Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Poules to behold the old duke and his guests.” Thus, too,
Hall, in his Virgidemiarum, b. iii. sat. 7:

'Tis Ruffio; trow'st thou were he din'd to-day?
In sooth I saw him sit with Duke Humfray:
Many good welcoms and much gratis cheere
Keeps hee for everie stragling cavaliere;

An open house, haunted with great resort," &c. And, in a Wonderful, Straunge, and Miraculous Prognostication for the year 1591, by Nash, we read : “Sundry fellows in their silkes shall be appointed to keepe Duke Humfrye company in Poules, because they know not where to get their dinners abroad.”I

In another of Dekker's Tracts, in small quarto, entitled the Dead Tearme, or Westminster's Speech to London, 1607, St. Paul's steeple is introduced as describing the company walking in the body of the church, and, among other things, says: “What layinge of heads is there together and sifting of the brains, still and anon, as it growes towardes eleven of the clocke (even amongst those that wear guilt rapiers by their sides), where for that noone they may shift from Duke Humfrey, and bee furnished with a dinner at some meaner man's table !" And afterwards observes : “What byting of the thumbs to beget quarrels !" adding that, "at one time, in one and the same ranke, yea, foote by foote, and elbow by elbow, shall you see walking the knight, the gull, the gallant, the upstart, the gentleman, the clowne, the captaine, the appel-squire, the lawyer, the usurer, the citizen, the bankerout, the scholler, the beggar, the doctor, the ideot, the ruffian, the cheater, the puritan, the cut-throat, the hye men, the low men, the true man, and the thiefe ; of all trades and professions some, of all countryes some. Thus whilest Devotion kneeles at her prayers, doth Profanation walke under her nose in contempt of religion.”

In Vox Graculi, 1623, p. 54, is the following passage under the month of February : “To the ninth of this month, it will be as good dining well in a matted chamber, as dialoguing with Duke Humphrey in Paule’s."

In the Burnynge of Paule's Church in London, 1561, 8vo. 1563, the then well-known profanations of St. Paul's church

" ["Now let me tell you, it's better dining with a farmer upon such like cheer, than it is to dine with Duke Humphrey.”—Poor Robin, 1746.”]

are thus enumerated : “The south alley for usury and poperye, the north for simony, and the horse faire in the middest for all kind of bargains, metinges, brawlinges, murthers, conspiracies, and the font for ordinary paimentes of money, are so well knowen to all menne as the beggar knowes his dishe.”

In the very curious Roman Catholic book, entitled the Life of the Reverend Father Bennet, of Canfilde, 8vo. 1623, p. 11, is the following passage:“Theyre (the Protestants') Sundayes and feastes, how are they neglected, when on these dayes there are more idle persons walking up and downe the streetes and in St. Paule's church (which is made a walking and talking place) then there is on others !"

MILLER’S THUMB. In the old play styled the Vow-breaker, or the Fayre Maid of Clifton, by William Sampson, 1636, Miles, a miller, is introduced, saying: “Fellow Bateman, farwell, commend me to my old windmill at Rudington. Oh the mooter dish, the miller's thumbe, and the maide behinde the hopper !" In Chaucer, the miller is thus described :

“ Well couth he steale corne and told it thrise,
And yet he had a thombe of gold parde.

A white coate and a blew hode weared he."-&c. Tyrwhitt observes on this passage : “ If the allusion be, as is most probable, to the old proverb, 'Every honest miller bas a thumb of gold,' this passage may mean, that our miller, notwithanding his thefts, was an honest miller, i. e. as honest as his brethren.” Among Ray's Proverbial Phrases relating to several Trades, occurs the following :" It is good to be sure. Toll it again, quoth the miller.” Edit. 8vo. 1768, p. 71. Ibid. p. 136, “An honest miller hath a golden thumb.” Ibid. p. 167, “Put a miller, a weaver, and a tailor in a bag, and shake them, the first that comes out will be a thief."

I suspect “the miller's thumb” to have been the name of the strickle used in measuring corn, the instrument with which corn is made level and struck off in measuring; in Latin called “radius,” which Ainsworth renders “a stricklace or stricke, which they use in measuring of corn." Perhaps this strickle had a rim of gold, to show it was standard ; true, and not fraudulent."

In Randle Holme's Academy of Armory and Blazon, p. 337, we read : “ The strickler is a thing that goes along with the measure, which is a straight board with a staffe fixed in the side, to draw over corn in measureing, that it exceed not the height of the measure. Wbich measureing is termed wood and wood.2

TURNING CAT IN PAN.

Dr. Pegge, in the Gent. Mag., xxiv. 67, supposes turning cat in pan” a corruption of turning cate, the old word for cake, in pan.

See also p. 212 of the same volume: “When the lower side is made brown in the frying-pan, the cake is turned the other side downwards ;” and again, ibid. vol. liii. p. 928. In the Workes of John Heiwood, newlie imprinted, 1598, the following line :

“ Thus may ye see to turne the cat in the pan.” See also Gent. Mag. for 1812, lxxxii. 228, 309, 429, 627.

