forget to please,
With sparkling eye and playful ease,
   And Didelot shall start.

Leo enthron'd bade Querno sit;
And GIANNI's (q) [GIANNI, the Italian Poet Laureat to Buonaparte, as Camillo Querno was to Pope Leo X. For a specimen of Gianni's Poetry, see THE TIMES of Dec. 31, 1800.] verse and regal wit
   THE CONSUL loves to share:
Pye has the laurel and the sack,
And C—mbe the foolscoat on his back,
   But Galloway, no Chair.

Yet though, reduc'd by Taylor's pranks,
I sit confounded in the ranks,
   Good Humour's still my own;
Still shall I breathe in rapt'rous trance,
"Eternal be the Song, the Dance,


Mean Termperature   .   .   .   52   .   75.

May 2.


It is noticed in the journals of May, 1817, that in the preceding summer, Mr. J. Welner, a German Chemist, retired to his house in the country, there to devote himself, without being distrubed, to the study and examination of poisonous substances for the purpose of producing a complete "Toxicology," established by undeniable proof. He tried his poisons upon himself, and appeared insensible to the great alterations which such dangerous trials produced upon his health. At the latter end of the month of October, he invented some unknown poisonous mixture; and wished to be assured of its effect. The following is the account which he gives of it in the last page of his manuscript:—"A potion composed of—(here the substances are named, and the doses indicated)—is mortal; and the proof of it is—that I am dying!"


Mean Termperature   .   .   .   52   .   55.

May 3.


For the origin of this church of England holiday, see vol. i. p. 611. [link]


To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

May 3, 1826.

Sir,—There is a custom at Yarmouth dinners, which in my opinion would be "more honoured in the breach than the observance." After the cloth has been removed, and the ladies have retired, some one in the company, who is an adept in the game, sings the following lines,—

"A pie sat on a pear tree,
A pie sat on a pear tree,
A pie sat on a pear tree,
Heigh oh! heigh oh! heigh oh!"

At the conclusion, the person sitting next to the singer continues the strain thus,—

"And once so merrily hopp'd she;"

during which the first singer is obliged to drink a bumper, and should he be unable to empty his glass before the last line is sung, he must begin again until he succeeds.

The difficulty consists in swallowing the liquor fast enough, many getting tipsy before they are able to accmplish it. This of course goes round the party, until the whole are either completely "knocked up," save a few who from the capacity of their throats are so fortunate to escape. Your inserting the above in the Every-Day Book will much oblige, Sir, &c.


The preceding is from a valued correspondent, on whose veracity full reliance is placed by the editor; he will nevertheless be happy to hear that this usage is on the decline.


Mean Termperature   .   .   .   52   .   67.

May 4.


Or Ascension Day.

For this movable feast see vol. i. p. 651. 641. [link and check to see if numbers are misprints.]


For the Every-Day Book.

Unless the historians of Derbyshire have been very negligent in their inquiries, the peak differs exceedingly from mountainous tracts in general, where the customs, manners, and language of antiquity are preserved with peculiar care. The language, indeed, has retained its olden character, but of peculiar customs little is known. In Lyson's "Magna Britannia," the practices of rush-bearing, of hanging up white goves and garlands of roses in the churches, at the funerals of young maidens,—of foot-ball plays, now confined to Derby, and this well-dressing of Tissington are the sum total of those notices under the head of "Country Customs." A correspondent communicated to the Every-Day Book in March, a custom existing near Tideswell; and I have seen it stated in a provincial paper, that a right is claimed in the Peak Forest of marrying after the fashion of Gretna Green, and that such a wedding actually took place not very long ago. Something more of this should be known.

Tissington well-dressing is a festivity, which not only claims a high antiquity, but is one of the few coutry fêtes which are kept up with any thing like the ancient spirit. It is one which is heartily loved and earnestly anticipated. One which draws the hearts of those who were brought up there, but whom fortune has cast into distant places, homewards with an irresistible charm. I have not had the pleasure of witnessing it, but I have had that of seeing the joy which sparkled in the eyes of the Tissingtonians as they talked of its approach, and of their projected attendance. Long before the time arrives, they have canvassed the neighbourhoods where they reside, for flowers to take with them: and these flowers, in all the instances which have come under my notice have been red daises, and none else. If, however, John Edwards, in his poem, "The Tour of the Dove," be correct, others must be used, and those wild flowers:—

"Still Dovedale yield thy flowers to deck the fountains
   Of Tissington, upon its holyday;
The customs long preserved amount the mountains
   Should not be lightly left to pass away.
They have their moral; and we often may
   Learn from them how our wise forefathers wrought,
When they upon the public mind would lay
   Some weighty principle, some maxim brought
Home to their hearts, the healthful product of deep thought."

In a note he adds;—"The custom of decorating wells with flowers, and attending them with religious services and festive rejoicings on Holy Thursday, is not peculiar to Tissington. Many other wells have been committed to the patronage of the saints, and treated with reverence; some on account of the purity, and others for the medicinal virtues of their waters. St. Alkmund's well at Derby, is an instance of the former class, where the name has been continued long after the superstition which gave it has passed away. In the dark ages of popery, this veneration for holy wells was carried to an idolatrous excess, insomuch, that in the reigns of Edgar and Canute, it was found necessary to issue edicts prohibiting well-worship. But the principle of veneration for waters, if restricted within its proper bounds, is amiable: indeed, it seems to have been implanted in the breast of man in all ages. A fountain is the emblem of purity and benevolence. From the days when the patriarchs journeyed in the wilderness, down to the present period—whether bursting from the arid sands of the African desert, or swelling out its genial waters amid the Greenland shows—its soft melody, its refreshing virtues, and its transparency, have ever been a subject of delight and interest to the human race. Who could have approached the Bethesda of the Jews with a callous heart? Who could have listened to the song of Israel with indifference, when her princes had digged the well, and her nobles and lawgiver stood around it?"

Rhodes, who has traversed almost every part of the peak with indefatigable zeal, gives the following account in his "Peak Scenery." "An ancient custom still prevails in the village of Tissington, to which indeed it appears to be confined, for I have not met with any thing of a similar description in any other part of the Derbyshire. It is denominated well-flowering, and Holy Thursday is devoted to the rites and ceremonies of this elegant custom. This day is regarded as a festival; and all the wells in the place, five in number, are decorated with wreaths and garlands of newly-gathered flowers, disposed in various devices. Sometimes boards are used, which are cut to the figure intended to be represented, and covered with moist clay, into which the stems of the flowers are inserted to preserve their freshness; and they are so arranged as to form a beautiful mosaic work, often tasteful in design, and vived in colouring: the boards, thus adorned, are so placed in the spring, that the water appears to issue from amongst the beds of flowers. On this occasion the villagers put on their best attire, and open their houses to their friends. There is service at the church, where a sermon is preached: afterwards a procession takes place, and the wells are visited in succession: the psalms for the day, the epistle and gospel are read, one at each well, and the whole concludes with a hymn which is sung by the church singers, and accompanied by a band of music. This done, they separate, and the remainder of the day is spent in rural sports and holiday pastimes.

The custom of well-flowering as it exists at Tissington, is said to be a popish relic; but in whatever way it originated, one would regret to see it discontinued. That it is of great antiquity cannot be disputed; it seems to have existed at different periods of time, in countries far remote from each other. In the earliest ages of poetry and romance, wherever fountains and wells were situated, the common people were accustomed to honour them with the title of saints. In our own country innumerable instances occur of wells being so denominated." "Where a spring rises or a river flows," says Seneca, "there should we build altars, and offer sacrifices." At the fountain of Arethusa in Syracuse, of which every reader of poetry and history has often heard, great festivals were celebrated every year. In Roman antiquity the fontinalia were religious feasts, held in honour of the nymphs of wells and fountains; the ceremony consisted in throwing nosegays into fountains, and putting crowns of flowers upon wells. Many authorities might be quoted in support of the antiquity of this elegant custom, which had its origin anterior to the introduction of christianity. It was mingled with the rites and ceremonies of the heathens, who were accustomed to worship streams and fountains, and to suppose that the nymphs, whom they imagined the goddesses of the waters, presided over them. Shaw in his "History of the Province of Morray," says, that "heathen customs were much practised amongst the people there;" and he cites as an instance, "that they performed pilgrimages to wells, and built chapels to fountains."

From this ancient usage, which has been continued through a long succession of ages, and is still in existence at Tissington, arose the practice of sprinkling the Severn and the rivers of Wales with flowers, as alluded to by Dyer in his poem of the Fleece and by Milton in his Comus.

———With light fantastic toe the nymphs
Thither assembled, thither every swain;
And o'er the dimpled stream a thousand flowers,
Pale lilies, roses, violets and pinks,
Mixed with the green of burnet, mint, and thyme,
And trefoil, sprinkled with their sportive arms:
Such custom holds along the irriguous vales,
From Wreaken's brow to archy Dolvoryn.


———The shepherds at their festivals
Carol her good deeds loud in rustic lays,
And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream,
Of pancies, pinks, and gaudy daffodils.


I hope some of your correspondents will contribute to our information by accounts of well-dressings in other parts of the kingdom.



The town of Shaftesbury from its situation on the top of a high hill, is entirely destitute of springs; except at the foot of the hills in St. James's parish, where are two wells, in the possession of private persons. At the foot of Castle-hill were formerly some water-works, to supply the town, their reservoir was on the top of the Butter cross; but the inhabitants have from time immemorial been suppled with water brought on horse's backs, or on people's heads, from three or four large wells, a quarter of a mile below the town in the hamlet of Motcomb, and parish of Gillingham; on which account there is this particular custom yearly observed by ancient agreement, dated 1662, between the lord of the manor of Gillingham, and the mayor and burgesses of Shaftesbury. The mayor is obliged the Monday before Holy Thursday to dress up a prize besom, or byzant, as they call it, somewhat like a May garland in form, with gold and peacock's feathers, and carry it to Enmore Green, half a mile below the town, in Motcomb, as an acknowledgment for the water; together with a raw calf's head, a pair of gloves, a gallon of beer, or ale, and two penny loaves of white wheaten bread, which the steward receives, and carries away to his own use. The ceremony being over, the "byzant" is resotred to the mayor, and brought back by one of his officers with great solemnity. This "byzant" is generally so richly adorned with plate and jewels, borrowed from the neighbouring gentry, as to be worth not less than 1500l.* [Hutchins's Dorset.]


Holy Thursday was formerly a day of great festivity at Beziers, in France, and was celebrated with a variety of little sports.

"The Procession of the Camel" constituted one part of them. A figure representing that animal, with a man in the inside, was made to perform ridiculous tricks. The minicipal officers, attended by the companies of the different trades and manufactures, preceded the camel. It was followed by a cart, over which were branches of trees twined into an arbour, filled with people: the cart was drawn by mules ornamented with bunches of flowers and ribands; a number of people stuck over with flowers and little twigs of trees, who were called the "wild men," followed the cart and closed the procession. After parading about the town all day, towards evening the whole company repaired to the chapel of the Blue Penitents, where it was met by the chapter of the cathedral, who had previously also gone in procession round the town, and then a large quantity of bread was given away by the chapter among the poor.

Another part of the ceremonies of the day was, that the peasants from the country assembled in the streets with crooks in their hands, and ranging themselves in long files on each side, made mock skirmishes with their crooks, aiming strokes at each other, and parrying them with great dexterity. Each of these skirmishes ended with a dance to the fife and tambourine. The inhabitants threw sugar-plums and dried fruits at each other from their windows, or as they passed in the streets.

The day usually concluded by a favourite dance among the young men and women, called la danse des treilles. Every dancer carried a cerceau, as it is called, that is a half hoop, twined with vine branches; and ranging themselves in long files on each side of the street, formed different groups. The young men were all dressed in white jackets and trowsers, and the young women in white jackets with short petticoats, and ornaments of flowers and ribands. These sports of Beziers were suspended during the revolution.* [Miss Plumptre.]


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   52   .   77.

May 5.


THE INDEXES, &c. to the EVERY-DAY BOOK, VOL. I. were published on the 5th of May, 1826.

The new preface to the volume is particularly addressed to the notice of correspondents, and I shall be particularly obliged if every reader of the work will favour it with attentive perusal.


It should be observed of Joseph Baretti, who died on this day in the year 1789, that he was the friend and associate of Johnson, who introduced him to the Thrale family, and whom he assisted in the compilation of his "Dictionary of the English Language."

Baretti was a native of Turin; he had received a good education, and inherited paternal property, which in his youth he soon gambled away, and resorted to a livelihood by teaching Italian to some English gentlemen at Venice; whence he repaired to England, and distinguished himself as a teacher of Italian. By his employment under Dr. Johnson, he acquired such a knowledge of our language as to be enabled to compile the "Italian and English Dictionary," which is still in use. He then revisited his native country, and after an absence of six years returned through Spain and Portugal, and in 1768 published "An Account of the Mannters and Customs of Italy," in reply to some querulous strictures on that country in the "Letters from Italy" by surgeon Sharp, which Baretti's book effectually put down, with no small portion both of humour and argument. Not long afterwards, he was accosted in the Haymarket by a woman, whom he repulsed with a degree of roughtness which was resented by her male confederates, and in the scuffle, he struck one of them with a French pocket desert knife. On this, the man pursued and collared him; when Baretti, still more alarmed, stabbed him repeatedly with the knife, of which wound he died on the following day. He was immediately taken into custody, and tried for murder at the Old Bailey, when Johnson, Burke, Goldsmith, Garrick, Reynolds, and Beauclerk gave testimony to his good character; and although he did not escape censure for his too ready resort to a knife, he was acquitted. Domesticated in the Thrale family, he accompanied them and Dr. Johnson to Paris, but in a fit of unreasonable disgust, quitted them the next year; and in the latter part of his life was harassed with pecuniary difficulties, which were very little alleviated by his honorary post of foreign secretary to the Royal Academy, and an ill-paid pension of eighty pounds per annum under the North administration. Among other works he published one with the singular title of "Tolondron: Speeches to John Bowles about his edition of Don Quixote, together with some account of Spanish Literature." This was his last production; his constitution was broken by uneasiness of mind and frequent attacks of the gout, and he died in May, 1789.

Baretti was rough and cynical in appearance, yet a pleasant companion; and of his powers in conversation Johnson thought very highly.

He communicated several of Dr. Johnson's letter to the "European Magazine," and intended to publish several more; but on his decease his papers fell into the hands of ignorant executors, who barbarously committed them to the flames.* [General Biog. Dict.]

It is remarkable that with Johnson's scrupulous attachment to the doctrines and ceremonies of the church of Engand, he was sincerely attached to Baretti, whose notions on religious matters widely differed from the opinions of "the great lexicographer." Johnson seems to have been won by his friend's love of literature and independence of character. Baretti often refused pecuniary aid when it was greatly needed by his circumstances: his morals were pure, and his conduct, except in the unhappy instance which placed his life in jeopardy, was uniformly correct. He died with the reputation of an honest man.

There is an engraving representing Diogenes at noon-day with his lantern in one hand, and in the other a circular picture frame, which is left vacant, that a purchaser of the print may insert the portrait of the man he delights to honour as the most honest. Hence the vacancy is sometimes supplied by the celebrated John Wilkes, the prophetic Richard Brothers, the polite lord Chesterfield, Churchill, the satirist, Sam House, or Joseph Baretti, or any other. "Cornelius May," of whose existence, however, there is reason to doubt, would scarcely find a head to grace the frame.


"The Knaverie of the Worlde, sette forthe in homelie verse, by Cornelius May," from "The Seven Starrs of Witte," 1647.

Ah me throughoute the worlde
   Doth wickednesse abounde!
And well I wot on neither hande
   Can honestie be founde.

