« AnteriorContinuar »
"The maner of Maie-games in Ailgna.—
"The order of them is thus: Against Maie, Whitsondaie, or some other tyme of the yeare, every parish, towne, and village, assemble themselves together, bothe men, women, and children, olde and yong, even all indifferently: and either goyng all together, or devidyng themselves into companies, they goe some to the woodes and groves, some to the hilles and mountaines, some to one place, some to another, where they spende all the nighte in pleasant pastymes, and in the mornyng they returne, bringyng with them birch-bowes, and braunches of trees, to deck their assemblies withall: and no marvaile, for there is a great lord present amongst them, as superintendent and lorde over their pastymes and sportes: namely, Sathan Prince of Hell: but their cheefest jewell they bryng from thence is their Maiepole, whiche they bryng home with greate veneration, as thus. They have twentie or fourtie yoke of oxen, every oxe having a sweet nosegaie of flowers, placed on the tippe of his hornes, and these oxen drawe home this Maie-pole, (this stinckyng idoll rather) whiche is covered all over with flowers, and hearbes bounde rounde aboute with strynges, from the top to the bottome, and sometyme painted with variable colours, with twoo or three hundred men, women, and children, followyng it, with greate devotion. And this being reared up, with handkercheefes and flagges streamyng on the toppe, they strawe the grounde aboute, binde greene boughes aboute it, sett up sommer haules, bowers, and arbours hard by it. And then fall they to banquet and feast, to leape and daunce aboute it, as the heathen people did, at the dedication of their idolles, whereof this is a perfect patterne, or rather the thyng itself."
Church-ales, wakes, and feasts, are treated with as little remorse as Mai-games. "The horrible vice of pestiferous dauncing" is denounced as an incentive to lust; though the dancing recorded in the Scriptures is a stumbling-block, which he is puzzled to remove: he, however, compromises the question, by admitting the lawfulness of the sport when not used for the idle purpose of recreation, and when one sex only is permitted to join in it. Music, we are told," allureth the auditorie to effeminacie, pusillanimitie, and lothsomness of life, much like unto honey." Cards, dice, tennis, bear-baiting, and cock-fighting, are successively interdicted. Hawking and hunting share the same fate. "Esau was a great hunter, but a reprobate; Ismaell a greate hunter, but a miscreant; Nemrode a greate hunter, but yet a reprobate and a vessell of wrath." The profanation of the Sabbath by markets, fairs, and sports, is duly commented on. The concluding charge is, the "Readyne of wicked bookes:" the author laments the disuse into which that excellent work, Fox's Book of Martyrs, has fallen, and the preference given to "prophane schedules, hethnical pamphlets of toyes and bableries, invented and excogitat by Belzebub, written by Lucifer, licenced by Pluto, printed by Cerberus, and set abroach to sale by the infernal furies themselves, to the poisoning of the whole world."
The work concludes with describing the signs of the approaching dissolution of the world, and earnest admonitions to the people to repent.
