Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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selves from continuing that hospitality for which the country had been so long noted. In order to check this practice, the gentlemen of Norfolk and Suffolk were in 1589 commanded to depart from London before Christmas, and to repair to their countries, and there to keep hospitality amongst their neighbours. The presence of the higher classes would have controlled the tendency to drinking and riotous sports among the country people, which the resort of minstrels and other strollers at this time to taverns and ale-houses en­couraged ; while their real enjoyments would have been increased through the assistance and foster­ing care of their superiors, bearing in mind the recommendation of a quaint and well-known writer of this age, Thomas Tusser, in his " Hundreth good pointes of Husbandrie."
" At Christmas be rnery, and tbanke god of all : And feast thy pore neighbours, the great with the small. Yea al the yere long haue an eie to the poore : And god shall sende luck, to kepe open thy doore."
Masques and plays, with other Christmas festi­vities, continued throughout the reign of James the First, and the Prince (Charles) himself occasionally performed, and in particular gained great applause in Ben Jonson's Mask, " The Vision of Delight, or Prince's Mask,"* performed on Twelfth-night in 1617-18, when the Muscovy Ambassadors were feasted at court; and £750 were issued for the
* Ben Jonson wrote several Masks that were repre­sented before the court during this reign : amongst others the Mask of Christmas, presented in 1616, wherein the prin­cipal characters are Christmas and his children, namely, Mis-Rule, Carol], Minc'd-Pie, Gamboll, Post and Pair, New-Year's-Gift, Mumming, Wassail, Offering, and Baby-Cocke.

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