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his time as at present. The expressions “ false as dice,"* and “ false as dicers' oaths,” † will be illustrated by the following anecdote, taken from an anonymous MS. of the reign of James the First :
“Sir William Herbert, playing at dice with another gentleman, there rose some questions about a cast. Sir William's antagonist declared it was a four and a five; he as posilively insisted that it was a five and a six ; the other then swore with a bitter imprecation, that it was as he had said; Sir William then replied, • Thou art a perjured knave ; for give me a sixpence, and if there be a four upon the dice, I will relurn you a thousand pounds ;' al which the other was presently bashed, for indeed the dice were false, and of a high cut, without a four.”
Dancing was an almost daily amusement in the court of Elizabeth ; the Queen was peculiarly fond of this exercise, as had been her father Henry the Eighth, and the taste for it became so general, during her reign, that a great part of the leisure of almost every class of society was spent, and especially on days of festivity, in dancing.
To dance elegantly was one of the strongest recommendations to the favour of Her Majesty; and her courtiers, therefore, strove to rival each other in this pleasing accomplishment; nor were their efforts, in many instances, unrewarded. Sir Christopher Hatton, we are told, owed his promotion, in a great measure, to his skill in dancing ; and in accordance with this anecdote, Gray opens his “ Long Story” with an admirable description of his merit in this department, which, as containing a most just and excellent picture, both of the architecture and manners of “the days of good Queen Bess, as well as of the dress and agility of the knight, we with pleasure transcribe. Stoke-Pogeis, the scene of the narrative, was formerly in the possession of the Hattons :“ In Britain's isle, no matter where,
Full oft within the spacious walls, An ancient pile of building stands;
When he had fisty winters o'er him, The Huntingdons and Haitons there
My grave Lord-Keeper led the brawls; Employ'd the pow'r of Fairy hands
The seal and maces danc'd before him. To raise the cieling's fretted height, His bushy beard and shoe-strings green, Each pannel in achievements clothing, His high-crown'd hat and sattin doublet, Rich windows that exclude the light,
Mor'd the stout heart of England's Queen, And passages that lead to nothing.
Tbo' Pope and Spaniard could not trouble it." The Brawl, a species of dance, here alluded to, is derived from the French word braule, “indicating,” observes Mr. Douce, “a shaking or swinging motion. It was performed by several persons uniting hands in a circle, and giving each other continual shakes, the steps changing with the tune. It usually consisted of three pas and a pied-joint, to the time of four strokes of
, the bow; which, being repeated, was termed a double brawl. With this dance, balls were usually opened."S
Shakspeare seems to have entertained as high an idea of the efficacy of a French brawl, as probably did Sir Christopher Hatton, when he exhibited before Queen Elizabeth ; for he makes Moth in Love's Labour's Lost ask Armado, –
Master, will you win your love with a French brawl?" and he then exclaims, “ These betray nice wenches." (Act iii. sc. 1.) That several dances were included under the term brawls, appears from a passage in Shelton's Don Quixote:
.“ After this there came in another artificial dance, of those called Brawles ;" and Mr. Douce informs us, that amidst a great variety of brawls, noticed in Thoinot Arbeau's treatise on dancing, entitled “Orchesographie," occurs a Scottish brawl; and he adds that this dance continued in fashion to the close of the seventeenth century."
Another dance of much celebrity at this period, was the Pavin or Pavan, which, from the solemnity of its measure, seems to have been held in utter aversion by • Winter's Tale, act i. sc. 2.
Hamlet, act iii. sc. 4. Struti's Sports and Pastimes.p. 272.
s Illustrations, vol. i. p. 217. Illustrations, vol. i. p. 219, 220.
Sir Toby Belch, who, in reference to his intoxicated surgeon, exclaims,-" Then he's a rogue.
After a passy-measure, or a pavin, I hate a drunken rogue.” This is the text of Mr. Tyrwhitt; but the old copy reads,-" Then he's a rogue, and a passy measure's pavyn,” which is probably correct; for the pavan was rendered still more grave by the introduction of the passamezzo air, which obliged the dancers, after making several steps round the room, to cross it in the middle in a slow step or cinque pace. This alteration of time occasioned the term passamezzo to be prefixed to the name of several dances ; thus we read of the passamezzo galliard, as well as the passamezzo pavan; and Sir Toby, by applying the latter appellation to his surgeon, meant to call him, not only a rogue, but a solemn coxcomb.
“ The pavan, from paro, a peacock,” observes Sir J. Hawkins, “is a grave and majestick dance. The method of dancing it was ancienlly by gentlemen dressed with a cap and sword, by those of the long robe in their gowns, by princes in their mantles, and by ladies in gowns with long trains, the motion whereof in the dance resembled that of a peacock's tail. This dance is supposed to have been invented by the Spaniards, and ils figure is given with the characters for the step, in the Orcbesographia of Thoinol Arbeau.-Of the passamezzo little is lo be said, except that it was favourite air in the days of Queen Elizabeth. Ligon, in his History of Barbadoes, mentions a passamezzo galliard, which, in the year 1647, a Padre in that island played to him on the lute; the very same, he says, with an air of that kind which in Shakspeare's play of Henry the Fourth was originally played to Sir John Falstaff and Doll Tearsheel, by Saeak, ibe inusician, there named."
of equal gravity with the “doleful pavin," as Sir W. D'Avenant calls it, was “ The Measure,” to tread which was the relaxation of the most dignified characters in the state, and formed a part of the revelry of the inns of court, where the gravest lawyers were often found treading the measures. Shakspeare puns upon the name of this dance, and contrasts it with the Scotch jig, in Much Ado about Nothing, where he introduces Beatrice telling her cousin Hero,
“ The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not woo'd in good time: if the prince be loo important, tell him, there is measure in every thing, and so dance out the answer. For bear me, Hero: Wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinquepace: the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the wedding, inanDerly-modest, as a measure full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and, with bis bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace faster, till he sink into his grave.” Acl ii. sc. 1.
A more brisk and lively step accompanied the Canary dance, which was, likewise, very fashionable :-“I have seen a medicine,” says La feu in All's Well that Ends Well, alluding to the influence of female charms,
6 That's able to breathe life into a stone;
Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary,
Act ii. sc. 1. and Moth advises Armado, when dancing the brawl, to “Canary it" with his feet.
The mode of performing this dance, is thus given by Mr. Douce, from the treatise of Thoinot Arbeau:
“A lady is taken out by a gentleman, and after dancing together to the cadences of the proper air, he leaps her to the end of the hall; this done he retreats back to the original spot, always looking at the lady. Then he makes up to her again, with certain steps, and relreals as before. Ais partner performs the same ceremony, wbich is several times repeated by both parties, with various strange fantastic steps, very much in the savage style.” Vol. i. p. 221.
Beside the brawl, the pavan, the measure, and the canary, several other dances were in vogue, under the general titles of corantoes, lavoltos, jigs, galliards, and fancies, but the four which we have selected for more peculiar notice, appear to have been the most celebrated.
It is a melancholy proof of the imperfect state of civilisation during the reign
of Elizabeth, that the barbarous sport of Bear and Bull-baiting should have been as favourite a diversion of the court, nobility, and gentry, as of the lowest class of society. Indeed it would appear, from an order issued by the privy council, in July, 1591, that the populace had earlier than their superiors become tired of this cruel spectacle, and had given a marked preference to the amusements of the stage ; for it is enacted in the above order, that there should be no plays publicly exhibited on Thursdays; because on Thursdays, bear-baiting and such like pastimes had been usually practised; and four days afterwards an injunction to the same effect was sent to the Lord Mayor, in which, after justly reprobating the performance of plays on the Sabbath, it is added, that on "all other days of the week in divers place the players do use to recite their plays to the great hurt and destruction of the game of bear-baiting, and like pastimes, which are maintained for her Majesty's pleasure.” *
History informs us that Elizabeth's pleasure was thus gratified at an early period of her life, and continued to be so to the close of her reign. When confined at Hatfield house, she, and her sister, Queen Mary, were recreated with a grand exhibition of bear-baiting, “with which their highnesses were right well content.” → Soon after she had ascended the rone, she entertained the French ambassadors with bear and bull-baiting, and stood a spectatress of the amusement until six in the evening; a similar exhibition took place the next day at Paris-Garden, for the same party; and even twenty-seven years posterior, Her Majesty could not devise a more welcome gratification for the Danish ambassador, than the display of such a spectacle at Greenwich.
So decided a partiality for this savage pastime would, of course, induce her courtiers to take care that their mistress should not be disappointed in this respect, and more especially when she honoured them with one of her periodical visits. Accordingly Laneham tells us, that when she was at Kenilworth Castle, in 1575, not less than thirteen bears were provided for her diversion, and that these were baited with a large species of ban-dogs.
An example thus set by royalty itself, soon spread through every rank, and bear and bull-baiting became one of the most general amusements in England. Sbakspeare has alluded to it in more than twenty places, and it has equally attracted the notice of the foreign and domestic historian. Hentzner, whose Itinerary was printed in Latin, A. D. 1598, was a spectator at one of these exhibitions, which he describes in the following manner: speaking of the theatre, he says,
“There is still another place, built in the form of a thealre, wbich serves for the baiting of bulls and bears ; they are fastened behind, and then worried by great English bull-dogs, but not withoul great risque lo the gs, froin the borps of the one, and the leech of the other ; and it sometimes happens they are killed on the spot; fresh ones are immediately supplied in the places of those that are wounded or tired." P. 29, 30. He then adds an account of a still more inhuman pastime:—"To this entertainment, there often follows that of whipping a blinded bear, which is performed by five or six men, standing circularly with whips, which they exercise upon him without any mercy, as he cannot escape from them because of his chain ; he defends himself wilh all his force and skill, throwing down all who come within his reach, and are nol active enough to get out of it, and tearing the whips out of their hands, and breaking them.” Stowe, in the edition of his Survey printed in 1618, remarks, that “as for the bayling of Bulles and Beares, they are till this day much frequented, namely, in Beare-gardens on the Bankside, wherein be prepared Scaffolds for beholders to stand upon.
The admission to these gardens was upon easy terms, for we are told that the spectators paid “one pennie at the gate, another at the entrie of the scaffold, and a third for quiet standing." # It was usual also for the bearward to parade the streets with his animal, who had frequently a monkey on bis back and was preceded by a minstrel. The bear was generally complimented with the name of his keeper : thus, in Shakspeare's time, there was a celebrated one at Paris * Chalmers's Apology, p. 280.
† Warton's Life of Sir T. Pope, p. 85. # Perambulation of Kent, 1570, p. 248.
" P. 147.