BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

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

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76                                   THE BOOK OF CHRISTMAS.
and promised better days. No. 37 contains some verses to that effect, of which the following "are the two first:—
" Old Christmass now is come to town, Though few do him regard, He laughs to see them going down, That have put down his Lord.
Cheer up, sad heart, crown Christmass bowls,
Banish dull grief and sorrow, Though you want cloaths, you have rich souls,
The sun may shine to-morrow."
And again, in No. 38 :—
" A gallant crew, stir up the fire, The other winter tale, Welcome, Christmass, 'tis our desire To give thee more spic'd ale."
On the return of the royal family to England, the court cele­brations of Christmas were revived both there and at the Inns of Court; and the Lord of Misrule came again into office. We have allusions to the one and the other, in the writings of Pepys and of Evelyn. The nobles and wealthy gentry, too, once more, at their country seats, took under their protection such of the ancient observances as had survived the persecution, and from time to time stole out of their hiding-places, under the encour­agement of the new order of things. But in none of its ancient haunts did the festival ever .again recover its splendor of old. The condition of Charles's exchequer, and the many charges upon it,—arising as well out of the services of his adherents, as from his own dissolute life,—left him little chance of imitating the lavish appointments of the court pageantries in the days of Elizabeth and James; and the troubles out of which the nation had emerged, had made changes, as well in the face of the country as in the condition and character of society, alike opposed to anything like a general and complete revival of the merry doings of yore. In the country, estates had passed into new hands, and the immemorial ties between the ancient families and the tenants of the soil had been rudely severed. Many of the old establishments, in which these celebrations had been most
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