Born: Matthew Prior,
English poet, 1664, Winborne, Dorsetslzire.
Died: Darius III, king
of Persia, murdered by Bessus, 330
Nicholas II, 1061; William Lord Russell, beheaded in
Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, 1683; James Butler, Duke of
Ormond, 1688; Daniel Sennertus, learned physician,
Robert Burns, national poet of
Scotland, 1796, Dumfries; Peter Thelusson, celebrated
millionaire, 1797, Plastow, Essex.
Feast Day: St. Praxedes,
virgin, 2nd century. St. Zoticus, bishop and martyr,
about 204. St. Victor of Marseilles, martyr, beginning
of 4th century. St. Barhadbeschiahas, deacon and
martyr, 354. St. Arbogast', bishop of Strasburg,
confessor, about 678.
THE DEATH AND FUNERAL OF BURNS, FROM THE NEWSPAPERS OF
'On the 21st [July, 1796] died,
at Dumfries, after a lingering illness, the celebrated
Robert Burns. His poetical compositions, distinguished
equally by the force of native humour, by the warmth
and tenderness of passion, and by the glowing touches
of a descriptive pencil, will remain a lasting
monument of the vigour and the versatility of a mind guided only by the lights of nature and the inspiration of genius. The public, to whose amusement he has so largely contributed, will learn with regret that his extraordinary endowments were accompanied with frailties
which rendered hint useless to himself and family. The last months of his short life were spent in sickness and indigence, and his widow, with five infant children, and the hourly expectation of a sixth, is now left without any resource but what she may hope from the regard
due to the memory of her husband.'
A subscription for the widow and children of poor Burns is immediately to be set on foot, and there is little doubt of its being an ample one. '
Actuated by the regard which
is due to the shade of such a genius, his remains were
interred on Monday last; the 25th July, with military
honours and every suitable respect.
The corpse having
been previously conveyed to the town-hall of Dumfries,
remained there till the following ceremony took place:
The military there, consisting of the Cinque Port
Cavalry, and the Angusshire Fencibles, having
handsomely tendered their services, lined the streets
on both sides to the burial-ground.
The Royal Dumfries
Volunteers, of which he was a member—in uniform, with
crape on their left arms, supported the bier; a party
of that corps, appointed to perform the military
obsequies, moving in slow, solemn time to the "Dead
March in Saul," which was played by the military
band—preceded in mournful array with arms reversed.
The principal part of the inhabitants and neighbourhood, with a number of particular friends of
the bard, from remote parts, followed in procession;
the great bells of the churches tolling at intervals.
Arrived at the churchyard gate, the funeral-party,
according to the rules of that exercise, formed two
lines, and leaned their heads on their firelocks,
pointed to the ground. Through this space the corpse
was carried. The party drew up alongside the grave,
and, after the interment, fired three volleys over it.
The whole ceremony presented a solemn, grand, and
affecting spectacle, and accorded with the general
regret for the loss of a man whose like we shall
scarce see again.'
'Consigned to earth, here
rests the lifeless clay,
Which once a vital spark from Heaven inspired;
The lamp of genius shone full bright as day,
Then left the world to mourn its light retired.
While beams that splendid orb which lights the
While mountain streams descend to swell the main--
While changeful seasons mark the rolling years—
Thy fame, 0 Burns, let Scotia still retain!'
To these interesting notices
may here be fitly appended, what, apart from intrinsic
merit, may be considered the most remarkable
production ever penned regarding Burns. It was at the
centenary of his birth, January 25, 1859, that a great
festival was held at the Crystal Palace, Sydenham, in
honour of the memory of the Scottish national poet.
Many personal relics of the illustrious dead were
shewn; there was a concert of his best songs. Then it
was announced to the vast and highly-strung auditory,
that the offered prize of fifty guineas had brought
together 621 poems by different authors, in honour of
Burns's memory; out of which the three gentlemen
judges had selected one as the best; and this was
forthwith read by Mr. Phelps, the eminent tragedian,
with thrilling effect. It proved to be the composition
of a young countrywoman of Burns, up to that time
scarcely known, but who was in some respects not less
wonderful, as an example of genius springing up in the
lowly paths of life—her name, ISA CRAIG. There was an
enthusiastic call for the youthful prize-holder, and
had she been present, she would have received honours
exceeding in fervour those at the laureation of
Petrarch; but Miss Craig was then pursuing her modest
duties in a distant part of London, unthinking of the
proceedings at Sydenham. The poem was as follows:
We hail this morn,
A century's noblest birth;
A Poet peasant-born,
Who more of Fame's immortal dower
Unto his country brings,
Than all her Kings!
