Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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lxxxvii
by St. Thomas, and on their deaths their bodies were taken to Constantinople by the Empress He­lena, from thence they were subsequently removed to Milan, and afterwards carried to Cologne in the time of Reinaldus, Archbishop of that place, whence they are commonly called the Three Kings of Co­logne. Their virtues did not end with their lives, as their bones were supposed to possess valuable healing properties. Their names written on parch­ment and hung about the patient's neck, were con­sidered to be preservatives from the falling sick­ness and madness: a simple remedy, but requiring much faith to be mixed with it.
The following charm was found in the purse of Jackson, a celebrated smuggler, convicted of murder in 1749: in his case it however did not prove effec­tual ; as he died struck with horror just after being measured for his irons—
" Sancti Tres Reges Gaspar, Melchior, Belthazar, Orate pro nobis, nunc et in hora Mortis nostrae.
" Ces billets ont touche aux trois tetes de S. S. Rois a Cologne.
" lis sont pour des voyageurs, contre les malheurs de chemins, maux de tete, mal caduque, fievres, sacellerie, toute sorte de malefice, et mort subite."
They were also made use of as terms of adju­ration. Diccon, in " Gammer Gurton's Needle," swears by the " Three Kings of Kullain."
One John Aprilius, when he was hanged, im­plored their assistance; and in consequence, when he was cut down, after having been suspended for three days, he was found to be yet alive. He thereupon went to Cologne half naked, with his halter about his neck, to return thanks.*
* Hone's Every Day Book, vol. i. p. 46.

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