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- ACT I.
" SCENE I.-" I will be thy Beadsman, pectation or gratitude of their suitors. They Valentine."
had regularly appointed beadsmen, who were The Anglo-Saxon beade-a prayer-something paid to weary Hearen with their supplications. prayed-has given the name to the mechanical It is to this practice that Shakspere alludes, in help which the ritual of the early church asso- | the speech of Scroop to Richard II.: ciated with the act of praying. To drop a ball “Thy very beademen learn to bend their bows down a string at every prayer, whether enjoined of double-fatal yew against thy state." by the priest or by voluntary obligation, has Johnson, upon this passage, says, “The king's been the practice of the Romish church for beadsmen were his chaplains." This assertion many centuries. In our language the ball, from is partly borne out by an entry in "The Privy its use, came to be called a bead. To “bid Purse Expenses of King Henry VIII.,' pubthe beads," and to “pray," were synonymous. lished by Sir Harris Nicolas : " Item, to Sir Burnet, in his History of the Reformation, says, Torche, the king's bede man at the Rood in “ The form of bidding prayer was not begun Grenewiche, for one yere now ended, xls." The by King Henry, as some have weakly imagined, title “Sir” was in these days more especially but was used in the times of popery, as will ap- applied to priests. (See 'Merry Wives of Windpear by the form of bidding the beads in Kingsor.) But the term “ Bedesman" was also, we Henry the Seventh's time. The way was, first. have little doubt, generally applied to any perfor the preacher to name and open his text, and sons, whether of the clergy or laity, who rethen to call on the people to go to their prayers, ceived endowments for the purpose of offering and to tell them what they were to pray for; I prayers for the sovereign. Henry VII. estar after which all the people said their beads in a blished such persons upon a magnificent scale. general silence, and the minister kneeled down The Harleian MS. No. 1498, in the British Mualso and said his." We find the expression seum, is an indenture made between Henry “ bedes bydding" in the Vision of Pierce Plow- ' VII. and John Islipp, Abbot of St. Peter, man, which was written, according to Tyrwhitt, Westminster, in which the abbot engages to about 1362. In the same remarkable poem we “ provide and sustain within the said monasalso find Bedman-beadman, or beadsman. A tery, in the almshouses there, therefore made beadsman, in the sense of “I will be thy beads- and appointed by the said king, thirteen poor man," is one who offers up prayers for the wel. men, one of them being a priest;" and the fare of another. In this general sense it was duty of these thirteen poor men is “to pray used by Sir Henry Lee to Queen Elizabeth.during the life of the said king, our sovereign (See Illustration 10.) “Thy poor daily orator lord, for the good and prosperous state of the and beadsman" was the common subscription to same king, our sovereign lord, and for the prosa petition to any great man or person in au- | pering of this his realm.” These men are not thority. We retain the substance, though not in the indenture called bedesmen; that instruthe exact form, of this courtly humiliation, | ment providing that they “shall be named and even to the present day, when we memorialize called the Almesse men of the said king our the Crown and the Houses of Parliament, and sovereign lord.” The general designation of seek to propitiate those authorities by the un- those who make prayers for others—bedesmen meaning assurance that their "petitioners shall -is here sunk in a name derived from the ever pray.” But the great men of old did not particular almesse (alms) or endowment. The wholly depend upon the efficacy of their prayers dress of the twelve almsmen is to be a gown for their welfare, which proceeded from the ex. and a hood, “and a scochyn to be made and
set upon every of the said gowns, and a red | reaping-season was laid on a bench and slapped rose crowned and embroidered thereupon.” In with boots. But Steevens has also concluded the following design (the figure of which, a -and Douce follows up the opinion that the monk at his devotions, is from a drawing by allusion is to the instrument of torture called Quellinus, & pupil of Rubens), the costume is the Boots. That horrid engine, as well as the taken from an illumination in the indenture rack and other monuments of the cruelty of now recited, which illumination represents the irresponsible power, was used in the griestionabbot, the priest, and the almsmen receiving in the endeavour to wring a confession out of
the accused by terror or by actual torment. This meaning gives a propriety to the allusion. In the passage before us, Valentine is bantering Proteus about his mistress—and Proteus exclaims, “Nay, give me not the boots”-do not torture me to confess to those love-delinquencies of which you accuse me. Mr. Collier, however, says that this is “a proverbial expression not unfrequently met with in our old dramatists, signifying-don't make a laughing-stock of me. It seems to have no connexion what ever with the punishment of the Boots." Be this as it may, we may add a few words upon
