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properly enough, that “we cannot imagine lesse than that this covering of the head in the congregation, where infirmity or sickness doth not plead for it, tendeth to the dishonour of Jesus Christ, whose servants we profess ourselves to be, especially at this time, and to the contempt of his messenger representing the office and person of Christ before our eyes.”
The custom of rustics in marking the outlines of their shoes on the tops of their church steeples, and engraving their names in the areas, has been, by Smart, in his poem on “The Hop-Garden,” very sensibly referred to motives of vanity, ii. 165 :
“ To err is human, human to be vain.
And in the area to engrave his name." As is the following, in the subsequent lines, to the pride of office :
“ With pride of heart the churchwarden surveys
High o'er the belfry, girt with birds and flow'rs,
That bought the font; and I repair'd the pews.'” White, in his History of Selborne, p. 323, says, in speaking of the church : “I have all along talked of the east and west end, as if the chancel stood exactly true to those points of the compass; but this is by no means the case, for the fabric bears so much to the north of the east, that the four corners of the tower, and not the four sides, stand to the four cardinal points. The best mode of accounting for this deviation seems to be, that the workmen, who were probably employed in the longest days, endeavoured to set the chancels to the rising of the sun.”
I See this subject before noticed, in the present volume, p. 6. The witty author of the History of Birmingham, p. 113, speaking of St. Bartholomew's Chapel there, observes : “The chancel hath this singular difference from others, that it veres toward the north. Whether the projector committed an error I leave to the critics. It was the general practice of the pagan church to fix their altar, upon which they sacrificed, in the east, towards the rising sun, the object of worship. The Christian ehurch, in the time of the Romans, immediately succeeded the pagan, and scrupulously adopted the same method; which has been strictly adhered 10. “By what obligation the Christian is bound to follow the pagan, or
The word Pledge is most probably derived from the French Pleige, a surety or gage. Some deduce the expression I'll pledge you in drinking, from the times when the Danes bore sway in this land. It is said to have been common with these ferocious people to stab a native in the act of drinking, with a knife or dagger : hereupon people would not drink in company, unless some one present would be their pledge or surety that they should receive no hurt whilst they were in their draught. In Shakespeare's Timon of Athens, act i. sc. 5, is the following passage:
“ If I
Great men should drink with harness on their throats ;" “alluding to the pledge in the time of the Danes. It was then customary, when a person promised to be pledge or security for the rest of the company, that they should receive no harm whilst they were drinking; a custom occasioned by the practice of the Danes heretofore, who frequently used to stab or cut the throats of the English while they were drinking. In Wyat's Rebellion, Ist of Queen Mary, the serjeants and other lawyers in Westminster Hall pleaded in harness. See Baker's Chronicle, edit. 1670, p. 316.” Grey's Notes on Shakespeare, ii. 120.
Dr. Henry, in his History of Great Britain, ii. 539, speaking on this subject, says: “If an Englishman presumed to drink in the presence of a Dane, without his express permission, it was esteemed so great a mark of disrespect, that nothing but his instant death could expiate. Nay, the English
wherein a church would be injured by being directed to any of the thirtytwo points of the compass, is doubtful. Certain it is, if the chancel of Bartholomew's had tended due east, the eye would have been exceedingly hurt, and the builder would have raised an object of ridicule for ages. The ground will admit of no situation but that in which the church now stands. But the inconsiderate architect of Deritend chapel, anxious to catch the eastern point, lost the line of the street; we may therefore justly pronounce he sacrificed to the east.” Deritend chapel is another place of public worship in the same town.
were so intimidated that they would not adventure to drink even when they were invited, until the Danes had pledged their honour for their safety; which introduced the custom of pledging each other in drinking, of which some vestiges are still remaining among the common people in the north of England, where the Danes were most predominant.” He cites Pontopidon, Gesta et Vestigia Danorum, ii. 209.
“Such great drinkers,” says Strutt, “were the Danes (who were in England in the time of Edgar), and so much did their bad Examples prevail with the English, that he, by the advice of Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, put down many alehouses, suffering only one to be in a village or small town; and he also further ordained that pins or nails should be fastened into the drinking-cups and horns, at stated distances, and whosoever should drink beyond these marks at one draught should be obnoxious to a severe punishment." This was to prevent the pernicious custom of drinking.'
