« ZurückWeiter »
ON CHRISTMAS CAROLS.
BY R. H. TORXE.
In preparing to take a seasonable, and | verted, held the festival of the Nativity with therefore a genial survey of the half festive, | great solemnity and splendor, and displayed half religious songs, entitled Christmas the greatest hospitality to all strangers of Carols, we are stopped at the outset by two rank. A similar course was adopted by the considerations, each claiming precedence.- Danish and Anglo-Norman Kings. Nor were Since it is quite clear they cannot both stand these ceremonies by any means confined to first, we must attend to them separately. The solemn observances; on the contrary, the detwo considerations to which we refer are these : scendants of those who, in Pagan times, bad the claims of the ancient Carols, such as were been used to quaff great bowls of wine in sung in the days of the Anglo-Saxon Kings honor of Thor and Odin, now drank them to after their conversion to Christianity, and in commemorate the Apostles, the Virgin and the festivities of the same season among the other sacred names. A curious Anglo-Norman Danish and Anglo-Norman Kings, all of Carol, of the date of the thirteenth century, whom “wore their crowns in public on the is given by Mr. Brand, in bis “ Popular Anoccasion, which, with other less remote dates, tiquities,” (vol. 1, p. 371,) wbich is, to all take precedence in respect of time ; and the intents and purposes, a jolly bacchanalian claims of the modern Carols, dating from song, for a bass voice. The greatest rejoicing Herrick, or rather from Milton's Hymn to the and merriment prevailed, particularly as disNativity, which must certainly take prece- played in dancing, and singing Carols; and, dence of all others for its poetic grandeur, to such an excess bad this been carried, that a and, we may add, its divine fervor. Settled, preposterous legend has grown out of it, carehowever, this point must be before we can fully handed down by William of Malmesproceed; and it may be as well, therefore, to bury, who gravely relates how that fifteen commence at once with our friends in the young women and eighteen young men were olden time.
dancing, and singing Carols (A.D. 1012) in As early as the first and second centuries, the church-yard of a church dedicated to St. we find that the Birth of Christ was cele- Magnus, on the day before Christmas, whereby brated. In the third century, this “holy they greatly 'disturbed one Robert, a priest, night " was kept with so many festivities, that who was performing mass in the church ; how Gregory Nazianzen, who died a.d. 389, and that the said Robert sent to tell them to desist, other Christian teachers of the time, consid- | but they would not listen; how this Robert ered it necessary to caution the people against offered up prayers for a suitable punishment; making the hilarities resemble a heathen rite, and how that the whole party were miracuby forgetting the heavenly objects in an excess lously compelled to continue singing and of fcasting, singing and dancing. It would dancing for a whole year, night and day withalso appear that these exhortations to sobriety out ceasing — feeling neither heat nor cold, were partly intended as a wise caution and hunger nor thirst, weariness nor want of sleep: salutary warning; for, in the same age, there and, though their clothes did not wear out is the record of a horrible atrocity in the with all this inordinate exercise, yet the earth shape of a wholesale massacre, committed beneath them did ; so that, when they left off, when an indulgence in these festivities had the earth had worn away all round them to thrown the people off their guard. A multi- the depth of several feet, while they danced in tude of Christians—men, women, and child the hollow. dren, of all ages—bad assembled in the tem The earliest Carol is, of course, the Nativity ple, at Nicomedia, in Bithynia, to commem
Carol mentioned in Luke (c. II.
14,) orate the Nativity. In the height of their which was sung by the angels. In the twelfth happiness, when all the wickedness and cruel- book of Paradise Lost ” this hymn is thus ties of the world were forgotten, Diocletian mentioned :the Tyrant surrounded the temple with his soldiers who set it on fire, and nearly twenty His place of birth a solemn angel tells thousand people were burned alive, or other
To simple shepherds, keeping watch by night:
They gladly thither haste, and by 1 quire wise destroyed on the occasion.
of squadron'd angels hear his Carol sung. The Anglo-Saxon Kings, having been con
Other hymns were gradually composed on
Herod the King, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day this subject; and it is stated by Mr. Brand,
His men of might, in his own sight, in his “ Popular Antiquities," on the author All young children to slay. ity of an ancient Ritualist, that,“ in the earlier
Then wo is me, poor child, for thee, ages of the Church, the bishops were accus And ever we mourn and say, tomed, on Christmas Day, to sing Carols For this journey wild, thou little tiny child, among the clergy.” So
Bye-bye, lul-lee, lul-lay.
