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the Merry Wives of Windsor, "I never prospered since I foreswore myself at primero.' Act iv. sc. 5.
The mode of playing this curious game is thus described by Mr. Strutt, from Mr. Barrington's papers upon card-playing, in the eighth volume of the Archæologia:
"Each player had four cards dealt to him one by one, the seven was the highest card in point of number that he could avail himself of, which counted for twenty-one, the six counted for sixteen, the five for fifteen, and the ace for the same, but the two, the three, and the four, for their respective points only. The knave of heats was commonly fixed upon for the quinola, which the player might make what card or suit he thought proper; if the cards were of different suits, the highest number won the primero, if they were all of one colour he that held them won the flush."
2. Trump, nearly coeval in point of antiquity with primero, and introduced in "Gammer Gurton's Needle," a comedy, first acted in 1561, where Dame Chat, addressing Diccon, says,
"We be fast set at trump, man, hard by the fyre;"
and we learn from Decker that, in 1612, it was much in vogue :
"To speake," he remarks, "of all the sleights used by card-players in all sorts of games would but weary you that are to read, and bee but a thanklesse and unpleasing labour for me to set them down. Omitting, therefore, the deceipts practised (even in the fayrest and most civill companies) at Primero, Saint Maw, Trump, and such like games, I will, &c." +
3. Gleek. This game is alluded to twice by Shakspeare; and from a passage in Cook's "Green's Tu Quoque," appears to have been held in much esteem :—
"Scat. Come, gentlemen, what is your game?
it is then proposed to play either at twelve-penny gleek, or crown gleek.S
To these may be added, Gresco, Mount Saint, New Cut, Knave out of Doors, and Ruff, all of which are mentioned in old plays, and were favourites among our ancestors.*
Tables and Dice, enumerated by Burton after cards, include some games unknown to the present day; such as tray-trip, mum-chance, philosopher's game, novum, etc.; the first is noticed by Shakspeare in Twelfth Night, and appears, from a note by Mr. Tyrwhitt, to have been a species of draughts; the second was also a game at tables, and is coupled by Ben Jonson in the "Alchemist" with tray-trip; the third is mentioned by Burton, and is described by Mr. Strutt from a manuscript in the British Museum." It is called," says the author, “a number fight,' because in it men fight and strive together by the art of counting or numbering how one may take his adversary's king and erect a triumph upon the deficiency of his calculations;" and the fourth is introduced by Shakspeare in Love's Labour's Lost (Act v. sc. 2); "it was properly called Novum quinque," remarks Mr. Douce, 66 from the two principal throws of the dice, nine and five ;- -was called in French Quinque-nove, and is said to have been invented in Flanders." The immoralities to which dice have given birth, we are authorised in considering, from the proverbial phraseology of Shakspeare, to have been as numerous in
Belian of London, sig. F 2.
*Sports and Pastimes, 4to. 1810, P. 291, 292, Midsummer Night's Dream, act iii. sc. 1. In the Compleat Gamester, 2ad edit. 1676, p. 90, may be found the mode of playing this game. **The first of these games is mentioned in "Eastward Hoe, printed in 1605, and written by Ben Jonson, George Chapman, and John Marston; the second in the "Dumb Knight," the production of Lewis Machin, 1608; the third in "A Woman killed with Kindness," written by Thomas Heywood, 1617, where are also noticed Lodam, Noddy, Post and Pair, a species of Brag, Knave out of Doors, and Ruff, this last being something like Whist, snd played in four different ways, under the names of English Ruff, French Ruff, Double Ruff, and Wide Ruff.-Vide Ancient British Drama, vol. ii. p. 444, 445.
his time as at present. The expressions "false as dice,' "* and "false as dicers' oaths," will be illustrated by the following anecdote, taken from an anonymous MS. of the reign of James the First:
"Sir William Herbert, playing at dice with another gentleman, there rose some questions about a cast. Sir William's antagonist declared it was a four and a five; he as positively insisted that it was a five and a six; the other then swore with a bitter imprecation, that it was as he had said; Sir William then replied, Thou art a perjured knave; for give me a sixpence, and if there be a four upon the dice, I will return you a thousand pounds;' at which the other was presently bashed, for indeed the dice were false, and of a high cut, without a four."‡
Dancing was an almost daily amusement in the court of Elizabeth; the Queen was peculiarly fond of this exercise, as had been her father Henry the Eighth, and the taste for it became so general, during her reign, that a great part of the leisure of almost every class of society was spent, and especially on days of festivity, in dancing.
