Christmastide - online book

Its History, Festivities And Carols

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

— 192 —
1419, though this was about Christmas time, and on his return to London, he was received with cries of " Nowell! no well\" and so afterwards, when the English Regent went through Paris in state, in 1428, " on crioit haultement nouel!" and again on the proclamation of Henry the Sixth.
The ancient French customs were in many respects similar to those of England; having a common origin; and Christmas was considered, in like manner, a great time for feasting and rejoicing. In the old poem, of the date of 1400, or there­abouts, called the "Bataille de Karesme et de charnage," Karesme has on his side all the fishes, both sea and fresh­water—being a decided advocate of temperance—vegetables, cheese, milk, &c; Charnage has the animals, birds, &c. The battle is fierce, and the issue doubtful, when night separates the combatants; but Karesme, hearing that Noel was approach­ing, with considerable succour to his enemy, makes peace on certain terms, by advice of his council.
The practice of singing carols in France, in the language of the country, is of very early date, and had its origin, probably, as early as the time when the people ceased to understand or to use Latin, the Christmas hymns previously having been in that language. In " Les crieries de Paris," of the end of the thirteenth century, par Guillaume de la Villeneuve, appears, "Noel, noel, a moult granz cris;" meaning collections of noels, of which it is said, that the Due de la Valliere had a valuable manuscript collection of the fourteenth century. The editor of ' Noel Burguignon,'in 1720, mentions a volume that had come to his hands, containing three collections of old noels, printed at Paris, in Gothic letters, of which the first two were without date; the first containing the noel men­tioned by Rabelais; the third was dated 1520, composed by
Previous Contents Next