Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

With Historical notes Lyrics & Sheet music - online book.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes




Share page  Visit Us On FB



Previous Contents Next
cvi
to go through the towns and villages singing and begging money, and crying out, " Au Guy! L'An Neuf!"
In the collection of Noei Borguignon, of which some account will be given hereafter, it is stated that at Dijon, about the year 1700, masked persons went about at night during Christmas, some playing, some dancing. The players were called mammons, the dancers simply masques. Among the mummers in England, as late as the seventeenth century, the hobby-horse was an important character, but in more recent times he appears to have been dis≠cardedó" For, oh! the hobby-horse is forgot."
There also appears to have been a sort of goblin or buffoon, dressed in calf-skin. In an old play called " Wily Beguiled," in the early part of James the First, a character called Robin Goodfellow says, " I'll go put on my devilish robes, I mean my Christmas calf's-skin suit, and then walk to the woods: O, I '11 terrify him, I warrant ye."
A remnant of this appears in a set of mummers mentioned by Jackson about 1760 in his " History of the Scottish Stage," (pp. 410-11,) whose amuse≠ments began with a sort of prologue, announcing the performers, as they came on successively with the clown. The first verse he gives thusó
My name it is Captain Calf-tail, Calf-tail, And on my back it is plain to be seen;
Although I am simple, and wear a fool's-cap, I am dearly belov'd of a queen.
In the Christmas mumming continued in Ireland to recent times, the Fool generally appeared in a calf, or cow-skin. The mummers, or gysarts, in
logy; and considers, as others have done, the Scottish hog menay, and the French au gui menezt as corruptions of the Greek <jy,a ^vn, or holy moon.

Previous Contents Next