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are told, for instance, that as the Earl of Cumberland stood before Elizabeth she dropped her glove; and on his picking it up graciously desired him to keep it. He caused the trophy to be encircled with diamonds; and ever after, at all tilts and tourneys, bore it conspicuously placed in front of his high crowned hat. Jousting and tilting in honour of the ladies (by whom prizes were awarded) continued still to be a favourite diversion. There were annual contentions in the lists in honour of the sovereign, and twenty-five persons of the first rank established a society of arms for this purpose, of which the chivalric Sir Henry Lee was for some time president.
The "romance of chivalry " was sinking to be succeeded by the heavier tomes of Gomberville, Scudery, &c., but the extension of classical knowledge, the vast strides in acquirement of various kinds, the utter change, so to speak, in the system of literature, all contributed to the downfall of the chivalric romance. Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia introduced a rage for high-flown pastoral effusions; and now too was re-born that taste for metaphorical effusion and spiritual romance, which was first exhibited in the fourth century in the Bishop of Tricca's romance of "Barlaam and Josaphat," and which now pervaded the fast-rising puritan party, and was afterwards fully developed in that unaccountably fascinating work, "The Pilgrim's Progress." Nevertheless, as yet
"Courted and caress'd, High placed in hall, a welcome guest,"
the harper poured to lord and lady gay not indeed "his unpremeditated lay," but a poetical abridgment (the precursor of a fast succeeding race of romantic ballads) of the doughty deeds of renowned knights, so amply expatiated upon in the timehonoured folios of the " olden time." The wandering harper, if fallen somewhat from his "high estate," was still a recognised and welcome guest; his c< matter being for the most part stories of old time, as the tale of Sir Topas, the reportes of Bevis of Southampton, Guy of Warwicke, Adam Bell, and Clymme of the Clough, and such other old romances or historical rhimes." Though the character of the minstrel gradually lost respectability, yet for a considerable part of Elizabeth's reign it was one so fully acknowledged, that a peculiar garb was still attached to the office.
"Mongst these, some bards there were that in their sacred rage
The superstitions of various kinds, the omens, the warnings, the charms, the "potent spells" of the wizard seer, which
"Could hold in dreadful thrall the labouring moon,
the supernatural agents, the goblins, the witches, the fairies, the satyrs, the elves, the fauns, the "shapes that walk," the
"Uncharnel'd spectres, seen to glide Along the lone wood's unfrequented path"—
the being and active existence of all these was considered " true as holy writ" by our ancestors of the Elizabethan age. On this subject we will transcribe a beautifully illustrative passage from Warton:—
"Every goblin of ignorance" (says he) " did not vanish at the first glimmerings of the morning of science. Reason suffered a few demons still to linger, which she chose to retain in her service under the guidance of poetry. Men believed, or were willing to believe, that spirits were yet hovering around, who brought with them airs from heaven, or blasts from hell; that the ghost was duly relieved from his prison of torment at the sound of the curfew, and that fairies imprinted mysterious circles on the turf by moonlight. Much of this credulity was even consecrated by the name of science and profound speculation. Prospero had not yet broken and buried his staff, nor drowned his book deeper than did ever plummet sound. It was now that the alchemist and the judicial astrologer conducted his occult operations by the potent intercourse of some preternatural being, who came obsequious to his call, and was bound to accomplish his severest services, under certain conditions, and for a limited duration of time. It was actually one of the pretended feats of these fantastic philosophers to evoke the queen of the fairies in the solitude of a gloomy grove, who,
preceded by a sudden rustling of the leaves, appeared in robes of transcendant lustre. The Shakspeare of a more instructed and polished age would not have given us a magician darkening the sun at noon, the sabbath of the witches, and the cauldron of incantation."
It were endless, and indeed out of place here, to attempt to specify the numberless minor superstitions to which this credulous tendency of the public mind gave birth or continuation; or the marvels of travellers,—as the Anthropophagi, the Ethiops with four eyes, the Hippopodes with their nether parts like horses, the Arimaspi with one eye in the forehead, and the Monopoli who have no head at all, but a face in their breast—which were all devoutly credited. One potent charm, however, we are constrained to particularise, since its infallibility was mainly dependent on the needlewoman's skill. It was a waistcoat which rendered its owner invulnerable: we believe that if duly prepared it would be found proof not only against * silver bullets," but also against even the " charmed bullet" of German notoriety. Thus runs the charm :—
"On Christmas daie at night, a thread must be sponne of flax, by a little virgine girle, in the name of the divell; and it must be by hir woven, and also wrought with the needle. In the brest or forepart thereof must be made with needleworke two heads; on the head at the right side must be a hat and a long beard, and the left head must have on acrowne, and it must be so horrible that it maie resemble Belzebub; and on each side of the wastcote must be wrought a crosse."
The newspaper, that now mighty political engine, that " thewe and sinew" of the fourth estate of the realm, took its rise in Elizabeth's day. How would her legislators have been overwhelmed with amazement could they have beheld, in dim perspective, this child of the press, scarcely less now the offspring of the imagination than those chimeras of their own time to which we have been alluding; and would not the wrinkled brow of the modern politician be unconsciously smoothened, would not the careworn and profound diplomatist "gather up his face into a smile before he was aware," if the First NewsPaper were suddenly placed before him? It is not indeed in existence, but was published under the title of" The English Mer curie" in April, 1588, on the first appearance near the shores of England of the Spanish Armada, a crisis which caused this innovation on the usual public news-letter circulated in manuscript. No. 50, dated July 23, 1588, is the first now in existence; and as the publication only began in April, it shows they must have been issued frequently. We have seen this No. 50, which is preserved in the British Museum.*
In it are no advertisements—no fashions—no law reports—no court circular—no fashionable arrivals —no fashionable intelligence—no murders—no robberies—no reviews—no crim. cons.—no elopements —no price of stocks—no mercantile intelligence— no police reports—no "leaders,"—no literary memoranda—no poets' corner—no spring meetings— no radical demonstrations—no conservative dinners —but
* Sloane MSS. No. 4106.