The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christmas, His Masque

Benjamin Jonson,
Date first performed: Dec 1616
Date first published: 1640

Alternate Title: The Masque of Christmas

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Enter Christmas, with two or three of the Guard.

He is attir'd in round Hose, long Stockings, a close Doublet, a high crownd Hat
with a Broach, a long thin beard, a Truncheon, little Ruffes, white Shoes, his
Scarffes, and Garters tyed crosse, and his Drum beaten before him.

Why Gentlemen, doe you know what you doe? ha!
would you ha'kept me out? Christmas, old Christmas?
Christmas of London, and Captaine Christmas?
Pray you let me be brought before my
Lord Chamberlaine, i'le not be answer'd else:
'tis merrie in hall when beards wag all: I ha'seene
the time you ha'wish'd for me, for a merry Christmas,
and now you ha'me; they would not let me
in: I must come another time! a good jeast, as if I could come more then
once a yeare; why, I am no dangerous person, and so I told my friends,
o'the Guard. I am old Gregorie Christmas still, and though I come out of
Popes-head-alley as good a Protestant, as any i'my Parish. The troth is,
I ha'brought a Masque here, out o'the Citie, o'my owne making, and
doe present it by a sett of my Sonnes, that come out of the Lanes of London,
good dancing boyes all: It was intended I confesse for Curryers
Hall, but because the weather has beene open, and the Livory were not
at leisure to see it till a frost came that they cannot worke. I thought it
convenient, with some little alterations, and the Groome of the Revells
hand to't, to fit it for a higher place, which I have done; and though I
say it, another manner of devise then your Newyeares night. Bones
o'bread, the King! Sonne Rowland, Son Clem, be ready there in a trice;
quicke, Boyes.

Enter his Sonnes and Daughters being ten in number, led in, in a string by Cupid,
who is attir'd in a flat Cap, and a Prentises Coat, with wings at his shoulders.

The names of his Children, with their attyres.

In a velvet Cap with a Sprig, a short Cloake, great yellow Ruffe like a
Reveller, his Torch bearer bearing a Rope, a Cheese and a Basket,

A long tawny Coat, with a red Cap, and a Flute at his girdle, his Torch-bearer
carrying a Song booke open.

Like a fine Cookes Wife, drest neat; her Man carrying a Pie, Dish, and Spoones.

Like a Tumbler, with a hoope and Bells; his Torch-bearer arm'd with a Cole-staffe,
and a blinding cloth.

With a paire-Royall of Aces in his Hat; his Garment all done over with Payres,
and Purrs; his Squier carrying a Box, Gards, and Counters.

In a blew Coat, serving-man like, with an Orange, and a sprig of Rosemarie guilt
on his head, his Hat full of Broaches, with a coller of Gingerbread, his Torch-bearer
carrying a March-paine, with a bottle of wine on either arme.

In a Masquing pied suite, with a Visor, his Torch-bearer carrying the Boxe, and
ringing it.

Like a neat Sempster, and Songster; her Page bearing a browne bowle, drest with
Ribbands, and Rosemarie before her.

In a short gowne, with a Porters staffe in his hand; a Wyth borne before him,
and a Bason by his Torch-bearer.

Drest like a Boy, in a fine long Coat, Biggin, Bib, Muckender, and a little
Dagger; his Vsher bearing a great Cake with a Beane, and a Pease.

They enter singing.

Now God preserve, as you well doe deserve,
your Majesties all, two there;
Your Highnesse small, with my good Lords all,
and Ladies, how doe you do there?
Gi'me leave to aske, for I bring you a Masque
from little little little little London;
Which say the King likes, I ha'passed the Pikes,
if not, old Christmas is undone.


A' peace, whats the matter there?


Here's one, o'Friday street would come in.


By no meanes, nor out of neither of the Fishstreets, admit not
a man; they are not Christmas creatures: Fish, and fasting dayes, foh!
Sonnes, sayd I well? looke too't.


No bodie out o'Friday-street, nor the two Fish-streets there;
doe yo heare?


Shall John Butter o'Milke-street come in? aske him.


Yes, he may slip in for a Torch-bearer, so he melt not too fast,
that he will last till the Masque be done.


