Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/145

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105
AMUSEMENTS IN GENERAL

many young men play upon the ice; some, striding as wide as they may, do slide swiftly; others make themselves seats of ice, great as millstones; one sits down, many hand in hand do draw him, and one slipping on a sudden, all fall together; some tie bones to their feet and under their heels, and shoving themselves by a little piked staff, do slide as swiftly as a bird flieth in the air, or an arrow out of a cross-bow. Sometimes two run together with poles, and hitting one the other, either one or both do fall, not without hurt; some break their arms, some their legs, but youth desirous of glory in this sort exerciseth itself against the time of war. Many of the citizens do delight themselves in hawks and hounds; for they have liberty of hunting in Middlesex, Hartfordshire, all Chiltron, and in Kent of the Water of Cray."

The above passage from Fitzstephen's early account of London was quoted by Stow as characteristic in 1598. Within a few years of the latter date another authoritative list of sports was published, a list that should be carefully noted, for it was written by no less a person than the King of England, who hoped that his utterance would at once stamp out all sports that did not have the royal hall-mark of respectability.

"Certainly," says King James, "bodily exer-