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Dalurallie incident to carters and clowns, who thinke themselves not to be merie and welcome, if their foolish veines in this behalfe be never so little restrained. This is moreover to be added in these meetings, that if they happen to stumble upon a péece of venison, and a cup of wine or verie strong beere or ale (which latter they commonlie provide against their appointed daies ) they thinke their chéere so great, and themselves lo bave fared so well, as the lord Maior of London, with whome when their bellies be full they will not often slicke to make comparison, (saying, I have dined so well as my lord maior) because that of a subject there is no publike officer of anie cilie in Europe, that may compare in port and countenance with him during the time of his office."
The dress of the farmer during the middle of the sixteenth century was plain and durable; consisting, for common purposes, of coarse gray cloth or fustian, in the form of trunk-hose, frock, or doublet.
To his account of the farmer's mode of living, it will be proper to add a brief description of his coadjutor in domestic economy, the English housewife, a personage of no small importance; for, as honest Tusser has justly observed,
“ House keping and husbandry, if it be good,
must love one another, as cousinnes in blood.
or farewell thy husbandry, doe what thou can." + of the qualifications necessary to constitute this useful character, Gervase Markham has given us a very curious detail, in his work entitled “The English Housewife;" which, though not published until the close of the Shakspearian era, appears, from the dedication to Frances, Countess Dowager of Exeter, to have been written long anterior to its transmission to the press; for it is there said, “That much of it was a manuscript which many years ago belonged to an honourable Countess, one of the greatest glories of our kingdom." It is a delineation which, as supposed of easy practical application, does honour to the sex and to the age. After expatiating on the necessity of a religious example to her household, on the part of the good housewife, he thus proceeds:
“Next unto her sanctity and holiness of life it is meet that our English Housewife be a woman of great modesty and temperance, as well inwardly as outwardly; inwardly, as in her behaviour and carriage towards ber husband, wherein she shall shun all violence of rage, passion and humour, coveling less to direct than to be directed, appearing ever unto him pleasant, amiable and delightful; and, tho' occasion of mishaps, or the mis-government of his will may induce her to contrary thoughts yet vertuously to suppress them, and with a mild sufferance rather to call him home from his error, ihan with the strength of anger to abate the least spark of his evil, calling into her mind, that evil and uncomely language is deformed, though uttered even to servants; but most monstrous and ugly, when it appears before the presence of a husband : outwardly, as in her apparel, and dyet, both which she shall proportion according to the competency of her husband's estate and calling, making her circle rather strait than large : for it is a rule, if we extend to the ultermost, we take away increase; if we go a bairs bredth beyond, we enter into consumption : but if we preserve any part, we build strong forts against the adversaries of fortune, provided that such preservation be honest and conscionable: for as lavish prodigality is brutish, so miserable covelousness is hellish. Let therefore the Housewife's garments be comely and strong, made as well lo preserve the health, as to adorn the person, altogether without toyish garnishes, or the gloss of light colours, and as far from the vanity of new and fantastick fashions, as near to the comely imitation of modest matrons. Let her dyet be wholesome and cleanly, prepared at due bours, and cook'd with care and diligence ; let it be rather lo satisfie nature, than her affections, and apter to kill hunger than revive new appetites ; let it proceed more from the provision of her own yard, than the furniture of the markets; and let it be rather esteemed for the familiar acquaintance she bath wilbout it, than for the strangeness and rarity it bringeth from other countries.
" To conclude, our English Housewife must be of chast thoughts, stout courage, palient, unlired, watchful, diligent, willy, pleasant, constant in friendship, full of good neighbour-hood,
Holinshed, vol. i. p. 282.
+ Tusser, first edit. of 1557, title-page. The English House-Wife, containing the inward and outward vertues which ought to be in a Compleat Woman. Ninth edition, 1683. Dedication.
wise in discourse, but not frequent therein, sharp and quick of speech, but not bitter or talkative, secret in her affairs, comfortable in her counsels, and generally skilful in the worthy knowledges which do belong to her vocation.”