The wisest man in Athens
   Aboute the citie ran
With a lanthorne in the light of daie
   To find an honeste man;

And when at night he sate him downe
   To reckon on his gaines,
He onely founde—alack poore man!
   His labour for his paines.

And soe thou now shalt finde
   Alle men of alle degree
Striving, as if their onely trade
   Were that of cheating thee.

Thy friend will bid thee welcome,
   His servantes at thy calle—
The dearest friend he has on earthe
   Till he has wonne thy alle;

He will play with thee at dice
   Till thy golde is in his hande,
He will meete thee at the tennis court
   Till he winne alle thy lande.

The brother of thy youth
   When ye shared booke and bedde
Would eat himself the sugar plums
   And leave thee barley bread:

But growing up to manhode
   His hart is colder grown,
Aske in thy neede for barley bread
   And he'll give thee a stone.

The wife whom thou dost blesse
   Alack, she is thy curse—
A bachelor's an evil state,
   But a married man's is worse.

The lawyer at his deske
   Good lawe will promise thee
Untill thy very last groat
   Is given for his fee.

Thy baker, and thy brewer
   Doe wronge thee night and morne;
And thy miller, he doth grinde thee
   In grinding of thy corne.

Thy goldsmith and thy jeweller
   Are leagu'd in knavish sorte,
And the elwande of thy tailor
   It is an inche too shorte.

Thy cooke hath made thy dish
   From the offals on the shelfe,
While fishe and fowle and savourie herbes
   Are served to himselfe.

The valet thou dost trust,
   Smooth-tongued and placed-faced,
Dothe weare thy brilliantes in his cappe
   And thou wear'st his of paste.

Alack! thou canst not finde
   Of high or lowe degree
In cott or courte or cabinett
   A man of honestie.

There is not in the world,
   Northe, southe, or easte, or weste,
Who would maintaine a righteous cause
   Against his intereste.

Ah me! it grieves me sore,
   And I sorrowe nighte and daie,
To see how man's arch enemie
   Doth leade his soule astraie.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   53   .   22.

May 6.


The bird-catchers are now peering about the fields and thickets in search of different species of song-birds, for the purpose of netting and training them for sale.

Old bird-fanciers treat the younger ones with disdain, as having corrupted the rich melodies of the birds, by battling them against each other, in singing matches, for strength of pipe.

For the Every-Day Book.

Written on hearing my Blackbird, while confined to my Bed by Illness.

Bird of the golden beak, thy pensive song
    Floats visions of the country to my mind;
And sweet wounds heard the pleasant woods among,
   I hear again, while on my bed reclined.
Weaken'd in frame, and harass'd by my kind,
   I long for fair-green fields and shady groves,
Where dark-eyed maids their brows with wild flowers bind,
   And rosy health with meditation roves.
Sing on, my bird—as in thy native tree,
   Sing on—and I will close my burning eyes,
Till in my fav'rite haunts again I be,
   And sweetest music on my ears arise;
And waving woods their shades around me close,
And sounds of waters lull me to repose.

S. R. J.

April 16, 1826.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   54   .   57.

May 7.


Thunny Fishing.

The Mediterranean produces many sorts of fish unknown to us, the thunny among others. The manner in which these fish are caught is somewhat curious; it is a sort of hunting at sea. The nets are extended in the water so as to close upon the fish when they come within reach of the, and then the boats chase them to that part where they are taken: they have great force in their tails, so that much caution is required in getting them aboard. Vernet among his other sea-pieces has a very good one of this fishery. There are four principal places near Marseilles where it is carried on, called the madragues, which are rented out to the fishers, by the town, at a considerable advantage. When Louis XIII. visited Marseilles in 1662, he was invited to a thunny fishing at the principal madrague of Morgion, and found the diversion so much to his taste, that he often said it was the pleasantest day he had spent in his whole progress through the south.

The thunnies come in such shoals, that in the height of the season, that is, in the months of May and June, from five to six hundred are sometimes taken in a day at one madrague only: they commonly weigh from ten to twenty or twenty-five pounds each, but they have been known to weigh even as much as fifty pounds. They are very delicious food, but the flesh is so solid that it seems something between fish and meat; it is as firm as sturgeon, but beyond all comparison finer flavoured. They dress this fish in France in a great variety of ways, and always excellent: it makes capital soup, or it is served as a ragout, or plain fried or broiled; pies are made of it, which are so celebrated as to be sent all over France; they will keep good for six weeks or two months. There is also a way of preserving it to keep the whole year round with salt and oil, called thon mariné: this is eaten cold, as we eat pickled salmon, and is delicious. Besides the great season in May and June, they are caught in considerable numbers in the autumn, about November, which is the great season for making the pies. A large quantitiy of them were sent to Paris against Buonaparte's coronation. Stragglers of these fish are occasionally taken the whole year round. They are an ugly fish to the eye.

The palamede, though much smaller than the thunny, seems so much of the same nature that some persons have supposed it only the young thunny; but naturalists say that it is a distinct species of fish. It is mentioned by Gibbon in his description of Constantinople, as, at the time of the foundation of that city, the most celebrated amont the variety of excellent fish taken in the Propontis.* [Miss Plumptre.]


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   54   .   70.

May 8.


For the Every-Day Book.

On the eighth of May, at Helston, in Cornwall, is held what is called "the Furry." The word is supposed by Mr. Polwhele to have been derived from the old Cornish word fer, a fair or jubilee. The morning is ushered in by the music of drums and kettles, and other accompaniments of a song, a great part of which is inserted in Mr. Polwhele's history, where this circumstance is noticed. So strict is the observance of this day as a general holiday, that should any person be found at work, he is instantly seized, set astride on a pole, and hurried on men's shoulders to the river, where he is sentenced to leap over a wide place, which he of course fails in attempting, and leaps into the water. A small contribution towards the good cheer of the day easily compounds for the leap. About nine o'clock the revellers appear before the grammar-school, and demand a holiday for the schoolboys. After which they collect contributions from house to house. They then fade into the country, (fade being an old English word for go,) and, about the middle of the day, return with flowers and oak branches in their hats and caps. From this time they dance hand in hand through the streets, to the sound of the fiddle, playing a particular tune, running into every house they pass without opposition. In the afternoon, a select party of the ladies and gentlemen make a progress through the street, and very late in the evening repair to the ball-room. A stranger visiting the town on the eighth of May, would really think the people mad; so apparently wild and thoughtless is the merriment of the day.

There is no doubt of "the Furry" originating from the "Floralia," anciently observed by the Romans on the fourth of the calends of May.* [Guide to Mount's Bay.]

"Every pot has two handles." This means "that one story's good, till another story's told;" or, "there is no evil without its advantages."

If it is generally "good" to anticipate festival days in the Every-Day Book, it is an "evil" to be "behind-hand;" and yet "advantages" have sometimes resulted from it. For instance, the day of "the Furry" at Helston, elapsed before this sheet was sent to press; but a correspondent who was present at the festival on that day in the present year, 1826, sends an account of the manner wherein it is conducted at present; and though the former "story's good," his particular description of the last Furry, is a lively picture of the pleasant manner, wherein it continues to be celebrated: thus is illustrated the ancient saying, that "every pot has two handles."

It would be ill acknowledgement of the annexed letter to abridge it, by omitting its brief notice of the origin of the Furry, already adverted to, and therefore the whole is inserted verbatim.


To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

Sir,—Having for several years past resided in Cornwall, (from whence I have lately returned,) I beg to inform you of one of their gayest days of amusement, which is regularly kept up in the borough of Helston on the eighth of May.

It originated from the Roman custom of paying an early tribute of repect to the goddess of Flora; the garlands of flowers worn on the occasion confirms this opinion. This festival commences at an early hour: the morning is enlivened by the sound of "drum and fife;" and music, harmony, and dance are the sports of "high and low"—"from morn to night." Some of the oldest townsmen change some ancient ditties—not very comprehensible, "nor is the melody thereof enchanting."

The hilarity of the day precludes the possibility of doing business; every consideration but mirth, music, and feasting is set at naught. Should any persons be found at work, they are instantly seized, set astride on a pole, and jolted away on men's shoulders, amidst thousands of huzzas, &c., and at last sentenced to leap over the river, (which by the by is none of the narrowest,) the result which therefore frequently happens is—they jump into it. The payment of a certain fine towards the expenses of the day saves them from this cooling.

At nine in the morning the mob gathers round the various seminaries, and countless voices demand a holiday for all in them, which is acceded to: a collection from the housekeepers is then commenced towards the general fund. While this is going on, the young folks of both sexes go to the gardens of the neighbourhood, and return at twelve with their heads dressed out with gay flowers, oak branches, &c. On entering the town they are joined by a band of music; they dance through the streets to the "Flora Tune." In their progress they go through every house and garden they please without distinction; all doors are opened, and, in fact, it is thought much of by the householders to be thus favoured.

The older branch of the population dance in the same manner, for it is to be noticed they have select parties, and at different hours; no two sets dance together, or at the same time. Then follows the gentry, which is really a very pleasing sight on a fine day from the noted respectability of this rich borough. In this set the sons and daughters of some of the first and noblest families of Cornwall join. The appearance of the ladies is enchanting. Added to their personal charms, in ball-room attire, each tastefully adorned with beautiful spring flowers, in herself appears to the gazer's eye a Flora, and leads us to conceive the whole a scene from fairly land. The next set is, the soldiers and their lasses; then come the tradesmen and their wives; journeymen and their sweethearts; and, "though last not least," the male and female servants in spended livery; best bibs and tuckers are in request, and many pretty brunettes are to be found in their Sunday finery, with healthy smiling looks, which on such a day as this are sure to make sad havoc with the hearts of the young men.

In the evening a grand ball is always held at the assembly rooms; to which, this year, were added the performance of the "Honey Moon" at the theatre, by Dawson's company of comedians, Powell's celebrated troop of horse at the Circus, and Mr. Ingleby's sleight of hand at the rooms. The borough was thronged with visiters from all parts of the country. It is a pleasing task to conclude by being able to state, that Aurora rose on the ninth without any account of accident or disappointment being experienced by any of its numerous attendants. I have many other anecdotes of Cornwall, which I shall forward you in case you deem them worthy a place in your Every-Day Book, to which I wish the success it really deserves.

I am, Sir,
Your's truly,

London, May 16, 1826.

* * * This communication was almost past the time; yet, as we set out with a proverb, we may end with "better late than never;" and, "not to ride a free horse to death," but merely to "drive the nail that will go," thanks are offered to "Sam Sam's Son," with the hope of early receiving his "future agreeable favours."


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   55   .   07.

May 9.


A New York paper of the ninth of May, 1817, announces that in Montgomery county, Mr. Jesse Johnson, being eighteen or nineteen years of age, and four feet one inch high, and weighing about seventy-five pounds, was married to Miss Nancy Fowler about twenty-six or twenty-seven years of age, six feet two inches high, and weighing about two hundred and fifty pounds. "Sure such a pair were never seen[.]"


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   54   .   20.

May 10.


In May, 1736, Henry Justice, of the Middle Temple, Esq., was tried at the Old Bailey, for stealing books out of Trinity-college library in Cambridge. He attempted to defeat the prosecution by pleading, that in the year 1734, he was admitted fellow-commoner of the said college, whereby he became a member of that corporation, and had a property in the books, and therefore could not be guilty of felony, and read several clauses of their charter and statutes to prove it. But after several hours' debate, it appeared he was only a boarder or lodger, by the words of the charter granted by Henry VIII. and queen Elizabeth. He was found guilty.

On the tenth of the month, having been put to the bar to receive sentence, he moved, that as the court had a discretionary power, he might be burnt in the hand and not sent abroad; first, for the sake of his family, as it would be an injury to his children and to his clients, with several of whom he had great concerns, which could not be settled in that time; secondly, for the sake of the university, for he had numbers of books belonging to them, some in friends' hands, and some sent to Holland, and if he was transported he could not make restitution. As to himself, considering his circumstances, he had rather go abroad, having lived in credit till this unhappy mistake, as he called it, and hoped the university would intercede for him. The deputy-recorder commiserated his case, told him how greatly his crime was aggravated by his education and profession, and then sentenced him to be transported to some of his majesty's plantations in America for seven years.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   53   .   87.

May 11.


The establishment of this institution is of so great importance to the health and manners of the metropolis, that to pass it unregarded would be inexcusable. Much of mental infirmity proceeds from bodily infirmity. Without activity, the entire human being is diseased. A disposition to inactivity generates imbecility of character; diligence ceases, indolence prevails, unnatural feelings generate unnatural desires, and the individual not only neglects positive duties, but becomes sensual and vicious. The "London Gymnastic Society," therefore, in a national point of view is of the highest regard. A letter, subjoined, will be found to represent some of its exercises and advantages in ana agreeable and interesting manner.


To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

Sir,— On the twenty-second of March, not less than fifteen hundred persons assembled at the Mechanics' Institute for the purpose of forming a "London Gymnastic Society." This event is likely to have very important and useful results to the community, and, therefore, within the plan of the Every-Day Book to record. I have no intention to describe what passed on the occasion, any further than by stating that a series of resolutions in support of the proposed object were unanimously adopted; and as great misconception prevails as to the nature of gymnastic exercises, some light on the subject, beyond that conveyed in your first volume, may be interesting.

The grounds on which the use of exercise generally are recommended, are precisely those from which the benefits of this particular class are to be inferred; with this advantage in favour of gymnastics, that they combine the advantages of almost every other species. If it be desirable that the body should be strengthened, the limbs acquire flexibility, the muscles be brought into full play, and the spirits be invigorated, gymnastics must be allowed to be salutary for such are their ordinary effects. Moreover, if it be desirable that a man should become acquainted with his physcial capabilities, in order that he may be encouraged to exert them on suitable occasions, within the compass of safety, and be aware when he is in danger of trespassing beyond the proper limit, gymnastics must be beneficial, for they instruct him where that limit lies, and give him entire confidence within it[.] And so gradual are the steps by which the pupil is led on towards proficiency[,] now mastering a small difficulty, then advancing to one a little greater, then to another, and another, that at last he accomplishes the evolution which at one time appeared to him of greatest difficulty with more facility than he at first accomplished the first lesson; while all the time he has been acquiring in the process increased capability, strength, confidence, and presence of mind. For the utility of these exercises does not end in the gymnasium; it only begins there. The performances of the evolutions are means by which great ends are attained; the vigour acquired in performing them, being afterwards useful wherever vigour may be required.

In the preliminary exercises, the pupil is taught to accustom himself to extend his arms and legs in various natural positions, in quick succession; sometimes exerting the arms only, the legs resting passive, sometimes the reverse; and sometimes exerting both legs and arms together. These exercises are not so strictly preliminary as to require the pupil to become perfect in them before he engages in others. On the contrary, he may with advantage, at a very early stage, combine them with those of greater difficulty; and also at an advanced stage, find it useful occasionally to recur to them. But let us proceed to the bars.

The bars consist of two pieces of wood placed parallel, in a horizontal position, on supporters, extending breast-high from the ground. The pupil having raised himself erect between the bars (they are something less than two feet apart, and about five feet in length) passes from one end to the other by the help of his hands only, moving one hand forward at a time, as the feet are moved in walking. He next places himself in the centre between the bars, and keeping his legs straight and close together projects them over the right hand bar, and so arrives on the ground. He then does the same on the left side, then on the right side backwards, either with or without previously swinging, then on the left side backwards in the same way. He next resumes his position at the end of the bars; but instead of walking or treading along the bars with his hands, as in the first exercise, he this time lifts both hands together, and passes to the other end by short jumps. He then returns to the centre of the bars, and retaining hold of them, projects his body over the left hand bar, from which position, by slightly springing, he projects himself over that on his right. This evolution he performs also on both sides, and later in his progress backwards also. Then there is the half moon, or semi-circle, which is performed by projecting the legs over one of the bars in front, and then bringing them back, and swinging them over the same bar behind. As the pupil advances, he is enabled to project himself over the bars unassisted by the lower part of his arms; also to rest the lower part of his arms on the bars, and from that position to raise himself erect by the hands only, repeating the evolution several times in succession, to pass from one side of the bar to the other, without touching the ground, and many other evolutions all conducing in one way or another to the strength and elasticity of his frame.

