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most persevering reader. Enough, we trust, has been collected to throw no feeble light on the general manners and modes of living, of the period under consideration, especially if it be recollected that the full picture is to be formed from a combination of this with the similar chapter, in a former part of the work, on the costume of rural life.




Or the diversions of the metropolis and court, some were peculiar, and some were shared in common with the country. "The countrey hath his recreations," observes Burton, "the city his several Gymnicks and exercises, feasts and merry meetings." -"What so pleasant as to see some Pageant or sight go by, as at Coronations, Weddings, and such like solemnities, to see an Embassadour or a Prince met, received, entertained, with Masks, Shews, Fireworks, &c.*; and an old dramatic poet of 1590, gives us a still more copious list of town amusements:


"Let nothing that's magnifical,

Or that may tend to London's graceful state,
Be unperform'd, as showes and solemne feastes,
Watches in armour, triumphes cresset, lights,
Bonefires, belles, and peales of ordinaunce

And pleasure. See that plaies be published,
Mai-games and maskes, with mirth and minstrelsie,

Pageants and school-feastes, beares and puppet-plaies. +

Every palace," continues Burton, "every city almost, hath his peculiar walks, cloysters, terraces, groves, theatres, pageants, games, and several recreations ;" and we purpose, in this chapter, giving some account of the leading articles thus enumerated, but more particularly of the stage, as being peculiarly connected with the design and texture of our work.

* Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, fol., 8th edit., p. 171. col. i.

† “The Pleasant and Stately Morall of the Three Lordes and Three Ladies of London,” &c., London. Printed by Jhones, at the Rose and Crowne, neere Holburne Bridge, 1590. Vide Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, Introduct., p. xxviii.; and Beloe's Anecdotes of Literature, vol. i. p. 350, 351.

Anatomy of Melancholy, p. 172. col. i.

As the principal object, therefore, of the present discussion, will be the amusements usually appropriated to the capital; those which it has in common with the country shall be first enumerated, though in a more superficial way.

Of these, card-playing seems to have been as universal in the days of Elizabeth, as in modern times, and carried on, too, with the same ruinous consequences to property and morals; for though Stowe tells us, when commemorating the customs of London, that " from AllHallows eve to the day following Candlemas-day, there was, among other sports, playing at cards for counters, nails, and points, in every house, more for pastime than for gain," yet we learn from contemporary. satirists, from Gosson, Stubbes, and Northbrooke *, that all ranks, and especially the upper classes, were incurably addicted to gaming in the pursuit of this amusement, which they considered equally as seductive and pernicious as dice.

The games at cards peculiar to this period, and now obsolete, are, 1. Primero, supposed to be the most ancient game of cards in England. It was very fashionable in the age of Shakspeare, who represents Henry the Eighth playing "at primero with the duke of Suffolk †;" and Falstaff exclaiming in the Merry Wives of Windsor, "I never prospered since I foreswore myself at primero." ‡

The mode of playing this curious game is thus described by Mr. Strutt, from Mr. Barrington's papers upon card-playing, in the eighth volume of the Archæologia: -"Each player had four cards dealt to him one by one, the seven was the highest card in point of number that he could avail himself of, which counted for twenty-one, the six counted for sixteen, the five for fifteen, and the ace for the same, but the two, the three, and the four, for their respective points only. The knave of hearts was commonly fixed upon for the quinola, which the

"Schoole of Abuse," "Anatomie of Abuses," and "Treatise againt Diceing, Cardplaying," &c.

+ Reed's Shakspeare, vol. v. p. 170. Act v. sc. 1.

Ibid. vol. v. p. 186, 187. Act iv. sc. 5.

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player might make what card or suit he thought proper; if the cards were of different suits, the highest number won the primero, if they were all of one colour he that held them won the flush."*

2. Trump, nearly coeval in point of antiquity with primero, and introduced in Gammer Gurton's Needle, a comedy, first acted in 1561, where Dame Chat, addressing Diccon, says,

"We be fast set at trump, man, hard by the fyre;Ӡ

and we learn from Decker that, in 1612, it was much in vogue: "To speake," he remarks, " of all the sleights used by card-players in all sorts of games would but weary you that are to read, and bee but a thanklesse and unpleasing labour for me to set them down. Omitting, therefore the deceipts practised (even in the fayrest and most civill companies) at Primero, Saint Maw, Trump, and such like games, I will, &c." ‡

3. Gleek. This game is alluded to twice by Shakspeare §; and from a passage in Cook's Green's Tu Quoque, appears to have been held in much esteem:

"Scat. Come, gentlemen, what is your game?
Staines. Why, gleek; that's your only game;" ||

it is then proposed to play either at twelve-penny gleek, or crown gleek. ¶

To these may be added, Gresco, Mount Saint, New Cut, Knave Out of Doors, and Ruff, all of which are mentioned in old plays, and were favourites among our ancestors. '

* Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, 4to. 1810, p. 291, 292.

+ Ancient British Drama, vol. i. p. 111. col. 1.

Belman of London, sig. F 2.

Midsummer Night's Dream, act iii. sc. 1. Reed's Shakspeare, vol. iv. p. 401. Romeo and Juliet, act iv. sc. 5. Reed's Shakspeare vol. xx. p. 221.

Ancient British Drama, vol. ii. p. 551. col. 1.

In the Compleat Gamester, 2nd edit. 1676, p. 90., may be found the mode of playing this game.

The first of these games is mentioned in Eastward Hoe, printed in 1605, and written by Ben Jonson, George Chapman, and John Marston; the second in the Dumb Knight,

Tables and Dice, enumerated by Burton after cards, include some games unknown to the present day; such as tray-trip, mum-chance, philosopher's game, novum, &c.; the first is noticed by Shakspeare in Twelfth Night, and appears, from a note by Mr. Tyrwhitt, to have been a species of draughts; the second was also a game at tables, and is coupled by Ben Jonson in the Alchemist with tray-trip†; the third is mentioned by Burton ‡, and is described by Mr. Strutt from a manuscript in the British Museum. "It is called," says the author, a number fight,' because in it men fight and strive together by the art of counting or numbering how one may take his adversary's king and erect a triumph upon the deficiency of his calculations §;" and the fourth is introduced by Shakspeare in Love's Labour's Lost || ; "it was properly called novum quinque," remarks Mr. Douce," from the two principal throws of the dice, nine and five;· -was called in French quinque-nove, and is said to have been invented in Flanders."¶

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The immoralities to which dice have given birth, we are authorised in considering, from the proverbial phraseology of Shakspeare, to have been as numerous in his time as at present. The expressions "false as dice," and and "false as dicers' oaths," will be illustrated by the following anecdote, taken from an anonymous MS. of the reign of James the First:-" Sir William Herbert, playing at dice with another gentleman, there rose some questions about a cast. Sir William's antagonist declared it was a four and a five; he as positively insisted that it was a five and a six; the other then swore with a bitter im

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the production of Lewis Machin, 1608; the third in A Woman killed with Kindness, written by Thomas Heywood, 1617, where are also noticed Lodam, Noddy, Post and Pair, a species of Brag, Knave out of Doors, and Ruff, this last being something like Whist, and played in four different ways, under the names of English Ruff, French Ruff, Double Ruff, and Wide Ruff.- Vide Ancient British Drama, vol. ii. p. 444, 445.


*Reed's Shakspeare, vol. v. p. 335. note.

† Anatomy of Melancholy, p. 172. col. 2.

+ Works of Ben Jonson; act v. sc. 4.

§ Sports and Pastimes, 4to. p. 277.

Reed's Shakspeare, vol. vii. p. 183. Act v. sc. 2.

¶ Illustrations of Shakspeare, vol. i. p. 243.

Reed's Shakspeare, vol. ix. pp. 227, 228. Winter's Tale, act i. sc. 2.

2 Ibid. vol. xviii. p. 240. Hamlet, act iii. sc. 4.

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