The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christmas Fool

Source: Brand's Popular Antiquities Of Great Britain

W. Carew Hazlitt, Faith and Folklore: A Dictionary of National Beliefs, Superstitions and Popular Customs, Past and Current, With Their Classical and Foreign Analogues, Described and Illustrated.

Forming A New Edition of "The Popular Antiquities of Great Britain" By Brand and Ellis, Largely Extended, Corrected, Brought Down To The Present Time, and Now First Alphabetically Arranged.

In Two Volumes

London: Reeves and Turner, 1905.

Vol. 1, p. 241

In representations of the Fool, who took part in dramatic performances and in sports at festivals, he appears with all the badges of his office: the bauble in his hand, and a coxcomb hood, with asses' ears, on his head. The top of the hood rises into the form of a cock's neck and head, with a bell at the latter: and "Minshew's Dictionary," 1617, under the word Coxcomb, observers, that "natural idiots and fools have accustomed and still do accustome themselves to weare in their capes cockes feathers, or a hat with the necke and head of a cock on the top, and a bell thereon." His hood is blue, guarded or edged with yellow at its scalloped bottom, his doublet is red, striped across, or rayed with a deeper red, and edged with yellow, his girdle yellow, his left-side hose yellow, with a red shoe, and his right-side hose blue, soled with red leather. In Gibson's "Memoranda," 1510-11, a charge of a halfpenny for "a turnyd ladyll spend for the foole," in connection with the Court Revel of the 15th November in that year. It seems from the prologue to "Henry the Eighth," that Shakespeare's Fools should be dressed "in a long motley coat, guarded with yellow," which is illustrated by a passage in Rowlands:

"My sleeves are like some Morris-dauncing fellow,
My stockings, ideot-like, red, greene, and yeallow: --"

Comp. Nares, Glossary, 1859, in v., for an excellent note on this subject.

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