As lamps high set
Upon some earthly eminence
And to the gazer brighter thence
Than the sphere-lights they flout—
Dwindle in distance and die out,
While no star waneth yet;
So through the past's far-reaching night
Only the star-souls keep their light.
A gentle boy
With moods of sadness and of mirth,
Quick tears and sudden joy—
Grew up beside the peasant's hearth.
His father's toil he shares;
But half his mother's cares
From his dark searching eyes,
Too swift to sympathise,
Hid in her heart she bears.
At early morn,
His father calls him to the field;
Through the stiff soil that clogs his feet,
Chill rain and harvest heat,
He plods all day; returns at eve outworn,
To the rude fare a peasant's lot doth yield;
To what else was he born?
The God-made King
Of every living thing
(For his great heart in love could hold them all;
The dumb eyes meeting his by hearth and stall—
Gifted to understand!
Knew it and sought his hand;
And the most timorous creature had not fled,
Could she his heart have read,
Which fain all feeble things had bless'd and
To Nature's feast
Who knew her noblest guest
And entertain'd him best
Kingly he came. Her chambers of the east
She drap'd with crimson and with gold,
And pour'd her pure joy-wines
For him the poet-soul'd.
For him her anthem roll'd
From the storm-wind among the winter pines,
Down to the slenderest note
Of a love-warble, from the linnet's throat.
But when begins
The array for battle, and the trumpet blows,
A King must leave the feast, and lead the fight.
And with its mortal foes
Grim gathering hosts of sorrows and of sins—
Each human soul must close.
And Fame her trumpet blew
Before him; wrapp'd him in her purple state;
And made him mark for all the shafts of fate,
That henceforth round him flew.
Though he may yield
Hard-press'd, and wounded fall
Forsaken on the field;
His regal vestments soil'd
His crown of half its jewels spoil'd;
He is a king for all.
Had he but stood aloof!
Had he array'd himself in armour-proof
Against temptation's darts!
So yearn the good; so those the world calls wise,
With vain presumptuous hearts,
A sacred shadow on his memory rests;
Tears have not ceas'd to flow;
Indignant grief yet stirs impetuous breasts,
To think—above that noble soul brought low,
That wise and soaring spirit, fool'd, enslav'd
Thus, thus he had been saved!
It might not be
That heart of harmony
Had been too rudely rent;
Its silver chords, which any hand could wound,
By no hand could be tun'd,
Save by the Maker of the instrument,
Its every string who knew,
And from profaning touch his heavenly gift
His country fain would grove,
By grateful honours lavish'd on his grave;
Would fain redeem her blame
That he so little at her hands can claim,
Who unrewarded gave
To her his life-bought gift of song and fame.
The land he trod
Hath now become a place of pilgrimage;
Where dearer are the daisies of the sod
That could his song engage.
The hoary hawthorn, wreath'd
Above the bank on which his limbs he flung
While some sweet plaint he breath'd;
The streams he wander'd near;
The maidens whom he lov'd; the songs he sung;
All, all are dear!
The arch blue eyes—
Arch but for love's disguise
Of Scotland's daughters, soften at his strain;
Her hardy sons, sent forth across the main
To drive the ploughshare through earth's virgin
Lighten with it their toils;
And sister-lands have learn'd to love the tongue
In which such songs are sung.
For doth not Song
To the whole world belong!
Is it not given wherever tears can fall,
Wherever hearts can melt, or blushes glow,
Or mirth and sadness mingle as they flow,
A heritage to all?
The widow of Burns survived
him a time equal to his own entire life—thirty-eight
years—and died in the same room in which he had died,
in their humble home at Dumfries, in March 1834. The
celebrity he gave her as his 'bonnie Jean,' rendered
her an object of much local interest; and it is
pleasant to record, that her conduct throughout her
long widowhood was marked by so much good sense, good
principle, and general amiableness and worth, as to
secure for her the entire esteem of society. One is
naturally curious about the personality of a poet's
goddess; and much silent criticism had Mrs. Burns
accordingly to endure. A sense of being the subject of
so much curiosity made her shrink from having any
portraiture of herself taken; but one day she was
induced, out of curiosity regarding silhouettes, to go
to the studio of a wandering artist in that style, and
sit to him. The result is here represented. The reader
will probably have to regret the absence of regularity
in the mould of the features; yet the writer can
assure him that, even at the age of fifty-eight, Jean
was a sightly and agreeable woman. It is understood
that, in her youth, while decidedly comely, her
greatest attractions were those of a handsome figure—a
charm which came out strongly when engaged in her favourite amusement of dancing.
