Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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xxii
caster, the observances and festivities at Christmas time must have been liable to frequent interrup­tion, but during the latter part of the reign of Ed­ward the Fourth, and especially upon the establish­ment of Henry the Seventh, they were attended to with increasing zest. By the ordinances for go­verning the household of George Duke of Clarence in the 8th of Edward the Fourth, it appears that games at dice, cards, or any other hazard for money, were forbidden except during the twelve days at Christmas. In a book much esteemed at that time, and well-known at present to bibliomaniacs,* it is stated, " For to represente in playnge at Cryst-masse herodes and the thre kynges and other pro­cesses of the gospelles both than and at Ester and other tymes also it is lefull and comendable." Ice­land, speaking of 1489, says, " This Cristmas I saw no disgysyngs, and but right few plays. But ther was an Abbot of Misrule, that made much sport and did right well his office." In the following year, however, " on neweres day at nyght, there was a goodly disgysyng," and " many and dyvers pleyes." The Household Book of Henry the Seventh, in the Chapter-house at Westminster, contains numerous disbursements connected with Christmas diversions, which prove them to have been much encouraged at Court during this reign. In his seventh year is a payment to Wat Alyn (Walter Alwyn) in full payment for the disguysing made at Christmas, £14. 13s. 4d. and payments for similar purposes occur in the following years, varying occasionally in amount. Another book, also in the Chapter-house, called " The Kyng's boke of paymentis," contains various payments to players and others who assisted to amuse the king at Christmas; and among the rest,
* Dives and Pauper, ed. W. de Worde, 1496.

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