British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

A calendar of the traditional customs, practices & rituals of the British Isles.

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36                       ST. DISTAFF'S DAY.—ROCK DAY.              [JAN. 7-
wren's men, or lads, are usually invited to have a draught from the cellar, and receive a present in money. The 'Song of the Wren' is generally encored, and the proprietors very commonly commence high life below stairs, dancing with the maid-servants, and saluting them under the kissing bush, where there is one. The following is the c Song of the Wren :*
"Joy, health, love, and peace,
Be to you in this place.
By your leave we will sing,
Concerning our king:
Our king is well drest;
In silks of the best;
With his ribbons so rare,
No king can compare.
In his coach he does ride,
With a great deal of pride;
And with four footmen
To wait upon him.
We were four at watch,
And all nigh of a match;
And with powder and ball
We fired at his hall.
We have travelPd many miles,
Over hedges and stiles,
To find you this king,
Which we now to you bring.
Now Christmas is past,
Twelfth Day is the last.
Th'Old Year bids adieu;
Great joy to the New."
It would appear from the ninth line of the song that the wren at one time used to occupy a coach, or that her house was placed upon wheels.—N. & Q. 3rd S. vol. v. p. 109.
The day after Twelfth Day was called Eock Day* and St. Distaffs Day, because on that day women resumed their spinning, which had been interrupted by the sports of
See ' Things not generally known,9 by John Timbs, 1859, pp. 1-6.
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