Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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attendants of the king and queen. A better way perhaps would be to elect a king and queen, and let the officers and ladies of the court then be appointed according to the genius of the parties, as the characters should be supported throughout the evening; we should not then have such anomalies, as a gouty harlequin, or a Miss Hoyden of seventy, or the mother of thirteen children as Fanny Flirt.
At the time that disguisings and pageants were in vogue at court during Christmas, Twelfth-day was frequently chosen for the performance of some of the most splendid.
In one of the Fairfax MSS. entitled " The booke of all maner of Orders concernynge an Erles hous," &c. part of which is dated 16th Henry VII. though the handwriting appears of the latter end of Henry the Eighth, is an account of the mode of regulating "adisguising," both by men and women, on Twelfth-night.*
Le Neve's MS. called " The Royal Book," contain­ing the method of keeping festivals at court in the reign of Henry the Seventh, prescribes " That on Twelfth-day the King must go crowned, in his royal robes, kirtle, surcoat, his furred hood about his neck, his mantle with a long train, and his cutlas before him ; his armills upon his arms, of gold set full of rich stones; and no temporal man to touch it, but the King himself; and the squire for the body must bring it to the King in a fair kerchief, and the King must put them on himself; and he must have his sceptre in his right hand, and the ball with the cross in the left hand, and the crown upon his head. And he must offer that day, gold, myrrh, and sense; then must the dean of the chapel send unto the Archbishop of Canterbury,
* Collier's' History of Dramatic Poetry, vol. i. p. xvii.

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