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.                               71
own tears, should show as sad as tapers lighted up in the chamber of the dead. God, in mercy, keep down that veil!
" Such foresight who, on earth, would crave, Where knowledge is not power to save ?"
It will be our business to introduce to our readers each of the children of old Christmas, as they come up, in obedience to the summons of their father;—reserving to ourselves the right of settling the order of their precedence :—and we will endeavor to give some account of the part which each played of old, in the revelries of the season peculiarly their own,—and of the sad changes which time has made, in the natural constitutions or ani­mal spirits of some of them. Preparatory, however, to this, we must endeavor to give a rapid glance at the causes which con­tributed to the decay of a festival so ancient and universal and uproarious as that which we have described ; and brought into the old man's family that disease to which some of them have already fallen victims, and which threatens others with an untimely extinction.
We have already shown that, so early as the reign of Elizabeth, the puritans had begun to lift up their testimony against the pageantries of the Christmas-tide ; and the Lord of Misrule, even in that day of his potential ascendency, was described as little better than the great Enemy of Souls himself. Our friend Stubs (whose denunciations were directed against all amusements which, from long usage and established repetition, had assumed anything like a form of ceremonial,—and who is quite as angry with those who " goe some to the woodes and groves, and some to
the hilles and mountaines.....where they spende all the night
in pastymes, and in the mornyng they return, bringing with them birch bowes and braunches of trees, to deck their assemblies withall," in the sweet month of May, as he could possibly be with the Christmas revellers, although the very language in which he is obliged to state the charge against the former was enough to tempt people out " a Maying," and might almost have convert­ed himself) assures the reader of his " Anatomie," that all who contribute " to the maintenaunce of these execrable pastymes " do neither more nor less than " offer sacrifice to the devill and Satha-
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