The horizontal poles are placed at various heights from the ground, according to the height of the pupil, and the exercises to be performed on them. One of the first lessons on the pole is analogous to the first on the parallel bars, the pupil passing from one end of the pole to the other, by the help of his hands only, first by moving one hand at a time as in walking, afterwards by moving both hands together. Grasping the pole with both hands, the pupil is taught to raise himself in various ways above it—to pass over it—to pass from one side of the pole to the other, &c. &c. The exercises on the pole are equal in diversity to those on the bars, perhaps on the whole more arduous, and certainly equally beneficial. I believe the arms and back are particularly strengthened by this diversion of the exercises.

Leaving the pole, let us attend a moment to the masts, the ropes, and the ladders. These are of various heights and dimensions. The pupil first learns to climb the rope and mast by the assistance of his hands and feet, afterwards by his hands only, and by degrees he learns to ascend the latter without the assistance of his feet or legs. The leaping with and without a pole, jumping, running, throwing the javelin, the use of the broad sword, &c., do not require description as they are more or less familiar to every one. I therefore confine myself to naming them, and observing that familiar as some of them are, the regulations under which they are practised tend greatly to increase their utility.* [The information relative to the exercise so crudely conveyed throught this hasty letter, is derived from observation of the gymnasium in the New Road, under the excellent management of professor Voelker.]

There is still a division of these exercises which I have not mentioned, and which deserves a full description, and that is, the exercises on the horse—a wooden horse—without head or tail—but, as I feel myself quite unable to bear anything like adequate testimony to the merits of this very useful and quiet quadruped, I must reluctantly leave his eulogium to others more competent. It is a subject I cannot well get upon, being but a very indifferent equestrian.

[I] remain, Sir, &c.

To all individuals of sedentary occupations, in great towns and cities, gymnastic exercises are of immense benefit. It is difficult to convince, but it is a duty to attempt persuaidng them, that their usual habits waste the spirits, destroy health, and shorten life. Hundreds of Londoners die every year for want of exercise.

It is not necessary that we should cultivate gymnastics "after the manner of the ancients," but only so much as may be requisite to maintain the even tenour of existence. The state of society in towns, continually imposes obstructions to health, and offers inducements to the slothful, in the shape of palliatives, which ultimately increase "the miseries of human life." Exercise is both a prevention and a remedy; but, we must not mistake—diligence is not, therefore, exercise.

Our present pastimes are almost all within doors; the old ones were in the open air. Our ancestors danced "on the green" in the day time; we, if we dance at all, move about in warm rooms at night: and then there are the "late hours;" the "making a toil of a pleasure;" the lying in bed late the next morning; the incapacity to perform duties in consequence of "recreation!" The difference to health is immense—if it be doubted, inquire of physicians. The difference to morals is not less—if reflection be troublesome, read the proceedings in courst of justice, and then reflect. We have much to unlearn.

From a rare Engraving, by an unknown Artist.

From a rare Engraving, by an unknown Artist.

Here we see that some of the tricks and dexterities of Mazurier and Gouffe were performed centuries ago; and here, too, we have an illustration that the horizontal bars of our correspondent, the "Parallel Barrister," though novelties now, were kown before our grandfathers were grandchildren. The print from whence this is copied, is from sir Mark Sykes's collection: it is produced here as a curiosity.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   54   .   74.

May 12.


Hail, May! lovely May! how replenished my pails!
   The young dawn o'erspreads the broad east, streaked with gold!
My glad heart beats time to the laugh of the vales,
   And Colin's voice rings through the wood, from the fold.
The wood to the mountain submissively bends,
   Whose blue misty summit first glows with the sun!
See! thence a gay train by the wild rill descends
   To join the mixed sports:—Hark! the tumult's begun.

Be cloudless, ye skies!—And be Colin but there;
   Not dew-spangled bents on the wide level dale,
Nor morning's first smile can more lovely appear
   Than his looks, since my wishes I cannot conceal.
Swift down the mad dance, while blest health prompts to move,
   We'll court joys to come, and exchange vows of truth:
And haply, when age cools the transports of love,
   Decry, like good folks, the vain follies of youth.



Mean Temperature   .   .   .   54   .   22.

May 13.

1826. Oxford Term ends.


Scottish Beltein.

To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

Sir,— I confess I was not a little astonished a few days ago, on becoming acquainted with a custom evidently heathenish in its origin, which exists in the united kingdom, where, it must be admitted, great advances have been made in morals and religion, as well as in science and general knowledge.

The fact I allude to is in Dr. Jamieson's "Dictionary of the Scottish Language." He mentions a festival called Beltane, or Beltein, annually held in Scotland on old May-day. A town in Perthsire is called "Tillee Beltein;" i.e. the eminence (or high place) of the fire of Baal. Near this are two druidical temples of upright stones with a well, adjacent to one of them, still held in great veneration for its sanctity, and on that account visited by vast numbers of superstitious people. In the parish of Callander (same county) upon "Beltein day," they cut a circular trench in the ground, sufficient to enclose the whole company assembled. "They kindle a fire and dress a repast of eggs and milk in the consistence of a custard; they knead a cake of oatmeal, which is toasted at the embers against a stone." After the custard is eaten, they divide the cake into as many equal parts as there are persons present, and one part is made perfectly black with charcoal.

The bits of cake are put into a bonnet and are drawn blindfold, and he who draws the black bit is considered as "devoted to be sacrificed to Baal, and is obliged to leap three times through the flame."

Mr. Pennant in his "Tour in Scotland, 1769," gives a similar account with varying ceremonies.

"In Ireland," says Mr. Macpherson, "Beltein is celebrated on the twenty-first of June at the time of the solstice. There they make fires on the tops of the hills, and every member of the family is made to pass through the fire, as they reckon this ceremony to ensure good fortune during the succeeding year. This resembles the rite used by the Romans in Palilia."—"Beltein (adds Mr. M.) is also observed in Lancashire."

This "custom" being entirely new to me, and appearing so much to illustrate many passages in the Bible which refer to the idolatry of the ancients, I forward it to you agreeably to your printed invitation.

I am, &c.
J. K. S.


To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

Sir,—In your account of the Maypole which stood in the Strand [link], you have stated that the said Maypole upon its decay was obtained of the parish by sir I. Newton, and placed at Wanstead for support of his telescope; but in the preface to the ninth edition of Derham's "Astro-Theology," published 1750, he says, "And now for a close I shall take this opportunity of publicly owning, with all honour and thankfulness, the generous offer made me by some of my friends, eminent in their stations, as well as skill and abilities in the laws, who would have made me a present of the Maypole in the Strand, (which was to be taken down,) or any other pole I thought convenient for the management of Mr. Huygens's glass; but as my incapacity of accepting the favour of those noble Mecænates hath been the occasion of that glass being put into better hands, so I assure myself their expectations are abundantly answered by the number and goodness of the observations that have been and will be made therewith."

As you will perceive by the expression "Which was to be taken down," it must have been standing at the time of publication of his book, and as sir I. Newton died in 1726, the "compilation" from which you extracted your account must be erroneous. The name of the philosopher to whom the glass belonged, you will also perceive to be misspelled. I should not have troubled you with these trifling corrections, but as I am sure your admirable work will pass through many editions, you may not in the future ones refuse to make the alteration.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
J. S.

May 17, 1826.

I am obliged to J. S. for his endeavour to rectify what he deems an error; but it rather corroborates than invalidates the fact stated in vol. i. p. 560, [link] on the authority of the work there referred to.

J. S. quotes "the ninth edition of Derham's 'Astro-Theology,' published in 1750," and infers that the Strand Maypole "must have been standing at the time of publishing his book;" and so it was; but it was no more in being when the "ninth edition" of his book was published, than Derham himself was, who died in 1735. The first edition of "his book" was published in 1714, and Derham then wrote of it as then standing, and the citation of J. S. shows that it was then contemplated to present Derham with the Maypole for Huygens's glass, which, from "incapacity" he could not accept, and was therefore the occasion of the glass "being put into better hands." These "better hands" were sir Isaac Newton's; the object of the intended present of the Maypole to Derham was for Huygens's glass; and it is reasonable to believe that as sir Isaac had the glass, so also he had the Maypole to appropriate to the purpose of the glass.

Nevertheless, though I think J. S. has failed in proving my authority to be erroneous, and that he himself is mistaken, I repeat that I am obliged by his intention; and I add, that I shall feel obliged to any one who will take the trouble of pointing out any error. I aim to be accurate, and can truly say that it costs me more time to establish the facts I adduce, than to write and arrange the materials after I have convinced myself of their authority.


May Morning.

   But who the melodies of morn can tell?
   The wild brook babbling down the mountain side;
   The lowing herd; the sheepfold's simple bell;
   The pipe of early shepherd dim descried
   In the lone valley; echoing far and wide
   The clamorous horn along the cliffs above;
   The hollow murmur of the ocean tide;
And the full choir that wakes the universal grove.

   The cottage curs at early pilgrim bark;
   Crown'd with her pail the tripping milk-maid sings;
   The whistling ploughman stalks afield; and hark!
   Down the rough slope the ponderous waggon rings;
   Through rustling corn the hare astonished springs;
   Slow tolls the village clock the drowsy hour;
   The partridge bursts away on whirring wings;
   Deep mourns the turtle in sequestered bower; The shrill lark carols clear from her aërial tow'r.


May Evening.

Sweet was the sound when oft at evening's close,
By yonder hill the village murmur rose;
There, as I passed with careless steps and slow,
The mingling notes came softened from below;
The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung,
The sober herd that lowed to meet their young,
The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool,
The playful children just let loose from school,
The watch-dog's voice that bayed the whispering wind,
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind,
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
And filled each pause the nightingale had made.



Mean Temperature   .   .   .   54   .   12.

May 14.


This is the annual commemoration of the feast of Pentecost. In the catholic times of England it was usual to dramatise the descent of the Holy Ghost in the churches; and hence we have Barnaby Googe's rhymes:—

On Whitsunday whyte pigeons tame in strings from heauen flie, And one that framed is of wood still hangeth in the skie. Thou seest how they with idols play, and teach the people too; None otherwise then little gyrles with pvppets vse to do.


These celebrations are noticed in vol. i. p. 685. [link]

Whitsunday Accident.


In an old tract printed against church ceremonies during "the troubles of England," there is an account of "fearfull judgements that God hath shewed upon churches," one whereof is alleged by the puritan author to have been manifested on this day. His account is curious, and the fact being historical, is here related in his own words, viz.

On Whitsunday last, 1640, in the parish of Anthony in Cornwall, when people were kneeling at the Communion, great claps of thunder were heard, as though divers Cannons had been shot off at once, and extraordinary, and most fearfull flashes of Lightnings, and a terrible and unspeakable strange sound, to the great amazement of the people; and when the Minister was turning towards the Communion Table, to give the Cup, after he had given the Bread, he saw (to his thinking) a flaming fire about his body, and withall, heard a terrible and unspeakable sound, and had no hurt, save that the outside of one of his legs was scalded: presently after, divers balls of fire came into the church and struck one ferdinando Reepe on the sole of his left foot, with such a violence, as he thought his foot had been split in pieces, and was for a while deprived of his senses: One John Hodge was stricken in the knees and thighs, and lower parts of his body, so as he thought every part of his body to be unjoynted: One Dorothy Tubbe was stricken so, as she thought her legs and knees were struck off from her body: One Anthony Peeke was fearfully struck in all the lower parts of his body, and thought that he had been shot thorow, and was lift up from kneeling, and set upon the form by which hee kneeled: One Susan Collins was struck in the lower parts of her body, so as it seemed to her, to be struck off from the upper part, and was scalded on the wrist of the right hand: A great fire, far redder then any lightning, came into the Church, and struck one Nicholas Shelton on both sides of his head, as though he had been struck with two flat stones, and did shake his body, as though it would shake it in pieces, whereby he lost his sight and his senses: One Roger Nile was struck on the backbone, on the right side, and on the anckle on the inside of his left leg, so as for a while, he was not able to stand; after the fire, there was heard in the Church, as it were, the hissing of a great shot; and after that a noise, as though divers Cannons had been shot off at once, to make one single and terrible report; the noise did not descend from above, but was heard, and seemed to begin close at the Northside of the Communion Table: After this fire and noise, then followed a loathsome smell of Gunpowder and Brimstone, and a great smoak. The Church had no harm, save that seven or eight holes and rents were made in the wall of the Steeple, some on the inside, and some on the outside; impressions on the stones in divers places, as if they were made by force of shot, discharged out of a great Ordnance, so as in divers places, light might be seen through the walls. In this storm was no body kill'd, save one Dog in the Belfree, and another at the feet of one kneeling to receive the Cup; As soon as this fearfull storm was over, they that were weak, not able to stand, were (through the mercy of God) restored to their strength; and they that were frantick, to their senses; and he that was blind, was restored to his sight; and came all to the Lords Table, and received the Wine, and went all in the afternoon to give God thanks.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   53   .   47.

May 15.


This second season of annual holidays in England, with the humours of Greenwich fair, and the sports in the park, is described in vol. i. p. 687, &c. [link]

It is a universal festival in the humble ranks of life throughout the kingdom.

Hark, how merrily, from distant tower,
Ring round the village bells; now on the gale
They rise with gradual swell, distinct and loud;
Anon they die upon the pensive ear,
Melting in faintest music. They bespeak
A day of jubilee, and oft they bear,
Commixt along the unfrequented shore,
The sound of village dance and tabor loud,
Startling the musing ear of solitude.
Such is the jocund wake of Whitsuntide,
When happy superstition, gabbling eld,
Holds her unhurtful gambols. All the day
The rustic revellers ply the mazy dance
On the smooth shaven green, and then at eve
Commence the harmless rites and auguries;
And many a tale of ancient days goes round.
They tell of wizard seer, whose potent spells
Could hold in dreadful thrall the labouring moon,
Or draw the fixed stars from their eminence,
And still the midnight tempest; then, anon,
Tell of uncharnelled spectres, seen to glide
Along the lone wood's unfrequented path,
Startling the nighted traveller; while the sound
Of undistinguished murmurs, heard to come
From the dark centre of the deepening glen,
Struck on his frozen ear.

H. K. White.


To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

Sir,— The approaching Whitsuntide brings to my remembrance a custom which I believe to be now quite obsolete.

I remember when I was a boy that it was usual in Devonshire, at Easter and Whitsuntide, for young people of both sexes to form a ring at fairs and revels, and play at what was termed "drop handkerchief." After the ring was formed, which used to be done with little difficulty, a young man would go round it once or twice, examining all the time with curious eye each well formed blooming maiden; the favoured fair was selected by the handkerchief being thrown over her shoulders, and at the same time saluted with a kiss. The young man then took his place in the ring, and the young woman proceeded round it as he had done before, until she dropped the handkerchief behind one of the young men. As soon as this was done she would bound away with the swiftness of a roe, followed by the young man, and if, as was sometimes the case, she proved to be the lightest of foot, considerable merriment was afforded to the bystanders in witnessing the chase through its different windings, dodgings, and circumlocutions, which ended in the lady's capture, with a kiss for the gentleman's trouble.

