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The following capital song affords an admirable contrast between the courtiers of Elizabeth, and those of her successor. The queen was opposed to the fashion then becoming prevalent, of country gentlemen spending their Christmas in London; and in a letter of the period, written by her orders, “ the gentlemen of Norfolk and Suffolk are commanded to depart from London before Christmas, and repair to their counties, and there to keep hospitality among their neighbours." The country gentry, however, appear to have availed themselves of the opportunity of gratifying their hankering for a town life, when there was no imperious queen to issue her opposing commands, for we find a writer of the reign of James I. expressing himself in the following strain : “Much do I detest that effeminacy of the most that burn out day and night in their beds, and by the fireside in trifles, gaming, or courting their yellow mistresses all the winter in a city ; appearing, but as , cuckoos in the spring, one time in the year to the country and their tenants, leaving the care of kecping good houses at Christmas to the honest yeomen of the country.”

The song is reprinted from the “ Percy Reliques.” It is there stated to have been taken from a black-letter copy in the Pepys' Collection.


l’ll sing you an old song made by a fine old pate,
Of a worshipful old gentleman who had a great estate,
That kept a brave old house at a bountiful rate,
And an old porter to relieve the poor at his gate:

Like an old courtier of the queen's,
And the queen's old courtier.

With an old lady, whose anger one word assuages,
That every quarter paid their old servants their wages,
And never knew what belonged to coachmen, footmen, nor pages,
But kept twenty old fellows with blue coats and badges :

Like an old courtier, &c.

With an old study filled full of learned old books,
With an old reverend chaplain, you might know him by his looks,
With an old buttery hatch worn quite off the hooks,
And an old kitchen, that maintained half a dozen old cooks:

Like an old courtier, &c.


With an old hall, hung about with pikes, guns, and bows, With old swords and bucklers, that had borne many

shrewd blows, And an old frieze coat, to cover his worship’s trunk hose, And a cup of old sherry, to comfort his copper nose :

Like an old courtier, &c.

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With a good old fashion, when Christmas was come,
To call in all his old neighbours with bagpipe and drum,
With good cheer enough to furnish every old room,
Aud old liquor able to make a cat speak, and man dumb:

Like an old courtier, lc.



With an old falconer, huntsman, and a kennel of hounds,
That never hawked, nor hunted, but in his own grounds;
Who, like a wise man, kept himself within his own bounds,
And when he died gave every child a thousand good pounds:

Like an old courtier, &c.

But to his eldest son his house and land he assigned,
Charging him in his will to keep the old bountiful mind,
To be good to his old tenants, and to his neighbours be kind;
But in the ensuing ditty you shall hear how he was inclined :

Like a young courtier of the king's,
And the king's young courtier.

Like a flourishing young gallant, newly come to his land,
Who keeps a brace of painted madams at his command,
And takes up a thousand pound upon his father's land,
And gets drunk in a tavern, till he can neither go nor stand:

Like a young courtier, &c.

With a new-fangled lady, that is dainty, nice, and spare,
Who never knew what belonged to good house-keeping, or care,
Who buys gaudy-coloured fans to play with wanton air,
And seven or eight different dressings of other women's hair:

Like a young courtier, &c.

With a new-fashioned hall, built where the old one stood,
Hung round with new pictures, that do the poor no good,
With a fine marble chimney, wherein burns neither coal nor

And a new smooth shovelboard, whereon no victuals eir


Like a young courtier, &c.


THE OLD AND YOUNG COURTIER. With a new study, stuft full of pamphlets and plays, And a new chaplain, that swears faster than he prays, With a new buttery hatch, that opens once in four or five

days, And a new French cook, to devise fine kickshaws, and toys :

Like a young courtier, &c.

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With a new fashion, when Christmas is drawing on,
On a new journey to London straight we all must begone,
And leave none to keep house, but our new porter John,
Who relieves the poor with a thump on the back with a stone:

Like a young courtier, &c.

With a new gentleman-usher, whose carriage is complete, With a new coachman, footmen, and pages to carry up the

meat, With a waiting-gentlewoman, whose dressing is very neat, Who, when her lady has dined, lets the servants not eat:

Like a young courtier, &c.

With new titles of honour bought with his father's old gold,
For which sundry of his ancestors' old manors are sold;
And this is the course most of our new gallants hold,
Which makes that good house-keeping is now grown so cold,

Among the young courtiers of the king,
Or the king's young courtiers.

The custom of Mumming, which appears to have prevailed during the middle ages throughout the Christmas season, had its origin in some similar amusement forming a portion of the revels of the ancient Saturnalia. Several of the old chroniclers have left us descriptions of the most celebrated of these entertainments in which our kings and princes have taken part. The earliest account that has been preserved is of a grand mumming performed by the citizens of London, in 1377, for the entertainment of the young prince Richard, son of the Black Prince. On this occasion, one hundred and thirty citizens disguised as emperors, popes, and cardinals, with knights and their more humble esquires, all wearing vizors and well mounted, and attended by numerous torchbearers, rode to the palace of the young prince at Kennington to the sound of trumpets, sackbuts, and other music. Games at dice were played, followed by feasting and dancing, “which jolitie being ended, the mummers were again made to drink and then departed in order as they came." While the higher classes thus disported themselves, the lower orders were content with an humble imitation of the magnificent pageantry of these entertainments. They went from house to house with their faces blackened with soot and bedaubed with paint, the men frequently attired in female costume, and the women in costume of the other sex-when they made merry amongst their friends and neighbours who provided them with good store of Christmas chcer.

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