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way, invited me to his public lectures, for which I thank him, thcugh
By the foregoing passage it is seen that Sir Thomas Par-
He came to his title early in life, and took possession of the family estate, Bunny Park. He was made a justice of the peace for Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, and endeavoured, by all the means in his power, to do good to the peasantry and indigent people around him. To this end, he studied physic, for the sole purpose of benefiting the poor and his tenantry.
Sir Thomas was particularly partial to Latin sentences and quotations, of which our readers will see ample proof in the course of the extracts we shall give them; but not satisfied with inlaying his writings with them, this eccentric baronet took every slight occasion to inscribe them on wayside benches, door-posts, window-seats, and other convenient tablets, of a like, or an unlike, nature. Upon a seat, which stood by one of the Bunny roads, he caused to be indited this truly urbane invitation to a strayer, from a man of property :
“ Hic sedeas, Viator, si tu defessus es ambulando.”
Another inscription took its birth from one of the judges, while on the circuit, having ascended his pad (for, at that time, justices, “ assigned to hold pleas,” were not ashamed to ride, from court to court, on a galloway) by the help of Sir Thomas's horseblock. This was an honour not to be let slip; and the block-a block no longer-told its classic story thus
“ Hinc Justiciarius Dormer equum ascendere solebat !”
Happy and long was the life which Sir Thomas Parkyns ied at Bunny Park; and "a bold peasantry, its country's
pride,” by his advice and example, grew up gallantly around him. He gave prizes of small value, but large honour, to be wrestled for, on sweet Midsummer eves, upon the
levels of Nottinghamshire; and he never felt so gratified with the scene, as when he saw one of his manly tenantry, and the evening sun, go down together. He himself was no idle patron of these amusements-no delicate and timid super-intendant of popular sports, as our modern wealthy men, for the most part, are; for he never objected to take the most sinewy man by the loins, and try a fall for the gold-laced hat he had himself contributed. His servants were all upright, muscular, fine young fellows,-civil, but sinewy,-respectful at the proper hours, but yet capable, also, at the proper hour, of wrestling with Sir Thomas for the mastery; and never so happy, or so well-approved, as when one of them saw his master's two brawny legs going handsomely over his head. Sir Thomas prided himself, indeed, in having his coachman and footman (chosen, like Robin Hood's men, for having, in a trial, triumphed over their master) lusty young fellows, that had brought good characters for sobriety from their last places, and had laid him on his spine!
One of our amiable baronet's whims, and heaven had given him his share, was an ardent love, through life, of curious stone coffins ; of these le had a very rare, and we should rather imagine, an unexampled collection, which he kept with great nicety in Bunny church. This passion for securing a comfortable final tenement before a gentleman is every way fitted to inhabit it, has, even in the present age, been indulged in, as all observant people, who have passed Shoreditch churchyard, must have noticed. Dr. Gardner, the declared enemy to worms, having taken a snug little vault there, ready for the day when the worm shall triumph in its turn; and the vault (the doctor, like Sir Thomas Parkyns, being fond of inscriptions) bears these words inscribed : Dr. Gardner's last and best bed-room.
The mere empty passion, however, for a score or two of stone coffins, did not satisfy the capacious soul of the titled champion of Bunny. He loved to read a moral in every thing; to find “tongues in the trees, books in the babbling brooks, sermons in stones, and good in every thing.” The coffins ranged before him, humbled him moderately; but he, full of life, as he was out of doors, required strong inducements to humility within. In the field, he was mighty ;-he wished to be tamed in the house of prayer; and he, therefore, caused his own monument, or “the marble effigies of Sir Thomas Parkyns," as le called it, to “be put up in the chancel of his church, that he might look upon it, and say, 'What is life ?!” In his monument, as in all things else, wrestling was not neglected. His
figure was carved “in a moralizing posture, in his chancel of the church of Bunny, being the first posture of wrestling; an emblem of the divine and human struggle for the glorious mastery!" Such is the description of this remarkable “ effigies," as given by Master Francis Hoffman, a gentleman, a poet, and a friend of Sir Thomas, who wrote a copy of heroic verses, in defence of the monument and its moral. There is an awkward wood-cut of this singular stone, in one of the old editions of Sir Thomas's Institutes, which is worth the reader's looking to. Sir Thomas is represented standing in his country coat, potent, and postured for the Cornish hug. On one side is a well-limbed figure, lying above the scythe of Time, with the sun rising gloriously over it, shewing that the wrestler is in his pride of youth. On the other side is the same figure, stretched in its coffin, with Time standing, scythe in hand, triumphantly over it; and the sun gone down, marking the decline of life, and the fate even of the strong man! Thus did Sir Thomas Parkyns moralize in marble, and decorate, with solemn emblems, the quiet walls of Bunny's simple church.
It is pretty clear, that though no training on earth will give a man the best of his contest with a century, still that wholesome toil, and manly exercise, will carry him bravely over some scores of years. And the length of Sir Thomas's life proves, (and every living baronet should know it,) that to play at Bunny was healthier than to play at Boodle's. He scarcely knew a day's illness through seventy-eight years; but, in 1741, he “got a fall,” which shook the baronetcy clean out of him, and filled one of those stone repositories which he had so cautiously provided against the accident. He died beloved and regretted. We, perhaps, should have stated, that he married twice during his life, and was, of course, twice a happy man. One of his ladies was the daughter of a London alderman, an excellent woman, and clever at recipes for strains !
