Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/208

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former was the resemblance of the head and tail of a horse, manufactured in paste-board, and attached to a person whose business it was, whilst he seemed to ride gracefully on its back, to imitate the prancings and curvettings of that noble animal, whose supposed feet were concealed by a foot-cloth reaching to the ground; and the latter, constructed of the same materials, was made to hiss and vibrate his wings, and was frequently attacked by the man on the hobby-horse, who then personated the character of St. George."[1]

The skilful management of the hobby-horse was a matter of great difficulty, and required considerable preliminary practice. A character who takes this part in Sampson's Vow Breaker is angry with his rival the mayor. The former calls out: "Let the mayor play the hobby-horse among his brethren, an he will. I hope our town lads cannot want a hobby-horse. Have I practiced my reines, my careers, my pranckers, my ambles, my false trotts, my smooth ambles and Canterbury paces, and shall master mayor put me besides the hobby-horse? Have I borrowed the fore horse bells, his plumes and braveries, nay, had his mane new shorne and frizzled, and shall the mayor put me besides the hobby-horse?" So important was the hobby-horse considered that the

  1. Vol, I., p. 166.