The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Good Old Times

Words: From "Poor Robin's Almanac," 1709

Source: Henry Vizetelly, Christmas With The Poets (London: David Bogue, 1851).

How happy were those days so old,
When feasting did all twelve days hold;
When tables groaned with boiled and roast,
And key of buttery door was lost;
When cooks had hardly time to eat,
For serving up of others' meat;
When the old hall with gambols rung,
And merry carols they were sung;
While many tales and jests were saying;
Some were at Whisk and Cross Ruff playing,
Primevo, Gleek, Piquet, All Fours,
In harmless mirth they spent the hours;
Knaves out of Town who may not hurt ye,
And tom-fool's game called One and Thirty,
Winning and Losing, Loudum, Put,
Then Post and Pair, and next New Cut.1
Some were a shoeing the wild mare,
With other tricks that used were.
But those things now are laid aside,
The better to maintain our pride,
And Christmas scarcely should we know,
Did not the almanacks it show.

Note From Vizetelly:

1. All the above were games of cards, and several among them will be recognised as popular at the present day. Return

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