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masse eve.” The following is from “ Christmas,” | money. Little troops of boys and girls stil a poem, by Romaine Joseph Thorn, 1795: go about in this very manner in Yorkshire
and other places in the north of England, on Thy welcome eve, lov'd Christmas, now arrived, The parish bells their tuneful peals resound,
Christmas-Eve, and on that day itself. They And mirth and gladness every breast pervade.
always conclude their song with wishing a The ponderous ashen faggot from the yard, merry Christmas and a happy New Year. The jolly farmer to his crowded hall, Conveys with speed, where on the rising flames (Already fed with stores of massy brands), It blazes soon; nine bandages it bears,
FRAGMENTS OF YORKSHIRE HAGAnd as they each disjoin (80 custom wills),
To-night it is the New-Year's night, to-morrow is
the day, Again
And we are come for our right and for our ray, High on the cheerful fire
As we used to do in old King Henry's day. Is blazing seen the enormous Christmas brand, Sing, fellows, sing, hag-man ha!
If you go to the bacon-flick, cut me a good bit;
Cut, cut, and low, beware of your maw; The following occurs in Herrick’s Hes Cut, cut, and round, beware of your thumb, perides :
That me and my merry men may have some.
Sing, fellows, sing, hag-man ha! CEREMONIES FOR CHRISTMAS.
If you go to the black ark, bring me ten marke, Come, bring with a noise,
Ten marks, ten pound, throw it down upon the My merrie, merrie boys,
That me and my merry men may have some.
Sing, fellows, sing hag-man ha!
And drink to your hearts' desiring.
Now, too, is heard
The hapless cripple tuning through the streets,
His carol new, and oft amid the gloom
Of midnight hours, prevail'd th' accustom'd sounds
Of wakeful waits, whose melody (composed
Of hautboy, organ, violin, and flute,
And various other instruments of mirth)
Is meant to celebrate the coming time.
Christmas, a Poem.
The Christmas Carol (derived from cantare, GOING A-HODENING.
“to sing,” and rola, an interjection of joy) is
of very ancient date. Bishop Taylor observes, At Ramsgate they commenced the festivities that the Gloria in Excelsis, the well-known of Christmas by a curious procession. A party
hymn, sung by the angels to the shepherds at of young people having procured the head of
our Lord's nativity, was the earliest Christmas a dead horse, affixed it to a pole about four
carol. In the earlier ages of the Church, feet in length. A string was tied to the lower
bishops were accustomed to sing carols among jaw, a horse-cloth, was also attached to the
their clergy on Christmas-Day. This species whole, under which one of the party got, and of pious song is undoubtedly of most ancient by frequently pulling the string, kept up a date. loud snapping noise, which was accompanied
In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. by the rest of the party, grotesquely habited, Marv-at-Hill in the city of London. 1537. is with hand-bells. They thus proceeded from
the following entry: -“To S. Mark for house to house ringing their bells, and singing carolls for Christmas, and for 5 square books, carols and songs. They were commonly offered
iijs. iiijd. refreshments or money. This custom was
The following carol is preserved in a MS, of called going a-hodening, and the figure a l the time of Henry VI., in the public library, at hodenar, wooden horse. It is now discon
Puer nobis natus est de Virgine Maria.
As Gabriel beryt wytres.
Dicam vobis quia.
I bryng yow tydyneges that (arn) fwul gowde;
Now es borne a blyesful fowde, of our Lord, it is the custom of the youth of That bowt us alle upon the rode. both sexes to go from house to house knocking
Sua morte pia at the doors, singing their Christmas carols,
For the trespas of Adam, and wishing a merry Christmas and a happy
Fro ys fader Jhesu ho cam, New Year. They get in return at the houses Here in herthe houre Rende he man, they stop at, pears, apples, nuts, and even
Sua mente pia.
is cher made so pull lye,
“ This carol,” Warton adds, “yet with many / The Christmas box was formerly the bounty innovations, is retained at Queen's College, ir of good-natured people, who were willing to Oxford.”
contribute something towards rewarding the The following is a copy of a very curious industrious and supplying them with necescarol in the Scotch language, preserved in saries. The butcher and the baker sent their “ Ane compendious Booke of Godly and journeymen and apprentices to levy contribuSpirituall Songs,” Edinburgh, 1621.
tions on their customers who were paid back Ane sang of the Birth of Christ,. .
again in fees to the servants of the different With tune of Baw lula law,
families. Gay in his Triva mentions the (Angelus, ut opinor, loquitor).
