Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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CXX1I1
the great comfort of the beholders, at last it came to the women's table, where likewise command­ment was giuen, that there should no drinke be touched till she that was master ouer her husband had sung a Christmas carroll; whereupon they fell all to such a singing, that there was neuer heard such a catterwalling peece of musicke. Whereat the knight laughed heartely, that it did him halfe as muche good as a corner of his Christmas pie."
This rule, as to " No Song no Supper," with some modifications, must have been prevalent at this time; for in the old ballad, called, " The Pedigree, Educa­tion, and Marriage of Robin Hood, with Clorinda, Queen of Titbury Feast," being one of the oldest of the Robin Hood set, the Squire at Gamwel-Hall says, on his feast given on Christmas-day,
------Not a man here shall taste my March beer
Till a Christmas-Carol he does sing : Then all clapt their hands, and they shouted and sung
Till the hall and the parlour did ring.
Now mustard and braun, roast beef and plumb-pies, Were set upon every table, &c.*
In the year 1630 appeared " Slatyr's Psalms," in­tended for " Christmas Carolls." These, and simi­lar collections, were probably encouraged by the Puritan party, who, we have before seen, endea­voured to abolish the observance of Christmas, (when they were in power) while their opponents supported those of a lighter description. Several writers of this period, even during the height of " civil dudgeon," mention the practice of singing carols.
Sir Thomas Overbury (who died in 1613), in his character of the Franklin, talks of " the wakefull ketches on Christmas eve;" and a few years after
* Collection of Old Ballads. Lond. 1723, p. 69.

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