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can effect with burnt brands and red ochre. The chief Three or four treble voices are heard, from behind object is to be as unlike themselves as possible : six- the screen, singing one of those carols that are so imfeet men are arrayed therefore in the gowns and kirtles pressive and even solemn, in their primitive simplicity of the servant-wenches, or the cast-off finery of the of phrase. It is intended to recal the listeners to a mistress; the women have donned retainer's jerkins, or remembrance of the sacredness of the season ; for our wagoner’s gaberdines ; children have long beards and forefathers had an unsuspecting habit of mingling relicrutches, and old men have been forced into giant bibs, gious thoughts with their wildest mirth, and cheerfuland other infantile attire, while the transformed children ness with their devotion, in a way that seems very are holding them by leading-strings. And “the hobby- strange, and even profane, in these later and more enhorse is not forgot." He is the most popular actor in lightened times. Thus runs the carol : the mumming, and care has been taken to find a proper
“As Joseph was a-walking, person to play the part: one who knows the reins, the
He heard an angel sing, careers, the pranks, the ambles, both rough and smooth,
* This night shall be born the false trots, and the Canterbury paces ; and can ma
Our heavenly King! nage his pasteboard half with any player in the county.
«He neither shall be born Next the hobby-horse in rank and favour is the dragon,
In housen nor in hall, the master 'Snap' of famous memory, who continued
Nor in the place of Paradise to make his annual appearance in the Norwich pageants
But in an ox's stall,'" &c. till about a dozen years ago, when, after having sur. There is a religious silence while the hymn is singing, vived him a full century, he followed the last hobby- but it only for that while delays the mirth, which is horse to the limbo appointed for all such vanities. The renewed as soon as it has ceased. The games and dances chief mummers deliver some short complimentary verses go on, and the cup passes round till midnight, when a to the master of the house, and dance some fanciful soberer joy succeeds. A full choir ranges along the rounds; the hobby-horse does his best amblings, while end of the hall, and that most favourite of all old English my lord's jester adds some odd tricks and extempore carols is chanted and listened to with a sweetness and jokes and rhymes to the intense relish of the not over- earnest devotion which the sublime anthem often fails fastidious audience: and amid the loudest clamour of excite : sack buts, cornets, and kettle-drums, the mummers, after
“God rest you merry gentlemen, marching in purposely uncouth procession three or four
Let nothing you dismay ;
For Jesus Christ our Saviour times round the hall, take their departure.
Was born upon this day, Marry now, does not Master Nimble-needle play
To save us all from Satan's power the hobby most bravely ?" asks a ruddy farmer, some
When we were gone astray. what past the middle age, of a rather sour-looking junior who sits beside him. "Nay, forsooth," replies the
“Now to the Lord sing praises person so addressed, “I like not such harlotry and
All you within this place, ethnic antics. Your hobby-horse and dragon I can
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace. not away with, and these baudie pipers and thundring drummers who strike up this devil's dance withal
This holy tide of Christmas
All others doth deface.” verily they are an abhomination to me!"-borrowing, by anticipation, a portion of a most irate denunciation And all present, from the oldest to the youngest, do which good Master Philip Stubbes, some half-century sing together with at least a passing feeling of love and or so later, uttered against what he called "this hea-faith, and brotherhood, joining with all their heart in thenish devilrie.” “Now, surely, friend Thumplast,” the refrain : returns the other, “this dancing be none so wicked a
“O! tidings of comfort and joy; thing : David, you know, danced ; and, as Sir Tobias For Jesus Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas day." our good master's chaplain asked, in his sermon, only last Sunday, 'Doth not the motion and the music help Very different is the appearance of the old hall on to cheer the spirits, and chase away melancholy phan- Christmas morning. The dinner-hour is an early one: tasies, and so comfortably recreate both body and the sun is yet high in the heavens, and his rays stream mind ?'" “Now, in troth, neighbour Snayth, this is through the stained-glass windows, working a wild cona most profane comparison of thine, to liken this fusion of pattern and colour upon the tables and floor, pestiferous dance about this idol calf—this Philistine and causing the yule log, which is yet consuming on the Dagon—to such a dance as David danced before the hearth, to burn dim. The company, which includes ark withal. But for health's sake, I grant you, dancing almost all those who were present last night, are ranged may be both wholesome and profitable, so it be prac at the tables, which are placed lengthwise down the body tised as Master New-light the silenced preacher adviseth of the hall. The lord and his friends enter and take their - privately and apart, every sex by themselves -and seats at the high-board, which stands on the dais across then, mayhap it might be accompanied with pipe and the hall : my lord has the chief seat, which is in the timbrel, and there should yet be in it neither wantonness centre of the board, the arras being drawn over it so as nor popish heathenry."
