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her majesty so eloquent, to the “Gesta Grayorum ;" contenting ourselves with giving them such notion thereof, as well as of the high dignities which appertained to a Lord of Misrule, as may be conveyed by a perusal of the magnificent style and titles assumed by Mr. Henry Helmes, on his accession. They were enough to have made her majesty jealous, if she had not been so good-natured a queen ; for looking at the philosophy of the thing, she was about as much a mock monarch as himself, and could not dance so well. To be sure, she was acknowledged by his potentate as Lady Paramount ; and to a woman like Elizabeth, it was something to receive personal homage from
“The High and Mighty Prince, Henry, Prince of Purpoole: Archduke of Stapulia and Bernardia ; Duke of High and Nether Holborn ; Marquis of St. Giles and Tottenham; Count Palatine of Bloomsbury and Clerkenwell; Great Lord of the Cantons of Islington, Kentish Town, Paddington, and Knightsbridge; Knight of the most Heroical Order of the Helmet, and Sovereign of the
It is admitted that no man can be a great actor who has not the faculty of divesting himself of his personal identity, and persuading himself that he really is, for the time, that which he represents himself to be ;-his doing which will go far to persuade others into the same belief. Now as her majesty has pronounced upon the excellency of Mr. Henry Helmes's acting, and if we are, therefore, to suppose that that gentleman had contrived to mystify both himself and her, she would naturally be not a little vain of so splendid a vassal. But, seriously, it is not a little amusing to notice the good faith with which these gentlemen appear to have put on and worn their burlesque dignities, and the real homage which they not only expected, but actually received. If the tricks which they played during their “brief authority,” were not of that mischievous kind which “make the angels weep,” they were certainly fantastic enough to make those who are “a little lower than the angels” smile. A lord mayor, in his gilt coach, seems to be a trifle compared with the Lord of Misrule entering the city of London in former days : -and the following passage from Warton's "History of English Poetry,” exhibits amusingly enough the sovereign functions seriously exercised by this im.
portant personage, and the homage, both ludicrous and substantial, which he sometimes received.
" At a Christmas celebrated in the hall of the Middle Temple, in the year 1635, the jurisdiction privileges and parade of this mock monarch are thus circumstantially described. He was attended by his Lord Keeper, Lord Treasurer, with eight white staves, a Captain of his Band of Pensioners, and of his Guard; and with two Chaplains, who were so seriously impressed with an idea of his regal dignity, that when they preached before him, on the preceding Sunday, in the Temple Church, on ascending the pulpit, they saluted him with three low bows. He dined both in the Hall, and in his Privy Chamber, under a Cloth of Estate. The poleaxes for his Gentlemen Pensioners were borrowed of Lord Salis. bury. Lord Holland, his temporary justice in Eyre, supplies him with venison on demand; and the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of London with wine. On Twelfth-day, at going to church, he re. ceived many petitions, which he gave to his Master of Requests; and, like other kings, he had a favorite, whom, with others, gen. tlemen of high quality, he knighted at returning from Church."
The Christmas Prince on this occasion was Mr. Francis Vivian; who expended, from his own private purse, the large sum of 20001., in support of his dignities. Really, it must have tried the philosophy of these gentlemen to descend from their temporary eleva. tion, into the ranks of ordinary life. A deposed prince like that high and mighty prince, Henry, Prince of Purpoole, must have felt, on getting up, on the morrow of Candlemas-day, some portion of the sensations of Abon Hassan, on the morning which succeeded his Caliphate of a day ;—when the disagreeable conviction was forced upon him that he was no longer Commander of the Faithful ; and had no further claim to the services of Cluster-of-Pearls, Morning-Star, Coral-Lips, or Fair-Face. the case, however, of Mr. Francis Vivian, it is stated that, after his deposition, he was knighted by the king-by way, we suppose, of breaking his fall.
