BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

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

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54                              THE BOOK OF CHRISTMAS.
greene, yellowe, or some other light wanton color. And as though that were not baudie (gaudy) enough I should saie, they bedecke themselves with scarffes, ribons, and laces, hanged all over with gold rynges, precious stones, and other jewelles : this doen, they tye about either legge twenty or fourtie belles with rich hande-kercheefes, in their handes, and sometymes laied acrosse over their shoulders and neckes, borrowed for the moste parte of their pretie Mopsies and looving Bessies for bussying them in the darcke. Thus thinges sette in order, they have their hobbie horses, dra­gons, and other antiques, together with their baudie pipers, and thunderyng drommers, to strike up the Deville's Daunce withall" (meaning the Morris Dance), " then marche these heathen com-panie towards the church and churche yarde, their pipers pipyng, drommers thonderyng, their stumppes dauncyng, their bells iyn-glyng, their handkercheefes swyngyng about their heades like madmen, their hobbie horses, and other monsters skyrmishyng amongst the throng: and in this sorte they goe to the churche (though the minister bee at praier or preachyng) dauncyng and swingyng their handkercheefes over their heades, in the churche, like devilles incarnate, with such a confused noise, that no man can heare his owne voice. Then the foolishe people, they looke, they stare, they laugh, they fleere, and mount upon formes and pewes, to see these goodly pageauntes, solemnized in this sort."
At the Christmas celebration held at Gray's Inn, in 1594, to which we have already alluded, the person selected to fill the office of Christmas Prince, was a Norfolk gentleman of the name of Helmes; whose leg, like* that of Sir Andrew Ague-Cheek, appears " to have been formed under the star of a galliard." He is described as being " accomplished with all good parts, fit for so great a dignity, and also a very proper man in personage, and very active in dancing and revelling." The revels over which this mock monarch presided, were, as our readers will remember, exhibited before Queen Elizabeth; and it was the exquisite per­formance of this gentleman and his court which her majesty de­scribed as bearing the same relation for excellence to those of her own courtiers, which a banquet does to bread and cheese. We must refer such of our readers as are desirous of informing them­selves as to the nature and taste of the devices which could make
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