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The Boar's head and the Wassail bowl* were the two most important accessories to Christmas in the olden time, and there are frequent brief allusions to the latter, in the

works of our early English poets. The phrase “ Wassail,” occurs in the oldest carol that has 92 been handed down to us, and in the extracts already

given from Spenser, Shakspeare, and Ben Jonson,

mention is made of the Wassail bowl, which shows, that in their day it continued to form a necessary portion of the festivities appertaining to the season. New-year's eve and Twelfth-night were the occasions on which the Wassail bowl was chiefly in requisition. In a collection of ordinances for the regulation of the royal household, in the reign of Henry VII., on Twelfth-night the steward was enjoined, when he entered with the spiced and smoking beverage, to cry“ Wassail” three times, to which the royal chaplain-jolly priest, as he doubtless was-had to answer with a song. While the wealthier classes were enjoying themselves with copious draughts of " lambs' wool," as the beverage, composed of ale, nutmeg, sugar, toast, and roasted crabs, or apples, with which the bowl was filled, was styled, the poorer sort of people went from house to house with Wassail bowls adorned with ribbons, singing carols, and inviting those whom they visited to drink; in return for which, little presents of money were generally bestowed upon them.

The following Carol is from Ritson's ancient songs. It was taken by Ritson from a scarce, black-letter volume, in the Ashmolean Museum.

• The above representation of a Wassail Bowl is from a carving on a chimney-piece of an old mansion formerly existing at Birling, kent.

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Our Wassail we do fill

With apples and with spice,
Then grant us your good will,
To taste here once or twice

Of our Wassail.

If any maidens be

Here dwelling in this house,
They kindly will agree
To take a full carouse

Of our Wassail.

But here they let us stand

All freezing in the cold ; Good master, give command To enter and be bold,

With our Wassail.

Much joy into this hall

With us is entered in,
Our master first of all,
We hope will now begin,

Of our Wassail.

And after, his good wife

Our spiced bowl will try,The Lord prolong your life! Good fortune we espy,

For our Wassail.

Some bounty from your hands,

Our Wassail to maintain : We'll buy no house nor lands With that which we do gain,

With our Wassail.

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