Peter Thelusson was born in
France, of a Genevese family, and as a London merchant
trading in Philpot Lane, he acquired an enormous
fortune. He died on the 21st of July 1797, and when
his will was opened, its provisions excited in the
public mind mingled wonder, indignation, and alarm. To
his dear wife, Ann, and children he left £100,000; and
the residue of his property, amounting to upwards of
£600,000, he committed to trustees, to accumulate
during the lives of his three sons, and the lives of
their sons, and when sons and grandsons were all dead,
then the entire property was to be transferred to his
eldest great-grandson. Should no heir exist, the
accumulated property was to be conveyed to the sinking
fund for the reduction of the national debt. Various
calculations were made as to the probable result of
the accumulation. According to the lowest computation,
it was reckoned that, at the end of seventy years, it
would amount to £19,000,000.
Some estimated the result
at far higher figures, and saw, in the fulfilment of
the bequest, nothing short of a national disaster. The
will was generally stigmatised as unwise or absurd,
and, moreover, illegal. The Thelusson family resolved
to test its legality, and raised the question in
Chancery. Lord Chancellor Loughborough, in 1799,
pronounced the will valid, and on appeal to the House
of Lords, his decision was unanimously affirmed. The
will, though within the letter of the law, was
certainly adverse to its spirit, which 'abhors
perpetuities,' and an act was passed by parliament in
1800, rendering null all bequests for the purposes of
accumulation for longer than twenty years after the
Thelusson's last grandson died
in 1856. A dispute then arose whether Thelusson's
eldest great-grandson, or the grandson of Thelusson's
eldest son, should inherit. The House of Lords
decided, on appeal in 1859, that Charles S. Thelusson,
the grandson of Thelusson's eldest son, was the heir.
It is said that, instead of about a score of millions,
by reason of legal expenses and accidents of
management, little more than the original sum of
£600,000 fell to his lot.
BURIAL AND DISINTERMENT
The parish church of Great
Hampden, the burial-place of the Hampden family, is
situated in the south-eastern part of Buckinghamshire,
three miles from Great Missenden, through which passes
the turnpike-road from Aylesbury to London. It is a
pretty village church, with a flamboyant window at the
west end, and other interesting features; and,
standing embosomed in trees, in a secluded but
elevated position, has a strikingly picturesque and
pleasing appearance. The chancel contains many
memorials of the Hampden family, whose bodies lie
interred beneath. Here also was buried John Hampden,
commonly called 'the Patriot.'
Sunday morning, June 18, 1643, while encamped at
Wallington, in Oxfordshire, he received intelligence
that Prince Rupert, with a large body of troopers, had
been ravaging, during the night, the neighbourhood of
Chinnor and Wycombe, and was returning to Oxford,
laden with spoil, and carrying off two hundred
prisoners. Hampden, without waiting for his own
regiment of infantry, placed himself at the head of a
body of troopers, and galloped off with all speed in
pursuit of the plunderers.
On arriving at Chalgrove,
instead of finding, as he expected, a retreating
enemy, he beheld them drawn up in order of battle in
the open field, waiting his approach. An encounter
ensued, and, in the first onset, Hampden was severely
wounded. Finding himself powerless, and seeing his
troops in disorder and consternation, he left the
battlefield. While the bells of his peaceful little
church were chiming for morning-worship, Hampden was
riding, in agonies of pain, to Thame, where he placed
himself under surgical care.
On the following Sunday, a
large company of soldiers, chiefly Hampden's 'green
coats,' entered the park-gates which opened into that
noble avenue of beeches, nearly a mile in extent,
which still forms the magnificent approach to Hampden
House, and its adjoining church. With their drums and
banners muffled, with their arms reversed and their
heads uncovered, those soldiers moved slowly up the
avenue, chanting the 90th Psalm, and carrying with
them the dead body of their lamented colonel. The bell
tolled solemnly as they approached, and crowds of
mourners were assembled to receive the melancholy
cortege. Hampden was much beloved, especially in his
own county, and by his own tenantry and dependants.
