Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

The doublet and hose, to the eighth year of Elizabeth's reign, had been of an enormous size, especially the breeches, which being puckered, stuffed, bolstered and distended with wool and hair, attained a magnitude so preposterous, that, as Strutt relates on the authority of a MS. in the Harleian collection, “there actually was a scaffold erected round the inside of the parliament-house for the accommodation of such members as wore those huge breeches; and that the said scaffold was taken down when, in the eighth of Elizabeth, those absurdities went out of fashion.” *

The doublet was then greatly reduced in size, yet so hard-quilted, that Stubbes says, the wearer could not bow himself to the ground, so stiff and sturdy it stood about him. It was made of cloth, silk or satin, fitting the body like a waistcoat, surmounted by a large cape, and accompanied either with long close sleeves, or with

yery

wide ones, called Danish sleeves. The breeches, hose, or gallygaskins, now shrunk in their bulk, were either made close to the form, or rendered moderately round by stuffing; the former, which ended far above the knee, were often made of crimson satin, cut and embroidered t, and the latter had frequently a most indelicate appendage, to which our poet has too often indulged the licence of allusion. I A cloak surmounting the whole, of the richest materials, and generally embroidered with gold or silver, was worn buttoned over tẢe shoulder. Fox-skins,

* Strutt's Customs, vol. iii. p. 85.— The next age saw this absurd mode of dress revived: and Bulmer, in his Pedigree of the English Gallant, relates, that, when the law was in force against the use of bags for stuffing breeches, a man was brought before a court of justice, charged with wearing the prohibited article, upon which, in order to refute the accusation, he produced from within “ a pair of sheets, two table cloths, ten napkins, four shirts, a brush, a glass, a comb, night-caps, &c.” p. 548.

+ In the first volume of the Antiquarian Repertory, it is recorded, that “ Nailer came through London apparelled in a doublet and galey-gascoigne breeches, all of crimsin satin, cut and raced.”

Luc. A round hose, madam, now's not worth a pin,
Unless you have a cod-piece to stick pins on.

Reed's Shakspeare, vol. iv. p. 236.

lamb-skins, and sables were in use as facings, but the latter were restricted to the nobility, none under the rank of an earl being allowed to wear sables, which were so expensive, that an old writer of 1577, speaking of the luxury of the times, says, 66 that a thousand ducates were sometimes given for a face of sables * ;” consequently, as Mr. Malone has remarked, “ a suit trimmed with sables was, in Shakspeare's time, the richest dress worn by men in England.” †

The stockings, or hose as they were called in common with the breeches, consisted either of woven silk, or were cut out by the taylor “ from silke, velvet, damaske, or other precious stuffe.” † They were gartered, externally, and below the knee, with materials of such expensive quality, that Howes tells us, in his Continuation of Stowe's Chronicle, “men of mean rank weare garters and shoe-roses of more than five pounds price.” Decker advises his gallant to “ strive to fashion his legs to his silk stockings, and his proud gate to his broad garters S," which being so conspicuous a part of the dress, were either manufactured of gold and silver, or were made of satin and velvet with a deep gold fringe. The common people were content with worsted galloon, or what were called caddis-garters. || The gaudiness of attire, indeed, with regard to these articles of clothing; appears to have been carried to a most ridiculous excess; red silk-stockings, parti-coloured garters, and cross gartering, so as to represent the varied colours of the Scotch plaid, were frequently exhibited.

Nor were the shoes and boots of this period less extravagantly ostentatious. Corked shoes, or pantofles, are described by Stubbes as bearing up their wearers two inches or more from the ground, as

Thomas Wright in his “ Passions of the Minde,” first published in 1601, speaking of our countrymen's proneness to imitate French fashions, tells us in his chapter entitled “ Discoverie of Passions in Apparell,” — “ Some I have heard very contemptuously say, that scarcely a new forme of breeches appeared in the French King's kitchin but they were presently translated over into the court of England.”

• Bishop's Blossoms. — Vide Reed's Shakspeare, vol. xviii. p. 197.
+ Reed's Shakspeare, vol. xviii. p. 197.
† Anatomy of Abuses, p. 30.

Gull's Hornbook, p. 98.
|| Reed's Shakspeare, vol. xi. p. 275, note.
VOL. II.

P

vennline cartela eut, and stitched. They on. vi veiver, embroidered with the premood hand card with strings, these were covered with 1. Arkadig curiously ornamented and of

Provencial roses on my razed shoes ;” and "Hiruoti chiedo as in the present age, both shoes and slippers the stage and

na tendenced wrter the right and left foot. Shakspeare describes

great value.

[ocr errors]

Sending on slippers, which his nimble baste
Tudtalely thrust upon contrary feet : *

a

and Sanit, in his Discoverie of Witchcraft, observes, that he who respletla a mischance, " will consider, whether he put not on his shirt wrong side outwardls, or his left shoe on his right foot.” +

The boots were, it possible, still more eccentric and costly than the shocs, resembling, in some degree, though on a larger scale, the theatric buskin of the modern stage. They were usually manufacMuret of ruisset cloth or leather, hanging loose and ruffled about the les, with immense tops turned down and fringed, and the heel decorated with gold or silver spurs.

