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all are well pleased with;" and he remarks shortly afterwards, "when three or four good companions meet, they tell old stories by the fire-side, or in the sun, as old folks usually do, remembering afresh and with pleasure antient matters, and such like accidents, which happened in their younger years." Milton also, in his "L'Allegro," first printed in 1645, gives a conspicuous station
——" to the spicy nut-brown ale,
"Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,
By whispering winds soon lull'd to sleep.†
The farmer's daily diet may be drawn with sufficient accuracy from the curious old Georgic of Tusser, a poem which, more than any other that we possess, throws light upon the agricultural manners and customs of the age. In Lent, says this entertaining bard, the farmer must in the first place consume his red herring, and afterwards his salt fish, which should be kept in store, indeed, and considered as good even when Lent is past; and with these leeks and peas should be procured for pottage, with the view of saving milk, oatmeal, and bread: at Easter veale and bacon are to be the chief articles; at Martilmas salted beef, "when country folk do dainties lack:" at Midsummer, when mackrel are out of season, grasse (that is sallads, etc.), fresh beef and pease: at Michaelmas fresh herring and fatted crones: at All Saints pork and souse, sprats and spurlings: at Christmas he enjoins the farmer to "plaie and make good cheere," and he concludes by advising him, as was the custom in Elizabeth's time, to observe Fridays, Saturdays, and Wednesdays as fish-days; to "keep embrings well and fasting dayes," and if fish and fruit be scarce, to supply their want with butter and cheese. To these recommendations he adds, in another place, that
"Good ploughmen look weekly, of custom and right,
and he subsequently gives directions for writing what he terms "husbandlie posies," that is, economical proverbs in rhyme, to be hung up in the Hall, the parlour, the ghest's chamber, and the good man's own bed chamber. **
If the farmer have a visitor, our worthy bard is not illiberal in his allowance, but advises him to place three dishes on his table at dinner, well dressed, which, says he, will be sufficient to please your friend, and will become your Hall.++
On days of feasting and rejoicing, however, it appears to have been a common custom for the guests to bring their victuals with them, forming as it were a picnic meal; thus, Harrison, describing the occasional mirth and hospitality of the farmer, says,
In feasting the husbandmen doo exceed after their manner: especiallie at bridalles, purifications of women, and such od meetings, where it is incredible to tell what meat is consumed and spent, ech one bringing such a dish, or so manie with him as his wife and he doo consult upon, but alwaies with this consideration, that the léefer fréend shall have the better provision. This also is commonlie séene at these bankets, that the good man of the house is not charged with any thing saving bread, drink, sauce, houseroome, and fire. (He then gives us the following naïve and pleasing picture of their festivity and content.) The husbandmen are sufficientlie liberall, and verie fréendlie at their tables, and when they meet, they are so merie without malice, and plaine without inward Italian or French craft and subtiltie, that it would doo a man good to be in companie among them. Herein only are the inferiour sort somewhat to be blamed, that being thus assembled, their talke is now and then such as savoureth of scurrilitie and ribaldrie, a thing
Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, p. 172, 173.. eighth edition of 1676.
Crones are ewes whose teeth are so worn down, that they can no longer live in their sheep-walk; but will sometimes, if put into good pasture, thrive exceedingly.
6 Tusser, 4to edit. 1586.. chap. 12. fol. 25, 26.
Ibid. of 1585. fol. 133.
Ibid. fol. 138. 144, 145.
naturallie incident to carters and clowns, who thinke themselves not to be merie and welcome, if their foolish veines in this behalfe be never so little restrained. This is moreover to be added in these meetings, that if they happen to stumble upon a péece of venison, and a cup of wine or verie strong beere or ale (which latter they commonlie provide against their appointed daies) they thinke their chéere so great, and themselves to have fared so well, as the lord Maior of London, with whome when their bellies be full they will not often sticke to make comparison, (saying, I have dined so well as my lord maior) because that of a subject there is no publike officer of anie citie in Europe, that may compare in port and countenance with him during the time of his office."
The dress of the farmer during the middle of the sixteenth century was plain and durable; consisting, for common purposes, of coarse gray cloth or fustian, in the form of trunk-hose, frock, or doublet.
