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tified the goodness of their hearts) drowned every former animosity, an example worthy modern imitation. Wassel was the word, Wassel every guest returned as he took the circling goblet from his friend, whilst song and civil mirth brought in the infant year.". Brand's Observations, by Ellis, vol. i. p. 3.

# Douce's Illustrations of Shakspeare and of Ancient Manners, vol. ii. p. 209, 210. $ Acti. sc. 4. Reed's edit. vol. xviii. p. 64.

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and in Macbeth, the heroine of that play declares that she will convince the two chamberlains of Duncan

“ With wine and wassel. '* In Anthony and Cleopatra also, Cæsar, advising Anthony to live more temperately, tells him to leave his

“ Lascivious wassals.".

s." + And lastly, in Love's Labour's Lost, Biron, describing the character of Boyet, says,

“ He is wit's pedler: and retails his wares

At wakes, and wassels, meetings, markets, fairs." + Ben Jonson has given us two curious personifications of the Wassail; the first in his Forest, No. 3. whilst giving an account of a rural feast in the hall of Sir Robert Wroth; he says,

“ The rout of rural folk come thronging in,

Their rudenesse then is thought no sin-
The jolly Wassail walks the often round,

And in their cups their cares are drown'd:S and the second in “ Christmas, His Masque, as it was presented at Court 1616,” where Wassall, as one of the ten children of Christmas, is represented in the following quaint manner: Like a neat Sempster, and Songster; her Page bearing a browne bowle, drest with Ribbands, and Rosemarie before her.**

Fletcher, in his Faithful Shepherdess, has given a striking description of the festivity attendant on the Wassail bowl :

.“ The woods, or some near town
That is a neighbour to the bordering down,
Hath drawn them thither, 'bout some lusty sport,
Or spiced Wassel-Boul, to which resort
All the young men and maids of many a cote,

Whilst the trim minstrell strikes his merry note." The persons thus accompanying the Wassail bowl, especially those who danced and played, were called Wassailers, an appellation which it was afterwards customary to bestow on all who indulged, at any season, in intemperate mirth. Hence Milton introduces his Lady in Comus making use of the term in the following beautiful passage:

-“Methought it was the sound
Of riot and ill manag'd merriment,
Such as the jocund flute, or gamesome pipe
Stirs up among the loose unletter'd hinds,
When for their teeming flocks, and granges full,
In wanton dance, they praise the bounteous Pan,
And thank the gods amiss. I should be loath
To meet the rudeness, and swill'd insolence,
of such late wassailers." ##

• Act i. sc. 7. Reed, vol. x. p. 88.

+ Act i. sc. 4. Reed, vol. xvii. p. 49. # Act v. sc. 2. Reed, vol. vii. p. 165.

Epigrammes i. booke, folio 1640, p. 50.
Jonson's Works, fol. vol. ii. 1640.

it Act v. sc. 1. #1 Warton's Milton, 2d edit. p. 160. The Peg Tankard, a species of Wassail-Bowl introduced by the Saxons, was still in use in the days of Shakspeare. I am in possession of one, which was given to a member of my family about one hundred and fifty years ago; it is of chased silver, containing nearly two quarts, and is divided by four pegs.

This form of the wassail or wish-health bowl was introduced by Dunstan, with the view of checking the intemperance of his countrymen, which for a time it effected; but subsequently the remedy was converted into an additional stimulus to excess; “ for, refining upon Dunstan's plan, each was obliged to drink precisely to a pin, whether he could sustain a quantity of liquor equal to others or not: and to that end it'became a rule, that whether they exceeded, or fell short of the prescribed bumper, they were alike compelled to drink again, until they reached the next mark. In the year 1102, the priests, who had not been backward in joining and encouraging these drunken assemblies, were ordered to avoid such abominations, and wholly to discontinue the practice of “ Drinking to Pegs.” Some of these Peg or Pin Cups, or Bowls, and Pin or Peg Tankards, are yet to be found in the cabinets of antiquaries; and we are to trace from their

a

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