Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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Ixxv
presents of eatables to provide for the great con­sumption consequent upon such entertainments; the following is a list of those sent on this occa­sion : two sides of venison, two half brawns, three pigs, ninety capons, five geese, six turkeys, four rabbits, eight partridges, two pullets, five sugar loaves, half a pound of nutmegs, one basket of ap­ples and eggs, three baskets of apples, two baskets of pears.*
Suitors also presented gifts to the Chancellor, for the purpose of influencing his judgment. Sir Thomas More always returned these," and it is related of him, that being presented by " one Mrs. Goaker" with a pair of gloves and forty pounds of angels put into them, he said to her, " Mistresse, since it were against good manners to refuse your New-year's gift, I am content to take your gloves, but as for the lining I utterly refuse it."f
The officers of his court also gave New-year's gifts to the Chancellor; and the first judge that dis­tinguished himself by refusing them was Lord Cowper, who came into office in 1705.J The Mar­shal of the King's Bench likewise formerly pre­sented the judges with a piece of plate as a New-year's gift. Sir Matthew Hale wished to decline it, but finding such a precedent might injure his successors, he received the value of it in money, and applied it to the relief of the poor prisoners.
The Epiphany, or Twelfth-day, is a feast of very high antiquity. During the Saturnalia a king was elected, who was invested with full power over the assembled guests, and the custom of electing a Twelfth-day king may have been modified from this, although the office of Lord of Misrule appears
* Arcbaeologia, vol. xviii. p. 335.
t Roper's Life of Sir T. More, p. 73.
X Parkes's History of the Court of Chancery, p. 290.

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