To his account of the farmer's mode of living, it will be proper to add a brief description of his coadjutor in domestic economy, the English housewife, a personage of no small importance; for, as honest Tusser has justly observed,
"House keping and husbandry, if it be good,
Of the qualifications necessary to constitute this useful character, Gervase Markham has given us a very curious detail, in his work entitled "The English Housewife;" which, though not published until the close of the Shakspearian era, appears, from the dedication to Frances, Countess Dowager of Exeter, to have been written long anterior to its transmission to the press; for it is there said, "That much of it was a manuscript which many years ago belonged to an honourable Countess, one of the greatest glories of our kingdom." It is a delineation which, as supposed of easy practical application, does honour to the sex and to the age. After expatiating on the necessity of a religious example to her household, on the part of the good housewife, he thus proceeds:
“Next unto her sanctity and holiness of life it is meet that our English Housewife be a woman of great modesty and temperance, as well inwardly as outwardly; inwardly, as in her behaviour and carriage towards her husband, wherein she shall shun all violence of rage, passion and humour, coveting less to direct than to be directed, appearing ever unto him pleasant, amiable and delightful; and, tho' occasion of mishaps, or the mis-government of his will may induce her to contrary thoughts yet vertuously to suppress them, and with a mild sufferance rather to call him home from his error, than with the strength of anger to abate the least spark of his evil, calling into her mind, that evil and uncomely language is deformed, though uttered even to servants; but most monstrous and ugly, when it appears before the presence of a husband: outwardly, as in her apparel, and dyet, both which she shall proportion according to the competency of her husband's estate and calling, making her circle rather strait than large for it is a rule, if we extend to the uttermost, we take away increase; if we go a hairs bredth beyond, we enter into consumption: but if we preserve any part, we build strong forts against the adversaries of fortune, provided that such preservation be honest and conscionable: for as lavish prodigality is brutish, so miserable covetousness is hellish. Let therefore the Housewife's garments be comely and strong, made as well to preserve the health, as to adorn the person, altogether without toyish garnishes, or the gloss of light colours, and as far from the vanity of new and fantastick fashions, as near to the comely imitation of modest matrons. Let her dyet be wholesome and cleanly, prepared at due hours, and cook'd with care and diligence; let it be rather to satisfie nature, than her affections, and apter to kill hunger than revive new appetites; let it proceed more from the provision of her own yard, than the furniture of the markets; and let it be rather esteemed for the familiar acquaintance she hath without it, than for the strangeness and rarity it bringeth from other countries.
"To conclude, our English Housewife must be of chast thoughts, stout courage, patient, untired, watchful, diligent, witty, pleasant, constant in friendship, full of good neighbour-hood,
Holinshed, vol. i. p. 282.
Tusser, first edit. of 1557, title-page.
The English House-Wife, containing the inward and outward vertues which ought to be in a Compleat Woman. Ninth edition, 1683. Dedication.
wise in discourse, but not frequent therein, sharp and quick of speech, but not bitter or talkative, secret in her affairs, comfortable in her counsels, and generally skilful in the worthy knowledges which do belong to her vocation.'
These knowledges, he then states, should consist in an intimacy with domestic physic, with cookery, with the distillation of waters, with the making and dying of cloth, with the conduct of dairies, and with malting, brewing, and baking; for all which he gives very ample directions. Markham, indeed, seems to have taken the greater part of this picture from his predecessor Tusser, in whose poems on husbandry may be found, among many others, the following excellent precepts for the conduct of the good house-wife :
"In Marche and in Aprill from morning to night:
in sowing and setting good huswives delight.
Have millons at Mihelmas, parsneps in lent :
From Aprill begin til saint Andrew be past:
so long with good huswives their dairies doe last.
But huswives, that learne not to make their owne cheese :
Where some of a kowe maketh yerely a pounde:
Then neighbour (for god's sake) if any such be;
if you know a good servant, waine her to me.
Such maister suche man, and such mistres such mayde:
For flax and for hemp, for to have of her owne :
Good husbandes abrode seketh al wel to have:
But it is in "The points of Huswifry united to the comfort of Husbandry," of the good old poet, that we recognise the most perfect picture of the domestic economy of agricultural life in the days of Elizabeth. This material addition to the husbandry of our author appeared in 1570, and embraces a complete view of the province of the Huswife, with all her daily labours and duties, which are divided into-1st, Morning Works; 2dly, Breakfast Doings; 3dly, Dinner Matters; 4thly, Afternoon Works; 5thly, Evening Works; 6thly, Supper-Matters; and 7thly, After-Supper Matters.
From the details of this arrangement we learn, that the servants in summer rose at four, and in winter at five o'clock; that in the latter season they were called to breakfast on the appearance of the day-star, and that the huswise herself was the carver and distributer of the meat and pottage. We find, likewise, and
* English House Wife, p. 2, 3, 4.
