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The boar he is a sovereign beast,
And acceptable at every feast;
So might this lord be to greatest and least ;


This boar’s head we bring with song,
In worship of Him that thus sprung
From a virgin to redress all wrong;



(From Mr. Wright's manuscript.)

Ar the beginning of the meat
Of a boar's head ye shall eat,
And in the mustard ye shall whet;

And ye shall sing before ye go.

Welcome be ye that are here,
Ye shall all have right good cheer,
And also a right good fare ;

And ye shall sing before ye go.

Welcome be ye every one,
For ye shall sing all right anon;
Hley! you sure that ye have done?

And ye shall sing before ye go.

The following is perhaps the most ancient of all the Boar’s Head Carols. It is preserved in a manuscript of the fifteenth century, and was first printed in the “Reliquiæ Antiquæ," to which publication it was communicated by Sir Frederic Madden. The second part of this old Carol furnishes us with a minute description of the viands that formed the second course at a Christmas feast. They certainly make some amends for the poverty of the first portion of the banquet, and we may presume that when these dishes were served up the dinner commenced in good carnest. In spite of the invitations contained in these ('arols to partake of the “first mess," the Boar's Head, we anticipate, was little BOAR'S HEAD CAROLS.

else but a show dish; for, in all of the illusions to it, mention is only made of one head being served at each feast, though, even were the number greater, it could hardly have been sufficient to have yielded a mouthful a-piece to the numerous guests who were generally present at these entertainments. Between the courses the minstrels played and sang—the jesters discharged their smartest jokes, and practised their most extravagant antics; and, we dare say the famous Dance of Fools was not unfrequently performed at this particular juncture, before the attention of the guests was directed to the more exciting business which was so soon to follow.


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Then comes in the second course with great pride,
The cranes, the herons, the bitterns, by their side,
The partridges, the plovers, the woodcocks, and the snipe,
Larks in hot show, for the ladies to pick,
Good drink also, luscious and fine,
Blood of Allemaine, romnay, and wine,

With Hey!

• “Porttoryng" in the original-a word not explained in any glossary.
+ That is, “the first dish.”


Good brewed ale and wine, I dare well say,
The boar's head with mustard armed so gay,
Furmity for pottage, and venison fine,
And the umbles of the doe and all that ever comes in.
Capons well baked, with knuckles of the roe,
Raisons and currants, and other spices too,

With Hey!

The following is the Carol previously referred to as having been preserved on a single leaf of a book of Carols, printed by Wynkin de Worde. It is there entitled, “A Carol, brynging in the Bore's Head." The first verse is evidently a mere variation of that in the preceding song.


Caput Apri defero Reddens laudes Domino.

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UO HE boar's head in hand bring 1,

With garlands gay and rosemary;
I pray you all sing merrily,

Qui estis in concicio.


The boar's head, I understand,
Is the chief service in this land;
Look wherever it be found,

Servite cum cantico,

Be glad, lords, both more or less,

For this hath ordained our steward
To cheer you all this Christmas,

The boar's head with mustard.

On the other side of the leaf of Wynkin de Worde's volume is the following Carol, which, although apparently unconnected with our subject, we introduce as one of a class of songs usually sung during the Christmas season. That, in its own day, it was regarded as an undoubted ('hristmas Carol, is evident from the circumstance of its finding a place amongst Wynkin de Worde's collection, as the leaf which has been preserved, and which is the last of the book, bears the following imprint:- Thus endeth the Christmasse Carroles, newly enprinted at Londo, in fetestrete at the signe of the sonne by Wynkin de Worde. The yere of our lorde, M.D.xxi."


As I came by a green forest side,
I met with a forester that bade me abide,
Whey go bet, hey go bet, hey go how,
We shall have sport and game enow.
Underneath a tree I did me set,
And with a great hart anon I met,
I bade let slip, and said hey go bet,
With hey go bet, hey go bet how,
We shall have sport and game enow.
I had not stand there but a while,
Not the mountenaunce* of a mile,

• The meaning of this phrase, as used in the present instance, appears to be, “not the time it would occupy to travel a mile."

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