I believe many matches in the humble walks of life may date their origin from this custom; and however the opulent and refined may be disposed to object to a promiscuous assemblage of the sexes, I am doubtful whether they can point out any plan which shall rival in innocence and gaiety those of our forefathers, many of which are gone, and as pseudo-delicacy and refinement are now the order of the day, I fear that they never can return again.

R. S.


The editor saw "Drop-handkerchief" in Greenwich-park at Whitsuntide, 1825, and mentioned it as "Kiss in the ring" in vol. i. p. 692. [link]


To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

Sir, — In the pleasant little city of Lichfield (celebrated for the neatness of its streets, and the beauty of its splendid cathedral) the annual fair for the exhibition of shows, &c. is held on Whit Monday, and it is the custom on that day for a procession, accompanied with musicians, flags, &c. to be formed, composed of part of the corporation, with its inferior officers, &c. who are joined by several of the best mechanics of the place, each of whom carries a representation in miniature of his separate workshop and mode of trade, the figures being so formed as to be put in motion by machinery, and worked by a single wheel. These representations are about two feet square, and are fixed at the top of a pole about two yards high, decorated with flowers, &c. The procession walks from the guildhall to a high hill in the vicinity of the city, called Greenhill, (but which is now nearly surrounded by houses,) where a temporary booth has been erected, with a small space of ground enclosed at the front with boards. This booth is also decorated with flowers, and hence the fair has derived the appellation of "The Greenhill Bower." On arriving at this booth, the gates of the enclosed park are opened and the procession enters. The different little machines are placed around the enclosure, and then put in motion by the separate "operatives," in the presence of the higher portion of the corporation, who award which of the machines presents the greatest ingenuity, and prizes are distributed accordingly. This takes place about the middle of the day. The machines remain, and are put in motion and exhibited by their owners until the evening. The booth itself is filled with refreshments; and men being stationed at the gates to prevent the entrance of the disorderlies, every well-dressed person is admitted at once, and some cakes, &c. are given gratuitously away; the corporation I believe being at this expense. The various shows are reanged in different parts of the hill, and as none make their appearance there but such as have already graced "Bartholomew," it will be endless for me to say another word on this part of the subject, as by reference to your notices of September 3, 1825, will more fully and at large appear, and where your reader will find, although enough, yet "not to spare."

I am, &c.
J. O. W.


To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

May 3, 1826.

Sir, — If you think the annexed worth a place in your invaluable and entertaining work, you will extremely oblige me by inserting it.

I am, Sir, &c.

63, Upper Thornhaugh-street,

Cumberland Hirings.

The "hirings" for farmers' servants half yearly at Whitsuntide and Martinmass, though not altogether peculiar to the county of Cumberland, are however, I conceive, entitled to notice. Those who come to be hired stand in a body in the market-place, and to distinguish themselves hold a bit of straw or green sprig in their mouths. When the market is over the girls begin to file off and gently pace the streets, with a view of gaining admirers, whilst the young men with similar designs follow them; and having "eyed the lasses," each picks up a sweetheart, conducts her to a dancing-room, and treats her with punch, wine, and cake. Here they spend their afternoon, and part of their half-year's wages, in drinking and dancing, unless, as it frequently happens, a girl becomes the subject of contention, when the harmony of the meeting is interrupted, and the candidates for her love settle the dispute by blows. When the diversions of the day are concluded, the servants generally return to their homes for a few holidays before they enter on their new servitude. At fairs, as well as hirings, it is customary for all the young people in the neighbourhood to assemble and dance at the inns and alehouses. In their dances, which are jigs and reels, exertion and agility are more regarded than ease and grace. But little order is observed in these rustic assemblies: disputes frequently arise, and are generally terminated by blows. During these combats the weaker portion of the company, with the minstrels, get on the benches, or cluster in corners, whilst the rest support the combatants; even the lasses will often assist in the battle in support of their relations or lovers, and in the last cases they are desperate. When the affray is over the bruised pugilists retire to wash, and the tattered nymphs to re-adjust their garments. Fresh company arrives, the fiddles strike up, the dancing proceeds as before, and the skirmish which had commenced without malice, is rarely remembered. In their dancing parties the attachments of the country people are generally formed.


Old Custom.

Till within the last century, an old custom prevailed in the parish of Ensham, Oxfordshire, by which the townspeople were allowed on Whit Monday to cut down and carry away as much timber as could be drawn by men's hands into the abbey-yard, the church-wardens previously marking out such timber by giving the first chop; so much as they could carry out again, notwithstanding the opposition of the servants of the abbey to prevent it, they were to keep for the reparation of the church. By this service they held their right of commonage at Lammas and Michaelmas; but about the beginning of the last century, the practice was laid aside by mutual consent.* [Topographical, &c. Description of Oxfordshire.]


There is a custom at Kidlington, in Oxfordshire, on Monday after Whitson Week, to provide a fat live lamb; and the maids of the town, having their thumbs tied behind them, run after it, and she that with her mouth takes and holds the lamb, is declared Lady of the Lamb; which being dressed, with the skin hanging on, is carried on a long pole before the lady and her companions to the green, atttended with music, and a morisco dance of men, and another of women, where the rest of the day is spent in dancing, mirth, and merry glee. The next day the lamb is part baked, boiled, and roast, for the lady's feast, where she sits majestically at the upper end of the table, and her companions with her, with music and other attendants, which ends the solemnity. † [Blount's Jocular Tenures.]


For the Every-Day Book.

Various purse clubs, or benefit societies, annual feasts, and other merry-makings, having from time immemorial produced a Whitsuntide holiday amongst the inhabitants of numerous villages in Norfolk, in 1817, colonel, at that time major, Mason, in order to concentrate these festivities, and render Necton, (his place of family residence,) the focus of popular attraction to the neighbouring villagers, established a guild or festival for rural sports, on Whit Monday and Tuesday. Having, during the late war, while with his regiment (the East Norfolk Militia) had an opportunity of observing the various celebrations of Whitsuntide, in different parts of the kingdom, he was thus enabled to constitute Necton guild, a superior holiday festival. Arranged under his immediate patronage, and conducted by his principal tenantry, it soon became, and still continues, the most respectable resort of Whitsuntide festivities in Norfolk.

Previous to the festival, the following printed notice is usually circulated


"On the afternoons of Whit Monday and Whit Tuesday next, a guild for rural games, Maypole dances, &c. will be held in the grounds of William Mason, Esq., Necton.

"The guild being entirely distinct from a fair, no stalls, stands, or booths, or other conveniences for the sale of goods, will be suffered to be brought upon the grounds, but by those who have special leave for that purpose, in writing, given on application to John Carr, master beadle.

"The guild will open each day at two P.M., and canteens, (where refreshments of all sorts may be had, and cold dinners supplied,) will close each night by sound of bell at eleven.

"N. B.—As this guild is regularly policed, it is hoped that the hilarity of the festival will continue to be preserved as heretofore, by the order and obliging conduct of all those who come to mix in the entertainment.

"Signed by   *   *   *   Mayor.
   " *   *   *   *   Past Mayor.


The field selected for the purpose is beautifully and picturesquely situated, opposite the park of Necton-hall. Near the centre is a raised mound of earth, fenced round to protect it from the pressure of the crowd, on which is erected a "Maypole," crowned with a streamer or pennant, and encircled by numerous garlands of flowers and evergreens, suspended longitudinally from the top to the bottom of the pole:—this is called the Maypole-stand. At a convenient distance are placed the stalls, canteens, and booths; the principal of which, tastefully decorated with evergreens, is called "the mayor's booth," and is solely appropriated to his friends and the select party of the company; care being taken to prevent improper intrusion.

Necton Guild.

Necton Guild.

From the "mayor's booth," early on Whit Monday afternoon, the ceremony of commencing or proclaiming the guild emanates in the following order of procession:—

Constable of Necton in a red scarf, with his staff of office.

Beadles or special constables with staves, two and two.

Master beadle of the guild, with a halberd.

Six boys and girls, Maypole dancers, two and two, hand in hand.

Band of Music.

Maskers, or morris-dancers, fancifully attired, two and two.

Pursuivant with a truncheon, habited in a tabard, on which is depictured an allegorical representation of the arms of Necton.

Sword-bearer in grotesque dress, on horseback.

Standard bearer on horseback.

On horseback, in full dress suit and purple robes with his chain of office.

Standard bearer on horseback.

The mayor elect on horseback.

Principal tenantry on horseback, two and two.

Beadles of the guild.

Maskers or morris-dancers, fancifully attired, two and two.

Six boys and girls, Maypole dancers, two and two, hand in hand.

Beadles of the guild.

Band of music.

Man bearing a standard.

Members of royal Oak Friendly Society, with purple and light blue favours in their hats, two and two.

Members of the Necton Old Club Friendly Society with light blue favours in their hats, two and two.

Taking a circuitous route through the field into the park, upon arriving at the principal entrance to the hall, where the colonel and his friends are waiting the approach of the procession, the mayor alights, and thus addresses the patron:—

"Honourable sir,—
          "The period now arriv'd,
In which the tokens of my mayoralty
Must be resign'd,—I make it my request,
Youshould appoint as mayor elect, this year,
Our worthy friend and colleague, Mr. *   *   *   *
But in resigning, beg best thanks to give
For the diversion of our last year's guild;—
Hoping the festival will as much this year,
By weather and kind friends be happy blest."

To this the colonel replies, "by thanking the mayor for his past services,—for the good order and regularity observed during the last festival,—and the pleasure it will afford him to make the new appointment."—they then enter the vestibule, where the mayor resigning his robes and tokens of office, the mayor elect is then invested with them. After returning to the door, the colonel congratulates the new mayor on entering his office, &c. to which his worship thus replies:—

"Honourable sir,—
           "With pleasure I receive
Th' official tokens of my mayoralty,
Which now in place of our late worthy mayor,
Alderman *   *   *   *  I do most willingly take:
Be well assured, as much as in me lies,
I will good rule and order strict maintain,
That peace and pleasure may together tend
To make our guild, two days of even mirth
Hoping all here assembled at the hall,
Anon will join us in the festive scene,
And bidding all most welcome to our guild:
I thus respectful beg to take my leave,
That I may tend my duties in the field."—

The procession then returns by the same route and in the same order, with the exception of the new and the past mayors who have changed places. The rustic sports then commence;—the master beadle, ringing a bell, proclaims the sport and the prize, the competitors for which are desired to "come upon the Maypole-stand."—The sports usually selected, are

Jumping in sacks.
Wheel-barrow races, blindfold.
Spinning matches.
Whistling matches.
Grinning ditto, through a horse-collar.
Jumping matches.
&c. &c. &c. &c.

These are occasionally enlivened with Maypole dances, by the boys and girls of the village, selected and dressed for the occasion, and also by the maskers or morris-dancers. When the shades of evening prevent the continuance of these sports, the spacious "mayor's booth" is then the object of attraction. Well lighted, and the floor boarded for the occasion, country dances commence, which are generally kept up with great spirit and harmony, till the master beadle with his bell announces the time arrived for closing the booths and canteens, "by order of the mayor." A few minutes, and sometimes (by permission) a little longer, terminates the amusement, which is always concluded, on both evenings, by the whole company joining in the national anthem of "God save the king."

That "Necton guild" is considered as a superior establishment to a rustic fair, or other merry-making, by the numerous, respectable, and fashionable companies who generally attend from all parts of the neighbourhood. Undisturbed by those scenes of intoxication and disorder, usually prevalent at village fairs, the greatest harmony prevails throughout, and the superior attention and accommodation afforded by the patron and directors of the festival, to all classes of well-behaved and respectable visiters, cannot fail to render "Necton guild," a popular and attractive resort of Whitsuntide festivities.

I have attempted a sketch of the Maypole stand, &c. from my own knowledge, for I have usually rambled to Necton one or two evenings of each year, since the "guild" was established, and hence I have given you the particulars from actual observation, though I am indebted to a friend, who is a diligent and accurate recorder of customs for the speeches, &c. I must further observe, that the mound of earth I have endeavoured to represent is permanent in the field, and about three feet high, though I have erroneously represented it as higher from lack of eye in drawing, to which indeed I make no pretension. The dancers are the morris-dancers in grotesque dresses; the men with fanciful figured print waistcoat and small clothes, decked with bows; and the women in coloured skirts, trimmed like stage dresses for Spanish girls, with French toques instead of caps.

I find you have removed the publishing office since I wrote last, but I hope yo do not mean to withdraw yourself from the work. Should you continue "the soul" of the Every-Day Book "body, you shall hear from me again, whenever and as soon as I can.


* * * To obviate the possibility of misapprehension in consequence of the EVERY-DAY BOOK being published by Messrs. HUNT and CLARKE, I take this opportunity of observing, that those gentlemen have no other concern in the work than that of being its publishers, and that it has never ceased from my entire management from the time they undertook that service for me on my own solicitation. No one has any share or interest in it, or any power of influencing its management, and it will continue to be condicted and written by me, as it has been, from the first hour of its commencement. I hope that this is a full and final answer to every inquiry on the subject.

May, 1826.



It is pleasant to read the notices of these ancient revels in our topographical histories. One of them gives the following account of a Cornish merriment.

For the church-ale, two young men of the parish are yerely chosen by their last foregoers to be wardens, who, dividing the task, make collection among the parishioners, of whatsoever provision it pleaseth them voluntarily to bestow. This they employ in brewing, baking, and other acates, against Whitsuntide, upon which holidays the neighbours meet at the church house and there merily feed on their owne victuals, each contributing some petty portion to the stock, which, by many smalls, groweth to a meetly greatness; for there is entertayned a kind of emulation between these wardens, who, by his graciousness in gathering, and good husbandry in expending, can best advance the churche's profit. Besides, the neighbour parishes at those times lovingly visit one another, and frankly spend their money together. The afternoons are consumed in such exercises as olde and yonge folk (having leysure) doe accustomably weare out the time withall. When the feast is ended, the wardens yeeld in their accounts to the parishioners; and such money as exceedeth the disbursement is layd up in store, to defray any extraordinary charges arising in the parish, or imposed on them for the good of the countey or the prince's service; neither of which commonly gripe so much, but that somewhat stil remayneth to cover the purse's bottom."* [Carew's Cornwall.]

Another says, "There were no rates for the poor in my grandfather's days; but for Kingston St. Michael (no small parish) the church-ale of Whitsuntide did the business. In every parish is (or was) a church-house to which belonged spits, crocks, &c. utensils for dressing provision. Here the housekeepers met, and were merry, and gave their charity. The young people were there too, and had dancing, bowling, shooting at butts, &c. the ancients sitting gravely by, and looking on. All things were civil, and without scandal."† [Aubrey's Wiltshire.]

Mr. Douce tells us, that "At present the Whitsun ales are conducted in the following manner. Two persons are chosen, previously to the meeting, to be lord and lady of the ale, who dress as suitably as they can, to the characters they assume. A large empty barn, or some such building, is provided for the lord's hall, and fitted up with seats to accommodate the company. Here they assemble to dance and regale in the best manner their circumstances and the place will afford; and each young fellow treats his girl with a riband or favour. The lord and lady honour the hall with their presence, attended by the steward, sword-bearer, purse-bearer, and mace-bearer, with their several badges or ensigns of office. They have likewise a train-bearer, or page, and a fool or jester, drest in a party-coloured jacket, whose ribaldry and gesticulation, contribute not a little to the entertainment of some part of the company. The lord's music, consisting of a pipe and tabor, is employed to conduct the dance. Some people think this custom is a commemoration of the ancient Drink-lean, a day of festivity, formerly observed by the tenants, and vassals of the lord of the fee, within his manor; the memory of which, on account of the jollity of those meetings, the people have thus preserved ever since. The glossaries inform us, that this Drink-lean was a contribution of tenants, towards a potation or ale, provided to entertain the lord or his steward."* [Brand.]

