Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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the waits for several nights previous. The first ceremony, after having properly decked the house with evergreens, including the misseltoe with its pearly berries, is, or should be, to light the Christ­mas block, or Yule log, a custom of very ancient date. This is a massy piece of wood, frequently the rugged root of a tree, grotesquely marked, and which should burn throughout the holidays, reserving a small piece to light the fire for the Christmas in the ensuing year. According to Drake (Shakspeare and his Times), this was placed " in the centre of the great hall, each of the family in turn sate down upon it, sung a Yule-Song, and drank to a merry Christmas and a happy new year. The family and their friends were feasted with Yule-Dough or Yule-Cakes, on which were im­pressed the figure of the child Jesus; and with bowls of frumenty, made from wheat cakes or creed wheat, boiled in milk, with sugar, nutmeg, &c. To these succeeded tankards of spiced ale, while preparations were usually going on among the do­mestics for the hospitalities of the succeeding day." That cheerful writer, Herrick, thus mentions it in his " Ceremonies for Christmasse."
Come, bring with a noise,
My merrie merrie boyes, The Christmas log to the firing;
While my good dame, she
Bids ye all be free, And drink to your hearts desiring.
With the last yeeres brand
Light the new block, and For good successe in his spending,
On your psaltries play,
That sweet luck may Come while the log is a teending.
Drink now the strong beere, Cut the white loafe here,

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