Christmas In Ritual & Tradition - online book

The Observance Of Christmas In Various Lands And Ages.

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CHRISTMAS DRAMA
long-winded solemnity of many of the plays, as they are to modern readers. In the York mysteries the shepherds make uncouth exclamations at the song of the angels and ludicrously try to imitate it. The Chester shepherds talk in a very natural way of such things as the diseases of sheep, sit down with much relish to a meal of u ale of Halton," sour milk, onions, garlick and leeks, green cheese, a sheep's head soused in ale, and other items ; then they call their lad Trowle, who grumbles because his wages have not been paid, refuses to eat, wrestles with his masters and throws them all. They sit down discomfited ; then the Star of Bethlehem appears, filling them with wonder, which grows when they hear the angels' song of " Gloria in excelsis." They discuss what the words were—" glore, glare with a glee," or, " glori, glory, glorious," or, " glory, glory, with a glo." At length they go to Bethlehem, and arrived at the stable, the first shepherd exclaims :—
" Sym, Sym, sickerlye Heare I see Marye, And Jesus Christe faste by, Lapped in haye." x3
Joseph is strangely described :—
" Whatever this oulde man that heare is, Take heede howe his head is whore, His beirde is like a buske of breyers, With a pound of heaire about his mouth and more." '4
Their gifts to the Infant are a bell, a flask, a spoon to eat pottage with, and a cape. Trowle the servant has nought to offer but a pair of his wife's old hose ; four boys follow with presents of a bottle, a hood, a pipe, and a nut-hook. Ouaint are the words of the last two givers :—
"The Thirde Boye. O, noble childe of thee ! Alas ! what have I for thee, Save only my pipe ?
'33
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