Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/369

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291
BIRTH—BAPTISM—ETC.

mountain,"—whether it was this that fostered the custom on the part of lovers, or whether their ill-advised but popular attempts accounts for the worthless character of so much of the production, it is hard to say. Certainly the two, to a certain extent, went hand in hand, for the wholly unpoetic lover had his literature "done out" by the professional verse writer.

It was customary for the sad lover, who went about "sighing like a furnace," to drink his sweetheart's health in public with a right hearty will. In fact, the vivacity of his toast and the length of his draught were a fair indication to his fellows of the depth of his passion. On such an occasion the sentimental lover was likely to be furnished with his lady-love's favour, which he wore not upon his crest as in the former days of chivalry, but upon the more modern love-lock. Even when the hair was cropped fairly close, fashion decreed that one lock behind the ear on one or both sides should be left long. To this, the love-lock, was tied the sweetheart's favour, much as we attach a blue ribbon to the braided mane or tall of the prize winner at a horse show. We are reminded of this by a line in Edward II. (ii. 2), "Where women's favours hang like labels down." Again, in Lyly's Mydas (iii. 2), "Your love-locks wreathed with silken twist, or shaggie to fall on your shoulders."