+ Tusser, first edit. p. 14, 15.
it is the only objectionable article in the admonitions of the poet, that he recommends his dame not to scold, but to thrash heartily her maids when refractory; and he adds a circumstance rather extraordinary, but at the same time strongly recommendatory of the effects of music, that
"Such servants are oftenest painfull and good,
That sing in their labour, as birds in the wood."
Dinner, he enjoins, should be taken at noon; should be quickly dispatched; and should exhibit plenty, but no dainties.
The bare table, he observes, will do as well, as if covered with a cloth, which is liable to be cut; and that wooden and pewter dishes and tin vessels for liquor are the best, as most secure; and then, with his accustomed piety, he advises the regular use of grace
"At dinner, at supper, at morning, at night,
Give thanks unto God."
As soon as dinner is over, the servants are again set to work, and he very humanely adds,
"To servant in seikness, see nothing ye grutch,
A thing of a trifle shall comfort him much."
Many precepts, strictly economical, then follow, in which the huswife is directed to save her parings, drippings, and skimmings for the sake of her poultry, and for "medicine for cattle, for cart, and for shoe;" to employ the afternoon, like a good sempstress, in making and mending; to keep her maids cleanly in their persons, to call them quarterly to account, to mark and number accurately her linen, to save her feathers, to use little spice, and to make her own candle.
The business of the evening commences with preparations for supper, as soon as the hens go to roost; the hogs are then to be served, the cows milked, and as night comes on, the servants return, but none empty-handed, some bringing in wood, some logs, etc. The cattle, both without and within doors, are next to be attended to, all clothes brought into the house, and no door left unbolted, and the duties of the evening close with this injunction:
"Thou woman, whom pity becometh the best,
Grant all that hath laboured time to take rest.”
Supper now is spread, and the scene opens with an excellent persuasive to cheerfulness and hospitality:
"Provide for thy husband, to make him good cheer,
Whatever God sendeth, be merry withall.
No taunts before servants, for hindering of fame,
The servants are then ordered to be courteous, and attentive to each other, especially at their meals, and directions are given for the next morning's work. The last section, entitled "After-supper matters," is introduced and terminated in a very moral and impressive manner. The first couplet tells us to
"Remember those children, whose parents be poor,
the bandog is then ordered to have the bones and the scraps; the huswife looks carefully to the fire, the candle, and the keys; the whole family retire to rest, at nine in winter, and at ten in summer, and the farmer's day closes with four lines which ought to be written in letters of gold, and which, if duly observed, would ensure a great portion of the happiness obtainable by man;
"Be lowly, not sullen, if aught go amiss;
What wresting may lose thee, that win with a kiss.
Mavor's Tusser, p. 247. ad p. 270.
Even this, and every other description of the duties of the Huswife, may be traced to "The Book of Husbandry," written by Sir Anthony Fitzherbert, of Norbury, in Derbyshire. !
This gentleman, who was a Judge of the Common Pleas, in the reign of Henry the Eighth, is justly entitled to the appellation of the father of English Husbandry." His work, the first edition of which was printed by Richard Pynson, in 1523, 4to., underwent not less than eleven editions during the sixteenth century, and soon excited among his countrymen a most beneficial spirit of emulation. Notwithstanding these numerous impressions, there are probably not ten complete copies left in the kingdom.
One of these is, however, now before me, included in a thick duodecimo, of which the first article is Xenophon's treatise of householde," black letter, title wanting; the colophon," Imprinted At London in fletestrete in the house of Thomas Berthelet. Cum privilegio ad imprimendum solum." No date. The second article is "The booke of Husbandrye verye profitable and necessary for all maner of persons, newlye corrected and amended by the auctor fitzherbard, with dyvers addicions put thereunto. Anno do. 1555." black letter. Colophon, Imprinted at London in Flete strete at the signe of the Sunne over agaynst the Conduit by John Weylande." Sixty-one leaves, exclusive of the table. The third article is entitled " Surveyinge," An. 1546. Colophon, "Londini in ædibus Thome Berthelet typis impress. Cum privilegio ad imprimendum solum." Contains sixty leaves, black letter.
From "The booke of husbandrye," I shall extract the detail of huswifely duties, as a specimen of the work, and as a proof of the assertion at the commencement of this note.