In Ainsworth's Dictionary, "a miller's thumb [the fish] is rendered capito, cephalus fluvialis." Capito is explained, ibid. “Qui magno est capite, unde et piscis ita dictus, [1] a jolthead, [2] also a kind of cod. fish, a pollard.” In Cotgrave's French Dictionary, “a miller's thumb," the fish, is rendered “cabot, teste d'asne, musnier."

2 Shaw, in his History of Staffordshire, vol. ii. pt. i., p. 20, speaking of some provincialisms of the south of Staffordshire, respecting measures, quantities, &c. &c., says: “Strike is now the same thing with bushel, though formerly two strikes were reckoned to a bushel ; for the old custom having been to measure up grain in a half-bushel measure, each time of striking off was deemed a strike, and thus two strikes made one bushel ; but this is now become obsolete, bushel measures being in use; or if a half-bushel be used, it is deemed a half-strike; at present, therefore, strike and bushel are synonymous terms. The grosser articles are heaped, but grain is strict off with the strait edge of a strip of board, called a strickless ; this level measure of grain is here provinciallv termed strike and &trickless."

PUTTING THE MILLER'S EYE OUT.

In the Gent. Mag. for November, 1783, liii. 926, the inquiry after the meaning of the expression "putting the miller's eye out,” when too much liquid is put to any dry or powdery substance, is answered by another query :“Öne merit of flour, or any powdered substance, being dryness, is it not a reflection on, or injury to, a miller, or vender of such substances, when they are debased or moistened by any heterogeneous mixture ?"

LYING FOR THE WHETSTONE. In Stow's Chronicle (edit. Howes, fol. Lond. 1631, p. 604) we read that in the month of September 1550, “Grig, á poulter of Surrey, taken among the people for a prophet, in curing of divers diseases by words and prayers, and saying he would take no money, &c., was by commandement of the Earle of Warwick, and other of the councell, set on a scaffold, in the towne of Croydon in Surrey, with a paper on his breast, wherein was written his deceiptfull and hypocriticall dealings. And after that, on the 8 of September set on the pillorie in Southwarke, being then our Lady faire there kept ; and the maior of London, with his brethren the aldermen, riding thorow the faire, the said Grig asked them and all the citizens forgivenesse. Thus much for Grig. Of the like counterfeit physitian have I noted in the summary of my Chronicles, anno 1382, to be set on horse-backe, his face to the horse-taile, the same taile in his hand as a bridle, a cholar of jordans about his necke, a whetstone on his breast, and so led through the city of London, with ringing of basons, and banished.”

In Lupton's Too Good to be True, 1580, p. 80 (by way of dialogue between Omen and Siuqila, i. e. Nemo and Aliquis, concerning Mauqsun, i. e. Nusquam, but meaning England), is the following passage : "Merry and pleasant lyes we take rather for a sport than for a sin. Lying with us is so loved and allowed, that there are many tymes gamings and prises therefore purposely, to encourage one to outlye another.-Omen.

And what shall he gaine that gets the victorie in lying ?Siuqila. He shall have a silver whetstone for his labour.-Omen. Surely if one be worthy to have a whetstone of silver for telling of lyes, then one is worthy to have a whetstone of gold for telling of truth ; truly methinks a whip of whitleather were more meete for a lyar than a whetstone of silver.-Siuqila. In my judgment he was eyther a notable lyar, or loved lying better than St. Paule did, that devised suche a rewarde for suche an evil desert. I marvel what moved him, that the lewdest lyar shoulde have a silver whetstone for his labour.Omen. I knowe not, unlesse he thoughte he was worthy for his lying to goe always with a blunte knife, whereby he should not be able to cutte his meate : and that he shoulde have no other whetstone wherewyth to sharp his knife, but the same of sylver which he hadde wonne with lying. -Siuqila. What his fond fancie was therein I know not ; but I wishe that every such lyar hadde rather a sharp knife, and no meate, than to have meate enough with a blunt-edged knife, untill they left their lying."

Perhaps our author, in another passage of his work, p. 94, speaking of chesse, hints at a better reason than the above for making a whetstone the prize in this singular contest: his words are,

“Gentlemen, to solace their wearied mindes by honest pastimes, playe at chesse, the astronomer's game and the philosopher's game, which whettes thyr wittes, recreates theyr minds, and hurts no body in the meane season.”

The essence of a lie is well known to be an intention to deceive. The prize-fighters in this contest have no such intentiontheir aim is only who can raise the loudest laugh.

In a Ful and Round Answer to N. D., alias Robert Parsons the Noddie his foolish and rude Warne-word, 1604, by Matthew Sutcliffe, p. 310, “A List of Robert Parsons his Lies, Fooleries, and Abuses, we read : “And for his witnesses he citeth Æneas Sylvius, Dubravius, Genebrard, Surius, Claudius de Sanctes, and a rabble of other lying rascals, not worth a cockle-shell. What then doth he deserve, but a crown of foxe tailes, counterpointed with whetstones, for his labour ?” In Dekker's Seven Deadlie Sinns of London, 4to. 1606, it is said : “The chariot then that lying is drawne in, is made al of whetstones.'

In Plaine Percevall the Peace-Maker of England is the fol

« VorigeDoorgaan »