These knowledges, he then states, should consist in an intimacy with domestic physic, with cookery, with the distillation of waters, with the making and dying of cloth, with the conduct of dairies, and with malting, brewing, and baking; for all which he gives very ample directions. Markham, indeed, seems to have taken the greater part of this picture from his predecessor Tusser, in whose poems on husbandry may be found, among many others, the following excellent precepts for the conduct of the good house-wife
“ In Marche and in Aprill from morning to night:
in sowing and setting good huswives delight.
make profit with pleasure suche couples to greete.”+ But it is in “ The points of Huswisry united to the comfort of Husbandry," of the good old poet, that we recognise the most perfect picture of the domestic economy of agricultural life in the days of Elizabeth. This material addition to the husbandry of our author appeared in 1570, and embraces a complete view of the province of the Huswife, with all her daily labours and duties, which are divided into-Ist, Morning Works; 2dly, Breakfast Doings; 3dly, Dinner Matters; 4thly, Afternoon Works; 5thly, Evening Works; 6thly, Supper-Matters; and 7thly, Aster-Supper Matters.
From the details of this arrangement we learn, that the servants in summer rose at four, and in winter at five o'clock; that in the latter season they were called to breakfast on the appearance of the day-star, and that the huswise herself was the carver and distributer of the meat and pottage. We find, likewise, and
English House-Wise, p. 2, 3, 4.
+ Tusser, first edit. p. 14, 15.
it is the only objectionable article in the admonitions of the poet, that he recommends his dame not to scold, but to thrash heartily her maids when refractory; and he adds a circumstance rather extraordinary, but at the same time strongly recommendatory of the effects of music, that
“ Such servants are oftenest painfull and good,
That sing in their labour, as birds in the wood.” Dinner, he enjoins, should be taken at noon; should be quickly dispatched; and should exhibit plenty, but no dainties.
The bare table, he observes, will do as well, as if covered with a cloth, which is liable to be cut; and that wooden and pewter dishes and tin vessels for liquor are the best, as most secure; and then, with his accustomed piety, he advises the regular use of grace
“ At dinner, at supper, at morning, at night,
Give thanks unto God." As soon as dinner is over, the servants are again set to work, and he very humanely adds,
" To servant in seikness, see nothing ye grutch,
A thing of a trifle shall comfort him much.” Many precepts, strictly economical, then follow, in which the huswife is directed to save her parings, drippings, and skimmings for the sake of her poultry, and for “medicine for cattle, for cart, and for shoe;" to employ the afternoon, like a good sempstress, in making and mending; to keep her maids cleanly in their persons, to call them quarterly to account, to mark and number accurately her linen, to save her feathers, to use little spice, and to make her own candle.
The business of the evening commences with preparations for supper, as soon as the hens go to roost; the hogs are then to be served, the cows milked, and as night comes on, the servants return, but none empty-handed, some bringing in wood, some logs, etc. The cattle, both without and within doors, are next to be attended to, all clothes brought into the house, and no door left unbolted, and the duties of the evening close with this injunction:
“ Thou woman, whom pity becometh the best,
Grant all that hath laboured time to take rest." Supper now is spread, and the scene opens with an excellent persuasive to cheerfulness and hospitality:
• Provide for thy husband, to make him good cheer,
No jarring too loud, for avoiding of shame." The servants are then ordered to be courteous, and attentive to each other, especially at their meals, and directions are given for the next morning's work.
The last section, entitled “After-supper matters," is introduced and terminated in a very moral and impressive manner. The first couplet tells us to
“ Remember those children, whose parents be poor,
Which hunger, yet dare not to cravo at thy door;" the bandog is then ordered to have the bones and the scraps; the huswife looks carefully to the fire, the candle, and the keys; the whole family retire to rest, at nine in winter, and at ten in summer, and the farmer's day closes with four lines which ought to be written in letters of gold, and which, if duly observed, would ensure a great portion of the happiness obtainable by man:
“ Be lowly, not sullen, if aught go amiss;
What wresting may lose thee, that win with a kiss.
• Mavor's Tusser, p. 247. ad p. 270.
Even this, and every other description of the duties of the Huswife, may be traced to “ The Book of Husbandry," written by Sir Anthony Fitzherbert, of Norbury, in Derbyshire.
This gentleman, who was a Judge of the Common Pleas, in the reign of Henry the Eighth, is justly entitled to the appellation of the father of English Husbandry.” His work, the first edition of which was printed by Richard Pynson, in 1523, 410., underwent not less than eleven editions during the sixteenth century, and soon excited among his countrymen a most beneficial spirit of emulation. Notwithstanding these numerous impressions, there are probably not ten complete copies left in the kingdom.