say others. But it is time to give the reader a few whole of this century, as we learn from the
Carols were much in request during the specimens of the Christmas Carols
above and other authorities. Tusser menour forefathers. Amidst a great mass of
tions one to “ be sung to the tune of 'King
very questionable stuff, not to call it rubbish, some of our earli Carols were continually sung about the streets
Solomon ; "" and in the time of Shakspeare est Carols possess a peculiar beauty-a sort of
at Christmas. devout innocence and happy faith, very refresting in themselves, and more especially written in the sixteenth century, and made
A Latin poem by Naogeorgus, a Bararian, the elder rubbish to which we have alluded. English, after a fashion, by Barnaby Goodge, the elder rubbish to which we have alluded. alludes to the Carol singing of the time, with The first we shall select is from the Harleian its various customs, which were evidently far MSS . (No. 5396—time of Henry VI. ;) printed, also, in Ritson's “ Ancient Songs."
more jocund than reverential. Bishop Taylor considers it identical with the
Three weekes before the day whereon was born the earliest one, which the Angels sung to the
Lord of Grace, Shepherds :
And on the Thursdaye, boys and girls do runne in
And bounce and beate at every doore, with blows and CHRYSTO PAREMUS CANTICAM EXCELSIS
lustie snaps, GLORIA.
And crie the Advent of the Lord, not born as yet, When Chryst was born of Mary, free,
perhaps, In Bethlehem, that fayre citee,
And wishing to the neighbours all, that in the houses Angels sang with mirth and glee
dwell, In excelsis gloria!
A happy yeare, and everything to spring and prosper
We must conclude with one or two more
specimens our account of the ancient Carols,
together with the merry songs of the season ; This King is coming to save mankind, Declared in Scripture as we fynde,
and we cannot refrain making our selection Therefore this song have we in mind, once again of a song on the head of the forest In excelsis gloria!
lord of yore. It is ushered in, as usual, with
trumpets and minstrelsy : Two words, illegible in the MS., we have been obliged to supply, and to moderize sev
CAROL eral Anglo-Saxon characters and abbreviations.
On bringing Boar's Ilead, used before Christmas All the rest is verbatim.
Prince, at St. John Baptist's College, Oxford, In one of the Coventry pageants, in the Christmas, 1607. early part of the 15th century, several songs
The boare is dead, are introduced, rude in structure, but, as
See, here is his head; Sandys thinks, fairly entitled to be regarded
What man could have done more
Than his head off to strike, as Carols. The one we are about to quote is
Meleager like, unquestionably a Carol :
And bringe it as I doe, before ?
He, living, spoyled
Where good men toyled,
Which made kind Ceres sorrye ; Of three joyous shepherds I saw a sight,
But now dead and drawne, And all about their fold a star shone bright
Is very good for brawne,
And we have brought it for ye.
Then set downe the swineyard,
The foe to the vineyard, Lul-lee, lul-lay, thou little tiny child
Let Bacchus crowne his fall; Bye-bye, lul-lee, lul-lay.
Lett this boare's head and mustard
Stand for pig, goose, and custard,
And so you are welcome all !
The other Carols with which we intended
to terminate our account of these songs of the the night with the sound of music beneath his olden time, we find, on further consideration, window, which then floated off to a distance. to be too long for extract. As, however, they Then there was singing, which sounded in the are of the legendary character, we must con- porch. “In the morning,” he says, “as I tent ourselves with telling the story of one of lay musing on my pillow, I heard the sound the best.
of little feet pattering outside of the door, and The first is called “The Carnal and the a whispering consultation. Presently a choir Crane." The Star in the East was so bright of small voices chanted forth an old Christmas that it shone into King Herod’s Chamber and Carol, the burden of which wasalarmed him. He questioned the Wise Men about it, who told him that a babe was born
Rejoice! our Saviour, he was born this night who should have power which no
On Christmas-day in the morning. King could destroy. Herod pointed to a roasted cock which was on a dish before him, and grandeur of the subject-comprising, as
It is extraordinary, considering the beauty and said, “ That bird shall as soon be able to it does, in its essence, the whole history of hucrow three times as this thing be true which ye tell.” Whereupon feathers instantly grew manity, its errors, its sufferings, its hopes, and ye tell.” Whereupon feathers instantly grew final victory—how very few poets have written over the roasted cock, and he rose high on his Carols. We only know of one great poet legs and crowed three times, standing up in
who has done so—nced we say that this one the dish!
was Milton ? We pass on to the popular broad-sheet
(Göethe and Coleridge have Carols, of a rather more modern date. Though
each written a Carol, but of no very remarkthe majority be very wretched stuff, there will able kind.) It must not, however, be forgotsometimes be found verses that appeal directly beautiful Carols, not displaying any strength
ten, that Herrick has written several very to the feelings by their homely strength, and of vision or divine ardor, but characterized coming from the heart of the writers.
by a sweet poetical playfulness. Here is a Oh, pray teach your children, man,
verse from his
ODE ON THE BIRTH OF OUR SAVIOUR.
