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The harvest swaines and wenches bound
For joy, to see the hock-cart crown'd.
About the cart, heare how the rout
Of rural younglings raise the shout;
Pressing before, some coming after,
Those with a shout, and these with laughter.
Some blesse the cart ; some kiss the sheaves ;
Some prank them up with oaken leaves :
Some crosse the fill-horse; some, with great
Devotion, stroak the home-borne wheat :
While other rusticks, less attent
To prayers than to merryment
Run after with their breeches rent.
Well, on, brave boyes, to your lord's hearth,
Glitt'ring with fire; where, for your mirth,
You shall see, first, the large and cheefe
Foundation of your feast, fat beefe:
With upper stories, mutton, veale,
And bacon (which makes fulle the meale),
With sev'rall dishes standing by,
And here a custard, there a pie,

And here all-tempting fruinentie." [The Suffolk peasantry use, amongst others, the following Harvest-home song:

• Here's a health to the barley-mow!

Here's a health to the man

Who very well can
Both harrow, and plough, and sow!

When it is well sown,

See it is well mown,
Both raked and gravelled clean,
And a barn to lay it in.

Here's a health to the man

Who very well can

Both thrash and fan it clean !] Newton, in his Tryall of a Man's owne Selfe, 1602, p. 54, under Breaches of the Second Commandment, censures the adorning with garlands, or presenting unto any image of any Saint, whom thou hast made speciall choice of to be thy patron and advocate, the firstlings of thy increase, as CORNE and GRAINE, and other oblations.'

Moresin tells us that Popery, in imitation of this, brings home her chaplets of corn, which she suspends on poles ; that offerings are made on the altars of her tutelar gods, while


thanks are returned for the collected stores, and prayers are made for future ease and rest. Images, too, of straw or stubble, he adds, are wont to be carried about on this occasion; and that in England he himself saw the rustics bringing home in a cart a figure made of corn, round which men and women were singing promiscuously, preceded by a drum or piper. In a Journey into England, by Paul Hentzner, in the year 1598, ed. 1757, p. 79, speaking of Windsor, he says: “As we were returning to our inn, we happened to meet some country people celebrating their Harvest Home; their last load of corn they crown with flowers, having besides an image richly dressed, by which perhaps they would signify Ceres : this they would keep moving about, while men and women, men and maid-servants, riding through the streets in the cart, shout as loud as they can till they arrive at the barn.”

“I have seen,” says Hutchinson, in his History of Northumberland, ii. ad finem, 17, “in some places, an image apparelled in great finery, crowned with flowers, a sheaf of corn placed under her arm, and a scycle in her hand, carried out of the village in the morning of the conclusive reaping day, with music and much clamour of the reapers, into the field, where it stands fixed on a pole all day, and when the reaping is done, is brought home in like manner. This they call the Harvest Queen, and it represents the Roman Ceres.”

An old woman, who is respectable authority on a subject of this nature, at a village in Northumberland, informed me that, not half a century ago, they used everywhere to dress up something similar to the figure above described at the end of harvest, which was called a Harvest Doll, or Kern Baby. This northern word is plainly a corruption of corn baby, or image, as is the kern supper, which we shall presently consider, of corn supper. In Carew's Survey of Cornwall, f. 20 b, 6 an ill-kerned or saved harvest" occurs.

At Werington, in Devonshire, the clergyman of the parish informed me that when a farmer finishes his reaping, a small quantity of the ears of the last corn are twisted or tied together into a curious kind of figure, which is brought home with great acclamations, hung up over the table, and kept till the next year.

The owner would think it extremely unlucky to part with this, which is called “a knack.” The reapers whoop and halloo “A knack! a knack! well cut! well bound! well shocked !” and in some places, in a sort of mockery, it is added, “Well scattered on the ground.” A countryman gave me a somewhat different account, as follows: “When they have cut the corn, the reapers assemble together : a knack is made, which one placed in the middle of the com- . pany holds up, crying thrice, ‘A knack!' which all the rest repeat : the person in the middle then says :

• Well cut! well bound !

Well shocked! well saved from the ground !! he afterwards cries Whoop!' and his companions hollow as lond as they can.” I have not the most distant idea of the etymology of the “knacks” used on this occasion. I applied for one of them. No farmer would part with that which hung over his table; but one was made on purpose for me. I should suppose that Moresin alludes to something like this when he says : “Et spiceas papatus (habet) coronas, quas videre est in domibus, &c.—Papatus, p. 163, v. SPICÆ.

