Custom of wearing the Breast uncovered in Elizabeth’s Reign.—Fynes Moryson, in a well-known passage of his Itinerary, (which I suppose I need not transcribe), tells us that unmarried females and young married women wore the breasts uncovered in Queen Elizabeth’s reign. This is the custom in many parts of the East. Lamartine mentions it in his pretty description of Mademoiselle Malagambe: he adds, “it is the custom of the Arab females.” When did this curious custom commence in England, and when did it go out of fashion?
Milton’s Lycidas.—In a Dublin edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost (1765), in a memoir prefixed I find the following explanation of than rather obscure passage in Lycidas:—
“Besides what the grim wolf, with
Daily devours apace, and nothing said;
But that two-handed engine at the door
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.”
“This poem is not all made up of sorrow and tenderness, there is a mixture of satire and indignation: for in part of it, the poet taketh occasion to inveigh against the corruptions of the clergy, and seemeth to have first discovered his acrimony against Arb. Laud, and to have threatened him with the loss of his head, which afterwards happened to him thorough the fury of his enemies. At least I can think of no sense so proper to be given to these verses in Lycidas.” (p. vii.)
Perhaps some of your numerous correspondents will kindly inform me of the meaning or meanings usually assigned to this passage.
Sitting during the Lessons.—What is the origin of the congregation remaining seated, while the first and second lessons are read, in the church service? The rubric is silent on the subject; it merely directs that the person who reads them shall stand:—
“He that readeth so
standing and turning himself, as he may best
be heard of all such as are present.”
With respect to the practice of sitting while the epistle is read, and of standing while the gospel is read, in the communion service; there is in the rubric a distinct direction that “all the people are to stand up” during the latter, while it is silent as to the former. From the silence of the rubric as to standing during the two lessons of the morning service, and the epistle in the communion service, it seems to have been inferred that the people were to sit. But why are they directed to stand during the gospel in the communion service, while they sit during the second lesson in the morning service?
Blew-Beer.—Sir, having taken a Note according to your very sound advice, I addressed a letter to the John Bull newspaper, which was published on Saturday, Feb. 16. It contained an extract from a political tract, entitled,—