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.                                55
her majesty so eloquent, to the " Gesta Grayorum ;" contenting ourselves with giving them such notion thereof, as well as of the high dignities which appertained to a Lord of Misr-ule, as may be conveyed by a perusal of the magnificent style and titles assumed by Mr. Henry Helmes, on his accession. They were enough to have made her majesty jealous, if she had not been so good-natured a queen ; for looking at the philosophy of the thing, she was about as much a mock monarch as himself, and could not. dance so well. To be sure, she was acknowledged by his poten­tate as Lady Paramount; and to a woman like Elizabeth, it was something to receive personal homage from—
" The High and Mighty Prince, Henry, Prince of Purpoole: Archduke of Stapulia and Beruardia ; Duke of High and Nether Holborn ; Marquis of St. Giles and Tottenham ; Count Palatine of Bloomsbury and Clerkenwell; Great Lord of the Cantons of Islington, Kentish Town, Paddington, and Knightsbridge ; Knight of the most Heroical Order of the Helmet, and Sovereign of the same !!!"
It is admitted that no man can be a great actor who has not the faculty of divesting himself of his personal identity, and persuad­ing himself that he really is, for the time, that which he repre­sents himself to be;—his doing which will go far to persuade others into the same belief. Now as her majesty has pronounced upon the excellency of Mr. Henry Helmes's acting, and if we are, therefore, to suppose that that gentleman had contrived to mystify both himself and her, she would naturally be not a little vain of so splendid a vassal. But, seriously, it is not a little amusing to notice the good faith with which these gentlemen appear to have put on and worn their burlesque dignities, and the real homage which they not only expected, but actually received. If the tricks which they played during their " brief authority," were not of that mischievous kind which " make the angels weep," they were certainly fantastic enough to make those who are " a little lower than the angels " smile. A lord mayor, in his gilt coach, seems to be a trifle compared with the Lord of Misrule entering the city of London in former days:—and the following passage from Warton's " History of English Poetry," exhibits amusingly enough the sovereign functions seriously exercised by this im-
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