Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/195

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147
CELEBRATION OF THE CALENDAR

relaxation manifested itself after the Christmas sports which was, however, boisterously brought to an end by the merry-making of Shrove-Tuesday. Since the time of the Reformation Shrove-Tide was no longer of such importance as a time for shriving and general confession of sins. The Protestant Elizabethans seized upon the carnival element of the Roman Catholic celebration and made the period before Lent one of the jolliest of the year. Collop Monday followed Shrove-Sunday; and was so-called as being the period when the people reluctantly bade good-bye to slices of meat called in some parts of the country collops. The next day was Pancake Tuesday, commemorating an article of diet that has not yet passed out of fashion as distinctively associated with the observation of Shrove-Tuesday.

Thomas Tusser, a chorister of St. Paul's, later joined the court as musician to William Paget, first baron Paget. He farmed, wrote poetry, and in 1557 (expanded in 1570 and 1573), published Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie. One of his stanzas concerning Shrove-Tide is worth quoting:—

"At Shroftide to shroving, go thresh the fat hen,
If blindfold can kill her, then give it thy men:
Maids, fritters, and pancakes, now see ye make,
Let slut have one pancake, for company sake."