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A History of the Cries of London by Hindley

He singeth and sweepeth the soote away

Who liveth so merry in all this land As doth the poor widdow that selleth the sand? And ever shee singeth as I can guesse, Will you buy any sand, any sand, mistress?

The broom-man maketh his living most sweet, With carrying of brooms from street to street; Who would desire a pleasanter thing, Then all the day long to doe nothing but sing.

The chimney-sweeper all the long day, He singeth and sweepeth the soote away; Yet when he comes home altho' he be weary, With his sweet wife he maketh full merry.

* * * * *

Who liveth so merry and maketh such sport As those that be of the poorest sort? The poorest sort wheresoever they be, They gather together by one, two, three.

And every man will spend his penny What makes such a shot among a great many?

Thomas Morely, a musical composer, set music of four, six, eight and ten parts, to the cries in his time, among them are some used by the milliners' girls in the New Exchange, which was on the south side of the Strand, opposite the now Adelphi Theatre, it was built in the reign of James I., and pulled down towards the end of the last century; among others are "_Italian falling Bands_," "_French Garters_," "_Robatos_," a kind of ruff then fashionable, "_Nun's Thread_,"


The effeminacy and coxcombry of a man's ruff and band are well ridiculed by many of our dramatic writers. There is a small tract bearing the following title--"A Merrie Dialogue between Band, Cuffe and Ruffe. Done by an excellent Wit, and lately acted in a Shew in the Famous Universitie of Cambridge. London, printed by W. Stansby for Miles Partrich, and are to be sold at his shop neere Saint Dunstone's Church-yard in Fleet Street, 1615." This _brochure_ is a _bonne-bouche_ of the period, written in dramatic dialogue form, and full of puns as any modern comedy or farcical sketch from the pen of the greatest word-twister of the day--Henry J. Byron (who, on _Cyril's Success_, _Married in Haste_, _Our Boys_, and _The Girls_,)--and is of considerable value as an illustration of the history of the costume of the period. The band, as an article of ornament for the neck, was the common wear of gentlemen, though now exclusively retained by the clergy and lawyers; the cuff, as a fold at the end of a sleeve, or the part of the sleeve turned back from the hand, was made highly fantastical by means of "cut work;" the ruff, as a female neck ornament, made of plaited lawn, or other material, is well-known, but it was formerly worn by both sexes.

In a Roxburghe Ballad entitled "The Batchelor's Feast," &c., we have:--

"The taylor must be pay'd for making of her gowne, The shoomakers for fine shoes: or else thy wife will frowne; For _bands_, fine _ruffes_, and _cuffes_, thou must dispence as free: O 'tis a gallant thing to live at liberty," &c.

In another, "The Lamentations of a New Married Man, briefly declaring the sorrow and grief that comes by marrying a young wanton wife":--

"Against that she is churched, a new Gowne she must have, A daintie fine _Rebato_ about her neck to brave;"

In "_Loyal Subject_," by Beaumont and Fletcher, act iii., sc. 5, we find that in the reign of James I., potatoes had become so common, that "_Potatoes! ripe Potatoes!_" were publicly hawked about the city.


Orlando Gibbons,--1583-1625--set music in madrigals to several common cries of the day. In a play called "_Tarquin and Lucrece_," some of the music of the following occur,--"_Rock Samphire_," "_A Marking Stone_," "_Bread and Meat for the poor Prisoners_," "_Hassock for your pew_," "_Lanthorne and Candlelight_," _&c._

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