Purchas in his Pilgr., 1626, lib. ix. c. 12, speaking of the Peruvian superstitions, and quoting Acosta, lib. vi. c. 3, tells us: “In the sixth moneth they offered a hundred sheep of all colours, and then made a feast, bringing the mayz from the fields into the house, which they yet use. This feast is made coming from the farm to the house, saying certain songs, and praying that the mayz may long continue. They put a quantity of the mayz (the best that groweth in their farms) in a thing which they call Pirva, with certain ceremonies, watching three nights. Then do they put it in the richest garment they have, and, being thus wrapped and dressed, they worship this Pirva, holding it in great veneration, and saying it is the mother of the mayz of their inheritance, and that by this means the mayz augments and is preserved. In this month they make a particular sacrifice, and the witches demand of this Pirva if it hath strength enough to continue until the next year; and if it answers No, then they carry this mayz to the farm whence it was taken, to burn and make another Pirva as before : and this foolish vanity still continueth.”

This Peruvian Pirva, says my learned and ingenious friend Mr. Walter, Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, bears a strong resemblance to what is called in Kent an Ivy Girl, which is a figure composed of some of the best corn the field produces,

and made as well as they can into a human shape ; this is afterwards curiously dressed by the women, and adorned with paper trimmings, cut to resemble a cap, ruffles, handkerchief, &c. of the finest lace. It is brought home with the last load of corn from the field upon the waggon, and they suppose entitles them to a supper at the expense of their employers.!

Dr. E. D. Clarke, noticing the annual custom at Rhodes of carrying Silenus in procession at Easter, says: “Even in the town of Cambridge, and centre of our University, such curious remains of ancient customs may be noticed, in different seasons of the year, which pass without observation. The custom of blowing horns upon the first of May (old style) is derived from a festival in honour of Diana. At the Hawkie, as it is called, I have seen a clown dressed in woman's clothes, having his face painted, his head decorated with ears of corn, and bearing about him other symbols of Ceres, carried in a waggon, with great pomp and loud shouts, through the streets, the horses being covered with white sheets; and when I inquired the meaning of the ceremony, was answered by the people, that they were drawing the HARVEST QUEEN.”

In Otia Sacra, 4to. Lond. 1648, p. 173, in “ Verses on Retiredness,” we read :

“ How the Hock-Cart with all its gear

Should be trick'd up, and what good chear.” Hockey Cake is that which is distributed to the people at Harvest Home. The following lines occur in Poor Robin's Almanack for August, 1676 :

Hoacky is brought home with hallowing,

Boys with plumb-cake the cart following." The Hockey Cart is that which brings the last corn, and the children rejoicing with boughs in their hands, with which the horses also are attired. See Salmon's Survey, Hertfordshire, ii. 415.

In Braithwaite's Lancashire Lovers, 1640, p. 19, the rustic lover entices his mistress to marriage with promise of many rural pleasures, among which occurs, “Wee will han a seedcake at Fastens ;” and in Sir Thomas Overbury's Characters, ed. 1638, under the character of a Franklin, we find enumerated the several country sports, amongst which occurs “the Hoky or Seed Cake.

'Here a note informs us : “This ancient custom is, to this day, faintly preserved all over Scotland, by what we call the Corn Lady, or Maiden, in a small packet of grain, which is hung up when the reapers have finished."

In some parts of Yorkshire, as a clergyman of that county informed me, there is given at the end of shearing or reaping the corn, a prize sheaf to be run for; and when all the corn is got home into the stack-yard, an entertainment is given, called the Inning Goose.

[A custom exists amongst harvest-men in Suffolk, which is called Ten-pounding. In most reaps there is a set of rules agreed upon amongst the reapers before harvest, by which they are to be governed during its continuance. The object of these rules is usually to prevent or punish loss of time by laziness, drunkenness, &c.; and to correct swearing, lying, or quarrelling amongst themselves; or any other kind of misbehaviour which might slacken the exertions, or break the harmony of the reap. One of the modes of punishment directed by these rules, is called Ten-pounding, and it is executed in the following manner: Upon a breach of any of the rules, a sort of drum-head court-martial is held upon the delinquent; and if he is found guilty he is instantly seized, and thrown down flat on his back. Some of the party keep his head down, and confine his arms ; whilst others turn up his legs in the air, so as to exhibit his posteriors. The person who is to inflict the punishment then takes a shoe, and with the heel of it (studded as it usually is with hob-nails) gives him the prescribed number of blows upon his breech, according to the sentence. The rest of the party sit by, with their hats off, to see that the executioner does his duty; and if he fails in this, he undergoes the same punishment. It sometimes happens, that, from the prevailing use of highlows, a shoe is not to be found amongst the company. In this case, the hardest and heaviest hand of the reap is selected for the instrument of correction, and, when it is laid on with hearty good will, it is not inferior to the shoe. The origin of the term Ten-pounding is not known ; but it has nothing to do with the number of blows inflicted.']

From Forby's Vocabulary, vol. i.

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