Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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XX
the present age, of a much higher class than those of the time now under notice. Jugglers, inferior in skill, if we may judge from old drawings, to those who amused our ancestors; learned animals; rope-dancers ; itinerant singers ; stage-plays, in the literal sense of the word; and on the Continent, scripture pieces are yet performed,* as they were in this country, (though perhaps in the shape of a puppet-show,) during the last Century, j- Of Mr. Punch, I
* The origin of the drama in France, is by some referred to the mysteries performed by the Confreres de la Passion, about 1402; by some to the Troubadours; but in an old Chronicle in verse, speaking of the fete which Philippe-le-Bel gave in 1313, on conferring knighthood on his chil­dren, among other amusements during the four days of rejoicing, were exhibited the following spectacles: Adam et Eve; les Trois Rois; le meurtre des Innocens; N. S. riant avec sa Mere, et mangeant des pommes ; Herode et Ca'iphe en mitre; Pilate lavant ses mains, &c. These were relieved by burlesque pantomimes and dances, amongst them the King of the Bean (un Roi de la feve). Some of the earliest pieces had reference to the Crusades —Fabliaux ou Contes du xiie et du xiiie Siecle. Paris, 1779, 4 vols. 8vo. vol. i. pp. 329-30, &c.
-f- In Harl. MS. 5931, being a collection of handbills, &c. during the time of Queen Anne, amongst others similar, are the following :—
" By her Majestie's Permission. At Heatly's Booth, over against the Cross-Daggers, next to Mr. Miller's Booth : During the time of Bartholomew-Fair, will be pre­sented a little Opera, call'd The old Creation of the World, Newly Reviv'd, With the Addition of the Glorious Battle obtained over the French and Spaniards, by his Grace the Duke of Marlborough.
The Contents are these.
1.  The Creation of Adam and Eve.
2.  The Intreagues of Lucifer in the Garden of Eden.
3.  Adam and Eve driven out of Paradice.
4.   Cain going to Plow, Abel driviug Sheep.

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