Instead of neat enclosures
Of interwoven osiers;
Instead of fragrant posies
Of datfodills and roses,
Thy cradle, kingly stranger,
As Gospell tells,
Was nothing else
But here a homely manger.
Another, by Herrick, is entitled
THE STAR-SONG. wassail bowl was commonly carried on Christmas ere, to the houses of the nobles and gen The flourish of music; then followed the song. try, with songs, in return for which a small
1st. Voice. Tell us, thou cleere and heavenly tongue, present was expected. As midnight ap. Where is the babe but lately sprung? proached, the Carol-singers and bell-ringers Lies he the lillie-banks among? prepared to usher in the morning of the Na
2nd l'oid Or say, if this new birth of ours tivity with the usual rejoicings, so that all at Sleeps, laid within some ark of flowers, once bells rang in the middle of the night, Spangled with dew-light; thou can'st clcar
All doubts, and manifest the where ? singing was heard, and bands of music went playing through the towns and villages and 3d Voice. Declare to us, bright Star, if we shall sock outskirts, and round about to all the principal Or search the beds of spices through,
Him in the morning's blushing cheek; houses of the county families. In the West To find Him out ? of England, the Carol-singers often used to
Star. No, this ye need not do; repair to the church-porch, or to the porch of But only come and see Him rest some ancient house, to sing-in Christmas A princely babe, in's mother's breast. morning; and it is a rural scene of this kind
Chorus. He's seen! he's seen ! why then around which the Artist has portrayed in the Illus Let's kisse the sweet and holy ground. tration that accompanies the present account.
A similar scene is described by the author To Milton's "Hymn on the Nativity ” we of the "
Sketch-Book," on his visit to York- need only allude once more, as the highest hire at this time of the year. He awoke in composition that has yet appeared on this
subject, beyond all compare. We shall not most perfect models of the ancient art, with make any extract from it, as it is within every carved boards, embossed covers, and illuminbody's reach, which the specimens we have ated pages. Those who are desirous of obtainquoted from other sources are not.
ing modern Carols, carefully written to scrip Those who would seek further information tural texts, and adapted to the ancient tunes on this subject, and read more of these songs (the music of which is given,) may be amply of the olden time, will find abundance in supplied from a little work published by J. W. addition to those authors we have already Parker, entitled " Christmas Carols, with Apquoted) in the Sloane, Harleian, and other propriate Music," and adorned with a frontisMSS. in the British Museum ; Ritson's “ An- piece, engraved from some picture by one of cient Songs,” &c.
choice the old masters ; of the beauty of which it is collection has recently been brought out by not too much to say, that it is worthy of the Cundall-bound, of course, according to the subject.-Illustrated London News.
Translated for the Daguerreotype.
There was a time,--and that not very long | people under the yoke of a foreign nation. since,—when the kingdom of Hannover was The Hannoverians, once so firm and unbendone of those states of the Germanic confeder- ing, do not now dare to choose any repreation, which were regarded by German sentative but the one who is prescribed for patriots with hope, and even with pride. them by the court, or of whom they are sure There was a people which seemed disposed to that he will be favorably received. It is only assert with moderation, but with firmness its East-Friesland, a district which has a very sacred rights, and to resist with energy every strongly-marked national character, and the effort to deprive it of them. Seven professors Harz, that land of true German mountaineers, of the university of Göttingen,-once world- which form exceptions to this rule. The rest renowned, now sunk so low,-left their of the kingdom appears to be cast in a single hearths and homes, and became wanderers in form, and he who is acquainted with one disour country, that they might not be unfaithful trict or one town, is acquainted with all. If to their convictions. In every part of the he crosses the borders of Hannover from the land there was much political activity, and a side of Hamburg, the first town which shows zealous striving for that progress which the itself to the traveller is Harburg. Harburg age demands.
