Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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cxliv
Then the grim boar's-head frowned on high, Crested with bays and rosemary. Well can the green-garbed ranger tell, How, when, and where, the monster fell; What dogs before his death he tore, And all the baitings of the boar. The wassol round, in good brown bowls, Garnished with ribbons, blithely trowls. There the huge sirloin reeked: hard by Plumb-porridge stood, and Christmas pye ; Nor failed old Scotland to produce At such high tide, her savoury goose. Then came the merry masquers in, And carols roared with blithesome din; If unmelodious was the song, It was a hearty note, and strong. Who lists may in their mumming see Traces of ancient mystery; White shirts supplied the masquerade, And smutted cheeks the visors made : But, O ! what masquers, richly dight, Can boast of bosoms half so light! England was merry England, when Old Christmas brought his sports again. 'Twas Christmas broached the mightiest ale, 'Twas Christmas told the merriest tale; A Christmas gambol oft would cheer The poor man's heart through half the year.*
* Marmion, introd. to Canto vi. 8vo ed.pp. 300-303.

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