British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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474                                    CHRISTMAS DAY.                        [DEC. 25.
St. John's Gate, Clerkcnwell, says the boar's head is still served up at Queen's College, Oxford (see p. 477), but I do not think it can be more enjoyable than the Christmas custom used to be at Clerkenwell, with the hall strewn with rushes, the gigantic yule-log drawn in by the sons of the host (the late proprietor), with the accompanying announcement, by bugles, and the bringing in of the boar's head, the " cook dressed all in white," singing the good old carol (printed by Wynkyn, de Worde, 1521), copies of which being in the hands of the guests, who joined in the chorus, rendering the whole scene so pleasant as never to be forgotten. The loving cup was never omitted, and of course wassail was duly brought in, " ye Lorde of Mysrewle doing his duty ' passing well.'' The following is an exact copy of the carol:
"Caroll at ye Bryngyne in ye Bore's Heed.
Caput apri differo Reddens laudem Domino.
The bore's heed in hande bringe I, With garlens gay and roseraarie, I pray you all synge merrilie, Qui estis in convivio.
The bore's heed I understande, Is the chefe servyce iu this lande,' Loke wherever it be fonde, Servite cum cantico.
Be gladde lordes, both more and lesse, For this hath ordeyned our stewarde To chere jou all this Christmasse, The bore'a heed with mustarde."
Subjoined is a copy of the invitation the late host and his predecessor used to issue, which is a curious produc­tion:
*'We'll pa^se aboute y6 lovynge cuppe, And sende ye wassaile rounde; With myrthe and songes of chyvalrie, These goodlye Halles shall sounde.
[Here is an illustration of the north side of the Gate.] " Samuel Wickens, ye Grande Mayester of ye Priorye of Sainte John, Greetinge welle hys ryght trustye and welle beloved friends, dothe herebye summon them to hys council le
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