Right Sonne.

Sing agen.

Ovr Dances freight, is a matter of eight,
and two, the which are Wenches;
In all they be ten, foure Cockes to a Hen,
and will swim to the time like Tenches.
Each hath his knight, for to carry his light,
which some would say are Torches;
To bring them here, and to lead them there,
and home againe to their owne porches.
Now their intent--

Enter Venus, a deafe Tire-woman.


Now, all the Lords blesse me, where am I tro? where is Cupid?
serve the King? they may serve the Cobler well enough, some of 'em,
for any courtesie they have y'wisse; they ha'need o'mending: unrude
people they are, your Courtiers, here was thrust upon thrust indeed!
was it ever so hard to get in before, tro?


How now? what's the matter?


A place forsooth, I do want a place; I would have a good place
to see my Child act in before the King, and Quenes Majesties (God
blesse 'em) to night.


Why, here is no place for you.


Right forsooth, I am Cupids Mother, Cupids owne Mother: forsooth;
yes forsooth: I dwell in pudding-lane; I forsooth, he is Prentise
in Love-lane with a Bugle-maker, that makes of your Bobs, and Bird-bolts
for Ladies,


Good Lady Venus of Pudding-lane, you must go out for all this.


Yes forsooth, I can sit any where, so I may see Cupid act; hee
is a pretty Child, though I say it that perhaps should not, you will say:
I had him by my first Husband, he was a Smith forsooth, we dwelt in
Doe-little lane then, he came a moneth before his time, and that may
make him somewhat imperfect: But I was a Fishmongers daughter.


No matter for your Pedigree, your house; good Venus will
you depart?


I forsooth, he'le say his part I warrant him, as well as ere a
Play boy of 'em all: I could ha'had money enough for him, an I would
ha beene tempted, and ha'let him out by the weeke, to the Kings Players:
Master Burbadge has beene about and about with me; and so has old Mr.
Hemings too, they ha'need of him, where is he tro'a? I would faine see
him, pray God they have given him some drinke since he came.


Are you readie Boyes? strike up, nothing will drown this
noise but a Drum: a'peace, yet, I ha' not done


--Now their intent, is above to present--


Why? here be halfe of the properties forgotten, Father.


Post and Paire wants his pur-chops, and his pur-dogs.


Ha'you nere a Son at the Groom-Porters to beg, or borrow
a paire of Cards quickly?


It shall not need, heer's your Son Chrater without; has Cards
in his pocket.


Odds so; speake to the Guard to let him in, under the name
of a propertie.


And heer's New-yeares-gift h'as an Orenge, and Rosmarie, but
not a clove to sticke in't.


Why, let one go to the Spicery.


Fie, fie, fie; it's naught, it's naught boyes.


Why, I have cloves, if it be cloves you want, I have cloves in
my purse, I never goe without one in my mouth.


And Mumming, has not his vizard neither.


No matter, his owne face shall serve for a punishment, and 'tis
bad enough; has Wassell her boule, and Mince-pie her spoones?


I, I; but Mis-rule doth not like his suite: he saies the Players
have lent him one too little, on purpose to disgrace him.


Let him hold his peace, and his disgrace will bee the lesse:
what? shall wee proclaime where wee were furnisht? Mum! Mum! a
peace, be readie good Boyes.

Sings agen.

Now their intent, is above to present
with all the appurtenances
A right Christmas, as of old it was,
to be gathered out of the Dances.
Which they doe bring, and afore the King,
the Queene, and Prince, as it were now
Drawne here by Love; who, over and aboue,
doth draw himselfe i'the geere too.

Here the Drum, and Fife sounds, and they march about once; at the second comming
up he proceeds in his song.

Hum drum, sauce for a Coney;
no more of your Martiall musicke:
Even for the sake, o'the next new stake,
for there I doe meane to use it.

And now to yee, who in place are to see,
with Roll and Farthingale hooped:
I pray you know, though he want his bow
by the wings, that this is Cupid.

He might goe backe, for to cry what you lack,
but that were not so wittie:
His Cap, and Coat, are enough to note
that he is the Love o'the Cittie.