The weather-beaten faces of many sturdy yeomen were
that day bedewed with tears. 'Never,' says Clough,
'were heard such piteous cries at the death of one man
as at Master Hampden's.' "His death,' says Clarendon,
'was as great a consternation to his party as if their
whole army had been defeated, or cut off.' A grave was
dug for him near his first wife's, in the chancel of
the little church, where from childhood he had been
wont to worship. And there, in the forty-ninth year of
his age, was buried. 'John Hampden, the patriot,' June
two centuries later, on July 21, 1828, Hampden's death
was the occasion of a more extraordinary scene in this
church, owing to the actual cause of it having been
differently stated. Clarendon, and other contemporary
writers, attributed it to the effects of two
musket-balls received in his shoulder from the fire of
his adversaries; whereas Sir
Robert Pye, who married. Hampden's daughter,
asserted that his death was caused by the bursting of
his own pistol, which so shattered his hand, that he
died from the effects of the wound.
To decide which of these
statements was correct, Lord Nugent, who was about to
write the biography of Hampden, obtained permission to
examine his body, and for this purpose a large party,
on the day above named, assembled in Hampden church,
among whom were Lord Nugent; Counsellor, afterwards
Lord Denman; the rector of the parish; Mr. Heron, the
Earl of Buckinghamshire's agent; Mr.
George Coventry, and
'six other young gentlemen; twelve grave-diggers and
assistants, a plumber, and the parish clerk.'
The work began at an early
hour in the morning, by turning up the floor of the
church. The dates and initials on several leaden
coffins were examined; but on coming to the coffin
supposed to be Hampden's, the plate was found 'so
corroded that it crumbled and fell into small pieces
on being touched,' which rendered the inscription
illegible. But from this coffin lying near the feet of
Hampden's first wife, to whom he had himself erected a
memorial, it was concluded to be his; and 'it was
unanimously agreed that the lid should be cut open, to
ascertain the fact.' The plumber descended 'and
commenced cutting across the coffin, then
longitudinally, until the whole was sufficiently
loosened to roll back the lead, in order to lift off
the wooden lid beneath, which came off nearly entire.
Beneath this was another wooden lid, which was also
raised without being much broken. The coffin was
filled up with saw-dust, 'which was removed, and the
process of examination commenced. Silence reigned. Not
a whisper or a breath was heard. Each stood on the
tiptoe of expectation, awaiting the result. Lord
Nugent descended into the grave, and first removed the
outer cloth, which was firmly wrapped round the body,
then the second, and a third. Here a very singular
scene presented itself.
'No regular features were
apparent, although the face retained a deathlike
whiteness, and shewed the various windings of the blood-vessels beneath the skin. The upper row of teeth was perfect, and those that remained in the under-jaw, on being taken out and examined, were found quite sound. A little beard remained on the lower part of the chin;
and the whiskers were strong, and somewhat lighter than his hair, which was a full auburn brown.'
The coffin was now raised from the grave, and placed on a trestle in the centre of the church. The arms, which 'nearly retained their original size, and presented a very muscular appearance,' were examined. The right arm was without its hand, which
had apparently been amputated. On searching under the clothes, the hand, or rather a number of small bones enclosed in a separate cloth, was found, but no finger-nails were discovered, although on the left hand they remained almost perfect.
The resurrectionists 'were now
perfectly satisfied' that Hampden's hand had been
shattered by the bursting of his pistol. Still it was
possible that he might have been wounded at the same
time in the shoulder by a musket-ball from the enemy;
and to corroborate or disprove this statement, a
closer examination was made. 'It was adjudged
necessary to remove the arms, which were amputated
with a penknife.' The result was, that the right arm
was found properly connected with the shoulder, but
the left, being 'loose and disunited from the scapula,
proved that dislocation had taken place' 'In order to
examine the head and hair, the body was raised up and
supported with a shovel.'
'We found the hair in a
complete state of preservation. It was a dark auburn colour, and, according to the custom of the times, was
very long, from five to six inches. It was drawn up,
and tied round at the top of the head with black
thread or silk. On taking hold of the top-knot, it
soon gave way, and came off like a wig.' 'He was five
feet nine inches in height, apparently of great
muscular strength, of a vigorous and robust frame,
forehead broad and high, the skull altogether well
formed—such an one as the imagination would conceive
capable of great exploits.'