to form a sort of canopy; the others, both ladies and
gentlemen, are seated according to their rank. All being thus ordered, the first course is brought in; the principal dish, the boar's head, being carried by the steward, while the other officers of the household follow, each bearing a dish: the music plays loudly all the time of this service, while there is chanted ore rotundo, the song which, with some variations, was sung in every hall in England when the first dish was brought to table on Christmas day.*
"Caput Apri defero
Reddens laudes Domino.
"The Boar's head, I understand,
Servite cum Cantico.
"Be glad, Lords, both more and lass,
To cheer you all this Christmas,
There is an over-abundant supply of every kind of flesh and fowl, but fish is not there, that being no meat for feast days.' The rarer dishes are brought to the high-board, and from thence a regular gradation may be traced down the tables, to the plainer and more ordinary but substantial meats at the lower end of the hall; but the distinction is a usual one, and no feeling of abasement is occasioned by what is considered as much a mere matter of etiquette as the arrangement of places. Every course is served like the first, with music, but no other dish calls for a carol, not even the Christmas-pie, the plum porridge, the pudding, or the mighty baron. After dinner, hippocrass and confects are served at the dais, a spiced bowl of less costly wine at the upper tables, and the plain English beverage at the lower end. All as they are bid make themselves merry as best they may. There are more and merrier Christmas sports for the young and the active than in these duller days can easily be fancied; while the seniors and the less lively take to tables and shovel-board, and other of the common games. Each end of the hall has its own amusements. At the upper part something of state is maintained, even in the wildest play. The jester there helps on the mirth, but his wit is of a caustic and comparatively polished kind. At the lower end the merriment is ruder, the jest coarser. There the wit flows from rustics, who, having gained a village celebrity, on this grand occasion put forth their mirth-moving powers with as keen a rivalry as modern wits, whose feet are under the polished mahogany; and if they have less esprit, they have perhaps more good-nature. One tells a tale provocative of broad laughter; another strains his powers of mimicry; while a third is so ready with a
* It is still sung with undiminished zeal, though with innovations, in the hall of Queen's College, at Oxford, (see vol. ii., p. 57). The version given above is printed by Wynkyn
clenching quirp, that an admiring listener is tempted to exclaim, "Truly, Maister Jeremiah, an' thy wit groweth at this rate, thou mayest e'en come to be made my lord's fool-save the mark !-some day." "I dare warrant now," chimes in a second, who, by right of serving as parish clerk on Sundays, speaks as one having authority in all matters of wit and scholarship, "I dare warrant now, Maister Jeremie there thinketh he hath wit enow already to serve the turn, should he suffer such preferment; but I trow an' that is a cut above thy reach, Jeremie: 'let every man be satisfied with that God hath given him, and eschew all vain aspirings,' as sayeth the crooked letters over Maister Dominie's desk in our revestry; but come, man, speak out, dost thou not conceive thy wit would serve thee to retort all the gibes and the fleers, the quirks and the floutings, the ruffs and the mopes, and the gullings thou would'st have put upon thee at yonder high-board. Sure I think thou would'st look like a noddy, Maister Jeremie; thy little wit would'st forsake thee, and thou would'st be fain to cry out like thy namesake, in the Lesson, Behold, I am dumb; I cannot speak, I am like a child before thee'-eh, Jeremie, what sayest thou?" "Why, marry I say, only let my lord make me his fool, and then show me the man would dare question my wit-or folly either, Maister Leatherlungs!"
