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at this Time, rather than any other Game.--I find in J. Boëmus Aubanus' * Description of antient Rites in his Country, that there were at this Season Foot Courses in the Meadows, in which the Victors carried off a Cake given to be run for, as we say, by some better Sort of Person in the Neighbourhood. Sometimes two Cakes were proposed, one for the young Men, another for the Girls, and there was a great Concourse of People on the Oca casion.This is a Custom by no means unlike our Forth Meetings on these Holidays. The winning a Tanzy Cake at the Game of Hand-Ball t, depends chiefly upon Swiftness of Foot : It too is a Trial of Fleetness and Speed, as well as the Foot Race.

Tansy, says Selden, in the subsequent curious Passage in his. Table Talk, was taken from the

bitter Certain it is however, that many of their Customs and Superstitions are founded on still more trivial Circumstances, than even this imaginary Analogy.

It was an antient Custom for the Mayor, Aldermen, and Sheriff of Newcastle, accompanied with great Numbers of the Burgesses, to go every Year at the Feasts of Easter and Whitsuntide to the Forth, (the little Mall of our Town) with the Maces, Sword, and Cap of Maintenance carried before them. The young People of the Town still assemble there, (at this Season particularly,) play at Hund-Ball, dance, &c. but are no longer countenanced in their innocent Festivity by the Presence of their Governors, who, no doubt, in antient Times, used to unbend the Brow of Authority, and partake, with their happy and contented People, the puerile Pleasures of the festal Season.

* In Paschate yulgò placentæ pinsuntur, quarum,una, interdum duæ, adolescentibus una, puellis altera, a ditiori aliquo proponuntur : pro quibus in prato, ubi ante noctem ingens hominum Concursus fit, quique agiles pedestres currant. P. 268.

+ I find the following beautiful Description in the Mons Catherinæ: We may apply it to this Game,

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bitter Herbs in use among the Jews at this Season. “Our Meats and our Sports, have much of them “ Relation to Church-Works. The Coffin of our Christmas Pies, in Shape long, is in Imitation “ of the Cratch* : Our chusing Kings and Queens “ on Twelfth Night, bath Reference to the three

Kings. So likewise our eating of Fritters, whipping of Tops, roasting of Herrings, Jack of Lents, &c., they are all in Imitation of Church-Works, “ Emblems of Martyrdom. Our Tansies at Easter “ have Reference to the bitter Herbs; though at “ the same Time 'twas always the Fashion for a

His datur, Orbiculum
Præcipiti – levem per Gramina mittere lapsu:
Ast aliis, quorum pedibus fiducia major,

Sectari, et jam jam salienti insistere prædæ;

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Aut volitantem alté longeque per aera pulsum
Suspiciunt, pronosque in biant, captantque volatus,
Sortiti fortunam oculis; manibusque paratis

Expectant propiorem, intercipiuntque caducum. P. 6.
The two last Lines compose a very fine Periphrasis for the northern
Word kepping, which is derived from the Anglo-Saxon cepan,
captare, advertere, curare.

* Rack or Manger :- Among the MSS. of Bennet College, Cambridge, is a Translation of Part of the New Testament in the English spoken after the Conquest.--The 7. V. of the ii. Chap. of Luke is thus rendered, “ And layde hym in a Cratche, for to hym was no • Place in the Dyversory." I will venture to subjoin another Specimen, which strongly marks the Mutability of Language:

“ Mark « vi. 22. When the Daughtyr of Herodyas was incomyn and had tombylde and pleside to Harowde, &c."

If the original Greek had not been preserved, one might have. supposed from this 'English, that, instead of excelling in the graceful Accomplishment of dancing, the young Lady had performed in some Exhibition, like the present Entertainments at Sadlers Wells ! 6

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“ Man to have a Gammon of Bacon, to shew him“ self to be no Jew." V. Christmass.

Durand * tells us, that on Easter Tuesday, Wives used to beat their Husbands, on the Day following the Husbands their Wives. There is a Custom still retained at the City of Durham on these Holidays : On one Day the Men take off the Woinen's Shoes, which are only to be redeemed by a Present; on another Day the Women take off the Men's in like Manner.

+ In plerisque etiam Regionibus mulieres secunda die post pascha terbcrant maritos suos : die verò tertia Mariti uxores suas.

Durand, lib. 6. c. 86. 9.

CHAP

CHAP. XXV.

Of May-Day; the Custom of going to the Woods

the Night before : this is the Practice of other Nations : The Original of it; the Unlawfulness.

ON

the Calends, or the first Day of May, commonly called May-Day, the juvenile Part of both Sexes, were wont to rise a little after Mid-night, and walk to some neighbouring Wood, accompany'd with Musick and the blowing of Horns; where they break down Branches from the Trees, and adorn them with Nose-gays and Crowns of Flowers. When . this is done, they return with their booty home-wards, about the rising of the Sun, and inake their Doors and Windows to Triumph in the Flowery Spoil. The after-part of the Day, is chiefly spent in dancing round a TallPoll, which is called a Muy-Poll; which being placed in a convenient Part of the Village, stands there, as it were consecrated to the Goddess of Flowers, without the least Violation offer'd it, in the whole Circle of the Year.' And this is not the Custom of the 7

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British Common People only, but it is the Custom of the Generality of other Nations ; particularly of the Italians, where Polydore Virgil tells us, The * Youth of both Sexes were accustomed to go into the Fields, on the Calends of May, and bring thence the Branches of Trees, singing all the way as they came, and so place them on the Doors of their Houses.

+ This is the Relick of an ancient Custom among the Heathen, who observed the four last days of April, and the first of May, in Honour of the Goddess Flora, who was imagin'd the Deity presiding over the Fruit and Flowers. It was observed with all Manner of Obscenity and Lewdness, and the undecent Sports and Postures of naked Women, who

* Est autem consuetudinis, ut juventus promiscui sexus Lätæbunda cal. Maii exeat in agros, & cantitans inde virides reportet arborum ramos eosque ante domorum fores ponat præsertim apud Italos, ---8c. Poly. Virg. 302.

+ Celebrabantur autem hæ feriæ atque ludi, Lactantio teste cum omni lascivia verbis & moribus pudendis, ad placandam deam,

quæ floribus & fructibus præerat. Nam per tubam convocabantur omnis generis meretrices. Unde Juvenalis.

- Dignissima prorsus
Florali Matrona Tuba
Ex in theatro denudatæ, &c.
Hosp. de Orig. Eth. 159.

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