BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

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

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THE CHRISTMAS SEASON.                                   47
of our kings). Accordingly we find that, amongst those of the more powerful nobles who affected an imitation of the royal arrange­ments in their Christmas establishments, this Christmas officer (when they appointed one to preside over their private Christmas celebrations) was occasionally nominated as their " Master of the Revels." In the Household-Book of the Northumberland family, amongst the directions given for the order of the establishment, it is stated that " My lorde useth and accustomyth yerly to gyf hym which is ordynede to be the Master of the Revells yerly in my lordis hous in cristmas for the overseyinge and orderinge of his lordschips Playes, Interludes, and Dresinge that is plaid befor his lordship in his hous in the xijth dayes of Cristenmas, and they to have in rewarde for that caus yerly, xxs." In the Inns of Court, where this officer formed no part of a household, but was a mem­ber elected out of their own body, for his ingenuity, he was com­monly dignified by a title more appropriate to the extensive authority with which he was invested, and the state with which he was furnished for its due maintenance, viz., that of " Christ­mas prince," or sometimes, " King of Christmas." He is the same officer who was known in Scotland as the " Abbot of Unreason," and bears a close resemblance to the " Abbas Stultorum," who presided over the feast of fools, in France, and the " Abbe de la Malgourverne," who ruled the sports in certain provinces of that kingdom. In a note to Ellis's edition of" Brand's Popular Anti­quities," we find a quotation from Mr. Warton (whose " History of English Poetry" we have not at hand), in which mention is made of an " Abbe de Liesse," and a reference given to Carpen-tier's Supplement to Du Cange, for the title "Abbas Lsetitise." We mention these, to enable the antiquarian portion of our read-ers to make the reference for themselves. Writing in the coun­try, we have not access to the works in question, and could not, in these pages, go further into the matter if we had.
We have already stated, that the " Lord of Misrule" appears to bear a considerable resemblance to that ruler or king who was anciently appointed to preside over the sports of the Roman Saturnalia; and we find on looking further into the subject, that we are corroborated in this view by one who, of course, asserts the resemblance for the purpose of making it p. matter of reproach.
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