This law seems to have given occasion to a custom which was afterwards called Pin-drinking, or nick the pin, and which is thus explained in Cocker's Dictionary: “An old way of drinking exactly to a pin in the midst of a wooden cup, which being somewhat difficult, occasioned much drunkenness ; so a law was made that priests, monks, and friars should not drink to or at the pins.” It is certainly difficult to say what law this was, unless it has been confounded with that of King Edgar. I find the custom differently alluded to in another English Dictionary called Gazophylacium Anglicanum, 1689, where the expression, “ He is on a merry pin,” is said to have arisen “ from a way of drinking in a cup in which a pin was stuck, and he that could drink to the pin, i. e. neither under nor over it, was to have the wager."2
Strutt, who has cited William of Malmesbury for this custom, is not quite correct in his translation of the passage, which is as follows : " In tantum et in frivolis pacis sequax, ut quia compatriotæ, in tabernis convenientes, jamque temulenti pro modo bibendi contenderent, ipse clavos argenteos vel aureos vasis affigi jusserit, ut dum metam suam quisque cognoscent, non plus subserviente verecundia vel ipsc appeteret, vel alium appetere cogeret.” Scriptores post Bedam, p. 56.
? Douce conceives the expression to drink “supernaculum" means to drink to the nail, as above explained. Nagel in German means a nail or pin. He adds: “See the article Ad pinnas bibere in Cowel's Law Dictionary, and Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, v. Pin." Ct
In Wise's Further Observations upon the White Horse, and other Antiquities, 1742, p. 54, we read : “ The custom of pledging healths, still preserved among Englishmen, is said to be owing to the Saxons' mutual regard for each other's safety, and as a caution against the treacherous inhospitality of the Danes, when they came to live in peace with the natives.”
Others affirm the true sense of the word to be this : that if the person drank unto was not disposed to drink himself, he would put another to be a pledge to do it for him, otherwise the party who began would take it ill.
Strutt confirms the former of these opinions in the following words : “ The old manner of pledging each other, when they drank, was thus: the person who was going to drink asked any one of the company who sat next him, whether he would pledge him, on which he answering that he would, held up his knife or sword, to guard him whilst he drank; for while a man is drinking he necessarily is in an unguarded posture, exposed to the treacherous stroke of some hidden or secret enemy.” But the custom is here said to have first taken its rise from the death of young King Edward, called the Martyr, son of Edgar, who was, by the contrivance of Elfrida, his stepmother, treacherously stabbed in the back as he was drinking.
Barrington, in Observation on the Ancient Statutes, 1775, p. 206, says that it was anciently the custom for a person swearing fealty “to hold his hands joined together, between those of his lord ; the reason for which seems to have been that some lord had been assassinated under pretence of paying homage ; but, while the tenant's hands continued in this attitude, it was impossible for him to make such an attempt. I take the same reason to have occasioned the ceremony still adhered to by the scholars in Queen's College at Oxford, who wait upon the fellows placing their thumbs upon the table; which, as I have been informed, still continues in some parts of Germany whilst the superior drinks the health of the inferior. The suspicion that men formerly had of attempts upon their lives on such occasions is well known, from the common acpresbyteri non eant ad potationes, nec ad pinnas bibant.” Concil. Londinens. A.D. 1102, apud Spelman, ii. 24. Johnson very properly translates this : " That priests go not to drinking bouts, nor drink to pegs.” Compare also Gent. Mag, for October, 1768, Ixviii. 475.
count with regard to the origin of pledging.” He says, ibid.: “The Speculum Regale advises the courtier, when he is in the king's presence, to pull off his cloak; and one of the reasons given is, that he shows by this means that he hath no concealed weapons to make an attempt upon the king's life.” pp. 299, 300.
In Pierce Pennilesse his Supplication to the Divell, by Thomas Nash, 1595, we read: “You do me the disgrace, if you doo not pledge me as much as I drinke to you." In the Workes of John Heiwood newlie imprinted, 1598, is the following line: “I drinke (quoth she); quoth he, I will not pledge.”
Plat, in his Jewel-house of Art and Nature, p. 59, gives a recipe to prevent drunkenness, "for the help of such modest drinkers as only in company are drawn, or rather forced to pledge in full bolls such quaffing companions as they would be loth to offend, and will require reason at their hands, as they term it.” Overbury, in his Characters, speaking of a serving-man, says : “ He never drinks but double, for he must be pledged; nor commonly without some short sentence nothing to the purpose : and seldom abstains till he comes to a thirst.”
In Young's England's Bane, 1617, is the following passage: “Truely I thinke hereupon comes the name of good fellow, quasi goad fellow, because he forceth and goads his fellowes forward to be drunke with his persuasive termes, as I dranke to you, pray pledge me, you dishonour me, you disgrace mee, and with such like words, doth urge his consorts forward to be drunke, as oxen being prickt with goads are compelld and forced to draw the waine.”
Barnaby Rich, in his work entitled the Irish Hubbub, or the English Hue and Crie, 1619, p. 24, describing the mode of drinking healths in his time, tells us : “He that begiuneth the health hath his prescribed orders : first uncovering his head, hee takes a full cup in his hand, and settling his countenance with a grave aspect, hee craves for audience : silence being once obtained, hee begins to breath out the name, peradventure of some honourable personage, that is worthy of a better regard than to have his name polluted amongst a company of drunkards : but his health is drunke to, and hee that pledgeth, must likewise off with his cap, kisse his fingers, and