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beating and other musick playing; nu- ciety, represents this May-pole, as a door
banking-house. In a compilation reit. This being done, the trumpets did specting “ London and Middlesex," it is sound, and in four hours space it was
stated that this May-pole having deadvanced upright, after which being cayed, was obtained of the parish by sir established fast in the ground six drums Isaac Newton, in 1717, and carried did beat, and the trumpets did sound; through the city to Wanstead, in Essex ; again great shouts and acclamations and by license of sir Richard Child, lord the people give, that it did ring through- Castlemain, reared in the park by the out all the strand. After that came a
rev. Mr. Pound, rector of that parish, Morice Dance finely deckt, with purple for the purpose of supporting the largest scarfs, in their half-shirts, with a Tabor telescope at that period in the worid, and Pipe, the ancient Musick, and danced given by Mons. Hugon, a French member round about the Maypole, and after that of the Royal Society, as a present; the danced the rounds of their liberty. Upon telescope was one hundred and twentythe top of this famous standard is likewise five feet long. This Way-pole on public set up a royal purple streamer, about the occasions was adorned will streamers, middle of it is piaced four Crowns more, fags, garlands of flowers ana vther ornawith the King's Arms likewise, there is also a garland set upon it of various
It was near the May-pole in the Strand colours of delicate rich favours, under that, in 1677, Mr. Robert Perceval was which is to be placed three great Lan- found dead with a deep wound under his thorns, to remain for three honours; that left breast, and his sword drawn and is, one for Prince James Duke of York, bloody, lying by him. lle was nineteen Ld High Admiral of England; the other
of age, had fought as many duels for the Vice Admiral; and the third for
as he had lived years, and with uncomthe rear Admiral; these are to give light
mon talents was an excessive libertine. in dark nights and to continue so as long He was second son to the right hon. as the Pole stands which will be a perpe- sir Robert Perceval, bart. Some singu'nal honour for seamen. It is placed as
lar particulars are related of him in the near hand as they could guess, in the
History of the House of Yvery.” A very same pit where the former stood, but stranger's hat with a bunch of ribbons in far more glorious, bigger and higher, it was lying near his body when it was than ever any one that stood before it; discovered, and there exisis no doubt of and the seamen thernselves do confess his having been killed by some person that it could not be built higher nor is who, notwithstanding royal proclamations there not such a one in Europe beside, and great inquiries, was never discoverwhich highly doth please his Majesty, ed. "The once celebrated Beau Fielding and the illustrious Prince Duke of York ;
was suspected of the crime. He was bulittle children did much rejoice, and ried under the chapel of Lincoln's-inn. antient people did clap their hands, say; His elder brother, 'sir Philip Perceval, ing, golden days begın to appear. I intent on discovering the murderers, vioquestion not but 'twill ring like melodious lently attacked a gentleman in Dublin, musick throughout every county in Eng- whoin he declared he had never seen be lend, when they read this story being fore; he could only account for his rage exacily pend; let this satisfie for the by saying he was possessed with a belief giories of London that other loyal sub- that he was one of those who had killed jects may read whai we here do see."*
his brother; they were soon parted, and A processional engraviug, by Vertue, the gentleman was seen no more. among the prints of the Antiquarian So
'The last poet who seems to have
mentioned it was Pope; he seys of an • Ciries Loyalty lVisplayed, 1661, 410. assemblage of persons that,
Amidst the area wide they took their stand, for their refreshment, wl.ich, by paying a
ing their consumption, contents the far.
mers for the house-room and pleasure they
To the Editor of the Every-Day Bouk.
There still exists among the labouring
are breaking down the their own rank.