The body was duly re-interred,
and shortly afterwards a full description of the
examination, from which the foregoing has been
abridged, appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine,
when, to the discomposure of the party concerned, it
was confidently asserted that the disinterred body was
not John Hampden's, but that of a lady who died
durance partu, and that the bones, mistaken for a
hand, were those of her infant. Inconsistent as this
assertion may appear with the whiskered body examined,
it is evident Lord Nugent did not consider it wholly
irrelevant; for in a letter on the subject to Mr.
Murray, he says:
'I certainly did see, in 1828, while
the pavement of the chancel of Hampden church was
undergoing repair, a skeleton, which I have many
reasons for believing was not John Hampden's, but that
of some gentleman or lady who probably died a quiet
death in bed, certainly with no wound in the wrist.'
Thus, after the rude violation of the Hampden sepulchre, and the mutilation of a human body, it
still remained a mystery whether that body was a
gentleman's or a lady's; and the problem, if any,
respecting the cause of Hampden's death, was as far
from solution as ever. Lord Nugent, in his Life of
Hampden, makes no allusion to this opening of the grave, but adopts the statement given by Clarendon.
'In the first charge,' says he, 'Hampden received his death. He was struck in the shoulder with two carbine balls, which, breaking the bone, entered his body, and his arm hung powerless and shattered by his side.'
It is remarkable that 'the
patriot's grave should have been left without any
monument or inscription, when such pains were taken to
give him honourable burial in the sepulchre of his
fathers. He is, however, commemorated by a monument
against the north wall of the chancel. This memorial
consists of a large sarcophagus between two weeping
boys—one holding a staff, with the cap of Liberty, the
other with a scroll inscribed "MAGNA CHARTA." Above
this, in an oval medallion, is a representation in
basso-relievo, of the Chalgrove fight, with a village
and church in the background, and Hampden, as the
prominent figure, bending over his horse, as having
just received his fatal wound. Above the medallion is
a genealogical-tree, bearing on its several branches
the heraldic shields of the successive generations of
the Hampdens and their alliances.
John Hampden, the last male
heir of the family, died unmarried in 1754, and is
described in his epitaph as the twenty-fourth
hereditary lord of Hampden manor. The property, after
passing through female descendants, is now possessed
by Lady Vere Cameron, who generally resides in Hampden
House, which is a large handsome mansion, retaining,
as Lord Nugent thought, 'traces of the different
styles of architecture, from the early Norman to the
Tudor, though deformed by the innovations of the
eighteenth century.' It stands finely grouped among
ancestral trees, on a branch of the Chiltern Hills,
and commands a beautiful and extensive view over a
richly wooded country, diversified by hill and dale,
and lacking only water to make the scenery complete.
'Some,' reads Malvolio, 'are
born great, some achieve greatness, and some have
greatness thrust upon them.' Among the latter class,
we may place Mr. Daniel Lambert, who died at Stamford
on the 21st of July 1809, at the advanced weight of
739 pounds. In 1806, Lambert exhibited himself in
London, and the following is a copy of one of his
Lambert, of Leicester, the heaviest man that ever
lived; who, at the age of thirty-six years, weighs
upwards of fifty stone (fourteen pounds to the
stone), or eighty-seven stones four pounds, London
weight, which is ninety-one pounds more than the
great Mr. Bright weighed. Mr. Lambert will see
company at his house, No. 53 Piccadilly, next
Albany, nearly opposite St. James's Church, from
eleven to five o'clock. Tickets of Admission, One
Lambert died suddenly. He went
to bed well at night, but expired before nine o'clock
of the following morning. A country newspaper of the
day, aiming at fine writing, observes:
'Nature had endured all the
trespass she could admit; the poor man's corpulency
had constantly increased, until, at the time we have
mentioned, the clogged machinery of life stood
still, and this prodigy of mammon (sic) was numbered
with the dead.'
His coffin contained 112
superficial feet of elm, and was 6 feet 4 inches long,
4 feet 4 inches wide, and 2 feet 4 inches deep; and
the immense substance of his legs necessitated it to
be made in the form of a square case. It was built
upon two axle-trees, and four clog-wheels, and upon
these the remains of the great man were rolled into
his grave in St. Martin's Churchyard. A regular
descent was made to the grave by cutting away the
earth for some distance. The apartments which he
occupied were on the ground-floor, as he had been long
incapable of ascending a staircase. The window, and
part of the wall of the room in which he died, had to
be taken down, to make a passage for the coffin.' A
vast multitude followed the remains to the grave, the
most perfect decorum was preserved, and not the
slightest accident occurred.