At Islington
   A fair they hold,
Where cakes and ale
   Are to be sold.
At Highgate, and
   At Holloway
The like is kept
   Here every day.
At Totnam Court
   And Kentish Town,
And all those places
   Up and down.

Poor Robin, 1676.


The "Reading Mercury" of May 24, 1819, contains the following advertisement:—

"Peppard Revel will be held on Whit Monday, May 31, 1819; and for the encouragement of young and old gamesters, there will be a good hat to be played for at cudgels; for the the first seven couple that play, the man that breaks most heads to have the prize; and one shilling and sixpence will be given to each man that breaks a head, and one shilling to the man that has his head broke."


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   54   .   35.

May 16.

His Grace the Duke of Baubleshire,

His Grace the Duke of Baubleshire,

Among the peers without compeer,
A noble lord of parliament,
Upon "his country's good" intent,
Through Durham daily took his walk,
And talk'd, "ye gods, how he would talk!"
His private riches how immense!
His public virtue, how intense
Preeminent of all the great,
His mighty wisdom ruled the state!
His claims, to high consideration,
Brought deeper into debt the nation.
Was he not, then, a statesman? what,
Else, could he be? — for I know not.


On the sixteenth of May, 1796, died in Durham workhouse, at the advanced age of eighty-five years, the "duke of Baubleshire." His title was neither ancestral, nor conferred by creation; but, as Napoleon is said to have placed the iron crown on his own head, and vowed to maintain it with his sword, so Thomas French assumed the title of duke of Baubleshire of his own will, and maintained his nobility throughout life, by wearing a star of coloured paper, or cloth, on the breast of his spencer. As a further mark of his quality, he mounted a cockade in his hat, and several brass curtain rings on his fingers. Thus decorated, and with a staff in his hand to support his feeble frame, he constantly tottered through Durham; every street of which ancient city acknowledged his distinction.

At this time it is difficult to conjecture the origin of Thomas French's title. He assumed it with the decline of his understanding, until which period he had been a labouring man, and supported himself by the work of his hands. In right of his dukedom, he publicly urged his claims to immense possessions. It was his constant usage to stop and accost every one he knew, or could introduce himself to, on points of business, connected with the Baubleshire estates. Though at no time master of a shilling, he incessantly complained of having been defrauded of vast amounts, in cash and bank bills; and parties whom he suspected of these transactions, he threatened to punish with the utmost rigour of the law. He seldom saw a goodly horse, or a handsome carriage, without claiming it, and insisted on his rights so peremptorily and pertinaciously, as to be exceedingly vexatious to the possessors of the property. He fearlessly exhibited charges of misappropriation against individuals of all ranks and conditions. According to his grace's representations, every covetable personalty in Durham and its vicinage, had been clandestinely obtained from Baubleshire; nor did he make any secret of his intimate and frequent correspondence with the king, on the subject of raising men for carrying on the war, and other important affairs of state. He likewise expressed his opinions on other men's characters and conduct without reserve; and notwithstanding his abject poverty, his pointed observations frequently inflicted wounds, for which it would have been folly to express resentment.

The duke of Baubleshire was occupied with his numerous concerns, till within three or four days of his death, when he took to his bed; and over burdened by old age, peaceably lay down with the other departed dignitaries of the earth. The present portrait and particulars of him are from a print lithographed at Durham, where he took his title, and where he still lives in ephemeral fame.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   55   .   30.

May 17.


Oxford Term begins.

Remarkable Performance.

On the seventeenth of May, 1817, a respectable farmer of Kirton Lindsey for a wager of a few pounds, undertook to ride a poney up two pair of stairs into a chamber of the George Inn, and down again, which he actually performed before a numerous company, whose astonishment was heightened by the rider being upwards of eleven stone weight, and his horse less than thirty. They were weighed after the feat to decide a wager.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   55   .   65.

May 18.


On the eighteenth of May, 1664, the following public advertisement was issued for the healing of the people by king Charles II.


His sacred majesty having declared it to be his royal will and purpose to continue the healing of his people for the evil during the month of May, and then give over till Michalmas [sic] next, I am commanded to give notice thereof, that the people may not come up to the town in the interim and lose their labour.

Newes, 1664.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   55   .   32.

May 19.


A willing record is given to the mem [torn page] of an unfortunate young man, in th[torn page] language of an intelligent correspondent [torn page]

For the Every-Day Book.

Poor Joe Moody lived in Ballingdon, a village in Essex; he was an idiot, a good, simple-hearted creature. The character of his infirmity was childishness; he would play at marbles, spin his top, run his hoop, and join the little boys in the village, with whom he was a great favourite, in all their sports. As a boy he was rational, but when he assumed the man, which he would now and then do, the poor fellow was a sad picture of misery. He would sit upon the steps of an old house, and ask if you did not hear the thunder; then he would start as if to restrain the fury of a horse, and he would suddenly become mild again, and say, "I have seen her grave!" and he would weep like a child for hours. The story of his early life I have heard my father thus relate:—

"When I went to school with Joe Moody, he was a fine fellow, and remarkable for his good temper and lively disposition; he could run from us all, and was one of the best cricketers in the town. After he had left school he became acquainted with Harriet F———; she was a very lovely girl, young and amiable, and had been sought by more than one respectable farmer in the neighbourhood; but Joe was preferred by her, and by her parents. I need not say how endeared to each other they were; the sequel shows it too plainly. In a few days they were to have been made happy; friends were invited to the wedding, and rich old aunt was to be of the party. Joe proposed that Harriet and himself should go and fetch this old lady; a mark of respect which was readily agreed to. With hopes high, and hearts of gaiety, the young folks set off on a fine summer's morning, with feelings which only youth and love can know. who can say this shall be a day of happiness? They had scarcely lost sight of home when the sky became overcast, and in a few minutes a dreadful storm burst over their heads. The thunder and lightning were terrific, and the high spirited horse became unmanageable. Poor Joe endeavoured to restrain its fury, but in vain; it left the track of the road; the hood of the chaise struck against the projecting branch of a tree, and both were thrown out with extreme violence to the earth. Joe soon recovered, and his first [torn page] was his Harriet—she was a corpse at [torn page]et! Poor Joe spoke not for some [torn page] and the first return of imperfect sense, was shown by his swimming a little cork boat which he found."

This humour was encouraged, and often his melancholy weeping mood was turned by a kind proposition to play a game at marbles. He would come to my father's house sometimes, and borrow a penny to buy marbles, a string for a kite, or some trifling toy. He never had his hair cut: it was very black and glossy; and used to curl and hang about his shoulders like the hair of Charles II., whom he resembled somewhat in the face. Joe went regularly to church, and as regularly to the grave of his Harriet. In rainy or tempestuous weather, he would sit upon the steps of the door where he first met her, and ask of passing strangers whether they had seen her. He had a fine voice and taste for singing, with which he would sometimes amuse himself, but it generally led him to melancholy. Joe feared but one person in the village, a Mr. S——, who once beat him at school in a boyish fight.

I went to Ballingdon last summer, and asked for Joe: an old man told me he died suddenly on seeing a horse run away—he showed me his grave.


May, 1826.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   55   .   70.

May 20.

On the twentieth of May, 1736, the body of Samuel Baldwin, Esq. was, in compliance with an injunction in his will, immersed, sans ceremonie, in the sea at Lymington, Hants. His motive for this extraordinary mode of interment was, to prevent his wife from "dancing over his grave," which this modern Xantippe had frequently threatened to do in case she survived him.


To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

Sir,— A desultory sketch of the more prominent features, on the darker side of Scotch character, if deemed worthy of insertion, is at your service.

Researches into ancient usages, the way of leading life, and the customs and superstitious belief, which gave tinge and sway to those who peopled the world before us, are often ridiculed as frivolous by casual observers. But the events of centuries past have become classic from their associations with many of our own. Such observers are apt to forget that much in our present manners is as certainly derived from the popular opinions of past ages, as the heaving of the ocean is cause by the submarine ground swell.

Neither the thoughts nor the actions of men, are to be compared or measured by an unvarying standard of consistency or reason. The passions are the real, though unsteady and eccentric guides of our motions; of these, fear is the most predominant; and in its hour of operation, has the most commanding power. Why is it, that a man in a state of inebriety will be little the worse for bruises which would cost the same man sober, his life? It is not the alcohol that gives life its tenacity, but it is the consequent absence of fear which prevents imaginary, being added to real dangers. Like love, it feeds its own flame. In all ages, when earthly objects have ceased to terrify, men have conjured up phantoms for their minds' excitation, where, when reason told them, were false, because invisible to the sense, they clothed with superhuman attributes; Still, however, taking advantage of every incident their fancy misrepresented, to prove, at least, their material effects. Such is witchcraft; which in Scotland, not many years ago, was as generally believed in as Christianity, and which many, who have been excluded from the polish of society, believe in still. Those who ventured to impugn the doctrine, were held to be what the mob did not understand, but what they believed to be something of extraordinary iniquity—"PAPISTS."

The month of May has always been deemed peculiarly favourable for supernatural appearances. No one will marry in May: but on the first morning of that month, maidens rise early to gather Maydew, which they throw over their shoulder in order to propitiate fate in allotting them a good husband. If they can succeed by the way in catching a snail by the horns, and throwing it over their shoulder, it is an omen of good luck; and if it is placed on a slate, then likewise it will describe by its turning, the initials of their future husband's name.

Anciently, the month of May was ushered in with many solemn rites, and the first day had the name of "Beltane." The "Beltane time" was a season of boisterous mirth and riotous festivity. there is still a fair at the town of Peebles, which goes by the name of the Beltane fair. Our king, James I., says,

"At Beltane quhar ilk bodie bownis    To Peblis to the play, To hear ye sing and ye soundis    The solace suth to say."

The mob elected a "king and queen of May," and dressed them fantastically to prreside over their ceremonies. There were also peculiar games, and "Clerks' Plays," with which the multitude amused themselves at this season.

Among other superstitious observances for which May is reckoned favourable, there is a custom of visiting certain wells, which were believed to posses a charm, for "curing of sick people," during that month. In 1628, a number of persons were brought before the Kirk Session of Falkirk, accused of going to Christ's well on the Sundays of May, to seek their health, and the whole being found guilty were sentenced to repent "in linens" three several sabbaths. "And it is statute and ordained that if any person, or persons, be found superstitiously and idolatrously, after this, to have passed in pilgrimage to Christ's well, on the Sundays of May to seek their health, they shall repent in sacco (sackcloth) and linen three several sabbaths, and pay twenty lib (Scots) toties quoties, for ilk fault; and if they cannot pay it, the baillies shall be recommended to put them in ward, and to be fed on bread and water for aught days."* [Session records, June 12, 1628.] They were obliged, for the preservation of the charm, to keep strict silence on the way, to and from the well, and not to allow the vessel in which the water was, to touch the ground.

In 1657, a mob of parishioners were summoned to the session, for believing in the powers of the well of Airth, a village about six miles north of Falkirk, on the banks of the Forth, and the whole were sentenced to be publicly rebuked for the sin.— "Feb. 3, 1757, Session convenit. Compeared Bessie Thomson, who declairit scho went to the well at Airth, and that schoe left money thairat, and after the can was fillat with water, they keepit it from touching the ground till they cam hom." "February 24.— Compeired Robert Fuird who declared he went to the well of Airth, and spoke nothing als he went, and that Margrat Walker went with him, and schoe said ye beleif about the well and left money and ane napkin at the well, and all was done at her injunction." "Compeared Bessie Thomson declarit schoe fetchit hom water from the said well and luit it not touch the ground in homcoming, spoke not as sha went, said the beleif at it, left money and ane napkin thair; and all was done at Margrat Walker's command." "Compeired Margrat Walker who denyit yat scho was at yat well befoir and yat scho gave any directions" "March 10. Compeared Margrat Forsyth being demandit if scho went to the well of Airth, to fetch water thairfrom, spok not by ye waye, luit it not touch ye ground in homcoming? if scho said ye belief? left money and ane napkin at it? Answered affirmatively in every poynt, and yat Nans Brugh directit yem, and yat they had bread at ye well, with them, and yat Nans Burg said shoe wald not be affrayet to goe to yat well at midnight hir alon." "Compeired Nans Burg, denyit yat ever scho had bein at yat well befoir." "Comeired Ro[t] Squir confest he went to yat well at Airth, fetchit hom water untouiching ye ground, left money and said ye beleif at it." "March 17. Compeired Ro[t] Cochran, declairit, he went to the well at Airth and ane other well, bot did neighter say ye beleif, nor leave money." Compeired Grissal Hutchin, declairit scho commandit the lasses yat went to yat well, say ye beleif, but dischargit hir dochter." "March 21. Compeired Robert Ffuird who declairit yat Margrat Walker went to ye well of Airth to fetch water to Robert Cowie, and when schoe com thair, scho laid down money in Gods name, and ane napkin in Ro[t] Cowie's name." "Compeired Joney Robison who declairit yat when scho was seik, Jean Mathieson com to hir and told hir, that the water of the well of Airth was guid for seik people, and yat the said Jean hir guid sister desyrit hir fetch sum of it to hir guid man as he was seik, bot scho durst never tell him." These people were all "publicly admonishit for superstitious carriage." Yet within these few years, a farmer and his servant were known to travel fifty miles for the purpose of bringing water from a charmed well in the Highlands to cure their sick cattle.

The records contain some curious notices concerning withcraft, which are all certified to "my lord's court," the baronial juridical conservator of the public peace; but, if we may judge from the re-appearance of the parties, none, much to the laird of Callander's honour, ever were punished. I may afterwards give some of these for the amusement of the readers of the Every-Day Book, who will likewise find in the "Scots' Magazine" for March, 1814, an account of trials for witchcraft at Borroustaunness, which ended in six poor creatures' condemnation on the twenty-third of December, 1679, to "be wirried at a steak till they be dead, and then to have their bodies burnt to ashes!"

The reputed consequences of the blink of an ill-ee, are either death, or some horrible debility; for which there are some preventitives, such as rolling a red silk thread round the finger or the neck, or keeping a slip of rowntree (mountain ash) in the bonnet; and last, not least, there is a "gruel, thick and slab," which is reckoned efficacious in averting "Skaith." At this day, even in the twenty-sixth year of the nineteenth century, and old woman in Falkirk earns a comfortably livelihood by the sale of "Skaith Saw."

I am, Sir, &c.

Falkirk, May 16, 1826.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   55   .   42.

May 21.


For usages on this day, see vol. i. p. 722. [link]


It is observed by Dr. Forster in the "Perennial Calendar," that the sky is generally serene, and the weather mild and agreeable, about this time. A cloudy day, however, frequently happens, and is sometimes succeeded by a day's rain; but we have noticed frequently, that an overcast sky, when not too obscure, is the best for viewing flowers, and at this time of year often sets off the splended Vernal Flora to great advantage.

Song to Summer.

Hail, rural goddess of delight!
I woo thy smiles from morn till night;
Now no more rude Eurus blows
O'er mountains of congealed snows;
But thy faire handmaid lovely Maie
Treads the fresh lawns, and leads the waie.
Now, at Flora's earlie call,
The meadows greene and vallies all
Pour forth their variegated flowers,
To regale the sportive hours.
Hence then let me fly the crowde
Of busy men, and seke the woode,
With some Dryad of the grove,
By shades of elm and oak to rove,
Till some sequestered spot we find,
There, on violet bank reclined,
We fly the day-star's burning heate,
Which cannot reach our green retreate;
While Zephyr, with light whispering breeze,
Softly dances in the trees;
And, upon his muskie wing,
Doth a thousand odours bring
From the blooming mead below,
Where cowslips sweet and daisies blow;
And from out her grassie bed
The harebell hangs her nodding head;
Hard bye, some purling stream beside,
Where limpid waters gently glide,
Iris shows her painted woof
Of variegated hues, windproof;
And with water lillies there,
The nymphs and naids [sic] braid the haire;
And from out their leafie haunt,
The birdes most melodious chant.
Then, sweet nymph, at eventide,
Let us roam the broke beside,
While the lovelorn nightingale
Sadlie sings the woods ymel,
Till the bittern's booming note
O'er the sounding mashes flote,
And the ominous owls do crie,
While luckless bats are flitting bye;
Then before the midnight houre,
When ghostlie sprites and pizgies coure,
We will betake us to our cot,
And be it there, O sleep, our lot,
To rest in balmie slumberings,
Till the next cock his matin rings.


