Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

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.

237

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.
Jupiter huc certos cernens te tendere gressus
Cælicolas Princeps actutum convocat omnes;
Obsequium præstare jubet tibi quemque benignum.
Unde suas Sylvanus aves, Pomonaque fructus,
Alma Ceres fruges, hilarantia vina Lyæus,
Neptunus pisces, tela et tutantia Mavors,
Suave melos Phæbus, solidamque longamque salutem.
Dii tíbí, Regina, hæc (cum sis Dignissima) præbent;
Hoc tibi cum Domino, dedit se et werda Kenelmi.

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,

[graphic][ocr errors]

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 ing. There were sometimes statues placed within chamber of state,” was a most sumptuous Chimneys columns and niches, which represented some of the piece, composed of alabaster or marble, richly carved cardinal virtues, or grotesque termini, in the Roman and gilt. It was usually of very large dimensions, manner, then lately introduced into this country. widely spread, and reaching from the floor to the ceil- 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, the term from the German Hocken, in reference to or the quarterings dispersed into many others, were an the act of binding, which was formerly practised by indispensable decoration. In certain instances, the the women upon the men on Hoke-Tuesday; an chimney-piece was of carved freestone, left plain. opinion which Mr. Denne has well supported. The almost perfect resemblance of these to the superb [Archæolog. vol vii. p. 244.] A payment, called monuments which in that age were dedicated to the Hock-Tuesday money, was anciently made by the memory of the dead, leave no doubt that the original tenant to the landlord, for the perinission given by idea had the same analogy. Of this opinion one most the latter to the former to celebrate the festivities of splendid instance will suffice—that of the mausoleum this memorable day. (Jac. Law Dic. in verb.] of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in the Beauchamp Whatever the etymology of its name, or the origin Chapel, Warwick, and the CHIMNEY-PIECE (see of the game itself might be, its subject was the maspreceding Woodcut) of Kenilworth Castle.-— Dalla- sacre of the Danes, expressed in actions and rhymes, way's Discourses, page 363, 364.

and acted annually in the town of Coventry, till its * Hock-Tuesday, Hoke-day, or Hoke-tide. The suppression, shortly after the Reformation. It conorigin of this once popular game, or play, which the sisted of fierce sham contests between the English and author of Kenilworth describes as being represented Danish forces; first by the “launce knights," on to the Queen by the men of Coventry, is involved horseback, armed with spears and shields, who, being in considerable obscurity. By some writers it is many of them dismounted, then fought with swords supposed to be commemorative of the massacre of and targets. Afterwards succeeded two "hosts of the Danes, in the reign of Ethelred, on the 13th of footmen,” one after the other ; first marcbing in ranks, November, 1002; whilst by others, the deliverance then facing about in military array, they changing of the English from the tyranny of the Danes by their form from ranks into squadrons, then into trithe death of Hardicanute, on Tuesday, the 8th of angles, then into rings, and then, “ winding out again, June, 1042, is pointed out as its origin. The weight they joined in battle. Twice the Danes had the of argument preponderates in favour of the national better; but at the last conflict they were beaten down, deliverance by Hardicanute's death: and it must not overcome, and many of them led captive for triumph be forgotten, that the festival was celebrated on a by our English women."— Illustration of the Waverley Tuesday, and that Iloke-Tuesday was the Tuesday Novels, vol. iii. P

45. in the second week after Easter. Spelman derives

OF KENILWORTH.)

DEATH OF LEICESTER-SURVEY OF THE CASTLE.

239

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

[graphic][ocr errors]

Ambrose Earl of Warwick for life, and after fum to his owC and Sä obert 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 so 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 covered with lead, whereby it is subject to no other decay but the glass, through the extremity of the weather. The rooms of great state within the same are able to receive his Majesty, the Queen and Prince at the same time, and are built with as much uniformity and convenience as any houses of later times, and with such stately cellars (the Undercroft or Nether-hall already noticed) as are not within this kingdom, and also all other houses for offices answerable. About the said Castle, in chases and parks, there lieth twelve hundred pounds per annum; nine hundred whereof are grounds for pleasure, the rest is meadow and pleasure lands thereunto adjoining, tenants and freeholders. There joineth upon this ground a park-like ground called the King's Wood, with fifteen several coppices lying together, containing seven hundred and eighty-nine acres within the same, which in the Earl of Leicester's time were stored with red deer, since which the deer have strayed. But the ground is in no sort blemished, having great store of timber and other trees of much value upon the same.

There runneth through the said grounds, by the walls of the Castle, a fair pool, containing one hundred and eleven acres, well stored with fish and wild fowl, which pool is at pleasure to be let round the Castle.

For timber and wood upon the ground to the value of twenty thousand pounds has been offered, having a convenient time allowed for their removal, but which, to his Majesty, are valued at eleven thousand seven hundred and twenty-two pounds; which proportion, in a like measure, is held in all the rest upon the other values to his Majesty. The circuit of the castle, manors, parks, and chase, lying round together, contains at least nineteen or twenty miles, in a pleasant country; the like both for strength, state, and pleasure, not being within the realm of England.

These lands have been surveyed by Commissioners from the King and the Lord Privy Seal, with directions from his Lordship to find all things under their true worth,* and upon the oaths of jurors, as well freeholders as customary tenants; which course being held by them, are, notwithstanding, surveyed and returned at thirty-eight thousand five hundred and fifty-four pounds fifteen shillings. Out of this sum there is to be deducted ten thousand pounds for Sir Robert Dudley's Contempt,' and for the Lady Dudley's jointure, which is without impeachment of waste, whereby she may sell all the woods, which by their survey amount to eleven thousand seven hundred and twenty-two pounds. His Majesty hath herein the mean profits of the castle and premises, through Sir Robert Dudley's 'Contempt,' during life, or his Majesty's pardon, the reversion in fee being in the Lord Privy Seal.--See References.

In Lands, £16,431 98. In Woods, £11,722 2s. The Castle, £10,401 4s.—Total, £38,554 15s. Thus the whole demesne, including the Castle, is valued little more than the half of what, only a few years previously, Dudley had expended in improvements.

« AnteriorContinua »