Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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In some places this feast might appear to have reference to the journey of the Virgin Mary into Egypt with the infant Saviour, as a beautiful girl was chosen and placed, with the child in her arms, on an ass decorated with splendid trappings, on which she proceeded to the altar. So popular was this ceremony even among the higher clergy, that in 1212 it was found necessary by the Council of Paris to prohibit archbishops and bishops from attending it; but even this proved ineffectual, and the church rulers continued their endeavours for centuries to restrain and abolish these absurdities, for after the respectable part of the clergy had withdrawn from them, they still continued popular among the laity, and were not finally abolished till the very end of the sixteenth century, although they might have undergone various modifications; and there were some remnants even in the middle of the seventeenth.
A species of mumming existed in France in the sixteenth century, supposed to be of pagan origin.
" A man, personating a Prince, (roi follet, • a mummer,') set out from the village into the woods, bawling out, < Au gui menez, le Roi le veult; the monks followed in the rear, with their begging-boxes, which they rattled, crying ' tire-lire* and the people put money in them, under the fiction that it was for a lady in labour. Persons in disguise fguis-cards) forced themselves into dwelling-houses, play­ing antic tricks, and bullying the inmates for money and choice victuals, crying, ' tire-lire, tire-lire, maint du blanc et point du bis (pis)* Hence, the late Professor Robison of Edinburgh derived the guis-carts of Edinburgh, and their cry, * Hog menay, troll lollay, gie's your white bread, and none o' your gray.'"* At a subsequent period, people used
* Upham's History of Budhism, p. 63, n. He connects the Christmas gambols in France with the eastern mytho-

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