Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/442

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370
DEVONSHIRE CHARACTERS

the list, and Benjamin Kennicott the younger brought up the tail. But in 1742, when new regulations were drawn up and agreed to by the ringers, the youngest ringer had become the leader.

Bell-ringing was a pastime dearly loved and much practised in Devon at the time. There were contests between the ringers of various churches, and challenges, the prize being either money or a hat laced with gold. All over the county one comes on old songs relating to these contests, and in these songs are recorded the names of ringers who are now only represented by moss-grown stones in the churchyard. A party of ringers, say of Totnes, would sally forth to spend a day in contest with those of Ashburton or Dartmouth, and all day long the tower would be reeling with the clash of the bells. Here is one of the songs touching the ringers of Torrington:—

1. Good ringers be we that in Torrington dwell,
    And what that we are I will speedily tell.
        1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6; 6 . 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1.
    The first is called Turner, the second called Swete,
    The third is a Vulcan, the fourth Harry Neat.
        1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6; 6 . 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1.

2. The fifth is a doctor, a man of renown,
    The tenor the tailor that clothes all the town.
        1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6; 6 . 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1.
    The breezes proclaim in their fall and their swell,
    No jar in the concord, no flaw in a bell.
        1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6; 6 . 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1.

3. The winds that are blowing on mountain and lea,
    Bear swiftly my message across the blue sea,
        1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6; 6 . 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1.
    Stand all men in order, give each man his due,
    We can't be all tenors, but each can pull true.
        1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6; 6 . 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1.

There is another, wedded to an exquisitely sweet and expressive melody, concerning the ringers of North