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describing a zealous brother, the author tells us : “ He denounceth
a heavy woe upon all wakes, summerings, and rushbearings, preferring that act whereby pipers were made rogues by Act of Parliament, before any in all the Acts and Monuments." In the same work, p. 19 (second part), speaking of a pedlar, the author says: “A countrey rush-bearing, or morrice-pastoral, is his festival ; if ever he aspire to plum-porridge, that is the day. Here the guga-girles gingle it with his neat nifles.” So, also, in A Boulster Lecture, 1640, p. 78, we find : “Such an one as not a rush-bearer or May-morrish in all that parish could subsist without him.” Notices of the custom of rush-bearing in different parts of Derbyshire will be found in Glover's History and Gazetteer of the County of Derby, i. 259, 260.
[The rush-bearing, according to Lucas, is in this manner: They cut hard rushes from the marsh, which they make up into long bundles, and then dress them in fine linen, silk ribands, flowers, &c. Afterwards, the young women in the village, who perform the ceremony that year, take up the burdens erect, and begin the procession (precedence being always given to the churchwarden's burden), which is attended with music, drums, &c. Setting down their burdens in the church, they strip them of their ornaments, leaving the heads or crowns of them decked with flowers, cut papers, &c. Then the company return and cheerfully partake of a cold collation, and spend the remaining part of the day and night in dancing round a maypole, adorned with flowers.]
Bridges, in his History of Northamptonshire, i. 187, speaking of the parish of Middleton Chenduit, says: “It is a custom here to strew the church in summer with hay gathered from six or seven swaths in Ash-meadow, which have been given for this purpose. The rector finds straw in winter.”
In Ireland, “ on the Patron Day,” according to Sir Henry Piers, 1682, in most parishes, as also on the feasts of Easter and Whitsuntide, the more ordinary sort of people meet near the alehouse in the afternoon, on some convenient spot of ground, and dance for the cake; here, to be sure, the piper fails not of diligent attendance. The cake to be danced for is provided at the charge of the alewife, and is advanced on a board on the top of a pike about ten feet high ; this board is round, and from it riseth a kind of a garland, beset and tied round with meadow-flowers, if it be early in the summer ; if later, the garland has the addition of apples, set round on pegs, fastened unto it. The whole number of dancers begin all at once in a large ring, a man and a woman, and dance round about the bush (so is this garland called) and the piper as long as they are able to hold out. They that hold out longest at the exercise win the cake and apples, and then the alewife's trade goes on.
CARTERS' INTERJECTIONS. PERHAPs it will be thought no uninteresting article in this little code of Vulgar Antiquities to mention a well-known interjection used by the country people to their horses, when yoked to a cart, &c., Heit or Heck! I find this used in the days of Chaucer, in the Friar's Tale :
• They saw a cart that charged was with hay,
The which a carter drove forth on his way:
The Fiend, quoth he, you fetch, body and bones !” The name of Brok is still, too, in frequent use amongst farmers' draught oxen.
A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for August 1799, lxix. 659, derives Woohe! the well-known exclamation to stop a team of horses, from the Latin. “The exclamation used by our waggoners when they wish, for any purpose, to stop their team (an exclamation which it is less difficult to speak than to write, although neither is a task of great facility), is probably a legacy bequeathed us by our Roman ancestors; precisely a translation of the ancient classical Ohe! an interjection strictly confined to bespeaking a pause-rendered by our lexicographers, Enough! Oh, enough!
Ohe, jam satis est-Ohe, Libelle.'” A learned friend, whose communications I have frequently had occasion to acknowledge in the course of this work, says: “The exclamation 'Geho, geho,' which carmen use to their horses, is probably of great antiquity. It is not peculiar to this country, as I have heard it used in France.
In the story of the milkmaid who kicked down her pail, and with it all her hopes of getting rich, as related in a very ancient collection of apologues, entitled Dialogus Creaturarum, printed at Gouda, in 1480, is the following passage: •Et cum sic gloriaretur, et cogitaret cum quanta gloria duceretur ad illum virum super equum dicendo gio gio, cepit pede percutere terram quasi pungeret equum calcaribus.'
