Imágenes de páginas

tinuity of shade,” stretching over all, rather than a mere mason's groined roof, having also admired the effect of the elegantly painted shields of arms which here and there enrich the windows, we now turn an inquiring gaze around to see what else of interest may belong to the Lady Chapel, until the tomb of Bishop Andrews is perceived, which at once arrests and fixes the attention. Seldom has the world seen a man more worthy of its united love and veneration than he whose remains lie here interred; and seldom has the world been so willing as in his case to acknowledge such claims upon it. He was successively Dean of Westminster, Bishop of Chichester, Bishop of Ely, and lastly, in 1618, Bishop of Winchester. His great learning made him a favourite with the King; his piety and virtues with the people ; his fascinating eloquence with both. He was one of the authors of our common translation of the Bible. It is recorded that towards the close of his life the manuscript of his · Manual for Private Devotions, &c., was scarcely ever out of his hands, and after his death it was found worn in pieces and wet with his tears. That death made a great sensation. Milton, then only about sixteen or seventeen, wrote, in Latin, an impassioned elegy to his memory, which Cowper has translated. The good bishop's tomb was formerly in the Bishop's Chapel, a small edifice projecting eastward beyond the Lady Chapel. It had originally a fair canopy upon black marble pillars, with a long inscription, commencing, “Reader, if thou art a Christian, stay; it will be worth thy tarrying to know how great a man lies here.” This canopy was destroyed by the falling in of the roof of the chapel in the fire of 1676. During the late alterations this chapel was pulled down, and the tomb removed to its present site. The latter was then opered, and his coffin seen within, in an excellent state of preservation, closely bricked up. It rested on a cross of brickwork. The leaden coffin bore simply his initials, L. A., Lancelot Andrews.

[graphic][merged small]
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

· The Silent Woman,' one of the most popular of Ben Jonson's comedies, presents to us a more vivid picture than can elsewhere be found of the characteristic noises of the streets of London more than two centuries ago. It is easy to form to ourselves a general idea of the hum and buzz of the bees and drones of this mighty hive, under a state of manners essentially different from our own; but it is not so easy to attain a lively conception of the particular sounds that once went to make up this great discord, and so to compare them in their resemblances and their differences with the roar which the great Babel now "sends through all her gates.” We propose, therefore, to put before our readers this passage of Jonson's comedy; and then, classifying what he describes, illustrate our fine old dramatic painter of manners by references to other writers, and by the results of our own observation.

The principal character of Jonson's "Silent Woman’ is founded upon a sketch by a Greek writer of the fourth century, Libanius. Jonson designates this character by the name of “ Morose;" and his peculiarity is that he can bear no kind of noise, even that of ordinary talk. The plot turns upon this affectation; for, having been entrapped into a marriage with the Silent Woman, she and her friends assail him with tongues the most obstreperous, and clamours the most


uproarious, until, to be relieved of this nuisance, he comes to terms with his nephew for a portion of his fortune, and is relieved of the Silent Woman, who is in reality a boy in disguise. We extract the dialogue which will form a text to our paper; the speakers being Truewit, Clerimont, and a Page:

True. I met that stiff piece of formality, his uncle, yesterday, with a huge turban of night-caps on his head, buckled over his ears.

Cler. O! that's his custom when he walks abroad. He can endure no noise,


" True. So I have heard. But is the disease so ridiculous in him as it is made? They say he has been upon divers treaties with the fish-wives and orange-women; and articles propounded between them: marry, the chimneysweepers will not be drawn in.

Cler. No, nor the broom-men: they stand out stiffly. He cannot endure a costard-monger; he swoons if he hear one.

True. Methinks a smith should be ominous.

Cler. Or any hammer-man. A brasier is not suffer'd to dwell in the parish, nor an armourer. He would have hang'd a pewterer's 'prentice once upon a Shrove-Tuesday's riot, for being of that trade, when the rest were quit.

True. A trumpet should fright him terribly, or the hautboys.

Cler. Out of his senses. The waits of the city have a pension of him not to come near that ward. This youth practised on him one night like the bellman, and never left till he had brought him down to the door with a long sword; and there left him flourishing with the air.

Page. Why, sir, he hath chosen a street to lie in, so narrow at both ends that it will receive no coaches, nor carts, nor any of these common noises : and therefore we that love him devise to bring him in such as we may, now and then, for his exercise, to breathe him. He would grow resty else in his cage; his virtue would rust without action. I entreated a bearward, one day, to come down with the dogs of some four parishes that way, and I thank him he did; and cried his games under Master Morose's window; till he was sent crying away, with his head made a most bleeding spectacle to the multitude. And, another time, a fencer marching to his prize had his drum most tragically run through, for taking that street in his way at my request.

True. A good wag! How does he for the bells ?

Cler. O! in the queen's time he was wont to go out of town every Saturday at ten o'clock, or on holyday eves. But now, by reason of the sickness, the perpetuity of ringing has made him devise a room with double walls and treble ceilings; the windows close shut and caulk'd: and there he lives by candlelight."