Douce's view. The torture of the boots was the indenture. The first almsman bears a used principally in Scotland; and Douce has string of beads upon his hand. The “SCO an extract from a very curious pamphlet con. chyn" made and set upon the gown reminds taining an account of its infliction in the preus of the “badge" of poor Edie Ochiltree, in sence of our James I., before he was called to the 'Antiquary;' and this brings us back to the English crown, upon one Dr. Fein, a sup“ Beadsmen." This prince of mendicants was, posed wizard, who was charged with raising the as our readers will remember, a “King's Bedes- storms which the king encountered on his pasman"_"an order of paupers to whom the kings sage from Denmark. The brutal superstition of Scotland were in the custom of distributing which led James to the use of this horrid tor. a certain alms, in conformity with the ordi- ture is less revolting than the calculating tyranny nances of the Catholic church, and who were which prescribed its application to the unbappy expected, in return, to pray for the royal wel Whig preachers of a century later, as recorded fare and that of the state.” The similarity in by Burnet, in the case of Maccael, in 1666. the practices of the “ King's Bedesmen” of Our readers will here again remember Scott, in Scotland, and the “Almesse men” of Henry his powerful scene of Macbriar before the Privy VII., is precise. “This order," as Sir Walter Scott tells us in his advertisement to the 'Antiquary, from which the above description is copied, “is still kept up." The “poor orators and beadsmen" of England live now only in a few musty records, or in the allusions of Spenser and Shakspere; and in the same way the “Blue Gowns” or “Kings Bedesmen” of Scotland, who "are now seldom to be seen in the streets of Edinburgh," will be chiefly remembered in the imperishable pages of the Author of Waverley.'
? Scene I.-"Nay, give me not the boots.”
This expression may refer, as Steevens bas suggested, to a country sport in harvest-time, Council of Scotland and will think of the wily in which any offender against the laws of the 1 Lauderdale and his detestable joke when the
tortured man has fainted—" he 'Il scarce ride produced in the leaves of many plants, and to day, though he has had his boots on.” | which find habitation and food by the destrucDouce says, “the torture of the boot was tion of the receptacle of their infant existence. known in France, and, in all probability, im These caterpillars are termed “leaf-rollers," and ported from that country.” He then gives a their economy is amongst the most curious and representation of it, copied from Millæus's interesting of the researches of entomology. A Praxis criminis persequendi, Paris, 1541. The small dark brown caterpillar, with a black head woodcut which we subjoin is from the same and six feet, is the “canker-worm" of the rose. book; but we have restored a portion of the It derives its specific name, Lozotonia Rosana, original engraving which Douce has omitted— 1 from its habits. The grub, produced from eggs the judges, or examiners, witnessing the tor deposited in the previous summer or autumn, ture, and prepared to record the prisoner's de makes its appearance with the first opening of position under its endurance.
the leaves, and it constructs its summer tent 3 SCENE I. “ In the sweetest bud
while the leaves are in their soft and half-ex.
panded state. It weaves them together so The eating canker dwells.”
strongly, bending them (according to the Greek This is a figure which Shakspere has often re
of the Septuagint) and fastening their discs peated. In the Sonnets we have (Sonnet Lxx.)
with the silken cords which it sping—that the "Canker vice the sweetest buds doth love."
growth of the bud in which it forms its canopy In ‘King John, "Now will canker sorrow eat my bud."
is completely stopped. Thus secured from the In 'Hamlet,
rain and from external enemies, it begins to “ The canker galls the infants of the spring." destroy the inner partitions of its dwelling : it The peculiar canker which our poet, a close ob becomes the cutting insect of the Hebrew. In server of Nature, must have noted, is described this way, in ' A Midsummer Night's Dream,
" the most forward bud
Is eaten by the canker ere it blow." "Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds." And in ‘1 Henry VI.,—
• SCENE I.—“ Not so much as a ducat.” "Hath not thy rose a canker." The instrument by which the canker was pro
The ducat – which derives its name from duced is described in
duke, a ducal coin-is repeatedly mentioned in " The bud bit with an envious worm"
Shakspere. There were two causes for this. of 'Romeo and Juliet;' and in
First, many of the incidents of his plays were "concealment, like a worm i' the bud,
derived from Italian stories, and were laid in Fed on her damask cheek,”
Italian scenes; and his characters, therefore, in 'Twelfth Night.'
