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For pastry-crust, like castle walls,
Stands braving me unto my face;
I am not well until it falls,

And I made captain of the place.

The prunes so lovely, look on me,
I cannot choose but venture on :
The pie-meat spiced brave I see,

The which I must not let alone.

Then, butler, fill me forth some beer,

My song hath made me somewhat dry;

And so, again, to this good cheer,

I'll quickly fall, courageously.

And for my master I will pray,

With all that of his household are,
Both old and young, that long we may
Of God's good blessings have a share.


(From "Poor Robin's Almanack," 1695.)

Now, thrice welcome Christmas,

Which brings us good cheer,
Minced pies and plum porridge,

Good ale and strong beer;

With pig, goose, and capon,

The best that can be.
So well doth the weather

And our stomachs agree.


Observe how the chimneys
Do smoke all about,

The cooks are providing

For dinner, no doubt;

But those on whose tables

No victuals appear,

O may they keep Lent

All the rest of the year!

With holly and ivy

So green and so gay ;

We deck up our houses

As fresh as the day,

With bays and rosemary.

And laurel complete,

And every one now

Is a king in conceit.


(From "Poor Robin's Almanack," 1700.)

Now that the time is come wherein,
Our Saviour Christ was born,

The larders full of beef and pork,
The garners filled with corn;

As God hath plenty to thee sent,
Take comfort of thy labours,

And let it never thee repent

To feast thy needy neighbours.


Let fires in every chimney be,

That people they may warm them; Tables with dishes covered,

Good victuals will not harm them.

With mutton, veals, beef, pig, and pork,
Well furnish every board,
Plum-pudding, furmity, and what
Thy stock will then afford.

No niggard of the liquor be,
Let it go round thy table,
People may freely drink, but not

So long as they are able;


Good customs they may be abused,

Which makes rich men so slack us,

This feast is to relieve the poor,

And not to drunken Bacchus.

Thus if thou doest, 't will credit raise thee,

God will thee bless, and neighbours praise thee.

The burthen of the following excellent old ballad is that lament, common in all ages, for the days that have passed away. Looking back on bygone times, the imagination, charmed with the novelty which surrounds every minute circumstance, exalts even the worst features into matter for admiration. We very much question the amount of happiness enjoyed by the people generally, when every nobleman usurped the power of a petty sovereign, and had a crew of lusty men at his command to do his individual bidding. This state of things could certainly not have tended to promote the public peace in those highly prized "days of yore, when the old cap was new."


HEN this old cap was new

"Tis since two hundred year,

No malice then we knew,

But all things plenty were:

All friendship now decays

(Believe me, this is true),

Which was not in those days,

When this old cap was new.

The nobles of our land

Were much delighted then,

To have at their command

A crew of lusty men,

Which by their coats were known,
Of tawny, red, or blue,

With crests on their sleeves shown,

When this old cap was new.

Now pride hath banished all,
Unto our land's reproach,

When he whose means are small

Maintains both horse and coach;

Instead of an hundred men,

The coach allows but two;

This was not thought on then,

When this old cap was new.

Good hospitality

Was cherished then of many; Now poor men starve and die,

And are not helped by any;

For charity waxeth cold,

And love is found in few:

This was not in time of old,

When this old cap was new.

Wherever you travelled then,

You might meet on the way

Brave knights and gentlemen,

Clad in their country grey, That courteous would appear,

And kindly welcome you:

No puritans then were,

When this old cap was new.

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