« VorigeDoorgaan »
Garden called Sackerson. “I have seen Sackerson loose,” says Slender, “twenty 1 uimes; and have taken him by the chain: but, I warrant you, the women have
30 cried and shriek'd at it, that it pass'd :—but women, indeed, cannot abide 'em ; they are very ill-favoured rough things ;" * in the “Puritan” published in 1607, occurs one named George Stone; and in the “Humorous Lovers, ” by the Duke of Newcastle printed in 1617, Tom of Lincoln is the appellation of another.
A diversion infinitely more elegant and pleasing in all its accompaniments, once of great utilily, and unattended with the smallest vestige of barbarismorin humanity, we have now to record as resulting from the use of the long bow, which, though greatly on the decline, in the days of Elizabeth, as a weapon of warfare, still lingered amongst us as a species of amusement. Various attempts, indeed, had been made by the nearly immediate predecessors of Elizabeth, to revive the use of the long bow as a military weapon; but with very partial success:
"The most famous, prudent, politike and grave prince K. Henry the 7,” says Robinson, “was the first Phenix in chusing out a number of chiese Archers to give daily altendance upon his person, whom be named his Garde. But the high and mighty renowned prince his son, K. H. 8, ann. 1509) not onely with great prowes and praise proceeded in that which his father had begon ; but also added greater dignity unto the same, like a most roial renowned David, enacting a good and godly statute (ann. 33. H. 8. cap. 9) for the use and exercise of shooting in every degree. And further more for the maintenance of the same laudable exercise in this honourable city of London by his gratious charter confirmed unto the worshipful citizens of the same, this your now famous order of Kuightes of Prince Artbure's Round Table or Society : Jike as in his life time when he saw a good Archer indecde, he chose bim and ordained such a one for a knight of the same order." +
To this "Auncient Order, Societie, and Unitie Laudable, of Prince Arthure," as it was termed, and to which Shakspeare alludes, under the character of Justice Shallow, in the Second Part of King Henry the Fourth, Archery owed, for some time, considerable support; but ultimately it contributed to hasten its decline. Under the auspices of Prince Arthur, eldest son of King Henry VII., and who was so expert a bowman, that every skilful shooter was complimented with his name, the society flourished abundantly; its captain being honoured with his title, and the other members being termed his knights. His brother Henry was equally attached to the art, but unfortunately, having appointed a splendid match at shooting with the long bow, at Windsor, an inhabitant of Shoreditch, London, joining the archers, exhibited such extraordinary skill, that the king, delighted with his performance, humorously gave him the title of Duke of Shoreditch, an appellation which not only superseded the former title, but, being copied by the
ierior members, in assuming the rank of Marquis, Earl, etc., threw such a degree of burlesque and ridicule over the business, as finally brought contempt upon the art itself.
The Society, however, still subsisted with much magnificence during the reign of Elizabeth; and in the very year that Robinson pnblished his book in support of Archery, namely, in 1583,
“A grand shooting match was held in London, and the captain of the archers assuming his tille of Duke of Shoreditch, summoned a suit of nominal nobilily under the titles of Marquis of Barlo, of Clerkenwell, of Islington, of Hoxton, of Shacklewell, and Earl of Pancrass, etc., and these meciing together at the appointed lime, with their different companies, proceeded in a pompous march from Merchant Taylor's Hall, consisting of three thousand archers, sumptuously apparelled; nine hundred and forty-two of them having chains of gold about their necks. This splendid company was guarded by four thousand whifflers and billinen, besides pages and foolmen. They passed through Broad-street, the residence of their caplain, and thence into Moorfields, by Finsbury, and * M. W. of Windsor, act i. sc. ).
+ “ The Auncient Order, Societie, and Vnitie Laulable, of Prince Arthure, and his knightly Armoury of the Round Table. With a Threefold Assertion frendly in favour and furtherance of English Archery at this day. Translated and Collected by R. R.” (Richard Robinson) 410. 1583.–Vide British Bibliographer, vol. i. p. 125, 127.
so on to Smithfield, where having performed several evolutions, they shot at a larget for honour."
