Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

SALLY LUNN.

The bun so fashionable, called the Sally Lunn, originated with a young woman of that name at Bath, about thirty years ago. [This was written in 1826.] She first cried them in a basket, with a white cloth over it, morning and evening. Dalmer, a respectable baker and musician, noticed her, bought her business, and made a song and set it to music in behalf of Sally Lunn. This composition became the street favorite, barrows were made to distribute the nice cakes, Dalmer profited thereby and retired, and to this day the Sally Lunn Cake claims pre-eminence in all the cities of England.—Hone's Everyday Book, ii. 1561.

ALLITERATION.

One of the best specimens of alliteration in the English language, will be found in Quarles' Divine Emblems, book ii. emblem ii. Beyond all question, Quarles was a poet that needed not “apt alliteration's artful aid” to add to the vigor of his verse, or lend liquidity to his lines. Quarles is often queer, quaint, and querulous, but never prolix, prosy, or puling.

We sack, we ransack, to the utmost sands
Of native kingdoms, and of foreign lands :
We travel sea and soil ; we pry, we prowl,
We progress, and we prog from pole to pole.

THE SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON.

Apropos of the peculiar powers and qualities superstitiously attributed by the common sort of people to the seventh son of a seventh son, there is a rare old printed copy of " The Quack Doctor's Speech,” which was spoken by the witty Lord Rochester, in character, and mounted on a stage; it is altogether a very humorous and lengthy address, partaking of the licence of language not uncommon to the courtiers of that period, abounding in much technical phraseology, and therefore unsuited for an introduction in extenso. The titles assumed, however, are in character with the pretensions claimed by virtue of being the seventh begotten son of a seventh begotten father :

Gentlemen,

I, Waltho Van Clauterbauck, High German Doctor, Chymist and Dentrificator-Native of Arabia Deserta, Citizen and Burgomaster of the City of Brandipolis-Seventh son of a Seventh son, unborn Doctor of above sixty years' experience, having studied over Galen, Hypocrates, Albumazur, and Paracelsus, am now become the Æsculapius of this age. Having been educated at twelve Universities, and travelled through fifty-two Kingdoms, and been Counsellor to the Counsellors of several grand Monarchs, natural son of the wonder-working chymical Doctor Signior Hanesio, lately arrived from the farthest parts of Utopia, famous throughout all Asia, Europe, Africa, and America, from the Sun's oriental exaltation to his occidental declination, out of mere pity to my own dear self and languishing mortals, have by the earnest prayers and entreaties of several Lords, Dukes, and honorable Personages been at last prevailed upon to oblige the World with this notice, &c., &c.

Veniente occurrite morbo_Down with your dust.

Principiis obsta--No cure no money.
Querenda Pecunia Premium-Be not sick too late.

You that are willing to render yourselves immortal, Buy this pacquet, or else repair to the sign of the Pranceis, in Vico vulgo dicto Ratcliffero, something south-east of Templum Dancicum, in the Square of Profound Close, not far from Titter Tatter Fair; and you may hear, see, and return Re-infecta.

THE GROANING-BOARD.

The English public has ever been distinguished by an enormous amount of gullibility.

Ha ha, ha ha! this world doth pass

Most merrily I'll be sworn;
For many an honest Indian ass

Goes for an unicorn.

So

sung
old Thomas Weelkes in the

year 1608.

In a volume in the British Museum, marked MS. Sloane 958, is the following hand-bill pasted on the first page :

At the sign of the Wool-sack, in Newgate Market, is to be seen a strange and wonderful thing, which is an elm board, being touched with a hot iron, doth express itself as if it were a man dying with groans, and trembling, to the great admiration of all the hearers. It hath been presented before the king and his nobles, and hath given great satisfaction. Vivat Rex.

At the top of the bill is the king's arms, and the letters C. R., and in an old hand is written the date 1682. On the same page is an autograph of the original possessor of the volume," Ex libris Jo. Coniers, Londini, pharmacopol, 1673."

In turning to Malcolm (Anecdotes of the Manners and Customs of London, 4to. 1811, p. 427), we find the following elucidation of this mysterious exhibition :

One of the most curious and ingenious amusements ever offered to the publick ear was contrived in the year 1682, when an elm plank was exhibited to the king and the credulous of London, which being touched by a hot iron, invariably produced a sound resembling deep groans. This sensible, and very irritable board, received numbers of noble visitors; and other boards, sympathizing with their afflicted brother, demonstrated how much affected they might be by similar means. The publicans in different parts of the city immediately applied ignited metal to all the woodwork of their houses, in hopes of finding sensitive timber; but I do not perceive any were so successful as the landlord of the Bowman Tavern in Drury Lane, who had a mantle tree so extremely prompt and loud in its responses, that the sagacious observers were nearly unanimous in pronouncing it part of the same trunk which had afforded the original plank.

The following paragraph is also given by Malcolm, from the Loyal London Mercury, Oct. 4, 1682:

Some persons being this week drinking at the Queen's Arms Tavern, in St. Martin’s-le-Grand, in the kitchen, and having laid the fire-fork in the fire to light their pipes, accidentally fell a discoursing of the groaning-board, and what might be the cause of it. One in the company, having the fork in his hand to light his pipe, would needs make trial of a long dresser that stood there, which, upon the first touch, made a great noise and groaning, more than ever the board that was showed did; and then they touched it three or four times, and found it far beyond the other. They all having seen it, the house is almost filled with spectators day and night, and any company calling for a glass of wine may see it; which, in the judgment of all, is far louder, and makes a longer groan than the other; which to report, unless seen, would seem incredible.

Among the Bagford Ballads in the Museum (three vols., under the press-mark 643, m.), is preserved the following singular broadside upon the subject, which is now reprinted for the first time :

A NEW SONG, ON THE STRANGE AND WONDERFUL GROANING-BOARD.

What fate inspir'd thee with groans,

To fill phanatick brains ?
What is't thou sadly thus bemoans,

In thy prophetick strains ?
Art thou the ghost of William Pryn,

Or some old politician?
Who, long tormented for his sin,

Laments his sad condition?

Or must we now believe in thee,

The old cheat transmigration ?
And that thou now art come to be

A call to reformation ?

The giddy vulgar to thee run, ,

Amaz'd with fear and wonder;
Some dare affirm, that hear thee groan,

Thy noise is petty thunder.
One says and swears, you do foretell

A change in Church and State;
Another says, you like not well

,
Your master Stephen's fate. *

* This was Stephen College, a joiner by trade, but a man of an active and violent spirit, who, making himself conspicuous by his opposition to the Court, obtained the name of the Protestant joiner. His fate is well known.

Some say you groan much like a whigg,

Or rather like a ranter ;
Some say as loud, and full as big,

As Conventicle Canter.

Some say you do petition,

And think you represent
The woe and sad condition

Of Old Rump Parliament.

The wisest say you are a cheat;

Another politician
Says, 'tis a mistery as great

And true as Hatfield's vision. *

Some say, 'tis a new evidence,

Or witness of the plot ;
And can discover many things,

Which are the Lord knows what.

And lest you should the plot disgrace,

For wanting of a name,
Narrative Board henceforth we'll place
In registers of fame.
London : Printed for T. P., in the

in the year 1682.

The extraordinary and long-lived popularity of the “groaningboard” is fully evinced by the number of contemporary allusions : a few will suffice.

Mrs. Mary Astell, in her Essay in Defence of the Female Sex, 1696, speaking of the character of a "coffee-house politician," observes :

He is a mighty listener after prodigies : and never hears of a whale or a comet, but he apprehends some sudden revolution in the State, and looks upon a groaning-board, or a speaking-head, as forerunners of the day of judgment.

* Martha Hatfield, a child twelve years old in Sept. 1652, who pretended to havo visions concerning Christ, faith, and other subjects." She was a second edition of the 6 holy maid of Kent.'

« PredošláPokračovať »