Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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Now thrice welcome, Christmas,
Which brings us good cheer, Minc'd-pies and plumb-porridge,
Good ale and strong beer; With pig, goose, and capon,
The best that may be, So well doth the weather
And our stomachs agree.
Observe how the chimneys
Do smoak all about, The cooks are providing
For dinner, no doubt; But those on whose tables
No victuals appear,
0 may they keep Lent All the rest of the year!
***** *****
But as for curmudgeons, Who will not be free,
1 wish they may die
On the three-legged tree.
The masques and pageants at court gradually declined, and at first were succeeded by feasts and entertainments, until these in turn were omitted. The New Year's Ode of the Poet Laureate in pro­cess of time was itself forgotten, and even that lin­gering relic of royal Christmasses, plum-porridge, of which, until lately, a tureen was served up to the chaplains at St. James's, is now discarded: the only ceremony now left being, if I am not mistaken, the offering at the altar on Twelfth-day.
The Christmas feasts in the establishments of noblemen and gentlemen of wealth abated in splen­dour and hospitality more gradually than those of the royal household, and are still kept up in parts of the country, but each succeeding festival finds them fewer in number.

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