“ with her hundred tongues” proclaims
uses her utmost interest with her friends
or her mistress to obtain a loan of what-
ever may be requisite to supply the defi-
ocerer is also busily employed. Accom- firmly fixed, and displayed with the mos panied by one from among the intended studious taste. Silver spoons and smaller dancers, who is best known among the forms are placed in the shape of stars farmers for decency of conduct, and con- squares, and circles. Between these are sequent responsibility, they go from house rows of watches; and at the top of the to house, throughout their parish, begging frame, opposite the pole in its centre, the loan of watches, silver spoons, or
their whole collection is crowned with the whatever other utensils of this metal are largest and most costly of the ornaments : likely to make a brilliant display; and generaily a large silver cup or tankard. those who are satisfied with the parties, This garland, when completed, on the eve and have a regard for the celebration of of May-day, is left for the night at that this ancient day, comply with their solicit- farnhouse from whence the dancers have ation.
received the most liberal loan of silver When May-day morn arrives, the group and plate for its decoration, or with that of dancers assemble at their rendezvous- farmer who is distinguished in his neighthe village tavern. From thence (when bourhood as a good master, and liberal to permission can be obtained from the the poor. Its deposit is a token of respect, clergyman of the parish,) the rustic pro- and it is called for early on the following cession sets forthi, accompanied by the morning. ringing of bells.
The whole party being assembled, they The arrangement and march are seliled march in single file, but more generally in by the Cadi, who is always the most active pairs, headed by the Cadi. After him folperson in the company; and is, by virtue lows the garland-bearer, and then the of his important office, the chief marshal, fiddler, while the bells of the village orator, buffoon, and money collector. He merrily ring the signal of their departure is always arrayed in comic attire, generally As the procession moves slowly along, the in a partial dress of both sexes: a coat Cadi varies his station, hovers about his and waistcoat being used for the upper party, brandishes a ladle, an assails part of the body, and for the lower every passenger with comic eloquence and detticoats, soinewhat resembling Moll Fla- ludicrous persecution, for a customary and gon, in the “ Lord of the Manor.” Ilis expected donation. countenance is also particularly distin When they arrive at a farmhouse, they guished by a hideous mask, or is blackened take up their ground on the best station entirely over; and then the lips, cheeks, for dancing. The garland-bearer takes and orbits of the eyes are sometimes his stand; the violin strikes up an old painted red. The nuinber of the rest of national tune uniformly used on that oc the party, including the garlanıl-bearer, is casion, and the dancers move forward in a generally thirteen, and with the excep. regular quick-step to the tune, in the order tion of the varied taste in the decoration of procession ; and at each turn of the of their shirts with ribbons, their costume tune throw up their white handkerchiefs is similar. It consists of clothing en with a shout, and the whole facing quickly tirely new from the hat to the shoes, about, retrace their steps, repeating the which are made neat, and of a light tex same manquvre until the tune is once lure, foi dancing. The white decorated played. The music and dancing then vary shirts, plaited in the neatest manner, are into a reel, which is succeeded by another wort over the rest of their clothing; the dance, to the old tune of “ Cheshire remainder of the dress is black velveteen Round." breeches, with knee-lies depending half During the whole of this time, the bufway down to the ancles, in contrast with foonery of the Cadi is exhibited without yarn hose of a light grey. The ornaments intermission. He assails the inmates of of the hats are large rosettes of varied the house for money, and when this is colours, with streamers depending from obtained he bows or curtsies his thanks,and them; wreaths f ribbon encircle the the procession moves off to the next farmcrown, and cach of the dancers carries in house. They do not confine the ramble his right hand a white pocket handker. of the day to their own parish, but frorr, chief.
one to another, and to any country town is The garland consists of a long staff or the vicinity. pole, to which is affixed a triangular or When they return to their resident vilsquarc frame, covered with strong white lage in the evening. the bells ringing lineu, on which the silver ornaments are merrily announce their arrival. The
money collected during the day's excur- corated by four o'clock in the morning. sion is appropriated to defray whatever Throughout the day parties of these Mayexpenses may have been incurred in the ers are seen dancing and frolicking in necessary preparations, and the remainder various parts of the town. The group is spent in jovial festivity.