To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

Sir,— As the anniversary of that day, on which the greatest mathematician of his time was removed from this transitory world, is fast approaching, I hasten to send you a brief memorial, selected from various local works, of that truly original and eccentric genius. I also enclose a fac-simile of his hand writing, which was presented to me by a very obliging friend, Robert Surtees, of Mainsforth, Esq., F.S.A., and author of a very splendid and elaborate "History of the County Palatinate of Durham."

Your's truly,

Newcastle, Tyne, April 25, 1826.

[William Emerson Signature]

William Emerson was born at Hurworth, a pleasant village, about three miles from Darlington, in the county of Durham, on the 14th of May, 1701. The preceptor of his early years was his own father, of whom he learned writing and arithmetic, and probably the rudiments of Latin. After having studied mathematics with much ardour under able masters, at Newcastle and York, he returned to Hurworth, and again benefited by the knowledge of his father, who was a tolerable master of the mathematics. Some degree of Emerson's celebrity may be attributed to the treatment which he received from Dr. Johnson, rector of Hurworth, whose niece he had married. The doctor had engaged to give five hundred pounds to his niece, who lived with him, as a marriage portion; but when reminded of the promise, he choose [sic] to forget that it had been made, and treated our young mathematician as a person beneath his notice.

The pecuniary disappointment Emerson (who had an independent spirit, and whose patrimony though not large, was equal to all his wants) would easily have surmounted, but the contemptuous treatment stung him to the soul. He immediately went home, packed up his wife's clothes, and sent them to the doctor, saying, that he would scorn to be beholden to such a fellow for a single rag; vowing at the same time that he would be revenged, and prove himself to be the better man of the two. His first publication, however, did not meet with immediate encouragement, and most probably his other works would never have appeared, at least in the author's lifetime, if Edward Montague, Esq., his great admirer and friend, had not procured him the patronage of Mr. John Nourse, bookseller and optician, who being himself skilled in the more abstruse sciences, immediately engaged Emerson to furnish a regular course of mathematics for the use of students, and in the summer of 1763, Emerson made a journey to London, to settle and fulfil the agreement.

His devotion to the philosophy of sir Isaac Newton was so uncommonly strong, that every oppugner of this great man was treated by Emerson as dull, blind, bigotted, prejudiced, or mad, and the fire and imptuosity of his temper would on these occasions betray him into language far distant from the strictness of mathematical demonstration. Mr. E. was in person something below the common size, but firm, compact, well made, very active and strong. He had a good open expressive countanance, with a ruddy complexion, a keen and penetrating eye, and an ardour and eagerness of look that was very demonstrative of the texture of his mind. His dress was grotesque frequently; sometimes mean and shabby. A very few hats served him through the whole course of his life; and when he purchased one (or indeed any other article of dress) it was perfectly indifferent to him whether the form or fashion of it was of the day, or of half a century before. One of these hats of immense superficies, had, by length of time, lost its elasticity, and its brim began to droop in such a manner as to prevent his being able to view the objects before him in a direct line.This was not to be endured by an optician; he therefore took a pair of sheers, and cut it off by the body of the hat, leaving a little to the front, which he dextrously rounded into the resemblance of the nib of a jockey's cap. His wigs were made of brown, or of a dirty flaxen coloured hair, which at first appeared bushy and tortuous behind, but which grew pendulous through age, till at length it became quite straight, having probably never undergone the operation of the comb; and either through the original mal-formation of the wig, or from a custom he had of frequently thrusting his hand beneath it, the back part of his head and wig seldom came into very close contact. His coat or more properly jacket, or waistcoat with sleeves to it, which he commonly wore without any other waistcoat, was of drab colour; his linen was more calculated for warmth and duration than show, being spun and bleached by his wife, and woven at Hurworth. In cold weather he had a custom of wearing his shirt with the wrong side before, and buttoned behind the neck, yet this was not an affectation of singularity, (for Emerson had no affectation, though his customs and manners were singular,) he had a reason for it; he seldom buttoned more than two or three buttons of his waistcoat, leaving all the rest open; in wind, rain, or snow, therefore, he must have found the aperture at the breast inconvenient if his shirt had been put on in the usual manner. When he grew aged, in cold weather, he used to wear what he called shin-covers: these were pieces of old sacking, tied with strings above the knee, and depending down to the shoe, in order to prevent his legs from being scorched when he sat too near the fire. This singularity of dress and figure, together with his character for profound learning, and knowledge more than human, occasioned the illiterate and ignorant to consider him as a cunning man, or necromancer, and various stories have been related of his skill in the black art. He affected an appearance of infidelity on religious matters, and was an example to the vulgar, not a little reprehensible. His diet was as simple and plain as his dress, and his meals gave little interruption either to his studies, employments, or amusements. He catered for himself, and pretty constantly went to Darlington, to make his own markets; yet, when he had provided all the necessary articles, he not unfrequently neglected to return home for a day or two, seating himself contentedly in some public house, where he could procure good ale and company, and passing the hours in various topics of conversation. His style of conversation was generally abrupt and blunt, and often vulgar and ungrammatical. This occasioned a supposition, that his prefaces were not written by himself, an opinion that was one day mentioned to him, and the disparity of his conversation and writing pointed out as the reason. After a momentary pause, he exclaimed, with some indignation, "A pack of fools! who would write my prefaces but myself." Mr. Emerson often tried to practise the effect of his mathematical speculations, by constructing a variety of instruments, mathematical, mechanical, and musical, on a small scale. He made a spinning-wheel for his wife, which is represented in his book of mechanics. He was well skilled in the science of music, the theory of sounds, and the various scales both ancient and modern. He was a great contributor to the "Lady's Diary," under the signature of "Merones," and for many years unknown, until a transposition of letters discovered his name.* ["Beneath the shelter of the silent elm,
His native elm (to sapience still a friend)
MERONES loves, and meditates beneath
The verdure of thy leaves: see there
How silently he sits! and lost in thought,
Weighs in his mind some great design! revolves
He now his Subtile Fluxions! or displays
By truest signs the Sphere's Projection wide!
Wide as thy sphere, Merones, be thy fame."
See a poem on the old Elm at Hurworth, in Gent. Mag. for May, 1756.] During the greater part of his life, his health had been strong and uninterrupted; but as he advanced into the vale of year, internal complaints allowed him but little intermission of pain, and at length deprived him of breath on the twenty-first of May, 1782, aged eighty-one years and one week. He was buried in the churchyard of his native village where he died. About a twelvemonth before his decease, he was prevailed on after much importunity, to sit for his portrait, which was taken by Mr. Sykes, for his friend Mr. Cloudsley of Darlington, surgeon. It is said to be a most striking likeness.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   55   .   32.

May 22.


At East-Bourn, in "a descriptive account of that village in the county of Sussex," there is mention of a very singular custom having prevailed for many years under the denomination of "Sops and Ale." It was productive of much mirth and good humour, being conducted as follows: the senior bachelor in the place was elected by the inhabitants, steward, and to him was delivered a damask napkin, a large wooden bowl, twelve wooden trenchers, twelve wooden knives and forks, two wooden candlestickes, and two wooden cups for the reception of sugar; and on the Saturday fornight the steward attended at the church-door, with a white wand in his hand, and gave notice that sops and ale would be given that evening at such a place. Immediately after any lady, or respectable farmer or tradesman's wife became mother of a child, the steward called at the house, and begged permission for "sops and ale;" which was always granted, and conducted in the following order:—Three tables were placed in some convenient room; one of which was covered with the above napkin, and had a china bowl and plates, with silver handled knives and forks placed on it; and in the bowl were put biscuits sopped with wine, and sweetened with fine sugar. The second table was also covered with a cloth, with china, or other earthern plates, and a bowl with beer sops, sweetened with fine sugar, and decent knives and forks. The third table was placed without any cloth; and on it were put the wooden bowl, knives, forks, and trenchers, as before described, with the candlesticks and sugar cups; and in the bowl were beer sops, sweetened with the coarsest sugar. As soon as the evening service was over, having had previous notice from the steward, the company assembled, and were placed in the following order:— those persons whose wives were mothers of twins, were placed at the upper or first table; those whose wives had a child or children, at the second table; and such persons as were married, and had no children, together with the old bachelors, were placed at the third table, which was styled the bachelors' table, under which title the gentlemen who sat at it, were addressed for that evening, and the gentlemen at the first table were styled benchers. Proper toasts were given, adapted for the occasion, and the company always broke up at eight o'clock, generally very cheerful and good-humoured.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   54   .   87.

May 23.


This is the anniversary of one of the great duke of Marlborough's most celebrated engagements, the battle of Ramilles, a place near Namur in the Netherlands, where, on this day, in the year 1706, he gained a memorable victory over the French. It was in this battle that colonel Gardiner, then an ensign in the nineteenth year of his age, received a shot in his mouth, from a musket ball, which, without destroying any of his teeth, or touching the fore part of his tongue, went through his neck, and came out about an inch and a half on the left side of the vertebræ. He felt no pain, but dropped soon after, and lay all night among his dying companions; he recovered in an almost miraculous manner, and became, from a most profligate youth, a character eminent for piety.* [Butler's Chronological Exercises.]


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   55   .   57.

May 24.


On this day, in 1736, five felons in Newgate were to have been executed; but the prison was so insecure, that, during the night, one of them "took up a board and got out of his cell, and made his escape." The other four were taken to Tyburn and suffered their sentence; and Jack Ketch "on his return from doing his duty at Tyburn, robbed a woman of three shillings and sixpence."† [Gentleman's Magazine.]


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   56   .   42.

May 25.


On Corpus Christi day, at about a quarter before one o'clock at noon, the worshipful company of skinners (attended by a number of boys which they have in Christ's Hospital school, and girls strewing herbs before them) walk in procession from their hall on Dowgate-hill, to the church of St. Antholin's, in Watling-street, to hear service. This custom has been observed time out of mind.

This notice is communicated by one of the company.

For other customs on this festival, see vol. i. p. 742 to 758. [link]


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   58   .   52.

May 26.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   59   .   35.

May 27.


1799. On this and the three following days, the library of the celebrated Addison was sold by auction by Messrs. Leigh and Sotheby, at their house in York-street, Covent-garden. The books were brought from Bilton, where Addison had resided, near Rugby, in Warwickshire, and under Mr. Leigh's hammer produced 456l. 2s. 9d.

There is a portrait of Mr. Leigh, who is since dead, from a drawing by Mr. Behnes.

Mr. Leigh dissolved partnership with Mr. Sotheby, his son supplied his father's place, and the business was carried on in the Strand. On Mr. Leigh's death, his surviving partner continued it, as he still does, near the same spot in Waterloo-place, whither he removed in consequence of the premises being required for other purposes. This establishment is the oldest of the kind in London: under Mr. Sotheby's management its ancient reputation is supported: his sales are of the highest respectability, and attended by the best collectors. Mr. Sotheby sold the matchless niellos and other prints of sir Mark Sykes. For collections of that nature, and for libraries, his arrangements are of a most superior order. One of the greatest treats to a lover of literature is a lounge at Mr. Sotheby's during one of his sales.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   58   .   50.

May 28.


The journals of this day, in 1736, announce that mademoiselle Salle, a famous dancer at Paris, who valued herself highly on her reputation, instituted an order there, of which she was president, by the name of "the Indifferents." Both sexes were indiscriminately admitted after a nice scrutiny into their qualifications. They had rites, which no one was to disclose. The badge of the order was a ribbon striped, black, white, and yellow, and the device something like an icicle. They took an oath to fight against love, and if any of the members were particular in their regards, they were excluded the order, with ignominy.* [Gentleman's Magazine.]


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   58   .   90.

May 29.


For customs on this day, see vol. i. p. 711 to 722. [link]

This anniversary is an opportunity for introducing the following curious view.

Boscobel House.

Boscobel House,


This engraving, from a rare print of great value, represents Boscobel-house, in the state it was when Charles II. and colonel Carlos took refuge there. They remained in the house till they became alarmed for their safety.

Dr. Stukely mentions the straits to which Charles was reduced during his concealment at this place. "Not far from Boscobel-house, just by a horse track passing through the wood, stood the royal oak, into which the king and his companion, colonel Carlos, climbed by means of the henroost ladder, when they judged it no longer safe to stay in the house; the family reaching them victuals with the nuthook. The tree is now enclosed in with a brick wall, the inside whereof is covered with laurel, of which we may say, as Ovid did of that before the Augustine palace, 'mediamque tuebere quercum.' Close by its side grows a young thriving plant from one of its acorns. Over the door of the enclosure, I took this inscription in marble:—

'Felicissimam arborem quam in asylum potentissimi Regis Caroli II. Deus O. M. per quem reges regnant hic crescere voluit, tam in perpetuam rei tantac memoriam quam specimen firmae in reges fidei, muro cinctam posteris commendant Basilius et Jana Fitzherbert.

'Quercus amica Jovi.'"

Boscobel House, 1800.

Boscobel House, 1800.

The situation of the house in the above year, is shown by the annexed engraving, from a view of it at that period.

At a small distance from Boscobel is Whiteladies, so called from having been a nunnery of white or Cistercian nuns, extensive ruins of which remain.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   58   .   37.

May 30.


This day, in 1730, being the anniversary of the birth-day of the princess Amelia and Caroline, Mr. Cook, a publican, discharged twenty-one guns in salute of their royal highnesses as they passed his door, "to drink the water at the wells by the New River Head in the parish of St. James, Clerkenwell." It appears that "almost every day for the latter part of that month, there was so great a concourse of the nobility and gentry, that the priprietor took about thirty pounds in a a morning."* [Gentleman's Magazine.] Clerkenwell, therefore, in 1730, was so fashionable as to be the resort of the court for recreation. At that time it had green lanes and bowling-alleys to delight the gentry, and attract the citizens of the metropolis. It is now, in 1826, covered with houses, and without a single public place of reputable entertainment; not even a bowling-green.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   58   .   72.

May 31.


With the destruction of the elephant belonging to Mr. Cross, at Exeter Change, described in the present volume, [link] may be paralleled the destruction of another on this day in the year 1820. The particulars are related in the "London Magazine" of April 1, 1826; they seem to have been translated from a "Notice sur l'Elephant mort a Geneve le 31 Mai dernier," in the "Almanach Historique, nommé Messager Boiteux pour l'An de grace, 1821," which has been sent to the editor of the Every-Day Book for the purpose of enabling him to lay the annexed engraving before the readers of London, from a print in that "Almanac," which is printed in quarto "á Vevey, chez Freres Lœrtscher."

In May, 1820, for about a fortnight a fine Bengal elephant (Elephas Indicus, Cuvier—Elephas Maximus, Linn.) had been exhibited at Geneva. the elephants of this species are taller than those of Africa. They have an elevated cranium, which has two protuberances on its summit; the frontal bone is rather concave, and the head proportionably longer; their tusks are smaller than those of the African elephant. The animal in question had but one; he had lost the other by some accident. He was nine feet high, and of a dark-brown colour, he was ten years old, and had been bought in London six years before. Mademoiselle Garnier, (the niece of his proprietor,) to whom he was much attached, always travelled with him. She was the proprietor of an elephant which had broken loose at Venice a few years previously, and was killed by a cannon-shot, after it had committed considerable ravages in that city.

The present elephant was of a much gentler character, and had excited a general interest during its stay in Geneva, by its docility and intelligence; it performed all the usual tricks which are taught these animals, with a promptitude of obedience, a dexterity, and almost a grace, which were quite remarkable. Whenever mademoiselle Garnier witnessed his exercises, her presence seemed to call forth all these qualities to an extraordinary degree. According to her statement he was so familiar and social that he had more than once appeared on the stage at Lille, Antwerp, &c. playing the principal part in a procession, and seeming proud to carry the lady who acted the princess, before whom he would kneel to take her on his back. So far from being frightened at the lights, the music, and the noise of the house, he seemed delighted to take a part in the ceremony.

Accustomed to liberty, and much as he loved it, he yet endured confinement with patience, and when his keeper came to fasten him up for the night, he used to stretch out his foot to receive the iron ring by which he was chained till morning, to a post deeply fixed in the earth. Unlike these animals in England, he did not travel in a cage, but was led from one town to another by night; he had three drivers, his keeper, properly so called, and two others, one of whom had always inspired him with more fear than attachment.

During the latter part of his stay at Geneva he had exhibited symptoms of excitement and restlessness, arising from two causes—the one, the frequent discharges of musketry from the soldiers who were exercised near his habitation, at which he was greatly irritated; the other, the paroxysms to which these animals are subject for several weeks in the spring. Nevertheless, he had never disobeyed nor menaced his keepers.

His departure was fixed for the 31st of May. He left Geneva at midnight, the gates and drawbridges having been opened for that purpose by permission of the syndic of the guard, the magistrate at the head of the military police. He was driven by his keeper and his two assistants, who carried a lantern. Mademoiselle Garnier was to follow in the morning. He made no difficulty in crossing the drawbridge, and took the road to Switzerland apparently in high spirits. But about a quarter of a league from the town he appeared out of humour with the keeper, and disposed to attack him. The man ran away towards the city; the elephant pursued him up to the gate, which the officer on guard opened, on his own responsibility, wisely calculating that it would be more easy to secure him within the town than without it, and that he might do immense mischief on the high roads, especially as it was the market-day at Geneva. He re-entered the town without hesitation, pursuing, rather than following his keeper and guides, between whom and himself all influence, whether of attachment or of fear, seemed at an end. From this moment he was his own master.

He walked for some time in the place de Saint Gervais, appearing to enjoy his liberty and the beauty of the night. He lay down for a few minutes on a heap of sand, prepared for some repairs in the pavement, and played with the stones collected for the same purpose. Perceiving one of his guides, who was watching him from the entrance of one of the bridges over the Rhone, he ran at him, and would have attacked him, and probably done him some serious injury, if he had not escaped.

Mademoiselle Garnier having been informed of what had passed, hastened to the spot, and trusting to the attachment he had always shown for her, went up him with great courage, with some dainties of which he was particularly fond, and speaking to him with gentleness and confidence, led him into a place enclosed with walls near the barrack he had inhabited, into which he could not be induced to return. This place, called the Bastion d'Hollande, adjoined a shed containing caissoons, waggons, and gun-carriages; there were also cannon-balls piled up in an adjoining yard. Being left alone, and the gate shut upon him, he amused himself with trying his strength and skill upon every thing within his reach; he raised several caissoons and threw them on their sides, and seemed pleased at turning the wheels; he took up the balls with his trunk, and tossed them in the air, and ran about with a vivacity which might have been ascribed either to gaiety or to irritation.

At two in the morning, the syndic of the guard being informed of the circumstance, went to the spot to consult on the measures to be taken. Mademoiselle Garnier in a state of the utmost distress and agitation, entreated that the elephant might be killed in the most speedy and certain way possible. The syndic, sharing in the general feeling of interest the noble and gentle creature had excited in the town, opposed her desire. He represented that the animal was now in a place of security against all danger, whether to the public or himself; and that as his present state of irritation was, in is very nature, transient, and would soon yield to a proper regimen; but mademoiselle Garnier remembered the occurrences at Venice, and felt the whole weight and responsibility of the management of the animal was on herself alone; for the keeper and guides had decidedly refused to attend upon him again, and she presisted in her demand. The magistrate would not give his consent until it was put into writing and signed.

From that moment arrangements were made for destroying him. The chemists were laid under contribution for drugs, while two breaches were made in the wall, at each of which a four-pounder was placed, which was to be the ratio ultima if the poison failed.

M. Mayor, eminent as a surgeon, and for his learning in natural history, and one of the directors of the museum, had taken great delight in visiting the elephant during his stay, and the animal had evinced a particular affection for him. This induced the magistrate to request M. Mayor to administer the poison. M. Mayor, after mixing about three ounces of prussic acid with about ten ounces of brandy, which was the animal's favourite liquor, called him by his name to one of the breaches. The elephant came immediately, seized the bottle with his trunk, and swallowed the liquor at one draught, as if it had been his usual drink. This poison, the operation of which, even in the smallest doses, is usually termendously rapid, did not appear to produce any sensible effect on him; he walked backwards witha firm step to the middle of the enclosure, where he lay down for some moments. It was thought that the poison was beginning to act, but he soon rose again, and began to play with the caissoons, and to walk about in the court-yard of the arsenal. M. Mayor, presuming that the prussic acid which had been kept some time had lost its strength, prepared three boluses of an ounce of arsenic each, mixed with honey and sugar. The elephant came again at his call, and took them all from his hand. At the expiration of a quarter of an hour, he did not appear at all affected by them. A fresh dose was then offered him; he took it, smelt at it for some minutes, then threw it to a distance, and began again to play all sorts of tricks. Sometimes he came to the breach,a nd, tsining his trunk round the mouth of the cannon, pushed it back as if he had some indistinct notion of the danger which threatened him.

It was five in the morning when the first dose of poison was administered; an hour had elapsed, and no symptom of its internal action appeared. Meanwhile the market time drew near, the space around the walls was rapidly filling with inquisitive spectators, and the order was given to fire. The gunner seized the moment in which the elephant, who had advanced to the breach, was retiring, and prsented his side. The mouth of the cannon almost touched him. The ball enetered near the ear behind the right eye, came out behind the left ear, went through a thick partition on the opposite side of the enclosure, and spent itself against a wall. The animal stood still for two or three seconds, then tottered, and fell on his side without convulsion or movement.

Death of the Elephant at Geneva, May 31, 1820.

Death of the Elephant at Geneva, May 31, 1820.

The above engraving, from that in the foreign almanac already mentioned, represents the manner wherein his death was effected.

The event circulated through the town with the rapidity of lightning. "They have killed the elephant!" "What had the noble creature done? he was so good, so gentle, so amiable!" "What a pity!" the people ran with one accord to the spot, to satisfy themselves with a nearer view. The eagerness was so great that the authorities were obliged to take steps for keeping order in the crowd, and a small sum of money was demanded from each for the benefit of the proprietor. The same evening, by arrangements entered into with mademoiselle Garnier, for securing the remains of the animal for the museum, the surgeons proceeded to open the body, which they continued to dissect for several successive days. The operations were executed by M. Mayor, the chevalier Bourdet, a naturalist and traveller, and M. Vichet. an eminent pupil of the veterinary surgeon of Alfort. They took an exact measurement of the animal. They traced its silhouette on the wall; and made separate casts of its head, and the two feet of one side. All the principal viscera, except the liver, which decomposed too rapidly, and the brain, which was shattered by the ball, were carefully removed and preserved in a solution of oxygenated muriate of mercury. The spleen was six feet long. The muscular or fleshy parts, as the season would not allow of their slow dissection, were taken away rather by the hatchet than the bistoury. They were given to the public, who were extremely eager and anxious to eat elephant's flesh, and much tempted by its excellent appearance, dressed as it was with every variety of sauce. they seemed perfectly regardless of the poison, which indeed had not time to develope itself in the muscular system. Three or four hundred persons ate of it without injury, excepting one or two individuals, who brought on a fit of indigestion by indulging to excess. The osseous carcass was put into a state of maceration previous to re-composing the skeleton, in order to its deposit in the museum of natural history. The interest taken in that establishment was so strong, that the large sum required to secure possession of the entire carcass, was raised by subscription in a few days. The skin was found too thick to be tanned by the ordinary process, and as the epidermis began to detach itself naturally, it was carefully separated from the dermis, which it was not essential to preserve entire. The epidermis retained its proper consistency, in order to be supplied by a well-known process in covering the artificial carcass, constructed under the direction of Messrs. Mayor and Bourdet.

If mademoiselle Garnier had not succeeded in enticing the animal to the place where his destruction was effected, the mischief he might have occasioned by remaining at large, till the inhabitants of Geneva had risen from their beds to their daily occupations, can scarcely be imagined; especially as it was on a market-day, when the city is usually thronged with country people, and most persons are necessarily out of doors.

May Custom at Buckingham.


To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

Sir,— On this day, unusual bustle set the town of Buckingham alive. It was the festive consecration of the first Sunday after May-day. Having taken care of my horse and left the inn, I heard a band of music approaching the church, which is a cheerful edifice, standing on an eminence with a painted glass window. The bells rung merrily, and the sunshine gave lustre to the surrounding country, beautified by light and shade. The main street was presently lined with townspeople and villagers. My inquiries as to the cause of this "busy hum of men" were soon satisfied by the cry that, "They're ringing the old bailiff out!" As the musicians (not of the opera band, nor of the Hanover rooms,) came nearer with the accumulating procession, I with difficulty learned the theme of their endeavours to be Weber's "Hark! follow!" I never heard any thing surpass this murder of melody. Had Weber been present, he would not have regretted he had given the MS. of Der Freischütz, to discharge a trifling debt, which I am informed was really the case. Such discord, however, worked no "incantation" here. All faces smiled, all hearts appeared glad. The cavalcade moved in pairs. First two small children in white with garlands, then, behind them, two, a size larger; then others, increasing in growth and tallness, till six wreathed maidens and their swains moved onwards, dancing and shaking their curly locks in sportive glee around the Maypole, decorated in the habiliments of nature's sweetest and choicest spring flowers and boughs. Dolls of various dresses were placed in the midst, as though they looked out of bowers for the arrival of kindred playfellows. Then came his worship, the bailiff, a sir John Falstaff-like sort of person, swelling with pleasurable consequence; the shining mace borne on the shoulder intimated his dignity. What a happy day of honour, of triumph, and greatness to him! Then followed the leading men of the town, the burgesses in their corporate robes and nosegays. Their friends paraded aside in their Sunday clothes, like "ladies of olden days" and "squires of high degree." Favours and flags played on the fresh air, inviting rural enjoyment. Many rosy-faced damosels in their "best bibs and tuckers" illustrated the time by appearing at the windows; infants were held up to behold, and the aged crept to the doors, to take a glimpse of what they might not live to see repeated. As the procession arrived at the churchyard gate, soldiers were arranged in line, preparing to meet and unite in the gaiety of the day. It is thus pleasant to view the military and civil powers, peacefully ornamenting the general harmony of the season. The subordinates and illustrators of this annual custom, opened a passage at the church door, and the bailiff led the way into his seat. The bells rested their metal tongues, and the music ceased awhile. People of all descriptions, in all directions, hurried to their respective pews, with accommodating civility to strangers. The curate opened his book and his duties, the clerk unsheathed his spectacles, confined his nostrils, and the service was reverently performed, with a suitable discourse and decent melody. After this was ended, the bailiff and his friends returned in like order as they came, perambulating the precincts of the town. Then the glory of all true Britons, was manifested by the clatter of knives and forks, at the favourite depôt for provisions, and genuine hilarity closed the "ringing out of the old bailiff," and the ringing in of the new one.


With the preceding communication from Mr. Prior, are the following verses.

To the Dead Nettle.

Unlike the rose,
   Thou hast not bards to sing
Thy merits as they beauty grows
   'Neath hedges in the spring.

Unconscious flower!
   Thy downcast blossom seems
Like 'widowed thought in sorrow's hour
   Away from pleasure's beams.

Young feeling's eye
   Surveys thee in thy vernal bed,
Protected from the glare of sky,
   By lovely nature fed.

He, that would learn
   Sermons from thine eternal birth,
Might safely to the world return
   And triumph over earth.



To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

Sir,— If you think the following lines worth insertion in your Every-Day Book, you are welcome to them.

I am, Sir, &c.

King's Bench Walk,


'Tis May! 'tis May! the skylarks sing,
The swallow tribe is on the wing,
The emerald meads look fresh and gay,
And smiles the golden orb of day.

'Tis May! 'tis May! the voice of love
Inspiring calls to yonder grove;
Then let us to the shades repair,
Where health, and mirth, and music are.

'Tis May! 'tis May! air, earth, and flood,
With life and beauty are endowed:
Myriads of forms creep, glide, and soar,
Exultant through the genial hour.

'Tis May! 'tis May! why should not man
Embrace the universal plan,
Enjoy the seasons as they roll,
And love while love inspires the soul.

'Tis May! 'tis May! the flowers soon fade,
And voiceless grows the sylvan shade:
The insects fall mid autumn's gloom,
And man is hastening to the tomb.

'Tis May! 'tis May! the flowers revive!
Again the insect revellers live!
But man's lost bloom no charms restore,
His youth once pass'd, returns no more.

Dulce Domum.

To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

Sir,— It may not, perhaps, be generally known what it was that gave rise to the writing of the old breaking-up song of "Dulce Domum," so loudly and so cheerfully sung by youngsters previous to the vacation; and as an old custom is involved in it, you may deem both the song and the custom worthy a place in your Every-Day Book. They are subjoined.

I am, Sir, &c.

Leadenhall Street,

About two hundred an thirty years ago, a scholar of St. Mary's college Winchester was, for some offence committed, confined by order of the master, and it being just previous to the Whitsuntide vacation, was not permitted to visit his friends, but remained a prisoner at the college, as report says, tied to a pillar. During this period he composed the well known "Dulce domum," being the recollections of the pleasures he was wont to join in, at that season of the year. Grief at the disgrace and the disappointment he endured, so heavily affected him, that he did not live to witness the return of his companions, at the end of their holydays.

In commemoration of the above, annually on the evening preceding the Whitsun holydays, the master, scholars, and choristers of the above college, attended by a band of music, walk in prcession round the court of the college and the pillar to which it is alleged the unfortunate youth was tied, and chant the verses which he composed in his affliction.


   Concinamus, O sodales!
Eja! quid silemus?
   Nobile canticum!
Dulce melos, domum!
Dulce domum, resonemus.


   Domum, domum, dulce domum;
   Domum, domum, dulce domum!
   Dulce, dulce, domum!
   Dulce domum, resonemus!

Approprinquat ecce! felix
   Hora gaudiorum
Post grave tedium
Advenit omnium
   Meta petita laborum.
         Domum, domum &c.

Musa, libros mitte, fessa,
   Mitte pensa dura,
Mitte negotium
Jam datur otium,
   Me mea mittito cura.
         Domum, domum, &c.

Ridet annus, prata rident;
   Nosque rideamus,
Jam repetit domum,
Daulius advena:
   Nosque domum repetamus,
         Domum, domum, &c.

Heus! Rogere, fer caballos;
   Eja, nunc eamus.
Limen amabile
Matris et oscula,
   Suaviter et repetamus,
         Domum, domum, &c.

Concinamus ad Penates,
   Vox et audiatur;
Phosphore! quid jubar,
Segnius emicans,
   Gaudia nostra moratur?
         Domum, domum, &c.