In Wood's “ Athena Oxonienses,” mention is made of a very splendid Christmas ceremonial observed at St. John's College, Oxford, in the reign of our first James ; which was presided over by a Mr. Thomas Tooker, whom we, elsewhere, find called “ Tucker.” From a manuscript account of this exhibition, Wood quotes the titles assumed by this gentleman, in his character of Christmas Prince : and we will repeat them here, for the purpose of showing that the legal cloisters were not the only ones in which mirth was considered as no impeachment of professional gravityand that humor (such as it is) was an occasional guest of the wisdom which is proverbially said to reside in wigs of all denominations. From a comparison of these titles with those by which Mr. Henry Helmes illustrated his own magnificence at Gray's Inn, our readers may decide for themselves upon the relative de grees
of wit which flourished beneath the shelter of the respective gowns. Though ourselves a Cantab, we have no skill in the measurement of the relations of small quantities. Of the hearty mirth in each case there is little doubt; and humor of the finest quality could not have done more than produce that effect, and might probably have failed to do so muc The appetite is the main point. “ The heart's all,” as Davy says. A small matter made our ancestors laugh, because they brought stomachs to the feast of Momus. And, Heaven save the mark! through how many national troubles has that same joyous temperament (which is the farthest thing possible from levity-one of the phases of deep feeling), helped to bring the national mind. The “
merry days” of England were succeeded by what may be called her “ age of tears,"—the era of the sentimentalists : when young gentlemen ceased to wear cravats, and leaned against pillars, in drawing-rooms, in fits of moody abstraction, or under the influence of evident inspiration; and young ladies made lachrymatories of their boudoirs, and met together to weep, and in fact, went through the world weeping. Amid all its absurdity there was some real feeling at the bottom of this too, and, therefore it, too, had its pleasure. But there is to be an end of this also. Truly are we fallen upon the “evil days” of which we may say
“have no pleasure in them.” Men are neither to laugh nor smile, now, without distinctly knowing why. We are in the age of the philosophers. All this time, however, Mr. Thomas Tucker is waiting to have his style and titles proclaimed; and thus do we find them duly set forth :
“ The most magnificent and renowned THOMAS, by the favour
of Fortune, Prince of Alba Fortunata, Lord of St. John's, High Regent of the Hall, Duke of St. Giles's, Marquis of Magdalen's, Landgrave of the Grove, Count Palatine of the Cloysters, Chief Bailiff of Beaumont, High Ruler of Rome, Master of the Manor of Walton, Governor of Gloucester Green, sole Commander of all Titles, Tournaments, and Triumphs, Superintendent in all Solemnities whatever.”
From these titles,-as well as from those which we have already mentioned as being assumed by the courtiers of the illustrious Prince of Sophie,-our readers will perceive that alliteration was an esteemed figure in the rhetoric of the revels.
We must not omit to observe that an officer corresponding to the Lord of Misrule, appears to have formerly exercised his functions at some of the colleges at Cambridge, under the more classical title of Imperator. And we must further state, that, at Lin. coln's-Inn, in the early times of their Christmas celebrations, there appear to have been elected (besides the Lord of Misrule, and, we presume, in subordination to him), certain dignitaries exercising a royal sway over the revelries of particular days of the festival. In the account given by Dugdale of the Christmas held by this society in the ninth year of Henry VIII.'s reign, mention is made, besides the Marshal and (as hộ is there called) the Master of the Revels, of a King chosen for Christmas-day,--and an officer for Childermas-day, having the title of King of the Cockneys. A relic of this ancient custom exists in the Twelfth-night King, whom it is still usual to elect on the festival of the Epiphany,and of whom we shall have occasion to speak at length, in his proper place.
The length of the period, over which the sway of this potentate extended, does not seem to be very accurately defined ;-or rather, it is probable that it varied with circumstances. Strictly speaking, the Christmas season is, in our day, considered to terminate with Twelfth-night; and the festival itself to extend over that space of time of which this night, on one side, and Christmas-eve on the other, are the limits. In ancient times, too, we find frequent mention of the twelve days of Christmas. Thus the George Ferrers of whom we have spoken, is appointed “ to be in his hyness household for the twelve days;" and he dates one of his communications to Sir Thomas Cawarden, “From Green ye second of January and ye ixth day of o' rule.” In the extract from the Household Book of the Northumberland family, which we have already quoted, mention is also made of the “Playes, Interludes, and Dresinge that is plaid befor his lordship in his hous in the xijth dayes of Christenmas.” Stow, however, says that “these Lords, beginning their rule at Allhallond Eve, continued the same till the morrow after the Feast of the Purification, commonly called Candlemas Day;" and that, during all that time, there were under their direction “fine and subtle disguisings, masks and mummeries, with playing at cards for counters, nayles, and points in every house, more for pastimes than for gaine.” This would give a reign of upwards of three months to these gentlemen. Dugdale, in describing the revels of the Inner Temple, speaks of the three principal days being All-halIows, Candlemas, and Ascension Days—which would extend the period to seven months; and the masque of which we have spoken, as forming the final performance of the celebrated Christmas of 1594, described in the “Gesta Grayorum,” is stated to have been represented before the queen at Shrove-tide. At the Christmas exhibition of St. John's college, Oxford, held in 1607, Mr. Thomas Tucker did not resign his office till Shrove-Tuesday; and the costly mask of which we have spoken, as being presented by the four Inns of Court, to Charles I., and whose title was “ The Triumph of Peace," was exhibited in the February of 1633. In Scotland, the rule of the Abbot of Unreason appears to have been still less limited, in point of time; and he seems to have held his court, and made his processions, at any period of the year which pleased him. These processions, it appears, were very usual in the month of May (and here we will take occasion to observe, parenthetically, but in connexion with our present subject, that the practice, at all festival celebrations, of selecting some individual to enact a principal and presiding character in the ceremonial, is further illustrated by the ancient May King,--and by the practice, not yet wholly forgotten, of crowning, on the first of that month, a Queen of the May. This subject we shall have occasion to treat more fully when we come to