Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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CX XV
men as these were probably skilled in carol-singing also. After the Restoration people had all their amusements restored to them without restraint; and in some instances, perhaps, fell into the oppo­site extreme, and indulged in too much conviviality. The Christian festivities, which for the last few years had been checked, and the promoters of them even looked upon with suspicion, were now revived throughout the country, and enjoyed with the more zeal from the previous difficulties under which they had laboured: many, who would gladly have partaken of them, having refrained from so doing for fear of giving offence to the ruling powers, not having courage to imitate the example of their less scrupulous neighbours.
From thjs time, carol-singing was probably con­tinued with unabated zeal, till towards the end of the last century, since which the practice has declined, and many old customs have been gradually becom­ing obsolete. It would be needless to give many references to publications of the 18th century, to prove the continuance of the custom, as the fact of its present existence in several parts of the king­dom proves such a continuing custom, and old people must recollect when it was much more general.
In the Northern counties, and in some of the midland, carol-singing is still preserved. In the metropolis a solitary itinerant may be occasionally heard in the streets, croaking out " God rest you merry, gentlemen," or some other old carol, to an ancient and simple tune. Indeed many carols are yet printed in London for the chapmen, or dealers in cheap literature ; and I have some scores of half­penny and penny carols of this description, pub­lished chiefly by Pitts, of St. Andrew's Street, Seven Dials; Catnach, Monmouth Court, Monmouth Street; and Batchelar, Long Lane, Smithfield, who

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