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He takes it out with such long wind,
I shall be happy if this will afford the That he'll not leave one drop behind. readers of the Every-Day Book any in
formation concerning the harvest customs Behold and see what he can do,
of this county.
I am, Sir, &c.
6. . X.
A valuable correspondent transmits a
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.
Sir,-As the harvest has now become There was a man from London came, very general, I am reminded of a circumWith a rum-bum-bum-bare-larum ;
stance, which I think worthy of communiDrink up your glass for that's the game,
cating to you. After the wheat is all cut, And say ne'er a word, except—Mum. on most farms in the north of Devon, the
harvest people have a custom of “ crying The great object is to start something the neck." "I believe that this practice is which will catch some unguarded reply seldom omitted on any large farm in that in lieu of saying “Mum,” when the party so unguardedly' replying, is fined to drink part of the country. "It is done in this
way. An old man, or some one else well two glasses. For the beginning of Harvest there is acquainted with the ceremonies used on
the occasion, (when the labourers are this
reaping the last field of wheat,) goes round Harvest Song
to the shocks and sheaves, and picks out
a little bundle of all the best ears he can Now Lammas comes in,
find; this bundle he ties up very neat Our harvest begin,
and trim, and plats and arranges the We have done our endeavours to get the straws very tastefully. This is called the corn in;
neck" of wheat, or wheaten-ears. After We reap and we mow, And we stoutly blow
the field is cut out, and the pitcher once And cut down the corn
more circulated, the reapers, binders, and That did sweetly grow. the women, stand round in a circle. The
person with “ the neck” stands in the cenThe poor old man
tre, grasping it with both his hands. He That can hardly stand,
first stoops and holds it near the ground, Gets up in the morning, and do all he can, and all the men forming the ring, take of Gets up, &c.
their hats, stooping and holding them I hope God will reward
with both hands towards the ground. Such old harvest man. They then all begin at once in a very pro
longed and harmonious tone to cry But the man who is lazy
neck !" at the same time slowly raising And will not come on,
themselves upright, and elevating their He slights his good master
arms and hats above their heads; the And likewise his men ;
person with the neck” also raising it on We'll pay him his wages
high. This is done three times. They
then change their cry to “wee yen!"-
way yen !”—which they sound in the
same prolonged and slow manner as beNow harvest is over
fore, with singular harmony and effect, We'll make a great noise,
three times. This last cry is accompanied Our master, he says,
by the same movements of the body and You are welcome, brave boys ;
arms as in crying “ the neck.” I know We'll broach the old beer,
nothing of vocal music, but I think I may And we'll knock along,
convey some idea of the sound, by giving And now we will sing an old harvest song you the following cotes in gamut.
have 66 we
We Let these notes be played on a flute that they mean by with perfect crescendos and diminuendoes, ended. It may more probably mean and perhaps some notion of this wild end,” which the uncouth and provincial sounding cry may be formed. Well, pronunciation has corrupted into “ after having thus repeated “the neck" yen!"
I am, Sir, three times, and “wee yen” or
Your obedient servant, yen" as often, they all burst out into a July, 1826.
R. A. R. kind of loud and joyous laugh, Alinging P. S. In the above hastily written up their hats and caps into the air, caper- count, I should have mentioned that “ the ing about and perhaps kissing the girls. neck” is generally hung up in the farmOne of them then gets“ the neck," and house, where it remains sometimes three runs as hard as he can down to the farm
or four years. I have written“ we yen, house, where the dairy-maid, or one of because I have always heard it so prothe young female domestics, stands at the nounced ; they may articulate it differdoor prepared with a pail of water. If ently in other parts of the country. he who holds “ the neck" caz manage to get into the house, in any way unseen, or
Essex, openly, by any other way than the door
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book. at which the girl stands with the pail of water, then he may lawfully kiss her; but,
Sir,--As harvest has began in various if otherwise, he is regularly. soused' with counties, I beg leave to give you a desthe contents of the bucket. On a fine cription of what is called the “harvest still autumn evening, the “crying of the supper,” in Essex, at the conclusion of
After the conclusion of the harvest, a
the supper, the following is sung by the
Here's a health to our master,
The lord of the feast, know that some of them were four miles
God bless his endeavours, off. They are heard through the quiet
And send him increase; evening air, at a considerable distance
May prosper his crops, boys, sometimes. But I think that the practice
That we may reap another year,
Here's your master's good health, boys,
Come, drink off your beer.
I am, &c.
It is the advice of the most popular Til Ploughmán thou givest of our old writers on husbandry, that
his harvest home gouse ; In harvest time, harvest folke,
Though goose goe in stubble,
I passe not for that,
goose have a goose,
be she lean, be she fat. good cheere in the hall :
Tusser. And fill out the black bole, of bleith to their song,
Whereon “ Tusser Redivivus” notes, And let them be merry
that “the goose is forfeited, if they all harvest time long.
overthrow during harvest." A MS. Once ended thy harvest,
note on a copy of Brand's “ Antiquities,” let none be beguilde,
lent to the editor, cites from Boys's Please such as did please thee,
“Sandwich,” an item “35 Hen. VIII. man, woman, and chlild. Thus doing, with alway
Spent when we ete our harvyst goose such help as they can,
iijs. vid. and the goose xd." Thou winnest the praise
In France under Henry IV. it is cited of the labouring man.
by Mr. Brand from Seward, that “after
Tusser. the harvest, the peasants fixed upon some “Tusser Redivivus” says, “This, the poor regale, (by them called the harvest gos
holiday to meet together and have a little labourer thinks, crowns all; a good supper ling) to which they invited not only each must be provided, and every one that did any thing towards the Inning must other, but even their masters, who pleased
them now have some reward, as ribbons, laces,
very much when they condescended rows of pins to boys and girls, if never
to partake of it.” so small,' for their encouragement, and, to be sure, plumb-pudding. The men must now have some better than best
According to information derived by drink, which, with a little tobacco and Mr. Brand, it was formerly the custom their screaming for their largesses, their
at Hitchin, in Hertfordshire, for each business will soon be done."
farmer to drive furiously home with the
last load of his corn, while the people Harvest Goose.
ran after him with bowls full of water in For all this good feasting,
order to throw on it; and this usage was yet art thou not loose,
accompanied with great shouting.
Who has not seen the cheerful harvest-home,
Unfolds its sunny lustre, and the dew
To the brook
It was formerly the custom in the whole band, and the evening spent in parish of Longforgan, in the county of joviality and dancing, while the fortunate Perth North Britain, to give what was lass who took the maiden was the queen called a maiden feast. Upon the of the feast; after which this handful of finishing of the barvest the last handful corn was dressed out generally in the form of corn reaped in the field was called of a cross, and hung up with the date of the maiden. This was generally con- the year, in some conspicuous part of the trived to fall into the hands of one of the house. This custom is now entirely done finest girls in the field, and was dressed away, and in its room each shearer is up with ribands, and brought home in given sixpence and a loaf of bread. Howtriumph with the music of fiddles or bag- ever, some farmers, when all their corns pipes. A good dinner was given to the are brought in, give their servants a dinner
and a jovial evening, by way of harvesthome."
The festiral of the in-gathering in Scotland, is poetically described by the elegant author of the “ British Georgics."
• Statistical Account of Scotland.
The fields are swept, a tranquil silence reigns,
Bright now the shortening day, and blythe its close,
When ended the repast, and board and bench