BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

The Customs, Ceremonies, Traditions, Superstitions, Fun, Feeling,
And Festivities Of The Christmas Season.

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S t                                  THE BOOK OF CHRISTMAS.
land,—and the Christmas time a merry time, throughout its length and breadth,—in the days of queen Elizabeth.
Nay, out of this very anxiety to minister to the craving vanity of a weak and worthless woman,—the devices to which it gave rise,—and the laborers whom it called into action,—have arisen results which are not amongst the lerst happy or important of those, by its connexion with which the Christmas festival stands recommended. Under these impulses, the old dramatic enter­tainments,—of which we shall have occasion to speak more at large hereafter,—took a higher character and assumed a more consistent form. The first regular English tragedy, called " Fer-rex and Porrex," and the entertainment of" Gammer Gurton's Needle," were both productions of the early period of this queen's reign :—and amid the crowd of her worshippers (alas ! that it is so !) rose up—with the star upon his forehead which is to burn for all time,—the very first of all created beings, William Shak­speare. These are amongst the strange anomalies which the world, as it is constituted, so often presents ; and must present, at times, constitute it how we will.—Shakspeare doing homage to Queen Elizabeth !—The loftiest genius and the noblest heart that have yet walked this earth, in a character merely human, bowing down before this woman, with the soul of a milliner, and no heart at all!—The " bright particular star " humbling itself before the temporal crown !—The swayer of hearts, the ruler of all men's minds, in virtue of his own transcendent nature, recognizing the supremacy of this overgrown child, because she presided over the temporalities of a half-emancipated nation, by rights derived to her from others, and sanctioned by no qualities of her own !
And yet, if to the low passions of this vulgar queen, and the patronage which they led her to extend to all who could best minister to their gratification, we owe any part of that develop­ment by which this consummate genius expanded itself,—then do we stand, in some degree, indebted to her, for one of the greatest boons which has been bestowed upon the human race; and—as between her and mankind in general (for the accounts between her and individuals,—and still more that between her and God,— stand uninfluenced by this item), there is a large amount of good to be placed to her credit. Agair.st her follies of a day there
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