Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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lvii
voured to restrain his subjects from over luxury at their meals; and an act was passed at Nottingham in the 10th year of his reign (1336,) to prohibit more than two courses and two sorts of meat in each to any person, " forspris le plus grantz festes del an, cest assavoir la veile & le jour de Noel, le jour de Seint Estiephne, le jour del an renoef,* les jours de la Tiphaynei & de la Purification de nostre Dame," &c. Probably this act, like most other sumptuary laws, was not much attended to; and within a few years after, Chaucer thus describes the Cook, in the prologue to his Canterbury Tales, (1. 381-9.)
In his description of the Prioresse he gives a cu­rious specimen of the manners in his times, as we may presume from his statement that the little mistakes which she, who appears as a highly edu­cated woman, contrived to avoid, were not un­common then, even in goqd female society.
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* New Year's Day.
f Mortrewes appears to have been a rich broth or soup, in the preparation whereof the flesh was stamped or beat in a mortar.—Tyrwhitt's Chaucer, 8vo. iv. 157, note.
% Prologue, 1. 127—135.
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