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Now, now the mirth comes,

With the cake full of plums,
Where bean's the king of the sport here;

Beside we must know,

The pea also
Must revel as queen in the court here.

Begin then to choose,

This night as you use,
Who shall for the present delight here ;

Be a king by the lot,

And who shall not
Be twelfth-day queen for the night here.

Which known, let us make

Joy-sops with the cake ;
And let not a man then be seen here,

Who unurged will not drink,

To the base from the brink,
A health to the king and the queen here.

Next crown the bowl full

With gentle lambs' wool ;
Add sugar, nutmeg, and ginger,

With store of ale too ;
And thus


must do
To make the wassail a swinger.

Give then to the king

And queen wassailing;
And though with ale ye be wet here

Yet part ye from hence,

As free from offence,
As when ye innocent met here.

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OWN with rosemary and bays,

Down with the mistletoe ;*
Instead of holly, now upraise

The greener box, for show.

The holly hitherto did sway;

Let box now domineer,
Until the dancing Easter-day

Or Easter's eve appear.
Then youthful box, which now hath grace

Your houses to renew,
Grown old, surrender must his place

Unto the crisped yew.

When yew is out, then birch comes in,

And many flowers beside,
Both of a fresh and fragrant kin,

To honour Whitsuntide.

Green rushes then, and sweetest bents,

With cooler oaken boughs,
Come in for comely ornaments,

To re-adorn the house.
Thus times do shift ; each thing his turn does hold;
New things succeed as former things grow old.

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• This is the first reference to the mistletoe, in its quality of a Christmas evergreen, that we have met with in the writings of our early poets.

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Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and mistletoe ;
Down with the holly, ivy, all
Wherewith ye dressed the Christmas hall;
That so the superstitious find
No one least branch there left behind;
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected there, maids, trust to me,
So many goblins you shall see.

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In Herrick's time it was customary with the country people to prolong the merriment of the Christmas season until Candlemas Day- a circumstance referred to in the following couplet :


End now the white-loaf and the pie,
And let all sports with Christmas die.


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HE lively Christmas verses by Wither,
written before his Puritanical zeal had de-
veloped itself, that open the present section
of our work, introduce us to an amusing
picture of the rejoicings of the season, ere
the civil troubles of the reign of Charles I.
had interfered, to throw a damper on the
national hilarity. The holly and the ivy
had not yet come to be regarded as em-
blems of Paganism. The Christmas log still
blazed on the hospitable hearth, and music
and dancing were not considered irrelevant
and indecent amusements. The wassail
bowl, too, was still in fashion, and even

mumming was indulged in by both young χοχοχο

men and maidens:
“With twenty other gambols mo,

Because they would be merry.” In the course of a few short years we find that penalties were enforced against parish officers for permitting the decking of churches, and even for allowing divine serrice to be performed therein on Christmas morning ; and, to quote the words of old John Taylor, the water poet :“ All the liberty and harmless sports, the merry gambols, dances, and friscols, with which the toiling ploughman and labourer once a year were wont to be recreated, and their spirits and hopes revived for a whole twelvemonth, are now extinct and put out of use, in such a fashion as if they never had been. Thus are the merry lords of bad rule at Westminster; nay more, their madness hath extended itself to the very vegetables; the senseless trees, herbs, and weeds, are in a profane estimation amongst them-holly, ivy, mistletoe, rosemary, bays, are accounted ungodly branches of superstition for your entertainment. And to roast a sirloin of beef, to touch a collar of brawn, to take a pie, to put a plum in the pottage pot, to burn a great candle, or to lay one block the more in the fire for your sake, Master Christmas, is enough to

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