One of these is, however, now before me, included in a lick duodecimo, of which the first article is • Xenophon’s treatise of householde," black letter, title wanting; the colophon, “ Imprinted At London in fletestrete in the house of Thomas Berthelet. Cum privilegio ad imprimendum solum.” No date. The second article is " The booke of Husbandrye verye profitable and necessary for all maner of persons, newlye corrected and amended by the auctor fitzherbaru, with dyvers addicions put thereunto. Anno do. 1555.” black letter. Colophon, “ Imprinted at London in Flete strete at the signe of the Sunne over agaynst the Conduit by John Weylande.” Sixty-one leaves, exclusive of the table. The third article is entitled “. Surveyinge,” An. 1546. Colophon, “ Londini in ædibus Thome Berthelet typis impress. Cum privilegio ad imprimendum solum.” Contains sixty leaves, black letter.
From “ The booke of husbandrye,” I shall extract the detail of huswifely cuties, as a specimen of the work, and as a proof of the assertion at the commencement of this note.
What workes a wyfe shoulde doe in generall. “ First in the mornyng when thou art waked and purpose to rise, lift up thy hand, and blis the and make a signe of the holy crosse. In nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti. Amen. In the name of the father y® sonne, and the holy gost. And if thou saye a Paternoster, an Ave and a Crede, and remembre thy maker thou shalte spede much the better, and when thou art up and readye, then firste swepe thy house: dresse up the dysshe bord, and set al thyoges in good order within thy house, milke ye kic, socle thy calves, sile by thy milke, take up thy children, and aray them, and provide for thy husbande's breakefaste, diuer, souper, and for thy children and servauntes, and take thy parte wyth them. And to ordeyne corne and malt io the myll, to bake and brue withal when nede is. And mete it to the myl and fro the myl, and se that thou have thy mesure agayne besides the tole or els the mylner dealeth not truly wyth the, or els thy corne is not drye as it should be, thou must make butter and chese when thou may, serve thy swine both mornynge and eveninge, and give thy polen meate in the mornynge, and when tyme of yeare cometh thou must take hede how thy heme, duckes and geese do ley, and to gather up their egges and when they waxe broudy to set them there as no beastes, swyne, nor other vermyne hurt them, and thou must know that al hole foted foule wil syt a moneth and all cloven foted foule wyll syt but three wekes except a peyhen and suche other great foules as craynes, bustardes, and suche other. And when they have brought forth theyr birdes to se that they be well kepte from the gleyd, crowes fully martes and other vermyn, and in the begynyng of March, or a lytle before is time for a wife to make her garden and lo get as manye good sedes and herbes as she can, and specyally such as be good for the pot and for to eate and as ofte as nede shall require it must be weded, for els the wede wyll over grow the herbes, and also in Marche is time to sowe flaxe and hempe for I have heard olde huswyves say, that better is Marche hurdes than Apryll flaxe, the reason appereth, but howe it shoulde bee sowen, weded, pulled, repealed, watred, washen, dried, beten, braked, tawed, hecheled, spon, wounden, wrapped and oven, it nedeih not for me to shewe, for they be wyse ynough, and thereof may they make sbetes, bordclothes, towels, shertes, smoekes, and suche other necessaryes, and therefore lette thy dystaffe be alwaye redy for a pastyme, that thou be not ydell. And undoubted a woman can not get her livinge honestly with spinning on the dystaffe, but it stoppeth a gap and must nedes be had. The bolles of flaxe when they be rypled of, must be rediled from the wedes and made dry with the sunne to get out the sedes. Now be it one maner of linsede called loken sede wyll not open by the sunne, and therefore when they be drye they must be sore brusen and broken the wyves know how, and then wynowed and kept dry til peretime cum againe. Thy femell hempe must be pulled fro the chucle hempe for this beareth no sede and thou must doe by it as thou didest by the flaxe. The chucle hempe doth beare sede; and thou must be ware that birdes eate it not as it groweth, the hempe thereof is not so good as the femel hempe, but yet it wil do good service. It may fortune sometime that thou shalte have so many thinges to do that thou shalte not wel know where is best to begyn. Then take hede which thing should be the greatest losse if it were not done and in what space it woulde be done, and then thinke what is the greatest los and ther begin. But I put case that, thai thing that is of the greatest losse wyll be longe in doing, that thou might do thre or iiij other thinges in the meane whyle then loke wel if all these thinges were set togyther whiche of them were greatest losse, and yf these thynges be of greater losse, and may be al done in as shorte space as the other, then do thy many thinges fyrst. It is convenient for a husbande to have shepe of his owne for many causes, and then may his wife have part of the wooll to make her husbande and 'her selfe sum clothes. And at the least waye she may have the lockes of the shepe therwith to make clothes or blaukets, and coverlets, or both. And if she have no wol of her owne she maye take woll to spynne of cloth makers, and by that meanes she may have a convenient living, and many tymes to do other workes. It is a wives occupacion to winow al inaner of cornes, to make malte, wash and wring, to make hey, to shere corne, and in time of nede to helpe her husbande to fyll the mucke wayne or douge carte, dryve the plough, to lode hay corne and such other. Also to go or ride to the market to sell butter, chese, mylke, egges, chekens, kapons, hennes, pygges, gees, and al maner of corne. And also to bye al maner of necessary thinges belonging to a houshold, and to make a true rekening and accompt to her husband what she hath receyved and what she hathe payed. And yf the husband go to the market to bye or sell as they ofte do, he then to shew his wife in lyke maner. For if one of them should use to disceive the other, he disceyveth himselfe, and he is not lyke to thryve, and therfore they must be truc ether to other. I could peraventure shew the husbande of divers pointes
Frugality and domestic economy were not, however, the constant attributes of the farmer's wife in the age of which we are treating; the luxury of dress, both in England and Scotland, had already corrupted the simplicity of country-habits. Stephen Perlet, who visited Scotland in 1553, and Fines Moryson, who made a similar tour in 1598, * agree in describing the dress of the common people of both countries as nearly if not altogether the same; the picture, therefore, which Dunbar has given us of the dress of a rich farmer's wife, in Scotland, during the middle of the sixteenth century, will apply, with little fear of exaggeration, to the still wealthier dames of England. He has drawn her in a robe of fine scarlet with a white hood; a gay purse and gingling keys pendant at her side from a silken belt of silver tissue; on each finger she wore two rings, and round her waste was bound a sash of grass-green silk, richly embroidered with silver. + To this rural extravagancy in dress, Warner will bear an equal testimony; for, describing two old gossips cowering over their cottage-fire, and chatting how the world was changed in their time,
“ When we were maids (quoth one of them)
Was no such new found pride :
An inch-broad, corked hye:
Yea silke of youthful'st dye:
Some edged deep with gold :
Than us’d, perhaps of old.
Now begge. But heard you nam’d,
Maskes, plumes of feathers fram'd,
Above the loynes to waire,
She crosse-like seems loure-squaire ?
of youtbsull borrowed baire:
With only tresses bare :
No passed age might shame)
Of antick't hayre doe frame.
Was lacking once the toy,
It were no griefe but joy.
that the wives disceve their husbandes in, and in like maner how husbandes disceve their wives. But yf I should do so, I shuld shew mo subul pointes of disceite then other of them knew of before. And therfore me semeth best to holde my peace, leste I shuld do as the knight of the tower did the which had many faire doghters, and of fatherlie love that he oughte to them he made a boke unto a good intent that they mighte eschewe and flee from vices and folowe vertues, in the which boke he sheweth that yf they were woed., moved, or styrred by any man after such a maner as is there shewed that they shuld withistande it, in the which booke he shewed so manye wayes how a man shuld attaine to his purpose to bryng & woman to vice, the which waies were so naturall and the wayes to come to theyr purpose was so subtylly contrived and craftely shewed that hard it wolde be for any woman to resist or 'deny their desyre. And by the sayd boke hath made both the man and the woman to know mo vyces subtylty and crafte then ever they shoulde have knowen if the boke had not bene made, the which buke he vamed him selfe the knighte of the tower. And thus I leave the wyves to use theyr occupations at theyr owne discression." Fol. 45, 46, 47.
* See Antiquarian Repertory, vol. i. p. 236 ; and Moryson's Itinerary, part iii. fol. 1617.