Beggars Bush: A Perambulation through the Disciplines of History, Geography, Archaeology, Literature, Philology, Natural History, Botany, Biography & Beggary

Sticky: Erasmus as a source for ‘Cast our Caps’

In the play ‘The Beggars Bush’ the election of Clause as the King of the Beggars in Act II Scene 1 is celebrated with a song sung by “orator” Higgen. The song was reproduced as a seperate text in many collections of songs. It is generally ascribed to John Fletcher. Much of the beggars material in ‘The Beggars Bush’ was taken from the rogue literature of the late sixteenth and early seventeeth century. However, the source for the song is a much earlier and more respectable text – The Colloquies’ of Desiderius Erasmus, the “Prince of Christian Humanists”

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Posted: December 28th, 2014 | Filed under: Writers, The Play | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »


Sticky: Records of Huntingdonshire

My thanks are due to Philip Saunders for many things in my researches into Beggars Bush.

His article Beggar’s Bush to King’s Bush, Records of Huntingdonshire, Vol.3 No.2, (1993) p.13-15, first alerted me to the role of Saxton’s Five Counties Map. He then helped as Principal Archivist at Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies Service. I am now grateful to him for resurrecting Records of Huntingdonshire, Journal of the Huntingdonshire Local History Society, and for publishing my article Beggar’s Bush Revisited in Vol.4 No.3 p.32-37. This updates his original article with some of the material from this website on maps, anthologies and John Taylor.

Philip Saunders has also found another map of Beggars Bush for the cover – William Kip’s 1607 version of Saxton’s map, which transforms Saxton’s single tree to a whole forest around Beggesbush. This is likely to be artistic licence rather than any resurvey.

Neil Howlett, Beggar’s Bush Revisited in Vol.4 No.3 (2014) p.32-37

Copies are available from Philip Saunders, 21 Crowlands, Cottenham, Cambridge CB24 8TE

paksaunders@talk21.com

 

Posted: February 23rd, 2014 | Filed under: Places, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »


Poor Robin (William Winstanley) An Almanack of the old and new fashion 1694

“Since the King of the Beggars was married to the Queen of the Sluts at Lowzy-Hill near Beggars-Bush, being most splendidly attended by a ragged Regiment of Mumpers.”

The entry is characteristic of the Poor Robin almanacs, reporting the fictional event in splendid style. “Mumper” is a Cant word for beggar. At this time “slut” did not necessarily imply sexual licence, but encompassed slovenly, untidy or disorderly women generally: in this context all are implied I see no reason to assume that this is a reference to a real event. The King of the Beggars was a common character, not just from the Beggars Bush play by Fletcher & Massinger. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: April 9th, 2011 | Filed under: Writers | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »


Ben Jonson The Staple Of News 1625

“I will take home the Lady to my Charge,

And these her Servants, and leave you my Cloke,

To travel in to Beggers Bush!”

Ben Jonson stood at the centre of the theatrical and literary life early modern England. He was connected with many writers who used the phrase Beggars Bush. Beggars Bush is mentioned in his late play when the character Peni-Boy senior reveals himself to his errant son, Peni-Boy junior. The usage is characteristic of the literary use of the phrase by Jane Anger and others. Peni-Boy junior, expecting an inheritance will instead fall into penury through his own folly. It is a state of being, not a geographical location.

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Posted: April 9th, 2011 | Filed under: Writers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »


The Droll The Lame Common-Wealth 1673

This is the droll from The Wits, by Francis Kirkman (1673) which is based on  the text of Act 2, Scene 1 of Beggar’s Bush, by Fletcher & Massinger.The text is take from The Wits, or Sport Upon Sport”, ed. J. J. Elson (1932). The spelling is uncorrected. The notes on canting are based on the glossary in A V Judges, The Elizabethan Underworld. [1]
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Posted: March 28th, 2011 | Filed under: The Play | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »


Anon Newes from Jack Begger under the Bushe 1594

“Newes from Jack Begger under the Bushe, with the advise of Gregory Gaddesman his fellow begger touchinge the deare prizes of corne and hardnes of this present yere” is the title of a pamphlet entered in The Stationers’ Register for 28 December 28, 1594, licensed to R. Jones.
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Posted: March 26th, 2011 | Filed under: Writers | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »


John Fletcher & Philip Massinger The Beggars Bush 1622

“The Beggars Bush” is a play written by John Fletcher and Philip Massinger in 1622, but commonly included in the “Beaumont and Fletcher” canon. Through performance, print, characters and development of the original text it was likely to have made a substantial contribution to the survival and distribution of the literary phrase. As to the eponymous Beggars Bush itself the play is vague. It is a meeting place for the beggar characters, some of whom, it is revealed, are not beggars at all. It does not attempt to portray a real location – the play is not set in England but in and around Bruges.

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Posted: March 20th, 2011 | Filed under: Writers, The Play | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »


Anon Londons Ordinarie 1629 ?

This broadside ballad “To a pleasant new tune” survives in a variety of editions.  The English Broadside Ballad Archive has two dated from 1619-1629 and 1630, while the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads lists three further versions dated between 1674 and 1679. All of these include similar text which lists places, mainly hostelries (ordinaries) linked with the characters of the people who used them. Notably it is the spendthrifts who go to Beggars Bush – which is consistent with the literary usage of the phrase. It is sometimes connected to a song by Thomas Heywood, first published in 1608. For the full text see Londons Ordinarie.
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Posted: March 20th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »


Thomas Heywood The Rape of Lucrece 1608

Thomas Heywood is significant because he does not use Beggars Bush when he might have done, but he does associate beggars with bushes. This song appears to be the source or have a common source with, a later ballad Londons Ordinary which does refer to Beggars Bush.
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Posted: March 19th, 2011 | Filed under: Writers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »


John Taylor The Praise, Antiquity and Commodity of Beggary, Beggars & begging, etc. 1621

“I have here made bold to present to your illiterate protection, a beggarly Pamphlet of my threed-bare invention . . . I thought to have dedicated it to Beggars Bush, neere Andever, or to his Hawthorne brother within a mile of Huntingdon; but I considered at last, that the laps of your long Coate could shelter me as well [o]r better than any beggarly Thorne-bush.”

The Fool

Taylor’s mock dedication from the introduction to his pamphlet was directed towards Archy Armstrong, King James’s Fool, and refers to his coat of motley, the symbol of the Fool. Taylor despised Armstrong, who was renowned for his illiteracy and venality. He refers elsewhere to Armstrong’s “nimble tongue, to make other mens money runne into your purse” and called him “the bright eye-dazeling mirrour of mirth, adelantado of alacrity, the pump of pastime, spout of sport and Regent of ridiculous Confabulations”.
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Posted: March 19th, 2011 | Filed under: Writers, The Play | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »