Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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by clerk or priest, the King's offering that day; and then must the Archbishop give the next bene­fice that falleth in his gift to the same messenger."
Henry the Eighth, during many successive years of his reign, indulged in gorgeous spectacles on this day, of which Hall's Chronicle shall supply us with one or two examples. In the 2nd year of his reign " Agaynst the xii. daye or the daie of the Epi-phanie at nyghte, before the banket in the hall at Rychemond, was a pageaunt deuised lyke a raoun-tayne, glisteryng by nyght, as though it had bene all of golde and set with stones, on the top of the whiche mountayne was a tree of golde the braunches and bowes frysed with gold, spreding on euery side ouer the mountayne, with roses and pomegranettes, the whiche mountayn was with vices brought vp towardes the Kyng, and out of the same came a ladye, appareiled in clothe of golde, and the children of honour called the Henchemen, whiche were freshly disguysed, and daunced a morice before the Kyng. And that done, re-entred the mountayne; and then it was drawen backe; and then was the wassaill or banket brought in, and so brake up Christmas."
From the next example it appears that masks were then but recently introduced into this country. "-On the daie of the Epiphanie at night (in his third year), the Kyng with a xi. other wer dis­guised after the maner of Italie, called a maske, a thyng not seen afore in Englande ; thei were appareled in garmentes long and brode, wrought all with gold, with visers and cappes of gold; and after the banket doen, these Maskers came in, with sixe gentlemen disguised in silke, bearyng staffe torches, and desired the ladies to daunce; some were content, and some that knewe the fashion of it refused, because it was not a thyng commonly

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