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distinguished individual was selected to preside over the arrangements.
The publication of the Loseley Manuscripts enables us to present our readers with some very curious particulars, illustrative at once of the nature of those arrangements, and of the heavy cost at which they were furnished. By an order in council, dated the 31st of September, 1552, and addressed to Sir Thomas Cawarden, at that time master of the King's Revels, after reciting the appointment of the said George Ferrers, the said Sir Thomas is informed that it is his Majesty's pleasure " that you se hym furneshed for hym and his bande, as well in apparell as all other necessaries, of such stuff as remayneth in your office. And whatsoever wanteth in the same, to take order that it be provided accordinglie by yo' discretion.”
For the manner in which the Lord of Misrule availed himself of this unlimited order, we recommend to such of our readers as the subject may interest, a perusal of the various estimates and accounts published by Mr. Kempe, from the MSS. in question. Were it not that they would occupy too much of our space, we should have been glad to introduce some of them here, for the purpose of conveying to the reader a lively notion of the gorgeousness of apparel and appointment exhibited on this occa. sion. We must, however, present them with some idea of the train for whom these costly preparations are made, and of the kind of mock court with which the Lord of Misrule surrounded himself.
Amongst these we find mention made of a chancellor, treasurer, comptroller, vice chamberlain, lords-councillors, divine, philosopher, astronomer, poet, physician, apothecary, master of requests, civilian, disard (an old word for clown), gentleman-ushers, pages of honor, sergeants-at-arms, provost-marshal, footmen, messengers, trumpeter, herald, orator; besides hunters, jugglers, tumblers, band, fools, friars (a curious juxtaposition, which Mr. Kempe thinks might intend a satire), and a variety of others. None seem, in fact, to have been omitted who were usually included in the retinue of a prince; and over this mock court the mock monarch appears to have presided with a sway as absolute, as far as regarded the purposes of his appointment, as the actual monarch himself over the weightier matters of the state. But the most curious part of the arrangements is, that by which (as appears from one of the lists printed from one of these MSS), he seems to have been accompanied in his procession by an heir. at law, and three other children, besides two base sons. These two base sons, we presume, are bastards ; and that the establishment of a potentate could not be considered. complete without them. The editor also mentions that he was attended by an almoner, who scattered amongst the crowd, during his progresses, certain coins made by the wire-drawers; and remarks that, if these bore the portrait and superscription of the Lord of Misrule, they would be rare pieces in the eye of a numismatist.
The following very curious letter, which we will give entire, will furnish our readers with a lively picture of the pageantries of that time, and of the zeal with which full-grown men set about amusements of a kind which are now usually left to children of a smaller growth. Playing at kings is, in our day, one of the sports of most juvenile actors. The letter is addressed by Master George Ferrers to Sir Thomas Cawarden; and gives some account of his intended entry at the court at Christmas, and of his devices for furnishing entertainment during the festival.
“Whereas you required me to write, for that y* busynes is great, I have in as few wordes as I maie signefied to you such things as I thinke moste necessarie for my purpose.
“ ffirst, as towching my Introduction. Whereas the laste yeare my devise was to cum of oute of the mone (moon), this yeare I imagine to cum oute of a place called vastum vacuum, the great waste, as moche to saie as a place voide or emptie w'hout the worlde, where is neither fier, ayre, nor earth; and that I have bene remayning there sins the last yeare. And, because of certaine devises which I have towching this matter, I wold, yf it were possy ble, have all myne apparell blewe, the first daie that I p’sent my self to the King's Matie ; and even as I shewe my self that daie, so my mynd is in like order and in like suets (suits) to shew myself at my comyng into London after the halowed daies.
Againe, how I shall cum into the Courte, whether under a canopie, as the last yeare, or in a chare triumphall, or uppon some straunge beaste—that I reserve to you ; but the serpente with sevin heddes, cauled hidra, is the chief beast of myne armes, and wholme* (holm) bushe is the devise of my crest, my wordet is semper ferians, I alwaies feasting or keeping holie daies. Uppon Christmas daie I send a solempne ambassade to the King's Maie by an herrald, a trumpet, an orator speaking in a straunge language, an interpreter, or a truchman with hym, to which p’sons ther were requiset to have convenient farnyture, which I
referre to you.
“ I have provided one to plaie uppon a kettell drom with his boye, and a nother drome wh a fyffe, whiche must be apparelled like turkes garments, according to the paternes I send you herewith. On St. Stephen's daie, I wold, if it were possyble, be with the King's Malie before dynner. Mr. Windham, being my Ad. myrall, is appointed to receive me beneth the bridge with the King's Brigandyne, and other vessells a pointed for the same purpose; his desire is to have the poope of his vessell covered wth white and blew, like as I signefie to you by a nother ler.
I “Sir George Howard, being my M. of the Horsis, receiveth me at my landing at Greenwiche with a spare horse and my pages of hono', one carieng my hed pece, a nother my shelde, the thirde my sword, the fourth my axe.
