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Good customs they may be abused,

Which makes rich men so slack us,
This feast is to relieve the poor,

And not to drunken Bacchus.

Thus if thou doest, 't will credit raise thee,
God will thee bless, and neighbours praise thee.

The burthen of the following excellent old ballad is that lament, common in all ages, for the days that have passed away. Looking back on bygone times, the imagination, charmed with the novelty which surrounds every minute circumstance, exalts even the worst features into matter for admiration. We very much question the amount of happiness enjoyed by the people generally, when every nobleman usurped the power of a petty sovereign, and had a crew of lusty men at his command to do his individual bidding. This state of things could certainly not have tended to promote the public peace in those highly prized “days of yore, when the old cap was new.”


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Which by their coats were known,

Of tawny, red, or blue,
With crests on their sleeves shown,

When this old cap was new.

Now pride hath banished all,

Unto our land's reproach, When he whose means are small

Maintains both horse and coach ; Instead of an hundred men,

The coach allows but two: This was not thought on then,

When this old cap was new.

Good hospitality

Was cherished then of many; Now poor men starve and die,

And are not helped by any ; For charity waxeth cold,

And love is found in few : This was not in time of old,

When this old cap was new.

Wherever you travelled then,

You might meet on the way Brave knights and gentlemen,

Clad in their country grey, That courteous would appear,

And kindly welcome you : No puritans then were,

When this old cap was new.


Our ladies, in those days,

In civil habit went; .
Broad-cloth was then worth praise,

And gave the best content;
French fashions then were scorned ;

Fond fangles then none knew; Then modesty women adorned,

When this old cap was new.

The holly tree was polled

At Christmas for each hall; There was fire to curb the cold,

And meat for great and small : The neighbours were friendly bidden,

And all had welcome true; The poor from the gates were not chidden,

When this old cap was new.

Black jacks to every man

Were filled with wine and beer; No pewter pot nor can

Did in those days appear. Good cheer in a nobleman's house

Was counted a seemly show; We wanted no brawn nor souse,

When this old cap was new.

We took not such delight

In cups of silver fine ; None under degree of a knight

In plate drunk beer or wine.

Now each mechanical man

Hath a cupboard of plate for show :
Which was a rare thing then,

When this old cap was new.

God save our gracious king,

Oh, send him long to live !
And mischief on them bring

That will not their alms give;
But seek to rob the poor

Of that which is their due:
This was not in time of yore,

When this old cap was new.

We have been unable to trace the original source from whence the following old ballad has been derived ; but in all probability it was written just after the Restoration, when the limits, within which the festivities of the season had been confined by the over-zealous Puritans, were overstepped, and something like a revival of the old hospitality began to show itself. A paragraph, which appears to form a regular accompaniment of the old ballad, describes it to be " a looking-glass for rich misers, wherein they may sec (if not blind) how much they are to blame for their penurious housekeeping; and likewise an encouragement to those noble-minded gentry, who lay out a great part of their estate in hospitality, relieving such persons as have need thereof.

Who feasts the poor, a true reward shall find,
Or helps the old, the feeble, lame, and blind."


All you that to feasting and mirth are inclined,
Come here is good news for to pleasure your mind,
Old Christmas is come for to keep open house,
He scorns to be guilty of starving a mouse!
Then come, boys, and welcome for diet the chief,
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast beef.


A long time together he hath been forgot,
They scarce could afford for to hang on the pot;
Such miserly sneaking in England hath been,
As by our forefathers ne'er used to be seen;
But now he's returned you shall have, in brief,
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast beef.

The times were ne'er good since old Christmas was fled,
And all hospitality hath been so dead,
No mirth at our festivals late did appear,
They scarcely would part with a cup of March beer;
But now you shall have, for the ease of your grief,
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast beef

The butler and baker, they now may be glad,
The times they are mended, though they have been bad;
The brewer, he likewise may be of good cheer,
He shall have good trading for ale and strong beer;
All trades shall be jolly, and have, for relief,
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast beef.

The holly and ivy about the walls wind,
And show that we ought to our neighbours be kind,
Inviting each other for pastime and sport,
And where we best fare, there we most do resort.
We fail not for victuals, and that of the chief,
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minced pies, and roast beef.

The cooks shall be busied by day and by night
In roasting and boiling, for taste and delight;
Their senses in liquor that's nappy they'll steep,
Though they be afforded to have little sleep;

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