Christmas In Ritual & Tradition - online book

The Observance Of Christmas In Various Lands And Ages.

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THE CHRISTIAN FEAST
Batus d'or, ou luyt mainte pierre, Et nates mises sur la terre, Affin que le froit ne mefface ?
Marie. II plait a Dieu qu'ainsy se face.
Joseph.
Helas ! cy gerra povrement Le createur du firmament Celui qui fait le soleil luire, Qui fait la terre fruis produire, Qui tient la mer en son espace.
Marie. II plait a Dieu qu'ainsy se face."
At last Christ is born, welcomed by the song of the angels, adored by His mother. In the heathen temples the idols fall; Hell mouth opens and shows the rage of the demons, who make a hideous noise ; fire issues from the nostrils and eyes and ears of Hell, which shuts up with the devils within it. And then the angels in the stable worship the Child Jesus. The adoration of the shepherds was shown with many naive details for the delight of the people, and the performance ended with the offering of a sacrifice in Rome by the Emperor Octavian to an image of the Blessed Virgin.T9
The French playwrights, quite as much as the English, love comic shepherd scenes with plenty of eating and drinking and brawling. A traditional figure is the shepherd RifHart, always a laughable type. In the strictly mediaeval plays the shepherds are true French rustics, but with the progress of the Renaissance classical elements creep into the pastoral scenes; in a mystery printed in 1507 Orpheus with the Nymphs and Oreads is introduced. As might be expected, anachronisms often occur ; a peculiarly piquant instance is found in the S. Genevieve mystery, where Caesar Augustus gets a piece of Latin translated into French for his convenience.
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