But the ears of those who sit at the dais are not shocked by the ribaldry. Only the boisterous unchecked bursts of laughter now and then ascend from the bottom of the hall, and provoke once and again a lighter laugh of sympathy. But in truth if some unrefined pleasantry should reach the high-board, it would not greatly offend :-perhaps it would hardly shock the nerves of the ladies seated there-to say nothing of the lords.
When the sports have gone on a fair space, there is a motion made to clear the hall. My lord's minstrels, with a company of players who have come by invitation to Penshurst for the occasion, are to show their skill. The dais is yielded to them, and they proceed to make their preparations behind a curtain which is drawn in front of the platform. But we have no space left to describe their doings. Suffice it that a new interlude both "goodly and merry," has been prepared for this evening; that the players go through their parts to the content of my lord and the more critical part of the assembly, and to the unbounded delight of the remainder; that after the play, the minstrels sing their ballads of "knightly deeds and ladies' love," for the edification of the gentle; and Clym of the Clough, Chevy Chase, and Robin Hood for the simple: that the joculators hold conversations with voices on the roof and under the floor; and transfer handkerchiefs and rings and purses from the hands and the pockets of their owners to the pockets or the persons of honest people in other parts of the room, and do other deeds of no less magical a character, till the rustics fancy the lights burn blue, and look with undisguised terror on the conjurors: that the tumblers throw summersaults, and poise chairs, and plates, and straws, and cast up knives and balls
three or four at a time, just as the tumblers do now- | natural consequence of feudal manners.
In England a-days in the back streets of London, and to still more the system was breaking up when Jonson wrote, and he admiring spectators.
notices it with his usual good sense. It is to the honour After players and minstrels, with their humbler of Penshurst that the observation was made there." brethren the joculators, have gone through their de- All this is undoubtedly true : but the innovation, visings, the forms are removed, the tables drawn close excellent as it is in itself, very materially assisted in to the wall, and the dancing—"the damsels' delight"- breaking up that old-fashioned hospitality which assemcommences in earnest. My lord leads off the brawls with bled the several ranks in the same Great Hall. When a fair guest, or the daughter of one of his tenantry. The all partake of "the lord's own meat, of the same first dances are of a stately kind, and they grow gayer and bread, and beer, and self-same wine,” it is evident that freer as the night advances. As Selden has expressed the guests will be fewer than when each was served in it, in an unmatchable sentence :-"First you have the accordance with his rank and place : the banquet would grave measures, then the corrantoes and the galliards, be too costly else ; and it is probable that the guests will and this is kept up with ceremony; at length to be of a different grade : the humble dependant and French-more, and the cushion-dance, and then all the plain country tenant would hardly be served in such a company dances,-lord and groom, lady and kitchen- fashion. The lord may sit at the head of the long maid, no distinction. . . . Omnium gatherum, tolly- table, (not at the centre, as in olden times,) and the polly, hoity come toity." We may drop the curtain : guests below the salt may fare as well as those above “England was merry England when
it; but the 'simple folk,' who were formerly glad of a Old Christmas brought his sports again.
seat at the lower end of the hall, with a trencher of 'Twas Christmas broach'd the mightiest ale; plain beef, or brawn, and a cup of ale, will hardly be 'Twas Christmas told the merriest tale ;
called to a seat near the lord, and to share in his A Christmas gambol oft would cheer
venison and claret. The change will bring others in A poor man's heart through half the year.”
its train : the 'vast hall' itself will seem an uncomfort(Scott.)
able place to dine in, when the floor of it is empty, and We have tried to picture Penshurst Hall in its palmi- all the company are on the dais. Accordingly, we find est days. Ben Jonson, in a succeeding generation, thus that at this very time, the great were beginning to dine sings the praises of its every-day hospitality: the lines in other rooms; in fact, a Royal proclamation was are deserving regard on many accounts:
issued in 1626 against the practice :-"Whereas, sun“ Penshurst, whose liberal board doth flow
dry noblemen, gentlemen, and others, do much delight With all that hospitality doth know,
and use, to dine in corners and secret places, not repairWhere comes no guest but is allowed to eat
ing to the High Chamber, or Hall, &c." But the Without his fear, and of thy lord's own meat:
change was not thereby stayed; and a few years later, Where the same beer, and bread, and self-same wine the old custom of dining in the great hall was as much That is his lordship's shall be also mine:
spoken of as a bygone thing as it would be now. SelAnd I not fain to sit (as some this day)
den notices the consequence of the change with his At great men's tables and yet dine away.