properly use the name of the coin of their Shakspere found the “canker-worm" in the
country. Thus, ducat occurs in this play-in Old Testament (Joel i. 4). The Geneva Bible,
the Comedy of Errors '-in “Much Ado about 1561, has, “That which is left of the palmer Nothing'-in “Romeo and Juliet;' and, more worm hath the grasshopper eaten, and the re
than all, in the Merchant of Venice. But sidue of the grasshopper bath the canker-worm
Italy was the great resort of English travellers eaten, and the residue of the canker-worm hath
in the time of Shakspere; and ducat being a the caterpillar eaten.” The Arabic version of the
familiar word to him, we find it also in 'Hampassage in Joel renders what is here, and in our
let,' and in 'Cymbeline.' Venice has, at present, received translation, “ the palmer-worm," by its silver ducat-the ducat of eight livresdud, which seems a general denomination for
worth about 38. 3d. The gold ducat of Venice the larva state of an insect, and which applies
is at present worth about 68. The following especially to the “canker-worm." The original
representation of its old gold ducat is from a Hebrew, which is rendered palmer-worm, is print in the Coin Room in the British Museum. from & verb meaning to cut or shear; the Greek of the Septuagint, by which the same word is rendered, is derived from the verb meaning to bend.—(See Pictorial Bible,' Joel i.) These two words give a most exact description of the “canker-worm;"—of “the canker in the musk-rose buds;" of the larvæ which are |
S SCENE I.—" You have testern'd me.” 1 SCENE II.—“Best sing it to the tune of Light A verb is here made out of the name of a
This was the name of a dance tune, which, coin-the tester-which is mentioned twice in Shakspere: 1, by Falstaff, when he praises his
from the frequent mention of it in the old recruit Wart, “ There's a tester for thee;" and,
poets, appears to have been very popular. 2, by Pistol, “ Tester I'll have in pouch." We
Shakspere refers to it again in 'Much Ado have also testril, which is the same, in ‘Twelfth
about Nothing,' with more exactness : “Light Night.' The value of a tester, teston, testern,
o' love ;-that goes without a burthen; do you or testril, as it is variously written, was sup
sing it and I'll dance it." posed to be determined by a passage in Lati
SCENE II.—“ Injurious wasps ! to feed on such mer's sermons (1584):“They brought him &
sweet honey." denari, a piece of their current coin that was
The economy of bees was known to Shakworth ten of our usual pence—such another piece as our testerne.” But the value of the
spere with an exactness which he could not tester, like that of all our ancient coins, was
have derived from books. The description in
Henry V.,' “So work the honey bees,” is a constantly changing, in consequence of the infamous practice of debasing the currency, which
study for the naturalist as well as the poet.
He had doubtless not only observed “the lazy was amongst the expedients of bad governments
yawning drone,” but the “injurious wasps,” for wringing money out of the people by cheat
that plundered the stores which had been coling as well as violence. The French name,
lected by those who teston, was applied to a silver coin of Louis
"Make boot upon the summer's velvet buds." XII., 1513, because it bore the king's head; and the English shilling received the same
These were the fearless robbers to which the name at the beginning of the reign of Henry
pretty pouting Julia compares her fingers :VIII.,-probably because it had the same value
“Injurious wasps ! to feed on such sweet honey,
And kill the bees that yield it with your stings !" as the French teston. The testons were called
The metaphor is as accurate as it is beautiful. in by proclamations in the second and third years of Edward VI., in consequence of the • SCENE II. " I see you have a month's extensive forgeries of this coin by Sir William
mind,” &c. Sherrington, for which, by an express act of The month's mind, in one form of the expresparliament, he was attainted of treason. They sion, referred to the solemn mass, or other obare described in these proclamations as "pieces
sequies directed to be performed for the repose of xiid., commonly called testons." But the
of the soul, during the month which followed base shillings still continued to circulate, and
interment. At the funeral of the Abbot Islipp, they were, according to Stow, “called down” to “The herse, with all th’ other things, did rethe value of ninepence, afterwards to sixpence, mayne there untill the monethes mynde." (Veand finally to fourpence halfpenny, in the reign tusta Monumenta,' Vol. IV. p. 3.) The strong of Edward VI. The value seems, at last, to desire with which this ceremony was regarded have settled to sixpence. Harrison in his de 1 in Catholic times might have rendered the gescription of England, says “Sixpence, usually I neral expression “ month's mind” equivalent to named the testone." In Shakspere's time, it an eager longing, in which sense it is generally would appear, from the following passage in
thought to be here used. But we are not quite "Twelfth Night,' where Sir Toby and Sir An
sure that it means a strong and abiding desire; drew are bribing the Clown to sing, that its
two lines in Hudibras would seem to make the value was sixpence :
“month's mind” only a passing inclination: "Sir To. Come on; there is sixpence for you: let's “For if a trumpet sound, or drum beat, have a song.
