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he charged in the van of his troop, against a body of the Earl's followers: the rider's thigh being broken by the fall, his head was cut off by a common foot-soldier, ere he could receive any succour. The whole story is told by William of Newbury.
CAN TO SIXTH.
`. - Note I. the savage Dane At Iol more deep the mead did drain.-P. 209. The Iol of the heathen Danes (a word still applied to Christmas in Scotland) was solemnized with great festivity. The humour of the Danes at table displayed itself in pelting each other with bones; and Torfaeus tells a long and curious story, in the history of Hrolfe Kraka, of one Hottus, an inmate of the court of Denmark, who was so generally assailed with these missiles, that he constructed, out of the bones with which he was overwhelmed, a very respectable entrenchment, against those who continued the raillery. The dances of the northern warriors round the great fires of pine-trees are commemorated by Olaus Magnus, who says, they danced with such fury, holding each other by the hands, that, if the grasp of any failed, he was pitched into the fire with the velocity of a sling. The sufferer, on such occasions, was instantly plucked out, and obliged
to quaff off a certain measure of ale, as a penalty for “spoiling the king's fire.”
Note II. On Christmas eve the mass was sung—P. 210. In Roman Catholic countries, mass is never said at night,
excepting on Christmas eve. Each of the frolics with which that holiday used to be celebrated, might admit of a long and curious note; but I shall content myself with the following description of Christmas, and his attributes, as personified in one of Ben Jonson's Masques for the court. “Enter Christmas, with two or three of the Guard. He is attired in round hose, long stockings, a close doublet, a highcrowned hat, with a broach, a long thin beard, a truncheon, little ruffs, white shoes, his scarfs and garters tied cross, and his drum beaten before him.”— “The names of his children, with their attires. “Miss-Rule, in a velvet cap, with a sprig, a short cloak, great yellow ruff, like a reveller; his torch-bearer bearing a rope, a cheese, and a basket. “Caroll, a long tawny coat, with a red cap, and a flute at his girdle; his torch-bearer carrying a song-book open. “Minc'd-pie, like a fine cook's wife, drest meat, her man carrying a pie, dish, and spoons. “Gamboll, like a tumbler, with a hoop and bells; his torchbearer arm'd with cole-staff, and blinding cloth. “Post and Pair, with a pair-royal of aces in his hat, his garment all done over with pairs and purs; his squire carrying a box, cards, and counters. “New-year's-gift, in a blue coat, serving-man like, with an orange, and a sprig of rosemary gilt on his head, his hat full of broaches, with a collar of gingerbread; his torch-bearer carrying a marchpain, with a bottle of wine on either arm. “Mumming, in a masquing pied suit, with a visor; historchbearer carrying the box, and ringing it. “Wassall, like a neat sempster and songster; her page bearing a brown bowl, dressed with ribands, and rosemary, before her. “Offering, in a short gown, with a porter's staff in his hand; a wyth borne before him, and a basin, by his torch-bearer. “Baby Cocke, drest like a boy, in a fine long coat, biggin, bib, muckender, and a little dagger; his usher bearing a great cake, with a bean and a pease.”
Note III. -
Northumberland at least) used to go about in disguise to the
Alexander, king of Macedon,
These, and many such verses were repeated, but by rote, and unconnectedly. There was also occasionally, I believe, a Saint George. In all, there was a confused resemblance of the ancient mysteries, in which the characters of scripture, the Nine Worthies, and other popular personages, were usually exhibit
ed. It were much to be wished, that the Chester Mysteries .
were published from the MS. in the Museum, with the annotations which a diligent investigator of popular antiquities might still supply. The late acute and valuable antiquary, Mr. Ritson, showed me several memoranda towards such a task, which are probably now dispersed or lost. See, however, his Remarks on Shakspeare, 1783, p. 38.
distant relation, has the original of a poetical invitation, addressed from his grandfather to my relative, from which a few lines in the text are imitated. They are dated, as the epistle in the text from Mertoum-house, the seat of the Harden family.
* With amber beard, and flaxen hair,
The venerable old gentleman, to whom the lines are address ed, was the younger brother of William Scott of Reaburn. Being the cadet of a cadet of the Harden family, he had very little to lose; yet he contrived to lose the small property he had, by engaging in the civil wars and intrigues of the house of Stuart. His veneration for the exiled family was so great, that he swore he would not shave his beard till they were restored: a mark of attachment, which, I suppose, had been common during Cromwell's usurpation; for, in Cowley's “Cutter of Coleman-Street,” one drunken cavalier upbraids another, that, when he was not able to afford to pay a barber, he affected to “wear a beard for the king.” I sincerely hope
this was not absolutely the original reason of my ancestor's