To dance elegantly was one of the strongest recommendations to the favour of Her Majesty; and her courtiers, therefore, strove to rival each other in this pleasing accomplishment; nor were their efforts, in many instances, unrewarded. Sir Christopher Hatton, we are told, owed his promotion, in a great measure, to his skill in dancing; and in accordance with this anecdote, Gray opens his " Long Story" with an admirable description of his merit in this department, which, as containing a most just and excellent picture, both of the architecture and manners of "the days of good Queen Bess,' as well as of the dress and agility of the knight, we with pleasure transcribe. Stoke-Pogeis, the scene of the narrative, was formerly in the possession of the Hattons:
"In Britain's isle, no matter where,
To raise the cieling's fretted height,
Fuil oft within the spacious walls,
The Brawl, a species of dance, here alluded to, is derived from the French word braule, indicating," observes Mr. Douce, "a shaking or swinging motion. It was performed by several persons uniting hands in a circle, and giving each other continual shakes, the steps changing with the tune. It usually consisted of three pas and a pied-joint, to the time of four strokes of the bow; which, being repeated, was termed a double brawl. With this dance, balls were usually opened."S
Shakspeare seems to have entertained as high an idea of the efficacy of a French brawl, as probably did Sir Christopher Hatton, when he exhibited before Queen Elizabeth; for he makes Moth in Love's Labour's Lost ask Armado,Master, will you win your love with a French brawl?" and he then exclaims, "These betray nice wenches." (Act iii. sc. 1.) That several dances were included under the term brawls, appears from a passage in Shelton's Don Quixote : -"After this there came in another artificial dance, of those called Brawles ;" and Mr. Douce informs us, that amidst a great variety of brawls, noticed in Thoinot Arbeau's treatise on dancing, entitled "Orchesographie," occurs a Scottish brawl; and he adds that this dance continued in fashion to the close of the seventeenth century.**
Another dance of much celebrity at this period, was the Pavin or Pavan, which, from the solemnity of its measure, seems to have been held in utter aversion by
• Winter's Tale, act i. sc. 2.
Strutt's Sports and Pastimes.Jp. 272.
+ Hamlet, act iii. sc. 4.
§ Illustrations, vol. i. p. 217.
Sir Toby Belch, who, in reference to his intoxicated surgeon, exclaims,-" Then he's a rogue. After a passy-measure, or a pavin, I hate a drunken rogue." This is the text of Mr. Tyrwhitt; but the old copy reads," Then he's a rogue, and a passy measure's pavyn," which is probably correct; for the pavan was rendered still more grave by the introduction of the passamezzo air, which obliged the dancers, after making several steps round the room, to cross it in the middle in a slow step or cinque pace. This alteration of time occasioned the term passamezzo to be prefixed to the name of several dances; thus we read of the passamezzo galliard, as well as the passamezzo pavan; and Sir Toby, by applying the latter appellation to his surgeon, meant to call him, not only a rogue, but a solemn coxcomb.
"The pavan, from pavo, a peacock," observes Sir J. Hawkins, "is a grave and majestick dance. The method of dancing it was anciently by gentlemen dressed with a cap and sword, by those of the long robe in their gowns, by princes in their mantles, and by ladies in gowns with long trains, the motion whereof in the dance resembled that of a peacock's tail. This dance is supposed to have been invented by the Spaniards, and its figure is given with the characters for the step, in the Orchesographia of Thoinot Arbeau.-Of the passamezzo little is to be said, except that it was a favourite air in the days of Queen Elizabeth. Ligon, in his History of Barbadoes, mentions a passamezzo galliard, which, in the year 1647, a Padre in that island played to him on the lute; the very same, he says, with an air of that kind which in Shakspeare's play of Henry the Fourth was originally played to Sir John Falstaff and Doll Tearsheet, by Sneak, the musician, there named."
Of equal gravity with the "doleful pavin," as Sir W. D'Avenant calls it, was "The Measure," to tread which was the relaxation of the most dignified characters in the state, and formed a part of the revelry of the inns of court, where the gravest lawyers were often found treading the measures. Shakspeare puns upon the name of this dance, and contrasts it with the Scotch jig, in Much Ado about Nothing, where he introduces Beatrice telling her cousin Hero,
"The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not woo'd in good time: if the prince be too important, tell him, there is measure in every thing, and so dance out the answer. For hear me, Hero: Wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinquepace: the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace faster, till he sink into his grave." Act ii. sc. 1.
