Sidor som bilder

Seignors il est crié en lost,

Qe cil qui despent bien et tost,
E largement;

E fet les granz honors sovent

Deu li duble quanque il despent

Por faire honor.

Deu doint a.

Seignors escriez les malveis,

Car vus nel les troverez jameis

De bone part:

Botun, batun, ferun gruinard,

Car tot dis a le quer cuuard

Por faire honor.

Deu doint.

NOEL beyt bien li vin Engleis
E li Gascoin & li Franceys
E l'Angevin:

NOEL fait beivre son veisin,

Si quil se dort, le chief enclin,
Sovent le jor.

Deu doint a tuz cels.

Seignors jo vus di par NOEL,
E par li sires de cest hostel,
Car bevez ben :

E jo primes beurai le men,
Et pois apres chescon le soen,
Par mon conseil,

Si jo vus di trestoz Wesseyl

Dehaiz eit qui ne dirra Drincheyl!


Lordings, from a distant home,

To seek old CHRISTMAS we are come,
Who loves our minstrelsy:

And here, unless report mis-say,

The grey-beard dwells; and on this day
Keeps yearly wassel, ever gay,

With festive mirth and glee.

To all who honour CHRISTMAS, and commend our lays, Love will his blessings send, and crown with joy their days*.

Lordings list, for we tell you true;
CHRISTMAS loves the jolly crew
That cloudy care defy :

His liberal board is deftly spread
With manchet loaves and wastel-bread;
His guests with fish and flesh are fed,
Nor lack the stately pyet.

*These two lines seem intended, in the original, as a kind of burden or chorus at the end of each stanza; but as they only intrude upon the measure, the translation were perhaps better without them.

+ It was the custom at this time to serve up at entertainments peacock and pheasant pies, the forms of those elegant

Lordings, you know that far and near
The saying is, "Who gives good cheer,
And freely spends his treasure;

On him will bounteous heaven bestow
Twice treble blessings here below,
His happy hours shall sweetly flow
In never-ceasing pleasure."

Lordings, believe us, knaves abound;
In every place are flatterers found;
May all their arts be vain!

But chiefly from these scenes of joy
Chase sordid souls that mirth annoy,
And all who with their base alloy
Turn pleasure into pain.

CHRISTMAS quaffs our English wines*,
Nor Gascoigne juice, nor French declines,
Nor liquor of Anjou :

He puts th' insidious goblet round,

Till all the guests in sleep are drown'd,

Then wakes 'em with the tabor's sound,

And plays the prank anew.

birds being externally preserved, and much pomp bestowed on their appearance. See what has been already said on this subject in vol. i. p. 472.

* This is a stubborn fact against the opinion of those who maintain that wine was not made in England. See the controversy on this subject in Archæologia, vol. iii.

Lordings, it is our host's command,
And CHRISTMAS joins him hand in hand,
To drain the brimming bowl:

And I'll be foremost to obey;

Then pledge me sirs, and drink away,
For CHRISTMAS revels here to day,
And sways without control.

Now WASSEL to you all! and merry may ye be!
But foul that wight befall, who DRINKS Not HEALTH to me!

Sc. 4. p. 60.

HAM. This heavy-headed revel, east and west,

Makes us traduc'd, and tax'd of other nations:
They clepe us drunkards.

Dr. Johnson has noticed the frequent allusions in this play to the king's intemperance, a failing that seems to have been too common among the Danish sovereigns as well as their subjects. A lively French traveller being asked what he had seen in Denmark, replied; "rien de singulier, sinon qu'on y chante tous les jours, le roy boit;" alluding to the French mode of celebrating Twelfth-day. See De Brieux, Origines de quelques coutumes, p. 56. Heywood Heywood in his Philocothonista, or The drunkard opened, dissected, and anatomized, 1635, 4to, speaking of what he calls the vinosity of nations, says of

the Danes, that "they have made a profession thereof from antiquity, and are the first upon record that brought their wassell-bowles and elbowe-deep healthes into this land."

Sc. 4. p. 68..

HAM. That thou, dead corse, again, in cómplete steelThis word is accented in both ways by our old poets as suited the metre. Thus in Sylvester's Du Bartas, edit. folio, 1621, p. 120:

"Who arms himself so cómplete every way."

But in King John, Act ii. we have:

"Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth,
Is the young Dauphin, every way compléte:
If not compléte, oh say, he is not she."

Sc. 4. p. 68.

HAM. Say why is this, wherefore, what should we do? This interrogation is perfectly consistent with the opinions entertained by our forefathers concerning ghos., which they believed had some particular motive for quitting the mansions of the dead; such as a desire that their bodies, if unburied, should receive Christian rites of sepul

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