Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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cxviii
did they become, that W. de Worde, one of our earliest printers, was induced to print a set of them in the year 1521, containing amongst others, the celebrated Boar's Head carol, anciently sung upon the introduction of that dish on Christmas-day. In the particular instructions given for the regula­tion of the household of Henry the Seventh, the ceremonies to be observed on the several feast-days during the Christmas are set forth; even de­scribing the particular robes and dress to be worn by the King on each of them. On Twelfth-day he is to go crowned, and wear his robes royal; and on Twelfth-night is the following direction—
" Item, the chappell to stand on the one side of the hall, and when the steward cometh in at the hall-doore with the wassell, he must crie three tymes, Wassell, wassell, wassell; and then the chap­pell to answere with a good songe; and in likewise if it bee in the great chamber."
This song, above referred to, was no doubt a carol, and in the book of expences of Elizabeth, Queen of Henry the Seventh, in the 18th of his reign, we may see the value of one in those days, as William Cornyshe, who appears to have been a favourite poet and composer at court, then received 13s. Ad. " for setting of carrall vpon Cristmas-day in reward." The price of a collection of carols was equally moderate with the reward given for setting one, for in the churchwardens' accounts of St. Mary at Hill, London, a.d. 1537, is an entry, " To Sr Mark for Carolls for Christmas, and for 5 square Books, iijs. iiii^." In the regulations of the North­umberland household in 1512, it appears that the children of the chapel were allowed an extraordi­nary compensation of 6s. 8d. for singing Gloria in Excelsis upon Christmas-day in the morning. Ca­rols continued much in vogue throughout this cen-

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