Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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former times the revels were frequently extended to a later jday. In Herrick's time the 7th of Janu­ary, St. DistafF's-day, as he calls it, was considered the last day, it being thought judicious probably to allow a kind of idle day to intervene between the sports of Twelfth-day and the full return of labour, for he says,
Partly work and partly play Ye must on S. Distaff 's-day;
Give S. Distaffe all the right, Then bid Christmas sport good night; And next morrow, every one To his own vocation.f
All semblance of Christmas, however, was not finally discarded until the 2nd of February, Can­dlemas-day, or the Purification of the Virgin; and at present the evergreens in churches are frequently kept up until Lent. According to Herrick, the evergreens should be taken down in houses on Candlemas-day—
Down with the rosemary, and so Down with the baies and misletoe; Down with the holly, me, all Wherewith ye drest the Christmas hall; That so the superstitious find No one least branch there left behind ; For look, how many leaves there be Neglected there, maids, trust to me, So many goblins you shall see. J
It was also the custom to burn the Christmas log for this day, taking care to preserve a fragment to kindle the log of the following Christmas.
Kindle the Christmas brand, and then
Till sunne-set let it burne; Which quencht, then lay it up agen,
Till Christmas next returne.
f Herrick's Works, vol. ii. pp. 168-9. X Ibid.pp. 152-3.

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