Hannover, in fact, was to is an advanced post of Hamburg, a warehouse the north of Germany what Baden now is to belonging to that city, and wholly dependent the south ; a country which in its political upon it for weal or woe. Its principal occudevelopment leads the van, and is looked up pation is to receive and forward the masses of to by its neighbors as a model. If this had merchandise which come from central and continued to be the case, Hannover would southern Germany for Hamburg, as well as have become the most advanced of all the those which are sent back from Hamburg in German states, and its influence upon the exchange. It is not an unprofitable business, whole northern section of the country would but it no longer brings the large gains which have been incalculable. Instead of this, what it did in former times, when a much higher do we now behold? The stillness of death, rate of commission was paid. Besides this politically speaking, reigns throughout the business there is here an extraordinary number country. The people take no interest in the of hotels and taverns of all classes, which measures of the government. The leading used to furnish the numerous travellers, who men of past years are living scattered in came here to cross the Elbe to Hamburg, other parts of Germany; or, weary and dis- meat and drink and lodging at the highest appointed in their hopes, have buried them- possible prices. A large custom-house with selves in the deepest retirement; or, from an extensive range of warehouses, and a post ambitious or mercenary motives, have deserted station, whence travellers used to be fortheir cause; nay, one of them is exerting bis warded at a very leisurely pace into the undeniable talents to keep a neighboring interior, are the principal buildings of the
straggling and pretty little town. But during | dral, one of the largest in Germany, which the last six months the completion of the looks as if it could accommodate within its railroad which connects Cologne and Hanno- vast aisles not only all the inhabitants, but all ver with Hamburg has effected a great change. the houses of the town. But traces of ancient Every traveller now hurries to the huge rail walls, fortifications, gates, &c., may be disroad station, in order to get away as soon as cerned by the curious in such matters. possible; the long trains of loaded wagons
ons Lüneburg, called also the city of limewhich used to fill the streets have disappeared; trees,” is in its whole character a genuine the inns are empty and deserted. There is Hannoverian town, while Harburg in many no inducement for any traveller to remain respects is an imitator of Hamburg In dehere, when he can reach Hannover or Bruns scribing the mode of life in Lüneburg, we wick in a few hours by railroad, or Hamburg describe with equal accuracy that of Celle, in three quarters of an hour by steamboat. Stade, Verden, Osnaburg, and all the other The innkeepers, wagoners, and commission large towns of the kingdom. It is only in agents of Harburg are no friends to the rail the Frisian towns of Aurich, Emden, and road. In order to regain their lost profits the Lingen, in Göttingen as the seat of a univerHarburgers are about to establish, with the sity, in the Catholic town of Hildesheim, and aid of the Hannoverian government, a direct in the capital Hannover, that the manners and steam-communication with England. All the customs are somewhat different. goods destined for the central parts of Ger That which strikes a stranger most upon many might then be brought direct to Har- entering a Hannoverian town, especially if he burg, instead of going, at an unnecessary cost comes from Hamburg, is the large number of of time and money, out of their way to uniforms of every description which he conHamburg. The inhabitants of the latter stantly sees. Wherever he goes, whether it city ridicule the proposition ; but yet it may be into a theatre or into the coffee-room of an well happen, especially if Hannover accedes to inn, into a public assembly or a private circle, the Customs union, and Hamburg determines he finds himself surrounded by individuals to remain, as now, isolated from the rest of dressed in two colors. The postmaster, the Germany, that Harburg may draw to itself a sheriff, the tax-gatherer, and every official large part of the foreign commerce of the personage of whatever grade, not only percountry. In the last year, sixty sea-going form the duties of their office in military vessels have arrived in the harbor. In one uniform, but wear it even during their hours hour the railroad train brings the traveller to of recreation and amusement. The clerk in Lüneburg, the first large town on this side of a post-office may frequently be seen with a the kingdom. Half way between Harburg and pair of epaulettes which in other countries Lüneburg lies the old town of Bardowieck. would grace a commanding officer. The Bardowieck was once the richest and most present king has introduced this custom, and powerful city of northern Germany, and held he wishes every person who is employed in the rank now occupied by Hamburg, which at the service of the state, from the governor of that period was a petty fishing village. Its a province down to the lamplighter, to appear merchants carried on an extensive commerce upon all occasions in his appointed uniform. with all parts of the world that were then But if the civil service is distinguished by known; its name was honored in every coun a strict system of uniforms, it may easily be try, and the tales told of its wealth, luxury, supposed that it is yet more the case with the and magnificence are almost too romantic to military. Even oficers who have long since be credible. But the inhabitants became quitted active service, and are engaged in haughty, and offended the then Duke of peaceful avocations, may be seen walking Saxony, Henry the Lion, who had been their about in regulation-coats, and with swords by protector, and in his wild fury the fierce their side. In order to effect as much variety warrior destroyed the whole town and drove as possible in these uniforms, and to have out the inhabitants. They mostly took refuge many different kinds of troops and officers, in Lübeck and laid the foundation of the the regiments have been reduced to a minisubsequent greatness of that city, and Bardo mum strength, and have received the most wieck was never able to recover from the blow. various appellations. This is especially the The inhabitants now devote themselves to case in the cavalry; the twenty-four squadrons horticulture, and are celebrated for the excel which Hannover possesses, and which in Auslence of their garden-seeds, and of their tria would form only three regiments, are vegetables, which are eagerly sought by the divided into eight, among which there are gourmands of Hamburg. The sole memo- Life-Guards, Curassier-Guards, Hussar-Guards, rial of former greatness is the immense cathe- | Royal Hussars, Dragoon-Guards, Crownprince