And he leades on, though he now begon,
for that was onely his-rule:
But now comes in, Tom of Bosomes Inne,
and he presenteth Mis-rule.

Which you may know, by the very show,
albeit you never aske it:
For there you may see what his Ensignes bee,
the Rope, the Cheese, and the Basket.

This Carol plaies, and has beene in his dayes
a chirping boy, and a kill pot:
Kit Cobler it is, I'me a Father of his,
and he dwells in the lane, cal'd Fil-pot.

But who is this? O'my daughter Sis
Mince-pie, with her doe not dally
On paine o'your life: She's an honest Cooks wife,
and comes out of Scalding-Alley.

Next in the trace, comes Gambol in place,
and to make my tale the shorter:
My Sonne Hercules, tane, out of Distaffe-lane
but an active man, and a Porter.

Now Post and Paire, old Christmasses heire
doth make, and a gingling Sally:
And wott you who, t'is one of my two
Sons, Cardmakers in Pur-alley.

Next in a trice, with his boxe and his Dice,
Mac-pippin my Son, but younger,
Brings Mumming in; and the knave will win,
for a'is a Costermonger.

But New-yeares-gift, of himselfe makes shift
to tell you what his name is:
With Orenge on head, and his Gingerbread,
Clem Waspe of Honey-lane 'tis.

This I you tell, is our jolly Wassell,
and for Twelfe-night more meet too:
She workes by the Ell, and her name is Nell,
and she dwells in Thred-needle-street too.

Then Offering he, with his Dish, and his Tree,
that in every great house keepeth;
Is by my Sonne, young Little-worth done,
and in Penny-rich-street he sleepeth.

Last, Baby-cake, that an end doth make
of Christmas merrie, merrie vaine a
Is Child Rowlan, and a straight young man,
though he come out of Crooked-lane 'a.

There should have beene, and a dozen I wene,
but I could finde but one more;
Child of Christmas, and a L'ogge it was,
when I them all had gone ore.

I pray'd him, in a time so trim,
that he would make one to praunce it:
And I my selfe, would have beene the twelfe,
o'hut Log was to heavie to dance it.

Now Cupid come you on.


You worthie wights, King, Lords, and Knights,
or Queene, and Ladies bright:
Cupid invites, you to the sights
he shall present to night.


Tis a good child, speake out, hold up your head Love.


And which Cupid--and which Cupid, &c.


Do not shake so Robin, if thou beest a'cold, I ha'some warme
waters for thee, here.


Come, you put Robin Cupid out with your waters, and your
fisling; will you be gone?


I forsooth; hee's a child, you must conceive, and must be us'd
tenderly; he was never in such an assembly before forsooth, but once at
Warmoll Quest, forsooth, where he sayd grace as prettily as any of the
Sheriffes Hinch-boyes forsooth.


Will you peace, forsooth?


And which Cupid, and which Cupid, &c.


I that's a good boy, speake plaine, Robin: how does his Majestie
like him, I pray? will he give eight pence a day thinke you? speak
out Robin.


Nay, he is out enough, you may take him away, and begin
your Dance; this it is to have speeches.


You wrong the Child, you doe wrong the Infant; I'peale to
his Majestie.

Here they Dance.


Well done Boyes, my fine Boyes, my bully Boyes.

Sings agen.

The Epilogue.

Nor doe you thinke that their legges is all
the commendation of my Sons,
For at the Artillery-Garden they shall
as well (forsooth) use their Guns.

And march as fine, as the Muses nine,
along the streets of London:
And i'their brave tires, to gi'their false fires,
especially Tom my Son.

Now if the Lanes and the Allyes afford,
such an ac-ativitie as this:
At Christmas next, if they keepe their word,
can the children of Cheapside misse?

Though, put the case, when they come in place,
they should not dance, but hop:
Their very gold lace, with their silke would 'em grace,
having so many knights, o'the Shop!

But were I so wise, I might seeme to advise
so great a Potentate as your selfe:
They should Sir, I tell yee, spar't out o'their bellie,
and this way spend some of their pelfe.

I, and come to the Court, for to make you some sport,
at the least once every yeare:
As Christmas hath done, with his seventh or eight Son,
and his couple of Daughters deare.

The End.

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