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An Elizabethan Day
And then he drew a dial from his poke,
Thus may we see," quoth he, "how the world wags:
And after one hour more 'twill be eleven ;
As You Like It, 11. vii. 20-28
One of the Clock.
It is now the first hour and time is, as it were, stepping out of darkness and stealing towards the day: the cock calls to his hen and bids her beware of the fox, and the watch, having walked the streets, take a nap upon a stall: the bell-man calls to the maids to look to their locks, their fire and their light, and the child in the cradle calls to the nurse for a dug: the cat sits watching behind the cupboard for a mouse, and the flea sucks on sweet flesh, till he is ready to burst with blood: the spirits of the studious start out of their dreams, and if they cannot fall asleep again, then to the book and the wax candle: the dog at the door frays the thief from the house, and the thief within the house may hap to be about his business. In some places bells are rung to certain orders: but the quiet sleeper never tells the clock. Not to dwell too long upon it, I hold it the farewell of the night and the forerunner to the day, the spirit's watch and reason's workmaster. Farewell.
Two of the Clock.
It is now the second hour and the point of the dial hath stepped over the first stroke, and now time begins to draw back the curtain of the night: the cock again calls to his hen, and the watch begin to bustle toward their discharge: the bell-man hath made a great part of his walk, and the nurse begins to huggle the child to the dug: the cat sits playing with the mouse which she hath catched, and the dog with his barking wakes the servants of the house: the studious now are near upon waking, and the thief will be gone, for fear of being taken: the foresters now be about their walks, and yet stealers sometime cozen the keepers: warreners now begin to draw homeward, and far dwellers from the town will be on the way to the market: the soldier now looks towards the cour de garde, and the corporal takes care for the relief of the watch: the earnest scholar will be now at his book, and the thrifty husbandman will rouse towards his rising the seaman will now look out for light, and if the wind be fair, he calls for a can of beer: the fishermen now take the benefit of the tide, and he that bobs for eels will not be without worms. In sum, I hold it much of the nature of the first hour, but somewhat better. And to conclude, I think it the enemy of sleep and the entrance to exercise. Farewell.
Three of the Clock.
It is now the third hour, and the windows of heaven begin to open, and the sun begins to colour the clouds in the sky, before he shew his face to the world: now are the spirits of life, as it were, risen out of death: the cock calls the servants to their day's work, and the grass horses are fetched from the pastures: the milk-maids begin to look toward their dairy, and the good housewife begins to look about the house: the porridge pot is on for the servants' breakfast, and hungry stomachs will soon be ready for their victual: the sparrow begins to chirp about the house, and the birds in the bushes will bid them welcome to the field: the shepherd sets on his pitch on the fire, and fills his tarpot ready for his flock: the wheel and the reel begin to be set ready, and a merry song makes the work seem easy: the ploughman falls to harness his horses, and the thresher begins to look toward the barn: the scholar that loves learning will be hard at his
book, and the labourer by great will be walking toward his work. In brief it is a parcel of time to good purpose, the exercise of nature and the entrance into art. Farewell.
Four of the Clock.
It is now the fourth hour, and the sun begins to send her beams abroad, whose glimmering brightness no eye can behold: now crows the cock lustily and claps his wings for joy of the light, and with his hens leaps lightly from his roost: now are the horses at their chaff and provender, the servants at breakfast, the milk-maid gone to the field, and the spinner at the wheel; and the shepherd with his dog are going toward the fold: now the beggars rouse them out of the hedges, and begin their morning craft; but if the constable come, beware the stocks: the birds now begin to flock, and the sparhawk begins to prey for his aerie: the thresher begins to stretch his long arms, and the thriving labourer will fall hard to his work: the quick-witted brain will be quoting of places, and the cunning workman will be trying of his skill: the hounds begin to be coupled for the chase, and the spaniels follow the falconer to the field: travellers begin to look toward the stable, where an honest hostler is worthy his reward: the soldier now is upon discharge of his watch, and the captain with his company may take as good rest as they can. In sum, I thus conclude of it: I hold it the messenger of action and the watch of reason. Farewell.
Five of the Clock.
