Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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Cliarnage," an old poem about the year 1400, Karesme brings to his aid all the fishes, both of sea and fresh water, vegetables, pulse, cheese, milk, &c. Charnage has on his side the animals, birds, &c. The battle is fierce, night separates the comba­tants ; but Karesme, hearing that Noel was ap­proaching with considerable succours to his enemy, by advice of his council makes peace on certain terms.*
Carol singing also was of very early origin in France. In " Les Crieries de Paris," a manuscript poem of the end of the 13th century, par Guillaume de la Villeneuve, being a description of the cries then and previously in use, is this line:
Noel, Noel, a moult granz cris.
A note says, "Des livres contenant des Noels. Ces cantiques sont fort anciens. M. le Due de la Valliere en avoit un manuscrit du XIVe siecle tres-precieux."f
The editor of u Noei Borguignon," mentions a volume containing three collections of old Noels that had come to his hands, printed in 8vo. at Paris, in Gothic letter, two of them without date; in one of which is the Noel mentioned by Rabelais to have been composed in the Poitevin language, by " le Seigneur de S. George," named Frapin, the other in 1520, being " Chansons de Noels nouveaux, par Lucas le Moigne," of which the following may serve as a specimen :
Ainsi la vierge pucelle Ce doulx sauveur enfanta Joseph luy tint la chandelle qui tout tremblant regarda.
* Fabliaux et Contes par Barbazau et Meon, vol. iv. pp. 80-99.
f Fabliaux, &c. vol. ii. p. 282.

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