that I saw to-day, which remained in This ancient custom, like many others Bancroft for more than an hour, was comamong the ancient Britons, is annually posed as follows. First came two men growing into disuse. The decline of with their faces blacked, one of them with sports and pastimes is in every age a sub a birch broom in his hand, and a large ject of regret. For in a civil point of artificial hump on his back; the other view, they denote the general prosperity, dressed as a womau, all in rags and tatters, natural energy, and happiness of the with a large straw bonnet on, and carrying people, consistent with morality,—and a ladle : these are called “ mad Moll and combined with ihat spirit of true religion, her husband :” next came two men, one which unlike the howling of the dismal most fantastically dressed with ribbons, hyæna or ravening wolf, is as a lamb and a great variety of gaudy coloured sportive and innocent, and as a lion mag- silk handkerchiefs tied round his arms nanimous and bold !
from the shoulders to the wrists, and I am, Sir,
down his 'thighs and legs to the ancles ; Yours sincerely, he carried a drawn sword in his hand;
H. T. B. leaning upon his arm was a youth dressed
as a iine lady, in white muslin, and pro-
ribbons: these, ! understood, were called MAY-DAY AT HITCIIX,IN HERTFORDSUTRE the “ Lord and Lady” of the company; For the Every-Day Book.
after these followed six or seven couples Extracr from a letter dated Hitchin, the lord and lady, only the men were
more, attired much in the same style as May 18t, 1823.
When this group reOn this day a curious custom is ot ceived a satisfactory contribution at any served here, of which I will give you a
house, the music struck up from a violin, brief account.
clarionet, and fife, accompanied by the Soon after three o'clock in the morning long drum, and they began the merry a large party of the town-people, and dance, and very well they danced, I asneighbouring labourers, parade the town, sure you; the men-women looked and singing the “ Muyer's Song.” They carry footed it so much like rea, women, that I in their hands large branches of May, and stood in great doubt as to which sex they they affix a branch either upon, or at the belonged to, till Mrs. J.-- assured me side of, the doors of nearly every respect that women were not permitted to mingle able house in the town; where there are in these sports. While the dancers were knockers, they place these branches within merrily footing it, the principal amusethe handles ; that which was put into our ment to the populace was caused by the knocker was so large that the servant grimaces and clownish tricks of mad Moll could not open the door till the gardener and her husband. When the circle of came and took it out. The larger the spectators became so contracted as to iubranch is, that is placed at the door, the terrupt the dancers, then mad Moll's more houourable to the house, or rather husband went to work with his broom, to the servants of the house. If, in the and swept the road-dust, all round the course of the year, a servant bas given cirele, into the faces of the crowd, and offence to any of the Mayers, then, instead when any pretended affronts were offered of a branch of May, a branch of elder, and many were offered) to his wife, he with a bunch of nettles, is affixed to her pursued the offenders, broom in hand; if door : this is considered a great disgrace, he could not overtake them, whether they and the unfortunate subject of it is ex were males or females, he flung his broom posed to the jeers of her rivals. On May
at them. These flights and pursuits morning, therefore, the girls look with caused an abundance of merriment. some anxiety for their May-branch, and
I saw another con apany of Mayers in rise very early to ascertain their good or Sun-street, and, as far as I could judge ill fortune. The houses are all thus de- from where I stood, it appeared to be o
MAY-DAY AT HITCHIN, IN HERTFORDSHIRE. The “ Mayer's Song" is a compositiou,
It is but a sprout. or rather a medley, of great antiquity, and But it's well budded out I was therefore very desirous to procure
By the work of our Lord's hands. a copy of it; in accomplishing this, howThe hedges and trees they are so gropu ever, I experienced more difficulty than I
As green as any leek, had anticipated; but at length succeeded Our heavenly Father He watered them in obtaining it from one of the Mayers.
With his heavenly dew so sweet.
The heavenly gates are open wide,
Our paths are beaten plaiu,
And if a man be not too far gone, And thus do we begin
He may return again. To lead our lives in righteousness,
The life of man is but a span, Or else we die in sin.
It flourishes like a flower,
We are here to-day, and gone to-morrow, We have been rambling all this night,
And we are dead in an hour.
The moon shines bright, and the stars give o We have brought you a branch of May.
A little before it is day, A branch of May we have brought you, So God bless you all, both great and smalı, And at your door it stands,
And send you a jovful May