It is now five of the clock, and the sun is going apace upon his journey; and fie sluggards who would be asleep: the bells ring to prayer, and the streets are full of people, and the highways are stored with travellers: the scholars are up and going to school, and the rods are ready for the truants' correction: the maids are at milking, and the servants at plough, and the wheel goes merrily, while the mistress is by: the capons and the chickens must be served without door, and the hogs cry till they have their swill: the shepherd is almost gotten to his fold, and the herd begins to blow his horn through the town: the blind fiddler is up with his dance and his song, and the alehouse door is unlocked for good fellows: the hounds begin to find after the hare, and horse and foot follow after the cry: the
traveller now is well on his way, and if the weather be fair, he walks with the better cheer: the carter merrily whistles to his horse, and the boy with his sling casts stones at the crows: the lawyer now begins to look on his case, and if he give good counsel, he is worthy of his fee. In brief, not to stay too long upon it, I hold it the necessity of labour and the note of profit. Farewell.
Six of the Clock.
It is now the first hour, the sweet time of the morning, and the sun at every window calls the sleepers from their beds: the marigold begins to open her leaves, and the dew on the ground doth sweeten the air: the falconers now meet with many a fair flight, and the hare and the hounds have made the huntsman good sport: the shops in the city begin to shew their wares, and the market people have taken their places: the scholars now have their forms, and whosoever cannot say his lesson must presently look for absolution: the forester now is drawing home to his lodge, and if his deer be gone, he may draw after cold scent: now begins the curst mistress to put her girls to their tasks, and a lazy hilding will do hurt among good workers: now the mower falls to whetting of his scythe, and the beaters of hemp give a ho! to every blow: the ale-knight is at his cup ere he can well see his drink, and the beggar is as nimbletongued, as if he had been at it all day: the fishermen now are at the crayer for their oysters, and they will never tire crying, while they have one in their basket. In sum, not to be tedious, I hold it the sluggard's shame and the labourer's praise. Farewell.
Seven of the Clock.
It is now the seventh hour, and time begins to set the world hard to work; the milk-maids in their dairy to their butter and their cheese, the ploughmen to their ploughs and their barrows in the field, the scholars to their lessons, the lawyers to their cases, the merchants to their accounts, the shop-men to "What lack you?" and every trade to his business. Oh 'tis a world to see how life leaps about the limbs of the healthful: none but.finds something to do: the wise to study, the strong to labour, the fantastic to make love, the poet to make verses, the player to con his part, and the musician to try his note: every one in his
quality and according to his condition, sets himself to some exercise, either of the body or the mind: and therefore since it is a time of much labour and great use, I will thus briefly conclude of it: I hold it the enemy of idleness and employer of industry. Farewell.
Eight of the Clock.
It is now the eighth hour, and good stomachs are ready for a breakfast: the huntsman now calls in his hounds, and at the fall of the deer the horns go apace: now begin the horses to breathe and the labourer to sweat, and, with quick hands, work rids apace: now the scholars make a charm in the schools and ergo keeps astir in many a false argument: now the chapmen fall to furnish the shops, the market people make away with their ware, the tavern-hunters taste of the t'other wine, and the nappy ale makes many a drunken noll: now the thresher begins to fall to his breakfast and eat apace, and work apace rids the corn quickly away: now the piper looks what he hath gotten since day, and the beggar, if he have hit well, will have a pot of the best: the traveller now begins to water his horse, and, if he were early up, perhaps a bait will do well. The ostler now makes clean his stables, and, if guests come in, he is not without his welcome. In conclusion, for all I find in it, I hold it the mind's travail and the body's toil. Farewell.
Nine of the Clock.
It is now the ninth hour, and the sun is gotten up well toward his height, and the sweating traveller begins to feel the burden of his way: the scholar now falls to conning of his lesson, and the lawyer at the bar falls to pleading of his case: the soldier now makes many a weary step in his march, and the amorous courtier is almost ready to go out of his chamber: the market now grows to be full of people, and the shopmen now are in the heat of the market: the falconers now find it too hot flying, and the huntsmen begin to grow weary of their sport: the birders now take in their nets and their rods, and the fishermen send their fish to the market: the tavern and the ale-house are almost full of guests, and Westminster and Guild Hall are not without a word or two on both sides: the carriers now are loading out of town, and not a letter but must be paid for ere it