The Second Part of the Anatomie of Abuses, like almost all continuations, is greatly inferior in spirit and freshness to the preceding part. After having reaped a plentiful harvest of abuses, the author sallies forth again to glean the refuse of iniquity, and to collect every straggling peccadillo. The work is dedicated, like the former one, to the Earl of Arundel, and the increased and increasing wickedness of the age is assigned as the reason for the author's taking the field again. An address to the reader apologizes for the author's and the printer's errors, and a supplicatory and an adulatory address, by J. F. and J. S. are added. Theodorus and Amphilogus succeed Spudeus and Philoponus, and Ailgna is transformed into Dnalgne, with its capital Nodnol. A dissertation on the situation and state of England introduces a string of invectives against the "bloodthirsty papists," and the machinations of " that man of sinne, that first-borne of Satan, that Italian Antichrist," the Pope. Hyperbolical encomiums are lavished on" a noble Queene, a chaste maide and pure virgin." "Princes," we are told, " are to be obeyed in everie thing not contrarie to the lawe of God and goode conscience." * * * There is no power but of God. If the prince be a godly prince, then is he sent as a great blessing from God, and if he be a tyrant, then is he raised of God for a scourge to the people for their sins. And therefore, whether the prince be the one or the other, he is to be obeid as before." The litigious spirit of the people, and the folly and wickedness of going to law, are expatiated upon, and the " cheverell consciences of the lawyers" are not overlooked. The discussion of the state of education introduces the abuses in the Universities by the admission of the rich to the exclusion of the poor. The professional knaveries of the merchant, the draper, the goldsmith, the vintner, the butcher, the tanner, the shoemaker, the broker, the chandler, and the farmer, are successively exposed. The tailor, it may be easily supposed, receives his due modicum of abuse, and the unfortunate knights of the thimble are declared responsible for the vanities to which they administer gratification. The abomination of ruffs, we are told, is become more intolerable than ever, and starching-houses have been erected for their use, "consecrate to Beelzebub and Cerberus, arch-divels of greate ruffes, * * wherein they tricke up these cart-wheeles of the divel's charet of pride." The description of his trusty ally, the barber, is the most amusing passage in the Second Part.
"Amp. There are no finer fellows under the sunne, nor experter in their noble science of barbing than they be. And therefore in the fulnes of their overflowing knowledge (oh, ingenious heads, and worthie to be dignified with the diademe of follie and vain curiositie) they have invented such strange fashions and monstrous maners of cuttings, trimmings, shavings, and washings, that you would wonder to see. They have one maner of cut, called the French cut, another the Spanish cut; one the Dutch cut, another the Italian; one the newe cut, another the old; one of the bravado fashion, another of the meane fashion; one a gentleman's cut, another the common cut; one out of the court, another of the country, with infinite the like vanities which I overpasse. They have also other kinds of cuts innumerable, and therefore when you come to be trained, they will aske you whether you will be cut to look terrible to your enimie, or aimiable to your friend, grime and sterne in countenance, or pleasant and demure (for they have divers kinds of cuts, for all these purposes, or els they lie.) Then when they have done all their feats, it is a world to consider, how their mowchatowes must be preserved and laid out, and from one cheke to another, yea almost from one ear to another, and turned up like two hornes towards the forehead. Besides that, when they come to the cutting of the haire, what snipping and snapping of the cycers is there, what tricking and triming, what rubbing, what scratching, what combing and clawing, what tricking and toyling, and all to tawe out money you may be sure. And when they come to washing, oh how gingerly they behave themselves therein. For then shall your mouth be bossed with the lather or fome that riseth off the balles (for they have their sweet balles wherewithall they use to washej your eyes closed must be anointed therewith also. Then snap go the fingers ful bravely, God wot. Thus this tragedy ended, comes me warme clothes to wipe and dry him withall, next the eares must be picked and closed again artificially forsooth. The haire of the nostrils cut away, and every thing done in order comely to behold. The last act in this tragedie is the payment of monie. And least these cunning barbers might seeme unconscionable in asking much for their paines, they are of such a shamefast modestie, as they will aske nothing at all, but standing to the curtisie and liberalitie of the giver, they will receive all that comes how much soever it be, not giving anie againe I warrant you: for take a barber with that fault and strike off his head. No, no, such fellowes are Raroe aves in terris, nigrisque similima cygnis, Rare birds on the earth, and as geason as blacke swans. You shall have also your orient perfumes for your nose, your fragrant waters for your face, wherewith you shall all to besprinkled: your musicke again and pleasant harmonie shall sound in your eares, and all to tickle the same with vain delight. And in the end your cloke shall be brushed, and God be with you, gentleman."