· Who hath not a month's mind to combat ?" Sir A. There's a testril of me, too." In the reign of Anne its value, according to
• SCENE III.—“Some to the wars," dc. Locke, who distinguishes between the shilling It would be out of place here to give a more and the tester, was sixpence; and to this day particular detail of what were the wars, and we sometimes hear the name applied to six- who the illustrious men that went " to try their pence. Whence do we derive the present slang fortunes there," or to recapitulate "the islands name for sixpence, a tanner ?
far away,” that were sought for or discovered, or
to furnish even a list of “the studious universi-, writing, and acting at once upon the cupidity ties" to which the eager scholars of Elizabeth's and curiosity of the times, produced an incontime resorted. The subject is too large for us to ceivable effect in diffusing a thirst for novelties attempt its illustration by any minute details. among a people, who, no longer driven in hosWe may, however, extract a passage from Gif- | tile array to destroy one another, and combat ford's Memoirs of Ben Jonson,' prefixed to for interests in which they took little concern, his excellent edition of that great dramatist, had leisure for looking around them, and conwhich directly bears upon this passage :
sulting their own amusement." “The long reign of Elizabeth, though sufficiently agitated to keep the mind alert, was yet 10 SCENE III.—“There shall he practise tilts and a season of comparative stability and peace.
tournaments." The nobility, who had been nursed in domestic turbulence, for which there was now no
St. Palaye, in his “Memoirs of Chivalry,' place, and the more active spirits among the
says, that, in their private castles, the gentlemen gentry, for whom entertainment could no
practised the exercises which would prepare longer be found in feudal grandeur and hos
them for the public tournaments. This refers pitality, took advantage of the diversity of em
to the period which appears to have termiployment happily opened, and spread them.
nated some half-century before the time of selves in every direction. They put forth, in
Elizabeth, when real warfare was conducted the language of Shakspere,
with express reference to the laws of knight• Some, to the wars, to try their fortune there:
hood; and the tournay, with all its magnifi. Some, to discover islands far away:
cent array-its minstrels, its heralds, its daSome, to the studious universities';
mosels in lofty towers-had its hard blows, its and the effect of these various pursuits was wounds, and sometimes its deaths. There were speedily discernible. The feelings, narrowed the “Joustes à outrance," or the “Joustes morand embittered in household feuds, expanded telles et à champ," of Froissart. But the “tourand purified themselves in distant warfare, and naments” that Shakspere sends Proteus to a high sense of honour and generosity, and chi-“ practise” were the “ Justes of Peace," the valrous valour, ran with electric speed from “ Joustes à Plaisance," the tournaments of gay hosom to bosom, on the return of the first penons and pointless lances. They had all the adventurers in the Flemish campaigns; while gorgeousness of the old knightly encounters; the wonderful reports of discoveries, by the in- but they appear to have been regarded only as trepid mariners who opened the route since so courtly pastimes, and not as serious preparasuccessfully pursued, faithfully committed to tions for “a well-foughten field.”
" SCENE I.—“ Beggar at Hallowmas."
of Britain,' prefixed to Holinshed, shows the
lamentable extent of vagrancy amongst the If we were to look only at the severe statutes “thriftless poor.” In our notes upon King against mendicancy, we might suppose that, at | Lear,' where Edgar describes himself as “Poor the period when Shakspere thus describes what Tom, who is whipped from tything to tything, he must have commonly seen, there were no and stocked, punished, and imprisoned,"we again beggars in the land but the licensed beggars, notice this subject. Of the “valiant beggar," which these statutes permitted. Unlicensed the compound of beggar and thief,-Shak. beggars were, by the statute of 1572, to be spere has given a perfect picture in his Autopunished, in the first instance, by grievous lycus. We give a curious representation of the whipping, and burning through the gristle of Beggarman and Beggarwoman, from a manuthe right ear; and for second and third of script of the Roman de la Rose,' in the Harleian fences they were to suffer death as felons. It Collection (No. 4425). The date of the MS. is is clear that these penal laws were almost wholly somewhat earlier than this play, and these beg. inoperative; and Harrison, in his 'Description gars are French; but the costume of rags is not