A more brisk and lively step accompanied the Canary dance, which was, likewise, very fashionable :- "I have seen a medicine," says Lafeu in All's Well that Ends Well, alluding to the influence of female charms,
and Moth advises Armado, when dancing the brawl, to "Canary it" with his feet,
The mode of performing this dance, is thus given by Mr. Douce, from the treatise of Thoinot Arbeau:—
"A lady is taken out by a gentleman, and after dancing together to the cadences of the proper air, he leaps her to the end of the hall; this done he retreats back to the original spot, always looking at the lady. Then he makes up to her again, with certain steps, and retreats as before. His partner performs the same ceremony, which is several times repeated by both parties, with various strange fantastic steps, very much in the savage style." Vol. i. p. 221.
Beside the brawl, the pavan, the measure, and the canary, several other dances were in vogue, under the general titles of corantoes, lavoltos, jigs, galliards, and fancies, but the four which we have selected for more peculiar notice, appear to have been the most celebrated.
It is a melancholy proof of the imperfect state of civilisation during the reign
of Elizabeth, that the barbarous sport of Bear and Bull-baiting should have been as favourite a diversion of the court, nobility, and gentry, as of the lowest class of society. Indeed it would appear, from an order issued by the privy council, in July, 1591, that the populace had earlier than their superiors become tired of this cruel spectacle, and had given a marked preference to the amusements of the stage; for it is enacted in the above order, that there should be no plays publicly exhibited on Thursdays; because on Thursdays, bear-baiting and such like pastimes had been usually practised; and four days afterwards an injunction to the same effect was sent to the Lord Mayor, in which, after justly reprobating the performance of plays on the Sabbath, it is added, that on "all other days of the week in divers place the players do use to recite their plays to the great hurt and destruction of the game of bear-baiting, and like pastimes, which are maintained for her Majesty's pleasure."
History informs us that Elizabeth's pleasure was thus gratified at an early period of her life, and continued to be so to the close of her reign. When confined at Hatfield house, she, and her sister, Queen Mary, were recreated with a grand exhibition of bear-baiting, "with which their highnesses were right well content." Soon after she had ascended the throne, she entertained the French ambassadors with bear and bull-baiting, and stood a spectatress of the amusement until six in the evening; a similar exhibition took place the next day at Paris-Garden, for the same party; and even twenty-seven years posterior, Her Majesty could not devise a more welcome gratification for the Danish ambassador, than the display of such a spectacle at Greenwich.
So decided a partiality for this savage pastime would, of course, induce her courtiers to take care that their mistress should not be disappointed in this respect, and more especially when she honoured them with one of her periodical visits. Accordingly Laneham tells us, that when she was at Kenilworth Castle, in 1575, not less than thirteen bears were provided for her diversion, and that these were baited with a large species of ban-dogs.
An example thus set by royalty itself, soon spread through every rank, and bear and bull-baiting became one of the most general amusements in England. Shakspeare has alluded to it in more than twenty places, and it has equally attracted the notice of the foreign and domestic historian. Hentzner, whose Itinerary was printed in Latin, A. D. 1598, was a spectator at one of these exhibitions, which he describes in the following manner: speaking of the theatre, he says, "There is still another place, built in the form of a theatre, which serves for the baiting of bulls and bears; they are fastened behind, and then worried by great English bull-dogs, but not without great risque to the dogs, from the horns of the one, and the teeth of the other; and it sometimes happens they are killed on the spot; fresh ones are immediately supplied in the places of those that are wounded or tired." P. 29, 30. He then adds an account of a still more inhuman pastime:"To this entertainment, there often follows that of whipping a blinded bear, which is performed by five or six men, standing circularly with whips, which they exercise upon him without any mercy, as he cannot escape from them because of his chain; he defends himself with all his force and skill, throwing down all who come within his reach, and are not active enough to get out of it, and tearing the whips out of their hands, and breaking them." Stowe, in the edition of his Survey printed in 1618, remarks, that "as for the bayting of Bulles and Beares, they are till this day much frequented, namely, in Beare-gardens on the Bankside, wherein be prepared Scaffolds for beholders to stand upon." P. 147.
