When Hemp is spun,

England is undone.

This was another Popish prediction, edited before the defeat of the Armada. The word hemp is formed of the letters H. E. M. P. E. the enitials of Henry, Edward, Mary, Philip, and Elizabeth, and supposed ot threaten, that, after the reigns of those princes, England would be lost, i.e. conquered. Fuller remarks, that, to keep this saying in countenance, it may pretend to some truth; for, on the death of Elizabeth, and accession of King James I. the kingdom, by its junction with Scotland, took the title of Great-Britain, by royal proclamation, and thereby the name of England was, in one sense, lost. Some interpreted this distich more literally, supposing it meant, that when all the hemp in England was expended, there would be an end of our naval force; which would indeed be fact, if no more could be procured.

Entry taken from Provincial Glossary, edited by Francis Grose.

previous entry index next entry

When our Lady falls in our Lord’s lap
When Hemp is spun
When the black fleet of Norway is come and gone
England is a ringing island

He is a representative of Barkshire


England in Nuttal Encyclopædia

Antique pictures from England