usual sagacity ; but his manner of expression shows Here no man tells my cups; nor standing by No waiter dost my gluttony envy;
how entirely the old custom had already become a matter
of tradition. But gives me what I call, and lets me eat;
“The Hall was the place where the great He knows below he shall find plenty of meat.
lord used to eat, (wherefore else were the halls made Thy tables hoard not up for the next day ;
so big ?) where he saw all his tenants and servants Nor when I take my lodgings need I pray
about him. He eat not in private, except in time of For fire, or light, or livery-all is there
sickness ; when once he became a thing cooped up, all As if thou then wert mine,"
his greatness was spoiled. Nay, the king himself used On the lines
to eat in the hall, and his lords sat with him, and then
he understood men." He is right : when there was “Where comes no guest but is allowed to eat Without his fear, and of thy lord's own meat,"
more of social intercourse, the great did better under
stand men, and in return were better understood by Gifford observes, "This, and what follows, may appear them. Much of the mutual suspicion and ill-feeling a strange topic for praise to those who are unacquainted that so unhappily exists between the different classes with the practice of those times. But, in fact, the of society, in the country as well as in the town, may liberal mode of hospitality here recorded, was almost be traced to insufficient knowledge of each other,—the peculiar to this noble person [Sir Robert Sidney, after- result of the mutual isolation in which each dwells, as wards Earl of Leicester). The great indeed, dined at far as the other is concerned. long tables (they had no other in their vast halls), and We have made a rather long stay in this ball;
and permitted many guests to sit down with them ; but the yet in good truth there are half a score more things we gradations of rank and fortune were rigidly maintained, ought to repeat concerning it, from Jonson's descripand the dishes grew visibly coarser as they receded from tion of another pleasant old custom he was here a witthe head of the table. No reader of our old poets can ness to, down to the last reparation. The old hall is be ignorant of the phrase, below the salt: it is the desolate now. No fires burn on the hearth : the damp
hangs heavily on the naked lime-washed walls. All that it contains are the long tables that are nearly rotten with age, and a few mouldering breast-plates and matchlocks that lie upon them, and two or three rusty tilting helmets; but one of these,-a very curious one too,—is said to have been worn by Sir Philip Sidney.
The state apartments, those which are open to public inspection, are not very remarkable on their own account, nor very beautiful: it is their contents that are the chief attraction. Yet with their antique furniture, and the quaintly attired family pictures on the walls, they serve to place before the visitor with uncommon distinctness, the domestic life of a former age, and to illustrate obsolete habits. The first room into which the visitor is conducted, on quitting the hall, is the ball-room, which retains to a considerable extent the furniture and fittings it was provided with on occasion of the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Penshurst. The two small odd-looking chandeliers, and the alabaster plates on the table, are said to have been presented to Sir Henry Sidney by her majesty. There are some portraits here, that as works of art will repay examination - especially those by Vandyke; and some are also valuable on account of the persons they represent. The miscellaneous pictures are of small account, though one will attract a moment's notice when it is pointed out as the work of Elizabeth's Earl of L icester. The smaller room adjoining contains objects of far greater interest. One is a portrait of himself by Rembrandt, broad, massive, forcible. There are some other pictures here by eminent painters, chiefly of the Italian schools; and there are also some more good old English portraits. On a table is a Sidney relic: Sir Phillip's two-handed sword; a sufficiently formidable weapon no doubt in skilful hands; but withal rather unwieldy. It is a rather curious example of this kind of sword, but that is a point for the antiquary. There are several other noteworthy things in this room, but we must pass on.