Having given this brief and sketchy account of our good and active baronet's life, let us turn to the little Treatise on his favourite art, and shew how cheerfully he could write, and how learnedly he could argue, on the hanging trippet," " the clamp," " back-lock,"
" back-lock," "in-lock," and "pinnion.' The Dedication is a favourable specimen of the athletic style which the author adopted, and quite shames the delicate and effeminate adulation which has crept into dedications, amongst other refinements of a later age.
• 'The DedicATION.
“ That I rather may be looked upon as a Tom Tell-Troth, than a historian, I dedicate generally. Therefore, fear not that this part of Hudibras will be my portion.
It matters not how false or forst,
Therefore, I invite all persons, however dignified, or distinguished, to read my book, and will readily admit them my scholars, provided they have these qualifications: they must be of a middle size, athletic, full-breasted, and shouldered; for wind and strength, brawny legged and armed, yet clean limbed. Terence's man, that has corpus solidum atque succi plenum, is my promising scholar, to do me credit, and be capable of serving his king and country on occasion, and defend his friend and self from insults. For the most part, the question I ask a scholar (it I like his size and complexion, for I am an indifferent physiognomist, a judicious physician, and can prognosticate more from a phiz than most physicians from waters,) is, If his parents are alive? If not, what age they died at ? For 1 admit no hereditary gouts, or schrophulous tumours; yet I'll readily accept of scorbutic rheumatisms, because the persons labouring under those maladies are generally strong, and able to undergo the exercise of wrestling. I am so curious in my admission, I'll not hear of one hipped, and out of joint; a valetudinarian is my aversion; for I affirm, Martial, Lib. vi. Ep. 54, is in the right on’t, Non est vivere sed valere zita. I receive no limber-bams, no darling sucking bottles, who must not rise at Midsummer till eleven of the clock, and that the fire has aired his room and clothes of colliquative sweats, raised by high sauces and spicy force-meats, when the cook does the office of the stcmach with the emetic tea-table, set out with bread and butter for his breakfast: I'll scarcely admit a sheep-biter ; none but beef-eaters will
go down with us, who have robust, healthy, and sound bodies : this may serve as a sketch of that person fit to make a wrestler, by him who desires a place in your friendship.
The prefatory introduction, for Sir Thomas divides his books into heads, or rather into limbs, is full of the morality of wrestling. Drinking is to be avoided, as is “passion at seeing an adversary;" and from these two judicious pieces of advice the baronet goes slily to work with Bacchus and Ceres, pleasantly shewing how many they have thrown down! Whạt a picture gives he of your thorough-paced drinkers, who can scarce " eat the leg of a threepenny chicken in a day !" hear Sir Oracle !
“ Whoever would be a complete wrestler must avoid being overtaken in drink, which very much enervates, or being in a passion at the sight of his adversary, or having received a fall; in such cases he is bereaved of his senses, not being master of himself, is less of his art, but sheweth too much play, or none at all, or rather pulleth,
kicketh, and ventureth beyond all reason and his judgment when himself.
Fæcundi calices quem non fecere misellun..
Since the Diluvians, Bacchus, Ceres, and even Paracelsus their substitute, have been celebrated wrestling masters. The first tells you he has, and does still teach all over Europe, and has many scholars even in emperors, kings, and princes' courts. That the popes and cardinals bave tried him, and received many a foil and fall from him, and that most of the religious houses in Christendom are his scholars, He instructs at the Two Devil tavern, in London, and his assistants, as sack, claret, &c. in all taverns.
Ceres keeps school at all checquers, with his assistants, Nottingham, Derby, Burton, Easingwold, &c. at most public houses. Stout has the fullest school amongst the porters, carmen, chairmen, &c. Paracelsus admits for the most part at the golden stills, his method he exacted from and is an abridgment of the two former: his journeymen assistants are Brandy, a Frenchman; Usquebaugh an Irishman; Rum, a Molossonian, &c. Heart's-ease he recommends as his head usher ; but I never knew any person that received benefit from him. He is the finisher, and seldom receives any but such as are thoroughproved, and gone through all the other methods, and can scarce eat the leg of a three-penny chicken in a day. When he has over-exercised them by drams, that they have quite lost their stomachs, he prescribes to them the subterraneous and sulphureous hot bath-waters, to drink. You may depend upon it, all these masters teach mostly the trip, which I assure you, is no safe and sound play. You may know them by their walkings and gestures ; they stagger and reel and cross legs, which I advise my scholars to avoid, and receive many a foul fall in the sink or kennel; and were your constitutions of porphyry, marble, or steel, they'll make you yield to your last and only fair fall, they'll assuredly give you on your backs."
Several pages are taken up with the praise of the manly art of wrestling ; and Sir Thomas wished that a clause could be inserted in the act of parliament for obliging persons to use the long-bow, thus compelling men to practise the art, in order to the prevention of duels. The baronet thinks, and perhaps justly, that a few sound throws of a quarrelsome body over his antagonist's head, would heal strife, and prevent sword-contests. Soldiers too, he thinks, would find their account in studying the art, as, in case of being disarmed or unhorsed, they could grapple with an enemy to advantage.
He concludes a very masterly eulogy shrewdly, as follows :