Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/147

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107
AMUSEMENTS IN GENERAL

"As for hawks, I condemn it not; but I must praise it more sparingly, because it neither resembleth the wars so near as hunting doth in making a man hardy and skillfully ridden in all grounds, and is more uncertain and subject to mischances; and, which is worst of all, is therethrough an extreme stirrer up of passions.

"As for sitting or house pastimes—since they may at times supply the room which, being empty, would be patent to pernicious idleness—I will not therefore agree with the curiosity of some learned men of our age in forbidding cards, and suchlike games of hazard: when it is foul and stormy weather, then, I say, ye may lawfully play at the cards or tables; for, as to dicing, I think it becometh best deboshed souldiers to play at on the heads of their drums, being only ruled by hazard, and subject to knavish cogging: and as for the chess, I think it over fond, because it is over-wise and philosophic a folly."

The Elizabethans were very quick to take advantage of any mirth-producing opportunity. The Thames which had not been frozen over since the fifth year of Queen Elizabeth's reign was again frozen in the fifth year of King James. In a moment the people were out upon the bosom of "that Lady of Fresh Waters" as a contemporary writer calls the frozen river. The people turned out en