'great Mr. Bright,' mentioned in Lambert's
exhibition-bill, was a grocer at Maldon, in Essex. He
may partly be said to 'have been born great, for he
was of a family noted for the great size and great
appetites of its members. Bright enjoyed good health,
married at the age of twenty-two, and had five
children. An amiable mind inhabited his overgrown
body. He was a cheerful companion, a kind husband, a
tender father, a good master, a friendly neighbour,
and an honest man. 'So,' says his biographer, 'it
cannot be surprising if he was universally loved and
Bright died in his thirtieth
year, at the net weight of 616 pounds, or 44 stone,
jockey weight. His neighbours considered that death
was a happy release to him, 'and so much the more as
he thought so himself, and wished to be released.
His coffin was 3 feet 6 inches
broad at the shoulders, and more than 3 feet in depth.
A way was cut through the wall and staircase of his
house to let it down into the shop. It was drawn to
the church on a low-wheeled carriage, by twelve men;
and was let down into the grave by an engine, fixed up
on the church for that purpose, amidst a vast
concourse of spectators from distant parts of the
country. After his death, a wager was laid that five
men, each twenty-one years of age, could he buttoned
in his waistcoat. It was decided at the Black Bull
Inn, at Maldon, when not only five, as proposed, but
seven men were enclosed in it, without breaking a
stitch or straining a button.
A Mr. Palmer, landlord of the
Golden Lion Inn at Brompton, in Kent, was another
great man in his way, though not fit to be compared
with either Bright or Lambert; weighing but 25 stone,
a matter of some 380 pounds less than the great
Daniel. Palmer came to London to see Lambert; yet,
though five men could be buttoned in his waistcoat, he
looked like a pigmy beside the great Leicestershire
man. It is said that the superior grossness of his
more corpulent rival in greatness, so affected Palmer
as to cause his death. However that may be, he
certainly died three weeks after his journey to
London. A part of the Golden Lion had to be taken down
to allow egress for his coffin, which was drawn to the
grave in a timber wagon, as no hoarse could be
procured either large enough to admit it, or
sufficiently strong to bear its weight.
A sad episode in the history
of crime is exhibited in the forgeries and subsequent
execution of Ryland, a celebrated engraver, who
exercised his profession in London during the latter
part of the last century. Ryland had an apprentice
named John Love, who, terrified by his master's
shameful death, gave up the business he was learning,
and returned to his native place in Dorsetshire. At
that time being exceedingly meagre and emaciated, his
friends, fearing he was falling into a consumption,
applied to a physician, who recommended an abundance
of nutritious food, as the best medicine under the
circumstances of the case. Love thus acquired a relish
for the pleasures of the table, which he was soon
enabled to gratify to its fullest extent, by success
in business as a bookseller at Weymouth: where he soon
grew as remarkably heavy and corpulent as he had
previously been light and lean. So, he may have been
said to have achieved his own greatness, but he did
not live long to enjoy it; suffocated by fat, he died
in his fortieth year, at the weight of 364 pounds.
CURIOUS OLD DIVISIONS OF THE LIFE OF MAN
Since the mythical days of CEdipus and the Sphinx, many curious attempts have
been made to partition out the life of a man into
distinct periods, and to assign to each its own
peculiar duties or characteristics.
From a series of valuable and
pleasing reflections upon youth and age, with the
virtues and offices appropriate to each, to be found
in Dante's prose work, called the Convito or Banquet,
a philosophic commentary on certain of his own songs,
Mr. Lyell, the translator of Dante's Lyrical Poems,
has drawn the following table:
DANTE'S FIVE AGES OF MAN,
AND OF THE DUTY PARTICULARLY CALLED FOR IN EACH
Period of Life
Peculiar duty of each period
Youth: Summit of the arch of life
To Employ it well
To Attain its summit
To perfect it
To direct it to its ultimate end; i.e., to God
Extreme old age
end in peace
We find another such scheme,
less instructive, but more amusing, in the pages of an
old English poet. Many readers, to whom the name of
Dante will be quite familiar, will be strangers to
Thomas Tusser. He was born
in Essex, about 1520, and wrote a curious book of
jingling rhymes, called Five Hundred Points of Good
Husbandry; intended chiefly to be useful to the
poorer sort—farmers, housewives, plough-boys, and the
like. Southey, in whose collection of Early English
Poets, Tusser's work was reprinted, relates of Lord
Molesworth, that having proposed (in 1723) that a
school of husbandry should be set up in every county,
he advised that ' Tusser's old book of husbandry
should be taught to the boys, to read, to copy, and to
get by heart.'
