British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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44                                      MALLARD NIGHT.                       [JAN. 14.
Jan. 13.]                ST. HILARY'S DAY.
St. Hilary is memorable in the annals of Richmond, in the county of York, as on the anniversary of his festival the mayor is chosen for the ensuing year, which causes it to be observed as a jubilee-day among the friends, and those con≠cerned in corporation matters.
St. Hilary likewise gives name to one of the four seasons of the year when the courts of justice are opened.óClark-son's, Hist, of Richmond, 1821, p. 293.
Jan. 14.]                MALLARD NIGHT.
This day was formerly celebrated in All Souls College, Oxford, in commemoration of the discovery of a very large mallard or drake in a drain, when digging for the foundation of the college; and though this observance no longer exists, yet on one of the college " gaudies" there is sung in memory of the occurrence a very old song called " The swapping, swapping mallard."
" Griffin, bustard, turkey, capon, Let other hungry mortals gape on; And on the bones their stomach fall hard, But let All Souls' men have their Mallard.
Oil! by the blood of King Edward,* Oh ! by the blood of King Edward, It was a swapping, swapping Mallard.
* The allusion to King Edward is surely an anachronism, as King Henry VI. was reigning at the time of the foundation of the college. óBook of Days, vol. i. p. 114.
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