As for their furniture I know nothing as yet provided, either for my pages or otherwise, save a hed peece that I caused to be made. My counsailo", with suche other necessarie psons y attend upon me that daie, also must be consydered. There maie be no fewer than sixe coun. sailors at the least ; I must also have a divine, a philosopher, an astronomer, a poet, a physician, a potecarie, a m' of requests, a sivilian, a disard, John Smyth, two gentlemen ushers, besides jugglers, tomblers, fooles, friers, and suche other.
“ The residue of the wholie daies I will spend in other devises : as one daie in feats of armes, and then wolde I have a challeng pformed with hobbie horsis, where I purpose to be in pson. Ano
I ther daie in hunting and hawking, the residue of the tyme shalbe
* The evergreen holly is meant, a bearing peculiarly appropriate to the lord of Christmas sports.
† His motto, or impress.
spent in other devisis, which I will declare to you by mouth to have yoʻ ayde and advice therein.
“S, I know not howe ye be provided to furnish me, but suer methinks I shold have no lesse than five suets of apparell, the first for the daie I come in, which shall also serve me in London, and two other suets for the two halowed daies folowing, the fourth for newe yeares daie, and the fifte for XIIth daie.
Touching my suet of blew, I have sent you a pece of velvet which with a kinde of powdered ermaines in it, verrie fytt for my wering, yf you so thynke good. All other matters I referre tyll I shall speake with you.
“ GEORGE FERRERS."
In other letters from this Lord of Misrule to the Master of the Revels, he applies for eight visers for a drunken masque, and eight swords and daggers for the same purpose ; twelve hobbyhorses, two Dryads, and Irish dresses for a man and woman; and seventy jerkins of buckram, or canvas painted like mail, for seventy “hakbuturs,” or musketeers of his guard.
Such are some of the testimonies borne by the parties themselves to their own right pleasant follies, and the expense at which they maintained them; and to these we will add another, coming from an adverse quarter, and showing the light in which these costly levities had already come to be regarded by men of sterner minds, so early as the reign of Elizabeth. The following very curious passage is part of an extract made by Brand, from a most rare book entitled, “ The Anatomie of Abuses,”—the work of one Phillip Stubs, published in London, in 1585; and gives a quaint picture of the Lord of Misrule, and his retainers, as viewed through Puritan optics.
“Firste,” says Master Stubs, “all the wilde heades of the parishe, conventynge together, chuse them a grand Capitaine (of mischeef) whom they ennoble with the title of my Lord of Misserule, and hym they crown with great solemnitie, and adopt for their kyng. This kyng anoynted, chuseth for the twentie, fourtie, three score, or a hundred lustie guttes like to himself, to waite uppon his lordely majestie, and to guarde his noble personé. Then every one of these his menne he investeth with his liveries, of
greene, yellowe, or some other light wanton color. And as though that were not baudie (gaudy) enough I should saie, they bedecke themselves with scarffes, ribons, and laces, hanged all over with gold rynges, precious stones, and other jewelles : this doen, they tye about either legge twenty or fourtie belles with rich handekercheefes, in their handes, and sometymes laied acrosse over their shoulders and neckes, borrowed for the moste parte of their. pretie Mopsies and looving Bessies for bussying them in the darcke. Thus thinges sette in order, they have their hobbie horses, dra. gons, and other antiques, together with their baudie pipers, and thunderyng drommers, to strike up the Deville's Daunce withall” (meaning the Morris Dance), “then marche these heathen companie towards the church and churche yarde, their pipers pipyng, drommers thonderyng, their stumppes dauncyng, their bells iynglyng, their handkercheefes swyngyng about their heades like madmen, their hobbie horses, and other monsters skyrmishyng amongst the throng: and in this sorte they goe to the churche (though the minister bee at praier or preachyng) dauncyng and swingyng their handkercheefes over their heades, in the churche, like devilles incarnate, with such a confused noise, that no man can heare his owne voice. Then the foolishe people, they looke, they stare, they laugh, they fleere, and mount upon formes and pewes, to see these goodly pageauntes, solemnized in this sort.”
At the Christmas celebration held at Gray's Inn, in 1594, to which we have already alluded, the person selected to fill the office of Christmas Prince, was a Norfolk gentleman of the name of Helmes ; whose leg, like that of Sir Andrew Ague-Cheek, appears “ to have been formed under the star of a galliard.” He is described as being “accomplished with all good parts, fit for so great a dignity, and also a very proper man in personage, and very active in dancing and revelling." The revels over which
” this mock monarch presided, were, as our readers will remember, exhibited before Queen Elizabeth ; and it was the exquisite performance of this gentleman and his court which her majesty described as bearing the same relation for excellence to those of her own courtiers, which a banquet does to bread and cheese. We must refer such of our readers as are desirous of informing themselves as to the nature and taste of the devices which could make