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The New Year
by a rabble at his heels, and knocking at certain doors, sings a barbarous song, be
ginning with Anciently on new year's day the Ro
“ To-night it is the new year's night, to-morrow is mans were accustomed to carry small pre
the day ; sents, as new year's gifts, to the senators,
We are come about for our right and for onr ray,
As we us'd to do in old king Henry's day : under whose protection they were severally Sing, fellows, sing, Hagman Heigh,” &c. placed. In the reigns of the emperors, they flocked in such numbers with valuable The song always concludes with “ wishones, that various decrees were made to ing a merry Christmas and a happy new abolish the custom ; though it always year.” When wood was chiefly used as continued among that people.The Romans fuel, in heating ovens at Christmas, this was who settled in Britain, or the families con- the most appropriate season for the hagman, nected with them by marriage, introduced or wood-cutter, to remind his customers of these new year's gifts among our forefathers, his services, and to solicit alms. The word who got the habit of making presents, even hag is still used in Yorkshire, to signify, a to the magistrates. Some of the fathers of wood. The “hagg" opposite to Easby the church wrote against them, as fraught formerly belonged to the abbey, to supply with the greatest abuses, and the magistrates them with fuel
. Hagman may be a name were forced to relinquish them. Besides compounded from it. Some derive it from the well-known anecdote of sir Thomas the Greek Agrounin, the holy month, when More, when lord chancellor,* many in the festivals of the church for our Saviour's stances might be adduced from old records, birth were celebrated. Formerly, on the of giving a pair of gloves, some with “ lin- last day of the year, the monks and friars ings,” and others without. Probably from used to make a plentiful harvest, by begging thence has been derived the fashion of giv- from door to door, and reciting a kind of ing a pair of gloves upon particular occa- carol, at the end of every stave of which sions, as at marriages, funerals, &c. New they introduced the words “ agia mene," year's gifts continue to be received and alluding to the birth of Christ. A very given by all ranks of people, to commemo
different interpretation, however, was given rate the sun's return, and the prospect of to it by one John Dixon, a Scoich presbyspring, when the gifts of nature are shared terian minister, when holding forth against by all. Friends present some small tokens this custom in one of his sermons at Kelso. of esteem to each other-husbands to their “ Sirs, do you know what the hagman sigwives, and parents to their children. The nifies? It is the devil to be in the house; custom keeps up a cheerful and friendly that is the meaning of its Hebrew original.' intercourse among acquaintance, and leads to that good-humour and mirth so necessary to the spirits in this dreary season. Chandlers send as presents to their customers large mould candles; grocers give raisins,
SONNET to make a Christmas pudding, or a pack of cards, to assist in spending agreeably the long evenings. In barbers' shops“ thrift
When we look back on hours long past away, box,” as it is called, is put by the appren
And every circumstance of joy, or woe liçe boys against the wall, and every cus
That goes to make this strange beguiling show, tomer, according to his inclination, puts
Call'd life, as though it were of yesterday, something in. Poor children, and old in
We start to learn our quickness of decay. firm persons, beg, at the doors of the cha
Still Aies unwearied Tinne;---on still we go ritable, a small pittance, which, though
And whither?-Unto endless weal or woe, eollected in small sums, yet, when put
As we have wrought our parts in this brief play. together, forms to them a little treasure;
Yet many have I seen whose thin blanched locks so that every heart, in all situations of life,
But ill became a head where Folly dwelt, beats with joy at the nativity of his Saviour.
Who having past this storm with all its shocks, The Hagman Heigh is an old custom
Had nothing learnt from what they saw or felt: observed in Yorkshire on new year's eve, as Brave spirits ! that can look, with heedless eye, appertaining to the season. The keeper of On doom unchangeable, and fixt eternity. the pinfold goes round the town, attended
* Clarkson's History of Richmond, cited by a cor. * Every-Day Book, i. 9.
respondent, A. B.
ON THE NEW YEAR.
THE TABLE BOOK.