Decker speaks of “ a gilt spur and rilled boot;" and in another place adds,-“ let it be thy prudence to have the top of them wide as the mouth of a wallet, and those with bringeal bont hose over them to hang down to thy ancles.” | Yet phen this extravagance did not content those who aspired to the bosh mund of fashion ; for Doctor Nott, the editor of Decker's Han bogh, in a note on the last passage which we have quoted, 11100110 len, on the authority of Stubbes's Anatomie of Abuses, that que los con olien “ made of cloth fine enough for any hand, or wil, mida large, that the quantity used would nearly make a shirt : Hii in poidered in gold and silver ; having on them the

Wisspeare, vol. xviii. p. 212.
I by Dr. Farmer : Reed's Shakspeare, vol. x. p. 481.
Iulio Ilorm-book, reprint, pp. 13. 76.

figures of birds, animals, and antiques in various coloured silks : the needle-work alone of them would cost from four to * ten pounds.” Shakspeare alludes to the large boots with ruffles, or loose tops, which were frequently called lugged boots, in All's Well That Ends Well, act iii. sc. 2. ; and we find, from the same authority, that boots closely fitting the leg were sometimes worn ; for Falstaff, in Henry the Fourth, Part II., accounting for the Prince's attachment to Poins, mentions, among his other qualifications, that he “ wears his boot very smooth, like unto the sign of the leg." +

Nor was the interior clothing of the beau less sumptuous and expensive than his exterior apparel ; his shirts, relates that minute observer, Stubbes, were made of " camericke, Hollande, lawne, or els of the finest cloth that may be got.”

got.” And were so wrought with “ needle-worke of silke, and so curiously stitched with other knackes beside, that their price would sometimes amount to ten pounds.” I

No gentleman was considered as dressed without his dagger and rapier ; the former, richly gilt and ornamented, was worn at the back : thus Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, exclaims,

“ This dagger hath mista’en, — for, lo! his house

Is empty on the back of Montague -
And is mis-sheathed in my daughter's bosom :"S

and an old play, of the date 1570, expressly tells us,

66 Thou must weare thy sword by thy side,

And thy dagger handsumly at thy backe:" ||

The rapier, or small sword, which had been known in this country from the reign of Henry the Eighth, or even earlier, entirely super

* See also, Strutt's Dress and Habits of the People of England, vol. ii. p. 263.
+ Reed's Shakspeare, vol. xii. p. 102. Act ii. sc. 4.
# Vide Andrews's History of Great Britain, vol. ii. p. 301.
§ Reed's Shakspeare, vol. xx. p. 256.

1. “ The Longer thou Livest the more Fool thou art."-Vide Biographia Dramatica, vol. ii. p. 193.

seded, about the 20th of Elizabeth, the use of the heavy or twohanded sword and buckler ; an event which Justice Shallow, in the Merry Wives of Windsor, is represented as regretting. * Though occasionally used as an offensive weapon, and certainly a more dangerous instrument than its predecessor, it was chiefly worn as a splendid ornament, the hilt and scabbard being profusely, and often elegantly decorated. It was also the custom to wear these swords when dancing, as appears from a passage in All's Well That Ends Well, where Bertram says,

" I shall stay here the forehorse to a smock

Till honour be bought up, and no sword worn,
But one to dance with ;" +

an allusion which has received most satisfactory illustration from Mr. Douce, in an extract taken from Stafforde's Briefe conceipt of English pollicy, 1581, 4to., in which not only this practice is mentioned, but the preceding fashion of the heavy sword and buckler is particularly noticed:—“ I thinke wee were as much dread or more of our enemies, when our gentlemen went simply, and our serving men plainely, without cuts or gards, bearing their heavy swords and buckelers on their thighes, insted of cuts and gardes and light daunsing swordes ; and when they rode, carrying good speares in theyr hands in stede of white rods, which they cary now more like ladies or

* Reed's Shakspeare, vol. v. pp. 75, 76.—To the old two-handed sword, and to the monstrous stuffed hose, Ben Jonson most humorously refers us, in his Epiccene ; or, the Silent Woman, where True-wit frightens Daw by an exaggerated description of Sir, Amorous La Foole's warlike attire. “ He has got,” says he, “ somebody's old two-hand sword, to mow you off at the knees: and that sword hath spawn'd such a dagger!

But then he is so hung with pikes, halberds, petronels, callivers, and muskets, that he looks like a justice of peace's hall: a man of two thousand a year is not cess'd at so many weapons as he has on. There was never fencer challeng'd at so many several foils. You would think he meant to murder all St. Pulchre's parish. If he could but victual himself for half a year in his breeches, he is sufficiently arm'd to overrun a country.”— Act iv. sc. 5.

+ Reed's Shakspeare, vol. viii. p. 257. Act ii. sc. 1.

« VorigeDoorgaan »