Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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or her consort, and in subsequent times appointed officers of their household; and in France when the King or Queen drank, the company, on pain of forfeit, were to exclaim le Rot ou la Reine boit.
There was a King of the Bean in the time of Edward the Third; as in an account of the eighth year of his reign it appears that sixty shillings were given upon the day of the Epiphany to Regan the trumpeter and his associates, the court minstrels, in the name of the King of the Bean, (in nomine Regis de Faba.) *
In some countries a coin was inserted instead of a bean, and portions of the cake were assigned to our Saviour, the Virgin Mary, and the three Kings, which were given to the poor, and if the bean should happen to be in any of those portions the King was then chosen by pulling straws.
The ingredients of the bean-cake, about two hundred years ago, were flour, honey, ginger, and pepper : what they are at present, Monsieur Jarrin can inform us, as his shop abounds with them on this feast. They cannot however compete with that beautiful frosted, festooned, bedizened, and ornamented piece of confectionery called, par emi­nence, Twelfth-cake, with its splendid waxen or plaster of Paris kings and queens, the delight and admiration of school-boys and girls. Besides the bean, a pea was sometimes put in for the queen, a custom which is referred to in Herrick's song for Twelfth-day, printed in the subsequent collection. Baby-cake, in Ben Jonson's Masque of " Christmas," is attended by " an usher bearing a great cake with a bean and a pease."
Henry Teonge, who has been before quoted, gives a quaint description of Twelfth-day on board
* Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, Hone's ed. 8vo. p. 344.

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