Tusser's book, the most
curious book, says Southey, in the English language,
was once very popular. It catalogues all
weather-signs, all farm and field work, all farmer's
duties, peculiarities, and wise-saws, under the
several heads of the appropriate months; and winds up
with a strange medley of curious household rhymes—of
evil neighbours; of religions maxims and creeds; or
concerning household physic—evidently meant to become
popular among country labourers. Our table forms a
part of this medley.
Man's age divided here ye
By 'prenticeships, from birth to grave.
7. The first seven years
bring up as a child:
14. The next, to learning, for waxing too wild.
21. The next, keep under Sir Hobbard de Hoy:
28. The next, a man, no longer a boy.
35. The next, let Lusty lay wisely to wive:
42. The next, lay now, or else never, to thrive.
49. The next, make sure, for term of thy life:
56. The next, save somewhat for children and wife.
63. The next, be stayed; give over thy lust:
70. The next, think hourly whither thou must.
77. The next, get chair and crutches to stay;
84. The next, to heaven God send us the way.
Who loseth their youth, shall rue it in age:
Who hateth the truth, in sorrow shall rage.
Not satisfied with this,
Tusser is pleased to add, for the sake of variety,
another edition, from a somewhat different point of
Another division of the
nature of man's age.
The Ape, the Lion, the
Fox, the Ass,
Thus sets forth man as in a glass.
Ape. Like apes we be
toying, till twenty-and-one;
Lion. Then hasty as lions, till forty he gone:
Fox. Then wily as foxes, till
Ass. Then after for asses accounted we be.
Certainly, this last takes a
most humiliating view of man: and in that division of
his book, which the writer calls The Points of
Huswifery, we are favoured with one, not much more
favourable, of woman.
THE DESCRIPTION OF A
By six times fourteen
with a lesson to the same.
14. Two first seven years
for a rod they do whine:
28. Two next as a pearl in the world they do
42. Two next trim beauty beginneth to swerve:
56. Two next for matrons or drudges they serve.
70. Two next doth crave a staff for a stay:
84. Two next a bier to fetch them away.
Then purchase some pelf
By fifty and three;
Or buckle thyself
A drudge for to be.
THE CITIZEN AND
The general apparel of a
citizen of London—the friendly custom of borrowing and
lending and the danger and difficulty of travelling
that prevailed at the period—are all humorously
sketched in the following lines from a popular
pamphlet, published in 1609:
'A citizen, for
To see the country would a journey take
Some dozen miles, or very little more;
Taking his leave with friends two months before,
With drinking healths and shaking by the hand,
As he had travelled to some new-found land.
Well, taking horse, with very much ado,
London he leaveth for a day or two:
And as he rideth, meets upon the way
Such as (what haste soever) bid men stay.
"Sirrah," says one, " stand and your purse
I am a taker, thou must be a giver."
Unto a wood, hard by, they
hale him in,
And rifle him unto his very skin.
"Maisters," quoth he, "pray hear me ere you go;
For you have robbed me more than you do know,
My horse, in truth, I borrowed of my brother;
The bridle and the saddle of another;
The jerkin and the bases, be a tailor's;
The scarf, I do assure you, is a sailor's;
The falling band is likewise none of mine,
Nor cuffs, as true as this good light cloth shine.
The satin doublet, and raised velvet hose
Are our churchwarden's, all the parish knows.
The hoots are John the grocer's at the Swan;
The spurs were lent me by a serving-man.
One of my rings—that with the great red stone—
In Booth, I borrowed of my gossip Joan:
Her husband knows not of it, gentle men!
Thus stands my ease—I pray shew favour then."
"Why," quoth the thieves,
"thou needst not greatly care,
Since in thy loss so many bear a share;
The world goes hard, and many good folks lack,
Look not, at this time, for a penny back.
Go, tell at London thou didst meet with four,
That, rifling thee, have robbed at least a