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web of a very large spider; whose premises he had unfortunately trespassed upon. Thus, it is evident that this tiger of an insect des yours creatures larger than itself. If the means by which he is en: abled to do it were common to the beasts of the forest, how dreada ful would be a net spun by the lion or the tiger, from which the horse and his rider could not disentangle themselves, no more than a strong bee can from this pest of the garden.”

[7o be concluded next Month.)


MR EDITOR, It is astonishing how little is known of the origin and intention of the customs which distinguish this festival. It is understood to bring with it good eating and drinking, and few families are anxious to ascertain any thing more, than the parties they are to visit, or to receive, on Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Twelfth Night. For the information of those, therefore, who may not be contented with mere beef and pudding, I transmit you the following curious historical and traditionary illustrations.


WITH HOLLY, &c. &c. Stow, in his Survey of London, tells us, against the feast of Christmas, every man's house, as also the parish churches, were decked with holme, ivy, bayes, and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green : The conduits and standards in the streets were likewise garnished

In the ancient calendar of the church of Rome, I find the following observation on Christmas Eve :

“ Templa exornantur ;

“ Churches are decked.”
Mr. Gay, in his Trivia, describes this custom :

When rosemary and bays, the poet's crown,
Are bawl'd in frequent cries through all the town;
Then judge the festival of Christmas near;
Christmas, the joyous period of the year.
Now with bright holly all the temples strow,

With laurel green, and sacred misletoe. There is an essay in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1765, in which it is conjectured that the ancient custom of dressing churches and houses, at Christmas, with laurel, box, holly or ivy, was in allusion

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to many figurative expressions in the prophets, relative to Christ,
the branch of righteousness, &c. or that it was in remembrance of
the oratory of Wrythers Wands, or Boughs, which was the first
christian church erected in Britain. Before we can admit either of
these hypotheses, the question must be determined whether or no
this custom was not prior to the introduction of the christian faith
amongst us.

The learned Dr. Chandler observes, that, “ It is related where
Druidism prevailed, the houses were decked with ever-greens in De-
cember, that the sylvan spirits might repair to them, and remain
unnipped with frost and cold winds, until a milder season had
renewed the foliage of their darling abodes."


2: We are told, in the Athenian Oracle, that the *Christmas-Bor-
Money is derived from hence. The Romish priests had masses said
for almost every thing : If a ship went out to the Indies, the priests
had a box in her, under the protection of some saint : And for
'masses, as their cant was, “to be said for them to that saint, &c.
The poor people must put something into the priest's box, which was
not to be opened till the ship returned.

The mass at that time was called Christmas; the Box, Christmas
Bor; a money gathered against that time, that masses might be
made by the priests to the saints, to forgive the people the debau-
cheries of that time, and from this, servants had the liberty to get
hox money, that they too might be enable to pay the priest for his
masses, knowing well the truth of the proverb.

“ No penny, no paternoster.”


Bishop Stillingfleet informs us, that “ among the Saxons of the
Northern Nations, the feast of the new year was observed with more
than ordinary jollity: 'thence, as Olaus Wormius and Scheffer ob-
serve, they reckoned their age by so many + İolas; and Snorro
Sturleson describeth this new year's feast just as Buchannan sets out

* This is still retained in public houses and barber's shops ; it is put against the wall, and every customer puts in something. Mr. Gay mentions it thus :

Some boys are rich by birth, beyond all wants,
Belov'd by uncles, and kind, good old aunts;
When time comes round a Christmas-box they bear,
And one day makes them rich for all the year.

Gay's Trivia.
+ Jola, in the Gothic language, signifies to make merry.

the British Saturnalia, by feasting and sending presents, or new year's gifts, one to another."

The poet Naogeorgus says, that it was usual, at that time, for friends to present each other with a new year's gift; for the husband, the wife; the parents, their children; and masters, their servants; which, as † Hospinian tells us, was an ancient custom of the Heathens, and afterwards practised by the Christians. 1

The very ingenious Scotch writer, Buchannan, presented to the unfortunate Mary queen of Scots, the following singular kind of new year's gift. History is silent concerning the manner in which her majesty received it.

