Old Christmas Recalled - online book

Washington Irving's description of Old Christmas, Illustrated

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108                              CHRISTMAS DAY
" Those who at Christmas do repine, And would fain hence despatch him, May they with old Duke Humphry dine, Or else may Squire Ketch catch 'em."
The Squire went on to lament the deplorable decay of the games and amusements which were once prevalent at this season among the lower orders, and countenanced by the higher : when the old halls of castles and manor-houses were thrown open at daylight; when the tables were covered with brawn, and beef, and humming ale ; when the harp and the carol resounded all day long, and when rich and poor were alike welcome to enter and make merry.# " Our old games and local customs," said he, "had a great effect in making the peasant fond of his home, and the promotion of them by the gentry made him fond of his lord. They made the times merrier, and kinder, and better; and I can truly say, with one of our old poets,
* See Note D.
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