BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

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

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NEW-YEAR'S EVE.
195
English wassail mummers, in honor of their bowl; but which some of its verses prove to be a Twelfth-night song, and show, therefore, that a similar practice marked the night of Epiphany. It begins, right heartily :—
" A jolly wassel-bowl, A w ass el of good ale, Well fare the butler's soul That setteth this to sale;
Our jolly wassel:"—
but is too long for insertion in our pages. We should mention here, however, that ale, in all its forms,—whether in that of was­sail composition, or in its own simple dignity, " prince of liquors, old or new !"—was ever the most cherished beverage of our ancestors,—and many and enthusiastic are the songs in its praise. Our readers may take the following verse from a very pleasant example of these carols :—
'* I love no rost, but a nut brown toste, And a crab layde in the fyre, A little bread shall do me stead,
Much breade I not desyre : No froste nor snow, no winde, I trowe,
Can hurt mee if I wolde; I am so wrapt, and throwly lapt Of jolly good ale and olde.
Back and syde go bare, go bare,
Both foote and hand, go colde : But belly God send thee good ale inoughe, Whether it be new or olde."
We believe that most of the customs which, up to a recent'pe-riod, filled the streets of Edinburgh with mirth and bustle, on the eve of the new year, have met with discouragement, and of late fallen into disuse,—in consequence of some outrages which were committed under their shelter, in the year 1811. We presume, however, that there are still many places of the northern king­dom, in which the youth waits impatiently for the striking of the midnight hour,—that he may be the earliest to cross the threshold of his mistress,—and the lassie listens eagerly from the moment
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