FEAST OF INGATHERING. MACROBIUS tells us! that, among the Heathens, the masters of families, when they had got in their harvest, were wont to feast with their servants who had laboured for them in tilling the ground. In exact conformity to this, it is common among Christians, when the fruits of the earth are gathered in and laid in their proper repositories, to provide a plentiful supper for the harvest-men and the servants of the family. At this entertainment all are, in the modern revolutionary idea of the word, perfectly equal. Here is no distinction of persons, but master and servant sit at the same table, converse freely together, and spend the remainder of the night in dancing, singing, &c., in the most easy familiarity.
Bourne thinks the original of both these customs is Jewish, and cites Hospinian, who tells us that the Heathens copied after this custom of the Jews, and at the end of the harvest offered up their first fruits to the gods.2 For the Jews rejoiced and feasted at the getting in of the harvest.
I "Patres familiarum, et frugibus et fructibus jam coactis, passim cum servis vescerentur, cum quibus patientiam laboris in colendo rure toleraverant.”—Macrob. Saturnal. Die prim. cap. 10. Antiquitus consuetudo fuit apud Gentiles, quod hoc mense servi, pastores, et ancillæ quadam Jibertate fuerentur; et cum dominis suis dominarentur, et cum eis facerent testa et convivia, post collectas messes.”—Durand. Rat. vi. c. 86.
? " Et pro collectis frugibus Deo gratiæ agebantur. Quem morem Ethnici postea ab iis mutuati sunt."—Hospin. de Ori Fest. Jud. Stukius Antiq. Conviv. p. 63. Theophylact mentions “Scenopegia, quod celebrant in gratiarum actionem propter convectas fruges in mense Septembri. Tunc enim gratias agebant Deo, convectis omnibus fructibus," &c.Theoph. in 7 cap. Joan.
This festivity is undoubtedly of the most remote antiquity. That men in all nations where agriculture flourished should have expressed their joy on this occasion by some outward ceremonies has its foundation in the nature of things. Sowing is hope; reaping, fruition of the expected good. To the husbandman, whom the fear of wet, blights, &c., has harassed with great anxiety, the completion of his wishes could not fail of imparting an enviable feeling of delight. Festivity is but the reflex of inward joy, and it could hardly fail of being produced on this occasion, which is a temporary suspension of every care.
The respect shown to servants at this season seems to have sprung from a grateful sense of their good services. Everything depends at this juncture on their labour and despatch. Vacina, (or Vacuna, so called as it is said à vacando, the tutelar deity, as it were, of rest and ease,) among the ancients, was the name of the goddess to whom rustics sacrificed at the conclusion of harvest.
In Tusser's Five Hundred Points of Husbandry, under the month of August are the following lines :
“ Grant, harvest-lord, more by a penny or two,
To call on his fellowes the better to doo:
On which is this note in Tusser Redivivus, 1744, p. 100: “He that is the lord of harvest is generally some stayd, sober-working man, who understands all sorts of harvest-work. If he be of able body he commonly leads the swarth in reaping and mowing. It is customary to give gloves to reapers, especially where the wheat is thistly. As to crying a largess, they need not be reminded of it in these our days, whatever they were in our author's time.” [The following curious liues “Upon the Norfolk Largess,” are taken from the Norfolk Drollery, 1673, pp. 73-4:
“We have a custom, no where else is known,
For here we reap, where nothing e'er was sown;
Here ye must pence, as well as prayrs bestow,
Reap in the field, and glean in the high-ways."] Mr. Stevenson, in the Twelve Moneths, 1661, p. 37, speaking of August, thus glances at the customs of Harvest Home: “ The furmenty-pot welcomes home the harvest-cart, and the garland of flowers crowns the captain of the reapers; the battle of the field is now stoutly fought. The pipe and the tabor are now busily set a-work'; and the lad and the lass will have no lead on their heels. O'tis the merry time wherein honest neighbours make good cheer, and God is glorified in his blessings on the earth.” The following is in Herrick's Hesperides, p. 113:
“The Hock-cart, or Harvest-home : to the Right Honourable
Mildmay Earle of Westmorland.
We are the lords of wine and oile,