The faculty are very roughly handled: the physicians and surgeons are accused of keeping the rich ill, and of killing the poor out of the way, and the apothecaries of the adulteration and substitution of drugs. The number of ignorant quacks and quacking old women is lamented, and it is proposed that none such be allowed to prescribe or poison, except gratis; and that all candidates for the profession be examined touching their skill, " as also for godliness, christian zeale, pure religion, compassion and love to their brethren"—qualifications, we are afraid, not considered quite indispensable in the College of Surgeons. Our author has sense enough to despise the astronomers, prognosticators, and almanack-makers, with their trumpery science, which he declares "standeth upon nothing else but mere conjectures, supposals, likelihoods, guesses, probabilities, observations of times and seasons, conjunctions of signes, starres and planets, with their aspects and occurants and the like; and not upon anie certaine ground, knowledge, or truth, either of the word of God or of natural reason." Having almost exhausted the high crimes and misdemeanours of the laiety, our anatomist enters upon the " Corruption and Abuses of the Spiritualitie," to which he devotes a considerable portion of his Second Part. As we have no wish to follow him in his discussion of the evil of pluralities and non-residence, or of the difference between a reading and a preaching ministry, we shall here take our leave of Philip Stubbes, with a feeling of gratitude for the information and amusement he has afforded us, and of respect for the perseverance and hardihood with which he stood forth to combat the real and supposed enormities of the age.
Art. IX. Franc. Baconis de Verulamio Summi Anglia Cancellarii Novum Organum Scientiarum.
Multi pertransibunt et augebitur scientia. Lugd. Bat. 1645. pp. 457.
The most valuable, but the most neglected, of Lord Bacon's works, is the Novum Organum.
His Essays upon subjects of such general interest as Friendship, Love, Marriage, Parent and Child, Goodness and Goodness of Nature, Adversity and Prosperity, full of thought from his philosophic mind, and of beauty from his sweet fancy, have been, as he predicted, the most current of all his works: "they come home," he says, "to men's business and bosoms, and, like the late new half-pence, the pieces are small and the silver is good."—When we read in his Essay on Adversity, that
"The virtue of prosperity is temperance; the virtue of adversity is fortitude. Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; adversity is the blessing of the New, which carrieth the greater benediction and the clearer revelation of God's favour. Yet even in the Old Testament, if you listen to David's harp, you shall hear as many herselike airs as carols; and the pencil of the Holy Ghost hath laboured more in describing the afflictions of Job than the felicities of Solomon. Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes. We see in needle-works and embroideries, it is more pleasing to have a lively work upon a sad and solemn ground, than to have a dark and melancholy work upon a lightsome ground ; judge therefore of the pleasure of the heart by the pleasure of the eye. Certainly virtue is like precious odours, most fragrant where they are incensed or crushed: for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue."
And when we read, in his essay on Goodness and Goodness of Nature, that
"The parts and signs of goodness are many. If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shews he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them. If he be compassionate towards the afflictions of others, it shews that his heart is like the noble tree that is wounded itself when it gives the balm. If he easily pardons and remits offences, it shews that his mind is planted above injuries, so that he cannot be shot. If he be thankful for small benefits, it shews that he weighs men's minds, and not their trash."
When we read such interesting subjects so beautifully treated, we are not astonished at his prediction, that his essays "would last as long as books last." The whole, indeed, of this little volume may be described in the words of Ben Jonson, who, when speaking of Bacon's eloquence in parliament, says, " No man ever spake more neatly, morepressly, more weightily, or suffered less emptiness, less idlenesse in what he uttered. My conceit of his person was never increased toward him by his place or honours: but I have and do reverence him, for the greatness that was only proper to himself, in that he seemed to me ever, by his works, one of the greatest men and most worthy of admiration, that had been in many ages. In his adversity, I ever prayed that God would give him strength, for greatness he could not want. Neither could I condole in a word or syllable for him, as knowing no accident could do harm to virtue, but rather help to make it manifest."
The Advancement of Learning was, as Bacon well knew, likely to possess a temporary ascendancy over his more abstruse works. Within its outline is included the whole of science. After having examined all the objections to learning;