Some boys are rich by birth beyond all wants,
Belov'd by uncles and kind good old aunts;
When time comes round, a Christmas box they
• bear, This day to yow is borne ane childe
And one day makes them rich for all the year.
We are told in the Athenian Oracle that
the Christmas box is derived hence:-The
Romish priests had masses said for almost
everything; if a ship went out to the Indies, Quhat babe is that, so gude and faire ?
the priest had a box in her, under the protecIt is Christ, Gods scnne and aire.
tion of some saint; the poor people must put O God! that made all creature,
something into the priest's box, which was not How art thow becum so pure,
opened till the ship's return. The mass at That in the hay and stray will lye,
that time was called Christmas — the box Amang the asses, oxin, and kye ?
called Christmas box, or money gathered The following good old English Christmas against that time that masses might be said carol is preserved in Poor Robin's Almanack
edin Poor Robin's Almanack by the priests to saints to forgive the people for 1695 :
the debaucheries of that time, and from this Now thrice welcome, Christmas, which brings us
servants had the liberty to collect box money, good cheer,
that they too might be able to pay the priest Minced pies and plum-porridge, good ale, and for his masses, knowing well the truth of the strong beer;
proverb, “No penny, no paternosters."
THROWING THE HOOD.
in Lincolnshire is enlivened by the anniverWe deck up our houses as fresh as the day,
sary of what is called “ Throwing the Hood," With bays and rosemary, and lawrel compleat, And every one now is a king in conceit.
one of the most ancient customs in England. But as for curmudgeons who will not be free,
It is said to have originated by the hood of I wish they may die on the three-legged tree.
Madame de Mowbray being blown off while In the Scilly Isles they have a custom of
she was riding, a few years after the Conquest, singing carols on Christmas-Day at church,
near Braize Sound, a hamlet near Haxey. to which the congregation make contribu
She is said to have been so amused by seeing tions by dropping money into a hat carried
the men running after her hood, that she gave about the church when the performance is
twelve acres of land to twelve men to celebrate over.
it annually. She gave them the curious name
of Boggoners. Throwing the hood is now Christmasse is come, make ready the good cheere,
performed by the inhabitants of West WoodApollo will be frollick once a yeare : I speake not bere of England's twelve dayes
side and Haxey, trying who can get the hood madness,
to the nearest public-house in each place. It But humble gratitude and hearty gladnesse. is made of straw lined with leather, and is These but observéd, let instruments speak out,
about two feet long by nine inches round. We may be merry, and we ought, no doubt.
The twelve Boggoners are placed so as to catch Christians, 'tis the birth-day of Christ our King, Are we disputing when the angels sing ?
the hood, which is thrown against the crowd; as soon as a Boggoner touches or catches the
hood, the game ceases. One year there were, THE CHRISTMAS BOX.
notwithstanding a fog and the intense cold, no Gladly the boy, with Christmas box in hand, fewer than one thousand present to witness Throughout the town his devious route pursues ; the game. And of his master's customers implores The yearly mite: often his cash he shakes, The which, perchance, of coppers few consists,
FIRING AT THE APPLE-TREE IN Whose dulcet jingle fills his little soul With joy, as boundless as the debtor feels,
DEVONSHIRE. When from the bailiff's rude, uncivil gripe,
In Devonshire it is customary for the farmer His friends redeem him, and with pity fraught, The claims of all his creditors discharge.
