Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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in particular were famed for their representations. In the year 1378 the scholars of St. Paul's School presented a petition to Richard the Second, pray­ing him " to prohibit some unexpert people from presenting the History of the Old Testament, to the great prejudice of the said clergy, who have been at great expense in order to represent it pub-lickly at Christmas." Different guilds, or trades, also had their respective pageants, of which several instances are mentioned in Brand's History of New­castle ; the Chester and Coventry, and other similar sets of mysteries, were also performed by them. Disguisings and pageants with these plays speedily became some of the principal diversions at court during Christmas, when any persons were admitted who were competent to add to the amusement of the guests.
In 1348, Edward the Third held his Christmas at Guildford, and there is an account in the ward­robe rolls of dresses, ad faciendum Ludos domini regis adfestum natalis Domini celebrates apud Guide-ford. In 1391 (temp. Richard the Second) the sages of the law were made subjects for disguise-ments; as in the rolls of his wardrobe is this entry —" Pro xxi coifs de tela linea pro hominibus de lege contrafactis pro Ludo regis tempore natalis Domini anno xii." That is, for twenty-one linen coifs for counterfeiting men of the law in the king's play at Christmas.* Ten years after this, the Em­peror of Constantinople, as he is called, being here, the king (Henry the Fourth) held his Christmas at Eltham,2- and men of London made a " gret mum-myng to him of xii Aldermen & here sones, for whiche they had gret thanke." The citizens were
* Warton's Hist. Poetry, 8vo. ii. 71—2.
2 Collier's Hist. Dramatic Poetry, vol. i. 16.

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