"First in the mornyng when thou art waked and purpose to rise, lift up thy hand, and blis the and make a signe of the holy crosse. In nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti. Amen. In the name of the father y sonne, and the holy gost. And if thou saye a Paternoster, an Ave and a Crede, and remembre thy maker thou shalte spede much the better, and when thou art up and readye, then firste swepe thy house dresse up the dysshe bord, and set al thynges in good order within thy house, milke ye kie, socle thy calves, sile by thy milke, take up thy children, and aray them, and provide for thy husbande's breakefaste, diner, souper, and for thy children and servauntes, and take thy parte wyth them. And to ordeyne corne and malt to the myll, to bake and brue withal when nede is. And mete it to the myl and fro the inyl, and se that thou have thy mesure agayne besides the tole or els the mylner dealeth not truly wyth the, or els thy corne is not drye as it should be, thou must make butter and chese when thou may, serve thy swine both mornynge and eveninge, and give thy polen meate in the mornynge, and when tyme of yeare cometh thou must take hede how thy henne, duckes and geese do ley, and to gather up their egges and when they waxe broudy to set them there as no beastes, swyne, nor other vermyne hurt them, and thou must know that al hole foted foule wil syt a moneth and all cloven foted foule wyll syt but three wekes except a peyhen and suche other great foules as craynes, bustardes, and suche other. And when they have brought forth theyr birdes to se that they be well kepte from the gleyd, crowes fully martes and other vermyn, and in the begynyng of March, or a lytle before is time for a wife to make her garden and to get as manye good sedes and herbes as she can, and specyally such as be good for the pot and for to eate and as ofte as nede shall require it must be weded, for els the wede wyll over grow the herbes, and also in Marche is time to sowe flaxe and hempe for I have heard olde huswyves say, that better is Marche hurdes than Apryll flaxe, the reason appereth, but howe it shoulde bee sowen, weded, pulled, repealed, watred, washen, dried, beten, braked, tawed, hecheled, spon, wounden, wrapped and oven, it nedeth not for me to shewe, for they be wyse ynough, and thereof may they make shetes, bordclothes, towels, shertes, smockes, and suche other necessaryes, and therefore lette thy dystaffe be alwaye redy for a pastyme, that thou be not ydell. And undoubted a woman can not get her livinge honestly with spinning on the dystaffe, but it stoppeth a gap and must nedes be had. The bolles of flaxe when they be rypled of, must be rediled from the wedes and made dry with the sunne to get out the sedes. Now be it one maner of linsede called loken sede wyll not open by the sunne, and therefore when they be drye they must be sore brusen and broken the wyves know how, and then wynowed and kept dry til peretime cum againe. Thy femell hempe must be pulled fro the chucle hempe for this beareth no sede and thou must doe by it as thou didest by the flaxe. The chucle hempe doth beare sede; and thou must be ware that birdes eate it not as it groweth, the hempe thereof is not so good as the femel hempe, but yet it wil do good service. It may fortune sometime that thou shalte have so many thinges to do that thou shalte not wel know where is best to begyn. Then take hede which thing should be the greatest losse if it were not done and in what space it woulde be done, and then thinke what is the greatest los and ther begin. But I put case that, that thing that is of the greatest losse wyll be longe in doing, that thou might do thre or iiij other thinges in the meane whyle then loke wel if all these thinges were set togyther whiche of them were greatest losse, and yf these thynges be of greater losse, and may be al done in as shorte space as the other, then do thy many thinges fyrst. It is convenient for a husbande to have shepe of his owne for many causes, and then may his wife have part of the wooll to make her husbande and her selfe sum clothes. And at the least waye she may have the lockes of the shepe therwith to make clothes or blankets, and coverlets, or both. And if she have no wol of her owne she maye take woll to spynne of cloth makers, and by that meanes she may have a convenient living, and many tymes to do other workes. It is a wives occupacion to winow al maner of cornes, to make malte, wash and wring, to make hey, to shere corne, and in time of nede to helpe her husbande to fyll the mucke wayne or donge carte, dryve the plough, to lode hay corne and such other. Also to go or ride to the market to sell butter, chese, mylke, egges, chekens, kapons, hennes, pygges, gees, and al maner of corne. And also to bye al maner of necessary thinges belonging to a houshold, and to make a true rekening and accompt to her husband what she hath receyved and what she hathe payed. And yf the husband go to the market to bye or sell as they ofte do, he then to shew his wife in lyke maner. For if one of them should use to disceive the other, he disceyveth himselfe, and he is not lyke to thryve, and therfore they must be true ether to other. I could peraventure shew the husbande of divers pointes