Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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liii
tres grand debit, parce qu'il n'est pas jusqu'aux plus pauvres gens qui, a l'honneur de la fete, ne veuillent manger de la fouace." These viands, with mince-pies and other Christmas dainties, had probably somewhat the same origin, and that of considerable antiquity. The Wassail Bowl, or Lamb's Wool, is another joyous accompaniment of this eve, a composition of ale, nutmeg, sugar, toast, and roasted crabs or apples, still preserved in many parts.* According to Vallancey,f the term Lamb's Wool is a corruption from La Mas Ubhal, the day of the apple fruit, pronounced La-masool. The term Wassail, or Wassel, is generally derived from the salutation of Rowena, daughter of the Saxon Hengist, to the British King Vortigern, in the early part of the 5th century, when she presented him with a bowl of some favourite li­quor, welcoming him with the words " Louerd king wass-heil," to which he answered as he was directed, "Drinc heile." She appears, however, only to have made use of a form of speech already known. The term wasseling has at any rate, from a very early period, been used for jovial revelry and ca-rousing,J and the wassel-bowl has been particu­larly appropriated to this time of the year.
Among the ordinances for Henry the Seventh's household, the steward, when he enters with the Wassel, is directed " to cry three times, Wassell, Wassell, Wassell, to which the chappell (probably gentlemen of the chapel) to answere with a good
* In Summer's " Last Will and Testament," by Nash, 1600, Christmas is personified
--------" Sitting in a corner turning crabs,
Or coughing o'er a warmed pot of ale."
f Collectanea, iii. 444.
X " The king doth wake to-night, and takes his rouse, Keeps wassel."—Hamlet, act 1. sc. 4.

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