Christmas In Ritual & Tradition - online book

The Observance Of Christmas In Various Lands And Ages.

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Hail, full of favoure,
That made all of noght! Hail, I kneel and I cowre. A bird have I broght To my barne. Hail, litel tine mop ! * Of oure crede thou art crop ;f I wold drink on thy cop, Litel day starne.
Tertius Pastor.
Hail, derling dere,
Full of godhede ! I pray thee be nere
When that I have nede. Hail! swete is thy chere ;J
My hart wolde blede To see thee sitt here
In so poore wede, With no pennys. Hail ! Put forth thy dall ! § I bring thee bot a ball ; Have and play thee with all, And go to the tenis ! " *?
The charm of this will be felt by every reader ; it lies in a curious incongruity—extreme homeliness joined to awe; the Infinite is contained within the narrowest human bounds ; God Himself, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, a weak, helpless child. But a step more, and all would have been irreverence; as it is we have devotion, human, naive, and touching.
It would be interesting to show how other scenes connected with Christmas are handled in the English miracle-plays : how Octavian (Caesar Augustus) sent out the decree that all the world should be taxed, and learned from the Sibyl the birth of Christ ; how the Magi were led by the star and offered their symbolic gifts ; how the raging of the boastful tyrant Herod, the
* Baby.                 t Head.                  { Face.                 § Hand.
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