Angoulême, in the sixteenth century, being
awakened during the night, she was surWESTMINSTER ABBEY.
prised at an extraordinary brightness which The following letter, written by Horace illuminated her chamber; apprehending it Walpole, in relation to the tombs, is curious. to be the fire, she reprimanded her women
whom he derides, was Dr. Za- for having made so large a one; but they chary Pearce, dean of Westminster, and assured her it was caused by the moon. editor of Longinus, &c.
The duchess ordered her curtains to be unStrawberry-hill, 1761. drawn, and discovered that it was a comet I heard lately, that Dr.
which produced this unusual light. “ Ah !" learned personage, had consented to let the exclaimed she, “this is a phenomenon tomb of Aylmer de Valence, earl of Pem- which appears not to persons of common broke, a very great personage, be removed condition. Shut the window, it is a comet, for Wolfe's monument; that at first he had which announces my departure; I must objected, but was wrought upon by being prepare for death.” The following morning told that hight Aylmer was a knight tem
she sent for her confessor, in the certainty plar, a very wicked set of people as his lord- of an approaching dissolution. The phyship had heard, though he knew nothing of sicians assured her that her apprehensions them, as they are not mentioned by Longi. were ill founded and premature. “ If I had nus. I own I thought this a made story, not,” replied she, seen the signal for and wrote to his lordship, expressing my death, I could believe it, for I do not feel concern that one of the finest and most myself exhausted or peculiarly ill.” On ancient monuments in the abbey should be the third day after this event she expired, removed; and begging, if it was removed, the victim of terror. Long after this period that he would bestow it on me, who would all appearances of the celestial bodies, not erect and preserve it here. After a fort- perfectly comprehended by the multitude, night's deliberation, the bishop sent me an were supposed to indicate the deaths of answer, civil indeed, and commending my sovereigns, or revolutions in their governzeal for antiquity! but avowing the story
ments. under his own hand. He said, that at first
Two PAINTERS. they had taken Pembroke's tomb for a knight templar's ;-observe, that not only When the duke d’Aremberg was confined the man who shows the tombs names it at Antwerp, a person was brought in as a every day, but that there is a draught of it spy, and imprisoned in the same place. at large in Dart's Westminster;—that upon The duke observed some slight sketches by discovering whose it was, he had been very his fellow prisoner on the wall, and, conunwilling to consent to the removal, and at ceiving they indicated talent, desired Rulast had obliged Wilton to engage to set it bens, with whom he was intimate, and up within ten feet of where it stands at pre- by whom he was visited, to bring with sent. His lordship concluded with congra- him a pallet and pencils for the painter, who tulating me on publishing learned authors was in custody with him. The materials at my press. I don't wonder that a man requisite for painting were given to the who thinks Lucan a learned author, should artist, who took for his subject a group of mistake a tomb in his own cathedral. If I soldiers playing at cards in the corner of a had a mind to be angry, I could complain prison. When Rubens saw the picture, he with reason, -as having paid forty pounds cried out that it was done by Brouwer, for ground for my mother's funeral —that the whose works he had often seen, and as chapter of Westminster sell their church often admired. Rubens offered six' hundred over and over again : the ancient monu- guineas for it; the duke would by no means ments tumble upon one's head through part with it, but presented the painter with their neglect, as one of them did, and killed a larger sum. Rubens exerted his interest, a man at lady Elizabeth Percy's funeral; and obtained the liberty of Brouwer, by and they erect new waxen dolls of queen becoming his surety, received him into his Elizabeth, &c. to draw visits and money house, clothed as well as maintained him, from the mob.
and took pains to make the world acquainted with his merit. But the levity of Brouwer's
temper would not suffer him long to conBiographical Memoranda. sider his situation any better than a state COMETARY INFLUENCE.
of confinement; he therefore quitted Ru
bens, and died shortly afterwards, in conBrantome relates, that the duchess of sequence of a dissolute course of life.
This engraving is from a very curious Pageants or Dramatic Mysteries, anciently print in Mr. Sharp's “ Dissertatien on the performed at Coventry.".
THE TABL. BOOK.