The admission to these gardens was upon easy terms, for we are told that the spectators paid "one pennie at the gate, another at the entrie of the scaffold, and a third for quiet standing." It was usual also for the bearward to parade the streets with his animal, who had frequently a monkey on his back and was preceded by a minstrel. The bear was generally complimented with the name of his keeper: thus, in Shakspeare's time, there was a celebrated one at Paris * Chalmers's Apology, p. 380. + Warton's Life of Sir T. Pope, p. 85.
Perambulation of Kent, 1570, p. 248.
Garden called Sackerson. "I have seen Sackerson loose," says Slender, "twenty times; and have taken him by the chain: but, I warrant you, the women have so cried and shriek'd at it, that it pass'd :-but women, indeed, cannot abide 'em; they are very ill-favoured rough things;" in the "Puritan" published in 1607, occurs one named George Stone; and in the "Humorous Lovers," by the Duke of Newcastle printed in 1617, Tom of Lincoln is the appellation of another.
A diversion infinitely more elegant and pleasing in all its accompaniments, once of great utilily, and unattended with the smallest vestige of barbarism or inhumanity, we have now to record as resulting from the use of the long bow, which, though greatly on the decline, in the days of Elizabeth, as a weapon of warfare, still lingered amongst us as a species of amusement. Various attempts, indeed, had been made by the nearly immediate predecessors of Elizabeth, to revive the use of the long bow as a military weapon; but with very partial success:
"The most famous, prudent, politike and grave prince K. Henry the 7," says Robinson, "was the first Phenix in chusing out a number of chiefe Archers to give daily attendance upon his person, whom he named his Garde. But the high and mighty renowned prince his son, K. H. 8, (ann. 1509) not onely with great prowes and praise proceeded in that which his father had begon; but also added greater dignity unto the same, like a most roial renowned David, enacting a good and godly statute (ann. 33. H. S. cap. 9) for the use and exercise of shooting in every degree. And further more for the maintenance of the same laudable exercise in this honourable city of London by his gratious charter confirmed unto the worshipful citizens of the same, this your now famous order of Knightes of Prince Arthure's Round Table or Society like as in his life time when he saw a good Archer indeede, he chose him and ordained such a one for a knight of the same order." +
To this "Auncient Order, Societie, and Unitie Laudable, of Prince Arthure,' as it was termed, and to which Shakspeare alludes, under the character of Justice Shallow, in the Second Part of King Henry the Fourth, Archery owed, for some time, considerable support; but ultimately it contributed to hasten its decline. Under the auspices of Prince Arthur, eldest son of King Henry VII., and who was so expert a bowman, that every skilful shooter was complimented with his name, the society flourished abundantly; its captain being honoured with his title, and the other members being termed his knights. His brother Henry was equally attached to the art, but unfortunately, having appointed a splendid match at shooting with the long bow, at Windsor, an inhabitant of Shoreditch, London, joining the archers, exhibited such extraordinary skill, that the King, delighted with his performance, humorously gave him the title of Duke of Shoreditch, an appellation which not only superseded the former title, but, being copied by the inferior members, in assuming the rank of Marquis, Earl, etc., threw such a degree of burlesque and ridicule over the business, as finally brought contempt upon the art itself.
The Society, however, still subsisted with much magnificence during the reign of Elizabeth; and in the very year that Robinson published his book in support of Archery, namely, in 1583,
"A grand shooting match was held in London, and the captain of the archers assuming his title of Duke of Shoreditch, summoned a suit of nominal nobility under the titles of Marquis of Barlo, of Clerkenwell, of Islington, of Hoxton, of Shacklewell, and Earl of Pancrass, etc., aud these meeting together at the appointed time, with their different companies, proceeded in a pompous march from Merchant Taylor's Hall, consisting of three thousand archers, sumptuously apparelled; nine hundred and forty-two of them having chains of gold about their necks. This splendid company was guarded by four thousand whifflers and billmen, besides pages and footmen. They passed through Broad-street, the residence of their captain, and thence into Moorfields, by Finsbury, and
M. W. of Windsor, act i. sc. 1.
The Auncient Order, Societie, and Vnitie Laudable, of Prince Arthure, and his knightly Armoury of the Round Table. With a Threefold Assertion frendly in favour and furtherance of English Archery at this day. Translated and Collected by R. R." (Richard Robinson) 4to. 1583.-Vide British Bibliographer, vol. i. p. 125, 127.