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Carols.—In Shakespeare's time capols were sung in the streets at night during Christmas by the waits or watches, who expected to receive gifts for their singing. Many a writer upon old times and customs refers to the " wakeful ketches of Christmas Eve." It was after the Reformation that they ceased to sing Latin hymns in the chnrches, and substituted the sweet Christmas carols. There were then two kinds of carols in vogue—those of a devotional nature, which were sung not only in the churches, but also through the streets from house to house upon Christmas Eve,
and even after that, morning and evening, until Twelfth Day; for in those times men were able to spare more than one brief day for the celebration of Christmas, and often kept up the festival for some twelve days. Other carols were of a livelier nature, and were especially adapted to the revel and the feast where the lord of misrule had potent sway. These carols were all called wassail songs, and probably originated among the Anglo-Normans, who were of a convivial nature. No Christmas entertainment was complete without the joyous singing of carols, and
German Melody.
thence came the rule; "No song, no supper," for every guest at the table was expected to join in the carol. One of the old rules was that " the ancient master of the revel is, after dinner and supper, to sing a carol, or song, and to command the other gen­tlemen present to sing with him and the companies." When simple curiosity passes into love of knowledge as such, and the gratification of the aesthetic sense of the beauty of completeness and accuracy seems more desirable than the easy indolence of ignorance; when the finding out of the causes of things becomes a source
of joy, and he is accounted happy who is successful in the search, common knowledge passes into what has been called natural history, whence there is but a step to that which now passes by the name of physical science. In this final state of knowledge, the phenom­ena of nature are regarded as a continuous series of causes and effects. And the ultimate object of science is to trace that series, from the term which is nearest us to that which is at the farthest limit accessible to our means of investigation. The field of Nature is bound­less, nowhere inaccessible, everywhere unfathomable.

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