The above was put into an English dress, a copy of which is below:

Sing a sweet melodious measure,
   Waft enchanting lays around;
Home! a theme replete with pleasure!
   Home! a grateful theme resound!


Home, sweet home! an ample treasure!
   Home! with every blessing crown'd!
Home! perpetual source of pleasure!
   Home! a noble strain, resound.

Lo! the joyful hour advances;
   Happy season of delight!
Festal songs, and festal dances,
   All our tedious toil requite.
         Home, &c.

Leave, my wearied muse, thy learning,
   Leave thy task, so hard to bear;
Leave thy labour, ease returning,
   Leave this bosom, O! my care.
         Home, &c.

See the year, the meadow, smiling!
   Let us then a smile display,
Rural sports, our pain beguiling,
   Rural pastimes call away.
         Home, &c.

Now the swallow seeks her dwelling,
   And no longer roves to roam;
Her example thus impelling,
   Let us seek our native home.
         Home, &c.

Let our men and steeds assemble,
   Panting for the wide champaign;
Let the ground beneath us tremble,
   While we scour along the plain.
         Home, &c.

Oh! what raptures, on! what blisses
   When we gain the lovely gate!
Mother's arms, and mother's kisses,
   There, our bless'd arrival wait.
         Home, &c.

Greet our household-gods with singing,
   Lend, O Lucifer, thy ray;
Why should light, so slowly springing,
   All our promis'd joys delay?
         Home, &c.

Mr. Brandon's account of the "procession round the courts of the college," and the singing of "Dulce Domum," is sustained by the rev. Mr. Brand, who adds, of the song, that "it is no doubt of very remote antiquity, and that its origin must be traced, not to any ridiculous tradition, but to the tenderest feelings of human nature." He refers for the English verses to the "Gentleman's Magazine," for March, 1796, where they first appeared, and calls them "a spirited translation." On looking into that volume, it seems they were written by one of Mr. Urban's correspondents, who signs "J. R." and dates from "New-street, Hanover-square." Dr. Milner says, that from "amongst many translations of this Winchester ode," the present "appears best to convey the sense, spirit, and measure, of the original; the former versions were unworthy of it." He alleges that the existence of the original can only be traced up to the distance of about a century; yet its real author, and the occasion of its composition, are already clouded with fables.* [Milner's Hist. of Winchester.]


By the favour of a correspondent in North America, we are enabled to extract from the "Colonial Advocate" of Queenston, the following interesting article, by a Scotch resident, on the state of melody in the region he inhabits. It particularly relates to May.


"Dear Scotia! o'er the swelling sea
From childhood's hopes, from friends, from thee,
On earth where'er thy offspring roam,
This day their hearts should wander home.
Her sons are brave, her daughters fair,
Her gowan glens no slave can share,
Then from the feeling never stray,
That loves the land that's far away."

Sung by Mr. Maywood, on St. Anderew's day, in New York.

I have often thought it a pity that there is no feature in which Canada, and indeed America in general, exhibits more dissimilarity to Scotland, than in its want of vocal music. On the highland hills, and in the lowland vallies, of Caledonia, we are delighted with the music of the feathered choristers, who fill heaven in a May morning with their matin songs. The shepherd whistles "The Yellow Hair'd Laddie"—the shepherdess sings "In April when primroses deck the sweet plain"—all nature seems in harmony. But here all is dulness and monotony,

"We call on pleasure—and around
A mocking world repeats the sound!"

Even the emigrant seems to have forgotten his native mountains; and in the five years in which I have sojourned in America, I have not once heard "Roslin Castle" sung by a swain on a blithe summer's day. Here they are all dull plodding farmers, as devoid of sober melody as the huge forests which surround them are void of grace and beauty: talk to them of poetry and music, and they will sit with sad civility, "as silent as Pygmalion's wife."

Now and then you may hear a hoarse raven of an old woodchopper in the barroom of a filthy tavern roaring in discordant notes, "Yankee Doodle:" or, in a church or meeting-house, you may behold fifteen or twenty men and women picked out of the congregation, stuck up in a particular part of the house and singing the praises of redeeming love, with the voices of so many stentors. The affectation they display, cannot fail to disgust you: the form of godliness is present, but the power thereof is wanting.

The memory of a native Scotsman retraces back those halcyon days, when gladness filled the corn-field—when sober mirth and glee crowned the maiden feast—when the song went merrily round at Yule, to chase away the winter frosts; and coming to the day of universal rest from labour, calls to mind the venerable precentor with his well-remembered solemn tunes, where old and young, infancy and advanced age, willingly joined together in singing HIS praise—where the fiddle and the flute, the harp and the organ, were useless—where no set people stood up in a corner, as if to say, "we, the aristocracy of this congregation, can offer a sweeter and more acceptable sacrifice than you, with our melodious voices so much better attuned than yours."

It may, perhaps, appear irreverend in me, to say a word of sacred music in an essay intended for Scottish songs; but I thought the contrast would not be complete without this allusion. A late essayist "On vulgar prejudices against Literature," uses a fine argument in favour of native poetry.

"Let us task," says he, "has Britain a greater claim to distinction among the nations of the world, from any one circumstance, however celebrated it be in arts and arms, than from its being the birthplace of Shakspeare? And if the celebration of the anniversary of Waterloo be held in the farthest settlements of India, so is the anniversay of the birth of Robert Burns, the pastoral poet of Scotland:—

"Encamped by Indian rivers wild, The soldier, resting on his arms, In Burns's carol sweet recalls The scenes that blest him when a child, And glows and gladdens at the charms Of Scotia's woods and waterfalls."

When kingdoms, and states, and cities pass away, what then proves to be the most imperishable of their records, the most durable of their glories? Is it not the lay of the poet? the eloqunce of the patriot? the page of the historian? Is it not the genius of the nation, imprinted on these, the most splendid of its annals, and transmitted, as a legacy, and a token of its vanished glory, to the after ages of mankind? And now, when the glories of Greece and Rome are but shadows, does not our blood stir within us at the recital of their mighty achievements, and of their majestic thoughts, which, but for the page of the chronicler would have been long ere now a blank and a vacancy; glory departed without a trace, or figures traced upon the sand, and washed away by the returns of the tide:—

"On! who shall lightly say that fame,
Is nothing but an empty name?
When, but for those, our mighty dead,
   All ages past a blank would be,
Sunk in oblivion's murky bed,
   A desert bare, a shipless sea.

They are the distant objects seen;
The lofty marks of what hath been,
Oh! who shall lightly say that fame
Is nother but an empty name?

Where memory of the mighty dead
   To earth-worn pilgrims' wistful eye
The brightest rays of cheering shed,
   That point to immortality."

The blue hills and mountains, among which Byron first caught the enthusiasm of song; the green vallies and brown heaths where Scott learnt to tell of Flodden field, and deeds of other days, in verse, lasting as the source of the deep Niagara, yet return an echo to the well-known "Daintie Davie" of Robert Burns.

As down the burn they took their way,
   And through the flowery dale,
His cheek to hers he aft did lay,
   And love was aye the tale.

With "Mary, when shall we return,
   Sic pleasure to renew?"
Quoth Mary, "Love, I like the burn,
   And aye shall follow you."

How I should delight to hear such an artless tale sung on the brais of Queenston, or the green knowes and fertile plains around Ancaster.

I once in Montreal heard a gentleman from little York (a native of Perthshire) sing "Daintie Davie" in fine style; but it was the old set, and as it is a very good song, I think the first stanza and chorus may "drive dull care away" from half a dozen of my readers as well as a good hit at that silly body, our sapient attorney-general, or a squib at his forkhead Mr. Solicitor, would have done:—

"Now rosy May comes in wi' flowers
To deck her gay green spreading bowers,
And now comes in my happy hours,
   To wander wi' my Davie.


"Meet me on the warlock knowe,
   Daintie Davie, Daintie Davie,
There I'll spend the day with you,
   My ain dear Daintie Davie."

About two years ago, I wrote to a correspondent in Scotland, to send to Dundas about ten reams of our best Scottish, English, and Irish ballads, and to avoid any that were exceptionable in point of morality. This person has since arrived in America; but his ideas on the propriety of introducing ballads into a new country, I found to be different from mine—otherwise I had by this time employed several "wights of Homer's craft" to disperse the twenty thousand half-penny songs I then ordered. It would have, perhaps, sown the seeds of music in our land, and hundreds of American presses, may be, would have spread abundantly the pleasing stanzas, until accursed slavery had stopt the strain in the southern regions of republican tyranny.

I can call to mind the time, as well as if it were yesterday, when I first heard "The Maid of Lodi:" it was at a Scottish wedding, at Arthurstone. Sir Ewan, the aged sire of the brave colonel Cameron, who fell at Waterloo, was present with his lady; and, gentle reader, I think it was the youthful minister of the next parish who sung, accompanied by the bride's youngest sister. It was followed by "Blythe, blythe," which I must give the reader from memory. News is scarce this week—the king of France is dead, and surely the tidings of the next's coronation will not arrive in time to fill a paragraph in the "Advocate" for a month to come—so let us have—

Blythe, blythe and merry was shee:
   Blythe was she but and ben;
Blythe by the banks of Ern—
   Blythe in Glenturret glen.

By Aughtertye grows the aik,
   By Yarrow banks the birken shaw;
But Phemie was the bonniest lass
   The flowers of Yarrow ever saw.
         Blythe, blythe, &c.

Her looks were like a flower in May,
   Her smile was like a simmer morn;
She tripped by the banks of Ern,
   As light's a bird upon a thorn.
         Blythe, blythe, &c.

Her bonnie face it was sae maek
   As ony lamb upon a lee:
The evening sun was ne'er so sweet
   As was the blink o' Phemie's e'e.
         Blythe, blythe, &c.

The highland hills I've wander'd wide,
   And o'er the lowlands I hae been;
But Phemie was the bonniest lass
   That ever trode the dewy green.
         Blythe, blythe, &c.

A young farmer then gave us "The Lothian Lassie;" and as my recollection is pretty good, I shall put Canadian Scots girls in the way to mind it as well as me, by repeating the first stanza: would I could sing it as I have heard it sung:—

Last May a braw wooer cam'd down the lang glen,
   And sair wi' his love he did deave me;
I said there was naething I hated like men,
   The deuce gae wi' 'm to believe me, believe me,
   The deuce gae wi' 'm to believe me.

What a chaste pleasure—what a gladdening influence over the most stoical mind, any of the following songs yield, when well sung to their own tunes, by a half dozen young ladies in the parlour, or by a chorus of bonnie lassies in the kitchen, as the former pursue their sewing and knitting, and the latter birr their wheels, and stir the sowens in an evening, in the opulent farmer's dwelling; or when heard in the most humble cottage of a Scottish peasant. Well might the farmer's dog, Luath, say, "And I for e'en down joy hae barkit wi' them."

Let these classes come to Upper Canada to-morrow, and they will tire of its dulness. Nature's face is fair enough; but after the traveller leaves the last faint sounds of the Canadian boatsman's song, as it dies on the still waters of the St. Lawrence, music will be done with.—I had forgotten however, I must now quote the songs alluded to; and I well can from memory:—

1. Gloomy winter's now awa'.
2. Roy's wife of Aldivalloch.
3. Beneath the pretty hawthorn that blooms in the vale.
4. And she showed him the way for to woo.
5. I gaed a waefu' gate yestreen.
6. John Anderson, my Joe, John, when we were first acquent.
7. Thy cheek is o' the roses hue, / My only joe and dearie, O.
8. Coming o'er the craigs o' Kyle.
9. O, lassie, art thou sleeping yet;—and the answer.
10. There's nae luck about the house, / There's nae luck ava'; / There's little pleasure in the house, / When our gudeman 's awa'.
11. The sun had gone down o'er the lofty Ben Lomond.
12. My uncle's dead—I've lands enew.
13. For lack of gold she's left me, O.
14. O' a the airths the wind can blaw.
15. when honey-dyed bells o'er the heather was spreading.
16. Loudon's bonny woods and braes.
17. The Highland Laddie.
18. Upon a summer's afternoon. / Awee afore the sun gaed down.
19. There's cauld kail in Aberdeen, the new way.
20. Mirk and rainy was the night.
21. My Pattie is a lover gay.
22. I'm wearin' awa', Jean, / Like sna' when its thaw, Jean.
23. Its Logie o' Buchan, o' Logie the laird.
24. With the garb of old Gaul, and the fire of old Rome.
25. Come under my plaide.
26. O' Bessie Bell and Mary Gray.
27. Ye banks and braes of bonny Doon.
28. The laird of the drum, a wooing has gone,— / And awa' in the morning early: / And he has spied a weel fa'red May, / A shearing her father's barley.
29. My bonny Lizzie Baillie.
30. Green grow the rushes, O!

I must have done—I have named so many songs to put my readers in mind of

"Auld lang syne;"

and I could add as many more, of truly Scottish origin, that I should like to see in Canada, as would fill up the "Advocate;" but I must stop—the politicians would complain. I have heard a few of these well sung in Canada—the last, a lintie in Queenston braes sings now and then. Would there were ten thousand such in Upper Canada!

The English version of the following line, is not near so pretty as the Scots original, which goes thus:—

'I once was a bachelor, both early and young,
And I courted a fair maid with a flattering tongue:
I courted her, I wooed her, I honoured her then,
And I promised to mary her, but never told her when.
      O, I never told her when," &c.

With this may be contrasted a verse of sir Walter Scott's Mary, in "The Pirate:"—

"O were there an island,
   Though ever so wild,
Where woman could smile, and
   No man be beguiled—
Too tempting a snare
   To poor mortals were given,
And the hope would fix there,
   That should anchor on heaven."

This is beguiling on both sides; but the latter stanzas finely express an idea fit for an oriental paradise.

There is another kind of ballads which, though akin to those I have named, are in many points essentially different:— and the first of this class,

"Duncan Gray came here to woo,"

when sung in chorus, would be almost enough to cause the venerable age of eighty-eight to shake a foot all over Scotland. A merry party, of which I was one, once tried "Duncan," on the Table Rock at Niagara Falls; and when we came to that line, where the poor neglected lover

"Spak o' loupin ower a linn,'

I thought we should have all died with laughing, the scene was so in unison with the stanza. Moore's two lovers, who—

      " 'thout pistol or dagger, a
Made a desperate dash down the Falls of Niagara,"

is good; but it is nothing to "Duncan Gray," sung by half a dozen tenor voices on the Table Rock.

I mean, when I have leisure, to continue these reminiscences of Scottish song, and as I at this time must have taxed the patience, and tried the politeness of my numerous Irish and English readers, I will, in some future number, leave Ramsay, Burns, Tannahill, and Ferguson—for Chaucer and Shakespeare, Goldsmith and Moore.

Tannahill has some pieces, scrace excelled by any of our Scottish poets—he has also a virtue which endears him to me beyond even Robert Burns. He does not often laud in song the drinking of ardent liquors. If, as a printer, I were to publish an American edition of Burns, I think I would leave his songs in praise of Highland whisky out. They have done much harm in his native land; and to spread them here, would be like firing a match.


This month may close with a delightful sonnet, from one of the best books put forth in recent years for daily use and amusement.


Now have young April and the blue eyed May
   Vanished awhile, and lo! the glorious June
   (While nature ripens in his burning noon,)
Comes like a young inheritor; and gay,
Altho' his parent months have passed away;
   But his green crown shall wither, and the tune
   That ushered in his birth be silent soon,
And in the strength of youth shall he decay.
What matters this—so long as in the past
   And in the days to come we live, and feel
   The present nothing worth, until it steal
      Away and, like a disappointment, die?
      For Joy, dim child of Hope and Memory,
Flies ever on before or follows fast.

Literary Pocket Book.


Mean Temperature   .   .   .   57   .   97.