THE BOOK OF CHRISTMAS.
Lett this boare's head and mustard
Stand for pigg, goose, and custard,
And so you are welcome all."
So important was the office of boar's-head bearer considered to be, that, in 1107, Holinshed has chronicled the circumstance of England's king, Henry II., bringing up to the table of his son, the young prince, a boar's head, with trumpeters going before him. From this species of service, it is probable that many of our heraldic bearings have originated. " The ancient crest of the family of Edgecumbe," observes Ritson, " was the boar's head, crowned with bays, upon a charger; which," he adds, "has been very injudiciously changed into the entire animal."
This same diligent arranger and illustrator of our old ballads gives us, in his collection of ancient songs, a Boar's-head Carol— which probably belongs to the fourteenth century,—from a manuscript in his possession,—now, we believe, in the British Museum.—
In die nativitatis.
" Novvell, nowell, nowell, nowell, Tydyngs gode y thyngke to tell. ,
The borys hede that we bryng here, Be tokeneth a prince with owte pere, Ys born this day to bye vs dere,
A bore ys a souerayn beste, And acceptable in every feste So mote thys lorde be to moste & leste,
This borys hede we bryng with song, In worchyp of hym that thus sprang Of a virgyne to redresse all wrong,
The printing-press of Wynkyn de Worde has preserved to us the carol, believed to have been generally used, prior to 1521, upon these occasions ; a modernized version of which continues to be sung, in Queen's College, Oxford. It is entitled, " A Caroll, bringyne in the Bores heed," and runs thus:—