The first class of noises, then, against which Morose protected his ears by "a huge turban of night-caps," is that of the ancient and far-famed LONDON CRIES. We have here the very loudest of them-fish-wives, orange-women, chimneysweepers, broom-men, costard-mongers. But we might almost say that there were hundreds of other cries; and therefore, reserving to ourselves some opportunity for a special enumeration of a few of the more remarkable of these cries, we shall now slightly group them, as they present themselves to our notice during successive generations.

And first let us go back as far as the days of Henry V. Lydgate, in his very curious poem of London Lyckpeny,'* has recorded the cries of four centuries ago. He tells us that at the door of Westminster Hall,

• Fleming begun on me for to cry,
Master, what will you copen or buy,

Fine felt hats, or spectacles to read ?Spectacles to read before printing was invented must have had a rather limited market; but we must bear in mind where they were sold. In Westminster Hall there were lawyers and rich suitors congregated,—worshipful men, who had a written law to study and expound, and learned treatises diligently to peruse, and titles to hunt after through the labyrinths of fine and recovery. The dealer in spectacles was a dealer in hats, as we see; and the articles were no doubt both of foreign manufacture. But lawyers and suitors had also to feed, as well as to read with spectacles; and on the Thames side, instead of the coffeehouses of modern date, were tables in the open air, where men every day ate and drank jollily, as they now do at a horse-race :

“Cooks to me they took good intent,
And preferred me bread with ale and wine,
Ribs of beef both fat and full fine:

A fair cloth they gan for to spread.” London itself seems to have been especially full of food and the cries of feeding. In Eastcheap

“One cries ribs of beef and many u pie.” In Canwyke Street (Cannon Street)

“Then comes in one crying hot sheep's feet.Those who preferred a vegetable diet had their choice :

Hot pe ascod one began to cry:” and the dessert was not wanting, for there was the

Strawberries ripe, and cherries in the rise.p" There were venders of "pepper and saffron,” bidding him draw near; and the cry which is still heard and tolerated by law, that of mackerel, rang through every street. There was the cry of “rushes green," which tells us of by-gone customs rushes for the floor. In Cheap (Cheapside) he saw much people standing, who proclaimed the merits of their velvets, silk, lawn, and Paris thread. These, however, were shopkeepers; but their shops were not after the modern fashion of plate-glass windows, and carpeted floors, and lustres blazing at night with a splendour that would put to shame the glories of an eastern palace. They were rude booths, the owners of which bawled as loudly as the itinerants; and they went on bawling for several centuries, like butchers in a market, so that, in 1628, Alexander Gell, a bachelor of divinity, was sentenced to lose his ears and to be degraded from the ministry, for giving his opinion of Charles I., that he was fitter to stand in a Cheapside shop with an apron before him, and say "what lack ye?" than to govern a kingdom. With unpaved streets, and no noise of

* See “The Silent Highway,' page 5.
Rise-branch, twig, either a natural branch, or tied on sticks as we still see them.

See Ellis's Letters,' vol. iii. p. 276.

cry of

[ocr errors]

coaches to drown any particular sound, we may readily imagine the din of the great London thoroughfares of four centuries ago, produced by all this vociferous demand for custom. The chief body of London retailers were then itinerant,literally pedlers; and those who had attained some higher station were simply stall-keepers. The streets of trade must have borne a wonderful resemblance to a modern fair. Competition was then a very rude thing, and the loudest voice did something perhaps to carry the customer.

If the age of the Stuarts was not the greatest period of London cries (and it is probable that the progress of refinement had abolished many of them), that period has preserved to us the fullest records of their wonderful variety. Artists of all countries and times have delighted to represent those peculiarities of costume and character which belong to the history of cries. Annibal Carracci has immortalized the cries of Bologna; and from the time of James I. to that of George IV., we have woodcuts and etchings almost numberless of the cries and Itinerant Trades of London. There is a very rare sheet of woodcuts in the British Museum, containing twelve cries; and these may be taken, on the authority of Mr. Smith, the late keeper of the prints, as of the same date as Ben Jonson's “fish wives and costard-mongers." We have here the reverend watchman, with his Hang out your light," and the noisy “bellman,” described and engraved in a recent paper. The orange-women" of Ben Jonson are here figured to the life. The familiar mention of the orange-sellers in the 'Silent Woman,' and this very early representation of one of them, show how general the use of this fruit had become in England at the beginning of the seventeenth century. It is stated, though the story is somewhat apocryphal, that the first oranges were imported by Sir Walter Raleigh. It is probable that about his time they first became an article of general commerce.

We now consume about two hundred and fifty millions of oranges every year. The orange-women who carried the golden fruit upon their heads through every street and alley, with the musical cry of

Fair lemons and oranges,

Oranges and citrons," lasted for a century or two. The Cries' of Tempest were published in the beginning of the eighteenth century, but many of the designs, which are by

[graphic][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »