which children one made a goodly oration to the Queen of the fruitfulness of St. Anne, trusting that like fruit

should come of her." 11 With such “pretty conceits,” at that time the honest

tokens of an English welcome, the new Queen was received by the citizens of London. These scenes must be multiplied by the number of the streets, where some fresh fancy met her at every turn. To preserve the festivities from flagging, every fountain and conduit within the walls ran all day with wine; the bells of every steeple were ringing; children lay in wait with songs, and ladies with posies, in which all the resources of fantastic extravagance were exhausted ; and thus, in an unbroken triumph-and, to outward appearance, received with the warmest affection-she passed under Temple Bar, down the Strand, by Charing Cross, to Westminster Hall. The King was not with her throughout the day; nor did he intend to be with her in any part of the ceremony. She was to reign without a rival, the undisputed sovereign of

the hour. 12 Saturday being passed in showing herself to the peo

ple, she retired for the night to “the King's manor house at Westminster," where she slept. On the following morning, between eight and nine o'clock, she returned to the Hall, where the Lord Mayor, the City Council, and the peers were again assembled, and took her place on the high dais at the top of the stairs, under the cloth of state, while the bishops, the abbots, and the monks of the Abbey formed in the area. A railed way had been laid with carpets across Palace Yard and the Sanctuary to the Abbey gates, and, when all was ready, preceded by the peers in their robes of Parliament, and the Knights of the Garter in the dress of the order, she swept out under her canopy, the bishops and the monks “solemnly sing

ing." The train was borne by the old Duchess of Norfolk, her aunt, the Bishops of London and Winchester on either side, “bearing up the lappets of her robe.” The Earl of Oxford carried the crown, on its cushion, immediately before her. She was dressed in purple velvet furred with ermine, her hair escaping loose, as she usually wore it, under a wreath of diamonds.

On entering the Abbey she was led to the coronation-13 chair, where she sat, while the train fell into their places, and the preliminaries of the ceremonial were dispatched. Then she was conducted up to the high altar and annointed Queen of England, and she received from the hands of Cranmer, fresh come in haste from Dunstable, with the last words of his sentence upon Catharine scarcely silent upon his lips, the golden scepter, and St. Edward's crown.

Did any twinge of remorse, any pang of painful recol- 14 lection, pierce at that moment the incense of glory which she was inhaling? Did any vision flit across her of a sad, mourning figure which once had stood where she was standing, now desolate, neglected, sinking into the darkening twilight of a life cut short by sorrow? Who can tell? At such a time that figure would have weighed heavily upon a noble mind, and a wise mind would have been taught by the thought of it that, although life be fleeting as a dream, it is long enough to experience strange vicissitudes of fortune. But Anne Boleyn was not noble, and was not wise; too probably, she felt nothing but the delicious, all-absorbing, all-intoxicating present; and, if that plain, suffering face presented itself to her memory at all, we may fear that it was rather as a foil to her own surpassing loveliness. Two years later she was able to exult over Catharine's death; she is not likely to

have thought of her with gentle feelings in the first glow

and flush of triumph. 15 We may now leave these scenes. They concluded in

the usual English style—with a banquet in the great hall, and with all outward signs of enjoyment and pleasure, There must have been but few persons present, however, who did not feel that the sunshine of such a day might not last for ever, and that over so dubious a marriage no Englishman could exult with more than half a heart. It is foolish to blame, lightly, actions which arise in the midst of circumstances which are, and can be, but imperfectly known, and there may have been political reasons which made so much pomp desirable. Anne Boleyn had been the subject of public conversation for seven years, and Henry, no doubt, desired to present his jewel to them in the rarest and choicest setting. Yet, to our eyes, seeing, perhaps, by the light of what followed, a more modest introduction would have appeared more suited to the doubtful nature of her position.



Froude gives us in this extract a description of prices current in the reign of Henry VIII (1509–47). Let the student compare them. with prices current in our day. Any successful endeavor to reproduce the past life of a nation must exhibit its modes of daily life, its domestic economy-what people ate, what they wore, and what they paid for them. This is in strict accordance with the idea of

history as expounded by Carlyle and Macaulay. 1 Wheat, the price of which necessarily varied, aver

aged in the middle of the fourteenth century tenpence the

bushel, barley averaging at the same time three shillings the quarter. With wheat the fluctuations were excessive; a table of its possible variations describes it as ranging from eighteenpence the quarter to twenty shillings; the average, however, being six-and-eightpence. When the price was above this sum, the merchants might import to bring it down ; when it was below this price, the farmers were allowed to export to the foreign markets; and the same average continued to hold, with no perceptible tendency to a rise, till the close of the reign of Elizabeth.

Beef and pork were a halfpenny a pound; mutton 2 was three farthings. They were fixed at these prices by the 3d of the 24th of Henry VIII. But this act was unpopular both with buyers and with sellers. The old practice had been to sell in the gross, and under that arrangement the rates had been generally lower. Stowe says: “It was this year enacted that butchers should sell their beef and mutton by weight-beef for a halfpenny the pound, and mutton for three farthings; which being devised for the great commodity of the realm—as it was thought-hath proved far otherwise : for at that time fat oxen were sold for six-and-twenty shillings and eightpence the piece; fat wethers for three shillings and fourpence the piece; fat calves at a like price; and fat lambs for twelvepence. The butchers of London sold penny 3 pieces of beef for the relief of the poor—every piece two pounds and a half, sometimes three pounds for a penny; and thirteen and sometimes fourteen of these pieces for twelvepence; mutton, eightpence the quarter; and an hundredweight of beef for four shillings and eightpence." The act was repealed in consequence of the complaints against it, but the prices never fell again to what they had been, although beef, sold in the gross,

could still be bad for a halfpenny a pound in 1570.


Strong beer, such as we now buy for eighteen pence a gallon, was then a penny a gallon, and table-beer less than a halfpenny. French and German wines were eightpence the gallon; Spanish and Portuguese wines a shilling. This was the highest price at which the best wines might be sold, and if there was any fault in quality or quantity, the dealers forfeited four times the amount. Rent, another important consideration, can not be fixed so accurately, for Parliament did not interfere with it. Here, however, we are not without very tolerable information. “My father," says Latimer, “was a yeoman, and had no land of his own; only he had a farm of three or four pounds by the year at the uttermost, and hereupon he tilled so much as kept half a dozen men. He had walk for a hundred sheep, and my mother milked thirty kine. He was able, and did find the King a harness with himself and his horse. I remembered that I

buckled on his harness when he went to Blackheath field. 5 He kept me to school, or else I had not been able to

have preached before the King's majesty now. He married my sisters with five pounds, or twenty nobles, each, having brought them up in godliness and fear of God. He kept hospitality for his poor neighbors, and some alms he gave to the poor; and all this he did off the said farm.” If “three or four pounds at the uttermost” was the rent of a farm yielding such results, the rent of laborers' cottages is not likely to have been considerable. 6 I am below the truth, therefore, with this scale of prices in assuming the penny in terms of a laborer's necessities to have been equal, in the reign of Henry VIII, to the present shilling. For a penny, at the time of which I write, the laborer could buy more bread, beef, beer, and wine-he could do more toward finding lodging for himself and his family--than the laborer of the

« ElőzőTovább »