Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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have from such Festivalls and Holy dayes : and in Canterbury, on the 22nd of December following, the crier went round by direction of the Mayor, and proclaimed that Christmas-day and all other superstitious festivals should be put down, and a market kept upon that day.
After the defeat of the royalists, and the execu­tion of the monarch, the ruling manners of the age were marked by austerity, sometimes accompanied by hypocrisy, little favourable therefore to festive amusements, however innocent. The Parliament, by an order dated the 24th of December 1652, directed, " That no observation shall be had of the five and twentieth day of December, commonly called Christmas Day; nor any solemnity used or exercised in churches upon that day in respect thereof." And Evelyn states in his Memoirs,* that as he and his wife, with others, were taking the sacrament on Christmas-day 1657, the chapel was surrounded by soldiers, and the assembly taken into custody and examined for celebrating the Na­tivity against the ordinance of the Commonwealth ; but were let off. Still the Christmas customs and festivities could not be abolished by the harsh mea­sures of the republicans, though banished from high places (if any such could then be so called), and practised by stealth or in privacy, and without ostentation. The motto of No. 37, of " Mercurius Democritus," from December 16th to December 22nd 1652, begins,
Old Christmas now is come to town,
Though few do him regard, He laughs to see them going down
That have put down his Lord.
In " The Vindication of Christmas," 4to. 1653, * Vol. ii. p. 126-7.

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