The next room is the most perfect and the most interesting, called Queen Elizabeth's drawing-room, on account of its having been furnished by her when about to visit Sir Henry: it still retains its furniture unaltered, save as time alters every thing, since she was its occupant. The room is very spacious, and the furniture, as may be supposed, magnificent; yet not so magnificent as perhaps would be expected. English workmen had not then attained any very great skill in upholstery. The chairs and couches are covered with richly embroidered yellow and crimson damask-the embroidery being, it is affirmed, the work of the Queen and her maids, worked by them in order to do especial honour to Sir Henry, who was a highly esteemed and favoured servant of hers, as he had been of the two preceding monarchs. A table in this room has an embroidered centre-piece, which is related to have been wholly wrought by the Queen's own hand. There are a good many pictures in this room on which we might linger. One or two are of a rememberable character. But the paintings, which are chiefly valuable as works of art, we must
pass unnoticed, notwithstanding that there are some which bear the name of Titian, and of other famous masters. Generally, however, it may be admitted that the pictures at Penshurst are not of a high class. The attention is chiefly claimed by the portraits; and those of the Sidneys are, of course, the most interesting. In this room the portrait of Sir Philip Sidney-a very striking one-claims the first place; but there is to our thinking a still more attractive portrait of our English Bayard in the gallery we shall visit presently. Another noticeable portrait here is that of the lady immortalized in Jonson's famous epitaph as 'Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother.' From these we turn to the representation of a somewhat later Sidney. The portrait of Algernon Sidney was taken shortly before his execution for his alleged participation in the Rye House Plot.' There can be no doubt that the principles of Algernon Sidney were entirely opposed to those of the Government, nor indeed that they were ultra-republican; but there can at the same time be as little hesitancy in affirming that his trial was a mockery, that his condemnation was unjust, or that his execution conferred eternal dishonour on the profligate and unworthy monarch. The portrait is undoubtedly authentic; the period when it was taken is indicated by a representation of the block and executioner in the background, added when the picture was finished, after the death of the illustrious sitter. The face well accords with the character which his contemporaries have left of him : stern, haughty, enthusiastic, impatient of contradiction, but of consummate ability, and unwavering resolution; without any of the poetry of character, or lofty chivalry that rendered the other Sidney the object of such general admiration and devoted attachment, he, perhaps, had even higher qualifications for public life.
In the next room, called the Tapestry Room, from two immense pieces of Gobelin tapestry which are suspended in it, is a portrait of the mother of Sir Philip Sidney; she has pleasing, yet strongly marked features, and much resemblance in character, as well as contour of face to her distinguished descendants. A curious contrast in every respect to the matronly grace and modest dignity of the mother of the Sidneys, is another female portrait also in this room-Nell Gwynne, by Lely, who has here exposed that frail lady's charms even more freely than he usually does in his innumerable representations of her. In the little ante-room attached to this are a few more pictures of different degrees of merit and interest; and also a relic that never fails of devotees. This is a fragment of Sir Philip Sidney's shaving glass, which being concave, of course shows the face considerably enlarged: one may fancy from it that the good knight was rather curious about having a smooth chin.
The Long Gallery will require some time in its actual examination: here it must be passed over hastily. Among the paintings are some of considerable excellence. They claim the hands of Titian, Da Vinci, Caracci, Rembrandt, Vandyke, Holbein, and others of the great names of different ages and schools: not all
of them, however, will sustain a scrutiny into their such necessary additions to a great house, as might claims. Still, as hitherto, the portraits chiefly interest well show Kalander knew that provision is the founthe general visitor. Among the portraits we may give dation of hospitality, and thrift the fuel of magnificence. first place to the lady whom Waller made so widely The house itself was built of fair and strong stone, known as Saccharissa, under which delectable name he not affecting so much any extraordinary kind of finewooed her favour and celebrated her beauty. As is ness, as an honourable representing of a firm statewell known, the lady rejected his suit, and he bore his liness. The lights, doors, and stairs, rather directed fate with most exemplary but very unpoetical fortitude. to the use of the guest, than to the eye of the She does not appear very charming in her picture; artificer; and yet as the one chiefly heeded, yet the but she had sufficient charms to attach the affections of other not neglected; each place handsome without a far more worthy man than her poetic admirer, and curiosity, and homely without loathsomeness ; not so sense enough to prefer him. In another room there is dainty as not to be trod on, nor yet slubbered up
