Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/198

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for four throws, and he who broke the pot, and delivered the cock from his confinement, had him for a reward."

The evening of Shrove-Tuesday was given up to dramatic entertainments. This was the custom both in town and country; at the court, in the halls of noblemen, and in the public theatres.

Shrove-Tuesday was considered by the apprentices as their particular holiday; and in the days of Shakespeare they considered it as their especial right to punish women of ill-fame, and to riot among the bawdy houses. Dekker, in The Seven Deadly Sins of London, says: "They presently (like prentices upon Shrove-Tuesday) take the law into their own hands and do what they list." And Sir Thomas Overbury, speaking of a bawd, remarks: " Nothing daunts her so much as the approach of Shrove-Tuesday." Says Ralph in The Knight of the Burning Pestle:—

"Farewell, all you good boys in merry London!
Ne'er shall we more on Shrove-Tuesday meet.
And pluck down houses of iniquity."[1]

"Jerusalem was a stately thing, and so was Nineveh, and the city of Norwich, and Sodom and Gomorrah, with the rising of the prentices, and pulling down the bawdy houses there upon Shrove-Tuesday."[2] "Ille beat downe the doore;

  1. Act V., Scene iii.
  2. Jonson, Bartholomew Fair, Act V., Scene i.