« AnteriorContinua »
THE QUEEN AT KENILWORTH.
all, and on his knees humbly prayed pardon of his ignorance and impatience: which her Highness graciously granting, he caused his trumpeters that stood upon the wall of the gate there, to sound up a tune of welcome. Which,
beside the noble noise, was so much the more pleasant to behold, because these trumpeters, being six in number, were every one an eight foot high, in due proportion of person beside, all in long garments of silk suitable, each with his silvery trumpet of five foot long, formed taper ways, and straight from the upper part unto the nether end, where the diameter was sixteen inches over, and yet so tempered by art, that being very easy to the blast, they cast forth no great noise, nor a more unpleasant sound for time and tune, than any other common trumpet, be it never so artificially formed. These harmonious blasters, from the foreside of the gate at her Highness's entrance where they began, walking upon the walls unto the inner, had this music maintained from them very delectably; while her Highness, all along this tilt-yard, rode under the inner gate, next the base-court of the castle: where the Lady of the Lake, famous in King Arthur's Book, with two nymphs waiting upon her arrayed all in silks, attended her Highness's coming. From the midst of the pool, where, upon a moveable island, bright blazing with torches, she, floating to land, met her Majesty with a wellpenned metre, and matter after this sort: viz. First of the antiquity of the castle, who had been owner of the same e'en till this day, most always in the hands of the Earls of Leicester; how she had kept this lake since King Arthur's days; and now, understanding of her Highness's coming hither, thought it both office and duty, in humble ways to discover her and her estate; offering up the same, her lake and power therein, with promise of
repair unto the court. It pleased her Highness to thank this lady, and to add withall, “We had thought indeed the lake had been ours, and do you call it yours now? Well, we will herein commune more with you hereafter.”
This pageant was closed up with a delectable harmony of hautboys, shalms, cornets, and such other loud music, that held on while her Majesty pleasantly so passed from thence toward the castle gate; whereunto from the base-court, over a dry valley cast into a good form, was there framed a fayre bridge of a twenty foot wide, and a seventy foot long, gravelled for treading, railed on either part with seven posts on a side, that stood twelve foot asunder, thickened between with well-proportioned pillars turned. Upon the first pair of posts were set two comely square wire cages, a three foot long, two foot wide; and high in them live bitterns, civileirs, shoovelarz, hearsheawz, godwitz, and such like dainty birds of the presents of Sylvanus, the God of Fowls. On the second pair, two great silver'd bowls, featly apted to the purpose, filled with apples, pears, cherries, filberds, walnuts, fresh upon their branches; and with oranges, pomegranates, lemons, and pippins, all as gifts of Pomona, the Goddess of Fruits. The third pair of posts, in two such silver'd bowls, had (all in ears green and old) wheat, barley, oats, beans, and pease, as the gifts of Ceres. The fourth post against it had a pair of great white silver livery pots for wine; and before them two glasses of good capacity filled full; the one with white wine, the other with claret, so fresh of colour, and of look so lovely, smiling to the eyes of many, that by my faith methought, by their leering, they could have found in their hearts, as the evening was hot, to have kissed them sweetly, and thought it no sin: and these for the potential presents of Bacchus, the God of Wine. The fifth pair had each a fair large tray, strewed with fresh grass; and in them, conger, burt, mullet, fresh herring, oysters, salmon, crevis, and such like, being gifts to her Highness, from Neptune, God of the Sea. On the sixth pair of posts were set two ragged staves of silver, as my Lord gives them in arms, beautifully glittering of armour, thereupon depending, bows, arrows, spears, shield head-pieces, gorget, corslets, swords, targets, and such like, for Mars' gifts, the God of War. And the more aptly, methought, was it that those ragged staves supported these martial presents, as well because these staves by their tines seem naturally meet for the bearing of armour, as also that they chiefly in this place might take upon them principal protection of her Highness's person, that so benignly pleased her to take harbour. On the seventh posts, the last and next to the castle, were there pight to faer bay branches of a four foot high, adorned on all sides with lutes, violins, shalms, cornets, flutes, recorders, and harps, as the presents of Phæbus, the God of Music, for rejoicing the mind, and also of physic, for health to the body, OF KENILWORTH.)
REVELS AT KENILWORTH CASTLE.
Over the castle gate was there fastened a table, beautifully garnished above with her Highness's arms, and featly with ivy wreathes bordered about, of a ten foot square; the ground black, whereupon in large white Roman capitals, fayr written, a poem mentioning these gods and their gifts, thus presented unto her Highness: which, because it remained unremoved, I took it out as followeth :—[Each word in reference to the Queen was written in gold.] –
Ad Majestatem Regiam.
This was read to her by a poet, “ in a long ceruleoous garment, with a bay garland on his head, and a skro in his hand. So passing into the inner coourt, her Majesty (that never rides but alone), thear set down from her palfrey,
was conveied up to Chamber* [in which stood a splendid Chimney-piece], when' after did follo a great peal of gunz, and lightning by fyrwork.”—Progrest.
