Words: Robert Herrick (1591-1674)
Poem 7 of 7 of Christmas Customs from Herrick
Source: William Henry Husk, Songs of the Nativity (London: John Camden Hotten, 1868)
1. Kindle the Christmas brand, and then
Till sunset let it burn;
Which quench'd then lay it up again
Till Christmas next return.
2. Part must be kept wherewith to teend
The Christmas log next year;
And where 'tis safely kept, the fiend
Can do no mischief there.
The custom noticed in the first of these extracts is here again more particularly mentioned, and a reason for its observance given.
Husk's notes from the first selection:
On [Christmas] eve our ancestor's were wont to lay a log of wood upon the fire, called a Yule-clog, or log, or Christmas block, to illuminate the house. It was a custom to preserve a portion of this block until the next year, with which to light the new block, and the omission to do so was deemed unlucky. The practice still prevails in many parts of the country.
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