Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/40

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begun to wane. Hentzner, who visited England in 1598, thus describes the sport.

"There is a place built in the form of a theatre, which serves for baiting of bulls and bears; they are fastened behind, and then worried by great English bull-dogs; but not without risque to the dogs from the horns of the one and the teeth of the other; and it sometimes happens they are killed on the spot; fresh ones are immediately supplied in the places of those that are wounded or tired. To this entertainment there often follows that of whipping a blinded bear, which is performed by five or six men standing circularly with whips, which they exercise upon him without any mercy, as he cannot escape because of his chains; he defends himself with all his force and skill, throwing down all that come within his reach, and are not active enough to get out of it, and tearing the whips out of their hands and breaking them."

One can imagine the circular enclosure, the rough board seats, the intent and breathless crowd. Perhaps we condemn all this as wanton brutality; but the Elizabethans enjoyed the sport and appreciated its finer parts. Here is another description, written in 1575. "It was a sport very pleasant to see the bear, with his pink eyes leering after his enemies, approach; the nimbleness and wait of the dog to take his advantage;