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cation. The very madman is happy while he thinks himself a king; but the happniess, which self-satisfaction produces, the peace of mind which it creates, must be in proportion to the solidity of the foundation upon which it stands. The firm and impregnable rock, which alone can afford it an adequate support, is the full conviction, that we have brought no calamities upon ourselves, and that our conduct has always been directed to the wisest and best ends; and that to obtain these ends we have been diligent in prayer, and have used all the lawful means which it has been in our power to exert.” P. 474.

If this work does not become as extensively popular, as it is unquestionably and highly useful, the circumstance must be attributed to the following facts. The style and matter throughout the volume are sensible rather than brilliant-and a pure mind, a correct judgment, and an unwearied industry, are more conspicuous than originality, or philosophical free-thinking. The author sustains the character of a Christian, a Churchman, and a Patriot-and though the composition of such a work must be more beneficial than the perusal of it, yet no man will rise from a perusal of these Essays, without feeling that he has derived pleasure and instruction from the occupation.

ART. X. Some Ancient Christmas Carols, with the Tunes

to which they were formerly sung in the West of England. Collected by Davies Gilbert, F.R.S. F.A.S. &c.

8vo. pp. 36. Nichols and Son. 1822. Our readers will probably feel the same curiosity respecting this little publication which was excited in our own minds when its appearance was announced. We cannot pretend to say that the appetite has been completely gratified; for we expected a larger and more valuable collection than that with which Mr. Davies Gilbert has furnished us. But he is entitled to our thanks even for the present scanty list; and this example may probably induce the inhabitants of other parts of the island, skilled in antiquarian and religious lore, to do for their respective neighbourhoods what Mr. Gilbert has done for the West; and such publications will have their admirers in every circle. In the midland counties we have heard carols quite as remarkable as any now before us. The history of Lazarus and Dives, particularly occurs to us, and we should be glad to see a correct copy of that poem. It describes the merits and fortunes of the heroes at great.

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length; and concludes to the best of our recollection with informing Dives

“ That there is a seat 'prepared for him

Upon a serpent's knee." The ballads printed by Mr. Gilbert are exclusively Christmas Carols. Those to wbich we allude were always sung by the mummers at Christmas, but had no specific connection with that festival. The whole of our Author's Preface and Postscript are curious; and so is the poetry which we are about to transcribe. They lead to serious reflections upon the altered state of a peasantry which once contented and ignorant; but is now partaking largely of the tree of knowledge; and tasting both its sweet and bitter fruits.

“ The following Carols or Christmas Songs were chanted to the tunes accompanying them, in churches on Christmas day, and in private houses on Christmas eve, throughout the West of England, up to the latter part of the late century.

“ The Editor is desirous of preserving them in their actual forms, however distorted by false grammar or by obscurities, as specimens of times now passed away, and of religious feelings superseded by others of a different cast.

He is anxious also to preserve them on account of the delight they afforded him in his childhood ; when the festivities of Christmas eve were anticipated by many days of preparation, and prolonged through several weeks by repetition and remembrances.

“ Christmas-day, like every other great festival, has prefixed to it in the calendar a vigil or fast ; and in Catholic countries mass is still celebrated at midnight after Christmas-eve, when austerities cease, and rejoicings of all kinds succeed. Shadows of these customs were, till very lately, preserved in the Protestant West of England. The day of Christmas eve was passed in an ordinary manner; but at seven or eight o'clock in the evening, cakes were drawn hot from the oven; cyder or beer exhilarated the spirits in every house ; and the singing of carols was continued late into the night. On Christmas-day these carols took the place of psalms in all the churches, especially at afternoon service, the whole congregation joining; and at the end it was usual for the parish clerk to declare, in a loud voice, his wishes for a merry Christmas a happy new year to all the parishioners.

“ None of the sports or gambols, so frequently practised on subsequent days, ever mixed themselves with the religious observances of Christmas-eve. Two of the sports most used in Cornwall were, the one, a metrical play, exhibiting the successful pow. ers of St. George exerted against a Mahometan adversary; the

other a less dignified representation of some transactions at a market or fair.

“ In the first, Saint George enters accoutred with complete armour, and exclaims,

“ Here come I Saint George,

That valiant champion bold,
And with my sword and spear,

I've won three crowns of gold.
“ I slew the dragon, he

And brought him to the slaughter,
By which I gained fair Sabra,

The King of Egypt's daughter.” “ The Pagan enters.