Ad Mariam Scotiæ Reginam:
Do quod adest: opto quod abest tibi, dona darentur
Aurea, Sors animo si foret æqua meo.
Hoc leve si credis, paribus me ulciscere donis :
Et quod abest, opta tu mihi : da quod adest.


The rites of this day are different in divers places, though the end of them is much the same in all; namely, to do honour to the memory of the eastern magi, whom they suppose to have been kings. In France, one of the courtiers is chosen king, when the king himself, and the other nobles, attend at an entertainment. In Germany, they observe the same thing on this day in academies and cities, where the students and citizens create one of themselves king, and provide a magnificent banquet for him, and give him the attendance of a king, or a stranger guest. Now this is answerable to that custom of the Saturnalia, of masters making banquets for their servants, and waiting on them; and no doubt this custom has in part sprung from that.

Not many years ago, this was a common Christmas gambol, in both our universities; and it is still usual in other places of our land, to give the name of king or queen to that person whose luck hits upon that part of the divided cake, which is honoured above the others with the sacred name of majesty.

More particulars will be learned of the manner of drawing king and queen, from a letter preserved in the Universal Magazine,

* Tani--...-Calendis,
Atque etiam strenæ charis mittuntur amicis :
Conjugibusg ; viri donant, gnatisq; parentes,
Et domini famulis, &c.

Hosp. de Orig. Fest. Christ. P. 41 + Hospin. ibid.

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1774;:whence I shall take the liberty of extracting a few passages: “ I went to a friend's house in the country, to partake of some of chose innocent pleasures that constitute a merry Christmas; I did not return till I had been present at drawing king and queen, and catén a slice of the twelfth cake. After tea, yesterday, a noble cake was produced, and two howls containing the fortunate chances for the different sexes."

“ According to the twelfth day law, each party is to support their character till midnight.”

Sometimes the characters have a poetical description, in the manner of the following, which are from the pens of a late field marshal, and a dignified clergyman, now living; those written by the latter are distinguished by an asterisk. They have not before been printed.

I am your king, behold my wide domain!
O'er all this chamber's vast extent I reign.
With pearls and diamonds tho' your scepters shine,
Moguls and sultans, you may envy mine!
For to my throne, no slave, nor traitor bends,
Who reign in comfort o'er an host of friends.
:0! may the gracious monarch of these isles,
Still reign like me amidst his people's smiles:
Their pleasure only study, still like me,
And to be happy, make his subjects frec.

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Cinder Wench. Tho' from my business I may be A little smutty, as you see, Yet with the flames which I've bestow'd, Full many a gentle swain has glow'd. And since all mortals here below Are dust and ashes, as we know; Duchess or cinder-wench, 'tis all the same, And Cinderella's only chang'd in name.

Dancing Master.
Of beaux and beauties I'm the cream ;
Does not my air my trade proclaim ?
If still my name you cannot hit,
Know, madam, I am call'd beau-kit.
I practice ala-mode de France,
I'll lead you ma'am, a charming dance;
And fear not when you marry me,
You'll have a num'rous family;
Talk with my misses at their ball,
You'll be the mother of them all.

Apple Woman.
ThoʻI'm but a poor apple woman,
Pray let me be despis'd by no man;
Since we descend, as I believe,
In line direct from mother Eve;
For, as we all too well do know,
She was an apple woman too.
Then take me, sir, you'll have a power
Of golden pippins for your dower ;
A nonpareil to, I'll be then,
*To you my Adam, first of men.

If 'tis your wish, my fair, to live,
Endow'd with all that wealth can give,
Accept a nabob's offer'd hand,
Who can all worldly pomp command;
Partake my splendor-but be wise,
And ask not whence these riches rise.

Cook Maid.*. Sir, you've a liquorish taste, I see, Or you'd have neer selected me, If you prove true, with daintiest fare To suit your taste shall be my care; But, if inconstant I should find you, Yop'll have the dish.clout pina'd behind you.

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