with a portrait of the Earl of Sunderland, the successful good fellowship; all more lasting than beautiful, but lover of Lady Dorothy Sidney. Robert Dudley, that the consideration of the exceeding lastingness Earl of Leicester (who it will be recollected was the made the eye believe it was exceeding beautiful." uncle of Sir Philip Sidney), is also here ; and here is the portrait of Sir Philip, to which we before alluded. already mentioned. Instead of now attempting to de. It is a quaint, hard production ; but the painter, Mark scribe it, we shall again turn to the Arcadia, and borGarrard, has somehow contrived to impart uncommon row a passage, which is a sufficiently accurate sketch naïveté and character to his work. Sir Philip is repre- of the scenery in all its permanent features ; while the sented with his arm round his younger brother Robert landscape derives fresh delights from the exquisite old(the lord of Penshurst whom Jonson celebrates), and world air it breathes. This first picture may be underboth the brothers, while they are remarkably alike in stood to depict the park, which, it will be remembered, features, have decided individuality of expression. was in his time far more extensive than now:-“It
Since Horace Walpole published his deprecatory is," he says, “truly a place for pleasantness, not unfit notice of Sir Philip Sidney, a good many smaller wits to flatter solitariness; for it being set upon such unhave given utterance to their ill opinion of him. Wal- sensible rising of the ground, as you are come to a pole's scoff is easily accounted for. He delighted in pretty height before almost you perceive that you paradox ; was an habitual sneerer; frivolous and lax ascend, it gives the eye lordship over a good large cirin mind and practice : cold, flippant, heartless; of all cuit, which, according to the nature of the country, men least fitted to appreciate or even understand the being diversified between hills and dales, woods and lofty poetic seriousness of Sir Philip's character. His plains, one place more clear, another more darksome, censure of the writer is sufficiently refuted by the it seems a pleasant picture of nature, with lovely lightunanimous opinion of every one who, having the someness and artificial shadows." smallest spark of poetry in his soul, has read Sidney's The following embraces the vicinity. It would be works. His condemnation of the man has an answer idle to praise the painting, (by the way, Master Izaak in the universal admiration of his contemporaries : and Walton has copied some parts of it,) but we may just such contemporaries ! He whose early death a nation point attention to the skilful introduction of the human mourned; whom the greatest minds praised with a and other accessaries, or, as a landscape painter devotion and lamented with an earnestness without would call them, “the figures :"—there be no such parallel in his generation ; and of whom so gifted a Idyllic shepherds and shepherdesses to be met about man as Lord Brooke, the favoured of sovereigns, so Penshurst now :-" There were hills which garnished thought, as to cause to be placed on his tomb, as his their proud heights with stately trees : humble valleys, highest eulogy, that he was "the friend of Sir Philip whose base estate seemed comforted with the refreshSidney”-surely could not have been "a person of the ing of silver rivers : meadows, enamelled with all sorts slender proportion of merit " Walpole represents. of eye-pleasing flowers : thickets, which, being lined
We must leave Penshurst. Many more things in with most pleasant shade, were witnessed so, too, by these apartments might fairly claim notice, but we the cheerful disposition of many well-tuned birds : each have already made too long tarriance here. When he pasture stored with sheep, feeding with sober security, returns to the park, the visitor will no doubt again while the pretty lambs, with bleating oratory, craved look around the exterior of the building; at any rate, the dams' comfort : here a shepherd's boy piping, as he should do so, as he will then more readily perceive though he should never be old : there a young shepthe purpose and connection of the several parts. There herdess knitting, and withal singing, and it seemed that is a passage in the first book of the Arcadia, in which her voice comforted her hands to work, and her hands Sidney appears to have been describing his family kept time to her voice-music. As for the houses of mansion ; and as it has not been quoted in connection the country, (for many houses came under their eye,) with the place which it characterises in so pleasant a man- they were all scattered, no two being one by the other, ner, the reader will probably not be sorry to see it here: and yet not so far off as that it barred mutual succour :
“They might see (with fit consideration both of the a show, as it were, of an accompanable solitariness, and air, the prospect, and the nature of the ground) all of a civil wildness."