• Among other embellishments of the “great chamber of state," was a most sumptuous Chimneys piere, composed of alabaster or marble, richly carved and gilt. It was usually of very large dimensions, widely spread, and reaching from the floor to the ceil.
ing. There were sometimes statues placed within columns and niches, which represented some of the cardinal virtues, or grotesque termini, in the Roman manner, then lately introduced into this country, The whole was painted with gaudy colours; and the
The festivities lasted seventeen days, and comprised nearly every pastime which the resources of the age could produce. The hart was hunted in the park; the dance was proclaimed in the gallery; and the tables were loaded from morn to midnight with sumptuous cheer. The park was peopled with mimic gods and goddesses, to surprise the regal visitant with complimentary dialogues and poetical representations. In the chase, a savage man, with satyrs, bear-baitings, fireworks, Italian tumblers, a country bride-ale, with runnings at the quintain and morrice-dancing; and that nothing might be wanting which those parts could afford, the Coventry men came and acted the ancient play, long since used in that city, called “Hock's Tuesday,"* setting forth the destruction of the Danes in King Ethelred's time; which pleased the Queen so much, that she gave them a brace of bucks, and five marks in money, to bear the charges of a feast. Likewise on the pool there was a Triton, riding on a mermaid, eighteen feet long; as also Arion, on a dolphin; and rare music. The costs and expenses of these entertainments may be guessed at by the quantity of beer then drank, which amounted to three hundred and twenty hogsheads of the ordinary sort. More simple amusements were also studiously introduced : the rural neighbours were assembled to run at the quintain; and a marriage, in strict consistency with
armorial bearings of the family, in one large escóchéon, or the quarterings dispersed into many others, were an indispensable decoration. In certain instances, the chimney-piece was of carved freestone, left plain. The almost perfect resemblance of these to the superb monuments which in that age were dedicated to the memory of the dead, leave no doubt that the original idea had the same analogy. Of this opinion one most splendid instance will suffice--that of the mausoleum of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in the Beauchamp Chapel, Warwick, and the CHIMNEY-PIECE (see preceding Woodcut) of Kenilworth Castle.-Dallaway's Discourses, page 363, 364.
* Hock-Tuesday, Hoke-day, or Hoke-tide. The origin of this once popular game, or play, which the author of Kenilworth describes as being represented to the Queen by the men of Coventry, is involved in considerable obscurity. By some writers it is supposed to be commemorative of the massacre of the Danes, in the reign of Ethelred, on the 13th of November, 1002; whilst by others, the deliverance of the English from the tyranny of the Danes by the death of Hardicanute, on Tuesday, the Sth of June, 1042, is pointed out as its origin. The weight of argument preponderates in favour of the national deliverance by Hardicanute's death: and it must not be forgotten, that the festival was celebrated on a Tuesday, and that Iloke-Tuesday was the Tuesday in the second week after Easter. Spelman derives
the term from the German Hocken, in reference to the act of binding, which was formerly practised by the women upon the men on Hoke-Tuesday; an opinion which Mr. Denne has well supported. [Archæolog. vol vii. p. 244.] A payment, called Hock-Tuesday money, was anciently made by the tenant to the landlord, for the perinission given by the latter to the former to celebrate the festivities of this memorable day. (Jac. Law Dic. in verb.] Whatever the etymology of its name, or the origin of the game itself might be, its subject was the massacre of the Danes, expressed in actions and rhymes, and acted annually in the town of Coventry, till its suppression, shortly after the Reformation. It consisted of fierce sham contests between the English and Danish forces; first by the “launce knights," on horseback, armed with spears and shields, who, being many of them dismounted, then fought with swords and targets. Afterwards succeeded two “hosts of footmen," one after the other ; first marching in ranks, then facing about in military array, they changing their form from ranks into squadrons, then into triangles, then into rings, and then, "winding out again, they joined in battle. Twice the Danes had the better; but at the last conflict they were beaten down, overcome, and many of them led captive for triumph by our English women.”—Illustration of the Waverley Novels, vol. iii. p. 45.
DEATH OF LEICESTER-SURVEY OF THE CASTLE.
country ceremonials, was celebrated under the observance of the Queen. Every hour had its peculiar sport. A famous Italian tumbler displayed feats of agility; morris-dancers went through their rude evolutions, by way of interlude; and thirteen bears were baited for the gratification of the courtiers ! During the Queen's stay, five gentlemen were honoured with knighthood, and “nyne persons were cured of the peynful and daungerous deseaz called the King's Evil.”—Letter from a freend officer attendant in the coourt unto his freend a citizen and merchaunt of London, in this Somerz Progrest, 1575.
After this splendid reception given to her Majesty at Kenilworth, and which cost the noble host a thousand pounds per diem, Leicester continued to make the Castle his favourite residence. At his death he bequeathed it to his brother
Ambrose Earl of Warwick for life, and after fum to his owu and Sü neubert Dudley, who wandered abroad till his father's death, when ne returned, and challenged his right to the family dignities; which being denied, he determined to quit for ever a country in which he had experienced so much injustice. To complete this long scene of iniquity, James I. seized the estates by virtue of Mary's statute of fugitives; but, in order to avoid the odium which 80 tyrannical an act justly merited, obliged Sir Robert to consent to a nominal sale of them to Henry Prince of Wales, at one third of their value, and even that was never paid. Thus this great property was unjustly drawn back to the same source from which, with so little merit, it had been originally derived. -See Lodge's Illustrations of British History.—Letters.
Survey by the King's Commissioners. The following survey of Kenilworth Castle and the demesne thereto adjoining, which was made at this time, conveys a splendid idea of a baronial residence. (Our authority is Dugdale.) The Castle is described as situated on a rock; the circuit whereof within the walls containeth seven acres; and upon the walls are walks so spacious and fair, that two or three persons together may walk upon most places thereof. The Castle and the four gatehouses are all built of freestone, hewn and cut: the walls in many places are ten and fifteen feet in thickness, some more, some less, the least four feet. The Castle and the four gatehouses aforesaid are all