Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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cxxiv
this, the following description is given of an hospi­table housekeeper :* " Suppose Christmas now ap­proaching, the ever-green ivie trimming and adorn­ing the portals and partcloses of so frequented a building; the usuall carolls, to observe antiquitie, cheerefully sounding; and that which is the com­plement of his inferior comforts, his neighbours, whom he tenders as members of his own family, joyne with him in this consort of mirth and melody.'' Stevenson, about the middle of this century, in­troduces old Christmas talking of the former festi­vities of the season, of sitting by the fire, with a bowl of lamb's wool; after which some sang carols; the servants went to dancing, and sung one to the tune of Hey,
Let's dance and sing, and make good cheer, For Christmass comes but once a year.
And for the recreations of January he mentions the "chearfull carrols of the wassel cup — cards and dice purge many a purse, and the adventurous youth shew their agility in shooing the wild mare. The Lord of Misrule is no meane man for his time; masking and mumming, and choosing king and queen." f
Ballad-singing was encouraged in this century, though, during the Commonwealth, endeavours were made to check all similar amusements. War-ton mentions two celebrated itinerant singers about the middle of it, called," Outroaringe Dick" and " Wat Wimbas," who occasionally made twenty shillings per day, by attending fairs, &c.; and such
* Whimzies, or a new cast of Characters, 1631, cited in Ellis's edition of Brand, p. 351. n.
f The Twelve Months, &c. cited in the same, p. 382. n. and 394.

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