Coventry is distinguished in the history, cresset, and some fragments of armour,) of the drama, because, under the title of where it had probably remained ever since “ Ludus Coventriæ,” there exists a manu. the breaking up of the pageant.” The script volume of most curious early plays, subject of the Cappers' pageant was usually not yet printed, nor likely to be, unless the trial and crucifixion of Christ, and the there are sixty persons, at this time suffici- descent into hell. ently concerned for our ancient literature The pageant vehicles were high scaffolds and manners, to encourage a spirited gen- with two rooms, a higher and a lower, tleman to print a limited number of copies, constructed upon four or six wheels; in If by any accident the manuscript should the lower room the performers dressed, be destroyed, these plays, the constant and in the higher room they played. This theme of literary antiquaries from Dugdale higher room, or rather, as it may be called, to the present period, will only be known the stage," was all open on the top, that through the partial extracts of writers, who the beholders might hear and see. On the have sometimes inaccurately transcribed day of performance the vehicles were from the originals in the British Museum.* wheeled, by, men, from place to place,
Mr. Sharp's taste and attainments qua- throughout the city; the floor was strewed lifying him for the task, and his residence with rushes; and to conceal the lower at Coventry affording him facility of re- room, wherein the performers dressed, search among the muniments of the cor- cloths were hung round the vehicle : there poration, he has achieved the real labour is reason to believe that, on these cloths, of drawing from these and other unexplored the subject of the performance was painted sources, a body of highly interesting or worked in tapestry. The higher room facts, respecting the vehicles, characters, of the Drapers' vehicle was embattled, and and dresses of the actors in the pageants or ornamented with carved work; and a crest; dramatic mysteries anciently performed by the Smiths' had vanes, burnished and the trading companies of that city; which, painted, with streamers flying. together with accounts of municipal enter- In an engraving which is royal quarto, tainments of a public nature, form his meri- the size of the work, Mr. Sharp has lauda torious volume.
ably endeavoured to convey a clear idea of - Very little has been known respecting the appearance of a pageant vehicle, and the stage "properties," before the rise of of the architectural appearance of the houses the regular drama, and therefore the abun- in Coventry, at the time of performing the dant matter of that nature, adduced by this Mysteries. So much of that engraving as regentleman, is peculiarly valuable. With presents the vehicle is before the reader on “ The Taylors' and Shearemens' Pagant,” the preceding page. The vehicle, supposed complete from the original manuscript, he to be of the Smiths' company, is stationed gives the songs and the original music, near the Cross in the Cross-cheaping, and engraved on three plates, which is eminently the time of action chosen is the period when remarkable, because it is, perhaps, the only Pilate, on the charges of Caiphas and Annas, existing specimen of the melodies in the is compelled to give up Christ for execuold Mysteries. There are ten other plates tion. Pilate is represented on a throne, in the work; one of them represents the or chair of state; beside him stands his son club, or maul, of Pilate, a character in the with a sceptre and poll-axe, and beyond pageant of the Cappers' company.
the Saviour are the two high priests; the variety of entries it appears he had a club two armed figures behind are knights. The or maul, stuffed with wool; and that the pageant cloth bears the symbols of the exterior was formed of leather, is authenti- passion. cated by the actual existence of such a Besides the Coventry Mysteries and other club or maul, discovered by the writer of matters, Mr. Sharp notices those of Chester, this Dissertation, in an antique chest within and treats largely on the ancient setting of the Cappers' chapel, (together with an iron the watch on Midsummer and St. John's
Eve, the corporation giants, morris dancers, • By a notice in Mr. Sharp's “ Dissertation,” he pro- minstrels, and waites. poses to publish the “ Coventry Mysteries," with notes and illustrations, in two vols. octavo: 100 copies on royal paper, at three guineas; and 25, on imperial paper, at five guineas. "Notwithstanding he limits the I could not resist the very fitting opentire iapression to these 125 copies, and will commence to print as soon as the names of sixty subscribers portunity on the opening of the new
year, are sent to his publishers, it appears that this small and of the Table Book together, to introduce number is not yet complete. The fact is mentioned
a memorandum, that so important an achere, because it will be a reproach to the age if such an overture is not embraced.
cession has accrued to our curious litera.