to leave his warm fireside, accompanied by a Christmas, a Poem 'band of rustics armed with guns, blunderbusses. Thus equipped they proceed to an human hands. From that time to this, from adjoining orchard, where they select the most dawn till night, men and boys, with bows and fruitful and aged of the apple-trees, round arrows, sticks and stones, pursue, shoot, and which they stand, and offer up their invoca- pelt the whole family of wrens, in the hope cions in the following quaint doggrel rhyme: that the fairy may thus perish by their hands. Here's to thee,
| The feathers of the slain are craved as charms, Old apple tree;
to preserve mariners from shipwreck, and many Whence thou may'st bud,
a rough tar conceals them in his bosom. The And whence thou may'st blow,
sport ended, the supposed witch-wren is on St. And whence thou may'st bear,
Stephen's-Day affixed to the top of a pole
decked with evergreens and bows of ribbons, Caps full,
and as the sportsmen march in triumph Bushfuls, bushfuls, sacks full,
through the town, amid the blowing of horns, And my pockets full, too,
they sing: Huzza, huzza.
We'll away to the woods, says Robin the Bobbin, The cider jug is then passed round, and with
We'll away to the woods, says Richard the Robin, hearty shouts the party fire off their guns, We'll away to the woods, says Jackey the Land, charged with powder only, amongst the We'll away to the woods, says every one. branches of the trees. With confident hopes
What will we do there ? says Robbin the Bobbin, they return to the farmhouse and are refused
We'll hunt the wren, says Robbin the Bobbin ;
Where is he, where is he? says Robbin the Bobbin, admittance, till some lucky wight guesses
In yonder green bush, says Robbin the Bobbin ; aright the peculiar roast the maidens are pre How can we get him down ? says Robbin the paring for their comfort. This done, all enter,
Bobbin, that man who gained them admission receiv
With sticks and stones, says Robbin the Bobbin ; ing the honour of king for the evening, and
He's down, he's down, says Robbin the Bobbin. till a late hour he reigns amidst laughter, fun, and jollity. The origin of this custom is not known, but it is supposed to be one of great
CHRISTMAS IN THE ISLE OF MAN. antiquity.
The Christmas festival is introduced by young persons perambulating the streets of
the various towns in the evening, fantastically SIGN BOARDS.
dressed and armed with wooden swords. As A propos to the season is a copy of a Bene
they proceed they cry out, “Who wants to see faction Board in a Staffordshire church:
the Whiteboys act?” When engaged, they u Richard Evans late of fren left
essay a rude burlesque, in which St. George,
Prince Valentine, a king of Egypt, Sambo, by will after his wife's dece's 21bs. to be paid every year & give
and a doctor are the dramatis persona. For ad out in bread 2d. loaves & give
several evenings just preceding the festival, en to poor househoulders of
the fiddlers go about the streets of the town
for hours together, playing a tune called the this parish of pen as well as
andisop. On their way they stop before the them that have Constant pay 20s. on Chris-mas Day & 20s. on
principal houses, wish the inmates individually New Years Day, if the same is
good morning, call the hour, report the state
of the weather, and fiddling away, move on to not truly paid, or is late dw
the next halting place. Christmas-Eve was a elling house, or any of the bilding Sufford to go out in
great night for the display of the churches.
On the ringing of the bells at midnight the repare the Church Warders
inhabitants Alocked to the churches, bearing Are in full power to enter
with them the largest candles they could proon all for the use of the
cure. The churches were tastefully decked with evergreens, and made vocal with all the
music available. The service in commemoraHUNTING THE WREN.
tion of our Saviour is called the Oie'l Woirrey.
Before daybreak the singers go through the Hunting the Wren, on Christmas-Day, has
streets chanting, “ Christians, awake," and been a pastime in the Isle of Man from time
other hymns appropriate to the occasion. immemorial. It is founded on a tradition that a fairy, once on a time, infatuated the warriors of Mona, and by her charms decoyed them into the sea, where they were drowned.