Notwithstanding this brilliant celebration, it appears that, thirteen years afterwards, the disuse of archery was so general, that the “Compavies of Bowyers and Fletchers" made heavy complaints, and procured a work to be written, in order to place before “the nobility and gentlemen of England,” their distress, and deprivation of subsistence, from the neglect of the bow. The work is entitled, “A briefe Treatise, To proove the necessitie and excellence of the Vse of Archerie. Abstracted out of ancient and modern writers, by R. S. Perused and allowed by Aucthoritie.” 4to, 1596. This was one of the last attempts to revive the bow as a weapon of defence, and it records a contemporary and successful effort to repel cavalry by its adoption on the part of a rebel force.
“ About Bartholomew tyde last, 1595,” relates the author, “There came out of Scotland one James Forgeson, bowyer to the King of Scols, who credibly reported, that about two years past, certaine rebelles did rise there against the King, who sent against them five hundred horsemen wel appointed. They meeling ibree hundred of the rebel's bowmen, encountered each with other, when the bow men slue Iwo hundred and fourscore of their horses, and killed, wounded, and sore hurt most part of the Kinge's men. Whereupon the said Forgeson was sent hether from the King with commission lo buy up ten thousande bowes and bow slaves: but because he could not speed heer, he went over into the East countries for them.” +
The Toxophilus of Ascham, first published in 1544, was written in order " that stil, according to the olde wont of Englande, youth should use it for the most honest pastime in peace, that men might handle it as a most sure weapon in warre." P. 55. The latter of these purposes so completely failed, that the use of the bow as an offensive or defensive weapon of warfare totally ceased in the time of James the First: but the former was partially gained, as the treatise of Ascham certainly contributed to prolong the reign of archery as a mere recreation, though it could not retrieve its character as an instrument for the destruction of game, So early, indeed, as 1531, we learn from Sir Thomas Elyot's “ Boke named the Governour," that crossbows and guns had then superseded the long-bow, in the sports of the field ; Verylye I suppose,” says he, “that before crosbowes and handegunnes were broughle into
1 this realme, by the sleyghte of our enemies, to the entent to distroye the noble desence of archerye, continuall use of shoolynge in the longe bowe made the feale soo persecle and exacte among englyshemen, that thei ihan as surely and soone kylled suche game whiche thei lysted to have, as thei powe can do with the crossebowe or gunne.”
The cross-bow was the fashionable instrument for killing game, even with the ladies, in the days of Elizabeth; the Queen was peculiarly fond of the sport, and her example was eagerly followed by the female part of her court. Shakspeare represents the Princess and her ladies, in Love's Labour's Lost, thus employed (act. iv. sc. 1), and Mr. Lodge informs us, through the medium of a letter, written by Sir Francis Leake in 1605, that the Countess of Shrewsbury, and the ladies of the Cavendish family, were ardently attached to this diversion.
That the pastime of shooting with the long bow was often commuted, in the capital, for amusements of a much less innocent nature, we learn from Stowe, who attributes the decline of archery, as a diversion, to the enclosure of common grounds in the vicinity of the metropolis :
“What should I speake,” says he, “of the ancient dayly exercises in the long bow by citizens of this cilie, now almoste cleane left off and forsaken : Lover passc it: for by the meanes of closing
Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, p, 62, from Strype's London, vol. 1. p. 250.-In 1682, appeared “A remembrance of the worthy show and shooting by the Duke of Shoreditch and his associates the worshipful citizens of London, upon Tuesday the 17th of September, 1583, set forth, according to the truth thereof, to the everlasling honour of the game of shooting in the long how. B. W.M.” † British Bibliographer, vol i. p. 448.
# Edit. 1553. p. 83. $ Illustrations of British History, vol. iii. p.