December 23, 2009

Christmas in the Olden Times

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--Description: 19th C, Sir Scott W., Holidays, Seasons--


On Christmas-eve the bells were rung;
The damsel donned her kirtle sheen;
The hall was dressed with holly green;
Forth to the wood did merry men go,
To gather in the mistletoe.
Thus opened wide the baron hall
To vassal, tenant, serf and all;
Power laid his rod of rule aside
And ceremony doffed his pride.
The heir, with roses in his shoes,
That night might village partner choose;
The lord, underogating, share
The vulgar game of "Post and Pair."
All hailed, with uncontrolled delight,
And general voice, the happy night
That to the cottage, as the crown,
Brought tidings of salvation down.

The fire, with well-dried logs supplied,
Went roaring up the chimney wide;
The huge hall-table's oaken face,
Scrubbed till it shone, the day to grace,
Bore then upon its massive board
No mark to part the squire and lord.
Then was brought in the lusty brawn
By old blue-coated serving man;
Then the grim boar's head frowned on high,
Crested with bays and rosemary.
Well can the green-garbed ranger tell
How, when and where the monster fell;
What dogs before his death he tore,
And all the baitings of the boar.
The wassal round, in good brown bowls,
Garnished with ribbons, blithely trowls.
There the huge sirloin reeked: hard by
Plum-porridge stood, and Christmas pye;
Nor failed old Scotland to produce,
At such high-tide, her savory goose.

Then came the merry maskers in,
And carols roared with blithesome din.
If unmelodious was the song,
It was a hearty note, and strong;
Who lists may in their murmuring see
Traces of ancient mystery;
White shirts supplied the masquerade,
And smutted cheeks the visors made;
But O, wht maskers richly dight,
Can boast of bosoms half so light!


Sir Walter Scott

--Did You Know:(15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832) Walter Scott was a prolific Scottish historical novelist and poet, popular throughout Europe during his time. Scott was particularly associated with Toryism. Scott was the first English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime, with many contemporary readers in Europe, Australia, and North America. His novels and poetry are still read, and many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of The Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor. Born in College Wynd in the Old Town of Edinburgh in 1771, the son of a solicitor, Scott survived a childhood bout of polio in 1773 that left him lame. To cure his lameness he was sent in 1773 to live in the rural Borders region at his grandparents' farm at Sandyknowe, adjacent to the ruin of Smailholm Tower, the earlier family home. Here he was taught to read by his aunt Jenny, and learned from her the speech patterns and many of the tales and legends that characterized much of his work. Read more at: Sir Walter Scott

--Word of the Day: largess \lar-ZHES; lar-JES; LAR-jes\, noun;
also largesse:
1. Generous giving (as of gifts or money), often accompanied by condescension.
2. Gifts, money, or other valuables so given.
3. Generosity; liberality.
Example:
Four years after her marriage she exclaimed giddily over her father-in-law's largess: "He has given Waldorf the Waldorf Astoria Hotel for a birthday present!"
-- Stacy Schiff, "Otherwise Engaged", New York Times, March 19, 2000

--Quote of the Day: One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others.
-Robert A. Heinlein

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--TRIVIA FUN: What German playwright penned the lyrics to Mack the Knife and Alabama Song?

ANSWER TO YESTERDAY'S TRIVIA:
What was an official language in 87 nations and territories, by 1994?
Answer: English

...SEE TOMORROW'S POST for today's Answer...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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