THE LORD OF MISRULE. She had thus well-nigh stripped the isle of its chivalry, when a knight sprang up so bold and The Lord of Misrule was a mock dignity artful that he had certainly compassed the connected in the olden time with the festivities death of the enchantress, but that she escaped of Christmas. This ceremony was chiefly by taking the form of a wren. The knight, held in the halls of the great. however, cast a spell upon her, by which she George Ferrers, of Lincoln Inn, was Lord was condemned on every Christmas-Day to of Misrule of the merry disports for twelve appear in the same form, with the definite days, when King Edward VI. kept his Christsentence that she should ultimately perish by mas at Greenwich, 1553, to his Majesty's great
delight in the diversion. At a Christmas kept | main unnipped by the frosts and cold winds in the hall of the Middle Temple, in the year until a milder season had renewed the foliage 1635, the jurisdiction, privileges, and parade of their darling abodes. Stow, in his Survey of this mock monarch are thus described :—He of London, says that “against the feast of was attended by his lord keeper, lord treasurer, Christmas every man's house, as also their with eight white staves, a captain of his baud parish churches, were decked with holme, ivy, of pensioners, and of his guard, and with two bayes, and whatsoever the season of the year ch:plains. He dined in the hall, and in his afforded to be green. The standards and conprivy-chamber, under a cloth of estate. The duits of the streets were also garnished : among poleaxes for his gentlemen pensioners were which we read that in the year 1444, by a borrowed of Lord Salisbury; Lord Holland, his tempest on the evening of Candlemas Day, at temporary justice in eyre, supplied him with the Leadenhall, in Cornhill, a standard of venison on demand, and the Lord Mayor and tree, being set up in the middle of the pavesheriffs of London with wine. On the twelfth ment fast in the ground, nailed full of holme day on going to church he received many and iyie for disport of Christmas to the people, petitions, which he gave to his master of was torn up and cast down by the malignant requests. His expenses, all from his own spirit, and the stones of the pavement all about purse, amounted to two thousand pounds. were cast into the street and into divers houses, After he was deposed the king knigbted him so that the people were sore aghast at the great at Whitehall.
tempest.” In the North of England the pulpit, reading-desk, and pews of the churches are
adorned with branches of holly. From this EVERGREEN DECKING AT it seems that holly was used only to deck the CHRISTMAS.
insides of houses at Christmas, while ivy was
used not only as a visitor's sign, but also From every hedge is pluck'd by eager hands
among the evergreens at funerals. The mistleThe holly branch with prickly leaves replete, And fraught with berries of a crimson hue;
toe of the oak is said to be good for the disease Which torn asunder from its parent trunk,
of children, the kind which is found on the Is straightway taken to the neighbouring towns, apple is supposed to be a cure for fits. It was Where windows, mantels, candlesticks, and never used to adorn churches, for it was conshelves,
sidered an heathenish and profane plant, as Quarts, pints, decanters, pipkins, basons, jugs, And other articles of household ware,
having been of such distinction in the pagan The verdant garb confess.
rites of Druidism and it therefore had its place
assigned it in kitchens, where it was hung up This custom the Christians appear to have in great state, and whatever female passed copied from their pagan ancestors. Where under it, any young man present had the right
ruidism prevailed in Greece, the houses were of saluting her and of plucking off a berry at decked with evergreens in December, that the each kiss. sylvan spirits might repair to them, and re
W. B. EASTWOOD.
But on the eve of that cold day,
It was that first I made confession
That Jane of hers made sweet concession.
The bells were chiming in the night,
As we our mutual troth thus plighted,
As we each other's love requited.
I HAVE a tiny, tiny spray
Of mistletoe amongst my treasures,
Remembrancer of scattered pleasures.
I'll cease to prize my relic, never!
Back to my mournful recollection;
That aids me in my sad reflection.
A day I ever shall remember,
That twenty-second of December.
Not to be chilled by frosty weather ; And Janie loved her cousin Ben,
And so we two were glad together.
That tiny sprig of mistletoe
She gave me; and 'neath its protection I stole sweet kisses ; now you know
Why linked it is with my affection !
But two short days, by Christmas Eve,
When snow o'erspread the ground before me,
While she an angel watches o'er me.