Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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xliii
10 wee goe to prayers and sermon; text, Zacc. ix. 9. Our Captaine had all his officers and gentle­men to dinner with him, where wee had excellent good fayre : a ribb of beife, plumb-puddings, minct pyes, &c. and plenty of good wines of severall sorts; dranke healths to the King, to our wives and friends, and ended the day with much civill myrth."
The spirit of the Christmas festivities had abated during the Commonwealth in many parts of the country, particularly where great establishments had become extinct; and on the restoration of Mo­narchy it required some time to .revive them pro­perly again. Many of the popular songs of the day complain of this, and contrast them with former times,—a species of grumbling, however, as ancient as ballad writing, or Homer himself. Nedham, in his History of the Rebellion (1661), bewails the decline of Christmas, in consequence of Puritanism, and says,
Gone are those golden days of yore, When Christfnass was a high day:
Whose sports we now shall see no more; 'Tis turn'd into Good Friday.
In a ballad called " The old and young Courtier," printed in 1670, comparing the times of Queen Elizabeth with those of her successors, the 5th and 12th verses contain the following parallel respect­ing Christmas:—
V.
With a good old fashion, when Christmasse was come, To call in all his old neighbours with bagpipe and drum, With good chear enough to furnish every old room, And old liquor, able to make a cat speak, and man dumb.
Like an old courtier of the Queen's,
And the Queen's old courtier.

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