Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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selected from Hall's Chronicle in the Christmas of 1513-14. " And against Newieres night, was made in the halle a castle, gates, towers, and dungion, garnished wyth artilerie, and weapon after the most warlike fashion : and on the frount of the castle was written, Le Fortresse dangerus, and within the castle were vi ladies clothed in russet satin laide all ouer with leues of golde, and every owde knit with laces of blewe silke and golde. On their heddes, coyfes and cappes all of golde. After this castle had been caried about the hal, and the Quene had behelde it, in came the Kyng, with fiue other appareled in coates, the one halfe of russet satyn, spangled with spagles of fine gold, the other halfe riche clothe of gold, on ther heddes cappes of russet satin, embroudered with workes of fine gold bullio. These vi assaulted the castle; the ladies seyng them so lustie & coragious, were content to solace with them, and upon farther communicacion, to yeld the castle, and so thei came doune and daunced a long space. And after the ladies led the knightes into the castle, and then the castle sodoinly vanished out of their sightes."
At present the commencement of the year is treated as a feast, and frequently as a sort of meeting or re-union among families, where they can conveniently join at the same table; and in many cases the servants and labourers are enter­tained by their employers, and many of the Christ­mas sports repeated. Stewart mentions a singular custom in vogue in Strathdown, and its neighbour­hood, formerly common to all the Highlands on this day. " Piles of juniper wood are collected and set on fire, each door, window, and crevice being first closely stopped up; the fumes and smoke of the burning wood cause to the inmates violent sneez­ing, coughing, &c. till they are nearly exhausted,

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