“ Here come I the Turkish knight,

Come from the Turkish land to fight,


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* bold,
And if your blood is hot,

I soon will make it cold.”
They fight, the Turkish knight falls, and rising on one knee,

“ Oh! pardon me St. George,

Oh! pardon me, I cravé,
Oh! give me but my life,

And I will be thy slave.” “ Saint George, however, again strikes him down; but imme. diately relenting, calls out

“ Is there no doctor to be found,

To cure a deep and deadly wound." “ A doctor enters, declaring that he has a small phial filled with the juice of some particular plant, capable of recalling any one to life ; he tries, however, and fails : when Saint George kills him, enraged by his want of success. Soon after this the Turkish knight appears perfectly well; and having been fully con. vinced of his errors by the strength of Saint George's arm, he becomes a Christian, and the scene closes.

“ The fair or market usually followed, as a farce. Several persons arranged on benches were sometimes supposed to sell corn ; and one applying to each seller in his turn inquired the price, using a set form of words, to be answered in a corresponding man

any error were committed, a grave personage was introduccd with much ceremony, grotesquely attired, and provided with a large stick; who, after stipulating for some ludicrous reward, such as a gallon of moon-light, proceeded to shoe



the untamed colt, by striking the person in error on the sole of the foot.

“ For an ample account of various customs and ceremonies practised at Christmas in former periods, the reader is referred to Brand's Observations on Popular Antiquities,' edited by Henry Ellis, F.R.S. and Secretary of the Society of Antiquaries, two vols. 4to. and to · The Clavis Calendaria, by John Brady,' two vols. 8vo. In each of these works will be found a very curious dissertation on the word yule ; the name of a Pagan festival, which has passed into most European languages, to denominate Christmas. The French noel is obviously derived from this word, and appears corrupted into • Now well, when it forms a part of the chorus in the fourth carol ; and perhaps indicates the whole to be a translation."


Since the preceding page was printed, a friend has pointed out to me what is said under the word nouel or noel, in · Dictionnaire Etymologique de la Langue Françoise, par M. Menage.'

« Le Mot de Nouel étoit autrefois un mot de rejouissance; on le crioit dans toutes les fêtes et solennités publiques.

“ Martial de Paris, à l'entrée du Roy Charles VII. dans Verneuil :

« Ce jour vint le Roy à Verneuil,

Où il fut receu à grand joye
Du peuple joyeaux à merveil,
En criant Noel


la voye.”


A virgin most pure, as the prophets do tell,

Hath brought forth a baby as it hath befell,
To be our Redeemer from death, hell, and sin,
Which Adam's transgression had wrapped us in.


“ Aye, and therefore be you merry,

Rejoice and be you merry ;
Set sorrows aside,
Christ Jesus our Saviour was born on this tide.

“ In Bethlehem in Jewry a city there was,

Where Joseph and Mary together did pass,
And there to be taxed with many one more,
For Cæsar commanded the same should be so.

Aye, and therefore, &c.


“ But when they had entered the city so fair,

A number of people so mighty was there ;
That Joseph and Mary whose substance was small,
Could find in the inn there no lodging at all.

Aye, and therefore, &c.

" Then were they constrain'd in a stable to lye,

Where horses and asses they us'd for to tie ;
Their lodging so simple they took it no scorn,
But against the next morning our Saviour was born.

Aye, and therefore, &c.

“ The King of all kings to this world being brought,

Small store of fine linen to wrap him was sought ;
And when she had swaddled her young son so sweet,
Within an ox manger she laid him to sleep.

Aye, and therefore, &c.

“ Then God sent an angel from heaven so high,

To certain poor shepherds in fields where they lye,
And bade them no longer in sorrow to stay,
Because that our Saviour was born on this day.

Aye, and therefore, &c.

“ Then presently after the shepherds did spy,

A number of angels that stood in the sky,
They joyfully talked and sweetly did sing,
To God be all glory our heavenly King.


“ Aye, and therefore be you merry,

Rejoice and be you merry;
Set sorrows aside,
Christ Jesus our Saviour was born on this tide.

P. 18.

ART. XI. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal So

ciety for 1821. Parts I. and 11. Papers on Anatomy Physiology and Natural History.

Papers on Chemistry. The whole of the Royal Society's Transactions for the year 1821, are now before the public. The papers are numerous

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