Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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xlviii
Among the amusements of his own time, he mentions " Mumming, or Masquerading, when the 'Squire's wardrobe is ransacked for dresses of all kinds, and the coal-hole searched around, or corks burnt to black the faces of the fair, or make de­puty-mustaches, and every one in the family, ex­cept the 'Squire himself, must be transformed from what they were." Blind-man's buff, puss in the corner, questions and commands, hoop and hide, and story-telling, were also resorted to for variety, but cards and dice were seldom set on foot, " un­less a lawyer is at hand to breed some dispute for him to decide, or at least have some party in." Dancing was also in great vogue, and here the writer takes an opportunity of saying, " The dan­cing and singing of the Benchers in the great Inns of Court in Christmas, is in some sort founded upon interest; for they hold, as I am informed, some pri-viledge by dancing about the fire in the middle of their Hall, and singing the song of Round about our Coal Fire," &c.
In Major Pearson's collection, in the library of the late Duke of Roxburghe, vol. i. p. 48. in bl. let., is a ballad of older date than this book, called " Christmas Lamentation for the losse of his ac­quaintance, showing how he is forst to leave the country and come to London. To the tune of Now Spring is come,"—which contains similar com­plaints of the degeneracy of the times, the decay of good fellowship, and the neglect of Christmas by the wealthy: the poet laments, that,
Since Pride came up with yellow starch, Pride and luxury they doe devoure
House-keeping quite; And beggary they doth beget
In many a knight.

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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III