Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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that hence arose the favourite subject of St. George and the Dragon. But the Crusaders perhaps only varied the representations then existing. Saint George and his friends, however, were introduced into theatrical performances many centuries since, and it is not improbable that some of those religious adventurers might have introduced them. A play of this description was performed before Henry the Fifth at Windsor, in 1416, when the Emperor Sigis-mund was with him. The favourite romance of " The Seven Champions of Christendome" was written about the time of Elizabeth, by Richard Johnson, who, according to Percy,* copied from the metrical romances of former ages, and particularly the story of St. George and the fair Sabra, from the old poetical legend of " Syr Bevis of Hampton," which is more ancient than Chaucer.
The Cornish also had their Guary, or miracle plays, with subjects taken from the Scriptures, at a period equally remote; and remains may yet be seen of the rounds, or amphitheatres, erected for their representation. To these, at the appointed times, the people flocked from many miles distant, and the performance must frequently have lasted a considerable time, if we may judge from the length of that called " The Creation of the World," edited recently by Davies Gilbert, Esq. This, how­ever, was nothing to be compared with the dramatic effusions of the Society of Parish Clerks of London, some of which are related by Stowe to have lasted for eight days.
The actors probably were not very apt scholars, as there was one called the Ordinary, whose office it was to follow about and prompt them. Carew, in his " Survey of Cornwall," mentions an amusing
* Reliques of Ancient Poetry, vol. iii. p. 270.

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