66 THE BOOK OF CHRISTMAS.
with an example of this reverence, too ludicrous to be omitted. Its writer tells us that if the 'squire had occasion to ask one of his neighbors what o'clock it was, he received for answer, a profound bow, and an assurance that it was what o'clock his worship pleased ; an answer, no doubt, indicative of profound respect, but not calculated to convey much useful information to the inquirer. In fine, however, while the glad spirit of the season covered the land, hospitality and harmony were everywhere a portion of that spirit. The light of a common festival shone, for once, upon the palace and the cottage; and the chain of an universal sympathy descended unbroken, through all ranks, from the prince to the peasant and the beggar.—
" The damsel donned her kirtle sheen ; The hall was dress'd with holly green; Forth to the wood did merry men go, To gather in the misletoe. Then open'd wide the baron's hall, To vassall, tenant, serf and all; Power laid his rod of rule aside, And ceremony doffed his pride. The heir, with roses in his shoes, Those nights might village partner chuse The lord, underogating, share The vulgar game of ' post-and-pair.'
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The fire with well-dried logs supplied, Went roaring up the chimney wide; The huge hall-table's oaken face, Scrubbed till it shone, the time to grace, Bore then upon its massive board No mark to part the 'squire and lord. Then was brought in the lusty brawn, By old blue-coated serving-man ; Then the grim boar's head frowned on higb Crested with bays and rosemary. Well can the green-garbed ranger tell, How, when, and where, the monster fell; What dogs, before his death, he tore, And all the batings of the boar. The wassol round, in good brown bowls. Garnished with ribbons, blithely trowls.